30 November 2016

Should Flag-Burners Go to Jail?

Maybe you should start by asking the right person . . . 

A certain Civil War blogger is all-a-twitter over President-elect Trump's recent tweet about jailing flag burners. This is yet one more case of someone taking Trump literally, but not seriously. It's also another example of the "moral outrage of the week club." I think most folks who read the tweet understood it for what it was: attention getting hyperbole. But here's a factoid overlooked by the hand-wringers: Defeated Presidential candidate and former Democrat Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, actually co-sponsored a bill that would, in fact, have jailed flag-burners: The "Flag Protection Act of 2005", which reads, in part:
Any person who destroys or damages a flag of the United States with the primary purpose and intent to incite or produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace, and under circumstances in which the person knows that it is reasonably likely to produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace, shall be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
Moreover, the New York Times opined that Clinton's bill was an attempt to equate flag-burning with cross-burning, writing:
The bill attempts to equate flag-burning with cross-burning, which the Supreme Court, in a sensible and carefully considered 2003 decision, said could be prosecuted under certain circumstances as a violation of civil rights law. It's a ridiculous comparison.
You would think these folks would be a bit more concerned about the reality of a bill with teeth filed in the U.S. Senate than they would a tweet by a man who is known for his over the top remarks. Then, again . . .πŸ˜‰ Oh my, it's going to be a very fun 4 (maybe 8) years. LOL.

28 November 2016

Relic Hunting Post #146 - Preserved Hotchkiss Shell

A couple of years ago, I and a friend recovered an unexploded Hotchkiss shell from a river in the Southeastern United States. (Yes, we did so legally with permits.) Since that time I've wanted to preserve it but had not found the time to do so. I did finally find some time over the Thanksgiving holiday.

One of the joys of recovering old relics from our Nation's past is the satisfaction one gets in preserving these artifacts for future generations. Below are the results - before and after.

26 November 2016

PC Deniers Are Flat-Earthers: Part 10 - Laugh at Deniers

A couple of "Civil War bloggers" like to poke fun and mock anyone who points out both the silliness and pervasiveness of political correctness. One blogger in particular refers to me as a "Virginia Whiner" over my PC posts. Clever.

But in denying and downplaying PC, these folks only make my case. With that in mind, I came across this recent skit mocking political correctness and Thanksgiving. What's interesting is that the mocking skit is performed by children. That makes it particularly appropriate. PC is childish and intellectually shallow. When even children can see and laugh at your silliness and "outrage of the month" club, I'd say the gig is about up. You've become a laughing stock.

25 November 2016

History Blogging & Politics

History News Network Screen Shot: 11/23/2016

We often hear from the ostensibly apolitical, objective history and Civil War bloggers that "heritage types" and defenders of American Exceptionalism are politicizing history. Funny, I never hear them criticizing their soul mates on the left for the same thing. When most academic historians are pretty much saying the same thing, we should be highly suspicious, especially when they default to nothing more than name calling and smearing those who disagree with their conformist viewpoints. It's times like these that it's a good idea to recall the words of historian Paul Johnson:
Beware committees, conferences and leagues of intellectuals. Distrust public statements from their serried ranks. Discount their verdicts on political leaders and important events. ~ Historian Paul Johnson

24 November 2016

Recent Relic Recoveries - Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow I will spend most of the day cleaning, cataloguing, organizing and displaying many of my relic finds from this year. Here's my haul from 2 recent digs here in Virginia. The items in the first photo were dug in and around the Confederate trenches at Petersburg (on private property of course) during an organized hunt. Several minie balls, one piece of iron grape shot, a shell fragment and a poncho grommet. I also dug what I believe to be an ornate part of a camp stove right in the bottom of one of the trenches. It's taking an apple cider vinegar bath right now. I'll post the results later. The 2nd image is from an all day solo hunt last week on a battlefield here in the Shenandoah Valley - again on private property. Lots of .69's, a Confederate Gardner, shell frags and sabot frags as well, along with a period rivet. Not a bad November thus far. Video to come later. Ah, the life of a relic hunter . . . Happy Thanksgiving! God is good to us, isn't He?

22 November 2016

My Latest Article in North South Trader's Civil War

I've been a reader of the award winning North South Trader's Civil War (on and off) for many years now. And I've been a faithful subscriber for about 6 years. It is, in my opinion, the best WBTS magazine being published today. NSTCW's masthead clearly states it's target audience: "The magazine for collectors & historians." Specifically . . .

