St. Martin

St. Martin January 18, 2016

 

St Martin

Via Kissing Fish on Facebook.

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  • This is hilarious, if only as a demonstration of how low progressive Christianity has gone (if this is unironic).

    James, is this ironic? I really can’t tell.

    • Would you care to explain your meaning?

      • Is this ironic or not?

        • Is what ironic? Putting a Baptist on an orthodox-style icon?

          • Well, that’s roughly a third of it. Do you seriously think MLK should be considered a saint or equivalent?

          • If I were going to propose any Baptist for inclusion among a list of modern saints, MLK would certainly be at the top of the list. If that surprises you, then you have clearly misunderstood the emphases of liberal Christianity.

          • Not surprised; just a little depressed. I view MLK as simply one in a long chain of prominent Black activist pastors stretching down to Al Sharpton today. Also, he was basically a Communist (including Khmer Rouge) sympathizer in thought
            http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_beyond_vietnam/ (despite his consistent denial of being so). Sure, he died violently, but not everyone who dies violently deserves sainthood. Fundamentally, what ended segregation was not his activism, but changing technology and the changing incentives of entrepreneurs.

          • arcseconds

            you are fond of your techno-economico determinism, aren’t you?

            It’s hard to see how segregation has anything to do with technology or economics. It obviously can only be practiced somewhere where there are people who are visibly different from others, so lots of agrarian economies just can’t practice it at all, so already the idea it’s an economic issue looks unlikey,

            And historically, both in the USA and elsewhere, segregation was ended by legal means. So an argument that it would have just ended because of economics is a counter-factual at best.

            There are still plenty of racists in the USA, and they would still be preventing black people from eating at their restaurants. People are more than willing to take economic hits to enforce their prejudices: look at this whole business about baking cakes for gay couples.

            (Which, in itself, shows that prejudice, and laws and practices based on that prejudice, need not have anything to do with economics. Gay people aren’t poor. For another example, while Jews often have been poor, unlike black Americans they have tended to have urban trades: another example where an economic argument makes little sense)

            Plus there’s still de facto residential segregation happening in the USA.

          • “And historically, both in the USA and elsewhere, segregation was ended by legal means.”

            -True. But that occurred during a time of major convergence of Black and White male incomes (no similar convergence has taken place since the early 1970s). The political side of things was likely also influenced by the economic and technological changes that resulted in the Great Migration which made segregation unprofitable for many Northern business owners. The death of the Civil War generation may have also been a factor, but I doubt it.

            “It obviously can only be practiced somewhere where there are people who
            are visibly different from others, so lots of agrarian economies just
            can’t practice it at all, so already the idea it’s an economic issue
            looks unlikey,”

            -?

            And, sure, if it was legal, some firms would still openly discriminate on the basis of race. The main effect would be more on Black consumption opportunities, though, not Black incomes -and as the Internet becomes a greater and greater part of the retail sector, even that’s bound to slowly become a non-issue in lowering Black living standards. And there are way more Black than homosexual customers in the South.

            “For another example, while Jews often have been poor, unlike
            black Americans they have tended to have urban trades: another example
            where an economic argument makes little sense”

            -? What are you talking about here?

            “Plus there’s still de facto residential segregation happening in the USA.”

            -You can’t expect that every community in the U.S. will have proportional representation of ethnicities.

          • arcseconds

            True. But that occurred during a time of major convergence of Black and White male incomes (no similar convergence has taken place since the early 1970s).

            Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

            But you probably have a point here. When people’s socioeconomic star starts to rise they are more inclined to demand equal treatment: if you are just as wealthy as someone else, but aren’t treated the same because of an accident of your birth, the injustice is obvious, plus you have the resources and self-confidence to fight it.

            (And afterwards, of course, you and your children have a better chance of securing economic success, because fewer opportunities are denied to you: the causality works both ways.)

            But it does require a fight, and this pattern is repeated over and over again. Magna Carta, the French and American revolutions, universal sufferage, the end of apartheid in South Africa, recognition of the property rights and other injustices done to indigenous people: these all took place by the people denied equal treatment demanding equal treatment.

