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Samizdata quote of the day

I found the reasons various people gave for choosing sides in the American Civil War fascinating, but the complexities of each choice have largely been ignored in contemporary discussions on the subject. I guess the BBC and their ilk prefer to stoke the flames of a race war by implying Lee was fighting to preserve slavery.

Well, they’re getting what they wanted, aren’t they?

Tim Newman

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75 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Like the issues raised in the “Google Memo,” the reasons for the secession are something it is impossible to have a rational discussion about in today’s political climate.

  • CaptDMO

    Awwww…are the folks at BBC STILL bitter over that time when Red Coated British folk (and their German brethren)got kicked in the balls, and sent running home, by American Nationalists?
    I’m too cheap to pay for the “extra” private television extensions that ran BBC America any more. They USED to be superior than “our” own (indubitably left wing, fungible tax favored)”Public” television, and certainly ANY of our “cable “news” stations, in remotely thoughtful reporting.
    1. Does BBC America still even exist?
    2. Do they WANT to?

  • Fred Z

    When I am King there will be a row of gibbets and crucifixes on both sides of Regent Street from Park Crescent to Piccadilly Circus. Extant lamp-posts will also be fully utilized.

    Perhaps I shall spare the technical, secretarial and janitorial staff. Perhaps not, because Heinlein’s dictum applies even to lowly BBC employees: “No matter how lavishly overpaid, civil servants everywhere are convinced that they are horribly underpaid — but all public employees have larceny in their hearts or they wouldn’t be feeding at the public trough.

    “larceny in their hearts” larceny indeed.

  • Ferox

    The Ctrl-Left media do not want a race war. They want a race massacre – with all the “bad” whites getting the axe.

    They assume, of course, that they will be counted among the “good” whites on that much-desired day of reckoning.

  • Jed Clampett

    Complexities? One side kept slaves, the other didn’t. About as “complex” as any of the other times the US military has administered a comprehensive and well-deserved pasting to fascists or communists or whateverists elsewhere in the world.
    The BBC aren’t the ones waving the flag of a defeated tyranny here.

  • Thank you Jed for providing a perfect example of what Tim was discussing 😆

  • Laird

    @ Jed Clampett: A perfect illustration of the US public schools’ pathetic teaching of history; gross oversimplification and complete whitewash in equal measure. Orwell would be proud.

  • Jed Clampett

    Have never set foot in a US public school, Laird.
    Just not a big fan of anti-American moral relativism, whether it comes from Noam Chomsky or Tim Newman.

  • Joe Hooker

    Jed, the slave-holding states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware remained in the Union, and yes, slavery was legal there, at least at the Federal level, until 1866.

    I’ve just published a book of the letters of a Virginian who joined the Confederacy. He came from an abolitionist family and opposed secession, and his decision to join the Confederacy was a difficult one. It’s a story no one wants to hear today.

  • George Atkisson

    Ferox, I agree that “massacre” is what the Media and Ctrl-Left want to see happen. The ‘good whites’ as they style themselves, will find out what whites who tried to join and support the original Black Panthers discovered. No whites need apply.

    As for the massacre, blacks make up 15% of the US population. The other 85% will have their say. The best outcome would be a return to segregation. Anything else would have high body counts, including those who supported and defended the initial attempts at open warfare. No good outcomes here.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    No complexities. One side stood for States’ Rights, and the other stood for an expanding Federal Government.

  • Chester Draws

    I love the line that the American Civil War was about “States Rights”.

    There was only right in question: the right to have slaves.

    No other “states rights” have come even close to causing a secession, and never will.

  • Darin

    Let’s say that the defenders of Confederacy just want to celebrate their heritage and remember bravery and sacrifice of their ancestors.
    Fine, but what about the Confederate fans who are not white Southerners and have no Southern ancestors (like the Croatian guy who became the face of the alt-right protest)?
    Why do they care?
    What are they defending?

  • Mr Ed

    The Romans had slavery, the EU started, effectively, with the Treaty of Rome. The UK is leaving the EU and its legacy of slavery.

    There’s an over-simplification for you, it’s not even mansplaining.

  • Mr Ed

    BTW, did the Union ever offer the Confederacy (or v.v.) peace in exchange for emancipation?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Chester, Lincoln is on the record as being prepared to tolerate slavery, so long as the states stayed in the Union. So slavery was not the only reason.

