Three Cheers for Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan has penned his last weekly syndicated column.

That is a real loss for American conservatism and American political intellectual history.

Buchanan was a one man wrecking crew against the establishment. I didn’t always agree with his positions–he was too Lincolnian and Hamiltonian for my taste–but he always was thought provoking and often right.

He is also loyal. He defends Nixon to this day. Same for his Confederate ancestors.

That more than anything else is noteworthy in American politics.

Loyalty is hard to come by, but of course, Buchanan wasn’t really in American politics. He was always taking shots from the outside of American politics.

That made him great.

If you’re reading this email and you are interested in writing about American politics, read Pat Buchanan and skip William Buckley.

Buchanan knew how to grab a reader and riddle him with hard hitting point after point.

His pen was a Tommy Gun.

Buckley lounged in his chair, ran his fingers through his hair, and meandered around the issues until finally saying something worthwhile.

And by worthwhile I often mean CIA approved.

Buchanan wrote from a place of real culture, not some faux, half-cocked and barely distinguishable American “conservative” ideology like Buckley.

This is why Buckley butted heads with George Wallace (real culture) and Buchanan could thump about America first.

America had meaning. It wasn’t an idea. Protecting real people and a real place and not an intangible “proposition nation” made Buchanan attractive to a wide swath of the American public.

He smashed myths and took down sacred cows. Anyone willing to suggest that America should have stayed out of World War II has a spine of solid granite.

His prognostications about a “culture war” in America have largely come true. People laughed at him when he said it in 1992, but again, Buchanan said these things because he didn’t think America was created on an idea.

People made it, people, like him, who had skin in the game. When Jefferson insisted that people built America on their own blood and hook, he wasn’t waxing philosophical about some theoretical America. They were the sweaty people who Pat loves.

Buchanan also didn’t care if he upset the right people, but he did it with a warm smile and Christian charity. There’s no other way to explain how he could sit across from some of the Washington beltway crowd for years and tell them off without losing his cool.

I met Pat once in 2000 in Columbia, South Carolina when he was running for President. He wouldn’t remember it, but I have the pictures, somewhere. He is a real Southern gentlemen, and his wife a great Southern lady. Pat put flowers on the grave of his Confederate ancestor right in front of the establishment media when he was running for office. Who else would do that today?

Not our “conservative” apparatchik collaborators in Congress.

Pat ran for President like John C. Calhoun ran for President. It wasn’t for power but to make a point, to have influence over policy in the future.

He knew he wasn’t going to win in 1996 or 2000, but without those runs, “America First” would not have had the firepower it did in 2016.

There aren’t really any men like Pat Buchanan left among mainstream politicos. That’s too bad, because an America with more rock-ribbed conservatives would be a better place to live.

I discuss Pat and this great article by Tom Piatak on Episode 775 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

The Original Constitution vs the 14th Amendment

Should we follow the original Constitution or the Constitution of 1868?

If you suggest the former, then according to many “conservatives” and libertarians, you are walking into a minefield.

You see, many Americans see the original Constitution as “pro-slavery.” This stance comes from the arguments of nineteenth-century abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison who considered the document to be a “covenant with death.”

On the other hand, some abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Lysander Spooner thought the Constitution was explicitly anti-slavery. Douglass, in fact, came to this position after reading Spooner.

Neither are correct. The Garrisonian position is more popular among those on the left because it works well with their political positions. If the Constitution “enshrined slavery,” and if the document was nothing more than a “covenant with death”, then scrapping it makes logical sense.

Who says the 1850s are dead? It’s not the right that’s living in the 1850s, its the progressive left who constantly dust off early Republican Party talking points.

The right likes to use the Douglass narrative because it buttresses their Lincolnian myth and theoretically helps them ward off charges of racism.

We know that doesn’t really work.

The reality is that the Constitution was neither proslavery nor antislavery. It was neutral. The word “slave” never appears in the document, and while Americans could make the case that the United States government was the government of the “white man”–and what else would it have been in the 1840s?–race was not specified in any article of the Constitution.

