Friday Night Recommendation: The Abbeville Institute

The Internet is a vast place, with a niche for everything.  It’s interesting to consider how much import users put into their own little online worlds—they know everything about what makes their little corner of the web tick, or click—but, if you’re outside of that niche, it’s almost like it doesn’t exist.  It’s like planets filled with intelligent life that cannot perceive or know one another, except when one spunky interstellar craft stumbles upon a distant world.

Regardless, this phenomenon certainly exists online, which explains, in part, why some Americans know everything wicked the progressive Left is unleashing upon our world, while others are blissfully unaware of their impending dooms.  One website that is doing yeomen’s work on our side is the Abbeville Institute.

I stumbled upon the Abbeville Institute—which, I believe, is based out of my State of South Carolina—while researching John Randolph of Roanoke for my History of Conservative Thought course earlier this summer.  I also wrote about one of its pieces, an essay about Conan the Barbarian, a few weeks ago.

The Abbeville Institute will not be to every readers’ tastes.  Its view—like Randolph of Roanoke’s—is that the American experiment in self-government and federalism went horribly awry almost as soon as it left the starting gate, with the Constitution and its Bill of Rights immediately coming under assault and reinterpretation as Alexander Hamilton and his Federalists began stretching the great document beyond its proper bounds.

As such, their pieces often defend the Confederate States of America, not because it supported slavery, but because the eleven States of the Confederacy believed States had a genuine right to self-determination via secession.  We assume that that interpretation is foolish, because the Union won the war, but it was very much an open question in 1860-61:  having opted-in to the Constitution, could States later opt-out?

While I do not advocate for withdrawing from the greatest, most enduring political document ever conceived, it is worth noting that two increasingly irreconcilable poles exist in our politics and culture, and any reconciliation will necessitate the victory of one side and the defeat of the other.  In such a context, peaceful separation doesn’t seem like such a bad shake.  The American Civil War may have settled the “opt-out” question for an epoch, but political questions settled with blood can be unsettled or resettled in the same manner—or, preferably, by non-violent means.

These are heady ideas, and I’m not advocating or espousing them, but merely posing these important questions.  I will hasten to add, too, that my recommendation to check out the Abbeville Institute does not reflect an endorsement of the ideas therein.

That said, the writing is good, and I favor the unorthodox, intellectual argument to the staid, predictable pabulum of Conservatism, Inc.  There are nuggets of wisdom, as well as forgotten and suppressed bits of American history, to be found at the Abbeville Institute.  Check it out.


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