Captain Robert Smalls, Bona Fide Hero

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar gregiank
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    Double agreed.Report

  2. Avatar Katherine
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    TNC’s posts on American history are always worth reading (his one Fannie Lou Hamer, two posts earlier, is even better, especially due to the information provided in the comments about her and Ida B. Wells). My knowledge of American history is rudimentary (though he’s inspired me to start reading more about the Civil War and Reconstruction), so I find his posts fascinating.

    Out of curiosity, how many other people hear read his blog regularly? I think the discussions of American history there would be particularly valuable to many libertarians/conservatives who tend to equate “less federal government action” with “more freedom,” since the more I read the more it’s clear that massive, sustained federal intervention was necessary to give black Americans any semblance of safety and basic political rights. The lack of sustained federal intervention is why the situation of southern black Americans deteriorated so severely from the 1870s into the mid-1900s.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Katherine
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      I read TNC everyday. As Mark says, TNC’s blog justifies the existence of the internet. My guess is a libertarian would say that if the government simply couldn’t do anything then all the horrors of slavery and jim crow wouldn’t have happened. Assuming that is close to their belief, it is i would say, deeply, deeply unconvincing. I would agree with you that history suggests government is often on the side of angels.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to greginak
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        TNC is wonderful, no doubt. But I’m not so sure a libertarian would say that no government would automatically lead to no slavery. Bad government can certainly make it worse by legally protecting slave owners. However, there is no reason to think that with a neutered or nonexistent government slavery wouldn’t exist. I think the true libertarian argument would be more along the lines of liberty – that government should protect our liberty and that no just government could protect the rights of so called slave ‘owners’ over the rights of a man to be free. Of course libertarians are a diverse bunch so some might very well say what you’re saying here.

        Re: government being on the side of angels…well…again, it just depends – on the government, on the time period we’re talking about. Was government on the side of angels in the Gulags? In the Nazi death camps? In the South? That other governments have stepped into right the wrongs of these governments hardly places government on the side of angels – it places government on the side of angels and demons. It just depends. A good government tends to be a limited one – limiting itself and the abuses of powerful men on the weak.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to E.D. Kain
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          says:

          I think the issue here is that that at the end of the day, government is neither a boogey man nor shining hero. It’s simply people, acting in ways that are at turns awful, inspiring, boring, mundane, whatever.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to E.D. Kain
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          Government can be good or can be bad, yes exactly, you have just encapsulated a basic liberal principle. Sometimes doing something protects liberty, sometimes doing nothing is best for liberty. I think there is a tendency for ideologues of all stripes to endlessly speak in absolutes without reference to any context, which leads to sounding more out of touch then they really are. Then again i would love to hear the rationalizations of those who feel Gov shouldn’t have taken in the Civil Rights era to desegregate private business after reading about the Concerned Citizens Douchbags, Barber was defending.Report

        • Avatar Katherine in reply to E.D. Kain
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          says:

          that government should protect our liberty and that no just government could protect the rights of so called slave ‘owners’ over the rights of a man to be free.

          True – no “just government” could do so. But plenty of unjust governments could and did.

          The question is what libertarians think should be done when a state government is deeply unjust. Should the federal government have the power to enforce justice within its boundaries and protect its citizens and their rights, even if that increases its power vis-a-vis the states? That was the question of Reconstruction and of Civil Rights, and the proponents of small government insisted that no, the federal government should not interfere, even though by that insistence they would condemn thousands to death and millions to live and fear and be deprived of their most basic rights.

          My argument is not that all governments, at all times, are always right, but that prioritizing “small government” and/or local control as a principle without regarding its effects is a luxury reserved for those whose rights are generally respected by their states and their communities. At some times having a “limited government” is inconsistent with having a government that “limits the abuses of powerful men on the weak”. At the end of Reconstruction, a limited government meant one that restrained itself from interfering in the Southern states and so acquiesced to the complete exclusion of black men there from government and politics, and their subjection to whites. A “limited government” would not have sent in the military to integrate Little Rock. A “limited government” would have left blacks excluded from public transit, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres on the basis that it should not interfere in business. The belief that limited government interference in the South was preferable was why there was little improvement – and arguable deterioration – in the conditions of southern blacks for the century from 1865 to 1965.

          In short: what do we do when the choice is between expanding government powers, or ignoring infringements on the rights and liberties of citizens? Libertarians don’t seem to take much thought for this question.Report

          • Avatar RTod in reply to Katherine
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            “In short: what do we do when the choice is between expanding government powers, or ignoring infringements on the rights and liberties of citizens? Libertarians don’t seem to take much thought for this question.”

            Goodness – are you suggesting that lowering taxes and letting the markets decide won’t fix these thing? 😉Report

            • Avatar Katherine in reply to RTod
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              Yes. 😉 Libertarian economic policy is in some respects a different discussion, but most of the issues boil down to a single question: What should the federal government we do when liberties and/or safety of citizens are infringed by a) a different level of government or b) non-governmental actor(s)?Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine
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                There were plenty of libertarians who weighed in on this during the whole Rand Paul foot-in-mouth fiasco. I think you’d find the vast majority of libertarians supporting individual rights.Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                “Supporting individual rights” meaning that they do support federal intervention when state governments violate or refuse to protect individual safety and voting rights?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Katherine
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                says:

                “refuse to protect individual safety and voting rights”

                I’m sure that you’d find that most libertarians would be thrilled if the government actually did protect individual safety and voting rights.

                The problem comes when there’s a moral busybody who shows up who explains that bacon is an individual safety issue.Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Jaybird
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                I’m with you on that. People have every right to eat and do things that are unhealthy and dangerous, and I’m sick and tired of my government recommending that I eat more fruits and vegetables.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                How is “unhealthy and dangerous” not an individual safety issue?Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Jaybird
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                Nobody else is violating your safety; you’re doing it to yourself. People have the right to place themselves in danger, but not to harm or endanger others.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jaybird
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                Getting out of bed in the morning can be incredibly dangerous.
                Government needs to do something about that.
                Am enforced nap time might help.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine
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                says:

                ““Supporting individual rights” meaning that they do support federal intervention when state governments violate or refuse to protect individual safety and voting rights?”

                Yes. Absolutely. Anybody else is a LINO. Or a glibertarian.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Christopher Carr
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                And the Federal Government didn’t even realize the utter mockery and debasement of one of their pet programs, “midnight basketball”. And don’t forget to eat your spinach….Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Christopher Carr
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                Barry Goldwater was a glibertarian?

                All right, that’s me being glib. I know very little about Goldwater, but can’t help finding it problematic that he’s a hero to so many libertarians. Even if one interprets his personal political views in the most charitable ways, there’s no getting away from the fact that his primary support base was southern whites who opposed civil rights. The same states that supported him (except for his home state of AZ) went for George Wallace in ’68.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Katherine
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            Katherine:

            It seems rather hypocritical for the Federal gov’t to fight the war of northern aggression in the first place to “save the union” and the Constitution and then turn around and then violate the principals of limited gov’t by interfering in state affairs.

            Mark:

            Yes, Smalls’ story is one of heroism but I fail to see why his name should be of the same or greater renown than Forrest.Report

            • Avatar Katherine in reply to Scott
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              One question: How is it “the War of the Northern Aggression” when the South attacked the North first, and when Lincoln did nothing to incite the South’s secession aside from, well, being legitimately elected by a plurality of the electorate?

              In answer to your second point, Small’s story should be of greater renown because he fought (both militarily and later politically) to end slavery and expand the rights and liberties of Americans, while Forrest fought during the war to perpetuate and expand slavery and after it to murder and subjugate one group of citizens to another.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Katherine
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                Nitpicker.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Katherine
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                Oh goody, another CW thread!
                Kat, dudette, the scalaway Lincoln continued to leave Federal troops in the forts where they collected ‘duties and tariffs’ down South (‘duties and tariffs’ were a really big reason for the late unpleasantness, though our librul friends find it difficult to accept) following the Montgomery election of officers and officials for the establishment of the Confederate States of America.
                Once having seceded from the USA the CSA, by hand delivered means, ordered all USA federal troops outta the CSA. Lincoln, under pressure from the Bankers and Eastern monied interests said “no way, your (CSA) tariff is lower than ours and you’ll kill our mercantile interests up here.”
                As an aside, you might note in the record that the Northern money people and Father Abraham weren’t greatly disturbed by Southern Secession until the Montgomery Congress came out with a much lower tariff schedule…than all of a sudden these boys got all patriotic about saving “the Union.”
                Well, as you know, that consolidatin’ Lincoln and his money people settled on war as a means of retaining their position on the top of the dung heap. Refusing to vacate Confederate lands down in Charlestown, Confederate forces opened with solid shot on Fort Sumter and reduced the fort in a short time.Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                Hey Bob!

                Where in America was there a blood guerilla war prior to the Civil War, lasting for years, over the subject of tariffs?

                If the South seceded over tariffs, why did Southern states write in their declarations of secession:

                “In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world… We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property.” (Mississippi)

                “We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection…

                “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that ‘Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,’ and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

                …On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government… The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.” (South Carolina)

                “For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.” (Georgia)

                “The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.” (Texas)Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Katherine
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                Katherine:

                “Where in America was there a blood guerilla war prior to the Civil War, lasting for years, over the subject of tariffs?”
                How about the American Revolution? Yes/No?
                Re: the question of African chattel slavery, I’ve never argued that it wasn’t a component of the sundry causes of the “late unpleasantness.”
                I can assure that there was little interest up North in dying to free the slaves and that 90% of the boys in butternut and grey weren’t risking their lives to insure the rights of the plantation owners to keep Africans…they was a fightin’ ’cause you people invaded their homeland.
                Lincoln and the monied interests led the poor Ohio farm boy to make his stand at Gettysburg through deceit, false patriotism, and propaganda; to sacrifice his life so that the mercantile interests continue to profit…hell, seems I’ve read that argument on these august pages before. Remember it wasn’t the Rebels who attacked the Union, they merely wanted exercise their God given right to withdraw from a compact that no longer worked, and form a free, republican gummint (for white people).

                Now it’s my turn:
                What other country fought an internincine war to free people in bondage?
                Throughout the early 19th century countries were ending slavery without bloodshed. Why were we the only country to war over it.
                Had the Morrill Tariff been allowed to come to fruition the South would have been paying 75% of the Federal budget. If the central regime can oppress a geographic/agricultural minority to that extent, what’s to stop it from doing even more damage, causing more suffering, interposing itself into the daily lives of its free citizens…oops, it did do that, didn’t it. Do you see, now, why we salute the Rebels? They were the second generation to stand against the tyranny of the state and its a damn shame they lost.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                A tariff passed in 1861 caused secessions in 1860? C’mon Bob, you can make up slightly more plausible stuff than that.Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                What other country fought an internincine war to free people in bondage? Throughout the early 19th century countries were ending slavery without bloodshed. Why were we the only country to war over it?

                Because the United States was by far the largest slave-owning society on earth at that time, so the South had more to lose than others. And because slavery in the South was, relatively speaking, milder than in the West Indies and Brazil, so that the slave population could actually increase even after the slave trade was made illegal. Once the British abolished the slave trade and started putting heavy pressure on other nations to do so, slavery in the Caribbean colonies because unsustainable because plantation owners simply worked the slaves to death. Brazil, the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, did so shortly after the British Royal Navy claimed the right to enter its territorial water to apprehend slave-smuggling ships.

                The American South was unwilling to end slavery peacefully; they were unwilling to even be part of a nation that refused to EXPAND slavery. That is where most northerners balked – most were not abolitionists in 1860, but most did feel the South had received too many concessions and were unwilling to expand slavery to the territories (because that would give the slave states control of the Senate). The South by 1860 absolutely demanded that slavery not only be expanded to the territories, but allowed in all the northern states – overriding state laws abolishing it – as per the Dred Scott ruling.

                To say that the South fought to preserve and expand slavery is NOT the same as saying that the North fought primarily to end it. The North fought to preserve the Union, at least initially; many northern soldiers and generals and politicians only became abolitionist over time.

                I’d recommend James McPherson’s “What They Fought For.” It’s a short book, examining the soldiers’ own accounts of why they fought from their letters home to their families.Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Katherine
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            “Libertarians don’t seem to take much thought for this question.”

            Why would you write this?Report

            • Avatar Katherine in reply to Mike Farmer
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              Because based on what I’ve read, libertarians tend to see the federal government as the enemy, and not have a lot of solutions for situations where state and local governments, businesses, or groups of citizens are constraining or refusing to protect people’s rights and freedoms. I haven’t seen many libertarians who recognize that there are times when the federal government has to exert its power in domestic issues in defense of freedom, as it did during the early period of Reconstruction and a hundred years later with the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Katherine
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                It’s not that the Federal Government is “the enemy”.

                I’ll try to come up with a decent analogy… how about Christians?
                Imagine that you’re someone who doesn’t see anything wrong with homosexuality and then there is a bunch of Christians who come along and they start singing about Leviticus 20:13 on the one extreme and, on the other extreme, talk about loving the sinner but hating the sin (and hating the sin, and pointing out that it’s sin, and talking about sin, and sin and sin and hating the sin) at the other extreme.

                For the most part, most of the Christians mean well. They believe this stuff sincerely (as if that’s a virtue) and come by it honestly (as if that’s another).

                The proper response is something like “this isn’t any of your business! Leave those poor people alone!” and perhaps even “isn’t it enough for you that they’re going to hell?” but, of course, it never is.

                The Federal Government is like that.

                And the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act are like The Last Supper and the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. Sure, they’re unqualified good things. But that was a while ago.

                Anyway, it’s not the enemy. It’s just… overly Christian.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                Oh my, you mean there are no absolutes? Now I’m confused and addlepated.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                If there are, one would think that one would find them in a discussion of the motives of the Fathers of Confederation, no?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                Well yes, JB. Allow me to recommend the Constitution of the CSA, not to mention Calhoun’s “Disquisition on Gummint,” an all time favorite.
                Them Rebel boys, very much like the founding generation, were fightin’ for their freedom. Unfortunately, it did not include the freedom of their slaves. Alas, had Pat Cleburen had his way there would have been African divisions in the Southern armies and that would have been interesting.
                The thing about it is if YOU really want to be free YOU have to earn it, take it, fight for it! If someone else makes you free there’s always complications. That’s why I alway admired that bloody butcher, Nat Turner…he took his freedom.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Section 5 – Reservation of unenumerated rights

                5. The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people of the several States.

                This is one hell of a blind spot, Bob.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Section 9 – Limits on Congress, Bill of Rights

                1. The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

                2. Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.

                3. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

                4. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

                They were fighting for the freedom to own slaves.

                This is dissonance.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                JB, I never said, indeed implied that cw era Southerners or the founding generation were particularly concerned about ‘slavery.’ Why is it we must return to having a case of the moral vapors everytime this particular era is brought up? We all know slavery=bad. We understand that few whites of that era, North or South, held the African anywhere near equality or wanted to. I’ve conceded all these points as a true and accurate representation of the era. So why do we go back and wrend our shirts/blouses continually?
                I’m really beginning to think its a case of collective Yankee/Southern guilt. It’s the attitude born under Father Abraham and the purposeful horrors visited on the South that America must rise to empire and strike out in the world to right all the wrongs (WWI, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Af, etc) of mankind.
                It’s America’s national justification for the sacrifice of her sons, a justification born in the collective guilt of African chattel slavery which could not quite be washed away by the blood of thousands spent “to make men free.” It’s Hamlet and “out, out damn spot?”
                My, my that’s a great insight!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Bob, do I strike you as particularly guilt-wracked?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                No, you don’t seem to have any ‘guilt’, perhaps it’s subconscious.
                I’m having real difficulty with AT&T’s damn land line…can’t hardly negotiate the site to drop snark comments..bummer. I don’t even get all the info on the front page, …damn Yankee capitalist monied interests.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Farmer
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              Kathrine, I’m having a hard time because of techno problems with the phone company, so excuse my delay in seeing your comments.
              I see you’ve been reading McPherson. I’ve read all his stuff too and I find him to be a rather run-of-the-mill statist/progressivist. Try Jeffery Hummel and Clyde Wilson for a broader and deeper understanding of the late unpleasantness.
              There are numerous comments of mine on this thread that explain my perspective however, let me say again that the South embraced a form of republicanism that closely resembled the founding generations’ and yes, slavery was included in the Southern political form.
              The North, engaging in the Industrial Revolution, was moving toward a virulent statist form of gummint that not only did not include African chattel slavery (the North utilized ‘wage slaves’) but eschewed many of the ideas inherent in the founding (republicanism), consolidated power in Washington City, and decimated the local polity.
              So, while the nasty business of African chattel slavery is certainly intertwined in Southern republicanism, the North was tacking toward a really screwed up state socialism that would come to fruition in LBJ’s “Great Society.”
              I think to some extent the so-called Tea Party are heir to this Southern republicanism I’m referring to. It’s pretty obvious the modern Democrat Party and much of the GOP are ardent supports of a strong central gummint, progressivism, and state socialism.
              Check out my other comments on Lincoln’s perspective on slavery at the beginning of hostilities, why the Southern soldier fought your people, etc.
              In closing, you argue that the Northern host fought to “save the Union.” Why would you ‘fight’ to force/subject/make a ‘people’ stay in a compact they no longer believe in? That seems like it’s a little more than counterproductive, it seems like the North was trying to enslave the South?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                “So, while the nasty business of African chattel slavery is certainly intertwined in Southern republicanism, the North was tacking toward a really screwed up state socialism that would come to fruition in LBJ’s “Great Society.””

