Where are the Republicans?

Phil Leigh’s Civil War Chat

By Rick Sapp

(November 30, 2022) It is both motivating and distressing to have things one cares about, such as Confederate Memorials, under attack. Motivating because it provides a purpose for writing to challenge the senseless destruction of art and history. Distressing because those who advocate for destruction and removal seem to be winning. Most disturbing is that many important voices are missing.

Where are the leading Republicans, conservatives, or traditionalists? They should be arguing that the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery is off limits, or at least explaining why they are silent. Fox News covers Kid Rock’s campaign to save an antebellum mansion that a country music star once owned but has little, if any, coverage on The Naming Commission or Moses Ezekiel’s art concerning Arlington’s Confederate Memorial. Have they ceded the definition of the Confederacy to those who hate it? Is the topic politically too hot to handle?

If that is the case, they are not as smart as they would like us to think. Such conservatives, Republicans, and traditionalists are showing no courage. They do not realize that by failing to defend Southern history they are implying that the Confederate States of America had nothing right. In truth, the Confederacy represented some values that are deeply American and likely be lost if things continue as they are. Consider the following points worth preserving that the South supported.

First, many powers were originally reserved to the states but would erode over time when not used.

Second, it is proper to be wary of a strong central government. If left un-checked it will rob us of our rights.  

Third, the Constitution makes it undeniably clear that the states allocated only limited powers to the central government.

The preceding represented political views that were common at the founding. While there were arguments for, and against, a strong central government at the Constitutional convention, unlike today there was no reflexive acceptance of the Federal government as supreme in all things. Even a cursory look at history shows that this was not always the case. Lose the Southern history of the United States and we lose much of the intellectual foundation of American conservatism.

Confederate Statues and American Tradition

(November 29, 2022) The vandalization and demolishment of Confederate Memorials that began earnestly seven years ago have proven to be early indicators of the destruction of American traditions. 

Consider the political mismanagement of our economy. Government bureaucrats and politicians took money from ordinary taxpayers to bailout the Wall Street banks that recklessly speculated in overpriced real estate in 2008. Next, they reduced interest rates to near zero and held them there for fourteen years. New interpretations of age-old principles led them delude themselves into thinking there is no reason to use interest rates as a tool to promote savings, to create the funds needed for new investment. Instead, the Federal Reserve Board would simply “print” the money needed by banks to lend to operating companies requiring investment funding. The banks would then borrow from the Federal Reserve at no interest cost and loan the money out at low interest rates. 

The practice created two consequences. First, it cheated savers. More importantly, it put the Federal Government’s stamp of approval on such cheating. Since there were no returns on their savings accounts, traditional savers increasingly flocked to the equity markets. That caused reckless speculation in stocks. Ultimately it caused worse: general inflation for nearly all goods and services. The Federal Reserve is now belatedly trying to fight back by requiring banks to pay savers modest interest income. 

The second consequence of fourteen years of near zero interest rates has been rampant inflation for all long-term assets traditionally financed by debt, particularly real estate. Democrats and Republicans alike became addicted to cheap money owing to the illusionary prosperity it provided. Presently, some of the markets fueled by cheap money, such as housing, are softening. I would not be surprised if the Federal Government started deliberately understating inflation in order to justify a return to cheap money.

Aside from the two consequences of imposing fourteen years of zero interest rates noted above, as bad as they are, the Federal Government is getting even more rash. President Biden and the Democrat Party are so desperate to maintain cheap money that they simply stopped requiring their constituents to repay loans altogether. President Biden has habitually suspended the repayment of student loans. Each time he sets a new deadline he merely kicks it down the road as the crucial date approaches. There is no reason to believe this will ever change unless America relearns her traditional values and applies common sense.  More significantly, President Biden and the Democrat Party are even trying to selectively forgive student loans altogether to borrowers who are their constituents. 

Biden is attempting, by executive order, to forgive student loans of up to $20,000 for students with household incomes of up $250,000. Furthermore, he is particularly targeting blacks by allowing forgiveness of up to $40,000 for Pell Grant Recipients having household incomes of up to $250,000. Even though blacks represent 13% of all Americans they account for 58% of Pell Grant Recipients. There could hardly be a more racially biased scheme of debt repayment—biased against non-blacks. Since 60% of recent college graduates are women, it also favors young female voters, the very constituency that enabled the Democrats to keep control of the Senate in the recent mid-term elections. By sacrificing our traditional values American voters have opened the flood gates to all manner of ruling Party scheme to bribe its constituents at the expense of all other voters. Nobody is more abused than the than the adult taxpayer who is unlikely to ever get a college degree. 

