Fallout from the Ron Paul - Tim Russert interview
0 comment Wednesday, August 6, 2014 |
I knew this exchange the other day between Ron Paul and Tim Russert would set off a controversy:
MR. RUSSERT: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. "According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery."
REP. PAUL: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist..
MR. RUSSERT: We'd still have slavery.
REP. PAUL: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.''
Given that Dr. Paul criticized Abraham Lincoln, who is a near-deity for some, and given that he dared to question whether the sacred cause of 'ending slavery' was worth more than a half-million American lives -- in addition of course to the financial costs -- it was guaranteed that there would be a cry of PC indignation about Dr. Paul's words.
AOL on their home page had a poll asking about Ron Paul's statements regarding Lincoln and the War Between the States. It appears as though the poll has been discontinued. From what I have heard the poll was running against Dr. Paul's point of view. That's not surprising, given the heavy indoctrination the schools administer in their 'history' classes, and given that many people get their information on these matters from unreliable sources like the very Politically Correct History Channel.
Those of us who are Ron Paul supporters will no doubt be subjected to ignorant questions about this issue; I expect to hear 'how can you support a candidate who thinks we shouldn't have ended slavery?' 'How can you support a candidate who thinks the Civil Rights Act was a bad thing?' These issues are so sacrosanct in our society that it's to be expected that many people will have a predictable knee-jerk response and immediately mount their PC high horse and assume their best morally superior air when asking these questions.
I won't take up the Civil Rights Act issue at this time; that will be for another blog entry.
Now, nobody wants to be in the position of attempting to defend slavery, and I am not going to try it. Slavery is history in the Western world -- except in cases where immigrants have re-introduced it into our country -- so if any hyperventilating liberal supposes that anybody is proposing to re-introduce slavery or 'Jim Crow', they can relax and stop being hysterical. But the fact is, the question should be asked: why do we now consider slavery, specifically the slavery once practiced in America, as the ultimate evil, the most heinous crime and sin ever committed, short of 'genocide'? Why are we still rending our clothes about it a century and a half after we put an end to it? Why are the people who make such an issue of slavery unwilling or unable to see any evil in the slavery practiced even now by 'diverse' Third World cultures? The idea that we condemn ourselves, our ancestors, and our culture for every failing while giving Third World people a pass is part of a consistent theme in liberal multicultural ideology. Third-worlders, it seems, are children who are not held accountable for their actions. Where is the equality in that attitude? If we are all equal in every respect, they need to be held accountable to the same unforgiving standards to which we hold Western cultures. Anything else is a kind of 'racism' because it implies that the 'diverse' cultures are, well, primitive and unable to live up to the high standards we apply to our Western culture.
Maybe that is in fact the reality but pin a liberal to the wall and ask them to defend that position, and see what happens.
The idea that slavery, as a fruit of 'racism', is a unique evil, surpassing most evils, is something that is assumed in our day. Why? Yes, I know it violates our supposed 'American creed' that 'all men are created equal,' but there are many other outrages which should command the same outrage, but which do not.
Child labor was a great evil, which was practiced until the last century in Western countries; we've all read of children working long hours at hard or dangerous jobs, sometimes going to an early grave because of the harshness of their lives. Why is this not considered at least as serious an evil as slavery? I would argue that it is worse. Obviously slavery is popularly deemed worst, because of the racial issue, which has assumed paramount importance in our weird post-modern morality. Race seems to trump all. We can insult or criticize almost anyone, even God himself, but we can't criticize or fail to properly defer to those of racial 'victim' status.
I truly think that most Americans, without fully informing themselves and thinking it through, have simply accepted that the question of slavery and the War Between the States are issues that must simply not be examined; slavery, so this line of thought goes, was the ultimate evil and therefore sacrificing over half a million lives and laying waste to the South were necessary acts, and the result was worth it.
But was it the most humane thing to emancipate the slaves suddenly by decree, when many or most of them were not prepared or equipped to make the transition to a life of 'freedom'? A gradual freeing would have been wiser as well as more humane. It would have been better to prepare slaves for freedom, but the liberals and radicals of the time were not concerned with real-life consequences, but as always, were only concerned with serving their utopian ideology regardless of the cost in human terms.
Thomas DiLorenzo, who is a scholar who dissents from the Lincoln cult, writes here how paradoxically, libertarian abolitionist Lysander Spooner defended the South's right to secede, and disagreed with Lincoln's actions. [Aside: Spooner is one of my New England kinsmen, so I am related to several abolitionists as well as to Southron slaveowners.]
Spooner and his entire family were abolitionists for decades prior to the war. He authored The Unconstitutionality of Slavery in 1845, which made him a great hero to the entire abolitionist movement; advocated the nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act by juries (a purely Jeffersonian, states� rights position); called for slave insurrections aided by abolitionists like himself; and even hatched a plot to kidnap Virginia Governor Henry Wise and hold him as a hostage in exchange for John Brown.
Spooner also saw through the phoniness of the Lincoln regime and its diabolical quest for empire at the expense of hundreds of thousands of American lives. As George H. Smith writes, "Spooner stood nearly alone among radical abolitionists in his defense of the right of the South to secede from the Union" (p. xvii). To Spooner, the right of secession was "a right that was embodied in the American Revolution." Moreover, Lincoln�s war "erupted for a purely pecuniary consideration," not any moral reason.