North South Trader's Civil War is a bimonthly magazine for collectors, researchers, relic hunters, and historians of the War Between the States. Each heavily illustrated issue contains a host of well-researched articles about a wide variety of artifacts, from uniforms and weaponry to belt plates and buttons. We also offer regular features about events in the field, reproduction and fake alerts, artifact identification, and recently excavated finds. Our format is lively, informative, and scholarly yet eminently readable.

If you're a collector or have an interest in the history and the surviving artifacts of the greatest conflict in American history, you won't want to miss an issue of this award-winning publication!
So it goes without saying that I'm thrilled to have an article published in their most recent issue. An added (and unexpected) honor is that my essay is appearing in the magazine's 40th anniversary issue.

My essay was actually adapted from material in my latest book, The Battle of Waynesboro. I received my comp copies of the magazine today. I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Most Academic Historians Are Democrats

And most Democrats are left of the political center. Those are facts. With this in mind, a recent study regarding the political affiliation of college and university professors found:
Among the five fields analyzed, History has the highest ratio of Democrat-to-Republican professors at nearly 34 to one. [Source.]
Yes, you read that correctly. 34 to 1. While I believe it is possible that a history professor (Democrat or Republican) can keep his personal political preferences completely out of the classroom, I also believe that it is highly improbable. You can draw your own conclusions about this reality. Others have already done so. And there have been numerous books written on the topic as well. For example.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean one cannot learn from someone of either political preference (right or left), but what one does need to keep in mind is that leftist preferences are dominant among academic historians. There is no political diversity (of any consequence) among academic historians. To pretend that this is not something to both consider and be concerned about is bordering on the delusional.

21 November 2016

Hope For Bubble Dwellers

This would apply to academia as well; especially those historians engaged in what Professor Gordon S. Wood describes as "incestuous conversations." All good humor contains an element of truth. With that in mind . . .

And this piece in the New York Post by George Will is certainly germane. Here are some of the money quotes:
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a constant reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.
And . . .
An American Council of Trustees and Alumni study — “No US History? How College History Departments Leave the United States out of the Major,” based on requirements and course offerings at 75 leading colleges and universities — found that “the overwhelming majority of America’s most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government.”
And . . .
Small wonder, then, that a recent ACTA-commissioned survey found that less than half of college graduates knew that George Washington was the commanding general at Yorktown; that nearly half didn’t know that Theodore Roosevelt was important to the construction of the Panama Canal; that more than one-third couldn’t place the Civil War in a correct 20-year span or identify Franklin Roosevelt as the architect of the New Deal; that 58 percent didn’t know that the Battle of the Bulge occurred in World War II; and that nearly half didn’t know the lengths of the terms of US senators and representatives.
And yet the people teaching at and running these institutions of "higher learning" expect the rest of us to defer to their expertise. LOL. 😏

16 November 2016

The Historic Legacy of the Last Eight Years

Image source, The Washington Post

From the Washington Post:
. . . Republicans grabbed more of America's statehouses and governor's mansions during the Obama administration than at any time in the modern era. And they held onto those majorities Tuesday. Results are still trickling in, but it looks like Republicans will still control an all-time high 69 of 99 state legislative chambers. They'll hold at least 33 governorships, tying a 94-year-old record.

That means that come 2017, they'll have total control of government in at least 25 states, and partial control in 20 states. According to population calculations by the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, that translates to roughly 80 percent of the population living in a state either all or partially controlled by Republicans.
And  the WAPO reluctantly admits . . .
Like most of our predictions about the 2016 election, we were wrong. Republicans are still the dominant party in America and likely will be for some time. 

15 November 2016

PC Deniers Are Flat-Earthers: Part 9 - Academia's Intolerance

From USA Today:
Donald Trump’s substantial victory, when most progressives expected a Hillary Clinton landslide, came as a shock to many. . . .The response to the shock has been to turn campuses into kindergarten. The University of Michigan Law School announced a ”post-election self-care” event with “food" and "play,” including “coloring sheets, play dough (sic), positive card-making, Legos and bubbles with your fellow law students.” (Embarrassed by the attention, UM Law scrubbed the announcement from its website, perhaps concerned that people would wonder whether its graduates would require Legos and bubbles in the event of stressful litigation.)
And . . .
Trump is leading the state of Michigan, so there are probably quite a few on campus — aren’t really included in acceptable campus culture. It’s not promoting diversity; it’s enforcing uniformity. It’s not promoting inclusion; it’s practicing exclusion.  And though it pretends to be about nurturing, it’s actually about being mean to those who don’t fall in the nurtured class.
Yet we still have the deniers. Amazing. Read the complete piece here, written by a University professor.

