Apr 282010
 

http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2010/04/27/filtering_history?page=1

If the history of slavery ought to teach us anything, it is that human beings cannot be trusted with unbridled power over other human beings– no matter what color or creed any of them are. The history of ancient despotism and modern totalitarianism practically shouts that same message from the blood-stained pages of history.

But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message that is pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.

… Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans– more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.

The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to “Roots,” and our schools and colleges don’t pound it into the heads of students.

All true, and all irrelevant. Slavery has been an evil that has existed throughout human history; the West’s efforts to stamp it out, including America’s one internal war to stamp it out from within, has been a historical anomaly. And it’s pretty much ingrained into out subconscience, as well. Try to think of *any* story, book, movie or TV show that is set after some natural or m,an-made disaster causes society to collapse. The percentage of such tales that *don’t* include slavery in The New Order are pretty damned slim.

Pointing out that Africans have forever been enslaving not only other Africans but white folk is a good way to rile up the PC crowd. I did a good job of that myself back in college with nastygrams to the editor of the local college newsrag; boy howdy did some folk not like reading that blacks enslaved blacks, willingly, joyfully, and long before Evil White People got there. It conflicts with the narrative, the same bullcrap PC narrative that leads to lame storytelling such as we got in “Avatar” that the “noble savage” is something to emulate.

You know what? People suck, always have. All races, all ethnicities. Civilization helps people suck less. The Western Enlightenment and the triumph of science over superstition, coupled with the rise of the Individual and the idea that the People owned the Government (and not the other way ’round) helped people suck a *lot* less.

Here’s a thought experiment: imagine a big-budget miniseries along the lines of “Roots” was made that told the story of the Islamic African Barbary pirates enslaving white Europeans… wiping out towns, brutalizing men on galleys, tossing the wimmins into harems, etc. Further, imagine that this miniseries stuck *strictly* to the facts, but didn’t flinch from the nastier bits. How would CAIR respond? How would Al Sharpton respond? Would they tout the miniseries’ historical accuracy? Would they use it as a good teaching tool, to show the evils of slavery? Or would they start screaming about racism?

I said before that the facts were irrelevant. Because when the facts get in the way of a good racist rant about evil whites/conservatives/Americans/whatever, the facts are to be ignored… and anyone who insists upon bringing them up will liekly be demonized as a way to sweep the facts under the rug.

 Posted by at 1:27 pm
  • Michael Holt

    Most historians today would suggest quietly that the American Civil War having an effect on slavery was not one of the primary results sought when the war was started by the invasion of the Confederacy.

    When I was in grad school, I spent a lot of time with the guys (no girls) who were teaching assistants. Their job was to teach Western Civ or World History. Ever semester, they’d talk about students who’d sear off history classes because what was taught didn’t match what they got in public high schools. At least once a pair of girls walked out of a class because they said the teacher was racist because he noted that Lincoln never freed any slaves.

    Facts? Kids don’t care about facts. All they want is to feel comfortable.

  • admin

    > the American Civil War having an effect on slavery was not one of the primary results sought when the war was started by the invasion of the Confederacy

    Indeed. The freeing of the slaves was a side effect of the South deciding to launch a war of aggression upon the North. The War of Southern Aggression led to the freeing of the slaves; neither of those events – the war or the slave-freeing – was a historical necessity. The southern slaveholding states decided to secceed, and they did so peacefully. Had they not decided to attack Ft. Sumter, there’s every chance that they could have gotten away with it, and made their own quaint little medieval slave-based feudal society, at least until it collapsed.

    Note: attempts to justify the attack on Ft. Sumter generally are equivalent to attempts to justify the attack on Pearl Harbor. The US may have been acting in a way that the aggressor nation did not like, but in both cases the aggressor nations brought the rain of ruin upon themselves… a ruin they deserved by their own evil treatment of innocent civilians.

  • Michael Holt

    Something that’s usually totally ignored is that the south’s way of living was on the way out, and they were planning for that. I once found a letter stating that the writer (a plantation resident) expected slavery to vanish before 1900. The reason was that it was no economically practical at any but the largest level — over 1000 slaves — and there were only a dozen or so farming operations that were that large.

    The final straw in the secession discussions came when the tariff laws made it impractical for Southern planters to sell to British mills. The whole idea was to move the Southern cotton to New England mills, and those mills had always been more expensive than British mills.

    No one has ever explained to me — in a way that made any sense –why the shooting started at Ft Sumter. I think I remember that the guy who lit the first fuse also signed the Declaration of Independence.

