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June 07, 2018

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at what point in time and in what country did free market capitalism produce a body count AND the level of dictatorship of any of the communist societies of the 20th and 21st centuries?

ask your nearest native American

Similarly, the rule of Hugo Chavez (who by the way did a good deal of good for his people when he could) is simply another tool to besmirch the mere idea of socialism.

Maybe we have this chat another time, but what 'good' did he do for which people and at what cost and with what means?

I'm not aware of any avowed communists opposing what is happening in Venezuela.

You're a step ahead of me, because absent mcmanus, I'm not aware of any avowed communists.

:)

communists tend to be perfectly fine with all manner of totalitarian activities so long as it serves the dialectic.

there is more than a little truth to this. IMO.

that said, the thing about "communist" is that it covers everything from Stalin to Habermas. Hard to say what those two actually have in common.

at what point in time and in what country did free market capitalism produce a body count AND the level of dictatorship of any of the communist societies of the 20th and 21st centuries?

please see bobbyp at 5:17.

Or do some of them look to places like, say, modern-day Sweden as an example of democratic socialism?

Some Swedish leaders have objected to this characterization saying that Sweden is a capitalist country with a welfare state component. Are they wrong or lying? Sweden has been rated as being more economically free than the US.

at what point in time and in what country did free market capitalism produce a body count AND the level of dictatorship of any of the communist societies of the 20th and 21st centuries?

If we're looking at body count, the communists have the top spot. But if we are looking at percentages, what happened to the Native Americans, and the slaves in America, probably edge them out.

If we're looking at body count

It's worth remembering that African slaves sent to north america represent only about 6% of the total that provided forced labor for the plantation system worldwide.

ask your nearest native American

please see bobbyp at 5:17.

If we're looking at body count, the communists have the top spot. But if we are looking at percentages, what happened to the Native Americans, and the slaves in America, probably edge them out.

Slavery is millennia old and no more a proximate result of capitalism than is canned soup. Ditto displacement of a Neolithic culture by a more advanced culture--all independent of economic model. Both are morally repugnant even as both were practiced by the victims themselves before being overcome by superior arms and organization, but neither was an outgrowth of capitalism. Not so the body count under communism. The Soviet and PRC model first established communism and then murdered millions of their own citizens maintaining it. There is nothing on the capitalist side even remotely comparable.

If we'd like to dive deep into discussion of a wholesale condemnation all things classically big "L" Liberal going back to Hobbes' Leviathan, John Locke, and Emmanuel Kant and a pox on both sides contemporary liberal and conservative on the political scale, give Patrick Deneen's "Why Liberalism Failed" a read.

He's a Catholic conservative.

I'm about half way through. It's rather repetitive, but it will make everyone crinch, when you aren't cheering on his condemnation of the other side.

It also moves to the fore something I've been noticing lately, which is how is it that poet and essayist/philosopher Gary Snyder got moved from a sort of leftish/hippy profile he occupied during the late 1950s mid 1970's to the pantheon of a certain type of conservative like Deneen in 2018.

It's probably Snyder's genius that this could be so, not unlike how many us liberals here are moved by the writings of Walker Percy, who was very much a conservative.

Both were introduced to me in the same college philosophy class by my favorite professor, a former Jesuit priest. He's gotta be close to 90 now. I need to look him up and say thanks, as he still lives in my little college town.

I'd prefer all you golfers to explain about Phil Mickleson. I dare ya.

Slavery is millennia old

and the American south built an economy around it.

I'd prefer all you golfers to explain about Phil Mickleson. I dare ya.

There is no excuse for making contact with a ball in motion in stroke play other than complete mental lapse. It would be ok in match play after conceding the hole as the ball rolled by it or if, by missing the initial stroke, the hole was irretrievably lost.

McTX: ... at what point in time and in what country did free market capitalism ...

... exist? According to either yours or Merriam's definition, I mean.

Was the antebellum South a fair example of "free market capitalism", for instance?

--TP

There is nothing on the capitalist side even remotely comparable.

European / American colonialism doesn't count because... ?

If we're looking at body count, the communists have the top spot.

Well, if you start like McKinney did by excluding all the carnage wrought by the capitalist West, then perhaps.

My position is pretty simple: Any and all authoritarian regimes should be criticized. Yes, perhaps some leftist are "soft" on some regimes. Some righties were pretty damnned soft on Rhodesia and South Africa. Some don't want to discuss too much about what is going on in Hungary or Poland these days. I'd bet a most of them didn't spend a lot of time denouncing Churchill(viz. India) or Milosevic. Some won't even let you discuss Israel, because you know, those pesky Palestinians are allowed to vote!

