February 20, 2014

Lock and Load [Bumped]

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Abraham Lincoln by Byers, 1858

Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted friends -- those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work -- who do care for the result.

Two years ago the Republicans Americans of the nation mustered sixty-one million strong. thirteen hundred thousand strong.

We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us.

Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.

Did we brave all then to falter now? -- now -- when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent?

The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we shall not fail.

Wise councils may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later the victory is sure to come. - - "House Divided" Speech by Abraham Lincoln, 1858

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 20, 2014 12:11 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

A couple of years ago I read Shelby Foote's massive three volume work on the Civil War. Later, I heard this masterpiece took Mr. Foote twenty years to complete. It took me four months to read/re-read every word and I must say that I was astounded at my level of ignorance on our greatest tragedy. I thought I was pretty savvy about the conflict, but I knew nothing. As a result, I understand why Lincoln was/is evil in the eyes of many Southerners.

Posted by: Captain Dave at February 18, 2014 2:34 PM

Here might be part of why it took 20 years:

"Early in his career, Foote took up the habit of writing by hand with an old-fashioned dipped pen, and he continued that practice throughout his life. Foote said writing by hand helped him slow down to a manageable pace and was more personal that using a typewriter, though he often prepared a typed copy of his day’s writing after it was finished."

Source:Foote Obit

Posted by: Soviet of Washington at February 18, 2014 3:38 PM

Here might be part of why it took 20 years:

"Early in his career, Foote took up the habit of writing by hand with an old-fashioned dipped pen, and he continued that practice throughout his life. Foote said writing by hand helped him slow down to a manageable pace and was more personal that using a typewriter, though he often prepared a typed copy of his day’s writing after it was finished."

Source: Foote Obit

Posted by: Soviet of Washington at February 18, 2014 3:39 PM

Typical nutjob lawyer from Illinois, I have to destroy it at all cost to save it bullshit. 10's of thousands had to die until Lincoln could find a General to carry out his wishes.Lee and Grant would have settled but not for Mr Lincoln. My way or the highway.

Posted by: LaZrtx at February 18, 2014 4:55 PM

Pay close attention now:

"The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.

Yours,
A. Lincoln."

Executive Mansion,
Washington, August 22, 1862.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 18, 2014 5:42 PM

Read the tendentious and agenda-driven revisionist literature followed by Harry Jaffa's magisterial New Birth of Freedom, then decide who was on the right side of world history.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at February 18, 2014 6:12 PM

@LaZrtx - "Typical nutjob lawyer from Illinois"

Yes. History repeats.

"The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was.""

This was delusional B.S. on par with Obama's deceitful rhetoric and endless river of lies. Whoever lives long enough to see the left write the history books will recognize it.

The Union-as-it-was was a voluntary confederacy of sovereign States which acted as a balance against federal overreach. National authority wasn't "restored", it was imposed at the point of a bayonet and a load of canister. We've been living under that paradigm ever since; it's what has given the left its devastating, society-crushing leverage.

Posted by: goy at February 18, 2014 6:14 PM

You stocking up on ammunition, Gerard?

Posted by: Eric Blair at February 18, 2014 6:15 PM

@ goy - Well said, The slaves of the North were not quite as equal to the slaves of the South. The Whigs and northern Republicans didn't want to turn over the apple cart, unless it was in the Confederacy which at the time was kicking Union butt with half the men and no supplies.After the unbearing infrastructure of endless men and supplies of the North did turn the tide of war did Mr Lincoln include the slaves of the north to his emancipation.

Posted by: LaZrtx at February 18, 2014 6:25 PM

@LaZrtx -

Root cause of the Civil War, in 6 words:

"Save the Union" = "Restore federal revenue"

Any doubts? Just read Lincoln's first inaugural address:

"The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere."

Invasion??? WTF??? Seriously? Had Lincoln ever actually READ the definition of Treason in the Constitution? Or, like Obama, did he assume that "the United States" translated to his royal person?

