A Rebel, or Just a Seeker of Truth and a Humble and Honorable View of Life

Over half a century ago, as my parents purchased World Book Encyclopedia set that came with Childcraft books for kids, I started my own quest of what the Abbeville Institute calls, as its mission, to:

preserve and present what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition

I did not know this at the time. The only reason I chose researching the “Southern tradition” when I was a young child was the fact that I was born in Columbus, GA back when they still had white drinking fountains, and black drinking fountains. I know just being born on land that happens to be south of the Mason-Dixon line does not make one a “Southerner”, just the fact I was born in Muscogee County within a few miles of the Chattahoochee River made me want to learn all I could of that region, its people and their history..

So starting when I was 6 or 7 and continuing into high school when I could go to the library and read all about the South, its culture, its quest for independence in 1775 and again in 1860 and the predominant aspect that set it apart from the rest of the nation, its connection with the land, and with kin. As the Internet developed, Amazon Kindles were manufactured, I have continued this research in the last couple decades.

Today’s installment of the Abbeville Institute daily educational e-mail brought me to a new place in my research journey. You see, for all these years I thought it was just because I am a rebel at heart, or sometimes being able to see ahead with a prophetic eye (not foretelling, but forth-telling) or maybe the fact that I tend to align myself with the underdogs in life, that these were the reasons I stayed in touch with my “southern research” and seeing value in much of the Southern traditions. But today, I saw something that I don’t think I understood before, it was the agrarian view of life that attracted me at my core to stay attached to how the South responded to the world around them through the centuries since a ship first landed at Jamestown in 1608.

Here is the paragraph that made the light bulb turn on:

In 1787, Patrick Henry warned Virginia and the South about the danger of forming a union with the people of New England. Patrick Henry predicted that the North, being the numerical majority, would control the Federal Government and use the Federal Government to extract tribute (taxes in the form of tariffs) from the South. Patrick Henry was joined by other Southerners, such as George Mason and Rawlins Lowndes who warned of the danger of a union with the North.[2] From its very beginning, the United States has been a nation divided. The division was not one of slave states vs. non-slave states but a division between a commercial society vs. an agrarian society.

Agrarian societies, in my humble opinion, know intimately well the realities of nature in this world and how broken it really is. One could plant a crop one year with the timing perfect and yet see the crops be decimated before harvest time. Alternatively, one could sow a crop in all the wrong ways and reap a bountiful harvest. Being agrarian, in my own opinion, keeps one humble, and keeps one from thinking that one could improve on nature to the point of perfection.

I look around today at the progressives, left-collectivists (as well as those on the other side of the aisle, so-called conservatives, neo-cons, right-collectivists) and know that they probably have never farmed a day in their life. These people, born into an urban or suburban setting only know how to idealize how everything can be fixed, in their utopian view for “free” based on their own shallow notion of where security and wealth come from. Government tends to be their god.

Alternatively, those who can tell the difference between capitalism and crony capitalism, between creating value honorably verses buying a monopoly via lobbyist actions in DC, know that there is a difference between labor, fiat money and wealth, values and a generational legacy to hand down.

This article also points out the heartache all honest businessmen and entrepreneurs  have in the current climate, that was the case even back in the 1800s:

In 1828, Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton declared that the Federal Government’s tariff policy was forcing Southerners to pay 75% of the Federal revenue used to support the government. He lamented, “This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this.” [5]

In an 1828 letter to Daniel Webster, Abbott Lawrence of Massachusetts advocated a proposed tariff bill because “This bill if adopted as amended will keep the South and West in debt to New England the next hundred years.”[6] As Patrick Henry had warned and Senator Benton noted, the agrarian South was being exploited by the commercial North—a Northern commercial and financial crony capitalist society that could not exist without the steady inflow of revenue gained from protective tariffs.

