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Debates Forum

  1. 13 Jun '13 10:16
    I am curious if anyone has read the new book "Lincoln Unbound" written by Rich Lowery the editor of the conservative National Review?


    . . . In the book, I trace the rise of Lincoln from rural poverty and argue that aspiration was fundamental to his politics. . . . incredibly important to his animating purpose.

    He had two large goals, both of which had to do with making America more thoroughly a nation of opportunity. One was to end the backwoods isolation in which he grew up. . . . The second goal was to end slavery . . .

    Although Lincoln is not an exact fit for either our contemporary political ideologies, I argue that he is much more one of us than one of them. He loved liberty; he welcomed the market; he sought economic growth and change; he revered property; he rejected class warfare; he celebrated individual initiative; he defended the Founders and their principles; and he insisted on adherence to basic cultural norms.

    I think this Lincoln, the true Lincoln, is so important for us to recover because the country is experiencing a crisis of opportunity. He is especially important to the Republican Party if it hopes to address this crisis. It has to be the party of aspiration and develop a program in a Lincolnian key that promotes economic dynamism, education, and the basic bourgeois virtues of work, responsibility, and family. . . .

    "A gem: powerfully argued, beautifully written, and both politically and historically illuminating. Lowry makes an impassioned case for a contemporary Republican renewal on truly Lincolnian lines.” (Charles Krauthammer, nationally syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor)

    “In this important book, Rich Lowry explains how the president’s opposition to slavery was closely intertwined with his belief in economic freedom. Lowry’s book reminds us that the ultimate basis for economic freedom is moral: It honors the dignity owed to every person, regardless of skin color or social condition.” (Paul Ryan)

    “We live today, Rich Lowry writes, in a “Lincolnian republic.” Lowry explains what that means through a fascinating exploration of some of the less well known aspects of LIncoln’s life and thought. In recapturing the “essential Lincoln,” Lowry helps us think about what’s essential to the promise of America.” (William Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard)
  2. 13 Jun '13 10:21
    JUNE 5, 2013
    Lincoln Defended
    The Case Against the Critics of Our 16th President
    By Rich Lowry
    The anti-Lincoln critique is mostly, but not entirely, limited to a fringe. Yet it speaks to a longstanding ambivalence among conservatives about Lincoln. A few founding figures of this magazine were firmly in the anti-Lincoln camp. Libertarianism is rife with critics of Lincoln, among them Ron Paul and the denizens of the fever-swamp at The Loyola University Maryland professor Thomas DiLorenzo has made a cottage industry of publishing unhinged Lincoln-hating polemics. . . . who apparently hate federal power more than they abhor slavery. They are all united in their conviction that both in resisting secession and in the way he did it, Lincoln took American history on one of its great Wrong Turns.

    The conservative case against Lincoln is not only tendentious and wrong, it puts the Right crosswise with a friend. As I argue in my new book, Lincoln Unbound, Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the foremost proponent of opportunity in all of American history. His economics of dynamism and change and his gospel of discipline and self-improvement are particularly important to a country that has been stagnating economically and suffering from a social breakdown that is limiting economic mobility.