From Jay Cost--not on CNN, of course, or the NY Times where our liberal friends might actually see it, but in the conservative The Weekly Standard:
Twitter has a remarkable power to make well-credentialed people look like fools. Case in point: Joyce Chaplin, who is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University.
In response to President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, Chaplin tweeted
The USA, created by int'l community in Treaty of Paris in 1783, betrays int'l community by withdrawing from #parisclimateagreement today— Joyce E. Chaplin (@JoyceChaplin1) June 1, 2017
Senator Ted Cruz would have none of this, and responded,
Just sad. Tenured chair at Harvard, doesn't seem to know how USA was created. Not a treaty. Declaration+Revolutionary War+Constitution=USA. https://t.co/tQALvjdkTs— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 2, 2017
Chaplin, apparently forgetting that discretion is the better part of valor, responded
Sad. US Senator, Harvard Law degree. Doesn't know that national statehood requires international recognition. https://t.co/gcxtJifWCl— Joyce E. Chaplin (@JoyceChaplin1) June 2, 2017
Read the whole thing. Crossposted at newreformclub.com
Chaplin is not just wrong, but embarrassingly wrong. A 17-year-old high school student should know better.
- First, the Treaty of 1783 was not a multinational accord. It was a bilateral agreement between the United States and Great Britain.
- Second, the Treaty was a recognition of the facts on the ground, which were that, after their defeat at Yorktown, the British had no chance of reclaiming their American colonies.
- Third, there was no "international community" in 1783, at least not in any sense that corresponds to what Chaplin suggests. While the Declaration of Independence is solicitous of world opinion, no extra-national entity existed to make such determinations.
- Fourth, insofar as the international community did exist, it was on the side of the United States. France, Spain, and the Netherlands were all lined up against Great Britain in the Revolution.
- Fifth, the Declaration of Independence explicitly lays out the moral logic of the Revolution, relying heavily on early liberal political philosophy, which set out the guidelines for legitimate revolution. It then was at pains to explain why those conditions were met.
- Sixth, Chaplin's logic leads to ridiculous propositions. Did the "international community" sanction the Glorious Revolution of 1688? Of course not. But, per Chaplin's logic, Queen Elizabeth II is not the legitimate monarch of Great Britain, but instead it should be Franz, Duke of Bavaria, who is currently the senior member of the House of Stuart.