Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Lopsided Lincoln

Since I am still in the Malay-running-Amok mode, I can’t comment on Karl Rove (whom I like very much, flaws included) or the lopsided coverage his resignation is getting, but I can quickly bring this story to your attention on what modern science can tell us about Abraham Lincoln: He had "cranial facial microsomia" (and also strabismus, smallpox, heart illness and depression). When Tolstoi said "His example is universal and will last thousands of years...and as a great character he will live as long as the world lives," he was not speaking as a scientist.

Discussions - 6 Comments

You good folks just need to start placing images of Lincoln in every possible nook and cranny of this web site - Taking inspiration from the petty dictators of the world who place large images of themselves in public spaces to remind everyone who is really in charge :)

Really, Lincoln is a very problematic person in U.S history for all sorts of reasons. It has been debated here many times.

Just get over any qualms you guys have and rev up the idol worship in the open...:) :) :)

Christopher, the article gives us worshipers a very flawed image of our "idol". In our telegenic age, it is hard to imagine such a physically flawed person ever making it to the White House. Of course, he was not photogenic, either. What do some of us like about him, then? This article just confirms that if Lincoln had strength, it was a strength in weakness. This carries an appeal to Christians, or maybe just to some kinds of Christians. Tolstoi saw it.


Since it seems to be a very slow day on the blog, I would press the Rove issue here on the back pages. I read this article on Rove, by James Carville. It is just what you might expect, especially of someone whose tentative title for his next book is The Lost Generation: How the Democrats can Capitalize on the Current Problems of the Republican Party , but I think it echoes a complaint heard from right on this site. Rove built something wonderful for Republicans and had an amazing effect in the last few elections. Since that is so, we can only wonder that the Republican Party seems to be in such a bad way and has lost so much of that support.

I really liked this bit,

When it comes to judging Mr Rove’s political career, I am reminded of Chinese premier Zhou Enlai’s meeting with Henry Kissinger in the 1970s, when Mr Kissinger asked, “What do you think of the French Revolution?” Zhou replied: “It’s too soon to tell.”


Maybe that is true about Lincoln, too.

Strength in weakness Kate? Explain.

In my opinion being telegenic has nothing to do with masculinity, or whatever you Palentologists are talking about. Hard to immagine a physically flawed person making it to the White House?(for christ sake the man was as tall as an oak, and could probably chop twice the wood in an hour with a dull spoon that Clinton and Bush combined could manage with powertools(since they probably wouldnt apply them to the wood but each other...but I digress).

There is nothing really flawed about Abe Lincoln appearance wise, and the day that there is well that is the day that an inversion of values has occured such that we all run prancing around like metrosexuals worried more about the symmetry of our faces than what we can do with our minds and bodies.

Now there is nothing wrong with symmetry and there is nothing wrong with Leonardo Da Vinci...but on the ballance...which is a crucial word with regard to symmetry...there is a very real sense in which a Lincoln or a Da Vinci are more ballanced on ballance, because contrary to GQ the teleology of a head isn't measured by the beauty of the hair that grows upon it.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.


I mean that sort of thing. While Lincoln was physically strong, he did not have many characteristics or predictors that would promise political success. His background was in the meek line, though he does not seem to have been poor in spirit. After reading the article mentioned above, I remembered seeing this site a few weeks back, which catalogs Lincoln's physical problems. No one contemporary to him called him handsome on first acquaintance, but that teleogy of his head that you mention seemed to make him grow handsomer with familiarity.


There was no cause to be rude, tarring me with the title of Paleontologist.

Just a joke Kate... I wouldn't say that he was meek, but I won't dispute it that much. Physically he had height which seems to to go hand in hand with the presidency. Also he was a little hardened and shaped by the frontier...but he was also a lawyer decently well read. And I think that when you really think about it that is a rather perfect combination. His Oratory was gainned from the school of hardknocks in such a fashion that could not have occured from a more civilized upbringing. I think Abe was humble, but meek is too much.

John, I was laughing.


I said his line was meek, as in he came from very humble beginnings. And he was meek in the sense of being gentle and quiet in his demeanor. As to the submissive aspect of the definition of meek, you have me there. He was not.


Anyway, we both like him. To get a thread on here where nearly every comment on Lincoln is positive is really something.

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