The libertarian war over the Civil War

My comments on this recent Washington Post article concerning the kerfuffle over Jack Hunter.

Full article is here.

This piece perpetuates the myth that there is some embarrassing subset of libertarians, so called “neo-confederates” that embrace slavery as being “ok” and that still pine for a CSA. This is absolutely total hogwash. There are no “neo-confederates” (whatever that neologism is supposed to mean) – nobody who calls themselves a libertarian is pro-slavery, pro-racism or pro-CSA. Nobody. The term “neo-confederate” is just a made up term that attempts to smear libertarianism by conjuring guilt-by-association imagery (“my, my that word has “confederate” in it – so those people must think just as the confederates did”). For example the author states “There are contrarians who criticize Lincoln’s use of federal power and argue that the South had a right to secede — but have no love for slavery or the Confederacy.” – so – this then implies that the “contrarians” exclusively hold this position and thus obviously the “neo-confderates” do not hold this position and therefore they must have a love for slavery. In point of fact this is the exact same position held by those commonly referred to as “neo-confederates”

Concluding that those libertarians who denounce Lincoln and his methods of waging war must somehow be the intellectual hiers of the confederacy and therefore must support all the things the confederacy stood for is as absurd as concluding that libertarians approve of prostitution and drug use because they call for repeal of laws that criminalize such behavior. Yes, I realize people do conclude that, but it is an intellectually bankrupt argument. 
To see the fallacy here, turn it around, let’s suppose the north had wanted to secede because they no longer wanted to be part of a union that included slavery – and then suppose the south had said “no” you may not leave, waged war, and kept the union intact. In both cases the putative goal of the war – “save the union” would have been achieved. So to say one war is good and one war is bad implies the validity of the civil war was not based on “preservation of the union” but rather on the legitimacy of slavery. So if that is the case, then it is quite odd indeed that Lincoln did not “free” the slaves until after 2 years into the war – and even then only in the seceded states – ironically he did not free any slaves in union states that had not seceded. Can you say hypocrite? Had the war truly been about “freedom” Lincoln would have freed all slaves everywhere in all American territories first and then that would have precipitated war. Slavery was nothing more than a tactical weapon in the arsenal of the north. Slavery was the industrial strength of the south and freeing the slaves was an attempt to undermine that strength, nothing more. Slavery may have been the political irritant that engendered sectional tensions and ultimately secession, however, make no mistake, the war was not about abolishing slavery, it was about preserving the union, i.e. not permitting an independent political body to break away, which is the most common cause of war throughout history.
So you’ll have to excuse me if I find it difficult to take seriously the cartoonish image of Lincoln we are taught in school as some sort of Don Quixote-esque crusader for truth, justice and freedom.