Why I dare say, you find is surprising that the political opponents of Madero are also allowed to vote. Mercy me.

It is pretty clear that authoritarians can seize power and conduct economic and political power in a variety of ways and employ a variety of justifications for their actions.

However, tying the political tyranny to a particular economic/political philosophy is....um....not easy. After all, Marx took the position that capitalist tyrannize and exploit workers as a class. Was he totally wrong?

-the other bob

Was the antebellum South a fair example of "free market capitalism", for instance?

Not when most of the labor force is chattel property. I would put it more on a par with Rome, but even that is a stretch.

and the American south built an economy around it.

Correct. An undeniably true fact.

I'd prefer all you golfers to explain about Phil Mickleson. I dare ya.

He was a truly great player...now merely a good one.
He beat an insider trading rap. So he's a bit greedy.
He seems to share the attitude of many top golf pros who believe their supreme dedication and thousands of hours of practice got him to where he is (true) and thus he "did it all by himself" (laughable).
He gambles.
He seems to be a very good father.
He tends to dissimulate at times.
He wore a really ugly black leather jacket for the recent David Ferhety interview.
He got a bit frustrated at the recent US Open.
He will do quite well on the Seniors Tour if he bothers to compete in it.

Just another guy worth 10's of $millions.

Slavery is millennia old and no more a proximate result of capitalism than is canned soup.

Not remotely true. American Slavery fed the Manchester mills with cotton and is intimately tied to the take-off stage of the Industrial Revolution.

To compare it with the slavery of Rome is simply to ignore history.

Unlike fascism, slavery was different under Tiberius than it was in the Antebellum South.

Take that!

Fore!

-the other bob

Slavery is millennia old and no more a proximate result of capitalism than is canned soup....

Plantati9n slavery was a relatively modern invention, and absolutely the product of a capitalist system.

The Soviet and PRC model first established communism

It is reasonable to argue that they did not, because what the instituted was not communism in any meaningful sense, and nothing like what Marx envisioned. But they go the lingo down well.

and then murdered millions of their own citizens maintaining it.

That was a monstrous crime.

Why is being a communist or a socialist seemly socially acceptable--or at least tolerated--on much of the lefty side?

Communism and socialism aren't the same thing. There have been plenty of political parties in Europe which have described themselves as socialist but have respected democracy and individual rights. Socialism is acceptable because it doesn't mean what McKT thinks it means.

Communism, as practised by 20th-century governments, has been a disaster for humanity. I, and i think most of the left, have no time for Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, or any other ism with a history of mass murder.

Libertarian marxism claims that communism is possible without dictatorship. I think that's naive, but naivety is a different category of error from support for killing people.

Shorter version: we condemn totalitarianism. Economic theories we merely agree or disagree with to varying extents.

McTX: Not when most of the labor force is chattel property.

Ah. That narrows your definition of "capitalism" down a bit: we know one thing that makes a place not "free market capitalist".

We'd narrow our definitions down even more if you gave me an example of a place and time that WAS "free market capitalist".

--TP

I'm not aware of any avowed communists opposing what is happening in Venezuela.

Chomsky (illustrative example only--I do not know for sure if Chomsky is a "communist" in the classical sense) was initially quite taken by Chavez, but turned very critical as Chavez became increasingly authoritarian.

What good the Chavez do? See below for a quick review of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

http://theconversation.com/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-hugo-chavez-and-the-international-left-12651

You had to ask.

-the other bob

The fact that both Russia and China had recently emerged from feudal pasts seems to also be lost in the discussion. So making the claim that it is about C/S (very clever signalling, so I guess I can use C/F to describe the other side?) nothing else enters into it is historically myopic.

To LJ's point...

Capitalism took the west from feudalism to unheard of heights of material human prosperity over the course of approximately 200 years. In the course of that ascent, there were wars, pestilence, naked conquest, political oppression, colonialism, and millions upon millions of unnecessary deaths...the usual stuff. The marvels of modern carbon fueled technology enabled this horror on an industrial scale.

Bolshevik Russia and Communist China started one hundred and one hundred fifty years later and also raised living standards considerably in a brief, but brutal way. Just like the case of the West, the costs were unjustifiably insane.

Perhaps McKinney can expound on the newly freed to practice capitalist Russia and its declining standard of living. I have noticed a distinct reluctance on the part of conservatives to criticize Putin.

Show trials are obviously called for.

Also to lj's point, real Marxist theory (to my limited understanding) says that communism only happens after capitalism. It cannot, according to the theory, happen directly from feudalism. Which is what supposedly happened in Russia and China.

the other bob

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RFj47Vnj9c

Some righties were pretty damnned soft on Rhodesia and South Africa

and, ya know, Russia.

plus, we've always been at war with Canada.

when a self-described communist country does something, it does it because of communism. period.

when a self-described capitalist country does something, the causes are multiple and vague and definitely not related to anything about capitalism which is the lord's perfect gift unto man. praise be.

