So, if you identify as a Confederate … some questions

UPDATE: Of course I should not have overlooked the League of the South.  See this and this.

Every once in a while I run across folks who like to style themselves as hailing from the Confederacy.  I’ve seen people identify themselves as saying they are from (for example) “Virginia, CSA,” folks who fashion e-mail addresses as from the domain “csa.gov,” and so on.  I’ve even come across a website claiming to be “the Confederate States of America Government Website,” which always seems to be under construction (or reconstruction).  Lest you think I’m kidding, that site has a form whereby for $50 you can apply to be a Confederate citizen (by the way, it isn’t clear whether the $50 is in Confederate currency; perhaps the organizers secretly crave receiving engraved portraits of Ulysses S. Grant or ten portraits of Abraham Lincoln).

So I’ve got some questions to ask of these people who claim they are Confederates.  Do they pay federal (or Federal) taxes? (You would think they would celebrate April 15 for another reason.)  Do they file as foreign nationals?  Do they have a US passport (how could they, if they really mean what they say)?  Do they vote in US elections (talk about illegal aliens voting)?  Do they have green cards?  Or are these people who simply blow off steam but in fact do not have the courage of their convictions and are not willing to stand up for what they believe?  Nor can they claim to be loyal citizens of the United States of America or think themselves entitled to any of the rights and privileges of such citizenship.  They would be liars if they pledge allegiance to a flag they repudiate.

It seems to me that the Confederacy enjoyed more popularity after its demise in 1865 than it enjoyed between 1861 and 1865.  Anne Sarah Rubin makes the same point in her fine book, A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868. But there’s a difference between honoring one’s Confederate ancestors and claiming that one is a Confederate.  It would be interesting if these so-called Confederates came out of the closet (or attic) and acted on their convictions.  Otherwise, how can we ever take them at their word?

One thing’s for sure: you can’t claim to be a citizen of the United States of America and also claim you’re a Confederate citizen or hail from the Confederacy.  Just sayin’ …

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70 thoughts on “So, if you identify as a Confederate … some questions

  1. I have wondered about many of these questions myself. In my experience, many of those who identify as Confederate are among the most conservative—especially in a modern national-security sense—people, which means they probably vote—gasp!—Republican. There is a mental disconnect here that I cannot fathom. For example, one would think they would actually have been happy about events such as the Cole bombing and 9/11.

  2. What always troubles me is the attitude toward the US national flag. I have been to marker/monument/memorial dedications where the CS flag (and I’ll use that term loosely) is at the fore. And the US flag is not displayed. Or if it is displayed, not in accordance to regulations and customs for such display.

    Perhaps I’m a bit more sensitive than most about the US flag because of my background and experiences. But honestly, if someone does not respect the US flag, then maybe that person needs to reconsider their citizenship.

    And James, I would contend that the vast majority of those who identify as Confederates have identified themselves as Democrats at one time or another (and perhaps offer their “family” was Democrat at one time). That just demonstrates the difficulty, and the pitfall, of any attempt to put a political label on the self identifying “Confederates”. We should all check the stereotypes at the door.

    • Oh, I am sure that many who identify as “Confederate” at one time considered themselves Democrats. But the evolution of the parties into a virtual ideological reversal has led many of these people to be Republicans. There is nothing “wrong” with that, but the irony is too rich to ignore. I’m sure most of them would say that “the party left them,” probably starting in 1964.

      • Earlier, James… well, at least in my neck of the woods. I surveyed voting trends for my home county in Virginia, and the swing in the other direction started as early as the 1880s. It wavered back and forth a few times, but 1940s put the nail in the coffin for the Democratic party in Page County.

  3. Following the link above, I note that an application for Confederate citizenship “will require your acceptance by signature of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.” Presumably, that refers to the one reproduced on the website, the original one, with charming provisions like this:

    The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

    I’m sure these folks, if pressed, will argue that it’s all in good fun, “heritage not hate,” etc., but it does strike me that they’re skating on very thin ice when it comes to U.S. laws regarding allegiance to a foreign power, unless they acknowledge that it’s all a fantasy like, say, dressing up as a Klingon at a Star Trek convention. Were that they had the courage of their convictions.

    • For some people this is part of the reason they are enraptured with tales of black Confederates … that somehow black slaves *chose* to join the CSA because they identified with efforts to perpetuate their own enslavement, which shows it really wasn’t about slavery and, besides, slavery was benign, and so on …

  4. On the other hand, why can’t they claim to be a citizen of the CSA and the USA? Some of their predecessors claimed to secede from the United States, then asked the US to use its fugitive slave law to return their “property” (while they ignored all other US laws) so why can’t a similar mindset exist now?

  5. These people must be few and far between. Hailing from the rural South myself I don’t really know anybody like this. The Confederate battle flag, thankfully, gets less conspicuous each year (I think). I did, however, recently see one off the interstate driving home to Louisiana for the holidays from Texas. I think it was actually flying higher than the U.S. flag (Battle flag, U.S. flag, POW flag… in that order). So perhaps the owner of the property is one of these folks. Not sure.

