More of the Same?

IMG_9262Last week I expressed some hope that the appointment of Ben Jones as the chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans was a step in the right direction for that organization. Jones’s initial press release was a vast improvement over the ranting of Brandon Dorsey.

I thus must confess that I was a little disappointed when I read the release he issued following last Saturday’s gathering at Lexington. Entitled “The New Bigots,” it reminds me not a little of the same confrontational approach employed by The Committee last spring when this whole matter commenced, and it’s in line with the “evilizing” rhetoric of various other Confederate heritage groups.

Let’s highlight a few excerpts:

The Chapel is a beloved and honored place to the more than 65 million Americans who are descended from those who fought for the South in that conflict.

Folks, there is a difference between fighting for the South and for the Confederacy. We’ve been over this before. There were a good number of whites and blacks who were just as southern who fought for the United States and the preservation of the Union. Indeed, given the percentage of the southern population that was enslaved or sided with the United States, just about as many southerners (white and black) supported the defeat of the Confederacy as supported its quest for independence. Equating “the South” with “the Confederacy” is, among other things, simply bad history.

We cannot fathom why anyone would attend a school named after Robert E. Lee and then say they were offended by the St. Andrews Cross flag. Nor we cannot fathom how anyone could take them seriously and cave in to their threats. But in the current climate of ‘South bashing’, such a radical act as this seems to be accepted as some sort of litmus test for the “politically correct police”.

As someone who attended a university founded by a slaveholder and where slaves were employed in the construction of its striking central campus, I freely admit that something may not strike me as it strikes others. Then again, I’m not an African American, and I’m not looking at a flag that represents soldiers who, whatever their individual motivation, fought for the establishment of a nation founded upon the cornerstone of human inequality and slavery, as Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens proclaimed in 1861. As for the invocation of “politically correct,” I find that intellectually bankrupt. There were no flags in the chapel until 1930: their introduction at that time was a sign of what was “politically correct” at the time. After all, both Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind could be seen as expressions of political correctness as well, and this whole controversy can be seen as an instance of Confederate heritage correctness. So let’s set aside this vacuous slogan if we really want to make a serious point: much of what WLU’s president said in his press release argued for a different understanding of Lee than one who is “politically correct” might insist upon.

It appears that those who have a very simplistic view of American history have decided that the 150th anniversary of The Civil War is the right time to demonize the Southern culture, to intensify their vilification of Confederate heritage, and to continue to act as if their actions are some sort of moral crusade.

Please refrain from channeling Connie Chastain. That never ends well.

Once more, if you reduce southern culture to the Confederacy, you do the richness of southern culture a tremendous disservice and explicitly define southern Americans who are black as outside the realm of southern culture. Anyone who’s a true Southerner (and many of us who are not true Southerners) know better. After all, Brandon Hicks is a southerner, too.

We who are of Confederate heritage honor our ancestors for their sacrifice, their perseverance and their astonishing courage against overwhelming odds. These men were our family, our kinfolks, and their blood runs in our veins. But the new bigots of political correctness are exhibiting the same kind of narrow minded prejudice and knee-jerk bias that has always been the enemy of brotherhood and understanding. This latest example is the breaking point for us. Our patience with this new McCarthyism is exhausted. These mean spirited attacks upon us come from the same sad place as do all racial, religious, and regional prejudices. They are rooted in an ignorance combined with a sense of superiority.

Well, at least the first line implicitly recognizes that Confederate heritage is something distinct from southern heritage. But when someone decries “the new bigots of political correctness” without taking a more critical look at the people who rallied in support of the SCV last Saturday, one wonders whether other forms of bigotry and intolerance are acceptable to the SCV. That’s right … as we’ve already pointed out, various white supremacy groups, including fans of the League of the South, were there (in greater force, it appears, than the never camera-shy Virginia Flaggers). Are we to assume that the views of these people are acceptable to Ben Jones and the Sons of Confederate Veterans?

I doubt it, but you can see where someone could reach that conclusion.


Want more pictures? We have ’em. Want links? We can provide ’em.

So please, don’t lecture folks about “mean spirited attacks” reflecting “racial, religious, and regional prejudices” without taking a more critical look at your own supporters.

Over 50 years ago, that courageous Southerner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have a dream that someday on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to dine together at the table of brotherhood.” And that has happened. We have done that for decades now in the South, in great part because Dr. King did not qualify that dream or put asterisks on it.  He did not say that we would dine together in brotherhood only if we dishonored our ancestors or if our family could routinely be called bigots, traitors, and racists. He was a far better and wiser man than that. He meant that we would dine together by accepting our past as it is and that we would understand each other by our shared culture of work and weather and food and music and memory.  That way we could strive together to heal the wounds of the past and thus build a proud and loving South, where folks are judged only by the content of their characters.

Well, at least this is a more positive invocation of the legacy of the civil rights movement than that invoked by Brandon Dorsey, who compared Confederate heritage advocates to the targets of Bull Connor’s police at Birmingham.

However, this too is a selective memory. When people opposed Dr. King and the movement he helped spearhead, what flag did they wave? And is it not true that many of the people who rallied behind Jones and the SCV do not share his vision of a united and harmonious South as part of a greater United States? After all, southern white nationalists preach secession. Many of them are very explicit about their racial attitudes. Are we to assume that Jones does not know about them? If he does, why does he not direct his fury toward them as much as he does to other critics of the South he loves, because, folks, these people oppose the South Ben Jones loves.

I hope Ben Jones is interested in building a proud and loving America.

Slavery was not the sin of the South, but of the Nation. Chattel slavery existed throughout every colony and state for almost two centuries. Slavery was funded mainly by the Northern banks. The greatest profits went to the North. The North built the slave ships and manned them. The cotton also went North, to the vast textile mills in New England.  The North’s complicity in prolonging and profiting from slavery is one of the best kept secrets of American history. The work of the slaves helped to build America, both North and South. And yet the South has long been the scapegoat of these attacks from academia and the media.

This history lesson is as flawed as the one it purports to replace. It’s enough to point out that if slavery’s the sin of the nation, it’s also the sin of the South. No one forced white southerners to buy slaves. White southerners pushed for the westward expansion of the institution. Secessionists pushed for independence to protect and promote that institution, and Confederates fought for a nation built upon the cornerstone of slavery and human inequality. If anything, historians have talked about the presence and persistence of racism North and South, as well as the complicity Jones outlines. Read my stuff, Ben. I’m a part of academia.

In short, complaints about the media and academia simply reinforce my sad sense that this is more of the same.

Finally, take this last paragraph:

It is long past the time for the new bigots of political correctness to get over their condescending sanctimony and to enter into the real world of brotherhood and fellowship. And it is time they understand that insulting our heritage is not the way to build bridges of progress.

I don’t think one builds bridges by calling people bigots and decrying intolerance without taking a closer look at the very people who were cheering you on last Saturday. I don’t think you should talk about “condescending sanctimony” in a press release that reeks of it. In short, if this is what we should expect from the SCV, let’s just set aside that dream of brotherhood and fellowship, because it appears that it has to be all on one side’s terms according to their definitions.

I respect Ben Jones. I think he’s a smart person. I don’t think this is a smart press release, and I don’t think it’s a promising start. The task facing the Sons of Confederate Veterans is to defend Confederate heritage from its critics and rescue it from some of its supporters who embrace the very sort of bigotry that Jones rightly deplores.

We’ll see.


86 thoughts on “More of the Same?

  1. Sandi Saunders August 1, 2014 / 8:45 am

    Apparently the SCV is going to be the NRA for the Confederacy and also hide behind the South. No surprise there.

  2. OhioGuy August 1, 2014 / 10:04 am

    Simpson said: “Over 50 years ago, that courageous Southerner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘I have a dream that someday on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to dine together at the table of brotherhood.’ And that has happened. We have done that for decades now in the South, in great part because Dr. King did not qualify that dream or put asterisks on it. He did not say that we would dine together in brotherhood only if we dishonored our ancestors or if our family could routinely be called bigots, traitors, and racists. He was a far better and wiser man than that. He meant that we would dine together by accepting our past as it is and that we would understand each other by our shared culture of work and weather and food and music and memory. That way we could strive together to heal the wounds of the past and thus build a proud and loving South, where folks are judged only by the content of their characters.”

