Michele Bachmann on Slavery

Republican party presidential candidate Michele Bachmann triumphed in Iowa’s straw poll this past Saturday, a result that contributed to one of her rivals dropping out of the race.  That result was not the only political news this weekend, as Texas governor Rick Perry formally entered the contest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Both of these candidates have expressed views on the historical issues covered in this blog, and so it is fair game to publicize those views.  So I direct you to an article on Bachmann’s views on American slavery.  These views are not unlike the views held by some other people that have been highlighted in this blog the past several weeks.

Oh, I’m sure I’ll hear that I should point out gaffs from other people, too, but these are not gaffs … these are considered beliefs, and they pertain to the subject matter of the blog.  If you want to talk about these views as history and historical memory/understanding, go ahead.  Extended political commentary marks both the poster and post as spam material (and I mean this for everyone, regardless of your feelings about the candidate in question).  Stick to the history (and historical memory) and not the politics and you’ll be fine.

60 thoughts on “Michele Bachmann on Slavery

  1. Andy Hall August 14, 2011 / 10:41 am

    Serwer’s not an historian, but he’s a perceptive guy nonetheless. Here’s his take from last year on the BCS meme:

    The attempt to minimize the suffering caused by slavery and segregation, to recast the Lost Cause as one motivated by “honor” and self-determination rather than racial supremacy and the preservation of chattel slavery, arises out of the same contemptible emotional impulse. The Lost Causer insisting that the Confederacy was not built on racism because of the presence of black soldiers isn’t any less mired in guilt than the liberal quietly mouthing the names of their black friends as they count them on their fingertips. In both cases, the individual trying to free themselves from history ends up drowning in a bottomless pit of self-pity and self-deception that, over time, can only ferment into rage over inability to find an absolution that will be forever beyond their reach.

  2. Ray O'Hara August 14, 2011 / 10:44 am

    there is a certain irony that here during the 150th anniversary of the CW we could have a Southern Secessionist running against an African-American for the Presidency of the United States..

    • Lyle Smith August 14, 2011 / 11:35 am

      I’m not fan of Serwer’s and I have to disagree with Andy about the young man’s abilities of perception. Here’s him having a discussion with a university professor whose has a lot of knowledge and facts, and Adam Serwer with something less than knowledge and facts. And it’s history related, they even mention slavery.


      Irregardless, Bachmann is not a historian and apparently isn’t clear to the facts. What else is there to say. A two head household of slave parents? No, not during slavery Ms. Bachmann.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2011 / 12:07 pm

        Interesting interview. I just completed an essay on the mixed impact of affirmative action on racial attitudes among college and university faculty, and I think it would be a mistake to discard Amy Wax’s observations or seek to subvert the discussion by turning it into a polarizing debate. I read the Wideman piece, and I think one can raise some questions about that, too.

        • Lyle Smith August 14, 2011 / 12:34 pm

          Yeah, it’s a much needed discussion that needs to be grounded in evidence.

    • Charles Lovejoy August 14, 2011 / 6:04 pm

      A Southern Secessionist? what’s more ironic is she is from Minnesota . She also holds a Minnesota congressional seat, She has no connections to the south, that’s what I’m thankful for. Would she be considered a copper head? 🙂

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2011 / 6:36 pm

        She’s a proud Iowan, actually, by birth. Waterloo, Iowa, in fact. But, as we both know, geography’s not always a defining factor, as in the case of the Confederate Canadian. 🙂

    • Charles Lovejoy August 14, 2011 / 6:18 pm

      Ray a Southern Secessionist from Minnesota 🙂 What will the GOP think of next? Ray would she be considered a copper head?

      • Ray O'Hara August 14, 2011 / 6:40 pm

        I was referring to Governor Perry, but I’m sure you knew that :p

  3. Lyle Smith August 14, 2011 / 11:39 am

    My comment was not meant to be a reply to Ray’s comment, but a general comment.

