I am not that which I am

Many folks, Nooners included, have latched onto an AEI “study” which claims that only the IRS could have possibly stopped tea party-mentum from putting Romney over the top in 2012. Wick Allison at AmCon provides the thorough rebuttal, which you should read in full, but I will blurb the key point in Eschatonnish fashion.

These groups all wanted 501(c)4 tax exempt status. This bracket of the tax code lets you both tax-exempt your donors’ cash and shield them from public disclosure. However, it forbids political activity by eligible groups. Nonprofits, for example, cannot endorse or campaign against a specific candidiate. If swinging the election was a goal for any of these tea party groups (cough) then they did not deserve 501(c)4 status in the first place. The argument destroys itself in a logical paradox and Shatner wins.

Aside from the main point, it is worth repeating how consistently excellent the writing and thinking at American Conservative really is. Daniel Larison you should all know, and Ron Unz’s series on race and IQ more thoroughly deconstructed the neo-racialists than any other treatment that I have seen. Then you have Pat Buchanan, who comes across as a cranky and paranoid Charles Townsend from the TV show with Daryl Hannah. As I mentioned before staff meetings there must be something like the Algonquin Round Table plus Gilbert Gottfried reading from Fifty Shades of Grey.

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87 replies
  1. 1
    PeakVT says:

    Well, AmCon and its individual writers are not without flaws, but it is probably the least heinous conservative publication out there these days.

  2. 2
    Shakezula says:

    @PeakVT: Damned with really, really, really, really faint praise.

  3. 3
    quannlace says:

    You want logic from the same people who think they lost ’cause of Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie being nice to Obama?

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    They have to explain why they lost to the big donors. The big donors will accept the explanation because it’s too humiliating to admit that all that campaign money went to consultants and media outlets.

  5. 5
    EconWatcher says:

    I find a lot of the specific analysis in AmCon interesting and often insightful, but I have a sense of unease about it.

    Take Larison. He certainly comes off as the voice of reason, although I think most of his analysis would appear completely banal in a liberal publication–it only looks fresh or cutting edge because of the title of the publication where you find it.

    But the guy is a neoconfederate. There is no dispute about that, although he’s certainly quiet about it in the articles that liberals love to read. So you have to wonder, what’s the angle? What’s he really selling?

    It’s sort of the mirror image of neoconservatives: They use conservative rhetoric and seem to adopt all kinds of rightwing causes from the death penalty to the Second Amendment. But I think they’re mostly faking it to win points with their target constituency, because there’s only one issue they really care about, and that’s endless war in the Middle East.

    With Larison, I have this feeling that he frames his analysis in liberal-friendly terms because it helps him get page hits, and also because his isolationist posture serves some bigger picture–one we wouldn’t find congenial at all. I might enjoy reading him occasionally, but I would never trust him.

  6. 6
    liberal says:

    @EconWatcher:

    With Larison, I have this feeling that he frames his analysis in liberal-friendly terms because it helps him get page hits, and also because his isolationist posture serves some bigger picture–one we wouldn’t find congenial at all. I might enjoy reading him occasionally, but I would never trust him.

    What’s the trust involved? Most of what he writes re foreign policy doesn’t involve “facts” per se, so there’s no issue of him fudging those. Rather, it’s him putting forward anti-interventionist arguments.

    I don’t like the religious stuff or the neoconfederate stuff either, but on foreign policy he’s a lot better than many (of course not all) so-called liberals, including ones here who just loved themselves that Libya intervention.

  7. 7
    EconWatcher says:

    @liberal:

    David Duke was a big opponent of the Iraq War and generally also opposes intervention in the Middle East. But I wouldn’t give him page hits even if he somehow learned to purge references to international Zionist conspiracies in his writing because, well, he’s a Nazi scumbag.

    Is this an unfair comparison? I’m not so sure it is. Larison is apparently an intellectual neoconfederate. Ponder what that means. Here’s a guy with a PhD who thinks the slaveholding South had the better moral argument. Who is he, really? And do we want to refer to him as a respectable source of commentary?

