Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This just in: Secessionism is “politically incorrect”

The Middlebury Institute held its second annual Secessionist Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee last week, which attracted delegates from 14 organizations in North America and two in Europe. They also invited the mainstream media. Anyone who still believes that the “mainstream” media report objectively should take a look at these links.

The most widely distributed article was by Bill Poovey of the Associated Press (reproduced in the Columbus Dispatch) . Nothing was written about the actions of the convention. Instead, it focused on the Convention’s co-sponsor, the League of the South, whose avowed purpose is to restore the Confederacy. The article devoted considerable space to the alleged racism of that organization, citing documents from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups in America. It also quotes that organization and a professor in North Carolina as expressing “surprise” that the “far left” New Englanders in the Middlebury Institute would cooperate with the Southern “racists.”

This supposedly objective news story packs a great deal of misinformation into a small space. It is true that the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized the League of the South as “the center of the racist ne0-Confederate movement,” (article) but bases its argument on the opinions of its founder Michael Hill and white supremacists who are not necessarily involved with the organization. It also ignores the League of the South’s own statement on racism, which explicitly states the following:

“The LS disavows a spirit of malice and extends an offer of good will and cooperation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South. We affirm that, while historically the interests of Southern blacks and whites have been in part antagonistic, true Constitutional government would provide protection to all law-abiding citizens — not just to government-sponsored victim groups.”

(Formal statement, dated June 21, 2005 is in the appendix at the bottom of the linked page).

Unfortunately, the very next paragraph of the FAQ also promotes “Anglo-Celtic” culture, which undoubtedly makes the organization unattractive to African-Americans; but to call the organization racist is an assertion more deeply rooted in the desire to discredit the League of the South and the entire secessionist movement, than on fact. It is an application of the “politically correct” effort to discredit secessionists using guilt by association.

The Middlebury Institute addressed this issue in its Statement on Collegiality, which notes that the nature of the secessionist movement causes it to diverse organizations with aims (other than secession) that may strongly disagree with the aims of others. As the Middlebury Institute’s director, Kirkpatrick Sale, wrote:

“People turn to secession because they want their own form of government, on their own terms, and hope to create a state that will live out their beliefs, principles, ideals. It is no more justifiable for one organization to question or criticize or castigate those goals if they work toward a Christian-directed government that outlaws abortion and adultery than if they work for a secular democracy favoring gun-control and same-sex marriages. The beauty of secession is that it looks toward having a world where those and many other kinds of states can exist, free and independent, and not impose its ideas on others or have others’ ideas imposed on it.”

I have already stated that an Ohio secessionist movement must be non-racial.

Mayur Pahilajani’s article in All-Headline News was essentially a shorter version of Bill Poovey’s; but in reducing its length, gave it a much more objective presentation.

The Independent, a British newspaper, repeated the assertions about the League of the South, but also threw in some other biases, including a characterization of the Middlebury Institute as a “left-wing” organization (it is not -- it is just a secessionist think tank), a close association with Vermont politics (not just its independence movement), and citing the 1868 Supreme Court decision Texas v. White (“The Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.”) as the final word on the subject, as though the Supreme Court never revisited its own opinions. This is, of course, the “politically correct” orthodoxy preached by Abraham Lincoln, which appears to be the only tenet of American government that is too sacred to be revisited.

Finally, we have CNN talk-show host Glenn Beck, weighing in October 4, with this biased opener: “Tonight, here`s what you need to know. United we stand, and divided we fall.” Throughout the interview, he expressed disbelief that views as divergent as the Second Vermont Republic’s and the League of the South’s could come together in a single movement. When he did get it, he was so scared that he abruptly ended the interview.

I noted at the beginning of this long post that none of the “mainstream media” reported on what they did at the convention. Their final document, adopted October 4, is known as the Chattanooga Declaration, which is reproduced below:

“We, the delegates of the Secession movements represented at the Second North American Secessionist Convention, acknowledging our differences, yet agree on the following truths:
1. The deepest questions of human liberty and government facing our time go beyond right and left, and in fact have made the old right-left split meaningless and dead.
2. The privileges, monopolies, and powers that private corporations have won from government threaten everyone's health, prosperity, and liberty, and have already killed American self-government by the people.
3. The power of corporations endangers liberty as much as government power, especially when they are combined as in the American Empire. Liberty can only survive if political power is returned from faraway and self-interested centers to local communities and States.
4. The American Empire is no longer a nation or a republic, but has become a tyrant aggressive abroad and despotic at home.
5. The States of the American union are and of right ought to be, free and self-governing.
6. Without secession, liberty and self-government can never be sustained, and diversity among human societies can never survive. ”

It saddens me to acknowledge that they are correct – correct about the corporations, and correct about describing the United States of America as an “empire” that has become a tyrant abroad and despotic at home. Thomas Jefferson would have been proud.

1 comment:

Harold Thomas said...

I should also acknowledge the coverage of WDEF-TV Fox 12 in Chattanooga, which also covered the event briefly, but I think objectively (