Why Jefferson Davis Opposed Roe v. Wade

Okay, he didn’t, really, because he never had the chance — but it’s as certain as magnolia blooms in the spring that if Jefferson Davis were to rise again and take his place as the extremely senior senator from Mississippi, he would make the Senate ring with his denunciations of Roe v. Wade. In fact, he might even threaten secession over it.
His bill of indictment would, of course, include that Roe v. Wade violated states’ rights — indeed, this would be the very grounds of secession: the Federal government had no proper authority to strike down Mississippi’s abortion laws and invoke some new, unfounded, unconstitutional, and un-Christian right.
And un-Christian would have been an operative word. Southerners might defend slavery as a positive good or a necessary evil, but they generally did so within a Christian context, to wit: that slavery was accepted as a fact of life in the Bible; and that however painful the chains of the slave ships that had brought slaves to the New World (the Confederate Constitution, incidentally, prohibited restarting the slave trade), its providential purpose was no doubt to bring black people from heathen darkness and Christianize them to the point where, as both Robert E. Lee and Davis foresaw, they would eventually be free men. Indeed, by 1860, about 10 percent of black Americans in the Upper South were already free men.
I realize that it is a common saw among pro-lifers (of which I am one) to say that abortion and slavery are really two sides of the same coin — denying the personhood of someone of a different color or of an unborn child. And some think it quite clever to wrong-foot the opposition — though I doubt anyone’s mind has ever been changed by this argument — by throwing out the question, “So, would you have been pro-choice about slavery in 1860?” The idea is that the pro-life cause is the abolitionist cause of our time.
But if we’re honest to history, things are lot more complicated than that — or why did the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, editorialize on behalf of the Confederacy; why did British diplomat Odo Russell report that the pope “would not conceal from me that all his sympathies were with the Southern Confederacy and he wished them all success”; and why did Pope Pius IX send Davis a crown of thorns, woven by his own hands, when Davis was imprisoned by the Federals? Surely the Church did not sympathize with the South because it was founded on an institution that was the moral equivalent of abortion. Nor, for that matter, did it sympathize with the South because of the institution of slavery. It did so because it saw the war between North and South in a rather deeper way.
When one is setting up alternative histories, so-called “counter-factuals,” it’s best not to go too counter-factual. If abolitionism and the defense of life are really so similar, consider the actual course of history in this country and answer the question: Which region do you expect would enact more stringent anti-abortion laws if Roe v. Wade were overturned — the former abolitionist hotbeds of New England or the “Bible Belt” of the Deep South?
In New England in 1860, of course, traditional Christianity was beginning to be superseded by Unitarianism, transcendentalism, and a “social gospel” less focused on the gospel than on social reform, from which one can draw a line from abolitionism to feminism and most of the other -isms of our time. Religion in the South, on the other hand, was, as Richard Weaver noted, “a simple acceptance of a body of belief, an innocence of protest and heresy which left religion one of the unquestioned and unquestionable supports of the general settlement under which men live.”
Sacrificing children to Moloch — or to the “right of women to control their own bodies” — is not something that most Southerners could reconcile with their Bibles. But it is rather easier to see how spiritual traditions that put increasing weight on the rights of the autonomous individual and on self-fulfillment might be more open to considering an “unplanned” or an “unwanted” pregnancy an inconvenience that could be dispensed with, something that should be left to a woman’s right to choose.
The South, of course, was a rather libertarian place, and Davis, though a very modest drinker, was an opponent of such nanny-state -isms as prohibitionism. But the South’s vision of itself was also a somewhat medieval one. Ivanhoe, after the Bible, was probably the most widely read and most popular book in the South. The South saw itself as a bastion of feudal order and liberty, a traditional, agricultural, and Christian civilization. It was this that attracted Pius IX to the South, for the Church opposed the rising tide of nationalism, of mass urban democracy, of centralizing power that swept away subsidiary institutions like the Church and undermined traditional moral restraints, such as those provided by orthodox Christianity, in the name of progress and efficiency (words not often associated with the South).
Or, in the words of Allen Tate:
In a sense, all European history since the Reformation was concentrated in the war between the North and the South. For in the South the most conservative of the European orders had, with great power, come back to life, while in the North, opposing the Southern feudalism, had grown to be a powerful industrial state which epitomized in spirit all those middle-class, urban impulses directed against the agrarian aristocracies of Europe after the Reformation.
Davis might assert that slaves were “property,” but he never claimed that masters could thereby kill them. The entire moral defense of slavery depended on the argument of paternalism. And it is impossible to believe that Davis would stand before the Senate or the people of Mississippi and say that he believed in a mother’s right to kill her own children, or to bash out the brains of a child untimely ripped from its mother’s womb. With slavery, he could point to its explicit recognition in the Constitution and in the Bible. With abortion, there could be — and can be — no such defense.
All of which is not to make any apologia for slavery. General Lee, in his postwar correspondence with Lord Acton, wrote that the South “receives without reserve the amendment which has already been made for the extinction of slavery. This is an event that has long been sought, though in a different way, and by none has it been more earnestly desired than by the citizens of Virginia.” But it is a request that we be honest about history, which shines a rather kinder light on the South than many callow polemicists are willing to admit.

H. W. Crocker III

By

H. W. Crocker III is the author of Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History. His prize-winning comic novel The Old Limey and his book Robert E. Lee on Leadership are available in paperback; his latest book is The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire.

  • Deal Hudson

    My mother tells me the first book I ever read as a child was “Ivanhoe,” a fact which I have always found strange. Now I know why: My mother was a product of the South, born and raised in a small Texas town near the border of western Louisiana. She attended Duke University only to be brought home in her senior year when Nazi submarines were sighted along the North Carolina coast. (Duke was a very different kind of institution in those days, one that taught the agrarian virtues described above.) Her parents despised the “North” and all it represented. I remember vividly the many times I sat and listened to her father, my grandfather, rail against the evils of FDR and how he had “destroyed” America.

    Will I be telling the same story about BHO to my grandchildren?

  • Joe H

    Was the intention of this piece to amuse the readership of Inside Catholic?

    Let me get this straight: The South, which was founded upon and sustained by a socio-economic system premised on the enslavement of human beings, was essentially a “libertarian society.” The same South which dismissed the arguments of the abolitionists that were based upon the Declaration of Independence, stipulating the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the equality of all men through their Creator, on the grounds that the Declaration is not a legal document and therefore irrelevant.

    So this “libertarian” society was based upon a system of paternalism. This anti-nanny state ethos was held by individuals who personally managed and controlled the lives of other human beings. This society which valued “autonomy” and “self-fulfillment” was based upon its complete denial to millions.

    How stupid do you think we are?

    Abolitionists could see through the absurdity and hypocrisy of these arguments because they had no financial stake in slavery. I object to comparing abortion to the Holocaust because the latter was carried out by the state, the former by individuals. That is what makes it more like slavery; human beings are devalued for ECONOMIC reasons. First there is the economic need for slaves; the rationalizations come afterward. Europeans needed their sugar and later their tobacco and other cash crops; only black slaves from Africa could handle the physical rigors of the harvest (they tried with white indentured servants and Native Americans and it didn’t work).

    Great evils require great lies and great myths to cover their tracks and provide some semblance of humanity to the offenders. No one wants to view their system as monstrous and unjust.

    It is no different with abortion; the vast majority of abortions are economic abortions, carried out either because a woman is too poor to raise a child or because a child will interfere with prospects for further economic advancement. Abortion is seen as a fundamental necessity for women’s freedom precisely for this reason.

    Furthermore:

    Modern slavery was condemned by a series of Popes in a series of statements issued over the years; google “Slavery and the Catholic Church” for an excellent summary of Papal statements condemning slavery.

    And, finally, Robert E. Lee’s claim is either a delusion or a lie. The Civil War erupted over the issue of the expansion of slavery, without which the South would have become a permanent political minority, and slavery would have actually vanished by political means. They fought the Civil War precisely because slavery could no longer be maintained politically. Everyone knows Lincoln fought to preserve the union, not free the slaves. The South sought to destroy the Union to keep the slaves.

    And whatever they told themselves or others about the Bible or the Constitution or the inferiority of blacks was nothing next to the prospect of their economic foundations being pulled out from under them. Likewise all of the talk from pro-choice feminists about freedom and the inhumanity of the fetus is nothing next to their fear of being “subjugated” by a family and not being able to prosper economically as individuals.

  • Joe H

    I misread the part about self-fulfillment and autonomy. But other than that, my criticism stands.

  • RK

    The war between the states is almost universally misunderstood. The author of this article makes great strides to set the record straight. Slavery was certainly on its way out even before the war began. It was a convenient pretext used by New England abolitionists to foment hatred for the south. Lincoln’s primary aim was to preserve the union, in part because of the south’s agricultural economy. The south understood that state’s rights were an essential bulwark against federal encroachment. Southern sentiments lined up much more directly with the Catholic notion of subsidiarity.

    If the south had won the war our nation would very likely be a different place than it is today. The federal government (which, by the way, is the reason abortion is legal) would, quite possibly, be no where near as immense and pervasive.

    The history books are written by the victors. I was born and raised in New England and learned that the south was evil, racist and backward. It wasn’t until later that I realized that these pejorative slanders were based on lies about southern history. To this day there is a sanctimonious bias toward the south which no person of good will should accept.

  • Miguel Miramon

    “So put me down there where I want to be.
    Plant my feet with Robert E. Lee.
    Bury my bone under a Cypress tree.
    And never let me roam”- Bellamy Bros.

    Actually, I am not a Southerner but Latin Catholicism always had a good deal of sympathy for and an affinity to the South as evidenced by your pointing out the relationship Pius IX had with Jefferson Davis. The plantation model was copied from Spanish America. The ante bellum South is greatly maligned as evidenced by the comments from Joe H. This is what is taught in the politically correct State-funded public schools.

    Wonderful article. I look forward to reading your book.

  • Joe H

    I can’t begin to understand whether it is more stupid than it is corrupt to seriously argue that the faction in this country that wanted to preserve a system of SLAVERY was, in the final equation, a greater champion of freedom than the faction that actually ended it.

    You people ought to be absolutely ashamed of yourselves for peddling this garbage in the 21st century. It is completely unnecessary to make a legitimate argument for state’s rights.

    You people act as if the Southerner’s arguments about the inferiority of black people is some sort of valid premise, not to be spoken of or brought into the assessment of this entire historical episode. You act as if their freedom and their rights were and are some sort of non-issue.

    Millions of human beings were ripped from their homelands, were separated from their families, were raped and beaten by their slave masters, were worked to death all their lives and never paid a cent for their efforts, and you act as if this whole thing was just about state’s rights. Or you reduce it to “paternalism”.

    You say I am being “politically correct”? Let me tell you something, Miguel – CENTURIES before the phrase “politically correct” ever existed, let alone the concept, there were thousands of men and women, many of them Christians, who opposed the inhumanity and barbarism of slavery. They didn’t need to be brainwashed by a “public school” because they witness first-hand the horror and injustices of slavery and they rose courageously to fight it. Slavery was wiped off the historical map by these men and women, not by the modern left, not by postmodern relativists, or any other modern boogeyman you want to point the finger at.

    I never spent a single day of my life in a public school. And you didn’t contest a single fact I raised because all I did was tell the historical truth.

    I’ll take an expansion of federal power over the continued existence of slavery any day of the week. And I will continue to salute the abolitionists who knew and proclaimed the TRUTH about the humanity and dignity of their black brothers and sisters and worked tirelessly to rally the country against slavery, the Union soldiers who took up arms and brought the wrath of God down upon the slaveocracy, and the President who lead them, even if the end of slavery was only a secondary goal for them.

    And none of your attacks will ever change that.

  • Joe H

    “Slavery was certainly on its way out even before the war began.”

    The war began because slavery was on its way out!

    What do you think was going on in bloody Kansas? A polite debate over the merits of the expansion of slavery?

    The South needed slavery to expand in order to keep its political power in the Senate, because it was losing the demographics race – meaning no more House, no more Electoral College. But each new state meant two Senators, immune from demographic challenges.

    It was because the Southerners feared that slavery actually would have been abolished, peacefully and politically, that they launched their slaveowner’s rebellion. Once the expansion of slavery was checked democratically by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, once it was clear that there were more free settlers than slave, it was the South that launched a desperate war to preserve a dying and inhuman system. I thank God their rebellion was crushed.

  • RK

    You people ought to be absolutely ashamed of yourselves for peddling this garbage in the 21st century. It is completely unnecessary to make a legitimate argument for state’s rights.

    You people act as if the Southerner’s arguments about the inferiority of black people is some sort of valid premise, not to be spoken of or brought into the assessment of this entire historical episode. You act as if their freedom and their rights were and are some sort of non-issue……..

    ……..I’ll take an expansion of federal power over the continued existence of slavery any day of the week.

    The garbage is your presumption that southern tolerance of slavery was the cause of the war. Sure, blacks being identified as 3/5 of a human being is horrible. Slavery was not an honorable institution by any stretch. But, please, get off the high horse! Slave trade was financed and executed by northern ship owners. Moreover, there were plenty of African co-conspirators who collected their own pieces of silver by selling prisoners and enemies to the U.S.. There were many stories of slaves who had terrific relationships with plantation owners. Joe H, political correctness obliges you to vamp for distortions that fall flat when examined with objective historical scrutiny.

    Many of today’s descendants of slaves are held captive by a cycle of poverty facilitated by entitlement programs that sap initiative and self determination. Federal expansion has enslaved the black population in a way that southern farmers could never even imagine.

  • Bemused

    abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”
    Bill Clinton

  • Miguel Miramon

    Joe H, if I didn’t know bettah I’d sweah you were one of those Yankee devils!

  • Joe H

    From the Catholic encyclopedia online:

    “In 1871 a writer had the temerity to assert that the Papacy had not its mind to condemn slavery” (Ernest Havet, “Le christianisme et ses origines”, I, p. xxi). He forgot that, in 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be “a great crime” (magnum scelus); that, in 1537, Paul III forbade the enslavement of the Indians; that Urban VIII forbade it in 1639, and Benedict XIV in 1741; that Pius VII demanded of the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the suppression of the slave trade and Gregory XVI condemned it in 1839; that, in the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the “supreme villainy” (summum nefas) of the slave traders. Everyone knows of the beautiful letter which Leo XIII, in 1888, addressed to the Brazilian bishops, exhorting them to banish from their country the remnants of slavery — a letter to which the bishops responded with their most energetic efforts, and some generous slave-owners by freeing their slaves in a body, as in the first ages of the Church.”

