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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 05:52 am:   

In his column:

http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2007/dt0703.htm

Dave Truesdale states:

"So there we have it. The forces and pieces are in play. Millions of slaves thrust into a distant land who have perforce adopted over time the culture of their southern masters; slaves who are uneducated, having extremely limited skills, and with no real idea of how to function as citizens in the "outside world" in which they will soon find themselves. Where will they go, what will they do, how will they assimilate into our American culture as freemen if suddenly set free? Will millions of them from all over the south migrate northward, inundating the industrial cities of the north? With few or no useful skills and no education will they place an untenable economic burden on Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York? If unemployable, will they turn to crime to survive? Will prison populations explode? If sick, will they be able to afford care? If not, what diseases are they apt to spread? Or would they be better off remaining "at home," where their former owners could hire them to do what they have always done on the plantation, where they would at least have food, shelter, and now a wage? We know what happened. The question is, What would you have done? Would you have turned all of the slaves free, all at once and immediately, without regard to any possible consequences for themselves or society? Or would you have favored a more measured approach to their manumission?"

When I read this I have to think that Dave has some strong masochistic streak begging to be kicked. He's one sick puppy. Fortunately there's a humane society...

Back to slavery. Which seems to be where Truesdale would lead us.

It turns my stomach when folk indicate that slavery was in anyway a good thing for blacks. There should be no amelioration for the historical actions of slavery supporters. Support for slavery should remain a historical event rather than a present day position.

Whites considered blacks to be inferior. This was an overwhelming viewpoint with the conception of blacks and whites as true equals only gaining hold in the 20th century.

The issue is not when the slaves should have been freed. The issue was that whites would not allow blacks to become social equals. Unfortunately we're still dealing with this today.

We should also recall that there were those who wanted to relocate blacks to Liberia. I recall a letter written by Lincoln with this thought in mind. The slaves had to be freed before they could be relocated. More later...
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 06:33 am:   

Dear PM,

In no form, shape, or manner in my column did I in any fashion endorse slavery. Never have, never will. I strongly suggest you reread the piece very carefully before making assertions such as the one you implied in the title of this topic.

The pertinent section of the column deals with the various historical positions concerned with the freeing of the slaves. Again, please reread the piece _very_ carefully.

Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 07:17 am:   

The clear point from your article is that freeing the slaves all at once wasn't a good idea and that the slaves had a good thing going by being slaves.

From your article: "Would you have turned all of the slaves free, all at once and immediately, without regard to any possible consequences for themselves or society? Or would you have favored a more measured approach to their manumission?"

Why else would you jump into a minefield?
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 07:44 am:   

Let's not forget that Sowell who you mention in your column is a conservative (which you did not mention).

Sowell has his agenda just as Mary Daly has hers...
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 08:07 am:   

Dear PM,

Asking a question does not mean one endorses it. I was restating one of the three major positions held at the time (as I also restated the other two major positions held at the time).

Remember also that Lincoln _and_ Robert E. Lee also favored a more middle ground, measured approach to the freeing of the slaves. As is made crystal clear in the piece, simply because one did not favor the immediate and unconditional manumission of millions of slaves did _not_ make them racists or pro-slavery.

For the last time, read this entire section very carefully and it will become obvious that you are misreading and drawing unfounded conclusions in the extreme.

And yes, of course, Dr. Thomas Sowell is a conservative...and a black man/African American. He is also one of the most pre-eminent scholars on black history and race relations in the country. His book meticulously sticks to the facts. He draws from first-hand historical records, statistics, and papers to back his claims.

I'd think twice about discounting his work just because he may be a "conservative." I'm what could be said a liberal on many social issues, and a conservative when it comes to economic and defense issues. I've read books by both liberal and conservative authors. Dr. Sowell's book is one of the most non-partisan, historically accurate tomes I've ever read.

With all due respect, I'm very curious as to your age and educational background.

Best,
Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 08:37 am:   

Lincoln (to my knowledge) did not hold a contemporary viewpoint on racial equality. If it had been possible he would have relocated blacks to Liberia. His position as I recall it was that he didn't think that blacks and whites would be able to coexist well together.

Slavery is morally reprehensible but we have to understand that being against slavery is not the equivalent of accepting blacks as social equals. It's comforting to think that folk back then shared identical viewpoints with those of today but that's not necessarily the case. My position is that it's unlikely that they actually had a contemporary viewpoint (blacks as true social equals).

We should understand that if it had been possible to do so that blacks would have been rounded up and deported. We hear that same sort of talk today about illegals...

I would identify Sowell as a conservative just as I would identify Daly as a radical feminist when I'm using their quotes to espouse a position that everyone should accept as factual. It's not so much an automatic discounting as it is an understanding of direction.

I don't believe that many blacks consider Sowell to be a pre-eminent scholar on black history and race relations. I do think that in conservative circles that yes he is pre-eminent. But again that doesn't auto-negate his points.

