Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

A Neo-Reconstructionist Attack on The Land We Love – Professor Donald Livingston Responds


My book, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage (Scuppernong Press, 2018) was reviewed in Chronicles Magazine by Professor Donald Livingston back in its May 2019 issue. In that same issue Chilton Williamson, the magazine’s editor, also spoke highly of the volume. I included a copy of Professor Livingston’s review in the May 2 MY CORNER which also memorialized the tragically deceased Aaron Wolf who had been managing editor of the magazine.

Fast forward to the July 2019 issue of Chronicles, and there is a letter from one Mr. Keith Burtner, of Dallas, Texas, attacking the book as “yet another attempt to defend ‘Lost Cause’ ideology,” and asserting that the ancestors of Southerners “were morally obtuse and on the wrong side of history.” The author of the letter goes on: “According to the book’s author, Boyd Cathey, the real reason the South seceded had little to do with slavery and everything to do with resisting the revolutionary, sectional Republicans whose ‘goal was to consolidate the states into a centralized regime of crony capitalism ruled by the emerging New York-Chicago industrial axis’.”

Actually, he is quoting reviewer Donald Livingston here, not me, but I fully endorse Professor Livingston’s comments.

From the tenor of his letter it appears that Mr. Burtner may well be a Yankee transplant—what we used to call a “carpetbagger,” those avaricious folks who come South to take advantage of our natural resources, business opportunities, ample labor supply, better climate, and low taxes…but without any desire or intention to appreciate or understand the heritage of our region. Or, he could be what we term a “scalawag,” a native-born Southerner who has turned his back on his traditions and his region for a variety of reasons (status, lucre, bad education, bad raisin’, and so on). To read his letter he appears to have swallowed the currently fashionable narrative shared not just by the leftist social justice fanatics, but also maintained by the dominant “conservative movement” Neoconservatives: folks like Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry (editor of National Review), Victor Hanson Davis, Dinesh D’Souza, and Brian Kilmeade (on Fox).

Professor Livingston penned a superb response to Burtner, and that response accompanied his letter in the July 2019 issue of Chronicles

I pass on both the letter and the response to it, and, additionally, once again, I copy Professor Livingston’s original review…with a recommendation that you subscribe to Chronicles which is the oldest traditionalist conservative journal around, with some of the finest writers and sharpest and most thoughtful commentary.

A Memorable Secession    JULY 2019 issue

JUNE 14, 2019
I haven’t read The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage, and judging by Donald Livingston’s review (May 2019 issue) I probably won’t. Why? Because it sounds like yet another attempt to defend “Lost Cause” ideology. According to the book’s author, Boyd Cathey, the real reason the South seceded had little to do with slavery and everything to do with resisting the revolutionary, sectional Republicans whose “goal was to consolidate the states into a centralized regime of crony capitalism ruled by the emerging New York-Chicago industrial axis.” The Secessionists were the true Americans who “took the Founders’ Constitution with them, word for word, except for a few reforms…” Reforms such as this gem in Article IV: “…the institution of negro slavery as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress…” 
The reason many Southerners have stopped defending Confederate monuments is not because they’ve lost their traditional virtues as Livingston suggests, but because with the benefit of 150 years of hindsight they realize their ancestors were morally obtuse and on the wrong side of history.  One doesn’t have to be a Cultural Marxist to believe that while the Civil War and the Jim Crow era are a part of our heritage that needs to be remembered, it should no longer be glorified.
        —Keith Burtner
Dallas, Texas
Prof. Livingston Replies:
Mr. Burtner says the Confederate “ancestors” of Southerners were “morally obtuse and on the wrong side of history.” But were they? First, slavery was a national enormity, not merely a Southern thing. For over two centuries the wealth of the Northeast had come from servicing the export of slave-produced staples. And New England’s brutal slave trade lasted 170 years. Estimates are that Yankees got around 40 cents on every dollar earned by the planters.
The morally right thing would have been a nationally funded program of compensated emancipation (as the British had done in 1833) and integration of the African population into American society. But Northerners were not interested in doing their part to abolish slavery. They were especially opposed to free blacks entering their states or the Western territories. “What I would most desire,” Lincoln said, “would be the separation of the white and black races.”
And he meant it. The Illinois Constitution with his approval prohibited free blacks from entering the state and denied basic civil rights to those within it. H. Ford Douglas, a free black in Illinois, said that if he dared send his children to a public school, “Abraham Lincoln would kick them out, in the name of Republicanism and antislavery!” 
So long as slaves were confined to the South, Lincoln said “the institution might be let alone for a hundred years.” He said he opposed slavery in the West because that would save the region from “the troublesome presence of free negroes” in the future. Ohio and Indiana passed legislation to gradually send all free blacks out of their states by sending them as colonists to the Western territories or Africa. This disposition prevailed throughout the North.
James Shepherd Pike, an abolitionist correspondent for the New York Tribune, wrote in the February 1861 Atlantic Monthly
We say the Free States should say, confine the Negro to the smallest possible area. Hem him in. Coop him up. Slough him off. Preserve just so much of North America as is possible for the white man. . . .
Likewise, the Republican-controlled House Committee on Emancipation Policy said in its 1862 report, “the highest interests of the white race, whether Anglo-Saxon, Celt, or Scandinavian, requires that the whole country should be held and occupied by those races alone.” Many believed that, once freed, blacks could not compete and would gradually leave or die out. Ralph Waldo Emerson cheerfully predicted, “It will happen by & by that the black man will only be destined for museums like the Dodo.” 
The South did not secede to protect slavery from a morally responsible proposal to abolish it, because no such proposal was ever put forth. Lincoln said repeatedly that the point of the War was merely to prevent secession. He lived in an age when centralization and empire building were viewed as instruments of human progress. He estimated that by 1930 America would have a population capable of competing with the great empires of Europe. But that would not happen if there was a negotiated separation. 
There was much that was “morally obtuse”—to use Mr. Burtner’s phrase—in the North’s refusal to acknowledge its moral responsibility for originating, servicing, and profiting from slavery. Also in Lincoln’s refusal to negotiate a separation from what was clearly, for both sides, a suffocating and dysfunctional Union.
As to the right side of history, I observe that a Zogby poll last year found that 39 percent of Americans favor secession for their state, and 29 percent are not sure. That means 68 percent are willing to entertain the concept of secession. Lincoln’s war to prevent a negotiated separation cost a million lives, or the equivalent of 10 million if adjusted for today’s population size. The Union was not “indivisible” in 1860, nor was the Soviet Union in 1991, nor was the EU in 2016—and neither is the United States today.