    Anyway, I’m thankful they’re at least not hijacking airplanes or trying to blow up anybody (like the Birmingham bombing of ’63). It could be worse than just websites and flags.

    • I agree that there are not too many people who embrace a new CSA, although polls show there are more people who support a right of secession in the abstract than one might think … but that’s a different matter. But I do run across these folks every once in a while, and I’m curious if they mean what they say, or if this is so much hot air (which would make them look foolish).

      Then again …
      http://dixienet.org/rights/index.shtml

  6. Pingback: The Civil War… “through the eyes of my people” « Cenantua's Blog

  7. Thanks for the link, I checked it out. My guess is it is mostly hot air from the ridiculous political fringe. Until it gets violent, it’s just the absurd. One would think they’d be behind acts such as the Oklahoma City bombing (an anti-Federal bombing)… but they’re not as far as I can tell, although I can see them perhaps feeling schadenfreude over such an act. And that act was perpetrated by members of a Michigan militia group, if I’m not mistaken (not exactly Confederate battle flag types). Heck, a lot of the white supremacists of today aren’t even located in the South, but in the Midwest or elsewhere. And most of them don’t ever perpetrate violence. David Duke himself, as much of a kook that guy is… to his credit preaches non-violence. Bobby Jindal was even Duke’s Representative to Congress for two years, and I can’t recall Duke making a stink about it.

    Now, militia groups, David Duke, and these CSA types aren’t all one in the same… they are all in their own worlds probably, maybe with some co-mingling and overlapping at times. As long as they don’t revert back to the violence of the 50’s and 60’s… or morph into something akin to the IRA in Northern Ireland or ETA in Spain and France, I’m fine with them having their absurd views. I don’t really see this as any kind of serious threat or think they should be taken seriously in the public arena.

    So in conclusion, these people’s views are just absurd and laughable… and I’m thankful they haven’t spawned their own Timothy McVeigh.

  8. I have an even better question. What’s it to ya? I mean, it’s a free country, and you can obsess over whatever you want to obsess over, but why does something that’s none of your business stick in your craw so bad? You know, there are dozens, hundreds, of really serious issues today you could be bloviating– I mean, blogging about.

    As for your last paragraph — people can claim whatever the heck they want to. Believe it or not, that which grants you the right to bellyache– I mean, blog — about them is what gives them the right to claim whatever they wish. If somebody wants to claim they are a citizen of Atlantis, or Shangri La, or Brigadoon, why is that any of your concern?

    Incidently, the USA does not prohibit dual citizenship; the government may look askance at it, but it doesn’t outlaw it.

    180 Degrees True South
    Southern and Romantic Fiction

    • Connie — As you are a blogger yourself, you can share with us about why you blog, but please don’t project motives of obsessing, bloviating, and bellyaching on others. Just speak for yourself.

      Apparently you don’t take issues of citizenship very seriously, which suggests in turn that being a citizen doesn’t mean much to you — you state that there are far more serious issues. Yet among those rights of a citizenship that you so casually dismiss is the right to express yourself, and that you have done in your usual fashion. We’ll draw our conclusions accordingly.

      People are welcome to check out Connie’s websites to understand just why she might be so unhappy with me.

    • “Incidently, the USA does not prohibit dual citizenship; the government may look askance at it, but it doesn’t outlaw it.”

      Methinks you have somehow overlooked the fact that an acceptance of Confederate citizenship involves a repudiation of United States citizenship.

      You’re implying that people who want southern independence while maintaining US citizenship are hypocritical, stupid, or dishonest. I’m just asking them to be as good as their word, and if they were honorable, honest folks, they would be.

    • For more about Connie Ward (pen name Connie Chastain) and her interaction on another blog, see:

      http://cwmemory.com/2010/12/10/jon-stewarts-civil-war-sesquicentennial/

      and

      http://cwmemory.com/2010/12/11/let-the-documents-speak-for-themselves/

      You’ll note that in these exchanges, Connie sounds many of the same themes she does on my blog.

      For example:

      “What makes you think it’s any of your business what these folks at the secession ball do or believe? As long as they’re not trying to force everyone to adopt their viewpoint (the way you all-slavery, only-slavery folks think everybody should be forced to agree with you) then why is it your concern?”

      I’m not sure why it’s her concern what others think. Apparently she wants to express her concern about what others thing by saying they have no right to express their concerns (but she does).

      “I’m asking why it is the business of you folks in this discussion to challenge the motivation of those behind the ball.”

      And yet Ms. Ward complements herself on exploring people’s motivations.

      “Your post reflects judgementalness. I suspect that you don’t merely “find it hard to believe” someone would celebrate the destruction and death of the war (I don’t think that’s what’s being celebrated, anyway, btw, so don’t substitute your perception for their intention)– I think you’re attempting to use emotion to manipulate others to see your point of view as the only one.”

      I think we’ve heard his before. Ms. Ward’s simply examining motivation … everyone else is judgmental when they do not share her evaluation of motives. She’s also quite intent on insisting that anyone who disagrees with her is trying to claim that their point of view is “the only one.”

