31 May 2011

Who's Being Extreme?

*Update - Michael's follow up post consisted of this "analysis":

No comparison

I think I’ve finally figured out why these neo-conservative talk show hosts and bloggers [yours truly] are clueless at interpreting the Founding Fathers. Just look at who they idolize… In 1985, President Ronald Reagan received a unique assembly of foreign visitors at the White House. After welcoming them, the president addressed the press on their behalf. Pointing towards the group he said, “These are the moral equivalent of America’s Founding Fathers.” The Gipper's guests were members of the Afghan Mujahiddin. Today we refer to them as the Taliban.

With all the distortions and unprecedented destruction of our fundamental founding principles being carried out by the current administration, Michael points to Ronald Reagan as an example of being "clueless" about interpreting the Founding Fathers. Yet he continues to ignore the elephant jack-ass in the room. This should remove any doubt regarding Michael's "serious" and "objective" analysis and criticism regarding the Tea Party and conservatives.

Once again (see my previous response here), blogger Michael Aubrecht attempts to take the Tea Party to task for being, as he describes them, "Liars and Conspires" (sic). I think Michael meant conspirer or perhaps conspirator. Anyway, Michael's circular reasoning just doesn't cut it with me. Moreover, in accusing the Tea Party of believing in an "ultra-conservative utopia of American-Exceptionalism", he cites leftist historians and websites - "Alternet" for example, which promotes "social justice." Uh-huh. While Michael seems to have lots of issues with the "ultra-right", as he calls them, he seems to have no problems with the ultra-left.

Michael also takes Glenn Beck and David Barton to task for their "distortions" while referring readers to Jon Stewart's Daily Show for accurate analysis and perspective. Uh-huh.

Regarding the "document" faux pas in the video, I don't believe Barton was specifically referring to Jefferson's writings. There are, in fact, thousands of official federal and state documents which use the phrase, "In the year of our Lord" - referring to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, I have one hanging on my office wall. It is a gubernatorial appointment from 1994. 

And, finally, Michael is really scraping the bottom when he not so subtly suggests that those who might agree with at least some of the perspective of Beck, Barton, et al are Nazis by stating that their perspective and analysis "would have made Joseph Goebbles proud." 

Now who's being extreme?

30 May 2011

Memorial Day & American Exceptionalism

"The people of United States, a nation struggling to regain a sense of optimism and confidence, have, over many years, been told by the elites in American society that their country is one of an ignoble nature and history. That 'American Exceptionalism' is a myth which has precipitated the plunder of the planet and the exploitation of mankind throughout the world."~ Steve McCann


25 May 2011

History's Conservative Curse?

I came across a piece this morning that dovetails nicely with my most recent post regarding academia's leftist bias and how it most definitely influences and skews the work of scholars and historians, despite their loud protests to the contrary. 

Call it history’s conservative curse.
According to a University of Miami study, those historical rankings of American presidents that pop up every year or so are significantly weighted in favor of Democrats, thanks to the liberal leanings of academia. Political science professor Joseph E. Uscinski, one of the study’s authors, said the new analysis shows that the overwhelmingly liberal academic community consistently ranks Republican presidents about 10 spots lower than the public would.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised,” Mr. Uscinski told The Washington Times. “Among the political scientists and historians that I work with, Democrats outnumber Republicans 8 to 1.” (Emphasis mine.)

What is also quite fascinating is that the study also highlights and echoes a point I made in my post - academia is out of step with the views and opinions of most Americans:

What was eye-opening, he said, was the stark difference between the historians’ assessments of Republicans and the grades given by the public.

The study also confirms that the politicization of historical analysis is embraced by those who criticize their philosophical opponents for the very same type of bias. What makes academia's bias so much worse is their deception and their self-proclaimed superiority when it comes to "objective analysis."

So, once again, the facts simply confirm what many already know - that the claim of objectivity and superior historical analysis by many academic historians is bogus and a sham. Though they like to criticize and impugn other perspectives ("celebratory" & "heritage" history, for example), their perspective and analysis is no more legitimate than mine or yours and others who embrace other perspectives.

You can read the article here. You can read the complete study here.

24 May 2011

Why Academia Is Out Of Step With Most Americans

*Update: Be sure and read this follow up post.

A rather well known Civil War historian once took me to task here and on another blog for suggesting that many academics were "Ivory Tower elitists" who are largely out of step with the realities of American life and that leftist ideology was rampant on campus. I won't name him now. No need to embarrass him any more than he's already embarrassed himself--at least for the time being. Unfortunately for those academics still in denial, much of what goes on within the Ivory Towers of academia, along with other educational institutions, can no longer be covered in darkness and hidden from the rest of the world. The internet, Youtube, blogging, phone cameras, and all the other media options now available make it impossible to hide the truth. Nonetheless, some of these folks still act like it's 1970 and believe that "what happens in class, stays in class." Sorry, but those days are over. Case in point is a 2007 study by two credentialed scholars. The study is quite fascinating but simply confirms what most objective observers already knew. The late Dr. Gary A. Tobin and  Aryeh K. Weinberg introduce their research with these words (all emphasis is mine):

"The American university is often described with images of the 'ivory tower': an environment separated from the realities of everyday, ordinary life. Faculty who spend their professional lives within the walls of academia are sometimes characterized as isolated and apart, and by implication, different from the general population."