All of this could have been nipped in the bud in 2015 if Americans had opposed the cultural elites who induced impressionable youths to destroy Confederate Monuments. Those of us who thought left-wing tyranny would stop with Confederate statue destruction should think again. If you want to act now, start by writing your Senators and Congressman to state your objections to the pending removal of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington Cemetery. You can also buy a copy of my book, The Dreadful Frauds, Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics. 

   

Milo is Back

(November 28, 2022) Former provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, is making a comeback. After being banned from Twitter six years ago because he made critical remarks about the all-female version of Ghostbusters in 2016, Tim Poole invited him to be a guest on Tim’s podcast. Prior to the interview Milo had been ostracized so extensively that it has been hard for the public to learn much new about him.

After about fifteen minutes of the two-hour interview above, Milo begins to dominate the conversation with trenchant observations that overshadow Tim and his two other guests. To be sure, Milo has some controversial opinions and appears to be shilling for Trump over DeSantis, but he also emphasizes respect for tradition and the “natural order of things.”

He claims to have abandoned homosexuality. He now regards a marriage between a man and a woman in which the two genders adhere to the traditional functions as the natural order. This leads him to conclude that the current state of gender fluidity is a harbinger of society’s collapse.

He condemns the Republican Party for going along with the Democrat initiative of hollowing-out the economies of the fly-over states by shifting production to Chin, thereby making the hinterland states dependent upon government handouts. He also notes that the states most abused by the Republicans in this context are the Southern ones. The Englishman concludes that America’s coastal elites disdain Southerners.

He concludes that the chief goal of today’s political parties is to make the their opponents suffer. Unity and fixing the economy appear to be secondary—possibly tertiary—objectives.

He blames modern feminists, more than BLM, for the scourge of cancel culture.

Analyzing “Change the World” Mantras

(November 26, 2022) Activists who tear down Confederate statues view themselves as members of a crusade to Change the World. They justify the destruction of memorials to the dead as way to condemn earlier generations of Americans who did not share our country’s modern perspective on racial equality. Many assume that they would have championed the modern viewpoint had they lived 160 years ago even though they would have been among a tiny minority of their countrymen at the time.  

The presumed necessity of sweeping away the old has taken on the mantle of a religious tenet in the Church of Identity Victimhood. After all, didn’t Steve Jobs define Apple’s mission as changing the World of computers, media, and consumer electronics? Didn’t he ridicule Microsoft’s character-based user interface? Did he not dump it into the dust bin of history with the graphical user interface of the Apple McIntosh? Did he not destroy the Compact Disk recorded music form factor with the iPod? Similarly, today’s Confederate Memorial demolishers and vandals consider themselves on a mission to destroy the past.  But there are two problems with their illusion. 

First, Steve Jobs did not destroy earlier paradigms merely because he did not like them. Instead, he provided something obviously better to replace them. It did not take the public long to realize that the iPod was far superior to the music CD. It was not just marginally better. It was far better. Even the first version of the iPod enabled the owner to carry a thousand songs around in his pocket. Furthermore, he could buy them instantaneously over the internet. He did not need to visit a physical store, which was not open for business during most of each 24-hour day. Among technology start-ups, it’s long been a maxim that “Change the World” products must offer ten times the advantages of the existing paradigm. A product that is merely 30% better will not be able to attract enough early adopters. 

Confederate iconoclasts don’t even offer something 30% better. In fact, they merely leave ingratitude and animosities behind wherever they go. 

One is a never-ending litany of complaints about alleged continuing victimhood for the self-serving definers of marginalized classes. As so-called antiracist Ibram X. Kendi puts it, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” The destruction of Confederate statues did not reduce the volume of such complaints, it increased them. Widespread deployment of DEI executives throughout education, government, and Corporate America signifies that such complaints will never end—they will only grow. DEI executives will never terminate their own jobs. Even today they fail to realize that America’s only legal form of racism and sexism is a half-century of Affirmative Action, mostly favoring blacks and women.   