It did not “enshrine slavery.” It allowed for States to use federalism to either maintain or abolish the institution. It continued the international slave trade for 20 years, but gave the power to Congress to abolish it at that point. It mandated that fugitives from the law face justice. It did not give Congress any power over the institution either pro or con. It did protect property rights, and as slaves were property in the nineteenth century, the United States government had a legal obligation to protect that property in federal territory, hence the rub with the common property of the United States, but again, that does not make the document “proslavery.”

Barnett and I, whom I have sharply criticized over the last three days, agree on this point.

Just because the left wants to make stupid arguments doesn’t mean we should come up with our own stupid arguments to push back, like abandoning real originalism for “14th Amendment originalism.”

You know who wins in that scenario?

The progressive left and the progressive right.

Not you or I.

I wrap up my three episodes on Barnett’s piece with Episode 774 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Were the Founding Fathers Proslavery?

People have a hard time separating slavery from racism.

The two terms have become synonymous in American society because of the history of the slavery in America.

This description lacks complexity, as white Europeans were also enslaved, albeit at a different rate and manner, as white indentured servitude disappeared long before African slavery in the United States.

But that does not mean it didn’t exist, as did black slaveowners, most of whom owned slaves for profit over humanitarian concern.

Regardless, Americans eventually associated slavery with Africans and no other racial group.

Yet, you could be anti-slavery and believe in “white supremacy” in the 18h and 19th centuries. The vast majority of Americans would not have known any other explanation for a stable society. Western civilization was, after all, crafted by Europeans.

And most emancipationists and later abolitionists were indeed “racists” under a modern definition of term.

The notable exceptions would be the several leading American black abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and some white radicals like the Grimke sisters of South Carolina. But these were the exceptions in the antebellum United States.

Modern historians who dabble in the business of “systemic white supremacy” never can answer one simple question: what was the alternative for 18th or 19th century people living in the 18th or 19th centuries?

Many dreamed of a world without slavery, Southerners like Jefferson included, but most could not figure out how to reconcile abolition with a multi-racial society, not even in New England where African-Americans made up less than one percent of the population and yet faced severe restrictions on their lives and property.

They did not think Africans were capable of self-government, not even after the War, as Connecticut among other Northern States prohibited blacks from voting. That only changed with the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Antebellum Americans did not hold our modern views on race, and to insist that they did and that their actions should have matched our own is the very definition of presentism.

This is why I argue that Lincoln’s “proposition nation” was indeed a myth, not because Jefferson didn’t write it or some people–even many members of the founding generation–didn’t rhetorically use it, but because actions spoke louder than words. American commitment to racial egalitarianism, or any egalitarianism for that matter, was suspect at best and mostly non-existent.

They didn’t believe it beyond political rights for citizens, and citizenship had restrictions.

Even Jefferson’s proposed revisions to the Virginia Constitution limited voting rights and citizenship.

So much for Jefferson’s belief in “all men are created equal.”

So what?

Does it change the fact that these men drafted two constitutions for the United States and several State constitutions or that they won two wars against the British, a naval war against France and were, in my opinion, the greatest generation in American history?

No other generation comes close.

That’s why “conservatives” who run around championing Lincoln and the 1850s Republican Party aren’t really conserving anything except a nineteenth century leftist dream based on a real myth, the myth of the proposition nation and the righteous cause.

Is that “conservative”? Randy Barnett seems to think so, which is why I spent three episodes of The Brion McClanahan Show this week on Barnett’s piece.

You aren’t going to win an argument with a leftist by relying on leftist talking points. You’ve already conceded the field.

Part II is now up.

Should We Abandon the Original Constitution?

Should we adhere to the original Constitution of 1789 or the Constitution of 1868?

You might be asking, “What is the difference?”

Last year, I talked about the rise of the “Progressive Originalists”, those who buttress their loose construction on a distorted reading of the 14th Amendment.

That is the Constitution of 1868, and there is no louder supporter of this position than Professor Randy Barnett.

Barnett is a “conservative/libertarian” who claims to be a “14th Amendment Originalist.”

Though Barnett does not explicitly say so, he designed his recent book on the topic to be a thorough take down of Raoul Berger’s Government of Judiciary and subsequent The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights.

Leftist legal scholars hate both with a passion and let Berger know it throughout the 1980s. Why? Because if Berger was correct, and he was, then the entire basis of the modern civil rights movement was built on a house of cards.

