#fortheweekend Feed

Edmund S. Morgan: Slavery & Freedom—For the Weekend

Lincoln douglas

Edmund S. Morgan: Slavery & Freedom https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/selections-morgan-slavery.pdf: 'It may be coincidence that so many Virginians who grew up after the advent of slavery turned out to be ardent republicans. And it may be coincidence that among their predecessors who lived before slavery became prevalent, so many were unrepublican, unattractive, and unscrupulous, not to say depraved...

...On the other hand, there may have been more than coincidence involved.

Although it seems unlikely that slavery had any tendency to improve the character of masters, it may have had affinities with republicanism that escaped Jefferson’s analysis. The presence of men and women who were, in law at least, almost totally subject to the will of other men gave to those in control of them an immediate experience of what it could mean to be at the mercy of a tyrant. Virginians may have had a special appreciation of the freedom dear to republicans, because they saw every day what life without it could be like....

Aristocrats could more safely preach equality in a slave society than in a free one. Slaves did not become leveling mobs, because their owners would see to it that they had no chance to. The apostrophes to equality were not addressed to them. And because Virginia’s labor force was composed mainly of slaves, who had been isolated by race and removed from the political equation, the remaining free laborers and tenant farmers were too few in number to constitute a serious threat to the superiority of the men who assured them of their equality....

The small planter’s small stake in human property placed him on the same side of the fence as the large man, whom he regularly elected to protect his interests. Virginia’s small farmers could perceive a common identity with the large.... Neither was a slave. And both were equal in not being slaves. This is not to say that a belief in republican equality had to rest on slavery, but only that in Virginia (and probably in other southern colonies) it did. The most ardent American republicans were Virginians, and their ardor was not unrelated to their power over the men and women they held in bondage....

Virginia’s republicans had the decency to be disturbed by the apparent inconsistency of what they were doing. But they were far more disturbed by the prospect of turning 200,000 slaves loose.... The only serious plan for... emancipation, proposed by St. George Tucker in 1796... seemed too dangerous to receive serious consideration.

Virginia’s slaves had [not] belonged to the same race as their masters. The fact that they did not made it easier for Virginians to use slavery as a flying buttress to freedom. The English had come to view their poor almost as an alien race... [with] continual denunciations from a battery of philosophers and reformers; it even required special badges to proclaim the differentness of the poor.... In Virginia neither badges nor philosophers were needed.... Anyone could tell black from white, even if black was actually brown or red. And as the number of poor white Virginians diminished, the vicious traits of character attributed by Englishmen to their poor could in Virginia increasingly appear to be the exclusive heritage of blacks... ungrateful, irresponsible, lazy, and dishonest.... Racism thus absorbed in Virginia the fear and contempt that men in England, whether Whig or Tory, monarchist or republican, felt for the inarticulate lower classes....

By lumping Indians, mulattoes, and Negroes in a single pariah class, Virginians had paved the way for a similar lumping of small and large planters in a single master class.... The forces which dictated that Virginians see Negroes, mulattoes, and Indians as one also dictated that they see large and small planters as one. Racism became an essential, if unacknowledged, ingredient of the republican ideology that enabled Virginians to lead the nation

How Virginian, then, was America? How heavily did American economic opportunity and political freedom rest on Virginia’s slaves?... [In] Philadelphia and New York and Boston... the poor were... growing in numbers.... Would Northerners have embraced republican ideas of equality so readily if they had been [more] surrounded by men in “a certain degree of misery”? And could the new United States have made a go of it in the world of nations without Virginia and without the products of slave labor?

Northern republicans apparently thought not.... They allowed Virginians to compose the documents that founded their republic, and they chose Virginians to chart its course for a generation.... Was the vision of a nation of equals flawed at the source by contempt for both the poor and the black? Is America still colonial Virginia writ large? More than a century after Appomattox the questions linger...


.#books #fortheweekend #liberty #racism #reading #2020-07-13

This Is What a President Looks Like—For the Weekend

If you won't vote for this guy over the incompetent buffoon that is Donald Trump, do me a favor and please never vote again. You are too much of an easily-grifted moron for your voting to be a good idea for anybody: Joe Biden & Ady Barkan: In Conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4CLoiA3vfQ:

.#fortheweekend #moralresponsibility #politics #2020-07-10

Douglas & Jones: What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?—For the Weekend

Frederick Douglas & James Earl Jones: “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/3/what_to_the_slave_is_4th:

Fredrick douglas

'Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion...

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For the Weekend: Matthew Arnold: Dover Beach


Matthew Arnold: Dover Beach https://sites.udel.edu/britlitwiki/dover-beach/:

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;–on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch’d land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago heard it on the AEgean,
And it brought into his mind
The turbid ebb and flow of human misery;
We find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


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J.R.R. Tolkien (1925): Light as Leaf on Linden Tree: For the Weekend

J.R.R. Tolkien: Light as Leaf on Linden Tree:

The grass was very long and thin,
The leaves of many years lay thick,
The old tree-roots wound out and in,
And the early moon was glimmering.
There went her white feet lilting quick,
And Dairon’s flute did bubble thin,
As neath the hemlock umbels thick
Tinûviel danced a-shimmering.