Massachusetts historian Charles Bancroft admitted this harsh fact ten years after the North’s conquest of the South, “While so gigantic a war was an immense evil; to allow the right of peaceable secession would have been ruin to the enterprise and thrift of the industrious laborer, and keen-eyed businessman of the North. It would have been the greatest calamity of the age. War was less to be feared.”[7] Follow the money, and you will discover the real reason for war.

Being exploited for other’s gain is never a good feeling. The ability of parasites both in industry and in government to siphon off one’s wealth and makes it that much more difficult to put profits away for future capital expenditures means that everyone is working harder for less realized credit. It does seem at times that the deck is stacked against the entrepreneur, not just the broken world part, but a government entity and all their regulations (federal, state, local) that sucks life out of …. life.

Here is a final quote from this article, one that shows not unlike those in the South after their attempt for independence failed, we too are in fact these days subjects, not citizens. We are tax slaves on the government plantation:

Confederate President Jefferson Davis explained the motive for Northern invasion of the South, “The lust for empire impelled them [Northerners] to wage against their weaker neighbors [Southerners] a war of subjugation.”[11] Senator Joseph Lane of Oregon in 1861 warned Congress that the Federal Government was becoming an aggressive empire.[12] The London Telegraph in 1866 observed that while the United States “may remain a republic in name, but some eight million of the people [Southerners] are subjects not citizens.”

So yet again there are forces in this land that are ripping people apart. The majority think this is a right or left problem, and that if we get government right, and get the right people elected, all will be well. But at our core, those that are critical thinkers know this all sounds very hollow. We know that it is not the takers that find truth and honor in this broken world, but the givers, those who sacrifice for their kids, grand-kids, family and friends to make this journey a more pleasant one.

Again, the land has a lot to do with this process, and in these days when so many are generations away from the land we tend (myself included) to take nature and the Creator of that nature for granted.

I guess I am coming to the age where I see that more clearly every day, just to watch ducks and geese in a pond for 10, 20 or 30 minutes observing their journey as the weather changes. These days it seems that we have to intentionally carve out time to enjoy this earth, but in my own mind, there are rewards in that that far outweigh that time on social media or in front of a television.

Not sure what the path forward is, but getting back to nature and self-sufficiency seems to be part of the formula. No answers here today, just a lot of questions.


When a Passionate Search for Utopia Becomes Violent: Religion, Cult or What?

It seems that the current state of American society can’t escape the political forces of the so-called left and the neo-con right. Both are addicted to the power of the state to satisfy all their desires for all the dreams they have, and they are willing to force people into this “good world”.

The use of the state for groups, religions, cults and such are nothing new. Jesus himself was trapped by the religious leaders of the day into the state’s snare, and as an innocent man was executed for it. This should give each one of us pause, as it has been said:

“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police

In the history of the United States there has been many times where groups have convinced the state that certain people or groups were to be violently purged from the “union” violently. 

Before Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860 there was a fringe group that the Republican’s courted for votes but they gave little traction to, the abolitionists. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that slavery of any type is proper, however, the method by which you employ to remove this condition from people best be the one that works the best for the oppressed themselves, not for the political operatives themselves.

These abolitionists waged a moral war (in their minds) as early as the 1830s in the attempt to get the South to free the negro slaves. The problem was, these people would NEVER want these 3-4 million Negroes in the north, no sir, no ma’am. They wanted to remain apart from the fray that would follow and not want to have any skin in the game themselves. These Yankees always felt better when  they could put other people down. It was this attitude early on that actually caused the southern efforts to emancipate the slaves to slow down, stall and then stop. Constantly ridiculed for never doing enough to right the situation yesterday, the single digit percentage of southerners who actually owned slaves just attempted the status quo while the slave industry was dying a slow death on its own.

