Neo-Unionists’ Rope of Sand
E Pluribus Multi
recent publication of Professor Tom DiLorenzo’s book, The Real
Lincoln, has caused great unhappiness in the House of Lincoln
and for good reason. Lincoln is commonly taken as the true "founder"
of the U.S. imperial state and its matching ideology. Efforts to
trace a path between Lincoln and the actual "founders"
(to use that word) only yield a web of rationalization, wilful misreadings
of the record, and wrongheaded assumptions about late 18th-century
American political practice, values, and ideas.
as the South undergoes a Third (and final?) Reconstruction, many
Northern historians and other literati are deeply shocked to learn
that there remain those who even now do not accept the official
theory of the war of 1861-1865 and the received gospel of the union.
More re-education is necessary! Things are said to have been "settled"
by Mr. Lincoln’s war, as if being shelled, blockaded, defeated,
occupied, and reconstructed, would in the nature of things produce
genuine intellectual conversion in the South: an argumentum ex
sledgehammer. Even worse, there are non-Southerners, too, who
have failed to learn the great historical "lesson" Mr.
Lincoln taught with blood and iron – and more of those last, in
fact, than Chancellor Bismarck needed in unifying Germany.
Neo-Conservatives have sprung to their PCs to trample out the "Neo-Confederate"
vineyard with its many wrathful grapes. Along with most eminent
Civil War historians, they hold that all opposition to the received
view of Mr. Lincoln’s war must rest, in the end, on the post-1865
works of disgruntled ex-Confederates, who, having lost, had the
nerve to say that questions other than slavery helped bring on the
the shaky bridge of ideas between Father Abraham and the original
Founders, the Revolution, etc., on one hand, and the presumptively
cranky ravings of ex- and Neo-Confederates, on the other, the choice
seems clear. Tom DiLorenzo’s ideas were refuted "fifty years
ago" by Professor Harry Jaffa, says Professor Mackubin Thomas
Owens. To this I reply, that Jaffa’s ideas were refuted somewhat
earlier: by John Taylor of Caroline, in the 1820s.
point is that the running argument over the basis of American political
life dates from the "Founding" and goes back into the
revolutionary period itself. The "states rights" position
did not surface suddenly post-1865 in Confederate memoirs, nor was
it grounded in a one-man reinvention of the Constitution by John
C. Calhoun in the 1830s, as Jaffa holds. By the same token, centralizers
and continental mercantilists did not emerge with the Whig Party
and Henry Clay (Lincoln’s model statesman) but built upon the program
associated with Alexander Hamilton.
A Debate Older Even Than Neo-Conservatism
sides and their arguments have long existed. But which was closer
to the truth of things? Such matters are not "settled"
for theory or history by the outcome of a war. Reason does not yield
to Grant and Sherman, even if Lee did.
nationalist, or Unionist, position characterized men who wished
to retain the forms of the British Empire, while substituting
themselves for George III, Parliament, and the British bureaucracy.
They wanted an American empire and American mercantilism. Their
opponents, for various reasons, wanted to retain the colonial autonomy
they had enjoyed under "benign neglect" prior to 1763.
Decentralists wanted only the loosest possible federal connection
(using "federal" in its classical meaning) and mainly
in foreign relations. Their program was not "about slavery"
but, rather, grew from their inherited values, institutions, and
prejudices. Indeed, there were a good many slaveholders in the
"Federalist" (= Nationalist) camp in 1787.
decentralists, rightly or wrongly, wanted decentralization. Maybe
they thought they could manage their own affairs. Most historians
dislike them for that.
any case, certain weighty questions, which came into focus in 1861,
had a history reaching back behind the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
To be fair, it might be said there were more than two camps in late
18th-century America: There were local mercantilists;
but the national mercantilists, with their "modernizing"
ideas about the blessings of public debt and their firm belief that
commerce needs constant subsidy, regulation, and pushes in the right
direction (that of the mercantilists and their friends), were a
bigger problem than local mercantilists.
these things bear directly on the Secession War and the case for
Lincoln, because they go directly to the nature of the union. Early
nationalists, who were strongly mercantilist, made certain claims
about the history and outcome of the revolutionary and early constitutional
period. Their foes, the so-called "Antifederalists" (genuinely
federal as opposed to national), fielded counter-arguments
in the interest of local autonomy.
nationalist school - from James Wilson, Joseph Story, James Madison,
and John Marshall, through Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Lincoln,
and Francis Lieber, down to Jaffa, Samuel Beer, and many other contemporary
American historians - have done very well rhetorically. They - the
above list is not exhaustive - believe they have won every battle.
