Defending John Calhoun: Comment Of The Day

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Is complaining about Calhoun's support for slavery just political correctness?
Two Athens State University, Ala., professors tell us the proposal to change Lake Calhoun's name -- so that it doesn't honor a man who called slavery "a positive good" -- is nothing but a bunch of politically correct hooey.

In their very long defense of John C. Calhoun, they say, "The Lake Calhoun critics want to misrepresent and vilify one of America's greatest statesmen."

The "moral statesman," like the rest of the Senate, voted in favor of the Fugitive Slave Act, they say, so leave the guy alone.

Be sure to read:
10 Lake Calhoun name changes that don't honor a pro-slavery racist

The recent and misguided effort to rename Lake Calhoun is a sign of how we as contemporary Americans have a tendency to forget who we are, and engage in acts of what has become known as political correctness. The advocates of political correctness want to corrupt history for temporary political gains more than they desire to keep or restore it, and their efforts are, sadly, a disease on the body politic.

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The operatives of political correctness have met with some success of late. With Orwellian irony, they succeeded in having a U.S Navy ship named for a person who hated the Navy (Cesar Chavez) and have imposed speech codes (with the actual purpose of restricting speech) on many college campuses--as well as more destructive examples of assaulting our First Amendment rights and redefining history. [Editor's note: Chavez actually volunteered for the Navy in 1946 and served for two years.]

The greatest threat to political correctness is an environment where free and uninhibited discussion and disagreement can take place. In fact, diversity of thought is the opposite of political correctness, and is at the heart of a free society. The proponents of political correctness -- and those who wish to rename Lake Calhoun -stand on the side of censorship against free and diverse discussion.

Equally misguided, the Lake Calhoun critics want to misrepresent and vilify one of America's greatest statesmen, John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850). Born in 1782 near Abbeville, South Carolina, Calhoun graduated from Yale College and Litchfield Law School. He served two terms in the South Carolina Legislature until elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1811. As a congressman, Calhoun's reputation was that of a moral statesman who regarded limited government and patriotism as synonymous. President Monroe asked Calhoun to assume the helm at the War Department (later given the more politically correct title of Department of Defense) in 1817, where he served until 1825, and he is described as the ablest war secretary the country had before the Civil War, while offering a fairer and more humane approach to Native American affairs than his predecessors.


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MommyLisa
MommyLisa

Personally, I think its pretty stupid.  WHO CARES who the lake is named after I love the lake and the lake loves me.  The Cleveland Indians were not renamed and really?  The Vikings?  That paints my ancestors as big fat fur-wearing pillagers.  Change that name!  :P

Michael Powers
Michael Powers

A weak argument coming from supposedly learned men.  It amounts to little more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Really Mark?Thorsten Veblen?He hated you union dolts! He view you as parasites to the state.Born in Wisconsin, died in California? Although Veblen, was sympathetic to state ownership of industry, and he had a low opinion of workers and the labor movement. He greatly opposed Neoclassical/keynesian economics. (more spending stimulates economy-sounds like Obama and the Dems)

The man sounded like a straight up Communist.  Joseph Stalin style communist.  Fuck the worker, benefit the state.  Kill the worker, if he opposes the state.  Give the worker just enough to survive and therefor dependent on the state.

Oh, no wonder you guys (union dolts) like that symbol (closed fist with thumb over fingers)(hint- follow Mark's profile to his webpage.  See who he is.  Now look up Thorsten Veblen)

Reply
Reply

Veblen anti-union?  I suppose you are talking about the same guy who got into trouble during WW I for suggesting that food bottlenecks could be best resolved by recognizing the IWW.

They Keynesians of the New Deal loved Veblen (Ken Galbraith, anyone) and the real Keynesians hated Neoclassical economics--so why are you lumping them together?

Conservatives that know no history nor the basic taxonomy of economics?  What a shock!

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

HERE YA GORE-WRITING HISTORY AGAIN....

