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that the just powers of government result only from the consent of the governed, and whenever that consent was withdrawn, it was the duty of the governed to abolish that government.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 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 Lincoln’s tyranny.
Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for Chief Justice Roger B. Taney after Judge Taney issued his opinion that Lincoln’s 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 administration’s policies were being discussed constituted “treason.” Most importantly, the Republican Party’s invasion of the Southern states was the very definition of Treason under the Constitution. All of this – and worse – is why generations of historians have referred to the Lincoln presidency as the “Lincoln dictatorship,” another historical fact that Gerson is oblivious to.
Treason is 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.
Gerson’s ignorance of the history that he pretends to pontificate about gets even worse. He claims that Ron Paul’s “conception of liberty is not the same as Lincoln’s.” 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 atheist)?……………