With the pressure of NRODT deadlines, I was not able to comment on Thurmond’s love child.
Half the novels of the eighteenth century have some character of partly noble origin, but born on the left side of the blanket. How were these babies produced? The way Thurmond’s child was produced–a man of position or means, taking advantage of a servant. Race was the regional fillip added in the the United States, chiefly (but not exclusuively) in the south. A sad tale, a sordid system. Within its confines, Thurmond behaved rather well I thought, meeting his daughter, when she was an adult, almost annually, and giving her money whenever she asked. Of course he was protecting himself, and she was taking advantage of that protection. But I was struck by the moment when Thurmond gave her a little lecture on diet and exercise. That was the echt Thurmond moment–since he believed in nothing more passionately, he was giving her the best he had.
We are confident that we are better people than he was, because we were born later. But let us scrutinize our lives and our social arrangements for our own iniquities.