“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Earl Scruggs, an American Legend

Country legend Earl Scruggs died in a Nashville hospital on Wednesday. He was 88.

According to The Associated Press, his son Gary said the musician died of natural causes. The banjo player was a bluegrass icon who brought his distinct three-finger style from its ’50s and ’60s heyday to a new generation of folk musicians, performing with artists such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds as well as his sons in the Earl Scruggs Revue.

His performances with Joan Baez, Dylan and others were captured in the documentary “The Complete Earl Scruggs Story,” which showcased his efforts to establish the banjo as a vibrant piece of the Woodstock-era scene.

Born in Shelby, North Carolina, Scruggs got his start with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945. Three years later, he partnered with guitarist Lester Flatt to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, a musical team that lasted until 1969.

Scruggs is perhaps best known for the instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” as well as “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song of ’60s television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

In 2008, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; he is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.


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  2. Drive, tone, timing, syncopation....... Earl had it all. There are a lot of good banjo players and a few great ones out there - but none ever could quite match what Earl did in those early days!

  3. Nice, pertinent analysis. I hope you find the following likewise to wit:


    Anne Sarah Rubin’s book, A Shattered Nation: The Rise & Fall of the Confederacy 1861-1865, contains a veritable feast of well-researched insights satisfying the need for a better perspective upon the conflict—The War Between the States—that prepared the United States for the future trials and tribulations of this world.

    Unfortunately, Rubin never states that the Confederacy could only microscopically improve its standing as a nation by going to war with the United States. Diplomacy was clearly the inviting path it should have followed to determine the status of the three remaining forts under federal jurisdiction. Prior to the firing upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the Confederacy possessed:

    1) independence, 2) peace with its most powerful neighbor guaranteed by President Lincoln in his First Inaugural, 3) a States’ Rights political philosophy intact, 4) slavery, 5) its nearest and largest neighbor is a slave nation, 6) free trade, 7) prospects for expansion into Central, if not, South America and Cuba, 8) potential foreign alliances, 9) the very likely possibility that more slave states still in the United States would join the Confederacy in due time, and 10) the United States actually represented the Confederacy’s most essential as well as substantial ally.

    The Confederacy’s pride blinded it to its advantages. Its precipitous act of war violated the very tenets of sound political judgment and perfectly illustrated Classical Folly foreshadowing similar behavior in the Twentieth Century by Japan, Germany, and the Soviet Union vis `a vis the United States. It remains to be seen whether the Islamist-fascist assault on 911 initiating WWIV comes under the same category.

    Furthermore, Rubin does not emphasize the extreme irony found in the fact that the Confederacy’s attack constituted the shortest route to abolishing slavery. Perhaps the best minds in American History had been unable to eradicate the institution from 1776 to 1861. Without the needless attack, slavery may have continued to this day. Her insights into the religious mind of the South are superb and provide the revelation that the Southerners’ prayers to God for his blessing upon their benighted effort went unfulfilled but that their determined effort was instrumental in the prayers of slaves and abolitionists as well as President Lincoln’s being answered. In addition, the Confederacy’s dogged, misguided resolve bloodily advanced the realization of the principles contained in The Declaration of Independence. In fact, if the South’s adamancy on the slave issue had been overcome in 1776 or 1787 and had not evolved into the horrific breeding and selling of slaves after 1808, the presence of blacks in American would have been negligible. Freedom delayed due to this region’s obstinacy was integral to there being a significant presence of blacks, along with their vital contributions, in American History.


  4. In like manner, our current efforts in the Middle East to foster freedom may be the most direct though tortuous route possible. However, fostering Constitutions subservient to Shari`a Law is more in tune with the spirit of the French Revolution than with the freedom embraced in The Declaration of Independence and codified in our Constitution.

    Poignantly, Rubin’s work illustrates that “pride goes before a fall”. Unfortunately, the pride bathed in so much blood from 1861 to 1865 failed to provide the wisdom one might expect from this atonement. Loyalty to Jefferson Davis and “The Cause” continued to be stubbornly held onto as being justified long after Appomattox. Lincoln’s death and a lack of resolve by Congress as well as President Johnson ultimately marooned Blacks on islands of continued intimidation necessitating the 1960’s Civil and Voting Rights legislation.* How tragic! But again, this is most instructive for evaluating the aftermath of WWI, WWII, and WWIII where the opportunity to “love thy enemies”, especially if they are fellow citizens, was often as imperfectly practiced. Interestingly, freedom and this Divine Imperative are the very issues in the current “War on Terror”. The question of the moment is whether Congress and the President will facilitate both as being crucial to United States’ security interests.

    Rubin’s analysis of the dynamics behind The War Between the States is vital history. Some of the same nearsightedness of that era’s politicians and citizens that she scrupulously documents seems to be at hand in the present unfolding events. Ignorance, bias, prejudice, and bigotry may have their way but God, as Lincoln noted in his Second Inaugural, is not dictated to by any such-minded; the course of events set in motion by unenlightened policies like President Obama’s recent statements regarding Israel, not to mention abortion, seek vainly for the blessings of freedom and peace that only the God of The Declaration of Independence can bestow. Security based upon dissing a confirmed ally and killing babies are clearly inviting a disaster like the one the Confederacy and the United States endured. However, God’s blessings assuredly continue unabated according to his own timetable even while the traumatic consequences of an unwise exercise of freedom loom portentously upon presumptuous posturing. In the war on terror in the Mideast or in the womb, the fact that the entire world is a battlefield must not be forgotten by policy-makers. After all, modern total war began when General Sherman went south in 1864. His actions made President Lincoln’s re-election possible while securing the defeat of the Confederacy, the abolishment of slavery, and the tempering of history’s most powerful Gentile nation in the fire of war.

    Does an even greater conflagration await this generation’s citizens due to unwise policies promoting disastrous actions?

    Read more:

  5. Earl Scruggs And Lester Flatt - Cripple Creek

  6. I just thought it was an interesting comment. I'd rather listen to music.

  7. anonamos

    Most people, black and white, are just going on with their lives while watching this circus unfold. There will not be massive race riots on either side, the libs pursuing this agenda are not fooling us; we do and will get along with each other just fine. This frenzy will be over soon enough and obama's ilk will find something else to try to steer us off course.

    Note to Holder, kagan, sotomeyer, janet the giant napolitano, pelowzi, reid, sharpton, jackson, clinton et al. and last but the least, obama, and all the liberal weirdos: IT'S NOT WORKING YOU MORONS.


    Holder take legal action against "my people?" The day after it snows in Miami on Independence Day!


    Why aren´t the whites "his people" also. After all, his mother is a Caucasian from New Jersey. So if Zimmermann is a "white Hispanic" then Hussein and Holder are "white negros"

    Well, things is screwed up, and a little confusing, too. The New Black Panther Party, which has endorsed Obama for President, should be put out of business for soliciting murder with that dead or alive reward stuff.

    This is very serious business. If some white cracker were to put out a dead or alive with bounty on, say, Spike Lee, would Holder see to it that he were prosecuted?

    I'd bet so.