14 November 2016

UVA Professors: "Stop Quoting Thomas Jefferson"

Aren't you all glad that pointing out political correctness is academia is just "whining" and a boogie-man of the right?
“We would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson's legacy, others of us came here in spite of it,” the letter read. “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”
Story here

11 November 2016

Historic Election - The Triumph of the Forgotten Little Man

Image source.
Accusations of elitism dogged Clinton throughout her political campaign, and they came to the fore in a big way in September when she said that half of Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” The comment, which she made at a star-studded fundraiser in New York City, was immediately slammed by Republicans. It was a sign of “how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women [the Deplorables] of America,” said Trump campaign communications adviser Jason Miller. ~ Yahoo News
This is an unusually long post for me. I hope you'll stick with me to the end. If you're an open-minded Trump hater, what follows may bring understanding. If you're a closed-minded Trump hater, you should probably move along.

I recently read another Civil War related blog suggest that it is going to take a lot of time to understand President-elect Trump's astonishing and historic victory. For those who've not been living in a bubble over the last 16 years (yes, 16 years) and who aren't completely out of touch, the 2016 election is really quite easy to understand.  

Though it's a little bit more complicated than this, you could fundamentally boil Tuesday's election results down to "the triumph of the forgotten little man." President-elect Trump actually referred to this overlooked demographic in his victory speech: "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

The term "forgotten man" is certainly not new in regards to politics. FDR used the term in a speech in 1932:
These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganized but the indispensable units of economic power, for plans like those of 1917 that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
And there are a number of writers who have discussed this overlooked American since Trump's astounding victory. Beverly Cage writing in the New York Times for example:
In 1932, at the darkest moment of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt evoked the “forgotten man” as a reason to rebuild the economy from the “bottom up.” More than three decades later, after Richard Nixon’s 1968 victory, the journalist Peter Schrag identified the “Forgotten American” — the white “lower middle class” voter — as the key to the nation’s apparent rejection of the Great Society and the New Deal order. “In the guise of the working class — or the American yeoman or John Smith — he was once the hero of the civic books, the man that Andrew Jackson called ‘the bone and sinew of the country,’ ” Mr. Schrag wrote. “Now he is ‘the forgotten man,’ perhaps the most alienated [and impugned and despised by the cosmopolitan class] person in America.”
To those who have already ignorantly categorized this movement of "the forgotten man" with the same "George Wallace types" of the 1960's and 1970's: you are sorely mistaken and have learned nothing from the last 16 years, nor from this election. This upsetting of the status quo had nothing to do with race. Regarding this point, it's also important to point out that almost 1/3 of Hispanics voting in 2016, voted for President-elect Donald Trump. And these voters did not reject Hillary Clinton because of her sex. If you really believe that, you're locked into your own political bias beyond anyone's ability to help you. (And if you want to celebrate the breaking of a glass ceiling, you may do so. Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, just became the first woman to ever successfully run a presidential campaign. Funny no one on the left has celebrated that accomplishment, huh?)   

Many of the Democrat and independent voters who voted for Obama (especially the first time) have seen their situation and their country decline while the empty promises of the last two campaign cycles still echoed in their ears. They've also watched ruling class elites prosper while all they hold dear is slowly slipping away. This drove them straight into President-elect Trump's camp. As a recent article in the New York Post written by Salena Zito points out:
she [Clinton] won the top 10 populations centers where most of the wealth, commerce and power is located — and lost the bulk of America. . . . “Look, elites don’t understand why America needs to be great again because for them America is great,” . . . Their economy is strong, their lifestyle is comfortable and the communities they live in, in and around New York and Washington, are the wealthiest and most influential in the country. ~ Salena  Zito
These same forgotten voters saw a new champion in Trump.