  • Jacob

    The issue of General Lee fighting for the Confederation was complex – but let’s examine it. Lee opposed slavery and secession, but felt compelled by honor and duty to fight for his country – Virginia and the Confederacy.
    Is that a good thing? Is that a noble, admirable thing? Is it correct to put your country above your individual judgement?

    I don’t think so. People should have a moral compass, and individual moral position. The individual moral position should override the collective or the state. If you think your state is wrong – you should refuse to serve it. It is your individual judgement and responsibility. The position “my country, my state uber alles” is wrong.

    If Lee thought the Confederacy was wrong and the war a catastrophe – he should have resigned his commission and stayed home. (It was the Confederacy that started the war, that fired the first shot, that provoked the war). I don’t say he should have fought for the Union (the north). The revulsion against killing your own countrymen is understandable. But he should have refrained from fighting for a cause he didn’t believe in. I cannot feel sympathy for what he did.

  • gunit

    1776: A bunch of slaveowners rebel because they don’t like paying excise tax on tea and, ummm, LIBERTY!!!! = Great guys.

    1861: A bunch of slaveowners rebel because they don’t like paying cotton tariffs and, ummmm, LIBERTY!!! = Evil, wipe them from the face of the earth.

    Makes sense.

    Fine, but what about the Confederate fans who are not white Southerners and have no Southern ancestors (like the Croatian guy who became the face of the alt-right protest)?
    Why do they care?
    What are they defending?

    Not ending up likes whites in South Africa. Maybe they are over-egging the risk of this actually happening, but, then, maybe not.

  • Darin

    Jacob
    August 16, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Is that a noble, admirable thing? Is it correct to put your country above your individual judgement?
    Maybe it was. But is it correct and admirable for Croatian to travel (via Nevada) all the way to Virginia to wave Confederate flag and yell “blood and soil”?
    Is it correct to put someone else’s country defunct for 150 years above your individual judgement?

  • Paul Marks

    General Robert E. Lee was NOT in charge of the Confederacy.

    “President” Jefferson Davis was in charge of the Confederacy – and he was, most certainly, engaging in war to preserve slavery – and to EXPAND slavery to the new areas. Had the attempted secession been agreed to, war would have come anyway – as both the Confederacy and the United States expanded into the West.

    Jefferson Davis (whatever lies he came out with later) could not give a damn about “States Rights” or the Rule of Law – and he certainly was not fighting for economic freedom.

    Taxes were higher (and more “Progressive”) in the Confederacy than in the United States – and fiat money inflation was worse. Lincoln is condemned for his violations of the Rule of Law (although the Constitution allows such actions in time of rebellion) – but Jefferson Davis totally ripped up the Rule of Law (and I mean for white people) and no one even mentions that.

    Also “swarms of officials” controlled everything in the Confederacy – far worse than in the United States. Indeed the government essentially took over many branches of the economy in the South.

    The ideas that there was some sort of choice or trade-of here is wrong.

    It was not a question of “well the Confederates were in favour of slavery – but they were offering lower taxes and less regulations”.

    The Confederacy stood for slavery – and HIGHER taxes and MORE regulations.

    And the Rule of Law (and I mean for white people – I repeat that) broke down in the Confederacy (with the exception of North Carolina – where Governor Vance made a stand against the lawlessness of Jefferson Davis) almost at once – it was far WORSE than the situation under Lincoln.

    Whatever people may have thought in 1861 it soon became obvious that the Confederacy was a nightmare – not “just” for black people (although why should they be ignored in all this? are black people not also people?) but also for white people.

  • Paul Marks

    The Confederacy could have won the war – by ending slavery. Britain and France would then have recognised the Confederacy and the position of the United States would have been untenable. Especially as abolitionists in the North would no longer have supported the war.

    Why did Jefferson Davis not do that?

    Reading the Constitution of the Confederate States of America will tell you why.

    The Confederacy was about slavery – preserving and expanding slavery were what it was about. There was no point in a Confederacy WITHOUT slavery.

  • Mr Ed

    the Confederacy was a nightmare

    Indeed, a certain slogan ought to be ‘The South will sink again‘.

    And save the original slogan for South Vietnam.

  • Jacob

    Darin,
    You are perfectly right.
    The demonstration was not about the removal of Lee’s statue (though I oppose the removal).
    That was only a pretext. The demonstration was done by a bunch of loathsome, vile, crazy, racist, antisemitic Nazis. Maybe there were also some Southern sentimentalists in that crowd, but I doubt it.
    The question is whether such demonstrations need to be banned, or allowed under the right to free speech.
    I also cannot condemn the Antifa counter-demonstration against the vile Nazis.
    In such situations – violence erupts and is inevitable.