They then make this observation later in the introduction:

"Faculty, like other Americans, have their own religious stereotypes and prejudices. But the faculty and the public differ dramatically when looking at what prejudices each holds. One of the surprises of the study is the level of negativity faculty showed for Christian fundamentalists and Evangelicals. If not outright prejudice, faculty sentiment about the largest religious group in the American public borders dangerously close. How one chooses to characterize negative feelings among faculty about Evangelical Christians may be in question, but these feelings are indisputably documented in our research." 

And then this most salient point, which is one I make here all the time and which is often followed by some academic objecting and poo-pooing the very notion:

"It is vital to understand the religious identity and behavior of faculty. Their religious beliefs and behaviors are not only relevant to their own teachings and scholarship, but also affect those with whom they interact. 'Faculty attitudes and behaviors are known to have important implications for student development. The actions of faculty both within and outside the classroom impact the learning and development of future teachers, lawyers, physicians and policymakers, not to mention their very own academic successors and the thousands of others whose work affects our daily lives.'"

Here are a few of their rather damning findings:

"The Secular/Liberal Proportion of Faculty Is Much Higher Than the Religious/Conservative Among faculty, secular/liberal is clearly the dominant ideology as compared to religious/conservative."

"Faculty Are Much Less Christian Than the General Public: While 80% of the public self-identify as Christian, only 56% of faculty self-identify in the same way. The drop in Evangelicals among faculty, who are three times more numerous in the general public, largely accounts for the difference."

"Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics Faculty are far less likely to endorse Evangelical Christians expressing their beliefs in American politics."

That makes sense when understanding that:

"Faculty Hold the Most Unfavorable Feelings toward Evangelicals: Just one group elicited high negative feelings among faculty: Only 30% ranked their feelings toward Evangelical Christians as warm/favorable, with only 11% feeling very warm/favorable, the lowest raking among every other religious group, and 53% said that they have cool/unfavorable feelings toward Evangelical Christians. Faculty feelings about Evangelicals are significantly cooler than any other religious group, leading Mormons as the least liked religious group by 20%. These negative feelings are noted across academic disciplines and demographic factors."

"Math, Science and Social Sciences Faculty Are the Least Likely to Believe in God: By academic department, Health and Education had the strongest personal relationship with God, 64% and 62% respectively, followed by Business faculty at 52%. Oppositely, 28% of Science/Math faculty and 23% of Humanities and Social Science faculty each said they do not believe in God."

"Faculty Are Twice as Likely as the General Public to Identify as Liberal Overall, when asked to describe their position on most political issues, 48% of faculty said they are liberal, 31% said they are moderate/ middle of the road, and 17% said they are conservative. Five percent chose not to answer or did not know. Comparatively, 22% of the general population self-identified as liberal, 31% as conservative, and 38% as moderate, a significant difference from the faculty. "

On a separate occasion, another historian and Civil War blogger took me to task for suggesting that the Old Confederacy (region) was the last bastion of conservatism in the United States. I won't name him either at this time. No need to pile on. But even noted Civil War historian David Blight revealed his own frustration (disdain?) for this region of the country when he recently lamented, "the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history." Could one also say "bastion of conservatism?"

Tobin and Aryeh also noted the following in their study: 

"Those Americans living in the Southern region of the United States claimed the strongest personal relationship with God, 75%."

Their research also reveals that there is a correlation between a "strong personal relationship with God" and conservatism. Follow these string of facts to their logical conclusions and think about what we see going on in public schools, government, the media, and popular culture.

Moreover, their research further reveals this leftist bias "is especially true for social sciences and humanities faculty, and even more so for particular disciplines such as sociology." Of course, this includes historians. Given this known bias and the South's history and current political climate, is this part of the reason why many "mainstream" historians like to bash the Confederacy? Is there any possibility, given the information revealed in this study, that there is political motivation behind their incessant bashing, their juvenile "moonlight and magnolia" jokes, their opposition to any honoring of Confederate heroes or heritage? Again, just follow the facts and apply some logic.

This information, as well as these questions, should always be in one's mind when reading history; particularly Civil War history. Perspectives and biases are things we all deal with when we are evaluating information - to one degree or another. I believe most people at least make some attempt to set biases aside. Yet everyone approaches information with a certain worldview, a certain perspective, and what they have already established in their own minds as "truth." This study is, again, just more proof that academia's worldview and perspective is skewed left. I would further add that is often professional historians and academics who have the most difficulty in setting aside their biases. I would also add that since many of these folks have a superiority complex (due to their level of "education"), they are also the ones most blinded of their own biases, i.e., "I'm too smart to be biased."

This study also reveals that historians, academics, educators, and bloggers who continue to deny that anti-American Exceptionalism is not itself a bias and impacting (negatively, I believe) our nation, that leftist ideology is not a problem at all levels of education, and that academia does not have an "elephant in the room" type of problem are quickly losing what little credibility they had remaining. They should be laughed at.

I would recommend readers take the time to read this research. There is much more revealed in it than I can go into here. I will be giving it a "must read" permanent and prominent link here.

23 May 2011

The Founders' Vision - Citizen Cain For President?