Hence their shock that unbelievers still roam the land.
problem is that the nationalist "case" is but a rope of
Can You Get One People for the Price of Thirteen?
merits or otherwise of the nationalist case are central to the campaign
against "Neo-Confederate" heretics, who decline to go
marching through either Georgia: the nearby one, or the former Soviet
one. If metaphysical "ideas," destiny, and so on called
forth a single American (when? 1776? 1789? 1865?) with a singular
"sovereign" authority to set the general government "over"
the states; or if, alternatively, there factually existed from some
time or other such a single, undivided American people "in
the aggregate" – it becomes much easier to deny the right,
power, or capacity of any smaller political society to withdraw
or secede from a union established by, or in the name of, such a
hypothetical, unitary people.
smaller societies may only appeal to an operationally meaningless
"right to revolution," which Professor Jaffa offers us
in high jest. It is a grand joke, and one pioneered by Lincoln during
the Mexican War, when he said that, "Any people anywhere, being
inclined and having the power, have the right to
rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one
that suits them better." Lincoln was a noted frontier humorist,
but the phrase I have italicised reveals the crafty lawyer at work.
This is an offer you can’t re-use.
the Unionist argument, the abstract singular people have a walk-on
part in the play. They ordain and establish the great national state
in its majesty and retire, forever, to the wings (perfection
being "perpetual"). Thenceforth, the machinery "goes
of itself," and woe betide him, who falls between the gears.
as it matters whether or not there was One People, so, too, does
it matter whether there were instead, thirteen peoples organized
into thirteen political societies - fourteen if one counts Vermont:
completely irregular and self-created. One could easily imagine
thirteen existing colonies, with a long history of separate political
existence, sending their delegates to meet to discuss and
coordinate resistance to the King of England, who, on the American
revolutionaries’ most popular argument – an argument intended to
take Parliament out of the loop - was the only thing giving unity
to the British Empire.
might well imagine them sending their delegates to meet to
discuss declaring their independence. One can imagine them
setting up a regular Congress of their representatives to
coordinate their warlike activities after independence was
declared. They might even set up, for limited purposes, a Confederation
to handle some of their affairs, all without taking out any
first or second mortgages on the future of local self-government.
did just these things, and the evidence of plurality is everywhere,
as Forrest McDonald has rightly noted. The sheer thirteenness
of the undertaking is overwhelming. It is right there in the public
record. Only a nationalist, his steely eyes scanning time and space
for the metaphysical One, could miss it.
is an added bonus: at no point in this story do we really need the
concept of "sovereignty."
Peoples, Agreements, Agents, and So Forth
less do we need the hoary "social contract." If sovereignty
is a snare, the social contract is sheer delusion. All through the
debates in the Constitutional Convention one finds speakers, nationalist
and anti-nationalist alike, using rather undigested social contract
language and creating general havoc and confusion with it. Notions
asked: Did the Declaration of Independence throw the people, distributively
or collectively, into a "state of nature"? Did the Revolution
throw the colonies/states into a "state of nature" vis-à-vis
one another? And so on.
of these questions had much to do with what the conventioneers were
actually doing: namely, exceeding their instructions to propose
amendments to the Articles and, instead, cobbling together a new
federal scheme. To achieve that goal, nationalists had to by-pass
the existing amendment procedure under the Confederation and propose
a new arrangement – to whom exactly? – to the states!
anyone threw any people or peoples into anything resembling an unhistorical
and hypothetical state of nature, it was the nationalists who did
so by their tactics.
was at his devious best in the convention, arguing that the Articles
formed, after all, a mere "league," a "treaty,"
from which any single party could withdraw, when the agreement’s
provisions were violated. In effect, the states were invited to
secede from the union of 1781 so as to enter a new one consisting
of nine or more states. Madison undertook some fancy footwork to
show that this precedent could not possibly apply to the new
union under the Constitution.
indirection reached a high point in the Federalist Papers,
where, assisted by John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, he famously
set forth his "partly federal, partly national" ideas
on divided and distributed sovereignty, which have sown confusion
ever since. But the whole exercise depends critically on his assumption
that, either One People already existed before ratification of the
new grocery list - by conventions which only spoke, and could
only speak, in the name of specific states; or, alternatively,
that such conventions could, somehow, alienate the jurisdictions
and rights of their constituents, even though this drastic proposition
was not, on the face of it, on the printed agenda, and when the
nationalists in those conventions worked overtime to urge that consolidation
into a new, singular people was not intended.
