31 May 2010

Leftists, History, Reality & Utopia

Victor Davis Hanson on leftists and utopia:

"Five years ago, the European Union's account of itself resonated with end-of history triumphalism. In organic fashion, democratic socialism would spread eastward and southward, recivilizing the old Warsaw Pact and the Balkans through cradle-to-grave entitlements, state unionism, radical environmentalism, and utopian pacifism."

"How quickly the dreams of just a short time ago have been 
shattered . . ."

More here

And a leftist has a head-on collision with reality: 

"Bryce used to be a left-liberal, but then: 'I educated myself about math and physics. I'm a liberal who was mugged by the laws of thermodynamics.'" More here.

29 May 2010

27 May 2010

The Highest Paid Historian On Earth

Is Dr. Glenn Beck:

"It's official: Beck is now a doctor of philosophy. Liberty University's honoring of Beck is fitting because he has clearly established himself as Fox News's resident 'historian,' with his area of expertise being American civilization, with emphases on the early republic, Progressivism, and the New Deal. Glenn Beck, Ph.D. makes about $1 million a month, earning him the distinction of being the highest paid 'historian' in the world." 

More here.


26 May 2010

Southern Proper

For Southern Gentlemen:

"Men of the south have always been noted for their distinguishable décor and dress. Their honey-soaked accents and captivating manners charm women from all parts of the world. However, it's the tradition of sophisticated and influential attire that completes their status as gentlemen; for field or fancy, men of the South are always well-dressed."

More here.

25 May 2010

The Fruits Of Socialism - Historic Lows

"Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds. 
At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010."
Read the story here.

24 May 2010

The Youth Vote - 1861 vs. 2008

I've been thinking about this topic for some time and still haven't sorted it all out totally in my mind, but thought I'd post something to generate some discussion. Maybe my readers (all 3 of you) can help me. At most election cycles, most notably 2008, we hear much about "the youth vote' i.e., the excitement of college students, their unique perspective, new blood, etc, etc. We, or rather most, assume the youth vote is a good thing. But should we make that assumption?

Don't misunderstand what I'm asking. I believe that a well-informed electorate voting for their representatives in government is important for a healthy republic. But the operative phrase I want to focus on here is "well-informed." How well informed are most 18 to 20 year-olds? How many of them are able to consistently separate emotions from logic when making decisions and choices? 

Recent studies have shown us that many in that age group are still not fully developed emotionally and that this impacts the decision making process. Older adults differ simply "because they have a wealth of past experience" and younger adults "don't tend to regulate their emotions." (See one such study here. There are a number of others which come to the same conclusion. As if we needed a scientific study to prove the obvious.)

We often see youth attitudes and movements bent on overturning the established authorities, to one degree or another. I'm not necessarily referring to revolution, but "change" and an allegiance to anti-authoritarian movements simply because it is "anti-authoritarian" or "anti-establishment." Nothing new or profound about that.

But with all this in mind and the fact that Southern secessionists are often referred to as "hotheads" and "fire-breathers" what conclusions can we draw from the "youth vote" of 1861?:

"Reflecting Virginia as a whole, the students [At Washington College, Lexington, VA] strongly supported secession leading up to and during the Virginia Convention of 1861. Also mirroring the situation in Virginia as a whole, the older faculty members proved staunchly Unionist." (Source.)

Contrast this against the youth vote of 2008:

"An interesting aside is that while the youth vote is most closely associated with Barack Obama – he won under-30s nationally by 16 points, 57-41 percent . . ." (Source.)

Now, I completely understand that there is much more involved in both these votes than just their "youth" and that I'm speaking in broad terms. But youth is a factor and, given the high hopes placed on Barack Obama by many young voters, and their subsequent disappointment, what can we learn from the youth vote of 2008?

