Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Ultimate Law: We Will Take Away Your Words

The American Prospect has suggested a new restriction on language. Basically, it purports to prove that any perception of Barry Obama’s policies as rising from his socialist political philosophy is… racist. That’s right, the new racism is calling out a leftist — pardon me, a “progressive” — regarding the danger inherent in socialist programs that grow government and impoverish those who pay for its upkeep.

Here is the definition of the S word according to Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: so•cial•ism

Function: noun

Date: 1837

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Ah, but that’s not what The American Prospect claims. No, indeed. In an essay entitled “What Right Wingers Mean When They Call Obama a ‘Socialist’“ we are treated to an exposition of mind-reading of the lowest order:

In recent months, conservatives have sounded increasingly retro with their attempts to paint Obama as a socialist or communist. In some ways, this accusation is typical far-right boilerplate. Obama certainly isn’t the first Democrat running for president to be accused of communist sympathies. And as usual, the accusations are rarely linked to policy specifics. But the difference with Obama is that, in the eyes of the right, it’s not just his political affiliation that implicates him as a socialist. It’s his ethnic background.

The hysterical accusations of socialism from conservatives echo similar accusations leveled at black leaders in the past, as though the quest for racial parity were simply a left-wing plot. Obama may not actually be a socialist or communist, but his election would strike another powerful blow to the informal racial hierarchy that has existed in America since the 1960s, when it ceased being enforced by law. This hierarchy, which holds that whiteness is synonymous with American-ness, is one conservatives are now instinctively trying to preserve. Like black civil-rights activists of the 1960s, Obama symbolizes the destruction of a social order they see as fundamentally American, which is why terms like “socialism” are used to describe the threat.

So first there is the basic assumption that in conservative language “socialist” equals “black” — as though we are forced into these linguistic convolutions because we may no longer use the N word (as if we ever did), thus we are reduced to grasping for the S word to get our salient point across to our interlocutors about their God-given inferiority.

Notice that this contention regarding the socialism label is fenced round with disparaging terms like “hysterical accusations” (that replaces a fairer term, i.e., the alarm with which conservatives assess Obama’s repeated promise to redistribute the wealth), “retro” (meant to imply our wish to return to the good old plantation days), and, of course, “far-right boilerplate” (which is anything a conservative says that may address their concerns about some of Obama’s edgier notions -e.g., the idea that he should engage in a tête à tête with the leader of Iran in order to render the man less bellicose).

The author’s claim is cleverly laid. First, he dismisses the concern that “Obama may not actually be a socialist or communist…” as though that were meaningless for Americans… in order to make his feint to: Obama’s “election would strike another powerful blow to the informal racial hierarchy that has existed in America since the 1960s, when it ceased being enforced by law.”

The author conveniently fails to mention the historical fact that it was conservatives who led the fight to for racial equality enforced by law. The Democrats fought legislation all the way down to the goal line. And when it had been accomplished, these FDR socialists grabbed the goal posts and moved the game to include room for aggrieved entitlement. This “progress” permitted them to buy minority votes with minority set-asides. The fact that their minority-motivated social legislation did great damage by planting the seeds of distrust in those it claimed to help was -- and still is -- hotly denied.

It was no longer enough to carve out a initial rough equality. Such a limited view was tossed in order to move the goal line to a place that was going to be “better than equal”. Aggrieved, polarized resentment replaced the desire for inclusion. “Whites Only” became illegal as “Blacks Only” groups began to flourish — e.g., the Black Caucus in Congress or the Negro-then-Black-then-Afro-American-then African-American college clubs and fraternities that sprang up across the cultural landscape like mushrooms after a rain. And some of those mushrooms were poisonous indeed.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one Democrat who foresaw clearly what havoc these socialist programs would create.
- - - - - - - - -
He predicted the break-up of the black family, the rise of illegitimacy, and the formation of the underclass. Of course, his fellow Dems ignored him. Listening would have cost them the votes of twelve percent of the electorate. An aggrieved, resentful twelve percent who were played like violins by the Democrat Party, to the everlasting shame of both sides.

Nor was Moynihan a lone dissenter. Not many people have studied Edward C. Banfield. How could they when his ideas are being pushed down into the darkness of the memory hole where academic progressives inter ideas which contradict their orthodoxies?