Faithful Son    MAY 2019 ISSUE

APRIL 04, 2019 

Boyd Cathey is an 11th generation Carolina Tar Heel who was mentored by and worked with Russell Kirk.  The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage is written reverentially, just as one might reflect on the memory of one’s mother.  For the South is not just any region of the United States, like the Midwest, the Southwest, or even New England.  From 1776 to 1860 the South was at the core of American identity.  In the first 72 years under the Constitution, only five presidents were elected from the North.  None served two terms; whereas five Southern presidents served two terms.  All the territory beyond the original 13 states was acquired by Southern presidents.
As of 1860, the South was America: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, the Louisiana Purchase, the Alamo.  But this Jeffersonian America was challenged with the formation of the Republican Party in 1854.  It was a revolutionary party and a sectional party.  Its goal was to consolidate the states into a centralized regime of crony capitalism ruled by the emerging New York-Chicago industrial axis.  This aim stood in stark contrast to the America that Southerners did so much to create and sustain.  So, they seceded and took the Founders’ constitution with them, word for word, except for a few reforms to prevent crony capitalism and to strengthen state sovereignty.
Unlike other regions, the South was once an independent country.  It suffered defeat in one of the bloodiest wars of the 19th century and endured the humiliation of military occupation and plunder.  Out of this Golgotha came a tragic view of human life and human nature that immunized the best of the Southern people against the ideological enthusiasms of the age.
In time North and South would be reunited, and the War would be seen as a battle over a contested American identity that existed among the Founders themselves.  This gave the Confederacy an honorable heritage.  Southern heroes such as Lee became models for emulation by all Americans.  President Eisenhower kept a portrait of Lee in the Oval Office throughout his two terms.
But that America is as gone with the wind as the Old South itself.
Written from the aforementioned perspective, this book is a collection of short essays that appeared in various journals from the 1980’s into 2018, the period in which the Cultural Marxist understanding of America came into its own.  The chapters cover a great variety of topics: Southern Founders; the attack on Confederate monuments; Southern writers, religion, and character; secession movements; the South in film; the Southern Poverty Law Center; the South and Christian civilization; race relations; and the baneful character of ideology.  The essays are short, eloquently written, and—since they range over a variety of characters, events, and topics—continually stimulating.
Readers of this book will come away with an understanding of Southern virtues, but they will also wonder whether the tradition that produced those virtues still exists.  Have most Southerners been transformed into a nomadic, Sunbelted mass of deracinated Americans wearing Ray-Bans?  It might seem so.  In recent years, those leading attacks on Southern monuments have been Southern mayors, city councils, governors, and prominent leaders of Southern churches and denominations.
Today, two years after the tragic events of Charlottesville, one is hard-pressed to find a state or federal political leader willing to defend the Lee monument there, though it still stands by court order.  A South whose leadership cannot (or will not) say a good word about Lee is in serious decline, if not already dead.  Have Southerners lost their immunity to ideology?  Have they internalized the Cultural Marxist mantra that America is structurally white supremacist, sexist, and homophobic to the point that they are morally disarmed by the dreaded charge of racism?  The question applies not only to leaders but to rank-and-file Southerners as well, who failed to assemble en masse to protest the desecration and tearing down of their monuments.

Traditions do die, and usually with a whimper.  Boyd Cathey is aware of this, and running throughout this book are reflections on the Christian virtue of hope as well as two essays that encourage recovery: “The Vigil of the Nativity: Reflections on the Hope that Came to Us Two Millennia Ago,” and a substantial final meditation, “Reflections on the Future.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 26, 2019

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

NEW Essay at The Abbeville Institute – Dabney on Fire – A New Book You Should Have


Most times when I pass on to you a published essay in a major publication—in such journals as The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute,, Chronicles Magazine, and others—that essay is based on something I’ve written originally as an installment in the MY CORNER series, and then reworked or edited a bit.

