Category Archive 'Dixie-phobia'

28 Apr 2015

Progressive War on Southern Memory

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Southern_Commanders

Brian Beutler, in the New Republic, recently proposed making the anniversary of Lee’s Surrender at Appomatox a national holiday.

Jeff Simmons had exactly the same reaction I had. He looked Beutler up on the Internet to understand the background of the enemy, and found that this zealot of black-versus-white racial politics was mugged and shot a couple years ago in D.C. by representatives of the minority he so passionately champions. Beutler, nonetheless, specifically deplored stop-and-frisk policies and racial profiling.

I decided not to blog in response myself, being too appalled and too inclined to intemperate remarks, but Jeff Simmons did sit down at his keyboard to address the recent propensity of leftists to seek every opportunity to abuse, denigrate, and demonize the Lost Cause. Mr. Simmons, rather aptly and gracefully, chose to compare Mr. Beutler’s wounding in the course of being robbed with General Albert Sydney Johnston’s wounding in the course of the Battle of Shiloh. Alas! General Johnston did not have the same access to a modern hospital and modern medical technology.

So we have Mr. Beutler advocating for nothing less than the eradication of the last vestiges of an entire civilization. A civilization which, had it succeeded in its mighty struggle, in all likelihood would have prevented him from getting shot in the first place, and, perhaps less likely, could have molded him into something of a man.

Of course, this view is lost on the young Mr. Beutler. He disregards, or perhaps it has never occurred to him, that the soldiers of the late Confederacy, men like General Johnston, fought, bled, killed, and died for their descendents, men exactly like him. Even if they were misguided, that deserves a bit more than an effort to cleanse them from history in my book. Mr. Beutler clearly disagrees. He says, “We aren’t being polite to anyone worthy of politeness, or advancing any noble end, by continuing to honor traitors in this way.”

I don’t doubt what he would have to say on the matter: they fought for no one but themselves, so that they could keep the boot on the necks of their black slaves, that they were the very personification of evil. And so, he has declared his own sort of war on their ghosts. He wages his war from behind a computer on men who cannot defend themselves and whose few supporters are scattered and powerless, with the entire weight of the modern world—indeed, history itself, to hear him tell it—behind him. Why does he do this?

For the paycheck, in all likelihood. But surely, his pay isn’t significantly supplemented by these types of articles. The idea to destroy all remembrances of the late secessionists isn’t exactly novel—it’s been proceeding apace for decades, after all. It is not solely for the pay. He also doesn’t seem to suspect any resurrection of the Confederacy any time soon. No, it is the symbol which Mr. Beutler wishes to eradicate. The Confederacy is anti-progressivism to the core. It may be a ghost now, but it retains some power in the minds of its enemies if nowhere else. They cannot rest while it still lurks in the background, waiting and watching, a figure in their fevered imaginations like Sauron or Emperor Palpatine. The attacks didn’t cease in 1865; they continue today, and must continue perpetually. Such is Leftism. It is not enough to simply defeat your enemies. You must exterminate them, first from the physical world, then the mental and spiritual.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Tim of Angle.

24 Jun 2010

Refighting the Civil War

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In the aftermath of Appomatox, the process of reunifying the country naturally came to include a chivalrous recognition by victorious Northerners that their Southern adversaries had fought bravely and honorably on behalf of a sectional political perspective which, though defeated in a decisive contest of strength, had been legitimately defended.

The academic left today, of which Christopher Clausen, writing in Wilson Quarterly, is a typical example, is determined to rewrite history and delegitimize the War for Southern Independence by insisting on reducing the Southern cause to a failed battle to preserve Slavery. Any sympathetic view of Southern motivations is dismissed as “Lost Cause-ism,” the Lost Cause being defined as a false post-War romantic narrative constructed to obfuscate Southern guilt for treason and unjustified revolution on behalf of the indefensible crime of slavery.

All this is arrant nonsense and radical agitprop, not history.

Slavery was certainly a cause for secession and the Civil War, but it was what Aristotle would have referred to as the material cause. The efficient cause of secession was States’ Rights and the cause for which most Southerners fought was merely defense of family, home, and fire-side against armed invasion.

Lincoln promised in his First Inaugural Address that he had “no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.” He assured Americans that he had “no lawful right to do so” as well as no inclination.