  4. Al Mackey August 14, 2011 / 1:11 pm

    I’m no fan of Bachmann’s, but here’s my take. She has an ideological worldview based in the present, and her view of history is colored by how it can be used to serve that worldview. She considers any government larger than what is absolutely necessary (as defined by her view) to be anathema, therefore, because of her general ignorance of history, she is sympathetic to any interpretation that would tend to criticize what she regards as today’s liberal worldview. We shouldn’t be surprised that her historical views are inconsistent with reality. She only requires what she needs for her political views. If some neoconfederate charlatan gives her what she needs, she’ll lap it up. Does she really believe that slavery wasn’t such a bad deal? Don’t know, don’t really care all that much. What really matters to me is what she’s going to use as propaganda.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2011 / 1:58 pm

      I think political candidates would be wise to advocate positions based on their intrinsic merit instead of borrowing from a misunderstanding of history for support. That said, learning about their understanding of history gives me insight into the quality of their intelligence and how their minds work. Lest you take that as Bachmann-bashing, JFK’s Profiles in Courage is a very revealing book, and Kennedy had to back away from some of its themes during his administration when he learned that things were not quite as he had assumed. I’d say the same thing about the historical writings of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

      • James F. Epperson August 14, 2011 / 3:43 pm

        Al and I have strong disagreements on political subjects, but I think his take on MB is fundamentally correct. To her, history is a tool to reinforce her worldview, and (like most politicians) she will grasp at anything to shore up that worldview, regardless of its fundamental weakness or absurdity. At the same time I think your comments, Brooks, are sound. There probably are a number of people who would be inclined to vote for MB because of her general political views (or even, simply, her party affiliation), who are turned off by the nutty attitudes she expresses.

      • Al Mackey August 14, 2011 / 5:37 pm

        Or not quite the way Ted Sorenson had assumed. 🙂

      • Charles Lovejoy August 14, 2011 / 6:20 pm

        I’ll be blunt honest, her modern day politics scare me much more than her views of history. 🙂

      • MarkD August 15, 2011 / 1:30 am

        But these examples are exactly why I don’t understand your “quality of their intelligence” understanding of politicians. Seems to me it is evidence that politicians –and likely citizens in general–can’t be relied on to know history well beyond what they or those around them have personally experienced. I’m not overjoyed about this, but I myself have a life where I am afforded the time and ability to chase down historical ideas and that only late in life. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be.

        I am fond of using the Kennedy example of how knowing history can be crucial, but Kennedy didn’t learn until forced to face his error. I seriously doubt, though I do not know, that Kennedy’s view on Reconstruction was never challenged before and he didn’t just brush it off. And there is a reason that politicians tend to be lawyers and not historians. I have no problem saying Bachman isn’t historically informed, but I just don’t why you insist on making ambiguous statements about “intelligence,” as statements like this must always be. It just further confuses people about the topic of intelligence, and raises obvious questions about underlying assumptions. I have close personal friends who I disagree with vehemently on their view of history, and I suspect that most of us do. Some I even say “they should know better.” But it has nothing to do with intelligence. At some level it does have to do with “how their minds work,” but this just returns us to the question of how much of the past a person needs to know to be fit for a particular job.

        Just to make clear my view on historical memory, I’m of the view that on the one hand history is a deadly serious business and worth whatever time it takes to understand it. I’d rather lose my right arm than lose what I’ve learned about my country in the last ten years. And on the other . . . well here is an excerpt of a Steven Davies lecture where he sums up my view at this point after all that:

        “… history is one of the most important ways in which ruling groups around the world build a mindset in the minds of many of their subjects that leads them to identify their own interests with the interests of the state that rules over them and the people that control that state … that’s why although I am a historian, I am not depressed or suicidal about the historical ignorance of the great mass of the public. Because given the kind of view of history they are supposed to have imbibed, I think it is actually good they haven’t, and I think it is a credit to their intellectual capacity for resistance.”

        http://mercatus.org/video/visions-history-ways-seeing-past (excerpt is from shortly after the 42:30 mark)

