A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘civil war

[NEWS] Seven links about politics in Canada and around the world

  • The immigration fiasco in Québec shows the tension between different strains of local nationalism. The Conversation reports.
  • The Québec labour market, Le Devoir notes, actually bears up well to a comparison with Ontario. Gaps in employment have been closed, and then some.
  • Barry Saxifrage at the National Observer notes how, in terms of climate pollution, Alberta and Saskatchewan are heading in the opposite direction from the rest of Canada.
  • Many Canadians, displaced by the collapse of the oil economy, have gone south to Texas. Global News reports.
  • Will the divisions in the United States only get deeper? How bad will it get? MacLean’s considers.
  • The chaos in Iran, and the terrible death toll, deserve to be noted. Is the Islamic Republic nearing, if not its end, some other transition? Open Democracy theorizes.
  • Terry Glavin at MacLean’s notes how governments around the world are facing crises of legitimacy, here.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Architectuul considers the humanizing potential of brutalism in the context of a London filled with impersonal skyscrapers.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the ways the habitable-zone super-Earths of K2-18 reveal our solar system to be exceptional.
  • Centauri Dreams notes evidence for active plate tectonics in the ice crust of Europa, suggesting an ocean being replenished with nutrients and possibly suitable for life.
  • D-Brief notes the sourcing of the iron in the artifacts of the Bronze Act in meteorites.
  • Daily JSTOR reports on how Hollywood coped during the Red Scare of the 1950s.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the exciting discovery of tapes recording Devo jamming with David Bowie and Brian Eno.
  • Cody Delistraty considers if the restitution of artworks looted from once-colonized territories might not be a cheap substitute for deeper changes.
  • Language Hat shares a student essay comparing, during the First World War, the United States’ campaign against German and the German campaign against French.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues against a British nostalgia for monarchy and empire that overlooks the real injustices perpetrated at Britain’s imperial peak.
  • Lingua Franca notes the remarkable power of the #metoo movement.
  • The LRB Blog notes the exceptional complexity of the issue of Jerusalem, especially after Trump’s actions.
  • The Map Room Blog shares links to a variety of maps of the Halifax Explosion and its effects.
  • The NYR Daily looks at some of the legacies of the Salvadoran civil war.
  • Peter Watts makes an argument in favour of the dystopia in contemporary science fiction.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla reports that South Korea is planning its first Moon expedition for 2020.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Argentina, at its peak, offered as good or even better chances for social mobility for immigrants than the United States.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a photograph showing the electronic system used by defunct Charlottetown nightclub Myron’s for dispensing drinks.
  • Towleroad reports on one consequence of Australia’s acceptance of gay marriage: Will Calvin Harris remix the Spice Girls song “2 Become 1”, as he promised?
  • Window on Eurasia shares a list of eight reasons explaining why Finland was unique in the former Russian Empire in maintaining its independence from Moscow.

[URBAN NOTE] “Historicist: “The World Will Little Note Nor Long Remember…””

Torontoist reposted Kevin Plumber’s Historicist article describing the life of William McDougall, “Canadian witness to the Gettysburg Address.”

It was only about 270 words long, but the Gettysburg Address has resounded for generations. Abraham Lincoln’s appearance on a podium in the small Pennsylvania farm town on November 19, 1863, has been reported upon, debated, studied by academics, memorized by school children, and mythologized in fiction and on film. Newspaper coverage of the day sometimes reflected a correspondent’s faithful observations, sometimes was tinted by an editor’s party affiliation. Conflicting and contradictory recollections of eyewitnesses, repeated—mistakes and all—in countless magazine articles and books, hardened into conventional wisdom. Certain persistent myths (that the president had hastily composed the speech on a scrap of paper aboard the train, for example) were long trusted as fact until debunked by another generation of scholars.

Among these layers of fact and legend is the tale of William McDougall. A Toronto lawyer, newspaperman, and politician, McDougall attended the Gettysburg Address by special invitation of President Lincoln. Like so many other versions of that day, McDougall’s account, recounted to and recorded by his descendants, contains a mix of both confirmed fact and unsubstantiated anecdote.

In the late 1840s, McDougall helped launch the Clear Grit movement and establish the movement’s newspaper, the North American. For the Clear Grits, Responsible Government (the principle of making Parliament accountable to the populace rather than the Crown) did not extend democracy far enough. They endorsed expanding the franchise, ballot voting, representation by population, and constraints on the political privileges of churches and the clergy, among other reform initiatives.

McDougall proved to be an eloquent orator and advocate of reform ideas. He was also an aloof eccentric, an outsider with a cynical view of politics. More interested in advancing his own political goals than solidarity with a consistent party line, McDougall shifted alliances freely depending on the issue. This, in addition to the wide number of constituencies he represented over his long political career, earned McDougall the moniker “Wandering Willie.” After McDougall’s death in 1905, obituaries noted quite euphemistically that the Father of Confederation was admired for his independence of character.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm

[LINK] Ta-Nehisi Coates on what the Civil War was all about

In an essay at The Atlantic that demonstrates his typical brilliance, “What This Cruel War Was Over”, Ta-Nehisi Coates goes to great lengths to demonstrate that the Confederacy–and, by extension, its flag–were all about slavery and white racism.