This statement was an open declaration of the primacy of the federal government as superior to the States, which were sole grantors of that government's authority. It was an open threat of military invasion against any State that refused to recognize and submit to that new paradigm. Lincoln would not be cowed by nullification as Jackson was cowed in 1832. Lincoln would not be robbed of the Southern wealth he needed to pay off Northern banksters, industrialists & railroad barons whose favor he'd spent so many years cultivating as a slick corporate lawyer.

In the end, Lincoln demonstrated that Might Makes Right... though the heavens (and the Republic) fall. And 150 years of relentless obfuscation based on the slavery issue have made him a secular god.

Posted by: goy at February 18, 2014 7:05 PM

The non-Tea Party Republicans (NTPR) have voted over and over on this issue. They would rather continue funding and enabling commielibs than vote for someone that might not be liked by liberals. These people, RINOs and voters, are cowards and would rather believe that China, and then the Easter Bunny, will keep buying US debt for another 100 years than to break out of their every other November participation for 8 seconds.

The RNC will dress up another "tomato can" in a red tie in 2016 and tell you this guy will win because so many liberals already respect him. And this RNC designated-loser will pay the usual consultants the usual fees and spend the usual sums on the usual TV commercials everybody ducks and we will lose again.

Liberals like to fight. They practice fighting. Their solution to everything is "let's fight." Non-Tea Party Republicans hate to fight. They practice surrender. Their answer to everything is "let's surrender on this so we can fight on that". They and their voters just don't care enough to get involved. They think politics is something others need to do for them. Citizenship cannot be outsourced. It is your job alone and hoping some politician fixes things for you, or expecting some talk show host to make a decision for you, is your own personal character flaw.

Republicans endlessly explain to emotion-driven people the facts that support their Republican policy. They might as well explain the benefits of vegetarianism to a mountain lion. But explaining facts is comfortable and non-judgmental and seems safe compared to speaking about their racist, sexist, islamophilic, perversion-suppporting neighbor to his face. "Somebody ought to do something" will be on your tombstone unless you get involved and support the right people and plans, despite the Leftists screams.

Posted by: Scott M at February 19, 2014 1:00 AM

That's speech has some powerful historical rhymes in it. I was impressed. Too radical, they said. Lost Lincoln the election, they said. Not conciliatory and not soothing. It scared people.

Permit me, in my own small way, to add two more well-known stanzas:

Sam Houston: "Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South"

Jefferson: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Posted by: John A. Fleming at February 19, 2014 8:29 AM

Once the war began in earnest the South would have won their independence with relative ease through ending slavery at almost any point in the conflict. In England the cotton mills were closed, unemployment was high, and they were straining as it was to maintain a position of neutrality. All that was necessary was a Confederate pledge to end slavery. Support for the war in the North would have collapsed with Britain recognizing the Confederacy. This was all well understood by every party. What are we to conclude but that the South loved slavery more than they loved independence?

Until the 1850's most abolitionist sentiment was centered in the South. They understood and articulated very well how slavery was making white people stupid. Then they proved it.

It is doubtful that more than a handful of Northerners understood the monster they were creating, busy as they were in hacking at the monster they didn't.

Posted by: james wilson at February 19, 2014 11:05 AM

"Once the war began in earnest..."

Hmmm... wars don't 'begin', they are provoked - in this case, by deceitfully sending a fleet of warships to reinforce a fort and seize control of a harbor in direct violation of an existing agreement.

Outside of that obvious issue, it's less than reasonable, using the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, to assume one knows, today, what the South was thinking 150 years ago, even less so to assume that the Southerners knew what the British were thinking.

Posted by: goy at February 20, 2014 1:49 PM

Wrong, Goy. All the players knew. Henry Adams provides details in his autobiography. He was in London during the war to assist his father Charles, the American ambassador to Britain. Their job was essentially to hold the British to their strained neutrality. The intrigue ran thick. The South chose slavery over independence.

