a The Daily Insult

The Daily Insult
Anything approaching a fully satisfactory explanation of the phenomena of knowledge requires the co-operative efforts of all those who believe that there is a world of real existence independent of human minds and that this real existence can be truly known as it really is.
— Francis Parker, “Realistic Epistemology
In this section, I shall post brief discussions of errors in logic in commercials, news items, fiction — errors that just vex me. I just need a place to get this stuff out of my system. [Note: “Daily” in this context should not lead the reader to expect that I will be posting something every day.]
August 12, 2018
The trailer for Dinesh D'Souza’s new movie, Death of a Nation, begins, “Lincoln was elected to united a country and ...”

What on Earth is that supposed to mean?

Does D’Souza not know that when Lincoln was elected, no state had yet seceded? Does he really want us to believe that people voted for him to undo secession? Or that they voted for him to prevent secession?

I believe that it was pretty well-known and understood that if Lincoln were elected, some of the Southern states would secede. And that they would not secede if any of his opponents — particularly Vice President John C. Breckinridge, who, in the event, came in second — had won.

In modern parlance, Abraham Lincoln was the most divisive candidate running for president in 1860. He it was whose election would most certainly precipitate secession. And, of course, in December South Carolina became the first state to secede from the United States.

And given that Lincoln died before the war that was certain to follow his election came to an end, the one thing that he most certainly never was, was president of united States.

The trailer continues: “... and to stop slavery.”

While it is true that the party platform opposed slavery in the territories, it promised not to interfere with slavery in the states. This claim is one that D'Souza could have learned not by consulting dusty bound volumes of party platforms, 1840-1880. No, he could have learned it from Wikipedia!

No one should be surprised if Southerners did not believe the promises of the Republican platform. The political cartoons of the day certainly suggest that they did not believe Lincoln would keep them. But surely some proportion of the those of voted for him did believe them. And that undercuts the claim the he was elected to “stop slavery.”

In other words, whoever wrote this trailer could not be bothered to learn even the most accessible facts of history. Instead he (or, more likely, they) decided to insult the intelligence of listeners and repeat as facts complete fabrications. .

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