The Lure of the Czars

It took the Romanovs almost 300 years to produce 18 czars. Obama did it in less than 100 days.

There's just something about a man in epaulets.

Despite our distaste for royalty and titles, and particular ill will toward Russian autocrats, Americans just can't seem to get enough of the word czar. We have been using and abusing the term since at least the 1830s, handing out the title to central bankers (allies of President Andrew Jackson lobbed the word at his foe Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States) and even presidents (during Reconstruction Andrew Johnson was lampooned as "the Czar uv all the Amerikas.") The real czars were still too close for comfort at that point, though, and being associated with inbred Russian tyrants didn't sit well with prominent Americans. But the last real czar was deposed in 1917, and thereafter Americans started feeling a bit warmer and fuzzier about the title, bestowing it on the first baseball commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, appointed in 1920 to clean up the mess left by the previous year's Black Sox scandal.

President Barack Obama is taking the practice of naming czars to new heights. As Foreign Policy points out, with the selection of "border czar" Alan Bersin, the Obama administration surpassed the Romanovs in its production of czars. It took those old Russkies 300 years to produce 18 czars. It took Obama less than 100 days.

A quick czar rundown reveals a motley crew. There's Carol Browner, the "energy czar," filling one of the older czar slots. It was first created by President Richard Nixon in 1973 as the Director of the Office of Energy Policy, which became the Federal Energy Administration, and joined the Cabinet as the Department of Energy in 1977. "Regulatory czar" Cass Sunstein will be heading up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, but the readiness with which he was given the czar sobriquet suggests he'll be bringing that obscure office into the spotlight. The "Guantanamo closure czar" is a "top level diplomatic position" to be occupied by Daniel Fried. His job is to travel around the world begging people to take back their own terrorists as the U.S. tries to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In theory, he'll be a short-lived czar, since the whole job is supposed to be wrapped up a year from now—the Paul I of the Obama administration. Then there's "urban czar" Adolfo Carrion, Jr., "faith-based czar" Joshua DuBois, "non-proliferation czar" Gary Samore, and "terrorism czar" John Brennan. White House science advisor John Holdren has been called the "weather czar." This office is entirely separate from that of Van Jones, the "green czar." Last, but not least, while the Surgeon General sports some impressive epaulets, it's the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in this case Nancy-Ann DeParle, who usually gets the title "health czar."

Reason opined against a Cabinet-level "high tech czar" in 2000 ("Close, but No Big Czar"), arguing instead for a high-tech counselor, a whisperer in the president's ear. Or would he have been a high-tech Rasputin? No matter. In 2009, we have our "tech czar " after all, Vivek Kundra. This office is not to be confused with the impending creation of the "cyber security czar." At least we're not quite to the level of the U.K. yet, which is boasting a Twitter Czar, aka the "director of digital engagement."

This list doesn't even include the funny czars, like the White House "flower czar," or the farm team czars like Virginia's "aging czar" (not a czar who is getting on in years, but rather a czar of services for the old).

The czar is a perfect techocratic role—appealing to Obama, who has been much praised for "surrounding himself with smart people." The appeal of the czar rests on the belief that if we could just figure out the right smart, competent, well-intentioned person to put charge, everything would go more smoothly. This is often true on a micro-level. Having someone in charge of a school field trip, or a division inside a large company is a good idea. But the bigger and more complex the problem, the less likely even the most impressive technocrat will be able to set things in order, especially since these czars lack the very thing that defined the Russian czars: total control over the lives of their subjects. Take the case of Carter's two "inflation czars." Neither political mover-and-shaker Robert Strauss, nor the more academically-inclined Alfred Kahn, made a dent in the inflation problem. But no matter. If inflation picks up, watch for the appointment of a new inflation czar in short order. Rather than solving the problems they are appointed to grapple with, czars tend to wind up building or restructuring bureaucratic agencies, issuing a bunch of suggestions that may or may not be considered given the political climate, and then taking the blame when the problem isn't solved by the end of their stint as a czar. And that's the best-case scenario.

It's no accident that the Obama administration's efforts to get a grip on the messy financial markets and domestic economy have wound up creating a few new czars, including" TARP czar" Herb Allison, and even a czar charged with watching over the massive amounts of money pouring out of Washington, "stimulus czar" and former Secret Service agent Earl Devaney. Naming czars is about trying to get control, or failing that, trying to give the illusion of control. It's about projecting an image of experts at the helm.

Obama said there wouldn't be a "car czar" after the bailouts—perhaps some of the old stigma still clings. But somehow we wound up with one after all, in the person of hedge fund honcho Steve Rattner. Large-scale projects with the aim of restructuring swaths of our economy or society are catnip to the technocrats who become czars, and now is their moment.

It's not all bad news on the czar front, though. The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, one of the czariest (and scariest?) of czars, has been demoted from Cabinet-level status. The presence of longtime drug warrior Vice President Joe Biden in the cabinet made the demotion logical, but the current occupant of the position, Gil Kerlikowske, has been just fine at making headlines, Cabinet-level status or no. In fact, the name "drug czar" was applied to this gig in writing for the first time[PDF] when the office was established in 1982, by none other than Biden himself, then the junior Senator from Delaware.

The real reason we just can't manage to depose our various czars? Headline writers. You try fitting "Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and information technology" or "Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality" into a 20 character slot.

But no matter how you spell it, czar is a four-letter word.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Czar is a highly offensive term. Perhaps he should call them "Führers".

    -jcr

  • ||

    I like the ring of that!

    Drug Führer
    Energy Führer
    Health Führer
    Bailout Führer

    Yup, I like the ring of that. Thanks John!

  • hmm||

    I'm personally fond of the wicked smart looking mustaches. I think they should be mandatory for all czar positions.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I think it's the name. But I prefer Tsar. Can we go back to Tsar?

  • ||

    Call them despots: "Former Drug Despot Bill Bennett..."

  • Warty||

    I like Overlord.

    "Overlord Jongwei, Most Exalted Scourge of All Drugs, orders that all users of drugs shall be flogged and crucified, and any comely wench children they possess made his personal property to dispose of as he sees fit..."

  • ||

    Um, people just like the word 'czar', cause it's got funny spelling and sounds funky.

    It's not that complicated.

  • ||

    How about Tsar Alexander II? Contemporary of Lincoln. The differences in the way in which they handled their nation's slavery issue speaks volumes about them.

  • ||

    I think it's the name. But I prefer Tsar. Can we go back to Tsar?

    Considering that it, Czar, Kaiser, etc. all come from "Caesar", why not go to the source?

    Caesar Kerlikoswke
    Caesar Bersin
    Caesar Sunstein

    ...you get the picture.

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  • The Angry Optimist||

    Oh, there's LM on his personal hobbyhorse again.

    Dude, I like you, but today you're making me regret it.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    "The differences in the way in which they handled their nation's slavery issue speaks volumes about them."

    Oh, you think Lincoln should've just ordered everyone to free their slaves. That's what Nicholas did.

    Your neoconfederate romanticism really is misguided.

  • ||

    Well, if Obama is the "Czar of All of The United States of America", wouldn't these lesser "Czars" require a lesser title, say a diminutive of "Czar?"

    How about "Czardines"?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    See, Tsardines works better!

    I knew I was right.

  • B||

    We should give all the other cool oriental despot titles a chance:

    Khan, Caliph, Sultan, Grand Vizier, etc.

  • hmm||

    Grand Pubah

  • ||

    To be accurate, libertymike, since the Civil War was not about slavery, Lincoln didn't wage a war to free them as you seem to imply. In fact, the Northern slaves weren't even freed until months after the war was over.

