Open thread June 21, 2015 Dan Crawford | June 21, 2015 8:51 am Tags: open thread Comments (63) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
About the Solstice….
Courtesy Harry Shearer’s Le Show yesterday: “Why isn’t the confederate flag more accurately called The Loser’s Flag?”
The so called “confederate flag” is the terrorists’ rag.
back when i was stupid i would have disagreed with you.
kids i knew thought the rebel flag was a symbol of rebellion, freedom in the way the 13 colonies fought for their freedom. rebel as in rebel without a cause. rebel as in “what are you rebelling against?””what have you got?” they didn’t think of it as racist or having anything to do with slavery.
even those who may be racists don’t really want to see the return of slavery. and probably wouldn’t mind “civil rights” if it wasn’t served with such a large heaping of “you are an ignoramus because you are a racist.”
but the left can no more do without hate than the right can do without hate. turn a tragedy into another excuse to paint their “enemy”… maybe those people who feel the same way about the flag under which their relatives died for a cause they believed in…. as you might feel about your own country’s flag…and work
themselves up into a stupid fight over a symbol they don’t understand.
and alienate half the people in the united sates who ought to be on their side.
and never suspect they are doing the same damn thing they are accusing the “racists” of doing.
because it makes them feel better.
It seems to me that we some of us have become inordinately intolerant of the views of others. Views which we oversimplify just before we condemn them.
Political correctness has run amok.
The flag that South Carolina is flying was a Confederate army battle flag before it was associated with the Confederate government.
If this is the worst problem facing black Americans in South Carolina then I envy them.
For the record, my ancestors fought in the Union army.
just to be clear, there were some pretty bad people behind secession (book: “knights of the golden circle”) and there are some pretty bad people associated with “the flag” and “states rights” and racism today.
and some pretty bad people not associated with any of those things.
but most of the people with a fondness for the rebel flag, and even the union flag, are not bad… or any worse than human standard…
and “we” to the extent we call ourselves “liberals”” or “progressives” or “anti racists”, to the extent we attack “the flag” are just continuing the cycle of mindless hate.
Coberly wrote: “… to the extent we attack “the flag” …”
I don’t mind the attacks on the flag. But the attacks should be accurate and recognize that others may have a different opinion.
What bothers me is the intimidation tactics used to prevent the flying of that flag. This is a free speech issue and/or state governments still have a few rights left issue. The protesters can not legally force that flag to be taken down so they proceed with a subtle negative campaign.
This is political correctness run amok. I would rather be suppressed by my government, than by a bunch of overly educated nincompoops who imagine that they are the keepers of the flame for all important knowledge. They imagine a world where there are always perfect answers which the rest of us should always find perfectly acceptable. They imagine a world where we are all exact copies. A pox on their houses.
They should stop demanding that the battle flag be taken down, and start demanding that the murderer be expeditiously tried and convicted according to the laws of South Carolina. The survivors in that church know who committed those murders.
i thought we were agreeing with each other, but i can’t make much of
“i don’t mind the attacks on the flag…. they should stop demanding the flag be taken down.”
well, yes, the murderer should be tried. as far as i know the flag did not murder anyone. and as far as i know 99% of the people who “like” the flag did not murder anyone and don’t advocate murdering anyone, or keeping them in slavery, or denying them their civil rights.
attacking the flag is the kind of simple minded thinking… standard issue human thinking… that makes it so easy for the owners to find stupid people willing to die for the owners profits. and that works both ways… they can call for you to defend “your” flag, or they can call for you to fight aganst “the enemy’s” flag.
meanwhile the poor people of America are whipsawed by the right and the left into hating each other when they should be working together to solve their common problem. and that does not mean “hating the rich.” most of “the rich” are at least potentially on our side. our poverty does not make them richer, it makes them poorer. they would be on our side against the “criminal rich” if they weren’t being told that “the poor” were trying to take away everything they have worked for. at some point, after generations of this, they tell it to themselves. and we don’t help ourselves by standing outside their windows and chanting mindless slogans.
actually there is a little thing called the analemma that shifts the longest day away from the solstice.
i might have been wrong about that. the analemma does shift the time of sunrise and sunset, and changes the day length near Equinox, but i am not so sure it does at solstice (measured to the nearest minute), or why it should or should not.
This link contains the Amazon entry on a book by Paul Wetherington about my family’s part of South Georgia. Those of you who have an interest in the Civil War could find it interesting. As for the idea that ordinary people of the period somehow participated in the war in support of some sort of mystical “Cause” is bull. They knew what they were doing and acted in their own interest. They bought the idea that no matter how poor you were, you were white and that made you equal to the rich folks. It boiled down to, “At least we’re not black. We don’t want more black people here.” The planters took ruthless advantage of poor whites, of course. They weren’t fools and weren’t about to share their wealth in the name of some sort of pretended social equity. But, as long as the planters and the poor whites’ shared the same belief in their racial superiority over the slaves, the poor whites’ fate was sealed.