A second factor that iconoclasts leave in their wake is resentment among those of us who value tradition. Only ten years ago most Americans regarded Confederate statues as symbols of regional pride. They realized that the memorials were overwhelmingly erected out of love for the Southern men who went to the Civil War to defend their homes. Confederate soldier deaths totaled five percent of the Confederacy’s white population. If America were to go to war today and suffer the same casualty ratio, our dead soldiers would total 17 million. That’s forty times the number of World War II, the biggest war that virtually any American alive can remember.   

Despite his “Change the World” mantra, Steve Jobs respected tradition when many of his contemporaries wanted to abandon it. When file sharing services were revolutionizing recorded music distribution around the turn of the century, Jobs opposed them for rampant copyright infringement. Presumably his stance encouraged the record labels to help Apple launch the first successful digital music store almost twenty years ago.

Given their affinity for many things African, let the statue iconoclasts consider a Basuto proverb: “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.” In contrast, the iconoclasts have left behind ingratitude among themselves and resentment among those of us they deliberately chose to humiliate. 

WaPo Hits New Low on VMI Coverage

By James Bacon of Bacon’s Rebellion Blog, November 23, 2022

New rule at The Washington Post: It’s OK to insinuate that conservatives are racist for disagreeing with an authority figure who happens to be black. No evidence of bias required.

The democracy-dies-in-darkness newspaper set a new low yesterday in an article published Monday describing how conservative alumni of the Virginia Military Institute decry the implementation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion by the Board of Visitors and Superintendent Cedric T. Wins. Reporter Ian Shapira never comes out directly and calls the dissident alumni racist, but he makes the implication unmistakable. His rhetorical devices are a case study in slimy journalism that stops just short of libel.

Let’s start with the headline, which may or may not be Shapira’s composition but accurately reflects the tone of the article.

“VMI’s first Black superintendent under attack by conservative White alumni”

See the trope? The superintendent is Black, the alumni are conservative and White. The headline doesn’t say explicitly that the alumni are attacking the superintendent because he is black. But the phrase invites readers to assume that there must be a link between the superintendent’s race and the race of the alumni — why else would race be injected into the headline, which by its nature is sparing and economical with words?

Shapira then leads this article with this:

Ever since Virginia Military Institute began rolling out new diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives last year, a fierce and well-funded group of conservative alumni has been attacking the efforts to make VMI more welcoming to women and minorities.

Here he supplies a motive. The alumni are attacking “efforts to make VMI more welcoming to women and minorities.”

The charitable word to describe this phrase is “misleading.” True, alumni are criticizing the DEI program, but they are not attacking it because they oppose making VMI more welcoming to Blacks and minorities. If they had ever expressed such a desire, Shapira would have quoted them to that effect. But they haven’t.

Rather, dissident alumni are attacking the DEI program because they believe DEI encourages cadets to focus on their identity by race, sex, and gender, which is antithetical to the egalitarian Rat Line/regimental system, which tears down previous identities basic training-style and remolds cadets as “brother rats” and VMI citizen-soldiers. One might disagree with the dissidents’ philosophy. One might disagree with their analysis of how DEI is being implemented at VMI. That’s fine. But Shapira ignores the philosophical differences entirely and frames the issues as based on race.

He continues:

Now the mostly White alumni group has turned its sights on a new target: the first Black superintendent at the nation’s oldest state-supported military college.

Again, Shapira frames the controversy as a matter of race. I have interacted with dissident alumni for some two years now and I have never heard them allude to Wins’ race other than in passing and never as a negative. Shapira is making Wins’ race an issue.

True, some alumni have criticized the Board for giving Wins a $100,000 bonus, others have called for him to be fired. Why? Because he is Black? No, because VMI has seen a 25% decline in entering 1st-year students. Reasonable people can disagree on why VMI saw such a decline and whether Wins bears responsibility. But it is not gratuitous to suggest that the decline might have been due in some degree to the massive wave of negative publicity of VMI as a racist, sexist institution (perpetrated largely by Shapira and the Post) and the seeming validation of that assessment by the Board and Wins through the implementation of DEI training and programs.

Shapira then runs this quote from Chuck Rogerson, a retired White Army colonel who roomed with Wins when they were cadets:

“They can’t handle the change because they’ve never had to deal with it before — a man of color leading the institute. Did they ever question prior superintendents’ salaries?”

Here the insinuation of racism becomes more explicit: Wins’ critics can’t handle the idea of a “man of color” leading the Institute. Rogerson’s putative evidence: They never criticized prior superintendents’ salaries. True, they didn’t. But that’s because they regarded the previous superintendent with great respect — not because he was White but because they shared his values and priorities. As it happens, dissident alumni disagree not only with Wins, who is Black, but with members of the VMI Board, most of whom are… White.

Almost comically in this context, Shapira quotes Board Chairman Tom Watjens, whom Shapira credits with overseeing the launch of the DEI program.

“Any time people are attacking the superintendent, I’m going to be unhappy. … He’s the one that we’re counting on for helping to bring us forward and protect the mission and purpose of the institute to bring us to the next level,” said Watjen, who is White. “Every time he gets attacked, I feel attacked.”

Here, Watjens poses as the Great White Savior. But he doesn’t need to feel attacked when Wins gets attacked. Dissident alumni have criticized Watjens directly. It is grotesque to suggest that dissident alumni have singled out Wins for criticism. Alumni have had plenty to say about the role of Watjens and the Board in the governance of VMI.

The article continues in that vein. Alumni, says Shapira, have “assailed” VMI’s first chief diversity officer Jamica Love, “the college’s highest-ranking Black woman.” Get that? Alumni have assailed her, a Black woman — not the DEI policies she is implementing. “Angry” alumni, writes Shapira, have found a forum on WRVA’s John Reid Show. Shapira proceeds to quote not the alumni appear on his show but Reid, a conservative but not a VMI alumnus, and to take issue with his views on DEI.

None of the alumni in question responded to Shapira’s requests for comments, which is understandable given his long-standing hostility to them, but he does quote Thomas Gottwald, a former board member who resigned during the Northam administration and was reappointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin, based on a recording of the board meeting. (Gottwald, Shapira reminds his readers, is White. And he donated $77,500 to Youngkin’s campaign.)

It’s not a small group of alumni who feel like their voice isn’t being heard right now. It’s a big group. To make broad generalizations about alumni, about anyone being critical of what is going on, is just one further implication that alumni need to just shut up and get in line, that dissenting opinions, different opinions aren’t encouraged or welcomed here.

Gottwald makes a valid point. That is the way the dissident alumni feel.

One might argue that I’m misconstruing Shapira’s article, that I’m reading insinuations of racism into his words. Let me respond by noting that the article has generated some 4,400 comments at last count, and most of the commenters are reading it the same way I do.

“Sounds like VMI is an incubator for white supremacy,” says one.

“The spirit of VMI might as well be the spirit of the KKK. Sickening,” says another.

“I am SO SICK AND TIRED of elderly white southern racists clinging desperately to their white supremacy dreams,” says another.

There are genuine philosophical issues at stake. How is DEI being implemented at VMI? Is the emphasis on racial, sexual and gender identity compatible or incompatible with the Rat Line? These are issues that Shapira could explore if he chose. But to my recollection, he has never done so. Instead, he has cast alumni dissidents as reactionary White conservatives. With this article, he has gone further by insinuating racist motives.

Ironically, as much as the dissident alumni may disagree with Wins, any negative feelings they bear for him pale in comparison to the animosity they feel for Shapira. Alumni accord Wins respect for his distinguished military service, and they had high hopes for him when he was first appointed. The person they detest more than any other is a smug, Princeton-educated heir of a wealthy Kentucky bourbon-distillery conglomerate who uses The Washington Post to signal his superiority over his moral inferiors — Shapira himself.

VMI Alumni Pushback Against Wokeism

(November 21, 2022) The Washington Post has an article today accusing politically “conservative” alumni of racism for opposing aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and so-called “antiracism” initiatives as remedies for the school’s alleged hatred of blacks and women. Ian Shapira, the journalist, commits many transgressions, but let’s consider two. 

First, he fails to recognize that Virginia did not secede to defend slavery in 1861. She seceded because she opposed Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to force the states that had indeed seceded back into the Union. Virginia believed that Lincoln did not have such authority under the Constitution. On 4 April 1861 her secession convention voted two-to-one against secession. Less than two weeks later it voted two-to-one for secession. The forcing factor of change was Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to coerce the seven Gulf states back into the Union.

Second, the Post’s Ian Shapira singles-out John Reid of WRVA radio as a popular voice opposing the so-called reforms that the current VMI Administration is trying to implement. His accusations against Reid could leave the uninformed reader with the impression that Reid is a bigot. In reality, Reid is merely voicing opinions about DEI, Critical Race Theory, and so-called “antiracism” that are similar to those of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Shapira makes no mention of the fact that Reid has repeatedly tried to get representatives from the VMI Administration on his show, but they either decline or ignore him. Reid truly wants an open and fair discussion. It is the VMI Administration, in my opinion, that wants to lecture its opponents rather than have a conversation with them. 

VMI’s traditions were already changing before Superintendent Wins arrived. Although officially brought in by the school’s Board, the move was abruptly prompted by former governor Ralph “Blackface” Northam who got the state of Virginia to pay a law firm $1 million to prepare an analysis that concluded VMI is racist and sexist.

Culturally Excising Southern Heroes

(November 20, 2020) Eighty percent of book publishing editors are women. They dislike stories involving heterosexual white males as heroes. Moreover, Hollywood and the streaming video services go even further. If they make a movie based upon a novel wherein the “good guy” is a heterosexual white Southerner, the story is often changed to put him in another state.

A good example is Bob Lee “The Nailer” Swagger, a former Vietnam sniper who becomes a professional killer for America’s clandestine services. The character lives in Mena, Arkansas amid the Ouachita Mountains, better described as big forest-covered hills. He is based upon Carlos Hathcock, a genuine Vietnam sniper who grew up outside of Little Rock where he hunted small game for food, not sport, as a boy.

Hunter’s first novel involving Swagger (“Point of Impact”) was made into a movie titled “Shooter” starring Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg’s character, however, resides in Idaho. The movie was additionally transformed into a mini series starring Ryan Phillippe but Ryan’s character lives on an island in Puget Sound Washington.

In short, present American filmmakers are reluctant to portray a Southern white male as the hero of any story. He is instead favored as the villain.

U. S. Grant’s East Tennessee Fraud

(November 18, 2022) Along with Dr. Frank Varney, historian Joseph A. Rose has led the disclosures about lies concerning U. S. Grant—often based on lies from the General himself—that his biographers and others have used during the last forty years to portray Grant as the best Civil War general and the greatest civil rights president between Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. In his latest example Rose has released a paper that discredits a Grant hagiographer who applauded Grant for the successful assent up Missionary Ridge that won the Battle of Chattanooga on November 25, 1863. 

Initially a Union frontal attack by troops of General George Thomas on the Confederate defenders of Missionary Ridge appeared suicidal. Unlike Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg that was only slightly elevated over the surrounding terrain, Chattanooga’s Missionary Ridge is a 300-foot-high elevation with a 45-degree slope. Grant intended to take it with a flank attack on the northern end by his favorite subordinate, General William T. Sherman. Unfortunately, Sherman could make no progress at that end. To help him out, Grant decided to distract the rebels by ordering the troops of General George Thomas, who was not a favored subordinate, to advance his soldiers and occupy the Confederate rifle pits at the base of the ridge. Once they did so it became obvious that they were as vulnerable to cannon and gunfire from above. If they remained stationary, the General who ordered them there was going to have to take a lot of blame for a disastrous maneuver. That General was undeniably Grant.  

Fortunately for the Yankees in the rifle pits, maladroit orders for the Southern defenders at the base and top of the ridge, combined with attacks by General Joseph Hooker at the south end (belittled by Grant) caused the Confederate position to be weaker than expected. This made an otherwise “impossible” Union frontal assault feasible. The Yankees at the foot of the ridge soon realized that their only choices were to retreat the way they came, remain and be killed like target dolls at a state fair, or advance up the steep ridge and drive their tormentors away. Of their own volition they chose the last course and were surprisingly successful. Shortly after they got to the top the battle was over. Won. 

Given that the soldiers in the rifle pits, and others watching at a distance realized they had been recklessly put in a bad spot, General Grant felt compelled to claim that he had intended for them to advance up the ridge from the beginning. He only wanted, he argued, for them to reorganize at the base of the ridge and then advance up it in columns as opposed to long horizontal lines. Aside from his own after-the-fact claims nobody heard him say that such was his intent before Thomas’s troops succeeded on their own. 

The hagiographer defending Grant’s claim pointed to a journal entry by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs that read: “Grant said [the assault] was contrary to his orders, it was not his plan—he meant to form the lines and then prepare and launch columns of assault.” Yet, that is poor evidence since Meigs had merely written down what Grant had told him post hoc. Furthermore, Meigs omitted Grant’s claim in a report written the next day.

This same historian also pointed to a telegram sent by Assistant War Secretary Charles Dana, an observer, to War Secretary Edwin Stanton: “the ‘orders were to carry the rifle-pits. . . but when this was accomplished the unaccountable spirit of the troops bore them bodily up the ridge.” The Grant defender, however omitted Dana’s sentence immediately preceding this that read: “Neither Grant nor Thomas intended it [the assault.]”

In sum, beyond Grant’s own writing, very little evidence exists to refute Dana’s unqualified denial of Grant’s intent. In contrast, a wealth of other accounts presented by Mr. Rose collectively contradicts the argument that Grant meant for the troops to ascend. 

A Jewish Viewpoint on Arlington’s Confederate Monument

(November 17, 2022) The Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery has recommended the removal of the 32-foot-tall memorial to Confederate veterans buried there on the grounds that it is “riddled with racist iconography” and perpetuates the Lost Cause narrative. The following letter was sent today to the Committee. — James A. Bacon of Bacon’s Rebellion Blog November 3, 2022

On March 19, 1841, at the consecration of his new synagogue in Charleston, Rabbi Gustavus Poznanski of the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim congregation rose to speak to a throng of his temple members and Charlestonians of many faiths who were invited to witness the important occasion. For centuries Jews all over the world had sought a return to the Promised Land, and generations of families had vowed as much at their annual Passover Sedar, “Next year in Jerusalem!” In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Rabbi Poznanski proclaimed, “…this synagogue is our temple, this city our Jerusalem, this happy land our Palestine.” The Jews had finally found a home.

In his book, American Jewry and the Civil War, Rabbi Bertram Korn, the recognized expert in the field, seems quite emphatic that during the antebellum period, Jews experienced a cultural and religious renaissance in the South that was unrivaled. Jews who lived in the region adopted the southern way of life with all its peculiarities, including slavery, because for the first time in modern history, they were treated with dignity and respect, and flourished culturally, politically, and economically on par with their Christian neighbors. Korn concluded, “Nowhere else in America–certainly not in the ante-bellum north—had Jews been accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals as in the old South.”

And while we condemn the evils of slavery then and now all over the world, we cannot pass judgement on our ancestors as viewed through the 21st century lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. No previous generation of Americans can survive such scrutiny.

Francis Salvador of South Carolina was the first Jew elected to public office in the colonies when chosen for the Provincial Congress in 1774. David Yulee and Judah Benjamin were chosen by their State Legislators, as was the practice then, to represent Florida and Louisiana in the U.S. Senate. They were the only Jewish Senators during that period. After the war, Isaac “Ike” Hermann, a private in the 1st Georgia Infantry proclaimed, “I found in [the South] an ideal and harmonious people; they treated me as one of their own; in fact, for me, it was the land of Canaan where milk and honey flowed.” Southern Jewry, in the antebellum period, had found in the South the haven from prejudice they had been looking for.

No doubt this was on the mind of Moses Ezekiel when he designed and created the memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Arlington’s Monument is an important piece of American history, Jewish-American history, and a significant work of art. Arlington itself is property originally seized from Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s family, in an act of retribution, a deliberate attempt to prevent Lee or his descendants from ever being able to see their cherished home again. But in an ironic twist, the Lee home place at Arlington has become sacred ground, universally revered by all Americans.

In the aftermath of the terror and hardship of war, Americans greatly desired to be done with the division and bitter sectional strife they had so recently endured. They wanted to reunite the country in a spirit of harmony.

To that noble end, it was appropriate that in 1900, less than 40 years from Lee’s surrender, Congress authorized the interment of the corporeal remains of Confederate soldiers in the hallowed earth of Arlington, and in 1914, permission was gladly given to erect a prominent memorial to the Confederate dead in the midst of Arlington.

This inspiring monument was erected to acknowledge the heroic manhood of Southern men who fought bravely against overwhelming odds, and to acknowledge a former foe in a spirit of renewed friendship and kindred national sentiment.

After all, in just a few years after the dedication of this beautiful monument, America would call on her sons to join the expedition to Europe, to fight in World War I; Americans answered that call, and fought side by side — northerners and southerners together, united in a common purpose.

As President William McKinley offered southerners in 1898: “[We] should share with you in the care of the graves of Confederate soldiers…. Sectional feeling no longer holds back the love we feel for each other. The old flag again waves over us in peace with new glories.”

Have we not seen in so many other places around the world that political disagreements have inflamed into civil wars which have carried on for generations costing many unnecessary lives?

We believe your committee — far removed from the actual conflict — should not assume the role of arbiter in this matter. Now, more than 100 years since it’s unveiling, you make pronouncements with no appreciation or regard for those who came before you and those who will follow. You cannot comprehend the hardships, the misery and the motivations of the men and women, on both sides of the conflict, who lived through this generational tsunami. Why must you call for these symbols of unity and reconciliation to be destroyed? Forever. Why must you insert your personal political ideologies of the moment for the time-honored traditions cultivated by generations of Americans?

We ought to respect the decision of those men who were far closer to the conflict than we are and honor their efforts to set aside the horrors of war in the name of peace.

Regardless of the political considerations, destroying or relocating this beautiful memorial would be the worst kind of vandalism and iconoclasm. Ezekiel is also buried there, and Jewish Law sharply condemns the excavation and removal of corpses from their gravesites even when they will be reburied elsewhere.

Designed by Moses Ezekiel, America’s first great Jewish sculptor and a veteran himself, the Arlington Confederate Monument is a true masterpiece. To remove, damage, or alter this great achievement by one of America’s noblest sons would be a crime against history, against art, and against the spirit of reunification that led to its creation. Judaism teaches us that loved ones never die if there is someone left to remember them. This monument is a testament to the memory of thousands who died and brings comfort and solace to their descendants.

We would urge you to leave the Arlington Confederate Memorial exactly as our forefathers intended it.

Jack Schewel
Journey of Souls and Writer
Lynchburg, VA

Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia
Philadelphia, PA

Lew Regenstein
Author and Writer
Atlanta, GA

Robert Marcus
Historian and Filmmaker
Chapel Hill, NC

Biden Bribed Youthful Voters

(November 15, 2022) As explained in my post and video last week, President Biden bribed the youth vote in August when he forgave up to $20,000 per household of student loan debt for households having annual incomes of up to $250,000. In less than three months 26 million voters applied for relief, which is almost four times larger than Biden’s popular vote margin over Trump in the 2020 presidential elections. Moreover, he particularly concentrated his foucs on young blacks by providing twice the standard $10,000 forgiveness limit to Pell Grant recipients who are 58% black even though blacks compose only 14% of America’s population. 

The bribe worked. According to CNN, voters aged 29 and under voted almost two-to-one in favor of Democrats. That means that almost twice as many voted for Democrats as Republicans. 

My post and video last week showed that the Republicans of postbellum era used generous Union veterans’ pensions to similarly control the vote to elect representatives who would promote Northern interests over Southern ones into the twentieth century. A prime example was the protective tariff. 

As explained in earlier posts and videos protective tariffs were doubly injurious to the South. Not only did they increase prices for all Americans they also reduced export demand for farm commodities, must notably cotton. They shrank export demand by making it costly for overseas cotton buyers to generate the exchange credits—via imports into the USA— needed to pay for cotton. After starting at 19% in 1860 protective tariffs averaged 45% for fifty years thereafter and declined only when the Union veterans vote began sharply dropping due to mortality tabulations. 

The purpose of my comparing the bribery of Union veterans’ pensions to student loan forgiveness was to warn readers and viewers that these kinds of bribes can last decades. They start small but grow relentlessly. 

Qualifying standards for Union veterans’ pensions eventually became so generous that the last one was paid in May of 2020. Most egregiously, Biden’s bribery was done by an unconstitutional executive order whereas the Union veterans’ pensions were generally the result of bills passed through Congress. Even the Democrats should be outraged by Biden’s precedent because if followed in the future, then a Republican President might use executive action to impose a bribe favoring her Party.

Consequently, I cannot understand why my video and post yesterday got more than ten times the viewership of the one I did last week on Biden’s bribery. All of us should be contacting our elected representatives to explain that Biden’s student loan forgiveness is a reprehensible bribe to a arbitrary group of voters and a usurpation of powers reserved for Congress.