Conceived in Liberty; Born in Revolution


Forget the NYT — pretty much always, really. They’ve become purveyors of bad, bad fiction — and their project to prove America is the most racist nation evah!

That kind of idiocy will only convince the feeble minded. (Of course none of us knows how many are feeble minded. After all the data is vitiated all the way down by people repeating nonsense to virtue-signal and vote fraud… never mind.)

Sure, there was slavery in America in the seventeenth century.  Bad news guys. There was slavery everywhere in the seventeenth century, pretty much.  And it is a failure of the American education system that most people assume that all slaves were black.  First of all, it depended where the slavery was.  Also, if you think slavery in the US was the worst thing ever, (which btw, is the new modified, limited hangout when you call them on their idiocy) you probably are ignorant of conditions in the rest of the world at that time, period.  Hell, it might have been better to be a slave in America at the time than to be a serf in France.  Alma mentions what we can infer about conditions for slaves in the rest of the world.

And no, guys, no. Slavery in Africa wasn’t kinder and gentler just because everyone was the same color. To begin with, the chances are really high that people didn’t consider themselves the same race, no matter what the similarities in coloring or even facial structure. In tribal societies, small differences become really exaggerated. But beyond that, if you study that time period in Africa well… The Dahomey liked sacrificing slaves over the tombs of their kinds. The ones they sold to the west were the lucky ones.

Which brings us, not only to “why the NYT are so stupid that they can only guess their own names two times out of three” but to how they consistently get things upside down.

As in, they get what makes the US different not just completely wrong, but inversely wrong.

It’s not that there was slavery in the US. There was slavery everywhere. It’s not that there was rampant racism in the US. There was rampant racism and tribalism everywhere.  And it certainly is not that there are some remains of racism in the US. The NYT writers, being provincial and stupid, might believe that there is more racism in the US than there is anywhere else in the world. That’s because the US tends to judge itself against the ideal, and our media and public life is a continuous critique of ourselves versus the ideal (which doesn’t exist) non-racist non-sexist etc society.  While Europe and the rest of the world use press and public voices to make themselves look good. And these people are so provincial they don’t observe daily life when they go abroad. No, they stay in top of the line hotels and believe what people tell them.

No. What makes the US special is the way in which it came to be.

The US was a new nation, conceived in liberty.  No, seriously.  Let aside the slavery thing, let pass the ridiculous idea that this is why the US was formed.

The US at the time represented almost unending land, room to spread out, room to try new things.  This combined with the philosophies of the enlightenment (heavily leaning on Greece and Rome) and with the traditions of English law to create…  Something different.

The idea that men should be free. The idea that they are entitled by G-d to their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  An idea so strange that no one had hit upon it. Not for the common man and woman on the streets.

That is the true revolution.  Sure. I know that there was slavery, still when the revolution happened. I know that the revolution wasn’t a “real revolution” but a war confirming an internal change in the way people lived. Etc. etc. etc.

But the real revolution is right there, at the core.  Right here:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

After tribal chiefs, after the divine right of kings, after centuries and millennia of might makes right and the governed belong to the rulers, here is the world turned upside down.

Within it, these words — these revolutionary, crazy words — contained the seeds of real justice, contained the fall of slavery, contained… we don’t know yet, but contained the possibility of a future we can build, a future that’s more equitable than all the past.

Not all the crazy mess of Marx can equal those words. Nothing the NYT has done or will do can equal those words.

The left wants to revile and destroy our founding fathers in order to make themselves appear revolutionary and new, and innovative.

Ain’t never gonna do it biatches. Real revolutionary concepts are never going to be completely ignored again. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

Sure the founders were flawed and the result of a flawed system, the one before the revolution. That is no reason to erase them.

When you want to become sober, you have to fight from being drunk. When you want to fight depression you have to fight while depressed.

Yes, the founders were men who lived and died in a world full of slavery. But what they built had within it the end of slavery. All kinds of slavery.  It was a mental revolution. The kind that can’t be reset.

The revolution happened. And now in all the countries influenced by the US, slavery is abhorrent. The idea of representative government is at least waved at (though it’s often mostly the homage vice pays to virtue) and prejudice based on color or race or other irrelevant characteristics is considered bad.

Because of those ideas.  Those ideas codified up there.

It’s probably not true that they played The World Turned Upside down when the small, upstart colony defeated the greatest power in the world at the time. But they should have.

Because we were conceived in liberty and born in fire and blood.

And as long as anyone, anyone at all, believes in those revolutionary ideas, the world will never go back to one in which slavery is normal. Either the formalized slavery where a human belonged to another, or the slavery where it was assumed that of course people belonged to the state.

The world turned upside down.  We live in a highly abnormal state.  Where the left wants to take us is the “normal” world of the boot of the powerful on our necks. Only their powerful will talk about how they’re the powerless and speaking truth to power.

Only we won’t be fooled.

We remember.  Even if they succeed at erasing the idea this time, it will come back. Ideas are like that. They don’t die.  And this is a big, powerful idea.

The world turned upside down and we won’t let them turn it back.

Liberty and the Founders!

Ignore the disinformation. Carry the flag. As long as human life endures liberty will endure.

It is that powerful.

Be not afraid.


281 thoughts on “Conceived in Liberty; Born in Revolution

  1. Yeah, the collectivists like to claim that they’re “sticking it to the Man,” or something like that, and get really upset when you point out that they are “the Man” and have been for a good while (maybe 100 years or so). If anyone’s sticking it to “the Man” it’s us, laughing at their bombast and ignoring their bleating demands, showing them the monodigital salute when they insist we have to pay tribute to their nonsensical maunderings. They’re losing, perhaps even vaguely realize it, and have absolutely no idea how to stem their slide into being derided for anything and everything they say.

        1. Oh, please, let’s avoid those. For several reasons.

          In the first place the kind of tribunal that gets set up when an Elite falls tends to have more to do with enshrining the next Elite.

          In the second place, the tribunals all too often concentrate more on hunting out heresy in the ranks of the New Order than in punishing the atrocities of the Old.

          In the third place, the Woke would relish the attention. What they would HATE is to lose their positions of authority and power and having to grub for a living.

          No tribunals. Nuremberg was a mistake, if only because no tribunal that included a representative of Stalin had any moral validity. Any Nazis we really loathed should have been shot out of hand, on the theory that when you wage war on the World and commit mass murderers, and then lose, life tends to be unpleasant.

            1. And none of the Paperclip beneficiaries had to deal with Nuremberg. “You’re a monster and we’re going to try you, and kill you. Oh, you know something about rockets or nuclear reactions? Step right this way for the next transport to America!”

          1. Trials only for Lefties who committed demonstrable crimes. Her Shrillness would look awfully good in an orange jumpsuit. Please, no trials for politics. That is a precedent we DON’T want to set.

            1. Well she has orange already, so for her go with wide horizontal stripes. And, a case can be made for it to be a high jump suit as well.
              Had a relative once say “The Clintons have done nothing really wrong!” and could not explain why both were disbarred for their nothing-wrongs.

      1. Given the crazy vegans down under who are bleating and running for the authorities when they’re thwarted, it’s really no different from how these people probably ran to teacher whenever they found the people they were subtly bullying fought back. (Good example: the vegan who took her neighbors to court over their having bbqs, their children playing in the back yard, and her ‘demanding that their home fronts and fences be fixed, fences repaired, and their back yard lawns cleaned up. She was denied in court and keeps pushing, then pushed her complaints to the media, and is now wailing about the ‘mean’ responses from people since she did.)

        I find these people who grew up from the time that schools cracked down on the self-defense in schools are the result of the bullies finding the rules on their side.

        1. This weekend is the planned HUGE bbq there, isn’t it?
          if that bint lived next to me, I’d be making jerky 24/7, and every meal possible would be cooked on a grill.

          1. Nah, it’s been cancelled, due to logistics and because the WA police said trespassing on her property is a crime and anyone doing so would be arrested; but now the woman is whining through her lawyer about the mean comments and people online.

          2. The dumb thing is, apparently she’s quite a distance away from the neighbors (the back yards in WA tend to be quite big, she’s 20-30 meters away from the neighbors) and what she essentially wanted was the weight of the law pushing for her demands to be met, and when she didn’t get that, she ran to the media.

            Thus backlash, thus, rage from people.

            And some people DO cook all their meals on a grill.

  2. There is a very good commentary on the Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. We all have separate versions of happiness. The right to pursue happiness is not a guarantee of achieving it.

  3. “We hold these truths to be self-evident” If you think about, obviously they are NOT self-evident, or why did it take so long for them to be stated. The key is that we hold them to be self-evident. They are not up for debate. Not a matter for dispute. They are the core, the heart of how we believe and live. So whatever is in conflict with “these truths” is not core, is without any foundation is our system, and will eventually disappear.