  • I think many people in this comment thread are utterly missing the point of Tim’s article. It was not about ‘defending’ the Confederacy, it is about discussing history and the people who made it, and thus arguing about whether the Confederacy was bad or not is not germane.

    Tim was discussing the complexity of history, the complexity of people back then, and people’s attitude to it now. The fact these statues have stood for generations should be a good indication what is happening today is not about what happened in 1861, not really.

  • Vinegar Joe

    While Britain profited by backing the South……trading weapons and warships for cotton.

    BTW…interesting note…..Judah P. Benjamin served as Confederate Attorney General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State. At the end of the war, he escaped to Britain where he became a barrister and QC. His book Benjamin’s Sale of Goods is part of your Common Law Library.

    http://www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk/Catalogue/ProductDetails.aspx?productid=670787&recordid=6687

  • Tim’s reply to a comment in his own post’s thread:

    “But Lee ended up fighting on behalf of slave states.”

    He did. Similarly, millions marched in London on behalf of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    deserves sharing.

    Lee had more excuse than those marchers, but I never supposed even they were all people who got off on the thought of Saddam’s torture chambers and street-killing programme.

    (My thoughts about Lee are here and in the last paragraph here.)

  • Although (as Tim’s quote of Lee shows) the US Civil War was not all about slavery for all who fought, it is important to grasp that it was about slavery.

    – It was about the fact that slavery (normal in all but western and parts of central Europe at that time, and normal in all of the world at an earlier time) was a “peculiar institution” in the United States.

    – It was about the fact that the south had slavery and the north did not.

    The war was about slavery for two groups

    – northern republicans

    – southern pre-war secessionists

    In the north, especially in the early part of the war, Lincoln had to carry with him the northern democrats, for whom the war was not nearly so much about slavery. In 1861, he knew that, to win the war that was about slavery, he had to avoid southern and northern democrats portraying him as having wilfully started it for that purpose.

    In the south, once the secessionists started the ball rolling, people had to choose. Although there were holdouts like Governor Houston in Texas, or Pettigrew in Charleston (“like the village atheist, testifying by his existence to the orthodoxy of the community”), the vast majority made Lee’s choice without the moral agony than Lee underwent.

    In justly denouncing the BBC’s biased coverage of this as of other matters in the US, do not anyone let their rhetoric trap them into actually denying these points.

  • I second Perry de Havilland (London), August 16, 2017 at 8:56 am. James Danmore being fired, a statue being toppled and a SJW saying “Don’t you dare think about Lee, just say you hate him – in precisely these words I am now ordering you to use” is all about killing freedom of speech and of thought. We are defending the right to think about Lee. We are not merely or trivially defending Lee – not merely or trivially substituting another narrative for theirs.

    As it happens, Lee is an interesting character and calm thinking about him will tend to evoke a more positive response than you’d feel if all you knew was “he fought against those who ended slavery in the US”. But I don’t want to see even statues of Jefferson Davis toppled in parks, though I’ve admitted to tolerating the idea of their being moved to parks from more prestigious locations.

  • Mr Ed

    If socialists really cared about slavery, they’d be going on and on about the GULAGs, not dreaming of putting people in them.

  • Just not a big fan of anti-American moral relativism, whether it comes from Noam Chomsky or Tim Newman.

    Eh?

  • Jacob

    The murderous Communist and fascist regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany came to power after opposing gangs of left and right thugs clashed in the streets, murdering people and destroying property. The Governments at that time were too weak to stop it, which led to their downfall and criminal thugs gaining control and power.
    Weak governments and uncontrolled street violence are very dangerous and can spin out of control very fast.
    Maybe it’s time to ban all street demonstrations and strictly enforce it against both the left and the “right”.

  • John B

    All wars are fought over territory, who owns it/rules it. All wars are caused by an ambitious group who seek to profit by it.

    The stated causam belli of any war – religion, external threat, ‘lebensraum’, or some ideological cause, WMDs – is to justify those ambitions and rally support.

    Let’s see. An agrarian Southern society which traded its agricultural produce for manufactured goods mostly with Europe, instead of buying its manufactured goods from the factories of the industrialised Northern society. Vested industrial interests in the North, not least those armaments factories, in cozy crony relationship with the Washington politicians surely cannot have had an influence?

