Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Oath Keepers?

Following up on the previous entry, where in the comments section I disapprovingly mentioned Streiff's comments under his own RedState art...hit piece, here's a sampling of what I was talking about:

Streiff writes:


The Civil War established states can’t secede from the Union contra “oath keeper” point 5.

The Civil Rights movement could not have succeeded without the direct use of federal troops without the consent of the state government, contra “oath keeper” point 4.

If you are comfortable taking the left’s point of view on Jose Padilla while taking the side of Orval Faubus on segregation and Jeff Davis on slavery feel free because that is what this group is doing.

Scare quotes AND non capitalization of proper names! Whoa!, this guy's unstoppable!

I'm sure glad that he helped to clear the fog from my head with the two points above. Otherwise I'd still be trying to see my way clear to understanding why it is that states and local governments can never have authority to protect themselves and their citizens against federal tyranny in the form of disarming American citizens contra "bill of rights" point 2; of conducting illegal searches against them contra "bill of rights" point 4, and so on.

Let's take "bill of rights" point 2, which states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Read it carefully again. Obviously the wild-eyed lunatics who wrote that were high on hemp or something. Hence federal prohibition on the farming of hemp and manufacture of hemp products. All non-lunatic, genuine Oath Keepers like Streiff know, for example, that any firearm capable of firing, and/or of being manipulated to fire, purposely or not, more than one round per trigger pull can never be safely entrusted to the care and ownership of private American citizens. Only wild-eyed, dangerous lunatics like the "oath keepers" and the hemped-up provocateurs who wrote point 2 of the "bill of rights" believe otherwise. Hence the dire need for federal gun laws contra "oath keepers" point 1; and of enforcement of federal gun laws contra "oath keepers" point 7. And etc...

After all, federal prosecution, disarming and subsequent imprisonment of David Olofson, contra "oath keepers" points 1 and 7 respectively, could never have succeeded without federal intervention. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. How about you.


chiu_chunling said...

While the Civil War established that the Confederacy lacked sufficient military/economic power to retain political independence in the face of determined interference by the Union, the fact that it occurred at all established that states can secede...because the war couldn't have happened if they hadn't.

The fact that federal troops were used in support of the Civil Rights movement doesn't prove that it couldn't have succeeded otherwise unless the fact that some men have beards means that they'll die if they shave.

I shave now and's never killed me yet. Maybe I'm a superhuman being which cannot be killed, though. Even if that's the case, I have a beard and it wouldn't kill me to shave it.

Terry Morris said...

Well, as idiotic as his arguments are (And he makes some real zingers in the thread! Like, for instance, where he declares the "imbecility" of following the prescriptions in the federal constitution based on the ineptitude of a single governor of a single state under a singular scenario -- Kathleen Blanco and Katrina.), I don't think he's trying to say that secession can't happen because of the outcome of the civil war. I think he's saying that the civil war established that the question of legitimacy or legality was answered, forever, by the civil war. In the negative.

It's still a dumb*ss argument which I think really just reveals his disdain for the original constitutional arrangement more than anything else, but it ain't quite as idiotic as saying that it can't happen again.

Terry Morris said...

By the way, someone wrote in the comment section of the Oath Keepers rebuttal that Streiff "lacks imagination." I responded saying that I don't believe he lacks imagination, quite the contrary -- I think he's got himself a very vivid imagination, imagining as he does Kathleen Blanco's ineptitude during Katrina and in its aftermath illustrates, for all fifty states under any and all "emergencies" the imbecility of following the constitution.

Terry Morris said...

Oh, and on your other point...

You notice that I didn't make the same mistake that Streiff makes in my write-up. It is, in fact, the case that David Olopson could not have been convicted and imprisoned on federal gun charges in the absence of direct federal intervention. It doesn't matter how the feds were notified (which, btw, has the odor of a sting or a set-up of some kind -- guy "borrows" Olopson's AR-15, takes it to the firing range firing off bursts of rounds. Someone contacts local law enforcement. Local law enforcement contacts feds? Sounds kinda fishy to me.). Now, had that local law enforcement officer been an Oath Keeper...

Terry Morris said...


chiu_chunling said...

Hmmm...'legitimacy' eh?

Well, I guess I don't need to say it again, but there can be no higher standard of legitimacy for laws than that people treat them as such. To some extent, this depends on the logical consistency of the law, since it is as impossible that people will obey logically inconsistent laws as it is that they would obey impractical laws.

Thus it is vital that laws be consistent, practical, and enforceable. Otherwise people get into the habit of disobeying the laws one way or another, and your laws are no longer legitimate. The Union victory in the Civil war didn't demonstrate that secession was illegitimate, only that readmission into the United States could be legitimized despite such intermission (legally, the various secession was recognized by virtue of such actions as ratification of the 13th-15th amendments and the admission of West Virginia into the Union).

