John Brown was a ravenous, raving abolitionist.
But let us not fall for the lie that he was a moral, upright man.
He was a terrorist, a zealot who did not respect right or law.
Slavery was an immense evil in the United States, past question.
Yet illiberal means to achieve liberal ends end up undermining the very liberty which men wish to liberate to the world.
John Brown savagely butchered pro-slavery men in front of their own families.
He then led a failed raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia. His complete lack of respect for human rights was so appalling, one has to wonder, did he really care about black people, or was his sense of moral self-righteousness so acute, that he permitted himself to blot out the health and welfare of others?
Abolitionist of the Garrison variety, including John Brown, were so strident, so elitist, so smug, that even Black Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass could not tolerate their condescending elitism.
John Brown was a wicked man, whose bloody assaults on fellow Americans compromised the anti-slavery cause:
"I, John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood."
Yet whose blood would be shed? And who would decide? And should anyone be deciding who lives or dies based on a moral cause, anyway? Very likely, if President Lincoln had been permitted to pursue his moderate agenda of restricting the spread of slavery through the territories, then compensating slave owners, then setting up support systems through state and local agencies, the plight of Freedmen would not have devolved into the Dark Night of broken promises, racism, and segregation which endured another one hundred years after the Civil War.
Besides, John Brown's arrogant self-righteous religious fanaticism, a precursor the shrill, strident, chorus of statist liberals today, gives off one heinous impression: that he gave himself the right (not the Creator manifested in the Declaration of Independence), if not the sole duty, of pronouncing guilt and innocence in this country about slavery. The entire United States could not have been guilty of the crime, since so many opposed the institution to begin with. Southern owners were releasing slaves, ardent supporters of abolition rose up throughout the country to inform those unsure of how to end the peculiar institution.
But violence, death, and utter disregard for humanity was not, nor ever could be, the means for undoing so great an evil. And the discrimination against blacks lingered on for a century afterward.