M. E. Bradford, among others, has pointed out, it is the ratifiers’
intentions that matter. If the nationalists were running a continental
swindle, the swindle cannot decide the character of the union.
North Carolina and Rhode Island remained aloof while eleven states
implemented the Constitution and set up the new ballgame, is a difficulty
for the nationalists’ single-people theory. For some months the
newly minted U.S. government had to treat North Carolina and Rhode
Island as independent, foreign powers, as indeed they were. That,
in the end, those states ratified out of a blend of sentiment and
pragmatism, does not overthrow the fact that few then thought that
those states could rightfully be coerced into the new union.
there existed, metaphysically, One People, those states were in
"rebellion" against a majority and could have been forced
to "ratify." This might be called ratification-by-conquest.
Unfortunately, such a procedure clashes with the normal sense of
"ratify" and puts one in mind of the fourteenth amendment.
Clashing Tides of Nationalism
have differed with one another about the time and manner in which
the One People came to be. John Marshall and James Wilson affirmed
primordial unity, while Madison, Judge Joseph Story, George Ticknor
Curtis, Hermann Von Holtz, George Bancroft, and Claude Van Tyne
– whose writings stretch over a century – settled for a kind of
Hegelian unfolding of the single people. Destiny, the Weltgeist,
whatever, demanded it.
paladins of Neo-Unionism like Professors Jaffa, Beer, Walter Berns,
and Richard Morris, are more rabid on this point than most of their
forebears. They espy One People at the very moment of the Declaration
of Independence, or even earlier in the first stirrings of the Revolution.
One People in question – from whose loving, fraternal embrace no
one can rightfully escape - came into being in 1865 on the basis
of the "right" of conquest and by no other means.
is precisely how Franks, Bretons, Alsatsians, Basques, Italians,
and latter-day Gauls (the majority) became One French People. It
is how Prussia converted Bavarians, Saxons, and other minor folk
into One German People, albeit with far less violence than in the
French and U.S. cases. Knowing this saves a lot of time.
The Union Created Instantly Ex Nihilo
the Instant Nationalists, the fact that on July 4, 1776, representatives
of the Colonies termed themselves "united" outweighs their
claim to be "free and independent states." But this seems
a rather feeble and indirect way to announce the arrival of a new,
single, "sovereign" power in the world. This interpretation
entirely dodges the possible meanings of "united": e.g.,
united in the struggle against England, united as Americans, etc.
It tells us nothing about political arrangements as of that date
or in the future.
addition, the One-Shot Declarationists pretend to believe that the
Continental Congress next "authorized" the colonies to
draw up constitutions for themselves as states. In the actual document,
the word is "recommend." This is hardly the language of
a supreme "national sovereign" addressing inferior political
us review some other opinions. Judge Samuel Chase said in Ware
v. Hylton (1796) that colonial delegates had announced "not
that the United Colonies jointly, in a collective capacity, were
independent States, but that each had a right to govern itself by
its own authority, and its own laws without any control from any
other power on earth. I have ever considered it as an established
doctrine of the States that all laws made by the legislatures of
the several States after the declaration of independence were the
laws of sovereign and independent States."
1840, Judge Joseph Story conceded that the colonies had been "separate
and independent of each other in their original establishment, and
down to the eve of the Revolution." Moreover, the Continental
Congress "organized by a voluntary [!] association of the States,
and continued by the successive appointments of the State legislatures,
constituted, in fact, the National Government," etc. This is
fair enough. "Government" in this sense having no higher
function than management services for which original parties have
contracted, there is no reason to contest Story’s language here.
The states could as easily have hired doorkeepers, dogcatchers,
and janitors without making those worthies "sovereign"
over their employers.
the Confederation, Story writes that, "the union thus formed,
was but of a temporary nature, dependent upon the consent of all
the Colonies, now become States, and capable of being dissolved,
at any time by the secession of any one of them."
