« The Weeds

Statue limitations

2017-08-18

Libby Nelson and German Lopez join Matt to discuss the politics and history of Confederate monuments.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is no funds. I cast life is miserable fun, aloud, Welcome to another episode of the weeds on the box media podcast network. I met glaciers and join me today is come Lopez. Recent star of opiates episode and would be Nelson, who has not been with us for a little while yet spend a little bed. I've been editing and I've had nothing interesting to talk about, but here I am workers we ve got you you had a. a classic confederate, flag content that has become relevant again in a weird way. I am, I want to say at the outset, I would like to talk about the question of confederate statues. Monument sent sort of
I don't know historical memory in commemoration. I think that's a intellectually interesting subject, but I also want to put a pen in the site. Beaten switch, that's being enacted here, which is that we doubled from did at the beginning of the week was suggested. There were a lot of excellent people in a mass demonstration of Nazis and white supremacist, one of whom murdered a counter protestors He was taking on rightly a lot of heat for that statement. I dont think there's a lot of interest. New wants to explore in that question of, like are some of the NEO Nazis really good, guys or or not, we extend the whole conversation around confederate. Statues represents trump. Not
apologising for the more extreme things he said earlier, but simply retreating into this kind of safer terrain, because we ve seen at least poles before this topic, a gun aired this relatively little mass public support for taking down existing inveterate statues. I think I think somebody posed a a new Jefferson Davis statue in a major, american city, even in the south people would say, but strong status quo bias. I think the movement to get rid of these statutes is gaining steam, but but is not mainstream. So by shift The conversation there you know tramp tramp scores have a bit of a if a win, but also gives us something you know worth worth talking about, I would say I would not be too quick to say that putting up a new and with would not go where there is a confederate linked statue in Orange County California, that has been put up since the year. Two thousand people
Stop putting up these things were at least worst opening up these things as of ten fifteen years ago Orange County. Yes, so we we had a version of this circle round with the confederate flag after Dylan Roof. One is that churches in South Carolina killed all those people and oh, it's interesting is that the pulling on the flag is actually quite different from the appalling I'm on the stand. choose which I think suggests that a greater level of public information, possibly about But a? U you rode at that time about, Sir, that the history of the confederate flag and in the it states libyan. What what can you tell us yeah? There's a cup There's a couple of eggs: one is that I think, is the country. We have had a version of this controversy several times over the past couple of decades. There was the controversy about flying the confederate like itself over the South Carolina State House way back fifteen when years ago and then after the Charles.
in church shooting by a white supremacist there this sort of larger conversation about confederate things more broadly, but especially confederate flags, and at that time there finally did seem to be the shift to people, understanding that confederate flags were not used, they flow and since the civil war that they were adopted as a symbol of white supremacy, either during Jim Crow during the civil rights movement, the statues earth are much the same way and there was the same argument that people fly and honour the flag for family history reasons. But at that moment finally, and perhaps because what had happened, was so really horrific this, how throwing it flag actually get down where'd that there were actually some changes made here, not as many I think as it, seemed the trajectory was going to be at the time. But it is a little bit odd because it feels like as a country in a way we just sort of had this late, confederate, memorabilia conversation, and here we are again one thing it's important to remember to is that like just to x,
and why it became a controversy. Few years ago. It was because a white supremacist self declared white supremacist went to a predominantly black church and killed people. Some people think- and here there were pictures of imposing with concern flag, and what not some people think how maybe this is like a symbol of racism that we should get rid of, but it's it's interesting to me. just because it always seems to take some horrible controversy to start discussing about whether these symbols of racism actually should come down. What the ito I mean part of what happens, though, is that actions frame: the symbols in people's minds, weight, It was clear that Dylan Roof did not view the confederate flag as a kind of a political marker of personal background. Right I mean you see, I mean I, I see people who have irish flag stuff and that
typically does not affiliate them with any kind of viewpoint on something it's like there family is irish right. It's it's! It's a piece of kitsch. It's so that's it like her own, reasonable thing to believe about a flag right, but like Dylan Roof, those people and being in photographs with confederate fight, was a sign of like how this was seen by him. An end to me I mean that's why this recent March in Richmond has sort of up the ante around this that you know the one level I beseech Trump was trend of retreat from his kind of embrace of NEO Nazi as em, but, on the other hand, and we're seeing the alignment of these two issues right there Is this a lot of Americans, particularly white southern Americans, who have felt that there should be
I of Robert E Lee in prominent public places in Virginia and is relatively few white southern Americans who would grab at Tiki torch and chance. You know juice will not replace it spread, so it's the be closer alignment of the statues with a more aggressive version, of the ideology, helps people who have always seen the statues in that way. See like you know that this is what we ve been saying, time right. I think that context here really is key. There is not like a slow, turning away from the confederate flag as Nicky Hayley, that with them the governor of South Carolina now the ambassador to the United Nations Said- as recently, I think as when she was running for governor, but it was five or six years before the Charleston shooting that oh the states done without controversy. I think it's time to move on. It really was something oh horrific happening that sort of laid bare
