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23 December 2007

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Grimgrin

I just think that America would not exist today if it hadn't had it's civil war when it did. A generation or so earlier and the North would not have had the strength to win. A generation or so later and the Maxim gun and barbed wire would have been in common use, and the war would likely have been an even bloodier stalemate.

As for the issue of slavery, it reminds me of how after the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration started talking up "democracy and freedom" when the war had been sold as dealing with WMD's and Al Quaeda connections. The Civil War was about whether the ultimate authority in the United States of America was with the States or with the Federal government. Slavery was the moral purpose that got attached to the war post facto. It's also an efficient way of delegitimizing the cause that confederate soldiers fought for, and states rights in general.

On thr original topic I agree with the assessment of Dr. Ron Paul as identifying the problems but coming up with bad solutions. Though I have to say that w.r.t. the mainstream media this (admittedly Canadian) west coast liberal hates those assholes as much as anyone else here.

jonst

Cieran,

Agree with you re Webb's book. If you are interested, Kevin Phillips does an excellent job on Scots-Irish in The Cousins' Wars. And he does an even better job on the same subject in American Theocracy. Ties in the Afrikaners, Northern Irish Protestants, and the Southern Baptists, post civil war,and what Phillips indicates is their omnipresent, multi generational, sense of martyrdom, and 'chosen people' mentality. I don't know in the end that he 'makes a sale', I don't know enough about the subject matter. But it is a very provocative thesis.

Cold War Zoomie

"Some of us Yankees can even manage to go duck hunting without...shooting ourselves in the foot."

Obviously you haven't been drinking enough. Where's the fun in that? The more advanced civilizations understand that whiskey and firearms are best enjoyed together.

"As a damned yankee myself (i.e., someone from the north who moved south and then had the temerity to marry one of the flowers of southern womanhood),..."

Pass the smelling salts, someone's stolen one of our Belles!

On a serious note, Southern culture is being absorbed into the great white noise of modern America just like the rest of the country's unique cultural pockets. I'm originally from Atlanta. It still had some southern traits when I was growing up in the 1970s. Now, it is just another American city. Towns like Raleigh are not far behind. These folks are disappearing fast:

High Tiders

And these folks are pretty much gone forever:

Shakers

I'm more saddened than angry when we lose yet another old subculture anywhere in our country.

Some people get angry, and they vote accordingly.

J.T. Davis

CWZ,

Obviously you haven't been drinking enough. Where's the fun in that? The more advanced civilizations understand that whiskey and firearms are best enjoyed together.

You may be right. It's better to shoot one's self in the foot than shoot one's friend in the face.

When you are duck hunting, a little nip to keep out the cold is fine by me.

Cieran

Jonst:

Thanks for the tip re: Kevin Phillips' books. His "American Theocracy" is sitting on my read-me-next shelf right now, right behind Gibson's new novel "Spook Country" (I find that alternating fiction and non-fiction helps preserve some semblance of my sanity).

But I'm currently reading my favorite Christmas present: Richard Rhodes' new book "Arsenals of Folly" on the subject of the nuclear arms race. Like Rhodes' other books on nuclear topics, it's an engaging and technically-accurate read. It's also chock full of the usual neocon suspects, including Cheney pushing for regime change... in the USSR!

These people need to learn some new material...

jonst

Cieran,

You're welcomed! Presently, I'm reading "Cybercrime: Digital Cops in a Networked Environment", for work. And, "The Dead Shall Rise Again", about the Leo Frank case.

If you think of it....I would be interested in hearing what you thought of the Gibson work. I have it on order.

Cieran

Jonst:

If you think of it....I would be interested in hearing what you thought of the Gibson work. I have it on order.

Will do!

And with any luck, Monday's UPS delivery will bring "The Butcher's Cleaver", which is up right after Gibson in the fiction queue. It's great to have a few days off over the holidays to get caught up on my reading!

