May 20, 2010

On paleoconservatism

Daniel Larison is one of my favorite bloggers. He writes at the American Conservative. It's probably because I have a weakness for views that are skeptical of human goodness or capacity for change that I like him; nevertheless he provides a fresh breeze on a lot of rather stale left-right dichotomies. It's nice to be reminded that the Klein/Yglesias/Drum trifecta are not right about everything.

Yet neither is Larison--witness this post from his old blog:
Kirchick’s “discovery” that I have belonged to the League of the South for many years will come, I expect, as no surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog for very long. On my sidebar are links to the League of the South’s webpage and its blog, I have written several times for Chronicles, which also links to the League’s site, and I have repeatedly defended the principles of secession, decentralism and constitutionalism that I regard as being an inseparable part of the political tradition of the Antifederalists, Jeffersonians and the Confederacy. I still belong to the League, but I am not active in the group. My statements about Lincoln over the years should have left no one in any confusion about my views of the War or its negative effects on the Republic. In essence, Kirchick believes that it is somehow disqualifying or unacceptable to reject the acts and legacy of an executive usurper and that it is wrong to sympathise with the people who fought for their constitutional rights against this usurper.
This is somewhat similar to the recent Rand Paul (the son of Ron Paul who recently won a primary in Kentucky) uproar. On Rachel Maddow he said that the Civil Rights Act should not have been passed--that it was an unnecessary intervention into a private matter. This is where I part company with that kind of conservatism. Government intervention, sometimes armed, has its place. I think Larison is much more sensible than Paul, but it's a similar argument.

The Civil War and the civil rights movement needed to be fought with the full armed backing of the government. Lincoln was no usurper and the cancerous racism of the South--still not fully excised--was what started the Civil War and Jim Crow.

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