Unlearning history

In some circles there’s lately a vogue for vandalizing or pulling down Confederate statues. The people doing it think (or say they think) that they’re striking a blow against racism. I think they’re, at best, engaged in a dangerous reopening of old wounds. At worst they’re threatening to inflict serious new ones.

I’m a Yankee from Boston by birth and inclination. I’ve never bought into Lost Cause romanticism; I’ve studied the history and don’t buy the revisionism about tariffs or troop callups. The South revolted to defend the indefensible of chattel slavery, and deserved its defeat.

But once the war was won, the victors (both Northern and Southern Unionists) had to win the peace as well. It was not a given that the South would be reconciled to the Union; there was lots of precedent for the statesmen and the people of the era to look back on that suggested otherwise.

The South could have become a running sore, a cauldron of low-level insurrection and guerilla warfare that blighted the next century of U.S. history. Instead, it is now the most patriotic region of the U.S. – as measured, for example, by regional origins of U.S. military personnel. How did this happen?

Looking back, we can see that between 1865 and around 1914 the Union and the former South negotiated an imperfect but workable peace. The first step in that negotiation took place at Appomattox, when the Union troops accepting General Robert E. Lee’s surrender saluted the defeated and allowed them to retain their arms, treating them with the most punctilious military courtesy due to honorable foes.

Over the next few years, the Union Army reintegrated the Confederate military into itself. Confederate officers not charged with war crimes were generally able to retain rank and seniority; many served in the frontier wars of the next 35 years. Elements of Confederate uniform were adopted for Western service.

The political leaders of the revolt were not tried and executed. Instead, they were spared to urge reconciliation, and generally did. By all historical precedent they were treated with shocking leniency. This paid off.

Of course, not all went smoothly. The Reconstruction of the South between 1863 and 1877 was badly bungled, creating resentments that linger to this day and – in the folk memory of Southerners – often overshadow the harms of the war itself. The condition of emancipated blacks remained dire.

But overall, the reintegration of the South went far better than it could have. Confederate nationalism was successfully reabsorbed into American nationalism. One of the prices of this adjustment was that Confederate heroes had to become American heroes. An early and continuing example of this was the reverence paid to Robert E. Lee by Unionists after the war; his qualities as a military leader were extolled and his opposition to full civil rights for black freedmen memory-holed.

Lee’s heroism and ascribed saintliness would later become a central prop in “Lost Cause” romanticism, which portrayed the revolt as an honorable struggle for a Southern way of life while mostly airbrushing out – but sometimes, unforgiveably, defending – the institution of slavery. Even today, the “soft” airbrushing version of Lost Cause retains a significant hold on Southerners who would never dream of defending slavery.

The statues now at issue were mostly erected between 1865 and 1914 by organizations like the Daughters of the Confederacy who were fully invested in the soft version of Lost Cause romanticism. In view of current revisionism, it should be remembered that, in the time before the early 1960s when one could express white-supremacist and segregationist beliefs in the South and expect a lot of applause, the statue builders generally didn’t play that song.

We know this because we can read the dedications they chiseled on their monuments. Whatever the statue-builders may have privately believed, the face – the myth – about that they presented was not one of white supremacy justified but of virtue and heroism in a lost cause.

My cultural and political ancestors, the Yankees who had won the war, got out of the statue-builders’ way because we understood that the statue-builders were, in fact, cooperating in the great settlement between South and North. Making heroes of the rebels was not a large price to pay if it meant that Southern pride became American pride.

In fact, the deception was quite mutual. Southerners, by and large, tried to pretend their revolt had not been a defense of the indefensible. Northerners by and large, decided that agreeing with that pretense (or at least not disputing it in public) was a polite fiction useful to everybody.

The statue-smashers either fail to understand that great settlement (likely), or intend to undo it (not likely), or are pursuing a broader aim which I’ll address near the end of this essay.

It is 2017 and the wounds of the Civil War have not entirely healed. “Damnyankee” is still a single word in much of the South. Failing to understand the great settlement creates the risk that those wounds could re-open into divisive regionalism and eventual conflict.

This is especially so since Southerners already feel like victims in the red/blue conflict that now divides coastal urban elites from Middle America. Many Blue tribesmen talk as though they think everybody living more than 60 miles inland and outside a university town is a closet neo-Confederate. This is fantasy, but there is a possible future in which Southern resentment becomes the dominant symbology of the Red tribe in a way it is not today.

Some people are going to want to interject at this point “What about the insult to black people? Aren’t those statues symbols of white supremacy that should be smashed on that account alone?”

Brother, if I believed that I would be swinging a hammer myself. But the mission of the statue builders was to redeem the honor of the South in part by editing white supremacism and slavery out of our cultural memory of the war. They largely deceived themselves with Lost Cause romanticism. Making those statues into symbols of black subjugation would have undercut their whole project.

I do not want to see the post-Civil-War settlement undone. Thus, I’m in favor of letting Southerners keep their statues and their myths. We should let Southern heroes remain American heroes because that is what worked to pull the country back together – and because after the war so many of them really did argue for reconciliation.

There’s another reason I’m opposed to the statue-smashing that has nothing to do with the great settlement. That is: I believe the statue-smashers have a larger aim unrelated to any kind of justice.

Many of these people are, in effect, Red Guards. They don’t just want to erase icons of Confederate pride, they want to smash American pride. Statues of Columbus have already been defaced; I am pretty sure Washington and Jefferson will be next. The actual agenda is that Americans must be made to feel their nation was born in sin and cannot be redeemed – patriotism must be replaced with obsessive self-criticism and eternal guilt. Anything positive in our national mythos must be razed and replaced with Marxist cant.

If there were no other good reason for it, I’d defend everybody’s statuary just to oppose the Red Guards.

EDIT: It turns out the evidence for ex-Confederates retaining officer rank in the postwar Army is thin and disputed; the cases I’ve seen biographical traces of may have been exceptional.

560 thoughts on “Unlearning history

  1. Southerners remember the Reconstruction period very well, thank you, and still resent it. Layer on top of that leftist identity politics (which, as David French correctly observed in National Review, is seen by conservatives as raw, naked hatred), and then the overheated rhetoric against Donald Trump…and there’s a fuse, slowly burning toward a powder keg.

    At this point, I’m seriously considering flying a Confederate flag expressly as a statement of opposition to the SJWs.

    • >At this point, I’m seriously considering flying a Confederate flag expressly as a statement of opposition to the SJWs.

      I understand the temptation, but *wince*.

      The statues aren’t white-supremacist assertions, but display of the Stars and Bars…well, I don’t think it’s always meant that way, but I’ve seen it so employed often enough that I wouldn’t fly the thing.

      • I agree, and you know me well enough to know that I am in no way anything approaching a white supremacist.

        But…drastic times call for drastic measures, and we’re past the time a mere clue-by-four will work…we’re more in clue-by-twelve territory.

        I am utterly convinced that the Brie-eating, Merlot-swilling bicoastal elites are bound, damned, and determined to grind the rest under the heels of their jackboots, just as the North was bound, damned, and determined to grind the South under their own heels. Not being a Southerner, you don’t truly grok the depth of feeling that remains after Reconstruction. And when it is more and more evident that we’re heading down that same road once again…

        All I can say is “over my dead body”. Literally, if it comes to that.

        • >Not being a Southerner, you don’t truly grok the depth of feeling that remains after Reconstruction

          Perhaps not. It was, however, quite the eye-opener for me when I first grasped that Southern folk memory resents the Reconstruction more than the Civil War itself.

          • The south lost the ACW “fair and square”

            Reconstruction was forced upon them.

            (or so it seems sometimes)

          • Can I quote you on that “It was, however, quite the eye-opener for me when I first grasped that Southern folk memory resents the Reconstruction more than the Civil War itself.”

            I first heard that sentiment from a black Franciscan brother in high school history. That the failure of Reconstruction was the making similarities less important than race and it was the greatest success of the Democratic Party

          • “…Southern folk memory resents the Reconstruction more than the Civil War itself.”

            A big part of this was because the South surrendered under a set of conditions that would protect people’s property (excluding the slaves, of course) intact, but after Lincoln was shot, the Republicans in Congress decided that they needed to punish the South. One such punishment was that “Damnedyakees” had to approve all governors for Southern states, and a lot of the bureaucracy was run by “carpet baggers” who used the opportunity to loot much of the South. The evidence of the former, at least in Texas, is that the Governor is, for the most part, a figurehead and cheerleader with very little real power, while the Lieutenant Governor holds most of the power over legislation and the function of the government. I believe this is largely the case throughout the South.

            • After Lincoln was shot, Reconstruction was in the hands of Andrew Johnson, a white supremacist Southern Democrat. Johnson had been a fanatical Unionist, which is why he was Lincoln’s running mate. But after the war, he was happy to have ex-Confederate Democrats take control of the occupied states and enact Black Codes that practically reinstated slavery.

              Incidentally, there were no surrender conditions for the CSA as whole. There were conditions for the surrenders of certain CS armies, but those agreements didn’t bind the Federal government on Reconstruction policy.

              The Republican-controlled Congress objected, leading to Johnson’s impeachment, to the 14th and 15th Amendments, and to Radical Reconstruction. During the latter phase, black voters combined with “Carpetbaggers” from the North and local white “Scalawags” to elect Republican governors and legislatures.

              White Southern “Redeemers” responded with violent intimidation of blacks and white Republicans (the Ku Klux Klan). This campaign succeeded; by 1877 Redeemers controlled all Southern state governments.

              There were some incidents of flagrant corruption in the Radical governments (a major reason why Northern opinion didn’t support Federal action against the Klan). But some notorious grafters turned Democrat and were accepted in Redeemer politics.

              • And that explains why Southern conservatives voted Democrat for more than a century, long after the Democrat Party left them behind in its headlong rush to the left.

              • >Andrew Johnson, a white supremacist Southern Democrat.

                Er, what’s the evidence for this? As I read the evidence, he was not malicious but incompetent.

        • I’m a northern liberal. I don’t eat Brie, although I will admit that on the rare occasions that I drink wine I like merlot. What the hell are you talking about? How am I and the rest of the “bicoastal elites” grinding you under our jackboot?

          • >How am I and the rest of the “bicoastal elites” grinding you under our jackboot?

            I’m bicoastal-elite by birth and education, but I have no trouble seeing where the oppression is.

            I’m not a Christian. But when Christian bakers are sued into oblivion for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings, that’s oppression.

            I’m not personally bothered by transsexuals in the public restrooms I use, either in practice or principle. But when people with rational worries about masquerading sexual predators are coerced into admitting them and denounced as bigots when they object, that’s oppression.

            I’m neither a Republican nor a conservative. But when the IRS targets Republican and conservative political groups for suppression, that’s oppression.

            I could go on through a couple dozen more of these.

            • Thanks for the response.

              1. I don’t know the specifics of the bakery cases. If the bakers simply wouldn’t custom-inscribe a cake, that’s a free-speech issue and I would agree with the bakers. But if they wouldn’t sell their products to a gay couple, that’s BS designed to insult the gay couple. The Bible doesn’t require people to shun gays, and to do so seems pretty clearly to be against Christ’s teachings.

              2. If a pervert pretends to be transgendered in order to act perverted, the cops should be called. This is a fake issue.

              3. I’ve seen conflicting things about the IRS issue. I tend to think that it was overblown if not completely made up, and the fact that the Republican Congress hasn’t impeached the Commissioner tends to support that conclusion.

              • The exact circumstances are that the bakers declined to custom-decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. They offered any of their stock cakes, or anything else in stock, but they would not create expression in support of a same-sex wedding.

                For this act of adherence to their religious beliefs, they were found guilty by the Colorado Civil Rights Division and ordered to create expression in support of same-sex marriages and train all of their staff in the proper politically correct behavior.

                • I just looked up an article about the Colorado case. It said nothing about the bakery agreeing to bake one of its stock cakes. If the facts are as you describe, like I said above I find that to be a free-speech issue, and would support the baker (on the law – I still think his argument based on religion is a smokescreen to discriminate against gay people, but that’s not my call to make).

              • 1. The bakers stated that the cake and its design is an artistic expression and didn’t want to have their art used for something the didn’t support.

                Liberal hypocrisy of this: Artists who refuse to let republican candidates use their music… Also, it seems businesses run by liberals get no flack for turning away Trump voters from just getting regular service….

                2. There are more sexual predators than transgenders, likely orders of magnitude more. Were transgenders even 5% of the populace I’d say you could be correct. When dealing with infinitesimal numbers like this, I’d be willing to wager more predators use cross bathroom laws than do _actual_ transgenders….

                3. Of course the Commissioner views it as no big deal. He had all the evidence destroyed. And he’s on record as saying so.

                As a progressive, you are making the assumption that republicans are evil and just deserve their treatment…. Because you don’t accept that progressives can be wrong…

                • Huh? How do you get that from what I wrote?

                  Regarding 1, I already wrote that I agree on the free-expression issue.

                  Regarding 2, I wonder how many cases there have been of a pervert using a bathroom by pretending to be a transgendered person. Maybe a couple? But I assume that every transgendered person has to urinate or defecate several times each day. That need to use a bathroom for that, and I don’t care which one they use. Either choice will make someone uncomfortable.

                  Regarding 3, I didn’t say the Commissioner didn’t think it was a big deal. The Republican Congress didn’t impeach him, which I would think was the appropriate response if what he did was so bad.

                  • Cooper2013, the House could impeach but you need a two thirds majority in the Senate to convict. The GOP can’t even get a simple majority to overturn Obamacare via reconciliation. For myself, I’m astonished Trump hasn’t canned Koskainen. But I’m not surprised that the Justice Department can’t indict K. The Justice Department under Sessions has been an abject failure.

                    You want another example of liberal bigotry? Read the Wax-Alexander article at Philly.com (the online portion of the Philly INQUIRER) which says, gee maybe the bourgeois virtues of thrift hard work and deferred gratification aren’t so bad after all. The faculties of Wax & Alexander’s schools are ready to fry both of them. Mr. Raymond is bang right about liberal bigotry in the academy. For every liberal he may have to apologize to, there will be twenty that his indictment will fit perfectly.

              • > 2. If a pervert pretends to be transgendered
                > in order to act perverted, the cops should
                > be called. This is a fake issue.

                And the test for being “transgendered” is…

                • > 3. I’ve seen conflicting things about
                  > the IRS issue. I tend to think that it
                  > was overblown if not completely
                  > made up,

                  It was not made up, and at *ANY* level if the IRS was biasing 501(c)3 or 501c(4) applictions based on politics EVERYONE involved needs to be given new housing in Leavenworth, K.S.

                  Using the tax code in a political manner cannot be overblown.

          • To continue in Eric’s vein:

            I am an atheist. But when Catholics are interrogated and berated for their Catholicism by bicoastal elite Senators during confirmation hearings, that’s oppression.

            I am not a rapist and think that they are lowlife scum. But when men are falsely accused of rape and deprived of their future in kangaroo courts run by people with a definite feminist axe to grind, that’s oppression.

            I am not a college student. But when students invite speakers who do not toe the exact intersectional party line to their campus and are deprived of the right to hear them by violent thugs who hide behind bandannas and masks, that’s oppression.

            I am not a racist or a misogynist or transphobic. But when I am accused of racism or misogyny or transphobia because I take positions that are unpopular among the bicoastal elites, that is oppression.

            I am a voter. But when my vote is diminished because others who do not have the right to vote are allowed to anyway because methods of keeping them from doing so are struck down by faraway courts on the instigation of bicoastal elite grievance mongers, that’s oppression.

            And when I am hated and reviled by the oppressors because I chose to vote for a man who promised to end the oppression, that is itself oppression.

            Should those bicoastal elites manage to have him removed from office on one of the many pretexts they have ginned up, that’s not oppression, but a coup – and will be answered with civil war.

            • I don’t have time to answer each of your points, but it’s interesting that you include among your examples of “oppression” that people disagree with your viewpoints or your preferred candidate.

              Given that viewpoint, how is it not “oppression” to erect statues to people who fought a war in defense of slavery? Do you seriously not see the inconsistency in your position?

              • It’s not that they disagree with me. It’s that they actively hate me and use that as justification to commit violence.

                You speak of inconsistency. Do you not see the inconsistency of carrying a sign that says “love trumps hate” along with a baseball bat to be liberally applied to those who express unpopular opinions?

                • I think people like Antifa are assholes who have latched onto an issue where they get a reason to break things. Where appropriate, they should be prosecuted. But if you think that’s anything more than a tiny segment of the populace, you’re kidding yourself.

                  But you weren’t taking about violence in your initial reply, which I’ll now try to respond to.

                  1. I’m not sure what Feinstein was trying to do. I don’t know the full facts. I don’t like the idea of holding someone’s religion against him. I assume that you’d feel the same way about a Muslim judge? And that you thought that Trump was out of line with his comments during the campaign about the judge in the Trump U case?

                  2. Regarding false claims of rape, I agree with you. I actually think that Devos did the right thing in rescinding the Title IX regulations about that sort of thing. Rapes should be prosecuted in the criminal courts, not by a university.

                  But just to be clear, it’s not really a slam-dunk issue. There’s a fair argument that colleges have a duty to ensure that their students comply with a code of conduct, and violations can result in expulsion – not criminal sanctions. I can see why colleges might want to enforce that sort of code against students who they feel have acted inappropriately against another student. But from what I’ve seen, they haven’t done a good job, and therefore it’s just better left to the criminal-justice system.

                  3. Again, I think that violence is almost always wrong, and I don’t like when people are shouted down. I assume that you disdain not only the attempts to suppress conservative viewpoints, but also when people try to stop pro-Palestinian speakers at colleges?

                  4. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I wonder if you think that I might legitimate have felt oppressed when I perceived that most of the country (particularly Bush supporters) felt that I was anti-American for denouncing the Iraq War?

                  5. I don’t know who was allowed to vote that shouldn’t have been, according to you. I do know that my aunt (a big Trump supporter) lives in NY but voted in Pa. using another address of hers.

                  6. I wonder how you feel about the impeachment of Clinton. Was that an attempted coup?

                • The current rules of engagement say that they have to scream “Nazi!” or “Fascist!” at you before they’re allowed to suppress your opposition to Die Partei in a fashion entirely familiar to NSDAP Schutzstaffel, save for the brown shirts being replaced by black.

        • Not being a Southerner, you don’t truly grok the depth of feeling that remains after Reconstruction. And when it is more and more evident that we’re heading down that same road once again
          How about not being an American at all and still coming face to face with fleeing moments of anti Yankee sentiment/resentment ?

          I worked on a H1-B, and was in Atlanta GA in 2004 – this was in the run up to the most heated Presidential election (up to that point – I am amazed at how 04 looks like a walk in the park now).. we talked about politics quite a bit..

          and then I overheard this story from one of my co workers about how his wife cooks a vegetable every New Year or so.. as it was one of those few things that survived Sherman’s march .. to make things even more confusing , our chief architect who was a New York transplant now living and working from the same office in Atlanta adds, ” Oh Sherman… he was a bastrrrd”

          I am from India , my knowledge of US history in general and the Civil War in particular at that point was at best sketchy… but i knew the rough timelines (it happened around 1860’s) and a quick calculation says that even though we are a good 140 years removed from the event, by sheer chance, i just came face to face with a family memory of sorts.. passed down at least 6 generations

          i am back home, still follow US politics very closely and i have always wondered how the South went from that point to being the most patriotic in what is surely a very short period of time by any measure of history.. Virginia, Georgia and Texas alone contributed so many soldiers to the US military in WW2

          I am now beginning to find some answers.. This country is truly an exceptional one.. and quite lucky too !

            • Interestingly it’s also a New Year’s tradition among Jews from Arabic-speaking countries. (Said New Year, of course, being a couple of days ago.)

          • Even living in Minnesota, I still cook up a pot of black-eyed peas on New Year’s.

            And to this day, there are more US Army officers who graduated from Texas A&M University than from any other college, and the numbers aren’t even close. TAMU is one of only six institutions whose ROTC cadets are granted commissions in the regular US Army instead of the Army Reserves. (The other five are Norwich, The Citadel, the University of North Georgia, Virginia Military institute, and Virginia Tech. Only Norwich is outside the South.)

            • I graduated from the College of William and Mary, in Virginia, in 1992 and received a Regular commission. Your information is well out of date; these days, the Regular vs. Reserve commission is based on your class ranking, rather than your school.

              • Well, I was going by the definition of Senior Military College, all graduates of the ROTC programs of which are guaranteed a Regular commission if they desire one.

                The Wikipedia article on Senior Military Colleges says that other ROTC programs are governed by other sections of the law. I had taken that to mean that, as WEB Griffin said in one of his books, that other colleges’ graduates only got reserve commissions. Thank you for the correction.

        • At this point, I’m seriously considering flying a Confederate flag expressly as a statement of opposition to the SJWs.

          Please don’t do it just for that reason. The Confederate flag is the flag of a nation that was at war with the United States for pretty much its entire existence.There are a large number of Northern conservatives that have many of the same concerns you do about where we’re heading, and feel they have just as much to lose, but who associate that flag with treason. Now, they are Americans, so they do remember treason against the British Empire somewhat fondly, and if you want to be completely honest about treasonous sentiment, and say that the South should have won the Civil War, and not only that, but that the USA as it now exists is an enemy of liberty and completely unsalvageable, and that freedom loving Americans should seek their freedom apart from the USA, they might at least give you the time of day, but they’ll still likely be unconfortable marching even in their own defense under or alongside the Confederate banner.

          But whatever you do, don’t do as I’ve seen some do, and fly the Confederate flag alongside the Stars and Stripes. And whatever you do, don’t fly it on the Fourth of July, or at a citizenship ceremony. And certainly do not combine all three of those. That happened at my mother’s citizenship ceremony, and the memory still fills me with a cold rage almost a decade later.

          If you feel that the USA no longer commands any patriotism from you, fine, fly the Confederate flag if you want. But if you feel that the USA is in any way still worth being a part of or commands any of your allegiance, don’t mix American patriotism with the Confederate flag.

          Not being a Southerner, you don’t truly grok the depth of feeling that remains after Reconstruction. And when it is more and more evident that we’re heading down that same road once again…

          I’m a conservative damnyankee living in the South. In general, I fit better politically in the South than I do in the North (except for matters touching on race and the Civil War, and I certainly fit better here than I do on the coasts, though I still think I fit fairly well in Northern flyover country). I don’t grok the depth of feeling about Reconstruction itself, but I definitely see the storm on the horizon, and I’m definitely right in its path, and I certainly know *that* feeling.

          Maybe the storm will falter and spend its energy before it arrives, but if it doesn’t, please, find a symbol for resistance to the liberal jackboot that your northern compatriots can unreservedly stand beside.

          • >Maybe the storm will falter and spend its energy before it arrives, but if it doesn’t, please, find a symbol for resistance to the liberal jackboot that your northern compatriots can unreservedly stand beside.

            +10

            I could not follow a Confederate flag, or respect people who choose the banner of a slaveholder revolt as a supposed symbol of liberty.

            • There were slaves in every colony when we overthrew our king. England abolished slavery before any American states did. Does that make the Stars and Stripes “the banner of a slaveholder”?

              • >There were slaves in every colony when we overthrew our king. England abolished slavery before any American states did. Does that make the Stars and Stripes “the banner of a slaveholder”?

                No, for at least two reasons:

                1. The Colonies didn’t revolt to defend slavery, which was not abolished in Great Britain until more than fifty years after the Revolution.

                2. Before the cotton gin and cotton as a cash monocrop, there was a tough struggle, which the anti-slavery side in the U.S. came heartbreakingly close to winning, to abolish the peculiar institution. The trade in slaves was banned at close to same time in the U.S. (1808) as it was in the U.K. (1807).

                Also, it’s not true that England abolished slavery before any American states did. Vermont abolished slavery in 1777, 56 years before the British; Pennsylvania, under Quaker influence, followed three years later. Massachusetts and most other northern states were not far behind. In fact by 1804, 29 years before abolition in Great Britain, slavery had been abolished in every state north of Maryland – though some persons in bondage before that date remained chattel under the law until later.

                • The trade in slaves was banned at close to same time in the U.S. (1808) as it was in the U.K. (1807).

                  As it happens, the first state to forbid the transatlantic slave trade was Virginia. Banning the trade increased the value of slaves for those already owning slaves, and was a massive financial hit to the New England shipping companies and Wall Street banks that had pocketed the lion’s share of the proceeds from the slave trade.

          • The problem is that there is no symbol for resistance to the liberal jackboot that the SJWs have not already tarred as being associated with white supremacist raaaacism!!!.

            If they’re going to call us every evil name in the dictionary, we might as well own it – for to waste time and energy on denying it is to allow them to set the terms of the conflict.

            • >The problem is that there is no symbol for resistance to the liberal jackboot that the SJWs have not already tarred as being associated with white supremacist raaaacism!!!.

              They’ve tried to smear all of them, yes. But there’s a difference, which matters, between those that really are historically tied to racism (Confederate flag) and those that aren’t (say, Gadsden flag).

              You can’t win this one, Jay. It’s too tainted.

              • There is no difference to the SJWs between the Gadsden flag (which is a symbol of those raaacist!!! Tea Party Republicans) and the Confederate battle flag. None.

                The difference may matter to you, but not to our enemies.

                Are you really that willing to let the SJWs dictate the field of battle?

                • >There is no difference to the SJWs between the Gadsden flag (which is a symbol of those raaacist!!! Tea Party Republicans) and the Confederate battle flag. None.

                  But it matters what third parties think, and whether your choice alienates potential allies.

                  The CBF would lose me. The Gadsden flag would not. I think I’m representative of most Americans that way.

            • As far as what movements I’ll associate with, I don’t care what SJWs think is racist. And it is not racism, specifically, that bothers me about the Confederate Flag, it’s the fact that the Confederacy rebelled in order to continue governing over a certain set of its people without their consent. The subjugation of that particular set was racism, but given different circumstances, a different set might have been subjugated, and that set might not have been racially determined, but the problem would have been the same.

              There are a whole bunch of northern Conservatives, libertarians, etc. who give exactly zero hoots about what SJWs think, but feel themselves honor-bound not to associate with the Confederate flag, not because it is a symbol of rebellion and treason, not because it is a symbol of racism, but because it is a symbol of rebellion and treason *for the sake of maintaining a right to tyrranize others*, and this honor-boundness only intensifies if they find themselves in a situation where they must defend themselves against tyranny. The Gadsden flag has no such association in their minds.

              • I’m think we’re all pretty sure what your image is, but all we get is a warning about not hotlinking.

                This conversation has been fascinating, as usual, and I definitely agree with the idea that the Stars and Bars is a no-no, although I don’t personally feel strongly about it, I wouldn’t want to give anyone any fuel by flying it, etc.

                Of course, given that the SJWs are usually as ignorant* as they are rabid, one could always do what our local Civil War group, the Friends of Balls Bluff (of which I am a member, and who work to preserve the Ball’s Bluff battlefield in Leesburg, Virginia (The battle was very small, but significant… it’s a fascinating story)), did during the Fourth of July parade here in Leesburg, and fly the original flag of the Confederacy along with the United States flag seen at the top of the page linked from Wikipedia.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball%27s_Bluff_Battlefield_and_National_Cemetery

                This way they are able to acknowledge the history of both sides of the war, and the brave men who fought without drawing a bunch of angry, sputtering complaints. There were none.

                * For instance, in the frenzy of pulling down or defacing Confederate Statues, such figures as Abraham Lincoln (!), Joan of Arc, and Junípero Serra, have been on the receiving end of the wrath of the SJW locust swarm.

          • And:
            “your northern compatriots can unreservedly stand beside”

            You are learning the lesson the South learned 150 years ago: the Northern elites are determined to impose their will on the rest of us. There comes a time when you must choose: Northern, or compatriot?

            The country is already fracturing. The Northern elites are already holding the sins of our forefathers against us. Will you do the same? Or will you fight alongside us?

            • Jay, your passion is admirable and your analysis is justifiably correct, but the coming battles will not be won by rallying behind any banner. All that does is put you in the cross-hairs for persecution or round-up. The way forward is for the intelligent to use that advantage and anticipate several moves ahead.

              • I’m already in the crosshairs by being a conservative Southern white male. What have I got to lose?

              • Ditto here, plus I’m Catholic, so I reject most of the SJW ethos as a matter of morality. I believe it is perfectly compatible to be a Catholic and respect the Constitution of the U.S., as it is rightfully interpreted, but I fully expect that there will be unjust laws that will be passed in coming years that will be problematic. I fully expect that the United States, based on the trajectory it is currently on, will not be compatible with Christianity some time in the next few decades.

                It isn’t now, but as Eric has very accurately described, the Left will never be satisfied, and the Church is definitely in their crosshairs.

      • I made that “Stars and Bars” mistake once. In a song lyric, too. Got corrected, won’t do that again. The Stars and Bars is as unrecognizable to helots and zealots as the Stainless Banner. You’re looking for the “Southern Cross.”

      • The Stars & Bars flag doesn’t get the leftists and other morons worked up. Another flag does that. Please be accurate with terminology and history.

      • The Confederate Battle Flag that adorned the roof of the General Lee, with its stars on a saltire cross, is not the “Stars and Bars“, which had two red and one white thick horizontal stripes (the bars) and white stars on a blue field in the canton, in deliberate imitation of the US flag.

        People who don’t fly the CBF don’t get to decide what it means to those who do fly it (just as people who don’t use Wiccan symbolism don’t get to decide what it means to those who use it — we can only decide what it means to us). People who do fly it have their own reasons, some of which you’ve rejected as not historically valid.

        I think you’re correct that the state leaders who argued for secession, and enshrined slavery into the CSA constitution, held slavery as the primary reason they did so, and offered tarrifs as a reason that others could vote for. But the vast majority of Southerners did not own slaves. Many of them had their wages depressed due to competition from slave labor. These people may well have despised the institution of slavery from a moral perspective in addition to having economic interests against it. But their neighbors voted to secede, and as loyal citizens of ${state}, they were duty-bound to defend ${state} and its allies against Northern Aggression.

        It is unfair to those people, and to later generations who have chosen to fly the CBF for similar (or even different) reasons, to insist that those reasons don’t exist, are invalid, or are irrelevant, and that the CBF is solely a symbol of slavery. And to do so is to drive those people into the arms of actual white supremacists (or at least white nationalists).

        You are, however, entirely correct about the unspoken deal that was made to reintegrate the South. Rather than crushing it and attempting to erase all traces of its antebellum culture from memory, (as most governments that put down sectional revolts do), even those people who agreed with your interpretation of the CBF thought it best to indulge in reinterpretation to allow the wounded Southern pride to be repurposed, rather than destroyed altogether.

