13 July 2015

Final Flag Post-Mortem: Some Dead Bodies Are More Equal Than Others

Is a White Family a Hate Symbol?
I just wanted to highlight this article from Jim Goad, which contains truths applicable to the Confederate flag issue, yes, but which also apply to all of us (looking at Catholics) who have lost the culture war.  Extensive excerpts follow:





Some Dead Bodies Are More Equal Than Others

by Jim Goad

The Confederate battle flag was taken down on Friday outside South Carolina’s Statehouse, and barring another Civil War, it is never going up again.

This extensively publicized event was egged on by South Carolina’s nonwhite governess and greeted with high holy hosannas from those who haughtily claim to be on the right side of history. Down to their quivering livers, the general public understood that this sweepingly symbolic act was immediate retribution for the nine black churchgoers who were shot dead in Charleston, SC by a scrawny white loner with a bowl cut and a Rebel flag fetish. For those who hate all things Southern and white, this was a joyously orgasmic culmination topping off weeks of nonstop anti-Confederate hysteria.

[...]


“The message is coming through as loud as a Rebel yell: White Southern lives don’t matter.”



Lost in the shuffle were the 300,000 or so white Southern males who died fighting under that Rebel flag. Their lives ceased to matter entirely.



[...]



Every third Southern household lost a family member in the Civil War. And the overwhelming majority of white Southern households did not own a single slave. And still they’re not allowed to mourn their dead ancestors?



[...]



One group’s suffering is being enshrined and sanctified, while the other group’s suffering is dismissed and erased. One group’s suffering is being honored at the other group’s expense. One group’s history is openly being shat upon to help enable the other group to feel good about its own less-than-glorious past. It’s almost like a postmortem “three-fifths rule,” but in this case, it’s more like a zero-fifths rule. Those dead Confederate bodies stop counting at all. Suddenly, through the magic of progressive algebra, 300,000 becomes zero.



Your history means nothing. Your history lost to our history. You are on the wrong side of history, and we are on the winning side of destiny. So shut up and get with the program, or we will roll right over your burial plot without planting daisies. Basically, they’re telling them what white settlers told the Injuns way back when. And what’s bitterly amusing is that they’re too blinded by their own toxic moralism to see it.



Even though many of them have never so much as placed one pinkie toe south of the Mason-Dixon Line, they will dictate to Southerners exactly what that flag meant and precisely how guilty they should feel about it. And they’ll refuse to see anything arrogant or bossy or triumphalist about it. And they will definitely fail to see how their moral disgust and sneering condescension isn’t all that different from how slaveowners acted toward those over whom they wielded power through superior force.



[...]



They tell unreconstructed Southerners to quit whining and shut the hell up about their Lost Cause, but they’d never dare say the same thing to a so-called Native American.



“But that war was so long ago.” Yeah, so was slavery.



If all of America’s wealth and power had been built on black slavery, the South would have easily won the war. Instead, they were outmanned, outgunned, and outspent. The Union didn’t win because their cause was more righteous—they won because they had the guns and the money and the human cannon fodder to spare.



You never hear of Union soldiers raping slave women or of the North economically raping the South for at least a century after the war ended. You won’t hear about how the vengeful angels of Reconstruction rained down holy hell upon average Southern whites.



In their effort to enshrine and sanctify one group’s history, they feel compelled to dismiss and erase another group’s history—all in the delusional, quixotic quest to enforce some dim notion of “tolerance” that serves as a convenient mask to cloak a naked drive for power.



It is precisely those who insist that all living humans are equal who also insist that not all dead bodies should be counted equally. They talk about leveling the playing field, but never about leveling the graveyard.



In order to properly remember those nine, we must wipe away all traces of those 300,000. The message is coming through as loud as a Rebel yell: White Southern lives don’t matter.



So much of history is about who gets forgotten in the retelling. The winners not only get to write the history books—they get to keep rewriting them until the losers cease to exist. Just like war, history is a zero-sum game. You either write it, or you get written out of it.

19 comments:

Wendy in VA said...

Thank you for posting this. My great-grandfather's family lost thousands of acres of farmland during the "Reconstruction." My great-grandmother, whose beloved grandfather fought in the war, always referred to it as "The War of Northern Aggression." Most have no idea how brutally, horribly destructive that war was in the South.

Wendy in VA said...

And yes, the implications for Catholics are unsettling at best.

Michael Ortiz said...


This whole article is a disgrace. Listen to Rick Perry's speech about a lynching of a black man in the 20th century in TX.

The cause of the CSA was profoundly unjust, and as the Angelic Doctor reminds us, the praise of fortitude is dependent on justice.

Shame!!

Sam said...

In the last several weeks, we've read several accounts about how families of the real victims;namely the murdered African-American Methodists, have expressed their forgiveness toward the young murderer. Contrast that with what we read here; the whining, pretend victims who are upset that their flag has been removed from the state Capitol grounds. Now you call yourself the "victims" of the culture war and somehow manage to wrap yourself in the confederate flag. The families of the nine slain Methodists are the epitomy of Christianity. Your whining about your victimization is not only annoying, it's downright shameful. You honestly think that you've got a leg up on salvation because you happen to be Roman Catholic? You'd better start walking the walk.

