Saturday, April 27, 2013

It was not the skill that was lacking, but the enterprise

A series of passages from the recently read Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell. Combative to the point of provocative but as usual crammed with unexpected facts or interpretations of facts. Page 21.
Not only in the South, but in the communities from which white Southerners had come in the Scottish highlands, in Ulster, and in Wales of an earlier era, most of the successful businessmen were outsiders. Even the poorest highland Scots would not skin their horses when they died. Instead, "Scots sold their dead horses for three pence to English soldiers who in turn got six pence for the skinned carcass and another two shillings for the hide." This was not due to a lack of knowledge of skinning. In earlier times, when Scotland and England were at war, one of the atrocities committed by the Scots was skinning captured English officers alive. During the sixteenth century border feuds, the "Johnston-Johnson clan adorned their houses with the flayed skins of their enemies the Maxwells." It was not the skill that was lacking, but the enterprise.

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