As to my age I would like to think that I'm older than what you think and I'm college educated (in the past).
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 10:04 am:   

Dear PM,

Whether Lincoln held to a "contemporary" view of slavery is irrelevant to the _historical_ record. Back then, he held to one of the middle ground positions concerning _freeing_ the slaves. Look at the facts: he freed them. In the pertinent section of my article, all I did was lay the contextual groundwork for discussion of two stories, one by Elliott, the other by Van Vogt. You may disagree with the historical record, but you can't change it. There were folks who thought the slaves should remain slaves. There were folks who wanted all the slaves to be freed immediately. There were folks who wanted the slaves freed, but with a more moderate, realistic, real-world method of doing so (taking into consideration the practical _consequences_ of freeing millions of slaves into a society with which they weren't equipped to deal). This is all part of the historical record, PM.

Please (for the umpteenth time) carefully reread the relevant passages.

And again, simply because one did not think it a realistic plan to set the slaves free immediately, en masse, did _not_ make them racist or pro-slavery (again, read anything you want to about the history of the times).

How asking the reader to examine the _historical_ positions some took on the issue of manumission makes me pro-slavery is beyond me, and does a disservice to your argument and powers of reasoning.

I ask you to read my comments on both the Elliott and Van Vogt stories and to come back here and tell all of us that I support a pro-slavery policy. It's preposterous and you know it.

You've chosen a bad argument (it's unsupported by the historical facts, and distorts what I've said to fit your purposes). I suggest you endeavor, in the future, to pick your fights a little more carefully..and with more thought and less emotion (which always blurs the "facts"). :-)

So please come back here and let the folks who may not have read my column know what I felt about both the Elliott and Van Vogt stories, and try to persuade them that I'm pro-slavery. I hope that you can at least be that honest.

Dave
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James A. Ritchie
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 02:23 pm:   

PM, that's a really weird accusation. You and I must be reading that column in very different ways.
I mean, whew, you draw some really strange conclusions. Nothing at all about the section you excerpted says anything like what you think it odes. Unless I flunked reading comprehension back in the first grade.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 02:52 pm:   

I entirely agree that folk should read your article and not simply assume that you're pro-slavery. I did after all put a question mark at the end of the thread title.

I put a link to your column so that folk would hopefully go and read it. And arrive at their own decision.

The SF stories could have been discussed without the Sowell stuff. I consider it as a pretext.

The quote about Elliot from your column: "Told in a straightforward, serious manner, the horrific scenario is so beyond the pale that it becomes clear that Elliott is offering his own modest proposal, this time with race relations and what could be done to ameliorate the race problem in America." Literally it tells me that you don't support eating colored folk. One would be hard pressed to find anyone who really wants to eat a colored person (in America). I've never suggested that you wish to eat colored folk.

The quote from Vogt from your column: "The nutzo idea being that if we were to return to an agrarian economy, we would again need slaves to do our work for us." A return to an agrarian economy is a nutzo idea. I didn't suggest that you wanted to return to an agrarian economy and use slaves in that process.

What I did suggest was that by asking the question, "should the slaves have been freed in the manner that they were freed" seems to indicate that you would have allowed slavery to continue for a longer period of time. Additionally when you write "Or would they be better off remaining "at home," where their former owners could hire them to do what they have always done on the plantation, where they would at least have food, shelter, and now a wage?" is going to be interpreted as slavery was a good thing.

Yeah, I can understand that your perceptions are so out of it that you're response is almost an Alfred E. Neuman one. The average black person is likely to read these statements about the issues of freed slaves: "If unemployable, will they turn to crime to survive? Will prison populations explode? If sick, will they be able to afford care? If not, what diseases are they apt to spread?" as code. Fortunately for you this wasn't given before a predominantly black audience. Perhaps one day you would have such an opportunity and unfortunately you would probably scratch your head and say, "Well it's their problem".
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 03:29 pm:   

Dear PM,

I'm really shaking my head this time. It's like you are making up your own article the way you choose to interpret things.

All I did was to explain the consequences of allowing the slaves immediate emancipation en masse (as was explained in the Sowell book). The historical record supports the view that many held at the time, that an influx of millions of former slaves into major metropolitan cities would lead to all sorts of problems. Again, you're confusing my reporting of the fears of many at the time to my own views.

I think it's apparent to many reading your posts that you are more interested in trying to make me out as some kind of racist devil, than you are at any attempt at a rational interpretation of my essay. I've tried to be very restrained in my responses to your illogical accusations, but I must confess that my patience is wearing thin.

I urge you to think twice before going down this road again.

And for the record? I would be quite happy if African Americans were to read this particular column. After all, it is nothing more than the historical record (I finally learned where the terms "redneck" and "cracker" came from, for instance, and it gives a whole new meaning to them for me now). There would be no need to argue with me about it. Argue with history.

Dave
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 03:34 pm:   

James says of PM: "I mean, whew, you draw some really strange conclusions. Nothing at all about the section you excerpted says anything like what you think it does. Unless I flunked reading comprehension back in the first grade."

I very much agree. Thank you, James. :-)

Best,
Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 04:12 pm:   

"The historical record supports the view that many held at the time, that an influx of millions of former slaves into major metropolitan cities would lead to all sorts of problems. Again, you're confusing my reporting of the fears of many at the time to my own views.