  • Joe H

    You write,

    “The garbage is your presumption that southern tolerance of slavery was the cause of the war.”

    Are you joking? Is this a joke?

    Southern tolerance of slavery? Tolerance? That’s what you call it?

    The cause of the war was that the South didn’t want to give up slavery. Where are your historical facts?

    “Slave trade was financed and executed by northern ship owners.”

    So what? That only means that Northerners were complicit in the evil. There were Southerners who refused to fight for the secessionists; one of my own ancestors in fact! He left Texas and joined the Union army. I’m proud of that.

    “Moreover, there were plenty of African co-conspirators who collected their own pieces of silver by selling prisoners and enemies to the U.S..”

    Again, so what? This is about whether or not the slave system would have faded away peacefully or not. Do you think I give a free pass to African “co-conspirators”? I don’t.

    “There were many stories of slaves who had terrific relationships with plantation owners.”

    Completely irrelevant. We are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights, and liberty is one of those rights. At the very least that means freedom from slavery. So it doesn’t matter how nice you are to me. If you claim that you own me you are violating my rights and are an affront to God. By the modern era the Church agreed, which is why several Popes repeatedly condemned slavery and the slave trade and threatened those who participated in it with excommunication.

    “Joe H, political correctness obliges you to vamp for distortions that fall flat when examined with objective historical scrutiny.”

    If you call that pathetic laundry list “objective historical scrutiny”, I shudder to think what your opinionated musings look like.

    “Many of today’s descendants of slaves are held captive by a cycle of poverty facilitated by entitlement programs that sap initiative and self determination. Federal expansion has enslaved the black population in a way that southern farmers could never even imagine.”

    Decades of terrorist violence, lynchings, poll taxes and Jim Crow laws had nothing to do with that. Yes, it was those courageous state’s righters that stood for the freedom of black people! Their right to swing freely from trees.

    Yes, its all the federal government’s fault for intervening and putting a stop to those things. This is where ideological blindness leads people – right off the cliff into a moral and intellectual abyss.

  • Joe H

    I wonder how many people who moan ceaselessly about the injustice of the income tax also overlook the realities of slavery and place this entire debate on the abstract plane of states rights.

    Let yourselves be known, so I can spare myself the trouble of ever having to take you seriously again. Thanks.

  • RK

    “Slave trade was financed and executed by northern ship owners.”

    So what? That only means that Northerners were complicit in the evil. There were Southerners who refused to fight for the secessionists; one of my own ancestors in fact! He left Texas and joined the Union army. I’m proud of that.

    Northern prejudice against blacks is a key issue here. In Democracy in America Tocqueville said that “the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been know.” Black Codes existed in the North long before discriminatory laws were enacted in the South after Reconstruction. For example The Revised Code of Indiana prohibited Negroes and mulattos from coming into the state; Negroes and mulattos were forbidden from testifying in court against white people.

    Lincoln said he favored giving freed slaves basic protections of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Bur at the same time he oddly opposed black citizenship (Leon Litwack, North of Slavery:The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860, pg. 277).

    Joe H, it would be convenient for if the north was a voice for good and the south a voice for evil. Unfortunately, reality isn’t that clear. The causes of the war undoubtedly included economics and preserving Lincoln’s federal power. Slavery was the trump card a small, vocal group of abolitionists used to get the war started. Most northerners could have cared less about emancipation.

  • Alan

    Joe H,

    My brother, you need to breathe deeply and calm yourself before you suffer an apoplectic aneurysm. Is the extreme rhetoric necessary? Do you think that anyone posting here believes that slavery was a good thing? Please be more charitable and less antagonistic in your arguments. I have noticed this in many of your posts on many topics.

    God bless you.

  • Miguel Miramon

    I thought he’d never sign off! (Hey, just kidding, Joe H!)

    To paraphrase a little-known writer named Shakespeare, there are more things in heaven and earth, Joe H, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    I would just advise you to buy and read the book by Mr. Crocker. You may not agree with it but at least thoughtfully consider it. The causes of War Between the States are much more complicated than we are usually taught.

    After some consideration, you may come to see why Pius IX and many in the Vatican were sympathetic to the Southern cause.

  • BPS

    Mr. Crocker, RK, Miguel and everybody else who believe this tripe needs to learn some real history, and not selectively read what you want to suppport your already pre-concieved conclusions. I suggest the new book by Thomas Krannawitter, “Vindicating Lincoln”. He deals with all the Non-confederate arguments advanced by the likes of DiLorenzo, Bennett, and the author of this article.
    I have generally disagreed with Joe H. in the past, because I, as a black american Catholic from the south (Miss.) have always seen that slavery and abortion are two sides of the same coin. Those with power deny the equal humanity of slave or the pre-born with themselves to work their will over the fate of another.
    This is the year of St. Paul. Mr. Crocker, how can you deny his admonition “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, but all or one in Jesus Christ”? Or that when he send Onesimus back to Philemon he does so with the admonition that he treat him as a brother.
    The writers of the U.S. constitution were so ashamed of the institution of slavery that they could not explicitly mention either slaves or slavery in the body of it. The writers of the Confederate constitution not only explicitly mentioned it, but explicitly call out “negro slavery” as something no state laws could in anyway limit. So much for “States Rights”. Another thing–every Confederate state’s articles of secession mention slavery and fear of black equality as reasons for leaving. Any idea that the institution of slavery would fade away in a new Confederate nation is wishful thinking.
    All Neo-confederates hold up Lee as a symbol of the political class of the south. He was not. The “man on the move” in the south was more like Nathan Bedford Forrest, who said “If I didn’t think they were going to take my slaves, I wouldn’t have fought”.
    As for the south being Christian, it is, as it has always been, more “Christ haunted” than Christian. I think that’s always the case with protestant christianity. After all, when its just you and the Bible, you tend to selectively read it to mean whatever you want it to mean to support your preconcieved conclusions (much like Mr. Crocker and his reading of history) and you get a very distorted, twisted Christianity.

  • Miguel Miramon

    BPS, I am not unsympathetic to certain of your points, abeit, a admirer of Thomas Di Lorenzo’s scholarship on Lincoln.
    I have often thought the world would be a much different and better place if we Mexican monarchists could have helped the South secure its independence and they could have aided us in securing the monarchy of Maximiliano de Habsburgo. There was an alliance between certain factions of the two to do so but it never could fully materialize. Lincoln hated our monarchy and supported the insufferable, Benito Juarez.
    Long Live the South! Long Live Maximilian of Mexico!

  • Pansy Moss

    I tried three times to read this and found it so incredibly offensive.

    why did British diplomat Odo Russell report that the pope “would not conceal from me that all his sympathies were with the Southern Confederacy and he wished them all success”;

    God help me, if this is true, then everything I thought about Catholicism has been a lie and I should be an atheist. Please tell me that is not so…

  • David Hickey

    I assume Jeff Davis approved of the Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott decision is based on somewhat similar logic as Roe v. wade. Therefore, Jeff Davis would have supported Roe v. Wade.

    Wasn’t the Mexican-American war about getting more territory to expand slavery? Wasn’t the South eyeing Cuba as well? It’s entirely possible that I was taught incorrectly as I did go to public school. However, based on these seemingly historical facts, slavery was not a thing of the past – it was growing, or at least trying to, even though the slave trade was banned by then, right.

    I’ve never thought the pope’s sympathy toward the South meant that he supported their cause and slavery, of course. I think if you look at what that pope had recently been through – being a prisoner in the Vatican, Italy’s own civil war, then that’s why he probably felt a kinship with Jeff Davis. And besides, even if we buy into the Catholic traddie Southern sympathizer argument that the pope wanted the South to win, that was his own personal opinion, and not one that we are bound to obey or even respect.

  • BPS

    The authors main point is that Jeff Davis would not have supported abortion. He may not have supported abortion for white people. But after the Dred Scott decision,pronounced by a slaveholding Catholic–Roger Taney stated “The negro has no rights that a white person is bound to respect” and since Davis supported the decision, he probably been ok with it for blacks.
    Mr. Crocker writes “Davis might assert that slaves were “property,” but he never claimed that masters could thereby kill them”. But in practice there was nothing in law, and indeed it was common practice, for white southerners to kill, maim or imprision any black who displeased them in anyway.
    What Mr. Crocker doesn’t seem to get is, there’s no need for a law when common custom and all political power agrees with what you want to do. The confederate Vice-Pres. Alexander Stephens said the confederate government was based on the immutable truth that the negro is inferior to the white man.

    Miguel– Perhaps at Loyola where DiLorenzo teaches he passes for a scholar, but after reading some of his book, I’m convinced his scholarship is little more than selective reading of others’ historical works to support conclusions he’s already decided are true.

    Pansy– Papal infallability protects the Pope from teaching errors in faith and morals. That doesn’t mean he can’t be wrong elsewhere. I’d have loved to talk Pope John Paul II about his position on capital punishment and inform him what men with life sentences do without fear in prisons here and around the world. We’ve had popes who’ve murdered, committed fornication and incest while pope. Just because the pope is wrong in his opinions or a sinner should not turn you from the faith.

    David– You’re right right about the similarites between Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade. Krannawitter makes the argument in his book “Vindicating Lincoln”. 2009 is the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, and the book’s a tonic for nonsense like Mr. Crocker’s article.

  • Aaron Traas


    God help me, if this is true, then everything I thought about Catholicism has been a lie and I should be an atheist. Please tell me that is not so…

    He supported the South because of its structure, its way of life, and the subsidiary nature of the government it held, which is more similar to rural medieval Catholic society, whereas the north was more similar to the contemporary urban France: a post-Christian modern society hell-bent on centralization of power to the state and the destruction of the Catholic church. This is in no way a tacit approval to slavery. As other posters have mentioned, northern businessmen supported slavery just as much, because it was such a moneymaker. The real reasons that the north was able to outlaw slavery is because it was less agrarian, and less dependent on slaves than the south.

    Slavery is an evil institution, and both the north and the south were guilty in perpetrating it. Nearly all peoples, of all times, were guilty of horrible crimes. Some are more suited to Catholic living than others.

  • David Hickey

    I’m not certain Jeff Davis or other slaveholders would have supported abortion for their slaves or wanted blacks to abort their unborn children. After all, that’s more workers for the fields.

  • Sid Cundiff

    Joe and BPS need to google Lincoln’s first inauguraland read it. Then they would find out the the idea that Lincoln’s War (it wasn’t a civil war) be about slavery to be opposed by whom? whommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

    And BPS defames DiLorenzo. Readers ought not take take BPS’s emoting (without evidence) to be correct. Readers should read _The Real Lincoln_ and _Lincoln Unmasked_ for themselves. (the cultural Marxists and the Neocon Whigs and even some Paleocons don’t won’t you to read these books).

    Lincoln’s War was about tariffs. Dixie was to be plundered by the Hamiltonians.

  • Arturo Vasquez

    “Actually, I am not a Southerner but Latin Catholicism always had a good deal of sympathy for and an affinity to the South as evidenced by your pointing out the relationship Pius IX had with Jefferson Davis.”

    Um, no it hasn’t. In Latin America, the tendency was always to abolish slavery as soon as convenient. As soon as the Spanish crown was toppled in the 19th century there, slavery and serfdom were abolished. Latin American colonial history always had an uneasy relationship with slavery.

    The only similarity I see here is that both systems were oppressive and unchristian. Other than that, none.

    “… why did British diplomat Odo Russell report that the pope “would not conceal from me that all his sympathies were with the Southern Confederacy and he wished them all success”

    Because he was a reactionary troglodyte angry that Masons had stripped him of his temporal power. Next question.

    Sanctity does not equal infallibility in the political realm.

    Here is yet another example of white historians hiding behind the shadow of the Cross to protect their own hegemony. What of the voices of the slaves? Where is their input? Where is their lot in the great crusade to protect the cause of the last “traditional, feudal, Christian” order in the Americas? It is easy to praise serfdom if you are not a serf.

    This essay is really beyond crap.

  • Joe H

    Well I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees this garbage for what it is.

    Pansy Moss – the Papacy condemned slavery. Scroll up and read the part of the Catholic encyclopedia online I posted. In numerous statements over the course of the centuries covering the modern slave trade, the Popes spoke out several times. Unfortunately not many Catholics listened, but that seems to be common throughout the modern era.

    BK – I actually don’t disagree with you on the comparison of slavery to abortion, though I don’t think they are EXACTLY the same. They both have economic roots, but the slave system was producing wealth, while abortions are carried out by individuals who think they will lose wealth if they have a child. Thus abortion is not a socio-economic system (though it is a profitable industry).

    It will have proven more difficult to break the slave system, in which only relatively few people owned many slaves, than legalized abortion, where millions of Americans are engaging in the act. And while it doesn’t make a MORAL difference with regard to their respective inherent dignity and moral worth, it doesn’t help that unborn children can’t speak for themselves in the way many eloquent ex-slaves could. A huge impetus for abolition, after all, came from ex-slaves themselves. Even Thomas Jefferson was forced to rethink his bigotry towards blacks once an educated former slave wrote to him (unfortunately it did not result in him even releasing most of his slaves).

    If this is about me voting for Obama, I made my case for that. In fact John McCain’s position on abortion is no different than these folks position on slavery – let the states decide. Only Huckabee understood that a moral question of this magnitude can’t simply be filed under “states rights”, but he wasn’t good enough for the rabid GOP base. Even the supposed champion of the pro-life cause Mrs. Palin has only been able to bring herself to feebly mouth the states rights argument.

    To everyone else – stop trying to label me and others with your pathetic narrative about our positions being the product of “political correctness”. First of all, its probably better to be politically correct than it is to apologize for slavery. Secondly, it allows you to dismiss counter arguments without having to think about them. That is what labels often do.

    I’ve already mentioned now that Lincoln fought to preserve the Union, not free the slaves, but someone is advising us to read Linclon’s words as if we didn’t already know that, or say we knew that, as if it were our actual argument. What Lincoln thought is not the issue.

    It is Crocker and others who, in trying to bring some needed balance to the historical picture, cross the line and start revising history to fit their ideological agenda. Because the assumption is that history is written by the victors, every historical fact is called into question. Slavery must have not been so bad. The South must have wanted to end slavery in an orderly and respectful way. The terrorist goons who swarmed into Kansas really thought we could all just get along. All the problems black people face today are due to the federal government having freed them from slavery – and the decades of institutionalized, systematic racial terrorism and prejudice they faced is politely ignored.

  • Craig

    I’m surprised Joe H is taking issue with slavery.

