Sunday, 7 July 2013

Re: Thomas Fleming Agrees With Murray Rothbard on the Cause of the Civil War

Just War
By Murray N. Rothbard

Much of "classical international law" theory, developed by the Catholic Scholastics, notably the 16th-century Spanish Scholastics such as Vitoria and Suarez, and then the Dutch Protestant Scholastic Grotius and by 18th- and 19th-century jurists, was an explanation of the criteria for a just war. For war, as a grave act of killing, needs to be justified.

My own view of war can be put simply: a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them.

During my lifetime, my ideological and political activism has focused on opposition to America's wars, first because I have believed our waging them to be unjust, and, second, because war, in the penetrating phrase of the libertarian Randolph Bourne in World War I, has always been "the health of the State," an instrument for the aggrandizement of State power over the health, the lives, and the prosperity, of their subject citizens and social institutions. Even a just war cannot be entered into lightly; an unjust one must therefore be anathema.

There have been only two wars in American history that were, in my view, assuredly and unquestionably proper and just; not only that, the opposing side waged a war that was clearly and notably unjust. Why? Because we did not have to question whether a threat against our liberty and property was clear or present; in both of these wars, Americans were trying to rid themselves of an unwanted domination by another people. And in both cases, the other side ferociously
tried to maintain their coercive rule over Americans. In each case, one side -- "our side" if you will -- was notably just, the other side -- "their side" -- unjust.

To be specific, the two just wars in American history were the American Revolution, and the War for Southern Independence.

I would like to mention a few vital features of the treatment of war by the classical international natural lawyers, and to contrast this great tradition with the very different "international law" that has been dominant since 1914, by the dominant partisans of the League of Nations and the United Nations.

The classical international lawyers from the 16th through the 19th centuries were trying to cope with the implications of the rise and dominance of the modern nation-state. They did not seek to "abolish war," the very notion of which they would have considered absurd and Utopian. Wars will always exist among groups, peoples, nations; the desideratum, in addition to trying to persuade them to stay within the compass of "just wars," was to curb and limit the impact of existing wars as much as possible. Not to try to "abolish war," but to constrain war with limitations imposed by civilization.

Specifically, the classical international lawyers developed two ideas, which they were broadly successful in getting nations to adopt: (1) above all, don't target civilians. If you must fight, let the rulers and their loyal or hired retainers slug it out, but keep civilians on both sides out of it, as much as possible. The growth of democracy, the identification of citizens with the State, conscription, and the idea of a "nation in arms," all whittled away this excellent tenet of international law. (2) Preserve the rights of neutral states and nations. In the modern corruption of international law that has prevailed since 1914, "neutrality" has been treated as somehow deeply immoral. Nowadays, if countries A and B get into a fight, it becomes every nation's moral obligation to figure out, quickly, which country is the "bad guy," and then if, say, A is condemned as the bad guy, to rush in and pummel A in defense of the alleged good guy B.

Classical international law, which should be brought back as quickly as possible, was virtually the opposite. In a theory which tried to limit war, neutrality was considered not only justifiable but a positive virtue. In the old days, "he kept us out of war" was high tribute to a president or political leader; but now, all the pundits and professors condemn any president who "stands idly by" while "people are being killed" in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, or the hot spot of the day. In the old days, "standing idly by" was considered a mark of high statesmanship. Not only that: neutral states had "rights" which were mainly upheld, since every warring country knew that someday it too would be neutral. A warring state could not interfere with neutral shipping to an enemy state; neutrals could ship to such an enemy with impunity all goods except "contraband," which was strictly defined as arms and ammunition, period. Wars were kept limited in those days, and neutrality was extolled.

In modern international law, where "bad-guy" nations must be identified quickly and then fought by all, there are two rationales for such world-wide action, both developed by Woodrow Wilson, whose foreign policy and vision of international affairs has been adopted by every President since. The first is "collective security against aggression." The notion is that every war, no matter what, must have one "aggressor" and one or more "victims," so that naming the aggressor becomes a prelude to a defense of "heroic little" victims. The analogy is with the cop-on-the-corner. A policeman sees A mugging B; he rushes after the aggressor, and the rest of the citizens join in the pursuit. In the same way, supposedly, nations, as they band together in "collective security" arrangements, whether they be the League, the United Nations, or NATO, identify the "aggressor" nation and then join together as an "international police force," like the cop-on-the-corner, to zap the criminal.

In real life, however, it's not so easy to identify one warring "aggressor." Causes become tangled, and history intervenes. Above all, a nation's current border cannot be considered as evidently just as a person's life and property. Therein lies the problem. How about the very different borders ten years, twenty years, or even centuries ago? How about wars where claims of all sides are plausible? But any complication of this sort messes up the plans of our professional war crowd. To get Americans stirred up about intervening in a war thousands of miles away about which they know nothing and care less, one side must be depicted as the clear-cut bad guy, and the other side pure and good; otherwise, Americans will not be moved to intervene in a war that is really none of their business. Thus, feverish attempts by American pundits and alleged foreign-policy "experts" to get us to intervene against the demonized Serbs ran aground when the public began to realize that all three sides in the Bosnian war were engaging in "ethnic cleansing" whenever they got the chance. This is even forgetting the fatuity of the propaganda about the "territorial integrity" of a so-called "Bosnian state" which has never existed even formally until a year or two ago, and of course in actuality does not exist at all.

If classical international law limited and checked warfare, and kept it from spreading, modern international law, in an attempt to stamp out "aggression" and to abolish war, only insures, as the great historian Charles Beard put it, a futile policy of "perpetual war for perpetual peace."

The second Wilsonian excuse for perpetual war, particularly relevant to the "Civil War," is even more Utopian: the idea that it is the moral obligation of America and of all other nations to impose "democracy" and "human rights" throughout the globe. In short, in a world where "democracy" is generally meaningless, and "human rights" of any genuine sort virtually non-existent, that we are obligated to take up the sword and wage a perpetual war to force Utopia on the entire
world by guns, tanks, and bombs.

The Somalian intervention was a perfect case study in the workings of this Wilsonian dream. We began the intervention by extolling a "new kind of army" (a new model army if you will) engaged in a new kind of high moral intervention: the U.S. soldier with a CARE package in one hand, and a gun in the other. The new "humanitarian" army, bringing food, peace, democracy, and human rights to the benighted peoples of Somalia, and doing it all the more nobly and altruistically because there was not a scrap of national interest in it for Americans. It was this prospect of a purely altruistic intervention -- of universal love imposed by the bayonet -- that swung almost the entire "anti-war" Left into the military intervention camp. Well, it did not take long for our actions to have consequences, and the end of the brief Somalian intervention provided a great lesson if we only heed it: the objects of our "humanitarianism" being shot down by American guns, and striking back by highly effective guerrilla war against American troops, culminating in savaging the bodies of American soldiers. So much for "humanitarianism," for a war to impose democracy and human rights; so much for the new model army.

In both of these cases, the modern interventionists have won by seizing the moral high ground; theirs is the cosmic "humanitarian" path of moral principle; those of us who favor American neutrality are now derided as "selfish," "narrow," and "immoral." In the old days, however, interventionists were more correctly considered propagandists for despotism, mass murder, and perpetual war, if not spokesmen for special interest groups, or agents of the "merchants of death." Scarcely a high ground.

The cause of "human rights" is precisely the critical argument by which, in retrospect, Abraham Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression against the South is justified and even glorified. The "humanitarian" goes forth and rights the wrong of slavery, doing so through mass murder, the destruction of institutions and property, and the wreaking of havoc which has still not disappeared.

Isabel Paterson, in The God of the Machine, one of the great books on political philosophy of this century, zeroed in on what she aptly called "The Humanitarian with the Guillotine." "The humanitarian," Mrs. Paterson wrote, "wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others. He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves. The humanitarian puts himself in the place of God." But Mrs. Paterson notes, the humanitarian is "confronted by two awkward facts: first that the competent do not need his assistance; and second, that the majority of people, if unperverted, positively do not want to be u2018done good' by the humanitarian." Having considered what the "good" of others might be, and who is to decide on the good and on what to do about it, Mrs. Paterson points out: "Of course what the humanitarian actually proposes is that he shall do what he thinks is good for everybody. It is at this point that the humanitarian sets up the guillotine." Hence, she concludes, "the humanitarian in theory is the terrorist in action."

There is an important point about old-fashioned, or classical, international law which applies to any sort of war, even a just one:

Even if country A is waging a clearly just war against country B, and B's cause is unjust, this fact by no means imposes any sort of moral obligation on any other nation, including those who wish to abide by just policies, to intervene in that war. On the contrary, in the old days neutrality was always considered a more noble course, if a nation had no overriding interest of its own in the fray, there was no moral obligation whatever to intervene. A nation's highest and most moral course was to remain neutral; its citizens might cheer in their heart for A's just cause, or, if someone were overcome by passion for A's cause he could rush off on his own to the front to fight, but generally citizens of nation C were expected to cleave to their own nation's interests over the cause of a more abstract justice. Certainly, they were expected not to form a propaganda pressure group to try to bulldoze their nation into intervening; if champions of country A were sufficiently ardent, they could go off on their own to fight, but they could not commit their fellow countrymen to do the same.