  • Mike||

    There are too many czars. We need a Czar Czar in order to manage all of the czars.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm personally fond of the wicked smart looking mustaches.



    Check this out.

  • Dyzlexic Henzry Fjord||

    Mangu-Ward ponders the unending appeal of the czar and tries to tally the number of czars running around Washington these days.

    *smug smile

  • ||

    I think Despot would be wasted at the Czar level - I'd prefer it to be used a replacement for the weak-ass 'Secretary.' And you can't tell me that the Despotate of Justice, say, isn't cooler than Department of Justice... not to mention more accurate.

  • Lester Hunt||

    This is getting bee-czar.

  • Elemenope||

    How about Tsar Alexander II? Contemporary of Lincoln. The differences in the way in which they handled their nation's slavery issue speaks volumes about them.

    No it doesn't. They were entirely dissimilar situations.

  • ||

    How about "Czardines"?

    Aresen wins the thread. Well done.

    -jcr

  • ||

    you think Lincoln should've just ordered everyone to free their slaves.

    He should have tried that approach, instead of killing half a million people. It worked in every other country that gave up slavery.

    -jcr

  • Elemenope||

    He should have tried that approach, instead of killing half a million people. It worked in every other country that gave up slavery.

    Considering the actual history of the actual American Civil War, there is every reason to believe that wouldn't have worked.

  • hmm||

    It may not have worked the same as other countries, but killing a million people over it has to the worst of just about every option. Any option other than killing and wounding most of your population is a good option, and possible a better option.

    Let's not forget the lack of the authority to run off and kill a few million people of your former citizens.

  • hmm||

    Good god late night posting takes its toll on grammar.

  • IceTrey||

    Well, the real reason the Civil War lasted so long was because the Union generals were so monumentally incompetent. If Lee had taken the job (Union commander) when it was offered to him the war would have probably lasted a month. Lincoln is vilified by some for the actions he took as the war went on and maybe he should be, but all the death and destruction can be laid squarely at the feet of Lee. Southerners hated Grant and Sherman but Lee is really the one who caused all their misery.

  • Elemenope||

    Do we really have to rehash the Civil War again?

    Lincoln is elected, and instead of abiding by a legal election, southern states get bitchy and secede, making themselves essentially a foreign power. Then, they attack Ft. Sumter, making them a hostile foreign power.

    Generally, when a hostile foreign power attacks you, it results in war.

  • Elemenope||

    IceTrey,

    So true. McClellan was a complete dip.

  • Pepe||

    "To be accurate, libertymike, since the Civil War was not about slavery, Lincoln didn't wage a war to free them as you seem to imply."

    Bullshit. One of the key underlying divisive issues leading up to the civil war was the issue of slavery's expansion into new territories and the balance in the federal government between slave and free states.

    And while Lincoln may not have ended slavery with the emancipation proclamation he did clearly show an intention of abolishing slavery, at least in the states controlled by the CSA, if the the North won the war. That was enough to keep any foreign powers from coming in on the southern side and it effectively did make the civil war about slavery even if the war did not begin as a war for abolition. Also there were many slaves in the border states freed before the 13th amendment as their state governments opted to abolish slavery before the end of the war.

    People who try to claim the civil war was only about "states rights" ignore the fact that it was a state's right to maintain and expand slavery that was of chief concern since it was the basis of the slave states' economy.

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  • ||

    Ubermensch tops all of the other monikers. But no one, especially a govt hack, could rise to this level. Except Clark Kent. Maybe.

  • ed||

    How about "reczards"?

  • ||

    So who is getting nostalgic for the Shrub already?

  • Forty-Two||

    I like the idea of honoring aboriginal Americans, and using Chief. We could also give the officials appropriate indian-ish names. The housing czar would then be Chief Cozy Wigwam. The "weather czar" could be Chief Egghead Consensus. The border czar, Chief Offa Mylawn. Etc.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    Then, they attack Ft. Sumter, making them a hostile foreign power.

    Last time I checked, Ft Sumter was in South Carolina.

    Whether you want to make a British forts in Northwest Territory or Gitmo comparison is up to you.

  • robc||

    Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?

    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--

    Proctor: Wait, wait... just say slavery.

    Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

    **supposedly based on a true story, the wife of a Simpson's writers was a foreign born history professor who got this question during her citizenship exam...with very similar results.

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck the inevitable dissolution of a perfectly good Czar thread into Civil War masturbatory-ness.

  • ||

    Shouldn't Nancy-Ann DeParle be referred to as a czaritsa or czarina?

  • ||

    "Given how poorly the government has conducted itself over the last six to eight months, it cannot make a convincing argument that the person they pick will not be a political punching bag," he said.

    It looks like AIG needs a new czar.


    And- what Xeones said.

  • Mad Max||

    Attention Czars,

    Do u have confidence in yourself? are u hot enough?? if so, come to

    ___Http://CzarChaTs.C Om___

    Show off to everyone...meet girls who just *love* autocrats with cool nineteenth-century uniforms and moustaches! u can explore many HOT girls and guys (yeah, you're a czar - if you like guys, who's to stop you?).

    Just DO it! Don't marry into the other royal families of Europe - they're all interrelated and your children will end up with hemophilia. Then you'll end up hiring a dubious faith-healer to take care of your offspring, and this person will exercise such influence over you as to alienate you from your own people, leading to your overthrow and the massacre of yourself and your family!

    Don't go the incest route - hook up with beautiful commoners who are just dying to get to know you!

    And if the relationship goes sour, have their heads chopped off!

    It's good to be da czar!

  • ||

    Pacific Investment Management Co., Barclays Capital and Fridson Investment Advisors have joined Schultze Asset Management LLC in saying lenders may be unwilling to back unionized companies with underfunded pension and medical obligations, such as airlines and auto-industry suppliers, because Chrysler's creditors failed to block Obama's move. The reluctance may put additional pressure on borrowers seeking capital in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    "Lenders will have to figure out how to price this risk," Schultze, 39, said in a telephone interview from his office in Purchase, New York. "The obvious one is: Don't lend to a company with big legacy liabilities or demand a much higher rate of interest because you may be leapfrogged in a bankruptcy."



    here

    Surprised? I certainly am.

  • ||

    Mad Max-

    How dare you speak so ill of Nicky and Alex?

  • ||

    TAO-

    Now, you claim that Lincoln is my hobbyhorse. Yesterday, as you know, John submitted that I turn every thread into a critique of the military industrial complex. Bakedpenguin said that hate speech is my hobbyhorse and that subject was way down the list of what is important to libertarians (kind of odd as well as inaccurate) and others have said that I turn every thread into a condemnation of governmetn employment.

    Which is it?

  • ||

    Ice Trey-

    No, wrong. Don't forget that Lee could have just walked right in to D.C. and smashed it to pieces and taken the great dictator as a war criminal.

    You seem to forget that it was Lincoln who personally planned and overseered the conduct of the war, including the deliberate mass murder of tens of thousands of civilians.

  • Kolohe||

    I don't often say this, but well done Max.

  • Syd||

    John C. Randolph | May 23, 2009, 12:49am | #
    you think Lincoln should've just ordered everyone to free their slaves.

    He should have tried that approach, instead of killing half a million people. It worked in every other country that gave up slavery.

    -jcr,


    Er, right. The seven states that had already seceded and the four that seceded shortly afterward would simply have given up slavery even though they considered themselves independent of the United States. Sure. Every freaking day. Maybe we would have lost Missouri and Kentucky too,

  • Syd||

    Oh, and Brazil tried that. The next thing that happened was a revolution that overthrew the government. (Although they didn't go back to slavery.)

    And Alexander II got himself blown up real good by one of his grateful subjects.

