Madness and Delusions: Popular, Crowds, For the Use Of

Just when I had begun to think that those who hate conservatives generally could not possible become any more irrational and deranged; that they had dug them so very deeply into the pit of despair, loathing and frustrated fury – along comes the twin scourge of “pro-Trump Republicans are Nazis!” united with the push to remove monuments with anything to do with the Confederacy from public spaces on the grounds that the historical figures so honored were supporting, defending or enabling the institution of chattel slavery. Some of the more creatively deranged or misinformed parties demanding the removal of such monuments have also expanded their monumental loathing to include Christopher Columbus, Fr. Junipero Serra, and Joan of Arc – although it is a puzzle as to why a French saint burned at the stake two centuries before the beginning of European settlement of North and South America should be slated for demolition or removal. Deep confusion on the part of the person who demanded its removal cannot be ruled out, although as my daughter has pointed out (rather snidely) chances are that they are a graduate of one of New Orleans’ finer public schools.

Still, I admit to being rather blindsided by the sudden storm of demands to remove these statues and monuments on the part of the current ‘red guards’ of the American left, remove them from the places where many of them had been installed for at least a hundred years and often longer. As an amateur historian, I find this horribly depressing; the monuments for both Confederate and Union heroes and events were put up within human memory as ghastly and savage a blood-letting as we ever inflicted on each other to this date. The question of chattel slavery and states’ rights sundered families, friends, communities, established churches, military academy classes; for four blood-soaked years, North and South tore at each other without pity or remorse … and at the end of it all, the country was painfully stitched together by millions of grave markers and the grief and regret of survivors. Indeed, the dedication of monuments was seen often as an honoring of former foes, an acknowledgement of courage and conviction, and of deep sorrow that it ever came to such a slaughter – a gesture of reconciliation. This kind of purpose is perhaps too subtle for the BLM/AntiFa/Red Guards faction to grasp, raised as they have been in relative security and plenty, suckling the teat of carefully fomented racial resentment, informed by a Zinnified view of history, and enraged beyond coherent dialog by the fact that better than half the voters in the country do not agree with them … on anything and everything. The Confederate memorials are a handy symbol, something which the rage of the BLM/AntiFa/Red Guards faction has seized upon as the heights from which to make a proxy war on the rest of us. Useless to point out to them that there is a danger of sparking a very real war, as bloody and desperate as the war that the statues commemorate.

It is a kind of madness, I have come to think over the past nine months since the election of Donald Trump; an irrational madness very much like the Great Satanic Day-Care Abuse madness of the 1980s and 1990s. This was a panic which grew and grew, sparked by the fears and uncertainties of parents, fanned to a wildfire by unscrupulous child welfare professionals, ambitious public prosecutors, and a very credulous media. Even at the time, soberer commenters were likening it to the Salem witchcraft trials. The Great Satanic Day-Care Abuse madness took longer to burn out, although at the end of it, the accused and convicted were mostly dead, not just locked up in prison. But in all three cases – there is a purpose behind the madness, and a whole group of interested parties hoping to make something for themselves out of encouraging it. In the case of the destruction of the monuments, memorials and establishments which most ordinary Americans cherish and honor – I cannot see how the campaign to destroy them will burn out of itself.

45 thoughts on “Madness and Delusions: Popular, Crowds, For the Use Of”

  1. I used to entertain the notion that if you stood up to the deconstructionist Left — in the streets, at the ballot box, in person on an ad hoc basis — that it was possible to at least stymie them. Obviously I was whistling Dixie. They will keep escalating on every front, from trannie kindergartners to statues of Washington and Columbus to ever-greater doses of public violence for ever-slighter and more fantastic causes until… what? Until we retreat into cowed and horrified silence while they walk through the wreckage of our families and history and civilization and kick about the pieces and laugh? That is their dearest goal, and they make no secret of it.

    We cannot preempt. What, then? Organized civil disobedience, lots of it. Why are there no sanctuary cities/counties/states for normal marriage or the 2nd Amendment? What are we waiting for? And how long can we afford to?

