The best thing I can say about Disney’s Hall of Presidents is that it’s air conditioned.
On a hot day a couple weeks ago when I was in town to speak at the Libertarian convention, we spent a day at Disney. (No kids this time.)
I knew the Hall of Presidents would be horrifying, but the show was starting just as we walked by, and it was a hot day, so I figured what the heck.
I didn’t plan to write about it, so I didn’t take notes. But here’s what I remember.
The Politically Incorr... Best Price: $1.51 Buy New $8.71 (as of 06:15 UTC - Details) The presidents, we were told, were our “leaders of liberty.”
It never got much better than that.
The American Revolution was described as a struggle to “choose our own leaders.” As if the problem with George III was that his office was hereditary.
The American revolutionaries were already choosing their own leaders. What they wanted was self-government — to be governed by their own colonial legislatures.
But when you favor centralized government in the 21st century, you’ll naturally want to obscure the true meaning of the American Revolution, since it represents a wholesale rebuke of your entire position.
We got a bit about Andrew Jackson as a war hero, and then, with the word “nullification” on the screen, we were told that the issue of slavery began haunting the Union. The nullification crisis of 1832-33 had precisely zero to do with slavery, but again, if decentralization is to be properly demonized, any expression of it must be suppressed or associated with odious causes.
Then we skip ahead to Lincoln, who dominates the entire presentation. Anyone watching would leave with the impression that Lincoln launched his invasion of the South in order to free the slaves. No reputable historian believes that, but the American public sure does, thanks to cartoonish nonsense like this.
As my listeners know, Lincoln repeatedly insisted he could not and would not interfere with slavery in the states where it existed, and that in effect if the southern states returned to the Union and paid their taxes, they could keep their slaves.
Lincoln supported an amendment to the Constitution that would have forever prevented the abolition of slavery.
And thanks to the research of Phil Magness, we now know that Lincoln was searching — throughout his presidency, to the very end — for a place to resettle the freed blacks, instead of integrating them into American society.
That didn’t make it into the Disney version. Meltdown: A Free-Marke... Best Price: $0.25 Buy New $20.00 (as of 02:20 UTC - Details)
Then we learned about Theodore Roosevelt: why, he fought against monopolies and helped the middle class.
Actually, the “monopolies” he fought against were lowering prices for consumers, and his assistance to the middle class was basically nonexistent, as far as I can see.
TR took delight in exercising executive power in ways undreamed of by the Framers, but we learn nothing about that, either.
Then we get to Franklin Roosevelt, who during the Great Depression — which had no cause, apparently — used his powers to make everyone better off.
No one in that audience would have had the slightest inkling that unemployment remained in double digits throughout the 1930s.
After the obligatory JFK idolatry, we got the apotheosis of Lyndon Johnson — who evidently had nothing to do with the Vietnam War, which is glided over, but who helped poor people with his Great Society programs.
The pathetic results of those programs were likewise nowhere to be found.
There was more, but you get the idea: cartoonish propaganda we would laugh at if we saw it in any other country.