Monday, October 31, 2005


Gibbons Burke has a nice piece on HL Mencken here. Burke deals honestly and fairly with the attacks on Mencken over race, among other matters.

Mencken's Credo is as good today as it was when written generations ago:

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
I believe in the reality of progress.
I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Sunday, October 30, 2005

White Man's Burden?

Was the A-Bomb's use based on race? In an interesting essay by Mick Hume, a revisionist case for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing as expression of American racism is made. Hume makes several telling points. The following is an excerpt from his essay:
"The only language [the Japanese] seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true."
--Truman, 8/11/1945 letter justifying the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 1993 Gar Alperovitz obtained... US National Security Agency intercepts of secret enemy wartime communications... [O]ne document quotes a German diplomat reporting back to Berlin on the state of Japan on 5 May 1945:
"since the situation is clearly recognised to be hopeless, large sections of the Japanese armed forces would not regard with disfavour an American request for capitulation even if the terms were hard"
(New York Times, 8/11/93). Alperovitz has noted that the president's rediscovered diary 'leaves no doubt that Truman knew the war would end "a year sooner now" and without an invasion' (Nation, 5/10/93).

Dwight D Eisenhower, the wartime Supreme Allied Commander in Europe who went on to become US president, later admitted that 'the Japanese were ready to surrender and we didn't have to hit them with that awful thing' (Newsweek, 11/11/63).

Why in the world was Japan to be the target? Hume continues.

On 23 April 1945, General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, sent a memo to Henry L Stimson, the American Secretary of War, on plans for using the Bomb. It included the striking observation that '[t]he target is and was always expected to be Japan.'

When he unearthed this memo during research in the 1990s, Arjun Makhijani discussed its implications with leading scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project. He reports that they were 'amazed' to learn of Groves' attitude, 50 years after the event. Most leading members of the Manhattan project team were east European emigres, who had agreed to work on the Bomb only on the understanding that the Nazis were both the target and their competitors. Joseph Rotblat, the Polish scientist, told Makhijani that 'there was never any idea [among the scientists] that [the Bomb] would be used against Japan. We never worried that the Japanese would have the Bomb. We always worried what Heisenberg and the other German scientists were doing. All of our concentration was on Germany' (see A Makhijani, 'Always the target', Bulletin of AtomicScientists, May/June 1995). All of the concentration of the political and military strategists, however, was on using the Bomb against the Japanese.

The first American discussion about possible targets for an atomic attack took place in May 1943, at a meeting of the high-powered Military Policy Committee. At that time, a year before the D-Day invasion and two years before VE-Day, Hitler's Germany was still very much a player in the war. Yet the committee's automatic assumption was that Japan would be the target. General Groves' summary of the meeting records how '[t]he point of use of the first bomb was discussed and the general view appeared to be that its best point of use would be on a Japanese fleet concentration in the Harbour of Truk. General Styer suggested Tokyo...'.

That Japan was already assumed to be the target was confirmed later in 1943, when the B-29 was chosen as the plane the USA would use to drop the Bomb. The distance the B-29 could fly made it the only bomber suitable for use in the Pacific. As one study has observed, 'had Germany been the primary target, the choice would hardly have fallen on an aircraft never intended for the European theatre' (RG Hewlett and OE Anderson, The New World, 1962, p253). The targeting of Japan was affirmed during a September 1944 meeting between British prime minister Winston Churchill and US president Roosevelt. The official summary of the meeting makes no mention of any possible use against Germany, but reports the Allied leaders' view that the Bomb 'might perhaps, after mature consideration, be used against the Japanese, who should be warned that this bombardment will be repeated until they surrender'.

The fact that Japan was always the target, and that Nazi Germany was not considered, demonstrates a potent double standard in Anglo-American foreign policy. And the basis of that double standard was the issue of race. To the Allies, Germany was a fellow white power which they had temporarily fallen out with; but Japan was an enemy alien, a nation apart. That was why the architects of the Holocaust in Europe were never mentioned as candidates for a 'humanitarian' bombing such as Hiroshima. Instead, the atomic bomb was aimed solely at the Japanese. They were considered legitimate targets because the Western powers considered them to be a lower race; as president Truman put it in the letter quoted above, the Japanese were no better than 'beasts', and to be treated accordingly.

Japan had been seen as a problem by the Western elites ever since its victory over Russia in 1905 catapulted it on to the world stage. Japan had emerged as a major capitalist power, but was never quite one of the club; it was not, in short, a white man. The notion of racial supremacy and the 'White Man's burden' lay at the heart of the ideology and self-image of the Western imperialists. An Asian nation could not be allowed to sit freely at the top table of world affairs.

The racial double standard in imperial politics was clearly demonstrated back at the Versailles conference which followed the First World War in 1919. While the Americans and the British affirmed their commitment to the new movements for national self-determination in Europe, they rebutted Japan's attempt to include a clause on racial equality in the covenant of the new League of Nations (forerunner of the UN). As one account puts it, the rejected Japanese amendment was 'palpably a challenge to the theory of the superiority of the white race on which rested so many of Great Britain's imperial pretensions' (AW Griswold, The Far Eastern Policy of the United States, 1966, p247).

The run-up to the Second World War was marked by escalating tensions between Japan, the USA and Britain over spheres of influence and trade in Asia and the Pacific. And always, the Western elites interpreted these conflicts through the prism of race. In 1938, three years before the Pacific War with Japan began, Antony Eden (later a Tory foreign secretary and prime minister) was already emphasising the importance of 'effectively asserting white-race authority in the Far East'. In 1939 Sir Frederick Maze, a top British official in China, described the coming conflict as 'not merely Japan against Great Britain' but also 'the Orient against the Occident - the Yellow race against the White race'.

