30 April 2014

Taking On The Haters

I've argued for years that the "blame America first" attitude and incessant self-flogging embraced by many in academia is a progressive (adjective, not noun) phenomenon. Its very foundations guarantee the progressive nature of this mindset. In other words, the perspective that America is a "predatory colonial power" and only became great by exploitation and oppression and that our founders were evil European racists and bigots has consequences - consequences manifested in demands which range from removing Confederate monuments and symbols throughout the South to destroying Mount Rushmore - if the first demand has legitimacy, so does the other. The logical conclusion of this perspective would be actions similar to the destruction of 1700 year old Buddhas in Afghanistan. Now someone is challenging that perspective in film.

Coming soon: What neo-Confederates (real ones), some libertarians and progressive historians all have in common.  I'm sure it will make folks on all sides upset. Good. Should be a real barn burner. Stay tuned.

Anti-Semitism Growing On College Campuses

Anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses is growing at an alarming rate. It has escalated to the point that Jewish students on campuses have been physically attacked or threatened for peacefully demonstrating their support of Israel.  Events demonizing Jews and even glorifying the murderers of Jews, in the guise of anti-Israel rhetoric, are tolerated by campus administrators despite the hostile environment such events create for Jewish students who are open about their beliefs in support of the Jewish state.
But why won't administrators do anything about it and where is the outrage among academics? Is academia tolerant, even complicit, regarding certain types of bigotry? It certainly appears that way. More here.

29 April 2014

Academia's Emotional & Political Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

From a recent piece on National Review Online, by Jonah Goldberg:
. . . liberalism hasn’t figured out a moral vocabulary that doesn’t depend on the fight against slavery and Jim Crow. I am amazed how, on every campus I go to, no matter what the subject, liberal kids — not to mention their professors and my debate partners — can only internalize and conceptualize arguments about political morality and action in relation to the black civil-rights narrative. That’s a hugely important narrative. But it is not a tesseract providing an infinite and invincible moral power to every claim under the sun.
Read many academic history and Civil War blogs and you'll understand Goldberg's point. These folks tend to put most of their focus on an institution that died a well-deserved death 150 years ago and then construct all types of morality plays tied to their modern ideology in the grossest form of presentism you could ever imagine, while they simultaneously ignore (even support) one of the greatest moral tragedies of modern times. 

It is mind-numbingly surreal. It is also why those who hold such illogical and irreconcilable views have so little credibility with me. Of course, since the inhabitants of the Ivory Towers are immersed in this perspective and ideology practically 24/7, it becomes difficult for them to "think outside the box." While loudly proclaiming the opposite, they are, in actuality,  extremely narrow-minded, hypocritical and puckered, if you know what I mean.

While Goldberg is correct in stating that this narrative is not a "tesseract", it is certainly a "hammer". And when a hammer is the ONLY item in your toolbox, everything tends to look like a nail.

You can read all of Goldberg's article here at National Review.

Zero Tolerance For Common Sense By The Education Establishment

Yet another example of government overreach. Education "experts" present themselves as real jack-asses in this latest episode.

The biggest problem is not the zero tolerance aspect of all this (though that too is ridiculous and only meant to save the school district's fannies from lawsuits, i.e. - treat EVERY case exactly the same - thank you legal profession), but the fact that so many are accepting the absurd premise that there is something evil or dangerous about carrying a pocket-knife. It's absurd on its face. THAT is what should be changed.

As a kid growing up in the '60's and '70's, every boy in school carried a pocket knife. There was NEVER any serious incident. We even took them out and played
mumbletypeg during lunch break. The culture has changed and though we've made improvements in some areas, we've definitely regressed in others.

28 April 2014

Where Are The Haters?

Several Civil War bloggers and "professional" historians frequently post comments which suggest the South (specifically the Old Confederacy and all symbolism associated with it), is the center of all evil in the modern world: racists, bigots and violent gun-toting rednecks who have nothing better to do than brew moonshine, wave the Confederate flag and commit hate crimes - Yee-haw!!

But, as I have recently pointed out in other posts, facts and statistics actually show that many of these issues are far more prevalent in New England than they are in the South. Could there be something other than facts motivating these historians in their obsessive-compulsive disorder of constantly pointing out the sins of the South? Could it be the fact the South is, as David Blight has noted, ". . . is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history". The constant bashing seems to have more to do with emotion and agenda than it does with facts. 

As they continue their witch-hunt, these modern day Puritans should consider that FBI statistics reveal that hate-motivated violence seems to be much more prevalent in New England than it does in the South.

The 10 states (including the District of Columbia) with the most hate crimes per capita are:
  1. Washington, D.C., with 13.4 incidents per 100,000 people.
  2. Massachusetts, with 5.77 incidents.
  3. New Jersey, with 5.76.
  4. Oregon, with 5.25.
  5. Kentucky, with 4.33.
  6. Maine, with 4.14.
  7. North Dakota, with 4.05.
  8. Connecticut, with 3.91.
  9. Colorado, with 3.73.
  10. Minnesota, with 3.71.
Isn't it interesting that, after Washington D.C. (the utopia for the morally superior political class), the two states with the highest rate of hate crimes per capita are Massachusetts (the utopia for the morally superior academic class) and New Jersey (the utopia for, uh . . . ???, well, never mind). The ONLY state in the top 10 which could be associated with the South is Kentucky, and Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy. 

Facts are stubborn things.

