Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alexander Hamilton

Allen Guelzo reviews Edward Baptist, The Half Has never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Phil Sinitiere reviews Michael McVicar, Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism

Writing for your readers

New York Times has discovered evangelicals in New York City!!

Do history majors come from the upper middle class?

Chris Beneke on America’s “unofficial religious establishment

Black lives in South Carolina

Jonathan Den Hartog reviews Scott Rohrer’s Jacob Green’s Revolution: Radical Religion and Reform in a Revolutionary Age

What’s inside a 1970s Alabama high school history book

David Letterman’s new Top Ten List

George Washington looking for his slaves

Tracy McKenzie on the Confederate Flag

A bibliography on American exceptionalism

Elements of Style

Abraham Lincoln and religion

Apparently David Barton is on my case

A “friendly wrestling match” in the village of Whitesboro, NY

Christian Colleges after Obergefell

One thought on “Sunday Night Odds and Ends

  1. Would that more scholars had Allen Guelzo's guts, taking on the debasement of the social sciences by the latest ideological fads.

    We should call torture by its name,” Baptist insists, and torture thus “extracted an amount of innovation virtually equal in numerical measure to all the mechanical ingenuity in all the textile mills in the Western world.”

    It is with that sentence that Baptist unloads what I suspect is his real indictment, against capitalism and industry as a whole, since for him, all capitalist production is “systematized torture,” which was “crucial…to the industrial revolution, and thus to the birth of the modern world.” Critics of slavery might like to bleat that coercion was inherently inferior to free wage labor, but Baptist will have none of it. Plantations are, simultaneously, engines of efficient production and “slave labor camps,” even (borrowing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s metaphor) an “archipelago of slave labor camps, a literal organism of economic production.”


    Of course, if we define capitalism solely as, in Adam Smith’s terms, a natural inclination to truck and barter, then it has no more “progressive” meaning than the natural flow of a river; whether it serves to protect the life of a people or serves to enslave them is of no consequence to our estimate of rivers. But it evidently does make a difference to Edward Baptist, who can hardly wait to conflate the tortures of slaves with the labor of an automotive assembly-line, and, for an entirely different set of reasons, it should make a difference to us, as well.


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