Tag Archives: Confederate Symbols

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

(March 24, 2019) Initially the spread of Internet media threatened The New York Times with obsolescence. Like newspapers everywhere, free-falling print advertising revenues were offset by only modest gains in online advertising, which had to be offered at much lower prices due to the characteristically lower reader response rate.  Meanwhile the advent of Craigslist decimated classified advertising, which was the newspaper industry’s profit cornerstone. From 2005 onward the company announced a series of layoffs and employee buyouts that only ended in the first half of 2017.

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In order to offset the steady revenue decline, the newspaper created a paywall for unlimited access to its online version in March 2011. Although virtually no other newspaper had any success with an online paywall, The Times grew to 1.1 million subscribers five years later in March 2016.  Less than three years (December 2018) later, online subscribers had tripled to 3.4 million. In comparison, subscribers to the newspaper’s print version presently total only about 1.0 million and have been steadily declining. Due to the robust online growth, however, The Times recently announced that it will increase per-subscriber fees later this year while also setting a goal to reach 10 million Internet subscribers by 2025.

According to an Esquire magazine article last week, The Times’s turnaround results from a Faustian bargain to abandon objective news coverage in exchange for financial success.  Specifically, argues Esquire, in the manner of a demagogue The Times is pandering to President Trump’s critics in order to attract a mob of loyal subscribers by telling them only what they want to hear. It has become an echo chamber for confirmation bias, which has led critic Andrew Kalavan to routinely refer to The Times as “a former newspaper.” Thus, the newspaper hired and appointed Sarah Jeong to its editorial board, despite her public and shameless disdain for  white males.  As this chart shows, the newspaper’s online subscription growth accelerated during the 2016 presidential campaign. Even the company’s management confessedly refers to the acceleration that triggered the ensuing prosperity as the “Trump bump.”

From the perspective the Civil War, Esquire’s criticism explains The Times’s one-sided coverage of the controversies surrounding Confederate symbols during the past three years or so. Their articles have been consistently hostile to the Southern viewpoint. Even more significant is the newspaper’s intolerance of contrary opinions, which has contributed to a near total cultural censorship. Well reasoned letters-to-the-editor and Op-Ed submissions supporting such statues and flags are ignored. Simultaneously, expressions of hatred toward the supporters of the symbols are as obvious as cow patties on a snow bank among the authors and reader comments of such articles.

In contrast three open-mined Southern white males led the newspaper as Executive and Managing Editors during the pivotal 1960s when they put the paper’s influence behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. They also supported feminism and other lasting liberal initiatives. Turner Catledge was a Mississippian while James “Scotty” Reston and Clifton Daniel were from North Carolina. But, as Drew Klavan might put it, that was back when The New York Times was a newspaper, and before it sold it soul to the Devil thereby transforming itself into “a former newspaper.”

Leave Confederate Statues Alone

(March 3, 2019) In 1965 Texas novelist William Humphrey wrote:

If the Civil War is more alive to the Southerner than the Northerner it is because all of the past is, and this is so because the Southerner has a sense of having been present there himself in the person of one or more of his ancestors. The war filled merely a chapter in his . . . [family history] . . .  transmitted orally from father to son [as] the proverbs, prophecies, legends, laws, traditions-of-origin and tales-of-wanderings of his own tribe. . . It is this feeling of identity with the dead (who are past) which characterizes and explains the Southerner.

It is with kin, not causes, that the Southerner is linked. Confederate Great-grandfather . . . is not remembered for his (probably undistinguished) part in the Battle of Bull Run; rather Bull Run is remembered because Great-grandfather was there. For the Southerner the Civil War is in the family.

Clannishness was, and is, the key to his temperament, and he went off to war to protect not Alabama but only those thirty or forty acres of its sandy hillside, or stiff red clay, which he broke his back tilling, and which was as big a country as his mind could hold.

Statue critics say he fought for slavery. But fewer than 30% of Southern families owned slaves. In truth, according to historian William C. Davis, “The widespread Northern myth that Confederates went to the battlefield to perpetuate slavery is just that, a myth. Their letters and diaries, in the tens of thousands, reveal again and again that they fought because their Southern homeland was invaded. . .”

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Few today comprehend the magnitude of their sacrifice. About 300,000 Confederate soldiers died when the region’s population was only nine million. If the United States were to suffer proportional casualties in a war today our losses would total 11 million, which would be twenty-six times greater than our dead of World War II.

Given such oblations, the Confederate soldier’s surviving family members wanted to memorialize him. Memorial Day evolved after Federal occupation troops observed Southern women spreading flowers upon the graves of their husbands, sons and brothers during the war. A year after the war the ladies of Columbus, Mississippi strewed flowers on the graves of both the Confederate and Union dead in the town’s Friendship Cemetery. Their gesture started a movement that spread and in the North May 30th became selected as National Memorial Day in 1868.

