Urban America has never trusted rural America. That has been the case since the 18th century and it has not changed in 200 years. This dichotomy has created a political, economic, and social fissure in American life and is one of the more important trends in American history. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece entitled “One Nation Divisible” explaining the modern differences between rural and urban America. I discuss this within a historical context in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
American politics has become a game of emotion. This is by design. We cannot have rational arguments because people “feel” their vote rather than “think” it. Such is the case with most cultural issues, from immigration to Confederate monuments. Paul Graham’s book “Confederaphobia” outlines this nicely, but the problem is bigger than what he describes. Emotivism is a cancer, but killing it will be almost impossible. I discuss this on this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
I hear many people–including “distinguished historians”–suggest that the War for Southern Independence can be explained by one word: slavery. Years ago I had someone tell me this was justified by “Occam’s Razor,” the idea that the simplest explanation was usually the correct one. That might work for science or theology, though that is debatable, but it does not work for history. I explain why in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Depending on who you ask, now that the dust has settled in the Roy Moore election and Trump has signed a new tax bill, all is either well or awful in the American Empire. It doesn’t matter either way. Sure, I want to save money in taxes, doesn’t everybody, but the tax bill and the Moore election are two reasons why everyone should be thinking locally and acting locally in 2018. Roy Moore winning or losing would not have changed federal power, and throwing some scraps to the masses in a so-called “massive” tax cut doesn’t change the fact that the federal government’s revenue collection should never have reached this point. Don’t take my word for it, just read what the friends of the Constitution had to say about federal taxes during the ratification process. I discuss all of this in the final 2017 episode of The Brion McClanahan Show. See you in 2018!
Historians like to keep things neat and tidy and thus often compartmentalize different periods in Western Civilization. The profession’s infatuation with monographs has led to a climate where the “longue duree” is often overlooked. That is unfortunate because it misses the conjunction between political, military, economic, and social history. As we reflect on American involvement in World War I, it is important to see that conflict in the “longue duree.”
A fan of the show emailed me asking what books, websites, etc. should he be reading to determine original intent. Of course my Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution was designed for that purpose, but there are several other good books and websites that discuss either originalism or provide the primary sources to understand the concept. And of course there were members of the founding generation other than Madison and Hamilton who should be read to understand original intent, most importantly John Dickinson of Delaware/Pennsylvania. I talk about all of these items in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
The ContraKrugman Podcast hosted by Tom Woods and Bob Murphy should be on your podcast rotation. If not, you are missing out. That said, they covered the Thanksgiving column by Paul Krugman on a recent episode that piqued my interest. Krugman, it seems, is a highly fearful man, but not over things that rational people would fear. No. Krugman is afraid of getting his feelings hurt or hurting someone else’s feelings. Krugman’s “fearful” list would be a laughing stock for most people in the history of the world. I talk about why in this Episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
As I discussed in my podcast episode “Hollywierd,” pop culture is in decline in America, but there are a few nuggets that offer redemption. One is the recently concluded television series Longmire. The show reminded me of the classic series the Virginian, so I wanted to dive into the similarities and what makes both shows special. If you are hungry for a show depicting real men acting like real men, both should be on your viewing list.
Over my vacation last week I received an email chain debating secession. One participant claimed that not only did the Constitution explicitly forbid secession, the founding generation thought it was illegal as well. For evidence, he cited a couple of lines from the Federalist and an incorrectly cited quote from George Washington’s letter to the Congress dated September 17, 1787. As they say, the devil is in the details. Both pieces of evidence were taken out of context, and while it could be argued that Hamilton was against secession, his duplicity invalidates almost anything he said on any topic. I wrote an entire book on that. My course on secession at the McClanahan Academy covers much of the arguments against secession, but I thought it would be useful to cover two of the quotes that this individual believes “prove” secession was and is illegal.
Several people emailed me a link to an article on Mises.org over the Thanksgiving week concerning tariffs and the “civil war” [sic]. The author of the article, Chris Carlton, does a nice job with his podcast and is a thoughtful fellow, but he gets several things wrong, most importantly the real reason the North and South were at odds for nearly eighty years before the War in 1861. I correct his mistakes and give you the bigger picture in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.