30 November 2011

Stonewall Jackson's Prayer Oak Stolen

*UPDATE: Not stolen after all. Story here.

The famous oak tree was toppled by high winds this past June. Now, thieves have stolen the "remains."

"A 350-year-old oak known as the Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree was reported stolen Tuesday, the Augusta County Sheriff's Office said."

The owner had donated the tree from which items were to be crafted and sold, with the funds being donated to the Wounder Warriors project.

I'm curious as to why someone would steal it though. They can't sell it without being caught. Perhaps some ole boy is, as I type this, warming his feet by a log fire. Oh, perish the thought. Let's all pray the thief/thieves get caught.

Fellow CW blogger Robert Moore gives a good summation of how the tree came to be known as "Jackson's Prayer Tree" here.

More here.

The Glorious Truths Of Our Founding

A high school government teaches analyzes President Obama's Thanksgiving message:

. . . it explains why the president seems so uncomfortable and confused when asked about American exceptionalism.  It explains why he obstinately omits reference to the Creator God as the source of man's rights when quoting from the American Declaration of Independence.  It explains why he frequently seems ashamed of American preeminence, feeling obligated to bow before foreign leaders or apologize profusely for our national sins -- real or imagined.  It explains both a foreign and a domestic policy designed to relegate America to the role of world participant rather than world leader.

It also explains why many academic historians, along with the enemies of American Exceptionalism, believe with child-like faith that he's the messiah. Read the complete article here.

28 November 2011

Metal Detecting Post #56 - Indian Artifact

Back in September, I was metal detecting an old farmstead here in the Valley that dates to the 1740's. This farm has  two large springs on it. I was working an area around one of the springs, but not finding anything of interest. But in one of the holes I dug, I pulled out an unusual looking stone. At first, I thought it was a chunk of old concrete and almost tossed it. But as I looked at it closer, I noticed it was perfectly symmetrical. So I've held on to it until I could get someone who might know something about Indian artifacts to look at it for me. The Shenandoah Valley was once a very fertile hunting ground for a number of tribes. On Saturday, I showed this the stone to John Huffer. John is somewhat of a local legend and has been relic hunting for more than 50 years. He has an extensive collection of CW artifacts and one of the largest and best documented collection of Native American artifacts in Virginia. He's donated much of that collection to the Waynesboro (VA) Heritage Foundation where they have the collection on display. Anyway, John immediately identified the stone as a "scraper" - most commonly used by Indian women to scrape animal hides. His educated guess is that its probably 2000 - 3000 years old.


What Do You Know About Virginia?

Take the quiz. Honor Code:  No Googling.

Click here:How Virginian Are You?

Come back here with comments and questions. 

27 November 2011

"Unlike The President, I Study American History"

This is pretty funny - 

"I already said that if he wants to use a teleprompter, then it would be fine with me. It has to be fair. If you [were] to defend ObamaCare, wouldn't you want a teleprompter?" 

24 November 2011

Institutional Academia, The Tea Party & Occupy Wall Street

Academia, via government, has become so aggrandized that it assumes the right to direct all human arguments. Citizens are to become the obedient students of a more knowing and politically correct class of elites. Washington's adversarial lawyer-politicians, like neo-monarchists of a new American Royal Academy, have been deployed as warring vassals to seize power and wealth with legislative, judicial, and now presidential authority.  ~ John Kelly

As is so often the case these days, common sense, average Americans have proven to be much more astute at analyzing facts and applying them than are the high priests of academia and other political hacks posing as historians. The Tea Party movement, made up of primarily middle-class Americans fed up with Washington's bloated, over-spending, over-reaching nannyism rose to prominence soon after Rick Santelli spontaneously went off on national television with a rant about the bail outs and the government's first "stimulus." Santelli's spontaneous reference to a Tea Party was the spark that lit the fuze. Now comes the left's AstroTurf response to the Tea Party (TP) - Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

Let's contrast the two movements. Both movements are angry--and rightfully so--at the current state of affairs (brought about by politicians and ruling class elites in academia) in the United States. But that is where the similarities end. The TP, generally well-behaved, working-class, flag-waving, patriotic Americans, were protesting the government. Their goals and list of grievances are supported by a majority of Americans. Yet they were condemned by most academic historians, history bloggers, leftists, and elitists who made all kinds of unsubstantiated and false charges of potential violence and racism against them. The mainstream media also coined the "tea-bagger" phrase (a crude, juvenile, gutter-level reference to a sexual act) in an attempt to disparage the movement. The media, along with their pals in academia and their masters in government, tried to paint the TP as "out of the mainstream", blah, blah, blah. Actually, they were simply projecting for it is they who are actually out of the mainstream.

