[Rushtalk] An Historian Shills for the Warfare State

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Wed Mar 23 22:50:20 MDT 2016

         I used to have a lot of respect for 
DiLorenzo. However, his line about listening to 
the daily pronouncements from the White House or 
the Rush Limbaugh Show (which are basically one 
and the same) - who is he trying to kid?!? The WH 
and Limbaugh haven't even been in the same 
philosophical zip code in the last 8 years!

At 12:20 PM 3/23/2016, Carl Spitzer wrote:

>An Historian Shills for the Warfare State
>by <mailto:TDilo at aol.com>Thomas J. DiLorenzo
>by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
>In a May 4 Washington Post article entitled 
>"Lessons for Iraq from Gettysburg," Post writer 
>David Ignatius reports on how Princeton 
>University historian James McPherson informed a 
>"discussion group sponsored by the secretary of 
>defense" about "how to rebuild societies," 
>drawing his lessons from the period of 
>"Reconstruction" in America (1866­1877). 
>McPherson supposedly told the Defense Department 
>bureaucrats, as they toured the Gettysburg 
>battlefield, that there were "intriguing 
>parallels between postwar Iraq and the postwar 
>South." Like so much of what passes for "Civil 
>War history," such "parallels" are based 
>primarily on lies, myths, and nineteenth-century Republican Party propaganda.
>The Northern army killed some 300,000 southern 
>men ­ one out of four of military age; bombed 
>entire cities and burned others to the ground; 
>and generally pillaged and plundered the entire 
>region, carrying off tens of millions of dollars 
>in private property. Homes, farms, and 
>businesses in huge areas of Virginia, Georgia, 
>and the Carolinas were put to the torch, and 
>gang rape was not uncommon in the Union Army. 
>The entire southern economy was destroyed, and 
>would take more than a century to recover.
>After the war, there was a military occupation 
>run by the Republican Party, which would hold a 
>monopoly of power in the federal government for 
>the succeeding several decades. The "Grand Old 
>Party," as it shamelessly and immodestly calls 
>itself, used that monopoly of power to continue 
>the pillaging and plundering of the South for 
>more than a decade after the war by imposing 
>punitive taxes on southerners, providing very 
>little public services in return, with untold 
>millions being confiscated by Republican Party 
>hacks who swarmed over the region 
>("carpetbaggers") and ran the state and local 
>governments. Little was done for the ex-slaves, 
>despite all the empty rhetoric about "40 acres 
>and a mule." Why would the Republican Party, the 
>Party of Big Business, use the powers of 
>government to help the ex-slaves when it could 
>use that power to help itself instead?
>Southerners, only five percent of whom had ever 
>owned slaves, naturally objected to being 
>plundered by an occupying army for an entire 
>decade after their country had been destroyed by 
>that same army. The "lesson for Iraq" in all of 
>this, according to James McPherson, is that 
>southerners who opposed being abused and 
>exploited in this manner should be thought of as 
>"an insurgency," just today's Arab terrorists, 
>led by Osama bin Laden, are. The grandchildren 
>and great grandchildren of Thomas Jefferson, 
>James Madison, Patrick Henry, John Randolph, 
>James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, John Marshall, and 
>other prominent southerners are apparently no 
>different from today's terrorists according to 
>McPherson, as reported by David Ignatius.
>The Republican Party, which Ignatius equates 
>with "the Union," was supposedly "unprepared" 
>for southern opposition to its plundering spree. 
>Consequently, the "army of occupation was too 
>small . . . " Lesson Number Two, courtesy of 
>McPherson, is therefore to send more troops to 
>Iraq, perhaps even by instituting a new 
>Lincolnian conscription law. (Even if McPherson 
>does not personally endorse conscription, such 
>talk on his part encourages those who do, such 
>as the Defense Department bureaucrats whom he lectured to in Gettysburg).
>Watching the Fox News Channel or listening to 
>the daily pronouncements from the White House or 
>the Rush Limbaugh Show (which are basically one 
>and the same), one "learns" that despite all 
>outward appearances, things are going pretty 
>well in Iraq these days. McPherson drew another 
>parallel to the South of the late 1860s in his 
>Gettysburg talk. Ignatius quotes him as saying: 
>"In 1870 things looked pretty good ­ if not 
>rosy, at least optimistic." Why is this? 
>According to Ignatius, it is because Northern 
>carpetbaggers were succeeding at effectively 
>stealing millions of acres of southern land by 
>first imposing punitive, unpayable property 
>taxes on it, forcing the owners to sell the land 
>to them at fire sale prices. Of course, Ignatius 
>doesn't put it quite that way. He 
>euphemistically writes: "Northerners were 
>investing in what they believed would be a new South."
