Of Westphalia and Appomattox

May 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm (tWP - M. Silva) (, , , , , , , , , )

Capitol_painting - Cópia

Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron have all declared multiculturalism a failure. Berlin, Paris and London all realise that in the continent where nationalism was born, the harmonious melding of cultures is not achievable.

In Europe and much of the old world, History has served the purpose of separating cultures. Europe especially, due to its geography, has been a perfect case of identity politics trumping any ideology. It was in Europe afterall that nationalism was born. Unlike what many believe, nationalism was not born in the XIX century. Identity politics had been an integral part of the Scottish rebellions, the German reformation and countless other phenomena prior to the modern era. Modernity codified these trends but it did not inaugurate them.

The ultra-nationalism of the XX century was short lived, yes, but this trend was extreme and in many ways self-consuming. The reaction to ultra-nationalism however has been equally extreme, being characterised by universalism, radical individualism and pacifism at any cost. This recipe is beginning to crumble since the European Union is now more than ever a project in distress. Those who dread disintegration claim more integration is the only alternative but this does not stand to reason: if integration was the answer Europe would not be in distress after having begun political on top of economic integration. What could Euro-bonds and ECB fiscal controls do to prevent dissimilar productivity in the different European states? Monetary and financial engineering cannot prevent radically different work ethics and civic mentality. The Greeks will not become more individualistic anymore than Finns will become more collectivist – barring any totalitarian social engineering practices of course.

Instead of uniformity, the only enduring reality in Europe is that of disunity and dissimilarity, however close the civilisational contacts may be. The Treaties of Westphalia epitomised as much by bringing the concept of sovereignty into current use. European sovereignty though can only exist through ethnic homogeneity and the subalternation of  the normative. This was the political translation of the end of the Thirty Years War which saw the crystallisation of multipolarism in Europe. After Rome and the Franks, the Habsburgs had been the third polity to vie for continental domination and fail. At the same time, Europe being the smallest continent had allowed for cross-cultural interaction to an extent whereupon the different peoples shared a common cultural legacy. Westphalia was thus the codification of ethnic separation (proto-nationalism) with normative consensus (Christianity). The respublica christiana was politically disunited but ideologically cohesive – with theological divides often serving only to make salient the ethnic fault lines (Catholicism/Presbyterianism in Scotland, Catholicism, Islam or Orthodoxy in the Balkans, etc).

Among the necessary consequences of the Westphalian system in Europe (especially Western Europe) has been xenophobia but also internationalism. It is inevitable that stark frontiers and centralized states will invariably lead to cooperation: European states are small and multipolarism requires geostrategic variable geometry. On the other hand, in a hermetic ethnic monopoly, minorities will invariably find it hard to integrate as Jews and Gypsies would attest. Both these tendencies are perhaps better observed in simplistic regime types of the totalitarian tradition, namely with both communism and fascism.

American-Colonization-Society

American Colonization Society ship the Elizabeth sets sail to what was to become Liberia, a colony of American slaves in Africa and today known as a failed state.

In Asia multicultural empires have rather been the norm, with eastern Europe and the Balkans corresponding to some standard somewhere in between western European nation-states and Asian multi-ethnic empires. This is why sovereign borders are notoriously difficult to create in the Middle East but multi-ethnic harmony comes naturally (Istanbul, Jerusalem and Baghdad or Persia, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia being good historical examples). The artificial emulation of western state apparatuses in the Middle East leads to necessary ethnic tensions given that within a small state, unlike within an empire, ethnic identity is crucial to the monopoly on legitimate violence. Empires demand at most an ethnic core but due to their extension it would make little sense to fear one or another minority.

The colonisation of the Americas originated a peculiar misfit: the settlers were European but the territory did not lend itself to European style nation-states. Quite to the contrary, America’s near absence of major topographical barriers and the mixed nature of its settlers favoured an Asian type polity formation. The initial immigration was largely comprised of Europeans which meant that integration was easier given it was intra-civilisational. African slaves, Hispanic-Americans or Asian migrants either did not possess citizenship or were too small in number to be of consequence. The system endured and prospered until the War of Secession when apart from all the economic tensions between North and South, national identity was propelled by abolitionists as a fracturing issue.