    1. Nobody was looking for them, and when they saw them they didn’t recognize them because the concepts were too alien to fit their world view.

      “Liberty” was an alien idea; liberty to do what? They were born into a class structure. The slaves were property of their masters, the serfs were property of their betters, and the king owned them all. Sure, you can play word definition games with “own” and “property”, but that’s what it came down to. They couldn’t just *leave* and start over; every other place was the same or worse.

      “Life”? See above.

      “Pursuit of happiness”? What kind of kack was that? Whole religious and philosophical movements existed to tell them to suck it up and quit complaining.

      1. That’s also a good reason why you can’t just plug and play American-style Republican-Democracy into every 3rd world nation. They don’t have the conceptual framework to understand or make it work.

        1. You can’t plug democracy of pretty much any sort into most 3rd world nations. Democracy works (when it works) in large part because it is a way to peacefully hand over power from one group to another without the former rulers being worried that they will be imprisoned, executed, enslaved etc.

          For that to be the case you need a non-tribal society (or a homegenous single tribe one) and to be a reasonably high trust society with property rights, consistent application of the rule of law etc. See Hernando de Soto (amongst others). Most 3rd world nations fail at those fundamentals and you can’t graft democracy onto a society that lacks them because it doesn’t work

          1. The real problem is that the installers keep trying to make those governments late 20th-century administrative states. If you look at the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, they’re basically an attempt to put thirteen tribes, most of whom don’t like each other much, together under a single government so they’re not easy pickings for the empires around them.

            1. If you look at the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, they’re basically an attempt to put thirteen tribes, most of whom don’t like each other much, together under a single government

              And that largely failed; thus the Constitutional Convention.

              There are a lot of prerequisites for a Constitutional Republic of limited powers with the rights of the individual sacrosanct to even approach working. You need basic respect for rule of law. You need to see government corruption as a problem to be rooted out not “just how things are done.” You need a fairly high-trust society.

              I don’t know how to create those in a place where you don’t already have them. I really wish I did.

              1. The United States suffered from plenty of places where individual rights and government integrity were honored in the breech. Any cursory study of the problems attendant on Antebellum castes, Western cattle barons, company towns and big city machines politics reveals the manifold failures of our ideals throughout American History.

                But such abuses were generally limited in scope and subject to correction due to a balancing of interests and powers between the several branches of government — municipal/state/federal as much as legislative/executive/judicial.

                1. You see echos today. Where similar forces are continuing or trying to re-invent. Echos in public land exclusive usage of the livestock* barons. The companies who create incentives to eat and play at work, now extending into building apartments because the people they hire can’t “afford” to live close enough to commute to their location.**

                  * using “livestock” loosely. Any land conglomerates whose land adjacent to public land, land locks the public land, and closes off common right of way.

                  ** Echoing the “company” town in the midst of major urban wilderness instead of rural mountainous wilderness. Sure they aren’t discussing it this way, after all they are creating a benefit for their team member. Question? Should their team member choose to work for another employer, do they get to keep attending the gym, keep their apartment, keep their kids in the same daycare … or is the team member now trapped?

                  1. well, a lot of places you’re tempted to eat at work because it would take too long to go get lunch.

                    1. True. So far some of these outfits have:

                      * full cafeteria’s, or food courts, some of the former are even free.
                      * full services for things like dry cleaning, dog walking, medical clinics, etc.; granted not free, but only employees, contractors, or visitors, can access.

                      Given the PIA juggling life can be, I get it, sounds neat sounds cool, until …

                      Whole point is they want your work life to be your life. The “I work to live. I don’t live to work.” does not apply.

                      Now they are discussing permits and land use changes to add apartments for their employees because of the housing issues … it screams “company town”. No way at all for companies to abuse this … after all the companies are enlightened high tech companies, not money grubbing environment raping industrial conglomerate. I mean you now work, play, eat, live, all at the same location. Why comrade do you need your car … … Come on, what do you mean you just got your baby to sleep. The system just crashed. It is just across the roof/parking lot … please go … and fixed the problem.

                    2. I’ve heard of a business that was negotiating with the union to shorten the lunch hour to a half hour so they would use the cafeteria. (Rather than, oh, serve decent food.)

                    3. I know a lot of tech places where leaving work is going to use most of your lunch break. financial services, too (specifically, a place near me i run people to and from all the time)

            2. It was exactly to create a unity of interests that the Revolutionary Army put Southern generals in charge of defending the North and Northern generals in charge of the defense of the South.

              Well, that and to prevent commanders from using the armies for protection of personal interests. Geo. Washington had no Northern holdings to protect, as Nat Greene owned nothing in the South to favour defense of.

              1. Well, there was also the minor fact that when the Revolution turned hot, the fighting was in the North…and Washington was the most experienced officer the Patriots had. He’d seen continuous service throughout the French & Indian War.

        2. The only somewhat diverse areas where representative democracy seems to have worked are those like the former British colonies where property rights & rule of law was imposed long enough that the first voters had grown up with and internalized it.

          That sort of nation building is not a task for the current limited attention spans in the west.

          1. Precisely. I expect we COULD foster a Democratic Republic in Iraq…if we were prepared to govern it for several hundred years.

            I’m less sure about Afghanistan.

            1. Or carry out the kind of preparatory violence that led to the successful restructuring of Germany and Japan. Unless the conviction of defeat is strong enough, they have no reason to change.

        3. Sadly, this doesn’t keep the interventionalists in our government from spending American treasure and blood on trying to “Spread the Blessings of Democracy” to the world.

          1. In some part this is because so many of the places we do that are hives of pestiferous squirrel food that need to be reminded why annoying an armed nation our size is a bad idea. But the Gunboat Diplomacy pattern of arrive, wreck the place, say ‘don’t bother us again or we’ll be back’ and leaving is out of favor.

            1. I suppose you are right that “Gunboat Diplomacy” has gone out of favor. Mostly because across the free world, those in charge have gone all soft in the spine (and head) and think that appeasement is a good idea.

              Problem is, most of the bad actors that we have to deal with these days see appeasement as weakness, and are starting to believe they can do whatever they want.

            2. And there are good reasons for that. As big a failure as Dubya’s attempts at nation-building were, Obama’s decision to bail on Iraq was arguably worse since it left an opening for ISIS. “Trash the place and leave” is all well and good, but you need to make sure that something insidious doesn’t spring up in the wreckage you’ve created.

              1. Just want to point out about nation-building. We, the USA, are who put the Taliban in power in Afghanistan. The old “Seemed like a good idea at the time” thing applies.

                Also, the effect of Bush’s misguided* attempt nation-building followed by Obama’s self-inflicted rout of our own troops. Was more like purposely losing a long expensive war rather that gun-boat diplomacy.

                * The only reason putting the Taliban in place in Afghanistan worked at all is it didn’t appreciably replace their form of government. It may have boosted different individuals to the top, but it didn’t try to force something alien down their throats. In Iraq, the Bush administration basically tried to fundamentally change Iraq into a US-like democracy which, arguably, was unworkable in Iraq.

      2. “Self-evident” is context dependent. Things that were self evident to a group of people molded by the conditions of the New World, where the diversity of religious beliefs forced them into at least tolerating each other (why Sam Adams even had to come to accept tolerance of Papists by the end of his life!),, where opportunities were almost endless for someone willing to do the work and take the risk (and the risks were very real) to make a successful life for himself irrespective of any favor of kings. To those men these things were self-evident. To kings and nobles of Europe? Not so much.

        1. On top of that, the Colonies had no Nobles with real power.

          We may have had younger sons of English nobles immigrating to the Colonies but they weren’t given a place of power in the Colonies.

          IE The English monarch didn’t give noble families “domains” in the Colonies.

          Many Americans “whine” about the rich families here but those families (for all of their influence) don’t have the governmental power that nobles had in England at the time (and prior) of our Independence.

          1. IE The English monarch didn’t give noble families “domains” in the Colonies.

            He did, actually. Carolina was given to eight “Proprietors” who’d helped Charles II out. They just did such a terrible job of it that George I had to buy them out and turn it into a royal colony. Charles also set up New Jersey as a proprietor colony, but it only lasted until 1688.

            The bigger savior was that few nobles who were given domains didn’t actually move over and try to establish themselves as a local nobility. Had they done so initially, by the time of the Revolution the concept of a local nobility would have a century of precedent that would have resisted democratic republicanism.

            1. For that matter, the Charter of Pennsylvania gave “special powers” to the Penn family (most who lived in England) that caused problems for the Colonial Government of Pennsylvania.

              The major reason that Benjamin Franklin spent plenty of time in England was in attempts to get the English government to remove those powers.

              While likely not nobles by English Law, they had “noble-like” power over the Colonial Government. It might have been different for Pennsylvania if the majority of them lived in Pennsylvania. Of course, the difference could have been good or bad.