The OWS crowd, in contrast, has focused most of their anger and protests on corporations and financial institutions. Moreover, as a recent article at the American Thinker noted, the OWS folks, for the most part, are the ones who seem to be motivated by "greed and hatred": "Pay my bills" and "Eat the rich." Greed and hatred - precisely what the left constantly accuses the TP of. Again, they're projecting.

Furthermore, unlike the TP, there is a mountain of substantiated evidence that the OWS is anything but mainstream, despite what a recent blogger said here in some comments. This same blogger was hyper-critical of the TP. No need to name him, he's just following the lead of other non-thinking, agenda-driven "historians."

 A recent USA Today poll showed that 64% of Americans blame the federal government for the poor economy while only 30% blame financial institutions. This is further evidence that the "mainstream" supports the goals and philosophy of the TP, not OWS.  

As I've already pointed out, the OWS is supported by the American Nazi Party and the Communist USA Party. The movement is also rife with anti-semitism and there have been numerous incidents of crime and violence including drug use and dealing, throwing Molotov cocktails, murders, rapes and increased crime rates wherever the OWS crowd happens to congregate. You can follow their ever-growing rap sheet here which includes, by the way, defecating on a police car. (Funny, no such rap sheet for the TP exists.) Ah yes, gotta love pooping on the cop cars - certainly a mainstream activity if I ever heard of one. Yet hardly a peep from academia and the TP critics. Hypocrites.

Now what you'll also hear from the pseudo-historians is that the TP ostensibly used bad history to support their cause and the OWS folks aren't doing that. That's nothing more than a cover for academia's hatred of the TP's politics. For example, you have some of the protestors  (including communists) claiming America's founding principles for support. We also have historians suggesting that the OWS crowd is "channeling Thomas Jefferson." And we have former Clintonista, John Podesta claiming that the "Constitution is inherently progressive" and claims the founders were "radicals." Yes, they were certainly radical - radically anti-abusive government; not radically pro big government as modern progressives are. Talk about twisting history! We have others evidently channeling the Founding Fathers and suggesting that they would "be standing on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement." Perhaps the funniest perversion is the OWS folks comparing their winter vagrancy to Valley Forge. More twisting of history and getting the facts wrong by the OWS soul-mates. But isn't it quite instructive that the "objective historians" who were so critical of the Tea Party ONLY because they were using history to promote their agenda, obediently zip their lips over the OWS vagrants and their history fantasies. Once again, institutional academia's actions reveals the truth.

Tim Slagle over at BigGovernment.com further distinguishes the two movements and their base political philosophies. He very succinctly puts it all into a historical context:

This explains why there is such a vast difference between the two. The Occupy movement is not only mostly Democrat; it is also democratic. Likewise, the Tea Parties are both a republic and Republican. They are microcosms of the political philosophies they each represent. Tea parties are controlled by the rule of law and are planned in advance. They acquire proper permits, rent PA systems, Porti-Potties, and Tents. When they’re over, people pick up the trash and go home. Occupy is famous for creepy chanting after every speaker finishes a sentence and a guy relieving himself against the side of a police car.  Some of the Occupy residents have, ironically, used the facilities of McDonalds and Starbucks and even took ironic shelter from the rain in a Bank of America ATM kiosk (I’m sure the irony is lost on them, though).  They loudly proclaim that “this is what Democracy looks like!” Constitutional author James Madison would agree. In Federalist # 10 he wrote: “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.“
Slagle concludes: "We are certainly in trouble if these people [the OWS crowd] get hold of a guillotine." Indeed.

But again, I ask: Where, pray tell, is the objective criticism from academia in regards to the OWS-related history twisting? No where. Why? They're complicit at best, supportive at worst. Not that they don't have a right to support the movement, just that they're less than honest in hiding behind their "objectivity" in doing so. Of course, they're also proven themselves wrong on most of the issues being discussed.

But the majority of the American people, in this case, happens to be right. They agree with the basic goals of the TP. Academia and the rest of the ruling class is wrong - as usual. As former Clinton pollster, Douglas Shoen recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

The Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people . . . The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies . . . it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda. [You can read the rest of Shoen's piece here.] 