The view of the Japanese as a less advanced race was so powerful, however, that many members of the Western elites - including Churchill - believed that Japan would not dare to fight the white powers, or would be quickly crushed if it did. Peering into Japanese-occupied China through the barbed-wire fences around British-occupied Hong Kong in 1940, the British commander-in-chief of the Far East described seeing 'various subhuman species dressed in dirty grey uniform, which I was informed were Japanese soldiers...I cannot believe they would form an intelligent fighting force'. The strength of this prejudice was such that, when war did break out and the British garrison at Hong Kong was strafed by enemy aircraft, many initially believed that German pilots must have been imported to do it, since the Japanese would not have been capable.

Against this background, the string of military successes which Japan achieved against the Americans and the British, Dutch and French colonialists between December 1941 and 1943 traumatised the Allied powers. The white imperialists had been beaten and humiliated by an Asian power, before the eyes of their colonial subjects. The effect, as one perceptive commentator notes, was to free the peoples of India and the rest of Asia from 'the spell of European invincibility' (see C Thorne, 'Racial aspects of the Far Eastern war of 1941-45', Proceedings of the British Council, 80, 1980).

'Japan's attack', wrote Dr Margery Perham at the time, 'has produced a very real revolution in race relationships' (Times, 13 March 1942). The abject British surrender to Japan in Singapore and Malaya was particularly damaging to the image of the old empires in Asia, as the president of Singapore's India Association was to reflect in 1945:
'the running away action of the Empire, both officers and non-officers, created a very deep impression in the minds of the people throughout Malaya [and] brought great disgrace on the white race generally.'

Reading through the Allied leaders' discussion of these events, the major concern which they voiced time and again was not so much about the loss of territory to Japan, but about the loss of prestige suffered by the white powers in the process. Islands and colonial outposts could always be won back; but the image of invincible racial superiority which the imperialists had built up over a century was lost forever. That is why, for the British authorities, the real impact of the loss of Singapore was 'not a strategic one, but a moral one' (L Allen, Singapore 1941-42, 1977, p259).

The fears over a loss of racial prestige also help to explain why the Allies were (and indeed remain) so sensitive about Japan's mistreatment of their prisoners of war. Allied POWs held by the Japanese suffered terribly, but most fared no worse than many other wartime prisoners. One in four Western POWs died in Japanese captivity; only the same proportion of Russians held in German camps survived.

What made Japan's mistreatment of Allied prisoners so uniquely controversial was the inversion of racial roles that it involved. In effect, the Japanese were treating white POWs in the way that white colonialists had treated entire Asian peoples - like coolies. General Thomas Blamey of Australia let the cat out of the bag when reporting on the mood of POWs released in 1945. 'The thing that has hurt our fellows more than harsh treatment', said Blamey, 'has been the loss of prestige amongst the natives by British personnel due to the ignominious treatment they have received at the hands of the Japs in the sight of the natives'. Fears over the loss of racial prestige in the Pacific War were so widespread in the West that even Hitler was reported to be ambivalent about the victories of his Japanese ally, complaining that with 'the loss of a whole continent....the white race [is] the loser'.

The Allies were acutely sensitive to the way that Japan's wartime propaganda played upon their weak spots of racial and national oppression. 'And everywhere', wrote one American observer, 'Tokyo makes good use of our greatest weaknesses - our past imperialism and our present racial discrimination' (SC Menefee, 'Japan's psychological warfare', Social Forces, May 1943). Under the slogan 'Asia for the Asiatics', Tokyo attacked Britain's bloody colonial record and presented Japan as the champion of Indian freedom. After the surrender of Singapore, 45,000 captured Indian troops were addressed by a Japanese major. 'Japan is fighting for the liberation of the Asiatic nations which have been for so long trodden under the cruel heels of British imperialism. Japan is the liberator and the friend of Asiatics.' Around 25,000 Indian soldiers eventually changed sides, and joined the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army to fight against the British.

When they came to attack America, Japanese propagandists concentrated on the treatment of racial minorities within the USA. They made great play of the immigration laws which barred Chinese and Indians from entering the USA. And the systematic segregation employed against blacks in America proved even richer pickings. In the article quoted above, Selden Menefee noted that 'the Deep South is our India', and quoted this Tokyo radio broadcast of August 1942:

'How is the United States transmitting her ideas of the four freedoms into her living, into her labour and racial problems? What about her ever-present negro problem? Her notorious lynchings [are] a rare practice even among savages....The Americans prove and advertise to the whole world by their actions that they have completely forgotten that negroes are just as much a part of humanity as they are themselves.'

The Allies had no effective answer to this kind of propaganda. It touched on the raw nerves of Western imperialists who claimed to be fighting a war for freedom and against fascism, while practising racial and national oppression themselves. As Mahatma Gandhi pointed out to Roosevelt in 1942,
'the Allied declaration that [they] are fighting to make the world safe for freedom of the individual sounds hollow, so long as India, and for that matter Africa, are exploited by Great Britain, and America has the negro problem in her own home'
. Indeed the Western elites had become so insecure on these issues that their fears of racial and colonial unrest being stirred up by the Japanese during the war often outweighed any real immediate threat. So there was a constant debate about the growing threat of Pan-Asian unity, even though that 'movement' was largely a myth. There was even a serious discussion among the fearful US authorities about the possibility that American blacks might actively side with Japan.

The racial dimension made the Japanese a very different enemy from the Germans. The Japanese posed not just a military threat to the old imperial order, but a political challenge to white power that could spark the fires of Asian nationalism. The leaders of the Allied powers saw the Pacific War as a life-and-death struggle to salvage the prestige of the Western elites. They had been humiliated by 'Asiatics'. As a consequence they were fighting a race war, in which the enemy had to be not just contained, but crushed if the white powers were to retain any authority in Asia. The extent to which they saw the Japanese as different was reflected in the ruthless attitudes and actions adopted by Allied governments and forces during the Pacific War, culminating in the decision to drop the White Man's Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Throughout the conflict, the Japanese were depicted and treated as a lower race. These attitudes predated Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. America's president Roosevelt, the leader of Western liberalism, seriously considered the proposition that the Japanese were evil because their skulls were 2000 years less developed than the white man's civilised cranium, and that the solution might be to encourage some cross-breeding to create a new 'Euroindoasian' race that could isolate the Japanese. On the British side, Churchill was always noted for espousing the blunt racial attitudes of his Edwardian background, disparaging Asian peoples as 'dirty baboos' and 'chinks' in need of a good thrashing with 'the sjambok'. And Churchill was far from the exception. In the months before the Pacific War began, the diary of Sir Alexander Cadogan of the British Foreign Office records Cadogan's own views of the Japanese as 'beastly little monkeys' and 'yellow dwarf slaves'.

