27 February 2017

Hope Reborn of War

A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the privilege of watching a new documentary about "a unique educational community" in Fishersville, Virginia. The film focuses on the history of the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. WWRC was originally built as an army hospital during WWII. After the war, it was converted to a high school - Wilson Memorial. My wife attended the old high school and I attended the newer high school after the old school was closed. I also worked in the cafeteria at the rehab center while I was in high school. Many family members went to WMHS as well. Needless to say, there are a lot of memories associated with this place. To their credit, our local PBS affiliate has made the documentary available on Youtube. Even though I'm a bit biased due to my personal connection to this place, it really is a fascinating story.

The documentary is based on a book by local historian Nancy Sorrels and was produced by the Augusta County Historical Society.

25 February 2017

Teaching History: Cause & Effect?

. . . many historians have become obsessed with inequality and white privilege in American society. And this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history. The inequalities of race and gender now permeate much of academic history-writing . . . ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood

The people who came out of the ‘60s are currently in control of the profession and it’s has become essentially race-class-gender issues. ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood
"The problem is not just overgrown crybabies and helicopter parenting, but an extreme version of identity politics, which encourages students to demand power and privilege on the sole basis of their race, gender, or sexual orientation,” Greer writes. “The flipside is that they want to disenfranchise and humiliate everyone who is not part of their designated victim groups—especially straight, white men. . . . “Higher education now incentivizes students to adopt and exploit an identity that can give them a leg up in the Victimhood Olympics. This, in turn, encourages the ‘victimized’ students to hate their fellow classmates who are assigned the oppressor identity by the mandated form of campus politics. Additionally, it leads these grievance mongers to also hate traditional America and Western civilization." (Source.)
Since knowing the race and/or gender of who wrote the piece of music students are playing is so important, the band directors at Spring Lake Park High School in Minnesota “have pledged” to include at least one composition by a woman, and one by a “composer of color” in each of its bands’ concerts. (Source.)
Pepperdine University will remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from its main campus after students at the Southern California Christian school made multiple demands to take it down. . . . Pepperdine’s student newspaper, The Graphic, reported that around two dozen students took to the statue’s location on Columbus Day last semester and chanted “take it down.” A written statement from the protest group, “Waves Against Columbus,” claimed the statue is “a celebration of genocide and racial oppression.” (Source.)
The Writing Center at the University of Washington is telling students that expecting Americans to use proper grammar perpetuates racism.

A press release put out by the University of Washington’s Writing Center argues that “there is no inherent ‘standard’ of English,” and that pressure to conform to proper American grammar standards perpetuate systems of racism. (Source.)
Again, I'm just asking.

23 February 2017

Relic Hunting Post #147: Confederate Trenches at Petersburg

Last November, I had the opportunity to do some relic hunting in and around the Confederate trenches (on private property) near Petersburg, Virginia. I have a short video from that hunt that I'll complete sometime soon. But, in the mean time, I thought I'd share this particular find. I'm relatively sure it's part of a leg from a tent/camp stove. It's definitely period and I found it in the bottom of a trench. It's also from a less common type of stove. There were also burnt period bricks nearby. Before and after my preservation efforts are shown below.

The more common tent stoves were fashioned like the Sibley stove below. 

But other styles have been recovered in both Union and Confederate camps, like the more ornate one below from Howard Crouch's, Civil War artifacts: A guide for the historian.

22 February 2017

Secesh Fever: First California, Now North Carolina

Source: Reuters
Secesh fever seems to be catching . . .
A bill filed Tuesday by a trio of N.C. House Republicans seeks to drop a provision in the state constitution that prohibits secession.
And that map was from 2014. From what I'm reading, the sentiment is becoming more popular with each election cycle. The latest survey notes that 1 in 3 Californians now support secession; up from 20% in 2014. That's drastic folks. Jeff Davis must be smiling. More on the North Carolina bill here.

20 February 2017

Empowering Students

This would be a great start.
University of Wisconsin students would not only get lower tuition under Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s latest budget, but they could also stop paying for groups or services they dislike or simply don’t want to fund.
Choice. Who could oppose? More here.

