Editor’s Note: The photo above isn’t recent. It comes from a Confederate Memorial Day event we attended in St. Louis in 2015. Also, I will continue to update this article throughout the day.
I get so tired of being pigeon holed with labels.
The truth is that I have a wide variety of interests. I write a lot about current affairs and politics on this blog, but the truth is that half the time I am spending my days studying history, philosophy, religion and economics. I’ve also been doing lots of low-carb dieting, weight lifting and fasting. This is why I gradually became less and less active writing on this blog in 2018.
Ever since my college days when I became interested in Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault, my whole approach to writing and analyzing things has been to look at it through a historical lens and trace the development. This is how I look at what we have come to call “morality” in the 21st century. It is the fundamental reason why I don’t believe in this “morality” too.
Go take a look at Woke Twitter.
Those people spend all their time getting offended, staying mad and witch hunting heretics over their very serious “moral” values. These values are essentially a laundry list of -isms and -phobias that constitute the confession of political correctness.
Where does this shit come from? What are the roots of it? If you were, say, a Renaissance humanist and wanted to trace it back to the sources (Ad fontes), what would you find? You would find that this moral creed as we know it today DID NOT EXIST a century ago. Instead, it was created in the 20th century and was spoonfed to the Boomer generation in college and the mass media. Many of them on the other side of the political aisle got their version of Christianity the same way.
Something big happened in the 20th century that changed the world in a major way. I would argue that it was the rise of the mass media and its ability to reprogram our culture. I’ve thought a great deal about this stuff because I am such a Jack of all trades.
Imagine the world without Boomers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this to be insulting. I deeply love my parents. All I am saying is that there were no Boomers in the past. The world that the Boomers grew up in and absorbed didn’t exist. As a result, there were no Boomers arguing about x number of dumb things.
The nature of the morality and religion of the Boomers is one of the biggest differences. Abraham Lincoln never reached across his desk and whispered into the ear of Jefferson Davis, “I think you might be a racist and a xenophobe, Jeff.” Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were both “racists” and “white supremacists.” Their disagreement was mainly over the rights and liberties of negroes and the form of capitalism the United States should pursue in the 19th century.
Abraham Lincoln and the Union fought for Free Society and wage slavery. Jefferson Davis and the Confederate side fought for Slave Society and chattel slavery. There really isn’t much of a substantial difference between the two except in one area. In essence, capitalism IS slavery. The difference between the boss and the master is mainly one of theory and degree.
Cultural geographers know that the cultural imprint of the Great Plantation still exists in the 21st century. 246 years of Slave Society isn’t so easily shrugged off.
Dixie was a Slave Society. It still had a capitalist economy, but with a Greco-Roman and Medieval twist. Yankeedom was a Free Society. It also had a capitalist economy, but with a modern British twist. The Southerners were fond of Aristotle, Cicero, Sir Walter Scott, etc.
Where did the Founding Fathers of Southern civilization come from? We shouldn’t confuse them with the Founding Fathers of the United States. That only happened 169 years later.
The founding stock of the lowland South largely came from the West Country of England and metropolitan London in the 17th century. The Scots-Irish later came from the north of England, Scotland and Ulster and settled the backcountry in the 18th century.
In a curious twist to this story, however, we have largely forgotten that a huge number of English settlers poured into the British West Indies in the 17th century where there was a lot of cultural crossover with Dutch and Portuguese Brazil. The plantation complex was imported to Barbados from Brazil. It spread from Barbados through the British West Indies. It also spread from there to South Carolina and with lightning speed west along the Gulf of Mexico to Texas creating the Deep South.
The plantation took a different route in the Upper South. The first plantations in the British Empire were in Ireland. Northern Ireland was a plantation of the English nation. The plantation was already a familiar way of organizing production when it was brought to Virginia. In the 17th century, Virginia was settled by indentured servants and slaves who worked on the emerging plantation complex in Tidewater. It spread across Virginia from Chesapeake Bay to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Thomas Jefferson lived on his plantation as an Enlightenment philosopher near Charlottesville!
