What West Virginia Day Means To An Anarchist
By: Matt K. (ETTW)
June 20, 2015
The primary purpose of this article is that of an anarchist, anybody who rejects rulers over themselves or others. I neither endorse the Union or Confederate Statists of America’s Civil War era, as can be seen in my series ‘Anarchist Odyssey of the Federalist Papers.’ The focus of this article is that West Virginians aren’t living in liberty, because Statism is still prevalent, and is even celebrated on days like this (and up to the following Monday, depending on the calendar).
According to the website timeanddate.com, West Virginia Day “commemorates the date that West Virginia was admitted to the Union and became a member of the United States.” As Shane mentioned in his article, ‘If You Worship the Flag of the State, You Are Worshiping the State’, “The current United States flag we see today was adopted in 1960. That was long after the anti-freedom, communist seed was planted in America.” Given that West Virginia day originated on June 20, 1863, it precedes the current U.S. flag but the same inherent problem of Statism remains intact. To make matters worse, West Virginians VOTED their liberty away in praising the joining of the Union. To quote Jim Surkamp, “Shepherdstown’s 60-year-old school teacher George Byer’s vote on May 28, 1863 was among a total of 247 pro-statehood votes in Jefferson County that were legally needed to make the County forever a part of the new West Virginia. The vote was a key detail in a sketchy, legal wartime plan by the new state’s organizers that even Abraham Lincoln looked at askance, when shown it in late 1862. Lincoln recognized the questionable nature of the state’s creation, noting that ‘a measure made expedient by a war, is no precedent for times of peace’.” Despite reservations, on December 31, 1862, Lincoln signed the bill for its creation because he could not afford to lose the support of loyal West Virginians. Lincoln wrote: “Doubtless those in remaining Virginia would return to the Union, so to speak, less reluctantly without the division of the old state than with it; but I think we could not save as much in this quarter by rejecting the new state, as we should lose by it in West Virginia. We can scarcely dispense with the aid of West Virginia in this struggle; much less can we afford to have her against us, in Congress and in the field. Her brave and good men regard her admission into the Union as a matter of life and death. They have been true to the Union under very severe trials. We have so acted as to justify their hopes; and we cannot fully retain their confidence, and co-operation, if we seem to break faith with them.” As indicated by Dishonest Abe’s wording, the Union was in a fragile status of affairs, and without other States joining it, it faced extinction. Given that the Union was born as all governments are, as a monopoly on violence and an extortion racket, I’ve no sympathies for it. Much less it’s Confederate, southern, counterpart. By definition BOTH are forms of Statism, and as an anarchist I reject them equally.
Recent news has many people kicking up a fuss about the Confederate flag, because the Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa-loving Dylann Roof had it displayed on a vehicle he was laying back on or was locally flown by State authorities. A curious case to parallel, if we want to get upset about people being visibly near, or wearing flags, is Nidal Hasan wearing his Army outfit and U.S. flag patch – even to his guilty court case. This guy was even awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, believe it or not! Frankly, I’m quite happy that the likes of Roof and Hasan have faced accountability. However, their guilty actions shouldn’t put American liberties under endangerment because the Federal government wants more extensive “counter-terrorism” measures. The American hypocrisy is quite astounding, because folks will CELEBRATE the destruction of the Confederate flag but the UNION’S is an untouchable, holy, fabric because it comes from the Federal government. (And it’s “illegal” to desecrate, but that’s not the point of this article.) Give me a break! It’s much simpler to denounce them for what they are: symbols of Statism. If you’re going to hate, at least have some consistency about it. Under the Union flag, flying it’s ‘freedumb and democrazy’ across the planet, has placed American lives in danger for 200+ years. If you want to get upset at violence, that’s fine, be my guest. Can we start with the violence of the State (yes, that would include the State of South Carolina you nitpickers!!) and work our way down to the individual level. In a society of libertarian values, neither Hasan nor Roof would’ve had much success. They actively violated the non-aggression principle and disrespected the self-ownership of others for failure to comply with whatever internal psycho-hierarchy they had in place where others submit to their ‘authorities.’ Armed resistance and gun discipline would’ve saved Roof’s victims a lot of trouble, even from a stranger who may have caught Roof before he killed his victims.
Now if people want to celebrate liberty from the State and other oppressors, there are plentiful other historical occasions to observe relative to the Virginias:
Nat Turner’s rebellion was favorable for positive race relations and the abolitionist John Brown’s raid helped secure such social interactions.
As an anarchist, I reject celebrating the unification of one State with others – as I deny Statism ideologically, whether it stands individually or collectively. The “United States” wasn’t born of voluntaryism, but coercion, and as such, I don’t recognize ‘West Virginia day’ (or any other). I wouldn’t say I’m ‘apolitical’ in the sense that I’m disinterested in politics, but rather, like Karl Hess – I agree with the general sentiment (and title) of his article: “The death of politics.” When you reject political parties to rule over your life, when you refuse political candidates and office-holders the “right” to rule over you, and when you deny any self-proclaimed “authority” over your physical, mental and spiritual person – you’ve achieved liberation from the Statist chains that bind you. It’s a small pebble being thrown into the stream of my anarchistic lifestyle, but finding alternative ways to leisurely enjoy a holiday – even if it means celebrating something else altogether – is a small victorious battle in the confines of the mind. I hope with Shane, Kyle and many others we can build a dam together against the Cult of the State, and let that Church of Unitary Executive crumble and wither away. I don’t want to see a new State reborn, new flags raised in place of old ones, just absolute freedom for myself and others.