    I want to affirm that that is exactly my experience traveling in the South in recent years. Except for a few neo-Confederate lunies, whose numbers continue to shrink each year, I find that the vast majority of southerners of all races seem to live together in harmony and show great respect for each other. In fact, I’ll even say that in today’s South there appears to be less bigotry than in today’s North. In the North the bigotry for the last fifty years or so was “hidden” and not out-front-and-center like it was in the South prior MLK and the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement. My impression is that while southern bigotry has decreased dramatically over the last 50 years, the hidden bigotry in the North has stayed about the same. Admittedly this is a very impressionistic assessment, but as a person born and raised in the North I certainly have been in a position to observe closely the actions as well as the public and private words of many of my Yankee brethren. This, of course, is not how it was in the 1860s, as no northern state built its economy on slavery, and most northerners over the course of the war became convinced that slavery was an evil and should be abolished.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 1, 2014 / 10:48 am

      I did not say what was quoted. Ben Jones did.

      I think an increasing number of southerners are not defined by the Confederate heritage movement, and outsides should not define the South by the Confederate heritage movement. The challenge of the movement is whether it will come to be defined in the eyes of many as the League of the South + the Virginia Flaggers. Its most devout enemies should hope for that.

      • OhioGuy August 1, 2014 / 1:44 pm

        Sorry, for misattributing the quote. Not sure why I was confused. I understood that when I read it, and then just misattributed it when I quoted it. I guess, in a way, though, coming from Ben it makes my point even more compelling. He needs to be proud of the New South, not the Old South. There are, however, many aspects of the Old South that are worth preserving. The Confederate period was not the region’s finest hour. Albion Tourgée in his many writings about the mistreatment of blacks in the Reconstruction period always acknowledged the finer aspects of southern culture at the same time. It is these aspects that should be celebrated, IMHO.

  3. Jimmy Dick August 1, 2014 / 12:19 pm

    It is the US vs. THEM mentality at work. The heritage nuts always equate the Confederacy with the whole South. They ignore the reality of the partial South. Same thing with modern politics. The whole South is just as divided as the whole nation is. The red states contain a very strong 45% minimum of blue in them. So there is no solid South just as there is no solid US.

    Notice these groups do nothing to eliminate the racist elements in their ranks?

    • Christopher Shelley August 1, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      That’s what I was thinking. I saw the LoS members in the photo and threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  4. jarretr August 1, 2014 / 1:30 pm

    Very well said, Brooks. I shared it on the Twitter-verse.

  5. Joshism August 1, 2014 / 4:30 pm

    ” Nor we cannot fathom how anyone could take them seriously and cave in to their threats.”

    Was there ever a threat (of a lawsuit, presumably) by the students against Washington & Lee? Were there any protests in favor of the removal of the flags? Or did a group of students simply create, sign, and present a petition requesting the removal of the flags? (Question is not rhetorical.)

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 1, 2014 / 4:49 pm

      The Committee pledged that if their demands were not met by September 1 that they would undertake acts of civil disobedience.

  6. Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 10:30 am

    Dear Brooks and your Readers,

    This is Ben Jones here. It is difficult to introduce myself on this forum when I have already
    been characterized as someone who feels strongly on an issue upon which many here have very mixed and strong opinions. Those opinions vary, of course, but it is Brooks’ opinions which I find the most compelling, not that I am full agreement with most of what he says. But Brooks’ has done his home work, and he has spent enough time in the Upper South to have some idea of our past and our present.

    Yet it is difficult to begin to rebut his many assertions, as I am coming into a conversation that apparently has been going on at for quite some time. A lot has been said about a lot of aspects of the war which was the crucible of the American experience up until now. Most of the ongoing discussion here now does not seem to be about the South and its diverse cultures, but only about the Southern heritage “movement” (for lack of a better word) and its manifestations. There seems to be some well known players on here like Kevin Levin and Connie Chastain and others whom I don’t know from Adam’s proverbial house cat.

    But I think I do know the South, just about every square inch of it, and I love it more as the years go by. No one is fully expert about our region, but I have been soaked in its various cultures for 73 years now. I am of the South and several of those cultures.

    I am direct descendant of the Confederacy. (I am also a direct descendant of a “tri-racial isolate”.)
    A few years back I wrote a book called “Redneck Boy in The Promised Land” which, if you are
    interested you can probably pick up on Ebay for pocket change. It will tell you right where I’m coming from and right where I hope we are all headed.

    Brooks seems peeved, in fact almost churlish, about several of my comments as the recently appointed Chief of Heritage Operations for the SCV. Over the next weeks and months I would like to dig into these issues from the point of view of one who will fiercely defend both the modern South and its people, and those who fought for the Confederacy, several of whom were my direct forefathers.

    He knows that I know the difference. He also knows that when referring to the American Civil War, which I prefer to call “The War Between the States”, that “North” and “South” have been used interchangeably as terms for the Union and the Confederacy for over 150 years now, often by historians who were far better writers and thinkers than he and I. Hopefully, we can create more heat than light.

    Just to get the conversation going, I find it disingenuous that Brooks wants to transpose “political correctness” (which is a modern term for a modern mania) to mean an equivalent to the “conventional wisdom” of 85 years ago. For that he calls me “intellectually bankrupt.”

    We shall see whether Brooks’ take on these matters is independent and open-minded or simply “more of the same”. Stay tuned, y’all. We might even end up building some bridges to understanding here!

    Ben Jones

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 10:37 am

      Note: I think the expression “political correctness” in all its forms is “intellectually bankrupt.” I would never say the same of Ben Jones.

      • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 11:33 am

        Well, if it is “political correctness” that you find is “intellectually bankrupt”, why
        do you call my condemnation of it “intellectually bankrupt?”

        Ben Jones
        confused in Dixie!

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 11:36 am

          Because I think (indeed, I know) you’re smarter than that. The term is intellectually bankrupt, no matter who uses it (as in “for” or “against”). It’s just a slogan that really doesn’t advance discussion: if anything, it freezes it.

          • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 1:27 pm


            Sensing its reality and narrow-mindedness every day, I hasten to disagree with your assessment. But if you do not wish to advance this discussion, consider it frozen….

            Did you see where some faculty members at Ole Miss think the term “Ole Miss” is racist. Well, that is either “p.c.” or just plain air-headed. You can’t make this stuff up.


          • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 3:10 pm

            I just don’t think employing certain terms advances the discussion. What do you mean when you use it? Then we can discuss specifics.

            I didn’t know about the discussion over “Ole Miss.” I’m not sure how it is racist. I’d be interested in learning why they think so. But I wouldn’t dismiss it by saying it’s “politically correct.” I’d counter it with a real argument.

          • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 4:15 pm

            Hey Brooks,

            That’s funny. Saying that this nonsense is “politically correct” is a “real” argument.
            You many think it is specious, but I think it is accurate. No one has been able to explain why the term “Ole Miss” is racist because it is not. Sometimes, it is not worth taking the time to come up with a “real argument”. Better just to suffer
            fools ungladly in this case.

            By the way, there is a body of literature, most of it silly, about political correctness.


          • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 4:30 pm

            On this we differ, in that I want to know what you mean by political correctness. My take is that these labels obscure and frustrate discussion. I’ve been told I’m a leftist Marxist fascist politically correct professor, which would come as a surprise to the people who know me. Perhaps you are right, and I should suffer these fools ungladly (even when they make me smile).

          • jfepperson August 5, 2014 / 4:48 am

            If I may offer a couple of thoughts:

            1. IMO, the allegation of “political correctness” is just a way to deprivilege an argument with a label. When many folks can’t deal with the facts or the logic someone is using, they label it “political correctness” and see if that helps. I agree with Brooks that it is intellectually bankrupt. It’s a form of what I call “labelism”—argument by attaching pejorative labels to things, rather than actually dealing with the issues at hand.

            2. “Ole Miss,” as I understand it, is another term from the Old South, usually defined as a plantation slave’s name for the mistress of the household. So there is a connection to Mississippi’s slave past in the use of that term, which might be offensive to some, especially the African-American students.

          • Eric A. Jacobson August 5, 2014 / 7:10 am

            I tend to agree that the term “political correctness” is more often that not just a label used by those who cannot offer a compelling argument. It is used so often today, as are words like racism, sexism, etc., that it is often impossible to separate real cases from bogus ones.