I have a new dictionary definition for McKinney's consideration:

Sado-Capitalism:
An ideology that considers corporate tax cuts worth any volume of brown children's tears.

Sado-capitalists are not required to "support" He, Trump personally, but only His "(Republican)" policies. They can pretend to themselves that voting for He, Trump's lickspittles in the mid-terms has nothing to do with enabling He, Trump's cruelty, mendacity, or corruption, because tax cuts. Their conscience is clean, because they stand against "socialism".

"If you don't have borders you don't have a country" proclaims the Tax Cutter in Chief. Whether it's worth having a country that practices Sado-Capitalism is left unspecified.

--TP

Slavery is millennia old and no more a proximate result of capitalism than is canned soup.

ditto market economies.

others have covered it already, but the slavery associated with the colonial plantation is a specific thing.

prior to industrialization, it was one of the forms that capitalism took. and it killed a lot of people, and destroyed the lives of many more.

There is no excuse for making contact with a ball in motion in stroke play other than complete mental lapse.

Not even the "complete mental lapse" can justify Phil's decision, since he could have just declared the ball (when it finally came to rest) unplayable (Rule 28), taken a 1 stroke penalty, dropped the ball as per the rules, and played the same shot over, perhaps this time with a bit more caution.

This could be seen as a bit shady, but hey, there are a whole bunch of cheaters and drug takers in the baseball Hall of Fame.

Just sayin'

McKinney is free to weigh in after first denouncing, in the most severe terms, conservativism's new position regarding CAPITALIST Russia seizing the Crimea.

-the other bob

Phil could have hit the ball in motion, taken the two stroke penalty required by the rules and then finished the hole. He could have then finished his round of 81 and felt awkward at his frustration.

It isn't like he actually got away with something, like winning the game with a spitter. So he will still get my hof vote.

Kobach got schooled

A federal judge on Monday ruled that Kansas’ proof of citizenship voter registration requirement was a violation of the Constitution as well as the National Voter Registration Act.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson had in previous orders temporarily blocked the requirement, which was championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Robinson on Monday handed down her decision on merits of the case, which went to trial earlier this year.

Her 100-plus page opinion also knocked Kobach, who defended the law himself in court, for his “history of non-compliance with this Court’s orders,” and imposed “sanctions responsive to Defendant’s repeated and flagrant violations of discovery and disclosure rules.” She ordered he take six hours of legal ed classes.

I have edited Marty's comment for clarity:

Phil could have hit the ball in motion(he did), taken the two stroke penalty required by the rules(he did) and then finished the hole (he did). He could have then finished his round of 81(he did) and felt awkward at his frustration.(assumes facts not in evidence)

It isn't like he actually got away with something (tru 'dat), like winning the game with a spitter. So he will still get my hof vote (mine, too!).

Phil is a prick and a phony that pretends to be a nice guy for the teevee, he finally let that part of himself out at the US Open. The other PGA golfers dislike him for all that.

He does seem like a good dad though, which probably outweighs all of the above.

others have covered it already, but the slavery associated with the colonial plantation is a specific thing.

prior to industrialization, it was one of the forms that capitalism took. and it killed a lot of people, and destroyed the lives of many more.

Capitalism's role in slavery is incidental, IMO. Slavery pre-existed capitalism and every other ism. Pre-Columbian Indians practiced slavery and it was rampant throughout Asia. It was ubiquitous.

So too was war, famine, etc. All pre-existed capitalism etc. If you want cause and effect: Northern Capitalism overcame Southern Agrarian Slave Economy. US Capitalism overcame fascism and imperialism. (Yes, the Soviets played a huge role in defeating Hitler, after allying with him and splitting Poland down the middle).

Plantation slavery was different from slavery in the past? Yes, of course. Technology and society had evolved--some for the better, some not, granted--and Southern white slave owners--under attack (rightly) from Northern abolitionists--constructed their own self-justifying mythos. It was all bullshit, but no more a product of capitalism than the North which went to war over that very issue.

So, no, capitalism is not even remotely the moral equivalent of communism or socialism.

Back to work. It's been fun.

One for McKT's reading list:
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/548047/empire-of-guns-by-priya-satia/9780735221864/

McKinney could stay on site (so to speak) for a little reading.

