Cultural Purging

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Jefferson-statue_1590

Please stop:

The Connecticut Democratic Party quietly voted Wednesday night to remove references to iconic former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from the name of its annual fundraising dinner due to their links to slavery and the mistreatment of Native Americans.

“Let’s work together to show the rest of the state exactly what it means to be a Connecticut Democrat,’’ said freshman party Chairman Nick Balletto, according to the Hartford Courant, before introducing the resolution to rename the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner.

The resolution was unanimously approved. This is beyond misguided! It’s the kind of liberal-think that makes me want to find the nearest brick wall. The stupid! It hurts!

Connecticut Democrats said Jefferson’s ownership of slaves and Jackson’s role in the Trail of Tears — the forced relocation of Native Americans — played a principal role in their decision to vote in favor of the name change.

The local chapter of the NAACP applauded lawmakers “in making the symbolic first step and striving to right the wrongs of the past.”

“You can’t change history, but you don’t have to honor it,” Balletto is quoted as saying.

Is there anything positive that Thomas Jefferson did in contributing to the formation of our national character and identity? Anything at all?! Or is the summation of his identity and legacy, “he owned slaves”?

A few years ago, I posted quite a number of comments in a debate with GaffaUK. I mostly cited from Thomas Sowell’s chapter on slavery in his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. It’s a great read.

Excerpt from my comments:

Even those Western leaders who sought to end slavery are condemned by critics today for not having done it sooner or faster. The dangers and constraints of their times have too often been either ignored or brushed aside as mere excuses, as if elected leaders operating under constitutional law could simply decree whatever they felt was right.

Even a sympathetic biography of George Washington, for example, said: “He had helped to create a new world but had allowed into it an infection that he feared would eventually destroy it.” This statement is breathtaking in its assumptions. Washington did not “allow” slavery, which existed on American soil and around the world before he was born, nor did he have the option to decree its end. Even to have made slavery a public issue at the time would have accomplished nothing except to jeopardize the survival of a fragile coalition of newly independent states. Yet this man who contributed more than anyone else to the introduction of free republican government in the modern world is widely seen as being under a moral cloud, as if he had chosen to introduce or abet slavery. Washington’s actual behavior illustrated what Adam Smith had said, decades earlier, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, that a man prompted “by humanity and benevolence,” when he cannot establish the right, “will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.”

Abraham Lincoln, who took advantage of a military conflict to stretch his powers as commander-in-chief to the point of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, has been downgraded in the post-1960’s world for not having done it sooner, more sweepingly, with more fervent moral rhetoric, and with affirmations of the equality of the races thrown in. The serious legal and political risks that Lincoln took when he emancipated Southern slaves are ignored. There was no groundswell of public opinion, even in the North, for freeing slaves. On the contrary, in a war-weary nation it was feared that the Emancipation Proclamation would stiffen Southern resistance and reduce the chances of an early negotiated settlement of a conflict that killed more Americans than any other war, before or since.

Lincoln himself was unsure what the net military effect of the proclamation would be. Yet military necessity was the only rationale that had either a constitutional basis or a political chance of being accepted. Those in later times who judge only by words may be disappointed that Lincoln did not make a ringing moral case for emancipation. But seldom, if ever, do they ask whether that would have made the proclamation more likely or less likely to survive both constitutional and political challenges. Despite Lincoln’s mastery of moral rhetoric- some consider his Gettysburg Address the finest speech in the English language- the Emancipation Proclamation was written in such dry and dull language that it has been likened to a bill of lading. But Lincoln understood that ringing rhetoric can be as counterproductive in some situations as it is inspiring in others.

To have made the moral case for emancipation in the Proclamation would have undermined its acceptance as a matter of military necessity. The earlier emancipation of slaves in the British Empire likewise invoked military necessity and avoided ringing humanitarian rhetoric, in order to maximize the range of its political support. As a distinguished scholar aptly put it, “we are so conditioned to expecting interest to masquerade as altruism that we may miss altruism when concealed beneath the cloak of interest.”

As it was, Lincoln was viciously attacked in the Democrats’ press for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Nor was this simply a question of his own political career being in jeopardy. Lincoln warned Andrew Johnson “to remember that it can not be known who is next to occupy the position I now hold, nor what he will do” at this critical moment in the history of the nation and of the fight against slavery. William Lloyd Garrison could indulge in ringing rhetoric without regard to the consequences but Abraham Lincoln had the heavy responsibility of consequences squarely on his shoulders as he faced his countrymen- and history. Lincoln had been elected to his first term by a plurality, rather than a majority, and it was by no means certain that he would be re-elected, especially with the controversy over the Emancipation Proclamation swirling around him.

