ABOUT TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Notes on To Kill a Mockingbird from Sparknotes.
The story is the tale of Harper Lee’s youth, her ancestral home and heritage. Generally speaking, our review of where we grew up is always cast with innocence, wonder, joy, and regret. Lee characterizes racial biases as evil to titillate her left-liberal, adolescent audience and to give her children’s story the legitimacy of political protest to enact what exactly, equality? No two people are or can be equal. On that score, you’ll just have to get over it, bear down and get to work to make something of yourself in spite of the inequalities, or rather get to work and honor your uniqueness and family’s heritage.
Maycomb, Alabama, 1933-1935.
Though each character wrestles with his own personal conflicts, the main conflict that occupies the arch in the narrative plot is Scout’s. She’s the one telling the story and she’s conflicted over how best to represent her home town and its people as characters of Southern culture and Southern virtue to the moralizing eyes and ears of the Progressive Yankees. How will they judge the South and how will they judge her and her efforts?
So Scout tells the history that led to Jem breaking his arm. The scourge or blight on Southern culture, according to Scout and Harper Lee, is not really slavery since that was settled 60 years earlier but rather white trash, or a poor families whose father drinks too much and who cajoles more reputable men, like Atticus, to find shared or common ground with his own sins and decrepitude. It is against this grinding government impoverishment and intransigence that lesser men fall prey to and against which Atticus, through reason and law, tries to call men to a higher justice or decency, even Christian justice. Atticus is admired for his rhetoric, for it was in his rhetoric that liberals heard justice preached like a sermon. So it is in Atticus’ defeat that Harper Lee’s point is made that what really ruined the South, if that supposition is to be believed, is white trash or poor families that give the South its bad reputation. That, my friend, is the Yankee’s Reconstruction narrative and frankly shouldn’t be burned into certainty by the granddaughter of one of its most prestigious confederates. Is Ms. Lee elitist? Is Scout a snob? Only you can answer that. From the beginning of the novel, Scout is prejudiced against Mr. Ewell and his children. It’s Scout’s reading ability that gives her permission to not only come to the aid of her teacher, Ms. Caroline but also to do her one better–to show the teacher that she knows how to read and at a higher level than Miss Caroline. What student doesn’t love to feel that he’s smarter than his teacher? Certainly, during the trial, I found Scout’s and Jem’s attitude toward the Ewell’s to be elitist. I am fine with that; everyone brings an air, a persona, to civil exchange. Jem and Scout audit the trial from the black section of the courtroom. And she derives her authority from the anger and injustice of the group. But there is Scout looking down on Bob Ewell and his deceitful testimony while sympathizing with Mayella’s terrible but innocent complicity in her father’s charade. These are the feelings that Harper Lee wants the reader to take from the novel, and we do. We hold firm our prejudices against whites who lie on the heads of innocent men. All other categories that Harper can find in her hometown are innocent and guiltless. Authorities are hampered by procedures. Christian social clubs concern themselves more about Africans than their black neighbors. The mean, old Ms. Dubose is mean, old, and white. Atticus makes an effort to attenuate for her by citing her poor health, but her meanness leaves an indelible mark on Jem, again another victim of what left-liberals would describe as small-town Maycomb’s whiteness.
THEMES in To Kill a Mockingbird
Justice & Fortitude. John Devanny writes
The charm of To Kill a Mockingbird is found in our author’s considerable skill at showing us the world through a child’s eyes, and in so doing she gave to American literature the charming figure of Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout, and the iconic figure of her father Atticus Finch. Atticus is the local attorney in Maycomb, Alabama who takes on the criminal defense of Tom Robinson, an African-American wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Many readers fell in love with the character of Atticus because he seemed to be a Southern liberal facing down the ignorant and benighted racists of Maycomb. The novel’s real power was its exploration of the themes of justice and fortitude. As Scout was awakening to the wider world around her, she, like all youngsters, gravitates to the virtue of justice and is an admirer of the virtue of fortitude. Both of these she finds in her father Atticus who is willing to defend the innocent at a considerable social cost, as well as in the face of threats to his physical person. Justice and fortitude are the virtues most closely related to sentiment, which is to say we can feel injustice and desire to rectify it, and we can be inspired by fortitude and wish to imitate it. So as Atticus is to Tom Robinson, so Scout is to Boo Radley. It is a good story, and one that all readers, but especially sentimental readers and critics readily embraced.
