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The following speech was deliver by Wes Riddle to a meeting of the John Birch Society on 21 February in Houston.

Good Afternoon.  Thank you, Ken [Hoover] for the opportunity to speak.

Immediately after President Obama won the General Election for President on November 6th last year, thousands of petitioners expressed a desire to secede from the Union in petitions sent to the White House website.  They represented every state in the Union.  States of Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas moreover, garnered more than 25,000 each in a single month, warranting automatic response from the White House according to its own website rules.  The Texas “We the People” petition received over 125,000 signatures, more than any other state.

The White House response did not treat the sentiment particularly seriously, but rather politely called for national unity and encouraged everyone to participate fully in the political process.

Of course, in Texas 125,000 out of 25 million people isn’t really that serious.  President Obama has the whole Republican Party on the ropes.  A handful of secessionists, from a political standpoint, hardly rise to a level of nuisance.  The Tea Party faction does that and is itself marginal.  Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party in Texas, said the secessionist movement has no political import—and so far he’s right.  Still, it is interesting theoretically to consider, whether the Union is or is supposed to be held together at root by force, or—and this seems more likely, through consent of the governed.  The fact that secession has short legs politically belies the more essential fact that secession is ultimately a political question.

Bud Kennedy, a liberal writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram implied that secessionists must be from some other planet.  Nevertheless, a Flat Earth petition would be on shaky ground politically, because the theory on which its sentiment rests were erroneous.  A Creationists’ petition would rest on suspect theory, even if Darwin were not altogether provable.  Secessionists at least have the advantage of history; and ambiguity in constitutional language and theory; and regional interpretations with a substantial degree of integrity;—and then there are the words of the Declaration of Independence itself.

Secessionists have no political base at the moment—’tis true, but their position theoretically is much stronger than that of extraterrestrial aliens.  It should come as little shock to this group that the War Between the States was most definitely a political war…as, by the way, are all wars to some degree.  War is after all a political act—else it is just sacking and looting.  So if it was a war to settle a political difference or constitutional dispute, perhaps the secessionists have more than sufficient base to carry on until natural selection works out the next miracle of political evolution.

To explain what makes me say this, we have to examine together some history and then some theory according to the Founders.

In our history, there have been several distinguishable constitutional regimes—eras in which the Constitution was substantively different, owing to the various amendments that applied to the Constitution.  In some cases, regretfully, regimes were defined by men who governed and not entirely by the law.  For instance, Progressives pushed through four constitutional amendments and so changed the constitutional regime; whereas, Franklin Roosevelt changed the constitutional regime with New Deal legislation, but did so through force of personality and emergency powers without a corresponding amendment.

Failure of Politics and War Between the States

The first big change in constitutional regimes however, occurred incidental to the War Between the States and the three Amendments ratified after the War.  I will assert now that the War represented a failure of politics getting into it, but also again getting out of it!  The difference in constitutional regimes between the antebellum and the post-bellum periods is substantial, but not quite as substantial in every respect as you may imagine, and this is a subtext to my remarks.  The War and its corresponding amendments made a difference, and resolved some of the issues that lay behind the War, but ironically the primary matter of dispute was never taken up—leaving things in subsequent constitutional regimes oddly similar, or at least leaving open the potential for a future clash over the orbit of states and where this meets with federal power and where the confrontation ends.

After the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 the Whig Party practically collapsed and the Republican Party began its meteoric ascension to political dominance in the North.  Abraham Lincoln was an anti-slavery Whig and cautious to move too quickly into the Republican fold.  He did not choose to do so until 1856.  Indeed, other parties competed in the North and South, but the Election of 1856 revealed a distinct sectional polarization in politics for the first time: Republicans were ascendant in the North; Democrats were increasingly ascendant in the South.  Republicans won eleven of sixteen free-states essentially replacing the Whigs in the two-party system.  A northern Democrat from Pennsylvania, James Buchanan, narrowly won the White House.

Four years later in 1860, there took place the famous four-way race for the presidency, in which the two relatively more extreme sectional candidates were victorious and Northern and Southern moderates were rejected by the voters of the respective regions.  So, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected by large margins in the North with virtually no Southern support, whereas throughout the South the secessionist Democrat John Breckinridge won handily.  Political realignment essentially set up preconditions for War.

