Deep Thoughts With the Kennedy Brothers

Bonus Material: “Adolf Hitler admired Lincoln’s attack upon state’s rights and emulated Lincoln by destroying the last vestiges of “statal rights” in the German Federal Republic. Lincoln, Marx, Engles, and Hitler–what a band of brothers!” Kennedy, Lincoln’s Marxists, 264.

From the dynamic duo that brought you such classics as The South Was Right and Myths of American Slavery and inspired a new generation of whacky books such Lincoln Uber Alles and Lincoln’s Marxists:

“The United States maintains the most cordial of relationships with Saudi Arabia, a nation that ended slavery almost one hundred years AFTER it was ended in the South. Contrast the treatment of the South with that of Saudi Arabia as it relates to the issue of slavery. Which nation is most often condemned, ridiculed, and scorned due to the issue of slavery?” Myths of American Slavery, p. 63.

23 comments… add one
  • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 20, 2011 @ 12:50

    I never understand people like this. They can go on and on about how President Lincoln was some kind of tyrant for suspending habeus corpus but have nothing to say about the fact that Lincoln was not in favor of rounding up the Confederate High Command (Davis, Lee, Benjamin, Johnston, Stephens, etc) and hanging them all for treason.

    I don’t understand what freedom these people want when they already live in the freest country in the world. It leads me to beleive they must have a problem with too many Black people having too much of their own freedom. Sorry to go racial but I’m not sure what else to call it.

    The Kennedy brothers and their complaints about their liberties being oppressed while they live in a country that allows them to pledge allegiance to and glorify the flag of the biggest insurrection in this country’s history reminds me of something Chris Rock said about the scenario of a White person being upset because he can’t use the “n-word” today:

    “I’m a White man! I’ve got a great life! I’ve got a gorgeous wife; my kids are good students in college; I’ve got good health; a great job; money in the bank; my mortgage is paid for; I’ve got everything I could ask for… but I just can’t use the word (n-word)!”

    • Kevin Levin Dec 20, 2011 @ 12:54

      What is even more bizarre, given their concerns about the dangers of a powerful central government, is their love for the Confederacy. One could make the argument that is was more centralized and more intrusive than that of the Union.

      • Roger E Watson Dec 20, 2011 @ 15:30

        Kevin – you’re always letting facts get in the way of your opinions ! tsk tsk !!

      • Ray O'Hara Dec 20, 2011 @ 18:02

        the likes of the Kennedy Twins, Charles Adams and Tom DiLorenzo don’t care about the CSA nor does it factor into their views except that it was in opposition to the US Government, Being anti- US Govt and Lincoln are all they are about.

        • Andy Hall Dec 21, 2011 @ 8:59

          It’s true for DiLorenzo, for sure, who brings a sort of academic sheen to the arguments for secession put forth by various heritage groups, and well as the League of the South, which has a very explicit, present-day political agenda. Their explanations (and exonerations) for secession in 1860-61 are mostly seeking historical justification for their chosen, present-day governing philosophy.

          Even Walter E. Williams, who’s often quoted as a sort of academic beard for the black Confederates crowd, really is only using them as an opening to talk about what really turns his crank, which is justifying secession.

          • Jim Dick Dec 21, 2011 @ 13:55

            You can add the Ludwig Von Mises Institute to that list. They like to rewrite history from a specific viewpoint which is strongly oriented to the Lost Cause sensibilities coupled with their modern political agenda.

  • James F. Epperson Dec 19, 2011 @ 4:06

    Could they at least spell Engels’s name right?

    • Ray O'Hara Dec 19, 2011 @ 8:06

      They are just being consistent, they get everything else about him wrong, why not the spelling too.

  • Andy Hall Dec 18, 2011 @ 8:56

    In reference to the quote about Hitler’s supposed admiration for Lincoln, Donnie Kennedy cites the work’s author as “Kennedy” which is kind of a douchey thing to do to the work’s first author, Al Benson, Jr.

    I don’t know what Benson and Walter Kennedy cite as evidence of Hitler’s deliberate emulation of Lincoln, but Hitler himself explicitly expected to develop kinship with the states of the old Confederacy on attitudes of race. From Mein Kampf, pp 401-02, in the footnotes:

    In practice the word [“Aryan”] is officially used today as a racial term excluding Jews and negroes [sic.]. The second are frowned upon because (i.a.) they are admitted into the French army; and because, it is hoped, sympathy for the Nazi cause may be thus awakened among Southerners in the United States.

    I’m guessing that quote doesn’t appear in any of the Kennedys’ books.

