[Rushtalk] Lincoln UNMASKED

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Sat Sep 2 18:10:15 MDT 2017

Lincoln Unmasked

By Tom Woods

August 31, 2017

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Thomas DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln (2002) was as much an event as it
was a book. Here was a brutally frank treatment of a political figure we
are all expected to treat with a quiet awe, and certainly not with the
kind of serious and sustained scrutiny reserved for mere mortals. With
every major aspect of the standard narrative that students are taught
about Lincoln laughably and grotesquely false, this book was a shocking
reminder of suppressed truths. It sold extremely well, managing the
truly astonishing feat of reaching number two in Amazon sales rank in
the face of (surprise!) a complete media blackout. That kind of success,
in the absence of a major marketing and publicity campaign, is almost
completely unheard of.

In the wake of his last book, How Capitalism Saved America, DiLorenzo
has returned to Lincoln once more in the brand new Lincoln Unmasked.
Although readers should without a doubt read both books, Lincoln
Unmasked is in some ways even more incisive and relentless than The Real
Lincoln. To get an idea of this latest book’s breadth, consider just
some of its chapter titles: “The Lincoln Myths — Exposed,” “Fake Lincoln
Quotes,” “The Myth of the Morally Superior u2018Yankee,’” “An
Abolitionist Who Despised Lincoln,” “The Truth about States’ Rights,”
“Lincoln’s Big Lie,” “A u2018Great Crime’: The Arrest Warrant for the
Chief Justice of the United States,” “The Great Railroad Lobbyist,” “The
Great Protectionist,” “The Great Inflationist,” “Lincolnite
Totalitarians,” “The Lincoln Cult on Imprisoning War Opponents,” and
“Contra the Lincoln Cult.”

Time to buy old US gold coins

The reader of Lincoln Unmasked is in for a great many mischievous
pleasures. Consider: Harry Jaffa, the dean of what DiLorenzo calls the
“Lincoln cultists,” has more than once compared the Southern cause to
that of Nazi Germany. DiLorenzo embarrasses Jaffa in this book by
pointing out passages in Hitler’s Mein Kampf in which the German leader
expressed his unwavering opposition to the cause of states’ rights and
political decentralization (which, as a dictator seeking absolute power,
he naturally sought to overturn in Germany). Hitler even adopted
Lincoln’s fanciful retelling of American history in which the states
were creatures of the Union rather than vice versa. The Real Lincoln: A
Ne... Thomas J. Dilorenzo Best Price: $7.96 Buy New $9.82 

(as of 05:12 EDT - Details) 

In Germany, Hitler promised that the Nazis “would totally eliminate
states’ rights altogether: Since for us the state as such is only a
form, but the essential is its content, the nation, the people, it is
clear that everything else must be subordinated to its sovereign
interests. In particular we cannot grant to any individual state within
the nation and the state representing it state sovereignty and
sovereignty in point of political power.” Thus the “mischief of
individual federated states…must cease and will some day cease….
National Socialism as a matter of principle must lay claim to the right
to force its principles on the whole German nation without consideration
of previous federated state boundaries.” Which side was the Nazi one
again, Professor Jaffa?

DiLorenzo punctures all the typical Lincoln myths (about slavery, the
war, and so on) and then some. One example will have to suffice:
Lincoln’s admirers then and now, anxious to show him to be a convinced
Christian, claim that Lincoln exclaimed, after viewing the graves at
Gettysburg: “I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do
love Jesus!” The trouble is, the quotation is phony: Lincoln never said
anything like it. By all accounts a skeptic, Lincoln had to be
transformed by his supporters into a respectable, pious Christian. No
wonder one astute clergyman observed that Lincoln became a Christian
“six months after his death.”

One of the most important contributions of Lincoln Unmasked is its
treatment of how the Lincoln myth is employed today. The Lincoln legacy
can be and has been cited on behalf of all manner of political
atrocities, from the decimation of civil liberties to the waging of war
against civilian populations. The religious veneer of Lincoln’s
political rhetoric seared into the American consciousness the idea of
the U.S. government as an instrument of God’s will, to be employed
without mercy against any force so impious as to resist it. This
conception of the federal government works even for politicians who
might feel uncomfortable with openly religious language: the idea of a
righteous central authority steamrolling all opposition — ipso facto
wicked and perverse, of course — as part of the inevitable forward march
of  Lincoln Unmasked: What... Thomas J. Dilorenzo Best Price: $6.00 Buy
New $9.92 

(as of 02:48 EDT - Details) history fits quite nicely into just about
any nationalist agenda, left or right. This is why the Lincoln myth is
so stubborn, so resistant to evidence, and so difficult to overturn: the
entire American political class has a vital stake in its preservation.

Eric Foner, the Marxist professor of history who has spent much of his
career at Columbia University, has even cited Lincoln on behalf of the
preservation of the Soviet Union. DiLorenzo cites a February 1991
article in The Nation called “Lincoln’s Lesson,” in which Foner
denounced the secession movements in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and
Georgia, and called upon Mikhail Gorbachev to suppress them with the
same ruthlessness Lincoln showed the South. According to Foner, no
“leader of a powerful nation” should tolerate “the dismemberment of the
Soviet Union.” “The Civil War,” he explained with approval, “was a
central step in the consolidation of national authority in the United
States.” And then: “The Union, Lincoln passionately believed, was a
permanent government. Gorbachev would surely agree.” For all the talk
about slavery, there it is in a nutshell: the “Civil War” and Lincoln’s
legacy involved the violent suppression of independence, exactly what
Foner wanted to see in the Soviet Union. What better condemnation of
Lincoln could we ask for?

The Best of Tom Woods

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Tom Woods [send him mail; visit his website], who holds a Ph.D. in
history from Columbia University, is the author of a dozen books,
including two New York Times bestsellers. Build up your libertarian
ammunition with one of his free books, at TomsFreeBooks.com.

Copyright © 2017 Tom Woods

Previous article by Tom Woods: The Libertarian Pushback



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