In other words, these lefties don’t want to believe it because it was slaying their sacred cow. Barnett rides to the rescue, sort of.

Barnett unconvincingly argues that those who insist that the author of the Fourteenth Amendment, John Bingham of Ohio, really intended the amendment to incorporate the Bill of Rights and in the process provide the intellectual firepower for the expansive civil rights programs of the general government.

Bingham’s reputation has been revived in the last twenty years by people like Eric Foner, James Oakes, and others who insist that he was a “second Founding Father” who crafted an amendment that would transform the United States.

They are partially correct, but not because that is what the Fourteenth Amendment intended to do. It is only because that is how the federal courts have interpreted the Amendment.

Barnett calls this the correct position.

As a result, he urges “originalists” to reject the “original Constitution” in favor of the Constitution as altered by the Republican Party and the Fourteenth Amendment.

I get why. This takes the “racist” sting off the table, but it also creates its own fairy tale of interpretation.

Barnett wrote a long essay on this position and the “proslavery” or “antislavery” origins of the Constitution. It deserved a thorough review, so I will tackle it on the next THREE episodes of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Part 1, Episode 772, dropped today.

Did the Declaration Create the Anti-Slavery Movement?

Jon Meacham is one of the worst Lincoln worshipers in America.

His latest book on Lincoln is pure garbage.

But every establishment dope wants his approval.

Take for example Professor Manisha Sinha. She has been featured on major cable television shows and has won awards for her work on slavery. She is the establishment’s establishment.

Yet, she thinks she is underappreciated, that is until Jon Meacham mentioned her in a recent book review for the New York Times.

This is how these people operate. They sit around waiting for someone with a name to point out their “brilliance.” Why? Because they are insecure, thin skinned activists playing historian.

The funniest part? These people don’t realize they are all on the same team, even the “conservatives” among them.

Meacham spent the entire book review taking apart Ron DeSantis for claiming that the Declaration of Independence created the anti-slavery movement in America.

This coming from a man who thinks Lincoln walked on water because he made the case that the Declaration of Independence created the anti-slavery movement in America.

He has to differentiate himself from those evil conservatives, the same conservatives who believe in the same righteous cause Lincoln myth.

Meacham pointed to earlier anti-slavery movements in America while leaving out some really important details, most importantly that even after 1776 most Americans tolerated slavery and nearly all were what we would call racists today.

That was the case long before the Declaration as well, even among our glorious New England saints who spoke about the evils of slavery while making large amounts of money on the slave trade and Caribbean slave plantations.

As I’ve said for a long time now, action speaks louder than words, and Americans may have made lofty statements about “equality” but no one really believed it.

Nor did they define it the way we do today.

That is another story.

I love these kinds of stupid essays because they provide great Podcast fodder. I discuss Meacham’s essay on Episode 770 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

America in Decline?

World War III seems to be on the horizon, and every establishment politico is rushing headlong into the abyss.

This is the message from the stammering, boot-licking hacks during the Davos summit a couple of weeks ago.

Except they don’t seem to mind. Climate change, ya know?

A little nuclear war could be good for the environment. Anything to stop global warming.

This is like a new Keynesianism. Instead of digging holes, filling it with money, and digging it out in the name of “prosperity,” we’ll launch a few tactical nukes and wipe out a few cities in the name of stopping “climate change.”

Of course, the extra benefit would be that we would have to rebuild these cities. Cha ching! Keynes is smiling on from hell.

Who is driving all of this new war drum lunacy? The Biden administration, of course.

At least, “the world” now thinks the United States is muscling up again after years of “managed decline.”

They never liked Trump even though he was really one of them. He was just honest about being a crook.

They want to hide the fact.

The Ukraine wants tanks? Sure, how about 31. The Ukraine wants F-16s? On the docket.

How long before the Ukraine wants nukes? That’s coming.

American foreign policy used to be driven by sober realism. Even Biden understands we have natural advantages, i.e. two oceans separating us from the world, and so the United States pursued a real “peace through strength” foreign policy–meaning economic strength–for much of its early history. That was “America First.”

Non-intervention in foreign affairs kept Americans out of foolish European wars. How many more white crosses do we need in Europe?

On second thought, they probably wouldn’t hand out white crosses any more. Too Christian. It would have to be a rainbow flag adorning every grave.

