Home / General / The Confederate Con and Today’s NeoConfederate Con

The Confederate Con and Today’s NeoConfederate Con

Comments
/
/
/
803 Views

Screen-shot-2012-04-16-at-2.36.30-PM

I really like this essay by a white southerner who grew up around Ku Klux Klan relatives and who now realizes the Confederacy was a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class, much as conservatism is a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class today.

How did the plantation owners mislead so many Southern whites?

They managed this con job partly with a propaganda technique that will be familiar to modern Americans, but hasn’t received the coverage it deserves in our sesquicentennial celebrations. Starting in the 1840s wealthy Southerners supported more than 30 regional pro-slavery magazines, many pamphlets, newspapers and novels that falsely touted slave ownership as having benefits that would – in today’s lingo – trickle down to benefit non-slave owning whites and even blacks. The flip side of the coin of this old-is-new trickle-down propaganda is the mistaken notion that any gain by blacks in wages, schools or health care comes at the expense of the white working class.

Today’s version of this con job no longer supports slavery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro trickle-down think tanks, magazines, newspapers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foundation, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. These sources are underwritten by pro trickle-down one-per-centers like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch.

For example, a map of states that didn’t expand Medicaid – which would actually be a boon mostly to poor whites – resembles a map of the old Confederacy with a few other poor, rural states thrown in. Another indication that this divisive propaganda works on Southern whites came in 2012. Romney and Obama evenly split the white working class in the West, Midwest and Northeast. But in the South we went 2-1 for Romney.

Lowering the flag because of the harm done to blacks is the right thing to do. We also need to lower it because it symbolizes material harm the ideology of the Confederacy did to Southern whites that lasts even to this day.

One can love the South without flying the battle flag. But it won’t help to get rid of an old symbol if we can’t also rid ourselves of the self-destructive beliefs that go with it. Only by shedding those too, will Southern whites finally catch up to the rest of the country in wages, health and education.

The comment section on the other hand…..well, you’d better like mangoes.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • aturner339

    I think anyone grappling with the confluence of race and class in American politics would do well not just to study the Civil War itself but especially reconstruction. The humbling of the South’s planter aristocracy was a unique event in our history. A genuine “tipping point” for half of the nation. It was entirely possible that an alliance of poor and middle class white yeomen and freedmen could have created a society of mobility and inclusion where once stood a prototypical oligarchy.

    That didn’t happen and the why is instructive.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Even the collapse of Reconstruction didn’t totally kill off that possibility. Later acts of violence were necessary to keep it at bay. In 1898, Wilmington, NC, had a biracial elected government that was overthrown in a violent, white coup, commonly called the Wilmington Insurrection (or “Race Riot”). And the threat of extralegal violence underwrote the entire system of Jim Crow.

      • aturner339

        Exactly. And what racial ideology was in large part was a license to kill. Permission to exclude a large part of society (the south was 40% black at the time) from the protection afforded by civilization. It’s not just the economics. The psychic “benefits” of having a color coded pariah class are still tempting to a lot of people.

        • CP

          And what racial ideology was in large part was a license to kill. Permission to exclude a large part of society (the south was 40% black at the time) from the protection afforded by civilization.

          Yep. And this is to a large extent what BLM is talking about today, and what white society refuses to discuss when talking BLM. Their point isn’t simply “cops kill black people and that’s terrible,” or even “white racists kill black people and that’s terrible;” it’s “society considers black lives expendable which means that anybody can kill black people and have a not unreasonable expectation of getting away with it, and that’s terrible.” (The “black-on-black crime” that so many white people whine about is, in fact, part of the problem BLM wants addressed).

          • aturner339

            Absolutely. And most of the people whining about in that inimical “what about black on black crime?!” way hope it’s never addressed. It’s the only way the world makes sense to them.

            • Lizzy L

              One wonders if the folks who say “What about black on black crime?” are actually saying, As long there is black on black crime, crime against black people (especially scary black men) perpetrated by the police is okay. As if the existence of violence internal to the black community gave permission for police (and others) to act violently against black people.

              Reminds me of the refrain often expressed by abusers in cases of domestic violence: “She made me do it; it’s her own fault.”

              But it’s early in the morning on the left coast, and I’m not fully awake.

              • econoclast

                They’re saying that black people are animals who can’t control themselves. Hence, white people are entitled to defend themselves with violence.

                • CP

                  At its most basic, I think it’s just a way to evade the question and any responsibility that might go with it. “BLM upset when they’re killed by white people, but why aren’t they upset when they’re killed by black people which happens even more? They’re racist! They’re the real racists!”

        • AlexRobinson

          I keep hearing Randy Newman’s song “Rednecks” in the backgroud

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          I was inspired by Westworld and the election to come up with a concept for a sci-fi setting.

          It would be similar in many regards to Westworld, except the androids live among us. We have eliminated racism and many other forms of discrimination. Because it isn’t that androids are better at household tasks or practical things like that. Their purpose is primarily to be the oppressed/stigmatized class so that we don’t hate each other instead, essentially. The realism in their appearance and behavior is necessary for us to really enjoy oppressing them.

    • witlesschum

      Well, it’s more along the lines that it did happen and was quickly overthrown mainly by minority government violence. After U.S. Grant left the White House, the federal government stopped enforcing the constitution in the South.

      • aturner339

        This varies by location of course but the white yeomanry never accepted the necessity of black political participation and the moment a whites only government was an option they ceased it.

        • aturner339

          Ah the Freudian slip…

        • witlesschum

          Enough of a minority of white people did accept it that together with black people they could elect governments in fair elections. Hence, the lack of fair elections. Killing of white unionists was also not exactly unknown, though of course the violence fell most heavily on black people.

      • GCarty

        Reconstruction failed for the same reason that Versailles failed, because the peace settlement required too much enforcement effort on the part of the victors.

        The post-1945 settlement with Germany succeeded because the Americans and British couldn’t pull out of West Germany (because the Soviets would take over).

    • rhino

      Are there any examples from history of nations which faced a similar problem and overcame it? It seems to me as though industrial slavery created a unique situation.

      South Africa maybe? Not to say they have overcome their issues, mind you, but a similar situation of two enormous parallel gulfs, one of economic class, and one of colour,

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    “That didn’t happen and the why is instructive.”

    I blame that lazy shiftless Gen. Sherman, who didn’t finish the job.

    • GCarty

      The reason Radical Reconstruction didn’t work was because there was no Haitian Empire invading the Confederacy from the South, to serve the same function that the USSR played in the de-Nazification of Germany post-1945.

      1865 was more like 1918 than 1945, in that there was no “bad cop” to the Union’s “good cop”, and Radical Reconstruction failed just as Versailles failed.