    I spent my life in the middle of these discussions. Almost invariably, they’re been started by northerners, one of whom asked me if I was ashamed to own slaves. I’d have been perfect to run a museum of Civil War stuff because I don’t want to own any of it.

    By the way, it’s usually called the War of Northern Aggression.

  • admin

    > Something that’s usually totally ignored is that the south’s way of living was on the way out, and they were planning for that.

    And yet, the retention of slavery was the primary reason for splitting from the Union. See: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

    Georgia, 1st 2 sentences: “The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.”

    Mississippi: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth.”

    S. Carolina: “The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

    This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River. “

    Texas: “Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits— a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them? “

    The southerns states seceeded in order to continue the practice of slavery, and then they launched a murderous war of aggression in furtherance of that goal.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that a proper poetic punishment at the close of the war would have been for the United States government to sell all Confederate military officers and political leaders to the Muslim slavers in Africa. Morally *wrong,* of course, but poetic. Might have helped fund reconstruction, though.

    > Almost invariably, they’re been started by northerners,

    In my experience, far more often by Southerners. The rest of America would have long since *forgotten* the Civil War, were in not for the “South will rise again” tards, constantly waving the Confederate Naval Jack all over the damned place. This is something I’ve always been quite confused by. The South was not only wrong on ethical grounds, they got their asses *beat.* Their President tried to sneak to safety dresses like a woman. Their cities got burnt, their culture wrecked and turned into a joke for tourists. What about this makes people want to *celebrate* such loserdom?

    I will celebrate the day when politics in the US resets itself, where the Republicans can comfortably be the party of small government, liberty, science rationality and property rights, and the Dems can resume their mantle of big government, enslavement of large portions of the public to service a parasitic segment of society, and superstitious claptrap. Those Southerners who wish to celebrate the Confederacy and it’s lack of respect for human and property rights can be proud Dems again.

    > By the way, it’s usually called the War of Northern Aggression.

    Just as, I’m sure, there are Japanese who call WWII the “War of American Aggression.” Those who start the war are the aggressors.

  • Huron

    That’s one thing that I always find odd about Americans from the southern states. They seem determined to ignore the fact that slavery played a rather significant role in the cause of the Civil War. Anytime they talk about the “real” causes of the war, those causes practically always have slavery at the core.

    The “Gone with the Wind” history of the Civil War is just ridiculous. How can southerners ever come to terms with their history if they distort it to the point of fiction? Not so very different from the problem that Japan has too, with regards to coming to terms with the history of Imperial Japan.

  • 2Hotel9

    A major point no one ever brings up is the major prevalence of slavery in Islamic majority countries. Inconvenient facts and whatnot.

  • 2Hotel9

    And Tomas does not have a target on his back, he wears it right on his face, and dares any leftard who feels froggy to leap, muthafuckas, he then kicks their tiny, empty skulls in. And never breaks a sweat!

  • Tom D

    FWIW I think Christianity is what really led to the end of slavery in Western Civilization…

  • admin

    > I think Christianity is what really led to the end of slavery in Western Civilization

    Lots of people like to think that. But there are a few problems with that theory:
    1) There’s nothing in the Bible that speaks against slavery. Indeed, it instead calls for some pretty horrific practices in support of slavery in the OT… and never withdraws those calls.
    2) If Christianity was opposed to slavery, it sure took its damned time going about it… around 1800 years to decide that slavery was bad.

    What really killed slavery was the rise of mechanical technology. Prior to the 18th-19th century, the only way many (most?) economies could survive was via unpaid hard labor… slavery, serfdom, indentured servitude, impressment, etc. Plus the lack of the ability to travel, read cheap books (i.e. get much of an education), communicate news & ideas, etc. were all basically absent.

    But as the printing press, the steam engine, improved mechanical tools of all kinds started to become available, slavery started to become economically unneccessary. Once slavery wasn’t *needed*, people could start to see that maybe it was *wrong.* And, yes, Christian churches often led the way in abolitionist movements, for which they are to be thanked. And Christian churches sometimes preached the continued need for enslavement of whole ethnic groups, for which they are to be condemned.

    Those Christians who took up the fight of anti-slavery did so not *because* of specific teachings of the Bible, but because they used *reason.* The same can be hoped for any Muslim cleric who preaches against slavery… he will have to use his reason for such a sermon, not his scripture.

