June 30, 2022

Lincoln Canceled by the Tyranny of the One

In the latest example of our corrosive cancel culture, a bust of Abraham Lincoln is “disappeared” from an Ivy League library.

Here in our humble shop, George Washington is our favorite president. Wherever and whenever the American story is written, Washington inevitably emerges as The Indispensable Man.

Abraham Lincoln, however, is the favorite president of many American historians. We have — shall we say? — mixed feelings about Lincoln, because he presided over a Civil War that cost 600,000 of our ancestors their lives, he destroyed the voluntary nature of the American union, and he continually trampled upon the Constitution that he so often exalted.

As for his vaunted anti-slavery bona fides, they too are suspect. His very words indicate that he didn’t believe in the equality of the races. Even liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin notes in Team of Rivals, her book on Lincoln and his cabinet, that in 1861 he pushed for an amendment to the Constitution that would have forbidden the federal government from ever interfering with slavery. Lincoln, in fact, as author Thomas DiLorenzo notes in Lincoln Unmasked, favored recolonizing black Americans to Africa. It’s interesting, then, this cultish following that our 16th president has amassed among leftist historians — or perhaps, when one thinks about it, it’s not so interesting at all.

In any case, Lincoln did ultimately force us to reckon once and for all with our nation’s original sin, slavery. For that alone he is, next to Washington, our president of greatest consequence.

None of that seems to matter to the folks at Cornell University, though, where Lincoln and his most famous speech have been under attack. In fact, they’ve been “disappeared.” As Jennifer Kabbany at The College Fix writes:

“Someone complained, and it was gone.” That’s all Cornell University biology Professor Randy Wayne said he has been able to determine so far about the whereabouts of a longtime display in the Ivy League school’s Kroch Library of a bust of President Abraham Lincoln in front of a bronzed Gettysburg Address plaque.

Someone complained, eh? Heck, if that’s all it takes, we’d like to hereby complain (anonymously, of course) about the visage of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the American dime. Everyone knows Ronald Reagan was a better president, and never once did he uproot and order 110,000 Japanese Americans to concentration camps.

While we’re at it, we’d like to complain that in addition to nearly two dozen schools, there are at least 13 animal species named for Barack Obama. If we can’t stand against cruelty to animals in this country, we’ve really lost our way.

As for the Lincoln bust, the Washington Examiner provides this update: “University spokeswoman Rebecca Valli said the bust of Lincoln ‘was part of a temporary exhibit on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address’ and that it had been on display from 2013-2021. With the display gone, only an empty case remains.”

And Professor Wayne remains unconvinced. “Hopefully,” he told the Examiner, “we will find the truth about who authorized the removal of the bust and the plaque and why.”

“The Gettysburg Address is an incredible speech,” Wayne told the College Fix. “We have a handwritten copy in Lincoln’s hand. It is known as the Bancroft Copy. It comes with an envelope signed by Lincoln … and a letter to Bancroft, thanking him for requesting a copy of the address to put in a book to be sold for charity.”

If any institution in the country had reason to display Lincoln’s image and words, it would seem to be Cornell University. And yet it seems that a single complaint, like a single bullet, did Lincoln in. That’s the tyranny of the Left for you — a tyranny that we can literally call The Tyranny of The One.

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