      • aturner339

        I think rather Reconstruction was hobbled by the lack of political will to pursue Southern Land Reform. In an agricultural society the landless poor are never going to be a political force.

        • In the US it seems the political will to do something for poor and or black Americans runs out just after the “provide the bare minimum of services to prevent a nationwide communist revolution” bar has been cleared. And of course Republican policy is a continual hunt for just how low that bar can be set.

          • CP

            Yeah. Every possible scenario for reconstruction going better that I can think of is killed by the fact that Northern society as a whole wasn’t really interested in rebuilding the South as a more democratic and egalitarian society (plenty of racism there too), and that the elites that were taking over the country at the time (the robber-barons) especially had no interest in seeing any part of the country getting more democratic or egalitarian.

            • Aaron Morrow

              I don’t know. On the one hand, the Panic of 1873 helped conservatives gain power in the House in 1874 and weakened the position of Grant within the party so much that Hayes “accidentally” ended up with the nomination. I suspect that the Grange movement could have been stronger and later made more inroads into the South with a stronger economy and continued Republican support of Reconstruction.

              On the other hand, your facts are absolutely correct, so I can’t dismiss your conclusion.

        • JR in WV

          Actually, once the federal government stopped enforcing the constitution in the deep south, the black landowners ( and poor white landowners ) had their land stolen by well-to-do whites who lied about the land ownership, and had their lies upheld by whites-only juries who wanted to believe the lies that would take land from successful black farmers.

          There have been many cases of this kind of theft by legal means during the failure of reconstruction. So what land reform occurred was reversed immediately upon the end of black people’s ability to participate in local government.

          Even if there had been large-scale confiscation of huge plantations by the federal reconstruction state and local governments, and that land redistributed to poor former slaves and whites, it would have been confiscated as soon as possible after the federal enforcement of the constitution waned.

          Jim Crow was all about power of the white man over the less-white peoples, and even over women of their own shades of white. The power pyramid came to a sharp point with just the wealthy former slave owner men comprising that sharp point.

    • rhino

      This is like blaming the second gulf war on HW Bush for not going to Baghdad the first time. All it gets you is the same results we got after gulf war 2.

      Unless you actually commit genocide, the conquered population has to want you there, or you’re going to have a bad time.

      The real argument is what the north should have done, after victory, that could have prevented all this shit. They needed to find a way white southerners and black southerners could participate in the economy that didn’t involve slavery, or the de facto slavery that actually continued in many places, and they needed to find a way to rapidly uplift and educate the black population into competitive equality with the whites. And they needed to do all that while defusing racial tensions between a justifiably very angry and resentful black population and a fearful white population that was also conscious of losing their superior status.

      I don’t see any way the above is even possible. Maybe forced resettlement of all the white people to the west? Of course that’s just fucking over the native americans… Forced segregation of blacks and whites into separate states, then slowly working to erase inequalities? Obviously none of these are acceptable options, but really, what the hell would have worked?

      • Maybe forced resettlement of all the white people to the west? Of course that’s just fucking over the native americans…

        Well, how about the mirror image of sending the blacks back to Africa? I’m sure that England and Scotland and Germany and so on would have been very welcoming to their diaspora of deplorables!!!

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          But we didn’t send black people back to where they actually came from, we just picked a spot arbitrarily and made Liberia.

          So we could’ve sent them all to… Albania. That’s where you Europeans came from, right?

      • Ahuitzotl

        This is like blaming the second gulf war on HW Bush for not going to Baghdad the first time. All it gets you is the same results we got after gulf war 2.

        That’s really not necessarily true, re: Iraq. What you got after GW2 was quite specific to the staggeringly inept way the occupation was organised, or not organised. It’s quite possible to occupy another country without the population wanting you there, so long as you take steps to ensure discontent is kept to manageable levels.

      • GCarty

        GHW Bush’s administration is deserving of severe criticism for failing to at least liberate the Shi’a south of Iraq in 1991. If the West had done this then it would had the Shi’as as strong allies in southern Iraq, just like the Kurds in Northern Iraq. (Saddam could have been left to rot in the Sunni Triangle until one of his own generals put a bullet in him).

        As it was Bush abandoned the Shi’as to be slaughtered by Saddam in order to keep the Saudis happy, with the result than in 2003 they regarded the West as just as much of an enemy as Saddam’s regime!

  • KeithB

    So whose fault is this, the rich for conning the white working class all this time, or the people who have allowed themselves to be played as patsies? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me constantly for years, shame on me.

    • Rob in CT

      Um, both?

      • addicted44

        I’m curious if there are similar instances historically where one group of powerful people were essentially conning another group of powerless and poor people and succeeding because there was a 3rd group that was even less powerful.

        And if such a thing existed, if it got better, and if so, what actually led to the change?

        • DAS

          Um … Jews in Europe, and especially in Russia, being used as scapegoats? The policy of directing lower class frustrations away from the upper class and towards the Jews was pretty explicit in Tsarist Russia. And we know how Russian history worked out for all parties involved.

          ETA: Jews were not necessarily economically disadvantaged by the European version of Jim Crow, though.

          • CP

            The policy of directing lower class frustrations away from the upper class and towards the Jews was pretty explicit in Tsarist Russia.

            I would say in Europe in general, though it’d be no surprise for it to be at its worst in Russia. Doesn’t seem a coincidence that the Dreyfuss Affair and the general rising antisemitism that surrounded it were being pushed all the way by the Catholic clergy and other traditional, anti-republican elites.

            • DrDick

              Absolutely.

            • Pat

              What about the Roma in Europe and the Travelers in Great Britain?

              • CP

                That too. I just don’t think antiziganism ever rose to the level of antisemitism when it comes to race resentments on which the politics of entire nations turned. (Which isn’t to say that they were treated better).

              • One difference is that Jews were at times invited in, when they served a purpose (as, say, ethnic Germans were invited to settle Central Europe), then expelled or allowed to be persecuted when that served a better purpose for the state. Then a different state invited them in, the last being the Tsars. That didn’t happen with the Roma. A better, though not perfect, parallel might be South Asians in Africa. Or, hopefully not, Muslim factory workers in Britain.

              • Ronan

                Tangentially, but iirc you’re a scientist so you might be interested.
                New paper out on traveller population genetics (showing a longer term differentiation than conventional story claims)

                http://www.nature.com/articles/srep42187

          • Abbey Bartlet

            ETA: Jews were not necessarily economically disadvantaged by the European version of Jim Crow, though.

            I don’t see how.

            • DrDick

              Me either. They were excluded from owning land in Western Europe and excluded from many occupations as well.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                And having to live in fear of violence kind of fucks you up economically.

                • Pat

                  Ever see pictures of the ghettos in Europe? Guess who lived there?

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Ever see pictures of the ghettos in Europe? Guess who lived there?

