Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Abbeville Institute and gay marriage

You can find the newsletter referenced in this text at www.abbevilleinstitute.org. This is an institute with extensive participation by professors and college students.

The Abbeville Institute claims that it isn’t a racist organization.[i] However, its real views can be inferred fairly clearly from its web page and publications that of opposition to civil rights, racial equality and its support for a neo-Confederate interpretation of American history. From an Abbeville newsletter about their 2011 Summer School, there is a condemnation of civil rights legislation, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and egalitarianism:

In “Perpetual War for Perpetual Union: Kendall and Bradford on Lincoln’s Imperial Rhetoric,” Daniel argues that Lincoln’s rhetoric at Gettysburg was not for defense or honor but for an ideological war to establish a “new birth of freedom.” Instead of viewing America as a federation of States enjoying a rule of law for conducting their business, Lincoln came to think of America in the manner of the French Revolution, namely as a unitary state dedicated to shaping society into the mold of abstract principles of liberty and equality. McCarthy observes that since these principles are absolute, abstract, and indeterminate in content, there is no non-arbitrary way to know what they mean or how to satisfy them. Every claim that equality has been achieved can be met with the counter claim that it has yet to be fully realized. So equality before the law, must give way to equality of opportunity, and that to equality in quotas for marginalized groups, that to equality of outcome. Traditional laws regarding marriage are offenses against equality because same sex couples are excluded, and so forth. With each ratcheting up of the abstract ideal of equality, more power is necessarily concentrated in the central government which diminishes the liberty of individuals and the corporate liberty of the States to protect a valuable way of life binding together generations. Moreover, since the idea of equality is abstract, it applies to all human beings, not just Americans, and this provides a justification for centralizing even more power and projecting that power abroad in an effort to achieve, in the words of George W. Bush, a “global democratic revolution.”[ii]

[i] Terris, Ben, “Scholars Nostalgic for the Old South Study the Virtues of Secession, Quietly,” The Chronicle of Higher Education,  Dec. 6, 2009, www.chronicle.com/article/Secretive-Scholars-of-the-Old/49337/, printed out 12/7/2012.

[ii] No author, “2011 Summer School,” Abbeville: The Newsletter of the Abbeville Institute, Vol. 2 Issue 2, Fall 2011,  pages 1, 4-9, quote from pages 8-9.

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