Ron Paul Destroy the 'Party of Lincoln'?
Thomas J. DiLorenzo
by Thomas DiLorenzo: Constitutional
administration speechwriter Michael Gerson, who is now a columnist
for the company newspaper of the company town known as Washington,
D.C., recently authored yet another hysterical neocon rant over
the Ron Paul candidacy. Ron Paul is on a "quest to undo the
Party of Lincoln," blared Gersonís headline. Every freedom-loving,
patriotic American can only hope and pray that Ron Paul succeeds.
is dripping with venomous hatred when he accuses Ron Paul of being
some kind of nut by calling the Civil War "senseless"
and of saying that Lincoln ruled with an iron fist. Generations
of historians have also called the Civil War "senseless"
or something similar. "The bumbling generation" is how
some historians describe the Civil War-era politicians who plunged
the nation into war, the most preeminent of whom was Lincoln himself.
But when Ron Paul refers to the war in that way what he has in mind
is the true historical fact that all other countries of the world
that ended slavery in the nineteenth century Ė including most of
the Northern states in the U.S Ė did so peacefully.
The British, French, Spaniards, Dutch, Swedes, Danes, and others
ended slavery in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all of Central America,
Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, the French and Danish colonies, Ecuador,
Peru, and Venezuela without resorting to the mass murder and destruction
of war. (See Jim Powell. Greatest
Emancipations: How the West Ended Slavery; Robert Fogel
and Stanley Engerman, Time
on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery; and
in New York, published by the New York Historical Society).
beloved "Party of Lincoln" used slaves as political pawns
in a war that all of them Ė Lincoln as well as the Republican-controlled
U.S. Congress of 1861-1865 Ė stated over and over again was commenced
to "save the union" (and consolidate political power in
Washington, D.C.), and not to disturb Southern slavery. As Lincoln
said in his famous 1862 letter to newspaper editor Horace Greeley,
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union,
and it not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could
save the Union without freeing any slave 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." On July 22, 1861 the
U.S. Congress announced to the world that the purpose of the war
it had commenced was NOT "interference with the rights or established
institutions of those states" [i.e., slavery], but to preserve
the Union with the rights of the several states unimpaired."
Gerson is obviously unaware of all of this.
Lincolnís "save the Union" rhetoric was always outrageous
nonsense. The original American union of the founding fathers was
a voluntary union based on the Jeffersonian notion in the Declaration
of Independence that the just powers of government result only from
the consent of the governed, and whenever that consent was withdrawn,
it was the duty of the governed to abolish that government.
It was nothing more than a practical political arrangement and not
some magical, mystical, sacred union that "justified"
the mass murder of more than 350,000 Southerners to "save"
it. Indeed, the founding fathers would probably have thought such
a thing to be perhaps the biggest atrocity in world history.
destroyed the union of the founding fathers by forcing all
states, North and South, to obey without question the dictates
of Washington, D.C. Ė or else. Michael Gerson seems completely ignorant
of all of this history when he mocks Ron Paul by saying "Paul
is the most anti-Lincoln public official since Jefferson Davis .
. . . According to Paul, Lincoln caused 600,000 Americans to die
in order to Ďget rid of the original intent of the republic.í"
Exactly. Even if it was not Lincolnís intent Ė which it most certainly
was since he was the political heir to the Hamiltonian/consolidationist
wing of the American political tradition Ė it was undeniably the
effect of Lincolnís war. It is what would lead to such absurdities
as someone like Michael Gerson becoming a propaganda mouthpiece
for our rulers in Washington, D.C.
In his first
inaugural address Lincoln threatened "invasion" and "bloodshed"
in any state that refused to collect the newly-doubled tariff on
imports, which at the time constituted more than 90 percent of all
federal tax revenues. Two years later the Republican Party apparently
decided that the murder of hundreds of thousands and the destruction
of entire cities in the South could not be justified before world
opinion if it was motivated by the greed for money and power Ė which
of course it was, as is almost always the case with all wars. So
the slaves were used as political pawns to cover up the true intentions
of the Party of Lincoln, which from that time on has described itself
as the "Grand Old Party" or the party of great moral ideas!
(When you hear that rhetoric, think of the partyís great moral leaders,
such as Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, or Newt Gingrich,
all of whom have employed speechwriters like Michael Gerson to compose
such nonsense for them).
mocks the notion that Lincoln ruled "with an iron fist,"
which also demonstrates his complete ignorance of this aspect of
American history. It is well known by anyone who bothers to learn
about it that Lincoln illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus
(even his own attorney general said so) since only Congress can
legally do so. He ordered the military to mass arrest thousands
of Northern critics of his administration, without due process,
and imprison them indefinitely. These included many opposition newspaper
editors, and even the Mayor of Baltimore, Congressman Henry May
of Maryland, and the grandson of Francis Scott Key, who had editorialized
against Lincolnís tyranny.
an arrest warrant for Chief Justice Roger B. Taney after Judge Taney
issued his opinion that Lincolnís suspension of Habeas Corpus was
unconstitutional. He deported the most outspoken member of the opposition
party, Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio; confiscated
firearms in the border states; instituted the first federal military
conscription law; oversaw the daily shooting of hundreds of deserters
to his army; and even announced that merely remaining silent when
his administrationís policies were being discussed constituted "treason."
Most importantly, the Republican Partyís invasion of the Southern
states was the very definition of Treason under the Constitution.