It’s still the same today. How do I know? I live in SWGA, a stone’s throw from US319, a road locally called, “Plantation Parkway.” There are more than 50 plantations in this area to this day. They’re mainly used for hunting although some house tourist attractions such as museums of antebellum life. A lot of these holdings are extensive and have carefully managed long leaf pine stands for the benefit of bobwhite quail populations. These holdings receive favorable tax treatment both on the local and state level. Thus, the planters still get the benefit of lower taxes than ordinary citizens.
And, of course, the vast majority of the citizens of this county are either poor or getting poorer as they grow older. That’s par for the course, all over the country. But, here it’s also a tradition that won’t go away because people are so used to the way things are, they don’t believe anything else is possible.
Oligarchy in action, y’all. Believe me, they’re good at what they do. 😉 NancyO
thanks for the history/geography lesson. i suppose you are right. but your argument is not as different from mine as you might suppose.
the people of the South are just as smart and just as stupid as people are everywhere, and if the “cause” they fought for was “at least we are not black” it’s because that’s what their “betters” told them to think… every day. and they had no way to think beyond what they saw every day.
even those highly civilized and educated germans could capture a bunch of jews who had been hiding in the woods for weeks and point out how dirty they were and feel smugly superior because their own clothes were clean.
my point is not that there is no prejudice in the South (or the North) but only that we don’t do OUR cause any good by turning everything into an excuse to tell the South that they are ignorant bigots and we are going to take their toys away from them.
this is just bigotry. and what it gets is not less bigotry but more of it as the people you are calling bigots just dig in and get their mad on and decide to support their friends the planters against their enemies the dirty hippies and yankees who are ignorant enough that it shows to even the most illiterate southerner.
oh, dear, i forgot.
it is not I who think you are dirty hippies, it is what the people you call ignorant racists think you are.
“but the left can no more do without hate than the right can do without hate.” Coberly
“meanwhile the poor people of America are whipsawed by the right and the left into hating each other when they should be working together to solve their common problem.” Coberly
Both statements are so wrong. Please provide me with some concrete evidence that expressions of hate are equally balanced between people of a right wing ideological mind set and those who are more progressive and more likely from the center to the left of that same ideological continuum. Just listen to the spokes people for the right. It’s not only the extremists like Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, etc. When has Mitch McConnell not sounded like a racist when he’s gone on about making every effort to make the Obama presidency a failed effort? When do the jerks like Louie Gohmert and his cohorts not sound totally unreasonable and narrow minded?
Who on the other end of the spectrum uses the inflammatory language of the right wing ideologues in this country? And who on the left flies the flag of another nation or organization that represents bigotry and a history of hatred? The differences on the left and the right are not a balanced argument. Today’s right side of the aisle represents a reactionary turn in our politics and our social fabric.
See the piece by Jack Hunter (“the Southern Avenger”) in the Daily Beast.
lets see, one beverly mann was here on AB telling everyone the south was evil, the scotch irish are evil, people who are uncomfortable with gay marriage are evil,… coberly is evil or at least too stupid to tell when beverly is speaking facetiously, run thinks coberly is evil but i have yet to figure out why…
i get daily emails from about twenty sources telling me that old white rich men are evil, the right is evil, republicans are evil,
joel says christians are evil
nah, i think hate filled bigotry is an equal opportunity sport.
funny about them arrow things: coming at you they look like rocks, going away they look like feathers.
“joel says christians are evil”
I hope this is not a reference to me. If so, it would be a lie.
WRT JimH’s concern: all the discussion I’ve read and seen concerns flying the flag of treason on public property (SC) or incorporating the flag of treason as part of the state flag (MS). In either case, this involves state activity. Citizens may rightfully protest when their tax dollars are being used to display a symbol of treason.
If JimH wants to fly the flag of treason (or the Nazi swastika flag, its German cousin) on his private property, that is his right. As a member of the ACLU for over 35 years, I support that right.
I guess that you are alluding to this.
This ending is simply priceless:
“The Confederate flag will always be a roadblock to the betterment of our natures. Let’s take it down so that we might all rise up.”
There you have it folks, another simple answer to a complicated world. Just what you would expect from a radio talk show host.
Just take down the Confederate battle flag though, not the reconstructed plantations, not the statues of Civil War soldiers, and not the Civil War memorials.
Make just this one itty bitty change and the hearts and minds of recalcitrant southerners will be changed forever.
Hallelujah brother. (Smiling here)
i guess i forgot to say joel hates us liars.
Jim Jim Jim Jim
now looka what you done
they’ll be tipping over the statues and the gravestones
and burning the plantation replicas
shoulda finished that civil war right!
folks with one drop of southern blood won’t be allowed to vote.
Seemed like a reasonable place to begin.
JackD wrote: “Seemed like a reasonable place to begin.”
I understand and I wanted to point out that the removal of that Confederate flag would be only the beginning of a series of removals as more and more reminders of the Confederacy were pointed out. And each removal would be likely to irritate more and more southerners.
And none of those removals would make any real difference in the day to day lives of black men and women in that state.
We could start by arresting all the paranoid people in South Carolina. That would make a little more sense, but I am betting that will never happen.
Hearts and minds need to be changed and we have failed at that for about 150 years. We seem to instinctively use the wrong tools.
Reminds me of “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” (Smiling here.)