        • >People who don’t fly the CBF don’t get to decide what it means to those who do fly it (just as people who don’t use Wiccan symbolism don’t get to decide what it means to those who use it — we can only decide what it means to us).

          In both cases, if there’s a contradiction between what the “owners” of the symbology say it means and their actual behavior, the behavior is what tells. There is no monstrous fact about Wiccan symbolism parallel to the fact that the CBF was the banner of a revolt intended to defend and perpetuate chattel slavery.

          • Eric is correct that the CBF flag is tainted, and the Kekistani flag or any similar recent invention probably is as well. From a propaganda/persuasion perspective, the best thing for anti-leftists to fly is the current American flag. That puts all opponents in an awkward position, because they are emotionally/ideologically unable to fly it, and attacking it looks bad. If you want something more distinctive, maybe the Betsy Ross flag, but the principle is the same: dare your opponents be visibly unpatriotic. All their talk of “dissent is true patriotism” fails to persuade in the face of such symbolism.

            Imagine if the Charlottesville protestors had simply carried American flags: very, very different optics and news coverage.

            This is, of course, what Trump is doing with the NFL protests: a judo move in which he stands with the flag and the national anthem, and his opponents kneel against them. Who wants to predict which side most football fans (and voters) are going to choose in 2018 and 2020?

          • There is no monstrous fact about a saltire cross and five-pointed stars any more than there is a monstrous fact about those same five-pointed stars surrounded with circles to make pentagrams. There are some nasty people who use pentagrams. When you (rightly) claim they have nothing to do with your community, your opponents will respond that you should stop with the No True Scotsman and “own them”. You find nothing wrong with your symbolism, and consider those who use your symbols and are evil to be outsiders, perverting those symbols’ true meaning. Your opponents insist that they get to define the meaning of those symbols, to justify their prejudices against your community, and your opinion does not matter. The pentagram is the symbol of serial killers who torture small furry animals and helpless virgins in their dark rituals, and anyone who says otherwise is probably a witch himself.

            And yes, that’s a Kafkatrap.

            • >The pentagram is the symbol of serial killers who torture small furry animals and helpless virgins in their dark rituals

              No, that one is inverted. And usually has a goat’s head in it.

                • Actually, the two versions of the swastika might be the oldest surviving symbol of (Eurasian) humanity. And the meaning of the symbol has nothing at all to do with Nazis, or Aryans, or other such utter nonsense. There is a story going around that Hitler explicitly chose the death variant of the swastika.

                  The two forms are “birth” and “death”. The idea that the oldest swastikas symbolize a stork in flight connects with the stork bringing the babies and taking the soul back to the afterlife after death.

                  Basically, the oldest swastikas are linked to migrating birds (water fowls) and other animals and thus linked to the seasons, sun, and life and death.

                  But I understand that believing the Swastika having the same root as the stork bringing the babies might be a stretch.

                  “The earliest swastika known has been found in Mezine, Ukraine. It is carved on late paleolithic figurine of mammoth ivory, being dated as early as about 10,000 BC. It has been suggested this swastika may be a stylized picture of a stork in flight and not the true swastika that is in use today. Mirror-image swastikas (clockwise and anti-clockwise) have been found on ceramic pottery in the Devetashka cave, Bulgaria, dated 6,000 B.C. It appear in Neolithic China in the Majiabang, Dawenkou and Xiaoheyan cultures.”
                  https://aratta.wordpress.com/the-history-of-the-swastika/

    • >At this point, I’m seriously considering flying a Confederate flag expressly as a statement of opposition to the SJWs.

      I understand the temptation, but *wince*.

      Put Kekistani symbology on the flag. The fools will still be triggered, but that is a constant and the goal. To everyone else it would be different enough to (in theory) be distinct.

      • The flag of Kekistan has already been designated a racist hate symbol, as has the Gadsden Flag popular with the TEA Party. The Left plays The Card so reflexively that it’s become the first, last, and in many cases, the only thing they do.

        [Tune from “Everything is Awesome” in The LEGO Movie]
        Everyone’s a Nazi!
        (Everyone opposing the Left and their plans)
        Everyone is Hitler!
        And they’re members of the Klan!

  2. We got unreasonably lucky with the aftermaths of both the Revolution and the ACW. I don’t know if our luck will hold a third time ( time if you count some incidents between the REvolution and ACW, and between ACW and today, as internal strife short of pitched warfare)

    • It won’t.

      Right now my off the wall, totally unscientific guess is that about 95% of the twits we have in Washington and in the statehouses across the land are some sort of neo-feudalist. They mouth the words of liberty, but in the words of Daniel Webester:

      “Good Intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but them mean to govern. They promise to be good masters…but they mean to be masters”.

      Basically we’ve elevated a bunch of greedy, feckless, self absorbed twits to “elite” status.

      Arrggh. Now I feel the need for another case of ammo.

  3. >Some people are going to want to interject at this point “What about the insult to black people? Aren’t those statues symbols of white supremacy that should be smashed on that account alone?”
    >Brother, if I believed that I would be swinging a hammer myself. But the mission of the statue builders was to redeem the honor of the South in part by editing white supremacism and slavery out of our cultural memory of the war. They largely deceived themselves with Lost Cause romanticism. Making those statues into symbols of black subjugation would have undercut their whole project.

    The problem is that a symbol is what you see in it, and to living black people (and possibly living white supremacists), the status *are* symbols of white supremacy. The historical editing didn’t stick, so, intended meaning or no, such symbols should thus be smashed.

    Swastikas are similarly reviled due to Nazi association, even with a long previous history in Buddhism and Hinduism, among other religions.

    • That’s pretty much the size of it, I’m afraid. The statue-builders’ “great settlement” was between the North and the white South; relations between blacks and whites in the South remained generally antagonistic up through at least the busing era in the 1980s (I’m explicitly not making assertions one way or another about who’s responsible for the state of race relations today). I’m not even sure a settlement treating whites and blacks as equal parties would have been conceivable under the statue-builders’ worldview, given that they’d spent their entire lives with the other race essentially treated as livestock.

      So now black America says, “If we’d been the ones negotiating the settlement, we wouldn’t have agreed to those terms. The political concessions the South exchanged for being allowed to glorify the defenders of slavery went to the North – we got token citizenship that was essentially meaningless for another century.” If I’m representing you in civil court, I can’t accept personal benefits from your opponent in exchange for me to accept a crappy offer on your behalf. But this is, to some extent, how the North is viewed as acting in settling with the South.

      • >If I’m representing you in civil court, I can’t accept personal benefits from your opponent in exchange for me to accept a crappy offer on your behalf. But this is, to some extent, how the North is viewed as acting in settling with the South.

        There is some justice in this criticism. Blacks got the shitty end of the great settlement, to be sure.

        But now ask the next question: would they have been better off without it?

        I don’t think so, because one of the terms of the great settlement was implicitly that the South had to keep efforts to subjugate blacks at a low enough level to allow the victors to look the other way. In every other plausible scenario I have gamed out, violence and repression of blacks is worse, not better.

      • I’m 55 and have lived in east Texas all of my life, including rural east Texas most of my life. Your characterization does not fit my experience. If anything, I think race relations are worse now than they were in the mid 80’s and 90’s. But I’ll grant that such evaluations are intrinsically subjective and varied depending on experience. One assertion I’m pretty comfortable with is that the median southern town has an ease of social interaction between blacks and whites that is missing in much of the north, even northern towns where there have been large numbers of black people for multiple generations.
        What is not subjective or an opinion is that the destruction of statutory going on now and other racial agitation is not driven primarily by blacks but by white progressives. So blacks are not the ones rejecting the deal. White leftists are.

      • Let’s be clear; relations between blacks and whites *everywhere* in the US remained generally antagonistic through the early ’60s. I would argue that by the 70’s, relations between blacks and whites in much of the South were better than in most of the North, but that argument is colored by my personal experiences.

        • I moved to South Carolina from upstate New York 3 years ago. My greatest surprise about living here is the lower racial tension between Blacks and Whites. Virtually 80% of all the people you deal with in county & state offices are Black females. They are competent, generally courteous and friendly (we all have bad days), very helpful and have great senses of humor. The same is true for most cashiers in grocery & “big box” stores, they are overwhelmingly Black females. My barbers (Great Clips) are predominately Black. The Black men that I meet are mostly laborers, they are always friendly and the ones I’ve dealt with directly work hard. This is totally different than my experience in NY. Northern Blacks have chips on their shoulders. They are more than likely generational users of “the system”. Seldom did I ever have interaction with them in a business setting because they didn’t generally work.

  4. > many served in the frontier wars of the next 35 years

    That’s pretty glorious name for genocide of Native Americans.

    > his opposition to full civil rights for black freedmen memory-holed

    Yepp, and finally it’s time to plug that hole and learn the history.

    Germans do not praise the SS veterans for their military qualities while trying to cover up their atrocities. It’s nice to see that America is finally trying to stop doing that for their genociders.

    • >That’s pretty glorious name for genocide of Native Americans

      I’m willing to call them “wars” because both sides were fighting; it’s not like the Holocaust or the Holodomor where already-controlled populations were murdered by the numbers. A war of conquest is not the same thing as a genocide.

      • Which is why so many sports teams are named after American Indians. They may have lost, but the indigenous North American tribes were a worthy and formidable foe.

        • I think Rommel is well respected, and the prevailing reasons for his post-war-created mythos are similar to Lees. He has statues and streets named after him. There are many military figures from both winning and losing wars with statues and streets to their names.

          I don’t know of any other German generals from WWII (perhaps Dönitz?) that anyone admires. But – a core thing – he served his time in jail after the war, and was released 10 years after being convicted of his war crimes. That was the amount of justice metted to him by society at the time – and retroactively wanting him hung, or lynched doesn’t work – refighting the that war or the civil war – doesn’t work, either.

          That said, Lee did not redeem himself that much after the war, either.

          Incidentally, while writing this, I googled for a comparison between lee and rommel and ended up with krugman and a long twitter thread with a very contrasting set of opinions:

          https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/896457877170397185?lang=en

          As another thought:

          “To think of Russians sitting on a bench in Nuremberg, trying German leaders! The Russians sank a German boat with men, women, and children aboard. I know of the case. But is that investigated? You Americans weren’t completely without fault, either. You armed merchant boats before the U.S.A. was in the war. ” – Dönitz, 1946.

          • I think Rommel is well respected…I don’t know of any other German generals from WWII (perhaps Dönitz?) that anyone admires.

            Guderian and Manstein both get respect…indeed, at least a few years ago, Guderian’s Panzer Leader was easy to find in the book sections of military clothing sales stores. Manstein’s Lost Victories or Campaigns that Failed is, or at least used to be, widely read. A long time ago I read B.H. Liddell Hart’s The German Generals Talk (based on his postwar interviews with them)…it was too technical for me to really appreciate, but I walked away with the sense that German generals were being seen and treated as honorable opponents and skilled professionals…unlike the political leadership.

          • Just in case people are unaware: Dönitz was referencing the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Wilhelm_Gustloff . The Gustloff was a military vessel that was not in any way marked as, nor actually was, a hospital ship. The attack was completely lawful and has achieved a significant military objective as a number of trained submarine officers were killed.

            The entire responsibility for presence of civilians on the military ship, and their subsequent death, is with Germany, and Germany alone. Captain Marinesko acted in full accordance with the laws of war. This can not be said for some subordinates of Dönitz, for example those who sank the Irish Oak: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Irish_Oak_(1919)

      • I’m willing to call them “wars” because both sides were fighting…

        And we’ve got statues of Quanah Parker and Sitting Bull, which happily no one wants to tear down, to commemorate them. (Although the Comanches were, from what I read of them, slaveholders, rapists, and kidnappers…the last being how Parker got that last name…but I’m glad we have them anyway.)

        If you do reconciliation right, you get a double blessing: the descendants of the people you beat celebrate their martial heritage and keep their martial virtues, but now they fight for you. And your own troops can celebrate their own heritage…by remembering the men their ancestors defeated.

        (The model I have in mind is the Scottish pipe band at Waterloo…I read it in David Howarth’s Waterloo…playing “Hey, Johnnie Cope,” a stirring tune about rebellion against the Hanoverians…while the regiment fought for King George…)

        Beats the heck out of using the memories only for claims of eternal victimhood.

        • the descendants of the people you beat celebrate their martial heritage and keep their martial virtues, but now they fight for you.

          The English certainly benefitted from that in the cases of the Scots and the Ghurkas.

          • >The English certainly benefitted from that in the cases of the Scots and the Ghurkas.

            The Scots seem particularly relevant because part of Southern identity is being culturally descended from Celts and Borderers. It’s easy to poke fun at the lush Sir-Walter-Scott Celtic romanticism of the antebellum South, but there’s actual truth in this myth. Southern country music genuinely did develop from Irish traditional, and there is a helluva lot of Borderer blood in the South – it’s as ubiquitous there as German descent like mine is north of the Mason-Dixon line. There are more and larger Scottish games in the U.S. than in Scotland.

            There’s a twist, though. In the run-up to the Civil War, the mountain people of the Appalachians and Ozarks – our closest equivalent of wild Highlanders – tended to come down against the Confederacy rather than for it. The counter-secession of West Virginia was the most obvious and successful example of this.

            • Well, we hill folk didn’t have the kind of land where it made sense to have slaves, so economic interests didn’t align. That’s part of the same reason that places like Vermont outlawed slavery so soon–they couldn’t make any money in that model anyway, so there wasn’t nearly the cost to shut it down.

      • And further, a large majority of American Indian deaths that occurred post Columbus were caused by disease. Which can not be accurately called intentional.

      • The Indians were not subject to genocide. There were two million of them when Columbus discovered America and there are two million of them now. As genocides go, that’s fairly feeble. We sent Indians to reservations to preserve their tribes, not to death camps to annihilate them. That’s why they are still around in their original numbers.

    • You didnt’ know that most Native Americans did not goto war against the United States? The Frontier Wars were against warlike tribes who did most of their raiding against other Native Americans, who were glad to see the marauders defeated.

      • >You didnt’ know that most Native Americans did not goto war against the United States?

        While this is true, it’s a bad argument against the proposition that white treatment of Amerinds was “genocide”. Genocides are committed not against enemy belligerents, as a rule, but against subject populations that have neither the power nor the will to effective resistance.

        European treatment of the natives was disgraceful in many respects, but genocide it was not. Genocides are intentional; they have planners and ideologies. The term was invented in the mid-20th century to describe a kind of mass killing dependent on a degree of state centralization that did not exist much before 1900, though its inventor did propose the Albigensian Crusade as a kind of precursor.

  5. I’m still thinking that to have split into different states (after the slaves were freed and relocated as they wished) would probably pay better by now. It’s easy to forget invasion, humiliation is forever.

    • The problem there is that invasion often results in humiliation. Look at the settlement of Eastern Europe after the assorted wars of the 20th century – loads of countries wound up on the wrong side in a big war because of resentment of an invasion, or poor treatment after a previous war, or a hundred other things. Half of Hitler’s early successes were because he managed to exploit fault lines left behind by Versailles.

      If the Confederacy had stayed independent after being stripped of its slaves, and it had turned into a successful nation with a bit of a “Well yeah, we lost, but we were kind of the baddies anyway” history, that’s one thing. Germany and Japan survived that. But if the Confederacy had become a basket case – which, don’t kid yourself, it would have been – then they’d start looking a lot more like the Palestinians, I’d wager. Perhaps not treated the best, but the hatred far outweighs the original sin, because they have nothing to be proud of except their hatred, and pride is a basic human need.

      • What about the basic need for pride of Black Americans. How do you think they feel about those statues?

        • The only proper response to speech that someone finds offensive is more speech, not censorship. They can put up their own statues – and should.

          • One of my fantasies is that rather than taking down the statues, the Black community issues each Confederate general their own slave statue; female, starving, clothing in rags, obvious marks of the whip, collar around her neck on a chain joined to the general’s hand…

            Or just act it out – dress a Black person in slave’s clothing and a collar, apply appropriate makeup, and attach a chain between the collar and the general’s hand. Make sure you bring a camera and have a couple guards nearby, because the local racists will probably react with (at least) verbal violence.

        • >What about the basic need for pride of Black Americans. How do you think they feel about those statues?

          I strongly suspect that black people in general don’t give a crap about the statues. They have far more urgent concerns, like the fact that their young men are murdering each other in numbers that would be considered an atrocity if done by an occupying army.

          Yes, there are black people who will try to talk the statues into being a huge issue. But these are the usual professional grievance peddlers and should be ignored.

          • Hmm. Black people who want to make an issue out of the presence on public land of Confederate statues are professional grievance peddlers who should be ignored. But white people who want to treat a city’s decision to remove such statues as a big issue are … What, exactly?

            • No, you turned around what he wrote.

              It is known black grievance peddlers who overwhelmingly tend to want to make an issue of the statues. Wanting to make an issue of the statues isn’t what made them grievance peddlers.

            • He never indicated that there was a difference, rather that the blacks who are having a freakout are likely part of the grievance peddling class.

              This is the plain and obvious reading of the text to anyone who isn’t viewing everything through the lens of race.

              • The original post said that people looking to tear down or vandalize statues we’re reopen in gold wounds. But if I’m not mistaken, this whole thing started with a decision by a town to remove a statue – lawfully and peacefully. That decision prompted white-supremacist outsiders to make a big deal out of something that really wasn’t their business, which opened many old wounds and inflicted some new ones, including the death of a young woman.

                It’s just odd that you say that I view everything through the lens of race when you and many on here seem to consider only the perspective of whites, without regard for how others might feel. In fact, when Blacks dare to push back against things like statues to defenders of slavery or flags that signify white supremacy, it’s argued that such pushback opens old wounds.

                • >In fact, when Blacks dare to push back against things like statues to defenders of slavery or flags that signify white supremacy, it’s argued that such pushback opens old wounds.

                  You’re confusing a couple of substantively different cases there, and assuming the statue-smashers are blacks.

                  Try again?

                  • I’m not confusing them. I’ve lived and seen how every step of the way conservatives and libertarians have been on the wrong side of things with respect to racial issues. At some point isn’t it time to doubt your own judgment, and just go with the opposite of your gut reaction?

                    • Wait, wait, wait.

                      Libertarians and Conservatives *generally* don’t want to deal with “minorities”. They want to deal with individuals.

                      Progressvies, marxists, socialists, Klansmen, Nazis and post-modernists want to treat people as uniform members of a *group*.

                      I know which side is wrong here. And it ain’t the Conservatives and Libertarians.

  6. Though slavery, as you say, was completely indefensible, why were the Southern states not within their rights to secede from the union? What right did the US have to wage war to force reintegration?

    There are plenty of regimes today that have horrible abuses of human rights, including nations in the third world where slavery is still a reality. Would we be justified in conquering those nations, under your estimation? My opinion is no. We could impose economic sanctions, take in refugees, etc. But honestly, if we want other nations to respect our sovereignty and borders, we ought to pragmatically do the same in return, as terrible as those places may be.

    • Lincoln was a supporter of the Corwin Constitutional amendment that would have made slavery permanent. There was the underlying problem of tariffs – the poor north was voting higher taxes the south paid.

      The war of northern aggression is complicated, and there are no heroes on either side. Read DiLorenzo’s “The Real Lincoln” and you would properly wish to tear down his monument in DC.

      The North also had their revisionism making heroes out of very evil people. Grant was a drunk, Sherman a terrorist war criminal, McClellan was incompetent.

      • I have no love for Lincoln — he rapidly centralized power to the federal government. Also, as a senator, he argued that secession was an important check on federal power… until he decided that it wasn’t OK for the south to exercise it.

        But tear down statues? That’s silly. They’re part of our history. History needs to be remembered. And not just the facts, but also the myths, stories, and culture. Use statues of people you find odious as a teaching moment.

          • Think about how the World Wars might have been different w/ two Americas. Maybe they both would have fought on the same side & there wouldn’t have been much difference. Maybe one would have stayed neutral; if so maybe that wouldn’t have mattered & the America in the fight might have been strong enough (w/ their allies) to win anyway – or maybe they would have been too weak. Maybe the enmity between the two Americas would have been enough that one would have sided w/ the other’s enemies, just to oppose the other.

            The term Fascism comes from the Italian/Latin Fasces, for a bundle of rods that is stronger together than apart, as in the Aesop’s fable. While Fascism as we know it in reality twists & perverts this idea into an evil lie, there is still truth to the fable. The Union was & is worth preserving. Even at the cost of the civil war.

            But civil war is a terrible cost, and one that we’ve already paid once. We should strive very, very hard to avoid ever having to pay it again. I’d say those tearing down statues are pushing us towards having to pay it again – not away.

              • Christopher Smith: the American Revolution didn’t have to happen, or at least it could have been restricted to New England. Heck, the Brits could have peeled off Vermont; the Green Mountain Boys turned their guns on the Yankees soon after the Declaration IIRC.

                You should read the Unqualified-Reservations blog. Or, nowadays, Uncouth-Reflections.

                The American Revolution inspired the French, and could easily have gone the same way if Shay’s Rebellion had succeeded.

                • I’ve read Moldbug, and that’s beside the point. The parent seems to be invoking universality as his justifying argument, and I’m seeing whether he’s consistent with it.

                  • I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “universality”, but I don’t think that’s what I meant to invoke as my justifying argument.

                    My post above was very much written from my modern perspective, with my knowledge of history of what’s happened post-ACW until today. Which is of course not a fair way to judge ACW contemporaries, and I don’t mean to do so. I don’t expect Lee, Davis, or Lincoln to have been able to forecast the World Wars & America’s global prominence after them. But everyone here commenting on this blog does know that the World Wars happened, and can think about how they might have been different if the CSA had been allowed to secede peacefully, or had won the ACW. I personally believe a divided America would have been significantly less likely to grow to be the post-WWII superpower that we did, and that would be a bad thing.

                    And again from my modern perspective, no I don’t consider the American Revolutionary War to be a mistake. The observed results through history of the ARW have predominantly been good – although mostly I credit that to the Founding Fathers, rather than the ARW itself; but w/out the ARW we wouldn’t have had the Founding Fathers. If I were to limit myself to a contemporary perspective rather than a modern one, I would have a harder time arguing either the ACW or the ARW weren’t mistakes, but more-so the ARW (I would be more likely to consider the ARW a mistake from a contemporary perspective, than the ACW). Not because of my belief in “strength in unity” – what I think of as unity didn’t exist in the American Colonies: if it had, “No taxation w/out representation” wouldn’t have been a rallying cry, as to be united w/ Great Britain the Colonies would have had representation. So in the case of the ARW I’d say there was no union to preserve. But rather for a combination of the probability of victory (low, from a contemporary perspective) & the worth of the cause. There are things that I would be willing to fight what I believe to likely be a losing battle for, the Constitution & the Union under it being one of the most significant. But at the time of the ARW I couldn’t know the worth of the Constitution that it would come about as result. But by the time of the ACW, I would know that worth.

                    I said “The Union was & is worth preserving. Even at the cost of the civil war.” I meant that (again from my modern perspective) specifically about the actual, historical ACW, where both preserving the Union & ending chattel slavery in America were incredibly valuable results that I do believe were worth the terrible price of the war – possibly either on their own would be, but together they definitely were. But I don’t necessarily believe that preserving the Union would be worth a civil war in any arbitrary hypothetical situation, past or future. It truly is a terrible price. Losing the strength of the Union would also be terrible, but perhaps in some cases not as terrible.

                    Fortunately, with the one horrible exception in the past, we have so far been able to maintain the Union w/out needing to pay this terrible price again. And I hope we will be able to continue that. I have seen people on the internet claim to believe another civil war is becoming inevitable; I do NOT believe that. It was only after active military violence at Fort Sumter that the historical ACW became inevitable, and it will only be after active military violence that a future civil war becomes inevitable. Destroying statuary & (non-military) violence in the streets don’t take us to the point of inevitability, but they are very much moves in the wrong direction.

              • I would really love to see the alternate history where the colonies get seats in Parliament like the Scottish had. It’d be grossly unwieldy before the trans-Atlantic telegraph was laid, but if we set that aside, it might well have worked.

          • Christopher,

            I am in my 50’s and I’ve wondered same about the drive to absolutely preserve the Union.. until a couple of years ago , it is touched on in “Midnight Rising” by Tony Horwitz.. about the John Brown raid before the war.

            I’ve not found this elsewhere, but he says the “Unionsim” was as deeply held ( by those that held it ) as if religious conviction. It was a big deal at the time. That the Union was fracturing and absolutely just had to be kept as one nation or it would completely fail. To the the extent that is was justified to fight… and too… the northern papers and abolitionist movement had successfully “othered” the southern states and their slavery to the point where all the moral justifications and righteousness was with the north, regardless of their past or their collective culpability.

            Good book. Especially on John Brown. I learned a lot about how that incident really directly lead to great pre-war tension and made clear to southerners that they were held in great contempt..

          • As Lincoln explained it, democracy can not be preserved if individual states can seccede. That would lead to every democracy inevitably fracturing into pieces every time the nation confronted a difference of opinion.

            You can see that in the Confederacy where some states, having secceded from the Union, then wanted to seccede from the Confederacy.

            • Democracy is not rule by the people but instead rule over enough people? o.O

              “Of course we can’t let people choose their own means of government! It wouldn’t be democratic!”

          • You can read a “period” answer to that question in General Grant’s memoirs. Basically, if you accept the agreement to transfer certain authority to the federal government (by ratifying the Constitution), accept an explicit set of rules for resolving your differences (as specified in that Constitution, including federal supremacy in law), accept the benefits of the federal government for three generations (e.g. by benefiting from federal land acquisitions, defense, trade agreements, infrastructure, etc.)– you then can’t unilaterally and violently tear that agreement up and force an alternate arrangement on everyone else. There’s also the question of counties seceding from the Secession (as actually happened in West Virginia and were put down with violence in the western Carolinas and parts of Georgia and Alabama), cities/counties seceding from their states to join the Confederacy (as was violently suppressed in Maryland, southern Oklahoma and southern Illinois), and dueling pro/anti state governments (also violently adjudicated in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri).

            If the Confederates hadn’t fired on Federal troops in Ft. Sumter, then the whole thing might have been resolved diplomatically, including potentially just letting them go peacefully. Previous crises had been papered over, including attempts at nullification. But once you start a war, you get a war.

            • Then again, if lincoln hadn’t ordered Ft. Sumter reinforced and resupplied (against the suggestion of his advisors, because that could essentially be taken as a statement that he was going to blockade an important southern trade port) the confederates wouldn’t have fired on it.

              • >Then again, if lincoln hadn’t ordered Ft. Sumter reinforced and resupplied […] the confederates wouldn’t have fired on it.

                My theory about that has always been that Lincoln intended to provoke actual war at a time of his choosing, in order to avoid being backed into a political settlement that might make it substantially more difficult to start a reunification war later.

        • While Lincoln, who got mixed reviews,
          Because of you, John, now gets only raves.
          — “The Ballad of Booth”, Assassins, Stephen Sondheim

        • Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution and Madison’s Virginia Resolution advocated successions as an allowed action. The South may have been many things, but they were not traitors in the normal sense. Founders of great stature supported their succession through their writings.

          • There may be valid reasons to secede from the Union, but losing an election isn’t one of them. The first wave of secessions happened before Lincoln was inaugurated, so there’s no way the fire eaters were motivated by any actual policy out of DC. The Civil War was the result of a small group of slaveholders desperately trying to hang on to power. There was no higher principle than that.

            • I’ve seen an argument somewhere that explained the timing of the first secessions as a response to a candidate, for the first time, winning the Electoral College without carrying a single Southern state.

              • >I’ve seen an argument somewhere that explained the timing of the first secessions as a response to a candidate, for the first time, winning the Electoral College without carrying a single Southern state.

                That explanation is correct but misleadingly incomplete.

                With Lincoln’s victory, slaveholders lost hope that they could win the sectional battles over the expansion of slavery to new territories that had convulsed U.S. politics since the 1830s. The only hope for the preservation of the “peculiar institution” became secession and revolt.

        • I wonder, then, why you don’t have the same attitude to the Southerners who were busy centralizing federal government all through the 1850s. Starting with the Fugitive Slave law, which was basically Federal incursion into Northern states and kidnap of people who were free and often citizens by the laws of said states; climaxing in the creation of unified and limited Federal citizenship in the Dred Scott case (routinely. and wrongly, blamed on the 14th Amendment, which in fact only removed the limits on a citizenship that existed for a decade by the time).

      • Grant was a drunk

        Anyone who holds Robert E Lee in honor would do well to remember that when a member of the Washington college faculty spoke insultingly of Grant, Lee said to him:

        “Sir, if you ever presume again to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this university.”

        I don’t have a strong opinion on either man, but if you hold a man in honor, you need to have some respect for those whose honor he is willing to defend.

    • Basically, because the North didn’t want to lose its source of cheap raw materials. Which, BTW, was another big reason for the split in the first place, blocking the South from selling to the highest bidder, which wasn’t the North.

      • Come on. You need to do better than that. The states’ articles of secession explaining that slavery was the issue were lies?

        Just own your racism – no need to cover it up with BS arguments.

        • Nice try to shut down discussion by crying raaaacism!!!.

          Sadly for you, that won’t work in this crowd.

          • I’m not expecting it to shut down a discussion. I know, love and even respect many racists. But when someone is trying to cover-up that slavery was the reason for secession, I think I’m not making a big jump in logic to conclude that maybe that person is a racist.

            • You are making a jump in logic. Facts are inconvenient things, and refuse to bend to your political correctness.

              And yes, this is a form of oppression by bicoastal elites.

            • I think it’s safe to conclude that the person making that argument has drunk the Kool-Aid on the subject of “why the South seceded,” but it does not prove racism (unless the definition of racism has been vastly expanded… sigh.*)

              Note that the current Right-Wing revisionists work very hard to push the idea that the Civil War was a matter of State’s Rights, but all those issues were a distant second to slavery.

              * I’m very liberal, but old enough to hate the kind of revisionism which says that we can conclude that someone who is wrong about their historical facts has hatred for Black people in their hearts.

        • Red herring. The topic is not why the South seceded but why the North fought to prevent it. Slavery had nothing to do with that, and Frank’s answer is neither weak nor racist. Shame on you for accusing him of racism.

    • >Though slavery, as you say, was completely indefensible, why were the Southern states not within their rights to secede from the union?

      I think they were. But if you yoke a right to a nasty enough cause, you’ll discredit it. State sovereignity has never recovered from the damage it took being used as an instrument to defend slavery. This is one of the bad outcomes of the war.

