I read only part of this book--the chapter "Slavery, Succession and State Rights." This chapter discusses John C. Calhoun, and attempts to refute his two claims or theories: that all men are *not* created equal as the Declaration of Independence claims they are (the former was used to defend slavery), and the "concurrent majority" theory (used to justify states' right to secede from the Union). The criticisms of concurrent majority theory seem reasonable.
I was looking here for refutation of author Thomas Dilorenzo's defense of the South and of secession (in his book The Real Lincoln), based on a recommendation of this book by the Claremont Institute as an overall answer to Dilorenzo. In particular, I was looking for refutation of these two claims from Dilorenzo: that states individually ratified the Constitution and therefore had a right to withdraw their ratification; and that if the thirteen colonies seceded from Great Britain, why couldn't states secede from the Union?
I didn't really find what I was looking for in this chapter of A New Birth of Freedom, and will have to read the entire book. Which is somewhat daunting, because it is denser and far more overtly philosophical than The Real Lincoln.
Jaffa states, "Calhoun's theory ...den[ied:] any rational ground to the formation of governments[.:]" Having not read the works of Calhoun yet, I don't know whether that's true; but Edmund Burke, arguably the philosophical father of conservatism, seemed to know that the formation of government *isn't* entirely rational; it's organic, in the sense of resulting from traditions and ideas accreted over long periods of time.
This book, at least the sections on Calhoun, presume that the reader is already familiar with Calhoun's thought; so I think I'll put it aside and read Calhoun instead.