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November 23, 2017

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pie crust is minutes from its blind baking. dressing and turkey are waiting.

gin is tonicking.

wife is playing Plants v Zombies on her iPad.

Pretenders live acoustic on the hi-fi.

Very happy thanksgiving to all in the US.

What kind of pie, cleek?

Happy T-day to one and all. Here in Maine -- mostly sunny, lovely day to look at, though seasonally cold if you actually venture out of reach of turkey aroma.

The Subaru's navigation program took us on surface streets through the "wilds" of eastern NY/western CT, which may not have save a lot of time but was much more interesting than sitting on the superhighways.

Increasingly as the years go by, the JanieM navigation program takes me on "surface streets" (i.e. not the interstate) for most of my at-least-annual trips between Maine and northeastern Ohio. This time I did most of the trip off the highway, all but the westernmost three hours, where I picked up I-86 a bit east of Hornell and ran into I-90 west of Erie. It takes far longer, of course, than it would if I just did interstates all the way, but it's much more varied and interesting on the back roads.


Correction for the nitpicky -- I-86 meets I-90 *east* of Erie, not west.

I-90 at Erie is always a little knot of truck traffic because of the intersection with I-76 (south to Pittsburgh), but by the time I get that far I'm often too impatient for the back roads.

Drove my son and myself via I-80 today from NYC to Pittsburgh. Absolutely Owsley designed stupendous sunset as we dropped down into the Allegheny Valley.

Spend three days in NYC at MOMA, the Met, and the Guggenheim, taking time outs to ride the subway down to Mario Batali's Eataly in the Flatiron District to moon walk from the fish bar to the risotto bar and to the charcuterie and formaggio bars, and where I would like to hide like a house cat and come out at night and raid their pantry.

We'll do Thanksgiving tomorrow, Friday, at my brother's house in Pittsburgh and then the kid will take the train back to Columbia and I'll fly back to Denver.

I give thanks to the essential character of America, now in clown face but not forever, and for my son being hired for his Chemistry post-doc next year in University of Michigan's program.

He has outdone all of the expectations of his parents, by a longshot, by which I mean he is better than we are, and that's all a person can ask.

Pretenders in live acoustic.

I'm just about at the point where I prefer the great bands breaking out the acoustic guitars and presenting those songs to us the way they presented them to each other in the studio.

I give thanks to the essential character of America, now in clown face but not forever, and for my son being hired for his Chemistry post-doc next year in University of Michigan's program.

Ditto for the first part, congrats for the second.

I-80 in Pennsylvania -- now there's a road with a lot of truck traffic. But maybe not on Thanksgiving?

This talk of highways is making me want to hit the road. The Obsidian Wings Travel America Road Show?

I-80 in Pennsylvania -- now there's a road with a lot of truck traffic.

I-80 between the I-76 cutoff in Nebraska and Cheyenne, WY. Four out of five vehicles are 18-wheelers.

I need a proofreader today; it must be the turkey.

It isn't I-76 in PA, it's I-79.

For the first time in my life I put together a meal consisting of several different dishes: turkey breast, dressing, gravy, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and cranberry relish. All very simple (the relish was store-bought, in fact), but the bringing of everything together at roughly the same time was in itself something of a triumph.

I realize that literally millions of women do this every year, often multiple time, but I'm a 73-year-old man who has only stepped up because his wife is no longer able to handle the task, even with a willing sous-chef in myself. So it was, on a small scale, a big deal for us.

The meal came out fine.

Happy Thanksgiving.

"presenting those songs to us the way they presented them to each other in the studio."

I started a playlist on Spotify and invited my friends and family to add to it, but only acoustic music.

In explaining to one of my nephews I pointed out that once it wasn't called acoustic music.

Well what was it called? he asked.

Music.

Very few trucks on I-80 for turkey day.

What kind of pie, cleek?

the one and only true king of pies: the apple pie. Granny Smiths + Romes + Macs. crust came out like shortbread.

bourbon whipped cream on top.

Congratulations on that meal, dr ngo! It's very satisfying to sit down to a feast after making it!

Everyone is making me hungry all over again. Thanks for you all.

Too busy yesterday to report.

Crudities/relish trays to accompany the wine while the last stages of cooking and presentation were carried out.

Full-on 22 pound turkey for nine, with sage/celery/onion/mushroom/bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, steamed green beans in butter and garlic, scalloped corn, two quarts of mushroom smothered gravy, rolls and butter, cranberry sauce.

Cherry pie and homemade cheesecake a couple hours after the feast.

Complications: daughter won't eat onions, so gets onion-free stuffing; grandaughter has gone "vegetarian", so gets stuffing with onions but no turkey stock, and shioyaki salmon instead of turkey.

Scaling problem: two anticipated guests were unable to attend, so I have a bit more wine and turkey and stuffing left over than anticipated.

Delight: my son showed up unexpectedly, and did his usual superb job producing the mashed potatoes.

Now everything is clean and back in place, and I can graze off the best leftovers of the year for four or five days.

Technical notes: got extra wings and necks, prepared stock Tues evening and simmered in oven overnight. Abandoned wet-brine this year in favor of dry-brine, and will probably dry-brine henceforth (makes the drippings saltier, so gravy needs no additional.)

Dynamics: all present either apolitical or firmly liberal, so aside for giving thanks for Mueller, discussion turned to other things, particularly to the Christmas lists that must be attached to the front of the refrigerator no later than Monday.

