Ron Paul on the Civil War

I’m not going to jump on the “Ron Paul is racist!” bandwagon, because I don’t have any evidence that the man is, to be honest.  I don’t agree that this statement to Tim Russert is evidence, but I do take exception to it:


I think Matt Yglesias said it best:

Obviously, yes, there were better ways to end slavery. That’s why Abraham Lincoln didn’t run on a platform that said “let’s have a bloody civil war!” Rather, his idea was to prevent the expansion of slavery into new territories and try to nudge the country in the direction of compensated emancipation. The South, though, decided that rather than abide by the results of the election, they would secede from the country and establish a new herrenvolk democracy committed to slavery uber alles. They, not Lincoln, put resolution of the slavery issue through the political process out of reach.

I pretty much agree Yglesias with this.  I don’t think civil war was going to be avoided unless the issue of ending slavery went away, which it wasn’t going to do.  Other countries were able to end slavery because they had much less to lose from doing so than the cotton states did.

I might agree that’s it’s a valid point of view that there were better ways to end slavery, but it’s views like this that make me very skeptical that Ron Paul is going to capture the mainstream and win the nomination for his party.  It’s a shame too, because I like a lot of the ideas he espouses, I just think he’s a very poor vehicle for moving them forward.

16 thoughts on “Ron Paul on the Civil War”

  1. He is right that there are better -economical and humanitarian- ways to deal with slavery, but that’s assuming that the civil war was entirely about slavery, and avoidable.

  2. It wasn’t all about slavery. There were other ancillary issues that caused the problems, but it was mostly about slavery.

  3. I am pretty sure RP is not a racist, but he has made a mistake letting too many racists hang around him, even on the periphery. I still don’t know why he didn’t nip it all in the bud months ago.

  4. Much has been made of his accepting donations from white supremacists, but I think the idea of not returning the money, so they have less to spend on hate, isn’t a bad way to deflect that criticism. I don’t make any secret of the fact that I like Fred Thompson, but I’m not going to sling that mud at Paul, because he’s never given any indication that he’s a racist.

    That’s not to say I don’t have issues with Paul’s army of fanatical supporters: I do with many of them, and it’s part of why I’m not supporting him.

  5. Right or wrong, this is something that it does no good to discuss.
    Depending on where you were born, and in what circumstances, one position or the other in unalterably in your bones, like the religion you were raised into. Through study and meditation you may change either, but no amount of argumentation will matter.

    Whether or not slavery was evil is not the same question as whether or not Lincoln had the right to do what he did, nor the same as whether or not it was the right thing to do. I am still waiting for someone to show me the part of the constitution that makes a states membership in the United States anything but voluntary.

    If this opinion disqualifies a man from being president, then half of America is disenfranchised.

  6. It’s not so much that he holds the opinion, but that he doesn’t realize he doesn’t have much to gain by talking about it on national TV. I will say, however, it’s going to be interesting when people run for president that are thoroughly of the internet age. The internet forgets nothing. If I ever run for office someday (ha! fat chance), everything I’ve ever written here I’m sure will be used against me.

  7. I can intellectually appreciate Mr. Paul’s position on the civil war. Politically, I don’t know enough about the time to comment. Not sure what he meant by “original intent”.

    I placed a Ron Paul for President in my front yard several months ago. Not so much because I plan to vote for him, but because I appreciate some of his positions.

    He dissappointed me with the information on his using earmarks. Seems a bit disingenuous. I have been posting about the earmarks on a few blogs, websites and youtube. I have been amazed at the wrath of his groupies. Most are incapable of any dialogue, every critical comment is a “smear”. Every attempt at thoughtfull discourse is a “smear”. And the Paul supporters have about run me away. The system is corrupt, but Paul uses the system that is corrupt instead of staying above the corruption and by association he smells just a bit, like all the others.

  8. So Paul wanted a Slave Buy-Back program?

    You can see how well that has done for guns. And don’t tell me the people who run those tax sinkholes don’t want to ban ALL GUNS.

    Even if they got a huge chunk of the slave population (though likely it would have been some of the older slaves of lesser value) new slaves were being imported all the time.

    Not to mention breeding your own.

    I think the only “Better” way would have been to let the Confederacy Succeed. And that’s highly debatable.

    Tho if they were allowed sovereignty, I might have a visa application sent in by now.

  9. If they had won this country would be another third world toilet. We would have fought constant wars along the frontier as we expanded west.

  10. “If they had won this country would be another third world toilet. We would have fought constant wars along the frontier as we expanded west.” Why would we have fought constant wars? Are you saying that southerners are warlike? I don’t get your logic there. Slavery aside, from a libertarian viewpoint the south was in the right.

  11. Because we were already fighting wars along the frontier before Fort Sumter was ever fired on. I’m not saying southerners are warlike, I’m saying you’d have to powers competing for the west.

  12. Oh, I get what your saying. Although I don’t know if they would go back to fighting for a while. Anyways, I still say that constitutionally the south were the “good guys”.

  13. I think there would actually have been less fighting on the frontiers due to secession. The whole reason for Bloody Kansas was to win control of a new State and appoint Senators to Congress, thus maintaining power in the Senate. Without that incentive, there should have been fewer fights.

    There still would be fighting, but for different reasons. Every State with a weird belief/desire would secede the second they were reprimanded/rebuked/refused.

    I think General Sherman said it best:

    But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling.

  14. Sherman is one to talk, seeing as how he was a war criminand all. He is also suggesting imperialism whe he says “The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power”.

  15. Well, it’s a good thing that Sherman was a hero, then.

    The Constitution says nothing about secession, probably because the Founders didn’t want to encourage division. Rebellion can still happen, of course, but only for good reasons. The South’s reasons were not good. They basically performed a “preemptive secession” to try to scare Lincoln out of taking office.

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