Such a bargain

Boehner and Obama need to look to our Founding Fathers for inspiration (via):

One instance of constitutional compromise was the agreement to count three-fifths of the slave population for purposes of state representation in Congress. Southern delegates wanted to count the whole slave population, which would have given the South greater influence over national policy. Northern delegates argued that slaves should not be counted at all, because they had no vote. As the price for achieving the ultimate aim of the Constitution—“to form a more perfect union”—the two sides compromised on this immediate issue of how to count slaves in the new nation. Pragmatic half-victories kept in view the higher aspiration of drawing the country more closely together.

Some might suggest that the constitutional compromise reached for the lowest common denominator—for the barest minimum value on which both sides could agree. I rather think something different happened. Both sides found a way to temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union. They set their sights higher, not lower, in order to identify their common goal and keep moving toward it.

“Temper ideology”.

Heh indeedy.

146 replies
  1. 1
    efgoldman says:

    Oh, good, Doug. You stepped on the cockroaches in Cole’s immediately preceding thread. We’re probably all better off for it.

  2. 2
    General Stuck says:

    You likely got some usual suspects scratching their noggins over this post.

  3. 3
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Not everyone associated with Emory is an asshat. I’m sure some of them don’t like this clown as the face of the university.

  4. 4
    srv says:

    David Brooks would have never owned slaves himself, but he would have seen this as perfectly reasonable.

  5. 5
    efgoldman says:

    Did women count? Serious question. I mean, they couldn’t vote, or in some states own property. Is it possible that slaves counted more than [white] women?

  6. 6
    PeakVT says:

    @efgoldman:

    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

  7. 7
    pat says:

    what the HELL happened in the previous post??? If that is the way the new site is going to look, good bye and thanks for all the fish.

    OTOH, if you keep it the way it is I promise to start sending you a few cents once in a while because without balloonjuice I wouldn’t need a computer…

    then again, maybe I’d get something DONE around here……

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    The worst part about this idiotic analogy is that it doesn’t even work. It’s just both sides do it all over again.

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    I seem to be getting the mobile site about half the time when I reload.

  10. 10
    vhh says:

    The 3/5 compromise is a case in which Solomon’s solution—cutting the disputed baby in half—was embraced. I recall reading that at least one of the Founding Fathers, perhaps Madison himself, foresaw that this arrangement would ultimately be resolved via bloodshed. Which it was, in the Civil War. The present GOP, the party of Lincoln, has ironically been captured by Lost Cause Confederates who basically want to go back to way things were, more or less, before the Civil War, by denying the vote to Those People, the Blahs.

  11. 11
    efgoldman says:

    OT, but in interesting election news:

    Stephen Colbert Says He Won’t Mention His Sister’s Campaign for Congress on Air Unless She Does Something Funny

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....l-bid.html

  12. 12
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Pretty sure we could get the GOP to agree to raise taxes if we went back to counting minorities as 3/5 of a person. Heck, we could probably get a lot more than just that.

    What a really bad, awful analogy to make. Let’s make everyone eat a shit sandwich today because we were really awful people a long time ago and made people eat shit AND piss sandwiches, covered in vomit, previously!

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    @efgoldman:

    Free women counted as full people; slave women counted as 3/5ths of a person. And, no, women could not vote.

    Abigail Adams was asking the same questions you did while the Constitution was being written but unfortunately she didn’t get any traction.

  14. 14
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    The front page seems to be borked for me, tried refreshing, refreshing from source(ctl-f5) still can’t see this post. Wouldn’t have known it was here except for the next post link in the previous post about cole being hippy.

  15. 15
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also being kicked around at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. The whole piece has something to do with funding for the liberal arts, but wrapped up in vagueness and platitudes along with the oddball exaltation of the three-fifths compromise. Whatever’s going on, it doesn’t sound pleasant.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This guy is using the nearly fatal compromise in the Constitution as an example of how compromise should work. This is a novel approach to argumentation.

  17. 17
    Keith G says:

    @vhh: Well, at least there was a single country which could then have a civil war. To me, that is what is indicated by the “tempering” comment. The trick to getting a party to compromise is bringing them to the point that they understand that they have something to lose if a workable solution is not agreed to – hence the movement on immigration.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, it did kick the can down the road for almost 100 years, which is what conservatism is all about: letting future generations solve the problems they can’t be arsed to find a solution for.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: One can use duct tape to secure a body panel on a car, but one probably wouldn’t enter that car in a show.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    One instance of constitutional decisiveness was the Dred Scott decision…

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think it was T Jefferson that said, “over my dead body” when asked if the constitution would allow women to vote.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Plessy and Buck v. Bell were up there as well.

  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    OK, this guy is looking for an example of constitutional compromise and this is the example he decides to use? And, as the president of an actual university, he’s supposed to be smart?

    I would like to offer all Emory grads here my Johns Hopkins SAIS crying towel. You have my sincerest sympathies.

  24. 24
    Maude says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:
    I got the mobile version. I clicked the arrow for comments and got the desktop version.
    The site is having problems.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ash Can:

    Johns Hopkins SAIS

    Did you go to classes with Wolf Blitzer?

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Wikipedia says that Buck v. Bell was never expressly overruled. I see a growth area for aspiring conservative jurists.

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, he was before me. And Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz were (just barely) after me. But it’s still more than enough to embarrass me to tears.

