If Americans want to reclaim their moral character as a nation, they will have to confront and denounce “The Real Lincoln,” who carried out a violent unconstitutional revolution (instead of pursuing peaceful emancipation like every other nation did), a revolution, which, in turn, sired the modern imperialist, interventionist, and highly centralized American State.
This moral reckoning will be an uphill battle, not least because of the “
The constitutional casuistry of the “
Let us imagine, as Lincoln lovers claim, that the Constitution ratified in 1788 forbade peaceful secession and authorized the federal government, which was supposed to have limited powers delegated to it by the people, to invade and occupy any seceding state, declare martial law, subdue the secessionists by force, burn and ransack entire cities, and then establish a military dictatorship over those states for a dozen years.
Let’s pretend that it was constitutional to intentionally wage war on civilians—blacks included—to imprison without trial thousands of Northern citizens, jail—even execute—people who refused to take an oath of loyalty to Lord Lincoln, shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, incarcerating editors and owners, and generally suspend the Bill of Rights, the writ of habeas corpus, and international law.
If it endorsed—or even accommodated—what Lincoln did, including his ignoring of the Ninth and 10th amendments, and his violating of the Second, then the Constitution is categorically evil and self-contradictory.
The other more plausible option is that the “
The nation’s popular war lore must also take a moral turn.
In the film “
The film’s prominent unionists get to deliver all the impassioned speeches. The over-represented abolitionist rhetoric comes from no other than Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who was not even an abolitionist. In the South’s corner, an inarticulate oaf, sniggered at by his compatriots, is charged with presenting the Jeffersonian ideas of states’ rights, liberty, and self-government.
This is inexcusable when you consider that Lord Acton, “the great historian of liberty,” wrote poignantly to Robert E. Lee in person to praise the General for fighting to preserve “the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will”: states’ rights and secession.
The great Lee’s defining features in “
…I believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people…are the safeguard to the continuance of a free government… whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, [my emphasis], will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.
Predictably, the apologists for these atrocities are the same people who quiver like post-coital Court Courtesans (Peggy Noonan comes to mind) every time George Bush promises to forcibly uproot evil from all corners of the globe. Like Bush, they probably believe that invading a nation that has not attacked the
If director and producer Ronald F. Maxwell brings the “
©By ILANA MERCER
February 12, 2003