We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, August 15. 2017
Now at Saks: Salt Rooms, a Bootcamp and a Peek at Retail’s Future
Granola: Not particularly "healthy" but tasty
To each his own. I think it's gerbil food
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
To The Progressive, Everything That Happens In Urban America Is Bad
Participation boost: Americans are still rushing back into the job market
The Eclipse as Dark Omen - America’s skies are set to dim at a strange hour of its history.
The Statues of Unliberty - Confederate leaders are honored with sculptures in the halls of Congress.
James Damore Confronts the Nagging Harridans of High Tech (and Loses)
Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.
Google's search for non-white male employees shows few results (Asian now counts as white, I guess)
McArdle: As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People
Conservatives say campus speech is under threat. That’s been true for most of history.
Violent Charlottesville Protester Claims 'Free Speech Does Not Protect Hate Speech'
Avoidable Mayhem - Why did Virginia’s political leadership order the police and National Guard to stand down?
How The Liberal Media Created Charlottesville
Antifa Website Calls for Violence Against Trump Supporters
So dumb they think he was serious
With Tom Price in charge, doctors are winning again in Washington
How Middle-Class Europeans Fare Under the Welfare State
The Forgotten South Vietnamese Airborne
Clarity on Israel Anti-Boycott Act
Monuments, Identity and Race
I don't want to write a commentary on the violence in Charlottesville. What happened is terrible, wrong, and any discussion of violence begins and ends with the violent acts themselves, not the activity commentators choose to associate it with. &nb
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: Aug 17, 14:08
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This morning, my wife pointed out that Germany doesn't have statues to its Nazi leaders, so why are we busy protecting statues of Confederate leaders?
There are, in my opinion, huge differences and the comparison is a false one. This isn't to say Confederate leaders were good people, just and wise, or people of necessarily great merit in today's world. Statues rise and fall, but the question we should be asking is what is the benefit in removing them?
There are statues around the world to cruel leaders who represented the 'best' of their time, or some other set of values which locals adhere to. Genghis Khan, Vlad Tepes, several brutal English kings such as Edward Longshanks, French Kings of various types, Robespierre....to name a few.
The statues have varying interest or value. Many are related to national identities, many are related to local history.
I'm not outright opposed to removing statues of Confederates. But I am opposed to removing statues based on modern conceptions of right and wrong in order to salve our guilt about our past.
While the Civil War was sparked by slavery, it was about states' rights, too. States' rights is still a major issue today. While most Confederate leaders were supporters of slavery, there were Union leaders who had slaves (Grant's wife owned them, and Grant had one until he freed him in 1859). Lincoln himself was opposed to slavery, but also made it clear when he ran for president that ending it was not on his to-do list, nor did he think blacks should have the same rights as whites.
If we're going to take the removal of statues to its logical conclusion, we're going to have to tear down every statue because of the flaws inherent in so many individuals. Even those we find 'great' leaders had major problems. Jefferson is lauded with statues and a massive stone monument - but was a slave owner and even kept one as a mistress.
I don't see a Confederacy/Nazi comparison for many reasons. To start with, post-war Germany outlawed the Nazi party. During the Reconstruction, former Confederates were needed to help stabilize the political and economic structure of the South. Taking an oath to abide by the Constitution and uphold the Union was enough to get back into good graces.
For another, the Confederacy is a very meaningful part of our national history. Even today, as people (mostly on the left) call for an Article 5 convention, they essentially are acknowledging the right of states to secede. After all, if such a convention makes changes to the Constitution, states have the right to not ratify - what then? The only logical outcome is secession. Take it a step further, since Hillary supporters in states where she won went bonkers and now want to outright secede (funny how it was OK when they want it, but not OK when South Carolina wanted it).
