Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why the Southern Cause rankles liberals

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the semi-literate senior editor of The Atlantic. His obsessive hatred of the South bubbles up in every, oh, two or three blog posts.

His latest post poses a question that only a befuddled liberal could ask: How can we admire men such as Lincoln and Grant when they held such racist views?

I'll pause here for the long, withering sigh from those regular readers who know the obvious answer: The WBTS wasn't about liberating anybody; it was about the consolidation of power. Ending slavery was a strategic move to reimpose that power over the agrarian South, which had long opposed the big-business/big-government coalition that had taken over the central government. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was a brilliant, though thoroughly unconstitutional and Machiavellian move. Not only did it prevent Britain and France from allying with the CSA, it aimed at inciting slave revolts. Achieving one out of two major aims ain't bad.

Coates's post begins with a link to an NPR piece on Marxist historian Eric Foner, whose new book on Lincoln pretties up the Great Centralizer's racial views as flawed, but "evolving." (Yes, it's okay to sigh again.) Foner, of course, admires Lincoln for centralizing power, a necessary step in creating socialism:

Indeed, Foner is such an apologist for Soviet communism that he opposed the breakup of the Soviet Union and, naturally, invoked Abraham Lincoln as his reason. He railed against the secession movements in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia in the early 1990s and urged Gorbachev to deal with them in the same manner that Lincoln dealt with the Southern secessionists.

In an editorial in the February 11, 1991 issue of The Nation magazine entitled "Lincoln's Lesson," Foner called the breakup of the Soviet Union, which at the time was being wildly cheered by freedom lovers everywhere, as "a crisis" that threatened the "laudable goal" of creating a system that demanded "overarching loyalty to the Soviet Union" while at the same time allowing separate republics to exist. No "leader of a powerful nation," Foner wrote, should allow such a thing as "the dismemberment of the Soviet Union."

He concluded that "The Civil War was a central step in the consolidation of national authority in the United States," which he of course views as a great event. One cannot adopt socialism – in the United States or anywhere else – without a highly centralized, monopolistic government. "The Union, Lincoln passionately believed, was a permanent government . . . and . . . Gorbachev would surely agree."

Foner does have a point: Lincoln's USA and Lenin's USSR were built on the premise that bigger is better. Both also used egalitarianism to justify their power and their brutal denial of self-determination for millions. And just as the Soviet Union imploded from its unsustainable bulk, Lincoln's USA is undergoing the same process of internal collapse.

Know hope.


Anonymous said...

"Semi-literate"! Good one, Reb. Had a laugh at that one.

Dustin in Nashville

Mike Foster said...

Very well said, Old Rebel. Long, withering sigh describes my reaction perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I read the Coates article. What a buffoon! I looked for a way to inform this blowhard that Robert E. Lee was not guilty of treason, but that site doesn't have the means to leave comments from readers.

Anonymous said...

Tay-Nee-high-see? Uhh... Tah-Nay'-hee-see? Krishna, krishna, hari, hari!!! I got the beat now!

Coates I can do, no problem.

- Dutchy

Old Rebel said...


Yes, semi-literate. In just the Fonter post, he has these bloopers:

display an open-mind

its very hard

imagine a past-president

And why did he stick a comma in this sentence?

I think the particular problem for the Confederacy, is that lack of openness and evolution.

Nit-picky? Yes. But a Senior Editor should not have that many bloopers.

Old Rebel said...

Mike Foster,

We must be patient with the pampered idiocracy.

Old Rebel said...


So true! One has to wonder: Why did they not try him for treason if he was guilty?

Even the Yankees knew better.

Anonymous said...

You Southern boys are grabbing at straws, as well as making up history and insulting African-American intellectuals you don't even understand!

Billy Yank

Harold Thomas said...

Billy Yank:

Writing as another Northerner (I am from Ohio), I would like to know what history these people allegedly made up, and how they insult African-American intellectuals.

In refutation of the latter charge, just search on "Walter Williams" and "Thomas Sowell" in this blog. Or did you mean progressive African-American intellectuals? In that case, I can assure you that they would be just as scornful of "progressive" white intellectuals!

Anonymous said...

Billy Yank

Wonder why the Billies fought in the WTBS? It can be summed up in one answer. The same as the American soldier in Viet Nam..


Go play with Ed Sebesta before someone has you put in what Carl Childers would say..
"The Nervous Hospital""
Then again, that is where Ed should be.

PS The only intellectual who is African American (your term and an oxymoron indeeed) is HK Edgerton. He knows more about his history than any of those pretenders would ever know. THE TRUTH


Northwestern Localist said...

Well "Billy Yank", as one yank to another, after reading the article and the interview it refers to the only making up of history I see is from this Coates fellow and the auther of the book.

They go thru extraordinary measures to absolve Lincoln for his statements and obvious feelings and completely ignore the fact he only used the subject of slavery to obtain his goal of power.

He did not believe the States should be soveriegn as intended.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to Lincoln for Yankees, they have no recourse but to make the 'facts' fit their worshipful feelings for him. Hence, Lincoln's blatant, life long racism would have "evolved away" had he lived long enough. I truly regret he was "martyrized" before his true colors became common knowledge.

Billy Yank, do write in more often. Yer a hoot! Now don't you be reading any of Ol' Abe's letters, speeches, orders, or debates. You won't be no fun anymore if you get your facts straight!

- Dutchy

swampcat said...

I augmented my long, withering sigh with an eye-roll and a derisive sneer.

P.S.: Bless your heart, Billy Yank; you got all political like a big boy, even though your comment has no basis in reality.

Anonymous said...

Davis was not tried for Treason because Andrew Johnson, that southern man who Lincoln picked to be his vice president made a centralized decision to pardon people involved in the late rebellion.

Anonymous said...

What ever Lincoln's racist views, he was never charged with kidnapping, rape, assault, or torture such as was routinely inflicted by slave owners like RE Lee.