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    You know what, they have jack shit to do with anything so why waste our time thinking about how serious they are?. They do NOT represent the views of the modern GOP or hold sway over or the ear of any significant politician. The modern GOP is pushing a theocratic state model based on cookie cutter legislation from ALEC that limits the voting rights of minorities, mandates an immigration model that resembles a soviet era East Germany and treats women as chattel and birthing vessels. Nice to know that there are a few reasonable conservatives out there, surprised there’s not an zoo exhibit that features them but I could give a shit about anything coming from that crew, they sat back and allowed their party to be consumed by the beast and have done fuck all about it to the detriment of the country.

    sorry Tim, just cranky as hell this morning ….

  9. 9
    liberal says:

    @EconWatcher:
    I’m sorry to say, but those are clearly all ad hominem arguments. I agree that the cry of “ad hominem fallacy” can go too far—we don’t have the time to check every fact and every argument. But I don’t see much in his writings on foreign policy that need that kind of checking.

    It’s quite reasonable of course to make a tactical argument, in terms of politics, that the taint from associating with a particular person or group outways the benefit. But in isolation, on foreign policy—which is mainly what Larison is all about, after all—he’s much better than almost everyone, including many (not all) liberals.

    Someone like Ron Paul is different, IMHO. While I agree with him on much of his foreign policy views, it’s only a small fraction of what he’s about. Furthermore, almost all of his views seem to be predicated on the view that (one particular interpretation of) the Constitution is some kind of Bible that we need to follow lest we face ruin, which is the wrong way to go about reasoning about these things.

  10. 10
    Chris says:

    @piratedan:

    Word.

  11. 11
    celticdragonchick says:

    Watching SCOTUSBLOG at the moment. It looks like the usual 5-4 decision dynamic is back in force.

  12. 12
    celticdragonchick says:

    The conservatives just made it harder to sue employers for discrimination.

    Again.

  13. 13
    sherparick says:

    @EconWatcher: Larison is pretty neo-confederate and a theocrat to boot. After all, he is a “Conservative.” But when it comes to American foreign policy, he is completely rational and very astute of his criticism of both the Neo-cons and the Liberal Interventionists (as a recovering Liberal Interventionist/Imperialist, a appreciate the frequent intellectual slaps across the face. And most of his blogs on Eunomia are about international issues.

    Steve Randy Waldman has interesting post the NSA controversy and the way the whole MSM has gone onto pursue and basically destroy Snowden (look, the shiny object, look). Why do all the VSPs in media and politics basically rally around the NSA? Well, ond reason that Professor Waldman brings up is “Blackmail,” mostly implied or assumed. For instance, what would Senator Feinstein’s and her husband’s e-mails reveal about his business dealings with foreign countries, particularly China? Or David Gregory’s web browsing habits and e-mails to significant others?

    On the other hand, if the NSA does not collect all our e-mail, tweets, blog comments, etc., apparently the Brits, French, Russians, and Chinese will. Welcome to the world-wide police state.

  14. 14
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Here’s a guy with a PhD who thinks the slaveholding South had the better moral argument.

    This right here. No neo-confederate has credibility beyond that of a stopped clock.

  15. 15
    celticdragonchick says:

    Hmm

    U.S. v. Kebodoeux. The Fifth Circuit is reversed and remanded. Registration requirement under SORNA as applied to Kebodeaux falls within the scope of Congress’s authority under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

    SORNA is the Sex Offender and Registration Notification Act.

    Chief Justice files a concurring opinion (in the judgment only) joined by Alito; Justice Scalia dissents, for himself; Justice Thomas dissents in an opinion joined in part by Justice Scalia.

    Now there is a shock… /sarc/

  16. 16
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @celticdragonchick: Isn’t American conservatism essentially based on stolen labor, anyway?

  17. 17
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    Try reading some of the whining bullshit from Rod Dreher over at AmCon…

  18. 18
    MomSense says:

    Nooners, AEI, and the bunch are either stupid or cynical or both.

    You know what is burning me up that I just can’t stop thinking about? Walmart. I hate that company with the fire of a 1,000 suns.

    So there was a study that was just released saying that the average Walmart store costs taxpayers between 900,000 and 1.7 million in subsidies to their employees. Food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid, etc. They estimate about $6,000 per employee in taxpayer funded benefits.

    Fuck fucking Walmart! Really there is no excuse for this. And I am damned sure that the Walton family has granite (Quartz even!!) counter tops, and microwaves and refrigerators.

  19. 19
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    After what I have read from history (Working Towards Whiteness is excellent, if a bit dry), I would have to concur. The trend for conservatism has been to deny legitimacy to unions, limit wages and benefits, demonize opponents as enemies of the state and essentially reduce wage earners to a state just above a chattel possession.

