Dems 2019: Dem Hard With A Vengeance


Yes and if you will let me rant some more because I am even more pissed off about this today… :)

My rage is now directed towards the “different time and place” excuses.

I call bullshit. Every single person who was a racist at that time knew damn well the harm they were causing. Likewise every single slaveowner knew exactly what they were doing was morally wrong, it wasnt a secret.

It is simple cowardice to say “well I did some racist stuff then but it was just the time & place.” Bullshit. They knew. They all knew. Apologize, fine, try and make it better fine, but dont play coy like “we didnt think it was racist back then” because thats transparently false.

It also insults the many many people in the same time and place who were not racist. They didnt have any secret knowledge, it was just obvious what the right thing to do was, maybe because, you know, it IS obvious. The racists had the same information at the time and simply chose to be assholes.

Speaking of which has this clown resigned yet?


So you believe that humans in the past were simply more evil overall, than humans today.

They all knew what they were doing was wrong… And let’s be clear, by modern standards, virtually everything humans did in the past was wrong. And yet they did them anyway, because they were evil.


No I believe slave owners in the past were as evil as slave owners today. I think its one of those non fudgable universal moral truths that Humans have. Like “dont eat children.”

I accept my view means I must put into the “evil” category a lot of men, women & societies from history. I accept that as a logical outcome of my (admittedly radical) argument and adjust my historical world view accordingly.


Slavery was widespread throughout human civilization for basically 99% of it’s existence.

What you are saying here is that you believe, in the past, a huge portion of humans were evil.

And yet somehow, today, we have been enlightened and now humans are no longer evil to such a widespread extent. Coincidentally, society has just happened to stumble upon societal standards that match up to this universal good, at the time when you are alive and have learned those standards from society.

Huh. Weird.


Yes and I hope you will consider my argument persuasive.

Also slave owners have never been so widespread as to be a huge portion of humanity, they are almost always a minority keeping themselves in power on top of human misery. Where rarely they were an un coerced majority then yes, the majority of that society is evil.

But abstract arguments are by their nature somewhat cool and dont lend themselves to moral discussions, so let me make it a little more in the nose.

I say no slave owner ever looked at an enslaved mother screaming as her is child ripped away from her to be sold and thought “well I am doing a good thing, everyone is happy with this arrangement, I am a good person.” I say nobody who has ever “owned” a Human being and turned their back on that slave literally begging to be let free is a good person. I say it is self evident at that moment to the slave owner they are doing evil.

Slavery being evil wasnt a secret. Zeno mentioned it as an obvious truism two and a half thousand years ago, the Stoics did, the Christians did and obviously whenever slaves got a chance to write they did too.

I suggest my argument is simple, common sense & evidence based. I think its those who need to create elaborate social reality distortion fields in the past who are on slippy ground.

Incidentally I do not extend my argument past extreme and universal evils. I fully accept that in certain matters societies ethical views can evolve over time. I just no longer believe slavery is one of those matters.

edit: sorry Timex, gotta walk the dog. :) Back later, thanks for the discussion!


In order to defend blackface, you’re now defending slavery?


I would offer as a counterpoint that I speculate I could place you into any human society, including one where slave ownership was widespread like the Roman empire, and you would adopt those social norms, with only fairly minor deviation one way or the other. Because that’s what humans do.

Likewise, if you were born into a society at some point in the future, you would find some aspect of your current behavior to be abhorrent. Of course, I don’t know what those behaviors would be, given i don’t live in that futuristic society, but if i had to guess, it would be that you enslave animals in fairly terrible conditions for their entire lives and then harvest their bodies for meat.

Morality is a mental construct. It is largely dependent upon what we are taught.

People have always been, and always will be, the same basic mix of good and evil. With few rare exceptions, they do what they are taught is acceptable by society. And this changes over time. It doesn’t retroactively change the morality if those past decisions.


Jesus Christ dude.

Seriously, is that what you think is happening here?


I’m not sure anyone know what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ve picked a very weird battle, even for you.


And today do meat-eaters see pictures of factory farms, then look at their chicken salad and think, “well I am doing a good thing, everyone is happy with this arrangement, I am a good person”?

Or do they secretly all know that they are evil?

Or is it obvious that slavery is wrong but equally obvious that eating animals is OK?


It’s happening. Maybe.


I’m clearly making a mistake in thinking that we could have a nuanced discussion about complex things like changing societal norms over time, and the problematic nature of judging people outside of their learned social constructs.


I don’t know about evil but humane slaughter is not a new concept. There were a lot of efforts before this one too. I think the people that torture animals for sports now or say 300 years ago knew it was wrong.