Many people, the meat, what the flag and always meant to a lot of african Americans and people outside the south, who were pretty clear on what it has meant- and I think to a degree. The same thing is now happening with the statutes because has been such a week that the actual connection here may have. And somewhat lost, but the to unite the right rally that ended up killing a counter protest. marching around GPA, with teeth, torches, etc start it is a rally around specific statue of Robert E Lee and specific park and charlot- and so I think kind of the same thing may be happening here where the subject That message, because of the people who have embraced dead and the things they have done, is suddenly becoming much much harder to ignore for people who otherwise, maybe would not have given a lot of thought to it, and I did think I saw I believe it was. It was rich allowing an unnatural view rode over over the weekend
that he was changing his mind about this, specifically because the statues were becoming rallying points for these kind of all right demagogy. patients right that event in Germany. That stated reason and why there's no marking whatsoever of Hitler's? boncour or his birthplace are things like that? We obviously they would not. Gonna have a like celebration of the life in times of Adolf Hitler out, but you might think it would be reasonable to put something there there's this a Strip mall in a chinese restaurant. Where were the better go as I had, for there is no sign posts it. You have to get light sort of like underground in for me about where it is? If, if you want to go, see it but because they didn't want it to become a sort of even an unofficial shrine ride. So you know that sort of one argument being had here that you know
this Charlottesville statue or similar things may not have had, they may have just sort of been statues, but if it's going to be the sight of Richard Spencer values like then, cities have have to act to change course, monsieur today by he'll sleep who really want, help solve a major problem that that's out there, which is you don't night after night, you you got to people living in the same bed, which is lovely, that's lovely, that's not the problem. The problem is that when it time to buy a mattress only one them gets to have their way right. I mean you can people they could they could be deeply in love, but still not have the executive hasty in that respect, but until now he'll sleep the solution. They can. Let you biomass Chris online. It's customized for both of you for hundreds of dollars, instead of thousands of dollars, you gotta here
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secular, but he he actually the Marilyn's current governor in the past, that we should put this controversy behind us as well and like that, where he use almost like trumps phrasing in that. What's next, where we, what kind of statutory gonna take down, explain now that slippery slope argument, but I think it's it it's interesting to me, because I'm gonna theatres, like people just re, learning their history and away, because when they statues went up in the first place, it was during this like very, like white backlash to reconstruction and white backlash to the civil rights movement like during the time when they were actually constructed. It was pretty clear what they stood for the distant from white supremacy and when one of the statues in New Orleans I came down this year was actually celebrating and inserted Sian one thousand eight hundred and seventy four call the battle of Liberty place. I think, and basically the White Supremacist Group rose up and fought against us,
aid like integrated state militias and police forces, and that's very clearly white supremacist cause and- and it's sort of like people are re, learning that when they see NEO Nazis and K, K, K standing by the statues and- and the horrible thing, maybe Andrey learning, at its probably learning in the first place I mean, I think one thing that illustrates is How the civil war is tied is patchy too bad in a lot of America in terms of what actually happened, how reconstruction as time is almost universally atrocious. Many. I can say that with some confidence, because I had a truly excellent ap: U S history class, but mostly has avoided most of these pitfalls. With everybody says this history is not badly. I am to the things I learned about greek construction. I learned from my tiny, hardly codes this blog a couple years ago. Yeah I mean I mean that we can trust him point I think is is key. Might my wife is from Texas and I've heard some entertaining
stories about how the civil war is taught in Texas, public schools, I'm from New York, I think it's war was taught fine, but sort of between one thousand eight hundred and sixty five and ninety. sixty five. I was kind of taught in a easy way. A sort of big story of linear progress right, in which you are aware that there was a civil rights movement in the fifties and Sixtys to secure more real acquired the four african american citizens, and you look that there was a war to secure freedom from slavery and there's a kind. the implication that there's like a dotted line between those two events like pointing upwards in which there are various milestones of of black achievement integration, the armed forces in item forty, eight. The real story is that there was a
semi, serious effort at creating civil rights and political equality in the late eighteen, sixty ease and early eighteen. Seventy is, and it was contested with violence by Complex clan Ex confederate generals, many in a white southern civic leaders- Andy was successfully contested, and after that was eighteen, seventy six election. Seventy seven areas: they do not hate the compromise of eighteen. Seventy seven you're so like the north appended efforts to impose you, no meaningful political rights for African Americans in this new white supremacist governments took power and these statues were put up. The bulk of them were put up in that read as essentially they commemorate the federal cause, but their celebrations of the the Redeemer car swayed. It's a sign posts