ATTICUS FINCH, Maycomb’s public defender.
JEREMY FINCH, Atticus’ only son
JEAN LOUISE FINCH, a.k.a. “Scout,” and narrator of the novel.
CHARLES BAKER HARRIS, a.k.a. “Dill” is the nephew of Scout’s neighbor, Aunt Rachel.
ARTHUR “BOO” RADLEY, reclusive neighbor. The neighborhood tells all kinds of tales about this reclusive, young man.
CALPURNIA, the Finch’s black maid who serves as the children’s mother since their mother died.
MISS MAUDIE ATKINSON, the friendly neighbor across the street.
AUNT ALEXANDRA, Atticus’ sister and Scout and Jem’s aunt.
TOM ROBINSON, the black man who was accused and convicted of raping Mayella Ewell, Bob Ewell’s daughter.
BOB EWELL, poor man that sells scrap from the junkyard in his backyard; has a large family and drinks too much. He spends his welfare checks on booze.
HECK TATE, County Sheriff.
Calpurnia read William Blackstone’s Commentaries and the Bible . . . .
THE ORIGINS OF U.S. LAW by William Anderson
While we like to think of U.S. law originating with the Constitution, the real “author” of the original legal system was William Blackstone, the great British jurist who wrote Commentaries on the Laws of England in the mid-1700s. Historian Daniel Boorstin wrote that this book was influential not only in England but also in the American colonies, writing that “no other book — except the Bible — [had] played so great a role” in colonial thinking. Boorstin added that “Blackstone was to American law what Noah Webster’s speller was to American literacy.”
It was Blackstone who championed the ideal of law as a shield of the innocent, a tool that in the hands of government was to protect the life, property, and liberty of individual persons. Law was not only to constrain (and punish) those who would steal or kill, but also to constrain the powers and activities of those who were part of the state. Perhaps more than any other person, Blackstone defined the limitations of law and how, correctly laid out, law could be a bulwark against tyranny.
The men whose signatures graced the Declaration of Independence and later the U.S. Constitution were thoroughly familiar with Blackstone’s themes and sought to carry them out in this new country. Perhaps it is deeply ironic that in 1776, the same year the Declaration of Independence was written, the “champion” of modern law made his own intellectual debut in England. Jeremy Bentham, who sat in Blackstone’s Oxford lectures as a student, penned an anonymous attack on Blackstone entitled “A Fragment on Government.”
“Fragment” took the opposite approach to every ideal Blackstone laid out in his writings and lectures. Government’s role in society, wrote Bentham, was not to protect the innocent or to be restrained in what it could do, but rather to have near-unlimited powers to ensure the overall happiness of society, or “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.”
One of the important doctrines of criminal law was the condition of mens rea, or what Blackstone termed “a vicious will.” In Blackstone’s view, a person had to intend to commit a crime and had to know that what he was doing not only was “wrong,” but also would inflict harm on others. What made the difference between a civil and criminal offense was the nature and the scope of injury that one was wreaking upon another. Bentham thought otherwise. Law was to be used as a tool of the state for the imposition of the “greater good.”
While Blackstone’s ideals prevailed when the Framers wrote the Constitution, Bentham is the father of modern law in this country. Writes Paul Rosenzweig,
“[Today] the criminal law has strayed far from its historical roots. Where once the criminal law was an exclusively moral undertaking, it now has expanded to the point that it is principally utilitarian in nature. In some instances, the law now makes criminal the failure to act in conformance with some imposed legal duty. In others, the law criminalizes conduct undertaken without any culpable intent.”
The law as it stands today is not a direct descendant from what the Framers held to be the proper and good role of law in society. In fact, it is not even a distant cousin of what was written on parchment in that hot summer of 1787. First, the Constitution clearly separated the powers not only of the three branches of the national (or what we today call the federal) government but also distinguished between the legitimate powers of states and the central government.
Perhaps it is instructive to remember that, at that time, people referred to the United States in the plural; that is, they would say, “The United States are …” In the state system of justice, common law, something inherited from Great Britain, held sway. For the majority of American citizens, any contact that they would have with the law was seen, for the most part, on the state or local level. There were few federal laws, and they dealt with issues of national taxation (tariffs) or national defense.
something must be said about the conservative movement versus the civil rights movement.
ALL RIGHTS COME FROM PROPERTY RIGHTS
There is no such thing as group rights, like “Victim’s rights” or “Women’s rights” or “Students’ rights” or “Latina rights.” On “Gay rights,” read Justin Raimondo’s 1996 article, “Civil Rights for Gays.”