  28. 28
    Keith G says:

    @Ash Can: I think it is a valid example, all the more so because the stakes were so unambiguously huge. This was the political equivalent of a high wire act with no net.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Keith G:

    It’s technically a legitimate example, but given this country’s history, the 3/5 compromise is typically not favorably cited as an example of model behavior. It’s like saying “Let’s consider some of the positive things Hitler did…”

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ash Can: You were probably there right around the time one of my best friends was there.

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: That’s fine, but for god’s sake, phrase it differently. Acknowledge its sheer poisonousness. Don’t hold it up and crow about how cool it is.

  32. 32
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    A few minutes ago this here web site started zooming in on it’s own, I’d zoom it back and it’d zoom in on it’s own. Then it brought up the onscreen keyboard and started typing. I noticed a small bug walking around on my touch screen monitor.

  33. 33
    Stillwater says:

    If abolitionists weren’t so adamant that slavery was fucked up would this guy still think slavery was part of a “more perfect union”?

    Has ABL chimed in yet?

  34. 34
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Doug J…consider having a brain scan. You’re going from bad to worse.

  35. 35
    Origuy says:

    I’ve been seeing the mobile version on and off for a while on Chrome. Interestingly, I’ve also seen it happening on freethoughtblogs.com.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    @Baud: Introducing Godwin here is a bit over the top.

    We are living in what has been the most powerful country known because the decisions made in 1787 allowed for the creation of a single federal republic to be the government of the former confederated states. Yup, it still was a rather barbarous society flawed with all sorts of villainy, but those compromises (the 3/5th the most troubling and painful as often compromises must be) allowed there to now be a single state, the Union.

  37. 37
    Raven says:

    @Ash Can: I saw the Dali Lama at Emory. He said “I feel as if I am preaching to the choir here”!

    Oh, EmEry. Nevermind.

  38. 38
    General Stuck says:

    Did a quick wiki scan on Emery, and seems they shut down in 1861 when all the students left to fight the yankees. After the war, they floundered around financial, until some preacher gave a sermon praising the end of slavery, and the cash came back.

    I didn’t comment on this post, cause the diatribe quote smelled like a new kind of code to me. Of something, I know not what, for certain.

    I agree with Ash Can. Goddam , he could have found a better example of political compromise than this, in the 21st century. People say shit like this, when the topic is on their minds. We have a black president, and a bunch of southern senators are seemingly just a frogs breath away from hollering nigger, and this guy gives us a politically correct way of saying it. It smells like modern white supremacy fear to me. The well educated version.

  39. 39
    Ash Can says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Heh! Small chance, though. Student turnover is (obvIously) very high at a two-year institution.

  40. 40
    Keith G says:

    @Ash Can: Christ on a cracker, what are you typing about?

    That’s fine, but for god’s sake, phrase it differently. Acknowledge its sheer poisonousness. Don’t hold it up and crow about how cool it is.

    If you got that from what I typed than it seems to me that you are looking for reasons to complain.

    Piffle

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    @Raven: Which is why I sympathize with the students and grads of a decent educational institution when their leadership does something stupid. It’s not fun to be in that position.

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    Akk! I refreshed and got the mobile site. I’m sitting at the same desktop I always use. WTF?

  43. 43
    Gravenstone says:

    @Ash Can: As president of a university, the only thing he needs to be qualified at is shaking down alumni and other potential donors. Brains have nothing to do with the title.

  44. 44
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: Yes, I am definitely unable to understand what you’re typing, then. Seriously.

  45. 45
    Raven says:

    @Ash Can: My wife’s dad was dying in a hospital in Lychburgh and the minister from their family church was an Emory grad. We were just making small talk when I mentioned having see the Dalai (sorry for the typo) there and he made some stupid fucking comment like “yea, they have all kinds of nuts there”. It wasn’t the time or place so I let it ride but goddamn.

  46. 46
    Stillwater says:

    @Keith G: He’s not arguing that it permitted the creation of a single state. He specifically said the 3/5s compromise was an instance of “tempering ideology” to for the purpose of creating “a more perfect union”.

    It’s hard to read in an intelligent person saying such things with charity.

    ETA: if he just said “a union” that would be consistent with your view of it. But he didn’t say that.

  47. 47
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: WHOA, hold on — now I get it. I didn’t mean YOU should rephrase it, I meant HIM. Sorry!

    Oh, and FYWP

  48. 48
    Ash Can says:

    @Raven: Swell. I still give Emory grads the benefit of the doubt, though.

  49. 49
    General Stuck says:

    It kinda sounds like the dude is hinting that maybe Obama should consider the founders and what happened 200 plus years ago, and maybe not be so uppity, making the white supremacists so crazy, so we might could all get along better and work things out down the road a spell.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    @Ash Can: Well that’s a start. Look, in 1787, we were a society up to it’s eyebrows in quicksand and we were going down fast.

    Yes, would have been better if no slave ships ever arrived in this hemisphere. Unfortunately that was not the reality being litigated in Philadelphia. As bad as the 3/5 was, it was just an off shoot of the real villain – the decision not to end slavery to begin with.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: It was, nevertheless, a pernicious compromise. It may have been necessary, but I think it is one of those things that we should not look back on with a great deal of pride. Our ancestors who agreed to this weren’t really living up to their ideals, were they?

  52. 52
    magurakurin says:

    @General Stuck:

    I think it was T Jefferson that said, “over my dead body” when asked if the constitution would allow women to vote.