Review of John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of thePeaceby Thorstein Veblen

Political Science Quarterly, 35, pp. 467-472.

It is now something like a year since this book was written.And much of its argument is in the nature of forecast which hasin great part been overtaken by the precipitate run of eventsduring these past months. Therefore it would scarcely be fair toread the author's argument as a presentation of client fact. Itis rather to be taken as a presentation of the diplomaticpotentialities of the Treaty and the League, as seen beforehand,and of the further consequences which may be expected to followin the course of a statesmanlike management of things under thepowers conferred by the Treaty and by the Covenant of the League.It is an altogether sober and admirably candid and facileargument, by a man familiar with diplomatic usage and trained inthe details of large financial policy; and the wide vogue andearnest consideration which have been given to this volumereflect its very substantial merit. At the same time the samefacts go to show how faithfully its point of view and its line ofargument fall in with the prevailing attitude of thoughtful mentoward the same range of questions. It is the attitude of menaccustomed to take political documents at their face value. Writing at about the date of its formulation and before itseffectual working had been demonstrated, Mr Keynes accepts theTreaty as a definitive formulation of the terms of peace, as aconclusive settlement rather than a strategic point of departurefor further negotiations and a continuation of warlike enterprise-- and this in spite of the fact that Mr Keynes was continuouslyand intimately in touch with the Peace Conference during allthose devious negotiations by which the Elder Statesmen of theGreat Powers arrived at the bargains embodied in this instrument.These negotiations were quite secret, of course, as is fittingthat negotiations among Elder Statesmen should be. But for alltheir vulpine secrecy, the temper and purposes of that hiddenConclave of political hucksters were already becoming evident tooutsiders a year ago, and it is all the more surprising to findthat an observer so shrewd and so advantageously placed as MrKeynes has been led to credit them with any degree of bonafidesor to ascribe any degree of finality to the diplomaticinstruments which came out of their bargaining. The Treaty was designed, in substance, to re-establish thestatus quo ante, with a particular view to the conservation ofinternational jealousies. Instead of its having brought asettlement of the world's peace, the Treaty (together with theLeague) has already shown itself to be nothing better than ascreen of diplomatic verbiage behind which the Elder Statesmen ofthe Great Powers continue their pursuit of political chicane andimperialistic aggrandisement. All this is patent now, and itneeds no peculiar degree of courage to admit it. It is alsoscarcely too much to say that all this should have beensufficiently evident to Mr Keynes a year ago. But in failing totake note of this patent state of the case Mr Keynes onlyreflects the commonplace attitude of thoughtful citizens. Hisdiscussion, accordingly, is a faithful and exceptionallyintelligent commentary on the language of the Treaty, rather thanthe consequences which were designed to follow from it or theuses to which it is lending itself. It would perhaps be anungraceful overstatement to say that Mr Keynes has successfullyavoided the main facts in the case; but an equally broadstatement to the contrary would be farther from the truth. The events of the past months go to show that the central andmost binding provision of the Treaty (and of the League) is anunrecorded clause by which the governments of the Great Powersare banded together for the suppression of Soviet Russia --unrecorded unless record of it is to be found somewhere among thesecret archives of the League or of the Great Powers. Apart fromthis unacknowledged compact there appears to be nothing in theTreaty that has any character of stability or binding force. (Ofcourse, this compact for the reduction of Soviet Russia was notwritten into the text of the Treaty; it may rather be said tohave been the parchment upon which the text was written.) Aformal avowal of such a compact for continued warlike operationswould not comport with the usages of secret diplomacy, and thenit might also be counted on unduly to irritate the underlyingpopulations of the Great Powers, who are unable to see theurgency of the case in the same perspective as the ElderStatesmen. So this difficult but imperative task of suppressingBolshevism, which faced the Conclave from the outset, has no partin Mr Keynes's analysis of the consequences to be expected fromthe conclave's Treaty. Yet it is sufficiently evident now thatthe exigencies of the Conclave's campaign against RussianBolshevism have shaped the working-out of the Treaty hitherto,beyond any other consideration. This appears to be the onlyinterest which the Elder Statesmen of the Great Powers hold incommon; in all else they appear to be engrossed with mutualjealousies and cross purposes, quite in the spirit of thatimperialistic