    England did it more gradually, through Parliament, and that did work.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Like I said, as go the psycho neoconfederates, so goes libertymike.

    I'm baffled that you're asking me to make the statements of other people consistent with mine, but hey, knock yourself out.

    Regardless, your most annoying topics by far are Israel (where you play on the line of antisemitism) and the Civil War (where you become a slavery-defending Dixie-whistler).

  • Kolohe||

    Don't forget that Lee could have just walked right in to D.C. and smashed it to pieces and taken the great dictator as a war criminal.

    DC was the most militarized and heavily defended city in the world at that time. And a direct attack would have galvanized the lackluster union troops and leadership would in turn resulted in a counteroffensive that would have encircled and destroyed the Army of the Potomac.

    And don't say "But, Early." The campaign that cumulated with the battle of Ft Stevens was always a diversionary event meant to draw away union forces from attacking Richmond. They punched through a hole, yes, but would have ultimately failed even if 'Early wasn't late'

  • ||

    The South would not have given up slaves for nothing, but Lincoln could have paid them off. Other countries did this. As it was a needless slaughter occurs with the blood on Abe's hands.

    Also, some in the South are still riled up about th War. As a young kid in Va once said re the Civil War; "It's only half-time."

  • The Angry Optimist||

    kafka - who attacked whom first again?

  • ev||

    the economics of slavery don't make a whole lot of sense to me, although i realize much of it is (duuuuh) obviously racist. it seems that even if you treated your slaves like cattle, it seems just so damn inefficient. you have to provide some semblance of food, clothing and housing otherwise your property dies. you want to feed them well so they can be productive in the field, supposedly, otherwise they'd die of malnutrition and your crops go to waste. it seems like there's a large amount of spending for inefficient labor is i guess what my point it.

    anyone know of any good econ. studies on this issue?

  • ||

    Damn, this promising thread of appointing officials to deal with a single issue instead of through congressionally created federal departmnts has been Beehered.*

    * As in Harrier Beecher Stowe. Until someone comes up with a better chattel slavery/civil war analogy to Godwin, I'm using it.

  • ||

    Make that Beechered. Doh!

  • robc||

    J sub D,

    I got dragged into because of inappropriate lack of incif use on the part of others. I have mikey filtered, if the rest of you did too, no one would have been able to respond to him and I wouldnt have made my post either.

  • IceTrey||

    @libertmike

    I assume you're talking about the Battle of First Bull Run? There's only one problem, Lee wasn't commanding! The CSA general was Beauregard. Lee didn't even take control of the Army of Northern Virginia until June 1862, a full year after the start of the war. Let me again make the point, that if the Union had had a half decent general at the start, the war would have been short and all those people wouldn't have died. Get it?

  • MNG||

    I see you're pussy czar and raise you a Big Man.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_man_(political_science)

  • MNG||

    "the economics of slavery don't make a whole lot of sense to me"

    You know all those wage and benefit costs killing Chrysler? With slavery such things are much lower...

  • Elemenope||

    Last time I checked, Ft Sumter was in South Carolina.

    Whether you want to make a British forts in Northwest Territory or Gitmo comparison is up to you.


    Honestly, neither. It was simply a consequence of a messy break-up; the CSA should have made sure to come up with a plan to deal with union properties (such as federal military forts) in the southern states in order to avoid war, but of course they weren't interested in avoiding war.

  • BakedPenguin||

    You know all those wage and benefit costs killing Chrysler? With slavery such things are much lower..



    So is labor productivity. Turns out whipping people, raping their daughters, and restricting their movement and ability to live their lives does not instill them with the desire to work hard for you.

    Slaves were even less motivated and productive than union workers. How scary is that?

    Regardless, your most annoying topics by far are Israel (where you play on the line of antisemitism) and the Civil War (where you become a slavery-defending Dixie-whistler).



    Oh, I'd say his holocaust denial statements when he talks about hate speech laws top those. Nothing says freedom like parroting the arguments of one of the 20th century's most destructive totalitarian states.

    Baked[P]enguin said that hate speech is my hobbyhorse and that subject was way down the list of what is important to libertarians (kind of odd as well as inaccurate)



    Considering that restrictions on business speech and "campaign reform" have made deeper (and far worse) inroads on crippling the First Amendment, I will repeat this. Hate speech is down the list of things I am worried about, and I believe it is down the list of most libertarians. Any libertarians who disagree, feel free to tell me otherwise.

    I have mikey filtered, if the rest of you did too, no one would have been able to respond to him and I wouldn[']t have made my post either.



    I came close to doing this too, but I suspect libertymike likes to say provocative shit just to get a response.

    So let me as directly: libertymike, do you honestly believe, (as you have stated) that the descriptions of the Jewish Holocaust are "propaganda", and that fewer than 1,000,000 Jews dies in the camps of the Third Reich? Or are you just stirring the pot?

  • BakedPenguin||

    edit: Nothing says freedom like parroting the arguments of supporters of one of the 20th century's most destructive totalitarian states.

  • ||

    this promising thread of appointing officials to deal with a single issue instead of through congressionally created federal departmnts has been Bee[c]hered.*

    I can go with "Beechered, particularly due its phonetic similarity to "Buggered. Caning's too good for 'em.

    "Lincoln blah, blah, blah, yesyoudid, blah, blah, blah, monster, blah, blah, blah, Confederacy, blah, blah, blah, noIdidn't, blah, blah, blah, Fort Sumter, blah, blah, blah, yesIdid, blah, blah, blah, noyoudidn't, blah, blah, blah...

    Et cetera, ad infinitum.....

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    CSA should have made sure to come up with a plan to deal with union properties

    They were using the Kelo methodology, only with out that nasty "actual paying for it" bit.

    As it was federal government property it would seem to change hands with the change in federal government. I think a very legit case could be made that the US Army was trespassing.

  • MNG||

    "Considering that restrictions on business speech and "campaign reform" have made deeper (and far worse) inroads on crippling the First Amendment"

    I disagree Baked, most people don't own businesses or come close to laying down the kind of moolah that triggers campaign finance laws, but everybody hates someone ;)

    "libertymike, do you honestly believe, (as you have stated) that the descriptions of the Jewish Holocaust are "propaganda", and that fewer than 1,000,000 Jews dies in the camps of the Third Reich?"

    I've always wondered how the answer to this would matter. Let's say that the Germans murdered 999,999 Jews, that's still a monumental horror. To me minimizing the numbers at issue means virtually nil in the matter. The Third Reich was an evil, evil, evil thing (Jesus it's bizarre to find myself even writing this!).

    "Turns out whipping people, raping their daughters, and restricting their movement and ability to live their lives does not instill them with the desire to work hard for you."

    Yeah, but they might have a desire not to be whipped more, so I'm not sure a certain amount of productivity couldn't have been gotten...Either way, all that would need to be shown is that the lower wages/benefits/etc. made up for the lower productivity.

  • robc||

    Thomas Jefferson, even with slaves, couldnt run his plantation profitably. This wasnt uncommon. I think he probably wasnt willing to run his plantation cruelly enough to squeeze out that extra bit of productivity needed.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I think a very legit case could be made that the US Army was trespassing.



    Only if you view the secession as legit, which it wasn't.

    Words mean things, and "elections have consequences". The South can't just participate and influence elections and bug out when it loses.

    Solly cholly.

  • BakedPenguin||

    MNG - it would matter to the families of the other 5,000,000. Also, the smaller it is made out to be, the more it can be sloughed off as an aberration. In addition, since large numbers of political prisoners and common criminals were also in the camps, it could be claimed that the extermination of Jewry was not systematic, but rather specific to Jews who fit into the other categoories.

