Sunday, 20 August 2017

Collapse : Southern Civilisation and The Slave Power Conspiracy

The other great Slave Civilisations in history where the whole social structure of those societies was rooted in slavery, were Ancient Greece and Rome; certainly Brazil by the eighteenth and nineteenth century; the whole of the Caribbean — the Great West Indies sugar-producing empires of the French, the British, the Dutch, the Spanish, and a few others — and the American South. 

The five Great Slave Civilisations were those five. 

All were highly profitable in their primes. 
All tended to hinder technological innovation in those societies. 
All tended to have a high slave-to-free ratio of population. 
All of those slave societies had a population of slaves that was from one-quarter to one-half, and sometimes more, of the total population. 

In those slave societies, slaves — as an interest, as an interest — were both a political and a great economic institution that defined ways of life.

" Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. 

Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; 
it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seems so favorable to statesmanship and art; 
it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past. 

For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. 

Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a "conflict between science and religion." 

Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. 

The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and—after some hesitation—the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. 

Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death.

 Meanwhile among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization."


Lecture 2 - Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton, and Antebellum America's "Peculiar" Region [January 17, 2008]

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Southern Memory of the Civil War [00:00:00]

Professor David Blight: Well, go South with me today. We're going to take up this question initially of — it's an old, old, old American question — how peculiar, or distinctive, or different is the American South? That used to be a question you could ask in quite some comfort. The "Dixie difference," as a recent book title called it, or "Dixie rising" as another recent book title called it. 

The South, of course, is many, many, many things and many, many, many peoples. There are so many South's today that it has rendered this question in some ways almost irrelevant, but, in other ways, of course not. 

We still keep finding our presidential elections won or lost in the South. Name me a modern American president who won the presidency without at least some success in the states of the old Confederacy. Look at the great realignments in American political history. They've had a great deal to do with the way the South would go, or parts of the South would go. 

We're on the verge now of the first southern primary in this year's election, in South Carolina, and everybody is wondering, is there a new modern South Carolina or not?

Now, this question is fun to have fun with in some ways because it's fraught with stereotypes, isn't it? The South: hot, slow, long vowels, great storytellers, and so on. Oh, and they love violence and football and stockcar racing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Well I grew up in Michigan and I can assure you that Michiganders love all those things too and probably even more. But the idea of Southern stereotypes is very, very old. It isn't a product of the Civil War by any means. 

The South as an idea, the South and its distinctiveness was very much there even in the Colonial Period. Travelers from England and elsewhere, France, who would come to the American colonies and would travel throughout the colonies, would often comment on this, that somehow Southerners were different culturally, attitudinally, behaviorally.

And none other than Thomas Jefferson himself left this famous description of characterizations of Southerners and Northerners. He wrote this in the mid-1780s. He was writing to a foreign — a French — correspondent. And Thomas Jefferson described the people of the North — this was in the 1780s now, this is before the cotton boom and all that — he described the people of the North this way. 

Jefferson: "Northerners are cool, sober, laborious, persevering, independent, jealous of their own liberties, chicaning, superstitious, and hypocritical in their religion." Take that Yankees. 

But Southerners, he said, "they are fiery, voluptuous, indolent, unsteady, independent, zealous of their own liberties" — he changed jealous to zealous there. If we're doing close readings we might go into that for twenty minutes, but we're not. He's not over: "zealous of their own liberties but trampling on those of others, generous, candid and without attachment or pretensions to any religion but that of their own heart." 

Now we can debate what Jefferson got right or wrong there, or what's held up, but do note how he said both sides were either jealous or zealous of their own liberties. That could be an epigraph on this course, if you like, because in the end when this Civil War will finally come both sides will say over and over and over again that they are only fighting for liberty. 

Everybody in the Civil War will say they're fighting for liberty.

In one of the greatest books ever written on the South, by a Southerner, in particular Wilbur Cash's great classic in 1940 called The Mind of the South, he did something similar to Jefferson, although he's focusing only on Southerners here. Cash was a great journalist, intellectual historian in his own right, deeply critical of his beloved South. In fact it was Cash who wrote a book called The Mind of the South in which he argued, in part, that the South had no mind. He didn't really mean it. He said Southerners are "proud, brave, honorable by its" — The South is "proud, brave, honorable by its lights, courteous, personally generous, loyal, swift to act, often too swift, but signally effective, sometimes terrible in its actions. Such was the South at its best," said Cash, "and such at its best it remains today." 

Then comes a "but." But the South, he says, is also characterized by, quote, "violence, intolerance, aversion, suspicion toward new ideas, an incapability for analysis, an inclination to act from feeling rather than from thought, attachment to fictions and false values, above all too great attachment to racial values and a tendency to justify cruelty and injustice."

Some of the South's greatest critics, of course, have been Southerners. What's distinctive about the South, especially this Old South? There's Shelby Foote to comment on this. None other than Shelby the star of Ken Burns' film series on the Civil War, that lovely, lovely, lovely geriatric in a blue shirt that American women fell in love with in a documentary film. It's the only time in recorded history that anyone fell in love with anybody in a documentary. Shelby Foote said this — and who is he speaking for? "I'm not aware that there is such a thing as Southern art," said Shelby, "at least not if you're defining it by technique. If there's something distinct about it" — Southern art — "it's subject matter and also inner heritage. All Southerners who try to express themselves in art are very much aware that they are party to a defeat." Now, that's Shelby Foote speaking for white Southerners. And when Shelby Foote uses the term 'Southerner' he means white Southerners. But party to a defeat. Or as Walker Percy, the great Southern writer, was once asked — he was asked, in effect, "why do Southerners have such long memories? They don't seem to forget anything." And he gave a simple, straight, declarative answer. He said, "Because we lost the war." We lost. Loss always, I think, almost always, especially in modern history, has led to longer, deeper, troubled memories.

But Shelby wasn't speaking for all Southerners there. Toni Morrison was speaking for black Southerners in that, I think, fantastic line in her novel Beloved — which I know many of you've read because it's taught all the time — but there's that marvelous little exchange at one point between Paul D and Sethe. And Paul D and Sethe are trying to imagine a new life out of the horror of their past, and at one point Paul D simply says to Sethe — Sethe, of course, is a former slave woman who birthed this child which becomes this extraordinary ghost called Beloved, and Paul D was a former slave who survived the worst brutalities of slavery and worse than chain gangs and so on and so forth. But at one point he just says to her, "Me and you Sethe, we got too much yesterday, we need more tomorrow." Too much yesterday, we need more tomorrow.

Why does the South have such a long memory? Why is history and memory sometimes a deep family matter, to Southerners? Whereas it isn't necessarily to Northerners, or so it seems. Faulkner captured this, Faulkner captured this all over the place. But I have a favorite line in his novel called The Hamlet, where Faulkner has one of his characters say, and I quote: "Only thank God men have done learned how to forget quick what they ain't brave enough to cure." Can't cure it, can't solve it, can't get rid of it? Forget it. Or try to forget it, or work on forgetting it, or create a structure of forgetting; which is, of course, always a structure of remembering at the same time.

And then lastly there's Allan Gurganus, that wonderful Modern Southern writer who wrote that book called The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All, you know that bizarre — it's a wonderful read. We've always been looking for the oldest Confederate widow, in case you haven't noticed. They keep finding one. The latest was just found another five years or so. She was, I don't know, ninety and she married some sixty-year-old Confederate veteran at some point in time. We're always finding some woman alive who claims she was married to a Confederate soldier. I don't know precisely why. That's one for an anthropologist to figure out. But Allan Gurganus, he actually said this in The New York Times in a commentary he wrote on the Confederate flag, where as a Southern writer back during — oh about five to six years ago — during the worst of the controversies over the Confederate flag flying on the South Carolina capitol and so on, Gurganus wrote this wonderfully witty, wry, brilliant op-ed piece, long op-ed in The New York Times where he talked about the depth of Southern memory and why Southerners have such deep memories, and then he begged his fellow Southerners to fold that battle flag and put it in museums. But the line I wrote down out of that piece was this. What's distinctive about the South: "The South has a tradition," said Gurganus, "of attempting the impossible at great cost, proudly celebrating the failure, and in gaining admiration for the performance." Trying something, failing gloriously at it, and then getting everybody's admiration. If that's not a novelist's description of what a lost cause is I've never read one.

One could go on and on here. In some ways the most distinctive literature America has is a kind of Southern literature, white and black. Every major African-American writer of the twentieth century, at least until your lifetime, when black writers in this country are now born and raised in cities, in California or Minneapolis or New York or — and in modern Atlanta and they come from all the same places other Americas do. Sometimes they come from the Caribbean and become Americans. But that's recent. Every major African-American poet and writer and artist from frankly the mid-nineteenth century on has always been reflecting on this nexus of North and South. South to a Very Old Place as in Albert Murray's famous book. Trouble the Water; a novel about growing up in the South by Melvin Dixon, a great novel that gets little attention, and his lifelong struggle to understand just how Southern he was in New York. Ralph Ellison's famous musings on being a Southerner come to Harlem; and on and on and on.

Chapter 2. Similarities and Differences between the Antebellum North and South [00:14:22]

But let's go back to the Old South, this Old South that got the United States in so much trouble. Although it wasn't all their fault. First of all, it's worth remembering there are a lot of clear, undeniable similarities of all kinds, things you can measure, between South and North in the 40 years before the Civil War. The North and the South had roughly, as the Northern and Southern states, the Free states and Slave states, had roughly the same geographic size. They spoke the same language, English, although in very different regional dialects, of course. They had common heroes and common customs and a certain common heritage of the American Revolution; make no mistake.

John C. Calhoun, one of the great intellectual architects of Southern distinctiveness or Southern sectionalism, and certainly of Southern States' Rights doctrine, was very much an American nationalist, at least in the early parts of his career. Northerners and Southerners shared basically the same Protestant Christianity, although they used it in different ways. They had very similar political ideologies, borne of the republicanism, they all kind of breathed in- that was breathed into them, and they inherited from the age of the American Revolution. A fierce belief in individual liberty. When you hear a slaveholder preach about his individual liberty and his rights, you sometimes wonder, "come on, where do you get off?" But as many of you know, and certainly you will find out here, they had pretty clear ideas of who ought to have those individual liberties and who would not, who indeed were born equal and who were not.

Both shared, both sides, the leadership of both sides, shared a rich kind of nationalism about this American experiment. You can find a whole- you can sort of find a deep and abiding kind of American nationalism still in a lot of these budding Southern patriots, even by the 1850s, especially when they get scared about what secession might actually mean. You could argue that both Southerners and Northerners shared a certain degree of old-fashioned American localism, attachment to place. New Englanders know something about attachment to place, and so did people from the low country, South Carolina. States' Rights was nothing that the South owned either, of course. Some of the most open exercises of states' rights, of course, before the 1850s, were conducted by Northerners, like in the Hartford Convention of 1814, like in personal liberty laws that we'll come to a bit later. In resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act the state of Wisconsin enacted a Personal Liberty Law that said they were not going to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and turn in fugitive slaves, and the justification was that it was their state's right to do so. So it isn't just States' Rights that's distinctively Southern. Southerners shared with Northerners a faith in progress, if you breathed the air in American in the 1840s and '50s. The idea that America stood for some kind of progress, that America meant a prosperous future was just common coin. And both Southerners and Northerners shared both the reality and the spirit of that westward movement. Both had participated in what David Donald used to call the great American practice or custom, tradition actually he called it, of compromise.