Banfield was an iconoclast:

Banfield was a political scientist who insisted on asking large and unfashionable questions. His formative years were spent at the University of Chicago, where he had gone to study the politics and economics of planning with Rexford G. Tugwell, one of the New Deal’s biggest brain-trusters. Banfield wanted to know why so many of the New Deal’s agricultural experiments had failed. He found the answer not in the programs’ implementation but in the planners’ assumptions. They hadn’t calculated the unintended consequences of their actions, the ripple effects of change in a complicated economic and political system, the inability of reason to dictate social reality. Ed developed these themes as a scholar and teacher at the University of Chicago, where he was a friend and colleague of Leo Strauss and Milton Friedman, and later at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

His greatest book was one of his earliest, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, published in 1958. Researched and written with his wife, Laura, the book asked why a hilltown in Southern Italy, where Ed and his family had spent nine months living among and interviewing the inhabitants, was so poor. It wasn’t because of class structure, as Marx would have insisted, nor because of the lack of national economic planning, as the New Dealers and contemporary development economists would have claimed. Ed argued, instead, that the region’s poverty had a “moral basis.” He showed that at the root of their squalor was the inhabitants’ refusal to trust, and hence to cooperate, with anyone who was not a member of their immediate family.

This “amoral familism,” as Ed called it, doomed the people to economic backwardness and political irrelevance. Unless this culture could be changed (and Banfield did not think it could, except slowly and over time), no amount of economic planning, income redistribution, or moral exhortation would turn these fatalistic villagers into eager citizens and entrepreneurs.

For progressive elites who pander to the black underclass (the white underclass being undeserving of redemption) this is heretical thinking. It is also antithetical to their grasp on the levers of power, a grasp that no mere truth is going to release any time soon.

Thus, the dialogue on places such as Gates of Vienna must be made anathema to the church of the progressive family. Progressives deeply distrust anyone who raises questions about their family orthodoxies. This distrust causes the fear that drives their smear campaigns labeling conservatives as modern heretics.

The polarization of America continues apace, fueled in part by the fear displayed in the essay at The American Prospect. Those who distort history are doomed to live in the detritus of their distortions. It is an ugly landscape.

What never ceases to amaze and appall me is the ongoing attempt to silence dissent by fiat: ordinary words that cannot be intellectually countered can be arbitrarily ruled off the turf with no possible appeal to reason. In the case of Obama, any criticism at all is a priori “racist” by the very nature of its critical form. And reason is the one faculty that will not be allowed in play. It’s all about “feelings” and having “dreams” and “fairness”.

George Orwell could not have conceived such a fabulist scheme. Nor would anyone have bothered to read anything so… so predictable and yet so beyond the realm of even satire. Some ideas are just too far-fetched… that is, until you are forced to live them or suffer ostracism for your refusal to bow down to the self-appointed little emperors who man the language gates.

Such shenanigans have made our blog a pariah, even to many on the right. The fact that the left loathed us was an indication we were on the correct path. But when we dared to put into words what might happen in Europe because of the horrific, unparalleled immigration tsunami rolling over that continent we saw those on the right cave to the politically correct.

Perhaps it is because organizations like Pajamas Media originate in Hollywood that they are so susceptible to whatever is blowing in the PC wind. The threat of “no work” in Hollywood for failing to toe the party line is a real one. Ironically, this pressure to conform to leftist rules mirrors the infamous “Black List” of the mid-20th century which threw so many actors, writers and directors out of work. The new Hollywood has its own black list now, but its lines are occupied by conservatives, not by mindless leftists, of whom Barbra Streisand is probably the icon.

Pajamas Media didn’t need the little headache we induced in their organization. And, frankly, being pushed out was a relief given the onerous skyscraper ads we had to mount on our sidebar. Both sides breathed easier after we were gone.

What remains troubling is the decision to push us out because one of our guest writers dared to write a “what if” that the owners found offensive. It is a worrisome example of how crippled our language -- and thereby our critical faculties — have become, thanks to the pressure that the PC rules exert on all of us, from Larry Summers to Joe the Plumber to you and me.

And now, slouching toward us, is the Fairness Doctrine, breathing righteous fire.