                  Pardon?

                • Pat

                  Well, okay, I was remembering pictures of the gate taken at the Krakow ghetto by a friend of mine. But a quick survey of Wiki tells me that the ghettos were a Nazi phenomenon.

                • sibusisodan

                  . But a quick survey of Wiki tells me that the ghettos were a Nazi phenomenon.

                  The word originates from the term used by the Venetian Republic saying where the Jewish people had to live. They have a long and awful European history.

                • econoclast

                  Ghetto is the name of an actual (still extant) neighborhood in Venice, where in the Renaissance was the only place in Venice that Jewish people were allowed to live.

                • rhino

                  No, the ghettoes were not just a Nazi thing.

                  I am not sure, though, to what extent Jews living in specific quarters was any more a ‘thing’ than any other ethnic group living in specific quarters in medieval (and after) cities.

                  I know most ‘cosmopolitan’ trading cities had ‘spanish quarters’ and ‘dutch quarters’ in which foreigners tended to live.

                • Yes, the Jewish Ghetto was a “thing” distinct from other settlements of, say, genoese traders elsewhere. Because the Ghetto, in Venice, was not permitted to be expanded so that the inhabitants were forced to build upwards and subdivide housing as their population increased. Other traditional ethnic enclaves were (generally speaking, in plural societies or empires) not restricted as to size or population in this way. The gates, the examination, the treatment of the inhabitants were all quite different from voluntary ethnic enclaves.

                • N__B

                  To continue Aimai’s point, the back alleys of Venice are, generally, sort if claustrophobic: narrow, twisty, with 3- 4- and 5-story buildings on both sides. The back alleys in the Ghetto are narrower, twistier, and surrounded by taller buildings. It’s oppressive today, when the buildings aren’t crowded. I can only imagine what it was like a few hundred years ago.

                • LeeEsq

                  During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Frankfurt Ghetto was considered to be the worst in Europe. It was the smallest and most overcrowded. Prague’s Jewish Ghetto was destroyed in the 19th century in an early Austro-Hungarian version of urban renewal.

            • LeeEsq

              The May Laws really limited Jewish educational opportunities in Russia. The Pale of Settlement restricted their movement. Even in countries where Jews were emancipated like Imperial Germany, many jobs required conversion.

              • DrDick

                If not formally, then informally. Marx’s family converted for that reason (though they do not seem to have been particularly religious).

          • They were prevented from engaging in farming, for example, which further isolated them from their neighbors and forced many of them to subsist by peddling and some trade–that worked out well or some and condemned others to a life of poverty.

          • rhino

            It’s my understanding that, in most places, at most times, Jews assuredly were economically disadvantaged, and severely so. The entire reason for (some small numbers) of Jews becoming wealthy bankers was that they were forbidden from practicing many other occupations and trades. This meant they had to find loopholes and niches in which to function, and banking was one of the few.

            • DrDick

              Generally speaking that is true, though many of the Jewish banking families had been successful merchants, another occupation open to them, which was the source of their money to lend. It is also the case that in Medieval Europe charging interest was a sin and a crime (usury), so Christians could not be bankers.

          • JR in WV

            DAS said:

            ETA: Jews were not necessarily economically disadvantaged by the European version of Jim Crow, though.

            I think you’re being ahistorical. While there were wealthy Jews in Europe, they were a tiny minority of the Jewish community, and really served more to validate the mythologies of the anti-semitic haters than to uplift the rest of their Jewish communities.

            The minute anti-semitic policies became lawful, the wealthy Jews lost their positions of power and influence. They lost firs their wealth and then their lives very soon thereafter. Much worse than Jim Crow, really, which had no real genocidal features built in. They really needed their “colored” underclass to validate their white superiority.

            • Origami Isopod

              Much worse than Jim Crow, really, which had no real genocidal features built in.

              I’m Ashkenazi and I really don’t feel comfortable comparing the two phenomena. They’re very different, each awful in its own way.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                I’m Ashkenazi and I really don’t feel comfortable comparing the two phenomena. They’re very different, each awful in its own way.

                I’d like to cosign that.

        • DrDick

          All over the world and mostly it does not really get much better.

        • Ithaqua

          Central America. The almost-pureblood Spanish who controlled the government and the Church gained the support of the far more numerous mixed bloods by playing them off against the Maya. This fell apart in the early-to-mid 1800s when the government decided to tax the Church, and the Church turned against them and sided with the Maya. Oppression of the Maya was really brutal, and a civil war broke out. Unfortunately for the Spanish, one of the great military geniuses of all time happened to be an illiterate Mayan peasant whose wife IIRC was raped and murdered by Contra-type thugs, and he built up an untrained, ill-equipped army and smashed the government forces. The Spanish leaders fled to South America, and he – dominated by the priests – took over the government. Too long to describe what happens next, but Stephens – the guy who found all those Mayan ruins – was travelling in the area under a diplomatic passport while all this happened and met the guy when his forces took over the town where Stephens happened to be. His books of his journey are a fascinating read.

          Of course, looking at Central America today, there’s still a lot of hangover of those times, but the installation of the Banana Republics probably delayed what might be called a “national reconciliation” and evolution of a relatively caste-free society by several generations.

          • Keaaukane

            At the risk of showing my ignorance again, who is the military genius you refer to?

        • Rob in CT

          Others have given some good examples (the Central America one directly above is a great one), but I think there are probably plenty more.

          And if such a thing existed, if it got better, and if so, what actually led to the change?

          A new, external enemy? Maybe I’m just cynical today…

    • libarbarian

      Yeah. It’s hard to pick sides in the contest between Conbros and Suckerbros

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I’ll have you arrested on avisodomy charges.

        • ArchTeryx

          …fucking the chicken is now illegal? Then how come the entire House GOP caucus isn’t under lock and key at this point?

          • rea

            Speech and debate clause.

          • Origami Isopod

            IOKTFTCIYAR.

    • DrDick

      This kind of thing is actually quite pervasive throughout the country. The elites largely control the flow of information, as well as the means of production.

      • Yes, and thanks to this controlled flow of information (fox news, Facebook, talk radio) the very people who think they are best informed are worst informed. So its impossible to interrupt, disrupt, or inform them of counterfactuals or reality because they are already “doing” their civic duty, as they see it. And you are embarrassing them, and challenging them intellectually and emotionally, on what they see as an actual point of pride: that they are well informed.

        I’m reflecting on the twitter feed of the MACatholic mom who just embarrassed herself publicly by lecturing the editor of NRO that he should “read some conservative magazines” because she presumed he was a liberal opposing Trump’s health care reform. Her twitter feed is basically full of retweets of fox news/breitbart propaganda that was carefully targeted to her catholic sensibilities: stories about the elimination of Downs Syndrome in Iceland (because everyone gets tested and 100 percent of parents decide to abort), stories about how planned parenthood “doesn’t give prenatal care” and should be defunded for that reason. Etc..etc..etc…

        • Pat

          Sometimes I think a group of leftists should hack these information streams and start pushing them way over the edge. Sort of like christwire.com.

