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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16816/why-the-terrible-destruction-of-the-civil-war/

Why the Terrible Destruction of the Civil War?

May 6, 2011 by

It “was not inevitable,” writes Goldfield. Rather, it was “America’s greatest failure.” FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach

{ 116 comments }

norman May 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

An interesting book review. Humans have a funny stubbornness. Why did the South continue to fight? Why couldn’t they just capitulate and go back to congress and re-elect another president.
The world is ruled by a minuscule number of people and the rest just follow into battle to sacrifice their lives or money for an unknown cause as you said. This will never change. Power is genetically wired into the human brain.
Even with today’s Afghan war, I cannot understand why the Afghanis continue to rebel against the Americans. I’m sure a smart leader could persuade Obama to build roads, schools, railroads and perhaps even a Disneyland. All of the soldiers there could marry Afghan women and get family passes to Disneyland. The problem for the Afghan people is not the Americans, it’s their own power hungary leaders.

Dan May 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm

No offense, but your post doesn’t make any sense.

Jim P. May 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I really hope Norman was being intentionally funny…I know I’d be willing to work an extra two months out of the year to build Disney Kabul.

billwald May 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Same as Americans, their concept of freedom is being ruled by their own kind of people, tribe, whatever. If Obama had been white he could have been elected as a Republican, do exactly as he has been doing and been popular because he would be the “right” kind of person.

Arthur May 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Typical statist claptrap Bill. Try taking off your racist colored glasses for a change then maybe you could see genuine criticism of inepitude and corruption instead of aid,abetting and covering for it.

JAlanKatz May 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Yet what he says is true. What part of his program is objectionable to Republicans? The key, though, has nothing to do with race. If he had been elected as a Republican, they’d be praising him and the Democrats would be attacking.

Arthur May 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

It depends on what you call “Republicans”. If you mean NWO neocons then he may have a point. If you mean Ron Paul type republicans he is wrong. The race card is just a sign of having a weak argument that neo liberals/progressives throw around. And just to prove that… by attempting to merge Bush’s and Obama’s foreign/domestic policies as identical and the only real difference between their administrations is skin tone is intellectual vapid and dishonest.

Richie May 7, 2011 at 11:13 am

I rarely agree with “billwald”, but he is absolutely correct here. Repubs would love Obama if he had “R” next to his name (he wouldn’t have to be white, BTW).

Arthur May 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Yeah, Democrats, neoliberals/progressives would never overlook rank corruption and ineptitude as long as they had a “D” after their name now would they? *sarcasm* That’s called projection, who do you think threw out the “Repub” congressional majority in 2006? Here’s a hint: It wasn’t progressives. Your cult of personality is showing, thanks for playing.

Richie May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

You are welcome!

Henry S. May 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

You must be kidding, Norman.

The Anti-Gnostic May 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

“All of the soldiers there could marry Afghan women and get family passes to Disneyland.”

Oh hell yeah! I mean, what could be a better deal if you’re an Afghan man? Every marriageable woman for miles around getting swooped by American servicemen with pockets full of Defense Department cash while you’re scratching out a living on your dirt farm! If you’re really lucky, maybe you can get a job driving all the US soldiers and their Afghan brides to and from Walt Disneystan!

What possible incentive do Afghan men have to fight in such a scenario? A perplexing question indeed. We’ll probably never understand or fathom the reasons.

Prime May 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Hey Mr. Goldfied,
Ugly Betty called. She wants her glasses back.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

David Goldfield does not understand how prices work. If the government starts buying slaves. There will be a boom in the slave market. The prices of all slaves will go up. Slave traders will ramp up their activity because it has become more profitable. Slave ships from all over the world will start docking in American harbors. Slave owners will start encouraging their slaves to have more children, to sell them. You cannot buy out any market. Not 3.1 billion dollars not even 3.1 billion times 3.1 billion would be enough to end slavery that way.

As for whether the war was fought to end slavery, it was not. It was fought to prevent the expansion of slavery. If preserving the Union was Lincoln’s intent, he had a very easy means at his disposal. Make slavery legal all over the Union. The Supreme Court had given him the green light with the Dred Scott decision. The Fugitive Slave Act was in place. That left only the executive branch to put its weight in. It was not just the Union he wanted to preserve, but a free Union.

Take his quote that is favored among anti-Lincoln libertarians:

If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

Conspicuous by its absence is the quote ‘and if I could save it by expanding slavery in the Union, I would do that too.’

Capn Mike May 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I think the idea (purchasing slaves)would be to outlaw FUTURE slavery, capping the number of slaves, then purchase them in an “eminent domain” action. Not very An-Cap, but better than the butchery that was justified by the alternative.

As to the expansion issue. It was not a moral position, it was to protect white jobs from blacks in the new territories. But perhaps that is consistent with your statement.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Do you know enough about the political climate about the time to consider such an action to be feasible? I am sure everyone of that time would have agreed to it, if the could foresee the butchery, but then like now, people had no way of predicting the future. In fact both sides underestimated how strongly the other felt about the issue and how the other was willing to go. You are accusing the decisions made in the past with the 20/20 hindsight, something they did not have. That is easy.

Expansion was a moral issue at the time. The literature shows it. Slaves are restricted in what they can do by their masters and the slave codes under which they work. Free people are not. So your point that slaves presented competition to free people collapses. Slaves being under complete control can be prevented from competing in such manner.

Slavery was a moral issue at the time in the sense people who loved liberty and had the vote recognized it to be fundamentally wrong to be tolerated where it already was. It was not a stand arising from personal affinity or affection. Again, the literature shows it. If you read Lincoln’s speeches at the time and the reaction of the crowd, you will know that he was not just expressing his own opinions. He was trying to perfectly mirror the aspirations of his electorate.

Capn Mike May 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Well, ALL the major slave holding colonial powers (France GB, Denmark. etc etc.) seemed to think that might work. And it did.

And I don’t buy the moral elevation of Lincoln and his supporters. sorry.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Did France, GB, Denmark, etc etc., have the same political climate as the US? Where their governments based on the same political theories?

And I don’t buy the moral elevation of Lincoln and his supporters. sorry.

No reason. No substantiation just a declaration. Fine.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

The reason that your citation is absent is because Lincoln never said it. Revisionists parse history and attribute causality based on their own particular point of view. The Civil War/War Between the States/The War of Northern Aggression/The War to Free Slaves/The War to End All Wars Prequel was anything but simple.

Your assertions that slavery was the key element and that economic factors were key shows little understanding of the various factors that are the fabric of America. Both you and Riggenbach dismiss the pageant and butcher’s bill of genocide and conquest as the key components in the American Quilt.

The integration of such disparate formative traditions as English Protestantism, Dutch Capitalism, French Colonialism, Spanish Conquest, Mexican Independence, Russian Profiteering, Algonquin Confederacy, First Nations Independence, Penal Servitude, the Industrial Revolution and the beginnings of Empire Building by the Western European Nation States are critical to actually understanding the Secession of the Eleven States and the transition to a modern Federal Government.

What we see today mirrored in the turmoil, death and rebirth of the United States are in fact the causative issues that remain unresolved yet today in the USA. Thinking that just economics is the key to understanding the Civil War is puerile and remarkably immature.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Are you the famous Michael Moore who directed Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko? This seems like the kind of thing that he would say. But he has better things to do with his time. I wonder how he would take to this impersonation.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I am famous in my own right. I am not rich. I got my name and folks before the other guy. He is impersonating me. I was there first and am happy to use my name. So, get over it and comment to my points.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I am sorry but your comments do not seem to be worth my time. Perhaps if your misconceptions become more popular, then maybe.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

And who provides the measure of popularity or relevancy? In my comments, what did you perceive as a misconception? Facts?

gooddebate May 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Is it really correct to imply that the war wasn’t fought over slavery and then use a quote that uses the word slavery 4 times. That’s not a word that I try to slip into my conversations generally. Just Sayin’. I think this comes from historians competing for their interpretation to be the correct one. Instead of saying, this happened and here are the possible reasons. For instance, it could be that Lincoln still held out hope that the states could be cobbled back together and they certainly weren’t going to do it if he just said ‘Asta LaVista, Baby!’

Further, if slavery wasn’t a major part of the reason for the build up to the war then why did Lincoln say this:

“We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation…That agitation has not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis has been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect that it will cease to be divided.”

I’m not that interested in a debate about who’s interpretation of events is right. I’m more interested in hearing the many ideas and judging for myself.

