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28


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 28, May 15, 1997

The Civil War: America's Moral Enema

By John Cornell
102122.3062@compuserve.com

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         The United States have been on a "moral crusade" to "save the world for democracy" through their pogrom-program of "manifest destiny" ever since their Civil War. In Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, economic historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel surveys this greatest -- yet stupidest and most treacherous -- of American conflicts and concludes: 1) federalism, dead or dying after Washington and Hamilton (thanks largely to the laissez-faire, small-government policies of Jefferson and Jackson), was resurrected by our sixteenth, overbloatingly-deified president, who gave us the big government precedents we have today; and 2) Lincoln was the one man responsible for the whole bloody mess.
         Note the expression: United States have been. According to Hummel, before the Civil War, this nation was referred to in the plural -- as separate, though confederated, states. It wasn't until after the "unifying" effects of keeping the "Union" together that the language was changed by history-rewriting Alter Boys, signifying an evolution of the way our bleeder-leaders began to view America's structure. (So kind of them to share their vision with us.) This whole notion of "preserving the Union" was not only arrogance on the part of the North as an excuse for raping and enslaving the South, it was logically and morally fallacious when you consider that the North, always having run the national show, did not want to break away from England in the 1770's without the South's collaboration. The Northerners placated the Southerners by writing provisions into the Constitution to continue slavery and protect the "rights" of the slave owners, which led to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Laws. And the North continued to have slaves after the Revolution, with some remaining even at the outbreak of the War for Southern Independence. So by what right did those who were quicker to give up the evil of slavery in a position (the missionary one?) to judge and condemn those who were slower? The Civil War was the North's way of reneging on the original contract between the states.
         England had a better underarm's length view of what was going on here. The British had recently abolished slavery, but understood the South's irrational passion for sustaining it. And our Anglican Cousins understood that the Union's drive was motivated for imperialistic reasons -- not moral ones. And if abolition were the real motive behind the North's aggression, were a million dead or wounded and billions of dollars of destroyed property justified for the instant gratification of eradicating an institution that was almost dead in one region and dying in the other? Vice-president Stephens of the Confederate States of America met with Lincoln and offered to give up slavery if the United States of America would let the CSA leave the USA in peace; Lincoln wouldn't tolerate any condition but total surrender and return to the wolf-fold. (The Fugitive States Law: "If you love something, let it go. If it doesn't come back, hunt it down and kill it!") The Union wanted to enslave the entire continent -- while the Confederacy only wanted to keep one race enslaved for a while. The side with the biggest power-lust won out. Though eventually caving in to the North, England was reluctant to take sides in the struggle.
         It is ironic that, in the "land of the free," in order to abolish the "peculiar institution" of slavery, Lincoln turned the North into a fascist-mercantilistic state, while Davis turned the South into a centralist- socialist one. (Remember, "Union" is the first word in USSR. And CSA could just as well have stood for "Communist States of America.")
         After "solving" the slavery problem and its contradictory moral dilemma ("If we can't reconcile an unpleasant, immoral situation, let's just kill everybody involved!") the federalist North was not content to just rub the Rebels' faces in the mud of "Reconstruction." (Read: "Reconstructive surgery after a bone- breaking boxing bout.") Hungry for more blood, the unionists proceeded to "solve" the "Indian problem" by occupying their nations and jerking the Native Americans all over the continent, "reconstructing" them into good white Christian Americans and to put up with forced confinement in desolate environments their ancestors had never known. Followed up by sending federal troops after dangerous Mormons for choosing to practice the unauthorized religious tradition of polygamy.
         Our frontier, as it moved west after the Civil War, allowed opportunities for self-reliant, freedom-loving people (of all races) to somewhat escape the clutches of the centralist "North." The original American spirit temporarily returned: that of the free, rugged individualist whose primary concerns were to face nature and create wealth to improve his own life -- the needs of others being secondary, though with respect for their rights of life, liberty and property. But eventually the self-made man was crowded out by the progressive collectivists.
         After moving south and west and running out of continent, the warmongering federalist dogs-of-war took on the Caribbean during the Spam (Spanish-American) War, burying forever the pride of another former world power the way we kicked Britain's butt off our own turf during the War of 1812. One-by-one the dominoes fell: Europe during the teens of this century -- by occupying Germany and prompting and daring them to come up with Hitler (the German Lincoln) -- and again in the forties when the Teutons answered that challenge. Restraining Germany to this present day, as well as Japan, we moved on to Asia during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Finally, the Middle East (and Central America), as we pretended alliance in millennia-long struggles, sometimes supplying and aiding both sides, for who the hell knows what reason.
         As another legacy of the Civil War, America began to feel "justified" in taking on the world's problems. By baptizing ourselves in our own hellish fire and "cleansing our moral conscience" in the abolition of slavery (while taking half our colon), then by dealing with the "primitive bloody savages," we essentially "cleaned up our own backyard." This made us "morally pure and fit" to proceed to throw our weight around the world -- aided by the pragmatists who say: "If we don't police the world, somebody else will!" Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt.
         A far cry from the neutral, isolationist position of Jefferson.
         Perhaps instead of trying to mimic England in the drive for universal empire, the "we'll-mind-our-own-business-if-you-mind-yours" mentality of Switzerland would have been at least a slightly better example to follow, assuming we were hell-bent on copying a European model.
         We still have the statist legacy of the Civil War, in the arrogance of the Ivy League, blue-blooded SOPs (Sons of Puritans) who know what's better for us bumpkins raised in the West and merely educated in the Cactus League schools. Now it's the East instead of the North versus the South and the West, or rather, the Northeast versus the rest of America and the rest of the world.
         America seems to be buying federalism, whether the liberal brand or the conservative. We seem to have fallen back into the insecure mind set of wanting "security" even at the price of freedom. Unable or unwilling to justify freedom to ourselves because some once chose to deny it to others discriminately, we choose those wielding the biggest chains to be masters of all of us, to enslave us all more palatably in equality and security at any cost. Our guilt and moral indignation at ourselves was given relief as we purged ourselves at both ends, expelling our freedom-respecting morality because of the indigestive dilemma of slavery.
         Now we share our shackles with the world. (Where's Marley's Ghost when you need him?) We have returned to statism voluntarily, for whatever reason, like the dog-of-war who returns to his repulsive vomit.

 
John Cornell is a finance professional whose personal goal is to spread rational, Objectivist and libertarian ideas by writing and publishing libertarian science fiction and literary novels, stories and articles and occasional pieces of political satire and humor.


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