                This seems awfully close to comparing TRUE slavery to socialism (which, despite all the ranting and raving, we are nowhere near). And this is where libertarians and other similar movements lose me. Yes, the consolidation of power is concerning, etc, etc, etc, but as soon as they compare the plight of overtaxed rich folk to an enslaved race, they demonstrate a severe lack of perspective.

                Robert, I realize you have not specifically identified as libertarian and may not subscribe to those believes. But the argument you put forth is one often put forth in those circles, which is why I referenced the general ideology. And I don’t use libertarian as a pejorative, as it so often is. I have a lot of common ground with the fundamental beliefs.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Katherine
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      I read semi-regularily. I especially love it when he geeks out about comics or computer games.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Katherine
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      I read his blog regularly.

      My problem is that he has a thread dedicated to something like this where he explains, with great moral clarity, why this man is a Hero and how he overcame Great Evil… and then, within a few threads, throws everything out to “Team Commie”.

      I wrote asking about this… and he explained to me that it was a joke.

      Anyway, that still sticks in my craw.

      I read him regularly, though. Like, daily.Report

  3. Avatar Chris
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    I saw a documentary about Smalls about 2 years ago, on PBS maybe. His story is even more impressive. He served in the S.C. state legislature, apparently very successfully, and when he went to the U.S. House of Representatives, he was a fighter, even trying to desegregate the military, though unsuccessfully (obviously). Oh, and when he returned to South Carolina, he bought his former master’s house. That’s just awesome.

    It’s a crying shame that there are so many people who still celebrate the men who fought to preserve a way of life that was dependent on the enslavement of almost 40% of its residents, but so few who celebrate men like Smalls.Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Chris
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      Exc addition, Chris. The account of Smalls in the Civil War struck me as a man doing what he had to do more than any particular personal heroism. [Sorry if that falls short of a fawning PC.]

      His life after the war is far more inspiring.

      http://www.robertsmalls.org/timeline.htm

      Not politically correct. Republican. Letter to Booker T. Washington, etc.

      On the bust in his honor:

      My race needs no special defense,
      for the past history of them in this country
      proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere.
      All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life

      November 1, 1895

      And he proved it, as did Frederick Douglass, that the black man was every bit as equal to the white, in competence, and in character. This was Robert Smalls’ true heroism.

      Thx to LoOG for the inspiration to hit the books to discover the greatness of this man, altho not for the reasons given by Mr. Coates.Report

  4. Avatar Robert Cheeks
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    says:

    Mr. Small’s heroism and naval expoits, in the face of slavery and oppression, seem extraordinary and much worthy of commendation but equal to or better than Gen. Forrest? My goodness U.S. Grant wasn’t better than Forrest. The man was second only to Old Blue Light, period. Study the battles, young man, study the battles!Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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      Forrest was an extraordinary military genius. So was Marshal Zhukov — do you admire him too?Report

    • Avatar Ha! in reply to Robert Cheeks
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      No ones saying Forrest isn’t a better general, they’re saying he’s not the one schools should be named after.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to Ha!
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        Why not let the locals decide who they want to name their schools after? Or would you have the federal gov’t tell us that as well?Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Scott
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          Locals can decide to name their schools after whomever they want. If they wish to name their schools after the founder of the Klan, the man responsible for the Fort Pillow Massacre, and a slave trader (not to mention a slave owner), though, outsiders have every right in the world to interpret that fact as they see fit. The world has seen its share of military geniuses; not all of them should be honored as great human beings and/or patriots.

          In any event, the whole point is that it’s a bit odd that it’s people like Forrest who are lionized and treated as Southern ideals while people like Capt. Smalls are, at best, footnotes.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mark Thompson
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            Sure Mark, go ahead and beat the guy up. Yeah, he had a couple of character flaws but the dude got there “..the furstes with the mostess!”Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            Mark:

            Please get you facts straight about Forrest. First, historians disagree about whether what happened at Fort Pillow was a “massacre” or was merely called that by Northern propagandists after they lost the battle there. What is not in dispute is that Forrest called on the defenders to surrender before the worst fighting took place and that they refused. Second, Forrest was not a founder of the Klan, though he was a member.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Scott
              Ignored
              says:

              Forrest was not a founder of the Klan, though he was a member.

              Oh, well, that’s so much better.Report

            • Avatar Fish in reply to Scott
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s worth noting that the defenders of Fort Pillow consisted of the 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery and the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. Do ya think maybe black soldiers might have had a reason for choosing to fight, rather than surrender, to a Southern General? By 1864 it was no secret what happened to black soldiers who were captured by the South. It’s disingenuous to simply assert that Forrest gave them a chance to surrender and they chose not to as if this absolves Forrest of any responsibility for the “alleged” massacre which happened after the battle.

              As to the Klan, my understanding is that NBF did found it and was the org’s first Grand Wizard, but that he later attempted to disband it after it grew too violent.

              (James McPherson’s _Battle Cry of Freedom_ is a great resource on the Civil War era, as it includes plenty of history on the buildup to war and events after the fighting ended.)Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            Mark,
            There are schools named after the recently deceased commie-Democrat Senator from the great state of West Virginia, Bobby Byrd, a former Grand Keagle (well, hell ya gotta have a hobby!). You figurin’ they should rename those schools too?Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Scott
          Ignored
          says:

          Scott, Scott…dude, there’s people on this thread that need the Federal gummint to tell them what to do. Now, stop being a troll and get in line for your entitlement… ’til there ain’t no more entitlements.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Ha!
        Ignored
        says:

        Ok, so he had one little character flaw…and now you don’t wanna name schools after him?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          one little character flaw

          Oh, Bob. The things you say.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          To clarify:

          This is the so-called “conservative” version of pointing out that, at least, Trotsky meant well.

          The dude did what the dude did. He was an enemy of liberty, an enemy of human equality, and an enemy of The Good. He not only deserved to lose, he deserves to have been disgraced.

          Which is not to say that The North covered itself in glory or that The North had perfect motives or that The North didn’t harbor ugly, ugly racism.

          We aren’t talking about The North. (We could, if you’d like.)

          I do think that the Confederacy contains some small notes of nobility and the movement to make people ashamed of being Southern (as opposed to being proud of being Southern) is, like most knee-jerk reactions, a knee-jerk reaction rather than something well-thought out.

          But it’s too easy to be a reacter in this debate.

          Act. Don’t react.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Was Trotsky a general?
            Bedford Forest was under an obligation to apply his every talent in defense of his country to drive off the foreign invaders. I should hope every American thinks that way regardless of whatever other sins they may have committed.
            BTW, what exactly do you mean when you declare…”I do think that the Confederacy contains some small notes of nobility..?” Could you be specific, I mean these are the people who stood against the “Good.”
            No one, I know, argues aganist the evil of slavery, and specifically African chattel slavery. The question is why did our country engage in an act of secession/war with slavery as, at least, one part of the equation?
            We need to unravel all the sweet, sticky layers of bs and pc that grow around that question. Is it more evil to enslave a people based on their color, or predicated on how easy it is to institute a punishing tariff when one holds the majority?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
              Ignored
              says:

              “How many divisions has Trotsky?”Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “…or to point out how much better the progressives are today ..”
                HELLO!
                You’re shittin’ me right?
                40 million dead babies, a Kenyan-Marxist bent on destroying the country in the White House who just buried us in enough debt to make us chattel slaves to the Chi-Coms, the Progressive Commie-Dems determined to screw up healthcare in America, seize the banks, auto manufactures, and internet and you’re telling me ‘how much better’ these clowns are. JB, they could teach Wilson a thing or two.
                To the barricades!!!!Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                OOps, the above should be below…blood pressure..quick two fingers of Maker’s Mark.
                Trotsky has more divisions than the Pope!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                The Republicans defended Dubya from the left and the right and exiled as traitors the principled Conservatives as folks who were giving “aid and comfort” to “the enemy” by criticizing.

                I’ve gotta say, Obama doesn’t remind me of a Marxist.

                He reminds me of a Republican.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A Republican? Hardly, dancing a two-step to the right to dodge a bullet doesn’t change what he is — he’s not a Marxist, though, either — just a pragmatic progressive, which is influenced by Marxist thought.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                He reminds me of a Republican.

                You can be vicious, you know that?Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “the movement to make people ashamed of being Southern”

            This movement might as well forget it. I never owned slaves, not do I know any southerners who own slaves or take on any responsibility for happened a long time ago. So, this movement might as well not waste their energy.

            When I condemn slavery, I don’t even think of “south” — I think about the abhorent nature of such a thing, whether it be associated with Alabama, Africa or when it was ancient Greece, or pimps enslaving young girls hooked on scag.Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “the movement to make people ashamed of being Southern”

            I guess my mind works differently than some, but one of the strangest things I can imagine is being ashamed because I live in the south. I hardly ever think of myself as a “southerner” unless someone brings up the north/south issue. Whatever happened back in the old south has nothing to do with who I am.

            When I think of slavery, I think of the horrible nature of such a reality, whether that reality exists/existed in Alabama, Africa, Greece or on the streets with a pimp enslaving a young girl hooked on scag — just the thought of the reality of a human being being enslaved to another, or a group, or a nation, makes me sick. I don’t get hung up on north/south — hell, I’ve lived in a lot of places — but I am amused when people start talking as if the same conditions exist now as during the civil war.Report

          • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            It always seems like “ashamed of being Southern”= talking about slavery or Jim Crow. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of being from the South. That does not in anyway mitigate or ignore the fact i think the Confederacy were the bad guys. That also doesn’t mean i think the North was all sparkle unicorns or anything. If you read TNC you are well aware of the posts about Barbour and his ignorance. It seems like that is the kind of thing that need strong push back and just feeds the frequent ignorance of racial issues. The Concerned Citizens are not ancient history. The “you just hate the south or want us to be ashamed” is most often deployed as a weak ass defense when somebody notes the recent ( within most of our lifetimes) history of racism in the South and this country. ( cue Neil Young’s Alabama). History is often ugly. We ignore it at our peril.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
              Ignored
              says:

              I’ll ask you to sympathize for a moment.

              Imagine someone discussing Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive movement of the early 1900’s and deriding Prohibition and the eugenics movement.

              Is your first inclination to pile onto the worst excesses of Wilson or to point out how much better the progressives are today than they were then and how they’ve moved past that now?

              Because I think what we see here is a tendency of folks to gloss over and excuse the sins of the side that they, themselves, identify with most and focus on the best of intentions that “their” side must have had and wave away the “excesses”.

              You might be surprised by how often this sort of thing happens.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Jay, my first inclination would be to condemn those kinds of State intrusions, even as they happen today.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                oh wow. Eugenics was wrong. It was wrong when progressives were into. It was wrong when most people at the time were into it. Sort of like racism, it was wrong all around regardless of who was pushing it. I’m all for seeing people in all their complexity. Confederates were not The Devil no matter how wrong their cause was. They loved their kids, believed in things, were brave and noble. And they were wrong. Insert people who believed in Eugenics where i had confederates. These things are more then gotchas to be thrown at one side or another. Like i said history is ugly. Everybody needs to see it for what it is. Everybody needs to learn and remember.

                That is part of the reason for the push back on Barbour. He is lying ( or dumber then a bag of hammers) and attempting to change our memory of our history. If anything deserves the tag of Orwellian, then his black is white retelling of history is it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                Who in the hell ae you arguing aginst Greniak? Wow, how brave of you to condemn eugenics and slavery. What the fuck is the issue here? Who is arguing we should forget history? Of couse Barbour is wrong. Who’s saying he’s right? Jesus, let’s find a bigger soap box and louder megaphone.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Chill. I was answering Jay’s question, he brought up eugenics. Ask him why that was important.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we’re all talking crossways — I just got my buttons pushed by Katherine above and went on a war path — I could tell some long stories about the south and civil rights, but I won’t bore you all. I’ll just tell ’em to my grandkids.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                “Ask him why that was important.”

                Greg, I was asking you to sympathize with those who, when “Side X is bad!” arguments are made, instead of saying “History is often ugly. We ignore it at our peril” and piling on get on a defensive kick and start talking about something else.

                I wasn’t talking about eugenics, per se. I was trying to find an example that would get you to say “yeah, I can totally see how folks would take that the wrong way”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                Irony.

                ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2010/03/11/critics-of-woodrow-wilson-strangely-ignore-the-worst-aspects-of-his-presidency/Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And how does that relate to anything i said?

                Or how about this. Did you ever here about how localism was supported by racists in the south??? Man localism was just a cover for evil and oppresion, therefor all localism is forever tarred and feathered by what those people did.

                Does that really further any sort of debate? Any idea can be twisted into corruption. Any debate can be turned into a game of gotcha by a well chosen historical fact. But so what? What does that get? Debating points, notches on a keyboard?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                How does it relate to anything you said?

                I think that it demonstrates that you do have a great deal of sympathy for the whole knee jerk response of attacking someone making a legitimate criticism of “one’s side” rather than soberly nodding in understanding that history is often ugly and we ignore it at our peril.

                Indeed, that link demonstrates that history is ugly and ignored at our peril.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine someone discussing Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive movement of the early 1900?s and deriding Prohibition and the eugenics movement.

                Imagine that the progressives had taken up arms to defend Prohibition and the eugenics movement, and to this day considered doing so to have been their proudest moment.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                I believe that the argument from the defenders of the Confederacy is that the soldiers were *NOT* defending slavery, which was wicked, but defending themselves from Northern Aggressors.

                So, right off the bat, the narrative held by the Confederate Defenders is maintained by the argument from the Northern Aggressors.

                “You’re defending slavery!!!”
                “What? I AM NOT, SIR!”

                And, immediately, the Confederate Defender is defending him (or her, but probably him) self.

                Which only strengthens the narrative in the mind of the Confederate Defender.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The soldiers were fighting for, I’m sure, the same reason soldiers have always fought. The creators of the Confederacy, on the other hand, were defending slavery. Period. Nor were they in any way ashamed of that: just look at their declarations if independence, and see that they claimed to be defending.

                So again: suppose California, Wisconsin, and the other progressive states seceded from the Union in order to defend Prohibition and eugenics, and proclaimed that God and their sacred honor compelled them to do so, and to this day, surfers and cheeseheads still hearkened back to the great days of the Lost Cause. Look pretty stupid, wouldn’t they?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                “The creators of the Confederacy, on the other hand, were defending slavery. Period.”

                Is it your argument that the defenders of the Confederacy keep this fact first and foremost in their minds?

                Because, in my experience, they’re defending all sorts of things that are *NOT* slavery, quickly explaining how slavery was bad, sure, but… and then going back to defending this slate of ideals that, they assure you, have little to do with slavery.

                And the more that slavery is hammered upon, the more that the defender feels personally attacked… which, may I say again, strengthens the narrative in his head.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Is it your argument that the defenders of the Confederacy keep this fact first and foremost in their minds?