>But the 
>History of 
>paints a very different picture of the "success" 
>of Reconstruction as of 1870. For example, it 
>notes that "Never had a completer ruin fallen 
>upon any city than fell upon Charleston." By 
>1870, the Documentary History notes, the entire 
>Tennessee Valley consisted "for the most part of 
>plantations in a state of semi-ruin," with many 
>others "of which the ruin is . . . total and 
>complete. The trail of war is visible throughout 
>the valley and burnt up [cotton] gin houses, 
>ruined bridges, mills, and factories . . . and 
>large tracts of once cultivated land stripped of every vestige of fencing."
>In Virginia, "from Harper's Ferry to New Market 
>. . . the country was almost a desert . . . . 
>The barns were all burned; a great many of the 
>private dwellings were burned; chimneys standing 
>without houses, and houses standing without 
>roofs." In North Georgia there was "a degree of 
>destitution that would draw pity from a stone."
>To James McPherson such scenes are "if not 
>rosy," at least "optimistic." As Bill Clinton 
>might say, it all depends on what the meaning of "rosy" is.
>Ignatius also quotes McPherson as saying that 
>"the insurgency" of the 1860s was so "potent" 
>that it "staged bloody riots in Memphis and New 
>Orleans." The implication is that there was 
>complete lawlessness in the South, a "matrix of 
>lawlessness," as Ignatius says.
>Like so much "Civil War history" that is spouted 
>by McPherson and most other "mainstream" court 
>historians, this is simply more 
>nineteenth-century Republican Party propaganda 
>passed off as truth. As Ludwell Johnson, 
>professor emeritus of history at William and 
>Mary College, documents in 
>and South: The American Iliad, 1848­1877, there 
>was a riot in Memphis during Reconstruction, but 
>the main protagonists did not include 
>ex-Confederates (McPherson's "insurgents"). 
>Instead, it was primarily a conflict between 
>blacks and recent Irish immigrants. Under the 
>military dictatorship that was established in 
>Memphis by the Republican Party, all 
>ex-Confederates were evicted from public 
>offices. In their place were Irish immigrants. 
>The mayor, most aldermen, and 90 percent of the 
>Memphis police force were Irish, according to 
>Johnson, who explains the genesis of the riot (p. 220):
>Competition for jobs between Irish and blacks 
>was a continual source of friction and produced 
>numerous fights. Another source of hostility was 
>the garrison of 4000 Negro troops, whose camps 
>became a focus of crime. The soldiers 
>themselves, when drunk, occasionally robbed 
>shops and individuals, pushed whites off the 
>sidewalk into the mud, and so forth. Some 
>Memphians suspected that Stanton employed Negro 
>garrisons in hopes of provoking violence that he 
>could use to political advantage. As early as 
>the fall of 1865, General Grant had warned that 
>the use of black occupation troops would lead to trouble.
>The riot commenced after a street brawl during 
>which "a shot was fired, by whom no one knows." 
>After that, there was "an attack by police and 
>laboring-class whites, apparently mainly Irish, on the black community."
>This is remarkably similar to the scene of the 
>New York City draft riots of 1863. Indeed, as 
>Johnson correctly points out: "Hitherto urban 
>race riots had been a Northern phenomenon. 
>Between 1832 and 1849, for instance, 
>Philadelphia alone experienced five major 
>anti-Negro Disturbances, and, of course, there 
>was the New York riot of 1863 . . ."
>Johnson then gets to the heart of the matter 
>with regard to the effects of the Republican 
>Party's Reconstruction propaganda which is so 
>faithfully repeated by today's court historians, 
>such as James McPherson: "Although these 
>occurrences were not taken as conclusive 
>evidence of the incurable depravity of Northern 
>society, the Memphis and New Orleans riots [the 
>latter of which was ended by the actions taken 
>by former Confederate General James Longstreet] 
>and other incidents, real or fabricated, were 
>cited by Republicans as revealing a continuing 
>rebellion and the utter failure of [President 
>Andrew] Johnson's system of Reconstruction."
>The parallels between the Memphis riot and the 
>1863 New York City draft riots are in fact 
>remarkable. As Iver Bernstein wrote in 
>New York City Draft Riots (p. 120): "In April 
>1863 longshoremen's attempts to enforce a 
>standard wage rate and an ‘all-white' rule on 
>the docks led to a protracted binge of racial 
>violence . . . . For three days mobs of Irish 
>longshoremen beat up black men found working 
>along the docks and fought Metropolitan Police 
>who attempted to save several blacks who defended themselves against lynching."
>Ignoring real history and relying exclusively on 
>the nineteenth-century Republican Party 
>propaganda line, McPherson informed his 
>Gettysburg audience that conflicts such as the 
>Memphis riot of the 1860s were analogous to "the 
>Sunni-Shiite divide that has poisoned postwar Iraq."
>McPherson further informed his audience of 
>bureaucrats that Reconstruction's purportedly 
>noble objective of trying to "remake the South 
>into a version of New England" "suffered" from 
>"haphazard tactics" which were the source of the 
>policy's ultimate failure. There is a grain of 
>truth to this statement. New Englanders always 
>thought of themselves as "God's Chosen People." 