All of this Ė and worse Ė is why generations of historians have
referred to the Lincoln presidency as the "Lincoln dictatorship,"
another historical fact that Gerson is oblivious to.
defined in Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution as follows:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying
War against them, or in adhering to their
Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" (emphasis added). "United
States" is always in the plural in all the founding documents,
signifying the free and independent states. Treason was defined
as "only" waging war against the free and independent
states, which of course is exactly what Lincoln and his party did.
Again, Michael Gerson is ignorant of all of this.
of the history that he pretends to pontificate about gets even worse.
He claims that Ron Paulís "conception of liberty is not the
same as Lincolnís." Yes, and thank God for Ron Paul. What advocate
of liberty would destroy the Constitution, imprison political dissenters,
murder hundreds of thousands of his own citizens over tax collection,
and then claim the moral high ground by including a few Biblical
phrases in his political speeches (even though he himself was an
Gerson is also
unaware that the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to "rebel
territory," where the U.S. Army had no ability to free anyone,
and that Lincoln called it a "war measure" that would
have ended had the war ended on the next day. In other words, it
freed no one, and had the war abruptly ended Lincoln was perfectly
satisfied to allow the Southern states to do whatever they wanted
to do with the slaves as long as they continued to pay federal tariff
taxes. Indeed, in one speech he nonchalantly forecast that slavery
would probably fade away sometime in the early twentieth century.
to his shocking ignorance of American history, Michael Gerson is
just plain hysterical and nonsensical with some of his other broadsides
against Ron Paul. For example, any reasonable person who spends
a small amount of time educating himself about the actual effects
of the governmentís "war on drugs" would have to conclude
that it has been a colossal failure: It has utterly failed to reduce
drug use; it has made the illicit drug trade more profitable
by causing the price of illegal drugs (and the profits from selling
them) to increase dramatically; it is the primary cause of violence
in America, just as alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s and early
1930s; it has corrupted police and judges; it has lured untold numbers
of children into the business because of the money they can make;
and it has led to the grossly disproportionate imprisonment of young
African-American men for victimless "crimes." Gerson mentions
none of these facts, but only screams that Ron Paul has "proposed
. . . legalization"!!!!!! This is supposed to be a self-evident
fact that proves Ron Paul to be "disqualified" as a presidential
candidate, says Gerson.
Paul, who champions the constitutional dictum of equality under
the law for all Americans, Michael Gerson parrots the Washington
establishmentís view that inequality under the law in the
form of institutionalized discrimination against white males, which
is what "civil rights regulation" became immediately upon
passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is more appropriate. To
Ron Paul, government-sanctioned discrimination is discrimination,
no matter what the skin color of the victims. Two wrongs do not
make a right, in other words. Michael Gerson apparently never learned
this elementary lesson.
Duke is also known to have run for political office in Louisiana
several decades ago by protesting racial hiring quotas and reverse
discrimination, Gerson outrageously accuses Ron Paul of "defending
former Ku Klux Kan Grand Wizard David Duke," proving that he
is dishonest as well as ignorant of the subjects he is writing about.
Gerson is also
outraged that Ron Paul has described American foreign policy as
"aggressive" and "expansionist." Has Michael
Gerson ever stepped foot outside of Washington, D.C.? Does he really
reside on Planet Earth?
In one final
burst of stupidity, Gerson concludes his essay be claiming that
the U.S. entered World War II to save the European Jews from the
Holocaust. (Earth to Michael Gerson: The Holocaust happened; the
U.S. government did not save the 6 million Jews murdered
by the Nazis). He makes this remarkably stupefying statement so
that he can proclaim to his Washington Post audience that
"Paulís conception of liberty . . . would have freed the occupants
of concentration camps from their dependency on liberating armies."
pretends that Ron Paul has invented out of thin air his own personal
conceptions of "liberty." Anyone who knows anything about
Ron Paul Ė unlike the Michael Gersons of the world Ė understands
why this is so absurd. Ron Paul has for many decades been a serious
student of the classical liberal tradition of European and American
thought. He is extraordinarily well educated in the free-market
economics tradition of the Austrian School of Economics, associated
with such scholars as Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard,
and Henry Hazlitt. He is well schooled in the natural rights philosophy
that informed the American founding fathers, and which is so beautifully
articulated in such publications as The
Law by Frederic Bastiat. He understands the logic of the
foreign policy ideas of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington,
who I would wager were far more thoughtful and educated on the subject
than Michael Gerson is.
thing that Gerson gets right is that Ron Paulís conception of liberty,
based on the above-mentioned literature, is indeed very different
from those of Lincolnís. Lincoln probably never even read The
Federalist Papers; his personal library consisted almost
entirely of books on rhetoric and speech making and political strategy.
He was a champion of central banking, protectionist tariffs, and
corporate welfare, all for the benefit of the Northern business
elite that financed his career and his party at the expense of the
rest of the public. He was willing to wage total war on his own
citizens for the benefit of his own political benefactors. He was
a machine politician who would make todayís Chicago politicians
look like so many Mother Teresas by comparison. He deplored constitutional
limitations on his own dictatorial powers, and waged war on his
own countrymen for refusing to have their federal taxes doubled.
Read Lincolnís first inaugural address for yourself.
If Ron Paul
succeeds in his "quest to undo the Party of Lincoln" it
would be the greatest advance in freedom for Americans since the
ending of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution
J. DiLorenzo [send him mail]
is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the
author of The
Real Lincoln; Lincoln
Unmasked: What Youíre Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe
Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamiltonís
Curse: How Jeffersonís Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution
Ė And What It Means for America Today.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Best of Thomas DiLorenzo at LRC
DiLorenzo Archives at Mises.org