    And then he said, “Weezy, where’s my dinner?” Oh, wait, you mean THOMAS Jefferson….

  53. 53

    I understand that the President of Emory University has invited President Obama to deliver 3/5 of a commencement address.

  54. 54
    magurakurin says:

    @Baud:

    Let’s consider some of the positive things Hitler did…”

    VW Beetles were pretty cool cars…

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    @Stillwater: Yeah, maybe it was just phrased in such a way to allow too much reader bias to be read in.

    I am sure he has an email address. Maybe a concerned soul might write and kindly ask.

    As I saw it…

    temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.

    is a way to describe what happened. Both sides decided to not give in to the purely ideological; both sides accepted ideas that they were not comfortable with and because of that they got something better than what was originally in place. And, they began a centuries long journey toward a more just society.

  56. 56
    gnomedad says:

    Northern delegates argued that slaves should not be counted at all

    See, libruls were the real racists back then, too.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @magurakurin:

    Since I’m full of fun factoids today: Sherman Hemsley was Norman Lear’s first and only choice for the part of George Jefferson, but Hemsley was contracted to do a play on Broadway and couldn’t start work on “All in the Family” right away. That’s why there was the device of saying that George refused to set foot in Archie’s house — they were waiting for Hemsley to be available, which he finally was two years after the show started airing.

  58. 58
    Stillwater says:

    @Keith G: Agreed. I doubt that the writer was being overtly racist in writing that sentence. In fact, I doubt he’s racist at all. He was probably focusing on the results of the first big ideological compromise he could think of, and went on to invoke Hallowed Language to reinforce the point.

    But all given all that, it’s still a remarkable (and not in a good way!) thing for an intelligent person to say.

  59. 59
    ppcli says:

    @Keith G: How is introducing Godwin over the top?

    That compromise facilitated and promoted an arrangement in which millions of human beings were held as property and condemned to a soul-crushing life and often early death – whipped, raped, mutilated and worked to death at their owner’s whim. Children could and would be taken from their mothers, men from their children, men and women prevented from having loving permanent marital bonds. And this horrifying, brutal, murderous practice went on nearly another 100 years!.

    The Holocaust is absolutely an appropriate comparison.

    The fact that you like the shape of the US right now doesn’t change that in the slightest.

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Once again, what’s worse slavery itself or the 3/5th compromise? Or no compromise and a return to the Articles or worse a new southern nation where there would be no federal power to limit slavery whatsoever?

    I guess one could argue the resulting economic disruption and probable warfare would lead to conditions limiting the growth of the slave (and all other) populations. So that might be a positive.

    Our founder ideals didn’t include a place for me at their table, but I tend not to get too caught up in the specifics. I am just glad they kept the ball rolling so we might have a chance to continue doctoring their imperfections.

  61. 61
    Yutsano says:

    @magurakurin: And to be completely honest, he wasn’t that bad of a painter. If only he had followed that ambition instead of the path he took…

  62. 62
    Stillwater says:

    @Yutsano: Hmmm. I get the feeling you’re not talking about Hitler. I wonder who…

  63. 63
    Keith G says:

    @ppcli: Maybe because it is too easy, too tidy and does not address differences – some of which you have listed.

  64. 64
    magurakurin says:

    @Mnemosyne: you see, it is true, you learn something new everyday. BJ is a treasure, I tell you , a treasure.

  65. 65
    magurakurin says:

    @Stillwater:

    Hmmm. I get the feeling you’re not talking about Hitler. I wonder who…

    witty, Wilde, very, very witty.

  66. 66
    ppcli says:

    @Keith G: Or perhaps it’s because we acknowledge the horrors of the Holocaust but prefer to pull back from acknowledging just how Satanic a compromise was being made in tolerating slavery.

    Or is “too easy, too tidy” another way of saying “too obviously apt“?

    Sure, there were differences. But it’s the similarities that are frankly more compelling.

    Most of the time, when the Holocaust is invoked, the comparison is far-fetched, typically even preposterous. Not on this point.

  67. 67
    Sly says:

    Both sides found a way to temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.

    “And that little aspiration that no one liked grew up to be… the Civil War. And now you know the rest of the story.”

  68. 68
    Sly says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Abigail Adams was asking the same questions you did while the Constitution was being written but unfortunately she didn’t get any traction.

    John Adams’s “despotism of the petticoat” remains one of my all-time favorite non sequiturs.

  69. 69
    Schlemizel says:

    Yeah, what a wonderful compromise. It simply let millions of more humans to be born and die in bondage, treated no better than cattle for another 87 years. And at the end of those 87 years it only took a 4 year long conflict that cost more than 750000 Americans their lives to undo the great bargain.

    I just don’t get why you people won’t cheer these grand compromises.

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    @ppcli: Both realities were uniquely horrible and unimaginable to those not living under those regimes.

    I cannot imagine living in a society that enslaved me; nor can I imagine living in a society whose stated goal was to murder me, murder all of my family, murder everyone else like me and murder all other on a list of “sub human” beings – and to continue the mass murders in every territory they moved into.

  71. 71
    ppcli says:

    Temper ideology, eh?

    I’ll just put down some words of one of my favorite of the Founders, Gouverneur Morris. Here is how Madison, who took notes, reports his August 8, 1787 words to the Constitutional Convention:

    He [Gouverneur Morris] never would concur in upholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of heaven on the states where it prevailed. Compare the free regions of the Middle States, where a rich & noble cultivation marks the prosperity & happiness of the people, with the misery & poverty which overspread the barren wastes of Va. Maryd. & the other States having slaves…. Proceed southwardly, and every step you take, through the great regions of slaves, presents a desert increasing with the increasing proportion of these wretched beings.

    Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in the representation? Are they men? Then make them citizens, and let them vote. Are the property? Why, then, is no other property included? The Houses in this city [Philadelphia] are worth more than all the wretched slaves which cover the rice swamps of South Carolina.

    The admission of slaves into the Representation when fairly explained comes to this: that the inhabitant of Georgia and S. C. who goes to the Coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their dearest connections & damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Govt. instituted for protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pa. or N. Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a practice.

    I cannot put myself into the mind of someone who could regard those words as an “ideology” that sensible people can see must be “tempered”.

  72. 72
    DPS says:

    When you compromise, everybody wins!

  73. 73
    efgoldman says:

    As bad as his choice of historical example is (and its about as bad as can be) his language generally comes out of the Business School of Speaking Jargon Word Salad. Awful awful stuff.

    “empower faculty responsibility for future opportunities.”

    And this:

    “We need to continue this foot race together, encouraging each other and from time to time forgiving each other, rising above our occasional discomforts and applying our best selves to achieve and serve the excellence of mind and greatness of heart to which we are called and to which we aspire,”

    Snowbillie might as well have given the speech.
    I didn’t think anyone used that kid of jargon more than my large financial service company employer. I’m wrong.

    Oh, and @ppcli: Hooray for Gouverneur Morris and James Madison. Would that others had listened.

    ETA: Forgot the link
    http://www.emorywheel.com/wagn.....v-address/

  74. 74
    General Stuck says:

    You got to admit, it was mighty white of them to make it 3/5, or 60% human.

  75. 75
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @ppcli: Stolen and put on the book of faces. Thanks for bringing this to bear.

  76. 76
    Origuy says:

    The alternative was not a United States with no slavery, the alternative was no united States, or at least not all of them. We would probably make a different choice, but that was the choice they had.

  77. 77
    Keith G says:

    @Schlemizel: Being a devil’s advocate (maybe literally). Would it have been better to let the 1787 Convention blow up over slavery and return to the degenerating turmoil the the Articles government?

    No matter what happened, there would be slavery in the early 1800s in the American South. As it played out, there was slavery with limits. The ultimate limit being an American North that had grown strong enough (profits of slavery, how ironic) to smash the slave south in a civil war.

    Would the slaves had fared better facing their masters completely on their own with no import ceilings, with many of the anti slave whites relocated or dead, and with no strong Union army (and no Lincoln?) to eventually free them?

    I donno. Just thoughts

  78. 78
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @ppcli:

    I think you have to admit there’s a glaring distinction between a slavery system designed primarily to rob humans of their labor, and the Nazi’s Final Solution (and the Ottoman genocide of the Armenians), which was designed primarily to murder humans.

    I think you’ve also got to take into account the fact that chattel slavery is about as old as civilization itself, and that race-based genocide was a shocking development of the 20th Century.

    Not that they aren’t both horrible, horrible practices, but I’m going to have to say that race-based genocide is worse.

  79. 79
    magurakurin says:

    @ppcli:

    I cannot put myself into the mind of someone who could regard those words as an “ideology” that sensible people can see must be “tempered”.

    This. And it is even more odious when one considers that the writer is comparing it to the current deadlock between the Congress and the President and his supporters in Congress. An argument whether or not taxes should increase on wealthy individuals or cuts should be implemented to rectify fiscal deficits. It’s pretty fucking ghoulish when step back and take a long look at what the guy wrote.

  80. 80
    Cerberus says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Yeah, it’s really remarkable when these defenders of the status quo reasonable moderates sort of give the game away with shit like this.

    The 3/5ths compromise is one of the perfect reflections of why compromise for compromise’s sake is often just a reward to the most backward side and leads to lasting and entrenched problems that take generations to try and fix. So to see someone too busy fellating a dog whistle to notice that and how utterly insipid it makes them look is truly something to behold.

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    Haven’t read all the comments…..but I have the uneasy feeling that one or more persons on this thread is/are of the opinion that extolling the 3/5 compromise was something other than a mind-bogglingly fucked up thing for anyone, much less the president of a major university, to do.

    Don’t tell me if I’m right — having a shitty enough weekend as it is.

  82. 82
    General Stuck says:

    @eemom:

    one or two

  83. 83
    efgoldman says:

    @eemom:

    Don’t tell me if I’m right — having a shitty enough weekend as it is.

    Nope, you’re wrong. Various degrees of condemnation, some attempts at understanding (but no apologia.) Nobody’s on his side.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: As I said, it may have been necessary to forming the union but it isn’t something we should extoll.

  85. 85
    Chris says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Perhaps. Depends on your POV. I suspect more than one slave would’ve chosen death in a gas chamber to a lifetime of slavery. (Not to minimize the horror of either event).

    Semi-OT but since you bring up extermination – that was America’s other original sin. The Indians. That one gets little discussion compared to slavery, but I remember reading somewhere that ole Adolf cited it approvingly as an example he wanted to imitate in Eastern Europe.

  86. 86
    amk says:

    Boehner and Obama need to look to our Founding Fathers for inspiration

    Trolling your own post again, doug?

