MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Guess which person we’re supposed to hate now

Posted by M. C. on July 7, 2022

Well, yes, he was born into a slave-owning family. He owned slaves. In Virginia you couldn’t legally free them, so what was he to do to avoid having been a guy who had owned slaves?

“One of many interesting things about George Washington is that having been born essentially a prince, owning 8000 acres on the Potomac River, which is just an unimaginable principality, Washington through his life ended up deciding slavery was just morally wrong. When he died he freed them all, and in fact he provided them landholdings. This, I think, is spectacular.

https://mailchi.mp/tomwoods/gutzwash?e=fa1aba8cd8

It was only a matter of time before they started going after George Washington (oh, they’re just going after Confederate leaders, the naive idiots used to assure us).

I spoke to Madison (and Jefferson) biographer Kevin Gutzman (Ph.D., University of Virginia) on the Tom Woods Show and the subject came up. Here’s his response:

“Every criticism that’s being made of George Washington, insofar as it has any substance, is completely unhistorical.

“For example, I see people saying, well, you know, George Washington owned slaves. Well, yes, he was born into a slave-owning family. He owned slaves. In Virginia you couldn’t legally free them, so what was he to do to avoid having been a guy who had owned slaves?

“One of many interesting things about George Washington is that having been born essentially a prince, owning 8000 acres on the Potomac River, which is just an unimaginable principality, Washington through his life ended up deciding slavery was just morally wrong. When he died he freed them all, and in fact he provided them landholdings. This, I think, is spectacular.

“But people are now attacking him on the ground that he was a slave owner. So they don’t take into account the setting. Imagine you’re born into a situation in which nobody’s ever criticized this, nobody you’re going to encounter thinks there’s anything wrong with it. That’s the situation he was in.

“Not to mention, he was a freakishly republican republican. This was a time when victorious generals routinely wrote their own treaties and sent them back to the king and said, here’s your treaty — which is the kind of behavior that for example Bonaparte engaged in.

“But during the Revolution negotiators went to Washington from the British and he said: you’ve come to the wrong guy; you need to go talk to Congress. That was unheard of: he was going to be subordinate to civilians.

“The idea that our generals are subordinate to civilians and we never have to think about it is something we’ve grown so accustomed to that we don’t recognize that Washington’s making that our system was outlandishly unusual. Who did that? Nobody did that.

“Of course at the end of the war he famously resigned the position of commander-in-chief. Who did that? Nobody did that.

“And then, after he’s been president for two terms, he decided that we should have a tradition of people not staying in this office until they died, and so he quit that, too!

“There is a reason why in his day people on both ends of whatever political spectrum there was could agree that they admired Washington. He was the kind of figure that your country can’t expect.

“When I was a kid I lived in Latin America for four years. The country I lived in, Panama, had a so-called president, but everybody knew that Omar Torrijos, whose skyscraper-sized image was on the main building in downtown Panama City, was the real ruler of the country. He’s the guy in the photographs with Jimmy Carter signing the Panama Canal treaties. And that was the system not only in Panama at the time but in Argentina, in Chile, in Cuba, name it.

“So this is what you get. It’s been true since Washington’s day in basically every European country except the United Kingdom. So knocking down images of Washington broadcasts the idea to the world that you’re not worthy of him. You’re too ignorant to get it.”

Kevin, I might add, teaches history for Liberty Classroom, my dashboard university that imparts the history and economics they didn’t teach you.

I could sit around and whine about how bad the history and economics departments are — and that’s very tempting and satisfying to do — or I could create something of my own.

And with your support, that’s what I’ve done.

The next course we’ll be adding to our collection of on-demand courses (we have 28 so far) will be on the crimes of communism. Talk about history they didn’t teach you!

As with all our other courses, you’ll be able to consume it any time of day or night.

In honor of that upcoming course, I’m having a flash sale: take a full 50% off our master (lifetime) membership when you use coupon code communism (but the offer expires tomorrow):

http://www.LibertyClassroom.com
Tom Woods

Be seeing you

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