18 February 2017

A Southern Classic Turns 45

Garden & Gun recently reminded me of the fact that the Allman Brothers' classic Eat a Peach album turned 45 on February 12th this year. I was 14 when I purchased that album in 1972. It was my introduction to both the Allman Brothers and the genre of Southern Rock. As G&G's piece reveals, the original title of the album was "The Kind We Grow in Dixie." The band's drummer, Butch Trucks, didn't care much for that title but the cover art reminded him of something that the recently deceased Duane Allman had said during an interview with Good Times Magazine: "Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace." Trucks believes that the inspiration for Allman's quote came, somewhat ironically, from a T.S. Eliot poem.

I quickly became an ardent Allman Brothers fan and would purchase every album they produced. And I would follow, in similar fashion, the same pattern with the Marshall Tucker band and other Southern Rock groups. Though no longer much of a rock-n-roller, I still have a strong sentimental and yes, even spiritual, attachment to the Eat a Peach album. My favorite song from Eat a Peach is, "Blue Sky."

Even at the very unspiritual age of 14 (at least for me), the song always had a nostalgic, peaceful and spiritual feel to me. The melody is beautiful and soothing, as are the words with their reference to nature, the South and Christianity:

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don't worry 'bout where it's going, no, no.
Don't fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road,
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know

You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way,
Turn your love my way, yeah.

Good old sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere.
Goin to Carolina, it won't be long and I'll be there


Also on the album is an instrumental titled "Little Martha." When I met my wife to be in 1978, her small frame and first name (Martha) immediately reminded me of that song. She has been to me, forever since, Little Martha.

You can read the G&G piece here

And, another interesting piece about the Allman Brothers appeared, of all places, at Breitbart:
What the Allmans and others created was a vehicle through which we could recapture the pentatonic-based blues that the British artists of the 1960s co-opted, brilliantly electrified, refined and exported back to us.  Southern Rock was our reflexive response to The Rolling Stones, Cream, The Who, Led Zeppelin and others.
Although don’t call it “Southern Rock” to Gregg. He will be the first to remind us that rock and roll originated in the South. “‘Southern Rock’ hell. Just call it ‘Rock Rock!” he said on more than one occasion, and he has a point. Although no one can argue with the brilliance of Clapton, Page, Beck, Townshend and the other lads from the UK, they would not have existed but for the advent of the blues sound that percolated up from the post-reconstruction Deep South.

And it came at a time when, after a hundred years of being looked down by the country outside Dixie while suffering their own racial dysfunctions at home, the South was looking for a reason to be proud again … and the rest of the country looking for a reason to love the South again.

It is no coincidence that the advent of the southern Allman Brothers and the rest, the growth of southern Capricorn Records and the election of a southern peanut farmer as president (for better or worse) happened in tandem.
Happy birthday to a Southern classic. Go eat a peach.

15 February 2017

Are Moral Reformer "Historians" Partly Responsbile?

For the ongoing vandalism on historic monuments? If one connects the dots, one might be able to make that case, no?
Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater, the College of William & Mary, must clean up a statue of the former president that was vandalized over the weekend. . . . On the ground nearby was a message about the man who penned the final draft of the Declaration of Independence: “Slave owner.” (Source)

"Beginning in the 1960s, from Boston to Berkeley, the teachers of America’s teachers absorbed and taught a new, CliffsNotes-style sacred history: America was born tainted by Western Civilization’s original sins—racism, sexism, greed, genocide against natives and the environment, all wrapped in religious obscurantism, and on the basis of hypocritical promises of freedom and equality." ~ Angelo M. Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University

Is there a cause and effect? Just asking. 

12 February 2017

"Great Americans in Their Day"

". . . the Democratic Party, over the past five or six years has moved very far to the left. When you can’t have a Jefferson-Jackson dinner which was the primary celebratory event of the Democratic Party for years because Jefferson and Jackson were slaveholders they were also great Americans in their day, something different has happened to the Democratic Party." ~ former Virginia Senator James Webb
I've often wondered if, at some point in the future, Americans come to view abortion on demand as abhorrently as we now view slavery, will those individuals and politicians who today support abortion, be as disdained and ostracized as slaveholders are today? In repeating Webb's observation as a question; will "something different" happen to the Democratic Party in the future, as it's happened in the past?