  87. 87
    General Stuck says:

    Obama don’t care about no southern genteelity with the wingnuts. He’s on a mission from gawd, and that is that.

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill that would create a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States and allow them to become legal permanent residents within eight years, according to a report published online Saturday by USA Today. President Barack Obama’s bill would create a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. The bill includes more security funding and requires business owners to adopt a system for verifying the immigration status of new hires within four years, the newspaper said.

    Malkin is laying an egg, and the tea party is cleaning their muskets. John Boehner doesn’t know whether to shit or go blind. 3/5’s that motherfuckers.

  88. 88
    Chris says:

    @Cerberus:

    Agreed.

    And I completely understand what people are saying about “no compromise, no America.” It’s just that IMO that says more about how incredibly inhumane and fucked up society was then than anything else.

  89. 89
    danielx says:

    Both sides found a way to temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union. They set their sights higher, not lower, in order to identify their common goal and keep moving toward it.

    And history clearly shows how that all worked out so well.

  90. 90
    Bart says:

    The “via” link is broken; should be http://www.eschatonblog.com/20.....omise.html

  91. 91
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Chris:

    Semi-OT but since you bring up extermination – that was America’s other original sin. The Indians. That one gets little discussion compared to slavery, but I remember reading somewhere that ole Adolf cited it approvingly as an example he wanted to imitate in Eastern Europe.

    Except that, ya know, what happened to the indigenous peoples of the Americas is what happened to “uncivilized” peoples across the face the planet for thousands of years when “civilized” peoples wanted their land to farm or mine. It was usually a matter of an offer by the civilized to the uncivilized to assimilate or die. Hitler tossed out the part about assimilation.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    I think you have to admit there’s a glaring distinction between a slavery system designed primarily to rob humans of their labor, and the Nazi’s Final Solution (and the Ottoman genocide of the Armenians), which was designed primarily to murder humans.

    What’s interesting, though, is that the stages prior to the Final Solution were robbery and slavery. Places like Auschwitz were primarily slave labor camps where the weakest were killed on arrival and the people who made it past the first cut were worked to death.

    There’s a really great (albeit depressing) BBC series called “The Nazis: A Warning from History” that shows very clearly that there were a lot of steps between the Nuremburg Laws and the Final Solution, and it took quite a while for the Nazis to decide on extermination since the Jews were a very useful slave labor force.

    I think you’ve also got to take into account the fact that chattel slavery is about as old as civilization itself, and that race-based genocide was a shocking development of the 20th Century.

    What was unique about American slavery is that it was race-based and inheritable — in ancient Rome, there was not a specific class of people identifiable by their skin color who were automatically slaves. It was also a much more elastic condition — ancient Roman slaves could buy their freedom and become Roman citizens, unlike the African slaves or American-born slaves in the US. In the US, a freeborn black person could be kidnapped into slavery with no recourse — read about Peyton Polly, who managed to purchase the freedom of himself and his children, only to have his children kidnapped back into slavery with no recourse.

    As other people said, there’s a reason Hitler used the race-based policies of the US as a model for his own race-based slave society in Germany.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    If this guy wanted to point out a compromise in the Constitution, he could easily have chosen the decision have a bicameral legislature with one chamber representing population and the other representing territory. There’s your fucking compromise right there. He chose to go a different route. Odd that.

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Odd that

    Not really. Once you roll it around a little against current events.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: You might have missed my tone of voice, what with the typing and all.

  96. 96
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: 1)Then, was it good that it was agreed to?

    2) Was he extolling? I don’t know. I thought he was just saying sometimes one makes hard choices for a greater good. I might be being too generous. I normally don’t read bias or ill will into ambiguity. I assumed you didn’t always need to rend garments when talking about slavery/holocaust/the clearing of natives. There are always a few nitwits who say something different, but they are the exceptions that show the dominance of the rule. In my mind it’s a given how horrible these periods where.

    It reminds me of how conservatives always hound Obama for not using/emphasizing all the proper shibboleths.

    Did he or did he not say: terrorism, I love America, communism is bad, etc

    Hell, I hear the US mint is releasing a commemorative coin showing Obama shooting skeet.

    Pardon me, but I am so fucking tired of outrage because someone does not love/hate something as much as they should or they do’t speak with the correct urgency

    But I am sure if this keeps up, Dr Wagner will begin every future published essay with, “I really hate the 3/5th Compromise.”

    And even though no deeper understanding will be reached, the world will become a better place.

  97. 97
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Nah, I got your snark, my comment wasn’t meant to lecture you.

  98. 98
    cmorenc says:

    @vhh:

    The present GOP, the party of Lincoln, has ironically been captured by Lost Cause Confederates who basically want to go back to way things were, more or less, before the Civil War, by denying the vote to Those People, the Blahs.

    That’s farther back than the neo-confederates really want to go. Instead, the golden age they dream of is an inchaote amalgum of the 1880s, 1920s and 1950s, but with a softer version of Jim Crow where some blacks and hispanics who have been safely assimilated into dominant white culture are accepted, but all the rest of those takers and young bucks with T-Bone steaks and welfare free-riders are not. Back to an imagined golden age of America where people lived like Ozzie and Harriett in the burbs or Sheriff Andy Taylor in rural areas, and ranchers and cowboys and adventurers discovering mineral riches for the country’s prosperity lived out west. But mainly, the country was still firmly under the control of people like them, not those “other” people like that Kenyan socialist usurper.

