Thursday, January 22, 2009

Canada: Nobody Cares

Seems the American attitude toward Canada hasn't changed all that much.

"We appreciate too the good feeling of England in its hearty grief at the murder of Lincoln. Don't talk about our 'hating' you, -nor suppose that we want to rob you of Canada -for which nobody cares."

- Response from Asa Gray to Charles Darwin, May 15, 1865

Fun Fact: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day! But who was the greater emancipator?


SuiginChou said...


Mack Ramer said...

But who was the greater emancipator?

I'm going to have to go with neither, since neither one caused anyone to be actually emancipated.

Jay said...


1. not constrained or restricted by custom, tradition, superstition, etc.
2. freed, as from slavery or bondage

Didn't Darwin help free us from confusion, superstition and bunk notions like special creation? And what about Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation?

Mack Ramer said...

Darwin did "emancipate" us from falsehood, in the way that everyone who discovers truth, so I suppose that's true.

Lincoln in no way deserves the title of Emancipator. His proclamation did not free a single soul, and his legacy was really one of tyranny -- expanding the powers of the executive tremendously, especially his suspension of habeas corpus. If it had not been retro-justified 100 years later by the final civil equality of blacks, the war he waged to "save the Union" would be universally recognized for the act of tyrannical aggression that it was.

So I guess Darwin wins.

SuiginChou said...

Lincoln emancipated those whom he was not legally permitted to emancipate, i.e. the Emancipation Proclamation is no different in the context of real world history than would be the hypothetical Emancipation Proclamation v.2.0 in the context of a hypothetical civil war between slave-holding Bunboria and her mother country from which she seceded, Coapina. The Coapinians would say, "Bunboria is not a real separate country. They are still ours. And so our laws apply to their lands, too." But the Bunborians would disagree -- and disregard any foolish laws passed by the Coapinian legislature which sought to undermine Bunboria's way of life.

To look at it through a different and more familiar lens, if the United States passes a law which says, "China must give the U.S. Treasury one million US dollars (US$1,000,000) every time somebody says a word starting with the sound 'wu'," on whose authority would the Americans enforce such a law? and without foreign enforcing, on what grounds should the Chinese degrade themselves to abide by such a ridiculous penalty?

Granted, this is probably not the argument Matt was going for: my gut instinct says he was probably going for "Lincoln's so-called 'emancipation' of the slaves did jack squat in reality to help them escape 2nd-class citizenship." But still: I know I wouldn't call Lincoln "the great emancipator." Even without Mr. Yo's enlightening bias, I like to think that I would have eventually discovered for myself that Lincoln was first and foremost focused on secession and that he only invoked the Abolitionist gospel when it so benefited his militant cause. It's not to say that Lincoln was an immoral man (necessarily); just that he was no different from any other typical white politician of the day.

As for Charles Darwin, I don't know that I would call the man an emancipator, but I agree that his legacy continues to be quite emancipatory!

Jay said...

This is some of the first anti-Lincoln rhetoric I have ever heard and I'm utterly baffled by it. I'm trying to do more research, but I'm not incredibly dedicated. I feel like your positions are fringe and based on kernels of truth made to seem larger by some profound cynicism...but maybe I'm too gullible and too ready to accept popular opinion of the man. Even so, I can't help but feel like you're being contrarian for the sake of being contrary and not giving the man enough due credit.

But I also know that you two know more than I, so I relent, I relent...