Our country is in crisis, but at present, we have no leader emerging to save the union, and it seems there will be no Abraham Lincoln to save the nation. Barack Obama is more like his long-ago predecessor, James Buchanan, who was put in place by his party, the Democrats, to protect the institution of slavery. Obama is in that position, as his job has been to protect and grow the welfare state, and in much the same way as Buchanan, it may be a case before the Supreme Court that defines his presidency. If Barack Obama and the Democrats have their way, the Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act(Obama-care) thus defining the character and inevitable course of the nation, much as in 1857, Justice Taney’s ruling upholding slavery in the Dred Scott case set the nation on a course to civil war. The difference was that in 1857, the court held that federalism applied, and in 2012, Barack Obama’s justice department is demanding that the 10th Amendment and the entire notion of States’ rights be ignored. There may only be one way in which this issue is finally settled, and it may require war.
In 1860, the budding Republican party sought to set the question on slavery right, the abolitionists in the North propelling Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. Lincoln had the distinction of overseeing the abolition of slavery, but to do so he would need to fight a war. In much the same way, if Republicans are to begin abolishing the soft slavery of the welfare state, beginning with Obama-care, they will need to elect a leader prepared to wage war in defense of a principle. After all, in 1860, the South was entrenched in the notion of keeping the institution of legal slavery, but the abolitionists knew that could not be permitted to stand. In 2012, faced with a Supreme Court case that may well decide the future of the country, we wait to see if the court will act to save the country, or fail to defend the principles enshrined in the constitution as they did in the Dred Scott case one-hundred-fifty-five years ago.
People have falsely compared Obama to Lincoln, thinking his stance on the supremacy of the central government over the states is the most pressing comparison, but this simply isn’t the case. What will save our republic now is not more government but less, and not fewer freedoms but more, and in this sense, Barack Obama has nothing in common with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln thought that it was impossible to better the lives of some men by subjecting other men to ruin:
“Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Reply to New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association” (March 21, 1864), pp. 259-260.
Clearly, Lincoln was not interested in Obama’s updated form of enslavement, and yet that is the central crisis that will confront this nation in the 2012 elections, and for some years to come. Nobody can say with certainty what will be the final tipping point, but if this nation continues apace, it will plunge into anarchy and civil war, but this time, the government is likely to be on the side of the slavers.
There is something fundamentally flawed in the thinking of those who argue that this is just the natural progression of nations, because what they argue is that Americans are neither wise enough, nor even capable of sufficient self-control to attempt to restrain intemperate desires for wealth derived from naked expropriation, but I submit this is not true, at least not yet, and that we must not permit it to become true. Once we cross that invisible plane, the ramifications will be known with little delay, as the country you had known and loved and labored to propel disappears into the fog of a war from which only savagery may emerge.
Let us not pretend that we can’t imagine what will happen in such a scenario, but let us not delude ourselves into the beautiful lie that tells us it will somehow resolve by other, less painful means. Von Clauswitz said that war is politics by another means, and I am here to tell you that politics is just the precursor to war in such a context as the one in which our nation now persists. All of the political rancor we now experience would be replaced by open warfare, at least for a time, in the scenario I am describing. That our slate of Republican candidates might not see this is disturbing enough, but that our front-runner intentionally avoids seeing it is frankly inexcusable. Of those now in the nomination fight, I think Gingrich is most apt to understand what’s at stake, because his knowledge of history may permit him to see the warning signs with a clarity the others are neither inclined nor perhaps able to see.
Gingrich has a fine understanding of the Civil War, and he certainly knows the history of the period, and how the nation arrived in that predicament. I think Gingrich also understands that our current predicament is in some ways worse, because whereas in 1861, Lincoln put the government in service of the proposition that all men were created equal, we now have a government committed to the notion that it is the job of government to compel an equality of results.
This is the nature of the grave danger we now face, and it is every bit as dangerous as 1860, but perhaps with the added danger that we now have a president who is part of the problem. Put another way, imagine that in 1861, it had been a President from the South who instead caused t he Northern delegations to Congress to walk out, and had engaged in a brutal war to compel Northern states to the “peculiar institution” that had been slavery. That’s what we now face, as Barack Obama seeks to impose his own form of slavery on the American people.
This is why I insist that this election year is not like 1980, or even 1932. This election is most like 1860, and if we don’t find a candidate with the common sense and righteous aims of Lincoln, it may have been in vain that we exercised our vote. If we are to preserve this republic, we will need leaders who are willing to wage even war in defense of individual liberty. That certainly won’t be Barack Obama, and it surely won’t be Mitt Romney, leaving us to ponder whether it is even possible to save our union once more.