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 6:11 am

          The phrase “quality of their intelligence” is not the same as their “intelligence.” You could also call it “the nature of their intelligence.” When people make statements about their historical understanding, I get a better idea of how they think, what they know, what they’ve read, and so on. Sometimes the person in question can be talking about history; at other times they may be talking about science; at other times they may be offering generalizations about behavior. In the case of this blog, what they think about history is fair game for discussion, especially if they themselves inject their understanding of history into the campaign. This Bachmann’s initial comment about the Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, and slavery could have been accepted as a gaff; when she insisted that she knew what she was talking about, it became a different thing altogether. I wonder whether she saw Amistad and took it from there; maybe she read a book on Adams and made a mistake about how to locate him in American history; maybe she’s confusing John and John Quincy Adams. But when we have a political figure inject their understanding of history into a campaign as their way of explaining their positions, it would be wrong not to ask whether that understanding is a sound one. Note that I do not comment about the positions themselves.

          What I also know is that to bring up these issues will raise questions among people who tend to be supportive of the party and the candidates about whom I’m writing. So I’ve been queried by supporters of both parties, each of whom seems rather defensive about this matter when it comes to their people (but not about what I say about candidates from the opposing party). Having heard it from both sides assures me that I’m not pursuing a partisan line of inquiry. I have asked about whether a sound sense of history is important in a candidate, especially if that candidate likes to exhibit that sense of history, and people have shown me that they differ on a topic that is also worthy of discussion. However, once we set aside the nature and quality of a person’s knowledge, understanding, and intelligence as we evaluate them, we come close to saying that education doesn’t matter, and that would be an interesting position for educators to espouse, especially when they are asking for financial support.

          • Mark August 15, 2011 / 12:53 pm

            Oh I never said critiquing a politician’s historical view wasn’t fair game. It certainly is. But the “non-partisan” line I don’t buy, because I take a broad view of that. I think you want to construe “partisan” as far as support for a formal political party. This is why you frequently use examples from another political party as evidence of fairness. But I take “politics” in the more classical sense, and on that score I think the judgement is a bit different. The analogy would be a scientist who advocates a view on global warming that goes beyond the data he analyzes and shifts to philosophy in providing an interpretation of the data that the data itself can’t provide. Without fail you such a person saying his opponents’ views “aren’t scientific.” I would hear that and say “but that’s politics.” In saying that it wouldn’t mean any of Rep/Dem/Indep. He could be any in theory. What he is claiming by “that’s not scientific” is that the scientists get to decide who gets the imprimatur of legitimacy. That’s politics.

            If you are imputing to me that what I’ve said amonts to “setting aside the nature and quality of a person’s knowledge, understanding, and intelligence,” or that I’m arguing that “education doesn’t matter” you are grossly mistaken. I have a lot of respect for you, so don’t think I’m saying this to you, and rather just speaking generally, but in my view the main political difference in educators is their view of what counts for “education.” Namely, the relationship of formal education to knowledge, understanding, and intelligence. Most educators that I respect actually think that self-education is the best type of education, and that the self-educated have certain advantages. They have a very broad view of knowledge and education. Does this view amount to a claim that “education doesn’t matter”? I don’t think so, but then I guess it all depends on what you mean by education doesn’t it?

            I don’t think it is so hard to see your politics, and for perceptive people I don’t think it is that difficult to see any or ours including mine. What vexes me is your claims to be above the fray by claiming some narrow understanding of politics and attempting to avoid that. That understanding doesn’t exhaust political considerations in any way. As I’ve said, I have no problem whatever with criticizing Bachman or anyone if they hold false historical views. And she does, you are, and that’s fine. But I have a hard time with those who claim to be above the fray who aren’t. Opposing a view on a factual basis is a pretty straightforward business. It’s your blog, and you can do as you like of course, so I suppose I’ll leave you to say whatever you want now since there are only so many times I care to say this. But you aren’t above politics when use intentionally ambiguous language to make claims that go beyond the field you claim to represent, while trying to avoid “politics.” You can’t have it both ways. You can’t hold yourself superior to those who engage in “politics” while espousing politics. If you didn’t do that it wouldn’t bother me at all. It is using the authority gained in one field to try to increase the force of claims made in another.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 2:39 pm

            I think you fundamentally misunderstand me, and offer assessments rooted much more in your perceptions than anything else but it is interesting that you see things the way that you do and I thank you for being so candid in your explanation.

            And, you’re right … it is my blog. I don’t hold myself superior to those who engage in politics, and I think that’s a ridiculous claim. I can distinguish between someone’s political positions and their understanding and use of history. What I do know is that I have people who respect my opinions across the political spectrum and who see me as even-handed.

            No one’s forced to read any blog, and this is not the first time you’ve gone on and on about your perceptions of what I should do, etc. I’ve grown tired of that, especially since your observations are more about your issues than about any concrete action or expression of mine. And that’s the last word on this line of discussion.

  5. Charles Lovejoy August 14, 2011 / 6:12 pm

    I think the bunch trying for the GOP nomination have become very comical . To be honest I wouldn’t support any of them ,so I hadn’t paid a lot of attention GOP bids. But Bachmann is starting to get interesting in a comical sort of way.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2011 / 6:39 pm

      That’s a discussion for another place at another time. On this blog I’m focused on her understanding and use of history, because she has portrayed herself as historically informed.

      • Charles Lovejoy August 15, 2011 / 6:56 am

        I would turn her statements and her views on history around and point out something about her beliefs on very small limited government and get government out of our lives rhetoric.
        Slavery is a perfect example of an economic system that incorporates a small limited government. A government that allows the most wealthy and powerful to do as they damn well please and exploit a segment of people any way they want for self gain. A small limited government that does not protect the rights of all people living in its boarders only the rights of the wealthy and powerful. I would ask her if that’s the way her “small limited government” and “get government out of our lives” would work?

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 6:59 am

          And yet the maintenance, protection, and promotion of slavery meant massive government intervention relative to the time.

          • Noma August 15, 2011 / 10:50 am

            As well as the stifling of states rights in those areas where those citizens were appalled at the requirement that they become slave catchers whenever requested.

          • Charles Lovejoy August 19, 2011 / 12:40 pm

            I find it interesting that when “massive government intervention” suited the needs of people like the Planter Class at that time, they were all for it’s implementation. But when government intervention interfered with or did not support their wealth and profits, they were against it. Sounds like they wanted it both ways. The Planter Class first half of the 19th century , the industrial, railroad , and mining moguls, then the robber barons and modern day finical moguls all have about the same philosophy .

        • Mark August 15, 2011 / 1:05 pm

          But many credible folks far outside of Bachman’s circle think the requirements for government aren’t the same as they were 150 years ago. The federal government was the only party capable of distributing mail then. Is that true today? No. The federal government was the most effective way of doing all manner of things then that it simply isn’t today. To recognize this is to recognize how much has changed over that time. And Brooks is, of course, right that it took a much larger government to support slavery anyway. Anyway, it just doesn’t work if you want to imply that advocating minimal government now implies one would have supported slavery 150 years ago. Small farmers rose up to defeat the “Slave Power,” and after they did they wanted the government to stay out of their lives as it mostly always had.

  6. James Kabala August 14, 2011 / 6:44 pm

    It seems that the claim that Bachmann has a neo-Confederate worldview rests on three main pillars:

    1. The pledge she signed that included the controversial statement about the black family.

    2. A biography of Robert E. Lee that she once recommended on her Senate website and that contains some repugnant slavery-was-not-so-bad statements.

    3. A book by John Eidsmoe on which she worked as a research assistant and that contains the sentence “It might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible.”

    I find this to actually be a somewhat slim basis for the claim. In the particular case of #3, I would like to see the original context – is Eidsmoe actually expressing a view that he himself believes, or is he paraphrasing views that people held at the time?

    I have no doubt that Bachmann believes many strange things, but I regard this one as not yet proved.

      • Charles Lovejoy August 15, 2011 / 7:16 pm

        Ray, So if either Perry or Bachmann gets elected , you think a Pagan like myself is in big trouble? You think the days of the witch hunts will return? I better light up my Legba candle 🙂

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 7:56 pm

          My opinion is that trouble finds you … as it will should the comments section show more partisanship than historical reflection. Hint, hint.

    • Lyle Smith August 15, 2011 / 8:07 am

      That’s what I take away from the Serwer article as well.

