Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Make it a three-fer...

Well, sort of. It's not an Aaron Wolf article, but he is quoted in this Daily Mail piece written by Brussels-based journalist Mary Ellen Synon. It's all business as usual in the "Land o' Lincoln" (hey, at least for once the spotlight of corruption isn't on my state, the "Land o' Long," and as the Great You-Know-What himself is reputed to have quipped: "You can't fool all of the people all of the time." Some lies take longer than others to shake out.


Pastor said...

Wow! Great article. I live in the north, but I think we all lost (and we were all enslaved, in a sense) when the States lost the right to secede. I doubt it will ever change, but I think it is important for people to learn the truth about Lincoln and the Civil War. I've never met a stubborn northerner yet (i.e. who pokes fun at the quaint ways of southerners and their reenactments, their rebel flags, their 'South will rise again,' etc) who actually understands why the southerners think and act the way you do - most simply assume southerners are 'unenlightened' about slavery, racism, equality, etc. We don't know what to say when presented with the facts, because the facts actually make much more sense than the myths!

wmc said...

They should have freed the slaves first, then fired on Ft. Sumter. Might have had a lot more support.

Timing is everything.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear W:

I don't think it would have made a difference.

Lincoln's war was waged to "save the union." His so-called Emancipation Proclamation actually *preserved* slavery for any state or states that would return to the union before Jan 1, 1863. Under his terms, the war would end when secession was revoked, not when slavery was abolished. That was the condition. The war against the South would end when secession ended. Had the South freed all the slaves, the war would have continued.

But on a more practical level, such an emancipation during the Sumter crisis was impossible. To make an analogy, if I have an unwanted guest in my house with a gun trained on my family, that becomes the first priority - not the leaky faucet that I inherited from the very guy who now has a weapon pointed at my wife.

Indeed, timing is everything.

We seceded from the Union with Great Britain while keeping slaves in every state. It never became a PR issue, in spite of the fact that the Royal Governor of Virginia issued an "emancipation proclamation" of his own in 1775, giving freedom to any slave who would revolt and fight the "rebels." But since the "good guys" won that war of secession, the slavery PR never took hold.

Sadly, in spite of our liberty from English tyranny, the slaves remained in bondage in North and South alike (even in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where the local economies were centered on the unbelievably profitable triangular slave trade).

Peter said...

Slavery may be a "leaky faucet" to a freedom-loving slave owner, but not to the slave who's drowning. And, to take the analogy further, that faucet had been leaking for quite a long time. (That's not to say, btw, that I don't think the states had a right to secede, or that they didn't have other valid points.)

Father Hollywood said...

Indeed, it was leaking in 1776 when every state in the union had slaves. The north only abolished slavery when it became an economic hardship (it works better in fields than in sweatshops). But it makes a nice pretense of northern self-righteousness, doesn't it?

We seldom hear about how William Lloyd Garrison was nearly lynched in Boston because of his radical abolitionism, or how he publicly burnt a copy of the Constitution and was calling for Northern secession.

But none of that feeds the Lincoln myth.

Peter said...

I'm not here to promote a myth, or to say that North's motives were pure. Nor, am I here to disparage the South, many of whose motives were pure, good, and right. I only wanted to make the point that slavery was far worse than a leaky faucet.

Past Elder said...

I don't think the analogy with independence from Mother England can be sustained. We were colonies of an empire, not states in a union.

However, the fact that abolition in the North followed upon industrialisation is well taken. Moral indignation at an institution is easier to come by when it isn't (any more) at the core of your economy.

Not to mention the violence done to the whole idea of a union of states, rather than provinces of a single entity. "States rights" to this day is generally seen as a dodge for excusing racism, not the least because it is in many cases. There's fault on both sides, and meanwhile we become more provinces afraid to do anything to threaten the life blood of money from on high.

Maybe in this and many things we have much yet to learn from General Lee -- who, btw, though what we would call to-day a "four star" full general officer wore in grey the uniform of colonel, his last rank in the United States Army.

Not to mention that in my memory a black person could not get a room at the premier hotel in town, unless he was say an African head of state seeking treatment at the famous medical centre in town, as the local kids headed South to march for civil rights. Or that in the hub, so to speak, of abolitionism in one century, in the next their descendants rioted in the streets when school integration was forced by bussing.

The president who gets a bad rap out of all this is Jefferson. How could someone write "all men are created equal" yet hold slaves, not to mention Sally, they say. Just a product of his times, they say.

So then, is "all men are created equal" not then a product of his times too? The marvel is not that one could write all men are created equal yet hold slaves, but that a slaveholder could attain to the thought that all men are created equal. No-one was more aware, intellectually and personally, that this contradiction could not last than Jefferson himself.