Now, unlike what the founding fathers had intended, economic and political liberalism was beginning to spillover to society at large and the fundamental incompatibility of liberalism with raison d’état began. To be clear, America was only a multicultural society so long as it remained a European anglophone republic in its core. The next question then should be whether the US could have afforded to remain a slaver state: it doesn’t seem very likely given the incompatibility with liberalism. However, the rejection of domestic slavery is a very different proposition from the promotion of individual freedom abroad, from the automatic granting of citizenship to millions of the illiterate and economically disenfranchised overnight, and finally from forceful universality of the abolition.

Other societies have evolved very differently and cannot require the same cultural and political solutions as the anglophone ‘new world’. Citizenship is not equivalent to nationhood and ultra-inclusiveness risks cohesion – one wonders what would have happened if Spartans had granted Helots their freedom as well as full citizenship rights in Laconia… Finally if abolition was indeed a social concern of the American people, why not simply allow each state to approve it in their own timing – surely there was no doubt such a path was unidirectional?…

The Confederacy’s decision to press for independence was a dramatic one but not illogical. The South was betting on a North American Westphalia. They had the precedent of Yorktown (1783) – continental secession from the British empire – and they had the sympathy of overseas powers as well as Native Americans. This could have meant a partition of north America and a multiple state balance of power in the long run. As Grant would come to prove however, North America is not Europe: Appalachia cannot be ruled by more than one power and the Atlantic ocean is too large to allow European polities to project much force into America. Topographical and geographical obstacles made the Habsburg quest to control central Europe too much of a logistical challenge: the ‘Spanish road’ was vulnerable (i.e. Palatinate), the western approaches and the English channel too risky (Spanish Armada), all this even with the advantage of superior numbers as well as tactics; the North Sea and Baltic polities always free to project uninterrupted influence over continental Europe. Conversely, the battlefields of Maryland and Virginia were almost always chosen by generals rather than imposed by geography, armies were free to roam around the great plains of the Midwest and rivers proved to be avenues for troops rather than natural defences against them. Unlike Europe, America cannot be divided from within and is too far to be divided from without.

Therefore, the significance of Appomattox was the very opposite of Westphalia: like Worms in 1122, Appomattox in 1865 meant that normative power bests temporal power,  ideological identity trumps cultural identity. Above all, the extremism of abolitionists lay in them being constitutional fundamentalists – which the same founding fathers who signed a peace treaty that saw the need for all the Dunmore Proclamation black freedmen to be exiled, were not – Some might say ‘so much the better!’ since that allowed for the liberation of the slaves but it did also sow the seeds of systemic dysfunction for forthwith the question of identity would be one resolved by the supremacy of beliefs over ethnicity, values over interests, ideology over identity. As the last US election of 2012 proved though, the interests of minorities (loose immigration laws) trump their ideological background (Catholic, Methodist, Southern Baptist conservatism) as it trumps in almost every polity. The inconsistency then is that of identity: if minorities vote according to their ethnic identity rather than according to their ideological identity, how can they then be American?

Decisive Battles: Where King Charles Lost His Crown

English-Americans or German-Americans do not rush to defend Britain or Germany whenever these nations disagree with the US or when their brethren have disputes with the Federal government on national soil but contemporary minorities do the opposite. Worse still, unlike Italians and Irish whose integration was already made difficult due to their non-compliance with the WASP standard, Hispanics and African-Americans do not even originate from the same civilisational setting as European America – Hispanics have European roots but also Amerindian and African ones.

(Perhaps this reality helps explain how easily the US find themselves involved in the causes of minorities around the world from Jews or Armenians to Albanians)

The imagery of Monrovia and Liberia is a profoundly ironic one since the same historians who so readily admit the enterprise of resettling American slaves in Africa was a failure, have scarcely a word of doubt about the success of their adaptation to anglophone North America.

