Skip to comments.Lincoln's fatalism and American faith
Posted on 02/18/2012 3:15:20 PM PST by Pride_of_the_Bluegrass
A retired US Marine officer with whom I corresponded asked, "What type of crisis do you think will cause the intellectual right to form a critical mass - if that is even possible?" I wrote back, "Lincoln's Second Inaugural is chiseled on the wall of his monument, and he said all that needs to be said. If they won't take it from Lincoln, why would they take it from us?" But it's Lincoln's birthday, and it's time for another try.
Abraham Lincoln is America's least popular president. It seems odd to say this given the near-deification of a man who was born in a log cabin but whose image resides in a mock-up of the Temple of Zeus at Olympus. But Americans remain horrified at what he actually said, namely that we do not control our own destinies, but are subject to a providence that is "just and righteous altogether", even if it makes terrible demands upon us.
(Excerpt) Read more at atimes.com ...
Best commentary on Lincoln I have ever read.
Thanks for posting this.
The comments are pretty interesting.
Excellent essay. I remember reading that analysis of Lincoln’s religion in First Things, and that was well worth reading too.
My only quibble is that Spengler is somewhat too facile in identifying Lincoln’s view of Divine Providence as Calvinist. Any devout Catholic or Protestant would agree that God works in mysterious ways, and that Divine Providence is not something that anyone can anticipate. Nothing specifically Calvinist about that.
Yes, most of them completely ignore Goldman’s arguments about Lincoln’s Calvinistic beliefs and instead provide political or quasi-Marxist interpretations of history. More examples of the “over-credentialed and under-educated” products coming out of our universities these days.
"This is neocon obscurantist mysticism designed to obscure and de-politicise the real causes of the real problems of the US- a sign of desperation, I think. The laughable hubris and denial of a dying empire unable to either face the future or recognise the present situation."
"jg gdj" obviously beleives that he is highly educated, when in fact, he writes quasi-Marxist tripe in ponderous prose.
Then I suggest you read When in the Course of Human Events. Then it will be the second best, for a while at least.
The fill-in-blank “ists” can never believe in a God that would intervene in man’s affairs because that might cause fear which could set up a self esteem crisis. Horror of horrors!
....shows that it is willfully fuzzy-minded to portray Lincoln as the political equivalent of Lil' Abner's Shmoo, which tasted like whatever one wanted it to eat.
If Lincoln could come to the future and visit us for a week and watch Maxine Waters and her CBC, Obama and his mess, Affirmative action, Rap Music, visit Harlem ,Watts ,and Anacostia, and Food Stamps, he would go back and join the Confederacy.
They did not want to be a Chosen People held accountable for their transgressions. Instead they wanted a reticent God who withheld his wrath while they set out to make the world amenable to their own purposes.
Two massive world wars, plus many other great and fearsome wars and tragedies later we should have learned our lesson. God is the center and we must do His bidding or the price has and will be paid in great pain, sorrow and bloodshed. Now it's looks like the price is heading towards gruesome slavery in a communistic style dictatorship. I wonder if there is still time to repent; possibly a sliver.
I agree, his references to “calvinism” are perhaps misplaced (though his cites sometimes make the same mistake). What he is calling calvinist is certainly common to a broader swath of Christianity.
You can’t understand Lincoln or the Civil War itself without understanding the religious milieu from which they sprang.
Its sometimes worthwhile to remember that the GOP itself was born when Christians abandoned the Whigs out of frustration with the Whig Party’s unwillingness to take a stand against slavery. When they did so, the Whigs vanished.
And a decade later slavery was done.
Just something for the GOP itself to remember. The day Christians abandon it, it will likewise vanish.
His other essays about Lincoln are quite good as well
February 12 is the birthday of a grim-handed killer who inflicted more casualties on his foes than anything the Russians did in Chechnya. Of course I refer to Abraham Lincoln, whom the Americans have reinvented as a kindly national paterfamilias. War ranks among the strangest forms of willful self-destruction, and America’s Civil War of 1861-65 in turn ranks among the strangest of wars. Three-quarters of Southern military age men served in the Confederate ranks, and of these almost 40 percent fell. What prompted these men to cast away their lives with such abandon, and what motivated their enemies to slaughter them?
President Abraham Lincoln famously called Americans an “almost chosen people”. That might qualify as America’s national joke, for you can’t be “almost chosen” any more than you can be almost pregnant.
Lincoln’s oxymoron frames the tension between the religious impulses that made America and the reality that ultimately it is one imperfect polity among many others. America is “a country with the soul of a church”, as G K Chesterton wrote, and by no accident, the only industrial nation (apart from Israel) in which religion plays a decisive role in public life. The central role of religion continues to polarize Americans and confuse foreign observers.
I refer to us as God’s “other” chosen people.
Which may be something that we should do sooner than later.