It was only a matter of time…

Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn’t, that people who came here from other places made every attempt to fit in. Assimilation wasn’t a threat to anyone – it was what the Statue of Liberty represented. E pluribus unum, one out of many, was our motto. The world’s melting pot was our nickname. It didn’t mean that any group of people had to check their customs, culture or cuisine, at the door. It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.

That has changed, you may have noticed. And I blame my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the American Civil Liberties Union, at the forefront.

Nope, not joking. And the article is called The Jewish Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society – it’s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, the hatred spewed toward George W. Bush has far less to do with his policies than it does with his religion.

Which would make sense, if there had ever been a president who wasn’t a Christian.

It is the ACLU, which is overwhelmingly Jewish in terms of membership and funding, that is leading the attack against Christianity in America. It is they who have conned far too many people into believing that the phrase “separation of church and state” actually exists somewhere in the Constitution.

Actually, I think it’s the Supreme Court that “conned” the American people into believing that tconcept, but if Burt wants to credit the ACLU, hey, thanks.

You may have noticed, though, that the ACLU is highly selective when it comes to religious intolerance. The same group of self-righteous shysters who, at the drop of a “Merry Christmas” will slap you with an injunction, will fight for the right of an American Indian to ingest peyote and a devout Islamic woman to be veiled on her driver’s license.

They really need better fact-checkers at WND — or at least people who have a basic understanding of the right to religious expression and the establishment clause. The ACLU won’t “slap you with an injunction” for saying “Merry Christmas” — but they go after religious displays on government property, or religious exercise in public schools. At the same time, they’ll defend your individual right to exercise your religion. It’s not that confusing, and it shouldn’t be this controversial.

I happen to despise bullies and bigots. I hate them when they represent the majority, but no less when, like Jews in America, they represent an infinitesimal minority. I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

Uh… over-the-top, anyone? Really, though, I can’t say I’m surprised that the anti-Semitic undertones of this debate have finally been brought to the forefront.


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57 comments for “It was only a matter of time…

  1. December 7, 2005 at 4:08 pm

    Good fisking, Jill (see, I got it right today.)

    Nothing bothers me more than to see the privileged begin to adopt “victim language” and claim, against all evidence, that white Christians (particularly male heterosexual ones) are the most misunderstood and maligned segment of society. The cult of the victim is an alluring one, but it’s shameful to see so many who have so little right to complain yapping so loudly about so little.

  2. NoVA liberal
    December 7, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    Nice mocking, but I think you got the title of the article wrong. It’s ‘The International Jew 2005″…

  3. zuzu
    December 7, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    The ACLU is fighting for the rights of a Catholic man in Michigan sentenced by the state to state-funded rehab program run by the Pentecostal Church in lieu of prison.

    He failed to complete the program, and is being sent to prison.

    Why did he fail to complete the program? Because in order to complete the program, he had to renounce his Catholic faith and become a Pentecostal.

    He was not permitted to see his deacon, even though his deacon made several pleas to the sentencing judge for the right to see the man.

    Oh, and no actual rehabilitation was done, only prayer and Bible study. And hearing that he was sinful for being a Catholic.

    Keep in mind, he was sent to this program by the government on pain of imprisonment if he did not complete it.

    The ACLU is making sure that this man can practice his chosen faith without interference or coercion from the government — and if being forced to choose between your faith and jail is not coercion, I do not know what is.

  4. Tanooki Joe
    December 7, 2005 at 4:38 pm

    The ACLU defends the rights of Christians to practice their religion all the time. Really, if the ACLU has a war on Christianity, they’re doing a tremendeuously shitty job of it.

  5. piny
    December 7, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    Why did he fail to complete the program? Because in order to complete the program, he had to renounce his Catholic faith and become a Pentecostal.

    Wow.

  6. December 7, 2005 at 4:48 pm

    Well, in fairness, the article presents only one side of the story. This is what the man alleges. There’s no response from the program in the article.

    If it’s true, then it’s outrageous.Being a social services provider has a learning curve; this program seems to have smacked right into it.

  7. December 7, 2005 at 4:52 pm

    Bush may believe in God, but he isn’t a Christian. He couldn’t give a crap, and I bet you anything he’s never read the Gospels all the way through. That people believe his I’m-a-Born-Again lies and prayer-faced posturing is alternatingly funny and sad, and then funny again, and finally scary.