            2. I’m listening to A History of the American People right now. It sounds like a contributing reason nobility and classism didn’t take hold is the mobility in America. Land was cheap, so a person or community could move away from undesirable local conditions and make good elsewhere. His section on early new England is a bunch of movement spawned by individuals and groups saying “you aren’t the boss of me” and moving farther out. Which attitude is anti nobility too.

                1. “A History of the American People” would appear to be a massive 1997 book by Paul Johnson, not to be confused with Zinn’s Marxist propaganda piece “A People’s History of the United States.”

                  1. Johnson’s history is my current dishes washing book. I wanted a switch from Sowell. I’m enjoying it. Just don’t ask me to quote and cite page number! It’s nice to hear he’s alright.

                2. I know Zinn is not to be trusted. If nothing else, certain socialist relatives claiming his book is eye opening would be a clue. So, if I read it, it would be to know what it is saying to counter it. But that’s pretty far down the list of things I plan to do.

                  1. I had to buy a copy for a college class. I have kept it with the intention of using it for a special range event….

                    1. On the contrary, Zinn may be trusted completely. Every fact he asserts is false, either in context, in argument or in whole. Every argument he puts forth is flawed.

                      Can’t get much more trustworthy than that.

        2. Also, the Founders came of age during the Enlightenment. They were familiar with the works of Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, etc. The thinking of the Founders was, IMHO, a synthesis of Enlightenment thought with the particular circumstances of the colonies far from the home country.

          1. And the on-going fight in Parliament and outside of it of the “Country Whigs” vs the Robinocracy. If you take the complaints section of the Declaration piece by piece, a lot of it is pointing back to Charles I and the Glorious Revolution, and complaints about the corruption introduced (according to some) by Robert Walpole. With a few nods to the Magna Carta, although the British didn’t think too highly of that document at the time.

            1. I hadn’t considered that aspect before, but it makes a lot of sense. Since the declaration was intended in large part to justify and legitimate the move for independence, a comparison to the Glorious Revolution, and between George III and the “tyrant” kings of England, makes a lot of sense.

      1. The math analogy is apt, because a translation of the phrase “self-evident” might reasonably opt for “axiomatic.” These self-evident truths are the axioms upon which we deem legitimate government based.

        Not by Might, not by Right of birth, not by Blood or Soil; Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed in order to secure these rights — and the securing and defending of these rights is the sole legitimate purpose of Government.

        The statement constitutes a definition of terms, once believed a necessary process of any intellectually valid argument. “We hold these axiomatic” means we ain’t gonna debate these principles.

        1. All of which goes far to explaining why the Left is so damned enamored of Positive Rights (and don’t seem to really care how well they are implemented); they want to justify the Government poking its nose everywhere it would need to to provide those Rights.

              1. Well sure – the real money is in giving stuff away.

                Or rather, buying stuff with other peoples’ money and giving it away in exchange for votes.

    2. We hold these truths to be self-evident – to those who are able to think and reason. Thinking and reasoning being two conditions sadly lacking in most of those on the Left; who are only at the feeling and emoting stage. You know, young children.

      1. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
        — John Adams

        …as unreasoning leftards often demonstrate.

    3. Sadly, that statement has been corrupted by our so-called educators, as has its source. Schoolchildren are now taught that Life, Liberty, and Happiness — not “the Pursuit of Happiness,” but Happiness itself — are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution the Bill of Rights.

              1. You could probably make good money among a certain set of the population if you made WordPress a video game villain and let the player unload into it with everything from submachine guns to a Sheepinator(tm).

    4. If you think about, obviously they are NOT self-evident, or why did it take so long for them to be stated.

      They were– natural law philosophy.

      That they were violated a lot doesn’t invalidate them.

      1. They are NOT, except as poetry, “unalienable” One definition is “Incapable of being aliened, that is, sold and transferred.” Look at the news for the last few years (or few thousand years). Life and liberty are sold in the marketplace on a daily basis. The magnificence of our founders was they chose to “hold these truths”, not just for themselves; any prince or noble believed his right to life and liberty was unalienable; but for all men equally.

        1. They are NOT, except as poetry, “unalienable” One definition is “Incapable of being aliened, that is, sold and transferred.”

          The difference is between taking (alienating) the right and infringing the right. Yes, governments (and non-governments for that matter) infringe on rights all the time. That’s different from taking the right. The fact that you still have the right is what makes it wrong for the government to infringe on it. If, after all, Japanese peasants didn’t have a right to life, then there’s no basis for criticism of the Samurai “right” of killing and walking away. Criticism of that practice (and others worldwide and through history) is recognition that the right still exists although infringed upon.

            1. It was Luce’s “conversion” in “A Few Good Men” which put me on track of that line of thinking, allowing me to formalize something I had instinctively grasped since an early age.

          1. Exactly. You have a God given Right ti Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT of Happiness. The State, or some other actor, may prevent you from exercising those Rights, but the Rights remain. Where some actor, State or otherwise, impinges on those Rights, a crime has been committed.

            All governments are criminal to some extent, in this manner. But a government with strictly limited authority is less so than others.

            The bigger a government becomes the more crimes it commits often without intention. The problem with a government with enough power to give you everything you want isn’t that it also has the power to take everything you have. The problem is that such a government is big enough to crush you like a bug without meaning to…or even noticing.

            1. Just think about how the Lefties heads would spin if they’d kept the original language about Life, Liberty and PROPERTY.

    5. “Self-evident” is not at all the same as “obvious”. In fact, though, they had been understood for many centuries – they just hadn’t been stated in that form in a national foundation document (if only because there previously had been no national foundation documents). The statement was not intended as an innovation, though – that would have been regarded, rightly, as a great evil – but as a re-affirmation of traditional God-given rights.

  4. a) Link to Alma talk is broken, at least for me.
    b) No, we are totally the worst, completely racist, because we pursue foreign policy objectives other than the death or subjugation of everyone else. I feel so much guilt over this. I am ever so deeply ashamed to have ancestors who fought to do things like stop the Axis, or make the world safe from Communism.

      1. No idea what’s wrong. It works for me; I have all scripts enabled here as well as at Red’s. OTOH, I nave no account with WP.

    1. > we pursue foreign policy objectives other than the death or subjugation of everyone else.

      And we’re the only country that ever materially extended its borders through purchase rather than conquest. Most of the land area of The United States of America, we bought from monarchies with good American dollars.

      As far as I remember, most of the land we didn’t purchase came as tribute after the Spanish-American War, and some of that, we still paid “compensation” for.

      So, the bozos who gibber about “American Empire” can shove it where the sun don’t shine…

        1. Oh, quite a lot was bought then, too. Or simply found empty, and claimed, and built up.

          The problem being that we didn’t die when someone decided they wanted it…..

          1. You mean endless tribal wars.
            I am sorry but the Indian tribes had to go. We should not have lied to them. Should have been honest and told them we are moving in, join us, leave, or die. Things would have been much better.

            1. Except that would be if “we” were modern “we”. People at the time didn’t think the savages would understand. And you know what? They might have been right, from what I can tell.
              It’s like “Sure we can tell the Muslim crazies that they’re not going to impose Sharia except in small, limited places, and if they keep poking, the west will eventually destroy them all, guilty and innocent.” WE HAVE at times told them that. They don’t believe us. And I’m not sure the people in charge believe us either. On either side. So…

                1. It is worth considering that confidence in victory is often a key component in victory. While not decisive it is an important factor in an otherwise even balance of forces.

                  1. Well, yes, it’s rather like believing you’re right– it can make it so you’re more likely to fight at all than someone who doesn’t.

                2. In fairness, the cluster of positions we hold are educated guesses, not things we can measure and conclusively prove. It seems the evidence they are most exposed to and emotionally aware of fails to disprove their position.

                  1. Sweden, Germany, France, England. I would say they are winning and the Progressives are helping them.
                    They killed and Ambassador and 3 others and what did we do??? Nothing!
                    For decades we have talked about doing things and not done anything. Islam watched as we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan hobbled by Rule of Engagement stricter than some police forces back in the States. Lawyers controlled the Battlefield not soldiers. Islam has EVER reason to believe we are all talk no action. The Democrats reinforce this every day.

                    1. They haven’t done anything that well and truly gets your guys’ attention and flips the switch from “piss off” to “ok, we are going to come and kill you all now”.

                      Imagine a Breslan-style school attack, but on a larger scale.

                3. The think they’ll win.

                  More precisely, they think they cannot lose.

                  Basing all ones choices on the incontrovertible inevitability of what ones want to happen happening will yield choices that from the outside look very, very, very off indeed.

              1. It would also assume that there was a “we” — something no more true then than now. Histories of Ulysses Grant’s presidency cover the challenges he faced in respect to the American Indians and his effort to protect their way of life by establishing sovereign reservations for them … and we know all too well how that worked out.

