My Name Is Neo

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You may have been following the story of Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Ph.D!), and the growing popularity of his Politically Incorrect Guide. If not, dig the outrage here and here. Arts & Letters Daily helpfully refers us to this critical pan from Max Boot:

I FIRST BECAME AWARE of Thomas E. Woods Jr.'s Politically Incorrect Guide to American History when the New York Times Book Review took note of its rise on the paperback bestseller list and described it as a "neocon retelling of this nation's back story." A neocon retelling? What would that be, exactly?

I have no interest in Max Boot, except to wonder whether that's really his name or a holdover from his punk rock days. For what it's worth, I was unpersuaded by Boot's arguments for why involvement in World War I was a vital national interest and amused by his defense of Bill Clinton's adventures in the Balkans. Nor for that matter, am I going to read the Woods book, whose complaints about the Civil War sound like an old whine in new bottles—for anti-militarist polemics I'll take Randolph Bourne every time, and for anti-militarist polemics with a frisson of Confederate apologetics, give me Gore Vidal. What's got me madder than a Civil War reenactor with chiggers in his wool underpants is the incredible description The New York Times used in touting the book. It's got Boot angry as well:

It tells you something about how debased political terminology has become when a leading light of the nutty League of the South is identified in the Paper of Record as a "neocon." The original neocons, like Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, were former Democrats who accepted the welfare state, racial equality, and other liberal accomplishments while insisting on a more assertive foreign policy than the McGovernites wanted. In other words, pretty much the opposite of what Woods believes. Woods is a paleocon, not a neocon…

I don't read The New York Times much, and the relevant bestseller list just gives the title and author; no description. So who's the slimy little communist shit, twinkle-toed cocksucker who doesn't know the difference between Norman Podhoretz and J.E.B. Stuart in his rakish hat with ostrich plume?

I think it says more about how contemporary liberals view themselves than about our "debased political terminology" that anybody at The New York Times believes a neocon "revision" of American history would even be possible, or that it would differ in any substantive way from the way that history would be written by The New York Times itself.

The genius of neoconservatism is that it's exactly in step with the progressivist, middle-of-the-road, big state view of American history they teach in school: The Articles of Confederation resulted in a disaster that taught the founders the value of a strong central state; the Whiskey rebels were dangerous kooks, not unlike the Branch Davidians of our own time; "States' Rights" has always been a code word for slavery; President Woodrow Wilson was a man of vision but sadly was unable to achieve his goals for an international order; the America Firsters were even kookier and more marginal than the Whiskey rebels, and the best way to deal with one is to sock him in the jaw like in The Best Years of Our Lives; many well intentioned folks on the left underestimated the danger of the Soviet Union, but the anti-communist witch hunts of the fifties were a regrettable overreaction (the Left didn't become dangerous until the late sixties and early seventies, when it embraced separatist and militant views that undermined the politics of consensus that made this country great); real civil rights progress only came when the federal government asserted its power over the refractory states; September 11 shocked America out of its isolationism and freed President George W. Bush (an excellent man, but distressingly shortsighted in some matters) from his naive opposition to nation-building. And so on.

Leave aside how much of it you agree or disagree with. What would the neocons add to the official version of American history? That Winston Churchill should have been made King of the United States as well as Prime Minister of Great Britain? That we missed a great opportunity by not jumping into the Franco-Prussian War? That we should have intervened on Sylvania's side against Freedonia? The folks at The Times may have a narcissistic interest in highlighting small differences, but you can't misuse language forever. When liberals look at the neocons, they see themselves.

In a related story, Honest Abe tops a new poll of our favorite presidents.

NEXT: Hunter Thompson's Flashbacks

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  1. …real civil rights progress only came when the federal government asserted its power over the refractory states…

    Well, that’s clearly wrong in light of the significant progress made in the states between the 1930s and the 1960s. Indeed, its probably more correct to say that the Federal Government got involved because most of the states had done away with what was only left in the Jim Crow South.

  2. “The genius of neoconservatism is that it’s exactly in step with the progressivist, middle-of-the-road, big state view of American history they teach in school:…”

    Correctamundo Mr. Cavanaugh.

    I’ve yet to read the book, but it’s got leftists and neocons both going apeshit. This tells me that, for whatever its faults, it probably hits pretty close to the truth.

  3. Gary, as I indicated, my point isn’t that it’s true (or not true), but that it’s generally believed. Think of it like Family Feud: It’s not the correct answer that matters; it’s what the Survey Says.

  4. The person who incorrectly labeled the book “neocon” (in a 201-word squib) seems to be Dwight Garner, a frequent book reviewer for the NYT who also writes for Slate, Salon and other outlets. Mr. Garner’s mistake demonstrates something about his own personal understanding of the divides in contemporary American conservatism (i.e., that it is deficient). However, it does not demonstrate that all liberals do not understand the difference between paleocons and neocons. I know the difference, and I don’t even really care.

    However, if you must have raw meat on which to chew, I note that the NYT “Corrections” column states today:

    An article on Feb. 10 about opposition to plans for a Wal-Mart in Queens referred imprecisely to the location of a Long Island store. It is in Uniondale, a community in the Town of Hempstead; it is not in the Village of Hempstead.

    How telling that liberals cannot distinguish between the various political subdivisions of the Town of Hempstead. How very telling, indeed.

  5. “In a related story, Honest Abe tops a new poll of our favorite presidents.”

    Aww, Grover Cleveland didn’t even make it in the top seven. Damn. Of course, if you mentioned Cleveland to your average American they’d respond, “who?”

  6. Caught Mr. Woods on CSPAN this morning. Definitely a cool and froody dude.

    Oh and, thanks for the two allusions that I caught Mr. Cavanaugh.

  7. How telling that liberals cannot distinguish between the various political subdivisions of the Town of Hempstead. How very telling, indeed.

    Good one.

  8. Hmm, somehow I’d think an accurate understanding of the types and natures of political divisions among conservatives might be more crucial knowledge for liberals (and other people) than precise Wal-Mart placement.

    Unless, I suppose, one is arguing that liberals are so thoroughly out of power, or more narrowly that the NYT is so thoroughly out of fashion, that it doesn’t do the concerned parties any more good to know the structure of the political groups in power than it does to know the precise location of a Wal-Mart in Queens. That seems a bit exaggerated, though.

  9. “If you want to talk about America-hating professors, here’s someone who hates nearly everything about the last 140 years of US history. Yet only a handful of right-of-center commentators — Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.com, Max Boot in The Weekly Standard — have spoken out against the book. Where’s the outrage? Is this the kind of ideology conservatives want to be associated with? Does anything labeled ”politically incorrect” get a pass?”

    I used to respect much of the work that I saw from Cathy Young here at Reason, but this one sounds like it’s from another person. Hmmm.

    Oh, the HORROR! Woods doesn’t like…LINCOLN! Honest ABE! The traitorous monster. Yes, as the public school system has taught all of us, Lincoln is a great american hero. Until you read the actual history of his actions, bordering on a tyrant, torturing deserters, suspending habeas corpus, etc. Lincoln was no hero, and only someone who just took their elementary school textbook as the final word on everything. But this example illustrates Young’s entire argument, which is, namely, the same argument that every other critic who disapproves has made: namely, that since Woods doesn’t agree with what we all accept as common knowledge, then he must be wrong, he must be an America-hating traitor.

    Hogwash. Anyone who has actually read his work, either in print or at LRC, knows that he is neither. The rest of her rant is based on this gem of a hyperbolic ad hominem: that, since Woods is a co-founder of the League of the South, that, one should surmise, means that he is wrong.

    I am sorely disappointed in Ms. Young’s departure from reason, and wholehearted embrace of low-down tactics such as this. Her only saving grace is that she did actually pull a couple of specifics out of the book and attempted to refute them, which is more than I can say for most of the other critics…but even that wasn’t very complete or coherent. And the last paragraph, well, Ms. Young might as well be writing for the Times instead of Reason (yes, I know, this wa sa piece for the Globe), because dredge like that belongs elsewhere.

    I’m not just saying that because I disagree with her either. I disagree with many writers @ Reason, but I still respect their arguments and their argumentative style. It’s just sad that something this pathetic could come from a writer here. Can’t win em all, I guess.

  10. Tim Cavanaugh,

    I know, I know. But you’re talking to an ex-historian here. 🙂

  11. My favorite dubious neocon name: Charles Krauthammer. That can’t be real. The Dr. Strangelovian wheelchair just adds to the fun. Wonder if it’s a prop like Guy Caballero’s?

  12. Show me an American defending US involvement in WWI, and I’ll show you a fucking idiot.

    Max Boot, assume the position….

  13. “So who’s the slimy little communist shit, twinkle-toed cocksucker who doesn’t know the difference between Norman Podhoretz and J.E.B. Stewart in his rakish hat with ostrich plume?”

    Such vitriolic language! I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or serious (having to read breifly whilst multitasking) yet I feel the urge to applaud flowery phrasing as being cut from my own cloth! =)

  14. Evan Williams,
    Amen. Ms. Young sometimes hits the mark, but all too often winds up in the tall grass of WTF? I second the motion that Reason should have her replaced. Perhaps with a nice philodendron.

  15. I just give Ms. Young a pass nowadays. Her columns here are almost always the same formula: some people on the right/left are doing or advocating badthing X, but then again some people on the left/right are doing or advocating badthing Y, which is just as bad as badthing X, so a pox on both of them!

    Wash, rinse, repeat. Talk about predictable….

    In this case, I do note she does not try to defend US involvement in WWI (at least here), so she has a leg up on the mighty Max Boot (and perhaps he enjoys it).

  16. Paleos are wrong about about parts of the past (defending the confederacy etc.) whereas neos are wrong about the present (defending the war in Iraq etc.). Pick your poison. Or avoid poison and associate with ‘none of the above’.