Spooner�s views on the war are laid out in his famous 1870 essay, "No Treason," published as part of the above-mentioned Lysander Spooner Reader. He understood that the Northern business interests who were the backbone of the Republican Party of his time (also Lincoln�s time), whom he labeled "lenders of blood money," had "for a long series of years previous to the war, been the willing accomplices of the slave-holders in perverting the government from the purpose of liberty and justice . . ." (p. 117). It was such interests, after all, that monopolized (and profited immensely from) the transatlantic slave trade, which was always centered in Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts.
The Northern financiers of the war who lent millions to the Lincoln government did not do so for "any love of liberty or justice," wrote Spooner, but for "the control of [Southern] markets" through tariff extortion (p. 118). Mocking the argument of the "lenders of blood money" as they addressed the South he wrote: "If you [the South] will not pay us our price [i.e., a high tariff] . . . we will secure the same price (and keep control of your markets) by helping your slaves against you, and using them as our tools for maintaining dominion over you; for the control of your markets . . ." (p. 118).
Referring to President Ulysses S. Grant, Spooner also noted that the Northern business interests who controlled the Republican Party had "put their sword into the hands of the chief murderer of the war," who at the time was hypocritically saying, "Let us have peace" (p. 118). Spooner interpreted the crushing of the Southern secessionists at the hands of "murderers" like Grant as essentially saying: "Submit quietly to all the robbery and slavery [i.e., via tariffs and inflation] we have arranged for you, and you can have peace" (p. 118). The Republican Party rhetoric of "saving the union" and "abolishing slavery" was all a sham, said Spooner. "The pretense that the 'abolition of slavery� was either a motive or justification for the war, is a fraud of the same character with that of 'maintaining the national honor,�" the famous abolitionist wrote (p. 119). It was the U.S. government that established and enforced slavery, he noted. The U.S. flag flew over an American slave society almost twenty times longer than the Confederate flag did.
[...] Spooner also ridiculed Lincoln�s ridiculous and absurd statement in the Gettysburg Address that he was waging war for the principle of "a government of consent," or government of the people, by the people, for the people, as his flowery rhetoric put it. In reality, the type of "consent" created by Lincoln�s war was: "everybody must consent, or be shot" (p. 120). This idea "was the dominant one on which the war was carried on." (Another libertarian icon, H.L. Mencken, was of the same opinion). "All of these cries of having 'abolished slavery,� of having 'saved the country,� of having 'preserved the union,� of establishing a 'government of consent,� and of 'maintaining the national honor,� are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats," the great abolitionist declared (p. 121).
Lysander Spooner vigorously attacked the Lincoln regime and defended the Confederacy�s right to secede with the libertarian language of natural rights, consent, and social contract. He recognized that this was also the language of Jefferson Davis�s First Inaugural Address, and that the war was not initiated to "free the slaves," something that neither Lincoln nor the U.S. Congress ever said or thought, even if grossly uneducated Americans do today.''
So really, Ron Paul is not saying something totally novel or 'radical' when he criticizes the War Between the States; he is echoing what others before him, libertarians like Spooner as well as true conservatives, have said.
The War Between the States, which was not strictly the altruistic crusade it purported to be, also left irreparable damage in terms of the relationship between the South and the North; it is hard to forgive and forget when your loved ones have been killed, your home burned to the ground, your crops destroyed, and an occupation government (which the Reconstruction government was) imposed. The North, with Reconstruction, clearly had a punitive agenda in mind. They wanted to utterly humiliate and abase the South. Depriving many citizens of their franchise and their rights as citizens, while putting yesterday's slaves in office, giving them authority over their former masters was malicious in intent, and served no good purpose. It was because of historical episodes like that that my Southron ancestors were firmly anti-Republican for a century. The radical Republicans were the nemesis of Southron people in the post-War era. For that reason many Southron people were staunch Democrats for generations, until the Democrats became insanely liberal and anti-white.
The War Between the States had greater costs than the billions of dollars and the 600,000 lives. It did irreparable damage to North-South relations, it set in motion our current 'politically correct' obsession, and even worse, it turned our Republic away from the Jeffersonian model and towards the Lincolnian, imperial, centralized, big-government model. It is incomprehensible that any conservative who claims to favor smaller government and more local control would think that this change has been for the better.
Confederate General Patrick Cleburne said:
Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.
If this cause, that is dear to my heart, is doomed to fail, I pray Heaven may let me fail with it, while my face is toward the enemy and my arm battling for that which I know is right.
I am with the South in death, in victory or defeat. I believe the North is about to wage a brutal and unholy war on a people who have done them no wrong, in violation of the constitution and the fundamental principles of the government. They no longer acknowledge that all government derives its validity from the consent of the governed."
General Wade Hampton:
If we were wrong in our contest, then the Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a grave mistake and the revolution to which it led was a crime. If Washington was a patriot; Lee cannot have been a rebel."
For Southern patriots, that the South was right as to the principle of State's rights vs. Federal power is not in question.
But as to Dr. Paul's points, there are many ways to approach the question of whether the Civil War was justified, or whether there was not a better way to free the slaves. I think Dr. Paul and others are right; why could we not have freed the slaves as Britain did?
The liberals who are feigning shock over what Dr. Paul said might stop and think: wouldn't the 'peaceful solution' have been prefererable? Or is the peaceful solution only recommended when our enemies are 'Others'?
I really don't see how a liberal can make any kind of consistent and coherent argument against Dr. Paul's statements. I would like to see how the peace-and-love crowd would be able to argue that the War Between the States, with its half a million dead, was justified, when there were other options.
However Dr. Paul decides to respond to this media-driven controversy, I would bet that he will not back down or pander. It would be out of character for him to do so. And above all else, I believe Dr. Paul is a man of integrity and principle. He's stayed true to his principles for his years of public life, unlike most politicians.

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