                It is a BIG mistake to assume a more unified nation ever existed in the past; History tends to obscure the many arguments which were ongoing when things happened.

                1. N.B., for his time Grant was remarkably well acquainted with the Indian tribes and held them in very high esteem — unlike many of his contemporaries, such as General Sheridan.

                  In many ways Grant was the Trump was the Jackson of his era — evidence of History rhyming. Remember: the History books can be counted upon to clean it up even if they cannot be relied upon to get it right.

            2. This is my biggest complaint with how we treated the native Americans. There is nothing uniquely evil in conquering territory from one’s neighbors, particularly when said neighbors have imperialist ambitions of their own. (The Aztec culture in particular needed to be wiped out, and their neighbors agreed.) There’s no shame in fighting with better weapons. There’s no shame in people who don’t understand germ theory accidentally spreading diseases to people with no natural immunity

              The multiple centuries of signing an agreement, violating the agreement when it became inconvenient, and then using the better army to get away with breaking treaties, or more recently the “you aren’t allowed to have full property rights in your own property” garbage — now that is something to be ashamed of.

              1. except that except for “the better army” this is how the Indian tribes dealt with each other and us, and most treaties were broken after the Indian tribe had broken it.
                And it couldn’t be multiple centuries. Not with the same governing entity in the US. Do the math.
                The truth is we were sold a bill of goods about these noble savages of ours, and it has maimed their culture and their integration into modernity, which is the only just thing for those still living.

                1. Exactly — we tend to forget (or rather, not teach) that the Indian Tribes had a very different understanding of treaties, in many cases considering them to not be binding on individual members of the tribes — or on other tribes of the same general identity.

                  Celia Hayes can, I believe, explain far better than I the problems settlers in the American Southwest had with forming treaties with tribes that were little more than loose, temporary associations. (NEARLY all I know is what I learned from Elmer Kelton novels. 😉 )

                  1. For a case in point, look at the background for the Modoc Indian war. The treaty and reservation was made for/with the Klamath Tribes. Fine, except that the Modocs were lumped into the Tribes, and they really didn’t get along with the Klamath. (The Yahoskins never seem to get mentioned much. All I know is that they’re more closely related to the tribes along the Snake; quite a ways away from Klamath.) Not getting along was putting it mildly, and it was a breakaway group of Modocs who went to Tule Lake. The raids/massacres and retribution (rinse and repeat) went on from there until the US Army came in. Then it got wilder.

                    Like the attitudes in the South about the civil war, it’s not clear that the Modoc war ever quite ended. (Though a fair amount of it now is lawfare.)

                2. Well, one of the issues folks had with the fat tyrant George is that he did want to restrict the settlers, bring the indians into his sphere of influence, and probably play them against each other.

                  1. Another of their complaints, highly germane to this discussion, is that the Crown (through its representatives) blocked efforts to abolish slavery in several colonies.

                  2. Much of what became the Northwest Territory was transferred by royal fiat to Quebec. Many of the eastern colonies that arguably had claim to lands there under their charters – and some had issued land grants to parts, or were planning to do so. Many of the colonists were upset with George III over that move.

                  3. Fat-And-Crazy George III was (OK, actually his ministers were) trying to manage the diplomatic fallout from what’s known in the US as the French and Indian Wars and in Europe as the Seven Years War – maintaining friendly relations with the natives on the other side of the Appalachians, both those that had sided with the British in the recent war and those that had sided with the French and been defeated, was a major driver of the constraints put on the Colonies moving settlements West.

              2. Thing is, treaties are contracts between parties with certain qualities.

                The communication/transportation, the bureaucratic/administrative, and the the culture were not available to make it possible for the white side to deliver peace. Settlers, DC, and local Federal troops would have needed to be able to hold to a consistent local policy, and that was never really possible.

                The ‘indian side’ of the issue was at least as comprehensively unable to hold to that sort of agreement. The Plains Indians were pacified by destroying their culture in certain specific ways, using the Reservation schools. Absent that, you get continual politically independent raiders, which European cultures could only understand in the context of banditry. Bandits can be killed out of hand whenever you can muster the military force to run them down.

                Since neither could deliver, should the whites have simply never sought peace, excepting by extermination?

                1. Gah, WP deleted the first reply. Let me try shorter comments.

                  Short version: qualified yes. Two cardinal rules of management: Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t give orders you can’t enforce. Sure, there were times when the tribe members broke the treaty. I have no problem with any defensive action in that case.

                  But there were plenty of times when the British-American colonists or Americans broke the treaties by illegally immigrating into tribal land, whether it was gold prospectors in the Carolinas that led to the displacement of the Cherokee to Oklahoma, or gold discovery in the Black Hills leading to the displacement of the Lakota, or just the general mass illegal immigration into the old Northwest that led the local tribes to ally with the French in the Seven Year’s War. (They certainly didn’t care about whether the Austrians got control of Silesia.)

                  Yes, the whole history of mankind is of breaking treaties and backstabbing allies. Yes, we were no worse than any other country on the planet. Yes, it wasn’t a coordinated campaign but thousands of people acting independently under multiple governments.

                  I’m just the kind of odd person who’d rather people just said they were going to conquer instead of letting the situation get manipulated until the conquering happens.

                  1. While I share your preference, you are still erring in assuming a unity of people. There are examples aplenty in contemporary America of politicians sincerely promising things they discover they cannot deliver, from a border wall to Medicare for all. There seems no reason to believe that treaties with American Indians were any different, and there are multiple examples of the government enforcing treaties to the detriment of White* settlers, as any reader of the Little House books ought be aware.

                    *Use of the word “White” in this instance should not be interpreted to imply that none of the relocated settlers were African-American, Hispanic, or even Bronze-American members of tribes not party to the treaty.

                  2. Yeah, there was no more a full consensus on exterminating the indians or every jot and tittle of Jim Crow then there is support for exterminating the Arabs, wiping out the Mexicans, or spending the lives that would be needed to ‘win’ a civil war carried out for the express purpose of ensuring there are no longer any African-Americans.

                    Okay, more people wanted or were okay with exterminating the Indians, some of whom had really worked to have it coming.

                    You can look at the failed peace treaties as things that should never have been offered if the side offering should have known it wouldn’t be able to deliver. Given all the bullshit propaganda that communist “peace activists” use, and my Jacksonian leanings, I’m very sympathetic.

                    The flip side, is that the people responsible for many of those were, perhaps blindly optimistically, confident that they could make something work locally, and felt able to bind themselves. Should they have refrained? a) Those attempts, and the relative success, made others feel comfortable dictating terms as generous as those the indians ended up getting forced into at the end. Even the Comanche are still alive. The Cherokee might well be /gone/ if no white was willing to offer terms they even suspected might be temporary. b) The overall US meta culture can be understood as a meshwork of de facto local peace agreements, with balance of threat, and the quiet murder of dissidents too violent. b1) Ergo, we offered to our neighbors what we offered internally, out of perhaps an excess of Christian charity and love. b2) Questions about the rightness of the many internal ceasefires can be raised as parallel. Forex, the end of the Civil War.

                    If those failed peace treaties with the indians are completely unjustified, what is correct future policy internally and externally?

                    If the war between Democrat and Republican is inevitable, does justice bind us to attack those Democrats who have yet to wage war on us? Or does rebelling against collectivism permit us to maintain peace with those specific Democrat individuals who we know can not wage war against we individuals specifically?

                    What of the peace between America and England? Canada, Mexico, Germany, Russia and China?

                    1. The Treaty of Versailles sort of worked for a few years. That’s better than the average Indian treaty.

            3. Supposedly, Native Americans weren’t all that strong on the concept of personal ownership of the land. Thing is, they understood the concept of another tribe driving them out of their land for themselves; so that kind of blows that argument out of the water.

              1. Of course, it was OK for them to drive another Indian tribe off the land that they wanted. 😈

                  1. Chuckle Chuckle

                    An Indian (I think Sioux) was complaining about the “genocide” practiced by Americans toward “his people”.

                    When somebody asked him about what his tribe had done to other Indian tribes, he basically said “That’s Different”.

                    Part of his idiot response was “You had the “higher tech”” while “We used the same sort of weapons that other Indians had”.

                    Stupid, it does matter to a dead person if he was killed by a spear or if he was killed by a gun. He’s still dead. 😈

                    1. Sorry that should be “does not matter” not “does matter”. [Embarrassed}

              2. The key line in that is “supposedly.”
                Many native tribes used property rights to avoid tragedies of the commons that later ensued when Europeans moved in.

                As far as I can tell, the myth that Indians didn’t understand land ownership seems to be mainly based on two things: 1) for early European settlers, “they don’t understand land ownership” was an excuse to take it, 2) for Rousseau and his useful idiots down to the modern day, “they don’t understand land ownership” was proof of their superior noble savagery. Or savage nobility. Or something.