Just asking. 

09 February 2017

Political Correctness & Fragmentary History in Academia: No Longer Deniable

Beginning in the 1960s, from Boston to Berkeley, the teachers of America’s teachers absorbed and taught a new, CliffsNotes-style sacred history: America was born tainted by Western Civilization’s original sins—racism, sexism, greed, genocide against natives and the environment, all wrapped in religious obscurantism, and on the basis of hypocritical promises of freedom and equality. Secular saints from Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama have been redeeming those promises, placing America on the path of greater justice in the face of resistance from the mass of Americans who are racist, sexist, but above all stupid. To consider such persons on the same basis as their betters would be, as President Obama has called it, “false equivalence.” ~ Angelo M. Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University
And . . .
. . . instead of writing full-scale narrative histories, the new generation of historians has devoted itself to isolating and recovering stories of the dispossessed: the women kept in dependence; the American Indians shorn of their lands; the black slaves brought in chains from Africa. Consequently, much of their history is fragmentary and essentially anachronistic—condemning the past for not being more like the present. It has no real interest in the pastness of the past.  ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood
And . . .
The belief in these certain things—life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, equality. All of the great notions that are part of the American Dream or American ideology come out of the Revolution. These are our highest aspirations, our noblest ideals. That’s why the Revolution is the most important event in our history. It’s too bad it’s not being taught everywhere. The people who came out of the ‘60s are currently in control of the profession and it’s has become essentially race-class-gender issues.  ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood
And . . .
Well, this is the same people who claim they’re seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity. Diversity of ideas. They may want superficial diversity of gender. Superficial diversity of color, but they don’t want diversity of ideas. We’re seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses. You know, I don’t want to make analogies to the 1930s but we have to remember that it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book burners. They don’t want to hear diverse views on college campuses. ~ Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz
And . . .
". . . in these dreariest of days in Academia . . . American history has largely become a plaything for canting ideologues . . . our times call for a correct ideological line, which at its increasingly popular extreme regards the Old South as a rehearsal for Nazi Germany and calls for the eradication of all traces of the conservative voices that have loomed so large in southern history . . . [There is a] step-by-step domination of departments of history in our southern as well as northern universities by those who regard what Richard Weaver aptly called the Southern Tradition and all its works as an evil past to be exorcised by all means, fair and foul." ~ Professor Eugene D. Genovese (The Southern Front - History and Politics in the Cultural War, page 25.)

Note to readers: The only words in this post that I authored are the title and, "and", "and", "and" & "and."

07 February 2017

Academic Historians: Unhinged?

I've had a request from another Civil War blogger and a Civil War historian for more posts about political correctness and leftist extremism in academia. I always aim to please so, here you go . . .
The dreary uniformity of diatribes against our nation as a bastion of racism, sexism, and homophobia is nothing new. These same talks have been standard on campus for decades; they have been merely repackaged as attacks on a President who dared deny the “truth” that the United States is a cesspool of injustice that must be fundamentally transformed through radical political action. That not one academic on the official OAH program has anything nice to say about our President, or those who voted for him, also is unsurprising. We have known for many years, and finally have multiple studies corroborating the fact that, college faculties are virtually unanimous in their leftism [Emphasis mine.]
The quotation above is taken from a recent piece written by Professor Bruce P. Frohnen who teaches law at Ohio Northern University. The piece is affectionately titled: History, Hate, & Hysteria: The Unhinging of the Academic Left. Professor Frohnen's article was prompted by the recent announcement of a lecture series by the Organization of American Historians. The lecture series is about the election of Donald Trump. Understanding that a recent study revealed that the highest ratio of Democrat to Republican voter registration among academic professors (34 to 1) belongs to history professors, would logic and common sense suggest that we'd get an objective, balanced analysis of Trump's election from the OAH? Please, do give us your professional and objective opinion. Professor Frohnen writes:
Pretty much everyone knows at this point that campuses are fortresses of leftist groupthink. Less well known, or at least less acknowledged, is just how extreme the universal views really are. 
"Pretty much everyone" except, perhaps, those inhabiting the ivory towers. I actually think many of them really do know - they're just too cowardly to admit it. 