Inquisitor May 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Probably out of desperation/an attempt to rally more support? Wars tend to start with specific motives in mind and in time become about ever more vague, elusive targets, particularly as failures mount up.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Because his opponents where accusing him of being an abolitionist. Abolitionism was a fringe political movement at the time. Calling someone an abolitionist was an accusation then. Lincoln was sending very strong signals that he was one. He had to counter that accusation to remain relevant in the mainstream.

The mood of the time was as such. The Northerners wanted slavery to be contained, not abolished. The Southerners may have been satisfied with slavery being contained if it was not for the fact that contained slavery would die a natural death. It is an unusual predicament to be in. To preserve your way of life, you need to spread it. It has no capacity to self-sustain.

gooddebate May 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Very well said, the speech that I quoted was from the period of the debates with Douglass and was part of the process of taking abolitionism from the fringe to the main stream. It might even be possible to say that it was already the elephant in the room and Lincoln just woke up northerners to it.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

It was an elephant in the room long before Lincoln came in to the picture. Douglass used to say in his debates that when the 13 colonies got independence, all of them allowed for slavery. He was trying to make the point that the Founders never intended to give liberties for blacks. Lincoln provided an effective rebuttal but I digress. The point is lot of work was done to contain and remove it before Lincoln came along. But it still would not go away quietly.

Jim May 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Even if the slaves had been purchased and the objective was to outlaw future slavery, what would the South’s reaction have been to that proposal?

I don’t like the either / or proposition of traditional historians v. revisionists that the war was either fought entirely over slavery, or that slavery wasn’t involved at all. Selective quotes from Lincoln don’t help; they are mostly public pronouncements, which should be taken at face value no more than any public pronouncements of any politician. Also, ignorning the explicit statements made in several states declarations of secession that they were leaving the union specifically to preserve slavery puts a hole in the argument that slavery had nothing to do with anything.

I think a more correct reading of all the evidence, and not just selective evidence that pushes a certain view, is that the South left primarily because they wanted to preserve slavery (there were other issues, such as tariffs, to be sure, but slavery was mentioned by several states as a particular cause, and they hated Lincoln because they perceived him to be an abolitionist, such belief being widely documented at the time). Also, the Southern claim that they were all about federalism is belied by the fact that prior to the election, they were (unsuccessfully) seeking to have federal laws passed which would protect their slaves while on free soil, and require Northern assistance (which was already required, but widely ignored) to recapture escapees. So the South suddenly grew a love of federalism when their requests for top-down statism didn’t succeed.

In short, the North didn’t go to war to stop slavery…otherwise they would have outlawed it in the border states as well, but they didn’t. They did turn it into a crusade later in the war, but that was an evolution of propoganda more than anything else. But to act like slavery wasn’t central to the Southern decision to leave, is being extremely disingenuous.

ABR May 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Few Southerners owned slaves. Why, then, did the majority of Southerners fight the North?

Let’s say every Southerner fought because he wanted to preserve slavery. Would their motive justify the actions of Northerners to preserve a union? How can there be a union when one side wants nothing of it? Were the British justified in fighting the American revolutionaries because many of the latter owned slaves?

I don’t think it’s the intent of the revisionists to glorify the Southerners. The intent, so far as I can see, is to disabuse the reader of the notion that Lincoln was a hero.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Few Southerners owned slaves. Why, then, did the majority of Southerners fight the North?

You do not have to own slaves to consider slavery to be right. However if you own slaves, you most likely do not consider it to be wrong.

Let’s say every Southerner fought because he wanted to preserve slavery. Would their motive justify the actions of Northerners to preserve a union?

If preserving the Union meant preserving liberty better than otherwise, then yes.

Were the British justified in fighting the American revolutionaries because many of the latter owned slaves?

If the British where fighting to end slavery and the American revolutionaries to expand it into other British colonies, then yes. But that war actually had nothing to do with slavery. Read the declaration of independence. The revolutionaries may have kept slaves but where never fighting for their right to keep slaves.

ABR May 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm

The North could have attacked the South at any time prior to 1861, and tried to free the slaves. The North did not. Fighting a war to preserve a union is a contradiction.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm

They where not fighting for the slaves. They where fighting for themselves They where fighting to keep their lands slave-free.

BioTube May 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm

If preserving the Union meant preserving liberty better than otherwise, then yes.

Except the only way to preserve the union would have been to let the southern states go; the only thing Lincoln preserved were national borders and his own powerbase. He transmuted the (what was left of)union into a centralized state and used the war as an excuse to smash any and all opposition(something even very few Lincoln worshipers can deny). Your premise is absurd on its face.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Except the only way to preserve the union would have been to let the southern states go

That would have meant that the union was dissolved.

He transmuted the (what was left of)union into a centralized state and used the war as an excuse to smash any and all opposition(something even very few Lincoln worshipers can deny).

That was about to happen one way or the other. If the Dred Scott decision came into full effect. The US was in a crux. A house divided. It was to go one way all the way. Slavery everywhere and a central government that made it so. Or slavery no where and a central government that ensured it. Given such choices what would you pick? I know what I would pick.

Inquisitor May 7, 2011 at 6:07 am

“If preserving the Union meant preserving liberty better than otherwise, then yes.”

How’s that turned out, eh? Has the Union “preserved” anyone’s liberty? So I guess the ends justify the means? Assuming one buys into the view that the war was about “ending” slavery as opposed to dickwaving by Lincoln and an attempt to preserve his little empire, whatever rhetoric he spewed, how does it justify forcing a territory into a union it wishes no part of? Statist malarky at its best.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

How did it turn out? We live in a US where keeping slaves are not just illegal, but downright unthinkable. That notion is deeply entrenched in everyone. Compare that with Saudi Arabia where slavery was abolished only in 1962, and where unofficially people are still kept in slave like conditions. Hans Herman Hoppe had explained why states with liberal governments end up as empire builders. They have a highly productive society. They have the resources to fight and win. When they win, the people they defeated who where under a more oppressive government enjoys more liberties. Free enough it seems to criticize the conquerors. I cannot say that this is a bad thing.

But Hoppe goes on. This process would eventually lead to a situation where the most liberal government ends up ruling the entire world. But now they have no competitions or threats from more oppressive ones. So they themselves can begin to oppress. He is not saying, keep oppressive governments for the sake of competition. He wants a viable anarcho-capitalistic outcome to emerge before that.

Capn Mike May 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Yo.
When you have a pending tariff as great as the tariff increase of that year, you need to pay attention to that.
Slavery had been an institution of looong standing at that point. Abolitionists were a noisome and irritating minority.
It was about the tariff, just as it was in the Jackson (slave-holder) administration.
All the slave freeing stuff is fluff and propaganda.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Slavery was the elephant in the room. Ignore that you cannot understand anything.

Inquisitor May 7, 2011 at 6:07 am

Yah, so rather lets ignore EVERYTHING else and pretend it was all about the noble Northern White Knight coming in to end slavery.

Come off it.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

Do not ignore EVERYTHING else. But if you want to understand everything else, you cannot ignore slavery.

jaxk May 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

abhi,
The reason the south wanted out of the union is because much like today in the south we find the northern yankees very opinionated assholes ………extremely arrogant and controlling…….after they pissed off southern legislators by talking down to them and controlling them by majority rule (mob rule) the southerns got pissed and decided to leave…….. slavery was a big issue but it was the norths we’re superior attitude that caused the war………..and as teh article said lincoln was the worst pres ever because slavery would have ended anyway and with out killing 620000 americans……as linc said he did not go to war to end slavery and teh south did not fight the north only because of it either………
To say all these men fault and died for slavery is just horse hockey ………..did you read the article…it was correct………..

Abhilash Nambiar May 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm

That myth has ran its distance.

Clearpoint May 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

So the Civil War was fought because the southern pol’s were dissed. I’ll bet them damn yankees hit on their girlfriends too!!!

Gil May 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Or to translate the South weren’t ever guilty of anything.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm

People who thought slavery was morally right and socially elevating are always guilty of something. And something obvious at that. You can play with words all you want. That is not going to change.

Gil May 6, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Oh come on it was the “War of Northern Aggression” wasn’t it?

Clearpoint May 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

To be fair, the Civil War was fought for different reasons on both sides. Slavery might not have been a major reason for the industrialized north, but it was one of the major reasons for secession by the slave economy south. The north fought the war primarily to preserve unity – it needed the south to provide a market for its industrial products, and the federal government needed the tariffs on goods imported by the south. To say that the north did not fight to free the slaves I believe is an accurate statement. But to say that the south did not fight the war to defend the institution of slavery is not.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 9:50 am

Most people here still do not get it. Or do not want to. The Northerners did not want to free slaves. The Northerners wanted to prevent the spread of the institution of slavery to their states. It is not the same thing, although at times it leads to similar actions. The people who ran the underground railroad, did want to free slaves.

