GUNNY G: THOMAS DILORENZO ON LINCOLN, ETC. (EXCERPTS)
In a sense, you’re not attacking Lincoln, so much as the very foundations of modernAmerican national government.
I call him the Founding Father of big government. It’s kind of strange. There are these self-described conservatives who are the big Lincoln idolaters, like the people at the Claremont Institute. But really, when you look at them, they advocate nationalism and executive power. That’s one reason why they idolize him so much. That’s totally at odds with the Jeffersonian tradition.
On the other side of the coin are the liberal historians. Liberals always have Lincoln and FDR as their number one and number two presidents, because they were the most dictatorial of all our presidents. So, you have this odd mix of liberal and conservative academics, both of whom idolize Lincoln because they really do embrace big government.
Big government conservatives don’t mind big government as long as people like themselves are in charge of it. They run the Bush administration, at the moment.
Doesn’t it seem terribly contrary that liberals attach themselves to Lincoln the way they do?
That’s my whole case. It doesn’t make sense. Lincoln spent 28 years in his involvement in politics, working diligently for policies that would use the government to benefit primarily big business and big banks, which were almost entirely in the North. Why would he spend 28 years in the political trenches, working for these things, and then, when he becomes president, why would that not be his main goal? I argue that it was. That’s why he waged war.
When the South seceded, they would’ve taken all that tax revenue with them. In 1860, the tariff was 95 percent of federal tax revenue. Ninety-five percent! He lost a huge chunk of the federal revenue. He could not have a transcontinental railroad, and an activist government, and a political career, frankly, without all that revenue. That is what really outrages the Lincoln scholars.
It’s like all the people out there with picket signs that say “No War for Oil.” We need to have ones that say “No War for Tariffs.”
That’s right, but it wasn’t just tariffs. The population of the North was more than double the population of the South. Congressional representation was starting to overwhelm the South.
The Whigs tried to gain power for 30 years. When Lincoln was elected, they finally got it. They finally got power to implement their high tariffs, their corporate welfare, and their federal bank monopoly. That’s what we got in the first 18 months of the Lincoln administration. We got it all put into place at once.
What will become of the Republicans?
The way I see it is that the Republican Party is returning to its Lincolnian roots. For the whole nineteenth century, the Republican Party was the party of big government! For the last half of the nineteenth century, the Jeffersonians were all Democrats. That’s why Southerners were all Democrats until about 20 years ago.
It’s ironic. Someone runs for president on a particular platform, then does the exact opposite when he gets in office. Lincoln, before the War, said, “I’m going to be hands off with the slavery issue.” Then he was the biggest interventionist ever. FDR ran, actually, on lower taxes —
A balanced budget, yeah.
And, of course, Clinton was going to be the most ethical administration in history.
Some historians call Lincoln a “master politician,” which I think he was. As I say in the book, that means he was a masterful liar, conniver, and manipulator. If Bill Clinton is a master politician, that’s what he is. If Franklin Roosevelt is a masterful politician, he’s a masterful liar, conniver, and manipulator. That’s what it means to be a masterful politician.
In the end of your book, you talk about how things don’t seem to change. What do you see as the future of America? Do you see us getting worse before it gets better?
Right now, the people in charge of the government remind us every day that they are the Party of Lincoln. They’ve stretched Lincoln’s philosophy to say that not only should we wage war within our own country ostensibly for democracy, as Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, but we should wage war all around the world to force democracy on people, whether they want it or not. Not just in Iraq. They’re talking about invading the entire Middle East, for starters, to bring democracy there, as though it were any of our business.
That is empire. Any country that has had a big empire like that has always been bankrupted. If that’s the road we’re going on, I think it’s the road that Lincoln started us on. Look at what the same government did. Immediately after the War, they commenced a campaign of ethnic genocide against the Plains Indians. That was all part of this plan to have a continental empire.
Now, these people think we need to have a world empire. It’s un-American. The Founding Fathers would have fought another revolution over this.
What do you think will happen?
It seems to me that the American public has been dumbed down so much by the government schools that they’re just going to go along with this until it either bankrupts us all or we make enough enemies out there that September 11 will seem like child’s play. You can’t do this without making a lot of enemies in the world. That’s my biggest fear — that we won’t get rid of these Sons of Lincoln who run the Republican Party.
I agree with Clyde Wilson that America can’t be saved or returned to its roots until the Republican Party is destroyed.
Who are you going to vote for, for president?
I can’t stomach any of them. I probably won’t vote for any of them.
You’re not going to vote Libertarian?
No, probably not. It only encourages them. It enables them to say, “We have the will of the people behind us. Look at all the votes cast.” No one is proposing anything near constitutional government. I consider the act of voting to be treasonous to the Constitution. I’m not going to vote.
That’s an interesting way of looking at it. Your last line in the book is, “The genie is out of the bottle.”
The genie of centralization. Lincoln let it out of the bottle, for sure.
Seriously, the only way it could, would be secession. If a big chunk of the United States actually seceded from the federal government and pained it a bit and deprived it of a large amount of its revenue. Otherwise, how else could it possibly happen?
Could it possibly return to limited government roots? I can’t see how it could possibly happen.
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For Various Reasons,Gunny G
Now Posting To Three Blogs…
- Will Ron Paul Destroy the ‘Party of Lincoln’? (“And Would This Be Bad?”)by Thomas DiLorenzo (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Leftist Love Affair With Lincoln and The Union… (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Exclusive: Noted Lincoln Scholar Says Obama Misquotes Lincoln (cajunconservatism.wordpress.com)
- The Constitution: The God That Failed (To Liberate Us From Big Government) by William Buppert (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- The Republican Party Becomes the Whig Party (gunnyg.wordpress.com)