Just a few years into the war to force the eleven southern states back into the union (actually, Abe would never say that, he just was ending an insurrection .. as VIOLENTLY as possible), Lincoln was fighting for his political life, and with the vision to “save the Union”:

.. failing to continue to motivate politically and emotionally, he turned toward emancipation to rescue his war effort. (It should be noted that this emancipation freed ONLY the slaves that Lincoln had no control of.  All the slaves in the areas the Union Army had control of would have to wait until a constitutional amendment was passed in December 1865 to be free) Lincoln mentioned to an associate that this was only in fact, a “war effort”. Violence to the tune of almost 800,000 soldiers dying and many more maimed physically and emotionally for life PLUS tens of thousands of civilians killed and the rest experienced ravaged farms, property and businesses either by Union troops OR by the Reconstruction years that followed. The South would be “dirt poor” for decades. The najority of the Negroes stayed in the south and were hurt by the very means of privation that the north forced on the south, as penance for wanting to leave the “marriage”.

Today, there are another couple groups that are attempting to use the state for their sword of righteousness yet again, similar to how the progressives zealots of the 1920s rolled in prohibition. From this Lew Rockwell article by Thomas DiLorenzo comes some truth-bombs of today’s reality:

The nonstop avalanche of hatred spewing from the hearts of the leftist and neocon political classes in America has the appearance of religious fanaticism on steroids, the kind that must have fueled the Spanish Inquisition.  It is not real religion, of course, but the “religion” of statism, that has replaced religious faith in the minds of these nonstop spewers of hate because their “sainted” Hillary Clinton lost the election.  To them, Hillary Clinton is more “moral” than the Pope, Mother Theresa, or any other religious figure because to them, “morality” stems not from faith in God or living by the Ten Commandments but from one’s support for leftist ideas, rhetoric, and policies.  For socialism, in other words — even if they refuse to call it socialism.

The drive for this utopia has been tried for ages, and still is found wanting. I have yet to find an example of any people group / nation / country that took this road and allowed the common man, woman or child to flourish as a result.

Thomas DiLorenzo continues:

When this first cropped up, about five minutes after Hillary Clinton’s non-concession concession, it reminded me of a run-in I once had a decade or so ago with an acquaintance who I’m sure has been exploding with Trump hatred for the past two years now.  He was a senior vice president of a television network and a lifelong Washingtonian.  A typical D.C. liberal who lived in Chevy Chase, MD all his life, well inside the Washington orbit.  All of his friends, neighbors, and co-workers were just like him, politically speaking.  I made the offhand remark that I don’t vote because it “only encourages them” and besides, most of what government does is blatantly unconstitutional (not to be found in Article 1, Section 8). Therefore, voting just helps to legitimize this unconstitutional regime.

The man went completely nuts, shouting that I had attacked his most cherished of all beliefs — voting and “democracy.”  He really, really lost it and had no interest whatsover in any civilized discussion of the matter.  As far as he was concerned, anyone who expressed such views should be imprisoned for treason, if not hanged.  I had attacked his “religion” which, to a lifelong Leftist who has spent his entire adult life declaring his moral superiority over any and all non-Leftists, this was the ultimate insult. To him and millions of other Leftists, Trump’s first inaugural address in which he denounced the entire Washington establishment, as most of it sat right next to him, was a declaration of war on their “religion.”  And, in the spirit of their patron “saints” Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, they demand unconditional surrender. 

Both the left (who desires another X decades in power so they can “help the poor” some more) and the neo-right (who desires another X decades of military spending) need the one thing that the “right” won’t give them, legally anyway, and that is some good drugs to calm down (as theey desire another X decades of the war on drugs and corporate welfare).

You see, this political turmoil is being brought into every home so all eyes can be on the State, which every religion earnestly wants, to make people dependent on their every move.

‘Nuff said.

-SF1 out

1868: When You Think You Have Been Taught All You Need to Know: Andrew Johnson – Impeached But Not Convicted

Impeachment proceedings in the US Senate 1868

Back in the day, when the newspaper would list all those convicted in the local courts, you (and I) probably developed a bias towards that person. Especially if you knew of the crime and all what was written in the paper you (and I) felt we knew the whole story and if we ever met that person on the street, there probably would have been no meeting of the eyes.