Though this is a political post, it is also one which discusses our history and the Founders' vision for our country. So it is germane to the discussion of history, the focus of this blog. When the Founders established the American Republic, it is clear that most of them envisioned a nation that would be governed by "citizen legislators" and executives. Many states still have that model, Virginia being one of them. The salary paid to Virgina's legislators isn't enough to live on so they must come home and work and live under the laws they pass. It is a part-time job. This is a good thing - unlike the United States Congress which often exempts itself from the same laws and regulations it rams down our collective throats - the recent healthcare debacle for example.

Professional politicians, academics, and other members of the ruling class were never meant to rule the common citizenry like Monarchs do serfs. Our Founders detested that model and it was one of the primary reasons they seceded from Great Britain. But that is precisely what we have today. Barack Obama is the quintessential example of this class of ruling elitists - a self-absorbed academic with a five-minute career who has never produced or accomplished anything of real value. Rather he, like the rest of his academic supremacist soul mates, are very good at telling everyone else what to do and how to do it, though most of them have done very little outside of their insulated Utopian cubicles. Very few members of the ruling class have any real world experience; which is why they tend to screw up the real world.

But it now appears that Americans will, for the first time in a long time, have an opportunity to change that and elect a President who rose from humble roots and climbed the corporate ladder through various companies in America, finally becoming CEO of Godfather's Pizza. 

At 31, he joined the Pillsbury Co. and rose to vice president within three years. He then turned his attention to Burger King, a Pillsbury subsidiary at the time, transforming 400 underperforming stores in the Philadelphia area into the best-performing region in the country. Next, he joined Godfather’s Pizza as CEO and president, taking it from the edge of bankruptcy to profitability in 14 months. He and investors eventually bought the pizza chain. (More here.)

His rise to this position was due to his phenomenal track record of success in management: turning companies around and making them profitable. Unlike most members of the ruling class, Cain has a track record of results, not votes, policy positions, or "community organizing." He can point to results rather than theories and position papers.

And, not least among his qualities, he is a native Southerner. Anyone who can genuinely say "Y'all" as he does, will get a serious look from me. ;o) Yesterday, Tea Party favorite Herman Cain officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. While I am not quite ready to endorse Mr. Cain, I am "leaning" that way and will be taking a hard look at him in the days to come. I must admit, I find him to be a very attractive candidate, at least at this point. Before Cain came along, I was not overly impressed with any Republican candidate, though I would prefer any of them to the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One of the things that makes Cain the most politically dangerous candidates to not only his Democrat opponent, but also to the current field of Republicans, is that he seems to truly speak from the heart rather than from scripted advice given by professional pols. Or, as someone else noted, his "give a damn" is broken.  Of course, this is a two-edged sword and could be used against him if he is not careful. But I believe many Americans are ready to forgive an occasional gaffe in exchange for an experienced, mature business executive with fire in their belly for the United States and a proven track record rather than a community organizer who governs like a petulant child.

Moreover, Cain embraces America's exceptionalism, unlike the guilt-ridden, blame-America-first elites who believe its a myth.

Granted, Cain's chances at actually securing his party's nomination are, at this point, a long shot. The same was once said of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Should he pull this off, and I am one who certainly believes it is possible, 2012 will undoubtedly provide us with the most historic and exciting campaign in a century.

Watch his announcement speech given this past Saturday. I don't think he was using a teleprompter. 

19 May 2011

Legislating Morality

"As history attests, men and women of character have a higher probability of doing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.  Virtue is one of those Judeo-Christian values that throw our educated I-can-do-what-I-want-when-I-want-on-your-dime elites into a snit, but it works -- even psychologists tell us that honor correlates with peace and satisfaction." ~ Stuart Schwartz

"If individuals be not influenced by moral principles; it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is, therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice." - Response to George Washington's First Inaugural Address, May 18, 1789

Defining A Generation

In the bleak light of the Depression: Rare colour photographs of the era that defined a generation

My Favorite is below -  Boys fishing in a bayou in Schriever, Louisiana, June, 1940. I think I was born too late. 


17 May 2011

3rd Graders Are Being Taught To Hate Their Country

One of the topics that is germane to any blog which discusses history is education. That is, of course, applicable here. The future of any nation depends, to one degree or another, on how history is transferred from one generation to the next. When I was in grade school, I was taught to love my country and that our economic system allowed the United States to lead the world in its standard of living as well as freedom and liberty. I was not taught to hate my country. Our textbooks did not contain vulgar profanity.

Sadly, this is no longer the case in the United States, at least not in all parts of the country. Over the years I've been blogging here, I've had academics and various persons involved in education mock my contention that radical, leftist ideology was being taught at all levels of education in the United States. I've also pointed out that these individuals are either:

                               1. Ignorant fools.
                               2. Complicit liars.

Once again, I'd like to share with readers more "anecdotal" evidence that my concerns are legitimate and that those who would deny this are . . . see 1 and 2 above.

From a book being used in Arizona, children as young as those in the third grade are reading:

“We have to destroy capitalism and we have to help 5/6 of the world to destroy capitalism in order to equal all peoples’ lives. . . The Declaration of Independence states that we the people have the right to revolution…the right to overrule the government…Any country based on capitalism is based on greed.”

Fomenting hatred and revolution to third graders. Quite a lot to swallow in between peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They are also being read the "F" word in class as well as "S***". Recently, at a public school board meeting in AZ, a concerned parent spoke of her concerns about this particular book. She was admonished by one of the board members to refrain from using that type of language because there were "young people" in the room. Yeah, I know. 