    If there was such concern about slavery, why didn’t the USA send ships in support of the Royal Navy patrolling the Coast of Africa to stop shipments of slaves? Why did the US Government help US slave transporters get compensation from the British for ships and slave cargoes intercepted? Why didn’t the US Government do what the British Goverment did on Carribean islands and compensate plantation owners for liberating their slaves… that certainly would have been cheaper than a five year war?

    And were Black people treated better in the North? During the Civil War, Black soldiers were not allowed to fight alongside Whites.

    But go ahead… delude yourselves it was all about emancipation of slaves.

    And the BBC and those of the same ilk soooo against slavery are quite at ease with the British being slaves to a Confederation of foreign Governments and bureaucrats.

    Pass the humbugs mother.

  • All wars are fought over territory, who owns it/rules it.

    Or Jenkins’ ear.

  • Rick

    This is a thoughtful forum so I will ask a question that’s been on my mind concerning this movement to remove offending statues. Given the logic of ‘standing against racism and slavery’ I’m hearing from the activists and protesters demanding said removal, what would the argument be for not removing the Washington Monument or Jefferson Memorial? Where does it stop? Last year activists and protesters in New York were demanding the removal of Teddy Roosevelt’s statue from the public library because he was “racist”. If I put my conspiratorial hat on the current focus on confederate statues just seems part of some larger agenda.

  • Mr Ecks

    Whatever the merits of the Confederate cause,the fact is Lee and his men suffered and died for what they believed in.

    Their sacrifice deserves to be honoured. Not pissed on by young-snot mostly middle class cultural Marxist scum. Most of whom have never had a days hardship in their worthless lives–except possibly those days they spent agonising over which sex they are.

  • Laird

    There is a huge amount of superficiality and historical ignorance on display here. Our Civil War (technically an attempted secession) was extraordinarily complex. Slavery certainly entered into it, and indeed provided the spark which ignited the conflagration. But the reality is that it was about much more than that, and “states rights” was indeed a part of it. (Paul’s oft-expressed fixation on slavery as “the” cause is simply wrong.) As John B says, control over territory (in this case, western expansion across the continent) was also a major part of it. As was taxation, international trade and a host of other issues. It had been brewing for 70 years. But it’s far too complex to dig into too deeply here, so I just want to make a few points:

    > With regard to Lee, people forget that prior to the Civil War a man’s primary allegiance was to his home state, not to the “nation” as a whole. Lee was a Virginian first and a citizen of the US second, as was almost everybody else. The nation was created by the states, and even after ratification of the Constitution they retained their status as semi-sovereign entities (hence the 10th Amendment, etc.). It was only after the Union victory that the primacy of the federal government became normalized. (Prior to that, when referring to this country people would say “the United States are“; afterward that changed to “the United States is“. The shift is telling.) That war was the genesis of our descent into the leviathan we have today; it changed ours from a “federal” government to a “national” one (although out of habit, or deceit, we still tend to use the word “federal”).

    > Jefferson Davis is criticized as not having any interest in, or respect for, individual rights. That may be true, but we cannot know. All countries, when engaged in an existential war, ignore and trample upon supposed “rights”, the Union no less than the Confederacy. Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and many other individual rights is well-documented. The Confederacy was born in blood and died there; Davis never had the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to individual rights (whatever it might have been) because he never governed during peacetime.

    > As has been (briefly) noted here, Lincoln’s primary objective in prosecuting the war was preservation of the Union (we can discuss elsewhere whether that was justified or not), and he was prepared to accept the continuation of slavery as the price. But that didn’t happen, so clearly there were issues other than slavery which were of enough importance to the South that it did not accept his offer, even as they were losing. (And of course, the war itself did not end slavery. The much-vaunted Emancipation Proclamation only ended it in the states engaged in rebellion, and there were many slaves in the North which remained so afterward. Slavery was only abolished with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.)

    > One small final point: the South (specifically South Carolina which, recall, viewed itself as a semi-sovereign entity just as it always had) did fire the first shots. That is undisputed. But it was in response to Lincoln’s abrogation of his agreement not to resupply Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor. The attack was very much provoked, possibly intentionally so.

  • Ferox

    It ain’t about Lee; the Antifa/BLM/SJW crowd couldn’t give a damn about him. It ain’t about the Confederacy either; most of them couldn’t tell you the first thing about it. That’s all pretext.

    The object of the exercise is to exert control over people they don’t like – any control. The control itself is the point; the particulars of it are irrelevant.