Moreover, if the OWS folks want to "eat the rich", they should move the best feeding would be: The beltway and areas surrounding DC - where most federal employees work and live.

Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show . . . “There’s a gap that’s isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country . . . They just get more and more out of touch.” [Source.]

This proves that all the Marxist influenced talk about the disparity of wealth is actually being directed at the wrong crowd. Again, the TP is right, institutional academia is wrong. There is so much more that could be said about the OWS movement and its philosophical footsie playing with the extreme, out of touch ideas that are entrenched in institutional academia. Suffice it to say that the facts surrounding these two distinct movements and how academia has responded to each them--rejecting the traditional Americanism viewpoint while embracing the extremist, lawless one--are simply more evidence that institutional academia is on the wrong side of history and is not to be trusted. The masks are off and the mainstream knows it.

22 November 2011

Does George Washington Inspire You?

"Through these stories you’ll not only learn our real history (and how it applies to today), you’ll also see how the media and others have distorted our view of it. It’s ironic that the best-known fact about George Washington—that he chopped down a cherry tree—is a complete lie. It’s even more ironic when you consider that a lie was thought necessary to prove he could not tell one." ~ Amazon

21 November 2011

The Parallel Universes Of Historical Experience

I've written often here of "parallel universes"; manifested frequently in historical perspectives and their influence on our lives. John Howard at the American Thinker has taken that notion and written an extremely insightful piece about the root of these competing perspectives. Howard uses the competing perspectives of Plato and Aristotle to illustrate. These competing viewpoints have been manifested in other historical figures as well - Marx and Burke for example (actually, I think it goes even deeper, back to the Garden of Eden, but that's for another post), but Howard's essay provides ample fodder for reflection and discussion.

One of the things that has continued to amaze me is how historians who seem to be mostly influenced by Plato's (and a statist/Marxist) philosophy, can ignore the overwhelming mountain of evidence within their own discipline that contradicts their own analysis and perspective. I refer often to this 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama for the Presidency as a textbook example.

Despite mountains of empirical historical evidence that socialist/Marxist societies do not and can not work, these academic historians publicly endorsed a Marxist for president of the United States and parroted much of his utopian nonsense. It is absolutely amazing to observe. Howard points out how many modern historians and others fail to recognize and learn anything from history:

Not surprisingly, Plato's system has never, in the history of mankind, existed.  It is not, mind you, for lack of trying.  The highways of history are littered with the corpses of failed utopian experiments.  It is just that the limits of logic uninformed by experience are too profound to allow for the forced creation of an ideal society when it is made up of individuals.  Man is too mutable, the options too varied.  But Plato's progeny have, through the millennia, adopted his premises in a direct line of thought from Plato to Augustine to Descartes to Leibnitz to Kant to Hegel to Marx to modern liberalism.  Each accepted as its premises, first, that the truth was knowable and should be derived by logic . . .
This is something I've pointed out here before. If you read many of the history blogs which often offer perspectives on history as it relates to modern society and public policy, you will quickly observe that their analysis is rarely based on logic, but rather emotion. Read the above referenced presidential endorsement for an example of emotion winning out over logic. Moreover, their narcissism requires they be hyper-critical of past generations and turn that into a morality play with themselves being the stars of their own production. In doing so, they easily stumble into the trap Howard alludes to in the next paragraph:

Liberalism defines its ideal society without reference to what has gone before -- by the application of logic to abstraction ungrounded in historical experience.  That ideal is the equality of all -- something demonstrably unachievable, given variations in man.  Liberalism holds that society can and should be shaped by an activist government.  Its concept is that the individual can flourish when the ideal society is established -- i.e., one that will free him from the constraints imposed by a primitive state of free competition.  Its goal is an articulated ideal in which individual struggle is minimized and social stratification collapsed into equality of result.  That no such society has ever existed appears to be a matter of indifference.

Beyond the entertainment factor, history is pointless unless we learn something from it - something many moderns simply refuse to do. You can read the complete article here. I highly recommend it.

*My post on Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, and academia will be coming up next. 

19 November 2011

Relic Huntin' With Grandpa

I spent a couple of hours yesterday with two of my grandsons relic hunting on private property near the McDowell battlefield. We made a few finds . . .  I'll be posting a new video soon.

