Pres. Lincoln: ‘Ship ’em back to Africa’

Southern Avenger Jack Hunter: Slaves to ‘Settled’ History

Southern Avenger Jack Hunter: Liberals, and quite a few mainstream conservatives, believe that any questioning of official Civil War history is not even to be permitted.

The controversy over declarations honoring Confederate soldiers opens the question which facts from the Civil War are permissible, and makes yet another argument for getting the government as far away from the public school system as possible. Part of the reason for the lack of civility when it comes to discussions about the civil war is due to how the war is taught in school.

The recent debate over the moral high-ground led me to dig deeper into the history of the war–deeper than what I was taught in school. A little research led to several “that wasn’t in my history book” moments.

Ron Paul had pointed out several times the Civil War might have been avoided if slaves were bought by the federal government to free them.

PAUL: No, I don’t think he was one of our greatest presidents. I mean, he was determined to fight a bloody civil war, which many have argued could have been avoided. For 1/100th the cost of the war, plus 600 thousand lives, enough money would have been available to buy up all the slaves and free them. So, I don’t see that is a good part of our history.

I dug a little deeper and learned something new: what Paul was referring to is called compensation emancipation. President Lincoln did propose compensated emancipation for slaves in six Union slave states. In the proposal Lincoln sent to the Union states, slaves had the cost at $400 per slave, $300 in compensation to the slave owner, and $100 for deportation and colonization.

Not only did Lincoln propose compensated emancipation, on April 16, 1862,  it was enacted, at least in the District of Columbia. After the Civil War started, President Abraham Lincoln signed the The District of Columbia Emancipation Act, which ended slavery in the Capital and compensated former owners loyal to the Union $300 per slave.

At the moment, I’m not so sure about Paul’s view that Lincoln was “‘determined to fight a bloody civil war,” because Lincoln supported a version of compensated emancipation;  I can’t say I see Lincoln as a great President, though, because Lincoln held a ‘ship ’em back to Africa’ attitude.

At the moment, I say I’m not sure because I have no way of knowing what other facts were buried in Civil War history. The unpopular and obscured facts from Civil War history I’ve stumbled upon feels akin to finding out you’re adopted, because the country I thought I came from turns out not to exist.

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The Department of Carrots and Sticks Mission Statement – Liberty through Behavior Modification

The phrase “carrots and sticks” appears in political discussion so often, the first results on Google for “carrots and sticks” are about politics and not about animal husbandry. The Beast of Burden is officially human.

Example: President Obama speaking about dealing with Iran

“If we show ourselves willing to talk and to offer carrots and sticks in order to deal with these pressing problems — and if Iran then rejects any overtures of that sort — it puts us in a stronger position to mobilize the international community to ratchet up pressure on Iran.”

A good way NOT to make progress with Iranians is by analogizing them to donkeys and the USA as their master.

This phrase is dehumanizing , in that carrots and sticks are used on beasts of burden by their masters. It is one of the few honest appraisals you’ll hear a politician utter on how they view the world. From their perspective, you and I and other nations are the dumb animals to be steered in the direction of their desires.

You don’t use carrots and sticks on someone you consider to be your equal. You wouldn’t threaten a neighbor with a club or bribe them with money to resolve a dispute. When you consider someone your equal, you let them decide how to act for themselves without coercion.

You don’t use carrots and sticks on your friends. If you were to say to a friend, “Come over to my home for a superbowl party; there’ll be lots of snacks for you if you come–and if you don’t show up, I’ll flatten your tires,” they won’t be your friend long.

You wouldn’t say to your spouse, “If you’ll lose some weight I’ll help clean up around the house, and if you don’t, I’ll have sex with someone else,” unless the goal was to divorce so you could have sex with someone else.

Politicians are loaded with these carrots and sticks; they’ve got them for health care, cap and trade, banks, buying cars, and the economy in general. Politicians see so much more work to be done, and have an arsenal of creative ideas to corral the masses. That’s what politicians do; they pat themselves on the back for thinking up new forms of behavior modification.

Why is it acceptable to use laws to modify other peoples’ behavior? We wouldn’t treat people we know and care about with a carrot and stick approach, so why is it considered acceptable to treat strangers this way?

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I am an Amoral, Self-Serving Bastard

Frequently in the universal health care debate, those opposed are asserted to be selfish. I am one of those amoral, self-serving bastards that would rather see people die than part with any of my money– at least, this is how it’s presented.

How can anyone of good conscience not be concerned about helping those in need? Aren’t we our brother’s keeper? We all have a moral obligation to care for others.”

Liberty-minded people often respond,  “The route suggested to accomplish these good deeds requires coercion and force by government. Robbing to help someone else is still robbery.

This is a valid argument to me, but will only appeal to those with similar views. Others quickly dismiss the argument as a questionable analogy. Those advocating being our “brother’s keeper” will still be convinced they have the moral high ground, because they are talking about saving lives and we are defending abstract concepts.

For them, the debate between the realities of someone dying vs. an aloof concept of personal freedom is foolish. To them, freedom isn’t a real and tangible thing. I understand. You can’t say, “Here–have a big ol’ cup of freedom on me.” Freedom isn’t something you can roll around in and say,  “Damn, this freedom feels good today!” You can’t eat freedom, freedom won’t keep you warm, and it sure won’t heal the sick.