    If there were no Confederate statues to attack then they would have to make their enemies jump through torturous language hoops, or reflexively acknowledge some unfalsifiable “privilege” that permanently placed them in a morally inferior position, etc etc.

    They just want to exert their power to make white/non-Marxist people do unpleasant things.

    That is also why there will never be an end to the demands. You can’t give in enough, you can’t yield enough – because it’s about the act of demanding, rather than obtaining the stated object of those demands.

  • It ain’t about Lee; the Antifa/BLM/SJW crowd couldn’t give a damn about him. It ain’t about the Confederacy either; most of them couldn’t tell you the first thing about it. That’s all pretext.

    Yes indeed.

  • pete

    Once upon a time the BBC showed the Dukes of Hazzard.

    General Lee was a star in that.

  • Jacob

    Here is a long article about Lee. It says he was not an admirable person.

    He was, like all people of his time, a white supremacist. Lincoln was, too.

  • Jacob

    And here is an article by Peter Beinart about the rise of Antifa and the violent, anarchist left. I think they are a bigger threat than the “alt-right” or the neo-nazis.

  • Chip

    It’s ironic that the violent Left are crystal clear about the history of oppression, while wearing masks, beating opponents with bats and waving the hammer and sickle.

    This story is not about the confederacy or the so called alt right. There were only 200 supremacists gathered from across the USA. There will always be a smattering of idiots.

    The story is that peaceful protests and speaking are now regularly shut down with violence, and much of the mainstream culture and media think this is fine. From the fake Russian collusion story to the ginned up white nationalist meme, there is part of America willing to destroy fundamental US values in order to regain power.

  • Alisa

    What Ferox said.

  • EdMJ

    @Ferox: That is also why there will never be an end to the demands. You can’t give in enough, you can’t yield enough – because it’s about the act of demanding, rather than obtaining the stated object of those demands.

    Exactly. They’re like a Python slowly constricting around you. Every time you give an inch, they tighten the coils some more and you’ll never get that inch back. Your breath gets shallower, and shallower, until there’s nothing left to give anymore. Then they swallow you whole.

    The only way to fight them is to never yield in the first place. (Or with Samuel L Jackson if you happen to be on a plane…)

    Actually, science has rather ruined the constrictor analogy, as apparently they kill by cutting off blood supply instead: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150722-boa-constrictors-snakes-animals-science-kill/ 😕

  • Johnnydub

    “If socialists really cared about slavery, they’d be going on and on about the GULAGs, not dreaming of putting people in them.”

    Are you joking? It gives the collective left a massive woody just dreaming about putting their political opponents in Gulags.

  • Eric

    I love the line that the American Civil War was about “States Rights”.

    There was only right in question: the right to have slaves.

    This is simply wrong. Prior to the civil war the union was considered a union of separate countries. Succession was over the fundamental question of whether the federal government or the states had the final say in internal matters at the state level. It was a much bigger issue than slavery. It’s difficult for people to grasp this today because nobody still living remembers a time when US states were more than satrapies of the federal government, but for the people at the time this is a fundamental question.

    As to the war itself, different people were fighting different wars. The Northern armies were putting down an unlawful rebellion. A fair number of northern soldiers were fighting to abolish slavery. Most Southerners were fighting a war of self-determination, and some were fighting to maintain a social structure that included slavery.

    The whole thing was a stupid failure of the political class driven by ego and stupidity. Slavery was abolished in the UK without a war, and wouldn’t have lasted another generation in the US even without the civil war.

  • CaptDMO

    Jacob,
    “The question is whether such demonstrations need to be banned, or allowed under the right to free speech.”
    Actually in the US, that’s not even a question. SCOTUS

  • Eric

    Ferox has the right of it. The distressing part is winning here will only make the situation worse, because it’s the acquisition of control is what animates them, so there must always be a new cause. A new struggle. Or, as I see it, new infringements on my freedom.

  • BossHog

    And here is an article by Peter Beinart about the rise of Antifa and the violent, anarchist left. I think they are a bigger threat than the “alt-right” or the neo-nazis.

    Jacob, Peter Beinart disagrees with you. Here is his other article.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/what-trump-gets-wrong-about-antifa/537048/

    For starters, while antifa perpetrates violence, it doesn’t perpetrate it on anything like the scale that white nationalists do. It’s no coincidence that it was a Nazi sympathizer—and not an antifa activist—who committed murder in Charlottesville. According to the Anti-Defamation League, right-wing extremists committed 74 percent of the 372 politically motivated murders recorded in the United States between 2007 and 2016. Left-wing extremists committed less than 2 percent.