And beyond that beast is Google’s overt desire to be part of the crackdown on blogs in the EU, just as it was in China (the EU “Constitution” has draconian measures in mind for bloggers. Things like jail and loss of livelihood, pension and medical care).

Thus, Google’s CEO has endorsed Obama. Could it be the anti-trust matters facing Google, Yahoo, etc that drive his endorsement? In other words, is he attempting to jump aboard the winning ship while it is still in the harbor so he won’t look quite so obvious in his pandering?

Is Obama a forecast of censorship by the Left? How many times do you censor your own conversation for fear of being considered “one of them”? Back during our fundraising, I received a very sad note from a businesswoman in Berkeley who was a conservative with absolutely no one to talk to in an honest way about her political philosophy. She felt as though she were drowning in her own unspoken words.

What will happen to all of us when the words are gone?

What is the outcome when that unique human faculty, speech, has become strangled down to a handful of stuttered sanctioned syllables?

Will our ability to think critically and to form independent opinions simply fail to take form, the way cortical blindness occurs in a mammal kept in darkness during the crucial development of its optic nerves?

These are not rhetorical questions. Remember that the Gramscians in our universities — as exemplified by Obama’s friend, the urban terrorist Bill Ayers — want to change the very underpinnings of the American spirit. This is not about changing laws, this is about Gramscian hegemony over our culture.


Unknown said...

Not to worry.

As soon as Newspeak is adapted completely, Thoughtcrime will no longer even be possible.

Anonymous said...

Note in passing:

"Amoral familism" is a pretty good characterization of the dominant ethic of China.

And if Banfield was right ...

Zenster said...

This hierarchy, which holds that whiteness is synonymous with American-ness, is one conservatives are now instinctively trying to preserve. Like black civil-rights activists of the 1960s, Obama symbolizes the destruction of a social order they see as fundamentally American ...

Guess what? Sad though it may be, there is a lot of truth to the Whiteness = American-ness formula. Over the past few decades, America has been deluged with people of color who demonstrate very little inclination to assimilate.

Hispanics flaunt this lack of assimilation with their Aztlan fantasies. They march down American streets agitating for illegal immigration amnesty waving Mexican flags! This represents a fundamental disconnect from, not just society, but reality.

Black Americans continue to resist assimilation with pseudo-culture like "Ebonics" and the pervasive thug life of rap music. As Bill Cosby so bravely said during his speech before the NAACP celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. The Board of Education:

Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra.” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.

Don't even get me started about the huge number of Muslims who have come to America with the explicit intention of usurping our laws and culture in the name of Islam.

This “amoral familism,” as Ed called it, doomed the people to economic backwardness and political irrelevance.

Amoral familism. Does that ring a bell? Do you think that it might have something to do with why the entire MME (Muslim Middle East) and sub-Saharan Africa are the stone age societies they are today?

Yet, it is now "racist" to resist and denounce such backwardness. We are confronted by those seek to dismantle America. Unable to wrest the guns from our grasp, they have now set about to criminalize an equally precious commodity.


Unable to disarm us they will, instead, silence all dissent, even as they have clamored for and extolled the virtue of their own decades of dissent against the very system that allowed them their differing opinions.

The similarities with respect to Islam's abuse of Western rule-of-law and the Left's perversion of America's legal system would be striking if they were not already working hand in glove to destroy The United States.

What will happen to all of us when the words are gone?

Hark back to the passage in Orwell's "1984", when Winston Smith's neighbor brags to him about having spent his day working at the Ministry of Speech removing another 10,000 words from the dictionary.

Once you limit words, you automatically limit thought. An example from "1984": If something is "bad" it is "ungood. Something very bad is "plus-ungood". Extremely bad is "double-plus-ungood".

Notice how everything has become different shades of "good"? "Bad" no longer exists, duality has been turned into a monopole. This is precisely what these liberal bastards are trying to do today.

While many of you may have read "1984", I doubt that more than a few of you have read Orwell's treatise on "The Principles of Newspeak" (Click "1984 Newspeak" on left menu and select "Principles of Newspeak")

It is a few bone-chilling pages of, what is now, extraordinarily prescient recasting of the English language.

Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

Free speech is being criminalized and those who refuse to learn English are cheerfully abetting the America-haters who want to mangle one of the world's most powerful intellectual tools.

We are gazing upon the naked face of evil.

Czechmade said...

Zenster: "waving Mexican flags!"

And the Kosovo Albanians symetrically waved Albanian flags asking for "independence".

While all over Europe the EU warns and chastize for "nationalism", in some very hot areas they hardly raise their voice
(Kosovo, Turkey, Poland).

Every issue of Turkish daily Hurriet has Atta Tuerk picture/flag and "Tuerkiye Tuerklerindir". Turkey to the Turks. The same could be claimed here or in Germany only by a group of skinheads.

Are the Turks a nation of skinheads?

The German director of the Multicultural Centre Prague Jacob Hurrle claimed recently that the Czech society is not "colourful enough". This guy is clearly a racist. He runs around blaming me for my skin colour and gets payed for it. Surprizingly he has no time to do the same in Zimbabwe or Palestine. I have never heard of multiculturalists visiting some colourful neighbourhoods in Europe preaching the same to our "minorities". It seems those people are perfect by definition.

It would be only logical to tell them their ghettos are not white enough.

Unknown said...

I'm not too impressed with that site. Lots of their "politically correct" terms are things that are rarely, if ever heard. And they get some simple things wrong. For starters, "feminism" is not derived from "feminine", but directly from "femina" - it's not about promoting "femininity" but about advancing women's interests, or perceived interests.

This is also an odd entry:
Ethnic Cleansing / Population Transfer - The US forced thousands of Germans out of their homes after WWII. (The land was given to Poland for "war reparations") At the time, we called this "Population Transfer".

Apparently the author(s) of the site don't realize that the term "ethnic cleansing" is very recent and originated during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

And I was amused by the "real definitions" page:

KKK - Group of people trying to maintain the dominance of European culture in our society.

NAACP - Kinda' like the KKK without the white sheets, but with more political clout.

I did not know that the NAACP was a white nationalist group. You learn new things every day, I suppose.

Dymphna said...

@zenster, who said:

Guess what? Sad though it may be, there is a lot of truth to the Whiteness = American-ness formula

If your claim about the hue of America were true, it would indeed be true. But it's not.

Your talking points are reactions to the Gramscians, who do want the polarization you describe, and agitate for it throughout many groups. The Gramscian MSM reports on these agitations as though they were the only reality.

1. If "American exceptionalism" were shriven of its many racial threads and left with just the northern Europeans who started here, this would be one pathetic monoculture. But fortunately that didn't happen.

2. Thousands died to set the slaves free here. Don't forget that this "peculiar institution" was not only encouraged in the Colonies by the English, it was insisted upon for economic reasons. We eventually worked our way free of those chains as the Chinese had to do from opium, another English encouragement.

3. I cannot imagine America without the contribution of blacks, Asians, Indians, et al. And we may as well include all of Southern Europe since they, too, had gifts to contribute.

4. America has always been noisy, argumentative and on the edge of dividing into its separate parts.

It never has done so, despite the impetus of landed gentry back in the 18th century, who tried to squelch the rise of the middle class. Nor did the inevitable internecine war of the 19th century accomplish a final division. The onlaught of the Communists beginning in the middle third of the 20th century was fiercely fought on many fronts and it left us weakened and ready for the vacuum to be filled by the Gramscians. They have Obama's heart, mind and soul and now they want ours.

It ain't gonna happen, even if their Messiah wins. There are plenty of real black Americans out there who are ready and willing to stand up to what he and the leftist Dem legislative majority have planned for us.

Thanks to people like Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele and Clarence Thomas and Walter Williams and Bobby Jindal -- just to name the more famous on the right -- the notion that Americanism equals whiteness is patently false.

It may be, as Shelby Steele says, that blacks particularly have the challenge of finding a path between confrontation and appeasement (not his exact words) in this culture. However, the above-named (Jindal the exception, being of Indian extraction) have shown us that it is not only possible to do so but that their efforts enrich our country.

Thanks to the retarding efforts of the European leftist world view of the Gramscians, who have so suffocated academia and national communication, it will take a little longer to attain a fully vigorous notion of a national self.

But I have no doubt we'll get there eventually. The white northern European culture will remain an important and striking part of of our political philosophy, but it will be only a part, not the whole.