Many of my friends and colleagues are hesitant to concede the existence of universal natural rights, lest they find themselves forced to support American, or world-wide intervention, to try to enforce them. But for classical natural law international jurists, that consequence did not follow at all. If, for example, Tutsis are slaughtering Hutus in Rwanda or Burundi, or vice versa, these natural lawyers would indeed consider such acts as violations of the natural rights of the slaughtered; but that fact in no way implies any moral or natural-law obligation for any other people in the world to rush in to try to enforce such rights. We might encapsulate this position into a slogan: "Rights may be universal, but their enforcement must be local" or, to adopt the motto of the Irish rebels: Sinn Fein, "ourselves alone." A group of people may have rights, but it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to defend or safeguard such rights.

To put it another way, I have always believed that when the left claims that all sorts of entities -- animals, alligators, trees, plants, rocks, beaches, the earth, or "the ecology" -- have "rights," the proper response is this: when those entities act like the Americans who set forth their declaration of rights, when they speak for themselves and take up arms to enforce them, then and only then can we take such claims seriously.

I want to now return to America's two just wars. It is plainly evident that the American Revolution, using my definition, was a just war, a war of peoples forming an independent nation and casting off the bonds of another people insisting on perpetuating their rule over them. Obviously, the Americans, while welcoming French or other support, were prepared to take on the daunting task of overthrowing the rule of the most powerful empire on earth, and to do it alone if necessary.

What I want to focus on here is not the grievances that led the American rebels to the view that it had become "necessary for One People to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another." What I want to stress here is the ground on which the Americans stood for this solemn and fateful act of separation. The Americans were steeped in the natural-law philosophy of John Locke and the Scholastics, and in the classical republicanism of Greece and Rome. There were two major political theories in Britain and in Europe during this time. One was the older, but by this time obsolete, absolutist view: the king was the father of his nation, and absolute obedience was owed to the king by the lesser orders; any rebellion against the king was equivalent to Satan's rebellion against God.

The other, natural law, view countered that sovereignty originated not in the king but in the people, but that the people had delegated their powers and rights to the king. Hugo Grotius and conservative natural lawyers believed that the delegation of sovereignty, once transferred, was irrevocable, so that sovereignty must reside permanently in the king. The more radical libertarian theorists, such as Father Mariana, and John Locke and his followers, believed, quite sensibly, that since the original delegation was voluntary and contractual, the people had the right to take back that sovereignty should the king grossly violate his trust.

The American revolutionaries, in separating themselves from Great Britain and forming their new nation, adopted the Lockean doctrine. In fact, if they hadn't done so, they would not have been able to form their new nation. It is well known that the biggest moral and psychological problem the Americans had, and could only bring themselves to overcome after a full year of bloody war, was to violate their oaths of allegiance to the British king. Breaking with the British
Parliament, their de facto ruler, posed no problem; Parliament they didn't care about. But the king was their inherited sovereign lord, the person to whom they had all sworn fealty. It was the king to whom they owed allegiance; thus, the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence mentioned only the king, even though Parliament was in reality the major culprit.

Hence, the crucial psychological importance, to the American revolutionaries, of Thomas Paine's Common Sense, which not only adopted the Lockean view of a justified reclaiming of sovereignty by the American people, but also particularly zeroed in on the office of the king. In the words of the New Left, Paine delegitimized and desanctified the king in American eyes. The king of Great Britain, Paine wrote, is only the descendent of "nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang; whose savage manner or preeminence in subtlety obtained him the title of chief among plunderers." And now the kings, including the "Royal Brute of Great Britain," are but "crowned ruffians."

In making their revolution, then, the Americans cast their lot, permanently, with a contractual theory or justification for government. Government is not something imposed from above, by some divine act of conferring sovereignty; but contractual, from below, by "consent of the governed." That means that American polities inevitably become republics, not monarchies. What happened, in fact, is that the American Revolution resulted in something new on earth. The people of each of the 13 colonies formed new, separate, contractual, republican governments. Based on libertarian doctrines and on republican models, the people of the 13 colonies each set up independent sovereign states: with powers of each government strictly limited, with most rights and powers reserved to the people, and with checks, balances, and written constitutions severely limiting state power.

These 13 separate republics, in order to wage their common war against the British Empire, each sent representatives to the Continental Congress, and then later formed a Confederation, again with severely limited central powers, to help fight the British. The hotly contested decision to scrap the Articles of Confederation and to craft a new Constitution demonstrates conclusively that the central government was not supposed to be perpetual, not to be the sort of permanent
one-way trap that Grotius had claimed turned popular sovereignty over to the king forevermore. In fact, it would be very peculiar to hold that the American Revolutionaries had repudiated the idea that a pledge of allegiance to the king was contractual and revocable, and break their vows to the king, only to turn around a few short years later to enter a compact that turned out to be an irrevocable one-way ticket for a permanent central government power. Revocable
and contractual to a king, but irrevocable to some piece of paper!

And finally, does anyone seriously believe for one minute that any of the 13 states would have ratified the Constitution had they believed that it was a perpetual one-way Venus fly trap -- a one-way ticket to sovereign suicide? The Constitution was barely ratified as it is!

So, if the Articles of Confederation could be treated as a scrap of paper, if delegation to the confederate government in the 1780s was revocable, how could the central government set up under the Constitution, less than a decade later, claim that its powers were permanent and irrevocable? Sheer logic insists that: if a state could enter a confederation it could later withdraw from it; the same must be true for a state adopting the Constitution.

And yet of course, that monstrous illogic is precisely the doctrine proclaimed by the North, by the Union, during the War Between the States.

In 1861, the Southern states, believing correctly that their cherished institutions were under grave threat and assault from the federal government, decided to exercise their natural, contractual, and constitutional right to withdraw, to "secede" from that Union. The separate Southern states then exercised their contractual right as sovereign republics to come together in another confederation, the Confederate States of America. If the American Revolutionary War was just, then it follows as the night the day that the Southern cause, the War for Southern Independence, was just, and for the same reason: casting off the "political bonds" that connected the two peoples. In neither case was this decision made for "light or transient causes." And in both cases, the courageous seceders pledged to each other "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor."

What of the grievances of the two sets of seceders? Were they comparable? The central grievance of the American rebels was the taxing power: the systematic plunder of their property by the British government. Whether it was the tax on stamps, or the tax on imports, or finally the tax on imported tea, taxation was central. The slogan "no taxation without representation" was misleading; in the last analysis, we didn't want "representation" in Parliament; we wanted not to be taxed by Great Britain. The other grievances, such as opposition to general search warrants, or to overriding of the ancient Anglo-Saxon principle of trial by jury, were critical because they involved the power to search merchants' properties for goods that had avoided payment of the customs taxes, that is for "smuggled" goods, and trial by jury was vital because no American jury would ever convict such smugglers.

One of the central grievances of the South, too, was the tariff that Northerners imposed on Southerners whose major income came from exporting cotton abroad. The tariff at one and the same time drove up prices of manufactured goods, forced Southerners and other Americans to pay more for such goods, and threatened to cut down Southern exports. The first great constitutional crisis with the South came when South Carolina battled against the well named Tariff of Abomination of 1828. As a result of South Carolina's resistance, the North was forced to reduce the tariff, and finally, the Polk administration adopted a two-decade long policy of virtual free trade.

John C. Calhoun, the great intellectual leader of South Carolina, and indeed of the entire South, pointed out the importance of a very low level of taxation. All taxes, by their very nature, are paid, on net, by one set of people, the "taxpayers," and the proceeds go to another set of people, what Calhoun justly called the "tax-consumers." Among the net tax-consumers, of course, are the politicians and bureaucrats who live full-time off the proceeds. The higher the level of taxation, the higher the percentage which the country's producers have to give the parasitic ruling class that enforces and lives off of taxes. In zeroing in on the tariff, Calhoun pointed out that "the North has adopted a system of revenue and disbursements, in which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed on the South, and an undue proportion appropriated to the North, and for the monopolization of Northern industry."

What of the opposition to these two just wars? Both were unjust since in both the case of the British and of the North, they were waging fierce war to maintain their coercive and unwanted rule over another people. But if the British wanted to hold on and expand their empire, what were the motivations of the North? Why, in the famous words of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, at least early in the struggle, didn't the North "let their erring sisters go in peace?"

The North, in particular the North's driving force, the "Yankees" -- that ethnocultural group who either lived in New England or migrated from there to upstate New York, northern and eastern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois -- had been swept by a new form of Protestantism. This was a fanatical and emotional neo-Puritanism driven by a fervent "postmillenialism" which held that as a precondition for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, man must set up a thousand-year Kingdom of God on Earth.

