« What Does Compassion without Funding Get You? | Main | Opportunism or Secret Intelligence »

February 15, 2005

Comments

Too bad for you that the commentor doesn't have a 401k. :)

Nice post, on an exceedingly unpleasant writer. This place, and the conservative posts here, are very comforting to a committed liberal -- it's good to know that communication and agreement are still possible on some issues.

I wouldn't have asked about Wood. I'd have asked why you hadn't said a word about Gonzales.

It never ceases to amaze me just how many nuts there are out there.

"Why is a conservative like me coming down on another "conservative"? "

Because you were called out.

Jesurgislac, what historical "facts" did Alberto Gonzales fabricate? And isn't that what Woods and Churchill have in common, besides writing books bursting with BS?

Caleb: "Because you were called out."

Look: Charles has done a good thing, as Sebastian did on extraordinary rendition. Is there some reason why, when people say things that don't square with what we might take to be their normal ideologies, we have to jump all over them?

Tomsyl, my comment was meant to indicate that I think Bush's selection of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, and the Senate's endorsement of him, is a far more serious issue than anything either Churchill or Wood said.

As Bird has said (on Obsidian Wings only, AFAIK) that he thinks torture is wrong and that the US is wrong to torture people, I'd have expected him to be serving up a humdinger of a post against Gonzales on RedState... not bothering with Ward Churchill. After all, I don't suppose Bird bothered to condemn Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, both of whom really did say that the 9/11 victims deserved to die - which isn't (precisely) what Churchill said.

Woods, not Wood. Sorry. Hadn't actually heard of him till just now.

Why is a conservative like me coming down on another "conservative"? First, because he's not a conservative.

Hey, why not come down on another conservative? You need hardly classify someone as "not a conservative" before being critical of them. Or have we reached the level of partisanship that we cannot be critical of someone "on our side" no matter what they do or say?

Because you were called out.

What the Hell? Where's your 10,000 word essay on Ward Churchill? Where's the outrage on the Left at the (verifiable) lies and distortions in Fahrenheit 9/11? Or Bowling for Coulumbine, for that matter? (I literally had to turn the tape off when Moore started comparing our intervention in the Balkins with Soviet aggression.*)

The toughest thing for anyone to do is to call out and condemn their own. Don't minimize the act -- particularly when we see so little of it on either the left or the right.

von

*W/r/t the Balkins, I echo the apocryphal comments of Frm. Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-Ind.) (now deceased), who was as far to the left as any Democrat from Indiana has ever been: "Bomb the Serbs, Mr. President. It will make you feel better."

Where's the outrage on the Left at the (verifiable) lies and distortions in Fahrenheit 9/11? Or Bowling for Coulumbine, for that matter?

What lies?

And there goes the thread.

Or have we reached the level of partisanship that we cannot be critical of someone "on our side" no matter what they do or say?

We've been at that level of partisanship since the very beginning, D-P-UnGood. And, probably, before that. (We can get into why people tribally align themselves in this manner, but this hardly seems the thread for it.)

Excellent research and analysis Charles. You deserve the contents of that 401K...I hope it's fat.

OT: Timmy...I recall another bet that still needs settling...but, alas, your email isn't working.

e

(Desperate effort to deflect thread back on target through humor):

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Props, Bird Dog.

We've been at that level of partisanship since the very beginning, D-P-UnGood.

In that case, I take back all my commentary about the Rather memos being fake.

Well written, well researched. An excellent piece Bird Dog.

In that case, I take back all my commentary about the Rather memos being fake.

As Avedon Carol pointed out:

Remember, no one has ever proved the Killian memo was a forgery, it's just that no one can prove that it wasn't. But the content, from all reports, is absolutely consistent with the facts. cite

Jes, they've been adequately demonstared to be blatent forgeries to anyone with technical knowledge of computer-based fonts. And the fact that they're forgeries has completely obscured the point that they were supposed to prove.

Hilz and Von,

What the hell are you 2 talking about?

Why is it automatically bad pointing out that the reason Bird wrote this is because he was called out?

He admits it himself...do you even read what Bird writes?

" I would've passed on looking more into Woods since I'd never before heard of the guy. Then the commenter went and said this: "But I'll bet the entire contents of my 401k that you won't spend a single minute writing lengthy posts investigating and condemning Wood." Well, now that there's money on the table and, curious about whether this person will honor the bet, my interest is piqued, so here goes."

That, folks, is being called out....and, as he admits, is the reason he wrote this.

This article is Bird's Put up or Shut up.

It does not minimize what he wrote....nor does it "pile on"......it's mearly the "why"....any other stated reason is moot.

And von....this whole "10,000 word essay" requirement to post on your site here must really turn some folks off.

my comment was meant to indicate that I think Bush's selection of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, and the Senate's endorsement of him, is a far more serious issue than anything either Churchill or Wood said.

Jes, while I bet our views of Gonzales' fitness for office differ, I agree that Churchill (and Woods, for that matter, though he seems marginally more prominent) should be below the noise floor. One thing that really bothers me about Churchill is that the outrage over his comments has pushed an obscure idiot onto the front pages of the blogosphere. All Churchill illustrates is that academics can make hateful comments and still retain tenure, but we knew that already from, e.g., the anti-semitic comments repeatedly made by some professors of MidEast studies at prominent universities. Other than that, I can't get excited about someone who from all descriptions seems a pathetic loser.

