Americans, by and large, do not object to a little hero-worship now and then, as long as the hero is a democratic champion fighting for equal rights, or what we used to call “a fair shake.” It’s hard to think of a single hero — from Superman to Martin Luther King — who hasn’t been associated in some way with the “never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.”
This goes double for our 16th president. For more than a century Abraham Lincoln was a veritable demigod, his reputation singularly incorruptible. North of the Mason-Dixon Line none dared utter an uncharitable word about him, with the lone exception of Edgar Lee Masters, himself raised not far from Abe’s stomping grounds, and whose lawyer father officed with Lincoln’s partner William Henry Herndon. Masters pere and fils seldom missed an opportunity to shatter the myth of the Great Emancipator, but it was the author of The Spoon River Anthology who grew rabid in his belief that the cold, lazy fanatic Lincoln was alone responsible for inciting the “War of Northern Aggression,” for hammering the final tenpenny nail into the coffin of States’ sovereignty, for dismantling the Constitution and ultimately corrupting the founders’ dream. “Abraham Lincoln destroyed the American system,” wrote Masters in his Lincoln The Man. “He was the ruin of its character and its primal hope. The Lincoln myth must cease.”p>Channeling his old drinking buddy H.L. Mencken, Masters describes Honest Abe thus: br> /p>
He went about grotesquely dressed, carrying a faded umbrella, wearing a ludicrous plug hat. He was mannerless, unkempt, and one wonders if he was not unwashed, in those days of the weekly bath in the foot tub, if a bath was taken at all. [As attorney, for the Illinois Central R. R. he was found] riding about on special trains furnished him and posing as ‘Humble Abe Lincoln.’ … He set out to marry Mary Owens, and when she would not have him he was enraged and proceeded to degrade her by a vulgarity of words which were as well untrue.br> The U.S. Congress attempted to ban Master’s biography, which was offered only once in a brief first edition. It needn’t have bothered. Booksellers were reluctant to stock the book, which they claimed did not sell.
Since the 1950s, however, the mythbusters and iconoclasts have been busily unmasking the Rail Splitter, chief among them the so-called neo-Confederates both north and south. Libertarian authors like Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln, have dusted off Masters’ book, using it as a reference point, while black studies majors compose volumes detailing the Great Emancipator’s supposed racist beliefs.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online