      • This is kind of why I don’t raise too big a fuss about the Larry Garfields of the world; I don’t want to yoke free speech to his misogynistic Gorean nonsense. If I’m fighting that battle, I’d much rather defend the merchants who get boycotted for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

      • The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. — H. L. Mencken

      • I’d argue based on my reading that if Beauregard hadn’t ordered the bombardment of Fort Sumter (and no other shots were fired by Confederate forces on Union held outposts in the south) that Lincoln would have attempted to hold out for a negotiated political solution. Whether this would be recognition of secession or some other arrangement, we’ll never know.

        • Exactly. The start of the war was not passing the resolution of secession, it was firing on Federal troops at Ft. Sumter. Lincoln was actually pursuing the course of withdrawing the Federal garrison from Ft. Sumter (the Confederates were blocking their resupply), but the Confederates wanted war… and they got it, too.

          The American Revolution was similar– most Americans really, really, really wanted to avoid a war. They wanted some basic good-government rules in place and followed, and they wanted to be left alone. But once the British army started burning towns, shooting people, and making threats of more– well, the negotiation was over.

          I heard a US ambassador once describe all decisions as either “me” decisions, “you” decisions, or “we” decisions. “You” can decide to start a war by yourself, but you can’t end it just on your own say-so. “We” have to decide the war is over, or it isn’t; it’s only a temporary truce, or delay until reinforcements arrive, or whatever.

          • “Lincoln was actually pursuing the course of withdrawing the Federal garrison from Ft. Sumter ”

            What he did, Ordering the garrison resupplied, is the opposite of what you’re saying he did.

            • The previous president, James Buchanan, had attempted to resupply the federal garrison in January, 1861, but the (civilian, unarmed) resupply ship was fired upon by Confederate shore batteries and withdrew.

              Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4th. Waiting for him was a letter from the garrison commander, stating that they had been on short rations since the previous year and were within days of being starved out. On March 6th, Lincoln sent word to the governor of SC, stating, “an attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only, and that if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition will be made without further notice, [except] in case of an attack on the fort.” He also authorized his Secretary of State to open unofficial negotiations with the Confederate government in Richmond, with the goal of withdrawing the garrison and seeking a political settlement.

              The Confederate government, however, voted to demand the garrison’s surrender and, if it would not do so, the Confederate forces were ordered to bombard it into submission. At 2 AM on April 12th, the garrison was given one hour to surrender; the commander refused, and a day-and-a-half-long bombardment followed, leading to the garrison’s surrender.

              I fail to see how any of that could be considered Lincoln attempting to manufacture a cause for war, or looking for an occasion to start trouble. On the contrary, I think he walked into a clusterf**** of the first order, left by the previous administration, and he proceeded with what measured caution and principle that was possible in the few days he had. The Confederates were the ones who instigated it (they even had people come down from other states to ceremoniously fire shots at Ft. Sumter!).

              • >I fail to see how any of that could be considered Lincoln attempting to manufacture a cause for war, or looking for an occasion to start trouble.

                You supply details of which I was not previously aware, and they do put a different complexion on the matter. Thanks.

              • One of the reasons Buchanan is considered to have been such a poor president is that he left Lincoln very little to work with. For example, he left thirty-thousand rifles sitting in Southern arsenals when he could probably have withdrawn at least some of them (making a real war either difficult or impossible.)

                • That would have started the war sooner. Rather like when the redcoats tried to seize the Americans’ powder in Lexington and Concord.

                  • That’s certainly possible. It would depend on how the whole thing was handled. Lot’s of small transfers, a weapons upgrade, or an “accident” might have been appropriate ruses. Shrug.

      • > State sovereignity has never recovered from the damage it took
        > being used as an instrument to defend slavery

        Handy, that.

    • Rights, schmights. All that mattered was that the Union had the power to stop the secession. Note that Lincoln felt free to defy the Supreme Court when they ruled against him. He controlled the guns. They didn’t.

      If those with power refuse to obey the law, how can the law be enforced? (Note: I’m not stating an official opinion on the legality of secession, but I’d be happy to let any state to secede if its constituents wished, whether it’s Texas (my adopted home state) or California (good riddance)).

    • There are plenty of regimes today that have horrible abuses of human rights, including nations in the third world where slavery is still a reality. Would we be justified in conquering those nations, under your estimation?

      absolutely. One always has the right to use force in defense of oneself or others. Saying that what goes on in other countries is none of our business is what I call the Kitty Genovese theory of foreign relations.

      Whether we should do so is another story. Often the resources we’d have to spend, and the blood we’d have to shed, in order to rescue those people are just not worth it to us, and it’s not as if we have an obligation to rescue them, any more than we have an obligation to feed every starving person in the world, or to heal every sick person. We have the right, if we wish, to tell them “so sorry, we’re too busy and you’re not our problem, try someone else”. But let’s not pretend that’s not what we’re doing. Clothing it in a supposed moral obligation to their rapists and murderers not to interfere with their crimes is just obscene.

  7. Maybe another alternative would’ve been something like the “denazification” of Germany post-WW2.

    I’m guessing the Germans were told that they fought for an evil and utterly irredeemable cause. Suggesting otherwise became a criminal offense. It clearly involved banning all Nazi statues and symbols.

    Why is the American South different from post-WW2 Germany? Silly American exceptionalism?

    • > Why is the American South different from post-WW2 Germany?

      Because the “denazification” was imposed from the outside.

      The Germans could hate on the Allied forces as much as they wanted to, but they couldn’t hate on each other. The Southern states were trying to be brought back into the fold by the ones who had conquered them.

    • It clearly involved banning all Nazi statues and symbols.

      And it is quite predictably backfiring as censorship alway does.

    • Because Nazis are an entirely more evil creature than Confederates by a couple orders of magnitude.

    • The German prohibition of anything vaguely resembling Nazi symbols led to KISS having to use a different logo there. Because Israeli-born Chaim Witz is so obviously a Nazi, you see.

  8. Dismaying to see from over here. My country’s defence policy basically reads, “the USA will fight our wars with us”. I am no longer confident we could make our own arrangements if the USA became… distracted.

    But here’s hoping your civil strife has peaked. Not for us, but for you.

    • You should never outsource defense of home and hearth. NEVER. Alliances are fine, but shift over time.

      • If I understand the watermelon policy platform here (green on the outside, red on the inside), it consists of chanting “We don’t need to spend more on defense, our indestructible alliance with the USA will shield us” and “Yankee go home!” on alternate days. On Sundays, chant “nobody other than police and army have any excuse for owning guns.”

        These days I vote gray. ):

      • That’s easy to say for countries that are able to defend themselves. Some countries are simply not defendable with the resources available to their people, so they have to depend on foreign alliances.

        Cf Australia. WW2 was a nasty shock; the UK was busy fighting its own war and neither willing nor able to devote resources to the Pacific. (On the contrary, it wanted more ANZACs in Europe, which is why in 1942 Australia finally pulled the trigger on the independence option it had been given in ’31, and backdated it to 3-Sep-39, the first day of the war.) Had the US not been there to fight the Battle of the Coral Sea, Australia would have been open to the Japanese, and the government only plan, to the extent that it even had one, was to surrender most of the country and defend only the south-eastern corner where most of the people were.

        So Australia’s big take-away from the war was a determination to bind the US to its future defense, formally with the ANZUS treaty, and informally (especially after the US showed in 1961 how little regard it has for treaty obligations when they prove inconvenient) by becoming the US’s BFF, going “all the way with LBJ” and “off to sea with GHWB”, in the hope that if push ever came to shove the US would be there. Because a nation of 6 million couldn’t possibly defend an area the size of the continental US, but 25 million can’t really do it either.

        • As I said, there are large chunks of the Australian defense and foreign policy discourse that consist of chanting “We don’t need to spend money on the military, the Yanks will carry us” and “Yankee go home!” on alternate days.

          25 million could defend something the size of Australia, given a modern fleet, a lot of drones, and a serious citizen militia system to back them. A cursory examination of what Singapore manages to deploy with a fifth of the population and barely more GDP per capita is enlightening.

  9. > Though slavery, as you say, was completely indefensible, why were the Southern states not within their rights to secede from the union? What right did the US have to wage war to force reintegration?

    Countries don’t have the right to unilaterally secede — it’s not a human right. If the UK government decided it didn’t want to give Scotland an independence referendum, it would’ve been completely within its right not to grant one. (The UK government did allow Scotland to have its referendum.) Ditto for Canada and Quebec, Spain and Catalonia, the United States and the Confederate states, etc. I think this is especially so in a democracy, or in countries that respect basic human rights.

      • A friend of Lincoln’s, when asked by the President about whether the South had the right to succeed, was supposed to have said something along the lines of “I’m inclined to think they do. But if they do not, all I can say is ‘God save the King'”.

        • That seems anachronistic – England had been run(officially) by a Queen for 24 years by the time the Civil War started.

          • Any such anachronism is the fault of myself alone, as I was recounting from memory what I had seen written elsewhere. However, I had hoped that the phrase “…something along the lines of…” in prefacing the quote was sufficient to imply I believed the quote to be accurate in essence if not in detail.

      • No. The Declaration of Independence basically boils down to “King George and his government have stripped us of our rights as British subjects. We therefore declare that they have also stripped us of our obligations.”

    • > Countries don’t have the right to unilaterally secede — it’s not a human right…I think this is especially so in a democracy, or in countries that respect basic human rights.

      Is not democracy ‘government by the consent of the governed’? The fundamental idea is that one can delegitimize government by simply withdrawing one’s consent. How is it consent if it cannot be withdrawn unilaterally?

      You could claim that there exists a social contract that binds citizens together under a common government, but the fact that it is a contract does not mean that it cannot be unilaterally broken. There may be consequences stipulated in the contract for such action, but is a contract legitimate unless it allows for some form of escape (perhaps with consequences)?

      Whatever you are describing, However good it may be or how well it respects basic human rights, I would not call it democracy. Which is fine. Perhaps we are not actually living in a democracy, nor should we desire to, and we should simply dispense of the label. But let’s not go confuse our terms.

      • Is not democracy ‘government by the consent of the governed’? The fundamental idea is that one can delegitimize government by simply withdrawing one’s consent.

        You need to more strictly consider the extent of the “governed” who you suppose have the right to consent or withdraw their consent. Is it the whole constituency, or do the component blocs have this authority also? For example, it’s a fundamental necessity of democracy that the losers are bound by the result of the election – having voted against Trump does not exempt any individual from his administration of the country’s laws. On the other hand, if the whole country voted against Trump, that would exempt them all from his administration of the country’s laws, because he would lose the election. Intermediate categories that are neither the individual nor the entire country are less clear-cut, and historically you’re risking war when you force the issue.

        Using the example of Quebec – Canada will enter into secession negotiations with Quebec if a majority vote favours separation. But most of the rural (resource-rich, economically undeveloped) north of the province is inhabited by the indigenous, who are very anti-secession (Quebec’s militant Frenchness is mainly directed against English Canada, but the indigenous fear that it could be used against their own language and culture). So threats were made that should Quebec leave Canada, the northern 80% of the province would in turn separate from Quebec and rejoin Canada. Of course the provincial government claims its own territorial integrity is inviolable, which illustrates the difficulty in justifying any specific cutoff where withdrawal of consent is valid. Why should Quebec leaving Canada be more valid than Nord-du-Quebec and Cote-Nord leaving the province?

        • Of course the provincial government claims its own territorial integrity is inviolable, which illustrates the difficulty in justifying any specific cutoff where withdrawal of consent is valid.

          A good default is the parties of an explicit contract.

      • Is not democracy ‘government by the consent of the governed’? The fundamental idea is that one can delegitimize government by simply withdrawing one’s consent. How is it consent if it cannot be withdrawn unilaterally?

        But the real sticking point is this: The South was withdrawing their consent to be governed by the federal government so that they could continue to govern over their slaves without their consent. If the South was to be allowed to withdraw for that reason, the Constitutional guarantee to the States of a republican form of government (Article IV, Section 4) would be rendered toothless. I will grant that the wording of the rest of the section indicates that the founders had in mind more something in the line of a State being subjugated by a foreign power, or a state government asking for help in putting down a local revolution, but consider the following scenarios:

        1) There is a communist revolution in California, and the state government is swiftly and literally decapitated before it can ask for aid. Congressional representatives at home are disappeared or come out in support of the revolution, Congressional representatives in Washington are assassinated or kidnapped, the few that aren’t announce their support of the new regime. The new government announces that previously elected positions will be filled with appointments by the Party, and new members of Congress for the empty seats are sent to Washington. Congress refuses to seat them, and the entire communist delegation from California (new members and old members supporting the new regime alike) is arrested by the FBI. At this point the new government of California announces that it withdraws its consent to be governed by the United States and is seceding from the union. The government of the People’s Republic of California announces that the US government has no jurisdiction to depose it under article IV section 4, as the previous government did not ask for aid before it was deposed, and the new government does not need any aid, thank you very much.

        In this situation, is the federal government justified, under Article IV, Section 4, in invading California and reestablishing a republican form of government in the state by force? Is it, in fact, obligated to do so?

        2) A communist government is freely elected in California. As all of us red state conservatives mumble over morning coffee about those darn hippies and how we saw this coming years ago, and wonder aloud why our states are called the red states anyways when California is sporting a sickle and star, the State government announces that it is abolishing elections, and henceforth all previously elected officials will be appointed by the Party. The next time national elections roll around, the Party announces the State’s new representatives to Congress. When they arrive in Washington, Congress turns them away, and CA secedes.

        I will ask the same two questions about this scenario as I did about scenario 1.

        3) A communist government is freely elected in California. A few months later, a referendum is held on whether to abolish elections and have the Party appoint all previously elected officials. The referendum passes by a comfortable, but not overwhelming, margin, consistent with the previous R/D split in the state, and, against all odds, third party election observers report that they have found no evidence that the vote was rigged, and that they encountered no attempts to prevent them from looking for evidence. Subsequently, reports from California indicate that citizens with known ties to the Republican party are being reeducated and/or sent to work camps. When the next national elections roll around, California sends an unelected delegation to Washington, which is turned away, prompting the State to secede.

        The same two questions as above apply.

        4) A communist government is freely elected in California. Shortly afterward, a referendum is held on restricting the franchise to members of the Party. The referendum passes by a comfortable, but not overwhelming, margin, with no evidence of a rigged vote. The first Congressional delegation sent to Washington under the new system is turned back, and the state secedes.

        The usual questions apply.

        Keep in mind that in this scenario, the franchise is much more open than in the Antebellum South. Just attend this free, voluntary, reeducation course at your local UC campus (the course at Berkeley is especially popular, by the way), and sign on the dotted line. Vouchers are available if the cost of travelling to the nearest UC campus to attend the course is too burdensome. And you’ll learn our great new State song: Hail Gov. Joe Steele(C-CA)! He loves you! Sing these words or you know what he’ll do!.

        Our host, judging from his past statements, would say that neither the US federal government nor any state government should exist in either the context of the ACW or my hypothetical scenarios, but if you acknowledge that the US federal government and Article IV, Section 4 were ever a good idea in any capacity, you have to grapple with the question of what under set of circumstances Article IV, Section 4 justifies or even demands action against a State on the part of the federal government.

        Now, to be fair to the South, unlike the case of California in any of these hypothetical scenarios, the state of affairs in which they had been demanding government only with their consent whilst governing others arbitrarily and tyranically without consent had existed from the founding of the Nation, and the northern Founders had accepted it, or at the very least decided that is was a Somebody Else’s Problem to be kicked down the field to their descendants.

        In any case, much of the fury felt in the North towards the South, then and now, was and is motivated by the abject betrayal of the principles on which the Constitution and the Nation was built that was present in the institution of slavery. The zeal of the North toward abolition may have been greatly tainted by mixed motives, flagging resolve, hypocritical racism, and whatever else you might add. Assume that it was tainted to the greatest degree possible. I’m a Christian, it won’t offend me: I take the present complete moral bankruptcy of humanity as an axiom, and, indeed, as the only thing that makes democracy worthwhile: No man is fit to govern another. In any case, the Nation had founded itself on the principle of government by the consent of the governed, and even in doing so had consigned a great portion of its population to be governed without their consent. The nation had a responsibility to correct that. In spite of all our failings, by the grace of God, it was corrected, imperfectly and slowly, and the shrapnel of the conflict may still kill us.

        But even assuming that the North was as bad as possible, I cannot feel that the South’s defeat in the Civil War was a bad thing, or that they had even so much of a leg to stand on as “we’re being governed without our consent”. Insisting that you only be governed with your consent, as I see it, signs a contract that you will not govern others without their consent. And that, I think, is what Southerner’s fail to understand about Northern attitudes on the Civil War.

        • >Insisting that you only be governed with your consent, as I see it, signs a contract that you will not govern others without their consent.

          …and that applies to others of whatever skin shade. Well put. This is why the claim of many Confederates and their apologists to be fighting for liberty in any sense at all has always tasted foul and enraging in my mouth. “Liberty”, sir? Is that what you call it when you flog and rape?

        • > But the real sticking point is this: The South was withdrawing their consent to be governed by the federal government so that they could continue to govern over their slaves without their consent…Insisting that you only be governed with your consent, as I see it, signs a contract that you will not govern others without their consent.

          A fair point. Can the same be said for Scotland, Catalonia, or Quebec? Keep in mind, the post by barry12345, to which I was responding, claimed that none of these entities has a right to unilateral succession, especially in a democracy.

          That claim makes no sense to me. A democracy, by enshrining consent as its source of legitimacy, must acknowledge the right of its constituents to withhold their consent.

          Now it it might be argued that there is a expectation of “fair play” involved. But even aside from the particular procedures put in place, no system can last long where one party simply wishes to take their ball and go home.

        • It should also be noted that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 brought this home to the Northerners quite strongly. A “recaptured” slave was not allowed a trial or to speak in his/her own defense. As a result, many free Blacks were dragged from the North into a life of slavery.

      • You are living in republic decidedly not a democracy or a ochlocracy. Also from memory I think the founders included no mention of democracy in the constitution (we the people is

    • There is no prohibition against state secession in the US constitution. In fact, Madison openly argued for such a prohibition to be placed in the constitution during the constitutional convention and it was not. Further, virtually everyone in the country in the 1780’s would have viewed themselves as Virginians, New Yorkers, Penns, etc. more than Americans.

      • That’s because in 1780 the various states were states equal in dignity to the United Kingdom, France, or Spain. The Articles of Confederation were a treaty of alliance between various sovereign nations, which is a major reason why it failed. To address those failures the US Constitution was written to create a federal system, explicitly in the model of Switzerland, where the various states would cede portions of their sovereignty to the federal government.

        Explicitly allowing states to secede would render the federal government as ineffective as the government under the Articles of Confederation. There is no action – or inaction – the federal government can take that wouldn’t piss off a sizable portion of the country. If chunks of the nation broke off every time Congress had to make a hard call, there wouldn’t be a nation left.

        Besides, an explicit path to secession is redundant. Throwing off a tyrannical government is the right and duty of every free people.

  10. As usual, your analysis is spot on; particularly the part about the underlying significance of the statue destruction movement. This country is fracturing into many disparate factions based upon all manner of perceived differences and adopted grievances. The seeds of mistrust have taken root and are now growing quickly. And there appear to be many institutional forces promoting a continuation of this process. I am also of the North by heritage, but lived for many years in Louisiana during my early career. In my experience, Southerners will be deeply offended and gravely insulted by the destruction of their cultural symbology. That wound may grow into a decades-long visceral grudge, and we will all be worse off because of it.

    • I don’t think the country is fracturing as much as , the news and the Democrats, cough cough, have their division narrative and are doing all they can to embolden these kids and whip up resentment. The entire monument movement is calculated and managed. The media are ignoring those who have no problem with these monuments and giving credence to the vandals… instead of critically calling them out for opportunistic know-nothings and anarchists. We are not a country divided. We’re just being constantly told we are.

  11. I thought most (many?) of the statues were erected later, in opposition to civil rights.

    I’d like to see more statues. Statues about slavery, about southerners who opposed the confederacy, about black people who fought for the north, and especially statues about Lee and Jefferson saying the civil war was over.

    • Lee and Jefferson weren’t contemporaries.
      There will be no statutes, not permanent at least, because the right and south have a sense of their history and ancestry which lasts.
      The left virtue-signals, so makes things up without really knowing or caring.
      In South Dakota, there is a statue of Bill Clinton – the tough on black crime rapist. Will anyone behead that statue?

    • > I thought most (many?) of the statues were erected later, in opposition to civil rights.

      It appears not. The most quantative analysis of that I’ve seen is by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      The SPLC–being the SPLC–would have every reason to twiddle the numbers to make things look as bad as possible, but most monuments being installed before 1915 looks about right.

      There is (if you believe their data) a surge post-1954 (i.e., Brown v. Board of Education). In particular, naming schools after Confederate leaders seems to have come into vogue then.

      • >There is (if you believe their data) a surge post-1954 (i.e., Brown v. Board of Education). In particular, naming schools after Confederate leaders seems to have come into vogue then.

        Correct. A narrow form of protest against a particular policy imposition – forced desegregation. Nevertheless, the great settlement still held. The latter fact deserves, I think, more notice than it usually gets.

      • Those data show that the biggest period of Southern memorialization occurred between 1900-1920, which happens to coincide with the rise of the Klan. It wasn’t about honoring Civil War heroes, who had been dead for 40-60 years, but rather about glorifying a return to white supremacy after the whites re-subjugated the Blacks.

        • >It wasn’t about honoring Civil War heroes, who had been dead for 40-60 years, but rather about glorifying a return to white supremacy after the whites re-subjugated the Blacks.

          This theory is not consistent with the inscriptions on the statues, nor with the statements of almost any of the organizations that built them.

          I say “most”, You could probably find, if you looked hard enough, a memorial erected by actual white supremacists. (I’ve heard some rumors about a statue of blacks being grateful for their chains. I don’t know what iconography would do that, but I don’t know everything.) It wouldn’t follow from that that the intentions of (say) the Daughters of the Confederacy were white supremacist.

          • I’ve read and watched Southern politicians from the 1950s and 1960s defend segregation as something other than white supremacy. Why should I accept the inscriptions on a statue as a definitive explanation of the purpose of that statue?

            By the way, humans are complicated. I’m sure that the DAR were legitimately proud of their ancestors and their way of life. But unfortunately for them, that way of life was inextricably intertwined with the oppression of an entire race.

        • 1900-1920 was also around the half century mark after the war. The next wave was around the century mark. Anniversaries have significance.

          • It’s pretty coincidental that it also was during the rise of the Klan, isn’t it? You’re going to believe what you want, but that doesn’t make it right.

        • In 1900 most Civil War veterans would have been somewhere around 60-70 years old. The first wave of statues correlates strongly with the bulk of Civil War vets dying off and people wanting to memorialize their grandfathers.

          • It also coincides with an era of increasing Southern prosperity. Prior to about 1900, the South was still recovering economically. Bronze statues are not cheap and the wave of statue building coincided with the availability of surplus wealth that could be used for memorials.

  12. > I’ve never bought into Lost Cause romanticism; I’ve studied the history and don’t buy the revisionism about tariffs or troop callups.

    I’m not sure what you’d include in Lost Cause revisionism/romanticism, so perhaps I’m about to wander into that territory. Let’s see.

    No matter the South’s collective motivation for secession, the most galling fiction to me is that Lincoln prevented their secession to end slavery. His racism and indifference to slavery has been obliterated from popular history to the point that I found much of what he actually had to say on the subject geniunely shocking when I first read it. In my opinion, that’s the other half of the dangerous deception here, but it has already been so thoroughly accomplished that this second act isn’t as surprising as I’d like it to be.

    • >No matter the South’s collective motivation for secession, the most galling fiction to me is that Lincoln prevented their secession to end slavery.

      Just because Lincoln didn’t fight the war to end slavery does not absolve the South of seceding and fighting to defend it.

      • No, but it does massively undermine the current narrative of using the history of the most radical of Northern abolitionists as a proxy force against the South, which as you state is increasingly conflated with Heritage America in general.

      • From what I’ve read, Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, but felt it was properly a “State’s rights” matter, and if a state already practiced it, he wasn’t inclined to intervene. He went to war to preserve the Union, not end slavery.

        But he was also in correspondence with Frederick Douglass, who he respected, and there’s good evidence that Douglass convinced him that the war was essentially about slavery, and preservation of the Union and preservation of slavery were incompatible goals.

        (For that matter, there was a Gag Rule in Congress for a long time before the Civil War where it was agreed that slavery was not a topic to be brought up in Congress, precisely because the issue was so divisive).

        I’ve also seen claims from some Southerners that slavery was doomed in any case, as being essentially uneconomic, and pretty well documented assertions that technology like the spinning jenny and the cotton gin prolonged slavery by making it economic longer than it would otherwise have been. But even if slavery was essentially doomed, can you really justify waiting several more decades for it to expire of natural causes?

        And crafting compromises to allow peace with defeated foes happens a lot. In a more recent example, consider the surrender of Japan in WWII. Hirohito kept his throne as Emperor, and the story put about was that he was a figurehead kept in the dark by his ministers about what they were doing and why they were doing it. Historian David Bergamini wrote a volume called “Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy” which makes a strong case that Hirohito knew exactly what his ministers were doing, and actively participated in formulating policy and war plans. Bit given the nature of Japanese society and the place of the Emperor within it, the perception was that a face saving gesture had to be made, and they couldn’t just execute Hirohito like some of his cabinet, even if he did fully deserve it.
        _____
        Dennis

        • I’ve also seen claims from some Southerners that slavery was doomed in any case, as being essentially uneconomic

          IMO, it was uneconomic, but not doomed. Once you’ve founded a country specifically to ensure slavery is legal, and particularly if you’ve fought a secession war to keep that state alive, it’ll stay in place for decades longer than makes any sense just because it’s an item of national pride. They may have caved by now due to international pressure and external ideas sneaking in, like South Africa or the USSR did with their uneconomic ideas on making most of the population into serfs, but it’d have gone on much longer than 1865.

        • There’s also the fact that the Confederacy was desperately trying to get recognition and aid from Great Britain. If the Royal Navy could have disrupted the Union blockade and adequately supplied the South, they might have been able to win the war (adequately supplied Confederate troops wouldn’t have been foraging for shoes when Lee marched into Pennsylvania, so there wouldn’t have been a Gettysburg). The governments of Great Britain and France leaned heavily towards the South, most Confederate commerce raiders were built and maintained in French and British ports, but the people of Great Britain were emphatically anti-slavery. By making the war against slavery, Lincoln made British and French support of the Confederacy impossible.

          • As I recall the south sent an emissary to both Great Britain and France who was going to guarantee an end of slavery in the confederacy if they would give both recognition and aid, but I can’t recall his name. Also, I think I read that on a wikipedia page so mileage may vary.

        • In addition to direct economic arguments against slavery, had the secession been allowed to proceed the North would immediately have abolished slavery and the fugitive slave laws, thus moving the northern end of the Underground Railroad to the US/CS border. This would have rapidly depopulated the Confederacy’s northern tier of slaves, and thus turned those states against slavery. (Just as happened in the North, once people no longer have slaves they become open to the arguments against it. Northerners were abolitionist because they had no slaves, not vice versa.) The CS constitution entrenched slavery and banned secession, but constitutions can be changed, repealed, or simply ignored. Cf ours.

          But even if slavery was essentially doomed, can you really justify waiting several more decades for it to expire of natural causes?

          On the contrary, how can you justify the slaughter of over a million people just to speed up what was going to happen anyway?

          • There’s another part to the hypothetical. Along with a stream of escaping slaves in the Northern direction there would be a stream of arms and wannabe John Browns in the other direction, with the escapees providing the grunt forces. The result might even have been much bloodier than what actually happened.

      • My view of the ACW tends to be that each side of the war was mainly correct about the motives of the other side.

  13. I both agree and disagree with you on this one, Eric. I will fully admit that I have not researched the issue as much as I should. However, the problem isn’t with any facts you presented, but rather reside in how you presented them.

    You are presenting “The South” as a cohesive entity. While many residents of the south may see the members of the Confederate military as heroes, I really doubt that the majority of the ~40% non-white Virginians, or the ~26% non-white North Carolinians would feel the same. Many of these people never bought into the Lost Cause romanticism, and with good reason; their families were the ones suffering under the old regime. Even within the white population of the south, there isn’t a single opinion.

    Another issue is that you seem to think that just because there was an old, “mutual consentual disbelief” agreement to cast a rosy glow over the acts of the past, means that that agreement has the same impact today, and warrants keeping the lie alive. Part of remembering the past should hopefully be learning from it. We are 5 to 7 generations out from the end of the war (depending on how you count). If we can’t look back on events that happened over a hundred years ago without the need for a fictitious spin on what the war was really about, AND what it means to a large segment of the population, then there are some serious reality issues that need to be addressed.

  14. Oh, and the Germans did not fight a guerrilla war against the American, British and French occupiers.

  15. What I don’t see discussed here is the issue of state sovereignty. It would be a grim day in our history to lose a state to succession, but state sovereignty in my view was an important check and balance against federal authoritarianism. By extension, state sovereignty is also enemy number 1 to a Marxist extremist hell bent on propagating their moral authoritarianism. An equal enemy to communists and fascists alike. I think the false dichotomy of today’s identity politics is that we need to appeal to the authority on behalf of one group or tribe to impose our will on another group/tribe. To engage in this false dichotomy is to abandon the idea at the root of western civilization: That the individual is imbued with a divine spark and has inalienable natural rights, if we concede free speech to moral authoritarianism we embolden the hive minds to construct their tyrannical empire.

    The Confederate flag is a quintessential symbol of American rebel and outlaw, somehow more appealing than the stylistically superior “don’t tread on me” a flag from the revolution. At the surface its easy to read an attack on the flags symbology as rooted in race hatred vs revisionist history. But I the majority of non-intellectual (often moronic) rebels flying the battle flag in 2017 are flying it as a symbol of American anarchy, something not often discussed in the heritage/hate argument is the flags call to non-conformity; the media likes to discuss what the flag meant but won’t discuss what it means (especially to someone flying it in Alaska).

    The group identity authoritarians are toppling subconscious enemy to their worldview -> an individual’s rebellion. If they kick over enough statues and burn enough flags and punch enough NAZI’s they might have enough strength to confront one of the real tribes of anarchy: Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Hells Angels. Perhaps then they’ll have the strength to confront some of the very real political issues facing today’s youth.

