J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 05:32:00 pm

At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end.

You're talking about the propaganda they used to try to get support.

I can easily imagine that toward the end of the war the argument to save the Union would wear pretty thin. "We have to bankrupt ourselves killing them because they don't want to be citizens of our great nation and we have to burn down their houses and make them!"

Like the old story about the eight boy scouts who did their good deed of the day helping an old lady cross the street. It took eight of them because she didn't want to go....

sam on May 06, 2011, 08:42:19 pm
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The longevity of the American Republic silenced the arguments against democracy for a time, but now that the Republic is coming to its end, the old arguments have returned.

Coming to an end perhaps because the old arguments were spot-on.

the alternatives that have been tried -- rule by monarchs and by socialist committees -- have already been utterly discredited.

Rule by Monarchs works just fine - consider Queen Elizabeth.  The last monarchy in Europe to exercise real power was that of Luxembourg, which also worked out fine.  Rule by socialist committees works just fine: Observe China.  It is socialism that fails, not rule by socialist committee.  Provided the socialist committee believes that it is glorious to get rich, and that successful capitalists are worthy of respect, rule by socialist committee works fine.  Conversely, if you democratically elect an actual socialist, for example Allende, you get terror and famine and then democracy collapses.

Some sort of meritocracy might be good

Ruling meritocracy is bad.  Compare Iran, meritocratic, with the United Arab Emirates (rule by men of supposedly noble blood)

The more your rulers are able, the more they are inclined to make decisions, and however able they are, their decisions will never be as good as those people make for themselves.

In Iran, merit is partly a matter of being smart, and partly a matter of adhering enthusiastically to the ruling religion, or successfully feigning enthusiasm for the ruling religion.

Similarly, regardless of what politicians we elect in the US, we are in practice ruled by a permanent bureaucracy selected more by Harvard than by our politicians, selected for supposed intelligence, but also for ability to believe, or pretend to believe, in increasingly idiotic politically correct beliefs, which tends to result in the selection of stupid people, for example Nobel prize winning economist Krugman and  Ward Churchill.

This tends to produce a stupid ruling elite, whereas in Iran, where one is only required to believe in things unseen, the system can select people who are otherwise intelligent.  Our system, where merit consists largely of believing impossible things about things seen, has difficulty selecting people who are otherwise intelligent, as illustrated by the less than brilliant Krugman and Churchill.  For a recent example of our elite being stupid, observe where they found Osama bin  Laden in what should have been the obvious place.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 08:44:53 pm by sam »

Tucci78 on May 06, 2011, 09:10:58 pm
At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end.

You're talking about the propaganda they used to try to get support.

I can easily imagine that toward the end of the war the argument to save the Union would wear pretty thin. "We have to bankrupt ourselves killing them because they don't want to be citizens of our great nation and we have to burn down their houses and make them!"

From the beginning, the argument in most of the northern states - Pennsylvania and New Jersey, New York and the New England states, where the local industrial economies depended upon "screw-the-customers" protectionist tariffs to keep their profits high and continue settling the greatest part of federal revenue collection on the populations of the southern states and the agricultural midwest - wasn't really the preservation of the Union as the real objective, but rather the prevention of commerce flowing, untariff'd and without strangulating restriction, through southern seaports, especially New Orleans and Charleston, Mobile and Savannah.

The commercial centers of the northeast relied for all advantage over their southern and western countrymen (and their future enrichment by way of plundering those folk) on their ability to exert political power at the federal level in the suppression of economic development in the southern states.  The campaign to accomplish this had been ongoing throughout the nation's history prior to the onset of open hostilities as their victims finally exercised their right to pick up their marbles and leave the rigged Hamiltonian game into which they'd been enticed.

Were this war of secession to have been entirely (or even significantly) fought on the southern side to prevent the abolition of chattel slavery, there needs to be some explanation of why the rank and file of the southern states' combat forces - which were made up overwhelmingly of men who not only did not own slaves but whose own well-being was preponderantly disadvantaged by the impacts of slavery (both economic and political) - continued under arms through four years of bloodshed, disease, and devastation. 

