Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Andrew Jackson

Dean Barnett reviews H.W. Brands new bio of Andrew Jackson. Barnett loves the story of the man with the "iron-will and fearless nature." He reminds us of this revealing story about Jackson:

"In 1806, several years after leaving the Senate and while remaining one of Tennessee’s most famous citizens, Jackson agreed to a duel with Charles Dickinson to settle a matter of honor that had arisen out of a horse racing dispute. Many observers felt that Jackson’s willingness to duel Dickinson was intemperate; most Tennesseans regarded Dickinson as the finest shot in the state. Additionally, dueling was already considered a crude way for gentlemen to settle their differences.

On his way out to the duel site, Dickinson amused his traveling party with his shooting skill, sometimes cutting a string with a bullet from 24 feet, the distance that would separate the two duelists.

For his part, Jackson spent the time traveling to the duel site settling on his strategy. Realizing that Dickinson was the better shot, Jackson figured he should let Dickinson shoot first and absorb the hit. If he tried to rush a shot before Dickinson fired, Jackson feared that his aim would suffer and he would miss the target. So his plan was to take a shot from Tennessee’s best marksman. If he survived the blow, he would then take his time and kill Dickinson.

At the duel, Jackson stuck to his plan. Dickinson fired first and grievously wounded Jackson; his bullet broke two of Jackson’s ribs and lodged close to Jackson’s heart. But it did not kill him.

Indeed, Jackson hardly flinched. Dickinson stared in astonishment and screamed, "Great God, have I missed him?" Jackson took deliberate aim and squeezed his trigger. Nothing happened. He re-cocked his pistol, again carefully aimed, and fired. This time the gun functioned properly, killing its mark. Jackson required over a month to recuperate from his wound."

That Jackson is fascinating is beyond doubt. That he is, in some measure, an entirely American man, is also beyond doubt. That he was a brave, tough, intemperate sob is true enough. The father of democracy? Maybe all those Jefferson-Jackson dinners would like us to believe that, but dog my cats, I don’t reckon that’s so. Although this superficial note on Jackson doesn’t deserve serious response, the idea that Jackson has somehow come to represent democracy does (see this, and this, never mind this). But that will have to be done another day.

Discussions - 34 Comments

I think most thinking people are ambivalent about Old Hickory. Much like the Celtic peoples that spawned him, his courage and will are not doubted...just his discipline and judgment. I think he was a pivotal figure in bringing mass democracy to the country, but his administration was intemperate, particularistic, and often unprofessional. The Scotch-Irish give any society they live in iron will and courage, but they must be alloyed with Germanic/English discipline and pragmatism. In combination they are unbeatable.

Please forgive the cultural theory...Jackson is just so...Scotch-Irish. It begs for such an analysis.

Hey Dain, I’m just curious- If the Scotch-Irish possess the attributes you say they do, then what about people from other ethnic backgrounds? Say, for example, people of African descent. What characteristics would you ascribe to them?

Do you really believe that all or most people of one background or another share certain tendencies and characteristics? I will grant you that there is such a thing as a national identity, but it seems as though you’re suggesting something else- a genetic predisposition toward courage, pragmatism, whatever. The problem with that theory, to me, is that it leaves open the possibility for some rather negative stereotypes as well.

Phil, I honestly don’t know if it’s cultural or genetic -- virtually impossible to untangle. These predispositions do exist, however, and denying them is like ignoring the elephant in the room. All groups have good points and bad points...the real danger is in partial portraits (or stereotypes, as you put it). I try not to do that unless political correctness unbalances these portraits and uses them as weapons. Then I counterbalance...a necessity.

Dain, since all groups have bad points, could you possibly name three bad points about Caucasians?

Ah, that notorious Scottish blood.

Are you serious?

I can think of one right off...they spawned something like you, MES.

No, seriously Dain. It’s a straightforward question. (And what makes you so certain that I’m white, anyway?)

3 bad points??

What ethnic group? "White" is meaningless.

Well, everyone knows that white men can’t jump....

But seriously, M.E.S., while I’m glad that there haven’t been any more visits from Mack Sandpaper or Fat Mike since I revealed that you and they are the same entity, I’m curious as to why you’re still posting here under multiple pseudonyms (such as J. Montgomery). I guess I can see why Mack Sandpaper and Fat Mike were fun for you. Just misspell some words, make a few weak arguments, and *poof*, instant conservative (hyuk, hyuk)! But aside from a pathetic desire to make it look like there are more liberals posting here than there really are, I don’t see the point in using the other aliases. Please do enlighten us.