Technical notes: got extra wings and necks, prepared stock Tues evening and simmered in oven overnight.

ditto.

i used Micheal Ruhlman's method (roast wings and legs, then into a low oven overnight in water + aromatics). then reduced it the next day. ended up with a half gallon of incredible turkey stock.

We didn't try the pumpkin wine, because by the time we got home it was time for food comas.

Thing I am most thankful for: 3 generations of my white family, everyone is super liberal. Only mention of politics was to deplore imminent Haitian deportations and to discuss effects of Puerto Rican influx in various parts of North East.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.
You're a good crew.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to stumble across wild turkeys EXCEPT during wild turkey hunting season? Hunters who have spent years stalking the wild turkey tell me it is a highly intelligent and elusive creature, and most hunters go home empty-handed. But once the season is over you can hardly avoid them.
As for our Thanksgiving, our niece was going to host (you often see wild turkeys in her back yard, by the way), but at the last minute she couldn't, so her mother, my sister-in-law, stepped up. One problem -- she can't make a decent turkey to save her life. So my wife volunteered -- just to make things easier for her sister, of course. She ginned up a 25-pounder that came out juicy and tasty, two kinds of dressing, and two kinds of gravy. I whipped up a brussel sprout-carrot medley and my much sought-after cranberry-serrano relish (a Bobby Flay recipe -- look it up and give it a try).
Getting everything, along with my other sister-in-law's mac & cheese and rice and peas, and our niece's sweet potato-raisin casserole, finished and on the table in a small apartment kitchen was a challenge, and the football was generally lousy. But it went off well enough.

As a vicarious participation in the festivities, can I recommend cranberry sauce made with Cointreau and cinnamon ?

Black Friday, trucks, and interstates... About the only big trucks on I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins are those doing some sort of local hauling; the common long-haul carriers' names were missing entirely. Traffic overall is lighter than a typical Friday. Wasn't actively looking, but saw no evidence of Black Friday crowds.

Full-on 22 pound turkey for nine...

These stats match mine exactly.

Mine was otherwise a different Thanksgiving. My father died somewhat unexpectedly a week ago. He wasn’t in great health, and he had been looking particularly weary over the last few weeks, but it wasn’t like he had a specific, terminal diagnosis of any kind. It was a matter of a number of chronic problems with countervailing treatments finally catching up with him.

My father almost died a number of times in the last decade or so. By “almost died” I mean he was in sepsis and medically induced comas (yes, plural). The hospital staff knew him well. I fully expected an imminent death that never came more than once, mourning what seemed like a sure loss each time.

I thought this would prepare me somewhat for his death once it came. When he did die, I then thought I was wrong about that. I cried so hard the night he died, I felt like I was going to tear the muscles in my chest. The first thing I did when I woke up the next morning was cry.

But now I do feel like I was more prepared than I would otherwise have been. Yesterday wasn’t horribly sad, as I had expected it to be. I’m now surprisingly at peace with his death. We had a great relationship, and I have no doubts about how much we loved each other, no regrets about how I treated him, and no bitterness about how he treated me. He was a great father, and I feel like I was a good son.

I now also think his declining health was more of a burden than he let on and that he was ready to go. But he had lived his life as he saw fit, had a loving family and countless friends. I’d call that success.

We had a great relationship, and I have no doubts about how much we loved each other, no regrets about how I treated him, and no bitterness about how he treated me. He was a great father, and I feel like I was a good son.

Before I finished reading your comment I was already thinking of the times you've mentioned your dad here, and was going to say that it always seemed, reading between the lines, that you and he must have a great relationship. I'm glad to hear that was true. It's hard to imagine a better epitaph than what you've written.

You'll probably cry again, and yet again, and that will be okay--as you already know.

I'll be thinking of you over the next while.

I generally am the cook in the house, and Thanksgiving is no different. The highlight of this year's extravaganza was toiling over the stove for a couple of hours concocting a Martha Stewart "giblet stock". Everything was going just fine until the directions called for straining the stock prior to the gravy step. So I put some cheesecloth in a strainer, set it in the sink, and poured the stock out of the pan....and gasped in horror as I watched it all go down the drain....(much like my stock investments).

Lesson for bobbyp: pay more attention and consume less wine whilst cooking.

Was that a disaster? Turkee without gravy? No way!

But we were saved.

Another tradition we used to have was making turkey stock from the leftover carcass. The frozen stock is then traditionally thrown out each Thanksgiving as we never seem to find a way to use it. Fortunately for us, we found some vintage 2014 stock in the freezer.

We also brined the bird prior to baking for the first time....a marked improvement, I must say.

HSH: You are one lucky guy.

Holiday best to all.

hsh, a sad but beautiful post. It sounds like you were lucky to have each other, and yes, that he may have been ready to go. I wish you all good things, and to continue to feel OK, and that future Thanksgivings will be full of only happy memories.

I'm thankful that I'm still alive, still sane; that the colossal water leak that the house turned out to have had doesn't seem to have caused it to fall into a sinkhole (although stay tuned); that the meal yesterday was peaceful and extremely tasty -- my brother's getting close to perfecting the turkey cooking, the dark meat was the best I've ever had, while I managed to make the family stuffing receipe better than ever before -- plus the Papapietro pinot noir and Sinskey cab franc were both excellent with the meal; and for the general camaraderie of ObWi. I think I've been coming here, mostly lurking, for 12 years now.