  • Randy Campbell

    Why the first shot?
    Good summery here of the then on-going attempts on both side to activily avoid fighting a war.
    http://www.historycentral.com/civilwar/Sumter.html

    The belief at the time concerning slavery was that without the ability to expand slavery to the west the inistitution (and by reference all things Southern Americans saw as “right-and-good”) would fade away.
    The biggest fear factor for Southerners was that it would NOT fade away “quietly” and historic slave ‘uprisings’ in addition to increasing hard-line Northern rhetoric (which from the Southern persepective led directly to John Brown’s abortive slave rebellion plot) led to the general fear that since the Federal government had (and the Western Territories electivly agreed) declared that Slavery would not pass beyond the Mississipi River, Northern anti-slavery support would increase to the point where long, bloody slave rebellion was inevitable.

    As Michael Holt noted in general it was pretty well understood by those who were actually tracking the economics of slavery that the institution itself was fading, however actually discussing this in any public forum would probably get one run out of town on a rail if not out-right lynched because (I’m sure you are all going to be surprised by this 🙂 ) politicians were using the issue of slavery as a basis for all that was “good” for Southerners and to promote varying agenda’s for States Rights over Federal rule. The politicians of the time managed to envoke enough fear and loathing towards the “North” (more specifically towards Washington DC) that the general southern citizen saw Washington in particular and the North in general as activily engaged in a program to subjucate them. Once this general mood reached a head (the mentioned tariffs, as there was actually more than one in the final version, were REALLY impossible to defend as anything BUT legeslation aimed at the Southern states and brought public sentiment to a boiling point) secessionist politicians were swept into local and state offices and the rest was pretty inevitable.

    Scott wrote:
    >Note: attempts to justify the attack on Ft. Sumter generally are
    >equivalent to attempts to justify the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    >The US may have been acting in a way that the aggressor nation did not
    >like, but in both cases the aggressor nations brought the rain of ruin
    >upon themselves… a ruin they deserved by their own evil treatment of
    >innocent civilians.

    So, what you’re saying is any “attempt” and therefor anyone who DOES atttempt to “justify” either attack is evil and deserves ruin and destruction? :o) Nice to know you’re so open to debate on historic facts :o)

    Historically neither case cited NEEDS to be defended as they were both politically motivated attempts to prevent United States action against the attacking Nation. Pre-emptive strikes as it were to prevent further actions political or militarily against the aggressor nation.
    In the case of Ft. Sumter Jefferson Davis over-rode his Secretary of State’s objections to any aggressive move for what seemed to him like “good-reasons” in that Ft.Sumter had become a political and public releations issue. Major Anderson HAD, like many Federal military units stationed in secessionist states or areas of high secessionist support, been isolated and without supply since the initial Confederate States had seceeded and in an un-supportable military position. (His orginal command was Fort Moultrie inside the city of Charleston) Though the local citizens had become increasingly hostile, both the state and the Confederate government felt it was ‘safer’ to simply let the Major run out of supplies and allow him to surrender his forces. This was in fact what the MAJOR had planned to do until he was given direct orders by the Buchanan administrations to defend all Federal factilities in Charlston and to take whatever action he deemed necissary should he feel threatened.

    So the Major made a decision to move all his troops and supplies to the as yet unfinished and unoccupied Ft. Sumter in Charleston harbor. For Major Anderson’s part this move was both practical as Sumter unlike Moultrie could possibly be defended by his forces, and also unlike Ft. Moultrie, Ft Sumter being in direct contact with the sea could possibly be supplied and supported by elements of the United States Navy. On the DOWNSIDE, these facts were also quite evident to the local, state and Confederate forces and governments.
    (A note should be made here that while NO move was made by any of the above mentioned parties to have THEIR forces occupy Ft. Sumter even though it was obviously capable of being finished and turned into a defensive bastion and a local strong-point with little effort. The “turning-point” for Major Anderson was when he was informed that Governer Pickens was planning on moving troops to the island, which would have cut off ANY chance of his being resupplied or reinforced.)

    Major Anderson’s move put both the Jefferson Davis and the newly elected Abraham Lincoln in precarious positions. Major Anderson was quickly becoming a hero in the North for his ‘defense’ against the secessionist so Lincoln had little choice but to eventually announce he was going to resupply Anderson at the Fort. At the same time Jefferson Davis couldn’t see any way for this NOT to mean that the Fort would ALSO be reinforced and once that was done with aduqate forces it Ft. Sumter would be a practiclally invulnerable fortress commanding the majority of Charleston harbor and commanded by an ‘enemy-nation’ with hostile intent.