BJM said...

I agree with the sentiment that we should remember and keep the dead in our prayers (especially those who fought for a terrible cause), and I also recognize that the North treated the South extremely badly during the Reconstruction era.

But what exactly is accomplished by flying the Confederate flag? I still have not heard a good answer for this. I fail to see how flying the flag honors the dead. Why is the flag necessary for a Southern family to mourn their dead ancestors? As far as I can tell, they can pray for their ancestors, visit the gravesite, etc. the same as everyone else. And there does not seem to be a historically necessary reason to fly the Confederate flag. Should we also hoist the Nazi flag, lest we forget all of the dead Germans who lost their lives fighting for that "great cause"? After all, WWII was much more recent in time than the Civil War. If the people of South Carolina no longer wish to fly the Confederate flag, why is that a problem?

The article states, "The Union didn’t win because their cause was more righteous—they won because they had the guns and the money and the human cannon fodder to spare." That's true, but that doesn't change the fact that the cause of the Union WAS righteous, or at least more righteous than the cause of the South. The Confederacy was primarily formed and motivated to further an intrinsically evil institution. We shouldn't mistake remembering the dead or maintaining a sense of history with honoring the cause for which those persons fought.

thetimman said...

Michael and Sam (to a much lesser extent, BJM, too),

"Your history means nothing. Your history lost to our history. You are on the wrong side of history, and we are on the winning side of destiny. So shut up and get with the program, or we will roll right over your burial plot without planting daisies. Basically, they’re telling them what white settlers told the Injuns way back when. And what’s bitterly amusing is that they’re too blinded by their own toxic moralism to see it."

That sums it up. Freedom lost in the War for Southern Independence. The Southern cause was the last just war in American history, and that you don't see this is proof of the magnitude of the Northern victory. Lincoln could only lead to Obama. They are two points on the same line.

Shame? No. The North was definitely on the wrong side of that war. Slavery-supporting Lincoln invaded the sovereign states of the slave-holding South. Both sides supported slavery. The dispute was about the rule of law. Only after many battlefield defeats did Lincoln adopt the abolitionist line, and then only fir Southern states. Not for MO, KY and MD. Hypocrite.

Slavery was a moral evil that both countries countenanced. It did not justify the destruction of the constitution.

I think it's no accident that a week after the Supreme Court abandoned the rule of law on marriage that the confederate flag, the symbol of freedom from repression, came down.


Anonymous said...

I heard the good conservative Rep. Wagner on the radio this morning before turning it off. She supports removing the flag because it offends a number of our fellow countrymen when they see it on public property. Yep, that's what this country has come to. Destroying monuments, desecrating graves, defacing mountains because someone gets their feelings hurt supposedly.

She also showed in the interview that she seems to have no grasp of the very serious split between Shiite and Sunnis (by saying Iran supports ISIS), so there's hardly much expectation there in my mind of comprehension of something like why we should honor our dead.

-BD

Michael Ortiz said...


I respectfully disagree. Here's why: If the CSA had "won" the war, the seed of their own dissolution was planted within, for if the right for a state to leave a union is inherent, then no union of states will last. Full stop.

Lincoln was a pragmatist, not one of my favorite thinkers, but he was correct about republican government and the union.

As well, slavery being one of the sins that cry to heaven, I am amazed any Christian would defend a government built on the inequality of the races, a doctrine specifically rejected by Pius XI, I believe. I suggest reading APOSTLES OF DISUNION, if you think the war was not about slavery, it had historical documents that show, indeed, it was all about that.

thetimman said...

Michael, the point of the CSA cause was that a sovereign state (like Georgia, or Massachusetts, or Austria, or France) had the inherent right to enter into voluntary compacts and, unless it specifically surrendered the right as an exercise of its sovereignty, to leave it again. It has happened many times in history. Has France ceased to exist, or could it leave the EU? Were Austria and Hungary forever joined, or could they separate?

That is the case here. If South Carolina wanted to secede from the CSA in 1900 it had the right to do so. The country could survive as a confederation of states as long as it served the interest of those states. Why would a state seceding from it be a failure?

As for slavery, don't get me wrong or take me out of context: I believe it was a horrible evil. But I don't think St. Paul lists that as one of the sins that cries out to heaven for vengeance. And, though this is in the realm of purely theoretical, I don't know that the Church would condemn voluntary slavery (as opposed to what happened to the African slaves taken against their will). But I don't know, and I have not studied the question as it is not relevant to any situation today.

Lincoln certainly was a pragmatist. He enforced his own will on an unconsenting populace by force of arms, in violation of his duties under the Constitution. The current president is of like mind, though since he has a corrupt court, congress, bureaucracy and media on his side resort to arms on his side has not yet been deemed necessary.