Just what the hell did these men in the Confederate ranks have invested in the institution of slavery? 

It's only when you think of the hordes of northern predators as invading foreign tax collectors that you apprehend the natural impulse of the average southern farmer or tradesman to pick up a rifle and start killing them. 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 09:13:04 pm by Tucci78 »
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sam on May 06, 2011, 09:49:34 pm
Instead, I thought that the argument against democracy that he gave never really died. It just took on a modified form. Democracy can thrive in a land of gentlemen farmers or a strong middle-class - but if you have peasants or an urban proletariat, demagogues will take over, or, as happens often in Latin America, a military junta takes over in order to preserve a society in which people can safely invest productively.

So, from this perspective, the military juntas in banana republics are upholding the ZAP as best they can, by preventing a mobocracy from pillaging the rich

In addition to class warfare, there is also gender warfare and race warfare.  The biggest victims are working class white males, for example those expelled from Detroit and similar places.

Race warfare gets really nasty in Africa, as for example the recent Ivory coast election where those who won the election proceeded to eat some of those who lost the election.  The election outcome means that ports are no longer operated by westernized Christian blacks from the coast, but by primitive Muslim blacks from Inland, who seem to be having some difficulty getting cranes and stuff to work, and are finding it impossible to operate banks.  Supposedly the ports are now operating under new management, but the banks are not.  I would guess that the ports will drop to a simpler system where cocoa is man carried to the ship, and the people carrying the cocoa paid cash or gold on the spot.  Or maybe the new people of the Ivory coast, under the guidance of Ivy League graduates from the World Bank, will get this stuff working eventually.

On the other hand, considering what Ivy League graduates did to US banks, maybe not.


SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:00:35 pm
On Monday, I wrote to sam:

If you do not either put up authoritative evidence (i.e., laws or law review articles with citations) or admit you cannot find such evidence, I will relegate you in my exclusive "Plonk File of Losers."

It appears sam has taken the coward's way out. He has neither put up primary evidence for his pre-1895 (or even his 1895) claims about age of consent nor has he admitted he cannot find such evidence. I am hereby plonking him. I will not read any of his posts until he mans up and admit he has nothing substantive that supports his opinions. Should he grow a couple, I would appreciate it if someone would let me know. Until then, I will only read sam's words, if at all, as quoted in the posts of Forum members whom I do respect. 

sam on May 06, 2011, 10:06:26 pm
On Monday, I wrote to sam:

If you do not either put up authoritative evidence (i.e., laws or law review articles with citations)

Sex with young girls in Delaware was legal because there was no law forbidding it, not because there was some law legalizing it.

There can never be authoritative evidence in the form of laws that something is legal
There can only be authoritative evidence in the form of laws that something is illegal.

Authoritative evidence that sex with young girls was generally legal outside the US is that Polanski (and myself) got away with it.

Authoritative evidence that sex with young girls was illegal in Delaware back then would be a law forbidding it - and there was of course no such law - and if there was such a law, it is your job, not mine to produce such a law.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 10:51:33 pm by sam »

spudit on May 06, 2011, 10:24:34 pm
Seems like Spooner mentioned a girl's age of consent in passing in Vices are not Crimes. It seemed young by modern standards but I can offer no number off the top of my head. Could be it was mentioned in Walden as well, Henry David being the wordy bastard that he was.

Would those pass as evidence, in this case well known books written by accepted authors in the mid 1800's? If no one cried foul then, was it true, then?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 10:38:38 pm by spudit »
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sam on May 06, 2011, 10:49:26 pm
Seems like Spooner mentioned a girl's age of consent in passing in Vices are not Crimes. It seemed young by modern standards but I can offer no number off the top of my head. Could be it was mentioned in Walden as well, Henry David being the wordy bastard that he was.

Would those pass as evidence, in this case well known books written by accepted authors in the mid 1800's? If no one cried foul then, was it true, then?

According to Spooner, age of consent was usually ten.

But nothing can possibly constitute evidence according to Sandy Sandfort's standard, since he demands a written and explicit law making it legal.  Laws making things legal are unusual, since laws usually make things illegal.

