Eugene Genovese's Anti-Capitalism

In arguing for the continuity in Eugene Genovese's thought, Stuart Schrader paraphrases his thinking this way:

In contrast to historians who preceded Genovese, however, he saw the social world of the enslaved and the masters as a unity, even if fundamentally cleaved. The chief difference between this non-capitalist system and capitalism is that slaveholders could not shrink their labor force without losing their investment in those enslaved bodies. In contrast, under capitalist competition shedding workers is key to maintaining or increasing profitability. Under capitalism, productivity increases are enabled by introduction of labor-saving machines, whereas to increase productivity under slavery, according to Genovese, slaveholders had to add bodies or more closely surveil and abuse the enslaved. Because the South thus lacked the economic dynamism associated with capitalism, it fell behind the North and could expand only extensively into new territories, rather than intensively, as the North did, through technological innovation.

Later on, Schrader gets into heavy duty socialist theorizing. Apparently, because a in 1751 a sea captain jettisoned sick slaves to save the remainder under the condition that the cargo was insured and the slaves not, Schrader concludes that insurance itself was at fault and that is a product of capitalism so capitalism must go.

Journalism Was Ever Thus

Jacques Barzun's cultural history, From Dawn to Decadence, describes the rise of journalism. We hear many complaints nowadays of bias in the media, and it is hard to deny the justice of the claims. But apparently, it was ever so:

The journalist developed into a social type, exemplified in the London of the years of our concern [ca. 1715] by Defoe, Addison, Steele, Swift, and a large group of lesser lights. Their common characteristic is allegiance to a political party....What journalists of every type see as their proper task is to form public opinion.

Maybe the idea of unbiased reporting is merely another canard?

Rules? We Don't Need No Stinking Rules

[I got this via]

Here's what the game operations manual says regarding the national anthem, according to an NFL spokesperson:

The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.

A Man With Stomach: R.I.P. Stanislav Petrov

A member of posted this chilling and inspiring story in remembering Col. Stanislav Petrov, who died recently.

It’s an era where those of us of a certain age seem inundated by the deaths of people important to our lives. Against that backdrop, it would be a shame to allow the death of one of the most important, but least known, to pass unnoticed.

On September 26, 1983, the USSR’s early warning system for a nuclear attack indicated that five Minuteman missiles had been launched and were headed east. Col. Petrov, then on duty, was charged with monitoring the system and notifying his superiors, so that consultation about retaliation could be held with Yuri Andropov, the Putin of his time. Had Petrov simply followed this protocol, and, considering the state of US-USSR relations at the time, it is likely (maybe more than likely) that nuclear retaliation, and nuclear war, would have followed.

But Petrov was unmoved. While this brief remembrance cannot do justice to the entire episode, Petrov made a call–on his own and within the bureaucracy of the Soviet Union. He decided that there was a malfunction, and, based on his personal assessment that a first strike with only five missiles made little sense, he declined to act. According to Petrov, he had a “funny feeling in my gut.” He was right. And there’s a good chance many of us are here today as a result. RIP to a man who thought for himself and was correct.

Hell Freezes

Commentary lavishes fulsome praise on President Trump's foreign policy vision: defend the postwar liberal world order wherein free, sovereign nations become allies with the United States in the cause of Freedom. But Trump's vision rejects the cookie cutter idea that freedom means "be more like us--secular, relativistic, etc" and returns to the traditional foreign policy of working as allies, each with an Enlightened Self-Interest to pursue as well. And that means standing up for the allies against bullies.