But occasionally I get a commission to write something directly for publication by one of those journals.

Today, then, I pass on a review essay I wrote specifically for the Abbeville Institute at the request of its managing editor, Dr. Brion McClanahan.  It has not appeared on my Web blog prior to this. It’s a detailed examination of a new book, a collection of four very significant essays by the great Southern post-War writer and theologian Robert Lewis Dabney. It was edited with an introduction by Zachary Garris, and is titled, Dabney on Fire: A Theology of Parenting, Education, Feminism, and Government (2019).  I recommend it very highly as an excellent means to become acquainted with the thought and views of one of the South’s—and America’s—greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century.

I have written about Dabney previously, on several occasions; but this long review essay is new, and incorporates specific insights about Dabney’s views on the family, the education of our children, feminism, and the existence of and obedience to authority.  

In many ways Dabney, who died in 1898, was a prophet for our time. I hope you’ll read the review essay, then get this volume. And it is or should be just the beginning. Dabney has much to say to us and teach us.



Dabney on Fire: A review of Dabney on Fire: A Theology of Parenting, Education, Feminism, and Government (2019) by Zachary Garris, ed.
By Boyd Cathey  June 25, 2019
During his lifetime, Southern theologian and writer Robert Lewis Dabney was most notably known for his 1866 biography of General “Stonewall” Jackson (The Life and Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. Thomas J. Jackson) and for his post-war apologia for the Southern cause, A Defense Of Virginia, And Through Her, Of The South, In Recent And Pending Contests Against The Sectional Party (1867). But his renown as a theologian and philosopher were also well-established. In addition to serving as chief of staff for Second Corps under Stonewall Jackson, and being a Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Seminary in Virginia (until 1883), he also served as Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the newly-founded University of Texas until his retirement in 1894. His volumes Practical Philosophy and Sensualistic Philosophy of the Nineteenth Century and his membership in the Royal Philosophical Society of Great Britain attest to his expertise and international fame.
Inspired by Richard Weaver’s treatment of Dabney’s thinking in the marvelous volume, The Southern Tradition at Bay (1968), his classic study of great Southern writers who defended the cause of the Confederacy and post-bellum Southern thought, I wrote a paper on Dabney while in grad school at the University of Virginia in 1971. Weaver’s intellectual portrait of Dabney as a “cultural” or “political” philosopher and critic of what historian Paul Gaston has called “the new South Creed” profoundly influenced me. How was it that such a brilliant and perceptive writer on what was occurring in the late nineteenth century, such an acute and intellectually fascinating figure, had been largely forgotten or ignored, and not only nationally, but in his Southern homeland?
I went back to his writings which had been collected near the end of Dabney’s life and published in five volumes, Discussions (1890-1897), and the only biography I could find of him, The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney (1903), by Thomas Carey Johnson. Long after I had left Virginia, finished a doctorate in Spain, and returned to North Carolina, Sprinkle Publications republished a facsimile edition of Dabney’s works (1982-1999). Those hardbound volumes are still available but hard to get.
Now, thanks to the work and diligence of Zachary M. Garris, four essential and substantial essays by Dabney are made readily available in a handsome new paperback edition, Dabney on Fire: A Theology of Parenting, Education, Feminism, and Government (2019). Garris, in his introduction, rightly emphasizes the fact that Dabney’s writings, even the most secular—volume four of his Discussions is subtitled “Secular Discussions”—must be understood in a larger and more fundamentally religious context. For Dabney was, above all, an Old School Presbyterian minister and theologian, indeed, a theologian and philosopher of international repute. His writings, even the most political, reflect his understanding, shared by nineteenth century thinkers and writers as diverse as Cardinal John Henry Newman in England or Juan Donoso Cortes in Spain, that all political, social and cultural issues can be reduced to essentially religious and theological questions.
Garris’s first included essay is a recopied and very detailed sermon which Dabney gave to the Synod of Virginia in October 1879, “Parental Responsibilities” (from volume one of his Discussions). Theologically, it sets the stage for his further writings and essays in the volume. For it is incumbent to understand the basic and essential role of the family within the Christian framework and in society, and, indeed, of the father as head of the family, before advancing on to discuss the remaining subjects addressed here in Dabney’s writings: “Secularized Education,” “Women’s Rights Women,” and “Civic Ethics.”
Understanding this primordial responsibility—which is necessary prior to any discussion of children’s education, the position of women in society, or civic responsibilities of citizens—begins with understanding Biblical teachings, and indeed, from a larger perspective, Divine Positive Law and natural law. And here, although Dabney comes from an orthodox Calvinist heritage and views both theology and history from that perspective, his language and arguments are also within a broader, orthodox Christian tradition and can be appreciated in that sense.
Dabney’s famous writings on the nature and responsibility for the education of children are, thus, annealed in his understanding of the supreme rights of the parents and their duties, both Scripturally and in natural law, for the educating of their offspring. Garris has included as representative Dabney’s 1879 essay, “Secular Education,” as an excellent discussion and summary of these arguments.
Dabney first wrote on the topic in his debate with Virginia’s first Superintendent of Public Instruction William Ruffner in the mid-1870s. His commentary is undergirded by his profound understanding that so-called “public” education could not and never would be “neutral” when it comes to religion. State-run education not only usurped the God-given rights and solemn responsibility of the parents over the education of their children, but would, he foresaw, devolve into basically what we see today: anti-Christian and anti-family indoctrination.