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2017/07/very-belated-juneteenth-book-review-a-tale-of-two-plantations.html

It is impossible to read this and conclude that plantation slavery in the US was not, from the start, a capitalist enterprise:
http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-268

I'll quote Doc Sci's quoted section in her post, quoted from the immediately below, just to save interested parties a bit of time:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14894629-the-half-has-never-been-told

In the 1830s, powerful Southern slave owners wanted to import capital into their states so that they could buy more slaves. They came up with a new, two-part idea: mortgaging slaves; and then turning the mortgages into bonds that could be marketed all over the world.

First, American planters organized new banks, usually in new states like Mississippi and Louisiana. Drawing up new lists of slaves for collateral, the planters then mortgaged them to the banks they had created, enabling themselves to buy additional slaves to expand cotton production. To provide capital for those loans, the banks sold bonds to investors from around the globe ---- London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris. The bond buyers, many of whom lived in countries where slavery was illegal, didn't own individual slaves ---- just bonds backed by their value…

As slave-backed mortgages became paper bonds, everybody profited ---- except, obviously, enslaved African Americans whose forced labor repaid owners' mortgages. But investors owned a piece of slave-earned income. Older slave states such as Maryland and Virginia sold slaves to the new cotton states, at securitization-inflated prices, resulting in a slave asset bubble. Cotton factor firms like the now-defunct Lehman Brothers ---- founded in Alabama ---- became wildly successful. Lehman moved to Wall Street, and for all these firms, every transaction in slave-earned money flowing in and out of the U.S. earned Wall Street firms a fee.[1]

Purely incidental to capitalism!

If Capitalist states can be excused slavery because it existed before Capitalism, why cannot Communist states be excused murder because...

If they can't, why should we not condemn Capitalism for the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s?

Capitalism's role in slavery is incidental, IMO

You can lead a horse to water, as they say.

Some conversations are basically over before they begin. This is one of them.

Let's talk about golfers.

Pro Bono: If Capitalist states can be excused slavery because it existed before Capitalism, why cannot Communist states be excused murder because...

Someone already said this, more or less, but the reason is that any bad thing that happens under capitalism happens despite capitalism's perfection, while every bad thing that happens under communism happens because of communism's failings.

See?

But in relation to your logic (which is actually logic, IMO), not just murder but mass murder was hardly unheard of before the twentieth century. Take Genghis Khan, for instance. From Wikipedia:

It has been calculated that approximately 5% of the world's population were killed during Turco-Mongol invasions or in their immediate aftermath.[citation needed] If these calculations are accurate, this would make the events the deadliest acts of mass killings in human history.

Also, the destructive effects of rapacious capitalism on, for example, Africa and Central America may not be as immediately obvious as mass murder in gulags, because they are more spread out over time. But they are there.

Nigel's Oxford Review piece at 10:15 seems very much on point.

But there needs to be interest, and a willingness to engage another point of view without a foregone conclusion in mind. In short, a willingness to be found wrong.

Some conversations are basically over before they begin. This is one of them.

Indeed! So next time.......advice for the ages......don't bite hooks. ;-)

Let's talk about golfers.

Go for it.

Go for it.

Golfers wear the un-hippest clothes I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, like, Kelly green pants, and primary color plaids stuff.

Except for the sailboat dudes with the pastel madras shorts and belts with little whales on them. They are actually worse.

Plus, the golf club near me spans a local road and all summer long I have to stop to let the little carts cross the street. Take some of those country club fees and build a bridge, and get the heck out of my way.

That's all I got on golfers.

:)

Golfers' clothing seems designed to be, not only "un-hip" but downright tacky. Not to mention flat out ugly.

At this point, it may be a tradition. But it has been true as far back as I've seen pictures. No idea why.

Is golf to blame for capitalism, or is capitalism to blame for golf?

--TP

Read The Half Has Never Been Told this past winter.

What enamel I didn't wear off my teeth gritting them while reading, say, Wolf is Wolf To Man by Janusz Bardach, about the Soviet labor camps, or anything by Timothy Snyder, or Cormac McCarthy's novel, "Blood Meridian"' came off reading that book.

A condemnation of slavery in the Confederacy and the disgrace of Reconstruction, and what African-Americans have put up with since, and I'm not leaving aside our genocide of Native Americans, nor Northern racism, must include not only capitalism's enabling of all of it, but the fact that all of it was made quintiessentially American by Americans.

Stalin and Hitler had nothing to do with it. Nor did Genghis Khan or Mayan chieftains.

Who else but an enterprising fucking American could come up with the elaborate legal and financial joggers-pokery required to mortgage slaves to themselves.

And then call it a Culture. To be wistfully and nostalgically celebrated as something exceptional right down to this morning. To be minimized to this very day by conservative scum in power in America in 2018.

And the entire fucking thing turned around to make out the murderers as the victims.

