Tag Archives: History

The Civil War & States’ Rights

All the graves of US Confederate soldiers have opened up, and the evil dead are walking among us in the form of revisionist amateur-historians. For only a mindless corpse could make the case that the American Civil War was fought over states’ rights. Here’s why –It’s an undisputed fact that leading up to the Civil War, the slave states demanded, in no uncertain terms, that by law all slaves that runaway to free states ought to be forcibly returned to their masters; it was a major issue leading up to the war. The slave states argued that states ought to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in slavery. And to this day Confederacy sympathizers attempt to fight the Civil War for a second time by saying that it was really all about states’ rights, and not so much about that pesky side-issue called slavery. Bullshit, I say.

The difficulty with this most hypocritical of arguments is that for slavery to have continued, the free states would have had to comply with the returning of runaway slaves, which is an act of slavery in itself. But how can a state have a choice if it is forced to participate in an evil it wholeheartedly rejects?

Do you see the contradiction? The South was happy to use the states’-rights argument when it worked in its favor, but when it was inconvenient it insisted that the law compel the North to participate in the horrors of slavery. You can’t have it both ways. Either a state had the choice or it didn’t. What the South really desired was that all the states abide by the tenets of slavery, which wasn’t going to happen, hence the inevitable war. The Union either had to consist of all free states or all slave states; it could not exist peacefully as a combination of both.

I recommend everyone read The Causes Of The Civil War (edited by Kenneth Stampp), a wonderful little book of essays, which chronicles the politics preceding the war.

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Charles Darwin, The Human Being

descent-of-man

Sexual differences in freshwater Swordtail. Male has a long tail appendage to show off to the ladies.

I consider Charles Darwin’s The Origin Of Species and The Descent Of Man two of the greatest books never read by creationists. Both are beautiful works celebrating the details of the natural world. But many creationists condemn them without even a glance. They read reviews, they often say, or they rely on the “experts” to judge the value of Darwin’s “theories”. The unwilling creationists don’t know what they’re missing.

Even within Darwin’s dry technical books -as apposed to his personal journals or autobiography- there is the occasional glimpse into his sense of humor. In The Descent of Man, for instance, one can read a hundred pages of qualitative data and then be surprised with a mild joke, an anecdote, or a quip about the French. Here Darwin talks about the quiet female Cicada:

Every one who has wandered in a tropical forest must have been astonished at the din made by the male Cicadæ. The females are mute; as the Grecian poet Xenarchus says, “Happy the Cicadas live, since they all have voiceless wives.”

See, wife jokes were funny in 19th century England and ancient Greece. And it goes to show that a century is not a long period of time at all. The year 1871, when The Descent Of Man was published, was yesterday. In the 18th century, Charles’ grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, once wrote about lending a college friend his class notes. The friend angrily returned them with a scribble across the cover, which accused him of atrocious spelling and being the son of a whore. Charles Darwin, you devil, you’re a human being after all. And you’re “descended from monkeys”.

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The Lone Skeptic

Watch the video and try to spot the skeptic.

America has decayed into a state of gullibility. Example, CNN’s Larry King now dedicates many of his shows to subjects like the paranormal and UFO’s. Recently, he interviewed half a dozen UFO “witnesses” and “experts”, and one lone skeptic, Dr. Seth Shostak, an astronomer from SETI. For most of the show, Larry King followed his standard format; he asked a softball question and then allowed the guests to ramble on, except the skeptic, who was kept in reserve most of the time. Also, the show was an hour long, but Dr. Seth Shostak was only on for the first thirty minutes. Of course, CNN has a history of stupidity.

I remember once when that Southern dumbell Nancy Grace (Headline News) sat in for Larry King. Her topic was ghosts and spirits. What particularlly disturbed me was when she grasped for the word “skeptic” but instead came out with the word “cynic”. Is anyone who withholds their approval or questions the validity of something being cynical? Sadly, Nancy Grace is not the only one to conflate the meaning of the two words. Overall this phenomena has the stench of religion behind it. In a nation slathered in syrupy Christianity, how can believers not project their hostility on to non-believers, be they atheists or skeptics.

Cable television is drowning in shows that require one to believe and not to think: Ghost Hunters (Sci Fi Channel), Paranormal State (A&E Television), Psychic Kids (A&E), A Haunting (Discovery Channel), MonsterQuest (The History Channel), etc. The History Channel, in particular, is a flagrant offender with shows covering everything from the Loch Ness Monster and Nostradamus to the psychology of Batman and the mythology of Star Wars. For many years, at Easter time, the History Channel actually aired the mini-series Jesus of Nazareth. It also aired Planet of the Apes as a Saturday night movie. How is any of this history or science?

I couldn’t help laughing at a recent MonsterQuest episode about Bigfoot. A member of an all female expedition actually said that Bigfoot prefers woman over men because of their softer more lyrical voices. I say Bigfoot prefers not to watch television.

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