We have ourselves to blame for letting our government get too big, too statist, and too opaquely corrupt. When the morning after the orgy of Obama is over, there will be much work to do in cleaning up the messes he and his owners will have made.

I have no doubt it can be done but like any clean-up, it will take time, effort, and lots grit to get through the ugly, noxious parts.

Our children will have to be strong, competent and compassionate to pull that off.

Bela said...

The American society entered a new phase which appears to me rather comical: the self flagellation and white guilt created a new word, that is, "Negrofilia" (not my creation) which describes the blacks as superior race in every aspect. Blacks must not be criticized and blacks demand absolute respect and Whities should regard blacks as flawless people whose deeds and words be considered as universal compass to be followed by all.

It did not start with Odinga Hussein.

Remember how Colin Powell was revered by the white establishment and made him to be Sec. of State and every word he uttered weighted like the ultimate wisdom.
He achieved nothing extraordinary, his pigmentation was his only recommendation and even this could not help further his carrier.

Next in the line came the pianist wonder woman, Condi Rice, "Russian expert" who could not speak Russian. People even wanted to nominate her to the presidency - during the initial euphoria which lasted until she revealed her deep intelligentsia by publicly stating:

"The suffering of Gazans reminds me to the sufferings of blacks in my native Alabama".
What a brilliant comparison.

After which she wanted to cut Israel into half to create a contiguous Palestine.
Since then very little notable wisdom is heard from her for her expertise just like Powell's is now exhausted.

Currently we at the next stage when blacks are the Messiah and the beatification will surely follow; with Obama there will be a new black ruling class, above any criticism, and Whities will fall upon their knees when the mulatto Messiah walks by.

On day this farce will end up in calamities and it will be a painful experience.

Unknown said...

Here in Spain we too have been subjected for 4 going on 8 interminable years to a so-called socialist governmental agenda run by a shoemaker (Zapatero, excuse the pun!)...
...and, believe me, the $10gas, the 12% unemployment, the forced work program, the 40% loss in property values combined with the absolute absence of whinging, whining, complaining, protesting and social violence, all go to show what America will undergo if Obama is elected--minus that last bit of course.
At least the Spanish have the institution of Community to fall back on when the Central Government is a "soak the middle-class" tyrant. What glue will hold the USA together when the centre no longer holds?

Yankee Doodle said...

The Republican Party led the fight against racism. The party of Lincoln -- our first Republican President -- had to overcome the entrenched racism of the southern Democrats during Reconstruction. Several decades later, it was a Republican President that sent in federal troops to enforce desegregation -- before this kind of thing became popular in the 1960's.

You have to rewrite history to think the Democrats have been anything but a manipulating part of the problem.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Please, don't anyone tell the Left what "zombie" really means!

In fact, let's pretend we have hundreds of "code" words just to keep them busy. They have way too much spare time.

Zenster said...

Dymphna: 3. I cannot imagine America without the contribution of blacks, Asians, Indians, et al. And we may as well include all of Southern Europe since they, too, had gifts to contribute.

You’re preaching to someone who marched for civil rights and has fought racism all his life. None of that changes the damaging effect that decades of non-assimilating immigrants have had on the social and political environment. Notice how the very first word of my post was “Sadly”?

It’s not as if I want Middle America to be the last redoubt of American culture. At the same time, seeing the mindless “vote=by-race” that is driving not just black voters but guilt-stricken liberal whites into the Obama camp is disturbing beyond words.

It ain't gonna happen, even if their Messiah wins. There are plenty of real black Americans out there who are ready and willing to stand up to what he and the leftist Dem legislative majority have planned for us.

I well and truly hope that you are right. The near-total absence of Black condemnation for Jeremiah Wright’s bigoted diatribes—and Obama’s incredible disavowal of any awareness regarding them—does not bode well for the groundswell of minority resistance that you anticipate. The similarity to American Muslims and their deafening silence over terrorism is a little too disturbing.

The white northern European culture will remain an important and striking part of our political philosophy, but it will be only a part, not the whole.

As it should be. Again, you are reprimanding someone who has always extolled America’s Melting Pot as the superlative example of true “diversity” and not the “separate but equal” racist social dung heap that Multicultural Leftists envision.

