“Of the People, by the People, for the People”?

Well, we now have the current Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott (R), advocating for, if not secession, something very much like it. This is, I think, far more serious than former Governor Rick Perry’s mention of it (as unfortunate as that was). I wrote about this in the conclusion to Loathing Lincoln, where I quoted Congressman Ron Paul, who in his book Liberty Defined predicted, perhaps accurately, that “no constitutional amendment will be passed to explicitly permit nullification or secession,” but “through a new relationship evolving out of current economic and political chaos, something approaching this goal is about to come” (page 328, Loathing Lincoln).

This, from the “Party of Lincoln.” (for a contrary view, see here and read at your leisure). I wish Abbott would read this piece, from Timothy Sandefur. I’d also be interested to hear what current candidates, Republican and Democrat, have to say about these ideas.

As I’ve stated on this blog before, people ask me from time to time to quantify anti-Lincoln sentiment, and my standard response is that this is impossible to do (although it increasingly seems that one could simply tally votes). But, it is there, and quite prevalent in our country, with all the deleterious consequences that follow.

Abbott’s recommendations reminds me of Sheldon Wolin’s book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, which if I understand it correctly, argues that we can maintain the forms of democratic rule, when in fact they have largely ceased to exist. Is this where, as Lincoln once put it, “we are tending”, a society where, as Wolin said, “inequalities will be taken for granted, rationalized, perhaps celebrated” (page 157)? Where government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” is paid lip-service only?





Dead Confederates and “Political Correctness”

A nice piece from Corey Robin yesterday, which supports a point I made several months ago about charges – spurious ones it seems to me – that it is “politically correct” to remove statues of Confederates from public places. To wit:

After 1991, when people in the former Soviet Union began toppling statues of Lenin, no liberal-minded person—at least none that I can recall—raised any alarm bells about “Soviet-style” erasure. Indeed, removing these signs and symbols of the past was considered the very essence of anti-Soviet-style politics. It was an act of emancipation.

But when we remove the name of Wilson or the face of Jackson, liberation becomes erasure, anti-Soviet-style politics becomes Soviet-style politics. . . .

So we’re left with the question: If removing the signs and symbols of the past is supposed to threaten our understanding and appreciation of that past—and that is Ungar’s point, after all— how does erasure become freedom in the one instance and tyranny in the other?

Update: Those are Corey’s words in italics, not mine!