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Interesting Exchange on Another Forum

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Author Topic: Interesting Exchange on Another Forum  (Read 280 times)
Bad Penny
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« on: April 20, 2011, 03:56:18 am »

The thread to which I refer, whose original poster was other than myself, is entitled: Civil Warriors -- Teacher's Pride Over Ancestor's Loyalty to the Confederacy

Here's the original post:

I found it appalling to hear teacher Cornelia Granbery, descendent of southern slave owner Cornelia McDonald, talk about gaining, "a better sense of pride", over learning of her ancestor's refusal to take an oath of loyalty to the Union --which would have enabled McDonald to obtain food for her starving children. What kind of teacher today would value loyalty to the confederacy over the welfare of children?

I am also a descendent of southern slave owners and I feel nothing but shame over my ancesters' involvement with slavery and their commitment to the confederacy, in order to maintain such a terrible injustice against fellow human beings.

I am a teacher, too, and, as such, I know very well that teachers must serve as models to children and the community. I would, therefore, never, ever want any of my students to think that I feel anything but disgust over my slave owning ancestors' sorely misguided commitments and priorities. Granbery needs to think about the message she is sending to her students as well.

***

Here are my responses:


You may wish to read my earlier thread "Political Correctness in 'Civil Warriors'".  While I certainly empathize with your position of guilt over your ancestors' actions and beliefs, and while I certainly agree with your analysis of the moral turpitude and social oppression of slavery, I believe you're viewing their situation through a Twenty-First Century lens which clouds your judgement.  While it's hard for us to understand how anyone could have believed as the pro-slavery crowd in the US did, we have benefit of having lived in an integrated society, whereas 19th Century Americans had no such experience.  (Don't forget that even many abolitionists refused to believe that the great Frederick Douglass had ever been a slave or that he had been self-taught.)  The big money men ran the ante-bellum South as their own little fiefdom (recall that the Confederate Army exempted from service anyone who owned more than twenty slaves, which raised the cry among the poor whites: "Rich man's war; poor man's fight!"), and these rich men constructed a very powerful propaganda apparatus which took advantage of the penchant (and conscience-salving need) of the bulk of the population for rationalization of their denial of the nature of the atrocity which they were committing.  I see the bulk of the Southern white population of the period as being, not so much evil, as deluded, and not necessarily self-deluded.

It's certainly difficult for us to understand why a mother would risk starvation for her children in order to make a political point, and yet look how many modern-day American parents will allow their children to be improperly touched by airport security personnel, not in order to support some cause, but simply in order not to miss their flights.


***

By way of clarification, my favorite period of history is the ancient Anglo-Saxon world, and I can't help but notice that the CSA corresponds to a cultural pattern that I've seen many times in the historical record, which I call "Conquest Pathology".

I can't help but notice that the vast bulk of white Southerners derive from the region of Northern England and Southern Scotland which was known, in ancient times, as the Kingdom of Northumbria.  This region enjoyed a cultural florescence that made it the most advanced culture in Europe in its day, only to be, first terrorized, then conquered, by the savages of the isolated and backward North Germanic Radiation (i.e., the Vikings).  This type of situation creates, among the conquered, a period of defiant resistance, which changes, once the immediate crisis of the post-conquest period is resolved, by chauvinism.  Should the subject population then attain power, the chauvinism becomes narcissism, which mind-set absolves it's proponent of the need to conform to the prevailing moral code, from which they see themselves as exempt.

This is to be contrasted with the experience of post-Norman-Conquest England, in which the post-conquest crisis was resolved by the conquerors becoming converted to the cause of the conquered, which results in a cultural self-confidence which falls well short of unhealthy chauvinism.

I'm not excusing evil, but I am suggesting that people can become trapped within their own cultural mind-set to the point that they view reason itself as a threat to their own sense of morality (as warped as that sense of morality may seem to outsiders to be).  And I"m also suggesting that, in such situations, understanding might be the wiser opening move than confrontation, although I believe that, based on what I've said above, confrontation between normal and pathological societies is usually inevitable.

I hope this little digression may prove useful to you.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 07:38:42 am by Bad Penny » Report Spam   Logged

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Or are you taking orders?
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We're going only forwards!

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