and it’s all been downhill for the US ever since. And the majority of the blame for the refusal to compromise is religion. Yes, Republicans are uncompromising and evil. Yes, religion is uncompromising and evil. And if the Republicans had been willing to compromise back in the 60s, we’d be the better for it.
You see, the Democrats wanted slavery back in the 60s and the Republicans didn’t want it. The Republicans refused to compromise with the pro-slavery desires of the Democrats. And people died. Lots of people. And it’s the Republicans’ fault. And religion. Because they wouldn’t compromise. Actually, the problem began in earnest in ’54. That’s when the Republicans started their religious refusal to compromise. The year the Republicans were founded. That’s right, 1854.
Or so the fact-free Washington Post Leftist columnist Richard Cohen is pushing. Ed Morrissey is on top of things, as per usual, now that he’s back from his European vacation.
I may have read less coherent rants on American exceptionalism than today’s column by Richard Cohen, but I’m not sure I can say when. In attempting to argue that American exceptionalism has somehow become a religious doctrine, Cohen then argues — as near as I can tell — that its “dogma” has killed the art of compromise. Furthermore, Cohen can pinpoint exactly when this started, and to no one’s great shock, it’s when the Republican Party first formed. And then Cohen tells of the dire consequences that followed from the founding of the High Church of Republicanism:
The huge role of religion in American politics is nothing new but always a matter for concern nonetheless. In the years preceding the Civil War, both sides of the slavery issue claimed the endorsement of God. The 1856 Republican convention concluded with a song that ended like this: “We’ve truth on our side/ We’ve God for our guide.” Within five years, Americans were slaughtering one another on the battlefield.
Therein lies the danger of American exceptionalism. It discourages compromise, for what God has made exceptional, man must not alter. And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline. It could begin by junking a phase that reeks of arrogance and discourages compromise. American exceptionalism ought to be called American narcissism. We look perfect only to ourselves.
Er … what? Is Cohen seriously arguing that Republicans should have compromised on the issue of slavery? That the Civil War was the fault of Republicans for opposing continuing enslavement of human beings?
Morrissey goes on to quote Ramesh Ponnuru:
Does Cohen really want to maintain that the Republicans of the 1850s should have been more willing to compromise on slavery? Is this what liberalism has come to?
Doug Mataconis adds some histo-fact lumber into the rhetorical beating Cohen is taking for his fact-free “compromise for the sake of compromise” bather.
As Cohen should well know, while the Republican Party was founded on opposition to slavery, and abolitionists were a large segment of the party’s base in that first election, the real motivation behind the formation of the GOP was opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and would have permitted expansion of slavery into the Kansas Territory if the settlers voted in favor of it. Four years later, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln campaigned not on abolition of slavery, but on opposition to the expansion of slavery into the territories. So, Cohen’s suggestion that it was the GOP’s failure to “compromise” that led to Civil War is, quite simply, absurd.
As flawed as it is, he would have actually had a point if, instead of bizarrely attacking the 1856 Republicans, he had turned his attention to those in the South, including Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens, who believed that slavery, and the superiority of whites over blacks, were ordained by God. They’re the ones who were perverting religion toward political ends, and they were the ones who refused to compromise. If the blood of the Civil War is on anyone’s hands, it is theirs.
Because, you see, the Republicans never compromised with the Democrats, and the Republicans don’t compromise with the Democrats, and everyone has to compromise with the Democrats, and the world would be a better place if Republicans compromised with the Democrats who not only wanted to keep slavery in the south but also wanted to expand slavery. Or something.
Do the Democrats ever have to compromise with Republicans? Or is it always a one-way street with the Left? Keep moving left, always move left, the only compromise is in how fast you move left. And we’ve always been at war with Oceana.