  8. Sally
    December 7, 2005 at 4:58 pm

    It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.

    Can we pretty please sentence anyone who says that earlier immigrants all learned English to take an introductory immigration and ethnicity history class. Please?

  9. Becky
    December 7, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    Just had to chime in — Hugo’s comment seems right on to me. Barbara Johnson coined this great term: “victimhood sweepstakes.” Somehow, after all the work done by feminists, civil rights movements, etc., it seems like the majority is now trying to claim victimhood (for what exactly?? For being considered just one group/religion among many?) Very strange how the rhetoric of victimhood gets turned around and claimed by different groups.

    Speaking of victimhood, I ran across a conservative blog (Save the GOP) that claims the Bush administration is “noble” for supporting torture and taking the political consequences. How, exactly, are the ones doing the torturing the victims?!

  10. December 7, 2005 at 5:06 pm

    actually, i think this guy has a point. as an american jew, i meet each month by the light of the full moon to plot the destruction of christmas in america

    our strategy is fiendishly simple: get walmart greeters to say “happy holidays” between november 24th and december 25th. our cunning plot simply cannot fail! soon no corner of america will be able to escape a non-denominational greeting forcing christianity will wink out of existence forever!!!!

  11. December 7, 2005 at 5:11 pm

    Um, forgive me for pointing out the obvious (especially after it was highlighted in the very first quoted segment), but this fellow is a Jew.

    Yet somehow he’s an anti-Semite?

    And exactly what is wrong with this quote?

    This is a Christian nation, my friends. And all of us are fortunate it is one, and that so many Americans have seen fit to live up to the highest precepts of their religion. Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours.
    (emphasis added)

    There is a present bias against Christian expression and tradition. It may well stem from noble intentions–to prevent the vast majority from unduly restricting the exercise of other religions, but it does exist. And while the ACLU may take some cases in support of Christian expression, most of their more significant (read: affecting more people) legal victories have come at the expense of Christian expression.

  12. piny
    December 7, 2005 at 5:16 pm

    There is a present bias against Christian expression and tradition. It may well stem from noble intentions–to prevent the vast majority from unduly restricting the exercise of other religions, but it does exist. And while the ACLU may take some cases in support of Christian expression, most of their more significant (read: affecting more people) legal victories have come at the expense of Christian expression.

    At the expense of mandatory and/or state-sponsored Christian expression, first of all. For another, there’s a certain disparity you’re not accounting for. Saying that a paucity of anti-freedom-of-Christian-expression cases have been handled by the ACLU is like saying that an advocacy group devoted to fighting racism in housing is biased against white people because it doesn’t handle too many complaints from them.

  13. December 7, 2005 at 5:18 pm

    There is a present bias against Christian expression and tradition

    actually, i completely disagree. open your eyes, christian expression is everywhere. why is the entire country going batshit this late december holiday (who’s name, unfortunately, escapes me. it has been so purged from the public consciousness it’s hard to remember these things. i think it begins with an “x”)

    seriously, you have to be either willfully blind or completely ignorant to claim christianity is under attack in this country. or you just need to visit a country where there is no religious freedom for a little while

  14. Sally
    December 7, 2005 at 5:20 pm

    Um, forgive me for pointing out the obvious (especially after it was highlighted in the very first quoted segment), but this fellow is a Jew.

    Yet somehow he’s an anti-Semite?

    Yes. In the annals of history, this is not exactly unheard of. Nor is it unheard of for non-Jews to use Jewish anti-semites to provide cover for their own anti-semitism.

    our strategy is fiendishly simple: get walmart greeters to say “happy holidays” between november 24th and december 25th. our cunning plot simply cannot fail! soon no corner of america will be able to escape a non-denominational greeting forcing christianity will wink out of existence forever!!!!

    Yeah, you know, I’m so glad that we stopped drinking the blood of Christian babies. It made the monthly meetings a lot more exciting, but it was a pain to get the stains off the carpet.

  15. December 7, 2005 at 5:22 pm

    Good fisking, Jill

    That, um, “effort”, does not even rise to the level of a fisking (a low bar indeed). JIll, if you’re not going to wackylace it, don’t waste your time.