Granted, there are nuances and imperfections in the reporting and the statistics. And no one can deny the South's ugly history regarding civil rights. However, there is certainly enough evidence to, at the very least, suggest that the constant drumbeat by certain bloggers and "professional" historians about the South's lingering and "inherent" bigotry and hatred seems to be motivated by something other than facts and current realities. Even the anecdotal experience of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas lends weight to the realities revealed by the statistics:
The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites. The absolute worst I have ever been treated,” Thomas said. “The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia. (Source)
The hate-crime rankings were gleaned from FBI's statistics in 2011.

Readin' & Writin' Stuff

I hope to post a review of David Johnson's biography of John Randolph , which I recently finished reading, soon. I'm now reading a fascinating biography of my great x 9 grandfather, Roger Williams. I'll post a review of that book at some point as well. What strikes me as absolutely amazing about both these books--totally unrelated--is the political debates and how closely they mirror, in so many ways, the same issues and topics that are being debated today. It is quite astonishing.

As soon as I finish the Williams biography, I'm going to take up something a bit lighter: Joe Bageant's Rainbow Pie - A Redneck Memoir. The late Joe Bageant was a progressive, but his insights regarding rural Southerners are worth examining.

And, in between all this, work continues on the Battle of Waynesboro book. I hope to have the first draft off to the publisher by the end of May.

27 April 2014

Glenn Beck: Stalwart Soldier In The Culture War

Beck, love him or hate him, is an extremely talented individual. And he's not easy to pigeonhole. He is having a tremendous impact on our culture and, I think, the best is yet to come.

26 April 2014

Yet Another Case Of Academia Suppressing Free Speech

Two students are suing the University of Hawaii for violating their First Amendment rights after administrator prevented them from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution — demonstrating a frightening lack of knowledge about the very legal document they were attempting to censor . . . He also noted that this was the second recent instance of a college censoring the distribution of copies of the Constitution. A similar thing happened at Modesto Junior College in California, where student Robert Van Tuinen successfully sued MJC for violating his rights. Burch and Vizzone’s lawsuit is being handled by Davis Wright Tremaine, the same law firm that represented Van Tuinen. The suit asks for injunctive relief, and for the university to pay the students’ attorney fees.
The U.S. Constitution is apparently a dangerous document to those who want conformity and wish to suppress speech and political ideas which are in opposition to academia's love affair with leftist ideology. Story here.

25 April 2014

A 27 Year-Old Homeschooling Dad Schools A Public School Teacher

One of the most popular and widely read posts I've ever written here was this one on the subject of homeschooling. Despite the fact homeschooling has now gone mainstream and its successes are beyond debate, there is still a lot of ignorance about the movement, as well as the great diversity of methods. Today, someone shared a post by a young homeschooling father which repeated many of the arguments I made in the post I referenced above. What I love about Matt Walsh's defense of homeschooling is his biting sarcasm in response to someone who criticized him, but did so with an embarrassing amount of ignorance. It was the response the critic deserved. The title of the post is: Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling. Here's a couple of choice excerpts from Walsh's blog post:
You say that homeschooled kids aren’t properly socialized.
I give you this: with the exception of about 14 thousand other times, this is the first time I’ve ever heard this argument.

It’s an argument that seems to march on, even after its been disproven, discredited, deconstructed, and decapitated. I just promised to stop tossing around studies, so I won’t link to an article (here) that cites at least two different studies proving your assertion to be a myth.
The "socialization" argument against homeschooling is, without a doubt, the oldest and least credible of all. The truth is the exact opposite. 

And this:
‘Socialization’ — in the public school context — means that your child will simply absorb behavioral cues from her peers. She learns to socialize by aping her friends, who are themselves only copying other girls. She learns to repress the parts of her that don’t fit in, and put on an exterior designed to help her fade into the collective. I’m not theorizing here, this IS the social process in public school.
It’s also competitive; your social status depends on your ability to cut your peers down, until your can easily step on them and elevate yourself.

Expressing your ideas, showing vulnerability, communicating your deepest thoughts and feelings — these are all fervently discouraged. Kids are tasked with expressing not their own thoughts, but sufficiently imitating the thoughts and views of the peer collective. Children who can’t keep up, or who have no desire to keep up, will either have to be the most self-assured human beings on the planet (which is unlikely, since they haven’t been given the tools to develop that self-assurance), or they’ll become bitter, self-conscious, and depressed.
Now, homeschool socialization is different. Here, a child learns his social skills from his parents. He is oriented by adults, not other children. He matures, and grows, and is provided a safe environment to, as the phrase goes, be himself. Despite common perception, I don’t think most homeschool kids are locked in a tower like Rapunzel, and forbidden from human contact. They have friends, they play sports, they emerge into society and interact with people.

The only difference is how they learn to interact. The public school kid learns to interact based on how his peers carry on in the hallways and at the lunch table, whereas the homeschool kids learns to interact based on the guidance of his parents.

Who has a better foundation for becoming a well adjusted adult?
I would recommend reading the complete post here.

24 April 2014

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Opposes Religious Freedom

The Democratic governor of Virginia vetoed a bill on Friday [April 4] that aimed to reinforce the religious rights of students . . .
I suppose the Governor has never read the Virginia Constitution which says, in part:
Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion. That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.
That wording comes directly from George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights:
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. 
I like this part of the *original draft better:
That as Religion, or the Duty which we owe to our divine and omnipotent Creator, and the Manner of discharging it, can be governed only by Reason and Conviction, not by Force or Violence; and therefore that all Men should enjoy the fullest Toleration in the Exercise of Religion, according to the Dictates of Conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the Magistrate, unless, under Colour of Religion, any Man disturb the Peace, the Happiness, or Safety of Society, or of Individuals. And that it is the mutual Duty of all, to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards Each other. 
Governor McAuliffe is restraining the Exercise of Religion by his veto. His veto was simply a nod to the most radical wing of his party. 