And both sides, both North and South, in their political leadership, in their economic leadership, were led by hard-boiled, believing, practicing, capitalists. Southern slave-holders were not pre-capitalists. There's historical scholarship that used to argue that a couple of generations ago, but not anymore. And throw this statistic up. You could argue that both sides had essentially the same kind of oligarchies. Less than one percent, less than one percent of the real and personal property, in both South and North by the 1850s, was held by approximately fifty percent of free adult males. The richest one percent in both sections, put another way, held twenty-seven percent of all the wealth. The North had budding oligarchies, just like the South did. Now those oligarchies were based on different things, and that's where the rub came.

A little more on this distinct South. I said earlier that this is an old idea, I mean it goes back into the eighteenth — you can find all kinds of examples of these stereotypical conceptions of the South in French, British visitors. One of the most famous, Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, who in his famous fictional letters, Letters from an American Farmer, he invented a character, if you've ever read that great text, called Farmer James. His typical American farmer, Farmer James, was of course a Pennsylvanian — sturdy, probably had some German blood in him. Crèvecoeur made the North the site of the true essence of what he saw as this new American man being born in America, not in the South. He traveled in the South. He likened Charleston, South Carolina though — this was in the 1780s — he likened Charleston, South Carolina to what he called, quote, "the barbarous institutions and traits, especially slavery, the self-indulgence of the planters" — and then he concludes — "just like Lima, Peru." That's the only known comparison of Charleston to Lima, Peru that I'm aware of. Oh and on and on and on.

There were travelers from Europe who came and would write these stereotypic stories. There's one by an English traveler, he entitled it, "A Georgia Planter's Method of Spending Time." And it's this litany of how a Georgia planter gets up early, has his first draught of whiskey, talks to his overseer, has another draught of whiskey, eight o'clock has breakfast, another draught of whiskey, and the day goes on — talks to his overseer again, gets things started on the plantation that day, and then he goes into the village, to the tavern, to start drinking. Lots of these.

Most importantly, seriously, the idea of the South as exotic, different, and dangerous is an old idea. A new layer of danger sort of was put on top of images of the South — not just in Northerners' minds, for that matter — after the great Haitian Revolution, after the slave rebels of San Domingue made Haiti the first black republic in modern history, and some of those Haitian rebels ended up in the American south. In the imagination of white Southerners there were a lot more Haitian rebels coming into the South than actually ever got here.

But then if you look at the writings of New Englanders, by the early nineteenth century. Take Jedidiah Morse, for example, the great geographer. He called the North a, quote, "happy state of mediocrity, a hardy race of free, independent republicans." And isn't that the image that New Englanders always want of themselves? They don't share anything, but they're free and independent. When my wife and I first moved to Amherst, Massachusetts — I took a job there once — we took some baked goods over to our neighbors. And we'd been warned about New Englanders and all that. But we delivered the baked goods and said, "Hi, how are you? We're here now." And the woman said in effect, "Why have you brought this?" Anyway.

Sorry. Jedidiah Morse described Southerners however as, "disconsolent" — "represented," he said, by, quote, "disconsolent wildness and popular ignorance." Noah Webster, of the great dictionary fame, said famously, "Oh New England, how superior are thy habits in morals, literature, civility and industry." So, comparing the North and the South, try and understand how difference eventually does boil into political crisis, which eventually boils into conflict, which eventually boils into disunion, which eventually boils into war, does have some root back in these kinds of perceived differences. As one of my favorite historians warned me once, "don't leave out the politics." Don't leave out politics.

Chapter 3. Reputation and Honor - Characteristics of Old South Society [00:24:44]

Now, if I could hang your hat on one kind of Southern distinctiveness, perhaps above all — it's fun to play with all these stereotypes and realize that if so many people were writing this way, from personal observation, yes, there must be something to all these differences. But what eventually evolved in the South — and we will return to this a good deal next Tuesday when I'll devote an entire lecture to this kind of slaveholder worldview and the pro-slavery argument — the pro-slavery defense — and how that evolved into a political culture. But if there's one thing — and this is a little risky because there are always holes in any claim like this — but if there's one distinct feature of the Old South society and indeed its leadership and most of its people, it would be what we might label anti-modernism.

It was a society that eventually developed a disdain for what they perceived as the corruptions of modern commercialism. Southern slaveholding leadership, in particular, were very suspicious of the spread of literacy. They were very suspicious of the democratic tendencies, or so it seemed, the democratic tendencies of that northern society which was spreading literacy more widely, and eventually the right to vote more widely, at least among white people. It is a society where the leadership for sure, and much of the non-leadership, were suspicious of reform, suspicious of change, suspicious of democracy itself. Democracy, the slaveholding class of the South came to see — small d — as a dangerous thing. It was a threat to hierarchy and the South became quite distinctively a very hierarchical society — more on that in just a second. It became a hierarchical society rooted very deeply in open conceptions of class and obviously open conceptions of race. Some were born to rule. In the overall attitude of the planter class and the leadership class of the American South by the 1840s and 1850s, some were born to rule and some born to be ruled. Deal with it, was their attitude.

They became deeply protective and insistent upon their own peculiar sense — and there's a great scholarship on this — their own peculiar sense of honor. Honor. That old-fashioned concept — it's an old-fashioned word. How many of you even use that word anymore? "Do the honorable thing." Ah. "Oh, I didn't act today with much honor did I?" We're more likely to — we have other words for it now. What would the — ? We might say class — "we did that with class." Or being effective. I don't know, what would a synonym today be for honor? Anyone? A good synonym for honor. "A person of character." Oh, I don't know. Work on that, will you? A synonym for honor.

Well, honor in the Old South. There's a whole vast scholarship on this and two or three of the teaching assistants in this class are real experts on it. So check it out with Steve and Sam and others. But it was essentially a set of values, and it was a deeply rooted set of values in the planters' worldview. It was a form of behavior, demeanor. Yes, it meant a certain kind of gentleman's understanding of behavior. It was the idea that a gentleman must be honest. A gentleman must be trustworthy. A gentleman was a man of entitlement. A gentleman was a man of property. A gentleman had class, rank, and status, and you better recognize it. And the most important thing in the Southern code of honor, I think, safe to say, was reputation. A man of honor must be recognized, must be acknowledged. And indeed there must be virtually a ritual of that recognition.

Now, honor's alive and well around the world today, make no mistake. It's alive and well in diplomacy, it's alive and well in many, many cultures. I was part of a huge conference last summer in West Africa on the end of the slave-trade in Ghana, and we had representatives — we had people participating in that conference from 15 or 16 different African countries. We had African chieftains involved, we had the Vice-President of Ghana and the President of Togo and on and on and on. We spent an entire day doing nothing but bowing and doing honor. And for Americans, all our democratic experience and do I have to put a tie on for this event or not? This kind of ritual honor all the time — I mean after all we have a president who just likes to speak like a Texan, he doesn't do all that honor stuff. I'm sorry, if I'm going to do Bush I got to work on that, don't I? That's terrible. Who's that guy that does those commercials? He's brilliant at Bush. Forget it, anyway.

James Henry Hammond of South Carolina once said, I quote, "Reputation is everything. Everything with me depends upon the estimation in which I am held." That's honor, personal honor. For many Southerners it was more important than law, more important than conscience. And when they started encountering these Northerners, whether they were from Massachusetts or Ohio, who started talking about a politics of conscience, or a politics of law, they're not always talking on the same page.

Chapter 4. The "Burden" of Southern History [00:31:27]

So anti-modernism and honor are two hooks you can hang your hats on. There are all those other claims. The South is distinctive because of its climate, hot weather, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There's book after book after book on this, like Clarence Cason's famous book, 90 Degrees in the Shade, which is supposed to explain all Southern behavior and ideas. Ruralness is often used to explain the distinctiveness of Southern writing and art and so on. I do love Eudora Welty's description of this. She didn't just say it's all because the South is rural. But Eudora Welty was once asked why Southerners can be such great writers, or such good storytellers — and she was a wonderful storyteller. Her answer was this — and it's got something to do with how a lost cause took hold too — but she said, "Southerners love a good tale. They are born reciters, great memory retainers, diary keepers, letter exchangers and letter savers, history tracers and debaters, and outstaying all the rest they are just great talkers." Now I've met a few New Englanders who were good talkers too.

Then there's this issue of conservatism. Why is the South the seat of American conservatism? Why did a Southern strategy in modern American political history re-invent the Republican Party? Even though some defenders of that particular movement claim it didn't happen, like David Brooks tried to claim in The New York Times. David Brooks is a revisionist. Well, the taproot of conservatism you could say is right there in the Old South. It's exactly what Wilbur Cash once said. He said, "If you want to understand the South," he said, "its taproot is back there in the Old South." We so long had this game of sort of always looking for the central theme of Southern history, the central theme of the South. And so often it does come back to this overall claim of a kind of anti-reform, sometimes even anti-intellectual, conservative defense of a hierarchical civilization rooted in white supremacy and originally, indeed, in one of the biggest slave systems the world had ever created.

And there's the old business about violence. You can go way — there's lots of books on this and articles on this; why cockfighting was more popular in the South, why country fighting and eye-gouging was — . Elliott Gorn, a wonderful historian up at Brown, wrote a brilliant, fascinating, half-crazy essay once about eye-gouging and Southern fighting. And I don't know, I used to love to quote from it but then I began to realize I'm only quoting that because it's about a guy's eye being gouged out. So that's — I'm not going to do that anymore.

Now, C. Vann Woodward weighed in on this, a great historian, worked here much of his life. But he said, you know, finally the South — he said, finally the South got liberated from being the place that America always dumped its sins. In his famous book of essays, The Burden of Southern History. among many other things he argued that the South actually had the chance to finally be liberated from being the seat of all of America's sins, by three things. And he didn't live long enough quite to — well he actually lived long enough but he didn't really write about what I would add as a fourth one — but he said the Civil Rights revolution finally began to liberate the South. And concomitantly a second reason is that that Civil Rights revolution also brought, through its process, a huge discovery at the same time of Northern racism, when Martin Luther King brought the movement to Chicago and nearly got killed doing it. And in a thousand other ways Americans realized racism isn't a Southern thing, it's everywhere, belongs to everyone.