    • Bart Dec 18, 2011 @ 9:56

      The Ad Hitlerum approach to an argument is a fairly silly undertaking in its own right, but since you did query about the sources of a Lincolnian analogy, I suspect it has something to do with the following passage from Mein Kampf, p. 831:

      “This theoretical formulation [of Federalism] does not, in practice, fit any of the existing federated States in the world today. Least of all the American Union, where far and away the majority of the individual States had absolutely no original sovereignty whatsoever, but many of which were, in the course of time, so to speak, sketched into the total area of the Union. Thus, too, the individual States of the American Union are in most cases small or large territories worked
      out for reasons of administrative technicalities, often delimited with a ruler, which previously had no State sovereignty of their own and could not have had any at all. For it was not these States which formed the Union, but it was the Union which gave form to a great part of these so-called States.”

      • Andy Hall Dec 18, 2011 @ 10:21

        I saw that, and was originally going to include it my response. Clearly Adolph didn’t see individual U.S. states (North or South) as having had historical autonomy or real, substantive independence as national states in and of themselves, in the way that Prussia, Hesse, etc. had had before the 19th century. He’s flat-out rejecting the idea that the Southern states actually has genuine states’ rights to begin with. How one stretches a view like that into admiration for “Lincoln’s attack upon state’s rights” and an intentional emulation of the 16th president’s actions, is a mental contortion beyond my capability.

      • Bart Dec 18, 2011 @ 10:24

        It’s also fair to note that the Kennedy brothers aren’t the only ones dubiously tossing around Hitler’s name to taint their adversary. There are many such instances in this book wherein the Hitler association is utilized to attack the Confederacy. The fact that it comes not from two amateur historian siblings but a well regarded academic Lincoln scholar also illustrates that others of far higher prestige and ostensible credibility have been guilty of steering the discussion down this route.

        • Bart Dec 18, 2011 @ 10:26

          Link doesn’t seem to be working so I’ll try again: A New Birth of Freedom by Harry V. Jaffa

        • Andy Hall Dec 18, 2011 @ 11:03

          Sure — the argument ZOMG they’re just like Hitler! is part-and-parcel of both political and historical discourse these days, two areas that (as Jim Dick suggests above) are entirely conflated in the Confederate heritage movement. It’s a facile and dramatic analogy, that pops up so often that it really doesn’t mean much substantively. But it sounds good.

          • Kevin Levin Dec 18, 2011 @ 11:46

            It’s just as silly as comparisons made between Confederate and Nazi soldiers or terrorists by the likes of CNN’s Roland Martin. The claims themselves neither true nor false, but meaningless.

  • James F. Epperson Dec 18, 2011 @ 5:49

    “deep thoughts” + “Kennedy brothers” = contradiction.

    Proof: “The South Was Right”


  • TF Smith Dec 17, 2011 @ 20:55

    I think the Kennedys are actually an elaborate literary hoax, along the lines of Alan Sokal’s submission to Social Text…

    • Jim Dick Dec 18, 2011 @ 10:08

      The word “literary” and the Kennedy brothers do not coexist in the same meaning. I picked up a copy of The South was Right! to see what they were using as facts. The book is an exercise in polemic writing. In fact, it could be used as the very example of what polemic writing is.
      What is interesting is how these two guys are viewed by many Lost Cause believers. I’m starting to think modern politics has a lot to do with how the Lost Cause is perceived these days. Some people buy into this stuff not because it’s factually based, but because they want to believe what they’re told due to their political leanings.
      While I think the Kennedy’s are examples of factually challenged non-historical dabblers, they’re small potatoes next to the Politically Incorrect Guides and their financial backers. Those books are a libertarian distortion of history. The one on the Civil War had to be written by an ally of the Kennedy’s.

  • Scott A. MacKenzie Dec 17, 2011 @ 15:19

    Could you imagine if another subject had this level of contestation?

    I stand by an earlier comment: many of these neo-Confederates participate as much for the money as the thrill of it. Remember General Goodson and the “New Confederate Army”?

  • Jarret Ruminski Dec 17, 2011 @ 14:18

    I’m not sure anyone has told these guys, but the fact that other countries have done bad things does not, in fact, make the slaveholding republic excusable. Just sayin’.

  • Ray O'Hara Dec 17, 2011 @ 11:27

    I first saw ‘ The South was Right’ in a book store years back.
    It’s bright red cover jumped out at me, of course with a title like that I had to look.
    It was ever more whackdoodle than the title suggested.
    It was my first notice of the Kennedy Twins but over the years I’ve seen more of their “works” and encountered their adherents rants on the net.

    I’m constantly amazed how they can accuse Lincoln of being a pawn of “Northern indusrialists and Wall Street bankers” and of being a Marxist at the same time and the total credulity of their adherents in being able to accept these completely opposite claims without a hint of irony or embarrassment {nor of understanding and comprehension} .
    But when one reads the posts of “W.L.Yancy” this mindset becomes clearer.At first I thought such people were merely being funny, sadly that is obviously not the case.

    • Michael Lynch Dec 17, 2011 @ 13:31

      The Marxist capitalists are my favorite kind!


    • Michael Dec 18, 2011 @ 8:51

      Regardless of what one thinks of President Obama politically, it truly sets my teeth on edge when I hear people refer to him as a socialist AND a fascist in the same breath.

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