While we do not often think of it in such terms, Northerners were called Yankees but they were politically Republicans.  Southerners were Rebels and mostly Democrats.  Republicans wore blue.  Democrats wore grey.  The term “Solid South” refers to the way in which virtually all Southerners actually became Democrat, in response to military occupation and abusive practices during Reconstruction after the War, a process that involved Southern Whigs who had continued to serve the Confederacy in various political and military capacities throughout the War itself.

In American political context, the War Between the States was a constitutional crisis.  It was a constitutional crisis on the basis of cause and effect.  Constitutional issues were at the forefront of causation, in terms of the sectional crisis and shots being fired; but existentially, the war itself was most certainly a constitutional crisis, in that, normal procedures and protocols of government, provision of services, payment of customs, bartering and brokering of interests and the peaceful redress of grievances or reaching of decisions—these were all suspended.  Let me say that again: the Constitution of these United States of America was suspended, no matter how the history has been papered over or the rationale supplied for its consistent operations during that timeframe.

Perhaps the fiction that it was ever really a “Civil War” is partly to blame for difficulty in viewing the obvious.  Southerners, and particularly Southern historians, for a century after the War chronicled this case and left a fine record that may be rediscovered—a record as essential to the understanding of America and American political tradition and culture, as that of the American Revolution itself.  I still remember as a kid in the 1960s having a measuring ruler at school, which had all the pictures of the presidents of the United States on it.  It was the most accurate depiction I ever had too, more accurate than my textbooks at West Point or Oxford University on one point, because it showed for the period of the War Between the States, between 1861 and 1865, there having been two presidents of the United States—one North and one South, both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

Oh there was “civil war” so to speak, in places like Kentucky and Missouri, and even in Maryland—states that did not or could not effectively secede.  But to characterize the War itself between two entirely contiguous sections having mass armies and navies and deliberative political representation, to characterize that as “civil war” is hardly accurate and most probably a contrived mischaracterization to hide a dirty little secret.

In no wise was the United States “Civil War” like, say, the English Civil War and other civil wars besides, which pit town against country and emphasized a natural divide of influence amongst various families, interests and institutions within the same geographical political unit.  One cannot compare Oxford campus for the king against Cambridge campus for Parliament in England, to the State of Mississippi in league with the rest of the Confederate States of America, aligned across distinguishable political and military borders against the likes of Ohio and Massachusetts and the rest of the Union.

And what’s the dirty little secret?  Let’s just follow the rabbit down the hole, i.e., the logic of the argument shall we: if constitutional issues were prominent (which they were), in terms of the causation towards sectional hostility, one would expect that constitutional changes would occur following the end of hostilities (which they did).  After all, war is a political act.  War achieves political ends.  The only way political ends are achieved “for good” in the American political context is to change the Constitution.

Since apparently that couldn’t be done peacefully beforehand, resort to what General Grant called the “Tribunal of Arms” determined first a victor (the North), so that said victor (read Republican Party) might impose the necessary political changes, which addressed the issues giving rise to the conflict.  Otherwise the War would have been pointless.

The changes to the Constitution are not hard to spot.  The dates of Amendments to the Constitution tell practically the whole story.  The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery (1865).  The Fourteenth provides for equal protection of the laws and for basic civil rights by virtue of a national citizenship irrespective of the states (1868).  The Fifteenth guarantees the right to vote regardless of race (1870).  The chronology is interesting, but how can such be the case?  The Fifteenth Amendment was enacted five years after the War Between the States, and the vote for slaves or freedmen was never a political factor before or even during the War.  The answer is that a suspension of the Constitution to some degree lasted longer than the War itself!

The practical matter is that as the country reintegrated itself after the War, and a defeated and devastated Dixie was allowed to reenter the Union under new terms and conditions set by the victors, some parts of the South were not immediately reintegrated; and for an interim of time, these were kept under military occupation, in some places lasting until 1877.

Slavery and basic rights for African-Americans were indeed issues before the War Between the States, and to some degree these were contributing and certainly aggravating factors that led to war and ensured its long duration.  The Fourteenth Amendment would have been essential to some degree following abolition anyway.  The enactment of the Fifteenth Amendment, however, was probably outside the scope of what caused the War, and outside the terms of what the War’s end should have produced in the eyes of most Southerners, vanquished though they were.  Indeed, it violated perceived terms of the truce, i.e., the Southerners’ refrain from continued and prolonged paramilitary operations.

