A Paleo Guide for the Holidays: February.

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Remember
LewRockwell.com in your contributions
. Once again we here at
LewRockwell.com bring you a guide for this months holidays.

February,
leap day and lunar months. February is special at it changes its
numbers. On leap years, the year we experience the untrammeled joy
of a presidential race, we get ONE MORE DAY to enjoy the circus.

When
a novice in "This Movement of Ours" I encountered a libertarian
magazine dedicated to both libertarianism and calendar reform.

Libertarianism
is an everyday topic here, but calendar reform, that is rare.

They
proposed 13 months of 28 days, to wit, lunar months. They would
take two to three days from the non-February months and create a
month called, if memory serves, "Sol."

It
might be neater if all the months had the same number of days, but
would it be worth the disruption? One could argue the same of the
metric system or most of the State's innovations.

Which
is the point about change: our way is one contract at a time. Our
Enemy the State, by fiat.

Lincoln's
Birthday, Feb. 12. Regarding our 16th President there
is precious little a paleo would celebrate. Let us start with the
"precious little" that a paleo may celebrate of Abraham
Lincoln.

He
was one of the best trial lawyers to emerge on the American scene.
His was a background of grinding poverty and of limited formal schooling.
To go from that to the top of a learned profession is something
a paleo, or anyone, can properly admire.

For
us paleo's, the problem with Lincoln is his politics. The modern
American state is his legacy. More so than Wilson, Roosevelt II
or Lyndon Johnson, Lincoln created a State that no internal component
could defy.

For
the dream [nightmare?] of a consolidated, national government during
the adoption campaign for in 1787 was fulfilled through Lincoln.
In terms of growth Americans went from a federal government that
represented 1-2% of the gross domestic product to one of 20% by
1865 [I am indebted for this analysis from Jeffrey Roger Hummel's
excellent Emancipating
Slaves, Enslaving Free Men
].

Returning
to Lincoln as lawyer there is an issue worth noting: he was a major
trial lawyer in a rapidly innovating area of American life that
was heavily state-sponsored and controlled. It would be comparable
to being a trial lawyer involved in the airline or radio business
in the 1920's and 30's.

What
about ending slavery?

Two
points:

  1. There is
    considerable evidence that slavery was a dying institution in
    the upper South. Slavery needed constant governmental intervention
    from a Fugitive Slave Act to conscription by local militias
    to keep it profitable. Prominent leaders of the Confederacy
    believed the institution was doomed with an independent Confederacy
    as fugitive slaves would undermine the institution fatally.

  2. If the
    "peculiar institution" would end through natural causes
    then was the cost of forcibly ending it justified? This takes
    us to the first point: paleo's don't embrace or eschew change
    per se. We just prefer it "one contract at a time"
    and not by State fiat.

The
cost of freeing slaves came at the price of enslaving many free
men, latching onto this land of liberty a State ten times its former
size and establishing a federal government that no state or combination
therein could readily defy.

Which
takes us to a weird consolation for a paleo of Abraham Lincoln.
You know there is something wrong with a philosophy that consumes
its' own heroes. That is what is happening to Abraham Lincoln. He
used to have his own holiday and now he is lumped in with a holiday
for all Presidents. When alive he burned with political ambition,
to be in the limelight of national politics.

Today
he holds sway among Court historians and neo-conservatives. Isn't
that a mark of how far he has fallen?

Ash
Wednesday, Feb. 13. For Christians we begin forty days of Lent.
For us it is a time of mortification, not to re-enact Jesus's suffering
and death, but to remember. This is a real Holy Day, not a secularist
shadow of the real thing. We set these days apart from others to
reconnect spiritually. Let us pray.

Valentines
Day, Feb. 14. A saint who commerates romantic love. A further confirmation
of C.S.Lewis's notion that sin represents corruptions of pleasures,
but that pleasure is Providential.

Years
ago Johnnie Carson was lambasting Valentine's Day as just another
opportunity for women to play "gimme." Perhaps someone
who has been married five times is going to be jaded about Romance.
He is living proof of Samuel Johnson's dicta of re-marriage ["the
triumph of hope over experience"].

As
a tail end member of the baby boom [1956] of course We knew that
sex was invented by us….hey wait a moment; My parents must have….but
wait their parents must have….you know, this has been going on
for a long time. Madeira, my dear?

Presidents
Day, Feb. 18. This year it falls on the 18th. Paleo's
are happy on any day that government closes. The reason we have
this holiday has little to do with celebrating American Presidents,
rather it has to do with two Presidents we used to honor separately
in February being consolidated into one holiday.

As
noted above "…there is something wrong with a philosophy
that consumes its' own heroes." Statism has triumphed due to
war, as war is still the "health of the state" [thank
you, Randolph Bourne]. To get the war, though, you first need the
warrior President.

Of
the three branches of the federal government, statism has needed
and used the executive branch more than the Congress or Judiciary.

But
in the effort by the statist to celebrate all Presidents with this
holiday they fall to banality.

What
is a paleo to do? Remember Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Jackson [on
the National Bank, not on the Tariff Crisis or Cherokee relocation]
or the last good Democrat, Grover Cleveland.

Washington's
Birthday, Feb. 22. "First in war, first in Peace," author
of a Farewell Address that guided our country toward Republic and
away from Empire. A man of such impeccable integrity that even his
political enemies trusted him.

Yes,
he supported the awful Alien and Sedition Act, enforced the Whiskey
tax [actually resistance to that tax killed it, but that is another
matter] and was a Federalist.

There
is something of a fraud involved in our first George President.

Anti-Federalist
agitation had stymied adoption of the 1787 Constitution overthrowing
the Articles of Confederation. What broke the opposition were two
items: that the first President would be George Washington and that
the Congress would enact a Bill of Rights as Amendments to the Constitution.

What
is the fraud?

That
someday someone of less impeccable integrity would be President,
but we would still be stuck with the far more centralized Constitution
instead of the Confederation.

Still,
it seems almost mythic: an American President who was trusted by
all the political players because of his honesty and integrity.
An experience unhappily remote from our own.

February
4, 2002

Alan
Turin [send him mail]
an attorney by training, works in the computer industry.

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