Death’s Jester (STILL the dumbest name ever on this blog) - If you think you know something (whatever there is to know), I invite you to prove it. Otherwise you’re just making lame accusations and blowing hot air, as well as contributing less than nothing to an already lukewarm discussion. You say that you "revealed" that I have also posted as Mack Sandpaper and Fat Mike. What a super sleuth you are! What, are you, some Bush-appointed snoop at the NSA with nothing better to do than track down Lefties on right-wing blogs? Sad. Well, I can just as easily "reveal" that you are also Hal Holst and Dain, among others.

Do you really want me to make your IP address public, so that anyone who visits this site can track you down? I wasn’t planning on doing that, but I can if you want. Just keep asking for proof and I’ll do it.

I don’t care if you keep posting here. I don’t even care if you want your true identity to remain a secret. Just don’t insult our intelligence by posting under multiple names.

But you clearly don’t know our IP addresses, bud, because I’m not the same as those other names.

Actually, Phil, I said earlier that you weren’t one of M.E.S.’s aliases. I know that I claimed you were at first, but that was a mistake. As far as I can tell, you’ve only posted here under the name "Phil Thompson." Bully for you--maybe that’s even your real name. Dain used to post under another name, and Fung briefly did for a time (remember when he threw a hissy fit over Katrina and "left"?). M.E.S./J. Montgomery holds the record, though, with at least six different ones.

Well, DJ, I’ll give you this. You sure know how to kill a conversation. I admit, it is annoying to have a single person behind multiple personalities, but perhaps that’s the price of stimulating debate?

I am sick and tired of answering the comments such as Deaths Joker makes. I have said before that I didn’t get a college education but that not using perfect spelling and grammer doesn’t make my arguments weak like he says. I konw for a fact that he doesnt’ know about any IP addresses because I am not the same as all those people he claims are me.

Of course, how silly of me! Fat Mike, I owe you an apology--because now that I have everything in front of me I see that you’re actually Phil Thompson. J. Montgomery’s aliases include (but are not limited to):

Chris L


Chris Leidel


Mack Sandpaper


M.E.S.


Erica Resnis


Craig Scanlon


Mark Ibold


And remember, everyone--when you see Fat Mike, it’s actually Phil Thompson.

Interesting spin-off at this thread. I suspect that this "Death’s Jester" character is NLT’s mug-sender, Ben Kunkel or, amusingly enough, maybe even one of the NLT bloggers.

You should be aware that you might not be the only person who can "see" those IP addresses, and you risk revealing your own, as well.
Revealing IP addresses in a blog that allows anonymous posts is legally iffy. (at best)
If you’re going to reveal "who’s who," you should, in all fairness, tell your readers who Dain has posted as, as well.

I’m not going to reveal actual IP addresses, for the reason you mention. But I will keep revealing phonies.

Regarding Dain, say what you like about him, but he has stuck with the same identity for a long time. Unlike the ones I’ve "outed" above, he doesn’t make multiple posts to a comment under different names. And he doesn’t invent straw men like "Mack Sandpaper" and "Fat Mike." So I don’t have any beef with him.

So, in other words, you won’t "reveal" that which would reveal absolutely nothing. You’ve compiled an NLT enemies list, and thrown in a couple of commenters whose presence here you find embarrassing. Wow.

As your positive review of Dain indicates, perhaps one reason why you aren’t going to try to prove anything is that you are, in fact, Dain. Death’s Jester sounds like some absurdity that he’d conjure up. See, this stupid game is easy to play.

"Oh hey, did you see that all of those liberals posting at NLT are really THE SAME PERSON??!!?? Yeah, of course it’s true. ’Death’s Jester’ said so!"

Anyway, Dain, moving on to something slightly substantive, any chance you’ll address my question in comment 7??

Maybe, smartass, if you’ll answer mine...which ethnic group? As for DJ, I have NO IDEA WHO HE IS, and you have my word on that.

By the way, are you denying the MES, JMONT, etc. are all the same person?

In previous threads you’ve treated both black and white as concepts not at all "meaningless." But let’s not bicker over such details; as far as giving me those 3 negative points, I’ll let you pick between British-Americans or German-Americans (or extra credit if you evaluate both).

As for the very tired subject of aliases, what did you think I meant when I said "you won’t ’reveal’ that which would reveal absolutely nothing"? Ok, I’ll spell it out - yes, that’s a full denial. I haven’t even seen you hint at your innocence regarding what you were charged with by DJ in comment 13. Apparently DJ is a right-winger (imagine that!) because he’s opted to cut you much slack since then...

I don’t confirm or deny a thing...you know the drill (or ought to). Assume what you like.

Germans & Brits...well, since they both speak a Germanic language, and both are actually a mix of Teutonic and Celtic, there’s not much contrast. If we were to compare Irish with Germans, now, one cultural (?) difference is in creativity. The Irish are definitely gifted in language and the arts, whereas the Germans are much more gifts engineers and administrators. Of course, we are talking averages here...there are Irish engineers and German poets, but the Irish have produces far more of the latter and the Germans of the former.