*A digitized image of Mason's first draft serves as the background image for this blog.

Will T.W. Shannon Be The First Black Senator From Oklahoma?

Looks very likely. 
The poll found that Shannon leads Lankford 42% to 32%, and 63% of Oklahomans view Shannon, arguably the most conservative Speaker in the history of the nation's reddest state, favorably, as opposed to 6% that view him unfavorably.


23 April 2014

Academia Gone Wild

WARNING - There's cussin' in this video.

"Feel kinship with your fellow mammals"? Okey dokey. Hard to feel much kinship when I'm grillin' steaks. Whatever. 

By the way, as a former Darwinist/agnostic, evolution, as modern Darwinists view it, is a lie.

22 April 2014

Jimmy Carter's Grandson Is Ok With SCV License Plates

And why shouldn't he be?

The grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who is running for governor in Georgia, suggested Monday that if he wins the gubernatorial race he will not stop the state from issuing license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag.
Of course, that's before he gets hammered by the speech code police. Don't be surprised if he has a change of heart. Story here.

21 April 2014

Former Washington & Lee Law Student With A Different Take

Nathan Jensen, who is a fairly recent graduate of Washington & Lee's School of Law, penned a rebuttal to some of the demands being made in regards to Lee Chapel specifically, and to W&L generally. His editorial appeared in yesterday's Roanoke Times. Mr. Jensen introduces his piece, which is titled The authenticity of flawed heroes, with this: 
. . . I know that our community is eager to give a counterpoint to misunderstandings and misrepresentations.
He begins the rebuttal by writing:
I need to explain why there is no evil to sanitize and no "whitewashing" to undo. W&L embraces Martin Luther King and prioritizes diversity.
But we also unapologetically exalt the virtues of our namesakes, whose legacy forms our highest law: honor.
And continues with this:
The Committee demands that W&L fully recognize MLK Day by canceling classes. Yes, students attend class on MLK Day. They also attend class on Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day and President's Day. They attend class on MLK Day because they don't take off federal holidays - not because of bigotry or anything remotely cousin to institutionalized prejudice. The Committee insists that MLK Day be the one and only federal holiday when classes aren't held during the regular school year. King was a great man, but his memory does not subordinate the legacies of America's veterans, Founding Fathers and fallen soldiers.
For another perspective and one that succinctly explains why heroes with flaws are, nonetheless, heroes, I recommend reading Mr. Jensen's piece in its entirety here.

18 April 2014

Are Confederate Symbols & Stories Disappearing?

Recent full page ad in a popular Civil War magazine
Whine and complain all you want, but the reason the symbols and stories that you care most about are slowly disappearing is that you have not made a compelling case to maintain them in public spaces. Blame yourselves. ~ Kevin Levin
The "you" in the above quote is referring to yours truly as Kevin attempted to respond to this post. Kevin grew up in New Jersey, so I don't believe he has had enough exposure, nor enough experience, to conclude that "the symbols and stories that you care most about are slowly disappearing." I see more Confederate flags, images of Lee and Jackson and see far "more stories" about the WBTS now than I ever saw in the Shenandoah Valley growing up in the 1960's and 1970's. As to what Kevin believes, living in Charlottesville and Boston hardly exposes one to areas and individuals who hold different perspectives than what rules and reigns in Kevin's bubble of existence.

(Examples of Kevin's lack of exposure to, and understanding of, different and legitimate perspectives than his are illustrated here and here.)

Of course, the reason these symbols and topics are more prevalent than ever is due (at least in part) to the very fact that they are seen as non-conformist and anti-establishment, at least by a large number of individuals. The additional symbolism of being associated with pride and heritage remain extremely popular, which is why ads for Confederate related items in most major Civil War magazines dominate their pages. "Disappearing"? Very funny. If  it weren't for the revenue generated by the symbolism and "stories" represented in these ads, I doubt many Civil War magazines would last more than 12 months. And if it weren't for the tourism dollars generated by the heritage related symbolism at Lee Chapel and Stonewall Jackson's association with Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, the city would have to find other sources of revenue. Some folks love to ride piggy-back on these two men for the revenue they generate while still trashing their memory. Very classy.

It would seem that the more you tell some folks not to do such and such, the more thy are going to do such and such - ESPECIALLY if it has something to do with their family heritage and roots. As an entry at Wiki notes:
Cultural geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and urban planners study why certain places hold special meaning to particular people or peoples. Places said to have a strong "sense of place" have a strong identity and character that is deeply felt by local inhabitants and by many visitors. [This is something Kevin and others like him just can't seem to grasp; causing a major blind spot in how they analyze certain topics.] Sense of place is a social phenomenon that exists independently of any one individual's perceptions or experiences, yet is dependent on human engagement for its existence. Such a feeling may be derived from the natural environment, but is more often made up of a mix of natural and cultural features in the landscape, and generally includes the people who occupy the place. The sense of place may be strongly enhanced by the place being written about by poets, novelists and historians, or portrayed in art or music, and more recently, through modes of codification aimed at protecting, preserving and enhancing places felt to be of value . . .
It's also rather hilarious to see Kevin accusing someone else of whining and complaining when his blog is a virtual gusher of anti-Confederate/Southern heritage b****ing on a daily basis. What a kettle and pot moment. And, rather than address my actual argument, Kevin takes the easy way out and lumps me in with everyone he sees as the neo-Confederate boogie man lurking around every corner or somehow outside of the mainstream of WBTS views and perspectives - including those with even the slightest deviation from his perspectives. (Notice, again, how surprised he was.)