I don’t think we have completely failed. Martin Luther KIng made a huge difference. It is no longer fashionable to be a racist, even in the south.
There are of course still racists, but not so many, and not so ignorant… that is, people, black and white, are still uncomfortable with and about each other, but they know it’s “wrong,” and mostly try to be decent in spite of their feelings and fears.
I think it has taken an actual effort to work those racist feelings back up to a level of political effectiveness… a lot of work on both sides.
If you can only list Beverly and Joel and refer to comments they may or may not have made here on AngryBear then you haven’t proved your point. There is no equivalence in the hateful rhetoric of people who represent the length of the political/social ideological spectrum. There is no equivalence in the absurd comments made by even the elected representatives who fall along that same spectrum length. Here’s but one example of how even elected legislators can say things that beg to be harshly criticized. “Texas was in a long period of drought until Governor Perry signed the fetal pain bill,” state Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said, as reported by RH Reality Check. “It rained that night. Now God has His hold on California.” This woman, elected to represent voters in the California Assembly, tells us that the west coast drought is God’s work and some how related to the abortion issue. Should I not call her an ass? Should I give her the respect that one might assign to her position? Positions don’t guarantee respect. The holder of a position must earn respect. This foolish woman is moving in the opposite direction of respectable.
Have you watched any of the Fox talk programs lately? Compare what is said and how it is said with what comes out of MSNBC in the evening. There is no equivalence in regards to truth and respect.
I haven’t made YOUR point.
I don’t watch Fox or any TV, but it has long been clear to me that the “right”… and that seems to include most Republicans… is insane.
The Democrats do manage a degree of sanity and civility. And then they sell out the people they claim to stand for.
The left wing hate i see comes from the people i mentioned, and mostly from the left blogs that visit my emailbox. They probably don’t equal the right in degree of insanity, but they actually exceed the right in nastiness. And I can rarely see any difference between them in quality of thought.
I don’t recommend calling the Texas woman an ass. It doesn’t work for me. I do recommend avoiding “general” statements about people that, for example, would call the Texas woman a “Christian” and so alienate the millions of Christians who are not insane, but maybe not up to the level of tolerance that would understand you didn’t really mean them. But the worse danger is that when you get in the habit of saying “christians” or “religious people” when you mean “people who say silly things or do hurtful things who call themselves christian” you find that your own thoughts become imprecise and pretty soon you start thinking of “them” as all alike (I think that may be an actual property of the way brains work) and you certainly lead those on the margin to react to your hate by identifying against whatever group they think you belong to.
just for the exercise go back and see what i said in the first place and try to see how you “generalized” it into something i did not say. happens to all of us all the time.
In the 1960s we forced local, state, and federal government officials in the south to stop discriminating against black men and women. The most important change was to force state and local governments in the south to allow black men and women to vote but the changes went well beyond that. And they went well beyond government.
There is no doubt that the south has changed. Those changes should have been forced on the south 100 years earlier.
But today black men and women across the country are complaining that they are treated as second class citizens by local governments. Their complaints are the loudest about local police departments but that is reflective of a broader problem.
That is the failure to change hearts and minds that I was writing about.
well, they were forced on the South in 1865. They didn’t take.
You have to prepare the ground even for “forced” change.
MLK and hundreds of thousands of others prepared the ground. The changes took. The force was only a formality.
Don’t think I am unaware of the “forces” now operating to encourage racism (not for racism itself, but as a way to gain power by those who know how to manipulate primitive emotions). what i have been writing about is the failure of the left to avoid being sucked into the game the bad guys want to play.
Note that I made no reference to the religious affiliation of the Assemblywoman from California. I did not make any reference to Christian or Christianity. So I’m not cure where you’re going with that.
My primary point is that it is best to allow those at the extremes to provide their own rope for their own figurative demise. By presenting the lunatic fringe as having an equal hold on reality as do their protagonists one gives support to their lunatic ideas.
YOU made no reference .. OTHER people do. All the time. By all means attack the lunatic ideas. Just be careful it doesn’t come out sounding like an attack on everyone who has something in common with the lunatic.
and there is this:
i said “the left can no more do without hate than the right.” (Joel: i don’t remember if i am quoting myself exactly. does that make this a lie?)
Jack heard this as claiming “expressions of hate are equally balanced”
can you see that what i said was not what Jack heard?
that’s why we never get anywhere.
Thought this interview by Bryan Stevenson summarizes and expands upon much of the conversation in here. It’s well worth the long read: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/24/bryan-stevenson-on-charleston-and-our-real-problem-with-race/
well, i certainly agree with him about abolishing the death penalty.
but i don’t think that all the injustice in America is directed at blacks.
they may get more than their share of it. and they may be in situations through no fault of their own where they … well, i don’t need to be called a racist again today.
thing is, you are not going to solve the problem by taking away the Confederate toys from people who have an emotional investment in them. You are just going to give another turn to the hate screw.
i think you ought to take a look at the rest of the world and see how racism plays out everywhere. It ain’t just an American, or Southern, thing. And you ain’t gonna fix it with simple minded “let’s get tough on racism” ideas.