  2. Notice the title of this short Whitman poem (one that fits well with Lincoln’s rhetoric) – done at the end of the Civil War.


    WORD over all, beautiful as the sky!
    Beautiful that war, and all its deeds of carnage, must in time be utterly lost;
    That the hands of the sisters Death and Night, incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world:
    … For my enemy is dead—a man divine as myself is dead;
    I look where he lies, white-faced and still, in the coffin—I draw near;
    I bend down, and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.

    I can’t get over the sense that once heroic people walked across these states, wrong about slavery but able to look at millenia during which it was practiced and say, this is wrong.

    But when I quoted it in Sunday School a decade ago, the man who taught military sociology, had won international awards for it, said, ah, it must be that Whitman was a hypocrite. How could he have thought his enemy was divine, but shot him. (Of course, Whitman, whose service was in the hospital tents, aiding the wounded, had shot no one.)

    Or, perhaps, it was an anti-war poem, the sociologist suggested. The class was full of military men who sat there, contemplative. The sociologist’s son was a Navy pilot. Once we revered the great equality of souls, even as we fought others in wars and exercised capital punishment a good deal more readily.

    I’m sure I’ve told that story here before – each of us only has a store of so many stories. Still, it is a telling one.

  3. Phil – I know. All the hard, tragic and difficult work of reconciliation and forgiveness done in the decades after the Civil War – these stupid children will throw it away. And with their words and actions breed and encourage another. The Tea Party was the civil and earnest objection to the policies of the Larger State, and for our pains, we got called racist, ignorant and all.
    Snicker, Dearie – and snicker again.
    Ginny – and Whitman was a sensitive intellectual – present, observant, and feeling it all; the tragedy and horror.

  4. All this uproar about old statues has sparked my interest in Civil War history. I’m currently in the middle of Stonewall in the Valley about Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862. It’s terrific military history. I had heard about his so-called foot cavalry, but I had no idea about their achievements in the valley. His strategic positioning allowed him to compensate for tactical disadvantages and inferior numbers. His operational maneuvering was stunning. I still can’t believe how he continually navigated the difficult terrain like a skillful artist.

    At this moment in our history when we can’t even conceive of how to win a war, this is exactly the person we should be studying and celebrating. Instead we’re trying to bury his legacy. Typical of these awful and stupid, stupid times.

  5. “Grurray Says:
    August 24th, 2017 at 8:51 pm
    All this uproar about old statues has sparked my interest in Civil War history.”

    Oh, so I’m not the only one! Got most of my (massive CW) order, but I’m in the midst of some other books that must come first.

    Three books that caught my eye due to first person narrative are:

    That Devil Forest, by John Allan Wyeth (1959)
    A Bird’s Eye View of Our Civil War, by Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1897)
    Lee, by Douglas Southall Freeman (1935) — not first-person

  6. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can get caught up in these media created, prog outrage machine controversies that are totally made up out of nothing for the sole purpose of getting everyone to look over there while the real issues are over here.

    There was a movie made a few years ago called “Lucky Number Slevin” which used a con game called the Kansas City Shuffle as its major plot device. It was a method of misdirection that caused the intended victim to look for something one way when it was really coming at them from another direction.

    Well, almost everything we’ve been directed to pay attention to by the deciders of what’s really, really important has been nonsense—trivial crap that is blown up into a huge controversy by those in the media and social leadership who find it very convenient that the public is all involved with whatever bs has been designated as the outrage du jour, while they rifle through the treasury, or bury any number of corrupt actions under a blanket of legal and media disinterest.

    Statues? Our cultural History? What cultural history?

    For at least 2 generations, our children have been spoon fed a thin gruel of disconnected facts and prog ideology for the sole purpose of stripping them of any lingering notions of cultural history and values, and replacing it with misinformation and propaganda. The result is a social ignorance so profound that the very people who are supposed to be keeping us informed are pathetically uneducated, and the teachers who are supposed to be educating our youth aren’t much better.

