Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More on Ron Paul and "Meet the Press"

Interesting that Tim Russert didn't ask Ron Paul about the Iraq war, but did ask him about the Civil War. Didn't that end about 140 years ago?
MR. RUSSERT: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. "According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery."

REP. PAUL: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist..

MR. RUSSERT: We'd still have slavery.

REP. PAUL: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

He might have emphasized that Lincoln did not forcibly prevent southern secession to end slavery but rather to preserve the Union and said that he would have maintained slavery had that been necessary to keep the Union intact.

But let his sink in. Russert didn't ask Ron Paul about Iraq but he asked him about the Civil War? What the hell is going on?

Here's the transcript.

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.


Thomas Bell said...

Sheldon, you are exactly on the money! The real reason why Lincoln had his "Civil War" (a more accurate phrase for this war is "The War of Northern Aggression") is to "preserve the union", not to free the slaves.

Take a look at the timeline: in 1860, Lincoln was elected president; later in 1860, South Carolina succeeded from the union; in 1861, 10 other states followed South Carolina; later in 1861, Lincoln started his war, violating the Constitution he swore to preserve, protect, and defend (Amt 10); 1863, Lincoln made his Emancipation Proclamation "freeing the slaves".

Now, I find fault with the last one. First of all, it's been two years! Immedately after succession, war broke out. But after two years, Lincoln wants to free the slaves? And the Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves; it only freed the slaves in the Confederacy. Slave-owners in states like Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware got to keep their slaves. Ron Paul might have mentioned that, but hind-sight is always 20/20.

Brandybuck said...

If the Civil War was about freeing slaves, then why weren't the slaves freed *before* the war, instead of in the waning months?

It's like arguing that WWII was about stopping the holocaust, when most people had no idea it was going on when the war started.

Anonymous said...

Washington D.C.'s population of slaves was no different in 1864 than it was in 1863. Or 1861.

Sheldon Richman said...

But let's keep in mind that the secession of the lower South was about slavery. Those states said so.

Thomas Bell said...

...and the Confederate flag is a racist flag.

D. Saul Weiner said...

"But let this sink in. Russert didn't ask Ron Paul about Iraq but he asked him about the Civil War? What the hell is going on?"

I'll tell you what is going on. When Russert and his staff were working on preparing questions for the show, they tried very hard to dig up dirt and inconsistencies. Unfortunately, that is a daunting task, since Paul is squeaky clean and largely consistent over time. So when they found this quote by Paul about the Civil War being unnecessary, they said "Here's our chance to make Ron Paul look bad and seem like a fringe candidate to millions of Americans!" And notice that Russert didn't really try to argue very vigorously with Paul here. He was just trying to get him to make these controversial statements on record. And he succeeded. And, lo and behold, outlets like MSNBC began replaying this segment and denouncing Paul and calling him a crackpot, saying that no historians agree with him. So I would say that Russert may have been successful. Fortunately, MSNBC had Paul back on to discuss the issues in greater detail and he acquitted him self quite nicely (not that he was ever guilty to begin with). So maybe Russert's ploy ultimately will not work and will even backfire, as so many of the MSM shenanigans have thus far.