August 26, 2017

"Might it be that non-Southerners, for cultural reasons, simply cannot understand why it’s difficult for Southerners to execrate their ancestors, even if their ancestors did bad things?"

"That thought came back to me after listening to this amazing episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast. It’s about country music, and what sets it apart from other American musical genres. Malcolm Gladwell is not the first person I would go to for insight into how country music works, but boy, was this great."

Writes Rod Dreher at The American Conservative in "Sad Songs." I haven't listened to Gladwell's podcast yet, but Dreher ends his column with an invitation to listen to The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”:
Listen especially to the third verse — the land, family, death, defeat — and know that for very many of us, that is the South. It’s not the whole South. “Strange Fruit” is also the South. But it’s one true story of the South, and if you can’t feel the tragedy and the heartbreak of a poor, proud Southern man laid low in this song, friend, I cannot help you:


I can't embed that without thinking of something I read in The New Yorker this week: "Who Owns the Internet?/What Big Tech’s monopoly powers mean for our culture," by Elizabeth Kolbert:
Consider the case of Levon Helm. He was the drummer for the Band, and, though he never got rich off his music, well into middle age he was supported by royalties. In 1999, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. That same year, Napster came along, followed by YouTube, in 2005. Helm’s royalty income, which had run to about a hundred thousand dollars a year... dropped “to almost nothing.” When Helm died, in 2012, millions of people were still listening to the Band’s music, but hardly any of them were paying for it. (In the years between the founding of Napster and Helm’s death, total consumer spending on recorded music in the United States dropped by roughly seventy per cent.) Friends had to stage a benefit for Helm’s widow so that she could hold on to their house....
Here's the album. You can still buy it.

By the way, the 3rd verse that Dreher talks about is the one with the lines: "Like my father before me, I will work the land/And like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand/He was just eighteen, proud and brave/But a Yankee laid him in his grave...." It made me think of the 140 Confederate soldiers whose nearby graves I visited the other day, after Madison's mayor, Paul Soglin, got a memorial removed. I took photographs...

P1150066

... but only later did I learn that the headstones do not mark individual graves. What's under the ground is, in fact, a mass grave. The individual stones are a later effort at imposing dignity — an effort that corresponds to the effort we are experiencing today, the withdrawal of dignity.

550 comments:

1 – 200 of 550   Newer›   Newest»
buwaya said...

The two sides who were shooting at each other then understood each other better than the two sides who are about to shoot at each other soon.

mockturtle said...

Buwaya says it very well.

Jack Wayne said...

That may be true for some southerners but I believe the better reason is that northerners have been attacking and denigrating southerners for 150 years. The best strategy in a case like that is to admit no wrong but to venerate the South. It's a very human response. No psychoanalysis needed.

Michael K said...

Brookzene might want to read this article about contempt.

No,, I guess not.

I didn’t want to be a part of what they were a part of. You’re talking about people from the Cities who are very progressive. I call them tree-huggers, a bunch of tree-huggers. They referred to us, meaning the people who’ve lived here and worked here all our lives, as a bunch of hicks. They just think they’re a little bit better than everybody else, and that we’re not as smart.”

Why Democrats are losing local offices. Nah, she wouldn't be interested.

County music ? No chance.

"Rebel stands?" No chance.

Darrell said...

The Left should destroy what they see in the mirror. That's the part Marx left out.

Humperdink said...

From the link: "“They die off like rotten sheep. There was 11 die off yesterday and today, and there ain’t a day but what there is from two to nine dies.”

The mayor is a classless tool.

YoungHegelian said...

That Southerners have trouble execrating their ancestors? Who easily execrates their ancestors? Oh, where to begin.....

Do you ever hear from blacks who speak of the reparations for slavery that by the time that got to a slave market in a West African Slave Kingdom where a European could buy them, they'd already traded hands about 3 times, all done by black Africans?

Do you hear from New Englanders that the wealth they developed from trading with the Caribbean before they went whaling (itself an ecological disaster) was in buying & selling goods ALL produced by a slavery much more brutal than the South's?

I could go on & on (& I mostly do...), but I'll stop here. No one likes to have the historical facts intrude on their narrative of self-righteousness. Southerners have a lot of company on that score.

Portlandmermaid said...

This fervor to erase the past, to condemn anyone who was a Confederate or who spoke in sympathy about the South is leading to graves being desecrated and the bones of the dead scattered to the dogs. For those still living, Henchard's last words in The Mayor of Casterbridge will be the required elegy;

& that I not be buried in consecrated ground,
& that no sexton be asked to toll the bell,
& that nobody is wished to see my dead body,
& that no mourners walk behind me at my funeral,
& that no flowers be planted on my grave,
& that no man remember me.

Michael K said...

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

-the late Cardinal George of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago


This is probably what's coming. I won;t be sorry to miss it.

Robert Cook said...

As in all wars ever, the poor who died fighting for the Confederacy (and for the Union) died to protect and uphold the prerogatives and fortunes of the wealthy. They may have been told or felt they were fighting for something else, but that's what it always comes down to. If the Confederacy had survived, the poor whites who feel disenfranchised and looked down upon by Northeners (or "cityfolk" in general) would feel no less so from the present day heirs to the original Confederate wealth-holders.

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, & by the way, the woman the pulled down the statue in Durham? A member of the Worker's World Party, which to quote Wikipedia:

Workers World Party (WWP) is a communist party in the United States, founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).[1] Marcy and his followers split from the United States SWP in 1958 over a series of long-standing differences, among them Marcy's group's support for Henry A. Wallace's Progressive Party in 1948, the positive view they held of the Chinese Revolution led by Mao Zedong, and their defense of the 1956 Soviet intervention in Hungary, all of which the SWP opposed.

The take a look at this from Wikipedia on the Cultural Revolution. Oh, & the other communist group involved in these riots --- the Revolutionary Communist Party -- they're even more explicitly Maoist.

In their own minds, these guys are trying to re-stage the Cultural Revolution here.

Earnest Prole said...

the effort we are experiencing today, the withdrawal of dignity.

So with some reflection you found Scott Adams' branding theories unpersuasive?

Virgil Hilts said...

Spengler is also worth reading on these issues. https://pjmedia.com/spengler/2017/08/15/say-decent-men-died-wicked-cause/

exiledonmainstreet said...

YoungHegelian said...
Oh, & by the way, the woman the pulled down the statue in Durham? A member of the Worker's World Party, which to quote Wikipedia:

Workers World Party (WWP) is a communist party in the United States, founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).[1] Marcy and his followers split from the United States SWP in 1958 over a series of long-standing differences, among them Marcy's group's support for Henry A. Wallace's Progressive Party in 1948, the positive view they held of the Chinese Revolution led by Mao Zedong, and their defense of the 1956 Soviet intervention in Hungary, all of which the SWP opposed."

But Anne Applebaum, who wrote eloquently of those who suffered the horrors of gulag, thinks Trump and his followers are the problem here.

Dave Begley said...

Did anyone find out what happened to that metal plaque the Mayor of Madison removed? I wouldn't be surprised if it is at his office and displayed like a scalp.

rhhardin said...

Slavery sure gets a bad name these days. It's just an economic system that was displaced by the free market, which works better; anyway it works better if you don't find another way to enslave blacks by telling them to be angry.

Angry blacks vote leftist.

Freder Frederson said...

You do realize that except for Levon Helm The Band were all Canadians? And the song was written by Robbie Robertson (Canadian).

rhhardin said...

If blacks want a spiritual journey, they can start by forgiving their parents, which is what their anger is from.

Then when you're not angry, jobs open up.

YoungHegelian said...

@Freder,

And the song was written by Robbie Robertson (Canadian).

And covered by, of all people, Joan Baez.

Sebastian said...

"if you can’t feel the tragedy and the heartbreak of a poor, proud Southern man laid low in this song, friend, I cannot help you" More foolishness, this time from somebody who thinks human feelings have anything to do with this. There's a war on, buddy. The left is trying to give those poor, proud Southern deplorables a little more tragedy and heartbreak, good and hard, and to exploit their memory to scorch the culture. If you think those damn whites deserve to have their tragedy and heartbreak felt, I cannot help you.

Virgil Hilts said...

It's probably sacrilege, but I think Joan Baez's rendition is easily the best. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKrdbCbAxZ0
There is a good live version as well - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZjUBh_F6EA
I think there is also a great recording of her singing the song with The Band, but having trouble finding it. One of those weird songs where the live versions almost always sound better than the studio recordings.

Ann Althouse said...

"So with some reflection you found Scott Adams' branding theories unpersuasive?"

I don't remember hearing Scott Adams talk about a cemetery.

exiledonmainstreet said...

And covered by, of all people, Joan Baez.

8/26/17, 1:38 PM

Leftists like Baez and Ken Burns used to be able to see and acknowledge that ordinary white Southerners as well as blacks were tragic figures in American history. And Burns was able to recognize the complexity and nobility of Robert E. Lee.

But that's when the South still largely voted Dem.

If there's anything that disproves the mythical "Southern stategy" horseshit so beloved by liberals, it's this. If the South had in fact switched to the GOP overnight in 1968 as a result of civil rights, liberals would have started decrying those statues and the Confederate flag back then.

This is a childish, venomous revenge on the South for going GOP; the equivalent of a 4th grader calling another kid's mother a whore.

That's because Leftists are childish and venomous people. Even a Yankee like me can see it.

Earnest Prole said...

And covered by, of all people, Joan Baez.

In her version Baez converts Robert E. Lee from a general to a boat, making one wonder whether she had any idea what she was singing about.

Earnest Prole said...

I don't remember hearing Scott Adams talk about a cemetery.

Sorry, I thought we were talking about dignity.

surfed said...

My paternal great great grandfather and namesake served from April, 1861 through April, 1865 with Co A of the 2nd South Carolina Governor's Guards of Kershaw's brigade of McLaws Div in Longstreet's Corp under the command of Marse Robert in the Army of Northern Virginia. He was wounded at Gettyburg in the Peach Orchard and was at Appomattox with his regiment to stack his musket. My maternal great great grandfather served with the 2nd Florida of the Army of Nothern Virginia. Neither of those men owned slaves. They owned their country the South. The mentioned song was about them and the men they knew and fought with.
Addendum: my paternal great great grandfather's company commander great great grandson is my general physician these 152 years later. Small world here in the South.

Ann Althouse said...

"You do realize that except for Levon Helm The Band were all Canadians? And the song was written by Robbie Robertson (Canadian)."

That sounds snotty: "You do realize..."

