UPDATE on this post of mine from earlier this morning: An e-mail sent to me from someone who assumes that he’s the person who I have in mind in the post from earlier this morning informs me that the paper that is rumored to be under construction is in fact not being written. I’m genuinely delighted to learn that the rumor that I heard is false – that no such paper in the appalling new sport of attempting to cast undeserved discredit on James Buchanan is in the works.
The fact that so much ink – actual and digitized – has been spilled over the past seven years by the “historian” Nancy MacLean and her lackeys and apologists to conjure up non-existent evidence that James Buchanan was a racist gave this rumor a strong aura of credibility. As I said – quite sincerely – in my original post, I hoped that this rumor would prove to be false, and, so, again, I’m very happy to learn that it is.
But a question does remain: What’s the relevance for an economist of digging into the details of James Buchanan’s grandfather’s life? I can understand someone who is writing a history of Tennessee having an interest in PawPaw Buchanan. Ditto for a competent biographer of James Buchanan. Such a biographer would naturally want to learn about PawPaw Buchanan and about grandson Jim’s relationship with, and attitude toward, the older man. But why would any such biographer of Buchanan now want to share on social media snippets about the younger Buchanan’s allegedly rose-tinted vision of his grandfather, a man who, alas, seemingly had many of the vile racist attitudes that were then prevalent, especially in the south? What, it’s fair to ask, is the purpose of such postings if not to further fuel the fallacy that James Buchanan was a racist – or at least an untrustworthy scholar?