                1. The article appears to be spinning tribal behavior as “private property.”
                  Sure, inside of a tribe, individual families mostly got to keep their own stuff, and hunters usually got to take the best part for themselves, etc… problem being, if you’re going to enlarge the definition that much, they you’re going to end up insisting that animals have private property, too. They’ll even come back to the same nest every year, or for generations….

                  It’s not private property, it’s “this is of value and I’ll kill you if you try to take it,” combined with groups avoiding possibly fatal confrontations.

                  I would guess it’s because truly private property has such a huge payoff in the long-run, there are going to be a LOT of things that echo it.

            1. As a country, as a people, as a matter of government policy, America was never that ruthless. In small angry groups on the frontier, you could sometimes see such ruthlessness, usually perpetrated by those who’d lost relatives to Indians previously, or been in bloody battles with them and seen friends brutally scalped.

          2. Like the Chippewa treated the Iroquois, as opposed to the Iroquois treating everyone else.
            Another good way to lock up a leftoid is bring up the slaves owned by the Cherokee when they’re harping on the trail of tears.

            1. Many of the moderns are so ignorant about the various indian tribes that they can not argue the specifics of why ‘The Cherokee killed and ate the moundbuilders’ is or is not a credible historical theory.

            2. The American natives didn’t actually object to the idea of attacking somebody and taking their stuff. They did that themselves all the time. They just objected to losing in such a conflict.

              They had no objection to their own attacking others and taking their stuff. They only objected when we came along and proved to be so much better at it than they were.

        2. Potato kumquat. Their ideas of sovereignty and land ownership were such for most tribes that attempts to buy the land didn’t work/are considered exploitation. People did TRY to buy the land. But “sale doesn’t hold to non tribe members who aren’t human” was as common as “buying land with beads.” (Anyone ever asked how much the beads were actually worth, on either side? I know some tribes considered them money, so that particular parable would be like complaining of buying brattwurst with Deutsche Marks.)

          1. Oh, it was a complete tangled mess on the frontier, but conquest was sometimes a part of it. Even when tribal leadership and government agents made agreements with the best of intentions, deadly frictions would often result in a military conflict. I think state-level societies and tribal societies, especially nomadic tribal societies, are fundamentally incompatible.

            1. Astounding, isn’t it, that Tribal ability to enforce behaviour of its members was no better than the average American community’s ability to enforce conformity with its laws!

              1. Sure. A tendency for some Indians to walk away with anything not nailed down, for some frontiersmen to kill game animals in bulk quantity in what tribes considered their backyard, and for one tribe to “sell” another’s land to settlers, all helped contribute to lesser frictions. And lesser frictions often led to greater, deadlier frictions. When things started escalating, it was especially easy for a bunch of hot-blooded braves or frontiersmen to decide it justified a wee little retaliatory raid. Neither tribal chieftains nor agents of the US government even began to have the resources to stomp on that, nor often the will. And when not-headed fools are especially undiscriminating in their target choices, things could really flare up.

          2. Oooh, the beads thing makes me SO MAD!

            None of my history classes could be bothered to mention trade beads had recognized value for buying from whites, too.

            It was a type of money that you could use with folks who didn’t care about, oh, a coin, or a bill, because they’ve got inherent value, too.

            But we were told over, and over, and over, that land was bought fraudulently because they traded it for beads.

            The Lewis and Clark expedition carried thirty-three pounds of small trade beads. There is no evidence they carried the bead pictured to the right, but these beads are known as Lewis and Clark beads. There are several entries in the various journals kept by the expedition members about how hard it was to trade for food with any of the beads they carried, except the plain and blue and white ones.
            Bead prices varied with location, demand, and how bad Indians wanted a particular bead. When trading for beaver pelts, the Hudson’s Bay Company used a standard value based on made beaver…a made beaver was stretched, dried, and ready for shipment. Records from early trading posts show a made beaver was worth: six Hudson’s Bay beads; three light blue Padre (Crow) beads; two larger transparent blue beads.
            Little historical information is available on the majority of trade beads discovered in archeological sites. The Hudson’s Bay Company has celebrated over three hundred years in North America, but the records on types and descriptions of trade beads, along with invoices, and sources of supply have not survived in the Hudson’s Bay archives. Today the company’s only examples of the Hudson’s Bay beads are in the Indian Arts and Crafts section of their museums.


            They’re light weight, tiny, high value to size ratio, couldn’t be produced locally (especially not in the highly valued colors) and don’t go bad. Dang near perfect trade-good.

            1. An appalling number of people do not grasp the concept of trade good — Marxists are especially bad about this, because they imagine that labor input matters more than scarcity.

              An Indian chief’s wife doesn’t give a damn how hard it was to make and transport those effing beads; all she cares about is that nobody else in the tribe has anything like them.

              Just like a guy who’s just dropped a million bucks on Action Comics #1 or Detective #27.

            2. They’re light weight, tiny, high value to size ratio, couldn’t be produced locally (especially not in the highly valued colors) and don’t go bad. Dang near perfect trade-good.

              Classic example of value being subjective. They were cheap and easy (relatively speaking) for folk with European manufacturing techniques and industry behind them (including that transplanted to the colonies). They were precious and dear to people living a stone-age existence. Practically tailor-made for a voluntary exchange where both parties benefit by their own values.

                1. Yes, if for no other reason than they represent an opportunity cost*: the space used for their transportation could have been used for other things. such as gunpowder, ammunition (both very useful in trade, if you know what I mean and I’m sure you do), alcohol, seed, refined metal, comic books, or bacon.

                  *Another concept Marxists seem to find difficult.

            3. Let’s point out two things: As far as we can tell from pre-historic settlements, our ancestors TOO traded for beads.
              BEADS WERE NOT CHEAP OR EASY TO MAKE. We’re confused by how cheap the things are NOW, but they weren’t always so.
              I think I need someone to send me a note to write about buying or selling for beads.

              1. I think I need someone to send me a note to write about buying or selling for beads.

                Sarah – don’t forget to write about buying or selling for beads.

                  1. You know you can easily email YOURSELF when you think of these things, right? It’s faster than dealing with wiseass wallabies, anyway.

              2. Oh good heavens, I found some of the price lists–guy made an example chart, and a RIFLE only cost a dozen beads with the exchange rate I found!

                1. Rifles were not cheap items either. A good one cost a very large portion of income for the owner, and the same folk can’t seem to wrap their skulls around that as well. They think in terms of “A week’s or maybe Two Week’s pay”

              3. Yeah, even in third grade, I realized the whole, “Today, this trunk full of beads would be worth about $45 dollars, while the Island of Manhattan they traded it for is worth billions” was complete bunk. My thought was, “Yeah, but they aren’t trading it today, and it’s just possible that subsequent things that the white man did substantially increased the value of the island, while the Indians had nothing that compared to the beads.”

                1. With provenance, that trunk of beads would be worth thousands, if not millions. Like the little teaspoon an acquaintance has that used to belong to Winston Churchill. It is a nice spoon, but the real value lies in it having belonged to Churchill.

                2. Sigh. I don’t suppose those idiots considered there has been some … development on Manhattan? Investment subsequent to purchase has been known to enhance property values.

                  Of course, had the sellers invested that mythical $24 worth of beads at 5% monthly compounded interest in 1626 it would now be worth about $7,877,131,813.07 … $393,875,062,777.33 if they’d gotten 6% return. If they received the interest rate which NY state expects to receive on its pension funds, 8%, they’d be sitting on $975,252,269,675,956.10 — which would probably enable them to buy back the island.

                  Calculations courtesy:

                3. You want to buy this island, which is covered with trees and can’t be farmed until they’re cut down and stumps dug out, and the rest of it is basically rock, or swamp, and you want to give us that big box of pretty beads that we can’t make here? Sure!

                  Silly white people. It’ll take ’em a hundred winters to make anything out it.

            4. So I got curious what kind of a price those beads would have, since there was one exchange rate already mentioned… and turns out someone else already did the work!


              The ‘hudson’s bay’ beads look to be the ones you can get at craft-fairs for between 50c and a dollar, individually. About…dime to penny long, kind of pill shaped, mostly translucent or with many bright colors.

                1. The days they sleep on huge mounds of grade AAA bonds, with some Bitcoin thrown in.

                  Dragons keep up with things.

          3. “sale doesn’t hold to non tribe members who aren’t human”

            What’s that term in Islam, ‘taqiyya’? Yeah, if they aren’t a member in good standing with your particular brand of Islam, then you’re allowed to lie your ass off to them.

            1. if they aren’t a member in good standing with your particular brand of [Faith], then you’re allowed to lie your ass off to them.

              That, is why the Progressives and Islamists are finding cooperation so easy.

              1. Yes, the Progressives are stupid enough to BELIEVE what Islam is telling them AND they believe that they can CONTROL the Muslims.
                After all NO SANE person could believe what Muslims SAY they believe.

