Rand Paul has been in the headlines again this week. He has been criticized on cable news shows for allowing an individual with unconventional views regarding Abraham Lincoln and secession into his inner circle. One of Senator Paul’s alleged foreign policy advisers and the man who co-authored his book, The Tea Party Goes To Washington, has been “exposed” as holding pro-Confederacy beliefs in the past.
The controversial comments stem from Rand Paul adviser, Jack Hunter, and his prior career as the radio personality the “Southern Avenger.” The Free Beacon broke the story with an article titled Rebel Yell. The article details a wide array of “radical” views held by Hunter in his youth, but his comments about Abraham Lincoln and his favorable view of secession have produced the most significant waves in the political establishment.
When someone criticizes the “Great Emancipator” neoconservative and progressives alike run to the defense of the sixteenth president. Bashing of one of America’s favorite presidents is typically met head on by the Lincoln guardians. These loyal Lincoln supporters make sure the discussions do not veer off the 3×5 note card that historians have drafted by picking and choosing only the appealing aspects of Lincoln’s life. Even meandering to the edges of the approved dialogue is too controversial for the opinion molders who try to control the national conversation on the right, left, and in the center. Any deviation from the standard Lincoln transcript of praise and worship is met with an offensive assault on the integrity and character of the individual who would dare to question the iconic Lincoln. The Free Beacon reports that Hunter said the following about Lincoln during his pre-Paul years.
In one 2004 commentary, Hunter said Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place.”
“Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr,” he said in 2004.
He later wrote that he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”
Neoconservative writer and Lincoln guardian Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post has been actively berating Paul on twitter since the Hunter story broke. She had the following challenge and questions for Senator Paul to answer in an article published July 9th.
Paul’s office needs to explain how this person got there, whether his views are acceptable to the senator, and what it intends to do about him. But the real question may be what Hunter sees in Paul. If he spots a kindred spirit thinly disguised by careful scripting, voters should pay heed.
In the meantime, it is worth noting that a person with such views and background would not be considered seriously by any other Senate or House office. So why did Paul hire him?
Rubin claims it to be outrageous that anyone with criticisms of Lincoln even be allowed to converse with a senator or congressman. Oh the humanity! Imagine the horror of politicians in Washington being exposed to the truth and examining the atrocities committed by the Confederacy AND by Lincoln’s Union. That would just be too much for our incorruptible politicians to handle!
Jason Kuznicki from Libertarianism.org, and apparently also a Lincoln guardian, shares a similar view to Jennifer Rubin and the rest of the DC establishment. He calls the founders of the Confederacy the “enemies of all mankind,” but is remiss to hold Lincoln, his Generals, and the Union soldiers who committed equally heinous acts to the same moral standard. The following is a quote from Kuznicki’s article, Rand Paul, the Confederacy, and Liberty, which was published earlier this week in response to Jack Hunter’s past pro-Confederacy comments.
These provisions are unlibertarian, but they are far worse than that. There is only one legal term that seems quite to do them justice. That term is hostis humani generis: The founders of Confederacy were the enemies of all mankind, as admiralty law holds slave-takers to be. War against slave-takers is always permitted, by anyone, without pretext or need for justification. The practice of slavery is to be crushed, so that mere humanity might live.
Obviously, outrage against slavery is justified. Jack Hunter has made it clear that he does not support slavery and detests racism. So why are the Lincoln guardians up in arms? Because Hunter’s past quotes have identified him as a threat to the Lincoln narrative. He must be destroyed. If Senator Paul does not denounce Hunter he will go down with him.
Why would it be so damaging to the political establishment for Lincoln’s true history to be revealed? The Lincoln Administration’s centralization of power and expansion of government set the table for the leviathan of a government we have today. Lincoln ruled over the hurried transition from the days of federalism into the centrally planned mercantile system of his day. His quest to expand federal government power was an important predecessor to the full-blown corporate fascist state we live in today.
The lies surrounding Lincoln start with the base of his character. In school we are taught that Lincoln waged a war against the south in order to free the slaves. Truth being, he only used emancipation as a tool to centralize power and implement the economic system he had supported his entire political life, the American System.