There is another parallell when it comes to disease control. Take the CDC. Their job is not to cure sick people. They job is to prevent the spread of disease.

It shows where the priorities are does it not? The people who want cure the disease is likely more altruistic. He finds happiness in seeing a sick person become healthy. A person who wants to prevent the spread of a disease cares more about himself. He does not want the sickness to spread into the streets he frequent and the home he lives in.

jorod May 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

It was a civil war. The South held an unfair (in many peoples’ eyes) number of votes in the Congress due to the three/fifths clause of the Constitution. Most people wanted to end slavery, at least in the new territories. It meant ending the superiority of the Slave states in the Congress. This was too much for the slave states to bear. They knew that slavery would be ended if non-slave states got a majority. It was not just about buying the freedom of the slaves. It was about ending a way of life, an end to the aristocracy of the Southern plantation owners. They had built an empire on slave labor. They could not bear to see that end. Call it States rights or what you will. It was all about power.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm

States rights was more of a code word for states power in the South. It was the Northern States that cared about States rights. After the Dred Scott decision and the Fugitive Slave act, nullification became more important in preventing slavery from over-running their free states. In the Southern States, States rights came to prominence after Lincoln was elected. That is history as I understand it. Tom Wood has repeatedly claimed that nullification was a more effective tool in the North for the prevention of slavery than in the South for maintaining it. I my understanding is consistent with that.

Dan May 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Abhilash Nambiar: I wanted to say: I’m sorry for calling you names earlier. I was out of line, and regardless of differences, I should not have called you an insulting name. While I disagree with many of your positions on things, it is I who started the aggressive verbal attack. There’s no excuse for it.

So, I’m sorry.

-Dan

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

You called me names? When? Well, if you did, I probably did not see much value in remembering it. Had I, then I would have. Anyway I do not know exactly what you are apologizing for. But I do appreciate the sentiment.

Dan May 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

It was in reference to the Bin Laden article written by Jeffrey Tucker. I called you an idiot.

Dagnytg May 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Dan,

Don’t feel too bad. Abhilash has called me stupid, and he has never apologized.

And though stupid and idiot are words I would never use, (they lack intellectual relevance) I’m sure many share your sentiments towards Abhilash.

I wish to think of him as well-intended but misguided…extremely misguided.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I get the same feeling about many here. Well-intended but misguided. I admit, I use words like stupid, idiot and fool without seeming regretful. Believe it or not, I do not take the decision to use such words very lightly.

I am not trying to be deliberately offensive when I use such words, although I am sure those words cause offense. But through offense, one can be provoked into thinking. That is what I aim at. Offense simply for the sake of being offensive does not interest me. Offense for a higher cause, yes. Then the trade-off is good. I hope I have explained myself well.

Dagnytg May 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Abhilash,

You don’t need to explain. I was just having some fun at your expense.

But I will take issue with this statement:

But through offense, one can be provoked into thinking.

Once again, you are misguided.

Offending people provokes nothing but resentment or in my case, laughter. Thinking is provoked (by the way, provoked has a negative connotation, I prefer the word inspired)…Thinking is inspired through the use of reason, objectivity, definition, and in a broader sense praxeology.

When you use offensive words, in my case after presenting a well thought out observation of your reasoning skills on Islam…it did not inspire me to think further but only to acknowledge that my argument had reduced you to some form of cognitive dissonance.

If you would address any of the well-defined thinkers on this site (like Sione for example) by using reason, objectivity etc., you might not get responses like “idiot” from people like Dan.

Just a suggestion…

PS> I guess I’m not getting an apology…am I?

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Thinking is inspired through the use of reason, objectivity, definition, and in a broader sense praxeology.

Yes, but thinking can also be inspired in other ways depending on the situation. In fact there are circumstances where using reason and objectivity is like talking to a wall, but a well-placed offense opens the flood gate, stimulates the interactions at the end of which both parties understand each other better. People are not all alike that the same approach works on everyone equally effectively.

PS> I guess I’m not getting an apology…am I?

You are going to get a conditional apology. For those times I may have offended you purely for the sake of causing offense and nothing else, you have my apology. But not for the other times.

Dan May 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Anyway, people seem to be asking the question: Why did both sides fight, what motivated both sides to enter into that war? Perhaps the more accurate question is: Why did the North invade the South?

The southern government sent several peace envoys to Lincoln, but he would not even see them. The Southern government even offered to pay its share of the national debt. And please spare the Ft. Sumter bit; that was an obvious provocation by the north. No, Lincoln wanted an invasion of the south, and he got it.

In one sense, the issue is very simple. The South exercised it’s right to secede from (up until that point) a voluntary union, and the north invaded to stop it from doing so. The very idea of forcing a State (which was part of the collective of states which FORMED the federal government) to remain in a union contradicts the notion of a union. The States from that point forward became subservient political entities to the federal government.

Lincoln, despite his pronouncements of “saving the union”, is actually the one who destroyed it.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

When it comes to understanding war, you need to get to the irreconcilable differences. Power hungry individuals do not need war to grab power, but can also take advantage of a war to grab power. The seed of that war is the issue of slavery and that alone. The North recognized slavery to be wrong, the South recognized it to be right. Both sides where firm in their conviction. Under such circumstances only an armed conflict can resolve the issue. Peace envoys actually become instruments for war. This is because a climate of peace where neither side has made any ideological compromise, gives the weaker side the chance to regroup and launch a counter attack.

Gil May 15, 2011 at 5:22 am

Yesssss. And FDR provoked the Japanese into bombing Pearl Harbor therefore the Japanese were merely rightfully retaliating American aggression.

Dan May 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

“Peace envoys actually become instruments for war.”

This statement is divorced of anything resembling logic.

“The seed of that war is the issue of slavery and that alone.”

The “seed” of the war was an invasion by 75,000 federal troops at Lincoln’s behest.

” Both sides where firm in their conviction. Under such circumstances only an armed conflict can resolve the issue.”

No. War is not nor has ever been inevitable. Invading another country (or confederation of states) is not inevitable, it is quite deliberate.

Using your reasoning, some nebulous, mysterious, force of history separate from the actions of people put them in a situation where there was no choice: war. But of course history proceeds because of the actions of people, not despite them.

To extend this absurd notion, all events in history would be inevitable, not just wars. So, the Bolsheviks, I suppose also didn’t have a choice they just “had” to seize power and reign destruction onto the rest of the country. It wasn’t their fault, it was just “inevitable”. The Bolsheviks, like Lincoln, were unthinking pawns at the hand of Providence.

Historical determinism was disproven long ago.

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I am not going to explain again how peace envoys can be effectively used as a part of war strategy. I already have. You just said it does not sound logical. You did not point to any flaws in the logic.

“Using your reasoning, some nebulous, mysterious, force of history separate from the actions of people put them in a situation where there was no choice: war”

Not mysterious and not separate from the actions of people. Do you know about Carl Menger’s essay on how money came into being? It was a product of human action, but not human design. If you look for an inventor of money, you will not find it. Yet it did not come about mysteriously. Slavery too came about that way. Culture comes about that way too. Over generations habits become entrenched, social norms become internalized. Evils that the society needs to sustain itself are tolerated, even encouraged. It becomes very difficult to undo. And when you have two societies developing in parallel with conflicting social norms, they become the seed for conflict. But if you stick with just what is observed, you have not gotten at the bottom of the issue.

So the war became a resolution for a social issue. Lincoln became the face that symbolized the struggle. You are trying to develop a narrative where a single tyrant possessed by a hunger for power maneuvered common people into a needless war. People are not that easy to manipulate. To fight for what they believe in requires self-motivation.

Dan May 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

“I am not going to explain again how peace envoys can be effectively used as a part of war strategy. I already have. You just said it does not sound logical. You did not point to any flaws in the logic.”

Poor choice of words on my part. But really, do I have to spell it out for you? You have not explained how a peace envoy can somehow become part of an instrument for war, you’ve only stated it. Without further explanation (I re-read all the posts, btw) the statement is just rubbish, pure and simple. C’mon it would be like me saying: dogs can actually fly. Just leaving the statement at that without explaining how makes me some dude just spouting off random stuff. That statement, like yours, lacks logic. Are you with me now?

“You are trying to develop a narrative where a single tyrant possessed by a hunger for power maneuvered common people into a needless war.”