Peace be with you, hsh. I'm thankful as well to hear that your relationship with your father was so solid. Most of the ones I know of are built on sand in one way or another . . . .

Thanks, everyone. I value this little, relatively sane and thoughtful corner of cyberspace we inhabit together. I echo Nigel’s 1:52 PM comment.

I echo Nigel’s 1:52 PM comment.

Ditto.

Thanksgiving was a bit of a let-down this year. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but two weeks ago we did my Mom's 90th birthday. We had Mom, both her kids, all four of her grand-kids, the great-grand-kids, plus spouses and SOs, all in one place. We'd never managed that before -- kudos to my sister for pulling it off.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In case you're bored, here are two links referencing topics discussed here earlier in the year:

On Mark Lilly's critique of identity politics and related matters:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n23/james-meek/against-passion

On neoliberalism:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/p2017/nov/14/the-fatal-flaw-of-neoliberalism-its-bad-economics

novakant:

Your guardian link doesn't work for me, this does:
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/14/the-fatal-flaw-of-neoliberalism-its-bad-economics

From novakant’s first link:

If you frame ‘identity politics’ as a self-indulgent distraction from the vital business of creating a shared vision of America that all Americans can believe in, you’re not only taking identities of gender or race or sexuality out of play; you are also taking for granted what it means to be ‘American’. In a world without the internet or cheap air travel, in a world before there was a global higher education system, in a world where capital couldn’t shop around for the cheapest labour and the lowest taxes, in a world where governments didn’t provide their citizens with pensions and healthcare that could be compared to those in other countries, you could get away with that. But we don’t live in that world today. It is the extreme fluidity of capital, cultures and people that has created today’s multi-axis politics, and to dismiss a preoccupation with race or gender or sexual orientation as ‘identity politics’ while maintaining an unquestioning investment in one’s nationality is cloudy thinking.

And this:

There is much that is Schmittian in the ascent of Trump. Distinguishing friend from enemy is what the new president does. His favourite ideologues preach contempt for liberalism, embrace the idea of a world filled with enemies of America, and want those enemies not merely to respect American might, but to fear it. Yet what I kept thinking of, reading Lilla’s essay on Schmitt, was Brexit: how a liberal democracy with a seemingly robust representational and judicial system, which is used to balancing innumerable interest groups and projects and regulations, suddenly found itself subjugated overnight, for a generation at least, to the one-word answer to a 16-word question. A small majority of the British Folk found its providential enemy in the European Union, and Brexit stands mutely sovereign over all, enclosing Parliament rather than being enclosed by it.

Not only that: just as Schmitt’s apparent ‘realism’ about a world divided into friends and enemies gives way, on closer inspection, to an anti-Semitic, un-Christian divinity egging humans on to war, the supposedly hard-headed, commonsense ideologues of Brexit turn out to be pushing a pagan religion of British ancestor worship, a mythology of British exceptionalism projected onto a future that is built on faith alone. A lot of people bought into it, and that shouldn’t be surprising: such metaphysical ideas as patriotism, self-identification with the heroism of ancestors in wars you didn’t fight in, the oneness of land and people, the holiness of flags and symbols and colours, the special sanctity of certain tombs and landmarks, the rites of pilgrimage to sites hallowed by the past presence of mythologised characters in a national story, the sense of belonging in a landscape and the fear of defilement by non-belongers are present in some measure in most voters. Calling it ‘culture’ doesn’t quite capture the fact that even the least religious among us is likely to have neo-religious feelings, and that even the most Christian or Islamic or Jewish is likely also to have a stake in such pagan notions as patriotism.

The second paragraph brings to mind the love some people seem to have for the Confederacy in the United States (a particularly twisted form of “patriotism” given the Confederacy’s secessionism).

Brexit is a great demonstration of what can happen if you don't bother to vote because you figure those who do will do the right thing. Or if you cast a protest vote on the assumption that nobody would be daft enough to let it get a majority.

As far as I can tell from half way around the world, a majority of Brits were shocked when Brexit passed. But by then, it was too late to correct their mistake. And even among those who were in favor, their understanding of the implications -- not just the things that they disliked about the EU, but all the implications for Britain -- was seriously deficient.

Personally, I'd like to think that the politicians were at fault. Not the ones who were hyping Brexit -- they're just nuts. But the ones who failed to make the case for staying in the EU. They knew better, but either lacked the wit or the guts to explain to their voters.

What wj said.

"The second paragraph brings to mind the love some people seem to have for the Confederacy in the United States (a particularly twisted form of “patriotism” given the Confederacy’s secessionism)."

Brings to mind the odd view of the Union that somehow they were entitled to reconquer the Confedaracy, every bit as much as the British believed they had the right to reconquer the colonies.

The victors get to write history, but there is no world where people North of the Maso-Dixon line had an inalienable right to subjugate those South of it.

there is no world where people North of the Maso-Dixon line had an inalienable right to subjugate those South of it.

I'm glad that we now live in a world where people South of the Mason-Dixon line have an inalienable right not to be enslaved, even if it's by other people South of the Mason-Dixon line.

from the union's point of view, the south was "the united states", and "the confederacy" were insurrectionists.

all a matter of perspective.

in this case, the losers seem to have written quite a bit of history. their descendants are still at it.

