Ron Paul is wrong on the Civil War and slavery

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If you’ve ever wondered why the establishment goes nutso at the mention of Ron Paul, it’s because his core message—that the Federal government has wrongfully usurped power and perverted what the Founders established—strikes the beast at the heart. Check out this attack, all the more devious by its pretended admiration for Paul’s originalist stand on the Constitution. Apparently, it’s ok to profess devotion to the Constitution as long as you don’t really appreciate (or mention) that today’s assualt on liberty originated in Mr. Lincoln’s War—instead, you’re supposed to blame “those liberals” or “those RINOS” or “the threat of Islamomeanies”—ANYTHING other than the facts:

For years I have admired Congressman Ron Paul’s principled stance on spending and the Constitution. That said, he really damaged himself with his remarks on Meet the Press on December 23, 2007 when he blamed President Lincoln for the Civil War, saying, “Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war…

[President Abraham Lincoln] did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic.”

This is historical revisionism of the worst order, and it must be addressed.

Who says historical revisionism is automatically a bad thing? Revisionism about Joseph Stalin’s rule swept through the Soviet Union after he died, and the revisionists were right. In this case, Mr. DeVore, by challenging Paul’s contention, must line up his facts in a strong argument to disprove Paul’s assertion that Mr. Lincoln’s War destroyed “the original intent of the republic.”

Let’s see how he does. Here’s his next assertion:

For Congressman Paul’s benefit – and for his supporters who may not know – seven states illegally declared their “independence” from the United States before Lincoln was sworn in as President.

Whoa, there, Sparky. On what basis can you claim those States acted “illegally”? He doesn’t say. So we’re supposed to accept his claim on face value.

Our story thus far: Paul 1, DeVore 0.

The rest is a tip-toe through all the old chestnuts of Lincoln-worshipping, Yankeefied fairy tales. Slavery was the real cause of the war, the South started it by not allowing the Northern navy to re-supply Fort Sumter, blah-blah, glory, glory halleluiah, and all that.

Then, so he seems to think, he cuts to the legal core of the argument:

As for states not having the right to secede, that is obvious, as the United States was created with the ratification of the Constitution hence only a legal dissolving of the same could allow a state to become independent. The states that voted for secession in 1860-61 could have followed the legal route in calling for a Constitutional convention or for an amendment to the Constitution allowing them to secede. But, they chose the route of rebellion and war instead.

Where to start? It’s obvious only to the author that the ratification of the Constitution, which was done STATE by STATE, could only be rescinded by the entire body – which effectively meant it would never be allowed. So, by resisting the central government’s perversion of the original intent, the Southern States are at fault for everything that Lincoln, Sherman, and Sheridan did to prevent self-government. Some argument.

And it gets worse:

… Congressman Ron Paul has rejected the most fundamental aspect of liberty which he and all libertarian-minded Americans profess: that the most important role of any government is to first secure the blessings of liberty for its people, that “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Given that slaves never gave their consent to be governed, the very existence of slavery would be at fundamental odds with everything in which Mr. Paul claims to believe.

Talk about cherry-picking the facts. First of all, the Declaration of Independence is NOT a proclamation of Marxist equality, but – as the name implies – is a manifesto of the right of all peoples to govern themselves. Also, slavery persisted in the North until the 13th amendment was ratified. The war was not about enforcing equality, but about whether the central government could usurp powers the Founders never contemplated. And if the war was a struggle to force the South to live up to the equal rights guaranteed to all, why did the Nothern states allow slavery until after the war, and deny freed slave the right to vote in their states? In 1867, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Minnesota rejected proposals to allow blacks to vote. The Republican Party Platform of 1868 provided that “The question of suffrage in all the loyal States properly belong to the people of those States,” thereby endorsing selective liberation. In 1883, Oregon rejected an attempt to remove an amendment prohibiting blacks from voting. Why didn’t DC invade those States after teaching those Southerners a lesson in how to be good Americans, hmmm?

Simple—because the argument that the War for Southern Independence was fought over slavery is pure propaganda. In the real world, wars are fought over money and power, not to perform good deeds for downtrodden people in far-away places (true in 1861 America, and true in Iraq today). That, of course, is why Mr. DeVore (send him email) has to attack Paul—that’s the only way he can defend the DC empire Lincoln founded.

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