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Weekend Reading: Vachel Lindsay: from Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan

I brag and chant of Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, 
Candidate for president who sketched a silver Zion... 
There were truths eternal in the gab and tittle-tattle, 
There were real heads broken in the fustian and the rattle, 
There were real lines drawn; 
Not the silver and the gold, 
But Nebraska's cry went eastward against the dour and the old, 
The mean and the cold....

Oh, the longhorns of Texas, 
The jay hawks from Kansas, 
The plop-eyed bungaro and giant gassicus, 
The varmint, chipmunk, bugabo, 
The horned-toad, prarie-dog, and ballyhoo, 
From all the newborn states arow... 

And all these in their helpless days 
By the dour East oppressed, 
Mean paternalism 
Making their mistakes for them, 
Crucifying half the West, 
Till the whole Atlantic coast 
Seemed a giant spider's nest...

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For the Weekend: John Donne

Bridge depicted in Hemingway s For Whom the Bell Tolls Picture of La Ciudad Ronda

John Donne: For Whom the Bell Tolls:

...No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee...

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Maria Bustillos: The Anthony Bourdain Interview: Weekend Reading

Maria Bustillos: The Anthony Bourdain Interview: "Anthony Bourdain had started smoking again, was the first thing I noticed as he sat down with me last February. He was a bit hung over from a recent working trip to south Louisiana for Cajun Mardi Gras; 'Harder partying than I’m used to, I gotta say', he said, laughing. Despite his great height his leonine head seemed just huge, and a little fleshier than I’d imagined; there was this slight dissipation to him...

...But no—who could be troubled about the wellbeing of Anthony Bourdain? Just look at him, so debonair, so completely at ease. A veritable prince of savoir vivre. Sixty-one, and still very elegant in his looks; the word sexy came to mind. Almost an old-fashioned word now. The sort of person who seems to think with his hips, his hands. He was in love, he would later admit; he and his new girlfriend, Asia Argento, had started smoking again together. He was a little rueful about the smoking, had the air of someone who meant to quit soon.

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For the Weekend: Dante Alighieri and Guido da Montefeltro


Dante Alighieri: Inferno 27:

"And now, I pray you, tell me who you are:
do not be harder than I’ve been with you,
that in the world your name may still endure.”

After the flame, in customary fashion,
had roared awhile, it moved its pointed tip
this side and that and then set free this breath....

"While I still had the form of bones and flesh
my mother gave to me, my deeds were not
those of the lion but those of the fox.

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June 4, 2008: Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality

  • Record Prius Parade!: Five--count them, five in a row, red, green, silver, silver, red--proceeding north on Oxford Street...

  • Sunny Wednesday June Afternoon People in Their Forties Drinking Iced Coffee at Starbucks Midlife Crisis "Wilma!!" Blogging: Khelona: "Huh. Is that better or worse than dreaming when you were a teenager that you would grow up to marry Stilgar, and finding in your forties that your husband more closely resembles..." Glaukon: "Fred Flintstone?" Khelona: "Exactly..."

  • The Ascent of Central Bankers: "Paul Krugman writes: "BB sticks to his guns: I have no idea where that picture came from, but I had it on file and couldn’t resist using it..."

  • Ryan Avent on Tyler Cowen on Ryan Avent on Robert Samuelson on Obama's Cap-and-Trade: Ryan: "As Mark Thoma says, it’s Samuelson who’s being misleading. Either that, or utterly confused." It doesn't have to be either/or, Ryan. It can be both/and. Probably is. Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?...

  • Background for Berkeley Political Economy Group Major Advisory Committee and Stakeholders' Meeting

  • Megan McArdle Moves the Ball Downfield on the Cap-and-Trade vs. Carbon-Tax Discussion: To first order cap-and-trade and carbon taxes are the same.... There are five second-order differences.... I don't have a dog in this fight: I think second- and third-order pluses and minuses roughly offset each other. But the substantive case for action seems very clear...

  • Tyler Cowen Misreads Robert Samuelson:: The Weitzman (1974)-based discussion is worth having, and is important. But that's not what Samuelson is doing, is it? I don't see a single word of argument in there about how the risk that the price will go too high is more worth guarding against than the risk that the quantity of emissions will go too high. Do you? All I see are rants about how environmental controls are big government and big government is bad and we never should have passed the Clean Air Act or established the EPA in the first place. Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?...

  • Paul Krugman Pulls Me Back in...: "Each time I think of climbing out of the swamp of shrillness and putting the Economist back on my must-read list, Paul Krugman pulls me back in: "How will the campaign be covered?... 8 years ago the press managed to portray an election in which there were large policy differences as one in which nothing much was at stake.... Part of this came from a remarkable willingness of pundits to dismiss the obviously irresponsible parts of Bush’s plan as stuff that he wouldn’t really do. Thus the Economist, in endorsing Bush , said this: 'Mr Bush’s proposal of a huge tax cut might look reckless (which it is), but either voters are happy with recklessness that gives them their money back, or they don’t take seriously a plan that could be changed as quickly as the White House curtains...'"