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Slavery, “Heritage” and Southern Fried “Free Speech”

Who knew that neo-Nazi, KKK white supremacists and Trump supporters were liars, cry-babies AND hypocrites?

The reasons for secession by the states of the Confederacy were not complex or ambiguous. They are not a mystery. They were proudly proclaimed by the Confederate states. The cornerstone of the Confederacy was slavery and the conviction of the racial superiority of the White man and the social, moral and political inferiority of Africans. This was stated unambiguously in the cornerstone speech by Confederacy Vice President Alexander Stephens:

The ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were that the enslavement of the African race was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. Our new government is founded on exactly opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and moral condition. This our Government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. It is upon this our social fabric is firmly planted, and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of the full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world…. This stone which was rejected by the first builders ‘is become the chief stone of the corner’ in our new edifice.

The idea that slavery wasn’t the reason for the secession was an afterthought that was solidified into unquestionable dogma a half century after the end of the Civil War. Yes, we have documents in the career of Mildred Lewis Rutherford and the successful campaign to rewrite the history of the Civil War, as taught in the South. “Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves.”

This should also put to rest any notion that “defenders of Southern heritage” are champions of “free speech.” The are liars, cry-babies, hypocrites and TOTALITARIANS bent on imposing their self-serving distortions of history on everyone else.

Miss Mildred L. Rutherford

At their 1919 reunion the United Confederate Veterans “resolved to inaugurate a movement to disseminate the truths of Confederate history.” To carry out this aim, they comissioned Miss Rutherford, Historian for the United Daughters of the Confederacy to prepare “A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books and Reference Books in Schools, Colleges and Libraries” to be used by textbook committees of boards of education, private schools and libraries to ensure “absolute fairness” “truth in history” and “full justice to the South.”

These crackers were not just whistling Dixie. If you know anything about the textbook industry, whatever Texas wants, y’all get. “The Lost Cause triumphed in the curriculum,” quipped historian James McPherson, “if not on the battlefield.” Here are some excerpts from the pamphlet’s front matter:

A MEASURING ROD FOR TEXT-BOOKS 

” ‘A Measuring Rod For Text-Books,’ prepared by Miss Mildred L. Rutherford, by which every text-book on history and literature in Southern schools should be tested by those desiring the truth, was submitted to the Committee. This outline was read and carefully considered. 

“The Committee charged, as it is, with the dissemination of the truths of Confederate history, earnestly and fully and officially, approve all that is herein so truthfully written as to that eventful period. 

“The Committee respectfully urges all authorities charged with the selection of text-books for colleges, schools and all scholastic institutions to measure all books offered for adoption by this “Measuring Rod” and adopt none which do not accord full justice to the South. And all library authorities in the Southern States are requested to mark all books in their collections which do not come up to the same measure, on the title page thereof, “Unjust to the South.” 

“This Committee further asks all scholastic and library authorities, in all parts of the country, in justice and fairness to their fellow citizens of the South, to yield to the above request. 

“C. IRVINE WALKER, Chairman.”

INDEX (see also “TRUTHS OF HISTORY”) 

I. The Constitution of the United States, 1787, Was a Compact between Sovereign States and Was not Perpetual nor National 6 

II. Secession Was not Rebellion 7 

III. The North Was Responsible for the War between the States 8 

IV. The War between the States Was not Fought to Hold the Slaves 9 

V. The Slaves Were Not Ill-Treated in the South and the North Was largely Responsible for their Presence in the South 10 

VI. Coercion Was not Constitutional 11 

VII. The Federal Government Was Responsible for the Andersonville Horrors 12 

VIII. The Republican Party that Elected Abraham Lincoln Was not Friendly to the South 13 

IX. The South Desired Peace and Made every Effort to Obtain it 14, 15, 16 

X. The Policy of the Northern Army Was to Destroy Property—the Southern Army to Protect it 18-21 

XI. The South Has never Had its Rightful Place in Literature 22-23

WARNING!  

Do not reject a text-book because it does not contain all that the South claims—a text-book cannot be a complete encyclopedia. 

Do not reject a text book because it omits to mention your father, your grandfather, your personal friend, socially or politically— it would take volumes to contain all of the South ‘s great men and their deeds. 

Do not reject a text-book because it may disagree with your estimate of the South ‘s great men, and the leaders of the South ‘s Army and Navy—the world can never agree with any one person’s estimate in all things. 

But—reject a book that speaks of the Constitution other than a Compact between Sovereign States. 

Reject a text-book that does not give the principles for which the South fought in 1861, and does not clearly outline the interferences with the rights guaranteed to the South by the Constitution, and which caused secession. 