    (Another note at this point: Tensions had been on the rise and “incidents” of conflict were becoming daily events all this time. Both Federal and Seccesionist troops and supporters were becoming involved in more and more violent clashes across the whole continent. The entire QUESTION of the legality and Constitutionality of Secceding was an open and very hotly contested debate, and several border states were still mulling over reconciliation or seccesion at the time. Politically, both sides were still trying to reach an accomidation though by the time President Lincoln took office the PUBLIC had already made up their minds and compromise of any sort was out of the question.)

    As noted above the Confederate Secretary of State, much like Admiral Yamoto in the case of Japan, was well aware that a motivated and determined North was capable of out-producing the South in war materials and at the point of the attack on Ft. Sumter there wasn’t any real structure or cohesion to the Seccessionist states in a military sense. Jefferson Davis ignored this and ordered that Ft. Sumter be either surrendered or the Federal troops forced to surrender.
    In fact when presented with the demand for surrender Major Anderson pointed out that the Confederates need only have waited a few days and he would have had no choice BUT to surrender as he was running out of food. Negotiations were actually continued until the Conferderate representatives managed to get Major Anderson to agree to an actual date of surrender as April 15th, but with the previso that if he were resupplied and or reinforced prior to that date he would insist on re-negotiations. Since Lincoln had announced that the Fort would recieve supplies and reinforcments and that support could arrive at any time, further negotiations were deemed unproductive. The Confederate and State forces in the area opened fire on the Fort at 04:30am and continued the bombardment until Major Anderson was forced to officially surrender all Federal forces, facilities, and equipment 34 hours later.

    Now here is where things get ‘tricky’ because this IS a case where the South attacked first, but in general truth neither the North OR the South were in any way ‘ready’ to go to war with each other. Southern troops were disorganized and without effective leadership on the more stratigic level, meanwhile while Ft. Sumter force President Lincoln to issue a call for troops it lost the wavering border states specifically Virgina (which provided the majority of the leadership for the Southern war effort) and Kentucky which held the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, virtually highways into the seccessionist states) and others soon joined the Confederacy.
    The most important territory in those early days was the state of Maryland as it remained ‘Union” but was also the ONLY “protection” for Washington DC. Troops were immediatly ordered to Maryland both as protection for Washington but also as a staging ground for forcing the seccessionist states BACK into the Union

    The “problem” was that Maryland was a rather ‘typical’ border-state and had active and vocal Southern supporters. Those supporters sabotaged the railroads forcing a major delay in getting ANY troops between Washington and the looming threat of Confederate attack.

    The ‘problem’ was the Confederacy was in no position to “attack” anyone at the moment at more than a small local level and couldn’t muster enough forces, or the political will to move forward and sieze Washington.
    (As in Maryland the majority of “border” states were mixes of Unionist and Seccessionists. Unionist supporters in the South proceeded to sabotage Confederate efforts to organize and move troops and equipment just as much as their Successionist counterparts did the the North)

    By the time of the first REAL battle of the Civil War (and the major reason for calling it the “war of NORTHERN aggression” rather than Southern, ’cause Sumter don’t count, or so the idea goes) at Bull Run the Union felt comfortable enough to risk sending forces South to re-establish the Union. And PROVING that neither side was STILL ready said forces attcked an entrenched enemy and ALMOST broke through the lines. Once Confederate reinforcments entered the battel the Union attack faultered and then broke. What followed was a total route of the Union force and a paniced retreat to Washington DC that WOULD have been a decisive point in the war IF the Confederacy had been in any shape militarily to follow up the paniced Union troops.

    And that pretty much sums up the rest of the war, the Confederacy had no real chance to set up an offensive Army and the Union continued to launch attacks into the Confederacy at every opportunity. Hence the feeling that labelling the war as one of “Northern” aggression is “justified”.
    Of COURSE this ignores the issues central to the actual conflict, as well as who “officially” fired the first shot, but like the war itself the ’causes’ are less important to people than the “ideals” that supposedly drove each side.
    And more so than those supposed ‘ideals’ the actual events during and after the war are at the heart of current problems we’re facing today.

    The war really only ‘settled’ a single matter overall and it wasn’t “freeing” the slaves of the South. The war settled the issue of States-Rights versus Federal rule with Federal Rule predominant over Constitutional and assumed States Rights. Lincoln’s “plan” for re-intergration of the Southern States died with him and the resultant ‘punishment’ of the ex-Confederacy has resulted in the continued ill-will and conflict we see today.
    (Which in itself if rather ‘funny’ on a historic level as a rather vast majority of the people who consider themselves “southerners” are descendents of Northerners who moved to the South to take advantage of the numerous economic, land, and other “incentives” that the the victorious Union emposed on the Seccessinoist states as reperations.)
    Those ruinious conditions led directly to the NEED for a civil rights movement around a hundred years later to actually COMPLETE what the Civil War started in “freeing” the slaves.