Unlike in the Deep South, the plantation complex had a more difficult time spreading west due to the Appalachian Mountains. There is no such barrier in the Deep South which is dominated by the Gulf Coastal Plain and has a more sub-tropical climate. The Virginians hopped across the Applachians though and brought their plantations through the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri River valleys to Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas. They also later went to Texas with Sam Houston.
I could expand on the reasons for this all day. I’ve lately shifted my research from understanding the South and the Caribbean to understanding Britain and Western Europe in the Early Modern Era. It will suffice to say for now that, culturally speaking, the South is really one big plantation. What is the White House in Washington but the Big House that was built for the Founding Fathers?
Most Americans are familiar with the story of how New England was founded by Pilgrims and Puritans as their “errand in the wilderness” to create a “City on a Hill.”
The founders of Southern civilization came here with a very different outlook. I’m not referring to the Scots-Irish and their whole quarrel over Presbyterianism with the Stuart monarchs and disillusionment after the Glorious Revolution who came somewhat later. The English who founded Jamestown and Charleston weren’t really motivated by religion. They were drawn from the mainstream of English society in the 17th century. Their primary goal in life was to get rich.
In their view, the American South with its sub-tropical climate was more like a garden. This is a term that they used to describe it. It was like a Garden of Eden that was waiting to be filled up by enterprising English planters and their black agricultural laborers. The climate of the South struck the 17th century Englishmen accustomed to the cloud cover of Britain as warm, sunny and pleasant for most of the year. He was typically a not very religious Anglican, not a Bible thumping Puritan like the people in Massachusetts. Evangelicalism only came to the South in the 18th century during the Great Awakening.
Let’s skip briefly ahead to the 21st century:
I just felt like doing it for no reason.
You’ve probably been told that “race is a social construct.” Well, did you know that not only is “race” very real, but that you can still see the genetic footprint of historical migrations within White America on the Ancestry.com website?
I’ve taken the test and it told me what I already know. I am genetically closer to the White folks of southern Georgia and north Florida than anyone else in the world. My grandmother is from Dublin, GA. My grandmother on the other side of my family is from Starke, FL.
My wife has taken the same test. The results weren’t any surprise to her either. She is genetically closer to the White folks of West Tennessee and Southern Missouri than anyone else in the world. It will be interesting to see whether my son takes after his mother or father. Is he going to be Deep South master race or Upper South master race?
My guess here is that what happened is that the English and Scots-Irish populated the South. A small number of immigrants from other parts of Europe came. We were poor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries so we didn’t get many immigrants. The ones who came intermarried with the founding stock. The result of the Melting Pot was that it didn’t really change much.
The White folks of the South are really still just those three waves of migrants whose ancestors settled on the Great Plantation back in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
It’s unfortunate that the Confederacy lost the War Between the States.
HOW DARE YOU … instantly retorts the SJW fundamentalist who knows virtually nothing about anything except how to virtue signal his wokeness in the 21st century.
NO, YOU DON’T GET IT. You don’t understand. The Confederacy was our fucking best chance to make the Mason-Dixon line into a national border. This is what was going on in Yurop at the time, okay? What was going on in Europe was the birth of nation-states.
Here are a few European ethnostates that have been carved out of the ruins of various failed empires: Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Serbia, Greece, Russia, the Czech Republic. The Confederacy was our BEST CHANCE to unfuck the US Empire.
That’s what I am really driving at here. I’m not talking about racism, white supremacy and slavery. I am saying that the people SOUTH OF THAT LINE are more ethnically and culturally homogeneous. They have a different history than the rest of the United States. The consequence of “saving the Union” is that we are stuck in this perpetual gridlock with White Baby Boomers on either side of the Mason-Dixon line arguing and fighting with each other over all of American history.
Secession would have been a release from that. Sure, I understand that racism, slavery and white supremacy is objectionable from the point of view of black people. That’s a legitimate criticism of the Confederacy, BUT okay in the end it really didn’t change much.
The result of the Civil War was that chattel slavery was exchanged for wage slavery. The result of the demise of the Confederacy was that the Southern economy crashed. EVERYONE became vastly poorer and worse off. EVERYONE saw their actual health and standard of living deteriorate. It nosedived while the Northern economy soared. The poverty here lasted for generations. NEARLY EVERYONE was a sharecropper until the 1930s and 1940s.
