Monday, July 13, 2015

Song of the South

Actually, it was about
ethics in games journalism.
Chuck Baldwin says it really wasn't about slavery:
The State of South Carolina was particularly incensed at the tariffs enacted in 1828 and 1832. The Tariff of 1828 was disdainfully called, “The Tariff of Abominations” by the State of South Carolina. Accordingly, the South Carolina legislature declared that the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were “unauthorized by the constitution of the United States.”
Think, folks: why would the southern states secede from the Union over slavery when President Abraham Lincoln had offered an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing the PRESERVATION of slavery*?
To start. let's click off the places where Baldwin (and everyone else who denies the obvious fact that the South seceded over slavery) gets it right:

1) Yes, other states had threatened to secede before. 
2) Yes, the South had every right to secede.
3) Yes, Lincoln acted illegally in "Preserving the Union" by force.
4) Yes, Lincoln would have kept every slave in chains forever to save the Union.
5) Yes, Lincoln was racist. Just about everyone in America except John Brown was racist.

Everything Baldwin (and other libertarian types) says about Lincoln is true. But there is nothing you can say about how awful and terrible Lincoln was that will change the fact that South Carolina and the other slave states seceded in order to preserve slavery, not to escape taxes.

How do we know? Well for starters, they said so in the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.

South Carolina had long been a hotbed of secessionist talk and was, not surprisingly, the first southern state to pull the trigger. What follows are excerpts from the resolution they adopted on December 24th, 1860, and that laid out their reasons for leaving the Union. Spoiler alert: the word "tariff" is not found in it, while "taxes" is found but once.  And that is a complaint over the government "burthening [slaveowners] with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves."

Here's why the Palmetto State seceded, in their own words, interspersed with commentary from yours truly:
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume[d] the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
This opening salvo, based on the complaints list in Declaration of Independence, presents an interesting challenge for those who say that the South seceded over "states rights."  Are they not here complaining that the northern states denounced slavery as sinful (whence goes free speech?),  and allowed anti-slavery societies to exist (whence goes freedom of association?)  People in other states even wrote books and drew pictures that the South found offensive (whence freedom of the press?) and the federal government refused to stop them.  The horror!

The truth is that before the war the southern states did not give a damn about states' rights except when it came to preserving slavery.

But let us continue:
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction...
Read it again: "...the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."

We have a bingo.  SC noted that every state north of the Mason-Dixon line went for Lincoln. For all their noise about "the forms of the Constitution" and "a sectional party" (Disqualify!!!) their complaint is simply that their guy(s) lost the election and a northern-based party won it without the electoral votes of a single southern state. Whether Lincoln was actually against slavery or not (and we'll assume for the sake of argument that he was not**), Lincoln would not be the last president.  With the failure of slavery in Kansas and the continued growth of northern population, the writing was on the wall: the North could henceforth elect any president it wanted. The South would never again control the presidency as firmly as it had since the nation's founding.  And therefore slavery would become extinct in the United States, if not by the hand of Lincoln, then by the next Republican elected, or the next.
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.
It is underappreciated exactly how much it bothered the South that so many in the North called slavery sinful.  The legislature of Georgia placed a bounty of $5000 on the head of minister William Lloyd Garrison for that very reason. The South's rhetoric had moved over the course of a century from slavery being a necessary normal, to it being a necessary evil, to arguing, by the 1850s, that it was a positive good, both for the slaveowner and the slave.  A widespread belief, promulgated by a growing number of northern Christian ministers, that chattel slavery was evil to its core and that people who took part in it were horrible awful sinners, was something they could not, and would not, stand for. Nor did they ever think such a religious difference could be overcome.
We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved...
Blah, blah, blah, so long and thanks for all the fish. An overbearing federal government was fine so long as it served the interests of slaveholders - Southern politicians complained long and bitterly about personal liberty laws in northern states*** and used every power in the Federal arsenal to subject these states to central control. It was only when they realized they would no longer control that power, when they feared it might be used against slavery, that they decided that Union was a bad idea.

To sum up:

1) The South seceded to preserve slavery. They had every right to secede, but they did it for the shittiest reason imaginable. It's no wonder their modern defenders try to make it about taxes or states' rights.

2) The North invaded because bankers and politicians foresaw that the US could be a world power if it remained in one piece. In other words, preservation of the Union was necessary to increase the power of Washington, DC. It's no wonder their modern defenders try to make it about slavery.

3) The Civil War was not about slavery or taxes or states' rights, though all of them played a part in how the morality of the war was presented to those who fought. This was necessary because the Civil War was mostly just a fight to decide whether the rich, powerful men down South or the rich, powerful men up North would get their way.

* I can think of four reasons right off the top. 1) The South asserted that the Constitution already preserved slavery. 2) There was no guarantee that 2/3 of both houses would approve, much less 3/4 of the states. 3) There is no way Lincoln could guarantee the preservation of anything - any amendment can be rescinded. 4) Because Presidents don't get to vote on Constitutional amendments. In other words, they had the good sense not to believe Honest Abe.
** The Republicans were not even abolitionist as we think of it today.  White workers and farmers were growing tired of having to compete against slave labor.  In fact, while Kansas came into the Union as a free state, it is little known that it almost came in as a state where black people would have been forbidden to live by law.  Opposed to the expansion of slavery is not the same as opposed to slavery.
*** States' rights? LOL. Give us our slaves back. Without even making us prove they were ever slaves.

