The Civil War
Howard Means sets out the numerous reasons for the South to have declined to go to war with the North over any issue, least of all Slavery. He cites numerous sources documenting the economic imbalance in the States in 1860 all making the eventual outcome inevitable. The economic machine in the north was far more powerful, so much so that Lee’s superior expertise in Battle meant only short-term success for he lacked the logistics and supply inventory of the North. So why did Beauregard pull the pin in Charleston Harbor? Why did the rest of the South join in the war; it was simply not rational.
A few months ago I stood next to the cannons aimed at Fort Sumter hoping I would gain some insightful idea of what was going through his mind at the instant he pulled the trigger? Certainly he was surrounded with the residents of Charleston, some male, some female. What makes a man do something he knows will hurt himself and his friends and family, likely the very people standing witness to his bravado? What makes a man shoot himself in the foot?
This is where I broke my Rib on January 10, 2013. Here’s how. I stood on the step stool trying to get a water hose from the ‘loft’, but the stool was not high enough. I was impatient to get going on a trip to play music with my friend Ivan Sexton in Virginia, so I placed my left foot on the sill of the window; still not enough height. So I propelled myself up and let go my handhold to grab the box containing the hose. Bad idea.
As I was falling backwards, back facing the ground, my body twisted and I faced the floor at the time of impact. My right side hit solidly the air compressor to the left of the picture. Thus the broken rib.
What in the world possessed me to not do what I consciously knew I should? to Wit: Get the larger ladder from the house; find a broom handle to extend my reach; get a different hose from the other shed. Why did I do what I did?
Theory of Broken Ribs and The Civil War
Our brains don’t always govern our actions. Well, actually they do, but it’s the emotional section, not the rational. I was impatient. Perhaps so too Beauregard. Perhaps his anger at having to pay for labor in his fields and his fear of the consequences of the loss of his slaves overcame his good Judgement. I think so.
(At one point in the run up to the War, Lincoln, in Congress at the time, suggested the Federal Government, among other things, pay the slave owners in the District of Colombia full market value for the slaves emancipated by the bill he proposed. It stood no chance then, and it was never again considered as an option. But at worst it was a rational approach to the emancipation issue.)
Beauregard acted in Anger. I acted impatiently. Neither of us properly weighted the consequences. We both suffered. Had either of us acted rationally the outcomes would have been very different.
The Good News About Brains
I twistd in the air. How and why? The reason is my brain, and all brains, are capable of creating an action faster than our senses, and our conscious ‘mind’, can react. Trust me. While falling I was thinking “Uh-Oh, Please don’t break”, while my brain was doing something about it. Namely, twisting and not shouting. It’s in Incognito. Not me of course, but the idea.
A body in motion stays in motion, until … In my case the floor. The consequences of The Civil War are still, most unfortunately, in motion.