The Ten Worst Monsters of American History

In a recent article, Gary North enlists the aid of his readers to come up with the worst monsters in American history. I immediately went to work, but soon realized that my criteria were not the same as North’s. For one thing, North put on the stricture that the monster had to use other people’s money. Though this requirement is met in most of the monsters I came up with, it did not include all. So rather than contributing to his list, I offer my own. Below is the fruit of my effort.

Since it is impossible to list every monster (there are too many), I cribbed David Letterman and came up with a top (or, rather, bottom) ten list. My criteria were fairly simple. I asked myself which men have had the most influence in undermining American Christianity, liberty, liberal education, and the agrarian way of life.

Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. I would like to expand the list to the top 100 villains so please follow my format.

(10) John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960). Inveterate plotter who used his vast inheritance to try to destroy every valuable institution that remained in the post-Republic era of America.

(9) Andrew Dickson White (1832–1918). Historian, member of the Order of Skull and Bones, co-founder of Cornell, first President of Stanford, first President of the American Historical Association, leading advocate of German university system (Ph.D.) and secularization of higher education, author of History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom.

(8) Frederick Taylor (1856–1915). Engineer, liar, inventor of “scientific management” which become the foundation of management theory in America’s business schools, instrumental in turning the American laborer into a pliant worker bee.

(7) Henry Sloan Coffin (1877-1954). Presbyterian minister, member of the Order of Skull and Bones, advocate of the social gospel, Darwinism and higher criticism, co-author of the Auburn Affirmation, President of Union Theological Seminary, chief strategist of modernist takeover of Presbyterian church.

(6) Edward L. Bernays (1891–1995). Cousin of Sigmund Freud, inventor of public relations and modern propaganda techniques, advisor to many Presidents, hired by Wilson to sway American opinion to enter World War I.

(5) Samuel Untermyer (1858-1940). Lawyer, America’s leading Zionist, counsel for William Rockefeller in a copper merger deal (pocketed $750,000, a huge sum in that day), benefactor of C. I. Scofield, one of the first to call for the U.S. to recognize the Soviet Union, and, according to Benjamin Freedman, blackmailed President Wilson and secured the appointment of the first Jew to the Supreme Court, Louis Brandeis.

(4) G. Stanely Hall (1844-1924). Student of Wilhelm Wundt, first President of the American Psychological Association, founder of the first psychological “laboratory” in the United States at Johns Hopkins, popularizer of the concept adolescence (a time in life when the pubescent should be segregated from adults in order to psychologically “develop”), teacher of John Dewey.

(3) Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1757–1804). Federalist, author of many of the Federalist Papers, liar, opponent of the Bill of Rights, first Secretary of the Treasury, advocate of taking an elastic interpretive approach to the Constitution, promoter of federal debt and taxes, founder of the First National Bank, monarchist.

(2) Horace Mann (1796-1859). Lawyer, politician, school reformer, professional liar. Mann almost single-handedly brought compulsory public “education” to America and promoted the “look-say” method of reading.

(1) Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Liar and destroyer of the Republic.

After compiling the list (and I emphasize after), I realized that all are northerners and many are Yankees. Hamilton was born in the Carribean, Bernays in Vienna, and Untermyer in Lynchburg, Virginia (this pains me to admit), but they spent most of their careers in New York City. I also realized that most the them were active at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

I conclude with a few (dis)honorable mentions who could have easily made the list: Margaret Sanger, J. P. Morgan, Woodrow Wilson, Benjamin Franklin, Horatio Alger, Timothy Dwight the Younger, John Dewey, and FDR.

38 thoughts on “The Ten Worst Monsters of American History

  1. This is good. Three of them, I’ve never even heard of, so you’ve just added to my already overflowing reading list.

    The top 100 would need to include many of the original movers and destroyers in the Republican Party — Thadeus Stevens, Seward, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, etc.

    LBJ should surely get a dishonorable mention.

    The W. may earn a place near the top when the dust finally settles. So far he may not meet your criteria since, for example, most of the people he has killed are foreigners. Also, he is almost too small of a man to count as a monster.

  2. Interesting. I’ll have to look into some of these men more. I’d also be interested in an elaboration on how Frederick Taylor turned the common laborer into a worker-bee… seems like the common laborer already was one.

    And then, as we would all expect from you, Lincoln is number one. Once again, the hyperbolic language is kind of corny.

  3. Keith –

    Since it is not an “extravagant exaggeration” (Webster’s definition) to say that Lincoln destroyed the Republic, my language is not hyperbolic.

  4. Keith –

    Before industrialization, the “common laborer” was a farmer, a craftsman, an artisan. These were all callings that required thought and ingenuity. No two days were ever the same. These callings provided meaningful labor that tied work to the rest of his life. Compare that with installing 500 dashboards on Buicks everyday. This is work that robots can do and, in fact, work that robots are now doing — and doing it more efficiently than Taylor’s worker bees.