    As for business speech and campaign reform, the fact that this doesn't apply to that many people doesn't really matter. What matters is that speech is already being restricted in these areas. Also, the restrictions on PAC 'single-issue' commercials prior to campaign is an egregiously obvious violation. Those who support that cause are muzzled, at a time when it's all the more important for them to have their voices heard.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    MNG - it is not an incorrect observation to note that, in a nation founded on dissenting political speech, we have now muzzled that, while porn goes unregulated.

    A total reversal, if you will, of the way things were. If we could just get them both, that would be great.

    Of course, if you reduce the influence of government, you reduce the number of people blowing money trying to influence the government.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Wow, that first sentence is incoherent. Let me try again:

    "It is bizarre that a nation that was founded on dissenting political speech would muzzle it when say, 2girls1cup is unregulated".

    Still not sure what I'm getting at here...

  • BakedPenguin||

    Thomas Jefferson, even with slaves, couldnt run his plantation profitably. This wasnt uncommon.



    What I'd heard in Am History was that slavery would have ended in the early 1800's - for being economically non-viable - but for the invention of the cotton gin.

    Plantation owners used the economic gains from that mechanization to prop up an outdated, inefficient slave system.

  • robc||

    TAO,


    Only if you view the secession as legit, which it wasn't.


    Compare and contrast the colonies secession from Britain with the confederates secession from the US. What makes one legit and the other not? Arent sovereign states...well, umm...sovereign? Isnt the right of self government one of those inalienable ones?

    Maybe it is a might makes right situation, the colonies won the war while the confeds lost. But I dont think you are going down that path.

  • robc||

    BP,

    I have heard the cotton gin thing too. I have also heard it described as BS. Not sure which view is correct.

  • hmm||

    Czar Lincoln?

    Or

    Lee Czar? pew pew

  • The Angry Optimist||

    What makes one legit and the other not?



    For one, the colonies lack the "consent of the governed" and were "taxed without representation", neither of which was true for the South.

    Two, you cannot secede because you perceive your evil, oppressive institution is in danger. Secessionist theory posits a number of legitimate theories, and "maintaining oppression" is not one.

  • hmm||


    Two, you cannot secede because you perceive your evil, oppressive institution is in danger. Secessionist theory posits a number of legitimate theories, and "maintaining oppression" is not one.


    I assume you is a reference to the south and if so there is no bar for succession. Especially something so equivocal as maintaining oppression. The bar was a group of states no longer wanted to play in the sandbox.

  • MNG||

    "2girls1cup"

    I've never heard of this, but my imagination is working on it!

    "The bar was a group of states no longer wanted to play in the sandbox."

    Well, as said upthread "states no longer wanting to play in the sandbox because they perceive their evil, oppressive institution is in danger" doesn't work much better...

    Baked
    I see your point, mine was that whether it was 1,000,000 or 6,000,000 it was monumentally evil. If their goal is to justify it or the regime then either way I have to say: fail!

  • MNG||

    I'll grant you guys this, I've heard the campaign finance laws both limit contribution amounts and the airing of certain ads at certain times. I've heard defensible constitutional arguments for the former, but I've never heard one for the latter...

    Now I'll have to take the time to look up a bit about recent SCOTUS cases on this issue...Well, after I google 2girls1cup...Priorities...

  • dfd||

    I think a very legit case could be made that the US Army was trespassing.

    Only if you view the secession as legit, which it wasn't.



    First, I'm not sure secession isn't, in general, legit but that's a complex discussion for another time. However, even assuming the CSA was legit I don't think you have any case for "trespassing" whatsoever.

    If some New Yorker had owned a parcel of land in South Carolina, after secession he would still own the parcel, just in another country. Unless the CSA intended to nationalize all "foreign" owned land and dispose the holders without compensation (I don't know, did they? -- and if they did, that would have been a very hostile act of theft) that seems a pretty clear and obvious property law result. If someone entered the New Yorker's property, he would have a cause for trespass in the CSA courts, not the other way around.

    Likewise, if the property owner in South Carolina is the United States, after secession the property is still owned by the United States. Attacking that property would certainly be a hostile act and if anything, the United States had a case for trespass against those who entered its property.

  • dfd||

    I've never heard of this, but my imagination is working on it!

    Are you serious? What cave have you been living in? :)

    Well, after I google 2girls1cup...Priorities...

    Uh... you're not at work I hope... careful with that.

  • Xeones||

    I've never heard of this, but my imagination is working on it!

    You should definitely look that up next time you're at work.

  • BakedPenguin||

    MNG - I'm not Underzog; I didn't think you were trying to justify or mitigate their crimes. But I'd heard holocaust deniers try that tack I mentioned - so I thought I'd bring it up.

    Also, don't ever watch "2 girls, 1 cup". Ever. Trust me.

  • MNG||

    I just can't imagine what is going on in a holocaust deniers head when they make these kinds of arguments:

    Denier: Dude, you know the Nazis did not round up, deprive of their liberty, brutalize, enslave and then kill 6 million people, they only did that to 1 million people.

    And then what, we are supposed to go "oh well, if that's the case then no bad man!"

    It's just incredible, in the old fashioned sense of the word, that they are thinking like that. But Baked, thanks for pointing out that might work out for them (that it was not systematic but abberational), I had not thought about it that way...

  • dfd||

    edit -- dispose = dispossess.

  • MNG||

    After reading Baked's warning I just read on wiki what 2girls1cup is all about, and I can say this with all honesty: thank you Baked, Jesus God thank you for your warning.

    I consider myself into some freaky shit, but that sounded pretty fucking gross...

    Who could enjoy such a thing when there are much healthier alternatives, such as Straponstars.com?

  • dfd||

    I just can't imagine what is going on in a holocaust deniers head when they make these kinds of arguments:

    Denier: Dude, you know the Nazis did not round up, deprive of their liberty, brutalize, enslave and then kill 6 million people, they only did that to 1 million people.

    And then what, we are supposed to go "oh well, if that's the case then no bad man!"


    Well, as I think was alluded to above, I don't think that's quite what the deniers are saying. If it was just an academic debate about the number of millions of Jews the Nazis killed it wouldn't lessen one bit the evilness of the Nazis or their attempted extermination of the Jews. But it is their denial of that latter point that is the motivation behind their desire to reduce the numbers killed. They want to claim that there was no systematic attempt to exterminate European Jews. I don't know if you can pin them down to accepting a specific number, but it is certainly not as "simple" as deciding if it was one, three, or six million, all of which are beyond comprehension. It is the Nazi's obvious motivation behind those deaths that the deniers don't want to acknowledge for some reason.

  • BakedPenguin||

    MNG - basically, the line was "there were political and common criminals in the camps. The Jews weren't specifically targeted, they were simply in the forefront of the political and criminal racquets before the National Socialists put a stop to them..." then they get to "far fewer than 6 million died, and they ignore non-Jew deaths in the camps..." blah, blah, blah.

    IOW, the only system to it was that the Nazis were going after enemies of the state, and the evil Jews made up a large percentage of those. Since the camps prior to 1939 were largely populated by Gentiles*, it's a bit more informed and sophisticated than the typical skinhead retard shouting "the holocaust is a lie!!" and then following that with "six million more!!"

    * Anyone interested should read Eugene Kogon's Theory and Practice of Hell for a good account of the concentration camps prior to 1939.

  • MNG||

    Given that I find many of the kinds of things the Germans classified as "political and criminal racquets" as not criminal or punishable by the state at all, and given that even if were to think that I would find the treatment that ensued lawless, cruel, brutal and evil, even conceding this to them doesn't make me think any better of that wicked regime. But your point taken. I'll have to think about how much more moral opprobium I have for a state that lawlessly and cruelly kills 6 million people for shits and giggles and one that does the same as part of a systematic attempt at genocide...Part of me finds the latter worse, but part of me thinks, how much worse can one get than the former anyway?

