Whenever we Southerners come out to defend Confederate monuments as part of our heritage while referring to the Civil War as a conflict over states’ rights, liberals love to bash us over the head with charges of racism and obfuscate the issue with claims that we’re merely longing for the days of slavery, but when historians 150 years from now write about the coming civil conflict where liberal states like California defied the federal government over their right to declare themselves sanctuary states, will the conflict be remembered as one of states’ rights, or one of liberals pushing illegal immigration to dilute the voice of American voters?
The Founding Fathers recognized the need to have the Constitution ratified unanimously by each and every state to secure its legitimacy among the people. The experiment in government set forth by the Constitution could only work if every state declared its acceptance through ratification. To this end, an egregious compromise protecting the institution of slavery upon which the Southern plantation system economy rested was included to secure the acceptance of the Southern states. While it is far too easy for contemporary attitudes to condemn this compromise as being unreasonable, the difficult part of history lies in understanding historical components placed in the context of their times and not ours.
The Southern economy of that time was built upon agriculture in the form of labor intensive plantation systems of many thousands of acres dedicated to the cultivation of cotton as the cash crop with the greatest earning potential. These plantations relied upon slave labor to cultivate and harvest this cotton, which was then sold to northern textile manufacturers for the production of cloth and clothing then shipped for sale to Europe and other parts of the world. Liberals today often ignore the fact that these northern textile manufacturers indirectly relied upon slave labor for their profits, and many were sympathetic to the plantation system in the South.
Owning slaves was an expensive proposition also not widely mentioned in our politically correct times of intentional ignorance foisted upon us by the left. A good slave might cost upwards of a thousand dollars to purchase, which was equivalent to somewhere between $20 to $30 thousand dollars today. After this initial investment, slaves had to be fed, clothed, and housed at significant expense to the slave owner. While slave quarters were certainly not luxurious accommodations, they carried significant expense nonetheless. There were additional expenses in the form of medical care as sick or dying slaves incurred a significant loss to their owners. Considering the significant investment required to purchase and own slaves, one can begin to understand the reluctance of plantation owners to endorse emancipation. Given the inability of snowflakes to consider the historical context of slavery, it bears mentioning that this discussion is in no way an endorsement of the cruel and inhuman institution of slavery which unfortunately marred the history of America.
And so, the wretched blight of slavery was included in the Constitution to secure its unanimous passage as the next step required in the creation of this new nation. The passion stirred by the institution of slavery would not stay constrained for long, and eventually it became necessary to resolve the issue once and for all with a call to arms. Southern states insisted it was their right to decide for themselves whether slavery would remain while a growing chorus insisted that the federal government weigh in to abolish its practice. Tempers flared with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 campaigning on a platform of abolishing slavery.
Had cooler heads prevailed, it is likely Lincoln would have evaded the question of slavery much like his predecessors. History shows that Lincoln sought repeatedly to defer the issue of emancipating the slaves and only did so reluctantly to further hamper the South’s ability to wage war. Had the South not fired on Fort Sumter, it is possible that the stalemate would have continued until innovation brought about a natural end to the abomination of slavery.
The free enterprise system upon which America was founded depends upon competitors pursuing innovation to lower costs and gain an advantage over their rivals in the market. Time is needed for innovation to take root and produce this market advantage. Slavery was an expensive proposition shared by all plantation owners, but innovations which would have eliminated the costs associated with slavery would have allowed for its eventual abolishment. Slavery was abolished in Great Britain through the tireless efforts of William Wilberforce, but also because the industrial revolution had reduced the need for slave labor in Great Britain through the mechanization of labor intensive tasks. A plantation owner who could have employed innovations to reduce his costs through the elimination of slavery would have gained an advantage over his rivals which would have eventually forced them to adopt the same disruptive technology to remain economically competitive.
Mechanization in the form of tractors and farm equipment was still a ways off, but innovation was already underway in the form of the cotton gin and steam power. An enterprising plantation owner could have employed innovations in mechanization that would have rendered the institution of slavery obsolete in the marketplace. Another innovation lacking a timely foresight was that of the sharecropper system which replaced slave ownership after the Civil War. The sharecropper system eliminated the expense of slave ownership while still providing the labor necessary to support the plantation system, and the innovation of the company store kept these sharecroppers indentured to the plantation owner as they were never able to quite make enough to repay the credit extended to them by the company store. While not a perfect solution, the company store system was at least a marked improvement over the degradation of human ownership as slaves.