you have overthrown the reconstruction government is that you can now put up a statue on official government property celebrating the rebel leaders who were defeated fifteen years earlier and like that's, that that's what they mean browser doesn't like. Just under emphasised. I mean reconstruction and even of its taught decently. Reconstruction is such a really key: pier get in or have recently U S which in so many ways is basically like the story of America. Even even it should be done. I think, as late as important as the civil war that preceded it and instead it like oh yeah, vaguely remember that something happened in eighteen: seventy, seven and lakes that stuff back right, I'm from alone my education was takes the biscuit really glossed over this period, like we learned a lot about the civil war, although it was
the states, rights framing and all that nonsense. But one thing that's interesting to me is that, like when I, when I went to college and I started reading like blogs autonomously coats about this, it was like almost like a whiplash experience where something like this realization- that this wasn't just a normal period in american history were like trying to eel ourselves a little. This was like a violent period. There were like mass lynchings as real terrorist or is it the first anti terrorist law was passed to control the K K K like and we don't we, just kind of gloss over that an in high school. It's it's very sad to make I remember learning about all this feeling, like a lake, this totally ignorant about this huge beard of american history, and it's interesting I'm because a lot of this has been sort of you. Visit this southern effort at a sort of Confederate memorial Alsatian, but also a kind of four ring and de emphasis in in the north, the eye
currently see right by by Logan Circle, which is up a neighborhood also a little circle. There's a statue of a guy and a horse. He is John Logan, this US we're Logan Square in Chicago and he a union general, not that significant military figure, but a more important figure in republican party politics in the reconstruction era of leader of the rank of action, a kind of politics Bossy Organise union veterans. He we're look, circle is now is where the hospital for by soldiers was dark. During the civil war period, and there was a time when, in the north there was emphasis, put Commemorating people like that there
our union civil war memorials in lots of small towns and in New England, but it is certain point. Northern white people stopped really emphasising that kind of historical legacy see and end up. Those kind of figures are not as sort of well own historical aim in this week, as mentioned, add tat tell us his blog that he has done a lot of light. The seas, grant popularization and get up those other people have have and in the two? It was a gene Psmith S, biography of of grant that I think so too got the hall bandwagon rolling on that. But there's been a very sort of we'll a symmetry too how those commemorations proceeded into the into the
century. So something that's interesting to me here is the kind of slippery slope argument that Trump and and others made, because I think I think this has a lot of purchase. Some people in part, because I have heard the reaction of some people. so the way this goes basically is trumps. Phrase was like while Washington on slaves, Thomas Jefferson, own slaves, that we can take down their statutes to somebody said like where we do not Columbus day to me. The reason this argument has power right is that you can definitely find people, particularly like academic, liberal historians, who would say yes you're right, Donald Trump White supremacy is inherently bound up with the story of America. From the beginning, the United States since I got real reckoning with its true racial legacy, we should
tear down all the statues and all the monuments. We should call it United States of America. Can you eat me? There's you you can go. in the realm of like intellectual inquiry. You go really really really far. There is a certain dream of thought on the American laughed did simply object to the project of national myth. Making right and when they hear somebody say, oh Donald Trump, doesn't it America that I know they want a tweet no. This is how America has always been. You no kind of Aimee raises, and then I think that you know typical, mainstream middle class White Americans like the idea of american myths, and if you have that sort of polarize debate,
back toward toward the Donald Trump View and will say like oh yeah, like these guys just want to tear down all our symbols because they think western civilization is fundamentally bankrupt. So, let's leave all the statues tidy when I think, as you have written here, man like this look at the can Such uses a weird point to start having that argument, because actually it's a pretty bright line. More interesting and we can probably get into an abyss which also relates to Charlottesville US or of the discussion on Jefferson and how Jefferson S memorialize had remembered it. Waiting Greeley is what sort of the slippery slope concerns begin to kick in Going to say that I mean, if you look back at previous generations, almost all of them were horrible in some way, and That's why I like your piece on an Indian. We try to remember like what was good about past historical figures. And lay like with George Washington. First president, basically founded the countries, the father of the country with people. Lake
Jefferson, Davis and I'm dead, the one in Maryland, Roger Britannia, was a supreme court, just as I think one of the worst people to ever live He wrote the dread Scott Decision, which is widely consider the worse Supreme Court decision and basically argued that la black people are of an inferior race and can never be. You are citizens so, like that's what these people are known Or like Tawny before that was an attorney general. He was a legislator but nobody remembers him for that. They remember him for the dread Scott Decision, which is the worst Supreme Court decision of all time. So so that that's like that, the important thing is like we remember these historical figures for for what they did, that really made an impact in history and, in any case, the statues. These figures are battered their remembered for actually trying to defend the institution of slavery in white supremacy is, if you had a big controversy over the fact that one of their residential colleges is named after John Calhoun
the thought of my mind and I wrote about it and it has been two years in America. Guy was so in the in the wake of this controversy. The present the university had an interesting idea that he probably should have had at the beginning of the controversy, which was the actual says, is that which is that, like they actually live, smart academics employ Yo University and they could convened interdisciplinary panel with like historians, but also sociologists, moral philosophers, unlike develop principles based framework for thinking about this, this kind of question. I think it's a super interesting document that you don't provides an interesting framework to look at this again and they introduce like a few concepts that I would hope to inject into public debate. One of them is this idea of the principal legacy of the past
So it's like what are they, but are they known for like? What's the one line she on them, and they make a point that if you excavate historical figures, you can often find unflattering facts about. They they showed this up. Frederick Douglass has this appalling thing he worried about native Americans and how you can like easily by them off with blankets and supports it. nothing like black people who should have equal rights, and you know they're saying that like ok, but this is not what we that's. An interesting fact about. Four Douglas. But it's not what we Remember, Frederick Douglass, for that his legacy in America is, as an abolitionist rides advocate. The other thing they say you should look ahead, is what did the people who put this up in the first place like what they think they were doing right and that's very relevant with these confederate monuments and is a good, question to ask about. Figures like like tiny
and and figures, especially figures like Jefferson, with genuinely ambiguous kind of political legacy sway dislike. We can, I dont actually know. Like, who put the Jefferson Memorial up on them all and like after four? What profiles certain should look this fact out: Ironmongery, Brenner and then the other thing they say is that you should ask what was the debate at the time of their life like rights? You know it's one thing to say: well, you know, It is in no sense that people are a person of their time sway. Any would not be extraordinary for Nineteenth century american to espouse some racist opinions, but obviously there was a large civil war about whether slavery should continue to exist. So you can't merely right off poverty. These views slavery as like, but that's what
everybody thought at that time- like there was a huge war there. Talking about Calhoun and and they're saying you know, is the star against him Really. The only thing he's known for is his short of partisan leadership of the southern cause that that cause was very controversial at the time. That's why he was a partisan leader. The one mark you can put in its favour is they do serve archival work like. Why was that name, Calvin College It was basically, they were like rummaging through the ill, and I list to find people who had been problem poverty. I know that guy's name aright. He was in fact, probably politician, but there was no evidence. But this was like intended as like a fuck you, two black people in Connecticut or Even so. I guess super compelling reason did keep it on their, especially since, presumably since then they have had many more prominent polarized even more, we politicians, like you, I agree, but I mean I think I think it speaks to the question of tiny right. There
you could imagine this is not the situation Maryland, but an exhibit somewhere Has statues of all the chief justice is right right and then you wouldn't. It would be an interesting kind of claim to say, we're ok we're going to decide this. One chief justice was like really bad and they were going to tear him down right. That that would be a sort of a misunderstanding. Whereas a single statue of the guy at the Marilyn courthouse is like raw, you know, cheerleading went read so to me. That's like an interesting kind of point and it puts the confederate leaders get an almost uniquely bad spot right. The whole point of Robert E Lee is it was a confederate military leader The whole point of the war is if this was a controversial question at the time and we know these statues were put up to celebrate political triumph against the local black population.
And that to me seems really different from like taking an excessively rosy view of George Washington or something you. I think I think there is, as there is a split here. There's that there's a reason that, like all your fates are problematic, is the thing that is set on the internet, like by twenty seventeen standards, even among contemporary, people at its very hard to find someone who checks every single box of perfect progressive opinions. MIKE no way while our descendants be ashamed of us in any way for There are a lot of lake objective. We better things that people have done. Then solely be famous for starting a war against the United States to preserve slavery, Roma. With that in its just like to me it's just when we think of Thomas Jefferson George Washington again goes out to that point like we think about the declaration of independence, a constitution
about Washington. Heroically enforcing on alcohol tax would have been ignored in the euro. Yes, that's what we all think, you're with Robert E Lee. I honestly like struggle to think of anything else, suggest that he was the confederate general. That's that's it that comes to mind and I'd like to think I've looked at this historical stuff indeed many of you probably there at ever that. Actually he hated slavery and didn't want it to continue which, like sir, you made some mistakes and if I wish our goal, this episode is bought, you buy parachute. Parachute does not the parachutes. Instead, what they make is really soft, really comfortable sheets, the softest most comfortable, the euro. We're going to own, they sent a set to me and they are just really great. I could not be more pleased with just the sort of texture and and feel of of the material that they sent and in the quality its immediately noticeable there made in a family owned factory in Portugal,
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that I have been a little surprised when I saw the public opinion polls on this week. were very strongest sixty to seventy percent support for keeping statues up- and I said But you know a majority of people favour the statues at and a large wine and you're gonna we're gonna have to like convinced them, and not just yell at them, so they got a lot of people. Yelling at me on the internet But I think I really do stand by that. I think it's on constructive to look it up. like that and decide. Ok, sixty to seventy percent of the population are like a hard core Idiot article NEO Confederates, who believe that we should be celebrating violent, rebellion launched on behalf of slavery. I think it's clear that this is not relevant to my.
people's daily lives, not something that there's like a ton of thinking about or engagement with an I was I've been taken aback by the amount of email that I got from people very seriously, telling me that the civil war had nothing to do. with slavery, and I think like ideologically advanced progressive people can sometimes forget that, like if you gonna complain on Monday about the sort of successful you know, historical boy washing campaign, you then need to remember on Tuesday that, like lots of people are going to assume that what they were taught in school is accurate, and you can't cast like heaps of aspersions on them for sort of accepting things as they ve as they ve seen them It is crazy to me that, like you would think that a war
That was obviously about slavery was not about slavery, but, like that's in a lot of school Choric its programme the very tight and it is I learned at an eighth grade and it makes you feel super smart when it's like actually the thing you think this little more was about with nothing. The civil war was about when you're like twelve, that's in Kansas thousand Kansas, which, like me, one thing you learn in Kansas, history was the Kansas was like on the side of the light, and we were a free state and people snuck across from reserve for freedom and like we were the good guys in the civil war. So if it's, the textbook thing in the curriculum thing do not follow regional boundaries, whether you would not suffer because you so in Kansas, I mean: where did they teach you in school like about in Kansas, get that yes and that conflict was about slavery. Yes, but the thing is hands of history with tied it like fourth grade and then U S. History was tied in eighth grade in its very sort of dependent. I mean we had a very late triumphant America
three things I learned about reconstruction, then that I can still recall where Scotland, eggs and carpetbagger is. I do not think we the word Redeemer this lake dating a good thing, in this scenario that was lake. I assume we are not going to get an act of Congress or an executive order taking down all confederate statues, and she would this freely is lake. I think there is a good place for local politics as a way to lake. Have these Congress genes do this research convince people on it. Actual local level of this. I also think behaves like this is not an issue that affects people's lives significantly. There is applied four elite leading of opinion on some. That's where we thought, like that's kind of what we saw in South Carolina with all of a sudden like everybody. Mean many influential people change their minds. If I came down here that I actually doesn't surprise it at the coward. You learn that in Kansas, because I'm I'm trying to think back of like how I was too
In it, it's very somebody you go through like the eighteen, forty than eighteen, fifty really learning about the escalation of slavery, but then in eighteen sixty, it's like almost if they start doing this like whiplash or transition to but it was states right by tariffs, yeah, but herons, but trade and all this other stuff, and it's like it just glosses over that. Like the central issue in at the centre of all this, it is that state rights, the state right that states were specifically fighting for, was the right too. keep slaves. It's like a very smooth transition. You see him in some of these history glasses that doesn't surprise you dont interesting sort of historic graphical note. I must say that I think sometimes people lose sight of today. Is that a big part of the reason to serve his red civil war got we written. That way was the activities of. southerners white supremacist people the right, but it was also in the beginning of the twentieth century, a kind of left movement to to do that
by there's a there's, a stream of kind of left wing thinking about world in general, and America in particular that wants to sort of say that everything is really about economics. Right and to deny the sort of central lady of race and of racial events, and so you have the sort of fact that there were Publican party in the eighteen. Sixty is was very much the party of big business and of of northern industrialists and just sort of construct kind of, like Pat Quasar marxist interpretation of American history. It then has to IE, that that party wasn't authentically opposing human slavery right because it it. Doesn't it doesnt work having no, interestingly, that wasn't Karl Marx his view, he was alive at the time he wrote a kind of famous letter
Abraham, Lincoln about how you know in victory, would be the first blow in the war effort the working class he had his own take on getting the dialect I guess I M S, but but that was part of the is informed. In the end we see tat of small echoes of that controversy on the left. Word side of the political spectrum you know down down to this day is like is everything that happens in politics in some sense really about class conflict, in which case you have to dig through and say well, this war was really about tariffs. It was about where road, structure. It can't be that people were just like having a disagreement about recent identity and that that actually drove political outcomes. I think this is the ideal
it's true, but I also think that's based on a sort of broader misunderstanding of slavery and how worked sort of underpins this whole debate lake. It's insane to say that slavery isn't about economics that was the entire economic life of the south. With the rest, owning people at not having to pay them picking. Cotton was difficult and it I mean, I think- and I think this is this is certainly in the sort of the elementary middle grades, lesser class high school in history that word we're talking about. This is a problem it also sort of in the broader american sent. If what you learn that slavery was a bad thing and like a morally terrible thing and therefore conflicts about it were moral conflict spotlight There's no way there, it's not like a separate vote diagram of like slavery and economic issues, like those things are early tied up together, and so that's what I think when you get to like always about states, are it's like: I'm, not a confrontational, a person to do this with random.
public, but I really want to just like keep poky women really expatriates to to do what they quite. What is it? What is the right that they wanted? They didn't have always slavery. Oh ok, right. I mean I also get all those emails that you mentioned. Madam it always blows. I mean some of the lake theories that people have for why the civil war started our like really interesting in that they're just complete. They have no foundation than anything that it will look like we look back when the states like actually wrote their like, like worse deceit and whatnot. They were very clear about what they were doing. A lot of them said explicitly. This was about preserving slavery and people just seem Look at those kind of documented is completely gloss over them. I bet that treat them as irrelevant, even though they are literally, why states said they were leaving the union wait and see. Two ladys point. I'm into recent books by spend backward spoke, I empire of Cotton and Edward Baptists book. There has ever been told, or both
Efforts to show how slavery worked as an economic institutes. and right that it wasn't just a kind of a free floating like off the axis moral controversy, but that you know this was deep. embedded in the southern, but also the global economy, and that their words, unity, sort of fascinating connections between derivatives trading and and northern industrialism and there's an interesting kind of dispute between historians who look at this period and economy To look at the question of slavery, where's that I think the historians viewpoint is that if you look at the actual sequence of events that actually occurred, slavery and slave labour were integral to the development of the actual institutions that how
and where's economists look at the very sudden demise of american slavery is a good sort of economic test. Of that. and it turns out that, as it happens, when you couldn't you slave labour to produce cotton the economic system adjusted sort of rather quickly and easily titter. a whole other regions, because the war completely shut off southern cotton exports, so one kind of, and on this, that you get is like well like slave labour, built global capitalism and then the line you get on. It is like no, it turns out. slavery was this moral abomination. That was our totally unnecessary and they got on fine without it, and I think Both sides in that argument think that their way of viewing it gonna like proves that the better moral point like a very angry at each other about this kind of thing
but I mean it goes to show that reduce know. This was the critical economic institution of the south. There would be no way you can have a giant debate about the nature of the national economic system without it also in some way being a debate about the slave system, and so you know that the notion of there being something else there, it doesn't it really really make sense, and it when I'm really thing is, we need some great national popular culture about reconstruction for half the grant biography will be adapted as they Hamilton Biography once before that, and I think I, like only that, may jokingly, because I learned a lot about the revolutionary era that I did not know from the last year and a half of Hamilton mania. Yeah I mean it was not like it I was particularly interested- and I now know the names and facts of a lot of things that I did not know about before your thing. I think, if people
learn about what happened after the civil war like during reconstruction and after reconstruction. In the backlash too, that I mean it, only that it would teach people like hey America. Is this really dark? Hair story that, like you, should have, should have been gloss over your high school history class, but was, also just puts a lot of the other issues that were like dealing with today in, like a better contacts, shows that this is like centuries a bill. public. It's sort of weird in in in his report is how this is top because, like you suddenly display it almost like you see the civil rights movement pop up out of nowhere, whereas, like now there was this like century of, like serious white supremacist, K, K, case suppression during this period and like that, what slowly, by the build up of this but the way that it some history constitutes almost a broad like Jim Crow, just came out of nowhere, and then the civil rights movement popped up and you I will say one reason
I really like dont, want the slope to slip here. Is that due to levies, point about that Hamilton, musical, I mean I read a lot of like better, Angry lefty think pieces on Hamilton with basically like actually Hamilton is, is bad. This got tied up a little bit in Bernie versus Heller. Kind of land. Shocking. No conflict is ever boil down to that in the long run, and a hundred per cent of the things that Alexander Hamilton, leftwing critic say are correct. and something is this really stupid viewpoint that, like people, a country particular country like the United States, that attempts to like transcend blood and soil nationalism and stitch people to go on the basis of abstract and sort of bloodless ideals, needs a pantheon of national hero,
was to make that a little more real to people and their lives and its Good point obviously have like accurate history. Would be terrible if what the Hamilton Musical did was portray Alexander Hamilton as being correct, America should have neglected monarch, but he doesn't do that like what it actually does is it does some violence to the actual specific history to make Hamilton into purely icon of modernization and sort of inclusive, of America, which he sort of words, but I mean they. They they create a heroic Hamilton I think there's nothing wrong with having a heroic view of George Washington rather than alike. Washing DC is where it is in part because of illegal shady
Andy all that he pulled off, but, like you know, ok, he was president. He could have been a dictator, but he decided not to be good for him. Good, for us I said that was a gene, Edward Psmith, Biography of Grant that had. I thought, start this in its motion, but rancher now who wrote the Hamilton biography? He is a grand biography coming out this far also, maybe there yet a musical and you're gonna wanna jokes about those, but I actually think it think this is a good idea. Lake having added Ivy League, added a myth to the backdrop of american periodic myth is like not a small Ajib men like Butler two major thing to have done: yeah, and I think that kind of myth making you know when done well, or at least appropriately to the times as it is, is good. It its construct army is not the same as like getting your phd in his