The Kingdom is to be a perfect society. In order to be perfect, of course, this Kingdom must be free of sin; sin, therefore, must be stamped out, and as quickly as possible. Moreover, if you didn't try your darndest to stamp out sin by force you yourself would not be saved. It was very clear to these neo-Puritans that in order to stamp out sin, government, in the service of the saints, is the essential coercive instrument to perform this purgative task. As historians
have summed up the views of all the most prominent of these millennialists, "government is God's major instrument of salvation."

Sin was very broadly defined by the Yankee neo-Puritans as anything which might interfere with a person's free will to embrace salvation, anything which, in the words of the old Shadow radio serial, could "cloud men's minds." The particular cloud-forming occasions of sin, for these millennialists, were liquor ("demon rum"), any activity on the Sabbath except reading the Bible and going to Church, slavery, and the Roman Catholic Church.

If anti-slavery, prohibitionism, and anti-Catholicism were grounded in fanatical post-millennial Protestantism, the paternalistic big government required for this social program on the state and local levels led logically to a big government paternalism in national economic affairs. Whereas the Democratic Party in the 19th century was known as the "party of personal liberty," of states' rights, of minimal government, of free markets and free trade, the Republican Party was known as the "party of great moral ideas," which amounted to the stamping-out of sin. On the economic level, the Republicans adopted the Whig program of statism and big government: protective tariffs, subsidies to big business, strong central government, large-scale public works, and cheap credit spurred by government.

The Northern war against slavery partook of fanatical millennialist fervor, of a cheerful willingness to uproot institutions, to commit mayhem and mass murder, to plunder and loot and destroy, all in the name of high moral principle and the birth of a perfect world. The Yankee fanatics were veritable Patersonian humanitarians with the guillotine: the Anabaptists, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of their era. This fanatical spirit of Northern aggression for an allegedly redeeming cause is summed up in the pseudo-Biblical and truly blasphemous verses of that quintessential Yankee Julia Ward Howe, in her so-called "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Modern left-liberal historians of course put this case in a slightly different way. Take for example, the eminent abolitionist historian of the Civil War James McPherson. Here's the way McPherson revealingly puts it: "Negative liberty [he means "liberty"] was the dominant theme in early American history -- freedom from constraints on individual rights imposed by a powerful state." "The Bill of Rights," McPherson goes on, "is the classic expression of negative liberty, or Jeffersonian humanistic liberalism. These first ten amendments to the Constitution protect individual liberties by placing a straitjacket of u2018shall not' on the federal government." "In 1861," McPherson continues, "Southern states invoked the negative liberties of state sovereignty and individual rights of property [i.e., slaves] to break up the United States."

What was McPherson's hero Abraham Lincoln's response? Lincoln, he writes, "thereby gained an opportunity to invoke the positive liberty [he means "statist tyranny"] of reform liberalism, exercised through the power of the army and the state, to overthrow the negative liberties of disunion and ownership of slaves." Another New Model Army at work! McPherson calls for a "blend" of positive and negative liberties, but as we have seen, any such "blend" is nonsense, for statism and liberty are always at odds. The more that "reform liberalism" "empowers" one set of people, the less "negative liberty" there is for everyone else. It should be mentioned that the southern United States was the only place in the 19th century where slavery was abolished by fire and by "terrible swift sword." In every other part of the New World, slavery was peacefully bought out by agreement with the slaveholders. But in these other countries, in the West Indies or Brazil, for example, there were no Puritan millennialists to do their bloody work, armed with gun in one hand and hymn book in the other.

In the Republican Party, the "party of great moral ideas," different men and different factions emphasized different aspects of this integrated despotic world-outlook. In the fateful Republican convention of 1860, the major candidates for president were two veteran abolitionists: William Seward, of New York, and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio. Seward, however, was distrusted by the anti-Catholic hotheads because he somehow did not care about the alleged Catholic menace; on the other hand, while Chase was happy to play along with the former Know-Nothings, who stressed the anti-Catholic pant of the coalition, he was distrusted by Sewardites and others who were indifferent to the Catholic question. Abraham Lincoln of Illinois was a dark horse who was able to successfully finesse the Catholic question. His major emphasis was on Whig economic statism: high tariffs, huge subsidies to railroads, public works. As one of the nation's leading lawyers for Illinois Central and other big railroads, indeed, Lincoln was virtually the candidate from Illinois Central and the other large railroads.

One reason for Lincoln's victory at the convention was that Iowa railroad entrepreneur Grenville M. Dodge helped swing the Iowa delegation to Lincoln. In return, early in the Civil War, Lincoln appointed Dodge to army general. Dodge's task was to clear the Indians from the designated path of the country's first heavily subsidized federally chartered trans-continental railroad, the Union Pacific. In this way, conscripted Union troops and hapless taxpayers were coerced
into socializing the costs on constructing and operating the Union Pacific. This sort of action is now called euphemistically "the cooperation of government and industry."

But Lincoln's major focus was on raising taxes, in particular raising and enforcing the tariff. His convention victory was particularly made possible by support from the Pennsylvania delegation. Pennsylvania had long been the home and the political focus of the nation's iron and steel industry which, ever since its inception during the War of 1812, had been chronically inefficient, and had therefore constantly been bawling for high tariffs and, later, import quotas. Virtually the first act of the Lincoln administration was to pass the Morrill protective tariff act, doubling existing tariff rates, and creating the highest tariff rates in American history.

In his First Inaugural, Lincoln was conciliatory about maintaining slavery; what he was hard-line about toward the South was insistence on collecting all the customs tariffs in that region. As Lincoln put it, the federal government would "collect the duties and imposts, but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against . . . people anywhere." The significance of the federal forts is that they provided the soldiers to enforce the customs tariffs; thus, Fort Sumter was at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, the major port, apart from New Orleans, in the entire South. The federal troops at Sumter were needed to enforce the tariffs that were supposed to be levied at Charleston Harbor.

Of course, Abraham Lincoln's conciliatory words on slavery cannot be taken at face value. Lincoln was a master politician, which means that he was a consummate conniver, manipulator, and liar. The federal forts were the key to his successful prosecution of the war. Lying to South Carolina, Abraham Lincoln managed to do what Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Stimson did at Pearl Harbor 80 years later -- maneuvered the Southerners into firing the first shot. In this way, by manipulating the South into firing first against a federal fort, Lincoln made the South appear to be "aggressors" in the eyes of the numerous waverers and moderates in the North.

Outside of New England and territories populated by transplanted New Englanders, the idea of forcing the South to stay in the Union was highly unpopular. In many middle-tier states, including Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, there was a considerable sentiment to mimic the South by forming a middle Confederacy to isolate the pesky and fanatical Yankees. Even after the war began, the Mayor of New York City and many other dignitaries of the city proposed that the city secede from the Union and make peace and engage in free trade with the South. Indeed, Jefferson Davis's lawyer after the war was what we would now call the "paleo-libertarian" leader of the New York City bar, Irish-Catholic Charles O'Conor, who ran for President in 1878 on the Straight Democrat ticket, in protest that his beloved Democratic Party's nominee for President was the abolitionist, protectionist, socialist, and fool Horace Greeley.

The Lincoln Administration and the Republican Party took advantage of the overwhelmingly Republican Congress after the secession of the South to push through almost the entire Whig economic program. Lincoln signed no less than ten tariff-raising bills during his administration. Heavy "sin" taxes were levied on alcohol and tobacco, the income tax was levied for the first time in American history, huge land grants and monetary subsidies were handed out to transcontinental railroads (accompanied by a vast amount of attendant corruption), and the government went off the gold standard and virtually nationalized the banking system to establish a machine for printing new money and to provide cheap credit for the business elite. And furthermore, the New Model Army and the war effort rested on a vast and unprecedented amount of federal coercion against Northerners as well as the South; a huge army was conscripted, dissenters and advocates of a negotiated peace with the South were jailed, and the precious Anglo-Saxon right of habeas corpus was abolished for the duration.

While it is true that Lincoln himself was not particularly religious, that did not really matter because he adopted all the attitudes and temperament of his evangelical allies. He was stern and sober, he was personally opposed to alcohol and tobacco, and he was opposed to the private carrying of guns. An ambitious seeker of the main chance from early adulthood, Lincoln acted viciously toward his own humble frontier family in Kentucky. He abandoned his fiance in order to marry a wealthier Mary Todd, whose family were friends of the eminent Henry Clay, he repudiated his brother, and he refused to attend his dying father or his father's funeral, monstrously declaring that such an experience "would be more painful than pleasant." No doubt!

Lincoln, too, was a typical example of a humanitarian with the guillotine in another dimension: a familiar modern "reform liberal" type whose heart bleeds for and yearns to "uplift" remote mankind, while he lies to and treats abominably actual people whom he knew. And so Abraham Lincoln, in a phrase prefiguring our own beloved Mario Cuomo, declared that the Union was really "a family, bound indissolubly together by the most intimate organic bonds." Kick your own family, and then transmute familial spiritual feelings toward a hypostatized and mythical entity, "The Union," which then must be kept intact regardless of concrete human cost or sacrifice.

