When a Southern conservative talks about "losing his liberty," the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control -- and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from -- is what he's really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can't help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they're willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.I really think this is a must-read if one wants to understand the giant shift that has taken place in the country in the recent pass. The hate and vitriol launched at President Obama actually tells us a lot about the reality of this frightening shift. I may be biased because of my life experience but I find this a very credible analysis of the power shift in this country. Those of us in the middle and lower class are being denied more liberty, justice and the opportunities to live a rewarding life every day. Education, basic social safety nets and myriad other things are being systematically attacked by the right. It does harken back to the plantation days and the relationship between the slaves, sharecroppers and plantation owners. The Tea Party driven GOP and warped conservative mobs want us at their mercy. They want us so desperate for food, shelter....everything that we will be grateful for any scraps that they let fall from their table. They want us afraid to upset the apple cart for fear of losing what meager scraps they distribute. It's ugly and seemingly more so daily.
In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The higher your status, the more authority you had, and the more "liberty" you could exercise -- which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to take more "liberties" with the lives, rights and property of other people. Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that's what liberty is. If you don't have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity -- or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself -- then you can't really call yourself a free man.I guess the real question that comes to mind is...will it take Civil War II to shift us back to some reasonable state? It is looking more and more like something radical needs to take place or we are doomed.
h/t Crooks and Liars