However, if you knew that person, the person’s character and past history and things did not seem to line up, you might have had doubts, but in the end if the courts (i.e. State) did their job, they must have been guilty as charged.

But, if you had been “there”, witnessed the “crime”, maybe that is when the court’s performance might have been suspect. We hear all the time these days, quietly, how convictions from decades ago are overturned due to DNA testing or false positives on hair samples, etc.

Also, if one has just been accused of a “crime” and has to go through the very public fight for justice, there is a blemish on their record in our eyes that their character is flawed and that they can’t be trusted.

All this to say, when you compare the reputation of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson in the State’s textbooks, it is the comparison of “good” and “bad” respectively.  Right there is a hint that something might not be right, because if the State’s narrative suggests Andrew Johnson is indeed bad, and that the State is known to lie, well then, why don’t we research Andrew Johnson himself and determine who he really might be, since we weren’t there and we don’t personally know him.

From the Abbeville Institute comes a sort but informative overview of Andrew’s life, from humble beginnings to his days as the president of the United States right as the War of Northern Aggression (Civil War) concluded and how the general government should treat the states that left (according to them) or wanted to leave (according to Lincoln and his supporters).

Andrew Johnson was born into poverty in rural North Carolina. His father died after saving some town locals from drowning and left the family to fend for themselves in a two-room shack. A young Andrew began working as a tailor’s apprentice and developed an appreciation for the laboring class early on. Johnson was poorly educated and learned how to write from his wife, while he was still working as a tailor.

Michael Martin – Abbeville Institute “Lessons in Conservatism from Andrew Johnson”

OK, so he was not like Lincoln, born in a log cabin, but he did have very humble beginnings. A self-made man whose passions led him into politics, but NOT as a politician, oh no, his idols were statesmen!

Johnson admired true statesmen, hated politicians, and was most conservative when it came to government spending. He would debate anything that required the expenditure of public funds, having introduced bills to reduce Congressional salaries and even opposed proposals like the Smithsonian Institute because he thought it would be an unjust burden on the treasury.

Michael Martin – Abbeville Institute “Lessons in Conservatism from Andrew Johnson”

Johnson also had “ownership” in how the country’s revenue was spent. Undoubtedly, his time as a politician especially during the war years showed him how easily that money could be squandered by all those bureaucrats that had no “skin in the game”.

When Johnson faced Reconstruction, he was initially welcomed by Radical Republicans that wanted to punish the South. However, Johnson’s plan differed from Lincoln’s only slightly, favored leniency, and virtually ignored the freed slaves. This put him at odds with the radical plan for the South to be run by a bayonet, carpetbag government. Most narratives portray Johnson as a Southern racist who wanted to deny equality to newly freed slaves. Johnson, however, had stated years before that he supported emancipation and was mostly opposed to the outrageous spending habits of Congress.

Michael Martin – Abbeville Institute “Lessons in Conservatism from Andrew Johnson”

We see here that in summary, Johnson’s philosophical views differed from his political opponents in the House and Senate of the US Government. That was all it took for impeachment to take place. When Johnson tried to follow the letter of the law, the Constitution, and keep from squandering the people’s money, he was brought up on trumped (no pun intended) charges.

On the issue of the Freedmen’s Bureau, for example, Johnson vetoed a bill to make it permanent and then three days later gave a speech where he charged Congress with seeking to destroy the fundamental principles of the Constitution. His exact words were that “There is an attempt to concentrate the power of the Government in the hands of a few, and thereby bring about a consolidation, which is equally dangerous and objectionable with separation.”

Michael Martin – Abbeville Institute “Lessons in Conservatism from Andrew Johnson”

In my mind, the previous president (Lincoln) paid so little attention to the US Constitution that the Congress felt that it was to be a free for all! The former president in fact, never validated the fact that the 11 states that left the union actually did so, because as a lawyer he knew he could use post-Constitution laws to justify “putting down a general rebellion / insurrection” for all his war efforts in the south. The spouse (in his mind, actually 11 spouses) that left needed to be beat back into the home. Now that the spouse was back in the home, the Congress wanted to abuse her even more and Johnson said NO!

