January 24, 2001

Charles Sumner, Reactionary

the abolitionist movement in the main did not possess the political power in the american congress during the lincoln presidency to force the north into armed conflict with the south on principle. abolitionist leaders in the congress like charles sumner were *reactive* as opposed to proactive with regard to militia actions in the western territories.

preservation of the union was the primary official motive of getting into war. but already guerrila fighting had begun precisely over the matter of slavery in the western territories.

john brown was the spearhead of the militant abolitionists, but he had great problems influencing the rest. in brown's thinking, a war was inevitable and he was bent on escalating the conflict, on the terms of equality under god, a far more radical position than that officilly stated (early or late) on emancipation.

so if you would like to believe that *the* moral motivation for the federalists was the negro question, then you would have to show john brown as the leader of that movement. clearly, brown had no federal sponsors.

i think the crux of this question can be answered by evaluating the positions in the congress of the matters of the two revolutionaries most militantly opposed to the general oppression of the african. and those two are nat turner and john brown. in the end i think you will find that the north was NOT escalating the wars started by those two, but fighting their own war for separate purposes.

lincoln defended the principle of human rights for the african, but that fell far short of civil rights. one could argue that some segment of the african population in the south enjoyed human rights prior to the war. it's rather like newt gingrich attacking bill clinton on the question of marital fidelity.

Posted by mbowen at 05:22 PM | TrackBack

January 21, 2001

Against Ashcroft

you nominate people because of their beliefs and because of their extraordinary ability. and when you have a mandate from the people to head in a new direction, you have an obligation to place someone in power who will do so. bush has no such mandate from the people, and therefore is being arrogant and divisive in his nomination of ashcroft.

bush did not campaign as pro-life and against row vs wade, these were not campaign promises. he did not campaign as a regressive on civil rights.

think about the primary complaints against janet reno by the opposition. in what way does ashcroft legitimately represent that opposite?

is there any suggestion that ashcroft would disarm the fbi in situations like the branch davidian standoff? is there any suggestion that ashcroft would appoint more special prosecutors rather than less? no.

it is because he is anti-abortion that he is being nominated and that is a direct concession to the christian right and it has nothing to do with substance of what republicans demanded and failed to receive from janet reno.

if the american people ask for x and get stealth religion instead, that is decietful. this is my problem with gwbush & the ashcroft nomination.

Posted by mbowen at 09:21 AM | TrackBack

January 20, 2001

Bastardy & Black Republicans

as for the matter of 'black' illegitimacy itself, i believe that you and i have a chicken and egg problem as well as a boundary problem.

first the chicken and egg problem:
this problem is the most difficult to state and qualify. i can only put it briefly, then we'll have to dig down into the assumptions. if you believe that race is neutral and that humans basically want to raise children with two parents, then the black statistical exception must be caused primarily by external factors. the cultural component on one side or the other of 'mainstream' statistics is real, but considering the diminishment of such cultural factors expressed by black republicans, for example, one must concede the primacy of the external factors. in my book those external factors are in direct alignment with the geography of jim crow, not with *being* african american, but with growing up in the ghettoes created for blacks in this country.

second, the boundary problem:
i believe a select few things about family, but in the context of american politics and government, i am bound as a citizen to respect quite a few more. and yes that takes into consideration feminist and gay positions.

in all matters of politics, i consider what the nation can do to solve problems. if it illegitimacy were indeed a race-bound problem which in fact was the single most important problem facing a significan minority of americans, then we as a nation should be duty bound to aid and abet them and solve this problem. and if that problem were caused by some structural defect in our nation, then the government has some responsibility to correct that defect head on.

add the following real complication. there is a moral component to the specific problem of illegitimacy. indeed the very term illegitimacy sound neutral but it is not. henceforth i will use the terms 'bastardy' and 'bastards' to express that negative moral component more directly.

the dilemma of the boundary problem is that a government employed to defend the strength of the nation should address the effects of bastardy from a morally neutral position. the government should not reflect on the matter, or cause other citizens to reflect on the matter that bastards surround these structural defects in our nation. rather the defects should be eliminated straight away. but specifically speaking about the dysfunctions which inevitably result from bastardy generates such moral outrage that government action is blocked. it is blocked by *moral* politics, rather than by limits on the practical capacity of the goverment. the structural defect is thereby occluded, not addressed by government in its nation building mission and duty to its citizens and bastardy increases - chicken and egg.

the solution lies directly in front of our eyes in the person of black republicans. it is not a coincidence that you will find none of them in america's black ghettoes. you will find them mixing nicely in the professional ranks of the military and clean, modern suburban mixed race neighborhoods.