      “Why do you think the sourthern states wanted to extend slavery into the western territories? So we wouldn’t end up today with a map that looks like this: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/mapGallery/images/black.jpg
      Keeping the map looking like this is why the north wanted to keep slavery out of the western territories.”

      She still has not explained what she means by this.

      “Lemme give you an example from recent personal experience. I wrote and self-published a novel title Southern Man. It portrays a Southern white guy as an ordinary, not-perfect but decent human being falsely accused of sexual harassment. It recently received an “honorable mention” from an Amazon/Kindle reviewer who goes by the handle Red Adept and appeared on her blog.

      “Go here http://redadeptreviews.com/?p=3857&cpage=1 and look at the comments.

      “This is South-bashing, Mr. Levin, out of the clear blue. Presumably if you are a novelist who DOESN’T portray Southern white men as inbred, moronic, scum-sucking racists (i.e., Neil Young-style) you’re exhibiting an “alien mentality” or making a “neo-Confederate claim” that Southerners are inherently superior.

      “Perhaps you academics in your ivory towers are insulated from it, but down here below, South-bashing happens. All. The. Time.”

      And here are the themes of “South-bashing” and an attack upon academics. It seems that much of this is rooted in Ms. Ward’s unhappiness about how some people have received her book. But I’m just exploring motives. :)

      We see the anti-academic theme again here:

      “I suspect some of the “academic” events will be designed for (or will accomodate an element of) the denigration of the South and Southerners. I disapprove of the gratuitous denigration of my region and its people but you won’t see me protesting those events. I quite undertand — the opportunity to get a fix of the warm fuzzies of moral or intellectual superiority is too good for some folks to pass up.”

      And so on. I just highlight this past behavior to show that what people read here has been seen elsewhere, resulting in long comment sections and a boost in site hits.

      Someone should believes that there is no such thing as bad publicity would do well to hire Ms. Ward. :)

  9. Mr. Simpson, I blog for two reasons. My writer’s blog is to promote my novels (which celebrate the Southern people and culture) and to discuss nearly anything.

    One Eighty is a sort of blog-formatted remake of my proSouthern e-zine from several years back. I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it yet. The e-zine was an irreverent, pop-culture chronicle of the foibles of the proSouthern movement and the motives of its critics. It hasn’t translated well to the blog format, which may be why I’m somewhat neglectful of it.

    The main difference I can see between my blogging and yours — which has been formed from an admittedly cursory comparison — is that you are judgmental of people, while I prefer examining/analyzing motives.

    Incidently, I can bloviate and bellyache with the best of ‘em, though I’m not as obsessive as I used to be.

    • Here are some statements from your blog, Connie:
      “But the cake-topper quotes come from a National Park Service lackey identifed as Bob Sutton.”
      “Sutton also shows his bigotry toward Southerners …”
      “Besides, ‘mainstream historians’ are in the winners’ back pocket — still, after 150 years. They parrot what they’re told by their ‘progressive’ professors, who are themselves residing in the same pocket.”
      “Ah, the motive for the snideness begins to reveal itself…. ”
      You seem to be fairly judgmental (and insulting). You can analyze your own motives. I’ll let other people judge your self-assessment.

      • “Sutton also shows his bigotry toward Southerners …”

        Not really responding to the statement as directed at someone, but focusing on the supposed “attack on Southerners thing.” It never ceases to amaze me how some think that all Southerners then thought alike.

      • Yes, exactly as I said. An examination of motives.

        The “civil war” blogs I’ve come across that are written by academics run high to attacks on people who don’t toe the accepted line. Attacks couched in very scholarly language, no doubt, but attacks nonetheless.

        I defend.

        Regarding my remark, “Ah, the motive for the snideness begins to reveal itself…. ” — did you read the entire post? Did you read what it was in response to? You don’t think A. Sparrow’s attack on my novel — and my “alien mentality” — were snide? Even A. Sparrow somewhat agrees, as s/he left a comment apologizing for offending me.

      • Happy New Year, Connie. People can read your blog and make up their own mind as they read a blog dedicated to supporting southern independence … yours. Surely you would concede that they have the right to make up their own minds.

      • My impression is that you deal in personal insults while claiming that you judge people’s motives. You utterly fail to address the substance of posts. You’ve done it here and elsewhere. Being “snide” is not a “motive,” for example.

        Anything else, Ms. Ward?

      • Not seeing eye-to-eye with the blogger here is “trolling?” That could be taken as confirmation of my suspicions that the purpose of academia in the United States is to make us all good little mental clones of the national status quo.

      • Here you go again with the personal insults, Connie. This time they are laced with remarkable ignorance. Would you please be so kind as to tell us the history department where Mr. Swain teaches? Please tell us more about Mr. McKeon. Surely you would not offer an rant about “academia” without having that information at hand.

        I understand that some people think education’s a bad thing. I didn’t know that you were among those folks, Connie.

        I don’t care that you insult me repeatedly. After all, you have a habit of appearing on blogs and insulting people. I have no problem with allowing you to show yourself as you are. That seems an appropriate response.

