Ted Nugent, the Civil War, and the GOP’s Anti-Constitutional Fantasies

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 02:20 pm

More and more it seems the Republican position can be put down to this: the South should have won the Civil War.  We would be better off.  Or that we should have round 2 since the results of round 1 so disappointed white bigots. We’ve got Confederate History Month in Virginia celebrating the sacrifices of white Southern soldiers while ignoring the sacrifices of the one-third of Virginians who were slaves. We’ve got all that “appeal to Second Amendment rights” talk, we’ve got Tentherism and states acting like the U.S. Constitution had never replaced the Articles of Confederation.

The Tenth Amendment Center makes this clear:

A tenther can be a communist, a liberal, a conservative, a social conservative, or a libertarian. A tenther simply embraces the idea that everyone shouldn’t live under the same political authority. This allows different political positions to exist under the banner of tentherism, as long as each ideological position adheres to the idea that political authority is limited to a small geographic area within the larger society.

Gosh, the only problem, Mr. Tenther, is that the U.S. Constitution, ratified by each state, puts all states under the same political authority of the Federal government it establishes. That doesn’t seem too complicated to me.

But, apparently, it is, at least for conservatives, who care more about some mythical America that never existed than the America we’ve got.  We have states acting like the South had won the Civil War, not lost it. And we’ve got conservatives openly saying the South should have won. That’s what Ted Nugent thinks as well, surprising nobody in his July 5 op-ed in the Washington Times. Railing against Justice Roberts’ “traitor vote” he said:

Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.

This from a rather famous guy who has endorsed Mitt Romney, from a guy who by all accounts loves his 10mm but not the U.S. Constitution and certainly not the Federal government. Now of course, we can’t hold Romney accountable for the bizarre opinions of his supporters but you would certainly like to see Romney jump up to a microphone and denounce this silly notion. As Nick Wing writes over at HuffPo:

In the wake of the rocker’s notorious outburst against Obama and Democrats this April, Romney’s camp was forced to clarify that it hadn’t expressed direct support or solicited Nugent’s endorsement, contrary to the singer’s claims. But Romney remained unwilling to condemn Nugent any further, as the campaign simplymaintained that the presumptive GOP presidential candidate “believes everyone needs to be civil.”

People should be sane too, but that doesn’t stop Ted. Ted seems to gloss over entirely that the war was about slavery; that states rights came into it only because of slavery, because the South saw its future horizons limited due to a more populous North with more votes.  The states right in question had to do with the right to own slaves. Folks in the North said “you don’t have that right” and Southern business owners (the plantation culture) said, “It’s out economic livelihood!”

Well, we all know economic livelihood for corporations trumps individual human rights, That old song and dance ain’t never gonna change.

Ted Nugent apparently thinks that all those slaves would be better off too, their descendents still slaves today, in accordance with the pseudo-wisdom of the infamous “Marriage Vow” — “A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family,” sponsored by the Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative organization.

Some conservatives say slavery would have eventually died out on its own but there is no evidence that this was happening in the mid-1800s. There is no way of knowing that it would have happened if the war had not been fought. After all, one of slavery’s biggest defenders was the bloc of conservative Southern Christians waving Bibles around and we still have those today who claim biblical slavery is permissible. Slavery will always have its defenders. There is a reason human trafficking has become such a scourage.

What is going on in the Republican mind that the party of Lincoln thinks we’d all be better off if Lincoln had lost?  Of course, we’ve got Ron Paul trashing Lincoln back in 2010, Ron Paul the guy who likes to run for President of the United States on a Republican ticket.

The ultimate enemy has become, as it once was, the Federal government. Nugent has coined his own term for them: Fedzillacrats. He claims a swollen federal government proves that “Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead” but ignores the fears of some for those same founders of the excesses of democracy, that local legislatures could be as tyrannical as distant kings.

The U.S. Constitution was not designed as “limited government” – it replaced limited government – the Articles of Confederation. It gave more power to the federal government for a simple reason – it was needed. Even in the 18th century it was seen that that Articles of Confederation were entirely inadequate. What did not work in the 18th century is certainly not going to work today, with each state functioning as a quasi-independent nation with its own immigration and trade policies, making its own treaties and raising its own private armies. We would no longer be states united by a common purpose. If that would have been the idea we would never had had our national motto: Out of many, one.

What Ted Nugent is actually suggesting is setting fire to the words of the Founding Fathers, shredding the Constitution and making a mockery of their labors. But cherry-picked history has long been a favorite of Republicans and Nugent is certainly in keeping with Bartonism – the re-writing events of the past to make them more congenial to your purposes today.

It seems to matter little to the Nugent-set that reality is not on their side any more than history is. Back in 2011 a very conservative Justice Antonin Scalia swatted aside tentherism’s pretensions quite handily, pointing out that complaints like Nugent’s are baseless, that  Article I of the Constitution assigns to Congress the authority to “to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” – that “general welfare” including all the things Republicans hate most – Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, even disaster relief.

It’s not easy to see how those things could seen to not adhere to the idea of the general welfare. The well-armed Nugent isn’t concerning himself with the general welfare, demonstrably caring nothing for it or for the Constitution which granted Congress those powers and it is abundantly clear he does not think out the consequences of his nonsensical tirades.

Sure, some rich white folks might be just as happy the South had won – our first black president would be a servant in the White House rather than its occupant – and folks who got uppity notions, including women, could be slapped down and then some.

But the Constitution isn’t only about rich white folks, as Abraham Lincoln recognized. It’s about all folks. All Americans. In all fifty states. And for the vast majority of Americans, a Southern victory would have been a disaster of unimaginable horror and hardship.

Because nobody wants to live in a place where the draft-dodging pedophile Ted Nugents of the world can back up their crazy tirades with a 10mm.

Image from AmmoLand

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Copyright PoliticusUSA LLC 2008-2023