    Every once in a while, someone will interview these outraged protesters about why they’re out marching around or blocking some building or street, and the answers they come up with are such ignorant drivel that it’s obvious they don’t have a clue about any of these momentous issues they are pretending to be so upset about.

    I said, back when the occupy nonsense was in full bloom a few years ago, that the actual purpose of the whole thing was to identify and recruit reliable street soldiers for future use whenever some supposedly contentious issue needed a little muscle out there to stir things up. And so, mirabile dictu, here we are after any number of racial or other pretenses brings about some unrest, watching as a travelling band of violent activists, disingenuously termed protesters, or even peaceful protesters, goes from town to town instigating one violent confrontation after another.

    But what we, the lumpen proletariat, are supposed to get all worried about is some statue, or some building name, or some other bit of trivia, but not the very obvious fact that a major element in our social/political life has clearly decided to form a legion of masked brownshirts whom they can bus from town to town to intimidate, disrupt, and physically assault anyone that might disagree with the latest prog cause of earth shattering importance.

    Want to actually do something effective, instead of fuming and fussing impotently on this or that website?

    Go to the next city or county council meeting and demand an effective police response to any of these phony protests. That any masked rioters be arrested, identified in the press, and charged with crimes serious enough to disrupt their operations. Contact every elected official you can find and demand investigations into where these groups came from, who’s paying them, and who’s giving the orders about where to go and what tactics to use.

    We already know that the DNC had a guy whose actual job was to do organize disruptive protests at republican/ Trump events, so let’s find out who the people are in these cases, and level some serious charges about the violence and damage, including some big fines for compensation, and some hefty jail sentences.

    That’s more than enough for now. But, please, stop acting like cats chasing laser dots on the wall and focus on what’s actually important for a while. We might actually be able to drag the media, and a few of the less deranged and/or corrupt pols, back to some contact with reality. It’s a long shot, but what the hell….

  7. Grurray, Anonymous:

    I recommend the four volume series “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War”, originally published in the 1880’s, with good used reprints widely available at Amazon.

  8. “Madness and Delusions: Popular, Crowds, For the Use Of” I like that. Old British Army stock item, purportedly:

    Balls, pong ping, officers for the use of.

  9. Thanks for the recommendations. After Shenandoah, I think I’ll be moving on to Chancellorsville, and then up to Gettysburg.

    Someone made a comment a week or two ago about the difference between men and women. Women are multi-taskers while men are single-minded sometimes bordering on obsession. That theory might hold up in our family. As my wife has books and magazines of various subjects strewn over the room, I’m at the table over my tattered map thoroughly plotting our invasion… er vacation through Virginia and Maryland battlefields.

  10. Just keep in mind, if they treat a statue of Robert E Lee this way, what they will do to you if given a chance.

  11. I would personally love to dynamite every Confederate statue out there. Objectively speaking, these people were traitors and defenders of slavery. I haven’t heard a single argument in favor of keeping them that couldn’t just as well have been made after WWII for preserving all the Nazi monuments and busts of Hitler in Germany. Was your great great grandpa a southern soldier who thought he was fighting on the side of liberty and in defense of his home? I met scores of former German soldiers when I was in that country who thought exactly the same thing. They, too, thought they were fighting for the liberty of their people, and an end to the slavery of Versailles.

    For all practical purposes, Confederate statues are highly effective propaganda tools in the hands of the Leftists. They will be as long as they exist in the public square. It has long been a pet project of the Left to demean, shame, and vilify any white hero, and to make whites ashamed of what was really a proud and glorious past. Among other things, whites didn’t invent slavery, they put an end to it. Men like Washington, Jefferson, and Columbus may not have been perfect saints, but all in all they benefited mankind more than any combination of 10,000 SJW’s you could name. Now we have good reason to fear that their statues, too, will be destroyed in this latest orgasm of iconoclasm. We have the slavers and their defenders to thank for that.

