[Marxism] Lincoln tried to recruit Garibaldi

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Mon Aug 14 09:00:08 MDT 2017


Worth noting that the U.S. official trying to put this thing together was
George Perkins Marsh, a founding Republican who also wrote _Man and Nature_
in 1864, a vital tome on the impact of ancient civilizations on the natural
world.  The following excerpt is worth sharing . . . . .

George Perkins Marsh, *Man and Nature *[1864], 55-56n

What I am about to remark is not exactly relevant to my subject ; but it is
hard to " get the floor " in the world's great debating society, and when a
speaker who has anything to say once finds access to the public ear, he
must make the most of his opportunity, without inquiring too nicely whether
his observations are "in order." I shall harm no honest man by endeavoring,
as I have often done elsewhere, to excite the attention of thinking and
conscientious men to the dangers which threaten the great moral and even
political interests of Christendom, from the unscrupulousness of the
private associations that now control the monetary affairs, and regulate
the transit of persons and property, in almost every civilized country.
More than one American State is literally governed by unprin cipled
corporations, which not only defy the legislative power, but have, too
often, corrupted even the administration of justice. Similar evils have
become almost equally rife in England, and on the Continent ; and I believe
the decay of commercial morality, and I fear of the sense of all higher
obligations than those of a pecuniary nature, on both sides of the
Atlantic, is to be ascribed more to the influence of joint-stock banks and
manufacturing and railway companies, to the workings, in short, of what is
called the principle of " associate action," than to any other one cause of
demoralization.

The apophthegm, “the world is governed too much,” though unhappily too
truly spoken of many countries—and perhaps, in some aspects, true of
all—has done much mischief whenever it has been too unconditionally
accepted as a political axiom. The popular apprehension of being
over-governed, and, I am afraid, more emphatically the fear of being
over-taxed, has had much to do with the general abandonment of certain
governmental duties by the ruling powers of most modern states. It is
theoretically the duty of government to provide all those public facilities
of intercommunication and commerce, which are essential to the prosperity
of civilized commonwealths, but which individual means are inadequate to
furnish, and for the due administration of which individual guaranties are
insufficient. Hence public roads, canals, railroads, postal communications,
the circulating medium of exchange, whether metallic or representative,
armies, navies, being all matters in which the nation at large has a vastly
deeper interest than any private association can have, ought legitimately
to be constructed and provided only by that which is the visible
personification and embodiment of the nation, namely, its legislative head.
No doubt the organization and management of these institutions by
government are liable, as are all things human, to great abuses. The
multiplication of public placeholders, which they imply, is a serious evil.
But the corruption thus engendered, foul as it is, does not strike so deep
as the rottenness of private corporations; and official rank, position, and
duty have, in practice, proved better securities for fidelity and pecuniary
integrity in the conduct of the interests in question, than the suretyships
of private corporate agents, whose bondsmen so often fail or abscond before
their principal is detected.

Many theoretical statesmen have thought that voluntary associations for
strictly pecuniary and industrial purposes, and for the construction and
control of public works, might furnish, in democratic countries, a compen
sation for the small and doubtful advantages, and at the same time secure
an exemption from the great and certain evils, of aristocratic
institutions. The example of the American States shows that private
corporations— whose rule of action is the interest of the association, not
the conscience of the individual—though composed of ultra-democratic
elements, may become most dangerous enemies to rational liberty, to the
moral interests of the commonwealth, to the purity of legislation and of
judicial action, and to the sacredness of private rights.



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