  10. Mr. Simpson, a few days ago, you posted “It’s not about you … or, taking history personally” — a criticism of southern whites for seeing personal attacks on them as, well, personal attacks. Apparently, if the iron fist of personal attack is wrapped in a glove of “scholarship” and/or “history,” Southerners aren’t supposed to notice the fist as it smashes them in the face.

    The article about Trace Adkins you linked to — did you happen to read any of the comments following it? You may not want to acknowledge the trickle-down effects of scholarly Confederate-bashing, you may not even know about them — but since 1999, when I first got online with a Web-TV unit, I’ve encountered them constantly in news reports, editorials, comment threads, discussion groups, chat rooms, and blogs.

    When comments like those in that thread are aimed at Southerners, I see them for exactly what they are — personal attacks.

    • Well, Connie, here you are launching a series of personal attacks, all in the name of protesting against them. I guess you believe Mr. Adkins (a) is above criticism (b) represents all southerners.

      You’re entitled to those opinions.

      I don’t happen to think that Mr. Adkins is above criticism, and I don’t think he represents all southerners. I note you don’t defend the substance of his comments.

      If Mr. Adkins cannot stand having his comments held up to scrutiny, then perhaps he should keep them to himself. As that southerner Harry S Truman, who also had Confederates in his family tree, once said, if you can’t stand the heat …

      • Mr. Simpson, may I ask why you guess that I think Trace Adkins is (a) is above criticism (b) represents all southerners? I said nothing to that effect; didn’t even hint at it. I clearly directed your attention to the comments thread following the article. I don’t think I discussed the article itself, or Mr. Adkins, at all, except to identify what the comment thread was attached to.

        It seems likely that people whose beliefs prompt such attacks don’t receive said beliefs by divine revelation — but they have to come from somewhere, and I suspect such attitudes are shaped by academia, whether the academics intend it or not.

      • Connie, if you want to argue with people who offer comments on a report, take your argument there. If you want to argue with me and with other people who post comments here, have at it.

        I’m always amused at accusations about academia. Having received my undergraduate degree in history at the University of Virginia, and having been trained there by two historians who in turn were trained by a southern-born historian, I wonder why southern folks would express such hostility about academia. Are you saying that the University of Virginia betrays southern values? And are you arguing that true southerners are innocent of education, since academia would only taint their intellects?

        Have a good afternoon.

    • I think you confuse critiquing someone’s words and ideas with a personal attack. They are not the same thing, and the problem that I think Dr. Simpson highlighted very well is just this confusion. No one’s public statements are off limits to scrutiny. All I’ve seen you do in this exchange is attack Dr. Simpson and others, and make some tired old claims about attacks on Southerners. You do realize, don’t you, that modern day self-confessed supporters of the Confederacy are not the only Southerners? So, please show us, don’t just tell us, where’s the South bashing, or even the Confederate bashing? I just don’t see it.

      • The claims may be tired and old, Mr. Ferguson, but they happen with grinding constancy. It doesn’t matter whether Southerners support the Confederacy or not. Expressions of pride in or defense of any aspect of the South is seen by some as fair game. It sometimes seems as if some folks feel obligated to South-bash….

        As I pointed out, the comment thread following the Trace Adkins article is full of personal attacks and South-bashing.

        Did you read my blog for another example? I and my novel were attacked simply because I mildly stereotyped “progressives” (in less than two pages of a 334-page novel) and because I had the temerity to portray white Southerners as ordinary, decent folks….

      • Connie,
        I went back and read this post, and the post where Trace Adkins is referenced, and also read through all of the comments, but I still see no examples of personal attacks or “South bashing.” Perhaps you could point out which comments seem to you to be “South bashing.”

    • Connie,

      What on earth are you talking about? You are angry and you are lashing out irrationally. White Southerners are stereotyped. It is true. Brooks has said so himself. However, a blog devoted to exploring the facts about the Civil War as this blog promises to be and much more, is not dedicated to attacking white Southerners. Have you actually read the posts on Crossroads? Have you not noticed that Dr. Simpson is examining both the North and the South?

      You have chosen the wrong way to address what you see as an injustice. And you have most definitely chosen the wrong blog. There are blogs that revel in the stereotyping of Southerners, just as there are blogs that revel in the stereotyping of Northerners, and of “academic elitists“. This blog is not one of them, however. In addition, most everyone who has responded to you is a white Southerner or married to a white Southerner, so you might want to think about that and consider that you represent your own perspective and not that of others.

      • Sherree, my comments on this thread couldn’t possibly be as irrational as some of Mr. Simpson’s questions for folks who “identify as Confederates.” His questions are not an exploration of facts about the war.

        I’ve also encountered some of what he describes — people who sign their emails “John Q. Confederate, Occupied Georgia, CSA” and such. None of them believed in the current existence of the Confederacy. These were gestures meant to annoy US authoritarians and jingoists or to express regional pugnacity.

        If I can figure that out, I’m sure Mr. Simpson could.

        What difference does it make, anyway? What about real issues, like the twelve to twenty million illegals in this country, many of whom are loyal to, and fly the flag of, a currently existing sovereign nation?