And this paragraph encapsulates our nation's current status quite well:
For decades, now, academics have gotten away with the obvious falsehood that their Marxist analysis is merely a form of critique, giving intellectual heft to a benignly liberal worldview and program. Whether in history, political science, law, or pretty much any other field, academics, in part through their writings but mostly through their indoctrination of captive student audiences with no ideological options, have pushed the public significantly to the left in its political and cultural assumptions. We have gone from demanding public morality to disparaging it, from assuming the goodness of our nation to viciously attacking its fundamental character as matters of public faith, from demanding public civility for all to attacking anyone who fails to toe the latest line of political correctness. Why? Because two generations of students have heard nothing else than, and been downgraded for disagreeing with, a pervasive orthodoxy in which infinite injustices are blamed on America, Christianity, and tradition. [Emphasis mine.]
Ahh, but as obvious all this is to those who follow such things, these folks have secrets. According to Professor Frohnen:
The real face of the academy—the face it showcases for its own members—is even more extremist than might appear . . .
And, as I've said on numerous occasions, in different ways:
The “cutting edge” of historical study is a set of exercises in studied fabrication. There is no pretense, even, of a commitment to finding out what actually happened in the past. No tolerance is to be exercised toward those who fail to rewrite events of the past to emphasize the narrative of grievance. All that is left is the drive to destroy what we know about the past and replace it with something more useful for contemporary political purposes.
Professor Frohnen's criticisms sound similar to that of esteemed historian, Gordon S. Wood who noted the following:
. . . academics have given up trying to recover an honest picture of the past and have decided that their history-writing should become simply an instrument of moral hand-wringing. . . . this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history.
I would recommend reading all of Professor Frohnen's piece here

06 February 2017

How Experts Damage Their Own Credibility

This story is illustrative to many current debates taking place, especially in the United States. Per the UK Daily Mail:
  • The Mail on Sunday can reveal a landmark paper exaggerated global warming
  • It was rushed through and timed to influence the Paris agreement on climate change
  • America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke its own rules
  • The report claimed the pause in global warming never existed, but it was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data
The key words and phrases in the DM piece which provide insight into this issue are:
  • "exaggerated"
  • "influence"
  • "broke its own rules"
  • "misleading"
  • "sensational but flawed"
  • "blatant attempt to intensify the impact"
  • "they had manipulated and hidden data"
  • "flawed conclusions"
We could go on and on, but you get the idea. No real surprise. Of course, not all "experts" have an agenda beyond their area of expertise but, sadly, many do. They don't follow the facts to a conclusion. They already have their conclusion and construct their "facts" accordingly. Personally, I simply never blindly accept the premise that "experts" are always right. I could cite numerous personal experiences easily refuting that notion. Some of these experiences were quite serious and weighty. Some even involved life and death situations. I'm sure most readers have had similar experiences. One thing I have noticed is that the older I get, the easier it becomes to recognize real experts from phony ones. 

 By the way, does anyone see a correlation with other "academic" disciplines and "experts", hmmm

Read. Think. Draw your own conclusions. Experts are, quite often, quite wrong.

05 February 2017

Another Great Shenandoah Valley Video

This video likely will not mean a whole lot to those not from or connected to the Shenandoah Valley in some way. But for the rest of you . . .  Much of the footage was shot just a few miles south of my home.

04 February 2017

Moral Reformer Historians All In For Nullification

It is stunning to observe the extent to which modern historians moral reformers will go to advance their political agenda under the guise of "historical analysis" these days. Their Gumby-like stretches and contortions are jaw-dropping - an intellectual version of being double-jointed. Prior to November 9th, 2016, they all marched in lockstep denouncing any state or local community that dared oppose federal intervention, meddling or what might be looked upon as "heavy-handed" regarding laws, regulations and executive orders.