Lincoln was far from being an abolitionist, in fact he was very racist. He favored the colonization of freed slaves back to Africa or even to South America because it was a cheaper alternative. Lincoln also strengthened the Fugitive Slave Act under his leadership and strategically enacted the Emancipation Proclamation for military purposes, and ensured that no slaves were freed by the law.
The following excerpt from Tom DiLorenzo’s book, The Real Lincoln, describes how Lincoln went about enforcing the Proclamation to ensure that no slaves were freed.
The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to rebel territory, even though at the time Federal armies occupied large parts of the South, including much of Tennessee and Virginia, where it would have been possible to emancipate thousands of slaves. Specifically exempted by name in the Proclamation were the federally occupied states of Maryland and Kentucky, as well as West Virginia and many counties of Virginia. The Federal army also occupied much of Louisiana at the time, and those areas were exempted as well. Exempted were the parishes of “St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrobonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans” Lincoln, one of the nation’s preeminent lawyers, was careful to craft the proclamation in a way that would guarantee that it would not emancipate any slaves.
It must be noted again that criticism of Lincoln should not be confused with support of the Confederacy. It is not beneficial to pick a side when examining history. Opposition to the Confederacy does not require a student of history to be in favor of Lincoln’s policies. Rather, it is more helpful and educational to examine the actions of all parties and judge each accordingly.
Criticizing Lincoln doesn’t make one a defender of the Confederacy any more than criticizing FDR makes one a defender of Nazi Germany. The “Civil War” was not a sporting event where one is either for the blue team or the gray team. Yet this is how people think of it when they say you must be for the gray team if you point out one unflattering historical fact about Lincoln.
For so long Lincoln’s crimes have been ignored because we have been taught that the crimes of the South justify his heavy-handed rule.
Progressives, neocons and “Sweetie Pie” libertarians refuse to acknowledge the amount of death and destruction brought about by the hands of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was not a great leader, he was a brutal dictator. If he had been a great leader, then one would assume he could have ended slavery in the United States peacefully, like so many other countries did between 1813 – 1854. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Central America, Mexico, Boliva, Uruguay, French and Danish Colonies, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela all were able to achieve peaceful emancipation. For Lincoln it took complete destruction of the South and 1.5 million dead, wounded, or missing.
Criticism of Lincoln or support for the right of secession does not mean that an individual is pro-Confederacy or agrees with the abhorrent aspects of the Confederate Constitution. The United States of America was founded by secession. The Declaration of Independence is a secessionist document. Without the threat of states seceding from the union there cannot be true freedom. If a state is not free to throw off the shackles of a tyrannical government, then how can the state, or more importantly the individuals who inhabit that state, truly be free?
Too many hold Lincoln up to be a heroic leader that he simply was not. Lincoln was a tyrant. He usurped the constitution, took away the right of habeas corpus, crushed freedom of press by shutting down newspapers and jailing journalists, murdered tens of thousands of women and children as he instructed his generals to steamroll the south, and even deported a congressman from Ohio that disagreed with his tyrannical way of governance.
Government-approved history that has been hammered into our brains during elementary schooling surrounding Lincoln’s life has left the American public with a flawed and in some aspects entirely false understanding of his life and presidency. The typical historical account of Lincoln fails to mention the racist views he held before and during his presidential tenure, and the many atrocities committed in both the North and the South at his request. It is disingenuous and irresponsible to berate the Confederacy for their views and not includes Lincoln’s disturbing beliefs and behaviors. It is not crazy; in fact the only sane position to hold on the matter is that both the Confederacy and Union were excellent examples of what horrors can occur when power is centralized.
The neocons and progressive Lincoln guardians won’t take Rand Paul seriously as a Presidential candidate or as a Senator for that matter, until he kneels down and kisses the ring of Abraham Lincoln. Rand Paul has offered one of his typically ambiguous responses to the controversy. Rand told The Huffington Post, “I think Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents. Do I think Lincoln was wrong in taking away the freedom of the press and the right of habeas corpus? Yeah.” True to form Rand Paul is trying to play both sides of the fence. The establishment doesn’t play that game and neither does the liberty movement. Let’s hope Rand chooses the side of liberty. We’ll be the first ones to have his back.