“America First” was always a bad word to the Davos lizards. It meant they had to go at it on their own without American money and blood.

That’s why Biden fits right in and why the establishment is so dangerous.

Corrupt, too. Just wait until more information hits about the Hunter Biden laptop. It’s going to get worse for Joe, at least to the public eye. The establishment clearly wants him out or they wouldn’t have allowed for this information to become public.

It the “world is bullish” on America again, it’s time to stock up on anti-radiation meds.

That can only mean bad things for Americans.

Higher inflation, shortages, and war.

And in contrast to the Bush wars of the 1990s and 2000s, Biden has poked a fight with a bigger and more corrupt bear.

His “mission accomplished” speech may never happen.

I talk about “American Decline” on Episode 768 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

The Lessons of War

The generals are gathering in their masses.

And the United States and NATO are sending tanks to Ukraine to fight the Russians.

31 from the United States to be exact. This stupid idea is the result of the stupid establishment.

It seems the establishment never learns the lessons of war.

Or maybe they know full well that we war helps them expand their power, and if you defend the 51st State, the Ukraine, then you have helped support the latest thing.

I can’t wait for the yard signs. The Ukrainian flag won’t be enough.

You’ll soon have to show your allegiance by buying more war bonds.

I chalk this up to World War II. You see, no one stopped Hitler, and because Putin in the new Hitler, we must do everything in our power to stop Adolph Putin.

Or maybe it’s the Vietnam syndrome. The United States has to win at all costs and never surrender.

I wonder how long it will take for Biden to show up on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished.”

He won’t be landing in a fighter plane, so it might have to be on dry land.

If we really heeded the lessons of war, the United States would steer clear of the Ukraine and would stop funding the conflict.

It would also heed the lessons of the founding generation and adopt a real “peace through strength” policy that centers on “American First” and non-intervention.

I would also add the Congress could slash the military budget and it wouldn’t matter much. Some Republicans showed a willingness to do this and were rebuffed by the neocon war hawks in the House.

You can’t fix their kind of stupid.

I discuss the real lessons of war on Episode 766 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Is Secession the Right Thing to Do?

National Review of all places recently published an interesting piece on secession, penned by Hillsdale College Professor Miles Smith.

I like Professor Smith. He has interesting things to say about the South on social media, and he is genuinely interested in the Southern tradition, not as a specimen to be studied under a microscope, but as a real place with real people and a vibrant culture.

His piece on secession isn’t bad–and I agree with his overall conclusion–but it shows that NR isn’t ready to adopt any position that might remotely favor federalism.

Smith doesn’t think secession is a good idea, but he also doesn’t think it should be considered “insurrectionist.” Even some leftists agree with him.

Smith is correct that the time is not right for secession. Americans aren’t ready for it, even if poll numbers indicate that more people at least want to discuss the possibility of independence, and then there’s the thorny issue of the deep state and the intricate web of money and power that would surely work to prevent Texas or California from bolting the Union.

Bill Bennett said he would advise sending in the tanks if one person in a State wanted to remain “loyal.”

The neocons can always be counted on to say stupid things.

The time for secession might have already passed, at least until things get much worse.

But his discussion of the “legality” of secession suffers from the same problems that any third rate journalist would experience when penning a piece on the issue.

Texas v. White solved nothing. Smith suggests you can argue that it was a rigged decision. True. The Republican dominated Supreme Court would never issue a ruling declaring secession to be legal in 1869. That would have invalidated Lincoln’s war and the entire premise of Reconstruction.

But Texas v. White also provided a legal opening. Secession is legal, according to the decision, if the Congress boots a State out of the Union. This gave the Republican reptiles in Congress cover for military reconstruction.

Smith argues that Congress should pay attention to secession sentiment because it springs from discontentment over abusive federal power.

This has always been the case. The answer is thinking locally and acting locally. That would create strong independent communities capable of stronger peaceful political action if necessary.

Either way, his piece was great Podcast fodder, so I cover it on Episode 765 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Is the Decline in “Professional” History Dangerous?

Leftist historian Daniel Bessner dreads the “dangerous” decline in “professional” history.

This shouldn’t be happening in our society, but, as you might expect, Bessner chalks it up to ignorant conservative hayseeds who don’t seem to appreciate the nuances and rigorous academic standards of professional history.