  • ||

    Angry
    The War started way before the South's 'opening salvo'. See Battle Cry of Freedom book.

  • ||

    he did clearly show an intention of abolishing slavery,

    So, that's why he made offers to the south during the war to let them keep slaves in perpetuity if they'd lay down their arms and pay the tariffs?

    Sorry, not buying it.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Only if you view the secession as legit, which it wasn't.

    Of course it was. The south had the same right to secede from the union as the colonies had to secede from the British empire. There were slaves in every colony when we overthrew our king, and Britain abolished slavery before we did; does that mean that the American revolution is illegitimate?

    -jcr

  • ||

    the economics of slavery don't make a whole lot of sense to me

    Thomas Sowell has done a fair bit of work on that subject. I found it rather interesting to learn that in the South, it was common for Irish immigrants to be given more dangerous work to do than slaves, since the death of a slave meant a considerable economic loss to their owner. The Irish, on the other hand, were far more easily replaceable.

    -jcr

  • Richard Stands||

    Would the bureaucrat in charge of curtailing 2nd amendment rights be a "Shogun"?

    And I think the Car Czar would be better named the Autocrat.

  • ||

    "Americans just can't seem to get enough of the word czar."

    Perhaps, if all Executive Branch Czars were required do *dress* like the Romanov Czars, we'd have fewer.
    The label is not, of course, intended to designate nobility, but raw poliice power ... with the presumption of competence. None of the modern Czars are capable of running anything ... much less this modern, bloated, invasive American bureaucracy.

  • ||

    dfd @ 6:34

    Nice, very nice.

  • robc||

    Likewise, if the property owner in South Carolina is the United States, after secession the property is still owned by the United States. Attacking that property would certainly be a hostile act and if anything, the United States had a case for trespass against those who entered its property.

    I disagree. Countries != people as far as ownership goes. When Russia took over ruling from the former USSR, did the USSR continue to own the land? No, Russia (or the Ukraine or Georgia) became the owner of the national land.

    I think of federally owned land as having a pointer pointing to the national government. When that government changed, the pointer moves, it still points to "federal government" though. Every coup in history seems to follow this rule.

    The property owner of Ft Sumter was "the federal government that the state of South Carolina was a member of".

  • MNG||

    robc
    I'm not sure how that can be. Taxpayers from around the nation, Maine as well as S. Carolina, paid for the upkeep and such of federal land in S. Carolina. So I'm not sure that if S. Carolina drops out that such land just "goes" to the citizens of S. Carolina...

    Especially if you consider that there was a system that the taxpayers of the nation, again from Maine to S. Carolina, were all pledged to respect the results of, and then when S. Carolina got results it didn't like it decided to "take its ball and go home."

  • Elemenope||

    When Russia took over ruling from the former USSR, did the USSR continue to own the land? No, Russia (or the Ukraine or Georgia) became the owner of the national land.

    When the Russian Federation took over from the USSR, the USSR ceased to exist. So, it makes a bad comparison to the situation where the former owner still exists to lodge a claim.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    When South Carolina seceeded, the USA ceased to exist in South Carolina.

    I dont see any difference. However, didnt a number of the former soviet republics go independent BEFORE the USSR ceased to exist? I dont think they acknowledged any USSR claims to land inside their country either. Former USSR government buildings in Lithuania became Lithuanian government buildings.

  • robc||

    MNG,

    South Carolina didnt deny the election results...They just chose to leave over them. Is the US a voluntary union of sovereign states or isnt it*?

    I think South Carolina et al behaved idiotically, but it seems well within the bounds of self rule.

    *the fact that the constitution of the confederacy specifically answered that question the wrong way is an amusing hyprocrisy.

  • robc||

    Taxpayers

    Heh, sorry that is funny. While technically true, in an indirect sense, the whole concept of taxpayers pre 16th amendment is completely different.

  • Elemenope||

    When South Carolina seceeded, the USA ceased to exist in South Carolina.

    No, even states may not ostrich away their competition. The USA still existed *in the world* and so is still an entity that can make claims. Claims including about ownership of forts and soldiers and the like. In the particular case we are talking about, an eminently reasonable claim at that.

    I dont see any difference. However, didnt a number of the former soviet republics go independent BEFORE the USSR ceased to exist? I dont think they acknowledged any USSR claims to land inside their country either. Former USSR government buildings in Lithuania became Lithuanian government buildings.

    The difference here is that the Lithuanian military didn't subsequently attack those buildings with Soviet troops still inside. There was an orderly withdrawal and a peaceful transfer of ownership.

    It's the basic difference between giving something away and having it stolen by force. Just because someone else is physically holding your property, it doesn't automatically become theirs so long as you still exist to lay claim over it. They may then attempt to resist your claim by force, in which case you have recourse to law, or in the case of nations, recourse to war.

  • robc||

    Re: Ft Sumter, I refer back to my very early in the thread analogy to Britain occupying forts in the old Northwest Territory post-revolution. Is it not the exact freaking same thing?

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    There was no "transfer" of ownership. IIRC, the USSR may have withdrawn to avoid fighting but they werent happy about it and I dont think they were willing to sign any deeds.

    Ditto for any number of exiled dictators.

  • Elemenope||

    For a real world example, during the interwar period, when the Saar river basin was removed from German control, Germany did not automagically disappear from the Saarland, and still was able to make claims (which were respected by the League of Nations) about future ownership of the land.

  • robc||

    If Kelo had stayed in her home, would not the government have eventually used force to remove her?

    I dont think the firing on Ft Sumter remotely matters, re: ownership. IF that was confederate land, the use of force was just.

  • Elemenope||

    IIRC, the USSR may have withdrawn to avoid fighting but they werent happy about it and I dont think they were willing to sign any deeds.

    The USSR didn't survive but three years after that, so the point is moot. We will never know whether the USSR would ultimately have respected the sovereignty of the Baltic states. My point is that it is a poor model precisely because neither actor acted in the way that the North and SC did. Pointedly, the USSR refused to use or maintain force to lay claim, and so they ceded the claim. Lithuania was thus not forced to resort to acts of war in order to maintain their competing claim.

    ----
    And what about the NW forts? The US seemed in no hurry to remove them, and they lasted in some cases until 1815. Claims to property rely on enforcing those claims. In the international system of anarchy, there is nobody independent to enforce claims, so there is only the brute fact of force. The US failed to expel the forts, and so they remained British possessions. A main reason why they held off until 1815 was because such an act would have immediately led to war with GB, much as the SC attack on Fort Sumter did.

  • MNG||

    I'm not sure how it became confederate land just because S. Carolina seceded. As noted above, if I, a Marylander, owned land in S. Carolina before the secession, I don't lose my rights to the land because it happens to be located in S. Carolina. Would all my rights as citizen of the now dissolved union be invalid?

  • Elemenope||

    If Kelo had stayed in her home, would not the government have eventually used force to remove her?

    A government has unambiguous sovereignty over its own citizens. That's the very essence of the Weberian definition of state. That is very different in kind that the interaction between two sovereigns and their competing claims.

  • Brett Stevens||

    We're all frustrated with the slow, blundering pace of democracy and want a strong authoritarian leader. We won't admit it in public though.

    Just as Plato predicted.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    Sovereignty resides with the individual as is given, in small doses to states. They absolutely dont have sovereignty OVER the individual.

    It goes top to bottom(in the US system):

    People
    State
    Feds

    People create sovereign states that then enters into a compact with a federal government.

