I was going to respond to Michael Gerson’s deeply silly attack on small-government conservatism, which he conflates with libertarianism, which he conflates with secessionism, which he conflates with the Confederacy. But Ben Domenech beat me to the punch. He does a fine job explaining how the Confederacy was actually a forerunner to today’s progressive, technocratic state:
Paleoconservatives may find much worthy of defense in the Confederate state, but consider: The Confederate Constitution amended the US Constitution to better facilitate technocratic rule. The Confederate ruling ideology, derived from John C. Calhoun’s concurrent majorities, remains current in leftist thought today (see Lani Guinier). The Confederacy was the first to introduce mass conscription. The Confederacy staged a series of repressions and massacres against local autonomy (east Tennessee, central Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, western North Carolina, etc.). The Confederacy imposed an internal-passport regime for civilian travel later echoed by European autocracies. The Confederate state took over most of its own economy by war’s end. And the Wilsonian “progressives” contained a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers who saw it as a noble experiment and set about applying its principles in the form of the segregating the federal government, fomenting the Klan, and more.
Domenech goes on to accuse Gerson of adopting a “Sharptonesque manner” when it comes to definitions and kindly quotes a piece by yours truly.