            Anyway, if the term Ole Miss is offensive to some, I say too bad. The school name is the University of Mississippi, not Ole Miss. At some point this kind of approach has to stop or we all just end up going down a road that perpetuates the tearing down of anyone or anything we disagree with. How utterly counterproductive.

            All this being said, I applaud the conversation between Brooks and Ben. Who knows if anything will be accomplished, but civil discourse is never a bad option.

          • Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 10:44 am


            I don’t know where you came to that “understanding” of that “Old South” term, but I have travelled the South relentlessly for a long time, have read and studied for many decades on the subject of Southern culture, and this is the very first I’ve ever heard of this term being used as anything but a nickname for the University of Mississippi. There are a lot of pejoratives around everywhere, and there are terms
            that were used in the South in the past that are rarely heard anymore. But “Ole
            Miss” isn’t one of them. And it never has been, according to people who have lived there all their lives. According to the Chancellor’s report, none of the students, black or white, wanted it changed. But the Chancellor sort of punted on third down because of yet another canard.

            The use of “political correctness” isn’t the only “intellectually bankrupt” theme running through some of these posts, I fear.

            All the best,
            Ben Jones

    • Sandi Saunders August 4, 2014 / 11:31 am

      Mr. Jones, do you really believe your address above is about “building some bridges”? I love and defend the South my family has been in since the 1750’s but I also insist that we are far more than the four years of the Civil War and the sentiments of the Confederacy. I think you may well possess the ability to build bridges and create understanding but I fail to see evidence of it in your comments above.

      I applaud you for coming here and claiming to want a dialog. I hope that you can understand that respecting people and their views is more than “political correctness” and that many people of the South also dislike and repudiate the anti-government, secesh flagger movement that has hitched their wagon to legitimate heritage groups. I maintain they hide behind the South not honor it. You know the old saying, “with friends like these…”

      • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 1:23 pm


        Of course, the South is far more than “the four years of the Civil War and the sentiments of the Confederacy”. The South is many diverse cultures and people and has been so for centuries. I once represented the interests of 650,000 of them in the U.S. Congress. They were of all colors, races, and religions. They were also of various political leanings. So don’t talk down to me on that.

        In this matter, however, I am representing the feelings of most of the more than 65 million Americans who are descended from those who fought for the Confederacy. They, and their descendants, were also a big part of rebuilding a South which was totally destroyed by 1865. (There was no Marshall Plan for the South. Quite the opposite.) These folks are our family, our kinfolks, and they aren’t around anymore to speak for themselves.

        I am not a member of the “Flaggers”. But I have sold many thousands of Rebel Battle Flags over the years, to folks of all colors from all over the country and the world. And I display my own flags proudly. For in my lifetime I have seen an unprecedented social revolution in our region.

        But if we forget where we came from, how can we know where we are going??

        Best Wishes,
        Ben Jones

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 3:17 pm

          I’d say you can represent the feelings of the 30,000 members of the SCV. I’m not sure you can make the claim that you represent the feelings of most of 65 million descendants. Oh, you can make it, I guess, but people might not readily accept that.

          • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 4:08 pm


            And “people” might readily accept it. It depends upon the “people”, and I think
            I understand the feelings of Confederate descendants. I believe that behind the
            SCV there are those millions of folks who may not be involved in the ongoing
            “culture wars” around the heritage issue, but who understand and respect why
            their ancestors did what they did when they did it. And there is almost universal respect for Robert E. Lee among Virginians of all hues.

            I know that your “poll” on the Lee Chapel issue isn’t “scientific”, but those numbers, and in fact, those choices, are what I have been hearing anecdotally a lot around here. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times: “That’s just going too far!”.
            And people are fed up. These folks aren’t political activists, or people who are involved in “Confederate Heritage” issues.

            By the way, it appears that W&L has hunkered down on this. President Ruscio appears to be under “radio silence”. My feeling is that he is just hoping this will go away.

            People in hell want ice water, too…….

            Ben Jones

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 4:16 pm

            I agree that President Ruscio should be open to discussion, because hunkering down will lead to more confrontation.

            Again, recall that I didn’t call for the removal of the flags from the chapel. I also know that when you address one group’s objections, you may raise the ire of another group. Much of this has to do with the multiple functions of the chapel, and it might well be that recognizing those different functions and finding appropriate responses for each function may lead to a better resolution of this issue.

            I appreciate your willingness to engage in these sorts of exchanges.

        • Christopher Shelley August 4, 2014 / 8:57 pm

          For the record, I am in favor of a Marshall Plan for the South after the war. I think it would have made Reconstruction far more than the “splendid failure” it was. But I didn’t get a vote, and it was beyond the comprehension of Americans in 1865.

          • Michael Rodgers August 5, 2014 / 4:30 am

            Reconstruction was fought against by many whites in the southern states.

    • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 8:25 pm


      Continuing my response to the column, it seems to me that you skimmed over an extremely important point I made about slavery. “Slavery was not the sin of the
      South,” I said, “but the sin of the nation.”

      You responded, “Its enough to point out that if slavery is the sin of the nation, it’s also the sin of the South.” Well, that should “go without saying.”

      Perhaps my point would have been more clear if I had said, “Slavery was not only the sin of the South, but of the nation.” The rest of my paragraph would remain the same.

      You said, “No one forced white southerners to buy slaves.” That is true. But it is also true that no one forced white northerners to buy slaves. Or to sell slaves to the South. And no one forced them to make loans to slavers, or to insure slavers, or to build and man the ships that brought the slaves out of Africa. No one forced them to build a society from buying thousands of millions of dollars worth of cotton or to make their textile profits and build their region from the work of Southern slaves.

      You write, “read my stuff.” Well, no disrespect here, but I’ve never seen your “stuff”, Brooks.

      I would however recommend to all the extraordinary “Complicity”, subtitled
      “How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery”. It is the work of three reporters from the esteemed Hartford Courant, one of the oldest newspapers in New England, out of Hartford, Connecticut. (site of the secessionist Hartford Convention, Brooks!). It is simply not true that the story of how Southern slavery was driven by Northern profits is well known. That is why the book has been a minor sensation.
      It is also a very good read. In paper, its $15.95.

      It is an eye opener for a lot of folks who have bought into the Northern myth
      of moral superiority in the matter of chattel slavery.

      Best Wishes,
      Ben Jones

      • Michael Rodgers August 5, 2014 / 4:53 am

        It’s good for all of us to learn a more complete history of our nation. “We are not enemies, but friends.” Let us learn together, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

      • Jimmy Dick August 5, 2014 / 7:46 am

        The Hartford Convention was not a secessionist convention. In fact, secession was not even discussed at that convention. Unfortunately, the idea that it was has been placed in the memory of many Americans erroneously.

  7. Spelunker August 4, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    Ben Jones surprisingly hasn’t had anything to say at all about White Nationalists recruiting while he was speaking in Lexington. I wonder if Ben Jones knows that high ranking members of the White Nationalist group the SCV rallied with have called the Holocaust a “scam”, while another wrote about the challenge in creating their all-White ethnostate in Dixie, “The 14 million African-Americans present the largest problem. The greatest challenge would be putting them down and restoring white supremacy.” It would be refreshing for Ben to denounce this nonsense, but I’m not holding my breath. Me personally, I have no problem with pride in ones heritage. Let’s not kid ourselves, there are many in groups who I won’t name that have much more on their mind than heritage. The desire to create an all-White ethnostate and trample on the rights of others has nothing to do with heritage. Ben Jones could start out by making a bold statement against these types of people, but instead what we see are White Nationalists handing out propaganda newspapers to the same crowd Jones was speaking to, and not so much as a peep condemning these individuals. Perhaps more of the same will be the status quo.

    • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 1:02 pm

      Mr. Spelunker,

      That is like me saying that Mr. Spelunker hasn’t said anything about it either. I cannot be everywhere at once, nor answer questions from anonymous online people who haven’t asked them yet.

      I think if you look at my life, you will see that question answered. I have always stood against racial prejudice, and “always” includes those days when doing that was a very dangerous business. I didn’t see White Nationalists in Lexington “recruiting” or doing anything else. But it was a public forum in a public park, so since we are in America, anyone could have said anything on the grounds there they wanted to. Its in the old First Amendment, you know, (written by a slaveholding Virginian named Madison..).