Finally, we can't apply today's moral values to the past. What was considered 'just' 150 years ago is not necessarily the same as what is 'just' today. Slavery was never a good thing, yet for many years it was a normal part of everyday life, going back deep into history. In many cultures it was simply accepted. We can decide they were wrong for believing it, but we can't fault them for believing what was common in their time. Similarly, we shouldn't apply geographical values to areas they don't fit. While I was born in a city, I was raised in a rural area, and now I live in a city again. The values here are extremely different from those where I grew up.
Someone held in high regard out in my hometown would be considered a rube here in NYC. I know this is true because in relating some stories, that's exactly how NYC denizens have described people I grew up with. Even my wife stated that I grew up in a "backwater town". Maybe I did. But that didn't make us wrong, stupid, or uninformed. We just didn't have access to the luxuries urban people did, and we developed different behaviors because of these differences.
If a community decides to tear down its Confederate statues, then let it. But the current trend of outsiders, both in protest groups, and political entities, showing their faces to demand the removal of something they disapprove of is incredibly presumptuous.
My sons, long ago, once asked me about the Civil War when we were visiting Fort Sumter. I pointed out to them it was a painful episode in the nation's development. But we should remember both sides' roles equally because while slavery was wrong, the Confederates also had positive points and qualities, too. I pointed out we should remember them not only for those positive qualities, but also to remind ourselves that we're not perfect, either.
I don't see any comparison between NAZIs and the Confederacy either. But, the Civil War was primarily about owning slaves. The Confederate Constitution expressly forbid any states from freeing slaves or interfering with the property of a slave owner when he crossed state lines. The states had no authority to interfere with congress in this matter. If you take slaves out of the equation there would be no war.
I understand the argument for removing statues of Southern Civil War generals. Some like Lee were honorable men. But he made the wrong decision. Others were thoroughly evil men, comparable to any high-level NAZI, who enjoyed torturing men to death. But, there is no argument for removing them tomorrow or by force. What harm is there in discussing it over the next year or two? People who are acting out today aren't educated enough to explain why some statues should, or shouldn't, be removed.
Do you really think the Article V movement is coming from the left? I've only heard it discussed in a positive light by traditional constitutionalists. The socialists I know don't understand the concept at all. They're afraid of it.
Actually, I first heard about an Article V convention from Progressive friends in New Mexico, where it's taken on a whole new slant since the Trump election.
After reading up on it, I saw that Libertarians and Constitutionalists had supported it prior to that point, which I find very odd.
Since the election, however, I have only heard Progressives talk about it, and it's actually fairly common here in NYC. Funny, because it's the same people who probably would laugh it off in any other circumstance.
As for the Civil War, I pointed out slavery was the primary issue in my comment. However, singularly focusing on that ignores the host of other issues (however minor) which played out in its development. We can agree that slavery was the main cause. We can't agree it's the only point of the war. If we do, then why did it take so long for the Emancipation Proclamation? The logic doesn't hold up.
Revisionists have come up with lots of reasons to support slavery as the ONLY issue. And if you parse speeches and language, you can make it seem like it is, just like you can make Lincoln seem like an abolitionist (which he wasn't, though he aligned with them).
Nice Piece Bulldog. However, it should also have made note of the "primary" reason that was the push behind the "Slavery issue". That reason is just economics. The bankers and brokers of NYC were being challenged by the large cash flows coming into the south and their independent banks because of their control of cotton. Also, because of their cold weather ports further down the coast. It became a "slavery" issue in part because good hearted people were pushing for anti slavery at the same time the New York money brokers were looking greedily at the rapidly growing wealth of the south. Those two ideas went hand in hand and as so often happens the "morality" issue helped to support the "monetary" issue. I hope you get to take your kids to Mississippi some time and do the "rest of the story" .
Speaking of statues:
In a post Communist Russia, would it be appropriate to have a statue of a WWII Russian general?
You mean like the giant equestrian statue of Marshal Zhukov in Manezhnaya Square, Moscow?