CB's essay is notable to me because it is an example of a conservative outing (maybe the wrong word, no reference to "Gannon" intended) a kook that some might maliciously characterize as representative of mainstream right-wing views. I like the cut of CB's jib for that.

If I just write "Michael Moore sucks" 3,334 times, does that count as 10,000 words?

Michael Moore is not the equivalent of Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Just sayin'

Michael Moore is not the equivalent of Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Just sayin'

Yes, I daresay Moore is worth two or three of Woods. If you break them both down to constituent elements, that is.

Is Slart slandering the author of "Dude, Where's My Codpiece"?

It's not slander if I say Moore is a man of substance.

I watched the Westchester Kennel Club dog show last night so I know what a "dog of substance" is. You have to get up earlier in the morning if you want to slip one past me.

"If I just write "Michael Moore sucks" 3,334 times, does that count as 10,000 words?"

No, praktike, you'd be over ...the piece would need editing! ;)


Seriously, though: I think CB has put up a good post, and a reminder that nuttery on the socio/political fringes doesn't always fall on one side or the other of the spectrum. Finding myself agreeing with Glenn Reynolds (a rare enough event), I do think it's weird the way Woods' rhetoric seems to echo off-the-wall far-Left tropes ("American Empire"??), even if the source of the disgust-with-society is coming from a quite different place.
However, the most depressing part of this is that Wood's neo-Confederate crapola appears to have a far greater audience than anything Ward Churchill has ever put out. Churchill is, by all admissions, however radical his ideas, an obscure academic: that blatant revisionist garbage like the PIGtAH (great acronym, btw, what genius came up with that?) can pop up on the NYT best-seller list (at whatever number) is, to me, by far a worse indicator of where political discourse in this country stands than the fact that a crank like Ward Churchill can be a Department head at a major University.
Ultranationalism - it's not just for foreigners, anymore! Yee-haw!!

Wood's neo-Confederate crapola appears to have a far greater audience than anything Ward Churchill has ever put out.

I'd ask for a numerical comparison, but any nonzero number of adherents to either might be more depressing than I can take.

Part of what's going on with Woods is that soft neo-Confederacism (there's a more graceful word for that, I'm sure) doesn't freak people out. Someone waving around Nazi insignia and expressing nostalgia for the Third Reich is instantly unacceptable, but someone waving a confederate flag and talking about the War of Northern Aggression is, initially, assumed to be just being playful: you don't expect them to openly buy into the white supremacist ideals implied by what actual Civil War era Confederates believed. (This really bothers me, particularly self-described patriots who do the Confederate-flag/Southern pride bullshit. Idolizing traitors just seems bizarre to me.)

So with someone like Woods, a reader who's inclined to be sympathetic to the "politically incorrect" posture can read pretty far along, interpreting his neo-Confederacism as southern pride, reasonable resistance to political correctness, whatever.... and only when he hits something really weird realizing that Woods actually buys into white supremacy.

I've never figured out why nostalgia for the Confederacy isn't perceived as contaminating in the way that nostalgia for Naziism is (e.g., the flap over Prince Harry's costume), but the fact that it isn't provides great rhetorical cover for weirdos like Woods.

Regarding the Churchill witch hunt, many of Woods' brethern are also academics who, under the purge Churchill standard, should also be run out on the rail. And they are at the University of Georgia, Loyola College, University of South Carolina, Emory Universtiy, Florida State University...

So why is CU getting all the attention?

Slart -- I can't speak to the support for the explicit ideas of the League of the South, but it's worth noting that the PIGtAH is on the NYT Bestseller List, etc. What one might call depressing, especially considering the degree of promotion it's getting from mainstream conservatives like Sean Hannity and Gary Bauer.

Idolizing traitors just seems bizarre to me

Were the confederates any more traitorous in relation to the USA than the colonists were in relation to England?

Were the confederates any more traitorous in relation to the USA than the colonists were in relation to England?

Of course. The confederates lost, the colonists won. By the usual rule-of-thumb measure... ("Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.")

For the record, I did post about a link about the League of the South some time ago, but nobody seems to have read it. The weird thing is the link between the LoS and the Von Mises Institute, which makes that loathsome place a neoConfederate fusionist's wet dream.

"I do think it's weird the way Woods' rhetoric seems to echo off-the-wall far-Left tropes ("American Empire"??), even if the source of the disgust-with-society is coming from a quite different place."

It gets even weirder when you start to read people on the right who explicitly advocate "American Empire." Some of them are even serving in the Bush administration and wrote its National Security Strategy!

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Ha! (It's probably news to Jack.)

For the record, I did post about a link about the League of the South some time ago, but nobody seems to have read it. The weird thing is the link between the LoS and the Von Mises Institute, which makes that loathsome place a neoConfederate fusionist's wet dream.

"I do think it's weird the way Woods' rhetoric seems to echo off-the-wall far-Left tropes ("American Empire"??), even if the source of the disgust-with-society is coming from a quite different place."

It gets even weirder when you start to read people on the right who explicitly advocate "American Empire." Some of them are even serving in the Bush administration and wrote its National Security Strategy!

For the record, I did post about a link about the League of the South some time ago, but nobody seems to have read it. The weird thing is the link between the LoS and the Von Mises Institute, which makes that loathsome place a neoConfederate fusionist's wet dream.

"I do think it's weird the way Woods' rhetoric seems to echo off-the-wall far-Left tropes ("American Empire"??), even if the source of the disgust-with-society is coming from a quite different place."