Yes, I do. It's not arcane information. It's in the linked article in a part I took that out with an ellipsis, trying to shorten things. I considered it well known and not necessary to the story.

But I've now listened to the Gladwell podcast, and he makes a huge deal about how sad country songs are only possible because they come from a homogenous group, white southerners. That's the perspective of Gladwell, a southern Canadian.

Molly said...

My father's family was Southern and my mother's Northern. My father's family fought for the South, and my mother's for the North My maternal ancestors ran a station on the Underground Railroad; my great-great-grandfather fought at Gettysburg for the Union--and my father used to annoy my mother by calling Lee "Cousin Bob."

The Cherokee fought on the Southern side in the Civil War (don't tell Elizabeth Warren--although, since she's not Cherokee, maybe it really wouldn't matter). One of the reasons the Cherokee fought on the Southern side was their antipathy toward the Federal Government that had driven them off their land and along the Trail of Tears. (Look up Stand Watie.)

In short: Our history is vastly more complicated than most of today's Americans know. If we want to keep the country we have, we'd better understand and appreciate that complexity better than we do now., and appreciate black and white and Indian, better than we do.

By the way, there appear to be two Mollys who post here. So from now I will add the nom de plume Eaglebeak to my posts, although the posts will continue to be in the name Molly.

Michael K said...

The left does not want anyone to understand this is another Civil War.

The right is slowly waking up. We tend to be content with our lives.

The left is always angry and about stuff we aren't even aware of.

Larry Summers thought he was just talking about something almost everyone knew.

Nobody cared about Confederate statues. Now the crazies are vandalizing statues of people thy know nothing about.

Of course, may be it was an angry Tory sympathizer.

OldGuy said...

I have been thinking about the controversy over the Confederate Memorials and wanted to make a point. I am not interested in debating the causes or morality of the Civil War.

I want to make a point about something far simpler and frankly, to me, amazing.

I am a former Infantry Officer. I served two combat tours and was wounded four times.

And this is STILL amazing.

It may also help you, Ann, understand those of us from the South.



My family on my mother’s side have lived in N. Florida since before it was a state. They fought for the South in the Civil War as members of the 5th Florida Infantry Regiment.

The Regiment was raised in Tallahassee, FL (where I now live), in 1862 and
mustered 1,000 men. The Regiment was grouped with the 2nd and 8th Florida to
make up the Florida Brigade that served in the Army of Northern Virginia.

They fought at 2nd Bull Run, Sharpsburg, Antietam, Fredricksburg, and Chancellorsville.

They were a part of Picket’s Division at Gettysburg, and took part in Picket’s Charge.

After Gettysburg, they fought at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Take a moment and open a book. Read a little about those battles.

When the 5th Florida surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, there were 53 men left.

Over a 3 year (+/-) period, they suffered 95% casualties. And still they stayed, and still they fought.

The most amazing thing is that the 5th Florida was not anything out of the
ordinary. At the surrender, the 2nd Florida had 68 men and the 8th Florida had 32.

I would bet that most other Regiments, Union and Confederate, had the same story.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

An no one is demanding that memorials dedicated to the Northern forces be taken down.

Dave Begley said...

I urge everyone to click through and read that New Yorker piece. Completely incoherent TDS garbage. Here's the reasoning. Trump stole the election via fake news stories. He's a demagogue. The former media complex that controlled the message (NYT, WaPo, CBS) and told us how to think is dead. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft now run the show.

But riddle me this? The tech giants are all run by liberals. How in the world did Zuckerberg, Cook and Schmidt allow Hillary to lose? Why didn't they rig the election for Hillary.

The author did, however, begin to make a decent point regarding intellectual property law, probably unwittingly. Silicon Valley was built on efficient infringement of patents. The story she describes about the destruction of the music business is just the tip of the iceberg. Apple, in particular, is the king of IP piracy. It owes the University of Wisconsin millions and Qualcomm even more.

Congress needs to act. The targets are the tech giants. If the PTAB is found to be unconstitutional in Oil States, a good start will have been made.

Virgil Hilts said...

Earnest Prole - your post got me interested. There is a big discussion of the person versus river boat at http://theband.hiof.no/articles/dixie_viney.html Baez was wrong, but I always thought the song was referring to something like the burning of a steam boat (and it makes more sense that way).

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Comanche Voter said...

There's an interesting line--it could be in the Ken Burns Civil War documentary, or in some of Shelby Foote's writings. But the story is told that a Union officer asked a Confederate prisoner--an enlisted man who definitely was not a slave owner. The question, "Why are you fighting us--you don't own slaves." The answer, "Because you are here."

Now one view of the Confederate armies---a bunch of poor people fighting a rich man's war, has quite a bit of truth to it.

Another view which also holds truth--and which is applicable to the coastal elites sneering at the "deplorables" today is that if you invade people's space--whether geographic or mental, people will fight back. That's why non slave owning Confederates fought, and that's why Trump won.

Neither that Union officer, nor today's "progressive elite" understood the answer.

Humperdink said...

R Cooke said: "As in all wars ever, the poor who died fighting for the Confederacy (and for the Union) died to protect and uphold the prerogatives and fortunes of the wealthy. They may have been told or felt they were fighting for something else, but that's what it always comes down to."

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my spouse's great, great grandfather was conscripted into the Confederate Army and later captured. Did he have a choice?

traditionalguy said...

Southern heritage comes out of an innate resolve to be the winner. Slavery was a cruel social arrangement around from time immemorial whose time had come to end. But keeping slavery was not the reason Confederate soldiers fought an impossible war. Rich cotton planters who owned the politicians sold it politically as being necessary to save families from the feared slave revolt. But the soldiers themselves few of whom had slaves basically wanted win for the sake of defeating an Invading Army. And until sundown on August 31, 1864 that looked like what the had done.

Defeat is not easy. It takes great survival instincts to come back from a serious defeat in a total war. That so many have experienced it explains the world wide best seller of a romantic chick book by a first time writer named Margaret Mitchell. She sold 30 million copies after 1936. And the book's attraction was the truth part of the Historical Fiction setting for the love story. From the seige of Atlanta to the final battle at Jonesboro where her family had lived hits all the emotions of a defeat and the 1864 starving time after Sherman spent 60 days stealing all eatables and then marched out headed for Savannah.That March by Sherman was unopposed by the Confederate Army, and the shame of that truth has made poor Tecumseh Sherman the original Borked man in American history.

The monuments were the way the South finally honored their losers who, like the Viet Nam vets, had been resented by the Southern people since they lost the war 40 years earlier.

Derek Kite said...

Is it blacks making this fuss or pasty white overeducated twits trying to polish their morality?

KittyM said...

"Might it be that non-Southerners, for cultural reasons, simply cannot understand why it’s difficult for Southerners to execrate their ancestors, even if their ancestors did bad things?"

@Althouse. I would have thought you would be interested in the word that is missing in this sentence - namely, "white".

This essay and all these comments assume that "Southerners" = white. And in this way, we have a perfect example of the problematic nature of the discussion here. You all talk about Southern history: but Southern history is a history of white *and* black people. When Trump says that the removal of Confederate monuments is an attack on "our history", again, whose history? He is using "our" but he is only talking to white people because the removal of those monuments is clearly not an insult to black people.

So: where is the discussion of the views and feelings of black Southerners on this issue? Why does "Southerner's heritage" only mean the history of this one group? Are the views and feelings of the slaves and the families of the slaves not equally part of this discussion?

#althousecommenterssowhite

exiledonmainstreet said...

"But riddle me this? The tech giants are all run by liberals. How in the world did Zuckerberg, Cook and Schmidt allow Hillary to lose?"

I think they're trying hard now to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SukieTawdry said...

YoungHegelian said...Do you hear from New Englanders that the wealth they developed from trading with the Caribbean before they went whaling (itself an ecological disaster) was in buying & selling goods ALL produced by a slavery much more brutal than the South's?

1776 is one of my favorite musicals. I watch it every July 4th. Perhaps its most powerful number is Molasses To Rum stunningly performed by John Cullum who plays Edward Rutledge:

Who sail the ships out of Guinea
Laden with Bibles and slaves
'Tis Boston can boast
To the West Indies coast
"Jamaica, we brung what ye craves"
Antigua, Barbados
We brung Bibles and slaves

Molasses to rum to slaves

Who sail the ships back to Boston
Laden with gold, see it gleam

Whose fortunes are made
In the triangle trade
Hail slavery, the New England dream

Mr. Adams, I give you a toast
Hail Boston
Hail Charleston
Who stinketh the most?

gg6 said...

"...What's under the ground is, in fact, a mass grave. The individual stones are a later effort at imposing dignity — an effort that corresponds to the effort we are experiencing today, the withdrawal of dignity."
Such a brilliantly insightful and moving insight, Ms. Althouse, My eyes filled w/ honest tears. Thank you..... I've been re-viewing Ken Burns' 'Civil War' this past week in an effort to get back in front of the current ignorance and insanity. We are trashing our history and culture along with each other and our mutual respect and sense of dignity.

Kevin said...

So: where is the discussion of the views and feelings of black Southerners on this issue? Why does "Southerner's heritage" only mean the history of this one group? Are the views and feelings of the slaves and the families of the slaves not equally part of this discussion?

Why do you assume all black people are descendants from slaves? Black people from Africa and the Caribbean are just as black and just as Southern.

The answer to your larger question is that people are asserting the right to tear down historical monuments because it makes them feel a certain way. But other people are not being asked or consulted in the process. We seem to be proceeding on the idea that if it offends one, it should be offensive to all.

Likewise, others seem to make the assertion that black people have super-voting rights because of the nation's history. It's not the same if others are offended, but black people's offense should be given priority over everyone else's feelings.

We will do nothing but tear down the entire country if we head down that path.

Unknown said...

I worked the oil patch for a time. Mostly up in the Missouri Breaks in the late 70s. weather'd get cold and the regulars would go home to the South. It was an opening for us unemployed logging and farming types.

It was my first experience of mixing with them. They were proud, quick tempered, and very fast with their mitts if they thought their pride had been injured. A few years earlier I'd been hitching our of Kansas City (Missouri) and got a ride with an old black boxer turned preacher. I asked him what part of the county had the best fighters. My hope was he'd say the Pacific Northwest. But, he said the South. I asked why and he said because they hit hard and were hard to knock down.

The Marines are at heart a Southern outfit. The core of the military that walked at Bataan and Chosin were Southern. We can't afford to ever lose those guys.