Is it safe to say that in both instances, 1861 and 2008, these young voters were really not "well-informed" before making their decisions, or made them for the wrong reasons? Were they just "jumping on the bandwagon?" Is it safe to say that, in both instances, these voters were against the established authority? Did many, if not most, base their votes on emotion and an "anti-establishment" attitude? Any thoughts?

Front Porck Pickin' #6

We've missed posting our Front Porch Pickin' series the last two weekends so, to help us catch up, here's #6. This gospel music video features one of my daughters, and her husband who pastors a Baptist church in Canada. The wood cookstove behind them is how they heat their home and what my daughter cooks on. (For those who are interested in such things.) My son in law can play just about any instrument and is especially a fine banjo picker. My daughter's specialty is the fiddle. She also plays the guitar and piano.

Texas Education Board Follow Up

A good piece on this subject, especially as it relates to the "wall of separation" - 

"Clearly, *what Jefferson was describing was not a rigid barrier between faith and public policy, but denominational allegiance by the state. As the Constitution says, the federal government was not to 'establish religion,' that is, to select a particular denomination as a national church. That’s all the wall is." 

So why are so many academics opposed to teaching students in public schools the facts?

More here.

*Jefferson's response was actually addressing the government's potential danger to the church, not the church's threat to the government. Neo-liberals, secularists, and statists have turned the phrase and its intent on its head.

I Agree With The ACLU

At least on this subject: Recording arrests

A man whose arrest was caught on video faces felony charges from Maryland State Police for recording it on camera.
Expect this law to be rewritten or overturned. I don't think it has a leg to stand on - either from a constitutional persepctive or public opinion.

23 May 2010

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. On Slavery

This book is not due out until August. However, you can view a short discussion by Joe Hicks about Professor Gates' new book here. From what Mr. Hicks says about the book, it is sure to generate quite a bit of controversey and discussion.

I've always enjoyed watching Gates on PBS' History Detectives and thought he did a fair job in his role in last year's PBS documentary about Abraham Lincoln.

I'm looking forward to reading this book.

22 May 2010

A Great Day In Texas

A lot of history related blogs have weighed in on the recent debate around text book changes advocated by the Texas state school board. Those changes have now been voted on and adopted by the board of duly elected citizens - a great triumph for our representative republican form of government. Hallelujah.

While this decision predictably upsets some academics and historians with opposing views, the Texas decision will simply restore some balance back to history and social studies programs in American classrooms. Students will (hopefully) be learning that America's founders indeed envisioned "a Christian land governed by Christian principles." 

Heck, even the Library of Congress can't deny this truth:

" . . . a religious people rose in rebellion against Great Britain in 1776, and that most American statesmen, when they began to form new governments at the state and national levels, shared the convictions of most of their constituents that religion was, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville's observation, indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions."

Why would educators and politicians want to hide or minimize the truth about our Nation's founding? So who's really pushing an agenda? Maybe the secularists should consider homeschooling.

I'm going to post something much more detailed about this soon.

(Image is of the First Prayer of the Continental Congress. Of course, it could be that these secularists were simply on their knees looking for one of the members' lost contact lenses.)

**Addendum: Anyone who wants to cite the Treaty of Tripoli as evidence that the founders did not envision "a Christian land governed by Christian principles" is doing two things:
  1. First, they are ignoring the incalculable volumes of quotes, legislation, statements, writings, state constitutions, and other historic data that most definitely refutes their absolutely ridiculous notion that the country was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles and meant to be governed by Judeo-Christian principles..
  2. They are failing to mention the controversy over the translation of the treaty, most importantly, article 11.

20 May 2010

5th Year Anniversary

I almost missed it. Today, the 20th of May (with over 1400 posts under my belt), marks my 5th anniversary of "adding my 2 cents worth" via blogging about Old Virginia, "the Southern mind, local community, Burkean conservatism, the folkways of ancestors, and an unwavering orthodox Christian faith."