And then Woodward argued quite directly that the loss of the Vietnam War began to liberate the South, in a sense that the South, Southerners, white Southerners, were the only Americans other than — we always forget Native Americans — who had ever lost a war. And that a burden was taken off the South by the loss of that Vietnam War. Now, that's a debatable subject, isn't it? Because there's a broad revisionism about Vietnam. Ronald Reagan argued it was our noble cause in Vietnam. We could've won, should've won, were winning, and so on and so forth. There's even a fourth idea you might add to how the South may have been a little bit liberated from this past by what has happened in just the last twenty to twenty-five years of American political history, and economic history, with Sunbelt migration, with Southern industrialization and post-industrialization, with massive immigration now from around the world; large Vietnamese populations in Louisiana, large Hispanic populations in North Carolina, a huge Cuban and other Hispanic populations in Florida. You have a very, very changing demographic situation in the American South and its political culture has to respond to that. So we may live, in your lifetime, to a time when this burden of Southern history may get all but lifted altogether from Southerners, unless we don't forget the Civil War. And we don't seem to forget it. As I said the other day if that Confederate flag would just go away, just vanish, just stick it in the basement of museums and no one would ever care about it anymore, maybe, maybe the South's burden would go away.

Chapter 5. The South's Cotton Economy [00:38:15]

But there's another kind of burden, and again Woodward and many others have written about this. One of the most distinctive things about Southern — the South, is of course its history, not just its culture, not just its attitudes, not just its behavior; not the kind of stuff that what's his name, John Shelton Reed, the great sociologist, is always doing these surveys of attitudes about Southerners, of Southerners, by Southerners. But let's remember the South had a distinctive history. The antebellum Southern economy became by the 1820s, without any question, a slave economy. And by the 1820s and 1830s the American South became what I think you could safely say was the fifth slave society in human history; maybe the sixth. This is debatable.

Now, for a long time in American scholarship and in American classrooms one of the deep mythologies about this whole story of the era of the American Civil War in the Old South is that the Old South's plantation economy was dying out. Soil was being eroded and wasted along the Eastern seaboard, and they were using up the great soils of the Mississippi Valley and over time that slave system just somehow wasn't going to work out. Now Ulrich Phillips argued this years and years and years ago. Others argued it from real research, but along came Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman and a generation of other scholars from the 1960s on, and there were people even before them who looked at the Southern economy through cleometrics and statistics and a broad swath of new economic historical methods and analyses, and they discovered that — sorry folks — slavery was extremely profitable. The Southern economy, thank you very much, was booming.

The South had its greatest cotton crop ever in 1860. It was affected by the major American depressions of 1837, 1857, but not as much as the North. And, lo and behold, that idea we had of the Southern planter as this — oh, you know, kind of anti-modern — don't give up entirely on the anti-modern label, I think there's still something to that — but that anti-modern kind of backward-looking planter who — he didn't really like world markets, he didn't like railroads and trains and all that stuff, he just wanted to make a decent little living if he could off growing some hemp and some tobacco and some indigo and some rice and some cotton, and he was good to his slaves. They had a bad break coming from Africa but that's the way it goes. Uh-uh.

We now know, if we know anything about the Old South, the average American planter, the average American slaveholder, small ones and big ones, were raging capitalists. They understood markets, they understood profits. They were men of rational choice, and the way to wealth in the American South — the way to wealth, even before the cotton gin but especially after Eli Whitney's cotton gin; and by the way folks, everybody knows Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and it was originally this little box, smaller than this lectern. If you don't know that — somebody should've taught you that in the 6th Grade or the 4th Grade or the 1st Grade or somewhere. Good old Eli Whitney, it's his fault we had the cotton boom and slavery grew, and you get sort of Eli Whitney to the Civil War. And then we have a great war for weeks and it's all Eli Whitney. He's buried right across the street. Go into Grove Street Cemetery some — go visit his grave and say, "It's not your fault Eli." "It's okay, 'cuz them planters, they were raging capitalists just waitin' for you. All you did is give 'em a machine."

The way to wealth. Faulkner wrote about this too in that immortal character he created in Thomas Sutpen in Absalom, Absalom! Who was Thomas Sutpen? Thomas Sutpen is that guy who arrives out in Alabama with a group of Haitian slaves with him. He treats them like an absolute tyrant. He carves down the forest, he begins to cultivate the land and he declares what you got to have for success in the South is "a house, some land and some niggers." That's another one of those sentences by Faulkner that sort of captured this spirit of Alabama Fever, as it was called, in the 1820s and '30s, and Mississippi Fever in the 1830s, Louisiana/Texas Fever by the 18 — well Louisiana Fever is even earlier — but Texas Fever by the 1840s. The land was so rich and it was really cheap at first.

Now, how powerful was the cotton boom once it took hold? This powerful. Sea Island cotton, the kind of cotton grown down there in the Georgia — where it was first grown in North America — in the Georgia, South Carolina islands, was a kind of long and silky kind of cotton. They weren't very successful in growing it in huge amounts, but that short stapled cotton that eventually was the form of cotton that the cotton gin made into such a massive, marketable world product, is what made the cotton boom boom. By the 1820s, already, within a decade of the War of 1812 and the opening of the frontier, cotton's future seemed limitless. And one of the best analogies you can think of is the oil rich nations of the world in post-World War Two, in the post-World War Two era, whether it's Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, the Emirates, or Venezuela, name — today Russia. If you're an oil rich country today, as long as that oil lasts, you got the world kind of at your knees. You're in OPEC. And that is exactly what the South began to see itself as, at least Southern leadership began to see itself as, as early as the 1820s and 1830s.

The cotton crop nearly doubled every decade from 1820 to 1860. Four decades in a row the production of American cotton nearly doubled. Now think of another product in American history that doubled every decade for four decades, and then imagine that that product became the country's, without question, absolute largest export. General Motors at its height, when I was growing up in Flint, Michigan, in boom times, would've wished it could've said that. Already by 1825 — that early — the South was the world's largest supplier of cotton and fueling now this Industrial Revolution in textile production in Great Britain and other places. And think of it this way. I need a map for this, excuse me.

I don't know if you can see those colors much at all, sorry about that. But what you've got at the top are the early 1790s and I think 1820 in terms of slave population in the American south. But if you look at 1860, the bottom map, if you can vaguely see those deep, dark, red areas, you can see where cotton moved, where slavery moved in the domestic slave trade, and then where Southern political power moved. And you will find, as we will in the next few weeks, the Southern political power by the 1850s and 1860s is really no longer in Virginia, or even South Carolina, it's out in the Mississippi Valley. There's a very good reason Jefferson Davis becomes president of the confederacy in 1860. It's because he's from Mississippi.

Now, fortunes were made overnight; new wealth, overnight. A number of men, as one historian has written, I think quite effectively, "mounted from log cabin to mansion" — and I quote — "on a stairway of cotton bales accumulating slaves as they went." If you had five slaves and a good piece of land in Alabama in 1820, you might very likely have fifty slaves and a hell of a lot more land a decade later. But it's also worth knowing that that slaveholding population was also fluid, people moved in and out of it. There were approximately 400,000 slaveholders, white slaveholders, in the American South by 1860. About one-third of Southern white families at one time or another had at least a toehold in slave ownership. That means two-thirds did not, of course. Two-thirds of the white South remained in those classes we've come to call the yeoman farmers, the poor whites, or the sand hill farmers, as they were sometimes called. In certain regions of the South, the yeoman farmer — non-slaveholding, but land owning, usually — and the poor white farmer — non-slaveholding, but usually not even land-owning, usually renting or working for wage labor — were forty, fifty, and even sixty percent of the white population in a given region.

Jefferson Davis is, in fact, a classic example of the cotton boom planter. He was born in relatively meager and humble circumstances in Kentucky, not what, about 80 miles from where Abraham Lincoln was born, in even meagerer circumstances. But his older brother, Joseph, went out to Mississippi and struck it rich in cotton. And Jefferson Davis went out to join him, and Jefferson Davis became a millionaire. On cotton. Of course Jefferson Davis really preferred to be a military officer and went to West Point and on and on and on, and the rest is history.

Chapter 6. Conclusion [00:49:57]

My watch says I've run out of time. Now let me leave you with this. How successful was the cotton boom, how important was the cotton boom, what is the relationship between the spread of slavery, the spread of cotton, and power? By 1860 there were approximately 4,000,000 slaves in the United States, the second largest slave society — slave population — in the world. The only one larger was Russian serfdom. Brazil was close.

But in 1860 American slaves, as a financial asset, were worth approximately three and a half billion dollars — that's just as property. Three and a half billion dollars was the net worth, roughly, of slaves in 1860. In today's dollars that would be approximately seventy-five billion dollars. In 1860 slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America's manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together. Slaves were the single largest, by far, financial asset of property in the entire American economy. The only thing worth more than the slaves in the American economy of the 1850s was the land itself, and no one can really put a dollar value on all of the land of North America. If you're looking to begin to understand why the South will begin to defend this system, and defend this society, and worry about it shrinking, and worry about a political culture from the North that is really beginning to criticize them, think three and a half billion dollars and the largest financial asset in American society, and what you might even try to compare that to today. Now I'll pick up with this next Tuesday; it's a perfect transition into the pro-slavery argument an the southern worldview. Thank you.

[end of transcript]


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Lecture 3 - A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology [January 22, 2008]

Chapter 1. Introduction [00:00:00]

Professor David Blight: In a speech before the Virginia Secession Convention, in 1861, in late April, in the wake of the firing on Fort Sumter, the newly elected — sort of appointed — Vice-President of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, gave a speech that became quickly known to history as his "Cornerstone Speech." This is Spring, 1861. Alexander H. Stephens, a Georgian, a slaveholder, an old friend and colleague of Abraham Lincoln's, ironically, said the cornerstone of the Confederacy, the cornerstone of their political movement, was what he called "American Negro slavery." It was the cornerstone on which they had founded their revolution. The quote goes on: "As a race, the African is inferior to the white man. Subordination to the white man is his normal condition. He is not his equal by nature and cannot be made so by human laws or human institutions. Our system, therefore, so far as regards this inferior race, rests upon this great immutable law of nature." You always have to get worried in history when people start talking about how human beings or human behavior is rooted in nature.

But how do we get to 1861 and that secession crisis with Alexander H. Stephens delivering this Cornerstone Speech, declaring that, "Hey folks, it's all about slavery and its preservation?" How did we get there? Today I want to talk about, we're going to dwell on, ultimately, the Southern defense of slavery — the arguments over time that they developed, layer upon layer, drawing upon earlier arguments and building them into new ones — sometimes quite original — toward ultimately a virtually utopian defense of slavery as a perfecting, perfectible, if not perfected system.

