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February 17, 2009


George Pal


If he were not a brutal tyrant then how come he: suspended habeas corpus, issued a warrant (never served) for the arrest of Chief Justice Taney (who had declared that suspension unconstitutional), had arrested civilians critical of him, had newspapers critical of him and his administration closed down (in some cases jailing editors and owners), declared martial law, implicitly condoned a war on civilians, implicitly condoned the burning and/or ransacking of cities.

If Lincoln did this by the powers of the Constitution then the Constitution is evil and we have cause for alarm. If he managed the above by circumventing Constitutional limits then he is a “brutal tyrant”. There are no other options regarding the carnage that was the War Between The States.

Perhaps it’s the deification of Lincoln puts me too easily in this frame (brutal tyrant!) but I don’t believe that is an inconsequential thing. Exalting Lincoln for freeing the slaves or saving the union is no big deal. My concern is that in the course of future human events the extreme and illegal methods he used for his cause will be justified in the name of some other cause. As I look around the world as it is today I believe my concerns justified.


"Interesting to note that the Constitution still does not expressly forbid secession."

Well, it wouldn't. After the horrors of the Civil War, the question of secession was answered. I hardly think the vanquished would have been up to challenge the central government on this score again. An amendment on the issue would have served little purpose, as the point was gotten across by force--no further need for niceties like the constitutional process to make it clear.


Someone mentioned Churchill. That's another can of worms that ought not to be opened here, I think...

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