        3. The British, French, Spanish, and Russians had already conquered those lands and were, by recognition of the world powers of the day, the rightful owners of those lands.

          Any complaints from Indians in the purchased lands should be directed appropriately. We just bought the land; the indigenes were free to leave. (not snarkage; the indigenes were nothing but a hassle, and we would have been thrilled to see them go somewhere else)

        1. “There’s no place like home.”
          “There’s no place like home.”
          “There’s no place like home.”
          Even if it is black and white, dust bowl, Kansas.

      1. The bozos who jabber about an American Empire are likely to bring it about. When it arrives, they will wonder (briefly) what the Hell they were complaining about.

  5. The Communist-Democrat-Fascist-Leftist-Liberal-Maoist-Marxist-Progressive-Socialists are basically the same mentality as the Tories left over from the Revolutionary War that we largely drove out of the country to settle in maritime Canada and The Bahamas.

    We should do it again. I understand that the former Jeremy Epstein’s island has space for them.

    (And let’s start with the SF Board of Idiots, err, Supervisors.)

  6. all men are created equal

    Learned a new argument on this phrase, courtesy of a CSPAN telecast lecture on the Declaration of Independence’s global influence, presented on CSPAN. Over all the lecturer seemed pretty good — naturalized American of British origin, for whatever that is worth. Not obviously crazy-Left; professor of history at (IIRC) University of Maryland.

    He noted that, in the phrase above, “all men” was representing a collective noun, “men” as in Britons, Irish, Scots, Pennsylvanians, Georgians, Carolinians, Virginians, even Massachusens. That in this usage :men” referred to the People of a given polity, that they collectively, as “men” of that polity held the enumerated rights, primary above them the right of self-governance.

    He acknowledged that the noun quickly became singular, understood as referring to individual men — but the original interpretation is interesting and explains some (presumed) contradictions.

    1. Ah, but you see the progressive left so want to turn what are in our constitution individual rights into some sort of collective right. And a collective right is one that can be assumed by the state.
      Classic case is the ongoing debate by the left over the militia clause in the Second Amendment. Their specious argument is that the term militia means that keep and bear arms is a collective right that is satisfied by the formation of the National Guard. This is an intentional misinterpretation of both militia and well regulated.
      In the parlance of the day “well regulated” simply meant properly equipped. And militia was understood to be all able bodied males between 16 and 45 not already in public service.
      As such, the militia clause, unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights which prohibits government infringement on our natural rights, actually grants our government the power to require citizens to possess and maintain such arms as would be required for a militia muster in time of need.
      So I must treat any argument that attempts to transform an individual entity into a collective class as a backdoor move to strip the individual of all rights and turn them into a cog in a uniform and faceless society.

      1. I think in this instance it can be understood both ways — what was initially intended as collective became quickly accepted as individual, and that clock isn’t getting turned back. The collective understanding explains the tolerance of slavery, indentured servitude, religious persecution and many another contemporary violation of the principles of individual equality. It is also consistent with the contemporaneous view of wife and children as chattel, thus the family was a unit represented by its male head.

        It is in part this shift from tribal to individual that has fostered American idealism.

      2. Yeah. I feel this semantic analysis is specious. Honestly, I don’t buy it. They ALL considered themselves “englishmen” by virtue of living in an English colony.
        Also pfui.

      3. The main argument I have with these “it really means something else” arguments is that the amendments in the Bill of Rights limit the power of the government, thus it’s totally goofy for Madison to have written an amendment that limits the government’s rights such that the government can’t prevent the government from bearing government-issued arms while in government service, but totes can prohibit the dreaded and technologically advanced breechloading Fergusen Rifles, to protect the children.

        Madison was a well educated dude, so if he wanted to write an amendment saying that the Federal Government could not prohibit or Federalize State militias, he could have written that.

        Instead Madison originally wrote:

        17. That the People have a Right to keep & to bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to Arms, is the proper natural and safe Defence of a free State; that standing Armys in time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the Circumstance and Protection of the Community will admit; and that in all Cases, the Military shou’d be under strict Subordination to and govern’d by the Civil Power.

        Kinda straightforward, and nothing in there about hunting, suitable for sporting purposes, or with the shoulder thing that goes up.

    2. “All men are created equal”

      Clearly singular. If plural, then equal to what? It only makes sense in the singular.

      Else all individuals are -not- equal if we are equal only in the collective.

      I can’t use the expression, here, that I would normally use to describe that collectivist inversion of reality.

      But the roses thrive on it.

      1. The plural noun refers to “men” as we might presently employ race. In this case the argument claims it represents the men of the individual colonies being equal in rights to Englishmen. We’ve so far forgotten that usage it is difficult to explain, but it helps to think of it as asserting equality between groups of men, rather than between men within any such group. Jefferson could have easily said that all tribes are created equal or that all families are.

        It hardly matters because, as the lecturer noted, the meaning quickly became a matter of every individual man having equal standing before the Law. Few among us are sufficient scholar to discourse upon what the 18th Century writers understood “men” to mean and the distinction is nowadays merely one of curiosity.

    3. Nonsense. The equality of men before the law is derived from their being individually created in the image and likeness of God. Your CSPAN lecturer is making his collectivism up (or smuggling it in from somewhere nefarious)

      1. His concept of “equality” is based on the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, not the American Revolution, and thus it is a collective equality of groups, not individuals. The reason the left hates Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, et al, is because their heroes are Robespierre, Marx, Lenin,. Mao and Stalin.

  7. Yes, the founders were men who lived and died in a world full of slavery.

    Thomas Sowell, more than once in the various books of his I have been listening to, pointed out that people “judging” the founders of the US judge them against some ideal and not against the real options and constraints they were faced with. Were the abolitionist leaning founders to have really stuck to their guns and demanded the abolition of slavery in the Constitution, there would have been no United States and I suspect that the various fractions that would have resulted would have soon been gobbled up piecemeal by foreign powers still bent on colonialism.

    When I was looking at biographies of various Founding Fathers, one of the ones I listened to was of Patrick Henry. His example illustrates Sowell’s point. Henry personally opposed slavery and said so more than once. However, since it was an existing institution he had to deal with the reality of its existence. And one of the potential realities he was concerned about was race war if slavery were abolished. That he owned slaves himself leads naturally to charges of hypocrisy but matters were more complicated that that. He feared that freed slaves would wreak vengeance (however “justified” that vengeance might seem from a 21st century vantage point) upon the white colonials leading to reprisals from those white colonials until it escalated into all-out war. Various slave revolts of which he was aware gave credence to his fear. Thus, he thought freeing of slaves needed to be accompanied by a repatriation back to Africa. In retrospect the “repatriation” approach had its own issues. When slavery was abolished after the Civil War, “race war” of the extent that Henry feared never materialized perhaps partly because the Civil War itself had just been fought but also perhaps partly because Reconstruction left essentially an occupying army in the South which served as a deterrent.

    Sowell also has made the assertion that what we think of as racism (as opposed to the tribalism where “French” and “German” were considered different “races” even though they’re so similar that 23&me considers them one big group genetically) is a result of slavery, not the other way around. First off, in history people throughout the world enslaved whoever was convenient to enslave. Romans and Greeks enslaved “barbarians”. Muslims enslaved sub-Saharan Africans. Everybody enslaved Slavs (hence the word “Slave”). But by the seventeenth century many of the formerly slave sources had gotten strong enough that raiding them for slaves was becoming prohibitively difficult. It still happened, sometimes with the sop of being a “temporary” arrangement (indentured Irish servants–indentured only until a “debt” or “fine” was paid off, but all while being assessed room and board fees that ensure the debt is never paid), but was becoming much rarer. The technological and economic disparity between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africa, however meant that Africa was a ready source of new slaves. Indeed, despite the lies Alex Haley told, the European slave traders didn’t go raiding, capturing slaves to drag back to their ships. They simply bought the slaves, provided by other blacks. Africans weren’t enslaved because they were black. They were enslaved because they were available.

    The rise of ideals such as liberty and the inherent rights of man created a cognitive dissonance with the existence of slavery. And so the belief that blacks were “inferior” arose as a flawed attempt to resolve that dissonance.

    I haven’t done the research to either confirm or refute Sowell’s story. I have, however, seen how a number of the Founding Fathers did struggle with the conflict between ideals of Freedom and Libery and…slaves. Whether that was the cause for racism as we know it today or whether existing racist “thought” was simply co-opted for the purpose, I don’t know.

    Still, the people who founded the United States, who set the ideals of Freedom and Liberty as standards, as a goal to reach, can still be great men for all their flaws. Indeed, the extent to which they overcame their flaws, and their backgrounds and history, to go as far as they did toward those goals far from diminishes their greatness; it enhances it.