Reject a book that calls the Confederate soldier a traitor or rebel, and the war a rebellion. 

Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves. 

Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder of the South as cruel and unjust to his slaves. 

Reject a text-book that glorifies Abraham Lincoln and villifies Jefferson Davis, unless a truthful cause can be found for such glorification and villification before 1865. 

Reject a text-book that omits to tell of the South ‘s heroes and their deeds when the North’s heroes and their deeds are made prominent. 

Refuse to adopt any text-book, or endorse any set of books, upon the promise of changes being made to omit the objectionable features. 

A list of books, condemned or commended by the Veterans, Sons of Veterans, and U. D. C, is being prepared by Miss Rutherford as a guide for Text-Book Committees and Librarians. This list of course contains only the names of those books which have been submitted for examination. Others will be added and published monthly in “The Confederate Veteran” Nashville, Tennessee. 

_______________________

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Deep Structures of the Cultural Marxism Myth

Jeet Heer has posted a timely and excellent essay at New Republic titled “Trump’s Racism and the Cultural Marxism Myth.” In his essay, Heer recounts much of the background to the Higgins memo that I have documented here, here and here. Heer credits William S. Lind as the major popularizer of the myth, as have I in my blog posts. What I’m posting here extends the analysis and reveals significant background about personnel and timelines to the story.

In my most recent post, I started to probe further back into the myth’s history with an examination of Eliseo Vivas’s over-the-top invective against Herbert Marcuse since the late 1960s. Vivas was deeply offended by Marcuse’s writing and expressed his displeasure in several articles and a book, Conta Marcuse. He was also a frequent contributor to the journals, Modern Age and Intercollegiate Review both of which are associated with the conservative organization, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute or ISI. From a snippet of a speech by ISI president T. Kenneth Cribb in Ellen Messer-Davidow’s 1993 article, “Manufacturing the Attack on Liberalized Higher Education” I had the hunch that the ISI might offer a clue to the metamorphosis from Vivas’s anti-Marcuse screeds to the full-blown cultural Marxism myth that appeared in Lind’s pamphlet, Pat Buchanan’s book, Higgins’s memo and Anders Breivik’s manifesto.

Cribb is a pivotal character in this saga. He was national director of the ISI from 1972 to 1977, then, after earning a law degree went to work for Edwin Meese during the Reagan campaign in 1980 and ended up Counselor to the Attorney General and subsequently Assistant for Domestic Affairs to President Reagan. After the end of the Reagan administration, Cribb returned to the ISI to serve as president of that organization from 1989 to 2011.

Krawattennazis Rich Higgins and T. Kenneth Cribb

In 1989, Cribb gave an address to the Heritage Foundation on “Conservatism and the American Academy: Prospects for the 1990s” in which he outlined his vision for a “sustained counteroffensive” on what he characterized as “the last Leftist redoubt, the college campus.” Cribb painted a picture of relentless persecution and harassment of conservatives in American universities taken mostly from Peter Collier and David Horowitz’s Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties. He boasted of the ISI’s readiness for that counteroffensive:

In addition to saving a remnant that renews the font of conservative ideas, we are now strong enough to establish a contemporary presence for conservatism on campus, and contest the Left on its own turf. We plan to do this by greatly expanding the ISI field effort, its network of campus-based programming.

Cribb was unequivocal in his view that academia was “the one redoubt left to it [the left] by the successful conservative counterattack of the 1970s and 1980s.” His promised counteroffensive was thus presented as a mop-up operation for the establishment of a “free” society, which is to say a traditionalist society freed of the nuisances of relativism and other non-conservative heresies.

Fifteen years into that mop-up operation, Cribb contributed a chapter to William Lind’s Political Correctness: a Short History of an Ideology, the locus classicus of the cultural Marxism myth. Cribb’s chapter was titled “Political Correctness in Higher Education.” It presented anecdotes from conservative college newspapers affiliated with the ISI meant to illustrate the “alarming rate” at which “the freedom to articulate and discuss ideas” was being eroded by incidents of intolerance and corruption of the curriculum to downplay the significance of Western Civilization.

“While it would be easy to dismiss such demonstrations of intolerance as student pranks,” he admitted, “these incidents are the surface manifestations of a more pervasive and insidious trend…” The headline outrage was the burning of “hundreds (sometimes thousands) of copies of conservative student newspapers.”  He concluded his chapter with a brief account of the ISI’s efforts to stem the tide of the alarming erosion of freedom. Along with other sections of the Lind book, whole passages from Cribb’s chapter were ‘cribbed’ by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik for his manifesto.