Later I did a long stretch on the Illinois Central Gulf in the Deep South. Lot of really nice folk down that way.

I still don't much care for Southern men, but I respect them.

exiledonmainstreet said...


"So: where is the discussion of the views and feelings of black Southerners on this issue? "

44% of blacks think the statues should not be taken down. (A majority of all other groups, even in the Northeast believe the statues should stay up.

Charles Barkley, who grew up in Alabama, said he never gave those statues any thought at all growing up. He notes taking them down won't help one black child.

Blacks are a large minority in the South - but they are still a minority. Why should the sudden outrage of 60% of them trump everyone else's opinions and sensibilities?


"Another view which also holds truth--and which is applicable to the coastal elites sneering at the "deplorables" today is that if you invade people's space--whether geographic or mental, people will fight back."

And KittyM is the epitome of the meddling, self-righteous outsider.


Bob Ellison said...

"Execrate" is a weird word.

I'm with KittyM, maybe, but Kitty's comment is also weird, and difficult to parse. And the hashtag shit makes it stupid.

Tear down the statues! They're not appropriate. You wanna celebrate your heritage, find real Southern heroes, of which there are many. Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, traitors both to America, are not among them. Tear them down.

Earnest Prole said...

Leftists like Baez and Ken Burns used to be able to see and acknowledge that ordinary white Southerners as well as blacks were tragic figures in American history.

Read Greil Marcus forty years ago in Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ’n’ Roll Music.

”The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” . . . is not so much about the Civil War as it is about the way each American carries a version of that event within himself. . . . It is hard for me to comprehend how any Northerner, raised on a very different war than Virgil Kane’s, could listen to this song without finding himself changed. You can’t get out from under the singer’s truth—not the whole truth, but his truth—and the little autobiography closes the gap between us. The performance leaves behind a feeling that for all our oppositions, every American still shares this old event; because to this day none of us has escaped its impact, what we share is an ability to respond to a story like this one.”

harrogate said...

I for one don't plan on shooting anyone on any side. I suspect this is one of those rare moments where I'm in an absolute majority of the American citizenry.

People who keep "prophesying" Civil War deny that they are projecting a twisted wish, but nevertheless, that's what they're doing

Kevin said...

The monuments are markers to our history - all of it.

Just as they denote the legacy of slavery to some, they denote the legacy of self-determination to others, and of the sacrifices by all to "bind the nation's wounds" afterward to a third group.

Each of these interpretations is correct and justified. To raise one above the others so as to make other aspects null and void is exactly what our ancestors worked so hard to prevent.

To do so 150 years later is the worst kind of historical revisionism.

Earnest Prole said...

I always thought the song was referring to something like the burning of a steam boat.

Greil Marcus again:

"With the war over, a glimpse of Robert E. Lee is worth as much to him as the memory of his brother, who died fighting for the sense of place Virgil Kane’s war was all about."

rhhardin said...

My (NJ) public high school taught the civil war without taking sides, as far as I recall. It's just history.

Big Mike said...

This essay and all these comments assume that "Southerners" = white. And in this way, we have a perfect example of the problematic nature of the discussion here.

As I wrote before -- the neverending culture war, war without end, Amen.

rhhardin said...

Slavery wasn't that bad. It was just outdated.

It's now a leftist moral touchstone to keep blacks out of the mainstream.

Kevin said...

You wanna celebrate your heritage, find real Southern heroes, of which there are many.

Really? Given that people lived in a slave-owing economy and thereby profited directly or indirectly from slave labor, exactly who do you think can stand up to the scrutiny leveled today, tomorrow, and the day after that?

n.n said...

It's not "non-Southerners", the problem is Pro-Choice, including progressive liberalism (i.e. monotonic divergence), that advocates for class (e.g. color, sex, gender) diversity (i.e. denial of individual dignity) and elective abortion (e.g. selective-child) that denies life to those deemed unworthy, inconvenient, or profitable (e.g. Planned Parenthood/clinical cannibalism). The Pro-Choice philosophy is based on selective, unprincipled, and opportunistic principles derived from the twilight fringe (under a layer of privacy, no less). Progressive liberalism is degenerative. Of course they don't appreciate the value of personal sacrifice, and as they see the world in black and white, they cannot tolerate the nuance in a history biased by their prejudice.

rhhardin said...

It's a perfect setup.

Blacks notice that on the average they don't do as well as whites economically.

The left tells them it's because of racism.

The blacks get angry at whites.

The anger keeps them out of jobs, making it worse.

Repeat forever.

Poor whites don't get angry unless you rile them on purpose. It's just how it works out, and you get the job you can do.

Big Mike said...

I for one don't plan on shooting anyone on any side. I suspect this is one of those rare moments where I'm in an absolute majority of the American citizenry.

Nobody plans on it. Before Fort Sumter a prominent Southerner offered to mop up all the blood that would be spilled with a pocket handkerchief. Later on they blame the other side for starting it, no matter which side they're on. World War II is just about the only exception to "the other side started it," because of Hitler's invasion of Poland.

Bob Ellison said...

Kevin, here's a start: George Washington Carver.

rhhardin said...

If you're angry, you're a burden instead of an asset at work.

The asset tries to be helpful. As Scott Adams also went into somewhere yesterday.

A ten minute tutorial, he said, and he can have any African American working in the job market.

Charlie said...

Why would Levon Helm have been getting royalty checks? He didn't write the songs.

Kevin said...

As for Lee, he fought a war he didn't want to fight, against people he loved and respected, because his home state directed him to do so. At the time your allegiance was to your state first, and to not fight would have been more treasonous than it was to take up arms against the North.

Lee was bound to the honorable path, and he made decisions has an honorable man throughout the war.

That he surrendered his army rather than turning it into a guerrilla force at the end was yet another honorable act on his part. There were no snipers shooting agents of the federal government in Charleston. Nor were there bombs going off in NYC churches after the war ended.

We can thank Lee for that.

rhhardin said...

What would this culture war look like if blacks weren't interested in it and saw it as a fight between elite whites and normal whites.

I think it would disappear and the elite whites would look for another meme entirely.

Owen said...

"...withdrawal of dignity." This. Culture is comprised of little understandings and courtesies that we expect and extend. Honoring the dead is part of the Burkean compact between the ancestors and ourselves, and it is as much about our own hope that in our turn we shall not be forgotten, as it is our remembering those who came before.

This is true of every cemetery or memorial; but especially true of the war dead. They died for a cause, and while we may dispute the merits of the cause or condemn it absolutely, we are still able to recognize the humanity of those who fell.

I think the Prog effort to erase history is an abomination and it will produce a terrible harvest of rancor and worse.

rhhardin said...

You can't have a culture war with a sacred object.

At the moment blacks are the sacred objects.

Collateral damage in the battle for the news cycle between two groups of whites.

rhhardin said...

You can't withdraw dignity. Dignity is something you give yourself in how you treat others.

Chuck said...

These are all some lovely, complex, nuanced thoughts, all very well and carefully articulated.

In other words, the sort of thing that Trump can never do.

Kevin said...

Kevin, here's a start: George Washington Carver.

An accomplished man but he undoubtedly voted Republican during his life. That clearly makes him a white supremacist in today's America.

Ask Ben Carson how accomplished black men who vote Republican are treated today. You think you could put up a Ben Carson statue anywhere in America?

Ann Althouse said...

"As in all wars ever, the poor who died fighting for the Confederacy (and for the Union) died to protect and uphold the prerogatives and fortunes of the wealthy. They may have been told or felt they were fighting for something else, but that's what it always comes down to. If the Confederacy had survived, the poor whites who feel disenfranchised and looked down upon by Northeners (or "cityfolk" in general) would feel no less so from the present day heirs to the original Confederate wealth-holders."

This is why everyone should want to respect those graves.

Ann Althouse said...

I should say: that grave.

It is one grave. The headstones are a story told years later.

Now I Know! said...

KittyM's comment at 2:08 pm was brilliant and blows a hole in Ann Althouse's one-sided analysis of this debate. Ann and others who support these racist statues want us to consider the sad feelings of southern whites, while they completely ignore the feelings of African Americans who just a few short decades ago where still being treated as third class citizens.

Do you know there are only two statues of Medgar Evers in Mississippi while there are hundreds of Jefferson Davis? Both were sons of that state, but Evers is a true American hero who gave his life for our country while Davis was a traitor.

Ann Althouse said...

"if you can’t feel the tragedy and the heartbreak of a poor, proud Southern man laid low in this song, friend, I cannot help you"

Dreher is playing off of Gladwell's last line, which comes after he plays the end of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" as it was sung at George Jones's funeral.

sunsong said...

O come on now...perps into victims? That used to be called bleeding heart ;-)

SukieTawdry said...

My family has been in North Carolina since 1652. When the family sold the last of its farmland holdings in the 1980's, it retained the rights to the family cemetery which dates back to the 1700's. The ladies of my southern branch still faithfully tend those graves. This type of familial and ancestral obligation runs deep in the southern Zeitgeist.

rhhardin said...

Soldiers fight for their buddies.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Cherokee fought on the Southern side in the Civil War (don't tell Elizabeth Warren--although, since she's not Cherokee, maybe it really wouldn't matter). One of the reasons the Cherokee fought on the Southern side was their antipathy toward the Federal Government that had driven them off their land and along the Trail of Tears. (Look up Stand Watie.)"

"The Cherokee brought many of their slaves with them to the West in the Indian Removal of the 1820s and 1830s, when the federal government forcibly removed them from the Southeastern states. Joseph Vann was described as taking 200 slaves with him.[1] Black slaves in each of the tribes performed much of the physical labor involved in the removal. For example, they loaded wagons, cleared the roads, and led the teams of livestock along the way. By 1835, the time of removal, the Cherokee owned an estimated total of 1500 slaves of African ancestry (the most black slaves of any of the Five Civilized Tribes).[2] Within five years of removal, 300 mixed-race Cherokee families, most descendants of European traders and Cherokee women for generations, made up an elite class in the Indian Territory. Most owned 25-50 slaves each. Some of their plantations had 600 to 1,000 acres; cultivating wheat, cotton, corn, hemp, and tobacco. Most of the men also had large cattle and horse herds.[3]
By 1860, the Cherokee held an estimated 4,600 slaves, and depended on them as farm laborers and domestic servants. At the time of the Civil War, a total of more than 8,000 slaves were held in all of the Indian Territory, where they comprised 14 percent of the population."

Alex said...