        No, what you have here are expressions of offendedness because there are a handful of folks who don’t display the proper worshipful attitude toward the USA (see Mr. Craig’s comment about the US flag). And then you have a couple of commenters raising the spectre of bombs and violence… Oh, puhleeze. It wasn’t Confederates who flew the planes into the WTC, or shot up Ft. Hood.

        South-bashing is alive and well. I’ve been witnessing it online for over a decade, and I believe a lot of it results from tunnel vision and a shallow understanding of the issues surrounding the war, which in turn have resulted from biased and subjective teaching about the war, not just in academia, but in government and the popular culture.

      • “I’ve also encountered some of what he describes — people who sign their emails “John Q. Confederate, Occupied Georgia, CSA” and such. None of them believed in the current existence of the Confederacy. These were gestures meant to annoy US authoritarians and jingoists or to express regional pugnacity.”

        I think this, and other statements in Connie’s comment, help illuminate why modern day supporters of the Confederacy want to recast secession and the creation of the CSA as a protest against federal authority. Among other things, it’s about current politics.

      • Mr. Ferguson: “I think this, and other statements in Connie’s comment, help illuminate why modern day supporters of the Confederacy want to recast secession and the creation of the CSA as a protest against federal authority. Among other things, it’s about current politics.”

        No cigar — but you’re getting very warm.

      • Not all the time, Marc. While I agree that some is about modern politics, and some celebrationists have piggy-backed on this in recent years, it goes back further. Having been from the world of Confederate celebrationists for over 20 years (I drew the line in 2006), I’ve also seen where the resentment, based on disconnected memory to the war (call it false connected Confederate resurgence), is quite real. Not a participant in such things, just saying, I’ve seen it all too often.

      • “I’ve also seen where the resentment, based on disconnected memory to the war (call it false connected Confederate resurgence), is quite real…”

        Yes, I agree Robert, which is why I wrote “among other things.” I very much agree that there is a strong strain of resentment, and I think some of it is against modernity itself, and all that represents. There is a mix of heritage as identity, anti-modernity, and political anger in what you call “Confederate resurgence.” Now, no one should go nuts here because I’m not saying that all “Southerners,” or even those sympathetic with the white Southern Confederate experience during the war, are motivated by these forces.

      • I’ll start by sending you my gggrandfather’s pardon application, and follow that with a family memoir recounting my Jackson County, Missouri gggrandfather’s family’s suffering due to Order #11. How’s that for a start, Robert? ;)

  11. I bet the leftist academics that have posted here have met several colleagues (leftists, of course) who have renounced their American citizenship, denounced the country/burned the flag, or adhere to foreign ideologies directly opposed to the principles of our Constitution.

    There are a great many of these people in the halls of academia (shucks and jeehaw, a few that have posted here would probably meet the description), yet they are all stirred up about these “Confederate citizens.”

    Where are these “Confederate citizens?”
    Never met one.

    • Thanks for the contribution from Alabama. I’m sure you patrol the halls of academia on a regular basis.

      I’ve met people who criticize the United States (Connie Ward admits she does just that on occasion), but, sorry, no flag burners, people who renounce citizenship, etc. You claim that some people who have posted here have done just that. Proof? Or just an empty accusation?

      Ms. Ward desires an independent South, and so you would have to be telling me that she doesn’t exist, and that neither does the League of the South, which was founded in Alabama. So maybe you need to get out more and meet people.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_the_South

      So just because you haven’t met someone doesn’t mean they don’t exist. After all, you admit you haven’t met any of those “leftist academics” you claim exist, right? Otherwise you would tell us all about them.

    • I bet the leftist academics that have posted here have met several colleagues (leftists, of course) who have renounced their American citizenship, denounced the country/burned the flag, or adhere to foreign ideologies directly opposed to the principles of our Constitution.

      I freely admit to being politically liberal, as well as a former academic, and I’ve never met anyone of this sort. I did know well one Chilean mathematician of profoundly leftist tendencies, who could be quite critical of the United States. I also well remember the day he and his wife became U.S. citizens.

  12. “That could be taken as confirmation of my suspicions that the purpose of academia in the United States is to make us all good little mental clones of the national status quo.”

    You talking to me? Me? A member of some academia-centric mafia of opinions? One of the “academic elitists”? You must be joking! (In fact, that loud thud you just heard is Kevin Levin rolling out of his chair in a laughing fit.)

    I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. But never a member of academia. Actually over the years I’ve thought of myself more of an anti-academia proponent, espousing practical experience over classroom enlightenment (while recognizing a proper mix of the two is the most desirable).

    But, Connie, you are on to something. Maybe I’m just an “Uncle Tom blogger”. Maybe a “house blogger.” So long as I blog about the periphery topics on the war Marse Brooks and the others let me alone to blog. Yep, I better get back to my station and let you smart folks figure out this whole citizenship thing. I’ll get back to my cannons and markers. ;-)

    • Let’s review:

      Matt McKeon: “The magical moment when a new blog attracts its first troll.”

      Craig Swain: “Nothing but net, Matt. Sweet.”

      Connie Chastain: “Not seeing eye-to-eye with the blogger here is ‘trolling?’ That could be taken as confirmation of my suspicions that the purpose of academia in the United States is to make us all good little mental clones of the national status quo.”

