April 14, 2003


Let America Be America the Liberator Again! (Stephen Schwartz, April 11, 2003, FrontPageMagazine.com)
We have long been told our Civil War involved only us, and was irrelevant to the rest of the world. This is wrong, for our Civil War involved more than a conflict between our own people. It also defined who we are as a nation: America the liberator, a representative of the transforming idea of freedom, throughout the world.

I see today the mighty battles of our Civil War transferred to the planetary scale, and the emergence of a global Civil War, to determine whether freedom or tyranny will dominate the future of humanity.

I see today an evil, terrorism, that like the evil of slavery, reflects the power of vast, entrenched interests.

I see today a commodity, oil, that like cotton then, is treated as a value above all others, determining the fates of whole nations.

I see today a captive people, the Muslims of the world, who like the African Americans of a century and a half ago, labor under the tyranny of terror and the terror of tyranny.

I see today a Europe that, like Europe in the 1860s, disrespects the moral values that inspire the leaders of our cause.

At the time of our Civil War, the European statesmen declared they would support the Union if it truly sought freedom for the slaves, but they scoffed and argued that our intentions were low and mercenary, and that we were fighting merely to maintain our colossal presence in the world, and not for any higher principle. They called our Civil War a war over cotton, impossible to win against the hardy and committed southern forces. So today they scoff and argue that our intentions are imperialistic, and that this is a war over oil, impossible to win against millions of Arabs.

At the time of our Civil War, the European statesmen revealed that although they hated slavery they feared American power more, just as today they show that while they fear terrorism they fear our power more.

At the time of our Civil War, many among those in Britain who supported the cause of our Union, nonetheless believed peace and order were superior to liberty, and shrank from the recognition that blood might have to be spilled to pay the cost of freedom, just as today many who support our struggle to rid the world of terrorism draw back when they see the sacrifices that will be demanded by it.

At the time of our Civil War, the European press portrayed our secretary of state, William Henry Seward, as a fanatic willing to turn the Civil War into a world war should the European powers obstruct our path, just as the neoconservatives within the present administration have been painted as ideological extremists. And the European press described secretary Seward’s defiance of European meddling as a gambit to divert attention from the failures of the Lincoln administration by starting a foreign war, just as the European media, and a section of our American media, describe the liberation of Iraq as an attempt to distract our people from the alleged domestic failures of the Bush administration.

At the time of our Civil War, the rotten powers of Europe proposed to halt the conflict between north and south and to impose peace upon us, without removing the cancer of slavery and liberating the oppressed millions in our southern states, just as the United Nations has sought peace in Iraq without removing the terrorist dictatorship of Saddam.

At the time of our Civil War, our president was slow to embrace direct action to free the slaves, as the present administration was slow to commit itself to the strategy of liberation in the Arab and Muslim lands, but, once having taken the decision, followed through with it. And the European powers, which had demanded that the war be fought over slavery, then described the Emancipation Proclamation, the 140th anniversary of which we mark this year, as a dangerous act that might provoke a slave uprising and a race war, just as today they predict that the liberation of the Iraqi people will produce a wholesale war of all against all in that martyred land.

Secretary of state Seward commented then, "at first, the [Union] government was considered unfaithful to humanity in not proclaiming emancipation, and when it appeared that slavery, by being thus forced into this contest, must suffer, and perhaps perish in the conflict, then the war had become an tolerable propagandism of emancipation by the sword."

So are we told today that our president has committed our nation to an intolerable program of democratization by the sword.

But our cause is that of all humanity, as it was 140 years ago. Our cause, as it was then, is that of Moses, for when God commanded him to free the House of Israel from bondage, God did not tell him to inform Pharaoh that inspectors would be sent into Egypt and the United Nations entrusted with the work of liberation. And I will tell you that traditional Muslims love the Prophet Moses, and will not oppose our cause if we act in loyalty to the great inspiration of freedom that moved him.

But today the United Nations has come to resemble our congress as it existed in the decades before the Civil War: a place wherein the evil influence of tyranny and terror hold sway, serving only to prevent the actions of brave and moral leaders from carrying out the worthy mission of defeating the oppressors.