I sometimes wish that people knew more about history. It would save us so much trouble. In my area, plantation slavery lasted from roughly 1830 to 1865. The sharecropping system lasted from 1865 until 1940 or so. EVERYONE picked cotton for generations. They weren’t liberated from it by Abraham Lincoln. They were liberated from it by the boll weevil, tractor and federal spending.
What happened to all the money that had been exploited from the blacks under antebellum slavery? Isn’t that why Whites are so much richer than blacks? NO, dumbass.
The planters invested their profits from slavery in their land and in their slaves. Their slaves were their investment portfolio. The negro was no different than owning, say, a John Deere cotton picker. This machine can easily perform the work of hundreds of slaves.
When slavery was abolished, the planter class lost their investments. They lost all their money. Blacks ceased to be property. They became human beings. The result of that was their value under the free market in the new glorious system of Free Society plummeted.
The planters retained control of their land, but they became poor after abolition. They often went bankrupt and sold most of their land to Northern investors and corporations. The White yeomanry in the South was dispossessed of its land as the consequences of abolition ricocheted across the Southern economy. EVERYONE became poor under the new system. Plantations deteriorated all over the South and the Black Belt became poor. Whereas land had been concentrated in the hands of the planters in the antebellum South, it became fragmented in the New South.
If you could travel back through time, you would actually find that the cotton economy in the South reached its greatest apogee in the 1920s. More land was being cultivated on these tiny, shitty plots by miserable White and black sharecroppers afflicted with pellagra in the Roaring Twenties (the Twenties never roared in Dixie) than was ever the case in the 1850s and 1860s.
The people who are WEALTHY in Southern society today made their money in a different way. It is a very long story and it mostly has to do with wage slavery and industrialization. Ever watch Gone With The Wind? It is the story of how Scarlett O’Hara transforms from being a Southern belle into a spiritual Yankee capitalist in New South Atlanta.
Poor Ashley … he was broken by the War Between the States. He was one of the lucky ones who survived. 1 out of every 4 Southern White men died in that war. He lived out the rest of his life chopping wood in the New South. It was quite a fall from the dashing gentleman he used to be.
Stonewall Jackson … he tried to save us from wage slavery, debt slavery to banks and the Yankee mindset of free-market capitalism:
Robert E. Lee fought for Virginia, not the Yankees:
Stirs my heart every time I watch it. I wish I could fight for Alabama against Blompf, conservatism and wage slavery. My family has lived here for the past 180 years and I don’t want to move to some big city and be miserable working for some piece of shit employer.
Dumb anarchists want to tear down their monuments? We used to have roots, heroes, a common culture, a sense of place and leisure before wage slavery took over. FUCK THEM.
UP WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON
UP WITH JEFFERSON DAVIS
How did the Old South work?
How did it sustain the genteel planter class? Where did the wealth generated by the plantation complex come from? It came from land, labor, trade and management. The black slaves worked the land. They created wealth. The planters were the managers. The planters traded the cotton, tobacco and rice (sugar in the Caribbean) with the British to get imported manufactured goods.
How profitable was this version of agrarian capitalism powered by chattel slavery? It wasn’t as profitable as many contemporary industries in the North. The labor performed by the slaves on tobacco farms ALSO wasn’t as rigorous as, say, cotton manufacturing in Britain and New England. In fact, the typical antebellum slave on the eve of the War Between the States had a higher life expectancy than most contemporary Europeans. That’s because he had more leisure time and a better diet.
The Old South is romanticized … because of leisure time. It was a much more relaxed place than the antebellum North. What’s more, the slaves who lived on plantations had access to what can only be described as some of the benefits of socialism. They had health care. They had a retirement plan. They had access to all the food grown on the plantation. Their diets were strictly regulated and there was far less obesity and its related diseases. Slaves were also prevented from owning guns by their masters who feared slave insurrections. Blacks weren’t slaughtering each other like they are today under Free Society in our cities like New Orleans, St. Louis and Chicago.
