Reader Mail

Gloves Off

Do academics understand the Establishment Clause? The case of William and Mary. Also, Jimmy Carter excommunicated. More hand to hand Civil War combat. Ben Stein in e-orbit. An AmSpec hater. Plus much else.

2.5.07

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CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
RE: Robert B. Archibald's letter under "Petitions vs. Loyalty Oaths" in Reader Mail's Cross Purposes:

Professor Robert B. Archibald is being disingenuous at best when he states that "The crux of the matter then is: will faculty who did not sign the petition be treated differently from faculty who did sign the petition? The answer to this question is NO." Really? How does he know that?

Further, it appears that Professor Archibald may be bucking for a promotion by trying to impress President Gene Nichol with his loyalty. Archibald was once the Acting Dean of the Economics Department at William and Mary.

Archibald also states that "The plain fact of the matter is that a clear majority of William and Mary faculty support the policy." I do not believe that statement is the truth and invite Archibald to prove it.

If Archibald thinks that "the new policy [not displaying the Bruton Cross in the Wren Chapel] is appropriate for a state-supported institution," then he is part of the effort to bastardize the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as are Gene Nichol and his law professor wife Betty Glenn George (both longtime ACLU activists).

It is a disgrace that a professor of economics (Archibald) and two law professors (Nichol and George) have so little understanding of the "separation clause" of the United
States Constitution. It appears that all three need remedial indoctrination in the fundamentals of the American legal system. They certainly are not behaving like scholars.
-- E Joseph West, CFA
Falls Church, Virginia
W&M MBA Class of 1990

SUNDAY SCHOOL DROPOUT
Re: Mark Tooley's Jimmy Carter Goes Episcopal:

Presidential journalist Hugh Sidey once said that the press resented Carter because he actually took religion seriously (though his blind spot regarding the power of religion in Iran led to a disaster). Sidey might have agreed, however, that it was wrong of Carter to try to convert the leader of South Korea to Christianity while he was President; and to bawl out Golda Meir for not making Israel a more Jewish nation. Carter deserves praise for fighting the segregationist policies of his local church, but not for the other two interventions that crossed the line of what is appropriate. As with the segregation case, one can argue that it is permissible for a powerless politician to do what he likes regarding trying to change a church.

Nonetheless, his new project goes along with so many recent books from the left (Carter's book, Hedges, Danforth, and on and on) that abandon the previous strategy of ignoring or suppressing religious influence for the new strategy of co-opting religion. If, as seems likely, Carter's main motive is to help elect Democrats and liberals -- through a divide and conquer strategy -- then his project seems unjustified and a breach of sorts of the distinction between Church and State. It is not true, as conservatives sometimes claim, that the only reason for the First Amendment was to protect the churches from the government (Roger Williams's emphasis). But churches do need to be protected from the government, and from politicians who are primarily interested in elections.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

I have always been told, "You will know Christians by their love."

If Carter is a Christian, I want none of it! No one on this earth hates as Carter hates! If Christ can forgive those who crucified him why can't Jimmy Carter? Why does he hate Jesus Christ? Jesus was a Jew. After twenty years of being a Sunday school teacher and he never learned that Jesus was a Jew? How stupid is this clown?
-- Burton Hollabaugh
Marion, Indiana

Is there another public figure who so reviles everything America values? I don't think it is conservatives holding anyone up to ridicule. In my opinion it is the liberal radical left that is attempting to cram every evil and perversion down the throats of America. This is a group so far from the mainstream norms they can only appeal to lunatic fringe groups.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Re: Matthew Omolesky'sUnder Amis's Western Eyes:

In this the 21st century, a resurgent China will strip Siberia from Russia, all the way to the Urals. Then Russia will be negligible as well as moribund.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

TRADE AWAY SNAKE OIL
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Subsidized "Free Trade":

I hereby nominate Professor Ralph R.Reiland, founder of the "Common Sense School of Economics," and author of the above "Another Perspective" article to the Nobel Committee as a candidate for the it's Prize in Economics!

How refreshing it is to see things as they really are! To observe with a guffaw that the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes! That we have listened too long to the "snake oil "pitches of the boobs and shills of the Libertarian Right until we actually began to think that their liquors and elixirs would cure everything as long as we took them straight, without real nourishment!

Thomas Jefferson had it right when he observed that "Merchants have no allegiances."

Our NAFTA chickens are coming home to roost and our skies are black with them.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pa.