Becker wrote in 1922 that the Declaration presupposes "a conception
of the [British] empire as a confederation of free peoples submitting
themselves to the same king by an original compact voluntarily entered
into, and terminable, in the case of any member, at the will of
the people concerned." Note the distributive theme. Such things
are lost on the Neo-Unionists, who leave the bulk of the document
unread, in favor of endlessly dwelling on their five favorite words.
reading of George III’s instructions to his peace commissioners
in 1778 is also instructive here. Basically, the king was tired
of the whole thing and said, in effect, give the Americans anything
they want – the status quo of 1763, all their separate colonial
self-government, bake them a cake, just get them to stay in the
empire, however minimally, so we can make a few bucks off rent-seeking
regulations on their external trade. Not a bad deal, really.
than one Southern writer has observed that, had we made peace with
George III, we would have now greater practical local autonomy than
we got by signing up with our own proto-nationalists. The real mistake,
as B. B. Kendrick said in his 1941 presidential address to the Southern
Historical Association, was for the Southern states to ever enter
into any union with the Northern states. Such is the wisdom of hindsight.
we confederated twice. But just when did the basis of union cease
to be "voluntary" (Story’s word) and become, well, less
than voluntary? The milder school of nationalists have settled for
claiming that the Single People come into existence via the 1786
Constitution itself, that is, the Constitution under which we allegedly
live. Naturally enough, it is Little Jamie Madison who provided
the appropriately mushy, middle-range theory to explain such a happy
accomplished his feat, among other means, by fudging the distributive
and collective meanings of "the people." This is a staple
tactic of the nationalists and need not keep us long. It is enough
to say that where "united colonies" or "united states"
can be taken as plural, or where such phrases are ambiguous, nationalists
seize on them as singular. Professor Jaffa is a master of this dark
art, always taking "union," not as a concept to be explained,
but as having always referred to a political trap: the involuntary,
ironclad union, which factually resulted from the success of Lincoln’s
attempts in the 1830s to refute John C. Calhoun’s theses on the
union provide much entertainment by showing how much he had confused
himself and others.
passing, I must also mention Richard B. Morris’s famous essay in
the Columbia Law Review (October 1974) on "sovereignty"
over coastal sea-beds, often cited by Neo-Unionists as tying down
forever the premature birth of the imperium – a body born before
its own conception, in a reverse time-flow whose implications would
stump even Dr. Einstein. Only if we grant Professor Morris plenary
sovereignty over the English language and a truckoad of "implieds,"
and a take as gospel truth bald assertions about the Oneness of
the union cited from a number of proto-nationalists, can his essay
be seen as dispositive.
perhaps we are on Neo-Platonist ground with the union as
or eternal form. Origen of Alexandria believed in the heavenly pre-existence
of souls. Perhaps Neo-Unionists believe the union has existed from
"time out of mind" in pre-created anticipation of an historical-salvational
mission. But that comes near to Gnosticism, and I would never lumber
Neo-Unionists with that, especially those of them who claim to have
read, and understood, Eric Voegelin.
we come back to our more limited hermeneutical task. Nationalists
could contend, I suppose, that anti-nationalists, too, read the
evidence selectively; but Neo-Unionists seldom try to demonstrate
that particular anti-nationalist readings are wrong. They prefer
to sail above all that, gliding through high-minded clouds of inexorable
and ineluctable inevitability in the Airbus of History.
have noted some problems for the Instant Coffee version of unbreakable
union. But now we must ask how – in the evolutionary school’s
progressive nationalist story – far-seeing geniuses could overcome
the horrors of entrenched local self-government and narrow particularism?
There are problems here as well. I shall look at just one of them
One People did come into being via irresistible, quasi-Hegelian
processes, why do the latter always lead only toward centralization
and unity? Why can Southerners not claim that they, too,
underwent a comparable evolution into a separate, Single People
sometime after 1789?
a singular American people sprang up in the 18th century
and seceded from the British Empire, how is it that a Southern
people cannot come into being thereafter with an equally good claim
to independence? What is the difference between the two cases? I
do not think that Professor Jaffa’s contrast of illegal secession
vs. an airy-fairy (operationally useless) "right of revolution"
is much help here.
does slavery explain everything, since the Virginians – to name
just one lot - had that institution at the time of their first secession.
