• A Paleo Guide for the Holidays: February.

    Email Print
    Share

    Remember
    LewRockwell.com in your contributions
    . Once again we here at
    LewRockwell.com bring you a guide for this months holidays.

    February,
    leap day and lunar months. February is special at it changes its
    numbers. On leap years, the year we experience the untrammeled joy
    of a presidential race, we get ONE MORE DAY to enjoy the circus.

    When
    a novice in "This Movement of Ours" I encountered a libertarian
    magazine dedicated to both libertarianism and calendar reform.

    Libertarianism
    is an everyday topic here, but calendar reform, that is rare.

    They
    proposed 13 months of 28 days, to wit, lunar months. They would
    take two to three days from the non-February months and create a
    month called, if memory serves, "Sol."

    It
    might be neater if all the months had the same number of days, but
    would it be worth the disruption? One could argue the same of the
    metric system or most of the State's innovations.

    Which
    is the point about change: our way is one contract at a time. Our
    Enemy the State, by fiat.

    Lincoln's
    Birthday, Feb. 12. Regarding our 16th President there
    is precious little a paleo would celebrate. Let us start with the
    "precious little" that a paleo may celebrate of Abraham
    Lincoln.

    He
    was one of the best trial lawyers to emerge on the American scene.
    His was a background of grinding poverty and of limited formal schooling.
    To go from that to the top of a learned profession is something
    a paleo, or anyone, can properly admire.

    For
    us paleo's, the problem with Lincoln is his politics. The modern
    American state is his legacy. More so than Wilson, Roosevelt II
    or Lyndon Johnson, Lincoln created a State that no internal component
    could defy.

    For
    the dream [nightmare?] of a consolidated, national government during
    the adoption campaign for in 1787 was fulfilled through Lincoln.
    In terms of growth Americans went from a federal government that
    represented 1-2% of the gross domestic product to one of 20% by
    1865 [I am indebted for this analysis from Jeffrey Roger Hummel's
    excellent Emancipating
    Slaves, Enslaving Free Men
    ].

    Returning
    to Lincoln as lawyer there is an issue worth noting: he was a major
    trial lawyer in a rapidly innovating area of American life that
    was heavily state-sponsored and controlled. It would be comparable
    to being a trial lawyer involved in the airline or radio business
    in the 1920's and 30's.

    What
    about ending slavery?

    Two
    points:

    1. There is
      considerable evidence that slavery was a dying institution in
      the upper South. Slavery needed constant governmental intervention
      from a Fugitive Slave Act to conscription by local militias
      to keep it profitable. Prominent leaders of the Confederacy
      believed the institution was doomed with an independent Confederacy
      as fugitive slaves would undermine the institution fatally.

    2. If the
      "peculiar institution" would end through natural causes
      then was the cost of forcibly ending it justified? This takes
      us to the first point: paleo's don't embrace or eschew change
      per se. We just prefer it "one contract at a time"
      and not by State fiat.

    The
    cost of freeing slaves came at the price of enslaving many free
    men, latching onto this land of liberty a State ten times its former
    size and establishing a federal government that no state or combination
    therein could readily defy.

    Which
    takes us to a weird consolation for a paleo of Abraham Lincoln.
    You know there is something wrong with a philosophy that consumes
    its' own heroes. That is what is happening to Abraham Lincoln. He
    used to have his own holiday and now he is lumped in with a holiday
    for all Presidents. When alive he burned with political ambition,
    to be in the limelight of national politics.

    Today
    he holds sway among Court historians and neo-conservatives. Isn't
    that a mark of how far he has fallen?

    Ash
    Wednesday, Feb. 13. For Christians we begin forty days of Lent.
    For us it is a time of mortification, not to re-enact Jesus's suffering
    and death, but to remember. This is a real Holy Day, not a secularist
    shadow of the real thing. We set these days apart from others to
    reconnect spiritually. Let us pray.

    Valentines
    Day, Feb. 14. A saint who commerates romantic love. A further confirmation
    of C.S.Lewis's notion that sin represents corruptions of pleasures,
    but that pleasure is Providential.

    Years
    ago Johnnie Carson was lambasting Valentine's Day as just another
    opportunity for women to play "gimme." Perhaps someone
    who has been married five times is going to be jaded about Romance.
    He is living proof of Samuel Johnson's dicta of re-marriage ["the
    triumph of hope over experience"].

    As
    a tail end member of the baby boom [1956] of course We knew that
    sex was invented by us….hey wait a moment; My parents must have….but
    wait their parents must have….you know, this has been going on
    for a long time. Madeira, my dear?

    Presidents
    Day, Feb. 18. This year it falls on the 18th. Paleo's
    are happy on any day that government closes. The reason we have
    this holiday has little to do with celebrating American Presidents,
    rather it has to do with two Presidents we used to honor separately
    in February being consolidated into one holiday.

    As
    noted above "…there is something wrong with a philosophy
    that consumes its' own heroes." Statism has triumphed due to
    war, as war is still the "health of the state" [thank
    you, Randolph Bourne]. To get the war, though, you first need the
    warrior President.

    Of
    the three branches of the federal government, statism has needed
    and used the executive branch more than the Congress or Judiciary.

    But
    in the effort by the statist to celebrate all Presidents with this
    holiday they fall to banality.

    What
    is a paleo to do? Remember Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Jackson [on
    the National Bank, not on the Tariff Crisis or Cherokee relocation]
    or the last good Democrat, Grover Cleveland.

    Washington's
    Birthday, Feb. 22. "First in war, first in Peace," author
    of a Farewell Address that guided our country toward Republic and
    away from Empire. A man of such impeccable integrity that even his
    political enemies trusted him.

    Yes,
    he supported the awful Alien and Sedition Act, enforced the Whiskey
    tax [actually resistance to that tax killed it, but that is another
    matter] and was a Federalist.

    There
    is something of a fraud involved in our first George President.

    Anti-Federalist
    agitation had stymied adoption of the 1787 Constitution overthrowing
    the Articles of Confederation. What broke the opposition were two
    items: that the first President would be George Washington and that
    the Congress would enact a Bill of Rights as Amendments to the Constitution.

    What
    is the fraud?

    That
    someday someone of less impeccable integrity would be President,
    but we would still be stuck with the far more centralized Constitution
    instead of the Confederation.

    Still,
    it seems almost mythic: an American President who was trusted by
    all the political players because of his honesty and integrity.
    An experience unhappily remote from our own.

    February
    4, 2002

    Alan
    Turin [send him mail]
    an attorney by training, works in the computer industry.

    LRC
    needs your support. Please donate.

    Email Print
    Share