Even thought it's passively worded, yes it is. As is faculty wife's, which is even more salient and concise, especially as the putative right rushes to show its tolerant, progressive-friendly bona fides by labeling everyone on the street without an antifa card a nazi.
I'd italicize nazi but nobody'd get it. Anyway rightists, just stop doing just what you've accused the left of for half a century, which is projection and moralizing. Especially when you're so very wrong.
Please read this article by Allen West:
It's ALWAYS the money. Follow the money. Thanks for pointing out the banksters role, faculty wife.
And speaking of money, most of those Charlottesville rioters wouldn't have shown up if the moolah wasn't awarded. I've seen it in Madison, Chicago, Oakland and anywhere that people behave badly. They are outrageous actors, so well accustomed to their roles in the staged play. A traveling troupe for hire, ready to show up if the price is right. Same old, same old. Turn off the cameras, their whole persona changes. The script never changes: outrage on cue.
Follow the money.
The names may change but the games the same. Blame my Chicago History for my cynicism, and that I was well schooled by Mike Royko.
Whether it is Slavery , the Civil War, or the 2008 Economic Melt down, the beneficiaries are always the same, the top 5%.
They get all the gain, but they offload the pain and blame, by shifting the cost of their failures and misadventures onto the public. IOW they privatize the gain, but socialize the pain. Oh noes, those people ekeing out a living and trying not to starve to death on the prairie benefitted from the Slave Economy. Not
I don't have a problem with removal of statues, but shouldn't it be decided by the town or city and have them removed properly and legally? I would also suggest that these statues be saved somewhere for posterity. There is something to be said for remembering your past.
Letting cretins destroy monuments should not be encouraged or ignored by the police. That sets a very bad precedent and only encourages more of the same behavior...and where does it end? First statues, then buildings or maybe families with the 'wrong' last names much change them? They are already taking the name 'Lynch' of off schools in Oregon...for what reason, I don't quite get. Does that mean everyone with the last name "Lynch" is a bad person???
The liberal/socialist/Marxists cretins are no different than ISIS. They destroy any remnants of history they do not cherish.
my wife pointed out that Germany doesn't have statues to its Nazi leaders, so why are we busy protecting statues of Confederate leaders?"
So the Confederate States of America = Nazi Germany?
I weep for the future.
This was in an article she read. Weeping for our future over a comparison like that is a bit extreme.
She was open to a response. I don't necessarily think she liked my response, or even agreed with it.
The problem, today, is empathy. We want to 'feel' the pain of people who are 'offended' or 'hurt' by these statues. I say "we" in the most ironical of uses, mind you. The desire to not offend, today, is greater than the desire to think and understand.
If we're going to weep for the future, let's weep for those who (unlike my wife) are simply unwilling to discuss this point, and keep foisting their feelings about how things must be, or need to be, upon us with laws and coercion. That's a far greater danger than people who improperly equate the Confederacy with Nazis.
"So the Confederate States of America = Nazi Germany?"
A ridiculous comparison.
And to my point...the stupidity is only beginning...
It's really hard not to conflate the two events in North Carolina.
For my part I have very mixed feelings about the desecration/removal of Confederate statues and about the battle between the Pretend Nazis/KKK and the Anti-first amendment goons in Charlotte. Not that, I'd never want anyone to be killed. It's not just the Taliban that comes to mind, but you know that a subset of these people would be perfectly okay with pissing on Holocaust Memorials and vandalizing cemeteries.
This leads to the next observation that the pretend Nazis/KKK and the Antifa people have way more in common with each other than they do with the rest of America. I suppose we are meant to choose sides but both are repugnant and there is no discernible difference in their character or integrity. For my part, I have no dog in this hunt.