More so, state-run education sought to impose an unnatural equality on all. “Providence, social laws, and parental virtues and efforts, do inevitably legislate in favor of some classes of boys,” he declared. “If the State undertakes to countervail that legislation of nature by leveling action, the attempt is wicked, mischievous, and futile.” Indeed, Dabney questioned “whether the use merely of letters is not education, but only one means of education, and not the only means.” True education involved more than simply the use of letters. Most citizens had traditionally found education through their various professions, a training of the “moral virtues by the fidelity and endurance” with which they earned their livelihood. The laboring man “ennobles his taste and sentiments by looking up to the superior who employs him. If to these influences you add the awakening, elevating, expanding force of Christian principles, you have given the laborer a true education…a hundred fold more true, more suitable, more useful, than the communication of certain literary arts, which he will almost necessarily disuse.”
Almost alone among writers of the late nineteenth century, Dabney saw the distinct danger of the new public school system being used by “demagogues, who are in power for a time, in the interests of their faction.” And his most serious indictment of public education has become a question that has only become more critical since then: what happens to religious instruction if the state takes over the teaching of children? Given the status of post-war relations between church and state and changing constitutional interpretations, the state could not endorse one religious belief over another. State-sponsored education would become secularized. But if education were not Christian, then it would inevitably become anti-Christian. “He that is not with his God is against Him,” Dabney repeated. Could education really be education if it educated “the mind without purifying the heart?” Dabney answered: “There can be no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity.”
Dabney resolutely rejected the idea of egalitarianism, whether between men who found themselves in disparate social and economic conditions, or between men and women. Again, from a Scriptural perspective while God had created all mankind and given to each person a right to life and a right to the attainments of his own labor, He had also created us all in many ways differently and, in most respects, unequally in intelligence, in talents, in roles and professions, by sex, and by inheritance. That inequality was not of the prejudicial kind and did not invite prejudice or disdain for someone who excelled at what society might consider a “lesser” profession or task. Thus, the tradesman’s superior capability in crafting superb furniture might not appear to us as prominent or as important as the actions of a national political leader, but God did not judge us based upon comparisons with one another, but rather on how well we fulfilled, how well we measured up, in completing our own unique, innate and God-given abilities and talents (recall the Parable of the Talents in St. Matthew).
And natural law, in fact, legislated these differences.
It was the height of folly, wrote Dabney, to read back into the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution modern ideas of equality, or to use statements made in a particular historical context “that all men are created equal” to advance modern movements such as feminism. As more recent historians such as Mel Bradford (in his Original Intentions) and Barry Alan Shain (in The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context) have extensively detailed, Dabney’s understanding of our nation’s founding documents, as well as the Founders’ and Framers’ rejection of egalitarianism, was essentially correct.
Such talk of and demand for “rights” incurred some of Dabney harshest and most withering fire, including his criticism of the clamor for women’s suffrage.
There is a long passage from Dabney’s essay on equality and women’s suffrage (included in the volume) which deserves to be fully quoted:
The very axioms of American politics now are, that ‘all men are by nature equal,’ that all are inalienably ‘entitled to liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ and that ‘the only just foundation of government is in the consent of the governed.’ There was a sense in which our fathers propounded these statements; but it is not the one in which they are now held by Americans. Our recent doctors of political science have retained these formularies of words as convenient masks under which to circulate a set of totally different, and indeed antagonistic notions; and they have succeeded perfectly. The new meanings of which the ‘Whigs’ of 1776 never dreamed are now the current ones. Those wise statesmen meant to teach that all men are morally equal in the sense of the Golden Rule: that while individual traits, rights, and duties vary widely in the different orders of political society, these different rights all have some moral basis; that the inferior has the same moral title (that of a common humanity and common relation to a benignant Heavenly Father) to have his rights—the rights of an inferior—duly respected, which the superior has to claim that his very different rights shall be respected.
The modern version is that there are no superiors or inferiors in society; that there is a mechanical equality; that all have specifically all the same rights; and that any other constitution is against natural justice. Next: when our wise fathers said that liberty is an inalienable, natural right, they meant by each one’s liberty the privilege to do such things as he, with his particular relations, ought to have a moral title to do; the particular things having righteous, natural limitations in every case, and much narrower limits in some cases than in others.
Radical America now means by natural liberty each one’s privilege to do what he chooses to do. By the consent of the governed our forefathers meant each Sovereign Commonwealth’s consenting to the constitution under which it should be governed: they meant that it was unjust for Britain to govern America without America’s consent. Which part of the human beings living in a given American State should constitute the State potentially, the populus whose franchise it was to express the will of the commonwealth for all—that was in their eyes wholly another question, to be wisely decided in different States according to the structure which Providence had given them. By ‘the consent of the governed’ it would appear that Radicalism means it is entirely just for Yankeedom to govern Virginia against Virginia’s consent, and that it is not just to govern any individual human being without letting him vote for his governors. The utter inconsistency of the two parts of this creed, is not ours to reconcile. It is certain that, both parts (consistent or not) are firmly held as the American creed….
To these errors the American people are too deeply committed to evade any of their logical applications.