I think I understand what you’re trying to get at, and I’m not suggesting you are a racist. I’m from the south, too, so I’ve seen some intense American racial tensions, but I’ve also seen it abroad. I lived in Scotland and N. Ireland for a few years, so I’ve seen a different kind of racism. One thing I noticed was how hard it was to promote racial hatred when the symbols of hated were taken away.
The people who grew up during the troubles carried that tension everywhere, irrespective of whether or not they could openly wear apparel or fly flags of the IRA or the Orange Order. But in places like Dundee, on the east coast where those symbols are socially unacceptable, the tension seemed muted between those communities, and my generation (the Millennials) didn’t have much investment in trying to find subversive way to promote those tensions. That wasn’t my experience in Glasgow or Belfast, where those symbols were much more widely displayed. Correlation isn’t causation, but it was an interesting observation to me.
I agree that taking away their toys doesn’t solve the current problem, but taking them away will make the problem more difficult to pass on in the future, based upon my limited life experience. If removing the permanently flag is the lowest hanging fruit at the moment, we (as well educated Southerners) would be nuts not to pick it off.
yes, but we might be nuts to walk into a racist bar and try to pick off the confederate flag patch on someone’s baseball cap.
i am not at all familiar with the situation in ireland/scotland, but i would be surprised if it didn’t turn out that the situation where the “symbols” were removed was very different from the situation where they weren’t. not only is correlation not causation but it could turn out that there are situations where A does cause B but other situations where B causes A.
I am just reading a book with some better ideas: “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism” by John Hope Bryant.
I should say I had and have serious misgivings about the book… I don’t especially want to save capitalism and i am leery of people who talk about financial literacy–they usually mean teaching people the lies that makes it easier to pick their pockets– but some of his suggestions certainly look like things that deserve to be tried.
If it’s hard to find the book, I may try to write a short review for AB if anyone is interested.
i first became aware of racism when the family, and town, of a young woman my mother knew disowned her because she married a black man.
this was in the upper peninsula michigan. no confederate flags in sight. nor were there any in chicago where i sort of grew up, or in new york or boston where i spent some time, yet there was racism.
i think the british took the irish language away from the irish. talk about racist destruction of symbols. and it didn’t do them any good in the end.
both the americans and the canadians and the australians took away the children and the culture from their native populations. can’t say that did anyone any good. besides being racist.
i know it would be hard for most people here to see taking away their culture symbols from the South as “the same thing”… but it really is.
sort of a “free speech” issue.
It’s not really a free speech issue. The Confederate battle flag can be legally flown by anyone who wishes to just as the Nazi swastica can be displayed by anyone who wishes to but both are no longer socially acceptable. Racists may not like that but free speech runs both ways. Society, as opposed to the law, is free to reject symbols of hatred.
it’s hard for me to tell what you mean. I certainly “turned my back on” the rebel flag before i was twelve years old… actually i never had much interest in it, but before twelve i had some other equally stupid fondnesses for symbols of romantic notions.
of course “we” can turn our backs on anything we like… or don’t like.
and certainly reject symbols of hatred. but are you so sure the rebel flag is a symbol of hatred to those who feel a fondness for it as a symbol of a romantic notion?
seems to me pretty silly to work up a hatred of a symbol… or at least to worship your own hatred of a symbol once you recognize it in yourself.
JackD wrote: “It’s not really a free speech issue.”
I don’t understand this.
In Citizens United the US Supreme Court informed us that corporations have a 1st amendment right to spend money on a political campaign.
But you seem to be saying that states don’t have a 1st amendment right to fly a flag. How can that be?
South Carolina’s elected representatives put that flag there.
Why are you comparing the Confederate army battle flag to the flag used by the Nazis? Surely you must be aware that many men from the deep south fought and died in WWII. Men whose ancestors fought in the Confederate army.
I didn’t understand JackD either. certainly the conversation here and elsewhere sounded like people were saying “we” should somehow stop other people from displaying the rebel flag. that is certainly a free speech issue, though i think i am the first one here to point that out.
what i have really been trying to point out that hating the haters is not the best way to stop the hate. and attacking a “hate symbol” is first order nonsense: if we find some homicidal maniac has a fetish for the color red are we going to ban red paint?
need to clarify: hating the haters is indeed not a good thing for you or for the problem, but that doesn’t mean not “hating” the hate or “hating” the tragedies associated with the hate. but hating those you call haters without knowing anything about them because you are projecting your hate onto them is the same kind of insanity that drives the haters.
no doubt there were abuses by some “aristocrats” in 18th century France. did that make the Terror less evil?
have we got the Terror here or on the way to it? maybe not, but if you look at the things we do to people in the name of “the law” you will see Terror on a retail scale… supported by bad thinking or no thinking on the part of the rest of us.
hate just provokes counter-hate. and human stupidity is always there to carry out the dirty work.
“”i said “the left can no more do without hate than the right.” (Joel: i don’t remember if i am quoting myself exactly. does that make this a lie?)”
“Jack heard this as claiming “expressions of hate are equally balanced””
“can you see that what i said was not what Jack heard?”
