What’s the conflict in those two statements. Abraham Lincoln’s unity had some moral value because of its purpose, but to say that Mao’s unity lacked moral purpose isn’t inconsistent with that.
I suppose you could say that Mao’s unity has a moral value in and of itself, that unity itself is a moral good even if Mao’s other projects were evil, but that isn’t necessarily implied by Lincoln’s statement. I also don’t believe that Lincoln would have thought it was, notwithstanding his comments about keeping the states whole even at the cost of accepting slavery. (And even if Lincoln did think that unity had a sufficient moral value to merit the preservation of slavery, I don’t see that modern conservatives need hold the same opinion.)
Well, that’s almost clever, except that Goldberg’s claim is entirely normative and Lincoln’s is on its face descriptive (with an implied normative claim behind it). Unity probably is a good thing, but only in relation to what we’re unified towards.
There’s one thing you’ve left out: context; context gives the meaning of a thing said, and apart from context one wrest’s another speaker’s or writer’s intentions. Here’s the context to ensure that the intent of those words is made clear:
Alas, that’s too much for many liberals to process, so they have come to extolling the word “unity.” But here’s the thing: Unity by itself has no moral worth whatsoever. The only value of unity is strength, strength in numbers — and, again, that is a fascist value. That’s the symbolism of the fasces, the bundle of sticks that in combination are invincible. Rape gangs and lynch mobs? Unified. The mafia? Unified. The SS? They had unity coming out the yinyang. Meanwhile, Socrates, Jesus, Thomas More, and an endless line of nameless souls were dispatched from this earth in the name of unity. Returning to Buckley, the mob that pushes old ladies in front of a bus and the posse that tries to stop the mob are not morally equivalent. Indeed, the lone man who faces the mob with justice on his side is the greatest of heroes. (http://www.the-two-malcontents.com/2008/04/25/unified-theory-the-candidate-of-change-forbids-you-to-disagree/)