Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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More on Lincoln

Mac Owens

criticizes Peter Lawler’s piece on David Brooks New York Times op-ed on Lincoln, which both Lucas Morel and Joe Knippenberg have already noted. All that seems a little complicated, doesn’t it? The point is this. Owens lectures Lawler (a dangerous move, by the way), on an important point he claims Lawler overlooked: Lincoln knew that the key to ending slavery where it existed lay not with the national government but with the states. I also made this point
last year regarding the virtue of Allen Guelzo’s book on the emancipation.

Discussions - 2 Comments

For the record, I’ve received two kinds of conservative criticisms on the article on Brooks, neither of which have anything to do with the substance of the article. Both are from sources very touchy on Lincoln:
First and most numerous and nasty are those who criticize me for accepting uncritically Lincoln’s "free soil" view of the original Constitution. They thought I was too pro-Lincoln to be a genuine conservative or constitutionalist. (See freerepublic.com) Second, Mac Owens criticizes me for not making clear that Lincoln was for eradicating slavery over time through
changes in state law. He urges me to read Guezlo’s book, which I’ve already done. Mac’s point is one I could have included, but I was trying to be as brief and filibuster-oriented as possible. All I said was that Lincoln was not an abolitionist, and he embraced something like the abolitionists’ means only after the war had begun. If I impled that Lincoln was soft on slavery, I apologize, and Brooks did imply that for real. But my own view is that only a West Coast Straussian would find softness there. My intention was to mock gently Brooks’ comparison of himself from Lincoln, and not to save Lincoln himself from his enemies.

Guelzo’s book!

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