W. Patrick Lang

All

I see some mention in this discussion of the CW and its politics of "might have beens," "the saddest of all words" etc.

My interest in the war has nothing to do with that. I find the war and the cultural matrices that produced it and were produced by it to be an admirable mirror in which to judge ourselves and what we have, in fact, become, and are still becoming. pl

Arun

From the NYT, Eric Foner:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/opinion/30foner.html

"As slavery expanded into the Deep South, a flourishing internal slave trade replaced importation from Africa. Between 1808 and 1860, the economies of older states like Virginia came increasingly to rely on the sale of slaves to the cotton fields of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. But demand far outstripped supply, and the price of slaves rose inexorably, placing ownership outside the reach of poorer Southerners.

Let us imagine that the African slave trade had continued in a legal and open manner well into the 19th century. It is plausible to assume that hundreds of thousands if not millions of Africans would have been brought into the country.

This most likely would have resulted in the “democratization” of slavery as prices fell and more and more whites could afford to purchase slaves, along with a further increase in Southern political power thanks to the Constitution’s three-fifths clause. These were the very reasons advanced by South Carolina’s political leaders when they tried, unsuccessfully, to reopen the African slave trade in the 1850s.

More slaves would also have meant heightened fear of revolt and ever more stringent controls on the slave population. It would have reinforced Southerners’ demands to annex to the United States areas suitable for plantation slavery in the Caribbean and Central America. Had the importation of slaves continued unchecked, the United States could well have become the hemispheric slave-based empire of which many Southerners dreamed.

Jan. 1, 1808, is worth commemorating not only for what it directly accomplished, but for helping to save the United States from a history even more terrible than the Civil War that eventually rid our country of slavery."

W. Patrick Lang

Arun

This is Foner's long standing opinion. He, like many others, have created a strongly backed, ex post facto case for support of the holocaust of the Civil war.

In fact, the CSA government did nothing during its four years of existence to re-open the international slave trade.

With regard to the domestic existence of slavery the constitution of the CS reserved the right to the states of legislation concerning its existence.

An alternative view to Foner's holds that the CS, like Brazil, would have gradually abolished slavery. It was obviously an institution that had to be done away with. pl

Sidney O. Smith III

Here’s an interesting economic analysis from the Austrian perspective, titled, “Slavery, Profitability, and the Market Proces” by Mark Thornton. I don’t consider myself Rothbardian but the essay presents some strong arguments and is a good read:
http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE7_2_2.pdf

The article references some of the luminaries of Southern historians -- Kenneth Stamp, Eugene Genovese, and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese -- a woman I have come to respect, particularly since the mid 1990’s when she took some enormously unpopular academic stands.

The works of C. Vann Woodward -- particularly Origins of the New South -- were required reading in my household when I was growing up. Highly recommended, although it focuses on the South at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century.

Actually, from what I can recall, Wallerstein’s works led to a new historiography that revised much of Southern history. Looks like there is a push back now against the new revisionist school. Suits me.

Quick anecdote that may have some relevance both in the 1860's and perhaps today when analyzing US foreign policy. My father told me a story once and it goes something like this: When the Union army was ravaging Tennessee, some soldiers captured a "rebel". He was barefoot and starving. And it was obvious he did not own any slaves. Finally one of the Union officers asked him, "Why do you people fight like hell?" And the Confederate soldier looked up, gave him a stare, and said, "Cuz’ 'yer here."

Cieran

Jonst:

As per your suggestion, here's my take on William Gibson's new book: it's GREAT! It's got many similarities (and some identical characters) to "Pattern Recognition", and it's really funny and astute. I heartily recommend it!

I'm also sad to report that Amazon has delayed my shipment of "The Butcher's Cleaver"... if only we could get one of our "change-centric" presidential candidates to mandate some changes to Amazon's logistics systems to get my Col. Lang book on time!

excemeOwest

I risk to seem the layman, but nevertheless I will ask, whence it and who in general has written?

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