I think it's apparent to many reading your posts that you are more interested in trying to make me out as some kind of racist devil, than you are at any attempt at a rational interpretation of my essay. I've tried to be very restrained in my responses to your illogical accusations, but I must confess that my patience is wearing thin."

I wouldn't want to make you out to be anything other what you are. If you had made these points in the article then these points would have been moot.

But there are those who actually argue that being a slave in America was better for blacks than their state in Africa. All I was trying to do was to get you to clarify where you're coming from.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 05:04 pm:   

PM: "I wouldn't want to make you out to be anything other than what you are."

Now that what was written in my essay has been clarified to your satisfaction, am I pro-slavery as your topic thread suggests, or not? I wish you would clear this up and put an end to the matter once and for all. Tis the least you could do at this point, I think.

Thank you,
Dave
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PM
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 09:20 am:   

As far as I know you've yet to answer the question that you posed in your column:

"Were the slaves released too soon?"

and the other question:

"Was it better to be a slave in America than to remain in Africa?"

And if you're uncomfortable answering the questions simply state that you wish to decline.

Whatever your response I'm not going to call you a name.

I wish that your column had taken the opportunity to encourage folk to get along. Until we're at large social equals (friends, lovers) we cannot be surprised that discrimination will continue. This is applicable to all races and not simply to whites.

There were things said in your column that were far worse than Ross Perot's "You people" comment. I understand that it's not a part of your cultural understanding.

I'm awaiting Sowell's book at which point I'll have additional comments.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:25 pm:   

I haven't read and therefore can't comment on Dave's column. However, with all due respect to PM, I do think the title of this thread is over the top, given the excerpts I've read here. The question mark barely dilutes the offensive implication you've made here, PM. Mind you, my own comment a while back in which I said Emshwiller MAY be a man-hater could be read in the same vein, I suppose. And I certainly didn't intend that statement as fact. Like Dave, I was simply inquiring.

That said, I also think that Dave's wording/lack of clarification re: the spread of disease due to the emancipation of blacks was bound to push someone's buttons. Racism and/or prejudice of all stripes is so rife that nearly everybody has been wounded by it one way or another. I know I have and I'm fish-belly white. Mention certain words like 'astrology' and some perfectly rational people act like medieval goons, want to burn you at the stake. Even Dr. Seymour, a world-renowned expert in cosmic magnetism, could not avoid being ostracized by some of his peers when he proposed a possible mechnism for astral influences. Raising uncomfortable questions in science or politics is bound to make you a target, Dave. But they must be raised or we stay stuck in the dark ages. You're rather brave, I think. ;-)

Perhaps a true test for racism is simply to ask ourselves one simple question: How would I feel if my son or daughter married a non-white? Or vice versa. If you can embrace a person outside of your culture and race as a member of your own family, then you're a full-blooded member of the human family, I believe.
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PM
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 02:50 pm:   

"However, with all due respect to PM, I do think the title of this thread is over the top, given the excerpts I've read here. The question mark barely dilutes the offensive implication you've made here, PM."

Surely no one is going to believe that Dave advocates a return to slavery! I have asked whether he considers slavery a good thing for American blacks and also whether slavery should have been prolonged in the US. I didn't pull these questions out of the air. I pulled them out of his column.

I don't have any sort of ill will toward Dave. But Dave brought us to the point of discussing these issues. My guess is that those who know Dave would sort of smile about the whole situation. It would be my hope that anyone who thinks any less of Dave would do so based on his column and his responses and not the thread title.

"Perhaps a true test for racism is simply to ask ourselves one simple question: How would I feel if my son or daughter married a non-white? Or vice versa. If you can embrace a person outside of your culture and race as a member of your own family, then you're a full-blooded member of the human family, I believe."

Good point.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 04:19 pm:   

PM, I'm sure you don't mean that Dave adocates a return to slavery. (However, ask a person who works for minimum wage, and they will likely say that wage slavery is very much alive and well.) I only meant that a phrase like "slavery supporter" linked with someone's name, even posed as a question, may in some people's minds smear that person. It's a strong statement that can easily trigger negative impressions, especially in lazy web surfers. I bring this up because today my daughter called to say that one of her friends called her to say that they'd goggled my name and up popped Nightshades, and my careless comment about Emshwiller's work. And this young woman DID NOT read further, she simply assumed I was calling the author a man-hater, and that left her cold. (I was surprised to learn that my comments on this board were blasted over the internet, btw.) So all I'm saying is that the combination of words is somewhat inflamatory, easily taken out of context by some people.

I don't know Dave or you, and I try my best to stay open-minded. I find the argument interesting in that it just goes to show how easily we misinterpret each other. I know all too well what it's like to be tarred and feathered, stalked and threatened -- and I hate that kind of bigoted, boxed thinking because it's destroying literally every living thing. The world's just too small a place to accommodate prejudice, which is just another word for stupid.