    So what if a political candidate wanted to lift the prohibitions on slavery so long as he believes in the redistribution of wealth, the democrats aren’t one issue voters. Human rights violations aside, if the candidate doesn’t litter, is a proponent of insurance for everyone and immediate withdrawal in Iraq, his position on slavery is in keeping with Faithful Citizenship on how to vote Catholic.

    abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”
    Bill Clinton

    Sorry, but I believe there is a direct link from abortion to bigotry and it certainly seems this election demonstrated an undertow of racism in the Clinton abode.

  • Joe H

    Are you suggesting I have argued that Obama’s position on abortion is a Catholic one?

    I know its hard for people like you to accept that not everyone who disagrees with you thinks exactly the same way, but just try for a minute.

    I base my decision on the following: a) McCain’s position on abortion is de facto pro choice, and as morally bankrupt as the states rights argument for slavery, b) I have a grave proportionate reason to vote against McCain, and c) I have a good reason to believe that Obama will not be able to pass extreme abortion legislation.

    Abortion and slavery are not the same. They’re closer in similarity than abortion and the Holocaust but they are still different. They still require different approaches.

  • BPS

    Joe and Sid- Though you disagree, you fall into the same trap as the marxists (and Tom DiLorenzo, who you defend Sid) by viewing everything thru the lense of economic determinism. Humanity is more complicated (and sometimes much darker) than that. Read what the confederates themselves say at the time of sucession — read portions of articles of sucession (their declarations of independence) at http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html.

    They don’t talk very much about tariffs or economics. What they talk about is slavery and the fear of black equality.
    Lincoln was a gradualist, and would, at the time of his first inagural, compromise on anything except the spread of slavery any further, in order to save the union. He said elsewhere “I would like to so fix slavery in the public mind that it would eventually wither away”. I have no problem with the gradualists of today, who would return abortion as a political issue to the States, to be argued out in state legislatures and open to the broading of peoples minds as they become convinced of the evil that abortion really is. Americans now understand that you can’t resort to bullets when you can resort to ballots.
    However, given Obama’s radicalism, I pray we can continue to say that.

    Joe H – I think your objection was that I also said abortion was similar to the Holocaust. I still think slavery, abortion and the holocaust proceed from the same place–the desire of some people to rationalize away the humanity of other people so they can do something horrible to them. The fact that it’s done directly by the government or by individuals with the governments consent is irrelevent.

    And I can’t recommend enough Krannawitter’s book. He spends a lot of time answering DiLorenzo’s “arguements”.

  • Craig

    Why the editor hasn’t banned your screeds for histrionics and ad hominems is puzzling.

    Simmer down.

    I’m not lying Joe. It’s an observation and a valid one.

    Are you suggesting I have argued that Obama’s position on abortion is a Catholic one?

    That’s been your whole shtick.

    You’ve been crafting your position that Catholics balance Obama’s position on the human right’s violations of murder against his redistrubtion of wealth policies and backing it with “Faithful Citizenship” and selling it here on Inside Catholic for quite a few months.

    I base my decision on the following: a) McCain’s position on abortion is de facto pro choice, and as morally bankrupt as the states rights argument for slavery, b) I have a grave proportionate reason to vote against McCain, and c) I have a good reason to believe that Obama will not be able to pass extreme abortion legislation.

    Actually, de fact o the matter is that above just doesn’t hold de water intellectually when compared to McCain’s prolife record and Obama’s promise to federally protect abortion as his first act as president.

    Obama’s position on the human right’s violation of murder is less Catholic than a pro slavery position so what is your beef?

  • nobody

    Joe H. said

  • Craig

    I know its hard for people like you to accept that not everyone who disagrees with you thinks exactly the same way, but just try for a minute.

    And I know it’s hard for people like you to accept that just because you disagree with everyone, you think they all think exactly the same way, but just try for a minute.

    Come on Joe. Do you really have to pepper your posts with below the belt insults?

    It’s ok that people think differently than you think. This is a big old think tank where we are all supposed to be embracing other people’s thoughts, don’t you think?

  • Zoe

    Slavery and abortion are compared all the time. I myself highlight the parallels a lot when speaking about abortion. Crocker’s piece is not an apology for the south’s former support of slavery, but an argument for why slavery and abortion are not as synonymous as we might think. His argument hangs on viewing slavery in historical context. Crocker is, after all, a historian.

    You may not agree with his argument, which is fine. But Crocker isn’t saying slavery was moral or defendable. What he’s arguing is that, historically-speaking, slavery was a complex issue — more so than abortion. And to make sure there is no mistaking his view of the morality of slavery, he says at the end:

    All of which is not to make any apologia for slavery.

    Calling this piece “garbage,” and driven by “ideological agenda” is, I think, to misunderstand the focus of it. There is no need to defend the Church’s position on slavery — Crocker isn’t disputing it.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Alright folks,

    This thread is getting much too heated. The issues surrounding the Civil War are controversial, but this subject, like any other, can be discussed calmly.

    Let’s take a deep breath, focus on the arguments and ignore the personalities.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Joe H

    This is truly amazing.

    The editor of this website routinely posts articles where a vote for Obama is compared to a vote for Adolf Hitler, and yet when I call an article garbage that completely misrepresents the Church’s historical teaching on slavery, it is “missing the argument”.

    Zoe says Crocker isn’t disputing the Church’s teachings on slavery. How about that entry from the Catholic encyclopedia I provided, which examines the SAME quote used by Crocker to make his point about Papal ambivalence towards slavery and demonstrates the extreme ignorance behind it?

    Yes of course Crocker, for good measure and because he couldn’t get away with writing such a piece otherwise, simply asserts he is not apologizing for slavery. No, instead we are treated to view the conflict between North and South “in a deeper way” – a penetrating analysis beneath the systematic denial of millions of people of their human rights and their demotion to status as property.

    Is there a single quote from a single Papal document to substantiate the claims made here by Crocker? If there is, we wouldn’t know it based on this piece. When I wrote about cooperatives I pointed to no less than three encyclicals, the Catechism and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Crocker points to a quote that the New Advent encyclopedia – conservative by most standards – rejects as ignorant tripe. Were there so few actual Papal statements praising or even remotely condoning the ante bellum South that this was the best he could come up with?

    Predictably the right wing posters make this whole thing personal, because their ideas and their values are completely disordered – and so completely out of alignment with what the Church has always said about modern slavery – and they can’t defend them with either historical facts or persuasive moral reasoning.

    So it becomes about what I think about Obama. Logic 101 dictates that I could be for free abortions on demand and still be right about the true causes of the civil war, the moral bankruptcy of declaring that states have the right to decide whether or not slavery is a legitimate institution, the moral bankruptcy of the idea that the rights of any STATE trump the inalienable rights of any individual human being.

    As for Craig’s ridiculous lie:

    “You’ve been crafting your position that Catholics balance Obama’s position on the human right’s violations of murder against his redistrubtion of wealth policies and backing it with “Faithful Citizenship” and selling it here on Inside Catholic for quite a few months.”

    I don’t make that argument. My argument is that both candidates hold morally repugnant positions on abortion, that Obama won’t have the political support to pass extreme abortion legislation, and that McCain is a dangerous warmonger. I am NOT arguing that Obama’s economic policies mean that the issue of abortion is nullified. I would have voted for Huckabee if he won the nomination.

  • John Jakubczyk

    Joe H. writes that McCain is pro-choice, that he (Joe) has a proportionate reason to vote for Obama, that Obama won’t be able to keep his promises to planned parenthood to appoint pro-abortion judges, pass FOCA, repeal the Hyde Amendment, etc., and well I could not let that pass.

    First of all I have no illusions that I will be able to persuade you. If the teaching s of the Church can be so misapplied in your mind to allow you to vote for a blatant pro-abortion extremist by his own words, then nothing I say can have the requisite effect.

    Still the Biblical proscription is to counsel our brother lest he cause harm and thus in the spirit of charity toward the unborn whose lives may well hang in the balance, I invite you to reconsider your position and to explore with me the hazards of an Obama presidency to the children our Church and the overall welfare of the nation.

    1. John McCain is pro-life. Her has voted pro-life consistently for the last 26 years. He has been endorsed by Arizona Right to Life. There have been times when he has disagreed on the ESCR but he has always been willing to discuss the issue and as the campaign has progressed, I have been very pleased with his openness to our perspective. He has expressed that he sees the science of adult stem cell research addressing all of the concerns and that as president h would not spend any money to support morally questionable enterprises. He will listen to the sage advice of Chris Smith and Sam Brownback. He will be a pro-life president and a friend to those who support making it easier to foster adoptions and place children in loving homes.

    2. Re appointment of judges. Obama’s selections will be of a liberal pro-abortion mind set. There are enough pro-abortion Republicans to support his selections. The bench will then become pro-abortion, anti-Catholic, pro-homosexual and anti-marriage. States will lose their inherent right to address moral issues. The Court will continue its dictatorial direction.

    3. As a side bar, forget any advances in school choice or vouchers. also expect he courts to reign in free speech and religious rights. If you think I am sounding the alarm, I am. The lower courts have issued rulings that would make even your head spin. These efforts to manipulate the work place and to instigate “politically correct ” thought police are in direct contravention of our first amendment rights. If you think the Obama choices will hold up civil liberties, guess again.

    4. Government sponsored health care that includes taxpayer funded abortions for poor women. Joe H., just the chance that that could happen is reason enough to oppose Obama. If the government starts paying for abortions, then the abortion rate will increase and more babies will die.

    5. Appointments to the executive branch. I look at what Raines and Johnsdon did to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and think that these are the guys advising Obmama. Who is he going to pick to head up HHS or The State Department? And of course they will be for abortion and against the teachings of the Church on marriage, etc.

    I could go on but I will allow others the chance to offer their insight as to why the evil that could happen requires one to vote for someone who will not advance that evil. 50,000,000 babies – dead – it has to stop. This is one way to show Almighty God you really do care for the least of these our brothers and sisters. after all that will be the question asked of us on judgment day? do we plan on having Doug Kmiedc as our lawyer to defend a vote for Obama, when Gos asks why the killing continued for the next 40 years and we did nothing to stop it?

  • R.M.

    But Crocker isn’t saying slavery was moral or defendable. What he’s arguing is that, historically-speaking, slavery was a complex issue — more so than abortion.

    How exactly is abortion less politically, economically, and socially complex than abortion?

  • Craig

    Joe H. said

  • Publius804

    Obama may not pass extreme legislation as the famous Joe H. suggests, all he will do is appoint the right extreme left-wing judges to do it for him. Bush for all his faults gaves us Roberts & Alito – Clinton – Ginsberg & Bryer!!!

    People like Joe H. have not, will not and will never get it. They are liberal before anything else. It’s about the judges silly boy!!!!!

    As for the article – slavery was & is evil but not all southerners were. Got it Joe?

  • Joe H

    I thought the teachings were pretty clear: when two candidates support abortion and when you have a grave proportionate reason to support the more permissive one, you can do so.

    John McCain supports a state’s right to choose. He does not support the inalienable rights of the unborn, but the voters in each state’s right to decide whether or not they have those rights. That is not pro-life. It is pro-states rights.

  • Alan

    Joe,

    What that McCain might do is proportionate to the ongoing willful murder of 50 million people?

    What is it about him nominating constructionist judges that will be pro-choice?

    Or do you believe that Roe v. Wade, while morally repugnant, was good law?

  • Craig

    I thought the teachings were pretty clear: when two candidates support abortion and when you have a grave proportionate reason to support the more permissive one, you can do so.

    No, that is not the teaching of the Catholic Church whatsoever and over 70 Bishops have corrected your errors in the public square. In spite of this, you continue to distort your opinion as that of the Catholic Church when this is doctrinally untrue.

    Obama supports the decapitation and burning of infants alive until death and if they survive the procedure, he supports withholding medical treatment.

    Obama has promised to forbid states from prohibiting abortion by ensuring abortion is federally protected.

    Obama has declined to support health benefits to poor and unwed mothers.

    John McCain has promised to stack the SCOTUS with judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

    John McCain has spent 24 years promoting prolife legislation.

    For you to distort the teachings of the Church to make them fit your thesis for voting for a man who promotes the homicide of children is despicable.

  • R.C.

    Yes, John McCain is imperfect on pro-life issues: Inferior, say, to Sam Brownback.

    And, yes, John McCain is far better than Barack Obama on pro-life issues: A reasonable estimation of the gulf between them might be to say that if John McCain is 90% of Sam Brownback, and that Barack Obama is 5% of Sam Brownback. (Who I’m sure would frown at being used as a standard this way, but it’s his fault for being convenient.)

    Fine, that’s all well-traveled ground.

    Back to the article: I hope those who can will please continue discussing its historical merits, because I don’t know what I think about the topic yet, and would like to watch those who do know what they think “mix it up” a bit so I can decide.

    Decide about its factuality, I mean. I’m not sure I care about the shocked reaction at the breaking of the politically correct taboo.

    On the one hand, great virtue was to be found in the heroes of the South, and, on the other hand, the institution of slavery was nevertheless such a nasty violation of the moral core of America’s founding ideals that it was not unjustifiable that each one of those virtuous heroes of the CSA be shot. For virtue, in one area of life doesn’t mean one hasn’t committed a crime meriting the death sentence in another. (It was an act of gracious Christian magnanimity, but not of just deserts, that Lee & Co. were allowed to keep their swords.)

    But this also is well-traveled ground, and exclamatatory reactions on either aspect of the subject feel belated, like a wrongful death lawsuit against Genghis Khan.

    But the cultural comparisons? If true, it’s all news to me, as was the papal communication. Anyone want to contradict or reaffirm the article on those points?

  • Zoe

    How exactly is abortion less politically, economically, and socially complex than abortion?

    That’s a question for Mr. Crocker. I don’t necessarily think it is, myself. My comments were meant to point out what Crocker is trying to argue. Doing so does not mean I’m in agreement with him.

  • Joe H

    Craig,

    You’ve lied about my position and said I argued for something I never argued for. I’d say that makes you a despicable liar. It’s obvious that you have an ideological axe to grind with me, it’s just too bad that the only way you can do it is through lies.

    As for the teaching, I read the voter guides linked to by THIS website. I read them over and over again. And I made my decision. What it has to do with the historical accuracy of this article or the moral validity of the states rights arguments is beyond me. You just keep bringing it up because you are only interested in petty bickering. You haven’t even mentioned the merits of this article once. You came to this thread and immediately started attacking me, and you haven’t stopped since.

    While I’m flattered by the intention, and the time you’ve wasted hurling your nonsense at me, I too would like to get back to actually discussing the article, instead of playing another childish game of finger pointing.