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3 Comments

  1. Miguel NS said,

    Counterinsurgency Cops: Military tactics fight street crime
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50146229n

  2. The Westphalian Post said,

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/the-great-civil-war-lie/

    The Great Civil War Lie
    By MARC-WILLIAM PALEN

    Civil War buffs have long speculated about how different the war might have been if only the Confederacy had won formal recognition from Britain. But few recognize how close that came to happening — and how much pro-Southern sympathy in Britain was built on a lie.

    During the first years of the Civil War, Northerners worried incessantly about the possibility of British recognition of Southern independence, and with good reason. To the dismay of the North, much of the British press and public initially showed remarkable sympathy for Southern secession. England’s Liverpool Post recollected with only some exaggeration that “nearly all the aristocracy and a large portion of the middle classes were adverse to the North and in favor of the South. … Out of four or five hundred English newspapers, only five were bold enough openly to support the North.”

    Trans-Atlantic trade played a crucial role in developing this pro-South sympathy. British reliance on imported Southern cotton heightened the prospect of Confederate recognition, bolstering secessionist sentiment. Early on, Confederate diplomats believed that England might feasibly acknowledge its independence if only the South withheld cotton exports to Europe, what the historian Frank Owsley famously termed “King Cotton Diplomacy.”

    Early British support for the South was further buttressed by something as mundane as a protective tariff — the Morrill Tariff — approved by Congress on March 2, 1861. This new tariff, passed to protect American infant industries, also unwittingly gave rise to a troublesome myth of mounting trans-Atlantic proportions.

    The tariff had been opposed by many Southern legislators, which is why it passed so easily once their states seceded. But this coincidence of timing fed a mistaken inversion of causation among the sympathetic British public – secession allowed the tariff to pass, but many in Britain thought that the tariff had come first, and so incensed the Southern states that they left the union.

    Nor was this a simple misunderstanding. Pro-Southern business interests and journalists fed the myth that the war was over trade, not slavery – the better to win over people who might be appalled at siding with slave owners against the forces of abolition. On March 12, 1861, just 10 days after the Morrill Tariff had become law, The London Times gave editorial voice to the tariff lie. The newspaper pronounced that “Protection was quite as much a cause of the disruption of the Union as Slavery,” and remarked upon how the Morrill Tariff had “much changed the tone of public feeling” in favor of “the Secessionists.”

    The pro-North magazine Fraser’s made the more accurate observation that the new Northern tariff had handily given the Confederacy “an ex post facto justification” for secession, but British newspapers would continue to give voice to the Morrill myth for many months to come.

    Why was England so susceptible to this fiction? For one thing, the Union did not immediately declare itself on a crusade for abolition at the war’s outset. Instead, Northern politicians cited vague notions of “union” – which could easily sound like an effort to put a noble gloss on a crass commercial dispute.

    It also helped that commerce was anything but crass in Britain. On the question of free trade, the British “are unanimous and fanatical,” as the abolitionist and laissez-faire advocate Richard Cobden pointed out in December 1861. The Morrill Tariff was pejoratively nicknamed the “Immoral” tariff by British wags. It was easy for them to see the South as a kindred oppressed spirit.

    Northern observers foresaw precisely the problems that the tariff would cause the Union in Europe. The New York Times promptly warned that, as Europe was moving toward laissez faire, the North’s passage of this “ill-timed, ill-advised, and … disastrous measure” would put it “in conflict” with the Confederacy “in every court of Europe,” and that the South would seek recognition “by appealing to the popular sentiment” of free trade.