My first post
was rather brief and simple, but contained many of the above elements:

"Last evening, I had the joy of going horseback riding with my daughter, son, and daughter-in-law. We were able to enjoy the blessing of riding through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains behind our home. God's creation never ceases to amaze me - the lush green grass that carpets the old logging roads in the mountains, the blooming mountain laurel, and the abundant wild life all manifest the glory of God's handiwork. May I never grow accustomed to the miracle of Creation!"

Death By Professor

Inside the Beltway, "Harvard know-it-allness" is a prized commodity; outside, its practitioners are largely regarded as "obnoxious and arrogant" in the classroom and "jaw-droppingly incompetent" out of it. Small wonder trust in government has hit a fifty-year low.

Welcome to government by professor. Assorted faculty of Ivy League schools have come together to form an administration with the least real-world and most academic experience of any in modern times, the American Enterprise Institute notes. And so we have a government of scolds, lecturers, and bullies, arrogant academics cheered on by mainstream media when they take a "paddle" to average citizens and taxpayers. (Emphasis mine.)
More here

19 May 2010

Interesting To Observe

Kevin Levin's recent posting at Civil War Memory of Professor Clyde Wilson's "quiz" about Abraham Lincoln, and the comments that follow, is quite interesting; but probably not in the way Mr. Levin intended. Levin makes this amazing statement in introducing Wilson's series of questions: 

"I have no problem with Wilson wanting to express his political views, but it is incredibly disturbing to see him sacrificing his integrity as a historian to do so."

First of all, for someone like Levin who is obsessed with bashing Confederate heritage and history, to suggest someone of the stature of Clyde Wilson is "sacrificing his integrity" is quite amazing. If I'd not paid attention to Mr. Levin's writings for some time now, I'd think he was being facetious. Does Levin really believe that his own political views and biases aren't obvious by what he has written on his blog? Incredible.

Secondly, how do the questions posed by Professor Wilson have anything to do with his political views, especially since some of those commenting stated the questions could apply to George W. Bush? Hmmm . . . I suppose those comments don't in any way express their political views nor sacrifice their integrity. No, of course not.

But one of the most interesting moments in the comments comes when historian Ralph Luker (Certainly not someone who could be considered a "neo-Confederate" - to use Levin's characterization of Professor Wilson) offers a defense of Wilson. Even more interesting (and something which seems to catch the others a little off guard), was Professor Luker's admission that the questions posed by Wilson were actually legitimate. While admitting that Wilson's "quiz" was "intentionally provocative" (and I would agree that the "quiz" was intended to be provocative), Luker adds this as the final sentence of his comment:

But ask yourself if Clyde has, with any of these questions, misrepresented Lincoln’s position at the time he took it. I don’t think that he has. (Emphasis mine.)
So Professor Luker, a respected historian in his own right, disagrees with the rest of those commenting (most notably Levin), that Wilson "misrepresented" Lincoln's positions. Interesting.

“History is not an expression of abstract laws, or the record of progress. It is a description of the actions of men, of life, which in turn is an expression of the (partly unknowable) mind of God. A historian who does an honest and competent job of narrative or description has created something permanently useful to everyone, whether they agree with him or not. The historian who claims to have found the final explanation is a fraud.” ~ Clyde N. Wilson, Ph.D.

I'm Getting Whiplash

". . . a scientist who has written more than 150 peer-reviewed papers has unveiled evidence for his prediction that global cooling is coming soon." More here.

Maybe this is plan B, no, wait a minute, global cooling was plan A. Man, I'm confused.

Can't the experts make up their minds?

18 May 2010

Of Course Public Schools Aren't Politicized

*Update: New video on this incident:

Finkenbine said that, after she compared her participation in Tea Party rallies with the civil disobedience in which Dr. King participated, Blessman responded to her by saying, “Well, we all know you’re a ‘teabagger.’”
Afterward, Finkenbine recalled, the teacher started laughing and everyone in the class started laughing about Blessman’s use of the derogatory term, prompting the student to think, “Wow! Did she really just say that?”
More here.

