I’ve always disliked groupthink.
In that spirit, I heartily accept Tony Martel’s criticisms of Yang Gang as essentially being a delusion that White people are going to enslave the robots and live off sci-fi welfare. I just have this nagging feeling at the back of my mind though that Tony is being too dismissive of the possibility that the world is becoming a wealthier place and life could actually get better.
Pellagra Man has a lot to do with it:
“Very quickly, a new character entered the picture: the furnishing merchant. Landowners discovered that they could reduce their own indebtedness and diminish personal risk by allowing merchants in the towns and rural communities to furnish their tenants directly. Furnishing merchants protected their investments by taking a second crop-lien on a farmer’s crop. It has been estimated that as late as the early 1940s, the average sharecropper family’s income was less than 65 cents a day. Out of this meager income, farmers had to pay off advance indebtedness. If the crop did not bring enough to pay the entire debt, the remainder was added to the next year’s lien, a situation that one historian referred to as “debt peonage.” Generally, the interest rate for advanced goods was 10 percent. Added to that, the merchant often raised the price of goods sold on credit over and above that of items purchased with cash. Considering the higher mark-up and interest together, tenant farmers paid an interest rate that sometimes exceeded 50 percent annually.
The way of life of most tenant farmers was inferior to that of many people in medieval Europe. Housing consisted of primitive log cabins or clapboard shotgun houses. Few homes had glass windows or screens; most featured wooden shutters that could be closed at night and in inclement weather. Indoor plumbing was nonexistent; water was provided from open wells or nearby springs and creeks, and bathrooms were outdoor privies located a few yards behind the house, creating serious sanitation problems.
Another problem facing tenant farmers was poor transportation. Until the 1950s, virtually all tenant farms were located on unimproved dirt roads. In 1930, of Alabama’s 257,395 farms, only 4,516 had access to hard-surface roads. Rain left unimproved roads impassable, and during dry weather, they were dusty, with deep ruts. As a result, tenants were generally isolated socially, and they faced economic ruin if the roads were unusable at harvest time.
The tenant family’s diet consisted mainly of cornbread, corn mush, fatback pork, and molasses. Some tenants were able to supplement their diet with vegetables if the landowner permitted use of a portion of their plot for a garden. Many landlords, however, wanted as much land in cotton as possible, so only a few farmers had gardens. Poor diet, lack of sanitation, and substandard housing led to widespread health concerns, such as hookworms, pellagra, and rickets. …”
I can’t shake the haunting memory that a century ago there were millions of people like Pellagra Man and his family in the South and that 100,000 people died here of malnutrition. I think of a landscape that was covered in cotton which was being overproduced by poor sharecroppers who lived in primitive shacks and were enslaved by debt to furnishing merchants. They had no electricity, education, running water, sanitation or shoes. They sat there in the shacks in absolute destitute poverty and ate a diet of pure cornpone and fatback. Their children were suffering from retardation due to hookworms. It was a luxury to own a vegetable garden. The wild turkey and whitetail deer had been hunted to extinction.
I just want to go up to Pellagra Man and tell him … hey, you can come with Yang Gang to Whole Foods and we can grab some dinner and drink a few beers. We can get you some health care and put your children through college and have them start their lives on a sound financial foundation. In the 21st century, we have a lot of problems too like low wages and debt slavery to banks, but we were finally able to start fixing them after dumping “conservatism” for the second and last time.