          There are studies that show that the way to get people to start questioning is to agree with them, and then follow the argument past its logical extremes.

          Stories about how the Baptist church pretends to be christian but actually sells infants for sacrifice…

          • CP

            Sometimes I think a group of leftists should hack these information streams and start pushing them way over the edge.

            Encouraging that stuff never ends well.

            • Pat

              And I’m too damn lazy.

            • Origami Isopod

              +1, that’s just asking for trouble.

              I wouldn’t have any problems with hacks or takeovers of reactionary “news” sites or channels/stations that replaced their propaganda with actual news. Not legal, but I don’t give a fuck at this point.

        • Yes, this.

          Though it’s hard to feel sorry for the editor of NRO, which has so strongly pushed the hyper-polarization that made Breitbart possible for so long, and encouraged the process where a print outlet could remain respectable and above it all even while the same writers were publishing extremist hysteria online under what was 90% the same masthead.

    • tsam

      So whose fault is this,

      This isn’t even a question. It’s ALWAYS the fault of the con-artists/thieves. I’m stopping short of calling dumbfuck white people victims, but they are falling for a rather elaborate and effective con.

      This kind of thing works on everybody, not just booger eating hillbillies from SC.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        This isn’t even a question. It’s ALWAYS the fault of the con-artists/thieves. I’m stopping short of calling dumbfuck white people victims, but they are falling for a rather elaborate and effective con.

        Except this year it wasn’t a con.

        • tsam

          It’s all a con. How is it that a tax increase on marginal rates for rich people brings out masses of working poor to stick up for those oppressed blue bloods? Failing Obamacare (IT’S JUST FAILING, K? TRUST ME)–this is all part of the same long con those rich white assholes have been running since the bourgeoisie showed up in Europe.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I mean, I keep hearing “They were conned by him!!!” when they in fact were not; he promised them vulgarity and white supremacy and Handmaid’s Tale shit.

            • tsam

              Well, I would never suggest that people who blindly accept this bullshit are blameless. But if we want to do anything about it, decapitating the machinery of the con is going to be the only effective first move. Convincing people who think camo is acceptable to wear in public without being required by the UCMJ to be less racist and stupid isn’t going to happen until the conspiracy mongering machine that feeds them all this shit gets buried where it belongs.

              • Bugboy

                RE: “Camo is acceptable to wear in public”

                Much like a great deal of what Trump says (tweets?) reveals insecurities on his part, the camo wearing speaks to the issue of people whose lives are empty of meaning and purpose, yearning to “be someone”, and doing so by pretending they are military.

                We live in an elitist society where you aren’t a rock star, unless you have a top 10 hit and win a Grammy every year. Hell, that kind of pressure is probably what drove Amy Winehouse to her grave.

                It’s not good enough to provide for your family, to support yourself, to be adequate at life, you have to excel at it, year after year. I think Trump gave a voice to that yearning.

                So it’s not a simple as unplugging the con machine. It’s a fundamental problem with capitalism.

                • David Allan Poe

                  Much like a great deal of what Trump says (tweets?) reveals insecurities on his part, the camo wearing speaks to the issue of people whose lives are empty of meaning and purpose, yearning to “be someone”, and doing so by pretending they are military.

                  Camo isn’t a military fantasy. It’s tribal dress that signifies that the wearer is “outdoorsy” and interested in some manner in hunting and fishing and other manly pursuits, as opposed to fleece and puffy jackets, which display a preference for kayaking and hiking and other sissified city-people hobbies.

      • LeeEsq

        Is it a con if the perpetrators of the con believe what they are saying and doing to be true? Using the Russian Empire as an example, the Tsars and their officials weren’t cynics using the Jews as scapegoats to preserve their power. Tsar Alexander III and Tsar Nicholas II really believed they ruled by the Grace of God and that the Jews were evil corrupters of the good Russian soul which had no desire for modernity or democracy by 19th century standards. Their officials seemed sincere in this belief to.

  • How did the plantation owners mislead so many Southern whites?

    I would say that significant factors now, as then, are a combination of lack of education, willful intellectual laziness, and outright stupidity. Most anything that the conservatives put out can be debunked in about 10 seconds by anyone wishing or capable of taking the time to google it. Back in the day, sure, there was much less access to information in order to make an informed choice. But there is no excuse today. For the most part, people believe what they want to believe because that’s what they want to believe.

    • CP

      And tribalism. They’d rather believe they’re being screwed by “others” than by people who look and sound like them – both then and now. (It also probably doesn’t hurt that it’s just easier all around to hate on the powerless than to hate on people who have the money and status to cause you real trouble).

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        There’s also a widespread belief to the effect of, “we Southerners may use more offensive language/ behaviors, but that’s absolved by the fact we’re more comfortable around blacks in social interactions than many Northerners are.”

        • CP

          “Oh, absolutely. And they like our offensive behavior! Well, the good ones, do, at any rate. They understand it’s all in good fun. Part of our ruggedly unsophisticated charm, really.”

      • I do think tribalism is a part of it, but rural communities seem to be more susceptible to it, particularly in the South, than the cities in my experience. Maybe it’s because one reason people move to the cities (other than looking for work) is to escape the tribalism and other issues, and maybe being in the cities forces you to come to terms with ‘others’ because you’re forced to rub shoulders with them.

        • Pat

          In a rural environment, you run into the same exact people every day. You know all their weaknesses and extravagances.

          And if you’re poor, you notice which people cost you money and which people help you out. There can be a huge amount of bean counting by some, who believe that they contribute more to others’ welfare and resent it.

        • CP

          and maybe being in the cities forces you to come to terms with ‘others’ because you’re forced to rub shoulders with them.

          More than anything, I think it’s this.

      • DrDick

        You also see that throughout the North and Midwest.

    • DrDick

      Having grown up around these folks, I would agree about the lack of education, but there is a lot more going on. The elites control the media and the flow of information, thus what the lower classes have available to “know”. Elites also pretty much control(ed) the local economies and if you challenged them, you ran a risk of starvation (and still do in some areas) or being run out of town. Southern culture is really pretty coercive.

      • Yep, for the most part. Part of this behavior literally starts being ingrained from birth. That being said, the information is out there to be found with a minimal amount of work. But not everyone has the will to do it. In fact, most people don’t.

        • DrDick

          It is dangerous for them to look.

          • Indeed. Which is one of the reasons I left the south.