Were the planters on welfare? I suppose you could say … yes and no. Yes, they were in the sense that they had a workforce who created the wealth and profits. No, in the sense that the planter was a manager and had to reinvest his wealth in his plantation and manage it workers. The overseer was the equivalent of a middle manager under wage slavery cracking the whip and driving his chattel slaves.
How is this like Universal Basic Income? Think about it.
The planters weren’t wage slaves. They were masters. They had far more leisure time than managers do today. They spent their leisure time lolling away the year on fox hunts, balls, courtship rituals, entertaining guests in their parlors, getting civilized, exercising hospitality, reading Sir Walter Scott novels and fancying themselves as being Medieval Knights, and so on, and so on.
This is how it got started in the Deep South. My apologies, but the author is a Yankee, so you might have to suffer through a bit of moralizing:
“The founding fathers of the Deep South arrived by sea, their ships dropping anchor off what is now Charleston in 1670 and 1671. Unlike their counterparts in Tidewater, Yankeedom, New Netherland, and New France, they had not come directly from Europe. Rather, they were the sons and grandsons of the founders of an older English colony: Barbados, the richest and most horrifying society in the English-speaking world.
The society they founded in Charleston did not seek to replicate rural English manor life or to create a religious utopia in the American wilderness. Instead, it was a near-carbon copy of the West Indian slave state these Barbadians had left behind, a place notorious even then for its inhumanity. Enormously profitable to those who controlled it, this unadulterated slave society would spread rapidly across the lowlands of what is now South Carolina, overwhelming the utopian colony of Georgia and spawning the dominant culture of Mississippi, lowland Alabama, the Louisiana delta country, Eastern Texas and Arkansas, western Tennessee, north Florida, and the southeastern portion of North Carolina. From the outset Deep Southern culture was based on radical disparities in wealth and power, with a tiny elite commanding total obedience and enforcing it with state sponsored terror. Its expansionist ambitions would put it on a collision course with its Yankee rivals, triggering military, social, and political conflicts that continue to plague the United States to this day.
In the late seventeenth century, Barbados was the oldest, richest, and most densely populated colony of British North America. Wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of an oligarchy of acquisitive, ostentatious plantation owners. These great planters had earned a reputation throughout the British Empire for immorality, arrogance, and excessive displays of wealth. Founder John Dickinson later dismissed them as “cruel people … a few lords vested with despotic power over myriad vassals supported in pomp by their slavery.” Another visitor declared, “For sumptuous homes, clothes, and liberal entertainment, they cannot be exceeded by the Mother Kingdom itself.” Said a third, “The gentry here doth live far better than do ours in England.” They bought knighthoods and English estates for themselves, sent their children to English boarding schools, and filled their homes with the latest and most expensive furnishings, fashions, and luxury goods. …
This was the culture that spawned Charleston and, by extension, the Deep South. Unlike the other European colonies of the North American mainland, South Carolina was a slave society from the outset. Established by a group of Barbadian planters, “Carolina in ye West Indies” was, by its very founding charter, a preserve of the West Indian slave lords. Written by John Locke, the charter provided that a planter would be given 150 acres for every servant or slave he brought to the colony; soon a handful of Barbadians owned much of the land in lowland South Carolina, creating an oligarchy worthy of the slaves states of ancient Greece. The leading planters brought in enormous numbers of slaves, so many that they almost immediately formed a quarter of the colony’s population. The slaves were put to work cultivating rice and indigo for export to England, a trade that made the large planters richer than anyone in the colonial empire save their counterparts in the West Indies. By the eve of the American Revolution, per capita wealth in the Charleston area would reach a dizzying 2,338 pounds, more than quadruple that of Tidewater and almost six times higher than that of either New York or Philadelphia. The vast majority of this wealth was concentrated in the hands of South Carolina’s ruling families, who controlled most of the land, trade, and slaves. The wealthy were extraordinarily numerous, comprising a quarter of the white population at the end of the colonial period. “We are a country of gentry,” one resident proclaimed in 1773; “We have no such thing as a Common People among us.” Of course, this statement ignored the lower three quarters of the white population and the enslaved black majority, who by that time comprised 80 percent of the lowland population. …
Not wishing to idle away their time on their sweltering plantations, the planters built themselves a city where they could enjoy the finer things in life. Charleston – “Charles Town” until the revolution – quickly became the wealthiest town on the eastern seaboard. It resembled Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, with its fine townhouses painted in pastel colors, adorned with tiled roots and piazzas and built along streets covered in crushed seashells. Unlike Williamsburg or St. Mary’s City, Charleston was a vibrant city, for the planters spent as much time there as possible, leaving the day-to-day management of their estates to hired overseers. They filled their city with distractions: theaters; punch houses; taverns; brothels; cock-fighting rings; private clubs for smoking, dining, drinking, and horse racing; and shops stocked with fashionable imports from London. Like the nouveaux riches everywhere, they were fixated on acquiring appropriate status symbols and followed the latest fashions and customs of the English gentry with a dedication that startled visitors. “Their whole lives are one continued race,” one resident wrote, “in which everyone is endeavoring to distance all behind them and to overtake and pass all before him.”
