It applies equally to another commissar, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress, who likes to quote 15-year-old statements against me that obviously have nothing to do with my work or what I believe. Fifteen years ago I was still by and large pro-war, pro-drug war, and much else. Millhiser describes me as — get this — a “pro-Confederate activist.” I must be the world’s laziest such activist. I am not “pro” any government at all. That probably makes me more radical than the guy thinks I am.
If what I’m saying is so obviously stupid and easily refuted, you’d think they’d just go ahead and refute it, instead of digging up old stuff they obviously know — if they have any journalistic competence at all — has nothing to do with my political philosophy. Instead, all we get is a throwaway line about nullification being an “unconstitutional theory.” Perhaps Millhiser will forgive us for wanting more by way of proof than his ex cathedra pronouncements. Poor Millhiser is a law school graduate, though, so of course he knows none of the relevant history. As a J.D. Ph.D. once told me, one should never confuse legal training with an education.
Millie, babe, when California decriminalizes marijuana, are you going to cheer when the feds throw these kids into government cages? What other position can a nationalist take? So this guy’s the narc, but I’m the bad guy. What a world.
But since Millhiser used only one zombie word — “Confederate” — we give him higher marks than Alan Pyke of Media Matters, who used both “slavery” and “Confederate.” Pyke says nullification is “the legal doctrine used by slave states to defend the practice [i.e., slavery]”! When I called him on this, he sheepishly replied that the nullification crisis of 1832-33, while ostensibly about tariffs, was really about slavery. (Of course, everything southerners ever said or did must have been “really” about slavery — that’s part of our unbiased historical hermeneutic.) The trouble is, every northern and southern protectionist and free trader at the time was talking about tariffs and their economic effects. No one said a word about slavery.
But the southern states might someday have used nullification to defend slavery, Pyke seems to say. Well, Iraq might someday have developed the galaxy-destroying MegaSuperBomb, too.
Now remember that nullification was used against the fugitive-slave laws, particularly in Wisconsin. So nullification was actually used in practice against slavery, but was at most a tool the South might have used at some unspecified point in the future to protect slavery. Pyke thinks these two facts sum up to: nullification is the legal doctrine the southern states used to defend slavery.
All I can say, folks, is stock up on zombie repellent. They’re everywhere.
- trade, inequality, and health care;
- why we shouldn't emulate Sweden;
- the minimum wage, and more!