It's becoming so clear now why the war of words between SJWs and the new white nationalists is so intense. It isn't because they have huge ideological differences -- it's because they have so much in common. Both are obsessed with race, SJWs demanding white shame, the alt-right responding with white pride. Both view everyday life and culture through a highly racialised filter. SJWs can't even watch a movie without counting how many lines the black actor has in comparison with the white actor so that they can rush home and tumblr about the injustice of it all. Both have a seemingly boundless capacity for self-pity. Both are convinced they're under siege, whether by patriarchy, transphobia and the Daily Mail (SJWs) or by pinkos and blacks (white nationalists). Both have a deep censorious strain. And both crave recognition of their victimhood and flattery of their feelings. This is really what they're fighting over -- not principles or visions but who should get the coveted title of the most hard-done-by identity. They're auditioning for social pity. "My life matters! My pain matters! I matter!" The increasing bitterness and even violence of their feud is not evidence of its substance, but the opposite: it's the narcissism of small differences. -- Brendan O'Neill
Bullshit. Whoever said that is projecting and as that generally goes, s/he's pretty much splitting too. And stone ignorant as the facts go.
When virtue signalling, do rightists not realize they're doing precisely what they condemn the left for?
Apparently not. This is why rightists are just like leftists. There's some moral equivalency for you.
What, exactly, is a rightist? I assume you mean conservative, or constitutionalist, or traditional American, or classic liberal, or follower of the 18th century Enlightenment. Right wing is a made-up term that really has no meaning in American politics.
The rightist is to classical liberalism what the leftist is to more contemporary liberalism. A useless appendage that poses as something it's not, having completely misconceived and misapplied whatever principles were thought to apply to its particular political identity.
Rightists are all stripes of slothful, ignorant, or generally statist "conservatives", of which, in the piece I commented about, are even capable of instinctive leftist-progressive social signalling, that fevered hysteria that turns minds to mush as they project against and split over some ill-defined and generally nonexistent target group, villain, or other invented or borrowed victim.
Like they say, give the right 20 years and it'll be the left. I'd say that's more like 10 years and in the case of "nazis" it's probably instantaneous. Nazis have been gone for 70 years. Rightists need to wise up and actually think for themselves, identify things for what they are, remember structural principle, and stop posing for the left and taking their cues from it when it comes to identification.
Isn't Brendan Oneill saying, that Rightists are just like Leftists?
It is my view that while some of their goals are different, Nazis and most Leftists are pretty much the same in terms of what they want and how they seek to achieve their goals.
Ultimately, there isn't much difference.
What we have, though, is a problem of identity politics and broad-brush appeals to group dynamics.
While there is a "Right" and a "Left", being "Right" does not mean you are "Alt-Right" - but this is what the mainstream press tries to put forth. I have, in fact, been told I am "Alt-Right" even though I've disavowed many of the most repugnant aspects of alt-rightism. But if you think the media treats the Left the same way, you'd be wrong.
There is no broad-brush applied attempting to make all leftists seem like the Far Left. As a result, students at the University of Missouri are lauded for their anti-racist stance, but few spend any time discussing their scare tactics or anti-free speech message.
I believe the result of this deliberate attempt to mainstream far-left behaviors is a rise in the far-right, which is universally despised. The far-left is not universally despised, and in fact people believe they at least have people's best interests in mind which is far from the truth.
2 years ago, after the city of Memphis voted to move Nathan Bedford Forrest's grave, and additional approvals were required, activists showed up with shovels and started digging to remove him! He is still there, partially a result of poltical impasse, but also partially a result of extremist impatience and intolerance.
I'm not making a judgement here on Forrest's body and where it should be. He's a horrid aspect of history. I am making a judgement on group behaviors and dynamics which engage grave desecration as a tolerable action, and see no political rebuke for such behavior.
I disagree with Trump that there was fault on both sides in Charlottesville. I do agree with him there is fault on both sides for acting out on their worst natures.
We can't have a reasonable discussion on the issue of race unless we set aside identity politics, and unless we set guidelines for acceptable and tolerable behavior.
Intolerance of intolerance is not tolerance.
Would it be appropriate to mention the "carpetbaggers" in this conversation?