Alas, none of this was to be, and America was forced to settle the issue of slavery through a long and bloody war which saw brother take up arms against brother and families torn apart as the fabric of the nation was riven. Animosities lingered for generations after the conflict, and the South continues to be punished economically to this day for daring to challenge the might of the federal government through secession.
As the philosopher George Santayana reminds us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The left has taken great pains to erase our history through the destruction of historical monuments and the revision of historical context to the point where newer generations lack the ability to challenge the narrative presented to them through the government educational system. Gone are the lessons learned on the economic price of failing to successfully challenge the federal government through state secession. Liberals today just assume the economic plight of the South is the result of some inherent ignorance and not the concerted effort to punish it during Reconstruction with a lasting permanence.
Controlled by liberals like some third-world banana republic, California is openly defying the Trump administration by declaring itself a sanctuary state and forbidding state and local law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal agents in the enforcement of immigration laws. Their embrace of illegal immigration as a cause célèbre has resulted in dramatic increases in crime, poverty, homelessness, and debt as California struggles to pay the enormous costs of hosting this horde of illegal immigrants at the expense of Americans who are rapidly fleeing the state. California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra have vowed to resist the Trump administration to the bitter end to preserve their sanctuary status, and one can only reasonably presume this means to the point of another civil war.
Coastal enclaves such as California and New York, controlled by liberals intent on defiance of the Trump administration convinced as they are that President Trump is the antithesis of American values because he dares to oppose their radical agenda of destruction, impose the tyranny of liberal values upon their citizens to push a radical agenda instead of seeking the best interests of their citizens. Their efforts are all in service to the pursuit of political power which, if accumulated on a grand enough scale, will permit them to impose a state of totalitarian order upon their citizens.
These radical liberals are now openly calling for repeal of the Second Amendment having no fear whatsoever of voter wrath turning them from office. Communists learned early on that an unarmed populace was a compliant populace which is why gun control is so popular with liberals. The lack of forethought becomes apparent when one considers how these liberal states hope to compete against a well-armed federal government in a military conflict if their citizens are forbidden to own guns.
So, having lost a civil war in their quest to defend the right to provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants at the expense of their own citizens, it remains to determine if history will judge their actions any less harshly than they have judged the actions of Southern states in their quest to defend their rights. Will the underlying issue of this coming liberal civil war be defined as an issue of states’ rights, or will it be contemptuously referred to as their preference for the rights of illegal immigrants over those of American citizens? If history is to be any guide, it will likely be the latter as one’s objectivity tends to decrease as one’s proximity to the issue at hand increases.
Perhaps there will be those who will contemplate whether the conflict could have been avoided had cooler heads prevailed to allow some such innovation the time to solve the problem for them. What if immigration reform produced a merit-based immigration system allowing for the entry of those immigrants bringing something to the table and demonstrating a willingness to assimilate by adopting American values? Perhaps this would have spurred reforms in those countries whose people seek the opportunities afforded by the free enterprise system. Perhaps bankruptcy will force these liberal enclaves to abandon their radical agendas of failure and destruction. If conflict does come, then these will remain mere speculations.
Secession and armed revolt against the federal government didn’t go well for the South, and it won’t go well for the coastal liberals either. The agrarian economy of the South couldn’t compete with the industrial might of the north when it came to war with its voracious appetite for manufactured armaments. California will eventually see these illegal immigrants abandon it when their overwhelming numbers choke out the economic opportunities they sought in the first place. The ones who will suffer the most are those Americans who can’t afford to leave California because they can’t afford to live there either. The wealthy have the means to leave whenever they please, and the poor have nothing to leave behind, but those in the middle have too much to lose and not enough to take it with them.
It is ironic that the liberals who denigrate Southerners for attempting to defend their heritage stand to suffer the same future fate because their purging of history caused the lessons to be lost. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and we’ll avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Unfortunately, liberals have not demonstrated a proclivity to the type of enlightenment necessary to see beyond their radical agenda of destruction. There is a painful reckoning coming, but just how painful and for whom remains to be determined.