Declan Leary should read George Fitzhugh.
If he thinks Pat Buchanan was ahead of his time in 1992, he should check out what George Fitzhugh was saying in the 1850s in Cannibals All! Or, Slaves Without Masters and Sociology for the South, or, The Failure of Free Society to understand what the Confederates were fighting against.
“We can’t support this,” Buchanan wrote. “To force it upon us is like forcing Christians to burn incense to the emperor.” And so it is. Yet the right—enough of it, at least, to tilt the scales—refused to listen. Every little concession, every refusal to fight, every time movement conservatives scoffed at the radicals or distanced themselves from us, has led America to this point. Queer pornography is commonplace in public-school libraries, drag queens are a fixture of children’s entertainment, juvenile sex changes are rapidly being normalized, and the women of the third world serve as rented wombs for Americans’ designer babies. And if you dare even to suggest that people of certain proclivities should not serve as troop leaders in the (no longer extant) Boy Scouts, that the law should not encourage them to marry and adopt, you are cast into the outer darkness not just by the radical left but by the heirs to the Bush Republicans.
Because this is, as Buchanan recognized thirty years ago, an all-encompassing religious war. It was not in 1992, nor is it now, about simple disagreements over policy or tone, over where to set limits or how far to compromise. It is and has always been a life-or-death struggle between two irreconcilable understandings of the American national character and the moral order of the universe. …
I am a son of Massachusetts in spirit as much as in fact, and I have no real sympathy for the cause of the Confederates. (Buchanan, descended from Mississippi veterans of the war, understandably might feel otherwise.) Yet I can muster for its partisans even admiration, and can only hope that, put to the test, I too could face the fire of cannon and gun for family, faith, friends, and country. …”
Who was right?
George Fitzhugh or Abraham Lincoln?
“We have not a solitary example in all of history to countenance the theories of our ancestors, that a people may be moral, or that government can exist where religion is not in some form or degree recognized by law. What latitude shall be allowed to men in the exercise and practice of religion, is a question for the people to determine when the occasion requires it. It is best not to lay down abstract principles to guide us in advance. Of all the applications of philosophy none have failed so signally as when it has been tried in matters of government. Philosophy will blow up any government that is founded on it. Religion, on the other hand, will sustain the governments that rest upon it. The French build governments on a priori doctrines of philosophy which explode as fast as built. The English gradually and experimentally form institutions, watch their operation, and deduce general laws from those operations.
That kind of philosophy, which neither attempts to create nor account for, is admissible and useful. An extensive knowledge of the history of the various moral philosophies that have succeeded each other in the world, is useful, but only useful because it warns us to avoid all philosophy in the practical affairs of life. If we would have our people moral, and our institutions permanent, we should gradually repudiate our political abstractions and adopt religious truths in their stead.
It is an unpopular theme to deny human progress and human improvement. We flatter ourselves that we are more enlightened as well as more moral than the ancients, yet we imitate them in all save the mechanic arts. …
Divest us of our Christian morality, and leave us to our moral philosophy, and we might dread the comparison with any era of the past. We have but one moral code, and that a selfish one; the ancients always had two, one of which was elevated, self-denying and unselfish. …
Now explore all the secrets of human hearts, all the recesses of history, and it will be found that religion is as much a matter of consciousness and involuntary belief as free agency or self existence. It is a stubborn fact in human nature. Statesmen cannot ignore its existence, and must provide for its exercise and enjoyment, else their institutions will vanish like chaff before the wind.”
Just listen to what we were saying about your culture.
“Why have you Bloomer’s and Women’s Right’s men, and strong-minded women, and Mormons, and anti-renters, and “vote myself a farm” men, Millerites, and Spiritual Rappers, and Shakers, and Widow Wakemanites, and Agrarians, and Grahamites, and a thousand other superstitious and infidel isms at the North ? Why is there faith in nothing, speculation about everything? Why is this unsettled, half demented state of the human man mind co-extensive in time and space, with free society? Why is Western Europe now starving? and why has it been fighting and starving for seventy years? Why all this, except that free society is a failure ? Slave society needs no defence till some other permanent practicable form of society has been discovered. None such has been discovered. Nobody at the North who reads my book will attempt to reply to it; for all the learned abolitionists had unconsciously discovered and proclaimed the failure of free society long before I did.”
Who could have predicted this?
“Nothing in the signs of the times exhibits in stronger relief the fact, that free society is in a state “of dissolution and thaw, “of demoralization and transition, than the stir about woman’s rights. …
The people of our Northern States, who hold that domestic slavery is unjust and iniquitous, are consistent in their attempts to modify or abolish the marriage relation. Marriages, in many places there, are contracted with as little formality as jumping over a broom, and are dissolved with equal facility by courts and legislatures. It is proposed by many to grant divorces at all times, when the parties mutually consent. The Socialists suggest that the relation should be abolished, private family establishments broken up, and women and children converted into joint stock. The ladies are promoting these movements by women’s right’s conventions. The prospects of these agitators are quite hopeful, because they have no conservative South to oppose them. It is their own affair, and we will not interfere with its regulation.
We shall deplore the day when marriage and Christianity are abolished anywhere, but will not interfere in the social and domestic matters of other people.”
As you can see, we’re really not saying anything that hasn’t been said before.
“Every one who reads the newspapers must have observed that open-mouthed infidelity is never seen or heard in this country except in abolition meetings and conventions, and in women’s rights conventicles. On such occasions some woman unsexes herself, and with Gorgon head and Harpy tongue pours out false and foul execrations against slavery and the Bible, aided by men with sharper tongues and duller courage than the women themselves. To this there is a single exception. One pulpit in Boston is on the Sabbath made a rostrum whence an abolitionist fulminates contention and discord, and stirs up to bloodshed and murder.
Liberty, infidelity, and abolition, are three words conveying but one idea. Infidels who dispute the authority of God will not respect or obey the government of man. Abolitionists, who make war upon slavery, instituted by God and approved by Holy Writ, are in a fair way to denounce the Bible that stands in the way of the attainment of their purpose. Marriage is too much like slavery not to be involved in its fate; and the obedience which the Bible inculcates, furnishes anew theme for infidelity in petticoats or in Bloomers to harp on. Slavery, marriage, religion, are the pillars of the social fabric. France felled them at a blow, and Paris and St. Domingo were crushed beneath the ruins of the edifice which they supported. …”