Dale, Yes, the words are not exactly the same in those two fragments. However, the two phrases convey the same idea, that hate is present at both ends of the social and political ideological spectrums. If you believe that concept and you focus on that supposed balance then your issues arguments will be brushed aside even when your facts are correct. I’m not referring to the issue of hate, but rather to any argument that then veers off into discussions of how those arguments are framed will do itself a great disservice.
On the public airwaves there is a persistent and blatant intention on the part of conservative voices to frame all ideological issues in the language of discord, and deceit and deception are the intention. There is no left side of the spectrum any longer in spite of the best efforts of the simplistic news media to use and abuse that term. There are progressives, corporatists and the far right fringe. Who is it on the so-called left that spews hatred and discord?
i think i have already answered your question about “who in the left…?”
answer: the leftist sites that come into my email box, and right here in river city. it is hard to see ones own hate. “it” is of course justified by the hatefulness of the “other.”
trouble is, as you probably know from reading others leftists like Gandhi and Jesus: hate just breeds more hate. you can’t hate the rebel flag, not to say the “racist” south, or even the poor deluded tea partiers and their “thought” leaders… without getting “their” backs up and you end up worse off than you were before. think of the way Martin Luther King managed his work. He never indulged in hate talk.
I realize you don’t think you or “the left” indulges in hate talk. that is the way of human beings. “I” am just being reasonable and opposing “their” hate…
i don’t listen to the public airways. if you do, i suggest you listen carefully to how the right develops hate among the all too ordnary people like you and like I. and listen carefully to how the Democrats try to avoid falling into that trap (ignoring for the moment that they are perfectly fine with selling you out to the financial geniuses). Then look at what the left blogosphere sounds like. You may get what I am trying to point out. Or you may not. History suggests you won’t.
as for what i said and what you heard… it’s not that the words are not exactly the same. it’s that the meanings are not at all the same.
“needing hate” to motivate the troops is not at all the same as saying that the degree of hate or the insanity of it is “equivalent.”
I am aware that there is a difference between “insane hate” and the hate that not insane people feel for the psychopath. but even with a psychopath you stand a better chance of controlling the situation if you do not respond with hate.
what you do to the psychopath after you control him is another issue… but just to give you the short version: society has always chosen to punish the psychopath and make a horrible example of him… to keep their children from becoming psychopaths? or just because it’s so much fun to torture someone you have given yourself permission to hate. and then soon enough there aren’t enough psychopaths to go around so you convince yourself that people you disagree with are dangers to the state… everyone does it, supreme court justices do it, even educated fleas do it. and of course once you get enough hate going around it’s easy to find people torturing their own kids… to keep them from going bad…. or, as i think, to teach them how to behave when they run into one of the “lords” who will kill them if they are “insolent.”
this is all well understood stuff. it’s just that no one thinks it applies to them.
on a related note
JEB Bush sent me the following:
“The Supreme Court just upheld Obamacare yet again.
This is the direct result of President Obama. He deliberately forced ObamaCare on the American people in a partisan and toxic way.
And we both know that Hillary Clinton will be more of the same. We cannot let this happen.”
you see the Supreme Court just upheld Obamacare. And we know Obama sneaked this in and Hillary will make it worse. So send JEB your money to keep the Supreme Court from having to uphold Obama and Hillary.
makes sense to me.
(please note irony intended).
I didn’t mean take their toys way in a literal sense, as in physically taking them away from people. That’s unconstitutional. Removing them from government buildings is a good start, but limiting or eliminating federal or state subsidies for manufacturers that produce or retailers that sell the Confederate flag would be constitutional and highly effective. So many of those products have a short shelf life. I surmise that most of the current stock would disappear within 25 years.
I guess I would argue that removing symbols of identity or language is highly effective for those who remove them. Britain successfully colonized Ireland doing it, and despite the history of autocracies and Irish Independence in 1921, N. Ireland is still “British,” and Ireland proper and U.K., the two English-speaking nations in Europe, were economically inseparable until the Irish adopted the Euro. As for Native Americans, removing their ability to express themselves in language or symbols was a key way for the U.S. to successfully justify their legal status as domestic-dependent nations. It totally undermined their individual sovereignty. All that to say, it did a lot of “good” for those who wielded the power to remove them. I’m not saying that I think it’s right or advisable in many situations, because it is extremely coercive and destructive as you say, and I think if the federal government and state governments did remove Confederate symbols they would have to do so with extraordinary caution and within a limited scope, but I think history attests that it can work.
As a side thought, JimH, I think Citizens United may not apply in this case. The Supreme Court seems pretty ambivalent about individual states having 1st Amendment rights. They are not private or publicly-traded corporations, and I think a strong argument could be made that the battle flag does not serve a public interest, or even a potential public interest, to all citizens of the state. The Confederate battle flag didn’t appear much on state government property in the south until the 1950s and 1960s, and this emergence during Civil Rights will matter to all of the liberal justices and probably to Breyer and Thomas as well. It is been adopted by hate groups who have the freedom of speech to display it, but I think that works heavily against the state. The stated purpose of those groups is to use that flag to intimidate racial minorities. It will be a triumph of salesmanship for a state’s attorney to reconcile the flags popular use for hate groups, and its widespread emergence on state property during Civil Rights, with serving a public interest for racial minorities today. The notorious RBG will inevitably ask “Why does this particular flag serve a public interest, with its highly questionable historical appearance and popular usage among hate groups, instead of another?” and the individual states won’t have a good answer.