      This in fact is the first I have heard of your White Nationalists in Lexington. The rally was sponsored by the SCV and it was serious, somber and respectful. We did not rally with any other group, nor did any other group speak publicly that day. Mr. Dorsey (whom has been routinely condemned here) did a good job organizing it. I neither saw nor heard or heard of anyone there lobbying for an “allwhite ethno-state in Dixie.” If you were there and saw it, you should have confronted them, or brought it to my attention.

      But Mr. Spelunker, can you not see that by your “gotcha” question and your associating me with White Nationalists, that you are doing a bit of “pre-judging”? That is where the word “prejudice”
      comes from…

      In the SCV, with 30,000 members, there is a great variety of political points of view and a range of personal ideologies. But one thing holds us together tightly. And that is the honor and respect we hold for our ancestors, who in their time did what they thought was right, and fought for their homes and their States like no Army before or since.

      Best regards,
      Ben Jones

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 3:14 pm

        What did you make of Mr. Dorsey’s statement comparing Confederate heritage advocates to victims of hoses and attack dogs at Birmingham, Alabama, during the days of Bull Connor?

        • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 3:48 pm


          I’d have to see the “context”. It sounds like he obviously meant it metaphorically, rather than literally. (There is hyperbole throughout political discussion.) Each of us in the SCV speaks for ourselves. As far as I can tell, there is a great range of views within our organization, and all are free to speak.

          On the matter of Lee Chapel, however, I have found great solidarity on the issue, and far beyond our membership. It is as if a line has been crossed.

          Speaking for myself, I do feel we are under siege these days. As I have pointed out, there is a feeling that we are under a new and constant attack by academia, the media, and corporate America simultaneously.


          • Brooks D. Simpson August 4, 2014 / 4:26 pm

            Fair enough. Here’s the context:


            I understand that you feel that the South is under attack. I think that certain manifestations of Confederate heritage have come under criticism, in part as a response to the beliefs and actions of some groups. I don’t think we’ll ever come to agreement on everything, but one can respect differences of opinion and elevate the conversation in other ways. Sometimes it’s okay to agree to disagree. Some of my best friends root for the New York Rangers (I’m an Islanders fan) the Virginia Hokies (you know I’m a Cavalier) or the Boston Red Sox … heck my brother-in-law’s a Dallas Cowboys fan, and we go at it all the time (I root for the Giants). Now, history and heritage are more important than fan affiliations, but I’ve worked alongside people with whom I disagree, sometimes on fundamental issues. So I know it can be done. So do you, given your political experience in Congress.

          • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 7:01 pm

            Well, Brooks, it would be a hell of dull world if folks didn’t disagree, now wouldn’t it? As a Tar Heel, I despise Dook University, but I will still eat barbecue with Dookies. Now that is a “liberal” position!

            “Politically Correct” comes from the old adherence to the “Party Line” in the Communist Party. And I know Republicans and Democrats who let the “Party Line” do their thinking for them.

            In language and in the social and fiscal pressure being leveled on things Confederate, it could be called an intolerant attempt to change a social and historical reality by imposing an orthodox of social correctness which stigmatizes those who oppose the new construct. How’s that for some b.s.?

            Orwell’s synonym “the Thought Police” springs to mind.

            For historians, there is always the work of separating fact from myth and reality from hearsay. There is a Southern myth of the War that is much discussed in the academy. But there is also a Northern myth of the War that is not so much discussed, in fact, only rarely acknowledged. It is a truism that the winners write the history. At least, the winners get the better publishing houses, better advances, and lots of t.v. time.

            Tomorrow, I am going to revisit the topic “More of the Same” with some different
            responses on other points.

            The Yankees are up, 2 to 1 in the bottom of the seventh in the Bronx.

            Ben Jones

        • Ben Jones August 4, 2014 / 5:49 pm

          Well, Spelunker, let me say a couple of things: one, I am not a “mouthpiece” for anybody, but I am honored to be able to speak on behalf of the Sons of Confedrate Veterans, a group I have been associated with for many years. I assume your read my previous response, which answered the question you have asked again.

          And, two, if you are the person who wrote the headline “SCV Unites with White Nationalists League of the South for Rally in Lexington, Virginia”, then you owe the SCV an apology. Those men showed up with their agenda. They had a First Amendment right to attend. They were in the audience. And whoever took their pictures had a right to be there also. i assume the photographers were not “uniting with White Nationalists”, but by your logic they could be.

          And since you assume so much, may I assume why you didn’t address the rest of my response to you? My assumption is that you, like the folks you oppose, seem to have yours minds made up.

          Why don’t you sign your name like everyone else?

          Ben Jones

          • Spelunker August 4, 2014 / 6:47 pm

            Will Ben Jones distance himself and the Sons of Confederate Veterans from White Nationalists?:


            Mr. Jones. My name is Spelunker. It’s no different than “Prince” or “Madonna” or even “Cooter”. The reason that I use a alias is because my life has been threatened in the past. I’m sure you can understand that.

            IMO a title like “Chief of Heritage Operations” ( ) and the fact that you release statements ( ) makes you a defacto “mouthpiece”, but that’s just my opinion, you’re entitled to your own.

            As for the Sons of Confederate Veterans “uniting” with the White Nationalists, while you think that I owe the group an apology, I have to disagree, as I do not see anyone twisting SCV members arms while taking a clearly posed group photo with 3 White Nationalists (Shane Long, Dennis Durham and Marshall Rawson). White Nationalists came together with members of your group both during the rally, during which time the White Nationalists handed out their propaganda newspapers to many in the crowd, and afterwards during which time they posed together for a photograph.

            My mind is not made up Mr. Jones, but silence on your part may very well make my mind up. You have been presented the proof Mr. Jones.

            Finally, you are correct that those men showed up to a rally organized by your group on their own and they do have First Amendment rights, as do you and I. This I do not deny. What I have not heard is you denouncing these groups or their message. You have a chance to do that here and now Mr. Jones. Let me be clear, I denounce White Nationalism. I do not support all-White ethnostates, Holocaust denial, etc., etc., etc..

            Let’s make this easy. Yes or no. Will you join me in condemning White Nationalism?

          • Brad Griffin August 4, 2014 / 6:58 pm

            1.) The League was in Lexington because we were outraged by the removal of the regimental battle flags from Lee Chapel. We also protested the removal of the Tom Watson statue at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. I expect will be back in Lexington at some point in September.

            2.) Spelunker hides true identity in order to conceal the extent of his leftwing politics.

            3.) Spelunker has called the SCV “heritage hillbillies” and “moonshinin” and “cousin marrying trailer trash.” He’s also supported the removal of the “Confederate Rag” from Washington and Lee University.


            4.) The photos were snapped by a communist group called “One People’s Project.”

          • Spelunker August 5, 2014 / 2:40 am

            Wow! Spelunker said “Hillbillies” and “Moonshinin'”, while Brad Griffin said this:

            “The 14 million African-Americans present the largest problem. The greatest challenge would be putting them down and restoring white supremacy.”

            I win.

          • Rosemary August 5, 2014 / 5:52 am

            Mr. Jones’ title shows he is spokesman (aka “mouthpiece” if one uses slang) for his organization on the topic in question …. As for use of an alias on the net, the world is full of good people but also of mixed up people and of evil people…. (check any day’s News stories) ….. Spelunker’s decision to use an alias to protect himself on the internet is reasonable… I bet — I most certainly hope!! — that Mr. Jones and other prominent posters have provisions in place for keeping safe. ….. Crossroads is my first experience with a blog wherein rage and hatred/near-hatred are so swifly and firmly expressed. I have learned that this is not the place to joke around, to speak lightly of anything. I like people to like me. Or at least not actively seek my blood. It is bad for “the people” when debate has no chance to proceed due to perceived and real meanness. Education and communication could save the world. I like that Dr. Simpson welcomes Mr. Jones.

          • Spelunker August 5, 2014 / 2:53 pm

            I have recanted my stereotypical descriptions of Southerners and apologized for characterizing them in the fashion that I did. I would like to point some things out however.

            1) The League’s real reason for being in Lexington (wink, wink) was recruiting. That is the reason why the League members rifled through the crowd handing out Free Magnolia’s. You can claim whatever reason you like, but everyone knows the truth.