Another interesting cultural (?) difference was between the Germans in the Shenandoah Valley and the Scotch-Irish that live beside them. Neat, well-planned and tidy farms neighbored with Appalachian laxity and chaos. Many have remarked on it.

Of course these are stereotypes, but that’s how we THINK (in categories). It is possible to use these stereotypes to guide basic attitudes while not using them in interpersonal behavior (although Fung will probably come up with some BS study saying the opposite).

Dain, you said that "all groups have good and bad points," when Phil asked you about the Scotch-Irish. I asked you to name THREE BAD POINTS. Scotch-Irish, German-American, whatever - can you name three bad points? If I asked you African-American, I don’t think you’d be so evasive in answering. Please, just name 3 bad points for any of the groups we’ve mentioned.

Also, I gotta laugh because in your last comment you said that you "don’t confirm or deny a thing," but in comment 21 you said that you "HAVE NO IDEA WHO [DJ] IS." Sort of sounds like a denial to me.

I deny knowing him...but I’m saying NOTHING about his assertions. I really don’t know who he/she is. Sorry to disappoint you.

Scotch-Irish: They have a tendency to be stupidly stubborn, overly-aggressive, and anti-intellectual. Might be culture...the Scots have made some wonderful contributions to the modern world (James Watt, Adam Smith), but the Scots who moved to Ireland and then on to the New World had some negative traits.

Germans: They have a tendency to be authoritarian, anal, and cold (in terms of temperment). This varies by region, of course. The Bavarians (who have lots of Celtic admixture) are more outgoing and funloving.

And before you slam me with accusations of being simple-minded or prejudiced, please remember I’m saying these are broad tendencies, not laws. Your average German is a bit colder than your average Irishman, but there are coldfish Celts and life-of-the-party Germans.

Happy now?

M.E.S., you are a flat-out liar. I won’t reveal the IP address of you and all your imaginary friends, but only because to do so could get both of us into trouble. You know the truth, I know the truth, and I suspect that most people who read this have a pretty good idea that you’re lying.

So, M.E.S., I hope that’s your favorite alias, because you’re sticking with it from now on. Every time there’s another message from your IP address, with a different name, you’re going to see a message from me letting everyone know what a pathetic creature you are.

And no, this isn’t a right-wing, left-wing thing. I don’t hassle Fung for the same reason I don’t go after Dain--he doesn’t try pulling the sort of crap you have around here.

And for the record, I don’t give a damn who you think I am.

You know what, Death’s Jester? You’re really annoying. Who asked you to go around telling what other names that I, Dain, Fung, M.E.S., or anyone else has posted under? I have used other names, but certainly not to make it look like lots of liberals come here. (Who would believe that, or care, anyway?) There are times when I want to post something for a laugh and don’t want it to be associated with my name, which is my right in so far as that’s the format here. I also KNOW I’m not the only one who does that, and I can tell without being able to see IP addresses. If the administrators want us to sign up and only use one name, fine, I’ll do it along with everyone else.

And really, who’s pathetic? You’re the one who is OBSESSING over what names people post under. You’ve been on this topic for days now. What do you care if someone has a little fun and posts under a different name from time to time? Sometimes thinking up the name you’re going to post under is part of the fun. And don’t say that it really bothers you if someone is making it appear that there are more liberals posting here than there really are, because seriously, WHO CARES? You think Dain cares that he’s actually arguing with one guy instead of two, or six, or whatever it is you claim? He always thinks he’s right anyway, so what does it matter?

I am always right, Phil. And multiple posting on the same thread by the same individual does have some impact. Actually, I’ve seen it on a "rules of blogging" site. Numbers give moral authority...shouldn’t, but something about our psychology makes it so. What DJ is doing has some validity.

I think NLTs should force people to sign up for a single "handle" and let’s be done with it.

Death’s Jester:

There are several aspects of your "outing" project that make me think you haven’t considered things very thoroughly.

First, it seems as though you are insisting that people be honest and forthright about their identities when they post comments at this blog. It strikes me as odd that someone posting under an obvious pseudonym - one apparently chosen to sound intimidating - would insist on such high standards from others. I’m sure that what occurs at other blogs occurs here; people try to find out more about commenters by Googling their names. It’s always possible that Phil Thompson or Chris Leidel are real people, and one can try to find out more about them by Googling them. What can one hope to find out about "Death’s Jester"? Blogs that allow anonymous comments seem to put an emphasis, rightly I think, on what people are saying, not who they are. Every single name that I see on this blog is equally meaningless to me, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m far more interested in what is said, not the anonymous person saying it.

