To ward off any possible suspicions of such faulty arguing, here's their argument, in brief:
- They do start, admittedly, with a basic states' rights claim. Interpreting the original U.S. Constitution as that of a compact-style government, they claimed that the right to secede is inherent in the country's foundation. Cool. I don't disagree. What's interesting here is that they too assume the Lockean understanding of secession that I have always believed in: i.e., secession is justified if, and only if the government fails to fulfill its obligations to its citizens. Clearly then, if they are to justify secession, they must, as I have always argued, be capable of proving that the U.S. government was failing in its basic responsibilities to the state of South Carolina.
- Their first claim is multipartite. They bring up the fact that not all U.S. states were cooperating in the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. Okay, legally that might be a problem, despite the immorality of the act. However, individual states, and not the national government, were responsible for this lack of cooperation; while it might have been the duty (again, only legally) for the national government to interfere, this is a pretty minor complaint on which to base secession from the union. Almost like claiming "injustice" on the part of the federal government on a technicality. Just consider what that same horrible, oppressive government would have needed to use to enforce that law, anyway: ummm...army, anyone? So, basically, because the federal government was a monster because it wasn't invading a few uncooperative (but non-secessionist) northern states. But it was also an evil monster for invading states that claimed secession.
- It also complained that the government was trying to end slavery. Maybe so (though that would hurt the "Civil War wasn't about slavery" issue), but even so, it was using legal methods. So you get outvoted in the most recent election. So you might lose your slaves. Does that seriously mean you're being tyrannized and having your sacrosanct rights taken away?
- The most laughable claim? They admit that they've lived with these problems for 25 years. Why is the situation unacceptable now? Simple: the election of a president who was "planning" to abolish slavery. Despite Lincoln's promises to work entirely within the bounds of the Constituion, they were convinced that he might pull a fast one on them and take away their God-given right to own other human beings. How can one even take this argument seriously? Preemptive secession? So now it's constitutional to secede simply because you think one of your leaders might someday do something unconstitutional?