I don't worry about Stalin and Hitler so much. They're dead. The Communists won the body count, but the fascists keep on trying, as if there is a lick of difference between them.

I worry about the undead running the country this minute calling the separation of children from their parents at the borders "summer camp".

Or cutting prison budgets so drastically that secretaries and prison counsellors have to be forced into carrying weapons and patrolling the prisoners because conservative cocksuckers can't tolerate guard unions and want to hand over the prison system and every other fucking legitimate government function to their corrupt vermin paymasters in the so-called private sector .. capitalists.

I worry about the filth on the Right who tell us well, at least the slaves were provided food and shelter.

Stalin and Hitler are dead. These fucks are alive.

Therein lies the problem with exceptional America.

We don't kill our fascists.

We give them a talk show.


Also, yeah, golf outfits are ridiculous.

I'm trying to wait this out, but McT's breezy "It's been fun." has me chomping at the bit. So even though McT's out showing his interns why his decisions are always correct and bob mcmanus is in his timeout mode, I feel compelled to make a few points here.

Has any parent kicked a child out of the house for reading Das Kapital? "Billy, that is the last time you say "the workers should control the means of production" under my roof!"

While I'm sure it is a possibility, most parents are not going to kick someone out of their "house" because of any beliefs they might hold, but they will kick them out for acting shitty to other people. Disrespecting them. Treating their opinions as worthless. Suggesting that they aren't 'strong enough' to handle the manly back and forth of discussion. Even then, if the child does it to people who aren't there, they probably aren't going to get shown the door, it is only if they show their disrespect to people within the household. That is imho what bob mcmanus did.

So McT's 'gee, why is it misogyny and not communism' is a fun way for him to ignore the rhetoric. Unfortunately, it ends up suggesting to any woman who didn't like being told 'fuck you' that their comfort isn't really anyone's concern here, at least for McT, it is more about making liberals uncomfortable. Though I don't know if McT realizes that or not, but that is what the pattern of participation suggests.

While I'm sure that McT wouldn't ignore a a passenger on a flight haranguing a cabin attendant ('You've enraged me for the last god damn time'), or a customer in front of him at a bank yelling at a female teller ('look honey, why don't you go find your manager so I can talk to a man about this cause you seem freaked out that I'm a big bad man'), that dynamic doesn't seem to make any impact on him here, in this "house", which suggests that either he just doesn't notice, or that if it happens here, that's really not as important as getting 'C/S' roundly denounced, or at least tied like a millstone around the liberal commentariat here.

And it is certainly possible that it was missed. Comments fly in and out and you come to a thread and you see you've not been following, these sorts of things may slip past notice. But once you see them, you really can't unsee them.

I imagine the counsellor's counterargument is that we (us liberals, though we seem to have all shades of liberals here) make this place inhospitable to conservatives and Trump supporters by the opinions we put out. That may be true, but those conservatives and Trump supporters are only potential participants. We know that there are women here and I'm not sure how they would not feel that this place is not for them if we said 'wow, we don't really agree with old bobby when he goes on these rants, but where would get get our esoteric Japanese manga references if he weren't here?'

And certainly, unlike 'C/S', which, mirabile dictu, taints anyone who idly wonders why people freak out about unions or entertains the notion that certain industries are really too important to be privatized, I'm sure that McT feels he is totally insulated from any of bob mcmanus' misogyny, because, well, it would be unfair to tar him with the same brush (despite it being fine for ObWi commenters and 'C/S)'. I don't, but that is probably out of some sense of Japanese giri and the fact that I have defended the notion that he has something to contribute. So yes, I wonder if I have ended up saying with my actions that Japanese manga references are more important than treating some participants here with some modicum of respect.

It also assumes that we can weigh the components of belief in some sort of way that is logical. Perhaps McT can, but I sure can't. For me, it is at the point where their beliefs compel them to act toward others with malice. Fortunately or unfortunately, the set up of our society acts as a barrier for these things to happen. Which means that you can be in the same setting as some stone cold racist or some hair trigger misogynist and still go on about your business. But for me, the last meltdown crossed that line.

There are a number of other things that I'm still mulling over about all this, but that 'it's been fun' pulled the cork on this rant.

dropping by to complain about how the libs are the real problem in whatever situation we're talking about is classic McTx.

In closing, "I'm right. You're wrong. Bye! Too busy now!"

For another perspective on mass killing i the modern era, Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves is a sobering read.

Surfacing just to say …

Not for nothing, but McTX brings out the best of the regular ObWi posters. If I cruise by and see he’s posting, I generally stick around to read the whole thing.

