Lincoln & Slavery; What are the Nay-Sayers Really Saying?

 Was on Facebook the other day (months ago, actually) after having just watched the movie Lincoln (now available streaming from Amazon! lol) and stumbled across an image posted on the wall of Free Talk Live a libertarian syndicated radio show / podcast that I've always considered a bit of a train wreck, unfortunately I don't have time to sit around listening to train wrecks these days.
  
Someone had taken one of Lincoln's quotes out of context and edited it.  It ran like this;
I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.
But that quote was a part of a larger speech; and even the partial quote is internally edited. I won't reprint it all here, but it's available at the National Parks Service website; Lincoln-Douglas Ottawa Debate.  The paragraph the partial quote comes from runs like this;
Now, gentlemen, I don't want to read at any greater length, but this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole of it, and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect social and political equality with the negro, is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. [Laughter.] I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. [Loud cheers.] I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. [Great applause.]
As is shown in the pasted complete paragraph, the contextual relationship of offered quote changes the meaning of the quote, completely.  The anti-Lincoln types (and most critics of historical figures) rely on the average person's lack of context for the words, so that the people they are trying to convert to their negative views will be outraged by the statements alone, and never look to see the bigger picture, let alone read a book or several of them on the subject, just to get a feel for the perspective in which this debate was held.  

Yes, he said those things; that blacks and whites were too different, that he had no intention of ending slavery in the South; and yet he worked to make these things so. Could it be that he was disseminating in order to put at ease those who would never have allowed negro equality before the law had they believed that it would lead to full equality? Maybe the naysayers, and those who would be persuaded by them, should study history with an eye for the real truths rather than parse it for statements that can be used to indict men whose actions have proven to be just in spite of their words.

The truth is, it was not Lincoln's war. The South started the war because they could not abide the presence of Northern force on their territory. Had they not been ready and willing to exert force themselves, the tally would have come up differently.

Had the abolitionists admitted at the time that they were for black suffrage (let alone the ad absurdum of women's suffrage) or any other form of political equality no progress towards ending slavery would have been achieved, and we would probably still have legally enforced ownership of people today.

Libertarians often talk about how "Lincoln ended black slavery, only to enslave all of us".  The enslavement that libertarians like that suffer under is ideological in nature. They are enslaved to their own ideology more than they are enslaved to some external force. It forces them to denounce actions that conflict with their espoused beliefs, even when those actions can be shown to benefit all of us. The ending of legal slavery set up the possibility for average people to make a living being employed by another.

The question we should be asking today is not whether the actions of the first Republican President were just; but exactly how the last involuntary servitude, prison labor, is different from what was abolished in 1865? How are free men to compete with this, when the full cost of 'maintaining' this workforce is not present in the purchase price of the goods made with their labor? How are we to compete, as a labor force, against entire national populations that are kept almost as prisoners in their own countries? Why do we as a people not rise up and demand that the laws be changed? Will we spend precious time fighting over past ills, rather than prevent our own demise in the near future?


When you object and say we are all slaves, you offer the unstated observation that we should return to the preferable state of owning other people in order to save ourselves. When you trumpet the virtue of JW Booth, you place back-shooting conspiracy as a higher value than diplomacy and negotiation.

JW Booth did a disservice to the South with his bullet. Reconstruction under Lincoln would have looked nothing like it did at the hands of his inheritors.


I consider it the height of hubris to hold historical figures to modern standards as if they could be anything other than a product of their times. Such is human nature and the human condition. As goes Lincoln, so go we all, in a nutshell. Either we choose to participate in the world around us, or we withdraw and demand the world meet us on our terms. I don't consider the latter to be much of a life.  

No Seriously; Fix the Reward System, and Stop Making Excuses for Sloppy Programming

After a rather lengthy session of 'assistance' with a GM in World of Warcraft, it was stated that if I actually wanted something fixed, I'd have to submit a suggestion. Well, I know a bug when I see one, and if I have to submit a suggestion on that subject, it reads like this;

"The work order quests are bugged. Yes, I know there is a forum post on the subject, but I know a bug when I see one. The crops at Sunsong Ranch mature before the part II quest recognizes them as being mature. Contrary to the forum post handwaving, this is clearly a programming bug, because no one would consciously work to frustrate their player base and require them to needlessly duplicate work; when all that is actually needed is to sync up the times of quest proc and crop harvest. So fix it."