    Cobden, though a supporter of the Union, explained England’s confusion to his longtime American friend, the radical Republican senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts: “There are two subjects on which we [the English] are unanimous and fanatical — personal freedom and Free Trade.” Cobden noted as well that when British eyes peered across the Atlantic, all they saw was “on one side protectionists, on the other slave-owners. The protectionists say they do not seek to put down slavery. The slave-owners say they want Free Trade. Need you wonder at the confusion in John Bull’s poor head?”
    A cartoon from a Northern newspaper, lambasting Britain for favoring the South because of the cotton trade. The caption reads: Library of Congress A cartoon from a Northern newspaper, lambasting Britain for favoring the South because of the cotton trade. The caption reads: “Well yes — it is certain that cotton is more useful to me than wool,” a crude reference to the slave’s hair.

    Pro-Southern forces did well with such confusion. The Liverpool merchant James Spence, in his influential 1861 publication “The American Union,” for instance, spent just one chapter on slavery, and the other seven on the Morrill Tariff, the right to secession and why he thought a future reunion was culturally and philosophically impossible. And, after a close reading of Spence in late 1861, Charles Dickens himself came out decidedly for the South and argued in the pages of the magazine “All the Year Round” that the Morrill Tariff had “severed the last threads which bound the North and South together.”

    Such pro-South sentiments led the English antislavery advocate John Bright to write that the subject of the tariff in Britain was of such “great importance” that little “would more restore sympathy between England and the States than the repeal of the present monstrous and absurd Tariff,” as it handily offered “all the speakers and writers for the South an extraordinary advantage in this country in their discussion of the American question.” Yet “no American … attributed the disasters of the Union to that cause,” he observed. “It is an argument made use of by ignorant Englishmen, but never by informed Americans.” The war, Bright concluded, was “a question of slavery” and nothing else.
    Related
    Disunion Highlights

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    Explore multimedia from the series and navigate through past posts, as well as photos and articles from the Times archive.

    See the Highlights »

    The Union soon obtained some much needed trans-Atlantic help from none other than the English liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill. By the beginning of 1862, the tariff myth had gained enough public traction to earn Mill’s intellectual ire, and he proved quite effective at voicing his opinion concerning slavery’s centrality to the conflict. He sought to refute this “theory in England, believed by some, half believed by many more … that, on the side of the North, the question is not one of slavery at all.”

    Assuming this to be true, Mill asked, then “what are the Southern chiefs fighting about? Their apologists in England say that it is about tariffs, and similar trumpery.” Yet, Mill noted, the Southerners themselves “say nothing of the kind. They tell the world … that the object of the fight was slavery. … Slavery alone was thought of, alone talked of … the South separated on slavery, and proclaimed slavery as the one cause of separation.”

    Mill concluded with a prediction that the Civil War would soon placate the abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic. That, as the war progressed, “the contest would become distinctly an anti-slavery one,” and the tariff fable finally forgotten.

    Mill’s prescient antislavery vision eventually begin to take hold in Britain, but only after Abraham Lincoln himself got involved in the trans-Atlantic fight for British hearts and minds when he put forth his Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863.

    By February, Cobden happily observed how Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had aroused “our old anti-slavery feeling … and it has been gathering strength ever since.” It also led to mass meetings, the result of which “closed the mouths of those who have been advocating the side of the South.” John Bright seconded Cobden’s observation, writing: “Opinion here has changed greatly. In almost every town great meetings are being held to pass resolutions in favor of the North, and the advocates of the South are pretty much put down.”

    And so, two years after the Morrill Tariff’s March 1861 passage, Northern antislavery advocates had finally exploded the transatlantic tariff myth. Goldwin Smith, a radical English abolitionist and Oxford professor, afterward explained the initial British acceptance of the tariff lie to his Boston audience in 1865: “Had you been able to say plainly at the outset that you were fighting against Slavery, the English people would scarcely have … been brought to believe that this great contest was only about a Tariff.” Over the years, Smith had “heard the Tariff Theory called the most successful lie in history,” he said. “Very successful it certainly was, and its influence in misleading England ought not to be overlooked.”

    Follow Disunion at twitter.com/NYTcivilwar or join us on Facebook.

