A Political-Historical Mental Exercise
I’ve been thinking through the 1860 presidential election a lot recently.
The background: In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled in the terrible Dred Scott case that the U.S. Constitution did not protect the rights of black people, free or enslaved. It also invalidated the Missouri Compromise as an illegitimate extension of congressional power. The Missouri Compromise had prohibited slavery in the northern U.S., except for Missouri, and was intended to balance the power of slave and free states. Along with the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), this meant each new territory became slave-holding or free based on the votes of that state’s population, which inevitably lead to armed conflicts (notably Bleeding Kansas) between abolitionists and pro-slavery settlers, with abolitionists often winning out. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act passed Congress, requiring northern states to return runaway slaves to the south, something abolitionists obviously refused to do. The country was at a breaking point.
So, I’ve been wondering what I would do if I was teleported back to 1860 and able to vote…
Slavery as Benevolent Evil
Doug Wilson has an explanation for his past statements on American slavery that were sympathetic to the institution as having aspects of benevolence and affection between slaves and masters. I think there are two significant problems with his argument.
First, this quote,
I would content myself with saying that there were “many” horrific abuses, and that there were “many” situations that were characterized by benevolent masters, and leave it at that…
On the Civil Religion and Kneeling
If you think that when Neo-Nazis and the KKK protested in Charlottesville, with a white supremacist murdering and injuring counter-protestors, that there were “some very fine people on both sides,” that this represents an insignificant fringe of American culture, and that media blew it out of proportion,
But also believe that black men kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism directed at their community is hugely disrespectful, and that they should be fired, you are probably racist.
If you think efforts to remove flags and monuments to the Confederate rebellion to preserve slavery, most of which were erected during the Civil Rights era, is a liberal assault upon American heritage, and that they should be left up…