In perusing Eric Muller’s recent entries on the subject, I continue to be amazed by how these people think. Absolutely baffled. Muller reports in this post about a conversation on a radio show that Woods appeared on. That conversation went like this:
Caller: Mr. Woods, I’m in total agreement with you, and I would have to say, Lincoln didn’t free anybody; he enslaved everybody.
Thomas Woods, Jr.: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. I appreciate that. Thanks.
He couldn’t agree more that Lincoln “enslaved everybody”? There seems to be this perverse notion among these people that they had a right to own slaves that was violated by the war and the 13th amendment. For confirmation, you need only to see some of the comments left after that post. A commenter named Aaron said:
The point is that the Civil War had the result of exchanging chattel slavery over some for state slavery over all. If a man comes to you with armed thugs and tells you that your property is his and sets his men to its confiscation, then you are a slave. It does not matter whether the man that comes is the plantation owner or the taxman, except that the plantation owner would not be so baldfaced as to tell you it’s for your own good.
Obviously, I condemn all forms of slavery. “Freeing slaves” is a good end in itself but where is the virtue if its gained through horrible means (i.e. Sherman’s March). Two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s an old maxim, something people like to pretend doesn’t exist. Just because I refuse to lower myself to the moral degradation of my enemies doesn’t mean they aren’t my enemies.
Surreal, isn’t it? Coercing people into not owning slaves makes those who owned slaves into slaves. Another commenter, who blogs here, calmly pointed out the obvious differences between the two:
The equation of taxation with slavery is, to say the least, silly.
(1.) Citizens who are subject to taxation have due process rights. Slaves had no right to due process. In fact, they had no legal rights (see Dred Scott decision).
(2.) Citizens may choose to move to a place where taxes are lower. Companies do this all of the time. Slaves could not leave the plantation or seek out a better master.
(3.) Citizens can vote, organize, protest, or petition the government to lower taxes. Slaves had no recourse to change their lives.
(4.) The state can only take children away from their parents under extraordinary circumstances. Government officials cannot legally rape citizens. Slave masters could do all of the above.
Another cut right to the chase:
And the property that the government took from southerners was…Human beings.
The gubmint stoled our niggers! That’s just like making us into slaves!
When will this fucking idiotic trope die? Can we embargo their grits and sausage gravy until they starve?
A bit harsh, but in essence he’s right. The notion that the government just wantonly went in and took away the “property” of plantation owners is morally insane. There is no “right” to hold slaves, for crying out loud, and they were never rightfully anyone’s property. As far as Aaron’s notion that it was wrong to use force to stop them from enslaving others because “two wrongs don’t make a right”, it’s equally absurd. By this absurd reasoning, it was wrong to revolt against King George in the first place because we had to use force to get him out and, after all, two wrongs don’t make a right, right? Just plain silliness. For that matter, would they also say that it was wrong to use force to stop Hitler in his attempts to take over the world and kill all the Jews? Funny I should ask….
The day before that post, Muller had linked to this article on LewRockwell.com, one of the primary organs of this kind of paleocon, southern nationalist crap (they call themselves libertarians, but I cannot even begin to give that term to them as they are nothing of the sort). The article linked to actually claimed that Hitler’s murder of the Jews (and others) was actually a response to Allied aggression. And as Muller says, I’m not making that up:
Most Americans seem to vaguely think that the German people must have suddenly turned into racist, bloodthirsty savages between about 1935 and 1945, and that’s why the Holocaust happened. But is it not more plausible to suggest that the German people were just like other people, in that they became very fearful and trusted in their messianic ruler in the midst of economic disaster and (at the time of Auschwitz etc.) being threatened with invasion from the mighty Soviet, British, and American armies?
The German people didn’t like their cities being firebombed, any more than the American people enjoyed 9/11. (Incidentally, Britain engaged in “strategic” terror bombing of cities first, and then Hitler followed suit.) The question is not, “How could a few monsters at the top order the deportation and eventually the extermination of so many people?” Rather, the question is, “Why did so many otherwise regular human beings obey them?”
And here the Allied response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland is not necessarily as benign as the schoolbooks will tell you. It is entirely possible (we will never know this, of course) that the horrors of the Holocaust would not have happened in the absence of another World War. That is, the six million Jews in question did not die during the leadership of the universally reviled Neville Chamberlain. No, it was while the Allies were doing their best to terrify and kill Germans that the German people carried out these heinous crimes.
He actually tries to justify this argument by asking the question of whether Americans would have tolerated the internment of the Japanese if Pearl Harbor hadn’t happened. Fair question, and I think the answer is obviously no. But the analogy is simply ridiculous. As wrong as it was, we interned the Japanese after Japan attacked us; Hitler, on the other hand, ordered the death not of the Allies but of millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and others. Because he feared the Allies? Seriously, how does one write such utter nonsense with a straight face? One might as well argue that the death of Polish Jews was due to the ominous threat from Poland toward Germany (an argument that Hitler did make to the German people, by the way – no matter how ridiculous, every aggressor sells wars of aggression by exaggerating the threat from the nation he is invading).
I’m just fascinated by the bizarre, morally myopic mindset of these people. It’s just mind boggling to me that people can equate the battle to end slavery with slavery itself, and can argue that the crimes of an aggressor are the fault of those who attempt to stop him.