An update from New Orleans

Traveling gives one time to think and see things in different ways. Here are my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth.

We’re in New Orleans and it’s a fascinating city. The architecture is amazing, the people are friendly, and the famed Bourbon Street is awful — painfully loud in the night at, at all times, smelling of garbage, vomit, and urine.

Despite the money flowing into New Orleans, this city, like all modern Democrat-run city, has a distinctly medieval feel. That is, it holds a small number of obscenely wealthy people, a small cadre of middle class people, and a vast, visible, painful collection of people mired in poverty, including innumerable homeless, many of whom have clearly been damaged by too much alcohol in a city in which booze flows 24 hours a day. The city is dirty (as I noted above), and the streets and sidewalks are dangerously and painfully broken and potholed.

I’m enjoying myself a great deal despite finding the city somewhat sad. The food is wonderful, the architecture (as I said) is fascinating and beautiful, and the shops, street performers, and street artists and “psychics” are fun.

We went to Oak Alley Plantation today. It’s small compared to the plantation sites in and around Charleston. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful and beautifully restored. The picture above is the alley of ancient oaks seen from the veranda.

We saw the restored slave quarters, complete with their “nobody suffered as slaves did and you must feel guilty” preaching. I was reminded of several things:

Life for the slaves was miserable, dehumanizing, and demoralizing. But for 99% of the world’s population for 99% of humankind’s life on earth, life was miserable, dehumanizing and demoralizing: nasty, brutish, and short. Of course, the slaves had thrown on that the indignity of their lost freedom and autonomy, something indefensible, and I’m not trying to defend this ancient human institution.

But here’s the important point about that human indignity and suffering for both those who were slaves and those who lived in abysmal poverty — it ended in the west. And it ended for three reasons, all of which today’s leftists want to reverse: fossil fuel, Christianity, and capitalism.

Fossil fuel removed the need for physical human labor, Christianity recognized the worth of all individuals, and capitalism raised the standard of living for everyone. End those things and we revert to the world I described above, one in which 99% of the people live lives that are nasty, brutish, and short.

The other point I wanted to make is that a lot of weird people are here. They are nice, interesting, and (often) artistic. They are the kind who were bullied in school. They’re a bit defensive but if you treat them respectfully, they bloom like flowers in the sun. The world is enriched by what the bring to it.

I like these people. I become hostile only when they attack America’s core institutions. They shouldn’t have that cultural power. Incidentally, this thought occurred to me when I followed a lovely smell and found myself in a tiny witch’s store, run by a couple of eccentric and very kind gay people. I enjoyed their company and wished them well. I also thought to myself that allowing this minority to have the loudest voice in the company is the path to destruction.

And now, our jazz cruise begins, so I’ll sign off. The skyline below is of Jackson Square as seen from the water.