Sunday, April 30, 2017

Who's The Worst?

Nathan Bedford Forrest or Margaret Sanger?

Wandering around the Catican Compound yesterday, preparing for a party, I had my headphones on and was listening to Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography. To recap, Forrest was a brilliant, if unorthodox, Confederate cavalry general. He was also a slave trader before the war and after the war, became the first Grand Wizard of the KKK.

As I enjoyed war anecdotes where he won improbable victories - one with mostly unarmed recruits and another by moving his only two cannon around the field to make it seem like he had many, it dawned on me that, unlike campus Social Justice Warriors, I was capable of appreciating the genius of an utter moral reprobate despite his deep flaws. Generalizing it further, I could appreciate all kinds of historical figures, whatever their shortcomings. I wasn't applying modern moral purity tests on them to detect heretical beliefs and my life was richer because of it.

Note to Confederate apologists: The book has completely convinced me that war was over slavery and everything else was incidental. Further, I'm at the point in the story where Forrest ordered the massacre of surrendered Union troops, many of them new black volunteers. He was a total scumbag.

Anyway, it then occurred to me that many of the same people agitating for the removal of Confederate war memorials support Planned Parenthood which was started by Margaret Sanger, a genocidal racist. Why the double standard? Probably because, as Peggy Noonan recently noted, they're ignorant.
When I see tapes of the protests and riots at schools like Berkeley, Middlebury, Claremont McKenna and Yale, it doesn’t have the feel of something that happens in politics. It has the special brew of malice and personal instability seen in the Salem witch trials. It sent me back to rereading Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” Heather Mac Donald danced with the devil! Charles Murray put the needle in the poppet! As in 17th-century Salem, the accusers have no proof of anything because they don’t know, read or comprehend anything.
This then led me to wonder, who was worse, Forrest or Sanger? Forrest saw blacks as livestock, to be sold at $30,000 (2017 USD) apiece. Sanger, from her article, A Plan for Peace, had this point of view.
Minorities crammed into impoverished areas in inner cities should not be having so many babies. And, of course, these minorities (including most of America’s immigrants) are inferior in the human race, as are the physically and mentally handicapped. We should require mandatory sterilizations of those less desirable and promote easy access to abortion. And since sex should be a free-for-all, we must provide birth control and abortions to teenagers too. It’s all for the greater good and for a more intelligent, liberated, healthier population.
There's more. Lots more. Whereas Forrest exists only now in statues and namesakes, Sanger's work continues apace.
Here is the simple truth. The intent of Sanger’s Negro Project is firmly intact. Nearly 40% of all African-American pregnancies end in induced abortion. This is by design. Abortion kills more black people than the seven leading causes of death combined (heart disease, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, homicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases) according to CDC data. The African-American abortion rate is 3x that of the white population and over 2x that of all other races combined.
 Personally, I find them both despicable, but Sanger seems to have fewer redeeming qualities and her downside is much, much lower than Forrest's.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.


Ilíon said...

"The book has completely convinced me that war was over slavery and everything else was incidental."

Then the book is wrong.

The war didn't start when the southern States suceeded. Add it didn't start with the bombardment of Fort Sumter. The war started when the US government, first under President Buchanan, then under President Lincoln, refused to evacuate the sovereign territory of the State of South Carolina. And *that* had nothing to do with slavery.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Different people got into the war for different reasons. I've no doubt Forrest was protecting his business interests (deplorable business). But, there were other prominent Confederate leaders who were against slavery. I'd imagine if you followed with a biography of Stonewall, you might come away with a different perspective.

Kelly the little black dog said...

Your meme quote is a misrepresentation of what Sanger said. That said she was an unabashed supporter of eugenics, which was a very popular notion at the time.

Check out

Kelly the little black dog said...

Perhaps there are outliers, but the leaders of the confederacy, in their own writings, made it very clear that their issue was about slavery.

Ilíon said...

^ You're not paying attention to what I said. The *war* was not over slavery ... well, not over slavery of those who were officially enslaved.

K T Cat said...

Kelly, I'm surprised at your comment, given your normal defense of American blacks. Sanger's The Pivot of Civilization made it perfectly clear that she was not just a eugenicist, but that she was a white supremacist of the first order. Her prescriptions for racial hygiene were only a shade less obnoxious than Hitler's. To the 40% of black babies who never see the light of day, the difference between the two is academic at best.

When you think about it, the crazy, bigoted, religious conservative wants to see more blacks in America and a larger percentage of the overall population at that. Meanwhile, the open-minded, multicultural, compassionate progressive is quite happy to see fewer.

K T Cat said...

As for the war/slavery issue, I'm a big fan of reading original materials and learning from those.

Aside: I highly recommend Stanley's How I Found Livingstone in Africa which will permanently dispel any notions that blacks didn't actively and energetically participate in the slavery of their fellows.

NB Forrest had some newspaper men as his close friends. In the run up to the war, their editorials and news slant were almost completely about slavery. That was the rationale for the war discussed at all levels of society, regardless of who owned slaves.

Further, as this excellent video points out, the lower class whites preferred slavery because it ensured that they would never be the very bottom rung of society.

K T Cat said...

One more note on the slavery/war angle. Prior to reading this book, I had been inclined to be a Confederate apologist, albeit of the wishy-washy, ignorant sort. This represents a change of mind for me.

I still love the Confederate battle flag, though. To me it represents the region as well as flipping the bird at central authority. If you don't like it, go fly your own flag.