The Fifteenth Amendment more than anything gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan and to the violent overthrow of Reconstruction.  In the late 1860s and 1870s the KKK became in many places the military wing of the Democrat Party in the South.  But if the Fifteenth went beyond those issues that gave rise to the War, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments are hardly complete in terms of the issues one would conclude should have been addressed.

For instance, Lincoln never said that he waged war or would wage war to free the slaves.  We all know he said quite the opposite.  Lincoln always said that he fought the War to preserve the Union and to prevent the Southern States from seceding.  Emancipation was a wartime measure designed to undercut the South’s military and economic strength.

Theoretical Secession, Natural Rights and Organic Law

Note that the Fifteenth Amendment detours towards voting rights and the Constitutional changes never got to or addressed the primary cause of the War, by stopping States which wanted to from seceding.  There is still no Constitutional amendment that makes secession unconstitutional per se.  States’ rights were at the heart of constitutional dispute, and one would have thought that secession, as the ultimate expression of sovereign states’ rights would have been addressed.  Many historians will say the issue was ambiguous or unresolved before the War and that somehow the War resolved the issue once and for all.  No doubt for that generation it did.  But the central issue remains just as ambiguous and unresolved afterwards in terms of law and political theory, given that no determination was made on that issue, other than for those particular days on those particular battlefields when might determined right.  Political-military battles were waged to prevent secession over a complex of particular contemporary issues, most notably the expansion of slavery.

The politics of war and secession remain the same as it was, however, without a constitutional amendment.  Today there would be a host of very different contemporary issues involved of course, should secession be recurred to.  The fact is that secession is not addressed or mentioned in the Constitution but is ever a theoretical and potential part of American political culture as I will explain.  It really boils down to politics and perhaps to political brinkmanship.  The Union could actually respond peaceably next time by way of political decision and response.  It would not be a violation of the Constitution for the federal government to do so or, shall we say to be a bit more “civil” the next go-round.

As explained in the new textbook American Constitutionalism [, Volume 1 Structures of Government (Gillman, Graber, Whittington college text] just published by Oxford University [Press, copyright 2013)], compact theory was widely accepted by southerners and some northerners during the Jacksonian Era—and this is as constitutionalism was understood and received from the Founding Generation by their children and grandchildren.  Proponents maintained that the Constitution was a compact between otherwise independent states.  “These states did not surrender central elements of sovereignty when joining the union.  In particular, proponents of compact theory maintained that each state had the power to determine whether a federal law was unconstitutional.  They revered the passage in Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 which declared, ‘as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.’  Nullification was the means by which a state could exercise this sovereign power to ‘judge for itself’ whether the federal government was acting constitutionally.

“Compact theorists believed that states could declare federal laws null and void.  When that happened, the federal government had no power to enforce the law within the boundaries of the nullifying state.  South Carolina in 1832 put compact theory into practice.  A state nullification convention was called, and the federal protectionist tariff was declared to be unconstitutional in November.”  The South Carolina legislature adopted the Ordinance of Nullification in 1833, but Congress passed the Force Act of 1833 to empower President Jackson to override the Ordinance of Nullification and to forcibly collect the tariff.  Constitutional crisis was averted because statecraft prevailed: a Compromise Tariff was worked out.  South Carolina repealed its Ordinance of Nullification and adopted the Compromise Tariff—and then also nullified the Force Act!  Implicitly had the Compromise Tariff not prevailed, war or secession or possibly both would have resulted.

More than a generation later, Jefferson Davis the President of the Confederacy, though held prisoner for two years after the War was never tried for treason.  Why?  The reason has to do with the concept of Organic Law.  By most accounts, United States Organic Law includes the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  You can compare it to your Charter and By-Laws.  By-Laws can be amended with some effort, but the Charter can’t.  Oh, a few carpetbaggers and scalawags have tried to screw around with Organic Law, and throw in the various Northwest Ordinances—just so they can say Organic Law includes anti-slavery and mandates public education, but that makes no sense as Northwest Ordinances were for organization and administration of the Northwest Territory.

