In 2013 historian and novelist Thomas Fleming, the author of more than fifty books including biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and histories of the two world wars, made a contribution to American Civil War history with A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. A kind of “disease in the public mind” that Fleming speaks of seems to have commenced a second wave that many fear may lead to a second civil war. Fleming is perplexed that the United States was “the only nation in the world to fight a war to end slavery.” All other countries (Great Britain, Spain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, the Northern states in the U.S.), ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth
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In 2013 historian and novelist Thomas Fleming, the author of more than fifty books including biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and histories of the two world wars, made a contribution to American Civil War history with A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. A kind of “disease in the public mind” that Fleming speaks of seems to have commenced a second wave that many fear may lead to a second civil war.
Fleming is perplexed that the United States was “the only nation in the world to fight a war to end slavery.” All other countries (Great Britain, Spain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, the Northern states in the U.S.), ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century. He also does not believe that the average Confederate soldier fought to defend slavery since “a mere 6 percent of the total white population” of the South in 1860 owned slaves and there was no stake in the system for the other 94 percent.
So why was there a war, according to Thomas Fleming? First, there was an extreme “malevolent envy” of Southerners by the New England “Yankees” who believed they were God’s chosen people entitled to rule over not only America but the world. Today, such people would be called “neocons.” Southerners did not agree, obviously.
Second, there were twenty-five or so wealthy and very influential New England abolitionists who had abandoned Christianity, condemned Jesus Christ, and adopted the mentally deranged murderer of innocents, John Brown, a self-described communist, as their “savior,” funding his terroristic bloodbaths. Brown and his comrades murdered entire families in Kansas who did not own slaves, including the murder of Mr. James P. Doyle and his two sons in front of their wife and mother. Brown said his purpose was “to strike terror into the hearts of proslavery people.” The rationalization of mass murder such as this is the “disease in the public mind” that Fleming writes about. It is also the ideology that fueled the Lincoln administration’s waging of total war on the entire civilian population of the South, with Sherman’s troops singing “John Brown’s Body” as they raped, pillaged, and plundered their way through Georgia and South Carolina.
The New England Yankees “were inclined to believe in the moral depravity of anyone who disagreed with them,” a trait that “permeated” New England, says Fleming. Armed with such thoughts, such New England Yankees as William Lloyd Garrison waged a decades-long crusade of hatred against Southerners, saying they were “ruled by Satan,” calling the region “one great Sodom,” and other outrageous insults reminiscent of the Salem (Massachusetts) witch trials, remarks Fleming. And some wonder why Southerners no longer wanted to be “united” with the New England Yankees.
Ralph Waldo Emerson “expressed awe and near-worship of John Brown,” Fleming writes. Henry David Thoreau said “Brown was Jesus” and “the humanest man in the country.” These leading literary lights of New England were clearly crazy.
There are similarities with today’s would-be revolutionaries who seem hell bent on instigating a second civil war. The Leftists who have displayed an uncontrollable, violent hatred of President Trump over the past three-and-a-half years have done so because their real hatred is of the people who voted for Trump and put him in office. They are not condemned as Satanists or sodomists, as with nineteenth-century Southerners, but have instead been branded as “deplorable” racists, sexists, homophobes, etc., etc. Several years before the defeat of Queen Hillary, Clyde Wilson remarked in a LewRockwell.com article entitled “The Yankee Problem in America” that Hillary Clinton, raised in Illinois and educated in New England, was “a museum-quality specimen of a Yankee.”
These are the people whose dreams of destroying capitalism and replacing it with their own version of Soviet central planning under the guise of a “Green New Deal” have been soundly rejected if not ignored by the deplorables, a key reason for their intense, and often violent hatred. They feel entitled to rule over the rest of America – if not the world – and many of them appear to be seething with a murderous hatred over not being granted such power. They have given up on debate and argumentation and are now resorting to pervasive censorship, riots, vandalism, arson, and assaults. Mass killing cannot be too far off if they are not stopped and soon. They are essentially a combination of nineteenth-century New England Yankee and early twentieth-century Russian Bolshevik. One thing these two movements had in common is their willingness to wage total wars of mass murder in pursuit of monopolistic political power. Indeed, historian Richard Bensel remarked in his book, Yankee Leviathan, that the political monopoly enjoyed by the Republican Party from 1861-1913 was rivaled only by the Soviet Union itself.
Many of the violent, screaming, rioting youths displayed on television and the internet in recent weeks are most likely a part of the Bernie Brigade,” social justice snowflake followers of lifelong communist Bernie Sanders. Unlike Bernie, however, they have chosen violence, vandalism, arson and criminality as their modus operandi as opposed to working within the system as an elected public official.
The Southern slaves were used as pawns in a war that was not about freeing them but about destroying the voluntary union of the founders and replacing it with a coerced union more along the lines of the future Soviet Union. Lincoln and the U.S. Congress declared to the world in 1861 (in Lincoln’s first inaugural address, and the War Aims Resolution of the U.S Congress) that the war had nothing to do with slavery but was being fought to “save the union” (geographically and for tax-collecting purposes). This, too, is similar to today’s events, with what started out as riots supposedly over police brutality against black people turning into “demands” for an exponentially bigger welfare state, abolition of police and prisons, the abolition of capitalism and in essence the adoption of socialism. Toppling statues of Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, Albert Pike, and even of Lincoln is not a protest against police brutality but part of an effort to destroy the institutions of Western civilization and replace them with communism at long last. As one of the founders of Black Lives Matter proudly boasted, “We are trained Marxists.” (“Trained” by Obama-style “community organizers,” no doubt).
In the tradition of John Brown, one Black Lives Matter spokesman named Hawk Newsome appeared on the Fox News Channel and threatened to “burn down the system” if his “demands are not met.” “Civil rights activist” Shaun King recently echoed the nineteenth-century New England Yankee assault on Christianity when he went on Twitter to invite his followers to vandalize and destroy images of “White Jesus” and “his European wife” in churches throughout America. Such people may not have a mental disease; they are just plain evil.
One final similarity between the Civil War years and today is that there were people in America who urged the peaceful abolition of slavery, just as all the rest of the world had done in recent years. Slavery existed in New York City as late as 1853 according to the New York Historical Society. Lysander Spooner was a renowned abolitionist who wrote a book on The Unconstitutionality of Slavery that was a roadmap of the peaceful abolition of the institution. He and others like him were ignored, for the Republican party of the day was devoted to creating an American empire that would rival the British, Spanish, and French empires, and were not interested in practical plans for peaceful emancipation.
Recently, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina mistakenly believed that the rioting communists of Antifa and Black Lives Matter – the shock troops of the Democrat Party — were actually interested in reforming the criminal justice system and would support legislation that he introduced into the U.S. Senate that would address the problem of police brutality. He was denounced by all the usual suspects and stonewalled by his own (Democrat and some Republican) colleagues in the senate. These people are about revolution, not making life safer and more prosperous for black people – and everyone else.