  • Robert

    First, I state that I am registered independent. I refuse to associate myself with any of these parties. Let’s replace the word abortion with slavery. Obama would do everything in his power to maintain nation wide slavery and even to make it easier to have slaves (and has in fact voted 100% in keeping with this agenda.) McCain believes that the matter should fall with the states (many of which would vote much of slavery down, if not completely.) This in addition with his record of voting anti-slavery in most cases. Yet many feel McCain is just as pro-slavery as Obama, and that if anything Obama will be better off in reducing slavery. The popes have taught and said much about this evil, yet many Catholics don’t listen.

  • Robert

    a) “McCain’s position on abortion is de facto pro choice, and as morally bankrupt as the states rights argument for slavery,”
    You ignore the fact that many states would restrict/ban abortion as soon as they could. Also, you argue that McCain is equally “pro-choice” with Obama. This has been proven wrong to you by many on these forums, yet you still assert this. Obama is as militantly pro-abortion as we have ever seen. At least in the states we would have more individual power to stop it, no matter McCain’s personal beliefs are. You ignore the pro-life votes he has made. Yet you equate him as equal to someone who has a proven record of supporting infanticide with votes. You are making a play of words so you can feel you are justified.

    b)”I have a grave proportionate reason to vote against McCain”
    No you do not. Everything else combined in this election does not equal that of abortion. Catholic teaching tells us this, with many statements from popes and bishops confirming. Yet you do not listen (you made a comment earlier about people not listening to the authorities.) Nothing else matters if one does not have the right to live. There is no other proportionate grave matter to compare with in this election. Many people are abusing the document that was produced in order to feel that they can vote for Obama. At least 70-80 bishops have corrected this viewpoint. The bishops have stated clearly that in this election, there is no other grave moral evil that is proportionate to abortion. Obama is far worse than McCain (embryonic stem cell research being his only vice,) by great magnitudes. This is not a valid argument to vote for Obama. The matter is closed. (Also, don’t forget that abortion is not the only anti-life, anti-family agenda that Obama supports.)

    c)”I have a good reason to believe that Obama will not be able to pass extreme abortion legislation.”
    You gamble your soul (as said by the bishops, not me) in believing that Obama and a super-majority pro-abortion Congress will not pass a single bill that would help the abortion agenda? (Doesn’t even have to be FOCA.) McCain would have the veto power that just may very well stop that bill from passing. I pray that in the future we will get a better choice of candidates that have a chance of winning.

  • Robert

    As a side note, my birthday falls on that of Lincoln. There were many problems leading up to the civil war. To the Northern politicians, slavery was just a minor issue (even if they used it to gain popular support for the war.) Lincoln was opposed to the practice of slavery, but he still believed African Americans were inferior. The South started to secede when they reached a boiling point over these issues (including slavery.) The North depended on the South, and could not allow them to leave. Hence the Civil War. If it was just slavery as an issue, there probably would never have been a civil war; at least not until much later if it hadn’t already died out, and those in the north became more concerned about it.

    I do not believe Pius IX was indicating support for the grave evil of slavery. It looks like it was a fondness for the level of government that the South portrayed, which also happened to be closer to what the founding fathers intended. As has been seen throughout history, the more centralized the power of government becomes, the more corrupt it gets. Of course, the irony in this was that of slavery in the south. I do believe that practices such as slavery and abortion should be abolished at the federal level, by amendment if necessary. Of note though is that laws concerning murder are determined at the state level in this country. I do not believe everything should be determined at the state level like some do, but I worry about this country becoming more like the EU and Canada (especially Quebec). And I am not talking about issues such as universal coverage of health care. We already have the UN going around demanding that countries remove all restrictions to abortion; that is, genocide of a certain portion of the population many consider less than human (this sound familiar?). A fine line has to be maintained between the local government and that of the national. That is what I believe was going through the mind of Pius IX.

  • Joe H

    Since so many of you seem intent on making this about me, allow me to defend myself once again.

    I am pro-life. I believe abortion is a mortal sin, a grave evil, and I don’t condone it in any way, shape or form. And I do not believe that good economic policies of a pro-abortion candidate are a good enough reason to vote for one; that is not my reason for supporting Obama.

    Some of you say the bishops have spoken and declared that there is no proportionate reason to vote for more permissive candidate. But I have also read what they said; they have said that we must examine our consciences and that is exactly what I have done. I agree with and adhere to the bishops guidelines, but I do not agree with their specific assessment of the political situation.

    Some of you are engaging in wishful thinking when you assert that most states will ban abortion in the unlikely event of RvW being overturned. Most of this country’s population is concentrated in certain parts of the country. Those parts of the country, the coastal areas and the Great Lakes areas, will not outlaw abortion. These states have the highest abortion rates already.

    But even if “most” other states were to ban it, it would only mean that abortion was a road trip more expensive than it is today. Ban them in the Rocky Mountain states and a trip to California will suffice. Ban them in the Deep South and I’m pretty sure Texas and Florida will still have legal abortion. Ban them in the Midwest and Illinois or Wisconsin isn’t too far. You don’t think people will make the trip? If they did it for booze during Prohibition, they’ll do it for this.

    The result is that nothing will change. And meanwhile we will have put an inexperienced demagogue with a proven record of nepotism, abuse of power, and petty vindictiveness within a heartbeat of the presidency. The McCain-Palin ticket would be disastrous for America and possibly the entire planet. I forsee McCain engaging in nuclear brinkmanship with Russia and Iran. If that possibility isn’t grave, I don’t know what is.

    I believe they and their throngs of supporters, Protestant fundamentalists who hate culture, higher education and diplomacy will ruin the entire country. The Republicans have harnessed fundamentally irrational social forces to boost their electoral chances, with McCain moving drastically to the right to shore up a base that was never enthusiastic about his candidacy and Obama moving to the center politically because he can do it and still have a popular mandate.

    If we are ever going to defeat the culture of death, it is going to have to be outside of the GOP, which is become dangerous and unstable as its electoral prospects shrink due to changing demographics, racial, ethnic, religious and otherwise. It stands today in the same position the Southern slavocracy did on the eve of the Civil War; the levees are creaking and breaking and the demographic explosion threatens to permanently relegate them to minority status. By the middle of the century WASPS will be a minority, and the new majority will give the Democrats a permanent political majority.

    This reactionary party will be thoroughly routed on Election Day and likely never govern the United States again. So I am from here on focusing my efforts on expanding the ranks of pro-life Democrats, and working like crazy to infect everyone left as center as far as I can go with the culture of life. They are the future of this country. It’s time to get over it.

    If all you can do is assume I’m lying about my concerns, well, there’s nothing I can do about that. I’m not asking you to agree with me, and I’m not trying to convince you to do otherwise. That’s all.

  • RK

    This reactionary party will be thoroughly routed on Election Day and likely never govern the United States again. So I am from here on focusing my efforts on expanding the ranks of pro-life Democrats, and working like crazy to infect everyone left as center as far as I can go with the culture of life. They are the future of this country. It’s time to get over it.

    Aside from your insistence on drawing parallels between abortion and slavery, I agree with virtually every one of your points here. Your assessment that the GOP is not the party of life and that McCain will be no better than Obama as far as I’m concerned. McCain supports stem cell research and has voted for three of the pro-abortion judges on the Court (past is prologue, no?).

    The Bishops are hitching their wagons to the wrong horse. While they aren’t explicitly endorsing McCain we all know what those 70 Bishops mean. McCain will push for more war and more spending on war and more redistributing wealth to support war.

    However, this doesn’t mean one should support Obama. While nobody’s convinced me that there’s a mortal sin involved in voting for Obama, I think his ideas certainly sound Marxist and are no better than McCain’s. These two parties are, collectively, a virtual oligarchy.

    I say a pox on both of these houses. While third party candidates remain less than viable, they are now a part of the conversation. Much to McCain’s chagrin, Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin are still in the room. If these outside-of-the-mainstream candidates do receive appreciable support on Tuesday it can begin to send a message to these two dominant parties that are selling us and our children up the river.

  • Joe H

    To express my gratitude for your civil tone, and apologize for being short with you earlier – though I will always very strongly disagree with any attempt to whitewash the realities of the Southern slavocracy.

    For the record, let me be very clear that I am very much aware of Northern complicity in slavery. It was profitable business for a lot of people. I do not demonize Southerners. My father is from Texas and much of my family lives there and they’re as nice as can be.

    But I do believe the right side won the Civil War, and I’ll always be a Yankee in my heart.

  • RK

    To express my gratitude for your civil tone, and apologize for being short with you earlier – though I will always very strongly disagree with any attempt to whitewash the realities of the Southern slavocracy.

    No worries, Joe H. Discussions on these issues can bring about vigorous disagreement. I for one am not especially fazed by that.

    I haven’t seen anyone here try to “whitewash” slavery. On the contrary, slavery is clearly wrong and I think there’s almost universal agreement on that.

    The author makes the point, and I think it’s a good one, that slavery was not the only, or even the primary, cause of the war between the states. On the border states in the south especially, slavery was on it’s way out.

    At the risk of appearing to diminish the significance of slavery (and inviting further reprobation[smiley=cool]), there is lots of evidence that the issue of slavery was a red herring that New England ministers exploited to create moral outrage. There were 20 million people in the northern states and fewer than 10% identified themselves as abolitionists. There had to be other issues that led Lincoln, who was ambivalent about slavery, to attack the south.

    So, Joe H, I invite you to join your southern relations and reconsider the War of Northern Aggression!

  • Miguel Miramon

    I note that the individuals on the pro-North, pro-Lincoln side tend to histrionics, name-calling and ad hominem attacks. The article if “full of crap”, if you don’t agree with me you’re “full of crap”. My views are “complete garbage”. Blessed Pius IX is referred to as a “troglodyte”….this on a Catholic website!

    I’m beginning to get a taste of why Southerners thought “those people”, as Lee referred to Yankees, were why they felt the need to defend their homeland from them!

  • Joe H

    Miguel,

    I’ve been called dozens of names here, repeatedly accused of being a communist, a supporter of abortion and unchecked federal government, of trying to mislead Catholics and pull them away from the faith.

    No one here has a monopoly on civility and virtue. I admit it – I’m sharp with people, and I say things that aren’t civil. Everyone does it to everyone. You yourself tried to relegate my original points to the product of a public school indoctrination.

    At least I can be honest about it when I do it.

  • meg

    It is heartening to hear that you admire RK’s civil style of engagement – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! smilies/smiley.gif

    I don’t care if you vote for McCain, but it breaks my heart that a smart and engaging guy such as yourself is so blind as to think that either political party could solely be the future of this country. Politics is an ugly business and both parties are TREMENDOUSLY FLAWED (twin evils, like capitalism and socialism, no?). The ugliness of this election cycle is tiresome and frightening and I for one can’t wait until it’s over.

    When you say you want the Democrats to have a permanent majority by mid-century, a chill goes down my spine. I didn’t pay much attention in History class but doesn’t that not mean the end of democracy?

    Maybe because I’m raising 3 boys, all I can picture is the embracing by the Democrats of gay rights, a subject no one seems to discuss on this site. I see Nancy Pelosi telling Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press that abortion is OK by the Catholic church (because she’s studied it!), then I see her marching in the gay pride parade in San Francisco with a big smile (watch one some time – it’s nothing to smile about). And I see same sex marriage being taught to kindergarteners in public school via modern fairy tales with no opt-out for parents (yes, it is, in Massachusetts – see massresistance.com), etc. etc.

    How do feel this issue will play out in your version of the future?

  • Adriana

    Whatever the justifications for slavery (“we are doing it for their own good”) the fact is that the economy depended on cotton, and that cotton was grown on slave labor.

    All those chilvaric romances, all that libertarianism, all those lovely sentimenst were paid for by the forced, unpaid labor of thousands of slaves.

    That is one fact that you cannot wriggle out of.

    Of course, Jefferson Davis would not countenance the killing of slaves, but would he set up laws, police, and courts to judge, and condemn masters who killed the slaves? or would he just pray that the masters behaved more fittingly?

    If you will not set the legal framework to punish those who infringe other people’s rights, it is the same thing as denying they have rights at all.

    The same thing with abortion. The State does not really countenance the killing of babies, but will not set up laws, police, and courts to judge and condemn those who do.

    (I know that I have advocated against setting up those laws, believing that the groundwork has not been laid down yet… as the groundwork for aboloshing slavery was not laid until the richest and most populated part of the nation had an economy that *did* not depend on slave labor, and thus could find the insitution of slavery abhorrent).

  • Adriana

    There were comments made about Lincoln, that while he did not like slavery, he thought blacks were inferior to whites.

    He himself explained what he meant by that. He said that while blacks might not be equal to whites in many things, they were equal in their right to seek their own destiny, to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and “to enjoy the fruits of their labor”.

    A position which would not change if the differences between blacks and whites were upon re-examination, found to be either greater or smaller, or even non-existent. The rights of a human being do not depend on his or her I.Q. If that was not so, we would not be incensed at the ill treatment of the mentally retarded or the mentally ill.

    At the end, Lincoln’s position was basically that of St. Peter Claver, when talking about a diseased old slave “Do not forget that his man was redeemed by the precious blood of Our Lord Jesus”

  • meg
  • nobody

    We

  • Arturo Vasquez

    Of course, the biggest irony of all is that in spite of any pro-Catholic sympathies that Jefferson Davis may have had, the movement he was part of was one of the most anti-Catholic in history. Need we recall that this longing for the old South as embodied in the Confederacy gave birth to the Ku Klux Klan, and this was a nativist and thoroughly anti-Catholic organization. It is ironic that Catholics would be praising a social order where Catholicism was just one of the boogey men besides blacks, Jews, forigners, etc. Kind of reminds me of that Dave Chapelle skit on the blind black member of the KKK. Just goes to show that most Americans are truly ignorant of history, even the so-called historians.

    Even if Jefferson Davis would have liked the Catholic nostalgic for the old South, most of his confreres would have wanted to hang you from a tree ’til dead. In the South, we Catholics (mostly immigrants) were persona non grata, and even in Catholic Louisiana, Jim Crow left a scar on the Church that is truly shameful.

    The Confederacy was evil. Period. That’s the one issue, moral vote of history.

  • RM

    How exactly is abortion less politically, economically, and socially complex than abortion?

    I meant to say, How is abortion less politically, economically, and socially complex than slavery?””

  • nobody

    Arturo Vasquez “The Confederacy was evil.”

    Do you classify Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and many others

  • Arturo Vasquez

    The Confederacy as an institution set up to protect chattle slavery under the guise of “states’ rights” is evil. And you haven’t addressed any of my reasons, so if the shoe fits…

  • nobody

    Arturo Vasquez, fill in the blanks

  • nobody

    Arturo Vasquez,

  • BPS

    To Joe H (your wrote)-“I believe they and their throngs of supporters, Protestant fundamentalists who hate culture, higher education and diplomacy will ruin the entire country.”