A year or so ago, the academic world got their shorts all knotted up over the Texas text book issue because of, ostensibly, "right wing" ideology in history books. Let's just see how many of those same academics are concerned about this story. I predict not one.

This story illustrates the ultimate fruit that is borne of those who embrace an "anti-American Exceptionalism" position in teaching history. I'm not going to embed the video which was recorded at the board meeting here due to the language, but the source for this story is here

16 May 2011

How Can Universities Teach History Objectively?

Especially when their political bias is so evident. A number of academic history bloggers have taken me to task for suggesting universities lean left (Yeah, I know - what planet are they living on?) Here's anecdotal evidence number -- uh, I've lost count -- that academia's leftward bias is obvious to all but the complicit.

In fact, some professors can never set aside their biases and liberal agenda; not even for the benefit of graduating seniors. Commencement is high time to impart wisdom about free-market principles, an understanding of America’s role in the world, and to send students off with the capacity to examine and consider varying ideologies. Instead, liberal administrators deny their students any chance of hearing any other ideology except for their own. Just take a look at who is on our speaker survey and who is missing from the list, and it all becomes very obvious.

Story here.

Decoded Drawing Winner

Mr. Stephen McGehee is the winner of our drawing for the Season One "Decoded" DVD. Stephen, please send me your mailing address in a private email. You can use either email address listed here on the blog. Thanks to the folks at A & E for providing me a copy of the DVD to review as well as one to offer for the giveaway.

Upcoming Posts

Recent days have been rather hectic, but I've got several interesting posts in the works:

  1. Another video of my relic hunting adventures. This one is from my recent 3 day excursion near Brandy Station in Culpeper at the Diggin' in Virginia invitational hunt.
  2. An interview with Civil War historian and author, Scott Patchan.
  3. A review of Colonel Keith Gibson's (of VMI) book.
  4. A tribute to my 85 year old father-in-law who passed away last week.
Others in the works as well . . . lots going on. 

14 May 2011

Metal Detecting Post #34 - Old Virginia Diggers - Episode 3

After struggling with various video editing programs, I've finally decided to use Windows Live Movie Maker and recently produced another short video about some of my recent metal detecting/relic hunting adventures. Below is my most recent effort. I have three other videos in various stages of production - including the long promised tour of my office. I am learning as I go along so be patient with me. I'm confident quality will improve with experience.

You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me

*Update: After a reader pointed out that Michael had misspelled "Voltaire" as "Votlair", while he simultaneously mocked a Tea Party protester for misspelling "Benjamin" as "Benjamine", Michael edited his post and corrected his spelling error. However, he kept his mocking comment of the TP protester.

"The Founding Fathers could only be defined today as being 'progressives.'" ~ Michael Aubrecht

Actually, "radical" would be more accurate. Michael Aubrecht seems to be attempting to use the word "progressive" in a general or generic way here while simultaneously insunuating some philosophical kinship to the modern progressive movement. 

Talk about twisting history. Good Lord. And, though the person holding the sign may have misspelled Franklin's name, he's right - if you apply the Founder's writings, political philosophies, etc in today's political environment, they most certainly would be labeled right wing extremists. That is the point of the sign, and it is spot on. As Professor Gordon Wood has noted

"The Tea Partiers are certainly not scholars, but their emotional instincts about the Revolution they are trying to remember on behalf of their cause may be more accurate than [Jill] Lepore is willing to grant."

And I would add, more accurate than Michael is willing to grant.

Blogger Problems Update

Blogger has restored my missing posts, but apparently, the related comments were lost. The recent post on the VMI Cadets' march and the response to Michael Aubrecht's post regarding our Nation's Christian foundations are the only two posts that I believe were affected. Readers are welcome to resubmit any comments that were deleted by Blogger.

Also, if no one objects, I'm going to just do a drawing for the Decoded give away instead of taking a poll on the comments.

13 May 2011

Guest Post By Daniel N. Rolph, PhD

Dr. Rolph, who is an "ecquaintance" of mine, and who has guest-posted here before, has given me permission to cross post the piece below. The piece discusses instances of Bibles stopping bullets and saving the lives of soldiers. I actually know someone who experienced this in Iraq. Dan lives and works in Pennsylvania and is a historian and Head of Reference Services at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He also teaches part-time and is the author of several books including To Shoot, Burn and Hang": Folk-history From a Kentucky Mountain Family and Community and My Brother's Keeper - Union and Confederate Soldiers' Acts of Mercy During the Civil War, which I've read and can enthusiastically recommend. 

Coincidences or Acts of Divine Intervention? Accounts of the Bible Saving Soldiers on the Battlefield ~

See link here.
Miraculous things have happened over time, in regard to individuals surviving catastrophic weather events, automobile accidents, ship-wrecks, or horrendous conditions on a battlefield. Some term these occurences simply as coincidences, or the result of luck, while other individuals sincerely believe that the 'Hand of Providence,' or some Heavenly power, literally reached out and 'snatched' them from the proverbial 'jaws of death,' when they should have died or been killed like many others.