    Second, antifa activists don’t wield anything like the alt-right’s power. White, Christian supremacy has been government policy in the United States for much of American history. Anarchism has not. That’s why there are no statues of Mikhail Bakunin in America’s parks and government buildings. Antifa boasts no equivalent to Steve Bannon, who called his old publication, Breitbart, “the platform for the alt-right,” and now works in the White House. It boasts no equivalent to Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who bears the middle name of a Confederate general and the first name of the Confederacy’s president, and who allegedly called the NAACP “un-American.” It boasts no equivalent to Alex Jones, who Donald Trump praised as “amazing.” Even if antifa’s vision of society were as noxious as the “alt-right’s,” it has vastly less power to make that vision a reality.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If the union was a grouping of separate nations, the preamble to the Constitution makes no sense. It talks of “we the people of the United States”. The Founders chose the words carefully. They wrote “people ” not “nations”.

    Pedantic of me, maybe. But that surely explains why this was a civil war. One that has clearly left scars.

  • Mr Ed

    JP

    For me, the phrase ‘more perfect Union’ is rather more on point, as I take ‘perfect’ to be in the grammatical sense, as ‘done’, and now made in the past, the States joining is a perfect act, not to be gone back from.

    The ‘We the People’ I take to be the individuals signing on behalf of their States and the people of the several States, as the X Amendment notes that the States have reserved powers not delegated to the United States, hence they are almost like mitochondria in cells, almost obligate intracellular parasites (as are some forms of bacteria) but living components of the larger cell with their own DNA, and indeed the drivers of it, he digressed wildly.

    I still think of the United States not as a place but as an organisation sitting atop the 50 States, like the Holy See sitting on the Vatican City.

  • Phil Terry

    If the union was a grouping of separate nations, the preamble to the Constitution makes no sense. It talks of “we the people of the United States”. The Founders chose the words carefully. They wrote “people ” not “nations”.

    Of course it makes sense, its only capitalization that they are wonky on. “We the People of the united States (plural, united by what? The articles of confederation) hereby agree to further delegation of our powers from our States (which we created previously) to a central national government.” (paraphrasing). I think it also sings better if you use the oldy worldy “We the People of these united States…” but again, pedants thought they were stupid people so tried to correct their grammar and punctuation. To be correct and to fit JP’s reading you have to have “the United State”…

    Least that’s how I’ve always been taught it. The fact that they hijacked the convention and ratified the new “articles” under the new scheme rather than correctly folding the old and creating the new under the terms of the “old” agreement is annoying but doesn’t change the overall scheme.

  • Valerie

    Perhaps Peter Beinart will next opine on the statue of Lenin in Seattle, after providing proof that ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, et al, are bastions of “white supremacy”.

  • bobby b

    “According to the Anti-Defamation League, right-wing extremists committed 74 percent of the 372 politically motivated murders recorded in the United States between 2007 and 2016. Left-wing extremists committed less than 2 percent.”

    According to the ADL, AntiFa is motivated by pure love. I would urge anyone to avoid such statistics without some independent investigation. Their classifications are fantasy.

  • It boasts no equivalent to Alex Jones, who Donald Trump praised as “amazing.”

    Isn’t Antifa’s equivalent to Alex Jones called CNN? 😛

  • The immigration for thee, but not for me ADL? The ADL that lumps Milo in with Duke?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, re “perfect”:

    An extremely interesting point that hadn’t occurred to me. I suppose we’re all familiar with such statements as “He’s working on perfecting the article,” that is, putting on the last few finishing touches; or, as you may say, finishing it.

    This makes Ann Coulter’s statement from back in the early 2000’s crystal-clear. She was excoriated and treated as a fool when she said something like “Christianity is the perfection of Judaism.” (Not her exact words, which I forget, but what got everybody’s knickers in a twist was the word “perfection,” or “perfect,” or “perfecting.”)

    (It was said at the time that no church or Christian sect/denomination has ever said such I thing. But I have read the same thing since then in other places, having nothing to do with Miss Coulter or her statement or the resulting sturm und drang.)

    In that reading, then, one might say “Christianity was the finishing of Judaism.” It’s really a teleological statement, I suppose: Christianity is the final step toward the teleological end of the religion that flowered first as Judaism.

    In the case of the Union, then, the “United States” was a step toward finishing, or perfecting, the original Confederation of the States.

