Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Slavery: The ‘Best’ Form of Socialism

 

In an 1864 address, Abraham Lincoln argued that:

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different but incompatible things, called by the same name liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.

Lincoln’s definition of slavery, “[an arrangement that allows] some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor,” is also a good working definition of socialism.

George Fitzhugh, an antebellum slavery proponent, agreed. In 1854 he wrote:

[S]lavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism… The association of labor properly carried out under a common head or ruler, would render labor more efficient, relieve the laborer of many of the cares of household affairs, and protect and support him in sickness and old age, besides preventing the too great reduction of wages by redundancy of labor and free competition. Slavery attains all these results…

With negro slaves, their wages invariably increase with their wants. The master increases the provision for the family as the family increases in number and helplessness. It is a beautiful example of communism, where each one receives not according to his labor, but according to his wants.

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  1. Henry Castaigne Member

    We can at least admire how straightforward Fitzhugh’s comment is. He isn’t pretending.

     

     

    • #1
    • July 10, 2020, at 2:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. I Walton Member

    Wonderful quotes. Thanks. They go to the heart of our divisions. Slavery at the local level made the heart of the matter clear. Centralized control in a country as large and vast as the US hides the slavery, but is the same thing.

    • #2
    • July 10, 2020, at 3:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Sounds like the Welfare State.

    • #3
    • July 10, 2020, at 5:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you for writing this post, Richard Fulmer. I would never have more than heard this man’s name without it.

    The first thing I did was look him up on Wikipedia. So now I want to find out in what work he suggested that if Yankees were caught young they could be trained, domesticated and civilized to make “faithful and valuable servants.”

    Where was this guy really coming from ? I just finished chapter one. What stands out to me ?

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    (2) His claim (He’s writing in 1854) that the South “has suffered so little from crime or extreme poverty.” He has to have known this wasn’t true. He has to have known his readers would know it wasn’t true. So what was he really trying to do by saying this ?

    (3) That what he describes on page 14 and 15 so largely describes what was true about the South by 1854.

    (4) That, without something else, capitalism and socialism result in the same situation for the people not within the ruling class. (That’s what I think he’s saying. I have to reread the second half of chapter 1.)

    Favorite quote so far: “Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors loved personal liberty because they were barbarians, but they did not love it half so much as North American Indians or Bengal tigers, because they were not half so savage.”

    • #4
    • July 10, 2020, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I just finished chapter one. What stands out to me ?

    Check out pages 45 – 48 in which he describes his slave utopia.

    • #5
    • July 10, 2020, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Re # 5

    Will be getting there when I get back to this in a few hours. He’s creepy in a very engaging way.

    • #6
    • July 10, 2020, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    • #7
    • July 10, 2020, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    So, in 1854, “peculiar“ didn’t yet have the connotation of unique in a negative or disturbing kind of way ?

    • #8
    • July 10, 2020, at 12:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    So, in 1854, “peculiar“ didn’t yet have the connotation of unique in a negative or disturbing kind of way ?

    Pretty much. That seems to have come later.

    • #9
    • July 10, 2020, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Flicker Coolidge

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    Peculiar doesn’t mean what it meant 100 or 200 years ago.

    • #10
    • July 10, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    Peculiar doesn’t mean what it meant 100 or 200 years ago.

    You can still find it being used that way. But meanings do drift over time.

    • #11
    • July 10, 2020, at 2:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    Peculiar doesn’t mean what it meant 100 or 200 years ago.

    You can still find it being used that way. But meanings do drift over time.

    I find it peculiar that the three of you find “peculiar” so peculiar.

    • #12
    • July 10, 2020, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Henry Castaigne Member

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    Favorite quote so far: “Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors loved personal liberty because they were barbarians, but they did not love it half so much as North American Indians or Bengal tigers, because they were not half so savage.”

