Kevin Levin and the boys are all puckered up over Gettysburg National Military Park inviting Trace Adkins to sing the National Anthem at this year's 150th commemoration coming up in July. Apparently, unless you tow the correct political line regarding certain perspectives and interpretations involving the WBTS, you're not welcome at these types of events - at least not on stage. Intentional or not, this is a prime example of political correctness - shut down opposing views by attempting to marginalize their opinions and perspectives.
But Kevin starts his criticism with what I believe is a false premise - that Adkins should be disqualified from appearing because of his "casual flirt with secession." Kevin points to Adkins's remarks in this video as evidence of this flirtation with secession. Listen carefully to what Adkins says:
What's interesting to me is that Adkins seems to actually be taking the exact opposite position for which Kevin and the gang are criticizing him. He explicitly says he agrees that the Civil War resolved the "issues" of slavery and secession. That hardly sounds like a "casual flirt with secession." That is quite a stretch in my opinion. I listened to what Adkins said three times - again. (You can see that I chimed in on a previous and related post at Kevin's blog here.)
What Adkins does correctly point out is that the ongoing interpretation of the 10th amendment, a.k.a. "states' rights" issue has not been resolved. The federal courts quite frequently decide cases surrounding 10th amendment issues and interpretations. For those of us who are familiar with this topic, including very recent history, Adkins could not be more correct. (See here for just one recent example.) Scores more could be listed.
The retort that follows is that states' rights cannot be discussed separately from slavery. That argument is absurd on its face, since the courts continue to decide cases which center around the 10th amendment today - separate from slavery, of course.
And beyond that, despite what Kevin and those commenting would like everyone to believe, Adkins' position on causation is a mainstream opinion embraced by almost half the country and a substantially higher number than those who believe the WBTS it was all about slavery:
A new poll from the Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of Americans identify states’ rights as the primary cause of the Civil War. This is a remarkable finding, because virtually all American textbooks and prominent historians emphasize slavery, as they have for decades. Even more striking, the poll shows young people put more stock in the states’ rights explanation than older people. The 38 percent of Americans who believe slavery was mainly to blame find themselves losing ground. More here.
While Kevin's point seems to be that Adkins's views are on the fringe and outside of the mainstream, and that the GNMP should distance themselves from him and not give him a "platform", it would appear that it is actually Kevin's position on causation (as well as those commenting) who are the ones in the minority of what most Americans believe about causation and the WBTS. Why do professional and academic historians want to exclude and attempt to marginalize other points of view on perspective and analysis? What do they fear? Perhaps they're motivated by the fact that, not only is their view in the minority, they also "find themselves losing ground."
|(Pew Research 2010)|
Adkins opines that the issue of states' rights has not been settled because, if it were, "we wouldn't still be arguing about it today." Apparently, David Blight, the guru of many professional historians, has come to a similar conclusion, though from a politically different perspective:
Today, states’ rights claims are advanced by many governors and Republican-majority legislatures in the very language of “secession” and “nullification” made so infamous in antebellum America. . . The Civil War is not only not over, it can still be lost. (Source)That sure sounds like Blight doesn't believe this issue is settled either. Logic would then dictate, and consistency demand, that Kevin and his readers would feel the same way about Professor Blight appearing on stage at the same event.
Of course, we know that's not the case. Could that be due to the fact that Blight takes the correct political stance and Adkins doesn't? Just asking. It would appear that some of these folks want to silence Adkins and shut him out from these types of events.
Maybe what really upsets some professional historians is the fact that, despite decades of efforts to convince the American public that slavery was THE cause of the Civil War, more Americans than not have rejected that view. Seems like Adkins is more successful at communicating historical perspectives than are his critics.