      Is not Mr. Simpson an academic? And do your comments not indicate that disagreeing with him is “trolling” — i.e., deliberately provocative posts designed to disrupt? My original and subsequent comments were not designed to disrupt, and they indeed seem to have generated discussion, not disrupted it. I don’t doubt that my comments are annoying to folks who think everyone should hold the same views about the war — about everything — that they do.

      “This whole citizenship thing,” as identified in this post and comments, is hooey. Utter shuck. Something to nitpick about, said nitpicking motivated by…well, never mind. Discussions of motivation are seen as personal attacks here. Never mind.

      • Connie, I would that you either call me “Craig” or if you must, “Mr. Swain.” It’s a southern thing, you know. Double dose of it, to be sure. Besides “Mr. Craig” is a title reserved for the guy currently playing James Bond.

        As you were saying: “No, what you have here are expressions of offendedness because there are a handful of folks who don’t display the proper worshipful attitude toward the USA (see Mr. Craig’s comment about the US flag). “

        Here in the USA we have a set of rules and regulations that govern the display of our national flag. Such was what I referred to as “in accordance to regulations and customs for such display” in the second comment on this thread. I would be happy to forward a copy of such to you for edification if you would provide contact information. (And you can click on the link in my name to find out why I am rather sensitive about the respectful displays of our flag.)

        You downplay that as a “worshipful attitude.” So that leads me to ask, do you think it is proper to disrespect the US flag? Maybe desecrate it by placement in a subordinate position behind or below some other nation’s flag? Perhaps burn the flag as a form of protest? In fact, more to the point, do you support our troops who are today defending our country?

        I sort of know what the answers might be, but take your time and weigh the response. Still, the more we converse here, the more I see that “mental disconnect” that James mentioned in the first comment on this thread.

      • Connie, the only person contributing here who does not think you are trolling is you. So far, you’ve done nothing but attack people … you haven’t made a point of substance … and many of us have seen you do that elsewhere, complete with evidence that you are a bit sloppy when it comes to the facts.

        Your recent posts do nothing to change that impression.

        I don’t think you disrupt discussion. You just may not care for the discussion you spark. You pretend to know people’s motivations. You try to excuse your insults as “discussions of motivation,” although all we learn is about your world view. Anything that you don’t like you dismiss as snide or irrational.

        We’ve learned you don’t care much about the value of being an American citizen and respecting the United States of America. We’ve learned you don’t care much about education. You don’t even care much for factual accuracy. And you seem to overlook the fact that a good number of commenters replying to your posts are southerners who take issue with your characterization of “southerners.”

        I suggest that if you want to find a more welcoming place for a person with your views that you join the Yahoo Discussion Group “civilwarhistory2.” You should have a fine time there. And, if you want folks to talk about you, well, I invite then to examine this:

        http://hammer.prohosting.com/~cward/July_coverpage.html

        and then they can comment on your blog at:

        http://one80dts.blogspot.com/

        … that is, once you get some more posts up. You spend so much time on other people’s blogs that you appear to find it difficult to maintain one yourself.

        But if you’re going to comment here, you had better work on upgrading your responses past the spitball level. If you want to mock southerners who crave independence, after all, you mock yourself as well.

        Good luck. Take care.

    • Do I see a masters hood under that sweatshirt, Craig? :-)

      Fess-up too Craig, all your Southron-bashing… ya’ll ain’t really from the South either :-). Look at it this way, now that it’s out in the open, you can get back to non-Southern food and save your arteries.

      • Robert, remember six credits shy of the masters, and I refuse to pay Mr. Pell one more red cent!

        How can I not be Southern? Unlike those with the fake swords at the galas, I’ve actually picked cotton and pitched watermelons… for an hourly wage less than the minimum mind you!

        Now let me be, I need to finish off that pecan pie!

      • What I’ve noticed from time to time is that some people who are offended by what they see as disrespect for the US flag from “Confederates” don’t seem to notice the extreme and widespread disrespect for the flag that exist, and is on constant display, from one end of our culture to the other — bikers, illegal aliens, gang members — heck, used car lots that use the flag as sales decorations. It’s on clothing, motorcycle helmets, purses, beach towels, dog beds, and more, in violation of the US Code, which is easily found online, so I don’t need you to send me anything.

        I have no problem with proper and legal displays of the flag. My problem is the highly emotional attachment to the flag that increasingly characterizes our culture, accompanied by the decreasing loyalty to — indeed, the decreasing understanding of — the U. S. Constitution.

        I support U.S. troops and abhor the use of the military for liberal social experimentation. However, that doesn’t mean I support every mission the goverment sends the troops on. If the mission is truly for the purpose of defending our country, I support it. However, I don’ t think every mission meets that criteria.

        Mr. Epperson cleared up the mental disconnect issue in his second comment.

        What’s right about this country, I approve of. What’s wrong about it, I don’t approve of. I’m not one of those my-country-right-or-wrong yahoos.

      • Connie: “I support U.S. troops and abhor the use of the military for liberal social experimentation.”