Like Tidewater’s aristocracy, many of the planters hand ancestors who had fought for the king in the English Civil War, and they embraced the trappings and symbolism of the British nobility, if not the social responsibilities that were supposed to attend them. Thrilled by the end of Puritan rule at home, they hand named Carolina and Charleston for the restored king, Charles II. The Barbadian-born aristocracy trumpted their genetic association with English knights and nobles by displaying coats of arms on their imported French porcelain. These often including the heraldic symbol for a younger son: a crescent moon tilted with the horns to the wearer’s right. This device was later incorporated into the South Carolinian flag and worn as an emblem on the uniforms of its revolutionary-era military forces, loyalist and rebel alike.
While not particularly religious, the planters embraced the Anglican Church as another symbol of belonging to the establishment. Locke’s charter for the colony had guaranteed freedom of religion – Sephardic Jews and French Huguenots emigrated to the region in great numbers – but the elite overturned these provisions in 1700, giving themselves a monopoly on church and state offices. Their Anglican religious orientation also gave the Deep South elite unfettered access to London high society and the great English universities and boarding schools, milieus generally denied to Puritans, Quakers, and other dissenters. Whether English or French in origin, the Deep South’s planters would also come to embrace the Tidewater gentry’s notion of being descended of the aristocratic Normans, lording over their colony’s crass Anglo-Saxon and Celtic underclass. …
By the middle of the eighteenth century, black people faced Barbardian-style slave laws everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.
In the Deep South, African Americans formed a parallel culture, one whose separateness was enshrined in the laws and fundamental values of the nation’s white minority. Indeed, the Deep South was for at least three centuries from 1670 to 1970 a caste society. And caste, it should be noted, is quite a different thing from class. People can and do leave the social class they are born into – either through hard work or tragedy – and can marry someone of another class and strive for their children to start life in a better position than they did. A caste is something one is born into and can never leave, and one’s children will be irrevocably assigned to it at birth. Marriage outside of one’s caste is strictly forbidden. So while the Deep South had rich whites and poor whites and rich and poor blacks, no amount of wealth would allow a black person to join the master caste. The system’s fundamental rationale was that blacks were inherently inferior, a lower form of organism incapable of higher thought and emotion and savage in behavior. Although presented into service as wet nurses, cooks, and nannies, blacks were regarded as “unclean,” with Deep Southern whites maintaining a strong aversion to sharing dishes, clothes, and social spaces with them. For at least three hundred years, the greatest taboo in the Deep South was to marry across caste lines or for black men to have white females as lovers, for the caste system could not survive if the races began to mix. Even the remotest suspicion of violating the Great Deep Southern Taboo would result in death for a black male.
The excerpt above comes from Colin Woodard’s book American Nations. I highly recommend it. It was very thought provoking and got me thinking about cultural geography.
What about the Virginians? How were they different? This is another excerpt from American Nations which explains some of the nuance between the Upper South and Lower South cultures.