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
In Dixie's Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin'.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie's Land I'll take my stand,
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
There's buckwheat cakes and Injun batter,
Makes you fat or a little fatter.
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land
Then hoe it down and scratch your gravel,
To Dixie's Land I'm bound to travel.
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie's Land I'll take my stand,
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!

Earnest Prole said...

Why would Levon Helm have been getting royalty checks? He didn't write the songs.

The royalties paid to the performers are different from the royalties paid to the songwriter. Levon Helm received the former but not the latter.

rhhardin said...

They're not too interested in the big picture.

Kevin said...

In other words, the sort of thing that Trump can never do.

Trump denounced all forms of hatred and asked the key question: "If Lee today, who's next?"

He doesn't have the media to make his arguments for him. Nor does he have allies in Congress with enough spine to do so. Unless he's going to be the History Professor in Chief - and spend his energy refighting the Civil War - he's done all he needs to do and shouldn't waste any more time on the subject.

If you note the absence of Shelby Steele, Ken Burns, or any authority on the Civl War and why the monuments were placed there in the first place, it's because our media has no interest in an actual discussion.

The media made the mistake of asking Alan Dershowitz about Russian "collusion" and they won't make that mistake twice.

It's much easier to keep their paid talking heads saying "Nazi" every hour on the hour.

As for the statues, they are last week's news. The media and left are all focused on Texas right now, looking for evidence of poor FEMA response to tar Trump's administration as ineffective. They know the playbook. You make the accusation - Russia! Racism! Misspelled Tweets! - and then you run away before anyone can start making an effective counter-argument.

Trump's card is to call the media "dishonest" and let the chips fall where they may. The media will do the rest on their own.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why would Levon Helm have been getting royalty checks? He didn't write the songs."

"From Helm's autobiography:

"When The Band came out we were surprised by some of the songwriting credits. In those days we didn't realize that song publishing--more than touring or selling records--was the secret source of the real money in the music business. We're talking long term. We didn't know enough to ask or demand song credits or anything like that. Back then we'd get a copy of the album when it came out and that's when we'd learn who'd got the credit for which song. True story....

"When the album [The Band] came out, I discovered I was credited with writing half of "Jemima Surrender" and that was it. Richard was a co-writer on three songs. Rick and Garth went uncredited. Robbie Robertson was credited on all 12 songs.

"Someone had pencil-whipped us. It was an old tactic: divide and conquer.

"After that, the level of the group's collaboration declined and our creative process was severely disrupted. There was confusion. It's important to recognize Robertson's role as a catalyst and writer. But I blame Albert Grossman for letting him or giving him or making him take too much credit for the band's work...

"I went on to express [to Robbie] my belief in creating music with input from everyone and reminded him that all the hot ideas from basic song concepts to the mixing and sequencing of our record, were not always exclusively his. I complained that he and Albert had been making important business decisions without consulting the rest of us. And that far too much cash was coming down in his and Albert's corner. Our publishing split was far from fair, I told him, and had to be fixed. I told him that he and Albert ought to try and write some music without us because they couldn't possibly find the songs unless we were all searching together. I cautioned that most so-called business moves had f@#$ed up a lot of great bands and killed off whatever music was left in them. I told Robbie that The Band was supposed to be partners. Since we were teenagers, we banded against everything and anyone that got in our way. Nothing else--pride, friends, even money--mattered to the rest of us as much as the band did. Even our families had taken second place when the need arose.

"I said "Robbie, a band has to stick together, protect each other support and encourage each other and grow the music the way a farmer grows his crops."

"Robbie basically told me not to worry because the rumors were true: Albert was going to build a state-of-the-art recording studio in Bearsville and wanted us to be partners in it with him. So any imbalance in song royalties would work out a hundred fold within the grand scheme of things. We would always be a band of brothers with our own place. No more nights in some company's sterile studio...All we needed to do was play our music and follow our hearts.

"Well, it never quite worked out that way. We stayed in the divide and conquer mode, a process that no one ever seems to be able to stop to this day."

Kevin said...

Ann and others who support these racist statues want us to consider the sad feelings of southern whites, while they completely ignore the feelings of African Americans who just a few short decades ago where still being treated as third class citizens.

I like how people throw out "racism" like it's some end-all trump card to win any argument. It's not.

If the issue is racism in the past, we can't stop at the Confederacy. We have to purge all of US history and there isn't going to be much left when we're done.

If the issue is racism today, RE Lee and his ilk are dead and have no impact on how people choose to treat each other today. Concrete and bronze have never been racist and never will be.

If the issue is racism in the 1960's, there are actual racists still alive today. Why are we worried about 150 year-old statues when we can round up people who are 90 or 100 years of age and flog them in the public square?

While we're at it, we can make it compulsory for every American to tune in and watch - or be self-outed as racists who belong on the next episode.

Hagar said...

When I did my military service back in the early-mid fifties, the band in the EM Club would sometimes play alternate bars of Dixie and Battle Hymn of the Republic and we would cheer to see who could be loudest on a sectional basis - North against South - and the black guys would cheer right along with their home states - it was where they were from and it was their homeland as much as the more or less white guys'.

This stuff today - not only the statue thing - is invented today and it is the kind of stuff you come up with when your party has reached the objectives it was formed to achieve, has grown old and bereft of ideas for what to do next, and the leaders - big and small - only want to protect their rice bowls.

The black people are only cannon fodder in this battle. They are not the ones who thought up this stuff.

David said...

I became interested in the South in the 1960's, in college. I had never been south of the Mason-Dixon Line except for one visit to Florida, which didn't count as being south where I was. (Ft. Lauderdale with the student spring break mass, while a senior in high school.) But the southern writers drew me in. Walker Percy, Faulkner, William Styron, Capote, Thomas Wolfe. All white of course.

We also had Douglass Cater, a journalist and political type from Alabama who made is career in Washington as a liberal. He was the best teacher I had in college, available only because he was at Wesleyan (my college) at the Center for Advanced Studies finishing a book. He didn't have to teach but nevertheless he did, two courses on "Southern Literature" and one on "Southern Culture."

From these courses and Mr. Cater, a got the strong sense that the loss of a war made the south different than the rest of the country, and it still does, I believe, though in ways different than it did in the 20th Century. The south is diluted now, with many northerners (nowadays including black northerners) moving there and affecting the culture.

One of the results of all this, I believe, is that current southerners have more of a tendency to be more humble and less strident about their moral judgments than Yankees, especially liberal Yankees. Having before them clear evidence of how wrong their society had been about so many things, they understand that it is possible to be very wrong again. You don't see much of that in Madison or Cambridge or New York or the places where people think like the denizens of those places.

The southern black writers were not seen as part of this. We did read Baldwin, Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison but not as southern writers, as indeed they were not. But as time went on I came to see them as more in that tradition, a tradition of cultures dealing with deep loss and severe dislocation.

Robert Cook said...

"As I mentioned in an earlier post, my spouse's great, great grandfather was conscripted into the Confederate Army and later captured. Did he have a choice?"

Nope! Many (or most?) soldiers for the Union were also conscripts who had no choice. There were riots over it in NYC. Another method (besides appeals to feelings of national or regional "solidarity" or patriotism) to compel poor people to fight and die for the rich.

Bob Ellison said...

Kevin at 2:47 and since, I agree. Well said.

Ann Althouse said...

The 140 who died in the prison camp here in Madison and are buried in that mass grave surrendered in the Battle of Island No. 10 in April 1862.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/confederate-mass-grave-in-chicago

Oak Woods Cemetery is the final resting place of up to 6,000 confederate soldiers, the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere.

Robert Cook said...

"There's an interesting line--it could be in the Ken Burns Civil War documentary, or in some of Shelby Foote's writings. But the story is told that a Union officer asked a Confederate prisoner--an enlisted man who definitely was not a slave owner. The question, 'Why are you fighting us--you don't own slaves." The answer, "Because you are here.'"

This is one reason why people keep fighting against American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places in the ME where our forces and drones continue to injure and kill people. We define anyone who fights us as "terrorists," (just as we automatically defined anyone we killed in Vietnam as "VC"), and, to be sure, some portion of those fighting us are Al Qaeda or Isis or other extremist groups. However, not all are, or, to the extent they are, many are driven to it because "we are there."

dda6ga dda6ga said...

“Gone With the Wind” will be gone from The Orpheum’s summer movie series, the theater’s board said Friday. …

http://moonbattery.com/?p=87276#disqus_thread

Anonymous said...

I'm not a native Southerner but I've lived in Tennessee for many years. That song makes me cry every time I hear it. Incredible. Levon Helm was an incredibly talented man both as a musician and an actor. (Watch Coal Miner's Daughter - he's great.)

wildswan said...

Here's another song with feeling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHczWerrfFY

What's statue when you carry things in your heart?

antiphone said...

I've now listened to the Gladwell podcast, and he makes a huge deal about how sad country songs are only possible because they come from a homogenous group, white southerners. That's the perspective of Gladwell, a southern Canadian.

Sad

Ann Althouse said...

"Nope! Many (or most?) soldiers for the Union were also conscripts who had no choice. There were riots over it in NYC. Another method (besides appeals to feelings of national or regional "solidarity" or patriotism) to compel poor people to fight and die for the rich."

This is the sort of thing that's being lost in the current protests and memorial removal: complexity. I would have thought that all educated, intelligent Americans would want to move toward understanding the details of history, especially what it was like for particular individuals in different positions, looking at things from their perspective. I find it terribly sad that serious history is being subordinated to political partisanship, especially when it is done for the purpose of exacerbating hurt and anger as a means to the end of binding people to vote for one party or the other. People are miseducated and then used for political purposes. It's immoral.

Earnest Prole said...

Might it be that non-Southerners, for cultural reasons, simply cannot understand why it’s difficult for Southerners to execrate their ancestors, even if their ancestors did bad things?

To return to the original question, a Northerner can understand if they are willing to acknowledge the dignity and humanity of the Other. For example, Greil Marcus, a left-wing Jew born in San Francisco, wrote the moving appreciation of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” I quoted above.

rhhardin said...

Slavery sadz.

Earnest Prole said...

This is the sort of thing that's being lost in the current protests and memorial removal: complexity.

One might even say branding is the antithesis of complexity.

Howard said...

Statues of the traitorous leaders should only be torn down as a matter of law rather than fiat or protest. Confederate graves, unlike the Madison desecration should remain untouched.

Roughcoat said...


As in all wars ever, the poor who died fighting for the Confederacy (and for the Union) died to protect and uphold the prerogatives and fortunes of the wealthy.