  17. On the one hand, Cathy Young frequently does make some very good points.

    But, on the other hand, those good points are all too frequently surrounded by predictable commentary that goes something like this:

    &ltCathy Young Template>
    On the one hand, [Michael Moore/Eric Alterman/A college newspaper editor/other] has clearly staked out a position of [insert noxious stance here].

    On the other hand, [Ann Coulter/Sean Hannity/some idiot on FreeRepublic/other] has responded with [insert some idiotic and horrifying statement here].

    Clearly, neither side has a monopoly on stupidity in this culture war.
    </Cathy Young Template>

  18. Picking nits: Is this J.E.B. Stewart you speak of the same person as J.E.B. Stuart?

  19. “I’ve yet to read the book, but it’s got leftists and neocons both going apeshit. This tells me that, for whatever its faults, it probably hits pretty close to the truth. ”

    Uh, I don’t think either leftists or neocons like The Protocols of the ELders of Zion, either…

  20. GiGi: “Indeed, its probably more correct to say that the Federal Government got involved because most of the states had done away with what was only left in the Jim Crow South.”

    As an NYCer I’ll say that Jim cawwed well enough in the North. The South had a relatively clearcut white/black division while the North had an ethnic pecking order that incidently served to meliorate conditions for blacks.

  21. But my dinner companions just use the word “conservative” to encompass all of the “bad people” that they encounter. I’m sure that if their car was ever stolen they would blame it on a “conservative”.,/i>

    I guess that’s kind of like when Conservatives use the word “liberal” to describe anyone who disagrees with any single point of THEIR agenda.

    Applying the label “liberal” to dissenters is often quickly followed with the question “why do you hate America?”

    Yes…I’m applying a label with a broad brush to make a point about applying labels with a broad brush.

    It’s ironic that folks have gotten their knickers so in a twist about an incorrectly applied label…that they feel compelled to splash ‘liberal’ and ‘leftist’ about anyone who might disagree with the *ahem* esteemed Dr. Woods.

    While I’m no conservative, I’d hardly call myself liberal – at least in the sense they mean it.

    All labels aside, just what do you say about a historian that calls the civil war “The War Of Northern Aggression” and disengenuously claims that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.

    The fuck it wasn’t about slavery. My godammed ass it wasn’t about slavery. I’ve been listening to that pathetic, self-justifying crap for years now.

    “It was about state’s right.” Crap.

    “The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t issued intil 1863.” So what.

    Almost every state in the confederacy, in their articles of secession, clearly state up front that they are seceeding because of slavery.

    Just because a jackass with a degree says different doesn’t make it so. Just ask Ward Churchill.

    And just because some people choose believe it doesn’t make it the truth.

  22. I’m gonna say it ’cause no one else is.

    These attacks on Cathy by posters have crossed the line. It’s unwarranted to call a lady you don’t know the “C” word because you don’t like what they write.

    Nor is it gentlemanly conduct by posters with a male-sounding appellation. Lives are not hanging in the balance based on what is posted here OR written in Reason or by Reason staffers. So I would say that a personal attack that pointed is just not cool.

    Few of us completely fit any definable standard of what makes a good or credible Libertarian.

  23. All this Cathy talk is in the wrong thread anyhow.

    Isn’t Woods’ book intended as sort of a reply to this one?
    Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
    by James W. Loewen

  24. The Whiskey Rebellion occured *after* the Constitutional Convention. Do you mean to refer to Shays’s Rebellion, which took place while the Articles of Confederation were still around?

  25. These days you can get history, news and even online dates that fit your political pigeonhole.

    It doesn’t have to be accurate, it can leave out any and all inconvenient facts and it will invariably identify any alternatives as wrong.

  26. Max Boot is just another neocon chicken hawk. In a Wall Street Journal piece a couple years ago, he tries to label those opposed to the mad neocon bombers as anti-semites.

    1914 and the World We Lost

  27. madpad,

    I just happened upon this thread… had you not posted that, I would have. The Cathy-bashing here is getting ridiculous.

    Those who want a magazine (or other medium) that is in lockstep with their beliefs and prejudices should start their own.

  28. The fuck it wasn’t about slavery. My godammed ass it wasn’t about slavery. I’ve been listening to that pathetic, self-justifying crap for years now.

    I picked up Woods’s book a few weeks ago (not knowing about the League of the South or some of the crazy stuff he’s said elsewhere about the KKK) and though I’m only half-way through it, I don’t find much to quibble with.

    I really don’t want to get into a “he said/you said” fight here because I feel no particular loyalty to defend everything and anything Woods has ever written, but a couple of things: First, I don’t think Woods can be immediately labeled a racist when he argues in his book things like Dred Scott should have been freed or that John Brown was crazy (today, Brown would probably be compared to pro-lifers who shoot ob/gyns). Secondly, the main thrust of Woods’s book is to make a series of subtle distinctions. Case in point: Woods believes that the American Civil War wasn’t technically a “civil war” since by definition such a conflict is for possession of the same government, which the ACW wasn’t. A semantic distinction, yes, but an important one. He uses the term “War Between the States” throughout the book but mentions that it has other names like the “War for Southern Independence” and the “War of Northern Aggression,” both of which, he concedes, have emotional connotations. Now I know it’s useless to call it anything but the “Civil War,” but I think Woods is right in making the clarification.

    Further — and I hate to break it to you — but to say the Civil War was directly about slavery is factually wrong. It was indirectly about slavery. The war was over the secession, and the states seceded over slavery — again, an important distinction. In discussions with people I always say that if the war was a stick of dynamite, slavery was the match and secession was the fuse. There is a relationship between the three things and it is inaccurate to erase any one of them. And if you don’t believe me or Woods, take it from some of the participants: Lincoln said he would allow slavery if the south would only stop fighting and reenter the Union; and Woods has a quote from Ulysses S. Grant saying that if he really believed the war was to abolish slavery, he would join the Confederates since he was a die-hard slave-owner.

    The fact that the softcover edition has an endorsement blurb from Ron Paul on its front is proof that it should infuriate lib and con alike.

    You may now begin your “You’re a racist!” flaming.

  29. madpad writes: “All labels aside, just what do you say about a historian that calls the civil war “The War Of Northern Aggression” and disengenuously claims that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.”

    Madpad, the south wasn’t trying to take over the USA government. It just wanted to leave. They were attempting to fire the Federal Government. Thus is wasn’t a Civil War.

    And if it was about slavery, why did Lincoln lobby so hard for the Corwin Amendment which would have enshrined slavery into the United States constitution.

  30. Ah, Cathy, of fond memory: the libertarian who chose the date of September 24, 2001, to reveal that she is all for government’s right to read your email even as she finds encryption technology “scary.” She did her part, at a critical juncture in the history of liberty, to make the world just a bit more comfy for the despots in our midst.

  31. I find it interesting that the poster who goes ballistic over Ms. Young’s being called a “cunt” preceded that very same post by calling Thomas Woods a “jackass with a degree”, and refutes the points he has made in his book by giving a Rush-style tangential rant interjected with obscenities.

    Next someone will claim Thomas Woods would go cruisin’ for girls with Scott Ritter.

  32. The best post on this blog — ever. Bravissimo!

  33. BillyRay: A civil war does not have to be about attempting to take over *all* of a country. It’s perfectly legitimate to refer to, say, “the Nigerian civil war” (try googling that phrase) even though the Ibos didn’t want to take over all of Nigeria but simply create an independent Biafra. (Besides, how about the fights between local Unionist and Confederate forces *within* some of the southern states? What can you call that but a civil war?)

    If Lincoln were *only* interested in preserving the Union and cared nothing about slavery, he would have agreed to the Crittenden Compromise allowing slavery to expand–it would probably have prevented the secession of every state but South Carolina. He was unwilling to agree to it because he thought it would lead to the expansion and perpetuation of slavery. Before the war and for some time after it started, he was willing to tolerate slavery where it was but only because he thought that slavery contained was slavery doomed to “ultimate extinction.”

  34. BillyRay,

    Corwin Amendment, Lincoln’s statements, and everything else aside, the North ended slavery and the South didn’t. From that perspective, I’ll always (though I was born in Alabama) cheer for the North. If you cannot understand the balancing of issues, interests, etc. that goes behind this conclusion, well so be it.

    Slag,

    I would say that all those things mean very little from a rule utilitarian perspective (and perhaps from a deontological perspective as well). Anyway, I can equally cherry pick phrases from Confederates (soldiers and civilians alike) which illustrate the deep-seated desire to maintain the slave system; look at statements by the Confederacy’s Veep, the actions of many Confederate generals when they came upon free black people in Pennsylvania (they grabbed them and sent them into slavery – how the hell the neo-Confederates justify that I cannot say), the statements of secession by South Carolina and other states, etc.

    Honestly, its a very easy choice for me; I’ll pick the Union every time. Why it proves to be so difficult for other people I cannot say.

    D Anghelone,

    Most non-Southern states by the early 1960s had rid themselves of de jure discrimination on their own; this also includes invidous discrimination like anti-miscegination laws. Only the southern states as a rule lagged behind the rest of the U.S.

  35. Ultimately its a choice between this:

    Favoring the Confederacy’s “right” to secede over the slavery issue.

    Favoring the end of slavery over the “right” of the Confederacy to “secede.”

    I pick the latter.

    BTW, any notion that slavery was on its way was effectively destroyed some time ago by Robert Fogel.

  36. Gary, obviously you can cherry pick anecdotes to imply that slavery was the primary reason for the war.

    But everybody knows that a properly-executed picking of cherries will reveal that it was primarily about federalism, limited government, and tariffs!

    It’s all about picking cherries in the right way!

