Friday, April 22, 2016

Do conservatives totally own early American history now?

Does liberal historical consciousness really have to be this lazy?

I can't let it go yet. I'm still mourning the blog's "Old Hickory's Weblog" name. Which it still had until a few days ago.
And here's Krugman piling on: In Hamilton’s Debt New York Times 04/22/2016.

It seems that the left side of the political spectrum has decided by default to completely surrender the symbolism of the American Revolution and the early decades of the Republic to conservatives. Here's Krugman on Andrew Jackson, giving what passes for nuanced history in public discussions right now: "Andrew Jackson, a populist who campaigned against elites but was also, unfortunately, very much a racist, arguably an advocate of what we would nowadays call white supremacy."

Which would make him like, uh, every President and pretty much every white person in America up until after the Civil War. (See Lincoln, Abraham, in the Lincoln-Douglas debates.)

As I said here before only one white man I know by name from the antebellum days in the US who arguably held 21st century liberal attitudes toward blacks, women and even Indians. That would be John Brown. Who by today's standards was also a "terrorist." And he was a convicted traitor and experienced guerrilla fighter (Bloody Kansas) who had a plan to set up guerrilla war bases in the Appalachians to free slaves and fight slaveowners. But what respectable liberal today is going to praise John Brown without qualifications in the same breath? Anti-abortion zealots do, though, just like they praise Martin Luther King as a conservative.

Maybe Walt Whitman and Herman Melville would qualify along with Brown in the 21st-century category. But, heck, even radical white Abolitionists in those days often supported sending African-Americans back to Africa like Theodore Bilbo.

And, yes, I checked about John Brown's attitude on Indians.

Krugman goes on to praise Alexander Hamilton! The monarchist who thought republican government could only function by massive corruption. I'm sure he would have approved of the post-Citizens United campaign financing we have now. One of the reasons he wanted the Bank of the US was to make payoffs to Congress, which it was still doing in Jackson's time. The guy also persuaded Washington to pay off effectively defaulted Revolutionary War bonds to give a big windfall to the vulture investors of the day.

How long until we let conservatives claim the New Deal, too? Or has that already happened when I wasn't paying attention?

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