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Addressing the Charge of Racism

Published in Blog on September 02, 2021 by Edward Douglas Thompson

In a recent interview on the progressive Young Turks show called "Indisputable" with Dr. Rashad Richey, COS President Mark Meckler answered a charge of racism which had just been hurled at the entire Convention of States movement by the show's host, Dr. Richey.

The charge of racism came during minute 17:00 of the 22-minute video [1] linked to below, and it was couched in terms of Dr. Richey claiming that the defacto design of COS is to get us into situation characterized by a now-pejorative term: "States Rights."

For background on the progressive/opportunistic political tactic of adjoining the issue of slavery with the issue of states' rights, see Adam Freedman's essay on it [2] at the link below.

In a nutshell, southern states (the "slave states") were actually against the states' rights of the North, such as this 1857 New York state resolution [3], affirmed as a state law preempting the return of escaped slaves to their "owners", by the New York Supreme Court in Lemmon v. People (1860):

Resolved, That this State will not allow Slavery within her borders, in any form, or under any pretence, or for any time.

It is noteworthy that this resolution came out just after the Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court of the United States -- which essentially said that states don't have the right to harbor escaped slaves.

New York's response to that U.S. Supreme Court decision was that states' rights DO trump such federal rulings, and that that judicial "interpretation" of federal law would NOT be enforced inside of New York state boundaries.

The ultimate resolution of this matter -- a matter of states having the right to NOT comply at all with the institution of slavery, regardless of any "national" ruling by federal courts -- came with the Civil War.

It's also revealing that, in the original Dred Scott case, Dred and Harriet Scott had won their freedom in circuit court before subsequent court appeals were made, ultimately bringing it to the Supreme Court of the United States for final reversal of that original decision to grant them their freedom.

Time and time again, it was federal power that kept slavery alive, by trouncing upon states' rights with notorious "Fugitive Slave Law" (1793 and 1850).

Progressives, as is usual, somehow managed to turn the issues upside-down and sell them back to the public -- convincing most people that "states' rights" is akin to a return to slavery and discrimination.

Mark Meckler dismissed the charge of racism in the interview and, in an interview where time is constrained and explanations sometimes look like defeat, that is appropriate. That is the reason for this blog.

The progressives think that they have a good point and that they stand on good ground when they slander movements like Convention of States with charges of returning to their convoluted notion of states' rights (ie, slavery and discrimination).

But the history of states asserting their rights against the institution of slavery [4] tells a different story:

By 1804 every northern state had either ended it outright or passed gradual abolition laws to end it gradually. Starting in the 1820s northern legislatures passed “personal liberty laws,” to protect their black neighbors from being arbitrarily removed to the South without a fair hearing. These laws were also designed to prevent the kidnapping of free blacks.

This evidence will not likely sway the staunch progressives, because they are not relying on truth and logic, but instead rely on rhetoric and tactics in order to get the kind of power that they want over people.

The bigger issue which gets sidelined (when focusing on a straw-man argument about racism) is the one which Mark tried to bring the interview back toward: The question of where the ultimate authority lies, either close to home, or far away in the D.C. swamp.

The big issue that progressives want to divert away from is: Who decides?

Convention of States has the answer, but adversaries will likely continue to deflect by trying to paint the advocates of Convention of States, or the project in general, as inherently racist.

The Convention of States project is about returning to a process that works well. As Mark explained in the interview, it is not about achieving a specific outcome.

The trouble with progressives is the same as that of the farmer in the fable of The Goose that Laid Golden Eggs -- they want the outcome and ignore the proper process involved in obtaining good outcomes.

But if you ignore or dissolve a good process such as the one our Founders created, then you risk jeopardizing all progress, and the nation gets prompted to devolve into tyranny.

Mark also touched on this when he said that, through judicial "interpretation", the federal government has become so big and obtrusive that, no matter which side is elected, half of the nation is frustrated. Sadly, it appears that these important points were not taken to heart by Dr. Richey.


[1] Video of Mark Meckler interviewed by Dr. Rashad Richey on the show, "Indisputable". Available: ( ). Accessed 2 Sep 2021.

[2] Adam Freedman. (2014). The Truth About States’ Rights. Available: ( ). Accessed 2 Sep 2021.

[3] John D. Gordan, III. (2006). The Lemmon Slave Case. Available: ( ). Accessed 2 Sep 2021.

[4] National Park Service. “Let it be placed among the abominations!”: The Bill of Rights and the Fugitive Slave Laws. Available: ( ). Accessed 2 Sep 2021.

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