Aardvark on May 06, 2011, 10:59:57 pm
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Sandy: I am hereby plonking him. I will not read any of his posts until he mans up and admit he has nothing substantive that supports his opinions. Should he grow a couple, I would appreciate it if someone would let me know. Until then, I will only read sam's words, if at all, as quoted in the posts of Forum members whom I do respect.


Well, I'm not plonking him. He makes his case patiently, calmly, and reasonably. I don't agree with 100% of what he says, but the same would go for everyone else here, too. As far as anything "substantive" on the states' age of consent laws in the 1880's, I had a good look and found no evidence either way. The Internet seems to be a wasteland concerning the actual 19th century state records. I'm not going to go back and cut and paste what I said and what I found concerning age of consent laws during that era, except to say that the source I linked to, which referenced different source material, backed up sam's original Wikipedia statistics to a "T."

SandySandfort on May 07, 2011, 12:36:01 am
Seems like Spooner mentioned a girl's age of consent in passing in Vices are not Crimes. It seemed young by modern standards but I can offer no number off the top of my head. Could be it was mentioned in Walden as well, Henry David being the wordy bastard that he was.

Would those pass as evidence, in this case well known books written by accepted authors in the mid 1800's? If no one cried foul then, was it true, then?

Good question, but if the claims were correct, there would be ample original, or credible secondary, sources to prove it.

So what are primary sources that would fill the bill? Obviously, copies of the statutes themselves. Also court reports of cases in which age of consent was at issue. Reports of appellate decisions go back hundreds of years.

A very good secondary source would be law review articles. They go back hundreds of years too. Possibly, books and articles written by recognized legal scholars would be persuasive. I might accept other sources on a case-by-case basis, but since the subject matter is such a hot button, it strains credulity that no primary or authoritative secondary sources exist if the claim had any validity whatsoever.


SandySandfort on May 07, 2011, 01:07:35 am
Well, I'm not plonking him.

Nobody is suggesting that you do. Further, I would not give a rodent's rump if sam or anyone else plonked me.

He makes his case patiently, calmly, and reasonably.

But that's not really the issue, is it? My decision is based on sam's lack of intellectual honesty and his moral cowardice. It is okay not to be able to find evidence that supports your position. It is not okay with me, to not admit that fact. It is cowardly and dishonest.

Look, all sam has to say is, "I guess I will have to retract my claim as I cannot find any evidence that supports it." He could even add, "I still think I am right, but I lack the time/money/interest to support my position." Instead what we got was his claim that the NYT article with its quote from the purity activist, is somehow dispositive of the issue. And that his personal recollections are some how "primary" evidence. How lame is that?

Again, being honest, brave and forthright about admitting his claim was based on air, would show him to be a man of character. Of course, finding real evidence instead of trying to fob off his walk down memory lane, would work too. He would get to say, "I told you so, Mr. Smarty Pants (Me)." And if he provides real primary evidence instead of the words of activists with agendas, I would be happy to say, "Good man. You followed through and dug up the evidence. I didn't think you had it in you and I was wrong."

Of course, someone could do the legwork and feed the primary evidence sam, if it exists. I would not unplonk him if I knew that. However, even if sam and his source are intellectually dishonest enough to hid their deception, there is still a really cool outcome. I would admit to being wrong, as above. I wouldn't know about the deception, nor would Forum readers, but guess what? Sam would know and have to live with it. How pitiful is that?

sam on May 07, 2011, 02:09:29 am
Good question, but if the claims were correct, there would be ample original, or credible secondary, sources to prove it.

There are ample original sources.  For the recent legality outside of America of sex with thirteen year olds, I am one of them, and Polanski is another.  However, to you, an original source is a law saying its legal.

Laws, however, generally say what is illegal, not what is legal  If a law existed forbidding sex with ten year olds, you could produce it, but there was no law saying it was legal - just an absence of laws saying it was illegal.

So what are primary sources that would fill the bill? Obviously, copies of the statutes themselves.