Curiously, there was no mention in Cribb’s 1989 address to the Heritage Foundation of Herbert Marcuse, the Frankfurt School or cultural Marxism nor was there in the book by Collier and Horowitz book that Cribb had cited. “Politically correct” gets four hits though. Yet Horowitz  and Collier were active participants in 1960s New Left extremism. Similarly, ISI poster boy Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education from 1991 contains one brief and not particularly scathing mention of Marcuse and one reference political correctness but no mention of the Frankfurt School or cultural Marxism.

The political correctness. cultural Marxism stew didn’t get all its ingredients until the 1992 article, “New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and Political Correctness,” whose author, Michael J. Minnicino, subsequently disowned his work as “hopelessly deformed by self-censorship and the desire to in some way support Mr. LaRouche’s crack-brained world-view.” That fine piece of Western Civilization scholarship was then taken over and reworked by Lind in 1997.

At last we have a doctrine, a vanguard organization, and a timeline. But most importantly, courtesy of the Larouche cult, we now have a suitably unitary devil-function. The “basic Nazi trick,” as Kenneth Burke labeled “the ‘curative’ unification by a fictitious devil-function, gradually made convincing by the sloganizing repetitiousness of standard advertising technique.” Helpfully, in a 1988 address to the Heritage Foundation,William F. Campbell explained why conservatives need such a devil-function:

But as first and second generation conservatives have always known, and had to live with as an unpleasant skeleton in the family closet, there is sharp tension, if not contradiction, between the traditionalist and the libertarian wings of the conservative movement. They have been held together primarily because of their common enemies, modern egalitarianism and totalitarian collectivism, which they both abhor. 

In 1988, when Campbell made those remarks, the Soviet Union still existed and could serve the primary role of common enemy, symbolizing the alien totalitarian destiny of domestic egalitarianism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new enemy had to be conjured. The Higgins memo is testament to the contortions that must be endured to conjure that devil.

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The “Narratives” of Higgins’s “Warfare”

The word ‘narrative’ appears 41 times in the infamous Higgins memo, “POTUS and Political Warfare.” Guys, it’s time for some narrative critique. The narrative Higgins is most concerned about is something he calls “cultural Marxism,” which he defines in a paragraph at the top of page four of the memo:

As used in this discussion, cultural Marxism relates to programs and activities that arise out of Gramsci Marxism, Fabian Socialism and most directly from the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt strategy deconstructs societies through attacks on culture by imposing a dialectic that forces unresolvable contradictions under the rubric of critical theory. The result is induced nihilism, a belief in everything that is actually the belief in nothing.

What does this mean? I think what Higgins was trying to say is that the Frankfurt School’s critical theory seeks to tear down Western Civilization societies by undermining Judeo-Christian culture.The Western Civilization and Judeo-Christian stipulations appear elsewhere in his manifesto memo. As an example of how this undermining is to take place, Higgins offered a series of quotes from Herbert Marcuse’s 1965 essay, “Repressive Tolerance,” in which, Higgins claimed, “Marcuse defined tolerance as intolerance.”
In all fairness to Higgins, his interpretation of the Marcuse essay is probably not his. It is likely he never read the essay. The legendary characterization of Marcuse’s essay is a set piece that has been passed down from conservative magazine article to conservative pamphlet to conservative blog post to conservative twitter screed for decades. Leaving aside the accuracy of the interpretation, the question Higgins left unanswered — because presumably unasked — is how did this obscure text become as diabolically pervasive and influential as Higgins claims it is?

For the answer to that question, we need to go to Higgins’s sources, even though he hasn’t explicitly named them and quite possibly doesn’t know what they are. The political correctness, cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, repressive tolerance “narrative” is out there in the miasma.

I have previously documented the plagiarism link between cultural conservative William S. Lind’s propaganda pamphlets and mass murderer Anders Breivik’s manifesto. Now I would like to dig a little deeper and identify a grandfather meme: Eliseo’s Vivas’s “Herbert Marcuse: ‘Philosopher’ en titre of the New Nihilists.” Vivas also wrote a polemical book, Contra Marcuse, but having read the article, I think I get the drift of his diatribe method of critique.

