7 things at 11 o’clock (6.21)

1. Jamie Malanowski says the United States of America should not have US Army bases named after people who declared war against the United States of America and took the battlefield against the US Army.

Good point. A while ago someone told me that slavery was “only part” of why the Civil War was fought. Now I’m trying to imagine the job interview where you explain that kidnapping, rape and torture are “only part” of your résumé. When slavery is any part of the agenda, it really doesn’t much matter if it’s the only part, does it?

2. Andrew Hackman on collapsing the transcendent into the immanent. (Hackman doesn’t use that phrase, but Richard Beck does, and says, “I’m very happy with this move.” I am too. So was the author of 1 John, ad nauseum.)

3. Emergency contraception is finally available over the counter. So is soy sauce. The big difference here is that soy sauce carries actual health risks.

4. I am shocked — shocked! — that good Christian people would lie about Planned Parenthood.

5. This is how you request a song at a concert. And here’s a music video from long before anyone talked about music videos. If (far less than) One Million Moms had been around when this came out, they’d have called for a boycott of Scopitone.

6. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska just became the third Republican senator to go on record in support of marriage equality. That’s big news. Or, I suppose actually, it’s not big news — but the fact that this news wasn’t greeted as big news, but with a kind of collective nod and shrug is itself a kind of big news. Her statement, titled “The Pursuit of Happiness — Without Government Interference,” might convince other Red-state Republicans that they can join her without the sky falling on their heads.

7. I have long held that the New Hampshire House of Representatives is too damn big. Tiny New Hampshire has 400 representatives elected from 204 legislative districts, and it turns out you can’t fill that many seats without letting in a bunch of unqualified, embarrassing whackjobs and goofballs. But even by the standards of the Granite State, it seems Rep. Stella Tremblay, R-Auburn, is too far out there. After continually pushing her theory that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government-sponsored false-flag operation, Tremblay was rebuked by a vote of the full House and resigned from the legislature.

“I just connect the dots,” said the unrepentantly dotty Tremblay. “Apparently, it is very dangerous to seek truth, or ask questions.”

Kudos to N.H. Republican Chair Jennifer Horn for responding unambiguously: “Representative Tremblay was unfit for public office and not welcome in our party. We are glad to see her go.” I know that’s partly just damage-control, but if the national party were willing to be that direct with the Gohmerts and Burgesses and Duncans and Franks (Frankses?) now dragging it down, it might be in better shape.

  • J_Enigma32

    Toss in public control over the means of production with a strong respect for personal property and yes, that’s a form Libertarian Socialism. Libertarian Socialism posits that work groups, communes, unions, and syndicates control the means of production (basically, all corporations are worker sponsored and run, similar to an adhocracy I imagine, but I can see a sort of bureaucratic hierarchy developing in most cases). The government then exists as a direct democracy. For an example of this philosophy in action, look up the anarchists during the Spanish Civil War. The main phrase to remember with Libertarian Socialism is this:

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to to their need.”

    Where you fall on this scale is determined by how you feel about public property, private property, and personal property first.

    (+ means for, – means against)

    - Libertarian Socialism: +Personal +Public -Private
    - Mutualism: +Personal +Public -Private
    - Anarcho-Communism: -Personal +Public -Private
    - Geoanarchism: +Personal +Public -Private
    - Market Socialism: +Personal +Public -Private
    - Socialism: +Personal +Public +Private
    - Leninism: +Personal +Public -Private
    - Stalinism: +/-Personal +Public +/- Private
    - Maoism: +/-Personal +Public +/- Private
    - Fascism: +Personal +Public +Private
    - Deontological: +Personal -Public +Private
    - Consequentalist: +Personal -Public +Private
    - Objectivism: +Personal -Public +Private
    - Autarchism: +Personal -Public -Private

  • Alix

    Thank you, that’s a really helpful list.

  • Alix

    I really like the way you put this.