  16. gswift
    December 7, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    BoDiddly Says:

    There is a present bias against Christian expression and tradition.

    We’ve got Christian majorities in Congress and every President we’ve had is Christian. Christmas decorations start showing up in stores in fucking OCTOBER. All we see is Christmas for months. Cry me a river.

  17. zuzu
    December 7, 2005 at 5:26 pm

    Why should non-Christians “show gratitude” to those who “accept Christ as their personal savior?”

    I mean, respect, tolerance, fine. But gratitude?

  18. gswift
    December 7, 2005 at 5:36 pm

    Steve Gilliard had a great post on the underlying anti Semitism of the “war on christmas” crowd a few days ago.

  19. December 7, 2005 at 5:42 pm

    I show tolerance every day, but gratitude? Christ. (no pun intended)

  20. December 7, 2005 at 6:25 pm

    Which would make sense, if there had ever been a president who wasn’t a Christian.

    Well, how about Washington (deist), Adams (Unitarian, which at the time specificly rejected the concept of the trinity, and are therefore not considered to be true christians), Jefferson (sometimes a deist, sometimes a Unitarian, but in any case re-edited the Bible removing all references to jesus being the son of god), and Adams (another Unitarian like his father). I’m not certain, but I think that Madison was a deist as well.

  21. piny
    December 7, 2005 at 6:39 pm

    Well, how about Washington (deist), Adams (Unitarian, which at the time specificly rejected the concept of the trinity, and are therefore not considered to be true christians), Jefferson (sometimes a deist, sometimes a Unitarian, but in any case re-edited the Bible removing all references to jesus being the son of god), and Adams (another Unitarian like his father). I’m not certain, but I think that Madison was a deist as well.

    These are still arguably Christian denominations, and are in no way the same as, say, a Muslim becoming president.

    Not just that, but look at the argument this is replying to: any deist presidents lately?

  22. ilyka
    December 7, 2005 at 6:44 pm

    You smacked this out of the park, Jill. Hell, you could have quit right here:

    Which would make sense, if there had ever been a president who wasn’t a Christian.

    . . . and still been ahead, pansauce’s nitpickery notwithstanding.

  23. Sally
    December 7, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    I think the main bogeymen in the early Republic were Catholics, not secularists. (And non-Christians didn’t even really register.) Cutting up your Bible was forgivable, as long as your Bible was the King James edition. Praying to saints or believing in transubstantiation would not have been.

    (Of course, the period between the Revolution and 1830 or so was also a low-point for anti-Catholic bigotry. The Revolutionary generation just wasn’t that hung up on other people’s religious beliefs.)

  24. Harrison
    December 7, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Ah, yes…the great boogeyman (or boogeyperson) to the Right. The one, the only, the dreaded…ACLU!!! (insert ominous music here–maybe Darth Vader’s theme?) Actually, I belong to an organization called Americans United for Separation of Church and State and they are at least as active, if not more so, in church-state separation issues than the ACLU. But the ACLU is bigger and gets more press.

    BTW, the AU is headed by a Christian lay minister. But I’m an atheist, so I guess that makes the AU a godless, heathen group…

  25. December 7, 2005 at 9:21 pm

    I could go into all the court cases that have estabished that any presence of religious activity in school has been construed as “endorsement,” down to using a school’s PA system, as evidence of an anti-Christian bias from the ACLU and the federal judiciary, but you already know that.

    I could cite the good that’s been brought to Western civilization as a result of Christian influence, from the worth of women to the abolition of slavery, as grounds for gratitude, but you know that, too.

    I could even call your attention to the fact that the founders thought that the several states were capable of handling all issues of religion without the meddling of the federal government, but you certainly wouldn’t be referring to the establishment clause without being aware of that fact, would you?

    I’d rather call attention to the fact that you guys seem to be caught between calling conservatives Anti-Semites or Neocons, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the two terms are completely incompatible, only understanding that both are derrogatory.

    I guess I should have been looking at this post as satire all along.