Your words, not mine. Let us examine the facts of the situation, and if you have any disagreement with any of them, we can go from there okay?

1. The southern government sent numerous peace envoys to the federal government. Lincoln refused to see them. The south offered to pay its share of the national debt as well.

2. Lincoln invaded the confederated states with 75,000 federal troops.

3. The states created the federal government and existed before it did.

4. A union (a political one especially) consists of the unification of two or more states or political entities. To leave, or secede from the union does not dissolve the union, it merely separates your state from that union. The other states who choose to remain now the constitute the union.

5. There is nothing illegal or aggressive about secession; it was a peaceful act that aimed at “resolving irreconcilable differences” as you say over a number of issues, slavery included (slavery importation was banned in the Confederate Constitution, BTW). The legality and necessity of taking such an action was understood by most people of the era as a bulwark, a check, against the invasive and aggressive tendencies of the federal government.

If you have disagreements over any of these facts, let us argue those facts. I do not offer interpretation or a narrative, I offer facts. Facts which are ignored and buried by 150 years of propaganda by the victor.

—–Interpretation—–

To have a product of the states (the federal government) force at gunpoint the originators of the union to remain belies a serious misunderstanding of the nature of that union. While is never expressly stated in the constitution (it doesn’t have to, because it is only a document that authorizes specific tasks to the federal government, not the state governments), the ability to secede from a voluntary union was implied in the very nature of the ratification of the constitution. Had any of the states known that they would be forced to stay in that union, without a doubt not one state would have entered into it.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

C’mon it would be like me saying: dogs can actually fly.

Let us compare dogs can fly with this statement.

Peace envoys actually become instruments for war. This is because a climate of peace where neither side has made any ideological compromise, gives the weaker side the chance to regroup and launch a counter attack.

If you think it makes no sense even now, you have bigger problems to worry about.

Let us examine the facts of the situation, and if you have any disagreement with any of them, we can go from there okay?

History is complex enough that people can pick and choose facts depending on their ideological inclinations. That is what you are doing here.

I will however address one point that I think is significant. The others all lead up to it, so I do not find it necessary to address them separately.

There is nothing illegal or aggressive about secession

Secession to preserve liberty is very legal. Secession to destroy it is very illegal.

it was a peaceful act that aimed at “resolving irreconcilable differences” as you say over a number of issues, slavery included.

There are two types of peace. A positive peace which the requires presence of liberty and justice. And a negative peace which requires mere suppression of decent. If you believe that for the sake of a negative peace, liberty can be sacrificed, then you do not really believe in liberty.

The legality and necessity of taking such an action was understood by most people of the era as a bulwark, a check, against the invasive and aggressive tendencies of the federal government.

Their understanding turned out to be wrong, something they themselves realized eventually. They forgot to consider instances in which state governments would violate liberties to such an extent that the Federal would be forced to intervene. Which is why the Fourteenth Amendment was passed. To restrict States from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Sione May 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Lincoln was faced with a decision. It was this, go to war against fellow North Americans or do not go to war against fellow Americans- commit state sanctioned violence or avoid it. Kill or avoid killing. That was the decision he faced. It is a similar one to that faced by many political leaders throughout history, all over the world.

Lincoln (as with so many others) decided to travel the path of violence- to put other North Americans to the sword. The slaughter began. He escalated it. The slaughter continued. He allowed it to persist for years- battle after battle, war crime after war crime, slaughter, mayhem, destruction, scorched earth, rape, pillage, injury, looting, torture, starvation, disease, hunger, misery, suffering, death. He continued to prosecute his war.

Who benefitted? Not the slaughtered. Not the victims of the mayhem. Not those whose way of life, whose means of living, was destroyed. Not the raped. Not those whose property was pillaged, looted, burnt to the ground. Not the injured. Not the tortured. Not those who were diseased or disabled because of the war. Not the starving. Not the dead. Yet Lincoln allowed the destruction of North American humanity to accelerate onward for years, for a casualty list of hundreds of thousands. For whom did he seek to cause benefit? It sure wasn’t the abovementioned, for if he had sought to help those poor souls he’d have acted to stop the violent carnage immediately by all his might and means. That he did not speaks for his nature.

In all that time of violence he stood by, the political leader, making no serious effort to halt further destruction of humanity. Oh, he talked alright. Made speaches and debates. And every day that same decision he faced- go to war against fellow North Americans or do not go to war against fellow Americans- commit state sanctioned violence or avoid it. Kill or avoid killing. And every day he made the same decision. Kill. Destroy.

Could he have prevented outbreak of war? Could he have avoided all the suffering, death and destruction of war? Could he have stopped it once he realised the magnitude of the bloody business he presided over? He certainly didn’t dedicate himself to doing so.

In the end his violence returned to claim him personally. His death was prolonged and painful. Apt perhaps.

Was any of it necessary? The author of the book reviewed here says that it wasn’t. Many other scholars have come to (and more are coming to) the same conclusion. Un-necessary.

Now, we know what Lincoln’s decision was. The issues that remain include these-

Do the great & powerful leaders of today when facing the decision (to unleash state sanctioned violence or not) fare any better than Lincoln? Can they be trusted in this?

Is the fundamental nature of state such that it is a dangerous threat against human existance in that it allows unimaginable magnitudes violence to be unleashed against fellow humans?

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

There is the seen and the unseen right? What did the war avoid? The spread of slavery. It secured freedom for posterity and made slavery unthinkable in the lands where its merits and demerits where debatable issues. So who benefitted? The Posterity. Arguably for all time.

Yes, Lincoln could have avoided the war. Just submit to the notion that slavery is right. Enforce the Dred Scot decision and the Fugitive Slave Act in all of the Union. Impose restrictions on the Northern States to prevent them from exercising nullification, create a political climate where the Northern ban against slavery in the state constitutions where overturned. That should have been enough to avoid war. If peace without freedom is what you advocate, then you will find peace agreeable to war in all circumstances. Otherwise you will find circumstances where peace is too high a price to pay.

I like to live in a world where lovers of liberty are not blackmailed into submission in the name of peace. I like to live in a world where enemies of liberty fear for their lives. Like Thomas Jefferson once said:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm

The Tree of Liberty is a no more real than a Unicorn or Almighty Sentient Caring Being. The Founding Fathers realized from the very beginning that compromise was the only way that the original colonies and territories would be able to stand free of European Domination.

By the time of the Articles of Confederation, fully 27 states were represented by the United States. The Thirteen Colonies and 14 states that made up the territories and commonwealths of the land we see today. The 13 colonies: Delaware
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and subsequent 14 states created from the territories and commonwealths represented by the Founding Fathers: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Florida.

I have listed the states in order of admission. The Founding Father’s knew from the beginning that the issues of Federal and State Control could not be resolved with the addition of Slavery and Suffrage to the spirited debate of independence from the United Kingdom.

Compromise is the meme of our understanding of the original debate along with the doctrines of Imminent Domain, Manifest Destiny and the Melting Pot. As is consistently pointed out in the struggle against tyranny, compromise postpones the denouement until there is no step back and action must be accrued and implemented. That is also a good definition of War.

The War between the Individual and the State is still being waged, both here in the USA and in virtually every nation state on Earth. As long as the either the Individual threatens the State or State threatens the individual there will be War. The two cannot be reconciled or proscribed.

nate-m May 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that these compromises were the reason we ended up killing off 2% of the population of our own country.

We were the only significant western country that had to go to war to free the slaves. We are also still significantly troubled by this history to this day.

To understand the history and our continue struggle against centralized state government you MOST NOT ignore this. You have to understand WHY this had to happen.

WHY is there no slavery in Europe anymore?
WHY is there no slavery in South America anymore?
Why is there no slavery in Canada?

Why did we have to fight a war over it and they didn’t?

This naval gazing about the civil war and slavery in the USA completely ignores the experiences and history of most of human history in regards to slavery!

These areas were controlled by European white men with similar attitudes towards race, similar cultural heritage, and similar economics to what was going on in the United States. Especially significant areas of South America.

The short answer is obvious:

Because the founding fathers fucked up. That’s why. They screwed up. They screwed up VERY badly. They made bad decisions and bad compromises.

The slightly longer story, that everybody and their mom ignores, is:

The south use the power of the centralized federal government to force slavery to last longer then it naturally would of. Then the response of this from the north was to use the federal government power to make slavery illegal.

In other areas of the world as the industrial revolution took over it became quite possible to make money from a very significant capital investment and expenditures and putting money into labor made less and less sense. On top of that people that believe they are free produce better quality output and work harder then slaves do.