    I say, your hate of protestant funeamentalists and George Bush is making you insane and endangering your soul. Let it go, and pray for forgiveness. So this is where your support of Obama is coming from, your hate! Don’t your understand it profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul. But for Obama….?

    Joe H wrote-“we are ever going to defeat the culture of death, it is going to have to be outside of the GOP, which is become dangerous and unstable as its electoral prospects shrink due to changing demographics, racial, ethnic, religious and otherwise. It stands today in the same position the Southern slavocracy did on the eve of the Civil War”

    This shows a very poor understanding of the history of pre-Civil War politics, society, etc or a lack of imagination in making an analogy. The pro-abortion side and their democrat allies are more like the confederates. Just like the pro-aborts, the confederates decided after about 1820 or so, with J.C. Calhoun as their philosopher, that slavery was no longer some necessary evil to be tolerated but a ‘positive good’ to be celebrated and expanded. The protestant ministers in the south such as Revs James Henley Thornwell and Fred A Ross expounded from the pulpit about how beneficial slavery was. Like abortion to the democrats, slavery became the southern sacrament. Individuals who spoke out publicly against it were ostracized or worse, even killed. These are historical facts you can check yourself.

    If I contradict Catholic theology, I’m sure someone will let me know, but I believe evil require expiation. For the evil of slavery, well, I’ll paraphrase Lincoln:

    “The Almighty has His own purposes…If we shall suppose American Slavery…having continued thru His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war…shall we decern any departure from those divine attributes that believers in a living God ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3000 years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'”

    Expiation! The murder of the Jews in the holocaust (and the refusal of the U.S., Britian, France, etc to take them in) required the expiation which was WWII. I shudder to think what expiation will be required for the abortion holocaust.

    Miguel wrote -“I note that the individuals on the pro-North, pro-Lincoln side tend to histrionics, name-calling and ad hominem attacks.”
    What do you call Sid accusing me of emoting?! Pot, meet kettle.

    Robert wrote – “There were many problems leading up to the civil war.” The Civil war would not have happened had it not been for slavery. See my earlier post for the link for confederate state governments explained in State Documents why they secceeded.

    C.S. Lewis wrote (I think in one of his essays) that history is always coming to a point where (societies, nations, people)have to make a decision for good or evil. A nation founded on the proposition that all men are created equal cannot long tolerate slavery (or abortion). Injustice like that will stick in the craw of good men, troubling their consciences and sleep, until they do something about it.

  • Robert

    BPS, I am not disagreeing with you. I was just saying that many of the politicians of the north considered it minor compared to the other issues, while the south considered it a more important one. The south wanted to maintain it’s way of life, and slavery, while the north needed the south. The northern politicians used the issue of slavery to gain popular support for the war. If slavery wasn’t an issue, it probably would have been a lot more difficult to get the war started (if the south even started to secede in the first place.) If slavery was THE only issue involved, the civil war would have come later than it did (if it would have ever occurred.) We have abortion today, yet it seems that any possible civil war (if one ever occurs) seems unlikely.

    As someone pointed out earlier, at the moment the democratic party is the group analogous to the pro-slavery south in regards to issues and morality. I agree with Joe H that work should be done to bring the party back to the pro-life agenda (rather than the pro-death), but it won’t be achieved by voting for people like Obama. In fact, it would actually hurt the cause by doing so. Why should the party change if people are voting for it. As an independent, I will vote in a way that agrees with my conscience that is formulated with Catholic teaching. Many resort to their consciences, which is good only if it is formulated correctly. Since I live in a non-battleground state, my vote will be going to a third party. While McCain isn’t as bad as what Obama is, he is still terrible.

  • Adriana

    Zoe, you argue that slavery was a complex issue to be seen in the historical context. Cannot the same be said about abortion?

    Abortion is a complex issue based on the belief in many women that there is no other way.

    There is an historical context in the constant mistreatment of women with “unauthorized” pregnacies, what with honor killings in some places of the world, deprivation of a way to earn a living – as they were fired for “immorality”, denial of charitable assistance to their children because it would “reward inmorality” – very common in the nineteenth century where women’s charitable societies only directed their efforts to the children of sanctioned marriages, being thrown out into the street by outraged parents, or being sent to a reformatory for “loose women” to live a life of servitude.

    This is the context in which abortion took root.

    So, if the historical context does not excuse abortion, then it does not excuse slavery either. And if it being complex does not excuse aboriton does not excuse slavery either.

    As for tariffs and the economic deprivation that the South suffered from that, let me remind you that the North suffered under the same tariffs, but instead of bemoaning their lot, they hurried up to industrialize and produce what they were lacking. Nothing stopped the South from doing the same – considering that at the outset it was the richest, most populous part of the country.

    Nothing stopped the South, except the laziness that easy riches breed. Take a gander as to what Thomas Sowell has to say about the South and its culture, and it inability to show any economic initiative apart from growing cotton. (Sowell also says that the bad habits today’s blacks have, they have copied from Southern behavior)

  • Joe H

    First, Meg:

    “When you say you want the Democrats to have a permanent majority by mid-century, a chill goes down my spine. I didn’t pay much attention in History class but doesn’t that not mean the end of democracy?”

    I never said I wanted this, Meg. I was trying to give an objective assessment of the political situation. I don’t control the objective demographic trends in this country.

    I said that given this inevitable reality, the future lies within the Democratic Party indefinitely. Transforming it step by step into a pro-life party is more viable than trying to revive the stinking corpse of the GOP. It can happen, especially as the boomers begin to retire and lose their grip on power and the younger generation that doesn’t carry the ideological baggage of the 1960s comes to power.

    Finally, it does not mean the end of democracy – I mean, many people in this country have long believed that only having two major parties isn’t very democratic when most other countries have three or more. This country will still have many legal political parties. And it is no dictatorship or coup that will put the Democrats in a majority of a long time to come, but the GOP’s own completely failed strategy. They impaled themselves. Impalined maybe.

    BPS:

    I’m laughing out loud at your suggestion that my comparison “lacked imagination”. Your entire reading of it demonstrates it is you who lacks either the knowledge or imagination to appreciate it.

    The comparison was with respect to how changing demographics are undermining both political institutions. You even mentioned John C. Calhoun, who understood how the changing demos of the US in the 19th century meant the end of slavery if it were to be checked democratically, as the Kansas-Nebraska act established.

    I know you desperately want to make abortion, slavery and the Holocaust all look exactly the same. I have already agreed that they are similar, but if you try to make them IDENTICAL it will blind you to the political realities we face and cause you, like so many idealistic politicians in the past, to become bogged down in a sectarian quagmire.

    That means you need to face the fact that the party that CLAIMS to be pro-life, the GOP, is facing a demographic crisis similar to that which the South faced on the eve of the Civil War. In the 1850s it was clear (especially to Calhoun!) that the North’s population was growing much faster than the Souths, which would mean inevitable defeat in the House and the Electoral College. The Senate was their only hope, hence the bitter and desperate efforts to terrorize Kansas and make it a slave state.

    In the first decade of the 20th century, the GOP finds itself in a situation where, for the last few decades it has relied on building its base among White protestants and building a coalition between fiscal, national defense and religious conservatives. Surely you have heard the phrase “Southern Strategy” and the “Reagan Coalition”. This strategy will be decisively repudiated on Tuesday.

    Black people vote Dem to GOP practically 9:1. Hispanics, 3:1 with an exception for Bush one year. Asians, 7:3. Women, young people, the list goes on – all of these demographic groups vote for Dems in much larger numbers. And all of these groups are going to continue to grow at the expense of the WASPs. Rightly or wrongly they see the GOP as an essentially racist, classist, sexist party of warmongers. With the flight of the intellectuals and the arrival of Palin and Joe the Plumber, the party has become even more homogeneous and more likely to simply inbreed instead of bringing in fresh blood. They are completely consumed with identity politics, while the Democrats seem as if they are open to all identities.

    That’s the reality as I see it, a set of facts, not opinions or preferences, but facts from which one cannot turn away and which one should only ignore at their own peril.

  • meg

    Impalined – good one!

    I still say it’s 2 stinking corpses. Not for nothing, but you seem to lack objectivity when it comes to either party – maybe it’s just the vehemence of your posts – but not ONE good thing to say about Republicans?

    Because as a Catholic mother, my first job is getting my children to heaven. Democrat policies hinder my efforts, while Republican ones not so much, as I explained in my post #55. Abortion is not the only issue of concern.

    Help me out here. How does this all work for you, Joe?

  • Joe H

    Meg,

    One can be perfectly objective in their assessment and still have a preference. Just like Machiavelli, who dedicates 25 chapters of “The Prince” to an objective account of politics, and saves his “vehemence” for the very last chapter.

    If I were a Republican I would look at the same set of facts and acknowledge the same realities. I would be furious with the McCain campaign and aware of the fundamental need to expand the demographic base of the party. The GOP is going down in flames. My personal beliefs only determine whether or not I celebrate that fact, or mourn it.

    I’m not sure how Democratic policies hinder your personal efforts. Has anyone from the Democratic Party tried to prevent you from raising your children as you see fit? I understand that there are a lot of Democrats who are basically hostile to family values and life issues. But here is the thing; there are a lot of Christian and even pro-life blacks, Hispanics and Asians who will make up the future base of the DP. The white secular liberal contingent is going to continue to shrink as well. Combine that with the younger generations more flexible, less dogmatic views on legalized abortion (by which I mean, they are less inclined to dogmatically support it than the boomers, who see it as fundamental to “womens liberation”), and I think there are real possibilities. The Democratic Party HAS become more friendly to the pro-life cause. The realities of abortion not only here but in places like Russia, where so many women have been permanently damaged by repeated abortions, are starting to become more obvious. A culture of abortion will be seen as a failed experiment, and as a result our efforts to build a genuine culture of life in a peaceful and voluntary way will be far more well received.

    To give you an example of the shifting tides, even Bill Maher admitted he could understand why people who see images of a developing fetus could be pro-life; he went so far as to say that you don’t have to be religious to be pro-life, which means a lot coming from him. To put these remarks in context, he had a very dogmatic feminist on his program defending late term abortions. The audience wasn’t cheering her, the other panelists (including ultra liberal Tim Robbins) were dead silent, and Maher weighed in with his remarks.

    I tell you I see things like this all the time – the public, including growing numbers to the left of center, are becoming more uncomfortable with abortion, less willing to go all out in defending it, more willing to seek common ground and reach compromises with those of us who are pro-life. I think this battle can be won, culturally first, and then politically – and that’s the way it has to be.

    We need to change the status quo. We need to change the current reality, which is that the nominally pro-life party is a complete failure, lead by people who celebrate ignorance and incompetence and practically make them litmus tests for high office. The Democrats will be in power for some time to come, perhaps the next 8-16 years and by then I think the GOP won’t exist as we know it today. By then it will be too late.

  • meg

    You are prolific! And I am tired. But briefly, you know as well as I do that you are doing more than objectively expressing a preference. No problem, let’s move on.

    I appreciate your optimism concerning abortion and the Democrats. I hope to God you’re right (though I think I may be sporting a “don’t blame me – I didn’t vote for him” bumper sticker sometime in the future).

    Briefly, my efforts are certainly hindered by a rapidly declining popular culture in terms of Catholic moral teaching. This is the third time I’ve mentioned same-sex unions, etc etc. Maybe more tomorrow. Yawn.

    Happy All Saints Day everyone! I’m going to bed!

  • Joe H

    Meg,

    We simply don’t live in a Catholic country. We can live in Catholic communities, and I don’t think it makes a difference which party is in power with respect to our ability to do that.

    And I do have a preference, yes – we all do. I am only saying, it doesn’t cloud my ability to see reality. At least I hope it doesn’t.

  • R.C.

    Odd, that Joe should assert that the G.O.P. was the party, in favor of the destruction of the higher and finer bits of culture!

    I don’t see that at all. For I regard the Classical and Christian heritage of Western Civilization to be endangered, and not by the right, who go out of their way (Trivium homeschooling, private schooling) to get their kids to learn some Latin and to know about the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid and The Canterbury Tales.

    If some of them never get past do-re-mi solfege and Shakespeare’s comedies, that’s still better than the alternative which the left purveys as “culture.”

    For it seems to me the left is the conscious enemy of what is good and noble in civilization, intent on tearing down all such heritage as being valueless because it was authored by “Dead White Men.” They substitute instead screeds written by undisciplined 20th-century authors capable only of vomiting emotion on to the page, with a focus on Feminist Critical Theory, Gay Critical Theory, and so on.

    When forced overlong to breathe the rarified air of urban art shows and poetry readings and dinner parties for publishers, one loses patience with the conceit (in both senses) that that crowd ever produced anything of cultural value. It is crap; the more entrenched in revolutionary class warfare it is, the more predictably and egregiously crappy it is.

    A whole world of adjectives (“daring,” “progressive,” “provocative”) exist to impute cultrual importance to such tripe as our forefathers would have stuck in a chamberpot. (Fitting, considering how the materials used by some artists are, precisely, those which belong in chamberpots.)

    Against this backdrop, someone like Sarah Palin, who would react to it patiently but remain unimpressed by it, is found horribly gauche. Which I find delightful: She causes exactly the people who most need to get over themselves, to have a case of the vapors! This is a wonderful wicked pleasure.

    But I myself would see the literary community, the arts community, the academic world, the independent “artsy” film community, and their hangers-on in urban journalism, torn to pieces until they find again their innocence.

    For they grow weary of pornography, which is now too mainstream. Coprophilia palls, so they seek a new titillation; Snuff films, maybe, until they’re eventually “mainstreamed” like porn. (Given the opportunity afforded by the legal system, it’s odd artistically graphic depictions of abortion haven’t caught on.)

    Tear it apart. Let rebuilding start from innocence. Over decades, our culture could build from innocence toward excellence. But innocence should come first: Let us build on no baser foundation.

    I’m not sure how that could be done. But in the meantime if Hank Williams Jr. and Thomas Kinkade grow rich while the pretentious grow obscure, well, I can see some cosmic justice in that. If an unpretentious person should have high political office: Good!

    For the person who likes tractor-pulls and country music and formulaic pictures of fairy-cottages (or of Christ) does not lack for the real and wholesome and humble. They may, too, hold a nascent capacity to appreciate J.S.Bach or Rachmaninov, a capacity long destroyed in those who populate the “serious art” community. (Those folk have burned out their sense of taste on the caustic flavors of evil, and to their ears now “only the squalid seems strong.”)