  20. 20
    celticdragonchick says:

    @MomSense:

    This.

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    When will liberals learn that facts don’t matter?

    Putting out an argument, no matter how baseless that aligns with an individual’s personal biases is what is essential to control the debate.

    This is why we people believed blacks weren’t smart enough to play baseball, football, etc. with whites or hold down anything but menial jobs.

    People feel Obama is big government gone amok, so saying he put the kibosh on Tea Party groups in 2012 will align with people’s beliefs. There is a subset of Obama voters, from 2008, who have run into what they feel are excessive regulations, whether in immigration or finance or education, who have become disillusioned with Obama and will buy into this argument about putting a “Chicago-style hit” on Tea Party groups.

    Wing-nuts will believe anything and to some degree these reports are needed to keep the wurlitzer cranked to 11, but that’s not the demographic that these arguments will cause pain for liberals in the future.

    Disillusioned Obama voters will bite on this because it reinforces what they feel is government run amok.

    No amount of facts is going to change the narrative.

  22. 22
    PeakVT says:

    @MomSense: The Walton heirs are not hurting for money, to say the least.

  23. 23
    celticdragonchick says:

    Wow.

    From Amy: Because opinions come in order of reverse seniority — e.g., they start with the most junior Justice and work up. Justice Kennedy is pretty senior, so we could only get opinions from him, Scalia or the Chief.

    The DOMA and Prop 8 decisions are still a-waiting…

    Nope. Never mind. No more decisions for today.

    “The Court holds that Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of “but for” causation, not the lesser causation standards stated in the law.”

    The usual 5-4 break with the conservatives taking a baseball bat to discrimination claims.

  24. 24
    TooManyJens says:

    @celticdragonchick: There are several writers I respect at AmCon, but Dreher is unbearable.

  25. 25
    celticdragonchick says:

    Ginsburd reading a statement from the bench excoriating the conservatives drive to gut anti-discrimination laws, and she is calling on congress to “overturn the Court’s decision.”

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @celticdragonchick: @PeakVT:

    Can we fucking sue them to recoup all the money we have spent for their employees. Man would I love a business model like that one. Just pay dirt to my employees, rake in the cash, and get other people to pay their benefits.

    Can we at least drug test the Waltons if they are going to get sooooo much Welfare money?

  27. 27
    celticdragonchick says:

    SCOTUS just announced they will be back at 10:00 AM tomorrow.

  28. 28
    celticdragonchick says:

    @MomSense:

    Great business model:

    Socialism for the investors and management, and strict Austrian school market discipline for all of the employees…

  29. 29
    piratedan says:

    @celticdragonchick: tune in for tomorrow’s edition of “you’re just a drone, just shut the fuck up and get back to work you lazy bastard”….

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @gene108:

    If he’d put a “Chicago style hit” on these mewling imbeciles, none of them would have a pulse right now.

  31. 31
    RSA says:

    The argument destroys itself in a logical paradox and Shatner wins.

    Excellent. “I submit to you [decisive hand gesture] that a Tea Party group that has the goal Help Stop Obamacare is engaging in political activity [cue sparks, fire, and smoke].”

  32. 32
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @celticdragonchick: You can go back to 1860 and their willingness to start a war to protect their right to own people and steal their labor. Stealing the labor of others and protecting white supremacy are the hallmarks of USAmerican conservatism.

  33. 33
    PeakVT says:

    @MomSense: I wish we could. But I suspect everything the Waltons have done is legal, if not ethical, much like people in the banking industry.

  34. 34
    MomSense says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    I just looked at their website and they have 1.3 million employees. An average cost of $6,000 per employee works out to 7,800,000,000.

    Fuck Fucking Walmart!

    Really they are the epitome of everything that is wrong with our messed up economy. And I say that I would love that business model but I couldn’t do that to coworkers or employees because I’m not a sociopath.

  35. 35
    MomSense says:

    @PeakVT:

    I know but still. How about the drug testing thing though?? Maybe we should have a frivolous lawsuit just to draw attention to this.

  36. 36
    Comrade Jake says:

    It seems like every time Larison is mentioned here, we are all reminded of his neoconfederate bona fides.

    The thing is, has he ever written anything remotely racist? Not that I can find or recall.