Not to stress this point too heavily, but the only legal ambiguity during the Civil War was recognition of the status of the Confederacy itself as an independent nation. The states which seceded from the Union had to undergo a legal process of readmission after (in some cases during) the war.

In a sense, the claim of the United States to wage war was a matter of territorial infringement and the protection of property and persons of native citizens of the United States.

But in a more important sense, legitimacy always comes down to who ends up obeying whom. That's why I simply state that I will no longer obey the government. That's what I mean when I say the government is illegitimate, that's what my declaration that the government is unconstitutional demands. If they have the power to compel or persuade me to obey, then they are legitimate enough.

Terry Morris said...

Yes, you've mentioned that before. Most notably, I think, in the abortion thread from a while back. But let me ask you something about your parenthetical remarks in the second paragraph of your above post wherein you wrote:

"(legally, the various secession was recognized by virtue of such actions as ratification of the 13th-15th amendments and the admission of West Virginia into the Union)."

Correct me if my history is wrong on this point, but isn't it that the Union states, via the central government, more or less appointed legislatures in the secession states immediately following the civil war and readmission to the Union as a matter of securing the requisite number of states to ratify amendments 13-15?

chiu_chunling said...

Well, they had more on the agenda than just ratification of the new amendments, but that was part of what they did. The details of the process varied substantially, but what it came down to was that they were treating the states as though they were newly created, rather than acknowledging or even permitting any continuity or existing standing within the Union.

The establishment of West Virginia is perhaps the clearest example, simply because it is impossible to justify if Virginia were still a state at the time they did that. But in the procedural details of all the reconstruction framework you find a lot of reasoning that references the idea that the southern states had basically been dissolved by secession, and the new states were simply made similar for convenience rather than because of any legal requirements imposed by existing state laws.

This was not universally accepted, but even when people didn't fully accept (or flatly rejected) the theory they did make use of it in resolving the issues of reestablishing the Southern states after the war. To some extent, once they created West Virginia out of territory formerly recognized as Virginia, the horse was out of the barn. By the end of the war West Virginia was fully acknowledged as a State, and it wasn't something that could be undone.

So a lot of the victory of what would probably be considered the most extreme interpretation was decided right after secession. But my own understanding of the legal issues trends that way.

Basically, when a State declares that it is no longer part of the United States, that doesn't automatically remove the territory the state claims from the jurisdiction of the United States as a whole. So while the Federal government may have no choice but to recognize that the state in question is not one of the states of the Union, it still has Constitutional authority over the territory and any government property. It also has Constitutional responsibility for protecting the rights of U.S. citizens who have not renounced citizenship.

That's the sticky point which prevents me from resting my case with state supremacy. If the Federal government is illegitimate, then it has to be illegitimate independent of any attempt to quash a secession, because while secession is probably legal it still creates a territorial dispute which the Federal government may properly address through military action.

Of course, nobody today is talking about secession in terms of still acknowledging the basic legitimacy of the current government. That was the theory of the Southern states before the Civil War, that they didn't need to point to any actual lack of legitimacy of the Federal government.

And...that makes all the difference. Once states start seceding this time, practically nobody is going to stay in the fold. The states that don't declare independence outright aren't going to be up to the task of providing the economic and logistical support for the Federal government to go around quashing the revolt.

In fact, to some degree...the dollar is dead. It is about to be disqualified as a currency on the international market and the move to a new Federally mandated currency won't go smoothly, whatever they try. So any state that wants to keep its economy functioning is going to have to coin money, and they don't have enough gold and silver reserves to do it Constitutionally. That also means they're going to have to regulate their interstate commerce themselves.

Whether or not the states decide to declare independence, they're going to have to start doing two of the big three which States cannot do...and once things get bad they're going to have to do the third...and the Federal government will have to look the other way as much as possible.

Terry Morris said...

Chiu wrote:

It also has Constitutional responsibility for protecting the rights of U.S. citizens who have not renounced citizenship.

I've said several times before that that would be one of the big issues with a movement to secession. To take my state (a comparatively "conservative" state) as an example, I speculate (not blindly) that somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the population would oppose secession under any circumstances. This is the number of Oklahoma citizens that I personally would count as abject slaves, both in mind and in body, to the federal government. But by the federal government's estimation, that thirty percent would be far more important, under a secession scenario, than its seventy percent counterparts.

In any event the human suffering that's about to befall us is going to rival the most horrible instances of it that have been recorded in the annals of history, by my estimation. People had better start to prepare themselves, insofar as is humanly possible, for the worst. Because it's fixin' to get real ugly.