17 May 2010

Big Education

Parents mortgage their homes and students saddle themselves with massive debts so schools can pay coaches $4 million a year.


Thankfully, there are a growing number of options.

Mankind's Last Best Hope

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 51% of voters nationwide believe the United States is the last best hope of mankind. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree, and 24% are not sure."

More here.

15 May 2010

In Memory Of Che Guevara

Time Magazine called him a "Christ-like figure." Others have a different view.
Tony Chao hobbled to it on crutches. He'd taken seventeen bullets from the Castroites' Czech machine guns during the firefight preceding his capture. On the way to the execution stake, Tony was forced to hobble down some cobblestone stairs. Another Cuban laborer imprisoned by Che watched the process from his prison cell. "I'll never understand how Tony survived that beating . . . One of Tony's bullet-riddled legs had been amputated at the hospital; the other was gangrened and covered in pus."
Compare Tony's death to Guevara's capture: "Don't shoot!" whimpered the arch-assassin to his captors. "I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!"
More here.


14 May 2010

AOM Interview

My son was recently interviewed on Art of Manliness. You can read the interview here

"Always take care of the poor horses." ~ Robert E. Lee

12 May 2010

States' Rights Trumps Progressivism

States' Rights is viewed positively by an overwhelming majority of Americans. There's hope. More here. Also, I found it quite interesting that the States' Rights category is very close to the Civil liberties category in being viewed positively. One could argue that the Confederacy's philosophical stand on States' Rights seems to have won the day (at least conceptually in the mind of the general public), despite the outcome of the WBTS. (The South lost the war, but won the argument - at least in part?) Family values leads all categories which, I'm sure, just tickles the elites and big government types to death.

Speaking Of Duty, Honor, Country . . .

Today, in 1962, General Douglas MacArthur delivered his timeless speech, Duty, Honor, Country at West Point. The anniversary of the speech dovetails nicely with recent posts.

MacArthur scorns those who with "mockery & ridicule" attack and criticize these timeless and honorable concepts. Sound familiar?

“I did only what my duty demanded. I could have taken no other course without dishonour. And if it all were to be done over again, I should act in precisely the same manner.” ~ Robert E. Lee

11 May 2010

President Eisehnower Defends A "Traitor"


The discussion here in recent days over how we today view Confederates in light of charges of "treason" and of being "traitors" (and, by extension, their patriotism), has been quite interesting. See here and here. I'd like to continue that discussion with this post. The exchange below between a critic of Robert E. Lee and President Eisenhower offers perfectly contrasting views on this subject. What makes Eisenhower's response so fascinating to me is who he was at the time he wrote this letter. He was President of the United States and a war hero of the United States Military. But not just any war hero. He had served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during WWII and was also the first Supreme Commander of NATO. No one can doubt Eisenhower's loyalty to the U.S. military, to his country, nor his concept of what defines an American patriot and, conversely, a traitor. His perspective, experience, and position adds much weight, in my view, to the argument that Lee is one of the most honorable and patriotic men to have served his Nation(s). The fact a modern sitting President, 5-Star Army General and war hero would offer such a clear, pointed, and strong defense of a man who waged war against the United States speaks volumes. Also worth noting is Eisenhower's use of the term "War Between the States" and his defense/explanation of secession. Eisenhower would, today, no doubt be labeled a "neo-Confederate" by certain historians and academics. That, too, is something worth contemplating. Most definitely a teachable moment.


Dear Mr. President [Eisenhower]:

    "At the Republican Convention I heard you mention that you have the pictures of four (4) great Americans in your office, and that included in these is a picture of Robert E. Lee.

    I do not understand how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of America should do so is certainly beyond me.

    The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did was to devote his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our Government is worthy of being hailed as one of our heroes.

    Will you please tell me just why you hold him in such high esteem?"