    • Bugboy

      There’s also the “I could be rich TOO!” mental tic that inhabits a lot of conservative thought today, which falls into the same camp of people believing what they want to believe. This is why much of the working class are perfectly fine with tax cuts for the rich, as well as elimination of the Estate Tax, which does not apply to most of these folks.

      • DrDick

        American elites have spent over a century beating that ideology into the heads of the masses.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          I remeber a WSJ op-ed celebrating a poll showing that ~25% of likely voters think they’ll become milllionaires in their lifetimes (it’s really a fraction of a fraction of a percent). Think like a millionaire, vote like a millionaire.

      • Yeah, which is something I struggle with with my son, who is a self-declared libertarian and, at the age of 28, should fucking know better.

  • GCarty

    David Timoney has made explicit the connection between real estate ownership and slavery, in that both are claims on other people’s labor. Both real estate and slaves are “fictitious capital” in Marxist terms, and neither is genuine capital as Adam Smith would have understood it.

    • Of course, this will come back around when we have autonomous machines that can replace human labor with machine labor, and in which case capital can finally make a break from pesky people wanting to be fairly compensated for their work and all.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I wish capital lots of luck in finding customers for the stuff the robots produce.

        • addicted44

          It’s called slave prison labor.

        • They only need customers for the stuff they produce because they need to pay people to produce it and to support their lifestyle. Once you strike labor completely from the equation, capital will only need the robots to produce the stuff that capital needs to support its lifestyle.

    • ajay

      David Timoney has made explicit the connection between real estate ownership and slavery, in that both are claims on other people’s labor.

      A category that also includes “pensions”, “shares”, “debt” and indeed “money”.

  • DAS

    I really like this essay by a white southerner who grew up around Ku Klux Klan relatives and who now realizes the Confederacy was a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class, much as conservatism is a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class today.

    C. Vann Woodward wrote a book about this, and MLK gave a speech about it too.

    • Every generation needs to work out the old truths for itself, and find new language to express them in.

    • Edward Ball’s Slaves in the Family is an incredibly good book on the subject.

      • busker type

        Yes!

  • sibusisodan

    Dear goodness, the mangoes. John Calhoun is commenting. Is he getting recognised more and more these days?

    • Downpuppy

      I’m in my happy place, listening to Ben McCulloch

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Comment on a post about Harriet Beecher Stowe on Sen. Blumenthal’s Facebook page:

      You write as though the six hundred thousand Americans who died in the War Between the States as though it was a good thing. This war brought Jim Crow, the KKK, and other hateful acts among our citizens that lasted for another 100 years afterward. Should someone be lauded for such a repercussion? I enjoy HBS, but to extol her in this way is a little short sighted. I have no way to prove it, but had the war not happened, slavery would have gone away in about 20 years without the acrimony, and the blood of many would have been spared. History records all events, and I don’t think HBS would appreciate the title you have given. Otherwise, she was a great lady, and I hope she is credited with something a little less ambivalent.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Also, someone once accused one of my professors, regarding comments on the Fugitive Slave Act, of being a “neo-abolitionist”.

        The mind reels.

        • Pat

          Wasn’t a trillion dollars of capital invested in human flesh that was taken away with a stroke of a pen?

          So much money for so much human misery.

          • Thom

            I think it is about 4 billion (4 million slaves, average value $1k). Erik, or other historians of the US, does that sound right? it is definitely a lot. Not only the big landowners (and some small landowners), but also professionals of all types instead in human property in late antebellum times.

            • Thom

              “instead” should have been “invested”

              • El Tigre Sabroso

                IIRC, the value may have been $4billion in contemporary dollars, but it was in the trillionS in current value. Here is a website that I found, which seems to be well thought out and explained. These figures are from there:

                Regional Wealth in 1850 and 1860
                Billions of $2011 dollars

                North

                South

                North

                South

                1850

                1850

                1860

                1860

                Total Wealth

                $25,400

                $16,100

                $32,700

                $21,100

                Value of Slaves

                $7,300

                $10,200

                Non-slave Wealth

                $25,400

                $8,800

                $32,700

                $10,900

                https://www.measuringworth.com/slavery.php

      • sibusisodan

        I have no way to prove it, but had the war not happened, slavery would have gone away in about 20 years without the acrimony

        That is masterful. I could stare at it for hours. “The acrimony.” Mwah!

        • rea

          Robert E. Lee, writing in the 1850’s, estimated that it would take about a thousand years for abolition to come.

          • CP

            And many other prominent Southerners considered it a natural and divine law that would never go away. Like the racism that underpinned it.

            The extent to which that society was founded on racism and slavery is never fully appreciated by modern society. Slavery was as integral to it as oil is to the Persian Gulf kingdoms.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Yeah, but Lee was a RINO (Rebel In Name Only).

            Also, the quote seems to assume that the Civil War was started by the North who was impatient to abolish a slavery system that was going to end shortly.

            • Ahuitzotl

              TINO?

        • Abbey Bartlet
        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Yeah, it’s just DEPLORABLE how those pushy Northerns went and succeeded from the Godly South, and then had the gall to beat up on the Southers also too.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            And threatening Charleston harbor with unarmed merchant ships!

          • CP

            To be fair, Fort Sumter did willfully commit an act of aggression when it struck those innocent Confederate cannon balls with its walls.

            • busker type

              Also when the city of Boston marched south en masse to surround those slave catchers and force them to abduct fugitive slaves.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I have no way to prove it

        Go onnnnnn

        but had the war not happened, slavery would have gone away in about 20 years without the acrimony, and the blood of many would have been spared.

        OH! THE ACRIMONY! Get this person a Washington Post column! Sure, somebody else is having his foot chopped off for being a runaway, but oh! the acrimony!

        Also, we have all of the years since 1865 to inform us that these freaks were never going to give up slavery without a fight. Ya dope ya.

        • muddy

          They were totally about to get rid of slavery, but then a Yankee said something hurtful, so they had to go on slaving – they really had no choice. Just like the ones who voted for Trump because of mean libs. You made them do it!

          • CP

            They were totally about to get rid of slavery, but then a Yankee said something hurtful, so they had to go on slaving – they really had no choice. Just like the ones who voted for Trump because of mean libs. You made them do it!

            I was just about to post that after reading your first sentence, then I read your second one.

            You’ve got to love how much of the worldview relies on their being utterly helpless infants with no responsibility for their own actions.

            • muddy

              The Party of Personal Responsibility.

  • Gregor Sansa

    Mangoes, you say?

    I would suggest Mr. Hyman visit Africa and then refute the following as I have been to Africa Africa is a country

    • sharonT

      That.comment was a gem.

    • wjts

      If Africa’s not a country, how come it’s got a flag? Only countries have those.

      • NBarnes

        “Do you have a flaaaaaag? No? NO FLAG, NO COUNTRY!”

