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Posts from Al Barrs, Bascom

Al Barrs, BascomAl Barrs, Bascom
Al Barrs, Bascom

There was a great deal of similarity between Abraham Lincoln and Otto von Bismarck. Adam Young wrote, "It shouldn't be surprising that the actions of two despots would closely parallel each other." "Abraham Lincoln is incorrectly remembered as a man in the Jeffersonian tradition and as the restorer of liberty, while Bismarck is generally seen as a ruthless dictator, eager to sacrifice men to his policy of deciding the future of his countrymen "by blood and iron."" "To break the impasse with the German liberals, Bismarck used an illegal ruse, as he was to admit later. As the Prussian constitution stipulated, the budget had to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the House of Lords, and the king, but Bismarck invented the claim that if one of the three branches rejected the budget, there was "a gap in the constitution" and the king was entitled to collect the existing taxes and continue to spend them until agreement was reached." The "gap in the constitution" theory was not original. Lincoln, too, invented a similar ruse to discover several previously unheard-of presidential powers that had lain dormant, or so he claimed. With the secession of the Deep South--and, later, the Upper South, in response to his call to arms following his order to arm and fortify Union Custom House forts in southern territories and invade South Carolina then a sovereign and independent nation--Lincoln then engaged in a series of unconstitutional actions that centralized power in the presidency and served to free him from the constitutional authority of Congress. After engineering the delay in calling Congress back to Washington for three months after having used duplicitous communications to force the South to fire first at Fort Sumter, Lincoln usurped the congressional powers of appropriation and spending as he built up his military forces, unconstitutionally ordered a naval blockade of Southern ports, and began planning the invasion of the southern states before Congress even had a chance to gather and debate the incident and declaration of war by Lincoln, knowing that the declaration of war and action against a rebellion was a constitutional power of Congress not the presidency." When Congress did finally convene during the heady days of war, Congress had nothing left to do except vote the funds and grant retroactive approval for Lincoln's illegal actions. The Congress realized that Lincoln's new army was intended for use as a domestic weapon of suppression and intimidation of secessionists..." "Bismark, like under Lincoln, the representatives of the people were reduced to the status of a rubber-stamp parliament by the euphoria of war. Like Lincoln, the use of the army defeated the spirit of resistance to the dictator's policies, both in Bismarck's Prussia and in Lincoln's North for long after the war itself ended. In the American experience, secession was destroyed as a viable tool to prevent the despotic centralization of power in direct violation of the Declaration of Independence." In both America and Prussia, the army ruled. In the words of Justice Benjamin R. Curtis, Lincoln had established "a military despotism form of government." "What is baffling is that both men did not particularly care for the people they conquered. Lincoln did not highly regard Southerners, and Bismarck disdained the South Germans. But to each man, what mattered was the idol of national--that is, territorial--union, regardless of the wishes of the people. And in the United States, as well as in Prussia, one man was the government." "Another similarity between these two dictators (Bismarck and Lincoln) was the use of deception to launch their wars. Just as Lincoln used the Fort Sumter ruse to corner the South, Bismarck engineered France into declaring war on Prussia. The infamous Ems telegram, like the manipulation of the Fort Sumter issue, was a duplicitous communication purposely designed to incite war. In fact, Bismarck later stated that "Success essentially depends upon the impression which the origination of the war makes upon us and others; it is important that we should be the party attacked." Being the aggressor would have rallied opposition against Prussia. But, on the other hand, posing as the victim of aggression would gain the sympathy of other powers and the support of all Germany. Lincoln used the same understanding to secure the overwhelming support of the North." "...like that of the American Union in 1865, was not the product of the representatives of the people..." "...it was the result of armed might. Prussia had conquered Germany, in addition to Denmark, Austria and France, just as the North had conquered the South during Lincoln's administration." "Abraham Lincoln's reinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution and total disregard of the Declaration of Independence made him the most powerful man in the Union, with the self-declared power to arrest, detain and prosecute; to appropriate and spend tax funds; to accumulate debt, print money, conscript men, launch invasions and install puppet governments in the conquered states. Lincoln ruled, ignoring the U.S. courts and the U.S.legislature as he saw fit." "Lincoln was fully convinced that ideas could be successfully defeated by policemen and soldiers, as he deployed his men to shut down dissent and opposition to his regime in the northern states. Lincoln replaced a legitimate confederated republic, where the state and federal governments in theory mutually checked and balanced each other, with a forced Union where the member states were subordinated to the Union government. C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee told Lord Acton of his fear that the War Between the States that produced a "consolidation of the states into one vast republic" had also produced a centralized government "sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home." He was right! What both Lincoln and Bismarck sought was to alter their respective forms of government to create a facade of parliamentary institutions that disguised the resumption and continuation of monarchical authoritarian rule." "In Lincoln we see this, too. Under the idol of Union, the Jeffersonian tradition was overthrown. Nationalism led to restrictions on free trade and individualism. The War for the Union acted as cover for the installation of economic and legal privileges for connected mercantile elite establishment, as the states were herded back together at gunpoint." Minus 620,000 dead young Americans and over a million wounded, with many maimed for life. "...both Lincoln and Bismarck laid the foundation for the total states and the total wars of the 20th century, with their massive armies and the subordination of the citizens to their schemes of a strong central government." "Lincoln, like Bismarck, scorned the liberal policies of peace and free trade. And it is because of Lincoln's war that America came to be less and less associated with those ideals of free trade and peace. Abraham Lincoln made the American national state great but American's citizens as free men he made them small. Abraham Lincoln overthrew his own people and began reversing the gains of classical liberalism--a reversal that still continues to this day throughout the world." #

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