    (My economic ignorance rears its head again:) Wouldn’t it thus be logical to have a guaranteed floor below which no one can fall in a capitalist system, to provide the kind of robust and healthily motivated labor force you describe? “Work or die” suffers from the same exact flaw as slavery – it produces a workforce that doesn’t much care about the work, just about doing the bare minimum to survive.

    On top of it being really freaking immoral.

  • Alix

    how strong was Abolitionism in the north as opposed to keeping slavery without increasing the number of slave holding states?

    Really damn good question. It’s not entirely clear. There were a lot of attempts to solve the slavery issue, or come to a new compromise, and the compromises the North generally liked were ones that didn’t really expand slavery. But abolitionism was a huge and growing movement – among other things, you had new popular religious movements crop up centered on the issue. You also had more and more politicians getting elected to office who were personally anti-slavery, even if they were willing to compromise when in office. The general consensus is that it actually wasn’t likely that all slaves in the south would’ve been freed by the Lincoln administration if the South hadn’t forced things, but there was absolutely a growing anti-slavery trend that the South had cause to fear.

    And it had broken out into open fighting once before (Kansas), with a second attempt at an abolitionist-led slave revolt in Harper’s Ferry. So.

    are there any actual legal grounds for a state to secede?

    Sort of? At the time, anyway, there was something of an open question about whether or not a state could withdraw from the Union – the South said yes, that being part of the Union was a voluntary contract from which they could withdraw; everyone else (and even most of the framers of the constitution) disagreed. The issue’s since been settled by the Supreme Court since 1869 – secession by a whole state from the union is illegal in the United States, though the ruling does leave open the possibility of a state leaving the union by consent of the other states, somewhat akin to the entry process in reverse.

    That court ruling is really interesting, actually, because it explicitly confirms that in the eyes of the law, none of the southern states ever really left the Union.

  • Alix

    Totally randomly – have you seen some of the workers’ graffiti they’ve found in some of the monuments? Apparently, depicting your pharaoh in various compromising positions was a common form of stress relief in ancient Egypt.

    (I love ancient graffiti. It tells us so much about the people who made it, and yet is so often ignored.)

  • Daniel

    THERE FOLLOWS AN ANGRY WALL OF TEXT. I’d like to say I wrote it with a clenched fist, but then it would have been even more incoherent. Also I’d have got cramp.

    Most definitely. The state should be run for the benefit of the people that make it up, and this means that -as you say- there should be a lower limit standard of living and if you reach it people say “we’re not going to let you fall any further.” If someone living in a G8 country can die from starvation (and many do) if in that country it’s possible to have to choose (as it is in the UK) between buying food and being able to cook that food, or being able to eat or being able to heat your house, then the rest of the country should be ashamed that they have allowed that to happen.

    The UK is now a society where the enforced avarice of the poor is hailed as a virtue by landed gentry and the scions of millionaires. Our work and pensions secretary, Ian Duncan Smith- quite possibly a reanimated corpse- employs cleaners in his London offices who are paid less than a living wage. IDS is a millionaire because through his good sense and hard work he married a millionairess. He stands staunchly behind the unfettered market as the means to make a better world, but his own staff are apparently not worth paying enough for them to live. Ergo they do not have enough to save, so they can move to somewhere where they could get a better job. They have to work flat out twelve+ hour days to make enough to live- so they have no time to study for better jobs or to apply for them.

    Opportunities, it is made very clear, are not for the plebs. This ethos destroys ambition rather than fostering it, and, as you say, produces a workforce that is primarily concerned with earning enough to live rather than doing something well.

    Screed over.

  • Jamoche

    It’s got “Service” in the name – that’s an alien concept to the people who use “Family” as a dogwhistle.

  • Jamoche

    The Depression’s effect on the Southern economy was helped along by the boll weevil, which pretty much eradicated cotton. If slavery had still been around, it’s unlikely George Washington Carver would have had the opportunities to do the research into peanuts that made it a viable alternative crop, and there really aren’t that many things that are economical to grow in that area. The plantation system and the entire economy would collapse.