It gets even weirder when you start to read people on the right who explicitly advocate "American Empire." Some of them are even serving in the Bush administration and wrote its National Security Strategy!

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Ha! (It's probably news to Jack.)

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Ha! (It's probably news to Jack.)

And I wouldn't expect the British to be heavily invested in Revolutionary War mystique for that very reason. I mean, by now I expect we're forgiven based on the past two centuries of alliance, but I'd say treason would be a reasonable British characterization of American participants in the Revolutionary War.

Back on Confederates, I spend a fair amount of time on the West Point campus, because a buddy of mine from law school is a JAG officer stationed there. There is a truly creepy number of statues of Confederate generals on horseback there. I get that pardoning all of them after the war was the right thing to do, but putting up statues to them on the USMA campus just seems weird. They got their military reputations fighting against us, not for us - doesn't that count for anything these days?

And I wouldn't expect the British to be heavily invested in Revolutionary War mystique for that very reason. I mean, by now I expect we're forgiven based on the past two centuries of alliance, but I'd say treason would be a reasonable British characterization of American participants in the Revolutionary War.

Back on Confederates, I spend a fair amount of time on the West Point campus, because a buddy of mine from law school is a JAG officer stationed there. There is a truly creepy number of statues of Confederate generals on horseback there. I get that pardoning all of them after the war was the right thing to do, but putting up statues to them on the USMA campus just seems weird. They got their military reputations fighting against us, not for us - doesn't that count for anything these days?

I've heard rumours that the Balkins were thoroughly bombed on at least one occasion.

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Ha! (It's probably news to Jack.)

von: we intervened in the Balkins?

Ha! (It's probably news to Jack.)

What praktike said. Thrice.

(sorry)

From a British point of view, I think that at the time they would have been perfectly reasonable in thinking of the revolting colonists as traitors -- I assume that we're forgiven by now, but I'd be surprised if there's a lot of British interest in Revolutionary War mystique.

Back on Confederate nostalgia -- I spend a fair amount of time on the West Point campus, because a buddy of mine from law school is a JAG officer stationed there. The campus is crawling with horseback statues of Confederate generals, which I find completely bizarre. I mean, I understand that pardoning them all was the right, decent thing to do, but these guys are famous for fighting against the US Army, not for it -- doesn't that count for anything? Isn't it just a little weird to give them statues on the USMA campus?

interesting echo going on here...

Goddamn it. I try to post a comment and get an error message and lose the damn thing. So I retype it and try to post it again.

And then I see that it originally posted twice, so I've not only retyped it, I've posted the same thing three times in two slightly but unimportantly different versions. My apologies.

There seems to be a (hopefully) momentary glitch in the system. It's best to make sure your "personal info" displays before hitting the "Post" button.

For the record, I didn't bet my 401k to you, Charles -- I bet it to my wife. Congratulations, hon!

In any case, as I stated in the comments which prompted this post, my problem with the inordinate amount of attention someone like Churchill gets from right-wingers vs. someone like Wood is that Churchill is a nobody who has the ear of nobody important. Wood is being courted as a deep thinker by the loudest, most visible mouthpieces of the administration that you voted for. I'm glad that it worries you, but I'd suggest that you, and the GOP, would be better served both by asking why your mouthpieces are courting white supremacists, and by concentrating on ridding your own party of those kinds of people rather than worrying about nobodies on the other side.

It might also be worth reflecting on your own reaction to hearing about this guy for the first time, then wondering why liberals appear to get alternately amused, angered, and bewildered when you or someone else concentrates on nobodies like Ward Churchill rather than on anything important.

Is this going up at Redstate?

It might also be worth reflecting on your own reaction to hearing about this guy for the first time, then wondering why liberals appear to get alternately amused, angered, and bewildered when you or someone else concentrates on nobodies like Ward Churchill rather than on anything important.

I can't speak for conservatives, but I suspect Churchill winds up being the symbol of what drives them insane - mainly far-left radicals in higher education. I can relate, as I've never had to deal with a neoconfederate ever, but in my (slightly exaggerated) experience Churchill-types are at any gathering of three or more people here in the urban northeast.

would be better served both by asking why your mouthpieces are courting white supremacists

First, I don't have a mouthpiece. If I did choose to play an instrument, it'd be a double reed. Second, if I decided to change my mind on the whole mouthpiece issue, Wood woodn't be anywhere on my list of guys to consider. Third, Wood doesn't speak for Republicans, period. He might speak to some registered Republicans, but he's no more of a mouthpiece than, say, Churchill is.

Although I've got to say if Hannity was touting him (no idea if he actually was or not) that would move Hannity even further down in my estimation.

So Slart, are you saying that you're going to keep your mouthpiece away from Wood?

LizardBreath: I mean, by now I expect we're forgiven

Well, more or less, yes.

As Bird has said (on Obsidian Wings only, AFAIK) that he thinks torture is wrong and that the US is wrong to torture people, I'd have expected him to be serving up a humdinger of a post against Gonzales on RedState... not bothering with Ward Churchill. After all, I don't suppose Bird bothered to condemn Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, both of whom really did say that the 9/11 victims deserved to die - which isn't (precisely) what Churchill said.

I wrote the exact same post on torture at Redstate as I did here, Jes. There is almost exactly the same post on Wood at Redstate as here. If it's good enough for one, it's good enough for the other. I have not written about Gonzales because I simply haven't had time to read up on him. I have criticized Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on multiple occasions, both for what they said after 9/11 and on other idiocies they've uttered.