... there is no world where people North of the Mason-Dixon line had an inalienable right to subjugate those South of it.

Could any but a white man with a congenital irony deficiency write that one while sober?

--TP

Why does Marty hate America?

I love TP's humor, but having a bit of an irony deficiency myself, I'm going to spell it out unhumorously.

There is no world where white (or any other color) people south of the Mason-Dixon line (or anywhere else) have the inalienable right to enslave...anyone. If white people south of the Mason-Dixon line wanted to go to war to assert that they did have that right, and then lost the war, tough sh!t for them.

And yes, I didn't miss the further irony that Marty's formulation frames the situation as one where the category "those south of it" actually means "white people south of it." Because there was a whole group of people "south of the Mason-Dixon line" who were already well and truly subjugated. Convenient for the argument to pretend they didn't exist, but in fact, they did.

Further note, Marty, that it wasn't just "some" of the people in the South who were enslaved. In Mississippi and South Carolina, it was most.

In this context, it is at minimum psychotically inappropriate to use the word "subjugation" to refer to anything that happened to the southern white population after the war.

Nah. Marty has a point, which becomes apparent if you think about "liberal internationalism/interventionism," the aggressive invasion of other countries that are oppressing their domestic minorities or populations:Vietnam, Kosovo, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Libya, Syria sub specie aeternitas. For their own good, out of the best intentions, make a few bucks in the process. It's about Freedom, ya know.

Slavery and the reaction to slavery are the original and originary sins of American Empire.

So, Bob, your position is the we should just ignore any kind if treatment that other countries inflict on anyone other than us? Including we should ignore it if some subset of the US decides that it wants to leave the nation in order to do so.

And are you limiting that to existing states leaving in order to oppress local minorities? Or is it OK for me to declare my home an independent country, in order to freely mistreat anybody in the family that I'm stronger than?

Psychotically inappropriate, nice turn of phrase. The Confederacy was a country. The freeing of slaves didn't justify the abuses of reconstruction. History isn't a moment. It isn't an event. You, and I certainly don't, have to support slavery to dispute hsh's point or see that history continues to be rewritten based on the sanctity and holiness of the Union. Who went to war to ensure they retained the economic value of the South, freeing the slaves being maybe second but probably further down the list of actual reasons.

Linked to by novakant, Doctor Science:

The fatal flaw of neoliberalism: it's bad economics: Neoliberalism and its usual prescriptions – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics.

Responces to the article:

Free-Market Failure Has Been Greatly Exaggerated: Few things in human history have done so much to reduce absolute poverty.

Is Free Market Capitalism Bad Economics?: Countries that engage in free trade reforms see considerable accelerations in economic development.

Who went to war to ensure they retained the economic value of the South, freeing the slaves being maybe second but probably further down the list of actual reasons.

I routinely hear that from fans of the Confederacy. But where's the evidence?

Certainly we know that the reason that the South tried to leave was to preserve slavery. They were quite explicit about that at the time.

What I have read from the North at the time (admittedly I'm not a historian) suggests that the people in the North were far more interested in freeing slaves than in anything resembling "retaining the economic value of the South". And since the sentiment for Abolution arose way before the war, it seems like a stretch to contend that it was merely a propaganda ploy from those who did care mostly about the economic impact of secession.

You, and I certainly don't, have to support slavery to dispute hsh's point...

I don’t see how you disputed my point. It looks to me that you simply used my point to make a tangential point, and a strange one at that.

The question in my mind, Marty, is whether or not you long for the Antebellum South or see it has somehow being particularly virtuous, or even sacred. You seem to have a problem with subjugation and claim that you don’t “have to” support slavery to dispute my point (not that you did so, mind you, so maybe that’s not even relevant).

wj, there are lots of learned writings on why the North went to war, which is not the same as why the South seceded. I find these facts illuminating, the last particularly. It is easy to free the slaves in another country by proclamation, but it recognizes it is another country as he could not free the slaves in the US by proclamation.

http://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation

It was just terrible and unjustified for how the secret weapon in Ft. Sumter exerted a powerful vacuum that caused cannonballs to be sucked right out of Southron cannons and fly toward the fort at high speed.

Must have been that devious Lincoln's fault. Plus Northern aggression also, too.

hah, I didn't really, you are correct. I had more of the reaction that it is an accurate description, perhaps more accurate, of the North and the US since then.

I think the South, sans slavery, had virtues, perhaps sacred I wouldnt use that word. Most of the arguments against it are based on its dependence on slaves, while 75% of Southerners never owned a slave and a considerable number were against slavery. Not saying they, or anywhere near a majority of Americans were for equality.

So you're right it was probably an odd tangent, my mind works that way sometimes.

Well Snarki, Lincoln sent ships and soldiers to break a truce and the Confederacy defended itself. The instigator of that conflict was the North.

The Confederacy was a country.

No. It was an insurrection, i.e. treason.

Lincoln sent ships and soldiers to break a truce and the Confederacy defended itself.

Not the case.

Lincoln sent ships and soldiers to break a truce and the Confederacy defended itself.

Last I looked, there is neither provision nor process for territory (whether a state or not) to unilaterally leave the country. Which means that Lincoln was merely sending military around within the boundaries of the United States. Which would seem to be an unexceptional thing for an American President to do.

As for the Confederacy "merely defending itself", the question would seem to be whether it even had a legitimate self. Pretty clearly the US government didn't think so. If you see it differently, on what basis?