I suppose we could convert Lord Dunmore into a great emancipator
for promising freedom to those Virginian slaves who would fight
for English rule against the American revolutionaries. If slavery
taints everything and everyone within several centuries and hundreds
of miles of its sphere, why support even retrospectively the American
Revolution? Clearly, the British must have been the liberators in
why does the taint of slavery not disqualify certified nationalist
heroes like Madison, John Marshall, Edmund Randolph, and other Southern
Federalists from serious consideration? And if they are all right,
then why are Jefferson Davis and others, who acted in the same American
political tradition as those earlier figures, disqualified? Must
we morally abort both causes?
the Neo-Unionist view, we must not. Slavery had to be endured –
such is the cunning of reason - through Confederation and Constitution
so that, after 620,000 deaths and other destruction, the "saved"
and reinvigorated U.S. state apparatus could bestride the globe,
handing out moral directives to the Serbs, the Afghans, evil axles,
and the like. But when did the American people, plural or singular,
ever sign on for perpetual war for perpetual moral smugness? But
No, they don’t need to: the machinery "goes of itself."
such machinery on the loose, one almost wishes for the return of
Hotel Columbia: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can
is a persistent pretended argument of Unionists that "unanimity"
clinches the case. It is said to matter that the colonies issued
a "unanimous" declaration in 1776. This is less than a
tautology. By definition, any agreement is the unanimous act of
those doing the agreeing. It tells us nothing about the agreement,
the status of those agreeing, etc. No charter of unlimited, organic
unity arises from the mere agreement to something.
held that, hypothetically, the states collectively could agree to
dissolve the union, but that one state could not withdraw on its
own. This undermines his own assertions about a single, aggregated
people, but perhaps that people – via those ratifying conventions,
which spoke only for separate states – agreed to subject its/their
Oneness to some new rule, perhaps under the amending power.
should this be so? The states were competent to confederate, withdraw
to form another federation, and yet suddenly they are found incompetent
to leave the latter? If Single Peoplehood decides the case, we might
expect to find more evidence of such a people than appears to be
available; or, if thirteen distinct peoples knowingly made themselves
into a new people, we need to see more evidence of that than is
usually offered. The theory of a clever swindle by Mr. Madison and
his allies cannot decide things, either. It would have to be shown
that the state conventions could alienate, unawares, the
separate jurisdictions and rights of their constituents permanently
liked to claim that ratification through conventions rather than
through legislatures made the second confederation more solid and
solemn. This squints toward his idea that thirteen peoples consciously
amalgamated themselves. In fact, certain new provisions in the Constitution
would effectively amend each state constitution. No legislature
could amend its own constitution. Conventions were therefore needed,
on existing American theory and practice, to consider the new plan
– not for the unheralded purpose of alienating each state’s birthright.
alienations are commonly achieved only by organized war. I can think
of one such war. Lincoln did not "save" an existing union;
he fashioned a new, involuntary one by his characteristic methods.
But it is not thought polite to question the program or the means;
hence the outcry against DiLorenzo’s book.
The Snare of "Sovereignty" and the Delusion of Social
have hinted that the critique of Old Unionism and Neo-Unionism need
not hinge on the much- mooted concept of "sovereignty."
Sovereignty is an entirely modern notion resulting from the European
state-building process, which set in around 1500 A.D. Bertrand de
Jouvenel put it in context and ably deconstructed it in On Sovereignty.
The problem with sovereignty is that it announces an open-ended,
illimitable claim, by a state, to the subject’s life, liberty, and
this theoretical monstrosity away from kings and awarding it to
"peoples" gains us nothing, for the people never rule
in person. All you get is republican or democratic time-servers,
plunderers, and bureaucrats operating in the name of the people.
Giving such a class of people theoretically illimitable access to
citizens’ life, liberty, and property has not worked out very well.
World War I showed how monstrous the claims had become.
is another way to set up the problem. 16th-century Spanish
Scholastics grounded politics on natural law. As they saw it, society
and property simply exist. There is no need to invent them or organize
them out of nothing. People in society will desire some degree of
protection of life and property. Kings and governments can serve
this purpose. If they go beyond this modest role, they behave unjustly
and remedies may be sought.
remedy does not involve "dissolving society." It is a
practical matter. Least of all does this analysis require anyone
to be "sovereign." You must look outside politics for
metaphysics and ultimate ends, and even for law itself. How the
kings or governments came to be does not much matter, provided they
stay within the law. They are certainly not the source of
shunted such views aside. In 19th-century France, Frédéric
Bastiat worked within the same tradition of analysis. In America,
John Taylor of Caroline discovered much the same point of view.
Quite rightly, Taylor held that in British North America we had
never signed on for the theory of sovereignty so dear to absolute
monarchs and international lawyers. Over time, thirteen or so political
societies had grown up with their own rights and jurisdictions.
was simple, empirical fact. On our theory, no one, save the king,
connected these societies or held jurisdiction over them. Then we
got rid of the king and Parliament, with their competing claims
to sovereignty. None of this bound us to take up abstract sovereignty
achieving independence, we were "sovereign" solely in
the sense that we recognized no external superior. The relation
was entirely negative and could equally well be expressed by such
terms as "self-government," "political freedom,"
or "independence." There was no need for the notion of
sovereignty with its endless implications.
were some who did celebrate sovereignty. People in power were drawn
to it. Taylor’s approach to such issues emerged from his critique,
Construed and Constitutions Vindicated (1820), of the decisions
of Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall’s whole system, said Taylor,
consisted of deducing implications from the theory of sovereignty.