Once the war with Japan had begun, these prejudices were no longer confined to the private diaries and dinner party conversations of the Western elite. Instead, the politics of racial superiority were made public by Allied propagandists, and put into practice by the US and British military.

The American press branded Japan 'a racial menace', and routinely depicted the Japanese as monkeys, mad dogs, rats and vermin. Hollywood war movies emphasised the sadistic character of Japanese soldiers, who seemed to break the rules of 'civilised' warfare in every film. Allied propagandists made a clear distinction between their two major enemies. They showed the problem in Europe not as the whole German nation, but as Hitler and the Nazis. In Asia, by contrast, the enemy was 'the Japs' - an entire malignant race. As one of the best studies of the race war in the Pacific points out, 'Western film-makers and publicists found a place for the "good German" in their propaganda, but no comparable counterpart for the Japanese' (J Dower, War Without Mercy, 1986, p322n).

The racial denigration of the Japanese did not only happen in the movies. In America, the only German immigrants interned were those with suspected Nazi connections. Meanwhile, 120,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them born US citizens, were indiscriminately rounded up in camps. Asked to justify this treatment, General De Witt announced bluntly that 'a Jap is a Jap'. Meanwhile in the Pacific war zone, working on the assumption that the only good Jap was a dead one, Admiral William Halsey of the US Navy urged his men to make 'monkey meat' out of the Japanese, and demanded that any Japanese survivors of the war should be rendered impotent.

The lower ranks took their lead from above. The US Marine Monthly "Leatherneck" counselled the extermination of the 'Louseous Japanicus', depicted as a vicious Asiatic cockroach. One US marine explained the racial outlook which made it easy for his comrades to slaughter the Japanese and mutilate their bodies on the battlefield:
'The Japanese made the perfect enemy. They had many characteristics that an American marine could hate. Physically they were small, a strange colour and, by some standards, unattractive....Marines did not consider that they were killing men. They were wiping out dirty animals.'
(Quoted in J Weingartner, 'Trophies of war: US troops and the mutilation of Japanese war dead, 1941-45', Pacific Historical Review, February 1992)

If the Americans were happy 'wiping out dirty animals' with bayonets and flame-throwers on the beaches of Pacific islands, why should they worry about wiping out two whole cities of 'beasts' with the atom bomb?

At the same time as they were fighting a ruthless race war against the Japanese, the US authorities understood that there could be no return to old colonial arrangements in Asia after the war. The 'revolution in race relationships' triggered by Japan's victories, and the rise of nationalist sentiment, saw to that. Washington's concern was to reach an accommodation with the anti-colonial movements which would leave intact as much of the past power relations as possible, and so preserve the authority of the West. To that end, in 1942 the US government declared that the European powers' Far Eastern colonies should be 'liberated after the war, and such possessions should be placed under an international trusteeship to assist the peoples to attain political maturity'. The dual emphasis on reforming the colonial system while leaving the former colonies under 'international' (that is, Western) supervision reflected America's 'welldefined commitment to maintaining the prewar structure of Asian politics...not a concern with abstract rights and freedoms for Asians' (A Iriye, Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War 1941-45, 1981, p81). In Washington's vision of a new Asian order, the white powers led by America would still hold the whip hand over the 'immature' native peoples.

The Allied powers understood that crushing the Japanese remained the precondition for reaching such an accommodation with the new Asian nationalism. Japan had acted as the catalyst for change in the colonial world, and its victories over the white powers had revolutionised race relations in Asia. That humiliation had to be avenged and that threat extinguished before the Western powers could re-establish their dominance.

Admiral Leahy, Roosevelt's close adviser, expressed the widely held fear that 'unless we administer a defeat to Japan in the near future, that nation will succeed in combining most of the Asiatic people against the whites'. In May 1943, when a top US government committee first discussed the question of how to treat Japan after the war, the navy's representative, Captain HL Pence, was in no doubt that 'Japan should be that the country could not begin to recuperate for 50 years'. The war was 'a question of which race was to survive....we should kill them before they kill us'. The Japanese 'should not be dealt with as civilised human beings. The only thing they would respect was force applied for a long time'. Two years later, in May 1945, a US official in China named Robert Ward warned that Japan had exposed the peoples of the East to 'a virus that may yet poison the whole soul of Asia and ultimately commit the world to racial war that would destroy the white man and decimate the Asiatic'.

The myth that the bombing of Hiroshima was intended to save lives turns the truth completely on its head; the planning meetings which preceded the attack seemed to conclude that the intention was to kill as many people as possible, in order that the American bomb might make the most dramatic impact on the world.

On 31 May 1945, the Interim Committee (formed to advise the president on the use of the Bomb), met to discuss using atomic weapons against the Japanese. The committee comprised the leading political, military and scientific figures involved in the Manhattan Project. The two key players at this meeting were the top chemist and former president of Harvard University, James B Conant, and the Secretary of War, Henry L Stimson. The minutes record their conclusions:
'At the suggestion of Dr Conant, the secretary agreed that the most desirable target would be a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers' houses.'