status quo out of which the Great War arose. Andthe like promises to hold true for the future, until after SovietRussia or the Powers banded together in this surreptitious war onRussia shall reach the breaking-point. In the nature of things itis a war without quarter; but in the nature of things it is alsoan enterprise which cannot be avowed. It is quite needless to find fault with this urgent campaignof the governments of the Great Powers against Soviet Russia orto say anything in approval of it all. But it is necessary totake note of its urgency and the nature of it, as well as of thefact that this major factor in the practical working-out of thePeace has apparently escaped attention in the most competentanalysis of the Peace and its consequences that has yet beenoffered. It has been overlooked, perhaps, because it is aforegone matter of course. Yet this oversight is unfortunate.Among other things, it has led Mr Keynes into an ungraciouscharacterization of the President and his share in thenegotiations. Mr Keynes has much that is uncomplimentary to sayof the many concessions and comprehensive defeat in which thePresident and his avowed purposes became involved in the courseof those negotiations with the Elder Statesmen of the GreatPowers. Due appreciation of the gravity of this anti-Bolshevistissue, and of its ubiquitous and paramount force in thedeliberations of the Conclave, should have saved Mr Keynes fromthose expressions of scant courtesy which mar hischaracterization of the President and of the President's work aspeacemaker. The intrinsic merits of the quarrel between the Bolshevikiand the Elder Statesmen are not a matter for off-hand decision;nor need they come in consideration here. But the difficulties ofthe President's work as peacemaker are not to be appreciatedwithout some regard to the nature of this issue that faced him.So, without prejudice, it seems necessary to call to mind themain facts of the case, as these facts confronted him in thenegotiations with the Conclave. It is to be remarked, then, thatBolshevism is a menace to absentee ownership. At the same timethe present economic and political order rests on absenteeownership. The imperialist policies of the Great Powers,including America, also look to the maintenance and extension ofabsentee ownership as the major and abiding purpose of all theirpolitical traffic. Absentee ownership, accordingly, is thefoundation of law and order, according to that scheme of law andorder which has been handed down out of the past in all thecivilized nations, and to the perpetuation of which the ElderStatesmen are committed by native bent and by the duties ofoffice. This applies to both the economic and the politicalorder, in all these civilized nations, where the security ofproperty rights has become virtually the sole concern of theconstituted authorities. The Fourteen Points were drawn up without due appreciation ofthis paramount place which absentee ownership has come to occupyin the modern civilized countries and without due appreciation ofthe intrinsically precarious equilibrium in which this paramountinstitution of civilized mankind has been placed by the growth ofindustry and education. The Bolshevist demonstration had not yetshown the menace, at the time when the Fourteen Points were drawnup. The Fourteen Points were drawn in the humane spirit ofMid-Victorian Liberalism, without due realization of the factthat democracy has in the meantime outgrown the Mid-Victorianscheme of personal liberty and has grown into a democracy ofproperty rights. Not until the Bolshevist overturn and the riseof Soviet Russia did this new complexion of things become evidentto men trained in the good old way of thinking On questions ofpolicy. But at the date of the Peace Conference Soviet Russia hadcome to be the largest and most perplexing fact within thepolitical and economic horizon. Therefore, so soon as aconsideration of details was entered upon it became evident,point by point, that the demands of absentee ownership coincidewith the requirements of the existing order, and that theseparamount demands of absentee ownership are at the same timeincompatible with the humane principles of Mid-VictorianLiberalism. Therefore, regretfully and reluctantly, butimperatively, it became the part of wise statesmanship to savethe existing order by saving absentee ownership and letting theFourteen Points go in the discard. Bolshevism is a menace toabsentee ownership; and in the light of events in Soviet Russiait became evident, point by point, that only with the definitivesuppression of Bolshevism and all its works, at any cost, couldthe world be made safe for that Democracy of Property Rights onwhich the existing political and civil order is founded. So itbecame the first concern of all the guardians of the existingorder to root out Bolshevism at any cost, without regard tointernational law. lf one is so inclined, one may find fault with the premisesof this argument as being out of date and reactionary; and onemight find fault with the President for being too straightlyguided by considerations of this nature. But the President wascommitted to the preservation of the existing order ofcommercialized