            Note the lack of entrepeneurs deciding that they’d better grant more opportunity to their customers. (Except of course when they’re part of the oppressed mass)

          • Sure, sometimes it does require a fight. Sometimes, it happens without one. The fall of apartheid South Africa definitely happened with a fight and was strongly influenced by four things, none of them decisive, but all of them favoring the fall of the government:
            1. The economic decline of Apartheid South Africa since 1980 (due to low commodity prices and protectionist policies, making the government less credible):
            https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/PGDPUSZAA621NUPN
            2. A rising Black majority of the voting-age population.
            3. The fall of Western imperialism in Africa.
            4. The fall of the Rhodesian government and its transition from a widely condemned White minority semi-democracy into a widely respected semi-autocracy led by Robert Mugabe.
            Of course, the deciding factor was rising Black support for majority rule and growing White passivity to it.

            “these all took place by the people denied equal treatment demanding equal treatment.”

            -True. In some cases (e.g., Chile under Pinochet, Stalin v. Hitler, etc.) personality is hugely decisive. In others, it was basically a sideshow. In the cases you mention above, personality was definitely important, but all of them were in some way pushed to occur by greater forces than clearly historically visible individual personalities.

            “Note the lack of entrepeneurs deciding that they’d better grant more
            opportunity to their customers. (Except of course when they’re part of
            the oppressed mass)”

            -Sure. In the cases you mention.

          • arcseconds

            Well, as ending segregation in the USA did involve a fight, and apparently required it (as it’s not as if as soon as it became clear that Blacks didn’t want to be second-class citizens people immediately turned around and gave them first-class status), why are you shrugging your shoulders about MLK?

            I mean, sure, it would have happened without him (it’s not like he was the only activist), but this is frequently the case in all sorts of fields. ‘Although to Newton’s findings we to Newton give the glory’, universal gravitation would have presumably been discovered eventually without him.

            And what do you mean ‘a rising Black majority in the voting age population’? The majority of the population of South Africa has always been African:

            https://books.google.com/books?id=q65Sx_lIDFgC&pg=PA12#v=onepage&q&f=false

          • Yes, and that majority was rising strongly during the 1980s, despite AIDS.

            Individual acts of genius do help speed scientific discovery up.

            I don’t see how the end of segregation required a fight. If it hadn’t become illegal, it would still have become irrelevant.

          • I don’t share your confidence that injustice of various sorts the world over just vanish magically without the oppressed ever needing to stand in an organized manner against it. I suspect that only someone who has never been numbered among the oppressed could assert such a thing.

          • The arc of history is long, but it bends towards marginal revenue. It’s indifferent to justice and injustice. In the case of segregation, the not-very-long arc of marginal revenue was consistent with its removal, or at least effective irrelevance in the grand scheme of things. It was also consistent with the decline and fall of private sector-unions. In other cases, it might be consistent with growing injustice.

            Focus on the substructure of society as well, not just the superstructure.

          • arcseconds

            You have just admitted that sometimes gaining rights requires a fight. Are you now retracting this in favour of blind economics again?

            Maybe history doesn’t care about justice itself, but it’s certainly the case it cares about political action. And people care about justice, and this motivates them to take political action.

          • Sure, but does it matter? Even the strongest protests could have ended up like those peasant rebellions in 16th century Germany. Or those 2003 protests against the Iraq War.

          • arcseconds

            You seem to be arguing that because some protests fail, no protest can be successful, and therefore that the ones that apparently are successful must have some other cause.

            This is not very convincing. There aren’t many totally irresistible forces in the universe.

          • arcseconds

            What is the significance of growing from 60% to 75% of the population?

            Are you suggesting they were going “we were only 2/3rds of the population earlier, but that’s OK, no-one could expect political representation on that basis, but now we’re three-quarters, and it’s an outrage!” ?

            Individual acts of genius do help speed scientific discovery up.

            You don’t think the activities of Martin Luther and friends even sped up desegregation?

            I don’t see how the end of segregation required a fight. If it hadn’t become illegal, it would still have become irrelevant.

            Have you got any proof for this, or it is just a dogmatic assertion?

          • You don’t think the activities of Martin Luther and friends even sped up desegregation?

            -They did in some local areas in the United States, but on the Federal level, my gut tells me the effect was at most a decade.

            Have you got any proof for this, or it is just a dogmatic assertion?

            -The gradual convergence of Black median earnings in the South with those in the North and Midwest up until 1997, when this convergence was complete. And how many businesses today would move back to voluntary segregation if there were no laws for or against it one way or another? Certainly not any major firms.

          • arcseconds

            Correlation is not causation, and what you have here is not even correlation: it’s something that started before and ended afterwards. From what you’ve said so far it could be entirely independent of segregation.

            Is there any particular reason why anyone should trust your gut on this?

            There are lots of people on the internet. They all have guts.

  • Shiphrah99

    … And his epistle is the Letter from Birmingham Jail.