Bird: I wrote the exact same post on torture at Redstate as I did here, Jes.

Sorry, I'm not a regular reader at Redstate and I missed it. Can you post a link? With (I admit some distaste) I'm trying to read comments on anti-torture posts on right-wing sites. (Most comments fill me with despair, but there's the occasional jewel.)

You need hardly classify someone as "not a conservative" before being critical of them. Or have we reached the level of partisanship that we cannot be critical of someone "on our side" no matter what they do or say?

If a conservative does or says something boneheaded, I have no problem writing something harsh about him/her. Paleos like Buchanan and Wood are trying to co-opt the term conservative and I think it's important to dispute their self-identification.

Although I've got to say if Hannity was touting him (no idea if he actually was or not) that would move Hannity even further down in my estimation.

Here's a link to an unofficial transcript of Woods' appearance on the show. Hannity doesn't address any of the creepiness either of the book or of Woods generally.

What makes Buchanan and Wood not-conservative as opposed to you, Charles? (I'm not trying to be provocative, I'm really curious.) After all, the party you support right now is the party of growing deficits, increased Federal spending, aggressive warfare and some . . . novel interpretations of Constitutional law, none of which are particularly conservative by the traditional definitions.

Good post, Charles. I'm rather impressed that you only put in a minimum of obligatory slams for the usual liberal suspects, just so we know that it wasn't someone else who hacked your account and posted it.

What freaks me out even more about Wood is that he teaches at my alma mater, Suffolk Community College. I mean, it's the kind of place where "Introduction to Weather" is a legitimate science elective.

They're giving one of our profs national prominence? That's just messed up.

Thank you for posting this and as always, I appreciate the effort and time. However, as much as I understand and appreciate the dynamic of the rest of the ObWi Inner Circle in dealing with complaints that you had to be called out to post this, I worry about profuse praise for doing something that appears to me to be a no-brainer ("You didn't hit Billy with a baseball bat on the playground! What a good boy!")

Also, I previously noted that your characterization of Churchill of being 'faux-Indian' requires knowledge that you don't have, because it depends crucially on a knowledge of how tribal rolls are determined, a process that differs for not only each tribe, but often for each band of Native Americans. Yet you persist in using it and this rhetoric seems to have been picked up directly from the huge plethora of right wing sites that have been flogging this. Take note of this here

Churchill, who has never claimed to be on a tribal roll, whether to obtain employment or for any other reason, can nonetheless trace his ancestry from the 1817 Cherokee Immigrant Roll onward through the 1907 Dawes Roll (a feat Bellecourt himself might be hard-pressed to duplicate).

I'm not saying that this is correct, (though if you to peek at the byzantine claims and counter claims that exist, the page is worth a look), but unless you've suddenly gotten Cherokee tribal credentials, you don't know either. If you don't know, you shouldn't present it as fact (cf. Armanious)

I also wonder about the lacuna about the media. Fox _booked_ this guy. At what point does this kind of crap result in the tiny leap that anything Fox puts out should be suspect? Like someone said about John Lott, if they told you the time, it would be a reason to check your watch. But if you are recycling stuff from these RW sights, even if you never, no, not even once, glance at Fox, you are still end up being pickled in it.

lj -- I wasn't talking about profuse praise; just an absence of piling on. I mean, I'm sure that neither Charles nor Sebastian would be influenced one way or another by our responses to them, as opposed to the actual merits of an argument, but we don't want to make it actually painful for them to agree with us every now and then, do we?

I'd be curious to know what a "Ward Churchill type" is, because from personal experience I don't think most rightwingers make the distinction between people who agree with most of Churchill's criticisms of American foreign policy, but disagree with his stupid juvenile rantings about who deserves to die. That part of his "thought" sounds like a 14 year old trying to shock people more than anything else. But it's been my experience on several occasions that when I say that the US has done terrible things overseas and that as citizens we bear some responsibility for it, I get accused of saying that the people on 9/11 deserved what happened to them. They understand that I'm saying that as citizens of a democracy we bear responsibility for what our government does. They then jump to the conclusion that anyone who thinks this must believe mass killing is the solution. Churchill and some of his critics have more in common than they realize.

For the record, and this should be crossposted on Crooked Timber, when in doubt that your comment was recorded....Go away. Minimize the window, move on to another blog, go check movie listings, cook dinner. Earlier today I had to close my browser and reboot before I was sure...On this blog. Good for ya to have distance and time between one comment and the next. Patience is a ....

"I've never figured out why nostalgia for the Confederacy isn't perceived as contaminating in the way that nostalgia for Naziism is"

Because the human race lived under various kinds of agrarian feudalism for like 5000 years, and still does in many places in the world? There are whole categories of fantasy and romance fiction based on this atavistic urge for a structured, secure, stable economic and political environment? Now what I mean by feudalism would require some thought and a long comment, but "a renunciation of social mobility in exchange for an enforced system of mutual responsibilities among social and economic classes" is a start.

The only interesting battle of ideas is between feudalism and liberalism (Libertarianism). We are still in that battle,Republicans or conservatives want to retain some of aspects of feudalism, Democrats or the left want to retain other aspects of feudalism. We are all very scared of a truely free society, with good reason.

And Bird did good, above & beyond, as much as could be expected? Anybody y'all want me to renounce in exchange?
Chomsky is crazy, Moore is silly, Kennedy is fat? Trying to think of somebody that would hurt. Amartya Sen is really a little weak on personal ethics. Thomas Frank is....is...the man.