    • Miguel NS said,

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/07/thomas-j-dilorenzo/who-caused-the-1861-65-bloodbath/

      The Cause of the Civil War: Historian Thomas Fleming Discovers the “Yankee Problem in America”

      By Thomas J. DiLorenzo
      July 13, 2013

      Historian and novelist Thomas Fleming is the author of more than fifty books, including two very good revisionist histories of the two world wars: The New Dealers’ War, and The Illusion of Victory in World War I. He has authored biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and has written extensively about the founding generation, including his best-selling book, Liberty! As a regular on PBS and NPR he is as “mainstream” as it gets. That is, he was, until he published his latest book, A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.

      No respectable historian believes the Deep North/government school fantasy that enlightened and morally-superior Northerners elected Abe Lincoln so that they could go to war and die by the hundreds of thousands solely for the benefit of black strangers in the “deep South.” And Thomas Fleming is as “respectable” as one gets in terms of contemporary writers of history. Fleming has discovered what scholars such as the late, great Murray Rothbard and the not-late-but-still-great Clyde Wilson wrote about many years ago: A war was not necessary to end slavery – the rest of the world did it peacefully; only 6 percent of adult Southern men owned slaves, which means that the average Confederate soldier was not fighting to preserve a system that actually harmed him and his family economically; and that the real cause of the war was what Fleming calls a “malevolent envy” of the South by New England “Yankees” who waged a war of economic conquest. In his own words, from the inside front cover of A Disease in the Public Mind:

      [Northern] hatred for Southerners long predated their objections to
      slavery. Abolitionists were convinced that New England, whose
      spokesmen had begun the American Revolution, should have been
      the leaders of the new nation. Instead, they had been displaced by
      Southern “slavocrats” like Thomas Jefferson.

      The inside cover of the book asks, “Why was the United States the only nation in the world to fight a war to end slavery?” The standard “answer” to this question, which I have asked many times in my own writings, is that Southern plantation owners were by far the most evil human beings in world history, far more evil than British slave owners, Spanish slave owners, or French, Danish , Dutch and Portugese slave owners. Therefore, no peacefull means of ending slavery was ever possible. This of course makes no sense at all, and Thomas Fleming recognizes it.

      He points out that “Only 316,632 Southerners owned slaves – a mere 6 percent of the total white population.” This leads Fleming to ask the obvious question: “Why did the vast majority of the white population unite behind these slaveholders in this fratricidal war? Why did they sacrifice over 300,000 of their sons to preserve an institution in which they apparently had no personal stake?”

      Fleming actually understates this point: Slavery only benefited the slave-owners who exploited the slaves but was economically harmful to all the rest of Southern society because slave labor is inherently inferior to free labor. The entire South was poorer as a result. Moreover, the average Confederate soldier, who was a yeoman farmer who owned no slaves, was harmed by the slave-owning plantation owners through unfair competition. That is why so many Northern states like Illinois banned the migration of blacks, free or slave, from their borders, and it is also the main reason why the Republican Party opposed the extension of slavery into the new territories – they wanted to “preserve them for free white labor,” as Lincoln himself once said. In every major Civil War battle Confederate soldiers who did not own slaves fought against (mostly border state) Union Army soldiers, such as Ulysses S. Grant, who did own slaves (Grant’s wife Julia, cousin of Confederate General James Longstreet, inherited slaves from her South Carolina family and Grant was the overseer of his father-in-law’s slave plantation for a period of time before the war).

      Fleming contends that the real reason for the war – and for why, of all the nations on earth, only the U.S. associated war with the ending of slavery – was twofold: First, there was the extreme “malevolent envy” of Southerners by the New England “Yankee” political class, who had long believed that they were God’s chosen people and that they should rule America, if not the rest of the world. Second, there were a mere 25 or so very influential New England abolitionists who had abandoned Christianity and even condemned Jesus Christ, while embracing the mentally insane mass murderer John Brown as their “savior.” This is part of the “disease in the public mind” that is the theme of Fleming’s book.