    • Thom

      Where “country” = 54 countries. (NB: “Africa is Country” is the name of the best-known blog about Africa, precisely because this such a common, uh, misapprehension.)

    • Origami Isopod

      Who wants to bet that the author of that comment is a missionary who traveled, along with a church group, to the continent of Africa because they were all in need of Jeeezussssss?

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Confederate revisionists are my personal favorite brand of racist. Pseudo intellectual, armed to the teeth with links beginning with “Sons of….,” and quick to tell you how coloreds fought for the Confederacy.

    EDIT: Missed the “black people were slave owners too” line.

    • libarbarian

      “black people were slave owners too”

      Yeah, so obviously it’s all fucking good. :)

  • LosGatosCA

    No one ever put it better than Jay Gould.

    The South has always been the leader in working class murder-suicide.

  • Just_Dropping_By

    Today’s version of this con job no longer supports slavery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro trickle-down think tanks, magazines, newspapers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foundation, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

    I wasn’t aware that being pro-immigration, anti-death penalty, and anti-police brutality were popular positions in the South, let alone that they were “Neo Confederate” positions….

    • sibusisodan

      I wasn’t aware that those were the issues Cato and Reason shout loudest about being addressed.

      • Aaron Morrow

        They announce their support in the same rooms the first drafts of Republican health care bills were kept.

      • Many people only notice a magazine’s positions when they differ from their own.

  • Aaron Morrow

    For example, a map of states that didn’t expand Medicaid – which would actually be a boon mostly to poor whites – resembles a map of the old Confederacy with a few other poor, rural states thrown in. Another indication that this divisive propaganda works on Southern whites came in 2012. Romney and Obama evenly split the white working class in the West, Midwest and Northeast. But in the South we went 2-1 for Romney.

    At the risk of repeating a comment I made yesterday, it’s almost as if the relationship between class and race differ in the South versus other areas of the United States.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Arlie Russell Hochschild’s recent sociological work with WWC Trump supporters and the “deep story” of resentment of minorities as Obama-enabled “line cutters” really illuminates the “racism vs anxiety” debate. Basically it’s a justifiable economic anxiety that’s unfortunately grounded mostly in racial resentment and in urban legends about “Obamaphones” and the like. Her recent article (NB: pre-election) was focused on Louisiana, but it’s clear this belief has spread beyond the fringes of the Confederacy.

      http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/trump-white-blue-collar-supporters

      If you accept this thesis, how to counteract this politically is hard: broad-based economic growth & redistributive measures like the ACA (as well as campaigns focused on “an economy that works for everyone” seem almost moot compared to more performative gestural moves like smirking in a hardhat and promising to build a wall to keep out an underclass people who’ve mostly overstayed their visas. But at least it gets us past the “they’re all racists!” “they just want their good jobs back!” debate cycle we seem to be stuck in.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Balls. My comment at the bottom was supposed to be a reply to this, because it specifically mentions her book.

      • Hey! Thanks for posting that Dr. Ronnie! Fascinating! HOchschild is such an incredibly skilled interviewer and ethnographer. What an amazing and horrifying essay.

        But it also goes to show that a purely class based analysis can’t get at this morass of sexism, racism, anxiety, shame, authoritarian parenting, and authoritarian following. People are going to work out their family psychodramas on their political choices, and no plan that liberals have to make things better for everyone can combat someone’s childhood trauma which involves making someone pay for their internal shame, fear, and loss.

        • Dennis Orphen

          childhood trauma

          As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to believe that most human problems, both individually and socially, boil down to this. Children should be planned for, wanted sincerely, treated as people, not possessions or status symbols by their parents and have a place for them in a functioning civil society when they grow up (our unneeded excess labor problem?).

          Okay, time to take my morning crazy pills.

        • People should check out Abby Bartlett’s link, below, to a fantastic twitter essay which really explores this point in great depth.

        • sibusisodan

          Aimai, could I ask you to say a little more about your reactions to Hochschilds work?

          I initially had a very strong reaction to that article last year, because it seemed to say the following:

          1. Liberals need to get out of their bubble.
          2. Conservatives are actually very nice, polite people.
          3. They’re just worried about their place in the line, and how everyone else is cutting in unfairly.

          It all seemed to be painfully concerned to take the interviewees’ statements at face value.

          Should I be assuming that presentation is an artefact of the reporting, not of the work itself?

          • Steve LaBonne

            I’ll join in that request, because I had a similar reaction.

            • Rob in CT

              I had it too, but tamped down on it a bit b/c it’s still valuable to understand these people’s fantasy construct “deep story,” and maybe Hochschilds didn’t see her role as that of fact-checker.

              But yeah, I think a lot of us had the same reaction. CUTTING?

          • I don’t see Hochschild as arguing that 2 and 3 at all. But I do see the evidence as leading one to understand that the kinds of ways in which people make their political choices are wholly constrained by a psychodrama that politicians can appeal to, but not assuage. The woman Hochschild is interviewing is a failed middle class white woman who can’t rely on the patriarchy to protect her, has to “live like a man” and profit (but barely) off th misery of other poor white trash who receive government benefits. She is a hard worker who thinks that hard work would prevent everyone else from stealing benefits from taxpayers like herself and she looks to government to punish malingerers. Under democratic government she can’t get the emotional charge she wants from knowing that the father who abandoned her (her ow) has come back to punish everyone who wasn’t a good child. Because liberal government doesn’t propose that this is its only function. While republican governance does propose this as a major function: punish evildoers and slackers, force everyone to fulfill their assigned sexual/gender roles.

            The poor bint tried to get married in a form that wouldn’t allow her husband to divorce her, and then got divorced. she is looking for a strong, punitive, daddy. The more the democrats move away from that kind of authority figure the more she rejects them, even though the part of her mind that is not crazed with fear and stupidity let her know that Trump was a bad choice. She simply couldn’t conceive of choosing the party of anarchy and free lunch.

            When you put the article together with the tweet stream about the wages of white rage you get a very round picture of the pointlessness of trying to appeal to these people. The democrat–at least to the extent that they aren’t utter demagogues, can never satisfy the bone deep emotional need these voters feel for someone who will take care of them emotionally while punishing selected other voters at the same time.

            • sibusisodan

              Thanks Aimai! Sounds like it’s worth my picking the book up, and it also sounds like the pieces from last autumn didn’t so the work much favours in terms of the frame they used. Because IIRC #2 And #3 were front and centre.

              • Well, I haven’t read the book just skimmed the article. I think that Hochschild may have ultimately, in the book, “gone native” in the sense that, like any ethnographer who does participant observation for a long time, she may have lost objectivity. But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t do something important and illuminating–for me the “cutting in line”metaphor isn’t true or not true, its just a good way of understanding the way some people are thinking about things and why. Those basic frames are what are at issue –its why they spent so much time attacking lottery winners in the stupid new GOPACA. Its why Chaffetz felt comfortable with the cel phone/health care comparison.