  26. Harrison
    December 7, 2005 at 10:34 pm

    I could go into all the court cases that have estabished that any presence of religious activity in school has been construed as “endorsement,” down to using a school’s PA system, as evidence of an anti-Christian bias from the ACLU and the federal judiciary, but you already know that

    I know that a number of court cases have established that religious activity on public, i.e., funded by taxpayers–all taxpayers, Christians and non-Christians alike school grounds during school hours and promoted or otherwise encouraged by school officials has been construed as endorsement of the religion concerned, and thus unconstitutional. I believe most of the cases do concern Christian religious practices–why Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths don’t apparently feel it necessary to demand that public schools incorporate their religious practices is another question…

    The interpretation of anti-Christian bias on the part of the ACLU and federal judiciary you apparently share with elements of the Religious Right.

    So please don’t start telling me what I know or don’t know, thank you.

  27. zuzu
    December 7, 2005 at 10:55 pm

    I could go into all the court cases where the ACLU defended the rights of individuals to practice their personal religious beliefs free from governmental interference.

  28. gswift
    December 7, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    BoDiddly Says:

    I could cite the good that’s been brought to Western civilization as a result of Christian influence, from the worth of women to the abolition of slavery, as grounds for gratitude, but you know that, too.

    Oh yes, because it’s not like the Bible has slavery or tells us that women are not to be put in positions of authority over men. Do you even kown what’s in that Bible of yours? It ain’t just for thumping.

    A lot of the greatest progress in Western Civilization is precisely because we decided to ignore the damn Bible, not embrace it.

  29. December 8, 2005 at 1:16 am

    (Of course, the period between the Revolution and 1830 or so was also a low-point for anti-Catholic bigotry. The Revolutionary generation just wasn’t that hung up on other people’s religious beliefs.)

    Sally,

    If that’s the case, then why was the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, and its progeny, the religious clauses of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights necessary?

    ***

    I don’t disagree with Jill’s post on the whole, I just thought that that one point was incorrect, if 10% is nitpickery, so be it.

    More to the point, when Jefferson challenged Adams in the election of 1800, Jefferson was specificly attacked by Federalist newspapers by calling him an atheist and that charge was apparently believed by many people. If Burt Prelutsky wants to argue that Bush is being attacked because of his religion, that is the standard against which any “attacks” have to be measured. That one, or possibly the attacks on Al Smith in the 1928 campaign for being Catholic.

    In support of Sally’s thesis above, it seems that prior to the Second Great Awakening people were more willing to accept some degree of diversity.

  30. Sally
    December 8, 2005 at 1:37 am

    If that’s the case, then why was the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, and its progeny, the religious clauses of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights necessary?

    It was necessary to differentiate themselves from the supposedly-tyrannical regime that they had just overthrown. Before the Revolution, there were anti-Catholic statutes in Virginia, as there were in Britain until 1829.

    A little-known fact, though, is that states weren’t bound by the first amendment (or the Bill of Rights in general) until the 14th amendment was passed. Several states had established religions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. So you’re right: I’m generalizing, and the reality is messier.

    There was a big resurgance of American anti-Catholicism starting in about 1830, due both to the Second Great Awakening and to the increase in Catholic immigration.

    I could cite the good that’s been brought to Western civilization as a result of Christian influence, from the worth of women to the abolition of slavery, as grounds for gratitude, but you know that, too.

    It amuses me that people constantly refer to devout abolitionists but tend not to realize that many defenders of slavery were equally devout.

  31. randomliberal/Robert
    December 8, 2005 at 2:34 am

    The Bible also helped us bring about the Inquisition, the Crusades, the KKK, Spanish fascism, the Civil War, Manifest Destiny, etc…

  32. Tanooki Joe
    December 8, 2005 at 4:54 am

    More to the point, when Jefferson challenged Adams in the election of 1800, Jefferson was specificly attacked by Federalist newspapers by calling him an atheist and that charge was apparently believed by many people.

    A rather ironic turn of events, as Jefferson and Adams had nearly the same religious beliefs! In really, both Adams and Jefferson would most likely be considered Unitarian Deists by today’s standards.

    A little-known fact, though, is that states weren’t bound by the first amendment (or the Bill of Rights in general) until the 14th amendment was passed. Several states had established religions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. So you’re right: I’m generalizing, and the reality is messier.