    • Ray O'Hara August 15, 2011 / 11:49 am

      True, just because MB subscribes to the 3 major tenets of Neo-Confederism that is no reason to think she is one lol.

      • James Kabala August 15, 2011 / 7:21 pm

        “MB subscribes to the 3 major tenets of Neo-Confeder[at]ism”

        That isn’t what I said at all – I said there were three main pieces of evidence that she was a neo-Confederate, all of which are suggestive but far short of proof, and at least one of which needs better context to be properly evaluated.

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 7:58 pm

          I agree with James that defining Bachmann as a neo-Confederate (a term which in itself is susceptible to many definitions) is a bit too much.

          • Ray O'Hara August 16, 2011 / 7:03 am

            Yes , what is a Neo-Con, ius it someone from the South that accepts the Lost Cause/libertarian view of the events on the CW or is it anybody who accepts those views.
            MB certainly accepts them, she pushes the anti-Washington anti-federal view.
            as the saying goes, “if it walks like a duck…”

  7. Allen Gathman August 14, 2011 / 7:13 pm

    It’s interesting to see Bachmann’s views here — they’re not just Neo-Confederate; her basic thesis is one that was very popular in the first half of the 19th century among apologists for slavery. Edmund Ruffin, for instance, made essentially the same case, that slaveowners were doing the slaves a favor by Christianizing them. http://gathkinsons.net/sesqui/?p=1380

  8. John Foskett August 15, 2011 / 7:07 am

    Brooks has identified the problem. If you identify yourself as knowledgeable about American history and use that to gain high public office, be prepared for exposure as an ignorant charlatan who has fallen for comic books. Thias, after all, is the U.S. history student who moved the North Bridge and the Battle Road some 70 or so miles northeast into New Hampshire earlier this year.

  9. Terry Walbert August 15, 2011 / 9:12 am

    The mainstream media doesn’t have a very good record in quoting conservatives. I intend to read the article but am initially skeptical. Sounds to much like the made-up quotes that Rush Limbaugh never said about slavery.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 11:32 am

      My take is that liberals don’t always treat conservatives fairly, and vice versa. Often mainstream media mishandles the story to the dissatisfaction of all parties involved. So I recognize the justice of the complaint, but I see it as having wider applicability. Moreover, part of memory is this notion of second- and third-hand reporting of views, sometimes parsed, sometimes fragmented, sometimes taken out of context.

  10. Terry Walbert August 15, 2011 / 2:01 pm

    This kind of an article is a gotcha article in that the writer is trying to portray the subject, in this case Michelle Bachman, as someone who believes heretical ideas about the past. It’s also practiced against the left as when Obama is criticized for not believing in American exceptionalism or being outside the “mainstream.” I wonder if Eugene Debs or Norman Thomas would think so.

    What it proves is that there is a lot of historical ignorance all over the political spectrum. I remember being appalled when Walter Cronkite was interviewing Jimmy Carter’s mother at the 1976 Democratic convention. She mentioned that Carter’s dad was a follower of Tom Watson. Cronkite had never heard of Watson.

  11. John Foskett August 15, 2011 / 2:01 pm

    Sometimes, though, it ain’t “[t]he mainstream media” “quoting” anybody. The lady stood at a podium in the Granite State’s capitol city and waxed eloquent about it being the location of the shots fired at the Brits on April 19, 1775. I know becaise I saw and heard the videotape. Well, at least it sure did look like her and it sure was at a Bachmann rally. If she put up some piece of racist propaganda as a recommended read on a website, that, too, wouldn’t be a case of media distortion.

    • Mark August 15, 2011 / 9:52 pm

      This is silly. This is obviously something that only locals and specialists in the Revolution would know. Being neither, I didn’t know. Another reason is I don’t care about trivia like that, which will also explain why I’ll have forgotten this by the end of the week. No wait –I’ve actually forgotten it now. Good grief, I’d never impute what you are over such trivia to my worst enemy. This is so over the top. Naturally, here come’s the “well a politician should know . . .” argument. Well, I’d rather not require more layers of phoniness by everyone pretending they’re a local by cramming facts before they step off the plane, as if that really worked anyway with the speed of travel and life. Strident claims like this are why we have such phoniness in politics in the first place where people pretend to know things they don’t, to try to satisfy those who won’t be satisfied anyway. Attitudes like this are why I hated history classes all the way from high school through grad school. No good comes of this stuff.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2011 / 10:04 pm

        If a politician makes a claim to historical knowledge, that’s fair game. No one’s forcing them to pretend they know something.