  99. 99
    srv says:

    @General Stuck: Obama should propose giving those immigrants 3/5ths a vote.

    How long does it take for a permanent resident to convert?

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    @srv:

    Don’t know. They are eligible for a Green Card in eight years, so I guess what is the usual period after that to citizenship, if that is what they want. I’m not up on immigration lingo.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Were I a lawyer and ex-artillery officer of no particularly prominent family in in 1787, would I have supported the compromise? Alexander Hamilton was and did. Looking back from today’s perspective, it is hard to say. I would like to think that I would have been one of those who would not compromise wrt slavery, but I would have been a man of that time. Also, even if it was necessary to preserve the Union, I don’t think I need to pretend it was morally right. As far as extolling goes, the man said we should take a lesson from it and learn to compromise. As I noted above, there is a much less fraught and equally famous compromise that made its way into the Constitution. Why would one chose the 3/5 compromise with all its baggage over a straight up 50/50 compromise if one is just trying to make a point regarding giving a little to make a deal?

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @General Stuck:

    Wiki says it’s five years from getting permanent residence. that they can apply for full citizenship.

  103. 103
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What was unique about American slavery is that it was race-based and inheritable…

    Probably not a revelation, but slavery neither began nor ended with the Romans, and the Roman practice was, well, the Roman practice. The ancient Egyptians employed dwarfs as slaves in the gold mines because they were identifiable. The Ottomans used sub-Saharan African slaves as eunuchs guarding the harems because if the process which made the eunuch didn’t take, they could tell if the guards had fathered children.

    When the Spaniards first introduced Old World slavery to the Western Hemisphere, they didn’t import slaves. They enslaved the indigenous peoples. But those indigenous peoples died off from Old World diseases. The Spaniards could have used the same people they used as galley slaves in the Mediterranean, but they turned to Africa instead because they didn’t think the Mediterranean peoples could hold up under the conditions of the Americas, which were similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa.

  104. 104
    karen marie says:

    @Baud: Like Romney did?

  105. 105
  106. 106
    General Stuck says:

    I’m off to bed, and hopefully to forget this creepy thread.

  107. 107
    General Stuck says:

    @Yutsano:

    They keep digging and digging, and digging some more.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: @srv: Generally speaking, one must have a green card for five years to apply for citizenship. There are exceptions, but that is probably what would apply here. That being said, a green card gives the right to permanent residency in the US and pretty much every right of a citizen except the rights to vote, serve on a jury, or be a commissioned officer in the military. The green card is the thing they want. Citizenship is almost a matter of course afterwards if the immigrant chooses to pursue it.

  109. 109
    Cacti says:

    That the President of an Atlanta-based university would still write such dreck today, shows that Sherman wasn’t nearly thorough enough.

  110. 110
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    As I noted above, there is a much less fraught and equally famous compromise that made its way into the Constitution. Why would one chose the 3/5 compromise with all its baggage over a straight up 50/50 compromise if one is just trying to make a point regarding giving a little to make a deal?

    I bet he might wish he used the Connecticut Compromise. It may just come down to name recognition and he did not take the time to think beyond that.

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

    I imagine Obama might have restated the “clinging to their guns” comment were he given a chance and later maybe wished he said a bit less about the Gates arrest.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    I think you kind of missed the point here:

    The ancient Egyptians employed dwarfs as slaves in the gold mines because they were identifiable.

    In ancient Egypt, were all dwarfs automatically slaves?

    The Ottomans used sub-Saharan African slaves as eunuchs guarding the harems because if the process which made the eunuch didn’t take, they could tell if the guards had fathered children.

    In the Ottoman empire, were all sub-Saharan Africans slaves?

    You’re spending a lot of energy to dodge around the fact that our use of race-based slavery where everyone of that race was automatically assumed to be a slave unless they had the paperwork to prove otherwise was, in fact, unique to the United States.

    And you can certainly disagree, but I do think that there is something uniquely odious in the fact that the American system allowed free-born people to be abducted and sold into slavery and the people who were abducted had no defense against it because their own skin color was proof positive of their slave status.

  112. 112
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: I am perfectly willing to accept that this was a poorly chosen example, but it is the example he chose and published in support of his STFU liberal arts people position – another layer of dipshittery.

  113. 113

    Thank you, one and all, for a really stupid thread.

    If I knew what I did now, I would never have made the choices I made back then.

  114. 114

    Rats! I gots moderated!
    ETA: This place needs a West Coast moderator with time on her hands. SEXIST/COASTISTS!!

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Also, too, please note that I am not trying to downplay the horrors of the Holocaust — in fact, my point is that Hitler used the American model of race-based slavery and race-based discrimination to create the Holocaust. He studied American slavery and Jim Crow laws to develop and refine his own, even worse system.

    ETA: And the US’s conquest of the Native Americans, of course. The Nazi “evacuation” plan bears more than a passing resemblance to the US’s herding Native Americans onto reservations … but with the added “efficiency” of actively killing the people placed there.

  116. 116
    Cerberus says:

    @Keith G:

    There is zero chance that he didn’t know what he was doing by using that particular compromise with that particular glowing and approving language.

    I know you might want to be selectively deaf to the use of a giant dog whistle, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cerberus: Actually, I just looked the guy up; he is an electrical engineer. His column was, to my reading, a thinly veiled poke at the liberal arts community. He might well have had no idea of the implications of what he was saying. This is not a defense of the man; he should know what the fuck he is talking about.

