Back from constitutional. It’s a foggy morning, good for cerebration, and that is pretty much what I did.
I started off with a rather nasty little article [Link] in Wired about some ambulance chaser in Atlanta who takes photographs at Civil War re-enactments. No mention of how he does this. My first thought was that someone wandering about with a contemporary camera at a re-enactment would be about like the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon wears Spock at a Medieval Fair.
The thesis of the article is that civil war re-enactments are hot beds of racism. And that this is terrible. What is terrible is that we are stuck with this whole thing of racism, including journalists who have to pretend to moralize about it. (And if the moralizing is sincere is it not worse?) The fact is that the whole idea of race is a perversion forced upon us by a government that needs a taxonomy of differentiation and people who want to benefit from using that taxonomy. So getting morality from a justicer would be laughable if it were not so horrible.
Let s admit, up front, that the American Civil War is a story of abject incompetence on the part of the political and governmental instrumentality of the Yankee republic. Those two organizations had eighty (or so) years to eliminate slavery after the nation was begon and not only failed to do so, but studiously avoided doing so. If nothing else this is a parable of why government needs to be restarted every ten years or so, and no politician should ever be permitted power for more than six months.
Despite this, the war was not fundamentally about slavery. That was just the moralistic excuse used by Yankee politicians to sell an unpopular and inept war. It had the singular effect of placing the Union on the moral high ground and the Confederacy in a moral swamp. And this article plays that card once more.
I will not claim that ante bellum Southron society was ideal. Far from it. But it was characterized, in many segments, by a pace of life and a respect for human dignity that is woefully absent in modern society. Is that worth the slavery of the day? Is what we have today worth the slavery of this day?
Before proceeding, let me put the race thing once more into an unremarked grave. The genetic differences that characterize the “races” – skin hue, facial features, … – are less than the internal difference within each race and the whole. That I have early risers mutation and lack any of the cattle herder mutations (adult lactase secretion) are a greater differences than those between my “race” and the others dictated by government. Race, except the human race, and that only possibly, is an debunked taxonomy only of use by government in dividing its citizens into manageable noyaux.
Why do people go to re-enactments? Not as a component of everyday life, I can assure you. They go for the difference. For some it is play acting, for others recovering some imagined loss, and for most, a means of distancing themselves from the hellish sameness of modern society.
So don’t be lawyerish and decide that if something is entertaining it has to be bad.