In many parts of South America the slaves simply left their masters and went to neighboring countries. The neighboring countries prospered because of the better freedom the people enjoyed and, combined with other factors, slavery simply became unprofitable and thus you lost the purpose behind the self-delusion that blacks are inferior humans to white and moralistic portions of the society were able to take hold easier.

However in the USA this was not allowed to happen due to the power of federal government. Northern whites were unable to help free black slaves and move then to other states were slavery was no longer practiced. It was a federal crime to protect and harbor freed slaves and thus the USA government was protecting the profitability of southern slave economy and significantly retarding progress.

Centralized federal power (all perfectly fine by the constitution) lead directly to prolonged slavery. Centralized federal power was then used to try to free the slaves, because natural forces and anti-slavery individuals were subjected by state power, which triggered the war of southern independence.

If the founding fathers were a bit wiser (it’s easy to understand were they went wrong with history as our guide) they would of put better limitations on federal power. Then the civil war never would of happened, and slavery would of been significantly reduced (or even eradicated) at a much quicker pace.

This is also useful to know when estimating the impact of the use of Federal power to prolong and protect the profitability of industries in the USA through automobile company rescues, banking bailouts, patents, copyrights, ACTA, DMCA, Amtrack, Airline industry, and a whole host of other restrictions, limitations, and out right theft of public funds for corporate protectionism.

Retarding progress is almost never good, although usually it’s not as big of a tragedy as the civil war.

Dan May 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I’m not going to bother with a rebuttal with someone like you. Sione said it best:

“Substance is what you are missing. Fantasy is what you’ve got. You’re sorta amusing- in a small way.”

I bring up point after point which you don’t have any argument against, you just claim I’m cherry-picking facts (as if that’s an argument, LOL). You are inconsistent and your statements frequently make no sense and seemed to be based on some bizarre combination of utility (who can forget your “acquiescence to the lesser evil” bit) and public school level assumptions about history.

Your contradictory babble speaks for itself. Having a rational discussion with you is like spitting in the wind. Life is too short and time to valuable to argue with someone with a 5th-grade level understanding of history.

Goodbye, and to rational libertarians on this board-do try to ignore this person unless you want to be dragged into the depths of insanity.

Abhilash Nambiar May 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I have met people who have tried to put substantial rebuttals to my statements, yourself included, but Sione was rarely if ever one amongst them. He has substance only in terms of number of words. The intellectual content is deficient, but that fact is cleverly masked in the number of words used. I appreciate historical revisionism if only for its capacity to make me challenge my deeply held assumptions about the past and think about how I came to my conclusions. It does not therefore imply that everything revisionists say is true. There are many things right about the mainstream. Something that unsurprisingly, people at the fringes ignore.

Without responding to ad hominems, I will quote from Mises on your claim to my irrationality.

The assertion that there is irrational action is always rooted in an evaluation of a scale of values different from our own. Whoever says that irrationality plays a role in human action is merely saying that his fellow men behave in a way that he does not consider correct.

I think you will agree with me on this. According to you I have behaved incorrectly.

Also please do not give me credit for the “acquiescence to the lesser evil” bit. That you criticize it points further to the weakness of your position. That is from Mises too.In fact it is from his Magnum Opus, The Human Action:

For an all-powerful being there is no pressure to choose between various states of uneasiness; he is not under the necessity of acquiescing in the lesser evil.

Since neither you nor I are all-powerful, the implication stands clear.

Sione May 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Abhilash

Now, now. A little too much more fantasy expressed from you there, little one.

You lack understanding, let alone comprehension. The question was not what the War of Northern Aggression avoided. The question wasn’t whether the President could evaluate the unseen (for “posterity” and “for all time”) and could say, “It was worth it”. The issue wasn’t whether slavery was ended (which it seems to have been in the rest of the Western World and even through the Pacific without the massive slaughter of total war, such as that which your hero presided over), but the decision whether to unleash violence and death upon fellow North Americans or not. We know Lincoln made and continued to make the decision to allow the killing to persist for years. Indeed he prosecuted his war without respite. That speaks for his nature (just as your fantasies and delusional justifications for violence speak volumes for yours).

Who benefitted from the warfare and that which accompanied it? In order to answer that, one need carefully consider who it was that Lincoln relied on for support, funding and instruction. In other words, who his cronies, associates, colleagues, handlers and enablers were. Who were those he dealt with on a daily basis- trading favour, priviledge, power, position and so on. That turns out to have been researched in detail by Prof diLorenzo, among others. Worth reading about. What is for certain, well over 600,000 people were not beneficiaries of Lincoln’s war. Interestingly enough, the real suffering and actual casualty enabled by Lincoln prosecuting the war are what is unseen by the likes of you. Funny that.

“Yes, Lincoln could have avoided the war. Just submit to the notion that slavery is right etc.”

This is an example of where your fantasy constructs bind your intellect.

Lincoln’s decision was whether to unleash state sanctioned violence or not. Did he send people to mass death- yes or no? Did he take the country to a condition of organised mass violence- yes or no? The rest is excuses and justification after the fact. Heck! Every convict I’ve come across has told me that there were good and justifyble reasons for what they did. They rationalise all sorts of violence away with statements like, “there was no choice” and how “it was a necessary evil.” What you attempt for Lincoln is no different, except in regards to the scope and magnitude of that you attempt to justify.

You pretend Lincoln had absolutely no way to avoid the violence of warfare unless he abandoned abolition and accepted slavery as good. Firstly, he did not profess to hold to a policy of abolition- not as a justification for setting about his war. There is plenty of evidence, including in his own speeches and writings, that demonstrates that. Secondly, and far more significantly, he had alternatives to war. It surely would have tested his diplomacy, skills in leadership, authority, morality and personal principles to choose an alternative to war. It would have meant accepting that the Union might lose some member states (for a time at least). It would have meant that the Hamiltonian dream of centralised seat of national power would have been set back for many decades at least. It would have meant that Lincoln’s own ideal of Federal Govt as senior to the States would have to be abandoned. It would have meant accepting that even as President, he was not ultimately the sovereign ruler of all other North Americans. It would have lost him much political support from his funders, fellow mercantilists, colleagues, cronies and associates. It may even have cost him his career in Federal politics (but balanced against that, he would have retained his own life- surely the ultimate “unseen” for him at the time).

He had the option to have chosen alternative to war. He had that choice every single day. Some alternatives would have meant taking a path of supporting abolition, simultaneously accepting that States retained the right of quitting the Union.

-

Jefferson is worthy of respect. Interestingly, right to up to his death, he was a man who held people as slaves. Still, it is best to remember the good he did while never accepting the wrong (and in regards to slaves he did do wrong). Nevertheless, would you really profess Jefferson (had he been alive) would have accepted that the killing of 600,000+ fellow North Americns, and all the rest of the horrors and suffering of the war, could be justified by the simple quote you’ve reproduced? The destruction of life and property on that scale is not something that can be easily justified. Jefferson surely did not set out to attempt such. Best, when dealing with the quote of a famous man, to always remember context. Anyway, if anything his quote was far more justifyably employed by those fighting in favour of secession, against a centralist govt which they considered illegitimate- just as many of their forebears had considered the British govt illegitimate.

-

The two questions at the end of my previous post remain important to think about.

Sione

Note the two questions I posed at the end of my previous post remain most important to consider inthe light of the example that President Lincoln provides.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Every now and then I end up providing my opponents a congratulatory note for using a lot of words to say nothing. You have used more words to say nothing than anyone until now. I will say congrats using the full form – Congratulations.

Sione May 9, 2011 at 2:33 am

Abhilash

Yet you read every single word, thought long and hard enough to make the uncomfortable discovery that you had absolutely nothing substantive to present in opposition, no rational rebuttal to contribute, no logical defense for your thoughtlessly regurgitated bromides and still you posted anyway! Even an intellectual degerate such as you should be aware at some level that what you provide is no valid substitute for having something substantive to posit.

Substance is what you are missing. Fantasy is what you’ve got. You’re sorta amusing- in a small way.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 9, 2011 at 6:25 am

When you say things like that, I feel reassured.

Tom DiLorenzo May 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm

One important point some people here don’t understand is that when the Southern states seceded they gave up any claim to the new territories. As a separate country they had no more ability to introduce slavery into U.S. territories than they did to introduce it to France or England. Therefore, the notion that the war was “about slavery’s extension” to the territories is another piece of nonsense. Northern politicians made a big deal about their opposition to the extension of slavery to the territories for two reasons: pervasive racism and white supremacy in the North, and politics. As Lincoln himself said, “we” want the territories preserved “for free white labor.” They were simply pandering to white male workers (the only people who voted) by promising them labor market protectionism (from both slaves and free blacks), and that black people would never be allowed to live among them. Illinois — “Land of Lincoln” — amended its constitution in 1848 to prohibit free blacks from moving into the state. Other northern states did the same.