In his veto of the Freedmen’s Bureau bill, Johnson explained that opposed it because he was against a military government of the South, against the unlimited distribution of funds to former slaves and their families, and against taking land away from Southerners. In Johnson’s mind, the defeated Southern states were part of the Union and did not need further punishing, and he broke down how virtually every part of the Freedmen’s Bureau bill was incompatible with the Constitution. His main focus was on government spending and the fact that the Constitution was not designed to guarantee any type of special privileges, just basic rights.

Michael Martin – Abbeville Institute “Lessons in Conservatism from Andrew Johnson”

The Radical Republicans indeed wanted a dependency class in the south and the newly freed blacks was to be that class and it remained that way until 1877 in the military districts that were formed to further suck the life out of this abused spouse yet again.

This is effectively what the Northern Union / US Government did to the south. Recovery in this region would take a century economically however, psychologically, it’s culture has never been the same.

Andrew Johnson can be shown as about the only Unionist who cared, and so he was targeted and marginalized in all the US History books published these days.

Four million slaves were emancipated and given an equal chance and fair start to make their own support-to work and produce; and having worked and produced, to have their own property and apply it to their own support. But the Freedmen’s Bureau comes and says we must take charge of these 4,000,000 slaves. The bureau comes along and proposes, at an expense of a fraction less than $12,000,000 a year, to take charge of these slaves. You had already expended $3,000,000,000 to set them free and give them a fair opportunity to take care of themselves -then these gentlemen, who are such great friends of the people, tell us they must be taxed $12,000,000 to sustain the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Andrew Johnson 1866 in Cleveland, OH

So the slavery of 4 million souls in 1865 transferred into the tax slavery of 350 souls in 2018 as the cancer of centralized government continues to suck the life out of all who remain, and there are no Andrew Johnsons allowed to enter politics and gain any political power again.

“Johnson, in fact, continually upheld his oath of office, making him one of the best presidents in American history.”

Brion McClanahan


1861: What Triggered Secession and What Triggered War?

I have been reading about the so-called American Civil War  all my life. The more I research this period of the federated republic’s life, the more I see the secession action as filing for divorce and the war as the abusive spouse that refuses to let go.  Over the past few years on social media I have encountered some people who point to the secession documents and scream “told you it was about slavery” even when I know it wasn’t. If it was the Union would have freed ALL the slaves they had control over in 1861, and not in December 1865 well after Abe Lincoln had died.

The writings of Paul Craig Roberts are getting better. I guess that comes with age and wisdom, one tends to let the truth fly. So today I was hit with this article from his website that had me say, “why didn’t I think of that?” Well, it is probably because I was never a lawyer.

I am going to liberally quote the former official from the Ronald Reagan administration below, hang on for some learnin’

In response to my short essay on November 9 ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/11/09/the-prevalence-of-myth-over-history/ ), a reader sent me a link to secession documents that implicated slavery, not the tariff, as the reason for Southern secession. It is typical for the uneducated to come across a document of which they have no understanding and to send it off with a rude “got you” note to one who does understand the document.

Bingo. Been there done that. But instead of fighting the good fight a few years ago, I just ignored the pest (now I know they we an uneducated pest, but everyone is “in process”, bless their heart).

Paul goes on to explain the crux of that matter, from a legal position, because just like in a divorce, there was first a contract, and so one has to maneuver into filing for divorce on the proper grounds:

When the Southern states seceded, they were concerned to do so legally or constitutionally under the Constitution so that the North could not legally claim that it was an act of rebellion and invade the Southern states. To make this case, the South needed to make a case that the North had broken the Consltitutional contract and that the South was seceding because the North had not kept to the Constitution.