    I understand why some would be quick to dismiss much of what he writes because of this fact, but honestly I’ve found his stuff pretty damn near bulletproof.

  37. 37
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “If swinging the election was a goal for any of these tea party groups (cough) then they did not deserve 501(c)4 status in the first place.”

    Ding ding ding ding ding! Wonder why some Righties don’t get this, although Noonan not getting it makes perfect sense.

    I always found it interesting that I enjoy many of the articles on “American Conservative”, although I am as far from being a conservative as philosophically possible.

  38. 38
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Comrade Jake: Anyone who believes the South had the better moral case is saying that black people are not fully human. FUCK that guy, period full stop.

  39. 39
    gene108 says:

    @Chris:

    If he’d put a “Chicago style hit” on these mewling imbeciles, none of them would have a pulse right now.

    I don’t think teachers are mewling imbeciles, but many of them loathe the changes Obama has brought to education via his Sec. of Education Arne Duncan, who serves at Obama’s convenience.

    This applies to other areas of society, with different things where people’s lives intersect with the Federal government.

    Just sayin’ confirming someone’s biases is usually about as effective a method to get them to agree with you, as presenting all the facts in the world to them.

    It doesn’t matter, if you are trying to get your parents to move out of the home they’ve lived in for years because they are getting too old to care of the home or you think government’s gone wild and is targeting specific groups.

    Facts are a really, really tough way to get through to people.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    The thing is, has he ever written anything remotely racist? Not that I can find or recall.

    Defending the right of Southerners to own slaves is not remotely racist?

    It’s been the conceit of neo-Confederates for decades now to try and pretend that the “rights” they’re defending have nothing to do with slavery. It was the tariffs! It was states’ rights! It was the way of life! Everything and anything to conceal the fact that the confederate states withdrew from the union so they could continue to enslave black people. Most of those states made public declarations at the time stating that fact, and anyone who tries to claim otherwise is either an idiot or a liar. And Larison is not an idiot.

  41. 41

    Tim F. — one correction to your post … a 501c4 is a Social Welfare organization (not a 501c3 Public Charity); a 501c4 can do unlimited lobbying and can do political work (endorse candidates, etc.) as long as it is not “the primary purpose.” Good luck defining that … which is the crux of the matter, because the IRS was faced with a flood of applications, so they were trying to figure out a quick and dirty way of how to sort them into ones that needed more scrutiny. Unlike a 501c3, a c4 cannot offer its donors a tax deduction for a donation, but it can offer confidentiality. Which is the key thing these rich f*cks want … to influence the process while keeping their hands clean (unless they are narcissists like Adeleson).

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Wonder why some Righties don’t get this

    Not getting things that interfere with their political preconceptions is a key part of their MO.

    I always found it interesting that I enjoy many of the articles on “American Conservative”, although I am as far from being a conservative as philosophically possible.

    My feeling is that, most of the people at TAC are actually in touch with reality. I may disagree with them about what the world ought to be, but they seem to have a reasonable grasp on what it actually is. That’s enough to distinguish them from the kind of Conservative mentioned above.

  43. 43
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Defending the right of Southerners to own slaves is not remotely racist?

    Can you point me to where Larison has explicitly defended that right?

  44. 44
    Tim F. says:

    @Mnemosyne: I did not read Larison’s argument, but most historians agree that it was hardly settled knowledge at the time that a ‘confederation’ of states could not voluntarily leave the Union. Many increasingly accept that Lincoln did very much invite the war in order to provoke and enforce a substantively novel interpretation of the Constitution.

    That he was right to do so is a separate question. Slavery was an atrocity that deserved an end, and you really cannot manage a country like this indefinitely if its component states feel free to leave at any time.

  45. 45
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Comrade Jake: It has to be explicit? Defending the right of the Confederacy to pursue its “slave power” isn’t sufficiently explicit? Sorry, Comrade, but ONLY a white guy would be privileged to excuse Larison on this point.

  46. 46
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    I understand that he belongs to some Southern states-rights group that holds some fairly awful views. I’m not disputing that. What I am asking is if Larison has ever written anything himself that’s got a racist element to it.

  47. 47
    Citizen_X says:

    @Tim F.:

    Many increasingly accept that Lincoln did very much invite the war

    Seriously? By what, getting elected?

  48. 48
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Comrade Jake: I should think that membership speaks quite loudly in and of itself. YMMV.

