Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Civil War

What caused the core issue behind the Civil War? (Please answer poll before reading on.)

According to Loewen, 50% of Americans don't think that slavery was the real issue (25% for States rights, 12.5% for Economic issues, and 12.5% for Taxes and Tariffs).  Even the state of South Carolina has a monument at Fort Sumter claiming states rights as the issue.  The reason states rights keeps coming up was that the South was upset at all the free states not enforcing the slave articles in the Constitution.  That's what caused the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act (basically provided monetary incentives to judges to enslave all black people brought to court, free or not) and the result of the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision.

Abraham Lincoln was most likely elected because the Northern and Southern Democrats split as a result of Stephen Douglas's (Democratic candidate for president) favoring the State's right to decide whether it was free or slave, instead of following the Missouri Compromise calling all states south of Missouri (including Missouri) slave states; the South wasn't very happy with this.

And as far as Economic Issues and Taxes or Tariffs, those are the minority of people and I don't think much needs to be contended there.

I thought that it was rather obvious that Slavery was the issue.

A few evidences that States Rights is not the true issue:
  • "Shortly before the war, in 1861, Jefferson Davis defended secession as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration, whose policies of excluding slavery from the territories would 'make property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, thereby annihilating, in effect, property worth thousands of millions of dollars.'
  • "Well after the war, in 1881, Davis changes tack and says, "The South fought solely for the inalienable right of a people to change their government, to withdraw from a Union into which they had entered and into which they had as sovereign communities voluntarily entered.  The existence of African servitude was in no ways the cause of the conflict but only an incident.'"
So, one of these two statements is a lie.  Alexander Stephens (vice president of the Confederacy) made similar contradicting statements.  The fact that the South redefined what secession had been for is one of the ways in which Loewen says that the white neo-Confederate South came to "win" the war in 1890.  He referred to the reason for this change as a "lost cause resolution" (or something like that).  It was embarrassing to state that you fought for a lost cause (slavery) after the war, it sounded much better to say you were fighting for states' rights - a cause that couldn't be considered lost.

The other two ways are that it renamed the war to "The War Between the States" (which lasted from 1890 to 1970) and that they won it on the ground ("In county after county, even in the North, Confederate monuments sprang up."  For example in Kentucky, a state that did not secede, you'll find 74 Civil war monuments, 72 of which honor the Confederacy!  "The effect of a Confederate landscape makes it easier to have a Confederate mind and heart.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Facts and Fiction in American History

I agree the term "Lies" might be a little harsh in considering what is true and untrue in history.  But I think these untruths could very well be considered lies if they've been circulating for numerous years, decades, and centuries and there are facts disproving these myths and not very many people actually taking the time to verify what's being taught.  The Lamanites were living a lie that there fathers had told them that the Nephites usurped there power and stole there records.  I'm sure many of the Lamanites thought that was the truth and were possibly good, honest people; yet if they did not search for the truth and receive it like Lamoni and his people did, they were a part of the lie.

Here are a few more interesting items I've picked up in the course I'm taking.

Just so you don't think the Pilgrims are all that bad, they did actually meet for 3 days with the Indians and shared food and games with each other, which is what we commemorate at Thanksgiving.

The Dutch did not purchase Manhattan Island for $24 worth of beads (though I was never taught this in grade school, apparently it is a pretty common story).  Back then that much money was probably closer to $2400 worth of our money (they don't seem to take inflation in to consideration when telling the makes the white man look good and the Indians stupid; especially when they show this mostly naked primitive Indian in a statue with a fully clothed Dutchman in Manhattan).  Who, in their right minds, would sell there lands and home for a measly $24 worth of beads?  The most likely story was that the Canarsie Indians (sp?) sold the island (which belonged to the Wakyskik - sp? - Indians who were there enemies) to the Dutch and most likely received payment in tools and items made of steel.  Even if the first story has some truth in it, it should probably be discussed that it isn't the only possibility.

The land in the Louisiana purchase was not France's to give, we basically bought the right to keep other Europeans off of it for $15 million.  We ended up paying well over $50 million for it and lots of blood to the Indians over the following years to actually claim that land as our own.