My daughter is married to a Hispanic from a tiny town in Mexico. His family is wonderful, and wonderfully exotic, which is not to say I agree with their views on everything. (We don't discuss religion, for instance.) My daughter is so fiercely independant that her husband's family finds her more than a bit strange. But they love and support her in ways my whitebread family never has or will. It's beautiful to see and makes my blood glow. Gives me hope. I also think nature applauds mixed matings: my granddaughter is better looking and smarter than all of us on both sides put together.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 04:58 pm:   

PS I think as to the question of how slavery was deconstructed in the US pivots around the question of restitution. What sort of reparations were made for their pain and suffering, to help them make the transition from slavery to citizenship? I'm asking because my knowledge is scanty, but I would guess support was nada, or very little. Here in Canada the same issue pertains to aboriginals, and the situation, far as I'm concerned, is appalling. Many people here think making restitution is a moot point: why should I pay for the sins of my fathers? But I think we're all accountable for the world in which we live. I think because generations of individuals are effectively castrated by prejudice, we have to ask ourselves: How many Indians (or blacks, etc.) today would be wealthy, creative and productive had they not been degraded by years of poverty, ostracisim, etc.? I'll get slammed for saying this, but I believe we have to acknowledge the intergenerational damage we've done, and make some kind of restitution. How to do that is a huge question.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 06:29 pm:   

PM: "Were the slaves released too soon?"

I am only going to say this one more time and one more time only. Read the article carefully. One viewpoint advocated that the slaves should not be freed. One viewpoint advocated that the slaves should be freed immediately. The third (and middle ground) viewpoint advocated that the slaves should be freed, but that doing so would create all sorts of problems in the Real World. As Sowell states in his book (and I quoted in the article), freeing the slaves all at once and on moral principle looks good in the abstract and on paper, but fails to take into account the complexities of the times and the (then) current situation in America. Some of those problems are what I listed, by way of bringing home the point that these middle-grounders espoused. They were trying to address the manumission of the slaves in a realistic manner, because reality sometimes bumps heads with an abstract principle that looks terrific on paper. This is stated in my article.

Therefore, what _I_ think is totally irrelevant. I am not an historian, nor have I read nearly enough to be able to place myself in Lincoln's (or anyone else's of that time) shoes. It was a complex balancing act for anyone to have to make such decisions, much less Lincoln.

The purpose of this section of the article was to set the stage for Elliott's story, "The NRACP," and show what _he_ proposed (with tongue in cheek) as a solution (notice my reference to his "modest proposal.") The questions I posed in the article were restatements of historical positions, and concerns, held by those at the time. What I would do now, 147 years later, has nothing to do with the point of that section of the article. The questions about health care, crime, employment, are serious concerns when _any_ large group has the potential to migrate, or immigrate, from one place to another. In this case it happened to be blacks/slaves.

At the end of the Vietnam war, tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of refugees fled to the U.S. We were swamped. How could we possibly accommodate them all at once? What skills did they have that could land them a job? How much did it cost us to immunize them at a basic level so as not to import diseases eliminated in this country but still alive in theirs? How many of them turned to crime out of the most dire necessity?

How did Houston handle the influx of refugees from the New Orleans disaster? It's a matter of record that crime has gone up in Houston, and there have been all sorts of problems with assimilating NO youngsters into the Houston schools, etc., etc., etc....

Same thing with the various views of manumission. It was a _very_ complex, thorny problem to be sure, and all I was doing was pointing out some of the problems of emancipation all at once, rather than a more measured approach. The perfect answer? Way above my pay grade.

and the other question:

"Was it better to be a slave in America than to remain in Africa?"

Hell, how should I know? I seriously doubt it. But consider this: slave traders bringing slaves to America were hardly the only cultures exploiting the Africans. Countries from all over the Mediterranean were, for hundreds of years (and well before us) running slaves out of Africa. It goes back a _long_ way. In fact, it was the British and the US who first _ended_ slavery, and the movement to do so came from religious folk in both countries (I want to say it was the Quakers, but I'm not sure). But nobody ever tells that part of the story. The young America was only one of many countries plying the slave trade, but we were the first to end it. Another fact is that (in the majority of cases) it was other _Africans_ who went into the various villages and secured their fellow Africans as slaves for the white slave traders on the coast with their ships resting just off shore. Africans betrayed their own kind. We don't hear much about their own complicity in the slave trade in our history books, do we.

I'll leave you with this final thought: in regards to the influx of illegal immigrants coming through our southern border; 1) would you close the border to any and all of them? 2) would you adopt a policy that says we have an entirely open border--with no restrictions whatsover and of any kind--and allow tens if not hundreds of thousands to enter the U.S. without papers of any kind, without checking to see what rare diseases they might be carrying, without checking to see if they were wanted for heinous crimes in their own (or other) countries? Ask the good folks of Arizona, New Mexico, and California how much this is costing them (it's in the billions), and what solution _they_ want. Or 3) would you try to find some middle ground whereby a more orderly, rational, _safe_ border policy would admit immigrants of all stripe to this country, where they could be more easily assimilated into the U.S., without placing undue hardship on themselves as well as our own local and state governments.

