A recent article by EJ Dionne noted the upcoming 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and it urged the widespread adoption of the leftist view of that war: that it was all about slavery. Unfortunately, the article ignores the fact that, as in all things politic, "it ain't so simple".
There is no such thing as a "good war".
desire to go to war is all about one thing, and one thing only: Money.
The slavery issue was just a way for Lincoln to make war into a “moral
imperative”. In our time, “terrorism” is similarly used to justify
Conquest is little more than a
means for the elites -- who profit from the endless financial rape of
mass numbers of people -- to either gain or retain "tax territory".
territory simply translates into "wealth" -- money. Control more
territory, and you control more people and the wealth they create. The
more tax territory a government seizes, the more powerful an army and
spoils system it can support. A powerful army makes possible further
conquests of additional tax territory. Of course, if anything comes
along that threatens a government's tax territory, expect a brutal
Which brings us back to the Civil War.
believe the North's fight was motivated by an altruistic purpose, such
as abolishing slavery, is to believe in fairy tales and Santa Claus.
It, like every other fight in history, was about tax territory. The
United States government didn't want to lose a large chunk of its tax
territory, and so a fight was inevitable when the southern states
decided they didn't want to continue being the cash cow for the
Northern-dominated congress and its decades-long transfer of billions in
southern wealth to the North.
Had Lincoln allowed the
South to secede, slavery as an institution would have collapsed on its
own. Besides the fact that it had become a huge political liability,
there were pricey related expenses (enforcement, social, uprisings,
mistreatment) which were rapidly overtaking any profitability. One can
look at modern examples of subsidized industries that collapsed even
after decades of government protection and subsidization -- steel,
autos, textiles, etc.
The Fugitive Slave Act
was in effect a direct subsidy to slaveowners at the expense of federal
taxpayers. It worked to an extent, socializing the costs of capturing
runaway slaves. But even with it, slaves still escaped. Had individual
owners been required to pay their own enforcement costs for chasing
down runaways, the entire institution would have collapsed before the
War. Fugitive slave laws were subsidies that skewed the actual costs of
the chattel slavery system, thereby helping it compete in the market
against free labor.
Economic reality would have caught
up with slavery in very short order under an independent south. Private
slavery was subsidized by the public treasury and in that respect it
functioned only as well as any other implementation of socialism: it
externalized the costs of its activities on others. But eventually, all
socialized industries collapse on their own.
wrongs don't make a right". The principle applies to governments as
much as it applies to children on a playground. While the slaves were
freed from private owners as a result of the Civil War, the entire
population of the country became enslaved to overbearing government
bureaucracy that intruded into daily life with surveillance, subsidies,
taxes, the draft, speech prohibitions, and regulation. That government
has only continued to grow to the point where it now steals half of all
wealth individuals create every year. Americans to this day are
enslaved to the colossus that emerged from the Civil War.
Can one justify freeing slaves by enslaving free men? Can altruistic motives be ascribed to northern politicians who dragged 168,649 young men
off the streets to fight for the freedom of others? Lincoln’s draft
caused the death of about a fifth of them. One must not deny the
fundamental injustice done to those young men. An instructive read on
this subject is Jeffrey Rogers Hummel’s 'Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men'.
one justify freeing slaves at the price of subjecting non-slave-owning
women and children to rape and murder? Unleash an army and rape and
plunder will always travel with it. The Civil War was no exception. In
her treatise “Rape in the American Civil War: Race, Class, and Gender in the Case of Harriet McKinley and Perry Pierson”,
Maureen Stutzman found few rapes (335) prosecuted by the Union army.
Most of the recorded instances were limited to 1863 and 1864 . One
wonders why there were no rape prosecutions recorded earlier in the war,
or in 1865. Lack of records does not equate to a lack of rapes.
Southern legal records were often destroyed – so civilian reports of
rapes and other crimes by invading troops are hard to come by. In
addition, in an environment of subjugation of the southern citizenry,
there was considerable reluctance to report rapes committed by
Can one justify freeing slaves at
the price of slaughtering non-slaveowners? Various estimates suggest
over 50,000 southern civilians were killed as ‘collateral damage’ due to
the indiscriminate shelling of towns and cities – many of which were
occupied mostly by women and children.
Slavery could have been ended the same way it was done within the limits of Washington, D.C.,
as well as in many other places in the world, and without bloodshed:
simply by compensating slaveowners for the change in national rules.
But apparently, that was too much to ask of the northern states, which
had been transferring southern riches in a northerly direction since
Another bloodless alternative could have been
simply an official declaration of an end to all enforcement of fugitive
slave laws. The resulting uncontrollable exodus of slaves would also
have brought collapse.
The slavery issue was a great
propaganda tool for Lincoln – a white supremacist and separatist who
cared little for the black race. John Wilkes Booth’ bullet elevated the
man into a myth; otherwise Lincoln’s blathering about shipping blacks
back to Africa would have ruined his legacy.
in his first year of office, rapidly implemented an unreconstructed Whig
agenda of a centralized sultanate of government meddling and
subsidization of the railroads, tripled protectionist tariffs, and
federalization (and debasement) of the money supply.
few years ago, liberals were criticizing George Bush for imprisoning
people without charges, access to counsel, the right to confront
accusers, or even a trial. Of course, now that Obama is doing the same
thing, they are silent – but the point is that it was Abraham Lincoln
who showed Bush & Obama that a president can get away with it.
Far from encouraging peace and compromise, Lincoln’s actions fanned embers into flames.
Are you aware of the extent to which free blacks held slaves? Then check out "Did Black People Own Slaves?" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Make the Agora Great Again
5 months ago