    Are we just dealing with two-sided politics or is our empire dividing into tribes? The Americans I see deeply engaged with these movements are insecure agoraphobia’s hell-bent on imprisoning or neutralizing any threat perceived by their anxiety. These people feel insignificant and powerless and are appealing to authority to ensure that all individuals are insignificant and powerless. Unfortunately hiding behind an authority will only make them more authoritarian. To what degree has our communication technology has made individuals maladapted to genuinely communicate with each other? How do we empower and embolden these individuals to grow out of their resentment for the human race, and encourage them to be the change they seek in the world? I don’t have answers but I have lots of questions.

  16. The parallel might be the right’s Tolerance of LGBTQ+ antics. And being repaid with militancy.

    No, changing genders is medically impossible but I might be polite with pronouns.
    Podunk doesn’t care about SF bath-houses.

    But the new found militancy – bake that gay wedding cake or go to jail! – the black lives matter when police shoot thugs (the warrior cop is a problem too but Trayvon was a thug) – or the feminists that need safe spaces has created a backlash.

    They don’t get that Trump, and worse coming like Senator Moore, is blowback.

    For decades, America let the south have its revisionist fantasy, and were stronger for it like having gay artists, feminist doers, and others.

    But we are no longer “American”, just a bunch of tribes. That’s identity politics. And a few tribes won’t tolerate Southern Honor, no more than they tolerate Christians’ views on marriage.

    Democrats need to listen, but they have dissolved into an irreconcilable mass of warring tribes – blacks, immigrants, feminists, LGBTQ+, muslims, SJWs and virtue signalling white knights. Antifa. They call anyone not in the tribe a white supremacist or Nazi, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, or xenophobe. Hence these statues are all of KKK and Nazis in their minds. An aside, they think wealth arises spontaneously so education, health care, infrastructure, etc. can be free.

    The right is rapidly moving to a counter identity to stop these militant crazies (zombie apocalypse?) from destroying everything. Argument and discussion seem no longer possible, so government edicts are next, but mostly tearing down their regulatory idols. If that fails, it will be civil war again. And Imthink the south will win.

    • Of course the South will win. (Or the modern equivalent, the red states of the heartland.) Remember who has guns, and where the vast majority of our armed forces come from…

        • > Look where the *food* comes from.

          /me looks.

          Basic grains and livestock from the Heartland. Check.

          Garden veggies mostly from California, specifically the rural inland. Which is the easiest part of the state to militarily occupy. (Notwithstanding that they might well be covertly on the “red state” side of the fight anyhow, being already ignored and/or ”tyrannized” by the Blue Coastal Elites).

          Doesn’t look like edible logistics will be a problem.

          • Cut the supply lines (including pipelines and electricity – well they hate global warming) to the coasts, or just cut the EBT cards from working.
            The fancy veggies from the central valley are cash crops, not food staples. Where are the ranches?

            • > The fancy veggies from the central valley are cash crops, not food staples.

              One (rural) man’s cash crop is another (urban) man’s food staple. I dunno about you, but lots of the veggies I get at the big-box grocery come from either CA or MX. Take a close look at those stupid little per-piece labels sometime….

              (not counting the ones I grow in my own damn garden, thank you very much)

              • In the event of a scarcity, some of the mid-country land would quickly be re-purposed to grow those veggies. The free market would assure it.

          • > Notwithstanding that they might well be covertly on the “red state” side of the fight anyhow

            Or even not so covertly. Several of California’s agricultural counties went for Trump, in some cases pretty heavily. I do not think it is a given that any of the rural counties in California would join a secession movement.

            Then there’s the water issue…

            • @William O. B’Livion –

              > > Doesn’t look like edible logistics will be a problem.
              > Won’t be a problem for *who*.

              I was responding to your original reply to Jay Maynard’s thread-leading post.

              I don’t think The Heartland (red states and their allies, the direct opponents to the “Blue Coastal Elites”) will have much problem with food if the US descends into civil war.

              Oil – that’s another issue. Figure that most imports would get cut off. So the question becomes can TX and OK (and whatever other domestic producers there are in the lower 48) pump enough, and are there enough refineries in The Heartland, to satisfy its petrochemical needs in wartime. (Modern armies take a lot of gasoline and diesel to keep going.)

        • You can get food with guns and the people behind them, if you have to.

          Which doesn’t really help the Blue State cause.

          It’s a common refrain among the anti-gun-elite that, even if the 2A guaranteed a right to revolutionary arms, small arms and hunting gear would be useless in the face of the US Military. Which ignores two things – one, the US military will, at best sit out domestic strife (if it doesn’t simply dissolve or side with the “heartland” in the majority), and two, the US military has been struggling for 14+ years with lightly-armed and minimally-supported insurgents, with little long-term success.

          When your opponent ends up with the guns AND the butter, then what?

          • Of your two things, the first is plausible, but the US military has a very good record of loyalty to the federal government. As long as they have confidence that the government is legally elected, and the treasury doesn’t collapse to the point they stop getting paid, I’m inclined to think they’ll remain so. Incidentally, that’s why I’m very hostile to people exaggerating stories of vote fraud, which I think carries the risk of civil war more than most other rhetoric.

            As to the second thing, you drastically underestimate the difference between a country’s military strength and its projected power. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are being fought with only the expeditionary element of the military, which is much less than what could be brought to bear on home soil.

            • The US military has a very good record of loyalty to the federal government because it hasn’t been called on to defend that government against action based on an accusation that that government is illegitimately depriving the citizens of their rights. The military has gamed out enforcing a widespread ban on firearms, and while the results have not been publicly discussed, it’s widely believed they’d refuse an order to do so because the troops wouldn’t obey.

              And you shouldn’t discount the force multiplication inherent in irregulars fighting guerrilla actions. It takes a lot more than 1.4 million troops – the total size of the US armed forces across all branches, and that assumes that every reservist and National Guard troop responds to the callup and fights – to control 350 million people.

              • “The US military has a very good record of loyalty to the federal government”

                I am sorry but this is WRONG!
                The military has loyalty to the CONSTITUTION!!
                Not the Federal Government. They are in no way the Same. If the FedGov orders the military to go against the Constitution some will obey but many will not.
                THAT is what the Progs do not understand. They as always believe that the Military does what they are ordered to do, don’t think, just obey. It will come as a large shock when the Prog orders are laughed at.
                The cities are Blue, almost every where else is Red. The Cities are EASY to destroy. Water, Gas, Electricity, and Food come from the Red areas. These are facts.
                As far as weapons, Please, take a real look at Pumpkin Chucking and remember their range is LIMITED because of the Pumpkins NOT the guns.

                • If the FedGov orders the military to go against the Constitution some will obey but many will not.

                  Can you cite an example of where the American military has refused? I tried, and couldn’t think of any. On the contrary, they carried out their orders for Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the various atrocities in Vietnam, the Bergdahl swap – all in violation of the law.

              • With the military in a fight at home, their dependents become targets. Not a problem in Iraq. This is why they will not participate to any great extent.

              • you shouldn’t discount the force multiplication inherent in irregulars fighting guerrilla actions

                But the Afghani and Iraqi insurgents should benefit from that effect too; so that is already captured in the estimate if we’re basing it on the military’s performance in those conflicts (which is how I understood the comment to which I was replying). My reply was meant to illustrate an effect that wasn’t captured in that estimate and would need to be accounted for.

                It might be instructive to compare a failed revolt in the American Civil War with a successful one in the American Revolution. Recall that victory in the Revolution depended critically on the French fleet preventing the Royal Navy from relieving Cornwallis at Yorktown. However, the expected (British) foreign support for the Confederacy didn’t materialise for the South, and so despite a stronger gun culture and a substantial defection of military personnel to their cause, they couldn’t pull the feat off.

                Today the entire rest of the world, possibly excluding Israel, gets routinely ridiculed by the American right for being liberal commie weenies. A Democrat government could ask pretty much any country they like for support putting down an insurrection, much as Syria appealed to Iran and Russia to suppress their Sunni rebels. Who exactly would the red states expect in their corner?

                • >A Democrat government could ask pretty much any country they like for support putting down an insurrection

                  Good luck with that. There’s nobody left with enough expeditionary capacity to be useful. The British were the last non-Americans with enough left of it to be even close to useful, and that got lost in some round or other of budget cuts.

                  • Expeditionary, yes – “boots on the ground” appear out of the question. But navies and especially supplies are a different matter.

                    However, I think it would end with a stalemate simply because there would not be any unified will on the coasts for any offensive action. Only an immediate threat of obliteration would stop the infighting under various oppression-related and peace-related slogans, and that temporarily. But would the “heartland” even *want* to pose that threat of obliteration?

                    Neither side seems able to destroy the other. In the ACW the will for “no more Mr Nice Guy” was eventually provided by a militant and somewhat hypocritical form of abolitionism; there is simply no equivalent to fire up either side – I don’t really think abortion would work.

          • > It’s a common refrain among the anti-gun-elite that, even
            > if the 2A guaranteed a right to revolutionary arms, small
            > arms and hunting gear would be useless in the face of
            > the US Military.

            Under the Laws of War it is generally illegal to shoot the politicians who stated the thing.

            But generally speaking Laws Of War do not apply in a civil war.

            You can interpret this how you will, but I won’t be shooting at soldiers unless they give me no choice.

            Besides, thermobarics are SO much more fun.

      • I have to disagree. I’ll let you check the population figures of Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Gays, Asians, Mixed, White Liberals and “Non-Liberal White Relatives” of Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, and Mixed for yourself, but it breaks down really, really badly for the Conservative side.

        I should note that some of my Liberal friends are beginning to get the idea that a real civil war is in the cards. They’re reading John Robb and tooling up. If it ever kicks off it will be ugly, it will be fought neighborhood to neighborhood, and it will last a very long time.*

        Our job as citizens is to keep the lines of communication open and make sure it never gets that bad.

        * When you think of a modern American Civil War, imagine signing off on a press release that reads as follows: “The White Liberation Army of South-Eastern St. Louis today archived a glorious victory against the race-traitor “white” management (wake up sheeple!) of the St. Louis Ice Cream Sales Company by executing the driver of an Ice Cream truck which turned off the corner of Sixth Street into our territory. The driver, a greasy, non-white Liberal Communist race-intruder from one of the Mud-People countries to the South of our White Homeland, turned on a musical device in his attempt to lure children of Multiple Races to mix together while purchasing ice cream from his truck. The Mud-Person truck driver was guilty not only of intruding into our territory, but also of attempting to cause White Children to “form a line” behind children of Other Races, thus violating their constitutional rights, and also selling Ice Cream in which Chocolate and Vanilla flavors (races) were mixed together in an inappropriate fashion which encouraged Mixture of the Races.”
        ‘Nuf said, I think.

        • Yup, scratch a liberal, find a racist.

          Because Blacks, Asians, Gays, Jews and etc. CANNOT be Conservatives, Libertarians or Republicans.

          • In the event of a civil war I think the racists on the right will make it impossible for the main conservative forces to have Black, Asian, Gay, Jewish, etc. allies. It’s entirely possible to imagine conservative Asians, for example, fighting on the Liberal side simply to avoid being shot as “mud people.” Hobson’s Choice, but what can you do? Or they might sit out the war. “Yeah, I agree with your politics, and I’d love to join up, but that guy with the Swastika tattoo might shoot me in the back.”

            Imagine a Black Conservative going up to the racist forces in Charlottesville a few weeks ago and saying, “Hey, I agree with a lot of your politics. Do you have a sign I can carry?” Not likely.

            It’s also worth keeping in mind that the fastest-growing racial category in the U.S. is “mixed.” By 2100 this will hopefully be a non-issue.

            • Did that go over your head, or did you duck?

              There are three ways to identify a “Conservative”. One, the one you seem to be using, is “Not a leftist like me”. The other is by some set of principles, or a given ideology. For example, one could say “Traditional Christian” and get a reasonably good set of social or religious conservatives. Oddly, I’m a Shannonist, so that would rule me out. Or could say “someone who follows John S. Mills” economically.

              Or one could use “Republican” for short hand. This one is pretty dumb, but Democrats tend to use it a lot (and the converse is pretty true–Republicans will often assert that Democrats are Leftists/Liberals. Given the misuse of the term Liberal–which is to say that both progressives and real liberals will both lay claim to the title despite being very different–assuming that a “democrat” is a “liberal” is more likel to be correct).

              I tend to use Russel Kirks “10 conservative principles” to try and figure out if someone is actually a conservative, or “just” a liberal.

              Imagine a Black Conservative going up to the racist forces in Charlottesville a few weeks ago and saying, “Hey, I agree with a lot of your politics.

              Why would a black conservative agree with the racist forces on either side of that family feud?

              The Nazis and the Marxists have almost the same economic delusions, they both hate the Jews, neither side is particularly friendly to Catholics.

              The only points of contention between the two are borders, language and culture. The ones with the red and yellow flag want..well, they used to want one world with one culture.Now they’re just confused. The ones with the red, white and black flag want their own myths and cultures and want folks with different myths and cultures over there…Which is sort of where the red and yellow flag people are going these days with all that crap about cultural appropriation.

              Oh, and I’ve *never* heard a conservative use the term “mud people”. Most American Conservatives I know have issues with the African American *CULTURE*, not the skin color.

              Hell, the biggest racists in my family were Democrats. Well, are. Except two of them are dead.

              • “There are three ways to identify a “Conservative”.”

                I think there is no definition of “Conservative” that will cover even 90% of “conservatives”. As you already notice, there is no single feature or believe that will separate left from right. There are conservatives that do not want to conserve anything and want to change society root and branch and “progressives” that do not want to progress anything but want to keep society as it was 20 years ago. There are conservatives that worship classical Sparta with its all powerful state and progressives that are anarchists that reject every state intervention.

                I think the only sure way is to ask them, i.e., self-identification.

                I know that would be a very hard choice to make. Because it would include admitting that being conservative or progressive does not make a person moral/good or immoral/evil.

        • If you want to look at a REAL long war fought neighbourhood to neighbourhood, just do some research on Northern Ireland.

      • @Jay Maynard
        “Of course the South will win.”

        Before you all have dreams of winning a civil war, look at real civil wars. Syria is a good current example, but Rwanda, Congo, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and pre WWII China and Russia are also good illustrations.

        The US Civil war was one of the bloodiest wars up to that time. A new civil war in the US will be worse. Again, have a look in Syria, Rwanda and Congo for a preview.

        And you do not win a civil war with handguns. As Syria shows, the side with the air power wins. Syria also shows that you will not fight such a war on your own. Everybody will get their hands in this fight. And Afghanistan shows that winning is not all in civil wars.

        • I didn’t say it wouldn’t be terrible. What I said was that the South would win. The cost would be high, to be sure.

          Go ahead, pontificate all you want about a US civil war. You have no stake in the outcome.

            • >But it will ravage the GOP.

              Both major parties have possibly-fatal internal strife going on, for the same reason: the legitimacy of the U.S.’s permanent political class is collapsing.

              The Republicans, of course, have a populist-conservative insurgent wing facing off against the party establishment. The Democrats have an extreme left wing facing off against their party establishment. Both groups of insurgents accurately characterize their opponents as “the uniparty”, a mask worn by an exhausted and failed permanent political class.

              In both cases, the possibility that these factional fights could irrepairably damage the parties is quite real.

              It’s not a symmetrical situation, though. The Republican insurgents can win elections, as was just demonstrated in Alabama. The Democratic insurgents have yet to do likewise, and psephological surveys make it seem quite doubtful that they can ever do it anywhere outside of a handful of coastal enclaves.

              • The Democratic left does have some real power: e.g. the BAMN-affiliated mayor of Berkeley, and the mayor (and the notoriously anti-white black vice mayor) of Charlottesville who worked hard to turn the alt-right march into the disaster it became.

        • Winter, how many years did you serve in the military?

          Oh, and if anyone outside the US decides it’s in their best interest to get involved?

          Bring body bags. Lots of them.

          • @William
            “Bring body bags. Lots of them.”

            The Chinese will interfere, taking sides. They have the production capacity and man power to make a difference. They can also expend a few million souls.

            I am always surprised by the ignorance of Americans.

            • “The Chinese will interfere, taking sides”

              What kind of good shit CAN you get in the Netherlands, anyway?!

              The one thing that would absolutely guarantee an instant unification of the American people would be a Chinese intervention on either side. We’d come together faster than we did after 9/11, just so we could kick the ever-loving fuck out of the Chinese invaders. Then we’d go back to where we were.

              • @Jay
                “The one thing that would absolutely guarantee an instant unification of the American people would be a Chinese intervention on either side.”

                You are so naive. Do you really believe the rest of the world will stand by and watch you fight it out until you are ready?

                Both sides need supplies, and money, and arms, and manpower. War disrupts the production of those. Both sides will look for allies abroad to help them. And they will find such allies.

                The Chinese (or Russians, or whatever) will not “invade”, they will be asked to help by some faction long after there is no “Us” anymore to unite.

    • Why do the Southerners, in your view, get to have their “revisionist fantasy”? Why is calling them on the facts enough to produce the blowback that you’re describing?

      • Calling them on the FACTS is NOT what is happening. They are being called racists for being proud of the men who fought for the South. The idiots are so ignorant that they are talking about taking down statues to Sam Houston. Houston was against Texas joining the Confederacy. He campaigned against that and lost. Yet they Still tag him as a Confederate.

        They don’t want to have a conversation with the South, they want to yell and scream at the South, destroy anything that they SAY offends them for ANY REASON, and make the South agree with THEM or be destroyed.

        The SJWs and Democrats already say that ALL Whites are racists, will ALWAYS be racists, and can NEVER be anything but Racists. That Whites not even BORN yet will be racists!

        Where is the possible compromise?? Today it is statues, even movies like “Gone in the Wind”, Books by Mark Twain, and there is NO end.

        They wish to destroy Southern Culture, then Western Culture and replace it with WHAT??

        • You’re arguing with a fictitious set of positions that almost no one holds. Are there idiots who, for whatever warped reason, reflexively argue that whites are racist? Sure, but you’re either really dumb or lying when you say that’s what “Democrats” say.

          And if there are stupid leftists who don’t know history about Sam Houston, how does that somehow support an argument that cities shouldn’t remove Confederate statues? And your slippery-slope argument is ridiculous – I’m perfectly capable of distinguishing between Nathan Bedford Forrest and George Washington, and I don’t even know what you’re talking about with respect to Mark Twain.

          No one is looking to “replace” Western culture, but isn’t it okay to open it up to include people whose ancestors have been here for 3 times as long as mine?

          • >Are there idiots who, for whatever warped reason, reflexively argue that whites are racist? Sure, but you’re either really dumb or lying when you say that’s what “Democrats” say.

            *blink*

            You, uh…don’t get out much, do you?

          • Democrat politicians don’t say it, because they’re mostly white, and behind the times. They’re not involved in these parades, they just run to the front and pretend to lead them without knowing where they’re going or what they’re about. But the people in the movements Democrat politicians publicly champion do indeed say exactly that.

        • The election of Trump was pretty shocking to most Liberals, and terrifying for most people of color. His picks for White House posts and various Cabinet positions were either serious racists or folks who make clear the connection between Old White Money and Old White Racism. Don’t assume that the panicky outliers represent the majority of Liberals or Democrats.

          (I don’t really want to discuss Hillary vs. Trump. It was like watching Satan fight Cthulhu in a huge pit full of pig shit.)

          • His picks for White House posts and various Cabinet positions were either serious racists or folks who make clear the connection between Old White Money and Old White Racism.

            Bullshit. None of his picks even remotely answer to this description. You are simply lying and defaming decent people just because you don’t like the president who appointed them.

          • Goddammit, stop making Trump out to be a fucking racist. He’s not. He’s xenophobic/bigoted. Not fucking racist. None of his speeches were racist. Nothing he’s said was racist. And till you bring proof that the people he appointed were racist, I’m just gonna assume that you’re talking out of your ass.

            • >Goddammit, stop making Trump out to be a fucking racist. He’s not. He’s xenophobic/bigoted.

              I don’t think he’s even that. He doesn’t even seem to have any animus against legal immigrants – he married one.

            • Our best guess is that Trump is a psychopath of the narcissistic persuasion. Psychopaths do not have the “normal” prejudices.

              However, his birtherism campaign is generally considered racist and so it is not “wrong” to call him a racist, at least according to his actions.

                • @Jay
                  “He gave up the birtherism, Winter.”

                  He campaigned for 8 years on a racist platform and gave it up only after the president was gone and he needed to give it up to become president himself.

                  I do not consider this convincing evidence that he changed his believes. For that matter, you never believe me when I say I am not a communist. But you do believe Trump when he says he is not a racist.

                  • He campaigned for 8 years on a racist platform

                    No, he didn’t. Unless you define racism so broadly that there’s nothing wrong with it.

                    • Maybe not Hillary personally, “but her supporters: ”

                      And Trump suporters murdered an una antifa protester. So we should now blame Trump.

                    • No, they didn’t. One person did, and it remains to be established that he was a Trump supporter. The Birther thing was first promoted by people in Clinton’s official campaign, not nutcases, whether or not she personally knew or approved it.

            • >Liar.

              Don’t jump to conclusions. The left/MSM media bubble around Troutwaxer has been working hard at suppressing the fact that Trump did better among blacks than Romney; he’s probably genuinely unaware of this.

              • In 1987 ignorance was excusable, after all libraries weren’t very handy, were often well behind themselves. Radio and TV were massively hierarchical and the Fairness Doctrine prevented anything but moderate-left to center-right[1] opinions out there, and they *generally* covered for each other, so when they lied it was hard to detect.

                This is not 2017.

                We KNOW that the media–whether it’s Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Breitbart, the Beeb or RussiaToday are somewhere between “highly biased” and “outright propaganda”.

                Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

                We still make mistakes, we still get notions in our heads that we believe and don’t shake for one reason or another.

                Witness Jay’s mistake about Senior Military Colleges–these things happen.

                But when you’re making the sort of sweeping indictments troutwaxer is doing you’re either lying, or you’re too stupid to use the internet.

                The bubble isn’t an excuse. If he wasn’t willing to look out through that bubble he wouldn’t be *here*.

                There’s a lot of things wrong with Trump, especially as President. Racism and bigotry aren’t in that, unless you REALLY need them to be in it because your worldview is that your opponents are awful, horrible people who should be put in re-education camps for their own safety.

              • It certainly wouldn’t surprise me. First, remember that Cambridge Analytics found some ways to peel Black voters away from Hillary via a new kind of microtargetting.

                Second, while the Clintons have been described as “Liberals” they really haven’t been very good for Black people. Note the following brutal critique of the Clintons vs. Black America:

                https://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/

                I know some of you don’t like The Nation. Trust me, the article is worth a read and it eviscerates the Clintons. For a Black voter, Trump doesn’t look so bad in comparison.

                (Here’s a hint: The Clintons aren’t really Liberal. They’re corrupt centrists with a gift for what Democrats call “Triangulation” which means accepting ridiculous amounts of money from big business, screwing unions, and promising social change but not really providing it.)

  17. Well said. The “polite fiction”/reconciliation aspect of the statues is important, as is the Red Guard/1984 thought control aspect. Of course SJWs cannot ever be placated: even if they win on the statues, they’ll never stop looking for parts of history to erase.

  18. esr, what do you think of the solution many cities seem to be choosing, which is to move monuments on public property either to private property, or to a public interpretive location like a museum?

    • >esr, what do you think of the solution many cities seem to be choosing, which is to move monuments on public property either to private property, or to a public interpretive location like a museum?

      I judge moves like this by two criteria: (a) Do they rescind the great settlement? (b) Do they legitimize and support today’s Red Guards?

      Banishing them from public property violates, I think, the spirit of the great settlement. Well, unless the same treatment is meted out to Union heroes of the period. Museumizing them…it depends. Are these to be museums of self-flagellation? Then no. Do they take an even-handed approach, acknowledging post-Civil-War reconciliation and civil-rights progress in the last century? Then perhaps.

      The larger agenda of our Red Guards pushes me into a harder “leave the statues alone” position than I would hold otherwise. All defeats of cultural Marxism are good.

    • The thing is, these compromises don’t hold. Look at what happened in South Carolina with the flag. In 2000 or so they agreed to take the flag down from the Capitol and move it to a war memorial that was on the grounds, which would seem to be precisely the right place for it. Then last year the SJW used the excuse of Dylann Roof’s crime to successfully demand that it be removed from there too. Had I been the governor I’d have reacted by moving it back to the Capitol where it had originally been, and then have the discussion over whether and where to move it.

      • I strongly suspect that was a strategic capitulation by the Right. Because there was going to be a loss there, and it was going to either be the flag, or it was going to be guns. And gun rights trump a flag that few people see.

        Is the Left in the US wants single-payer healthcare, all they need to do is find someone who commits a robbery-gone-bad in order to pay for heart surgery for his infant daughter.

        The real question for me is: what will happen when there’s nothing to give up instead of gun rights?

        • The real question for me is: what will happen when there’s nothing to give up instead of gun rights?

          Do the rights taken away federally in 1934, 1968, 1986 or 1994 count? Or the countless times self defense rights have been taken away by the states/localities over the years? So long as the infringement is legislated in a small enough increment or offers little immediate danger of enforcement, we’ll grudgingly accept it.

        • Why did there have to be a loss there? There was no need for it, if anyone had been willing to resist it. as I said, if I’d been governor I’d have restored the status quo ante by moving the flag back to the Capitol, and then have the discussion. Not because I think it actually belongs there, but because the deal under which it was moved had been violated. I’d be aiming for a new deal that simply repeated the old one and moved it back to the war memorial.

  19. > Brother, if I believed that I would be swinging a hammer myself.

    I’m not saying that it’s necessarily the case here, but one should be very careful of reasonings which motivate oneself to do nothing about some specific issue; I’ve a feeling they’re almost always post-hoc rationalizations. As in, “I’m a good person, and I’m doing nothing about <foo>, so there must be a good reason for doing nothing. Ah, yes, the reason must be <bar>.”

    What I’m saying is that it’s extremly rare for a person to come to a conclusion to do something about any specific issue, especially if what they conclude to do isn’t something they would normally want to do anyway. It takes a most ruthlessly logical mind to force itself to examine something and come to the conclusion that the best thing one could do is do something one is otherwise not suitable or comfortable doing.

    • >very careful of reasonings which motivate oneself to do nothing about some specific issue

      While I agree that there is danger in talking ourselves out of taking responsibility for the world around us. We need to be even more careful examining our reasons for taking action (non-action is an action) and carefully considering the intended and unintended consequences.

      I may have misunderstood, but you seem to be implying that the preference should be for action and change. Sometimes this leads to disruptive progress, sometimes it just destabilizes a situation and makes things worse. There aren’t always actions we can take to make a situation better, but it does seem like there are always actions we can take to make things worse. Our preference can’t be for mere action, it must be for right-action.

      (I may be wrong to read into this a “progressive” philosophy. Progress always comes at a price, and while not necessarily the case here eventually the cost of progress outweighs the benefits. )

      • > I may have misunderstood, but you seem to be implying that the preference should be for action and change.

        No, no, that’s not it. I merely wanted to emphasize the need to doubt the initial quick, easy, and very tempting conclusion that to do nothing at all is good, since it is most often a post-hoc rationalization: “I am good, I am not doing anything, therefore it must be good to do nothing.” Once this reflex is resisted and the issue examined deliberately and carefully, one could certainly come to the conclusion that nothing useful could be done by oneself in one’s particular situation. But the initial reaction should at least be doubted, if not discarded outright.

        • But doing nothing should be the default response to any situation. No justification is needed for doing nothing; one needs a reason to disturb the status quo, not to leave it alone.

          • I think it’s a rare person who looks at the status quo and sees no reason to disturb it. We (or at least those I observe, including myself) still very often choose to do nothing of substance about it.

            • But it is even rarer for the majority of people to look at the status quo and agree on why and how it needs to be disturbed.

              Which is a good thing — if you have ten people in a boat who can’t be persuaded to sit still, it’s actually better if they all try to rock the boat in separate directions. It’s when the majority all decide to rock the boat in the same direction in an attempt to change its course that it has a distressing tendency to tip over.

            • Which is generally the right choice, and ought always to be the default choice. There are so many proverbs telling us so. “First do no harm.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.” “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” “Don’t invoke what you can’t banish.” “Don’t throw out dirty water until you’ve got clean.” “Shev ve’al ta`seh `adif” (‘Sit and don’t act’ is preferable).

    • Ah, yes the good old standby:

      We must do something!
      This is something!
      Therefore, we must do it!

      • What Democrats and SJW always say and do.
        Why??
        Because it makes them FEEL GOOD, they Have DONE SOMETHING.

        They NEVER think of the what will happen, will it actually HELP or will it HARM the people they are trying to help? None of that matters to them.

        Their FEELINGS and INTENIONS are ALL that Matter. Reality, what happens, the outcome, the harm, etc. they never even consider.

        As current SJWs and Democrats have said “by any means necessary” or “the Ends justify the Means”.

        • This is not limited to any side of the aisle. See GWB and invading Iraq, for instance.

          Or the security theater that is DHS and the TSA.

  20. Cogent analysis, but not sufficient, I think, as an argument for preserving all confederate monuments. Whether a monument should be removed depends on various factors, including

    Who is commemorated – Confederate soldiers are more defensible than generals, who are more defensible than political leaders. The specific actions of a military or political leader, both during and after the war, are a factor here as well.

    Location – A monument in a cemetary or battlefield is more acceptable than one in a public space such as a town square or courthouse lawn. The ‘offends black citizens’ argument comes into play here. I think it has substantial merit when applied to a monument in a public space, but is much less persuasive when applied to a cemetary or battlefield.

    When and why erected – Pre 1914 monuments should receive more deference than those erected later (any federal action taken under Wilson is especially suspect – I would, for example, support renaming Fort Bragg).

    In any case, the decision on where to draw the line on removal should be made by the people/government of the locality upon whose property a monument resides. It is reasonable for different locales to make different choices.

    • Well said. I especially agree with the conclusion.

      I haven’t been following the monument removals closely, do you know if these kind of considerations are being made?

      • No considerations are being made. Statues to people with nothing to do with American history are being defaced, as are memorials to American war dead.

    • I am sorry but you are wrong. Robert E. Lee was a great man and deserves to have a statue if only for what he did at the war’s end. He put down his arms, told his men to stop fighting and go home. He then worked for reconciliation and peace.
      That was heroic, expected from HIM, but unlikely from many others.

      If he had at any time called on the South to continue fighting, the South would STILL be fighting the North.

      For THAT alone HE deserves HIS statues.