Henrik R Clausen said...

The Republican Party led the fight against racism.

Strangely, Lincoln himself was a staunch racist. He simply wanted to deport all blacks back to Africa.

Czechmade said...

Forget Haiders support of Turkey and love of Arab dictators and move quickly to Switzerland (a comment from dhimmiwatch on Switzerland obligatory swimming lessons in school for all)

Gorgeous!!! Fabulous!!! Reading !!!

"The Swiss criminal statistics are marked by a constant rise of foreign and youthful violence.... (Most of them from the Balkan states .... Such as Kosovo/Albanians, and other Muslim countries - North Africa etc...

[ We have some official 350'000 - but most likely some 150'000 plus - Muslims residing inside Switzerland - but not saying they all are criminal - they are not - but need to integrate OR LEAVE]

Today, a stay in prison is the most advantageous manner to learn the languages from certain areas of the world.
Because the Swiss ones (naturalized included/understood) they constitute a small minority - for example, only 36% for burglaries, 20% for the drug trafficking and 18% for the brawls.

This is to say that the Swiss population is confronted every day with the serious consequences of foreign criminality.

This situation is the result of the irresponsible security policy followed by the coalition of center-left.

To act with all hardness necessary against the criminals to obtain a dissuasive effect, the responsible authorities are showing too often appeasement with regard to the criminals... . many times due to religious don't touch subjects attitude.

To put an end to this intolerable situation, The UDC/SVP (the people's party largest party in Switzerland) deposited on February 15, 2008 its popular initiative "for the referendum of Criminals to be deported".

This project carried out a record result since more than 232.000 citizens supported same by their signature. Many more than needed by the Referendum law.

A clear sign that the population has enough of this situation of it.

The laws and the rules of our country are valid for all: this principle must find all its value.

The Initiative from the UDC for the referendum of criminals to be deported, is an important step in the increasing foreign fight against criminality and it clarifies the situation.

Those who violate the law or which misuse Swiss social works to offer a comfortable life, must leave the country.

This popular initiative restores safety and dissuades the potential delinquents.

The enormous support that the population brought to this initiative confirms clearly that Swiss don't accept any more the current situation.

It thus acts; to accelerate the examination of this initiative to quickly submit it to the people.....which is LAW; This is news from
15 October 2008----
So we expect this hopefully to be posted to the Sovereign (us the people) as Referendum by Springtime 2009"

Posted by: Gabrielle [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2008 8:37 AM

Dymphna said...

Strangely, Lincoln himself was a staunch racist. He simply wanted to deport all blacks back to Africa.

That's true, Lincoln did indeed despair of the black slaves or their descendants every being accepted here. Had he lived, however, Reconstruction would have followed a very different and far more compassionate path than it did under Johnson. The terms "scalawag" and "carpet-bagger" might never have come into common usage...

Unfortunately, the second half of the 19th century was taken over by the very people that Lincoln feared would harm freed slaves.

To simply label what he wrestled with as "racism" is to belittle him and to bandy that word about like the p.c. know-nothings in our country do now. It is an anachronistic comparison.

Struggling to adapt to chaos, huge death tolls and the fracture of our union was the main work of Lincoln's presidential years.

He had several other ideas. For one, he'd have preferred Congress to agree to gradualism to end slavery. And when that fell apart, he also considered buying the slaves from their owners...

I have problems with the way Lincoln grew the government under the pressure of war. I would like to think that had he lived long enough he'd have shrunk it back to near its pre-war size. But that might not have been possible. Since he didn't live to do that, it became just that much easier for the federal government to continue metastasizing.

The huge hole left by Lincoln's assassination could be usefully compared to what might have happened post WWII in Europe if we had not had the Marshall Plan. What if Marshall had died, or had never been born, and there was no one in place with his vision and understanding? How much longer would it have taken Europe to recollect itself?

"Staunch" racist? Hardly. A man limited by his times and his boxed-in position? Yes.

cousinarlo said...

Zenster, thank you, esp. the words from Bill Cosby. And this:

"Don't even get me started about the huge number of Muslims who have come to America with the explicit intention of usurping our laws and culture in the name of Islam."

is Canada's problem too.