Students’ Rights. You don’t have a right to an education. You have a right to your life, to be free from harm. Education is not a right; it is a good, a benefit. Some folks will cite the UN charter that guarantees kids, and adults, everything, but fortunately the U.S. does not abide, at least in full, of that charter.
If you believe that a service, like education or health, is a right, then you’re obligating another human being to perform that right. He has no say in the exchange. He forced to comply if a service is a right. And if he’s forced to comply, then how is he any different from a common slave?
1840, Slavery ends in Britain, thanks in large part to William Wilberforce, a member of the House of Commons who was as responsible as anyone man for the abolition of slavery in the British empire. Jim Powell then tells the story of how the British navy attempted to stop the international slave trade. Among its major antagonists were New England slave shippers, who continued to deliver slaves from Africa to the Caribbean through the mid-1860s. (The big majority of the slave ships in America were built and sailed from New York, Providence, and Boston harbors.) Although the slave trade in America was banned as of 1808, “an estimated 50,000 slaves were [also] brought into the U.S. between 1807 and 1860,” writes Powell. New York City “had been a lively slave-trading center.”
1861, Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. He was not against slavery.
“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.”
Lincoln was not an abolitionist and, unlike Lysander Spooner, he believed that slavery was already constitutional. Nevertheless, he also favored making it “express and irrevocable.”
1861-1865, America’s War Between the States.
1862, Homestead Act.
1863, Emancipation Proclamation.
1865, January, 31, 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was a federal mandate that abolished slavery only after a bloody civil war that killed more than 600,000 men and women, 2/3 of all the men in the United States at the time. But the states were not obligated to obey the federal statute if it was incompatible with state and local laws, like the Jim Crow laws which allowed slavery in effect to last for another 100 years before the 1965 Civil Rights Act outlawed state and local mandates to segregate blacks from whites.
1865, April 14, Lincoln assassinated.
1896, Supreme Court’s “Separate but Equal” legal doctrine “that justified and permitted racial segregation, as not being in breach of the 14th Amendment (1868) to the United States Constitution which guaranteed equal protection under the law to all citizens, and other federal civil rights laws. This legal doctrine was based on the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.
1920-1933, Prohibition mandated by the 18th Amendment.”
1930’s, The Dust Bowl.
1930-1945, Great Depression.
1931, Scottsboro Trial and the Scottsboro boys, Scottsboro, Alabama. Harper Lee uses this real story as the background for her own fictional tale of To Kill a Mockingbird.
1932, President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt’s First Inaugural speech, “We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself.”
1933, April 5, FDR confiscates Americans’ gold. Illegal to own gold in the United States from 1934 to 1974.
The statement on the front of this $10,000 gold certificate reads “It is hereby certified that ten thousand dollars have been deposited with the Assistant Treasurer of the United States payable in gold,” meaning that any American who possessed such a bill could walk into the Treasury of the United States and redeem this certificate for gold. Compare that statement with the one on a 1934 $100 gold note following the 1933 gold confiscation, “This certificate is legal tender in the amount thereof in payment for all debts and dues, public and private.” So what does that mean? First, the note below does not state that it is redeemable in gold as did the 1900 $10,000 note did. Now the language says that you can use this gold note to pay debts, like taxes, owed to the government. And it is legal in all other transactions between people.
1939, September 1, Hitler invades Poland.
1941, December 7, Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Three days later, FDR declares war on Japan.
1941-1945, WWII, or America’s involvement in it.
1943, Detroit Riots.
1945, Georgia’s progressive governor, Ellis G. Arnall, accomplished the repeal of the poll tax in his state.
1947, Jackie Robinson breaks the color line in baseball.
1950, The Red Cross eliminated racial segregation of blood donors.
1952, Oklahoma high school students ignored traditional prejudices and elected a seventeen-year-old black to lead the state’s Hi-Y youth clubs in January 1952.
1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. New York Times headline on May 18, 1954, read “A Sociological Decision: Court Founded Its Segregation Ruling on Hearts and Minds Rather Than Laws.” Paul Craig Roberts concluded that the “most important result of Brown v. Board of Education was not desegregation but the rise of kritarchy: the rule of judges. From Prince Edward County to Yonkers to Kansas City, cities, counties, and states have lost their sovereignty to federal judges who overturn democratic outcomes and usurp the power of the purse. Brown has led a generation of judges to believe that they are the ultimate power because the Constitution has no meaning to them other than their subjective feelings about social policy.”