But I claim that no such statute existed, no statute forbidding sex with ten year old girls existed in the nineteenth century.  You are the one claiming a statute existed.  If such a statute existed, it is your job to produce it, not my job to produce it. 

Indeed, in the nineteenth century, most law did not exist in the form of statutes, but in the form of widely known, or at least widely believed, judicial practices.  To ask for a nineteenth century statute is anachronistic.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 02:36:01 am by sam »

J Thomas on May 07, 2011, 03:38:57 am
At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end.

You're talking about the propaganda they used to try to get support.

I can easily imagine that toward the end of the war the argument to save the Union would wear pretty thin. "We have to bankrupt ourselves killing them because they don't want to be citizens of our great nation and we have to burn down their houses and make them!"


From the beginning, the argument in most of the northern states - Pennsylvania and New Jersey, New York and the New England states, where the local industrial economies depended upon "screw-the-customers" protectionist tariffs to keep their profits high and continue settling the greatest part of federal revenue collection on the populations of the southern states and the agricultural midwest - wasn't really the preservation of the Union as the real objective, but rather the prevention of commerce flowing, untariff'd and without strangulating restriction, through southern seaports, especially New Orleans and Charleston, Mobile and Savannah.

Interesting! This is something I have not studied. So you are saying that the propaganda they put out was not manifest destiny "We have to maintain a single USA" or abolition, but openly "We have to keep them poor and us rich"? What a refreshing lack of hypocrisy!

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The commercial centers of the northeast relied for all advantage over their southern and western countrymen (and their future enrichment by way of plundering those folk) on their ability to exert political power at the federal level in the suppression of economic development in the southern states.  The campaign to accomplish this had been ongoing throughout the nation's history prior to the onset of open hostilities as their victims finally exercised their right to pick up their marbles and leave the rigged Hamiltonian game into which they'd been enticed.

I imagine you could generalize that claim. What they did to the US south they surely did to everywhere south of there, the Caribbean, Latin america, south america. Later, the Philippines. Later still, the entire Third World. Without needing Union to do it.

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Were this war of secession to have been entirely (or even significantly) fought on the southern side to prevent the abolition of chattel slavery, there needs to be some explanation of why the rank and file of the southern states' combat forces - which were made up overwhelmingly of men who not only did not own slaves but whose own well-being was preponderantly disadvantaged by the impacts of slavery (both economic and political) - continued under arms through four years of bloodshed, disease, and devastation. 

Just what the hell did these men in the Confederate ranks have invested in the institution of slavery? 

It's only when you think of the hordes of northern predators as invading foreign tax collectors that you apprehend the natural impulse of the average southern farmer or tradesman to pick up a rifle and start killing them. 

The argument for slavery doesn't make much sense, and your economic argument does. But I don't think a rational argument is needed for soldiers at war. The existence of the war is enough. Soldiers fight for their side, against the other side, and that's it.

So you could make the explanation that US soldiers fought in Iraq for the oil, that Operation Iraqi Liberty was about that, and in a few years that might be the only explanation that makes sense in hindsight. But our soldiers are there because they follow orders. They each do it because all the others are doing it. There are civilians who claim to support the troops, but definitely the troops support each other. That's all the explanation needed, though individual soldiers can have their own rationalizations for why they follow orders.

So I find your claims reasonable, and I haven't particularly seen data to support or oppose them, but I find the argument unconvincing that the lack of alternative rational explanations for southern soldiers to fight means that this one is correct.

After all, if you could have been there and picked a Yankee private at random and told him that the reason he was sleeping on the ground and eating government-provided rations and taking his chances about getting shot was that he wanted to maintain tariffs on southern ports and keep profits up, would he laugh at you or punch you in the jaw?

J Thomas on May 07, 2011, 04:03:47 am

Rule by Monarchs works just fine - consider Queen Elizabeth.

Sure, and getting rich with currency manipulation works just fine -- consider George Soros. Sheesh. Consider your average monarch of an average nation, not the best case you can find. And average monarchs on average did kind of -- average. Except when they failed and lost their nations. Which tended to happen, as shown by the number of monarchs going down over time.

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Rule by socialist committees works just fine: Observe China.