To the liberty-minded, however, freedom is every bit as real as slavery. Unfortunately, it isn’t obvious just how real and vital freedom is until that freedom has been lost. Freedom is a hard sell in a world that isn’t meeting the basic needs of all its inhabitants. When I say, “I  don’t believe my needs and wants supersede the rights of others, ” the response is often, “So others have to die so you can have your freedom? Sleep well, you cold-hearted bastard.”

Just because there isn’t a state-run program to solve a given problem doesn’t mean no one cares. We rely on the morality of others every day, simply not realizing how much we depend on this moral capital. We don’t need police everywhere people gather, because only a small percentage of the population steals or harms others. Police don’t create peace; they are there to preserve peace that the group as a whole created spontaneously.

It’s true that relying on the kindness of others doesn’t sound very reliable. A law stating your needs will be taken care of is much more concrete (and comforting) than arguing people might choose to help if they are in the mood. To many, laws and police just force us to be good people. Some seem to believe laws create civility, rather than civil people created laws to protect one another from harm.

Anti-big-government types will point out times the government hasn’t helped at all–when it was people on the spot that saw a need and solved problems. I wholeheartedly agree that immediate needs are best met by free people taking action in the moment– as in the Christmas terrorist plot thwarted by a passenger. It’s a matter of having faith in others. You either do or you don’t. I have faith in others because I experienced their  kindness many times in my life, but I know others are rightfully cynical, because they’ve experienced cruelty.

Several countries have a state religion. In some, people are put to death for joining a different faith–that state believes allowing the people to choose for themselves what is right and wrong is courting immorality. To the state, having a state religion that mandates morality makes for moral people.

In reality, you can’t have a moral society without free will. State religions are akin to having someone follow you around your whole life with a gun to your head, telling you to “be good.” Even if you would choose to act morally on your own, you can’t take credit for acts of kindness, because someone else made the decision for you. The people with the most freedom are the most moral people, because their kindness is a choice.

I do believe I have a moral obligation to care about others. I am my brother’s keeper. I draw distinctions between helping others,  forcing others to help, and forcing help upon others.

Forcing others to help is immoral, because I would be taking away their right to decide what is caring. I like to think of myself as a caring and giving person, but I know there are others more caring and giving. I strive to be more like them. Striving to become a better person is a basic human right, as important as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Forcing others to act in a caring manner dehumanizes them by robbing them of their own normal and natural development.

Forcing people to wear seat belts has saved lives. Forcing people to get regular checkups would save lives, and forcing people to treat illnesses will save lives. In matters of life and death, is it wrong to use force to save lives? If someone was terminally ill and there was a painful procedure that could prolong their life by a week, would you force the procedure? Where would you draw the line at when force is appropriate? What if the procedure would keep them alive for a month, six months, a year–where is the line between caring and cruelty? A moral obligation to help others doesn’t make it right to force that help upon others.

The moral high ground is in being our brother’s keeper, and with it comes with the moral obligation of defending our brother’s free will.

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Generous? What Have you Done that’s Generous?

The health care debate has brought the movie Labyrinth to my mind, especially the part where Jareth said to Sarah, “I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”

The line did not make sense to me until recently. How could slaves be slaves to each other? Slaves can’t be slaves to each other because it’s a double negative. It gave me a headache just trying to make some sense of what Jareth meant. Now I see Jareth was just trying to trick Sarah into believing he would do just as Sarah asked, but in reality wanted to keep the baby and enslave Sarah.

The US government uses the “I’ll be your slave if you’ll be my slave” trick just as Jareth tried on Sarah. The federal version of this line is, “We are here to serve you;  if you’ll just give up X amount of your income you’ll have freedom from the current need”.

The slave of a slave trick is not new; Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech January 6, 1941 spelling out 4 freedoms. “The third is freedom from want–which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt left out the part of how to accomplish freedom from want. The US government does not manufacture anything. There is no government factory churning out medicine or food or houses. You have to be willing to give up another portion of income to receive any commodity. The only way a government can provide freedom from want is if you are willing to fear, love, and do as the they say.

Government doesn’t have a factory that produces freedom. Freedom is something we are born with and we are the only source of freedom.  You have to be willing to sacrifice some freedom because you’ll be expected to follow the government rules to receive the benefits you want.  If you choose not to follow the government rules, you’ll find out there are real consequences. Declare you are not a slave, that the government is your servant, and you’ll be banished to the Bog of Eternal Stench.

When anyone is offering to be your slave if you’ll be their slave, please remember Sarah’s response to Jareth: “For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom as great…You have no power over me.”

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Intervention or Revolution?

There has been a lot of talk about a second US revolution. I’d like to call for an intervention instead.

Planning the US Intervention

  1. Call an addiction treatment professional.
  2. Make a list of all the key people involved.  There are around 300 million people, so this part could take a while.
  3. Meet with the addiction treatment professional to discuss the situation. Decade-long addiction to reckless spending and wars and stealing from the bank account to fund the addiction.
  4. Make a list of the difficulties in seeking help.  Mostly apathy and cynicism.
  5. Plan the actual intervention, rehearsing what each person in the group will say to the addict. “Please stop spending money we don’t have; we are broke and you are killing us.”
  6. Schedule the actual intervention at a time when the addicted person will be available and hopefully sober. We can get a lot of people together…but the sober part just ain’t gonna happen.
  7. Confront the addict in a loving but honest manner, letting him know that the addiction is effecting more than just them.  “You are making us poor and future generations poor. If you care about us at all, please just stop.” (Burst into uncontrollable tears.)

Sometimes interventions backfire….so everyone come armed just in case.

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