                Tell me again what you think about the guy wearing a Che T-shirt.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                That, at best, he’s very good at compartmentalization.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Indeed.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A rebel prisoner was taken at First Manassas. He was asked by the Lincolnites why he was fightin’ the federal gummint. His very simple reply was, “…’cause you boys is a down here.”
                Kinda says it all.
                The rest is bs.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s not quite the story (OK, it’s not really even close to the story), but it’s undeniably true that most of the food soldiers were fighting because they were down here, or because it was the honorable and manly thing to do (and if you didn’t, you’d have a hard time facing your neighbors). That’s how the Southern elite sold it to them, too. Of course, the Southern elite were fighting to preserve their way of life, which is to say, their source of wealth, which is to say, slavery. I think it’s safe to say that if the southern elite, who organized, financed, and for the most part commanded the military were the ones who chose to go to war, so that if they didn’t go to war because they were down here, then the cause of the war wasn’t them being down here, any more than the cause of the Iraq war is that there are soldiers who want to defend their country.

                I see nothing wrong with discussing and even praising the military savvy, and perhaps even genius, of Forrest or Jackson. They were two of the few genuinely innovative American military minds in our relatively short history (how much shorter might the war have been if we’d had a Blumenthal or a Moltke, two pick two names from the same period?), and that’s something worth mentioning. That doesn’t mean we should name schools after them, or have holidays celebrating them, or anything of that sort. Hell, it doesn’t even mean we should go out of our way to talk about them, particularly when there are more noble individuals to celebrate from that period, as this post was, I believe, trying to say.

                By the way, I’ve always thought Company Aytch was a good look inside the mindset of a Confederate foot soldier. If Watkins’ post-war version of his motivations are to be believed, it’s a little more complicated than “Because they’re down here,” and southern propaganda certainly played a role, but he wasn’t thinking to himself that he was fighting to preserve slavery (though he certainly wasn’t opposed to slavery).Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris, it appears, in the end, after all your qualifiers, you seem to agree with me?
                For me the most significant difference in the North/South attitude was that the Northern man was well on his journey into the morass of the Industrial Revolution and the psychopathologies involved with that, e.g. the movement toward consolidation and all the evil that implies. While the Southern man, for the most part, continued in his agricultural work, faith in God, family, community. Kinda a like a bunch of porchers, sans the commie influence, fighting a highly centralized gummint.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Robert, I agree with you that the foot soldier wasn’t, generally, fighting for slavery. I disagree with you that this has anything to do with the cause of the war, and I also disagree with you that slavery was merely one amongst a constellation of causes. It was the cause, the one without which there would not have been an American Civil War.

                It’s clear you really know nothing about the period. The Morrill Tariff did pass, in 1861, and tariffs like it were in place for decades, but the southern states didn’t end up paying 75% of the federal budget, or any other number you’ve made up. It is true that tariffs played a role in Lincoln’s election, though not because it hurt him in the southern states, but because it helped him in pro-protectionist northern states. Southerners din’t want high tariffs, but they weren’t going to war over it, and until they left Congress over the issue of slavery, the Morrill Tariff and other high tarriffs had been unable to pass and southern states had been
                able to keep tarriff rates low.

                Anyway, the main reason I don’t reallyagree with you is that the sort of Confederate apologia in which you’re engaging, w hich actively tries to minimize the absolutely crucial and, above all other issues, causal role of slavery in the war, disgusts me.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris, yes we disagree a lot and if my opinions ‘disgust’ you, well if gone a long way to achieving my goals.
                You’d do considerably better here if you’d learn to read. I wrote: “Had the Morrill Tariff been allowed to come to fruition (e.g. exist for the term of the legislation, with the South remaining in the Union) the South would have been paying 75% of the Federal budget…” That particular piece of information came to me in a letter nearly eight years ago from Jeffery Rogers Hummel the author of “Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men,” a book I heartily recommend, who was helping me to clarify a point I’d made in another article. Now, in all honesty, I’m still looking through my records for that letter…haven’t found it yet, so I’m swinging from memory (just trying to be honest here, but I encourage you to check with Dr. Hummel!).
                In order to fill out your lack of knowledge on these matters allow me to not only recommend Hummel’s books but “Yankee Leviathan” by Richard Bensel, “For Good and Evil” by Charles Adams, anything by Clyde Wilson, and if you’re interested in battle studies I can send along a bibliography. Your problem is you’ve been educated (?) in state schools. You should show some initiative and become and autodidact.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Robert, I grew up in a house a mile from the site of the destruction of the Army of Tennessee under Hood in 1864, in a small town where the schools were all (at the time, all) nicknamed “the Rebels,” and where Civil War buff-ism wasn’t so much a hobby as a city-wide obsession. I have spent far, far too much of my adult life arguing with other grown men (always men, of course) about whether Gettysburg would have turned out differently had Jackson been alive, or what widespread guerrilla warfare in the mountains after April 12 would have meant. I suspect that I’d forgotten more about that war by the age of 25 than you will ever know, even if my interests in warfare have moved on to other conflicts (mostly the two major Prussian wars in the 1860s and early 70s, World War I, and World War II). I point this out so that you’ll understand that I speak from a position of knowledge when I say that Hummel’s work is widely regarded (and rightly so) as bull fuckin’ shit.

                Anyway, my main point was that the tariffs remained high for decades after 1861, and the South wasn’t supplying 75% of the revenue. They wouldn’t have been in 1860, either. They were protectionist tariffs, designed to promote northern industry, but since the South imported most of its stuff from the north, that just meant that the South would be funding industry, not the government.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris, I have no idea ‘how much you know’ about the late unpleasantness.
                When I read you I read a person whose information and conclusions are certainly stamped with the approval of the central gummint. It’s none of my business how ignorant or knowledgeable you chose to be re: the War of Northern Aggression.
                My guess is you’re a leftist, socialist and consequently history, in the Hegelian-Marxist sense, must follow a specific paradigm or you become very uncomfortable.
                Much of my “civil” war work is in the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks where its been cited by several authors.
                I live less than a mile from the site where Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan surrendered his command.
                Dr. Hummell is a brilliant scholar, who happens to be more concerned about the truth than adhering to supercilious and derailed statist opinions.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                My work is cited at the Army War College too!

                Look, we can both make stuff up.

                And no, I don’t have a Marxist view of history, and just because you believe something different from the consensus, or in this case, from the facts, doesn’t make you right.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to gregiank
              Ignored
              says:

              “The “you just hate the south or want us to be ashamed” is most often deployed as a weak ass defense”

              I didn’t make that defense, just saying I’m not ashamed and have nothing to do with the past jus because I live in the south, just like northeners are not responsible for the sins committed in the north.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Some people might like the idea of guilt/shame by association, but it is an evil in itself. We have to get away from this collectivist/social mindset and begin getting back to individuals. One useful change lately is the refusa of many to get sucked into the class warfare — all these divisions by geography or class or race or religion are harmful to society.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris, do you have any humility, whatsoever? I mean, just one little tiny scintilla of decency and even occasional, deference? Even if you are correct, the sentence below is so extremely lacking in class and proper etiquette —your never ending breast beating self-righteous scorn is so off putting. I can’t help but believe that you’ve pretty much bullied your way through life, never, ever, missing a chance to ridicule and berate, and shame your fellow classmates as intellectual “inferiors”. Your glib, derisive, dismissive mockery has undoubtedly hurt many, many feelings. God forbid, any poor student who had any kind of learning disability–and pity the poor soul who stuttered, probably to your utter delight, so you could demonstrate to all, your peerless brilliance. I’m simply left to wonder–who exactly do you think you are?

                “I suspect that I’d forgotten more about that war by the age of 25 than you will ever know, even if my interests in warfare have moved on to other conflicts (mostly the two major Prussian wars in the 1860s and early 70s…”Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                Heidegger, you must have missed what Robert said at the end of his comment, to which I was replying (though it was so far nested that I had to reply to an older comment to reply to it). You’re a strange puppy.

                And yes, I’ve bullied my way through life. Just today I locked a kid in his locker, and put another’s head in the toilet and flushed it.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Merry Christmas, Chris!

                I could have sworn that you had previously identified yourself as a passionate Trinitarian–that is to say, Trinitarian—Atheist, Marxist, and Anarchist. I’m not giving up on you, Chris. I predict that within 3 months you’ll do a turn around and be a passionate Conservative! Stranger things has happened!

                All the best in 2011. To say the least, we’ve had our disagreements, but I ALWAYS enjoy reading your comments.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            There are many things to be proud of in the history of the South. The Confederacy isn’t one of them.Report

        • Avatar Fish in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          You know who else had one little character flaw?Report

  5. Avatar gregiank
    Ignored
    says:

    @Jay- I get the feeling you have the point you want to make decided regardless of the topic of the thread. Really and truly what is your issue with saying that Barbour is full of it. Did i not condemn every side exactly equally. Is gotcha all you got and if so tell me what i said so i can forget the topic of the thread. How does saying the Confederacy was wrong suggest what you said?

    mehReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
      Ignored
      says:

      Greg, I am 100% *DOWN* with saying that Barbour is full of it.

      As a matter of fact, if you look up in the comments, you’ll see me disagreeing with folks about how NBF needed to have been disgraced and not just defeated.

      However.

      It also should be taken into account that this discussion is academic for pretty much all of us. None of us have been slaves, or owned slaves, or known folks who have been or done. As a matter of fact, I’d say that none of us *WOULD*.

      To discuss The Civil War is then yet another discussion of interpretations of history and you’ve got the folks who identify with this side and the folks who identify with that side arguing issues of morality when nobody in the argument would actually do the immoral things we’re railing against. And with that established, the lump in the throat while one gives a speech thanking God that we are Pharisees and not like that Tax Collector over there is irritating like a rash… and doubly so when said speech is given by folks more than happy enough to do the exact same thing when their own ox is being gored.Report

      • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        umm discussing history is actually interesting…but thats just me. Perhaps we should just stick with catch phrases like nanny state or moral busy buddy…FSM knows those aren’t knee jerk responses. but then…umm….whatever.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
          Ignored
          says:

          but then…umm….whatever.

          Well stated.

          Discussing history is fascinating… as is judging it.
          But the past is another country and we stand on the shoulders of giants.

          And, of course, a virtue untested is no virtue at all.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            well now i’m starting to get your point. Of course by assuming you had one i’m judging you or something. oh and kulaks of course.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              And, again:

              Because I think what we see here is a tendency of folks to gloss over and excuse the sins of the side that they, themselves, identify with most and focus on the best of intentions that “their” side must have had and wave away the “excesses”.

              You might be surprised by how often this sort of thing happens.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A few questions: But how does that relate to the original topic of the thread? Is not possible to say some people in the past did wrong? Show a quote if you have one. Is this really that cosmic a point? Are you making this same point to MikeF?

                What you are describing is called Fundamental Attribution Error. Its fair to say all of us likely commit it sometimes. However there is tendency of people to want to stereotype and ascribe solely negative beliefs to the opposite side.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Fundamental Attribution Error, according to Wikipedia, is the following:

                As a simple example, if Alice saw Bob trip over a rock and fall, Alice might consider Bob to be clumsy or careless (dispositional). If Alice later tripped over the same rock herself, she would be more likely to blame the placement of the rock (situational).

                I suppose I’d be Alice in this? Or would I be Bob?

                In any case, I don’t see tripping as the problem as much as a tension between two things:

                1: Age. Folks a certain age and above get a free pass from me. I lack perspective. What can you do?

                2. What Happened: I have relatives who fought on this side and relatives who fought on that side. To paint the decision as one exceptionally easy to make is one that strikes me as ill-informed from the beginning. Many of my relations are, let’s be polite, not particularly polite… but they aren’t necessarily inclined to the wrong. The idea that one side was pure, or mostly, light and the other side was pure, or mostly, dark is one that is a hair too self congratulatory for my tastes.

                Ain’t no Bob. Ain’t no Alice.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                One side was fighting to continue the enslavement of their fellow human beings. The other wasn’t. It makes a difference.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Compare to Duranty. Do you think that he was supporting the deaths of, at least, tens of millions of people? Do you think that that was what he was fighting for?

                Recently, professors at a local college worked with the chapel folks and wanted the Internationale played by the bell tower on May Day.

                Were they celebrating the deaths of, at least, tens of millions of people?

                I like to think that they weren’t.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                That is, you’re comparing Confederate sympathizers to all the people who defend Duranty. Fine with me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                And folks who wear Che shirts to folks who wear Confederate Flags.

                Which is not to compare Communism to American Slavery… but to compare the compartmentalization-of-evil skills of both groups of folks.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Exactly–on one side, a few marginalized idiots and ignoramuses – on the other side. much of the white South. See why I expect better of them?Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Its more analogous to Russian glorification of the Soviet Union, or British glamorization of the Empire, than wistful Western Leftist commemoration of what they wish might have been. In my view the Confederacy was probably worse than the other two – they left some good things behind and its hard to think of anything good the CSA did – but the spirit seems similar. Lets forget the massacres and the racism and think about the glory and the national identity.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                you note that people make excuses for those they tend to side with. This sounds to me like the tendency of people to explain their own behavior threw situational factors. ex. i was a bit short with the clerk at the quikee mart, but i was tired, thirsty and in a rush so that explained my actions. I’m not rude usually it was just a bad moment.

                I think its a similar to people explaining away the actions of people they side with by adding context and situation, such as correctly noting that many people, not just progressives believed in eugenics and had , by our standards, lame attitudes towards race. When people talk about those they don’t side with then tend to go with characterological factors like they are immoral/corrupt/etc.

                In reality both situation and character explain our behavior.

                I’m not really sure where you going with point 2. I have never said one side was pure and the other evil. Far from it. But acknowledging that both sides weren’t pure and good doesn’t mean one side wasn’t better and that we aren’t better off for them winning. I don’t know how that is self-congratulatory, especially since none of my relatives were in the country at the time. The entire history of the country leading up to the CW was in many ways tortured and sadly dependent on fucking over people. Its not an original phrase but slavery was our original sin. Nobody was clean except the victims but that didn’t do them any good.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Has anyone argued that the south in that time period was right for wanting to continue slavery? You are preaching to the choir. Everyone, except a statistically insignificant group of hardcore racist, believes that emancipation was a great and noble accomplishment. But the North’s treatment of blacks once they were freed and moved North for jobs is despicable, too. All that has changed for the most part, although there is still a long way to go before MLK’s dream of judging people by the content of their character is a reality.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                the North’s treatment of blacks once they were freed and moved North for jobs is despicable, too.

                And yet they kept moving north, because at least they could get jobs. Nice effort to draw a false equivalency between north and south, but the very fact of continued migration north until the time of the Civil Rights movement and Act falsifies your effort. Overall the south was much worse, hands down, even if my own northern homestate of Indiana has its own vile history of lynching.

                I know southerners are aware of, and sensitive to, northern scorn toward southern confederate pride and good ol’ boyism, but I often wonder if they’re aware of just how deep that scorn runs when they’re bragging about their great generals and their glorious cause. Because here’s my summary of Civil War history.

                People with more pride than brains choose a war they can’t win to preserve a system that’s pure evil. They lose, and descendants for next century and a half fail to really come to grips with it.

                Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                So, James, you are defending the North’s treatment of blacks — they liked the treatment they received so they kept going north?

                I admit the south was bad during that time in relation to the treatmet of blacks — it was horrendous in many cases

                I wish you would admit the same about the north’s treatment of blacks. You are hypocritical in this instance.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not a false equivalence — it’s a balanced account.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                So, James, you are defending the North’s treatment of blacks — they liked the treatment they received so they kept going north?

                This blogs’ commenters seem to specialize in purposeful misrepresentations of people’s comments.

                I can only imagine that if I wrote that Mussolini wasn’t as bad as Hitler someone would write that I was “defending” Mussolini.

                As long as people insist on misrepresenting others’ words, it’s hard to actually carry on an intelligent conversation.