Same thing. How many socialist committees have tried to run governments? And how many chinas are there?

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It is socialism that fails, not rule by socialist committee.  Provided the socialist committee believes that it is glorious to get rich, and that successful capitalists are worthy of respect, rule by socialist committee works fine.

Rule by socialist committee works fine when it works, namely when it's china.

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Conversely, if you democratically elect an actual socialist, for example Allende, you get terror and famine and then democracy collapses.

On average socialism has worked kind of average. That is, not very well. The average government for the average nation has been pretty mediocre, and of course the average socialist government has been just as mediocre.

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Ruling meritocracy is bad.  Compare Iran, meritocratic, with the United Arab Emirates (rule by men of supposedly noble blood)

Perhaps you are making the wrong comparison. Compare Singapore, whose bureaucracy is meritocratic, versus Mali, not meritocratic. ;)

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The more your rulers are able, the more they are inclined to make decisions, and however able they are, their decisions will never be as good as those people make for themselves.

That's probably a good point. So the best governments are the ones that simply cannot function? Haiti would then be our wonderful example, where foreign advisors were needed to teach the bureaucrats how to fill out applications for foreign aid....

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Similarly, regardless of what politicians we elect in the US, we are in practice ruled by a permanent bureaucracy selected more by Harvard than by our politicians, selected for supposed intelligence, but also for ability to believe, or pretend to believe, in increasingly idiotic politically correct beliefs, which tends to result in the selection of stupid people, for example Nobel prize winning economist Krugman and  Ward Churchill.

But neither Krugman nor Churchill are in the permanent ruling bureaucracy.

CJ Parkinson claimed that ancient china was run by bureaucrats who passed the imperial examination which was based entirely on their ability to compose poetry in the classical style. And the system worked superbly, he claimed. If you are going to have a ruling bureaucracy that collectively pretends to do what the public wants, then the ability to pretend to believe in idiotic PC beliefs would be a vital skill, yes?

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This tends to produce a stupid ruling elite

No it doesn't.

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For a recent example of our elite being stupid, observe where they found Osama bin  Laden in what should have been the obvious place.

Well, but Bush had to calculate whether it was better to cash in Bin Ladin or better to have Bin Ladin campaign for Republicans in 2004 and 2008. Obama would have been better off to cash in Bin Ladin next year, closer to the elections, but he likely had medical reports that indicated Bin Ladin was unlikely to live that long. How is this stupidity?

Aardvark on May 07, 2011, 04:39:06 am
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Me: At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end.

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J Thomas: You're talking about the propaganda they used to try to get support.

I can easily imagine that toward the end of the war the argument to save the Union would wear pretty thin. "We have to bankrupt ourselves killing them because they don't want to be citizens of our great nation and we have to burn down their houses and make them!"

Your cynicism continues to amaze me. :)

Perhaps I worded it poorly. Certainly the US government put forth the "save the Union" argument, but from Grant's memoirs, the groundswell in the North to raise an army and defeat the "rebellion" had a great deal to do with the attack on Fort Sumter, which seemed to be a powerful catalyst. Grant postulated that the original thirteen states at one time had the right to secede, but when the other states joined the Union, the issue of the right to secede became moot. I was never persuaded by this argument. The feeling of that time, according to Grant, was that the war wouldn't last more than about ninety days. He also stated that he always had the feeling that if the Southerners were asked individually, they wouldn't have seceded. Unfortunately, the power in the Southern states was always with the slaveholders.

Towards the end of the war, the plight of the slaves had been laid bare: Southern soldiers  went into a rage when they faced Black Union troops and wouldn't make an even trade of white prisoners of war for black, which contributed, IIRC, to the terrible overcrowded conditions in Andersonville. The slavery issue had always been close to the heart of the issue -- I'm not persuaded by the Merill Tariff arguments, as the Merill Tariff wasn't nearly mentioned as much as slavery in the Southern States' Houses of Congress during their discussion to secede. In fairness, I recognize that there are two schools of thought here. Libertarian historians tend to give more weight to the Merill Tariff argument than most other historians.