- For The Slavery/Civil War/Reconstruction Buff In You [ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com]
- Something To Consider [ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com]
- Sometimes We’re Wrong [ordinary-gentlemen.com]
We have never grappled with this. We tend to think about America as a country, like all other countries of that era, where slavery was legal. This is a vast understatement, it would seem. More accurately, we were a country in which half the society, the antebellum South, was a slave society. …
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I’m not a conservative, mostly because I’ve been thinking so much about slavery and Reconstruction. It seems, to my mind, to be an authentic conservative in the 1850s is to perhaps recognize slavery as evil, but oppose doing anything about it that might upset the planters. It seems, to my mind, to be an authentic conservative in the 1960s would be to recognize that segregation was also evil, but resolve to nothing about it which might upset its supporters.
I think it’s quite possible to argue that there were no good conservative answers to slavery or Jim Crow. But I don’t think this invalidates every conservative insight into the nature of our politics and culture. If anything, it’s a simple acknowledgment that some problems really do transcend rote ideological responses, and that no interpretive framework can provide a universal set of predictive guidelines for dealing with every possible eventuality.