This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states[.]

I was pleased to see this reference:

Thus in 1861, when the Civil War began, the Union did not face a peaceful Southern society wanting to be left alone. It faced an an aggressive power, a Genosha, an entire society based on the bondage of a third of its residents, with dreams of expanding its fields of the bondage further South. It faced the dream of a vast American empire of slavery.

The island country of Genosha in the Marvel universe is a state off the east African coast notorious for its practice of mutant slavery.

If only I could exercise my wit and intelligence in as thorough and topical a manner as Coates! Read the essay: it’s superb.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 24, 2015 at 9:33 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s The Big Picture shares photos of the Paris anti-terrorist rallies.
  • blogTO shares five books put out by Toronto-area artists.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin notes the international ideological tumult around the American civil war.
  • D-Brief talks about some neat facts about Eta Carinae.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a recent study of the HR 8799 planetary system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the Chinese Chang’e probe’s observations of nearby Earth-crossing asteroid Toutatis.
  • Joe. My. God. notes how a Hasidic paper photoshopped out images of female world leaders.
  • Languages of the World looks at the influences of Novgorod’s dialect and Old Church Slavonic on Russian.
  • Livejournaler pollotenchegg looks at ethnicity and politics in Soviet Ukraine and Belarus.
  • Savage Minds provides organizational advice for ethnographers who are writing large projects.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Kaliningrad separatism, wonders about the loyalties of Central Asian volunteers in the Russian military, and fears for the future of Russia under its cynical leadership.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that, to cut costs for its Ariane 6 rocket, the European Space Agency is no longer going to try to source parts for the Ariane 6 across its member-states, insteading aiming for more efficient distribution of suppliers.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig wonders about the consequences Spain’s offer of citizenship to the descendants of Jews deported in 1492 might have. How many will take up Spain on the offer?
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen is not a locavore at all.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla wonders, with others, just what Mercury’s unique hollows are.
  • Strange Maps chronicles the “hippie trail”, a route popular with backpackers in the 1960s and 1970s that stretched from Europe through Turkey and Afghanistan towards Southeast Asia.
  • Towleroad notes the vicious homophobia of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little chronicles the not-entirely unreciprocated sympathy of Karl Marx for the liberator Abraham Lincoln.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that immigration is unlikely to increase the size of the American welfare state. (If anything, as European rhetoric suggests, it might decrease it.)

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • At Geocurrents, Martin Lewis explains why the mistaken theory tracing Indo-European origins to prehistoric Anatolia is so important as to merit nearly a half-dozen posts.
  • Language Hat quotes an interesting argument arghuing that sub-Saharan African ethnicities in the era of transatlantic slavery can be rediscovered, and must be rediscovered, to understand the patterns of African diaspora communities.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on the fact that some Greek islands are now up for sale to landowners, to help cover Greek debt.
  • At The Power and the Money, Noel Maurer argues contra Matt Yglesias that a North America self-sufficient in oil is possible and would change things.
  • Strange Maps reports on a Nicaraguan postage stamp that, on account of claims made on Honduran territory, nearly started a war.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reports on the recent sharp rise in separatism in Catalonia. The distinction made between a nationalist movement and the American Confederacy is worth keeping.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • At Crasstalk, LaZiguezon posts pictures of five remarkable abandoned places: a Portuguese-built stadium in Angola left after independence, an island of broken dolls. and more.
  • Daniel Drezner notes that a Republican Congressman, Eric Cantor, went on the record as stating that the United States government should do nothing that would upset Israel. That makes Israel singular in that respect.
  • Eastern approaches notes that things are getting worse in Lukashenko’s Belarus, and that the current round of European Union sanctions may only have the effect of pushing the country into a tighter relationship with Russia.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Edward Hugh makes the point that hidden debts and unacknowledged financial liabilities make Spain’s position far more awkward and dangerous than commonly assumed.
  • The Global Sociology Blog reviews Paul Mason’s new book Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere – The New Global Revolutions, which makes the claim that the mass protests and revolutions of the past couple of years are product of the conjunction between disastrous globalization and the technological enablement of large cohorts of educated young people.
  • At Registan, Michael Hancock-Parmer makes a brief post commenting on the similarities–phonetic and otherwise–between the Kazakhs and the Cossacks.
  • Towleroad notes Germany’s defense of its foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, from Belarus’ Lukashenko after the man public statement that it was better to be a dictator that to be gay.
  • At the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin describes the major perspectives of libertarians on the United States’ Civil War, covering everything from libertarian supporters of the Union who think the war was the best way of freeing the slaves to full-out supporters of the Confederacy who forget that blacks count as people.