This election was about the direction of the country - both economically and culturally - pure and simple. Globalization has been a sweet deal for Wall Street, bankers, politicians, and other ruling class elites, but it's been at the expense of many middle and lower middle class voters of all races. On election day, they very plainly voiced their concerns and shouted in one, unified voice, STOP!
The elites’ picture of a typical Trump voter is right out of “The Beverly Hillbillies” — male, white, uneducated and lacking common pleasantries, let alone the skills to better themselves. . . . When Trump voters turn on cable TV, they see their lives and livelihoods disrespected. They don’t want to keep up with the Kardashians; they just want to watch football without a political statement thrown in their faces. ~ Salena  Zito
Even CBS News has published a mea culpa written by Will Rahn about how the mainstream media treated President-elect Trump's supporters. Mr. Rhan may not like what's happened regarding Trump's victory but, at least, he does understand it:
The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time. And can you blame them? Journalists [and many historians in the blogosphere] love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.
What is really interesting to me about this piece is that much of what Rahn writes about the media is just as true about much of academia, particularly all the leftist "historians" who dismissed Trump supporters as ignorant bigots. For example, just substitute my bracketed words for Rahn's in this excerpt:
We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists [Historians], at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice [history].
Is this not exactly what we see from many "mainstream" historians, especially in the blogosphere? And, as Rahn notes about his colleagues in the media, the same can be said about many historians analyzing Trump's victory:
You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence! That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. . . .
it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.
We are already seeing this doubling-down attitude expressed on many history related blogs and websites. Their blinders remain intact, their condescending attitudes smugly reassure their own false narratives - even after the storm of the 2016 election.

Yet Rahn expresses a humility and wisdom at the end of his piece that is refreshing:
We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it. There’s a fleeting fun to gang-ups and groupthink. But it’s not worth what we are losing in the process. 
But I must confess, I'm not very optimistic about that, particularly regarding the mainstream media and many (if not most) modern historians. The reasons for that lack of optimism have already been written. It will likely get much worse. Bubble-dwellers don't learn from history, they use it.

Why should this rise of the forgotten man be such a surprise, especially in regards to those former Democrat Obama voters in the Jacksonian belt of Appalachia and the old Rust Belt: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Western Virginia and most of the South? These are Hillary's "deplorables", President Obama's "bitter clingers", and what a number of comments and posts on "Civil War" blogs and academic-type "history" websites have characterized as little more than ignorant racists - just like the elitists in the media routinely do.

Of course, it's not just liberal Democrat politicians who have forsaken these Americans, the Republican establishment has done the same (which is why Trump quite easily dispatched 16 of them to mere footnotes, one by one, during the Republican primaries). As Dr. Steven Allen Jr. pointed out earlier this year:
Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, described the situation this way: “America is now ruled by a uniformly educated class of persons that occupies the commanding heights of the bureaucracy, of the judiciary, education, the media, and of large corporations, and that wields political power through the Democratic Party. Its control of access to prestige, power, privilege, and wealth exerts a gravitational pull that has made the Republican Party’s elites into its satellites.”
Allen adds,
. . . the traditional idea that, while some people might have more money than others, they weren’t intrinsically “better” people. But now, members of the elite think they’re smarter, more sophisticated, more tolerant, more moral than those ignorant folks who work with their hands or never received a college degree.
These "ruled" and disaffected voters felt abandoned. I should know. I'm one of them. We're quite sick of our amoral rulers and the pseudo intellectuals in academia looking down their hypocritical noses at the rest of us while they signal their virtue via the irreligious and false doctrine of political correctness. It's gotten very old, very tired, very ridiculous and we know it's all a lie anyway.

Even so, many of us have long recognized President-elect Trump for much of what he is: a brash, offensive show off in a suit with a Yankee accent. But we also quickly recognized him as something more: a brash, offensive show off in a suit with a Yankee accent who was more than willing to courageously challenge political correctness, globalization, America's economic decline and both the Democrat and Republican establishment cabal in Washington. (How ironic that our standard bearer appears to be, at first glance, much of what we despise. God does have a sense of humor.)

But Donald Trump did not create the issues nor the movement that propelled him to the Presidency. He simply recognized it and got out in front of it to become it's political voice - something ANY Republican (or Democrat for that matter) could have done if they'd had the guts and wisdom to do so. But they didn't. They were too timid, too cowardly, too out of touch, too counseled by their consultants, too blinded by ambition and too lazy. President-elect Trump simply filled the vacuum they had created. If the political establishment in both parties and the rest of the elite in academia and the media want to understand how and why President-elect Trump triumphed, all they need to do is look in the mirror. Your answer is staring back at you. Your arrogance created him. Poetic justice.

Winners in the 2016 election:

American Exceptionalism

The Forgotten Man (and woman) 

Losers in the 2016 election:

Political correctness

Ruling Class Elites (including much of academia)


For more understanding in to what this election means, I recommend the additional commentary to all bubble-dwellers. It really isn't difficult to understand.
Trump Victory is a win for the little guy over the elite (New York Post)

Pollsters suffer huge embarrassment (The Hill)

Absorbing the Impossible (The New York Times)

An Obama Era crashes as Donald Trump takes White House (USA Today)

Fed up with Washington, Trump's 'deplorables' shake up the elite (Reuters)

The Forgotten Man (Lew Rockwell)

And one more thing . . . who's laughing now?