Wrong. How very Marxian of you. That's not why my great-grandfather and his brothers fought. If you were able to ask them, they'd give you a different explanation.


Suggested Reading: "For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War."

rhhardin said...

Soldiers fight for the same things. Their buddies. It's not complex. No history needed. Jeez, look at Dryden

The trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thund'ring drum
Cries, hark the foes come;
Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat.

This was before women in the military.

rcocean said...

Taking a marker off a grave site has to the most chickenshit thing I've ever heard of. No doubt Madison's Mayor will be posting a picture of himself pissing on a Confederate grave later on.

I almost got run off one website by writing the truth. The Civil war was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight". It was a political fuck-up of massive proportions, and the soldiers on both sides should have gone home and shot their politicians and newspaper editors instead of each other.

Most of those killed were young men, who just did what their elders told them.

rhhardin said...

Out of soldiers fighting for the same things comes grace in defeat, as for example Lee surrendering to Grant.

It's a guys' code. Nothing about slavery or blacks.

SukieTawdry said...

Love Levon Helm. Love The Band (known briefly in its early days as the Levon Helm Sextet and then Levon and the Hawks). Amazing that Canada produced these great Rockabilly performers.

You can watch the entire Last Waltz concert on YouTube. I'm listening to it right now.

rhhardin said...

What's being attacked is not slavery but the guys' code.

Grace in defeat and grace in victory must go. Annihilation is the goal instead.

rcocean said...

Here are Lincolns words:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations"

But of course, Lincoln was a white supremacist.

Kevin said...

I would have thought that all educated, intelligent Americans would want to move toward understanding the details of history, especially what it was like for particular individuals in different positions, looking at things from their perspective.

The point of calling something racist in today's America is precisely to keep people from examining it.

Educated and intelligent Americans have the most to lose from not reflexively condemning the racist object and running away as quickly as possible.

gnossos said...

I find this version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" to be haunting...

rhhardin said...

The feminization of society's brain.

Sebastian said...

"This is the sort of thing that's being lost in the current protests and memorial removal: complexity. I would have thought that all educated, intelligent Americans would want to move toward understanding the details of history, especially what it was like for particular individuals in different positions, looking at things from their perspective." You would have thought wrong. The left doesn't give a damn, the MSM don't give a damn. They are fighting to win. They want to simplify the fight, not make it complex. They want to erase history, not understand the details. They want to eliminate individuals who hold a different perspective, not know what it was like for them. For the left, it was ever thus. The difference now is that they think they are winning in the U.S., for the first time, truly.

"I find it terribly sad that serious history is being subordinated to political partisanship, especially when it is done for the purpose of exacerbating hurt and anger as a means to the end of binding people to vote for one party or the other. People are miseducated and then used for political purposes. It's immoral." I appreciate the sentiment, and I hope enough people still share it to withstand the leftist onslaught a bit longer. But petty bourgeois sadness won't stop the Red Guards. We will need sterner stuff.

Considering that Trump is the one chosen to stand athwart History, perhaps God has stopped following Bismarck's dictum.

Robert Cook said...

"Trump denounced all forms of hatred...."

Well, it's true to say that he mouthed the words.

rhhardin said...

Women are less into grace and more into grudges.

It's a battle women with a few guys asking what the fuck. The guys aren't battling each other.

rhhardin said...

Scott Adams so far has not divided out men from women in his periscopes. He's mentioned that it's a third rail to bring it up.

So he's cutting the duck at the bone rather than the joint.

Jupiter said...

Kitty M makes an excellent point. The attack on the Confederacy is code for the attack on white people, and white men especially. If you don't join in the cries to tear these statues down, you're a racist. If you do, congratulations! They'll eat you last.

Roughcoat said...

My aforementioned great-grandfather and his brother fought because they viewed slavery as evil. They understood this from the git-go and joined almost while the bricks of Fort Sumter were still smoking. They joined up and fought because they felt that God required this service from them. Relatedly, the fought to preserve the Union and prevent it from being politically dominated by the slave states. The Dredd Scott decision was a big eye-opener in this regard. Lastly they joined and fought for the adventure of it all. They were Irish, romantics, and they hated the oppression they had experienced under English rule, which had starved them out of their homeland and forced them to immigrate to America.

Ask me how I know all this.

MountainMan said...

Jack Wayne said: "That may be true for some southerners but I believe the better reason is that northerners have been attacking and denigrating southerners for 150 years."

"Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic." - Flannery O'Connor

mockturtle said...

Another method (besides appeals to feelings of national or regional "solidarity" or patriotism) to compel poor people to fight and die for the rich.

Many Northern men of the upper classes paid proxies to fight in their stead. Southern youth of the upper classes fought, and proudly.

David Begley said...

Althouse wrote, " I find it terribly sad that serious history is being subordinated to political partisanship..."

That's how today's Democrat party operates. Essential to victory.

Ray said...

Gut feeling is the statue issue will get memory holed soon, it's an overall vote loser. It riles up incredibly upset feelings about those with Southern ancestors, and for everyone else, it's a so what issue. Rebel Flag was a winner politically, but touching graves, memorials, and statues is not a huge vote winner.

Bannon is out, so is Gorka, so the two outside of Trump, attack magnets are gone from the Whitehouse. The others in the Whitehouse, with the exception of Trump, are non entities. I don't think the personal attacks of racism, white supremacy, Nazism, etc will work against anyone else in the Whitehouse. They just don't have the profile. Jared, Mcmaster, Kelly, and Ivana have the high profile, but they lack the background to be easy targets to slime. At a cabinet level, Trump seems to be drawing all the fire from them.

So what is the outrage machine going to focus on next?

Russian scandal seems to have run it's course. With Trump's pardon of Sheriff Joe, he sends a strong signal he will take care of his own.

2018 election season is traditionally won't start to labor day of 2018.

Military Transgender Trump edict just went into effect.

Deadline for the Dreamer Act, before states sue that may end it is September 5th. My guess is this will somehow have the can kicked down the road a bit. Trump can't politically do full amnesty, needs to build the wall, and the Democrats want to block everything. May be I am wrong...

Debbie's scandal is a Democratic nightmare, so I doubt it will be covered much. It should be, but...

The justice department may be doing something against discrimination against Asians and Antifafa. I doubt this will get much headlines.

Hillary's book will be out September 12, and probably suck a lot of political energy out re-litigating the election for a month, but may be less since everyone wants to let the Clintons go away.

Of course the life does do the unexpected, so who knows what the focus will be. Trump could be portrayed/slimed as betraying Texas with his FEMA response and it could stick.

Mark said...

a Union officer asked a Confederate prisoner--an enlisted man who definitely was not a slave owner. The question, "Why are you fighting us--you don't own slaves." The answer, "Because you are here."

The problem is that today we have a bunch of simpletons who want to reduce the Civil War to a single black and white proposition (pun not intended), when in fact there were a lot of dynamics going on. And one of those is that one action would lead to a reaction which would lead to a counter-reaction and so on, until it snowballed into a huge war.

The firing on Fort Sumpter led the President to raise an army, which ratcheted up tensions. The gathering of military forces in Northern Virginia led to Union troops marching on Manassas . . . and the first major battle was engaged and the war began in earnest. The idea of troops under the U.S. government entering into the states for military action against the citizens there was enough for a lot of those Southern boys to resist in turn with arms.

What if the Union army had resisted going to meet the Confederates at Manassas? Or what if the Confederates had simply withdrawn? Would tensions have cooled over time? Would the "seceded" states have come to their senses? Could it all have been avoided, like World War I could have been avoided?

It's not all black and white, or blue and gray.

David Begley said...

Roughcoat:

How do you know this?

SukieTawdry said...

@mockturtle: I believe the going rate was $100, wasn't it? A princely sum in those days.

Roughcoat said...

My great-grandfather and his brothers, being Irish, were agreeable to arguments for preserving the Union. They came from a nation that had been robbed of its nationhood 800 years prior. They understood all too well the issue of oppression by cruel tyrannical overlords. This was what the South was to them. They perforce ran away from it in Ireland. In America they were through with running. They decided to fight back. Ever had the Irish rebel song, "A Nation Once Again"? Listen to it, and understand. For cause and country, that's why the fought. They weren't duped. They weren't tools of capitalist bankers and tycoons. They knew what they were getting into and why. They went into it with eyes wide open. Two were killed in action, two were badly wounded.

Mark said...

What's under the ground is, in fact, a mass grave. The individual stones are a later effort at imposing dignity

Given the condition of the bodies, which precluded certain identification, there are more than a few mass graves which contain soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides. North and South lying together in death in perpetuity.

If the dead can bury their differences and unite, so should we be able to -- and did, until a bunch of people who are bent on the destruction of everything decided to start up and refight the war.

Roughcoat said...

David Begley:

The left writings. And they told my grandmother and she told me.

SukieTawdry said...

Ray said...Gut feeling is the statue issue will get memory holed soon, it's an overall vote loser. It riles up incredibly upset feelings about those with Southern ancestors, and for everyone else, it's a so what issue. Rebel Flag was a winner politically, but touching graves, memorials, and statues is not a huge vote winner.

I agree.

Dad said...

Earnest Prole,
The Robert E Lee was a boat, a steamship, as written in the song. (Virgil, quick come see, there goes THE Robert E. Lee) Baez mangled other lyrics. "So much Cavalry" for "Stoneman's Cavalry", for instance.

MountainMan said...

Roughcoat said...

I was raised to not talk trash about blacks and to hold in high regard the Union cause of preserving the Union and ending slavery. Talking trash about blacks was considered bad manners. Shanty Irish behavior. Also, less importantly, it was sinful, an expression of evil.

Mark said...

The men who did (and do) the fighting generally have respect for the men on the other side insofar in that there is a certain brotherhood in arms. Yes, they will fight and kill and destroy each other, but there is a measure of respect and honor showed to them.

All that said, despite the respect and the understanding of why good men might have fought for the South and the tragedy of it all --

William T. Sherman had warned them and everyone not to fight -- especially not to expect any glory or enjoyment out of it. War is all hell, he said. And he meant it. He brought hell down upon the enemy. Not out of any malice, but because that is what war is. And if you do not want that hell, then do not get in the business of war.

The Confederacy needed destroying. It needed utter destruction. And that's what Sherman and Grant and others gave them. But they still respected their enemy and did not fight them out of hate.

Tarrou said...

Nothing in this world offends me so much as civilians pissing on the graves of soldiers, no matter the cause they fought in. All that suffering, all that pain, all the long nights on guard, the chaos and terrible machine of war. And in the end, they get little enough for it. A ribbon or two, a medal here and there, and sometimes, rarely, a monument of some sort.