    People are still using the “it only pertains to the federal government argument”. It’s annoying.

  33. December 8, 2005 at 1:45 pm

    was Jimmy Carter voted out of office for being a Christian? He not only professed Christianity, but unlike George Bush, has been caught practicing it.

  34. December 8, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    Sally, I wasn’t referring to the “devout” nature of anyone. I was referring to Christian principles that were bringing about the end of slavery and the civilization of slaves before the Federal government got involved. The Bible does speak of slavery, indicating that slavery in and of itself is not a bad thing, but the slave is to be treated as family, not as livestock.

    You are spot-on, however, regarding the import of the 14th amendment to the extention of the Bill of Rights to the state governments. Problem is, the 14th was never legally ratified. That makes things a whole helluva lot messier.

  35. Sally
    December 8, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    Hmm. No offense, Bo, but you seem like a bit of a raving loon.

  36. Tanooki Joe
    December 8, 2005 at 5:32 pm

    Problem is, the 14th was never legally ratified.

    Explain please.

  37. December 8, 2005 at 8:12 pm

    The 13th and 14th Amendments were added just at the close of the War Between The States. The 13th Amendment was presented to those states that had seceded, with the provision that upon their ratification of that amendment they would be readmitted. Still, the Federal government refused to allow elected representatives from the Southern states to be seated in the House. Then the 14th was presented in the same way, as a condition of readmission. Because of their lack of representation in the House (something required by the constitution) and because the 14th was presented as conditional to their readmission, the states could not have been considered part of the Union at the time. The ratification of the 14th, then, (being dependent upon ratification of 2/3 of the states in order to be considered valid) was essentially ratified by counting states that were not a part of the Union at the time they ratified the amendment. It may be a “technicality,” but “technicalities” make the difference in a whole lot of legal cases.

    Sally, I don’t mean to be crass, but exactly which fact that I cited got your knickers in a knot to the point of calling me a “raving loon?” Slavery winding down prior to the secession? Yes, by any even remotely accurate account. Slavery in the Bible? Yes, it stipulated proper codes of conduct for slaves and masters. See my preceding paragraph for an explanation of the 14th Amendment’s questionable ratification.

  38. piny
    December 8, 2005 at 8:32 pm

    The Bible does speak of slavery, indicating that slavery in and of itself is not a bad thing, but the slave is to be treated as family, not as livestock.

    Well, that’s quite all right then!

    In other words, owning people, per se, is not necessarily incompatible with being Christian.

    Nor was that what was pointed out to you. Heterodox or no, virtually all slaveowners considered themselves good Christians.

    No one’s arguing that religious belief doesn’t motivate people to do good things–at least, I haven’t seen anyone arguing that here. The problem is that, like every other belief system, it’s not immune to self-serving interpretation or selective adherence. The history of its appropriation is checkered at best. “Christian principles” did not end slavery any more they created or maintained it. They served, as ideologies are wont to serve, as handy justification for people who wanted both to own slaves and to free them. If Christianity may claim credit for the latter, it must be liable for the former.

  39. Sally
    December 8, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    Slavery winding down prior to the secession? Yes, by any even remotely accurate account.

    Um, ok. If you say so.

    Slavery in the Bible? Yes, it stipulated proper codes of conduct for slaves and masters

    Well, pro-slavery types certainly alleged that. I’m not sure what your point is, though.

  40. Sally
    December 8, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    (And just to clarify, by “um, ok. If you say so,” I mean “I’m not arguing about this with a raving loon.”)

  41. December 8, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    I would not say that “Christian principles” ended slavery. As other commenters have noted, it is possible to twist Christian principles (pretty much any principles) to support any despicable doctrine or institution; all that is required is the will. We’re a mentally flexible species.

    Individual people HOLDING Christian principles ended slavery.

    Sally, it isn’t necessary to allege what the Bible says and doesn’t say. The text is right there in English; we can all read it. (Thanks, Mr. Wycliffe!) That it stipulates codes of conduct for slaveowners (and set out guidelines for many other social relationships) is indisputable.

    I wouldn’t characterize the statement that slavery was winding down before the Civil War as indisputable, but I believe that that to be the majority view among historians. It had stopped making economic sense for the South as a region, and more and more people were rejecting the strained religious interpretations justifying the institution.

