Slavery and Abortion; Prophets and Psychics

Under the weather for a couple days now; I finally caught the cold that Y caught end of last week just as we finished in Las Vegas. (Congestion, sniffling, sneezing, some coughing — like the colds I’ve had a couple times a year my entire life. No it’s not COVID!) So a relatively short post today.

Paul Krugman, NY Times, 2 Jan 2024: What the Civil War Was About

(This is a subscriber-only post, but NYT allows subscribers to “share” such articles to non-subscribers 10 times a month, as I’ve done here with its special link for sharing. I also copied the graphic at the top of the post, rather than linking it.)

He does not bury the lede:

Of course the Civil War was about slavery, and everyone knew it at the time. No, Nikki Haley, it wasn’t about states’ rights, except to the extent that Southern states were trying to force Northern states to help maintain slavery — something that, as I’ll explain in a bit, has echoes in the current fight over abortion rights.

He then goes on about economics of slavery — not about racism, he says, but by greed. The wealthy getting rich anyway they could.

Inevitably, slaveholders became staunch defenders of the system underlying their wealth — ferocious and often violent defenders (remember bleeding Kansas), because nothing makes a man angrier than his own, probably unacknowledged suspicion that he’s actually in the wrong.

Indeed, slaveholders and their defenders lashed out at anyone who even suggested that slavery was a bad thing. As Abraham Lincoln said in his Cooper Union address, the slave interest in effect demanded that Northerners “cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right.”

But Northerners wouldn’t do that. There were relatively few Americans pushing for national abolition, but Northern states, one by one, abolished slavery in their own territories. This wasn’t as noble an act as it might have been if they had been confiscating slaveholders’ property, rather than in effect waiting until the slaves had been sold. Still, it’s to voters’ credit that they did find slavery repugnant.

And this posed a problem for the South. Anyone who believes or pretends to believe that the Civil War was about states’ rights should read Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs, which point out that the truth was almost the opposite. In his conclusion, Grant noted that maintaining slavery was difficult when much of the nation consisted of free states, so the slave states in effect demanded control over free-state policies. “Northern marshals became slave-catchers, and Northern courts had to contribute to the support and protection of the institution,” he wrote.

But I’m fascinated by his analogy with abortion.

This should sound familiar. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, states that have banned abortion have grown increasingly frantic over the ability of women to travel to states where abortion rights remain; it’s obvious that the right will eventually impose a national abortion ban if it can.

For a long time, the South actually did manage to exercise that kind of national control. But industrialization gradually shifted the balance of power within the United States away from the South to the North…

He concludes,

So yes, the Civil War was about slavery — an institution that existed solely to enrich some men by depriving others of their freedom. And there’s no excuse for anyone who pretends that there was anything noble or even defensible about the South’s cause: The Civil War was fought to defend an utterly vile institution.


Just some headlines.

Do Christians put as much trust in modern-day self-professed prophets and prophetesses as they do the Biblical prophets? If not why not?

Joe.My.God, 1 Jan 2024: MAGA Prophet: Jesus Told Me A Revolution Is Coming


Salon, Tatyana Tandanpolie, 3 Jan 2024: “Uh-oh”: Fox News hosted a psychic to predict Trump’s 2024 fate — and it didn’t go well, subtitled “‘I do recognize I’m on Fox,’ psychic Paula Roberts acknowledged as she predicted a ‘sense of loss'”

Joe.My.God, 3 Jan 2024: Fox News “Psychic” Predicts Loss For Trump

For me the bemusing point is that Fox presumes its audience is interested in what psychics have to say. But are “psychics” really much different than self-proclaimed “prophets”? I’m supposing they both appeal the same crowds.

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