Most of the arguments against it are based on its dependence on slaves..

No. The most powerful argument was the existence of chattel slavery.

The failure of the enslavers to expand slavery to the territories meant they had lost control of the political issue. So they chose treason and war.

No they chose to exercise their states rights, and to this day the federal government imposes unconstitutional limitations on those.

And, again, if they weren't another country then the Emancipation Proclamation was meaningless.

And thus does Marty demonstrate, whey the Civil War should have been prosecuted with the complete Shermanization of the South.

Saved a lot of trouble later, I think.

Snarki cuts to the chase.

There is no right to secede in the Constitution.

There is no right to secede in the Constitution.

Maybe Marty thinks that the right to own slaves is a libertarian thing.

"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came."

We know why the Confederate states attempted to secede. It was because of "increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery". And we know why Lincoln chose not to let them secede: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union".

We also know that when the Confederate states chose to exercise state rights, as Marty puts it, it didn't occur to them to consult the slaves.

The subjugation Marty speaks of was simply the emancipation of the slaves. Which in the end was pursued so gently that the outcome was seventy years of "Jim Crow" apartheid.

Was secession legal? I don't care in the slightest. Secession in order to perpetuate slavery was evil. Evil. Evil.

On the other hand, I can see a lot to be said for secession today by New York, California, and other states which would like a enjoy sane and democratic government.

bobbyp: The failure of the enslavers to expand slavery to the territories meant they had lost control of the political issue. So they chose treason and war.

Marty: No they chose to exercise their states rights, and to this day the federal government imposes unconstitutional limitations on those.

Which "they" Marty identifies with is becoming less obscure all the time.

Still, I'd like to hear an example or two of exclusively Southern virtues or values -- aside from white supremacy, of course. What, exactly, do neo-Confederates mean when they claim some sort of "nobility" or uniqueness for The Southern Way of Life?

--TP

i see we're still fighting the civil war.

i actually get the argument that, if the american revolution was OK, then the secession of the southern states should have been OK.

the problem is that the motivation for seceding was to maintain and extend a social, legal, political, and most of all economic regime predicated on the doctrine of the supremacy of the white race and the enslavement of black people.

can we all agree that that was f***ed up?

personally, i am hard pressed to see much daylight between the confederacy and german naziism. if you think otherwise, i'd like to know why.

it was not about states rights per se, the southern states were more than happy to overrule the quote-unquote sovereignty of the free states when it came to asserting the status of human beings as property.

it was about perpetuating and expanding a society, economy, and culture of subjugating an entire race of human beings.

as far as details, the actual shooting war began with an attack, by insurrectionist southerners, on a federal fort. reconstruction lasted about 12 years, and was then followed by about 100 years of de jure and de facto oppression of black people and an organized campaign of murderous terrorism.

so, if reconstruction is still getting up your f***ing nose, go cry in your f***ing beer. it was a hundred and forty freaking years ago. get over it.

my great grandparents lived under reconstruction. there are black people alive today whose great grandparents or even grandparents were murdered, tortured, raped, mutilated, and otherwise horribly abused by the likes of my great grands. taken from their homes by force, emasculated, raped, hung from trees, burned, and parts of their bodies cut away and kept for trophies.

none of those things - not one - in the least an uncommon occurence. at all.

it would, frankly, imvho be obscene for me to bitch about the horrors of reconstruction. it is, imvho, frankly obscene for anyone to do so.

the culture and economy of the pre-war south was based on owning people as chattel property. it was a culture that deserved to die, by force.

if people in the south are still rehashing this crap, I suggest they propose a constitutional amendment that makes clear the terms and pocess under which a US state can exit the union.

when that passes, feel free to get the f***k out. nobody's going to go to war about it this time around. if you don't like the company, grab your coats and hats and go.

sayo-freaking-nara.

I think the South, sans slavery, had virtues

sadly, a 19th C american south, sans slaves, was not on offer.

Most of the arguments against it are based on its dependence on slaves

ya think?

while 75% of Southerners never owned a slave

and in that overweening financial and industrial powerhouse up north, well under 25% of folks owned a bank or a factory.

your point?

Russell, do you suppose that, if they could decide to go, we would have Brexit-style negotiations? You know, about how much we would have to pay them to go away.

Because, after all, their economies are predicated on 1) transfer payments from the rest of us, and 2) money from various Federal facilities which are currently located in the South. Not because there was a relevant reason to put them there, but just because their lack of two viable parties meant that their Congressmen racked up seniority and power, and so could extort goodies for their districts.

"[L]incoln said that he had no authority and no inclination to interfere with slavery in the states where it was legal. He could tolerate slavery as a means of controlling what nearly everyone saw to be an exotic and alien population. What he could not tolerate was a dissolution of the Union, loss of revenue from the South, and a low-tariff zone on his southern border. This was the consistent thread running through Lincoln’s policy from 1860–1865."
Lincoln's Inversion of the American Union: The moral grandeur of Lincoln is rooted in the myth that he made a war on the South to abolish slavery.

You know, about how much we would have to pay them to go away.

I'm not paying a freaking cent.

"I'm not paying a freaking cent."

They get a pro-rated portion of national debt, though. Which is extraordinarily generous, considering how their preferred politicians racked up a disproportionate share of that debt.