18 November 2011

Relic Hunting Adventure & Grandpa Duties

 Posting will be a bit scarce over the next few days as I will be doing some relic hunting with two of my grandsons (age 5). I'll also be hosting a "Grandpa Sleepover" at my home Friday night with 13 of my15 grandchildren. Then, Saturday night, it's off to a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert with the whole family for my wife's birthday.

16 November 2011

Lincoln Controls The South

The party of Lincoln, that is. This ties in to another recent post.

As the last state legislative races were called this week from the Nov. 8 votes in Virginia and Mississippi, the party of Abraham Lincoln now controls both chambers of every state legislature in the 11 former states of the Confederacy, with the sole exception of Arkansas. And Arkansas Republicans need to flip only a handful of seats in 2012 to make the trend unanimous.
Story here.

I also want to give readers a heads up about an upcoming post. In response to a comment made by Michael Aubrecht regarding my "extreme" political views, I'll be uploading a post about who in America is REALLY extreme, out of touch, and out of the mainstream. I've alluded to this post a couple of times, but just have not taken the time to wrap it up. I will do so very soon. The piece will be relevant to history. Michael also took me to task for my criticism of institutional academia. The upcoming post will incorporate a response to that as well. While I've already provided ample evidence to support my positions, this should put the last nail in the coffin. Facts are stubborn things.

15 November 2011

Narcissists Are Not Inspired By History - They Prefer Botox

There has been, on this blog as well as others, an ongoing debate on the relevancy and point of having heroes, as well as the related topic of "celebratory history." Readers of this blog know where I come down on the debate. Recently, I read one of the absolute best and clearest discussions of this topic that I've ever read anywhere - The Art of Manliness. Though AOM could not be classified as a "history" blog, it does quite often feature history-related posts. I've written a couple of pieces for them myself. Owner Brett McKay is an attorney by training and an excellent writer. He recently wrote a piece titled: Should a Man Be Inspired by History? Of course, my answer is an emphatic yes.

As I've written on numerous occasions, one of the things I detest most about moderns is their disdain for America's past; their hyper-critical attitude of the Founding Fathers, our history, and our Founding principles. They seem to revel in trumpeting the shortcomings and sins of our Nation's heroes in a twisted and rather transparent attempt to elevate themselves and their own "enlightened" generation. (Of course, one of their favorite targets is Southerners due to the fact that many in the South still hold to the old virtues.) Everyone sees their charade except they themselves. One blogger who often comments here suggested a while back that having heroes, and being inspired by them, was "childish." Actually, that attitude reveals an insecurity manifested by an embarrassment of looking to someone other than yourself for inspiration. It is the epitome of self-absorption.

McKay examines this narcissistic attitude in his opening:

Whenever we do a post that lays out lessons from the lives of great men or from the so-called “Greatest Generation,” it invariably attracts comments like: “X famous man wasn’t so great. He was a drunk/adulterer/slave owner…[fill in the blank with the perceived tragic flaw].”


“The Greatest Generation…pffft! Those racist/sexist/homophobes weren’t any better than anyone else.” It seems that in our cynical age being inspired by men of the past has gone out of style along with having heroes or ideals of any sort. But this wasn’t always so. And today we’d like to make a case for finding inspiration in those who have come before.
While McKay's piece is no exaltation of imperfect men, it does offer a very balanced perspective on this whole debate. But he nails the problem in this paragraph:

If you talk about a good aspect of a great man or generation, you are expected to immediately follow up with a list of their flaws and mistakes as well. If you don’t, you’re seen as a rube who has swallowed the traditional version of history and isn’t in on the new “secret” information that has been revealed. The self-satisfaction of those who consider themselves in the know and like to give you the “real scoop” is invariably palatable.
That comment is pregnant with fodder for additional commentary. The attitude noted in McKay's comment is exactly what motivated the critics of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Confederate History Month proclamation last year. He originally failed to "follow up with a list of their flaws and mistakes." Of course, those "in the know" took him to school and he tucked his tail and dutifully reworded his proclamation. And, in the follow up posts on the "in the know" Civil War blogs, the self-satisfaction was indeed quite palatable. And also quite predictable and true to the script. They followed the template very well. Bores.

Anyway, back to McKay's piece. As I said, McKay's piece is balanced. He goes on to write that the correct approach to this topic is one of a "mature mindset" - something sorely lacking in the Botox-brained academic elites constantly trying to appear "cool" and "in the know." They remind me of all the snooty, primped and pruned "in crowd" in my senior high school class - obsessed with the latest fad and trend and wanting to remain "forever young." Ever wonder why so many of these leftist, radical anti-American Exceptionalism academics want to connect with their younger students? Botox for the brain. Botox is the perfect metaphor for these folks: phony, cosmetic, shallow, and narcissistic.