The last time that the President actually consulted Congress about going to war was in WWII.  Since then we've been involved in multiple wars in Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Iraq x2, etc., and the President has never gone through the process outlined in the Constitution by consulting Congress.

The 10th amendment granting all rights not outlined in the Constitution to States and the people is widely overridden today.  States cannot perform any sociological experiments to determine what is best for the people of their state, they are compelled to follow what the federal government says.  States should be able to determine how to best educate its citizens (impeded by No Child Left Behind and other restrictions), should be able to determine the minimum drinking age, should be able to determine safest speeding limit on highways, etc., etc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Rude Awakening: Shedding some light on "History"

I'm ashamed to admit that until recently (maybe the last 5+ years) I've really come to the reality that history is not what we think it was.  I think I really thought that what the history books say has to be true, especially if they're textbooks meant to educate young Americans in public schools.  I picked up an audio course by a professor at the University of Vermont called, "Rethinking Our Past: Recognizing Facts, Fictions, and Lies" taught by James W. Loewen (author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong).  Loewen goes through American history and speaks to a lot of these untruths that are commonly believed and seems to have pretty strong evidence and even goes as far to discuss why these lies became popular belief, what was in it for those who created the fiction.

History is nothing but our take on what we believe happened based on fragments of evidence we've come across.  Some of that evidence is pretty strong in some cases, but we can't know for sure if we didn't live and weren't actively involved in that piece of history.  Take for example Columbus.  We're taught that a lot of the people around that time believed that the earth was flat and that they might sail off the edge!  That belief didn't come around until 300+ years after Columbus and was first introduced in a fantasy book by Washington Irving (the guy who wrote the Legend of Sleepy Hollow) - The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.  Somehow people liked what he wrote and believed it (the book was a fictional biography of Christopher Columbus). One thing Loewen obviously doesn't address is the fact that Columbus was led to Americas by God for the purpose of establishing these continents again.  1492 was of no real significance because others had landed across the sea as well, it was his voyage in 1493 when he took over the island of Hispanola and the whole Columbian Exchange began that was probably the Lord's purpose in bringing him here.

Loewen next discusses our beliefs surrounding Thanksgiving. With regards to the "Pilgrims," they weren't even called Pilgrims until after Pres. Lincoln instituted Thanksgiving as a Holiday and they only received that name to make their voyage sound much more pleasing to our ears.  They left from Holland (where they already enjoyed religious freedom), and their main goal was to reach Virginia to share in the economic wealth that they heard about existed, they just missed and ended up somewhere else (Plymouth Rock isn't where they landed either.)  I'm only a few minutes into this lecture, so I'm sure I will have more to share later.

Obviously my telling you this information isn't going to change what you believe, some of you will want facts and proof.  If you care enough about knowing you'll find out for yourself, in the mean time I'll keep sharing.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The enemy of Freedom is....

I used to think that enemies were naturally opposites.  But as I become more observant, I realize that that is rarely the case (I can't think of any off the top of my head).  Batman and the Joker are enemies, but aren't they almost mirror images of each other?  Both going off the deep end because of one very bad day and making a life's career based on that day? (This is a bit simplified given the ambiguity of the Joker's actual past.)  Love and hate are really just strong passions for a certain cause, object, or person.  Superman and Batman are probably more likely opposites, apathy is the opposite of love, and today I just read in a book by Will and Ariel Durant (The Lessons of History) that Equality is the enemy to Freedom.

"Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias.  For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.  Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire.  To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917.  Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way."

I've always thought of equality and freedom as almost one in the same, which, given the examples above they are rightfully very similar, if enemies.  Not a lot of people realize this when they want freedom to marry anyone they want because they think that homosexuals and heterosexuals should be equal.  Is it possible to think of the two like this?  Can you logically want freedom to do one thing, while demanding equality at the same time?  It seems like people want to make what ever choice they want and have control over the consequences...this sounds like a violation of the law of agency. 

Consequences are natural and eternal, we cannot control them.  Equality can only exist when we freely choose to know and follow God's will.