To attack those in a moral hysteria because of partisan politics is the lowest form of human behavior imaginable. Those who do so are scum. Those who justify it but don't actively take part are cowardly scum.

Roughcoat said...

The German side of my family was of course, like most German immigrants to the Midwest, staunch Unionists. They came over after the Civil War but not too long after and they did not like any form of oppression. Consider where they came from. They were lifelong enthusiastic small-town Republicans because the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln, of freedom, of human dignity and decency. They strongly disliked the Democrat Part because it was the party of slavery, secession, civil war, world war(s), economic depression, racial apartheid (in the South) and big city corrupt government Catholics. My German grandfather disliked FDR literally to his dying day. He didn't hate, though, because hate was bad manners.

David Smith said...

Might it be that it isn't a North/South thing at all? Might it be that the SJWs/ANTIFAs/whatever are just sh**s utterly lacking in decency and any sense of honor?

Or maybe they're out-of-work actors so hard-up that they'll do anything, no matter how despicable, to make a few bucks?

Or maybe they're zombies whose souls have been driven out of their bodies and demons taken them over at the will of Zargon?

Robert Cook said...

"Many Northern men of the upper classes paid proxies to fight in their stead. Southern youth of the upper classes fought, and proudly."

Sure, because the Southern men of the upper classes were fighting for their own interests. But there wouldn't have been a Confederate Army--or a war--without the greater masses of men from the lower classes filling the ranks.

antiphone said...

Many Northern men of the upper classes paid proxies to fight in their stead. Southern youth of the upper classes fought, and proudly.

To be fair, many upstanding gentlemen of the north suffered the ravages of bone spurs and were unable to participate in physical combat. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who, even today, are cursed by this affliction.

rcocean said...

Robert E. Lee is considered a great American, not only because he was a Southern Hero, but because:

1) He was the greatest General of the Civil War;
2 He was a man of great character; and
2) He did everything possible after the CW to reconcile the North & South.

Given the respect the South had for Lee, if he'd been a "sore loser" or had been favor of guerrilla warfare the damage would've been incalculable.

Roughcoat said...

It's not a North/South thing. It's about conquest and power. Machtgelust.

Not coincidentally most of the antifa progressive types vote Democratic. I can just hear my forebears telling me "I told you so."

Fight the power. Resist the conquest.

rcocean said...

I don't know what's more amazing about Americans.

That we could go to war with each other and kill each other by the hundreds of thousands. Or that we could we settle down and reconcile so easily.

Earnest Prole said...

The Robert E Lee was a boat, a steamship, as written in the song. (Virgil, quick come see, there goes THE Robert E. Lee) Baez mangled other lyrics. "So much Cavalry" for "Stoneman's Cavalry", for instance.

Boat versus man: which is it?

“The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, has the answer. Robbie Robertson’s handwritten lyrics are there, and it quite plainly says: ‘There goes Robert E. Lee.’”

An Obscure Lyric Debate, Resolved

Roughcoat said...

1) He was the greatest General of the Civil War.

Nonsense. A very competent tactician, nothing more. If you like Napoleonic maneuver, he's your man.

Earnest Prole said...

Robbie Robertson’s handwritten lyrics

rcocean said...

Make no mistake. This attack on confederate graves, memorials, and statues, is just step 1. The Left won't stop there. Columbus, Washington and Jefferson have already been targeted for destruction. And after that its every Segregationist, and "racist" they can identify.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Eisenhower statue is defaced. After all, he kept a picture of Lee in the Oval Office.


Mark said...

If you read the descriptions of the conditions of the Confederate soldiers, it is telling. Many of them were in rags before too long. Many of them essentially barefoot. And with the North's success at disrupting their supply lines, they were hungry.

That was much of the reason for the invasion leading to the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg -- some of it was strategic, to try to maybe get around the Union flank and capture D.C. from the north, but much of it was foraging for supplies.

The point being is that it would take a really important cause for men to continue to fight in those conditions. If it was all about, or mainly or even party, about preserving slavery, I'll bet nearly all of those fighting men would have said, "Screw this. I ain't going through all this so that some rich plantation owners can have slaves." Especially if you consider that the free labor of slaves undercut those same soldiers economically, keeping them poor.

antiphone said...

The point being is that it would take a really important cause for men to continue to fight in those conditions.

How about not getting shot for being a deserter?

MountainMan said...

There was to be a demonstration by the monument grabbers at the small Confederate monument to the battle at Fort Sanders in Knoxville today. The monument was defaced earlier this week. Jack Neely in his "Scruffy Citizen" blog at the Knoxville Mercury has a very nice and thoughtful column today about the Battle of Fort Sanders and the two monuments - one Union, one Confederate - that were erected to commemorate it. Glenn pointed his readers to it earlier today.

rcocean said...

"Nonsense. A very competent tactician, nothing more. If you like Napoleonic maneuver, he's your man."

Dumb and ignorant. Name any general in the civil war that was better.

And its not Grant. He was taken by surprise at Shiloh and almost lost his army. He spent 9 futile months trying to take Vicksburg and finally figured it out, but not until he'd lost thousands in a frontal assaults, including one at Chickasaw bluff. His attack at Chattanooga failed but local commanders stormed Missionary Ridge -against his orders - and won the battle. He bled the Army of the Potomac white in frontal assaults but eventually won when Sherman marched north into NC and forced Lee out of this trenches.

But why listen to me? Just read every General's memoirs' from the Civil War or read any Civil war historian prior to 1990. They all agree that Lee was the Best.

Mark said...

What the Union generals did at the end is instructive too. Rather than recriminations, they told their defeated foe, "Go home. Take your weapons, take your horses, and go home. Rebuild your farms, rebuild your lives. Go back to your families. Let's be glad it's over."

And at anniversaries of the Battle of Gettysburg, the veterans who fought their would line up on opposite sides. The Southerners would come out of the woods in a line and march up toward Cemetery Ridge, where the Northerners were, just like with Pickett's Charge. And when they traversed that near mile of field, and got close, the Northern men would move toward them. And they would embrace one another.

SukieTawdry said...

buwaya said...

Lee was more than a tactitian.
Personnel can be everything, and he was an excellent judge of men.
He had the opportunity, mostly denied his Union counterparts, to choose his staff, the corps and division commanders, and many others of his senior officers. He chose very well for the most part, and these generally outperformed their Union opponents.
Hence the classic "Lee's Lieutenants", Douglas Southall Freeman.

Dad said...

Earnest, interesting, thanks. Hard to argue with that, except to say that Levon Helm, quite clearly, sings "the" Robert E. Lee, and in the original published music it also says "The". I wonder if it wasn't decided at some point, by The Band that it made more sense that Virgil's wife was calling him to come look at a steamship coming down the river than to see a general that all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere.
In any event, a "the" was added sometime between Robertson's handwritten lyrics and the recording of the song.

Roughcoat said...

Concerning General Lee:

An indifferent strategist. Very weak grasp of operational art and the operational level of war. Believed that battle was the pay-off, like most maneuverists: that wars could be won by winning battles, and that battles were won by fighting. At Antietam he was beaten soundly by a dithering George McCellan who somehow won despite his dithering. Lee should have thanked for giving him McClellan as an opponent because even a marginally more competent Union general would have annihilated Lee's army in the pursuit phase. Lee's generalship at Gettysburg was nothing short of catastrophic. Sending Pickett's division against entrenched troops supported by artillery was a blunder of the highest order. Paraphrasing Wellington's assessment of Napoleon, Lee was nothing but a "pounder" after all.

Mark said...

You think they continued to fight out of fear, antiphone?

Alex said...

Martin Sheen played a mean General Lee.

Alex said...

Then those Duke boys drove a mean General Lee. Too bad Boss Hog was too busy eating to catch those Duke boys and put them in jail!

Mark said...

Grant did what the others did not, starting with McClellan.

He did not withdraw. After getting bloodied, he did not pull back to heal and then maneuver to fight again weeks or months later. He stayed and made the war a non-stop, on-going reality.

Like Washington -- who lost practically every one of his battles -- he was determined and resolute.

Grant won the battle of the wills.

rcocean said...

Lee was outnumbered in every battle he fought (except maybe 7 days but that's not even clear). He had inferior supplies and worse artillery. Yet, he won most battles, and kept the Federals from taking Richmond for almost 3 years.

Like a young Napoleon he took incredible risks but also like the young Napoleon he won. You can say he was lucky, but its funny how the luck always went his way.

Most of the revisionist attacks on him are for not being perfect, as if any General is perfect.

Roughcoat said...

They all agree that Lee was the Best.

No they do not all agree. E.g., John Keegan, who contends that Grant was better, in fact the best general of the Civil War, and in fact one of the greatest generals in history. McPherson makes similar assertion. There are others.

You need to read more.

Calling me "dumb and ignorant" is asinine. You don't know what you're talking about. I'm done with you.

SukieTawdry said...

Roughcoat said...Lee should have thanked for giving him McClellan as an opponent because even a marginally more competent Union general would have annihilated Lee's army in the pursuit phase.

One of the more tragic "what-ifs" of that whole wretched war. Antietam is a fascinating place. Second only to Gettysburg imho.

rcocean said...

"Grant won the battle of the wills."

Yeah, you can do that when outnumber the opponent 2-1. Wonder how Grant would've done if the positions had been reversed and Lee had 120,000 to his 60,000.

buwaya said...

Armies will melt away even if one attempts to keep it together at the point of a gun. And if you have to do that it makes things very difficult, it becomes far less flexible and difficult to maneuve r rapidly, as its next to impossible to forage and make detachments.

The armies of the Seven Years War had terrible problems with this.

cf, two excellent books -
"Instrument of War" Christopher Duffy
"The Army of Frederick the Great" Christopher Duffy

antiphone said...

You think they continued to fight out of fear, antiphone?

Why do you think deserters are shot?

Big Mike said...

Martin Sheen played a mean General Lee.

Martin Sheen played a terrible General Lee! The real Lee was charismatic and dignified. His men would have followed him anywhere (charged Hrll with a bucket of water is one phrase I've read). Sheen played Lee as a querulous old coot that no one would have died for.

Mark said...

"the best"

Depends on what one defines as "best." Strategy and tactics? Organization and administration? Inspiring the troops? Training the troops? Doing the best with what you got? The sheer will to prevail?

If the objective of war is not so much to kill and destroy the enemy, but to defeat the will of the enemy to resist, then who is the best?

rcocean said...