This presented a legal challenge for the South, because the reason for which the Southern states were seceding was the tariff, but the Constitution gave the federal government the right to levy a tariff. Therefore, the Southern states could not cite the tariff as a breach of the Constitutional fabric.

Slavery was the only issue that the South could use to make a legal case that it was not in rebellion.

Exactly. So out of context, many will think the seven states that initially seceded were not concerned about the tariff (even though that was the primary motivation to file for “divorce” and seek a peaceful separation), but were concerned about treatment of runaway slaves.

Article 4 of the US Constitution reads: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” In defiance of Article 4, some Northern states had passed laws that nullified the Fugitive Slave Act and other laws that upheld this article of the Constitution. The South used these nullification laws to make its case that Northern states had broken the Constitutional contract, thus justifying the Southern states secession.

Legal maneuvering was to be primary in order to exit peacefully and not be considered “in rebellion”. Lincoln, the proverbial lawyer, knew exactly what he was up against:

Lincoln understood that he had no authority under the Constitution to abolish slavery. In his inaugural address he said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” The North had no intention of going to war over slavery. The same day that the Republican Congress passed the tariff, Congress passed the Corwin Amendment that added more constitutional protection to slavery.

Lincoln said that the South could have all the slavery that it wanted as long as the Southern states paid the tariff. The North would not go to war over slavery, but it would to collect the tariff. Lincoln said that “there needs to be no bloodshed or violence” over collecting the tariff, but that he will use the government’s power “to collect the duties and imposts.” The tariff was important to the North, because it financed Northern industrialization at the economic expense of the South.

Money. Finances were at the heart of why the majority of states north and west (called Midwest today) just could not let the seven states leave in peace. Their economic future looked bleak with a possible “free-trade” country next to the remnants of the Union. “She” could not go, because the lifestyle that was in effect for the previous 40 years simply could not be maintained!

The South’s effort to exit the union legally and constitutionally was to no avail. Secession was declared a rebellion, and the South was invaded.

Get that? Even though the southern seven (and eventually eleven) states had painfully followed the legal route, per the contract (Constitution), the abuse escalated and horror was brought upon these states who attempted to leave, especially during the war itself with innocent women, children and older men never spared, but total war (Sherman style, like we used in Iraq) was waged followed by occupation of the south for 12 more years followed by impoverishment of a whole region for a century. Even today, the South is treated as second class citizens unless they keep the “Union” as their god and master.

Occupation of the South – Military Districts

What about Lincoln himself, the so-called “Great Emancipator”?

The misportrayal of the War of Northern Aggression as Lincoln’s war to free slaves is also impossible to reconcile with Lincoln’s view of blacks. Here is “the Great Emancipator” in his own words:

“I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation [of the white and black races] . . . Such separation . . . must be affected by colonization” [sending blacks to Liberia or Central America]. (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln vol. II, p. 409).

“Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and . . . favorable to . . . our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime.” (Collected Works, vol. II, p. 409).

“I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people” (Collected Works, vol. III, pp. 145-146).

How was Lincoln turned into “the Great Emancipator”?

Great question Paul. It is the great myth, the deification of a racist president towards solidifying the concept that the Union always was (before the states/colonies) and that this republic is “indivisible”. Epic lies from a politician, who would have thought that?

Finally, in a line that promises much more in the months to come from this writer:

Just as Civil War history is mistaught in order to support the Identity Politics agenda of fomenting hatred of whites, the histories of the two world wars were fabricated in order to blame Germany, more about which later.


When you start to research for yourself all you have been taught, you come up against information that undermines the narrative you might have held as gospel for decades. Only then can you entertain a thought, without accepting it .. and go from there .. in your own time!

Like the old Royal Caribbean tag line goes .. “get out there!” .. research stuff!



If Lincoln is Considered a “Conservative” … What Does That Mean?

When I first started reading World Book Encyclopedias as a boy, I am sure I ran across terms like liberal and conservatives. I am not sure they were thrown about like they are today to attempt to place people in two different and opposing camps,but I know these words were used.