                It still looks like false equivalence more than balanced account. The North, overall, was simply not as bad, and that’s why people chose to emigrate there. I trust the revealed preference of their choices more than I trust your post-hoc judgement.Report

  6. Avatar Robert Cheeks
    Ignored
    says:

    Technology was destined to end slavery probably within the next twenty years or so following the “civil” war.
    Was ending slavery early worth 620,000 lives and trillions, in today’s dollars, of treasure? Would any of my friends here, given the opportunity, sacrifice your life to free a slave early?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
      Ignored
      says:

      The response question is:

      Given that technology was destined to end slavery probably within the next twenty years or so following the “civil” war, was keeping slavery for another 20ish years worth 620,000 lives and trillions, in today’s dollars, of treasure? Would any of us here, given the opportunity, kill another man in order to keep another enslaved?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
      Ignored
      says:

      Technology was destined to end slavery probably within the next twenty years or so following the “civil” war.

      Then it was realy stupid of all those states to secede and take up arms to defend it.

      (By the way, why hasn’t anyone told all the slaveholders in the Sudan and the rest of North Africa that slavery is obsolete? I bet they’d be pretty embarrassed.)Report

    • Avatar Bo in reply to Robert Cheeks
      Ignored
      says:

      Would any of my friends here, given the opportunity, sacrifice your life to free a slave early?

      Whoa there Bob, I thought the Union invaded because they hated your freedoms and didn’t respect States’ Rights. You’re beginning to sound like that defense attorney whose client chased the real murderer away, only found the body afterward, and, in fact, wasn’t in that city at all on the day of the murder.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Bo
        Ignored
        says:

        Hello Bo, first I’m not a Southerner, I’m a border state dude.
        Second, why is no one answering my question?
        Third, I’m pretty sure I never said “…the Union invaded because they hated your freedoms and didn’t respect States’ Rights.” Actually, Bo, the South seceded because of slavery, tariffs, and they could see that you Yankee boys was-a headin’ for state socialism and they was true Americans and didn’t want anything to do with your perverse ideologies.
        However, I like your attitude. Stay with us and we’ll have you whistling ‘Dixie,’ shortly.Report

  7. Avatar dexter
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    says:

    Imagine this scenerio. In West Virginia there are two million slaves working the coal mines. Those people have no rights, those people can have a drunk master who loses your wife in a poker game and she is taken away and your children sold to the local tannery. The owners of those people say they will stop this in twenty years and all will be good. Imagine you are one of those slaves. Do you want me to wait twenty years?
    Also, I am a lefty that lives in a red state. Every year or so some congress critter goes off on how we should teach creationism in schools. The excorist performing governor gets elected, gives every higher ups in the gov a raise, cuts taxes for the rich and then writes a book and leaves the state for a book tour while cutting funds for colleges. We receive much more from the feds than we pay in taxes. Does anyone really think I don’t want the feds to have a say?
    Oh yeah, Merry Christmas and thanks for all the thoughts from the past year.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Farmer
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    says:

    The whole point is that this insistence on denigrating the south as the lesson of the Civil War is a hypocritical and a darkly self-serving attempt to feel righteous, when the lesson is a lesson of the dark side of human nature we should always be trying to transcend, north and south — racism took many forms, and if anyone thinks all the northen soldiers were fighting solely to free slaves, they are fools — the northern monied interests had concerns of wealth protection moreso than freeing slaves.Report

  9. Avatar James Hanley
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    says:

    The whole point is that this insistence on denigrating the south as the lesson of the Civil War is a hypocritical and a darkly self-serving attempt to feel righteous,

    I disagree. If white southerners would give the rest of us the impression that they actually learned the lesson, and would quit joyously rolling in the dung-pile of their “glorious” case, the rest of us would quite denigrating them. We northerners don’t despise southerners because their address says Mississippi, we despise them because they don’t seem to take seriously the fact that their ancestors were participants in that dark side of human nature. There’s absolutely no hypocrisy in despising and denigrating that, and until more southerners realize that, and quit trying to justify things in one way or the other–including the pathetic, “but you did some bad things, too,” the south will never be respected by the north.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      If white southerners would give the rest of us the impression that they actually learned the lesson

      This sort of makes the point that the war was as much about teaching the South a lesson as it was about slavery… which makes it a lot easier for those defending the South to argue against the non-slavery parts of the war. Did The North have the right to teach The South a lesson?

      Or, as alluded to with the Reconstruction question, should the North really be so preening about how it taught the South a lesson when, really, all they did was win a goddamn war?Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to James Hanley
      Ignored
      says:

      “and would quit joyously rolling in the dung-pile of their “glorious” case”

      Show me where this identifies the south — you continue to prove your ignorance of things southern. The percentage of people in the south this pertains to would be so insignificant as to make your claim look as it is — foolish. Your purpose is to denigrate the south — it’s not a righteous purpose, and it leads you ignore the sins of the north — this is hypocritical and petty.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Farmer
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        says:

        Right. It’s not as if putting the Confederate battle flag on their state flag or holding Confederate Memorial Days were politically popular.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Jaybird–No, I say nothing about the war being about teaching the south a lesson. The war’s over and done with–I’m really only talking about southern political culture today.

        Mike Farmer–I’ve had a number of southern friends over the years, almost all of whom looked aghast upon the continuing reverence of many southerners for that time in history. Anyone who proudly displays a rebel flag, calls the Civil War the “war of northern aggression,” or says, “the South will rise again,” is participating in that reverence. And I notice in your last comment what I see from southern sympathizers every time the issue comes up–not a simple, “yeah, we did some pretty fucking bad stuff back then and I don’t approve of any of it,” but instead an attempt to justify by saying, “but the north did some bad stuff, too.” Again, I say false equivalence–if the north, for all its faults (and again, I point out that my own homestate was one of the last places to have lynchings as public sport, and one of the last bastions of the Klan)…if the north, I say, was comparably bad to the south, then you have the task of explaining why millions of black Americans voted with their feet to choose the north over the south. You can dodge that one as long as you want–it doesn’t go away, it just remains an open question.

        You say my only purpose is to denigrate the south, but that’s not true. My only purpose is to denigrate southern political culture in general, and its historical fetishism in particular.

        You know, I found out a few years ago that I had ancestor(s) who were involved in stealing slaves from Maryland and selling them to the south, at the end of the 1700s. Up through the early 20th century, black families on the Eastern shore would scare their kids to stay in at night by telling the legend, and saying “they’re out there and they’ll get you.” That seems to demonstrate just how seriously terrifying my ancestor(s) were to the local population. So how do I respond to having ancestors like that? I sure as hell don’t glorify them. I say thank god there’s a lot of generations between them and me, and I hope the bastards are in hell.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          James,

          You don’t read with any comprehension, you simply respond from prejudice. This will be my last response to you. I don’t mind debating with reasonable people, but you argue dishonestly. You ignore the pertinent part of my responses and twist the rest. This is deceitful and makes it impossible to have a decent discussion. Plus, you are obviously a shallow thinker, stuck in small worldview that’s comfortable. Enjoy.

          Merry Christmas

          MReport

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to James Hanley
      Ignored
      says:

      James, isn’t “despised” a bit strong of a word to describe feelings Northerners have towards Southerners, especially, considering the utterly abominable treatment Northerners meted out to freed slaves. It was deeply cruel, disrespectful, and extremely violent. Northerners hands were hardly clean regarding this issue. While they certainly had an abundance of righteousness, their eyes were blind to the cavernous dearth of virtue and humanity they held in their hearts.

      But hey, this is Christmas Eve and I ain’t gettin in no fights with the honorable professor!

      A very, very Merry Christmas to you and all the Hanleys, and may 2011 bring you nothing but the best! Best regards, H

      p.s. Beautiful names you chose for your daughters.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to James Hanley
      Ignored
      says:

      James, isn’t “despised” a bit strong of a word to describe feelings Northerners have towards Southerners, especially, considering the utterly abominable treatment Northerners meted out to freed slaves. It was deeply cruel, disrespectful, and extremely violent. Northerners hands were hardly clean regarding this issue. While they certainly had an abundance of self-righteousness, their eyes were blind to the cavernous dearth of virtue and humanity they held deep in their hearts.

      But hey, this is Christmas Eve and I ain’t gettin in no fights with the honorable professor!

      A very, very Merry Christmas to you and all the Hanleys, and may 2011 bring you nothing but the best! Best regards, H

      p.s. Beautiful names you chose for your daughters.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Heidegger
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        says:

        H,

        Not despise all southerners. Just the historical fetishists who act as if there was something noble in their cause, or disingenuously downplay the role of slavery to make a pretense that it really wasn’t all about that. (Note to those who emphasize the tariff: Why didn’t the south just fricking industrialize like the north? Then they could have produced their own goods and avoided the tariff. Oh, yeah, because they were fixated having a socio/cultural/economic system built on slavery. Heck, Montesquieu remarked on it when he visited the U.S., about how undeveloped the slave states were compared to the non-slave states. It’s all entwined, folks.)

        Thanks for the comment on my daughters’ names. It’s the one thing I ever did right, I think.

        And Merry Christmas to you. As much as you drive me batty, I know you’re not actually ill-intended, so I do wish all the best in the new year to you.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          James, thanks for the kind and gracious words. I’m sure your hands are full today, with having to put together toys and toys and toys. Somehow, I always ended up being then designetter setter-upper–endless road-race sets, HO trains, and just about every toy Mattel ever made. Confession: loved every minute of it and can’t wait to get back at it when my twin nephews get old enough to get all those fun toys! I remember as a child, being completely obsessed with WWII model airplanes–my favorites were the Spitfires, Mustangs, B-29s and the B-25 Doolittles–the Messerchmitts were totally awesome and beautiful to see, as well. I think every single waking moment of Christmas break was spent putting together model airplanes. I think kids today miss out of so much by not having tactile connections to toys.
          Well have fun, and Frohe Weinachten!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Well, when defenders of the North say such things as “ItIt’s precisely this kind of wink-and-a-nod pretense, the “Oh, slavery was bad, but wasn’t our cause glorious” bullshit that makes me think Lincoln did the north and west a long-term disservice by not just telling the south, “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.” What the hell has that region contributed to American politics that’s of any real value since then anyway?”, it certainly contributes to the fantasy that it was not, in fact, about slavery at all but about maintaining the Union.

          That fantasy is one that keeps floating up despite continual hammering that it was about slavery, for some reason.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Its entirely possible the causes of the war are separate from the people things say in debates now. Since you read TNC you have seen the various primary source docs from the CW where the Confed’s say it was all about slavery. In fact detreming what caused teh war seems to be historical discussion not one about who likes or dislikes the North or South now. Who the heck has defended the North particularly. Does anybody deny there was considerable racism in the North. There were also abolitionists and the underground railroad.

            Its not hard to notice that a simple post about celebrating a AfAm hero that few people know about devolved into a tired “stop picking on the South/The North was really evil” convo.

            Merry Christ/Cthlulu/Odin/etc.mas.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Ah, but Greg, those who argue for the South today are not arguing in favor of slavery. They’re arguing against the North.

              If the North is arguing that The Union Must Be Maintained, then this is a position that can consistently be argued against without any veniality on the part of the person doing it *AND* it could even be seen as downright unsporting on the part of the Northern Aggressor to be wrapping him or herself in the flag during an argument that, seriously, has points of view rather than a Good v. Evil thing going on.

              This is kind of what the folks who think it’s such a big deal to point out that The North Was Bad Too see going on, I reckon.

              The deeply argued position on Slavery is one that is used as a cudgel because it wins the argument… but, seriously, god knows why we kept you hillbillies around anyway because its not like you’re worth a damn to us.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I would suggest those that wear confed battle flags and wallow in the Lost Cause are not arguing for slavery either but are trying to excise the centrality of the issue. I don’t think you can separate the Confederacy and slavery. I get the feeling there is no amount of describing the wrongs of this country as a whole and the North before and after the war, that would ever ease many of the defenders of the South.

                One of the points of TNC’s posts on CW history is to bring to attention a lot of history people don’t know: that the founding documents of the Confederacy all talks about slavery, the history of Blacks in fighting for their own freedom, that attitudes were more complex then people are aware of. The simplistic “They’re just arguing against the North” argument does nothing to advance our understanding of our history. In fact the ” we’re just arguing against the North who are picking on us” or ” we’re just proud of our culture”, Gone With the Wind or The Lost Cause all serve to obscure and hide our history. How can a person venerate Forrest and then say the North should really admit their own racism? That makes no sense. If you want to look at the ugliness of our history then you look at everything.

                And again there is on obvious temporal difference between what were the causes of the war and what people say in heated arguments now.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think you can separate the Confederacy and slavery.

                The admission that “I don’t know why we bothered to keep you in the Union anyway” does just that, Greg. Just as much as someone arguing that the Stars ‘n Bars stands for “The South In General”.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                ummm actually no those statements have nothing to do with each other and i can’t really see how you can mix them together.

                My contention the you can’t separate the Cofederacy and slavery would be a historical judgment and you keep talking about insults people throw at each other now. The longer this thread goes on it seems most people want to do just what you are and what you said you were against, use their favorite cudgel against the others.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I wasn’t “mixing them together”.

                I was saying how both of them fail to take slavery into account as a (or even *THE*) reason to fight The Civil War.

                And once slavery is out of the equation, the conversation becomes a completely different one.Report

          • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Und eine Frohe Weinachten für Sie mein Freund, Jaybird! Jaybird, check this out—This will convert all atheists–Chris might even immediately join the Seminary! DAR will drop to his knees and beg for forgiveness and redemption! Heck, he might even receive the sacred wounds of Christ and experience stigmata. And DAR, please send some pictures for all the doubting Thomases here. Chris and DAR and Jason, your awakening is at hand! Rejoice in your liberation!
            Jaybird, I see that you are a Monarchist–do you believe Jesus Christ is part of the greatest monarchy in the Universe? Hey, there are monarchies and them there are monarchies!

            King of kings and lord of lords
            King of kings and lord of lords
            And he shall reign forever and ever, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Jaybird:

            I believe that most Southerns will agree that slavery was one cause of the War of Northern Aggression but only one of many causes. However, people like Hanley only want to focus on slavery as the only cause so he can complain about the South. It would be nice if the south haters would acknowledge all the causes.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Farmer
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    says:

    From PBS

    “Despite the actions of abolitionists, life for free blacks was far from idyllic, due to northern racism. Most free blacks lived in racial enclaves in the major cities of the North: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. There, poor living conditions led to disease and death. In a Philadelphia study in 1846, practically all poor black infants died shortly after birth. Even wealthy blacks were prohibited from living in white neighborhoods due to whites’ fear of declining property values.

    African Americans were either refused admission to, or segregated in, hotels, restaurants, and theaters. Blacks had limited work and educational opportunities. They were often denied access to public transportation in cities, and allowed on trains only in “Jim Crow” segregated cars. They were also denied civil rights, such as the right to vote and the right to testify in court in many states, thus leaving them open to attack by thieves and mobs, and to being captured and sold by slave catchers. Black men and women were routinely attacked in the streets, and from 1820 to 1850, black churches, schools and homes were looted and burned in riots in major cities throughout the North, forcing many blacks to flee to Canada.

    Northern blacks were forced to live in a white man’s democracy, and while not legally enslaved, subject to definition by their race. In their all-black communities, they continued to build their own churches and schools and to develop vigilance committees to protect members of the black community from hostility and violence.”