Hiroshima fitted the bomb sights. On 6 August it was destroyed, followed by Nagasaki on 9 August. The racial aspects of the fearful bombing were not lost on either side. Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King was one of many to express his private relief that the Bomb had not been dropped on the 'white races' in Europe (see Times, 3 January 1976). In Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient, the angry reaction of Kip, the Sikh soldier, on hearing of Hiroshima captures the mood of many in the colonial world: "All those speeches of civilisation from kings and queens and presidents…. American, French, I don't care. When you start bombing the brown races of the world, you're an Englishman". For some reason that passage did not appear in the Hollywood film of the book.

Hume has made a powerful point about the racist motives of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki boming. A lesson that we need to remind ourselves when the U.S. government is involved in war once more.
Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Friday, October 28, 2005

Online Donisthorpe!

Liberty Fund's Online Library of Liberty now has two of the great British Individualist Wordsworth Donisthorpe's books on their website: Individualism: A System of Politics (1889) and Law in a Free State (1895). He wrote a number of other works, but these are some of his best. They also have an essay of his, "The Limits of Liberty" (1891) from A Plea For Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation which is a fine expression of his ideas.
Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


[Wilberforce...]would frequently introduce a private member’s Bill abolishing slavery. Year after year his Bills were defeated until, finally, late on Friday July 26, 1833, as he lay on his deathbed, his friend, Thomas Babington Macaulay, the famous historian and member of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Dominions, brought him word that the Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire had been read a third time (which means that it had been passed) by the House of Commons. Passage of the Bill through the House of Lords was assured. Wilberforce exclaimed:
"Thank God that I have lived to witness the day in which England is willing to give £20 million for the abolishment of slavery."

Gary Galles' Remembering Thomas Babington Macaulay on' blog is a welcome comment on Macaulay (10/25/1800-12/28/1859). There were several years that I spent with Macauley's works, particularly Miscellaneous Writings and Historical and Critical Essays, by my bedside when I was convinced that few libertarians were interested in history. This sage classical liberal historian (and great-uncle of another, G.M. Trevelyan), author of the often reprinted History of England, antislavery activist (and one of the founders of the Anti-Slavery Society), writer on many themes (probably best known for his Edinburgh Review essays), including antislavery, utilitarianism (which he embraced following in the lines of Joseph Priestly and Jeremy Bentham), ancient Rome, Milton, Macchiaveli, copyright, and the contested legacy of colonialism.

At Trinity College as a student, he fought to bring an end to the rule that forbade a discussion of public affairs at the Student Union later than those of the last century. He became elected to Parliament (all of us has some skeletons in our closet, after all) for the first seat for Leeds, traditionally, a hotbed of radical classical liberals (Samuel Smiles, Edward Baines (Sr. and Jr.), Wordsworth Donisthorpe, and many others) he was known for both his oratory and his writings, as mentioned before, primariy the History of England.

As a life-long student of history and admirer of Macauley, I would recommend his writings. Some of his books are long and, to be honest, I prefer his shorter prose (not his poetry), which I find more precise. Any historian of classical liberalism must take time to consider his legacy.

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Introduction to Bogg's "Our Political Protest.

This is a classic expression of the Reformed beliefs on the problems with the U.S. Constitution in particular and secular society in general. From the time of Calvin, John Knox and the Scottish Covenanters, the Reformed tradition has been critical of the foundations of any political agency.

The influence of the Puritan and Reformed principles was a cause of the American Revolution. During the constitutional debates in the U.S., there were certainly strong reasons why they were held in secret. At that time, the Reformed churches were far more influential throughout the American Confederation than in 1872 when this tract was originally printed, and were the constitution publicly debated at the time of its inception, it is doubtful that the framers would have been successful. Many of the reasons can be found in the arguments expressed in "Our Political Protest. Why Covenanters do not Vote."

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Friday, October 14, 2005

Boggs' Our Political Protest.

Our Political Protest.
Why Covenanters do not Vote.
Reformed Presbyterian Congregation,
Brooklyn, N.Y.
NEW YORK: John J. Caulon, Book and Job Printer, 47 Liberty Street, 1872

[Rev. J(ohn) H(aslett) Boggs [p. 445] (b. 12/7/1837), son of John and Annabella (Haslett) Boggs, was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania into a family of members of the Allegheny congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Graduating from Allegheny City College (1860), he studied theology in the Allegheny Seminary, and became licensed by the Pittsburgh Presbytery (4/12/1864). He was ordained by the New York Presbytery and installed as pastor (12/14/1864-11/29/1880) of the congregation of Brooklyn, New York (begun 6/15/1857.[p. 403] He transferred to the Philadelphia Presbytery (4/16/1881) and was installed pastor (4/26/1881-6/4/1887) of the Hermon congregation, Frankford, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent time in California for his health, later returning back to the East. He married M.A. Taylor, of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1865. He was editor (along with Rev. J.C.K. Milligan and Rev. David Gregg) of the monthly Our Banner (1/15/1874-88?), published in New York, NY, devoted to the principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. [p. 787]- from History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America; with Sketches of All Her Ministry, Congregations, Missions, Institutions, Publications, etc., and Embellished with Over Fifty Portraits and Engravings by W. Melancthon Glasgow, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore: Hill & Harvey, Publishers. 1888). This is the first reprint of this antipolitical tract. I have noted elsewhere that the Reformed tradition shunned secular affairs, with many works extolling these ideas since Calvin and Knox, but it should be noted that one can find elements of this in many other Christian (and other) religious schools of thought. Indeed, one can find echoes of libertarian antipolitical principles in a wide stripe of social movements throughout the world even today.-Kenneth R. Gregg]

Psalm XCIV, 20: Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship
with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

The Psalmist is finding consolation in affliction. Suffering under the evils of a wicked administration he is comforted with this thought, that God does not patronize an unjust civil power. To present this truth with the strongest emphasis, it is put in the interrogative form: "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?" No.! God has no fellowship, is not associated, is not allied, with an unrighteous administration.

"Throne"--the governing power, when it is iniquitous, perverts judgment, oppresses; when the principles upon which the power governs are not according to truth and righteousness, so that evil is legalized and iniquity can plead constitutional authority; can it be supposed that God has any responsibility by partnership in that throne? "They have set up kings, but not by me." He disclaims all responsibility in the constitution and administration of such power. "Not by me."

