The latest issue of the Tom Woods Letter, which all the influential people read. Subscribe for free and receive my eBook AOC Is Wrong: The Upside-Down World of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a gift.
December 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, which alarmed and appalled the New York Times and neoconservatives alike, but which cheered and delighted normal people everywhere, spending 12 weeks on the Times‘ bestseller list.
Remember Max Boot, the neocon who propagandized for every intervention of the War on Terror, defending each one with whatever talking points were in fashion?
Well, ol’ Max sure didn’t like my book.
He reviewed it for the online version of the Weekly Standard (R.I.P.), after the print edition had (to my surprise) published a favorable review.
It is very instructive to consider what he disliked about it.
In a minute you’ll see where I’m going with this.
Early on, Boot explains, my book “starts to slip from conventional history into a Bizarro world where every state has the right to disregard any piece of federal legislation it doesn’t like,” a position I am said to have derived “mainly the writings of the Southern pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun.”
What my book actually says, contrary to the above, is that important early Americans held the view that the states could refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal legislation and that both North and South had recourse to this mechanism at one time or another during the 19th century.
Neither aspect of this statement is debatable.
As for relying “mainly” on Calhoun, in an 11-page chapter on the subject my discussion of Calhoun amounts to half a page. My main source, in fact, is Thomas Jefferson. Boot never mentions Jefferson, because then it would be more difficult to demonize my position.
I’ve since written an entire book on this topic, called Nullification. No critic of mine has ever so much as attempted a refutation. Good for them, too, because facts can’t be refuted.
Boot then writes that I am “particularly upset about the 14th Amendment (he claims it was never lawfully ratified) because it barred former Confederates from holding political office.”
This is a flat-out lie. Many of you own a copy of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and can verify this. Turn to the Reconstruction chapter. Where am I “upset” about former Confederates being barred from holding political office?
I list the reasons the southern states opposed the amendment, yes, because that’s what a historian does. Find where I am “upset” about this one factor — a factor I raise in precisely one-half of one sentence.
The real reason for concern about the amendment, which even a leftist like Kirkpatrick Sale once told me he shared, was that it would be used as a crowbar by federal judges to run roughshod over localities.
As for my “claim” that the amendment was not validly ratified, it was the eminent historian Forrest McDonald, who as the Jefferson Lecturer of the National Endowment for the Humanities held the highest honor the U.S. government bestows in the humanities, who made an ironclad case for the illegitimacy of its alleged ratification.
I have never heard anyone refute McDonald’s arguments, and I think it would be funny to watch someone try.
Then Boot, whose signature policy is perpetual war, says I’m wrong to have criticized Harry Truman for sending troops to Korea without congressional authorization. Why, presidents had deployed troops “hundreds of times” without congressional authorization!
The State Department of 1950 is the source of this “hundreds of times” propaganda; they actually made the more modest claim of “more than 100 occasions.”
And as usual with State Department propaganda, it’s a fantasy. Presidential scholar Edward S. Corwin pointed out that this lengthy list of alleged precedents consisted mainly of “fights with pirates, landings of small naval contingents on barbarous or semi-barbarous coasts, the dispatch of small bodies of troops to chase bandits or cattle rustlers across the Mexican border, and the like.”
Then Boot is unhappy that I opposed Woodrow Wilson’s decision to involve the United States in World War I. He says this is evidence that I am “sympathetic to German militarists.”
(Think for a moment: imagine a self-respecting human being citing this review against me. The thing is laughable, as you can see.)
Boot criticizes my treatment of the Belgian atrocities. What he misses is that although the Germans were indeed brutal in Belgium in suppressing a guerrilla uprising whose size they overestimated, it was the tales of children having their hands cut off and corpses being made into margarine that outraged civilized opinion.
And it was these sadistic and bizarre crimes, described in the Bryce Report, that were fabrications for propaganda purposes. When Clarence Darrow offered to pay $1,000 ($17,000 in today’s money) to anyone who could show him a Belgian boy whose hands had been cut off by a German soldier, no one took him up on it.
Boot continues: “The real atrocity, [Woods] thinks, was Britain’s naval blockade of Germany.” Well, yes, as a matter of fact that is what I think. Britain’s hunger blockade of Germany, which violated accepted norms of international law in more than one respect, resulted in 750,000 civilian deaths — about 150 times the number of Belgian civilians most scholars say were killed by the Germans.
Boot then criticizes me for having had the stones to say, shortly after September 11: “The barbarism of recent American foreign policy was bound to lead to a terrorist catastrophe on American soil.”
Why am I telling you this?
Because the assault on ol’ Woods here that continues on social media now involves citing Max Boot — Max Boot — against your host here.
And this review of my book in particular.
The lefties in the Libertarian Party are coming at me with everything they’ve got — which ain’t much.
Imagine being a libertarian and wanting to cite Max Boot for any reason, ever. And then imagine citing this ridiculous review, where Boot is clearly wrong on the compact theory of the Union, presidential war powers, 9/11, and a whole lot more.
Yes, so-called libertarians are currently doing this.
These folks know so little about their own tradition of thought that they have no idea what they’re supposed to believe.
Hint: Boot is wrong on every one of these issues from a libertarian standpoint, and you’re a fool to cite him.
It goes to show, too, how unserious the Loser Brigade is about war. They would never cite an article by Woods, who favors no foreign aggression of any kind but who they believe to be insensitive, but they have no problem at all citing Max Boot, who has blood all over his hands.
Why all the attacks lately?
Ol’ Woods here is now the number-one recruiter for the Libertarian Party.
A whole lot of us are tired of the abuse that’s been directed at us, the tendentious interpretations of everything we say and do, and, at the top, the poor communication of libertarian ideas.
You may say, “Woods, I don’t care about the Libertarian Party.”
I get it.
It has “libertarian” in its name, which means it is from the LP that most people will learn about our ideas.
So we all need to make sure that if the LP exists, it’s at least representing us in a way that isn’t embarrassing and grotesque.
Well, the Loser Brigade, which criticizes ol’ Woods for being a “right-wing libertarian,” is quite happy to continue nominating ex-GOP politicians, while Woods the right-wing fuddy-duddy actually wants to nominate a radical libertarian.
Ain’t that something?
Scott Horton, Dave Smith, and I are working together on this. Against us it’s Revenge of the Nerds.
Help us make things happen.
Join, then head over to your state party and see about becoming a delegate to the 2020 convention.
I’m pretty sure these folks thought they could slander us forever, and there would be no consequences.
No such luck, Chuck.
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