            2) This is false. I hide my identity because I am very unpopular with the radical and often times racist Far Right. I have been threatened in the past and I have a family to protect. If anyone would know a thing or two about aliases, it would be Brad Griffin though. My use of an alias has nothing to do with concealing my politics, my writing, as bad as it is, makes pretty clear where I stand politically. While I don’t label myself, you are welcome to label me any way you see fit.

            3) I have retracted the language in my post in which I stereotyped Southerners and issued an apology. I sincerely apologize for using the language I did.

            4) Brad has made an assumption here. It would be interesting to see how Brad knows where the photos came from.

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 6:46 pm

            Re: Spelunker

            1.) You’ve made your true feelings toward the SCV plain on your website. They are “heritage hillbillies” and moonshinin’, cousin marrying trailer trash who want to keep the “Confederate Rag” in Lee Chapel.

            2.) No, we had been following the situation in Lexington since April (I posted about it on my blog) and had always planned to hold a demonstration there once there if the administration caved to “the Committee.” In fact, I had planned to come up there myself in September like I had done in Richmond, but the SCV announced their July rally and that preempted our plans.

            3.) Sure. Whatever.

            It’s pretty clear that your politics are more radical than you are letting on, but you don’t want to draw attention to that so you are using a pseudonym.

            4.) The photos were posted on OPP’s website. Obviously. they had someone there at the Lexington rally.

    • Christopher Shelley August 4, 2014 / 3:37 pm

      This, for me, is the most disturbing aspect of the entire thing. I will gladly, cheerfully debate true Confederate heritage advocates, searching out common ground, or trying to. I will not debate racists.

  8. Al Mackey August 4, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    I’d like to also welcome Mr. Jones (Cooter was one of my favorite characters!). Also, Brooks, remember it’s Virginia TECH Hokies. 😉 I’d like to point out that the students didn’t get much of what they demanded. They wanted all the Confederate flags taken off campus. The University removed replicas in favor of actual flags that will be in the museum. They had other demands that weren’t met. Isn’t that enough for the SCV? Doesn’t it make the SCV look extremist that they protest the one small concession the University made?

  9. Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 6:01 am

    Hey Al,

    When I was growing up, the “Hokies” were the VPI Gobblers. In the early 50’s, I remember them getting whupped at the big game in Roanoke by the VMI Keydets. After that shellacking, I would have changed my name, too! Frank Beamer is a great American, by the way.

    Frankly, I think the W&L Administration should not have given in to the threat of civil disobedience over any demand. Obviously for 80 years, those flags were understood as a symbol of General’s leadership, his unquestioned integrity, his command and his times. Someone shows up and says that the flags make him feel “unwelcome” and if nothing is done about it, he is going to commit civil disobedience. No right was being denied these folks. They had voluntarily come to a school with a visceral connection to Robert E. Lee. The flags were in the Lee Chapel, at the burial site of General Lee.

    This, supposedly, had to do with their “feelings”. If Universities are going to measure “feelings”, expressed subjectively, as a guide to decision making, they are going down a long road
    of trouble. For everyone has “feelings” and like it or not, that Chapel evokes very strong feelings in those of us who admire and respect our ancestors who fought under his leadership.

    The fact that the University didn’t stand on its head for their other “demands” is not a badge of courage. And for Ruscio to try to justify his decision by saying the flags were “replicas” is “too cute by half”, that is to say, disingenuous. Their provenance was not an issue to the “Committee”. Nor to anyone who has the ability to understand the vast pressures that led to the nation’s divide.

    President Ruscio had a wonderful “teaching opportunity” before him, and a moment when he could have brought some people together for genuine understanding. Instead, he did the one thing that was guaranteed to inflame the situation.

    In my position, I have tried to meet with Ruscio. I have been told that he was on vacation, that now he is traveling, and that he will be very busy when he gets back. l have also been told that my
    request is being brought to his attention. As folks say on this site, “we shall see.”

    Best wishes,
    Ben Jones

    • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 8:50 am

      White supremacist groups like the League of the South and Brad Griffin– who is part of that group and is also running the white supremacist “Council of Conservative Citizens”– both see the neo-Confederate movement as a quest for turning the south into a white homeland.

      Meanwhile, the head of the LOS, Michael Hill, is posting long-winded, violent rants that border on advocating domestic terrorism over these– excuse my terminology– pieces of cloth you and your ilk are stamping your feet over like overgrown children:

      You can try to cover the daunting presence of the LOS within your SCV circles by throwing up the first amendment. You can try to cheapen our concerns for these violent threats and the old age racism that is tied to it by calling it “politically correct” or you can stoop to Brad Griffin’s level and call everything that exposes this seedy underbelly “Communism”.

      You can continue to stamp your feet and claim those pieces of cloth are all about your heritage as a quest for a “holy grail” type rebellion, while you have no care or concern that the rest of the country sees it as treason, racism, slavery and you completely ignore those elements and might even deny as part of those flags.

      You can try to pretend this is all just ancestor worship, and that there were black confederate soldiers and even Santa and the tooth fairy fought on the side of the Confederacy because you are all about love and brotherhood. But, the reality is, until the SCV denounces the LOS and shows some effort to distance themselves from that white supremacist organization, the evidence is there that not only does the SCV have no issue with the racist and violent motivations of the LOS but in fact there is even evidence of some strong crossover relationship between both organizations.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 5, 2014 / 9:17 am

        One’s First Amendment rights also allow for one to express an opinion on what Hill and Griffin said. To me, it’s hard for the SCV to say it doesn’t approve of such sentiments in general while remaining silent about their specific manifestations. After all, The Committee and President Ruscio also have First Amendment rights, and people have expressed their opinion about the opinions they chose to express. Why would one exempt Hill, the LotS, and Griffin from the same scrutiny applied to The Committee, President Ruscio, and WLU?

        • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 9:42 am

          Brooks, you’re entirely correct. Hill’s rhetoric is cause for concern; advocating violence isn’t protected speech, but vague statements like the one Hill put out are. It’s a fine line and Hill knows how to dance it.

          “By the grace of Almighty Providence we will banish them and their godless kind from our land as a householder banishes rats from his steading.”

          See, that’s not explicitly advocating violence, but it’s not far removed from referring to undesirables as “cockroaches” or “pests” that need to be “cleansed.”

          Ben’s conspicuous silence around Hill’s rhetoric leaves a glaring question about the motives of the SCV. I should also add that complaining about “political correctness” and whining about people’s “feelings” are wholly archaic in today’s evolving society. I don’t think that strategy is going to gain much traction.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 5, 2014 / 10:39 am

            I found that disturbing. I look forward to an explanation.

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 10:47 am

            Watch the video of the attack below … to people like Liberty Lamp and One People’s Project, the street thugs who did this are heroes:

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 1:15 pm

            You make it seem like the people who were at the Tinley Park event were fine, upstanding citizens. Doing that is indicative of a complete disregard for reality, since two of the people who were arrested at that event were neo-nazis: Steven Eugene Speers, who was arrested for a Texas warrant for possessing child pornography and is a repeat perpetrator of domestic violence; and Francis Gilroy who was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

            Since you’re apparently incapable or unwilling to bring up any event perpetrated by antifa in the past two years more serious than throwing chairs in a restaurant, let’s bring up something that happened five months ago. You know, one of your few ardent supporters on Vanguard News Network– the Overland Park, Kansas shooter, Glenn “Rounder” Miller. Oh, I know that you’ve deleted all of your accounts and burned those bridges, but the sheer and utter hatred for you for throwing Glenn under the bus and turning into a “traitor” to the white nationalist movement speaks volumes about your now-expunged friendly relations with a man who shot three people in cold blood because he thought they were Jewish. It’s also useful to point out that Rounder was an avid admirer of the white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.