It is the duty and privilege of God's people, as true servants and loyal subjects of His authority, to take position with Him. "Ye are my witnesses," saith the Lord. The witness must be true to the truth. If God denies fellowship with civil power, constituted and administered in unrighteousness, the witness must not bring reproach upon the name and cause of God, by professing or seeking fellowship with it. If it is inconsistent with the holy and righteous character of God to be in alliance with a throne of iniquity, it is inconsistent with the professed character of His servant to incorporate with it. If the power set up is not by God, it should not be exercised by His people.

These thoughts lead us into an inquiry concerning the grounds of our political dissent. As Reformed Presbyterians we have always held this position, and recently, by solemn oath, have bound ourselves in covenant to faithfully maintain it, until the reform we seek has been secured.

In examining this subject, it is important that we should first state precisely the point against which our protest is directed. From what do we dissent?

1. We dissent from the Government, not the Nation. We are careful to distinguish here, otherwise our dissent may be misunderstood, and our cause exposed to reproach.

The Nation is not the Government, nor the Government the nation. We cannot confound them; they differ widely. A nation first exists; the character and form of its government is determined afterwards. A nation exists, although its form of government may be changed many times in its history. France is a nation do-day, yet the imperial government is destroyed. All persons living within defined territorial limits may constitute a nation, but all may not constitute the government. Government exists within a narrower circle; sometimes limited to a single individual. Wherever sovereignty is exercised there is the Government. In Great Britain it is distributed among classes, but does not reach all. Here it is more widely distributed, but not co-extensive with the Nation. In this Nation all male adults, with some limitations, form a society in which sovereignty is vested. This society is the Government. Its will directs and controls the national life. It has its written constitution, on the principles of which it enacts and administers law for all the people. This political body is the throne.

By the provisions of this society we are recognized as members, because of birth in this land; or, if from abroad and resident here, are eligible to membership. The association is voluntary. We do not choose to exercise the right of sharing in the Government. We waive the privilege of the throne. We do not deny all our rights and privileges of citizenship. We do not dissent from the nation. This is our nation, by birth or choice; we cannot deny it; we would not if we could. We disown all allegiance to any other civil power. We rejoice in the privilege of our citizenship here. We acknowledge, as binding upon us, all lawful obligations of citizenship, and will endeavor conscientiously to discharge them; otherwise we have not the right of protest, and our dissent has no claim for consideration.

As subjects and citizens, we dissent from the Government. We do not desire partnership in the controlling power. We will not go to the polls, for that is to exercise sovereignty. We will not use the Elective Franchise, for in that we use the crown. We will not touch the ballot, for the ballot is the scepter. We do not choose to govern. We dissent and protest.

II. Some reasons why we refuse to administer government. We admit that grave reasons must be assigned when one declines to share the burdens and responsibilities of civil power. The nation must have government. Sovereignty must be exercised somewhere, by some party, or the nation dies. The service is imperative and honorable as well.

In these times of official corruption we recognize the urgent call for the votes of all honest men. The motive in the efforts that are occasionally made for the reform of government we appreciate. We affirm that the citizen who absents himself from the polls on the day of election should be required to give good reasons before he is excused. We are not found there, and are ready to give an answer. We ask for these reasons of dissent thoughtful consideration.

First, to state negatively. We refuse to administer Government not because we are dissatisfied with the form of Government. We are not monarchists. We believe in government for the people by the people. The privilege of the ballot we esteem as very precious; worth all that it has cost the Nation in the early struggle, and we would resist, even unto blood, any attempt to wrest it from the hands of the people.

Not because the Administration is corrupt. Many good men are discouraged, and turn from party politics with disgust. Ungodly and irresponsible men in many departments hold the reins. Reforms in the administration are attended with much difficulty and expense. Primary meetings and nominating conventions are controlled in the interests of Rings. Elections are carried, oftentimes, by illegal voting and false counting. For these reasons some men are losing faith in the ballot, and refuse to exercise it. Turning to their private interests, they abandon the Government to the worst of men. We do not dissent on these grounds. In the growing corruption of the administration we would find an argument for greater effort and sacrifice to redeem it. Good men should not be permitted to throw the ballot away so carelessly.

Second, to state affirmatively. We refuse to govern because the Government is constituted and administered on principles contrary to the revealed will of God.

We cannot be true to God and true to our office in Government-they conflict. As, for example: 1. The Government is constituted on the principle that there is no God. We believe that there is one living and true God, and that he is the source of all authority and power in Government. The Bible, which we have taken as the word of God, declares that civil power is an ordinance of God: "The powers that be are ordained of God." "By me kings reign." The Governing Society does not profess to believe this truth. They deny it when they assert, "We, the people, do ordain and establish," leaving out all reference to God and His authority. They have gone through the Constitution, and wherever the name of God might occur, they have carefully erased it, so that in reading this instrument you cannot discover the faintest trace of His name. So far has this determination to ignore God prevailed, that we find in the Constitution this astonishing inconsistency, a form of oath prescribed from which the name of God is blotted out. They deny God fellowship with them. They wish it understood that this throne is set up, but not by God: "We, the people," independent of God, "ordain and establish." I hear a hundred voices at once raised in protest against this construction of the words of the Constitution. Christian citizens grow almost indignant on first hearing charges of Atheism against this venerated instrument; but, upon examination and reflection, there is for indignation-shame and confusion of face. Alas, it is too true! The name of God is not there, nor His authority owned even by inference: "We, the people," have assumed the place and prerogatives of the Divine Sovereign. "It was an oversight," says a hasty apologist, "never intended." This apology is a sad compliment to the men who framed it. The facts on authentic record prove that it was a deliberate purpose, carried so far as to dismiss a motion for prayer in the opening of the sessions of the Convention framing the Constitution. [See Elliott's Debates, Vol. V., pages 253-55.] Another objector points us to the Christian features of the Administration-Prayer in Congress-Chaplains in the Army and Navy; official proclamations, recommending religious worship on Thanksgiving days and Fast days. These are expressions of the Christian sentiment of the people forced upon the Administration, and entirely without constitutional recognition and authority. They are tolerated as long as no objection is made, and officials are willing and obliging. They are not guaranteed.