McKay notes:

A mature mindset also involves the ability to be inspired by the good bits despite the bad bits and realizing that one does not necessarily negate the other. The mature man does not turn his eyes from a historical figure’s flaws, but he does not let those flaws eclipse the lessons to be learned from the person’s life. He is able to sift the wheat from the chaff.

A mature mindset does not jump on the latest historical fad in order to "get better gigs" or get speaking invitations to academic conferences. But those with agendas do. I would encourage readers here to take the time to read McKay's piece. It is quite insightful and I believe even my critics will find it, overall, balanced. McKay's closing paragraph is particularly insightful:

My generation tends to believe that everyone is special and that no one is better than anyone else. “Every generation is just the same,” they say. But while it’s true that every generation has its own strengths and weaknesses, what those particular strengths and weaknesses consist of is unique. And if we humble ourselves, we can work on our weaknesses by learning from the strengths of the men of the past, just as we hope that our grandchildren will learn from the things that we’re doing right.
You can read the whole article here.

*Update - Michael Aubrecht claims to be a historian, yet does not seem to understand what the priorities of a historian are. First and foremost, they do not include an emphasis on pursuing something "new", though discovering something new certainly may occur during the process. A historian chronicles facts, which may lead him to something new, but it may not. But, again, "new" is not the objective. Facts are the objective. Recording those facts and interpreting them, when appropriate, is the objective. Following the record where it leads is the objective. Once more, that record may lead to something new, but it may not. If you seek "new", you'll create your own record in order to find "new", which is one of the points of this post. The problem is very similar with modern so-called "journalists." Their original purpose was to simply report or, journal the news. That's out the window. Journalist now make news, shaping it with their own spin and bias. The exact same thing is going on with many historians and for the same reasons.

Here's a concise and clear definition of what a historian is:

1.  Writer, student, or scholar of history.
2. One who writes or compiles a chronological record of events; a chronicler.

Notice this does not include, necessarily, uncovering "new" information. By making the discovery of something "new" the objective, one easily falls into the trap of emphasizing trends, fads, and sensationalism. I rest my case.

14 November 2011

Only The Second Time Since The Civil War

I recall smiling with amusement when all the "experts" and political pundits announced after the 2008 Presidential election that Virginia was now officially a "purple" state. In their dreams. Virginia voters have a long tradition of possessing an independent streak and, while remaining right of center, are willing to occasionally roll the dice with someone left of center when they are feeling a bit restless. That was part of the reason Virginia voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Obama's emotional appeal to young voters, minorities, academics and other ruling class elites also played a role in ramping up turnout while having John McCain at the top of the Republican ticket had a depressing affect on the conservative base.

What a difference a couple of years has made. After Virginians realized that they had not helped elect a new kind of politician, but rather had helped put a Marxist into the White House, they returned to common sense and, in 2010, elected one of the most conservative tickets in Virginia history to the state's top three offices - and they did so by almost 20 points. That margin and change was, like 2008, also historic. Purple indeed.

But that's not the end of it. In voting last week, Virginians just made history once more:

Let's just say the New Dominion is looking an awful lot like the Old Dominion. If anything, more so . . . The state GOP is looking at unified control over government for only the second time since the Civil War.  (More here.)

Making history. What Virginians do best. What do the "experts" and pundits have to say now? Nothing.

11 November 2011

Where Does Flag Banning Stop?

When the offended industry started targeting the Confederate flag back in the 1990's, I stated then that the same logic could and would be used against the American flag. I was right. 

On Cinco De Mayo, 2010, students at Live Oak High School were told to remove shirts, hats and other clothing bearing the American flag for fear that the articles would incite violence on campus . . . A federal court ruled that Live Oak has the right to restrict a student’s free speech when it is likely to cause a substantial disruption. Story here.

Why would wearing the flag of one's country cause "a substantial disruption?" I'd love to see some of you academics (Yes, I know you read this blog) who support relegating the Confederate flag to museums respond to that question. Of course, you won't respond because your logic (sic) is inconsistent. You don't have an answer for this without exposing either your inconsistency or your real agenda.

Of course, many of us know what's really going on.