    This is why intellectuals of the right sort — those who aren’t too much on their high horse — aren’t threatened by the G-rated “low” culture of the G.O.P., represented by reports of Palin family moose hunting in Alaska, or by Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans, and the other Americana musicians playing the Baseball-and-Apple-Pie-Circuit.

    Not everyone has developed the ears to listen to Bach: But of those who have not, better the innocence of one who can still listen to Lee Greenwood, who could hear Bach with fresh if na

  • Joe H

    RC,

    I don’t disagree that the postmodern left has long been assaulting the achievements of Western high culture. But they have never been a popular movement and they have never dominated a political party. They have largely been confined to university campuses and even there they don’t hold a monopoly; none of my professors were pomos and I’m thankful for it.

    What we are seeing now is a glorification of ignorance and provincialism as a matter of political strategy. American Exceptionalism has become American Exlcusionism. The extent to which one disdains Europe in general and France in particular is a test one’s patriotism. It is one thing to dislike their politics, but that isn’t really what motivates red-meat America; its the impression that “those people” think they’re better than us.

    All of the things you point to, at any rate – pornography and the like – is amplified a billions times over not by a small cadre of pomos on the college campuses, but by consumer capitalism. To deny it would be pointless and dishonest. Sex and violence sell, they make a lot of people very rich and provide a lot of people with jobs. They are, objectively, an engine of immediate economic growth and a generator of immense profits. Reality television, MTV, professional wrestling, and other disturbing trends which glorify sex and violence are all pervasive because the are profitable.

    It is impossible to speak of “excellence” when your party seeks to elevate unprepared, clearly uneducated and inarticulate demagogues to positions of high office in order to prevent its grasp on the electorate from slipping away. The GOP has given up on ideas and has gone all out on identity politics, emotions, and symbolism. They have, to use a phrase appearing everywhere in the media these days, “doubled down” on the Southern Strategy and the hokey old Reaganisms of yesterday. Palin is nothing new, just lipstick on a terminally ill pig.

  • BPS

    RK wrote-
    “The author makes the point, and I think it’s a good one, that slavery was not the only, or even the primary, cause of the war between the states. On the border states in the south especially, slavery was on it’s way out.” The Civil war would not have happened had slavery not existed. I point you, again, to what the confederates themselves said at the time they left the union about why they left http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html. RK, how can you possibly believe such non-sense. And slavery on the way out in the border states. What evidence can you cite? Read Encyclopedia of Southern Culture on upper south economy-antebellum. The biggest moneymaker in these states was slave sales to the lower south. That’s why they didn’t need an international slave trade.
    RK wrote-
    “there is lots of evidence that the issue of slavery was a red herring that New England ministers exploited to create moral outrage.” Cite your evidence? Show us just a little evidence that they weren’t sincere about wanting to end slavery.
    RK wrote-
    “There had to be other issues that led Lincoln, who was ambivalent about slavery, to attack the south.” Amazing! So DiLorenzo and the other neo-confeds have you believing the rebels didn’t fire on Ft. Sumter without provocation. Read Donald David for a complete account.

    Adriana-
    I agree with you except for one thing. While Lincoln may have been convinced of black inferiority before being elected president and before the war, he changed. I think he felt that way because the only blacks he ever encountered were slaves or very poor free blacks. Hadley Arkes, in his book “Natural Rights & the Right to Choose”–a book I highly recommend–tells of something that happened early in Lincoln’s presidency. The US patent office had denied a patent to a Boston resident and the State dept denied a passport to a student who wanted to study abroad. You see, because they were black, they were not citizens of the US according to the Supreme Court (Dred Scott–like Roe v Wade–poorly reasoned and decided). But Lincoln held that case was only binding on the participants, quashed the decisions of the goverment agencies and had them issue the patent and passport. By the end of the war, in his last speech, he was advocating voting rights for blacks who were Union soldiers and any who could read and write. He signed the 13th amendment ending slavery and signed the Freedman’s Act, which established the Freedman’s Bureau, to help former slaves find jobs, basic necessities, and education.

    Joe H-
    Sorry I missed in your post that you were comparing the demographics of the slaves states to the current Republican party support. I thought you were comparing their reasoning regarding slavery and abortion, respectively, and responded accordingly. The current republican problem in that regard is, in my opinion and experience, due to a tin-ear for small things which turnoff potential supporters. For instance, Ronald Reagan lost whatever goodwill he might have had from a large number of black citizens by giving a speech at Philadelphia, Miss. (site of the murder of 3 civil rights workers by KKK) saying he supported states rights. This was at the Neshoba County Fair, a notorious political and social event which blacks, whites, & indians attend, and was the kind of remark you’d expect someone to say there. But for many black americans, the phrase “states rights” are code words for Jim Crow laws, etc and was used extensively by segregationist polititians in the ’50s and ’60s. That tarred Reagan as a racist for most blacks. The same could be said for Bush going to speak at Bob Jones Univ., a fundy college which had rules against interracial dating. A lot of black people have problems with the idea of affirmative action, but support it(reluctantly) and feel defensive about it because of the way people who oppose it talk about it. Some repubs who oppose it seem to think there was no such thing before blacks started getting government help, forgetting that as soon imigrants started forming political alliances the “No Irish Need Apply” signs came down, and the Irish starting getting city jobs, contracts, etc. and the group that was always excluded from the alliances (until recently) were blacks.

  • BPS

    Blacks and Hispanics have more in common philosophically with conservative repubs. Repubs just don’t know how to relate to them. Bush thought he could attract Hispanics by giving amenesty to illegals. The firestorm within his own party not only killed the idea, but turned off many Hispanics who might be sympathetic to the repub message. BTW, I thought amnesty was the wrong way to go, but what I most object to was the vehemence of the opposition.

    And Joe H, I disagree (if I understand you correctly) about the left not controling the democrat party. The Daily Kos faction owns this party and Obama, bought and paid for. They will set the adgenda.

  • Craig

    While I’m flattered

    Flattery is a destination. Congratulations.

    I admit it – I’m sharp with people, and I say things that aren’t civil…At least I can be honest about it when I do it.

    Admiring one’s own willingness to admit their incivility and vulgarity, well, it’s the second best thing to remorse, I always say.

    The truth is there for those who want to hear it. Empowering a leader who believes in the rights to legally operate a holocaust is most definitely an obstacle to voting for that leader as Catholics. The Pope, the Deposit of faith and over one hundred previously silent Bishops have stood in the public square and said so – and then there’s Joe H, Chris Korzen, Todd and Doug Kmeic.

    Good luck figuring the mystery out kiddies!

  • RK

    RK wrote-
    “The author makes the point, and I think it’s a good one, that slavery was not the only, or even the primary, cause of the war between the states. On the border states in the south especially, slavery was on it’s way out.” The Civil war would not have happened had slavery not existed. I point you, again, to what the confederates themselves said at the time they left the union about why they left http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html. RK, how can you possibly believe such non-sense. And slavery on the way out in the border states. What evidence can you cite? Read Encyclopedia of Southern Culture on upper south economy-antebellum. The biggest moneymaker in these states was slave sales to the lower south. That’s why they didn’t need an international slave trade.
    RK wrote-
    “there is lots of evidence that the issue of slavery was a red herring that New England ministers exploited to create moral outrage.” Cite your evidence? Show us just a little evidence that they weren’t sincere about wanting to end slavery.
    RK wrote-
    “There had to be other issues that led Lincoln, who was ambivalent about slavery, to attack the south.” Amazing! So DiLorenzo and the other neo-confeds have you believing the rebels didn’t fire on Ft. Sumter without provocation. Read Donald David for a complete account.

    Regarding the causes of the war, Lincoln himself wrote in a letter to Horace Greeley in 1862, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save ti by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What i do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.”

    Slavery was steadily declining in border states like Maryland, Delaware, and even Virginia. Many countries around the world had emancipated their slaves peacefully in the 19th century and it is reasonable to assume a similar course might have occurred here.

    I didn’t intend to question the sincerity of the abolitionists. William Lloyd Garrison was most definitely sincere. What I meant was that it became an issue that appealed emotionally to some, Lincoln and others were happy to use it as a kind of momentum swing to gain some popular support.

    Even Donald David didn’t consider Lincoln an abolitionist. As Jeffery Hummel says in Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men antebellum slavery was actually supported by federal laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act, which was supported by Lincoln. Abolishing that law would have accelerated the disappearance of slavery by greatly reducing its profitability.

  • Joe H

    Craig,

    Your own vulgarity and incivility could probably use an honest examination. At least I have arguments in addition. You have nothing.

    BPS,

    The GOP has made all of these blunders as part of their electoral strategy. They sold their collective souls to the Southern Strategy and the politics of resentment four decades ago, and they don’t know anything else at this point. The only thing new is the endless drumbeat of fear after 9/11.

    I don’t know that you can say blacks and Hispanics have more in common with conservative Republicans. On some issues yes, on others, like the economy and healthcare, no. I don’t think they share this rabid fear of government in general that seems endemic to the “anglo-libertarian” mindset these days. I don’t think Palin’s recycled Reaganisms appeal to them at all – government has been doing nothing but “getting out of the way” economically for 30 years and people are far worse off now. Meanwhile it has done nothing but get right in the way on civil liberties and few are more sensitive to the consequences of a growing police state than minorities.

    People are beginning to believe, demand and expect that their government competently address the most pressing economic issues of the day. History shows that not every last attempt to do so is categorically determined to fail. Only propaganda makes that claim.

    RK,

    I still want to know what makes you think slavery would have been peacefully abolished here, when it was precisely that very prospect that motivated the South to go to war. The South was fighting desperately for the expansion of slavery and the boarder war in Kansas was just a prelude to the Civil War. The violence with which Southerners were prepared to secure the expansion of slavery into the territories made war all but inevitable. There were also the plans to annex Cuba for slavery. This system was not going to go quietly into the night.

  • Craig

    Joe,

    Yeah, nothing but lil ole me, the Pope’s, the Deposit of Faith, and a hundred Bishops.

    Suffice it to say it pales to the logic of promoting a leader who promotes a holocaust is immaterial to the free ham and butter he’ll give out. Hitler and slavery was empowered with such logic.

  • Dark Horse

    correct if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the fugitive slave law of 1850 passed by a congress that was majority Southerners. This law was a complete violation of “states rights” of the North and forced Northerners to be in complicity with slavery. From my understanding, If a northerner knowingly concealed the wherabouts of a runaway slave, he was guilty of a felony.

    Funny how the South doesn’t care about states rights so much, when they can use federalism to their own advantage. the fugitive slave laws of 1850 also created a group of U.S. Comissioners that were payed with federal tax money to pursue slaves across state lines and into local jurisdictions. Where is the subsidiarity and states rights in this case? What about the freedom of conscience, if a citizen didn’t want their tax dollars to pay for slavehunters

  • Sid

    1. The goal of that White Nationalist Lincoln was not about “saving the union”; it was about instituting the Hamilton-Clay Whig program — and only for White people. That program, as old as the Whig Exclusion Bill of 1678:
    (a) absolute centralization in a central goverment, with states as mere franchises of that government (Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the 50 states)
    (b) A central bank issuing fiat money (The Bank of England, the BUS, the National Banking act of 1861, the Federal Reserve)
    (c) corporate welfare: Clay’s “American System”, which includes high tariffs
    (d) the supremacy of the executive branch, with the legislative and judicial only rubber stamps (The POTUS and the British Prime Minister elected dictators)
    (e) trashing the constitution (Hamilton’s implied powers, with the Feds free to do anything)
    (f) war of imperial expansion, starting with Dixie
    (g) opposition to the Catholic Church

    The Whigs achieved this program in Britain in 1688; in Gringoland beginning in 1861 and ending in triumph in “The Revolution 1913”.

    Lincoln said most of this from the very day he entered politics. Google his “Eulogy for Henry Clay”,

    2. Krannawitter’s book is just a windy version of his attempt to refute DiLorenzo 4 years ago. In _Lincoln Unmasked_, Dilorenzo wipes the floor with Krannawitter. Don’t take it from me folks; read this book, and before it read _The Real Lincoln_.

    3. Joe H. resorts to the logical fallacy of name calling by labeling DiLorenzo an “economic determinist”. This refutes NONE of DiLorenzo’s arguments.

    4. It was about tariffs. It looks like I’ll have to step in and explain what the Morrill Tariff was going to do to Dixie.

    For the record: not only am I opposed to slavery, but I’m opposed to any recognition of such a risible category as “race” for any advantage or disadvantage whatsoever.

  • Sid

    Now about tariffs. What does a tariff do to an economy? It is a hidden tax that steals wealth, and leads to another hidden tax: inflation.

    Lets suppose that shoes in Gringoland cost $50 a pair. An English manufacturer decides that he will undercut with shoes costing $40. The Gringo shoe manufacturers go bawling to Washington, and their politico hireling slap on a tariff, making the English shoes cost $100. Now, my friends, will the Gringo manufacturers keep their shoes at $50? Hell no! They, no longer having competition, raise their shoes to $90.

    Now imagine a tariff that results in the doubling of prices of everything

  • Joe H

    BPS is the one who made that criticism of DiLorenzo.

    He accused me of being an economic determinist as well.

  • Sid

    Oops! Sorry, Joe. I stand corrected.

    Now to the history:

    Dixie

  • Joe H

    Do you really believe that

    “(that it [Dixie] used slave labor is beside the point).”

    Isn’t that precisely the point? Why should states based on slavery, on a systematic denial of the inalienable rights of four million people, be entitled to favorable economic policies?

    The economic ruin of “Dixie” was a necessary requisite to the freeing of the slaves. So was the political containment of the South through the nullification of the Missouri Compromise through the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

    You say,

    “Had Lincoln really wanted to end slavery in Dixie, there was a ready and easy way to do so: not to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Slaves would have then been able to flee not to Canada, but just across the Mason-Dixon Line and the Ohio River. To prevent slaves from doing this would have been too burdensome for Dixie, and the slaves would have been set free.”

    This is quite a presumption, though – how would the slaves have been set free? All four million were going to escape? I don’t think so. The very existence of the Fugitive Slave Law demonstrated that the South, which used its political resources to get it passed, had absolutely no intention of ever peacefully rolling back slavery.

    So I ask, where is the evidence that there was any significant faction of the “Slave Power” that was for a gradual weaning off of slavery? Why were their sights set on the territories and on Cuba? They wanted to expand their monstrous system without any checks or limitations. The invasion of Kansas proved this. By the 1850s, the slavocracy, as Senator Henry Wilson then observed, had come to view slavery not as an evil with which they were reluctantly burdened as the founders supposedly had, but as a positive good, a principle of civilization. It was a worldview and a way of life which they wanted to expand in order to preserve, at the expense of free soil and free labor.