The principles upon which we are asked, and sworn, to administer government are written out, and we must abide by the bond. We cannot appeal to the religious history of the people, and the prevailing Christian sentiment of the society, for principles upon which to base the administration; they are already defined and fixed, and must remain as authoritative until the Constitution is changed. We cannot accept civil power on the principle written in the bond. Here God is not acknowledged, and we are commanded to "acknowledge Him in all our ways;" especially would we acknowledge Him in Civil Government, where he has so clearly written His glorious name, and impressed the seal of His sovereign authority. "The powers that be are ordained of God."

2. Government is constituted on the principle that there is no revealed will of God for the government of nations. Having denied God, this Government Society rejects His Word. They do not believe in the Bible. They assign it no place, and will admit no appeal to its precepts. The Government recognizes no authority higher than its own will. Here is its profession--"This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." Act vi., cl., 2. The supreme law. God's Word, if it has any place, must take a subordinate one; yet even that is denied. It is granted no place at all. The Legislator may leave it at home; it has no authority in Congress. The Judge on the Bench may close it; it has no legal bearing on the question. The Jury do not need it on retiring; give them the statute laws under the Constitution, that is sufficient. The Officer in discharge of official duty has nothing whatever to do with--"Thus saith the Lord," only--"Thus saith the people." Two Police Commissioners, a few days ago, in the City of New York, dissenting from the action of the Board permitting the parade of the Communists on the Sabbath, gave as a reason that the "Sabbath was of Divine origin." The Communists reply that "there is no Constitutional restriction." The Police Commissioners had consulted the wrong authority. As officers, they should have been reading the Constitution, not the Bible, for law bearing on the case.

The right of the Bible to a place in the public schools is questioned. Courts and communities are much exercised over it. Those who have given the most careful study to our theory of Government, Christians as well as Infidels, are agreed that the Bible is a transgressor when found on the Teacher's desk. You are provoked with Henry Ward Beecher, and the Editor of the Independent, and others, who favor the motion of the Roman Catholic priest to remove the Bible; but these men are entirely consistent with the principles of the Governing Society in advocating the removal. If in any of these cases, now before the courts, the appeal is made to the Supreme Court of the United States, the decision will be upon the letter of the Constitution, and the Constitution recognizes no place for the Bible in any public department.

We cannot accept office on this principle. We have taken the Word of God as the only rule of our life. We recognize it as supreme authority in every relation of life. We hold that the moral law of God is binding on every moral person; and that the Nation is a moral creature of authority and do His will. If the Government rebels, saying: "Let us break His bands asunder, and cast away His cords from us," we do not choose to share the responsibility of the rebellion. We will not become a party to the crime of putting the will of any people higher than the will of the Lord our God. We will not govern with that people who will not govern by the Word of God. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." We will accept no office, nor ask any man to represent us in office, where it is required to put out this light and throw away this lamp. We yield the privilege of office, for we cannot deny the supremacy of this law.

3. It is denied by the Governing Society that Jesus Christ is the Governor of this nation. They will not have this man to reign over them. Having rejected the authority of God, and case aside His Word, they make no mention of His Son. The precept solemnly addressed to civil magistrates--"Kiss the Son"--is utterly disregarded. No notice is taken of His appointment to the Governorship of nations by God the Father. "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, when He raised Him from the dead, set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named." Eph.i.,17,20,21. "Who is the head of all principality and power." Col.ii, 10. Of the "many crowns" on His adorable brow this Governing Society sees none that they are bound to respect. It is written that He is "Prince of the kings of the earth," and this writing is put under the eye of the rulers here, but they pass by all His princely titles, even that royal one which the Spirit has emphasized, not only in repeating, but in the letters of the manuscript-written in capitals wherever this word comes: "King of kings and Lord of lords." The Government does not know Him by this name, and will not honor Him with this office. We cannot act with the Government in this rebellion. Our fathers, long since, bound us by oath to be faithful to His kingly authority. From the scaffold, where they sealed with their blood the truth concerning His royal claims, they exhorted us with expiring breath to be faithful to the vows of allegiance. By the light of the martyr's stake we have read that--"He is Prince of the kings of the earth;" so we believe, and so we testify, rejoicing in the privilege of pointing to His "many crowns," and to the name inscribed on His "vesture and His thigh." We cannot compromise this testimony. We cannot yield the claim of Christ's authority as king in this case. All power is given unto Him; we are not permitted to make exception in the case of this Government; God the Father, in the appointment of Christ as Mediator to an office "higher than the kings of the earth," has not excepted this throne. There must, then, be rebellion here, from the guilt of which we would free ourselves by protest.

This Governing Society invites us to share with them the privileges and responsibilities of Government. They say: "Come, take the ballot and rule with us; ascend the throne and administer law." In whose name and by what authority, we ask, shall we exercise this power? It is answered: "Only in the name and solely by the authority of the sovereign people." Will you permit us to say--by the will of Christ, and write His name above our name in office? We inquire. "No," it is answered; "it is unconstitutional; the will of the people is supreme; there is no name in this Government higher in authority than this name, 'We, the people.'" As loyal subjects and faithful witnesses for the royal rights of our Saviour King, we cannot accept the privilege of rule on these terms. We give you back the ballot you press us to take, if we cannot use it by His grace and for His glory. We turn from the throne you offer, for you deny it fellowship with Christ. We fear to usurp authority that belongs only to Him. We would not take a grown from His anointed head for all the honors in the give of this great people. If you exclude Christ from your Association for Government, if, in governing, you deny Him the Governor, you cannot, with our present testimony for His royal claims and our past contendings for the honor of his name, expect our fellowship. You must not count on our votes. We will not have any voice in this denial. We protest against it.

