Category Archives: History

Grace And Dignity After Charleston

Thoughts from Jonah Goldberg:

There are few subjects that ignite more casual, uninformed bigotry and condescension from elites in this nation than Dixie. “Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment,” the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky wrote last year.

How then to explain the tens of thousands of South Carolinians, white and black, marching in unity across the Ravenel Bridge on Sunday night? Did the city bus in decent Northerners?

The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins glibly asserts that “the Confederate battle flag is an American swastika, the relic of traitors and totalitarians, symbol of a brutal regime, not a republic.”

If it were left to me, I would take the flag down (for the reasons South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley laid out Monday). But this kind of cheap moral preening is galling. Is it really too much for people to muster the moral imagination that the issue isn’t nearly as simple as that?

A November poll of South Carolinians found that 61 percent of blacks wanted it down. That means nearly 4 in 10 blacks felt differently. Are they deluded? Are they the moral equivalent of self-loathing Jews, happy to live under a swastika?

Bigotry against white Christian southerners isn’t just the only acceptable one; it’s almost mandatory. And it largely comes from people who embrace and vote for the historical and traditional (and current) party of racism.

How Republics Die

My thoughts on the most recent judicial atrocities, over at PJMedia.

[Update later afternoon]

Some thoughts from Randy Barnett on “judicial restraint” and Republican judicial appointments.

I know it sounds crazy, but I want judges to follow the Constitution, not the tyrannical majority. I also want them to overturn crap decisions. Stare decisis my ass.

[Update a little while later]

Should we make Justices accountable to the voters?

It seems like a bad idea to me. I agree with Cruz’s diagnosis of the problem, but not his remedy. I think that one of the reasons that impeachment is so toothless is the original wording: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The Founders had a very clear view of what that meant, but most people today do not, as we discovered during the Clinton impeachment trial. The only successful impeachments and removals I can think of occurred in the context of gross and blatant corruption (Alcee Hastings, who was later re-elected), or actual criminality. The other part of the problem is that, while they were adamantly opposed to political parties and made no Constitutional provision for them whatsoever, they perhaps didn’t anticipate how difficult they would make impeachment (even though court appointments are in theory non-partisan).

I think a better solution might be to amend the Constitution to simply modernize the grounds for impeachment. For instance, “…or, in violation of their oath of office, persistent indifference to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Who could argue with that? It would be quite entertaining to watch Democrats attempt to argue that office holders shouldn’t have to uphold their oath of office. And if it passed, it would force impeachment trials to actual discuss those arcane concepts.

[Update a few minutes later]

This is sort of similar to proposals to rein in the government by adding the words “and this time we really mean it” to the 9th and 10th amendments against encroachments by the flawed interpretations of the Commerce Clause. It would be a “this time we really mean it” to simply following the Constitution and the rule of law.

Racism In America

90% of it comes from the Democrats and the Left.

Yes. And it’s always been the case, from the times of slavery, through Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, right up through today.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Why do we continue to honor the racist Woodrow Wilson? He was a Democrat, and the first arguably fascist president. And his views were probably influenced by the anti-Enlightenment pro-slavery screeds of Calhoun and Fitzhugh.

[Friday-morning update]

Whitewashing the Democrats’ racist history. With (as always) the aid of the media, either from ignorance or partisanship, or both.


Why Apple Pulled Civil War Games From Its App Store

Because it was afraid of the Internet:

No rational person would complain that there were Civil War sims. No sensible person would believe that society would be improved by demanding their removal. No emotionally stable person could think that they were safer now because someone, somewhere, would not get updates to a game they purchased that allowed them to fight as the Union Army but contained the sight of the Confederate flag. Anyone who would believe these things is tethered to reality by a frayed strand of dental floss, and while they may live in a comfy bubble where everyone believes the same things and has at least two friends who are doing very important work in the field of instructional graffiti, most people are stable enough to resist the siren call of the Stars and Bars, even in the form of a picture on a phone.

But. The loud people may complain. The company would have to explain. An explanation would be seen as a justification.

Of course there are nuances to this; Apple is working with developers to use a different, earlier flag, according to some reports. Because that’s the issue, right? Finding an acceptable flag to represent a slave state? As I noted elsewhere, the app store still has a game that lets you simulate the USSR, including an in-app purchase that lets you fine-tune your oppression settings. One could say this is okay because the USSR was an equal-opportunity killer, just as the repression settings in “Tropico” are hunky and / or dory because you’re putting the screws to your own people. If that’s the case, then they have decided that American Slavery is not only a unique historical event, but something whose magnitude and uniqueness sets it apart from every other act of state oppression and governmental violation of human rights. The enslavement of an entire population is not offensive, per se, because it’s color-blind.

I mean, sure, go ahead, make that argument. And if that’s the case, then my Roman Slave Merchant Sim should get brisk approval, because the Romans didn’t care who they enslaved, and also had the option to buy your way out. They practically invented the in-app purchase, in a way.

Remembering Runnymede

My thoughts on today’s anniversary, over at PJMedia. I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been attending a mini-conference on the subject, which was fascinating. I learned a lot of history from a lot of learned people. Sadly, it’s a history that we have not been teaching our youth. It doesn’t fit the narrative.

[Tuesday-morning update]

More thoughts from Iain Murray.


[Afternoon update]

We need a Magna Carta for the regulatory state.



Why she may lose:

What if Hillary is really running her campaign to the left and out of the Obama tactical playbook out of conviction? Many believe she is doing it out of pure expediency and that once in office she will return to the center. But perhaps she still is at heart the young leftist of her past, and now her long pent-up inner leftist is finally being liberated.

She is running in a country that is still center-right, and not far-left. With a strong and principled Republican candidate, she may be setting herself up for a big loss.

Unfortunately, strong and principled Republican candidates have been hard to come by since 1984. I agree, though that she’s finally letting her leftist freak-flag fly.

[Update a few minutes later]

The New York Times just made Rubio the hero of the struggling middle class. They just can’t help themselves.

[Update a few more minutes later]

The jiu jitsu of the Rubio campaign:

They decided not to directly refute charges that the freshman senator is a reckless spender, has drowned in debt, and has engaged in questionable financial practices. Rubio spokesman Alex Conant suggested that they’re not even a liability but rather an asset, because the senator’s financial struggles, which he’s spoken about often on the campaign trail, make him a more relatable candidate. The attacks, they say, even make Rubio look like a victim of snot-nosed elites.

There’s a good reason it looks like that.

[Update a while later]


The Rashomon Of Apollo And Shuttle

Stephen Smith has a lengthy review of John Logsdon’s latest book.

As he notes, the dual myths of Kennedy as space visionary and Nixon as space villain don’t stand up to any sort of realistic historical scrutiny. In fact, with Apollo, Kennedy set us up for decades of failure, in terms of making spaceflight economically realistic.