I agree with the author that there is a lot of good information in Jeffrey Hummel’s book, which he recommends, although Hummel also spouts the politically-correct view, which Riggenbach attacks throughout his essay, that slavery was the cause of the war. That of course is necessary if one wants statists like James McPherson to contribute back-cover blurbs to one’s books.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

You are being disingenuous. It was only after Lincoln was elected did they realize that slavery could no longer be spread all over the Union. Hence the secession and hence the war. Those that say secession is a means to preserve liberty fully ignore the fact that session in this instance was being used violate liberty without intervention. So secession can be used for other reasons too. You could dismantle the Union because you love liberty or you could dismantle it because liberty was in your way. Guess what happened here? Guess what Lincoln would not put up with?

Northern politicians made a big deal about their opposition to the extension of slavery to the territories for two reasons: pervasive racism and white supremacy in the North, and politics. As Lincoln himself said, “we” want the territories preserved “for free white labor.

If they said it, they said nonsense. In no economy can slaves effectively compete against free labor in a free market. There was no free market in the South. There was a plantation controlled aristocracy. The abolition of slavery does not equal protectionism for the labor market. Slaves cannot compete effectively with free labor. This is well known and well understood. As an economist, you should know that.

Illinois — “Land of Lincoln” — amended its constitution in 1848 to prohibit free blacks from moving into the state. Other northern states did the same.

This is a distraction. I have seen this pattern consistently over here. People speak about the shortcomings of Obama, but remain silent on the crimes of Osama. The lesser evils bother them more than the greater evils. The Southerners thought slavery right and the northerners thought is wrong. That is a significant evil. In a post slavery United States, other race based injustices can come into prominence. Acquiescing to the greater evil is the lowest form in which any person can exercise their liberty. Senator Douglas did it in 1858 and you today.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

AN,
You are incorrect: The California Compromise of 1850 ensured the expansion of slavery throughout the Continental United States, leaving Alaska and Hawaii as the only states not impacted by 1850.

Until the War, the Planters themselves competed well in the international common markets of the period for Cotton and Tobacco. The laissez faire free markets ceased to exist during the Civil War. The share croppers and slaves of the South did not participate in commerce or society in the South and did not enjoy suffrage or representation. They fought for the right to defend their home, much as Iraqi’s, Yemeni, Georgians, Kurds, Albanians and Afghanis fight today against the oppression of their government and feudal lords.

It is good to quote history, but your accuracy is questionable.

Race based injustices have existed within the United States since our first oppression of the Other Guy. It has not changed over time, though the genocidal nature domestically is reduced somewhat.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Alaska and Hawaii? Are you crazy? They where not even part of the Unites States at that time!! There is too much noise in in what you write. Too much nonsense mixed with too few facts. Become as famous as film maker Michael Moore and I will address them.

Matthew Swaringen May 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Osama may be more evil in intention, but in terms of actual ability to cause harm he is significantly less problematic, unless you are afraid of an old man who has no power. His greatest accomplishment was helping plan to kill people but we don’t even know how much he was actually involved in that plan. Did he pay for it? Probably to some extent. Was he the one who came up with the idea? Perhaps, but doubtful on his own.

And even if he came up with the whole thing and paid for it, who else played a part?

1) The people who trained and flew the planes played a greater part.
2) The Americans in inciting the anger of Osama and all the others who were necessary for his plan (unless you believe the ridiculous notion that they hate us more than the Europeans because we are more free..)
3) The people on the planes by not fighting back (because the government told people for years that they should cooperate with hijackers).

And #2 is very important here, because if everyone had fought on the planes from the beginning probably not one plane would have crashed, much less into anything. These were not skilled fighters with highly efficient weapons. The sophistication of their attacks since has been pathetic at best, but the fear that they promote is effective.

You have a far higher chance of being affected personally by a regulation from Obama’s administration (particularly health care) than of even being touched by Al Qaeda.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Osama stopped being a threat because he was cut down to size and then done eventually done awya with. After that thankless people like you begin to crawl out and brag that he was never a threat to begin with. You can say anything after it is done with. There is no way to verify it. He was the vanguard of that lethal ideology and nurtured its adherents.

Let me address your points.
#1 makes sense
#2 I am sure helping Osama defeat the communist Russians in Afghanistan helped inciting his anger towards Americans. Yes, how dare the evil Americans provoke a harmless innocent man bothering his own business?
#3 Is the most despicable form of blaming the victim. The passengers had no reason to believe that the nature of plane hijacking had changed such that fighting back had become the best option.

You have a far higher chance of being affected personally by a regulation from Obama’s administration (particularly health care) than of even being touched by Al Qaeda.

I rather be affected personally by a regulation from Obama’s administration than by touched by Al Qaeda. How about you? Answer honestly.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Tom,

Intelligent discourse requires some factual basis. By 1860 the following states and territories allowed legal slavery: Kentucky, Missouri, The Indian Territory (Oklahoma), Nebraska Territory (Nebraska), Colorado Territory (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana), New Mexico Territory (Arizona, New Mexico), Utah Territory (Utah), Nevada Territory (Nevada) and Washington Territory (Montana, Washington). Only California and Oregon were free of slavery.

Neither Suffrage nor Slavery were issues, but both were the morale underpinnings for most of the participants on both sides. The two issues then brought up the same divisions as Same Sex Marriage and Reproductive Rights.

The War from both sides was fought because the Confederate States believed that they could leave the Federal Republic of their own volition and that the actions of the Federal Government to compel them to remain were illegal and immoral. The Federal States believed that they had a responsibility to maintain the Union at all costs. The issue was not resolved then and it remains unresolved today.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

The War from both sides was fought because the Confederate States believed that they could leave the Federal Republic of their own volition and that the actions of the Federal Government to compel them to remain were illegal and immoral. The Federal States believed that they had a responsibility to maintain the Union at all costs. The issue was not resolved then and it remains unresolved today.

That kind of disagreement does not need to be settled with war unless there was some politically compelling reason aka slavery. The reason behind all reasons. The reason without which there was no hurry reason to settle such questions.

Michael Moore May 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm

AN,
While you may contend that the reason was slavery, I assert that the difference was that there was no room left for compromise and the eleven states legally separated from the Federal Republic and the Federal Republic insisted that they be compelled to remain, hence the War. Might have beens and shoulds are not fact, merely conjecture, none of which is compelling nor factual.

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

There can be no compromise between people who think slavery is right and those that think slavery is wrong. In a sense you are correct.

Matthew Swaringen May 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm

And yet Lincoln was willing to compromise on slavery, until after the war was started. What he was not willing to compromise on was tariffs.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm

If you are taking about the Morrill Tariff of 1861, it was signed into law by democratic President James Buchanan. As for the compromise over slavery, Lincoln was willingly acquiescing in the lesser evil. The greater evil at the time being the spread of slavery. Have you read about the Missouri Compromise and its dissolution? The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854? Or perhaps the concept of ‘popular sovereignty’ forwarded by Senator Stephen Douglas? As noted in the Declaration of Independence, free men willingly suffer evils while evils are sufferable rather than right the ways that they are accustomed to. But they draw the line when the evils they tolerate begin to dominate and dictate terms.

Clearpoint May 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

Mr. DiLorenzo:

I have absolutely no problem with the stand-alone contentions that the Civil War was not fought to prevent “slavery’s extension” or to “free the slaves.” But to take these stand-alone contentions, which are only slivers of the overall slavery issue, and extend them to the extreme view that the Civil War was not about slavery is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. This is a problem because while these contentions are not wrong in and of themselves, they do point in a direction that obscures the great truth of slavery’s overall role in the Civil War.

I have not read either Riggenbach’s or Hummel’s books, so I claim ignorance on how far they extended these slivers of truth. But even if they took them no farther than their stand-alone positions, judging from the posts I’ve read, it seems to me that many readers are taking them farther, in some cases much farther, all by themselves; which is of course not what the authors intended. But, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility; for a book, so to speak, can take on a life of its own far different from that intended by the author.