  37. Such vitriolic language! I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or serious (having to read breifly whilst multitasking) yet I feel the urge to applaud flowery phrasing as being cut from my own cloth! =)

    This combines allusions to the movie Full Metal Jacket and the TV commercial for the Civil War Commemorative Chess Set. I put it in to provide some reading entertainment, not to slag anybody, and I regret that some commenters may have taken it as license to call Reason writers (or anybody else) nasty names.

    Picking nits: Is this J.E.B. Stewart you speak of the same person as J.E.B. Stuart?

    Corrected. Thanks.

  38. More to the point; Lincoln was gay.

  39. We all know why the southerners seceded–it was to protest the tariff of 1857–uh, which was the lowest in decades. No, wait, it was to protest the Morrill Tariff–uh, which couldn’t have become law if the southerners had stayed in the Senate. But it was about the tariff, anyway, not about slavery, right?…

  40. Sorry David, but Lincoln opposed slavery into the new territories because he wanted them reserved for free white people. Lincoln was a racist after all. Make no mistake about that. No more so than other men of the time though. He had no bones about the anti-black laws in his own state of Illinois that forbid black people from moving in. As you know, he met several times with black leaders to try and figure out a way to ship blacks to either the Caribbean or Panama.

    As Alexis de Tocqueville traveled around the country in the 1830s he wrote about slavery and racism. The further north he went, the worse the racism and no where was racism worse then in states that never had slavery or had since abandoned it.

  41. Seriously though, I am in the scary position of agreeing with Gary Gunnels. In the civil war, I find myself siding with the North. Though, now I identify more with southerners, and am more at home when I visit the south, than when I visit the north. (am from the west).

    On agreeing with GG, I still despise the French so I should be OK.

  42. David T-

    Obviously it was because the slave owners were all hard-working individualists who wanted to enjoy limited government and federalism. Oh, and lower tariffs. Can’t forget the tariffs!

    Just ask any Confederate apologist!

  43. Sorry David, again as you well know, the tariff in the late 1820s and early 1830s almost sparked secession. Just as the northeastern states talked secession after the Louisiana purchase fearing the agricultural states would have more power than the banking and commerce states.

  44. Would someone please tell me what the hell a ‘neocon’ is? This is like the freaking political buzz-word of the new millennium. Every pundit on earth uses it at least three times per sentence, and I STILL don’t know what one is.

  45. Max Boot’s definition, quoted above, is pretty accurate.

  46. Neocons are former leftists that moved right during the cultural revolution of the 1960s. They believe in an aggressive American foreign policy. Irving Kristol, and Podoretz are the best example. Sometimes a few of the really sensitive ones claim the term neocon is anti-semitic because most early neocons were Jewish. I’ll probably get labeled a bigot for saying this, but many neocons think Israel is sorta like the 51st state of these here United States.

    Now the term has been broadened somewhat and people like Bill Buckley get hit with the neocon label.

  47. Some of the folks railing against WW1 are conveniently forgetting that it occured in an age of Empires, especially European ones. Or maybe that’s the real reason for all the love-notes written to the pre-1914’s. Personally, I can’t bring myself to feel even slightly sorry for the demise of that era or that said demise was a blow against freedom. Good riddance.

  48. BillyRay: (1) South Carolina was virtually alone in threatening secession over the tariff in the early 1830s. None of the other southern states would back her up over that issue. The difference between 1830 and 1860 (when South Carolina did receive southern support) wasn’t that the tariff was higher–it was on the contrary much lower. It was that–rightly or wrongly–the secessionists saw the Republican Party’s victory as a menace to slavery. Unless of course they were lying in all their secession resolutions, newspaper editorials, pamphlets, sermons, and even private letters. I don’t think today’s Confederate apologists pay much of a compliment to the Confederate leaders by making them out to be a bunch of liars!

    (2) Was keeping the territories for white men a motive for Lincoln’s opposition to slavery expansion? Well, it may have been one of his motives, and certainly the most palatable one to give to racist audiences, especailly in southern Illinois. But beyond that, there was his belief that slavery itself was wrong and that while its constitutional rights in the states where it already existed should be respected, it should not be allowed to get a new lease on life by expansion. Certainly Lincoln didn’t gain votes when in the 1830s he was one of two Illinois legislators to argue that slavery was based on “injustice and bad policy.” He was no aboitionist, but it is wrong to think that only abolitionists disliked slavery and advocated polcies that ultimately worked against it. (Whether he was a “racist” or not is irrelevant here; someone could be a racist by modern standards and still antislavery.)

  49. Tim, so you don’t think there are significant differences between the New York Times/liberal view of US history and the neoconservative view? Try this:

    “Four decades later, when Norman Podhoretz edited Commentary, he took the magazine away from the zany liberal radicalism of the ’60s and, in the late ’70s, liberalism became the problem — not only the wimpy liberalism of Jimmy Carter but liberalism itself, going all the way back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II. The failure of nerve to resist communist expansion, Podhoretz insisted, had its origins in America’s ‘acquiescence’ to the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe toward the end of the war against Adolf Hitler. The Cold War may have begun in 1947 with Harry Truman and containment and the Marshall Plan, but ‘up until this point the Russians had enjoyed a free hand. They had been permitted to occupy most of Eastern Europe and to begin installing puppet regimes in one after another of the countries of the regions.’

    “Podhoretz and sociologist Robert Nisbet claimed that FDR allowed such developments against the advice of Churchill. But in the essay ‘Neoconservative History,’ first published in The New York Review of Books and later reprinted in his A Present of Things Past, Theodore Draper insisted that ‘there is nothing, I repeat nothing’ in the voluminous FDR-Churchill correspondence to support such a charge.”

    http://www.prospect.org/print-friendly/print/V14/11/diggins-j.html

  50. I’m not sure neocons moved to the right so much as the center moved to the left…

  51. On the subject of Kathy Young,

    She writes pieces that tease. The subject and the header hint of a wildly interesting piece, and then sometimes it dissapoints a little when it boils down to the template that Thoreau mentioned.

    Still her pieces are entertaining and informative even if they don’t live up to what I had hoped when reading the title.

    Even if her pieces sucked ass, calling her a ‘cunt’ is uncalled for, and serves no purpose that I can think of.

    On the other hand talking badly about the French, or talking about Abe being gay to discredit him is humorous.

  52. David, we went through this last summer, but lets do it again.

    Only a very small percentage of southerners owned slaves. Slave owning was an elitist institution. They were very expensive and the average dirt farmer couldn’t afford to buy them or maintain their upkeep. Housing, food etc etc. Now I think it’s ludicrous to say all those poor farmers went off to fight a war over slavery.

    Now in his first inaugural address to the newly formed Confederate states, Jefferson Davis talked about the freest trade possible and peace with all. He never mentioned slavery once. Now before his inaugural, all the big northern papers were editorializing about just letting the gulf coast cotton states along with Georgia and South Carolina to leave. Let em go they said. After news of the speech began to filter backup north about low tariffs and commerce with all, those same papers now demanded that Lincoln blockade southern ports because they would destroy northern commerce. The Free trading south did threaten northern economic viability if left alone.

  53. GG,

    Ultimately its a choice between this:

    Favoring the Confederacy’s “right” to secede over the slavery issue.

    Favoring the end of slavery over the “right” of the Confederacy to “secede.”

    To the modern revisionist, it is this choice, yes. But to the participants, it was a choice between “Favoring the Confederacy’s right to secede over slavery” and “Not favoring the Confederacy’s right to secede over slavery.”

    Honestly, its a very easy choice for me; I’ll pick the Union every time.

    I’m glad you got that off your chest so now no one thinks you’re a racist. You should feel proud. In the meantime, I’m not saying I would pick the Confederacy; the issue for me is one of clarifying a point all too often oversimplified in general discussion.

    In no way shape, way, or form am I implying that the Confederates were a bunch of misunderstood philanthropists who treated their negroes well — and neither, I think, is Woods, at least in his book — which is what you suggest by listing some of the racist actions of the Confederates; if anything, you substantiate my own point (of course the Confederacy wanted to preserve the slave system… I kinda thought that went without saying) And to say that paraphrasing two of the most important players in the war is “cherry picking”… well, I have to chuckle… one wonders what you *would* accept as proof of their motives.

    To repeat: the war was over the secession and the secession was over slavery. I realize this chain of causality is too complex for revisionist ex-historians. Why it proves to be so difficult I cannot say.

  54. Regarding my (apparent) inconsistency:

    You’re equating ‘jackass’ with ‘cunt’? especially in the context and pointed nature of Guy’s attack relative to my posting? I guess I see a subtle distinction that’s lost on some others.

    Even if I was wrong to use the word ‘jackass’ (for the record I don’t feel I was), as I’ve said before…two wrongs don’t make a right.

    And whatever you think of my posting, Guy was just plain out of line.

  55. “Only a very small percentage of southerners owned slaves.” This was absolutely not true so far as the Deep South was concerned. See http://alpha.furman.edu/~benson/docs/shfam60.htm which indicates that in South Carolina and Mississippi almost half the free families held slaves; in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, it was over one-third. If we add to these, families who hoped to own slaves some day, we get a pretty big interest. (The way that Confederate apologists make the “Only a very small percentage of southerners owned slaves” look plausible is that they ignore that usually women and children didn’t own slaves; it was usually one member per family who owned them.)

    In any event, it is absurd to think that only slaveholders or even potential slaveholders feared abolition (and the secessionist propaganda always referred to the Republicans as abolitionists, whether they were or not). On the contrary, non-slaveholders, worried about free black competition, could be among the most fearful of all.