    This Christmas has been a special Christmas, even though my periwinkles were frozen to an ugly, wrinkled, deathly green.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Farmer
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      says:

      Mike, that’s incredible, absolutely incredible. It makes me think that the Northerners were fighting a symbolical, mythological war regarding slavery, when the reality was slaves were far better treated by their Southern owners than by their Northern liberators. I know that sounds nuts, but how could one come to any other conclusion after reading your post?Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Heidegger
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        says:

        I don’t think blacks were far better off under slave masters — I just think they were horribly treated by both.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          I was using your words “far better” — I don’t think blacks were better off period under slave masters. Even in limited freedom they had a chance to make progress.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Farmer
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          says:

          Mike, absolutely no question that slaves were treated abominably by both the North and South. The problem is, the North will never admit to such transgressions–they always portray and see themselves as righting a horrible, tragic, deeply immoral wrong–slavery–which of course it was, but utterly failing to see the profoundly violent and cruel mistreatment freed slaves received at the hands of the Liberators as being in any way comparable. Slavery was a deeply shameful chapter in our history, but to pile on and entirely blame one side for this grotesquely immoral practice simply ignores the inarguable reality of our equal complicitous in perpetuating this crime against humanity.Report

  11. Avatar Robert Cheeks
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    says:

    Perhaps, in the end, it’s best to see what ‘started’ hostilities. What the North and South each wanted to do and why.
    Lincoln, as I understand it, was willing to leave slavery alone if the South would stay in the Union.
    The South by convention voted to legally leave the voluntary compact that had established the United States eighty years earlier.
    Setting aside, for a moment, the incendiary issue of African chattel slavery (remember the Lincoln administration had no problem with slavery at this time), we have a situation where the Southern states have legally exercised their right to seceded from a voluntary compact and form their own republic.
    The South, then, is not guilty of ‘treason’ as so many misinformed Yankees declare, rather it has engaged in the act of a free (white) people and formed their own gummint in much the same manner their revolutionary forebearers had done.
    Why would Father Abraham order his armies into the South to force those states back into the Union? The South has not militarily threatened the North, it merely wanted to be allowed to exercise certain rights and to poltically disassociate itself from a people who they believed no longer valued the republican first principles (for whites, of course).
    It should also be noted that while the Southern armies, in general, and Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, in particular, fought honorably, closely adhereing to the, then, accepted principles of war, the Northern armies, all, were guilty of engaging in the illegal and reprehensible acts of civilian murder, starving and torturing prisoners of war, engaging in plunder and wanton property destruction, looting, and rape. All crimes against humanity.
    I’m sure that most of you will agree with me that the South had every right to secede if it’s citizens by committee, chose to do so and that the North was indeed the aggressor because, under orders of the president, committed an act of war in violating the peace and invading the South.Report

  12. Avatar Heidegger
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    says:

    Frohe Weinachten, Comrade Bob! RC–do prefer to be called, “Robert or Bob? Or Comrade Bob? In any case, am enjoying your debate immensely, Robert. Your scholarship on the Civil War is quite impressive and don’t let Chris bother you too much. He’s a deep, deep, unrelenting pessimist–a glass half-empty kind of guy who, pretty much believes the universe is a meaningless, godless, uncreated, eternally random collision of atoms. And that’s when he’s in a good mood. I am also 100% certain he has, in a previous blog, identified himself as a Marxist. I know that, because I immediately responded to it and was dismissed as a moron, cretin, fool, liar, charlatan, clown, ignoramus, genocidal mass murdering serial killer! He’s a Trinitarian as in, a passionate Atheist, Anarchist, Marxist.

    Robert, sorry, made a grievous error about Catholic Masses. When I attend Mass, the priest must be facing the altar, not the congregation or I’ll run out of the church. I’m a pre-Vatican 2 guy, through and through. I won’t go to any mass unless it’s in Latin–okay, sometimes German masses because I love the language, but the priest MUST be facing the altar or I’m outta there. I’m learning much from you with this Civil War debate. I must confess though, both sides of my family fought for the Union–am half German and half Irish–hope this admission doesn’t brand me as a Crusading Northern Infidel out to steal the Rebs land and resources! Happy New Year to ya!Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger
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      says:

      H-Man: Bob, RCC, Cheeks all suffice.
      Let’s be considerate of Chris. He’s a young man who wants attention and the fact is that even though he’s philosophically/theologically derailed, he’s-as you’ve pointed out- salvagable.
      Yes, I miss the church, the Latin rite, the tradition, so I’m with you on all that you’ve written. However, the church’s doctrinizations are killin’ me particularly the effort to establish a ‘co-redemptrix’, which is as gnostic and heretical as a Christian can get. I’m into the Voegelinian existential desire to experience the divine/Christ/Logos.
      I’m linking here to an old civil’ war article, a battle study. Let me know what you think:

      http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h439.html

      I trust I did that correctly.
      You link me to any of your publications as well! Yes, I enjoy your ‘comments’ !Report

  13. Avatar dexter
    Ignored
    says:

    Mr. Cheeks, first and foremost, I hope your Christmas has been as good as mine. Now, does Andersonville ring a bell? One major difference between the revolution started by the Southern states and America’s revolution from England is that America won that war and the South lost. I do believe that the South would not have entered into the union if they thought they could not get out if they wanted. As many faults as the North had, they still had the moral high ground in that instance. Americans as a rule do not have a good track record against anybody that is not Europeans,and at times we are more than a little mean to Europeans. Ask an Irishman what the 1870’s were like. Ask an Indian what they think of Sherman and it probably won’t differ much from what Mr. Farmer thinks of Sherman.
    I live in the South and one of the problems I have with the South is that far too many people think the antebellum south was some sort of utopia and would recreate it if possible. It has been a long time since I have been in Yankee land, but down here there are still way too many racists per capita for my taste. We are far too provencial and entirely too many think that just because that was the way they were raised, that is the way it has to be. Another problem I have with the South is, since I am one of those commie-dems, I wish they would vote for what I construe as my pocketbook issues instead of Buchanan’s southern stratagy of the union between the racists and the social conservatives.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to dexter
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s strange — of the thousands of people I know across the south, not one of them has ever yearned for the antebellum south — I doubt they ever even think about it. I have to laugh at this, really,Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to dexter
      Ignored
      says:

      Dex,

      Re: Andersonville, I haven’t researched the question, but I know that at the time the Federal prisoners were being starved, there were severe food rationing in the South due to the Yankee depredations imposed on Southern farmers and farmland. Whereas in the North, at certain Federal prisons, Confederate prisoners were not allowed full rations and in many instances proper clothing and blankets in winter.
      Re: ‘Commie-Dems(CD)’; if it weren’t for you guys I’d have nothing to bitch about! Seriously, I understand how difficult it is to figure out your best shot politically. All I can say is that CD’s are pro-statist, and pro-abortion so (to be kind) we’re talking about people who don’t spend a lotta time thinking about the moral/ethical aspects of existence and the polity. Not that the GOP is much better, however, to their credit they didn’t pound in a baby killin’ plank in their party’s platform and sometimes they actually elect a conservative.
      I like provincial, local, and community; I’m not all that fond of statism/national/global.
      The South has its faults.
      When you get depressed about your region read something by the Nashville Agrarians or Mary Francis O’Connor, or Walker Percy, or Bill Faulkner, or Robert Penn Warren.
      I love ya man, hang in there!Report

      • Avatar dexter in reply to Robert Cheeks
        Ignored
        says:

        Mr. Cheeks
        This is probably going to suprise you but, I am against abortion also. I just don’t think I should have final say about somebody’s elses body. I also think the way to reduce abortion is education,education, and then more education. Abstinence only works if you practice it. Abstinence only is like the Reagan’s trickle down theory, it looks good on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.
        I want as little government as possible, but I also want protection, and that is something that I am not getting from the state or the feds. Louisiana is disappearing at about an acre an hour and nobody is doing anything but talking. The disappearrance is verifable and nothing is being done about it because it would cost the corps money. You Yankees and your fertalizer are causing an ever expanding dead zone in the gulf and nobody is doing anything about it. I want you to know that we appreciate the silt, but could you reduce the petrochemicals?
        I have read a little of those writers and think they are an incredably talented bunch. “The Movie Goer” depressed the hell out of me because that man was so trapped. I love “As I Lay Dying” and want you know that I don’t hate the South. I just wish we could be more accepting of other people. One other great thing about the south, today while you might be shoveling snow, I am picking broccoli, spinach, and carrots.
        Final question: Who was the last conservative president?Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to dexter
          Ignored
          says:

          Dex, I’m Bob or Cheeks or hey-you.
          Abortion is murder; specifically the slaughter of the innocents. When a culture begins that practice it’s an indication the culture does not respect human life. CD’s do not respect human life in much the same manner as the Nazi’s and the Commies….it’s an ideological thing.
          Yes, contemporary Yankees are bootlicks for capitalist monied interests. I’m a localist, states’ rights, anti-consolidation kind a guy.
          Our last ‘conservative’ president was John Randolph of Roanoke…wait, he wasn’t a president!
          I really like Mary Francis and Cormac McCarthy…yous Southerners can really write and I figured you’d like some of them. I did some stuff for Clemson’s lit mag; if I find it I’ll link it along..on RP Warren and Wm. Styron!
          Yankees have no writers like that because they are statists; they don’t have an understanding of the idea of ‘place.’
          I like my four seasons here in the upper Ohio valley.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks
        Ignored
        says:

        Hey Bob–sorry for not getting back to you–usual Christmas running around kinds of things–plus chronic absent-mindedness usually adds about two hours a day–thank God for giving me a 26 hour day instead of the usual 24 hour deal.

        I’m confused about this quantum matter—are we dead AND alive every moment of our existence? Can we get out of paying taxes to the IRS because we’re dead? I’m assuming the dead are off the hook with the IRS. Wouldn’t that provide an interesting defense? Imagine using a quantum physics expert to say you’re no more dead or alive at any given moment.
        Will be back in a while. Incidentally, Chris sent me a personal e-mail—the conversion was a complete success–he wants to get baptized today, and even asked me to be his godfather. How could I possibly say no to that? Also heard from DAR today—he’s the ultimate doubting Thomas, but awakened during the night with spike wounds to his hands and feet. Also had, what appeared to be, a serious wound to his left side caused by a spear- like weapon. He was so enraptured, he tried walking on water in his bathtub-didn’t work. But hey, stigmata is not a bad beginning. He’s being treated by the local Cardinal, so he’s in as good of hands, as he could ever be. Who would have thunk it? My next mission is to get the Jaybird converted. I thought the JC “illusion” would do it but he’s not buying into it so I’ll need to use some different tactics–he’s definitely, “salvageable”. Maybe if God gave him the power (ala Moses) to split the Gulf of Mexico in half, he might reconsider his position. Then again, he might just chalk it up to the Global Warming Hoax. Not giving up!
        Will get back to your questions soon.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger
          Ignored
          says:

          Good news about Chris..glad to hear it!
          JB’s a philosopher of the first order and consequently demands the metaleptic experience..he’s gotta touch the wounds. My belief is that it will. JB’s negation is not predicated on the arrogance of a pseuod-‘intellectualism’…we’ll see!Report

  14. Avatar Mike Farmer
    Ignored
    says:

    The cartoon version manufactured here that the few of us who want to expand the converstation pertaining to that period, to include the full picture of racism, as southerners reacting by saying “The northurners were bad, too, dadgummint” are stuck in stereotypes and have a difficult time just objectively discussing the history of racism.Report

  15. Avatar Mike Farmer
    Ignored
    says:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4narr3.html

    http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~dbertuca/155.html

    http://www.angelfire.com/ny3/76thnysvol/

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/334351/monroe_michigan_to_celebrate_general.html?cat=8

    http://monson250.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/monson-granite/civilwar-6/

    http://pavendors.com/events/westmoreland-county/west-newton-pa-civil-war-heritage-festival.htm

    The north celebrates the civil war, yet like a lot of our history, what happened afterwards in places like NY, Phillie and Boston has been whitewashed, therefore the NY State flag, for instance, is not associated with northern racism. But since history focused mostly on slavery in the south, the southern state flags which bring up horrible images of slavery and mistreatment are bad symbols. My advice when this controversy comes up is to understand the way things have played out, and the reality that slavery existed and, thus, remove the symbol, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn the history in its expanded and comprehensive version. The north was far from being virtuous liberators. The south, in particular, and the whole country, in general, were wrong for not declaring all people free and protected by the Constitution.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Farmer
      Ignored
      says:

      I completely agree with you that people don’t particularly discuss the history of racism, in all parts, in this country. The ugly history of racism, before and after the CW, North, South, West, should be discussed. No region is without sin. Partially that is due to most peoples tendency to focus on battles and wars as opposed to all the rest of history. I would imagine if you mentioned Reconstruction to many people they would give a dull stare or think you were talking about rebuilding the WTC. The thing is, The Lost Cause revisionism that attempts to minimize the role of slavery and ignore what was essentially a guerrilla campaign of terrorism by the KKK to suppress blacks is a part of the general ignorance of history. As much as the history of racism in the North and West is ignored, the ugly , ugly history of the South after the CW is just as ignored. People in the rest of the country didn’t care enough about Blacks to keep Reconstruction going. But their failing, and it was a failing tied to their racism, left Blacks in the South( and states bordering the South) to the KKK. While that implicates, correctly, the North, it doesn’t exactly exculpate the South.

      As an example, Natthan Forrest was, in the absolute best version of his history, implicated in a massacre and part of the KKK. Discussing his military accomplishments and tactics is part of military history but other then that, he is a villein, Maybe he had a sense of honor and petted puppies, but still he is honored despite a truly ugly history.

      In another direction if we are to discuss Lee’s choice to fight for Virginia, we should also be discussing the choice of Scott and many other Virginians to fight for the Union. But how many people know Lee’s name and how many people know Scott’s.

      Like a said, I agree with you that the history of racism throughout the country is important and the South should not take the blame for the sins of everybody including the Founding Fathers. But that does not mitigate the problems in the South nor does is not justify the Lost Cause stories which do nothing to further an understanding of our history.Report

  16. Avatar dexter
    Ignored
    says:

    I am glad that I could get you to laugh. Usually you are pissed about something. I do thank you for getting me to laugh at the thought of you knowing thousands of people. If you don’t think there are racists down here then you are not only a person who thinks you win debates by outshouting your opponent, you are blind. Now is the time for you to start screaming about how I am bat shit crazy or a cancer or some similar nonsense.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to dexter
      Ignored
      says:

      Dexter, you are making the case for me.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Although with all the backlash from revealing racism in the North, I’d say some mitigating is going on. It’s just a matter of simple acceptance, then discussion of how to avoid this type of behavior in the future. Too many people are worried about the geographical score rather than the problem and history of racism. The North can’t really celebrate a victory when the whole story is told — African Americans eventually won in spite of the odds against them, even though whites in the south and north tried to keep them from playing.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          Although with all the backlash from revealing racism in the North

          Pointing out that something is irrelevant doesn’t count as “backlash”.

          By the way, there was tons of anti-Semitism in the Allied countries, and they all caused uncounted deaths by refusing to admit Jewish refugees.Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            You’ve made my point — anti-semitism is bad wherever it exists and to understand anti-semitism better, it pays to focus not only on Hitler, although he is the worst example, but also Russian anti-semitism, American anti-semitism, Muslim anti-semitism, Bristish anti-semitism and French anti-semitism — just to name a few.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Farmer
              Ignored
              says:

              Exactly, and singling out people who still celebrate the Third Reich as if they were some sort of exceptional villain makes no sense whatsoever.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                And pointing out that anti-semitism existed/exists elsewhere does not mitigate anything.Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it doesn’t mitigat and is not intended to, so what is your point — it only gives the whole story and enlightens.

                Czechoslovakia in 1951, under Russian influence put on the Slansky Trial, a show trial. Tony Judt, in Postwar, wrote:

                “On the fourth day of the trial the Prague Communist daily, Rude Pravo editorialized thus: ‘One trembles with disgust and repulsion at the sight of these cold, un-feeling beings. The Judas Slanksy’, the paper continued, was betting on “these alien elements, this rabble with its shady past.’ No Czech, the riter explained, could have committed such crimes: ‘only cynical Zionists, without a fatherland…clever cosmopolitans who have sold out to the dollar. They were guided in this criminal acitivity by Zionism, bourgeois Jewish nationalism, racial chauvinism.’

                Eleven of the fourteen accused were sentenced to death and executed.”

                So, no, even shortly after the wat, anti-semitism continued unabated in many countries. It shows, that Germany was a prime, horrible example of anti-semitism, but it doesn’t tell the whole story — Germany was no special case except in the extent of the murdering.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike-

                I do agree that sometimes we look only extreme, looking at the more mundane (if antisemitism, slavery, or genocide can ever be considered “mundane”). The mindset is often, “Well, we’re not THOSE people, so we’re okay.” People view America as the great ally to Jews because of our work in stopping the Holocaust, but ignore our own sordid history of mistreatment towards religious minorities.