  • J_Enigma32

    Danny: I planned to go to law school after I graduated, but it looks like my
    folks won’t have enough money to put me through college.

    Judge Smails: Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.

    Lacy Underall [to Danny]: Nice Try.

  • AnonaMiss

    Erf. No, I’m for private property too, and mostly against public property except as is necessary to keep the market from seizing up (minarchy). In fact, as I suspect most libertarians do, I consider personal property a subtype of private property. I just think it’s both unjust and unproductive that a child, who cannot yet act in hir own interests, should have to bear the consequences of being unable to act; and that a child should reap the rewards of hir parents’ success (whether by fortune or merit).

    So basically a system where the state is as much as possible outside the economy – a shelter for non-actors, but as small as possible an actor itself. And you’re either in the shelter, or out of the shelter. Minimal participation in the economy if you’re a ward of the state, and if you want to participate in the economy as an independent actor you give up the shelter of the state (but you can go back if you have to).

    Other than that the state provides and maintains the infrastructure for private actors to use; steps in to remove the assets of the dead; and enforces basic principles of no violence, no theft, no fraud, no breaking contracts.

  • AnonaMiss

    Ross was being snarky.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Minimal participation in the economy if you’re a ward of the state, and if you want to participate in the economy as an independent actor you give up the shelter of the state

    How would that work? What regulations would be in place to ensure that participating in the economy is more desirable than being a ward of the state? Someone who’s a ward of the state in this model is obviously not working at a job of any kind, because that would be participation in the economy. (Minimum wage being at least a living wage seems the first and most obvious regulation to set in place. But libertarians generally have a conniption when they hear that.) Does someone who’s a ward of the state who wants to be an artist get kicked out of the shelter when they sell a piece of artwork? Since that’s participation in the economy and giving the art away for free isn’t, and never mind that a single sale is wildly unlikely to be for enough money to keep the artist in even minimal comfort for any length of time.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I think you might have had a civil war then, as the southern states turn fascist in a reactionary fear of the collapse of their ‘institution’. And if that happened, they’d likely get support from the Axis, and WWII would be that much worse. Or maybe the *entire country* would go fascist and side with the Axis.

    Assuming it even happened. Maintaining slavery to the 1930s obviously means the abolitionist movement never gained traction, which results in a much more right-wing USA in general. They might intervene in WWI, or they might not (likely to be somewhat isolationist, still, and not care as much about ‘democracy’, but may also see the opportunity to gain new slave colonies in Africa and elsewhere) in which case the results could go either way. They might see the Bolsheviks as even more of a threat (the robber barons saw them as dangerous radicals, slave-holders would be *terrified*), and intervene openly in the Russian Civil War, resulting in a Tsarist victory. If that didn’t happen (or they *still lost*), America is now rather fertile ground for a Communist uprising…
    I don’t want to say ‘America keeps slavery = world goes to shit’, but… it certainly wouldn’t help.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Nathan Bedford Forrest, anyone?

  • AnonaMiss

    Good questions. My thoughts on a ward of the state system have historically centered around people who are unable to work due to youth or infirmity, so my thoughts on the use of such a system as a social safety net for the unemployed and working poor are still shaky. I tend to be privilege-blinded so I’m grateful for any challenges you have :).

    Ward of the state types would be allowed to work if they wished but their wages would be paid to the state, whence they would receive food, board, health/emergency care, a scrip allowance for clothing and transportation, and a small cash allowance for entertainment. In high-enough population areas, the food and board would be in a barracks/dormitory style: communal living. Exceptions for people with special needs depending on those needs. No contracting out of these services allowed, period.

    At this point the incentives to stop being a ward of the state should be obvious. Wards of the state would lack privacy and choice in most of their lives. If you want non-cafeteria food, or a higher standard of living, you’ve got to declare.

