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February 14, 2001
More About Lincoln
by L. Neil Smith
Very interesting ...
My article "The American Lenin" was originally published in a large western newspaper a few years ago, and stirred up a reaction very similar to the one we're seeing presently, following JPFO's rerelease of it. I stand by the article now as I did then. In fact I've since learned that I was unnecessarily gentle with Lincoln, who committed many more evil and illegal acts than I was aware of at the time I wrote the article.
After the controversy following the original publication, a retired professor of history from that state's university wrote to the newspaper to say that I was correct in everything I said about Lincoln and the War between the States. Unfortunately, the editors of the paper apparently felt the flap had gone on long enough, and they didn't print the letter.
The simple fact is that if Lincoln had done what he did in any other country, we would all regard him as a psychopath and mass-murderer. The only reason he killed fewer of his fellow Americans than Hitler, Stalin. Mao, or Pol Pot is that he didn't have the technology they did. Absolutely nothing can justify his crimes. Nothing.
Lincoln apologists have to get one simple (if painful and inconvenient) fact through their heads: the War between the States had absolutely nothing to do with slavery until Lincoln and his political handlers decided to use that issue for propaganda purposes. The war was about northern industrialists not wanting to pay market prices for southern raw materials -- northern industrialists who sometimes owned slaves, themselves.
To respond directly to one individual who has been especially deceived by history-written-by the-victor, Lincoln libertated nobody. His empty "Emancipation Proclamation" decreed freedom only for slaves in territories Lincoln didn't control, It didn't emancipate any slaves in the north -- that would have offended the millionaire backers who put him in the White House in the first place. I repeat: Lincoln freed nobody.
The same fellow wishes to impose a new political correctness on libertarians, and decrees that they should all be pro- Lincoln. I see ... we should whoop it up for the benefactor who brought income taxation, conscription, and the midnight knock on the door to America. We should celebrate the statesman who imprisoned 15,000 northerners who publicly disagreed with him, and sent troops to smash the presses of newspapers that did the same.
I wonder what kind of libertarian this person really is, if he can blithely approve such massive, wholesale violation of the Non-Aggression Principle. Not one I'd willingly turn my back on.
Somebody else wrote to a list to assail me for doubting Lincoln's wise and beneficial economic policies -- which consisted of trying to print enought paper trash to finance his evil war. (By the way, the alleged fact that he got caught at it and stopped does not reduce his guilt.) I've seldom seen more twisted "logic", and rather than argue against it, I'll just point out that these wise and beneficial policies plunged the country into a postwar depression -- and refer these correspondents to the works of the late Murray N. Rothbard.
Others accuse me, in their liberaloid way, of being pro- Confederacy or even pro-slavery. But like Lysander Spooner, who lived through that war, I wouldn't have taken either side in it, and I choose to expose Lincoln because I hate, loathe, and despise slavery in any form it takes, including those he invented and imposed on his fellow Americans.
People frequently ask me about my sources, or berate me for not offering them in the first place. Few writers of 800-1000 word columns do footnotes at the bottoms, that's not in the nature of the task. I've always seen my job (as a journalist) as taking facts "everybody knows" and showing how they mean something other than what everybody thought they meant.
In this particular case, my sources are practically any book ever written about Lincoln, especially those intended to be favorable to him, written by otherwise intelligent and scholarly individuals who have regrettably become Lincoln cultists and made a demigod of him.
For my part, Lincoln's worst atrocity is that he undid the American Revolution, violated and destroyed its every principle, and left us with the police state that we must struggle against and abolish today. Of those cowards who fear that my article might harm the public's opinion of JPFO or the libertarian movement, I ask, since when did a baldfaced lie -- the image of Lincoln as the martyred "American Christ" -- ever help anyone?
I stand for the truth. Would you have me do otherwise?
L. Neil Smith
[For additional reading about Lincoln, see the list of books and articles on http://www.jpfo.org/alert20010212.htm#reading]
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