Since the war had impoverished the South, the Southern ladies could do little more than lay down flowers. There was no money for statues and Union veterans opposed permanent Confederate memorials. But when the sons of Confederate veterans eagerly joined the U.S. Army thirty years later to help win the Spanish-American War, the aging Union Civil War soldiers concluded that their former rivals were also Americans, deserving of memorial recognition.

Carlos Hathcock

Thus, the twenty years from 1898 to 1918 witnessed the installation of 80% of the signature courthouse square Confederate statues still standing in many Southern towns. During that period the typical surviving Confederate soldier aged from 58 years to 78 years. Memorial placements—North and South—surged between 1911 and 1915 because it was the War’s semi-centennial and the old soldiers were fading away.

Today a vocal minority holds Confederate soldiers in contempt, much like the many Americans who sneered at returning Vietnam veterans in the 1960s and 70s. Amid chants of “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?” some civilians mocked the soldiers. Today most Americans old enough to remember cringe with shame when recalling such incidents.

As reported in The New York Times, for example, in 1968 a one-armed vet was accosted at a Colorado college.

Pointing to the missing limb another student asked, “Did you get that in Vietnam?”

The veteran said yes.

“Serves you right,” said the student.

It took years, but eventually the public abandoned the ridiculers and gave Vietnam vets their due credit thereby underscoring the maxim: “Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.”

Thus, we should be aware that decisions to tear down century-old monuments put us at risk for future remorse. Dishonoring such monuments demeans later generations of American warriors who were inspired by the courage of the Confederate soldier.

Consider, for example, that post-Civil-War Southerners consistently came to our nation’s defense more readily than did other Americans. Presently, 44% of American military are from the South even though it represents just 36% of the nation’s population.

Tennessee’s Alvin York was America’s most famous infantryman in World War I. Although his grandfather was a Union deserter, two of his grand-uncles sided with the Confederacy.  Texan Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier of World War II. In Vietnam, an Arkansas sniper named Carlos Hathcock killed more enemy than anyone and even put a bullet in the eye of an opposing sniper through the foe’s telescopic sight. (Steven Spielberg theatrically copied this in his Saving Private Ryan movie.) Each man was born into the grinding poverty that typified much of the South for a century after the Civil War. As boys they hunted game for food, not sport.

During World War II, the first American flag to fly over the captured Japanese fortress at Okinawa was a Confederate Battle Flag. It was put there by a group of marines to honor their company commander—a South Carolinian who suffered a paralyzing wound in the victorious assault. Some of the tank crews that freed prisoners from German concentration camps also flew the Confederate Battle Flag.

The academic community is at the forefront of those wanting to remove Confederate statues, which they characterize as racist. In doing so they violate the American Historical Society’s warning against “presentism,” which is defined as an uncritical tendency to interpret the past in terms of modern values. It fails to recognize that racial attitudes throughout America 150 years ago were different than they are today. That is why Abraham Lincoln said during an 1858 debate, “. . . I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. . .”

Finally, toppling Confederate statues has evolved into a mob sport, with impunity for the vandals. Since such conduct requires no more bravery than kicking a puppy, we may wonder what comes next when the pious critics screw-up more courage. Arcata, California has already removed a statue of President McKinley. Notre Dame University has covered a mural that celebrates Christopher Columbus’s discovery voyages. Anti-statue activists are behaving much like the leaders of the former Soviet Union where censorship and rewritten history was part of the state’s effort to ensure that the correct political spin was put on their history. In response, George Orwell warned:

The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

Silent Sam Confederate Statue

(August 21, 2018)  Yesterday a mob of 250 students illegally toppled a statue of a Confederate infantryman known as “Silent Sam” that stood for 105 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The state’s governor and a university chancellor only mildly criticized the action, which they coupled with sympathy for the opinions of those who participated.

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Notwithstanding that government and educational leaders promote such cultural genocide by yielding to political correctness, most Americans want Confederate statues to remain. A year ago, for example, a survey commissioned by the Public Broadcasting System disclosed that 62% of the public wanted the statues to stay as historical symbols whereas only 27% wanted them removed. The remaining 11% were undecided.

Silent Sam

Likewise, a survey released earlier this year among readers of The Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine showed a preference for keeping the statues. Only 17% of respondents wanted the monuments removed from public places “if that’s what the local community wants to do.” The other 83% felt that the statues should remain although 50% would support adding interpretive plaques “if needed,” while 33% felt the statues should stay without any changes. Only 22% of respondents were from former Confederate states whereas a combined 52% were evenly split between the Northeast and Midwest.