                If you don’t understand how these stupid people are thinking, you can’t figure out why Republican tactics are working. They are very carefully tailored to (and they also produce) an unquestioning world view which is ultimately a zero sum, threatened, world view. Race and racism is a huge part of it, but so is anxiety about one’s own place as a man/woman able to live up to unattainable standards of probity, success, marriage, competence. The woman described hates and fears the people she works with who “fail” economically or in terms of the family life or who succumb to health issues that are “their own fault” like addiction. She hates and fears them and she resents any attempt by government to ameliorate their suffering. Its important to know that because any appeal to these people has to be made in a language they understand. Or we have to bypass them.

                • sibusisodan

                  That all makes a lot of sense.

                  Here is the Vox article on Hochschild which sparked my reaction.

                • LosGatosCA

                  Or we have to bypass them.

                  There’s really no other choice.

                  Pick one of these:

                  1. you help them see the light (150 years after the Civil War?)
                  2. you shame them (like cigarette smokers)
                  3. you just have to say – you feel marginalized? Look at your behavior, how many people are you happy to marginalize? Get over yourself.
                  4. Ignore them. They don’t mind the pollution, the exploitation, the low educational attainment, the lack of empathy for other people while indulging their own self pity?

                  Honestly, the Confederate states suffer from consciousness of guilt and just can’t admit it.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              “the kinds of ways in which people make their political choices are wholly constrained by a psychodrama that politicians can appeal to, but not assuage.”

              This is the Bill Clinton/ Ronald Reagan / Barack Obama political genius, in a nutshell. Elvis had it too – they used to say he could make everyone in the audience feel like he was singing to them personally. Of course who makes up the audience is kinda important.

            • Origami Isopod

              poor white trash

              I really wish progressives would not use this phrase. Not only is it deeply classist, but its underlying assumption is that white people aren’t inherently trash, unlike PoC.

      • Aaron Morrow

        I’m open to the argument that, between 2012 and 2016, working class whites outside the South have changed to the point that they’re as Republican as working class whites in the South. I was just hoping that there would be public data by now on 2016 so I could see which argument fit the data.

        (My fear is that while working class whites outside the South have gotten more conservative, working class whites in the South have also gotten more conservative.)

        at least it gets us past the “they’re all racists!” “they just want their good jobs back!” debate cycle we seem to be stuck in

        You’ve got me there! My hot take doesn’t help come up with a single answer to the question, but it doesn’t keep people from arguing about where each answer works.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Your fear seems well-placed I’m afraid to say. It’s purely anecdotal, but many commenters on this site have noticed what seems to be increasing popularity of Confederate flags in super-ironic locations like upstate New York, Michigan or central Pennsylvania – the confederate flag now means “I am a white person who drives a truck and DNGAF.” Feel free to throw in the Blue Lives Matter/ Thin Blue Line Flag stuff as well, which seems to be the urban WWC equivalent parentheses (I live in South Philadelphia and work in and around South Jersey, and its all over here).

          My sense is also that the white working-class in general has just bought in more and more to the idea that economic growth / the American Experiment itself is a zero sum game when viewed along racial lines. This may be in part due to the decreasing presence of organizations like unions working to advance the goals of working class members from across racial lines. Whatever its origins, it’s clearly impossible to square with core left values.

          • Oh, snap! I just posted something like this upthread!

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              Glad to be in such good company ;)

          • Linnaeus

            This may be in part due to the decreasing presence of organizations like unions working to advance the goals of working class members from across racial lines.

            I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s any “may” about it. It’s a factor, albeit far from the only one.

          • DrDick

            Much of this is a result of Republicans harping on this theme constantly for 40 years, while Democrats have accomplished relatively little to improve their status, or even slow the decline. This is a lot of what Sanders and Erik are talking about.

        • sk7326

          I think there are two real forces here – and the animating one might be less North-South and country mice-city mice. The country is much more urbanized than it has been. Even in my experience in the South (2 years of grad school), Atlanta itself was largely an oasis in comparison to “THE SOUTH”. Yes, there are problems and typical tribal segregation – but it is harder to resent “all kinds of folks” when you see them around all the time.

      • Origami Isopod

        Hochschild did nothing IMO except grant these opinions more validation while completely erasing the moral responsibility for holding them. Many other writers have made the same points anyway.

        The Twitter essay Abbey links to is splendid, rebutting all that “poor, poor Trumpkins” baloney but in an entirely positive and rallying way.

  • busker type

    The comment section on the other hand…..well, you’d better like mangoes.

    I found the impotent flailing of the confederates in that comment section to be cheering! Seems the smart ones know this is an argument they can’t win

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Which leaves us with a never-ending fight with the dummies.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I’ve yet to meet a smart confederate but I suppose anything is possible.

      • busker type

        Sadly smart and evil are not mutually exclusive.
        The smart ones take the Shelby Foote approach: “we ah fighting because yoah down hee-ah”
        (I wouldn’t necessarily call Foote evil or a neo-confederate, but he provided cover to a lot of much slimier individuals)

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Ha.

          My reactions:
          a) Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania
          2) The United States Army is free to go to any state in the Union. :P

        • David Allan Poe

          I remember thinking while I was reading Foote’s “Civil War”, which was written over a twenty or thirty year period, that somewhere during the writing of Volume Three he’d been spending a lot more time with neo-Confederates. The first couple of volumes struck me as pretty evenhanded, for a Southerner, with a lot of admiration for Lincoln and one of the best explications I’ve seen for why Grant should be regarded as among the top tier of history’s generals.

          The third really starts basking in a Twilight of the Gods atmosphere and starts pulling in a whole lot more colorful detail about the hardiness of Johnny Reb and the doomed nobility of the Confederate leadership. If I remember correctly, the Nathan Bedford Forrest hagiography is on full display in the third volume as well.

        • Origami Isopod

          Foote was evil. With the help of Ken Burns, who should be ashamed of himself for it, he gave the “state’s rights” and “Suthun honah” garbage a boost for another generation.

  • Abbey Bartlet

    This is absurdly long, but worth the read.

    • sibusisodan

      Thanks. That was really good.

      Not sure if OT: my perusal of this week’s edition of the satirical magazine Private Eye was brought to a screeching halt by a letter from a Brit working as a cop in the Louisiana.

      He complained about an earlier cartoon with the caption ‘Black lives don’t matter.’ Because BLM is a ‘domestic terrorist organisation’, cops he knows don’t discriminate on the basis of race, and it makes light of the ‘dangers that American peace officers face.’