“By the early 1700s the Cavaliers and their descendants had turned Tidewater into a country gentlemen’s utopia, their manors lining the creeks and tributaries of the Chesapeake. Plantations were also taking shape on Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in the new colony of North Carolina and on the Atlantic shores of southern Delaware and the lower Delmarva peninsula.
Power in Tidewater had become hereditary. The leading families intermarried in both America and England, creating a close-linked cousinage that dominated Tidewater generally and Virginia in particular. The Virginia Royal Council served as that colony’s senate, supreme court, and executive cabinet, and it controlled the distribution of land. By 1724 every single council member was related by blood or marriage. Two generations later, on the eve of the American Revolution, every member was descended from a councilor who had served in 1660 …
This clarifies matters significantly: conservative Virginia, the Cavalier Nation, has never been a bastion of “progressivism” (as it is laughably understood today) and other such nonsense, particularly as it relates to the “equality” of all races, and the “freedom” of homosexuals to marry each other, and the ability of public schools to “transform” negroes into White people through the alchemy of school marms, government bureaucrats, “experts,” and other government employees.
SPOILER: The project hasn’t worked. It will never work either. Read The Bell Curve.
“One might ask how such a tyrannical society could have produced some of the greatest champions of republicanism, such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison. The answer is that Tidewater’s gentry embraced classical republicanism, meaning a republic modeled after those of ancient Greece and Rome. They emulated the learned, slaveholding elite of ancient Athens, basing their enlightened political philosophies around the ancient Latin concept of libertas, or liberty. This was a fundamentally different notion from the Germanic concept of Freiheit, or freedom, which informed the political thought of Yankeedom and the Midlands. Understanding the distinction is essential to comprehending the fundamental disagreements that still plague relations between Tidewater, the Deep South, and New Spain on one hand and Yankeedom and the Midlands on the other.
For the Norse, Anglo-Saxons, Dutch, and other Germanic tribes of Northern Europe, “freedom” was a birthright of free peoples, which they considered themselves to be. Individuals might have differences in status and wealth, but all were literally “born free.” All were equal before the law and had come into the world possessing “rights” that had to be mutually respected on threat of banishment. Tribes had the right to rule themselves through assemblies like Iceland’s Althingi, recognized as the world’s oldest parliament. Until the Norman invasion of 1066, the Anglo-Saxon tribes of England had ruled themselves in this manner. After the invasion, the lords of Normandy imposed manorial feudalism on England, but they never fully did away with the “free” institutions of the Anglo-Saxons and (Gaelo-Norse) Scots, which survived in village councils, English common law, and the House of Commons. It was this tradition that the Puritans carried to Yankeedom.
The Greek and Roman political philosophy embraced by Tidewater gentry assumed the opposite: most humans were born into bondage. Liberty was something that was granted and was thus a privilege, not a right. Some people were permitted many liberties, others had very few, and many had none at all. The Roman Republic was one in which only a handful of people had the full privileges of speech (senators, magistrates), a minority had the right to vote on what their superiors had decided (citizens), and most people had no say at all (slaves). Liberties were valuable because most people did not have them and were thought meaningless without the presence of a hierarchy. For the Greeks and Romans there was no contradiction between republicanism and slavery, liberty and bondage. This was the political philosophy embraced and jealously guarded by Tidewater’s leaders, whose highborn families saw themselves as descendants not of the “common” Anglo-Saxons, but rather of their aristocratic Norman conquerers. It was a philosophical divide with racial overtones and one that would later drive America’s nations into all-out war with one another.
Tidewater’s leaders imposed libertas on their society in countless ways. They refereed to themselves as “heads” of their respective manors, dictating duties to their “hands” and other subservient appendages. Finding Jamestown and St. Mary’s City too crude, they built new government campuses in Williamburg and Annapolis from central plans inspired by Rome; Williamsburg featured a sumptuous formal “palace” for the governor (surrounded by Versailles-like formal gardens) and the elegant Capitol (not “state house”) decorated with a relief of Jupiter, the god whose temple stood at the center of Roman civic life. They named counties, cities, and colonies after their superiors: English royals (Prince George, Prince William, Princess Anne, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Annapolis, Georgetown, Virginia, Maryland) or high nobles (Albemarle, Baltimore, Beaufort, Calvert, Cecil, Cumberland, Caroline, Anne Arundel, Delaware). While they were passionate in defending their liberties, it would never have occurred to them that those liberties might be shared with their subjects. “I am an aristocrat,” Virginian John Randolph would explain decades after the American Revolution. “I love liberty; I hate equality.”
