For those, like Ron Paul, who believe that the Civil War could and should have been avoided by means of compensated emancipation, I ask, how much should this slave’s owner have been compensated for being deprived of the ability to further inflict this kind of punishment on a human being? What would be a just amount?
If the cost in human lives that it took to end slavery in America was too great, as Paul believes, what is the cost of this? How to you weigh further immiseration in this equation? And, finally, why would you believe, as Paul does, that a society that so valued its enslavement of others that it would be willing to wage war against its own country and sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of its own in that endeavor would be willing to give up that “privilege” for mere money?
After I posted this at Tumblr, somebody who reposted this wrote, “And you do know the Civil War wasn’t fought to free the slaves, right?” That’s an interesting non-sequiter, no? The paradox in the question is that he or she is correct; the Civil War was not fought by the north to free the slaves, while it was fought by the south to preserve slavery.
(Picture stolen from The Atlantic)