    Do you think slavery was benign? Read Fanny Kemble’s account of life for slaves on a southern plantation. Do you think the cost in human lives was low? In round figures I’d put the number who died on the Middle Passage at six million, about the same number as died in the holocaust. Want to check my math? Look at the source material! There are plenty of autobiographies of captains of slave ships out there. They typically lost a quarter of their human cargo on a given voyage. Multiply that by the average number in each ship and the total number of ships that made the voyage, and see what number you come up with.

    Don’t ever bother to trot out all the hackneyed and specious arguments that have been invented by everyone from Marxist historians to southern schoolmarms to “prove” that the Civil War “wasn’t about slavery.” If every southerner, northerner, and foreign visitor before the war without an ax to grind thought the controversy was over slavery, I have no reason to differ with them. Everything that happened on the floor of Congress demonstrated that far and away the greatest issue between the North and the South was slavery. Look at the very reasons the Republican Party arose to prominence, and why the South was determined not to accept a Republican President. It was about slavery. Look at every instrument of secession from the Confederate states, and look at the prominence they gave to slavery as a reason for secession. When people say the war wasn’t about slavery I can only shake my head. How can one argue with such blockheads?

    Want to preserve the statues of traitors and defenders of slavery? Then at least know what you’re defending. What you’re really defending are some of the most effective propaganda tools the Left has at its disposal. As long as they are preserved, that will be their most prominent and most effective role.

    I know a majority of whites wants to preserve the statues. I hope they’ll come to their senses before long. As for me, I will continue to channel Cato: “The statues must be destroyed!”

  12. Way to shill for the enemy, Helian. You are historically correct. You are also off your rocker.

  13. Via instapundit:

    Via Honest Abe:
    “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

  14. Yes, what a great way to bind up the nation’s wounds. Show “charity” to those who had suffered under slavery for hundreds of years by building statues to those who did their best to keep them in chains!

  15. Helian, a fair argument can be made for many of the Confederate memorials to have been put up as a gesture of reconciliation – I’d like to think I have made it here. The Knoxville link posted by Brian also makes that arguement.
    As far as the left goes, and their passion o’the moment, I’d like to know WHY the statues, and WHY now, all of a sudden, and EXACTLY how far is this icon-smashing going to be carried. I suspect that the usual lunatics are not going to stop at Confederate memorials, and that banishing American history generally is the ultimate goal. Empty people of knowledge of their own past, all the better to fill them with prog clap-trap, is what I suspect.
    And finally, I will observe that nothing is likelier to get ordinary people’s dander up than someone roaring in with a great show of authority and telling them that they MUST do something or other, or else. Or that they CAN’T do something … or else.

  16. The statues may have been intended as a gesture of reconciliation, and at a time when the KKK was riding high, I might add, but, if so, it was a very bad and misguided idea, more or less in the same class as introducing slavery to the Americas to begin with, albeit on a much smaller scale. To the extent that they tell us anything about “American history” at all, they are a monument to the stupidity of the people who built them in the first place. Other than that, they are a distortion of history. In the matter of slavery, the real history of the United States is one of a gradually intensifying revulsion against slavery, finally culminating in a victorious war that resulted in its elimination. The statues teach the fundamentally false “lesson” that those who shed rivers of blood in a bitter, last ditch effort to preserve slavery were really the “heroes” of that battle. They teach the lie that, instead of initiating and leading the fight to destroy slavery, whites were its perpetuators and defenders. They do not represent historical truth, but rather a bowdlerization of history that plays into the hands of racists who seek to shame and vilify all whites. You’re quite right that the usual lunatics won’t stop at Confederate statues. That’s one of the things I’m referring to when I speak of the stupidity of building them in the first place. You’re also right that the leftist drive to eliminate the statues has raised peoples dander. The result has been that many conservatives have been thinking with some part of their anatomy other than their brains, lately. As a result they have been splendidly successful in the role of “useful idiots.” Certainly there will be some collateral damage to memorials of worthier heroes, but IMHO the price is worth it if that is the cost of eliminating these leftist propaganda tools. OTH, your fears that eliminating them will result in some kind of wholesale destruction of memorials is overblown. Consider the great Walhalla memorial to German heroes:

    It was not destroyed after WWII, and when I visited it, the busts and statues to German heroes were all intact. I saw many other statues and memorials to German leaders and heroes throughout the country while I was there that also survived the war intact. The busts of Hitler and the other Nazis, however, were gone. I hope we will be able to say the same of the statues of Lee, Jackson, and the rest in the not too distant future.