    Sincerely yours,

    Leon W. Scott, DDS
    New Rochelle, NY

Below, and in response to the above letter, President Eisenhower simply explains why Lee is a worthy role model and American patriot worthy of respect and emulation. The silly notion that Lee should be viewed as a "traitor" is either extreme presentism and misunderstanding or an opinion motivated by ideology and politics.

    August 9, 1960

    Dear Dr. Scott:

    Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War Between the States the issue of Secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

    General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.

    From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.

    Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower


Once again, presentism simply does not work for those who are honestly and seriously attempting to interpret historical facts and, hopefully, learn something from history. 

(Image is taken from my personal collection and comes from a 1941 advertising calendar.)

10 May 2010

Traitor? Treason?

“I have made certain terms with Lee – the best and only terms. If I had told him and his army that their liberty would be invaded, that they would be open to arrest, trial and execution for treason, Lee would never have surrendered. I will resign the command of the army rather than execute any order directing me to arrest Lee or any of his commanders, so long as they obey the laws.” ~ General Grant upon learning of Lee’s indictment for treason

Though Lee was originally opposed to secession, he made his opinion clear in his response to being offered the command of Federal forces at the onset of hostilities:

"...though opposed to secession and a deprecating war, I could take no part in the invasion of the Southern States." ~ From Lee's reply to Francis Blair

Not one Confederate was ever tried for treason, though several were indicted. Lee was a true patriot, choosing family & country over "government." Lee resigned his commission rather than disobey an order. Since he believed, given his choices, that this was the only moral option he had, I think Lee made an honorable choice. Lee lost his citizenship. Can a non-citizen commit treason? Did Lee, in resigning his commission and joining the CSA, effectively renounce his citizenship or did the Federal government take it from him as a result of his actions? I suppose it depends, at least in part, on one's perspective. If Lee was a traitor (and I don't believe he was), he would be the only traitor for which a ship in the United States Navy was ever named. He would be the only traitor in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. He would be the only traitor whose image was used in a positive way to recruit military personnel to fight and win WWII. Quite an accomplishment for a "traitor", wouldn't you say? 

According to the source for the recruiting poster image,
". . . recruiting efforts in Virginia were bolstered by invoking Lee's memory." Hmmm, rather contradictory, if you are to believe how some paint Lee's actions and how he should be remembered. The Federal government using Lee's image to recruit volunteers to fight in the U.S. Army? Why did it work? How is it that Lee's image attracted recruits to the same organization he ostensibly betrayed as a "traitor?" So the U.S. military used a positive and affirming depiction of a "traitor" to attract recruits to the same military that this "traitor" supposedly betrayed and to defend the same Nation he supposedly committed treason against? Yeah, works for me. 

Depicting Lee as a "traitor" and "treasonous" is simply shallow, simplistic historiography. Presentism in historical interpretation just doesn't work.

(Images are from the Virginia Historical Society's website.)

Classrooms Becoming Obsolete?

One CW blogger and history teacher has noted he no longer uses textbooks in his classroom; suggesting they're of little use. I would add that homeschooling, coupled with technology, is making the traditional classroom obsolete. Though I don't necessarily recommend this curriculum, here's one more option for parents who wish to teach from home, but feel they need some additional structure. This could lead to a reduction in costs for localities should more parents take advantage of the "virtual" classroom: less buildings & less administration all equal a reduction in costs. Of course, you can expect the teacher's unions to rant and rave about losing positions and power.

08 May 2010

Front Porch Pickin' #5

Bringing you the best in Southern Appalachian Bluegrass, Folk, and Country Music. Get your culture here. Tonight's selection is by Scott Miller & Commonwealth - Highland County Boy. If you've never been to Highland County, you've never seen Virginia.