1955-1968, African-American Civil Rights Movement. Some people like to set this movement all the way back to 1865 at the end of the American Civil War.
1960, To Kill a Mockingbird published.
1962, To Kill a Mockingbird movie released.
1963, August 28, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
1963, November 22, President John F. Kennedy assassinated. He is known for his “Not Ask What Your Country Can Do for You” speech, but his better speech was the one at American College on peace where he was calling for disarmament.
1964, Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1965, Immigration Act of 1965.
1965, Malcolm X is assassinated in NY. LA Riots.
1967, Detroit Riots.
1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated.
1968, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., assassinated.
1968, Anti-gun Bill was an attempt to disarm black Americans.
1975, Frank Church commission announces that more than one person was involved in the JFK assassination.
1992, LA Riots.
7 MYTHS OF SLAVERY
Myth #1: Slavery was exclusively a Southern institution.
Myth #2: Colonial white men captured slaves in African jungles.
Myth #3: Blacks never owned slaves.
Myth #4: Slave masters were brutal taskmasters.
Myth #5: The Civil War was fought to end slavery.
Myth #6: Slaves never defended the Confederacy.
Myth #7: Abraham Lincoln was the Negroes friend.
Elaboration of these myths is given here.
To Kill a Mockingbird Vocabulary
1. Entailments were legal restrictions on passing or willing land to specified heirs, the males, preferably the eldest male, for at least several generations. Women inherited land only if there were no males in the family to inherit it. If there was more than one daughter in the family, then they all became equal co-heiresses, and the land was subdivided evenly among them. The object of entail is to preserve large landed estates from disintegration by multiple claims on a property owned by the heirs. By giving the property to just one person, the eldest son, instead of, say, to five or six children, it meant that the land would not be subdivided and lose its value. Instead, the family could keep the large tract and work it to make money off of the land. Land and its laws were the foundation of an aristocratic position; it’s what made the family noble and enabled it to live the way it did. A large tract of land could produce a steady income that freed the family from the need to labor and allowed it to live a refined and potentially idle life. In this way, real-estate ownership was much more meaningful than the possession of other assets, like cash. The estate lent status to the entire family as long as it lasted. Selling the land meant that the family would lose its status. Entailments imposed other restrictions on the owner besides whom he could will his land to. The owner could not sell his land or borrow against it to raise cash to improve whatever enterprise he ran on his land.
OUT-OF-CLASS READING ASSIGNMENT
2 chapters between classroom discussion. You may, of course, read more, as much as you’d like or have time for, but for the purposes of classroom discussion and for the writing assignment I ask that you read a minimum of two chapters.
READING GUIDES for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
A reading of the novel. I don’t know how much of the novel this audio covers, but it is over an hour long.
4-PARAGRAPH WRITING ASSIGNMENT
Paragraph 1: Accurately summarize the important points in the assigned reading section.
Paragraph 2: Explain why the important points are important.
Paragraph 3: Compare the most recent chapter or most recent section to another that is better.
Paragraph 4: Evaluate the reading section or chapters. Explain how it helped to advance your understanding of the theme or protagonist’s conflict. If it did not, explain why it did not.
CIVIL RIGHTS. WHO BENEFITS?
Ron Paul argues that a lot of the hiring procedures between two private parties was transferred over to the federal government. Please read his speech in that link. The key feature when evaluating any statement or any act or decision is how does that statement, act, or decision affect private property? Private property is where all rights flow from. Your body is yours. It is your first object that you declare as property and the fact that it belongs to you it is therefore private. It does not belong to the state for the state to do with it what it wants. No. It is yours, which means you get to direct the energies and resources of it. So we have to start from this point when evaluating any policy, any argument, or any novel. Just as a homeowner gets to set the rules for how people behave on his property, you get to set the rules for how others treat you.
Rights do not come from the government or politicians. If that were the case that property rights are the grant from a politician or a state, it would mean that they have the legal right to rescind those rights. In other words, then annul them. They can cancel certain rights that they deem or to people who are their antagonists. So rights are not something that other men give you, but they are inherent in being alive.