During the famous Battle of Chapultepec, fought during the Mexican-American War on September 13, 1847 in Mexico, Lt. John Henry Jackson, a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, serving in the Ninth Infantry, USA regular forces, was shot in the chest. However, the bullet or ball, according to an account published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, for November 25, 1847, glanced off, then "whizzed upon the ground for a great distance, and must have killed him upon the spot, but for a fortunate incident--he carried in his vest pocket a small copy of the Bible, a precious volume, the gift of his sister, just before leaving his New England home. The ball struck the book and made a deep hole in it, but it proved as good a breastwork on the occasion as the cotton bags did at New Orleans to the troops of Gen. Jackson, and saved the life of the owner. Thus, the sister, in the presentation of this sacred and timely token of affection, has been the means of saving the life of a brother, in one of the bloodiest battle fields in the valley of Mexico... Both the book and the ball...made a deep impression upon each other, at the first introduction, and will probably not soon part company."

John Henry Jackson's commanding officer, Col. Trueman Bishop Ransom from Vermont, would die an heroic death during the same Chapultepec battle, while Jackson, like other Mexican War veterans, would later serve in the American Civil War, as a Lt. Col. of the Third Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. During this conflict he was wounded during the siege of 'Ft. Wagner, South Carolina' in July of 1863, then later discharged from military service, but did not pass away until April 10, 1890 at Boston, Massachusetts.

During WWI, a nineteen year old soldier from New Castle, Pennsylvania, William R. Wilson, was serving in Europe when he was shot by enemy fire. As the Associated Press article stated, once his comrades carried him off the battlefield they found, "that he was suffering only from a flesh wound in the breast, thanks to his Bible and the trench mirror, through which the bullet passed." Wilson normally carried his Bible "in his left breast pocket," which had "deflected a German sharpshooter's bullet from his heart." He was also shot in the arm. Wilson commented how he was going to, "present the Bible to the United States as soon as he is discharged from the hospital."

Since this year marks the 150th Anniversary or 'Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War,' it is from our nation's most famous internal conflict, that we can read numerous recorded accounts, of soldiers being saved by their 'Testaments' or Bibles.

According to an article in the Philadelphia paper, Forney's War Press, for November 8, 1862, the American Bible Society and other auxiliary organizations, had been responsible for the printing and distribution of over 175,000 volumes (Bibles or Testaments), stating how "a large portion of these books are distributed in the army, among paroled and rebel prisoners, the sick and wounded in hospitals, and among the colored people."

The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin recorded an account of Captain Eli Daugherty (or Dougherty), of Co. 'K,' 93rd PA Regiment of Infantry, who was wounded during the 'Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia,' on May 31, 1862. He was "struck but escaped in a most singular manner. He had upon his person a gold watch and a Bible. The watch was shattered, and the ball passed nearly through the Bible, inflicting only a slight wound, leaving its mark on this passage, "I charge thee, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at his appearing, and his kingdom, preach the word." The newspaper account went on to suggest that Capt. Daugherty was a 'chivalrous' person, since the sacred book of scriptures had been given to Capt. Daugherty "by a Lady, and his wearing it next to his heart is undoubtedly the cause of that organ continuing to beat to day."

The Confederate or 'Rebel' forces weren't immune to such accounts as the above, since a North Carolinian private, George P. Piner, from Carteret County, of Co. 'A,' Twenty-Seventh North Carolina Infantry, had something similar happen to him at the 'Battle of Bristoe Station, Virginia,' on October 14th, 1863. He went into the engagement, "with a small Testament in his breast pocket. A ball struck the book, and penetrated as far as the Fifth Chapter of Matthew, twenty-first and twenty-second verses...The verses read:

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgement and who-soever is angry with his brother withoust cause shall be in danger of judgement." It was related of this incident and verses, that "that Yankee ball was like the Devil---it had to turn its course when met by scriptural opposition."
Evidently Private Piner wasn't carrying his Testament later in the War, for he was "mortally wounded in the head" at the 'Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, on June 3, 1864.

Even the authoritative, multi-volume account of the Civil War, as reported by its officers, or the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. XII, recorded that at the 'Battle of Kernstown, Virginia,' (March 3, 1862), a Captain J.P. Thom, of the First Battalion, Virginia Infantry, Co. 'C,' "proceeded with the men under his command...that the firing on both sides was exceedingly hot...that soon after...he received a ball against his left breast, which was prevented from penetrating his body by a small copy of the New Testament in a pocket of his shirt, and one through the fleshy part of the palm of his right hand, and fell...." (p.407)

Mr. George Hay Stuart of the U.S. Christian Commission, gave examples after the Civil War of various soldiers being saved by the Testament like those accounts recorded above. He added how, "Some wives have them with the blood-stains on the leaves. I saw one where the ball had stopped at a verse that struck the man, and which proved the means of his conversion. He was killed afterward, but his wife preserved the Testament. I said to her, 'I would like to own that Testament---What will you take for it?' 'Oh,' she said, 'There isn't gold enough in the country to buy it from me." (See, Christianity in the War, (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen, and Haffelfinger, 1872: 378-379).

Suffice it to say, that there are hundreds of recorded accounts such as those mentioned above, dating from the Civil War era, many of which may be found in the collections of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

Blogger Problems

Blogger has been experiencing some technical difficulties since yesterday. Two of my posts have completely disappeared, along with a couple of comments pending approval. Sorry, but I have no control over this. They've stated that the old posts will eventually be back up. We'll see.

12 May 2011

VMI Cadets March To New Market - Again

"The march commemorates the 1864 march made by VMI Corps of Cadets to the Battle of New Market and will raise money for the New Market Battlefield."