Sovereign states, by definition, had powers X, Y, and Z. The United
States (plural) were "sovereign" (independent) in their
foreign relations. Therefore, – switching gears the
federal government had the power to charter a bank, build
a road to the moon, or create artificial life forms. (The last two
examples are not Taylor’s).
this line of attack, implied federal powers were beyond number,
restrained only by a few negative clauses, which could, on the same
theory, be dispensed with during sovereignty-threatening emergencies.
Taylor rejected this reasoning. He contended that we never had or
needed the European theory of sovereignty. To the extent that England
had adopted it (see Blackstone), we were not bound, having served
the Crown its dismissal papers.
existed, empirically, as thirteen or so political societies. However
those had arisen – this was an historical question, the individuals
composing those societies enjoyed natural rights. They were prior
to the societies and the societies were prior to whatever governmental
arrangement they had made or inherited.
was "sovereign" – not the state bureaucrats, and much
less their common agent, the federal government. Mr. Madison and
his friends had insisted that everything not "delegated"
was retained, either by the states as political societies or by
the people composing those societies as individuals. The amendments
supposedly nailed this down beyond all dispute.
Taylor, any power whatsoever in the hands of Congress derived solely
from the Constitution to which the states had agreed. It did not
exist as an inherent feature of "sovereignty" or as a
deduction from such features. Alongside Taylor, few may claim the
title of strict constructionist. One who can is Raoul Berger. He
rejects Justice Sutherland’s claim (1936) that the king’s "royal
prerogative" in foreign affairs mystically lit upon the presidential
shoulders (by way of intervening institutions) as a consequence
of the declaration in 1776. For Berger as for Taylor, there are
no powers outside those delegated.
the Federalists sought to take back their promises, shortly after
securing ratification, Taylor turned his considerable talents to
sorting things out via natural law reasoning, supplemented with
a dose of English practicality. Despite the mistake later Southern
writers made in taking over the word "sovereignty," few
of them lost sight of the purely instrumental nature of the
union. The union was means and not end.
Lincoln reversed that relationship at great cost.
June 1821, Justice Story wrote his colleague John Marshall regarding
the dangerous doctrines of the Virginians. If those views prevailed,
he said, "We should dread to see the government reduced as
Virginia wished it, to a confederacy; & we [Federalists] are
disposed to construe the Constitution of the U.S. as a frame
of government & not as a petty charter granted to a paltry
corporation for the purpose of regulating a fishery or collecting."
if you can, the Constitution treated as a practical business contract
and the federal regime degraded to doing useful, menial jobs. Imagine
the parties to the contract remaining superior to their Great Agent.
The horror! No great empire was built by delivering the mail. Far-seeing
men like James Madison have always known this.
is no public monument to the Unknown Subcontractor, but the Great
Agent has given himself many monuments.
Lincoln and his war made it possible for later presidents to eschew
unheroic bourgeois escapism in favor of constant wars and moral
uplift, at home and abroad. Now you can see why we must love him;
and why DiLorenzo, for shaking our faith in Lincoln, has become
a public enemy. The central state made war and war made the central
state, to paraphrase Charles Tilly.
truth is out there." ~ Fox Moulder
close with a word to interested readers who might ask how we might
recover the authentic British North American political tradition?
Given the sheer wealth of written material from our revolutionary
era, I suggest that we read that, as opposed to brooding over a
small number of more prestigious "texts," while hoping
for some kind of cabalistic-alchemical-hermetic illumination or
revelation. But I could be wrong.
the original documents. Don’t take the nationalists’ word for it;
and don’t take mine, either. Think for yourselves; you are not in
public school any more. Get a sense of how 18th-century
Americans used their language. War is too important to leave to
the generals, and the historical origins of American political life
are too important to leave to Neo-Unionists.
R. Stromberg [send him mail]
is holder of the JoAnn B. Rothbard Chair in History at the Ludwig
von Mises Institute and a columnist for LewRockwell.com
© 2002 LewRockwell.com
needs your help. Please donate.