My Red Pill

Most people who know me or have read this blog know that I am pretty conservative. You would be forgiven for thinking that I had always been that way. I have not. I mean, almost, but not completely.

Have you ever heard this old joke? “If you’re not a liberal by 20, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative by 50, you have no brain.”

Well, I was liberal far before 20. I was until I was, I don’t know, 12? I was generally of the opinion that people were basically good. That the government really did want to help the people. I thought that everything I read in my history books was true. I mostly bought into all of the liberal propaganda.

And then I read one book.

One book was all it took to completely change my mind about just about everything I believed in. My grandpa gave me a book when I was probably 12 or 13. It was called The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo.

lincolnI might have mentioned this book before, but I’m not sure I’ve explained the impact that it had on me. First, I have to explain that I didn’t want to read this book. I liked Abraham Lincoln. I thought that I understood how the Civil War worked. And I knew that this book was going to say things that I didn’t want to hear.

I avoided it for about a year. For a year, that book sat on my shelf just bothering me. I didn’t know why I was avoiding it, but it turned out that I couldn’t do it forever.

Oddly enough, it was my regular history book that brought me back to it. A single line in my history book stuck out at me. It said that Abe Lincoln was the person that forced the war to begin. It wasn’t the South, and that really surprised me.

All my life, I had been taught that Abe Lincoln was a saint and the people of the South were all horrible racist slavers (and my parents are southerners, so you can imagine what they thought of that). But here I am suddenly finding out that Lincoln purposefully started the war (and I found out later it was for economic reasons, not moral ones). So finally, I sat down to read the book.

I was completely blown away. I’m not going to explain it in detail, but gosh, Lincoln was a monster and everything I was every taught about the Civil War was either wrong or terribly skewed.

Learning who Abraham Lincoln really was tore down my entire intellectual world. Suddenly, I was questioning everything that I had ever known. I was confused, and I needed to know what was real. I need some sort of bedrock.

For a little while, I all but stopped reading fiction. I devoured book after book about politics, history, religion, etc. I never noticed it, but my thoughts and ideas started changing.

I started believing a lot of new different things. But more importantly, I stopped believing in a lot of things. I stopped believing that people are essentially good. I stopped believing that the government had my best interests at heart. I stopped believing that everything in my history books was true.

In short, I became very skeptical. Of everything. To this day, I believe almost nothing of what I read online or anywhere else if I don’t have four or five sources to back it up.

I’m not sure why it pushed me toward the conservative side of things. Perhaps it was the fact that I had just found out that the modern liberal political and educational establishment had been lying to me for my entire life.

It’s amazing to me what one little book can do. And by the way, I still highly recommend the book. Who knows, maybe you’ll have the same reaction I did.

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An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

(Author’s note: Listen, I don’t know what you know about Glenn Beck, but I’m a big fan. There’s basically two schools of thought about him. He’s either the devil, or he’s a prophet. Darn it if the man isn’t right most of the time. Most, I say. He’s not right all the time. Whatever you can say about Glenn, the one thing you should know is that he really cares about exposing history. That is the reason I wrote this letter. I’ve already sent him one version of this letter through e-mail. And yes, I know very well that this will be controversial.)

Dear Glenn,

I am a viewer of your show, and I have been for years. The reason I am writing to you today is that I have noticed that you seem to share the collective hero worship mentality about Abraham Lincoln. I urge you to look into Lincoln. He isn’t the great man that you think he is. I know that he is a beloved figure for most of the US, and you may not appreciate what you find, but I believe that you understand the power of the truth. I believe that you can accept it.

Years ago, my family gave me a book to read that was not very flattering of Lincoln (The Real Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo), and I didn’t want to read it. I was a kid then, and I only saw in black and white. The South had slaves, and that was wrong, so they must be bad. The North was fighting the South, so they must be good. I thought that anyone who had something bad to say about Lincoln must have been bad themselves. It’s extremely painful when our heroes are proved to be not so heroic. Now, I’m old enough to understand that the world isn’t really so black and white. The South may have had slaves, but they weren’t wrong that they had the right to secede from the Union. Lincoln had no right to bring about a war to bring back the southerners. And he did bring it about too. Lincoln knew full well that sending troops to the South would cause them to react. He did it because he knew that it would appear as if the South struck first, and he would have his justification for his war. It wasn’t necessary. I know the Progressive Era officially began with Wilson in the 20s, but I think that the beginning of the end was when Lincoln attacked the South.

So, please Mr. Beck, look into Lincoln, or have someone else do it for you. And when you finish, make your own decisions and let the world know what you find out. I am confident that you will discover that the man isn’t a hero, but a fraud, and every US citizen needs to know that.

Sincerely,

Susannah Ailene Martin