Just For Review

"Reading some recent blog posts, editorials, and comments condemning Robert E. Lee as a traitor coming from those who consider themselves serious Civil War scholars, convinces me that these individuals have no fundamental understanding of federalism and how many 19th century Americans viewed their home states in regards to their state's relationships to Washington and the federal government. Condemning Lee as a 'traitor' for resigning his army commission reveals a shallowness in interpretation. Those who hold to such views are, no doubt, suffering from "presentism" - superimposing their modern views of patriotism - love of, and loyalty to, a government - on to what was the common 19th century view: love of a land and its people. Let's examine Lee's decision in a little more detail and in light of this 'less modern' view of patriotism."

Revisiting a previous post: Robert E. Lee - Quintessential American Patriot

Supreme Court Pick Is A Confederate Descendant

This Supreme Court pick qualifies for membership in the UDC.


06 May 2010

Nullification - From The Left Coast

Californians are attempting to decriminalize marijuana in defiance of the federal government. Does this act of nullification make Californians Neo-Confederates? Well of course not! That doesn't fit the template silly man!

Widespread Support For CHM

"Overall, 50 percent of those surveyed support Confederate History Month while only 27 percent oppose it. Respondents in every region were more likely to support the month than oppose it."

More here.

Hat tip to Professor Michael Bradley.

05 May 2010

The Biggest Surge Since Reconstruction . . .

. . . Of Black Republicans running for Congress. Quite amazing that this has occurred after Obama's rise to the Presidency. In 2008, I found it quite curious that so many liberals (including some historians and history bloggers) proudly trumpeted their support for President Obama, as if supporting his candidacy was some great badge of morality they felt compelled to display. The vast majority of these folks seemed to base their support on emotion rather than the qualifications or political philosophy of then Senator Obama.

Personally, I first voted for an African-American in 1988 when the Reverend Maurice Dawkins was the Republican candidate opposing Virginia's Democrat Senator, and son of privilege, Chuck Robb. I passed out campaign literature and encouraged others to vote for Dawkins. But Robb won in a landslide. I was also a big supporter of Ambassador Alan Keyes when he ran for President and had the privilege of hearing him speak in person. I supported both men because of their policies and political philosophy; that they happened to be African-American made no difference to me.

My favorite candidate running for Congress this year is Lt. Colonel Allen West. Personally, I think he is Presidential material as he has exhibited the type of personal courage and sacrifice for others which is so rare in public life today. I hope he wins his congressional race and I would be further pleased to see a kind Providence advance him to the highest office in the land.

(Image above is of Colonel West holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. I suppose that will disappoint those who are fans of Rules for Radicals.)

This video on Youtube of Colonel West giving an inspirational and patriotic speech has received over 2 million hits. It's well worth your time to watch.

04 May 2010

The Bascom Home Guard

"Based on actual events. Set in 1864 as Sherman's Union Army burns its way across Georgia, a small village of women, left alone after the war has taken all of their sons and husbands, forms their own militia company, with pitchforks and rusty flintlocks, to defend their town. Sherman's men do march into town, and the women must make a stand and defend themselves and their families, like the patriots of 1776. A new classic American story of defending home and family."

More here.

Elites & Intellectuals Are Gullible

"The left can't stand the fact that Palin, like Reagan, isn't one of them.  Like Reagan, she is not an 'intellectual.'  She doesn't share what Thomas Sowell dubbed 'the vision of the anointed' -- progressive elitists' unshakable faith in their grandiose plans for regimenting our lives.  To leftist intellectuals, it's okay to have a president who thinks he visited 57 states, a vice president who has claimed that Franklin Roosevelt went on television to calm the people after the stock market crash of 1929 (no TV yet, and Hoover was president) and a Speaker of the House who has insisted that we must switch from fossil fuels to natural gas.  All ignorance, error, and mental dullness can be forgiven as long as one subscribes to the political catechism, 'The government must control economic activity.'" [And everything else, for that matter.]

More here at the American Thinker.


02 May 2010

Front Porch Pickin' #4

The Grascals perform "Satan Knew My Grandma Well." Don't let the title fool you. A beautiful message for the believer or anyone who has experienced the blessings of a godly grandmother.