Sarah Geller is nothing without Whedon. Okay. A sacrifice.

I'm sure that neither Charles nor Sebastian would be influenced one way or another by our responses to them, as opposed to the actual merits of an argument, but we don't want to make it actually painful for them to agree with us every now and then, do we?

I don't know. Really, I don't. What bothers me is that sometimes it seems that the only way to get a reaction is to make it so snark filled that it's like filling a glove with rolls of pennies and _then_ slapping it across the face.

Maybe chas might have taken it upon himself to write about Woods without Phil having to bet his 401k, but I have to say that I am skeptical. If I were as dyspeptic as Hitchens, I would say something like "Sir, you then admit that the only thing that pushes you to post is being goaded by a wager", but I'm not, I like to think of myself as a pleasant sort of guy and I wouldn't be caught dead chain-smoking.

So it's not that I want to make it painful for Chas or Seb to agree with me, I just don't want to have to inflict so much pain to get them _to_ agree with me.

BTW, my apologies for posting the same comment four times. Apparently, there was some glitch with ObWi yesterday.

What makes Buchanan and Wood not-conservative as opposed to you, Charles?

A fair question, Phil. Conservatives are free traders, and we all know that Buchanan has real problems with that. Conservatives are not racists and they favor an immigration policy that allows for a healthy amount of legal immigration, and they are realistic about how to deal illegal immigrants on our soil; Buchanan--depending on who you talk to--is either an anti-Semite or a borderline anti-Semite, he is uncomfortable with darker-complected immigrants, and approach to illegal immigrants and sealing our borders is unrealistic. Wood, by his founding member status with LotS, is a flat-out racist. Conservatives like Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan knew that we could not insulate ourselves from world affairs. Buchanan and Wood prefer the United States to be isolationists, closing our borders and staying more neutral to the world at large. Conservatives regard Washington and Lincoln as two or our greatest presidents. Wood has a low opinion of Lincoln and I don't know Buchanan's. Both Buchanan and Wood questioned our entry into WWII, and conservatives plainly have not. Conservatives are actually more libertarian toward social and cultural issues than the strongly Catholic Buchanan and Wood.

LJ, I reject that I "had to be called out to post this". It's poor phrasing and does not reflect what motivated me to write a post on it. For every twenty "look over there" comments, I might respond directly to one. And it doesn't mean that I refuse to be called out when I don't write on the many other "look over theres". By and large, I don't take requests and commenters don't drive my choice of topic. By dint of his NYT bestseller status and his links to white separatists, the Wood case piqued my interest enough to write about him.

Take note of this here

I did check your link, LJ, which is to Colorado AIM, the group that Churchill founded after he got booted out of AIM and IITC. Note that Churchill is on the leadership council of Colorado AIM, and that he is claiming Ketoowah Cherokee ancestry. Churchill may claim his ancestry as such, but he has yet to prove it to the satisfaction of the tribes he allegedly has lineage to. I'll place reliance on my link to Rocky Mtn News for now.

Bird: Conservatives are not racists

Heh. What I think you mean to say is that racism is not an inherent part of conservatism, which of course it is not.

Conservatives are free traders [...]

Well, that's a nice statement of what some conservatives are, but do you honestly think that there aren't plenty of conservatives who don't match your description? Would you like me to start naming some?

"Conservatives are actually more libertarian toward social and cultural issues than the strongly Catholic Buchanan and Wood."

Who knew that my conservative Senator was Arlen Specter, and my non-conservative one was Rick Santorum.

Me: "I've never figured out why nostalgia for the Confederacy isn't perceived as contaminating in the way that nostalgia for Naziism is"

Bob: Because the human race lived under various kinds of agrarian feudalism for like 5000 years, and still does in many places in the world? There are whole categories of fantasy and romance fiction based on this atavistic urge for a structured, secure, stable economic and political environment? Now what I mean by feudalism would require some thought and a long comment, but "a renunciation of social mobility in exchange for an enforced system of mutual responsibilities among social and economic classes" is a start.


But that ignores slavery. Nostalgia for feudalism, all that nonsense, I totally get (I disapprove, but I get. Noble and benevolent landowners, industrious peasantry -- it's charming, it's picturesque.)

Nostalgia for the Confederacy, on the other hand, requires either ignoring or supporting the physical and emotional torture and enslavement of millions of human beings. I do think that most people with Confederate flag bumper stickers are ignoring, rather than implicitly supporting, slavery -- I just don't get, socially, why dismissing slavery as 'not a big enough deal to turn you off the nice things about the Confederacy' is acceptable. Hitler got German hyperinflation under control, but no one could praise the Third Reich generally on those grounds without being contaminated by the horrors of the Holocaust.

LizardBreath: Nostalgia for feudalism, all that nonsense, I totally get (I disapprove, but I get. Noble and benevolent landowners, industrious peasantry -- it's charming, it's picturesque.)

Well, but. Feudalism is tied up with serfdom, and while serfs had certain protections that the slaves of the American South didn't have, they were slaves.

Admittedly, one of the things people seem able to do when looking back nostalgically at the past is to imagine that they would be among the ruling classes, not one of the millions of people who were born and died the property of their feudal overlord.

Mmmmm... serfs were slaves, feudal society was in fact horrible and brutal, absolutely; I was just acknowledging the emotional appeal it has for a lot of people. That said, serfs had a very different legal status from American slaves. While they didn't have a lot of power, they did have some rights; they could own property; they (legally) couldn't be killed on a whim (practically they mostly could, of course). And they formed the bulk of the population -- they weren't a specially disadvantaged class, that was just the rights you had as a poor agricultural worker.