  21. This is a well reasoned post, but am I correct in my reading that this is about the South’s feelings? Is their resentment somehow more valid when compared to any resentment Random Joe Black Person or the whole of Black people may have about slavery? I am not suggesting that you are suggesting this. I am asking the question.

    • Assuming for purposes of argument that your characterization is correct….

      We weren’t the ones who started the Feels vs Feels contest. But they started it so we are going to make sure it is finished once and for all. That way everyone for the rest of time can see what happens when you prioritize Teh Feelz.

      It’s just like “micro-aggressions”; if they are going to claim scalp every time they are slightly uncomfortable, then I am going to make a claim for every time my brain cells commit suicide upon hearing them spout inane alogical nonsense.

    • Your attempted comparison might work better if there were a vogue for returning to slavery comparable to the vogue for vandalizing or pulling down Confederate statues.

      • Umm… what does the KKK advocate? And how about those concentration camps the Nazis liked so much? Ad what about those “race wars” the alt-right types expect?

        The SJWs said, “Let’s remove this statue. It’s pretty offensive.”

        The alt-right ran counter-protesters over with a car.

        • If you get to claim the Charottesville murderer as representative of all of the alt-right, then I get to claim Antifa as representative of all leftists.

          • > I get to claim Antifa as representative of all leftists.

            Better: The BernieBro who shot Steve Scalise while trying to massacre Republican Congressmen is, by the same argument, all leftists.

            • In retrospect I should have posted only my first paragraph. The second and third paragraphs were a distraction. Rather than try to compare the left and right-leaning nutbags I’ll simply retract those.

              I was mainly reacting to was the phrase at the top of the thread, “Your attempted comparison might work better if there were a vogue for returning to slavery comparable to the vogue for vandalizing or pulling down Confederate statues.”

              So what does the KKK want? What do the Nazis want? Worse than pulling down statues, I’d guess.

              • Well, I know American Nazis want single-payer healthcare, and that certainly is worse than pulling down statues, so you’ve got me there. ;-)

              • Who gives a fuzzy rat’s ass what the KKK wants? Their numbers are minuscule, a tiny fraction of a percent. Same goes for the various Nazis.

                Indeed, that the Left has to resort to calling anyone who disagrees with their orthodoxy Nazis or KKK says far more about just how strong they are not than anything else ever could.

                • >Their numbers are minuscule, a tiny fraction of a percent.

                  My kung-fu instructor’s day job is in part as a counter-terror analyst frequently consulted by the Feds. (He’s also a profiler and an expert on interrogation techniques.) He’ll be going to Great Britain soon to train Scotland Yard’s counter-terror cops.

                  I once asked him how many active white supremacists there are in the U.S. He stared off into space for a moment, clearly consulting a mental database, and said “About thirty.”

                  That’s not even a pimple on the ass of a tiny fraction of a percent. The Flat Earth Society is ten times as large.

                  • I think the problem here is that you haven’t defined your terms. I suspect your friend’s version of “active white supremacist” relates specifically to terrorism; that is, how many white supremacists might blow something up. If you define “active white supremacist” as someone who might come into a new management job and start building a case to fire/demote/lay off/transfer their Black employee… that’s a very different number. A very short perusal of news sites would seem to say there were 3-500 supremacists in Charlottesville.

                    • And yet the thugs of Antifa would gleefully take a baseball bat to every last one of those 3-500 people, if not simply stand them up against a brick wall and shoot them.

                  • Thirty? Is he using a different definition of “active”? IIRC, Charlottesville pulled something like 150 people. I’m sure not all of them were white supremacists, but if it’s even half, that’s a… well, a slightly larger pimple.

                    • Why even half? The organizers were. Many of the people who attended may have been there for nothing more than the demo’s stated purpose, to protest the removal of the statue.

  22. Good article, ESR.

    But you could just as well erase all of it except the last 3 paragraphs. They are insisting on the removal of all kinds of things. (They vandalized a statue of Lincoln.) Analyzing it as a Confederacy issue is just a distraction. They started with “monuments to slavery/white supremacy” because it was a saleable lie. Don’t fall for it.

    It’s Red Guards all the way down.

    • These people have no particular love for blacks.

      They are merely showing their hatred of whites.

  23. I think that to properly understand – and thereby judge – history, we need to put aside our 21st century viewpoints. Our contemporary judgement does not count for a damn thing. Retrospective justification for Lincoln’s war is illegitimate – the people of that time were playing out the political game within the established legal framework they had to work with.

    What matters is what was happening *at the time*, and what the legal/political framework of the day was.

    Fact : slavery was legal in the Southern states – as it had been for millennia around the globe. There was nothing ‘peculiar’ about it. Lincoln himself is quoted to the effect of ‘the Federal government has no authority to outlaw slavery’. Hitler’s invasions were acts of war, and his genocides were illegal – clear casus belli. Was a casus belli made citing the lawful practice of slavery? The abolitionist movement in the South had not risen to political ascendency as it had in the North, which is hardly surprising since the North had nowhere near as much to fear from the upheaval as the South. Yet there is reason to believe that through political and economic pressures, as well as industrial advancement, slavery would have died a natural death within a couple of decades – no need for bloodshed.

    Some very interesting readings are the several original statements of cause for secession – the most interesting, and lengthy, being Georgia’s. Given the legality of slavery, the Republican North’s abuse of political power in economically landlocking & hamstringing the South, and the North’s refusal to uphold the Constitutional provisions binding the several States (esp. with regards to return of property), I think it is perfectly arguable that the South had every justification in severing ties – in a manner somewhat analogous to the Revolution against the British crown – essentially a ‘breach of contract’ secession.

    The South seceded with the stroke of a pen. The Confederacy was formed. Relations began. Lincoln instigated provocative action that was seen as a ‘grave and gathering threat’…and eventually, you get Sumpter. As predictable as butter melting on hot toast. There was no need for the conflict and horrendous loss of life.

    “Racism”, as we understand it, was not a concept that existed in the mid-1800s. The term was coined towards the end of the 19th century, as far as I know. Essentially, I imagine the overwhelming majority of white people of the time – North or South – were what we would consider ‘racist’ in that they didn’t regard blacks as truly equal to whites (in that they viewed blacks as primitive)…but they certainly were arguing that it was morally wrong to enslave humans. Do you really believe that you could turn to a group of white men and say “let’s go and lay down our lives for the negro” in those times? I wouldn’t bet on mustering much of an army.

    Personally, I think Lincoln’s ego drove him forward. Do you think he really wanted to be the President that went down in history as losing nearly half the nation? Stoke the fire with jingoism and a rousing cry of “save the Union!”, and I think you see Lincoln playing his side like a cheap fiddle to accomplish his goals.

    Within the context of their time, I think the South was right to leave, and that the monuments are a reminder of people that stood up for what they believed was right – as misguided as we judge a significant part of that to be nowadays – as well as a reminder of the costs and how cautious we should be about stoking future bitter antagony. Smashing them is an ugly act of ignorant vandalism, and I suspect it is motivated far more by anti-American sentiment – wearing a very shabby cloak of insincere anti-racism – and it treads a very dark path towards what ultimately may resemble South Africa.

    Ah well…just my $0.02 :)

    • Retrospective justification for Lincoln’s war is illegitimate – the people of that time were playing out the political game within the established legal framework they had to work with.

      And as Andrew Jackson noted thirty years earlier, secession was quite unjustified under that legal framework. He summed it up very neatly: “The Constitution of the United States, then, forms a government, not a league.” If you compare the Constitution with the Articles of Confederation, you will see this–the Articles are written as a true league or alliance between the states, and were adopted by the state governments:

      Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled . . .The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other…

      But the U.S. Constitution was adopted by means of popular conventions, and that was done precisely to foil the idea that it was the creature of the state governments, and that they could withdraw from or nullify it when they pleased:

      The express authority of the people alone could give due validity to the Constitution . . . It has been heretofore noted among the defects of the Confederation [i.e., the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation], that in many of the States it had received no higher sanction than a mere legislative ratification. . . A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. . .

      That’s Madison in Federalist 43; he goes on to explain that the U.S. Constitution, formed by popular conventions and not by the state governments, will not have this infirmity. Hamilton made a similar point in Federalist 22. (This is a world different from the American Revolution, which was based on a legitimate view of the unwritten but evolving British Constitution. The colonists figured that the growing power of Parliament implied a right to representation that came along with taxation…and that the precedents of King John, Charles I, and James II meant that a king’s authority could be overthrown if he violated the people’s rights. The U.S. Constitution, being written, was far less ambiguous on points like this.)

      Was a casus belli made citing the lawful practice of slavery?

      No. The true casus belli was the seizure of about 1/4 of the United States’ sovereign territory, by means of secession. That was an enormous act of aggression by the seceding state governments, and if you do that to any country, you can and should expect a war. (The Confederacy’s opponent was not the northern states, as individual entities; it was the Union, the government of the United States, whose territory had been seized.) As Jackson noted in his proclamation on nullification (which I linked above), the real question was whether the United States was a nation or not…and the Constitution was manifestly designed and adopted on the understanding that it was. Thus it had territory, and no other government…not even a state government sitting on that territory…had the right to exclude the Federal Government from a single acre of it, let alone the whole.

      The Union did nothing to outlaw slavery in the southern states, and frequently did return escaped slaves to their masters (though that was not a popular thing in many places). The federal Supreme Court bent over backwards to ensure that northern states could not deprive a slaveowner of his “property” if he brought that “property” into their state, despite their individual state antislavery laws. (And I never heard of a Confederate objecting to the exercise of federal power over the states in that instance.) There was no legal justification for secession…that is why the states that supported it had to bring in an external “law of compact” to try to justify it.

      There was a case to be made for secession, but that is not based on the “established legal framework” of the time. It was well expressed in an excellent Southern soldier’s memoir, Sam Watkins’ Co. Aytch (link is to the full text, well worth people’s time). It’s too long to quote (it’s the first thing in the book if you’re interested), but the upshot was that north and south really had grown so far apart from each other that they weren’t one nation in fact, no matter how much they were in law; and that both would be better off if the Union ceded a quarter of its territory and let the people on it go their separate ways.

      I think the success of reconciliation shows that he was wrong…since we Southerners overwhelmingly do think of ourselves as Americans, and as esr points out, have been fighting in the nation’s wars ever since. But that really does require hindsight, and maybe wasn’t so obvious on the front end.

      • It is worth noting that Lincoln did not have sufficient support for war until the Confederacy committed an blatantly overt act of war against the United States by firing on Fort Sumter. Less blatant acts of war such as seizing the property of the United States in the various Federal arsenals throughout the South were not sufficient to raise the ire of the citizens of the Northern states to a level that would support a war. Even firing on the hired Federal ship “The Star of the West”, effectively closing Charleston Harbor, was not sufficient.

        It is clear that the political leaders of the Confederacy wanted war as a tool for unification, much as Bismarck would use war to unify Germany later in the same decade. However, Davis et al. significantly underestimated the size and determination of the “other dog” in the fight they chose to initiate.

        • >However, Davis et al. significantly underestimated the size and determination of the “other dog” in the fight they chose to initiate.

          That is true, and has long puzzled me. How did they think they could win? The South was outmatched on every objective level – population, industrial capacity, transportation networks. There was only one iron-works in the entire Confederacy!

          It was obvious to Northern strategists that strategic containment and attrition would destroy the South’s capacity to field armies well before the North was exhausted. It should have been equally obvious to Southern strategists, who had trained at the same war college and had access to the same facts.

          Did they really believe their own propaganda about superior valor carrying the day, by that much?

          • It wouldn’t be the first time, or the last.

            But with that said, they were hanging their hats on a British entry on their side to break the blockade. They were betting that the British need for cotton would be so great that it would be worth it to them to come in on the side of the South, and that the British would supply the South with what it needed. When that failed to materialize, it doomed the South.

            • >But with that said, they were hanging their hats on a British entry on their side to break the blockade.

              If that was their hope, it was a rather doomed one. British popular sentiment was strongly anti-slavery and thus anti-Confederate; I won’t quite say it would have been political suicide for any British politician to advocate alliance with the Confederacy, but damn close.

              • Well, it obviously didn’t work…

                The British managed to find other sources of cotton to keep the mills running. If they had not been, economic pressure may have forced their hand.

                It’s a lot harder to be anti-slavery when your opposition means you can’t feed your family.

                • Britain staying out of the fight is one of the few examples in history of a nation putting their morality ahead of their economic or geopolitical interests.

                  • A British fleet of wooden ships would have been sunk by Union ironclads effortlessly. And if the Brits had rebuilt their whole navy? They might have managed an expensive draw. Never a good war, never a bad peace is an okay rule of thumb.

                    • > Never a good war, never a bad peace is an okay rule of thumb.

                      But only a rule of thumb. I doubt you’ll still be saying that after the the first time the DPRK detonates a nuke outside its territory.

                • There’s a wonderful history book called “The Lunatic Express,” which is about building the Mombasa-Lake Victoria railroad in Kenya. The first couple-hundred pages are all about British anti-slavery policy and how it affected the entirety of their empire, including their naval force-projection (and how this resulted in the building of the railroad.)

                  Anti-slavery was a centerpiece of British policy, akin to U.S. anti-communism in the fifties. Expecting the U.K. to join the American South over cotton would have been about as realistic as expecting the U.S. to support NK’s leadership in 1950. It simply wasn’t going to happen and the whole affair speaks poorly of the South’s intelligence capability.

                  • Roland searched the continent for the man who’d done him in
                    He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin
                    Roland aimed his Thompson gun – he didn’t say a word
                    But he blew Van Owen’s body from there to Johannesburg

                    Mmm…Gin…

            • If their entire plan was “and then the UK will come in on our side” then it would have behooved them to (secretly) secure that support before doing anything. We know they didn’t do that.

          • Did they really believe their own propaganda about superior valor carrying the day, by that much?

            Apparently so. See also 1941, with Japan and Germany thinking they could win a multi-front war against larger opponents.

            • Bear in mind that one thing that makes this mistake vastly easier to make is not overestimating one’s own capacity, but under-estimating one’s opponents’ capacity. The most dangerous enemy in the world can be the one you hold in such contempt as not to take seriously.

              G.K. Chesterton wrote about something called “the Prussian Disease,” which he characterized as the cognitive dissonance of simultaneously trying to portray one’s enemies as contemptibly weak and no possible match for one’s own forces, yet at the same time portraying any victory over them as a mighty triumph that proved your own valour, without noticing the oxymoronic nature of this stance. It would not surprise me at all to find this viewpoint going on among the Southern generals or leaders; it is very easy for those themselves inclined to violence as a prompt response to mistake attempts to avoid violence until the last resort as sure proof of a lack of the necessary backbone for it.

              • It might not be that blatant of an oxymoron. It could just be Sun Tzu-style psyops. I think you’re strong, but act to make you appear weak, either to your army or mine or both, reap the morale benefits, and then afterward make you appear to have been strong after all to reap even more. I might do this multiple times over a war, battle by battle. It could even look consistent; just a case of my side adjusting its assessment as new information comes in.

                But FAIK Chesterton addressed this, too. He was no dummy.

          • Davis et al. significantly underestimated the size and determination of the “other dog” in the fight they chose to initiate….That is true, and has long puzzled me. How did they think they could win?

            The likeliest answer is that they underestimated the North’s will to keep fighting, i.e., the “determination” rather than the “size.” Had the U.S. population been as ambivalent or malleable about that war as it has been about some later wars, McClellan could’ve won the ’64 election, which would’ve meant the Confederacy winning the war itself. (And he got 1.8 million votes to Lincoln’s 2.2 million, so the chances weren’t “zero.”)

            Southern rhetoric (and song lyrics) from the early part of the war, from what I’ve seen of them, tended to denigrate northern troops as “mercenaries” and to imagine that their own purer motives, plus of course God’s help, would keep them in the field much longer while the “mercenary horde” slunk off.

            (The fact that the South kept fighting so long, even after it had to be obvious this wasn’t true, and that God was lining up with the big battalions in His usual way, is a tribute to their bravery.)

          • You’re overlooking that war is, first and foremost, a contest of wills.

            The Confederacy was no worse off than, say, North Vietnam. How did that work?

            Iirc the North came pretty close to pulling the plug on the war on several occasions, Democrats rooting for the other side….. (That may be unfair, but I’m not convinced it is.)

            • >The Confederacy was no worse off than, say, North Vietnam.

              The North Vietnamese had *many* advantages the South lacked. An industrial base. Powerful, untouchable backers who were willing to shovel in arms and material. An opponent that hamstrung themselves with ROEs and strategy that was insanely limiting. A much, much more effective fifth column. And more.

              • I don’t guess anyone ever created a war game in which, every five or ten turns, you roll dice to see if either side’s civilian leadership loses its will to fight…

                • Sun Tzu would have written such a war game. The idea that one can manipulate the morale of another country is as old a the hills.

          • It wasn’t an absurd idea. The military goals were different — the South only had to defend its own territory, not conquer the North. The North needed total conquest (especially had Lee decided to continue on with guerilla warfare).

            And the determination of the North was surprising. Casualties were massive for the North as well, and some civil liberties were suspended for the war. I wouldn’t have expected the northerners to persist that long.

          • Not a hundred years before the entire country had successfully rebelled against the British, who far outmatched them. The British surely could have suppressed the American Revolution if they had been willing to pay any cost that they were actually able to pay to keep the Colonies. In the end, it wasn’t worth it to them. I think the South counted on the effort involved in suppressing their rebellion not being worth it to the North, but their cause was hypocritical enough, and, in the view of a large segment of the northern population, enough of an existential threat to the Union should they manage to succeed, that the North was willing to pay a steep price to put the rebellion down.

            • >The British surely could have suppressed the American Revolution if they had been willing to pay any cost that they were actually able to pay to keep the Colonies.

              That’s not clear. Though American accounts tend to focus almost exclusively on the fighting here, the French took the opportunity to challenge the British in India. There were significant naval engagements including an extremely bruising loss of a major convoy off the Azores in 1778. A Franco-Spanish fleet even attempted an invasion of Ireland; it failed, but concentrated British minds on the necessity of defending home waters.

              What might have remained something resembling a bush skirmish without the alliance of France and Spain instead became something rather like a worldwide war. Great Britain, fighting without allies, found itself logistically overstretched and unable to bring the degree of force to bear that might have subdued the rebels.

              • Even taking all of this into account, the British still could have easily won the war if they had tried. General Howe had many opportunities to crush Washington’s army, and he muffed all of them. The real question is whether that was just incompetence, or purposeful; Howe was a Whig MP and had an interest in seeing the Tory government’s policies fail.

                • >The real question is whether that was just incompetence, or purposeful;

                  I too have wondered about this. Howe was not the only Redcoat general who evinced what appears in retrospect to be a curious lack of interest in pursuing the war aggressively, but his “summer cruise” in 1777 seems particularly inexplicable in any strategic terms.

    • A couple of other salient points here.. Very few people actually owned slaves. They were rather expensive.

      Most of the rank and file of the confederate army were men who didn’t have any slaves to hang onto, they were fighting because their country was invaded.

      Black soldiers were in the field fighting for the confederacy before they were allowed to fight for the north. They were promised manumission in exchange for military service.

      Slaves who crossed union lines weren’t freed, they were captured and held as “contraband”. The union army used slave labor, as did other departments of the northern government during the war.

      The sins of slavery certainly weren’t unique to the south. Those horrific slave ships that we’ve all heard about in school were, for the most part, owned by yankees, and financed by Wall Street.

      As for the claim that the south fought the war to protect slavery, I don’t buy it, since it doesn’t explain the motive of any soldier who wasn’t a slave holder. Slavery was perfectly secure in the union, and Lincoln made offers to the south several times before and during the war to let them keep slavery in perpetuity if they would surrender and pay the tariff.

      The south used slavery to rally support for the war, pointing to the Hatian revolution as a way to scare their own people to increase their resolve. The North used slavery to rationalize an illegal land-grab and the loss of vast numbers of soldiers and civilians. The cost of the war in money alone, not to mention the lives lost, ultimately was higher than simply buying all the slaves and releasing them (as the United Kingdom did).

      • >Most of the rank and file of the confederate army were men who didn’t have any slaves to hang onto, they were fighting because their country was invaded.

        “Poor white trash” had a stake in the slave system too. Enslaved blacks gave them people to feel superior to, and many hoped to become slaveowners themselves. We don’t have to guess about this; there are lots of sources to confirm it.

        >Black soldiers were in the field fighting for the confederacy before they were allowed to fight for the north.

        False. Blacks were already fighting in the Union army by 1863. No black regulars ever fought for the South, though there was an effort (which came to nothing) to raise back line units in 1865. No promise of manumission was ever made; in fact the enabling act specifically forbade changing the property status of enlistees.

        >As for the claim that the south fought the war to protect slavery, I don’t buy it, since it doesn’t explain the motive of any soldier who wasn’t a slave holder.

        There’s plenty of primary evidence. We know what Southern political leaders said about their pro-slavery motivations; all you have to “buy” is what they recorded.

          • It’s mentions of slavery are two fold:
            1. It complains that northern states were nullifying the fugitive slave act, thus flaunting federal authority
            2. The hostility of northern states to the institution of slavery was making a continued relationship untenable.

            Any fair reading not intent on smearing south carolina makes it pretty clear that the whole complaint is that the northern states and the federal government are flaunting or failing to uphold constitutional rule.
            Sure, that’s mostly because northern states had a moral compulsion to defy the union in this manner, but let’s not fall prey to the misguided belief that the south carolina declaration boiled down to “hurr durr muh slavery”

            • The hostility of northern states to the institution of slavery was making a continued relationship untenable.

              That “hostility” was largely a matter of using their freedom of speech to criticize slavery, and electing a President who didn’t like it. Neither of which has anything to do with “flouting” or “failing to uphold” constitutional rule.

              It does have something to do with the idea that the two parts of the country had really grown too far apart to live together anymore, and that (as I comment above) is really the best case to make for secession…though subsequent events have shown that it wasn’t so.

              let’s not fall prey to the misguided belief that the south carolina declaration boiled down to “hurr durr muh slavery”

              They were far more articulate than that, as self-interested men often are. But there’s no escaping the fact that slavery was the beginning and end of the motivation…unfortunately we do still get Confederate apologists who want to pretend slavery had “nothing to do” with the decision to secede or was only a minor part of their motivation.

              • “That “hostility” was largely a matter of using their freedom of speech to criticize slavery”

                No, the ‘hostility’ that the south carolina declaration refers to is breaching with federal law. (Nullification)

                “But there’s no escaping the fact that slavery was the beginning and end of the motivation”

                Which is a rather disingenuous point as it does in fact attempt to put south carolina’s position as “hurr durr muh slavery”

        • “Poor white trash” had a stake in the slave system too.

          No, they were oppressed by it. They were conscripted to man the slave patrols, and their wages were kept down because they had to compete with slaves.

          We know what Southern political leaders said about their pro-slavery motivations

          Did you miss the phrase “rank and file”? Sure, the politicians were mostly slavers. Most of the army weren’t.

          • >No, [poor whites] were oppressed by [the slave system].

            You underestimate the value of not being the omega, the lowest man in the totem pole. There’s an excellent discussion of this in Karl Gallager’s recent SF novel Torchship Trilogy, which I might review at length.

            • >You underestimate the value of not being the omega, the lowest man in the totem pole

              This can certainly be a real motivation for passively buying into a bad status quo, but I find it hard to believe it would suffice all by itself as an active motivation to fight and die to preserve that status quo.

              If the Southern state governments had been able or willing to conduct a referendum of their free, non-slaveowning citizens asking them if slavery was worth going to war to preserve — and reminding them that they’d be the ones doing the vast share of the bleeding and dying for it — would the majority answer really have been “yes”?

              • This thought had crossed my mind as well. I would be grateful for any elaboration anyone can offer.

                I’m guessing that Southern honor codes demanded it. If you’re the typical Southerner of that day and you have a sense of your status as being N and I say or do something that claims or even implies that your status is any less than N, you are compelled to respond seriously with a threat of resignation, a punch, or even a duel, or else back down and live with your status now being less than N, with all that that loss carries.

                So if I say you can’t keep slaves, and you infer that I think you’re no better than those otherwise-slaves (since you barely own your own subsistence farm, and so will they), it’s war.

                That’s my guess; I could be mistaken.

                • That’s certainly plausible. The difficulty I have with the issue is squaring, for the Ordinary Confederate non-slave-owning Joe, the psychological incentives towards war — issues of culture, self-image, loyalty for its own sake, sense of purpose, defense of homeland and outrage at Northern aggression — with the economic incentives against it, the blunt fact that for non-slave-owners the war offered very little personal benefit but posed a tremendous risk of suffering, loss or death.

                  I don’t doubt that psychological incentives are more than capable of overcoming economic ones, but I also believe this doesn’t happen nearly as often as is sometimes thought, and that whenever an economic bottom line appears to be being ignored, it is often only being met in a less visible way. But, as you note, I could in turn be wrong.

              • >would the majority answer really have been “yes” [we go to war]?

                I don’t know. That was 150 years ago and the sort of people you’re talking about left little documentary evidence of their sentiments.

                I am pretty sure that at least a minority would have opted for war, on he grounds of being so poor that their non-omega status was almost the only possession they had. But a majority? Hard to know.

                Regional variations also matter. Far enough north, enough small freeholders rejected the Confederacy’s claims to form West Virginia.

                • their non-omega status was almost the only possession they had

                  For a poor white southerner, his most precious possession of all was his life. Would he vote to roll the dice on dying or being crippled just to have someone to look down on?

                  I think the chief motivator for anyone in a war, talking the rank and file here, not the political leaders, is their notion of honor. They fight out of the fear of being branded a coward.

                  • >Would he vote to roll the dice on dying or being crippled just to have someone to look down on?

                    No, but I have to admit I can understand the willingness to make that dice roll rather than submit to a bunch of strangers ordering you to stop when they have (in your view) no right to so order you. It becomes less about not being an omega in itself and more about rejecting someone else’s attempt to make you one.

                    That impulse is neither rational nor necessarily moral, but it’s strong and widespread enough that I’d buy it as an additional motivator beyond fear of ostracization.

              • On a related note, there were riots in New York city in which blacks were lynched, by whites who were outraged at being drafted to fight to free the slaves.

                • >On a related note, there were riots in New York city in which blacks were lynched, by whites who were outraged at being drafted to fight to free the slaves.

                  Being outraged at the draft is reasonable; that’s involuntary servitude too. So what does that have to do with the morality of the South defending slavery?

                  • Being outraged at conscription is reasonable.

                    Lynching people who have nothing to do with it other than sharing skin color with the people who are being fought over indicates their moral position on slavery wasn’t a *moral* position, it’s a was a position of convenience.

      • But the Northern Government would NEVER have agreed to simply buy the slaves to free them. The cost was just too much. Lincoln couldn’t even free the slaves in the North because of the cost.

        • It would have meant either borrowing or printing money, that’s certain. Maybe the British would have given us a loan for the purpose.

    • Which South Africa? Apartheid South Africa or Post-Apartheid South Africa. Very different places with very different problems.

  24. What would a monument to the Great Settlement qua the Great Settlement look like? As in, one that would convey that settlement while minimizing any validation of a romantic Lost Cause to any reasonable observer?

      • Or Nathaniel Bedford Forrest treading on the ashes of his Klan robes, with a hand on the cross at his breast.

        Mind you they’d not be able to put THAT statue up on Federal land either . . .

      • >The surrender; with Union troops saluting the defeated.

        My thought was similar. There’s a famous print of Grant accepting Lee’s surrender – shaking his hand – that would do well as a model. (I tried to include a link to it, but WordPress balked.)

        • Well it depends on how big the monument is. If you can afford the space have two walls and a centerpiece: the center has the officers, each wall is a body of troops.

        • There’s one of an angel descending from the heavens to implore a southern soldier to lay down his arms.

          But that one was also accused of glorifying the confederacy and being in support of white supremacy, so…

      • Note that the commander who ordered that, without any order from Grant, was Brig Gen Joshua Chamberlain, who led the 20th Maine in the defense of Little Round Top.

        • General Chamberlain did a LOT more than the Little Round Top action he’s so famous for. That guy was one of the all-time great American badasses.

          I’d like to see anyone today walk right out of a cushy job in academia, and then

          – fend off five direct attacks and respond to running out of ammo by ordering a bayonet charge he had every reason to expect would be suicidal
          – sustaining minor wounds in said action that weakened him enough to contract malaria, seriously enough that he had to be sent home
          – returning to action before being all the way over the malaria, only to soon be wounded again
          – Subsequently be shot through severely enough that he was given what the commanding general assumed to be a posthumous promotion
          – Somehow survive that and return to action a few months later, in time to be right at the front of the last fighting of the war

          And those are just a few highlights; little wonder General Grant took notice enough of him to single out to receive the Confederate arms.

          Let’s see a modern liberal arts professor do anything like that. :)

  25. Pretty much always the same. Burn down anything that disagrees.
    Take the resources, repurpose. Mostly use the recently “free” to supply the front lines.
    My kin were all escaped multibreeds. Just hillbillies.
    Only reason to fight was nowhere else to go.

    Hooked up with some underground railroad. Cared not for the machinations of those with wealth and title.

    Grandpa built, and ran shine with Colonel Sanders, and that is just hot rods and fried chicken. I guess that should be invaded now so those with wealth and title can desecrate.

    Hunting or haunting without respect never works.
    It is not like the working classes do not remember.

  26. To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, Nobody will change my patriotism; not nobody, not no how. But enlisting (again) to fight communism on our own shores… GLADLY!

  27. It would be a little funny to quote from “Ozymandias.”

    The statues aren’t much important in themselves. Pigeons might object, but people don’t even look at the things.

    I am somewhat disturbed at the applause for vandalism. Jails and fines seem more in order. But go enjoy your pointless news exposure while actual news is quietly ignored.

    There is a great deal going on in the world other than quibbling about statues. That’s just the usual random distraction technique. A lot of you here seem to be getting senior-citizen “get off my lawn” moments, where you just randomly panic and forget where you are.

    I agree with ESR’s general sentiments. But, statues are not important. The problems of earthquakes, hurricanes, and severe security failures like the Equifax debacle might want more attention, first.

    • If the most important racist problem in the US is statues?
      How is racism a real problem?
      The other things are problems but the SJWs and the Progs can’t use them to destroy Western Culture. After all that is what is most important to the Progs and SJWs!

  28. A good presentation of the case for how to “win the peace”, from someone who saw the pivotal events first hand over decades, is the essay “Lee at Appomatox” by Charles Francis Adams. It’s available on Google Books here:

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Lee_at_Appomattox.html?id=DCoTAAAAYAAJ

    The whole book is worth a read, but it’s noteworthy that its last essay, “Shall Cromwell Have A Statue?”, explicitly makes the case for putting up statues to Robert E. Lee. If only our talking heads of today had even a fraction of the historical knowledge and clear-headedness on display in these essays.