    This method NEVER works and ALWAYS leaves chaos and confusion behind that ends up building up to new conflicts that must be resolved further down the road.

    Randy

  • 2Hotel9

    “Those ruinious conditions led directly to the NEED for a civil rights movement around a hundred years later to actually COMPLETE what the Civil War started in “freeing” the slaves.”

    Actually, Democrat politicians stripping freed slaves of their Constitutional Rights, you know, Jim Crowe, poll taxes and tests, blocking education of their children, etc etc is what led to the Civil Rights movement. And the “granting” of “rights” based on race was a VERY BAD idea, it has created a bifurcated structure which is tearing America apart.

  • admin

    >Note: attempts to justify the attack on Ft. Sumter generally are
    >equivalent to attempts to justify the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    >The US may have been acting in a way that the aggressor nation did not
    >like, but in both cases the aggressor nations brought the rain of ruin
    >upon themselves… a ruin they deserved by their own evil treatment of
    >innocent civilians.

    So, what you’re saying is any “attempt” and therefor anyone who DOES atttempt to “justify” either attack is evil and deserves ruin and destruction?

    No. Read it again. The leadups to the War of Southern Aggression and the War of Japanese Aggression were similar… the Japanese/South were both racist, evil cultures bent on the subjugation of “lesser” races, and both were up against a US government that was willing to use economic pressure (tarifs, boycotts, etc) to get them in line, and both were *stupid* enough to launch military campaigns to gain territory for their empires.

    I pointed out that the Japanese and the slavers both deserved what they got, not that anyone ridiculous enough to try to justify their actions deserves ruination. Just mockery.

    The war really only ’settled’ a single matter overall and it wasn’t “freeing” the slaves of the South. The war settled the issue of States-Rights versus Federal rule with Federal Rule predominant over Constitutional and assumed States Rights.

    I’m not sure it’s quite true to say that it “settled” that particular matter, certainly n ot on Constitutional grounds. What it did settle was that if you attack someone, you shouldexpect them to fight back. Again, the southern states *had* secceeded; the fighting only started when the South started fighting.

    This is one of those cases where “you’re not helping” is the phrase of the day. States rights vs. powerful central government? The Souths war did not help. Right to bear arms vs. gun control? Tim McVeigh did not help. Republicans vs Democrats on issues of rationality? Creationists are not helping.

  • Randy Campbell

    As to “Pearl Harbor” and the end of WWII, I suppose we managed to LEARN a bit from history and we DIDN’T set out to destroy Japanese or German culture or even force fundemental changes to their way of life.

    We outlawed the NAZI party in Germany and forced a de-militerization of the Japanese. The political structure in both nations remains essentially unchanged with that prior to WWII as do the overall cultures.
    There are of course DIFFERENCES in those government and cultures than before the war but the fundemental aspects are unchanged.
    Japan for example has had its military sharply reduced in size and prestige after WWII by the treaty with the United States that ended the war. This outcome was however inevitable given the way the military in Japan had minipulated the overall cultural paradigms of day into a rigid either/or system that was dependent on military success to continually demonstrate the Japanese military (and therefor cultural) superiority.

    Once Japan “lost” the war this paradigm became untainable and a new one was needed. This is why Japan has had numerous “cultural-revolutions” over time since WWII as it tries as a sociaty to find its identity while incorperating its historic cultural identity. Politically “admiting” the mistakes that were made that lead to the “Pacific War” (no one in Japan has ever managed to twist a way for America to be the “aggressor” in WWII, and everyone freely admits that Japan struck the first blow) and its aftermath is probably never going to happen. Popular media in Japan has gone out of their way to PUSH for doing so on several levels but the overall cultural and political structure is incapable of doing so.

    And I for one agree that in order to “move-on” in reationships with the rest of Asia and the world politically Japan as a nation is going to have to face the reality of what they did prior to and during WWII. While overall the NATION of Japan and the people HAVE done a lot to face and assimilate their conduct during that time and have begun to really come to terms with and resolve the situation there are still elements that (like those in the South who cling to an idealic picture of the Civil War South and ignore the reality) will continue to pick and choose to believe that Japan prior to the end of WWII was somehow superior to what it is today.

    (Wrenching myself back towards topic a moment 🙂 )
    The Western (specifically the United States) conflict with Islam however is one where the conflict can probably NOT be resolved short of significant changes in the overall culture of one of the combanants.