        You mean like desegregation? ;)

  13. Hi Brooks,

    First, Happy New Year. For a number of reasons I couldn’t be more pleased that you’ve decided to blog on your own. :)

  14. “What I’ve noticed from time to time is that some people who are offended by what they see as disrespect for the US flag from “Confederates” don’t seem to notice the extreme and widespread disrespect for the flag that exist…”

    Painting with a broad brush again. Trust me, I do notice those other disrespectful displays and I do confront them. Those who know me will relate a score of semi-humorous episodes in that regard. And, I also know the Constitution rather well. I keep my Heritage Foundation pocket Constitution handy at home and work, thank you. (Where’s yours?)

    Regardless, you avoided the questions. Here they are again: So that leads me to ask, do you think it is proper to disrespect the US flag? Maybe desecrate it by placement in a subordinate position behind or below some other nation’s flag? Perhaps burn the flag as a form of protest?

    You answered the troop support question. So here’s one more – You mention a “highly emotional attachment to the flag that increasingly characterizes our culture…” but preceded that with a laundry list of examples indicating the opposite. Can you explain what you are trying to say then? (Personally I’m thinking it’s example of what James called that “mental disconnect”)

  15. I must admit, when anyone accuses me of being a part of some left-wing academic conspiracy, they turn speechless when I reproduce this.

    http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/resources/about_staff.html

    If you know anything about the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, you know it isn’t a left liberal think tank. Indeed, it was as part of this service that I met Christine O’Donnell. She’s charming, even if we don’t agree on everything.

    As for political beliefs and scholarship …

    http://civilwarriors.net/wordpress/?p=1917

    Oh my … I’ve complicated the lives of those who like to think in stereotypes, especially academia-bashers such as Ms. Ward.

  16. Mr. Simpson: I understand that some people think education’s a bad thing. I didn’t know that you were among those folks, Connie.

    What makes you think I am? I haven’t said a word critical of education. I have acknowledged skepticism of academia. You apparently think “academia” and “education” are synonyms. I don’t. By “academia” I mean the educational establishment in this country — the one financed by the taxpayers and overseen/regulated by the federal government. “Education,” on the other hand, means acquired knowledge, which I happily support. And academia isn’t the only place to acquire it.

    Mr Simpson: Here you go again with the personal insults, Connie. This time they are laced with remarkable ignorance. Would you please be so kind as to tell us the history department where Mr. Swain teaches? Please tell us more about Mr. McKeon. Surely you would not offer an rant about “academia” without having that information at hand.

    My reference to academia in my response to Mr. Swain and Mr. McKeon was not a reference to them, but to you, as the owner of this blog. That was perfectly clear in my reply to them.

    Mr. Simpson: …you have a habit of appearing on blogs and insulting people.

    If you’re referring to my one visit to Mr. Levin’s blog, and a few posts months ago on Corey Meyer’s blog, does that truly conform to your concept of “habitual?” Then one must wonder how you conceptualize “occasional.” I’ve intended no insults; that some may have taken my comments that way is their doing. Don’t confuse your perceptions for my intentions.

    Mr. Simpson: I guess you believe Mr. Adkins (a) is above criticism (b) represents all southerners.

    You still didn’t explain why you guess I believe that, since I said nary a word to that effect.

    Mark Ferguson: I very much agree that there is a strong strain of resentment, and I think some of it is against modernity itself, and all that represents. There is a mix of heritage as identity, anti-modernity, and political anger in what you call “Confederate resurgence.”

    I’ve got no argument with this. I think it’s accurate; perhaps not totally comprehensive, but quite accurate.

    Mr. Simpson: …and many of us have seen you do that elsewhere, complete with evidence that you are a bit sloppy when it comes to the facts.

    You mean my participation in a comment thread on Mr. Levin’s blog? The one where I was repeatedly admonished to supply my sources/substantiation by people who didn’t supply jack for their assertions? LOL. He asked me some questions and then shut down the thread before I could answer them, and didn’t post a few replies I’d already made. I really, really wanted to answer his question about the connection between Wm. Seward’s 1850 speech and the Mississippi Secession Declaration, but, alas, he apparently didn’t wanna know, even after asking….

    Mr. Simpson: You pretend to know people’s motivations. You try to excuse your insults as “discussions of motivation,” although all we learn is about your world view. Anything that you don’t like you dismiss as snide or irrational.

    I’m more and more mystified by these off-the-wall charges of yours. I don’t pretend to know everyone’s motivation. As I clearly, plainly stated, I examine and analyze them. Of course, that begins with a tentative assumption of what those motives are, which the examination/analysis tends to confirm or not. From that, I draw conclusions, which is quite different from claiming to know something.

    I haven’t dismissed anything as “irrational.” That word was aimed at me by Sherree and my response was, “…my comments on this thread couldn’t possibly be as irrational as some of Mr. Simpson’s questions for folks who ‘identify as Confederates.'” Considering that I acknowledged your ability to figure out why folks identify as they do, that’s hardly dismissal.

