Saturday, April 25, 2009

One of the biggest fools on the editorial pages is Leonard Pitts Jr. When I discovered he won the Pulitzer five years ago it only reinforced my belief that the Pulitzer is a politically-motivated prize given to left-wing writers regardless of the quality of their work. Seriously, Pitts is just a boob. Poor reasoning, regardless of who it is from or what the person is saying, whether I agree with their contention or not, is like claws on chalk board to me. The editorial pages are filled with non sequiturs and Pitts accounts for about 20% of those, among all columnists.

His most recent article is about the tea party protests, specifically the remarks by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

''When we came into the Union in 1845,'' he told reporters, ``one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, pay attention. We've got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that?''

You may read it twice if you wish, but it does not improve upon repetition. To the contrary, it becomes all the more incredible. That is, indeed the Republican governor of Texas -- not a yahoo from some group of gun-toting goobers that meets in the woods, but the honorable James Richard Perry himself -- saying Texas doesn't like the way things are going in this country and suggesting that if we don't get our act together, his state might take its mountains and rivers and go home.

For the record, Texas last tried that in 1861. It didn't work out so well.

That it is borderline traitorous for Perry to obliquely threaten it might be tried again goes without saying. That it is dangerously irresponsible in a nation where there are, in fact, goobers in the woods with guns, is likewise obvious. And no, I am not unaware of the legal theses which hold that any state has the right to leave the Union, though I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln that the nation that would stand passively by and watch itself disintegrate is unworthy of the name.

Hooookay..... So, when a governor of a state points out the the Federal government is bound by the Constitution to leave all powers not delegated by the Constitution to the states or to the people, and when he further points out that all states' membership in the US is voluntary and can be revoked at any time the people of the state choose to, he's "borderline traitorous"? For what? Citing the US Constitution, and the political philosophy explicitly laid down by this nation's founders? See what I mean about poor reasoning from this guy?

Also notice the references to the Civil War. Well it may interest Pitts to know that Texas did indeed have the right to secede at the time, just as it does now. It had only been a part of the US for twenty years. The reasons for which the Southern states decided to secede are irrelevant when it comes to the legality of secession. I have every legal right to refuse to shop at my local Wal-Mart if I decide that I don't want to shop their because the manager is black. It makes me a bigot and a fool, but it doesn't make me legally wrong.

To further complicate the issue of the Civil War, a huge percentage of the South's people were slaves, and thus many of them had no say about the decision to secede. To furtherly further complicate things, many slaves were in favor of secession! I point all of this out not to wave the Confederate flag or make some kind of argument in favor of slavery or bigotry or whatever, but merely to point out what a complicated, troubling issue the Civil War was--not at all like the black and white, one-sided version of history we are taught.

In any event, it is not traitorous to say what Perry said. If it were traitorous, my question is, traitorous to whom? The country? You can't betray countries, you can only betray people. How do you betray people by dissolving your relationship with them if you feel they are placing burdens on you and passing laws for you to follow which you feel they have no right to do? Which is more traitorous? For Group A to tell Group B, "sorry, we're splitting because you are taking my money, and forcing me into things I don't like and that you don't have the right to tell me to do," or for Group B to say to Group A "give me your money and follow these rules."

This is not to say that Texas ought to secede. That is for the Texans, and ONLY for the Texans, to decide. This is only to lay down the terms of the argument. One thing you will see me going on about a lot on this blog is the poor quality of debate that most people have. People often debate poorly, just as they often reason poorly.

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