  5. Mr. Butler,

    Taylor, Man, White, and Dewey were excellent choices. Wilson, FDR, etc are the common villians, but one could almost argue that the rest of the men on the Top 100 List wouldn’t have been able to accomplish their crimes without the foundation laid by those four men.

    Also, I have to admit that as I was reading down your post, I was wondering why Lincoln wasn’t on the list. How reassuring to see him at the top–where he belongs. :) While Mann predated Lincoln, most of the other men on your list attacked our republic after his example.

    Again, a very fine post.


  6. Yes, I see your point with the common laborer. A good point, one that lends itself strongly to agrarianism, and yet I wonder what can really be done about it.

    I read your post on Lincoln—it mainly came across as an angry southerner overstating his case. You begin with the premise that the confederates were just in their secession, and therefore the north is automatically evil in any attempt to prevent the South’s secession. I think most agree that the southerners had no right to secede and that it was best for the nation to intervene.

  7. Let’s see… wrong attribution; ad hominem; and ad populum; all in one paragraph. I’m tempted to define the “Keith index” as “number of fallacies packed into a paragraph.”

    Before commenting on Lincoln or American history again, please read just one of the books we have commended and grapple with some arguments.

  8. Your respond with an ad hominem and demand that I go to a peer-reviewed authority to learn the truth. Let’s start a “Tim index” to handle hypocrisy as well as fallacies. (No offense, Tim—just hoping you can take what you give.)

    My issue isn’t with Lincoln the man. He was a monster in some ways. My argument is that he made the right choice in preventing the secession of the South, therefore my concern is over the justification for the war. This ties in with Lincoln as a man in that you present much of your case against him on the basis that the Civil War was unjust in the first place.

  9. Keith –

    For one to point out another’s fallacies and then conclude with a piece of humor does not count as an ad hominem. And certainly not hypocrisy.

    Before you comment again on Lincoln’s War, you must read Dabney’s Defense of Virginia. It is a waste of time to discuss this topic without having a rudimentary grasp of the arguments for the Southern side.

  10. What’s with Keith? You ought to do some reading…six years (I think) prior to the war, Senator Lincoln argued passionately on the floor of the Senate that the right of secession was a fundamental ground of liberty. “The nation” to which you refer means, I presume “the invading nation,” rather than the “defending nation,” which was CSA.

    I have a couple of additions from the legal field–Christopher Columbus Langdell, who founded Harvard Law, and introduced the case method study of law which continues to prevail even in such bastion of Christian legal scholarship as Liberty University School of Law. The case method was a conscious tip of the hat to evolutionary social theory…that the law evolves with changing social conditions, and that to understand law, you don’t need to really know what the law is, but how the judges are trending.

    –Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., who continues to hold the most persuasive sway on the legal profession and judicial branch. He advocated a view of law that holds that what those with the big guns say is “right.” The bill of rights, in his view, were state creations, free to be amended at the behest of the boys with the big guns. While he is very quotable, two suffice here: “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” in an opinion upholding Virginia’s forced sterilization of those deemed undesirable and a burden to the state. “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society” in defense of allowing the state to claim its citizens’ labor as its property.


  11. Yes, and let’s also not forget that the right of secession was an historical consensus in the north as well — as exemplified, for example, in the Hartford Convention of 1812.

  12. MB, I’m thinkin, though you relaxed North’s rule of using other people’s money, probably all the monsters by your criteria will, when their ideas triumph, eventually lead to other people’s money being laid hold of. We cd call this Harris’ Conjecture that Butler’s Criteria implies North’s Rule.

  13. By the way, its not really fair to simply respond with “you need to do more reading”—this is pretty arbitrary. And I have studied the Civil War. I went to a public school, in fact. So obviously I’m educated in history.

    Nonetheless, I will look into these new resources that I was previously unaware of.

  14. Keith –

    That’s the right attitude. And there is nothing “unfair” in requesting commentators to do their homework.

    Your comment about “public education” reminds me of an oxymoron that I overlooked on another post.

  15. Me asking you to justify your previously unaddressed, fundamental premise constitutes me not doing my homework? Intriguing.

    The public schooling comment was a joke, but I might as well admit that I did receive a decent eduction.

  16. Keith,

    While usually spelling errors should be ignored, it is fun to read about how you received a “decent eduction” in the government school. ;>)

    My “you ought to do some reading” is fair. Why is it not? It’s not arbitrary, either. It’s a simple alert to you that your view evidences a lack of familiarity with available important sources, and if you want to, you can find them without my spending the time to spoon feed you a reading list. If you want to remain ignorant (which I don’t think you do), then my spending time on a list would be a massive waste of a scarce commodity.


