The Inklings conference at the Presbyterian Heritage Center in Montreat did not get off to a good start, and my personal infuriating experience with Enterprise Rental left me in no mood to be generous to the presenters of the first day. But the second and third days' presenters were quite knowledgeable and original, and I happened up some very interesting folks at the end. Some detail to follow.
I have long believed that American history is the story of the struggle for preeminence between Massachusetts and Virginia. The internal struggle led to the great violence of 1861-65, but has not yet been settled, nor is settlement likely. Generally, Massachusetts-influenced states continue with the "We are smarter than you, so you must do as we say," while Virginia's influence is, "Whatever y'all want to do in your own yard is OK, just don't expect us to go along with everything you say."
That is summed up in the author's statement of the "preeminence of New England as an intellectual superpower." The Massachusetts' opinion has not changed.
I, following the estimable David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed would divide Virginia into two cultures on that, with only one of the portions fitting your latter description even partially.
Your description of the Massachusetts-led attitude is so grossly prejudiced and unfair that I won't even bother to refute it. However, if I wanted to be one-sided about it, I could bring forth considerable evidence of the "preeminence of New England as an intellectual superpower" - and I went to William and Mary! As your statement stands, one would have to conclude you think allowing slavery to continue was okay. So you might want to back that down a bit.
By the way, what brought that topic to your mind from my post?
Maybe Razib's latest in your blogroll?
Yeah, that's got to be it.
I yield to none in my allegiance to the school of "Whatever y'all want to do in your own yard is OK, just don't expect us to go along with everything you say," but Virginia is not the right locus for that. (Also, it's 'ya'll,' per Faulkner.) Virginia was the locus of the idea that one's right to the fruits of one's honest toil, to whit property, might include slaves. What about leaving them alone to do what they wanted, without undue force?
It is high Appalachia where that sentiment properly flourished, and many of that kind elected to fight against the Confederacy for that reason. Others fought for the Confederacy, for other reasons. But Virginia was about the Great enforcing their will upon the weak at least as much as Massachusetts ever was.
AVI: I do not know why I posted my remark for this item. I searched all replies and have not found the one I meant to post to. I apologize for confusion.
The prevailing opinion is that it is riffing off of Razib in the sidebar. I haven't listened to that podcast yet. That the Coastal South and New England have been the opposite poles battling in American history is a common theory, and one I think has a lot to it. I thought you were unfair to one side of that controversy.
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