09 Jan 2010

Bob Murphy, Neo-Confederate?

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Steve Landsburg has the distinction of (possibly) being a more narcissistic economics blogger than me. (As Vader would say, “Impressive.”) Not only did Steve decide his readers should see his personal list of heroes, but he broke it up over three posts, making them guess at the identity of the people who were pictured.

Anyway, one of the people on Landsburg’s list was Abraham Lincoln. (Everyone identified that portrait in round one.) During the post-game show, one of the commenters was horrified at the inclusion of “The Great Murderer” but I tried a friendlier approach:


If you’re still reading, I would love to hear your reasons for including Lincoln. I have the same misgivings as the other commenter above, though I was going to introduce them with levity. (E.g. “I know you like math, Steve, so is that why you included the guy who maximized the wartime deaths of Americans?”)

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up thinking Lincoln was great, just as I thought FDR was great. But when I actually started thinking about things (a la your bathtub drain), I realized: “Wait a second, doesn’t ‘he saved the Union’ describe the same behavior that King George engaged in when the colonists decided to split?”

I’m being dead serious here. If you’re new to my blog, and had never really thought much about it, I’m curious to know: Do you think Abraham Lincoln is great, and if so, why? Isn’t the whole point of our “way of life” that we allow people to choose their own forms of government?

Let me deal with the obvious rejoinder: The U.S. colonies had slavery when they seceded from Great Britain. If King George had promised to free the American slaves, would you have rooted for the colonists to lose the American Revolution?

One Response to “Bob Murphy, Neo-Confederate?”

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