Buddy Ebsen, RIP


How many more vaudeville vets are left? "The Beverly Hillbillies" proved that Americans love a good culture clash, but it drove me nuts because my fellow six and seven-year-olds thought it was hysterical to call me Jethro.


NEXT: High Noon for Coulter

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  1. “The Beverly Hillbillies”-the best pro-Confederate sitcom ever!And Buddy campaigned against his scalawag liberal co-star Nancy Kulp when she ran for Congress!RIP,Buddy.

  2. Well Copperhead, pro-Confederate is a real stretch. In which episode did they ever mention being pro-Confederate?

    Anyway, the actual history of ‘hillbillies’ in the Confederacy is more complex. A lot of the people in the Appalachian regions were anti-Confederate, and were the victims of reprisals by Confederate troops, who also frequently appropriated food and property from local civilians, another good way to ensure support from the civilian population.

  3. Granny was definitely pro-Confederate, but it was treated as a humorous idiosyncracy. It’s a stretch to say the series itself was pro-Confederate

  4. Well done,Mr.Oliver!Perhaps now you might answer my question re your review of Charles Adam’s book-did the South have the right to secede from the Union?Or will I remain 0-for-4 with direct questions put to Reason writers?

  5. A legal right or a moral right?

  6. 0-for-5 it is then.Mr. Adams argued they had both.Are you saying they had a legal but not a moral right,a moral but not a legal right,or no right at all?

  7. Legal, no. Moral, yes. But did the circumstances they faced justify the exercise of that moral right? No.

  8. Why would you care whether they exercised their “moral” right under proper circumstances?According to you,whatever they did would have been illegal

  9. I don’t concede that the South did not have a legal right to secede,by the way.Why would the recent colonies,having withdrawn from the British Empire,voluntarily agree to be bound forever by the Union?

  10. Read Federalist No. 2.

  11. Federalist 2 does provide part of the answer to your question, but I’d recommend all of 2-10, and especially 5.

  12. Walter Olson does this little dodge,too,and it annoys me no end-fobbing off the debate onto a pile of documents,and suggesting I divine your argument from them.For the benefit of those of us in the slow track class,what do you mean to say and how do the Federalist Papers back it up?

  13. Somewhere in the Great Beyond:


  14. Right,have done my suggested reading list from Headmaster Oliver,and nothing there about being stuck in a Union that’s gone off,but rather the importance of uniting to deter potential foreign attacks.And these were arguments,not legally binding on anyone,let alone states like Virginia which expressly reserved the right to leave the Union when they ratified.

  15. If that’s all you took from the Federalist 2-10 I suggest you read it again.

  16. Gwyn:

    Actually, the states that ratified the Constitution in 1787-88, in so doing, SECEDED from the “perpetual” union created by the Articles of Confederation. By requiring the assent of only nine states, and at the same time stipulating that the Constitution would only be in force between states that ratified it, the Federalists explicitly acknowledged that the ratifying states were seceding from the old union to form a new one, and that the new one might not include all thirteen states (leaving out, of course, that the Republic of Vermont wasn’t even represented as a state in the Confederation Congress). In fact, North Carolina and Rhode Island remained independent of the U.S. until well into Washington’s first term. Rhode Island probably would have remained independent indefinitely, if Congress had not adopted a punitive tariff to coerce her into ratifying. (Of course, in the Federalist Madison dismissed questions about the status of non-ratifying states with speculations that they would continue to exist in amity with the U.S.).

    All this is especially ironic, given that nationalists like Webster and Lincoln liked to play on the “perpetual” status of the union created by the Articles, and made “more perfect” by the 1787 document, to prove that secession was tantamount to filial impiety. But in fact the 1787 constitution did not make a previous union more perfect; it REPLACED the old union with a new one.

    Chapter One of my online manuscript on State Sovereignty deals with these issues in a lot more detail. You can find it on the Articles page of my website Or if you print it out, it comes in mighty handy in the crapper.

  17. Welll DOH-gies! We got off’n the Beverly Hillbillies quicker’n a hound off’n a sprayin’ polecat, I reckon.

    In my opinion, BH was one of the greatest television programs ever produced, and Buddy Ebsen’s slyly sincere turn as Jed Clampett was a huge reason why (not to mention the talents of the amazing ensemble cast). Another reason was the premise, which was, if you stop to think about it, the inverse of another hugely successful comedy of that era: Gilligan’s Island. BH showed us unsophisticates trying to deal with fast-paced, sophisticated modern society (albeit with the advantage of millions of dollars), while GI showed us people from modern society, isolated in the not-so-dangerous wilds of a desert island. Either way, we got to examine and laugh at the contrast between fundamental human motivations, common sense/folk wisdom, and the thin veneer of sophisticated, modern life, which people often cling to, to the point of foolishness. BH shone a spotlight on that foolishness and made us laugh. It and its Hooterville spinoffs were tossed too soon by an organization that, imagining itself the “Tiffany” network, obstinately refused to recognize that in BH, it had a genuine diamond in the rough. The years of syndicated reruns have polished BH’s reputation, though, even as CBS has degenerated into a shadow of its former self. Who’s laughing now?

  18. Thanks,Mr. Carson,for your take on the issue of the Union,and I will definitely seek out your article.Mr. Oliver,you still haven’t provided any evidence that the Federalist Papers back up your claim that secession was illegal,nor said why your concession of a moral right to secede would be of any importance at all,given that you feel that it was illegal to do so.I’m tempted to quote the late,great Jed Clampett-“If brains was tar,you’d pave a mighty thin road”-but we should avoid personal invective in debate,so I won’t do that.

  19. Gee I wonder which Federalist paper was Jed’s favorite.

  20. Gwynn, you ask a question. Someone answers it, and you attack him for not answering another.

  21. Sorry,but what “question” of mine is answered by by tossing the Federalist Papers at me,yet again?

  22. Jeez, this thread is still active.

    You asked why would the colonies would voluntarily agreee to be bound forever by a Union.

    Pubius answers that in Federalist 2-10. The United States is, by geography and history, rightfully one nation, just as the United Kingdom is.

    Allowing it to be governed by a weak union or several indepdendent states will inevitably lead to constantly shifting alliances and perpetual or near-perpetual warfare in North America, just as it did in the British isles before Wales, Scotland and England were finally united into one nation. The natural tendency of the various states to compete with one another will be exacerbated by European nations who will set them against each other in hopes of keeping the U.S. weak and maintaining and strengthening their own influence in the new world.

    Judging by what happened during the Confederacy’s brief existence, Publius probably underestimated the fractiousness and conflict that would occur without a strong union.

  23. Thanks for the reply,but for your information,Wales and Scotland were never “united” into one nation,they were invaded and conquered by force.Cymru am byth!
    Sorry,still not seeing the South giving up their right to secede;were the Federalists such powerful polemicists they just gave up their claims in embarassed silence?

  24. Further,if you think the “union” of Wales and Scotland prevented Britain from experiencing “near-perpetual warfare”,you haven’t read British history very carefully.

  25. So Scotland and England continued to wage war against one another after they were unified?

  26. Not nearly expert enough on Scotland,but as to Wales-ever heard of the “Bangor burnings”?

  27. England and Scotland were unified fairly peacfully when the Sottish king James VI became James I. And how much warfare happened between Wales and England after the first act of unification in 1536. From everything I’ve read the Welsh people welcomed Tudor rule.

  28. I withdraw that last bit,actually,as of little interest to the non-Welsh.What I meant to say is that it is quite likely there will someday be an independant Scotland and Wales,and this will be accomplished without violence-exactly what should have done with the Confederate States.

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