Now, I want to say one other quick thing before we get to the substance. A thousand times in a thousand ways anybody who studies the American Civil War period is inevitably asked, "so what caused this war?" It's, of course, the question of the first third of this course. So what caused it? Yesterday, on M.L. King Day, I had the privilege of being on at least four radio programs about this new book I have out called A Slave No More, some of them quite terrific. Minnesota Public Radio does a fabulous hour-long program. But one of them was on a Nashville, Tennessee radio station, on a program at 5:30 p.m. called "Drive Time." And the host was Harry or Pete or whoever he was — I've been on too many of these. The first question was, "So Professor, what was the Civil War about?" Now do that in a sound byte on a national radio station when you got two minutes to answer. "Well Pete, you see, there was this free labor system and this slave labor system," blah-blah blah-blah. I tried to sound byte this and I ended up saying something silly like, "You know Pete, I'm teaching a whole course on this." And I finally just ended that particular little exchange before he went on to rant at me about all that's wrong with American education by saying, "Pete, it was slavery." [laughs]

In Alexis de Tocqueville's great Democracy in America, which he published in 1831, or published in 1837, after his famous nine-month tour of the United States [in 1831] — the most famous book, travel book, ever written about America, by a foreigner. In Democracy in America there's that famous passage, or passages, when Tocqueville crosses the Ohio River, from Ohio into Kentucky, from free soil into slave soil, free state into a slave state. Tocqueville, you may know, didn't spend a great deal of time in the South though he traveled all across the South. He spent at least two-thirds of his — more than, about three-quarters of his time — in the northern states. But when he crossed into Kentucky, he wrote this letter to his father. "For the first time" — this was, of course, the French aristocrat de Tocqueville — "For the first time we have had the chance to examine the effect that slavery produces on a society. On the right bank of the Ohio everything is activity, industry, labor is honored, there are no slaves. Pass to the left bank and the scene changes so suddenly that you think yourself on the other side of the world. The enterprising spirit seems gone. There work is not only painful, it's shameful, and you degrade yourself in submitting yourself to it. To ride, to hunt, to smoke like a Turk in the sunshine, there's the destiny of the white man. To do any other kind of manual labor is to act like a slave."

Now, Tocqueville was of course responding from his own kind of French aristocratic heart, to some extent. He was drawn in a bit to certain kinds of Southern charm. 

"The whites," he said, "of the South, form a veritable aristocracy which combines many prejudices with high sentiments and instincts." He probably over-judged the scale of that aristocracy. 

"They say, and I am much inclined to believe," said Tocqueville, "that in the matter of honor these men practice delicacies and refinements unknown in the North. They are frank, hospitable and put many things before money." 

Well, they'd have loved that. When we start hearing from our pro-slavery advocates and writers — they would've loved that. Because one of the critiques that slavery allowed pro-slavery writers, ultimately, to make, was a critique of a certain kind of capitalism, the greedy, grinding, aggressive, malicious kind of capitalism they believed the North embodied. But charm alone didn't seem to make a great society, according to Tocqueville. "You see few churches and no schools here in the south," he observed. "Society, like the individual, seems to provide nothing." The South would end, he said, by being dominated by the North. "Every day the latter grows more wealthy and densely populated while the South is stationary and growing poor." Not entirely accurate about that either, from what we now know about the profitability of slavery and the profitability of the cotton crop.

But he ends that famous section with this passage. It is kind of haunting when you think it's only 1831 when he writes this, and that Civil War is still 30 years away: "Slavery brutalizes the black population and debilitates the white. Man is not made for servitude."

Chapter 2. The American South as Slave Society - From the Foreign Slave Trade to the Slave Jail [00:08:39]

Now, in the South what developed — and let's define it at least quickly — what developed was one of the world's handful of true slave societies. What is a slave society? What do we mean when we use that phrase 'slave society'? Essentially, it means any society where slave labor — where the definition of labor, where the definition of the relationship between ownership and labor — is defined by slavery. By a cradle to grave — and some would've even said a cradle to grave and beyond — human bondage. Where slavery affected everything about society. Where whites and blacks, in this case — in America in a racialized slavery system — grew up, were socialized by, married, reared children, worked, invested in, and conceived of the idea of property, and honed their most basic habits and values under the influence of a system that said it was just to own people as property.

The other slave societies in human history — and you can get up a real debate over this, especially among Africanists, Brazilianists, Asianists and others, and it's why slavery is such a hot field in international history — but the other great slave societies in history where the whole social structure of those societies was rooted in slavery, were Ancient Greece and Rome; certainly Brazil by the eighteenth and nineteenth century; the whole of the Caribbean — the Great West Indies sugar-producing empires of the French, the British, the Dutch, the Spanish, and a few others — and the American South. 

Now, there were other localized slave societies, surely; certainly within Africa, to a certain degree even before Europeans arrived and certainly after Europeans arrived, particularly after the regularization of the Atlantic slave trade. 

There were certain localized slave societies in East Africa, out of Zanzibar by the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There were certain localized slave societies in the vast Arab world, in the Muslim world, well before there was even an Atlantic slave trade to the Americas. 

But the five Great Slave Societies [Civilisations] were those five. 
All were highly profitable in their primes. 
All tended to hinder technological innovation in those societies. 
All tended to have a high slave-to-free ratio of population. 
All of those slave societies had a population of slaves that was from one-quarter to one-half, and sometimes more, of the total population. 

In those slave societies, slaves — as an interest, as an interest — were both a political and a great economic institution that defined ways of life.

Now, when exactly did the American South become a slave society? Is it 1820 — the Missouri Crisis — in that settlement, and at least the beginnings now of a clarity of its expansion? 

Or was it more the 1830s when you've got this booming cotton production happening finally in Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana? Or was it 1840? 

Or was it really in the wake of the Mexican War when you get this massive expansion into the great southwest and the Mexican Session — which we'll take up actually next week? 

That's always open to debate, exactly when the South became a slave society. But I think it became, in most ways and in most definitions, a slave society surely by the 1820s or the 1830s.

Now, one aspect of that slave society then — and I'll focus on it just at least briefly — is that as Americans ended the foreign slave trade — and we did in 1808 — this is, this month is the bi-centennial of the legal end of America's — the United State' — participation in the foreign slave trade. 

Now it didn't entirely end, and there were some South Carolinians and Georgians who wanted to re-open it, and a few folks out in Louisiana, who wanted to re-open it at numerous times in the antebellum period, especially in the late 1850s. They were the same people who were always trying to annex Cuba; about four times over they tried to annex Cuba, and it's still a bit of mystery how it never happened. But as the foreign slave trade was closed off, for a whole variety of reasons, only one of which was that there was this passage, sort of a vow, in the original Constitution that the question would be re-visited in 20 years, and 1808 was 20 years. 

But as the foreign slave trade was cut off the domestic American slave trade absolutely boomed. And one of the reasons that the American South could become such a profitable slave society, one of the reasons that the cotton boom could be the cotton boom is because one of the unique features of North American slavery, U.S. slavery, is or was, that it was the only slave population in the entire New World — Brazil managed it now and then but not in the long run — it's the only slave society in the New World where the slaves naturally reproduced themselves. And it has to do with climate, it has to do with sex ratio — male to female — it has to do with diet, and it has to do with movement. 

If Frederick Jackson Turner had anything right in "The Frontier Thesis," although he didn't pay hardly any attention to the South, this idea of a safety valve of a West to move to was surely there for slavery.

Between 1810 and 1820 alone — this is the decade of the War of 1812, which caused all kinds of chaos on the Western frontier — 137,000 American slaves were forced to move from North Carolina or the Chesapeake states to Alabama, Mississippi, and other western regions. That's in the one decade of the teens. Then from 1820 to 1860, the forty years before the war, an estimated roughly two million American slaves were sold to satisfy the need of slave labor in the great cotton kingdom of the growing Southwest. Now, about roughly two-thirds of those two million slaves moved from the Eastern seaboard or the Upper South to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, et cetera. About two-thirds of those went by outright sale, by financial speculation, in now a growing huge American business of the domestic slave trade. By the 1830s, 1840s, there were over 100 men in Charleston, South Carolina alone, making their livings full-time as slave traders. Their ads were in the newspapers every day. Many of them owned their own shops and their own — in effect — jails where they housed people. Other cities became major ports or places of deportation, for the domestic slave trade.

Richmond, Virginia, for example, became a huge slave-trading center by the 1840s and 1850s. It had two — depending on when you look — to three dozen major full-time slave traders. One of the richest was a man named Hector Davis. Hector Davis owned a two-story slave auction house and jail on 14th and Franklin Streets, just two blocks down the hill from Thomas Jefferson's glorious capitol building of the State of Virginia. Just two blocks down the hill from that great equestrian statue of George Washington, the Founder, you could find a huge slave jail owned by Hector Davis. Hector Davis kept tremendous records, he kept account books, huge account books. And one of those account books ended up in the Chicago Historical Society after the Civil War because it was confiscated by an Illinois regiment that took it home. And I worked with that account book, because one of the two slaves I write about in this new book called A Slave No More — I publish their two narratives — was indeed a young 14-year-old teenager, sold out of North Carolina — from Snow Hill, North Carolina, he was sold in 1860 to Hector Davis in Richmond. Hector Davis purchased him for $900.00. For about six months Wallace Turnage worked in Hector Davis's slave auction house helping organize the auctions every day. And one day, Wallace was told, "Today, boy, you're in the auction." And he was sold for $1000.00 to an Alabama cotton planter who came up to Richmond twice a year to buy slaves. And 72 hours by train he found himself on a huge cotton plantation, near Pickensville, Alabama, on the — in west central Alabama, on the Mississippi border, at 14-years-old. More on Wallace Turnage later in the course. He'll be sold again, by the way, a third time, for $2000.00, in Mobile, Alabama, at the Mobile Slave Jail.

I calculated in Hector Davis's account book that the biggest week he had — and he had some big weeks — but he had a week in 1859 where he made a cool, approximately, $120,000.00 in profit, just from selling slaves. I mean, the equivalent of a healthy teenage male slave, if you could sell him for $1000.00 in 1860 — it's about the same price of a good Toyota Camry today. And when I go to the A-1 Toyota for my service or to buy my new Camry, which I've done every four years for the last two decades, I don't always think of a slave market but it does occur to me that — . [laughter] They just sell those Toyotas, they tell you, "Here's the price, we don't bargain."

The South was part of the westward movement. For slave children — one other little point about this, so we can get a sense of this system that is now about to be justified and defended — for slave children, between 1820 and 1860, living in the Upper South or the Eastern Seaboard, they had approximately a thirty percent chance of being sold outright away from their parents before they were ten. Now, just to give you a sense of how cold and calculated this business was, and how in many ways the first defense or justification of slavery in America is of course — it certainly is by the late Antebellum Period — it is an unabashed economic defense, as we'll see. Ads in newspapers, like this one in Charleston, would read, "Negroes wanted. I am paying the highest cash prices for young and likely Negroes, those having good front teeth and being otherwise sound." It's all about market forces and the health and the condition of your product. Probably the best book written on this, particularly on the language of the domestic slave trade, is Walter Johnson's book called Soul by Soul, a book — I highly recommend you read it sometime in your reading lives.

