BJ has responded:
Whoever you were referring to when you said “we need to own up to that.” I am assuming you don’t mean Blacks when you refer to “we”.
White Americans should own up to the fact that Southern slavery was unjust.
What exactly was unjust? Was better medical treatment than poor white Sotherners, like my family, unjust? Was a typical 4,000 calorie daily diet unjust?
i) I find it fascinating that a Ron Paulette like yourself has suddenly discovered the virtues of socialized medicine and the nanny state. I thought that libertarians took a decided dislike to political paternalism. I take it that you’re planning to vote for Barack Obama.
ii) You’re also cherry picking the best, incidental consequences of slavery, while conveniently disregarding the downsides, such as rape and the separation of families.
Or were you talking about the movie “Roots” and the portrayal of slavery promulgated by the NAACP?
Try to remember that I was quoting from Thornwell and Dabney. Were they charter members of the NAACP? I don’t recall seeing that on their resume.
Furthermore, what type of slavery is just in your view?
Some OT examples (see below).
Your right he does deploy those. However, most important for this discussion are chapters 4 & 5 where he presents his Biblical arguments from the Old & New Testamants, which is what you should be focusing on as a Christian that thinks he is wrong.
You’re backing down from your initial position. You originally said: “Funny....I always thought Dabney gave arguments in support of slavery, Southern or not, based on biblical exegesis.”
i) Since Dabney didn’t limit his proslavery arguments to biblical arguments, why should I? If Dabney also deploys economic and ethical arguments, then why shouldn’t I respond to him on those grounds?
ii) Moreover, they’re interrelated. At most, his biblical arguments would only show that bondage is permissible under certain conditions. But when he tries to extrapolate from OT slavery to Southern slavery, he must resort to ethical or economic arguments to justify that application. He is not, for example, arguing that black Southerners have a right to enslave white Southerners. So he has to go beyond the biblical data to justify this particular institution. General arguments for the permissibility of bondage (under certain circumstances) don’t, of themselves, warrant their automatic application to a specific case. It’s an argument from analogy. You must also show that the two cases are relevantly parallel.
And he attempts to do that by arguing that black are morally inferior, that blacks are in a condition of diminished responsibility, analogous to underage children.
So even if, for the sake of argument, I granted his exegesis, his conclusion wouldn’t follow.
iii) You’re also reversing yourself. You original said “Now, whether that exegesis was correct is an entirely different debate altogether.”
But if that’s the case, then the onus is not on me to overturn his exegesis. Now, however, you’re saying that it’s not a different debate at all, and I’m obligated to show where he went wrong.
Which is it Steve? Is he deluded or an ingenious defender of his beliefs?
Both. These are not contradictory states of mind. The same individual can be both deluded and ingenious. Ever heard of the Unabomber?
Yes, we are. You say he was a self-deluded genius that was racist, and I say he could have argued his points if he were Black with white slaves. That was the genius you see in this self-deluded man.
Brilliant men can be delusional, viz. Ted Kaczynski, Bobby Fischer, Emanuel Swedenborg.
Thornwell and Dabney were blinded by their racial loyalties.
Granted, If ethnicity was his “only” motivation. However, I don’t see it that way.
Given your sympathies for “kinism,” I do think you see it that way.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around you calling him brilliant, and out the other side of your mouth calling his arguments fallacious.
You suffer from conceptual confusion on this point. A brilliant man can use fallacious arguments. Consider Hume’s attack on the Christian faith, to take one example. Consider all of the ingenious arguments that are used to prove naturalistic evolution, to take another. Noam Chomsky’s a brilliant man. He’s also deluded. There are brilliant Catholic theologians and brilliant Calvinist theologians. But they can’t both be right.
Because Christians are still sinners, they can be self-deluded about some things.
Yes, I do support slavery, where and when it was practiced. To me, slavery is slavery. Whether its in the South, North, China, or the Bible. I side with Dabney and the Bible on this one.
