Southern History Month 2019: Sharecropping

Why don’t the Democrats ever talk about how the paradigm of free-market capitalism led to these conditions in the South and how the New Deal coalition ended it?

“In the chronically depressed southern agriculture of the late 19th century and the early 20th century, tenancy increased steadily as many farmers lost their land. It reached its peak in 1930, when the census counted 228,598 cash renters, 772,573 sharecroppers, and 795,527 other tenants (mostly share tenants) in 13 southern and border states. Tenancy was the dominant pattern in staple-crop production. In 1937 the President’s Committee on Farm Tenancy estimated that tenants and croppers were 65 percent of all farmers in the Cotton Belt and 48 percent in tobacco regions. Approximately two-thirds of southern tenants were white, although many croppers, the lowest tenure group, the number of whites and blacks was about equal. Share tenants, croppers, and their families easily comprised nearly half the 1930 southern farm population of 15.5 million.

Southern tenancy was the context for a culture of rural poverty. Tenants and croppers received some of the lowest incomes in America, rarely clearing more than a few hundreds dollars per yer. Their more common experience, especially in years of low-crop prices, was to receive no net income at all because their shares of crops could not cover high-interest furnishing debts. These scant earnings kept rural southerners living at the bottom of the national scale. Cotton and tobacco tenants lived in the fields they worked in pine-board cabins that lacked window glass, screens, electricity, plumbing, and even wells and privies. Thousands of families were without common household furnishings, stoves, mattresses, or adequate clothing and shoes. The poorest croppers subsisted on a furnish-store diet that relied heavily on salt pork, flour, and meal. Owning no cows or poultry and tending no gardens, they seldom consumed milk, eggs, or fresh vegetables. Malnutrition compounded wretched living conditions to make chronic illness a major feature of rural life, as malaria, pellagra, and hookworm infection stunted the development of children, shortened lives, and lowered the economic productivity of the poor.”

Melissa Walker & James C. Cobb, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), pp.121-124

Look up how simply giving Southern farmers the money to buy better farm equipment in the 1930s ended this nightmare and erased that national disgrace.

Do you think “progressivism” would be more popular and more people would vote for the Democrats in the South if, say, you reminded them of this instead of berating them over slavery or arguing over whether transsexuals should serve in the military or public restrooms should be gender netural? Has it never occurred to you to try to tell a better story to win over Southern voters?

Note: Is there a single “Democratic strategist” who knows shit about anything?


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7 Comments

  1. “Why don’t the Democrats ever talk about how the paradigm of free-market capitalism led to these conditions in the South and how the New Deal coalition ended it?”

    The Democratic Party, Like it’s Republican counterparts, cares only for the nineteen states that make up Yankeedom and it’s PacRim colonies. And Jewish interests.

    “Do you think “progressivism” would be more popular and more people would vote for the Democrats in the South if, say, you reminded them of this instead of berating them over slavery or arguing over whether transsexuals should serve in the military or public restrooms should be gender netural? Has it never occurred to you to try to tell a better story to win over Southern voters?”

    Southern votes don’t matter. Nor do the votes of the interior West.

  2. “Look up how simply giving Southern farmers the money to buy better farm equipment in the 1930s ended this nightmare and erased that national disgrace.”

    I’m not convinced it was disgraceful. One minute you complain about cultural decline, the next you praise socialism for ending the “disgrace” by removing man from his natural habitat.

    Also, I am certain that my life would be improved by you simply giving me some money. Let me know when you are ready.

    • Is our natural habitat living in a shack with no electricity, no water, no sewage system literally in the dark while suffering from malaria and pellagra? If so, why?

      • Minus the malaria and pellagra, yes, absolutely.

        I don’t understand how you could ask the question why. How obvious can it be? You take those things as far away as the east is from the west and you get all sorts of maladaptive problems. Obesity, depression, loss of libido, compulsive behaviors, general pussification, etc.

        • What about the hookworms that made children mentally retarded because they couldn’t afford shoes? What about the eradication of the whitetail deer or the wild turkey? We have a lot of problems in our times. I will get around to writing about them.

          • Hookworms:
            Well, it is highly unorthodox to say so but low level infestations could help many people. We’ve had the intestinal worm species a lot longer than we’ve had the Internet and have to some degree coevolved with them. I do not keep my own personal colony (that I am aware of) but as long as the infestation isn’t too bad, they may actually do more good than harm for many people. There is no doubt that getting rid of them contributes to the obesity epidemic so I suspect a lot of ppl could benefit there too.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthic_therapy

            Shoes:
            The jury is still out on whether barefoot running is safer than running shoes, but we have spent a lot of time barefoot, more so than shod. But we have spent a lot of time shod in various forms so it is possible that Europeans have adapted to wearing shoes to the point that we would do some minor damage by going barefoot 100% of the time in warm weather. Obviously shoes help out in cold weather and to avoid snakebites. I grew up barefoot all summer long, including trips to town (asphalt was hot, grocery store floor was cold) but I grew up healthy and wouldn’t have it any other way. But due to cultural shift, if I were to raise my own son the way I was raised I would probably get contacted by social services. Or if you were to see it you would probably write a post about the horrific modern day Southern poverty you witnessed. I better just keep him in his room playing video games just to be safe.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_running

            Turkeys and deer:
            You are asking me if the act of over hunting is part of our natural habitat? Hunting in general, most certainly is part of our natural behavior. But you are asking about eradication? Clearly they weren’t eradicated.

            Every time I go to town I see people who are poorly adapted to the luxuries they indulge. I see women that would benefit from washing clothes by hand (but not stooped over a rock at the creek) and hang them on a line to dry. I see lots of men that would be better off doing a little more manual labor and a little less fatassery. The biggest plagues in our land today (other than demographic/miscegenation problems) are gluttony and degeneracy. It is so well known that the term “Diseases of Affluence” is in common use.

            My point stands: Yes, a shack with no electricity, no running water, no sewage systems, less sterilized and less shod in warm weather is our natural habitat. Obviously there are trade offs involved as with anything else, but the further we remove ourselves from our natural habitat, the more new problems we encounter. You cannot say that these modern “improvements” are all upside, no downside.

            We need to think about going retro in some lifestyle choices. Not all, but some. I dare you to take a little time to seriously ponder whether getting those electric lights was really worth it.

            You want to know how to get the fertility rate up? Possibly one of the best methods would be to:
            1) shut down the electric grid
            2) put women washing clothes by hand in a utility sink of appropriate height
            3) put men chopping wood
            4) put children to work in whatever jobs are appropriate

            It would simultaneously be the biggest blow you could possibly strike against the ebil Big Pharma. Might even lower the divorce and suicide rate too. Having to manage an occasional case of worms pales by comparison to the problems we have now. Not to mention we can simply build better outhouses. The smart strategy is to be more selective about the “improvements” we permit to our lives and culture. There is plenty of room for discussion of which things we would be better to have less of, or simply do without in some cases.

          • I’ve been obese and fit and can testify from experience it is due to just bad habits and advice. I started exercising, went on a low-carb diet and built better habits and, wow, it worked like a charm

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