And that’s not to say that I generally agree with him. I believe that socialism has proven to be objectively horrible and much worse than capitalism (warts and all), but I won’t automatically carry that indictment through to someone who professes to be a socialist/communist. If I give a random New England Patriots fan the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, he/she isn’t a tool, then I should extend that courtesy to your garden variety Marxist. Contrast that with the automatic permanent full body shunning that I reserve for anyone who displays misogyny. But just because I often disagree with McTX, that takes nothing away from his value as a poster here.

So before everyone starts taking shots at McTX now that he’s left the conversation, I just wanted to say that for my money, you guys post better when you have someone to play off of and McTX fills that role better than anyone. Not that increasing my lurk time around here should count for much, but take it for whatever it’s worth.

ObWi could certainly use more representation from the conservative side of things. once upon a time, it had a lot more - front pagers, even.

So before everyone starts taking shots at McTX now that he’s left the conversation, I just wanted to say that for my money, you guys post better when you have someone to play off of and McTX fills that role better than anyone.

I agree. Taking shots, as opposed to simply disagreeing, is mostly a matter of a few annoying rhetorical ticks that make me, and I would assume others, a little nuts. It's nothing remotely approaching personal dislike or thinking McT's at all a bad guy.

It's more fun when he's around.

While an unmitigated evil, slavery in the US was a mixed bag. Even from the viewpoint of the slaves. And a slave's relatively secure and predictable life was envied by more than a few whites.

"Particularly interesting in this regard is Russell's chapter on slavery. It is centered around his report that 'a majority of [the 2,300] ex-slaves who offered an evaluation of slavery [to interviewers from the Federal Writers' Project in the mid-1930s] — field hands and house slaves, men and women — had a positive view of the institution, and many unabashedly wished to return to their slave days.'

As Russell sees it, the ex-slaves looked back on their days as chattels so nostalgically because they felt they had greater 'freedom' as slaves than they later enjoyed after slavery had been abolished. He quotes the testimony of one former slave who told a Federal Writers' Project interviewer in 1937 that he had worked harder since the abolition of slavery than he had ever worked on the plantation and that on the plantation he knew that Master would take care of him and provide him with food and warm clothing and warm housing in the winter months, even if, along with all or most of the other slaves, he shirked his work and played sick and devoted whatever resources he did have to pleasure — chiefly gambling, liquor, and sex.

As Russell himself puts it, 'many and possibly most of the ex-slaves did not … restrain their personal freedoms, did not devote their lives to work, monogamy, frugality, and discipline.' Instead they 'created a uniquely liberated culture that valued pleasure over work and freedom over conformity.'"
A Renegade History of the United States

Pdm,

I agree. McKinney is our Muse.

It was good of him, BTW, to admit that right-wingers pay no attention to dictionary definitions when they throw "socialist" and "communist" around as generalized invective against politicians and policies that stand for less-than-fullsome support of Sado-Capitalism.

--TP

Mises misses. Not clicking.

Maybe some Southern landowners managed to make sharecropping suck even more than slavery for some former slaves. That wouldn't surprise me.

I agree that our righties add to the snap and sparkle around here, despite the frustration when they take a deep dive and disappear. To (mis)quote that famous humanitarian Mao: let a thousand flowers bloom!

I left off the most important bit, in the circumstances: Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend!

And a slave's relatively secure and predictable life was envied by more than a few whites.

Handouts!

While an unmitigated evil, slavery in the US was a mixed bag. Even from the viewpoint of the slaves.

you have to be shitting me.

Russell, you just have to have the right perspective. If you start from the premise that salvation is an absolute priority, and that it is only available via Christianity, then the fact that slavery provided Christianity to slaves (who otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to it) has to be a big plus. Hence the "mixed bag."

Granted, that requires accepting what many of us, including many Christians, would consider extreme (crazy?) assumptions. But that's how someone could possibly get there in all good faith.

My take on the "mixed bag" thing is that just about everything done in human history has been a mixed bag of some sort. Which means that saying something is/was a mixed bag is to say next to nothing.

I guess maybe it's interesting, if true at all, that some number of former slaves might have felt like they were better off under slavery, given their particular circumstances. Though I would assume it was almost always because they ended up living a sh*t life after they were freed, having nothing and knowing nothing else.

In other words, their American experience was one of being f*cked over more than once, some badly enough the second time that it was even worse than the first.

Such a blessing.

Who will Catherine Baker vote for, for Speaker? The current Minority Leader, presumably.

So I just looked up Brian Dahle. From a very cursory glance, he is a mildly objectionable but not-insane Republican who seems to have been chastened by the hit'em-upside-the-head policy I advocate and which you Californians have wisely pursued in recent years.

But I'd like to know whether Dahle (or Baker) are content to share party affiliation with the likes of Nunes, Rohrbacher, or Issa. Has either of them endorsed anybody in those races?