  • robc||

    I'm not sure how it became confederate land just because S. Carolina seceded. As noted above, if I, a Marylander, owned land in S. Carolina before the secession, I don't lose my rights to the land because it happens to be located in S. Carolina. Would all my rights as citizen of the now dissolved union be invalid?

    Citizens dont have rights, rights belong to the individual and exist whether a citizen or not. The individuals right to property doesnt go away with change in government. As government's have no rights, only powers and obligations, they have no right to property at all. Thus countries != people as I stated above.

    So, a Marylander would still own the land in SC. However, the government POWER over land goes away when the government no longer has power in the territory.

  • robc||

    And what about the NW forts? The US seemed in no hurry to remove them, and they lasted in some cases until 1815. Claims to property rely on enforcing those claims. In the international system of anarchy, there is nobody independent to enforce claims, so there is only the brute fact of force. The US failed to expel the forts, and so they remained British possessions. A main reason why they held off until 1815 was because such an act would have immediately led to war with GB, much as the SC attack on Fort Sumter did.

    The fact that the US acted wiser than the South Carolinians did is no big shock. The fact is, the US asked the Brits to vamoose many times, we just chose not to force it. As the british taxpayers paid for the forts, Im still not seeing any difference. It also basically took the War of 1812 to final get them out of the forts.

  • ||

    I just want to give props to Mad Max for his (topical!) spam satire at 11:55 AM on the 23rd. Good on ya, Max.

  • Elemenope||

    robc --

    I'm talking about the legitimate use of physical force. The state, no matter what its structure, possesses this; the individual's possession of an equivalent right is subsidiary. The best you can say in the US case is that the constitution restrains the time, place, and manner of exercise of that sovereign use of force to certain contingent conditions and the rule of law.

    The fact that the US acted wiser than the South Carolinians did is no big shock. The fact is, the US asked the Brits to vamoose many times, we just chose not to force it.

    A claim unenforced is no claim at all, when it all shakes out.

    As the british taxpayers paid for the forts, Im still not seeing any difference. It also basically took the War of 1812 to final get them out of the forts.

    The relevant difference between the two cases is that with the NW forts, nobody forced the issue and so they remained in reality unambiguously under British control, even though they were in US territory. SC forced action (and war) by attempting to enforce a claim which the Union rebuffed (again, with force). If the Union had voluntarily emptied the fort, and there was no physical conflict during SC's occupation of it, the Union would have had a poorer casus belli, if any at all. The fact of the conflict, the attempt to enforce competing claims, is at the very heart of the matter.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    I disagree. We attempted to "enforce" the NW claims by saying pretty please. We didnt use force, due to the fact that we probably would have lost and it just wasnt that important. As we moved westward it became more important until it became a selling point enabling Madison to invade Canada.

    SC just acted faster. Too fast, in my opinion, take some time and try to negotiate them leaving. Heck, at least wait until the other one acknowledges your government, at that point, you have a stronger case. But, as war was coming anyway, they jumped on it.

  • robc||

    The best you can say in the US case is that the constitution restrains the time, place, and manner of exercise of that sovereign use of force to certain contingent conditions and the rule of law.

  • robc||

    Trying again:

    The best you can say in the US case is that the constitution restrains the time, place, and manner of exercise of that sovereign use of force to certain contingent conditions and the rule of law.

    I would say it in reverse. Without the constitution, the feds have zero power to use force on its citizens. The constitution doesnt restrain, it GRANTS the time, place, and manner of use of force.

  • ||

    TAO-

    Your assertion that I am a "slavery defending Dixie whistler" is emotional, irrational and unfounded. I have never, ever defended slavery. If I were a judge in the 1830s, 1840s or 1850s, presented with a case of a runaway slave, I would have freed the runaway upon natural rights concepts and the ninth amendment. Unlike the federal judge who said the law was incredible, I would have upheld the constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    Nothing says freedom like a failure to acknowledge that Abraham Lincoln masterminded the deliberate slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians. I think it highly provocative to argue that "well, he didn't have any choice" or "russia was different".

    Nothing says freedom like excusing the incarceration of thousands of newspaper editors and publishers becuase they disagree with your totalitarian means and ends.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Like I said, you're annoying on this subject, because you present the same tired arguments without pushing the ball forward. My point with you is that you do it on purpose: you want to sound "shocking" and Menckenesque because you think it's funny, but you really sound like a douche.

    Regardless, the Civil War is over.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Nothing says freedom like a failure to acknowledge that Abraham Lincoln masterminded the deliberate slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians.



    Citations needed on the following assertions:

    "Masterminded" - implying a comprehensive plan that was executed with the knowing consent, approval and intent by followers

    "Deliberate"

    "How many civilians actually died in the Civil War".

    I mean, do you listen to yourself when fucking speak? You think that President Lincoln steepled his fingers, twisted his mustache and deliberately slaughtered thousands of innocents?

    Welcome to Nutsville, population: you and JB.

  • ||

    Bakedpenguin-

    Nazi Germany was one of the most totalitarian, nastiest states of all time. I have never said otherwise. Your claim that I "parrot the argument of supporters" of Nazi Germany is meritless. Please name the supporters of Nazi Germany the arguments of whom I have parroted.

    What makes you think that I have some kind of soft spot for Der Fuerher and the Fatherland? IMO, there is no person on this blog who detests socialism and all of its progeny more than me. That would, by definition, include National Socialism. Hitler, like Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, Chucky Schumer, Justice Rehnquist, Cheney et al, believed in the concept of "the state uber alles." Hitler was a big proponent of "industrial policy"-i.e., the state making the big plans for the economy. Do you think that I am a fan of such?

    Moreover, Hitler was a master at arraying the symbols of state power and getting the sheeple to go "wow" and "awe" and look at the the flags and the troopsies in their uniforms. Adulation of state power. Yeah, with a straight face, you can say that I favor that sort of thing.

    Of course Hitler despised the Jews. I have never denied that. He also hated slavic peoples. And sociialists, notwithstanding the fact he was one of history's biggest socialists. And gypsies. I have never denied that he was an Aryan supremacist.

    Given that he loved the state so much, and that he used its coercive powers so horribly and murderously, Hitler was, is and will always be one for whom I have the utmost contempt and hate.

    Am I making myslef clear?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    lots of pretty words there. you undermine yourself by being a Holocaust denier.

  • ||

    TAO-

    There is nothing provocative about my Lincoln observations. You obfuscate.

    The douce is the person who calls another the same for observing things like Britian, Spain, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecudor, Peru, Russia and Venezuela ended slavery without a bloodbath resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Hearing such things may "shock" those who have been weaned at the altar of Lincoln worship, but it should not shock those who take the time to get the whole story. Because I make the points I do about Lincoln does not mean I am a slavery defender. Come on, you are brighter than that.

    Do you think that I like the gun control measures that the south enacted? The state saw fit to bar blacks from owning firearms. To me, that alone, would have justified revolt. Do you think that I like the speech restrictions enacted by the south? Many an abolitionist was arrested, sometimes killed, just becuase they were distributing pamphlets with anit-slavery messages.

    As for some citations, have you read any of Dilorenzo's work? Or Wlater Brian Cisco's "War Crimes Against Southern Civilians?" In Cisco's book, the examples of deliberate mass murder abound.

  • MNG||

    LM
    I think what Baked was getting at is that many supporters of Nazi Germany minimize the Holocaust and that you seem to do that as well.

    robc
    Can't a government have a right in property that it owns? I mean, if the U.S. government owns or leases property in, say Cuba, then such property cannot become that of the Cuban government or people because of their fiat can it? And so the U.S. government, representing the individuals that make up "the people" of that union, owned the land that was Ft. Sumter. I'm not sure how it became S. Carolina property because S. Carolina said it no longer wanted to be part of that union...