    The suggestion that Christiantiy and the Bible was responsible for the end of Slavery in the west misses that they were both heavily utilized as the “call-to-arms” and justification on both sides either for OR against slavery. And had the institution itself not been on the way to being replaced by technological means no amount of ‘arguing’ would have changed the situation. Islamic teachings can be used in somewhat a similar manner IF anyone wanted to do so, however there is little to no incentive to do so.
    More to the point I suppose is that despite efforts to the contrary (and they ARE efforts but they neither get much press OR any support from the majority of Muslims) Islam is still firmly rooted in the 16th Century as a static culture and religion.
    Slavery is PROPER for those who are SUPERIOR and GOD said Muslim’s were “superior” to everyone else. To even contemplate that this might NOT be fully true is to deny God… Feel free to continue the ‘logic’ here but the plain truth is that 16th Century Islam can’t continue to exist in a world with 21st Century technology and culture.

    Islam and in particular the Middle-East as a whole is being confronted by technology and thinking that is leading to similar fears and loathings that Southerners felt towards the coming age of technology they were facing and the increasing pressure from the North as well as from International sources to abolish slavery and embrace a different path.
    (England for example “supported” the Confederacy in its right to exist, yet at the same time were pushing the South to abolish slavery… Of course like the Confederacy itself and the founders of the United States they couldn’t figure out a way to get from point A to point B that didn’t involve a LOT of economic and social dislocation and probably violance)

    Slavery and its economics were culturally tied to the South and similarly Islam is tied to a 16th century culture and mindset. In both cases the “ideal” solution is isolation from the technology and culture that each is in conflict with. In the theory that isolation will allow the culture and economy or religion to remain pure and/or find a path of change that will allow cultural survival.
    In either case though “isolation” is impossible since the South depended on the North and international trade to survive, as does the Middle-East. Even limited contact isn’t possible as technology and cultural change spread to easily to control.

    This leaves only two choices: Change or Conflict.

    Randy.
    Oh, BTW Scott: If we’d “sold” most of the Confederate officers etc into slavery we’d have probably LOST the Korean war (the first one… around 1866 or so) since Congress ended up giving out handfulls of Medals of Honor to ex-Confederate soliders during that time for their conduct.
    And as a little ‘note’ the Republicans have ALWAYS been FOR Federal over State control it was their platform from their inception. The Democrats on the other hand orginally SUPPORTED State and local control over centeral Federal contol hard as that is to believe.
    The Democratic party was orignally the party of the Anti-Federalists and Constitutional adherance.

    Like ALL politics in the United States prior to the Civil War BOTH parties were polarized by the slavery issue but the Republican party was base on anti-slavery, expansionism, and Federal rule.
    We American’s seem to be weird that way with our politics 🙂

  • Randy Campbell

    Still not “helping” I know but…
    Scott wrote:
    >The leadups to the War of Southern Aggression and the War of Japanese
    >Aggression were similar… the Japanese/South were both racist, evil
    >cultures bent on the subjugation of “lesser” races, and both were up
    >against a US government that was willing to use economic pressure
    >(tarifs, boycotts, etc) to get them in line, and both were *stupid* enough
    >to launch military campaigns to gain territory for their empires.

    Hmm, Ok you’re wrong of course in more ways that I can count off hand but… 🙂
    Ok the ‘lead-up’ to both wars were NOT similar nor are comparisons going to get very far. WWII was NOT the “War of Japanese” aggression THAT had been going on for at least 20 years prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Though Japan became the REASON we entered WWII we had been supporting England since early 1940, but had also been in negotiations with Germany with proposals to mediate a peace. (Mostly because there was a large segment of the American public that really DID think Fascism was totally COOL! Go figure 🙂 )

    We had been opposing Japanes expansion activily in China for more than a decade by 1941 with active government sanctioned aid (even though that was technically illegal by Congressional ruling and laws) in equipment, supplies and military aid. We had in fact had personnel killed when one of our gunboats in China was attacked by Japanese planes. (The Japanese government was VERY quick to apologize, the Japanes PUBLIC was even more apologetic which erked the Japanes military to no end)
    We (at least at the political level though it can be argued the average citizen who understood the embargo the US was planning could probably have figured it out too) knew where the rubber and oil embargo would leave the Japanese, and the total break down of negotiations was a high possibility. When we intercepted communications between Japan and their embassy that amounted to preperations for war we put out military on high-alert and tried to anticipate where they would attack us.
    We were surprised by their attack on Pearl Harbor because we didn’t think they had the balls to push an attack force that far from their ‘territory’ but militarily it made perfect sense since taking out the majority of our Pacific Fleet would leave all our holdings in the Pacific without support.