It would have been nice if I could have found the blue post that was quoted to me. This is the only 'blue post' I could find on the subject http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8178377823 the text is different.

This doesn't even begin to cover the problem that started the GM report. The problem with 16 bosses defeated, 32 rolls for gear, and only one coming up as gear I could use and two pieces of duplicate gear I had earned with rolls the previous week; most disappointingly spending hard-fought-for valor points on second rate valor gear to get into Throne of Thunder, only to get 0 gear for 6 rolls.  The problem is, I have submitted suggestions on the issue of being insulted with gold in exchange for days of work getting the Mogu runes.  Runes earned with daily questing should always give gear.  Gear is the lure used to get us to spend all that time in the game to start with.  For the reward rate to be less than 20 percent on those runes makes the time spent a total write-off.  Better to spend time doing anything else, because you will make more gold doing anything else.

I have submitted this suggestion countless times.  Rumor has it they'll fix it so you get gear eventually. How many runes will that take? Tired of the excuses, tired of being jerked around. I'll just keep leveling alts till I get bored and leave, or they take this game seriously enough to fix the problems with it. Anyone want to take bets?

World of Warcraft Dead Again?

The latest post on WoW over at Gamebreaker asks the question;
The WoW subscription numbers have taken yet another hit, with a 1.3 million subscriber drop between February and May, Kotaku reports. They add that the subscriber loss has mostly come from eastern markets, but even so, this is over a 25% total loss from the dizzying heights of the Wrath of the Lich King subscriber numbers. 
We’ve joked about WoW being dead here before on Gamebreaker, and we’re hoping it’s pretty clear that we’re not being wholly serious this time either. The game has not gone the way of the dodo, it is not pushing up the daisies, it is not an ex-MMORPG just yet. Even with this drop, the WoW subscriber numbers are very healthy compared to just about any other MMORPG on the market right now. And for a title of its age to be able to maintain such a large base, even in the face of some stiff competition is impressive indeed. 8.3 million people is not a small number. 
Nonetheless, this is the lowest WoW subscription number point since early in 2007. It is a natural low point in the expansion cycle, with the latest patch on its way, and an uptick could well appear. Mists of Pandaria has been a divisive expansion, heralded jointly as being the best the game has been, and one of the worst grinds of recent years. But is this drop in numbers due to the changes in WoW, or the changes in the gaming world around it? WoW has a very diverse appeal: with a subscriber base of this size it’s nigh on impossible to please everyone, and are the players who joined later on just too different to those who came in at the start.
While WoW is hardly dead in the water, one has to wonder: what’s causing the subscription losses? And will it ever regain them?
 The last time I was tempted to critique the game I was banned from Blizzard's forums; so this time, I'll simply put it somewhere they can't touch.

Having played all versions of the game except for pre-BC, I have to say I've never had to grind more for valor points and gear, or work harder to have food for raiding. If you are playing for raiding, the effort/reward is completely unbalanced, with weeks of work often resulting in little or no reward at all. This gripe should sound familiar if you've played WoW for any amount of time, or read my previous posts on the subject.

Casual players, on the other hand, have probably never had it better. With the addition of pet battles and the brawl-pub, not to mention a "Looking For Raid" system that provides access to a simplified version of end-game content makes casual play far more rewarding than it's ever been before. The changes that Blizzard introduced at the end of Cataclysm, along with some additional thought towards players who don't have days to waste in game, but simply want something quick to do in that 45 minutes before supper, has paid off well in my opinion.

As someone who plays to raid, I try to remind myself that I signed up to grind, even though I despise grinding. If the normal raid boss fights were simply as difficult as they are, but didn't require days of work prepping for them, it would be far less frustrating. Conversely, if you had to spend prep time, but could be given a better than average chance of success, the reward factor would be higher. Wasting time endlessly with almost no reward leads to an elevated level of rage-quitting. The problem for Blizzard is that they've painted themselves into a corner once again. If they change anything they will be accused of 'nerfing' the game, and that will also lead to players rage-quitting as they did when the Dragon Soul raid turned out to be too easy in the estimation of hardcore players. 

I have an idea of what an easy fight would be, but I've never seen it in game. The boss draws his weapon, then trips and falls on it. That would be easy. Might be a good humor moment 

I wish I could say I was sympathetic to Blizzard's plight, but the levels of frustration that I'm experiencing, as well as my history with them when it comes to trying to highlight problems in the game, appear to be clouding my judgement.