Or maybe they are just racist. He can’t decide.

Either way, professional history, he argues, is vital to our success as a “nation.”

I think Americans are generally just tired of “historians” like Bessner and other leftist nobs hectoring to them while politicizing every issue in the name of “history.”

Take for example this Tweet from “twitterhistorian” Manisha Sinha, the Indian born “leading historian” on American abolitionism. This is like calling Nikki Hailey the leading American political figure on Confederate symbols.

Sinha’s entire social media presence is dedicated to leftist activism, except she calls it history.

Never mind that Sinha doesn’t seem to grasp that a lawsuit over a State law in a State court has nothing to do with the relationship between the general government and the States, or that Calhoun’s “theory of state sovereignty” was in fact anti-secession. Those tedious little facts don’t matter. All that matters is RACISM and SLAVERY if we invoke Calhoun and the “G Coup P.”

We know many “history” courses are in fact a cover for leftist propaganda. Ron DeSantis had a wonderful response to a Florida decision to reject an “African-American History” course count as an AP credit. Why? Because they weren’t really teaching “African-American History.” The curriculum contained sections on gender identity and defunding the police.

Courses like this have led to the movement to remove or “contextualize” not only Confederate monuments–the low hanging fruit–but also historic sites and those dedicated to the founding generation.

They are all racist, too, you know?

I’ve said it before on my show that the proper response to this should have been, “No. Shut Up.” They don’t really care about argument. They don’t really care about discussion. They only care about their own power and their ability to cram their silly little progressive notions into as many minds of mush as possible.

History is a weapon, not a serious scholarly effort to understand the past on its own terms.

That is why people recoil at the 1619 Project. It’s aim is entirely political. So was the 1776 Commission Report, by the way.

Without question, history often leads to political discussions. At its best, history inspires conversation and inquiry. But for people like Sinha, Bessner, and 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones, history serves as a means to gain a moral advantage over their political opponents.

Force them to genuflect to their morally superior leftist masters.

Did I mention that Sinha’s favorite political figure is Charles Sumner?

That more than anything else speaks volumes.

I discuss the “dangerous” trend to eliminate “professional history” on Episode 764 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

Have Progressives Found Federalism?

Has a mainstream progressive found federalism?

In our age of government worship, this might be like a lost soul finding Jesus.

Not really, but small steps.

Jamelle Bouie at the The New York Times has recently pecked out a couple of pieces that make it seem like he has indeed discovered the beauty of federalism.

He seems to support trimming the power of the federal courts, and now he opines that federalism is the only way to save America.

I have been critical of Bouie in the past, and I still will be most of the time. He and I don’t agree on much of anything politically, but that is why federalism is so important.

I would be fine with Bouie living in his own little socialist Utopia somewhere in America. Just not in my State.

And he can leave my State alone, too.

I think he is starting to get it. I am cautious, as the core of any progressive is the dream of controlling others. It doesn’t matter if they are on the left or right, they want power.

It’s the Yankee in them.

Federalism is the only reason the Constitution was ratified in 1788. The “anti-Federalists” may have been right about the future of America, but the “friends of the Constitution” persuaded enough people that their opponents were wrong to get it through the ratification conventions.

It must be emphasized that while the “anti-Federalists” may have been perceptive about the way the general government would abuse power once the Constitution was ratified, the “Federalists” consistently argued they were wrong. That is why we should listen to the Federalists, not the anti-Federalists, when finding original intent.

Otherwise, we concede the field to the other side. The “antis” really wanted federalism and the “Federalists” promised we would get it.

Nationalism wasn’t on the table.

Both sides seemed to agree that centralization was the Shirt of Nessus and should be avoided in such a diverse federal republic.

The Federalists may have been lying–Hamilton certainly was–but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold the federal government accountable to original intent.

That is why the 10th and 9th Amendments exist. They were the check on the entire system. And what became the 10th Amendment was often the first on the list of proposed Amendments coming from the States.

If Americans could get this one civics lesson, the entire course of American government could change, and frankly, as Bouie argues in his essay, we could have lasting civic peace.

I discuss Bouie and federalism on Episode 760 of The Brion McClanahan Show.