    Moving from ward of the state to independent economic actor would be initiated by the ward of the state. The state would give you a lump starting-out sum – which you might have to earn a certain number of credits through wages/income paid to the state before you could qualify to declare, to prevent people from going out, blowing the starting sum on blackjack and hookers (forget the park!), and then coming back after a week. The lump sum would be equal to ~3 months of living wage, to cover starting expenses, plus possibly the use of a government vehicle.

    Moving from independent actor to ward of the state would be basically equivalent to bankruptcy proceedings, where your assets are sold off to cover your debts.

    If I had my druthers all people would become wards of the state on entering high school, to help equalize children’s opportunities and to reduce the stigma a person would face entering the workforce as a WoS. Wouldn’t remove it completely of course, especially for someone much older, but I don’t know that it would be worse than the stigma of reentering the workforce after long-term unemployment today.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’ll take some thinking over. First thought: Why don’t people with disabilities deserve privacy and choice?

  • Alix

    I know.

  • AnonaMiss

    It’s not a question of deserving.

    I originally thought about this as a system for the young and infirm – though I guess I didn’t specify that I was thinking primarily of people with mental difficulties – dementia, brain damage etc.. Children and the childlike, for whom reduced privacy is a form of protection. Reduced privacy for the mentally capable would be an unfortunate side effect of a dormitory-style system, not a goal. The state would have to provide room, board, transportation and services for them anyway, and dormitory-style seemed like the most cost effective way to do that in areas with sufficient population density – especially since the dormitories would already be present for the aforementioned children & mentally infirm people.

    I suppose housing vouchers would also be an option, but housing is an inherently oligopolistic market because space is limited, sooo I suspect giving housing vouchers in high-density areas would cause prices to skyrocket and disrupt the market. Which would rather defeat the purpose of trying to separate the welfare state as much as possible from the market.

    As for reduced choice, that’s already a fact of life for everyone who isn’t obscenely rich. In the parallel-spheres setup I’ve sketched, the WoSs would receive only a living wage, so of course their consumer choices would be restricted to the most cost-effective options available.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    This… Kind of sounds like the setup for a Sci Fi Dystopia.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    There was a documentary-style movie a few years back set in a world where the south had not just won the civil war, but conquered the north as well. In their version of history, the victorious confederacy really really liked Hitler, but was so obsessively isolationist that they stayed out of the war in europe. Still had the pacific war, though (but brokered a peace with the nazis to avoid getting involved in europe), capturing Japan and enslaving their populace. The allied forces in europe manage to defeat Hitler anyway, but it takes years longer.

    The last scene of the movie (before they do this bit over the credits where they show the actual real-world ads which inspired the Over-The-Top fake ads they’d put in the film) was a presidential campaign ad, where the candidate waxes about how he just wishes that their old family friends the Hitlers were still alive.

  • Arresi

    Sorry, didn’t notice you’d replied. Regarding your first paragraph, yeah, that’s my best understanding.

    As for how strong abolitionism was – I don’t know if there are exact numbers, but between 50 and 65% of the Northern free states voted for the Republicans (the party that was most firmly opposed to the expansion of slavery) in 1860. That seems like it’s probably about the right number for supporters of keeping slavery without increasing the number of slave holding states. And Google is implying that between 100,000 and 200,000 people were members of abolitionist societies, which is likely the low end of the committed abolitionists. That said, there was an argument that slavery would collapse over time if it was contained, and it seems to have been one the slaveholders themselves subscribed to. And even people who weren’t committed abolitionists might resort to civil disobedience rather than help recover a fugitive slave themselves.

    As for the legal question – not a lawyer, but I think the legal consensus is that when a state votes for entry to the Union, they are giving up sovereignty and accepting the Constitution (and federal law) as having primacy over state law. But I don’t know.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *inner chemistry geek rejoices*

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If nothing else, I’d pick Giap for sheer staying power in an asymmetrical war.


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