but you know normal people, I don't know. I think I think we need our heroes and illusions in America. if you enjoy listening to the weeds on your phone or at your computer through your headphones, something like that you're going really love sitting in chairs and watching us talk alive. We are bringing the weeds to the now here. This part has festival in New York City. This of temper. I'm gonna be there with Sarah Cliff Dore Lyn, putting on a great show and there's a whole great line up with this festival, love it or leave it. Larry Wilmore is black on the air. Politically, we active and crackpot passed by a whole bunch, other favorites, gimlet public, really your Wolf radio Toby, are the sort of big pipe casting. Efforts is of great value of a than a park. One ticket gets you access to all twenty five live shows throughout the weekend, and the first one hundred people to use offer code weeds,
save twenty bucks I set out here. This is of timber. Aithra tenth in New York City come see. Great podcast meet the hosts and makes a new friends. We would particularly love to see fans the weeds come out there. I would like to see you there to get a now here. This fast start com to get your tickets. That's now, here this fast com, net driver got reads a check out to think twice: box. I really hoping to see a bunch of this is TAT Vander worth I'm here with a listening recommendation for you, it's my podcast. I think your interesting every week I talk to some of the most interesting people who are shaping arts and entertainment culture, and media names, you might know names you might not. Now some of our guess have included Academy award, winning Documentary and Morse David Lowery, director of a ghost story, and some of my favorite film critics discussing their favorite summer movies of the twenty first century. You can find, I think, your interesting on apple podcast, stitched or wherever you get your pop one. Other thing I wanted to touch on here
one of the talking points against removing these confederate statues in the flag and went out is that its historical eraser and just one thing about this- is that, like these cities in and states that are considering, this are not just throwing statues in the garbage. A lot of them are putting them in museums like New Orleans has been actively looking for people to take its confederate monument. The confederate flag was moved to a museum matter was taken down in South Carolina. so like I mean that went when it goes in a museum. That's not a recent history. That's more like a lot of historical stuff reside, so it is important that emphasise out, because I think a lot of people think that these statutory has been totally destroyed and that's part of it in, and that is not the case yeah when I was in I in Budapest in June- and they have. This is not a perfect historical parallel, but they have a park of when there and fell in Soviet? The Soviets retreated from Hungary. They took all of the lake soviet realism, fourteen foot tall statues of
the workers, the leaders of the state, but not and put them in this lake Super barons, super weird park on the outskirts of town and its do not think that would work America, because we would probably be like a small state to fit all the confederates edges then and be the risk of becoming linking confederate theme park would be extremely high and even as a little, but that in Budapest, was a really interesting like that. the country and I think, a lot of Eastern Europe after they follow Soviet Union's hurt. If did have this conversation of like what do we do with all this stuff that commemorates a period in history that we, like, maybe dont, want to commemorate? I think- and I think there there are examples of like people, we America's on the first country to ever have had this problem. There are examples of how people deal with us yeah and I mean obviously, is a range of different things right. Even if you have a road, that's called Jefferson Davis Highway. You can, I think, just written He met. I mean that sort of his erasing the history of the road, but also who cares
as yet I mean you know, monumental statue is you should just fight put in the guy which can somewhere you should you should do something. You know, I would even say battlefield writing and we have preserved historic battlefield says he took an appropriate place for it? statuary of the relevant military figures can be appropriately Copley. The whole battlefield is appropriately context relies for people to explain what it is. One point that I do so I have mixed feelings about that. That was that mention the other day. Is monuments not not too like the hero on horseback but to the rank and file soldiers, which I have not seen figure Quite- is poor, Evidently in these arguments, because their sort of not the biggest the most the most visible ones, but I don't know. I don't have like a super strong feeling about this, but
I can certainly sympathise with the view that you know a community is entitled to sort of mourn the dead you're talking about You know the motivations of ordinary soldiers in any conflict are interesting, but at least convention, only we don't say that, like everyone who fought in the german army is a Nazi per se, that that's what you do particularly when there's conscription, as there was in the civil war is like people do what the government tells them to do. Other hand, that's actually not great lesson. Yeah I think this is one where the fact that it is a civil war becomes like this is probably a really obvious point. Them is extremely difficult like we don't go around drink when we do corroborating war, is what we're not like. Our we're gonna like take down this memorial because it was a bad Blake, was a bad and stupid war for bad and stupid reasons. I do think the complexion of