  29. +500 to Peter Donis on Charles Francis Adams. He is more properly referred to as Union General Charles Francis Adams, also Harvard history professor and the first President of the American Historical Society. He gave a talk to the Phi Beta Kappa Society (that was turned into a book) regarding General Lee: Shall Cromwell Have A Statue?

    He fought in the war and wrote in its aftermath regarding ESR’s topic here. I expect that General Adams would view the current discussion as (literally) retarded.

  30. @Borepatch: He is more properly referred to as Union General Charles Francis Adams, also Harvard history professor and the first President of the American Historical Society.

    Also son of the US ambassador to Great Britain during the Civil War, grandson and great-grandson of US Presidents, railroad magnate, etc. As Tom Lehrer said, “It’s people like that who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished.”

  31. My cultural and political ancestors, the Texas Southerners who lost the war, bravely fought for their homes and families. I would also like to add that a sizable percentage of Southerns did not own slaves and did not necessarily fight for the ideals of John C Calhoun. However, once the shooting started in Charleston SC, the philosophical question of Secession & Nullification became irrelevant in the face of 75,000 volunteers being called up on April 15th, 1861.

    That being said, I don’t see former Governor Nikki Haley of SC as being a liberal coastal elite or a red guard. She was the one who took down the Confederate Flag down in Charleston in 2015. In my view, this is something that the local states/municipalities should decide for themselves; good or bad.

    Eric presents a very thoughtful and well reasoned analysis. I disagree that the “Red Guards” are the source of the movement to remove confederate monuments. Rather, it is the voice of some people who live in the area who would like to move on and join the 21st century versus reliving the 19th.

    • >That being said, I don’t see former Governor Nikki Haley of SC as being a liberal coastal elite or a red guard. She was the one who took down the Confederate Flag down in Charleston in 2015.

      I think the Stars and Bars is a different case. There is actually a history of its displays being intended as white-supremacist assertion that the statues don’t have.

      • But there’s much more history of the battle flag just being used as a “southern pride” thing without race being involved…or at least that’s what I observed growing up in Alabama in the 70’s through the 90’s. (My favorite example being on a bumper sticker with the slogan: “Heritage, Not Hate.”)

  32. I disagree that the “Red Guards” are the source of the movement to remove confederate monuments. Rather, it is the voice of some people who live in the area who would like to move on and join the 21st century versus reliving the 19th.

    Apropos of a recent post, this interpretation provides us with clear predictive value: If your version is true, the people wanting to take down the statues should be satisfied when Confederate statues are removed.

    • And by virtue of the fact that they are clearly *not* satisfied, but haven’t even waited for the removal of Confed figures to move on to *non-Confederate* figures, proves that it isn’t.

    • In the case of the statues coming down…. from New Orleans – locally elected officials had already decided to remove the five statues. The Mayor proposed it in 2015, a sixty day public comment period was made and the locally elected city council went ahead with plans to remove them. I don’t see any evidence of “Red Guards” being deployed south interfering with local politics on this particular issue.

      As stated, in my view, this is something that the local states/municipalities should decide for themselves; good or bad. Whether or not _everyone_ agreed or not isn’t the point – a democratic process was followed and implemented – in as much as anything in the US is democratic at this point.

      Democracy is inconvenient. Don’t confuse it with Liberty – otherwise we’ll all be eating mutton for dinner.

  33. Pingback: Go read this. | The Elegant Ungulate

  34. Another red guard action: Kevin Burns Vietnam “documentary”. The red guard started way back in the 50 – 60s by the Frankfurt School.

  35. The South did not revolt; it made a political decision to secede. That decision was based on the fact that without the expansion of slavery into the new states and territories, which Lincoln would not allow and which the South had every right to expect as their blood and treasure had been expended to acquire those lands too, Yankees would eventually get the necessary votes to alter the Constitution and make slavery illegal in the US. While many in the South knew it would result in war, most hoped what CSA President Jefferson Davis said in his first inaugural address would come true “We just want to be left alone.”

    P.S. Lincoln, the greatest mass murderer in American history, got the bullet he deserved.

  36. Before you complete nominating the Union for sainthood, you might want to publish the whole truth. The Civil War was NOT just about slavery, and the history clearly shows exactly that. For example, there’s a reason why the Emancipation Proclamation was never applied to slave states, like Kentucky.

    Abraham Lincoln wanted to allow prominent Unionist slave holders, such as Grant and Sherman, to keep their slaves there, while encouraging slave revolts in the Confederacy. In the case of Grant, his slaves were not freed until the 13th Amendment was passed.

    https://www.nps.gov/ulsg/learn/historyculture/slaveryatwh.htm

    Similarly, Norteastern shipping magnates became abolitionists in direct proportion to the falling profits caused by not importing slaves. A harbinger of virtue signalling to come.

    Did the slaveowners in the South get what they deserved? Absolutely, although I find the hypocrisy of defending Grant and Sherman’s tactics in the South while denouncing far less severe tactics today as “war crimes” nauseating. But I object to you taking the Leftist line that the South was solely defending slavery, and that the North’s hands were clean.

    • >But I object to you taking the Leftist line that the South was solely defending slavery, and that the North’s hands were clean.

      At what point did I assert the latter?

  37. I have a lot of issues with this essay. One of them is the demand that we continue what can be described as “political correctness” in the form of allowing the Southerners their fiction about the reasons for the Civil War. Why isn’t it okay to confront honestly the brutality of slavery and the injustice of the next century of discrimination and oppression?

    • >One of them is the demand that we continue what can be described as “political correctness” in the form of allowing the Southerners their fiction about the reasons for the Civil War.

      If I were demanding that, I would hardly have pointed out everybody’s mutual deception so explicitly, would I?

      I think we have now reached the point where there can be less pretense, so long as the South is allowed to keep its pride in men who fought bravely.

      • I think you’re trying to thread too-fine a needle there. You want to allow the South to retain its pride in men who fought bravely, but I wonder if that’s possible while we’re at the same time having a frank look at our history. After all, I think your entire essay was an explanation of how we allowed the South to creat a fiction about its past as a means of reconciliation.

        • If you think the anti-statue mania is merely “a frank look at our history,” you are being naive. It’s part and parcel with the most extreme leftist political movements of today, and giving in to it (for any reason) will not placate them in the slightest.

        • I wonder if that’s possible while we’re at the same time having a frank look at our history.

          It’s not much harder than allowing every other country to retain its national myths, even though they do take a patriotic slant on events (we’ve all got some bloody skeletons in the ancestral closet). In fact, the ability to do this is a national survival skill…you won’t keep a country, or a civilization, if you don’t have people willing to fight for it, and a part of that is taking pride in its past.

          Our jihadist enemies certainly have plenty of pride in their blood-soaked heritage, from Mohammed himself through Sultan Baibars right up to the present…and we won’t win the contest of wills if we teach our own people that they should be kneeling in ashes and whipping themselves over slavery, racism, colonialism, imperialism, or what have you, while the enemy sings the praises of his own past. (Indeed, esr rightly labelled the practice as Suicidalism.)

          • Indeed, Joseph W. And I doubt if leftists want a “frank look” into their history, or that of protest movements, or of the hopes and promises of various “progressive” reforms versus the often-sad reality.

            • Earlier this year I read Byran Burrough’s Days of Rage…about the Weather Underground and other radical domestic terrorists of the 70’s. The supreme irony…if he has it right…is (#1) most of them were “recruited” by their outrage over race relations in the U.S., which they saw as an undying stain on the whole country; and (#2) they gave their greatest admiration to the regime of Mao Tse-Tung, who’d caused so much more suffering, so much worse, in such a short time. They, at least, weren’t distributing their “frank looks” in all directions equally. There may be others who do.

          • Well, I see a middle ground between kneeling in ashes, etc., and whitewashing brutality. I agree that societies are complicated – so are individual people. And I don’t really care if a statue stays or goes. But let’s stop pretending that a city’s decision to remove a statue is suppressing history. I’m all for a real discussion about things like that, but it has to start with an acknowledgment in our history classes that (a) the South seceded because of slavery, (b) after Reconstruction the white Southerners regained their power through a reign of terror against Blacks, which (c) ended only when the federal government intervened nearly a century later.

            When everyone accepts those facts (and you see people here arguing that secession wasn’t about slavery), then we can have a real talk about things like whether the statues can be kept, moved or destroyed.

            • Well, I see a middle ground between kneeling in ashes, etc., and whitewashing brutality.

              Good! Me too.

              But let’s stop pretending that a city’s decision to remove a statue is suppressing history.

              It’s a ritual of humiliation–which is quite bad enough. That’s why I do care that such statues be left alone. Keeping the country reconciled, together, and ready to fight its external enemies is extremely important and not to be taken for granted.

              I’m all for a real discussion about things like that, but it has to start with an acknowledgment in our history classes that (a) the South seceded because of slavery, (b) after Reconstruction the white Southerners regained their power through a reign of terror against Blacks, which (c) ended only when the federal government intervened nearly a century later.

              I agree with all of that (as you can partly see from my other posts in this thread). The term “reign of terror” may be too strong (the French Reign of Terror managed over 16,000 executions in 1-2 years out of a population of 20 million; the death toll from the whole history of lynching in the U.S., not all of it racial, was more like 4000, from a much larger population), but the point behind it is taken. And our history classes do teach these things relentlessly…indeed, we get way too much Howard Zinn/”black armband” history in our classes for my liking.

              • No, we can put up whatever statues we want. Fly whatever flag we want. Say whatever we want. If it offends you then leave, look away, or put up your own displays, flags and speakers. If these things damage you so badly, go find a safe space and curl up. A dynamic society is not meant to be a frigging safe space. If you cant handle it, go to Cuba, N. Korea or some other intellectual paradise. Because I am not.

  38. This post is prescient on many levels. These kinds of knee-jerk political movements are more than just hypocritical, they divide the country at a visceral level and create wounds that may not heal easily or quickly. The current protest movement of taking-a-knee during the national anthem at major televised football games in another example. Bill Clinton is an accused rapist. Should we look the other way if a band of radical feminists decide to burn down his Presidential Library because of “rape culture” and “white male privilege”?

  39. Pingback: On Statues, Southern Pride and Marxist Smashers. | Fuzzy little things that I find interesting.

  40. I would hardly pay attention to the issue except for two reasons.

    I too see this as primarily a movement by the Red Guards to dominate us and flush out opposition so they can punish, shame and silence us. Those Red Guards are on the march throughout our society, and we must oppose them.

    Also, if we allow this sort of destruction of history, we are headed for a really boring and ignorant world where works of the past are disappeared – they are guaranteed to be against the norm, or at least useful to a future Red Guard, at some point.

    • How is taking down statues a “destruction of history”? I don’t see any statues to Hitler anywhere, but somehow we haven’t forgotten WW2 and the Holocaust.

      • Hitler was an exception. Europe is full of statues of former tyrants. That is a good thing. When you destroy a historical artifact, you destroy some history. You make it impossible for future generations to look upon it or examine it. That is a crime against humanity.

        • That is a crime against humanity.

          It is worse than any “crime against humanity” (whatever that actually is). It is Entropism.

        • Really? So, Iraq should have retained statues of Saddam Hussein? Russia and Eastern Europe should still be littered with statues to Lenin?

          Or were those exceptions, too?

  41. Another uninformed piece. The war was over chattel slavery? Nobody threatened slavery where it existed. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas only seceded after Lincoln called for troops to act against states. Lincoln’s move was seen as unconstitutional by many informed observers in all states at the time.

    • >The war was over chattel slavery?

      Yes, according to the Articles of Secession of the states that formed the Confederacy.

      Go read them – the actual primary sources. You have been misled by revisionists.

      • I just reread the North Carolina ordinance. Any references to slavery in it are parallel to those in the constitution, in the same way that other parts of the ordinance are written. Go read the ordinances – the primary sources – and not the snippets that the leftists copy and spread.

        • Try the Mississippi Declaration of Secession. “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery.” First line, second paragraph.

          • As I wrote earlier, read them all in their entirety and not a Soros-funded organization’s list that is floating around the internet.

      • I certainly don’t understand how people can claim that slavery was not an issue of the time – it was arguably *the* political hot potato. Also, it is perfectly clear from the various statements of cause that the institution of slavery was very much a factor in the entire melange of resentment being aired…but let’s not forget that inter-state incursions and outright murder also tend to raise eyebrows.

        Yet, slavery was *legal*, and under the terms of the Constitution the South had every reason to insist that their states’ rights were respected. You and I don’t have to like it (of course we don’t), but that was the state of affairs at the time.

        So the common claim that the war was *all* about slavery is grossly simplistic – it was about far more than that. Slavery, however, was arguably the single greatest precipitating factor in the disintegration of Constitutional enforcement that led to peaceful secession. The sabre rattling and warmongering came afterwards. Talk among yourselves about the futility of it all, but the South acted as it did for sound reason.

        When the very contract that binds the several states together is being flouted with bare-faced contempt, why wouldn’t/shouldn’t they dissolve it? The South didn’t declare war, they simply walked away. There would have been no war had Lincoln not instigated one. You don’t get to poke, poke, poke, poke, poke…then go crying to teacher when you get a fat lip. Lincoln spoiled for a fight, and Sumpter gave him all the political pretense he needed. Gee…we’ve never seen that old trope in the history books before ;)

        If I join a golf club, then tear up my membership and leave, have I ‘destroyed’ the golf club? Likewise for the Union. There is no Constitutional assertion of permanence, nor any prohibition of revocation. If it can be freely ratified, it can be freely unratified. 9th & 10th amendment ftw.

        Of course, “to the victor go the spoils” – one of those spoils being the ability to frame the conflict as righteously as possible, even mislabeling it. Surprise, surprise! A northern court rules the Southern secession illegal after the war! Whodathunkit? What else could they possibly say? That “…the South was Constitutionally at liberty to revoke its membership, and that going to war over a legal practice was horseshit, so we had to trot out the usual threadbare canards” ?

        Lincoln’s war was a war fought for the same 3 reasons every war has been fought – money, land & power. The South was right to leave, and the North became the aggressor. Same old same old…rinse & repeat.

        • There used to be a joke about corrupt police procedure along those lines: “Kick the dog until it bites, then shoot it for being dangerous.”

          (Now that joke has been shown up by reality; US police shoot dogs that look at them funny.)

          • There used to be a joke about corrupt police procedure along those lines: “Kick the dog until it bites, then shoot it for being dangerous.”

            Doing this to humans is standard police procedure. Especially if you’re a minority or one of those people who “don’t know how things work”. Police take a dim view of “street lawyers” who assert their rights, rightly or wrongly, when stopped, questioned, or searched. For that reason many cops routinely carry drugs scavenged from the evidence room to “find” on your person if you get too mouthy.

            • >Doing this to humans is standard police procedure. Especially if you’re a minority or one of those people who “don’t know how things work”.

              No, not exactly. The relevant predicate is “Does the cop think you’re a mook?”

              “Mook” is cop slang with a specific meaning. Cops know, because it’s street reality they deal with every day, that criminal behavior is heavily concentrated in a small high-deviant cohort of the population. Indicators of probable mookness include carrying alcohol, having a lower-class or street accent, being black or hispanic, driving a crappy or defective car, wearing gang clothing or a wife-beater t-shirt.

              Two or more of these tells put you in “very likely mook” territory and very likely to get hassled. But race by itself is not a conclusive mook tell, being easily overridden by, for example, an educated accent.

              The hard truth is that this is a rational set of heuristics. Multiple of them actually do push the odds that the cop is dealing with a criminal way over background. If cops didn’t pay attention to mook tells they wouldn’t be doing their job, which is to maintain public order with the least possible violence.

              I’m not defending bad policing and brutality here. I’m telling you what good policing actually looks like. Yes, it’s profiling – which is why cops can’t be honest about it – but it works. The extreme of “kick it until it bites, then shoot it” is seldom reached; usually the outcome is that the mook goes away intimidated, carrying the belief that the cops have his number, and is less likely to commit a crime.

              Police shootings, in general, are rare. (Heavy media coverage creates a prominence fallacy.) Police shootings of non-mooks are so rare that the entire U.S. frequently goes entire years at a time without one.

              • Eric, what you describe is not only accurate, but represents one of the vital mechanisms necessary to maintaining civil order and productivity (e.g. if everyday citizens must be constantly on-guard against criminal acts, they cannot well contribute productively to society).

                And yet, there are institutional forces currently at work to substantially undermine this important social support mechanism (e.g. most police departments are now comprised of many token hires that are ill-suited to perform as needed and good officers are being dismissed for simply doing the job as reality dictates). This movement is growing in scope and influence, and the harm being done is no trivial matter. Many inner-city poor neighborhoods now resemble war zones.

        • @Dan
          “Lincoln’s war was a war fought for the same 3 reasons every war has been fought – money, land & power. ”

          The South earned their money with slave labor, with slaves working on the land. Also slaves made up over 40% of the population in the South. That is a lot of power in a democracy. The South were very good at keeping the black vote out using KKK terror and “administrative” restrictions. But they did not know that then.

          Slavery was important to the South, because their economy and power structure depended on it.

          I have absolutely no sympathy for legalistic excuses to extend the abomination of slavery because the constitution allowed it. Times do change and black people were suddenly considered humans with rights.

          And now we see protester jell on TV that they want all the decedents of the slave send to Africa instead of murdering them. Don’t you like the progress.

      • PS. despite the “civil war” (ahem) debate, I do concur with your suspicions regarding the motivations underlying the monument destruction/defacement trend.

      • @esr: Yes, according to the Articles of Secession of the states that formed the Confederacy.

        Not Virginia’s. Virginia seceded because it judged that the Federal government had “perverted” the powers granted to it by the US Constitution. That’s why Virginia did not secede in February 1861, when the first vote on the question was taken in its state legislature–because secession then would indeed have been about slavery, and Virginia did not feel that slavery was a just cause to secede over. This is one of the key points that Charles Francis Adams makes in “Shall Cromwell Have a Statue”.

        • >Virginia seceded because it judged that the Federal government had “perverted” the powers granted to it by the US Constitution.

          …or because the slaveholders managed to put enough pressure on the waverers to get the result they wanted the second time around, using the troop callups as a pretext. OK, that’s speculation.

          I don’t think you can make any such proviso about the original 7 seceders: – South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. It was all about slavery for them, and the Upper South states that came in later knew that they were joining a slaveholder revolt.

    • Nobody threatened slavery where it existed.

      That’s just not true. Nobody threatened it immediately, only because such a threat would have been impossible to carry out. But the Republicans made no secret of their long-term goal, or of how they planned to achieve it. The pro-slavery party knew they had to act then or by the time the direct attack came it would be too late.

  42. There’s a related example of Red Guards activity: the defacing of statues of Catholic saints. This has been rapidly increasing, although so far, the perpetrators are staying anonymous and the news media is ignoring it. The causes are the same: these are supposedly honoring those who committed injustice – which is far less historical than the idea that Confederate statues honor slave holders. But the underlying movement is the same: attack symbols in order to marginalize people whose views (in this case, orthodox Christianity) are despised by our new lords and masters.

    • Defacing statues of saints (actually all religious statues) has been an integral part of the protestant (Calvinist) movements in the 17e century as well as the French revolution. Even the classical Egyptians did remove statues and depictions that fell out of political favor. Catholics did it in the New World as well as in Africa and Asia.

      Statue-busting has been of all times and has been done by all parts of the political spectrum. There is literally nothing new here.

  43. I largely agree with your assessment, with one exception. Being a southerner, and having grown up wondering about how things changed so drastically in the 100 years between the end of the war and my birth, I’ve looked around and done a bit of recon on it.

    It has always seemed to me that while the folks in the south who started the war, and largely funded and directed it, may have been fighting over slavery, the bulk of the southerners were fighting to protect their homes and families. They felt abused by the north, which got the bulk of the government largess (just as the coastal states seem to today), and they didn’t feel that the national government was looking out of their interests (e.g. the War Department was not really interested in the ongoing war in Texas with the Commanche – which, BTW was the SAME reason that Texas gave the heave-hoe to Mexico 30-odd years earlier).

    It’s certainly possible that some of what I know is the result of generations of myth-telling (I’d even call that likely), but there were some solid reasons for the typical southerner, who never owned a slave, to have serious problems with the national government leading up to the war. Slavery was simply the spark that lit the tender that had already been lain.

    And I do see some of those issues resurfacing today as well, which doesn’t bode well for the country as a whole IMHO.

    • You are right about the myth-telling. (The US Army was present in strength in Texas to fight the Comanches; government spending in that era was an insignificant 1.6% of GDP.) White Southerners had no problem with the Federal government before 1860, as they generally controlled it (Northerners were President for only 22 of the 72 years since the Constitution was adopted, and for eight of those years the “Northern” President was a flagrantly pro-Southern Doughface).

      The problem white Southerners had with the Federal government in 1861 was that it was a potential threat to slavery – which all white Southerners regarded as essential protection against being massacred by the savage blacks. Even those who didn’t entirely buy into that fear saw slavery as an essential distinction between white and black, which gave even the poorest whites superior status.

      This concern was weak in areas where there were relatively few slaves, and those areas rejected secession.

      • Even those who didn’t entirely buy into that fear saw slavery as an essential distinction between white and black, which gave even the poorest whites superior status.

        This.

        A bit of history known to black schoolchildren that somehow seems to evade whitey: the rebellion that defined and shaped America was not in 1776, but 100 years earlier: Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. Nathaniel Bacon led an uprising of settlers — black and white — against the Virginia colony’s governor. In that time, black and white indentured servants were equals. There was no distinction of class or social status based on skin color.

        After the rebellion was over and the governor returned, the ruling class in Virginia greatly feared the potential power of a united underclass. So they implemented a system wherein whites were considered superior and blacks inferior. This placated the poor whites and effectively cut any future rebellion in half. It’s a simple divide and conquer strategy.

        This idea — the rich sowing fear and hatred among the masses in order to divide, manipulate, and control them — is deeply ingrained into our country’s DNA. Look at the present occupant of the White House and tell me this isn’t true. Look at the strategies he used to succeed. Everyone should understand the significance of Bacon’s Rebellion to where we come from as a nation and people.

        I don’t remember being taught about it at school.

        It seems the eeeeevil lefties are not the only ones erasing history.

        • >I don’t remember being taught about [Bacon’s Rebellion] at school.

          You know, this might just be because the central demand of Bacon’s rebels was that they be allowed to slaughter Amerinds and seize their lands without limit. “Biracial” != “necessarily the good guys”.

          The real reason for the racialization of slavery wasn’t a nefarious plan of the ruling class, it was that whites worked to a plantation schedule in subtropical heat die before they can pay off their purchase cost. Thus, until fairly late in the game (I know of instances in the 1850s) there were black slaveholders working large numbers of black slaves – for some reason I don’t know this seems to have been particularly prevalent in Louisiana.

          There were also so many of the Five Civilized Tribes holding slaves that they formed fraternal associations that survived long enough after the Civil War to be photographed at reunions. I’ve seen such a photograph.

          This really did get airbrushed from history. Racial justification for chattel slavery took hold in the South fairly late, after every other argument had been found wanting, but when it did it set in hard. Black slaveholders were difficult to fit in that frame and got memory-holed.

          Since it also suited abolitionists to portray blacks as entirely innocent victims of the system, they cooperated with Southern racialists in identifying “slaveholder” with “white”.

          More facts here

          • Slavery has been an integral part of human society since at least the founding of cities, if not earlier. Slaves were always just those people that happened to be available to exploit.

            I think the racial justification might be an American (US) invention, but I might be wrong and the originator might be the British Empire and/or 19th century European Romanticism that is the root of all the racial pseudo-science.

        • I’ll bet you 100 that less that 20 percent of black primary and secondary highschool students in America can answer the question “what is the significance of Bacon’s Rebellion”.

          This idea — the rich sowing fear and hatred among the masses in order to divide, manipulate, and control them — is deeply ingrained into our country’s DNA. Look at the present occupant of the White House and tell me this isn’t true.

          Oh FFS.

          The last president didn’t complain about lower class whites “clinging to their guns and religion”, Felonia Von Pantsuit didn’t call 1/3 of the population “deplorable”. No, those were STINKING LIES MADE UP BY THE RIGHT WING PRESS.

          The left hasn’t sliced and diced and created as many categories and classes as possible in order to set them at each others throats.

        • If you’re allowed to use a belittling and demeaning term like whitey, and make sweeping generalizations about a whole race, then I’m allowed to use nigger and make sweeping generalizations about a whole race, right?

      • Sigh. The left keeps recycling this claim, but it doesn’t get any truer, because it depends on an obviously false premise: that the benefit the people of a state get from the federal government can be measured by the amount of money the federal government spends in that state.

        To state this as baldly as that is to refute it.

        To take an extreme example, suppose some federal project that benefits exclusively the residents of Houston. Now suppose this project needs large quantities of some widget, and the best and most economical supplier of that widget happens to be in Maine, so the project management busy $3M worth from that supplier. Which state benefits from that $3M? Obviously Texas, not Maine. But this analysis would count it as a gift to Maine, which must be “balanced” by spending in other states. Ridiculous.

        The federal government spends a lot of money in states where it owns land, maintaining that land. This is not at all a benefit to those states, in fact it often harms them.

  44. Things about the civil war that most people don’t know:

    A lot of southerners hated slavery but fought to protect their state from what they perceived as tyranny from the north.

    Most northerners disliked/hated blacks and wanted them expelled from the US.

    After the war more white people were lynched in the south than blacks.

    None of the above is an apologia for the south but I prefer an accurate portrayal of the players than the simplified melodrama we see in the media, Hollywood and in schools.

  45. May I post this on my FB? It is the best summary on why we harmonized southern and nothern leaders in our Civil War

    • >May I post this on my FB? It is the best summary on why we harmonized southern and nothern leaders in our Civil War

      Go right ahead.

  46. Fun historical fact: Slavery was a moribund institution in US until Eli Whitney’s cotton gin made cotton a major crop, thus helping to set up the conditions for the Civil War. Eli Whitney’s other innovation, interchangeable parts, helped give the North the technological advantage to win it.

  47. I often hear it claimed that taking down statues, or renaming buildings, is “erasing history”. That’s obviously false, and just stupid. Nobody is trying to do anything to history, let alone erase the memory that these villains (if that’s what they were) existed. What they want is that we cease to honour them. a statue doesn’t say someone existed, it says they deserve honour, and if they don’t then it should be taken down. That’s why I think Princeton should rename the Woodrow Wilson school; doing so would not in any way erase his place in history, but it would stop lying about that place by pretending Princeton should be proud of its association with him.

    I also support the removal of statues to Columbus, and the abolition of his holiday. No, this has nothing to do with using him as a stand-in for any supposed genocide. My understanding is that he was a horrible person with no redeeming qualities — that he committed or ordered terrible crimes against native people, and did nothing deserving of honour.

    The only reason those statues exist is that it suited 19th century USans to mythologise and idolise him, even to the extent of pretending that he was right in his dispute with every geographer of his day, and inventing the ridiculous myth that his opponents thought the earth was flat. The truth is that he was a crackpot just like Velikovsky or Reich or any of those others, who happened to accidentally stumble on what he never acknowledged was an unsuspected continent. Had he not existed the New World would inevitably have been discovered by 1530 at the latest, and the US’s history, at least, would have happened more or less the same way it did.

    Replace him with John Cabot or Giovanni Verrazzano, both of whom were far more important to the discovery of what’s now the US, and that would also keep Italian-americans happy.

    • My understanding is that he was a horrible person with no redeeming qualities

      “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another. — Malcolm Reynolds

    • a statue doesn’t say someone existed, it says they deserve honour, and if they don’t then it should be taken down. That’s why I think Princeton should rename the Woodrow Wilson school; doing so would not in any way erase his place in history, but it would stop lying about that place by pretending Princeton should be proud of its association with him.

      I’ll believe you when Arkansas renames Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to something else.

    • That’s why I think Princeton should rename the Woodrow Wilson school; doing so would not in any way erase his place in history, but it would stop lying about that place by pretending Princeton should be proud of its association with him.

      Be even better if they kept the name, but changed their ideological slant to opposing his ideas.

  48. A random anecdote: about ten years ago, I went on a tour of Italy. One of the areas we visited was Naples (with a stop at Pompeii). As the tour bus passed through southern Naples, I saw something remarkable.

    It was a wooden effigy of a rampant bull, accompanied by “the Stars and Bars” and the motto (in English) “Southern Pride”. (The display was a flat wood carving about the size of a small billboard, mounted about 10 meters up.)

    I never got any local explanation for this. My guess is that it represents the resentment many southern Italians feel toward Romans, Tuscans, and Lombards, who look down on them. (The “Lega Nord” party has openly advocated dividing Italy to exclude Neapolitans and Sicilians.) I have no idea how Italians got interested in the CSA.

    A second anecdote: the Gaelic sports teams (football and hurling) in Cork, Ireland are known as “the Rebels”, allegedly in commemoration of Cork’s support of Perkin Warbeck’s rebellion in 1491, but probably as much for participation in the rebellion of 1916-1921. Team supporters sometimes display the “Stars and Bars”, because it’s a “Rebel” icon. (Probably picked up from watching The Dukes of Hazzard.)

  49. Re: bakers, florists, invitation printers, etc, v same-sex weddings. Framing it as a matter of freedom of expression is evading the central issue, which is freedom of conscience. If someone regards something as wrong, then it is a fundamental violation of his rights to force him to participate in it by providing his services to make it happen. It makes no difference whether it’s same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, or whatever; making someone facilitate it makes him a participant against his will, and that is wrong. Pretending that such refusal constitutes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation (or race, in the case of interracial marriage) is just dishonest and discredits the entire enterprise.

    I have a very tiny puppy in this fight. I provide some services for weddings. I will happily provide those services, if asked, for the marriage of two Jews, or of two gentiles, but if one partner is a Jew by birth or conversion and the other is not then my conscience tells me I must refuse my services because I believe such a marriage to be morally wrong, and therefore don’t want to become an accomplice to it. No law or court decision can sway me on this; I don’t concede the authority of any legislature or court to make this right, or to compel me.

    • Is that a thing? A Jew and a Gentile can’t marry? Even if the Jew renounces his religion, if he was born into the Jew religion, he still can’t marry a Gentile?

      That’s pretty surprising. Never heard of that interesting clause.

