Part one: For this reason I take a knee...
July 1, 2020 | View PDF
In his prayer for the Ephesians, Paul doesn’t want them to be afraid, deterred or faint by the tribulations he is enduring. My paternal grandmother lived in Ephesus until forcibly removed at the Burning of Smyrna; tribulation is a common happenstance in our human, yet not so humane travails through history. The cause/reason (two most used words I’ve found) Paul knelt unto the Heavenly Father of his Lord, Jesus Christ, was to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, which is anchored in God’s Truth and Love. I find this Truth and Love in shorter supply than PPE and federal fiat currency these past months. If only there was as much concern and effort to bailout our nation’s troubled soul as we’ve observed to re-inflate our bubbled command economy.
The reason I take a knee for my black brothers and sisters in Christ is to keep my soul intact and humbly ask God’s forgiveness for not being a better evangelist/example to promote His Truth and Love. As many readers know, I’m Greek orthodox; we have no excuse...our Spiritual leader (Archbishop Iakovos) was a contemporary of Martin Luther King and supporter of MLK’s peaceful, Christ-like efforts, including the Selma march to Montgomery. There’s no doubt Iakovos was concerned for his faithful (esp. Annunciation Church in Montgomery) but knew there were times True Christians must suffer tribulation in Spiritual combat with evil and tyranny.
I can recall my single digit years as an Altar boy at Annunciation (in Baltimore) taking a knee each Sunday in prayer. As you may imagine, few to no blacks attended my church, but fortunately my good Southern momma had no rub in her pure heart, singing with her mostly black Gospel group [All God’s Children], where I met some of the finest folks I know. Growing up in a middle class neighborhood, I had plenty of black classmates through all my school years to be around plenty of good kindred spirits of colour. How my prayers have changed and evolved into the ‘back nine’ of life. It took far too long to recognize what a terrible burden is put upon a person or group when using false claims of caring to cloak avarice. The Gospel of John makes this sort of ‘Judas rhetoric’ clear, feigning concern for the poor that oil should’ve been sold to increase revenue Judas administered/collected. Judas skimmed from this revenue stream. Easy to understand a skimmer trying to go undetected would prefer a ‘fuller money box’ to one which allowed a handsome sum like 300 denarii go unsold, given Judas’s avarice.
So I ask readers to understand why (as always making no claim to speak or write for others) I take a ‘Black Lives Matter’ knee. The time is long overdue to take the burden of lies and hate off the backs of our black brothers and sisters and their posterity and let God’s Truth and Love prevail. This is not to say God’s Truth is always comforting; it can be harsh. This is not to say God’s Love is always gentle; it can be abrupt. I have no doubt the righteous anger Jesus displayed to the money changers was absolutely correct and done out of Love. George Floyd was brutally murdered for allegedly passing a $20 counterfeit piece of paper. I will not go into the history of why the Constitution wrote COIN money to protect citizens like Mr. Floyd from theft via fiat money and federal reserve notes, but I do think Jesus calls me to have the same righteous anger at today’s money changers. Furthermore, I know God’s New Covenant. Would I get some short-run feel-good moment by seeing a knee on the neck of politburo members who’ve counterfeited much larger sums? Sadly yes, but Jesus teaches me to rebuke these sinners, not take the path of Barabbas and suffocate them to death. This would make me no better than the government looters and murderers responsible for the mess we’re in.
I was recently reminded of quote about President Trump’s hero which seems timely: “I supported President Lincoln. I believed his war policy would be the only way to save the country, but I see my mistake. I visited Washington a few weeks ago, and I saw the corruption of the present administration – and so long as Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet are in power, so long will war continue. And for what? For the preservation of the Constitution and the Union? No, but for the sake of politicians and government contractors.” – J.P. Morgan, American financier and banker, 1864.