Just to clarify on the flag issue, when I say it’s not a free speech issue I mean that the law is not preventing South Carolina or anyone else from flying the Confederate battle flag. Society’s social judgments and the political decisions that flow from those judgments are. There’s no legal ruling that the flag can’t be flown. South Carolina and other southern state politicians are feeling the way the wind is blowing and are deciding, as a matter of policy, not law, to stop displaying the flag. Free speech, as a legal/constitutional matter means the Nazis can march in Skokie and South Carolina can fly a flag representing racial bias but nobody is required to do that and most decide not to to avoid deserved criticism of their attitudes. Free speech does not mean that anyone has a right to be free of criticism for their actions which are otherwise allowed by the law. Shame does not have the force of law but it can be powerful nonetheless and shaming is every bit as legal as is speech.
As y’all may know I was raised in the delta of Mississippi. My childhood friend is still living there. Her great grandson is of mixed race (she is white). She and her family seemed OK and even supportive of the marriage saying that her granddaughter’s husband was a hard working man who was good to her. I was rather pleased that her family had evolved since 1970 when I left the area. Then, yesterday, my old friend “liked” a diatribe supporting the Mississippi flag in it’s current form and protesting any attempt to remove the Confederate flag from it. Libertarian? State’s Rights? What? I concluded that I can no longer presume to understand the people living in the home of my birth. There is something going on that is interesting though. I can’t predict if it is hopeful or just different.
The Confederacy was an act of treason. That is the point. The one primary reason for the Confederacy was to fend off all efforts of the rest of the country to put an end to slavery, the system of ownership of one group of people another. Just like in Imperial Rome, but that was 2,000 years ago. I repeat, the states that signed onto the Confederacy and waged war against the Union were committing an act of high treason. Lincoln was far too considerate of those who were responsible. In any other country they would have been hanged by the neck until dead. Now, in our country, they are eulogized as a tradition of the “old South”, a tradition that should have been hanged by the neck until dead.
Hi Jack, how are you? Too many Jacks I fear. I agree intellectually with your post but life is complex; No?
When I was in the 8th grade we were subjected to a special course in Civil War History and, no, Shelby Foote was not the teacher. But we enjoyed a course by the local civil war expert/nut, my history teacher’s history teacher sister. Now, based on what I learned (including a trip to Vicksburg to climb on the cannons and buy pewter solders), the secession was caused by the northern industrial interference in free trade in cotton with other competing nations. Besides, no more slaves were needed anyway since the need was met by sustained populations and, everyone knows, slavery would have ended when automation became widespread soon after the war.
In other words, it was a trade and state’s rights issue, clear and simple. I don’t know if this is emphasized today but, when various aspects surrounding differences between agricultural and industrial entities come into play, one can spin the civil war to one’s thinking, perhaps even without noticing how hard you are trying.
Everyone’s “age of reason” is their own. After, they rarely waver since they have a rationale of all things self. I suspect (but don’t know) that many southern raised individuals could give a rendition of the justification for the war; they just might be rationalized by a local teacher with a hobby in Civil War memorabilia.
Anna Lee, you might want to take a stroll along the battery in Charleston and pick up a pamphlet describing the “War of Northern Aggression”. The complaints about Lincoln from the south, prior to the war, centered on his being likely to end slavery and refusal to allow it in newly admitted states.
Rationalization of unpleasant realities is, indeed, common but doesn’t change the reality of the realities.
Hope I don’t add to the distraction of an excess of Jacks.
Anna and all the Jacks
I recommend “Knights of the Golden Circle” for one view of what was going on in the South immediatel prior to secession. And read a few old newspapers if you can. The Southern newspaper had convinced itself that slavery was a holy institution and the abolitionists waned the blacks to murder their owners in their beds and do worse than death to their mothers and daughters.
I also recommend “Father Abraham” (Steiner) for a pretty good case that Lincoln engineered abolition in a country that wasn’t ready for it.
And the particular impetus was the Dred Scott decision which declared that Southerners had a Constitutional right to take their “property” with them when they visited the North…
I don’t know that the story is so complicated, but between Southern apologists (now) and the ultra liberal professors who find good Marxist reasons for everything the picture has been clouded a bit for those who don’t do at least a little research.
The Jacks seem all to be looking for an rationalization to “ban the flag”
I invite them to think carefully about Anna’s friend.
And I’ll try one last time: the flag is a rag. you are essentially worshiping idols (in reverse?) by attacking it, and inviting the resentment of half the population who do indeed get tired of being kicked around by Yankees even if they have no desire to hurt black folks in any way.
Noone is suggesting the flag should be banned; rather it should be shunned and the politicians in the south are now figuring out just how disreputable society at large, including a substantial number of their own constituents, consider it. To put it simply, in light of the actions of their young racist, the flag embarrasses them.
When I was in school in Miami, slavery was the cause of the Civil War. All my teachers were from the North with few if any Southerners among them. At college, my professors were products of the Ivy League. They were fond of the economic factors explanation and didn’t talk about slavery much. But….
