A review of the Chieftain of Seir's latest essay…

As people who read the newspaper already know, the Chieftain of Seir has a new essay up called Considering the Invasion of the South. Personally, I think that it is one the worst essays that the Chief has written in a long time. But I cannot be too critical because I am largely responsible for its low quality.

If you will remember, I did a rant back on Lincoln’s birthday badmouthing those conservatives and libertarians who serve as apologists for the pre Civil War South. I was not gentle with my criticism.

As a result of my little rant I was challenged by the Grumpy Old Man. In a post responding to mine, the Grumpy Old Man said…..

A blogger known as “the Ape Man” is shocked by Larison’s characterization of Lincoln as a “tyrant” and my pondering the justice of that rather severe historical judgment.

My sin in the pongid world is to have asked whether, if the North had let the South go without war, slavery would have long persisted in the South. I can also ask whether, given the blood spilled in the War and the rapid turn away from Reconstruction, Lincoln was far-sighted, bloody-minded, or a bit of both.

The Chieftain of Seir took it upon himself to write a serious answer to that question. But sadly, he wrote it out in one weekend and the speed with which he wrote the essay limited its quality.

I think the argument is solid (naturally) but the presentation seems crude and it is not always as well supported as I would like. Part of this is due to the fact that Chieftain of Seir relies mostly on the novelty of his ideas for his appeal. When the Chief’s ideas are not all that novel (as it is the case with Considering the Invasion of South) it shows up the bad quality of the Chief’s writing.

But another problem is that a lot of the documents that would have bolstered the Chief’s case are only available in book form. By writing the essay over the weekend, the Chief limited himself to documents that were available on-line. This means that the Chief did not always support his various arguments as well as he should.

I think one of the reasons that the Chief was so eager to jump all over the Grumpy Old Man’s question is that he has been banging his head against another essay he is trying to write. In the Chief’s bizarre little system, there was an essay that was supposed to come after Spinoza, Einstein, and Failure of Reason. It is a measure of the Chief’s frustration with the essay that was supposed to come next that he has put up an essay that does not belong there.

Hopefully, the poor quality of Considering the Invasion of the South will inspire the Chief to find some way of finishing the essay that he has in progress. But till then, those who have been waiting for another Chieftain of Seir essay will have to be content with Considering the Invasion of the South in spite of its flaws.

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