    As for Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address not mentoning slavery: Please remember that such addresses were largely intended for foreign, especially British consumption. Of course when you’re seeking recognition from the British, you tell them what they want to hear. (“It’s all about free trade.”) What matters is what southerners said *to each other* in the debates on secession, and that was very heavily oriented toward slavery. As a reviewer of a collecton of pamphlets on secession remarked, “First of all, the pamphlets strongly underscore the central role of slavery in causing secession, something that portions of the public still find hard to accept.” http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=12982870699274

  56. I never implied you were inconsistent, just hypocritical. I did not equate “jackass” with “cunt”. Where I grew up curse words did not have a threat level assignment to them. One is just as good as another. If you find a subtle distinction between the two then that’s your perogative. I myself find a subtle distinction between a quart and a liter, but I don’t make a big deal out of it.

    “Two wrongs don’t make a right”

    Is that some sort of non-sequitur attempt at an excuse? Listen, I’m not defending Guy, I don’t like it either when people resort to that kind of talk, but really, you did set the tone.

    If you think that you can act belligerent and say things that offend people without them responding in kind, then buddy you could work for the Bush administration.

  57. preban,

    your last line was the funniest thing I’ve read on this thread.

    For the record, I (obviously) have no problem with profanity or even name calling.

    First, it’s one thing for me to bust out on a curse word or two and a little name calling. Curse back or call me a name in response and that’s cool too. No prob.

    But in fairness, Cathy didn’t call anyone a name and she (IMHO) didn’t deserve to be called a ‘cunt’. I merely said I felt that ganging up on her had crossed a line at that point.

    As for “two wrongs don’t make a right” being an attempt at an excuse…read my post…I didn’t excuse anything.

    And as for hypocritical, I wouldn’t classify it that way. But if that works for you…

  58. “When liberals look at the neocons, they see themselves.”/i>

    …and when conservative voters look at the neocons, for whatever reason, they don’t see any liberals.

    ?

  59. On the Civil War:

    I realize that there were northern leaders with motives far less noble than freeing slaves.

    I realize that Lincoln did some shameful things with regard to civil liberties in the north. (“But Kerry would be worse!” 😉

    I realize that the northern army did some unforgivable things to southern civilians (and probably even some POW’s).

    I realize that not all slave states joined the Confederacy. But all Confederate states were slave states. (To steal a line from Ann Coulter.)

    I realize that slavery was not the only issue that motivates southern leaders to secede. No war is ever so simple as that.

    I realize that there were good, decent men who fought for the south. I realize that many of them were motivated by a general sense of patriotism rather than slavery (“my country, right or wrong”).

    That still doesn’t change the fact that slavery was the axis on which the wheel of the civil war turned. It was the elephant in the room. Yes, yes, slavery caused secession which caused the war, and yes, I know, we can debate whether the southern states had the legal right to secede. But at the end of the day, slavery was a huge factor in that conflict. No conflict is ever completely black and white, there are always shades of gray in the picture, but when slavery is the dominant issue then the 2 main figures in the picture become very black and white, and the shades of gray are peripheral.

  60. Using the “C” word for Ms. Young is just wrong, period–it really needn’t be debated among civilized people. Criticizing her now-all-too-predictable formula is fair game.

    Now, Ann Coulter on the other hand….

  61. David, that’s being a little dishonest. You’re talking families. Sure lots of family patriarchs owned slaves. But back in those days families were huge. Sisters, brothers and offspring lived with each other. As for the speech, of course it was for British consumption because fortunes were being made on the London cotton exchange. They wanted that southern cotton. And it still doesn’t change the fact that once word filtered back north of the free trading south, northern opinion makers, politicians, manufactures, and bankers started demanding that Lincoln blockade the south.

  62. Henry,

    You are a true man of letters

  63. “C” is for Coulter, that’s good enough for me.

  64. “What would the neocons add to the official version of American history?”

    I think I’ve got one!

    In neoconservative version of American history, Martin Luther King–my hero–is a sissy.

  65. God forbid Eric Alterman is right. Young offended this redneck tonight. But I’m not going to write 3,000 words to bitch about it!

  66. But at the end of the day, slavery was a huge factor in that conflict.

    I don’t think anybody’s arguing against that, except BillyRay. All I’m saying is I don’t know why it should be so controversial to remind people the war was not directly about slavery, but rather indirectly about it. I think that’s all Woods is guilty of on the topic of the CW, at least as far as the book is concerned.

    And for the record: Regardless of the number of individuals who actually owned slaves in the Confederacy states, slavery was fundamental to their economic and social systems. Many more people were involved in the slave trade than just the actual owners. Further, it was the basis for the elite social structure. You couldn’t have balls and ladies w/ parasols and “Frankly, my darling, I don’t give a damn” without the plantation system.

  67. Actually, Ken, the Neos tend to publicly “whitewash” (if I may use that term) the more dodgy aspects of MLK’s admittedly all-to-human bio. He’s safely dead, so they can misappropriate him as they please–like FDR. These bastards have no shame or conscience.

    It’s the Paleos who think King a commie philandering bedwetter–and then say what they think.

    (PS: I made up that “bedwetter” bit.)

  68. BillyRay: Sometimes a few of the really sensitive ones claim the term neocon is anti-semitic because most early neocons were Jewish.

    No, no, no. The anti-Semites keep speaking disparagingly about the “neo-Cohens.

  69. James, you composed a poem!

    God forbid Eric Alterman is right
    Young offended this redneck tonight
    But I’m not going to write
    3,000 words
    To bitch about it!

  70. More importantly than Lincoln being our favorite president, can you believe Washington is seventh? Behind such luminaries as Clinton and GW. Good lord, what’s wrong with the republic if our Cincinnatus is only seventh.

  71. “Actually, Ken, the Neos tend to publicly “whitewash” (if I may use that term) the more dodgy aspects of MLK’s admittedly all-to-human bio.”

    You probably already “get” this, but I was actually goin’ for the non-violence angle.

  72. Must be the Ezra Brooks, after all, it is a Holiday weekday!

  73. By the way, I don’t get the attacks on Cathy Young. It’s like in grade school, where one kid is always the designated pick-uponee, no matter what he or she does or says, and everyone swarms on that kid.

    The C-word is just over the top. Some epithets are worse than others.

    Anyone who disagrees with me is a peepee-head.

  74. “Ah, Cathy, of fond memory: the libertarian who chose the date of September 24, 2001, to reveal that she is all for government’s right to read your email even as she finds encryption technology “scary.”

    In the piece you linked, Cathy Young wrote:

    Do I like the idea of the government intercepting e-mail? No. But, as long as there’s judicial oversight and due process, that’s no different from its longstanding power to intercept regular mail.” (bold added)

    This is very different from the description you gave–she was not, “all for government’s right to read your email…”

    Having said that, she does seem resigned to the probable erosion of our rights in what was to become the War on Terror.

    If I’d known then how our collective rage was about to be misappropriated, I would have bit my tongue and kept my anger to myself. I wish I could take back the things I said in the lunchroom, and I’m glad no one printed anything I wrote back then. Cathy Young’s head was, apparently, much cooler than mine.

  75. “…the New York Times Book Review took note of its rise on the paperback bestseller list and described it as a “neocon retelling of this nation’s back story.”

    This is an example of the conflating of conservative and neocon-a huge mistake. Pat Buchanan, in recommending the Woods volume, referred to Woods as a “paleocon”. The book, which is well argued and documented, attests to this categorization. Actually though, the term paleocon is unnecessary as a delineator from neocon since neocons and neoconservatism are so totally divorced from the libertarian roots of conservatism. Neocons aren’t really conservatives at all.

    BTW, Buchanan who, although is deserving of the “conservative” label as he embraces many of conservatism’s libertarian roots and, for example, advocates a far more libertarian foreign policy than either Bush or Kerry could fathom, strays badly on the subject of tariffs. (To be fair, he also advocates the elimination of government subsidies to business as well as a good pruning of the welfare state.)

  76. Thoreau:

    “No conflict is ever completely black and white, there are always shades of gray in the picture, but when slavery is the dominant issue then the 2 main figures in the picture become very black and white, and the shades of gray are peripheral.”

    Shades of gray? Check this out!

  77. Rick,

    It’s too bad that virtually every conservative I know personally is incapable of making any distinction between the various incarnations of conservatism – neo, paleo, RW or otherwise.

    And since all (seem to anyway) rail against those they identify as liberals and also seem to barely tolerate moderates, I wonder if the distinctions truly amount to anything of substance.

    Except for Buchannon, of course. He always used to piss me off but over the past 4 years, he’s actually become pretty entertaining and on occassion, pretty insightful.

  78. BillyRay: To determine the percentage of white southerners who owned slaves by counting all individual whites regardless of age and sex is as silly as to “prove” that only a small minority of mid-twentieth century Americans owned cars–after all, look at all those children who didn’t!

    BTW, it is wrong to argue that even the Nullification Crisis was solely
    about economics. So far as the Nullifiers were concerned, it definitely
    had a slavery aspect. A few quotes:

    John C. Calhoun: “I consider the Tariff, but as the occasion, rather than
    the real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can no
    longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick institutions of the
    Southern States, and the consequent direction which that and her soil and
    climate have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation
    and appropriation in opposite relation to the majority of the Union;
    against the danger of which, if there be no protective power in the
    reserved rights of the states, they must in the end be forced to rebel, or
    submit to have . . . their domestick institutions exhausted by
    Colonization and other schemes, and themselves & children reduced to
    wretchedness.”

    Governor James Hamilton: “The same doctrines ‘of the general welfare’
    which enable the general government to tax our industry for the benefit of
    the industries of other sections of this Union, and to appropriate the
    common treasure to make roads and canals for them, would authorize the
    federal government to erect the *peaceful* standard of servile revolt, by
    establishing colonization offices in our State, to give the bounties for
    emancipation here, and transportation to Liberia afterwards. The last
    question follows our giving up the battle on the other two, as inevitably
    as light flows from the sun.”