In terms of philosophy of any kind, words matter. One needs to know the definition of the day is seems. So when one reads historical books, newspapers and journals, context matters. Back in 1800, liberal thought is very far away from today’s liberal thought, it seems. The same can be said of the word conservative.

Looking at the root of that word I would contend that it means to “conserve” or even “preserve” something. Obviously, one can be extreme in these things as one can attempt to preserve everything from a previous generation, however, most intelligent beings see things of value that their ancestors did that makes life better for any people group that desires to get along, be allowed to bring their own unique value to society and to freely trade and barter in a free market so wealth is created 360 to again allow society to thrive.

This article in Beliefnet does touch on the attempts of modern day conservatives (only in name) to disrespect anyone who dares to trample on the ‘conservative’ nature of their hero, their god, Abraham Lincoln. I would like to use a few clips toward generating some thought around this important topic, because again, words matter and our thinking through these things help us to sort through the wasteland of people’s beliefs these days and identify what is true and honorable enough to preserve for future generations.

“The debate over Lincoln on the Right is so important,” Lowry writes, “because it can be seen, in part, as a proxy for the larger argument over whether conservatism should read itself out of the American mainstream or—in this hour of its discontent—dedicate itself to a Lincolnian program of opportunity and uplift consistent with its limited-government principles.” – Rich Lowry, editor of National Review

Ok then, I almost threw up in my throat when I read Lincoln in the same sentence as “limited” government but I will share what the author of this article, Jack Kerwick, has to say:

Now, being neither a Lincoln scholar nor even an historian, I am neither a “hater” nor a deifier of Lincoln. I am, however, a philosopher, a political philosopher, and a conservative political philosopher to boot. As such, I confess to being at a loss to account for how any self-avowed conservative, any proponent of “limited government,” could look to, of all people, Abraham Lincoln as a source of inspiration.

Ok, Jack and I are indeed tracking. It continues to amaze me that with Lincoln’s true record of achievements that “limited government” would be considered something that he believed in. Well, since we know the typical character of politicians, maybe at one time Abe believed in “limited” government:

Of course that was in 1848 around the time of the Mexican War which he was against, so you will have that. However by 1860/1861 he no longer believed that because then he would have let the seven southern states leave in peace, right?

Back to what Jeff has to say:

Lincoln presided over America during what remains, by leaps and bounds, its darkest hour. More tellingly, he was, at the very least, instrumental in making it its darkest hour, for Lincoln waged a war unprecedented (in our history) for its death and destruction, and he waged it against Americans. Whether or not he had the constitutional right to do so, whether or not the South was the aggressor, are utterly irrelevant considerations.

To repeat, for our purposes here, Lincoln’s legal and moral prerogatives or lack thereof simply do not matter. What matters is that for four long years, the President of the United States conducted the bloodiest war that, before or since, our nation had ever witnessed, a war that laid waste to much of the country, to say nothing of the genuinely federal character of the government that the Framers of the Constitution ratified.

Exactly, for if “Limited-Gov Abe” was really all that he was claimed to be, his split personality took over in 1861 when he was inaugurated in early March. Lincoln refused to meet southern peace commissioners, refused to meet with Napoleon II and delayed calling Congress to meet until JULY 1861 after preparing for war was well underway.

The point is that whatever else may be said of Lincoln, it is difficult to see how, with Lowry, we can say of him that he was “perhaps the foremost proponent of opportunity in all of American history,” “the paladin of individual initiative, the worshipper of the Founding Fathers, and the advocate of self-control ..”


However, when you think about it, if you want to redefine “conservative” you can use a legend whose qualities match your own and call it all good:

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe today’s “conservatives” do need Lincoln, for given their obsession with fundamentally transforming the Islamic world into a bastion of Democracy and their own country into the melting pot of the universe, today’s conservatives care as much about preserving the decentralized character of American government as did Lincoln.

As a result, they are about as conservative as him as well.

Can I get a “bingo”?