Tom: Your blog re how Lincoln would have responded to Catalonia’s vote to secede from Spain was excellent. How the state responds to the secession question is an open admission of the fraudulent nature of all political systems. The premise from which Western states are supposed to derive their legitimacy is the imaginary “social contract” (i.e., free persons who join together and, by mutual agreement, create an entity that will protect their pre-existing “rights”). But if people are free to so contract – leaving aside, for the moment, the question of whether our ancestors can create contracts that are binding upon us – why are they not equally free, by contract, to dismantle the system thus created? If the United Updike Company hires me to work for them and, after two or three years, I decide I want to end my employment with them and go to work elsewhere, is there any logic that could be employed, stemming from the contract premise, that would uphold Updike’s decision to force me to stay with it? Is it not evident that my status would be reduced to that of a slave? That the “social contract” myth has no empirical basis to justify state power does not keep well-conditioned boobs from reciting the doctrine as though it were a first principle underlying everything else.
Lincoln’s response to Southern secession was as blunt a denial of “social contract” rationalizing as one would need. It demonstrated – a lesson that the central Spanish government is likely preparing for the Catalans – that the only factually-grounded basis for any state is the violent imposition of the rule by some over others. Anyone who doubts this is invited to read the 1857 Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, which denied “personhood” (i.e., self-ownership) to slaves, or the 1823 case of Johnson v. M’Intosh – whose opinion was written by the statist saint, John Marshall – that denied to American Indians any claims of prior ownership of land that did not derive from the sovereign authority of the American state. Marshall’s opinion makes ample use of such words as “conquest,” and authority maintained “by the sword” to justify his conclusions. He even informs us that the Indians were “fierce savages” who needed to be “conquered.” Their “savage” nature was confirmed, I suppose, by the fact that whenever the 7th Cavalry came in to exterminate a village, the Indians fought back!
Having a “legal monopoly on the use of violence in a given territory” is not only the accepted definition – even among statists – of the state, but is the only demonstrated means by which political systems create and sustain themselves. These lessons of realpolitik are daily being confirmed in American cities with the militarization of police forces, and their use of tanks, armored troop carriers, grenade-launchers, attack helicopters, drones, and other weapons with which to conquer and subdue free people. Anyone who sees in such tools of violence means for fostering voluntary “contracts” may quickly find employment as a “civics class” teacher in a local government school system!10:58 am on September 28, 2015 Email Butler Shaffer