    George McDuffie (Senator and later Governor): “Any course of measures
    which shall hasten the abolition of slavery by destroying the value of
    slave labor, will bring upon the Southern states the greatest political
    calamity with which they can be afflicted…It is the clear and distinct
    perception of the irresistable tendency of this protecting system to
    precipitate us upon this great moral and political catastrophe, that has
    animated me to raise my warning voice…”

    William Harper: “in contending against the Tariff, I have always felt
    that we were combatting the symptom instead of the disease. Consolidation
    is the disease….To-morrow may witness [an attempt] to relieve your free
    negroes, first; and afterwards, your slaves.”

    Congressman Robert Barnwell: If South Carolina yielded “full supremacy”
    to the Northern majority, “there are some changes in the very forms of our
    *domestic* policy to which they could scarcely persuade us quietly to
    submit. And there are no changes, however vital and subversive of our
    most absolute rights, which fanaticism and misguided philanthropy would
    not attempt.”

    Angus Patterson, a leading state legislator: “If the Tariff were all we
    had to fear, I might be disposed to advise longer delay…[But] one of the
    avowed objects of the Tariff is to favor free labor, as it is called, at
    the expense of slave labor–to render the latter species of labor
    unprofitable and indeed valueless, and thereby incline and force us to
    assent to a system of emancipation, through the agency of the General
    Government…”

    Congressman William J. Grayson to his constituents: “if the tariff were
    oppressive merely” patience “might well be deemed a virtue…But you
    assert it to be unconstitutional. This it is that authorizes and requires
    you to act…Allow Congres to make their will the limit of their power,
    and prepare to see it exercised in a shape, the very shadow of which must
    strike you with horror.” (I don’t think he simply means higher tariff
    rates…)

    Robert J. Turnbull, planter and pamphleteer, in his series of essays
    called *The Crisis* which helped spark nullification: “…these words
    ‘general welfare’ are becoming every day more and more important to the
    folks, who are now so peacably raising their cotton and rice, between the
    Little Pedee and the Savannah. The question, it must be recollected, is
    not simply, whether we are to have a foreign commerce. It is not whether
    we are to have splendid national works, in which we have no interest,
    executed chiefly at our cost…It is not whether we are to be taxed
    without end…But the still more interesting question is, whether the
    institutions of our forefathers…are to be preserved…free from the rude
    hands of innovators and enthusiasts, and from the molestation or
    interference of any legislative power on earth but our own?”

    All quotes from William W. Freehling, *Prelude to Civil War: The
    Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836 (Harper Torchbooks
    edition 1968), pp. 127, 198-9, 256-7.

    There’s not much point in arguing further with you, though: no matter how many secessionist quotes I could find that said it was about slavery, you would say it wasn’t about slavery…

  79. My apologies for the cut-and-paste not working too well…

  80. NICE Tintin reference!

  81. No way I’m reading through all of that at this late date. I just wanted to say that this:

    “How telling that liberals cannot distinguish between the various political subdivisions of the Town of Hempstead. How very telling, indeed.”

    is fucking brilliant. That humor is so dry, it transubstantiates vermouth into the very glass that contains it.

  82. BillRay,

    Sorry David, but Lincoln opposed slavery into the new territories because he wanted them reserved for free white people. Lincoln was a racist after all.

    So? He was a product of his time. And of course none your statements would compel me to support the Confederacy.

    As Alexis de Tocqueville traveled around the country in the 1830s he wrote about slavery and racism. The further north he went, the worse the racism and no where was racism worse then in states that never had slavery or had since abandoned it.

    Do read his book. Alexis de Tocqueville quite liberally castigates all of American society – North, South and West – for the treatment of Native Americans and blacks.

    Sorry David, again as you well know, the tariff in the late 1820s and early 1830s almost sparked secession. Just as the northeastern states talked secession after the Louisiana purchase fearing the agricultural states would have more power than the banking and commerce states.

    You mean 1832 re: South Carolina. Jefferson and Madison argued secession during the controversy over the Alien & Sedition Acts; many New Englanders were caught with the fire of it over the War of 1812; many New Englanders were also caught with the fire of it over the slave power aggrandizing war with Mexico; etc. Idle threats of secession were common throughout the history of the early Republic.

    Only a very small percentage of southerners owned slaves.

    Wrong and untrue. Such claims don’t include the wives of slave owners, nor the children; indeed, they are quite disingenuous. Its funny to see you suckered in by this myth. Actual slave ownership in the South – counting wives and children as slave owners – ranged around 50% at any time. Of course this makes sense, since the average slave holding was 19-20 slaves. And of course remember, by 1860, four out of every nine Southerners was a slave; that makes slave holding ubiquitous and central to the Southern economy, culture, etc.

    David T.,

    You are exactly correct in your analysis.

    Slag,

    To the modern revisionist, it is this choice, yes. But to the participants, it was a choice between “Favoring the Confederacy’s right to secede over slavery” and “Not favoring the Confederacy’s right to secede over slavery.”

    No one is of course talking about the practitioner’s viewpoint; we’re discussing the modern perspective of the issue (indeed, to be frank, despite his bluster, so is Woods). And don’t give me some fallacy of “historical essences” either.

    To repeat: the war was over the secession and the secession was over slavery. I realize this chain of causality is too complex for revisionist ex-historians. Why it proves to be so difficult I cannot say.

    One wonders, did I ever argue with this point? No. You are just making shit up. BTW, if you understood 1% of the modern historiography of the Civil War you would realize that very few make the claim that you claim they make. You are indeed arguing against a position which is a marginalized, minority view, just Mr. Woods is. You and he have to make strawmen to make your arguments look credible apparently.

  83. joe:

    The NYT clowns are probably Rangers fans. All Islanders faithful know where Uniondale, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, is. The equally loathesome statist jerks who run Newsday would have got it right.

    Matt F.:

    I think you are confusing Tintin‘s fictional Syldavia and Borduria with the rival countries from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup that Tim is actually namechecking.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Tintin

    Kevin

  84. BTW, Woods’ argument is hardly new. Its the same, tired neo-Confederate “moonlight & magnolias” arguments that used to dominate the Civil War and ante-bellum historiography prior to the 1950s.

  85. The Town of Hempstead has almost 800,000 people. Us New Yorkers can’t be bothered with knowing every little detail, especially pertaining to nebulous unincorporated places like “Uniondale” 🙂

  86. It’s too bad that almost all defenses of the right of secession are by Confederate apologists. I’d like to decouple the two issues.

    I am strongly sympathetic to the right of secession and to the constitutional arguments for the priority of the states over the nation. But I am profoundly irritated by dumbed-down defenses of the Confederacy by people like the Kennedy brothers.

    The proper response of the U.S. to secession in 1861 should have been “Good riddance!”

    The issue of the tariff is a red herring. The tariff was an issue for the South because it hurt the economic interests of the ruling class, in a social system based on chattel slavery and cash-crop agriculture. In 1830, as in 1860, the policies of the Southern states reflected the planter class.

    In defending rights like those of secession, jury nullification, etc., I’m more likely to sympathize with the anti-federal sentiments of people in northern New England than of those in the South.

  87. “No one is of course talking about the practitioner’s viewpoint; we’re discussing the modern perspective of the issue (indeed, to be frank, despite his bluster, so is Woods).”

    Gunnels is right of course. There were arguments against the Civil War that don’t make any sense now. Before the war started, one might have argued that other people’s freedom wasn’t worth the price in life and limb that victory was likely to cost. Now, looking back, that’s a ludicrous argument to make–to us all those dead people are simply statistics.

    I suspect the people of the future will someday see my argument against the Iraq War the same way I see arguments against the Civil War from way back then. Once, however, the rape of the Shenandoah Valley hadn’t already happened, and there was once a time when all those American troops and Iraqi civilians didn’t have to die.

    …I hope the people of the future don’t cite the numbing qualities of historical distance as an excuse for waging war and killing civilians. I hope the people of the future care more about their contemporaries than we did.

  88. “I hope the people of the future don’t cite the numbing qualities of historical distance as an excuse for waging war and killing civilians. I hope the people of the future care more about their contemporaries than we did.”

    Ken, I wish you good luck in seeing all these hopes come true. Unfortunately, the weight of history appears stacked against you here, I’m sorry to say.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate you making the point–nominally acknowledged by all, but, in practice readily discarded, that the Civil War had an enormous human cost. This cost is routinely discounted, heavily–not only 600,000 dead, but an unknown multiple of that amount grievously wounded in body and spirit, and even more destitute widows and orphans. And, within a few years of the end of the war, most southern blacks were imprisoned (almost literally) in a system barely distinguishable from the one all these horrors were grimly endured to end.

    It’s easy for the un-slaughtered and un-mangled to make snap judgments how “it was all worth it”. You hear such glib rationalizations all the time in our own age–about the hideous “dirty wars” of Latin America 20 years ago, and now with the Iraqi civilian casualties that are not even allowed to be counted.

  89. Henry,

    There isn’t a slave society in human history that didn’t have a fairly painful and lengthy transistion from slavery to freedom. If you look at it from that perspective, well, you’ll see that the American experience is par for the course as it were.

    I suppose you also have to look at the “historical alternatives.” Imagine a CSA unmoored from the USA. Here is a society almost half slave where the proportion of white to black is steadily becoming more and more like the Caribbean slave society experience (tiny white population surrounded by an overwhelming black population). Its also a population where following the American dream means mobility to new lands ever further West (first it was Mississippi and Alabama, then it was Louisiana, then it was Texas). This latter factor means that the slavocracy’s dreams of territorial aggrandizement are uncontrolled by a larger society and efforts to Cuba, the Yucatan, etc., become more likely. If all of this isn’t a recipe for violence, revolt, etc., I can’t say what is.