Or, we could pay them off in "megatons".

i'm not interested in going to war about it.

the constitution does not provide an exit strategy. if folks want out, amend the constitution to provide one. then, go.

don't be surprised if it becomes a trend. put-upon southerners are not the only folks who think they'd be better off on their own.

Funny russell, no one from the South started this discussion. Or most of the discussions about the South. If people would shut up and leave us alone we wouldnt ever bring it up.

Not really meant for you hsh, I'm just tired of being accused of refighting a war that, really, the people in the North have no reason to be so proud of, and I never bring up. And this whole the south without slavery wasnt "on offer" is pretty irritating. Lots of things were wrong with the north then and the US now and those things dont define every aspect of the culture.

this whole the south without slavery wasnt "on offer" is pretty irritating

can't help you there.

there were, and are. lots of things wrong with every part of this country. then, now, and any time you care to mention.

lots of things wrong with pretty much every place in the world.

the southern US states would not stand for any restriction on their desire to continue and expand the enslavement of black people. because that was essential to their economy, and indeed to their society in general.

so, they went to war. that's what the war was about.

the comment that precipitated this discussion was about folks' nostalgia for the confederacy. as you note, there are about a million things the southern US states and the people who live in them can take legitimate pride in. the confederacy is probably not one of them.

Marty, I ask again:

What virtues or values were (are) unique to "southern culture"?

--TP

TP, If you don't know, I can't explain it to you, nor would I try. It really needs to be experienced.

I realize that it is almost certainly a display of rampant bigotry on my part. But the thought that leaps to my mind, when someone proclaims unique virtues and values of the South which "cannot be explained," is this:

"We're talking about flatout racism, with us on top. But it is embarrassing to just out and say that. So we'll appeal to some kind of mystical experience instead, and hope nobody notices that we don't have anything else to offer."

"The freeing of slaves didn't justify the abuses of reconstruction."

This is a desperately ahistorical and utterly immoral view. I didn't expect this even of Marty.

Shame on you.

don't be surprised if it becomes a trend. put-upon southerners are not the only folks who think they'd be better off on their own.

I expect a peaceful partition -- decades from now. I also expect that the 38 states necessary to make it happen will not all have the same reasons for believing that they would be better off post-partition.

I expect a peaceful partition -- decades from now.

Ain't gonna last decades. We are staring at the End of the World in the mirror.

wj, 4:47: I astonished and saddened by what is a desperate frenzy on the part of people to be the good guys, to get some kind of moral absolution. There is no absolution, no redemption. We screwed the pooch.

America is a tragedy, a crime inflicted on the world. Maybe like Oedipus, like Brutus we can pretend this is fate, not our fault.

Fixing things, making it better, is not an option. Making it worse so it gets better is not an option. Walking away, or taking comfort in localized acts of compassion only leaves the field to the other monsters, like Oedipus did, like Brutus didn't.

It's not gonna get better, and that's your fault. You can celebrate our just deserts, you can mourn, you can't escape.

Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Drugs of choice while staring into the flames.

You are right wj, I cant imagine a more bigoted statement.

I find nothing immoral in pointing out that the righting of one wrong doesn't justify the subsequent committing of others. Particularly since righting the wrong was a tactical decision to win the war. It is immoral in my view to continue to pretend that the North had any altruistic motive or acted accordingly.

it was not a matter of "altruistic motives", it was a matter of maintaining the union. for better or worse. whether it was preferable to maintain the union or just let folks go their own way is, imo, kind of a jump ball.

the desire for particular states or regions to exit the union comes up periodically in the nation's history. there is no provision for it in the constitution, so there is no clear direction about how to go about actually implementing such a decision.

the southern and northern states had very different economies and social organization, which were rooted in their different histories. it wasn't surprising that they would have trouble making the union work. all of that is plainly evident in the language of the constitution itself.

i'm pretty much a stone yankee, but my father was from the south. i never lived in the south, but have spent a lot time there. many of my favorite people, and best memories, are rooted there. i agree with marty, it's hard to explain exactly what the southern mojo is, you kind of have to experience it. but it is a thing. or really, a collection of things, "the south" is not just one place.

and, the south is not the confederacy. the confederacy was a political entity created for, and devoted to, the maintenance and expansion of a polity, an economy, a theology, an entire society predicated on the doctrine of the supremacy of people with white skin, and the enslavement of an entire race for the service and enrichment of white people.

read the constitution of the CSA. read the individual states' declarations of why they intended to leave the union. read the statements of the prinicipals of the fledgling CSA government.

the CSA was not about preserving the unique culture and sensibility of the southern region of the US. it was about preserving and maintaining the institution of chattel slavery, and specifically the enslavement of black people.

they would not countenance any limit on the practice of enslaving black people. the other states would not countenance them leaving the union. so they went to war. the south lost, and the institution of slavery, at least the de jure kind, came to an end.

was the north motivated by purely noble goals? probably not. the lord works in mysterious ways.

the greatest disservice that southern americans can do to their region, history, and culture, is to conflate the distinct culture of the american south with the CSA. IMO.

germany isn't mid 20th C Naziism. the american south isn't the CSA.

In My Opinion, american southerners do themselves a profound disservice in continuing to defend the CSA, and in perpetuating their weird nostalgia for the Lost Cause. It deserved to lose, we should all give thanks that it lost.

It is immoral in my view to continue to pretend that the North had any altruistic motive or acted accordingly.