  49. 49
    geg6 says:

    @liberal:

    Yeah, who gives a shit if Larison pines for the days of whips and chains if I agree with his foreign policy views? I don’ t need to bother my beautiful mind with stuff that I’m not concerned about or that never has and never will affect me.

    Some liberal you are…what are you? One of those “classical” liberals?

  50. 50
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko: Right. Just like membership in any organization, the views of the organization don’t map perfectly on to the views of the members.

    Nonetheless, nobody has answered my original question, which is whether or not Larison has ever written anything racist himself. I think the answer is probably no.

  51. 51
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Comrade Jake: Yes, there are probably a few members of the American Nazi Party who don’t believe Jews are subhuman; and there are probably a few members of the Ku Klux Klan who don’t want to see Negroes hanging from trees… but I suspect they’re damned rare.

  52. 52
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko: I have no idea why Larison belongs to this particular organization. Perhaps he really does hold racist views, who knows. He just seems to have a peculiar means of showing it.

    I also don’t doubt that people here will have no qualms dismissing everything he writes as a result. Such is life.

  53. 53
    MomSense says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    Some kid tried to make this argument to my son–that it was a war of northern aggression, it wasn’t about slavery, etc.

    My son responded “Keep saying that racist sh!t and I’ll kick your ass just like the Union did”. He is a big guy so the other kid walked away but that is pretty much how I feel about the subject, too.

  54. 54
    Tim F. says:

    @Citizen_X: Yes in fact. Everyone knew that a constitutional crisis was brewing and which way the candidates wanted to go with it. Lincoln made perfectly clear that people who wanted an amicable compromise on states’ rights vs. federalism could vote for the other guy.

  55. 55
    geg6 says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    This. Anyone who believes what Larison believes has nothing to say worth listening to. Nothing. Ever. About anything.

  56. 56
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Comrade Jake: You should probably put the shovel down right about now.

  57. 57
    geg6 says:

    href=”#comment-4502282″ rel=”nofollow”>Comrade Jake:

    http://www.theamericanconserva.....ous-views/

    Fuck him. He’s a piece of shit.

  58. 58
    KXB says:

    Slavery has existed in many countries, it continued to exist in Brazil after the American Civil War. Saudi Arabia had slavery up until the 1950s. America is the only country where it took a war, and a remarkable concentration of power in the executive branch, to eliminate it. Most Northern whites did not care about slavery, and the Union troops doing the fighting were probably not that familiar with the legal notions of whether a state could leave the union or not. Although simplistic, the film “Lincoln” does note that many Northern states were ready to choose a cease-fire at the expense of black people’s freedom, but Lincoln understood that was kicking the can down the road. Making the point that going to war was not the only way to end slavery is not a defense of slavery, nor of the racist arguments for it.

  59. 59
    KXB says:

    It does take a certain fanatical mindset to see mass destruction and violence as the correct solutions to morally repugnant institutions, and let me be clear that I believe slavery was such a morally repugnant institution. I reject the mentality that says that the ends justify the means, and that the slaughter of other people is acceptable for the sake of ideology and centralising power.

    Yeah, I can see what people would find that so objectionable.

  60. 60
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Ben Cisco: I’ll take it under advisement.

  61. 61
    Comrade Jake says:

    @geg6:

    It does take a certain fanatical mindset to see mass destruction and violence as the correct solutions to morally repugnant institutions, and let me be clear that I believe slavery was such a morally repugnant institution. I reject the mentality that says that the ends justify the means, and that the slaughter of other people is acceptable for the sake of ideology and centralising power.

    You’re right, of course. Only an asshole could write something this brutally awful.

  62. 62
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    These groups all wanted 501(c)4 tax exempt status. This bracket of the tax code lets you both tax-exempt your donors’ cash and shield them from public disclosure.

    Privacy has become yet another Class Marker (“for me, not for thee”).

    And SCOTUS, as always, can be relied upon to do its best to protect the interests of our betters.

  63. 63
    geg6 says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    He’s a states righter. If you think that’s just hunky dory, fine. Just remember, though, what they say about lying down with dogs. Myself, I prefer to go flealess.

    And that’s without even going into his Dark Ages attitude about women’s right to control their own bodies.

  64. 64
    Comrade Jake says:

    @geg6:

    He’s a states righter. If you think that’s just hunky dory, fine. Just remember, though, what they say about lying down with dogs. Myself, I prefer to go flealess.