  17. And to think that I one the sixth grade spelling bee. How embarassing.

    Mr. Butler, I think you’ve solved a serious problem of mine. You see, I always struggled with spending too much time on blogs—all that research and writing with the intent of persuading the reader. But now I see that the burden of proof is ALWAYS on the reader, not the writer. Henceforth I shall make all of my own blog posts a single proposition, in which I simply state the conclusion of what would have been the result of my research. And when someone asks me to justify that proposition, I’ll simply remind them that I am do not time to spoon feed them that which they are obligated to learn on their own. For the sake of consistency, I hope you’ll adopt your technique as well.


    Anyway, joking aside, my initial question was and still is: what right did the South have to secede from the Union? Present me with the finest of pro-Southern resources if you will*, but I’m sure the justification can still be reduced to a single sentence that will be quicker to write than whatever witty comeback your’e thinking of at the moment.

    *Preferably something other than a $20 DVD.

  18. Keith –

    (1) You need to distinguish between a main thesis and an obiter dictum. If my post were about the justness of the Confederate cause, I would have put forth arguments and anticipated criticism. But my post was not about that.

    (2) You are once again asking the wrong questions. Try this one: what right did the Feds have to bring the South back into the Union by military force?

    (3) For you to ask me to give a single sentence to establish the South’s right to secede shows that you want to argue this issue by soundbite. I am not interested in that type of “debate.”

    (4) Forget the video, read Dabney. After you read Dabney (and only after you read Dabney), we can have a discussion. Although if you read him with an open mind, there probably won’t be any need.

  19. OK I’ll look into Dabney’s “Defense of Virginia.”

    I asked for a “soundbite” not because I wanted to debate but just because I was curious. For example, when someone asks me why the Bible is true, I respond with simply, “Because it is the revealed word of a God who cannot lie.” But obviously the debate isn’t settled there—more elaboration will be needed. I’ve simply provided the fundamental thesis from which the rest of my argumentation will proceed (if I choose to engage in debate at all).

    Therefore I merely ask out of curiosity: what is Dabney’s fundamental thesis in “Defense of Virginia?”

  20. That the South was right, whether this question is examined from the Biblical, ethical, historical, or anthropological standpoint; and moreover the war-mongers were dishonest in their exposition of each of these.

  21. Keith,

    There may be some confusion. I am M .. B. I’m not Mr. Butler, I’m Mr. Bryan. He shouldn’t have to bear what properly is directed to me.

    Surely you don’t suggest that every positive statement of fact made in a blog post must contain exhaustive citation in support of the veracity thereof. Some I do, some I don’t. You could have found every book available in the time you took to complain about me not appending a bibliography to my off-hand comment which wasn’t even the main point of my post.


  22. There’s supposed to be an “A” in that post above. Not sure why it’s missing. I’m M.A.B., not MRB. We’re virtually indistinguishable, except that my intellect and humility tower above his as the mighty oak does the ant.


  23. Could you recommend any books on these men? For example, I am not that familiar G. Stanley Hall and would like to read more about him – that is, I would like to read more that isn’t a tome on how wonderful a man he was.

    Thank you.

  24. Scott,

    Two sources come to mind. John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education and Antony Sutton, America’s Secret Establishment.

  25. Surely you need a woman on your Monster List: Margaret Sanger–atheist, socialist, anti-Christian who espoused many causes which I’ll leave better unsaid lest this comment not go through…but anyone familiar with her, knows she was monstrous.

  26. ElizaF –

    Sanger did get a dishonorable mention in the original post.

    When I do my 10 worst monsters of English history H.G. Wells is sure to be on it. It is interesting to note that when Sanger fled to the U.K. after being indicted for obscenity, she fornicated with him. Like attracts like, I suppose.

  27. Here is an example of how a monster tries to make himself look like a hero, and, in turn, make true heroes look like monsters.

  28. It appears that Dabney’s excellent “A Defense of Virgina and the South” can be downloaded in pdf format here.

  29. Is Google Making Us Stupid?

    This article could have been posted under “Google, Schmoogle, Joogle” as it highlights Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s contributions to the neurological alterations we may be suffering due to our technological progress, but Frederick Taylor(#8) is also mentioned for his role in the mechanization of humanity by the Babel builders, so I chose to place it here. A related article is Bill Joy’s cautionary essay “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.” He is a cofounder of Sun Microsystems.

    The older I get, the more of a Luddite I seem to become. Sure is nice to share these feelings on cyberspace through my computer/word processor/internet connection. It is like “The Matrix,” where the first thing that happens to Neo after he is unplugged is to be reprogrammed and plugged back in. The only difference now is he knows it, which of course makes all the difference. I hope.

    The great irony here is that as Man seeks to make AI more analogous to the human mind, Man more and more resembles a machine.

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