Tag Archives: Confederate Flag

A Yankee’s Perspective of the Rebel Soldier

(August 23, 2018) Although retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters is best known as a contemporary military intelligence contributor for CNN, he has also authored many Civil War novels. The sixty-six year old Pennsylvania native says that the Civil War has haunted him from childhood. He regards it as a nearly inexhaustible source of stories.

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He marked the Sesquicentennial of the end of the war three years ago by writing an article for Armchair General to comment upon the myths and realities of the era. Like most modern historians he concludes that slavery caused the war, but he also feels that the typical Rebel solider merits respect.

The myth of Johnny Reb, the greatest of infantrymen, happens to be true. Not only the courage and combat skill, but the sheer endurance of the Confederate foot soldier may have been equaled in a few other armies over the millennia, but none could claim the least superiority. Especially (but not only) in the Army of Northern Virginia, the physical toughness, fighting ability and raw determination of those men remains astonishing. Billy Yank showed plenty of courage, too, and yes, the Southern armies had their share of shirkers and deserters, but the fact that most Johnnies fought on against crushing odds, hungry, louse-infested and flea-bitten, clothed in rags and exposed to the elements, often sick and usually emaciated . . . the more I study those men, the more I admire them.

The Confederate battle flag is a symbol of bravery, not slavery. I’m a Yankee, born and bred, and my personal sympathies lie with the Northern cause (although, in writing, I strive to be even-handed). To me, though, that red flag with the blue St. Andrews cross strewn with white stars does not symbolize slavery—that’s nonsense—but the stunning bravery of those who fought beneath it. I object to flying the flag of the Confederate States of America, but not to displaying that battle flag. Let me be clear: I don’t believe the battle flag should be prostituted to politics or misused for bigotry. But its legacy is one of heroism, not hatred, and deserving of respect.

His most significant point, however, is one that too many modern historians ignore or suppress: “There’s always another side to the story.”

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Who Lynched Silent Sam?

(August 22, 2018) Notwithstanding that the majority of Americans want Confederate statues to remain standing, two days ago a student mob illegally toppled the 105 year-old Silent Sam infantryman sculpture at the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina. A couple of self-appointed expert groups encouraged student hostility toward Sam. One was the university’s faculty and administrators. The other was the “Make It Right” initiative of the Independent Media Institute.

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UNC’s History Department previously announced that it wanted the statue removed because Sam’s 1913 “creators . . . shared a veneration of slavery . . . and the ideology of white supremacy.” In truth, it’s more likely that Sam’s “creators” chose the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War to honor the rapidly fading numbers of Confederate veterans—not for their supposed “veneration of slavery,” but for defending their homes against invaders. Consider, for example, that the former Confederate states had outlawed slavery in 1865 under leaders of their own choosing, three years before the Republican Party imposed corrupt carpetbag regimes upon the region. UNC’s History Department also suggests that Sam was not representative of North Carolina’s residents during the Civil War because “many ” in the state did not support the Confederacy. Nonetheless, North Carolina supplied more Confederate troops than any other state, except possibly Tennessee.

Finally, UNC’s History Department fails to mention a couple of points that are contrary to the “veneration of slavery” trope. First, North Carolina did not secede in order to protect slavery. She remained Union-loyal until the federal government required that she contribute soldiers to coerce the seven Gulf states that had earlier seceded back into the Union. Second, less than 6% of North Carolinians owned slaves distributed among only 29% of her families.*

Earlier this year the “Make it Right” initiative announced the targeting of ten Confederate monuments for removal. Silent Sam was second on the list behind the Dallas Confederate War Memorial. According to project manager Kali Holloway, “Confederate monuments were never about recognizing history, but were instead put up to ensure . . . a white supremacist future. . . With few exceptions, these structures were hastily built at the dawn of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement to intimidate and terrorize African-American communities as they struggled toward racial equality and political empowerment.”

Holloway’s assertions rely upon data supplied by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) showing that most statues were erected during the decade of the 1910s and in the early 1960s. The true reasons for the statue concentration in those years, however, is that they represented the fiftieth and centennial anniversaries of the war, respectively.

Holloway also wants to remove the Confederate engravings at Stone Mountain, Georgia and the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery.

Jan Frel manages “Make it Right’s” parent company where he has worked for fifteen years. Prior to that he was on Democrat Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign. During much of that period the Independent Media Institute owned AlterNet and was funded by many charitable organizations. Among them were the gift-giving foundations of Craig’s List and the founders of Sara Lee and RealNetworks.

*  J. G. Randall and David Donald The Civil War and Reconstruction (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1961), 68

Southern Heritage and Internet Censorship

(August 19, 2018) Ending Internet censorship might be the best way to preserve Southern Heritage. Since media shapes culture and politicians respond to the culture, media censorship must end. Mainstream media bias against the South has already caused removal of Confederate memorials. The trend will likely accelerate if pro-Southern opinions are blocked on such popular Internet sites as Apple, Amazon, Google, and FaceBook. Although my August ninth post shows how they might be immediately challenged, George Gilder’s Life After Google argues that an emerging Internet architectural shift will ultimately destroy their power, especially if they abuse  it.

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Gilder has been an accurate predictor of media change for decades. In the 1991’s Life After Television he wrote that the personal computer would replace the television and that computers would become wearable, as are today’s iPhones and Apple Watches. In fact, the iPhone was the sixteen-year delayed realization of Gilder’s “teleputer.” After listing all the tasks his “teleputer” might do, he added that “it might not do Windows,” which was a bold suggestion at a time when Microsoft was dominant.