It is important to remember that, at that point, only seven states had seceded. It might be argued that the seven Deep South cotton states seceded on the basis of a determination to preserve a social and economic system including slavery, but Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded only after Lincoln’s April 15 call for troops to invade and subjugate the states which had previously voted to leave the Union.

The most important states of the Confederacy in size of population, including Virginia which became the seat of the Confederate capital, did not secede for slavery at all, but to defend the right of self determination of the citizens of individual states against federal power.

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The rather Goreyesque Civil War Monument in front of the courthouse in the nearby county where our fox hunt’s kennels is located says on its base:

ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THE SONS OF CLARKE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN DEFENSE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE STATES AND OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT

There is no mention of slavery.

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So demented with self-righteous infatuation with the politics of race have historians become, that the staggering corruption and misgovernment of the Reconstruction Era, in which suddenly-emancipated illiterate primitives in league with looting outsiders and corrupt locals were given control of the governments of conquered states at the point of the bayonet, has become a Golden Age of racial justice sadly ended by the electoral compromise of 1876.

When I was in school, so many decades ago, we still used to be informed of the staggering debt burdens piled up in a few short years by Reconstruction Era black governments, which kept many Southern states impoverished and unable to fund more than the most rudimentary educational systems right up to the time of WWII.

Today, we are advised by scholars like C. Vann Woodward that “the North had fought the war and imposed Reconstruction for three reasons: to save the Union, to abolish slavery, and, more equivocally, to bring about racial equality. The first two aims were achieved and soon accepted, however grudgingly, by the South. The third, seemingly assured by constitutional amendments and supporting legislation, was bargained away for most of another century.”

Most Union soldiers, certainly Grant (who tried to buy the island of Hispaniola to settle all the freed slaves upon) and Sherman (who was morally indifferent to slavery) and Lincoln himself (who intended to deport the emancipated slaves to Africa) would have been astonished to have ascribed to them the goal of racial equality. In so far as ending slavery was a major motivation to Northern soldiers, it most often took the form a desire to eliminate slavery and with it the presence of a colored population on US soil. One could argue that for a majority of Northern soldiers the Civil War was a war being fought to assure the future existence of a whites-only United States.

Clausen’s article is a disgrace, anachronistically contorting 19th century reality into a useful narrative for post-1960s racial politics.

12 Apr 2010

Refighting the Civil War

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1880 Frederick Burr Opper Cartoon from Puck, titled: The Bankrupt Outrage Mill (showing bloody shirts, lynchings, and other forms of racial violence)

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s break with political correctness and resumption of the practice avoided by two democrat party predecessors of declaring April to be “Confederate History Month” provoked the American left to open fire with all the batteries of the establishment media and the progressive blogosphere.

The contemporary left enthusiastically identifies with the 19th century radical abolitionist movement (which had so much to do with starting the Civil War) and is determined to ruthlessly suppress any expression of enthusiasm or affection for the Lost Cause.

The theoretical defense of the Southern political perspective and the rights of the states, remembrance of Confederate military victories, admiration for Confederate leaders, and any defense of the Southern Antebellum way of life are all treated as the gravest of thought crimes.

From the point of view of the Left, the politics of Slavery is all. Just as Harry Reid declared opposition to the Health Care Bill to be equivalent to opposing Civil Rights, the liberal commentariat characteristically treats any form of positive perspective on the Confederate Cause as tantamount to racism and an active defense of the Peculiar Institution.

Jon Meacham, in the New York Times, lays down the liberal law, insisting on the absolute centrality of Slavery to any interpretation of Civil War history.

If the slaves are erased from the picture [of the Civil War], then what took place between Sumter and Appomattox is not about the fate of human chattel, or a battle between good and evil. It is, instead, more of an ancestral skirmish in the Reagan revolution, a contest between big and small government.

We cannot allow the story of the emancipation of a people and the expiation of America’s original sin to become fodder for conservative politicians playing to their right-wing base. That, to say the very least, is a jump backward we do not need.

In other words, if the issues of states rights, popular sovereignty, and Constitutional limitations on federal power going back one hundred and fifty years are allowed to be raised, discussed, and argued, there is no telling what might come of it. Who knows? Some more complex interpretation beyond a simple drama featuring wicked slave owners and oppressed darkies might interfere with universal acceptance of the American left’s self-justifying narrative of radical leadership first overthrowing Slavery, then marching on to deliver first Civil Rights, then National Health Care.

