The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An argument against compromise

Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of what we call the Civil War. It really isn't, I don't think, but we have a tendency to set some specific date as a reference point for history.

Why do I say the Civil War didn't start on April 12th, 1861 when Fort Sumter was fired upon by rebel forces? Because it began, in my view, on September 13, 1788 when the U.S. Constitution was deemed ratified. I say that because the Constitution laid the foundation for the eventuality, the inevitability, of the Civil War. But we tend to think in terms of specific dates and events to mark the beginning of such things. I tend to think of when such events become (became?) inevitable.

In the case of the Civil War, the Constitution did not resolve the issues of slavery and sovereignty of the individual states and so we were set on a path to violent confrontation over these two issues. In reading about the Constitutional Convention of 1787, it became clear to me that it was the second instance of "kicking the can down the road" for both of these issues. Why did they put off the issues? In order to reach an agreement. They deliberately postponed resolution of these two key issues in order to prevent a civil war at the outset, the beginning, of our republic.

Over the years between 1788 and 1861, there were a number of compromises which further stalled off the coming civil war. The first one came just two years after ratification, in 1790. Followed by The Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the second Missouri Compromise in 1850.

There were many instances of violent confrontation over at least one of the issues, slavery, between 1790 and 1861. They were just not officially sanctioned by any state.

The other thing which comes to mind is the question of why we celebrate the beginning of open and formal hostilities. But that is way too dark and deep and complex to even think about.

No comments: