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The latest round of Ron Paul excitement reminds me of this blog’s long and rich relationship with the mad doctor. Herewith a holiday selection of oldies.



Ari’s previous two posts inspire me to ask of our learned readership a question for each.1

1) Does the “which side are you on” rhetoric in response to industrial tragedy get the American public’s attention? Almost a hundred years ago Charles Beard, perhaps somewhat bitterly, said no:

Realizing the fact that a mere high mortality due to congestion will not seriously disturb a nation that complacently slaughters more people on its railways and in its factories and mines than any other country in the world, mathematically minded reformers are trying to reach the heart of the public through its purse by pointing out that there is a great economic loss in the death of persons of working age.

Which really works better to grab Americans’ attention? Rhetorical appeals to justice, or social scientific appeals to your wallet?

2) Let’s stipulate there is no greater historiographical swindle than the hornswoggling pretense that the Civil War derived principally from any cause other than slavery and there has never been a lower species of bamboozle than the neoconfederate heritage racket. What else goes on the list of great historiographical frauds? (Yes, New Deal denialism does. Others?)

1That’s for each post, not for each reader, wisenheimer.

I like Mary Beard’s TLS blog. But this time I fear she has Gone Too Far. Or, perhaps more likely, she’s pulling our collective leg — though I don’t remember her pulling it in quite this manner before. Even out here at the veriest Edge, the cityscape is clotted with victors’ memories of the War of Eastern Aggression. Just yesterday I was out picknicking with fellow parents of future yuppies at the Black Point Battery; and of course the map is full of streets named for Vicksburg, Grant, Lincoln and the Union. (Not to speak of the Confederate general from Big Sur.)

Need we quote Faulkner again?

Image by Flickr user maduarte used under a Creative Commons license.

We haven’t had a good Ron Paul post in a bit, so

In a YouTube video earlier this week, Paul suggested lawmakers consider issuing letters [of marque], which could relieve American naval ships from being the nation’s primary pirate responders — a free-market solution to make the high seas safer for cargo ships.

This would, of course, be Constitutional, since Congress has the power to “to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.” How about a combination of Indian Ocean Cruise and Pirate Capturing Expedition? Carnival might be interested.

If a few years ago you had told me that neo-Confederates were everywhere, even occupying high political office, I would have gently replied that you should put down your dogeared copy of Tony Horwitz and take the rest cure.

But here, again, we have an elected official parroting Thomas Dixon. This time it’s Representative Bryan Stevenson, a Republican state rep. in Missouri. Yesterday Stevenson railed about about the Freedom of Choice Act on the floor of the Missouri House (you can find classy audio here), suggesting that:

What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression…

It’s probably too late to encourage these people to re-secede, right?


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