11 comments:

  1. Civil War was mostly just a fight to decide whether the rich, powerful men down South or the rich, powerful men up North would get their way

    What a colossal waste of lives. At least Lincoln got repaid. I often wonder if the architects of our coming disaster will get credit and their justly deserved pitchforks. I'm betting no.

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  2. The industrialized world was dropping slavery as technology rendered human labor inefficient. People in the South had to see what was coming. I find it hard to follow that they'd go to war to preserve obsolete technology.

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  3. You're living your life, going about your business under the firm and seemingly unassailable belief that men are men, women are women, and that's that. This is a common view, a sensible view, held not only by you and yours, but on back through the generations far predating your antecedents.
    Then some upstart whippersnappers fling these crazy ideas at you that men can be women and women can be golf shoes and despite the centuries of cultural inertia behind you that a man is a man and a woman a woman and nothing else, in quick succession you're reviled, remonstrated to the point of lunacy and then backed into a corner and told to give up your crazy views or face Sherman's Army.
    Moral argumentation doesn't backtest well, I guess is my point, and in at least one important way the abolitionists were the SJWs of their time. Slavery is an awful practice, and incompatible with the philosophies of liberty and individual agency. Sadly, it was in no way abolished as an institutional practice at any point, they simply traded in the lash for the Company Store and all numerous permutations that have bedeviled us ever since.
    The South may have seceded over slavery, or for numerous other reasons; the North, however, did not invade to abolish it. Worth noting, too, that for all the horrors of the Holocaust, not one single Allied power took up arms to end it; they were after another goal.
    So it was with the North and the South.

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  4. I'm going to disagree with a number of things. First... regardless of what the South wrote, just as regardless of Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, it was only about slaves to the North. Lincoln admitted he only wrote the damned thing as a hail mary. If he had actually thought they were going to win, he wouldn't have given that speech. Second, Lincoln did not free the slaves. He very carefully crafted the proclamation so as to not involve Northern slaves. While, true, the industrial age was upon the North, that industry was brutal and bloody and merciless in it's demand for workers. Workers who were required to work extremely long, hot, dangerous hours, including children. They lived, for a fee, in company housing. They could only buy from the company store. They had no way out. Again, Lincoln, and the North, weren't about freeing slaves, simply changing how slavery was handled. Rather than personal ownership, it was done through economic chicanery. Couldn't leave until they paid their bill, and there was no chance of that with the same man deciding wages, prices, and rents. Credit cards are a much more passive means to the same end.

    Now, as for what the Southern states were really about? Doesn't matter, to one extent. That they had every constitutional right to leave the union should have been enough. And, despite all else, they were standing for states rights, no matter how they termed it. Sure, they lost, but that doesn't mean they should have. A rat bastard shouldn't, in court, be found guilty for something he didn't do. That is exactly what happened, if I debate whether the South was the real rat bastard. I still proclaim that the wrong side won.

    As to slavery itself? If you are anywhere close to being right about peak oil? Expect slavery to return in a huge way. If energy prices, due to demand versus supply, or even legislation, skyrocket, initially there will be a resetting of how things are done, then will come the return of slavery. It's the only way. Then again, regardless of how despicable it is, I can't find a single time Christ begrudged it. Slavery was (generally, usually) a different animal, in His time. There were abuses, and great abuses, but not as a general rule. There was also a limit. Every seven years all slaves were freed. Actually, what drives slavery has never been industry. That's new. It is agriculture. Which would be true today. If peak energy crashed everything else, there would still be the need for food. Which amazes me about all those who absolutely devote themselves to "organic" foods. That is guaranteeing both too little food and slavery.

    Hmm? I don't know. Something like that, or as I see it.

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  5. the North, however, did not invade to abolish it.

    Of course they didn't. Ask Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman. The Euro Racists.

    architects of our coming disaster will get credit

    Translation : "will NOT get Justice"

    Of course not... Euro descendents are too weak...and "churchian"

    It's all about Justice...to include the Africans who enslaved their own DNA, and the European Families and Jews that traded them, and last of all the aristocratic southerners who used them, instead of paying white labor to do the job.
    F_&*ing "ffree market capitalism".
    Then descent whites wouldn't even have to rescue the result of "african slavery".

    What percentage of taxation and tariffs was on the agrarian South vs the Industiral North?? The generality of the North cared not one whit about the Africans, based on Race, yet still retained _______ Christianity. You fill in the blank as compared to the 20th and 21st Cent.

    This is all about propaganda and truth and numbers.
    Let us get it right.






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  6. Of course, that crescent moon (very Arabic...hhhmmmm) and Kabbalistic tree in SC flag (see: Charleston" Scottish Rite") makes it vastly more interesting.

