by Ralph Raico. Submissions
are very welcome.
Every decent man is ashamed
of the government he lives under.
H. L. Mencken
And when General Powell started
blathering on about "decades'' of contact between Saddam and
al-Qa'ida, things went wrong for the Secretary of State. Al-Qa'ida
only came into existence five years ago, since Bin Laden – "decades" ago – was
working against the Russians for the CIA, whose present day director
was sitting grave-faced behind General Powell.
~ Robert Fisk, The
Independent, February 5
"There could be a permanent
human presence on the Red Planet within a century, Sir Martin
Rees of the Institute of Astronomy told a science conference. ‘If
the explorers were privately funded adventurers of free-enterprise,
even anarchic disposition, the Wild West model would be more
likely to prevail.’"
Sir Martin, who frets about
the prospect of lawlessness absent the blessings of government,
evidently is not familiar with recent research on how law and
order was actually established in the old West. He would have
done well to have reviewed the important article by Terry Anderson
and P. J. Hill, "An
American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild
West," in the Journal of Libertarian Studies (1979).
As Anderson and Hill write:
The West during this time often
is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect
for property or life. Our research indicates that this was
not the case: property rights were protected and civil order
prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for
an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts
Mars should have it so good.
~ Robert Higgs
recently conducted an online questionnaire: Which country poses
the greatest danger to world peace in 2003? Here are the results
as of February 5:
- North Korea 7.2 per cent
- Iraq 8.3 per cent
- United States 84.5 per cent
Note that the 15.5 per cent
who voted for countries other than the United States did not
indicate that the U. S. was not a danger to peace, or that it
would not have been their next choice.
Time cautions that this is
an unscientific, informal survey (thanks, but somehow we already
knew that). Still, over 340,000 persons responded …all "wimps" from "Old
~ Guido Hülsmann
[On director Ron Maxwell’s
new movie, Gods and Generals, on the War between the States,
due to be released to theatres on February 21. Maxwell was the
director of the award-winning Gettysburg.
Maxwell expects to draw flak
for his depiction of Confederate soldiers as human beings rather
than the racist caricatures which the viewer expects from a modern
film. "The culture has stiffened them into a politically
correct straitjacket," he says. "People don’t feel
they have permission to question certain shibboleths: among them
that the Civil War was fought only for slavery."
Maxwell provides the fairest,
most eloquent exposition of the Southern point of view ever presented
on film – and yet as counterpoint we have always Joshua Chamberlain,
the fighting scholar of the 20th Maine and the conscience of
the movie, reminding us that black-skinned Americans were being
held as chattel.
Contra Chamberlain, General
[Stonewall] Jackson frames the war as a question of competing
patriotisms: "Though I love the Union, I love Virginia more." He
explains to his Shenandoah Valley volunteers at the war’s onset: "Just
as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states
and tyrannize other people, so will we never allow the armies
of others to march into our state and tyrannize our people."
~ Bill Kauffman, The
American Enterprise, March 2003
anyone who suspects that all pro-Southerners today are either
open or covert Klansmen, or, as Professor Harry Jaffa graciously
implied in his debate
with Thomas DiLorenzo at the Independent Institute, supporters
of Adolf Hitler’s philosophy of government, or who might be open-minded
on the Union vs. Confederate question, there’s a chance to listen
to the libertarian and true conservative point of view.
On March 22, a conference takes
place in Richmond, Virginia, "Lincoln Reconsidered," with
talks by Tom DiLorenzo, Donald Livingston, Joseph Stromberg,
and other scholars. Paul Gottfried’s talk on "Why They Lie" should
alone be worth the price of admission. You can hear and interact
with the speakers on Father Abraham’s warping of the original
concept of our American republic, mingle with dozens of people
sympathetic to your way of thinking, or else be courteously challenged
in your own ideas, as well as stroll the capital of the Old South.
The cost for the conference and hotel rooms is surprisingly modest.
(Click on the Lincoln icon at the bottom of the LRC website page,
Myself, I wouldn’t miss it for
~ Ralph Raico
Michael Bellesiles, author of
the fraudulent anti-gun work Arming America: The Origins of a
National Gun Culture, has been dishonored and shamed more than
any other American academic within memory. He was forced to resign
his tenured professorship at Emory University, and his publisher,
Knopf, has withdrawn his book from distribution (though the Knopf
editor who saw the work through evidently still has his job.