But it's amazing to read the letters and the language of slave traders when they write to each other, the complacency, the mixture of just pure racism on the one hand and just business language on the other. "I refused a girl 20-years-old at $700.00 yesterday," one trader wrote to another in 1853. "If you think best to take her at 700, I can still get her. She is very badly whipped but has good teeth." "Bought a cook yesterday," wrote another trader, "Bought a cook yesterday that was to go out of the state. She just made the people mad, that was all." "I have bought a boy named Isaac," wrote another trader, "for $1100.00." He writes this in 1854 to his partner. "Bought a boy named Isaac. I think him very prime. He is a house-servant, first-rate cook, and splendid carriage driver. He is also a fine painter and varnisher, and says he can make a fine panel door. Also, he performs well on the violin. He is a genius. And strange to say, I think he's smarter than I am." Truth always creeps through all of our language — it doesn't always but sometimes — creeps through our language, doesn't it?
Chapter 3. Slavery for the Sake of Social Stability [00:23:54]

Now, how is slavery defended? In many ways, to say the least. But I want to give you at least some sense of the development of the pro-slavery argument, the kinds of arguments that were used, how they changed over time, who made the arguments. Now, the best way to begin to understand pro-slavery ideology, whether we're in the early period of its defense in the 1820s — actually, a quite virulent defense of slavery begins early, it isn't something that just sprung from Southern pens in the 1850s during all this expansion, it comes very early. But a framework in which to understand it is that pro-slavery ideology was, at its heart, a kind of deeply conservative, organic worldview. And by that I mean a Burkean conservatism, a set of beliefs that says the world is ordered as it is, for reasons, and that human beings ought not tinker with that order, very much. It was a set of beliefs in the sustenance of a social order as it is. It was a belief in a hierarchical conception of not only society, but of people. That people were conceived, whether by nature or by God or even by evolution, with a certain order to them; some born to do this and some born to do that and some born to do that. It's an organic conception of the world. It just is the way it is. It's natural. Remember back to Alexander H. Steven's cornerstone quote — he uses the word "natural" twice in that passage.

This worldview had, of course, an obsession with stability. It's one of the reasons white Southerners didn't like reformers. It's one of the reasons Abolitionists are dangerous. What are Abolitionists calling for? Upsetting the social order. They're offering a critique of the social order, and they even have the audacity to talk about good and evil. It's a worldview often obsessed, as we said last time, with notions of honor and duty. And it's a worldview deeply rooted in the idea or respect for tradition; tradition and social control. In this worldview, institutions — human institutions — evolve only slowly over time and cannot be altered by abrupt human interventions. It's dangerous to abruptly intervene in the evolution of human institutions.

Now, think what's at stake here in this worldview, especially as we transition next Thursday to a developing — though by no means unanimous or homogenous — northern worldview in which reform impulses get embedded. White Southern defenders of slavery were — to some extent — like other Americans — products of the Enlightenment. Some of them come to really believe in intellect. They really do come to believe in the power of reason, of human beings to figure out the universe. But to figure it out in different ways. You can be a product of the Enlightenment and still be deeply conservative. You can be a product of the Enlightenment, with a faith in reason, and not become a Romantic who begins to believe in the possibilities of man, or even the perfectibility of man. Conservativism — deep organic forms of Conservativism — is not antithetical to the Enlightenment, at least not entirely. Although pro-slavery writers will become deeply contemptuous of Natural Law — of Natural Law doctrine as it can be applied to the possibilities of man.

Many of them will argue, therefore, that ideas like freedom — and that idea of liberty, so much at stake in the age of the American Revolution and falling off everybody's tongue, and eventually falling off their tongues and off their pens as well, what they're fighting for by 1861 were their liberties, they said, over and over and over and over again. But in their worldview, the pro-slavery worldview, ideas like freedom and liberty were simply never absolutes, and many of them will directly reverse Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and simply say, "Nobody is born equal." They will argue over and over and over again — some of them almost in a feudalistic way — that freedom must always be balanced with order, and that order is rooted in certain kinds of prescribed stations in life, for the various statuses of humans. Or freedom, they will argue, must be balanced with tradition. The possibilities of freedom must always, in their view, be balanced with the world as it as — not as it ought to be. They are, therefore, going to have an extremely different point of view — from at least Abolitionists in the North — on this concept of equality. Although a lot of Abolitionists had their struggles with this one too. Southern pro-slavery defenders are much more likely to stress a human's duty, than they're ever to stress a human's rights. They believed the world was made up of a struggle between human autonomy, on the one hand, and human dependency on the other, and you should never give up on that dependency.

As early as 1826 an important pro-slavery writer named Edward Brown argued that "Slavery," he said, quote: "had ever been the stepping ladder by which nations have passed from barbarism to civilization." There you have the roots and the kernel of the so-called "positive good thesis" about slavery. That slavery was a way in which you sustained a social order, a way in which you built an economy, a way in which you maximized the possibilities of those who deserved it, by using those who did not deserve the same fruits.

Pro-slavery writers, you have to understand, had also a really often a fundamentally different conception of history itself, or of how history happens, than will many eventually northern anti-slavery writers — even, eventually, the political anti-slavery folks like an Abraham Lincoln, who was never a real abolitionist but did at least grow up with anti-slavery in his heart. Thomas R. Dew, a very important pro-slavery writer, who wrote a whole book in the wake of the state of Virginia's debates in 1831 and '32 over whether to re-write its Constitution. And they squarely faced the question of a gradual abolition plan for the state of Virginia in 1831 and '32. They had been planning to rewrite their Constitution — an extraordinary turning point in Southern history. The problem was, of course, Nat Turner's Insurrection; it had just occurred in October of 1831 and they held these debates in the wake of it. And Dew wrote a forceful defense of slavery in the wake of this, which became kind of a seminal text for all future pro-slavery writers. Among the many things he said, and that was the simple sense of how history happens. "There is a time for all things," wrote Dew, "and nothing in this world should be done before its time." Now, what would you do if your parents told you that? They probably have. What would you do if your professors told you that all the time? "Stop trying to change things. Nothing will change before its time." You'd probably get bored, or angry. Or who knows? Maybe you would just agree. I don't know. Youth are supposed to be impatient.
Chapter 4. Biblical, Historical, Amoral, Economic, and Utopian Arguments for Slavery [00:33:54]

Now, there are many ways to look at pro-slavery. Deep, deep in the pro-slavery argument — I'm going to give you categories here to hang your hats on — deep in the pro-slavery argument is a biblical argument. Almost all pro-slavery writers at one point or another will dip into the Old Testament, or dip into the New Testament — they especially would dip to the Old — to show how slavery is an ancient and venerable institution. Its venerability was its own argument, some said. It's always been around. Every civilization has had it. All those biblical societies had it. You can read Jeremiah and Isaiah and some of the great Old Testament prophets in some ways as defenders of slavery. You can therefore assume it was divinely sanctioned. You can also look in the New Testament for examples of it, justifications of it. "Slaves, be honorable, be dutiful" — be obedient is usually the word in the King James — "Slaves, be obedient to your masters." Slavery is all over the Bible, in one way or another. The Bible, of course, can breathe anti-slavery into a situation and it can breathe pro-slavery into a situation.

A second kind of set of arguments, I've already referred to, are the historical ones. Here it is not just the venerability of slavery, how old it is, but it's the idea that it has been crucial to the development of all great civilizations. That slavery may have its bad aspects but it has been the engine of good, it has been the engine of empires, the engine of wealth, the engine of greatness. How would you have had Cicero? How would you have had the great Roman philosophers and thinkers? How would you have had the great Greek playwrights, they would argue, without the system, the world the Greeks were able to create with the Helots? That at the base of all societies there has to be a labor system that will support the possibility of Plato.

Pro-slavery ideology is also part of — at the same time it's resistant to — the greatest product arguably of the Enlightenment, and that is the idea of natural rights; natural law, natural rights, rights by birth, rights from God, being born with certain capacities. Now pro-slavery writers were inspired by this to some extent, but many of them will simply convert it. They will convert it — they'll take portions of John Locke that they like, and not the others — and they'll say the real rule of the world is not natural equality, but it is natural inequality. Humans are not all born the same, with the same capacities, abilities.

Now, then there's a whole array of economic arguments, and the cynic, the economic determinist, simply goes to the economic conclusions of pro-slavery and nowhere else. One of the greatest of these writers was James Henry Hammond, a South Carolina planter who had plenty of mixed-race children. He was in some ways the epitome of the kind of cynical pro-slavery. In the end of the day, he wasn't bothered by morality. His argument for slavery was that ultimately it was amoral. But at the end of the day, he also essentially made a property argument or a property defense of slavery. He wrote, among other things, "The means therefore, whatever they may have been, by which the African race, now in this county, have been reduced to slavery, cannot affect us since they are our property, as your land is your property, by inheritance or purchase and prescriptive right. You will say that man cannot hold property in man. The answer is that he can, and actually does, hold property in his fellow, all over the world, in a variety of forms, and has always done so." Thank you very much, said Henry Hammond, don't talk to me about property in man.

Oh, some would get guilty. Indeed they did. Some would get worried and they would discuss slavery as a necessary evil — this system entailed upon them. God, they wished they were without it. And some of them, frankly folks, were deeply sincere in that. One of the most famous and one of the most prolific was a man named Charles Colcott Jones who owned a huge rice and partly cotton plantation system in low-country Georgia, just south of Savannah. He and his family wrote literally thousands upon thousands of letters. those family letters have been published in a book called The Children of Pride, and a brilliant book has been written about Colcott Jones and his extended family by Erskine Clarke called Dwelling Place. But one of the fascinating things about Charles Colcott Jones — born in the late eighteenth century, rises to adulthood by the teens, 1820s — is he's a classic example of a highly educated Southern planter. He came North. He was educated in Theology at Yale for awhile. He was really affected by it. And then he went up to Andover Theological Academy and he taught there and he was affected even more, by New England theologians. And he began to write back, first to his fiancée who quickly became his wife, Mary, and he was really worried about all the slaves he owned. And he writes, for example, to Mary: "I am moreover undecided whether I ought to continue to hold slaves." He underlines hold slaves. "As to the principle of slavery it is wrong. It is unjust, contrary to nature and religion, to hold men enslaved. But the question is, in my present circumstances, with evil on my hands, entailed from my father, would the general interest of the slaves and community at large, with reference to the slaves, be promoted best by emancipation? Could I do more for the ultimate good of the slave population by holding or emancipating what I own? I know not very particularly how you feel on this point." And there are many letters like that. He and his wife Mary write back and forth about how evil slavery is. But in the end Colcott Jones becomes a classic example of the guilty pro-slavery slaveholder. He doesn't know how to free them. He doesn't know how to go to emancipation. Instead he develops a highly intricate theory of how he's going to use slavery to save black people. He's going to ameliorate their conditions, he's going to make their slavery on his plantations so effective, so good, such a even joyous form of labor, that he will be doing God's work by improving slavery. It's a genuinely tragic sort of story in his case.

There are plenty of pro-slavery writers who also, to some extent, whether out of guilt or out of awareness, saw slavery as wrong, but they saw it as a problem more for white people than for black people. Their concern was not the conditions of blacks but what slavery did to whites; and usually they ended up in the same situation as Colcott Jones.