Wow, what a difference a day can make. Miraculously, the day after Donald J. Trump (who many are, ironically, comparing to Andrew Jackson) won the presidential election, they became staunch defenders of John Calhoun's principles of nullification. Perhaps the faux historians have traded their copies of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States for a copy of Thomas Woods's Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.
Nullification, in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. (Wikipedia)
As a matter of fact, many of the comments and statements coming from these "historians" defending open defiance of Trump's executive orders on immigration echo exactly what Dr. Woods has written:
In the American system no government is sovereign, not the federal government and not the states.  The peoples of the states are the sovereigns.  It is they who apportion powers between themselves, their state governments, and the federal government.  In doing so they are not impairing their sovereignty in any way. To the contrary, they are exercising it. 
Of course, the current brand of nullification is mostly local, i.e. cities and counties in lieu of states; as far as President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees goes. Whereas for the last eight years, the Tea Party, libertarians, conservative Republicans and anyone else opposing federal power was labeled "radical, extremist, neo-Confederate", blah, blah, blah, we are now being told that any and all opposition to federal power is noble and courageous. And these folks are all in lockstep (including the violent protest participants on college campuses and the "mainstream" media). Just peruse the academic related history websites and blogs. No dissent, no difference of opinion, no nuances, no objectivity - pure partisanship. It's laughable. 

If the State of California follows through with it's threat to institute sanctuary status state-wide, I wonder if these pretend historians will suddenly become converts to advocating for states' rights?

These historians are, obviously, absolute hypocrites and little more than mouth organs for the left. There is no consistency in their writing or analysis - other than to be consistent leftists. Laugh at them. They are not historians in the true sense. They are unprincipled political hacks and adherents to Groupthink; unable or afraid to think, say or write anything outside of current academic high church orthodoxy.

02 February 2017

More Vindication: Colleges & Universities Are Leftist Indoctrination Centers

I must admit that it does feel good to be vindicated. I've been ranting and raving about rampant leftist indoctrination and political correctness in American colleges and universities for over 10 years now. Two prominent Civil War bloggers have been faithful to poo-poo my posts and evidence. That's not surprising as both of them are heavily invested in that particular worldview.

Don't get me wrong, as a contrarian by nature, vindication is not something I need to press on or be confident in my opinions and perspectives. (If you don't believe me, ask my wife.) Nonetheless, it is rather gratifying to see (day by day and increasingly frequent) those contrarian opinions vindicated. Such is the case today. 

Providence College English Professor Anthony Esolen recently made the following comments about "higher ed" in a National Review piece. It's taken from his latest book:
Debauchery, perversion, contempt for your supposedly benighted ancestors, lazy agnosticism, easy and costless pacifism, political maneuvering, and an enforcement of a new orthodoxy that in denying rational analysis seeks to render itself immune to criticism. You sink yourself in debt to discover that your sons and daughters have been severed from their faith, their morals, and their reason. Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper. They might well be healthier, too.
Professor Esolen has apparently been subjected to the same criticism about his observations that I have, i.e., cherry picking the most extreme anecdotal evidence to support your opinion. As I've noted on numerous occasions, at some point, the anecdotal evolves into the empirical. We long ago crossed that threshold when it comes to evidence of academia's leftist indoctrination and extremism. It's now daily headlines. The good professor's opinion on such criticism is almost verbatim what I've said:
People who say that such events are rare and therefore not to be taken too seriously are either fools or liars.
I more frequently call them "ignorant or complicit", but Elosen's characterization may work for some. It is also worth noting that Elosen is careful to point out that one of the tenets of the "new orthodoxy" in academia is to swear allegiance to the fact that Americans must hold contempt for our "supposedly benighted ancestors." Is that not what you see on a daily basis from many academic related history blogs? You know it is. 

This is part of the "moral reformer" DNA: "We are morally superior to all previous generations and, therefore, obligated to pronounce them evil."

You know I'm right. You see it on the history moral reformer websites and blogs every day. I've been vindicated again.

01 February 2017

New York Post: "Democrats are becoming the party of secession"

2017, not 1861. And yet the Fake Historians in the Civil War blogosphere who lambasted Texans, Rick Perry and other Southerners for similar (but less serious) rhetoric and actions remain silent. Hypocrites.

Story here.

Yet Another Historic Irony for President Trump

The shining knight of the "deplorables" and so-called "anti-intellectual" demographic in America nominates someone who would be "the first Supreme Court justice in decades to hold a doctoral degree." 


Story here.