In regards to Lee Chapel, as I told a former docent the other night, the docents and other officials at Lee Chapel have always been the most professional and informed regarding the history of the Chapel, as well as General Lee and George Washington. I've never detected a hint of "hero worship", but have always taken note of their immense respect for both the Chapel, as well as General Lee. I've always believed they strike the perfect balance and have complimented them in those regards. Most of the critics have very little understanding of what Lee intended for the building, and how that has evolved over decades. Even for those who love and cherish the place, it has different meanings - as it should. (Part 2 of my comments on this topic will discuss some of that history and meaning.)

But, as I originally charged, the current flap regarding Lee Chapel is the natural progression of attitudes like Kevin's and many others in academia. Kevin and others have sown these seeds and now appear to be embarrassed by the harvest.

To read a balanced and dignified perspective on the legacy of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, in regards to their connection to Washington and Lee University, I would recommend this 2012 article by Washington & Lee's president, Kenneth P. Ruscio. It is quite refreshing.

There's More To Southern Culture Than Four Years

Take BBQ for example . . .

17 April 2014

Another Endangered Aspect Of Southern Culture

"I like it the way it was." Appreciation for a sense of place.

More on the Gullah culture. You'll never look at Fox Huntin' the same way again.

A Brief Explanation Of The Southern Accent - Listen Up Y'all

I've always found the various Southern dialects quite fascinating. More on this topic in the future.

16 April 2014

Why Is Anyone Surprised About Lee Chapel?

Update: My response to Kevin Levin here.
(End of update.)

Part 1.

Last week, I received notice from a friend regarding an effort by students at Washington & Lee University to, among other things, ban Confederate flags from Lee Chapel which, of course, sets on the campus of W & L. Lee Chapel is also the final resting place of General Lee and houses a state of the art museum containing many Lee (as well as Washington) related artifacts. No student of Virginia history, nor the War Between the States, should miss an opportunity to visit. It has been called the Shrine of the South - and for good reason. 

This morning, another friend alerted me to a post by Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory on this same topic. Readers should take the time to read Kevin's post here. Some of the comments are quite enlightening and display an astonishing degree of narrow-mindedness, as well as ignorance. Absolutely amazing.

Though Kevin and I rarely agree on anything, I think his take on this latest PC controversy is correct. However, I'm not quite sure why Kevin (and others) seem to be a bit surprised or think this effort goes too far. After all, this is simply the natural progression of political correctness and Confederate history bashing - which often takes place on Kevin's blog. I recall having a conversation with John Heatwole back in the '90's over the banning of the Confederate flag, even in a historical context, from all public properties. (While I understand that perspective, it seems to always go to the extreme; as in the City of Lexington debacle.) Anyway, I told John that the natural trajectory of such efforts would be to rename Washington and Lee University.

He thought I was being silly. I wonder what he would think now, God rest his soul.

In regards to the Lee Chapel "controversy", it's important to point out that there is hardly a university or college in America dating to the antebellum period that doesn't have some connection to slavery. (I recently posted some observations about Brown University.) A recent book, Ebony & Ivy, explores this connection in some detail. In an article about the book, and efforts by some colleges to address the controversey, the writer notes the following about Harvard University:
. . . universities may not be eager to embrace the research wholeheartedly. At Harvard, a student-generated report on the university’s connections with slavery released in 2011 received personal support and financing from Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, but no institutional response, according to Sven Beckert, the professor who led the project.
“The university itself has not reacted in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Beckert said. “There has been no effort to make this into a broader discussion.”
While acknowledging and discussing the history - including slavery - of any institution is certainly appropriate, the call for apologies and penance is absurd in my opinion; as is the call for removing flags displayed in a historical context, or the removal of statues, or historical plaques and the renaming of buildings, etc. etc. If not, then the majority of monuments in Washington D. C. would have to be demolished. We would also have to rename a very large number of towns and communities. 

Beyond that, making someone (or some entity) apologize for something they had absolutely no control over or responsibility for is ridiculous. It's just political correctness to the absurd and extreme. Moreover, it is also necessary to point out that Lee's connection to the school, as well as Lexington, is inseparable. The same could be said of Washington. It is doubtful the school would have prospered - or even survived - without the efforts of these two sons of Virginia. The ongoing efforts to trash their memory on the altar of political correctness is a very sad thing to observe. It is more than proper for the school to honor these men, while acknowledging they were products of their time and, like all of us, had their moral blind spots. (Without Lee, Jackson and Washington, Lexington would be little more than another small town along the Valley Pike. Many elites in Lexington hate that fact, but it's the truth. It could be said that Lee and Jackson are the only reason many of them are even there. How ironic.)

But why stop at the flags? They're just a piece of cloth. The real culprit is buried in the family crypt downstairs. Why not demand he be dug up and moved? What about the Recumbent Lee lying there in his uniform? Certainly that is even worse and more offensive symbolism than the flag. Should they cover it? Sell it? Put it in storage?