There is no question that so deeply stirs the Christian heart as that which respects the person of Christ. We are moved to all the sacrifice this Dissent costs by a zeal for His glory. We have continual sorrow that His name is not honored, nay, not known in the Government of our country. Other names have authority in law and influence in Congress, His has none. The will of the rabble expressed from the vilest haunts of the Metropolis is law in this Government, Christ's will is not. The Constitution does not recognize Jesus as Governor, nor His will as authority; we cannot consent to govern with this denial. Jesus has never denied us; we dare not deny Him. He gave His life for us; we should not hesitate to sacrifice for His glory. We move aside the ballot; we will not use it against Him. We yield the privilege of this corruptible crown; when, from the throne of His glory a crucified hand extends holding forth a diadem, outvying the stars in its luster, and a voice is heard saying, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." Even so Lord Jesus.

For these reasons we Dissent and Protest, and carry our Dissent so far as not to touch the Government at any point where an oath to the Constitution is required or implied. The Constitution being fundamental to all Government here, General, State, or Municipal, we do not share with it, even to vote for an officer, or hold the lowest office in county or town. The Infidelity and Atheism against which we protest, is fundamental to the system of Government, therefore we cannot incorporate with the Government at any point without guilt. We do not hold that our Dissent releases us from the discharge of all duties of citizenship; nor do we forfeit any of our privileges as citizens by our Dissent. It is required of us, and we conscientiously comply, that we support Government by the payment of lawful taxes. We recognize it as our duty and privlege to stand with our fellow-citizens in defence of the nation's life, or in protecting its territory. The records of the late Rebellion testify to our patriotism. None offered more willingly; few suffered less severely. Our soldiers' graves are very dear to us. The remembrance of our sacrifice, on many battle-fields, ever incites us to more earnest and faithful effort in seeking the reform of the Government of our country.

III. We are encouraged at this time in presenting our Protest:--1. From the present agitation of questions moral and religious. We are reading, morning by morning, in the secular press, a discussion under the caption, "The Bible War." The effort is made on one side to remove the Bible from the Teacher's desk, and on the other side to maintain its place and secure its daily reading. This discussion reveals the necessity of securing some better legal claim for the Bible in the schools than its friends have yet found. It is manifest that it is contrary to the genius and spirit of our Government, as at present constituted, that the Bible should have such a place. The evil lies just at the point where we Dissent and make our Protest--the Infidelity of the written Constitution which is fundamental and supreme law.

The question concerning the observance of the Christian Sabbath is forced upon the attention of the secular press. It is demanded, "by what authority the Council of a City or the Legislature of a State forces rest and quiet on this day?" Their action is reviewed in the light of the Constitution--the common charter of liberty and the bond supreme. The General Government recognizes no day as Holy. The Constitution makes no provision for Sabbath sanctification. The supreme law of the land in its letter and spirit, releases from all obligation to keep this day holy. Congress interprets the Constitution on this question, by holding sessions on the Sabbath and transacting secular business, as frequently as agreeable to their pleasure. Christian sentiment is not strong enough to enforce the observance of the Sabbath with the Constitution and the Supreme Court against it. The evil of which the Christian community complain is fundamental in this Government. You must change the supreme law on this question; then the Police will know how to act, and Foreigners what to expect.

There are other grave questions in which there is difference of opinion and diversity of legislation, where Christianity is on one side and Atheism and Infidelity on the other, that must be decided against Christianity when the final appeal is taken. These issues of the hour are directing attention to the truth in our Protest, and revealing the necessity for the change in the Constitution for which we have so long labored.

2. We are encouraged by the active efforts of earnest men for political reform. The errors and corruption of Government are manifesting the source of the evil, and directing the attention and effort of earnest reformers. A society, steadily increasing in numbers and influence, embracing men of all political parties and various religious creeds, is laboring to secure a religious amendment to the Constitution covering the points of our protest. From the platform in the conventions of the "National Reform Association for securing Religious Amendments." Governors of States, Judges of Courts, and Congressmen, unite with Clergymen in protesting against the irreligious features of our Constitution. This Association, through its organ--the Christian Statesman--by its auxiliary societies and annual conventions, is agitating society. They are lifting up the truth contained in our protest, and with irresistible logic and eloquent words compelling attention.

Reform in Government is the order of the day. Corruption has become so outrageous that the people are beginning to make legal inquiry after their rulers. Our city officials may soon all be in jail. The Municipal Government in New York has broken down under the weight of its own iniquity. Tammany corruption is the latest sensation. This rousing to vigilance, and this demand for righteousness in the Administration, may lead to a more serious inquiry into the origin of all this evil. It is possible that some may find that the educating influence of our supreme law is not developing a class of rulers that fear God and hate covetousness. If Government has no conscience toward God, we cannot expect its officers will fear Him continually. If Government has no conscience toward God, we cannot expect its officers will fear Him continually. If Government will leave God out of view, even in the matter of the oath, we cannot expect that the oath will bind to fidelity and honesty. The tree is beginning to bear fruit. The fruit is very offensive, and an enraged people are striking at the branches. It will soon be discovered that the evil lies further down-at the root. The institution of Government that has fostered Tammany and made its corruption possible must have some fundamental errors in it. Thoughtful men must understand this and inquire whence it is. In this season of political distress we are encouraged to speak. "In their affliction they will seek me early."

3. We are encouraged in our protest by the arrogance of Infidelity in the community. Infidelity is growing impatient with Christianity. There is a disposition to tolerate no longer the Christian features of our Administration; one by one they are blasphemously assailed. Infidels beg us to remember that this is not a Christian nation, and warn us to beware how we trespass with our Bible, and our Sabbath and our prayers upon the free institutions of this Republic.