NORTH AND SOUTH RISE AGAIN
Re: Michael Tobias's letter under "The Appomattox Stage" in Reader Mail's Cross Purposes:

I was unavailable to offer a more timely response to Mr. Crocker's wonderful article about a man dear to my heart, but I knew the bases would be covered by the loyal readers of TAS. And, Michael, I believe yours is the first I've read attempting to remind our government-schooled butthead Northern friends that (if I may paraphrase Lincoln) only about four score and seven years before the War, our forefathers were considered traitors by the British. I'm confident your points are lost to the pointy heads of those so eager to belittle anything, and anyone, Southern, but I suppose it never hurts to keep trying.

My grandfather was born in 1870, the year Lee passed from this vale of tears, and he was always, like Lee, a noble Southern gentleman, no doubt greatly influenced by Lee's example. This grandson is a bit more of a curmudgeon, but then, I'm a little tired of all the ignorance belched out by arrogant Federalist sycophants on a daily basis. Because of slavery, the War is one of their favorite moral grandstands, though they don't seem to mind the spirit of slavery, just the legality of it.

Thanks for an excellent job at summing this all up, Michael.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

I hate to add more unpleasantness to the discussion, but how were any of the seceding states that did not sign the Declaration of Independence NOT creatures of the federal government? They began as territories, and they all had to petition the Congress for admission, submitting their constitutions for approval.

It may well be that the states had a right to secede. But without the federal government, those states of the Confederacy west of Georgia and the Appalachians would not have had their political existence in the first place.
-- Ed Ahlsen-Girard

BLAME BUSH
Re: Ken W. Heller's letter under "Hail to the Chief" in Reader Mail's Cross Purposes:

I agree wholeheartedly, except for the last sentence which I would change to: "... -- must be global warming."
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

MEAN STREAK
Re: The Prowler's Tancredo's Dubious Allies:

The Prowler's mendacious hit piece on Tom Tancredo looks like it was co-written by the traitors of the Rove-run White House.

As a pro-lifer and practicing Catholic, I already voted for Tancredo as a write-in in 2004 and I look forward to voting for him in 2008. Immigration enforcement is the only Issue in 2008. Our country is being invaded. And I would vote for Mr. Tanton himself in 2008 over virtually any establishment GOP candidate. At least Mr. Tanton is not a traitor.

This piece just shows how much the "conservative" press has morphed into the GOP establishment. Funny, you wouldn't write a hit piece like this on the pro-abortion, pro-gay rights Rudy Giuliani.

No wonder no one buys The American Spectator anymore.
-- Matthew Richer
New York City, New York

E-LIST ECHOES
Re: Ben Stein's The Lynching of the President:

I used to think Ben Stein was smart. Now I think he's just another rich man sticking up for his boy.
-- Pam

Mr. Stein. Thank you for writing the message about lynching the President. I sent to all on my e-mail list. I feel so sorry for our President, people have said such horrible things about him, he doesn't deserve this. We all make mistakes, but we are going to win in Iraq. I pray for our country and our service people every day. We should get on our knees every day and thank God and our brave service people for a free country. God bless you and keep up the good work.
-- Joyce Lyons
Campton, Kentucky

I received the e-mail entitled "Lynching of the President" today. I just want to say that this is one of the best articles I have read in a very long time. I get absolutely tired of the media bashing Bush constantly. They are full of constant criticism, yet they have no other solutions to offer. Whether we agree with all of the President's decisions or not, we have to acknowledge that this man in under more pressure than any of us can even fathom. He probably has not had a sound night sleep since he took office, but especially since 9/11. I am very happy to read an article written in support of him. Thank you for a job well done.
-- Deana Moreno
Richardson, Texas

BAYONET CHARGE
Re: Letters under "War Torn" in Reader Mail's Cross Purposes:

My goodness gracious! Even after 140 years, passions are running high on the Civil War.

I write a letter saying that Robert E. Lee (along with many other Southern leaders) was a traitor. I base this on irrefutable facts: Lee and the others had sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution; Lee and the others then violated that oath. A Mr. Bateman defends Lee by telling us that Lee had resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and therefore was not a traitor.

I write a second letter, in which I quote the Constitution's definition of treason: levying war upon the United States (which Lee surely did); or adhering to their enemies, giving aid and comfort to those enemies (which Lee also surely did). I point out that civilians, such as the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss, committed treason, even though they held no commissions in the Armed Services; that being a commissioned officer in the Armed Services is irrelevant to the question of treason, and thus so is Lee's resignation of his commission.

Well, hell hath no fury like a Lee admirer scorned. Unable to refute my point -- that Lee and other leaders, and hundreds of thousands of the rank-and-file to whom I referred as "good ole boys," were guilty of treason -- three readers responded by changing the subject.