In the pre-Civil War South, on the other hand, one person could, legally, torture another to death on a whim, because he owned him in the same way he owned a pair of shoes. That seems, emotionally, to me like a whole different class of awful.

"I've never figured out why nostalgia for the Confederacy isn't perceived as contaminating in the way that nostalgia for Naziism is"

Just a thought, but a major reason why the Confederate/Nazi analogies might not be strictly applicable could be that the sociopolitical dynamics of the two "movements" were quite unlike.The American Civil War was an internal affair, settled by Americans themselves, the winners and losers having to subsequently live with each other in political harmony(more-or-less); with the post-war impetus for reintegration of the Union being based largely on romanticizing the Confederacy into the Noble Lost Cause, and, of course, re-marginalizing black people into an official victim caste.
Nazi Germany, though, was an ultranationalist movement which had (brutally) taken over the regime of a unified nation, and which only fell after being overthrown by invading foreign armies - who afterwards kept (well, really split) the nation, but changed the regime(s): leaving the former ruling ideology as the officially despised dross of history.
Neither, IMO, is a particularly fine example of human political behavior, and do have some parallels, but the milage here varies greatly.

That said, serfs had a very different legal status from American slaves

Depends. The two main differences, practically speaking, were (1) that a serf wasn't marked out as racially different from someone who wasn't a serf. That concept, that all black people are slaves/slaves are black, is something that made the status of American slaves very different from slaves in other places/other times. (2) Serfs might not have legal rights (practically speaking, they might not whether or not technically they did) but they generally lived under a system of custom which bound their overlord/owner as much as it did them.

As for your other points: In some countries, at some times, serfs did have the right to own property: in others, they didn't. In some countries, at some times, they did form the bulk of the population -- but in others they were a specially disadvantaged class, and poor agricultural workers were divided into the free and the unfree. The institution of serfdom/feudalism was so widespread, across so many countries and so many centuries, that it's really not possible to say definitely "serfs had these rights".

Probably true, as a matter of historical fact -- it would certainly have been very difficult to emotionally attach the horrors of slavery to the Confederacy within the lifetime of Confederate Civil War veterans, who had to be included in the United States as citizens. Why people voluntarily associate themselves with it is still beyond me, but no one ever said I had to understand everything.

Jes-

Again, you're right -- I was oversimplifying to a huge extent.

Jes,

"all black people are slaves"

Not true. Freedmen were common, even in the South. Some even owned slaves.

Dan: Not true. Freedmen were common, even in the South. Some even owned slaves.

According to this, free blacks in the "Upper South" were 8 percent of the black population in the region - "To the extent, however, that postrevolutionary emancipation was selective—masters choosing whom they would free—it produced a free Negro population that was more skilled and lighter in color than that of the North. In the course of the nineteenth century, manumission became even more selective, so that free people of the Upper South became increasingly skilled in occupation, urban in residence, and light in skin color." There are no stats for how many were wealthy enough to become slaveowners, but Ira Berlin describes their number as "A handful".

I think describing free blacks as "common" could only be from an urban perspective: it would appear that the vast majority of black people were slaves and remained slaves until Emancipation.

"According to this, free blacks in the "Upper South" were 8 percent of the black population in the region"

The article cites that figure for 1810, or over 50 years before slavery ended. And even so, 8% (or about 1 in 12) sounds common to me. It meant that if you left the plantations, a significant portion of blacks were free. It certainly means you were not correct in saying all blacks were slaves.

Dan: It certainly means you were not correct in saying all blacks were slaves.

What I actually said was: "a serf wasn't marked out as racially different from someone who wasn't a serf. That concept, that all black people are slaves/slaves are black, is something that made the status of American slaves very different from slaves in other places/other times."

If you care to provide figures from 1810-1860 showing what the whole proportion of free blacks to slave blacks in the American South was (not just disregarding the slaves on plantations), we can have a statistical argument on how common 8% of the black population is: how many people would have met free blacks, and how light-colored would those free blacks have typically been? (An "octoroon" is, except politically and legally, white...)

But I think you can accept the point I was making, that slaves in the American South were marked out racially from free people in a way that was not typical of serfs, and certainly not typical of slavery as it has existed in other times and places, without further nitpicking argument.

Chas
[the statement about being called out] does not reflect what motivated me to write a post on it.

Not meaning to be snarky (much), but why did you spend your first paragraph explaining the history of how you ended up writing about it?

I'd also point out that I didn't assert that you "had to be called out to post this", I merely referenced it as a complaint. While the distinction is subtle, there is a distinction and I would ask you to be more careful in quoting me.

Also, if you continue to utilize the same metrics to determine whether you should write about someone, please note not only that Sean Hannity's _Deliver Us From Evil_ is on the NYTimes bestseller list, but also the existence of these people, if they ever publish something that should ascend to the NYT bestseller status, your task is clear.