What about not giving a sh*t what the motives were. I’m fine with ending slavery regardless of the motives. The point of my comment, which started this whole stupid discussion, was about the childish, quasi-religious mythologizing of nation-states people engage in. I don’t need it for the Union any more than I need it for the Confederacy. That doesn’t change the fact that, on the question of slavery, the Union was right and the Confederacy was wrong, or that the question of slavery was THE fncking question.

it's hard to explain exactly what the southern mojo is, you kind of have to experience it. but it is a thing. or really, a collection of things, "the south" is not just one place.

One of the things is the fact that the South is not just white people; Southern states have the largest percentage of African American people. That's one very important piece of the mojo.

Enslaving that portion of the populations would destroy the ambience, it seems to me. Jim Crow certainly put a damper on things. I say that as a lifetime resident of jurisdictions south of the Mason Dixon line, and someone who experienced and remember Jim Crow.

I say that as a lifetime resident of jurisdictions south of the Mason Dixon line, and someone who experienced and remember Jim Crow.

I should edit this to say that I experienced Jim Crow as a white child, and suffered the impoverishment of spirit that came from being surrounded by a society that was attempting to teach racial hatred.

FWIW, an interesting and not often discussed corner of American history.

Snotty elitists, even then.

Ain't gonna last decades. We are staring at the End of the World in the mirror.

Out of curiosity, what would qualify as "End of the World"? Partition? Replacing the Constitution? Martial law? Or is it a fuzzy "I'll know it when I see it?"

I find nothing immoral in pointing out that the righting of one wrong doesn't justify the subsequent committing of others.

This presumes (A.) that somebody in this discussion actually made such an argument on that basis; and (B.) that there was something "wrong" with Reconstruction.

Neither of which is remotely true.

More on the Essex Junto.

FWIW

Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Drugs of choice while staring into the flames.

The collision of dialectical materialism and the mojo of camp fires is not pretty.

clearly, the main reason for the Civil War was a failure to compromise.

Damn it, bobbyp, you beat me to it, though I was going to remark on the possibility of the Oracle of Delphi prophesizing the sharing of s'mores by Oedipus and Laius at the crossroads instead of their alleged fates and Oedipus still having a thing for his mother.

You are right wj, I cant imagine a more bigoted statement.

I'll try to do better, now that I'm more awake.

The part of "Southern culture" that I have a low opinion of is the part which I encounter the most: the glorification of the Confederacy and the suggestion that the South was somehow unfairly picked on with Reconstruction.

The Confederacy was about slavery. Period. They said so at the time, and all the blather about "states rights" and such is just attempted camouflage of the racism inherent in that.

Reconstruction was an entirely justified response to a treasonous** revolt. The implementation, as with many government programs, left something to be desired. And it was terminated sooner than it should have been, leaving an uneliminated legacy which became Jim Crow. But there is no real question that it, or something very like it, should have happened.

Better?

** Note that those same whining Southerners will wax eloquent about how harshly the government should deal with those who they consider guilty of treason. Even when the "traitors" they are going on about are doing nothing more than exercise their Constitutional right to free speech.

Certainly doing nothing like making armed attacks on Federal troops or employees. That gets done by folks like the Bundys . . . who the enthusiasts for the Lost Cause are far more likely to cheer on.

usually-lurking Southerner over here, unwisely commenting on the question of what the Civil War was about…

We're often told that the Civil War must have been about slavery, because, after all, the politicians who were promoting it in the South, and urging their fellow southerners to enlist in order to fight it, said so, in very straightforward and hideously racist terms. I think that's a very compelling argument.

But suppose we apply that reasoning to, for example, Bush the Younger's invasion of Iraq. What was that war about? In order to find out, let's have a look at the statements by the politicians who were promoting it and trying to get people to agree to fight it. If we do that, we'll discover that that invasion was about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and his probable links with al-Qaeda. That's what everyone who was pushing the war was saying, over and over.

Now, opinions can vary, but personally, I think that those reasons for the war were bogus: there were no weapons of mass destruction, and Hussein had no links with al-Qaeda. And I bet the people pushing the war knew that, by and large.

For me, this highlights the difficulty of figuring out what we mean when we ask what a war was 'about'. Maybe we want to say that the Iraq invasion really was about Hussein's (fictional) weapons of mass destruction, in the sense that politicians found it useful to say that it was, and some soldiers and voters may have believed them. In another sense, that clearly isn't what it was about; it was about (fill in the blank here: Bush's desire to appear to be doing something about 9/11, Cheney's desire to make a lot of money via Halliburton…).

I sometimes think that arguments about what the Civil War was about might have a similar character. It was about the preservation of slavery, in the sense that politicians found it useful to say that it was (and Southerners, like me, should be ashamed of the fact that their forefathers could be motivated to go to war by racist fearmongering). But when Southerners insist that it had other causes as well, maybe that's consistent with the available evidence.

(having said all that, I absolutely agree with russell above: the South deserved to lose, and we should be thankful that it lost. Just in case that wasn't clear)

But when Southerners insist that it had other causes as well, maybe that's consistent with the available evidence.

Do tell.

I was going to post about Southern virtues, but I was busy, and at any rate, I thought that Marty could stew in his own ahistorical juices for a while. But lurkingsoutherner leads me to post some thoughts.