Ron Paul says in his speech, linked above, that “. . . the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.” Did you get that? It forced integration. Integration did not occur from want or desire. Instead, the government forced it upon businesses. Perhaps an implied but unstated intention of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was that it was trying to make people equal. Today you see that red = sign all over Facebook. As much as people would like for us all to be treated equal or to be treated the same (which is even worse), that simply is not possible. And neither would you want to be treated like other people. You want people to recognize you for your skill, your intelligence, which are unique to you, your experience, and your history. No two people are the same. Not even twins. Each one perceives everything in life differently. Murray Rothbard wrote a pamphlet called Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature by Murray Rothbard.
Even rights like self-defense, you have the right to defend you, your family, and your property in any way you can. Even Martin Luther King, Jr., after his house was bombed, applied for a gun permit to better protect his family. In fact, he had guns all around his house. He was being harassed by the FBI who used to tape his phone conversations.
Slavery Destroyed Black Families; Welfare Reinforced the Destruction by Robert A. Wicks.
Government welfare has helped cause more black suffering that just about any other government policy in the past 50 years. I feel that the cultural adaptations blacks made to accommodate slavery made welfare especially devastating. Black men used to be sold up the river. This was a process in which the patriarch of a family would be sold from one plantation to another, breaking up families. Many slave owners had as much respect for the integrity of a black family as a cattle rancher would for the integrity of a bovine family. Single motherhood had always, therefore, be more socially acceptable among blacks. This was an absolute necessity, obviously, and not some indication of some mass failure of black people’s character. After the end of that wretched practice, many women didn’t remarry, as they had no way to tell if their husband was dead or not. This is one reason black women have always had such an obvious role in black economic development. Many black women have always had to work.
Paul Craig Roberts on discrimination.
So, who benefited from the Civil Rights Act and its movement?
According to Harry Browne, the federal government did. He writes “Civil rights advocates fought to repeal these state Jim Crow laws, but they failed. So they appealed to the federal government, which responded with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Be careful to put the civil rights activists in too good of light. They were eager to use government coercion and intrusion to remake someone else’s neighbor but resented such meddling in theirs. Browne reminds us that
And coercive laws never stand still. No matter what a law’s backers say at the time of passage, the law always stretches in surprising directions. The expansion occurs on at least two fronts:
- The law almost always is enforced more broadly than intended;
- When government benefits one group, other groups are encouraged to seek similar benefits.
And this is what happened to the civil rights laws.
Though ending segregation was the goal of the law, activists sought an end to discrimination as well. Browne points out that
In the first regard, the bureaucrats and courts set out to enforce the laws zealously, seeking to root out any kind of discrimination – even though ending segregation, not discrimination, was the motive behind the original law. Companies were ordered not to consider race in any way when making hiring decisions.
Browne adds that “The law against segregation had been transformed into a law requiring discrimination.”
THE NEW ARISTOCRACY: THE LATEST GROUP OF OPPRESSED PEOPLES
For example, in 1993 six U.S. Secret Service agents sued Denny’s restaurant chain – complaining they received poor service because they’re black. And how do they know their color was the reason for the poor service? Because a group of white people entered the restaurant at the same time they did, and the white people finished their meals before the blacks received their first course. To many people, this was proof of discrimination.
Now, if you happen to be a white male, you’ve probably never felt such an insult. It’s true you may have endured dreadful service in a coffee shop – perhaps many times. A waiter may have refused to give you the time of day, lost your order and forgotten you were even in the restaurant, spent all his time flirting with a waitress, or refused to take care of you until he had phoned his bookie.
The family at the next table may have eaten an entire meal before anyone even asked for your order. And so you passed the time counting the designs on the wallpaper.
But it isn’t called discrimination if you aren’t part of a group that’s been certified as oppressed. So you have to blame it on a bad-tempered waiter, an overcrowded restaurant, or poor management. Since you aren’t part of the aristocracy, there’s no chance you were insulted because of your race (or your religion, handicap, or any other recognized status). You were insulted just because you’re you. And your only recourse is to find a coffee shop that will treat you better.
The Denny’s customers, however, could file a lawsuit – and they did. To avoid a long, expensive trial and months of unfavorable news coverage, Denny’s settled out of court and paid them $54 million.1
BLACKS DID NOT BENEFIT
Certainly, blacks were no beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Act. Black U.S. economist, Thomas Sowell, points out that, to the contrary, the ’64 Civil Rights Act dissolved the black family.