    Like all haters of liberty, he assumes free people will start destroying themselves. The Anglo-Saxons loved their liberty because they were an island people and as an island people they didn’t need to have a standing army. As a result, they limited the ability of their King to raise taxes. Limiting the ability of the King to raise taxes had the added benefit of limiting the King’s ability to go to war. From these humble beginnings, the best ideas about governance sprang forth. 

    It is a false equivalency to compare Anglo-Saxon liberty that limited war and taxes with the freedom that was practiced by some North American Indians to make war and rape and pillage and whatnot. 

    Freedom does need virtue to be worthwhile but freedom doesn’t automatically give way to licentiousness. 

    • #13
    • July 10, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    Peculiar doesn’t mean what it meant 100 or 200 years ago.

    You can still find it being used that way. But meanings do drift over time.

    I find it peculiar that the three of you find “peculiar” so peculiar.

    Yes, particularly peculiar.

    • #14
    • July 10, 2020, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Flicker Coolidge

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    (1) His use of the word “peculiar“ as opposed to the word “particular” in the following sentence.

    ”We dedicate this work to you,“ (He means: other Southerners) “ because it is a zealous and honest effort to promote your peculiar interests.“

    There is a shade of difference, “Particular” means “the thing specified.” “Peculiar” is that, but implies that it is unique.

    Peculiar doesn’t mean what it meant 100 or 200 years ago.

    You can still find it being used that way. But meanings do drift over time.

    I find it peculiar that the three of you find “peculiar” so peculiar.

    Hm. That’s odd.

    • #15
    • July 10, 2020, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    Favorite quote so far: “Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors loved personal liberty because they were barbarians, but they did not love it half so much as North American Indians or Bengal tigers, because they were not half so savage.”

    Like all haters of liberty, he assumes free people will start destroying themselves. The Anglo-Saxons loved their liberty because they were an island people and as an island people they didn’t need to have a standing army. As a result, they limited the ability of their King to raise taxes. Limiting the ability of the King to raise taxes had the added benefit of limiting the King’s ability to go to war. From these humble beginnings, the best ideas about governance sprang forth.

    It is a false equivalency to compare Anglo-Saxon liberty that limited war and taxes with the freedom that was practiced by some North American Indians to make war and rape and pillage and whatnot.

    Freedom does need virtue to be worthwhile but freedom doesn’t automatically give way to licentiousness.

    The traditions go back to Saxony, though obviously they thrived in the context of England where they out-competed many other cultures over centuries.

    • #16
    • July 10, 2020, at 6:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So I’m not near page 45 yet because I reread some of it. Here’s some of what I found interesting.

    page 20

    ”There never was yet found a nation of white savages; their wants and their wits combine to elevate them above the savage state.”

    I’m wondering if there’s any record Julius Caesar would have agreed with that after seeing whatever he saw when he invaded Britain.

    Page 25

    Man “has no right whatever, as opposed to the interests of society; and that society may very properly make any use of him that will redound to the public good.”

    Who defines the public good?
    This guy sets society ( or government, I’m not sure which or if he doesn’t conflate the two ) up as a god.

    Page 26

    ”Government is the creature of society, and may be said to derive its powers from the consent of the governed;….”

    Wasn’t it said that government derived its “just“ powers from the consent of the governed

    ”but society does not owe its sovereign power to the separate consent, volition or agreement of its members.”

    Page 30

    It’s interesting the way he deliberately confuses what people CHOOSE to give up or take on with what they aren’t allowed and with what they’ve had imposed upon them. For example….

    ”The wealthy, virtuous and religious citizens of large towns enjoy less of liberty than any other persons whatever, and yet they are the most useful and rationally happy of all mankind.”

    Somebody at Ricochet has to write a post about the new Confederates that points out that, if you take out all of this guy’s statements asserting white supremacy, he advocates (or advocates tongue-in-cheek, I’m not sure which) A LOT of what people on the left now believe.

    • #17
    • July 10, 2020, at 7:38 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. Henry Castaigne Member

     

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    There never was yet found a nation of white savages; their wants and their wits combine to elevate them above the savage state.”