In “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s ‘Battle'” Kenneth Burke warned against “vandalistic” commentary on a text, even one as exasperating and nauseating as Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Inflicting a “few symbolic wounds” on the text is more gratifying than it is enlightening. With “the testament of a man who swung a great people into his wake” it would be prudent to “discover what kind of ‘medicine’ this medicine-man has concocted, that we may know, with greater accuracy, exactly what to guard against…”

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The Higgins Memo, Anders Breivik and the Lyndon LaRouche Cult

Back in 2011 after mass murderer Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway I had a look at his “manifesto” because I  had heard that it spun a conspiracy theory around “cultural Marxism,” multiculturalism, “political correctness” and the Frankfurt School. It turned out that the document was largely plagiarized from “Political Correctness: a Short History of an Ideology?” by William S. Lind, who at the time he wrote his pamphlet was Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation. It also turned out that Lind’s “short history” was also largely cribbed, in his case from an article published in 1992 in a Lyndon LaRouche  cult journal called Fidelio. The author of that article subsequently repudiated both his article and his association with the LaRouche cult.

Rich Higgins, the author of the May 2017 memo, “POTUS and Political Warfare,” was in the strategic planning office of the National Security Council until soon after his memo was discovered and read, presumably by General McMaster, he was given the option to resign and then escorted out of the building. Higgins memo rehashes all the old Lyndon Larouche, William S. Lind, Anders Breivik rigmarole.

I’m not going to repeat that all here. I wrote about it in a series of posts at Ecological Headstand in July and August of 2011 and revisited the topic in an EconoSpeak post from August 2015, Politics of Pastiche: “voters… need someone to fire all the political-correct police”. One fascinating aspect of this story is that Frankfurt School historian Martin Jay had an encounter with Lind and wrote about it in Salmagundi,”Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe.

The “lunatic fringe” is now installed in the White House. Although Higgins, Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey were fired, according to the Foreign Policy article:

In the meantime, however, the memo had been working its way through the Trump White House. Among those who received the memo, according to two sources, was Donald Trump Jr.

Trump Jr., at that time in the glare of media scrutiny around his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign, gave the memo to his father, who gushed over it, according to sources.

In a comedy of errors, Trump later learned from Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close friend of the president, that the memo’s author had been fired. Trump was “furious,” the senior administration official said. “He is still furious.”

See also Chip Berlet’s summary from August 2011 of Breivik’s Core Thesis is White Christian Nationalism v. Multiculturalism.

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The Masters Always Deal Themselves the Trumps

More Feargus O’Connor (1844) on labour’s objections to machinery:

And now, sir, let me state my principal objections to the unrestricted use of machinery. First, it places man in an artificial state, over which the best workman, the wisest man and most moral person, has no control. Secondly, while it leads to the almost certain fortune of those who have capital in sufficient amount to command those profits, made up, as you admit, by the reduction of wages; upon the other hand, it leads to uncertainty in the condition of the employed, against which he is incapable of contending. Thirdly, it disarranges all the social machinery of which formerly individuals were necessary items, families formed branches, and small rural districts important sections of the one great whole. Fourthly, the present fluctuations give rise, in good trade, to an augmentation of artificial classes, if I may so call them, who have no natural position in society, but are merely called into existence by present appearances, trade upon nothings, traffic in fiction, and, like your order, speculate upon what they may retire upon when trade begins to flag. Hence we find each fluctuation in trade followed by a new race of shopkeepers, who are grasping in prosperity, compound when appearances change, and retire when adversity comes, leaving a vacuum to be filled up by the next alternation from panic to speculation. 

… 

And now, as the thread of our dialogue has been somewhat broken, I beg to submit a summary of my objections to machinery. Firstly, the application of inanimate power to the production of the staple commodities of a country must inevitably depreciate the value of manual labour; and every depreciation of the value of man’s labour in an equal degree lowers the working-man in the scale of society, as well as in his own esteem: thus making him a mere passive instrument, subservient to any laws that the money classes may choose to inflict, to any rules the owners may impose, and satisfied with a comparative state of existence. I object to machinery, because, without reference to the great questions of demand and supply, the masters can play with unconscious labour as they please, and always deal themselves the trumps. I object to machinery, because it may be multiplied to an extent whereby manual labour may be rendered altogether valueless: I object to machinery, because under its existing operation you admit the necessity of emigration, better ventilation, education, improved morality, manners, habits, and customs of the working classes, thereby showing that a slate of recklessness, ignorance, want, and depravity exists; which, as I before said, you admit to be consequences of the present system.

While the inevitability of each of O’Connor’s objections is subject to debate, the crucial issues at stake for him are the sociological and psychological effects of the unrestricted use of machinery on communities and individuals, under its existing operation. The specter of the “job-killing robot” plays a minor and only contingent role: “it may be multiplied to an extent whereby manual labour may be rendered valueless.” Even that objection can readily be interpreted as more significantly about a loss of social status and psychological esteem rather than a wholesale elimination of jobs.