Those who view slavery as an abstract moral issue are as disappointed with Lincoln today as William Lloyd Garrison was at the time. Garrison was dissatisfied with the language of the Emancipation Proclamation and with the fact that it did not decree “the total abolition of slavery,” rather than just its abolition in the Southern states at war. He seemed oblivious to the huge legal and political risks that Lincoln was taking- as many in later times would be when they criticized the limits of his actions and words. But had Lincoln’s real concerns extended no further than the military effects of the Emancipation Proclamation, it would be hard to explain his many and strenuous behind-the-scenes efforts to get slave-holding border states and the Congress of the United States to extend the ban on slavery to the whole country. Garrison’s rhetoric may look better to a later generation but the cold fact is that William Lloyd Garrison did not free a single slave, while Abraham Lincoln freed millions.

Lack of awareness or concern for the context and constraints of the times is only part of the problem of those today assessing such historic figures as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln- or the American nation as a whole.
-Pg 163-165, Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell

Clearly Washington was ahead of his time and didn’t like the whole notion of slavery and tried to a degree to rid himself of it. But even so the picture isn’t so simple.

Note…

“At the age of eleven, he inherited ten slaves;by the time of his death there were 316 slaves at Mount Vernon, ”

“The major reason Washington did not emancipate his slaves after the 1782 law and prior to his death was because of the financial costs involved.”

“Also, Washington did not want to risk splitting the new nation apart over the slavery issue. “He did not speak out publicly against slavery”, argues historian Dorothy Twohig, “because he did not wish to risk splitting apart the young republic over what was already a sensitive and divisive issue”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_and_slavery

Washington could of freed his slaves – or at least given them the opportunity to go if they wished – and paid those who remain and hired help. Imagine what an example that would of set as the first President. But again a person’s pocket comes first over such principles.

I seriously don’t understand how Twohig’s point trumps my point regarding any of the Founders who were anti-slavery. Did you honestly read, study, and digest what I cited from Sowell? Especially since part of your citation is already in my own quotation:


Beginning in the early 1770’s, he rarely bought a slave and he would not sell one, unless the slave consented, which never happened. not selling slaves was an economic loss. Slave labor on a plantation with soil as poor as Mount Veronon brought in little or nothing…The only profit a man in his position would make was by selling slaves to states where agriculture was more flourishing. Washington would not. “I am principled against selling negroes as you would do cattle at a market…” From 1775 until his death, the slave population at Mount Vernon more than doubled.

Another snippet exchange:

You’re essentially accusing Jefferson and Washington of hypocrisy, because they supposedly “said one thing, and did another”; or weren’t “pure enough” nor went far enough in their denouncement of slavery. You still don’t seem to get how one could be anti-slavery, yet oppose the abolitionists.

Excuse me while I “run” to more Sowell:

Repeat:

During his public life, Washington was known to leave behind slaves he brought with him on his travels to the north, in effect, freeing them. His behavior as a slaveowner is also noted in Richard Brookhiser’s Founding Father:

Abstract moral decisions are much easier to make on paper or in a classroom in later centuries than in the midst of the dilemmas actually faced by those living in very different circumstances, including serious dangers.

One way to understand the constraints of the times and their effects on public attitudes is to examine the difference between the way that many in nineteenth-century America saw the slave trade, as distinguished from the way that they saw slavery itself. If the institution of slavery and the presence of millions of slaves were facts of life, within which many decision-makers felt trapped by having inherited the consequences of decisions made by others in generations before them, the continuing trade in slaves, whether from Africa or within the United States, was a contemporary problem that was within their control. Thus, decades before slavery was abolished, the United States joined in the outlawing of the international slave trade. Even many Americans not yet ready to support the abolition of slavery as an institution nevertheless made the bringing of more slaves from Africa a capital offense in the United States.

The moral distinction between slave trading and the continuation of slavery as an institution might be hard for some in later centuries to understand because, in the abstract, there is no moral difference. Only in the concrete circumstances faced by the people of the times was there a practical social difference.