    Frankly I am entirely uninterested in Lincoln’s personal motives. Who cares? The case against the South, or for the righteousness of the Union cause, does not, and never has rested upon the personal merits of Abe Lincoln. While it would have been nice to think that the leaders of the Union were motivated by the most noble sentiments in the abolitionist tradition, it isn’t really necessary.

  • Joe H

    This is another example of how slavery and abortion are different politically…

    The opening up of the slave question to a democratic check by the KN Act was, though initially opposed by Northerners and supported by Southerners, in the long run a good thing for abolition. It forced the question to a head, and the demographic make up of the country, the trends and tendencies, all favored the North. The South expected that they would be able to send pro-slavery squatters into the territories and make them slave states; the abolitionists responded by sending in settlers of their own. The North had more people to spare than the South. The result was inevitable.

    If abortion were sent back to the states, and subject to the same democratic check, my belief is that it would become permanently and irrevocably entrenched in the most populated states in the country, which in the final analysis is no different than RvW becoming permanently entrenched. This time the demographic trends are against the nominally pro-life party. Because it has so thoroughly disgraced itself, it lacks credibility even on issues where it is right.

    I will say this – there is a greater, much much greater possibility of turning the Democratic Party pro-life than there ever was of turning the South anti-slavery. It’s the difference between a deeply rooted socio-economic system on the one hand, and the ideological baggage of an aging and discredited “sexual revolution” on the other.

  • nobody

    Do you really believe that

  • Joe H

    Sorry to keep posting in succession, but I took the time to do a little research on the DiLorenzo argument Sid has been advancing, in short, that it was “all about tarriffs”.

    I would ask him to explain the following:

    1) Why the South did not use its considerable political power, which it had used to pass and repeal the Missouri Compromise, annex Texas, pass the Fugitive Slave Act, etc. to block the Morrill Tariff?

    2) Why did Southern legislators vote affirmatively on the passage of other tariffs?

    3) How is it that the Morrill Tariff can be blamed for the war when it was passed after succession became immanent? Doesn’t the fact that the Morrill Tariff apparently only caused a few more states to secede mean that the lines of the war were simply drawn differently?

    I’ve been reading through a contemporary scholarly account of the causes of the Civil War, where this same argument is addressed and refuted. The author, J.E. Cairnes, writes:

    “We are asked by this theory to believe that the South had recourse to Civil War, has incurred the risk of political annihilation, to accomplish an object for the effectual attainment of which its ordinary constitutional opportunities provided ample means.”

    Comments?

  • Joe H

    The Democratic Party is not “based on abortion”. It doesn’t need abortion to survive as a party, much less route the Republicans politically for the rest of the 21st century.

    What the Democratic Party is based upon are minorities, women, and young people. Many of those minorities are Catholics or black Christians who are personally if not politically pro-life. Many young people do not have the ideological baggage of the 1960s. And few women are going to see the GOP as an acceptable alternative to the Democrats if the abortion issue is nullified and especially if the Dems for Life legislation gets passed.

    In short, the demographic prospects for a pro-life faction within the Democratic Party are good. They are better than the prospects for the continued existence of the GOP. If we want abortion to be outlawed in this country, we need to change the party that is clearly going to be in power for some time to come, a party that, except on this issue, deserves to be in power because it represents far more of the nation, and we do live in a democracy still after all.

    In 1860 the up and coming Republican Party represented the rising tide of the Industrial Revolution, with which the slavocracy was entirely incompatible. Every major economic and demographic trend were the waves upon which it rode. The Southern Democrats were the party of slavery, about to be relegated to permanent minority status after a half-century of political domination.

    Who stands in similar positions today? The pro-choice party is riding the economic and demographic waves into the future, while the pro-life party is on the eve of the same crisis that threatened the Southern Democrats with permanent irrelevance. This is the political reality. This is why the comparison between slavery and abortion in the political sense is not viable. This is why our approach and our strategy must be different, why the whole political approach must be fundamentally realigned.

  • nobody

    Joe H.

  • nobody
  • Joe H

    What disgrace? Taking political reality into account?

    Even the majority of pro-lifers know now that they can’t even get a referendum on abortion within striking distance of passing unless they include exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother in the language of their proposals.

    I am not proposing “nothing” either, as if that were the only alternative to futility. I am proposing that pro-life forces infest the Democratic Party and constitute themselves as a serious faction. Who is going to stop us? The old guard of radical feminists? They’ll put up a fight but it will be easier to win that fight than it will be to convince the majority of voters either on the state level or the national level that the GOP represents their best interests.

    If you can’t pursue a moral political agenda rationally, you may as well not pursue it at all. If my own political experience has taught me anything, it is that isolated sectarianism never accomplishes anything but granting its followers a sense of righteousness. Well, I’m more interested in riding the wave in the best way I can rather than being swept away by it for the sake of my own pride. I think we can do this.

  • BPS

    Their lips (or pens) are moving. Sid, I’m hoping you’re getting this from DiLorenzo’s books and not making this up yourself.

    The Morill tariff was passed by the House in May 1860 (six mos before Lincoln) was elected. It was passed by the Senate in Feb. 1861, before Lincoln was inaugurated. It was signed into law by President Buchanan March 2, 1861. So the whole argument is a lie.

    I’ve got to go make gumbo (shrimp, andouille, and okra). I’ll respond to the rest of this stuff later…

  • RK

    RK,

    I still want to know what makes you think slavery would have been peacefully abolished here, when it was precisely that very prospect that motivated the South to go to war. The South was fighting desperately for the expansion of slavery and the boarder war in Kansas was just a prelude to the Civil War. The violence with which Southerners were prepared to secure the expansion of slavery into the territories made war all but inevitable. There were also the plans to annex Cuba for slavery. This system was not going to go quietly into the night.

    Slavery was becoming an expensive proposition and it was absolutely on the wane in the border states. Jefferson Davis, when he was a Mississippi senator, wanted Cuba in order to control the Gulf of Mexico. It his true that his senate counterpart from Mississippi, Albert Gallatin Brown, talked about gaining Cuba and Mexico in order to spread slavery, but that really doesn’t make the case. Davis and Lee, the southern leaders, were much more circumspect. Lee has written powerfully and beautifully on the philosophical foundation of the southern position. If you read and believe people like Senator Brown, the give Lee the benefit of the doubt as well.

    To simply reduce the south’s motives to wanting to preserve slavery trivializes the legitimate rights and concerns of southerners. Secession was a perfectly acceptable right for the south to pursue. You dismiss state’s rights cavalierly, when this is the essence of our Republic and the notion of the consent of the governed. The tariff issue which was raised was a major factor for the south.

    Also, at some point you mentioned that Lincoln’s attitude on slavery is irrelevant. Are you kidding me? The entire northern rationale was built around Lincoln’s decision to go to war. Lincoln’s motives are absolutely critical to understanding this war.

    The war did end slavery once and for all and that was certainly a good thing. But at an enormous price in life, treasure and fundamental freedoms. Slavery was ending in the entire western world. It would have ended here too.

  • R.C.

    Joe:

    “All of the things you point to, at any rate – pornography and the like – is amplified a billions times over not by a small cadre of pomos on the college campuses, but by consumer capitalism.

    You’re correct. But then, the only reason why porn, etc., are available freely for sale is because limitations on their sale were prohibited by left-leaning judges who regard smut as equivalent to political speech in freedom of expression.

    Capitalism is the reason food and clothes and shelter are obtainable; one can’t say, “capitalism produces porn, therefore ditch capitalism” because it’s a bathwater/baby relationship. One can say “left-leaning judiciaries empower pornographers against community standards, therefore ditch left-leaning judiciaries,” because the latter haven’t produced anything beneficial in the last forty years of American life sufficient to counteract their entirely negative effect.

    It is impossible to speak of “excellence” when your party seeks to elevate unprepared, clearly uneducated and inarticulate demagogues to positions of high office

    You can’t cite an example of that, so why say it? Or, is Palin your example? …in which case Obama is the obvious counterexample, and counts for a stronger argument because he is less prepared, is far closer to the definition of “demagogue,” and is the Presidential candidate on his ticket rather than the Vice-Presidential. So again, why make the comparison?

    In the event of a McCain/Palin administration, I’d be concerned that McCain might kick off unexpectedly and that Palin might have to handle things on her own before she was entirely up-to-speed. But in the event of an Obama/Biden administration, I’m a bit more concerned that Biden might kick off unexpectedly and that Obama might have to handle things on his own before he was entirely up-to-speed.

    Oh, wait….

    The GOP has given up on ideas and has gone all out on identity politics, emotions, and symbolism.

    I just don’t see how you can be so blind to the fact that the Democratic party is easily five times guiltier of this in the current election cycle than the G.O.P. McCain picks a woman who’s very capable by state politics standards tho’ unseasoned by national standards, and who’s by-the-way an energy policy expert. The Democrats shun a capable (albeit less likable) woman for a man who’s neither capable on a policy level, on any topic, nor an excellent in any other way but delivering speeches, because he’s black.

    I’ll grant that it’s smart electoral politics, though. There’ll be three times more people voting for Obama, who wouldn’t have voted for the same policies if he were a white man, than there’ll be voting against him, who would have voted for a candidate with those policies, who was white. So, symbolic tho’ it may be, it certainly works.

    hokey old Reaganisms of yesterday.

    Can you give me an example? I’m not sure whether you’re thinking of some moral obligation I hold dear, or something Reagan never said to begin with, or some item he actually said which I actually wouldn’t agree with, if any such item exists.

    Palin is nothing new

    Certainly not. “There is nothing new under the sun.” The question is always whether society will abandon old wisdom for old foolishness. All new foolishness turns out to be old foolishness presented to a forgetful crowd — the history of heresies is enlightening on this topic. (And there’s no new wisdom at all, ever.)

    So I want nothing new, but rather only the right old things.

    In that sense I would sooner trust my country to Palin for four years, now, than Obama. Easily, and far-and-away. In a sense, I think Obama’s more ignorant than she: Because such a large part of the pertinent things he “knows” aren’t so.

    But I needn’t compare Obama now to Palin now, because McCain’s the candidate. (And I can look forward to Jindal/Palin, in 2012, if Obama wins.)

  • meg

    I’m not sure how Democratic policies hinder your personal efforts. Has anyone from the Democratic Party tried to prevent you from raising your children as you see fit?

    This is a silly question. No, no Democrat has come to my door and forcibly prevented my from raising my children as I see fit. But I’ll try to help you understand. I know you’re pro-life so bear with me through the first part.

    I had a conversation with my 12 year old son this afternoon. He asked me what abortion was; I asked him what he thought it was (parental time-buying tactic); he replied that he heard it was lethally injecting babies. At that point I chose to clarify abortion for him, so as gently as I could I told him that the babies were killed in the womb. His eyes filled with tears and his face contorted with rage and grief and he practically yelled, “What?! What idiot came up with that?!” I felt like the first piece of his beautiful innocence was stolen, it really broke my heart. We had a long talk and I withheld much. He had heard enough.

    Toward the end of this talk, he said he had something else he wanted to discuss, and proceeded to tell me that one of his friends had confided to him that he had been watching Japanese soft-core cartoon porn on the web (not my son’s words, but that is what he described). I thought, “On-line porn freely accessable to everyone, anytime – what idiot came up with that?!”.

    And when my son hears for the first time that it is legal for two men to marry; or illegal for our parish priest to criticize this practice from the pulpit due to hate speech laws (as it already is in Canada), I hope his reaction will be just as strong – “What idiot came up with that!?”

    Joe, it’s debatable whether or not Democrats started these things, but not whether they support them and ease their way through our legal system, and consequently into the prevailing culture. There are those in this country who want to deconstruct the natural order until it’s dust under our feet, and the Democrat party is filled with their unwitting co-conspirators.

    I don’t expect you to share my concerns, but you have a blind spot in this area. Democrat policies certainly do hinder my efforts to get my kids to heaven on a daily basis.

  • Sid

    Reply to Joe H.

  • Sid Cundiff

    “The Morrill tariff was passed by the House in May 1860 (six mos before Lincoln) was elected. [indeed. Dixie saw it coming] It was passed by the Senate in Feb. 1861, before Lincoln was inaugurated. [and after 7 Southern states had seceded, knowing that with L’s election the tariff was certain] It was signed into law by President Buchanan March 2, 1861. So the whole argument is a lie.”

    BPS refutes himself. Dixie saw it coming. I refer the honorable gentleman to my reply to Joe H.

    “I’m hoping you’re getting this from DiLorenzo’s books and not making this up yourself.” Let readers read DiLorenzo and then decide who is writing fact and who is writing fiction.

  • BPS

    RK wrote-
    “egarding the causes of the war, Lincoln himself wrote in a letter to Horace Greeley in 1862, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save ti by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What i do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.”

    Slavery was steadily declining in border states like Maryland, Delaware, and even Virginia. Many countries around the world had emancipated their slaves peacefully in the 19th century and it is reasonable to assume a similar course might have occurred here.

    I didn’t intend to question the sincerity of the abolitionists. William Lloyd Garrison was most definitely sincere. What I meant was that it became an issue that appealed emotionally to some, Lincoln and others were happy to use it as a kind of momentum swing to gain some popular support.

    Even Donald David didn’t consider Lincoln an abolitionist. As Jeffery Hummel says in Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men antebellum slavery was actually supported by federal laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act, which was supported by Lincoln. Abolishing that law would have accelerated the disappearance of slavery by greatly reducing its profitability.

    Point-by-point
    (1)All the neo-confederates who quote the Greeley letter from Lincoln, MIS-QUOTE it. I ask anyone reading this to google the whole letter. Actually, I knew DiLorenzo was dishonest, when he misquoted this letter. Also, a month before Lincoln wrote this letter, he already announced to his cabinet his intention to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. And I pre-emptively attack the neo-confed argument that the proclamation freed no one. It freed any slave who made it to the union lines.
    (2) On slavery declining, in the border states, it was not. Not only were they doing a thriving business selling slaves to cotton states, they were actively using them in the railroad building and operations and other industries. I cite “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” as my source.
    (3) The south was like no other place where slavery existed. To quote confed vice-president Alexander Stephens, “Our whole [order] rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery–subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition”. Even white southerners who didn’t own slaves had their whole social position vested in keeping blacks as slaves, so no matter how degraded they were, they could say “at least I’m not a slave”
    (4) Lincoln was a gradualist. He saw, initially, that his only function under the law, was to restrict the expansion of slavery. If it could not expand into new territory, he hoped public opinion would eventually turn against it.
    (5) As for the Fugitive Slave Act, please read the US constitution, Article IV Section 2, sub 3. If you swear in as President of the US, you HAVE to enforce this (before 13th amendment).

