The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Reconstruction, pwn'd

One of the means by which Southerners once excused their system was by telling the history of Reconstruction. Charles Ramsdell is one; we can tell, because he did not take sufficent measures to keep his biases from affecting his work. Now, Leftists excuse our system by retelling that same history; and we find Kenneth Howell introducing his own pontifications. Surely no-one will mind if I investigate that history.

The reason over this weekend I have taken the TARDIS through to 1865-7 (with occasional detours) was that I had acquired a skepticism against Reconstruction's aims. The reason for that was that I've noted modern newsproviders ignoring and/or excusing modern black crime rates.

I inaugurated this investigation by opening up the possibility that the Decent People have been doing that in accounts about the past as well. So, here is the bottle without a seal. I admit, that post was extrapolative and anecdotal. I didn't mean it to prove anything. It was supposed to free up just the one of its `afârît, the Djinn of Doubt. I abandon all responsibility for whatever mischief it might wreak within your cranium.

I trolled for more data by way of, um, spam. First I spammed Moldbug; last night I spammed Unamused. I did almost keep my spams on topic: Moldbug's original-post was a piece on Slow History, and Unamused's was a piece on crime. I am grateful to them and to their commenters, who did get me that data: the historical-series you've been reading is inspired from a post (anonymously) directing me to the Dunning School.

The history is fascinating in its own right, but we are all here for that one issue; so I'll get to the point. The freedmen ignored their contracts where it was harder to enforce them. Black troops ran amuck in Galveston. Blacks stationed in Victoria would jail the innocent and spring the guilty for political reasons. Ramsdell gets all this from contemporary newspapers up to 1866, some proUnion like Flake's Bulletin.

In the 1860s, too, there were whites oblivious to the facts (although, as the vote-tallies prove, not many) and other whites who lied for short-term advantage. It wasn't until 1867 that the Klan got on their horses. And the Klan wasn't what disgraced Davis's administration; it was his own misrule that did that.

Just to toss some more food for the djinn now playing polo with your preconceptions: I expect blacks in the 1800s to be even less city-functional than they are today. Genetically, blacks were blacker, with less admixture. (Americans, almost alone on the globe, include mixed-race people as "black".) In addition, I think that cities select for urban survival even without interbreeding. I base this on the Iraqi Shi'a - they are the majority of Mesopotamia, which has had cities for longest. Just looking at the most basic metric, the average in Iraq is 87 - and if you take out the Sunnis (Arab / Syrian) and the Kurds (Iranian), you get low-to-mid-80s. In the American black-belt, 1865 AD was very early in the process of moulding the population in question. The black IQ then would not have been today's 85; where I am concerned, Texas, the black IQ would have more closely approached modern Jamaica's 72. Then there's the other traits we've grown to know and love.

Thus far I've been operating on the assumption that we didn't have statistics for the 1800s. This case has been circumstantial up to now. Anyway it's mostly a Reconstruction account; tempers were hotter then. The "demobilised" Confederates - mostly deserters - were no angels either, and in Texas there was also a frontier. Without statistics, the Right is vulnerable to the same charge of "cherry picking" as we are leveling against the Left. I do not think, as vulnerable; but the concern has merit.

We know what we know about today's crime rates not because of Thug Report or Drudge, but because we have institutions like the FBI to collect these data. Here is M.G. Miles, of the blog Those Who Can See. He has compiled statistical tables of African-American criminality in history. (This sure would have helped Ramsdell's case. In his afterlife, among the punishments the Devil has for him is to remind him that he sucks at footnotes.)

Now that we know all this, this gives us the perspective to understand why Southerners distrusted Reconstruction - starting with the Fourteenth Amendment. This Amendment enforced what Northerners would term a "rule of law" upon the States. What could be wrong with that?

We on the 'web with our triple-digit IQs live in a world in which the rule of law and the state of order are equal. If we are tempted to commit a crime, we fear that we will be justly called to account. Those of us with a little more... insight understand that this does not hold for brutes. Brutes do not understand guilt and justice; as Arabs have illustrated for millennia, brutes can understand at best honour and shame. For brutes, only force works; only the Lick An' Lock-Up.

Southerners believed that enough blacks were brutal, and that they had so many blacks, that as long as "the rule of law" meant equality, such law could not ensure white safety. Since the Constitution now barred Southerners from enacting a legal caste system: Southerners enacted instead a legal plutocracy, with leeway for vigilante enforcement. The Fourteenth Amendment did not impose a rule of law upon the South; it ensured the suspension of the rule of law until modern times.

Personally, I should like to wish all this away myself. But the Djinn of Doubt is not in the business of granting wishes.

posted by Zimri on 09:47 | link | 1 comments

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