    Thus, I would argue that heck of a lot of people were going to die to get rid of slavery in North America and that an unmoored CSA would have been a menace to its neighbors.

  90. much of the post and many of the comments remind me of this Japanese guy I met while visiting there last week. He was very comfortable with blanket condemnation of the entire population of the USA. Rather like the smug pigeonholing of “liberals” by all you dazzling urbanites.

  91. Neocons slagging Paleocons for being soft on slavery is just as hypocritical as slagging them for being soft on mysogyny. The fact of the matter is that Neocons are sellouts to liberal imperialism, which has no problems in enslaving either people of color or women providing it can use the ‘free market’ (i.e. global military-industrial mega-corporation power) to do it. In fact, it is so cool on hypocrisy squared (otherwise known as neo-trotskyite dialectic) that it can commend the ‘free market’ (see above) enslavement of people of color (outside of the ‘libertarian’ USA) because they are patriarchal mysogynists, and simultaneously commend the ‘free market’ (see above) enslavement of women because it frees them from patriarchal rule. Remember : “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for 5 years because they didn’t wear a veil,” Mattis continued. “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
    Yanks go home…

  92. Good lord, what’s wrong with the republic if our Cincinnatus is only seventh.

    lol, mr mo — he wasn’t assertive enough for the modern popular fascist taste.

  93. gaius marius,

    Most Americans don’t know enough about any non-recent U.S. President to make an informed opinion about him.

  94. “There isn’t a slave society in human history that didn’t have a fairly painful and lengthy transistion from slavery to freedom. If you look at it from that perspective, well, you’ll see that the American experience is par for the course as it were.”

    Huh? What other nation had a catastrophic civil war over the issue? Haiti had a bloody slave revolt, of course; perhaps that would have been the fate of a decoupled CSA. One can play counterfactual history to get any desired result. If I was going to play that game, however, I’d rather have the Founders just say “fuck it” to the Three-Fifths Compromise and never agree to the hidoues practice to begin with. It wouldn’t have completely blotted out this American original sin, of course, but it wouldn’t have Constitutionally enshrined for the ages, either.

  95. The genius of neoconservatism is that it’s exactly in step with the progressivist, middle-of-the-road, big state view of American history they teach in school

    i agree, mr cavanaugh — but how that version came to be the version is what interests me. i don’t consider neoconservatism to have risen spontaneously from the primordial muck of 1980 or even 1964. it is a manifestation of a deeper current.

    fwiw, woods’ silly antiintellectual little book seems to have little to do with neoconservatism — shame on the times. indeed, it is a wild polemic against a fundamental tenet of neoconservatism: american jingoism. that’s why max boot hates it, and cathy young (who seems sometimes to chomp at the bit to use the epithet “america-hating”) attacks it. it rejects (often poorly) the holy role of america as faultless divine actor on earth.

    that notion of ideological evangelical nationalism, which is central to fascism, commands a revised antifactual historical narrative that makes all decisions not plausible but RIGHT, all acts not alternatives but DESTINED.

    to the extent that woods rails against this, he is correct to; to the extent that he wishes the confederacy won the war, he is simply delusional. woods would like to be the descendent of garet garrett, i imagine, but he plainly isn’t of the character.

  96. One final note on the Confederacy: one thing that always surprises me is the notion that *even apart from slavery* it was more libertarian than the Union. I once read a Usenet post from someone claiming there was no Confederate income tax! (Which brings to mind Josh Billings’ wisdom that the problem of the world isn’t ignorance but people knowing things that just ain’t so…) And how many Confederate-sympathizing paleos know that not only did the Confederacy institute the draft before the Union did (unlike the North, you couldn’t buy your way out by hiring a substitute–but supervisors of twenty or more slaves were exempt) but that a proportionately higher number of Confederate troops were conscripts than Union troops?

  97. Kevrob- right you are. Consider me suitably chastened for confusing Sylvania with Syldavia.

  98. Henry,

    Huh? What other nation had a catastrophic civil war over the issue?

    Haiti of course. And it was quite catastrophic.

    Cuba fought a vicious civil war over slavery.

    The Roman Empire fought numerous wars against portions of its population of slaves that rebelled.

    Every American slave regime – be it Barbados, Jamaica, Brazil, Venezuela, etc. – was marked by periodic slave rebellions, some of which killed tens of thousands. For example, it was a bloody slave revolt in the early 1830s that tipped the scale in favor of the Reform Parliament abolishing slavery in the British Empire.

    Violence and the maintenance or destruction of slave regimes went hand in hand with each other in the Americas and the same is true of world-wide pre-columbian slavery as well. I suggest you peruse Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death. He makes clear in that pre-eminent text on the subject of world slavery just how common violence was involved in slavery.

    Anyway, the notion that violence and warfare are unique to the ending of American slavery is baloney.

    One can play counterfactual history to get any desired result.

    Well, Woods is playing the ultimate counter-factual, right? He is claiming that the South would have eventually ended slavery peacefully, right? The problem with such a claim is that ignores the experiences of every other slave holding society on this planet. So what I have done is answered his counterfactual with my own based on my wide reading of this subject matter.

    David T.,

    You are quite correct of course.

  99. You are absolutely dead wrong in your assertion that the states had made progress in civil rights from the 1930s to the 1960s. Perhaps they had in areas outside of the South, but none had been made in the South. “What was only left in the Jim Crow south”? That is a lot. The Jim Crow south was not about riding in the back of the bus or using separate water fountins. It was about a campaign of terror waged against black americans. Even after lynchings subsided, black americans in the south had little or no legal protection and white thugs were free to beat black men within an inch their lives for the crime of walking with a white women in public. These things happened and happened frequently. The Jim Crow south was everything its cracked up to be and then some and it wasn’t going to end on its own. Yes, the commerce clause cases that enabled congressional action to end Jim Crow were probably ill-reasoned, but it was a price that had to be paid to reform the illreformable South.

  100. John,

    You are absolutely dead wrong in your assertion that the states had made progress in civil rights from the 1930s to the 1960s. Perhaps they had in areas outside of the South, but none had been made in the South.

    You just contradicted yourself there. You also just parroted my argument back to me while seemingly acting like you oppose it. There were a whole host of laws taken off the books in the non-Southern states at this time and they were done at the behest of state governments. Just track the undoing of anti-miscegination laws for example.

    That is a lot.

    When did I ever claim otherwise?

  101. Social Democrats, USA
    Copyright: 1996, SD, USA

    Splitting the Republican Coalition
    Kristol described the current Republican coalition as consisting primarily of two main strains: economic and social conservatives. The economic conservatives are anti-state and the social conservatives are anti-liberal who view liberalism “as corroding and subverting the virtues that they believe must be the bedrock of decent society.” He believes that the differences between the economic conservatives and the social conservatives produce “tensions” between the two groups. Kristol’s long range view is that the social conservatives represent “an authentic mass movement that gathers strength with every passing year.”

    The Neoconservative Persuasion
    This leads to the issue of the role of the state. Neocons do not like the concentration of services in the welfare state and are happy to study alternative ways of delivering these services. But they are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on “the road to serfdom.” Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his “The Man Versus the State,” was a historical eccentricity. People have always preferred strong government to weak government, although they certainly have no liking for anything that smacks of overly intrusive government. Neocons feel at home in today’s America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not. Though they find much to be critical about, they tend to seek intellectual guidance in the democratic wisdom of Tocqueville, rather than in the Tory nostalgia of, say, Russell Kirk.

  102. NeoDude,

    Its unfortunate that neo-conservatives have never read de Tocqueville then.

  103. For the Neocon, only the “Spirit of the Truth” matters.

    Political Theory is dead!

    Long live the force of will!!!

  104. “This latter factor means that the slavocracy’s dreams of territorial aggrandizement are uncontrolled by a larger society and efforts to Cuba, the Yucatan, etc., become more likely. If all of this isn’t a recipe for violence, revolt, etc., I can’t say what is.

    Thus, I would argue that heck of a lot of people were going to die to get rid of slavery in North America and that an unmoored CSA would have been a menace to its neighbors.

    A fine explanation of the reasoning behind the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war. We’d probably be living our lives under the shadows of CSA nukes right now if we hadn’t fought the Civil War, correct? Jefferson Davis was like the Hitler of his time.

    “Here is a society almost half slave where the proportion of white to black is steadily becoming more and more like the Caribbean slave society experience (tiny white population surrounded by an overwhelming black population).”

    Right, champ.. about those demographic projections.. No, on second thought, forget I mentioned it..

  105. Gary Gunnels,

    You are not answering my point which is that the Jim Crow South was so immoral that it didn’t matter what progress had been made in other states, assumeing there was any.

  106. NeoDude:

    But they (neocons) are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on “the road to serfdom”

    The neocons aren’t impatient with it so much as they would rather attention not be drawn toward it since they’re busy paving the road to serfdom.

    they (neocons) tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his “The Man Versus the State,” was a historical eccentricity.

    The neocons don’t like the idea of liberty because the fruition of their vision involves a significant diminishment of American individual liberty. Calling the idea that lifted civilizations to undreamed of heights an “historical eccentricity” is not a refutation or even an attempted one.

    Kristol likes social conservatives better because he sees them as more willing to give up liberty to achieve goals.

    For the Neocon, only the “Spirit of the Truth” matters. Political Theory is dead! Long live the force of will!!!

    The operative word here being force, which is not sanctioned by any political truths. Thus, the eschewing of political theory.

  107. NeoDude was more forthright about the neocon vision than Bill Kristol usually is. An exception was back when Bush was looking vulnerable to Kerry in the polls and Kristol told the New York Times:

    “If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me,” The Weekly Standard editor added that the neoconservatives may just abandon the Right altogether and convert to neo-liberalism!