JIM CROW LAWS
Laurence Vance on Jim Crow laws. Vance reminds us that
But the fact that some or all of them were doesn’t mean that the Civil Rights Act — like most legislation passed by Congress for the past 100 years — wasn’t an unconstitutional expansion of federal power that destroyed the rights of private property, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, free enterprise, and freedom of contract.
Vance makes this key point about freedom of association and freedom to exclude,
There should be no distinction between a private home and a private business. In a free society, as Jacob Hornberger has recently pointed out, “a person has the fundamental right to associate with anyone he chooses and on any basis he chooses.” In a free society, business owners, like homeowners, would have the right to run their businesses as they choose, including the right of exclusion. In a free society, everyone would have the right to discriminate in his place of business — yes, discriminate — against male or female, Blacks or Whites, Christians or Jews, Protestants or Catholics, heterosexuals or homosexuals, atheists or theists, natives or immigrants, smokers or nonsmokers, obese or anorexic. The simple truth is that Americans don’t live in a free society, although they may think they do. We live in a relatively free society compared to people in many other countries, but we do not live in a society that is absolutely free. We have a nanny state.
Zora Neal Hurston.
Are lawsuits the answer to having civil rights violated?
Anti-white stories are residual civil war tales. So any time that a white southerner can be demonized or made to appear evil, then any northern connected white liberal is willing to tell that tale. Take the story of Bessie Smith’s death.
Birmingham the Real Story by Gail Jarvis
Race-baiters, the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC.
The Old Right by Murray Rothbard.
Brown v. The Board of Education
Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Henry David Thoreau on Civil Disobedience.
Dr. Thomas Woods, Jr. on Discrimination.
Lineage is an important theme for Southern families and Southern values. Lineage is important to the author, Harper Lee, who was a descendant of the Confederate General, Robert E. Lee.
The answer to the question “Who’s your daddy?” identifies one’s class identity in the South. Since then that question has been used as an insult to demonstrate authority or worse ownership of someone else as in slave master. It is expressed following the defeat of a competitor or challenger and the victor to insult his opponent claims victoriously, “Who’s your daddy?” Though there are distinct winners and losers in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout’s tone is never slang. “Who’s your daddy?” is a slang expression that, in one use, takes the form of a rhetorical question. It is commonly used as a boastful claim of dominance over the intended listener. The phrase itself stands out as a noteworthy lyric from the 1968 song “Time of the Season” by The Zombies, “What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?” Have a listen below. There are other references
To Kill a Mockingbird is about how people living in a society heavily regulated by law, particularly real estate laws, live outside the law. Not lawlessness, but how they live with each other. The law is fixed and few can do anything about it. If anyone can do something about the land, like a lawyer, even that legal process is slow to bring about change.
The government at the time of the novel had not secured services for poor whites and blacks. So who provided health services to the poor if the government didn’t? Mutual Aid societies.
Entailment is an old-fashioned form of bequeathing real property. Entailed land (aka Fee Tail) can only be inherited by the owner’s issue (legitimate children). It was a way to keep an estate intact for multiple generations. Since the land could not be sold or easily borrowed against it left some individuals rich in land but still heavily in debt. Only four US States recognize Fee Tails and most European nations have done away with them. The few nations that still recognize entailed estates only recognize existing ones and do not allow new ones to be created.
Cunningham had been to Atticus to resolve an entailment problem. I suspect that the land Cunningham had was entailed, meaning that he was not the clear owner of it and thus could neither sell it nor mortgage it to raise money.
Another possibility is Cunningham risked losing land if he was not a clear heir to the original owner (i.e. oldest child or was illegitimate).
Later on when the lynching party gathers outside the jail, Scout mentions that entailments are bad.
NEW DEAL OR RAW DEAL?
AAA required to slaughter hogs. Paying people to eliminate food from the economy.
Tennessee Valley Authority
taxing the nation to give discounts to Tennessee river systems to generate hydroelectricity and the taxpayers will pay for it. It brought electricity to the area. Subsidized areas had fewer incentives to become industrial. N. Carolina, who had no TVA money, developed economically better than Tennessee. Roosevelt’s New Deal gave jobs. The bigger picture is that you have to have higher taxes to afford all the subsidies. The tax rate in 1932 was 25 %. In 1935, the tax rate was 79%. A few years later, the tax rate went over 90%. Rich people who used to keep 3/4 of their money and reinvest had no incentive to invest in the economy so they put their money in tax-exempt bonds, stamp, coin collections, art, foreign investments. Perpetuated and extended the great depression, 10 year period: 1929-1939.
