Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Sons of God

"Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God."

- Matthew 5:9

Which US presidents shall be called sons of God? Lincoln for ending the Civil War, Wilson for starting the League of Nations, or Reagan for tearing down the Wall? Not exactly, at least according to Ivan Eland, author of Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty.

Congressman Ron Paul interviews Mr. Eland in this very interesting interview. It's worth an hour of your time if you're interested in evaluating American history through a peaceful, libertarian lens.

Give yourself a peace pat on the back if you guessed John Tyler or Grover Cleveland.



  1. It is a necessary perspective. It is common to rate rulers on dramatic appeal rather then their actual quality.

    The writer is a little off in criticizing Reagan for Afghanistan. A few more generations of cold war would not have been all that good.

    Woody probably had no choice about WWI because of the German submarine campaign. However it is conceivable that the war could have been wound up in a more suitable way. And possibly intervention could have been more restrained. Neutrality in a great war is a tricky position, but America is theoretically better placed for it then many Europeans who did pull it off successfully. Curiously America never did manage neutrality in a great european war; it requires a lot more finesse then Americans seem to manage. Woody first gave an impression of a weak will that was easily put upon, and then lashed out rather extravegantly. I never liked Woody much anyway though; thought him an unusually sanctimonious dreamer

    Clinton could surely have avoided Yugoslavia but at least that turned out reasonably well. Haiti was totally unnecessary.

    Oh and technically Lincoln did not end the civil war, he won it. He could have ended it by not beginning it and it was still going on when he was alive.

    In any case the important point was what he brought out, that we have to remember that a good ruler and a cinematic one are not the same thing. In many ways the best rulers are the ones that aren't remembered and don't wish to be.

    Jason Taylor

  2. ...we have to remember that a good ruler and a cinematic one are not the same thing. In many ways the best rulers are the ones that aren't remembered and don't wish to be.

    Great comment, Jason. Seems like we should rate our leaders on how uneventful their terms in office are.

  3. It would be interesting to ponder why America has never been able to stay out of any of the European-wide wars that took place during it's history. In all three there was more then enough foreign provocation to justify a declaration of war(kidnaping Americans in boney's war was an act of war, and torpedoing them in WW1 certainly was).

    On the other hand the provocations might not have come with better policy. Probably not in 1812(during a great war all great powers just walk over little ones; and we were written off as a little power)or in wwii(hitler was a bit balmy, don't you know) but we had grown quite a bit in wwi enough to keep ourselves out by decent policy. Switzerland did manage to stay out of both world wars, though not out of the Napoleonic wars(where they were conquered by the french and forced to contribute troops). Of course America isn't Switzerland.

    The Swiss have a government that fulfills the writers requirements quite adequately; I can't remember the name of a single Swiss politician, though I could if I looked it up.

    Jason Taylor