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Learning from Lincoln

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Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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A while ago, I'm not sure through what prompt, I decided to go read some letters/speeches from good ole honest Abe. What I found was a shocking parallel between his world and hours.
http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/speechintro.htm

Some excerpts:
When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that "all men are created equal" a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim "a self evident lie" The fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day--for burning fire-crackers!!!
How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
One would start with great confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are true; but, nevertheless, he would fail, utterly, with one who should deny the definitions and axioms. The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.

And yet they are denied and evaded, with no small show of success.

One dashingly calls them "glittering generalities"; another bluntly calls them "self evident lies"; and still others insidiously argue that they apply only to "superior races."

These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object and effect--the supplanting the principles of free government, and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would delight a convocation of crowned heads, plotting against the people. They are the van-guard--the miners, and sappers--of returning despotism.

We must repulse them, or they will subjugate us.
 
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woolfe9998

Lifer
Apr 8, 2013
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Know-Nothing has a better ring to it though :)
You know what's funny? The Know-Nothing party almost became the rival political party to the Democrats, after the Whig Party bit the dust. Instead, the Republican Party beat out the Know-Nothings.

So the Know-Nothings almost became the Republican Party. Now, 150 years later, the Republican party has become the Know-Nothings.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
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Lincoln was the first Republican president. The only other ones worth a damn near as I can tell were Theodore Roosevelt and possibly D.D. Eisenhower. The present one seems intent on grinding the party into the dust.
 
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Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,286
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You know what's funny? The Know-Nothing party almost became the rival political party to the Democrats, after the Whig Party bit the dust. Instead, the Republican Party beat out the Know-Nothings.

So the Know-Nothings almost became the Republican Party. Now, 150 years later, the Republican party has become the Know-Nothings.
Perhaps Antifa and the "deep state" are their Romanists.

I'm surprised no one has commented on the part that really caught my eye, just after that paragraph about the Know-Nothings: "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Reading some of these writings has really opened my eyes to something I feel greatly. The conditions of the past are recreated, yet today we lack the same degree of concreteness as enabled a platform of action before (e.g. slave states, segregation, Jim Crow laws).
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
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Reading some of these writings has really opened my eyes to something I feel greatly. The conditions of the past are recreated, yet today we lack the same degree of concreteness as enabled a platform of action before (e.g. slave states, segregation, Jim Crow laws).
I hope that the statue toppling continues and they get all the slave trader people off the pedestals permanently and the confederate flag banished, framed in shame as it should be... permanently.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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lol "Know-Nothings" I like that one. Can we use that here? "Shut up, Know-Nothing"
A Know-Nothing is really a Feel-Nothing who will do anything to stay that way. Instead of feeling his or her pain he or she will experience a deeply unconscious need to come back to life by making someone else feel it.

A Know-Nothing will be marked by two qualities, cruelty and a need to be worshiped as a bringer of pain.

But have a care! To repulse despotism will require both a sword and a mirror. As somebody once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The will to authoritarian rule is the result of the fear of the suffering we felt when we were first enslaved.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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Perhaps Antifa and the "deep state" are their Romanists.

I'm surprised no one has commented on the part that really caught my eye, just after that paragraph about the Know-Nothings: "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Reading some of these writings has really opened my eyes to something I feel greatly. The conditions of the past are recreated, yet today we lack the same degree of concreteness as enabled a platform of action before (e.g. slave states, segregation, Jim Crow laws).
I am having difficulty understanding what you intend to say by: "The conditions of the past are recreated, yet today we lack the same degree of concreteness as enabled a platform of action before (e.g. slave states, segregation, Jim Crow laws)."

It seem like you are saying that we no longer have a sufficient number of racial bigots to maintain racism in our society, in short that our society has improved but I can't tie that in with the 'surprised no one mentioned' part.

All I can say is that with regard to Lincoln's preference for honest despotism over hypocritical equality is to assume his intention was to say that pure despotism is such an awful thing to wish to prefer, that the alternative must be prevented even if force is required. Lincoln had very much the same understanding as Red Beard. When there is no alternative at all, evil must be shown its own face.
 

woolfe9998

Lifer
Apr 8, 2013
11,826
6,277
136
Perhaps Antifa and the "deep state" are their Romanists.

I'm surprised no one has commented on the part that really caught my eye, just after that paragraph about the Know-Nothings: "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Reading some of these writings has really opened my eyes to something I feel greatly. The conditions of the past are recreated, yet today we lack the same degree of concreteness as enabled a platform of action before (e.g. slave states, segregation, Jim Crow laws).
Because we've fixed the bad laws. Now we have the most difficult part ahead of us. Discrimination which is hard to prove. Attitudes and beliefs which are concealed in public. Problems, like police behavior, which are insanely hard to quantify.
 

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