Friday, October 14, 2005

Lincoln, Calhoun, and the U.N.

Michael Brandon McClellan has a great piece about why Americans reflexively distrust the United Nations. Hint: It has to do with how we resolved our conflict over the differing notions of liberty presented by Lincoln and Calhoun. It's a first-rate essay.


arrScott said...

That’s why it is such a shame that nothing ever came of Winston Churchill’s attempt to foster greater unity among what he called “the English-speaking peoples.” Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, even New Zealand and Ireland, share enough of the Lincolnian/Jeffersonian ideal of free government’s affirmative duty to uphold individual liberty to align our foreign and military policies and encourage the right kind of democratization in the world. Imagine a United Nations where everyone speaks the same language and shares the same interest in—and definition of—liberty. Not to mention the uniquely potent economic and military might of the English-speaking nations. When the English-Speaking Union talked, people would have listened. Instead, we have the UN.

Well, there is NATO, which consists mainly of countries that share the Lincolnian/Jeffersonian ethic (plus France), but it excludes the English-speaking world’s strategic members down under.

On the positive side, Lincolnian notions of the purpose of government have dominated in the liberalization of Europe and the Americas in the last few decades. Historically, only slaveowners (and people who were afraid of or indebted to slaveowners) ever put much stock in Calhounian notions of sovereign equality. Similarly, today, only states that lean toward oppression (or states that are afraid of or indebted to states that lean toward oppression, and France) still regard the sovereign equality of nations more highly than individual liberty.

P-BS-Watcher said...

McClellan's analogy can be taken a step further. See One Nation Under Shari'ah

d said...

McClellan's essay -- far from being a "first rate essay" -- is a first rate piece of hackery. McClellan would have made as much historical sense if he had typed this:

;akuhre fgociuyhf;ljkn:CLMkcvauwehpe8[f

Anonymous said...

Hey, way to engage with the ideas there, DHN. A thoroughly convincing refutation of McClellan's typing.