    Yes, I think that’s what it amounts to. Larison’s affiliation with this group is mostly about his belief in states rights. Does he also hold racist views? Perhaps. Though it seems strange that he condemns slavery if that’s the case.

    As for lying down with dogs, well, IIRC Cole supported the war in Iraq and even W for a long time. I tend to judge what people write based on the merits of their arguments at the time, rather than their personal history. None of us are as pure as driven snow, so far as I can tell.

  65. 65
    KXB says:

    Myself, I prefer to go flealess.

    Given that the worst race riot in history happened in NYC in 1863 – where 2,000 people, mostly black, were killed in 3 days.

    Growing up in NY during the 70’s and 80’s, do you think they taught that bit of history to us? Nope.

    You want to remain flealess? Next time, choose to be born a different animal. The real world is far more complicated and dirty place.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @EconWatcher:

    General queasiness doesn’t cut it. Unless you can show, concretely, how his supposed neo-Confederate leanings adversely affect his analysis of the issues on which he writes, you’ve got nothing.

  67. 67
    geg6 says:

    @KXB:

    Or how about this?

    I remain convinced that the vast majority of Confederate soldiers were fighting for constitutional liberty, including one of my own ancestors, and I think that was, is, something worth defending.

    Or how about looking up what the League of the South really stands for and it’s not all sweetness and light as Larison would have it. If he’s so repelled by slavery, why would he belong to an organization that the SPLC calls a neo-Confederate hate group:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_the_South

  68. 68
    KXB says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    That’s why I keep coming back here – that even when I disagree with some of the posters, guys like Cole actually acknowledge, that holy crap, people can change my mind about different subjects. Sometimes a 180. But for some people, only a true Scotsman will suffice.

  69. 69
    KXB says:

    Does the League of the South have any significance aside from the people who are members, and the people who cannot stand it?

  70. 70
    ricky says:

    Funny, but eveyone seems to have overlooked the key finding of the AEI study. They argue that the amount of local rainfall on the day of the initial April 15 Tea Party organizing rallies was the best predictive variable on how much turnout the Tea Party movement generated in elections.

    Therefore, having been deprived of the future use of the IRS in its nefarious plots, The Kenyan Usurper and his Bot-opologists can now be counted on to use drones with cloud seeding capability to do their dirty work in 2016!

  71. 71
    geg6 says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Comparing Cole and Larison is like comparing apples and oranges. Cole isn’t still running around defending W and the Iraq War, is he? Meanwhile, Larison still belongs to the League. I wonder why he would stick with them if he deplored slavery? From the Wiki article, they seem to revel in being called racists. And bless their little hearts for saying that despite that little dustup about Southern whites and African Americans having a “partially” antagonistic relationship in the past, they have more in common than with those damn Yankees and can work together if they can all just ignore that whole slavery and Jim Crow thing.

  72. 72
    KXB says:

    @geg6:

    When you travel through Japan, Italy,& Germany – are you as insistent that the people born in those nations today apologize for the crimes of their forefathers? Do you ask a random Arab how they feel about 9/11? Or, if you disagreed with the Iraq War, do you seek an apology from an American soldier for fighting in an unjust war?

    Easy to been an absolutist and take a stand when you don’t have shit to lose.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @geg6:

    He’s a states righter.

    And he’s perfectly happy to take a twisted and inaccurate view of history (Lincoln was a warmonger who started the Civil War all on his lonesome) in order to give his side the moral advantage. Together with his “Serbs: innocent victims in Kosovo” theory, it ought to make anyone suspicious of what he says.

  74. 74
    Comrade Jake says:

    @geg6:

    Comparing Cole and Larison is like comparing apples and oranges. Cole isn’t still running around defending W and the Iraq War, is he?

    The point, of course, is that nobody is perfect.

    Meanwhile, Larison still belongs to the League. I wonder why he would stick with them if he deplored slavery?

    My guess: because he’s primarily a member due to their support for state’s rights, and because he probably doesn’t actually believe their primary goal is to advance racist views. Of course, the alternative is that he’s simply lying and probably keeps black people in his basement, stamping out bayonets, in preparation for the coming secession battle.

  75. 75
    KXB says:

    @geg6:

    Nor is Larison. Of course, Larison was arguing against the Iraq War, when the majority of the country, and majority of Democrats, were for it.