    Always nice to have new ideas to chew on. :>)

  • Alisa

    Indeed, very illuminating re ‘perfetct’ etc.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Reminds me of the discussion about how marriage ‘perfects’ a man. And it’s true- once he’s married, he’s finished!

  • Jacob

    Re Peter Beinart – his take is typical for the left:

    “Second, antifa activists don’t wield anything like the alt-right’s power. White, Christian supremacy has been government policy in the United States for much of American history. Anarchism has not.”

    For the left – anyone who does not fully agree with them, anyone who is a Christian, or white, or, God forbid, a conservative is “alt-right”, i.e. a Nazi thug.
    That’s why they say that the alt-right is far more numerous and dangerous that the red thugs of Antifa.

    Actually, Beinart himself estimates that there are maybe 15,000 Antifa activists (and “occupy”) to a few hundred hard core and crazy white Nazis.

    And, using Beinart’s logic: the Antifas – having full support from the lefty media-academia-Democrats are far more powerful and dangerous.
    Let’s hear the Democratic establishment (say Obama) denounce the Antifa and BLM thugs.

  • Let’s hear the Democratic establishment (say Obama) denounce the Antifa and BLM thugs.

    Now they’ve been mentioned by the POTUS I suppose they will have at least to acknowledge that Antifa exists.

  • Rick (August 16, 2017 at 12:57 pm) is right to assume that calls to remove statues of Washington are being made and will be made.

    Julie near Chicago (August 17, 2017 at 1:28 am), C.S.Lewis says something very similar about Christianity ‘perfecting’ Judaism. It comes in an essay where he states that there are only two real religions in the world, Christianity and Hinduism (‘religion’ meaning neither just a philosophy nor just a superstition), with Buddhism being merely the greatest Hindu heresy and Islam being merely the greatest Judeo-Christian heresy. He then discusses the relation between Judaism and Christianity, seeing “all that is best in Judaism” (I quote from memory) as going into Christianity. I don’t recall him using ‘perfecting’ but it matches the meaning of his words (and might have been a source for Ann’s idea FAIK).

  • Penseivat

    If there is a continuing programme to remove references of owners of slaves, can’t wait till someone starts on the Washington Monument.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The ‘We the People’ I take to be the individuals signing on behalf of their States and the people of the several States, as the X Amendment notes that the States have reserved powers not delegated to the United States, hence they are almost like mitochondria in cells, almost obligate intracellular parasites (as are some forms of bacteria) but living components of the larger cell with their own DNA, and indeed the drivers of it, he digressed wildly.

    No, that is not quite right. Had that been the meaning, then Jefferson & Co could have written “we the representatives of the nations under the Union”, or somesuch. A few words, but the difference is plain. They were writing as representatives of one nation, albeit one sub-divided on federal lines with a high degree of autonomy. The preamble was not the same as a preamble to a treaty between countries, such as NATO, or for that matter the UN (the latter is increasingly so morally vile that we should leave it immediately).

    I have cited him before but I will do again. I think that Timothy Sandefur, who is involved with the CATO Institute, hardly a bastion of leftism, has made what I consider a strong case for the Union, and shoots down a variety of misconceptions about the Confederacy, Lincoln, etc. I used to take a different view; my mind has changed, in part because of that posting. Check this out.

  • Laird

    Regarding “in Order to form a more perfect Union“, in focusing on “perfect” what the discussion above overlooks is the word “more”. What the clause means is that there already an existing union (under the Articles of Confederation), and that here we are making it more perfect. Not “perfect”, just more so. Farther out on the continuum of perfection. Asymptotically approaching the unattainable, if you will.

    As to Johnathan’s “pedantic” point about “We the People of the United States”, while I disagree with his interpretation it does seem to be the accepted meaning by most legal scholars. It’s part of the reason that the “compact” theory of the Constitution (to which I subscribe) is generally rejected in polite legal circles. Whatever. It’s OK for the majority to be wrong; it frequently is! :mrgreen:

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, re your cmt to me regarding Prof. Lewis: thanks! — and also Mr Ed:

    I must second Laird’s remark a couple of discussions back: It is (among other things) the learning of new stuff that makes Samizdata so fun. :>))

    [In fairness, and since I am feeling good today, I note that our Evil Hippo Leader also deserves a bit of appreciation for this. :>)) ]

    .

    Speaking of Laird, Laird:

    Yes, very good point. 2nd Para: Also a very good point. :>))

    .

