Apropos of Corey Robin's Libertarianism, the Confederacy, and Historical Memory:
What’s striking about this set of observations [by Randy Barnett] is that with some minor exceptions it has been pretty much the historiographical consensus for decades. Indeed, I learned much of it in high school and in my sophomore year at college. Yet Barnett, by his own admission, has only discovered it in recent years.
Jacob T. Levy comments:
I can understand your mistake here, but it’s a mistake. Randy [Barnett] started out in the Lysander Spooner camp (and he was a longtime champion of Spooner’s philosophical as well as historical importance). That abolitionist anarchism has a hard time treating the Union or the Republican Party as morally serious about slavery, but not in the confederatista “Lincoln was a racist too, so there” kind of way. It’s not that he spent time in the “maybe slavery mattered, maybe it didn’t” cloud of ignorance. It’s that he… started to respect the Republican Party’s initial stance as being a genuinely antislavery one rather than only being culpable compromises… 2004 is the latest date one could pick here, as these arguments start to appear in Restoring the Lost Constitution.
In 2004 Randy Barnett was 52, not 15.
And Lysander Spooner was a real piece of work. Lysander Spooner, ranting that defeating the Republican Party in the election of 1860 is job #1:
We entreat all, who act politically under the constitution of the United States, to… give no vote, and no word of sympathy or support, to any [Republican] man, or body of men, who either evade it, or hesitate, or equivocate… give their rant, declamation, and pretended moral sentiments to liberty, and, at the same time, give over to slavery the constitution of the country, and their oaths to support it. These men are practically the best supporters of slavery…. They have power to deceive honest men as to their rights and duties…. This power they are exerting to their utmost for the security of slavery. The open [Democratic] friends of slavery… have now succeeded in disgusting even themselves…. Should any one of the factions, into which they are divided, succeed in filling the executive department of the government, that acquisition will give them no real power in the country. Their possession of that department, therefore, is not a thing to be dreaded. Better, far better, that the presidency should be in the hands of an open, but powerless enemy of liberty, than in those of a powerful, but false, perjured, and traitorous friend.
We, therefore, entreat that all, who give their votes… give them unequivocally for freedom…. But if, as is very likely to be the result, no one of these electoral candidates [for true freedom] should be chosen, the votes given for them will nevertheless not have been thrown away. The great object is to procure the defeat of the Republicans…
The Confederatistas say that Jefferson Davis is preferable to Abraham Lincoln because while they are both racists Jefferson Davis is at least a believer in states' rights and liberty.
Lysander Spooner says that Jefferson Davis is preferable to Abraham Lincoln because while eneither cares about human liberty Lincoln pretends to.
Lysander Spooner: #slatepitch of the 1850s? Concern troll of the 1850s? You be the judge.