I say that as one who has finally shaken free of the Lincoln and Union propaganda of my youth. It's a pity the country didn't break up, with or without slavery. But it needs to break up no less now, and I don't see that happening.

Posted by: james wilson at February 21, 2014 10:33 AM

"All the players knew"...

... according to the son of the US Ambassador to Britain.

Okay.

I suppose if we can take his account as unbiased, factually accurate and also somehow clairvoyant regarding the South's motives an ocean away, we can make the judgement that the South chose to keep what remained of their economy intact by preserving a long-established American institution, rather than precipitously dump it in favor of a potentially decisive alliance with Britain. Sure.

Meanwhile, Lincoln deceitfully and very successfully exploited the slavery issue later on to boost support for his war; just think what PR mileage he could have generated by pointing to an imminent threat from the US' recent former enemy in two wars.

Anyway, the real problem here is with "once the war began in earnest". The war didn't "begin". It was provoked. If more Americans understood that, there'd be a lot less tolerance for the abuse of executive authority we're living under today. But instead, by religiously quoting the very rhetoric Lincoln used to provoke that war - and the rest of his party's nationalist agenda - we teach our kids to revere abuse of executive authority. Then we look around, stupefied, wondering why we're surrounded by several generations of an electorate that sees nothing wrong with a President who behaves more like a King.

Posted by: goy at February 21, 2014 2:54 PM

Lincoln, and the radical Republican Party which he represented, were tyrants. The South loved slavery more than they loved independence. Those are just facts, not contradictory statements. Southerners had become quite stupid under slavery and their more savvy citizens wrote openly of it. The North was filled with clever people, and we know how that turns out. Samuel Clemens was the most honest man in America He was a draft dodger. I'm not finding a champion of the old Republic on either side of the war. We're doing no better.

You write of slavish respect for Lincoln's rhetoric. I agree. But you do not mention the true source of the permanent revolution, the expanding suffrage of democratic government. Do you, like most conservatives, have a slavish respect for voting? Lincoln was a little ahead of his time, or perhaps like Obama he merely spoke for it.

Posted by: james wilson at February 23, 2014 11:02 PM

Sorry james, either you're being a tad cryptic, or I need more coffee.

I can't make any sense out of your second paragraph there. My issue with adulation of Lincoln is the degree to which it blinds most Americans to the 'opportunity cost', if you will, inherent in having lost the Free Marketplace of Ideas represented by the inherent diversity of the several sovereign States, which Lincoln destroyed for all intents and purposes, through war. Aside from that cost, the establishment of imperialistic control as a replacement for voluntary union is precisely what has led to the abuse of executive authority and the generally out-of-control federal government we have now, characterized by government left to judge the limits of its own authority, which is - undeniably, IMHO - the root cause of U.S. decline on all fronts.

On the first thing, it's like this...

For good or ill, slavery was established right from the very start as an institution integral to the definition of the Union. It was specifically acknowledged and sanctioned in the Constitution and, as such, either directly or tacitly supported by every single State which ratified that document prior to 1865. The obligations placed on every State in this regard as a consequence of ratification were not ambiguous in any way. So did every State "love" slavery more than they loved their independence? That each State gave up its independence through ratification of a Constitution that sanctioned slavery, per se, leaves one conclusion: yes, they did.

So singling out the South in this respect seems neither rational nor supportable.

When the so-called "progressives" - who still cling bitterly to 70-year-old, serially discredited economic policies and ideologies - want the feds to implement yet another extra-constitutional, hare-brained social engineering program, what's the response? In a nutshell, the response is: "get an Amendment passed first, then we'll talk."

