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25 March 2016


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Thank you once again, Mr. Sale, for an insightful, thought-provoking piece of special relevance in our times.

William R. Cumming

Jackson is reputed to have said "It is not the job of government to make men rich"!

Perhaps, some now equate governance with the opposite of Jackson's view.


Harold Livesay has a great turn of phrase on Andrew Carnegie: the lies to get the contracts and the brutality to make them pay.

ex-PFC Chuck

re the robber barrons, then and now, the old saying goes: "They earned their money the old-fashioned way. They stole it."
Paging Dr. Michael Hudson.


Ishmael Zechariah

Mr. Sale,

In your opinion, what definition Hofstader had in mind for "intellectuals" in the paragraph you quote? If these "intellectuals" provided propaganda cover and praise for these robbers, why should Hofstader feel unhappy with "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life"?

Similar paeans are also written by current "intellectuals" to their new overlords: "What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly" (Chrystia Freeland, The Atlantic, January/February 2011 Issue)

Seems that, then, as now, possession of an ivy "diploma" did not necessarily make one an educated intellect, but merely a "trained" humanoid. Perhaps, instead of "intellectuals" Hofstader should have used more pedestrian terms like "courtier", "lackey", "sycophant", usw. The term "parasitic elite" (Paglia, 1995) seems also apt. But, maybe, "intellectuals" are such folks. The Turkish variants supported tayyip in the first decade and are now changing their minds...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

Richard Sale:

Evidently, Jackson's "... real feeling for the underdog..." was rather skin-deep; not extending to the Cherokee Nation.

Did he not also have financial interests in the dispossession of the those unfortunate people; did not his friends and associates covet that land?


To the average American, indeed European, of Jackson's day, the Aboriginals of America were not fully 'human.' As to the Cherokees; they had generally backed the English in the War of 1812. The Crown, cannily, had cultivated the Southeastern tribes. In return for certain promises, the tribes fought against the Americans, before, during, and after the War of 1812 proper. Second, the Cherokee of then were adopting "Western" ways, albeit slowly. A Cherokee alphabet was introduced, by a Cherokee, Sequoyah, after the War of 1812. Permanent villages had been standard for long before then. As the history of the Cherokee in Oklahoma shows, these Natives were adopting "Western" ways and thriving. All this directly challenged the European concept of racial superiority. Without that idea, the ideology of Exceptionalism collapses.
As someone above asserted; the more things change...


Thanks for the Grund quote. Wondered "Who's he and what did he really say?" so followed it. Can't tell if he was an early prototype for what later became a "booster," an enthusiast, a self-promoter, or in The Aristocrats, taking the piss by proxy. Only read about a hundred or so pages but based on that can say he's funny, informative, and a VERY easy read. He seems better than fiction as a quick dip >> shallow wade in early 19th century America for people who are not already immersed in the period.

Aristocracy in America : from the sketch-book of a German nobleman


The source of the quote on business.

The Americans, in their moral, social, and political relations


Walter R. Moore

The Creeks certainly sided with the British, but the Cherokee fought *on the side of the US* - under Andrew Jackson (do a search on the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, 1814). Jackson apologists will find nothing in the War of 1812 to excuse his betrayal of the Cherokee.


Todays version of robber barons have given little
if anything back. An exception would be the Gates
Foundation but most goes to third world peoples
rather than those communities most in need USA.
Carnegie gave us public libraries while others
scholarships. What have the Clintons done for
America? The Soros and Sabans and Adelesons
have contributed to political causes. At least the
Koch brothers sponser PBS programs.
Have I missed any good works?

Richard Sale

I agree. Didn't Balzac once say that behind every fortune is a crime?


Richard Sale

That attitude reminds of the multitudes who think that Moslems are not fully human.


Bill Herschel

I hope he did. Proudhon, who with Albert the Worker sat in the Assembly with Victor Hugo, said, "Property is theft," a statement whose truth appears to be proportional to wealth. The more you have, the more you stole.

Gates who is mentioned elsewhere in the comments did only one thing to get his fortune, protecting the copyright (and trade secrecy) of the DOS operating system. Patenting the paper clip would have required more intellectual effort. Which is not to say he is a thief, but only to say he was lucky, and certainly no more deserving of his fortune than anyone else, which may be what Proudhon had in mind.


I'll take your recommendation, Richard, and never mind that other orders no doubt may arrive first, will read yours first. Makes sense in context. ;)

Babak Makkinejad

You cannot compare Gates with the robber barons; from whom has he stolen his wealth?

He has been the man, who like Jobs, Wozniack, Kapoor, Fairchid, Grove and many many others created wealth out of the thin tissue of human vision and ingenuity.

It is because of Gates and Win-Tel duopoly that all those Indians in India can compute in their own scripts.


Good grief, can we have one Jackson thread where the same five people don't run in and start virtue signaling about the f-cking Indians?

WE KNOW. You don't have to signal so hard you make dogs bark and interfere with amateur radio transmissions to let everyone know you're the Best Good Thinker ffs.


A good essay, thank you! This extends some of the same themes:


Mr. Sale,

You ignored the main source of capital for half the country during up until 1861 - slaves. I today's dollars they were worth trillions with a T. It is the main reason the south didn't invest in manufacturing - which would require "dollars". Because Jackson was a slave owner and his cabinet and social circle were slave owners, they had every reason to close the National Bank as it served them no useful purpose.

Along with GW, Jackson was the worst president this country ever had and furthered the continuation of slavery.

The best book written about the slave industry - it spends many pages on Jackson and his disastrous policies - is the current 2015 masterpiece by Ned and Constance Sublette "The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry".


There is a good movie about this time: Kris Kristofferson: Heaven's Gate.


Balzac quote: "Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait."

A translation: "The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed." I leave to the francophiles to judge the accuracy of the translation.



Yes, Jackson really should have bought the Shawnee lands, you know the land the Cherokee forced them out a hundred years earlier in an unprovoked war. Then it would have been a straight forward land deal. I wonder if the Great King did the same kind of thing to those virtuous native peoples a couple thousand years earlier in the regions he wanted?



This comment and steveg's comment as well miss the point entirely of the political power wielded by Bill and Melinda Gates and their "tax exempt" foundation to name just one NGO.



Some critics maintain he bought or
eliminated the competition. Not
unlike a baron. Did he not??

Bill Herschel

Colonel Lang's French is infinitely better than mine, but I think in this case "fortunes" means monetary fortunes. There is an enormous amount of French literature that I haven't read, in translation because I can't read it in French,, (i.e. nearly all French literature) and that I wish I could read but now doubt that I ever will.


Bill Herschel

I confess to being a Francophile. pl

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