Also, I found this *comment at Kevin's post by a former Lee Chapel docent somewhat curious:
Because of the broad appeal of Burns’s film, the visitation at the Chapel at that time was much greater than neo-Confederate apologists.
Hmmm . . . I must ask, how does one know (with any degree of certainty) whether someone walking into Lee Chapel is a "neo-Confederate apologist"? I've never been asked upon entering and don't know anyone who has been asked, "Are you now, or have you ever been . . .?" And would that label include frequent Lee Chapel speaker, James I. Robertson, Jr. who ostensibly is perceived as (according to Kevin Levin), aligning "himself too closely with neo-Confederate types?" Would that include Robert Krick, who has criticized "anti-Confederate historians" and who has also spoken at Lee Chapel? I could go on, but I think readers will get the point.

In any event, given the current emphasis in historiography among academics and the constant Confederate-heritage bashing on blogs and in print, this latest effort really shouldn't come as a surprise. It is simply a natural progression and the fruits of political correctness. I do not doubt for one moment that we will see more of this type of thing. And we know full-well where much of the responsibility for that lies.

*The rest of that person's comments were, overall, reasonable. I just found this particular one curious and a bit revealing.

As an aside, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (neo-Confederate apologists?) once saved Lee Chapel from being razed in the 1920's. The idea to raze the chapel was the idea of the president of W & L. I'll post a part 2 to this taking some comments from a presentation I gave on Lee Chapel at Liberty University a few years ago.

15 April 2014

Did Hitler Emulate The United States Army's Example Of 1864?

The Long Walk & the Bosque Redondo Reservation
I pose the question for two reasons. First, in recent years we've seen an increase in the number of articles and blog posts comparing Confederate soldiers to Nazis. I believe it to be, in most cases, an intellectually dishonest comparison with ideological and political motivations.  Fortunately, many are on to this history twisting for the sole purpose of dishonoring Confederate soldiers and impugning the motives of those who honor Confederate ancestors - those like former Virginia Senator James Webb; who described the practice in his excellent book, Born Fighting:
Even the venerable Robert E. Lee has taken some vicious hits, as 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 is 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. ~ From Born Fighting by former Virginia Senator James Webb (Page 208, emphasis mine).
But perhaps this "Nazification", as Webb terms it, has targeted the wrong group. Which leads to the second reason I posed the question. An article posted in 2013 at the Jewish Journal website discusses Hitler's emulation of the Federal army's war on the American Indian. The writer was motivated to write the piece after watching Broken Arrow, a documentary about the United States Government's treatment of American Indians:
The film talked about The Long Walk of the Navajo, which was the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the U.S. government.  8,000 Navajos were forced to walk more than 300 miles at gunpoint from their ancestral homelands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico to an internment camp in Bosque Redondo, which was a desolate tract on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico.  Many died along the way.  From 1863 to 1868, the U.S. Military persecuted and imprisoned 9,500 Navajo (the Diné) and 500 Mescalero Apache (the N’de).  Living under armed guards, in holes in the ground, with extremely scarce rations, it is no wonder that more than 3,500 Navajo and Mescalero Apache men, women, and children died while in the concentration camp.
The title of the article is Hitler’s Inspiration and Guide: The Native American Holocaust. The writer found the parallels to Hitler's Germany shocking:
I learned about something that shook me to my core that I had not heard before.  I learned that the genocidal mentality and actions of the U.S. policy makers would find similar expression years later when the Nazis, under Hitler, studied the plans of Bosque Redondo to design the concentration camps for Jews.
The article goes on to quote Pulitzer prize winning author and historian, John Toland:
Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.

He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government's forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large 'reservation' in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease. (Emphasis mine.)
The man "credited" with creating Bosque Redondo is James Henry Carleton. Carleton was a brevet Major General for the Union army during the Civil War.
I've not read Toland's book, so I don't know if Toland reveals anything regarding Hitler's observation of the old Confederacy. But the writer of article referenced above is certainly not the only one who has drawn the Union army/Nazi parallel. Jim Cornelius of Frontier Partisans writes:
The Long Walk grew out of the context of the Civil War, as the Union Army attempted to exert its control over the New Mexico Territory.
Charged in overseeing the "control" of the Navajos was Kit Carson. Cornelius writes:
It was distasteful work that Carson — ill and fatigued to the bone — hated. Nevertheless, he was under orders and he did his duty. For revisionist historians, that smacks of the Nuremberg defense, and Carson’s reputation carries an indelible blot from his harrowing of the Navaho nation.
2014 marks the 150th anniversary of The Long Walk of the Navajo. Ironically, The Long Walk was supposed to "save" the Navajo. 

Frankly, it's my opinion that any historic comparison to Hitler and Nazi Germany should always be suspect. Despite my willingness to post this, such comparisons always make me a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps that's a weakness in my sensibilities. But it's been said that any time your debating opponent brings up Hitler or Nazi Germany, it's a sure sign you've won the argument. That being acknowledged, this bridge was crossed long ago by others. Nonetheless, if parallels are going to be drawn, they should be drawn accurately and completely. 

*For those who might be curious, I started writing this post last week. 

14 April 2014

I Thought George Will Was Talking About Most Historians

I do believe many of them suffer from the "intellectual poverty" to which Will refers. Notice it's an automatic for Will to use a college campus to make his point. Of course, go to the source. Will observes that the constant playing of the race card by the left and their confederates in academia is becoming a national mirth.