The only spot in North America more resistant than the Cavalier Nation to the idea of racial equality would be Charleston and its spawn in the Deep South.
What exactly was “liberty” to our Southern ancestors?
Here’s a very important excerpt from David Hackett Fischer’s Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Founding Ideas:
“In 1776, a powerful British fleet entered the broad reaches of Charleston harbor in South Carolina. Its mission was to return the wayward colony to obedience. Standing between the great ships and their goal were two small palmetto-log batteries called Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson. The British commanders studied the forts through their telescopes and discovered a strange flag flying above the ramparts. It was the color of indigo, one of the leading crops of the Carolina lowcountry. In the upper corner of the flag was a large white crescent of distinctive shape. Here was yet another emblem of liberty in the American Revolution, and a symbol unique to the Carolina lowcountry …
The heraldic emblem of the younger son had a personal meaning for Carolina families, many of which were founded by younger sons. William Moultrie himself was the younger son of an armigenrous Scottish family. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who wore an increscent on his helmet, also came from the line of a younger son who came to America in search of land that was denied to him because of his birth …
The flag itself also made the crescent a symbol of liberty. In South Carolina, this was an idea with a special meaning. It had nothing to do with equality. Like the otium of Virginia’s ruling elite, it was hierarchical and hegemonic. It existed in a world where highborn people had many liberties and defended them fiercely. “Baseborn” folk had few liberties, and slaves had none at all. There was no contradiction if one accepted an assumption of inequality.
The Carolina increscent had another significance. The Latin crescens meant growing or increasing. Like the crescent of a waxing moon, it was a symbol of prosperity and growth. More than that, these meanings were also associated with opportunity and fortune. It became an emblem of success in the present and optimism for the future. It implied that better times laid ahead. The expansive image of Carolina crescent-liberty was a little different from Virginia visions of a Cavalier utopia. But, as we shall see, a symbol of optimism would become a common American association with liberty and freedom …”
In other words, it WAS NOT the “liberty” of liberalism.
The “liberty” that South Carolina was fighting for in the American Revolution had nothing to do with classical liberalism, modern liberalism or libertarianism.
Here’s an equally important excerpt from David Hackett Fischer’s Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Founding Ideas:
“In the summer of 1776, when Thomas Jefferson was toiling over the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, three of his friends in Virginia were hard at work on another assignment. The Virginia Convention on July 1, 1776, ordered Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, and George Wythe to “devise a proper seal for this Commonwealth.”
These men represented a small elite of Virginia gentlemen who had ruled their “Ancient Dominion,” as they liked to call it, for more than a century. Their ancestors had been younger sons of English gentry and aristocracy, who emigrated to Virginia in the mid-seventeenth century. Their families were Anglican in religion, Royalist in politics during the English Civil War, and shared a pride in rank and ancestry, with coats of arms on file at the College of Heralds in London. In Virginia they became landowners, slavekeepers, and officeholders, and members of a close-linked cousinage who shared common interests and values. Even as much of their wealth rested on slavery, they had a highly developed sense of their own liberty and freedom.
On July 5, 1776, these gentlemen of Virginia recommended a design for a state seal, which represented their special vision of liberty and freedom. On the front (or obverse) they put two allegorical figures: “Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed like an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand, and holding a sword in the other, and treading on TYRANNY, represented by a man prostrate, a crown fallen from his head, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right.” Underneath they added the motto Sic semper tyrannus, thus always for tyrants.
On the back (or reverse) of the seal was the figure of “LIBERTAS, with her wand and pileus.” A familiar image of the Roman goddess was copied from a leading work of ancient iconography in their well-stocked libraries, Joseph Spence’s Polymetis. She was given a Virginia meaning by the figures that surrounded her. On one side was the Roman harvest goddess, “CERES, with the cornucopia in one hand and an ear of wheat in the other.” The stalk of wheat represented the cash crop that was rapidly replacing tobacco as the leading source of income on large Virginia plantations. The cornucopia was a symbol of abundance in the largest and richest American colony. In 1776, Virginia was nearly as large and populous as the next two colonies combined.
