Monday, August 29, 2011

A sort of book report by Kate Salley Palmer

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(Yes, the exclamation point is part of the title)

by Texas Governor Rick Perry

Rick Perry wants you to know that he really hates the Federal Government.  (But he thinks AMERICA is great!)

The first chapter in his book is titled, “America is Great, Washington is Broken.”

He touts two organizations that I thought were different until I looked online and saw that one is actually part of the other.  The umbrella organization is “Texans for Public Policy foundation,” and nestled within it is “Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.”

The Tenth Amendment contains just one sentence:  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.”

Rick Perry seems to use “federalism” and “states’ rights” kind of interchangeably.  One of his notions of “federalism” is that people who think and believe alike should all live together.  I’m serious.

This is from his book:

“Crucial to understanding federalism in modern-day America is the concept of mobility, or “the ability to vote with your feet.”  If you don’t support the Death Penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas.  If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.”


Then, he goes into all sorts of history about the Articles of Confederation, and The Federalist Papers, and our Founders agreeing with him and all. 

Then there’s a lot more stuff about how Texas works and states like Massachusetts and California…don’t.  (He might want to keep those thoughts to himself in a general election…)

But!  Just in case you had the notion that his type of states’ rights, or federalism, resembled the sort of thing preached by John C Calhoun and that led to The Civil War--you don’t know Rick!

Again, from his book:
[Slavery and the hindrance of the Civil Rights movement] “were inexcusable chapters in American History—particularly for the southern states most responsible.  These chapters were often defined by some who championed “states’ rights,” and thus the concept of federalism has been understandably but mistakenly weakened.”

“But” (continues Perry), A “careful reading of history” shows that “active, liberty-loving states contributed to the destruction of Slavery in America.”

By 1850,” he continues, “half of the states in America were free states.”

The Underground Railroad, he claims, was “federalism, or certainly local control, in action.”

 He concludes this amazing blindness to the facts by admitting that:

 “We can never know what would have happened in the absence of federal involvement because we cannot rewrite history.”

So, there it is--Governor Perry utterly rejects the notion that his position has anything to do with the original notion of states’ rights as interpreted by, say, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.

And it ticks him off that we would even THINK such a thing.

But I found this on a site about the origins of the Confederacy (the 19th century one.)

Source: Macmillan Information Now Encyclopedia "The Confederacy."

[John C. Calhoun] “based his [States’ Rights] theory on the assumption that the people (not the government) in each state were sovereign and, in their sovereign capacity, had ratified and thus given validity to both the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. …A state convention…could nullify a Federal law.

That law would remain null and void within the state until three-fourths of all the states had ratified a constitutional amendment specifically giving Congress the power in question.

If they should ever do so, the nullifying state would still have a recourse--secession.

Just as a state could "accede" to the Union by ratifying the Constitution, it could "secede" by repealing its ordinance of ratification.

South Carolina put nullification to the test in 1832, when a state convention declared all protective tariffs, particularly those of 1828 and 1832, to be null and void within the state.

Calhoun having resigned the vice presidency, the nullifiers sent him to the Senate to present their case. Debating him was Daniel Webster, now a senator from Massachusetts, who had switched from a state rights position to a nationalist one while Calhoun was doing the reverse.

"The truth is," Webster contended, "and no ingenuity of argument, no subtlety of distinction, can evade it, that, as to certain purposes, the people of the United States are one people."

…Slavery, according to Calhoun, occupied a special place in the Constitution, and certainly it occupied a special place in his theory of state rights. It was, he insisted, the only kind of property that the Constitution specifically recognized (though, in fact, the document did not mention slaves or slavery by name; it referred only to "free Persons" and "all other Persons" and to a "Person held to Service or Labour").

Therefore, nullification could be used to defend or strengthen slavery but not to attack or weaken it. Calhoun strenuously objected when, after 1842, several free states tried their own brand of nullification by adopting "personal liberty" laws that forbade state authorities to assist in the enforcement of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

…Then, when the Compromise of 1850 proposed to admit California as a free state and thus to upset the balance of free and slave states, he thought the time had come for the slave states to resort to their ultimate redress, secession.”

So…Rick Perry is right when he says that by 1850, half the states were free states. 

But he seems to forget that the argument for secession was based on one of state’ rights.  It was not the states’ rights crowd who fought Slavery.

If only all those slaves had just “voted with their feet…”


Great Dane said...

I donot know this person.But I try to learn. Doed he have a plan tor US. And the rest of the world??

Great Dane said...

I give up... I thought I just posted a commene....But no such luck seems to be boming mu way

kate salley palmer said...

Great Dane--
I drew Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is running for President, as John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina senator who led SC to be the first state to secede from the Union in 1861, igniting the Civil War. (And we all know how well THAT turned out for South Carolina!)
The reason Calhoun gave for his actions was "state's rights"--by which he meant the right of any state to declare any Federal Law null and void.
The U S Senate voted against that notion, because the U S Constitution only gives states power only over property and interstate commerce, among other seemingly piddly things.
Calhoun then opined that states could therefore ignore Federal orders regarding slavery because slaves were "property" and that the institution of slavery could not be legally weakened by any Federal law. And--by the way--states also had the right to "secede" from the Union if they felt that their "rights" (in this case, the right to hold slaves), were violated.
So--Rick Perry, the Texas Governor, has written that he thinks the Federal Government sticks its nose into the business of the states way too much. Many states, including South Carolina, agree, and are happy to reject Federal funds for education and Health Care because, as they say, there are "too many strings attached.". They don't wish to comply with such Federal regulations as: teaching Evolution in the schools; refraining from prayer in public settings (separation of church & state--1st Ammendment to the Constitution, first article of the Bill of Rights); mandating that states regulate the pollution they produce; insisting that all industries comply with workplace safety regulations; and the administration of health care and other federal programs the way that the US Government believes they should be administered.
So, even though the taxpayers of all the states contribute to the funds offered by the government, the ultraconservative leaders of South Carolina and other states proudly reject the money anyway.
Rick Perry's book (about which the blog was written), places a great deal of importance on the notion of states' rights. He bases his argument on the Tenth Ammendment to the Constitution, which stipulates that any powers not specifically granted to the United States, nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution, belong to the states.
I am comparing Rick Perry--and have drawn him--as S C's John C. Calhoun for that reason. His disdain for the very Federal Government he is running to lead makes him imminently unfit to hold the office he seeks.
I probably bit off more than I could chew with all that. I need to keep these blogs simpler.
Even Jim said it was too long.