After giving a speech on my new book, Hamilton’s Curse, to Michael Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution, Mr. Peroutka presented me with the prestigious Josh Billings “Tell-The-Truth-Even-If-Nobody-Believes-It” Award. Josh Billings was a nineteenth-century humorist who was almost as well known as Mark Twain in his own time. Mike Peroutka presented me with the award because of something Billings once said that explained to him (Mike) why so many people become hysterical whenever someone like myself merely writes or speaks about true historical facts regarding Abe Lincoln (such as his quest to deport all blacks, his white supremacist talk in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, his plan to enshrine slavery in the U.S. Constitution, his mass arrest of political dissenters and the shutting down of opposition newspapers, deportation of an opposition member of Congress, etc.). In short, people don’t like it much when unarguable facts show that they’ve been made fools of all their adult lives by academic purveyors of lies, myths, and superstitions about American history. The particular Billings quote that is on the award is one that is related to his definition of a fool:
“The trouble with people is not that they don’t know but that they know so much that ain’t so.”
A fool, according to Billings, is someone who knows a lot of things “that just ain’t so.”
When it’s proven that what you “know” just “ain’t so,” some people become very angry with the lying academic establishment that mis-educated them. I’ve had hundreds, maybe thousands of emails from such people cursing the likes of the Claremont Institute Lincoln idolaters and their ilk. But a lot of other people become quite hateful and hysterical toward those whose writing shows that they are fools for believing such nonsense.
Then there are the “professional historians,” who often behave like insane children whenever “their turf” is invaded by someone like myself who can read history as well as they can, but interprets it from the perspective of an economist. (Historians comment on economic policy all the time, and they think that is perfectly acceptable despite the fact that they admittedly know nothing about economic theory).6:35 pm on July 13, 2009 Email Thomas DiLorenzo