Ken Masugi, director of the Claremont Institute‘s Center for Local Government, writes in Claremont Institute Precepts No. 267 that “Long-time fans of Rush Limbaugh‘s provocative radio show experienced a shock in a recent program that focused on Abraham Lincoln.”
It turns out that Limbaugh was surprised to hear his callers criticize Abe Lincoln as responsible for the growth of federal power, a racist, and indifferent to the plight of the slaves.
The discussion, Masugi notes, grew out of advance qualms over Steven “fundraiser to the Clintons” Spielberg’s forthcoming movie on Lincoln. As Masugi observes, the film will allegedly “portray [Lincoln] as a weakling, a racist, and a failure at the presidency.”
Limbaugh and Spielberg aside, what’s the truth about Abraham Lincoln? And what’s the truth about the Confederate States of America and the South?
Allow me to suggest that the truth is quite far from the conventional wisdom. Allow me also to suggest, as indicated by Masugi’s article, that the otherwise praiseworthy Claremont Institute goes too far in its adulation of Lincoln.
The Claremont Institute is “otherwise praiseworthy” because, for example, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and the Claremont’s Center for the Study of the Natural Law appear to do good things. Also, Mark Helprin (a very good contemporary novelist, and therefore a rare breed; A Soldier of the Great War is well worth reading) and Hadley Arkes (a natural law theorist whose works I have found insightful) are at Claremont. This article should not be interpreted as anything other that what it is: a criticism of the Claremont Institute’s treatment of Abraham Lincoln and the issue of secession.
The Claremont Institute’s devotion to Lincoln appears deep and widespread. The Institute provides “Abraham Lincoln Fellowships in Constitutional Government” and the Institute’s Salvatori Center for the American Constitution has published a plethora of essays praising Lincoln and attacking the right of secession.
via Contra Claremont.