The Libertarian blogger Willis Hart claims that he hasn't changed. He once authored a post in which he found the suggestion so ridiculous as to be amazed that someone would actually suggest it.
|Willis Hart: On the Claim that I've Changed... I've changed? I'VE CHANGED? Wow, huh? (11/15/2015 AT 9:02am).|
Wow? No, the only thing I'd say "wow" to is the number of examples one could give that the opinions of Willis have changed RADICALLY. To illustrate this point I have created this series of posts... which I have labeled using the tag "Evolving Willis" (Note that this is only the 2nd one in the series, but there will be more).
The shocking 180 degree flip-flop I examine in this post concerns Mr. Hart's feelings regarding the 16th president of the United States.
|Willis Hart: The Five Greatest Presidents in U.S. History IMHO... 5) Teddy Roosevelt (trust-busting, conservation, "speak softly but carry a big stick"). 4) Harry Truman (strong anti-Communist, pro-business, "the buck stops here"). 3) John F. Kennedy (the Cuban missile crisis, cut taxes, "ask not what your country can do for you"). 2) George Washington (yes, he was a slave-holder but he also founded the damned country). 1) Abraham Lincoln (the Emancipation Proclamation, saved the union, "four score and seven years ago"). (9/23/2011 AT 6:58pm).|
Wow, indeed! In the opinion of Willis, Abe is the #1 greatest prez ever? Looks like it, me buck.
Or so he used to believe... apparently. At the time, but no more.
|Willis Hart: On Lincoln Equating "Departing from" with "Destroying"... Delusional, illogical, and right up there with his contention that the Union preceded the states and his absolute ignoring of the 9th and 10th Amendments (where one could quite readily assert the right to self-determination) and replacing them with one of his own. (12/12/2015 AT 9:32pm).|
So Willis went from heralding Lincoln for keeping the Union intact, to condemning him for it (and calling him "delusional" to boot). Does this mean that Willis was delusional when he proclaimed Abe to be the #1 greatest prez because he "saved the union"? Or maybe Willis is delusional now, given the fact that Lincoln generally IS considered one of our best presidents?
|New ranking of U.S. presidents puts Lincoln at No. 1, Obama at 18; Kennedy judged most overrated. (article except) ...in 2014 we surveyed 162 members of the American Political Science Association's Presidents & Executive Politics section and asked them to rate the U.S. presidents. ... Abraham Lincoln was rated the greatest president, with an average score of 95 out of 100. (Washington Post 2/16/2015).|
How experts determine if Obama, others are "best presidents". (article excerpt) In 2014, NYT columnist Paul Krugman's claims that Barack Obama should be considered one of the best recent presidents has generated a lot of debate. But how do historians and political scientists rank leaders over a long time span? ...historian Arthur Schlesinger, who decided to poll other historians about the past performance of presidents. Schlesinger polled 55 historians about 5 rating categories for an article in Life magazine. ...his list included George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. (Constitution Daily, blog National Constitution Center blog).
Note that the "The American Political Science Association (APSA) is a professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States" and the "National Constitution Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to explaining the US Constitution and what it represents [which] regularly hosts government leaders, journalists, scholars, and celebrities for public discussions including presidential debates".
Groups with some authority to produce these rankings, in other words. Although rankings produced by public polling produce similar results. here is one such ranking that puts Abe in the #1 position (The Top Tens), and here is another that rates Washington #1 and Lincoln #2 (Ranker.com). Point is, Willis is in the minority with his assessment of Lincoln.
Negative opinions of Lincoln aren't generally seen until you look at what Libertarians and far-Right nutjobs say. And that's where they get EXTREMELY negative.
|Mises Daily (Libertarian think tank) Confronting the Lincoln Cult by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, 6/3/2002.|
World Net Daily (A Far-Right extremist website know for indulging in conspiracy/racism/bigotry) Lincoln's Legacy of Corruption by Ilana Mercer, 2/13/2002.
