What Frederick Douglass saw

We read a couple of passages from Frederick Douglass’s Narrative recently. Let’s read some more from Frederick Douglass today.

Mr. Hopkins remained but a short time in the office of overseer. Why his career was so short, I do not know, but suppose he lacked the necessary severity to suit Colonel Lloyd. Mr. Hopkins was succeeded by Mr. Austin Gore, a man possessing, in an eminent degree, all those traits of character indispensable to what is called a first-rate overseer. Mr. Gore had served Colonel Lloyd, in the capacity of overseer, upon one of the out-farms, and had shown himself worthy of the high station of overseer upon the home or Great House Farm.

Mr. Gore was proud, ambitious, and persevering. He was artful, cruel, and obdurate. He was just the man for such a place, and it was just the place for such a man. It afforded scope for the full exercise of all his powers, and he seemed to be perfectly at home in it. He was one of those who could torture the slightest look, word, or gesture, on the part of the slave, into impudence, and would treat it accordingly. There must be no answering back to him; no explanation was allowed a slave, showing himself to have been wrongfully accused. Mr. Gore acted fully up to the maxim laid down by slaveholders,—”It is better that a dozen slaves should suffer under the lash, than that the overseer should be convicted, in the presence of the slaves, of having been at fault.”

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Not appropriate to give explicit guidance on how to achieve discrimination

The Lawyers’ Secular Society on the Law Society’s withdrawal of its sharia guidance.

The Law Society has sent the LSS a letter which says:

We have reviewed our practice note on Sharia succession principles following your feedback, and that of our members and other stakeholders. Following this review, we have withdrawn the note and it will no longer be available through our website. We have no plans to amend or replace the note.

We are mindful of the criticism we received and we apologise. [Read more…]

Guest post: A history lesson on states’ rights

Originally a comment by Al Dente on Locke, Montesquieu and Moses.

The slavery issue was a major part of states rights.

In the decades preceding the civil war the states rights issue hung over the nation like a sword. The doctrine held that certain rights and powers remained as part of the sovereignty of individual states and that the exercise of that sovereignty lay in the will of the states’ citizens. Through elected officials the citizenry bestowed certain powers to the federal government such as conducting diplomacy and declaring war. But the states had powers denied to the federal government. [Read more…]

Amid this orgy of self-congratulation

Helen Lewis is pessimistic about the culture wars.

If today’s tech giants can be said to have an ideology, it is the promotion of unfettered free speech. Social media companies trumpet how pro-democracy protesters use their networks to oppose repressive governments. Celebrities are warned of the “Streisand effect” of trying to suppress unflattering information about them, and creating more publicity in the process. Twitter’s former general counsel once described the company as “the free-speech wing of the free-speech party”.

But amid this orgy of self-congratulation, there is one rarely mentioned fact: one person’s free speech can come at the cost of another’s. This is the kernel at the heart of so many harassment cases: the stalker will insist, with an air of honest bafflement, that they are simply exercising their right to free speech. Unfortunately, they are doing it by shouting through the letterbox of their victim, who is now too afraid to leave their house.

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Locke, Montesquieu and Moses

The Texas State Board of Education voted on a new set of social studies materials on Friday. NPR reports:

That includes some 89 textbooks, workbooks and other classroom materials. The vote matters because, with about 5 million students, the state has a big impact on the national textbook market.

Well it also matters because 5 million students are a lot of students, and they need good textbooks too.

We know how the Texas Board of Ed is. It’s been colonized by Christian Nationalists, who want to teach Christian Nationalist things to captive students. [Read more…]