  17. I remember that after 9/11, the German destroyer Luetjens saluted an American warship and the crew of the German vessel displayed a sign they had made: “We Stand by You.”

    Who was the Lutjens named for? That would be Guenther Luetjens, who commanded the WWII breakout attempt of the Bismarck and its accompanying ship.

    Should we have been offended by the naming of the Luetjens-class destroyers?

  18. Unlike Lee, Jackson, and the rest, Luetjens was not a traitor. He had been in the Navy before the Nazi seizure of power, and that event was arguably legitimate based on the Weimar laws that applied at the time. The Confederate generals went into the war with their eyes wide open. Unless they were complete idiots, they knew for a fact that, in fighting for the South, they were defending slavery. Not so Luetjens. His source of information was media under the absolute control of the Nazi Party, and containing nothing but their propaganda. In spite of that, at the risk of his career, and perhaps of his life, he was one of only three naval officers who dared to publicly protest against the Nazi crimes of Kristallnacht. He was also one of the few officers who refused to give the Nazi salute to Hitler when he visited the Bismarck. He had no way of knowing the scale of Nazi crimes against the Jews because he was killed in 1941, long before the “final solution” was adopted at Wannsee in January, 1942.

    In a word, no, I don’t think we should have been offended by the naming of the Luetjens-class destroyers, nor do I have a problem with the German people honoring the graves of their fallen soldiers. There is a world of difference between them and leaders who made a conscious decision to fight and kill for a cause that they knew perfectly well meant the promotion and perpetuation of slavery.

  19. Helian, you’re all over the place with this. Fighting for the Confederacy gets you undying scorn and enmity, but fighting for the Nazis could be A-OK. All Confederate monuments must go, but it’s ok to honor the graves of fallen soldiers. You realize that there are vast numbers of Confederate monuments that do just that and nothing more (did you bother to read the article I linked?), and they’re being desecrated and stripped right now? Things are in the hands of lunatics. Giving them free rein is not helping anything. The Year Zero Red Guard types that are on the march need to be crushed, then maybe sane people can work these issues out, locally. I have faith that can be done. But it can’t be done like this. Nothing good can come of what’s going on now.

  20. “Should we have been offended by the naming of the Luetjens-class destroyers?” I don’t see why; you guys were neutrals at the time.

  21. “The statues may have been intended as a gesture of reconciliation, and at a time when the KKK was riding high, I might add, but, if so, it was a very bad and misguided”

    Great thinking Helian. We should have put a statue of John Brown right in the middle of Richmond. That would show them. And then twenty or thirty years later when we fought Civil War II, even more hundreds of thousands could be slaughtered. Maybe even millions. Just brilliant.

    That’s the thing about humanitarians like you. You’ll make the world so perfect there won’t be any humanity left to enjoy it.

  22. Sgt Mom—just read that article this afternoon, and it is very well constructed. It is saying, in a much more comprehensive and clear fashion, what I was trying to get at above in this thread, i.e., that we are wasting our time with distractions when we need to focus in very clearly on what the real threat is and where it’s coming from.

    Todays ludicrous riot in San Francisco is a case in point. Does anyone in their right mind truly believe we are in danger from a group trying to hold a patriotic prayer meeting?

    Isn’t it obvious that the real threat to our social compact is a bought and paid for group of rioters for hire, who have become so immersed in the ideology of progressive cultism that they attack like trained dogs against whomever they are sicced upon?

    BTW, read the comments—the raving prog nuts show up in full demented meltdown to prove everything the author of the essay was trying to say.


  23. My morning paper feels me that a bust of JFK has been vandalised in London.

    All bad American habits spread to Britain. Only the bad ones.

