A taciturn lecture offered as rejoinder in an ongoing dialogue i’m having with our BeltWay Insider. Our story thus far: i have posited that Capital runs the game, and that political movements are more wagging dog than they are bellwethers for change. Civil rights was proffered as an example of a popular movement that changed policy. I pointed out that the Civil War was fought to that end 100 years prior, and was rebuked by an intriguing rejoinder about the echoes of Abolitionism in the current abortion debate. We’ll come back to that. Firstly:
So basically, you are refuting the notion that capital interests rule the policy making process from the top down. Now, this isn’t just some hair-brained idea of mine, you know. This is, unfortunately, historical fact.
Let’s consider the Abolitionists and the Civil War some more.
The Abolitionist movement (along with early versions of the Temperance and Suffrage movements) grew out of Quaker/Shaker and Baptist churches, and although they were vociferous they were in fact outlawed in the South and only given lip service in the North after the Dred Scott descision struck a chord with folks who otherwise didn’t care.
Why did it strike a chord? Because it asserted property rights across state lines, a clear problem for states’ rights no matter how you slice it.
This is why it was made an issue. Federalism was not quite codified, and all sorts of concessions were being handed to locality as far as right of way and self-determination were concerned. Although the Federal Government had carefully plotted out territories for slave and free states (indicating it’s disregard for the issue) settlers had more than once “jumped claim” and lept upon the territory as if the bank wasn’t due payment.
This is one of the real issues: homesteaders got an allotment for a stipend, no more, and the territories were already determined. But the settlers would change rules at whim, the ingrates, as if self-determination were the founding principle of the country. Add to this the Southern Aristocracy’s marked difference of opinion on the matter of centrism/Federalism, and you have your issue. What drove the war ideologically was the need to resolve the power of the Federal Government as supreme, once and for all. What enabled it and caused the other shoe to drop was ENCLOSURE. Remember the Cotton Gin? This is a modification of the wool mill used in Britain. No big whoop, despite what you may have heard, and whitney went broke in the 1790’s without it really doing much. It was one of the loci of Northern industrial concentration, a process very much like Britain’s industrial “revolution.” This process requires agrarian aristocracy to migrate off of the land, so the land can be repurposed both in utility and in titlage, allowing the leverage of parcel valuation as Capital. Capital Aristocracy is of course the successor; a class of gentry whose wealth is the dictate by which they rule, separate from the land and it’s sullen marginless stasis. The Northern industrial elite already understood this, having direct capital ties to Europe, where the process had already spawned the Enclosures, with ensuing dislocation, famines, Dickensian factories, workhouses and mines and slums of the 17 – 1800’s.
Capital does make up the issues. Where else would anyone get the idea that “feeding Africa” is something that can be done from the outside, or indeed that Africa is starving in the first place? Is it famine or enclosure killing people in Darfur? In Ethiopia we hear of famine and draught; yet the largest lake in Africa sits at it’s heart, and this is a nation so old it dates to dynastic Egypt. It has irrigation; indeed it has quite a few resources, and is able to invade Somalia regularly. So why can’t the ethnic herders get water? Is it perhaps because they can’t pay for it?
Westerners are uninformed, naive somehow? I am here to tell you this is not true. We know exactly how evil we are, and we justify it by saying “better them than US” before “accidently” allowing warlords to usurp UNICEF monies. Those Suzuki jeeps don’t ship themselves over there from NYC impound lots, it’s strickly COD.
Extra credit: compare and contrast the states’ rights issues involved Slavery vs Abolitionism against those of Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life. Explain how the logical outcome of this wlll be determined by Capital.
You won’t be able to soon. That’s a bad thing.