No, you don’t side with the Bible on this one since the Bible doesn’t treat “slavery as slavery.” It draws a number of basic distinctions:
i) It distinguishes between the indentured service of an Israelite and the enslavement of a foreign POW. The terms of bondage are not the same for both.
ii) In the case of a foreign POW, by taking up arms against Israel, he forfeits certain immunities which he would ordinarily enjoy. He exposes himself and his family to certain liabilities if he loses.
That’s quite different than say, invading a country to kidnap its citizens and enslave them or sell them into slavery.
iii) In the case of a Hebrew bondservant, he sells himself into indentured service. That’s voluntary. And he can only be indentured for six years.
iv) The Bible also forbad an extradition treaty for the return of runaway slaves (Deut 23:15-16).
v) Because God delivered the Israelites from slavery, they were to minimize the practice of slavery wherever possible.
vi) All things being equal, kidnapping a man to enslave him is a capital offense (Exod 21:16).
There are special situations in which bondage of some sort is permissible, but certain preconditions must be met.
It’s analogous to the difference between murder and self-defense. All things considered, there are special situations in which it’s permissible to kill someone. But all things being equal, it’s impermissible to kill someone.
vii) At a more fundamental level, you fail to appreciate the nature of a law code. A law code does not condone everything it allows.
As one scholar points out, “The law sets a minimum standard of behaviour, which if transgressed attracts sanction…What legislators and judges tolerate may not be what they approve. Laws generally set a floor for behaviour within society, they do not prescribe an ethical ceiling. Thus a study of the legal codes within the Bible is unlikely to disclose the ideals of the law-givers, but only the limits of their tolerance: if you do such and such, you will be punished. The laws thus tend to express the limits of socially acceptable behaviour: they do not describe ideal behavior,” G. Wenham, Story as Torah, 80.
Also, it would stregthen your case if you quit begging the question on whether they were wrong, and demonstrate it.
i) Once again, you’re moving the goalpost. You originally said: ““Now, whether that exegesis was correct is an entirely different debate altogether.”
ii) In addition, I can only respond to you to the extent that you’re forthcoming about your own position. When you started this debate, you were less than candid about your own commitments. You didn’t lay your cards on the table. To the contrary, you implied that race had nothing to do with the issue. When, however, I uncover your “kinist” sympathies,” it becomes quite clear that race is a fundamental factor in your position.
And neither does a Biblical argument for slavery, which is what Dabney offered. If you could somehow take off your “Dabney only argued Biblically for slavery because he was White” lenses, you should be able to understand that he could have Black and owned every race on earth and his arguments(chapter 4 & 5) would stand because they were straight form the Bible.
No, they don’t stand on their own. Even if, ex hypothesi, his exegesis were correct, it doesn’t follow that the application of his exegesis to Southern slavery is correct. That’s a separate argument, and in order to make that argument, he had to shift to ethical and economic considerations.
It’s not as though they were Christianized.
And if you’re going to use that argument, then Thornwell and Dabney should have lobbied for the emancipation of Christian slaves. That would be analogous to the situation of a Hebrew bondservant.
And why not enslave white Southerners who were unbelievers? It’s not as though all white Southerners were devout Christians.
If I were a slave to Black Christians, I would have no other choice (if I were a Christian slave), but to live my life in obeidience to my master.
There’s a fundamental tension in the Confederate position. On the one hand they claim the right to enslave black Africans. On the other hand, they rail against the War of Northern Aggression, Sherman’s March, or the Reconstruction Acts imposed on the South after the war.
But if “slavery is slavery,” then the North had the right to subjugate the South. No different than Assyria or Rome.
Secession is a two-way street. If white Southerners were entitled to be free of the Union, then black Southerners were entitled to be free of the Confederacy. The argument for liberation and self-rule cuts both ways.
It only applies differently to blacks on the assumption that blacks are different. That’s not a biblical argument.
Still begging the question? Who, besides you, says Dabney suspeneded his critical judgement. This is an unargued for assertion.
And you’re begging the question in favor of “kinism.”
No! I classify you as a myth maker of history and of Dabney.
Really? Show me where I misrepresented the position of Thornwell or Dabney. You're the one who misrepresented Dabney's position. I had to correct you on that. Only then did you admit his use of other arguments.