  24. @Helian

    Since you want to remove all traces of the Confederacy, I assume that extends to the Confederate memorial and Confederate graves at Arlington? The headstones are easy to spot — pointed on top, not curved. After all, they were traitors, and shouldn’t despoil the cemetery full of heroes.

    However, if I recall correctly, Arlington is on Robert E Lee’s plantation, so maybe all graves should be removed and the land plowed with salt …

    Traitors — someone commented on another thread that the Brits have a statue of a traitor in Trafalgar Square — George Washington. That should be pulled down too; there’s nothing redeemable about traitors.

    Have fun out in the streets with antifa, with the burning, looting, and destruction. I have the feeling that you won’t view the job as complete until nothing is left.

  25. “Way to shill for the enemy, Helian. You are historically correct. You are also off your rocker.”

    You don’t find this whole enemy thing childish? You should perhaps. Oh well have your civil war, if that’s what you really want, but clean up after yourselves, when you are done..

  26. “All bad American habits spread to Britain. Only the bad ones.”
    Hey, I don’t recall Karl Marx hanging out in the New York Public Library.

    At these times we should stick together against the true enemy–the frogs.

  27. leaders who made a conscious decision to fight and kill for a cause that they knew perfectly well meant the promotion and perpetuation of slavery.

    I’m afraid this shows a poor understanding of history.

    1860 was a very different time. I am rereading “Grant Moves South” after all the commotion.

    States were much more important to people’s lives then as few traveled more than 20 miles from home unless they were migrating.

    Lee considered himself a citizen of Virginia. Grant was very angry at the Confederate generals who had been trained at West Point and that was a valid concern.

    On the other hand, the trustees of the college that Sherman was president of tried to get him to remain even though Louisiana was seceding.

    The issues were complex. I wonder how much you know about “The Tariff of Abominations.”

  28. Mike K, re Tariffs:

    It’s true that the South was very upset about tariffs, which were probably unreasonably high. But no one forced the South to remain primarily un-industrialized, and an industrialize South would have been far less-vulnerable to high tariffs. (There *were* some Southerners who were very interested in establishing factories, and did so in a few cases, but in general they encountered attitudes ranging from lack of interest from the planter aristocracy, and considerable difficulty in recruiting skilled workers from the North and from Europe, as these people mostly did not want to live in a slave society.

    So I’d argue that even regarding the Tariff question, slavery played a strong if indirect role by encouraging an almost totally agricultural and largely-monocultural society.

  29. This was a time before air conditioning. Factories in the south would have been horribly hot during the summer. Could you imagine working next to a boiler that drove all the pulleys on a shop floor when it was already 95 degrees with 80% humidity? Were there industrial economies in similar climates at that time? I’m not aware of any.

  30. “these people mostly did not want to live in a slave society”: or a society with notoriously deadly infectious diseases.

  31. Mishu….there was considerable industrialization in the South *after* the Civil War but before the coming of air conditioning.

    The only people that need to work adjacent to the boiler are the stokers. Not fun, but coal-powered steamships had a long run, operating in tropical as well as other kinds of climates. Ditto coal-fired locomotives.

  32. “But no one forced the South to remain primarily un-industrialized,”

    I think there were several factors. Slavery was one.

    What about the presence of water transportation ?

    In the early decades of the century, the Erie Canal created a route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes thereby helping stimulate the economy of New York and making New York City a great trading center.

    Meanwhile, the great river and lake cities of the Midwest were thriving thanks to the reliable transportation afforded by the steamboat.

    Road transit was also beginning to link parts of the country together. The Cumberland Road, the first national road, was begun in 1811. This eventually became part of the Interstate 40.

    The rivers of the North run east and west. Those of the South, east of the Mississippi, run north and south.

    The Erie Canal was a huge transportation route after it opened. The Great Lakes are another and smaller canals, like the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which opened in 1835, were others.

    Cotton was a more profitable crop than corn or wheat.

    Water power was more significant in the North, especially New England.

    I think there was more than slavery involved. Climate was one. Malaria was another and it has been forgotten that it was endemic as far north as St Louis.

    William Mayo move his family to Minnesota to escape malaria.