imperialism, by conviction and by his high office.His apparent defeat in the face of this unforeseen situation,therefore, was not so much a defeat, but rather a strategicrealignment designed to compass what was indispensable, even atsome cost to his own prestige -- the main consideration being thedefeat of Bolshevism at any cost -- so that a well-consideredview of the President's share in the deliberations of theConclave will credit him with insight, courage, facility, andtenacity of purpose rather than with that pusillanimity,vacillation, and ineptitude which is ascribed to him in MrKeynes's too superficial review of the case. So also his oversight of this paramount need of making theworld safe for a democracy of absentee owners has led Mr Keynesto take an unduly pessimistic view of the provisions covering theGerman indemnity. A notable leniency, amounting to something likecollusive remissness, has characterized the dealings of thePowers with Germany hitherto. As should have seemed altogetherprobable beforehand, the stipulations touching the Germanindemnity have proved to be provisional and tentative only -- ifthey should not rather be characterized as a diplomatic bluff,designed to gain time, divert attention, and keep the variousclaimants in a reasonably patient frame of mind during the periodof rehabilitation needed to reinstate the reactionary régime inGermany and erect it into a bulwark against Bolshevism. Thesestipulations have already suffered substantial modifications atevery point that has come to a test hitherto, and there is nopresent indication and no present reason to believe that any ofthem will be lived up to in any integral fashion. They areapparently in the nature of a base for negotiations and are dueto come up for indefinite further adjustment as expediency maydictate. And the expediencies of the case appear to run on twomain considerations: (a) the defeat of Bolshevism, in Russia andelsewhere; and (b) the continued secure tenure of absenteeownership in Germany. It follows that Germany must not becrippled in such a degree as would leave the imperialestablishment materially weakened in its campaign againstBolshevism abroad or radicalism at home. From which it alsofollows that no indemnity should effectually be levied on Germanysuch as will at all seriously cut into the free income of thepropertied and privileged classes, who alone can be trusted tosafeguard the democratic interests of absentee ownership. Suchburden as the indemnity may impose must accordingly not exceed anamount which may conveniently be made to fall somewhatimmediately on the propertyless working class, who are to be keptin hand. As required by these considerations of safety for theestablished order, it will be observed that the provisions of theTreaty shrewdly avoid any measures that would involveconfiscation of property; whereas, if these provisions had notbeen drawn with a shrewd eye to the continued security ofabsentee ownership, there should have been no serious difficultyin collecting an adequate indemnity from the wealth of Germanywithout materially deranging the country's industry and withouthardship to others than the absentee owners. There is no reason,other than the reason of absentee ownership, why the Treatyshould not have provided for a comprehensive repudiation of theGerman war debt, imperial, state, and municipal, with a view todiverting that much of German income to the benefit of those whosuffered from German aggression. So also no other reason stood inthe way of a comprehensive confiscation of German wealth, so faras that wealth is covered by securities and is therefore held byabsentee owners, and there is no question as to the war guilt ofthese absentee owners. But such a measure would subvert the order of society, whichis an order of absentee ownership in so far as concerns the ElderStatesmen and the interests whose guardians they are. Thereforeit would not do, nor has the notion been entertained, to divertany part of this free income from the German absentee owners tothe relief of those who suffered from the war which theseabsentee owners carried into the countries of the Allies. Ineffect, in their efforts to safeguard the existing political andeconomic order -- to make the world safe for a democracy ofinvestors -- the statesmen of the victorious Powers have takensides with the war-guilty absentee owners of Germany and againsttheir underlying population. All of which, of course, is quiteregular and beyond reproach; nor does it all ruffle the course ofMr Keynes's exposition of economic consequences, in any degree. Even such conservative provisions as the Treaty makes forindemnifying the war victims have hitherto been enforced onlywith a shrewdly managed leniency, marked with an unmistakablepartisan bias in favor of the German-Imperial status quo ante; asis also true for the provisions touching disarmament and thediscontinuance of warlike industries and organization -- whichprovisions have been administered in a well-conceived spirit ofopéra bouffe. Indeed, the measures hitherto taken in theexecution of this Peace Treaty's provisional terms throwsomething of an air of fantasy over Mr Keynes's apprehensions onthis head.

