History

"Mainstream media ‘fractured’ in covering Katrina"

Words to remember:

As the Nation‘s article notes, “Most ordinary people behave remarkably well when their city is ripped apart by disaster. They did in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake; in New Orleans during Hurricane Betsy in 1965; in Mexico City after the 1985 earthquake; in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11; and in most disasters in most times and places.

“Those in power, on the other hand, often run amok.”

Link via Instapundit.


"It’s not Dixie’s fault"

History professor Thomas Sugrue, writing in the Washington Post, offers some useful balance to hatred of the South. Sample:

In fact, many of the racial injustices we associate with the South are actually worse in the North. Housing segregation between black and white residents, for instance, is most pervasive above the Mason-Dixon line. Of America’s 25 most racially segregated metropolitan areas, just five are in the South; Northern cities — Detroit, Milwaukee and New York — top the list. Segregation in Northern metro areas has declined a bit since 1990, but an analysis of 2010 census data found that Detroit’s level of segregation, for instance, is nearly twice as high as Charleston’s. . . .

When all else failed, white Northerners attacked blacks who attempted to cross the color line, using tactics we typically associate with the Jim Crow South. They threw bricks through the windows of their black neighbors’ homes, firebombed an integrated apartment building and beat black residents in the streets. In Detroit, to name one example, whites launched more than 200 attacks on black homeowners between 1945 and 1965. In Levittown, Pa., hundreds of angry whites gathered in front of the home of the first black family to move there and threw rocks through the windows. Racists burned crosses in the yards of the few white neighbors who welcomed the new family. That violence occurred in 1957, the same year whites in Little Rock attacked black students integrating Central High School, yet it’s that story — of racial bias in the South — that dominates our narrative of America’s civil rights struggle.


"Bisonomics"

Brian Yablonski, adjunct fellow of PERC:

Western orthodoxy suggests the white man’s irresistible drive for wealth led to the bison genocide. Reality, however, proved more complicated. Their near extinction was due to a host of factors ranging from adverse climate issues, introduction of the transcontinental railroad, emergence of a horse culture on the plains bringing more efficient hunting, the advent of the Sharp’s rifle known for its deadly accuracy and distance, as well as government policy that promoted the end of the bison as a means of calming hostilities with the Native Americans.

One underlying factor, however, may have contributed more than any other. The tragedy of the bison was one of the starkest examples of the tragedy of the commons. No one owned the bison. Those who were not the first to capture the economic benefits of a bison lost those benefits to someone else. This created a race to the finish—a bison derby. Recreation magazine captured the essence of the situation in 1901: “A wild buffalo is looked on as a small fortune walking around without an owner.”

. . .

Just as enterprising men helped hasten this environmental calamity, so too did individual entrepreneurs, private ranchers, and charities help bring the bison back from the brink.


"Heart over Mind: The Death of JFK, Jr."

In this piece Eric Nolte, an "airline captain for a major carrier,"  makes two fine points. Here's one:

When the waves closed over the watery graves of Kennedy, his wife, and sister-in-law, calls began to arise for greater regulation of private pilots. But there were already plenty of regulations on the books to cover every facet of Kennedy's last flight. As I asked my friends, how would the government restrain anybody from getting in their cars and driving off a cliff? How does one regulate common sense? And more to the point, what are the hazards of granting government the power to attempt such regulation of horse sense?

We live in an era when most people assume that every new problem is properly open to solution by government regulators. Implicit is the belief that the regulators have enough power, information, and wisdom to meet any new challenge.

Young Kennedy's pitiful death illustrates some of the issues that arise from the question of government regulation and the hugely vexing and misunderstood question of the major political tension of our age: the questions of the political primacy of the individual versus the state, and the very purpose of government.


"The Vision of the Founding Fathers"

A fine reading for the Fourth. Myron Magnet:

The Founders well understood, as John Adams reminisced in 1818, that it was a change in the “principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections” of Americans that had sparked the Revolution. They considered that new culture of freedom that had arisen among them in the decades before Lexington and Concord, along with the new Constitution they created, to be the most precious inheritance they bequeathed to future generations of their fellow citizens. That vision offers us an instructive standard by which to gauge the present.


"This Week in the Civil War: Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863) C.S.A."

Long, but I thought quite interesting

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was known as “Stonewall,” but “the Christian soldier” would have been a more appropriate title. his military experience was in artillery, yet he excelled as a commander of infantry. Soldiers adored him, despite the fact that he was a tight-lipped, stern-disciplined eccentric. Fellow generals were in awe of him because his silence concealed a fiery combativeness smoldering deep inside. Although he was in the field but two years during the Civil War, he more than any other individual became the radiant hope of the Southern cause. more astounding are the number of people – past and present – who assert that had he not died in 1863, his genius would have enabled the Confederate States to achieve their independence. Such was the mystique of Thomas J. Jackson.