It is vital to enforce a politically correct, crudely simplified version of history, so that history can be used as a credential by those who claim to be enforcing History’s will and decrees on the rest of us.

Invoking racial politics and inflaming sectional animosity at the expense of the South is a very old political game, as the 1880 cartoon above testifies. Americans were already tired of the practice in the 19th century. In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, the radical Benjamin Butler, then a Congressman, exhibited on the floor of the House of Representative a blood-stained shirt belonging to an Ohio carpetbagger who had been whipped by night riders in Mississippi. This kind of divisive and manipulative politics of accusation came to be referred to derisively as “waving the bloody shirt.”

Bob McDonnell is just the most recent victim of the left’s habit of waving the bloody shirt in order to bully and intimidate its opponents.

Like myself, John R. Guardino had no relatives in the United States at the time of the Civil War. He discusses at some length, quoting Senator James Webb along the way, why the attacks on Governor McDonnell are so dishonest.

And, just for the record, I’d like to note that Virginia obviously did not secede to defend Slavery. Virginia seceded in order to avoid supplying troops to be used to conquer and invade her fellow states. Virginia went to war only to defend herself and other fraternal states from invasion.

26 May 2009

Obama Honors Confederate Dead

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The Confederate Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery

Ignoring loud voices from the Academic left and the moonbat sector of the blogosphere, President Obama chose to continue a presidential tradition dating back almost a century to the Wilson Administration of sending a wreath on Memorial Day for placement at Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial.

ABC News

NYM joins Warner Todd Huston in congratulating President Obama for a statesmanlike decision, which avoided the exploitation of divisive historical oversimplifications.

President Obama sent a wreath to the Confederate memorial at Arlington cemetery during the memorial services to recognize the sacrifices and service of the members of our armed forces this week. It has been a tradition since Woodrow Wilson offered a wreath to memorialize Confederate dead at Arlington and a tradition that many on the American far left wanted to see ended. They have been disappointed.

But the president also started a new tradition, one that everyone should welcome and one that we should all hope is continued by every succeeding president that comes after Obama. President Obama also laid a wreath at the African-American Civil War Memorial at Vermont Avenue and U Street Northwest in Washington D.C.

President Obama struck just the right balance on this and he should be commended. By memorializing the fallen from federal service, the fallen from Confederate service, and the fallen memorialized by the African-American monument we have at last a united effort that recognizes the sacrifice of all Americans, equally.

The contemporary left’s enthusiasm for re-fighting the Civil War ignores the historical truth that the war involved larger issues than Slavery, that the majority of men serving in the ranks of the Confederacy owned no slaves, and most prominently ignores with deliberate deceit the services of black confederates.

Scott K. William’s Black Confederates web-site supplies a good deal of information.

It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. …

Frederick Douglas reported, “There are at the present moment many Colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but real soldiers, having musket on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down any loyal troops and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the…rebels.” …

The “Richmond Howitzers” were partially manned by black militiamen. They saw action at 1st Manassas (or 1st Battle of Bull Run) where they operated battery no. 2. In addition two black “regiments”, one free and one slave, participated in the battle on behalf of the South. “Many colored people were killed in the action”, recorded John Parker, a former slave. …

The Jackson Battalion included two companies of black soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp. “My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill…Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner.”

A quota was set for 300,000 black soldiers for the Confederate States Colored Troops. 83% of Richmond’s male slave population volunteered for duty. A special ball was held in Richmond to raise money for uniforms for these men. Before Richmond fell, black Confederates in gray uniforms drilled in the streets.

In fact, the first memorial in the nation’s capitol to honor black Americans’ military service is the same Confederate Memorial, designed in 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate.


A black confederate soldier (4th from left) marches in the same ranks with other confederates)


A southern officer leaves behind his children in the care of a black servant

11 Jun 2008

Obama: Webb For VP?

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Barack Obama must be giving very serious consideration to Virginia Senator James Webb for his Vice Presidential running mate.

Talk about balancing the ticket.

Webb is a Southern redneck, and a former Marine Corps officer and genuine (not like John Kerry) war hero who received the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor. Webb is also a former Republican who served as Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan.