                So, I think it depends on the perspective of the people offering the “enlightenment” and their agenda. Are they attempting to shed light on an oft-neglected instance of wrong? Or are they attempting to deflect from their own behavior?Report

              • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                “Are they attempting to shed light on an oft-neglected instance of wrong? Or are they attempting to deflect from their own behavior?”

                In my case, the former — I can’t speak for anyone else. From the very beginning of this I conceded the awful behavior of the South regarding slavery and the need to learn from past injustices. It’s ridiculous for either side to celebrate the Civil War. But the lesson learned will only be partial if we don’t take into account racism in the north after the war which negated any victory dances performed since. Racism is a reality that has affected the whole world, and the more people who undestand the big picture the better. It’s a little too convenient to give the impression that racism/slavery was solely a southern problem and the north freed the slaves — the picture of northen racism after blacks moved north is just as important to a comprehensive understanding of racism and the black struggle as is the narrative of southern slavery. And the celebration in the north is disingenuous without complete acceptance of northern wrongdoing which caused much suffering.Report

  17. Avatar BSK
    Ignored
    says:

    To those who think that we can honor those who fought proudly and bravely for the South while not defending (or ignoring) the cause for which they fought…

    … will you extend this same treatment to those who proudly and bravely fight in defense of their homelands in Afghanistan or Iraq or other countries?

    If anyone who fights valiantly deserves celebration regardless of their cause, than there are a lot of people whom we need to celebrate that probably make our skin crawl.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
      Ignored
      says:

      Are you willing to say that the Iraqis/Afghanis fighting against the US are evil and need to be not only defeated but discredited?

      Because if we really want to get all perspectivist, couldn’t we just shrug and say that we understand why some Iraqis cheer on the insurgents?

      Or why some Afghanis do the same?

      Because it’s not difficult, at all, for me to understand why they might do so (even thought I do not)… and I can even understand how I might do so if I were in their place.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t think most of those fighting for Iraq or Afghanistan are evil. Not because of their actions against the US Army, at least.

        I do understand why some Iraqis cheer their insurgents.

        For me, right and wrong, good and evil, are not contingent upon whether or not someone is wearing the same colors as I am.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
          Ignored
          says:

          So you can totally see how someone might support the idea of the Confederacy while hating on slavery at the same time?

          Or is the Taliban capable of achieving a state of grey that the Confederacy ain’t?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            So you can totally see how someone might support the idea of the Confederacy while hating on slavery at the same time?

            The Confederacy’s only reason for existing was the perpetuation of slavery. Supporting it without mentioning slavery is like supporting pre-Mandela South Africa without mentioning apartheid.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              “The Confederacy’s only reason for existing was the perpetuation of slavery.”

              But that was not the only reason to support the Confederacy over the Union.

              Neither is it the only reason to, in an argument over the Civil War, prefer to argue in defense of the Confederacy rather than in defense of the Union.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Is it important enough to be mentioned when the Confederacy is discussed, rather than being dismissed as prejudice against Southerners?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, absolutely.

                It’s like someone who keeps arguing that the justification behind why we invaded Iraq was “rape rooms”.

                “But that’s not what people said at the time!”, you may point out with perfect clarity of memory.

                “What? Do you support women being raped?”, would inevitably come the response.

                And then, perhaps after a particularly anti-American election result, if you see this same person yell “I don’t know why we bothered!”, would you have justification for wondering if “rape rooms” was being used as a cudgel *AGAINST YOUR POSITION* rather than as an honest justification to oneself for why going in and killing thousands of people was “worth it”. (Indeed, one gets the idea that the folks who say such things as “I don’t know why we bothered” don’t see much cost to the whole killing thousands of people in the first place.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m talking about the Confederacy, and you keep changing the subject to the Civil War. No, slavery wasn’t the major reason for the war (at least at its inception.) Yes, slavery was the driving force behind the Confederacy, Bob’s attempts to make it about an accident with a tariff and a time machine notwithstanding.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                I tend to talk about lots of stuff. I come up with analogies, stories from my childhood, quotes from ancient Greeks. I am all over the place.

                I will say that it was good that the Confederacy lost.

                Sometimes I wonder about the whole “history is written by the victors” thing because it seems like “the right side” wins the vast majority of the wars… but that’s a meta-problem. A narrative problem.

                Anyway.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                “I will say that it was good that the Confederacy lost.”

                May I ask why you believe this?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Because slavery is a moral evil.

                Whether or not it was the reason that the North fought the Civil War, preservation of slavery was one of the reasons behind the Articles of Confederacy… which needed a rebuke.

                They received one.

                As unintended consequences go, I’d say that the abolition of slavery is a pretty sweet unintended consequence.Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I can see how individuals who were a part of the Confederacy might not carry the full weight of the sins of the Confederacy. There were potentially other reasons why they might have picked up arms or failed to denounce the Confederacy in their time. That is very different from folks who nowadays wax nostalgic for a time they were never a part of. It is one thing to be a 19th century Virginian who defended his homeland; it’s another to be a 21st century Virginian who flies the Confederate flag while speaking aimlessly about “states’ rights”.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to BSK
              Ignored
              says:

              Yes, and we are in the process of sending these .06% to sensitivity training. Seriously, I’ve lived in the south all my life, and there are goober rednecks who put flags on their trucks and drink Rebel Yell, but most of them have no idea what they are supporting — like the Che t-shirt kids — even though some do know what they are supporting and would love to see blacks deported — these goober rednecks are being marginalized all over the south — they’re usally restricted to small southern towns where they have no influence on government policy or other people’s lives — they live in sad little delusional circles drinking beer in low dives and wasting away.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BSK
          Ignored
          says:

          BSK, “For me, right and wrong, good and evil, are not contingent upon whether or not someone is wearing the same colors as I am.”

          Terrorists don’t wear “colors” or uniforms thus, are not eligible to receive Geneva Accord treatment. That we frequently extend these rights and privileges to them is a result of our magnanimity and honor.

          Are you trying to say there is no such thing as good and evil, right or wrong,that’s it’s all just a matter of perspective? That it all just lies in the eye of the beholder? Why is this not a good argument in support of Nazism? They’ve met all of your thresholds. They’ve been attacked by all surrounding countries—now we know, the SS were just noble Minutemen defending their country against racially impure mongrels!Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Heidegger
            Ignored
            says:

            Defending slavery sure can take you to some weird places, huh?Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jaybird–you have me very confused–how can my above comments, in any way shape or form, be construed as to defend slavery? It would be impossible to read them and come away with anything but the exact opposite of what you’re alleging. PLEASE let me know what I’m missing. Am very flummoxed. I’ve noticed that replies often get attributed or sent to the wrong person although I suspect that’s probably not the case here. I am deeply flummoxed. “Minimizing it, compartmentalizing it, and waving it away as somewhat irrelevant after offering a pro forma condemnation”—where and when did this ever happen?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Heidegger
            Ignored
            says:

            Okay, sorry. That was unfair of me.

            Minimizing it, compartmentalizing it, and waving it away as somewhat irrelevant after offering a pro forma condemnation.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I know I appreciate your ability to sympathize with the persecuted African in terms of his enslavement circa 1860, in the South. I’m assuming we all are to one degree or another. I’m even willing to concede that you would, if you’d been alive back then, helped deliver the slaves to freedom…perhaps in the underground railroad.
              I am curious in how you think of abortion. The African slaves could resist, engage in rebellion, and flee. These human beings in the womb are TOTALLY helpless. There is no underground railroad in which they might flee from slaughter. Do you have the same concern for these humans as you do for our African enslaved prior to the ‘civil’ war?
              I’m not sure how many Africans died as a result of slavery in America. I understand that American abortionists have slaughtered 40 million innocents.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                My view of abortion is that it’s morally wrong but I don’t know that I have the authority to force someone to not have one… given what forcing a woman to carry a child to term would actually entail.

                When it comes to slavery, however, it is possible to spirit a slave away from the slave owner.

                Additionally, when it comes to slave ownership, there are nowhere near the number of privacy concerns that one has with pregnancy.

                I mean, let’s say that you have reason to believe that the folks next door have someone enslaved in the house. You can call the cops, get a warrant, kick down the door, and see the guy in chains.

                Now let’s say that you have reason to believe that the daughter of the folks next door is considering an abortion.

                Then what?

                The fact that some of the defenders of abortion use language that is uncomfortably close to arguments made by slave-owners defending slave ownership should not be confused with slavery being particularly like abortion. (See also: gay/interracial marriage)Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you see any sort of equivalence between slavery (even African chattel slavery) and abortion?
                BTW, I don’t want you to construe this line of inquiry as snark, it isn’t.
                I agree that you (or I) don’t have the ‘authority’ to curtail abortions, the question is, should the state have that ‘authority?’Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Equivalence?

                It’s like asking if there is an equivalence between rape and murder.

                It’s certainly possible to draw a Venn diagram that has both things in the same circle. It’s also possible to draw a Venn diagram that has them in different circles.

                I don’t understand what you’re really asking.

                Let’s pretend I say “yes, of course” and then give me that essay… then pretend that I say “no, of course not!” and then give me the essay you’d write if I said that.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My AT&T line is so screwed up I can barely get to this point on the thread. So if I disappear yous will know why!

                I’m trying to get my atheist friend to agree that slavery and abortion both violate what a Christain might refer to as the ‘sacredness’ of human life. I’m pointing to the idea that abortion is murder and have you say, “Yes it is, Bob,” or “Bob, you’re really screwed up.”

                Then I would cleverly show that ‘abortion’ is significantly worse than slavery (even African chattel slavery) in that it is merely a form of slaughter, and as we all know slaughter is significantly worse than enslavement.

                I wanted to see if anyone or who might decline into an argument that found an ‘intellectual’ way to rationalize human slaughter, in much the same manner that our ideological friends of the recent past did. But, I know that person would not be JB, so I was interested in JB’s pronouncements.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Robert Cheeks-

                Your language is loaded and makes several assumptions. I reject that fertilized embryos are humans. I reject that they are innocent or capable of innocence. As such, your analogy falls flat to me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, there’s no historical analogy you can *POSSIBLY* make to *THAT* argument.

                Let me guess: “But we know that their arguments were invalid while it’s not even possible to imagine a future where my argument will be seen in a similar light.”Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                “I reject that fertilized embryos are humans. I reject that they are innocent or capable of innocence.”

                BSK–are you aware of crimes committed inside the womb? Is this why you favor capital punishment for the unborn?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Was that a joke, Hei? I really didn’t get it.

                I don’t consider it capital punishment. A fertilized emybro in the earlier stages of development lacks the ability to live independent of the mother. As such, as far as I’m concerned, it is an extension of the mother at that point and her decision as to how to proceed. It is not capital punishment. I view it as a women’s right to be self-determinant. Once the the fetus reaches viability, I agree that the situation changes. The difficulty is determining when this stage is reached, not only generally speaking but also specifically for each woman/fetus (not all fetuses develop exactly the same).

                However, the issue here is not abortion. It is the adoration of Confederate leaders and the Confederacy in general. I absolutely recognize the nuance that exists in the world and avoid making heavy handed black/white distinctions. I don’t think every antebellum Southerner is evil incarnate without redeeming quality. I’ve been torn apart on other blogs for suggesting that otherwise hate filled and actually or potentially violent individuals (like Hitler or Farrakhan) might have been nice to puppies or loyal friends. That, in no way, mitigates the evil they are capable of. But it does recognize them for what they are (human) instead of turning them into a cartoon villain.

                Do I think every Southerner was an outright racist? No. But pretty much everyone at the time, North and South, harbored some pretty racist viewpoints and opinions. Even those who promoted abolition and rights of the enslaved often did so for misguided reasons or demonstrated racist ideas.

                It is one thing to say that a Confederate leader was a skilled military strategist or a remarkable leader or a good father or a lover-of-animals. It is quite another to heap praise on them for the nobility of their service. The fact remains is that their service directly or not, deliberately or not, promoted the existence of slavery. And those who want to hold them up as heroes for what they did on the battlefield or in the political arena in support of the Confederacy need to realize that they are celebrating the defense of slavery.Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
            Ignored
            says:

            Heidegger-

            You couldn’t be more wrong about my position. How is saying that my personal context is ineffectual in determining the morality of an action the equivalent of moral relativism? Genocide is inherently wrong. I would denounce any country committing it, whether I was a citizen of that country or not. My affiliation with that country or group would have no bearing on my sense of the morality of the actions. How the hell do you get the complete opposite impression from what I’ve said here?

            I made no statement as to the morality of the actions of terrorists. All I said was that, to remain consistent, those who argue that Confederate leaders should be applauded for their bravery and loyalty and whatever-the-fuck they are being applauded for most also extend that same luxury to whomever else demonstrates the same faux admirability. And if those people are “terrorists”, so be it. Anything else smacks of relativism and hypocrisy.

            So, to clarify, I do believe in right and wrong. I believe that Nazism was wrong. I believe that genocide is wrong. I believe that the killing of non-combatants is wrong (whether this is done by men with bombs strapped to their chests or pilots in planes high above). I believe that slavery is wrong. And will denounce anyone who took deliberate action to see slavery perpetuated. That includes Confederate leaders as well as most of the “founding fathers”. My sense of right and wrong is not bound by any personal affiliations.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
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              says:

              The point that I’d be making, BSK, is that “now we’re haggling”.

              You’re 100% down with us invading Germany and changing the culture (or trying to) to the point where you’re willing to condemn folks who think that the other side may have had a point.

              You’re 100% down with us invading The South and changing the culture (or trying to) to the point where you’re willing to condemn folks who think that the other side may have had a point.

              Why not fully support Afghanistan? Or Iraq?

              Surely you agree that their cultures are pretty pathological.

              Again: They bomb schools that have the audacity to teach women to read.

              Or is slavery based on whether you pee standing up on *THIS* side of the line when skin color was totally on *THAT* side of it?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Jaybird-

                I’m not 100% down with any of the actions listed.

                Am I 100% down with ending genocide or slavery? Yes. Do I think using force to do so is justified? Yes. Does that justified atrocities carried out in the name of stopping them? No. And those existed. On all sides. So, no, I wouldn’t say I 100% support those actions.

                The problem I have is that we didn’t go into Afghanistan or Iraq because of human rights. We went in seeking vengeance.

                And I’m not entirely opposed to the actions taken in Afghanistan or Iraq.

                So, you are working off a fundamentally flawed premise to begin with.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem I have is that we didn’t go into Afghanistan or Iraq because of human rights. We went in seeking vengeance.

                Why did The North go into the South?

                This is a very important question, no?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I’m sure the history books will not right about our quest for vengeance.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                How do you know that the Civil War happened at all?

                I mean, you must *SUSPECT* some things. You must hold the viewpoints you hold for a reason.

                I mean, let’s say that there’s a Southerner who wanted to argue that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery at all but about States’ Rights. Do you know enough to argue against this person or would you shrug and say “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.” and maybe argue against the other person to get him (you know it’s a him) to admit that he doesn’t know either?Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BSK
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      says:

      “If anyone who fights valiantly deserves celebration regardless of their cause, than there are a lot of people whom we need to celebrate that probably make our skin crawl.”

      BSK–by this logic, the 9/11 terrorist hijackers should receive adultations and celebrations, maybe even ticket tape parades as well, no? Do they meet your threshold of “valiant” I know they’re dead, but you can just dig them up, toss them in a car and give them their belated ticket-tape parade–right down 5th avenue.

      … will you extend this same treatment to those who proudly and bravely fight in defense of their homelands in Afghanistan or Iraq or other countries?”

      Is it valiant to blow up innocent men, women, children in suicide attacks? Are seriously trying to draw equivalence between the heroic, brave, defensive actions of our soldiers to that of mass murdering al Qaeda terrorists? 96% of insurgent attacks in Iraq were connected to various terrorist organizations operating in the area.
      Sure sounds like it to me. Yet again, you equate the arsonist with the fireman.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
        Ignored
        says:

        I never said that everyone fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan is doing so valiantly. Many, for just the reasons provided, should be discredited. But some, despite the simplistic narrative constructed, are regular men and women who are defending their homelands. Yet, we call them all Al Qaeda, despite no evidence of affiliation, and all terrorists, because we get to define who is and who isn’t a terrorist.

