Abe Lenin's 200th Birthday

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 12 Feb 2009 11:12:00 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

L. Neil Smith coined the name "Abe Lenin" for America's sixteenth president. Today is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, on February 12, 1809. Jim Bovard commemerated this day last week with his essay Happy 200th Birthday Abe the Dictator. That was the source of the Spooner Quote I posted on Sunday. Thomas DiLorenzo reviews William Marvel's Lincoln Goes to War in his LewRockwell.com essay, A 'Lincoln Scholar' Comes Clean.

Today is also Darwin's 200th birthday.

From Neil's classic essay:

But if -- and this usually seems a bit more difficult to most people -- you'd like to know whether an individual is a libertarian or a conservative, ask about Abraham Lincoln.


In the end, Lincoln didn't unite this country -- that can't be done by force -- he divided it along lines of an unspeakably ugly hatred and resentment that continue to exist almost a century and a half after they were drawn. If Lincoln could have been put on trial in Nuremburg for war crimes, he'd have received the same sentence as the highest-ranking Nazis.

If libertarians ran things, they'd melt all the Lincoln pennies, shred all the Lincoln fives, take a wrecking ball to the Lincoln Memorial, and consider erecting monuments to John Wilkes Booth. Libertarians know Lincoln as the worst President America has ever had to suffer, with Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson running a distant second, third, and fourth.

Conservatives, on the other hand, adore Lincoln, publicly admire his methods, and revere him as the best President America ever had. One wonders: is this because they'd like to do, all over again, all of the things Lincoln did to the American people? Judging from their taste for executions as a substitute for individual self-defense, their penchant for putting people behind bars -- more than any other country in the world, per capita, no matter how poorly it works to reduce crime -- and the bitter distaste they display for Constitutional "technicalities" like the exclusionary rule, which are all that keep America from becoming the world's largest banana republic, one is well-justified in wondering.

From DiLorenzo's piece:

Another fact that Marvel, unlike all other Lincoln "scholars," does not shy away from is the fact that there was overwhelming support in the North in early 1861 for peaceful secession. He quotes newspapers in New York, Washington, Illinois, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere as saying so. He also notes that there was a strong movement to form a "central Confederacy" involving New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey (See The Secession Movement in the Middle States by William C. Wright). All of this shows that most Americans, unlike Dishonest Abe, understood that the union was voluntary and not held together by the threat of mass murder, looting, pillaging, plundering, and the burning of entire cities.


When the public did protest the revocation of their personal liberties, "Lincoln responded to the public outcry with more severe repression . . . and with more audacious examples of it," in fine Stalinist fashion. Soon he "would grow sufficiently confident to wield unilateral authority and military might against the most fundamental elements of democracy, imprisoning duly elected representatives of the people, arresting opposition candidates, and 'monitoring' elections with soldiers . . ." Think of these actions the next time you read one of Lincoln's pretty speeches about government "of the people and by the people."

Lest you think I read nothing but anti-Lincoln screeds, David N. Mayer wrote A Bicentennial Defense of Abraham Lincoln, which attempts to counter DiLorenzo's arguments, and those of Jeffrey Hummel.

Lincoln, who as president took the oath to support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States, was duty-bound to regard Southern secession as an unlawful rebellion or insurrection -- a vast criminal conspiracy against the Constitution and the laws, seeking to overthrow them -- that must be suppressed with all the powers the U.S. government had at its disposal. What was at stake was not only the Constitution and the laws of the United States, but also that great experiment in the republican form of government that the U.S. represented to the world in the 19th century. As Lincoln so eloquently put it in his July 4, 1861 address (anticipating what he would later say at Gettysburg),

"Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled -- the successful establishing and the successful administration of it. One still remains -- its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal, except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace: teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take it by war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war."

And I thought the purpose of the republican form of government was to defend the minority from the majority, instead of allowing 49% of those who vote to silence the rest of the whole population. Silly me. As Mike Vanderboegh so eloquently expounds, we will, unfortunately, have to test the truth of that Lincoln quote again very soon. We lovers of liberty have been denied the ballot, and the Constitution has been reduced to a "piece of paper". Bullets are our only remaining option. But remember Mike's demand: no Fort Sumters.


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Comments (2):

End the War on Freedom

Submitted by Don Emmerich on Fri, 13 Feb 2009 07:47:12 GMT

Hi --

I just came across “End the War on Freedom” (great site!) and was wondering if you would be interested in doing a link exchange – I’ll post a link to your blog on my blogroll and you post a link to my blog on yours. I’m a fellow anti-war anarcho-capitalist and I blog at http://donemmerich.blogspot.com/.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Don Emmerich

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re: End the War on Freedom

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 13 Feb 2009 11:42:00 GMT

I didn't add you to my blogroll. That's reserved for old friends who have weathered the test of time. I DID, however, add you to my news aggregator, which I peruse every day, looking for good articles to link to. Your aggregator page is here.

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