On Washington:

However, even those slaveholders with aversions to slavery in principle were constrained by a strong tradition of stewardship, in which the family inheritance was not theirs to dispose of in their own lifetime, but to pass on to others as it had been passed on to them. George Washington was one of those who had inherited slaves and, dying childless, freed his slaves in his will, effective on the death of his wife. His will also provided that slaves too old or too beset with “bodily infirmities” to take care of themselves should be taken care of by his estate, and that the children were to be “taught to read and write” and trained for “some useful occupation.” His estate in fact continued to pay for the support of some freed slaves for decades after his death, in accordance to his will.

The part of Washington’s will dealing with slaves filled almost three pages, and the tone as well as the length of it showed his concerns:

The emancipation clause stands out from the rest of Washington’s will in the unique forcefulness of its language. Elsewhere in it Washington used the standard legal expressions- “I give and bequeath,” “it is my will and direction.” In one instance he politely wrote, “by way of advice, I recommend to my Executors…” But the emancipation clause rings with the voice of command; it has the iron firmness of a field order: “I do hereby expressly forbid the sale….of any Slave I may die possessed of, under an pretext whatsoever.”

Long before reaching this point in his personal life, George Washington had said of slavery as a national issue: “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” But, like Burke, he saw a need for a plan of some sort, rather than simply freeing millions of slaves in a newly emerging nation surrounded by threatening powers, just as the freed slaves themselves would be surrounded by a hostile population. In short, the moral principle was easy but figuring out how to apply it in practice was not. Moreover, in a country with an elected government, how the white population at large felt could not be ignored. When Washington congratulated Lafayette for the latter’s purchase of a plantation where former slaves could live, he added: “Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country; but I despair of seeing it.” He saw legislation as the only way to end slavery and said that a legislator who did that would get his vote.”

Slaves that Washington took north with him when he entered public life he quietly left behind when he returned to Virginia after completing his terms as President- in effect freeing them on the sly,” as one biographer put it, at a time when to free them officially could have set off controversies that neither he nor the new nation needed. George Washington was, after all, trying to hold together a fragile coalition of states bearing little resemblance to the world power that the United States would become in later centuries.

As a slaveowner in Virginia, Washington thought of ways he might sublet much of his estate, in which his current slaves “might be hired by the year, as labourers” by tenant farmers. He was clearly casting about for some way, as he put it in a letter, “to liberate a certain species of property which I possess very repugnantly to my own feelings.” But there were no takers. Washington’s behavior as a slaveowner is also worth noting:

Beginning in the early 1770’s, he rarely bought a slave and he would not sell one, unless the slave consented, which never happened. not selling slaves was an economic loss. Slave labor on a plantation with soil as poor as Mount Veronon brought in little or nothing…The only profit a man in his position would make was by selling slaves to states where agriculture was more flourishing. Washington would not. “I am principled against selling negroes as you would do cattle at a market…” From 1775 until his death, the slave population at Mount Vernon more than doubled.

As Southern states in the nineteenth century began to tighten restrictions on the right of slaveowners to free their slaves, in order to forestall the social problems that were widely feared, the laws made manumission increasingly difficult, legally complicated, and a costly process. Those slaveowners who were prepared to grant manumission found it less onerous to let those who were legally their slaves simply live as de facto free persons.
-Pg 149-151, Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell

Check out the debate from the beginning.

If we purged ourselves of anyone who ever had moral impurity to his character, we’d end up disowning everyone who ever lived, including our own personal ancestors who lived in centuries past where such moral outrages like slavery were the norm.

To flip this back around: It’s “hypocrisy” for the Zinn liberals to laud the Constitution and proclaim love of America while trashing the Founders and shaming America by constant scab-picking and holding a magnifying glass up to all of our warts, unrelentingly.

Thomas Jefferson was a great man. Especially for a Democrat. 😀

11 Responses to “Cultural Purging”

  1. 1

    Thirteen

    “Native Americans.”

    They must be talking about those immigrates that crossed the Bering land bridge from Siberia to settle in America.

  2. 2

    another vet

    It’s the kind of liberal-think that makes me want to find the nearest brick wall.

    Don’t bang your head against a brick wall. It would be far more pleasurable to you if you were to bang one of their heads against a brick wall. It won’t knock any sense into them, but it’ll probably make you feel better. Besides, given the way the left in this country is trying to turn everyone into their little “think like me” sheep or their obedient little subjects, eventually it may all come down to that anyhow.

  3. 3

    Nanny G

    I lived in a ”Little Russia” part of Southern California back in the early 1960’s.
    All of those people who escaped the USSR knew enough to read between the lines when Pravda came out.
    They knew to look for what was missing from the official mouthpiece newspaper.