In addition to a basic misunderstanding of the American Founding, such modern views on equality fundamentally violated the teaching of Holy Scripture and the laws of nature and the roles assigned by it to the different sexes. Thus, it had been the near unanimous teaching of the Christian tradition since Apostolic days. And more, although not venturing deeply into the topic, Dabney inferred that both physiological and genetic conditions militated against sexual equality.

Yet, in his battle with the feminists and egalitarians, Dabney despaired. For other than a few conservative Southern writers and churchmen, what he termed “Northern conservatism”—the “conservative movement” of his time—was weak, vacillating, and compromising. Here he is, again, painting a picture of contemporary conservatism, a picture that has not changed much in over a century:
It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights, will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its ‘bark is worse than its bite,’ and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rĂ´le of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it ‘in wind,’ and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position.

The final essay Garris includes, “Civic Ethics,” comes from the third volume of Dabney’s Discussions. It addresses not only the moral basis for obedience to civil authority, but is an excursion into the different theories about the origin of society and the authority of government. Dabney is harshly critical of such writers as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whom he lumps together as proponents of the “social contract” theory of society: that we are somehow created as autonomous individuals who then come together voluntarily to form a society and create a government. Not only in logic, but in historical fact, this view is erroneous. Man is born within a society and under some form of government, which, in some way, is ordained by God. As Dabney points out, given the fallen nature of man and the existence of evil in the world, the rule of law and the operation of governments and obedience thereto are absolutely requisite to a well-ordered commonwealth, just as the family forms the natural and basic unit of the society, and in microcosm forms a kind of mini-government over its members.
The one slight difference I have with Dabney comes in this last essay, his critique of what he calls “Legitimism,” which he identifies with the Divine Right of Kings. Rightly, as he defines it, he opposes it—and given his Old Republicanism, that is to be expected. Yet, I would distinguish between most true Legitimist (mostly royalist) movements in Europe during the nineteenth century, and the theories of Divine Right. Traditionally in Christendom, kingship was not considered absolute, as certainly as it evolved during the Enlightenment. Traditional monarchies generally practiced a form of subsidiarity, even a broad form of “states’ rights,” in which local and regional bodies, communities, guilds, regions, and other subdivisions within society exercised a considerable degree of authority and autonomy, even at times a veto, within a commonwealth, even when that commonwealth was headed by a king or emperor. The examples from history are manifold, and I would cite my own experience and studies in Spanish Traditionalism: those Legitimist defenders of the old Spanish monarchy termed “Carlists” who fought several civil wars for “God, Country, Our Local and Regional Rights, and the King,” emphasis emphatically on “our local and regional rights”: their unbreachable “fueros.”
Robert Lewis Dabney was also a staunch opponent of crony capitalism and the mass industrialization of the South. He saw the destruction of our agricultural society and the rapid growth of industrialization with alarm. In his essay, “The New South,” Dabney drew a comparison between the United States of 1789 and ninety-three years later, in the 1882. In the former year no one city, no one or two states, no handful of corporate giants controlled the nation’s wealth. But in 1882 New York City had become “the commercial mistress” of the whole nation and a handful of industrial barons dictated policies to presidents. Asked Dabney: “Can a sensible man persuade himself that political independence and individual initiative shall remain in a land where financial despotism has become established?”
And he continued: “the transfer of wealth and power into the hands of a few, and the marvelous applications of science and mechanic art to cheapen transportation and production” were causing not just the transformation of the South, but a massive change in all of American society. Centralization and monopolization in industry meant a vast reorientation in manufacturing, with far-reaching effects socially and culturally. What happened to independent small businessmen and craftsmen who were now overwhelmed by monopolies, mergers, and crushing competition? When capital was controlled by the few, and the powerful barons of industry commanded the masses at their bidding, individual liberty soon disappeared.
Although not covered in the four chapters in this book, such prescient commentary on post-War America and what was happening to his beloved Southland merit perhaps another volume of selections.
It was Dabney’s role, holding fast to his firm Presbyterian orthodox theology and his understanding of the principles of the American Founders, to offer a roadmap for a righteous citizenry and for the survival of a nation. And he did so as one of the most notable thinkers that the South—and America—produced in the nineteenth century. Yet, he exclaimed with melancholy late in his life in 1894, “I am the Cassandra of Yankeedom, predestined to prophesy truth and never to be believed until too late.”
Zachary Garris’ new volume of some of Dabney’s best writing offers an opportunity to re-discover this prophet and to begin to comprehend his thought, based in the traditions of Christian theology. Dabney has much to teach us today, and Garris’ Dabney on Fire is an excellent way to begin that process.

