My latest commentary is online at Center for a Stateless Society:
The experience of Egypt should drive home the fact that it could take more than a couple of weeks and a change at the top to make a substantial revolution that actually improves the lives of average people.
I recently came across the following video. I would like to see a transcript of the full speech and know when this was delivered.
A number of things are misleading here.
It’s misleading to cast Lysander Spooner as a Confederate-apologist. Spooner was a militant abolitionist who had advocated the expropriation of slave estates by slaves and partisan warfare against slaveholders. He was also involved in a failed plot to capture the governor of Virginia to exchange him for John Brown. Spooner’s No Treason doesn’t honor the Confederate government but criticizes the Northern government’s priorities in carrying out the war to keep the South in the union. It’s not exactly the kind of thing that should have a Confederate military flag flown behind it without further explanation.
Paul mentions that slavery elsewhere was abolished without war – as if it didn’t require two to make a war, that the whole thing was the north’s fault, and had nothing to do with the entrenched power of the Southern slaveholding elite.
Paul brings up the concept of compensated emancipation – to bribe slaveowners to free the humans they had kept as property. Besides inferring that it would be less costly than war he doesn’t go into the ethical concerns here. He also doesn’t address the practical concerns of how free labor could be implemented without re-organizing a society based on racial hierarchy. (Paul does not say it here, but Confederate apologists frequently exclaim “but the north – including Lincoln himself – was racist too!” It is true that racism was not limited to the South but there are certainly degrees in racism and degrees to which it defines society.)
A typical defense that Paul does employ is to highlight differences in economic organization and advantages given to northern manufacturers, without acknowledging that Southern industry, including sugar manufacturing centers, was based on slave labor. Federal enforcement of slavery was a massive subsidy to the big business of slaveholding.
Paul insists that Northern elites cynically used the issue of slavery to “cancel out individual choice” yet what individual choice did slaves have? There is a major difference between consent of the people and consent of the states, and coming down on the side of states is not very libertarian.
The political elite of the Confederate states didn’t secede just to see if they could, but because they were worried about the institution of slavery. See the statements made by Confederate elites worried that the national government would restrict slavery too much.The political elite of the North was more concerned with keeping the Union together and building their political power than they were with the freedom of black people, yet pressure from refugee ex-slaves, abolitionists, and international politics eventually brought the north largely on the side of abolition, though a struggle over what emancipation would mean continued.
The release of a video showing four US Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan Taliban fighters shocks people, and for good reason. Such a display of dominance and disregard for the dead prompts questioning what the killing really meant. When a life extinguished forever is devalued in this way, one must ask where the process of devaluation began.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta quickly condemned the action caught on tape. Yet what shows a more callous disregard for life: What these Marines did or Panetta’s recent re-authorization of calculated drone strikes in Pakistan?
This article made it into two newspapers (Dhaka, Bangladesh New Age and Kuala Lumpur Malay Mail) before I even posted it here.
Unless noted otherwise, all opinions expressed on darianworden.com are solely mine and do not represent the views of any other individual or organization. Comments are the responsibility solely of their authors.