There are many pro-slavery writers who developed, like James Henry Hammond, what I would call the cynical or amoral form of pro-slavery argument; and this is a potent form of argument when you think about it. One of them was a writer named William Harper who wrote a book called Memoir [On] Slavery in 1837 or '38. It's an oft quoted work of pro-slavery writing. This is just one little passage. This is this kind of cynical, if you want, defense of slavery. It is what it is, deal with it. He wrote, "Man is born to subjection. The condition of our whole existence is but to struggle with evil, to compare them, to choose between them, evils that is, and so far as we can to mitigate them. To say that there is evil in any institution is only to say that it is a human institution." And Harper's writing in the thir — James Henry Hammond starts writing in the forties and into the fifties and he takes it much further, and he writes over and over and over again that, "The only problem with slavery in America," said James Henry Hammond, is that too damn many northerners didn't understand it is the way of the world as it is, and they ought to stop talking about the world as it ought to be.

And Hammond even aggressively, directly, took on Thomas Jefferson. I'm sorry, Harper did, even before him. Here's Harper on Jefferson: "It is not the first time that I have had occasion to observe that men may repeat with the utmost confidence some maxim or sentimental phrase as 'self-evident' or 'admitted truth', which is either palpably false or to which upon examination it will be found that they attach no definite idea. Notwithstanding our respect for the important document which declared our independence, yet if anything be found in it, and especially in what may be regarded rather as its ornament than its substance, false, sophistical and unmeaning, that respect should not screen it from the freest examination. All men are born free and equal?" — he says with a question mark. "Is it not palpably nearer the truth to say that no man was ever born free and that no two men were ever born equal? Man is born in a state of the most helpless dependence on other people."

And then there's the whole vast category of racial defense and justification of slavery. At the end of the day that's where Alexander H. Stephens went, with his Cornerstone Speech in 1861. That's where all of them went at one point or another, some less than others. Probably the most prominent pro-slavery writer to make the racial case — and they all did — but probably the most prominent was George Fitzhugh. In a book called Sociology of the South — he's also the same George Fitzhugh who wrote a book called Cannibals All — but in Sociology of the South, his famous pro-slavery tract in 1854, he wrote this: "The Negro," he said, "is but a grownup child and must be governed as a child. The master occupies toward him the place of parent or guardian. Like a wild horse he must be caught, tamed and domesticated. We find slavery repeatedly instituted by God or by men acting under his immediate care and direction, as in the instance of Moses and Joshua. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament do we find the institution condemned, but frequently recognized and enforced." And probably his most famous line, "Men are not born entitled to equal rights. It would be far nearer the truth to say that some are born with saddles on their backs and others booted and spurred to ride them."

And lastly, there was a kind of utopian pro-slavery. It was best exemplified by a writer in Mississippi named Henry Hughes. Henry Hughes was one strange duck. He lived in New Orleans, he was eccentric as hell. He wrote an amazing diary. He was a loner. He urged revival of the slave-trade in the late 1850s, and he developed a theory of what he called warranteeism — w-a-r-r-a-n-t-e-e-i-s-m. He said slaves were not slaves they were warranties. What he meant was they were the charges put in the world for slaveholders to care for, and if possible, even to protect and perfect. He believed in a strong central state, which was a real departure for him from the rest of the pro-slavery writers. He wanted a strong central government to regulate everything. He wanted huge taxation. He wanted to build institutions that would be used for the sole purpose of perfecting the slave into the perfect worker. He was a bit of a mad scientist. And he was especially obsessed with racial purity. His writings are just replete with his fears about hygiene, that if white and black people touched or if they came together the whites would be soiled, and that any kind of intermixing of the races was to destroy ultimately the intellect, the ability, the capacity of a master race. He wasn't that widely read, I must admit, but it shows us how far pro-slavery could ultimately go. In Hughes's vision and Hughes's worldview slavery was not only a positive good — it was the possibility of man finding a perfected society, with the perfect landowners fulfilling their obligations, supported by a government that taxed the hell out of them to do it, and perfect workers, would make the South into the agricultural utopian civilization of history.
Chapter 5. Conclusion [00:50:11]

Now, the clock says I've run out of time. Let me just leave you with this. All of that is a way of simply saying it was a deep and abiding and well-rehearsed — indeed thousands of pages were written in defense of slavery. It wasn't just a profitable financial institution. And if you want to understand why so many white Southerners, especially in the Deep South, went to such great extents to save their slave society, remember the kinds of arguments and language used by its defenders. Thursday we'll take up the North and the critique of this ideology.

[end of transcript]


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Saturday, 19 August 2017

"Io Pan! Io Pan Pan!"

The magician wishing for a manifestation of Pan will not only invoke Pan directly and verbally, create Panlike conditions in his temple, reinforce Pan associations in every gesture and every article of furniture, use the colors and perfumes associated with Pan, etc.; he will also banish other gods verbally, banish them by removing their associated furnitures and colors and perfumes, and banish them in every other way. 

The Behavior Therapist calls this "negative reinforcement," and in treating a patient who is afraid of elevators he will not only reinforce (reward) every instance in which the patient rides an elevator without terror, but will also negatively reinforce (punish) each indication of terror shown by the patient. 

The Christian Scientist, of course, uses a mantra or spell which both reinforces health and negatively reinforces (banishes) illness.* Similarly, a commercial not only motivates the listener toward the sponsor's product but discourages interest in all "false gods"- by subsuming them under the rubric of the despised and contemptible Brand X. 

The basic Christian Science mantra, known as "The Scientific Statement of Being,"no less, is as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter. All is infinite mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is all in all, Spirit is immortal truth: matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material, he is spiritual." The fact that these statements are, in terms of the scientific criteria, "meaningless," "non-operational," and "footless" is actually totally irrelevant. They work. Try them and see. As Aleister Crowley, no friend of Mrs. Eddy's, wrote, "Enough of Because! May he be damned for a dog!"


I don't want to seem like Randy Pan, the Goat Boy, but er that was the only reason I went to that piece of shit. If I had been in that test audience, the only one out front protesting that film would have been Michael Douglas demanding his part be put back in, alright? "I swear I was in that movie. I swear I was." "Gee Mike, the movie started. Sharon Stone was eating another woman for an hour and a half. Then the credits rolled. I err, I don't remember seeing your scrawny ass, Mike." "Was Bill Hicks in that test audience?" ha ha haw. Goat boy called it like he saw it Mikey. You made your 14 mill, now hit the fucking road. Goat boy has invited some people over to see the video premiere of the Goat-Boy Edited Version. Ha ha ha. I am Goat boy.

All its meant to do just like the Madonna sex book, is to titilate an ever increasing nude................ that Madonna book, almost a jaw-breaking fucking yawn did I have.Chohh Ohh. Is that it?. For 25 quid you can actually have sex, did you know that? Twice if you're in Stoke. No, the reason I know that, is ehh, they're having a big pottery recession there, and alot of the women y'know who used to make pots...Cool! it's an ashtray alright! Heres a fiver, thank you........ Cheers to you young lass."You have pleased Goatboy; Goatboy can now dance without a limp... do de di do..I am Goatboy, I am here for you." I need help. But what do people say about that movie Basic Instinct. 'It's great!' Why? 'You get to see Sharon Stone's pussy',oooh the hallmark of our......Yeah you get to see he pussy for one eight of a second, I timed it! Don't blink you might miss the plot. That's how bad that film is, 40 minutes into your going what a piece of shit, she goes... 'Did you just see her pussy? No I was drinking from my coke. Dude you missed it, we got to stay and watch this again. This could be the greatest film of the year; its so... deep.'That caused a rumpus, a raucos? Maybe you all don't know this, maybe that's the problem maybe, you have forgotten. Did you know there's movies you can rent with nothing but pussy, did you all know that? Yeah wohoo! One eight of a second of plot the rest of the film: pussy. The numbers are exactly reversed. One line of dialogue: "I'd like to see your pussy". "Goatboys personal favourite, the peach under pear imagery which Monet used to so such good affect in his blue ball period . C'mer my little fruit basket " "What do you want, Goat Boy? You big old smelly, shaggy thing?" Ho ho ho. Goat Boy is here to please you. "How?" Ha ha ha.

Tie me to your headboard, throw your legs over my shoulders and let me wear you like a feed-bag Pnaar wwww. "Aaargh!" Hold onto my horns. "Goat-Booooy!" Yes my love. "You're a big old smelly thing." Ha ha ha. I need professional help at this point I think I need a priest at this point. "Forgive me Father for I have sinned." "What have you done my son?" "Well, I said the word 'fuck' gratuitously." "Yes and what else, my son?" "Er... [giggles] I lied." "Yes and what else my son?" "That's about all, oh oh one thing I keep thinking I'm a randy goat, fucking everyone. Ha ha ha. baaaaaa" Unless of course it's a woman priest in which case it'll go like this: Forgive me Father for what I'm about to do. Dodoby doo. People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing, you know. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there's priests of both sexes I don't listen to. Ha, fuck, I don't care. Have a hermaphrodite one. I don't fucking care. Have one with three dicks and eight titties, I don't , I don't... You know, have one with gills and a trunk.

That would be cool. I might go see that, you know, but... You know, I appreciate your quaint traditions and superstitions. I on the other hand am an evolved being who deals solely with the source of life, which exists in all of our hearts. Ha ha That middle man thing, it's wacky and I appreciate it... Gotta run, there's a voice a-callin' me. Ha ha ha. Now you guys are totally weird sexually. Here's why. Oh yeah, coming from Goat Boy, oh boy. "Yes Bill, and how is that? That we have human sex? Does that bother you Bill?" Goat Boy finds that disgusting. Where is the fun in that? Ha ha. Goat Boy loves young girls. 16 years old ooh Goat Boy, hello. "Hi Goat Boy you big old smelly thing. Ooh you smell like an old boot." Ha ha ha. I don't see you running away. "I'm not scared of you... Besides, your eyes are really kind and peaceful. Except for that fire that burns real far deep inside of 'em." Ha ha ha "Oh Goat Boy, what's that?" That is my purple wand, and my hairy sack of magic. "You do tricks?" Ha ha ha. "What can you do with that?" Goat Boy can make a bell ring in your stomach "What does that bell mean?" It calls Goat Boy to dinner Ha ha. Gnoor. "Goat Boy, aargh!" "Okay Bill, stop with the Goat boy thing, we get it alright. It's kinda amusing but... okay." You don't like Goat boy? Goat boy is hurt by your indifference. He wanted you to come dance with him in the pastures. Ding ding. Goat Boy wants to string flowers through your hair, and on your head. Do do do be do. "Why do you like young girls Goat Boy?" Because you are beautiful. There's nothing between your legs, it's like a wisp of cotton candy framing a paper cut. Ha ha ha. Gnor. And turn you around and open your cheeks, it's like a little pink quivering rabbit nostril. Oh how cute! I bet your asshole tastes better than most girls' pussies. Come here. Gnor. "Goat Boooy." Gnor. "Shaggy old thing. I'm not going to kiss you, I don't know where your mouth's been." Do you want me to tell you? "Okay, Bill seriously this Goat Boy thing, it's getting weird." Ha ha Except for some of my goat children. [laughs, points into the audience] "Mooore, Faaather, mooore, more Goat Boy, Faather. We are your goat children. We too lay in the forest waiting for young virgins to come." But you guys are weird, get this.