    What the Japanese hadn’t counted on was their actual decleration of War being delayed in deliver until AFTER the attack. And the public reaction to a “sudden and unprovoked” surprise attack carried us on into and through WWII. But you WILL note we choose to fight in EUROPE first? Against an “allied” state instead of directly against Japan?

    In the case of the Confederacy, again, there was sound military and political reason for the attack on Ft. Sumter and I can understand WHY the attack took place. And while I DON’T and WON’T “justify” the culture or nations in either case, the actual historical reasons don’t justify your attempts to paint both parties with the same brush.

    The Japanese and the Confederacy BOTH had opportunities to do major damage to the US military and did so. Neither was in any position to follow up on those victories. Had they been attacking the US in order to ‘gain territory for their empires’ things would have been totally different. At least in the short term. The Confederacy had no ability to follow up their early victories in defensive battles because they didn’t have the military strength to push into Union territory. The Japanese on the other hand were attempting to push out ALL European influance in Asia and the Pacific and were too over-extended to effectivly deliver another major blow as they did at Pearl Harbor.

    In effect both “empires” were forced to fight defensive wars of attrition they couldn’t in the end win. “Stupid”? Eh, as an American I have to say “yes” because every time we get attacked it seems its because of someone on the other side being ‘stupid’ enough to not understand how Americans think and how they will act when attacked. Historically though the major reason both the Confederacy and the Japanese got their keesters kicked wasn’t that they were “aggressive” and “trying to add to their empire” but that they weren’t aggresive ENOUGH and discounted the overall reaction of the US to being attacked.

    >>The war really only ’settled’ a single matter overall and it
    >>wasn’t “freeing” the slaves of the South. The war settled the issue of
    >>States-Rights versus Federal rule with Federal Rule predominant over
    >>Constitutional and assumed States Rights.

    >I’m not sure it’s quite true to say that it “settled” that particular matter,
    >certainly not on Constitutional grounds.

    Actually the Supreme Court agreed in general that States do NOT have a Constitutional “right” to secced from the United States but that wasn’t until the Civil War was already in progress. The ONLY state that has the ability to ‘withdraw’ from the Union is Texas and THAT only because they were an independent Nation prior to joining the US.

    >What it did settle was that if you attack someone, you should expect
    >them to fight back. Again, the southern states *had* secceeded; the
    >fighting only started when the South started fighting.

    “Technically” the whole question of “seccedding” was still up in the air since there was no precident, nor any Constitutional grounds for such a move. Things were still in limbo until Lincoln decided to resupply Ft. Sumter. Lincoln couldn’t see any way to pull Major Anderson and his men out because public opinion in the North saw Anderson as a “hero-of-the-Union” but even more he saw that giving up Ft. Sumter would be an recognition of the seccessionists. Also politically unacceptable at that point in time.
    Attacks on seccessionist outposts as well as attacks on Federal positions had been taking place for months already by that time, with minor engagements of actual ‘troops’ from both sides “militaries” growing in intensity. No OFFICIAL action had been taken though because both parties would rather have had a more political settlment.

    Lincolns decision left Davis with little choice, but in truth NEITHER had much choice at that point as they were actually loosing control of their militaries along the borders. (The almost constant riots by anti-Union/pro-Union factions were becoming completely out of control which didn’t help. Note that anyone who thinks Americans are to ‘blasie about our politics needs to read more history. We HAVE shed blood over poltics and frankly the effort wasn’t worth the end result 🙂 )

    >This is one of those cases where “you’re not helping” is the phrase of the
    >day.

    Probably true. But on the other hand simplifying history to a set of buzz-words and simplistic rationalies may “help” in the short run but ALWAYS comes back to bite you in the keester in the long-run.

    >States rights vs. powerful central government? The Souths war did not
    >help. Right to bear arms vs. gun control? Tim McVeigh did not help.
    >Republicans vs Democrats on issues of rationality? Creationists are not
    >helping.

    “Helping” isnt’ the point of ANY of those examples you know… It’s about getting YOUR side involved, it’s about throwing YOUR viewpoint into the “other-sides” face by piggybacking on someone elses issue.

    Slavery has been with humanity a LONG, LONG, LONG time and while “evil” in and of itself has at times been “proven” to be a neccessary part of society and not ALWAYS about exploitation of the weak and helpless. Case in point in “New Testement” times being a “slave” in Roman sociaty wasn’t a life long service nor even a social stigma in some ways. People could be ‘sentenced’ to slavery for specific time periods due to inability to pay debts, minor (and major) crimes or for being on the ‘loosing’ side of a war or rebellion against Rome. It didn’t neccessarily mean you couldn’t be “free” again at some point and slaves had to be treated fairly and justly within a certain code. Slaves were in many cases treated better than the ‘local’ population in Roman conquered lands.

