The United States, the united States, and 300 Million Americans

In two posts, “Nine and Ten” and “MA v. EPA: To Be or Not to Be Soveriegn,” Curtis tackles the question of state sovereignty.

For background: in a recent case, the the Supreme Court (happily but obviously politically) rediscovered the sovereign state right of Parens Patriae. In the case, the Supreme Court acknowledged that States have sovereign rights but that they do not have the power to pursue those rights. Therefore, the federal bench must be especially sensitive to state concerns.

The points that Curtis ,makes on his blog echo those of ,Alexander Chisholm, Executors v. Georgia (1793), a SCOTUS case from when Washington was President. (Indeed, it is so old that there was not even “majority opinions” yet!) The controversy has been irrelevent since Amendment XI was ratified in 1798, but it is important in this discussion for what the Justices thought of the sovereignty of states.

Selected quotations are below the fold, but if I may summarize the justices

  • Chief Justice Jay: State sovereignty exists regardless of whether a state may be sued or not
  • Justice Blair: State sovereignty is forfeited to the extent that the Federal government gained sovereignty
  • Justice Wilson: Individual bind their sovereignty to the government, as states bind their sovereignty to the federal government
  • Justice Cushing: Questions of sovereignty are philosophical and irrelevant.
  • Justice Irdell: States are sovereign to the respect that the United States is not.

In other words, I think Curtis sums it up well when he writes:

Individuals are sovereign + States are sovereign + the Federal Government is sovereign… Individuals are quasi-sovereign + States are quasi-sovereign + the Federal Government is quasi-sovereign

Well said!

Chief Justice John Jay:

If then it be true that the sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation, and the residuary sovereignty of each State in the people of each State, it may be useful to compare these sovereignties with those in Europe, that we may thence be enabled to judge whether all the prerogatives which are allowed to the latter are so essential to the former…

It is plain then that a State may be sued, and hence it plainly follows that suability and State sovereignty are not incompatible. As one State may sue another State in this Court, it is plain that no degradation to a State is thought to accompany her appearance in this Court.

Concurring, Justice Blair:

And if a State may be brought before this Court as a defendant, I see no reason for confining the plaintiff to proceed by way of petition; indeed, there would even seem to be an impropriety in proceeding in that mode. When sovereigns are sued in their own Courts, such a method may have been established as the most respectful form of demand; but we are not now in a State court, and if sovereignty be an exemption from suit in any other than the sovereign’s own courts, it follows that when a State, by adopting the Constitution, has agreed to be amenable to the judicial power of the United States, she has, in that respect, given up her right of sovereignty.

Concurring, Justice Wilson:

The only reason, I believe, why a free man is bound by human laws is that he binds himself. Upon the same principles upon which he becomes bound by the laws, he becomes amenable to the courts of justice which are formed and authorised by those laws. If one free man, an original sovereign, may do all this, why may not an aggregate of free men, a collection of original sovereigns, do this likewise?

Concurring, Justice Cushing:

But still it may be insisted that this will reduce States to mere corporations, and take away all sovereignty. As to corporations, all States whatever are corporations or bodies politic. The only question is, what are their powers?

Dissenting, Justice Irdell:

Every State in the Union, in every instance where its sovereignty has not been delegated to the United States, I consider to be as completely sovereign as the United States are in respect to the powers surrendered. The United States are sovereign as to all the powers of Government actually surrendered: each State in the Union is sovereign as to all the powers reserved. It must necessarily be so, because the United States have no claim to any authority but such as the States have surrendered to them. Of course, the part not surrendered must remain as it did before.

The Mainstream Media Discovers J.L. Kirk and Associates

Allen, J. 2007. Nashville woman, local headhunting firm squaring off over comments woman made on her blog; libel suit threatened. The City Paper. April 16, 2007. Available online:

The public relations nightmare that J.L. Kirk Associates created by threatening a blogger who complained about their treatment of her husband continues to snowball. Both Newscoma and This is La Vergne, TN link to an article from Nashville’s The City Paper.

Add to that the televised report about JL Kirk Associates from Nashville is Talking. One wonders how far away the Associated Press can be.

J.L. Kirk On Television

At the same time, another former customer of JL Kirk Associates steps forward to tell his story (h/t to NiT.)

Meanwhile, the kirking continues. There are now only two Kirk pages in the first 3 Google pages for J.L. Kirk. New additions include Katherine Coble’s “JL Kirk Update” post and Enclave‘s “Blogger Jujitsu: JL Kirk Lands in 10th Spot on Net Indexer’s Top Searches List After Trying to Throw Its Weight Around in Nashville.”

JL Kirk on Technorati

Lastly, Live Search remains generally immune to the blogosphere’s immunodeficience, with only one relevant non-corporate site in the top 30: you guess it, tdaxp.

The Genocide in Darfur is the Fault of Those Who Oppose Colonialism

Hari, Johann. 2007. White Man for the Job. The New Republic. April 23, 2007. Available online:

Eddie of Hidden Unities emailed me a “hit piece” against Andrew Roberts that recently appeared in The New Republic. In particular, felt the follow passage justly put Roberts in a bad light:

In 2001, Roberts spoke to a dinner of the Springbok Club, a group that regards itself as a shadow white government of South Africa and calls for “the re-establishment of civilized European rule throughout the African continent.” Founded by a former member of the neo-fascist National Front, the club flies the flag of apartheid South Africa at every meeting. The dinner was a celebration of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day the white supremacist government of Rhodesia announced a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was pressing it to enfranchise black people. Surrounded by nostalgists for this racist rule, Roberts, according to the club’s website, “finished his speech by proposing a toast to the Springbok Club, which he said he considered the heir to previous imperial achievements.”