Indeed, there is a vital critical difference between the two unjust causes we have described: the British and the North. The British, at least, were fighting on behalf of a cause which, even if wrong and unjust, was coherent and intelligible: that is, the sovereignty of a hereditary monarch. What was the North's excuse for their monstrous war of plunder and mass murder against their fellow Americans? Not allegiance to an actual, real person, the king, but allegiance to a non-existent, mystical, quasi-divine alleged entity, "the Union." The King was at least a real person, and the merits or demerits of a particular king or the monarchy in general can be argued. But where is "the Union" located? How are we to gauge the Union's deeds? To whom is this Union accountable?

The Union was taken, by its Northern worshipers, from a contractual institution that can either be cleaved to or scrapped, and turned into a divinized entity, which must be worshipped, and which must be permanent, unquestioned, all-powerful. There is no heresy greater, nor political theory more pernicious, than sacralizing the secular. But this monstrous process is precisely what happened when Abraham Lincoln and his northern colleagues made a god out of the Union. If the British forces fought for bad King George, the Union armies pillaged and murdered on behalf of this pagan idol, this "Union," this Moloch that demanded terrible human sacrifice to sustain its power and its glory.

For in this War Between the States, the South may have fought for its sacred honor, but the Northern war was the very opposite of honorable. We remember the care with which the civilized nations had developed classical international law. Above all, civilians must not be targeted; wars must be limited. But the North insisted on creating a conscript army, a nation in arms, and broke the 19th-century rules of war by specifically plundering and slaughtering civilians, by destroying civilian life and institutions so as to reduce the South to submission. Sherman's infamous March through Georgia was one of the great war crimes, and crimes against humanity, of the past century-and-a-half. Because by targeting and butchering civilians, Lincoln and Grant and Sherman paved the way for all the genocidal honors of the monstrous 20th century. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about memory, about never forgetting about history as retroactive punishment for crimes of war and mass murder. As Lord Acton, the great libertarian historian, put it, the historian, in the last analysis, must be a moral judge. The muse of the historian, he wrote, is not Clio, but Rhadamanthus, the legendary avenger of innocent blood. In that spirit, we must always remember, we must never forget, we must put in the dock and hang higher than Haman, those who, in modern times, opened the Pandora's Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians: Sherman, Grant, and Lincoln.

Perhaps, some day, their statues, like Lenin's in Russia, will be toppled and melted down; their insignias and battle flags will be desecrated, their war songs tossed into the fire. And then Davis and Lee and Jackson and Forrest, and all the heroes of the South, "Dixie" and the Stars and Bars, will once again be truly honored and remembered. The classic comment on that meretricious TV series The Civil War was made by that marvelous and feisty Southern writer Florence King. Asked her views on the series, she replied: "I didn't have time to watch The Civil War. I'm too busy getting ready for the next one." In that spirit, I am sure that one day, aided and abetted by Northerners like myself in the glorious "copperhead" tradition, the South shall rise again.

Thomas Fleming Agrees With Murray Rothbard on the Cause of the Civil War

Thomas Fleming Agrees With Murray Rothbard on the Cause of the Civil War
Thomas DiLorenzoon July 7, 2013

In his new book entitled A Disease of the Public Mind the renowned historian Thomas Fleming discusses the main cause of the American "Civil War" in the same way that Clyde Wilson, Murray Rothbard, Donald Livingston, and others have been describing it for many years.  These latter authors have been dismissed and smeared as "Neo-Confederates" by the self-appointed gatekeepers of ALL THAT IS HISTORICALLY TRUE.  The gatekeepers will not be able to libel Thomas Fleming in that way.

It was the "abolitonists" of the North who rejected peaceful emancipation in the Southern states despite the fact that that is how slavery was ended in THEIR states, and in all other countries of the world where slavery existed in the nineteenth century, writes Thomas Fleming.  It was not stubborn and evil Southern plantation owners, as the Official History contends (always without a single quotation or any evidence).  "The best people of the North showered praise on a fanatic [John Brown, who had already murdered women and children in Kansas] who believed that 'without the emission of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin.'"  Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poetic voice of New England, announced that, compared to John Brown, Jesus Christ was a "dead factor," writes Fleming.  The governor of Massachusetts was just as crazed, declaring that the South "must be conquered" even if "it costs a million lives."  These fanatics who had rejected Jesus Christ in favor of an insane mass murderer of women and children believed that THEY could not go to heaven unless Southerners were first mass murdered to atone for THEIR sins.  It had nothing to do with sympathy for the slaves.


Did Abolitionist Hatred of the South Cause the Civil War?
A Conversation with Thomas Fleming, historian and author of A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.
by David Forsmark

Thomas Fleming is known for his provocative, politically incorrect, and very accessible histories that challenge many of the clich├ęs of current American history books.  Fleming is a revisionist in the best conservative sense of the word.  His challenges to accepted wisdom are not with an agenda, but with a relentless hunger for the truth and a passion to present the past as it really was, along with capturing the attitudes and culture of the times.

In The New Dealers' War Fleming exposed how the radical Left in FDR's administration almost crippled the war effort with their utopian socialist experimentation, and how Harry Truman led reform efforts in the Senate that kept production in key materials from collapse.

In The Illusion of Victory, Fleming showed that while liberal academics may rate Woodrow Wilson highly, that he may have been the most spectacularly failed President in history.  100,000 American lives were sacrificed to favor one colonial monarchy over another, all so Wilson could have a seat at the peace table and negotiate The League of Nations.  Instead, the result of WWI was Nazism and Communism killing millions for the rest of the century.

Fleming's new book A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War , exposes how inflammatory Abolitionist rhetoric and propaganda were a major cause of the Civil War.  Every other civilized nation outlawed slavery, despite economic and financial incentives, without killing a major part of its own population to do so.

While reading the book, I imagined if the pro-life movement was actually dominated by spokesmen who advocated killing abortionists.

Fleming is also a novelist, the mega-best-selling author of Officers' Wives and Liberty Tavern, among many others.  My personal favorite is the all too convincing alternate history novel, The Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee which also explores the hatred of the Radical Republicans for all things Southern.

He is best known for his numerous books on the American Revolution, including the gigantic-selling coffee table book, Liberty!, which was the basis for the PBS series.  Fleming is a leader in the movement to restore the reputation of the Founders -- especially George Washington -- in the public square.

Fleming is a recent past President of the Society of American Historians. Recently we sat down for an interview about A Disease in the Public Mind, perhaps his most provocative book yet.

FORSMARK:  Slavery was basically ended in the Western World in the 19th Century.  It was a worldwide practice and there were vested interests involved everywhere. Why was the United States the only country in the world that fought a civil war to end slavery?

That's the question that made me write this book. All the countries of South America, even Brazil, which had three million slaves -- almost as many as America's four million -- ended the evil institution peacefully. The British freed almost a million slaves in the West Indies without bloodshed. Revolutionary France ended slavery in their colonies with a decree from Paris.

FORSMARK:  So why did the United States have to do in in a way that killed a million young men?

Because both North and South suffered from diseases in the public mind. I came upon the phrase while writing an article about John Brown's 1859 raid on  Harpers Ferry, Virginia. At that point, most of my history books had been about the era of the American Revolution. Brown was new historical territory for me.  I was startled to discover that this greybearded 59 year old planned to take command of an army of slaves equipped with the 100,000 rifles in the federal arsenal at "the Ferry," as the  town was called. In Brown's luggage were carefully drawn maps identifying the counties of the South where blacks outnumbered whites. These were his targets.

Equally surprising was the discovery that "Captain Brown," as he called himself, was defeated  and captured by U.S. Marines led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, the most famous soldier in the American Army of that time.  At Brown's headquarters in nearby Maryland,  Lee  found letters that revealed  six wealthy northerners had armed Brown and his men  with the Sharps rifles that killed innocent citizens in Harpers Ferry, including the town's mayor and a free black man.

Brown's subsequent trial and execution stirred violent emotions, North and South.  President James Buchanan blamed the uproar on "a disease in the public mind." I could not get that phrase out of my head. What did it mean?

FORSMARK:  What did you find?

The term "public mind" described something much less fluctuating than public opinion. That can change as swiftly as the weather. The public mind involved fixed beliefs that were fundamental to the way people saw the world of their time. A disease in the public mind was -- and is -- a twisted interpretation of political or economic or spiritual realities that seizes control of thousands and even millions of people.

FORSMARK:   Can you give us another example of public hysteria?

  Americans first experienced one of these episodes in 1692, when the leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony became convinced that witches were threatening their society with evil powers. Over two hundred people were arrested and flung into fetid jails. Twenty one were hanged. One 71 year old man was "pressed to death" beneath heavy stones.

No one has described this frenzy better than the great New England novelist, Nathanael Hawthorne. "That terrible delusion…should teach us, among its other morals, that the influential classes… are fully liable to all the passionate error that has ever characterized the maddest mob. Clergymen, judges, statesmen – the wisest, calmest, holiest persons of their day, stood in the inner circle roundabout the gallows, loudest to acclaim the work of blood, latest to confess themselves miserably deceived."

