Weekend Reading: Cosma Shalizi (2012): In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You

Weekend Reading: Why the World Would Be Better with Weblogs: Daniel Kuehn on James Buchanan

Daniel Kuehn et al.: _Buchanan Was Not a Massive Resister. He Had All the Other Hallmarks of a "Moderate Segregationist", and of Course Supported Large Infusions of State Funds Into Segregated Private Schools to Avoid "Involuntary Integration": "There's a narrow sense in which you could fairly say it came from the 'political center' (keeping in mind-obviously-that the 'center' in 1950s Virginia was segregationist)...

...and that's that the legal and philosophical basis for the 1959 version came from Dure. But for years before that other versions had been supported across the political spectrum and it was a key component of Massive Resistance. In 1959 Massive Resisters embraced the new version immediately. It's not like Dure was twisting arms. Dure's real effort was to push some finer legal points to make sure it held up in court (he failed as lots of people predicted he would), and to spread it to other states (he succeeded there, until the courts stepped in). It was not a centrist policy, it's better to say it had a strong centrist backer and very broad support.

The people that didn't like it were (generally) public school backers. Since this is 1950s Virginia of course lots of them were segregationist too, although (generally) less hardline segregationists. Phil plays up some more vocally segregationist opponents of tuition grants.... They're there, and have merited mention in some histories since the 70s, but mostly it's the liberal end of the segregationists that are a little uneasy about the changes but are hardly going to stand against Brown on any deep seated principles.

My point is that outside of the NAACP and the CHR there were few heroes, but opposition to tuition grants was absolutely not some kind of Massive Resister counter-reaction. Public school proponents had reason to worry. Prince Edward was on the verge of closing a large number of districts (I don't have the number at the tip of my finger), moved to monthly budgeting (allowed by the new laws) which was the prelude to closing, and the attorney general was instructing all local officials in how to use tuition grants to close public schools. That's the political lay of the land.

Now on J[ames ]J[ackson ]K[ilpatrick]: sure, I imagine he supported things that Buchanan didn't. You could say the same of almost any two Virginians selected at random. This line of argument strikes me as deliberately obtuse. The issue is tuition grants for ,segregated schools and on that they very obviously agreed (as did Dure). As far as JJK's other "planks", it's important to remember that JJK was not a Massive Resister at this point (he obviously was earlier). The ranks thinned quickly after 1/19/59 and JJK abandoned it.

I'm not saying his heart changed all that much, but it's not as if in the spring of 1959 JJK is standing on the opposite side of the debate from Buchanan and Dure on school closings and interposition. A different fight is happening and they're on the same side in general. JJK famously told Dure he was on the right track with the tuition grants, and JJK promoted them in his 1962 book on school segregation (an interesting aside-Warren Nutter's father in law strongly encouraged JJK to write that book when JJK wasn't sure it was wise).

So Buchanan probably had policy disagreements on other dimensions of school policy but:

  1. it's hard to say because Buchanan doesn't have the paper trail on the school crisis that JJK does, and
  2. they agreed very much on the policy we are discussing here.

Another notable proponent of the Dure plan specifically that I wish got more attention is EJ Oglesby, the head of the Charlottesville Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberty (an important hardliner group that did push for Massive Resistance after 1/19/59). Oglesby was on the faculty at UVA along with Buchanan, he was very close to the Byrd organization (Byrd put him on the pupil placement board) and he eventually left his job at UVA to teach high school math at a local segregation academy. He's interesting obviously because of the close connections but I also think Buchanan may have referenced him obliquely in his 1957 letter to Frank Knight.

To sum up though I've made all these points before: Buchanan was not a Massive Resister. He had all the other hallmarks of a "moderate segregationist" and of course supported large infusions of state funds into segregated private schools to avoid "involuntary integration". He sounds the most like a Massive Resister (and interpositionist) in 1957 where he takes Faubus's side of the Little Rock Crisis. That's something Nancy misses completely and Phil unpersuasively sidesteps. There's more on that in my paper but it hasn't come up here much. The name for constitutional objections to the federal right to enforce federal court decisions being “interposition”. If he had left it at “I don’t see how Ike thought this would help” then it’s just a tactical disagreement, but he then embraced the constitutional objection....

I feel like I'm pretty specific and happy to clarify. Twitter is garbage for these discussions sometimes, though...