I'm walking down thought the West End one day right and this bus-load of tourists from Iowa gets off the bus. Big cow people, right? Bump into me and I go flying into this adult bookstore. And my hands were in my pockets and I took em out and money flew out of my hands and wafted down onto the cash register and this guy hands me a magazine. How embarrassing. I go home immediately to the hotel and throw it away. Toward the garbage, it breaks open, face up on the bed. Give me a break, Lord. But I'm looking at your British hard-core pornography which I just spent hard-core fucking dollars for. And I'm going, "something's wrong with this." Goat Boy will figure it out! I realise it's porno yeah just what we know and love, but there's blue dots covering all the good shit! Woah, whaaat's going on? There's a guy standing there like this. There's a woman kneeling, well... I believe she was like this. And there's this big blue dot right here. What the fuck! This comes off I hope. [mimes scratching] What you gotta buy the blue dot eraser separately. what the fuck? I'm an adult. Don' t protect me. Let's go! Goat Boy wants his money back. You know. And then I see a club in the West end that has this marquee sign, says Live Sex Show On Stage. I thought what a bummer actually have to be the guy that holds the blue dot. [Mimes moving a blue dot up and down] Alright but what's weird is, that's your hard core porno, then you go home, turn on Channel 4 late at night, there's people fucking yeah they're right there. No blue dot, just people fucking right there. Free, no money, people fucking. It's a foreign film, it's art all of a sudden. Hey. Put some subtitles in there. Here's your pussy, here, you got it. Everyone happy? There you go, it's art, godammit. Alright, I see. You pay, you get ripped off - free you get it all. Dig it, love it! I

I am available for children's parties by the way. "Mommy, I want Goat Boy to come play at our house." Ha ha ha . 'Dont touch him' hahhh. I appreciate ya'll coming out man. We're filming this for something. Probably my folks, who knows? "What does he do again? He wont let us in, he wont let us in to see him." I'm sure my parents will appreciate my little Goatboy act. John what is this Goat thing what is that? " "hahahaha. I am your son father I sprung from your loins, admit it!." [Laughter]


Whooh! It's weird not smoking, I'll tell you that. But I'm glad I quit y'know because I felt like to be honest with you I was on the wrong side of the war against drugs, because I smoked cigarettes and gave the tobacco lobbyists and the tobacco growers any more fuckin money for the poison they spread, and advertise all over our world thanks to: marketing! Hey [coughs] looks like that's 15 Luv. You know what I mean isn't that wild? y'know? The war on drugs to me is absolutely phoney, its so obviously phoney, ok? It's a war against our civil rights, that's all it is. They're using it to make us afraid to go out at night, afraid of each other, so that we lock ourselves in our homes and they get suspending our rights one by one. And the fight against the war against drugs . And we're so afraid "It all makes sense to us, it's good they're doing a good job" Because if the cared about us they'd get rid of the number one killer: cigarettes. Kills more people than all of the drugs times one hundred....legally. Marijuana, a drug that kills... no one.... and let's put in a timeframe... ever. Marijuana is against the law. Now you think Pot with those kinda statistics could walk into any debate on the legalisation of drugs with confidence don't you? "I am Pot I am going to meet nicotine and alcohol for a debate about legality hahaha" "Wait 'til they see my stats" "Frame up!" Why is pot against the law? It wouldn't be because anyone can grow it and therefore you can't make a profit off it would it? hahaha I'm spit balling but yeah ok yeah [clapping] alright yeah "Too fucking obvious Bill".

Cos I tell you what, if I wanted to have a war against drugs or I wanted a drug to be legal, it would not be alcohol sorry, the number two killer, or cigarettes the number one killer; it would be Marijuana. And you would have a better world instantly in front of your eyes.[clapping]..and I'll prove it to you. You're at a ball game, you're at a concert, someone's really violent, agressive and obnoxious, are they drunk [shout from audience] are they drunk or are they smoking pot? [silence] ...Exactly.[shout from audience] Yeah they're tripping dude, thanks. That was one of the choices. Have a fuckin cow man. We'll get to that, don't get ahead of me just cos you're tripping right now ok? "Hey I just read Bills mind, I saw him talking about acid while looking at the girls legs on the front row, it's weird" "Goatboy is caught". "Goatboy is embarrassed, he is blushing under his shaggy fur" [laughs to himself] "Goatboy whats that stuff caked around your mouth?" "Hahahaha, it's love flakes". "Dirty old thing, you smell like a sock filled with strawberries." "Hahaha" What was I talking about?


Oh yeah Pot. Y'know, you're at a ball game, you're at a concert someones is really violent agressive obnoxnious drunk or smoking pot? Drunk. Never have I seen people on pot get in a fight because, it's impossible. "Hey buddy? Hey what?" End of argument. Say you get in a car accident and you've been smoking pot ? You're only going 4 miles an hour. Crashhh "Shit we hit something." Forgot to open the garage door dude". Least no one was hurt. The garage door has to be replaced, boom!, a job is created! We could be a self perpetuating civilisation. Pay the garage fix it guy with pot. Boom, he walks out of your house through a plate glass window. Smassh. "Oh shit sorry". Thats ok, cos a job has been created. We'd just be a race of people walking around with tape and glue everywhere we go. "Hey howya doin?" "Cool, uh oh shit, sorry, here let me get that" "oh thanks" [mimics smoking] "ok see ya" "oh sorry let me get that'

Aaah, they lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Liiie. When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well, you just realise, it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference. "(toke, toke, toke) Sure I can get up at dawn (toke, toke), go to a job I hate, that does not inspire me creatively whatsoever, for the rest of my fucking life. [toke, toke]Or I can wake up at noon and learn how to play the sitar!" Nging nging nging now. Pretty simple when it's spelled out in black and white isn't it? You know. Only thing I've ever heard about pot is that pot might lower sperm count. Good!


There's too many fucking people in the world. Someone needs to say that by the way. Tired of this, "Hey hey aren't we the coolest. Humans are so neat." Too many of yer. Quit rutting, just for a fucking day. Let's work out this food/air deal. Then go back to your rutting. Y'know, abortion completely diviided America, unbelievebly divisive, I've never seen anything like it. Even my friends, all very intelligent, totally divided on abortion. Some of my friends think these pro-life people are annoying idiots. Other of my friends think these pro-life people are evil fucks. [clapping] How are we gonna come to a consensus? I mean I'm torn. I think of them as evil annoying idiot fucks, but y'know I ehhhh I take the broad view y'know. 'The broad view' A pun we found a pun!. And we were'nt even looking for it. But even.... Y'know what bugs me? People waffling on the idea of abortion. Even, even pro-choice people, it bugs the shit outta me."We're not pro-abortion , we're pro-choice" " We just don't believe the government has a right to tell us what we can or cannot do with our own bodies" "We're not pro-abortion, we're pro-choice" Heyyy just say it. What the...... say it! Quit fuckin walking on eggs just say it! People suck, there's too many of em, and they're easier to kill when they're foetuses than when they're grown up. Oh sorry did the mask fall? Let me put that back on. "Hahahaaha" Arent people the keenest things you've ever seen? "They make Goatboy beam from ear to ear".

But I'll tell you this. Where's this idea that childbirth is a miracle came from. Ha, I missed that fucking meeting, okay? "It's a miracle, childbirth is a miracle." No it's not. No more than a miracle than eating food and a turd coming out of your ass. It's a chemical reaction, that's all it fucking is. If, you you wanna know what a miracle is. Raisin' a kid that doesn't talk in a movie theatre. Okay, there, there, there is a goddam miracle. It's not a miracle if every nine months any yin yang in the world can drop a litter of these mewling cabbages on our planet. And just in case you haven't seen the single mom statistics lately, the miracle is spreading like wild-fire. "Hallelujah!" Trailer parks and council flats all over the world just filling up with little miracles. Thunk, thunk, thunk, like frogs laying eggs. "Thunk, look at all my little miracles, thunk, filling up my trailer like a sardine can. Thunk. You know what would be a real miracle, if I could remember your daddy's name, aargh, thunk. I guess I'll have to call you Lorry Driver Junior. Thunk. That's all I remember about your daddy was his fuzzy little pot-belly riding on top of me shooting his caffeine ridden semen into my belly to produce my little water-headed miracle baby, urgh. There's your brother, Pizza Boy Delivery Junior." "Hallelujah!" Hold on for a minute, let's figure out this food/air deal okay? Okay. I'm just weird, you know? How about have a neat world for kids to come to? Ha haokay it's me, fuck it. Drop 'em like fucking flies, boom, just fill up the world with em. I just don't get it you know, I mean I'm sorry man, you know kids are fine, just keep em away from me. Alright there, alright.


Now get this, I've been travelling all over the country on British Air. No smoking on British Air. Now let me get this straight, no smoking, right, but they allow children. Little fairness, huh? "Well smoking bothers me." Well guess what? I was on this one flight right, I'm flying, I'm sleeping on the plane, I'm fucking "knackered". Very tired right and I feel this tapping on my head. And I look up and there's this little kid - loose! on the fucking plane, he's just loose. It's his playground in the sky. And he has decided that his job is to repetitively tap me on the top of the head. I look across the aisle at his mom. she's just smiling, you know. Guy next to the mom goes, "They're so cute when they're that small." Isn't that amazing, letting your kid run loose on a fucking plane. And then the kid runs over to the emergency exit and he starts flipping that handle to the door. And the guy next to the mom starts to get up, and I go, "Wait a minute... we're about to learn an important lesson right here." Kwoooshh. Boy you're right, the smaller he gets, the cuter he is. God, I wish I had a camera right now. With a telescopic lens. Love to get a picture of his face when his pudgy little legs hit that farmhouse down there. Aah, aah, kids. Ha hha. Stewardess, since we got a breeze in here can we smoke now? Fairly well circulated at this point. Woosh. True story. But, you know.


Pot, right. Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit... paranoid? You know what I mean? It's nature. How do you make nature against the fucking law? It grows everywhere. Serves a thousand different functions, all of them positive. To make marijuana against the law is like saying God made a mistake. You know what I mean, it's like God on the seventh day looked down on his creation: "There it is, my creation, perfect and holy in all ways. Now, I can rest." [Mimes God looking around - spotting pot] "Oh my me." "I left fucking pot everywhere." "I should never have smoked that joint on the third day ..shit." "That was the day I created possums. Haha. Still gives me a chuckle." "If I leave pot everywhere that's gonna to give humans the impression they're supposed to... 'use' it." "(sigh) Now I have to create Republicans." And God wept. I believe is the next verse. You know what I mean? I believe that God left certain drugs growing naturally upon our planet to help speed up and facilitate our evolution. Okay, not the most popular idea ever expressed. Either that or you're real high and agreeing with me in the only way you can right now. "I forgot the code, is it two blinks yes, one blink no?" Do you think magic mushrooms growing atop cow shit was an accident? Where do you think the phrase, 'that's good shit' came from? Why do you think Hindus think cows are holy? Holy shit! Why do I think MacDonalds is the Anti-Christ? That's God little accelerator pad for our evolution. Let's think about this, man.