More here.

11 May 2011

Our Christian Founding Cannot Be Denied

Fellow blogger, Michael Aubrecht has, once again, posted his last post on the "Was America Founded As A Christian Nation" debate. In his latest post, he refers to the work of John Fea and goes on about how it is primarily conservatives who use history to promote their agenda and who are, ostensbily, twisting facts and who are guilty of presentism. And, once again, Michael's comments and criticisms, which he claims are objective and "academic" while those who would disagree with him are "historical fundamentalists" (Isn't that clever?) are, in my opinion, anything but objective.

Michael might want to comment on some things that Fea said in a recent interview about Faith and Politics and our Founding principles. Here are some examples, all emphasis is mine. Bracketed comments are mine:

"Yes, the Christian Right’s use of religion is restrictive, particularly on abortion. And yes, the religious left is more inclusive about the role religion plays in American life, especially in the way that it promotes religion as a means of *social justice to provide an opportunity for everyone—especially the poor—to rise from various forms of oppression."

Translation: Right hates, Left loves. *Where have we heard that term before? No agenda here, move along.


"This sort of civic humanism or community building has always been present in American history, but so has the belief in individual rights. Over the last three or four decades the Democratic Party has been the party of *individual rights. It is still the party of individual rights, but if I understand the rhetoric of the [Democratic] Party’s presidential candidates, there is a deliberate attempt to move a bit more toward the community/sacrifice/civic responsibility side. Religious faith is a natural ally of this kind of agenda."

Translation: Marrying religion to the Democratic Party politics is a good thing. *(Actually, it would be much more accurate to state that, over the last three or four decades the Democratic Party has been the party of group rights. Big difference.)

But, marrying religion and politics is not a good thing for the Republican Party:

"The Christian Right believes that certain moral absolutes trump individual rights. [Don't we all believe that to some exent - theft for example?] On the abortion issue (to stick with this example) they believe that there must be a limit to the celebration of individual rights, in this case a woman’s right to choose. The historic analogy is far from perfect, but conservatives like to compare their view on abortion to the decision of 19th century abolitionists to fight slavery because it was a moral wrong that trumped the rights of southern plantation owners to hold slaves, even if that right was afforded to them under the Constitution."

Two responses on this just for thought . . . does a "woman's right to choose" trump the right to life of the unborn? Fea evidently gives no thought to that consideration. And the analogy is not far from perfect. Many of those who were interested in perpetuating slavery saw their slaves as less than human as those who would argue a "fetus" is less than human and, thus, should not be afforded equal protection under the law. The arguments are very similar which is probably why Fea offered no evidence as to why he doesn't think they are. 


". . . when I read the writings of the Founders, I cannot deny the fact that they were very interested in the role that religion would play in the future of the republic. I do think, however, that they were concerned with the way people of all faiths might contribute to the republic, and not just Christians. It is important to remember that the founders were statesmen trying to build a nation. They were not theologians."

My questions:

  • Why would Fea want to deny it? Do we have a Freudian slip here? Kinda hard to deny what's obvious, though some are making a rather gallant, albeit foolish, attempt.
  • And just which religion were the Founders referring to?
  • Actually, some of the Founders were theologians or, at the very least, had studied theology. I wonder if Mr. Fea has ever heard of John Witherspoon? Is Mr. Fea not aware that King George referred to the American Revolution as the "Presbyterian Parson's Rebellion?"

Mr. Fea continues:

"I think that there are many Americans who are sympathetic with what Christian Right views on the family, limited abortions, traditional marriage, etc, but appealing to the founding does not seem to be the best or most accurate way to argue on this front. In other words, one would be hard pressed to make the argument that America was founded as a Christian nation."

Actually, what bothers those on the left [I don't know Fea's politics, I can only respond to what he's saying here] is that quoting the Founders is so devastating to their philosophy of government and to the left's goals, they have no choice but to try to discredit our Judeo-Christian founding principles. They're losing the argument. Facts are stubborn things.

And then we have this from Mr. Fea:

"They believed that a republic was not only a particular form of government, but it was a sort of moral community that would only survive when people would be civic-minded and give something up for the greater good of the national community. Clinton, Edwards, and especially Obama seem to get this. They are suggesting that religious people are more likely than most to design, promote, and contribute to programs and policies concerned with the greater good of the republic. This kind of rhetoric—and that is really what it is at this point—sounds very much like the Founders."

I wonder if he actually said that with a straight face. Clinton and Edwards "getting" the concept of a "moral community?" Gag me with a spoon. These three socialists sounding like the Founders?! I'm sorry, but "spreading the wealth around" sounds more to me like Marx than Madison. We have now entered parallel universe territory.

And then this gem:

". . . as I noted in my answer to the previous question, the Democrats seem to have seized the historical high ground here." 

Ahhh, I get it. Thanks for the clarification. But let's not forget, only these sophisticated "objective" and "apolitical" academics are able to interpret history for the rest of us serfs. When a non-academic reads the writing of our Founding Fathers and even Supreme Court rulings which support the Christian founding position, that person simply does not have the intelligence nor the ability to lay aside their agenda - as do these "smarter than the rest of us", pure, objective academics are able to do. And, of course, it is only Tea Partiers, Republicans and Conservatives who are biased and political. It is those on the left and within the Democrat Party who have "seized the historical high ground." Uh-huh.