I think we’re mixing things up a bit here. We have known slave revolts in the history books, so we know the slaves knew it was wrong as well as others… It’s not as if there was a universal truth that said slavery was okay. It was debated even then. The actual bible, let my people go… it’s not as if slavery was universally accepted. Not everyone, you know, liked the Romans.

Ancient times though is not a few decades ago. Information, reporting, news… it was pretty freely available in 1980s. Literacy itself helped change some societal norms too.


No need to build strawmen.

A lot of this comes down to what we mean by “evil.” Human institutions for millennia were by our standards barbaric. To simply therefore say that all those humans who participated in those institutions were “evil” is… well, it’s one way to look at it, but I daresay a rather fraught one.

I don’t feel comfortable holding myself above, say, Cicero because I happen to have had the good fortune to live in a time when certain bad institutions have (through the efforts, blood, sweat toil and tears of others) been discredited and dismantled.

This is not to say that Cicero was good to have slaves, but that I think it’s difficult to disentangle individual humans from the vast stream of what is going on all around them.

I would like to think that had I been alive in 1855 I would have been a firebreathing abolitionist but given my temperament I might well have had a more “reasonable” or “pragmatic” viewpoint, which by today’s lights would seem awful.

Now, in many eras there have been individuals whose views have stood out for their amazing progressivism. People who really don’t seem to have given a good goddamn what other people thought of them. Benjamin Lay, for example, or Thomas Paine. But that sort of heroic iconoclasm cannot realistically be expected of most people in any era.

None of this is to say that Northam shouldn’t resign. First off it was 1984 not 1844, and secondly he is already an unacceptable albatross around the Democrats’ neck. I just hesitate to proclaim thundering absolutes about the whole sweep of human history.


Its a good question, I mentioned I make no claims beyond slavery here but its absolutely a good question.

If I am being a boor let me know and I am happy to back off. I thought it was an interesting discussion but if its just me waffling on like a crazy person I am happy to shut up with no hard feelings.

Also if I ever get a tag here, I want it to be this , nicely put! :)


I don’t think you’re pro-slavery or anything like that, especially not in the recent past (sorry if that’s what I sounded like I was saying). But i think you’re twisting yourself into a pretzel to try to make a… well, a pass for blackface in the 80’s out of some kind of historical context.

I grew up in Whitey McWhitetown, USA. My mother thought African-Americans were scary and I remember her not answering the door if a black person rang the doorbell – I was a very confused five-year old wondering why we were hiding from an encyclopedia salesman.

But with all that being the case, if I were to wear blackface even for a Halloween costume? I still wouldn’t be able to sit today, most likely. This was solidly in the 80’s, even as a child I knew that shit was wrong. Surely a 25-year old in Med school did. No need to stick up for Bronze Age slaveholders or anything. Sometimes a duck is just a duck.

EDIT: And just want to say again I’m sorry about my previous post. I was just trying to tease you because I thought this whole thing was absurd, it wasn’t meant in a heated way or a personal attack.


Yeah the “what about stuff we do now?” argument is fair. Its one I am going to dodge for now if thats ok. I really limit my argument to this one extreme case. Mainly because I am unsure of my footing over say animal rights for example. I really need to think about it.

I dont disagree there maybe a bad to good ratio within societies, but I dont think that excludes certain things within themselves being bad. Like slavery.

I think the extent to which we subsume ourselves to society norms is a very interesting question. In Rome, the most normalized slave society I am aware of slave ownership, was even there, a minority activity, mainly by the well off and as far as we know, only a portion of those. What did the non slave owners think about the slave owners? I dont know but my guess its they were terrified and appalled by them and too scared to stop them.

But my claim is the slave owners themselves knew what they were doing was evil and wrong and they either didnt care or thought it was a price worth paying to make their lives better.


Dude, Fred Armisen did it numerous times on SNL. As did Jimmy Fallon. This was WAY more recent. Jimmy Kimmel did too. Do you think those guys are racist? I don’t. I don’t think they intended any racism at all. I think they just didn’t realize the offense it would cause.

To be clear, it wasn’t blackface. That is, they weren’t doing it like the guy with the kkk dude. They weren’t dressed as minstrel performers. They were dressed as people who were black, and darkened their skin for the part.

Further, since folks seen intent on misinterpreting what I’m saying, i know that this kind of act is wrong. But i also know that such knowledge was clearly not universally held in the fairly recent past.


Didn’t we have a whole thread for discussion of morality? That you started? Once this stopped being specifically about Northam’s situation, I think taking it out of this thread would be a good move.


Northam has lost the support of his party. That bell won’t be unrung, regardless of what anyone thinks of what was acceptable to whom 30 years ago.

In the present, the Democratic Party just won’t tolerate that in your past. Dude needs to go.