    Today, here in the USA, people have been lulled into swallowing the party line, hook and sinker.
    When a revisionist history writer pushes his agenda on them, they love it.
    When anachronistic fallacies (like trying to twist our ever-changing modern standards onto historical figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) is pushed these American neo al Qaeda/ISIS can’t wait to blow up those “Buddhas.”

    So, we’re seeing a modern-day, American Left attempt to erase the past and replace it with an agenda.
    Gee, where have we seen that before?
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Soviet_censorship_with_Stalin.jpg/375px-Soviet_censorship_with_Stalin.jpg
    http://c1038.r38.cf3.rackcdn.com/group1/building1646/media/media_38566.jpg
    https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/mideast_iraq_islamic_state-2.jpg?w=858

  4. 4

    MOS 8541

    Thank you, Flopping Aces, for monitoring and screening all entries. It is obvious that you have become another media slave of the fool. Enjoy your slavery.

  5. 5

    Matt

    Ha
    Media slave?
    What you mean is censorship
    Guess you’d volunteer to be head censor
    They’re a business garnering profit from promoting discussion for better or worse
    They’re not here to please your sensibilities

  6. 6

    john

    Jefferson loved his slaves. Especially Sally Hemmings with whom he had a bunch of kids. Now sleeping with slaves may/may not be frowned on in this day and age, who are we to judge others ? If you own a slave, either then or now you DO have property rights.

  7. 7

    batman

    Hypocrisy run rampant. So What? Big deal. So, all of those brave souls who risked everything to forge this exceptional nation, weren’t perfect. So, their legacies should be immediately erased. Like today’s progressives are all perfect. Their deeds were what thy were. And, the hypocrites will judge.

    Man’s inhumanity to man did not originate here. Though, little do we hear talked about the origins of slavery in this country. This evil was originally eschewed in America. Indentured servitude was OK; But, not slavery. This ignoble thing started long before the nation’s foundation. This “first massa” was: A colonist, emigrating to Virginia, sprung from his captor’s slavery; To a much more promising life station of indentured servant Anthony Johnson, from Angola, of all places I’d suspect that his trip to America was somehow courtesy of the religion of peace…; Er, pieces. Men that immigrated here came many ways; And not for “free.” I suspect many Deutschen surnames in America, originated as indentured serv.ants. So also did this progressive poison that some folks are just naturally more equal than others. Dhimmitude. The Johnson/Casor case, slavery was set in motion almost a century before Jefferson penned The Declaration. Jefferson knew the Truth; The Truth was still written in the Declaration. All Men are created equally, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, LIBERTY, pursuit of happiness. He stated that men are disposed to suffer evils, while evils are sufferable; When Jefferson penned The Declaration there were much bigger problems in which to attend. Before the revolution, EVERYBODY WAS A SLAVE
    Historical revisionism happens. Orwell talked about this very thing in his epic book: “1984.” Winston Smith working with the “Memory Hole” at the “Ministry of Truth.” Nazis and Communists and Islamofascists are big on revising historical facts.

  8. 8

    James raider

    Wordsmith, good presentation. There is a pernicious disease that has spread throughout the ‘progressive’ left denigrating the Constitution and dismissing it as the product of Old white slave owners.

    This opens the door wide for the hater in chief to trample on the very document at the foundation of the last bastion of freedom on earth. These idiots would gladly elect him “Dictator for Life.”

  9. 9

    Ditto

    contributor

    What the left is trying t do is the same thing socialist movements have done in other countries they have taken over, and that is to purge the nation of it’s actual history, of it’s historical heroes, of it’s identity, of it’s pride and love for what made it.

    The socialist revisionists and transformers then work their way through taking full political control of the bureaucracy, by issuing propaganda and censoring unwanted speech, by the destruction of and criminalization of religious establishments, by instituting unrest and violence against certain targets, by disarming the populous, and by controlling and corrupting the voting process to ensure the appearance of following the will of society.

    If we do not move to take this nation back via those peaceful means of resistance still possible, by securing our state elections, and voting power away from the Washington progressive machine while there is still a possible chance to halt the complete transformation, there will remain but two other options: Surrender or civil war. I sincerely think that narcissistic, tyrannical sociopath, and anti-constitutionalist Marxist Obama administration plans to make sure that we are left with only the latter two choices while he still legally remains president. Once his transformation of the nation is complete, the blinders come off and the entitlement-greedy, useful-idiot Democrats that supported the destruction of our Republic will realize too late the monstrous fascist regime they have created.

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