    The only thing I’ve identified as snide was A. Sparrow’s comments about me and my novel. I asked you whether you thought they were snide and you sidestepped the question with, “Happy New Year, Connie. People can read your blog and make up their own mind as they read a blog dedicated to supporting southern independence … yours. Surely you would concede that they have the right to make up their own minds.”

    What does supporting Southern independence have to do with determining whether A. Sparrow’s comments were snide? I’ll ask again. Do you think A. Sparrow’s comments (about my novel and my “alien mentality”) are NOT snide?

    And, since that was my only use of the term “snide” where did you get the notion that I dismiss anything I don’t like as “snide”?

    Mr. Simpson: “We’ve learned you don’t care much about the value of being an American citizen and respecting the United States of America.”

    How is it not caring much about the value of being and American citizen to acknowledge the fact that US law does not prohibit dual citizenship? I didn’t make the law.

    I respect what is respectable about the USA, and disrespect what is disrespectable about it.

  17. Mr. Simpson: We’ve learned you don’t care much about education.

    You’ve learned about my skepticism of academia — the educational establishment — which is not at all the same thing as education.

    Mr. Simpson: You don’t even care much for factual accuracy.

    Considering all the off-the-wall statements you’ve made about me and my posts here, I could toss that one right back at you.

    Mr. Simpson: And you seem to overlook the fact that a good number of commenters replying to your posts are southerners who take issue with your characterization of ‘southerners.’

    Be interesting to know how they do that, since I haven’t made any characterizations of “southerners.”

    Mr. Simpson: And, if you want folks to talk about you, well, I invite then to examine this:
    http://hammer.prohosting.com/~cward/July_coverpage.html

    Dang. I forgot how good I was!

    I invite everyone who examines it to try to dispute it.

    Here’s some more: http://180dts.bravepages.com/index.html Warning, the popup ads are most annoying.

    Mr. Simpson: …and then they can comment on your blog at: http://one80dts.blogspot.com/ … that is, once you get some more posts up. You spend so much time on other people’s blogs that you appear to find it difficult to maintain one yourself.

    You define one day at Mr Levin’s blog and one day at yours as “so much time”? LOL.

    Mr. Swain: I keep my Heritage Foundation pocket Constitution handy at home and work, thank you. (Where’s yours?)

    Two of them in my home office. One given to me by my ex-boss’s Congressional campaign office, one purchased from the gift shop at the National Archives in the District of Corrupt– oops, Columbia. Mustn’t offend, even though the place is rife with corruption….

    Mr. Swain: Regardless, you avoided the questions. Here they are again: So that leads me to ask, do you think it is proper to disrespect the US flag? Maybe desecrate it by placement in a subordinate position behind or below some other nation’s flag? Perhaps burn the flag as a form of protest?

    Nope. Nope. And nope. Nor do I think it is proper for “artists” to create “art” where viewers have to step on the flag, or for Bill Ayres to pose standing on the flag in some dirty, vacant alley. (Wonder why it didn’t pose on a busy city sidewalk….) I don’t mist up and get a lump in my throat when I see the flag like I did for most of my life, but that doesn’t mean I’m eager to see it burned or otherwise disrespected. What kind of binary thinking would imply that if you don’t worship it, you must want to burn it?

    Mr. Swain: You mention a “highly emotional attachment to the flag that increasingly characterizes our culture…” but preceded that with a laundry list of examples indicating the opposite.

    You mean the flag beach towels and flag dog beds? That’s the whole point — those items visually foster a shallow, emotional attachment.

    Mr Simpson: I must admit, when anyone accuses me of being a part of some left-wing academic conspiracy, they turn speechless when I reproduce this.

    Has anyone accused you of that in this thread? I certainly haven’t. In fact, a find-on-page search of this comment thread reveals that the only comment those terms appear in is yours. Not everyone in academia is a liberal. But the educational establishment itself is liberal so that’s what students are exposed to the most, and that’s what trickles down and percolates throughout the culture.

    • On one comment you slammed me as some member of a liberal academic caste. Then then a few comments later you say I’m an overly emotional patriotic type. I get the impression, given the chance, you’d just troll around here all day pointing out how “wrong” the rest of us are.

  18. Good morning, Connie,

    Yesterday, you said the following:

    “South-bashing is alive and well. I’ve been witnessing it online for over a decade, and I believe a lot of it results from tunnel vision and a shallow understanding of the issues surrounding the war, which in turn have resulted from biased and subjective teaching about the war, not just in academia, but in government and the popular culture.”

    Finally we agree. South bashing is alive and well. And, it is caused, to a large degree, by men and women who hold views similar to yours–a form of subjective, biased thinking and teaching bordering on propaganda narrative of the Civil War whose origins can be traced back to the original authors of the Lost Cause view of the “War for Southern Independence”–a view that completely distorted the past from the outset.

    Growing up in the South prior to the debunking of the Lost Cause view of the Civil War was like growing up behind the Iron Curtain, especially for African American men and women. So step aside please, Connie. Brooks Simpson knows what he is talking about. And I, and many other people, want to hear what he has to say. You may speak as loudly as you want, but we are still going to listen and encourage Dr. Simpson to speak. Thank you.

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