FORSMARK: How did John Brown's raid have a similar impact?

The best people of the North showered praise on a fanatic who believed that "without the emission of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin." In Kansas a few years earlier, Brown had murdered six unarmed southerners before the horrified eyes of their wives and children, and ordered his sons to hack up their bodies with swords.

After Brown's execution, America's best-known writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, declared him the equal of Jesus Christ. Another Massachusetts man told Emerson that compared to John Brown, Christ was  a  "dead failure." He had ignored three decades of  northern prayers begging him to end slavery. John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, declared the South  had to be conquered, "though it cost a million lives."

FORSMARK: Is there anyone who could have defused these violent emotions? Why didn't America find a leader like England's William Wilberforce, who persuaded Parliament to free Britain's slaves peacefully?

There was one man who might have exerted that kind of leadership– Ex-President John Quincy Adams. After Andrew Jackson defeated his bid for a second term in 1828, Adams won election to Congress. There he clashed with southerners, who attempted to impose a "gag rule" that barred petitions to abolish slavery. At first Adams objected on Constitutional grounds. But he gradually succumbed to the acrimony these petitions stirred in the southern public mind. He abandoned the moderation that had made him a defender of southern presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. He failed to see that southern rage was rooted in another disease in the public mind – fear of a race war.  Soon he was sneering on the floor of Congress that mulattoes had a tendency to resemble their owners ­ and submitting  petitions from New Englanders calling on Congress to work out 'measures peaceably to dissolve the union of these states.'

FORSMARK:  Who was Theodore Dwight Weld? His book attacking southern slavery is still an important source of information.  Why did he abruptly abandon the crusade to abolish human bondage in America?

Weld was -- and still is -- an important figure in the study of the causes of the Civil War. Born in Connecticut, he became a fiery critic of the South and slavery who converted tens of thousands of Midwesterners to the abolitionist cause.  But in the early 1840s, he asked himself how he, a professed Christian, could preach hatred of southerners for owning slaves. He thus bore witness to the fatal flaw in the abolitionist crusade – and chose silence as a kind of penance.   

FORSMARK:  Tom, in modern history books, or in popular culture, the Abolitionist movement is portrayed with nearly a halo around it.  Obviously, their stated cause was just.  But you expose a dark side to the movement that very few ­ other than overt Confederate apologists ­ have even touched on.  It even caused Theodore Weld, one of its most important advocates, to leave the movement.  In your novel, The Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee, you touch on the hatred of the South by the Radical Republicans and other New Englanders.  Were you surprised by the level of venom when you researched this book?

There are fashions in history. For the first half of the 20th Century, the abolitionists were recognized as one of the prime causes of the Civil War. Their current popularity is the result of the civil rights movement, which  ignored their dark side. I was amazed -- and distressed -- when I encountered the virulence of their hatred. By the time the 1850s began, they preached a paranoid detestation of "The Slave Power."  They compared the South to Anti-Christ. Others said it was the apocalyptic dragon of the Book of Reveleations, rising to strangle freedom in the North  as it had extinguished it in the South.  Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts summed up this fanaticism in a single sentence. "Are you for freedom or slavery?" he shouted to a Boston audience. "Are you for God or the devil?"

FORSMARK:  Some of the Abolitionists openly expressed contempt for the blacks their crusade was supposed to be designed to help.  Was slavery really the whole story in the full out hatred of the South, or was something else at work in a particular corner of the Yankee mind?

:  Here we get into the peculiarities of the New England mind. They had a natural tendency to look down on the rest of the country. They saw themselves as the real founders, and were infuriated that the leadership had passed to Jefferson and other southern president. Jefferson's embargo, which was an economic disaster for New England, was the trigger that made them see the South as enemies. Then they focused on the South's moral flaw ­ the continuance ­ and the growth ­ of slavery, and the two arguments fused into Abolitionism, a creed proclaimed in their souls by God.

In Britain, one of the ways the situation was diffused was to compensate the slaveholders.  Reasonable voices -- Abraham Lincoln for example -- proposed that here, but the Abolitionists in Congress never backed his bill.  The abolitionists' goal was not persuasion of southerners. It was to shame them into submission, confess their guilt and free the slaves. It was  essentially a fanatical religious crusade.

FORSMARK: What about this disease as far as the South's public mind goes?

: I call it Thomas Jefferson's Nightmare. It has its roots in an appalling mistake Jefferson made when he became president in1801.  He approved and supported a French invasion of Santo Domingo. They wanted to regain control of their half of the island, which we now call Haiti.  Everything went wrong. The French army collapsed from yellow fever after a year and a half of bloody warfare. The victorious Hatiian army killed every French man, woman and child on their part of the island. A shaken Jefferson persuaded Congress to withdraw all political contact with Haiti. But this fear of a race war permeated the Southern public mind. When the news of John Brown and his northern backers swirled through the South's newspapers, many of their spokesmen said: "They want to make another Santo Domingo of us." More than fifty years later, the memory of the slaughter on Haiti still haunted them. When Lincoln was elected on an anti-slavery ticket, it was not difficult to persuade the seven states of the Deep South to secede.

FORSMARK: Were there other factors that deepened paranoia about a race war?

One of the things that deepened it was Nat Turner's revolt in 1831. He was a part time preacher who convinced his followers God wanted them to imitate Santo Domingo and kill every white person they met on their rampage. After that outbreak, on almost every main road in the South, armed men on horseback patrolled the roads every night, challenging every black man they met. If they could not produce a note from a master explaining why they were travelling, the patrollers were authorized to give them several dozen lashes. Even more disturbing was the news that John Brown had maps, identifying all the counties in the south where blacks outnumbered whites. There were many of them. Southerners feared there were tipping points in these numbers that would encourage slaves to revolt.  Brown was planning to head for these counties, hoping it would be easier to persuade these slaves to revolt­and he was cheered on by far too many prominent voices in the North.

FORSMARK: The attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor on April 11, 1861, marks the moment when the Civil War began in earnest. President Lincoln called for an army of 75,000 men to suppress a rebellion. Was that when America passed the point of no return?

No. That came a few days later, on April 17, 1861, when President Lincoln offered command of the Union Army that he had summoned to Colonel Robert E. Lee of Virginia.  This is the climax of my book. It one of the most important  ­ and least known – turning points in American history.

FORSMARK: Why do you say that?

Virginia had not seceded. Nor had her satellite state, North Carolina. Winfield Scott, the commander of the U.S. Army, who had seen Lee in action in the Mexican War, was in complete agreement with the president's offer. He  said Lee was worth 50,000 men.

Like other southern states, Virginia had summoned a convention to decide whether to secede. Many people felt that their decision depended on what Colonel Lee would do. He had curtly rejected an earlier offer to join the rebellion. No one can deny the potentially huge impact of Lee's response to the president's offer.

In the most agonizing decision of his life, Robert E. Lee said no. The abolitionist campaign of slander and insult against Southern white men -- and his discovery of John Brown's six secret backers -- had ravaged his loyalty to the Union. He did not see how he could command an army full of men who hated southerners.

After two more tormented days and nights, Colonel Lee resigned from the U.S. Army. Virginia soon seceded and he became commander of her forces. His battle plan won the South's crucial victory at Bull Run. The war began its harvest of death on both sides.

Re: Thomas Fleming Agrees With Murray Rothbard on the Cause of the Civil War

The Yankee Problem In American History
by Clyde Wilson
April 24, 2003

It is true that we are completely under the saddle of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and that they ride us very hard, cruelly insulting our feelings, as well as exhausting our strength and substance. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1798

[S]eeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose, than to see our bickerings transferred to others. They are circumscribed within such narrow limits, and their population so full, their numbers will ever be the minority, and they are marked, like the Jews, with such a perversity of character, as to constitute, from that circumstance, the natural division of our parties. -- Thomas Jefferson, just before his election as President

Slaveholders are the scapegoats for the failures of northern society. Slavery has served as a vent for fanaticism, communism, and morbid sentimentality, which, without this safety valve, would have long since resulted in a social explosion. -- Preston Brooks, 1854

There is at work in this land a Yankee spirit and an American spirit. -- James H. Thornwell, 1859
Since the 2000 presidential election, much attention has been paid to a map showing the sharp geographical division between the two candidates' support. Gore prevailed in the power -- and plunder -- seeking Deep North (Northeast, Upper Midwest, Pacific Coast) and Bush in the regions inhabited by productive and decent Americans. There is nothing new about this. Historically speaking, it is just one more manifestation of the Yankee problem.

As indicated by these books, scholars are at last starting to pay some attention to one of the most important and most neglected subjects in United States history -- the Yankee problem.