And I recall to you, in reflecting upon the degeneracy of the United Nations, the great words of secretary of state Seward, who declared that such deliberative bodies have "no power to inhibit any duty commanded by God on Mount Sinai," or by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount of Olives.

Seward also spoke with clarity in 1858, as the Civil War drew near, of the Democratic party of that time, a party that had made itself the protector of the slave power. He said, in words I believe apply fully to the Muslim and Arab peoples, "I know, and you know, that a revolution has begun. I know, and all the world knows, that revolutions never go backward. [S]enators and...representatives proclaim boldly in Congress today sentiments and opinions and principles of freedom which hardly so many men, even in this free State [of New York], dared to utter in their own homes twenty years ago. While the government of the United States, under the conduct of the Democratic party, [have] surrender[ed] one plain and castle after another to slavery"--and if we substitute the word "terrorism" for that of "slavery" his words become truly exact in their parallel--"the people of the United States have been no less steadily and perseveringly gathering together the forces with which to recover back again all the fields and all the castles which have been lost, and to confound and overthrow, by one decisive blow, the betrayers of the constitution and freedom forever."

Today I see the Republican party reborn in its original, magnificent incarnation, as the party of liberation, the party of American power in the service of freedom, the party of Lincoln. And I will say that I am grateful to God for having allowed me to live to see this mighty outcome.

We have turned a page in our history. As our president has said, our cause is just. Freedom has come for the Iraqi people. Liberation will come to the Muslim and Arab peoples. Let America be America the liberator again!

One of the problems pointed up by this analysis is how few in the West any longer feel that there are any duties commanded us by God/Jesus, because they no longer believe in Him. They, therefore, view the world as one in which all is "rights" one holds against others, with no corresponding duties to others. And, absent anything else to ground them in, these rights proceed from the State and are, therfore, restricted within the borders of each state. Because there are no universal human values, there are no universal human rights (nevermind duties), and so those who live under tyranny are just out of luck. They're simply stuck in a bad State and how is that the concern of anyone else?
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2003 2:28 PM

Sometimes difficult not to bash the Euros on their "wrong-headedness", but when you explain it like that, it sounds like they need compassion.

Everyone seems to be worried about evangelism in Iraq, but maybe we need to start in France and work our way northeast. I've wondered in the past on why some churches have sent missionaries to European countries, but now it is becoming apparent after seeing how Europe behaves.

Posted by: MarcV at April 14, 2003 3:48 PM

Very eloquent, very perceptive.

I'd just point out that those Europeans

in the 1860s were conservatives, and

those were conservative arguments.

Acton lectured for days (literally) about

the perfections of the Americans' constitution

-- the CSA one.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 14, 2003 5:24 PM

Well it did provide for a line-item veto.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at April 14, 2003 6:56 PM


Liberals aren't Conservatives; they're progressives.


Posted by: oj at April 14, 2003 7:56 PM

Acton was a pluperfect Conservative. When

religious authority told him to shut up, he

shut up.

Liberal economic conceits don't change that.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 14, 2003 9:30 PM


So Copernicus wasn't a scientist?

Posted by: oj at April 14, 2003 10:14 PM

There was talk of French mediation in 1862 which would have left slavery intact and demoralized the Union effort.

Posted by: Noel at April 15, 2003 1:47 AM


Slavery & demoralization is always the French prescription, eh?

Posted by: oj at April 15, 2003 8:15 AM

His book was not published until after he was

dead. Maybe you are thinking of Galileo.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 16, 2003 12:17 AM

AUTHOR: Aakash
URL: http://uis.blogspot.com
DATE: 04/19/2003 05:18:00 AM
AUTHOR: Aakash
URL: http://uis.blogspot.com
DATE: 4/19/2003 05:18:00 AM

Posted by: Aakash at April 19, 2003 5:18 AM

AUTHOR: Aakash
URL: http://uis.blogspot.com
DATE: 04/19/2003 05:18:00 AM
AUTHOR: Aakash
URL: http://uis.blogspot.com
DATE: 4/19/2003 05:18:00 AM

Posted by: Aakash at April 19, 2003 5:18 AM
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