  42. Sally
    December 8, 2005 at 10:46 pm

    I wouldn’t characterize the statement that slavery was winding down before the Civil War as indisputable, but I believe that that to be the majority view among historians.

    Well, you can believe whatever you want, but you’re wrong. Most historians of slavery have massive problems with Fogel and Engerman’s Time on the Cross, but for the most part they accept Fogel and Engerman’s findings that slavery was profitable. Here’s what Eric Foner has to say about it in The New American History, a book put out by the American Historical Association to help students and high school teachers stay on top of developments in the field:

    This interpretation was most closely associated with the work of “cliometricians” Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman, whose writings embodied two major departures in historical methodology: the computerized analysis of quantitative evidence, and the application of modern neoclassical economic theory to historical problems. The first greatly expanded the possibilities for finding definitive answers to statistical questions (Fogel and Engerman demonstrated, for example, that slavery was a profitable institution, which was not likely to disappear for economic reasons).

    Now, I’m sure that Bo doesn’t think Eric Foner, past president of both the Organization of American Historians and the American HIstorical Association, is capable of determining what’s a remotely accurate account. That’s evidence that he’s a raving loon. But I think you’re a bit more in touch with reality and therefore can realize that an awful lot of historians now think that slavery was profitable in much of the American South.

    I don’t claim to know much about the Bible or what it has to say about slavery, as I’m not a Biblical scholar. But I do know a fair amount about American history, and I don’t think you’re right about this one, Robert.

  43. zuzu
    December 8, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    Bo, I’m sure you’re aware that one of the reasons that slavery was “winding down” was that it was becoming less profitable. The sugar/rum/slave trade was a bit less profitable once the Industrial Revolution came on the scene and other, less perishable goods could be had. Hey! You could cut out the African leg of the deal and STILL make money! Especially what with the Northerners and Europeans getting a conscience and all and deciding slavery was after all NOT quite so compatible with the Bible.

    There were also plenty of people whose interpretation of Christian principles upheld slavery, which is why John Brown and the abolitionists were so controversial. Which is why you could have people who felt they were good Christians who were slaveholders and who were Congregationalists.

    Bo, I’d be interested in learning where you got your information that the 13th and 14th Amendments weren’t ratified by 2/3 of the states. According to Wikipedia, the 28th of 37 states necessary to ratify the 14th Amendment did so in 1868. The issue was whether, after having ratified the amendment, the legislatures of a few states could rescind the ratification.

    It seems that there’s no provision for that in the Constitution, not to mention that the later-admitted states made up the 2/3, so the whole “Seward pushed through the amendment without ratification” argument rings hollow.

  44. December 9, 2005 at 12:44 am

    Sally, slavery making economic sense and slavery being profitable for slaveholders aren’t equivalent statements. If everybody in the United States sent me half their wealth, it would be extremely profitable for me, but it wouldn’t make a damn bit of economic sense, in fact it would gut our economy since I’d make much poorer use of the money than its 300 million previous owners would have done.

    Slavery was no longer making economic sense in that a slave plantation was no longer the most profitable use for a particular piece of land. Remaining a slave plantation made the most sense for existing landowners – who already had the slaves, the overseers, the infrastructure, the contracts, the hired expertise in farming, and so on already in place – but it wasn’t what a smart person with some cash but no physical capital stock or commitments who came into possession of a piece of empty Georgia bottomland would do.

    It’s been a while since I ran numbers on this (oddly, the economics of slavery are a fairly minor portion of my overall interest set – go figure) but as I recall the number of slaves peaked some time before the Civil War and was steadily declining, as old plantations went out of business and new ones were not formed.

  45. December 9, 2005 at 12:58 am

    Oops – I mis-spoke. It was not the absolute number of slaves that were declining – those numbers continued to rise, along with population figures for the South as a whole.

    It was instead the percentage of the population that were enslaved that fell slowly over time – from a peak around 1830, slowly but steadily downwards from there.

  46. December 9, 2005 at 2:21 am

    It was instead the percentage of the population that were enslaved that fell slowly over time – from a peak around 1830, slowly but steadily downwards from there.