Once you have the power to give subsidies, it is used for political purposes and not economic purposes. FDR targeted areas he wanted to carry in the next election. Penn, Vt. The South was the poorest and yet they received the least help from FDR’s New Deal. Indirect bribery. Al Smith, “Nobody shoots Santa Claus.” Tax the rich to pay for programs.
New Deal and FDR improved employment?
Where is the economic growth that people claimed?
Amount of innovation drops during the New Deal.
Greatest period of innovative was in the 1920s.
Lower life expectancy during 2 terms of FDR.
Murder rates went up in 1930s. Suicide rates increased. Little innovation. Little economic development.
The market adjusted itself. Always a recovery. Just a drawn-out recovery because of government involvement.
Panic 1893, 1873. Out of the problem in 3 to 5 years. Great Depression took 10 years. FDR’s programs extended it. 1937, 1938. 1939, unemployment was 20.7%.
Gary North, “The U.S. Constitution as Tax Tool for Federal Government.”
ISSUE OF RACE
Walter Williams on how inner-city schools are run by blacks. According to Walter Williams, “Racial discrimination has little to do with . . . problems confronting black people.”
The issue is more about class than it is about race. The shameful indictment of race wherein one group is accused of locking out or preventing another group from enjoying happiness or success tends to be more about class envy.
HISTORY OF BLACKS IN GOVERNMENT & FALSE HOPE
Walter Williams argues that “For several decades, blacks have held significant political power, in the form of being mayors and dominant forces on city councils in major cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., Newark, N.J., and Cincinnati. In these cities, blacks have held administrative offices such as school superintendent, school principal and chief of police. Plus, there’s the precedent-setting fact of there being 44 black members of Congress and a black president.”
BLACK MAYORS, FALSE ILLUSION OF REPARATIONS AND EQUALITY
In 1960, Detroit’s population was 1.6 million. Blacks were 29 percent, and whites were 70 percent. Today, Detroit’s population has fallen precipitously to 707,000, of which blacks are 84 percent and whites 8 percent. Much of the city’s decline began with the election of Coleman Young, Detroit’s first black mayor and mayor for five terms, who engaged in political favoritism to blacks and tax policies against higher income mostly white people. Young’s successors, Dennis Archer and Kwame Kilpatrick, followed his Third World tyrant policies, but neither had his verbal vulgarity. Kilpatrick (2002-2008) went to jail and is on trial today on charges of corruption. Mayor David Bing is making an effort to revive Detroit. His problem is that he’s not God.
“The problem is that getting rid of these people left Detroit with a lower tax base, fewer jobs and fewer consumers. Fewer whites might be good for the careers of black politicians, but it’s not in the best interests of ordinary blacks. Blacks have political control of Detroit, but the relevant question is whether some control of something is better than 100 percent control of nothing. By most measures, Detroit is one of the nation’s most tragic cities, and it’s mostly self-imposed.”
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS?
1. “Law-abiding poor black people suffer the nation’s highest rates of criminal victimization from assaults and homicide.”
2. More than 50 percent of homicide victims are black.
3. “lawlessness has the . . . effect of . . . banning economic growth.”
4. Murders of young black males. “Each year, roughly 7,000 — and as high as 9,000 — blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Contrast this with the fact that black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and wars since 1980 (about 8,200) total about 18,500. Young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities. Black political power and massive city budgets have done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this problem of black insecurity.”
WHO’S TO BLAME?
“. . . it’s not white people. Go to a city such as Detroit and you’ll find that blacks have been superintendents, principals and most of the teachers for years. Most black high-school students, in Detroit and other cities, can’t read, write and compute as well as sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade white students, but is it because of racism? What the elite teach is not only futile but counterproductive. For example, speaking standard English in an English-speaking country is critical for self-improvement. But that’s not the lesson from the nation’s multiculturalists, who call for the celebration of native languages and dialects. Sloppy-minded academics and assorted hustlers have taught that poor English, gangsta rap, men wearing pigtails and thug behavior should not be criticized but become a part of the celebration of diversity.”
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
1. Don’t elect “. . . Democrats and black politicians.”
2. And don’t throw more government money at educating blacks. Walter Williams points out that “the fact of business is that some of the worst public school districts have the highest spending per student. Washington, D.C., for example, spends more than $29,000 per student and scores at nearly the bottom in academic achievement.”