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is the author (November 2018) of the volume, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage (Scuppernong Press).

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June 23, 2019

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

The DEEP STATE Throttles Immigration Reform…and Stymies the Trump Agenda
From Within the Administration

If anything demonstrates beyond debate the tentacles and power of the Deep State inside-the-DC Beltway it is some very recent events, and the kind of open defiance of and intense pressure on Donald Trump from within his administration. And, unfortunately, some of the blame for the resulting confusion must be laid squarely at the president’s feet.

It is a question I and others have asked for some time: why appoint—or keep—highly placed officials in the administration if they simply bury deep and subvert, even destroy your announced agenda?

We have seen this on several occasions: in foreign policy in Syria and in the president’s attempt to normalize relations with Russia.  And, perhaps, most recently in regards to Iran, and whether the United States should launch another war (and land in another potential quagmire) with that country. The president pulled back at the last minute, much to the chagrin of his National Security Adviser John Bolton who seems to do little but fantasize about the next possible military conflict where American boys can be sent…and where they can die.

“Maybe there is a civil war in, say, East Timor?”

“Well, we simply have got to intervene!”

“Maybe a conflict in Uganda?”

“Americans need to restore order and impose all the ‘fruits of American democracy’ and [as is always unsaid] the control of American crony capitalism!”


Yet the question continues to emerge: why do you keep such fanatics in your inner circle if they consistently oppose your agenda?  Indeed, why did you appoint them in the first place?
My answer, such as it is, I gave back in an earlier installment in the MY CORNER series. Here is what I wrote on May 17:

Certainly, it has much to do with the loudest voices and most visible talent pool inside the Washington DC Beltway and that many of those globalists, who were former Never Trumpers, strategically attached themselves to Donald Trump after he was victorious, hoping—in some cases successfully—to shape his foreign policy along their internationalist lines. And, also, the fact that during the critical days after the 2016 election many of the Establishment Neocons were able to bend Trump’s ear first, and that a major gap, a major lacuna, in the president’s knowledge was his lack of familiarity with foreign policy. As president, Donald Trump hoped to unify the Republican Party, and, thus, his desire was to bring in various factions, including those who had opposed him (but now offered “support”)…not realizing that such additions could—and would—undermine his announced America First agenda. Lastly, the support of major pro-Israeli pressure groups and personalities, and their bank accounts, certainly was not to be ignored.

But that doesn’t make it any better, and it doesn’t assist advancing the agenda that sixty-three million Americans voted for back in 2016. Rather, it demonstrates again the immense power and deep-rooted control that the Deep State cabal continues to exercise, even within an administration whose leader has stated in no uncertain terms his very opposition to that cabal.

And the latest kerfuffle about immigration and the president’s delayed (perhaps even aborted?) order to remove thousands of illegals? First, he announced that he was going to order ICE to deport a number of illegal aliens. But, then, there was such a hue and cry, not only from Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, but also from some in the “business community,” that he relented. Instead, the president told Speaker Pelosi basically: “I’ll give you two weeks, and if Congress, both Dems and Republicans, can’t come up with at least the beginning of a solution, the order will go into effect.”

As Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has stated in a much-deserved reproach: does ANYONE in his most charitable and hopeful moment actually think that this critical national problem, unresolved for decades, with Democrats now firmly embracing an open borders template and too many Republicans in subinfeudation to the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers paralleling that position (if for different reasons)—does anyone in his right mind think that our corrupted and bought off Congress will even come close, even in the spewed verbiage that is bound to be emitted?

If so, then, I have an oil well in my back yard I’ll sell you, cheap.

And, of course, what happens after the two weeks are over, and nothing—except that usual palaver—is accomplished? Will there be another delay—pleas from the Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP to “go slow” and not rock the boat? Will the promise be lost just like the threat last year to issue an Executive Order by the president to clarify the issue of birthright citizenship: that children born of aliens coming across the border are not, under the 14th Amendment, American citizens?

I wrote about that also.  In fact, unknown to me until recently the MY CORNER of this past October 31, 2018, on that topic, was actually picked up by an online journal, STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC (November 2, 2018).

So I pass on two items: the first one, from today, concerns the delay of the president’s deportation order; the second, is my published column from last year about the threatened Executive Order, which was followed by—nothing.

Interestingly, I call your attention to the interview in the first article with former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan. Notice, in particular, what he says about the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan who is resisting immigration enforcement.

How many times—how many more times—must we glean such information of ensconced Deep State bureaucrats and, most particularly, “Republicans” who surreptitiously, and even at times quite publicly, undercut the “America First” agenda? How much longer until that hopeful agenda just simply disappears into the putrid maelstrom that is internecine Washington “politics-as-usual” in which the fat-cats get more powerful and richer, while the deplorables out in “fly-over” country continue to sink into wretchedness and despair? And the mask of the managerial state drops for good and we fully behold the visage and bare fangs of a ruling class that would make George Orwell’s dystopian fantasy, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, seem like a Sunday school picnic?

Mr. President: if you really wish to advance your stated agenda, remove those men and women around you and in your administration who are doing their damnedest to subvert it.