Now, unless there is anything else, I suggest you either forego gargling the bong water before posting ridiculous inanities again, or, if that doesn't work for you, try a refresher course in remedial reading comprehension.

I'm sorry to sound so grumpy, but I'm frankly tired of your inability to comprehend the simplest matters. I will therefore let the totality of my remarks here stand on their own. I see no need to waste my time in any further replies to you.

You've thrown the "F"-bomb (in the other topic re Ms. Emsh), called me a sick puppy, and twisted, and nigh on called me a pro-slavery advocate and even suggested as much in the _topic header_, and now have refused to recant when it is patently obvious that I am NOT an advocate of slavery, for gods sake. OTOH, I have done none of these things toward you, and have tried my darndest to be reasonable with you. But it hasn't worked, so I'm out of here on this particular thread (at least to you).

Dave
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 08:52 pm:   

Just for the hell of it: :-)

"Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

--Frederick Douglass"

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

-- C. S. Lewis"

A certain someone may have to buy a vowel, because she won't have a clue as to the meaning of these astute quotes. But the rest of you, agree or disagree, enjoy.

Best,
Dave
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 09:07 pm:   

Man oh man. Like an old dog with a bone.

Perhaps a better question is -- what shall we do with Dave? :-)

Sorry. I just couldn't resist.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 11:22 pm:   

Hate to join this discussion, but I can't help but think that "freedom from slavery" is not just an abstract principle.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 08:35 am:   

Well I called Dave a sick puppy because folk will have sympathy for a sick puppy.

Clearly he's unable to grasp the offensive nature of some of his statements. Yet at the same time he's attempting to "provoke thought" by quoting Sowell who describes the origin of "Southern stupidity and bad behavior", debunking southern pride, and then equating black pride with southern pride. There are folk who still hold these viewpoints today. Which differs from when Shakespeare uses "God's wounds" and today's reader doesn't blink.

So I describe Dave or anyone for that matter as being "sick" who goes at others deliberately to antagonize them.

Reading his column was like standing at the top of a long flight of steel stairs. Dave trips and falls and I'm grabbed and pulled down. Inelegantly we painfully descend. And once we finally land Dave is looking at me as if to say, "What's your problem?"
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 08:37 am:   

It would be fine with me if an admin or GVG changes the thread title to "Crashing Q&A with Dave Truesdale".
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 08:43 am:   

Bronwyn, I'm glad that you've distanced yourself from the Emshwiller comments.

My hope was that folk would realize that bad things were being stated and would vigorously step back.

I'm more interested in the comfortable existence between races than reparations. So many whites seem to think that blacks have been given enough already that reparations would just blacken the situation.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 09:59 am:   

PM, I understand your position about reparation. It's a very good point. I could argue further why I think it's vitally important, but I won't, as this isn't the time or place. Let's just say that if we ever meet in real time we'll have one hell of a good discussion. :-)
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 12:59 pm:   

"We don't hear much about their own complicity in the slave trade in our history books, do we."

It's my understanding that there's quite a bit of limb chopping and cliterectomy going on in Africa. Europeans were happy to take slavery with them. It was what they wanted to do.

I agree with you though that the entire story should be told.

"I'll leave you with this final thought: in regards to the influx of illegal immigrants coming through our southern border; 1) would you close the border to any and all of them? 2) would you adopt a policy that says we have an entirely open border--with no restrictions whatsover and of any kind--and allow tens if not hundreds of thousands to enter the U.S. without papers of any kind, without checking to see what rare diseases they might be carrying, without checking to see if they were wanted for heinous crimes in their own (or other) countries? Ask the good folks of Arizona, New Mexico, and California how much this is costing them (it's in the billions), and what solution _they_ want. Or 3) would you try to find some middle ground whereby a more orderly, rational, _safe_ border policy would admit immigrants of all stripe to this country, where they could be more easily assimilated into the U.S., without placing undue hardship on themselves as well as our own local and state governments."

I'd make Mexico a state (perhaps more than one state). It's unbelievably ironic to hear folk talking about the US and who should and shouldn't come here. As I recall native Americans and Mexicans were here first.

With Mexico as part of the US then we're not trying to stop Mexican illegals. We can put that effort to say dealing with their "rare diseases" and "heinous crime" as Americans.

"Mexicans" will stay in Mexico when it's desirable to do so. The minimum wage would be available. The argument to spend billions in Mexico to strengthen the economy is easier to make when it's Americans helping Americans.

Individual and business tax revenue would be paid to the Federal government.

There's something here for everyone regardless of political perspective. For the Left it's a massive opportunity to build a social infrastructure and government programs. For the Right it's an opportunity to fight crime, drugs, and terrorists on their own soil. For the military it's a new place to experiment with blowing things up. It's a new place to dump toxic waste and build nuclear power plants.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 01:07 pm:   

"The questions about health care, crime, employment, are serious concerns when _any_ large group has the potential to migrate, or immigrate, from one place to another. In this case it happened to be blacks/slaves."