      Just needed to vent frustration, because I’m not sure I can send an eyeroll to the Eye.

    • Dennis Orphen

      A highlight:

      “Whatever many white conservatives call their “Christianity” is a casual hobby compared to the religion of white rage.”

    • Thank you, that young person is AMAZING, their writing and their twitter feed are so good that I almost signed up for twitter just to be able to follow them. What a powerful thinker and writer.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        You should sign up for twitter to follow *me*.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Thanks, I shared this on the FB page of my local chapter of SURJ. It’s really good stuff.

  • tsam

    Those comments…ugh.

    It’s really funny how the dumbest motherfuckers always seem most eager to show off just how fucking crazy and stupid they are.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Dunning-Kruger. They think they’re giant intellects.

    • I got out of the boat and read the comments, and while there’s some truly funny idiocy, there’s a heartening amount of pushback. I don’t think it’s quite 50-50, but there are a lot of exchanges like this:

      Brad Leggett · Columbia, South Carolina
      Total leftist bunk!
      Like · Reply · 1 · Mar 7, 2017 7:07am

      Joe Ros Burns · The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      No sir, you’re wrong. Truth. But truth hurts.

      And this:

      Braxton D Spivey · Charleston, South Carolina
      This article is the most ridiculous I have to date !
      Like · Reply · 3 · Mar 6, 2017 6:25pm

      Dennis Michael Smith · Contract Paralegal at Martin and Martin Law, LLC
      And just why is that? Do you LIKE the fact that rich northerners–and rich plutocrats nationwide–play white southern Confederate apologist for FOOLS and turn them into USEFUL IDIOTS to help the rich exploit workers of all races and pay them less?
      Like · Reply · 20 · Mar 6, 2017 8:38pm

      Jacquelyn Weddington · Works at Retired am I
      Dennis Michael Smith You are so right. I moved to South Carolina many years ago with my family when my husband retired. I was stunned to listen to the language people used about others and how lousy workers were treated in the mills and other industries.

      Now, we can make some assumptions about relative education and SES here, but it’s not all buffoons. I particularly like this one:

      Gail Eileen Jordan · Owner/Partner at The Raintree Corporation
      This article is absurd- I would suggest Mr. Hyman visit Africa and then refute the following as I have been to Africa Africa is a country where some tribe members still live in huts, povery, disease, and crime are rampant, very few succesful wealthy Africans live there, healthcare is abhorrent. Had it not been for those in the Confederate States having a need for help, the ancestors of present blacks would never have been brought to this country. Does this author really believe that Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Barack Obama, Beyonce, Tiger Woods, Willie Mays, Mohammed Ali, and man…See More
      Like · Reply · 2 · Mar 6, 2017 9:01pm

      Matt Tischler · Columbia, South Carolina
      Africa isn’t a country.
      Like · Reply · 33 · Mar 6, 2017 10:16pm

      I don’t know what “The Raintree Corporation” is, but maybe don’t shop there if you’re in South Carolina.

      • Rob in CT

        It’s so cute how the last asshole wants to haul out Barack Obama as an example of how much better things are here for “the blacks” when he probably fucking hates him and everything he stands for.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Had it not been for those in the Confederate States having a need for help, the ancestors of present blacks would never have been brought to this country.

        (Rodney Dangerfield voice mode on) “Hey, if that’s your idea of favor, don’t do me any favors.”

        • BiloSagdiyev

          FYWP. Second edition of comment follows immediately below.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Had it not been for those in the Confederate States having a need for help, the ancestors of present blacks would never have been brought to this country.

        (Rodney Dangerfield voice on) “Hey, if that’s your idea of doin’ somebody a favor, don’t do me any favors.”

        This reminds me of folks who get totally wowed by the Roman Empire because it was big, strong ,and hey! roads and science! Uh, yeah, they could have merely helped teach people road building methods, or givne out scholarships to promising students in nearby nations, but it was an empire. I don’t recall the slave states itching to do much to set up or fund schools or hospitals in west Africa, and I bet this Raintree employee isn’t feeling that itch, either.

        Oh yeah, and I just remmebered, schools and hospitals weren’t high on the list of her kind of white folk at the time, when it came to the Africans they owned. Made reading a crime. Didn’t fund schols, outsider Yankee do-gooders had to do it as NGO’s after the war, etc etc.

        I fear that I have strayed from my prepared notes, but in conclusion, let me say, “Fuck you people.”

    • Mr. Aimai was telling me about a new method to prevent trolling in comments–you have to answer three questions showing that you have read the article. My impression of a lot of the worst of the comments in that thread are that those guys didn’t bother to read the article. That enables them to continuously attack the writer, and other posters, without having to respond directly to any of the points raised. They just vomit forth their rage based on the headline.

      • tsam

        I’ve posted that comment quite a few times–“I suggest reading the article before running your ugly pukehole. You might look less stupid.”

        That or a review: “1/10. Poor grammar, too much stupid. Would not read again.”

        • “1/10. Poor grammar, too much stupid. Would not read again.”

          “Deeply regret having read first time. Expect hardship bonus from Soros soonest.”

          • tsam

            Oh, putting that one in my pocket for the next one.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Maybe blunter. “George Soros doesn’t pay me enough to read your drivel!”

      • N__B

        Mr. Aimai was telling me about a new method to prevent trolling in comments–you have to answer three questions showing that you have read the article.

        I’m not clear on the logistics of attaching the shock collars to readers to ensure compliance, but otherwise I like the idea.

        • rea

          It’s a Norwegian idea, and shock collars are unnecessary. You simply have to pass the quiz in order to post your comment. Works kind of like captcha.

          • muddy

            Clearly you are trying to drive Republicans off the internet, how dare you abuse their free speech right to sound off on matters they know nothing about.

            This will disproportionately affect Republicans and that shows liberals are the real oppressors.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              how dare you abuse their free speech right to sound off on matters they know nothing about.

              I deem this new screening process ACT: anti-Clavin technology.

              • N__B

                Clavin Hobbled.

              • rea

                Isn’t that spelled “Klavern”?

  • UserGoogol

    Saying that conservativism is a con job ascribes a level of competence to rich conservatives that they don’t appear to have. Rich conservatives have their beliefs for largely the same reasons poor ones do, they are merely lucky that their beliefs aren’t as flagrantly contrary to their interests as they are for poor people. That luck means that they have less reason to question their beliefs, but it doesn’t mean they were being rational.

    Of course this doesn’t mean that conservatives (and Confederates) don’t propagandize because obviously they do, but there’s a distinction between a calculated effort to trick people and just spreading the convenient delusions you sincerely hold.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Authoritarian hierarchies dont need everyone ‘in’ on the con. Just a few at the top will do. The rest follow along, fleecing each other and the money flows upward.

It is main inner container footer text