ICE Director Accuses Acting DHS Secretary of 'Resisting' ICE Raids, Leaking To Press Featured

Written by Joshua Caplan | Source: Breitbart | June 23, 2019 08:07 AM

Appearing Saturday on Fox & Friends, former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan accused Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan of “resisting” the agency’s planned raids targeting illegal aliens.
A partial transcript is as follows: 
PETE HEGSETH: The president says if you’re a double law-breaker, you got to go. These mayors’ resisting, Tom.
TOM HOMAN: The president is exactly right.
I’ve read several news accounts of these mayors talking about terrorizing innocent immigrant communities. We’re not terrorizing innocent immigrant communities. They’re arresting illegal aliens by definition of law, who entered this country in violation of law, [who were] ordered deported by a federal judge. The men and women of ICE don’t arrest innocent people. They don’t terror innocent immigrant communities. They don’t arrest innocent people, they’re doing their job. And as far as these mayors of these sanctuary cities, I just wish they would shut their mouths.
You want to talk about the separation of families? The separation of families are the angel moms and dads, who have been separated from their children forever because a criminal alien walked out of your sanctuary jail.
Every one of those mayors ought to be ashamed. San Francisco, New York, Chicago. I can go on. Oakland’s mayor giving a heads up on a criminal operation. And they’re going to talk about ICE separating families? I’m disgusted. The story in the Washington Post especially got me off. The men and women of ICE deserve better than this.
JEDEDIAH BILA: Let’s look at what some of those mayors are actually saying.
You have Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf [who said] “know your rights and use your local resources. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot [said] “CDP will not cooperate or facilitate any ICE enforcement actions.” And of course, my personal favorite New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio [said], “A sick plot to tear families apart and force immigrants into the shadows.” This is outrageous to me that they’re saying things like this. They make it as if they’re law abiding citizens. They came into the country illegally, who then defied the court. At what point do we stop caring about the law at all? Maybe we should advocate openly, as some of these Democrats are, lawlessness, and have this be our new platform.
HOMAN: If they don’t do operations like this, if they don’t carry out the judge’s order, there would be no integrity in the entire system. It means nothing. There are no consequences, no deterrence. They can just keep coming from across the border if you bring a kid. You won’t be detained if you bring a kid. You won’t be arrested if a judge tells you to remove yourself. These mayors aren’t the only ones resisting ICE. You’ve got acting Secretary of Homeland Security [Kevin McAleenan] resisting what ICE is trying to do. In the Washington Post story, and numerous media outlets, he does not support this operation. And I tell you what, if that’s his position then he’s on the wrong side of this issue. You don’t tell the men and women of ICE a day before they go out there to do this operation.
When this story was leaked, they gave the location of the cities, the day this was supposed to start, how many targets. This leak, which I know where the leak came from, I think we all know where the leak came from. That story only benefits one person. Put these officers at greater risk of harm. I know the president said we’re going to do an operation, one million people in a week. He didn’t give the location. He didn’t give the number of targets.

REPORT: Nancy Pelosi Called Trump Last Night Requesting ICE Raids Be Called Off – And He Caved This article was sourced from The Gateway Pundit

President Trump said on Monday evening in a pair of tweets that next week ICE will begin the process of removing millions illegal aliens who have illicitly entered the US.
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) was set to begin raids with court-ordered removals in 10 cities beginning Sunday.
On Saturday Trump walked back his promise and announced he will be delaying the illegal immigration removal process for two weeks at the request of Democrats to see if Congress will work together on a solution to fix the asylum loopholes.
According to reports by CNN and the Associated Press, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called President Trump on Friday evening and requested he call off the ICE raids…and he listened to her.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.
If not, Deportations start!” Trump said on Saturday.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start! 14:56 - 22 Jun 2019

Pelosi called Trump Friday night and requested the raids be called off — the two spoke for 12 minutes according to reports.
Via AP:
Pelosi called Trump on Friday night and the two spoke for about 12 minutes, according to a person familiar with the situation and not authorized to discuss it publicly. She asked him to call off the raids and he said he would consider the request, the person said.
It’s unclear what else was said during the call. But in a statement Saturday before the president’s decision was announced, Pelosi appealed to the same compassion Trump expressed in declining to strike Iran because of the potential for lost lives.
Pelosi celebrated the win on Saturday.
“Mr. President, delay is welcome. Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together,” Pelosi said.
Nancy Pelosi  @SpeakerPelosi  Mr. President, delay is welcome. Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together. …

Never underestimate the power of a question

Birthright Citizenship, the Constitution, and the Subterfuge of the Left

by Boyd D. Cathey

Posted on  
Are people who are in this country illegally “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States’ government if, by definition, the only interaction they should have with the government would be deportation proceedings? From Boyd D. Cathey at

The Leftist hyenas howled…the wimpish, scaredy-cat Republicans wailed…the television pundits, both on the Mainstream channels and on Fox (and, yes, even locally) seemed ready to shed tears of anguish punctuating their uncontrolled outrage: what had Donald Trump done this time to cause such extreme perturbation? What had he done this time to increase their unleashed hysteria and self-consuming madness?