11 April 2014

Admission Of My Lost Cause Omission

Someone is complaining I omitted General Grant's complete quote in a recent post when referring to Grant's admiration of Lee. Here's what I posted quoting General Grant:
“My own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on receipt of Lee’s letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and so valiantly and had suffered so much for a cause.” ~ General Grant on Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.
As the complainer points out, here's the whole context of Grant's words:
What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.
So, yes, I did omit much of this particular quote - but not for any nefarious reason as the complainer seems to be insinuating. Granted, I should have included an ellipsis to indicate this was not a complete quote. That was admittedly sloppy on my part. But does the complainer really think readers would believe Grant supported the cause for which Lee was fighting - even with the omission - and that that was my intent? The emphasis was on Lee the man, not specifically on why he was fighting, nor to suggest that the officers quoted supported Lee's reason for fighting. That, I think, is clear from the rest of my post.

The quotes in my post were all from Union officers expressing an admirable opinion of General Lee. It was that aspect of Grant's quote which was germane to my point. The part I posted expressed Grant's opinion of Lee the man. Those opinions simply suggest that the same traits which garnered the admiration of Southerners were also appreciated by Lee's former enemies - long before the creation of any "Lost Cause Myth." These quotes (many more could be cited) suggest that Lee's part (i.e. his reputation as the Christian warrior, Southern gentleman, etc., etc.), in the "Lost Cause" aspect of WBTS historiography was not something created by Southerners after the war. That was the point of the post. The complainer is either throwing out a red herring or he missed my point. Regardless, the omission does not negate the point of the post.

Moreover, the complainer accuses me of suggesting things in my original post which I did not write:
Some people claim that the term “Lost Cause Myth” and “Lost Cause Historiography” are inventions devised by certain “anti-southern” folks who are also usually described as “left-wing academics.” One example of such a complaint can be found here.
Does that sound anything close to what I actually wrote? To wit:
This is just a sampling of sentiments from Lee's former enemies. Scores more could be included. Yet, despite this type of evidence, you still have WBTS bloggers and historians suggest the "Lost Cause myth" (which, of course, involved Lee's memory and reputation) was, more or less, a fabrication by Southerners to save honor. In at least some aspects, the "myth" was anything but. 
But just to be clear: I completely acknowledge that all the Union officers whom I quoted in no way supported the cause of the Confederacy, no matter how much they admired General Lee (perhaps even more than their own general - which would, given Grant's reputation, be completely understandable). I also submit my most humble apologies to all readers who were misled by my omission and who were led to believe that General Grant was actually a Confederate sympathizer.

And, if one would like a more intellectually stimulating treatment of the "Lost Cause", I would suggest reading this article by Professor Clyde Wilson.

Why Doesn't Academia Find This Offensive?

Spanish Inquisition

The other day, I commented rather tongue- in-cheek, that news on colleges and universities being sued for religious discrimination and for suppressing freedom of expression was "becoming almost daily fare now." Actually, that statement is becoming reality. Now comes this recent news:
A federal court has ordered the University of North Carolina-Wilmington to promote a Christian professor and reimburse him for back pay after a jury found that the university wrongfully denied him a promotion because of his Christian beliefs.
The evidence that academia's claims of being the nation's guardians of diversity and freedom is a myth has become overwhelming. The claim is a joke. Institutionally, they're phonies. The recent dust up over Glenn McConnell becoming president of Charleston College is just another example of certain corners of academia demanding conformity in opinions and worldviews. Regarding the UNC suit:
“They concluded that the University of North Carolina-Wilmington retaliated against Dr Adams by denying him a promotion in 2006 and they retaliated against him because they did not like the views he expressed in his books and columns and speeches,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham explained to reporters following the verdict. “Basically, they didn’t like what he said in his own time.”
It's interesting to point out that UNC "did not like the views he expressed in his books." Wow. Sounds eerily familiar to some of the criticism being directed at Glenn McConnell.

Notice the common thread: a college destroying printed material, others wanting to know what books a potential college president reads or sells, and now being discriminated against for "views expressed" in books.

It appears we are in the midst of what amounts to a modern inquisition. And academia has taken upon the responsibility of eliminating all heresy. It has, in many cases, become the Grand Inquisitor.

10 April 2014

Some New Voices Coming To Congress?

It appears we could have some new sopranos in Congress if this lady gets elected.

And then there's this fella. He's into making other fellas hit the high notes as well . . .

Hmmm, it's shaping up to be quite a campaign season. If I were a male Democrat, I believe I'd be gettin me some armor.

09 April 2014

Some Different Memories From Appomattox

Update: Someone complained about this post. Here's my response.

“My own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on receipt of Lee’s letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and so valiantly and had suffered so much for a cause.” ~ General Grant on Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

“I turned about, and there behind me, riding between my two lines, appeared a commanding form, superbly mounted, richly accoutered, of imposing bearing, noble countenance, with expression of deep sadness overmastered by deeper strength. It is none other than Robert E. Lee! … I sat immovable, with a certain awe and admiration.” ~ Union General Joshua Chamberlain at Appomattox.

“He was one who, though famous, was not honeycombed with ambition or tainted with cunning or cant, and though a soldier and wearing soldier’s laurels, yet never craved or sought honors except as they bloomed on deeds done for the glory of his lawfully constituted authority; in short a soldier to whom the sense of duty was a gospel and a man of the world whose only rule in life was that life should be upright and stainless. I cannot but think Providence meant, through him, to prolong the ideal of the gentleman in the world . . . It is easy to see why Lee has become the embodiment of one of the world’s ideals, that of the soldier, the Christian, and the gentleman. And from the bottom of my heart I thank Heaven . . . for the comfort of having a character like Lee’s to look at.” ~ Union General Morris Schaff referring to Lee’s surrender at which he was present. 