      John Brown, who had declared himself to be a communist, had organized terrorist attacks in Kansas which included the murder of entire families who did not own slaves, and the murder of free black men. “Perhaps most appalling,” writes Fleming, “were the murders of James P. Doyle and his two oldest sons, while Doyle’s wife, Mahala, pleaded frantically for their lives . . . . The Doyles were immigrants from Tennessee who . . . had no interest in owning slaves.” Brown claimed that his purpose was “to strike terror into the hearts of the proslavery people.” He planned even larger acts of terrorism at Harpers’ Ferry in 1859 where he was apprehended by U.S. Marines led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, and he was hanged for his crimes.

      Fleming discusses in great detail how John Brown came to replace Jesus Christ in the minds of Northern abolitionists, who adopted his mantra that blood must shed in order to eradicate sin. That is, if they were to be saved and sent to Heaven, there must be bloodshed, and the more the better. That is why peaceful emancipation was not achieved in America, writes Fleming: It was not stubborn and evil Southern plantation owners who were the problem, it was the bloodthirsty abolitionists.

      John Brown “descended from Puritans” and was “the personification of a Puritan,” says Fleming. And he truly became a “god” to the New England “Yankees.” “Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed awe and near-worship of John Brown,” writes Fleming. He lavished praise on John Brown’s “religion of violence.” Emerson called Brown “that new saint” who “would make the gallows as glorious as the cross.” Henry David Thoreau said that “Brown was Jesus.” He was “the bravest and humanest man in the country,” said Thoreau with horribly clunky English. He described Brown in that way after learning of Brown’s execution of non-slaveowning, innocents in front of their wives and children. These men were clearly crazy, and their writings must have contributed a great deal to the “disease in the public mind.”

      The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was also a John Brown worshipper. As a typical New England Yankee Garrison possessed “the prevailing attitude” of New Englanders in that “they were inclined to believe in the moral depravity of anyone who disagreed with them,” and had “an almost total lack of empathy” for their fellow countrymen in other parts of the country. This, says Fleming, was “a flaw that permeated the New England view of the rest of America.”

      An abolitionist compatriot of Garrison’s named Henry C. Wright declared tht Jesus Christ was a “dead failure” for allowing slavery to exist, and insisted that “John Brown would be a power far more efficient” than Christ. Armed with such beliefs, Garrison and comrades waged a decades-long campaign of hatred against all Southerners. Their newspapers broadcast for decades that the South was “a province ruled by Satan” and was guilty of “four unforgiveable sins: violence, drunkenness, laziness, and sexual depravity.” “From Richmond to New Orleans, the Southern states are one great Sodom,” wrote one New England publication. Fleming writes that such frantic “theological somersaults” were strikingly similar to “the public frenzy that gripped Massachusetts during the witch trials . . .” And some people wonder why Southerners in 1861 no longer wanted to be part of a union that included New England Yankees.

      Thomas Fleming has discovered historical truths that Clyde Wilson long ago wrote about. In an essay entitled “The Yankee Problem in American History” Wilson pointed out that “by Yankee I do not mean everybody from north of the Potomac and Ohio. Lots of them have always been good folks.” He, like others before him, used “the term [Yankee] historically to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, and lack of congeniality, [and] for ordering other people around . . . . They are the chosen saints whose mission is to make America, and the world, into the perfection of their own image.” “Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Clyde Wilson continues, “is a museum-quality specimen of the Yankee – self-righteous, ruthless, and self-aggrandizing.”

      By 1860, writes Wilson, “The North had been Yankeeized, for the most part quietly, by control of churches, schools, and other cultural institutions, by whipping up a frenzy of paranoia about the alleged plot of the South to spread slavery to the North,” the theme of Abe Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech. Of course, that was never the plan and never a possibility, but the “diseased” public mind of the North, fueled by the slick political rhetoric of politicians like Lincoln, actually persuaded many in the North.