Mr. Bateman responded to my second letter with a confused letter in which he ignores all relevant distinctions. He says that my reasoning would lead to the conclusion that all rebel colonists in the War for Independence were traitors to the British crown. My reasoning does so lead, and they were.

Some of the rebels admitted the fact. (Franklin said: "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately." That's because Great Britain sent traitors to the gallows.) Mr. Bateman continued by saying that my reasoning would lead to the conclusion that the colonists, and I quote, "had every moral justification to do the same to (i.e., hang) the British soldiers and every colonist who fought for the British." Well, no, Mr. Bateman, it doesn't, because I recognize distinctions. First, the "Tories" remained loyal to the colonial administrations, and had no obligation, legal or moral, to support the rebels. Second, the British soldiers were not disloyal to the rebels. They never took an oath to support the rebels, and they were under no obligation, legal or moral, to obey the rebels.

What the rebels could do to the "Tories" who remained loyal to Britain is a separate question, but if Mr. Bateman thinks that all Tories were treated gently by the rebels, and forgiven their misguided loyalties, he knows little American history.

Mr. Paul DeSisto can't believe that I think a whole generation of Southerners were traitors, and asks rhetorically:

So, an entire generation of traitors, are they? All the Southern men who took up arms, the quarter million who died the many thousands more wounded, and all the Southern women who supported their fighting men, these millions, all traitors, you say?

Yes, they were, and Yes, I do say. The fact that many died and many more were wounded has nothing to do with whether they were traitors. That question depends on whether they committed acts that the Constitution defines as treason. I merely pointed out that hundreds of thousands of Southerners did levy war upon the United States and did adhere to their enemies, giving those enemies aid and comfort. (Mr. DeSisto says my reference to the Constitution was "self-serving." Of course it was. Any reference to evidence or to facts to bolster one's argument is self-serving. So what?)

Mr. Bateman and Mr. DeSisto suggest that I am a meanie and would have hanged all Southerners who took up arms against the Union or supported the Confederacy. Mr. Desisto reminds me (by self-servingly citing the U.S. Code) that penalties for treason range from imprisonment to death. I'll take his word for it. I don't know what I would have done, had I the power back in the 1860s. But the facts that there are different punishments for different acts of treason (recognizing that there are different levels of guilt) and that traitors are sometimes pardoned (as were thousands upon thousands of "good ole boys," including Saint Robert E. Lee) do not alter a third fact: these people all committed treason.

Mr. Newland writes that Lee could not have been guilty of treason because, and I quote, Lee "was not a citizen of the United States once Virginia seceded from 'the Union.' He was then a citizen of a separate and different union: the Confederate States of America." An interesting attempt, but futile. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and was made a general in Virginia's army. He wrote a number of letters in which he stated where his loyalty lay: "Save in defence of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword." Legally and psychologically, Lee was a Virginian, not a Confederate, when he began levying war upon the United States. Only later did the Army of Northern Virginia, and Lee himself, become part of the Confederate forces. And to my knowledge, Lee never renounced his U.S. citizenship.

Mr. Newland's theory is flawed. (1) It assumes that the Confederacy was a recognized, de jure, sovereign nation. I remind Mr. Newland that this is the issue the parties were fighting over, and I remind him that the outcome of the War answered that the Confederacy was not such a nation. I remind him also that not a single nation recognized the Confederacy as a separate, distinct political entity during its (mercifully) brief life. (2) Assume the facts are as Mr. Newland states, and analyze them. When did Lee cease to be a U.S. citizen and when did he become a citizen of the Confederacy? (Simply resigning his commission in the U.S. Army didn't accomplish that. People resign their commissions and remain loyal citizens all the time.) Answer: when he took an oath as General in the Army of Virginia and swore to defend Virginia against its enemies. (That is, against the United States.) But the very taking of that oath, and the acceptance of a commission as officer in an Army in rebellion against the United States, constituted treason: levying way upon the United States, and adhering to their enemies, giving aid and comfort to those enemies. Thereafter, he committed four years' worth of treasonous acts. But, according to Mr. Newland, Lee's first act of treason gave him immunity from all his acts of treason, including that first one.

Mr. Newland goes on to beg many more questions: the war was not fought for slavery; the South had a right to secede; the North had no right to try to stop secession. Yada, yada yada. These were the very issues the war was fought to determine, and guess what, Messrs. Bateman, Newland, and DeSisto -- the South lost.
-- James F. Csank
Seven Hills, Ohio

LATE ENDORSEMENT
Re: Quin Hillyer's A Meeting of Message, Messenger, and Moment:

I'm late in agreeing with those who wrote about Tony Snow for president, but I agree wholeheartedly. He's wonderful. Let's keep talking him up.
-- Nancy B. Eckardt
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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