A place for new ideas to settle.

24 August 2013

Stop hitting yourself

Delightfully apropos to Katrina's newest post about who's hurting the liberty movement, user Obdicut at Little Green Footballs uncovers a surprising convergence between Glenn Greenwald and Rand Paul's "Southern Avenger."
I do not understand how any man with any shred of integrity as a ‘civil rights’ speaker can share the stage with someone named the Southern Avenger. Even the Southern Defender, I could slightly imagine. But vengeance implies someone who thinks a wrong has been done to the South, that there is some reckoning against the enemies of the South that has to come. And that is the really fucking scary kind of racism.
Too right. The Lost-Cause neoconfederate nostalgia among some in the liberty movement is, or should be, cause for concern. To be really blunt about it, you can dislike Abraham Lincoln's policy's, but...

the Union could not have bought the freedom of every Southern slave;
One idea that will not die is the notion that Lincoln could have purchased the slaves freedom and thus avoided the Civil War. This argument ignores many factors. Among them: the fact that slavemasters actually liked being slavemasters and believe their system to be a "positive good." The fact that slavery was a social institution that granted benefits beyond hard cash. The fact that Lincoln tried compensated emancipation in Delaware and was rebuffed. The fact that no state was eager to have a large portion of black free people within its borders. But more than anything the argument ignores the fact that compensated emancipation was not economically possible. At all.
the South really did secede over slavery;
[Georgia] For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery...
[Mississippi] Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world...
[S. Carolina] This stipulation [Article IV, U.S. Constitution] was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves...
[Texas]  She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.
and, ultimately, slavers are scum who don't deserve to have their rights protected since they sort of committed a cardinal sin against liberty in the first place:
Libertarianism holds that agents are, at least initially, full self-owners. Agents are (moral) full self-owners just in case they morally own themselves in just the same way that they can morally fully own inanimate objects.
(Though it's interesting to note that the Stanford Encyclopedia goes on to discuss libertarian attitudes towards voluntary slavery, the historical fact of the matter is that black slavery was fundamentally involuntary.)

So it comes down to Glenn Greenwald deigning to sit on a panel moderated by Jack Hunter, a former Rand Paul staffer who in earlier years called himself the "Southern Avenger" and wrote such erudite opinions as this:
Demography is indeed destiny and just like the type of crowd in a bar or restaurant defines those establishments, the character of a city, state or nation is defined by its people. If the entire country of China began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and celebrating the 4th of July, this would make them no more American than screwing up our calendar would make us Chinese. And an America in which whites were a minority would be a drastic departure from the America we know and love today.
So beyond Greenwald contributing to the overblown and distorted discourse about the NSA (a whole post in itself), he seems to lack the civil-rights scruples even to avoid neoconfederate MCs. I'm not going to characterize Greenwald as one himself; this is more probably the we-can't-turn-anyone-away mentality that is severely hampering the liberty movement. Sorry, guys, but the "liberty" espoused by neoconfederates a la Jack Hunter and theocrats in the Gary North mold is not liberty for all. It's very much a post hoc justification of inequality by saying "well, we have liberty, so suck it up."

And that sort of liberty just sucks.