Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: Will Ron Paul Destroy the ‘Party of Lincoln’?
Yet another neocon Republican establishment political hack has demonstrated ignorance, deceit, and bad manners in yet another attack on Ron Paul. This time it is one Jeffrey Lord, a "contributing editor" to The American Spectator magazine. Writing in a January 15 article on the Philly.com Web site, Lord feigns outrage over the fact that five years ago Ron Paul told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Civil War was unnecessary to end slavery. Lord is being deceitful here by taking what Ron Paul said out of context. I remember Ron Paul's appearance on that show, and the point he was making was that all the rest of the world — the British, Spaniards, French, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, the Northern states in the U.S. — ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century. His point was that we should have done what the British did, and used tax dollars to purchase the freedom of the slaves and then ended it forever. That, Said Ron Paul, would have been preferable to a war that ended up killing over 650,000 Americans (850,000 according the the very latest historical research) while destroying a large part of the U.S. economy. Lord is obviously ignorant of all of this history.
Lord cites my book, The Real Lincoln, to feign additional outrage over the fact that I supposedly called Lincoln a "Dictator-President." He apparently suffered a case of the vapors when he discovered that Ron Paul listed The Real Lincoln as "recommended reading" at the end of his own book, Revolution: A Manifesto. I don't ever recall ever using those exact words about Lincoln, but I do know that generations of historians have routinely referred to "the Lincoln dicatatorhip," although usually calling it a benign dictatorship. They have done this because of Lincoln's illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus, the mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of Northern political dissenters, the shutting down of hundreds of opposition newspapers, the deportation of opposition member of Congress Clement L. Vallandigham, the rigging of elections, and worse. (Read Freedom Under Lincoln by Dean Sprague; and Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln by James Randall). Lord is obviously ignorant of these historical facts as well.
Jeffrey Lord is simply lying when he writes that "[Ron] Paul shares with DiLorenzo the belief that the war was not fought over issues of Union . . ." That in fact is exactly what I have argued in my writings. Southerners (and most Northern newspaper editors as well, by the way) believed that the union was voluntary, that the states that ratified the Constitution were sovereign, and that they therefore had a right to join or not join the Union. Lincoln believed that the union was a compulsory union from which there could never under any circumstances be any escape, and that he consequently had a right to wage total war on the civilian population of the South to "save the union." I have argued that Lincoln destroyed the American union of the founders, which was in fact a voluntary union.
I have also quoted Lincoln himself as saying that his invasion of the Southern states was not to free the slaves but to "save the union" by destroying the right of secession. Lord expresses additional outrage that I have repeated Lincoln's own views in my writing, instead of the comic book version of history that he prefers, which says that Lincoln launched an invasion to supposedly free the slaves. Of course, the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress also announced to the world at the beginning of the Civil War that the purpose of the war was not to interfere with slavery but to "save the union." Jeffrey Lord is obviously ignorant of this aspect of American history as well.
What's even worse, says Jeffrey Lord, many contributors to LewRockwell.com, such as myself, "are no fans" of some of the more notorious members of the neocon cabal such as "William F. Buckley, Jr., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin"!! To this I plead guilty. Why, even "Rick Santorum also makes the list" of political figures who have been criticized by people like myself on LewRockwell.com. Off with our heads!
Jeffrey Lord also lies when he writes that "The Constitution, DiLorenzo maintains, is a u2018subversion' orchestrated by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton to overthrow what DiLorenzo calls America's first constitution — the Articles of Confederation." First of all, I am hardly the first to note that the Constitution overthrew the Articles of Confederation. Scholars have been saying this for more than 200 years, but Jeffrey Lord is of course ignorant of this fact as well.
Secondly, I have never argued that Hamilton "orchestrated" the Constitution as some kind of "subversion." Hamilton was essentially the original neocon, who showed up at the constitutional convention advocating a permanent president who would appoint all state governors, who would in turn have veto power over all state legislation. He did not get his way; the Constitution did not create a king, nor did it allow for the creation of an interventionist, mercantilist, corporate welfare empire of the sort Hamilton desired. (It wouldn't be until the Lincoln administration that that was achieved). Hamilton did invent the idea of "implied powers" of the Constitution, and was the first to make the expansive interpretations of the Welfare and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution that have been used to essentially destroy the ability of the Constitution to limit the growth of government. I explain the Hamiltonian subversion of the Constitution that took place for decades after Hamilton's death in my book, Hamilton's Curse.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of Jeffrey Lord's rant is that he invokes the left-wing hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as one of his "authorities" in criticizing Ron Paul (and me). The SPLC espouses a communistic political philosophy and is so radical that it holds the confessed terrorist and murderer William Ayers up as a role model for children on its Web site, along with a woman named "Red Emma" Goldman, a twentieth-century communist who advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government in order to adopt communism in America. (Ayers admitted setting off bombs at the Capitol Building in Washington and at police stations in the 1960s, and recently told the New York Times that he wishes he had set off even more bombs).
The modus oprandi of the SPLC is to publicly label any and all critics of its left-wing extremism as "haters" or somehow "linked to" hate groups. When the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. sponsored a public lecture on immigration policy, for example, the SPLC accused AEI of "mainstreaming hate." The scholars at AEI are all really KKK guys in nice suits, you see. When the TEA Party movement was formed as a response to Obama's mad rush to socialism the SPLC issued a special report on the movement that had the subtitle, "The Year in Hate." These are the kinds of people who Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator magazine chooses to associate himself with to assist him in his ignorant smears of Ron Paul and me.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today.