"No they do not all agree. E.g., John Keegan, who contends that Grant was better, in fact the best"

You must have missed my qualifier about "pre-1990" historians. I don't have much respect for Keegan's Civil war history. He's an English Historian who obviously wrote his American civil war book for $$$.

Nothing wrong with that. BTW, I look forward to the Max Hastings' civil war book in which he shows that EVERYONE was a coward and bloody incompetent and racist to boot - and how it could have ended in six weeks if Max Hastings had been in charge.

Bay Area Guy said...

Many of the Northern and Southern Generals of the Civil War served as Lieutenants together in the Mexican-American War 15 years earlier. Lee, as I recall, was a combat engineer, and Winfield Scott was the Chief of Staff (or equivalent).

Maybe the Mexicans should start tearing down statues of both sides. It's just much fun to poke at past historical grievances to try to win elections in 2017.......

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

SukieTawdry said...
MountainMan said...In addition to the desecration of the CSA POW gravesite by the idiot Paul Soglin, the "...graves being desecrated and the bones of the dead scattered to the dogs" happened just a couple of days ago at a cemetery in Waynesboro, Burke County, Georgia, near the SC border.

They've arrested Ralph "Bubba" Hillis (police are still searching for his accomplice). They found him at a meth lab. I must admit, this is not what I was expecting.

8/26/17, 4:23 PM


You guys need to lie down for a bit. That happened in 2013!

SukieTawdry said...

SukieTawdy said...They've arrested Ralph "Bubba" Hillis (police are still searching for his accomplice). They found him at a meth lab. I must admit, this is not what I was expecting.

Nevermind. That's what I got when I Googled "waynesboro cemetery desecration." The event MountainMan references actually happened in 2013. I deleted my post.

Mark said...

OK, so assume the Southern soldiers certainly well into the war, continued to fight in their rags, barefoot and starving, at gunpoint and out of fear.

In which case -- they were not fighting to preserve slavery.

SukieTawdry said...

LOL NorthOfTheOneOhOne. Thanks.

Sally said...

In 1862 the Confederate Congress passed the 20 Negro Law which exempted from military service one white man for every 20 slaves on plantation. The thought was to maintain production and guard against a slave revolt. Naturally, this caused a lot of hard feeling among the non-slaveholding soldiers.

Mark said...

Interesting thing about Martin Sheen --

One of the best scenes in the movie -- when General Lee is riding and the troops start cheering -- was not in the script. Martin Sheen had started riding and the extras, who were Civil War re-enactors, started cheering spontaneously.

buwaya said...

It wasnt just McClellan who was a gift to Lee.
The Union leadership was full of incompetents like Burnside, and mediocrities besides.

And Lee had little scope for brilliant strategy. He could not end the war through maneuver, as his enemy was far too powerful. A deep thrust into their territory could only give them the opportunity to concentrate against him, as at Antietam and Gettysburg.

He could at best hope to foil them long enough for them to exhaust themselves and lose heart. He came pretty close to that.

Amadeus 48 said...

2015 was a great year. I read all three volumes of Shelby Foote's Narrative History of the Civil War. My friends, if you want to get the flavor in your mouth of that great conflict, read those books. The sorrow and the pity, the greatness and the glory of all who fought in that conflict comes clear. Lincoln, Davis, Grant, Lee, Sherman, Jackson, Sheridan, Stewart, Mac Pherson and "that devil Forrest" all come alive, and courage and steadfastness of Johnny Reb and Yankee bluebellies comes through loud and clear.
Rather than take down memorials, we should study the war and its aftermath right up to the present.
Go read Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

antiphone said...

OK, so assume the Southern soldiers certainly well into the war, continued to fight in their rags, barefoot and starving, at gunpoint and out of fear.

In which case -- they were not fighting to preserve slavery.


Why romanticize war?

Mark said...

Regarding all this tearing down of statues --

It is a sad sight to go see where the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought. The field over which the Union army marched, in the manner of Pickett's Charge, is now covered over with houses and other buildings. There is about a hundred feet of battlefield left.

Meanwhile, who would want to buy a house knowing that the ground beneath it was filled with the blood of men who fought and were killed there?

KittyM said...

@althouse "This is the sort of thing that's being lost in the current protests and memorial removal: complexity. I would have thought that all educated, intelligent Americans would want to move toward understanding the details of history, especially what it was like for particular individuals in different positions, looking at things from their perspective. I find it terribly sad that serious history is being subordinated to political partisanship, especially when it is done for the purpose of exacerbating hurt and anger as a means to the end of binding people to vote for one party or the other. People are miseducated and then used for political purposes. It's immoral."

I have examined all the posts you have written about the issue of Confederacy statues since just before Charlottesville. It may surprise you to realise that there is very little "complexity" offered in any of your posts. You write that you want to "move toward understanding the details of history" but in fact, there is almost no mention of slavery, the history of the oppression of African-Americans, black history, black people and their views in any of your posts on the subject. The perspective is strictly sympathetic to white Southerners who would like the statues to remain and there is no attempt on your part to even present or explore why there might be genuine revulsion that such statues were erected in the first place or why a person - in particular a black Southerner - might find such statues upsetting or threatening.

In light of this, how are we to take your desire for "understanding" and "complexity"? Could you not take the first step, by casting at least one look at the views of Americans other than those who are pro-Confederacy statues?

MountainMan said...

Thanks NorthOfTheOneOhOne, I did not realize the date of that. It showed up on a newsfeed and given the current state of things I thought it happened this week. I deleted that post.

However, the cemetery desecration at the Confederate POW monument in Indiana did occur recently. I believe an arrest has already been made in that case.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. His son picked up the literary mantle, but it's an outstanding piece of historical fiction about the Civil War.

gadfly said...

Sorry to say that I have always believed the song words were "The Night They Tore Old Dixie Down."

But the song simply signaled the events that ended the Civil War, leading off with Stoneman's raids in three states. Wiki says:

Stoneman's Raid in 1865 was a military campaign in the American Civil War by Federal cavalry troops led by General George Stoneman which began on March 23, 1865, in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Union soldiers were tasked with orders to "dismantle the country" -- to "destroy but not to fight battles." They headed east into North Carolina destroying towns and plundering along the way, then headed north into Virginia on April 2 where they destroyed 150 miles of railroad track belonging to the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad.

Then they plundered North Carolina - towns named Winston, Salem, High Point, Salisbury, Statesville and Ashville and back to Tennessee on April 26,1865 - the day the Confederate Army surrendered in Durham, NC to General Sherman effectively ending the war.

Michael K said...

but in fact, there is almost no mention of slavery, the history of the oppression of African-Americans, black history, black people and their views in any of your posts on the subject.

Lefty KittyM speaks.

Does it occur to you that we heardNOTHING ELSE from the mainstream media ?

Your virtue signaling is what causes those cowardly CEOs to withdraw from the economic Council

KittyM said...

For those who don't have the time to comb through the archive, here is a list of all the posts mentioning Confederacy statues, with a brief description of the content / direction of the post. Not a single paragraph in all the posts that engages with the counter views or that explores or mentions black history or black Southerners.

1) "White nationalists and counterprotesters are expected to flood downtown Charlottesville Saturday as the Virginia city braces for the 'Unite the Right' rally."
Althouse is critical of the counter-protestors expected to arrive.

2) I can't type "statue" without first making the typo "statute."
A post more about the language of statues.

3) In Durham, North Carolina, protesters pull down a statue of a Confederate soldier... videoed by sheriff's deputies who do not intervene.
Althouse is critical of this.

4) Scott Adams — wearing his Pope hat to make a moral ruling — says that the Confederate statues should come down.
Discussion of a post by Scott Adams.

5) At the Southern Statue Café...
Just a picture.

6) "Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning..."
Althouse adds critically “Have you ever woken up in the morning to find your city had changed during the night? There's a dystopian edge that called to mind "Dark City”…”

7) "Fremont's Lenin Statue Is Currently Under Siege By Trump Supporters and An Alt-Right Troll."
Not about Confederacy statues and posted without comment.

8) With Twitter, you can get your message out.
A post with no accompanying Althouse text, just Trump tweets in which he wrote “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments…”

9) ”There's a cemetery just a few blocks from where I live up here in the north where there is a section full of graves of Confederate soldiers."
A longish post about a Confederacy graveyard.

10) ”The removal of City-owned monuments to confederate soldiers in Forest Hill Cemetery has minimal or no disruption to the cemetery itself."
Another long post, with pictures, about a Confederate graveyard. Sympathetic to the white Confederate soldiers.

11) "There's a cemetery just a few blocks from where I live up here in the north where there is a section full of graves of Confederate soldiers."
Sympathetic to the soldiers who died.

12) ”The anger and action aimed at the statues are reminiscent of recent controversies over two prominent artworks..."
This post discusses two pieces of artwork in relation to the Confederacy statue issue Talks about white people but still doesn’t mention Black history.

13) Who would spray paint "Tear It Down" on a statue of Joan of Arc in New Orleans?
This is about some graffiti on a Joan of Arc statue, but the post mentions Confederacy statues.

14) ”I think the tearing down of Confederate statues is something people are doing because they can't tear down Trump."
A short post that quotes Applebaum

15) ”Might it be that non-Southerners, for cultural reasons, simply cannot understand why it’s difficult for Southerners to execrate their ancestors, even if their ancestors did bad things?"
Today’s post examining the feelings of white Southerners about their heritage.

buwaya said...

"Why romanticize war?"

Good question. A big part of the answer is that we are human, and its part of us. We can't help it.

It seems a necessary ritual of tribal identity, of personal identity (at least of the leadership class), of preservation of status, and as a purpose of a culture.

A culture that can't, somehow, make war, or think of war, cant survive even its own internal malaise.

The Iliad, the first known (or preserved) piece of western literature, addresses this precisely, its full of arguments for and against. In the end it has no conclusion.

Read it if you haven't.

antiphone said...

virtue signaling

It's speech that doesn't count because...?

Mark said...

About the views of African Americans -- many if not most will tell you that there are MUCH BIGGER things to worry about than this controversy, like family, employment, crime, etc.

African Americans have more important things to deal with, especially knowing that they are being used and exploited by a bunch of radial progressive white boys who have ginned up this controversy -- not because they really care about the issue or the plight of African Americans -- but to advance their own ideological agenda.

Robert Cook said...

"OK, so assume the Southern soldiers certainly well into the war, continued to fight in their rags, barefoot and starving, at gunpoint and out of fear.

