#200 for Abe the Warmonger

Thursday is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln. I would be perplexed by the Lincoln cult if I thought the prime Lincoln idolizers gave a damn about individual liberty. Lincoln is lionized not because he saved self-government, but primarily because he sanctified and vastly extended Leviathan.

Here is a riff I did on Lincoln for a National Review Online symposium on Lincoln 8 years ago, and a snippet on Abe from Attention Deficit Democracy

James Bovard, February 2001:

How can the same people who vigorously support indicting Serbian leaders for war crimes also claim that Lincoln was a great American president?

Lincoln bears ultimate responsibility for how the North chose to fight the Civil War. The attitude of some of the Northern commanders paralleled those of Bosnian Serb commanders more than many contemporary Americans would like to admit.

In a September 17, 1863, letter to the War Department, Gen. William Sherman wrote: “The United States has the right, and … the … power, to penetrate to every part of the national domain. We will remove and destroy every obstacle — if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper.” President Lincoln liked Sherman’s letter so much that he declared that it should be published.

On June 21, 1864, before his bloody March to the Sea, Sherman wrote to the secretary of war: “There is a class of people [in the South] — men, women, and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.” How would U.N. war crimes investigators react if Slobodan Milosevic had made this comment about ethnic Albanians?

On October 9, 1864, Sherman wrote to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant: “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources.” Sherman lived up to his boast — and left a swath of devastation and misery that helped plunge the South into decades of poverty.

General Grant used similar tactics in Virginia, ordering his troops “make all the valleys south of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad a desert as high up as possible.”

The Scorched Earth tactics the North used made life far more difficult for both white and black survivors of the Civil War.

Lincoln was blinded by his belief in the righteousness of federal supremacy. The abuses and tyranny that he authorized set legions of precedents that subverted the vision of government the Founding Fathers bequeathed to America.

****From Attention Deficit Democracy (Palgrave, 2006):

The more vehemently a president equates democracy with freedom, the greater the danger he likely poses to Americans’ rights. President Abraham Lincoln was by far the most avid champion of democracy among nineteenth century presidents—and the president with the greatest visible contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Lincoln swayed people to view national unity as the ultimate test of the essence of freedom or self-rule. That Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, jailed 20,000 people without charges, forcibly shut down hundreds of newspapers that criticized him, and sent in federal troops to shut down state legislatures was irrelevant because he proclaimed “that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”


Lysander Spooner, a Massachusetts abolitionist, ridiculed President Lincoln’s claim that the Civil War was fought to preserve a “government by consent.” Spooner observed, “The only idea . . . ever manifested as to what is a government of consent, is this—that it is one to which everybody must consent, or be shot.”

16 thoughts on “#200 for Abe the Warmonger”

  1. Completely off topic, folks, but I found something I’d love to share: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/126267/terrifying%3A_companies_are_marketing_police_state_normalcy_to_children/

    Specifically, here’s one review of the product that is nothing short of brilliant:

    Finally a toy that gets our kids used to living in a police state. Benjamin Franklin said that those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. But then again, he lived in France for awhile, so what did he know about anything.

    Before this toy came out I was afraid my son would not know how to cope with the new reality of American life; how to prepare him to the future, I was wondering. Boy am I relieved; so many lessons learned! Now he knows that:

    1) Some people can make a decent living treating others like cattle, and the best part: the cattle is paying their salaries.
    2) You only have the rights that the government gives you; you can move around the country only if you comply with government regulations, no matter how frivolous they might be. No liquid you say? except if in a ziplock bag? Check. Lighter ok because the cigarette lobby fought the no-lighter rule? Swell. All passengers searched but cargo mostly un-scrutinized? No problem.
    3) You should always bow to people in uniforms, even though they might be in this job because they could not qualify for police work (because of the rap sheet or the drug abuse).

    Unfortunately, this toy comes short in a few areas:

    1) It does not show that if you’re rich, you don’t have to wait in line for hours. If you can travel first class, you get your own fast-track screening. Too bad the terr’ists have plenty of Saudi and Pakistani cash and can easily travel first class should they want to. They should have included another screening set in the box.
    2) It does not come with the 300 tired-looking playmobils you would need to show the passengers waiting in line behind the screening area.

    However, it does some things very well: for instance, the screening apparatus is not actually functional. This represents faithfully the actual TSA system, which, every time it is tested or audited, fails to catch anything (weapons, even bombs).