        • Mark August 16, 2011 / 7:48 am

          I’m merely saying it’s silly to pretend that most of the country knows whether the first shot was fired at Lexington or Concord, certainly that this was a major gaffe. I don’t even know what “fair game” even means in this instance. I surely hope you don’t think I’m saying it is unfair to point out the obvious fact that she was wrong. Obviously I’m not. Thinking, or at least acting as if, the country would be a better place if politicians didn’t make mistakes like this is what I find odd. They always have, and they always will, because they’re like us.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 16, 2011 / 8:51 am

            Oh, come on. Now you are arguing for a culture that, when it elects as its political leaders, shouldn’t care whether they vote for people who claim they know something about a subject when they don’t know about the subject in question. Yes, I do think that speaks to quality of mind and intelligence.

            I don’t like chemistry. I never took a course in it. I don’t think I’d want to read something akin to “The Idiot’s Guide to Chemistry” and watch a few cable TV shows before going out and telling Americans that I knew something about chemistry beyond the fact that AU H2O once ran for president. And if people exposed my ignorance, that’s my problem … because I put it out there. I was pleased that I understood my daughter’s chemistry jokes, but that’s about as far as it goes.

            But if people want to prize ignorance and discard the worth of knowledge, then I have no idea why they would want to read history blogs. To pretend to possess knowledge that one does not actually possess is a sign of quality of mind, of intelligence, and of character. Are we to abandon those standards as well in selecting our political leaders and evaluating the people who want to be president of the United States?

          • Mark August 16, 2011 / 12:37 pm

            Your chemistry analogy might work if claiming to be historically informed meant claiming to be infallible. It doesn’t. It might also work if all of us didn’t presume to have some knowledge of history. But we certainly do. So I don’t see that I need to defend myself against your implied charge that I’m championing ignorance, which I’m obviously not. I object to claims like John’s where the implied meaning that such a mistake means a politician shouldn’t be elected because of some character flaw revealed in mistaking where the first shot was fired. This is not controversial.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 16, 2011 / 12:51 pm

            Again, when a candidate puts it out there, it becomes fair game. That you may not be happy with that is fine. That you then make claims about what other people believe should be understood in that context, because while you’re quick to reject other people’s characterizations of your position, you’ve shown no hesitation in characterizing theirs.

          • Mark August 16, 2011 / 6:18 pm

            Characterizing others views is part and parcel of debate, as is challenging each other on the characterizations offered. I take it that no debate can happen without doing so. I am never unhappy when there is a civil public debate on issues that matter to me. I appreciate the chance you’ve offered me to do it. As always, future readers will decide the merits of it.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 16, 2011 / 9:07 pm

            The problem, Mark, is that you’ve gone beyond characterizing people’s positions to characterizing them and tell us what others must think and what motivates them.

          • Ray O'Hara August 16, 2011 / 10:27 am

            The debate about what should be considered the first shot, the British shooting colonists on Lexington Green or the Colonists shooting Redcoats at Concord certainly “rages”. {would there have been shooting at Concord if not for the shooting in Lexington?}

            but there is no debate as to which state these shots took place in.
            and while you think it is a gaffe, the residents of two states were offended by it and it will cost her in NH where she needs a good showing in a real primary,

          • Mark August 16, 2011 / 12:43 pm

            I could not possibly care less if she loses votes because of it. As far as I know, “gaffe” merely means “mistake,” and in no way implies “innocuous mistake with no consequences,” so if you thought I was laboring under that understanding of the term I can assure you I wasn’t.

