Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Audio and Transcript - How ironic is this? You want the greatest irony of all ironies? In the Articles of Confederation, it says that the articles, once ratified, were to make a perpetual league of friendship, I believe. They use the word “perpetual.” How perpetual was it when eleven of the states living under it in 1787 and 1788 seceded from it and gave it up and instead adopted the new plan, the Constitution? There’s an argument and a debate that still rages. Check out today's audio and transcript for more...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: If the Constitution was written and drafted as a plan of government and as giving the government and the people effective checks on measures that they did not sanction themselves, then it is a failure. It is dead. We can’t admit it. [mocking] “Come on, it’s not dead. It’s just wounded.” No, it’s dead. John is in South Carolina. How are you?
Caller John: I’m good, Mike. I listen to your show as often as I can and learn a lot.
Mike: Good. Thank you.
Caller John: I was hoping you could tell me the big differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, especially in regards to secession.
Mike: How ironic is this? You want the greatest irony of all ironies? In the Articles of Confederation, it says that the articles, once ratified, were to make a perpetual league of friendship, I believe. They use the word “perpetual.” How perpetual was it when eleven of the states living under it in 1787 and 1788 seceded from it and gave it up and instead adopted the new plan, the Constitution? There’s an argument and a debate that still rages. To me, it’s an infantile, childish debate over whether or not a free and sovereign state can and has the right to terminate its membership in a union.
If you say that it doesn’t, then it’s not a free state and you might as well just stop calling the states what they are, dissolve the borders and we’ll be nothing more than counties. We’ll just be servants of the central government master. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that you have representative government and then tell the people that they don’t have the right to choose the form that their representatives are going to participate in. It doesn’t work that way. It’s illogical. I don’t care what philosophical view you want to assess to it or what romantic notion you have that a perpetual union was entered into. How can one generation bind the next to a government that they did not choose? Do you want to explain that to me?
Caller John: It’s definitely gotten quite ridiculous. It seems like the states don’t have any rights.
Mike: Of course they do. They just won’t use them. They won’t assert themselves.
Caller John: Exactly. I moved down to the South. As I learned more about Southern history and listening to you a lot, it seems like, they call it down here the war between the states, it was reasonable. They were being subjected to tyranny they didn’t agree with and they seceded. I’m definitely not a southerner, but everything I’ve learned is that it’s understandable. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have been allowed to do it.
Mike: South Carolina’s secession instrument, as they called it, is a brilliant piece of political prose. You should read it sometime. You live in South Carolina. The legislature of South Carolina basically, in their secession instrument, cited whole paragraphs from the Declaration of Independence and then cited the voluntary ratification of the Constitution as how the state got into the federal union. Then they said that the federal union has become injurious to the people of South Carolina, and since we are a sovereign entity and can choose our form of representative government, we want to do as our forefathers did and sever all political ties between us and the United States of America. They didn’t say everyone else had to join us. They didn’t say that all the property herein is the property of South Carolinians now.
They sent a delegation to meet with Lincoln. Lincoln refused to meet with them and try to work out the terms under which, for example, the stores and what have you at Fort Sumter could be negotiated, either paid for or sent back to the union. Of course, Lincoln would have nothing to do with it and sent a flotilla down there knowing that since South Carolina was a sovereign state, much like the country of France or Spain, just to put it in perspective at the time, that the South Carolinians, if the armed vessels wouldn’t stop, they would have no choice but to fire on them.
This part of the history and this part of the question, to me, is not even one that is worthy of the debate. The facts are what they are. Again, it is silly, childish and infantile to argue that you are somehow free but you’re not free to choose your own form or mode of government. Now, would there be consequences for choosing to leave a union? Well, of course there would be. You’d have to negotiate the terms again of the property. What about the debts that are run up and so on and so forth? Those are legal questions. You decide that either in court or in a treaty session.
The idea here that it is illegal and verboten when the same government supports the secession of the people of Sudan, supported the secession of the Soviet states that seceded in 1989 and 1990, it is just ridiculous and preposterous to even say that you’re free but you’re not as free as the people of the Sudan are. You’re not as free as the Russian states of Lithuania and Georgia that seceded in 1989 and 1990. All you can say to that is, [mocking] “Yay Stalin! Yay! Such a great guy, gave them the right of secession.”
The right to choose your form of government is an effective check against the general authority, or should be used as an effective check. Like Jefferson said, you shouldn’t do it, I don’t say flippantly or think it ought to happen tomorrow, but it is a form or managing and of trying to veto or reign in excessive power when used by the union authority. If you’re robbed of that and told, “That’s illegal. You’re just a neo-confederate slave owner.” That’s right. You want to separate from the monster because you want to go back to owning slaves. What a great argument. Until we can have more people, and not just me, actually be willing to go in public and face the ignominious assaults on our character and what have you that are going to befall anyone like myself that would dare to say what I just said in public, you can continue to bet and expect status quo.
End Mike Church Show Transcript