B After The Fact

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Civil War Must Be Fought In Every Generation -- Special 14th Amendment edition

My friends at the exciting new blog American-Rattlesnake want us to stay open to the idea of repealing the 14th Amendment.

That just raises the hair on my neck.

I responded:

The reason the 14th Amendment had to be enacted was because the United States had already experienced a situation where there was no birthright citizenship. That situation was called slavery.

The purpose of the 14th Amendment is to avoid the creation of a permanent underclass in this country that would have no ability to exercise their freedom. Over time, this permanent underclass would depress wages, depress rights, and drag everyone else's wages and freedoms down the drain as well.

That understanding is a big reason why so many Northerners willingly died during the Civil War to give freedom to a certain group of people, despite the fact that hardly any Northerners in the 1860s considered that group of people to be their true equals.

The 14th Amendment, as finally written into the Constitution, has nothing to do with immigration. I don't know how people can say that the Constitution is really about the things that got voted down during debate. I don't know how so many people (not necessarily your particular post, but certainly great swatches of the Tea Party movement, purported spokesmen for the Republican Party, and even the current Chief Justice) can act as if America's story is only about what the Revolutionary founders wanted, or how the Revolutionary founders might have reacted to events in the 21st Century. Equal attention, and perhaps greater attention has to be given to Abraham Lincoln, what happened during the Civil War, and what it continues to mean today.

Obviously I cannot prove this, but it seems to me that repealing the 14th Amendment or even implementing laws enforcing a strong guest worker program, would ultimately lead to the reintroduction of some form of slavery into the United States. That result is far worse than any immigration problem we have currently or will ever have.