        And, if you understood my point, you’d see that I don’t think we should celebrate all warriors. Some probably deserve praise, even if they were on the “wrong” side or simply the other side. And some deserve scorn, even if they were on the “right” side or simply our side. For me, I think that which people fight for does matter. Fighting in defense of slavery mitigates any respect I might otherwise offer someone.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
          Ignored
          says:

          “Fighting in defense of slavery mitigates any respect I might otherwise offer someone.”

          How about fighting in defense of Patriarchy? They’re bombing schools that teach little girls to read, you know.Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Jaybird-

            That is far beyond a defense of patriarchy and absolutely something I would denounce.

            The question I have for you is… who is the “they” to which you refer? Not every guy battling US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq is directly or indirectly involved in the bombing of such schools. They often are not even affiliated in any way, shape, or form, except in their general resistance to US forces. So, I will denounce those who are involved in the acts described, but not the guy who picks up a gun because he woke up to soldiers marching through his town. As much as our media likes to conflate anyone who’s skin is of a hue darker than a paper bag, I like to think that their is slightly more nuance to the world.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
              Ignored
              says:

              Let’s say that we totally give those howling barbarians a real civilization. One with equality for chicks and everything.

              Can you imagine, in 145ish years, someone arguing about stuff before the Americans came and ruined everything?

              Would they have anything approaching a point or would they be the equivalent of the ignorant hillbillies?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird-

                I’m not particularly interested in someone who refers to a whole region’s worth of people as “barbarians”. It does not surprise me that you have taken the position that you have.

                Afghanistan and Iraq were sovereign nations that were invaded. Many of those who are fighting are doing so because they woke up and found jackbooted thugs posing as liberators. And perhaps they want liberation from the other group(s) of oppressors present in the country, but many of them do not want it as they are currently being “given” it.

                Are there many, many issues with how countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are/were run? I look upon them now and denounce much of this ugliness and, should I be alive in 150 years and things have changed, I will maintain the same stance.

                The problem here is you are demanding of me a consistency which I have already offered yet refuse to offer the same consistency.

                Why do you believe it is appropriate to honor Confederate leaders? Why do you not believe it is appropriate to honor Afghan or Iraq resistance/insurgent leaders?

                Oh yea… they’re “barbarians”… the South was quite civilized.

                It is wonderful to live in a world where one gets to decide the level of civility achieved by another group. And quite remarkable when that scale is directly correlated with skin color.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do you believe it is appropriate to honor Confederate leaders?

                Seems here that you’re putting words in my mouth.

                Why do you not believe it is appropriate to honor Afghan or Iraq resistance/insurgent leaders?

                Seems here that you’re putting words in my mouth.

                I’m even flashing back to where I said (dude, use “find” and see where I said this!): “Because it’s not difficult, at all, for me to understand why they might do so (even thought I do not)… and I can even understand how I might do so if I were in their place.”

                It is wonderful to live in a world where one gets to decide the level of civility achieved by another group.

                And even better when you get to explain how, no, we totally have justification to invade, kill, and liberate… because, after all, they were really, really bad.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What makes all of “them” (whom you still haven’t defined) “really, really bad”?

                My hunch is you have fallen for the nonsensical idea that Afghans = Taliban = Al Qaeda.

                Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization.
                Taliban is religious/political movement that ruled much of Afghanistan prior to our invasion and provided safe harbor (and possibly material support) to Al Qaeda.
                Afghans are the people of the Afghan region of Asia. Some are in the Taliban and some are in Al Qaeda (with some in both). Most are farmers or peasants or shepherds or other regular folks. Most probably do subscribe to some violent and oppressive notions of patriarchy.

                You seem intent on throwing the baby out with the bathwater, vilifying anyone who stands in our way to justify our obliteration of them. I’m sorry… our liberation of them.

                And, yes, I do recognize that much the same can be said for members of the Confederacy. I have a very different perspective on grunt soldiers than I do the military and political leaders. I don’t think anyone below the Mason-Dixon line is evil incarnate.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
                Ignored
                says:

                And, yes, I do recognize that much the same can be said for members of the Confederacy.

                Good enough for me.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Let’s fight for matriarchy?Report

  18. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Holly Banannas, I’d heard before that the topic of the civil war really gets Americans going but this is still quite an impressive melee.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s an interesting dynamic.

      There is very much an undercurrent of “you people” on both sides of the argument and it is most interesting to see where and how it bubbles up.

      Well, when it’s only white people arguing, anyway. When African-Americans are present, the dynamic is exceptionally different which is an interesting dynamic in and of itself.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        How do you know that African-Americans or other people of color are not already present in the conversation…?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t know that necessarily… but the commenters that I know are of color have not appeared in this thread.

          What about the ones who have? Well, I’m just guessing but whenever I have witnessed this conversation in the past, anyone who was presenting themselves as being of color generally made this known very early in the conversation. As this has not happened, I suspect it’s because everybody having this conversation is white. Maybe that’s a bad assumption on my part, sure.

          I’d be delighted to be corrected on this because it would indicate that these types of arguments have evolved past the same general template I’ve seen them take since Usenet days.Report

      • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        FWIW You have a “talent” for seeing all sorts of assertions as “you people” even when nobody else does.Report

        • Avatar BSK in reply to gregiank
          Ignored
          says:

          Please explain…

          Just saying things doesn’t make them so…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
          Ignored
          says:

          Allow me to quote one of the enlightened Northerners from this very thread, Greg:

          It’s precisely this kind of wink-and-a-nod pretense, the “Oh, slavery was bad, but wasn’t our cause glorious” bullshit that makes me think Lincoln did the north and west a long-term disservice by not just telling the south, “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.” What the hell has that region contributed to American politics that’s of any real value since then anyway?

          Do you not see a “you people” in that last sentence?

          Or, more importantly, do you not see how someone could, in good faith, see that there?Report

          • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I hope you are not quoting me. I think you see “you people” in many things, in that quote i see it, but not in everything. “you people” is a quick way to ignore somebodies other points and to make it personal.

            Regarding your comment that when AfAm’s are present in a conversation the dynamic is different. I agree. In my, purely anecdotal, experience AfAm’s don’t bother with being polite about slavery as the all five of the top five causes of the CW, will usually talk from personal or family experience about racism in the entire country but also do not avoid talking about lynchings primarily in the South and don’t even acknowledge the nobility of the Confeds. They are deeply bothered by going to Robert Lee HS and that kind of thing.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
              Ignored
              says:

              I hope you are not quoting me.

              If there’s a possibility in your head that I *MIGHT* be quoting you, I’d say that that problem lies with you and not with me.

              Regarding your comment that when AfAm’s are present in a conversation the dynamic is different. I agree.

              Things get said in, shall we say, homogeneous company that do not get said in heterogeneous company.

              I don’t know if this is good or bad. Maybe it’s just a different dynamic.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “If there’s a possibility in your head that I *MIGHT* be quoting you, I’d say that that problem lies with you and not with me.”

                LOL Jay…you can do so much better then that. If you make a mistake or misspeak, which we all do, own it and move on. I didn’t say that, nor did i think i did.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                And I didn’t say I was quoting you.

                I said I was quoting someone… and, indeed, I did. You can do a find on that very phrase. I cut/pasted it.

                Your response was not “Yes, someone in this thread did say that” but, let me quote you here, “I hope you are not quoting me.”

                I can’t help but think that you’d *KNOW* that I wasn’t, if I wasn’t.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jay you ascribed a quote to me i didn’t say. Yes i phrased my reply poorly as in: I hope you are not ascribing that quote to me since i didn’t say it. See thats how you clarify something when you phrase it poorly.

                You used it, not me. geez Jay, deal with it, don’t try to put someone else’s voice on me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                Please, I beg you: Quote me.

                Where did I ascribe a quote to you that you did not say?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh! Are you reading Allow me to quote one of the enlightened Northerners from this very thread, Greg: as if I had said Allow me to quote one of the enlightened Northerners from this very thread: Greg,?Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Sending along Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, NOrth!

      Hey, now that we’ve settled the ‘civil’ war question, do yous guys think we should have a federal program to distribute reparations to those African Americans whose ancestors suffered in slavery?Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BSK
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          says:

          BSK—my ancestors on both sides of the family fought on the Union side–why should they be paying any reparation $$$. Not mention, they’re all dead. Shouldn’t Northern white people who fought for the Union side also be paid reparations? A lot of their blood was shed to end slavery. I’d be happy to send you my address if you’d like to shed some cash to the “Heideggers”. I’m starting to like this idea.

          And what the heck does this mean? You: “Afghanistan and Iraq were sovereign nations that were invaded. Many of those who are fighting are doing so because they woke up and found jackbooted thugs posing as liberators.”

          Are you now saying the United States military are a bunch of jackbooted thugs? With all due respect, BSK, you’re really starting to drift off into cuckoo land. This is getting downright Chomskyish. I have no idea who’s filling your head with all this silly, toxic, rubbish, but it’s getting progressively more absurd by the minute. By the way, what’s wrong with vengeance? With punishment? When the next large scale terrorist attack happens in the US, I can only hope our response will be to use nuclear weapons. Forget this nation building crap. Let’s see how these cowards like a little nation destruction. And may all of their 72 virgins look like Helen Thomas!Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Heidegger
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            says:

            The Union may have fought to end slavery; though my own understandably modest understanding was that their aims were primarily about preserving the union and their stand against slavery was a means to that end. But you can’t write them out of the slave holder narrative just by virtue of their not holding the whips and chains. The Union factories and workshops were fuelled with slave harvested primary goods. Heck, odds are the uniforms they wore were made of slave harvested cotton.

            But really that is a side point. All of the slavers or the beneficiaries of slavery are gone and their descendants are muddled up with everyone else.

            And Heidegger, vengeance and punishment maybe can be argued for, but only if you’re punishing the guilty parties. If the families of the Oklahoma City bomber victims came and started dropping bombs on your house because you shared ethnicity and some cultural references with McVeigh that’d be wrong and idiotic. The same goes for trying to kick Afghan tribal durkas just because Osama managed to get some spoiled Saudi brats to hijack American planes.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to North
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              says:

              Of course, North. We’re not talking carpet bombing of innocent civilians. The guilty party though, is going to suffer, suffer big, in an excruciatingly painful way. At stake is only the preservation and survival of Western Civilization and we’re not going to let these hysterical, blood-lust, life-hating jihadist butchers overrun our culture, ever.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Oh yeah, North. Only the guilty, only the guilty.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                Heidegger, I really am fascinated with all things nuclear; it’s a personal hobby. The funny thing about nukes is that neither the heat flash, the concussion wave nor the radiological fallout are capable of distinguishing innocent from guilty. Now maybe if the terrorists could be coaxed into separating themselves from their civilian shields and gathering into a convenient confab in Kandahar then maybe a nuke would be appropriate. Otherwise no.

                It is a fascinating sensation to have a lower opinion of the Islamic terrorists than you do. You view them as some sort of existential threat. I feel that is a remarkable inflation of their importance and ascribes to them power, both temporal and ideological, that they do not actually have. They are not a threat to our civilization (nor to the civilizations of our western neighbors). Even if they were able to pull off a 9/11 every year (which they patently cannot) they would only be able to put us in the state of mind of say, Israel in the 90’s. They are not the new soviets; they are a contemptible passel of cowardly retrograde religious nuts. They’re also ridiculous; for goodness sakes one of them tried to attack us with exploding underwear!
                Al Queda is the social equivalent of the flatulent retorts of steam that you get when cold water begins initially flowing into a smoldering overheated dung heap. In this particular metaphor the smoldering dung heap is the ossified tribal and traditional practices of the Middle East and the water is more modern and western ideals transmitted via globalization and technology.

                It’s kind of sad to see the ideology that defeated militaristic global communism collectively wetting itself over a bunch of jumped up goat screwers from an old Ottoman backwater.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                The above is vinatage North. When you write like this I feel I should send you a cheque.
                However, one aspect of your argument that our camel jockey friends can’t ‘hurt’ us may be found in the area of demographics, of which I am less than knowledgeable.
                So yous college kids can discuss and I’ll read. Or am I full of fecal matter?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                I’m always happy to please Bob so long as I can do it by being myself.

                I am passing familiar with the “Eurabia” demographic concern that has been raised before by conservatives and I don’t personally consider it a significant threat.
                I’m leaving out the links because I don’t want my response to be caught in moderation hell but I have read several studies that note that Muslim fertility in several European countries drops to two children per woman by the second generation. That is pretty much just replacement level. Please also keep in mind that just because a child is born Muslim doesn’t mean that they will stay that way and also keep in mind that most of the European countries are carrying Muslim minorities in the neighborhood of 4-8 percent of the total population. Even with low native birthrates 4-8 percent won’t become a majority without very high birthrates.

                Yes some of the Europeans countries (specifically France) do have large Muslim “ghettos” if you will that are not very successfully assimilating but I am of the opinion that this is primarily an economic issue rather than a cultural one; or at least a cultural one on the part of the Muslim immigrants. France’s labor laws and cultural hiring practice make it extremely difficult for native French to get jobs let alone immigrants. This then pretty much confines those Muslims into the suburban government provided housing since they can afford to go nowhere else (the European inversion of the city is fascinating in itself. In Europe the city core is wealthy and the suburbs poor. In America of course it’s the other way around).

                Also consider that since the first discussions of the “Eurabia” concern we have seen a considerable hardening of countervailing forces in Europe against an arabization of the continent. Right wing nativist sentiments have risen which has led to the resurgence of political players who are tightening immigration laws. The integration of poor but still European “Iron curtain” countries into the EU is offering an alternative source of immigrants. Also while the European media largely folded on the issue of the Mohammed cartoons the fooferaw has produced a very considerable cooling on the part of the left towards multicultural accommodation of immigrants. All over the continent from Norway to Italy there has been a lot of push back; some of it productive (the Danish require learning the majority language in order to apply for citizenship for instance) and some of it probably not (the Swiss have banned Minarets).

                I don’t think you’re full of fecal matter Bob but I don’t feel that any genuine concern about Europe demographically imploding is very warranted. Eurabia was always struck me as more of a fun additional way for Kurtz et all to poo poo Europe’s way of doing things than it was a significant concern. Really sociology is so complicated and Europe so diverse and complicated I don’t think any sweeping concern could get much traction.

                The one exception I’d make would be Israel. If they keep clinging to the West Bank they’re either going to find themselves in possession of a Muslim majority of voters or else they’ll lose their democratic character and become an apartheid state.

                Oh and if the Russians keep drinking themselves to death they may have to worry about their far east turning Chinese, but that’s a separate issue I guess.Report

              • Avatar dexter in reply to North
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                says:

                North, Your reply to heh you is the reason I hang around here. Three bravos and a happy near year to you.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Dexter, I’m flattered. Thank you and happy new year to you and yours as well.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, old palsy, well done..though, I’m a bit of a doubting Thomas, but we’ll see. And, I always want YOU to be YOU but the ‘self’ can get us into real trouble, just ask Sarte.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Hi North – That’s a pretty awesome comment, that is. Thank you.

                I’d like to add one thing, which is that its easy to miss the diversity of European Muslims from the distance of North America. Different countries have very different populations and very different policies towards them. British Muslims are mostly Bangladeshi and Pakistani, and for the most part the second generation are thoroughly assimilated. By background they’re mostly from various shi’a and sufi sects. French Muslims are mostly from North Africa, and as you note, they’re not well assimilated in part because of French nativism, and in part because of the economic system there. They tend of be from stricter Suni strains of Islam compared with the Pakistanis. German Muslims are mostly Turkish and many have been there for generations. They would be well-asimilated except the Germans deny them citizenship. Turkey has its own peculiar branches of Islam that, as I understand it, are quite heterodox.