    While we’re at it, legal scholars whom I respect (but with whom I often disagree, naturally) have said that the gentlemen at the Constitutional Convention who framed our Constitution did precisely nothing more or less than what they were given the task of doing by the various States, or the Confederate Congress, whichever.

    In other words, they did not “hijack” the Convention, nor act in a “runaway” manner.

    As I recall, said scholars include Richard Epstein, NYU & U. of Chicago Law Schools, and Randy Barnett, Georgetown L.S.

    Sorry, no links to said statements. :>(( But from the Foot of All Knowledge:

    “The United States Constitution was written in 1787 during the Philadelphia Convention. The old Congress set the rules the new government followed in terms of writing and ratifying the new constitution. After ratification in eleven states, in 1789 its elected officers of government assembled in New York City, replacing the Articles of Confederation government.”

    [SNIP]

    “The drafted Constitution was submitted to the Confederation Congress*. It in turn forwarded the Constitution as drafted to the states for ratification by the Constitutional method proposed.”

    *From the link:

    “The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    Moderated?? Good heavens! But I was being complimentary!

    In particular, to Niall, Mr Ed, Laird, and Perry….

    –Oh well, I imagine the SpamBot will get over its fit of pique eventually.

  • Laird

    Julie, thanks for the compliments, and I too remember reading something by Prof. Randy Barnett to the effect of your comment above. He has also written intelligently (adverb not truly necessary in his case, of course!) on the meaning and mechanics of a Convention of States, should one occur.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, YVW. There are times when one must tell the truth. ;>))

    As for Randy, yes, he’s in favor of a Convention of the States. He and Richard are at odds on this.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Nicholas! Consider your knuckles rapped, sir! *Ee-e-e-wwww!*

    Besides, one cannot think of a man as a fully-human being until he has had the good fortune to be led, by a suitable WOMAN, to the heights of Perfection that the Great Frog expects of us all.

    (And with any luck for said male, the G.F. awards him a consolation prize. But that is a subject for another forum. 😉 )

  • Nigel Sedgwick

    Today at the Edinburgh Book Festival, there is a talk by the French author Alexis Jenni. The opening sentence of the description is “How bad does a country have to be before patriotism stops?” That seems to be a major part of the issue of Robert E. Lee.

    Best regards

  • Thailover

    I find it hilarious that when people opposed the alt right, they call them Nazis KKK and racist. Of course the Nazis were the national Socialist German Workers Party, the KKK were a democratic party terrorist group and no one was more racist than the Democrats who owns all the slaves. everyone seems to forget that it was the right-wing who freed the slavesand forced through the Thirteenth Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Lee was a scion of wealthy slave-owners. He inherited slaves from his mother, sold some, and kept others for many years. He was the son-in-law of a wealthy slave-owner whose property was left to Lee’s children.

    He once referred to slavery as “a moral and political evil” – because of its effects on white slave-owners. (It was a corrupting influence like liquor or gambling.) He thought it was good for blacks (saying as much in the same letter). He vehemently denounced efforts to bring about emancipation or abolition.

    What was “Virginia” that he would not fight against it? It was the class of wealthy slave-owners he sprang from, that controlled the government and issued the declaration of secession. (And certainly not the mountaineers of western Virginia, who owned no slaves, rejected secession, fought for the Union, and created West Virginia. Lee had no qualms about “drawing the sword” against them.)

    Lee considered secession illegal and revolutionary. But when the slave-owner class in the South decided on secession to protect slavery, Lee stood with them.

  • Rich Rostrom

    John B @ August 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm:

    If there was such concern about slavery, why didn’t the USA send ships in support of the Royal Navy patrolling the Coast of Africa to stop shipments of slaves?

    They did.

    Why didn’t the US Government do what the British Goverment did on Caribbean islands and compensate plantation owners for liberating their slaves… that certainly would have been cheaper than a five year war?

    There were only a few thousand slave-owners in all the British West Indies, who had no representation in Parliament. There were hundreds of thousands of slave-owners in the U.S., including hundreds of U.S. Senators and Representatives, and eight of the first fifteen Presidents. Slave-owning Southerners objected, often violently, to any program of emancipation. Even as late as 1862, when it was fairly obvious that the war would destroy slavery, the slave-owners of the Border States turned down Lincoln’s proposal for compensated emancipation.

    And were Black people treated better in the North?

    Yes. They were free.

    During the Civil War, Black soldiers were not allowed to fight alongside Whites.

    180,000 United States Colored Troops would beg to differ.

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