    Also, if the Constitution is a contract between the various states, is there an exit clause for any party in there?

  • MNG||

    LM
    I'm no big fan of Lincolns, but I'd like to ask you, if you were Lincoln and the Southern States began to secede and then one stormed a federal military post, what would you have done? What would you have done to end the practice of slavery, which I know you would find abhorrent?

    Not to LM only:
    There has also been a lot of talk about the states having the right to decide to leave. I'm not sure how that fits considering that huge chunks of the populations were not allowed to have a say in that decision...

  • ||

    TAO-

    I am not a holocaust denier.

  • ||

    MNG-

    You have been accused by many here of being antisemetic because you have criticized Israel. It is so weak and a sign of intellectual feebleness. Same for Baked and TAO to say that I make "borderline antisemetic" comments just because I criticize Israel and rail against the ADL and AIPAC driving hate speech laws and prosecutions.

  • MNG||

    I'm pretty sure that in 1860 over 50% of S. Carolina's population was made up of slaves, who were not allowed to participate in the decision to secede, so I'm not sure S. Carolina's "decision" to leave the union was one to be respected at all...

  • ||

    If I was Lincoln, I would have worn two, if not three, bags over my head. Talk about ugly!

  • MNG||

    LM
    I'm just trying to explain what Baked wrote, I make no charges either way here.

  • MNG||

    For the record:

    I've always agree with LM that Holocaust denial in various forms should not be a crime in any way.

    My personal opinion on the Holocaust is that 1. as a historical fact: I defer to the expert historians who seem to have consensus that there was a systematic attempt at genocide on the part of the Nazis, that millions of Jews and other people were killed and 2. as a moral fact I find that to be monumentally abhorrent.

  • MNG||

    And for the record, while I'm troubled by many of Lincoln's, and the Union's actions, I certainly think that seeing him as a purposeful mastermind behind the slaughter that was the war is way out there...

  • ||

    Okay, seriously: I would have said sayonara to any and all tariffs. That would have helped to drive a wedge in the confederate ranks. I would also have pushed the repeal of all fugitive slave laws. I also would have urged all judges to invoke natural rights and the ninth amendment in runaway cases.

    No, I am under no illusion that my remedies would have instantly emancipated all the remaining slaves. However, IMO, the combination of no tariffs, the elimination of all fugitive slave laws and a non-stop moral appeal to the south, would have netted the freedom of all within 8 years.

    Of course, Abe Lincoln was a holy roller for the so called "American System" under which high tariffs were favored in order to finance "internal improvements" and give rent seeking supporters big, fat government contracts. I really think that the abrogation of the tariffs would have been a real tension tamer. Sure, the federal government would not be able to grow, but so what?

  • ||

    MNG-

    Have you read Cisco's book? One thing that Sherman has done for us, is leave behind evidence that Lincoln not only knew of, but approved and encouraged, total war. You know who often cited him in this regard.

  • MNG||

    What about the federal forts?

  • ||

    Discretion is the better part of valor. Walk away. Go in peace.

  • ||

    Anohter angle:

    Treatment of native americans. Have you ever examined the treatment of native americans during Lincoln's tenure? Do you want some examples of mass murder? Do you think any happened? Take a wild, f--ing guess.

    How about the mass hanging of the Santee Sioux on December 26, 1862?

    How about the massacre of the Cheyenne at Sand Creek under Colonel John Chivington on November 30, 1864?

    Lots of others as well.

  • Kolohe||

    When Russia took over ruling from the former USSR, did the USSR continue to own the land? No, Russia (or the Ukraine or Georgia) became the owner of the national land.

    The transfer of former USSR assets (e.g. the Black Sea Fleet) was a complex arrangement where both sides (in this example Ukraine and Russia) compromised from an initial position of 'everything is ours' (although Russia got it bulk of it and all the nuclear wessels and veapons)

  • Kolohe||

    Citizens dont have rights, rights belong to the individual and exist whether a citizen or not.

    This is a good rule of thumb but not necessarily a 'self-evident truth' (and can go beyond just property rights)

  • x||

    "Of course Hitler despised the Jews."

    Are you sure? Who do you think bankrolled his rise to power? The Jewish bankers. Hitler was nothing but a pawn in the Zionist-Illuminati plan for world domination. The really evil manipulators are always hidden in the shadows. People have been posting about the Holocaust. Well lets not forget the 150 million innocents murdered by the Jewish run Bolshevik Revolution. I think that makes us even.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    you see, LM, the problem is, is that anyone with such an obsession about a particular subject must have an "angle", or a purpose behind that obsession.

    you're obsessed with the guy who fought the Civil War and, like it or don't, freed the slaves. One wonders why you're trying to discredit Lincoln so much. Is it because you don't like 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments? Is it because you think that slaveholding states should have been able to claim sovereignty?

    WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING POINT?

  • ||

    TAO-

    May I suggest that the obsession is yours?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    no. The genesis for this agenda of yours is that you seem to think that if you don't defend secession as it actually happens, that somehow undermines a future theoretical case for secession. It doesn't. The South was wrong, and you need to get over it.

    If you want to advocate for secession, may I suggest that you use peaceful examples and reasoned discourse instead of all but calling Lincoln a babyraper? It might advance your agenda a little further.

  • ||

    TAO-

    Why does it upset you so much that I make unflattering observations about Lincoln?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Dude, why do you speak the language of IngSoc? You've blatantly suggested that Lincoln committed acts of genocide, the deliberate slaughter of civilians, etc. And you call that just "unflattering"? It's incendiary nonsense.

    I don't particularly care about Lincoln. As the Irish say "What's done is done and cannot be undone". Regardless of that, it isn't that I am some kind of sycophant for Lincoln. Your general attitude, demeanor and your flirtations with neoconfederatism and antisemitism are what upset me more.

    If you want to make a logical case for secession, do it. I have been doing so around friends for a long time (I think California would be totally justified in arresting DEA agents next time an MMJ raid goes down). It doesn't require the level of insanity about the Civil War that you insist on spewing. It's like "hi, I'm libertymike, and to shock all of you, not only will I engage in historical revisionism, but I will take it up to an 11."

    I mean, what is your malfunction?

  • ||

    TAO-

    In my post on Friday, I merely ponted out that Alexander the II handled his nation's slavery issue far better than Lincoln did.

    What is so provocative about that? So, because I make a comment that is fully supportable by the record, I have an obsession?

    As for secession, what do you think the Declaration of Independence is? It is a statement of secession, among other things. The colonies announced that they were seceding from Great Britian.

    Jefferson thought the proposition that the federal government would use force to keep a state from seceding was monstrous and in contradiction to the spirit of 1776.

    You demean yourself by making truly "nutsville" assertions like I am a defender of slavery and a Dixie Whislter and that I am against or don't like the 13th, 14th and 15th amendmets. Come on, you can do better than that.

    One of the worst Supreme Court cases of all time is the Slaughterhouse affair. Maybe I have an obsession about that case.

    You have read my posts where I have argued that the original bill of rights applies to the states. The 14th makes it absolutely clear that they apply to the states. Yet,
    there are some here who claim otherwise. I don't see how, but they do nonetheless.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    What's "provocative" about is you know damn well what's so provocative about it. You know and understand that libertarians struggle with opting out and the individual's relation to state power, and you seem to think that the Civil War is some kind of awesome test case against which to judge the conflicting theories. Given that very few of us can somehow stay away from Civil War arguments, you might be right, but I promise you from now on you will not draw me into a Civil War argument, because you feed on it.