            While we certainly can’t condone throwing chairs in a restaurant, we can understand where those folks are coming from– they’re angry, disaffected young people with an improper method for venting their anger. Glenn Miller, Steven Speers and Francis Gilroy aren’t mis-directed youth, they’re habitual offenders with crimes that go far, far beyond the pale of mere scofflaws– Rounder, of course, did time in a federal prison for attempting to murder SPLC founder Morris Dees, weapons charges and numerous attempts at robbery. Speers is a pedophile and a domestic abuser. As for Gilroy, let’s let the SPLC speak about him:

            “Gilroy, who goes by the name “Copperhead” on Stormfront, the white nationalist web forum where the Chicago meeting was promoted, was arrested in 1999 outside of West Palm Beach after refusing to cooperate with police when he was pulled over for failing to signal a turn. According to the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Gilroy wound up in jail because he wouldn’t provide a driver’s license. Broward County sheriff’s deputies then found several handguns, two assault rifles and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in his van. The Sun Sentinel also reported at the time that FBI agents seized documents related to groups called the Florida Patriots, the North Carolina Patriots and what deputies described as “several other active militia groups across the country.” While in the patrol car, Gilroy had to be put in a special restraint after he slipped his handcuffs under his legs from behind his back.”

            Make as much noise as you want about a bunch of twentysomethings wrecking a restaurant, but your side of the fence seems to be populated with a disproportionate amount of serial killers, pedophiles, methamphetamine traffickers and blatantly criminal gangs. Must be something about that whole “non-whites need to be enslaved or exterminated” rhetoric.

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 6:33 pm

            Re: Lamp

            1.) The attack on the WNs in the restaurant in Tinley Park was nothing more and nothing less than a group of violent street thugs in masks armed with baseball bats jumping a group of people because of their politics. The so-called “Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM) has a long history of violence. I’ve never seen you condemn them though.

            2.) Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember ever celebrating or glorifying Glenn Miller’s shooting spree, much less holding a fundraiser for him like One People’s Project did for the Tinley Park thugs. What’s more, I had condemned Linder’s “exterminate the Jews” rhetoric for years before Miller went on his shooting spree in Kansas.

            3.) Spears and Gilroy weren’t the only people who were attacked in Chicago. They were attacked only because they happened to be there. The attack had nothing to do with their background.

            4.) Do you condemn One People’s Project which stands side by side with communists like Preston Gilmore while holding the Soviet flag? Do you condemn your buddies in the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM) for their violent street thuggery? How about your friends who swarm hotels in masks while carrying weapons? I seem to recall you featuring them on your blog.

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 6:44 pm

            Brad, don’t play games with me, we all know that before Rounder went on his shooting spree you and he were the best of buddies on VNN.
            He talked you up, told people to send your organization $$s and he was the one who gave you credibility on that board.

            For the record, I am anti-Stalin. Flags don’t mean anything to me, if you wanted to burn any flag of your choice in front of me I would not care.

            I do, however care about how unhinged your buddy Michael Hill has become, is he about to become Rounder part 2?

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 7:14 pm

            1.) It’s true that I talked to Rounder on a messageboard, but so what? He talked to all kinds of people including Heidi Beirich. I’m a member of several organizations, but I was never affiliated with Rounder, who I never met, and I certainly never endorsed his violent shooting spree.

            OTOH, One People’s Project endorsed the Tinley Park thugs and held a fundraiser for them.

            2.) Preston Gilmore is a self avowed communist and DLJ stood shoulder to shoulder with him while he was carrying a Soviet flag.

            3.) To my knowledge, the League has a twenty year track record of holding non-violent conferences and protests. If Michael Hill had a criminal record, I am sure you would have publicized it by now.

      • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 10:09 am

        Pardon my friend Liberty Lamp. She left out a few things in her post above:

        1.) First, the Council of Conservative Citizens isn’t a secessionist group and has worked closely with the SCV in St. Louis for years now. In fact, I attended an SCV Missouri Confederate Memorial Day earlier this year.

        2.) Second, we have no objection to White people who want to be left alone to live among themselves. There’s plenty of land in the South and there is no reason why this desire cannot be accommodated. We already have Indian reservations in Alabama and other states.

        3.) I work closely with Michael Hill and he hasn’t issued any violent threats. If there were any “death squads,” I am sure that I would know about them. We’ve held over a dozen protests over the past year and there hasn’t been any violence at any of them.

        4.) Liberty Lamp’s “anti-fascist” associates are the ones who routinely engage in violence and intimidation. Check out the second link from her own website:

        5.) Just a few months ago, Daryl Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project stood shoulder to shoulder with the communist Preston Gilmore at a demonstration in Dickson, TN. Liberty Lamp’s friends also took part in the mass communist march in DC on May Day in which they waved Red flags. You will never see Liberty Lamp or Spelunker denouncing their communist comrades though.

        6.) The SCV has nothing to gain from denouncing the League of the South … when it comes to defending Southern heritage, we are on the same side of that issue and had been planning to hold a demonstration in Lexington as far back as April. You said yourself that the desecration of Lee’s grave struck a nerve far outside the ranks of the SCV, and you were right.

        7.) Finally, Spelunker described the SCV members who rallied in Lexington a moonshinin’. cousin marrying trailer trash and supported the removal of the “Confederate Rag” from Lee Chapel. Both Spelunker and Liberty Lamp conceal their true identities in order to hide the extent of their involvement in radical leftwing politics.

        • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 10:43 am

          Brad- you are leaving out that when you saw DLJ in Tennessee, he was counter demonstrating the event you were at– which was Jared Taylor’s white supremacist American Renaissance Conference, so if you want to compare who is keeping the more nefarious company I think you are in the lead. Speaking of unsavory company, Jared Taylor is going to be attending a conference in Hungary in October with the RPG-toting Russian “eurasianist” fascist Alexander Dugin.

          You whine and complain about anti-facist reactions to racists, fascists and white supremacists, and then ignore the mass genocides, lynchings, and continued violence and growing threats of domestic terrorism from right wing extremism like the militia groups, right-wing biker gangs and the neo-confederate movements.

          You and the groups you are affiliated with are swimming in a political cesspool, and it looks like the SCV at least has their feet wading in that pool from where we are standing.

          The SCV has nothing to gain and everything to lose by denouncing the LOS because they are much more closely tied than someone like Ben Jones has the guts to admit to.

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 11:06 am

            Re: Lamp

            1.) DLJ of One People’s Project celebrates and glorifies violence and holds rallies with communists who carry Soviet flags. What are we to make of that?

            2.) Both American Renaissance and the League of the South have been around for 20 years and have never initiated violence against anyone. Can the same be said of your anti-fascist friends?

            3.) Anti-fascist reactions?

            You mean unprovoked attacks, right? Storming hotels in masks carrying weapons and making violent threats. Harassing people like Matt Parrott in the streets. Physically assaulting people like Matt Heimbach and Thomas Buhls. Invading restaurants and violently attacking their patrons.

            The fact is. whether it is Amren, or the League of the South, or Trad Youth, or the CofCC, or the SCV, or the HL Mencken Club, it is ALWAYS your “anti-fa” friends who engage in violence and street thuggery, not us. Surely, if the League was engaged in violence, you should be able to cite one example of violence that has ever been committed by the League.

            4.) Feel free to watch the May Day videos below to see where Liberty Lamp and her pals are coming from … notice the Red flags, the future is “communism,” etc.


            5.) I’m sure communists who hate the “Confederate Rag” and who consider the SCV to be nothing more than hillbillies and cousin marrying trailer trash have the best interests of the SCV at heart, right?

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 6:37 pm

            Really, Brad, a group of college kids in DC who didn’t try any violence. The only one who tried to pick fights was your drunk buddy “Ron Sheehy”. Now, if they are my buddies, where am I?

            If they are my “comrades” where am I in the crowd?

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 7:07 pm

            We have them on video repeatedly threatening violence including giving out addresses where they could engage in violence. They also spent a great deal of their time threatening and slandering the police officers who were there.

            What’s your friend DLJ’s excuse? How old is DLJ now? How long has he been glorifying violence at One People’s Project?

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 7:41 pm

            No, you don’t, the only threatening person in those videos is the drunk Ron Sheehy.

            DLJ has never been violent and unlike the drama queens in your little hate group, when we disagree on tactics we keep it behind the scenes.

            You have no idea who is connected to who and who is doing what.

            On the other hand, the SCV is trying very hard to be a public and respectable organization, yet, they play with the rabble in your black X clubhouse, while publicly claiming they are all just love and light heritage folks.

            And FYI the red baiting went out of fashion with McCarthy.

            Nobody cares who is a Communist or leftist anymore, but people do not accept Nazis, racists and Fascists.
            So why don’t you throw away the 1950’s playbook, it is 2014!

          • Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 12:36 pm

            Well, Brooks, it looks to me like you are trying to be the moderator of a major league pissing contest between folks who have been at each other’s throats for a long time. I have no interest in trying to reason with anonymous people who make demands and threats and insist that one immediately jump through their ideological hoops. And my presence seems to have stirred them up. I’ve been called a few things in my life, but never “gutless”.

            Back in my younger days I fought the KKK. Literally, They were shooting at us and we were shooting at them. And I had a guy throw ammonia in my eyes at a white only grocery store one time because I had a black buddy with me. Another time I got suckered punched outside of an integrated party.

            A few years later, I bought those Klan boys a round of beer in a bar in Atlanta,
            which was totally integrated. The white-only grocery store guy went nuts. The guy who sucker punched me apologized when he sobered up.

            People change, their ideas and their ideals change, and nobody gets out of this life alive. I can’t see a whole lot of difference between the zealots on the right and the zealots on the left here.

            Ben Jones

            Ben Jones

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 5, 2014 / 6:20 pm

            They are using their First Amendment rights. Some people say really nasty things about me, too. I accept that as part of the business. That said, I think we agree that there can be a sane center that can agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

            I’ve asked people to play nice. Please try.

          • Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 6:47 pm


            Please send me a post when the “sane center” appears. Right now this is a fool’s errand. And what happened to our discussion and give and take? I’m making points and you are writing paragraphs that seem evasive and out of focus.

            I know these people are using their First Amendment rights.

            Unfortunately, most of them are not using their brains. Very disappointing day for the most part…..

            Ben Jones

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 5, 2014 / 7:03 pm

            Well, I’m sorry you feel that way. My sense is that you’ve been evasive in response to requests that you address the League of the South’s post-rally missive by saying they are exercising their First Amendment rights. So is everyone else, and you that has not stopped you from offering an evaluation of their positions.

            My own sense is that one engages in these exchanges not because they are easy, but because they are hard, and they require a great deal of persistence and an ability to weather initial mistrust and understanding. Perhaps private discussions help to build that without some of the distractions or exchanges that may be less than pleasant. But it is give and take, after all.

            I remain willing to answer any questions you want to pose, and everyone knows where to find me. If you believe I’ve been evasive, tell me where and I’ll make my position quite clear.

            If not, well, I thank you for your effort on here, and I’m disappointed that it did not lead to more.

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 6:31 pm

            Jones- I guess this means you are covering up the fact that the SCV are not going to denounce the LOS by hiding behind these corny little anecdotes.

            Sorry, unlike some of the other posters, I am not impressed by stupid 70’s TV, titles and pep talks.

            I am concerned about the racist domestic terrorist your old dying boy’s club is playing patty cakes with and since you are dancing around the issue, you have proven to be exactly what Brooks claimed from the beginning, you are nothing but “more of the same”

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 7:02 pm

            Are you going to denounce your communist friends in One People’s Project who glorify and hold fundraisers for violent street thugs?

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 7:31 pm

            Brad what is your connection to Ben Jones and SCV?

            You seem to be very protective of him, or are you just afraid if the dusty old boys do distance themselves from your little hate group they won’t send you anymore $s from their fixed income checks?

        • Spelunker August 5, 2014 / 3:02 pm

          First off, Brad I must correct you here. I do not have any “Communist comrades”. If you know of some, please enlighten me. Since I am not aware of having any “comrades” I cannot denounce them.

          Next, whether or not the SCV has anything to gain from denouncing the League is irrelevant. Ben Jones and the SCV have been made aware of evidence which links the League to their efforts, whether it was planned that way or not. Southern White Nationalists were there and did interact with the SCV. No complaints were voiced by the SCV, in fact, just the opposite. Some of the SCV members took a group photo with 3 of the White Nationalists present that day. I don’t really care what Ben Jones and the SCV choose to do, they have to live with their own decisions.

          Finally, the “Tinley Park Incident” has nothing to do with me. I don’t know any of those people and do not wish to. I condemn the actions seen in the video that was posted. I do not support violence, never have, and never will.

          • Brad Griffin August 5, 2014 / 6:37 pm

            No problem.

            1.) You link to One People’s Project on your blog which for the past two years has held rallies with Preston Gilmore in Tennessee who is a communist who appears in public carrying the Soviet flag.

            2.) Even broken clock is right twice a day. First, it was that radio station in Baltimore. Then it was Michael Peroutka. Now it is the SCV. You’re not having much success in getting other groups to condemn the League.

            3.) Your friends at One People’s Project glorified the Tinley Park thugs and even held a fundraiser for them. It seems to me you ought to condemn your own violent associations. Unlike One People’s Project, the League, SCV. CofCC. the Virginia Flaggers, and Amren don’t have a track record of violence.

          • Thelibertylamp August 5, 2014 / 7:08 pm

            Brad, after Hill’s latest tirade I can assure you, there are “groups” interested in LOS. Only, you can’t see them, but they can see you.

          • Spelunker August 5, 2014 / 7:30 pm

            1) I link to Occidental Dissent as well, I guess that makes me a LOSer. Check out the big brains on Brad…

            2) Why do you think I define success as groups condemning the League? Perhaps you should rethink your logic.

            3) I have no violent associations, but I’m waiting for you to show me what they supposedly are because apparently big talker, you’ve got the goods. You might have missed that I did condemn what happened in Tinley Park even though I don’t know or associate with any of those people.

            4) Who does Brad Griffin know and associate with??? Plenty of evidence of that. Shall we review?

    • Al Mackey August 5, 2014 / 9:26 am

      Thanks for the reply, Mr. Jones. When I was on campus we were officially the “Fighting Gobblers,” but “Hokies” was the popular unofficial name among the students and fans. By the time I got there we still played VMI, but we were doing the shellacking. When Coach Beamer took over, he made “Hokies” the official team name, which was a popular move. I agree with you completely about Coach Beamer.

      I’m sure you’ve read President Ruscio’s statement several times already, but I’d like to quote from it. Those who haven’t seen it can reference the entire letter here:

      First we have the story of how the flags came to be in the chapel. “In 1930, several original and historic battle flags – “colors” that had been captured or surrendered to the Union army – were placed near the statue of Lee. The University did not own them. They were the property of the Museum of the Confederacy, now part of the American Civil War Museum, which asked us to return them in the 1990s because the manner of display in the chapel was causing their deterioration. They were replaced with reproductions, which are not historic and are not genuine artifacts.”

      He then delves into the purpose of having flags at an educational institution: “The purpose of historic flags in a university setting is to educate. They are not to be displayed for decoration, which would diminish their significance, or for glorification, or to make a statement about past conflicts. The reproductions are not genuinely historic; nor are they displayed with any information or background about what they are. The absence of such explanation allows those who either ‘oppose’ or ‘support’ them to assert their own subjective and frequently incorrect interpretations.” I personally agree with what he says here. I believe context is the key for any display, and particularly so for the Confederate flag due to the way it has been used in the past.

      So next he tells us what he’s going to do: “Consequently, we will remove these reproductions from their current location and will enter into an agreement with the American Civil War Museum, in Richmond, to receive on loan one or more of the original flags, now restored, for display on a rotating basis in the Lee Chapel Museum, the appropriate location for such a display. In this way, those who wish to view these artifacts may do so, and the stories behind them can be properly told. You may view a history of the flags in the chapel at”

      He’s going to place the original flags in a setting where they can be given the proper context and their stories accurately told. As Brooks has written, a Confederate flag simply being displayed on its own sends different messages to different people, very few of which were the intent of the person displaying the flag. This resolution appears to me to be one that educates and ensures the display of the flag will send out one message and only one message.

      For 80 years, as you say, the flags in the chapel were understood [by white folks] to have a certain message; however, as the enrollment of African-Americans at the school increases, that understanding undergoes a change. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it does seem as though what you’re saying is if they don’t like the flags in the chapel they shouldn’t be at the school to start with. Again, I don’t mean to attribute words that you don’t mean, but that’s the message I’m getting. If that’s accurate, then I can’t disagree more. Social change is brought about by people who are dissatisfied with their current situation and choose to improve it rather than to leave. I suppose Dr. King could have just left in the 1950s and 1960s if he wasn’t satisfied with the way African-Americans were treated, but he didn’t, and we’re all better for it. I’m sure you remember how some Confederate flags were used in those years, and I’m also sure you disagree with that usage. That usage, though, helped to inform the impression many Americans today have about that flag, especially if it’s displayed with nothing to clarify the message being sent.

