Texas Outlaws?

A friend and reader writes in to ask what is going in Texas, where Governor Abbott is trying to control the border with Mexico.  Isn't this unconstitutional, he asks, since the Federal government is responsible for maintaining the border?  The writer goes on to explain:

"Just as clear to most people (obviously not all) is that the Federal government has abrogated its responsibility to protect the States in this regard.  This seems to me a showdown that is bigger than most people realize.  If Abbott does not flinch, his actions will become one of the more significant acts by a State since the Civil War.  If Biden shoots a Texas guard soldier, it would seem that hell would break loose.  If Biden threatens to cut off all federal monies flowing into Texas and other States that join Texas (the only playable card he has it would appear), that might work, but then Abbott would become a nothing and I would be surprised at this point that Abbott would cave."

I don't follow Texas politics any more and do not know how to evaluate Abbott's seriousness.  I was always suspicious of a man appointed by George W. Bush, but Abbott seems independent.  He famously sued the Obama administration 44 times and has consistently championed the right of Texans to decide their position on abortion, religion in schools, and control of their border.

The letter-writer raises an important question, and he makes  good points, but I would take issue with the basic claim. The Southern border is, if we look at it properly,  a double border.  Insofar as it is the border of Texas, the governor has the right to defend it, just as states used to prescribe different rules for voting in national elections and even had different methods.  Even the Interstate Commerce clause does not prevent a state from forbidding what other states and the federal government regard as legal--not only drugs , first-cousin marriages, etc., but also importation of restricted fruits and vegetables.

Of course, today all branches of the Federal government, along with state and local governments,  routinely and systematically violate the Constitution.  One good example is the decision of the Texas Supreme Court forbidding Texas to hold an election on secession.  When Texas joined the Union, their  constitution included a provision for secession. Sam Houston of course opposed the secession of 1861 both on practical and nationalist grounds, but if one is going to obey the law, then Texas—which was an independent republic before joining the Union—has certain rights.  Of course, so does SC which seceded from the Crown before the Declaration of Independence.

It’s a queer time we live in.  Leftist governors and mayors routinely defy the federal government by establishing sanctuary or nuclear free zones, and now Abbott is giving them a more serious challenge from the other direction.  Back in the late 1980s I became interested in a campaign for what was described as "municipal foreign policy," whose advocates published a journal with that title.  It seemed to me bizarre that just as the federal government was consistently violating the Constitution by inventing rights they imposed upon the several states, so states and municipalities though they were free to make their own foreign policy.

The MFP movement faded, but it helped to generate the arguments used by Chicago, New York, and San Francisco to protect criminal aliens who prey upon their populations.   As urban areas become ungovernable, the big question on the take would seem to be this:  Who is going to undertake the task of restoring order?  The best and most peaceful solution is for the Feds to acquiesce in the initiatives taken by Abbott and De Santis and others--while also giving into leftist governors like Newsom. I see no future for the mayors that can be elected in  big cities such as Nw York and Chicago.  This leaves only vigilance committees, lynch mobs, and vengeance-seeking kinfolk.  Not a happy thought.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

8 Responses

  1. Robert Geraci says:

    I truly appreciate your essay. I would add that irrespective of the legality or constitutionality of what Texas has done (and it appears that other States are gearing up to provide support, including personnel), the action has indeed occurred and as such there will be consequences for both the Federal government as well as for the issue of States rights. Something has to give and whatever it is cannot be a half measure. I am not at all being facetious in saying that this is enjoyable to watch unfold.

  2. Allen Wilson says:

    If any kind of gridlock or even violence breaks out it will not be good for us here in America, but it could serve to defuse the Neocons’ drive to start a war with Iran, thus preventing a possible nuclear confrontation with their allies Russia and China.

    Look for countries around the world to become sympathetic with secession movements here, as they begin to see them as a means of killing the dragon that’s been raining fire down on them for decades. They will naturally sympathize with states that wind up in the cross hairs of the same empire that has bullied and attacked them for so long.

    In fact, this just may be what the rest of the world has been wanting to see for a long time: “When are the people over there going to do something?” Finally, at long last, they see Americans standing up to their own evil empire.

    It will all hinge, of course, on whether the lunatic in chief decides to federalize the Texas national guard, and whether they comply. If they refuse to be nationalized and side with their state, then a whole new era begins. Aside from the obvious decrease in federal power over the states, it will mean that states will be much more reluctant to let their national guards be mobilized for overseas wars, because they will feel a need to have them here to protect themselves from the feds, and may need to seek support from other countries for the purpose of self preservation. Other countries may not be too sympathetic with a state that has allowed it’s national guard to be part of an invasion force to occupy them or their neighbors.

    If the national guard complies with the lunatic in chief, then it will not be over. The genie is already out of the bottle and she ain’t going back in. It’s only a matter of time before a state’s national guard and it’s state militias refuse to back down.

    Will the feds now arm migrants into a militia to kill Americans? That would be par for the course. We may also see some kind of false flag staged to try to cause us all to rally ’round the flag. Well, there’s Iran, ready for the purpose.

    I keep getting the feeling that it’s all about to come unglued and a Trump presidency won’t be able to hold it together.

  3. William Shofner says:

    “The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.”

    ~ Jefferson Davis

    Has that time and form now reasserted itself? Smells like it.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Rumors are circulating that the President is planning to nationalize the Texas National Guard, but half the state governors have declared support for Abbott. Embarassingly, while Georgia has expressed support, the two Carolinas have not. No use expecting JB Pritzkeer, brother of Penny who foisted Claudine Gray on Harvard and cousin of Thomas who was Epstei’s buddy, to do anything to help Illinois, even after he betted Abbott to show mercy.

  5. Allen Wilson says:

    I thought South Carolina did? Right now it’s hard to find out anything for sure. There are rumors that some of the 25 states are sending troops to assist Texas but there is no evidence for it yet that I can see.

  6. Gregory Fogg says:

    VDare’s map shows South Carolina as one of the 25 states expressing support for Texas.

  7. Robert Geraci says:

    Reading that major parts of Texas border is unmanned and hardly fenced and migrants coming in. Was all this a staged event? Truth seems to have become the rarest of elements on the planet.

  8. William Shofner says:

    Some Demon Rats proclaim that only the U.S. government, and not a State, has the right or duty to protect its border. Of course, as usual, the Rats are wrong.

    Article I, Section 10, paragraph 3, of the U.S. Constitution provides that: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, …. keep Troops…or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit delay.”

    If the entry, these past several years, of over 8 million illegal aliens into the US is not an invasion or does not create an imminent danger, what does?