It is my belief that the broad issue of the institution of slavery, when viewed over time through the long course of US history, was the primary reason for the Civil War; not directly, but indirectly because it touched and impacted all major issues that led to the Civil War. And that if the institution of slavery had never existed in the US, that we would never have had to fight a Civil War. A parallel to this part of my argument can be found today in the Middle East. Remove oil from the Middle East, and ask yourself how many wars, humanitarian missions, etc. would the US be involved in? From an economic standpoint, the institution of slavery presented the confederate states with the exact same problem that oil presents in the Middle East today — dependence on and exploitation of one significant economic resource for your economic wellbeing.

For economies cursed with the short run benefits of this situation, progress is retarded because there is no need to change. The second industrial revolution caused the schism between the way of life for those living in the forward moving industrial north versus those living in the stuck-in-the past slave economy south to widen drastically. And for those living in the south, slavery was deeply imbedded into their way of life. So much so, that to end it was to end their way of life.

There is no denying that the US was founded on the principle of individual freedom. But what is often overlooked is that without unity, and the security that it provides, freedom did not stand a chance of surviving. It’s easy to look back in time from the comfort of your chair and say as some have said in their posts that the founding fathers screwed up in allowing slavery to survive. But from their perspective, in the red hot heat of the moment, with the very freedom they had established by winning their independence from the British Empire at stake, they opted for the expediency of political compromise to secure the unity necessary to protect freedom. Frederick Douglas understood this when he recognized that the 3/5 clause was an instrument that would restrict and eventually end slavery over time.

If one looks at the American Revolution as a war between those who wanted the freedom to build an uncertain future versus those clinging to the tyranny of a familiar past, you would easily list the Americans on the side of freedom and the British Empire on the side of tyranny. The Civil War was another such moment, with the North, I would argue on the side of freedom, and the South on the side of tyranny. In both wars, freedom suffered significant casualties. In the American Revolution, freedom’s casualty was the continuation of the institution of slavery, a glaringly obvious contradiction against the “all men are created equal” first principle of the US Constitution, and one that could not last. That’s the price that the god of political expedience demanded in exchange for the voluntary unity that only he could provide in a time of great need. And in the Civil War, with the voluntary unity established at our country’s founding having run its course, the god of political expedience came calling once again, this time offering forced unity in exchange for that formidable check on centralized governmental power that states rights had provided.

There is no way to neatly carve slavery out of the Civil War argument without castrating the real meaning of the Civil War, and its place within the entire body of the history of freedom. It’s that kind of thinking that turns the Declaration of Independence from an amazing and timeless document of individual liberty into a mere list of temporary grievances. And it’s that kind of thinking that puts all of us at great risk today, as tyranny continues its never ending attack on freedom.

The god of political expedience is calling once again with another version of the usual offer that Ben Franklin warned us about. If we understand anything from our past dealings with him, he is a hungry god, always demanding more and more, and giving less and less. Sometime soon, for the sake of our children, I hope we can find the strength to tell him to go away and never come back.

Abhilash Nambiar May 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Clearpoint has lived up to his namesake.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

“And that if the institution of slavery had never existed in the US, that we would never have had to fight a Civil War.”

If you completely removed slavery from the picture, none of the political or economic issues would have been changed at all. The more manufacturing-based northern states had a desire for public works projects funded through tariffs which were primarily paid by the more agrarian-based southern states. Removing slavery doesn’t change that issue at all.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

You do not know it because the great economists of the Mises Institute has been silent on the slave based economy and society of the South. That will let you compare and contrast. They do not seem to want that. Atleast as far as this incident is concerned, they have a prefabricated narrative on to which facts have to be force fitted.

The Northern economy did not depend on Southern subsidies for its existence. It could hold on its own. It had vibrant trade, commerce, a free market and industry. The South was an economic wasteland, a regular basket-case, an aristocracy built on the backs of slaves. That whole social fabric would unravel if slavery where to go away.

You probably care for the concept of liberty. Which is why I know, you are positioning yourself for future embarrassment with your views.

Jeffrey Tucker May 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

What a despicable comment. A quick site search refutes you. Every criticism of Lincoln on this site blasts him for his pro-slavery views. As for the Confederate government, it was a government like any other with inflation, conscription and a penchant for tyrannical control. Mark Thornton, senior scholar, has an entire book on this topic http://mises.org/store/Tariffs-Blockades-and-Inflation-P179.aspx

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

If Lincoln’s pro-slavery views are so easy to find why not just post me links to them, the same way you posted links to Mark Thornton’s book, instead of just saying they are easy to find. There is no better way to counter my views.

Jeffrey Tucker May 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

Lincoln’s pro-slavery comments are quoted in this very article! http://mises.org/daily/5248/Why-the-Terrible-Destruction-of-the-Civil-War, the one on which you are supposedly comment. As they say, RTFA

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

That statement is perfectly consistent with Lincoln’s willingness to tolerate slavery where it already existed. Tolerating an evil is not the same as endorsing it, especially when he believed containing that evil would drive it to extinction. The real story of that time is how attempts to expand slavery eventually lead to the war.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

Mr. Tucker,I think you owe an explanation as to how a statement with the following words embedded in it

“if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it”

can be construed as being pro-slavery. It is possible, but difficult. But take this statement for contrast

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth”

That is so obviously pro-slavery. Now you could try and argue that since Lincoln would have tolerated if people who wrote it, kept slaves, Lincoln is therefore pro-slavery. But they wrote it in a ‘Declaration of Secession’.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

“The Northern economy did not depend on Southern subsidies for its existence.”

I never said that they depended on it. I said that they wanted it. The fact that you would intentionally rewrite my point in order to refute something I never said tells me a lot about how much honest conversation I can expect from you.

Regardless, you are missing the point. The economic and political differences that split the country do not require slavery. Take slavery out of the picture and arguments over internal improvements spending, tariffs, central banking etc. would still exist. If what you are claiming is true–that the entire southern economy was based on slavery–then without slavery these differences would have been ever MORE pronounced and even MORE divisive since, as you seem to think, the south was an economic wasteland already which would unravel once slavery was out of the picture.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

Ok, the Northerners wanted something they never needed. That claim is arbitrary and bizarre at the same time. It is starting from there that a narrative can be developed into which convenient facts can be fitted and inconvenient facts can be ignored. From it the conclusion can be obtained, the carnage was over tariff and spending! Irreconcilable differences over tariff and government spending that people organize themselves into opposing armies?!!!

Without slavery, there would be none of the socio-economic barriers that prevent economic development from taking off in the South. The Commercially vibrant Northerners could rebuilt that economy just like the West Germans rebuilt the East. The war was to preserve a way of life and a social-order that was never economically viable.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

“Ok, the Northerners wanted something they never needed.”

Who said that? Why are you making things up?

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

@Bart

I said:
The Northern economy did not depend on Southern subsidies for its existence.

You said:
I never said that they depended on it. I said that they wanted it.

I said:
Ok, the Northerners wanted something they never needed.

You said:
Who said that? Why are you making things up?

I say:
I have it all written down here.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Who said they wanted something they never needed? It says a lot about you that you can’t have an honest discussion without making things up. I never said they wanted something they never needed. That’s a silly thing to impute to my statements. I never said any such thing and if you can’t respond to the words I *actually* use it says a lot about your intellectual abilities.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

@Bart
I will simply say that I agree with you, if it will makes you feel better. You can even use coarser words to insult me if it helps you feel better. You said, I said…It is all there. Why you impute the things you do, only you know. I can only infer it.

It is not that I hoped to change your mind in this one thread. Think of it like a warning on the cigarette carton. You home smokers read it and then smoke I they must. You do not want them to indulge in ignorance.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Abhilash, consider my words a warning to you: if you have to make up things for other people to say then you are in need of some introspection. Here’s some free advice, that you can take or reject: don’t paraphrase what other people say. You get yourself into trouble because you start putting in things that you wish they said and you start ignoring what they really said. Use quotes instead. By doing so you will force yourself to be intellectually honest since you will have to address what people actually say and not a straw man that you can easily blow down. By forcing yourself to think you will be much clearer and your thoughts more organized.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Bart, you are so naive. Quotes can be used just as easily to misinform as it can be to inform. You are under the impression that quoting helps to improve clarity of the situation. There are people who know that it is not always the case and they can use that knowledge to cheat you. And if the cheat is good, you will never know that you are being cheated. Your warning is appreciated, but you are the one needing the warning. You are the one in trouble, you do not even realize it and will probably blame others for it when you do. But it won’t help.

