I was reading a discussion at Crooks and Liars, and came across a reference to a comment made by William Tecumseh Sherman in 1860, which I had never seen before. It was so prescient and to the point that I could not help but share some of it with you:
"...where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The Northern people not only greatly outnumber the whites at the South, but they are a mechanical people with manufactures of every kind, while you are only agriculturists--a sparse population covering a large extent of territory, and in all history no nation of mere agriculturists ever made successful war against a nation of mechanics. ...
"The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth--right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all els eyou are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with.
"At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, and shut out from the markets of Europe by blockade as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. ... if your people would but stop and think, they must see that in the end you will surely fail."
The Civil War is often referred to as the first modern war, and like all wars that have followed, excluding insurgencies, in the end, despite all of the heroism, all of the struggle and dying, the winner is the side with the most stuff. In both World Wars, for example, the tide turned the minute the surrounded Germans began to run out of oil, steel, rubber and other commodities. It is striking to see this general, so remembered now for his blitzkrieg-like tactics, actually stating before the conflict even began, that it all came down to supplies to continue the fight.
Southerners were so blinded, however, by their fury that they engaged in this futile act of violence anyway, killing 600,000 people for nothing, or worse, in order to uselessly try to hang on to an age old abomination, because it was profitable to the rich among them.
You could tell the same story about Germany in World War II; we know that the top German generals all knew the war was unwinnable before it even started, but none of them could find the courage to do the right thing, when it could have been prevented.
The irrational rage of the right- the damage it has caused is almost incalculable.