"In which case -- they were not fighting to preserve slavery."


Sure they were...if the Confederacy had won the war, slavery as an institution and engine of great wealth would have been preserved...at least for the time being.

It's never the soldiers whose interests are served by war, and it's not the soldiers who start wars. Wars are started by those with the power to start wars, and the motives...usually to protect extant wealth, resources, and power or to acquire additional wealth, resources, and power. The soldiers go to war either because they are conscripted and compelled to at threat of punishment, or they're convinced for other reasons that war is necessary and just. Once in, they fight for their own survival and that of their fellow soldiers. But the larger purposes of most any war have nothing to do with the people killing and dying.

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”


– Hermann Goering (as told to Gustav Gilbert during the Nuremberg trials)

LarsPorsena said...

"...In light of this, how are we to take your desire for "understanding" and "complexity"? Could you not take the first step, by casting at least one look at the views of Americans other than those who are pro-Confederacy statues..."

Why don't you take a look at Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and any of the Union soldiers and consider their views of ex-Confederates? They actually risked their lives and limbs fighting the them.

Those that risked the most to end the Confederacy seem to be able to reconcile with their former enemies with grace. Modern SJW's seem to have the most bile.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger harrogate said...
I for one don't plan on shooting anyone on any side. I suspect this is one of those rare moments where I'm in an absolute majority of the American citizenry.

People who keep "prophesying" Civil War deny that they are projecting a twisted wish, but nevertheless, that's what they're doing.


Harrogate, civil conflict doesn't spontaneously being with one large group of citizens spontaneously launching themselves at another. It goes by succession of incident and inflammation. I do not think that any rational person would wish for another American civil war. Everyone's house would be touched by sorrow. But we aren't purely rational beings. I don't want to shoot my friends and family with different political values than mine, but I fear that if the shooting starts, it will be difficult to stop. There is a lot of pent up rage at the loss of traditional American culture. To look at one small part of the cultural divide, the people who are tearing down Confederate statues are full of hate. The people who despise the ones who are tearing down the statues hate them back, possibly even more. But they aren't acting on it yet.

KittyM said...

Reposting because I think it got lost somehow...

@althouse "This is the sort of thing that's being lost in the current protests and memorial removal: complexity. I would have thought that all educated, intelligent Americans would want to move toward understanding the details of history, especially what it was like for particular individuals in different positions, looking at things from their perspective. I find it terribly sad that serious history is being subordinated to political partisanship, especially when it is done for the purpose of exacerbating hurt and anger as a means to the end of binding people to vote for one party or the other. People are miseducated and then used for political purposes. It's immoral."

You write that you miss something in these debates, namely "complexity" and that you want more "understanding" of "the details of history" but your own blog focusses solely on the perspective of the white Southerner who supports the retention of these monuments. Nowhere, as I show above, do you explore or present the views of black Southerners: how they might feel about the American history of the period that is being celebrated or at the very least memorialised in an elegiac fashion. It's their history too. Why not make the contribution to the "complexity" you long for and start here? You are so good on language and analysing ellipses and what is unspoken. Can't you see what is unspoken here? Can't you understand your own contribution to the "miseducation" of people when you don't even talk of the other viewpoint?

buwaya said...

Lee at Antietam faced the reality of the Southern position - even badly led the Union armies were enormously more powerful, and could not really be defeated, as in damaged so much that the power relationship changed.

Nor was there any hope that a strategic territory could be taken, or some of the Union split away.

At best their offensives could be delayed and frustrated.

You can ding Lee for the Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns, which exposed his army to great risks, but in truth these were desperate attempts to prevent organized Union offensives.

antiphone said...

About the views of African Americans -- many if not most will tell you that there are MUCH BIGGER things to worry about than this controversy, like family, employment, crime, etc.

African Americans have more important things to deal with, especially knowing that they are being used and exploited by a bunch of radial progressive white boys who have ginned up this controversy -- not because they really care about the issue or the plight of African Americans -- but to advance their own ideological agenda.


Thanks Mark, by the way who elected you as the spokesman for African Americans?

Amadeus 48 said...

KittyM-- so I take it you are an iconoclast--destroy the images and you will destroy the thought behind them. It is the same thought that caused the Taliban to blow up the giant bhuddas in Afganistan and the Puritans to deface England's cathedrals. I denounce your nihilism and your indifference to history and culture. You are ignorant and destructive.
Black Americans deserve to have their story told and their history memorialized. Why don't you get on that project? Desroying the existing memorials of our country's history adds nothing to it.

Oso Negro said...

@ KittyM - It is presumptuous to think that black southerners are of a single mind or outlook on the Civil War or anything else. I suspect on the balance, black southerners who have given thought to this might be thinking "why are all these white people going crazy about statues now?" Charles Barkley spoke to this. FYI, the last two Confederate flags I purchased were both from black men at gun shows in Texas. In both cases, we had a good laugh about the irony of it. So....fuck off Yankee.

buwaya said...

KittyM,

The black perspective is quite thoroughly presented in US education and mass media. It is in fact the only perspective in these venues.

The perspective of the white southerner, actually the majority of the southern population, is unheard, unnoted. These are, in the general case of scholarship, entertainment and commentary, unpeople. And that is the majority, note.

I suggest some experience with some High School US History classes could be instructive.

antiphone said...

It is presumptuous to think that black southerners are of a single mind or outlook on the Civil War or anything else. I suspect on the balance, black southerners who have given thought to this might be thinking "why are all these white people going crazy about statues now?"

It really is heartwarming to see the black point of view so well represented here, by folks who know what they think.

tcrosse said...

It really is heartwarming to see the black point of view so well represented here, by folks who know what they think.

Presumably, antiphone knows what they really think.

buwaya said...

Antiphone, I suggest you present it, then, in all its complex reality.

You have the place and time and skill, you are the man who has met his moment! Greatness awaits you.

tcrosse said...

It really is heartwarming to see the black point of view so well represented here, by folks who know what they think.

Presumably, it is antiphone who knows what they really think.

Tman2 said...

From my perch in Occupied Northern Virginia, I have watched with ever-greater annoyance, the never-ending slander of the South and its memorials.

I lived in Old Town Alexandria for over 40 years; my family connection to Virginia goes back to 1621. My understanding of family and place has been with me for a very long time.

Over the past several decades, there have been occasional attempts by the Alexandria bien pensant – all of whom came from some other place – to remove a statue known as “Appomattox.”

A century after it was dedicated a drunken driver knocked off its pedestal. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appomattox_(statue). There ensued a lively discussion about what to do next. A black city councilman loudly proclaimed in my presence it must be “thrown in the river.” The problem for that point of view was that the statue was owned “in perpetuity” by the United Daughter’s of the Confederacy, whose national headquarters was very nearby. They were not about to consign “Appomattox” to a watery grave. So, the pedestal was repaired and the statue restored.

My point in telling this story is to support the points made by Althouse and Dreher about place and honor. My house in Alexandria, now sold, was built circa 1820. It was a block from the UDC house and two blocks from “Appomattox,” so I think I have a pretty good sense of the statue’s “place.” I would not like to see it vandalized again.

In the linked YouTube clip, Lee (played by Robert Duvall in “Gods and Generals”) explains “sacred geography”: https://youtu.be/iLGQmkw67Vg. Duvall, by the way, nails the Tidewater Virginia accent.

Unknown said...

"Gladwell podcast, and he makes a huge deal about how sad country songs are only possible because they come from a homogenous group, white southerners"

and has he never heard of Gordon Lightfoot?

Stephen A. Meigs said...

A seeming paradox is that in the War of the Rebellion the North took the antislavery side that is more associated with an antisodomy viewpoint (because sodomy too causes a kind of inappropriate slavery), yet nowadays prosodomy politics is more of a northern (and west coast) thing. One might think that the South, having taken the screwed-up position 150+ years ago to the point of starting a war with the North, would be more likely to take up a screwed-up position nowadays. But since the strategy of the modern-day pro-sodomy people is mostly to liken a freedom to enslave via sodomy with freedom from slavery, it's really quite understandable. If you aren't particularly proud of your ancestors believing in and fighting for civil rights, it will be harder to fool you into believing in the virtue of "rights" for sodomizers by likening such "rights" to civil rights for black people. Corrupters tend to prefer to go after the uncorrupted yet naive.

Until recently, though, the South was more screwed up than than the North, I am inclined to think. That might explain the sad songs in country music (and more especially bluegrass) pulling at heart strings. Not that I'm much into music, but it seems to me that hillbilly music, and to a lesser extent country music, tends to try to convince (mainly) women they've screwed someone over on account of their addictions and that they should relent and prefer the singer. Their application is more plausible in screwed-up places, and so they tend to work more convincingly there. And I suppose they tend to be more written in places in the periphery, in the hills as it were, where people are more into carefully observing (using their reflective faculties) their feelings from lack of the alternative of observing (using their sensory faculties) what people say is the case (on account of having less broad cultural and educational opportunities or of having more inherited from ancestors who settled there, in an isolated middle of nowhere, the tendency to be more indifferent to such opportunities in preference to reflection). The opportunities afforded to hill folk for moonshine stills (and the associated apple orchards) and for clandestine marijuana agriculture rather complicates matters, though, in a way rather inverse to what was the case formerly, when the geographical significance of hill country on local culture was largely that the land was too infertile to support agriculture involving slavery and its associated inefficiencies (e.g., West Virginia did not secede).

rcocean said...

What's the point of responding to Leftist Shits like KittyM?

Damn you "reasonable" conservatives/moderates will "reasonable" yourself & the country into a new 21st Century USSR.

Its always the same pattern. The left does something shitty and crazy. Then Lefties like KittyM show up to engage in some "debate" and all you characters run to it like flies on shit.

Anyway, good luck with that. I guess when some Antifa shows up at your door with hammer and black mask you can tell how "reasonable" you are and How "you love to debate".

antiphone said...

Presumably, antiphone knows what they really think.

You presume wrong. I only know what I think and I think this (Dreher quoting Gladwell in the linked article) sounds like cultural identity politics:

“Basically you cannot be a successful country singer or songwriter unless you were born in the South,” he says. There are no Jews on the country list, only a couple of blacks, and no Catholics. “It’s white Southern Protestants all the way down.”

On the other hand, writers and performers of the greatest rock songs include Jews, blacks from Detroit, Catholics from New Jersey, Canadians, Brits, and more. “Rock and roll is the rainbow coalition,” he says. That diversity is why there’s so much innovation in rock and roll, says Gladwell, “but you pay a price for that.”

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