About Ward Churchill, your trust in the Kevin Flynn of the Rocky Mountain News is touching, especially given that he is in charge of traffic and road construction issues. And the Rocky Mountain News seems to have had previous problems with Churchill

The University of Colorado employs an apologist for mass murder as a professor of ethnic studies, but we can't say we're terribly surprised. Those of us who have crossed swords with Ward Churchill over the years know his contempt for his country is palpable
link

Despite the harshness of these comments, this is not a shoot the messenger, this is simply saying that if you want to trust the Rocky Mountain News, please don't just take one article, but look at their overall reporting. When I did a search for Churchill articles on RMN, but some software glitch prevented the pieces that didn't call Churchill "an apologist for mass murder", "prominent voice in an echo chamber of far-left academics who have managed to define the popular attitude toward several issues", and a "special sort of crank" from appearing. This article, by a 'fellow' professor at CU has the following:

The University of Colorado hired Churchill onto its faculty because he claimed to be an American Indian. Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with research universities can glance at his résumé and state this with something close to complete confidence.

Now, maybe he does know, but I'm trying to think why a lawyer would make such an assertion on an op-ed.

The one RMN article I did find pointing out some of the problems was this one by Mike Littwin. He writes:

But if this were just your basic Bill Owens grandstanding - and we all remember when he went on national TV to call out the JonBenet "killers" - that might not be so bad.

None of this is to claim that Churchill has Indian blood. I really have no idea. But it certainly looks a lot more like score settling than an attempt to clear up the record. Hence, it would be wise to not make it the first argument you make against him. Moderation in all things.

"When I did a search for Churchill articles on RMN, but some software glitch prevented the pieces that didn't call Churchill "an apologist for mass murder", "prominent voice in an echo chamber of far-left academics who have managed to define the popular attitude toward several issues", and a "special sort of crank" from appearing."

Other than prominent voice, which of these are incorrectly reported?

Sebastian,

How about "who have managed to define the popular attitude toward several issues".

Do you seriously think in any sense of the word that his views are popular with the general public?

Conservatives are actually more libertarian toward social and cultural issues than the strongly Catholic Buchanan and Wood.

Um. OK. I guess that makes the Libertarian Party the conservative party in the U.S., because it sure isn't the GOP, let alone the Democrats.

Can anyone look at the actions of the administration over the past four years, and the GOP platform, concerning, say, abortion, sex education, drug treatment, religious freedom, homosexuality, broadcasting standards, etc., and feel they can accurately use the word "libertarian," even on a relative scale, to describe them? I may be contrary and stubborn, Charles, but I'm not stupid.

Also, if you continue to utilize the same metrics to determine whether you should write about someone, please note not only that Sean Hannity's _Deliver Us From Evil_ is on the NYTimes bestseller list, but also the existence of these people, if they ever publish something that should ascend to the NYT bestseller status, your task is clear.

What is clear about my "task" is that I will write about whoever or whatever I damn well please. There's your "metric", LJ. If I'm not interested in writing something, it doesn't get written. As for Kevin Flynn, insert ad hominems all you like, but the fundamental question is whether his facts hold water or not. I note that you bypass any contest of the facts and go straight to impugning the conveyor of the facts. That columnists and editorial staff have had previous adverse columns on Churchill means squat, and it speaks more to Churchill's adversarial and polarizing positions. You can choose to distrust a local mainstream newspaper, and that's your prerogative. Personally, I think it's a little silly and arbitrary to do so, but that's your choice. As for me, I'll default to the premise that a mainstream local newspaper is credible and accurate until demonstrated otherwise.

Instapundit has a link up to Max Boot's review of Wood's latest, along with links to other reviewers and comments.

Conservatives are free traders, and we all know that Buchanan has real problems with that. Conservatives are not racists and they favor an immigration policy that allows for a healthy amount of legal immigration, and they are realistic about how to deal illegal immigrants on our soil; Buchanan--depending on who you talk to--is either an anti-Semite or a borderline anti-Semite, he is uncomfortable with darker-complected immigrants, and approach to illegal immigrants and sealing our borders is unrealistic. Wood, by his founding member status with LotS, is a flat-out racist. Conservatives like Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan knew that we could not insulate ourselves from world affairs. Buchanan and Wood prefer the United States to be isolationists, closing our borders and staying more neutral to the world at large. Conservatives regard Washington and Lincoln as two or our greatest presidents. Wood has a low opinion of Lincoln and I don't know Buchanan's. Both Buchanan and Wood questioned our entry into WWII, and conservatives plainly have not.

Virtually every one of these statements --other than conservative regard for Washington (hardly a partisan issue in America) -- is historically false.

Free trade was the banner of liberalism in Europe and of the Democratic Party (including the South) in the United States in the nineteenth century, and "liberal" still means free trade, free market in most of the world. The Presidents who did most for free trade in the last century were Truman and Clinton.

Lincoln was not meaningfully a conservative, and was definitely a life-long protectionist. If mainstream conservatives today hold him in high regard, they hardly differ from liberals in that respect.

Jim Crow was defended by conservative Democrats, not liberal ones. New Deal Liberals were the group of white Americans most supportive of civil rights. The Republican Party vacillated on this issue between the two opposing wings of the Democratic Party, but ultimately came down on the side of the Southern Strategy.

Support for open borders may be libertarian, but it cannot reasonably be considered conservative, however you want to use that term.

Teddy Roosevelt wasn't really a conservative either, but a Progressive Republican.

Oppostion to US entry into World War II was primarily conservative. The New Dealers (and the Wilkie Republicans) wanted to help the Allies: the anti-FDR conservative Republicans and Democrats wanted to remain neutral until Pearl Harbor.

In short, you don't know what you are talking about. You take your own "liberventionist" ideology and identify it with conservatism. Buchanan surely has as much right to the term as you.

BTW, attacking cranks like Churchill and Woods is hardly cause for self-congratulation.