Veblen scholar
Veblen scholar

Let's see.  You get your info on Veblen from Wikipedia when there are Veblen experts all over the state.  The Veblen home near Nerstrand was rebuilt in the 1990s and it uncovered a treasure trove of info on Veblen.  I used to give tours of that house and have met Veblen scholars from around the world.  I have read all of Veblen's books at least twice--there are ten of them.  Trust me on this, there is a LOT more to Veblen than that goofy Wikipedia entry.

Veblen lived in his Minnesota home from seven on until he went away to college and then again for several years after he got his Ph.D. from Yale.  Does that make him a Minnesotan?  Close enough for me since Rice county is where he formed his most important opinions.Then you find Veblen's critique of Keynes highly overrated book--a book even most Keynesians don't much care for--and somehow you come to the conclusion that American Keynesians did not read and appreciate Veblen.

Well, the short bus has come to take you away Mr. "Conservative."  And we are all left with yet another reason for believing that "conservative" means pig-ignorant.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

I took it directly from wikipedia.

I just went to recheck this and for some reason it has changed on wiki.

interesting....

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Thorsten Veblen died in 1929. I really doubt he knew much about modern unionism since the movement changed radically during the Great Depression/WWII era.

Um, maybe this is just my vanity, but since I used to write for City Pages and because I post under my own name, I assumed anyone who cared knew who I was. Who are you Kirk?

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

I took it directly from wikipedia.I just went to recheck this and for some reason it has changed on wiki.interesting....

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

You sure you weren't at Conservapedia? If Wikipedia's page changed, you can see the timestamped history of the revisions.

webcelt
webcelt

They would have a stronger argument if they would stick to facts and not spend half the column attacking the motives of those who disagree with them, and about whom they know nothing.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Yeah, their asshole tone just makes me want to rename this lake even more.   If he is so great they can name some lake in South Carolina after him.     Let's name it something cool and Minnesotan.    

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Calhoun was very much a Democrat, and so is Minnesota considered a "blue state".Perfect right?

MommyLisa
MommyLisa

If we are so BLUE how come we have so many crazy Republicans and a Republican House and Senate??  You are a Jerk Kirk.

Michael Powers
Michael Powers

Democrats in those days were a completely different animal.  Most of the undesirables fled the Democratic party (into the arms of the Republicans) during the civil rights movement.  They may trade places again in another century...

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

Really a reply to Mark G (no reply on his reply): You overlook the federal government forcing their will on states in abortion on demand even though the state doesn't want it, or the federal government forcing me to buy health insurance even if I choose not to use a hospital, or for rights of some like UAW being protected from bankruptcy while bond holders and dealership owners are stripped without a day in court (GM) or like GE not paying taxes becauses they paid to play with Obama?

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Yet all of his positions would comfortably fit into today's Republican party from the right of states to nullify federal laws to the belief that some Americans are imbued with more rights than others.

Rename the lake after Thorsten Veblen, a real Minnesotan.

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