          • Ray O'Hara August 16, 2011 / 1:19 pm

            Definition of GAFFE

            : a social or diplomatic blunder
            : a noticeable mistake

            I’m glad she’ll lose votes because of it. because she is a danger to the country.
            it wasn’t innocuous, it was borne of careless stupidity, a trait that when mixed with religion and hypocrisy can cause no end of trouble.

            so much of her rhetoric revolves around the Founding Fathers and their “original intent” in writing the CONUS actually knowing the facts about that era matters greatly.
            She isn’t pushing for a new “paradigm” but a return to the old ways.
            Knowing the old ways therefore becomes important.

  12. Ray O'Hara August 15, 2011 / 7:00 pm

    Heretica ideasl? or more accurately can be called wrong she doesn’t know history.
    that really wouldn’t matter if she held rational modern thoughts, but she also believes raising
    and “Gotchya questions” is idiot political for “it’s your fault I messed up”
    When Sarah Palin gave her version of Paul Revere’s ride that garnered he ridicule she blamed a “gotchya question” the question being “What have you taken away from your trip to Boston” a real gotchya. one must admit.

    it’s not the reporters that make politicians run off at the mouth.

  13. John Foskett August 16, 2011 / 8:39 am

    “Only locals and specialists in the Revolution would know”? Are you kidding me? This isn’t a mistake about Howe’s troop strength at the Battle of Long Island.or an error about what role the 23rd Fusiliers played in the Southern Campaign.. Or did you think the “first shot” was fired at Lexington, Kentucky? The point stands – if you’re going to talk about a subject, know something about it before you open your mouth. I know – it’s America, where everybody’s entitled to an “opinion”.

  14. Mike Furlan August 16, 2011 / 3:40 pm

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    As a Christian, Bachmann rightly finds it hard to condemn slavery. This was a problem at the time of the War as well. The slaveowners had a better biblical case than the abolitionists. From a stricly Christian perspective it is easy to see where she gets those goofy ideas about slavery.

    Sure slavery is wrong, but you won’t hear that from Jesus. Better luck depending on the “Life of Brian” rather than the “Life of Christ.”

    Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves!

  15. Ray O'Hara August 16, 2011 / 9:06 pm

    This link leads to a FB “debate” I had today with famous Rock DJ Charles Laquidara who was on WBCN the major Boston Rock station He was one of the highest paid DJs in America, He was alsom my boss for one summer at said radio station. He is a native Bay Stater {now retired to Hawaii} so it isn’t lost causerism that sparked this debate. it was a reply by a female which brought up Sally Hemmings in a post about Tom Jefferson.

    Brooks you might remember Charles morning show ‘The Big Mattress” from your HS days as their signal easily reached into southern NH.

  16. Mark August 16, 2011 / 9:44 pm

    It isn’t hard at all for Christians to condemn slavery. All national denominations split over slavery before the CW into N and S camps, the former who condemned slavery. We know from their own words that were operating from a Christian understanding of morality and the brotherhood of all humanity. Christianity and black equality had a strong affinity, despite the shameful quack-theology of the Southern churches that turned into political mouthpieces, and the apathy and bigotry of many whites generally. For example, Indiana was always a free state but not necessarily welcoming for blacks, whether free blacks or fugitive slaves. But the small religious sects were known to be friendly to blacks and so black communities almost always sprung up near these groups. Likewise, churches were closely involved with the underground railroad in defiance of the law.

    The bizarre claims of Paleo-conservatives, unfortunately, are legion. And Paleo-conservative Christians make the same grievous errors. These errors and dogmas are not fully rational in my opinion, but they reject the traditional Christian understanding. I have argued with these folks for years to no avail. Some of them hold a number of quasi-racist dogmas, and I know by arguing with them that they don’t care if their own principles are self-defeating or not. But they aren’t in the mainstream of Conservatism for obvious reasons.

    • Mark August 16, 2011 / 9:59 pm

      In fact, one of the reasons I object to the way the term “intelligence” is thrown around carelessly now is because of the baggage of 19th century pseudo scientific and American social science that, as Ralph Ellison (and others) have noted, originated in close connection to the black American context. Before the rise of such things, people thought of intelligence quite differently, and far more circumspectly. As a famous person I can’t recall once said, all history is the history of ideas.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 16, 2011 / 10:07 pm

        Well, this discussion is now simply off the rails. Time to close the comments section down for this post.

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