    Which would follow from the fact that importation of slaves ended in the US in ~1800 while immigration of free peoples continued.

  47. December 9, 2005 at 2:45 am

    I said:

    If that’s the case, then why was the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, and its progeny, the religious clauses of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights necessary?

    Sally said:

    It was necessary to differentiate themselves from the supposedly-tyrannical regime that they had just overthrown. Before the Revolution, there were anti-Catholic statutes in Virginia, as there were in Britain until 1829.

    I don’t think I agree with you. Jefferson and Madison’s writings state that the inspiration for the Virginia Act was the treatment that they saw of John Leland and his followers (i.e. the Baptists). While the Virginia Act and the First Amendment had a definite contra-anti-Catholic effect, it doesn’t follow that that was its cause.

    (Aside: To the best of my knowledege, there were anti-Catholic — and anti-everything other than the established church in the given colony — statutes in every colony save Maryland.)

    The Act appears to me to be a reaction against the oppression of non-established Protestants.

    I would argue that our adoration of the Founding Fathers temporarly overcame the inherent prejudice that most of us held against people of different religions. Washington was a Deist? Who gives a flying fig. He saved us during the Revolution. Jefferson is an atheist? He wrote the Declaration of Independence and championed the farmers against the money men. Adams and Adams? Coattails maybe.

    In most blog arguments, people are arguing for or against a deeply held belief, I’m not. I’m actually trying to understand the time and the people who lived then. If I’m wrong, please convince me.

  48. December 9, 2005 at 2:57 am

    Damn those Jews! I never get to have any of the blame!

    Come on! I push a multicultural agenda, too! Stop hogging the limelight! :)

  49. December 9, 2005 at 3:12 am

    Okay, just for him. I blame whatever racial/socio-economic group that Joel Sax belongs to.

    Better?

  50. December 9, 2005 at 8:28 am

    It’s been a while since I ran numbers on this (oddly, the economics of slavery are a fairly minor portion of my overall interest set – go figure) but as I recall the number of slaves peaked some time before the Civil War and was steadily declining, as old plantations went out of business and new ones were not formed.

    That depends on where you were. Slavery was in decline in Maryland and Virginia where it had been practiced the longest, as continual farming had worn out the land to the point that plantation economics became untenable. Some moved with their slaves to the old Southwest (Alabama, Mississippi and further on), others moved with their (former) slaves to the old Northwest (Ohio, Indiana, and further on), others sold their slaves “down south” to meet the labor demands of cotton farming, and a few moral people freed their slaves (who were often required by law to leave the state upon manumission). The Virginia legislature voted on abolishing slavery outright in 1832 after the Nat Turner rebellion. The measure failed, but flipping eight votes out of 131 would have changed the outcome.

  51. Sally
    December 9, 2005 at 11:56 am

    You may be right, pansauce. It’s not my area of expertise by a longshot, and I tend to view everything through the lens of anti-Catholicism, because I’m interested in its later minifestations. It’s pretty well established that the period between the Revolution and 1830 was a particularly good time for Catholics, but that may have to do with reverence for Founding Fathers, too. A lot of people were aware that most (white) Catholics supported the Revolution, that there was a Catholic among the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and that John Carroll, who eventually became the first American archbishop, provided assistance to the continental army. For a while, it was hard to sustain the claim that Catholics were incapable of autonomous thought and would blindly follow authority, as they were taught to do by their church. That claim resurfaced after 1830.

    (Maryland had anti-Catholic statutes too, by the way, despite its origins as a haven for Catholics. And they weren’t just anti-dissenter: they specifically targeted Catholics, although the worst provisions generally weren’t enforced.)

    I think it’s pretty uncontroversial that slavery was on decline in Maryland at the time of the Civil War, although even Maryland had significant regional variation. The classic book on this is Barbara Fields’s Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground. As I understand it, that had to do with things specific to tobacco, on which Maryland plantation farming had depended. I’m a lot less convinced by that claim about Virginia. The absolute number of slaves in Virginia increased every decade until the Civil War, no? It’s clear that the center of gravity was shifting to the Deep South, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the question of whether slavery was about to die off in the United States without Federal intervention. That seems to me to be clearly untrue: the number of slaves was rising, the value of slaves was rising, and very few people in the South were publicly challenging the morality of slavery in the 1850s.

