A New Abolition Movement

 

I toyed with the idea of how the Ricochetti could craft a new “Declaration” modeled on the Declaration of Independence. It wouldn’t be a declaration for “independence”– that would be a credible claim of “insurrection”. It would be a declaration of renewed fidelity to the US Constitution. Recall that the Declaration states some overarching principles (that are not in need of updating) and a list of grievances against the then-prevailing power. And it is this section that would be interesting to “update” because of the similarities between the type of abuses then and the type of abuses now.

But as I considered it, I came back to a different parallel between then and now: slavery. That was not a topic directly addressed by the Declaration of Independence, but certainly at issue due to a proper understanding of natural rights. If the Declaration is true, then slavery cannot be countenanced. And that was the animating thought of the Abolition Movement of the 19th Century. (You could have indentured servitude as an element of contract, but not chattel slavery.) The only logical way to square chattel slavery with the Declaration of Independence was to deny humanity to the slave.

The term “American Exceptionalism” has been both touted and derided, usually based on different understandings of the term. My own preferred understanding is that it referred to how America, unique among the several states extant in the 18th Century, was citizen-governed. If America had an “original sin” it was not slavery per se, it was the failure to recognize the natural rights of all adult citizens to self-govern themselves and the state.  We had rid ourselves of that “sin” in our legal processes by the end of the 20th Century. But in this Century we seem to be falling back into “sin” albeit in different ways.

The “equity” agenda with its identity politics and relying on the centralized power, denies the individual agency inherent in natural rights. In effect, the progressive agenda of today is to enslave rather than liberate. You must be what your identity dictates, you must not say what you think, you must not be caught out thinking what you think, and you cannot freely associate with whom you choose. You are not free to contract with disfavored persons. You can be denied a livelihood and associations through wrongthink.

To be sure, the line of demarcation between individual liberty and adverse consequences to others is often unclear. It is always and ever a struggle between impermissible legal restrictions and permissible cultural pressure. Hence there is always fodder for political ferment. But if we are to recognize everyone’s basic humanity we are obliged to toleration to the point of accepting the risk of harm.

And so it is that we need a new Abolition Movement. We need to reject the mental slavery imposed by ideology that leads to physical restrictions, confinement, and even death. We know where progressivism leads. And we must be clear-eyed about the fact that slavery is its end goal. It must be rejected, disreputed, and pushed as far back as possible if it cannot be eradicated. We must see ourselves as Abolitionists. We must recognize that our Founding Documents necessitated Abolition and that we can never live up to our principles without Abolition.

“Mine eyes have seen the Glory…” 

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 20 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    A great essay. 

    This is the all-important clause that Jefferson wrote that the South insisted be deleted. It tells an entire story in a few short words:

    He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

     

     

     

     

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    MarciN (View Comment):

    A great essay.

    This is the all-important clause that Jefferson wrote that the South insisted be deleted. It tells an entire story in a few short words:

    He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

     

     

     

     

     

    Good add to my knowledge. Thanks. 

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin: And so it is that we need a new Abolition Movement. We need to reject the mental slavery imposed by ideology that leads  to physical restrictions, confinement, and even death. We know where progressivism leads. And we must be clear-eyed about the fact that slavery is its end goal. It must be rejected, dis-reputed, and pushed as far back as possible if it cannot be eradicated. We must see ourselves as Abolitionists. We must recognize that our Founding Documents necessitated Abolition and that we can never live up to our principles without Abolition.

    I would like to think that this approach would be a great motivator, since we are so obsessed with eliminating slavery in so many ways. Let the people recognize that no slavery, no impingement on our rights given to us by G-d are acceptable in any form, no matter what label you put on them. Great points.

    • #3
  4. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Jefferson didn’t really grasp all of our constitution, as we didn’t at first.  Slavery was a nasty lump in the middle that we couldn’t address and have all the states as members, which at the time was essential.  The other thing not addressed didn’t really matter much as the land was so vast and untrammeled that we didn’t need to worry about the collective goods of environment, wildlife, coasts and their wildlife.  We sorted that out in the mid 20th century, but rather clumsily as we forgot that central government was a key thing we were protecting ourselves from.    Centralizers have used that lack of focus to take over everything   they can get their hands on.  So much so that they don’t even worry about the original reason some things were different.  One of the original 2oth century envornmentalits  stopped army engineers in the case of dams in dinosaur national park and others in the case of wildlife and rivers, arguing in favor of individual citizens who included boaters, fishermen, cattlemen, farmers, and big business for whom collective resources had to be managed.  He was ground up, rooted the whole notion of environmental protection in individual citizens.  At the time the Federal government was small and didn’t appear to be a threat. The Park Service,  Forest Service and BLM were all field operations, not dominated by Washington as Washington was small, and still following the original notion.    That changed radically as the left drove everything through that failure, even though citizens clearly decided they wanted rivers clean, coasts healthy, and outdoor opportunities open and diverse.   We didn’t need to create the monster that is taking over and doesn’t really care about the environment as we should know by looking at any centralized government dominated country.  