Now comes the coup de grâce.
Columbia University has announced that its Trustees have voted
to rescind the Bancroft Prize to Bellesiles, up to now the most
prestigious award in American historiography. "The Trustees
made the decision based on an investigation of charges of scholarly
misconduct against Professor Bellesiles by Emory University and
other assessments by professional historians."
The press release neglects to
mention that this is a totally unprecedented action by Columbia.
No one before Bellesiles has ever had the Bancroft prize revoked.
A friend of mine who works and
writes in the DC area raises a pertinent point.
When will the Columbia School
of Journalism revoke the Pulitzer prize awarded in 1932 to Walter
Duranty, the Moscow correspondent of the New York Times? Duranty
won the award for his reportage from Soviet Russia, which scoffed
at the very idea of famine and oppression in Stalin’s slave empire.
Every year, when the Times wins ever more Pulitzers, they run
a full page house ad, listing among their trophies Columbia’s
prize for Duranty’s Stalinist lies.
It’s time to apologize, gentlepersons.
Come on, just do it.
~ Ralph Raico
our attention is more and more directed to anti-Jewish
attitudes, with no end in sight. This comes out in the reception
of the latest biography of H. L. Mencken, by Terry Teachout (The
Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken, HarperCollins, 2002).
The disparagement and dismissal of the great libertarian were
The fact is that Henry Mencken
was the foremost civil libertarian and the greatest American
literary critic of this time. He composed The American Language,
fostered the Harlem Renaissance, and promoted many of the now
famous writers of the 20s and 30s. There’s much else. Murray
Rothbard’s essay is a place to start. Look up the list of
his books in the catalog of your college, at your local library
the Internet. It will give you an idea of who H. L. Mencken
Over his lifetime Mencken made
a number of disparaging remarks about Jews. But his disapproving
remarks about white Southerners are at least as cutting. Curmudgeon
that he was, he despised just about every other ethnic group,
including, like the estimable and now shamefully politically
persecuted Taki, Italians and Italian-Americans: "wops," in
their nomenclature (not too funny, in my personal opinion).
all Americans of his time, like all northern urban Americans
of my time, from the 1940s
and 50s, Mencken thought ethnically. So what?
Tackling the Teachout biography,
most reviewers took the opportunity to dredge up Mencken’s sometime
anti-Jewish attitude (not mentioning his contempt for Italians,
for some reason). Christopher Hitchens, in the New York Times
Book Review, also assailed Mencken for his early Nietzchean and
This was a bit nervy from the
erratic Hitchens, who is for the time being a neocon. Shouldn’t
Hitchens have some sympathy for Mencken’s ideological transgressions,
considering that he himself was up until a few years ago an apologist
for Leon Trotsky, whom Robert Conquest labeled "the most
ferocious of all the Bolsheviks"?
was the worst totalitarian thinker of the twentieth century.
This may be hard to believe,
but just read the disgusting last pages of his Literature
and Revolution, which the learned Hitchens seems to have
missed somewhere along the way. It was Trotsky who proposed the
enserfdom of the
whole Russian working class as the solution to the impasse of "War
Communism." Who, like his fellow Leninists, oversaw the
mass-murder of "class enemies," any owners of private
property, anyone involved in private economic exchanges to keep
their families alive, Christian priests and lay-believers, and
Come on, Hitchens, apologize
for your Trotskyism as of, what was it, four or five years ago?
You know you should. Just do it.
The bottom of the barrel was
reached by the reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Its review,
by a freelance writer, was titled, brazenly, "Mencken, the
Anti-Semite of Baltimore."
it happens that some of the most distinguished figures in our
have been biased against the Jewish people. Their judgments were
often harsher than Mencken’s.
they all be smeared and dismissed as fatally tainted? Are we
now, for instance, to refer
to Cicero and Tacitus as the anti-Semites of Rome? To Martin
Luther as the anti-Semite of Wittenberg? Voltaire as the anti-Semite
of Paris? Dostoyevsky as the anti-Semite of Moscow?
Ralph Raico [send him mail]
Passing Scene Archives:
9/28/02 10/3/02 11/2/02
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