Bart May 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Oh I know quotes can be misused, I was just talking about you. You have a problem with incorrectly paraphrasing people. I’m just trying to help you out. Apparently you don’t like my advice. So what do you think you should do to avoid misrepresenting people? Clearly paraphrasing gets you into trouble since you can’t help but to write in things that aren’t there. So what do you think you should do to avoid your problem in the future? I’d be interested to hear because you aren’t the only person who has a problem with making up things.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm

From what you tell, I see that your problem is much worse than I thought. I already warned you not to blame others for your problems and now you are doing just that. You have trouble paraphrasing people and you write what is not there. You have already done that many times here. Misinformation compounded upon misinformation shapes your distorted world view. And now you want me to get yourself out of trouble. But instead of just asking for help, you attribute your problem to me and ask me to propose a solution. Sorry, you will have to figure this one out yourself.

Clearpoint May 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Bart:

My opinion and yours obviously differ in this respect. I’m not so much interested in debating who’s right and who’s wrong, although it inevitably seems to come to this when viewpoints clash, as I am in having a friendly yet spirited dialog over different perspectives of the same issue, grounded in mutual respect. This is how we all learn to express ourselves more accurately, to more carefully weigh our words, and hopefully to develop a greater tolerance for points of view that differ from our own.

That being said, with respect to slavery, I have adopted a long term view of the whole issue. I cannot so easily dispense with slavery as the main cause for the Civil War, as many have, because I believe that the economic, political and moral institution of slavery was the first cause that preceded all other causes of the Civil War, in a long chain of cause and effect stretching over thousands of years.

I cannot think of one major economic or political issue of, or moral justification for, the Civil War that was not materially affected by the institution of slavery. Slavery was the original labor saving device for those in power. And with the coming of the industrial revolution, a new and significantly more powerful (and more democratic) labor saving device was coming of age; and slavery was being destroyed everywhere by a higher morality that its economic power made possible. And in the land where the tragic constitutional hypocrisy (that our first principle that “all men are created equal” could co-exist with the institution of slavery) came into being, the war between the tyranny of the past and the potential freedom of the future could no longer be avoided. It was the South’s slave based manual labor economy of the past (i.e. their way of life), versus the science and technology based knowledge economy of the future that was being built in the North.

Past and future are always at war in the present. Most times this war goes on unnoticed, but the process of what Schumpeter called creative destruction moves forward nonetheless. At certain points in time, the schism between past and future grows so great that it cannot be settled without bloodshed. I believe that the Civil War was one of those moments; a moment where two worlds heading in distinctly different directions violently collided. As such, I cannot help but consider states rights, tariffs, public works projects, and the like to be mere symptoms of the underlying cause of the Civil War. And I’ll sum that cause up in one word — slavery.

david ware May 14, 2011 at 8:33 am

A wonderful article. The War t Prevent Southern Independence also establishes the tradition that if something can be sold to the American people war can be waged aginst anything and anyone. Be it slavery, democracy, wepons of mass destruction or the latest in Libya “because they are killing their own people.” Whose people did Lincoln kill? Besides all the destruction and killing, this war made this country what it is today and for that it is a tradgedy of monumental proportions. This is the real reason for the war: To have most of the people in this country with a straw in the public trough, to be able to sexually molest six year olds so they can ride on an airplane, to pass 2000 page bills without reading them, to print mponey at will out of thin air, to use this money to pay off those that have bribed you, to pass legistlation and bills against the people but not applying to those that pass the bills, to be able to put up the same garbage to run for office with compliant cheerleaders in media, business, religion and education. Good job Abe, and just think, he is routinely voted the most admired president.
David Ware

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 9:14 am

You think you are living through a tragedy of monumental proportion? How can you say that? Do you know what the future would be like had there been no war? Or if the Confederates had won? Did those events play out before your eyes that you can compare that to this and proclaim the current timeline to be a tragedy? Lincoln said about the Southern People, “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” Consider then that Nature’s God is just. That people who kept slaves are no longer free to do so. Their freedom has been truncated because they used it to deny others freedom. Consider it injustice if they secured their independence. And consider it unethical to come to their defense.

A vindication of Southern Independence is a vindication of their slave based society. It is de-facto support for slavery and insult to the true meaning of liberty. To call oneself a libertarian and defend the Southern cause is to say that the War Department is the Minister of Peace.

david ware May 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

Only in the Land of Lincoln can people believe that in a coutry which confiscates some 40% of the wealth of the middle class, has an executive who can blow the hell out of anybody for any reason, has to get government permission to shigle a roof or sreen a porch, get permitted, documented photographed, lied to lectured to and still believe they are free. As far as I am concerned, some people are just too stupid to argue with and your comments are ample proof that this country should be divided up so that people who crave the hand of the dictator can get under it and people who have the willlingness to be left alone can live in peace.
DW

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

I can see goal posts moving all over the place, we where talking about slavery of the past and you changed the topic midway to current affairs. I should feel reassured that trickery and not substance is on your side.

Not to mention the hypocrisy. The man who liberated the land from slavery is a dictator. The people who fought against it where struggling for independence. Which means criticizing them makes one ‘anti-independence’ and supporting Lincoln makes one pro-dictatorship. The problem exists still, even though slavery is gone we still need permission to shingle a roof or screen a porch!! Proof of a dictatorship!!

This is laughable nonsense. I agree, some people are just too stupid to argue with. And some people say that just to avoid arguments that they cannot substantiate. If you are not at peace their source is the internal inconsistencies in your own thoughts. I am actually helping you out by pointing them out. Someday you will thank me.

Dagnytg May 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Abhilash

I believe it’s important that people stop and define their beliefs. You have written much on Libya, terrorism, Islam and the Civil War, but I have yet to see a clear definition of your belief system.

If I was to give a definition to your version of liberty, it would read like this:

Liberty is the highest ideal and should be achieved by any means necessary. (A simpler version-liberty at any cost)

Henceforth, you would say, it’s ok to deny liberty to some if the goal or outcome provides greater liberty for many. True?

You might also state that those who do not support your definition (liberty at any cost) de facto support tyranny. True?

I hope you will reply to my interpretation. Remember, a definition excludes writing paragraphs and only requires a sentence or two (or a few words). A yes, no, or an addendum should suffice.

Note:
You are very passionate about liberty, but I am not sure others clearly understand where you are coming from.

It’s important, in the spirit of full disclosure and introspection, that we stand naked (so to speak) and display the essence of our beliefs for all to see; knowing full well, we will be vulnerable to attack but stand steadfast in knowing what we believe is the truth.

Abhilash Nambiar May 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Remember, a definition excludes writing paragraphs and only requires a sentence or two (or a few words).

If you do not want to listen to what others have to say give them the opportunity to talk, reduce them to sound bites and then fault them for not taking use of the opportunity given. I will say what I have to. You can take it any way you feel. If you twist my words, you will only make a trap for fools.

Liberty is the highest ideal and should be achieved by any means necessary. (A simpler version-liberty at any cost)

Liberty is the highest ideal. But as for the means I would not use the words “any”. Any means are not the same as effective means.

Henceforth, you would say, it’s ok to deny liberty to some if the goal or outcome provides greater liberty for many. True?

That would be a distortion of my stand. When there are two opponents and one side’s victory is more conducive to liberty than the other, the least you could do is not criticize that side. To actually criticize them in the name of liberty comes across as Orwellian doublethink.

You might also state that those who do not support your definition (liberty at any cost) de facto support tyranny. True?

I use the same definition of liberty as everyone else is. The one that recognizes tyranny to be wrong, terrorism to be wrong and slavery to be wrong; the one that helps me recognize Gaddhafi to be a tyrant; Osama Bin Laden to be a terrorist and the Confederates to be pro-slavery. So when people holding a supposedly libertarian view choose to be silent on the atrocities of Gaddhafi, OBL or the Confederacy while remaining vocal on the shortcomings of their opponent. In the name of liberty, there is defacto support for everything it stands against. I do not have to invent my own definition of liberty to recognize it. I only have to think through the implications arising from the definition of liberty as it is commonly used.

CBrinton May 15, 2011 at 3:18 am

Mr. Dilorenzo writes that “when the Southern states seceded they gave up any claim to the new territories.”

Is there a source for this? The CSA consitution suggests otherwise, in Article 4, Section 3:

“The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial governmentThe Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government.”

If this was not an implicit claim to US-claimed territory, to what territory did it refer?

Gil May 15, 2011 at 4:57 am

Touché.

Abhilash Nambiar May 15, 2011 at 7:22 am

Mr. Dilorenzo ought to frame those golden words and have it hanging on his office wall. That way every time he refers to the American Civil War as the “War to prevent Southern Independence’, he can recognize what Independence meant to those people. That realization needs to sink deep.

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