As I recall the slaves were brought over forcibly. Survival was their first order of business.

Health care, crime, employment are issues that all of us have to contend with. I agree that it's always going to be a problem when the existing infrastructure is inadequate. But the greater issue was (and is to varying degrees) discrimination.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 01:13 pm:   

"How did Houston handle the influx of refugees from the New Orleans disaster? It's a matter of record that crime has gone up in Houston, and there have been all sorts of problems with assimilating NO youngsters into the Houston schools, etc., etc., etc...."

Without placing specific blame it's obvious that there wasn't and isn't to varying degrees a sufficient capability to deal with a large scale disaster. The poor are the poor and relocation isn't going to resolve the issue of poverty.

"and all I was doing was pointing out some of the problems of emancipation all at once, rather than a more measured approach. The perfect answer? Way above my pay grade."

Most blacks aren't going to be thrilled by the prospect of anyone saying that slavery should have lasted for a longer period in order to better facilitate assimilation. A significant portion of the country was not interested in assimilation. In fact if the government had had the money blacks would have been freed and afterwards by and large deported.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007 - 09:16 pm:   

The following essay (see link) is dedicated to my good friend PM. Without her inspiration, none of this (as many book dedications proclaim) would have been possible.

I owe it all to you, PM.

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2006-02-12-1.html

The title of the essay is "Three Books That Name Names," and is by SF award-winning author (and Democrat!) Orson Scott Card. It's rather long, but worth the attention span required.

Please do enjoy.

Cheers,
Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 05:22 am:   

I've been reading the Sowell book.

Returning to Dave's column: "Black Rednecks and White Liberals is rigorously and exhaustively researched, every assertion and "fact" backed by the historical record. By our count, the sources used in this book nudge toward one thousand (873, give or take)."

Here's the breakdown per essay:

1. 289
2. 120
3. 179
4. 112
5. 125
6. 38
Totals 863 not 873.

Furthermore and more importantly these are not unique sources. For example, two books account for over 60 citations.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 05:46 am:   

This quote from Sowell is intriguing:

"Whether black redneck values and lifestyle are a lineal descendant of white redneck values and lifestyle, as suggested here, or a social phenomenon arising independently withing the black community and only coincidently similar, it is still a way of life that has been tested before and found wanting, as shown by its erosion over the generations among whites who experienced its counterproductive consequences."

It's interesting to consider the parallels but we shouldn't be surprised that there are common features. The intransigent poor are ill educated, have a poor work ethic, and unsupportable families.

Sowell argues that these bad values are being reinforced and that this continues the cycle of black poverty. I agree that these values are being reinforced but I disagree as to who is to blame. I would not attribute so much of the blame to black leaders or white liberals as to the families.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:04 am:   

Credit where credit is due. I respect (and thank) PM for actually taking the time and effort to read "Black Rednecks and White Liberals." At least she is attempting to broaden her education on the subject and I applaud her for it. I know the book opened my eyes to a more factual understanding on many issues (especially the famous case concerning the founding and history of Dunbar High School [a black school], and the role liberals played in almost ruining it early on, IIRC--my copy of the book is still packed away). She has every right to agree or disagree with the points in the book, but at least she has made herself aware of another perspective on the subjects addressed in the book.

PM: "Furthermore and more importantly these are not unique sources. For example, two books account for over 60 citations."

This still leaves 803 (of the 863) sources cited as coming from different historical records, books, papers, historical speeches, etc. So there are plenty of "unique sources" used in the book. Not the most important point, but again, we should try to relate the facts as accurately as possible.

Best,
Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:26 am:   

"This still leaves 803 (of the 863) sources cited as coming from different historical records, books, papers, historical speeches, etc. So there are plenty of "unique sources" used in the book. Not the most important point, but again, we should try to relate the facts as accurately as possible."

Let me explain this a second time. All you did was tally up the total number of citations. The actual number of uniquely cited works is substantially less than 803.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:35 am:   

As to the Card essay, well I'd like to inspire better writing (writers) but that's just a fantasy...

From the essay, "You can't just ppick a few random occupations and average the salaries together" Hopefully the typo can be picked out.

Now back to not so wonderful writing. Well it's tedious as I've read this sort of stuff more times than I care to recall. Are feminists bad? As in the ones that wanted equality and an end to sexual harassment?
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:48 am:   

And it's beyond irony that conservatives rail against the educational system yet are such unremarkable writers.

This isn't the first Sowell book I've read. (It's the second.) Thankfully it's better written than the last one I read over ten years ago.

But let's take Fred Barnes' back cover blurb as an example of poor writing:

"Thomas Sowell is America's foremost public intellectual and for good reason. His work covers almost every subject imaginable--race, economics, Marxism, ethnic groups, immigration patterns, just to name a few. He is persuasive and provocative and always scintillating. I've read all his books and never been even faintly disappointed. Black Rednecks and White Liberals is no exception."