By Yankee I do not mean everybody from north of the Potomac and Ohio. Lots of them have always been good folks. I am using the term historically to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, and lack of congeniality, for ordering other people around. Puritans long ago abandoned anything that might be good in their religion but have never given up the notion that they are the chosen saints whose mission is to make America, and the world, into the perfection of their own image.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, raised a Northern Methodist in Chicago, is a museum-quality specimen of the Yankee -- self-righteous, ruthless, and self-aggrandizing. Northern Methodism and Chicago were both, in their formative periods, hotbeds of abolitionist, high tariff Black Republicanism. The Yankee temperament, it should be noted, makes a neat fit with the Stalinism that was brought into the Deep North by later immigrants.

The ethnic division between Yankees and other Americans goes back to earliest colonial times. Up until the War for Southern Independence, Southerners were considered to be the "peculiar" people. Because of a long campaign of cultural imperialism and the successful military imperialism engineered by the Yankees, the South, since the war, has been considered the problem, the deviation from the true American norm. Historians have made an industry of explaining why the South is different (and evil, for that which defies the "American" as now established, is by definition evil). Is the South different because of slavery? white supremacy? the climate? pellagra? illiteracy? poverty? guilt? defeat? Celtic wildness rather than Anglo-Saxon sobriety?

Unnoticed in all this literature was a hidden assumption: the North is normal, the standard of all things American and good. Anything that does not conform is a problem to be explained and a condition to be annihilated. What is that hidden assumption? Should not historians be interested in understanding how the North got to be the way it is? Indeed, is there any question in American history more important?

According to standard accounts of American history (i.e., Northern mythology), New Englanders fought the Revolution and founded glorious American freedom as had been planned by the "Puritan Fathers." Southerners, who had always been of questionable character, because of their fanatic devotion to slavery, wickedly rebelled against government of, by, and for the people, were put down by the armies of the Lord, and should be ever grateful for not having been exterminated. (This is clearly the view of the anonymous Union Leaguer from Portland, Maine, who recently sent me a chamber pot labeled "Robert E. Lee's soup tureen.") And out of their benevolence and devotion to the ideal of freedom, the North struck the chains from the suffering black people. (They should be forever grateful, also. Take a look at the Boston statue with happy blacks adoring the feet of Col. Robert Gould Shaw.)

Aside from the fact that every generalization in this standard history is false, an obvious defect in it is that, for anyone familiar with American history before the War, it is clear that "Southern" was American and Yankees were the problem. America was Washington and Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase and the Battle of New Orleans, John Randolph and Henry Clay, Daniel Morgan, Daniel Boone, and Francis Marion. Southerners had made the Constitution, saved it under Jefferson from the Yankees, fought the wars, acquired the territory, and settled the West, including the Northwest. To most Americans, in Pennsylvania and Indiana as well as Virginia and Georgia, this was a basic view up until about 1850. New England had been a threat, a nuisance, and a negative force in the progress of America. Northerners, including some patriotic New Englanders, believed this as much as Southerners.

When Washington Irving, whose family were among the early Anglo-Dutch settlers of New York, wrote the story about the "Headless Horseman," he was ridiculing Yankees. The prig Ichabod Crane had come over from Connecticut and made himself a nuisance. So a young man (New York young men were then normal young men rather than Yankees) played a trick on him and sent him fleeing back to Yankeeland where he belonged. James Fenimore Cooper, of another early New York family, felt the same way about New Englanders who appear unfavorably in his writings. Yet another New York writer, James Kirk Paulding (among many others) wrote a book defending the South and attacking abolitionists. It is not unreasonable to conclude that in Moby Dick, the New York Democrat Herman Melville modeled the fanatical Captain Ahab on the Yankee abolitionist. In fact, the term "Yankee" appears to originate in some mingling of Dutch and Indian words, to designate New Englanders. Obviously, both the Dutch New Yorkers and the Native Americans recognized them as "different."

Young Abe Lincoln amused his neighbors in southern Indiana and Illinois, nearly all of whom, like his own family, had come from the South, with "Yankee jokes," stories making fun of dishonest peddlers from New England. They were the most popular stories in his repertoire, except for the dirty ones.

Right into the war, Northerners opposed to the conquest of the South blamed the conflict on fanatical New Englanders out for power and plunder, not on the good Americans in the South who had been provoked beyond bearing.

Many people, and not only in the South, thought that Southerners, according to their nature, had been loyal to the Union, had served it, fought and sacrificed for it as long as they could. New Englanders, according to their nature, had always been grasping for themselves while proclaiming their righteousness and superiority.

The Yankees succeeded so well, by the long cultural war described in these volumes, and by the North's military victory, that there was no longer a Yankee problem. Now the Yankee was America and the South was the problem. America, the Yankee version, was all that was normal and right and good. Southerners understood who had won the war (not Northerners, though they had shed a lot of blood, but the accursed Yankees.) With some justification they began to regard all Northerners as Yankees, even the hordes of foreigners who had been hired to wear the blue.

Here is something closer to a real history of the United States: American freedom was not a legacy of the "Puritan Fathers," but of Virginians who proclaimed and spread constitutional rights. New England gets some credit for beginning the War of Independence. After the first few years, however, Yankees played little part. The war was fought and won in the South. Besides, New Englanders had good reasons for independence -- they did not fit into the British Empire economically, since one of their main industries was smuggling, and the influential Puritan clergy hated the Church of England. Southerners, in fighting for independence, were actually going against their economic interests for the sake of principle.

Once Southerners had gone into the Union (which a number of wise statesmen like Patrick Henry and George Mason warned them against), the Yankees began to show how they regarded the new federal government: as an instrument to be used for their own purposes. Southerners long continued to view this as a vehicle for mutual cooperation, as they often naively still do.

In the first Congress, Yankees demanded that the federal government continue the British subsidies to their fishing fleets. While Virginia and the other Southern states gave up their vast western lands for future new states, New Englanders demanded a special preserve for themselves (the "Western Reserve" in Ohio).

Under John Adams, the New England quest for power grew into a frenzy. They passed the Sedition Law to punish anti-government words (as long as they controlled the government) in clear violation of the Constitution. During the election of 1800 the preachers in New England told their congregations that Thomas Jefferson was a French Jacobin who would set up the guillotine in their town squares and declare women common property. (What else could be expected from a dissolute slaveholder?) In fact, Jefferson's well-known distaste for mixing of church and state rested largely on his dislike of the power of the New England self-appointed saints.

When Jeffersonians took power, the New Englanders fought them with all their diminishing strength. Their poet William Cullen Bryant regarded the Louisiana Purchase as nothing but a large swamp for Jefferson to pursue his atheistic penchant for science.

The War of 1812, the Second War of Independence, was decisive for the seemingly permanent discrediting of New England. The Yankee ruling class opposed the war even though it was begun by Southerners on behalf of oppressed American seamen, most of whom were New Englanders. Yankees did not care about their oppressed poorer citizens because they were making big bucks smuggling into wartime Europe. One New England congressman attacked young patriot John C. Calhoun as a backwoodsman who had never seen a sail and who was unqualified to deal with foreign policy.

During the war Yankees traded with the enemy and talked openly of secession. (Southerners never spoke of secession in time of war.) Massachusetts refused to have its militia called into constitutional federal service even after invasion, and then, notoriously for years after, demanded that the federal government pay its militia expenses.

Historians have endlessly repeated that the "Era of Good Feelings" under President Monroe refers to the absence of party strife. Actually, the term was first used to describe the state of affairs in which New England traitorousness had declined to the point that a Virginia president could visit Boston without being mobbed.

Yankee political arrogance was soulmate to Yankee cultural arrogance. Throughout the antebellum period, New England literature was characterized and promoted as the American literature, and non-Yankee writers, in many cases much more talented and original, were ignored or slandered. Edgar Allan Poe had great fun ridiculing the literary pretensions of New England, but they largely succeeded in dominating the idea of American literature into the 20th century. Generations of Americans have been cured of reading forever by being forced to digest dreary third-string New England poets as "American literature."

In 1789, a Connecticut Puritan preacher named Jedidiah Morse published the first book of American Geography. The trouble was, it was not an American geography but a Yankee geography. Most of the book was taken up with describing the virtues of New England. Once you got west of the Hudson River, as Morse saw it and conveyed to the world's reading public, the U.S. was a benighted land inhabited by lazy, dirty Scotch-Irish and Germans in the Middle States and lazy, morally depraved Southerners, corrupted and enervated by slavery. New Englanders were pure Anglo-Saxons with all virtues. The rest of the Americans were questionable people of lower or mongrel ancestry. The theme of New Englanders as pure Anglo-Saxons continued right down through the 20th century. The alleged saints of American equality operated on a theory of their racial superiority. While Catholics and Jews were, in the South, accepted and as loyal Southerners, Yankees burned down convents and banished Jews from the Union Army lines.

A few years after Morse, Noah Webster, also from Connecticut, published his American Dictionary and American spelling book. The trouble was, it was not an American dictionary but a New England dictionary. As Webster declared in his preface, New Englanders spoke and spelled the purest and best form of English of any people in the world. Southerners and others ignored Webster and spelled and pronounced real English until after the War of Southern Independence.