    Do you have any objections to Larison’s positions about events happening in 2013, or did your calendar end in 1865? If so, then how you have access to the internet is a mystery.

  76. 76
    Turgidson says:

    Noonan just refuses to accept that her informal canvass of yard signs in her upscale “I got mine fuck you” neighborhood did not accurately predict a Romney blowout. There has to be some other explanation. The IRS did it! That’s the ticket!

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Can you point me to where Larison has explicitly defended that right?

    By defending their right to withdraw from the Union in order to protect their privilege to own slaves. Did you even follow my link? The states that seceded spelled out explicitly that they were withdrawing from the union in order to keep their slaves. Any other claims about why they did it are revisionist bullshit. Either Larison is stupid, or he agrees that withdrawing from the union so the South could continue to own human beings on the sole basis of their skin color was A-OK.

    You still need to defend your premise that someone can be in favor of the Confederacy without being a racist. I think I’m going to have to go Godwin: I’m sure there were some Nazis who weren’t personally anti-Semitic, but the fact that they supported a murderously anti-Semitic regime doesn’t excuse them. Larison supports a viciously racist Southern antebellum society, so his own personal views on race are irrelevant.

    @Tim F.:

    I did not read Larison’s argument, but most historians agree that it was hardly settled knowledge at the time that a ‘confederation’ of states could not voluntarily leave the Union. Many increasingly accept that Lincoln did very much invite the war in order to provoke and enforce a substantively novel interpretation of the Constitution.

    And yet, it was the Confederate states that withdrew from the union. It was the South that attacked first.

    Sorry, but I have absolutely no patience with any “War of Northern Aggression” bullshit. The South picked the fight, they got their asses kicked, and now they want us to excuse and sympathize with their own bad decisions.

    Until apologists like Larison can admit that the South was wrong, we will never get anywhere with improving this country, because there will always be a faction that thinks they should be allowed to withdraw from participation in the government because their insanity (owning people is A-OK if they’re inferior!) is not being sufficiently catered to.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Only an asshole could write something this brutally awful.

    Uh, yeah, it’s pretty assholish to write this:

    I reject the mentality that says that the ends justify the means, and that the slaughter of other people is acceptable for the sake of ideology and centralising power.

    I love how holding human beings in bondage is reduced down to “ideology and centralising power.” Don’t pay attention to the actual people who were enslaved, keep thinking about “ideology” and “centralising power” until your desire to actually help your fellow human beings subsides and you can excuse it as just a problem of “ideology” and not a problem of enslaving your fellow human beings.

  79. 79
    KXB says:

    I love how holding human beings in bondage is reduced down to “ideology and centralising power.” Don’t pay attention to the actual people who were enslaved, keep thinking about “ideology” and “centralising power” until your desire to actually help your fellow human beings subsides and you can excuse it as just a problem of “ideology” and not a problem of enslaving your fellow human beings.

    Problem is, that was not why Lincoln went to war in 1861. He knew that slavery would have to be handled, but he knew he could not mobilize the country for a war based on the idea that slaves should be free. Instead, he focused on the need to preserve the union, and initially played down the slavery issue – until he could not afford to ignore it any longer.

    Pointing all this out, is not a defense of slavery.

    Again, if you can point out an instance that Larison’s position on a war that ended in 1865 affects his writing on issues in 2013, you’re wasting time. By your logic, anyone voting in favor of the abhorrent 3/5 compromise or arguing that it was a necessary evil negates should be viewed with suspicion.

  80. 80
    srv says:

    @Mnemosyne: And the rest of that Webb quote, that less than %5 of southerners held slaves or %20 were involved with slavery…

    Therefore, my gran-pappy didn’t have any affinity to slavery, lurved him some negroes and went to fight for some grander principle…

    What Larison knows is that’s completely irrelevant and can’t be bothered to read many of the states’ secession declarations. The south wasn’t oppressed, seceded in mob hysteria equivalent to “Obama is taking our guns” and many of the actual large slave holders weren’t that excited about going rogue because they knew Lincoln wasn’t going to emancipate and they’d probably get their asses kicked.

    It was the 95% that led the charge, not the 5%. Idjits did it to themselves.