If your corporation opens a new business or product line, the associated contracts, checklists and procedures hardly affects the corporate Charter or amends the by-laws.  Organic Law is distinct in terms of ratification too.  We celebrate the 4th of July and Constitution Day, and so did the Founders.  The Northwest Ordinances are instructive and informative.  They might even be presumptive in terms of federally administered territories, but that’s it.  One could argue the case for the Articles of Confederation as being organic law, but these were specifically superseded by the Constitution—and the original passage of the Northwest Ordinances actually took place under the framework of the Articles.

So now back to the issue at hand.  Why no Constitutional Amendment to repeal the right to secession or to state categorically that no such right ever existed?  Southern states before they were allowed back into the Union had to write language into their state constitutions surrendering the right of secession.  Of course that means states can write anti-secessionist language back out of their constitutions if they want to!  If no such right existed, if the War had been a localized insurrection instead of a constitutional act of political sovereignty, the language in those constitutions would make no sense.

The reason has to do with Organic Law and particularly with the Declaration of Independence.  And note that the Constitution inherently incorporates the Declaration as its Charter, referring in Article VII to the method by which the Constitution was drafted in Convention by Unanimous Consent of the States present, in “the Year of our Lord” 1787 and “of the independence of the United States of America the Twelfth”—dating it to the Declaratory instrument (1776).  By invoking the Name of the Lord in time and including the reference to the original Charter, the Constitution also incorporates Natural Law and “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

The War Between the States altered the federal-state relationship to be sure, and the locus of power shifted to the federal government in an immediate and practical sense.  But it is important to consider that the War did not and does not justify power beyond the terms of peace or the actual Constitutional amendments that followed.  The War Between the States did not change Natural Law or alter, nor could it alter the Organic Law of the United States, which remains the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as amended.

American federalism was and is fundamental to the structure and conception of the Declaration and the Constitution and cannot be said to have undergone change beyond the amendments to the Constitution.  Orbits of respective sovereignty between state and federal levels remain inviolable.  The Declaration is primarily a statement of the reasons for which it was right for the United States to secede from Great Britain!  It is written in universal terms too, categorically declaring that whenever Government should become tyrannical, that is to say, destructive of the people’s unalienable rights or the just purposes for which the government is formed, that “it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish” that government, “and to institute new Government….”

The Constitution and the federal government have even recognized legal secession under certain circumstances by recognition of the sovereign state of West Virginia, formed out of Virginia.  Vermont was formed by inhabitants out of land claimed by New York and New Hampshire, again in revolutionary circumstance during the American Revolution.  The Joint Resolution annexing Texas to the United States authorizes Texans to form an additional four states out of her territory.

In other words, secession under certain circumstances is Constitutional by definition, but it is a political matter whether it will be sustained and tolerated or put down violently.  No amendment to invalidate secession per se was offered, nor would it have passed given that the theory is part and parcel of Organic Law in the Declaration of Independence and in the subsequent operation of the Constitution of these United States itself.  It is unclear how the right to secession could ever be repealed by amendment or any other way, given its centrality to the nation’s Charter and the universal language Thomas Jefferson used.  It simply is not true as Ronald Keith Gaddie, political science professor with the University of Oklahoma has said, that “Thomas Jefferson lost his case in 1866, because the Constitution was re-framed.”

It is very true that the Constitution was re-framed and has entered at least two subsequent constitutional regimes—a regime in the wake of the Progressive Era and one in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement and nearly complete incorporation of the Bill of Rights.  Unless one explicitly amends the Constitution, however, it can never be the case—regardless of the Fourteenth or any other Amendment—that compact theory no longer pertains, or that secession is not theoretically a measure required in the face of despotism or tyranny.  In cases short of despotism or tyranny, the Declaration of Independence is not as sympathetic, but then nullification and/or secession becomes a tactical gamble in the context of strategic political brinkmanship, and may be viewed constructively by many sides, as a method aimed primarily towards moving the federal government back into its proper scope and constitutionally limited orbit.