On last Sabbath Ten Thousand citizens appeared in procession in our streets, carrying the banner of the Commune--floating the flag of French Infidelity--in the face of worshipers on their way to and from the sanctuary. It was the saddest spectacle New York has ever witnessed. It revealed the strength of an organization, now bold enough to publicly trample upon the sanctity of the Sabbath, and mock at all that Christians hold dear. It revealed the development of one of the bitterest fruits of the Infidelity of our Constitution. Our fathers, in framing that instrument, hearkened to the council of French philosophers, and accepted the Infidel theory of Government, inviting this class to citizenship and authority. At last we behold French infidelity organized in our midst, flinging its God-dishonoring, law-despising banner in the face of this Republic; mocking at the Christianity of our people, and threatening the overthrow of our free institutions. We would ask those who were so deeply grieved and aggravated on last Sabbath to seriously consider how such an organization and procession became possible in this Christian community. What authority licensed it? The Constitution, the supreme authority, gives Infidelity this privilege. The Constitution was framed for Infidelity, not for Christianity. Infidelity is about to assert its rights, and take its terrible power and reign. In the opposition it is awakening the source of the evil may be discovered. That procession invites attention to the truth in our protest; men will read it now more thoughtfully. We have ever said that there is danger in the Atheism of the Constitution. We see it now in the flag of the Commune, followed and cheered by Ten Thousand citizens on our streets. There is no God, says the fundamental law. There is no God, shout the citizens.

4. We are encouraged by the promises and prophecy of the Word of God.

This Word assures us that Christ shall reign acknowledged by all nations on earth. "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him, and His enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him." The power is in His own hand; with Him also are the times and seasons. When He is pleased to exercise His power He will take the "heathen for His inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for His possession." Then the kingdoms of this world will "become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." "Men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed." Not one word of promise that He has spoken has ever failed; nor shall this fail. He shall reign acknowledged by thrones on earth. He will come by the power of His Spirit, and by strokes of judgment and with terrible things in righteousness take the crown and the scepter in every kingdom. Anointed eyes are watching for His coming. Providences are heralding His approach. The watchman, who, from the towers about Sion, looks out upon the confusion of society, the hurry of events, the fields of slaughter, and the political distress of nations, announces the coming of one who is described as glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength; on His head are many crowns; His eyes are as a flame of fire; and out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. "Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling Kiss the Son lest He be angry and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. BLESSED ARE ALL THEY THAT PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM."

CLASSical Liberalism

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Carnival of the Capitalists

Carnival of the Capitalists turns two with its latest edition. CotC, like most of the Carnivals, always has items of interest.

Just a thought.

Just Ken

CLASSical Liberalism

Albert Jay Nock

Albert Jay Nock 10/13/1873-1945) was, no doubt, one of the greatest libertarians of the last century. He was the author of such classics as Our Enemy, The State, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (the first libertarian work that I read in high school--what an introduction to liberty that was!), Isaiah's Job, On Doing the Right Thing (which may have been a response to Pearl S. Buck) and numerous other works on history, philosophy, education, fine living, and living freely.

As Jim Powell said of him,
"American individualism had virtually died out by the time Mark Twain was buried in 1910. Progressive intellectuals promoted collectivism. Progressive jurists like Oliver Wendell Holmes hammered constitutional restraints as an inconvenient obstacle to expanding government power, supposedly the cure for every social problem. Progressive education theorist John Dewey belittled mere learning and claimed that social reconstruction was the mission of schooling. Progressive hero Theodore Roosevelt glorified imperial conquest. Progressive President Woodrow Wilson maneuvered America into a European war, jailed dissidents, and pushed through the income tax which persists to this day. Great individualists such as Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were ridiculed, if they were remembered at all.

Yet author Albert Jay Nock dared declare that collectivism was evil. He denounced the use of force to impose one’s will on others. He opposed military intervention in the affairs of other nations. He believed America should stay out of foreign wars that inevitably subvert liberty. He insisted individuals have the unalienable right to pursue happiness as long as they don’t hurt anybody."

Nock's prose was poetry, with each word, each turn of the phrase, carefully crafted and clearly encased. Editor of the great The Freeman of the 1920's (1920-24), Nock set the mold for both literary and libertarian periodicals of the time.

If there was an intellectual leader of the Old Right, Nock was the indisbutable leader. This "lost legacy" has now come back in the forms of paleoconservatism and libertarianism in general. For its birth, Nock is to be credited, for its rebirth, Nock is to be recognized.

CLASSical Liberalism

New UNLV Hoppe-Bash?

I do wonder if the "Pursuing Academic Freedom in a Time of Crisis" conference was intentionally scheduled for a time when Hans Hoppe was out of the country. He is delivering a talk at a conference in Lithuania. Christina Littlefield in today's Las Vegas Sun says that the
"conference is free and open to the public. The conference runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in the Richard Tam Alumni Center. For more information or to register for the panel discussions, visit"

As Littlefield points out,
"The UNLV professor who started a ruckus over academic freedom was not invited to Friday's conference on the topic.

Economics professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, whose showdown with administrators sparked the "Pursuing Academic Freedom in a Time of Crisis" conference, said he was miffed not to be formally included but glad his colleagues were continuing the debate.

Hoppe quietly fought university administrators for a year over comments he made in a spring 2004 lecture before teaming with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada in February 2005 and going public with his case."

Littlefield says, in an article about the conference, that:
The role of tenure is one of the issues being discussed Friday during UNLV's first conference on academic freedom.

The conference was sparked by nationwide controversies last spring, including attempts by UNLV administrators to censure economics professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

The criticism that swirled around Hoppe... fueled debates about tenure, academic freedom and academic responsibility, said Jonathan Knight, chairman of the American Association of University Professors tenure and academic freedom division.

Tenure is supposed to allow professors to say things that are politically incorrect without their having to worry about repercussions from their employers, Knight said.

You can send a letter to the Las Vegas Sun or to the UNLV Rebel Yell (campus student newspaper)

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism