Saturday, October 14, 2006

Woods on Lincoln Unmasked

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 both his support for Lincoln’s war and 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.

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? Read the rest of Dr. Thomas Woods' article

One of the real difficulties advocates of states' rights fight constantly is the straw man argument surrounding the validity of the philosophy of states' rights and the connection to the Southern states passion for the ideal. Once the topic surfaces a discussion invariably ensues concerning the great morality of "Honest" Abe and the evils of slavery. The slavery issue aside the misperceptions of Lincoln and his intentions, motivations and true philosophy of government are seldom discussed completely. After all the man has a mythos surrounding him, to attack or disparage that mythos is to attack America itself, or so the thought process goes.

To be certain Mr. Lincoln was a key actor in the second scene of American history, he followed faithfully in the footsteps of the Federalist (misnomer there as they were neo-empirist at the worst and nationalist at the best but certainly not federalist). He made reality many of the things that the writers of the federalist papers, those that worked so hard to sell the idea of a beneficial and benign union to the states and the people in the 1780's. Prior to a cataclysmic event as momentous as states actually exercising their rights and sovereignty in 1861 no nationalist could dream of expanding the scope and breadth of the federal union to mean what it meant after 1867.

Mr. Lincoln is, as stated above the key actor in this play in the second scene, but he is not alone. Those of us that advocate states' rights are mistaken to pin all of our arguments against the encroachment of the Federal Government into areas it was never intended to go solely on Lincoln. He did not state the march toward a national international leviathan. However, it is important from time to time to focus on the man, his false myth and his nefarious acts. It is also interesting to see who admired his philosophy. As Hitler full well realized, a dictatorship cannot thrive without a strong central government - meaning states cannot be allowed any rights at all.

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