Posted by mbowen at 07:25 PM | TrackBack

January 13, 2001


well, let's reverse-engineer it from the expectations and rule out the possibilities. presuming that it is a mega-gyroscoped sterling two-wheeled scooter, what market realities will he have to face?

first, adults have to dig it, and not just american yuppies and not just kids. so that means it has to be inexpensive and safe. american yuppies have to dig it first, of course. it has to be cool enough so that people won't feel rediculous riding one. we went through a motorscooter thing before, remember vespas? there had to be ordinary ones and high priced luxury cool ones. plus he needs to license 2 out of three big manufacturers. he's probably got to sell it first in japan so it has some extra cool factor.

the engine has to be quiet, and this thing basically has to beat out mountain bikes. so it's got to be at least as fast as that. then there has to be an extreme model so that the baggy pants crowd can jump curbs with it and ride it places that will piss middle aged people off.

it has got to be weird enough so that it defies the laws which apply to motorcycles. the engine has to be efficient enough to work half a day with no recharge or refuel or re-whatever it needs. if i designed it, i'd make it work on butane bottles. it has to be able to go very slowly so that people can use it on sidewalks in foot traffic without being a nuisance. you have got to be able to conduct it with one hand tied behind your back - if it's not compatible with cell phones and portable stereos, it will never catch on here in the states.

it has to work on dirt roads; it cannot be too heavy; it must have an extraordinary, yet simple security system. it needs to work in the rain, carry a 300 pound adult and have replaceable tires.

there needs to be a network of parts suppliers, mechanics and aftermarket goodies for it. it needs celebrity endorsement, congressional approval, and green appeal. the l.a. sheriffs need to staff some deputies on venice beach with them, some crips need to jack some kid for his, and the french need to hate it. there has to be a synchronized lot entered in the doo dah parade, it must have 'space age' technology and it can't be avaliable in stores.

they need to come in a variety of colors, preferably in unequal proportions such that yellow ones, for example, get a premium on ebay. radio stations have to give one away every week, professional wrestlers have to bash each other with selected parts and pamela anderson must be photographed with one on a beach in hawaii. jesse helms must ban their export, pat buchanan must protest their import, jesse jackson must invent a retort. they have to figure in anime, showgirls must ride them inside casinos and superbowl casualties must be toted off the field on them. jerry bruckheimer must film nicholas cage riding one through an exploding fireball. mamet must absolutely hate them. john sayles must show joe morton settling a fight over one. colin powell must promise never to use it unless he is sure the entire nation is behind him, and he is sure to win.

then, and only then will it be an american success.

Posted by mbowen at 07:47 PM | TrackBack

January 03, 2001

DNA & Race

"If DNA can provide proof that a people are descended from another group, doesn't that alone imply that race is a valid distinguishing feature among the people of the Earth?"

dna can prove that you are not a rapist in a particular case. a urine test can prove that you are not a drug addict. there are tests which can prove that you are allergic to strawberries or that beans make you fart more than the average samoan teenager. before you posted it, i have never heard of tooth concavity in asians. i never cared. should i?

the most significant word in you question is 'valid'. we all have distinguishing features, and as science of studying the human body advances, all of those distinctions can and will be cataloged. there are millions of them today. my wife has morton's neuroma. my youngest daughter has beta thalassemia minor. i have never had heartburn in my entire life.

so the entire question is valid for what purposes? but there are even simpler questions than that. you've got the entire genome, chromosomal and mitochondrial dna to choose from. who decides, and for what purpose, which of the millions of genes to aggregate into racial categories?

imagine that we decided to legislate colorblindness. we 'fingerprint' everyone but we leave eye color, skin color, facial, hair and body characteristics OFF of the fingerprint. in fact we reduce the entire genome to 5 characteristics (which i'm not going to tell you) and then order that into 7 races. what is the point of such an exercise? it is political. it is always political.


http://gslc.genetics.utah.edu/basic/index.html http://www.panix.com/~mbowen/p2/rm/raceQuiz.htm

Posted by mbowen at 02:53 PM | TrackBack