If the South had been left alone, slavery-- already a dying institution-- would have been eliminated as every other state of the Americas eliminated it. Only two countries needed violence to bring it about: Haiti and the U.S. Both countries suffer internal wounds from this that afflict them to this day.

Michael Ortiz said...



Respectfully: But those sovereign states entered into a federal union that also gave them privileges as well.

I actually don't know a lot about this constitutional theory behind this, however, I do think it is correct to say that is it analogous to Protestantism, with "dissonance of dissent" woven into the CSA's very being. The USA would have looked like Central America by 1930 if the CSA continued.

How can you say slavery would have withered away when people were still lyching blacks well into the 20th century? Turning a human being into property is what porn does, and abortion, too, in that it throws away an "inconvenient" life. Slavery does a similar evil, and that's why it must be condemned, and governments who fought to keep must bear that shame of their evil motive.

Depriving a man of his just wage cries to heaven...slavery is nothing if not that, and it is a lot more.

Your last point is indisputable.

BJM said...

Wow. There is a some serious revisionist history taking place here. I have a hard time believing that you seriously think the Civil War was fought over states' rights. But if that is really your position, I encourage you to read Ilya Somin's article at the Volokh Conspiracy (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/06/21/state-governments-should-take-down-the-confederate-flag/).

You said: "The Southern cause was the last just war in American history, and that you don't see this is proof of the magnitude of the Northern victory." I am surprised I read this on a supposedly Catholic blog. I hate to always be the person to invoke Godwin's law on this thread, but I think that most of mainland Europe and southeastern Asia will strongly disagree with this point. Unless somehow the 1930s and 1940s are exempted from your conception of American history.

"The North was definitely on the wrong side of that war. Slavery-supporting Lincoln invaded the sovereign states of the slave-holding South. Both sides supported slavery. The dispute was about the rule of law. Only after many battlefield defeats did Lincoln adopt the abolitionist line, and then only fir [sic] Southern states. Not for MO, KY and MD. Hypocrite."

As I recall, there is considerable literature and firsthand correspondence from Lincoln establishing his position as an abolitionist, well before he even ran for President. Also, I don't recall the Emancipation Proclamation creating an exemption for MO, KY, and MD, or any Northern states for that matter.

"If the South had been left alone, slavery-- already a dying institution-- would have been eliminated as every other state of the Americas eliminated it."
I find this assertion very unpersuasive, especially considering slavery was the labor backbone of the South. Sure, you can take the cynical view that the Northern states only abolished slavery because they had become more mechanized; but the South's livelihood still depended on slavery. It is extremely unlikely that slavery would have simply "been eliminated" if the South had been left to their own devices.

The tone of this post, of the article, and of some comments here is that the South was the wronged party ("the war of Northern aggression" and all that). The South fired the first shots of the war, and was the side that brought about the war by declaring secession. I fail to see how this constitutes some noble cause.

thetimman said...

Walter Williams weighs in:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/07/walter-e-williams/the-war-of-1861/

thetimman said...

Michael and BJM,

I appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking the time. I disagree of course, but I enjoy the exchange. FYI,my last comment is not in response. I posted it before I read yours.

Michael Ortiz said...

Thank you for the postings!

I came across a Fr. Schall piece on the flag issue in SC, and though I read late last night it made a lot of sense. If you google Fr. Schall and confederate flag,it should come up.

Michael Ortiz said...

ttp://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/4021/on_reconsidering_the_southern_cause.aspx

Aged parent said...

As long as Americans are taught history in the 5th Grade with the types of US history texts I have read there will never be a proper understanding not only of the Civil War but of the founding principles of America as well.

That being the case, and not being familiar with the constitutional case many people refuse to see that the Southern cause was just and that slavery, already dying in the South at the time, was not the ultimate issue at stake. The oligarchs of that time (yes, there were oligarchs, then as now) at all costs wanted to preserve "the union" not in some sentimental, philosophical sense, but as a means to ensure that the nation grew in power first, and following that power, wealth, mostly to them. The theft of land from Mexico is another indication of that mindset. So Mr Lincoln's holier-than-thou bleatings about preserving the Union were merely the words of a front man who knew which side of his bread the butter was on.

I'm sorry, but there is just too much well-researched, calm and thoughtful literature on the subject that refutes in total what we were all taught in grade school. Writers such as Clyde Wilson (a brilliant historian) and Thomas diLorenzo have both done original, amazing work on the matter and for anyone who wishes to study this subject their books are indispensable.

Even Pope Pius IX knew who was right in the US civil war, but I'm sure everyone is already aware of that story.

thetimman said...

Michael,thanks for that link. That article is really great.

Michael Ortiz said...


My pleasure. Fr. Schall is a treasure.

c matt said...

if the right for a state to leave a union is inherent, then no union of states will last. Full stop

That begs the question that a union of states should last. Why should it? Why should the fledgling 13 colonies have left the UK then? They were part of the United Kingdom. Ditto for the Soviet Union, the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, etc. Why is the US such special cheese?