One the other side of Libertas was “AETERNITAS, with the globe and phoenix.” The dynastic dreams of Virginia’s gentleman-planters, and their hopes for their own estates, were expressed in this allegorical figure of eternity, with the earth in one hand and an emblem of eternal rebirth in the other.
The most remarkable part of the seal, and a key to its special meaning, was the motto that Mason, Wythe, and Lee chose for the “exergon,” or outer rim of the design. In a great arc around the central figures of Libertas, Ceres, and Aeternitas, they ordered that “In the exergon, these words appear: DEUS NOBIS HAEC OTIA FECIT,” or “God has granted us leisure.”
The operative word was otium, which had a complex meaning in classical Latin. It could be translated both as “leisure” and “independence.” Liberty, in the minds of these Virginia gentlemen, was closely identified with those ideas. It meant a release from the tyranny of toil and liberty from dependence on another’s will. It signified not so much the reality of a Chesapeake planter’s life but rather its driving ideal. These men aspired to the condition of an independent gentleman who was the lord of his plantation, patriarch of his “people,” ruler of his country, and master of his time. In this coupling of libertas and otium, liberty and leisure and independence all became one.
In the Chesapeake colonies, libertas and otium were granted to people in different degrees, according to their station. Independent gentlemen were given many liberties and much leisure. Small farmers and tenants had less of both. Indentured servants possessed few liberties, and slaves had none. Liberty and leisure and independence were only for those who were allowed “to enter a state of society,” as George Mason carefully put it in his draft of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights. The soaring phrases in that document were meant to apply to some Virginians but not others. Here was a very powerful idea of liberty that coexisted comfortably with slavery.”
For us the idea of liberty and freedom is a contradiction in terms, because we no longer share the assumptions of hierarchy on which it rests …”
There it is.
DEUS NOBIS HAEC OTIA FECIT
“God has granted us leisure”
“Libertas,” the meaning of the “liberty” that Virginia’s gentlemen were fighting for in the American Revolution has been hiding in plain sight this entire time. Once again, this IS NOT the liberty of classical liberalism, modern liberalism, conservatism or libertarianism.
It is a Roman understanding of “liberty” in classical republicanism. Independence means … basically, fuck off.
From the Wikipedia entry on Virtus:
“Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, “man”). It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity—Virtus. …”
The deity Virtus:
“In Roman mythology, Virtus was the deity of bravery and military strength, the personification of the Roman virtue of virtus. The Greek equivalent deity was Arete. He/she was identified with the Roman god Honos (personification of honour) and was often honoured together with him, such as in the Temple of Virtus and Honos at the Porta Capena in Rome itself. …”
Virginia’s state flag is the personification of not being a cuckservative!
Now, I will continue more in this vein in some other long ass article in this series, but for now I would like to focus your minds on the following:
Replace “negro” with “robot.”
Replace “modernity” with “post-modernity.”
Replace “plantation” with … say, our future technocratic society under Universal Basic Income. In this case, the wealth being redistributed from machines in the automated future to a genteel elite which is the entire country and conceive of that being gradually raised over time as the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution are shared more equitably.
Replace “chattel slavery” with “wage slavery.” Coming to an end.
Just forget about “muh inflation” and antiquated ideologies and other lolbertarian nonsense. Good Marxists should study the historical forces underlying the science and technology creating the material conditions that underpin the “superstructure” of the social order.
Think through The Great Plantation. If you are an anarchist, you might want to rethink “burning it down.” No one is a chattel slave anymore and you’re topping Confederate monuments. They’re wage slaves. Maybe you should go attack the Union monuments? Really, it would make more sense. You’re living under the Lincoln paradigm, not the Jefferson Davis paradigm.
Maybe it will be over soon and life won’t be so bad? It isn’t too late to join the Yang Gang.
All Hail … the Silicon Reich.