  81. 81
    EconWatcher says:

    Read a little bit about the official positions of the League of the South, and tell me again why any decent person would voluntarily belong to such a group, as Larison apparently does to this day.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_the_South

    I don’t always agree with Southern Poverty Law Center, but they have identified this organization as a hate group, and in this case that appears to be a no-brainer. The League openly advocates for a “natural societal order of superiors and subordinates.” Gee, for a group that also says that suppression of the Confederate flag is “cultural genocide,” what can they possibly mean when they refer to this natural order of superiors and subordinates? Who is superior? Who is subordinate?

    If that coding is too subtle for you to figure out, no amount of explaining is going to help you.

    I don’t understand the notion that you can divorce this from Larison’s other opinions. I can share common ground with people who disagree with me about the estate tax, or the stimulative effects of deficit spending. But I don’t think that people with current sympathies for the likes of the League of the South have any place in any respectable conversation.

    Yeah, Larison can be clever in arguing for isolationism. I’m sure if I spent long enough reading the collected works of David Duke, I could find some clever stuff there too; he must have had some skill to make himself famous. Apparently, Larison is better at keeping his mouth shut about some of his views than Duke is. But if you think a grown man with a PhD belongs to the League of the South because he likes “federalism,” I’ve got some great Florida bottom land I’d like to sell you.

  82. 82
    Tim F. says:

    @Mnemosyne: Everyone knew that the slavery debate would lead to secession and war if the next President did not intervene with a face-saving compromise. Stephen Douglas made it clear that he would at least try to pull off something like that. Lincoln emphatically did not.

    The South attacked like everyone knew that they would, and like Lincoln hoped they would. He correctly believed that the federalism debate concerned a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and could not be resolved except by violently subduing the other side.

  83. 83
    Ruckus says:

    @Comrade Jake:
    The very fact that he holds for southern states rights is all the racist writing that you need. All of the writing about the civil war being about states rights since the civil war has been to try to cover up the reason they fought in the first place. They announced it was about slavery and only about slavery. Everything since is a coverup. One could write the nicest prose covering up the reason and call it non racist but that won’t change anything. It still is what it is. Racist.

  84. 84
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Logic is a bouquet of pretty flowers that smell bad!

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @KXB:

    Problem is, that was not why Lincoln went to war in 1861. He knew that slavery would have to be handled, but he knew he could not mobilize the country for a war based on the idea that slaves should be free. Instead, he focused on the need to preserve the union, and initially played down the slavery issue – until he could not afford to ignore it any longer.

    I love how Lincoln “went to war” merely because the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter. Oh, the poor, innocent Southerners, forced into a war not of their choosing just because they attacked first.

    Pointing all this out, is not a defense of slavery.

    Again, read the actual words of the states that seceded. They all state, very clearly, that they seceded to preserve slavery. Everything else is after-the-fact apologist bullshit trying to get around the fact that the states themselves said they were seceding so they could keep their slaves.

    @Tim F.:

    Everyone knew that the slavery debate would lead to secession and war if the next President did not intervene with a face-saving compromise.

    So the South was forced — forced! — to attack first? The poor innocent South, just trying to preserve their way of life by starting a war. Sorry, I ain’t buying it. Lincoln may have known that war would probably result from his election — and his speech at Cooper Union says that strongly — but it wasn’t the union that attacked first.

    By this argument, FDR should not have declared war on Japan after they attacked Pearl Harbor because we knew they wanted to start a war with us, so we shouldn’t have given them the satisfaction.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    By the way, if anyone interested in the Civil War has not yet listened to David Blight’s iTunes U course on it, I highly recommend it. The evidence is very, very clear that the Confederacy formed in order to preserve slavery, and all of the other excuses and economic claims lead back to the fact that the South wanted to continue to own slaves.

  87. 87
    Tim F. says:

    @Mnemosyne: Spare me the bad-faith rephrasing. You are being intentionally dense.

    The South let it be known that it would secede and start a war rather than give up slavery. The country as a whole had a choice between candidates who would or would not try to defuse the crisis with compromise; they voted for Lincoln and war. There was nothing inevitable about electing a guy who clearly had no intention of treating the southern states any more gently than Washington treated the whiskey rebellion. People chose that path with open eyes. Clearly by his election the slavers and the non-slavers had both decided to quit talking and fight.

    You should be aware that Germany was a rusting basket case when FDR first won election. Thanks to his deft handling of the Depression re-election was a foregone conclusion by the time Axis aggression became the smallest blip on the political horizon. So no, the arguments do not translate.

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