    "What's good for me ain't necessarily good for the Weak Minded" - Capt Augustus McRae

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  7. Moral argumentation doesn't backtest well, I guess is my point

    Agreed. And it's a complicated point that is easily (mis)used. I'm not interested as much in condemnation of the South as I am is insisting that we moderns deal with the facts, however embarrassing, honestly. There's not a lot of difference IMO between an SJW like Jill Lepore whitewashing the cannibalism of Aztecs and Baldwin whitewashing the slavery of the South. If one should be lambasted for mythmaking, the other should be as well.

    If you are anywhere close to being right about peak oil? Expect slavery to return in a huge way

    I have expected it ever since I read Lucifer's Hammer the first time. No matter how problematic itself, every social arrangement is the solution for a prior social problem. Re-introduce the economic problems of the ancient world, and their solutions, including slavery, will re-emerge as if by magic.

    The question is not, will there be slavery? It's, what kind of slavery will we have? That's a different question altogether, and one which has dozens of potential answers. We might have slavery like the Hebrews, where the poor 'belonged' to someone for 7 years, or in the South where they and their progeny belonged to someone forever. We might have it like the Romans, where we have Greek slaves who tutor our children in philosophy or like the Bahamas or Mexico, where they are worked to death in a year or two. Each of them is slavery, but they are not the same thing.

    This is one reason (getting back to Huck's point) however awesome it is for modern atheists and how embarrassing it is for Christians, the bible offers no blanket condemnation of slavery.

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  8. I find it hard to follow that they'd go to war to preserve obsolete technology.

    Hindsight is always 20-20. However, there's a couple factors that might need to be figured into an otherwise straightforward economic calculation.

    There's what's been called the "Psychology of previous investment" also known as "holding on to sunk costs." We all know a million examples in our own lives of people who poured good money after bad.

    There's the fact that whether obsolete tech or not, field work was still the best economic use of slaves. You could not simply sell them all and buy tractors. In a world where the economic importance of slavery was being reduced, to whom could you sell?

    There's also the fact that the South was proud and bullheaded, and was not going to let a bunch of effeminate Yankees tell them what to do. Pure human stubbornness explains many economically suboptimal decisions.

    Finally, slavery was not just an economic system. When some states (SC among them) had more slaves than free men, it was an entire social system that would be overthrown. If you were a rich, slaveowning state senator in SC, do you suppose the possibility that your slaves might become free voting citizens would horrify you more economically or socially? I submit to you that it was the latter.

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  9. South Carolina had long been a hotbed of secessionist talk and was, not surprisingly, the first southern state to pull the trigger.

    Literally.

    Thanks for posting some common sense.

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  10. El Bo
    The South seceded to preserve slavery. They had every right to secede, but they did it for the shittiest reason imaginable.



    oh, come now. slavery is not 'good', but it is certainly not the 'shittiest reason imaginable'. seceding in order to be able to make sacrifices to Moloch or Tlaloc, for instance, would certainly be worse. and imaginable.



    El Bo
    Are they not here complaining that the northern states denounced slavery as sinful (whence goes free speech?), and allowed anti-slavery societies to exist (whence goes freedom of association?) People in other states even wrote books and drew pictures that the South found offensive (whence freedom of the press?)


    uh huh. and the end goal of all those constitutionally protected actions was ... the unconstitutional forcing of the southern states to end slavery?

    ah.

    the real issue is that people ( from both sides ) were already trying to misuse the federal government to force OTHERS to comport to their standards.

    Social Justice Warriors as far as the eye can see ...


    El BorakJuly 14, 2015 at 6:59 AM
    When some states (SC among them) had more slaves than free men,


    you know, this raises the obvious point:
    if Abolition would have immediately converted SC into a Black Run state, it becomes obvious that this would have, in short order, resulted in the blacks voting themselves all of the wealth of the whites ... likely whether former slave holders or no.

    which suggests a solution.

    IF the North really considered slavery such an abomination and
    IF the South is admitted to have been in a position in which giving suffrage to the slaves would have the practical effect of subjecting the master to the whip ( which is clearly an untenable demand to force upon those who would be former masters )
    THEN an obvious solution would have been for the Abolitionist North to levy a tax on *themselves* to apply the Virginia principle of manumission: transport out of the Colony ( States ).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manumission#United_States

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberia#History


    strange that i don't remember this being seriously bandied about. was it? it's quite easy to have principles when you're going to pawn the expense of your policies off on somebody else.

    i imagine the South wouldn't have been overly thrilled with a manumission project either BUT if it were offered on a voluntary participation basis i expect that most of the slave states would have had their slave numbers reduced to the point where they themselves would vote for abolition in short order.

    this does still leave the larger, pre-existing problem with lots of people ( on both sides ) thinking that they could use the fedgov to violate Natural Law, though.

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  11. bwJuly 13, 2015 at 7:16 PM
    Of course, that crescent moon (very Arabic...hhhmmmm)


    https://youtu.be/EVekNsgUqn4?t=10s

    it's a gorget or cap bill.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_South_Carolina#The_Moultrie_Flag

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorget

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