So at risk of getting more ‘nastygrams’ than usual – esp. from those who keep sending me hate mail asserting the federal govt. created the States –
I would like to provide some text to help remove this burden of Judas rhetoric. Most agree Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery. Some colonies later asked the Crown to abolish slavery in their geo-political unit, but England refused, as it was such an important input for their mercantilist ends. During
the American Revolution, as England grew more desperate, they promised emancipation to slaves who would fight for the Crown once the Yankee traitors (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, et al) were beaten. Southern colonies provided supplies and relief to Northern ports suffering the British blockade, only to suffer the federal navy engaged in this same act of war upon them [1861-5] for wanting to maintain their independence won under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union in 1783. Crispus Attucks and other blacks who fought for independence were not duped by the British; similarly there were blacks (along with Hispanics, Jews, etc.) who fought for keeping their independence in the Confederacy.
When seceding from the Articles to form a more perfect union under the Constitution, Jefferson, et al types wanted to immediately abolish the importation of slaves authorized to the federal govt. to address while States continued progress toward more emancipation legislation. Northern shipping interests would not exit the Articles under these terms with so much to gain in their shipping interests. The compromise was that slave importation couldn’t be abolished for at least 20 years  to provide sufficient adjustment time to this abolition. Indeed, slave importation was abolished in the U.S. 1808; the Confederate Constitution (strikingly similar to the U.S. Constitution) immediately abolished slave importation. I’ll leave it to the reader why this magnificent bicentennial event was not celebrated in 2008 as well as why Northern States did not want all population (esp. slaves and Indians) counted for representative purposes, knowing tax bills would originate in the House where results unrepresentative to population/economic activity could be used to transfer wealth in their favour. This proffers the ‘Trail of Tears’ (little wonder why the ‘Five Civilized Tribes’ fought for the Confederacy after suffering so much federal abuse) and unrest over redistributive tariffs.
The stage for war between the States was set with the Tariff of Abominations  average dutiable rate of 61 percent, but cooler heads prevailed during the Nullification crisis, where ‘Compromise Tariffs’ lowered import taxes to more reasonable rates. By 1857, the rate had returned to the ‘benchmark’ of 20 percent. This was far too competitive for industrial/manufacturing interests. Enter Mr. Lincoln and the newly formed Republican Party who makes it clear they want to return the tariff to 1828 levels. Once elected, States dominated by agriculture convened constitutional conventions to peacefully exit the federal coalition, beginning with South Carolina in December 1860. It was unclear what the mid-Atlantic southern States would do; Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and even North Carolina seemed comfortable with being a peaceful buffer between the North and what R. E. Lee called the ‘cotton States.’ The Compromise of 1790 placing DC just south of the Mason-Dixon Line is fodder for another column.
Some hoped cooler heads would again prevail with the Confederacy at a 10% tariff and the North with a 47% tariff; shipping (now in the steam era) was less costly to gravitate toward more competitive areas. When obvious manufacturing interests would not achieve their wealth transfers politically, some couldn’t believe Northern States would commit treason against the mid-Atlantic States to accomplish their desired transfers militarily. When Lincoln implicitly commits treason calling for 75,000 federal troops to engage in undeclared war against States (some still in the Union), it is clear peace is unlikely unless Lincoln is impeached and removed or disciplined in some other manner. It is painful to read R. E. Lee’s letters agonizing over the decision to continue fighting in the federal blue (the prestigious position of commanding all the federal soldiers was no small temptation) and commit treason or hold to his oath to God and country fighting to defend Virginia.
Maryland is where first blood/explicit treason occurred on April 19, 1861 in Baltimore – Patriot’s Day if you like irony. The same state revered for standing up to tyranny with the ‘shot heard round the word’ (in contrast to being the first colony to legalize slavery) was the state (6th Mass.) to enter another state (uninvited) and assemble as part of their army issued 20 rounds each and murdered several civilians. It makes me sick to hear Nancy Pelosi call those who defended themselves from military aggression of this sort traitors, esp. since she grew up not far from the marker in Baltimore where this shameful event happened. Hard to imagine it is ignorance, instead of willful rhetoric. I’m sure her current play for even more federal power would not want to address
49 percent of blacks in MD were free in 1860. It is more important for Pelosi and other Trumpocrats to keep the Kabuki Theatre at full volume (at least until November) so the only ones who show to the polls will waste their votes on duopoly party candidates. Stunning to hear a pure authoritarian like John Bolton (at least when it comes to his understanding of federal hegemony over states) say he will be writing in his favorite big govt. neo-con on the November 2020 ballot and will not vote for Trump again or Biden.