    So, thank you Playmobil. I hope they will expand their product offering and give us more toys that can help our children prepare for the new reality of a much safer America; specifically, I am eagerly waiting for the Staline-style Guantanamo American gulag set, the North-Korean-style CIA water-boarding set, the KGB-style NSA phone-tapping set. Some people will whine about the loss of their civil liberties, but my son knows that the North-Korean are some of the safest people in the world. They had virtually no fear of terrorists

  2. The gap between what most Americans believe about Lincoln and the truth is huge. Someone needs to write a good book about the real Linclon. Not revisionism, just the facts.

  3. I fault myself, but I, at my late age, never knew that Lincoln didn’t free ALL of the slaves, only those in the confederate states. This is obviously a little known fact.

  4. To Andy:

    You said “The gap between what most Americans believe about Lincoln and the truth is huge. Someone needs to write a good book about the real Linclon. Not revisionism, just the facts.”

    Andy, someone has written that book. His name is Thomas DiLorenzo and his book is entitled, The Real Lincoln. I urge you and every other American who loves real freedom and real liberty to get a copy, read it and encourage as many others to read it as possible.

    Bless you my friend.

  5. “On June 21, 1864, before his bloody March to the Sea, Sherman wrote to the secretary of war: ‘There is a class of people [in the South] — men, women, and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.’ How would U.N. war crimes investigators react if Slobodan Milosevic had made this comment about ethnic Albanians?”
    I believe Sherman was referring to a class of people who believed in enslaving and torturing another class of people. It would be more appropriate to compare them to the Serbs, who were the perpetrators of injustice, than to the Albanian victims.
    Nice try on the spin, though.

  6. In France they venerate Charles De Gaulle, in England they hail Winston Churchill. And what about in America? Here we bash our founding fathers and degrade our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln. How long can a nation endure when some want to teach their children to hate our heroes loathe our most important leaders?

    Abraham Lincoln made plenty of mistakes but he was a great man. If it were not for him there would be no United States of America today ( and sadly that would please some people.)

    1. Churchill was a bloodthirsty monster and a poisonous racial supremacist who first pioneered the idea of gassing the Kurds and enforced economic strangulation on Germany even after it surrendered after the First World War and ordered, as a matter of policy, the regular aerial bombardment of German civilians during the Second. Ideologically, the man was the mirror image of Adolf Hitler.

      Here, America’s Founding Fathers, the policies they advocated, and the Constitution they drafted are the standard by which all things are judged and many revered icons, including many American presidents, fall far short. The idea that Lincoln, a political opportunist of the basest sort and a mere pawn of the Northern industrialists who sought government protection against foreign competition in the form a tariff is in some way representative of the Founding Fathers’ ambitions is absurd on its face. Save us the propaganda, chief- you’ll find far more willing employers in Pyongyang.

    2. At one point de Gaulle feared being physically overthrown from office. Churchill was booted from office before WWII even ended. Churchill later had a weak return to power and neither regained his former glory. Had not Lincoln been made a martyr for the ages his fate might have been similar.

    3. You’re so right. I think Stalin outstanding leader. Well – at least Winston Churchill though so. “Got the country with the plow, and left it with The Nuclear Sword”.

      Similar to Lincoln – got the country without Federal Taxes and – left it with “temporary” income tax. And is not it so smart – there is no way to live in the non-stop “The War on $X” state without hefty taxes. Well – in the Brave New World Order, 1984 edition, these are WorldWide taxes. So, hail to Lincoln.

      Speaking of the USA being or not being – all that is in God’s hands. But rejecting Jesus is not one way to achieve closer relation with God. Although it’s true that He was a Jew, certainly NOT of a Zionist kind :-)

  7. Abraham Lincoln was one of the biggest miscreants in American history.

    When the South decided to bail out because they hated the economic exploitation of the North, Lincoln invaded ’em, devastated ’em, and killed ’em. Not that he gave a damn over how many Union troops got killed doing it, either. (By the way, Lincoln’s little darling Robert sat out the war at Harvard. In early 1865, when the war was nearly over, Abe got the punk a posting to Grant’s staff as an aide-de-camp.
    Nice duty if you can get it.)

    Lincoln was a tyrant. He pissed on civil liberties, suspended habeas corpus, shut down newspapers, arrested and intimidated critics of his regime.

    Lincoln supported corporate welfare.

    Read the revisionist–i.e., truth-telling–historians, most notably Thomas DiLorenzo. His two books “Lincoln Unmasked” and “The Real Lincoln” are getting the truth out.

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