  108. From http://amconmag.com/2005_02_28/buchanan.html

    “Given that the neocons were wrong on every count about Iraq, does Bush truly wish to gamble the Middle East on their confident predictions that, once the Arab monarchies fall, Western democracy will flourish among people who seem to revile Bush and revere Osama bin Laden?”

    “America goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy, said John Quincy Adams, She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. Under the tutelage of Jacobins who call themselves idealists, Bush has repudiated this wise core doctrine of U.S. foreign policy to embrace Wilsonian interventionism in the internal affairs of every autocratic regime on earth.”

    “Giddy with excitement, the neocons are falling all over one another to hail the president. They are not conservatives at all. They are anti-conservatives, and their crusade for democracy will end as did Wilson?s, in disillusionment for the president and tragedy for this country.”

  109. The Neocons sound like right-wing social democrats.

    Most conservatives I speak with, today, sound like right-wing social democrats.

  110. John,

    Why should I answer it? I never disagreed with your characterization of the Jim Crow South. I did of course state that outside the South de jure discrimination was largely halted via the actions of state governments. You then had a fit a over this proposition while at the same time agreeing with it.

    NateB,

    A fine explanation of the reasoning behind the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war. We’d probably be living our lives under the shadows of CSA nukes right now if we hadn’t fought the Civil War, correct? Jefferson Davis was like the Hitler of his time.

    Actually, the threatened states would been the regions I mentioned; the Yucatan, Cuba, etc. Its not like these ambitions were unknown at the time (indeed, they were quite popular amongst Southern Senators) and they followed (thematically) from the slavocracy’s efforts in the war with Mexico.

    Further, despite your best efforts to characterize my statements otherwise, I don’t justify the war based on the slavocracy’s foreign policy concerns. All I have simply done is illustrate a more likely counterfactual than the one Woods posits.

    Your comments re: CSA nukes and Jefferson aren’t reflective of my statements and are mere red herrings.

  111. “Governor James Hamilton: “The same doctrines ‘of the general welfare’ which enable the general government to tax our industry for the benefit of
    the industries of other sections of this Union, and to appropriate the common treasure to make roads and canals for them, would authorize the
    federal government to erect the *peaceful* standard of servile revolt…”

    This says it better than anything else I have ever read. At this point in history, the federal government was already overrunning the states. Lincoln’s election was perceived, rightly, as cementing federal control and extortion of treasure from the South to hand over to Northern interests, just as Henry Clay envisioned, no abolitionist he.

    Slavery was certainly the easiest issue for the North to demagogue and the South to rally around, but again, David T and others are succumbing to the same kind of Republican spin and obfuscation that were most recently used to take our nation to war in Iraq – find the most convenient issue, the one that is most inflammatory at that moment, and demagogue it, then, when people start asking questions, pick another issue, then another, then another…it is NOT insignificant that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1963, for it was simply the next available handle to justify a ruinous, barbaric war being fought on behalf of the financial and industrial interests in the North.

    For the cost of the war, Lincoln could simply have declared compensated emancipation. But he did not. Why is that? Is it because secession, being a fait accompli, prevented it? No, any emancipation Lincoln had in mind was going to involve Federal appropriation of Southern wealth. There was absolutely no way Lincoln would ever consent to any end to slavery which did not enable the transfer of revenue from the South to the North, and the South knew it. They tried to vote with their feet.

    At bottom, no matter what anyone said then, or says now, the Civil War was an economic war. As a kindly old cynic I know always says, “follow the money trail”. The South had raw materials and cheap labor in greater abundance than the North, and because of that the North never stopped trying to control those things for the benefit of Northern interests. No one in modern history ever went to war over principle, but only at bottom over money. “Principle” is simply used to justify after the fact the taking of property by force. This is the essence of the “modern” warfare state, as exemplified by our wars in conveniently resource-rich parts of the globe.

    I am currently writing an in-depth serial review of Woods’ book. Check it out over at http://www.libertyguys.org.

  112. Vince,

    At this point in history, the federal government was already overrunning the states.

    How so? By the postal service? Note that in the pre-Civil War era, 90% or so of the Federal Government was made up of postal workers. Can you give me some examples of the “overrunning” please? You note “roads and canals” of course, but roads and canals are authorized by the Federal Constitution. The tariff issue was bunk.

    Lincoln’s election was perceived, rightly, as cementing federal control and extortion of treasure from the South to hand over to Northern interests, just as Henry Clay envisioned, no abolitionist he.

    Note that Lincoln, as President, had no power to tax, and that the Senate was at the very least half-controlled by slave states (not to mention the fact that there were Senators from the West who were also sympathetic to the South’s concerns). Its absolute bunk to view Lincoln’s Presidency as a real threat to the slavocracy’s interests.

    …it is NOT insignificant that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1963…

    One presumes that you mean 1863. What is significant – and what neo-Confederate apologists always ignore – is that within the first few months of the start of the war Union lines were literally flooded with escaping slaves – they were called “contraband” – and it was the escaping slaves, the slaves themselves, that forced the issue. Union Generals on the ground decided not to return them to their masters and that decision in turn eventually lead to the Emancipation Proclamation. What you would do, as a neo-Confederate, is make the good the enemy of the perfect.

    For the cost of the war, Lincoln could simply have declared compensated emancipation.

    How would he have done that? Lincoln didn’t have such power under the Constitution after all. It would have required a Congressional act for that to occur, and such act would have been impossible given the ideological nature of Southern Senators and Represenatives and their allies in the North and West. Do learn something about the basic structures of our government.

    There was absolutely no way Lincoln would ever consent to any end to slavery which did not enable the transfer of revenue from the South to the North, and the South knew it.

    Transfer of revenue in what way specifically?

    They tried to vote with their feet.

    Yes, the slaves voted with their feet. They fled their owners in masses for the Union lines and never looked back.

    The South had raw materials and cheap labor in greater abundance than the North…

    Not really. The South had a couple of agricultural products of importance – mainly cotton, sugar and tobacco – but the North had far more coal and iron than the South. Coal and iron being the foundations of industrialization at the time. The North and West were also far more abundant in the production of foodstuffs than the South. And Northern labor was more abundant than Southern labor. Indeed, given that the North was over twice as big as the South population wise, its hard for me to see how you could come this bizarre conclusion of yours. Furthermore, the North had no problem attracting cheap labor via immigration from Europe – indeed, given that the North and West were the perferred locales of immigration in the pre-war 19th century that should give you some clue as which had the better oppurtunities for people.

    I am currently writing an in-depth serial review of Woods’ book. Check it out over at http://www.libertyguys.org.

    I trust that it won’t be any better than the pathetic effort you’ve produced here.

  113. Vince,

    You cannot explain one basic truth: once the war started, the slaves voted with their feet and fled their masters. Whatever other concerns one might have, that is always what I return to when I consider the Civil War. You don’t see masses of people leaving the Union to join the CSA’s lines, but you do see masses of people leaving the CSA to join the Union lines.

  114. Tim C.,
    I am dying of laughter from reading your post. You have slain me; bravo, sir.

  115. Gary,

    It is telling that you do not address the basic substance of my argument – that the Civil War was fundamentally an economic war, and that Lincoln had no love for blacks that would compel him to declare such a slaughter.

    Lincoln did not care about slavery where it existed at the time of secession. He said so in his first inaugural address. He cared only that the tarriff revenue continue to be funneled to Washington, to support the illegal government-sponsored building of railroads and canals (post roads were of course constitutional – please re-read Article I, Section 8).

    As far as your remark regarding my ongoing review of the Woods book (which is what started this discussion)at http://www.libertyguys.org, I suppose it is too late to appeal to your mother regarding your instruction in the proper response to an invitation (hint: it isn’t to insult the person doing the inviting).

  116. Gary,

    One other thing. You write;

    “within the first few months of the start of the war Union lines were literally flooded with escaping slaves – they were called “contraband” – and it was the escaping slaves, the slaves themselves, that forced the issue. Union Generals on the ground decided not to return them to their masters and that decision in turn eventually lead to the Emancipation Proclamation”

    OH yes. Slaves escaped to freedom en masse, and after another two years it EVENTUALLY led to the Emancipation Proclamation. This is a non-sequitur. The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion. It had no force, zero, zilch in the slave border states that stayed in the Union. Therefore, its primary purpose was not to free slaves, or even acknowledge their freedom.

    Consider this – soon after the start of the war , slaves began to escape the slave states en masse, you claim. If the war never started, and the South was able to continue in peace after secession, isn’t it possible that the same mass exodus would have occurred? And if it had, of course the sainted Lincoln would have had Congress repeal the Fugitive Slave Laws, wouldn’t he? The net result would have been that those slaves were free. How would that be a bad thing?

  117. I posted;

    “For the cost of the war, Lincoln could simply have declared compensated emancipation.”

    Gary G sneered;

    “How would he have done that? Lincoln didn’t have such power under the Constitution after all. It would have required a Congressional act for that to occur, and such act would have been impossible given the ideological nature of Southern Senators and Represenatives and their allies in the North and West. Do learn something about the basic structures of our government. ”

    I know enough about the basic structures of our government to know (and so should you, Gary) that after secession, in addition to its leading idealogue in the White House, the Republican Party had an absolute, overwhelming majority in the House, the Senate, and the Judiciary. Those in the federal government that did not do Lincoln’s bidding, Like Senator Clement Vallendigham of Ohio, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney, found out (or nearly did so) the consequences of dissent the hard way. So did newspaper editors and others in the North that opposed Lincoln’s policies.

    The bottom line is, once secession occurred, and the Confederacy formed, Lincoln could propose any desired legislation he wanted, and he would have had a virtual guarantee of getting it passed, particularly once the war started and he began jailing people who publicly disagreed with him.