  118. 118
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In the Ottoman empire, were all sub-Saharan Africans slaves?

    Basically, yes, because most of the Africans who became slaves were castrated, so the few who survived slavery and bought their way out couldn’t father children. So there was no lasting easily identifiable genetic or visible legacy left behind.

    And you can certainly disagree, but I do think that there is something uniquely odious in the fact that the American system allowed free-born people to be abducted and sold into slavery and the people who were abducted had no defense against it because their own skin color was proof positive of their slave status.

    Well, if there was anything unique about the American system, this wasn’t it, because the new European slave traders got their slaves from the established system in Africa that had been trading eastward for close to 1,000 years.

  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Basically, yes, because most of the Africans who became slaves were castrated, so the few who survived slavery and bought their way out couldn’t father children. So there was no lasting easily identifiable genetic or visible legacy left behind.

    So, in the Ottoman Empire, there were no merchants or laborers from sub-Saharan Africa? No sailors or farmers? Every sub-Saharan African located in the Ottoman Empire was an enslaved harem eunuch?

    Well, if there was anything unique about the American system, this wasn’t it, because the new European slave traders got their slaves from the established system in Africa that had been trading eastward for close to 1,000 years.

    And yet none of those eastward countries established an entire caste of permanent slaves who were identified primarily by their skin color, unlike the United States. Why is that?

    ETA: Since you seem to be unfamiliar with the unique features of slavery as it was developed in the United States, you may want to watch PBS’s “Africans in America”. I think it will be quite eye-opening for you.

  120. 120
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, in the Ottoman Empire, there were no merchants or laborers from sub-Saharan Africa? No sailors or farmers? Every sub-Saharan African located in the Ottoman Empire was an enslaved harem eunuch?

    There was no small amount of racism existent in those lands. The harems were populated by slave women- from the Balkans, Armenia, the Crimea (by the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultans were far more genetically Slavic than Turkic, since their mothers and harems were Slavs). And, again, the African slaves were castrated. If they have any business, who do they pass it on to?

    The Arabs traded for slaves. They didn’t breed slaves. This is perhaps what’s unique about the type of slavery introduced to the Western Hemisphere by Europeans. I’m not sure if the difference between the Arab practice and the European practice is due to the way Islam addresses slavery in ways that Christianity doesn’t, or if it has to do with the extra costs of shipping slaves across the Atlantic as opposed to shipping them along the coast of East Africa (or marching them through the desert, where there are oases and trading posts where slaves can be fed and kept alive). You can factor in that those who originally enslaved their captives kept the women, children and the land while selling off the males of fighting age. But in a region that imported somewhere between 11 million and 20 million easily identifiable sub-Saharan African slaves, you don’t see the results of genetic mash-ups in, say, Istanbul, Aleppo and Baghdad, which tells me that people of sub-Saharan African origins just weren’t reproducing in the area.

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Fuck you all; I’m listening to this from start to finish and then I’m out.

  122. 122
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Oh, so this is why facebook exploded? Not just posts by the usual suspects but giant flame wars. I wondered why this was happening now.

  123. 123
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Oh, so this is why facebook exploded? Not just posts by the usual suspects but giant flame wars. I wondered why this was happening now.

  124. 124
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): So, Muslim nations tended to rapidly convert slaves to Islam, and Islam holds that you cannot enslave a Muslim. This made breeding slaves practically impossible because a Muslim slave’s offspring would be free. Whereas in Christian colonies slaves inherited the condition of slavery from their mothers. Despite the breeding of slaves the international slave trade didn’t end until the early 19th century.

    Male African slaves were indeed castrated, mainly in Egypt before being shipped to other parts of the Empire. One of the great horrors of recorded history.

    According to a professor of East African history I once had who was a native of Zimbabwe, Arab traders traveled via inland routes as far south as Zimbabwe to kidnap children to enslave.

  125. 125
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @efgoldman: The US did not have universal male suffrage or universal male suffrage of citizens in the 18th century.

    Some women apparently did have access to the franchise in New Jersey until 1820. No women could vote again until Wisconsin gave women the franchise in 1920. My dates may be off by one or two years.

  126. 126
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ash Can: As Doug hints above, only a person who in his heart of hearts identifies always with the masters and never with the slaves could dismiss the dispute that led to the 3/5s compromise an “ideological” difference. It may have been ideology for some, but it was real human suffering for so many others.

    I think there’s a FAQ online about delegitimizing minority views and this would be a prime example. (Eg, “I’m not listening to you because you got so horribly emotional about that issue that impacts your life so intimately but is an abstract issue for me”)

  127. 127
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: There is a hereditary caste of slaves called Bella in Mali. Their masters are Tuaregs or Arabs usually, sometimes they are Black Africans. Got this from USA Today yesterday, print edition.

    I guess the Bella didn’t convert. Makes sense as much of the recent violence has been driven by religious extremism.

  128. 128
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He has no idea but it’s a self-satisfied ignorance, not an innocent one. He has no interest in understanding and empathizing with perspectives outside his place of privilege.

  129. 129
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Huh, not fair, why is nobody picking apart the utterly horrid, racist Op-Ed that appeared in Friday’s (2/15/13) edition of the Independent Florida Alligator, the student organ of the University of Florida?

    I believe the title was something along the lines of “Rap Sucks”?

    It’s still on the front page and has been “liked” on Facebook more than their other articles from the same edition.

