Logo for Joe Sobran's newsletter: Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month

 How Lincoln Gave Us Kwanzaa 

December 7, 2006 
Lincoln and Snoop DoggKwanzaa is imminent, but I’m planning to observe the holidays in a more traditional manner, curling up with The Snoop Dogg Christmas Album. Mutatis mutandis, Snoop Dogg is this generation’s Nat “King” Cole, and I look forward to his interpretation of that old chestnut “The Christmas Song.”

Lincoln and Snoop DoggYes, there are obvious superficial Today's column is "How Lincoln Gave Us Kwanzaa" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.differences between Cole and Dogg. Cole relied more heavily on vibrato and orchestral backing, and he was never arrested for packing heat and illegal drugs in an airport. But then, it was a more laid-back age. Unlike today’s rap artists, Cole didn’t have to worry about being offed by his rivals, such as Perry Como. These days, rap has given the ancient maxim new relevance: ars longa, vita brevis. Snoop Dogg has already surpassed the normal life span of a rap artist. Ask any actuary.

Lincoln and Snoop 
DoggMeanwhile, the bipartisan James Baker commission has finally issued its report on Iraq. Bipartisan is the usual term for a bunch of old white guys, even if they include an old black guy like Vernon Jordan, who has probably never heard of Dogg.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggThe report says we need to send more troops to Iraq (but of course!), yet it dodges the real issue: whether Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein than under George W. Bush. True, Saddam was not what we think of as a democrat, but he was a good supply-sider. Though he may have eliminated a lot of people, he had too much sense to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. You could get hummus and tabouleh without risking life and limb. Thomas Hobbes would have liked him.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggIs it time to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq? Back in 1862 you could have been arrested for saying U.S. troops should be pulled out of the Confederacy, because Abraham Lincoln insisted that they were fighting for “a new birth of freedom.” Lincoln is the subject of yet another new book — worshipful, naturally — called The Gettysburg Gospel, by Gabor Boritt (Simon and Schuster).

Lincoln and Snoop DoggThis is the second recent book about the Gettysburg Address, the previous one being Garry Wills’s Pulitzer-winning Lincoln at Gettysburg. Both books treat Lincoln as a national savior, overlooking his fallacious appeal to the Declaration of Independence. According to Lincoln, the Declaration “brought forth a new nation.” That is plainly not true. The Declaration says nothing about a “nation”; it speaks only of 13 “Free and Independent States.” It is, in fact, a declaration of secession! The 13 states are serving notice that they are pulling out of the British Empire.

[Breaker quote for How Lincoln Gave Us Kwanzaa: We owe him everything!]Lincoln and Snoop DoggLincoln even contradicts himself. In his first inaugural address, denying the right of any state to leave the Union, he had said that “the Union is older than the states.” That is like saying that a marriage is older than the spouses. Apart from being nonsense, it implies that the “new nation” didn’t begin with the Declaration after all.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggBut Lincoln’s worshippers, bewitched by his eloquence, rarely notice these little things. They overlook not only his lapses in logic but his gross violations of the Constitution: usurpations of power, suspension of habeas corpus, arbitrary arrests of dissenters and even elected officials, crackdown on the free press, the Emancipation Proclamation (Lincoln himself doubted his authority to issue it but finally yielded to Republican pressure), and so on.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggSome of the worshippers, such as Wills and Harry V. Jaffa, strain to defend these measures, but Boritt seems not even to notice them. He sounds like Tony Snow explaining Bush’s Iraq policies: the king can do no wrong. Lincoln always praised Thomas Jefferson, but under his administration Jefferson, the ur-secessionist, would have found himself in the clink.

Lincoln and Snoop 
DoggUnless the North conquered the South, Lincoln said at Gettysburg, self-government itself would “perish from the earth.” Balderdash, of course. Yet most Americans still take Lincoln’s war propaganda as self-evident truth. He ranks among history’s most durably successful humbugs.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggToo bad, because Lincoln is much more interesting when you read him critically. Boritt is at best a readable storyteller, but this book is nothing but celebration, and it’s disgraceful — nay, inexplicable — that such scholars as David Herbert Donald and Harold Holzer should supply it with enthusiastic blurbs and panting praise.

Lincoln and Snoop DoggBut don’t waste your time trying to explain even to Bush’s partisans that Lincoln was a much worse president than Bush. By a consensus I can only call bipartisan, Lincoln is a god, to whom we all owe our freedom — you, me, and Snoop Dogg alike.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2006 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate

small Griffin logo
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address:

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer
Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRANS home page.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive
 WebLinks | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas
Back to the home page 


SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Reprinted with permission
This page is copyright © 2006 by The Vere Company
and may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of The Vere Company.