I’m generally unaware of the Springbok Club, and can’t comment on its mix of affection for the Commonwealth and liberationalist republicanism. Instead, I will address what appears to be the substantive theme of the paragraph: that “civilized European rule throughout the African continent.”

Of course it was.

The European Powers conducted the most massive, and most intense, Systems Administration Work in the history of the world in Africa. The European regimes stretched from the horrendous (Congo Free State) to possibly the best the continent had ever known (the British Empire). This period of interventionism stretched roughly from the 1878 Congress of Berlin to after the Second World War (though native left-of-center governments took power in Rhodesia and before the end).

The retreat of the Empires saw genocides, ethnic cleansing, massacre, and terrorism of all stripes. The middle part of Africa saw near immediate devastation, while decline and stagnation would soon encircle the continent from the Pacific to the Indian, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Southern Ocean.

If not for the terrible toll, in blood and money, of fighting the Axis in World War II, Dar Fur would have never happened. Rwanada would have never happened. Because the Europeans would still be there.

Instead, a combination (in increasing order of importance) of national liberation movements, leftist-isolationist domestic intellectuals, and bankrupt Empires led to the abandonment of a good slice of humanity. While other states pulled off the grid in the twentieth century (the Soviet Union and the Chinese People’s Republic, for example) experienced record-breaking democides, they had enough internal social capital to either slowly decline (Moscow) or eventually rebound (Beijing). Africa does not and did not.

I titled this post “The Genocide in Darfur is the Fault of Those Who Oppose Colonialism” not because the genocides and democides truly are the moral fault of anticolonialists, any more than a spate of immolations would be the “fault” of those who just don’t feel like funding a fire department anymore. The title of the post is true in the functional sense.

European colonialism was a once-in-a-millenia opportunity for Africa. Sadly, neither Europe — nor Africa — were up for it.

Don Imus and JL Kirk

tdaxp, D. 2007. Why is it that if I refer to Irish as provo coal-crackers…. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. April 14, 2007. Available online:

Weeks, C.G. 2007. I’ve been pondering the differences between the two approaches. tdaxp. April 16, 2007. Available online:

Weeks, C.G. 2007. I wonder if the garish offense is not JLK’s business practices in general…. tdaxp. April 16, 2007. Available online:

Recently, my blogging energies have been consumed by two scandals, Don Imus’s “nappy headed hos” remark and JL Kirk Associates’ threat of a lawsuit. Both cases show visceral reactions against relatively week targets (an MSNBC/radio host and a Tennessean employment agency) by groups known for political activism — blacks and bloggers. Yet Jews were silent when Don Imus called guests pointed-headed Jews, and most of the thousands of companies involved in lawsuits don’t raise a hue and cry. So what’s going on here?

The Don Imus of the Blogosphere?

Simple: outrage is a product of perceived group powerlessness and a perceived attack on the group. In the case of Don Imus, “blacks” correctly perceived their political weakness and then perceived an attack on black-ness. In the case of JL Kirk, “bloggers” correctly perceived their political weakness and then perceived an attack on blogger-ness. As Curtis says:

Not only might this describe Coble’s sense of outrage at what she perceived to be a hostile interview; but more to the point, it may explain the blogger response to the threatened lawsuit. To the degree that many bloggers may feel generally powerless in their lives — and, perhaps, also before the law of the land as adjudicated within the courts — such a lawsuit as threatened by JLK creates a backlash and outrage.

And likewise, Don Imus and JL Kirk were targets of outrage, instead of evildoers who actually mattered, because blacks and bloggers are too weak to cause substantive change. So instead, they go after symbolic targets like a cranky radio host and a litigious company:

Again, as Curtis says:

Her one post may have had more effect against JLK than a single post might have against a Microsoft or Google or Ford Motor Company that operates globally.

Both bloggers are blacks are in weak political positions. Bloggers are subject to violent, litigious assaults by corporations and do not have the resources to strike back. At best,
they can go bankrupt defending themselves from rich predators or swarm their opponents.
Likewise, widely visible black culture has transitioned from slavery to serfdom to female-farming society (arguably a lateral transmigration).

As I wrote on Tom Barnett’s blog:

Outrage is not a function of validity of argument. Outrage is a function of powerlessness, a function of Olive Treeism, a function of life in the Gap.

Because of many factors for blacks, and because of our judicial system for bloggers, too many blacks and too many bloggers experience Gap-like conditions even within the United States.

As we move into the medium a generation or two, we can expect less outrages from bloggers but probably an equiavelent number from “African-Americans.” The reason is that “African-Americans” — those blacks who are descendents from slavery in the southern United States — are considered wards of the state. So like the Lakota Indians before them, the federal government contiually makes their lot worse while trying to make it better. Bloggers, on the other hands, are ignored by the government. They exist in a state of benight neglect.