Note that if you go to Wikipedia and enter "Lincoln cult" you will be redirected to the page for Thomas J. DiLorenzo. BTW, that people who promote the idea that Abe Lincoln was one of our best presidents are members of a "cult" is a meme that Willis subscribes to.
|Willis Hart: A Very Simple Question for the Cult of Lincoln... If Mr. Lincoln was so opposed to slavery, then why did he not abolish it in those places where he had the power to; the northern and border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, and Maryland, numerous counties in West Virginia, and the northern occupied parts of the Confederacy (New Orleans and other sections of Louisiana)? |
That, and why did the dude wait until it looked like the South was winning before he put forth this wonderful Emancipation Proclamation (which, again, only made slavery illegal in the Confederacy)? Da' ya' think that maybe it was because he was trying to stir up a little bit of trouble down there? That's my theory. (3/19/2014 AT 9:26pm).
I have a very simple question for the Willis, which is, is the belief that Lincoln was one of our best presidents held by people in a "cult" or is it more of a mainstream consensus? To me it definitely looks like the latter and not the former.
For the record, I understand the (Libertarian-informed) argument Willis is making. I just don't think it's accurate. That argument being that "if there had been no Civil War, the South would have abolished slavery peaceably".
|The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Civil War (excerpt from a review of the 10/21/2008 book by Mother Jones author Nick Baumann)... I find the idea of the slave states voluntarily giving up their slaves to be really, really dumb. The Southern states seceded largely because they didn't want to be ruled by Lincoln, who had argued against expanding slavery into new territories. The Confederate constitution says, "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed".|
But in case you don't believe me, I asked retired army Lt. Colonel Robert Mackey, author of The UnCivil War and bona fide Civil War geek. Dr. Mackey, a combat veteran who was Assistant Professor of Military History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, says it's "a heaping pile of bullshit" and offers up a few reasons why... [including the fact that] Slaves represented real property value. The South's biggest asset wasn't cotton, it was human beings.
[Post Civil War The South's] entire economic system... was based on sharecropping. Sharecropping only worked because the "New South" replaced [actual slavery] with [virtual slavery]. It was a form of slavery as well - just one in which "the owners" had no moral or ethical responsibility to care for the slave... since they had no "property rights" [ownership of their slaves].
There is zero evidence slavery would have naturally ended. There was no antebellum abolitionist movement in the South. On the contrary, the entire social system was set up to reinforce slavery.
Lastly, just imagine how easy it would have been for anti-labor industrialists to move factories South, where you not only did not have labor unions, but could contract for workers from their "owners" at a set, low rate. It would have been horror, and the death of any hope of democracy in America.
Frankly I'm more inclined to agree with this opinion than disagree with it. The Civil War, as horrific as it was, was what ended slavery. Slavery would not have ended without it. Although Willis disagrees.
|Willis Hart: I'm also strongly of the opinion that we could have eventually gotten rid of slavery without 3% of the population being murdered (a substantial number of them being civilians as a part of Lincoln's "total war") and half of the country's total net worth being destroyed. Literally every other country in the world (Haiti being the exception) did it that way and so, why not us? (3/20/2014 AT 9:57pm|
Would getting rid of slavery without a war have been possible? I'm not 100 percent sure, but (like I said) I'm inclined to believe with the statement that "there is zero evidence slavery would have naturally ended". As for Hart's other anti-Lincoln arguments, I'll leave them for possible future posts, although I have rebutted some of his arguments previously (see OST label CIVIL WAR and SWTD label CIVIL WAR).
The point of this post was to point out the RADICAL flip that the Hartster made regarding his opinion of Abe Lincoln. I mean, the guy takes umbrage at the suggestion that he's changed, but he clearly has. In that the "small L libertarian" has become much more Libertarian. In that it's the Libertarians who hold the opinion that Lincoln was a crappy president. As opposed to the mainstream opinion, which is that Abe was our greatest prez (or highly ranked among the best).
[DSD #20] The "Small l Libertarian" Who Bought The Out-Of-The-Mainstream Libertarian "Lincoln Cult" Lincoln Hating Argument With Gusto. (A catalog of MANY commentaries by WTNPH in which he attacks Abe Lincoln as a president who committed "atrocities" and was "majorily insane").