The root cause of the regional, antebellum rift in the U.S. was the fact that Northern States chose to damage Southern States by ignoring their obligations under a Constitution they had freely chosen to ratify, without getting an Amendment passed first. On top of that they perennially supported federal policy which further damaged the South economically. This made the entire proposition of "Union" a simple bait-and-switch from the standpoint of Southern States. They chose both independence AND preservation of their existing institutions. Pretending they "loved" one more than the other because an illegitimate, foreign power threatened both by deceitfully provoking war seems, again, neither rational nor supportable.

Posted by: goy at February 24, 2014 10:36 AM

When a democratic republic is reduced to having it's most important principle defended by slave owners this is already a sign of great decline. Blaming Lincoln is like blaming Obama. The fault lays with the original grand design, and, as Madison wrote, "what part a fuller and more varied population makes is no part of my pretensions."

You cannot make a worthy government out of politicians and citizens who don't know how pretentious they are. This game is over, let the next one begin.

Posted by: james wilson at February 26, 2014 9:52 AM

"When a democratic republic is reduced to having it's most important principle defended by slave owners this is already a sign of great decline."

This assertion might be supportable if it were the case today. It's not, and it's simply not legitimate to pass this off on mid-19th century society using 21st century sensibilities. With respect to slavery, 19th century American society - both North and South - was not only driven by at least two centuries of convention, tradition, commerce and legal precedent, but also constrained by fundamental limitations of science, i.e., the scientific knowledge of human biology that defined humanity as a species. These factors explain perfectly how slavery could come to be sanctioned in a Constitution constructed by what were otherwise clearly among the best intellects of the time.

"Blaming Lincoln is like blaming Obama."

I don't see how this assertion is supportable either. Of course, the slavery aspect needs to be removed from the equation in order to fully understand this, as well as the dynamic of how the Republic was fundamentally transformed in 1861. Lincoln is absolutely to be blamed for that. Whereas Obama is absolutely a symptom of an electoral majority benighted through federal government policy (see Gerard's recent - likely apocryphal - Vaclav Klaus quotation in Ka-Ching), Lincoln was NOT elected by a majority of Americans at all, and certainly not to pursue the nationalist, quasi-imperialist agenda he rationalized with his "Save the Union" lie. More obviously, although his regime is not yet finished, while Obama's abuse of executive authority has not (yet) provoked a war that resulted in 6 million Americans either maimed or killed, Lincoln's abuse did in fact cause the equivalent in his own time.

"You cannot make a worthy government out of politicians and citizens who don't know how pretentious they are."

Clearly, this is a fact of human nature, not a fault of the original grand design. At its core, the Constitution was implemented to institutionalize individual liberty for the first time (pace the pervasive institution of slavery, see above). To be viable, the next game will need to institutionalize individual responsibility & accountability as well.


"This game is over, let the next one begin. "

Yes. But this doesn't need to mean the end of the Great Experiment. As I've been saying: Re-boot!

Posted by: goy at February 26, 2014 11:13 AM

Clearly, it does mean the experiment is over. The definition of insanity is....

The anti-Federalist were right. That would require a do-over, not a re-boot.

Posted by: james wilson at February 26, 2014 4:55 PM

"The definition of insanity is...."

...not learning from past mistakes.

A 'do-over' would be the def'n of insanity.

A re-boot implies starting over with lessons learned.

Posted by: goy at February 26, 2014 6:37 PM

No, the re-boot implies not forming a republic in the first place.

Posted by: james wilson at February 26, 2014 11:11 PM

Lincoln like many other tyrants must have things done their way or subject those who oppose him to death amd destruction. Today he would be a war criminal. Only the poorly educated can defend this madman.

Posted by: Veritas at February 28, 2014 2:34 PM

Lincoln like many other tyrants must have things done their way or subject those who oppose him to death amd destruction. Today he would be a war criminal. Only the poorly educated can defend this madman.

Posted by: Veritas at February 28, 2014 2:34 PM

Oh, stop being such a silly person.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 28, 2014 3:40 PM

Oh, stop being such a silly person.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 28, 2014 3:40 PM
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