Second, the idea that multiple names could be coming from a single IP address doesn’t really mean much, as far as I can see. Believe it or not, many people, even in this day and age, still only access the internet from libraries or at work. Is it not possible that different individuals could be using the same computer? While I do have a computer at home, I must admit that while using a PC at my local library I have browsed websites (including blogs) that were left on the screen by a previous user. And I have even, by chance, found those to be interesting sites on occasion. Additionally, what of employees sharing a breakroom PC? Or students in dormrooms and libraries, who have similar interests, sharing PCs? If they post comments from the same PC does that mean that they are the same person? I would say that’s a hasty and unfair assessment.

Now perhaps "Death’s Jester" is accurate here, I don’t know. As far as your idea goes that one can "misspell some words, make a few weak arguments, and *poof*, instant conservative", well, haven’t you just levelled a pretty harsh insult against the bloggers here? I’ve seen some pretty blatant misspellings, grammatical errors and outrageous arguments from commenters here that, thus far, do not stand ’accused’ by you. I could just get started with "Uncle Guido"’s reference to "Hillery" and David Frisk’s "Executions are too humane already," but there’s really no point in going on with it. "Uncle Guido" and "David Frisk," be they one person or two, are equally anonymous and meaningless to me and, frankly, I think that’s a good thing. Whether it’s one person posing as six, six posing as only one, or everyone using their own equally absurd nickname, it doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s the strength of the arguments and, in some cases, the enlightenment and edification that’s to be gained from the discussion, that matter - no?

And aside from all that, it seems that Death’s Jester could be lying just as easily as anyone else here. Now, I’ve only been reading this blog for a few weeks, but this thread started to really bother me. Even if I’m only a reader, and not a commenter, I’d like to see the focus in the comments be on COMMENTS, and having some discussions, not this childish "outing" game. I say that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but based on what I pointed out before, if they are guilty, I’d have to ask, "of what" and then follow THAT up with a "so what? On with the debate!" So, that’s my two cents!

I have to go along with Corinna on this. This whole "Death’s Jester" thing was kind of amusing at first, but now it’s just getting old. I understand that some people here are being immature, and I don’t think anyone has any doubt that "Mack Sandpaper," and probably "Fat Mike," are parodies. But come on, this is just a blog. Let people have their fun. Reasonable people know the difference between the serious contributors and the morons.

In other words, DJ, please back off.

Dain - thanks for addressing the question, more or less. About what I expected. Now if you could just name three bad tendencies about YOURSELF; let me guess, you tend to be too modest, and downplay your own perfection, right?

Death Clown - Your name is appropriate, because you are a living joke. If you get your kicks pretending to "expose" other commenters, then you’re welcome to do so; that can be your special job. If only you could direct your diligence at something meaningful though, perhaps monitoring the frequent gap between the proclamations of the Bush White House and reality? But I understand, you have some serious, "grassroots" work to do right here at NLT - getting at all the Truth that really matters! So long, Chief!

Right now I think my major flaw is actually reading crap like the stuff MES posts. What’s wrong with me???

Oh, good grief. I will confess (?) that I used to post as Chris L., since that’s my abbreviated name. Then some clown, I’m not saying who since I don’t know, started posting as Chris L also. I guess it’s always possible that there’s another Chris L. who reads NLT. And that’s why I just went with my more-or-less full name. And I don’t know any of the other people on Death’s Jester’s List of The Accused, so I would appreciate it if you’d leave me out of this little game from now on, thanks.

Oh dear, you've made that dreadful mistake of thinking of the Scotch-Irish (and indeed the whole of Scotland) as being Celtic. They're not. Scotland is divided in to 2 different peoples. The first being Highland Scots who are Celtic and the second being Lowland Scots who are Anglo-Saxons. It was lowland scots along with their English cousins who colonised Northern Ireland, not Highland Scots. Part of the reason for placing the plantation in the North of Ireland was to cut off the Highland Scots from Ireland. You should try reading John Walker Dinsmore’s writing’s on his people, the so called Scotch-Irish, here is one quote from his work: - “Now, who were, and who are the Scotch-Irish? The common notion is that they are a mongrel breed, partly Scotch and partly Irish; that is, the progeny of a cross between the ancient Scot and the ancient Celt. This is an entire mistake. Whatever blood may be in the veins of the genuine Scotch-Irishman, one thing is certain, and that is that there is not mingled with it one drop of the blood of the old Irish or Celt. From time immemorial these two races have been hostile, and much of the time bitterly so. True enough, if you run down the Highland Scot and the old Irish to their deepest root, you will come to a common taproot in the ancient Celt, one of the main stems of the great Aryan race which, ages ago, migrated into Europe from Asia. The Erse, the Gael, the Cymri, and the Manx were all originally of this stock, and their descendants survive today in the old Irish, the Highland Scotch, the Welsh, and the people of the Isle of Man. The Lowland Scotch, however, were of a quite different stock. They were, of Teutonic or Anglo-Saxon origin, and were separated from their neighbors on either side by race, language, religion, and personal traits.”

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