Understanding the Solow Growth Model

Willmoore Kendall, Harry Jaffa's Crisis of the House Divided, and the Party of Abraham Lincoln: Hoisted from the Archives

Clowns (ICP)

More about the... rather strange... musings of: Geoffrey Kabaservice: Liberals Don't Know Much About Conservative History: "Buckley’s endorsement of Southern segregation was a moral blot on the conservative movement, and he later acknowledged it as his gravest error. But it’s anti-historical to assume that Buckley was little more than a Klansman with a large vocabulary...

...It’s true that the era when historians ignored conservatism or dismissed it as a curio is over; many universities now offer entire courses on its history. But a closer look at their syllabi typically reveals a paucity of writings by actual conservatives and a glut of hostile interpretations.... The serious work of intellectual conservatism... [in the 1980s] came from thinkers who had little to do with the emerging political-media entertainment complex.... Of course, not all the works of that period’s conservative tribunes have aged well. Culture wars tend to produce more heat than light. Bloom’s musings on rock and roll seem as ridiculous now as they did then... few... still defend Charles Murray’s 1994 The Bell Curve... and it’s hard to read the neoconservatives of the 1990s now without thinking of the Iraq War disaster looming on the horizon. But the conservatives listed above were for the most part intellectually honest, dedicated to the effort of persuading the unconvinced, and capable of changing their minds in the face of conflicting evidence...

Jeet Heer: @heerjeet: "Buckley being Buckley...

...Joshua_A_Tait: "On April 4, 1965, William Buckley addressed a prayer breakfast for Catholic police officers. The press reported that 'more than 5,600 New York policemen clapped and cheered' as Buckley praised the '"restraint" of the police in Selma...'"

A question for Kabaservice: If Buckley was not much more than a "Klansman with a large vocabulary", what would he have said instead? What would a "Klansman with a large vocabulary" have said then?

Coquetting with the idea that Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant and a communist fellow traveler was... rather common in Buckley's National Review. For example: Willmoore Kendall:

Hoisted from the Archives: Harry Jaffa, Willmoore Kendall, the Crisis of the House Divided, and the Party of Abraham Lincoln: Andrew Ferguson...

...Most conservative books are pseudo-books: ghostwritten pastiches whose primary purpose seems to be the photo of the "author" on the cover. What a tumble! From 'The Conservative Mind' to 'Savage Nation'; from Clifton White to Dick Morris; from Willmoore Kendall and Harry Jaffa to Sean Hannity and Mark Fuhrman-all in little more than a generation's time. Whatever this is, it isn't progress... -Andy Ferguson, Weekly Standard.

Let me enthusiastically agree with Andy Ferguson's high praise of the very interesting Harry Jaffa. But Willmoore Kendall? Those with access to National Review's electronic archives can read Willmoore Kendall's review of Harry Jaffa's Crisis of the House Divided http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0226391132/braddelong00, with Kendall's attack on Jaffa's argument that the Declaration and the Constitution are together living documents dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. As Kendall (unfairly) summarizes Jaffa's argument:

As for the "all men are created equal" clause, Jaffa's Lincoln... sees it as the indispensable presupposition of the entire American political experience.... Jaffa's Lincoln sees the great task of the nineteenth century as that of affirming the cherished accomplishment of the Fathers by transcending it. Concretely, this means to construe the equality clause as having an allegedly unavoidable meaning with which it was always pregnant, but which the Fathers apprehended only dimly.... The Civil War... had to be fought in the interest of freedom for all mankind... once the South had gone beyond slaveholding... to assert the "positive goodness" of slavery, and so to deny the... equality-clause standard as the basic axiom of our political system.... [Jaffa] insists that [the Civil War] had to be fought lest the possibility of self-government perish from the earth...

And what does Kendall think of Jaffa's argument? Let me quote the ultimate paragraph:

The idea of natural right is not so easily reducible to the equality clause, and there are better ways of demonstrating the possibility of self-government than imposing one's views concerning natural right upon others. In this light it would seem that it was the Southerners who were the anti-Caesars of pre-Civil War days, and that Lincoln was the Caesar Lincoln claimed to be trying to prevent; and that the Caesarism we all need to fear is the contemporary Liberal movement, dedicated like Lincoln to egalitarian reforms sanctioned by mandates emanating from national majorities, a [Civil Rights] movement which is Lincoln's legitimate offspring. In a word, it would seem that we had best learn to live up to the Framers before we seek to transcend them...

Kendall writes in code. Where Kendall writes "Caesar" read "illegitimate tyrant." Where he writes "egalitarian reforms" think "letting African-Americans vote." Where he writes "a movement which is Lincoln's legitimate offspring" read "post-WWII civil rights movement." Where he writes "live up to the Framers" read "abandon any attempt by federal courts or the national legislature to interfere with the peculiar institutions of the American South as they stood in 1950."

Abraham Lincoln—and Harry Jaffa—would agree that there are better ways of demonstrating the possibility of self-government than imposing one's views concerning natural right upon others. That's why they objected to Southerners' holding African-Americans as slaves: what could possibly be a greater "imposition"? For a Union army under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant to say to rich white Southerners that they cannot hold African-Americans as slaves would seem to everyone a lesser imposition than for the Mississippi militia under the command of Jefferson Davis to say to poor African-Americans that they are slaves. Well, it seems like a lesser imposition to almost everyone. It seems a greater imposition to Willmoore Kendall.

Oh. And the "transcending" that Kendall italicizes in the first of my quotations from him above? That's also code. That's code for "under Jaffa's interpretation, Abraham Lincoln is, at best, a fellow traveler of the communists."

Is this really any better than Sean Hannity? More sophisticated and more polite in form, yes. But better?...


#shouldread
#hoistedfromthearchives

Comments