The truth is that one of the primary difference in the two camps, generally, is that those who hold to a traditionalist view of history do not attempt to hide their perspective and the way they approach the study of history. Those who hold the opposite position most often pretend to be objective and unbiased and purely intellectual in their approach, accusing those on the other side of emotionalism, blah, blah, blah. Their rather transparent (and false) self-proclaimed superiority is what damns their position the most. Arrogance and snobbishness turns off the vast majority of those they claim they're trying to convince. The second difference between the two camps is that only one of them is right. The historical evidence for that claim is overwhelming and anyone can figure that one out by simply reading our founding documents and the writings and speeches of the Founders. But it serves the agenda of those in the ruling class to make non-academics believe that the historical evidence is just too complicated and intricate for them to understand. Horse manure. Despite what the annointed ones would have you believe, this ain't brain surgery.

You can read Michael's recent post here. You can read John Fea's complete interview here.

Lost Confederate Gold In My Hometown?

10 May 2011

Secession Sentiments In Arizona

Liberals in southern Arizona seek to form new state:

"A long-simmering movement by liberal stalwarts in southern Arizona to break away from the rest of the largely conservative state is at a boiling point as secession backers press to bring their longshot ambition to the forefront of Arizona politics. A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two."

There is a similar divide here in Virginia. The "Golden Crescent", which takes in mostly Northern Virginia, Richmond and Tidewater, is left of center while the remainder of the Commonwealth is rather conservative, depsite what you'll hear in the press and from those whose roots don't go deep enough in Virginia to know any better.

Hmmm . . . let's see . . . West Virginia, East Virginia, and Middle [normal] Virgina? ;o)

Story here.

09 May 2011

Faulkner At The University Of Virginia

"For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.
" ~ William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust

08 May 2011

Metal Detecting Post #33 - 18th Century Recovery

I had previously posted about this ax head here. As I noted in that post . . . "I did some research using Eric Sloane's Museum of Early American Tools and it looks like it could be pre-Revolutionary, based on one of his sketches. I've contacted the Museum of Frontier Culture to see if they might be able to assist me in dating the piece. Hopefully, I'll get a response soon."

Well, I did get a response. I was contacted by Mr. David K. Puckett who is Curator of Collections for the Frontier Culture Museum. Mr. Puckett was kind enough to agree to meet me one morning last week to take a look at my ax head, which was recovered on a farm once owned by Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff and Chaplain, Robert Lewis Dabney. After carefully examining the ax head, Mr. Puckett said that the cutting blade was missing or had broken off and that it appeared the piece had also been used as a hammer; not an uncommon thing. He could not, with absolute 100% certainty date the tool, but said that he was relatively sure that the ax head was 18th century and most likely pre-Revolutionary--just as I had thought it might be. I was quite delighted! Finding, recovering, saving, and preserving a piece of American history is very satisfying. 

06 May 2011

Decoded - Season One Giveaway

The folks at A & E home entertainment recently contacted me about reviewing Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Season One.I agreed and they also sent me a copy for a give away here on my blog.

Here's how Amazon describes the series:

Best-selling author Brad Meltzer loves a good mystery. A history enthusiast known for his immaculate research, he has studied and written about some of America s most revered institutions and documents. But sometimes, he uncovers unverifiable stories that keep him awake at night. Is there another hidden message buried in the Statue of Liberty? What happened to the White House cornerstone that s been missing for two centuries? Could it be true that John Wilkes Booth lived for 40 years after his presumed death under an assumed identity?

In the new 10-part series BRAD MELTZER S DECODED, Meltzer scours secret clues, symbols and conspiracy theories to unravel some of society s most provocative enigmas. And the deeper he digs into the past, the more we learn about our future.

Together with a team of experts Buddy Levy, a professor and journalist who assumes there is always more than meets the eye; Christine McKinley, a mechanical engineer who believes only what she can prove; and Scott Rolle, a trial lawyer who is skeptical by nature Meltzer hunts for answers to questions that have perplexed us for centuries yet have never been fully investigated.

I've not watched the complete, History Channel produced, 3 disc DVD yet, but I did watch two episodes last night. The first one was about the "missing" White House cornerstone. I won't ruin it for you, but the show follows the investigators as they try to solve the mystery which involves George Washington and Freemasonry. The other episode I watched was one about Confederate gold. This show featured Bob Brewer (whose book I've read), and his quest for the Confederate Treasury's missing gold; thought by some to be hidden in a Danville, Virginia cemetery.

As I've always been fascinated by "history mysteries" and treasure hunting (even more so since I've started metal detecting), I found both of these episodes quite interesting and entertaining. A bit overplayed at parts, but worth the time to watch nonetheless. I'm really looking forward to watching the rest of the DVD set. So, based on what I've seen thus far, I'd give the show a definite thumbs up. One thing I found particularly refreshing in the two episodes I viewed, was the absence of any PC garbage, moralizing, or politicization of the subject matter. Here's a list of the shows in season one:

Disc 1:
The White House / Secret Presidential Codes / Statue Of Liberty / The Lincoln Assassination
Disc 2:
Confederate Gold / D.B. Cooper / 2012 / The President's Inner Circle
Disc 3:
Secret Societies / Apocalypse In Georgia

Now, for the giveaway, valued at $25. Please submit a comment on this post answering the following question:
What mystery in American history do you find most intriguing and why?

