Another Steven on Emancipation

Steven Hahn, that is.

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6 thoughts on “Another Steven on Emancipation

  1. Bummer enjoyed Steven’s comments regarding the Sioux and the need to address that reconciliation also. That is a subject that is close at heart, both spiritually and physically.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Bummer

    • Yes, “Lo the Poor Indian” – I feel sorry for ‘em too. It was very brave for Prof Hahn to say so, and a point I’ve never heard mentioned before – except for Hollywood movies, TV, college courses, and US history books.

      But I enjoyed his talk – on the whole – but the Professor has several annoying mannerisms that need correction when speaking to a general audience. No doubt his captive audience of students simply accept the hectoring voice and hand waving.

  2. I enjoyed it as a provocative historical viewpoint, but I think his argument unpersuasive. Of course the Indians were treated shamefully and regretfully, but that doesn’t make his account true. His account doesn’t fit the historical data as good as other theories based on the same data. I don’t think we changed into an “imperial nation state”. I think we changed into a modern bureaucratic-regulatory welfare state. And I don’t think it was through some occult process. I think William J. Novak had it right in “The Legal Origins of the American State”.

    “It was the product of a continuous and energetic process of state-building from 1776 through the Second World War. The establishment of basic governing institutions, the acquisition and distribution of new territory, the promotion of national and international commerce, the development of a powerful national defense, the achievement of a regularized yet flexible legal system, and the growth of aggressive policies of police, regulation, administration, and redistribution.”

    Now whether a modern bureaucratic-regulatory welfare state is a good thing or not doesn’t have anything to do with how we arrived there. Indeed, I have no idea if Novak approves or disapproves. I don’t happen to think it a good thing, but that should have nothing to do with my judgement on the accuracy of any such accounts. Most of the familiar simplistic disapproving causal narratives such as Hahn’s give me the strong impression that they’re really saying that we’re dealing with a tower of Babel phenomenon where if the nation wasn’t scattered or somehow kept into small parts that it was doomed to corruption. If that is so there are a million complex narratives that all end the same because they are all the same simple one at the core.

    At the end of the day Hahn gave a grand sweeping narrative that seems flawed by explaining too much by too little. Of course reservations and segregation are linked. They were both cruel and unjust. That links Jim Crow and a lot of things doesn’t it? As symptoms, not causes. Basic things like this entirely ruin the plausibility of Hahn’s narrative for me. Or am I being too harsh? I don’t know the guy, but it seems like he was trying to dazzle us with detail that didn’t support the narrative unless you agreed with the thesis already.

    • Linking “reservations” and “Segregation” are simply examples of what happens when you view everything from a “Race/Gender” standpoint. Its an example of a “Cultural Marxist” viewpoint. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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