Former Bush 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 Gerson’s headline. Every freedom-loving, patriotic American can only hope and pray that Ron Paul succeeds.
Gerson’s tone 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 – including most of the Northern states in the U.S – 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 Slavery in New York, published by the New York Historical Society).
Only Gerson’s beloved “Party of Lincoln” used slaves as political pawns in a war that all of them – Lincoln as well as the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress of 1861-1865 – 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.
Of course, Lincoln’s “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.
Lincoln’s war destroyed the union of the founding fathers by forcing all states, North and South, to obey without question the dictates of Washington, D.C. – 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 ‘get rid of the original intent of the republic.’” Exactly. Even if it was not Lincoln’s intent – which it most certainly was since he was the political heir to the Hamiltonian/consolidationist wing of the American political tradition – it was undeniably the effect of Lincoln’s 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 – 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 party’s 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).
Gerson also mocks the notion that Lincoln ruled “with an iron fist,” which also demonstrates his complete
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