Immigrants used to adapt to their host country, one way or another. For the first time since 1683 we have guests who have no qualms about accepting our hospitality to live here, while planning to replace our culture with theirs.

PS Dymphna, Thanks for the great post. I was surprised to read this, though:

"Thousands died to set the slaves free here. Don't forget that this "peculiar institution" was not only encouraged in the Colonies by the English, it was insisted upon for economic reasons. We eventually worked our way free of those chains as the Chinese had to do from opium, another English encouragement."

Hmmm. As someone of English descent, I would just say that Arabs and Africans were trading slaves long before the white man got there, and the Chinese were getting high on opium long before we got there too. They introduced these things to us.

Are we more to blame for adopting these customs than they are for inventing them?


Paul137 said...


A modest factual quibble: I gather that George C. Marshall was an estimable character. But I've had the impression that he was essentially a figurehead with respect to the Marshall Plan, the plan being more the intellectual spawn of George F. Kennan. Indeed, Wikipedia confirms this but includes another name besides Kennan's (and unfamiliar to me).

Unknown said...

long before the white man got there

Which was when?

Afonso Henriques said...

Can't we "gramsci" them too?

Do the same! You see, many people believe America is controled by the Jews, the iluminati, a handfull of great capitalists, etc.
Do the same. Create your own "networks", "secret societies", "groups of interest", etc...

We all know Europe is governed by some dozens of Eurocrats who nobody know who they are... This little country we're at is not only governed by those Eurocrats, it is also by those who hold real power here: The free masons.

You know, do the same! The Vatican created the Opus Dei exactly to fight the influence of the masons in Catholic societies...


I am not really saying for you people to create it. I am only saying that, if there are people capable of it, it will blossom in a near future.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Dymphna, I have seen some Lincoln quotes that certainly are solidly racist. Anyway, I'm not out to belittle him, just to put things a bit into perspective. For what I know from American history, his death was a tragedy, and I too believe that he would have done the Reconstruction in a much more respectful way, that would have let the differences between North and South evaporate much easier.

And he might have gone for less government, too. The oversize of government can, in a way, be measured by the debt of the federal government. The Civil War was the event that sent the government into debt, and as far as I remember, it never recovered. The latest rescue package (which *again* lifted the 'firm' debt limit) is sure to make matters worse in that respect.

xlbrl said...

No, Lincoln was not at any time a staunch racist who wished to deport blacks to Africa.
It is true he assumed blacks could not assimilate because he also assumed they cound not compete with whites. Yet he also believed they were every bit as human as whites and abhorred their treatment both in and out of slavery.
In 1863 Frederick Douglass became the first black man to enter the White House. Douglass reported that he was extremely impressed with Lincoln, although he argued against Lincoln's ingrained opinions on blacks in America.
Douglass returned to the the White House in 1864 to find Lincoln had completely changed his ideas of race, presumably from his contact with Douglass.
Lincoln believed the Union was losing the war, and wished to make what provisions he could for what blacks he could affect before that castrophie occured. He had hatched a plan to ship many freed black to Africa and out of harms way.
Douglass informed him that they were here to stay, that they were Americans now, and of many particulars of the black experience. Lincoln once again accepted the information of an equal.
All this change occured in a ninteenth century man who was already 54 years old. In my book that makes him unique among learners. Let us be wary of proclaiming ourselves his equal.

laine said...

Love of conservative principles is now the "love that dare not speak its name". Many's the dinner party where liberals gang up on a lone conservative like a pack of snarling dogs. They will not have a single fact among them to support their positions, just a self-righteousness and vindictiveness that can not leave anyone to his own opinion if it differs from theirs.

No wonder liberals and Muslims have made common cause though their agendas are polar opposites. What unites them is their control freakiness and inability to live and let live wherever they dominate in numbers or power. They are agreed on the necessity of one supreme code to which all peons must be made subject. One just wants to promote marriage for gays and the other wants to push walls on them. What's certain is that everyone must follow whichever rule wins out.

cousinarlo said...


Blogger Lucille said...

long before the white man got there

Which was when?
10/27/2008 4:42 AM"

How does that matter?

Arabs and Africans invented slavery and then introduced us to the practice. Maybe they should bear some of the blame for a change?