It’s good to be back in 2022.
I hope you had a great Holiday season, and I wish everyone a productive, happy, and healthy 2022.
Back to business, and the core of my “business” is pointing out the absurdity of the Straussian/neocon “proposition nation” myth.
And the heart of that myth is both an unhealthy obsession with Abraham Lincoln and a corresponding hatred of John C. Calhoun.
You can’t conserve anything if you are consistently spouting progressive talking points.
Larry Arnn, “conservative” President of Hillsdale College, recently wrote that Americans have been dying for equal rights since 1775. I’m serious.
He argues that the British, the Confederacy, the Nazis, the communists, and Islamic terrorists are all the same thing because they all oppose(d) the “proposition” that all men are created equal.
You can’t make up that kind of lunacy. The British in 1775 had both the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights to their credit, yet somehow they were fighting against “equal rights” while the Americans were fighting for “equal rights”? How does that work?
Clearly to Arnn and other Straussian/neocons like Michael Anton, the War for Independence was a real “revolution.” Anton said as much in his book The Stakes.
There were radicals among American leaders of the time, but that group did not win the political struggle after the war. Tom Paine packed up and went to France where he was eventually abandoned by George Washington.
Washington, by the way, believed so ardently in “equal rights” that he insisted that every slave captured by the British be returned at the conclusion of the war. They did get rid of a king, but not much else changed in America in the years after the conflict.
No one advocated a wholesale transformation of American society, and most of those that dabbled with the more radical ideas of the Enlightenment quickly figured out it was a deal with the devil and recanted.
As for the Confederacy, it would have been news to the average Confederate that they were fighting against “equal rights.” They opposed racial equality–as did probably 99 percent of the United States in 1861 by the way–but they believed they were fighting a war for their “equal rights” in a political capacity, just as their forefathers had done in 1775 and as the English people had done since 1215.
You cannot equate the Nazis, the Soviets, or the Islamic terrorists to either the British in 1775 or the Confederacy in 1861. Hundreds of descendants of Confederate soldiers gladly fought the Nazis during World War II. There were ardent Nazi sympathizers in the United States in the 1930s, but they were headquartered in New York and held summer camps in Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and had a strong presence in Chicago and Detroit.
If you are geographically challenged, that isn’t below the Mason-Dixon.
But “conservatives” like Arnn and Anton have allies in American politics, women like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. All three blame every evil in American society on John C. Calhoun.
You see, to Sotomayor, the Texas abortion ban was the direct result of Calhoun’s advocacy of nullification. Yet, Anton thinks that Calhoun is the intellectual progenitor of wokism and identity politics.
In other words, “conservatives” like Anton and progressives like Sotomayor both think Calhoun is the Supreme Evil Doer in American history. This is why Anton isn’t conservative.
Once you argue that Americans have been dying for “equal rights,” it’s a short walk to the 1619 Project’s contention that indeed America was founded on the “proposition” that “all men are created equal” but we have never had real “equal rights.”
This is why we need to have CRT, new federal voting legislation, the elimination of federalism and any check on centralized power, “equity” in education, economics, housing, and hiring, and a host of other retributive policies. Those white men who died in 1778 or in 1863 wearing the did not do enough to bring about “equal rights.”
In other words, if you repackage nineteenth century leftists as modern “conservatives,” you concede the field. Anton should spend more time praising John C. Calhoun as a true American republican who thoughtfully tried to come up with a way to put teeth in the Constitution and to limit federal power instead of adopting the left’s talking points on Calhoun and the “slave power.”
But that would mean abandoning Lincoln, something he won’t do. Nor will Arnn. Lincoln is the problem which is why American “conservatism” will always be a losing faction.
I take apart Arnn, Anton, and Sotomayor on Episode 558 of The Brion McClanahan Show.