    There are some racial air raid sirens in there. I wanted to write an angry letter but it would be wiser to let the students respond… if and when they get a clue.

  130. 130
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: It was also a much more elastic condition — ancient Roman slaves could buy their freedom and become Roman citizens, unlike the African slaves or American-born slaves in the US.

    *cough* bullshit! *cough*

  131. 131
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): That’s simply incorrect. The Puritans, for example, were engaging in ethnic cleansing like it was going out of style. In one lovely incident they left 200 Christian Indians to die of starvation on Deer Island in Boston Harbor. (Yep, they had recently converted due to Puritan efforts.) Unpersoned.

    Exterminating small and less powerful ethnic groups for trumped up religious regions was a favorite pasttime of Frankish tribes after their conversion to Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire, so I guess you could say it was an old family tradition.

  132. 132
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ppcli:

    It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of heaven on the states where it prevailed. Compare the free regions of the Middle States, where a rich & noble cultivation marks the prosperity & happiness of the people, with the misery & poverty which overspread the barren wastes of Va. Maryd. & the other States having slaves…. Proceed southwardly, and every step you take, through the great regions of slaves, presents a desert increasing with the increasing proportion of these wretched beings.

    And this curse continues without interruption today. Matter of fact, the houses in New Jersey ARE worth more than the dollar value put on the annual labor of Florida’s poor. Huh. (Especially agricultural workers.)

  133. 133
    Danack says:

    Anyone pointed out the pedo-smile yet? Or is it just me?

  134. 134
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Say what you want about the 3/5th Compromise. At least it’s an ethos.

  135. 135
    Ash Can says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Oh god, not that crap again. A poke at the liberal arts? Is thIs guy twelve? The undergrad engineering students at my undergrad university cracked on the liberal arts all the time. The grad ones didn’t, though; they had better things to do with their time and energy.

    A competent university president does not denigrate half of his own fucking institution. This guy is even more of a horse’s ass than I thought.

  136. 136
    Aimai says:

    @Keith G: no federal power really limited slavery–in the sense of ” protected slaves.” Your argument is absurd. The south needed us in the north more than we needed them. Maybe if the two halves had split at the beginning the south would have self destructed and been absorbed back in a peaceful fashion. The 3/5ths compromise tied the north and the territories to the rotting corpse of slavery for 100 years. It was and remains a disgraceful act. Also you seem to be arguing as though without it the north would abolish Alavert. The compromise had nothing to do with that. It simply allowed the southern oligarchs disproportionate political power based on the number of their client/slaves. Slavery was squeezing out poor whites and destroying politically meaningful democracy in comparison with the north.

  137. 137
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    I haven’t read the whole thread, so if somebody’s already mentioned this, apologies, but this is the same “prestigious” university whose prestige rested on years worth of lies.

    Just throwing it out there since we’re piling on Emory.

  138. 138
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @Another Halocene Human: You talking about this column? If so, I’m not seeing what the fuss is about. It’s a dumb student rant. College newspapers publish them every day. In the age of the Internet, they publish them every hour. There’s a reason they call writing like that “sophomoric.” It’s because sophomores write it.

  139. 139
    El Cid says:

    I’d be open to having Southern Congressional and Senate votes equal to 3/5 of every other one.

  140. 140
    Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    @Baud: Exactly. It’s like all the war-porn fans who point out that war’s good side is the acceleration of technological advances, ignoring that the major advances are made so that we can kill more people more rapidly at lower cost. So Yeah us!

    I know Wagner in passing professionally and he’s started and/or embraced many humanitarian programs at Emory, including some fairly stark exploration of slavery and academic institutions’ dirty hands in slavery (including Emory’s founder families).

    C’mon Jim, we know you’re a bioengineer, but at $1.2M/year, you should be doing A LOT better with your essays.

  141. 141
    Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    race-based genocide was a shocking development of the 20th Century

    Dude, you need to read your Old Testament a little closer.

  142. 142
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Kip the Wonder Rat:

    Do you read the Old Testament literally? LOL!

  143. 143
    RSA says:

    @Ash Can:

    The undergrad engineering students at my undergrad university cracked on the liberal arts all the time.

    Mine too, and I see such comments all over the Internet. They typically take the form of “It’s so easy to bullshit the instructor and get a good grade,” with the conclusion that this reflects on the humanities in general. It’s a tough problem.

  144. 144
    Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Meh, good point. The OT is full of genocide stories, so to the degree that it’s based remotely on what people thought was acceptable behavior (even if apocryphal), then genocide comes under the heading of “nothing new under the sun.”

  145. 145
    Tim Connor says:

    @srv:
    Yes David Brooks has always been sound on what was referred to as “the question of the goose” in 1850s Kansas.

    I hope David Brooks isn’t surprised when he is reincarnated as a rat. Everything has a price.

  146. 146
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Kip the Wonder Rat:

    The OT is full of genocide stories…

    But it isn’t. The destruction of Jericho is the story of the destruction of a Canaanite city, not of the Canaanites, probably because it was oral history passed down through the Canaanites who ended up forming the Kingdom of Israel and Judaism with the Semites. And in reality, the destruction described therein probably only applied to the part of the city occupied by the aristocrats of the city- archaeological evidence tells us that Israelite homes & pottery were identical to those of the lower strata of Canaanite cities.

    I think that what your thinking of as genocide is in actuality the mythology built around the spread of some cultures at the expense of other cultures:Cultures, not people.

Comments are closed.