As the books show, Yankees after the War of 1812 were acutely aware of their minority status. And here is the important point: they launched a deliberate campaign to take over control of the idea of "America."

The campaign was multi-faceted. Politically, they gained profits from the protective tariff and federal expenditures, both of which drained money from the South for the benefit of the North, and New England especially. Seeking economic advantage from legislation is nothing new in human history. But the New England greed was marked by its peculiar assumptions of moral superiority. New Englanders, who were selling their products in a market from which competition had been excluded by the tariff, proclaimed that the low price of cotton was due to the fact that Southerners lacked the drive and enterprise of virtuous Yankees! (When the South was actually the productive part of the U.S. economy.)

This transfer of wealth built the strength of the North. It was even more profitable than the slave trade (which New England shippers carried on from Africa to Brazil and Cuba right up to the War Between the States) and the Chinese opium trade (which they were also to break into).

Another phase of the Yankee campaign for what they considered their rightful dominance was the capture of the history of the American Revolution. At a time when decent Americans celebrated the Revolution as the common glory of all, New Englanders were publishing a literature claiming the whole credit for themselves. A scribbler from Maine named Lorenzo Sabine, for one example among many, published a book in which he claimed that the Revolution in the South had been won by New England soldiers because Southerners were traitorous and enervated by slavery. As William Gilmore Simms pointed out, it was all lies. When Daniel Webster was received hospitably in Charleston, he made a speech in which he commemorated the graves of the many heroic Revolutionary soldiers from New England which were to be found in the South. The trouble was, those graves did not exist. Many Southern volunteers had fought in the North, but no soldier from north of Pennsylvania (except a few generals) had ever fought in the South!

George Washington was a bit of a problem here, so the honor-driven, foxhunting Virginia gentleman was transformed by phony folklore into a prim New Englander in character, a false image that has misled and repulsed countless Americans since.

It should be clear, this was not merely misplaced pride. It was a deliberate, systematic effort by the Massachusetts elite to take control of American symbols and disparage all competing claims. Do not be put off by Professor Sheidley's use of "Conservative Leaders" in his title. He means merely the Yankee ruling elite who were never conservatives then or now. Conservatives do not work for "the transformation of America."

Another successful effort was a New England claim on the West. When New Englanders referred to "the West" in antebellum times, they meant the parts of Ohio and adjacent states settled by New Englanders. The rest of the great American West did not count. In fact, the great drama of danger and adventure and achievement that was the American West, from the Appalachian to the Pacific, was predominantly the work of Southerners and not of New Englanders at all. In the Midwest, the New Englanders came after Southerners had tamed the wilderness, and they looked down upon the early settlers. But in Western movies we still have the inevitable family from Boston moving west by covered wagon. Such a thing never existed! The people moving west in covered wagons were from the upper South and were despised by Boston.

So our West is reduced, in literature, to The Oregon Trail, a silly book written by a Boston tourist, and the phony cavortings of the Eastern sissy Teddy Roosevelt in the cattle country opened by Southerners. And the great American outdoors is now symbolized by Henry David Thoreau and a little frog pond at Walden, in sight of the Boston smokestacks. The Pennsylvanian Owen Wister knew better when he entitled his Wyoming novel, The Virginian.

To fully understand what the Yankee is today -- builder of the all-powerful "multicultural" therapeutic state (with himself giving the orders and collecting the rewards) which is the perfection of history and which is to be exported to all peoples, by guided missiles on women and children if necessary -- we need a bit more real history.

That history is philosophical, or rather theological, and demographic. New Englanders lived in a barren land. Some of their surplus sons went to sea. Many others moved west when it was safe to do so. By 1830, half the people in the state of New York were New England-born. By 1850, New Englanders had tipped the political balance in the Midwest, with the help of German revolutionaries and authoritarians who had flooded in after the 1848 revolutions.

The leading editors in New York City, Horace Greeley and William Cullen Bryant, and the big money men, were New England-born. Thaddeus Stevens, the Pennsylvania steel tycoon and Radical Republican, was from Vermont. (Thanks to the tariff, he made $6,000 extra profit on every mile of railroad rails he sold.)

The North had been Yankeeized, for the most part quietly, by control of churches, schools, and other cultural institutions, and by whipping up a frenzy of paranoia about the alleged plot of the South to spread slavery to the North, which was as imaginary as Jefferson's guillotine.

The people that Cooper and Irving had despised as interlopers now controlled New York! The Yankees could now carry a majority in the North and in 1860 elect the first sectional president in U.S. history -- a threat to the South to knuckle under or else. In time, even the despised Irish Catholics began to think like Yankees.

We must also take note of the intellectual revolution amongst the Yankees which created the modern version of self-righteous authoritarian "Liberalism" so well exemplified by Mrs. Clinton. In the 1830s, Ralph Waldo Emerson went to Germany to study. There he learned from philosophers that the world was advancing by dialectical process to an ever-higher state. He returned to Boston, and after marrying the dying daughter of a banker, resigned from the clergy, declared the sacraments to be a remnant of barbarism, and proclaimed The American as the "New Man" who was leaving behind the garbage of the past and blazing the way into the future state of perfection for humanity. Emerson has ever since in many quarters been regarded as the American philosopher, the true interpreter of the meaning of America.

From the point of view of Christianity, this "American" doctrine is heresy. From the point of view of history it is nonsense. But it is powerful enough for Ronald Reagan, who should have known better than to proclaim America as the shining City upon a Hill that was to redeem mankind. And powerful enough that the United States has long pursued a bipartisan foreign policy, one of the guiding assumptions of which is that America is the model of perfection to which all the world should want to conform.

There is no reason for readers of Southern Partisan to rush out and buy these books, which are expensive and dense academic treatises. If you are really interested, get your library to acquire them. They are well-documented studies, responsibly restrained in their drawing of larger conclusions. But they indicate what is hopefully a trend of exploration of the neglected field of Yankee history.

The highflying Yankee rhetoric of Emerson and Hillary Rodham Clinton has a nether side, which has its historical origins in the "Burnt Over District." The "Burnt Over District" was well known to antebellum Americans. Emersonian notions bore strange fruit in the central regions of New York State settled by the overflow of poorer Yankees from New England. It was "Burnt Over" because it (along with a similar area in northern Ohio) was swept over time and again by post-millennial revivalism. Here preachers like Charles G. Finney began to confuse Emerson's future state of perfection with Christianity, and God's plan for humanity with American chosenness.

If this were true, then anything that stood in the way of American perfection must be eradicated. The threatening evil at various times was liquor, tobacco, the Catholic Church, the Masonic order, meat-eating, marriage. Within the small area of the Burnt Over District and within the space of a few decades was generated what historians have misnamed the "Jacksonian reform movement:" Joseph Smith received the "Book of Mormon" from the Angel Moroni; William Miller began the Seventh Day Adventists by predicting, inaccurately, the end of the world; the free love colony of John Humphrey Noyes flourished at Oneida; the first feminist convention was held at Seneca Falls; and John Brown, who was born in Connecticut, collected accomplices and financial backers for his mass murder expeditions.

It was in this milieu that abolitionism, as opposed to the antislavery sentiment shared by many Americans, including Southerners, had its origins. Abolitionism, despite what has been said later, was not based on sympathy for the black people nor on an ideal of natural rights. It was based on the hysterical conviction that Southern slaveholders were evil sinners who stood in the way of fulfillment of America's driving mission to establish Heaven of Earth. It was not the Union that our Southern forefathers seceded from, but the deadly combination of Yankee greed and righteousness.

Most abolitionists had little knowledge of or interest in black people or knowledge of life in the South. Slavery promoted sin and thus must end. No thought was given to what would happen to the African-Americans. In fact, many abolitionists expected that evil Southern whites and blacks would disappear and the land be repopulated by virtuous Yankees.

The darker side of the Yankee mind has had its expression in American history as well as the side of high ideals. Timothy McVeigh from New York and Unabomber from Harvard are, like John Brown, examples of this side of the Yankee problem. (Even though distinguished Yankee intellectuals have declared that their violence was a product of the evil "Southern gun culture.")

General Richard Taylor, in one of the best Confederate memoirs, Destruction and Reconstruction, related what happened as he surrendered the last Confederate troops east of the Mississippi in 1865. A German, wearing the uniform of a Yankee general and speaking in heavily accented English, lectured him that now that the war was over, Southerners would be taught "the true American principles." Taylor replied, sardonically, that he regretted that his grandfather, an officer in the Revolution, and his father, President of the United States, had not passed on to him true American principles. Yankeeism was triumphant.

Since the Confederate surrender, the Yankee has always been a strong and often dominant force in American society, though occasionally tempered by Southerners and other representatives of Western civilization in America. In the 1960s the Yankee had one of his periodic eruptions of mania such as he had in the 1850s. Since then, he has managed to destroy a good part of the liberty and morals of the American peoples. It remains to be seen whether his conquest is permanent or whether in the future we may be, at least to some degree, emancipated from it.