Fortunately, Sowell's book is better written. Is it better argued? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But if covering all those subjects is all it takes to become "America's foremost intellectual" hmmm...As of 12:00:00 GMT I was America's 150,438,217th foremost intellectual. It's a difficult position to maintain. Well at least I'm not "always scintillating"...
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 08:35 am:   

PM: "Let me explain this a second time. All you did was tally up the total number of citations."

True. Are they any less accurate or factual for the number of them (great or small)?

PM: "The actual number of uniquely cited works is substantially less than 803."

But one helluva lot more than 2, which is where you left off in order to give an erroneous impression that Sowell used only a few (unique) sources throughout the book, but quoted heavily from them. Even if he did (which he doesn't, he uses plenty of unique sources), so what? This sort of picayune analysis leads away from the issues at hand, and doesn't really address them.

I quoted (in my essay) only a few segments from one of the six essays in the book. The other five are just as compelling reading on a variety of subjects. It is a fascinating book, chock full of facts to support his various positions.

The thing that continually irks me is that there are certain folks who just don't want to "hear" any fact with which they do no agree, or goes against their deeply ingrained personal orthodoxies, yet count themselves as "intellectuals" (as Card points out in the linked article upstream). It happens to both liberals and conservatives, but, as direct evidence shows, is far more prevalent among those in the liberal, progressive camp. I know, because I used to be a so-called liberal, progressive type...until I began examining my views in a brutally honest manner. As hard as it was for me to do, I began believing the facts on issues, and not the unsupported, fallacious rhetoric (mostly from the Left).

And is why I appreciated the fresh look Sowell brings to the subjects discussed in his book. Which is also why I chose to use quotes from it as preface and historical context for my discussion of several SF stories in my own article.

Science fiction is supposed to show different perspectives; readers have traditionally been open to them. But boy, howdy...show readers (today) a perspective which goes against what they're used to, and you're flayed alive. Quite a paradox, isn't it? It would seem some open-minded SF readers are only open-minded when what they read supports their world view, and anything else is automatically dismissed without any sort of intellectual rigour or analysis. One thing SF has traditionally done well is to challenge our perspectives, challenge traditional ways of thinking and viewing ourselves and the universe we inhabit. Today, unfortunately, I'm not so sure SF's current generation of readers is up to the challenge of giving the proper amount of intellectual, cutting-edge examination of the stories they're reading in the major (and lesser) magazines. They seem to blithely accept what is given them without any serious questioning of any given work's basic assumptions. And this is troubling to me.

I ask this: how can SF writers write cutting edge fiction if it only supports the views of the liberal Left? It's not cutting edge if it intrinsically (with shared cultural assumptions) supports the prevailing orthodoxy (and I'm talking about short SF, not novels). Seems to me that Liberals are only tolerant and open-minded until someone disagrees with them.:-)

Dave
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 08:55 am:   

PM: "But if covering all those subjects is all it takes to become "America's foremost intellectual" hmmm...As of 12:00:00 GMT I was America's 150,438,217th foremost intellectual. It's a difficult position to maintain. Well at least I'm not "always scintillating"..."

Um, the actual quote from Barnes is "_public_ intellectual," not just "intellectual." There's a difference. Again, reading skills, PM, reading skills...

And you forgot to include that Barnes also says "His work covers almost every subject imaginable--race, economics, Marxism, ethnic groups, immigration patterns, _just to name a few_." You neglected to mention the "just to name a few" in your accusation. Again, purposely distorting the facts to make an ad hominem attack, rather than trying to address the issues in the book. You've mentioned a typo, misquoted a book blurb (twice), and seem to validate the points in Card's article where he gives evidence of how liberals try to smear someone _without regard to, and ignoring, the facts_.

Please, let's hear more. The floor is yours. I'd like to see you refute facts in the book, rather than erroneously dissecting book cover blurbs.

Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 10:41 am:   

I stand corrected on the use of "intellectual" instead of "public intellectuals". I was thinking solely of intellectuals when I made the remark. I do continue to contend that Sowell is not a "foremost public intellectual"...only a very few are going to support that contention.

Additionally my contention stands that being a "foremost public intellectual" is more than the sum of simply writing about various public matters. In order to withstand scrutiny it needs to be ascribed by more than the few...

As to refuting Sowell's points he sort of does this himself in the earlier quote where he seems to be saying that it could be "coincidence" that there are what he calls "black rednecks". Additionally I made the point and I'll restate it that the intransigent poor share commonalities with rednecks and crackers.

Now I do not want to suggest that there was a culture vacuum between Southern blacks and whites. But Sowell completely ignores any independent black culture or any preexisting African cultural influences. To summarize I am at this time unwilling to go 100% with Sowell's point. But I do agree with it somewhat.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 10:42 am:   

"This sort of picayune analysis leads away from the issues at hand, and doesn't really address them."

Well I just couldn't help noticing the errors and pointing them out...sorry Dave to take you off on a tangent :-)
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 10:45 am:   

I also agree that there are folk who are intolerant across the political spectrum.

But where did Sowell really go with his "Black Rednecks (abbreviated title)" essay? He went on to indicate that blacks had adopted this behavior that was going to keep them in poverty.

