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There are holes in all of our heads. Besides the anatomical ones, I mean.

I paid fairly good attention in school. And I keep up, mostly, on world events. Nevertheless, things get by me -- things that either should have been obvious to me, or things that were certainly made clear to me at one point but that somehow fell out of my head through one of those aforementioned non-anatomical holes.

So you're going along, minding your own business, and suddenly you realize you just learned, or maybe re-learned, something that most other people have probably known or understood all along.

For example, on those rare occasions I've given it much thought, it has occurred to me to wonder how the Confederate States of America could have ever thought of itself as a respectable democracy. I mean, they had slavery written into their constitution, right?

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed [by Congress]

Then, of course, you remember that the U.S. Constitution when adopted not only acknowledged but also approved of slavery by way of the famous phrase "three fifths of all other persons".

How can you have a democracy with slavery in it? My answer had always been, oh, well, they were just corrupt and racist and hypocritical. More charitably, I suppose you might get away with saying, well, it was a different age and they were simply blind to what they were doing.

But of course the fledgling United States of America, and the C.S.A., did not invent democracy or the notion of a republic. The Greeks and Romans did that. And then you remember something you've known all along: the Greeks and Romans were perfectly happy to incorporate slavery into their democracies and republics.

In short, those founders of both the U.S.A. and C.S.A. who supported slavery weren't being hypocritical or corrupt at all, though they were certainly succumbing to racism.

No, they were relying on precedence. They weren't turning a blind eye to what they were doing. They were simply embracing what the inventors of democracies and republics had always embraced. Slavery was not an anomaly or a perversion. It was a perfectly natural feature of a mature democratic republic.

Which does not in any way justify what they did, of course, but it does rather explain in my mind how they could see this "peculiar institution" as not being peculiar at all. Of course they could think of themselves as being advanced, as moral and proper men of the modern age, even as they preserved and protected the vice of human slavery. The Greeks did it, the Romans did it, and when you are engaged in the business of birthing a brand new democratic republic, what better pedigree could you ask for than that?

That slavery was permitted in a democracy was obvious to them. It was an obviosity. It had obviosity.

Which says, I think, just about everything that needs to be said about the bogosity of obviosity itself.


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What I am oblivious to today?

Beats me. That's kind of for you to figure out, I think. But of course once you do figure it out, you will no longer be oblivious to it, and so that will be the end of its obliviosty. It will then have obviosity. Which will, of course, have elements of obliviosty. Which you will then have to discover and render obvious.

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