    At any rate, I think that Bo is making a larger claim, which is either that the Civil War was an example of yankee aggression because it couldn’t really have been about slavery or that slave-owners were benevolent patriarchs who owned slaves out of concern for lesser people, not because they wanted to profit from a particularly egregious form of labor exploitation. Both of these views were held by historians until the 1950s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still what you learn in high school history classes in Mississippi. To me, it sounds like squicky neo-Confederate garbage.

    I’m not sure what any of this has to do with us evil Jews and our plot against Christmas, though.

  52. zuzu
    December 9, 2005 at 12:29 pm

    At any rate, I think that Bo is making a larger claim, which is either that the Civil War was an example of yankee aggression because it couldn’t really have been about slavery or that slave-owners were benevolent patriarchs who owned slaves out of concern for lesser people, not because they wanted to profit from a particularly egregious form of labor exploitation.

    Ah, yes. The War of Northern Aggression.

  53. December 9, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    Sally,

    I reckon you done figured me out purty good. Heck, I ain’t nuthin but a nigger-hatin, redneck, card-carryin’ follower of the Reverend Birch, and ain’t got one lick at no school learnin’ like you sophisticated city gals. Guess I’ll get back to fuckin’ that chicken now.

    Fuck you. I tried to address the points being made here and you responded with an infantile smear. Upon responding to that smear by questioning which of my points you questioned, you ultimately resort to racial and regional caricatures. Imbecil.

    — ———

    zuzu, The timeline of ratification went like this: The conquered states were under martial law pending their readmission. The last “hoop” through which they had to jump was the 13th amendment, a measure which Lincoln insisted must include compensation to slave owners, but which Congress left out of the amendment. Upon ratification of the 13th (remember that they weren’t officially recognized states when they voted to ratify), they were readmitted, but Union leaders in the House refused to seat representatives from those states, then the statehood of the Confederate states was again rescinded by passage of the first few Reconstruction acts, which returned those states to martial law. Then the required ratification of the 14th was presented, with the stipulation that the states would remain occupied territories if they didn’t ratify the amendment. Thus, the states were forced into ratification, which they arguably didn’t have constitutional power to do, not being part of the Union at the time of ratification. The proper way, if this were to be done, would have been to establish that the Union was comprised of only those state who had remained loyal during the conflict, and a minimum of 2/3 of those states would have been necessary. Then, any entering state would have to ratify the entire Constituion, including all amendments, upon admission (not prior). Now, too much of established law has been based upon the 14th for it to be anything but a philosophical pursuit (think stare decisis on steroids), but it’s still an interesting bit of history to investigate and ponder.

    Just as an aside, I don’t like the connotations of “War of Northern Aggression.” It’s inaccurate to call it the “Civil War,” though, as there were two separate and sovereign nations at war. I prefer “War Between the States” because it is more historically accurate, but I’m not so anal-retentive about it that I refuse the shorthand “Civil War” moniker.

  54. piny
    December 9, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    Imbecil.

    Heh.

  55. December 9, 2005 at 4:21 pm

    pansauce: Thank you. Sniff. It’s nice to be appreciated.

    BoDiddly, the day you are arrested for saying “Merry Christmas”, I promise to contribute to your legal defense fund and march on your behalf.

    I don’t expect you’ll do the same for me when I am arrested for expressing my voice against the government.

  56. mythago
    December 10, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    Good grief, is this moron Jewish for any other reason than if he formally converted to Christianity, he couldn’t wrap himself in the Star of David before his anti-Semitic spewing?

  57. David Thompson
    December 10, 2005 at 4:11 pm

    As I understand it, that had to do with things specific to tobacco, on which Maryland plantation farming had depended. I’m a lot less convinced by that claim about Virginia. The absolute number of slaves in Virginia increased every decade until the Civil War, no?

    Tobacco was also the culprit in the Virginia agricultural decline. Black population in Virginia increased steadily to 1830, declined to 1840, recovered by 1850, and increased slightly to 1860. The percentage of free blacks grew from 4 to 10% by 1840 and remained steady thereafter. Black percentage of the total state population peaked at 47.9% in 1830 and steadily declined thereafter.

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