The power of III

Summum ius summa iniuria--More law, less justice

30 January 2011

Open Letter to Daniel Hannan: You are very wrong on Abraham Lincoln

Dear Daniel:

I have been a follower of yours for some time, since your EU speech to Gordon Brown went viral on YouTube.

I love reading your blog on, and I subscribe to your youtube channel.  You are an excellent speaker, and Americans who are familiar with your speeches yearn for an American speaker of your eloquence.  If only Ron Paul could speak off the cuff as you are able, how far he could have advanced the cause of fiscal responsibility, free market Austrian economic theory, the need to return to sound money.  

In your recent blogpost, you rate Abraham Lincoln as the #2 all time greatest president.  After the rating of Abraham Lincoln as the 2nd best all time president, you link to a 2008 article you wrote with the words "here's why ".  These posts represent the first time that I have come across what is to me a glaring error in something you've written.  

To wit:

"Nor was he above a little authoritarianism, suspending habeas corpus and introducing his country to income tax and to the draft.

But for all this, he was a man of outstanding patriotism and moral sense. And, as Marx noted, a good man: as generous and unstuffy and expansive and ambitious as the country he led. If Lincoln is the leader Obama would like to be, America is happy indeed in her choice."

I could not disagree with you more.  

"...a little authoritarianism" is a gross understatement of the facts.  Tens of thousands of Lincoln's political opponents were jailed, opposition newspapers were shut down by the hundreds, telegraph communication was censored, elections are rigged, and new states are created illegally to add to the incumbent government's electoral college vote count.  Lincoln had pro Confederate Maryland State Legislators arrested by Federal troops and Baltimore Police in the summer of 1861, in order to stifle any further debate on the possibility of Maryland's secession from the Union. 

By the way, who the hell cares about what Karl Marx thought about Lincoln?  If Marx thought Lincoln was a "good man", already you should be on your guard as to what that might mean, considering Mr. Marx's unlovely legacy.

With regard to Lincoln's "moral sense", do you intimate that he wished to abolish slavery?  Lincoln orchestrated passage of the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which would have formally and explicitly enshrined slavery in the U.S. Constitution by prohibiting the government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. This amendment passed the Senate and the House just days before Lincoln was inaugurated. In his first inaugural address he said he believed slavery was already constitutional and then, alluding to the Corwin Amendment, said: "I have no objection to it [slavery protection] being made express and irrevocable" in the Constitution. This was by far the strongest defense of slavery ever made by an American politician, coming from the president himself. 

Do you intimate by his "moral sense" that he was performing his duty as commander in chief of the US armed forces by ordering 75000 volunteers to put down the rebellion in the south?  At Fort Sumter, the precipitating event, no US forces were injured or killed.  The sovereign State of South Carolina had already withdrawn from the Union by reversing the process it had followed in 1787:  it held a State convention, and formally and legally withdrew from the United States.  It was therefore not legally in rebellion (not a group within a state, but the state itself), and as citizens of another country at the time of Fort Sumter, were not committing treason as defined under the US constitution.

Mr. Hannan, if you think these aspects of Lincoln's administration are something to be admired, methinks you are way too enamored of state power to consider yourself a libertarian.   

I surely do not understand what you were thinking when you wrote the post linking Obama to Lincoln in such a positive light.  

Why, in January of 2011, when you know what we now know about President Obama's policies, would you link to a December 2008 post on Obama, in which you were a little drunk on the media euphoria surrounding Obama's election, in light of what you now know about Obama and his government?

There are similarities between the two men, I will grant you.  Under Obama, as under Lincoln, there is expansion of empire, support for mercantilist (now called corporatist) policy of government favoring certain private businesses or institutions, expansion of the power of the executive, and for both men there is also a tradition of personality worship (although Lincoln's was primarily post-mortem).  Both practice(d) citizen detention and killing without due process.  Lincoln and Obama are excused, of course, because of the exigencies of war.  

An unfortunate fact for both Lincoln and Obama is that this country was founded to be a constitutional republic.  The American people still recall this fact.  The rhetoric of the country's founding was never eliminated by the state;  the truths of the rhetoric of Reason and Liberty are the seeds of the destruction of the Leviathan State, as they were the seeds of destruction of the rule of George III.

In a constitutional republic, as established in the late 18th Century in this country, the citizens were to be sovereign. There was to be no encroachment by the federal government on specific citizen's rights.  Lincoln's war to "preserve the Union" turned the idea of limited government and popular sovereignty upside down.

Lincoln's idol was erected by the victors of the War Between the States, and polished by subsequent generations of court historians.  It is no accident that the Lincoln memorial is akin to a religious edifice, and that his likeness is literally larger than life.  

The winners of the War to Prevent Southern Independence needed to supplant Washington and Jefferson, both Southerners, who helped established the United States as a confederation of independent sovereign states, with Lincoln, who through war, destroyed the old voluntary Republic of independent states, and created a nation.  

Because Lincoln conquered the Southern States and reincorporated them in to the "Union" involuntarily, he forever destroyed the idea that government derived it's "just powers from the consent of the governed."  This truth makes his famous Gettysburg address closing statement that the government "of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from this earth," wholly ironic.

Daniel, as an MEP (member of European Parliament), you frequently write about the suspension of democracy (for the constituent states of the EU federation), arbitrary and autocratic rule of an oligarchical leadership in Brussels, not elected by democratic process.  Is not the developing situation in Brussels constitutionally similar to the United States in 1860-1861? Both situations represent a conflict between an expansionist "National" government,  threatening the sovereignty of constituent states.  

The United States of America is a nation that is now running roughshod over the world, fighting preemptive wars. Our government has created webs of entangling alliances with various and sundry countries.  It extorts favorable trade agreements whenever possible, exploiting the fact that it (until recently) been the sole world superpower.   

The current US government is the grown up version, run amok, of the enfant terrible that Lincoln and his supporters spawned in 1865.

The modern government of the United States has made a mockery of George Washington's farewell address, and Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address.  

Is this something to be admired?  


Some phrases and points of information in this post are acknowledged to works of Tom DiLorenzo.


  1. VERY well done. "Honest" Abe is not the "hero" he's been made out to be. Too bad nobody will ever learn the truth in our government indoctrination camps aka public schools...