That is the sort of surveillance of that changes. A bed when it's like yes, like two thirds of this community is honouring an ancestor who died in a word that wasn't their choice or their fault, but to the other three, the community that the symbol of a war that was fought to make them not be not count as human beings like that? where I don't know what to say like that's, that's really hard and allow yeah. I think one thing to is that with with some of the discussion like going back like the historical razor thing is that if we actually took down on this it is a Robert E Lee we were not somebody forget who Robert E Lee is. There are plenty of like his books, like history books with his name in them, but when, when it comes to take these soldiers, these confederate soldiers in some cake, these monument may be. The only place where, like their names, are actually lesson and people can think. Like hey, that was my ancestor like, I might not agree with what he did, but he thought because,
the government told him to and like I don't. I want to honour my ancestor in this way and I think that's a good and important difference with this is like we You don't need some of these monuments to no history, but with with these confederate soldiers, there actually is like a possibility that these people are completely erased if those monument or not at all, certain that is that you know about a hundred thousand african american Southerners, ended up fighting in the union army I'm not sure how many white southerners dead, although I know from Tennessee Kentucky from the border states. At least that was a fair number of of white soldier. Airlines we only one gets out my Maryland year that we again and are largely and commemorate it at their hat. I happen to live near the African Americans of WAR Memorial in in Washington, so I have at least oh said of the matter with it like curing. Those words in context is weird and just like a thing that they slake. I do too that it does not.
I'm not I'm there looking at it. It just is like a collection of words, any rights, There are not a lot of that is certainly not in southern cities. Right I mean- and I think I would be climb to say, like keep memorials to common soldiers, are the confederate side, but create ones for design and the union side I mean I feel like that- is that the statement of political community waited has always been lacking. Is the idea that the black people who lived in Georgia who work there as slaves, who fled the plantations, who, fought in the Union Army who participated the reconstruction governments that those people are authentic members of Georgia's political community right and erecting that not a single I've, Georgia, but the ito, a wrecking monuments, to confederate political and military leaders while having none to people who fought for the actual.
government of the United States of America and for political ideals that we would embrace today is aware of saying that no, the real political community down here is just the white people wait. That is what makes this completely different. I think from questions that are just about Well, how do we evaluate this historical figure? It's it's a statement always about like what is Virginia right like who counts for real oh here and when you're saying there's a statue for Robert E Lee. Hi way for drivers Avis is not even virginian, but does nothing for black soldiers who fought to save the country. You're saying that by people don't count as real members of the community, and that is what fundamentally has two as to change, and I think that creating new things is as well tearing down old ones, is integral to that? One thing: that's important here that like stating why this
choose a lot of people feel they start listening to come down in the first place is like racial reconciliation, which we have never. Really had in the U S and one way I think about it- is that there are still monuments in the south. They might not explicitly commemorate this, but they're they're, like monuments, at the sight of warlike, actual lynchings, happened like really battling Jason. I read. I remember I can remember the organisation that put this out, that they found a bunch of monuments. Dedicated to these sites were lynchings happen, but none were in South were commemorating the victims and remembering who these people were, and that's like lake one small way- that the Eu S could actually look back at this horrible period in history and like think and try to like make amends is by focusing on the victims. Here and it really has not done that, and I think that kind of thing like some of the Black Union soldiers as well, is that day were really like fighting for their most basic rights, and we really don't.
remember them as much as we should, They had like the most running on this, warlike that this is this. Was their basic human decency being considered here and it is tragic that we don't. We dont honour them their occasionally interesting stories about sort of loan plague loan quixotic hero endeavour is to Lake set up. museums or memorials to lynchings or to slavery, or to sort of hidden parts of that civil rights movement. South. That are a huge part in that region. History, but that's her Monmouth, saying, like her night commemorated any While there is like a plantation you can visit, you know in and on every corner, and if enough, when's listening, who has been like looking around for historical cause to endow his efforts to me or their occasionally and they're. Always there always really interesting is just a reminder of lake, for all the fetish icing in celebration of civil war. history, and we have just finished the subtle. Sometimes The civil war,
There is so little attention paid to Greeley other crucial and important history in that region and will, without I think, we're we're about at a time while you're paying attention to crucial important history, undertake a crucial and important task of waiting. This. podcast on Itunes recommending a few friends, you know also listen to the other bucks media networks. Worldly. I think your interesting. There are fantastic. You know, Joe during the discussion in the Facebook group, particularly interested in hearing what what people think about sort of rank and file soldiers and how to how to commemorate them. Thanks all of you for listening thanks to work Pinkerton for producing. We shall we engineer, and we will see you next week
Transcript generated on 2021-09-13.