  33. MK, those are all good points. Water power was very important in the initial location of cotton mills and other industries in New England, but steam had become a pretty good alternative by 1850 at the latest. Rivers remained very important, but still have to get the materials/products to and from the river or seaport. A cotton mill located in, say, Savannah, and using Georgia cotton would seem to have considerable advantage over (a) transporting the cotton from plantation to Savannah, (b) shipping it via sea to New or Old England, (c) returning the finished cloth also by sea, and (d) distributing the product to the points of use.

    I think that in general, slave societies are limited in the kinds of technical/economic innovation that they are interested in doing. The Greeks and Romans, for example, could have done much more with water power, but this was largely left to the Medieval era.

  34. “The Greeks and Romans, for example, could have done much more with water power, but this was largely left to the Medieval era.”

    Have you read any of Joel Mokyr’s books on this ? This one may be the best on this topic.

    His point is that the Industrial Revolution could have begun in Rome but the legal system was not ready for inventors and patent law. There was a working steam engine, albeit primitive.

    It’s a little bit like why fracking has not taken hold in England or Europe. The property owner does not have the mineral rights and does not benefit.

    Who invented the mouldboard plow ? Or the windmill ?

    The invention of the stirrup made feudalism possible because of the armored horseman.

    Anyway, this sort of stuff is part of my reading.

  35. dearieme Says:
    August 27th, 2017 at 5:22 am

    My morning paper feels me

    Oh, dear. I’d cancel my subscription.

  36. The cotton gin was a big reason the South stayed agrarian and kept its institution of slavery. While it obsoleted much of the labor required to process cotton, it vastly increased labor demand for growing by expanding production to smaller plantations in the less fertile Peidmont region. These small growers are who Sherman wanted to feel the “hard hand of war”.

  37. Mike K….don’t think I’ve read Mokyr, but sounds interesting.

    “His point is that the Industrial Revolution could have begun in Rome but the legal system was not ready for inventors and patent law. There was a working steam engine, albeit primitive.”

    Yet considerable progress was made with waterpower…and plows, and construction….during the Middle Ages, without an idea-protecting patent system.

    Terry Reynolds, in his book on the history of the vertical waterwheel (‘Stronger Than a Hundred Men’), suggests that a more-positive attitude toward manual labor in Christianity (driven in part by the image of Jesus the Carpenter), as contrasted with the Classical attitude of contempt for economically-productive work), played a part in this. Not sure he’s right in this…I doubt your average feudal lord had any great respect for craftsmen and laborers…but it’s an interesting idea.

  38. suggests that a more-positive attitude toward manual labor in Christianity (driven in part by the image of Jesus the Carpenter), as contrasted with the Classical attitude of contempt for economically-productive work)

    Rodney Stark’s book, “For the Glory of God, goes into this quite a bit.

    Publisher’s Weekly didn’t like it but I did. He makes the point that St Benedict got this going with his rule, “To Labor is to Pray.”

    In the process, he explains why Christian and Islamic images of God yielded such different cultural results, leading Christians but not Muslims to foster science, burn “witches,” and denounce slavery.

    Islam allows no inquiry into Allah who is all knowing and whose rules are absolute

  39. Thanks (well it is pretty dispiriting but thanks anyway) Sgt Mom for that link:
    What is really disturbing is the exacerbation of our worst instincts. Maybe this isn’t true of others, but I have enough tendencies to be a bitch; to not be one, I need all the encouragement of a Winthrop “ligaments of love” tradition, a bourgeois Franklin one, and an awareness like Bradford that it is easier to take offense than to give it and a self-conscious check from the knowledge it is much more (and much more destructively) satisfying to feel self-righteous. Alinksy isn’t a genius to see we are spotted, vulnerable creatures – it takes a genius to help us transcend that.

    Well work is a bourgeois virtue and those seems more and more important. Of course, Victor Davis Hanson has a point as well: “Working outdoors often alone, with one’s hands encourages a tragic acceptance of nature and its limitations.” (that also seems part of Sasse’s argument.)

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