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Crowding Out and the Social Overhead Costs of Labor

Crowding Out and the Social Overhead Costs of Labor

Another strange twist in the convoluted lump-of-labor saga. Chartist leader Feargus O’Connor refuted the “Treasury View” — aka “crowding out” — in 1844. O’Connor’s tract is long-winded and sentimentalized an idyllic past but it also contains some cogent analysis of why workers were (and should still be) wary of the exploitative use of technology by capitalist firms.

O’Connor’s critique took the form of a dialogue, which parodied and refuted an earlier dialogue, “The Employer and Employed,” that had been published in Chambers’s Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Tracts. In the Chambers dialogue, the mill owner, Mr. Smith explains to a worker, Mr. Jackson, how the immutable laws of economics harmonize their interests. Smith’s elaboration of the doctrine of wages was described elsewhere as “right orthodox, and admirably clear too.” I will return to O’Connor’s rebuttal in more detail later, but first I would like to set the stage by briefly reviewing the contemporary relevance and the historical background of the central argument in the two dialogues.

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Here is a Little Economics Lesson

Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand. You put the supply out there, and demand will follow. — Rick Perry, U.S. Secretary of Energy

While the media is having fun at the expense of Secretary Perry’s asinine “economics lesson” it is worth pointing out that the very same publications that ridicule Perry perpetually peddle the exact same theory under the guise of “debunking” the imaginary lump-of-labor fallacy. Here is The Economist from yesterday telling its readers that the demand for goods and services is infinite:

By the 1990s governments and employers realised they were making pension promises they would not be able to keep. The idea that there is only a finite number of jobs to go round—the “lump of labour”—was more widely exposed as a fallacy. It became fashionable to argue that “we must work till we drop.”

Just for the record, the number of jobs to go round is indeed finite. The demand for goods and services is limited by the funds and credit available to consumers to purchase them and the time available to consume them. Those funds and credit are, in principle, limited even though those limits are, in practice, quite malleable and difficult to pinpoint. Expansion of credit beyond those limits invariably leads to collapse when debt loses its “credibility” — which is to say the reasonable expectation that the debtor can continue to service the debt.

Perry may be a total fool but he is only parroting what he has been taught by… “economists.”

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Sandwichman in the FT

Sandwichman in the FT

Financial Times: “The minimum wage wars are heating up: A new study fails to prove its claim that Seattle wage floor hurts workers” by Martin Sandbu, at Free Lunch on FT Alphaville

First, the numerical result struggles to pass an intuitive “smell test”. As the Angry Bear blog [cross posted at EconoSpeak!] points out, employment in Seattle was booming throughout the period: average wages increased by 18 per cent (!) in the time covered by the study; as did the number of hours worked at all wage rates. It is important to note that the researchers have data on jobs, not on individual workers — so even if there are fewer low-paid jobs than before, it does not follow that workers have lost as many jobs rather than moved into better ones.

Fifth, there is a simple arithmetical issue with the methodology. If “low-paid” is defined as below a fixed threshold wage ($19/hour in this study), higher average wage growth in one group relative to an initially similar control group will necessarily take more people out of the low-wage bracket. Such wage bracket creep means that the higher wage growth will “cause” a “loss” of low-wage work through mechanical arithmetics even if nothing causal is happening (indeed even if everyone stays in the same job).

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Arithmetic is Hard: Wage-Bracket Creep

There has been a lot of very good critique of the methodology of the University of Washington’s study of the minimum wage increase in Seattle. However, I want to repeat and emphasize a very simple point that jumps out.

A static low-wage cutoff point, whether it be $19 or $100, automatically reduces the size of the treatment group (Seattle) if wages in the treatment group are increasing faster than the wage of the control group.

This is not erudite statistical methodology. This is simple arithmetic. If the wages in the treatment group increase at a higher percentage rate than the wages in the control group, more workers are lifted above the $19 threshold in the treatment group than in the control group.  This is true if the treatment group and the control group are otherwise absolutely identical. This is what I call wage-bracket creep. The extremely simplified example below shows how this looks, the yellow cells represent workers whose jobs and hours would be “lost” (to the study) as they pass the $19 threshold:

See how much worse off the treatment group is than the control group? The yellow cell occupants haven’t lost their jobs, they have simply been excluded from their respective groups because their wage now exceeds the static cutoff amount.

Of course, I wondered if the study authors could be making such a simple arithmetic mistake. So I reached out to one of the authors, who generously replied but appeared to confirm that they relied on a static threshold. I say appeared because some of the replies were, shall we say, “ambiguous” but did not disclaim use of a static threshold when I sought explicit confirmation or denial.

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