I went to college in North Florida in a town which had a big old cemetery not far from the campus. A section of it contained the graves of Klan members. Row after row of identical markers saying “Rest in Peace, Brother” followed by a deeply incised image of a fiery cross and on a separate line “KKK with the dates of the deceased. Yessiree, there it was. Quite a few of the graves were very recent. It did make one think about what one said about The War.
So, suppose you were there when Richard Nixon went to the RNC and said, “I know what we can do to defeat the Democrats in the South. What we do is…..”. And, you were there when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and his son, G. W. Bush were President. From the party of Lincoln to the party of the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Was it worth it? NancyO
Jack, “The Confederacy was an act of treason. That is the point. The one primary reason for the Confederacy was to fend off all efforts of the rest of the country to put an end to slavery, the system of ownership of one group of people another.“
You toss the word treason about as though it was the controlling principle in some way. Is it possible that you don’t remember that Great Britain considered the American Revolutionary War to be treason?
Does this sound familiar:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The lesson of the Civil War is that when a new nation is formed, the smallest states, colonies, or districts should refuse to join unless their long term interests are in complete harmony with that of the majority. And their interests are likely to continue to be in harmony in the very long term.
In 1787 the long term interests of the colonies in the deep south were with large scale agriculture using slaves as labor. The white population available for labor was very small. At the same time, the population of the northern colonies were already getting rid of slavery. The south should have went its own way, otherwise they were doomed.
Nullification was considered in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 when both states were disgusted with the Alien and Sedition Acts which limited free speech. Secession was threatened in the northeast because of a federal trade embargo in the run up to the War of 1812. Nullification and Secession was threatened in the deep south over the high tariffs enacted in 1828 and 1832. Only the Civil War made any consideration of nullification or secession laughable.
If the northern colonies had refused to make the compromises in the US Constitution, then we would be operating under the Articles of Confederation which were enacted in 1777 and stayed in effect until 1789 when the new Constitution went into effect.
The alternative would have been to allow the southern colonies to go their separate ways in 1787. (Virginia including what would be Kentucky and the land west of Pennsylvania & north of the Ohio River, North Carolina including what would become Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. That division of the colonies so soon after the Revolution would have been fatal to American independence from Great Britain. Or perhaps you believe that the north could have fought the south and Great Britain.
None of this is an excuse for what happened in the south after the Civil War. But neither are we required to develop mass amnesia.
There has not been slavery in this country since 1865. After Reconstruction, the north left their newly created citizens to the mercy of their former owners for almost a century. What in the hell were they thinking?
Our problem today is that we see racism from sea to shining sea. Changing the government at all levels should have been easy but even that is not complete. This is a hearts and minds problem and the US has demonstrated repeatedly that it is clueless in that area.
i agree with your history pretty much. but i don’t think the south was “doomed” by joining the union, but doomed by the excuses it gave itself for slavery. as lincoln said “if slavery is not evil, nothing is evil.”
moreover the south was not content with slavery it its home states but wanted to expand it to every state, and even to conquer the Carribean region to create a slave empire (i should not have said “the south” but “some in the south who gained political power”).
the united states could not afford to let that happen. Lincoln was almost certainly being honest when he said he had no power to “end slavery”, and no desire to start a war. the war was started by “some in the south” who ran around believing they had a god given right if not duty to “chastise the insolent” whether that meant beating a slave to death or beating a sitting senator to death on the floor of congress.
i have said to others that i think the South had the law and constitution on their side, but Lincoln had practical reality and the fate of millions of people on his side. and he appears to have known what he was doing, at great cost to his own health: he knew the war was “wrong,” but he knew that letting the South go would lead to greater wrong.
this, as you say, is a hearts and minds problem. the problem is not only with the hearts and minds of the South, but of our very dear progressive friends right here in river city.
Coberly wrote: “this, as you say, is a hearts and minds problem. the problem is not only with the hearts and minds of the South, but of our very dear progressive friends right here in river city.”
Yes, that is the ugly truth.
For the record, I was born after WWII, never knew anyone who owned slaves, and I have never supported slavery. I have lived the vast majority of my life in Kentucky, always in counties adjoining the Ohio River. Kentucky never seceded though it was a slave state. I think that was primarily because plantations did not even come close dominating the state economy. As usual it is complicated and their were other reasons too. The racism which I have seen here was a much tamer version than was on display in the deep south. And racism still exists here but there is much less of it and more publicly pronounced aversion to it.
I wrote doomed because the south was just too economically dependent on slavery. Giving up slavery reduced them to poverty after the Civil War. The same outcome would have happened in 1787 if they had given up slavery then. Only a revolution in their thinking could have helped reengineer their economy but that doesn’t happen very often. So in that sense the deep south especially was doomed.
The south wanted to continue their political influence Washington DC. To do that they needed to add a slave state for every free state which was added to the United States.