    Does all this make it any LESS “evil”? HELL no! But DOES help to consider the differences between a slave in Rome and one in the South as it applies to the times and society in which they exisited.

    Randy

  • admin

    >Ok the ‘lead-up’ to both wars were NOT similar

    Ok, where am I wrong here:
    >The leadups to the War of Southern Aggression and the War of Japanese
    >Aggression were similar… the Japanese/South were both racist, evil
    >cultures bent on the subjugation of “lesser” races, and both were up
    >against a US government that was willing to use economic pressure
    >(tarifs, boycotts, etc) to get them in line, and both were *stupid* enough
    >to launch military campaigns to gain territory for their empires.

    Which of those statements is factually inaccurate?

    > there was sound military and political reason for the attack on Ft. Sumter

    Sure. A small agrarian nation is always well advised to start a war against a large, rich, industrialized nation that it shares a long border with. It’s just common sense.

    > And while I DON’T and WON’T “justify” the culture or nations in either case, the actual historical reasons don’t justify your attempts to paint both parties with the same brush.

    Both parties were, I will repeat, EVIL. They were using the power of governjment to subjugate and tormet, as official policy, “lesser people.” Both had dreams of vast empires… the Japs wanted all of Asia & the Pacific, the South wanted all of central and South America as a massive slave empire.

    > simplifying history to a set of buzz-words and simplistic rationalies may “help” in the short run but ALWAYS comes back to bite you in the keester in the long-run.

    Enslaving people from birth is simply evil. I’m sorry if that’s not a sufficiently “nuanced” position to take.

    > People could be ’sentenced’ to slavery for specific time periods

    And they still can. I saw rather a large number of slaves toiling away in chain gangs along the side of the highway when I drove through Massachussetts a few years back.

  • kbob42

    See, This is why I read this blog. I am learning a lot about the American Civil War and the circumstances at Ft Sumter.

  • admin

    > This is why I read this blog.

    This?!?!?! Sheesh. Why have I been wasting my time mucking about with cat photos and aerospace history all this time? I should’ve gone straight to the ol’ standby, Fort Sumter.

    BTW:

  • JP

    Wasn’t there a scene in a movie where a guy about to be killed by Italian mobsters explains to them where they got their curly black hair and olive skin. I think his explaination had to do with the north african black turks invading southern europe and making a bunch of nappy headed whitish folk. Chistopher Walken, the main mob guy who never killed anyone, laughed about the story, then shot him. I thought it was one of Tarantino’s early scripts

  • kbob42

    But, my wife likes the cat pictures! And my cat likes the aerospace stuff.

  • YOU A RACISS

    Just kidding. Great post.

  • 2Hotel9

    The Confederacy lost because they did not drive the killing blow home after First Bull Run, they held back, did the “honorable thing” and allowed the Union Army to fall back across the Potomac. The tactical situation was that they could have walked into the capital and taken the entire government in one fell swoop, an action which many officers wanted to take, Beauregard refused on the grounds that it would be dishonorable, and thus condemned thousands of men to death in a protracted war.

    As for slavery, it was dying of its own weight. It was, in the final measure, economically nonviable. It was dragging down all of the plantations, slowly, yes, but inexorably. Slave based operations are not competitive, they can only work when there is no other system for it to compete with.

    And in the name of full disclosure, yes. I am a southerner, can trace my ancestry back through 5 lines to colonists as far back as 1612. British, Spanish and French(Basque, actually, and Huguenots). And my family was anti-slavery, all the way back to our start in the Americas, one Spanish ancestor having left the original West Florida colony over their enslavement of Indians, and petitioned the King of Spain to abolish slavery. He gave a decree to that effect and it was routinely ignored by colonial administrators well into the 1800s.

    We fought in the army of the Confederacy, we fought for equal taxation, State’s Rights and strict adherence to the Constitution. We lost, as today’s political situation so clearly shows.

  • admin

    > We fought in the army of the Confederacy, we fought for equal taxation, State’s Rights and strict adherence to the Constitution. We lost, as today’s political situation so clearly shows.

    Perhaps if those had been the goals of the *Confederacy,* things would be better. Sadly, as demonstrated by the Declaration of Causes
    of Seceding States linked above, the motivation behind the Confederacy’s treason and murder was the continued enslavement of their fellow man.