I tend to think there are two sets of Southern virtues that are worth noting. The first is the 'high culture' of the south. As some of you may have noted, I love classics, Greek and Latin, and I think they have a lot to tell us, so when Faulkner creates the character of Gavin Stevens, the Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard with a degree from Heidelberg who goes back to his office to back translate the bible into Greek, that's a shoutout to them. Unfortunately, that high culture was built on the economic exploitation that slavery provided, so to extol it without acknowledging that point is to be "psychotically inappropriate" (I'm not sure if that is the right word, but it is a great turn of phrase from the Doctor)

The second set of virtues are the agrarian virtues, that of small communities, knowing one's neighbor, yada yada yada. If you are interested in this and not just wanting to pick a fight, take a look at Noel Polk's Outside the Southern Myth, which may give you some insights into where I grew up (if you are interested) and insights into Southern 'culture'.
This article covers some of the same ground.
https://theamericanscholar.org/living-outside-history/#.WhtpQLT1W5Q

The downsides of the virtues were big enough that I left, but I've grown more and more aware of what was lost when I left. I've found many of those virtues replicated here in Japan (and am keenly aware that I cannot completely partake of them, no matter how hard I may try) and they are important. Or were, cause I don't think there is any way to keep them.

The first is the 'high culture' of the south. As some of you may have noted, I love classics, Greek and Latin, and I think they have a lot to tell ust ...

Ummm, sure. I (again) come from the south too. Learning the classics (and all liberal arts) is good, and I support it, not that red state politicians do. Lots of classics are taught in northern states. Bryn Mawr college was (maybe still is) the epicenter of classics. It's a women's college located near Philadelphia. So not sure what classics have to do with southern heritage. But if you feel happy about that, that's fine,.

The second set of virtues are the agrarian virtues, that of small communities, knowing one's neighbor, yada yada yada.

Pretty sure that's true of small communities, including suburbs. I grew up in a [technically southern] suburb. We knew our neighbors, played in each others yards, came home at dinnertime, were undisturbed during summer, etc. Not a deep South thing.

The South fought for slavery. Get over the "southern culture" bs. At least, get over the white southern culture bs. The thing that's special about the south is that they have an extra helping of black people.

Just a question for the lurking southerner (or anyone else):
If you are going to posit that slavery was the way the Confederacy was sold to the masses, by political leaders who, in whatever sense, knew better, what was their real reason? If they weren't motivated by slavery, despite what they said, what did motivate them?

I'm familiar with arguments that the North had other, non-slavery, motives. But a plausible non-slavery motive for Southern leaders? Unless you're gullible enough to buy the "state's rights" scam, which suffers from being back-ported, what is there?

" Unless you're gullible enough to buy the "state's rights" scam, which suffers from being back-ported, what is there?"

Though you don't want to believe there were other issues related to states rights, they existed. Tariffs in particular. No one denies the most important proximate cause for the political heirarchy was slavery, but it was the immediate states rights issue, one of quite a few.

In fact, Lincoln was concerned about a low tariff country on his southern border. The war was not "about slavery" the secession was about states rughts, the most important and immediate being slavery. The North wasn't alk about freeing slaves, the economy, tariffs and "protecting the union" were all more important. Lincoln was trying to actively trying to negotiate deporting 4 million blacks while he was President.

As with everything in life it is complex, it is not "just about slavery" no matter how simplistically you want to define it.

Keep on believing, Marty.

Sapient beat me to the main question: what's unique to "southern culture" about, e.g., close-knit communities?

I hope lurkingsoutherner de-lurks more often. That Confederate politicians whipped up support for their "cause" as disingenuously as Dick and Dubya did for their splendid little war is probably true. What those politicians' sincere motives were is only disputable in Marty's neo-confederate universe.

Now, what I really checked in to say is:

Russell's link makes interesting reading.

As someone who has occasionally wished that the resurgent confederates in national politics would get off their asses and kick New England out of the Union, I can sympathize with Lincoln-hater Thomas J. DiLorenzo to a certain extent.

But DiLorenzo indulges in obvious propaganda when he writes:

The Federalists never voiced moral objections to the three-fifths clause. In fact, they argued that blacks should be counted as zero, rather than three-fifths of a white man, for purposes of congressional representation. Further, they did not make any case whatsoever that southern slavery should be ended.
He tries to fool the gullible reader into believing that Federalists objected to the 3/5 rule because it gave black people too much representation. And of course he carefully avoids mentioning any overlap between Federalists and Abolitionists. I bet it was larger than any overlap between Northern Abolitionists and Southern Slavers.

Naturally, DiLorenzo says nothing about secession on other scales. If the US is properly seen as a voluntary confederation of States, why should States be inviolate unions of metropolitan, suburban, and rural localities? Why wouldn't Austin have as much right to secede from Texas, as Texas has to secede from the United States? To be fair, I don't know how Pickering and that crowd would have answered that question either.

If we were starting from scratch, I would have no objection to a state of affairs in which I would need a passport to visit Alabama -- but we're NOT starting from scratch. A gay black atheist and a patriarchal white god-botherer are both free to live, work, visit, and retire in any State of the Union, taking their American constitutional rights with them. Also their Social Security, Medicare, and municipal bonds. For all that to work, the Federal Guvmint has to have supremacy over state "sovereignty".

Don't like that? Fine, let's split up. I would not fight a war to stay in a Union with Alabama in it.

--TP

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