Now Gilder foresees an Internet architectural shift toward blockchain. Although overhyped by the BitCoin application, blockchain will enable the power on the Internet to be distributed to individual users. It will obsolete sites like FaceBook and Google, which Gilder describes as “walled gardens” within the Internet much like the doomed—but temporarily dominant—AOL community was twenty years ago. A blockchain network is diagramed in the rightmost image of the picture above whereas the present walled garden architecture of FaceBook and Google is diagramed in the center image.

Although some readers might doubt that powerhouses like Apple, Google, FaceBook, and Amazon might ever be displaced, I have lived long enough to see that constantly evolving electronics and computer technology ultimately displaces the giants of one era with new ones. I look to authors like Gilder to alert me when such changes are pending. Eventually, the old industry leaders become too dependent upon aged technology or business models, which they cannot abandon without losing their extant user base. Next growth stops and eventually even the base abandons them. In the early 1980s, for example, nearly all experts believed that IBM would remain forever dominant. By the early 1990s similar experts concluded that nobody could unseat Microsoft. During the dot-com boom almost everyone rushed to buy stock in AOL, including Time-Warner, to their everlasting regret.

It will likely take years, perhaps decades, for the blockchain to cause today’s consumer-facing Internet giants to lose momentum, but the process will likely be quicker if they continue censorship.

Historians Discuss Confederate Monuments

(May 26, 2018) The YouTube below is a panel discussion about Confederate Monuments from the Sacramento convention of the Organization of American Historians earlier this month. Ed Ayers of the University of Richmond moderates three panel members: John Kuo Wei Then, Turkiya Lowe and Christy Coleman. Ayers is Chairman Emeritus of Richmond University, Wei Then is with New York University, Lowe is the chief historian for the National Park Service, and Coleman is CEO of the American Civil War museum, which is the successor to the Museum of the Confederacy.

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Four points prevail.

First, none of the participants were sympathetic to Confederate symbols. It was an almost entirely one-sided presentation. The Southern viewpoint was ignored on the dais except when Coleman revealed three reasons that Southern proponents had shared with her to explain why they felt the monuments should remain.

Second, all participants generally wanted the statues either removed, or left in place accompanied by new, explanatory stone-and-bronze markers or some other form of “interpretation.” Naturally, panel members seemed to expect that they, and others who think like them, will provide the interpretations.

Third, all explanations for removing the monuments boiled-down to race. Coleman did add, however, that the statues should also be removed because they celebrate “traitors.” But even in that case her argument devolved to race when she opined that Southerners were exercising white privilege when they initially erected their monuments.

Fourth, Lowe and Coleman are young and likely to hold their offices for decades to come. Notwithstanding that Coleman runs a private museum, they are typical of Deep State agenda-driven government employees who expect to control matters pertinent to their domains even as different Presidents come and go. Consider, for example, that despite the opinions of the panel members, a recent survey of readers of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine strongly favored keeping Confederate monuments in place. 

In addition to the above, Ayers and Coleman made erroneous or egregiously misleading statements.

One happened when Ayers commented that last summer’s Charlottesville riot accelerated the statue-removal trend after white supremacists tried to appropriate the Lee statue. First, he implied that the violence was mostly caused by the heavily outnumbered white supremacists instead of the far more violent  and much larger mob of protestors and Antifa members. Second, while he may have accurately said that a young lady was in a peaceful group when a white supremacist ran her down and killed her with his car, Ayers wrongly leaves the impression that most of the Charlottesville violence originated with the white supremacists instead of the protestors and Antifa.

The second falsehood was Coleman’s claim that Southerners have been increasingly using  public lands to hoist giant Confederate flags along the heavily travelled portions of Interstate-95 Highway in the South. In truth, most of the flags are located on private property.

 

 

Black Family Refuses to Condemn Confederate Flag

(May 9, 2018) “Ed” is a forty year resident of a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb who sequentially flies various flags from a pole on his property. Often it is the American flag and sometimes a “Steelers”  or other flag. Recently, however, he hoisted a Confederate flag. That prompted neighbor Beth Bowles to contact a Pittsburgh television affiliate (WTAE) of ABC Broadcasting because she considered the flag hateful.

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WTAE leapt like a $100 prostitute at a $1,000 offer to send a television crew to Ed’s house in order to shame him into taking it down. Ed explained his long-standing practice to alternate the flags he hoists. As for the “stainless banner” he flew Ed said, “It’s history. To me, it’s nothing about racism. It’s history.” The WTAE article never clarifies whether Ed had previously hoisted a Confederate flag.

When the WTAE news crew realized that Ed had little to say, they interviewed a next-door neighbor. They chose a black homeowner named Corey Harris who has lived next to Ed for years. Corey said the flags are not meant to be racist, and the owner [Ed] switches them out with a lot of different flags throughout the year. “This [Ed] is like my father. He has different flags he puts up, like the Steelers flag and Pirates flag,” Harris said. I applaud Corey for thinking for himself instead of caving in to politically correct pressures.

Oooops, for social justice warriors Beth Bowles and WTAE.

Why Many Southerners Still Honor Confederate Symbols

(May 5, 2018) “History with Hilbert” is a YouTube vlogger with 77,000 subscribers who does a good job in the twenty minute video below of explaining why Southerners still hold their own memory of the Civil War. While I disagree with some of his points, Hilbert demonstrates a lucid understanding of the Southern viewpoint to which monument-destroying politicians and public mobs are ignorant. Hilbert’s video has been viewed more that half a million times.

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Perhaps because he is a Dutchman, Hilbert “gets it” far better than the vast majority of America’s present academic historians and their acolytes who have too often been poisoned by the dominant anti-Southern teachings of the last thirty years. Hilbert’s comprehension is particularly impressive considering that nearly all of his other videos are about the history Europe and other parts of the World. But, again, it is probably his broader perspective that enables him to objectively comprehend America’s Civil War.