Having been a longtime reader of Lew Rockwell’s site as well as Mises.org and the Mises Institute, I have always been aware of their legitimate complaints against Lincoln, the North, etc., with which I generally agree. If we do not draw appropriate lines, however, we eventually become unprincipled and make grievous reactionary mistakes.
Today I was alerted to one such overstep. Lew’s lead article for today is, “The South is Demonized.” If that title is not already suspect, the content speaks even more poorly for the editors and the namesake of that site. It is not even a robust article, as one usually expects, but a repost of a brief Amazon.com reader comment. It says,
For most people educated in the public school system, this book will open your eyes to a whole new view of American history: the truth! Yes, there truly is another side and it’s been hidden from those who haven’t pursued the subject of American history in adulthood.
The truth does have a way of coming out for those who seek, and if you have an honest appreciation for American history, this book is sure to be on your favorites list. It’s a very well-documented record of why the South was right, and I think the writers have earned 5 stars for their persuasiveness alone.
As one who often reads history out of plain and simple interest and curiosity, I highly recommend . And if you’ve always suspected this title was true, read this book to find out why. I guarantee you will not be bored.
When one clicks through to Amazon, they are presented with a reviewer comment on what is perhaps the single most popular piece of Lost Cause hagiography in recent times, The South was Right! by James and Walter Kennedy. This book is in the thirteenth printing of its second edition after fifteen years. That’s impressive.
The only thing more impressive than this popularity and longevity is the amazing whitewashing and guile presented in the book. There is hardly a fact presented that is not either overruled by other facts or context, or irrelevant to the South’s culpability.
As I have written extensively now, there is no way, shape, or form in which one can exonerate the South by pointing to the evils of the North. The articles and content we have put out on this, in addition to The Problem of Slavery, are too numerous now even to list.
In light of the reviewers comments, however, it is worth noting that the history revealed in this book was never “hidden” from us. It was always available in the most common textbooks used throughout public schools. We show this here. What this book really does is tell a one-sided, whitewashed view of the South while ignoring the rest of what the textbooks do say. It is Lost Cause books like this one that are really doing the suppressing, hiding, and revisionism.
The sad fact is, that this headline and post seems to represent an blind spot for Lew Rockwell, and it sadly subjects the integrity of the rest of his site to question. There have already been obvious questions arising with other libertarian spokesmen regarding racism. To keep the “The South was Right” meme alive one more day without telling the rest of the story—the part that matters most, especially for millions of blacks—is a sad testimony for what is probably the leading voice in the whole libertarian movement.
After all, if we say we we believe in voluntarism, then why would we for a single moment support the part of American history in which it that idea is most systematically and brutally degraded, defiled, and defied? Why would we not rather have countless posts about how to solve racial issues voluntarily and peacefully rather than risk stoking the resentments and pain used to achieve statist solutions and power to begin with?
If you stand for liberty consistently, you shouldn’t fall for whitewashed propaganda.
Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. is the President of American Vision, and author of multiple books, including The Problem of Slavery in Christian America.