                Now here’s the kicker – The French Muslims who’ve been more-or-less screwed by their host country don’t show much sign of Islamism, nor do the Germans. The British Muslims who are quite assimilated and generally happy with it and anyway from quite moderate branches of Islam for the most part have produced almost all of the European Islamist terrorists. Life is complicated, huh?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                says:

                Simon K, thanks and thanks for the additional detail. Bob, you’re fully entitled to your doubts. If I’m wrong and we wake up suddenly to a world of ululating and mandatory beards I’ll try and smuggle you some Maker’s Mark as an apology before they hang me from a crane next to my husband.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to North
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                says:

                I’m very much enjoying and learning from you replies, North–well done! Very, very well done. And another nuke-head geek! I’m also quite fascinated by lethal and destructive capacity. If I would have known, I would have been more than happy to send you a few suitcase nukes for Christmas–they’re all just sitting in the closet, collecting dust. And they make great Grand Finales for 4th of July fireworks displays. Good point about nukes not being particularly good at discriminating between the good guys from the bad guys. However, I think I have the solution to sticky problem—NEUTRON NUKES!! Don’t they just kill people and leave your furniture intact? I think a few thousand furniture drops would do the trick, protecting the innocents and leaving the terrorists “jumped up goat screwers from an old Ottoman backwater” (love that one!) die horrible, painful deaths. Yeah, you’ve got me beat–“contemptible passel of cowardly retrograde religious nuts.” And this gem, “Al Queda is the social equivalent of the flatulent retorts of steam that you get when cold water begins initially flowing into a smoldering overheated dung heap.” Great stuff, North!!
                North, you have me worried with this land for peace business–are you a pre-1967 borders guy? A nice place to start might be for your negotiating partners to a knowledgeable your right to exist. Just saying. Gaza is the perfect example what happens when the barbarians get additional land (for peace)—24 hour a day non-stop rocket and mortar attacks against almost exclusively Israeli civilians areas. Ya ain’t got no land and ya ain’t got no peace, now. Maybe (hopefully) you meant something else.
                Check this out, North.

                Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Heidegger, I’m passionately pro-Israeli with several friends who live there (a couple in Jerusalem and most of them in the Ramat Gan district of Tel Aviv).
                I will try and address your concern briefly because I’ve hijacked this thread horribly already.
                I am keenly aware of the juvenile nature of the Palestinians but the idiocy of Bibi and his current ruling clown posse is difficult to comprehend. They finally, FINALLY, have a mature group of Palestinian politicians in the West Bank now that the old crook Arafat has been winged off into his sizzling hereafter and they’re somehow managing to squander the opportunity.
                Acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist is a Jewish right wing piece of symbolic nonsense just as settlement construction freezes are a Palestinian piece of symbolic nonsense (though with a grain of sense; the more homes built in those settlements the more people will have to be moved in the eventual agreement). No words are going to stop the bomb-monkeys hiding among the Palestinians from doing what they can to kill Jews. Acknowledgement of the Jewish state won’t stop a single rocked; Hamas doesn’t give a damn.
                What the issue boils down to is land, demographics and time. Israel has the former but the Palestinians have the latter two. Israel has the West Bank and a threatening demographic majority of Palestinians. They have two options:
                A: divest themselves of the land and the people on it.
                B: divest the land of the people on it.
                Option A will make them a secure Israeli state with a possibly fractious neighbor (but equally if not more possibly a grumbling but stable and peaceable neighbor).
                Option B will turn Israel into South Africa circa 1948 or Rawanda and the sound of every dead Arab and Nazi laughing from deep in the depths of cursed history (and/or Hell) will deafen every spiritually sensitive person on the planet.
                Sharon, sly old bugger that he was, realized this. Netanyahu simply doesn’t have the balls to stand up to his poor old Dad and tell him Pan-Zionism is over.

                Summary: It’s land for peace or nuthin. Final borders will probably be adjusted with land swaps to compensate each side and integrate the biggest settlement blocks.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                I see that as accurate but I honestly think that the Israelis are once, twice, thrice, octice, nonice, dekice bitten, dodekice shy.

                Or something. Apparently, there isn’t anything official after “thrice”.

                They’ve gotten accustomed to killing their opponents and fallen out of the habit of negotiating with them.

                There but for the grace of God go I.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North
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                says:

                Even Jeffrey Goldberg is now worried that the Israelis are going to choose “nuthin”.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                says:

                Jay, Mike, I agree entirely. I was trying to be brief so I life out the part where I emphasize with the Israeli plight. One of my friends voted Meretz (Meretz!!) when I first met her. Then moved Labor, and then Kadima and seriously agonized and considered voting Likud in the last election.
                Any conversation about Israeli politics should keep in mind that Palestinian terror and bad faith in the late 90’s and early 2000’s killed the powerful peace movement in Israel stone dead and left the religious nutbars and settlement mouth breathers running the show. It’s only now beginning to quiver and twitch back to life.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to North
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                says:

                North, oh God, now I know it’s all hopeless—you are, in fact, a land for peace, peacenic. Is this based 0n the huge success of Gaza? 5000 rockets shot into Israel? The West Bank before the Wall was erected. Solomon? The Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon? I’m at a complete loss of what could possibly lead you to think this failed concept-land for peace—will succeed this time. The Palestinians have had all the land and much more than you’re willing to grant them, in 1947, but it wasn’t enough–so they went to war. Yes, they rejected statehood and went to war in their first failed attempt to push all the Jews into the sea. They lost the war and they lost some land. Just curious–what other country that has been atacked/invaded by aggressors, been victorious in war and forced to give up land captured in victory?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Robert Cheeks
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        says:

        Happy holidays to you and the Ms. too Bob.

        As to reparations I say no, primarily on practical rather than principled reasons.

        As a practical matter I don’t think it’d be remotely possible to identify the descendants of slaves while also adjusting for non-slave immigrant heritage. It’d be a bureaucratic and budgetary nightmare and likely would stoke resentment and drag us back into those issues which the country is gradually moving beyond.

        Also on a principled issue there are no slaveholders left alive and a huge multitude of immigrants into the country who had nothing to do with slavery what so ever and the costs of reparations would fall on their undeserving shoulders. So reparations would in themselves be a form of unfair oppression.

        And that’s without going into its electoral impossibility.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to North
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          says:

          North, my man–great to hear from you and thanks for the reply! Your thoughts about the most asinine idea ever hatched by a human brain–reparations—was a relief. Sometimes it’s just impossible to tell if some these comments are a joke—BSK actually thinks reparations are some kind of God given right—to be paid for by people who were removed, by several generations, of ever participating in the slave trading market. It’s just nuts!Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Heidegger
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            says:

            In fairness Heidegger, I do think that the slaves were promised things they were never given. If it were possible to separate out the assets derived from slavery and the wealth and population pools that benefited from exclusively those assets and if it were possible to separate out only the descendants of the slaves. Then I think that a strong argument could be made for encumbering those assets and recompensing said descendants.
            Such a feat, however, is completely impossible. Both the assets and the victims are intractable intertwined with unrelated parties. It just can’t be done and trying to do so and falling short would be far worse than not trying at all.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Heidegger
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            says:

            Oh and also I didn’t see BSK write any of the assertions you ascribe to him(her?) Maybe on another thread? If not it’d be less incendiary if you let people express their thoughts themselves.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Heidegger
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            says:

            BSK actually thinks reparations are some kind of God given right

            You’ve got a mouse! You’ve got a keyboard! Cut/paste!

            I will take it as my personal charge to see that whenever someone ascribes a view to someone else that they quote the offending passage.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Uh oh head for cover. Jay’s found a cause!Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Sorry, Jaybird, North, and BSK–you’re very correct–no need to “paraphrase” when I can use a direct quote. BSK’s reply to the reparati0n question was, “Yes”. That does not translate to “God given right”, so my apologies to you, BSK.

              North, agree with you re reparations. I think one Civil War over this issue is enough. To attempt to fairly compensate legitimate victims would open a wound so deep I believe we’d be set back at least 100 years. I also believe the “Great Society” was the most destructive and harmful program ever implemented in the name of Federal nannyism this country has ever seen. Has it been buried…forever? Please may it be so.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Sorry to ‘nest’ this query incorrectly but having troubles again.
                Up the thread JB answered my inquiry re: slavery or something with the remark that slavery was ‘immoral,’ I beleive…can’t find it due to troubles.
                Could JB or someone, or everyone, explain to me in what sense was ‘slavery’ immoral: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, secular, atheist, modern??????
                I’m particularly interested in yous guys remarks.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Slavery is immoral because it deliberately violates the moral agency of an actualized human being.

                I’ve got an entire moral theory worked out here:
                ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2009/07/07/the-vector-a-post-theist-moral-framework/

                It’s even an atheistic one!

                That said, depending on how much sunlight I get, I waver between that moral theory and hardcore moral nihilism.

                So I may not be the best person to ask.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Robert-

                Do you really need this explained to you? Jaybird did a good job, but it seems as if you are simply doing a needless job of playing Devil’s Advocate, are being deliberately obtuse, and/or lack even the most basic perspective required to partake in this conversation.

                If you cannot see the inherent immorality of systematized slavery, I just don’t know what can be done with you.

                And, no, this is not an attempt to dodge the question. As I said early, I co-sign to Jaybird’s explanation, which should be more than sufficient.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BSK
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                says:

                You tell me you’re copying JB and you’re not ‘dodging the question.’ Really, BSK, you gotta do better than that. And, it does you no good to curse me, I’m merely asking a question that all of you anti-slavery folks should have on the tips of your tongue, if not in your heart.
                JB, I’ll try to link to that post…still having difficulties.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Robert-

                You are dodging the question. JB answered it for you. I questioned your asking of the question in the first place. JB has demonstrated why slavery is immoral. If you would like more justification, I’m happy to offer some as well. But, I must first ask, why do you seek such justification? It means you must harbor some doubt as to the immorality of slavery. If so, please explain how slavery can ever be morally justified. If you don’t harbor such doubt, please explain why you even asked the question?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Hei-

                I deliberately offered a simple “Yes” to answer the question but not wade into what I thought was an attempt at bating. I don’t think the issue of reparations has any real bearing on the primary topic of conversation here (which is how we view members of the Confederacy) and I often see it used as an attempt to discredit another. Supporting reparations is not the most popular position and often those who do are dismissed as whackos, loonies, Marxists, or some other pejorative. I’m happy to discuss reparations in more detail, but I don’t think this is the appropriate forum for it or really the best avenue.

                As to other statements, I fully agree with so much of what North has written here. And my perception of many American troops as “jackbooted thugs” (I apologize if my implication was that they all are) is directly informed by numerous family members, including my fiance, who are in the service. I’m not just some academic waxing nonsense from an ivory tower… I have a lot of personal connections to the military, the people in it, the ideologies present in it, and the actions taken by it. Furthermore, my statement was meant to be from the perspective of the Afghan or Iraqi who wakes up to his country under attack. Maybe our troops weren’t jackbooted thugs, but my hunch is a lot of citizens felt that way when they suddenly found them patrolling streets, kicking in doors, sending up road barricades, etc, etc, etc.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BSK
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                says:

                BSK writes: “And my perception of many American troops as “jackbooted thugs” (I apologize if my implication was that they all are) is directly informed by numerous family members, including my fiance, who are in the service.”

                Oh my God, BSK, I can’t believe I’m reading this toxic shit coming from you. That is such an awful, awful awful, hurtful, deeply offensive charge to make against our troops. It’s unforgivable and disgusting and I profounding despise you for making it. To see these soldiers at Walter Reed hospital with limbs blown off, massive head injuries, closed head injuries, loss of fingers, hearing, severe neurological problems, gait disorders…..HOW FUCKING SHAMEFUL can you get to utter such baseless charges? Jackbooted thugs? Do you not know what images those words conjure up?—jackbooted thugs?—SS, Gestapo?—so the soldiers that are protecting your pathetic sorry ass are a bunch of SS thugs? Listen, do you have any idea about how deep the integrity and honor and pride and love of country these valiant guardian angels–our soldiers–have? To have you slander and mock and disrespect them, with your utter LIES. Funny, I have a cousin who is a Navy SEAL and a nephew who is a Marine and I have never, never, never, ever heard the absolute bullshit you say members in your family, who are in the military have said about us being “jackbooted thugs” because IT’S a TOTALLY FREAKING LIE!!!! BSK, I’m sorry, but you have really crossed a line here, I mean a very, very serious line and you have cast very deep aspirisions and serious charges against our military with ZERO evidence. I utterly detest you. Oh God, how I HATE you!! And I’m really disappointed that not one other soul on this site has called you out on this. Who knows, maybe they all agree that a faction of our military have behaved like “jackbooted thugs”. Well, eternal shame on them, too.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Heidegger-

                Your blind adoration of our military is a graver threat to them and our nation than anything I have ever said. Your unwillingness and inability to be genuinely critical when necessary excuses and encourages any bad behavior our military and/or the individuals in it take.

                And how dare you question my support of our troops/military, collectively or individually. My fiance was a nurse at USMC and dealt with the very soldiers you spoke of, many of whom denounced the military leadership for exactly what I have spoken of here. And other family members and friends are frustrated with individuals who think a uniform puts them above the law and above universally accepted morals.

                But keep up your rants. We’ll keep having situations like Abu Ghraib. Which I’m sure you probably think was no big deal, eh?

                Fuck you and fuck your bullshit.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                “That is such an awful, awful awful, hurtful, deeply offensive charge to make against our troops.”

                Are you, yourself, a troop, either currently or formally? If you are not, and you’ve given no reason to believe that you are, I find it incredibly patronizing that you purport to speak on behalf of the emotional response of millions of people. How do you know they would take offense to what I’ve said? Many have applauded me for saying what they are forbidden from saying. I’m sure many would be offended, but I can assure you not all. Should those folks be strung up as you seem to think I should be?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                “To see these soldiers at Walter Reed hospital with limbs blown off, massive head injuries, closed head injuries, loss of fingers, hearing, severe neurological problems, gait disorders…..HOW FUCKING SHAMEFUL can you get to utter such baseless charges?”

                First off, there is nothing baseless about my charges. There are numerous examples of members of our military engaging in thuggish behavior and numerous examples of military policies that could rightfully be described as jackbooted.

                And, as sad and regrettable a picture you paint of some of the immense pain endured by soldiers, none of that mitigates any morally repugnant actions they might have taken. You seem to think that taking a bullet or losing a limb or suffering psychological trauma excuses bad behavior. While I feel sympathy for anyone who endures the pains that my fiance treated during her four years of service, I am no less apt to call them thugs if they indeed acts like thugs simply because of that pain.

                You really are capable of amazing ignorance…Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                I know Wikipedia is not the best source, but I think this is enough to show that I am not simply putting forth baseless lies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes_committed_by_the_United_States

                On a more micro level, I have been surrounded by troops who speak fondly of kicking in the door of the “towel heads” and “sand n****ers” and showing them what’s what, often with the butt of a rifle. These are not enemy combatants or militia men or terrorists… they are regular people guilty of no more than failing to ask “How high?” when told to jump.

                Again, none of these charges can be applied to all in the military. I will not harbor a guess as to what percentage of the military is guilty of the charges I put forth, but I freely contend that it is a significant percentage. And, to my original point, the way in which we’ve conducted ourselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if in full accordance with the laws and morals we espouse, has lead the perception on the behalf o many Afgans and Iraqis that our military is a bunch of jackbooted thugs. Maybe they are wrong, but that is their feeling. And that is why I used that phrase.

                But go ahead… keep telling me what I shame I am because I dared question the inherent infallibility of our military…Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BSK
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                says:

                This thread kinda takes me back to the 60’s, but I don’t care what anyone says, I DO NOT believe BSK will spit on returning troops, no matter what atrocities they’ve committed.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                There really is no gray in your world is there, Heidegger?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to mark boggs
                Ignored
                says:

                Robert Cheeks-

                I wouldn’t spit on anyone. And definitely not the troops. Not only is it entirely unproductive and grossly rude, vile, and disrespectful, but I also recognize that many troops who do engage in immoral behavior in uniform do so as a result of a horrible indoctrination process that takes place in the military. This doesn’t absolve them of accountability, of course.

                Just as I argued before, the situation isn’t black in white. A private may act like a thug in his uniform, but he’s still a human, capable of both good and bad acts. He’s still a son, a brother, a father, a husband, etc, etc, etc. I don’t denounce them entirely as people. And I celebrate and honor those who do actively promote the morals and values our country is (supposedly) founded on.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                My apologies to any, and every one, who had the misfortune to be subjected to yet another of my off the rails rants. BSK hit a raw nerve and I just flipped. Sorry.Report

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