>Moreover, they also believed it was their duty 
>to force all others to become like them, or they 
>would burn in hell. That is what made a 
>Northerner a "Yankee": the willingness to use 
>force ­ even mass killing ­ to remake society in his image.
>The phony part of McPherson's statement is the 
>insinuation that New England was some kind of 
>egalitarian Nirvana, and that the Republican 
>Party rhetoric of "land reform" (along the lines 
>of what occurred later in history in most 
>countries that were taken over by communist 
>insurgents) could turn the South into a "version 
>of New England." Even if such a communistic 
>fantasy were achieved it would not have turned 
>the South into New England, for New England was 
>anything but egalitarian ­ especially when it 
>came to its small black population.
>As Leon Litwack wrote in 
>of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 
>1790­1860 (p. 97), "While statutes and customs 
>circumscribed the Negro's political and judicial 
>rights [throughout the Northern states], 
>extralegal codes ­ enforced by public opinion ­ 
>relegated him to a position of social 
>inferiority and divided northern society into 
>‘Brahmins and Pariahs.'" Furthermore, "In 
>virtually every phase of existence, Negroes 
>found themselves systematically separated from whites."
>Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and Race in New 
>England, 1780­1860, Joanne Pope Melish of Brown 
>University writes that even though slavery was 
>finally ended in New England by 1857, most of 
>the New England slaves were not freed but sold 
>to southern plantation owners. New Englanders 
>then spent decades doing everything imaginable 
>to eradicate all black people from their midst. 
>This included "targeting people of color from 
>‘warning out' as undesirables under the legal 
>settlement laws; taxing their presence; 
>advocating their wholesale transportation to 
>Africa . . . ; and finally, conducting 
>terroristic, armed raids on urban black 
>communities and the institutions that served them," Ku Klux Klan style.
>New England blacks were even precluded from 
>being buried in the same cemeteries as whites, 
>and in some cases black corpses were dug up and 
>removed from "white" cemeteries. "New England 
>clerics led widespread efforts to raise funds" 
>for the purpose of shipping all free blacks to 
>Africa (p. 193). In antebellum New England there 
>was often a "crescendo of mob violence against 
>people of color," writes Professor Melish, which 
>included "assaulting their communities, burning 
>down their homes, and attacking their advocates" 
>(p. 199). There were dozens of such riots 
>throughout the New England states during the 
>antebellum period, so it should be no surprise 
>at all that many of the same people who had 
>rioted in the North behaved in the same way 
>after migrating to cities like Memphis.
>The war itself so devastated the southern 
>economy that it would take more than a century 
>for average southern income to achieve the same 
>proportion compared to the North that existed in 
>1860. So-called Reconstruction added fuel to 
>this economic fire by imposing high taxes and 
>out-of-control government spending and borrowing 
>on a region that was in dire need of tax 
>amnesty. The male ex-slaves were all recruited 
>to register and vote Republican to become part 
>of this plunder, while whites were 
>disenfranchised for a while at the beginning of 
>the period. This naturally ­ and needlessly ­ 
>generated even greater racial animosity in the 
>region. When Reconstruction ended, the 
>Republican Party occupiers went home and left 
>the hapless ex-slaves to fend for themselves.
>The Northern investors and businessmen who 
>benefited so much from the plundering of the 
>South finally "turned their attention to the 
>West," said McPherson in his Gettysburg 
>presentation. Translated into plain English, 
>this means that the U.S. army devoted its full 
>attention to its campaign of ethnic genocide 
>against the Plains Indians to make way for the 
>government-subsidized transcontinental 
>railroads. The amount of swindling and 
>corruption associated with this venture rivaled that of Reconstruction.
>To McPherson (and Ignatius) it was not so much 
>the invasion, destruction, and subsequent 
>plundering of the South during Reconstruction 
>that was responsible for the South's economic 
>demise, but "giving up on Reconstruction." Thus, 
>if there is a lesson to be learned from James 
>McPherson's presentation to the Defense 
>Department bureaucrats in Gettysburg it is this: 
>Pay no attention to actual facts, historical or 
>otherwise; rely instead on the politically 
>correct, "virtual history" concocted by court 
>historians; ignore the current "troubles" in 
>Iraq that result in the death of more and more 
>young Americans (and Iraqi civilians) every 
>single day; send more troops; and make no plans 
>to ever end the military occupation. That, says 
>David Ignatius, would be failing to learn the 
>lessons of American history, Washington Post style.
>May 11, 2005
>Thomas J. DiLorenzo is the author of 
>Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His 
>Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers 
>Press/Random House). His latest book is 
>Capitalism Saved America: The Untold Story of 
>Our Country's History, from the Pilgrims to the 
>Present (Crown Forum/Random House, August 2004).
>Rushtalk mailing list
>Rushtalk at csdco.com
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