      Clyde Wilson describes abolitionism in almost an identical fashion that Thomas Fleming does:

      Abolitionism, despite what has been said later, was not based on
      Sympathy for the black people nor on an ideal of natural rights.
      It was based on the hysterical conviction that Southern slaveholders
      Were evil sinners who stood in the way of fulfillment of America’s driving
      Mission to establish Heaven on Earth . . . . Most abolitionists had
      Little knowledge or interest in black people or knowledge of life in
      The South . . . . many abolitionists expected that evil Southern whites and
      Blacks would disappear and the land repopulated by virtuous Yankees.

      Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of these. He once predicted that since black people were, in his opinion, and “inferior race,” they would eventually “go the way of the Dodo Bird” and become extinct.

      A Disease in the Public Mind is filled with scorn for the abolitionists and their un-American beliefs, including their belief of the inferiority of black people. By failing to know anything at all about Southern society, never spending any time there, writes Fleming, the abolitionists did not understand that many of the slaves were highly skilled and talented blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, farmers, and artisans of all sorts. This ignorance has led generations of Yankees, including many of today’s “liberals,” to believe that because of slavery, the descendants of slaves “would have to be treated like children, at best, or creatures form an alien planet at worst.”

      Thomas Fleming would likely be in complete agreement with Murray Rothbard, as well as Clyde Wilson, on the nature of mid-nineteenth century “Yankees.” Rothbard wrote in his essay, “Just War,” that:

      [T]he North’s driving force, the ‘Yankees’—that ethnocultural group
      who either lived in New England or migrated from there to upstate
      New York, northern and eastern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern
      Illinois – had been swept by . . . a fanatical and emotional neo-Puritanism
      driven by a fervent ‘postmillenialism’ which held that as a precondition
      dor the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, man must set up a thousand-
      year Kingdom of God on Earth. The Kingdom is to be a perfect society.
      In order to be perfect, of course, this Kingdom must be free of sin . . . . If
      you didn’t . . . stamp out sin by force you yourself would not be saved
      (emphasis added).

      This is why, said Rothbard, the “Northern war against slavery partook of a fanatical millennialist fervor, of a cheerful willingness to uproot institutions, to commit mayhem and mass murder, to plunder and loot and destroy, all in the name of high moral principle. They were Pattersonian humanitarians with the guillotine: the Anabaptists, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of their era.”

      Thomas Fleming points out that the husband of Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was one of the financiers of John Brown’s terrorist mass murder sprees. Her song replaced “John Brown’s Body” as the Yankee anthem as it celebrated the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens as “the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

      Thomas Fleming discusses many other historical facts in A Disease in the Public Mind that yours truly has also written about and been denounced as a a liar, a slavery defender, a “Neo-Confederate,” and worse. He praises Thomas Jefferson for being among the first American statesmen to propose the peaceful emancipation of Southern slaves. He describes in detail the breathtaking hypocrisy of New Englanders who “rediscovered the sacred union,” he writes sarcastically, after having plotted to secede from the union for a dozen years after Jefferson’s election as president.

      Fleming also writes of how the “Yankees” habitually attempted to plunder the South with protectionist tariffs that protected their manufacturers from competition. He understood that the Republican Party’s opposition to the extension of slavery into the new territories was based on their wish of “Free Soil for Free (White) Men,” the title of chapter 19. That is, they wanted a Homestead Act that would hand out free land to white settlers while banning the existence of all black people, free or slave. He quotes Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greely explaining that his “paramount objective” was to “save the union” and not to end slavery.

      In his final chapter Thomas Fleming writes about Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was an officer in Lincoln’s army who was wounded in battle. After the war, “For seventy years, he repeatedly condemned the abolitionists and others who claimed they had a message from some higher power that everyone had to obey. Above all he voiced his contempt for people whose claim to certitude often persuaded other men to kill each other.” If this sounds familiar, it is because it has been the guiding principle of American foreign policy ever since 1865.

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      Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; ;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe, How Capitalism Saved America, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

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