Re: Unlimited power!


That whole post is a masterpiece of historical confusion.

(1) Douglas defended slavery under the cover of "diversity." (Leave aside for a moment what Douglas means when he says diversity.)

(2) Then this part of Douglas' response to Lincoln's criticism of the Dred Scott decision is highlighted:

"I am free to say to you," Douglas said, "that in my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men, in such manner as they should determine."

(3) An excerpt from a Coolidge speech is presented as

particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the ubiquitous multicultural variants of Stephen Douglas's position that pass themselves off today as the higher wisdom

If by "diversity" Douglas means what people mean today, then it's quite hard to reconcile (2) with (1) and (3). Especially since later in the same speech Douglas says

I am opposed to taking any step that recognizes the negro man or the Indian as the equal of the white man. I am opposed to giving him a voice in the administration of the government. I would extend to the negro and the Indian and to all dependent races every right, every privilege, and every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the white races; but equality they never should have, either political or social, or in any other respect whatever.

But what Douglas meant by diversity was actually states' rights, as the text of Douglas' speech - not linked in the Powerline post - indicates:

The framers of the Constitution well understood that each locality, having separate and distinct interests, required separate and distinct laws, domestic institutions, and police regulations adapted to its own wants and its own condition; and they acted on the presumption, also, that these laws and institutions would be as diversified and as dissimilar as the States would be numerous, and that no two would be precisely alike, because the interests of no two would be precisely the same. Hence I assert that the great fundamental principle which underlies our complex system of State and Federal Governments contemplated diversity and dissimilarity in the local institutions and domestic affairs of each and every State then in the Union, or thereafter to be admitted into the confederacy. I therefore conceive that my friend, Mr. Lincoln, has totally misapprehended the great principles upon which our government rests. Uniformity in local and domestic affairs would be destructive of State rights, of State sovereignty, of personal liberty and personal freedom.

His conclusion:

From this view of the case, my friends, I am driven irresistibly to the conclusion that diversity, dissimilarity, variety, in all our local and domestic institutions, is the great safeguard of our liberties, and that the framers of our institutions were wise, sagacious, and patriotic, when they made this government a confederation of sovereign States, with a Legislature for each, and conferred upon each Legislature the power to make all local and domestic institutions to suit the people it represented, without interference from any other State or from the general Congress of the Union.

Then, as it would be later in the Jim Crow era, "states' rights" was a platitude hiding an evil institution that could not be defended on its own terms.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 12:31 PM
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Sorry about the length of that comment. I probably should have posted the substance over at my blog.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 12:34 PM
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No, eb. You should have posted in comments at Powerline. Oh, that's right - Red blog means no comments. I wonder why?

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 12:42 PM
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Leaving us free to remark that, though they may have abandoned the nicknames, their icons are still totally gayalicious. Well, Hinderaker's and Johnson's [!] are. Mirengoff's strikes me a bit more John Wayne Gacy.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 12:43 PM
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Yeah, I forgot about the no comments thing over there when I started looking things up.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 12:49 PM
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Your choice of a title cracks me up. (I took it to be a reference to the latest Star Wars movie, which I assume was your intent).

Posted by: Listless Lawyer | Link to this comment | 07- 4-05 2:53 PM
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