--TP

Baker's vote for (state) Assembly Speaker is irrelevant, since there is no way the Republicans get even close to a majority. (It's quite possible that they, again, fail to even achieve 1/3 of the Assembly.)

To my knowledge, has never enthusiasm for anybody like Nunes, Rohrbacher, or Issa. Certainly their views are nothing like hers. Indeed, I see her as a Republican pretty much in my own mold: opposing the crazies from the inside -- since there are lots of you opposing them from the outside already.

This, from the local paper's endorsement of her:

She has supported most gun-control laws and consistently backed a woman’s right to choose, earning a 100 percent voting record in 2016 and 2017 from Planned Parenthood, although she disagreed with the group more often than not in 2015.

On the environment, she was lauded by Gov. Jerry Brown as the “one brave Republican” in the Assembly when she voted for extending greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Also this:
Baker has voted for 28 gun-control bills, perhaps the only Republican in Sacramento to so consistently buck the gun lobby.

She voted to expand background checks. Expand the prohibition on open carrying of weapons. And raise the minimum age for purchasing rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21, just like handguns.

With the federal government unwilling to fund research on gun violence, Baker co-authored legislation for a state center to do the work. And she opposed congressional Republicans’ push to let gun owners with concealed weapons permits traipse into California with their hidden firearms.

If you want to argue (as some of you have said of me) that this makes her somehow "not a real Republican," fine. But she fits MY definition of what a Republican ought to be.

Reading CharlesWT's cited book review, I find this:

Two main kinds of people fled Europe to live in North America in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries: individualists who sought freedom from the political interference they were accustomed to dealing with in Europe; and religious zealots who sought to create and maintain a puritan theocracy on these shores without interference from the selfsame European political authorities who were interfering with the individualists.

I'm sorry, but this is really just hogwash.

Nobody "fled" Europe to "live" in N America in the 16th C. People came here as the agents of European states and heads of state, to look for land and resources to exploit, for the mutual enrichment of both parties. "Living" here basically meant being here as part of either a military or a trading organization, or both. For the benefit of sponsors back home.

The Puritans were a distinct community in eastern MA, and by the end of the 17th C were basically no longer Puritans. They were Yankees, and their primary relationship to the folks back in England was via trade.

The other English speaking colonies were mostly plantations of some kind or other. Sponsored by, granted by, run for the enrichment of, people back in the good old England. Exceptions are NY, which was Dutch, and PA, which was also something of a religious experiment because William Penn owned it, but was also kind of a real estate deal, and was in neither case Puritan.

Also not mentioned are all of the people who came here as an alternative to imprisonment or hanging. Of whom there was no shortage. Maybe they fall under the category of "individualists".

Blazingly busy and getting ready for a trip, plus I have a headache. So take this with a grain of salt. If I don't say it now, the discussion will have moved on and it won’t be the right time any more.

lj has said something I've been groping to say, along the lines of this: I don't much care what bob mcmanus's policy ideas about women are. I care about the rage and the violence of language directed at women, sometimes specific ones among us. If he wanted to propose that the 19th amendment be repealed, and people wanted to debate him on it, that wouldn’t make me feel threatened and unwelcome here, it would just make me bored. I might stick around to see what cool and funny things people had to say in response, or equally likely, I might just go wash the dishes.

If you-all like the sparkle McKinneyTexas provides, more power to you. Sometimes I find the discussion when he shows up interesting, more often I don’t. More often than not, I see a gauntlet laid down or a hook dangled, just like this time, and I roll my eyes and go do something else, because I know very well that what follows is likely to be exactly what russell said this morning: "Some conversations are basically over before they begin." A rigged game, blurry definitions, shifting goalposts, rules changing as the game goes along, no one changing their minds. If it's fun for you-all, whether lurkers or commenters, that's great. The world is a big and varied place and I have plenty else to do. It's like if you start to talk about jazz instead of folk music. I don’t feel unwelcome, the atmosphere isn't hostile, it's just not my thing. Sometimes I stick around and sometimes I even learn something! Sometimes not, on both counts.

bob mcmanus’s rage directed at me and other women here and elsewhere -- that's something else entirely. I would not have sat still for much more of it, so I’m glad lj stepped in.