I confess that I have never heard of any plans for a southern Slave Empire.
if you are interested in Southern plans for a slave empire look up “Knights of the Golden Circle.” One should not, of course, simply believe one book, but I think that book will provide references if you want to do more research. As for the expansion of slavery into the North as well as the Territories, I think almost any good biography of Lincoln will discuss it, Dred Scott and the Compromise of 1850 being the focus of the concern, but a great deal of other “evidence” is out there, including the newspapers of the old South: they weren’t hiding their intentions. They were bragging about them. They seem to have truly believed that the Abolitionists were something like “communists.”
The south was probably “doomed” because it had mentally “invested” in the idea of slavery. And this is what doomed it AFTER the war. They could have developed an economy based on free labor, and they would have grown, but they couldn’t let go of the model of slavery even when they were forced to give it up in law. They… their rulers…. still work the prejudices of the people to maintain their political control of those people to the harm of those people.
But prejudice is the human condition, look around: racism is everywhere. You have to be carefully taught NOT to be a racist. You don’t get carefully taught by people screaming hate at you.
By that last sentence I meant that our friends on the left.. .some of them… are just as much a part of maintaining race hate in this country as are the Rush Limbaughs and their ilk.
They of course will not agree with me. They will just put me on their hate list.
The Atlantic published this article, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/, Ta-Nehisi Coates.
It’s pretty much just a review of the written comments of the leaders of the Confederacy, state by state, regarding the reasons for seceding from the Union. Slavery, slavery and a lot more slavery. If the word tradition shows up keep in mind that the tradition was the enslavement of one race of people by another.
JimH, “You toss the word treason about as though it was the controlling principle in some way. Is it possible that you don’t remember that Great Britain considered the American Revolutionary War to be treason?”
Which only proves that if some part of an Empire or a country is going to revolt against its duly chosen rulers, or elected officials, it’s best to win the war of revolution. Otherwise when the seceding group loses the war they will be accused of, and possible tried for, their acts of treason. The war in 1776 was treason against the English king and rule of law. It’s a good thing for Washington and his cohorts that they beat the English back to Britain. On the other hand the Confederacy lost in their efforts to preserve slavery. If you see that as a noble cause then I can’t see any reason to discuss the issue. There is nothing noble about slavery, and no, the slave owners did not treat their human property in any thing like a humane manner. The Confederacy wasn’t fighting just to maintain slavery, but to expand its reach into the western territories and even to the Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
what you say is true, but i think you are being disingenuous using “treason” in one breath as a dry technical “revolt against the established government” and in the other in its more common meaning “evil plot to destroy everything we hold sacred.”
When you accuse the South of “treason” you are invoking an emotional response to the way we feel when we have been “betrayed” or the government we are used to is threatened with overthrow by evil foreigners or just fellow countrymen with evil design to establish tyranny.
I could be wrong. Perhaps you just meant the “technical” “they tried to overthrow the government.”
As it happens I don’t agree with you. And I really really really do not like the people who promoted secession and “defended” slavery and ultimately treated black people like dogs… dogs that they treated badly.
But “secession” was always “on the table” until after the Civil War… and I think I even hear today talk of secession as though it is now something that could be done without provoking a civil war (also naive). Before the Civil War both northern states and southern states talked about secession as though it were a legal option. Not “treason” but simply a “divorce due to irreconcilable differences.”
I honestly don’t remember, but I think Lincoln was careful to avoid calling it treason. And he certainly didn’t act like he wanted to hang the “traitors.” something we can’t say about Ann Coulter, who thinks we should hang a teenage boy because he went overseas and ended up fighting against bad people called “warlords” before the united states decided that “the warlords are our friends.”
Jack– To clarify, I understood back then that slavery was the reason the South started the Civil War. But, as I said, the Klan was active during the Civil Rights era. To say their presence near my college was “chilling” is an understatement. NancyO
Jack wrote: “If you see that as a noble cause then I can’t see any reason to discuss the issue.”
I repeat from my last comment: “For the record, I was born after WWII, never knew anyone who owned slaves, and I have never supported slavery.”
Have a good day.
you are having the same sort of trouble I always have:
people can’t hear what you say because what they think gets in the way.
you have to admit it’s pretty complicated. folks a hundred and sixty years later might see the Confederacy as a “noble cause” because their knowledge of it… not much different from the knowledge of the average soldier in the Confederate army was that it was a war for freedom… to throw off the tyranny of the North. And what they have to go on is the stories their grandpa told that he heard from his grandpa.
but, you know, someone who went to school in the north has learned as a true fact of history that it was a war to preserve slavery.
now the fact may be that both of those things are true. and even if you don’t believe one,or the other, if you say something that ‘sounds like” to the other, the only thing he hears is that you favor slavery… or northern aggression, your choice.
and of course the only way we can end racism in this country is to call all southerners racists and threaten to take away their toys.
apparently this is the way things have always been, on both sides of everything.
I don’t see the Confederacy as a noble cause at all and I never bought the ‘genteel south’ stuff either. I have never acquired, or flown a Confederate battle flag.
But I don’t hold people operating before 1865 to todays standards either. And neither were they backwards because they rode on horses instead of in automobiles.
A young white man in South Carolina cold bloodedly murders 9 black people, he is promptly arrested, and will be tried and convicted.
Then comes the witch hunt. That normally intelligent people can not see what is happening is depressing.
Frankly, I believe that the rest of the country is scapegoating the south.