09 November 2016


Sometimes one must go backward to make progress. One of the most satisfying aspects of last night's historic upset was being able to observe the looks on the faces of the talking heads on PBS. The look on Judy Woodruff's ashen face was priceless. The ruling class elites have suffered an epic humiliation and defeat. I'll have more to say about this after I get some sleep.

God bless President-elect Trump. Our long national nightmare is finally over.

04 November 2016

PC Deniers are Flat-Earthers: Part 8 - Soviet Style Silencing

A recent event at New York University reveals the extent to which the little Stalinists in academia will go to silence any opposition to political correctness. They're now using the old Soviet tactic of accusing critics of mental illness in order to silence them. To wit:
There was a time when victimizing dissident academics by branding them ‘mentally ill’ was confined to totalitarian societies like Stalinist Russia. In the 21st century, however, such demonisation is deemed acceptable by universities in the US and the UK, where an increasingly intolerant and illiberal campus culture now prevails.Take the case of New York University liberal studies professor Michael Rectenwald. He has been forced on to paid leave for the rest of the current semester. His crime? He’s been accused of ‘incivility’ by some of his colleagues. The problem is that he transgressed the unwritten rule that forbids academics from criticizing the illiberal practices that abound on campus today, from safe spaces to trigger warnings to the crusade against cultural appropriation and microaggressions. [Source]
The department dean told Rectenwald that some of his colleagues were worried about his mental health and so he was instructed to take leave and get help. However intemperate Rectenwald may have been in his social-media posts, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the decision to force him out was motivated by a hostility to his views on diversity rather than a concern for his mental health.  [Source]
And this eerily similar tactic from the Chicago Tribune . . .
"One of the doctors asked whether I thought it was normal to write such things," Taisiya Arap said. "She said, 'It's not possible to write such things. It's forbidden.'" The Soviet Union routinely locked up dissidents in asylums, a practice that attracted worldwide condemnation because of the protests of Andrei Sakharov and other human-rights activists. Today, 16 years after the Soviet collapse, authorities are increasingly returning to psychiatry to suppress political opponents or punish activists, according to human-rights organizations and other watchdog groups. [Source]
And this from the New York Times . . .
For years, Soviet psychiatrists had been accused in the West of diagnosing as mentally ill political dissidents they knew to be mentally well. According to both Western critics and Soviet dissidents, the K.G.B. . . . had regularly referred dissidents to psychiatrists for such diagnoses in order to avoid embarrassing public trials and to discredit dissent as the product of sick minds. [Source]
And this . . .
. . . it was during the 1960s and 1970s that the Communist Party took their intolerance for ideological deviance to extremes by diagnosing and institutionalizing so-called counterrevolutionaries with mental illness. It was a frightening episode in Soviet history in which perfectly healthy citizens could be deemed psychotic simply on account of their political views. [Source]
Maybe this is why so many within academic circles are willing to deny the obvious. Right comrades?

02 November 2016

Highly Educated & Intolerant

If you peruse many academic Civil War and history related blogs and sites, you will soon be exposed to the narrative that the "educated" and "enlightened" ones in America are more "tolerant", "open-minded", etc., etc. than anyone to the right of Karl Marx. Their lockstep conformity on that false narrative is stunning. But if you read many of these folks' posts (as well as the comments that often follow), you soon discover this notion is quite far from the truth. Wikileaks has recently blown that narrative all to h*** and now Pew Research confirms the same:
“Clinton backers – particularly highly educated ones – have more difficulty respecting Trump supporters than the other way around,” Pew acknowledged in the Nov. 1 report.
The article discussing this Pew report is quite interesting.  

My Sense of Place

This is the view, looking east, as you approach the town I call home - Stuarts Draft, Virginia, founded in 1749. Population 9,235. We absolutely love the area. Stuarts Draft is about 8 miles SW of the town I was born in - Waynesboro, Virginia. The back drop here is the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the George Washington National Forest. My home lies in the area about 10'clock from the flag, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, about 5 miles outside of town.

01 November 2016

The Enlightened Ones

They are the comfortable and well-educated [academia] mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves. ~ Thomas Frank writing in The Guardian
 You're welcome.