For billions of years, sorry fundamentalists, we were nothing but apes. Hahahaha. Probably too stupid to catch a cow, you know. [Mimes ape chasing and losing a cow] [Ape spots shit] [Wipes it offf foot] [Eats mushroom - begins to giggle] [Laughs] [Laughs] [laughs hysterically before lying back spaced out] "I think we can go to the moon." ('Thus Spake Zarathustra' plays) [Applause] That is exactly how it fucking happened. Except for the marketing people whose belief is, "No, it was proven that er it might be a good market on the moon and eer and a lot of people went up there, good numbers, good space numbers..." Urgh. Save your story of creation please.

Not all drugs are good, now. Okay? Some of em are great. Just gotta know your way around em that's all. Yeah I've had good times on drugs. I've had bad times on drugs too. I mean shit, look at this haircut. There are dangers.One time me and three friends dropped acid drove around in my Dad's car, he's got one of those talking cars, we're tripping, the car goes "the door is ajar". We pulled over thought about that for 12 hours."How can a door be a jar?" "Shit I don't know but I see it, I see it. Why would they put a jar on a car man?" I'm proud of every moment in my life, alright? Think some of y'all have tripped here before perhaps yeah? I used to love tripping, man. There's always one guy when you're tripping who wants you to do something to enhance the trip. You know what I'm talking about. "You're tripping? Oh duuude, you gotta play miniature golf." [Bill hangs onto the table] Ha ha Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking, man. I'm just sitting over here watching the pyramids be built by UFOs right now, but get me to that fucking golf course. I'm watching Jesus flying around on a unicorn, but I bet that little miniature golf would be just the thing to make this trip... peak. So you guys can use your legs huh? No, it's just that I'm turning into a fish right now and er how 'bout I meet you there later? Thanks, I'm pretty fucking high right now. Thank you. You know.

You just gotta be careful, I don't know what you gotta be, fuck it. We got pulled over tripping on acid one night, pulled over by the cops. Don't recommend it. Cops don't appreciate fish driving around. They frown on that. Long night, man. Cops were tapping on this window. We're staring at him in this mirror. "How tall are you?" "A liddle cop, look at him!" "How does he drive that big fucking car?" "Urr, there could be thousands of them, shit!" "What are we gonna do?" "Let's put him in the jar." Made perfect sense at that moment. Put him in a jar, poke some holes in the lid, leave him by the road. "You'll never get us copper. Haha." "We'll send some little firemen to let you out." "Hey I bet they know where the miniature golf course is!" "Boo! Haha.. Fuck it, they scared us." "Son d'you wanna stand up please?" "I just found the driver." "We don't need a driver, we're playing miniature golf." True story. Now, later, when I was released [laughter] I mean spiritually... Oh God. "I need to see some ID." "I'm me, he's him, you're you." "Put your hands against the car please." "Which one. The UFO, the unicorn or your cruiser?" I

I mean why do we fear these things? I don't get it. I think an attitude of compassion might help us alot more than fear, personally. Y'know? And I figured out a way to perhaps make everyone happy about drugs, are ya ready? How about this? Here's a way we can do it, make everyone happy. For those people who believe drugs should be legalised, legalise them. And, for those people who believe they should'nt be, they're not, they never were, don't worry, we're cracking down. There! Now everyone is happy. I am the weaver.[Laughs to himself] Drugs have done good things for us! Ok, not the most popular idea ever expressed, or you're agreeing with me in the very special way that you have learned."Is it two blinks left eye one blink right eye?" "Fuck it this is too may rules" "Yeah Bill, just get to the dick jokes, we're with ya" "Just don't do that Goatboy thing, that was weird" "Hahahaha, you love Goatboy admit it! Come dance with goatboy under the moon light". Drugs have done good things for us, if you don't believe they have, do me a favour - take all your albums, tapes and CDs and burn em cos you know what, the musicians who made that great music that has enhanced your lives throughout the years? Rrrrreal fucking high, ha ha ha ho ho. ok


The Beatles were so high they let Ringo sing a couple of tunes. Tell me they weren't paryting, 'We all live in a yellow submarine' We all live in a....yell ....I've never been that high. When I was having the pyramids build the UFO dream...trip... that fuckin yellow submarine trip was on the horizon. When I was having Jesus flying around on a unicorn I could barely make out the periscope of the yellow submarine. 'What's that way fuckin out there?' Past the UFOS, passed the Pyramids, passed Jesus on a unicorn, passed the fish: its a fuckin yellow submarine. I'm not that high yet. Who's that walking out to it with the big nose and the bad haircut? Thats fuckin Ringo! Can you imagine how high he is right now! Fuccck! I want that Ringo shit. And these other musicians today who don't do drugs and in fact speak out against them? Boy, do they suck! What a coincidence! Ball-less, souless, spiritless corporate little bitches, suckers of Satan's cock, each and every one of them. Gnorr. "We're rock stars against drugs cos that's what the President wants." Aw, suck Satan's cock. That's what we want isn't it, government approved rock n roll? Whooh, we're partying now! "We're rock stars who do Pepsi Cola commercials." Gnorr. Suck Satan's cock. Put that big scaly pecker down your gullet. Drink that black worm jism. Drink it! Fill your little bellies. Ha ha ha. Send in Vanilla Ice. Hello Vanilla. Says here on your application, you have no talent, and yet you want to be a star. I think something can be arranged. Whuh. Suck Satan's cock. Gnoor. I will lower the standards of the earth. I will put 56 channels of American Gladiators on every TV. I will put all the money in the hands of 14 year old girls. They will think you are charismatic, deep and edgy. GnnooOOooOor. Send in MC Hammer on your way out.

Hello Hammer. Back again, huh? Boy, that Hammer. There was another boat that left me on the island, man. "Bill, are you gonna get on the Hammer boat with us?" "No, I'd rather stay here and eat my own flesh." Beep, beep. Totally mystifying, I mean, you know you could sit and explain it to me from now until, well, the end of time, and I'll go, "Fucking don't get it, man." I, It.. it's geni.. it's con, genital? it's err genetic!. Maybe it is genital, Hay, wait a minute. Freud, come here! "Hammer's a great dancer." Whaaat? The guy's gotta a sand crab in his knickers. [Dances] He's not dancing, he's having a fit! That's Satan's sperm eating its way through the lining of his stomach. Gnoor. 15 minutes almost up, Hammer! Ooorgh argh. Ha ha ha. Send in Marky Mark. Its good for the voice. Hey dont fuck with me man. You know what I mean though, am I the only one that's fucking lost here?


You never see positive drugs stories on the news, do ya. Isn't that weird cos most of the experiences I've had on drugs, were rrreal fucking positive. Er. Who are these morons they're finding that's what I wanna know. I used to want to call the news, "Come over to our house! Watch Tommy, he's a pig, film him!" "Oink oink." "Hee hee, he's been doing that for hours. He's killing us. You getting all that?" You know what I mean. Always that same LSD story, you've all seen it. "Young man on acid, thought he could fly, jumped out of a building. What a tragedy." What a dick, fuck him! He's an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn't he take off from the ground first? Check it out. You don't see ducks lining up to catch elevators to fly South. They fly from the ground, you moron. Quit ruining it for everybody. He's a moron, he's dead, good. We lost a moron, fucking celebrate. Boy I just felt the world get lighter - we lost a moron. Put on the Hammer album, I'm ready to dance! [dances] "We lost a moron." I don't mean to sound cold or cruel or vicious, but I am so that's the way it comes out. Professional help is being sought.

How about a positive LSD story? Wouldn't that be news-worthy, just the once? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstitions and lies? I think it would be news-worthy. 

"Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves." 

"Here's Tom with the weather." 

"Wow! Did you see the fuckin news!" By the way that thing I just did about matter is energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one conssciousness experiencing itself subjectively, and dadada, that thing I just did? Einstein proved that [laughs] It's called quantum physics. 

Anyway I was tripping one day with Al, which was really weird, cos he's dead. And I said Al do you notice the walls are fuckin breathing right now? "Bill I noticed the same thing, I've got to jot some numbers down real quick, I just had a fuckin idea" "I saw your head light up like a fuckin bulb Al, this is unbelievable. Its called quantum physics, its called the 20th century, we'll get there one day. [Mumbles] "Its against" Are there any questions folks? [Silence] Thank you! I'm glad I inspire such fuckin interest in ya.

[What bout your parents?] My parents, my parents love my ass man. 

"Bill honey do your Goatboy sketch for your Mama. Hahahaha Sean everyone at the Church wants to know when you're gonna do that Goatboy eat the pussy routine ehhh They all wanna come out and se my boy perform Goatboy and ehhhh "Ha thank you father bring out your Church-going friends, let them get close to my shaggy fur and my pungent odour. Let me see ladies drop their purses and take off their shoes and come dance with Goatboy in the forest. Do do di doo. I parents. [Belinda Carylsle she's beautiful] Belinda Carlysle? Fuck you guys are 5 years behind us. Shit, How weird.

I really do love it here man. I've had a great time here, it's been absolutely fantast....I love being over here in general. You're ehhh , everything is cool about it. The food....well y'know. And y'know. First of all you dont boil pizza.[laughter] nononono I'm not judging you. And these chips, these chips. theyre french fries to us, you call em chips......enough! I love french fries, don't get me wrong. If you leave here'll be wrong. But every fuckin time ya eat, that's too many fries, you're over your spud quoata. I saw hookers on London streets going "Head and chips" You may think you have gotten good head before but unless you have a big hot piping plate of fries..... very civilized, we could learn alot from you guys. You an ancient country steeped, and we a young upstart nation of morons - with all the nuclear bombs! [giggles] I don't know how it worked out that way, we were playing in the lab [laughs] and suddenly we ruled London.[giggles] I don't get it.


You've been fantastic and I hope you enjoyed it. There is a point, is there a point to all of this? Let's find a point. Is there a point to my act? I would say there is. I have to. The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. [Audience member shouts 'bollocks'] There is a lot denial in this ride, the ride, in fact, is made up of denial "All things work in Goatboys favour". The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride..." And we... kill those people. Ha ha "Shut him up." "We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real." Just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus mudered; Martin Luther King mudered; Malcolm X murdered; Gandhi murdered; John Lennon murdered; Reagan.... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.

The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you very much, you've been great. [Applause] I hope you enjoyed it. London, you were fantastic, thank you, thank you very much. [bow] [bow] [three shots ring out - Bill crumples to the ground] 

CUT: Bill slams against the Monolith, and slides to the ground 

CUT: the riderless white horse walks along the road, away from the camera 

VO: It's Just A Ride... It's Just A Ride...