And, in a related issue, there are a number bloggers discussing the recent Texas license flag flap, yet most of them are ignoring the broader (and more important) issue:  government censorship of free speech. What makes the Texas decision even sillier is the fact this board is willing to waste taxpayer money in a legal fight that they, by all indications and precedent, have zero chance of winning. States throughout the Nation have, for some time, used vanity and specialty plates to add dollars to their respective coffers. Nothing wrong with that - until the government begins to pick and choose what it thinks may be "offensive" in a medium that the courts have consistently ruled is a free speech issue.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans will get their plates. And why shouldn't they? The SCV is a federally recognized 501(c) 3 organization. The symbol they propose for the license plate is a legally protected trademark and logo. They have just as much right to request and receive a specialty plate with their logo as the Lions Club and, again, that is what the courts have consistently ruled. The SCV has won every one of these legal fights. That makes for a very strong case, despite what you may be reading on other blogs. As the SCV's attorney, Arthur Strickland, said after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the SCV's favor over the Virginia license plate in 2004: "When Virginia got into the business of deciding to make billboards out of license plates, they subjected themselves to the constraints of the First Amendment." So, go ahead Texas, burn the taxpayer's money on the altar of political correctness.

The constitution guarantees freedom of speech. It does not guarantee freedom from being offended. And, as I noted earlier, once you step on that slippery slope, there's no stopping the natural progression to other "symbols" that might "offend" someone and cause "substantial disruption." While the courts have been willing to restrict this type of speech in government schools, they've been much more reluctant to do so with mediums designed to be instruments to express views, sentiments, and loyalties. I seriously doubt that Texas license plates will become the lone exception.

Metal Detecting Post #53 - Battlefield Bullet Bonanza

My latest adventure . . .

10 November 2011

Locke, Socialism & God

I came across quite an interesting piece this morning at the American Thinker. Here's a few choice excerpts:

The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don't work even harder than we did in 2008, then we're going to have a government that tells the American people, "You are on your own." ~ Obama's schoolboy spokesman, Jay Carney
And . . .

The history of this country was made largely by people who wanted to be left alone.  Those who could not thrive when left to themselves never felt at ease in America.

And . . .

God gave the world ... to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it), not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. ~ John Locke
And . . .

Mahatma Gandhi, once said that he looked upon "an increase in the power of the state with the greatest fear" because the state tends to do "the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all progress."

You can read the complete piece here. Recommended. The evidence that moderns (including many academic historians) are either ignorant of history's lessons, or are so arrogant and self-absorbed to believe they can overturn the laws of nature, is overwhelming.

On another topic, the first part of my next Diggin' in the Old Dominion episode should be ready to upload later tonight. Stay tuned.

09 November 2011

Socialists, Leftists, Marxists & Communists - Call Me Crazy

You'd think they would know better. Don't they read history?

07 November 2011

More Psycho-Babble On The Confederate Flag

According to a new "study", its the Confederate flag's fault that some folks in the South can't support Barack Obama - because of his race, of course.

Quoting from the "study":

. . . participants primed with the Confederate flag reported less willingness to vote for Obama than those primed with a neutral symbol.

Hmmm . . . then how do you explain the fact Herman Cain has opened up a wide lead in the South Carolina Republican primary polling? (Mr. Cain is also black - just in case you missed that.) That's right - South Carolina - the hotbed of secession sentiments, Confederate nostalgia, and the location of the best known fight over public display of the Confederate battle flag. Gee, that really throws a wrench in the study's premise, doesn't it? I think the fact is this has a whole lot more to do with Mr. Obama's Marxist political bent than it does the color of his skin. Mr. Cain is politically conservative and a Tea Party favorite. Mr. Obama - well, not so much. It's policy, not race, for all you geniuses who need "studies" to figure all this out.

But one should think about the "study" on the Confederate flag and voting patterns in light of this "study" and voting patterns:

Just a glimpse at the American flag can sway voters, even Democrats, toward more Republican voting behavior, attitudes and beliefs, a new two-year study says.

So, here's what we can actually conclude from these two "studies." Exposure to either the Confederate flag or the American flag tends to make some folks shun leftist candidates and embrace candidates who espouse a more traditional, conservative political philosophy.  I don't think we really need navel-contemplating, time-wasting studies by sociologists and psychologists to explain what many folks already understand. It's simple: Hardcore leftists don't like ANY flag that reminds them of any form of patriotism. It really is that simple. And these folks wonder why fewer and fewer people take them seriously. Amazing.