This is just a sampling of sentiments from Lee's former enemies. Scores more could be included. Yet, despite this type of evidence, you still have WBTS bloggers and historians suggest the "Lost Cause myth" (which, of course, involved Lee's memory and reputation) was, more or less, a fabrication by Southerners to save honor. In at least some aspects, the "myth" was anything but.

08 April 2014

Should We Check This School Official's Library?

“My goal throughout this process has been to defend my daughter’s religious liberty,” Marcos Perez said in a statement. “I am thankful that the school now believes that something clearly happened when my daughter attempted to say Grace, and are taking swift action to correct the situation.”

“We are grateful that Carillon Elementary School is now taking this matter seriously and conducting a thorough investigation,” added Jeremy Dys, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute. “We hope that, at the conclusion of this investigation, school officials will apologize for this clear violation of the Perez family’s religious liberty and begin to restore the trust of the community.”
A public school official has told a 6 year-old that "It's not good" to pray. Wow. Should we check and see what kind of books are in this school official's personal library? Maybe this person has been reading Darwin or Nietzsche or the writings of some other godless, subversive pagan. Reading lists must be approved don't you know. But the problem is who will do the approving?

Story here.

Worth Quoting

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas): “Off-the-charts brilliant. And you know, liberals make the terrible mistake, including some of my friends and colleagues, of thinking that all conservatives are dumb. And I think one of the reasons that conservatives have been beating liberals in the courts and in public debates is because we underestimate them. Never underestimate Ted Cruz. He is off-the-chart brilliant. I don’t agree with his politics.” ~ Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz
Conversely, I don't believe all leftists are dumb, though some obviously are. Others are just narrow-minded.

07 April 2014

The Architect Of Southern Conservatism

The . . . architect of southern conservatism grabbed headlines with his prescient comments, public brawls and clashes with every president from John Adams to Andrew Jackson. 
I've always been intrigued by John Randolph of Roanoke. He was the consummate Virginian - conservative, Southern, aristocratic and a descendant of Pocahontas. He was the very embodiment of Old Virginia. Some years ago, I had the privilege of meeting David Johnson online and we exchanged several emails sharing our deep love and respect for our native Virginia. Mr. Johnson was, at the time, working in the attorney's general office in Richmond, which is where he was working when the lecture below was recorded. I had initially contacted him about a piece he had written about Douglas Southall Freeman. Johnson eventually wrote a biography of Freeman - a book that should be in every Civil War buff's library. If you want to understand an important perspective of the Southern mindset, you must understand Freeman who, as most readers would know, wrote the definitive biography of Robert E. Lee. Johnson's biography of Freeman is a feast and I would highly recommend it. And don't let the fact that some elites like to trash the book's publisher - Pelican Publishing - the book is scholarly and well-researched. It's also written in a style that will keep you interested - an ability many historians lack.

"When I speak of my country, I mean the Commonwealth of Virginia." ~ John Randolph

Pay close attention at about 18:25 into the video as Johnson draws a distinction between Randolph's view of rights as contrasted with John Locke's. It's an important distinction. At about that same place, Johnson discusses the symbolism on the Virginia flag, as well as the Virginia Declaration of Rights - important topics in regards to the philosophy and purpose of what you'll find here on the Old Virginia Blog. Also pay close attention at about 37:00 as Johnson reads some of Randolph's opinions on the welfare state. The comments sound almost as though they could have been spoken on the House floor in recent debates. Many of the issues are the same, though on a much grander scale. Amazing. Randolph was a brilliant, complicated, troubled, and fascinating man. Despite his demons, it is difficult not to be an admirer.

In listening to some of the biting, critical sarcasm and insults (some quite funny) that Randolph served up to his political enemies, you'll realize he'd do very well in modern political theater. Johnson's lecture is WELL WORTH the time you'll spend watching and listening.

Only a fellow Virginian could understand Randolph as David Johnson obviously does. So grab a cup of coffee, relax, sit back, click the play button and prepare to be informed, inspired, enlightened and entertained.  On a related note, I just recently completed Johnson's biography of Randolph and will be posting a short review soon.

06 April 2014

Another Ivory Tower Gets Nailed For Suppressing Free Speech

This is becoming almost daily fare now. 
Oregon State University, disdaining responsibility for trashing distribution boxes that were intended for a politically conservative student newspaper, has still paid $1,000 plus $100,000 in legal fees after a former student, William Rogers, filed suit against them.
The lawsuit, filed in 2009 by supporters of the newspaper The Liberty, contended that the university president and other school officials permitted the official campus newspaper access to distribution bins, but school officials removed the bins for The Liberty. The suit alleged that school officials confiscated distribution bins for The Liberty and tossed them onto a trash heap. The bins, which contained copies of the paper, were allegedly removed without notice and thrown next to a dumpster.
After the dumpster, they go to landfills or are burned. Remind you of anything? Evidently, they are unable to compete in the marketplace of ideas, so they simply want to do away with any disagreement. Conform, conform, conform.

Left-wing Academia = Mind Control & Indoctrination. Beyond that, aren't these colleges and universities wasting valuable (and increasingly scarce) resources defending themselves in court and paying these damages? Not real smart if you ask me.

Story here.

05 April 2014

What's In Your Library?