More later.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 03:45 pm:   

Here are a few of Sowell's enraging points:

1. Blacks adopting the behavior of white slaveowners.

Of course it's ironic now that Sowell blames blacks for rebelling against "being white". What Sowell really doesn't discuss is black bi-culturality. As long as culture is defined in black and white terms then blacks will be to varying extents expected to conform to two competing cultures.

2. Black pride is the same as southern pride. Sort of like saying that Jewish pride is the same as Nazi pride. For those recalling/living during the civil rights era it would have been unimaginable for anyone to equate the two.

3. Black leaders, affirmative action, and non-black liberals who assisted achieved an entirely opposite impact.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 04:43 pm:   

PM: "Of course it's ironic now that Sowell blames blacks for rebelling against "being white"."

Sowell says nothing of the sort. Again, you're misreading the text entirely. Sigh.

PM: "Black pride is the same as southern pride."

What he shows by way of the historical evidence is that, through cultural transference, Blacks picked up many of the wayward ways of those "rednecks" and "crackers" who came to settle in the southern US from the northern wilds of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He goes on to show that _many_ of the characteristics of southern pride back _then_, are easily traceable to certain black behavior characteristics _now_. There's nothing mysterious or arcane about this traceable assertion.

PM: "Sort of like saying that Jewish pride is the same as Nazi pride."

You can't be serious. Your analogy is not the same thing at all. What logic chain you use to come up with this goofy parallel is beyond me. What hat you pull these inanities out of is also beyond me. Good grief.

Alas, I'm afraid we're at an unresolvable impasse due to your inability to accurately discuss the points in the book. You are entitled to your opinions, of course, but if they are forever based on misreadings and misinterpretations then we have nowhere to go re a meaningful discussion.

Again, I do applaud you for at least reading the book, but beyond that...

Dave
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:13 pm:   

Let me put this another way. Sowell condemns black rednecks but doesn't seem to mind blacks being inculcated by another set of white values. That other set was inculcated by northern teachers coming to the South after emancipation.

Moving on to blacks continuing a redneck tradition.

"Contemporary black ghetto culture is not, however, a simple linear extrapolation from the culture of Southern whites." (p 33)

Sowell tries to have it both ways by asserting that sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:24 pm:   

So even when Sowell contradicts himself he argues that most blacks adopted a Southern redneck and cracker mentality. This is still a problem today for at least some blacks.

Sowell says, "The burgeoning of the American welfare state in the second half of the twentieth century and the declining effectiveness of the American criminal justice system at the same time allowed borrowed and counterproductive cultural traits to continue and flourish among those blacks who had not yet moved beyond that culture,
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:35 pm:   

thereby prolonging the life of a chaotic, counterproductive, dangerous, and self-destructive subculture in many urban ghettos." (p 33)

In other words if the welfare state had not come to be then blacks would have abandoned their redneck/cracker lifestyles in time.

"Intellectuals have also played a role, along with the welfare state, in prolonging and legitimizing a counterproductive culture among blacks." (p 34)

"Nowhere was the effect of white liberalism of the 1960s on the social evolution of black
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 07:45 pm:   

culture more devastating than in the disintegration of the black family." (p 34)

So 60s white liberals destroy the black family.

"White liberals in many roles--intellectuals, politicians, celebrities, judges, teachers--have aided and abetted the perpetuation of a counterproductive and self-destructive lifestyle among black rednecks." (p 51)

So those whites liberals who were trying to help made things worse.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 08:02 pm:   

"The welfare state has made it economically possible to avoid many of the painful consequences of this lifestyle that forced previous generations of blacks and whites to move away from the redneck culture and its values." (p 51).

What Sowell doesn't address is that the welfare state wasn't born in a vacuum. More on this later.

"Lax law enforcement has enabled the violent and criminal aspects of this culture to persist." (p 51)

Lax law enforcement??? I quote this as it seems almost unbelievable.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 08:19 pm:   

It's more likely the anti-black attitudes among the police which has fostered resistance from poor blacks. Poor blacks have sufficient reason (varies of course) to believe that the police were not on their side.

"Intellectuals have been particularly prominent among those who have turned the black redneck culture into a sacrosanct symbol of racial identity,"

Are intellectuals advocating that blacks remain in poverty and be violent? Sowell offers no citation for this whopper or for the others.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 08:30 pm:   

"The rise of blacks into professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the years preceding passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the years following passage of that act." (p 241) Sowell gives a citation. (It's one of his other books.)

Evidently Sowell believes the Civil Rights Act was a bad thing.
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James A. Ritchie
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 07:40 am:   

Geeze, some of these really silly interpretations almost make me wish I had an occupation other than writer. Talk about seeing what you want to see instead of reading what's really there. Pseudo-intellect is a frightful beast.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 05:53 pm:   

James says: "Talk about seeing what you want to see instead of reading what's really there. Pseudo-intellect is a frightful beast."

There's just got to be a story there somewhere, James. Figure out just what it is and go for it. Just think; if you do it right you might be doing all writers a service. :-)

Dave

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