With Webb, Obama has a chance to match McCain’s war record and stronger defense policy background. He also becomes able to make a strong play for precisely the white, working class, and rural constituencies where he himself is weakest.

Selecting Webb, of course, would be fraught with ironies. It seems highly doubtful that the two men could stand each other, and the combination of their personal images would be just a tad incongruous, kind of like the late Bayard Rustin running for president with John Wayne as his running mate.

Webb has moved startlingly to the left since suddenly launching his electoral political career by running over the broken body of Republican George Allen into a Senate seat for Virginia. There is reason to wonder if Webb’s apparent ideological conversion is the result of a third marriage to a youthful wife of Asian background whose political philosophy is now in ascendance in the Webb household or whether Webb has been being cynical and insincere in pursuit of still higher office.

Webb’s Born Fighting, a history of the Scots Irish published in 2005 just as he was commencing his political career, contained enough political asides to read like a version of Mein Kampf written by Pat Buchanan.

Though he ran for the Senate as anti-war liberal, the Webb who speaks in Born Fighting is populist, nativist, and protectionist. In essence, that Webb is every bit as much an ethnically aggrieved and partisan member of some hypothetical Trinity Evangelical Church of Hillbilly Snake-Handling as the loudest and noisiest whitey-denouncing, racist-US-Government-accusing member of Barack Obama’s Trinity Evangelical Church of Black Nationalist Liberation Theology in Chicago.

If Obama goes with Webb, it will be amusing to watch, at the very least.

I mention all this, because I was noticing this morning that efforts are afoot on the political left to scuttle such a mesalliance.

David Mark, at the Politico, is waving the bloody shirt with a vigor not seen in American national politics since the time of James G. Blaine.

He is joined by Stale’s Timothy Noah, who finds Webb “awful” and clearly much too butch. (The man carries a gun. Shocking!)

McCain supporters better hope these limp-wristed lefties succeed at exposing Webb’s awfulness and arousing the ire of the democrat base. He would make Obama’s ticket a lot stronger.

28 Dec 2006

Fate of Confederate Heroes Uncertain at University of Texas

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A common tragic reality of our time is that positions of power and responsibility typically go to the mediocre conformists who successfully climb the greasy pole of life, one finger cautiously raised in the air at every level of ascent. In a better world, the president of the University of Texas would be a gentleman of sound principles and liberal education, capable of feeling a sense of loyalty to his state and region’s history, courageous enough to withstand the divisive demands of rabblerousers and demagogues, and dignified enough to dismiss the unseemly impulses of fashion.

William C. Powers, the current president of the University of Texas, is not such a man.

he plans to form an advisory committee to study whether something should be done about numerous campus statues honoring the Confederacy.

The statues have in recent history become a topic of debate among students, professors and administrators.

They include four bronze figures on the South Mall honoring Confederate leaders such as Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, and Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Powers said he plans to appoint a committee of advisers early next year, probably including faculty and students.

“The whole range of options is on the table,” Powers said.

And when the wheel turns, and the most vulgar political fashion requires a different outrage, like Germany’s 1930s removal of books by Jewish authors from university libraries, the likes of President Powers will be again appointing committees made up of the most ideologically-infected and trendy students and faculty to decide the university’s course of action. And the decision will always be in favor of the bonfire.

14 Jun 2006

Musn’t Fly Confederate Flag in Space

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In our Second (and continuing) Reconstruction Period, few thought crimes are more vigorously prosecuted by the radical mob of the MSM than expressions of sympathy for the Lost Cause of the Southern Confederacy, and public display of the Confederate flag is treated as a major offense.

One might have assumed leftist power was purely terrestrial, but, no! it seems that even commercially-motivated displays of Confederate flags in space by foreigners must be carefully noted and arraigned before the bar of bien pensant opinion.

Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov may possibly have, with a keen eye on the bottom line, fetched along a 4×6″ Confederate flag with the diabolical intention of selling the well-travelled emblem of Rebellion and Agrarianism on Ebay to some overly affuent and irredentist red state dweller. Thank goodness, the forces of Political Correctness were on top of things to prevent the prospering of such a nefarious scheme.

The seller, one Alex Pachenko, withdrew the controversial symbol from the Ebay auction, claiming that cosmonaut Sharipov denied having anything to do with it, though NBCs photo does suggest otherwise.

Second story.


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