      • Well, different religious groups tend to have strongly divergent sets of values, so observant parents, mentors, and religious authority figures on either side will tend to think that a cross-religious match is unwise. And if the couple has renounced their childhood religions, religious authority figures are not going to want to enable that, especially if they think that the relationship in question was responsible for that. This applies even to American evangelicalism, which tends to be fairly insistent that religious affiliation is not passed down by birth and must be taught to and decided upon by each individual. Among other Christian groups (aside from those that are merely ritualistic window dressing on secular culture), and among observant Jews, Muslims, etc, the opposition to marrying outside of ones religion will be even stronger. No member of any of these groups is ever surprised to learn of a similar ban in the others (and, frankly, while they might express surprise, I doubt many secularists or $HOLIDAY-only religious attendees would be happy if they learned that their kid was enthusiastically attending a snake-handling congregation weekly with their new SO).

      • “Renouncing his religion” wouldn’t make any difference, because being Jewish has nothing to do with what one believes. Jews are not a religion, we’re a nation that has a religion, and citizenship doesn’t depend on whether one believes in that religion. Of course someone who doesn’t believe in it won’t care, and in the absence of an armed state enforcing Jewish law (which doesn’t exist) nobody can make him care, but it remains a fact that Jewish law claims jurisdiction over all Jews whether they acknowledge it or not.

        Citizenship in the Jewish nation is acquired by birth or naturalization, aka conversion. But like many nations Jewish law does not recognize a right to renounce Jewish citizenship; once a Jew always a Jew, and always subject to Jewish law. You may recall that a similar policy on the part of the UK was the official trigger for the War of 1812.

        And yes, Jewish law forbids any marriage between a Jew and a gentile. The gentile can convert in if s/he displays a sincere desire to do so, and a sincere commitment to remain for life, even if the marriage doesn’t last. But the Jew converting out won’t change anything. S/he won’t care about it. But since I care about it, I won’t provide my services to become an accomplice in something that I believe to be wrong.

    • That’s an interesting encounter right here as I am a Jew by birth, secular family, personal convert to Christianity, married to a non-Jew by birth in the same church.

      You can fire away with the meshumad stuff, I’ve seen it already and I suspect that ESR has seen worse. (Some rabbis I know think I am a meshumad, others think I’m not because one has to accept the religion to be able to renounce it).

      An interesting question is whether I would *want* your services. I’d say it depends on the kind of services. If it’s something that is merely about property, like provision of a venue, I’d say you should not be able to discriminate. But if it is about expression (photography/custom cakes/artictic florists/etc) I would *want* you to be able to refuse people like me. Just so I know all the art I get is at least minimally sincere. (Most important for photography where quality is determined by subconscious things).

  50. If a pervert pretends to be transgendered in order to act perverted, the cops should be called. This is a fake issue. […] I wonder how many cases there have been of a pervert using a bathroom by pretending to be a transgendered person.

    It is a very real issue. How could you tell? How could the cops tell? It is impossible to distinguish a “genuinely” transgendered person from someone pretending for his own purposes. The “trans rights” movement insists that there is no such thing as “pretending”; the very claim to be of the opposite gender makes one so. So in a place where the law adopts this position, if a man enters the ladies’ room and claims to be a woman on what grounds could the women there, or the cops they call, make him leave?

    Note that “acting perverted” is not an overt act, it’s a mental act, which is undetectable by others.

    The bottom line is that most women don’t want to be seen naked or semi-clothed by a man, no matter what he calls himself. and they certainly don’t want to see his p3nis. and the law ought to protect their right not to be subjected to these things in government-owned facilities, as well as the right of private owners of such facilities to make their own decisions. That’s what the NC law that was so controversial last year did, and that’s why I supported it and was disappointed when the state backed down.

    (Note that this law defined people for its purposes as male or female depending on their legal status, not on their birth status; those transgendered people with the commitment to change their legal status were unaffected, and in fact the law protected them from anyone who would object to their using facilities for their new gender on government property.)

    • Laws worried about women seeing someone’s p3nis in their restroom seem misguided: either the transperson in question is just trying to use the restroom, in which case they’ll be in a stall anyway, or they’re an exposure-pervert and wouldn’t mind the sign anyway – and exposure is already a crime. Which makes all of this just value-signalling for transphobia.

      • People with penises who insist (with the fedgov’s aid) on their right to shower in a girl’s locker room are exposing it to the girls.

        Even in a restroom, since when is it a crime to expose one’s penis there? People in mens’ rooms do so all the time. But the issue there isn’t so much showing the penis as being there seeing women in a state of undress which they don’t want men to see them in.

  51. ‘“Damnyankee” is still a single word in much of the South…’

    And indications of southernness are still persecuted in Yankeeland. Been there, received that: a southern accent is taken as evidence of naivete and/or bigotry. And I’ve had a brick thrown through my car window because of its SC license plate, while parked at Northeastern U thirty years ago.

    There’s a lot of hatred in New England.

    FWIW

  52. Pingback: On Statues and Smashing Them - The Last Redoubt

  53. @’Confederate officers not charged with war crimes were generally able to retain rank and seniority’

    Are you talking about Southern state militia? Who enforced Jim Crow, or slavery under another name. Confederate military was not integrated with the Federal after the war. In any case, the Federal military downsized after the Civil War. Most Union officers took a rank cut. For example, Custer died a serving light colonel, though still General Custer as a courtesy title.

    Nitpick here, not vital to Eric’s main point about harmonizing relations after the war, which I think is accurate. Although the only memorials to dead Confederates I want to see on Federal property are the ones to the Confederate prisoners who died in northern prison camps. We have a duty to remember our failure to treat our prisoners honorably.

    • >Confederate military was not integrated with the Federal after the war.

      Why, then, have I seen biographies post-Civil-War Indian fighters who were ex-CSA?

      Also the uniform changes for Western service don’t make a lot of sense otherwise.

      • >Why have I seen biographies of post-Civil-War Indian fighters who were ex-CSA?
        Lots of ex-CSA in the postwar army, yes. Integrated CSA with the Federal Army, no.

        Lots of military academies went with grey uniforms, West Point for example, to be visibly different from regular military, but still a visibly organized and militant group Security guards today are often in grey- you know they aren’t real cops, and you know they are in uniform.

        And the other guy is always ten feet tall. After the war lots of people thought the CSA was cool.

        Rich knows this stuff better than me.

  54. > Many of these people are, in effect, Red Guards.

    Holy cow, senator McCarthy! I’m sorry sir, I did not recognize you at first over the sound of Communist Conspiracy!

    > The actual agenda is that Americans must be made to feel their nation was born in sin and cannot be redeemed – patriotism must be replaced with obsessive self-criticism and eternal guilt.

    Absolutely true – it must be work of Soviet Agents! Don’t let the collapse of USSR fool you – the Reds are making their plots everywhere, even under your bed! The Russians are coming!!!

    • The eternal vision of “Reds under the Bed” is one of OGH’s faults as a political commentator. Any resemblance to General Jack. D. Ripper from “Dr. Strangelove” is purely coincidental.

      • The flip side of this is that the far-far-far left can be really strange – every bit as whacky as the far-far-far right, but with far less political power.

        • “Far less political power”? You must be joking. The mayor of Berkeley is associated with BAMN and Antifa. Their Congresswoman is Barbara Lee, who has a long association with communist groups. I challenge you find me one sitting mayor or member of Congress with equivalent direct links to “far-far-far right.”

          • Trump => Gorka. (Though Gorka left the White House recently.)

            And Representative Dana Rohrbacher has some really ugly links to the current Russian government. (Not to mention Flynn, Manafort, and Kushner.) Jeff Sessions thought the KKK “…were OK until I found out they smoked pot.” (Simultaneous failure of both decency and reality!)

            P.S. Rick Santorum.

            • >And Representative Dana Rohrbacher has some really ugly links to the current Russian government.

              Not credible. I know Rohrabacher’s history going back to the 1970s, when he was an influential early libertarian. We have at least one mutual friend; by that person’s report, he’d no more throw in his lot with the Russians than he would jump over the moon.

            • I’ll see your Sebastian Gorka and raise you Van Jones.

              And I’ll see your Rick Santorum and raise you Bernie Sanders.

              • Judge Ray “There’s Sharia law in Illinois” Moore?

                The big point is not to fight over the issue, but to acknowledge that both the left and right have fringes which are… substandard in terms of their sanity.

            • Gorka is not actually far right, that one “scandal” of wearing WW2 era stuff was riddled by the usual media lies and misrepresentations, what that stuff represented was no more far out than WW2 era Polish or Greek governments (i.e. obviously antidemocratic and authoritarian but not murderous). Focusing on it was the usual case of liberals focusing on appearances instead of substance like when fighting racism they focus on who said something ugly and not black male unemployment rate. Amongst normal people who understand the gravity of things it would not matter even if Gorka waved an actual swastika around as he is a security expert, not an ideologue, thus his actual influence on politics was advising on security matters and not advising on ideological matters.

  55. Bruce: The US Army had multiple ranks structures. There was regular Army rank, there was volunteer Army (militia), and there was brevet (honorary) rank.

    After the war ended, all the militia units were disbanded. All officers who remained in the Army lost any volunteer rank and reverted to regular Army rank. That was what happened to Custer, who was major general of volunteers, but captain of regulars. No one was demoted. In fact, Custer was bumped up two ranks when appointed to command the 7th Cavalry in 1866.

    As to ex-Confederates serving in the US Army – they might enlist and serve as privates, but no CSA rank was considered. A few might have been promoted to sergeant, or commissioned by special order as lieutenants or captains. But there was no “integration”. The US Army had a great surplus of senior officers, and no pressing need to incorporate ex-Rebels.

    In the Spanish-American War, one old Rebel general (Joe Wheeler) was appointed Major General of volunteers by President McKinley. Wheeler commanded the cavalry division in Cuba with energy and bravery (though he was reported to have yelled “Come on, boys! We’ve got the Yankees whipped!”). After the war, he was sent to the Philippines, where he commanded a regular Army brigade and was commissioned brigadier general of of regulars. He held a stateside command for a few months as well.

  56. Pingback: News of the Week (September 24th, 2017) | The Political Hat

  57. The “trans rights” movement insists that there is no such thing as “pretending”; the very claim to be of the opposite gender makes one so. So in a place where the law adopts this position, if a man enters the ladies’ room and claims to be a woman on what grounds could the women there, or the cops they call, make him leave?

    This is no longer theoretical. There is a person going by the name of Danielle Muscato who managed to get a spot in a women’s shelter (Muscato appears to be homeless by choice). This person claims to be a woman and has so far done very little, if anything, to appear feminine — until quite recently still going around in male clothing even. If I were a woman, and I were seeking the services of a women’s shelter to escape or elude an abusing partner, say — I would be extremely unnerved at having to share the space, let alone a bunk, with what appears to be a large, bearded, balding forty-something man — and that would hold true regardless of whether Muscato were acting in good faith or not.

    I don’t know, maybe that makes me a bigot. It just seems like there are very valid feelings on the other side that aren’t getting respected.

    • >I don’t know, maybe that makes me a bigot. It just seems like there are very valid feelings on the other side that aren’t getting respected.

      I was going to write something snarky along the lines of “Who are you and what have you done with Jeff Read?” But no. If you’re finally getting a clue about what it feels like to be one of the collateral-damage victims in the Left’s latest reality-warping campaign, bravo – that is all good and to be encouraged.

      • Just like the French Revolution (and many others less infamous) The Mob eventually eats itself. Lots of people who considered themselves on the political Left have had similar epiphanies recently. Some, like Dave Rubin, are finding out they never really were on the Left; they just thought they belonged there but are better described as “classical liberal” or “libertarian”, and essentially have been excommunicated from the Left for heresy. And now that they’re listening to other heretics describe their own positions, rather than the strawmen erected by the Left’s info-edu-tainment complex, they’re finding out that the Left did them a favor by letting them know which side they’re on.

        Evan Sayet thought he’d have trouble getting along with those icky conservatives with whom he found common cause in fighting Islamist terror, but then a funny thing happened. It turns out that “conservatism” as defined by Leftist-dominated institutions isn’t what the actual people calling themselves “conservatives” believe in. People living in coastal elite bubbles only know the straw men, not the real people.

  58. The last paragraph of the essay is the key one, that explains the real motives of most of the statue smashers/hiders. They purposely started with the least sympathetic target, confederate history and patriotism, but their long term Marxist project is to smash all symbols of US history, all symbols of US patriotism, since they are already starting on Jefferson, Madison, and even Columbus, and make it all shameful and hidden. The Taliban and Marxists smash historical statues, Americans should not. I do not buy into the lost cause romanticism, the good parts of the southern cause, like states rights, and genuine military honor and courage, were tainted because it was done to preserve slavery. But we need to draw the line at historical preservation, even preserving the last sympathetic parts of US history, because we know if we allow destruction of confederate history, the leftists will not stop there, it will be open season on all US history, and the only US history that will be permitted is the Marxist Zinn version

    • Columbus was under attack two and a half decades ago, when the 500th anniversary of his voyage rolled around. My dad was quote upset by that. Myself, I’m ambivalent: on the one hand, the left likes attacking anything that has ever been held in honor in the West. On the other hand, even fairly laudatory material on him admits that he based his entire voyage on pseudoscience, and only managed not to get himself killed/mutinied against by stumbling across the Caribbean islands where he expected to find Japan.

  59. One of the things that ticks me off about the discussion of statues and flags and what’s “appropriate” or “hate” is that the scrutiny only seems to go in one direction. In a bizarre inversion of the ’50s “Red Scare,” anything with the slightest connection to the Confederacy or fascism is said to taint everyone associated, but it doesn’t work the other way. The left can fly red flags, display the hammer and sickle, wear Che t-shirts, and use communist-associated terms like “social justice,” and have their protest marches organized by explicitly communist groups, but anyone who points this out is a McCarthyite scaremonger committing “whataboutism.” San Francisco has things named after Harry Bridges, now known to have been in the employ of the USSR and in charge of sabotaging the West Coast ports should we have gone to war. But he was a labor leader, you see, so all that treason stuff gets swept under the rug.

    The double standard annoys the hell out of me, especially because by any objective measure of oppression and death, communism is a much greater danger than fascism. Fascism has had no intellectual respectability since 1945, but communism is taught in our universities. No fascist country exists, but communism is still killing and oppressing. And there are plenty of mainstream Democratic politicians with direct connections to communists and communist organizations, but the entire media narrative consists of finding connections between Republicans and the far right.

    Let’s have one set of standards for “associates with extremists” and apply it to both sides. If that happened, it would be clear that if there’s a set of extremists which is really a danger today, it’s not neo-Nazis, the KKK, or people waving Confederate flags.

    • This is why the situation is much worse than commonly perceived. Most regular folks reflexively assume that this phenomena is transient or fringe-driven, and that sanity will eventually return in due time. However, societal modeling suggests that this feature is indicative of a systemic change that reinforces toward greater divisiveness (behavioral discord/mistrust). At present, I see no historical or significant countervailing forces to reverse this trend (religious affiliation and nationalism are in decline). It’s not really about the confederate flag, statue destruction, or even one-sided hypocrisy; our society is gravely sick and it’s getting worse rapidly.

  60. A good example of the anti-reconcilation attitude can be seen at https://medium.com/@punkproletarian/the-confederate-collaboration-of-west-point-9588d3325718 , from the same Che-cheering gallows-bait West Pointer who’s been in the news for proclaiming “Communism will win” while in uniform. Decently reasoned too (though this essay is an effective counter-argument) if the reader can overlook the rank hypocrisy of complaining about racism & slavery while cheering for centamegadeath ideologies.

  61. @ESR

    Moldbug found serious sources claiming the revolt was not about slavery but for a far more common cause: two group of people who were different, hated each other, and competed for power.

    This is one of those sources: https://archive.org/details/serviceafloatwar00semmrich

    Semmes published it in 1869. I don’t think it was really possible to generate bullshit about it in 1869, he would have been laughed out. I must find it a fairly reliable source.

    Some choice quotes:

    “The dissimilarity between the people of the Northern, and
    the people of the Southern States has always been remarked
    upon, by observant foreigners, and it has not escaped the atten
    tion of our own historians. (…) Those
    who sought a new field of adventure for themselves, and afflu
    ence for their posterity, in the more congenial climate of the
    Chesapeake, were the gay, and dashing cavaliers, who, as a
    class, afterward adhered to the fortunes of the Charleses, whilst
    the first settlers of Massachusetts were composed of the same
    materials, that formed the ” Praise-God-Barebones ” parliament
    of Cromwell. These two peoples, seem to have had an instinctive repug
    nance, the one to the other.”

    “As had been anticipated by Patrick Henry, and others, the
    moment the new government went into operation, parties be
    gan to be formed, on sectional interests and sectional preju
    dices. The North wanted protection for her shipping, in the
    way of discriminating tonnage dues, and the South was op
    posed to such protection. The North wanted a bank, to facili
    tate their commercial operations ; the South was opposed to
    it. The North wanted protection for their manufactures, the
    South was opposed to it. There was no warrant, of course,
    for any of these schemes of protection in the Federal Constitu
    tion ; they were, on the contrary, subversive of the original
    design of that instrument. ”

    Export tariffs:

    “Under Federal legisla
    tion, the exports of the South have been the basis of the
    Federal revenue. * * * Virginia, the two Corolinas, and
    Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths, of the annual ex
    pense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great
    sum, annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing
    is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures.”

    Anyhow, the whole book is interesting. This is just scratching the surface.

    Slavery looks like a one reason in a long list of many.

    • Everything you need to know about Semmes is contained in the title page notice that he was lately an officer in the Confederate Navy. So, yes, generated bullshit of a very familiar kind, about as reliable as expecting honesty from a German general who served in WWII about its causes.

      It’s actually fairly likely that this was one of the books formative of the Lost Cause myth. The timing would be right.

      • he was lately an officer in the Confederate Navy.

        …and Lincoln was a corrupt railroad lawyer. Whee! It’s fun to dismiss sources without addressing what they actually have to say, isn’t it?

        The Confederate constitution forbade the confederate government from using taxes from one state to fund infrastructure building in another, but nah.. That couldn’t have been an actual complaint.

      • Wait… I would not dismiss Rommel’s memoir if he had lived. I would of course dismiss Göring’s. So it mostly depends on whether they look like honorable, apolitical professional soldiers or strongly NSDAP allied types. But then again the claims I quoted seem like independently verifiable. Not that I or you should do that sort of thing but I hope in the last 150 years it did occur to a honest historian to comb through Semmes’ work and fact-check it. It’s not hard to figure out the economic impact of export tariffs for example.

        • >Wait… I would not dismiss Rommel’s memoir if he had lived.

          I wouldn’t either.

          I think Rommel’s reputation was somewhat distorted in a positive direction after WWII; advocates for a Wehrmacht sufficient to meet the needs of the anti-Soviet alliance needed it to have a “good German” role model and made Rommel out to be more apolitical and less aligned with the Nazis than he actually was.

          Still…Rommel really did earn the respect of his enemies for fighting clean and treating Allied prisoners well, eventually did turn against Hitler, and was forced to suicide as a result of involvement in a plot to kill Hitler. He at least deserves to be remembered as a better man than most of his peers.

          See also: Hans von Luck, another impressively capable commander who also earned the respect of his wartime enemies and actually survived to write his memoirs.

          • I can’t find a source right now so perhaps it is apocryphal, but supposedly Rommel said about fighting the Americans in North Africa: “I never saw an army so badly trained, or one that learned so fast.” I love that quote.

            • >“I never saw an army so badly trained, or one that learned so fast.” I love that quote.

              That is good. Especially because other period sources support it as an accurate assessment.

  62. Eric, I owe you half an apology. I say “half” because responding to your top post has taken more intelligence and concentration than I generally have these days; I’ve been very busy and tired.

    That being said, your top post is, for the most part, an example of very clear and intelligent thinking. There are a couple issues I’ll argue with you below, but you’ve made an excellent start on a very plausible and reasonable Theory Of Why America Is So Damned Fucked Up.

    There are a couple minor issues I could nitpick. I’ll ignore them as unworthy in light of the essential intelligence of your writing here – imagine someone rejecting Einstein’s Theory of Relativity due to a spelling error if that helps. The major issues are another matter, and I think they stem from the fact that your ideas – which are new, at least for me – need some further extension and a moral focus. (I’m not accusing you of immorality here, merely noting that a moral focus is lacking in this particular work, which is your first attempt to deal with the issues you describe, and if you deliberately left out a discussion of the moral consequences of the reconciliation you describe, that’s a perfectly sound authorial decision as long as you revisit the moral issues at some point. Once again, your central thesis is awesomely intelligent.)

    To see the big moral issue, imagine the North and South as parents, and the Black people caught up in this “reconciliation” as children. From the standpoint of any rational observer of the “family drama” I’m proposing, the North and South both treat their “children” very poorly. The North is merely an abusive parent with some difficult issues. The South, by contrast, is actively an evil parent, the sort who deliberately and carefully acts to destroy the potential of their children. But the parents, who are fighting over many issues, including how the “children” are treated, are so extremely driven to reconcile that the needs of their children are mostly ignored.

    The South agrees to be “less evil” towards the children but for the most part merely changes tactics. (We go from slavery to Jim Crow, lynching, and prison labor.) The North actively tries to be good, but is still pretty dysfunctional and has substandard child rearing abilities. The “children” are definitely not getting the care they need and have trouble growing up. (I say “children” above not to diminish Black people, but to underline their helplessness and lack of authority in the face of the decisions you describe, and also to note that the “parental” decisions made it difficult for the “children” to grow up straight and strong.)

    The problem with our metaphor from a moral point of view is that the family seems deserving of sympathy. Unfortunately, in the real world, any conscious or unconscious decision to follow the particular path of “reconciliation” you describe is, at best, thoughtless to an appalling degree. At worst it is cynically flawed in a horrifically ugly fashion, a brutal cross between the trolley problem and Strange Fruit.

    The end result of the “reconciliation” is between 5 and 7 generations of Black people getting kicked in the teeth. North and South have literally reconciled in such a fashion that racism, slavery, Jim Crow, or even the urge to leave the past behind and make things better for Black people are often judged as outside the borders of civilized conversation. This characterization is perhaps a little exaggerated, but the bargain you describe literally has no escape clause for Black people. To insist that the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest be torn down is, in your words, to be “at best, engaged in a dangerous reopening of old wounds” or “threatening to inflict serious new ones.”

    One imagines a Black person saying, “How about if the founder of the KKK doesn’t get a statue?”

    And the White person in charge of enforcing reconciliation runs over and tackles the Black person screaming, “No! Stop! Be careful, you’re endangering all the White People!”

    I’m sorry if that’s too close to mockery, but this is what you’re describing. To phrase my first criticism a bit more carefully; this reconciliation you’re describing does not take place in a moral vacuum. Your idea that reconciliation involves some statue building and the North turning a blind eye to certain behaviors is very useful to the whole discussion, but you’re only half-way to the end of things.

    * * *

    The second problem is your well-known obsession with Communism. You completely lost me when you started discussing “Red Guards”

    Here’s a hint: If you’re truly anti-racism, (or just pro-clarity) you really need to consider the possibility that someone who complains about or protests against racism actually means what they say and is, in fact protesting against racism! When you go off about Red Guards and Communism it really weakens your writing on this subject, more or less as follows:

    PROTESTER: “I hate racism! I hate racism!”

    ERIC: “You’re not really anti-racist. You’re a commie!”

    PROTESTER: “Excuse me, but what about Tamir Rice? Fernando Castile? Dylan Roof? Redlining? Police Brutality? The noose some white asshole at work left on my desk? The manager who didn’t give a fuck? Isn’t Racism ugly enough to be worth protesting on its own?”

    ERIC: “Nope. Sorry. Your anti-racism protest is merely a symptom of the Grand Communist Conspiracy!”

    PROTESTER: “Oh, you’re one of those John Birch types.” (Protester takes a step back, waves her hand.) “How about you go over there with the other White People and I’ll stay here.”

    Essentially, you wrote twenty-two paragraphs. Your first nineteen paragraphs about reconciliation were brilliant. Your last three paragraphs about Commies made you look like a loon.

    • >North and South have literally reconciled in such a fashion that racism, slavery, Jim Crow, or even the urge to leave the past behind and make things better for Black people are often judged as outside the borders of civilized conversation.

      This claim is falsified by events. There was an actual civil rights movement after the reconciliation.

      The larger problem with your critique, however, is the tacit assumption that the blacks would have gotten better treatment without the great settlement. I don’t think they would have, and here’s why: while being a despised minority is miserable, being one in a region that is poor, wracked by insurgent warfare, and still dominated by people who blame you for their subjection and poverty is worse.

      Yeah, the way blacks were treated in the postwar South was bad. It could have been far nastier, as Southerners far more angry with the North took out their resentment on the target they could reach, and whom they could cast as the actual authors of their misfortune. Instead of lynchings, pogroms.

      Conversely, I don’t think there’s much doubt that if the South had reintegrated and grown wealthier more quickly than they did, a reckoning of past sins towards the blacks would have come sooner. In fact we don’t have to guess about this; we can see in the record that the harsh phase of Reconstruction under the Radical Republicans empowered the white-supremacist Redeemer movement as the earlier, gentler policy up to mid-1867 had not.

      >you really need to consider the possibility that someone who complains about or protests against racism actually means what they say

      In fact, I do exactly that. And what I hear is: “NO TRUMP! NO WALL! NO USA AT ALL!” And what I see is the Soviet flag front and center.

      No USA at all; today’s “anti-racists” of the left, marching under the banner of the most evil tyranny in history, with justice as the pretext and Red-Guardism as the actual agenda. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

      It’s you, mister gullible no-enemy-to-the-left, who aren’t paying attention.

      • I’ll take this bit-by-bit.

        This claim is falsified by events. There was an actual civil rights movement after the reconciliation.

        Definitely, with periods of varying activity/inactivity. What I probably should have written was “judged by White people as outside the borders of civilized conversation.” I think that would agree much more with the historical record and with your ideas about reconciliation.

        I recently read a sentence that read something like “Any racist can come up with a good reason about why Black people shouldn’t protest.” But after reading your top-post I’m beginning to wonder if that’s only surface-level truth. Perhaps a truer phrasing would be “Anyone who believes that North/South reconciliation is still a major issue can come up with a reason why Black people shouldn’t protest.” At that point is isn’t a matter of racism so much as an acknowledgement of the major national trauma of the Civil War, which is clearly still with us today.

        The problem with this whole construct is that at some point it becomes necessary to say, “We have reconciled sufficiently. Now it is time to deal with the other moral issues which are on our plate, that is, to make sure that Black people can know the promise of America in the same fashion as White people.

        The larger problem with your critique, however, is the tacit assumption that the blacks would have gotten better treatment without the great settlement. I don’t think they would have, and here’s why: while being a despised minority is miserable, being one in a region that is poor, wracked by insurgent warfare, and still dominated by people who blame you for their subjection and poverty is worse.

        You’re at least half-right. If the alternative is either regular or guerrilla warfare, forms of social order which we would ordinarily reject are indeed preferable, even for the people who are fairly far down in the new hierarchy which develops. On the other hand, the KKK practiced guerrilla warfare anyway, they just did it at night, only to Black people, and only to that subset of Black people who championed the right to vote, own property, hold government jobs, retain wealth, etc.

        Did we avoid a larger guerrilla war? A guerrilla war that involved White people or White wealth being damaged? Did we avoid a major troop call-up? We certainly did. Was it worth the cost in terms of North-South reconciliation? Mutter. Mutter. Maybe so.

        On the other hand, the continued cries of “Sorry, you can’t have justice yet! We’re not done reconciling!” begin to sound like major bullshit after 150 years. I might have bought that argument in 1920, but in 2017 it’s pure crap, barely worth the breath to reject the idea.

        Aside: I like the phrase “great settlement.” It sums up your ideas in a short phrase.

        Conversely, I don’t think there’s much doubt that if the South had reintegrated and grown wealthier more quickly than they did, a reckoning of past sins towards the blacks would have come sooner. In fact we don’t have to guess about this; we can see in the record that the harsh phase of Reconstruction under the Radical Republicans empowered the white-supremacist Redeemer movement as the earlier, gentler policy up to mid-1867 had not.

        I agree completely that poverty in the South was and is a major issue where racism is concerned. Your paragraph above is exactly right. Essentially, we don’t disagree much about the issues above, except perhaps the issue of whether Black people should be protesting right now.

        That being said, I don’t see our current racism as being related much to reconciliation. I think we were largely done with that after World War II, with the policy of putting people from different regions into the same unit really paying off in terms of North/South cohesion. (Notice that the urban/rural divide in increasing as the WWII generation is dying off.)

        The current racism is motivated by propaganda aimed at scared, older White people (no, a group of enraged, coked up Black men are not going to kick down you door and rape your wife and children,*) propaganda aimed at younger white people (no, a Black person is not going to take your job. You and the Black person will both get jobs when the economy improves,) and what I call the Nazi Disease; people who are so frightened that they might be less popular than a welfare mother that they’re willing to start fights over the whole issue. (Enjoy life, get an education, and let the welfare mother take care of herself.)

        Essentially, there’s a group of White grifters pushing the narratives above who really need to be excised from our national dialogue.

        As to your issues with Communism, I think that requires another post, so I’ll leave it there for now.

        * You’ve probably got a better chance of being struck by lightning.

        • >On the other hand, the continued cries of “Sorry, you can’t have justice yet! We’re not done reconciling!”

          I don’t take that position, and I don’t think anyone else does either.

          I think black people benefited, on net, from the great settlement – by avoiding political conditions that would have been worse for them. I think their activists should recognize that by not trying to trash its symbols – which include statues of Confederate generals.

          >The current racism

          Sigh…what current racism, exactly? We live in a country that elected a black president twice, once after he demonstrated amply that we was a disaster and a disgrace. It’s not 1950 any more; a very large majority of whites, even rural working-class whites, deny being racists and when you ask them specific questions about race issues their answers are congruent with that denial.

          I remember mass popular racism, I do. I know what that climate was like, I was there, and there were two or three times I spoke pretty damn sharply to white acquaintances about their attitudes. The last time I had to do that was in…hmmm. 1983 or 1984, I think. Today actual racism – as opposed to classism that happens to include the black poor – seems to be confined to a tiny fringe of toxic haters with almost no ability to influence American political life.

          • The whole issue is a form of magical thinking: that a hunk of bronze, erected 100 years ago in the form of a man dead 50 years before that, emanates some sort of racism rays based on who the statue represents and the thought processes of the people who put it up. It could be a statue of Buddha or Mickey Mouse or Cthulhu for all the real-world, measurable influence it has on the residents of a city, much less “all black people.”