Slanted Talking Heads and Phony “Research” Institutes

Slanted Talking Heads and Phony "Research" Institutes
Michael S. Rozeffon July 7, 2013

Readers of LRC are aware of something that the general public needs to know, which is that there are a great many slanted talking heads on tv shows and a great many slanted institutes in Washington that purport to produce analytical research reports and instead produce biased views.

A recent case is the election of a new president in Iran. The bias is anti-Iran. No matter what occurs in Iran, these talking heads and institutes come up with stories or lines to frame thinking so as to maintain the anti-Iran bias. This is a fundamentally untruthful procedure designed to advance an agenda, which in this case is regime change in Iran, dominating Iran, and dominating the region. The process is extremely dangerous because it heavily influences American public opinion without countervailing voices being heard, and it's aimed at warlike goals and often war itself. In this case, untrue stories are circulated that the president is a powerless figure in Iran. The president is wrongly accused of being a hard-liner. Old stories about centrifuges are recycled. It is falsely said that elections in Iran are no good anyway. Under the cover of being unbiased news and research, the airwaves are flooded with biased stories and opinions. The most shocking part of all this is that elected and unelected officials in Washington live and breathe in this biased atmopshere and say the same kinds of things frequently. They are not just on another page than the rest of us, or in another book, they are in a world of their own in which their false imaginings and statements about Iran come to be what they really believe. This situation is very dangerous and surely not good for the American public.

Statism for Freedom

Statism for Freedom
Bryan Caplan

Libertarians' odd openness to using immigration restrictions to protect American freedom has me thinking.  There are many statist policies that could indirectly lead to more libertarian policy.  If you're open to one, you should logically be open to all.

Here are just a few candidates:

1. Make public schools teach libertarianism.  Sure, public education should be abolished.  But as long as public education exists, wouldn't it be better if the schools taught children about the value of freedom and the wonder of markets?

2. Discourage fertility of less libertarian groups.  If you really think that Muslims or Hispanics are unusually statist, their high birth rates should worry you.  Indeed, any birth rate above zero should worry you.  A moderate step would be to offer members of these groups extra subsidies for birth control.  From there, it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to subsidized sterilization, tax penalties, or a selective One Child Policy.

3. Censor statist ideas.  Sure, Paul Krugman has a right to free speech.  But the rest of us have a right to not be ruled by people swayed by Krugman.  It's childish to deny the trade-off, no?

4. Subsidize vacations for less libertarian groups on election day.  Suppose the government gave members of unlibertarian groups free trips to Cancun that conveniently coincided with election day.  While some of the eligible would file an absentee ballot, there is little doubt that this would heavily depress turnout.  So why not?

My list obviously just scratches the surface.  My point, of course, is not to advocate any of these proposals, but to challenge libertarians who advocate immigration restrictions in the name of human freedom.  Out of all the conceivable forms of statism for freedom, why oh why are immigration restrictions the exception you're swiftest to condone?

Will Obama Follow Richard Nixon As An Asterisk President?

6/30/2013 @ 5:32PM |4,235 views

Will Obama Follow Richard Nixon As An Asterisk President?

Columnists James Taranto and Peggy Noonan  have broken the "asterisk taboo." Taranto (President Asterisk) describes how the mainstream media has circled the wagons to protect Obama from the swirling scandals that threaten the legitimacy of his second term. The media chant in unison: "Barack did not know. It was only low level bureaucrats. Government is too complicated anyway. The Republicans will lose by overplaying their hand."

Peggy Noonan (Where Was the Tea Party?) paints a White House frantic after the 2010 Tea-Party "shellacking," intent on emasculating this toxic small-government crowd. The White House knew then it could count on the mainstream media to discredit the Tea Party as gun-toting, bible-thumping, and anti-abortion misfits, but it needed insurance. Whether ordered from on high or by winks and nods, IRS harassment of conservative groups fit the bill, but it had to be kept secret. Indeed, Tea Party targeting by the IRS began back in March of 2010, as the small-government movement was gaining momentum.

Noonan ventures that a Tea Party, not under attack by the IRS,  but that simply maintained its momentum after 2010, would "have brought the Republican Party as many as 5-8.5 million votes compared to Obama's victory margin of 5 million."

Per Noonan, the mere  disclosure of the IRS harassment would have cost Obama even more votes:

 "Imagine if we–if you can–what would have happened if this fact (IRS harassment of Tea Party groups) came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different."

I agree. Voters understand abuse of power  – especially using the IRS – when they see it. News of IRS harassment would have demolished Obama's carefully cultivated image of moderation and tolerance. Older voters also would remember Nixon's attempt to sic the IRS on political enemies and know that, in those good old days, the IRS refused to play ball, but, sadly,  not today's IRS.

No wonder the IRS targeting of conservative groups had to be concealed at all costs in the months leading up to the election. I can imagine the many sleepless nights worrying about the upcoming Treasury Inspector General's report on IRS abuses and potential whistle-blowers within the IRS. But, of course, the President himself remained totally ignorant of all these things, even though his reelection may have hinged on them, we are assured by the mainstream media, who take the President's non-involvement as a given. After all, CNN's Washington News Bureau itself reported that the President himself labeled conservative targeting as "outrageous." That's all we need to know.

The Obama campaign made it through Election Day, largely because mainstream investigative reporters sat on their hands. Only talk radio "entertainers" and Fox News – known surrogates for the Republican Party, we are told — paid attention to targeted and harassed conservatives. What's even better: Conservatives listened to these outlets and came away too intimidated to donate to their political cause.

Let's add Benghazi to the asterisk presidency saga.

Almost two months before the election, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by a well-armed terrorist group on the evening of September 11. Four Americans including the Ambassador were killed. The last casualties occurred eight or more hours after the attack began. No military assistance was organized.

Despite massive evidence to the contrary, the Obama administration blamed an unorganized mob incited by an obscure video for these American deaths. The President himself peddled the video story in the hallowed halls of the United Nations and in television interviews long after it was known to be false. (This fact seems to have been forgotten. Only Susan Rice's Sunday talk shows are remembered, but she is doing fine as the President's foreign policy adviser).

Rather than demanding answers to the Benghazi disaster – Why was no assistance sent? Why blame an obscure video? Why the Benghazi consulate was not properly protected?  Why can't we talk to the survivors? — the mainstream media eagerly seconded the Obama campaign's accusation that the Republicans were turning a national tragedy into a partisan issue. Shame on them for asking such questions! The party line set in concrete, the media's investigative reporters fell into a stupor of indifference.

Imagine just one renegade reporter from the mainstream media (network television, the New York Times, or Newsweek) reporting just one simple fact, which we know to be true – that the President communicated directly with his top defense and intelligence officials handling the Benghazi crisis only once – at 5 PM – as word of the tragedy was first coming in. (We still do not know the President's whereabouts that fatal night. He was next seen at 10:30 AM the next day in the Rose Garden before jetting off to campaign in Las Vegas).

The renegade reporter's headline — Obama AWOL as American Diplomats Killed in Benghazi – could have dealt a critical blow to the Obama campaign. This pithy but true headline would have changed the complexion of the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate on October 23 and shut off mainstream-media's Candy Crawley's shameful and incorrect interference in the debate on behalf of the President.

American voters would not have taken kindly to White House spinners telling them that the President's whereabouts on the evening of September 11 are "irrelevant" as America's diplomats were being slaughtered in a country, where the President's "leading from behind" had been touted as an outstanding success.

We cannot estimate the millions of votes such disclosures would have cost the Obama candidacy. Voters may not pay attention, but they could not overlook an "AWOL President" in a time of national crisis.

The mainstream media neutralized other game changers throughout the campaign, such as their lack of interest in Justice's "Fast and Furious" gun running, and the Attorney General's contempt of Congress citation. The New York Times delivered the mislabeled Romney op-ed ("Let Detroit Go Bankrupt") on a silver platter to the Obama campaign.  Inappropriate off-the-record comments by Romney (the 47%) went viral in the media. Obama's private gaffes remained taboo. 

Victor Davis Hanson (When untruth undermines democracy) succinctly captures the "end-justifies-the-mans" philosophy of liberals and the mainstream media:

"There is also utopian arrogance in Washington that justifies any means necessary to achieve exalted ends of supposed fairness and egalitarianism. If one has to lie to stop the Tea Party or Fox News, then it is not quite seen by this administration as a lie."

One liberal critic of my Timeline of IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups  dismissed the IRS scandal as illogical: "This whole scandal is so dumb. The risks far outweigh the rewards from Obama's standpoint. The risk of discoverability is astronomically high, and the payoff was minuscule from what I read."

That is exactly my point in reverse: The "reward" from concealing the IRS and Benghazi scandals may have been Obama's second term. Recall that he would be the first President in a half century to be reelected with such a miserable economy. The risk was not astronomically high, but small, because the campaign knew they could count on the mainstream media – firmly in their corner – to cover for them.



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