Kevin Levin wants to know what kind of books are in Glenn McConnell's library. Is Kevin seriously making a connection between what's in McConnell's library, to his qualifications as president of the College of Charleston?
. . . there does seem to be a relatively large group, including students, faculty, donors and even board members that is set against McConnell taking the reins of this school. It will be interesting to see whether McConnell can survive the pressure.
Kevin then writes:
I want to know what he believes about the American Civil War and Reconstruction. What does his Civil War library at home look like? What kinds of books (if any) did he sell in his store, which specialized in Confederate memorabilia? 
Wow. Am I the only one that finds that just a bit creepy? Maybe someone can also go to the local library and see if they can get a list of the books McConnell has checked out over his lifetime. Fortunately, that isn't an option any more. But it was at one time, as a December 2012 article in Mother Jones pointed out:
In 1987, the Federal Bureau of Investigation approached Columbia University librarian Paula Kaufman with a request: Keep an eye out for commies.
She refused to cooperate with the bureau's "library awareness" program and her defiance helped spark a nationwide backlash against government snooping into Americans' reading habits. Even knowing the government [or anyone else for that matter] might be watching, people realized, could change what you choose to read—and in turn alter what you think. As a result of similar incidents that occurred over the years, 48 states now have laws on the books protecting library records, and the other two have legal directives in place that uphold similar standards. (The protections vary from state to state.)
Is Kevin suggesting that unless McConnell conforms to HIS perspective and analysis of the Civil War, then he's not qualified to serve as president of the College of Charleston? Perhaps McConnell should have submitted a list of books to a government approved committee of scholars before he offered them for sell in his store.

As an ACLU attorney noted in the MJ article:
"We wanted to enact a law to make sure that readers of all sorts had the kind of protections readers have traditionally enjoyed," says Chris Conley of the ACLU of Northern California. "It's important not just in the privacy sense, but also from the First Amendment freedom of expression sense. If people aren't free to read, if they feel like what they read can be watched or monitored or used against them, that really hinders communication."
Restricting what people read (by intimidation and other means), has a very long history and dark connection to oppression and free-thinking. Wikipedia notes the following in regards to the McCarthy era:
The State Department bowed to McCarthy and ordered its overseas librarians to remove from their shelves "material by any controversial persons, Communists, fellow travelers, etc." Some libraries went as far as burning the newly forbidden books. Shortly after this, in one of his carefully oblique public criticisms of McCarthy, President Eisenhower urged Americans: "Don't join the book burners ... Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book."
Is Kevin suggesting that what McConnell has read about the War For Southern Independence be "used against him" by those opposed to him serving as president of a college? 

If so, I find that quite chilling. But if not, why even bring it up? Will we see the same kind of curiosity in the reading list of others who are appointed to similar posts?

04 April 2014

Thomas Jefferson's Shadow & Unlimited Submission

Yet another nullification law was just passed in Missouri.

On April 3rd the Missouri House passed an "emergency" bill to nullify "virtually every federal gun control measure in the books." The bill – HB1439 – drew a supermajority of support, 110-36. According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill borrows language from Thomas Jefferson to reject "unlimited submission" to the federal government.
Language from the Missouri House bill:
The several states of the United States of America respect the proper role of the federal government, but reject the proposition that such respect requires unlimited submission 
And my fellow Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, must be smiling:
Resolved that the several states composing the US. of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style & title of a Constitution for the US. and of Amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each state to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General government assumes undelegated powers, it’s acts are unauthoritative, void, & of no force. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Story here.

As I was reading this, I recalled something fellow Virginian and blogger, Robert Moore wrote in my book, Lexington, Virginia and the Civil War.
The path which Robert E. Lee followed in making his decision on Virginia's secession differed little from that of Southern Unionists. The difference was where the respective courses changed, and how those courses were altered by by an individual and personal understanding of responsibilities and commitments. In many of those decisions, eventual actions can be defined as either conditional or unconditional Unionism. Lee's Unionism had it's breaking point; it was conditional. Others did not; they were unconditional. The same could be said of those who committed to secession and the Confederacy. Some embraced it, seemingly without condition, while others went only as far as personal levels of tolerance would allow. 
Interesting, isn't it, how these principles continue to be points of raucous debate. Evidently, when it comes to gun control, the Missouri House has reached it's "breaking point." In thinking about all this, I was also reminded of something that historian Douglas Harper wrote:
No one can deny the importance of slavery to the feud that split the United States, or that the CSA states made protection of slavery one of its central purposes. But the secession of 1860-61 and the shooting war that followed were the climax of a long interplay. Like a couple heading into divorce, the regions fought often, in the open and in secret. But they nursed grudges, and what they argued out loud was not always the real issue. During the 1840s, slavery became the symbol and character of all sectional differences. It was the emotional gasoline on the sectional fires. Its moral and social implications colored every issue in terms of right and rights. William Seward, the Republican leader, recognized the fact: "Every question, political, civil, or ecclesiastical, however foreign to the subject of slavery, brings up slavery as an incident, and the incident supplants the principal question."

And that "principal question" continues to be the question of "unlimited [or unconditional] submission."

02 April 2014

Still Fighting The Civil War?

An afterthought: Levin likes those poking fun at Southerners who "imagine themselves still fighting the Civil War", but he's just fine with an academic (David Blight) who believes we're still fighting the Civil War writing a blurb for his book. Now that's entertainment. The double-standards just keep coming.

Some folks enjoy videos which "poke fun at the relatively small number of people who imagine themselves still fighting the Civil War." See post here. Yes, very entertaining.

But I think their numbers are growing and gaining converts:

"The Civil War is not only not over, it can still be lost." ~ Professor David Blight

Oh the irony.

Read more here: http://civilwar150.kansascity.com/articles/civil-war-150-past-present/#storylink=cp