05 November 2011

Yes, There Are "Sides" In Historical Interpretation

*Kevin Levin recently dismissed a poster on his blog who suggested there were "sides" in the varying views on the Confederate Battle Flag. You gotta be kidding me. Kevin even referred to "the losing side" in the post that preceded the comments and acknowledged there are "pro-flag forces". Where I'm from, we'd call that a contradiction. Perhaps Kevin just misspoke. But with academic historians constantly on the lookout for the neo-Confederate boogie man waving a Confederate flag, how can they deny the very divisiveness they've been instrumental in creating and fomenting? Virginia Senator James Webb alluded to this agenda-serving divisiveness in his excellent book on the history of the Scots-Irish in America, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America:

. . . dishonest or misinformed advocates among political interest groups and in academia attempt to twist yesterday's America into a fantasy that might better serve the political issues of today. The greatest disservice on this count has been the attempt by these revisionist politicians and academics to defame the entire Confederate Army in a move that can only be termed the Nazification of the Confederacy. Often cloaked in the argument over the public display of the Confederate battle flag, the syllogism goes something like this: Slavery was evil. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought for a system that wished to preserve it. Therefore they were evil as well, and any attempt to honor their service is a veiled effort to glorify the cause of slavery. (Pages 207-208.)

Webb continues:

This blatant use of the "race card" in order to inflame their political and academic constituencies is a tired, seemingly endless game that is itself perhaps the greatest legacy of the Civil War's aftermath. But in this case it dishonors hundreds of thousands of men who can defend themselves only through the voices of the descendants. (Page 208.)
I am one of those voices.

And, in light of all this, consider this observation I recently came across at the History News Network:

Historians, like everyone else, have their own political views. But these used to be kept separate from the scholarly role, which was to interpret and explain the past . . . With each passing year, the American historians have become more and more marginalized, and more irrelevant to anyone seeking insight about our nation's past. A few decades ago, the left wing was a small group, welcomed to participate by the mainstream historians in the profession, but unable to impose their will on a majority of sane historians. Today, they control the profession, and their two major associations have become almost indistinguishable from the organizations of the far Left.

Many academic historians in the blogosphere have gone to great lengths to poo-poo any notion that such bias and agenda-driven and/or politically motivated historical interpretation exists to any serious extent in the academy, i.e.: "They're aren't really sides in historical interpretation, just objective observation." Right. Just how naive do they really think informed readers are? Yet some academic historians will, on occasion, confirm the existance of this politically driven bias, though not necessarily on purpose. Noted Civil War historian David Blight did that very thing (in my opinion) in a 2010 essay about Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Confederate History Month proclamation. I posted some thoughts on that whole episode before. You can read them here. While I'm not going to belabor my criticisms of Blight's piece, one comment of his stands out:

Why doesn't the Confederacy just fade away? Is it because we are irresistibly fascinated by catastrophic loss? Or is it something else? Is it because the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history?

Blight, who "as a historian" publicly endorsed Barack Obama for President, appears to be unable to hide what is really bugging him about "the Confederacy" - its conservatism. Blight continues this pattern of using Civil War history to rant against conservatism in another recent essay which you can read here. One can see, in both of Blight's articles, textbook examples of what Webb refers to in the excerpts quoted above. Webb's critique and summation is quite accurate, is it not?

Back to Kevin's post. Kevin also dismisses another poster as having no credibility for noting that Marxist influence is rampant in academia and that this influences historical perspective - despite the fact this is a widely acknowledged fact by those who aren't a.) afraid to speak out, b.) complicit.

Noted Southern historian, Eugene D. Genovese points out both the existance of "sides" in historical interpretation as well as the influence of leftist ideology in his book, The Southern Front: History and Politics in the Cultural War:

. . . American history has largely become a plaything for canting ideologues . . . Our times call for a correct ideological line, which at its increasingly popular extreme regards the Old South as a rehearsal for Nazi Germany and calls for eradication of all traces of the conservative voices that have loomed so large in Southern history. And in our leading professional associations and their journals and in the classrooms of our most prestigious colleges and universities the correct line prevails. (Page 25.)

I rest my case, though I doubt I changed anyone's mind - at least anyone willing to admit it.

