Lucente’s Slanted History

Thomas Lucente has once again offered his slanted view of history (May 10, The Lima News,) while accusing others of his sin. I do not accuse him of racism but I do accuse him of intellectual dishonesty.

He accuses President Lincoln of destroying the America created by the founders and declares that Lincoln’s reference to the “new nation” which was created to be a lie.

Mr. Lucente claims that what was created was not a new nation but “a voluntary alliance between 13 separate nations.” Now if he were talking about the original  Articles of Confederation, he might have an argument to make, but Lucente claims to be defending the Constitution. The Constitution however clearly established a new nation just as Lincoln declared.

He goes on with misleading cherry-picking of facts to make the indefensible seem defensible to those who forget the facts he is leaving out.

Mr. Lucente calls the Civil War the “War for Southern Independence” and declares it was a war between two slave-owning nations. Interesting that the “alliance” of the separate states is now a nation. Why does he suddenly call it a nation? Because when South Carolina seceded only ten of the other slave states joined them. So four slave states remained with the nineteen free states in the Union.

Does the fact that four slave states didn’t break away from the Union make the other nineteen states slave states? Why does Lucente push such an idea? Because he doesn’t want to admit that the Civil War was about slavery. Yet the Vice President of the Confederate States declared, “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas [from the Constitution]; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.”

The Confederate Constitution was “exactly the opposite ideas” from our Constitution, to which Lucente declares allegiance. Does Lucente make these kinds of arguments because he is a racist? No, it is because he is, as he himself admits, a libertarian. As a libertarian he believes the world can be reduced to simple black and white on the basis of his analysis of liberty.

Mr. Lucente is asking, “If the Union and the Confederacy were fighting over slavery, why didn’t the Union simply outlaw slavery in the four states that remained in the Union?” Now the fact is the Union couldn’t afford to alienate those four states at that perilous time. But those four states knew that the handwriting was on the wall and that their time as slave states was limited. Indeed Maryland and Missouri abolished slavery before the end of the Civil War.

However Lucente cannot accept political compromise. The world is black and white and if the Union did not abolish slavery immediately in those four states then the Union was a slave nation.

Mr. Lucente declares his allegiance to the values and ideals in the Constitution but says that government is a necessary evil. Hurrah, he admits that government is necessary but he also declares it evil. Can governments do evil? Certainly. But Lucente is declaring that government is in itself evil.

Now I understand that there are many things that our government does which Lucente thinks they shouldn’t be doing. But even if our government did nothing more than he thinks it should do (which I believe would limit it to “provide for the common defense,”) even then he would declare it evil. How do you love the Constitution and yet declare the government that it creates to be evil?

Mr. Lucente has declared taxation to be theft. Does he envision the money “to provide for the common defense” being collected by subscription? Or is taxation to be declared “necessary theft?”

I would not be so upset if I did not think that Lucente’s words had an impact. No, I do not fear him converting people to libertarianism. I fear his impact on people’s cynicism. He increases the distrust of government. He increases the feeling that, “My vote doesn’t count and what does it matter anyway—they’re all crooks.”

We need people to believe that government can and does do good. We need people to recognize that taxation is the cost of civilization. We need people to believe that their vote counts. We need them to realize that their informed vote is needed to preserve and correct government if it goes astray.

I wish that Mr. Lucente would recognize that the values and ideals of our Constitution require informed and active voters not cynicism and despair.