    The reason we say you have an obsession is because...well, look, did anyone mention anything about Lincoln and slaves? No? But here you come, making a completely off-topic remark that (again) "indicts" Lincoln (in your mind, anyway...the rest of us have gotten over it). It was completely irrelevant! It's why you get filtered, because if it looks like trolling, and smells like trolling...

    As for secession, what do you think the Declaration of Independence is? It is a statement of secession, among other things. The colonies announced that they were seceding from Great Britian.



    YAY! you found an example you can use. Now, please, spare us all from the Civil War revisionism and use the DoI as your "case in point" referential from now on, please?

  • The Angry Optimist||


    You demean yourself by making truly "nutsville" assertions like I am a defender of slavery and a Dixie Whislter and that I am against or don't like the 13th, 14th and 15th amendmets. Come on, you can do better than that.



    So can you. Look, you (intentionally) give out the dog-whistle cues that you're a neoconfederate ("Lincoln was a blood dictator!" "States Rights") and then you gamely and coyly try to deny the emotional and historical contexts from which those words arose, as if you *weren't* trying to get a rise out of everybody using those words.

    Ditto Israel. You've called it a "tribalistic socialist cesspool" that engages in "genocide". GENOCIDE?? You know how incendiary it is to imply that a Jewish state, formed from the ashes of an *actual genocide*, is actually engaged in one now. But you say it anyway!

    Like I said, dial it down and be reasonable and maybe you won't get all this grief.

  • ||

    TAO-

    Yes, dialing it down is a good thing.

    My hobbyhorse, truth be told, is in unveiling the curtain to find there is just a man there, not Oz.

  • ||

    TAO-

    Okay. Don't forgetr that we are brothers in our appreciation of tall, long legged women! Speaking for myself, sometimes the appreciation migrates into obsession.

  • ||

    I haven't checked in for a while. Have we finally settled why the southern rebels got their asses so thorougly kicked?

    libertymike -
    Campus Martius, in the center of downtown Detroit hosts the Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Monument celebrating the noble warriors who defeated the slaveholders petulant rebellion in the south.

    The bronze eagle statues located throughout the monument symbolize the United States weeping for the fallen soliders of the Civil War. The fours male statues on the second teir represent the Navy, Infantry, Calvary, and Artillery. The four women statues on the third tier represent Victory, History, Emancipation, and Union. Standing atop the 50-foot granite column lies the 15-foot tall "Michigania." Portrayed as an Amazon warrior, Michigania represents Michigan, pointing southward to the Confederate enemy.



    Also on the memorial are bas-relief plaques commerating four of the victorious north's graet leaders, Lincoln, Farragut, Grant and my personal fave, Sherman. Here is a picture of it. Here is where I lifted the above quote.

    You should check it out if you're ever in town, it swells the heart with righteous American pride.

  • hmm||

    From Czars to the Civil war in 100 posts or less.

    I still think the mustache is the more relevant issue at hand here.

  • Czar-Czar Binks||

    Meesa gonna run a government agency!

  • ||

    J sub D-

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    In honor of my uncle, who was also my godfather and a Pearl Harbor survivor, I bid you well and wish good tidings for you tomorrow, your admiration of Tecumseh notwithstanding.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Same for Baked and TAO to say that I make "borderline antisemetic" comments just because I criticize Israel and rail against the ADL and AIPAC driving hate speech laws and prosecutions.



    No. As a matter of fact, I have had several unpleasant conversations with our resident Likudnik, Underzog, about how we should stop all aid to Israel. And support for hate speech legislation is non-existent around here, except for the voices in your head, apparently.

    Remember this?

    What is an anti-semetic remark? ...Defending those who are incarcerated because they do not buy the propaganda that 6 million jews died in world war 2[?] emphasis added



    Yup. Unless you have damn good evidence to the contrary, I think stating that the well-documented estimate of 6,000,000 Holocaust deaths is "propaganda" is anti-Semitic. I have stated above that the arguments I've heard seriously questioning that figure have all come from neo-Nazis. Thus my statement lumping you in with them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I still think the mustache is the more relevant issue at hand here.



    I put in the link for you above; if you're not going to click, that's your lookout.

  • hmm||

    I clicked! That site is an excellent resource.

  • Elemenope||

    You know what goes great with this thread? Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony.

  • ||

    I think the reason for having all these czars is actually to form a protective shield around Obama. If the administration makes a mistake, the czar in charge of that facet of governing would fall on that political grenade when criticism is directed at the administration. This protects the actual presidency from criticism.

    I wonder what Bush popularity would be like if he tried this and the media played along.

    "The Bush administration ousted Homeland Security czar today when it became known that illegal wiretapping has been undertaken on a vast scale. Bush expressed outrage at the actions of the czar and the administration has named several possible replacements...."

    As I understand it, something like this is done with computer systems. A server can be protected from certain kinds of attacks by a surrounding group of computers which handle all service requests and are vulnerable to any attacks. The attacks stop with the surrounding computers, protecting the primary server.

    I might be wrong, but if I was president and I was surrounded by a bunch of czars, I would blame them for everything that went wrong and claim infallibility.

  • hmm||

    Politicians have done this for years. Nothing new. Obama is much better at addressing criticism than Bush and Co. were. Bush would just ignore it, Obama and Co. have Bush to blame for a few more months, and after that I'm pretty suhre they can rely on most of the media to buy the spin for at least another year.

  • ||

    your admiration of Tecumseh notwithstanding.

    Tecumseh? What's not to admire?

    Sherman, on the other hand, was a war criminal.

    -jcr

  • ||

    I hate to interrupt this lovely rehash of "who hit who first", but the American Civil War has been over for 144 years.

    There is nobody alive today who suffered in it.

    There is nobody alive today even from the Reconstruction Era.

    May I rudely suggest that everyone just f*****g get over it?

  • ||

    There is nobody alive today who suffered in it.

    There are, however, people suffering from its consequences.

    As we speak, there's a political prisoner in California named Charlie Lynch, and we who voted to permit medical marijuana have no power to resist federal usurpation.

    -jcr

  • robc||

    Have we finally settled why the southern rebels got their asses so thorougly kicked?

    One of my ancestors was a union cavalry officer. That was all it took.

    :)

  • ||

    As we speak, there's a political prisoner in California named Charlie Lynch, and we who voted to permit medical marijuana have no power to resist federal usurpation.

    Still, seems like a lot of shit happened between the Civil War and now that had perhaps just as much bearing on "interstate commerce" as the Civil War.

    Also, oddly enough, not fighting the Civil War might have ended u

  • ||

    *ended up setting a worse precedent than fighting it...unless you wanted people to think it was OK to attack Federal forts.

    But again, this is all dead horse beating (like about 17 people said before me).

  • ||

    What's in a Name?
    Well, The Czar or Tsar title may be indicative of a position in an organization or it may be a condition. The last line of the article has a good point. however you spell it, it is still a 4 letter word. Time marches on and political cycles continue - the last word in this particular cycle is "Dead" We can only hope the cycle completes quickly.

  • ||

    Off with their heads, each and every one.

  • ||

    As I have tried to point out before when Reason pulls this crap - the Tsars are vastly underrated historically, even by libertarian standards. Let's look at the accomplishments of the Romanov dynasty - expanded Muscovy's land area to reach the Baltic, the Black Sea and the Pacific thus creating the world's largest trading area in the 19th century; freed the serfs without a civil war; industrialized a backwards medieval country; welcomed foreign investment and know-how; and created enough surplus wealth to foster a cultural explosion unparalleled anywhere since Medici Florence. American politicians could only wish they were Tsars.

  • Scarpe Nike Italia||

    is good

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