Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Southern Hubris and the Yankee Lust for Imperialism

Oh, how things might have been different. Thomas DiLorenzo writes:
On LRC today Paul Craig Roberts makes the point that politicians possessing "deadly hubris" have caused disaster after disaster over the past two centuries, and could well cause the thermonuclear inceneration of the entire world if their hubris plunges us into another world war (the sincerest wish of every neocon chickenhawk, from Dick Cheney to Rush Limbaugh, not to mention the crazed, bloodthirsty "evangelical" Christians who believe a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East is a prerequisite for the Second Coming).

Roberts's first example of "deadly hubris" is the first battle of the American "Civil War," the Battle of Bull Run (known to some as the Battle of First Manassas) in Virginia. In that battle the Confederate Army sent the entire U.S. Army, accompanied by the wives and girlfriends of officers and Republican politicians dressed in their Sunday best and riding in carriages, fleeing back to Washington, D.C. while the Confederates lobbed artillery shells at them. It was a horrific, bloody defeat for the federal army. Roberts points out that had the Confederate Army pursued the federals the war could have ended then and there, sparing some 750,000 lives (the latest estimate of "Civil War" deaths). And since Lincoln had just promised to explicitly enshrine slavery in the U.S. Constitution just three months earlier in his first inaugural address, the outcome of the battle did not affect the prospects for emancipation. Southern hubris led to the opinion that Northern city slickers were such poor fighters that they posed no threat to the South, therefore, there was no need to follow up their victory and conquer Washington, D.C., prosecute and hang Lincoln as a traitor, and put an end to the war.

An interesting historical fact that Roberts did not mention was that when President Jefferson Davis appeared on the battlefield at the very end of the battle, an unknown officer who was a former physics professor at VMI named Thomas Jackson abruptly approached him and said, "Give me 10,000 men and I will take Washington tomorrow." Davis refused the request, for Thomas Jackson was not yet known by his eternal nickname, "Stonewall Jackson," who would certainly have succeeded had he been given those 10,000 men.

By the way, had the South become a separate country on that day, then the federal Fugitive Slave Act would have become defunct so that a slave in Virginia who escaped into Pennsylvania (or any other U.S. state) would have been free forever with no federal bounty on his head. This would have quickly broken the economic back of slavery in Virginia, causing the state to do what states like New York had done just a couple of years earlier (1853) and end slavery there by peaceful, legal, and constitutional means. Southern hubris and the Yankee lust for imperialism, empire, and plunder prevented this from happening.


  1. I don't know who these "evangelical Christians" are that I keep reading about. I would describe myself as an evangelical and as such the last thing I want is war. One only need to look at the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,...". Anyone who calls for war is not displaying the fruit of the Spirit. Or how about Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with everyone".
    I do find it disturbing that you know professing Christians that call for war, even if they see it as leading to 2nd coming, when Christians are called to be men and women of peace.

    1. Flareback,

      This is a piece by Thomas DiLorenzo.

      To your valid point, however, it would have been improved by using a term such as "evangelical pseudo-Christians" (or the equivalent), in order to draw a distinction.

      It would help tremendously, however, if the Christian leadership would repudiate all warmongering.

    2. The evangelical christians in question are the ones who attend CPAC. When Ron Paul said he worshipped the Prince of Peace and talked up Just War Theory, they booed him.

  2. An evangelical Christian is one that believes in his interpretation of the bible (King James version), and his only. All others need not apply. And complete indifference to the bombing of poor, foreign residing brown people.

    1. That is an incorrect definition of an evangelical Christian on so many levels. First, many if not most evangelicals today read versions of the Bible other than the KJV, such as the NIV (New International Version) or the NASB (New American Standard Bible). An evangelical Christian is basically a Protestant, as opposed to a Roman Catholic, who believes in the doctrine of being "born again". They also believe typically in sharing their belief with others in the spirit of the Great Commission, as well as placing a high value on Biblical authority. This includes many people in all Protestant denominations. As for trying to stereotype millions of people, it should be understood that there are many different political opinions on all the various issues within every group. I, for one, would be considered to be an evangelical Christian, and I am a free market libertarian who believes in limited government on social and economic issues alike. I also believe that one of the biggest abuses in our government is the continued growth of the corruption and graft involved in our defense budget by both parties, which is sold to the American people as "national security". Our foreign policy is nothing more than a money-making racket.

  3. The whole "it was about Abolishing Slavery" narrative I learned in school kind of falls apart when you look at how recently even the 'abolishionist' states had ended slavery.

    For instance:
    New York - Emancipated adult slaves in 1827, but kept the slaves' male children in slavery for the next 28 years, until 1855.

    New Jersey - The last slaves in New Jersey were freed in 1865 AFTER the Civil War.

    Conneticut - Kept slaves, and records of slaves, until 1848, just 12 years before the Civil War.

    Delaware - The last slaves were only freed in 1865, AFTER the Civil War.

    Pennsylvania - Still had slaves in 1840, 20 years before the Civil War, after which it quit counting them.

    Rhode Island - Tiny Rhode Island still had a small number of slaves in 1840, 20 years before the Civil War, after which they stopped counting the slaves in the Census.

    Vermont - Abolished in 1777.

    Massachussetts - Never abolished before Civil War, but practically extinct after 1780.

    Ohio - prohibited since statehood in 1802

    Indiana - Abolished with statehood in 1816

    Illinois - Abolished with statehood in 1818.

    Wisconsin - Suffrage approved in 1849, 11 years prior to Civil War.

    Is it really credible that the abolition movement, that was unable to outlaw slavery at home in their OWN STATES UNTIL SHORTLY BEFORE, AND EVEN AFTER THE CIVIL WAR was powerful enough to cause North and South to split on the basis of SLAVERY BEFORE THE WAR????


    That makes no sense. They would have abolished the slavery they knew at home first, before attempting to abolish slavery far from home, by force, at great expense, with great loss of life.

    The Tarriff explanation makes more sense.

    And, yes, Jefferson Davis screwed the pooch with Bull Run. The Northern states would have needed to regroup in Philadelphia, or parts north, with all the attendant political posturing and delays such a regrouping would entail. For all practical purposes the war would be over and firmly set in the public's mind as a defeat before they could hope to get going again.

  4. Would have read your article except that once I got to the part about Rush and the evangelical christians, I realized your grip on reality had long ago slipped...........