Malacandra.me

Noted Conservative New York Times Columnist Forgets The Civil War Ever Happened



This happens a lot more often than you'd think.

Every few months, another Respected Beltway Conservative or newly-minted "Independent" with the GOP stank still on them gets caught in a corner where they have to hastily concoct some bullshit excuse for how in the name of Jefferson Finis Davis their Republican Party ever got so full of Republicans, and how things will only improve once Democrats get over this crazy idea that Republican arsonists should be held responsible for the fires that they start.

And they always reach for Lincoln.

Last year, David Brooks of The New York Times straight-up butchered the hell out of one of the greatest speeches in the English language -- Lincoln's Second Inaugural -- in order to remake Lincoln as the Great Both Siderist.
That's right.  To serve his political agenda, Mr. Brooks has very deliberately omitted the entire context for one of the greatest speeches in American history:  the fact that there were two sides to the Civil War -- one which was dedicate to destroying the nation in order to preserve the institution of slavery, and another -- led by Abraham Lincoln -- which was determined not to let that happen.

And as to Mr. Brooks' claim that "Slavery, Lincoln says, was not a Southern institution, it was an American institution, weaving through our common history for 250 years."?   Well for fuck's sake, David, just read the very next god damn paragraph of the speech you are god damn quoting:
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
In Mr. Brooks' Both Siderist version of America history, Lincoln is transformed into a disembodied specter who somehow just floats above all of this, hand-in-hand with Mr. David Brooks, as together they survey the sad and petty squabbles of the wretched Extremes on Both Sides, both in 1865 and 2017. 

It will not surprise you that none of Mr. Brooks' colleagues called him out for this travesty because the Beltway Club doesn't roll that way.   It will also not surprise you that this was not the first time Mr. Brooks dismembered the actual history of the America Civil War in order to advance his despicable ideological agenda.

This time, it was Bret Stephens of The New York Times who turned to Lincoln to counsel the rest of us that Trump's racist base are really just confused simpletons who need only have the whole concept of "racism is bad" gently and patiently explained to them over and over and over again until eventually light will dawn on Marblehead.  Then a cookie and a glass of milk.


Except no.  See, we already tried that.  It was called "The Obama Administration".

Barack Obama spent eight years patiently begging the GOP to help him save a nation which they had left mired in two wars, a full blown global economic collapse, an epidemic of mass shootings and a full-scale health care crisis.

For eight years, he asked them for the tiniest flicker of compromise and civility.

They told him to pound sand and then elected the King of the Birthers.

So no, Mr. Stephens.  The Republican Party is all out of second chances.  In fact it was all out of second chances 30 years ago.

Lincoln delivered his remarks about "a drop of honey" catching more flies "than a gallon of gall" in 1842 before the Springfield Washington Temperance Society.  Maybe two or three miles from where I'm writing this.

But 18 years later, as Lincoln assumed the office of president and Confederate traitors formally told him to pound sand and turned their guns on the Union, no sane person believed such quaint horseshit any more. 


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