When I was reading Silent Sam’s story in the  Washington Post before eight o’clock  (EDT) this morning, about half the reader comments were opposed to the destruction and half favored it. After the slackers and trust babies had rolled out of bed around noon they dominated the comment’s section with remarks such as:

  1. Good Riddance!!!!
  2. What’s deplorable is that there are still people today who share the values of the men of these statues.
  3. The statues were erected . . . to intimidate black Americans as the racists established Jim Crow.
  4. Every single person who posts that this Statute should have remained . . . is nothing more than a bigot and racist!
  5. Racists used to hide behind “States Rights” now they are hiding behind “Remembering History.”
  6. Carolina—couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of a-holes.
  7. Someone explain to me the Right’s obsession with memorializing losers.

Although Confederate statue critics often label them hate symbols, the above comments reveal that the hateful remarks come from the critics, not the memorial defenders. Moreover, their remarks shout a subtext: “If you don’t join us in demanding an end to Confederate monuments, you are not merely wrong, you are evil.” Few of the statue critics commenting in the Post made any original points. They merely repeated what they learned from the Pious Cause Mythology of the Civil War taught by the American History departments of many of our colleges and universities during the past thirty years.

California Racism & Confederate Statues

(June 9, 2018) Notwithstanding that California gave Hillary a larger percentage of its vote than any other state save Hawaii, the first six minutes of the video below show that racism may be more prevalent in the Golden State than is commonly believed. It is one of a series of videos produced by a group of Los Angeles male YouTube pranksters. They approach attractive young ladies in a public setting to strike up conversations. Their purpose is to invite the girls to lunch, or a cup of coffee. Failing in that they try for the phone numbers. Initially the guys are turned-down until the girls realize that the boys own Lamborghinis. Then the young ladies invariably want to go for a ride. But the boys bluntly tell them that they are no longer interested because the girls demonstrated that they are merely gold diggers.

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In the instance below a black youth tries to initiate a conversation with a beautiful white girl inside a convenience store. The girl soon flatly says, “I don’t really talk to black guys.” The shocked and hurt young man leaves the store to stand next to his Lamborghini in the store’s parking lot. When the girl walks by the car she has a change of heart and begs the guy to take her for a ride. She even suggests that he take her to his house. When he tells her that he changed his mind because of her earlier racist remark, she audaciously denied ever speaking it.

While the alt-left academic historians and their acolytes dedicate themselves to the mass removal of Confederate statues as their method of attacking contemporary racism, they piously ignore present racism outside the South. Presumably, California’s one-sided vote for Hillary partly reflected her disdain for Confederate symbols. When asked about the Rebel Flag then flying on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina she said, “I don’t think it should fly there and I don’t think it should fly anywhere.”

The social justice warriors that want to erase Confederate heritage by removing Confederate statues and symbols should first focus on the planks in their own eyes instead of piously condemning Southerners as uniquely evil racists. But that’s about as likely as a Cherokee Indian getting elected Pope.

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.

Two Opposite Views on Confederate Monuments

(August 4, 2017) The current issue of Civil War Times contains an article in which a number of authors state their opinions about the future of Confederate monuments. Provided below are two contrasting examples.

First is the summation provided by Megan Kate Nelson who writes the regular “Stereoscope” column for Civil War Monitor.

I [Megan Kate Kelly] would like to propose that Confederate memorials should neither be retained nor removed: They should be destroyed, and their broken pieces left in situ.

On a scheduled day, a city government or university administration would invite citizens to approach a Confederate memorial, take up a cudgel, and swing away. The ruination of the memorial would be a group effort, a way for an entire community to convert a symbol of racism and white supremacy into a symbol of resistance against oppression.

Historians could put up a plaque next to the fragments, explaining the memorial’s history, from its dedication day to the moment of its obliteration. A series of photographs or a YouTube video could record the process of destruction. These textual explanations may be unnecessary, however. Ruins tend to convey their messages eloquently in and of themselves. In this case, the ruins of Confederate memorials in cities across the nation would suggest that while white supre-macists have often made claims to power in American history, those who oppose them can, and will, fight back.

Second is Robert K. Krick who is  Civil War historian whose interest is concentrated in the Eastern Theater.

We live in an age riven by shrill and intemperate voices, from all perspectives and on most topics. No sane person today would embrace, endorse, or tolerate slavery.

A casual observer, readily able to convince himself that he would have behaved similarly in the 1860s, can vault to high moral ground with the greatest of ease. Doing that gratifies the powerful self-righteous strain that runs through all of us, for better or worse. In fact, it leaps far ahead of the Federal politicians (Lincoln among them) who said emphatically that slavery was not the issue, and millions of Northern soldiers who fought, bled, and died in windrows to save the Union—but were noisily offended by mid-war emancipation.

It is impossible to imagine a United States in the current atmosphere that does not include zealots eager to obliterate any culture not precisely their own, destroying monuments in the fashion of Soviets after a purge, and antiquities in the manner of ISIS…On the other hand, a generous proportion of the country now, and always, eschews extremism, and embraces tolerance of others’ cultures and inheritances and beliefs. Such folk will be society’s salvation.

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