*This post is not meant to single out Kevin Levin. His recent post simply presented an opportunity for me to express some thoughts that have been on my mind lately. Kevin is a rather easy target due to the simple fact that he's quite prolific in blogging. When you write a lot, as Kevin does, you obviously expose yourself to an increased amount of scrutiny and criticism. I read Kevin's blog frequently and have learned from it, though I rarely agree with his perspective. 

04 November 2011

Metal Detecting Post #52 - 1841 Musket Butt Plate Restored

Below are some before and after pics of a butt plate from an 1841 musket (as best as I can determine). I dug it recently on a WBTS battlefield (on private property) here in the Valley. As you can see, 150 years in the dirt has not been kind to it. The after pics are the result of over 20 hours of electrolysis and lots of elbow grease combined with various wire brushes and a Dremel. I then put 2 coats of Briwax on it to seal it. I think the finished product is quite beautiful. (Yeah, I know - I'm weird.) I'll feature more information about this relic, as well as my other recent finds in two upcoming videos. I hope to have them done by tomorrow some time.

A Republic, Not A Democracy

Hey, can I borrow some file space for my anecdotal evidence of leftist propaganda being pushed in the classroom with taxpayer dollars? The holidays are coming up - time for some fruitcake.

The teachers then ask the students, "What are your ideas for making our class more democratic?"
A suggested list of acceptable answers includes:
  • Decide what we will learn in class and make curricula decisions.
  • Create the classroom rules and consequences as a group.
  • Have a student council in the class to create and enforce rules.
  • Students decide the menu for school lunch.
  • Have students take turns teaching the class.
That is for grades 4-7. Oh yes, that should work out well. Let me see, I'm in the 6th grade and I am made the above offer. What will we learn? The stats for all NFL players and ACC basketball teams. Classroom rules? Rule number 1 - the teacher has to leave. Rule enforcement? Lock the door. Lunch menu? That's easy, hot dogs w/chili, mustard, onions and sweet relish and Reese's Cups for dessert. Dr. Pepper for our beverage - on crushed ice in a frosted mug. Students teaching class? Then they're no longer students. Class dismissed. Close the school and save tons of money. Yipeee!!!

The above suggestions for making a class more democratic comes from a public school on the left coast. But we know this kind of garbage is rampant. Just check my over-flowing anecdotal file closet if you don't believe me. This nut job information comes from some left-wing, nut job organization promoting Occupy Wall Street communism (disguised as "democracy") and anarchy in the classroom. 

As the writer at the American Thinker reminds us:

The Occupy movement illustrates why the founders of the United States crafted a republic, and not a democracy.  As John Adams stated, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."
But, of course, the pseudo-historians in the blogosphere are busy with other things. Now, if this was the Tea Party, well then, that would be a totally different story. Hypocrites. More here.

03 November 2011

What's Left Of Chestnut Ridge

Thanks to friend, fellow SCV member, and fellow relic hunter Doug Hill for passing this along. 

Doug added: "That sheered-off wall is pretty much at the edge of the United Daughters of the Confederacy property, so the battlefield and twenty feet of earth beneath it is gone. The grass covered hillside to the right is the site of  previous removal of the ridge."

Confederate General Turner Ashby died in the Battle of Harrisonburg at Chestnut Ridge on June 6, 1862. 

Follow Up To "A Nine Hour Relic Hunt"

I've been wanting to wrap up the production and editing of video footage from my last relic hunt, but have realized that I'll actually have enough footage to make two videos. I also wanted to wait until I finished the preservation work on the 1841 iron musket butt I found. I've been using electrolysis to remove the worst of the rust and now have to do some of the finer work on it and then seal it. I want to include the before and after results in the video, along with some additional commentary regarding my finds. I think it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, here is a photo of 2 of the bullets I found - one Burnside and one Confederate Enfield. If all goes as planned (which it rarely does), I'll have the Occupy/Tea Party/Academia post up later tonight and the two Diggin' in the Old Dominion episodes up by Saturday night. I'm also working on a couple of posts pointing out how some academic historians seem to be more leftist politician than objective historian.

01 November 2011

Works In Progress

Several, as a matter of fact. Still trying to get to that post about OWS, the Tea Party and academia. Also working on three articles to be published and my next book. In addition, I'm currently restoring some iron artifacts I recently pulled from the ground, as well as an old Gerstner& Sons tool chest that belonged to my grandfather and I'm working on two more episodes of "Diggin' in the Old Dominion." And all that work takes place right here:

My office & works - also known affectionately as the tackiest room in the house. Tacky is in the eye of the beholder.