Lies and name-calling
are preferred tactics of the Lincoln "scholars" (cultists)
I found out
the hard way that Lincoln scholars (read, apologists for ever-increasing
political and economic centralization) have no interest in debating
any point of law, Constitution, or even history when it comes to
the deeds of America's original and greatest of presidential centralizers,
the incomparable Abraham Lincoln. They prefer lies, name-calling,
and the hyperbole of smear against anyone who challenges the Lincoln
No less than
Harold Holzer, the high priest of Lincoln cultists has taken a swipe
at my book Lincoln
Über Alles: Dictatorship Comes to America (Pelican,
2009) in a review in the current issue of North and South
magazine (Nov. 2010).
I said in my
book, Lincoln Über Alles: Dictatorship Comes to America:
opened the door to the Leviathan central state that mandates,
manipulates, and regulates virtually every aspect of life in America
and seeks unilateral hegemony around the globe.
For this statement
Holzer labeled (should I say libeled?) me as "paranoid,"
"hysterical" and a "wacko."
The mere mention
in my book that I disagree with the view of Lincoln espoused by
former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (one of Holzer's many sponsors
in the leftist political Establishment) drew the charge of being
I suppose it
has never occurred to Mr. Holzer to apply the word "mean"
to a man like Cuomo who used the police power of the state to pile
tax upon tax on the citizens of New York while blowing that money
in a thousand frivolous ways that did little more than enrich his
cronies. But you don't see the world this way when your job is to
provide political cover so the plunder of taxpayers for the benefit
of the privileged, ruling elite (do the names Holzer and Cuomo come
to mind?) can continue unabated. Now it's Cuomo's son's turn.
intolerance to even a word of disagreement about the book he co-wrote
with Cuomo in 2004, Why
Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever is quite understandable.
That particular book is boring political drivel that makes a Walter
Mondale speech seem passionate and inspiring by comparison. Holzer
claims it is a "keenly observed book." The only thing
keen about it is its magic ability to cure insomnia. They open the
book with a hand-wringing chapter on what to do about "three-tiered
democracy" in America — the few rich at the top, the large
middle class barely getting by, and the large, impoverished underclass.
It makes you wonder how bright these guys are when they see the
results of 15 decades of ever-increasing centralization of political
and economic power and they don't seem to notice that Lincoln was
the president who started it all. The Cuomo/Holzer book compiles
a long list beloved government programs starting with the WPA and
ending with the Jimmy Carter-era bailout of Chrysler. (That one
really helped in the long haul, huh?). Along the way Holzer and
Cuomo fall in love with AIDS research, the Marshall Plan, the space
program, EPA, Social Security, Medicare/Medicade, Hillary Clinton's
doomed health care monstrosity, the United Nations, and even the
1980s savings & loan Resolution Trust Corporation (which someone
noted wasn't really a corporation, nor did it resolve anything,
and you couldn't trust it) — all of which Holzer suggests would
be on Lincoln's approval list were he alive today.
contains two quite predictable lies about my book. His first lie
is about race (which is intended to intimidate into silence anyone
he doesn't like), and the second one is about states' rights (which
is also intended to silence debate if the lie about race fails to
falsely states, "the author actually argues that socially-restricted
life for free blacks in the North was far crueler than that facing
enslaved blacks in the South." I made no such argument in my
book and Holzer's assertion that I did is a lie. I said there were
no clean hands — North, South, East, or West — in regards
to pre-war racial justice in America. Much has been published about
"Jim Crow" laws in the South, generally along the lines
that Jim Crow was an exclusively southern phenomenon that is a patently
false idea. I compiled a long list of Jim Crow laws in the pre-war
North (of which little has been written), not as an attempt to justify
racial injustice elsewhere, rather to demonstrate there was no racial
justice anywhere. Having made this point, the Civil War could not
have been about the establishment of racial justice in the South
if such justice was nowhere to be found.
If Mr. Holzer
wants to take the position it is irrelevant that New York voters
rejected a statewide black suffrage referendum (for a second time)
the same year Lincoln was elected president, so be it. All twenty-five
statewide referenda to give blacks the vote in the pre-war northern
states failed. If Holzer would like to defend the racial exclusion
amendment to the Illinois constitution enacted by voters in 1862
while, as he claims, their farm boys were off fighting for racial
justice in the South let him. When Lincoln signed the bill admitting
Kansas to the Union as a "free" state in 1861, it prohibited
blacks from voting just as its territorial legislature had done.
The same is true for Nevada whose admission was signed by Lincoln
in 1864. Are all these things some twisted notions of racial justice
in Mr. Holzer's mind? I'd like to hear what he has to say on the
topic. I might even read that book, but he will never write it.
