If Tom DiLorenzo Types That the Sun Rises in the East...

you'd better check the west to see it coming up.

I stopped by LewRockwell.com to see the reaction from a few wacky conspiracy theorists to bin Laden's death, and was not disappointed. While I was there I ran across a column of Tom DiLorenzo's attacking Paul Krugman's Civil War writing. Now, I have no idea if Krugman knows his stuff on the Civil War, but I do know DiLorenzo is a horrific smear artist, so I thought I'd check this out. And I found just what I thought I would.

For instance, DiLorenzo scoffs at the idea that Lee was a patrician, writing:

"Krugman is apparently unaware that by the late 1850s, on the eve of the war, Robert E. Lee was in his thirtieth year as an officer in the United States Army, performing mostly as a military engineer. He was hardly a 'patrician' or member of a ruling class."

This is stunning in its mendacity. Serving as an Army officer is one of the very favorite patrician occupations, and DiLorenzo knows this. He continues:

"On the 'White Haven' Web site the National Park Service euphemistically calls Grant the 'manager' of the slave plantation rather than the more historically-accurate word 'overseer.'"

And what is the definition of "overseer"? Yourdictionary.com has:

"A supervisor or superintendent."

In other words, a manager! So the park web site uses the modern equivalent of "overseer," and DiLorenzo accuses them of speaking in euphemisms! Next we have:

"Grant’s White Haven slaves were not freed until an 1865 Missouri emancipation law forced Grant and his father-in-law to do so."

Well, perhaps that is because they weren't Grant's slaves at all, but his father-in-law's? And perhaps we might note that Grant could not be forced to free them, since they were not his, and he could not have freed them, since they were not his? Or we might even note that the one slave he had owned, a gift from his father-in-law, he freed all on his own in 1859?

"The fact that Lee changed clothes before formally surrendering did not instantly turn the 36-year army veteran into a 'patrician,' contrary to the 'all-knowing' Krugman’s assertion."

No, that wouldn't "turn one" into a patrician. What turned Lee into one was being born as a patrician into a patrician family. And note what DiLorenzo does with quotes here: "Patrician," a word Krugman used, is placed in quotes... along with "all-knowing," a word Krugman doesn't use. By placing it in quotes there, DiLorenzo gives the impression that Krugman calls himself "all-knowing"!

Lying is bad, Tom.

But the worst trick of all was saved for the end, when DiLorenzo writes, "After all, in his first inaugural address Lincoln literally threatened 'force,' 'invasion' and 'bloodshed' (his exact words) in any state that refused to pay the federal tariff..."

Wow, that makes Lincoln look pretty bloodthirsty, doesn't it? So what are Lincoln's "exact words"? Well, he does use each of the words DiLorenzo mentions... each time with another little word, "no," in front of it:

"In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence..."

"there will be no invasion"

"no using of force against or among the people anywhere."

So, DiLorenzo pretty much just out-and-out lied through his teeth here, and hoped no one would bother to look this up. As is well-known, this is the same technique he often employed in his anti-Lincoln hate-fest books.


UPDATE: And none of the above means I think Lincoln was a great guy. But he should at least be evaluated honestly.


  1. Related: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/87355.html

  2. Wow. From the first time I read about Thomas DiLorenzo's views on Lincoln and the Civil War I always doubted his accuracy. Now I know he is agenda-driven.


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