  118. Vince,

    It is telling that you do not address the basic substance of my argument – that the Civil War was fundamentally an economic war, and that Lincoln had no love for blacks that would compel him to declare such a slaughter.

    Even if all that were entirely and completely true it wouldn’t matter from my perspective and I think it should be obvious why that is so. Of course the fact is that there were mixed motives behind the war; McPherson drives this point home in a recent book surveying letters by Union soldiers – be they officers or not; the desire to fight to end slavery was common amongst Union soldiers in other words.

    Slaves escaped to freedom en masse, and after another two years it EVENTUALLY led to the Emancipation Proclamation. This is a non-sequitur.

    Actually, its directly on point from my perspective. You act like yours is the only metric for deciding the issue.

    The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion. It had no force, zero, zilch in the slave border states that stayed in the Union. Therefore, its primary purpose was not to free slaves, or even acknowledge their freedom.

    So? It freed some slaves did it not? Indeed, it freed the vast majority of the slaves, did it not? You keep on wanting to make the perfect the enemy of the good. You keep acting like partial measures vindicate your case, when they do not.

    Further, one should ask, what was the CSA doing during the war regarding the slave population? Well, free blacks who were captured in the war were sent into slavery. Black soldiers caught fighting for the Union were often shot on the spot. And the CSA was certainly not considering any emancipation; indeed, in the last desperate days of the war, the CSA finally considered freeing slaves who fought for the Confederacy, which itself caused a tremendous uproar in the Confederate political establishment.

    If the war never started, and the South was able to continue in peace after secession, isn’t it possible that the same mass exodus would have occurred?

    How? The South was a virtual police-state when it came to black slaves after all. Civilian patrols were common throughout the South to capture escaped slaves after all. Between 1820-1860 between 3,000-5,000 slaves escaped per year; yet this was at a time when there was no patrolled “national border” between the free and slave states. Imagine what would have happened if such a border had been erected.

    The CSA’s raison d’etre was to defend slavery; your argument forgets this fact. It took the actual invasion of the South to break the slavocracy’s hold over the slaves.

    I know enough about the basic structures of our government to know (and so should you, Gary) that after secession, in addition to its leading idealogue in the White House, the Republican Party had an absolute, overwhelming majority in the House, the Senate, and the Judiciary.

    And after seccession, what could Lincoln have done to “free the slaves” in states which declared the Federal Government had no control over them? Short of war, nothing. Accordingly, your proposed action would have been mere paper shuffling.

    Further, if you were actually to read a history of the Congress at the time you would see that Lincoln and the Congress clashed over a number of issues. Lincoln held no dictatorial hold over the Congress.

  119. The ahistorism of neo-Confederates is amusing but also disturbing. They place secession over every other concern, and label it an issue of “freedom,” while the lack of freedom practiced by the very regime that they defend.

    Vince,

    BTW, I did directly attack your economic arguments; that’s why you seem my comments concerning northern labor, etc. That you conveniently ignore this fact is telling.

  120. I said;

    “The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion. It had no force, zero, zilch in the slave border states that stayed in the Union. Therefore, its primary purpose was not to free slaves, or even acknowledge their freedom.”

    Gary replied;

    “So? It freed some slaves did it not?”

    It did not. See the actual text of the document;

    http://www.nps.gov/ncro/anti/emancipation.html

    It was only in force in the areas in rebellion, where it could not be enforced. It did nothing for slaves continuing to be held in bondage in Maryland, Delaware, Tennesee, etc. The Fugitive Slave Laws as a legal matter were still in force, but as a practical matter no longer had the political pressure for their enforcement behind them, so it could be said that the slaves thus freed were freed for bureaucratic and political expediency, and not on principle.

    The Emancipation Proclamation was strictly a war measure to curry favor with the slave states that were still in the Union, as well as to try to foment a full-on slave uprising in the South, in Lincoln’s words “upon military necessity”.

    The only thing that freed the slaves fleeing the south was their own initiative, and that of sympathetic people along the way who helped them.

    “Indeed, it freed the vast majority of the slaves, did it not?”

    No, it did not. After the Civil War ended, the 13th Amendment passed, and was ratified in 1868 (long after Lincoln’s death). Then and only then was slavery officially abolished throughout the United States.

  121. I said;

    “I know enough about the basic structures of our government to know (and so should you, Gary) that after secession, in addition to its leading idealogue in the White House, the Republican Party had an absolute, overwhelming majority in the House, the Senate, and the Judiciary.”

    Gary replied;

    “And after seccession, what could Lincoln have done to “free the slaves” in states which declared the Federal Government had no control over them? Short of war, nothing. Accordingly, your proposed action would have been mere paper shuffling.”

    Sure. If you think repeal of the Fugitive Slave Laws, for example, would be considered mere “paper shuffling”, then yes, I guess there was nothing short of causing the deaths of 650,000 people and destroying 3/4 of the value of all capital in the south that could have been done. He could have freed the slaves in the border states, although they would likely have seceded then too. A seceded South would have a huge border that could not be patrolled effectively, leading to many more escapes, and with the Fugitive Slave Laws repealed, these freed slaves would not be “repatriated”. Finally, without the protection of the US Navy, Southern shipping would be easy prey for pirates and thieves. The South would eventually have had to rejoin the North, undoubtedly releasing the slaves as a condition of such.

    “Further, if you were actually to read a history of the Congress at the time you would see that Lincoln and the Congress clashed over a number of issues. Lincoln held no dictatorial hold over the Congress.”

    True. There remained in the congress a modicum of resistance to his Constitutional encroachments. That’s why Lincoln needed a war declaration. It made it much easier to put journalists and others who opposed him in jail, deport senators, conscript people into the military, and suspend habeus corpus, as well as have the attorney general draw up an arrest warrant for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    Face it, Gary – Lincoln was a dictator who camouflaged his real intentions with stentorian speeches and unconstitutional bullying. He wanted a centralized government that would tax the entire population and spend the money on a few favored interests. He hated blacks, thought them biologically and intellectually inferior, and wanted to deport them to Liberia, Haiti, and Panama. And he repeatedly declaimed that he had absolutely no intention of ever interfering with slavery where it existed, even into his first inauguration speech. This is all documented. Whether or not he stated any intention to free slaves is irrelevant, given his true feelings and his actions, which in practice freed next to no slaves at all.

  122. “The CSA’s raison d’etre was to defend slavery; your argument forgets this fact. It took the actual invasion of the South to break the slavocracy’s hold over the slaves.”

    The purpose of all states is to provide a means for the richest guys to protect their economic interests. The rich guys who controlled the State governments in the South wanted to protect their economic interests that included slaves as property. The rich guys who controlled the State governments in the North wanted to protect their economic interests which included taxing the Southern States in order to pay for “internal improvements” in the North as well as restrict foreign competition for their “emerging industries”. When these interests could not be reconciled in Washington, D.C. under the “social contract” that States from both factions had entered into voluntarily (several with caveats they the could indeed secede at a later time if the Constitution didn’t work out), then secession was the peaceful and legitimate (consent of the governed/Tenth Amendment) course chosen by he Southern rich guys to protect their economic interests. The CSA was no libertarian haven; indeed it was still a means to provide control by the most concentrated economic interests.

    However, the central mitigating factor in this conflict has not been mentioned directly. That is: Who invaded who? Any discussion of the purpose behind an aggressive act (especially war) must center on the purpose of the aggressor, not the aggressed. The party being aggressed against must be able to defend against that aggression if there is to be any sense of justice. The “dynamite” argument above that slavery may have been the “why” behind secession does not make it the “why” as to the aggression that subsequently occurred is very pertinent. That not a peep about wanting to free slaves was mentioned while the opposite offer of maintaining slavery was made by Lincoln before invading the Southern States; that the Emancipation Proclamation had an out clause that Southern States could keep their slave institutions if they would just stop rebelling; and that Lincoln constantly assured the slave owning States that remained in the Union he would not interfere with their slave owning if they continued to support his war are all most telling.

    To suggest that Lincoln and his racist rich guy clients in the North had some benevolent purpose in mind to “free the slaves” when they invaded the Southern States instilling a policy of genocide against the Southern civilian population is intellectually dishonest. Indeed it is a myth created by the victors to provide comfort from the evil effects of murdering, raping and pillaging that harmed blacks as well as whites in the South to a self-righteous Northern population. How could self-anointed crusaders otherwise maintain an air of superiority to this day without upholding the shibboleth of “evil slave owning southerners deserved everything they got and that’s why we did what we had to do.”

    The naivete inherent in believing politicians and their sycophant intellectuals who come up with crusading propaganda long after they have made a decision to murder for money like common thugs, especially in order to soothe one’s ego, is all too prevalent today. Just because the propaganda has been around for a very long period of time is no excuse. I fear that many of our grandchildren will likewise believe that we invaded Iraq to bring them “freedom” and sneer at the fact that Iraq was a sovereign state that posed no threat. This leads to ideas like supporters of Iraqi “States Rights” are simply terrorists.

  123. “Comment by: Mark Davis at February 23, 2005 04:31 PM”

    I’ve been reading and writing this war since about 2000. All ye vile yanks can put your guns down and go back to New York City where you belong. Mark Davis has won this battle, and I think the war, too.

  124. And in the meanwhile, northern shipping magnates kept shipping rum to Africa to be traded for slaves, to be shipped to the Caribbean and the lower Americas to be traded for molasses, to be shipped to Boston to be traded for rum, to be shipped to Africa to be traded for slaves, …

    At each leg of the journey the ship owners collected a hefty cargo fee. Boston’s economy was built on slave trading. But it was a ll sanitized, no slaves were sent to those eeeeevil Southrons.

    Lincoln was a tyrant.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Deo Vindice
    Confederate_Coqui

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