    1. BTW on Alma’s post there is something about any German who didn’t fight against Hitler bears collective guilt.
      Thing is, a lot of people lived double lives, joining the Hitler youth and working behind the scenes against the regime, for ex.
      Wokies don’t get this, partly because they’ve been dominant and vengeful for 100 years. They don’t get “Have to live in an age gone insane from my POV and doing what I can in minor ways. Because the alternative is death and being shut down.”
      The fact they don’t understand that, in fact, gives you a span of their dominance over the last century.

      1. Whereas we folk can all immediately relate to having to conceal our true beliefs, at the very least feigning indifference to an issue, as voicing our real opinions would make us the subjects of ridicule and have potentially negative impacts to our business and social relationships.

        1. Or, at the very least, squander time better spent than arguing with somebody who is only susceptible to reason once knocked on the noggin with a stout stick.

          I simply don’t need to evangelize to somebody ahead of my in the grocery line wearing an Antifa t-shirt. I merely want to get my six items rung up in time to subtly push a grocery cart so it rolls into their Prius in the parking lot.

            1. Not entirely useful — the question is what car might most supporters of Antifa drive. Wearing a t-shirt endorsing Antifa does not an Antifa member make, and while most Prius drivers might not support Antifa, most Antifa supporters might drive a Prius.

              But point taken: I should have added language making clear that the use of a Prius was for illustrative purpose only and no claim that a Prius driver was any more likely to support Antifa than owners of any other make of car was intended.

              But I would lay money they aren’t riding around in Corvettes nor on Harleys.

              1. I think you’re wrong there RES. Most Antifa members don’t have the income to afford a Prius, even if they are saving money by living in their Mom’s basement.

      2. Hmmmm … doesn’t that standard mean all Socialists bear collective guilt for the murders of Communist regimes?

        Sure, those weren’t Socialism “done right” but until the corpses were exposed (and even afterward, in many durantys*) they were actively cheering on and demanding concessions to those regimes.

        *A “duranty” is the unit of measurement representing a single instance of willful lie to cover-up a human rights crime by communist government. The Holodomor, for example, represents at least one duranty if counted as a single event, three to seven million durantys if taken as an accumulation. Theorists are still debating the proper quantification of the duranty, although the current leaning is to assigning one duranty to a collective abuse, with micro-, milli-, and pico-durantys representiing the constituent crimes.

    2. Sowell is largely correct. One habit of our time is to try to apply our own standards to the past, usually without understanding the conditions of that time.

      Slaves were capital assets. Tractors on two legs. Was slavery philosophically incompatible with the stated principles of the founding? Yes. Would the Founding Fathers have agreed? They DID – or they would not have put a cap on the importation of slaves into the Constitution.

      What people forget is that the United States was very nearly bankrupt after winning independence. Compensated emancipation was not affordable, UNcompensated emancipation would have resulted in an immediate civil war, and been equally incompatible with the principles of the Founding.

      So they put a band-aid on it and hoped for the best. What nobody expected was the development of the cotton gin, which made the plantation agribusiness system much more profitable…or the bloody slave revolt in Haiti, which swept emancipation off the table.

      One other point. The main trade in African slaves was to the Caribbean. A slave sent there had an average life expectancy of three years before malaria or yellow fever killed him.

      1. UNcompensated emancipation was illegal — slaveholders had a duty to support their chattel and not simply abandon them when their productivity proved less than their operating expenses. (even today the law frowns upon abandoned property that imposes a cost upon society, which is why there are laws regulating proper disposal of goods.) This is one of the reasons Jefferson never freed his slaves, and the reason Washington’s slaves were only freed upon his demise (the one time it was legal to emancipate a slave without providing for his future support.)

        The movement toward elimination of slavery in the South was greatly set back by the example of Nat Turner and the relatively recent revolt in Haiti, with their accompanying bloodshed and terror. Slaveholders realized they had a tiger by the tail with no easy way to set it loose.

    3. > They simply bought the slaves,

      And were probably happy to pay a premium, too. The ship doesn’t make any money when it’s in port.

  8. This. A lot of this. The very word ‘Constitution’ has been suborned. It’s what we are made of. I don’t have aspirational carbon molecules, but very real ones. It’s what I’m made of.
    I was made aware as a callow youth that what made the USA so very different from the rest of the world was the Constitution. It’s unlike any other founding document. Every other soi-disant ‘Constitution’ is nothing better that a letter to Santa Claus (I’m looking at YOU, ‘UN Bill Of Rights’ you bastard.)

    1. An American is a -sovereign- individual, each one the feudal equivalent of a count or a duke. Heraldry nerds can correct me, I’m speaking from faint memory.

      Canadians by contrast are -subjects-. Meaning we don’t have “rights” per se, we have privileges granted by the Crown. The Crown is sovereign, and we are not.

      As a practical matter of day-to-day life, there’s no difference. Except sometimes, with things like environmental regulations and confiscatory taxes, or things like hate-speech laws. Then you can see the thing for what it is.

      1. As a practical matter of day-to-day life, there’s no difference.

        There is a fundamental difference in attitude toward government, one which America’s gummint skools have been as desperate to eliminate as spelling, grammar and basic math.

        See: NY City schools “unconscious bias” indoctrination training.

      2. Hmm. I think I’m going to start referring to myself as Duchess Zsuzsa and tell everyone that my pronouns are “Her Grace.”

                1. Oh, dear me, no; she’s the Beautiful (but Evil) Space Princess. (At least if I can remember the terminology correctly.)

        1. That sounds about right. I have more practical rights as a foreign visitor in Phoenix than I do as a citizen in Toronto. Toronto has more public conveniences and government services than Phoenix.

          Phoenix is a way better place to live IMHO, even considering the ridiculous heat in the summer.

    2. The US Constitution is, largely, a fairly broad outline of how the federal government is to be operated, with a few bit of greater detail here and there, to try to smooth out some known rougher spots. And then there’s a list of things FORBIDDEN to that government. It is instructive that there was only one amendment that resulted in a net decrease of individual liberty – and it is the only one ever repealed.

  9. While the concept of “The World Turned Upside Down” seems a bit pat, it was a common drinking song of the era, and might have been one picked to sing/play as a march out.

  10. “And as long as anyone, anyone at all, believes in those revolutionary ideas, the world will never go back to one in which slavery is normal. Either the formalized slavery where a human belonged to another, or the slavery where it was assumed that of course people belonged to the state.”

    Even the Lefties of the SF Fan Usual Suspect variety here on the interwebz are getting crazier by the day. A conversation about dropping a trans character into a story for no reason being like dropping a werewolf into a story for no reason ended up with this: “I’m extremely offended by the way you two keep trying to other-ize and dehumanize trans people.”

    See, we authors are supposed to have trans characters in our stories for the sake of having them. They’re supposed to just be there, and we’re not allowed to assume Chad and Stacy’s “patriarchy approved” cis/het relationship is normal. There should be non-cis non-het representation, just because, no particular reason that drives the story.

    We are also told to assume zebras when hoofbeats are heard. Because assuming horses is Zebra Erasure.

    Really not kidding, this is where they are.

    Basically “shut up, slave!” We’re all to be working together to bring about the New Social Justice Paradise, and anybody who slacks off will feel the whip. Its like they want to go running back to the cage and close the door themselves.

    Meanwhile, the one, single guy out there actively doing something about REAL SLAVERY and real serfdom in China, he’s literally Hitler. Or worse, he’s Super Hitler.

    And that is why I live in the country with really long sight lines and a Big Fucking Dog who barks like a Hellhound when anybody comes by.

    1. I do not follow the Honor Harrington books, but I find it wonderful that it is not until many books in that her skin color is mentioned at all. It simply wasn’t important until then.

      1. Honor’s skin color is pretty irrelevant since it’s established fairly early in the series that the Harrington family was genetically re-engineered. Of course to bigots, that would mean she’s of the inferior “genie” race. At least she doesn’t have a tattoo on her tongue.

        1. While Honor is “half-Asian”, both her queen and her best friend are black. 😈

  11. For a fun look at WHY Slavery was left in, see the movie “1776”. The Founding Fathers are definitely NOT made into Perfect men.

  12. When pondering the latest efluvia from the NYT, do please remember that they still proudly display a Pulitzer Prize

    For helping Stalin deny the mass murder of Ukrainians in the Holdomor.

    If they take pride in -that- obscene bit of “fake news”, of what value are they beyond cat-box overflow collector?

    1. And they are still bragging about another they received for bravely pushing the fully and absolutely fictive Russian Collusion narrative.

  13. “That’s because the US tends to judge itself against the ideal, … While Europe and the rest of the world use press and public voices to make themselves look good”

    This. The US is one of the few countries historically (or today) that has even tried to live up to ideals such as listed in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. They are goals to be attained, not declarations of what we have attained. Most countries don’t even bother to set goals, and when they do, they aren’t meant to be taken seriously.