    • #4
  5. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Rodin: To be sure, the line of demarcation between individual liberty and adverse consequences to others is often unclear. …

    Excellent post. I need not add anything but that has never stopped me before…

    I don’t think we could ever go wrong by preaching the proper understanding of American-style Exceptionalism, Individualism, and Liberty. For this, I continue to highly recommend some critical Hoover texts:

    American Individualism

    The Challenge to Liberty

    From the first:

    And from it all I emerge an individualist – an unashamed individualist. But let me say also that I am an American individualist. – Page 6

    No doubt, individualism run riot, with no tempering principle, would provide a long category of inequalities, of tyrannies, dominations, and injustices. America, however, has tempered the whole conception of individualism by the injection of a definite principle, and from this principle it follows that attempts at domination, whether in government or in the processes of industry and commerce, are under an insistent curb. If we would have the values of individualism, their stimulation to initiative, to the development of land and intellect, to the high development of thought and spirituality, they must be tempered with that firm and fixed ideal of American individualism – an equality of opportunity. If we would have these values we must soften its hardness and stimulate progress through that sense of service that lies in our people.

    Therefore, it is not the individualism of other countries for which I would speak, but the individualism of America. Our individualism differs from all others because it embraces these great ideals: that while we build our society upon the attainment of the individual, we shall safeguard to every individual an equality of opportunity to take that position in the community to which his intelligence, character, ability, and ambition entitle him; that we keep the social solution free from frozen strata of classes, that we shall stimulate effort of each individual to achievement; that through an enlarging sense of responsibility and understanding we shall assist him to this attainment; while he in turn must stand up to the emery wheel of competition. – Pages 6-8

    • #5
  6. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    • #6
  7. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I didn’t really have much to add, which is why what I added wasn’t much.  But, this is the kind of topic we need more people thinking and talking about and so I added thought in the spirit of more conversation. 

    • #7
  8. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset. 

    • #8
  9. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    I contemplated doing the same thing t never started. You have put more thought into it than I have. My approach was to just update it but you have a broader approach that would be better. 

    • #9
  10. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    I think we’re still in the stage where some knowledge of the OS files would do, maybe edit or delete some registry entries, perhaps do one of those reboots where you don’t load all the crap you’ve accidentally and inadvertently installed, and without the network support too.

    • #10
  11. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Susan Quinn (View

    . . .we are so obsessed with eliminating slavery in so many ways. Let the people recognize that no slavery, no impingement on our rights given to us by G-d are acceptable in any form, no matter what label you put on them. 

    We are increasingly ruled by people who want to “eliminate slavery” and are certain that its root causes are private property and the rest of those “rights given by G-d” (at least when exercised by their political adversaries.) 

    State and/or corporate/state ownership of everyone and everything are the obvious solution. So long as they are in charge, of course. 

    • #11
  12. Cato Coolidge
    Cato
    @Cato

    Sign me up. Seriously – shoot me a DM. I’m all aboard on this.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that!  You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet. 

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either. 

    • #13
  14. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    A “factory reset” simply takes the object back to its original firmware — in this case, the text of the Constitution (including extant amendments) without all the elaborations and interpretations. (Aside from the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators) 18th amendment (prohibition) and 21st amendment (repeal of the 18th), the document stands up pretty good. And because of the confusion involved in doing a reset with those three I could live with the 17th.) This is still an omelet.

    • #14
  15. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    We don’t have to build one from scratch and I wouldn’t trust politicians today to do so. A factory reset doesn’t ditch the Constitution but returns to it. You cut out the cancer.

    • #15
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Rodin (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    A “factory reset” simply takes the object back to its original firmware — in this case, the text of the Constitution (including extant amendments) without all the elaborations and interpretations. (Aside from the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators) 18th amendment (prohibition) and 21st amendment (repeal of the 18th), the document stands up pretty good. And because of the confusion involved in doing a reset with those three I could live with the 17th.) This is still an omelet.

    We need more conservative involvement in state legislatures for this to work well.

    • #16
  17. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    A “factory reset” simply takes the object back to its original firmware — in this case, the text of the Constitution (including extant amendments) without all the elaborations and interpretations. (Aside from the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators) 18th amendment (prohibition) and 21st amendment (repeal of the 18th), the document stands up pretty good. And because of the confusion involved in doing a reset with those three I could live with the 17th.) This is still an omelet.

    We need more conservative involvement in state legislatures for this to work well.

    You need strong governors. That is why I want DeSantis to stay where he is

    • #17
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    A “factory reset” simply takes the object back to its original firmware — in this case, the text of the Constitution (including extant amendments) without all the elaborations and interpretations. (Aside from the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators) 18th amendment (prohibition) and 21st amendment (repeal of the 18th), the document stands up pretty good. And because of the confusion involved in doing a reset with those three I could live with the 17th.) This is still an omelet.

    We need more conservative involvement in state legislatures for this to work well.

    You need strong governors. That is why I want DeSantis to stay where he is

    Them too.

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    We don’t have to build one from scratch and I wouldn’t trust politicians today to do so. A factory reset doesn’t ditch the Constitution but returns to it. You cut out the cancer.

    So we cut out all laws and rulings that enable business corporations to exist?  I can see the upside to that, but is there a downside as well? 

    • #19
  20. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I like the idea of abolishing as much as we can and if in the process we abolish a little too much, I think it is likely to grow back without much harm.

    I have started saying the country needs a factory reset.

    No, no! Anything but that! You end up with lots of broken eggs and no omelet.

    If we don’t know how to fix the government we have, we don’t know how to build one from scratch, either.

    We don’t have to build one from scratch and I wouldn’t trust politicians today to do so. A factory reset doesn’t ditch the Constitution but returns to it. You cut out the cancer.

    So we cut out all laws and rulings that enable business corporations to exist? I can see the upside to that, but is there a downside as well?

    There you go getting all practical on us. If the choice is between a soft societal landing, a collapse, or a revolution, I prefer the soft landing. But it may not be practical.

    • #20
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.