The submission period will run for 72 hours - through Monday night at 6:00 PM. I will narrow the responses down to two, and then allow readers to vote between those two for our winner. Please invite friends and family to participate.

Tea Party Continues To Win The Political Debate

And why shouldn't they? They're right. (In most cases).

"Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters think the Tea Party movement is good for the country, consistent with findings since May 2010. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree and say the grassroots, small government movement is bad for America. Sixteen percent (16%) say neither." ~ Rasmussen

05 May 2011

War On The Home Front

Click on image to enlarge and read details.

Memorial Day Service

Confederate Memorial Day Service to be held Sunday, 29 May 2011 at Old Warrenton Cemetery

WARRENTON, VA – The annual Memorial Day observance at the Confederate War Memorial at the Old Warrenton Cemetery in Warrenton, Virginia, will be held Sunday May 29th at 2:00 PM. The memorial observance is open to the public and is co-hosted by the Black Horse Camp #780, Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans; and the Black Horse Chapter #9, Virginia Division United Daughters of the Confederacy. The public is encouraged to participate in this very special annual observance which includes Color Guard members; rifle volleys by the 4th Virginia Cavalry, Company H, “The Black Horse Troop;” and Striblings Battery, who will fire three artillery volleys from their 12-pound Napoleon cannon. Live performance of period music will also pay tribute to Virginia’s fallen defenders.

William M. Wilson, Ph.D, distinguished scholar and author, will deliver the 2011 Memorial Observance keynote address, "The Virtues of Remembering and Mourning."

Dr. Wilson is the Dean of Honors Students at the University of Virginia, and serves as a Professor of Religious Studies. He is the winner of one the University’s highest distinctions, the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award for teaching and selfless service.

For more information, contact: David Goetz at mosbyman@infionline.net 

03 May 2011

Missing The Tea Party

"So-called professionals in politics, business, and media have completely failed to comprehend the new populism and have dismissed it as marginal and extreme. The authors explore the broad-based nature of the new populist movement and explain how it is reshaping American politics—whether politicians and elite journalists like it or not. The Tea Party movement is not a flash in the pan,as many have assumed. Nor is it a movement of racist rednecks and ignorant boobs, as its detractors have crudely suggested. To the contrary, it is an authentic grassroots movement of concerned American citizens demanding to be heard by an out-of-touch political establishment. Their concerns are real and their issues are legitimate, the authors maintain; moreover, the new populism is here to stay, and it has already changed our politics for the better." ~ Amazon

The State Became The Church

There are some who simply can't seem to let historical facts speak for themselves. While some aspects of our history remain (and probably always will) open to interpretation, others are quite evident and beyond debate. On 4 June 1998, the Library of Congress opened an exhibition titled, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic. Ironically enough (at least to some), the exhibit opened in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building. The curator of the exhibition was (is?) James H. Hutson, who is also the author of a companion text by the same title. The following is taken from Dr. Hutson's preface. The bracketed comments are mine:

The overall picture that emerges from the exhibition will not surprise students of the Founding period. [If only that part were true]. George Washington proclaimed in his Farewell Address in 1796 that religion [Which religion would you suppose Washington was speaking of?], as the source of morality, was "a necessary spring of popular government." Tocqueville observed in 1835 in Democracy in America that Americans believed religion to be "indispensable to the maintenance of republican government," and to the flourishing of the unique civil society that--somewhat to his surprise-- was making democracy work in a large country. How, or if, religion was to be encouraged by the state and whether the health of religion was to be left entirely to private endeavors were difficult questions which confronted the Founders, and which the present exhibition seeks to explore.

Viewers may be surprised by the evidence presented in the exhibition of the extent to which federal facilities were placed at the disposal of religion after the Founders moved the government to Washington in 1800. Based on extensive research, the curator has stated, with what appears to be ample justification, that on Sundays during the first years in Washington "the state became the church." Perhaps more surprising still is the enthusiasm with which Thomas Jefferson supported this development.  (Emphasis mine)

This text, and the exhibit, is not the ranting of Glenn Beck or some Tea Party spokesman (nor is it the ludicrous raving of an ACLU attorney or a leftist academic). This is the Library of Congress. For "scholars" and pseudo-historians to suggest that the Founders did not intend to build a constitutional republic supported by Judeo-Christian principles is so outrageous as to be embarrassing. It reveals either a gross ignorance and misunderstanding of the easily accessible facts or a deliberate attempt to rewrite history.

02 May 2011

The First Annual Lynchburg, VA Civil War Gun and Relic Show

Presented by The National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum and The Garland – Rodes Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #409

The Shilling Center,
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Friday, May 20, 2011 – 12pm-7pm, Dealer Setup
Saturday, May 21, 2011 – 8am-9am, Dealer Setup
9am-5pm, Open to Public

Featuring: Civil War Artifacts, Relics, Memorabilia, Books, Art, Weapons, and much, much more

Special Feature: Bring a personal heirloom for a free appraisal

$5.00 per person
$3.00 all students with ID
12 and under free

For More Information Contact:
Exhibitor’s – Rusty Hicks – (434)944-2304 or rwhickscpa@aol.com
All other – Kenny Rowlette – (434)841-6235 or kgrowlette@liberty.edu

For Application Visit: www.garland-rodes.com

Please consider attending if you live in the area. I plan on being there.