    Yes we fail a lot. Because those goals are so high and hard for humans to attain. They take sacrifice and hard work. But at least we try.

    The left often decries the failures as proof of the unworthiness of the US, while ignoring the fact that the acts which are failures to American are actual policies of many other countries they praise.

    4 students died at Kent State, and generated outrage and push back that helped push the US withdrawal from SE Asia.

    We still don’t know the death toll at Tienanmen in June of 1989 (I personally think thousands at a minimum). And no one has ever been called to account for those deaths. Most of western media and “elite” look at it as Too bad, so sad, something happened to some people somewhere. Ho Hum. (talk about racist/tribalist attitudes…). Because Mao jackets are soooo cool and they make cheap stuff and are on the Right Side of History!

    No one argues that My Lai was not a massacre (one ended by a US Helicopter crew threatening to open fire on US troops). What happened was a violation of The UCMJ, the laws of war and US policy. Men were prosecuted (whether they were the right persons and high enough in the chain of command is another argument) and no one argues that episode was a failure to reach the ideals of the United States.

    But what “our betters” ignored is that what the US Troops did on that day was repeated over and over again during decades of war as a matter of policy and standard operating procedure by the NLF, NVA, Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao etc. etc. No, THEY were the plucky insurgents battling the Evil Yankees and breaking some eggs along the way. (I have a suspicion that the color of the eggs ties in with the lack of interest by the “elite” in their breakage)

    1. The plucky insurgents get excuses made for them. “If the Israelis weren’t so powerful and mean, then the Palestinians wouldn’t need suicide bombs at busy cafes. And don’t you know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter?”

          1. Empty virtue signalling. If they tried to actually enforce that declaration, like, say, prosecuting NRA members as terrorists based on their membership, the civil rights violation lawsuit would be epic

          2. Yepper. I am now a card-carrying member of a declared domestic terrorist organization. Which logically would mean that I should be able to kill every Communist-Democrat-Fascist-Leftist-Liberal-Maoist-Marxist-Progressive-Socialist I can find; at least in the City of San Francisco; because that’s what terrorists do, right?

            Frankly, I think the NRA should file a class action suit for libel, slander, and conspiracy to violate the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 14th Amendment rights of every member of the NRA, against each individual member of the SF Board of Supervisors.

            Note that I said against individual members, not the Board. I’m getting sick and tired of government officials hiding behind their offices and sticking the bill for their transgressions on the tax payers.

            1. Hrm… so if we each get a labrys, we should “come out swinging”? Oh wait, ‘coming out’ in San Fran.. and swinging… might not be the right connotation. Then, it might allow ready access to some who need the… services… most?

      1. “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter?”
        The BIGGEST LIE ever told by the American Media. Told to help the PLA against Israel.
        A Freedom Fighter doesn’t attack CHILDREN, the People, etc. They attack the Government, the Military and the Police. They may kill some other people but the attack wasn’t planned to just attack People in general. The Terrorist plan to attack normal People, it is what they do. The Freedom Fighter is fighting FOR something, the terrorist is fighting AGAINST something. The Freedom Fighter has the POSSIBILTY of Winning, The Terrorist only win if ALL their enemies die and only THEY are left.
        The ONLY Good Terrorist is a DEAD Terrorists. They cannot be trusted or worked with.

  14. Too good not to share:

    WHEREAS, many Huns are fans t=of the Holy Musical, 1776, and

    WHEREAS, a favorite moment featuring Dr. Lyman Hall (GA) quotes Edmund Burke:

    Dr. Lyman Hall: I’m sorry if I startled you. I couldn’t sleep. In trying to resolve my dilemma I remembered something I’d once read, “that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.”

    [He smiles]

    Dr. Lyman Hall: It was written by Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament.

    [He walks to the tally board and changes his ‘nay’ vote to ‘yea’ on independence]

    THEREFORE, I offer this reminder from columnist Dan Hannan:
    When British MPs defy public opinion, they often quote Edmund Burke’s 1774 speech to the voters of Bristol, in which he explained that he was their representative, not their delegate. The MPs rarely go on to mention that Bristol booted Burke out at the next election.

      1. Rope and Lamp posts I hope.
        If not expect the Calif of England and the Church of England to become Islamic.

  15. Wonderful article and comments, Sarah.

    I’ve been a fan for years, but just now decided to join WordPress so I could comment. That way you can see the rat with stringed instrument and booze.

      1. Oops. I should have mentioned that’s a drawing made by a friend. It depicts my character from Everquest 2.

  16. From Calvin Coolidge’s speech on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence:
    About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

  17. From my (currently) outside perspective, what sets America apart from other nations is the notion of government being ground-up, rather than top-down. The idea that not only are political leaders supposed to be elected, but that their decisions themselves are to be scrutinized by the public, and limited by a Constitution that’s binding to all. That no government can decide what is right and wrong arbitrarily, but must always seek the consent of the governed.

    Which, of course, is what the left hates. In both full-fledged socialist dictatorships and petty pinko pipe-dreams, the consistent idea of morality found is that an unaccountable autocracy is all well and good, so long as the autocrats just so happen to agree with the speaker’s own personal views. That people can be arbitrarily divided into “good” and “bad”, and from then on, the “bad” people can be persecuted with no penalty, essentially treated as fair game; while the “good” people are essentially beyond reproach.

    Fortunately, history has shown the actual frailty of such regimes, and with good reason – reality itself tends to have a certain conservative bias. That is, you can’t make crops grow faster by threatening to imprison them, you can’t stop rain from falling by calling it racist, and you certainly can’t stop people from seeing how lousy their situation is by banning the word “lousy”.

    In all fields I’ve seen, from politics to light entertainment, leftist mentalities only survive in artificial monopolies – top-heavy structures out of touch with their constituents. The moment some actual competition is introduced, it’s plain (and rather enjoyable) to see how these structures scramble for relevance, before crumbling in a bitter, jaded remnant of their former selves. It happened in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, full of crusty geezers pining for the good old days where they weren’t expected to think for themselves. It happens now in Hollywood, where has-beens and never-weres try and pretend they’re still popular and relevant outside comicbook nerd circles. And some two and a half centuries ago, it started happening to the great British Empire, when a handful of upstart colonies decided they could do better without it… and have been doing so ever since.

    1. I am prone to think of the relationship between citizen and government as that between a principal and agent: the principal grants the agent authority and requisite power to act in the principal’s stead, but the agent is subordinate to the principal and owes a fiduciary duty to act in the principal’s interest. Problems arise when an agent engages in various forms of self-dealing, such as accepting a contract on behalf of the principal in exchange for benefits to the agent. (aka: Conflict of Interest)

      For a brief, lucid explanation of the relationship, see:

      In this model the Citizens extend sovereignty to the government to act on their behalf, as agents of the citizens. When the government, as agent, asserts authority not granted by the principal or acts on ways contrary to the authority granted it, it has breached its fiduciary duty and may be fined or fired.

      In other nations the government is agent of the Crown and receives its sovereignty from the crown, not the subjects of the Crown. authorized to act as the Crown’s agent in dealings with another sovereignty or the subjects of the Crown.

      In this framework the Constitution exists as a contract between the States (not citizens except through their agents, the states) delegating to the federal government — for purposes stated in the contract — only those powers and authorities spelled out or implicit in the contract; think of it as a large family hiring a lawyer to handle grandma’s estate, with powers necessary to that task but not extending to selling off the houses of the family members.

      1. I quite agree with this assessment. Moreover, I find the main function of the Constitution to be a means to also avoid the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat”… or mob rule for short. It’s not just a matter of who ultimately grants sovereignty, but that the terms of said sovereignty are mutually agreed upon. In America, this is achieved by means of the Second Amendment. In other nations… the means can be somewhat less civil. (In my case, let’s just say the parliament building gets burned down a bit too often for comfort.)

        And again, this is what the left hates. Any deal based on mutual agreement would require them to actually put in some time and effort of their own… perish the thought they get a blister, or open a non-libarts textbook. That’s why they keep pushing a perpetual emergency rhetoric – it would allow them to flout any law, even the Constitution, and impose whatever arbitrary rules suit them. And it’s always someone else that’s supposed to do the actual work, then foot the bill, and await their gracious blessing for all that effort.

        To that effect, note how the most overused crises, from climate change to gun control, rely strictly on evidence that only government institutions can observe (if that)… all while alarmists routinely show a lack of even basic knowledge of firearm functionality and climate cycles. Simply put, adopting any objective framework would put them at a disadvantage, so all they can do is move the goalposts, change the rules all the time… and hope people don’t realize there are alternatives and, ahem, walk away.

  18. Thanx Sarah – especially for the reminder that OUR revolution put these ideas of Liberty out there for the rest of the world to emulate – this nation continues to be a source of good, despite the Left’s lies.

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