Thanks to Mr. Bird for writing this piece. I will take it as an olive branch. However he came to write it, the piece works for me. I hope the lefties on this site can try writing a few olive branch type pieces of their own. Perhaps we can begin to trust each other's basic judgment and basic decency a little bit more. If not in the whole country, at least on this site.

A little less hostility would do everybody some good. Don't you agree?

All that said, I do agree with Phil that Mr. Bird has defined "conservative" in such a way that makes it very strange to think he votes Republican -- as I'm assuming he does. (Mind-reading? Sort of. Tell me if I'm wrong.) Just about nothing that the Bushies have done comes to mind as "conservative" by his definition.

Put it another way. I have respect for some of the positions and ideals Mr. Bird has put forward. I can dig up none whatsoever for the Bush record. So it confuses me greatly when I see Mr. Bird defending the administration at every opportunity.

Ah well. I hope that this doesn't come across as mean-spirited. That would be contrary to my intentions. Again, a very nice post. Thank you.

What is clear about my "task" is that I will write about whoever or whatever I damn well please. There's your "metric", LJ. If I'm not interested in writing something, it doesn't get written.

Chas
I clearly struck a nerve and for that I sincerely apologize. I don't have any problem with you writing whatever you choose to write about, it's just that after you write about something, it makes it fair game for discussion. My apologies if any of my points was taken as a personal criticism rather than just a discussion of sources and background

I can dig up none whatsoever for the Bush record. So it confuses me greatly when I see Mr. Bird defending the administration at every opportunity.

I have mentioned on other occasions and in other venues that Bush has governed as a big government preservative, not as a conservative. This post, for example, Phil, should tell you that I don't defend the administration "at every opportunity". I don't believe that Republican = conservative, although I think there's more overlap for conservatives with Republicans than with Democrats.

Some thoughts on conservatism and Buchanan here, since ideologically I'm pretty close to the writer:

Well, in one sense that's actually true. The United States was launched as a new kind of nation with new kinds of institutions. Hence, in America conservatives sought to conserve these institutions. Many of the ideas put forward by Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison are perniciously radical to conservatives in monarchical societies like those found in 18th-century Europe or 21st-century Saudi Arabia. But here you aren't a radical, you're a conservative if you try to conserve notions of liberty, private property, a free press, etc. This is why Friedrich Hayek believed that "conservatives" in the United States were still classical liberals and hence lovers of liberty — because we intend to preserve those institutions and ideas set forth by the Founders.
[...]
Personally, I wish that we didn't need ideology. As Russell Kirk was fond of noting (but as H. Stuart Hughes said), conservatism is "the negation of ideology." Conservatism is supposed to be practical. It is supposed to muddle through and rely on democratic and undemocratic institutions (the university, for example, precedes democracy by centuries) to dilute and channel ideological fervor in a constructive manner. Politics is not supposed to be about everything. There should not be "conservative" universities or conservative "art."
Although a little dated, there's more here, and here is a post which separates conservatives from libertarians.

Die, blockquote!

"a renunciation of social mobility in exchange for an enforced system of mutual responsibilities among social and economic classes" is a start.

Renunciation? By who? Serfs were born into serfdom. No one said, "Are you willing to give up social mobility in exchange for some promises from the fellow who lives in that castle, which he might renege on?" No. They said, "You're a serf. Get used to it."

MAR 5, 2005

It is refreshing to finally read facts about the USA, the American Revolutionary War and the War Between the States. Unlike the many revisionist's writings Dr. Woods uses real quotes and documents to validate his writings.

I have long fumed at the revisionist writings, particularly about the War Between The States, in which I had many ancestors participate as well as direct ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War. My family arrived in North Carolina in 1749.

Fortunately, my Great Grandfather J. P. Morgan, who was a young boy during The War and lived long enough that I remember him speaking to me when I was a young boy as je sat in a rocking chair on the front porch of our farm house as I sat on the floor, about the causes of The War. He told me that states rights and double taxation were the principal causes of The War. His father, Thomas Morgan, fought and was wounded in the Battle of Ocean Pond (Olustee)in North Florida.

He explained that southern cotton growers were taxed when they shipped cotton across northern state lines to textile mills and were again taxed when the finished goods were shipped back to southern states for sale. The position the southern states took as to states rights was more aligned with the US Constitution than the northern states. New York State failed in its vote to secede from the Union by only one vote. He said further, that with the invention of the cotton gin slavery would have died out within twenty years. He was also the first to tell me that the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves in any state that President Lincoln had control of…only Confederate states and regions.

Since then and as an adult educator myself I have focused on period newspaper accounts, documents and soldier letters written during The War to learn the real truth about this devastating and unnecessary war. My one conclusion is that The War has been severly hijacked by history revisionists who chose to heap blame on the southern people, even while many northern people owned slaves as did many rich northern blacks, who contracted them out to others. Yet, we never unfortunatley get the whole story...because it doesn't serve the revisionist's purposes!

I applaud Dr. Woods for his research and effort… I only hope we hear more from Dr. Woods...

Thomas Woods is definitely a conservative, and he's right. Read this article: http://www.amconmag.com/2005_03_28/article2.html

Excerpt:

"What is so revealing about Boot’s critique, though, and what in fact makes his review newsworthy, is that it conclusively proves what traditional conservatives have consistently alleged: neoconservatism, at root, is merely a variety of leftism. Boot’s criticism of my work, in fact, is almost identical to that of the New York Times."

The comments to this entry are closed.