This 1860s history doesn’t align with ‘Lincoln and the Republicans freed all the slaves’ mythos. God forbid we admit 49 percent of blacks in a slave state like Maryland freed themselves or were free without govt. mandate. How many know the dual proclamations on emancipation? The first said if Confederate States returned to the Union they could keep their slaves. Lincoln wanted these States to still be able to generate revenue for his hegemonic ends. If they did not return to the Union, any slave in a State/area not under federal control would be free January 1863. Those who’ve read economic history on when the blockade was forecasted to be broken in Charleston understand Lincoln’s reason for the date. Four States exempted from the 1863 proclamation abolished slavery before the end of the war: Maryland (1864), Missouri (1865), Tennessee (1865), and even unconstitutional West Virginia (1865). Delaware and Kentucky didn’t abolish slavery until December 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Much ink is spilled about how despised the fugitive slave laws were up North – AMEN! Imagine if those who truly cared about ending slavery more quickly and peacefully carried the day. Abolitionists’ sound argument to let the slave States leave/secede so States in the Union would no longer be compelled to return fugitive slaves was much more compelling than Lincoln and the Republicans’ interest in more govt. revenue and wealth transfers over freedom.
As for the Thirteenth Amendment, the preceding version (a.k.a. Corwin Amendment) was to allow slavery ‘in perpetuity,’ which Southern States balked on because slavery was the rhetoric, not the issue. First, most legal minds knew nothing could be put ‘in perpetuity’ when another amendment can later remove it (think Prohibition). Second, this would’ve bought time on keeping slaves (which Lincoln already made clear he didn’t care about) but still kept redistributive tariffs in place. Even as slavery continued to fade away, the agricultural States would still be under ‘British mercantilism’ where the Republicans replaced British hegemony. Even the slaves who were taken out before the end of the war/reconstruction had 20 or less years to endure; many cite the lion’s share of former Confederates (Confederados) went to Brazil, which abolished slavery in 1885 without war, death and destruction or using emancipation as an excuse/cover for desired wealth transfers. That twenty years again...the Biblical wisdom of Jubilee is fodder for yet another column.
In full disclosure, I wrote the forward to John Taylor’s book Union at All Costs. For those who want to seriously understand ‘Judas rhetoric’ associated with war between the States in modern America, please read it carefully. The Native-Americans/Indians were no strangers to conflict of this sort prior to British mercantilism. It will give you a more informed disdain for Nancy Pelosi-types bantering about treason and our current president who likes to hide behind a Bible and evoke another ‘law and order’ President who privately scoffed God and religion while using it to advance his ends.
I asked author John Taylor to give me some quotes from his book as examples/illustrations:
On August 22, 1862, Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley: My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that…What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union… [from Matthew Pinsker’s , House Divided Project ‘ Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania].
As another example, unlike many of the abolitionists, Lincoln maintained a strong desire to relocate blacks to other parts of the world. On October 16, 1854, in Peoria, Ill., he commented: “My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” [from Robert Morgan’s “The ‘Great Emancipator’ and the Issue of Race – Abraham Lincoln’s Program of Resettlement,” Institute for Historical Review, 2013-2016]
According to Union Secretary of State Seward, part of the reasoning “against the extension of slavery had always really been concern for the welfare of the white man, and not an unnatural sympathy for the Negro.” Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, echoed this sentiment by saying,
“All the unoccupied territory…shall be preserved for the benefit of the White Caucasian race – a thing which cannot be except by the exclusion of slavery.” [from Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s “The Economics of Slavery,” LewRockwell.com,] I bring this part one to a close with a promise of more quotes on tariff revenue in the Spirit of further understanding it as ‘Judas rhetoric’ to cloak avarice. Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to take a righteous knee before God. Remember Romans 14:11 & 12, for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” So each of us shall give account of himself to God.