IMHO bob stepped over the far line of what is mostly, unfortunately, a gray area where it’s hard to exactly say what should be done. lj used the word “comfortable” and that conjures the gray area for me. ObWi is often not “comfortable” – in that as I said several pages ago, people get mad at each other, sometimes we’re snarky with each other, some of us don’t actually like each other very much. It can be a rough and tumble place. But rough and tumble is different from hostile and threatening. Some people even like rough and tumble! Which, again, is fine. If I hated rough and tumble, or disapproved of it, or whatever, I feel that I should be the one to go find a more congenial place, just as I would be more likely to frequent a folk music blog than a jazz blog. But I don’t feel that I should have to go find a different place because of escalatingly violent language and emotion being directed my way. I would, if necessary, but I’m glad I didn’t have to, because I like it here, rough and tumble and all.

PS #1 re: I care about the rage and the violence of language directed at women, sometimes specific ones among us.

I care about the rage and the violence of language, period. I hope I would notice in the same way if similar rage was directed at any other commenter. I do not, as I said above, consider this to be the same phenomenon as, let's say, a throwaway line about how we have to burn it all down and start over. There's performance art, there's frustration, there's carelessness...all different things. (All subject to gray areas and interpretations, of course.)

PS #2: if you find that sapient and I are overtly agreeing about something, pay attention. There's probably something to it. ;-)

PS #3: It's not surprising that it was another lawyer who surfaced to say that things are more fun around here when McKinneyTexas starts an argument. I have been well supplied with lawyers in my personal life since about 1972. If I were of that temperament/mindset/skillset myself, I might enjoy the lawyerly back and forth more than I do. It's a little too slippery for me.

PS #2: if you find that sapient and I are overtly agreeing about something, pay attention. There's probably something to it. ;-)

Haha! Thank you for what you've written here, JanieM.

JanieM worth listening to, as always.

If you-all like the sparkle McKinneyTexas provides, more power to you.

Speaking for myself, it's more the sparkle that results when McKinney says something provocative, and the rest of our mostly liberal commenters pile in, and zippy back-and-forth ensues with no prisoners taken but interesting examples and links scattered around as far as the eye can see. And (this is important) with no, or at least minimal, ill-feeling. Personally, I like the craic of it, as the Irish would say (pronounced "crack", and meaning fun and action), but YMMV.

I'd like to think that puts a period on it, but I'm sure it will come up again, if not in this form, in some other form.

But I can't resist posting this link

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags

sapient, lj, GftNC, and everyone -- I am reminded of the immortal words of Jerry Taff, who was the evening news anchor when I lived in Milwaukee in the early eighties. He closed his report every night by wishing us all...

...Better tomorrows.

That wish applies far beyond the range of Obsidian Wings. We're going to need it.

PS #2: if you find that sapient and I are overtly agreeing about something, pay attention. There's probably something to it. ;-)

This is the 2 x 4 officially upside my head.

This is the 2 x 4 officially upside my head.

likewise.

i read mcmanus' comment, responded to it, and the condescending nastiness of it went right over my head.

i would likely have noticed right away if he made a comment of similar tone and (lack of) quality about other demographics. which is o say, other groups of people.

please accept my apologies.

I guess maybe it's interesting, if true at all, that some number of former slaves might have felt like they were better off under slavery, given their particular circumstances.

Similarly, many older citizens of the country formally known as the Soviet Union pine for the what they call "the better days" under Stalin, thus proving that state socialism is superior to unbound free market capitalism.

Now a more or less rational person would most likely take this line of argument with a tad more than a grain of salt, not libertarians!

That's how they roll.

please accept my apologies.

And mine. Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 instances of someone changing my mind on the internet. Two of them were JanieM.

hsh and russell: no need to apologise, we have all been guilty of similar lapses at times. Janie and I talk privately sometimes, and some time ago I apologised to her for something and then referred to it during the recent brouhaha thus:

I apologised for not remembering what Marty had said to you about gay marriage rights, which still (understandably) caused you so much pain and resentment. Given that I had always completely agreed with you on the issue, I had to try and figure out why Marty's comment had so completely failed to make a lasting impression on me. And the not particularly praiseworthy explanation I came to was that it was because it wasn't my personal issue. I would have seen his comment at the time, disagreed with it thoroughly as I often do with Marty's views, and passed on. And I'm guessing that russell and the others might be doing the same thing with bob, only maybe not reading closely enough sometimes to even understand what he's doing. It's not great, but it's human....

And I then went on in ways that would embarass (probably in a good way!) some of you. Clearly, we're all trying to put this to bed once and for all in as OK a way as possible, and I wouldn't want to drag it out further (you'll have to believe me!), but I just want to say one more thing. Janie and I had been marvelling at bob's misogyny for quite a while, but sapient was the first person to name it out loud, and I think she deserves appreciation for it.

Apologies are not at all necessary. I know that I can be insensitive to things that don't affect me, and have blind spots that people here have observed many times. Something good has perhaps, for once, come from my bile.

Anyway, I'm glad we all had this little chat.

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