Following the War Between the States, Texans wrote their Constitution of 1866, which they intended to permit a restoration of civilian government under President Andrew Johnson’s mild Reconstruction program.  The new constitution actually nullified secession and did not declare that secession was unconstitutional.  Andrew Johnson did accept it.  Those of you aware of Reconstruction history know that such leniency (by Lincoln or Johnson) was unacceptable to the Radical Republicans, who seized control of Reconstruction, established military rule and impeached the president.  Not only was there an impasse between Congress and the Executive Branch, but recall that at the time the Supreme Court was a constitutionally conservative institution, so Congress withdrew jurisdiction for Reconstruction from the Supreme Court!  With the help of the Grangers, Texans eventually took back their State ten years later.  President Grant refused to send federal troops to prop up a discredited and unpopular Republican state government in Texas.  Voters ratified their new state constitution in 1876, which remains in effect today.

To act as if secession is settled legally is ridiculous.  Absent an Amendment to the Constitution, all we have are acts of Congress respecting secession—which leads to the same situation we had in 1832 or 1860.  Acts of Congress can and do change.  Moreover, political power can be brought to bear: by two other branches of the national government; by every state in the union; and by popular opinion and public action.

It is perfectly true that the Fourteenth Amendment has an enforcement clause that in practical terms gives Congress a living power to redefine and re-explain; and which gives the Supreme Court a concomitant responsibility to reinterpret law that keeps on changing.  This has led to the Court erroneously describing the Constitution itself as a “living” document.  Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 (and other civil rights legislation), which invested legal rights in groups.  The Court attributed constitutional basis for these rights of groups to various clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, such as due process and equal protection.  African-Americans and other minorities were given specific rights, now positive legal prerogatives, and so were women, immigrant aliens, persons with disabilities, and juveniles—and soon will be added homosexuals.  Moreover, the Supreme Court has expanded or redefined the rights attendant to national citizenship, making them more expansive than anything state citizenship confers.

With incorporation of the Bill of Rights into national citizenship, the Supreme Court has turned nearly every right over to the Congress for redefinition and turned over to itself the same rights for interpretation.  That’s why incorporation of the Second Amendment in 2010 [McDonald v. Chicago] is hardly a lasting victory for gun rights advocates, and we are very much finding this out.  The Supremacy Clause matters less and concurrent powers are no object if/when the area of citizenship rights attendant to the States is simply shrunk down by Congress and the Supreme Court.  Rights are in effect subsumed and almost certainly later redefined.  There is no area left standing for states to interpose either, in order to protect an individual.  The constitutional regime in which we live is therefore post-federal and our nation today resembles a consolidated national republic more so than a republic-of-republics, or compound republic, as intended by the Founders.  I would also add that our political class (of both parties), resemble a two-sided oligarchy.

Secession in the Current Constitutional Regime

Now ‘If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.’  Let me make it clear, I am not advocating secession but only addressing its legality and constitutional theory.  Secession can be denied by the federal government in the particular instance it is tried, but that devolves entirely into a political matter of will and raw power—and de facto suspension in the normal operations of the Constitution.  In such a case, the hiatus is likely to give way to the emergence of separate states or to another constitutional regime after war and martial rule.  Politically, the likelihood is slim the federal government will acquiesce peacefully or even negotiate in good faith.  The reason is that the Constitution has indeed been reframed, and we are living in a constitutional regime far removed from Appomattox or post-Civil War amendments, and much farther from Founders’ Original Intent.

We live at a time when civil rights have been specified and attributed to groups and almost the entire Bill of Rights has been incorporated by the Supreme Court, applied to all persons based on the Fourteenth Amendment but subject regularly to reinterpretation of meaning and changes in the practical requirements of implementation.  It may very well be that the national government will conclude that its responsibility extends well beyond the guarantee of a Republican Form of Government (Art. IV, Section 4) to full guarantee of many specific rights to all persons in every state, which renders secession inconceivable from that standpoint.  The very same liberal lords in academe and lazy media muckraking accomplices, who often decry America’s genocidal past and pseudo-colonialist behavior abroad, will be the first to support sending tanks in to crush Texas—in order to preserve the Union, as well as to protect the hypothetical poor and disadvantaged minorities, as well as all future persons who might be oppressed by the State.

Nevertheless, since this constitutional regime has not been shaped by specific constitutional amendments, but rather by acts of Congress and changing interpretations of the Supreme Court, the probability of success for Texas Independence is, well, entirely political by definition.  If the War Between the States resulted from political failure, at least the War did not change the Constitution concerning the nature of such contest, then or now.  It just very much depends: it depends on the Third American Party System today as it depended on the Second American Party System then; it depends on the will of Texans primarily and on the skill of Texas leaders especially; and it also depends on the level of statecraft, scruples and prejudices of leaders of these United States—both national and in the other sovereign States.