    I’m wondering if there’s any record Julius Caesar would have agreed with that after seeing whatever he saw when he invaded Britain.

    The British were backward compared to Rome but Scotland was so barbarous that it wasn’t worth invading. As a famous Scotsman put it, “Brothers and sisters are natural enemies! Like Englishmen and Scots! Or Welshmen and Scots! Or Japanese and Scots! Or Scots and other Scots! Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!”

    Additionally, replace white savages and write the quote, “There never was yet found a nation of African or Indigenous savages” and you get the left’s equally antihistorical racism. In fact, replace ‘white’ with ‘enlightened progressive’ and you basically get central planning. Slavery is a particularly insidious form of central planning but the less bad versions of central planning are also terrible.

    • #18
    • July 10, 2020, at 9:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    On the other hand, not all of what he’s saying is nonsense. Early on, when he describes the blessing of fertile soil, rivers, and good roads as a curse, because it tempts people to depend on crops and trade instead of developing industries in their area, he certainly seems to hit on a large part of why the South lost the war. No, the South didn’t have good roads. But they had rivers and depended on cash crops that provided the income with which they purchased everything that wasn’t produced in the South.
    Strange that he doesn’t see, or doesn’t say that he sees, how slavery discouraged, impoverished and chased off the people who might have produced goods in the South. If other writers of the time are correct, he isn’t acknowledging, in anything he says prior to page 40, how poor, and how often illiterate, the poor whites in the South were, and how slavery directly and indirectly caused or contributed that poverty and lack of educational opportunity.

    • #19
    • July 11, 2020, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer:

    In an 1864 address, Abraham Lincoln argued that:

    The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

    Bringing this forward to current times, we are all pretty much taught as children to revere words like “freedom” and “liberty” but it doesn’t mean the same thing to all of us. For some it means, “I should be able to live my life as I see fit and you should be able to live your life as you see fit.” But for a lot of people it means, “I should be able to live my life as I see fit and you should be able to live your life as I see fit.”

    • #20
    • July 12, 2020, at 12:39 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    O.K., so why was I drawn to focus on Fitzhugh’s use of the word “peculiar” ? I would say because that and some other things, have me wondering what this guy was really after in writing this. I left off on page 40, so I don’t know, but I’m not yet closed to the possibility that Fitzhugh‘s real intention in writing this was no more to advocate slavery in the South than Swift’s intention was to persuade people to eat Irish children. He seems, so far, to be sincerely saying that only in the south of the U.S. is there a group of people LEGALLY RECOGNIZED as slaves. I’m not sure he means to be taken as sincere when he describes this as good, or that he means to be taken as sincere when he implies there are no white people in the south not legally recognized as slaves who are, for all practical purposes, slaves. He’s certainly saying that the desperate working poor in the north are slaves. He does seem to be sincerely saying that there will always be slavery, regardless of what it’s called.

    As Randy Weivoda points out: we’re taught to revere words like “freedom” and “liberty” and, as was the case when Lincoln spoke and wrote in 1864, the words don’t mean the same thing to all of us.

    Here, at page 40 of Fitzhugh’s book, it still seems possible to me that the man, in 1854, was trying to provoke discussion on the meaning of freedom, liberty and slavery. It’s almost as if his intention in writing this was as much to make Southerners as Northerners uncomfortable enough to think about their definitions of those words.

    Later, at page 70

    Nope. I take it back. He’s seriously advocating slavery. He does this by describing slavery in the South, in 1854, as being what it could only have been like (if it was even then) prior to Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. (So described between pages 45 to 48) BUT, if confronted with the fact that slave families were torn apart, men sold in increasing numbers to killing labor, Fitzhugh maybe would have said it was the greed and competition brought on by the cotton gin, not slavery, that caused slaveholders to increasingly treat their slaves less like subordinate human beings with eternal souls to whom they had an obligation and more like cattle.

    • #21
    • July 12, 2020, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.