Watching any of the so-called newscasters on CNN, MSNBC or on the other major networks frothing-at-the-mouth, you would have thought that their pious and frenetic condemnations could not get more severe. But Joe Scarborough over on MSNBC would up the ante and expectorate multiple, blustering word clusters, all of which contained loaded phrases about Donald Trump, like “full blown racism,” “appeals to white supremacy,” “undermines and attacks our democracy,” each more emotional as he went along. Finally, that Trump was not really “our” president, but in fact an interloper—and if that be the case, then almost any type of resistance is permissible.

You get the drift.

These are the very same folks who have been telling us since the pipe bomber and the anti-semitic attack in Pittsburgh last week that the president is completely responsible for the “climate of hatred and fear,” but who do all they can to stoke that out-of-control raging bonfire.

And locally in Raleigh, NC, a pompous social justice warrior disguised as a television announcer, David Crabtree of WRAL-TV, who wears his nugatory Episcopalianism on his sleeve, could hardly restrain himself. His eyes betrayed both his anger and his abject fear….

But what was it that Donald Trump had done this time? What had inspired such “fear and loathing” in all those denizens of the lunatic Left…and, yes, in the Establishment GOP (including a fatuous and obviously self-serving, utterly stupid statement by outgoing House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan)?

Very simply, the president had said he was seriously considering issuing an Executive Order to both clarify the application of the 14th Amendment and, essentially, end birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens who have come across the US border, many specifically to have children who then, as if by magic, become American citizens. That is, he was going to do exactly what President Obama had once boasted he would do with a “pen and telephone,” and for which he was praised by the Mainstream media and academia for his statesmanship and his understanding of the real meaning of Constitution.

Recall that the 14th Amendment was enacted after the War Between the States to guarantee the rights of citizenship to manumitted slaves and their offspring. And, indeed, there is a serious legal question about whether the amendment itself was ever legally and legitimately ratified. But be that as it may, it has applied ever since 1868.

Here is how Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

As I watched David Crabtree in his most officiously sanctimonious manner lecture his local television audience about the president’s desire to clarify the amendment’s actual legal application, like other members of mainstream commentariat he quoted the first section thusly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Notice the difference; notice the essential phrase he left out, either by mistake or by design: “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

It’s a key phrase, critical to understanding what the authors of the amendment intended and what for nearly 100 years was accepted law up until the 1960s when leftist lawmakers got into the act simply by de facto practical applications. In other words, between the very clear and forthright intention of its authors that the 14thAmendment only applied to slaves and their offspring born in the United State who are necessarily “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and the slyly imposed practice we now have which enables a foreign woman to illegally slip across the Rio Grande and have a child who then, mutatis mutandis, becomes a citizen and an “anchor baby,” permitting usually its illegal relations to all come across—between these two interpretations and applications there is an absolute irreconcilable difference.

The key figures in drafting the amendment at the time were clear: As Professor John Eastman has pointed out both recently and back in 2006 in his research essay, “From Feudalism to Consent: Rethinking Birthright Citizenship,”  Senator Lyman Trumbull, who was pivotal in the drafting the 14th Amendment, declared that the words “subject to the jurisdiction” meant subject to the “complete” jurisdiction of the United States, and “[n]ot owing allegiance to anybody else.” And Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, responsible for the specific language of the jurisdiction clause, stated that it meant “a full and complete jurisdiction,” that is, “the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now.” In other words, the new born child of a foreign diplomat in the United States did not receive automatic citizenship; neither did at the time, for that matter, citizens of Indian “nations” (that would occur later in our history). And, most importantly, clearly an illegal alien—a non-citizen—simply by giving birth on this side geographically of the Rio Grande did not produce a new citizen of the United States.

Ann Coulter, in a column from August 19, 2015sums up the subsequent history and the regnant confusion, both invincible and vincible, on the question—a piece that should be read by some of those Fox pundits.

You can see why the advocates of open borders who wish to obliterate national boundaries, the social justice warriors and Democratic activists trolling for potential future dependent voters, and the brain-damaged modernist Christians would so ferociously oppose a strict constitutional interpretation.

Despite the shrieks of the no boundaries crowd and the frenzied left, and despite the groans of the Chamber of Commerce-bound establishment Republicans (and various Fox pundits and scribblers for National Review and other neoconservative and globalist publications), President Trump has expressed an idea whose time has come, in fact, is far overdue. At the very least, an Executive Order would force the courts, including the Supreme Court, to take a serious look at an historic abuse of our immigration system and the definition of American citizenship. Of course, Senator Lindsey Graham plans to introduce legislation, so he says, to do the same thing that the president promises—but Graham has a history of favoring amnesty, which makes his motives at least suspect. And, more, does anyone in his right mind, any rational person, actually believe that Congress, part of which is controlled by the hard Left, and much of the rest by GOP big donor cheap labor advocates, will actually get off its duff and enact such legislation? Not likely.

So, here’s hoping that President Trump will follow through and issue his Executive Order, and then let the ACLU and far Left howl and the wimpy Republicans wail.

We’ll see you—hopefully—in court, gentlemen.

                                                        May 12, 2023      MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey   Ukraine, the Neoconservatives...