If Holzer believes
there already was racial justice in the North in 1860 I suggest
he find a single jurisdiction where free blacks were actually citizens,
much less welcomed. Well, he can't, so I'll even give Mr. Holzer
a hint that he won't like it because it doesn't fit his fictitious
story line. Under North Carolina common law, at least for a time
in the decades before the Civil War, slavery was merely a disability
to citizenship. Thus once freed, (and there were various paths to
freedom as the growing number of freedmen in the Census shows) a
former slave who was born in North Carolina automatically became
a citizen once his disability to citizenship was removed. No other
state worked this way in any section of the nation. The big mistake
the U.S. Supreme Court made in the Dred Scott decision was it rejected
North Carolina Supreme Court precedent and adopted instead a ruling
by the Connecticut Supreme Court that barred blacks from becoming
a citizen under any circumstances.
There are other
problems with Holzer's view of the Civil War was a war of racial
justice. I point out in my book the Lincoln administration committed
itself to a war of racial genocide in the West in order to get the
Indians out of the way of the railroad robber barons who backed
Lincoln. After all, Lincoln was a railroad lawyer as Tom DiLorenzo
has pointed out. Apparently Holzer thinks Lincoln — an admitted
white supremacist who openly advocated the forced-deportation of
free blacks back to Africa — was carrying out a war
of racial justice in the South while his military commanders were
simultaneously perpetrating a war of racial genocide on the Plains
Indians. Come on Mr. Holzer; tell us how you resolve this. But what
if Holzer is correct in his assertion that Lincoln was a man for
equality and justice? If this is so, why didn't the Great Emancipator
end slavery in the "loyal" slave States of Delaware, Maryland,
Kentucky, and Missouri, and the newly created state of West Virginia?
Holzer's first lie is meant to smear me falsely as a racist in order
to avoid debating an important analysis contained in the book.
The fact is
my book critically analyses a body of information that has been
overlooked in the debate about whether secession is a lawful and
legitimate power of the States. Lincoln Über Alles analyses
thirty precedent-setting cases before the U.S. Supreme Court from
1793 to 2001. The principles adopted by the Court in these cases
support the argument that secession is an attribute of state sovereignty,
and no Court has ever attempted to draw the boundary where one attribute
ends and another begins, or to determine where one attribute trumps
another (including Chief Justice Chase's discredited and irrelevant
Texas v. White opinion in 1869). And this is where Holzer
tells his second lie, that this body of newly analyzed information
is nothing more than a rehash. It exists nowhere else in print,
yet he says it is "flailing argumentation" and a rehash
of "breast-beating about states rights."
in the book that the U.S. Supreme Court has long held unconstitutional
the principle known as "legislative entrenchment." Legislative
entrenchment sounds complex but it is the simple principle that
any act a prior legislature (or congress) had the authority to pass,
a future legislature has the same authority to modify or repeal.
The power to enact, modify, or repeal law cannot be separated one
from another. This principle goes all the way back to the Roman
Republic. It is one of the foundational principles that make representative
government in western civilization different from the rest of the
world. The U.S. Supreme Court has never deviated from striking down
any law that attempts to take away from future legislatures the
authority to modify or repeal any act of a previous legislature.
The U.S. Supreme
Court's long tradition against legislative entrenchment is important
in the debate whether the states have, or have ever had the authority
to secede. The Constitution was ratified individually by conventions
in each of the original 13 states in 1787–90. If the legislatures
in the four Southern states (that would secede in 1860–61) were
competent to call a convention to ratify the Constitution in 1787–90,
they were equally competent to call a convention in 1860–61 and
enrobe it with the same authority as the original convention. This
is precisely what South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina
did; they called a second convention with the same authority of
the first, and repealed the ratification of the first. Holzer's
review did not even mention this, much less attack it. If he found
fault in this idea, why didn't he dispute it?
is obvious Mr. Holzer has never read or considered any principles
of constitutional law in the thirty Court cases I cited in my book
— unless he somehow discovered them but dared not discuss them.
Since he failed to dispute even a single point I cited regarding
these cases, it is equally obvious by silence he acknowledges my
analysis is correct. Smears, name-calling, intimidation, and dismissing
new material as old won't do — even if you make the immodest claim
of being "one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham
Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era," as
Holzer does on his website. Holzer, like other Lincoln cultists,
is generous with self-praise.
review is all bark and no bite.
Lincoln expert concludes I have been reading too much Tom DiLorenzo,
a charge to which I would happily plead guilty, except for the fact
it is impossible to read too much DiLorenzo.
Avery Emison [send him mail]
is a former science reporter and environmental consultant. He lives
in Knoxville, Tennessee and is very proud of his three grown children.
You can find him on Facebook.