            It’s absurd on its face: removing it saves no lives, creates no jobs, and cures no injustice. It’s pure symbolism that profits no one except “activists,” who will immediately move on to the next symbol to target. Anyone else who says their quality of life depends on whether a statue is removed is lying, deluded, looking for an external excuse for their unhappy situation, or some combination.

            And all this is coming from the same people who insist that a dude with a dick is “really” a woman, because gender is just a social construct. Well, why don’t you just reclassify an old statue into a new and better “social construct,” such as “An example of America’s racist past,” leave it the fuck alone, and go work on a real problem?

            (Sorry for the rant, but I’m tired of the endless non-issues that leftists use to agitate and divide.)

          • There’s a quite interesting phenomenon happening now in South Africa where racism is making quite a comeback. Both black racism and white racism.

            General mismanagement by political leaders and high crime leads to a perception of “black people are incompetent” among some, and combined with the anti-white propaganda spouted by some(EFF’s “KILL THE BOER”), means that reconciliation and redistribution has deteriorated as people ask why they should give money to people who hate them.

            Now black racism is quite apparent: Black Economic Empowerment and discriminatory (justified or not) selection are all examples of racism, combined with popular groups like the EFF (who are actual commies), who espouse the lynching of white people, and the rich blacks also being slightly exclusionary. In addition to that due to apartheid there is a (possibly rightful) backlash against all white things, and it’s no longer politically correct to complement things like Afrikaans and the like.

            Now the first, white racism is empowering the black racism, and black racism is empowering the white racism, and thus divides are opening up here. Race relation are at an all time low, here.

            And it’s only worsening because of the shit in America.
            Because the politicians there are opening the issue, and because American media is broadcast widely here, all the division there is getting duplicated here, worsening an already bad situation.

            Anyway, tangent discussion, just to provide a slightly more global view of the effects of American political issues.

            My two cents on the issue: If you tell people they’re racist, they will become racist. If you allow racism, people will be racist. And that’s what happening today in both South Africa and America.

            • >reconciliation and redistribution has deteriorated as people ask why they should give money to people who hate them.

              I’m put in mind of Robert Putnam’s discovery that diversity erodes social trust.

              Two of the principal forces at work in left ideology today are redistributionism and identity politics. Putnam explains why they necessarily conflict. Popular support for redistributionism is only sustained by high social trust – crudely put, nobody wants to give money to perceived enemies. But social trust is eroded by identity politics.

              • @esr
                “I’m put in mind of Robert Putnam’s discovery that diversity erodes social trust.”

                That used to be “diversity” as in Italians, Irish, Germans, Eastern Europeans, Jews. Name any ethnic group outside of the English, and it was once considered a threat to the unity and safety of the USA.

                This is of all times and all people. Longing for the good old days when we were all of one people is false. “We” never were one people. We only have forgotten how many groups have been absorbed.

                • >That used to be “diversity” as in Italians, Irish, Germans, Eastern Europeans, Jews. Name any ethnic group outside of the English, and it was once considered a threat to the unity and safety of the USA.

                  Right, and what happened? The perceived threat vanished as they assimilated. Furthermore, the U.S.’s last fully successful assimilation – that of the Italians immediately after WWII – took place before inter-ethnic transfer payments became in issue.

                  Back when our assimilation machine worked better, we had a national ideology that pulled immigrants towards an American cultural consensus, and no transfer payments. The effect was a net increase in social trust over time. Things are different now; half of our elites want immigrants not to assimilate so they can be vote-farmed as manipulable ethnic blocks, and are willing to perpetually escalate transfer payments to keep them poor and dependent. Consequently, social trust is falling.

                  Fortunately, with the single exception of blacks involved in the internal immigration to our cities, immigrant groups generally aren’t playing along. Hispanics, in particular, are losing their ethic marking and politically dissolving into the mainstream. So are Asians.

      • “And what I hear is: “NO TRUMP! NO WALL! NO USA AT ALL!” ”

        Well, consider someone looking into Free Software/Linux/BSDs in 1999, give or take. They could enjoy the red-eyed denizens of Slashdot (was there a Slashdot already?) and countless forums and mailing lists bashing each other over distros then temporarily joining forces to bash Microsoft and all its users. There would be a fair but of “GUIs suck because they suck”. These would not even just be the marginal “lusers”; some pretty powerful developers were engaged in that stuff.

        This was the loudest face of the community – and something you actively worked to change, to a degree. But this was never the entire story.

        The “NO USA AT ALL” crown is a rough equivalent. Loud, not very wise even when clever, and not even really the majority.

        Yes, Microsoft did provoke the red-eye crowd, but also the US governments and their successive wars have provoked the no-USA crowd. I can sort of get their point – if Clinton/Gore invades Yugoslavia, Bush defeats Gore then invades Iraq, Obama comes in explicitly promising to stop that and ends up invading Libya, then Trump comes in explicitly promising no more regime change and ends up bombing Syria, one can get a bit disillusioned with the system, can’t one?

        • >The “NO USA AT ALL” crown is a rough equivalent. Loud, not very wise even when clever, and not even really the majority.

          If there’s a majority of non-Communist “anti-fascists”, the central, damning fact about them is that they’re not disassociating themselves from Communists. Which are not morally equivalent to Reddit/Slashdot loudmouths, being – not to put too fine a point on it – genocidal totalitarians.

          • “No USA at all” does not actually equal Leninism. SJWism in general does not equal Leninism either; I’ve read enough Lenin in the original Russian to know the difference. Basically, Leninism believes in a strict objective economic class system, based solely on control of means of production; it has some leeway to include race and sex, but definitely not the other minorities SJWs are talking about. Besides, the USSR was pretty conservative socially (as is natural for a centrally controlled society).

            Wanting to disband the USA and/or wanting to impose a sort of calculated reverse oppression (which seems to be the SJW point) is simply not the same ideology as Stalin.

            I am *not* saying they are right, only that they are different from a particular ideological system that I happen to know (by means of growing up under its last years and learning stuff in order to debate it; in my teenage years I’ve been reading more Lenin than your average loyal Communist).

            • >“No USA at all” does not actually equal Leninism. SJWism in general does not equal Leninism either;

              Excuse me, but who cares? The Soviets didn’t. The aim of their subversion in the U.S. was not to produce Communists with theoretically perfect doctrine, it was to weaken and destroy the U.S. – specifically by eroding the cultural foundations of American liberty. Time enough to get everyone singing from the approved hymnal after the takeover, to their way of thinking.

              The SJWs and the “NO USA AT ALL!” antifa are continuing to execute that program with a degree of zeal and cunning that would gladden Antonio Gramsci’s heart.

              • Well, this is outright McCarthyism here, the Charlie Chaplin story and all, but I guess that has a right to exist too.

                However – news flash. The USSR does not exist any longer. There is the #RussiansDidIt rap sheet which sounds like a very bad copy of McCarthyism, but that one, funnily, is sung on the same side of the political divide as the SJWs.

                So even if they are doing the same thing that (allegedly) Soviet agents were doing, there is no more Soviet agent behind them. And therefore, unless their OWN ideology is genocidal totalitarianism, they are not at present genocidal totalitarians, even though perhaps they philosophically descend from someone who were in their own time backed by totalitarians.

                Let us suppose that, as you are saying, they are continuing a program that was at one time Soviet-backed. The American revolutionaries were backed, from a certain stage openly backed, by the forces of a megalomaniac French king who wanted to weaken the British Empire – does this have any bearing on the evaluation of their merits?

                If the SJWs are genocidal totalitarians just because of that past backing, then American patriots are followers of Louis XVI. You might respond, of course, that revolutionary ideas coming from America literally killed Louis XVI. Well, this part has happened, too. “Flower child” cultural stuff played a significant role in the demise of the USSR.

                …unless perhaps you think Red China is behind them now. But if you think China is seriously up to no good you’ve got some issues with the source of your hardware. And North Korea and Cuba are simply not up to the task.

                I don’t have any more love for the late USSR than you do (unless we discuss World War II), but seriously judging the ideas people who were not even born when the USSR was over by the degree of Soviet backing for their predecessors does not sound in any way rational.

                Which does NOT mean the SJWs are right. It means they are wrong on their own merits alone and should not be conflated with genocidal totalitarians, unless they ARE ones. Some of them actually might be, the “decolonization” stuff can sound pretty dangerous on its own. That, not the ghost of Brezhnev past.

                • >Some of them actually might be [genocidal totalitarians], the “decolonization” stuff can sound pretty dangerous on its own. That, not the ghost of Brezhnev past.

                  What makes you think the decolonization stuff is not the ghost of Brezhnev past?

                  From where I sit, it looks like the American left is possessed by self-replicating Soviet memetic weapons launched during the Cold War, propaganda so effectively crafted that it survived the demise of its makers.

                  The reason I believe this is the rather perfect continuity between the premises of the left today and the lies Department V crafted for them before the Empire fell. Every theme of Soviet dezinformatsiya has become naturalized. The Soviet flag is brandished on our streets – they chant “NO USA AT ALL!” and they mean it. What is this but the old struggle against the Main Enemy lurching onwards?

                  The reason the parallel with the American Revolution fails is that Americans didn’t regurgitate French Royalist propaganda decades after 1789 took down the ancien regime.

    • The problem with a LOT of your analysis is that the worst problems in the African American communities are not 5 to 7 generations old, but 2 to 3. Latinos have the same set of problems, but from a different cause.

      Things for African Americans were bad in the early 1960s. Let me quote from: https://www.city-journal.org/html/black-family-40-years-lies-12872.html:

      … Between the 1954 Brown decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legal racism had been dismantled. And the economy was humming along; in the first five years of the sixties, the economy generated 7 million jobs.

      Yet those most familiar with what was called “the Negro problem” were getting nervous. About half of all blacks had moved into the middle class by the mid-sixties, but now progress seemed to be stalling. The rise in black income relative to that of whites, steady throughout the fifties, was sputtering to a halt. More blacks were out of work in 1964 than in 1954. Most alarming, after rioting in Harlem and Paterson, New Jersey, in 1964, the problems of the northern ghettos suddenly seemed more intractable than those of the George Wallace South.

      One of the things that Moynihan noticed was that the African American out-of-wedlock birth rate was around 25%. He blamed that on the pervasive effects of Jim Crow laws and Slavery. But it was as common in the north (where there had been little slavery and no, or little to no Jim Crow like legislation). Also I’ve seen sources that indicated out of wedlock births were lower in the black community in the 1920s and 30s.

      Let’s go on:
      But Moynihan went much further than merely overthrowing familiar explanations about the cause of poverty. He also described, through pages of disquieting charts and graphs, the emergence of a “tangle of pathology,” including delinquency, joblessness, school failure, crime, and fatherlessness that characterized ghetto—or what would come to be called underclass—behavior. …But as both a descendant and a scholar of what he called “the wild Irish slums”—he had written a chapter on the poor Irish in the classic Beyond the Melting Pot—the assistant secretary of labor was no stranger to ghetto self-destruction. He knew the dangers it posed to “the basic socializing unit” of the family. And he suspected that the risks were magnified in the case of blacks, since their “matriarchal” family had the effect of abandoning men, leaving them adrift and “alienated.”

      At the time that the AA community was at 25% out of wedlock births the white community it was..can’t find it…around 5% IIRC.

      Today the white community is about 25%, and the AA community is north of 70%.

      Today we’re seeing some of the same pathologies in those white communities that we saw in the AA communities 40 years ago, and have but gotten worse.

      Thassracist.

      … By that summer, the Moynihan report that was its inspiration was under attack from all sides. Civil servants in the “permanent government” at Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) and at the Children’s Bureau muttered about the report’s “subtle racism.” Academics picked apart its statistics. Black leaders like Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) director Floyd McKissick scolded that, rather than the family, “[i]t’s the damn system that needs changing.”

      He was right, the system needed changing. Just not in the direction he wanted it to go.

      Fascist should be punched in the face.

      Socialists should be bent over and shot in the back of the head.

  63. Right-wing and centrist Yankees lack the power (political or otherwise) and the will (political or otherwise) to check SJWs (including the commies, feminists, BLM, and illegals) while maintaining the Yankee-centric status quo…let alone roll back American law and culture (immigration law, family law, soft-segregation, military-industrial complex, welfare) to a point when they were sustainable.

    White Americans as a collective have the power to do it…but not the will.

    So the USA is going to continue its unsustainable policies and inevitably disintegrate. Hispanics, blacks, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Muslims, and so on do not care one iota about the compromises Yankees made to reinvest Southerners in the USA. Why would they?

    Yankees were poor stewards of their empire. /shrug

  64. Pingback: The corpse of the narrative. | Dark Brightness

  65. One thing that has changed in recent decades is that there are more southerners that are sick of the fetishization of the Confederacy and its leaders. This is not all outside agitation. Many of my ancestors owned slaves. One of my great-great-grandfathers is buried in a mass grave of Confederate soldiers in Gordonsville, VA. His family actually did not own slaves. He, like so many other Confederate soldiers was fighting to defend his homeland, not slavery, and I have no problem with memorials to the common soldier. But, it is a clear fact, although denied by many, that the Confederacy was formed to preserve slavery of blacks. Read the declarations of secession, read the Confederate constitution. Slavery is what the Confederacy and its leaders stood for and the only state right they were willing to secede for. The continued presence of monuments to Davis, Lee, and other leaders, as well as other Confederate symbols like that damned battle flag, is a stain on the south announcing “we’re ignorant or racist” to the world. When more of the south finally “grows up” and moves on, the monuments to the leaders WILL come down. Until then, let them stand, as a warning of what lurks beneath the surface.

    • But, it is a clear fact, although denied by many, that the Confederacy was formed to preserve slavery of blacks. Read the declarations of secession, read the Confederate constitution. Slavery is what the Confederacy and its leaders stood for and the only state right they were willing to secede for.

      No, and I am not sure how South Carolina’s secession document could possibly have been more clear. They cited Constitutional violations by Northern states. They cited the refusal of Northern states to enforce the Federal law. Technicalities matter.

      Having said that. Yes, obviously, the South meant to preserve slavery. They were very clear on this. So what?

      Sure, slavery is evil. So what? The existence of evil does not justify conquest. Are Yankees going to conquer the Muslims? The Norks? Any remaining godforsaken African tribes? And if evil does justify conquest…well, live by the sword, die by the sword. Yankees have enshrined abortion. Dutch atheists have enshrined euthanasia. The British government provides aid and comfort to the Islamo-Indian occupiers who are even now operating sex slave rings.

      It was very easy for Yankee proto-progressives to denounce the evil of slavery when it served the goal of political domination over Southerners, especially when they didn’t anticipate themselves or their children having to live near large quantities of blacks. And it was very easy for Southerners to defend slavery when they had benefit of hundreds of years of experience living and working in close proximity to blacks. Even Southerners opposed to slavery would not have been so mad as to demand its immediate abolition.

      When more of the south finally “grows up” and moves on, the monuments to the leaders WILL come down.

      It’s a bit too late for that now. The rise of social media and the collapse of Fake News has made it impossible to cover up black dysfunction, and the moral/political structure of the Left makes it absolutely impossible for them to suppress, check, or even slow down rampaging non-white identity politics. Give it another 50 years and it will be common knowledge, certainly among non-Southerners, that even though slavery was morally wrong, the Southern defense of slavery was perfectly understandable, even laudable. Heck, by that time the Great Migration may well be in full reversal.

      The very same generation that was horrified by the “racism” of its grandparents is going to be even more horrified by the “racism” of its children and grandchildren.

      I’m a non-Southern millenial.

      • The existence of evil does not justify conquest.

        Sure it does.

        Are Yankees going to conquer the Muslims? The Norks? Any remaining godforsaken African tribes?

        Probably not. Just because something is justified doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, let alone that it’s mandatory.

  66. “…revisionism about tariffs or troop callups.”

    It isn’t revisionism, so you don’t have any revisionism to buy on that count. If you insist on the fantasy, that’s your right, however.

  67. But when you’re making the sort of sweeping indictments troutwaxer is doing you’re either lying, or you’re too stupid to use the internet.

    The third and very common option is that “politics is the mind-killer.” See Jonathan Haidt for how our values and emotions control our political views.

    • The learning curve for this sort of thing is more in the direction of Yudkowsky-Alexander-Hanson then NRx. Haidt did make a case of the emotional dogging wagging its rational tail but the whole mind-killer concept as such is in this direction.

  68. Pingback: The most regrettable XKCD Cartoon. | Fuzzy little things that I find interesting.

  69. In current political science discourse, one of the key elements of being a state is having autonomy over a controlled area. Being a party to treaties is fully acceptable as long as membership can be withdrawn. So by current definitions, the States aren’t states.

    It would be interesting to know how that meaning developed. Because it could be that the meaning of the word used in the Constitution by definition provides for the ability to secede.

  70. ” Thus, I’m in favor of letting Southerners keep their statues and their myths. We should let Southern heroes remain American heroes”

    I never expected to suggest the presence of this kind of error to this kind of person. But you seem to have an undefined entity right here. “We”.

    Who are “we”? The yankees/”bicoastal elites”/whoever? Okay, fair enough. Except that are those who demonstrate against statues locally and those who actually tear some down even a part of this “we”? Yes there’s loads of noise and more by those in, say, Berkeley. But how can whatever they might do in Berkeley (up to and including tearing the entire place down) impose anything on people in Durham or Charlottesville?

    “We” as in the entire body of Americans? I must have missed the proposal for a Federal law banning Confederate statues. Also, would it not be unconstitutional on its face, hello 10th Amendment, followed by the 1st? So the entire body of Americans, represented by Congress, is simply not engaged in the issue.

    The local (as in, at least in-state) lefties and black activists seem to be key in the actual noise (and sometimes more than noise). And they don’t exactly seem to form a “we” with you, except the aforementioned entire body of Americans.

    I would personally prefer local referenda on any particular statues, though “define local” is an interesting exercise (city? what kind of borders?) But in any event this (as in actual statues, not theories of subversion) is primarily a local issue, isn’t it? There might be traveling Antifa bands but are they really that big in this?

    • You are misreading the essence of the statue destruction issue. It’s not really about the legality or ethics of destroying Confederate symbology (and by extension, expressing disapproval of long-abolished legal slavery). The Antifa Movement is the van of an emerging tyranny. Think 1917 and the rise of the Bolsheviks. If you keep your focus solely on the crisis de jour, you’ll not see the knife being positioned at your throat.

      • The big difference between your analysis and mine appears to be factual, and thus could be resolved by a neutral observer on the ground locally. I will try to get something through a connection in Durham but no promises. I have none in Charlottesville.

        It seems to me that the moves regarding the statues are principally local and the US-wide Antifa basically latch onto them. You are, as I understand, saying that Antifa are the driver. These are different readings of the facts, which naturally merit different interpretations.

        I know pretty much about 1917, I’m originally from Russia. The Bolsheviks were entirely opportunistic. A year before that they were a very small entity. Incompetence of the Tsar’s government combined with ambitions of the Duma (parliament) led to a breakdown starting in February 1917. when the Tsar was basically forced to abdicate. The breakdown increased in the months after that and the Bolsheviks seized their chance. They were not actually the main force behind the breakdown, they just rode it.

        • >You are, as I understand, saying that Antifa are the driver.

          It’s not quite that simple. The organizations behind Antifa are Communist (mainly Trotskyite); this is why the hammer and sickle flag flies at their demonstrations. These people lots of doctrine and experience equipping them for entryist tactics.

          The statue protests doubtless started out local, and some of them might still start out locally, but they don’t stay that way. Communists are extremely good at co-opting this kind of street-level activity to the point where they end up owning it. During the process you see a steadily increasing level of Communist imagery and slogans; at the late stage, which Antifa has reached but not all the local statue-smashers have yet, the Soviet flag comes out.

          • I have no sympathy for the entryists. However, I don’t think telling local activists to shut up and agree with the “old consensus” just because of the entryists is either realistic or justified. The entryists are indeed often Communists; the local activists, however, have legitimate reasons not necessarily linked to anything legitimately Communist.

            This is nothing new; it is how Marxism originally started. The conditions of workers in the 19th century were often deplorable. Karl Marx thought up a philosophical and economic theory, linked it skilfully with the actual conditions, and a movement successfully got off the ground. Marxism is wrong – but the conditions were real.

            Would it make any sense to tell people in the late 19th century fighting for limitations of long working days and of child labor that they should instead tolerate it all to avoid giving food to the Marxists?

            Would it make any real sense to tell people in the 1930s that they should be happy with their economic misery because protest helps Communism? At that time the Reds were actually killing and imprisoning people.

            And, well, did actual historical McCarthyism make sense?

            I would posit that local issues should be resolved on their own merits, not just conceded to one side because nasty entryists use the other. And in this conflict, nasty entryists exist on both sides anyway.

            In a larger-scale context this looks familiar, too. There are many conflicts where a side, or more than one side, starts out with actual grievances and then entryists come in to ride the wave. This can arguably be said for both sides of the actual civil war in Ukraine, for example. (I have some civilian connections in the Donbass and I know that, whatever some Western media might claim, the situation there started with real grievances mainly linked to language issues).

    • >“We” as in the entire body of Americans? I must have missed the proposal for a Federal law banning Confederate statues.

      The entire body of Americans is what I meant. More changes (and decisions not to change) are achieved by social consensus than by law. Had I intended to either impose or oppose a law I would have said “the government” in place of ‘we’.

      • I would question whether any meaningful social consensus, one way or the other, can exist on this issue throughout such a huge nation. It never really existed – there was a semblance of consensus before the 1960s because many voices were marginalized (not just Blacks but also the vast area that was marked as “Communists” and included even Charlie Chaplin). Right now, unless one marginalizes another set of voices, I suggest there won’t be a consensus. And “marginalizing another set of voices” is what radical SJWs want. So my suggestion is that any reasonable pro-liberty viewpoint (with all the attendant debate on details of what liberty is) has to start by acknowledging a consensus won’t happen.

        Any decisions on statues and such, if they are to be taken at all, realistically have to be taken no higher than state level. Funnily, while I sympathize with those who want to take the statues down (provided, very importantly, that they are local, not Antifa “carpetbagging” chancers), I’m basically making a states’ rights argument here. You can’t have uniformity and it’s quite possible that different localities might come to different conclusions.

        Also, federalism in general might be a good tool to contain, if not counteract, the “Red Guards” you are talking about. Why not let Berkeley be Berkeley and let Houston be Houston? Speaking of Houston this won’t work for a hurricane, but thankfully, even the worst violent SJWs are nowhere close to dealing this level of damage.

        In the meantime, those Left-leaning might actually migrate towards the states with the attendant views and vice versa. Thus increasing local cohesion and reducing the chance of large-scale violence. What’s not to like? I know some examples personally – while I live in Ireland I have US friends.

        Speaking of federalism and consensus: a part of Civil War history that Southerners tend to overlook is how the South tried to impose its views on the North. There were different forms of (white) consensus North and South and honestly most of them were content to see what they want immediately around them; the abolitionists were a small minority. This would have continued except for the Fugitive Slave Law, with the attendant thugs grabbing people on Northern streets – so the Northern consensus was being broken before the eyes of (white) Northerners. Then this was rubbed in by the SCOTUS proclaiming there’s a Federal citizenship and some people arbitrarily can not have it even if a state lets them.

        Without all this, there would have been no president Lincoln. So states’ rights, my donkey. When you grow a monster (big Feds) for your own purposes and then the monster threatens to turn against you and you try to flee… sounds like a typical idiot ball in a horror movie, except there were no horror movies in 1860; I wonder if the trope already existed in fiction.

        Just another case of when local things would have been best off kept local. Yup, and let some slaves escape North. Being VERY cynical here: it would mean the troublemakers and risk-takers escape, while the docile ones stay; also, good masters keep more slaves and so there is an incentive to treat slaves well. The Underground Railroad was arguably making Southern slavery stronger in the end. But no, the Southern “elites” wanted the entire country to dance to their tune…

        • The people responsible for slavery in the Confederate States have been dead for generations now. Trying to impose that guilt on modern individuals is an act of overt aggression not unlike the imposition of slavery itself. If this pattern of behavior is permitted to grow unchecked, the endpoint is something like the tens of millions of innocents that Stalin killed in his purges and Gulag. You think you’re playing a clever game. But underestimating America resolve is not just a weakness, it’s a death wish.

          • “The people responsible for slavery in the Confederate States have been dead for generations now.”

            There are still many admirers who would like to perform some kind of ethnic cleansing (send them back to Africa) or apartheid. And some even would like to reinstall chattel slavery.

            “the endpoint is something like the tens of millions of innocents that Stalin killed in his purges and Gulag.”

            Ethnic cleansing and apartheid are mass murderers too (e.g., the Rohingua crisis in Myanmar).

            However, posing a link between pulling down statues and concentration camps is idiotic. Concentration camps tend to follow (civil) wars and violent revolutions, not culture clashes over historical statues. (e.g., the Boer war, the Russian revolution, WWI and civil war in Germany, WWII and civil war in China and Korea, war in Cambodia, etc)

        • “When you grow a monster (big Feds) for your own purposes and then the monster threatens to turn against you and you try to flee… … I wonder if the trope already existed in fiction.”

          Frankenstein’s monster.

          • Yup, my bad! I thought that was late 19th century, but now I see it’s 1818. So a comparison to the original Frankenstein’s monster is not anachronistic. Thanks.

  71. @ Winter – “There are still many admirers who would like to perform some kind of ethnic cleansing”

    Their numbers are small and they are broadly opposed by the vast majority of Americans of all political stripes. Even the alt-right (which likely favors a voluntary neighborhood-based apartheid of some sort) is not advocating overt harm or forced expulsion. They are US citizens after all. Antifa on-the-other-hand is highly organized, well funded, has a central command structure, and adheres to the Communist doctrine of extreme ruthlessness to intimidate any opposition. They are also actively working to abrogate the First and Second Amendments to our Constitution. A radical right-wing movement, such as you fear, is more likely to arise in your neck of the woods (particularly Germany).

    The USA is the archetypal example of a melting pot, but that process only works when the rate of entry of newcomers is such that assimilation can occur and form a common American identity. My guess is that you will see the light shortly after Sharia Law is voted into practice in the Netherlands. Good luck with that.

    • @TomA
      “Even the alt-right (which likely favors a voluntary neighborhood-based apartheid of some sort) is not advocating overt harm or forced expulsion.”

      I very much doubt the “voluntary” part of this sentence. Segregation has never been “voluntary”.

      Also, the protesters in Charlottesville were very loudly yelling that they wanted all blacks deported to Africa. The numbers recruited by “antifa” and the alt-right in this demonstration were not much different. So, if the antifa is a danger to the US, the alt-right is too.

      And about the small numbers that wish blacks harm. This let me pause:
      Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s [South Carolina] voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-supporters-for-intolerance.html

      That is not a vanishing fraction that currently think chattel slavery is an acceptable policy option with regard to black Americans.

      • I very much doubt the “voluntary” part of this sentence. Segregation has never been “voluntary”.

        Simulations with cellular automata that implemented the following program:
        – red, green, blue “families”
        – families selected to move from place to place at random
        – only selection criterion for the destination home was “at least one family nearby of the same color”

        tended to produce neighborhoods of mostly a single color. That is, you’re making stuff up again.

      • Well the whole deteriotating race relations is a natural consequence of the *heavy* focus on race the past decade, and some of the racist policies meant to increase diversity. And the quite racist rhetoric by some on the left. And the whole thing that political correctness dictates that you portray Western history in a negative light. And the whole insulting of all rural people thing. Deplorables is such a nice term, is it not?

      • In the 16th & 17th Centuries, the Dutch (and Swedes) were some of the best fighters on the planet and routinely defeated larger armies from Spain, France, and central Europe. What happened? How did you lose this spirit? Will you just standby and let your country be overwhelmed by peoples that do not share your historical values and beliefs?

  72. > The South revolted to defend the indefensible of chattel slavery

    > Robert E. Lee … his opposition to … black freedmen

    Incorrect.

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/politics/north-v-south-revising-history/

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/rule-of-law/do-states-in-usa-have-a-right-to-leave/

    Armstrong has original copies of the historical newspapers and other documents and artifacts going back 1000s of years.

    • >Incorrect.

      We have standards here. In future, if you’re going to post links to a tendentious fake-history site, please make sure it’s at least coherent and more than semi-literate first. That wasn’t even competent propaganda.

      • Thank you for publishing the counter argument. But it’s not a sufficient ongoing condition to continue to rely on you to do that because…

        It’s a shame for a man of your apparent intellect to be guided by ideological biases instead of objective sources. It’s impossible to get objective information on your walled garden Mr. “open” source. We’ll scrape your public data to a blockchain and open discourse to everyone who has something to say and hopefully crowd source more data. Curation can be decentralized, so your audience may choose you as the curator of their filters if they so desire.

        Honestly I don’t currently have an objective source for the necessary data to know whether most of the Confederate soldiers were plantation owners. Do you?

        And I don’t trust revisionists sources controlled by the Zionist media of present or yore.

        I was born in New Orleans so I’m offended by your accusations of Southerners, although my recollection growing up there’s some truth to the romanticism theme. From my perspective, the overriding theme is States’ rights, we had a culture that we wanted to protect and we viewed ourselves as culturally and ideological distinct from “city slickers” who we perceived to have sold their soul for bright lights, money, and hedonism amongst other corrupted values. We felt others were interferring and trying to eradicate our culture. I agree that the “blacks are inferior” attitude was still a pervasive (but rapidly waning) part of that culture as late as the 1960s and early 1970s, yet even my grandmother who had that attitude was vindicated when a black man followed my female cousin home from the French Quarter to Metairie and mugged her on our front porch right which I was watching through the window. Because of my liberal mother and genius IQ stepfather, I attended all black public schools in Baton Rouge in the poorest neighborhoods wherein my sister and I were the only two white students in the entire elementary school. That forced integration stunted my education, because all they did was throw spit balls and kick the (afair mostly white) teachers out of the classrooms.

        Secondly, when Armstrong has been challenged in the past, he has been able to produce original copies of artifacts because he claims to have spent an inflation-adjusted ~$billion on collecting historical artifacts. For example, he claims to have spent $10 million in the 1970s and 1980s collecting Roman era silver coinage so that he was able to construct the first and only accurate chart of the debasement of silver during the Western Roman empire.

        I want to know the truth about this and my mind is open, but I’m not getting the necessary raw data from your exposition. I presume we both agree that claim is not proof. Where is your data? And how do I know your data hasn’t been curated and inculcated by the Zionists? (Zionists != all Jews)

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