    Joe H and Meg-
    Meg you hit on it a bit. What Joe H doesn’t understand is that the majority of the folks the dems are attracting and motivating are sex obsessed, and anything which interferes with their ability to have sex without negative consequesces with whomever or whatever they want will be opposed, no matter what kind of sympathetic noises they make about the pro-life view. That’s why the dems will pass FOCA and the press will portray it as a “great civil rights victory”. When it passes, I’ll come back here and say I told you so. Do you remember how homosexuality went from being viewed as deviant to being viewed sympathically? A few movies with positive homosexual characters, homosexuals appearing on Donohue (remember him) and the public mind begins to view them as just like us. You know what’s next? Removal of age of consent laws. Think I’m crazy? The process has already started. Critics are praising a recent documentary, portraying very sympathically, Roman Polanski for his statutory rape of a 13 year old girl.
    .

  • BPS

    Will no one comment on what the confederate politicans themselves said were their reasons for secceding? The link is in my previous posts http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html . All the posturing by Lee and others after they lost the war is meaningless.

    All these documents show that their reasons were due to fear of losing their slaves and black equality.

    Lincoln quote-
    “Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that “all mean are created equal”. We now practically read it “all mean are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, “all mean are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty–to Russia, for instance, where despostism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

    Lincoln while president, visited St. Augustine Catholic Church, founded in 1856 as the black Catholic parish in DC. A plaque in the back of the church commemorates the visit.

    Also, Lincoln called Fredrick Douglass, “the most meritorius living American”, and invited him to his 2nd inaugural ball at the White House.

    I write the above to refute the implication in Sid’s 2nd post that Lincoln hated Catholics and was a white supremacist.

  • meg

    Thanks for mentioning lowering the age of consent, I should have; it’s coming soon. When Nancy Pelosi can march in a gay “pride” parade along with members of NAMBLA, you know something is very wrong with the world.

    I did remember to mention on another thread, and will repeat here, that gay propaganda is already being spoon-fed to kindergarteners in parts of Massachusetts in the form of modern fairy tales, with no notification or opt-out for parents. Gay rights extremists are working feverishly around the clock and behind the scenes to advance a very frightening agenda while the rest of us watch “American Idol”.

    There is, rightly so, a lot of talk about abortion during a presidential election. People like Joe see it as the only moral issue worth considering, then pivot to the war or the economy (Joe pivoted away from my concerns 3 times right on this thread!). What I’m trying to get across, and maybe not very eloquently, is that abortion cannot be separated from other aspects of human sexuality (promiscuity, homosexuality, contraception, etc.); they are all interconnected, and one reinforces the other. We have to tackle them all, and from a Catholic standpoint. Then the problem will begin to be solved.

    The most frightening aspect of all of this is the hate speech laws that are coming; priests will no longer be allowed to speak out against homosexual practices, etc. under threat of arrest. It’s apparently already happening in Cananda.

    I’ll stop here – I could go on!

  • Joe H

    If you’re still reading this thread, here is my reply.

    “Joe makes no reply to my argument about what tariffs do, and did.”

    True, I suppose I took your point the wrong way. Slavery is irrelevant with respect to what tariffs do.

    “No. Slavery could have ended peacefully, as it did everywhere else.”

    Well, usually when you make assertions like that, it is useful to give at least one or two reasons why you think it so. Just because something happens “everywhere else” (and it didn’t happen peacefully “everywhere else” – see Haiti), doesn’t mean anything. Every place has different conditions. So this is an ahistorical argument.

    “Plus: so you

  • Joe H

    “Why the South did not use its considerable political power, which it had used to pass and repeal the Missouri Compromise, [no, it was a compromise]”

    I don’t understand your bracketed comment. It was a compromise that the South fought hard to get, and then later when it no longer served its interests, to repeal. But since no one in the South cared about slavery, and no one in the North, why was there a need for compromise? Why not give up slavery in in exchange for an abolition of tariffs? If slavery was so insignificant, and tariffs meant EVERYTHING and were worth dying by the thousands to protect, it could have easily been done.

    Why was there even compromise in the Constitution? For sport? How does the “tariffs explain everything, slavery explains nothing” thesis explain the history of political compromise over slavery since the founding of the country?

    “annex Texas[no, favored by most of the North as well]”

    And I never said otherwise…

    “pass the Fugitive Slave Act, etc. to block the Morrill Tariff?

  • JT

    This is the first time I’ve visited this site, and the thread here is pretty interesting—I’ve learned a lot. Perhaps everyone here knows each other already, but I have a question for Joe H.

    If you don’t mind me asking, Joe, could you tell me who you voted for in the 2000 and 2004 presidential races? From the conversation here, it seems like you’re more aligned with the Democratic Party, but I’d like to know who you voted for if you’d be willing to share that information.

    Thanks so much.

    JT

  • Joe H

    JT,

    To be clear I see the Democrats as a lesser evil. I’m not in love with them, but compared to the Republicans I feel I have little choice but to support them.

    If you want to know my reasons for this, see the latest articles on the progress of justice and the culture first strategy. I AM pro-life but I do not believe the GOP is a pro-life party, and that it’s actual position on abortion is not morally superior to that of what most Democrats say about it.

    As for who I voted for, well, in 2000 it was Nader and in 2004… a different third party, lets say. I was into some strange politics then.

  • JT

    Joe,

    I obviously don’t know who you are and you seem like a person of good will–I hope so. I’m married, have 7 children and have been involved in the pro-life movement for the past 25 years, walking on sidewalks in front of abortion clinics, protesting and praying in front of the homes of abortion doctors, and serving on the boards of pregnancy crisis help centers. I feel we’re in a war and if I can save even one child’s life with my vote, I’ll always cast it for the most pro-life candidate in the race. My Catholic faith always comes before party, as I’m a soldier for Christ before I’m a Democrat or Republican. I believe the Catholic Church was established by Christ upon the rock of Peter and that the Church speaks for Christ through the Pope and it’s bishops on matters of faith and morals. This is what the Church teaches and this is what I believe.

    That being said, there is an absolute chasm today between the Democratic and Republican parties on the issues relating to family and life. The two party platforms are so completely at odds with each other over these critical issues, and this really breaks my heart to see, as the Democrats have completely transformed themselves over the last 40 years. The party today is run by pro-death radicals who refuse to step back from their positions. The “pro-choice” position is a religion for them, and you can not survive as a candidate in the party if you are pro-life. You say the Democrats are the lesser of evils and I can only wonder in amazement at your thought process. In fact, if I may be so bold, I would guess that you’re not even a Catholic at all and that you’ve simply gotten onto this web site to stir the pot, as I have never seen a pro-life Catholic vote for someone like Ralph Nader. Real pro-life people take this issue very seriously and would never throw their vote away on someone like that, who is also very pro-choice. Perhaps you are a Catholic, but just a pro-choice one like Joe Biden. I think you need to be honest here about who you really are.

    You say you are pro-life, so what are you doing to help the cause of the pro-life movement? Are you praying for an end to abortion, are you walking outside abortion clinics, are you financially helping the many pro-life organizations there are? What are you doing to make sure good pro-life political candidates are elected to office so that we can change legislation and laws?

    Frankly, I don’t think there’s much I can say to change your mind here, because you seem very entrenched in your ideas. I don’t want to be harsh, but a faithful Catholic simply can not vote for someone like Obama, and the Church and her bishops have made this pretty clear. You see it otherwise, so that’s your choice to make. It’s wrong, but it’s your choice. There is truth in the world and it has to be defended at all costs.

    Mr. Obama has promised to sign the FOCA bill, so we’ll see if he’s good to his word. If he does so, this will cause the significant loss of many more innocent children, through new federal funding programs for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, parental non-notification bills, etc. It will be horrendous. The Republicans would not have allowed this to happen. This is no defense of the many other things that might be wrong with the Republican party, and there are many. But our priority as Catholics is to fight against those things that are “intrinsically” evil, so this is where our fight is today.

    All the best to you, Joe, but I think you’re wasting so much of your time and talent, which you do have.

  • Joe H

    In 2000 I was an agnostic, so I didn’t vote for Nader as a Catholic.

    I think because you have been so involved in the movement for 25 years you don’t see the shifts in the electorate that undermine abortion extremism as a political force in the Democratic Party. Because I see your frustration as the result of years of futile political struggle – and I saw it a lot on the left as well with respect to many other issues – I’m not going to take offense to all of your suggestions that I’m not a real Catholic or that I’m some sort of Biden Catholic.

    The sixties are over. They’re dead. The extreme pro-abortionists are the Old Guard, not the wave of the future. If all you think about in politics are the political party grandees, and turn your attention away from the massive demographic shifts in the base, I don’t think you have a clear picture of the situation. The base of the Democratic Party going into the 21st century is not viciously hostile to the pro-life message. And the base is what matters in a democracy.

    The GOP is not a pro-life party and you have to know that. The language of the platform means nothing. Rather the GOP has been able to use the questionable constitutional foundations of Roe in order posture as a pro-life party. If Roe were ever overturned it would only mean that the supposedly inalienable right to life possessed by the unborn would be subject to votes in the state legislatures or the citizens, and we know how those will go.

    This is not a moral position. It is putting a principle of states rights ahead of the sanctity of life, which they get to do as long as abortion is a federal and not a state question. They’ve been getting a lot of political mileage out of this situation.

    In the meantime they support a host of policies on the economy, the environment and foreign policy to name only a few that I find to be anti-life at best. So, to me these parties on life issues are morally equivalent, when you put posturing and rhetoric aside and examine with a microscope the substance of their positions.

    Would we be obliged to vote for a dictator who threatened to take us into a nuclear war if he also promised to ban abortion? No?

    What about a candidate for the presidency whose policies would make a world war, possibly a nuclear war a greater likelihood with his aggressive foreign policies and his insane scheme to divide the world into two hostile camps (a “League of Democracies” on one side and, I guess, the enemies of democracy on the other)? Because that’s who we were offered in 2008.

    I probably would have voted for the only real pro-life candidate to run, Mike Huckabee, so my loathing for the GOP isn’t categorical. I was even beginning to slightly warm to his fair tax idea, though I thought it would need to be implemented incrementally and very carefully.

    As for what I’m doing, sadly, not much. I’ve had health problems and have been out of work, which is why I have so much time to sit around posting here. When things are looking better I have plans to get involved in a number of projects.

  • JT

    Joe,

    There’s no point in debating these things with you, because I can now see you are very confused. You simply don’t have sufficient Catholic knowledge, which may not be your fault. Coming from the position of being an agnostic just a few years ago, you have a very long road yet to travel.

    You need to pray more and be open to the truth, the complete truth of God, no matter where it leads you and no matter what the cost to you—ask Our Lord for this gift and he’ll give it to you. If you do this, it will indeed set you free. May God bless you on your journey, if you decide to take it. I will truly keep you and you intentions in my prayers, dear brother.

  • Joe H

    I’m not confused – you’re in denial after 25 years of failure.

    You don’t know where I am with my faith. You don’t know anything about me. Like the rest of the self-righteous conservative firing squad around here, you presume to know what is in my heart and soul on the basis of a mere political dispute.

    That is one of the reasons you continue to fail.

  • JT

    Joe,

    Yes, and in the eyes of the world, Christ was also considered a failure, so I guess I’m in good company. I do pray to never become self-righteous, as I only humbly seek for truth, which does exist. I suppose truth is often times taken for self-righteousness, but there’s just nowhere else to go. I may continue to “fail” until the day I die, but so be it.

    God bless you and forgive me for any offense. None is meant.

  • Paul Bergeron

    I invite all who are interested to tour Confederate Memorial Hall (on Saturdays and weekdays) at 939 Camp Street in New Orleans where the Crown of Thorns crafted and given to President Davis by Blessed Pope Pius IX is on display, along with a tintype of His Holiness, a scapular given to President Davis by the Sisters of Mercy, a stain glass window portrait of Father Abram Joseph Ryan (the Poet-Laureate of the Confederacy) and photographs and memorabilia of Black Confederate soldiers who attended United Confederate Veterans reunions with their white counterparts. Across from the Hall is the parking lot for the D-Day Museum and toward Poydras Street is the Ozanam Inn operated by the St. Vincent de Paul Society and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where traditional Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 9:30 AM.

    Paul Bergeron, Adjutant
    Major General Harry T Hays Camp 2019
    Louisiana Division
    Sons of Confederate Veterans

  • Rob F.

    Quoth Joe H., “I wonder how many people who moan ceaselessly about the injustice of the income tax also overlook the realities of slavery and place this entire debate on the abstract plane of states rights. Let yourselves be known, so I can spare myself the trouble of ever having to take you seriously again. Thanks.”

    I neither moan ceaselessly about the injustice of income tax nor do I overlook the realities of slavery (or abortion).

    But I would just as soon never be taken seriously by you again. smilies/smiley.gif

    Seriously, Joe H., lighten up. These issues are not as clear-cut as you think.

  • Joe

    “After all, when its just you and the Bible, you tend to selectively read it to mean whatever you want it to mean to support your preconcieved conclusions (much like Mr. Crocker and his reading of history) and you get a very distorted, twisted Christianity.
    Written by BPS”

    Oh brother. No Catholics at all have twisted views. Try the entire audience of ND this past weekend!

  • Lucy Roper

    All your senseless arguing would be not be necessary is you all you simply believe what an authority outside of yourselves has to say about the subject: What does God’s Holy Word Have to say about Slavery? Does the Bible Condemn Slavery? No it does not. You either believe that or you do not believe it. If you want to believe lies and be damned, makes no difference with me. The Bible does indeed condemn the abuses of slavery. The Bible does not tell you the proper way to commit murder, or adultery. The Bible does not regulate sin. And why are you so concerned about one of the most benign forms of slavery that ever existed in the history of the world [in the antebellum south] when there are over 27 million people in bondage today? When these people are too old to work, they have not the cradle to grave security of a Christian slaveholder, they are just thrown away. As you read this, child slaves are suffering in the Sudan. Child slavery has popped up in Haiti. Instead of taking on airs about your superiority in hating the old south for its “peculiar institution” why don’t you do something about today’s slavery, send money to Africa, (go there as a missionary worker) or at least stop buying goods at Walmart.

  • Dr. Gary Lee Roper

    One who is right in their Epistemology and believes the Bible cannot say that the very institution of slavery is evil and have any respect for the Word of God.

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