March 19, 2002
Lincoln And The War On Terror: A Conservative
By Paul Craig
The war on terror is creating media
attention and fundraising opportunities for conservative
organizations. It is also creating confusion of
thought among conservatives and, thereby, opportunities for more
centralized government power and a police
Too many Americans are coming to accept that a successful war on
terror requires a police state in whole or part.
For example, the Model State
Emergency Health Powers Act would give state governors the power
to order people from their homes and force them into quarantines,
separate parents from children, impose price controls and rationing,
and confiscate guns and other property.
Supposedly, this is to protect us from germ warfare, but herding
people into confined spaces is the best way to spread disease.
The Emergency Health Powers Act is sponsored by the federal
agency, Centers for Disease Control. According
to Phyllis Schlafly (http://www.eagleforum.org/),
the bill, conveying dictatorial
powers upon governors, is already moving through state
We are in far more danger from the belief that the ends justify
the means than we are from terrorists. Fortunately, in our time of
need Loyola College Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo has stepped
forward with a blockbuster of a book, “The
Real Lincoln,” just released by Prima Publishing. Read it
and regain perspective.
Lincoln believed that his ends justified his means. He used war
to destroy the U.S. Constitution in order to establish a powerful
Lincoln assumed dictatorial military
powers. He used them to suppress all Northern opposition to his
illegal and unconstitutional acts.
Lincoln violated every constitutionally guaranteed civil right.
He ignored rulings hand-delivered to him by U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Roger Taney ordering Lincoln to respect and faithfully
execute the laws of the United States and to protect civil
Lincoln replied by suspending habeas
corpus, by instituting a secret
police, and by arbitrarily arresting without warrants or due
process thousands of leading citizens of Northern cities, state
legislators, U.S. Congressmen, newspaper owners and editors,
ministers, bankers, policemen--literally everyone who expressed the
slightest reservation about Lincoln’s aims and means or who was
anonymously denounced by a rival or envious neighbor.
In the thoroughness with which Lincoln suppressed dissent, he
prefigured 20th century totalitarians.
Lincoln’s “train of abuses” far exceeded those that provoked our
Founding Fathers to declare independence from Britain.
In conducting the war, Lincoln encouraged his generals to violate
international law, the U.S. Military Code, and the moral prohibition
against waging war on civilians. Lincoln urged his generals to
conduct total war against the Southern civilian population, to
slaughter them with bombardments, to burn their homes, barns and
towns, to use rape as a weapon of war, to destroy foodstuffs, and to
leave women, children and the elderly in the cold of winter without
shelter or a scrap of food.
In order to carry out Lincoln’s wishes, a new kind of soldier was
needed. General Sherman filled his regiments with big city
criminals and foreigners fresh
from the jails of Europe. The war against the Southern civilian
population was fought with the immigrant soldier.
Professor DiLorenzo writes that had the South won the war, there
is no doubt that Lincoln and his generals, Grant, Sherman and
Sheridan, would have been hung as war
criminals under the Geneva Convention of 1863.
Lincoln was an American Pol Pot, except worse. Pol Pot’s
barbarism was justified by the Marxian doctrine of class genocide to
which he adhered. Lincoln’s barbarism was prohibited by the morality
of his time and the U.S. Constitution, yet neither deterred him.
Professor DiLorenzo’s greatest contribution is to show the real
reasons for which Lincoln went to war. Abolishing slavery was not
one of them. Lincoln was determined to destroy the Southern states
in order to remove the constraints that Southern senators and
congressmen, standing in the Jeffersonian tradition, placed in the
way of centralized federal power, high tariffs, and subsidies to
Lincoln lusted after Empire. The juggernaut he put in place exterminated the
Plains Indians with the same ferocity with which Southern towns
and cities were sacked and pillaged. Far from “saving the union,”
Lincoln utterly destroyed the union achieved by the Founding Fathers
and the U.S. Constitution.
So little is left of accountable government that the war on
terror could very easily bring down the remaining timbers of a once
great house. Conservatives should rethink their enthusiasm for the
police state methods of the war on terror while there is still time.
Paul Craig Roberts is the author of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are
Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.
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