The use of the word indivisible in both the U.S. and the Texas “Pledges of Allegiance,” is technically (from a legal standpoint) erroneous, and it is also morally suspect, in that, it obscures the people’s free will and natural right.  As mentioned, the Joint Resolution annexing Texas to the United States in 1845 authorizes an additional four states to be carved out of her territory—it is an unused provision but here is what it says: “New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the federal constitution.

One legal option would be to secede by breaking up, and I suppose the four new states at least could join back together, alone or elsewhere.  It puts the lie to political marriage without divorce or of so-called “perpetual union,” language not in the Constitution but found only in the Articles of Confederation.  That union may involve something more than a compact, but it did not involve Texas.  The Original Thirteen States might have to fend for themselves on this point.  Even Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, who believed the Articles were part of Organic Law establishing a perpetual union, and who had been a cabinet member under Lincoln, indicated that secession was still possible “through revolution or through consent of the States”—and this is from the famous Supreme Court case, Texas v. White (1869).  In other words, in 1861 the only thing missing was consent of the United States!

Texas might very well gain consent through state legislatures if not through the national government itself.  Lest one conclude that it would be impossible to gain 100% approval from states directly, then one could certainly recur to a constitutional amendment, which requires just three-quarters of the states whether that proposed amendment for secession comes from two-thirds of both chambers of Congress or by a national convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the states.

If a revolution occurs instead, then a Tribunal of Arms decides the outcome, but even that is case by case and never once and for all.  The Supreme Court has made it clear that whenever the United States shall not consent to secession, and should a State try to secede anyway, then it shall enter a state of rebellion or revolution.  And if said rebellion fail, the interpretive framework the Supreme Court has applied is that a State shall only temporarily lose the privileges of Union membership but cannot lose membership in the Union itself.  Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase again: the federal Constitution “in all its provisions looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.”  What it means is that Reconstruction must end, and when it does a State can start its secessionist drive all over again.  If and when it is finally successful, from the standpoint of the Union there may indeed arise, a “perpetual vacancy”—theoretically at least, until the prodigal state decides to return, if ever.  Now this is actually very good news.  Moreover, it is the way it must be so long as there is any duality left, that is, any federalism defined as dual sovereignty, with even a morsel remaining to the States.

To rearrange some familiar jargon, ‘If people or facilities are separate they are not equal.’  Ironically it is a basic principle of American Freedom!  In the case of the federal Constitution, separate trumps equality and holds power at bay; and separate is normatively superior to universal sameness.  The danger of consolidation at its extreme is that at the moment duality disappears in terms of sovereignty, we are enslaved.  To put it into science fiction parlance: ‘Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!’  The resulting situation is the opposite of a federated republic or Liberty in which power is divided and there are checks and balances vertically, à la states rights and respective self-determination of societies within each state, as conceived by our Founders.  Fortunately we do not have a unitary system of government, albeit that is the aim of European-styled Socialists and logically part of the agenda of any hidden Conspiracy to be effective.  Just knowing this helps.  Andrew Sullivan, an ultraliberal panelist speaking on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on October 28, 2012 said that he believes the country is now engaged in a Cold Civil War.  He sees resurgence of the Confederacy under the banner of the Republican Party.

While I don’t agree with his hypothesis or with the explicit charge of racism against the South and Republicans, I like to hope at least that he’s on to something.  Indeed, they say that ‘Hope is the last thing that dies in man,’ but Texans should add: ‘save possibly, Defiance!’  Texas is unique in the context of national polity today, and I do pray that we remain defiant and dedicated to Liberty and to the ideals of the American and Texas Revolutions.  Moreover, it seems to me that no matter what happens, we did not leave this Country but the Country has left us—constitutionally, morally and philosophically, and this could precede a political separation in the future.  My strong preference is to see a restoration of the Constitution and the “independence” that comes from an appropriate respect by the federal government for the Tenth Amendment.  Thank you very much.


Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer who holds a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an M. Phil. with Distinction, in Modern History from Oxford University.  He is a former Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission and is currently on faculty at Central Texas College as Professor of Government.  He may be contacted at

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