      Robert E. Lee’s name wasn’t added to the name of the College because of his exploits as a general. It was added because of what he did for the College as an educator after the war. Lee didn’t display Confederate flags on campus when he was the President of the College. In fact, one story attributes him as saying the Confederate flag should be folded and put away. The chapel existed with Lee’s remains for 60 years without any Confederate flags in it, and things were just fine.

      I think President Ruscio looked at the situation and decided that in this one instance the University was neglecting the education of its students, and he took the opportunity to remedy that situation by placing the flags in a context where education would take place. I don’t think he bowed to threats of civil disobedience, since by and large the students didn’t get what they demanded. Contrary to what you said, I believe he took advantage of a teachable moment and used it to its fullest.

      Thank you for the opportunity to engage in a thoughtful discussion.

    • Christopher Shelley August 5, 2014 / 4:18 pm

      Mr. Jones, I have been watching this exchange with great interest and an open mind. I appreciate your engagement with Brooks. I imagine that takes some guts.

      But now we have a very odd situation: a known white supremacist is here endorsing you and your organization. This is very–uncomfortable to say the least. Is it too much to ask that you explicitly reject his endorsement? For me, anyway, that will go a long way toward me respecting you and your organization.

      • Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 6:35 pm


        I don’t know why a “white supremacist” is endorsing me. What do you mean he is “endorsing” me? What it is about me he is endorsing? I don’t endorse white supremacy. I have been against all of my life. I’ve been reading this blog and haven’t seen any endorsement. Where was it?
        Wasn’t “guilt by association” one of Joe McCarthy’s big tactics?


        • Christopher Shelley August 5, 2014 / 7:45 pm

          Mr. Jones,

          I re-reading the comment in question, I find I overstated. I apologize and retract the word “endorse.” That was far too much.

          The comment in question…

          “6.) The SCV has nothing to gain from denouncing the League of the South … when it comes to defending Southern heritage, we are on the same side of that issue and had been planning to hold a demonstration in Lexington as far back as April. You said yourself that the desecration of Lee’s grave struck a nerve far outside the ranks of the SCV, and you were right.”

          …was made by a self-acknowledged white supremacist and member of the League of the South, which is a white supremacist organization. Clearly, his remark is not an endorsement, and again I retract. And for the record, I don’t believe in guilt by association.

          But the association is there nonetheless. And it seems to me that this is a fine chance to affirmatively state “Those guys don’t represent the values of the SCV.” Since the controversy over the CBF is largely about whether or not it is a symbol of racism, it seems to me a perfect opportunity for the SCV to distance itself from an organization that wants to establish an apartheid state.

          I thank you, sir, for your time.


          • Ben Jones August 6, 2014 / 6:12 am


            Thank you for your clarification.

            The SCV is not a racist or a white supremacy organization. Therefore, it does not share those “values” with these groups. I did not join this discussion to talk about
            other people’s motives.

            And I must say that it is unfortunate that this potentially special blog has been co-opted by narrow minded bigots and sophomoric extremists of all persuasions.

            Ben Jones

        • Christopher Shelley August 5, 2014 / 7:55 pm

          And PS: I have no doubt you personally reject white supremacy. I want to be clear on that. Thanks again.

  10. Ben Jones August 5, 2014 / 11:54 am

    Well Al,

    I don’t know if this is a thoughtful discussion or not, but it beats a lot of the name-calling that all sides are throwing around here. Some guy is jumping up and down and stamping his feet accusing me of jumping up and down and stamping my feet.

    My problem with Ruscio’s argument is its slightly slippery quality. Yes, those flags were put there in 1930, a time long past the memory of most, if not all, of the people in this discussion. They were not put there as a “racist” statement, but to honor General Lee at the school named after him, in the Chapel which serves as his burial site. President. Ruscio used the logic that removing the current flags was o.k. because they replaced the original flags. But their purpose there had not changed. Which raises the obvious question of whether or not Ruscio would have removed the original flags if they had not been replaced. And for what reason?

    Remember that we are dealing with a symbol, which in this case was clearly meant to symbolize the General’s involvement in our nation’s crucible event. The original flags symbolized the affection many people held for Lee. For many years, their replacement symbolized the same affection.
    So after acquiescing to “The Committee” because these symbols, though identical, had not actually seen action in the event symbolized, W&L’s rebuttal to its opponents in this matter is truly on the slant, don’t you think?

    Basically, it is “What are these people upset about? We took down the fake ones, and we are putting up real ones!” President Ruscio would never make it as a sleight-of-hand act.

    The “context” for the display was obviously Lee’s connection with The Confederacy. Was there anyone who couldn’t figure that out? (One doesn’t have to be “white folks”, as you say, to understand that context.) But maybe in this case context doesn’t matter. The “Committee” wasn’t upset because they weren’t actual historical flags or that they didn’t understand the context of Lee’s burial place.
    They were upset because the sight of that symbol itself, in any context, made them feel “unwelcome”. And that is the point where real teaching and communication should have started, in my opinion.

    And I did not say they shouldn’t have been at the school to begin with. My point was that being there, they surely must have understood the context in which it was intended. The school is named after the most famous Confederate of all.

    And Al, comparing this little snitty affair with the work of Dr. King just doesn’t cut it for me. Dr. King understood that we have a shared past which was difficult but must be accepted in order to move forward. Accepting why men like Lee did what he did when he did it is a ground for growth. Accepting why men (and women) like Dr. King did what they did when they did it is also ground for growth.

    In his great speech in August of 1963, King said “I have a dream that someday on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to dine together at the table of brotherhood.” We have done that now for decades. King did not put any asterisks on that. He did not say, “we’ll dine together if you take down all those flags and denounce your ancestors as traitors, racists, and terrorists.” He was a wiser and better man than that.

    You say , Robert E. Lee’s name was not added to the name of the college because of his exploits as a General. Al, he would not have been there if not for his exploits as a General. Because of his renown, (and because he would not sell his name) he was the perfect choice for a school which barely had a pulse when he arrived. And as an historian, you know what he meant to the South in 1870.

    We disagree on Ruscio’s motives and his actions, which I believe hang on a very thin thread of judgement. It just doesn’t wash for me.

    Ben Jones

  11. David Navarro July 12, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    “Slavery was not the sin of the South, but of the Nation. Chattel slavery existed throughout every colony and state for almost two centuries. Slavery was funded mainly by the Northern banks. The greatest profits went to the North. The North built the slave ships and manned them. The cotton also went North, to the vast textile mills in New England. The North’s complicity in prolonging and profiting from slavery is one of the best kept secrets of American history.”

    That’s a typical example of the ‘you too’ rhetoric used by defenders of the Confederacy in order to minimize the importance of slavery in the South.

    The fact is, by the time the Constitutional Convention assembled (1787) virtually all Northern states – Vermont, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut – were implementing some form of gradual abolition. The lone exception, New York, followed the same path in 1799 after two failed attempts, in 1777 and 1785, were defeated by the State Legislature.

    It was the delegates from the Southern states – Georgia and South Carolina – who pushed for the maintenance of the slave trade in opposition of those from the other states!

    Quotes from the article “What the Framers of the Federal Constitution thought of the Negro” are very revealing about this.

    James Madison declared: “The southern states would not have entered into the union for America, without the temporary permission of that trade”.

    Delegate James McHenry affirmed: “Conventions were anxious to procure a perpetual decree against the importation of Salves; but the Southern States could not be brought to consent to it – All that could possible be obtained was temporary regulation which the Congress may vary hereafter”
    And wrote in his notes: “They had enjoyed the right of importing slaves when colonies. They enjoyed it as States under the confederation – And if they could not enjoy it under the proposed government, they could not associate or make a part of it”

    Finally delegate Joseph Spaight summarized: “There was a contest between the Northern and Southern States; that the Southern States, whose principal support depended on the labor of slaves, would not consent to the desire of the Northern States to exclude the importation of slaves absolutely; that South Caroline and Georgia insisted on this clause, as they were now in want of hands to cultivate the their lands; that in the course of twenty years they would be fully supplied; that the trade would be abolished the, and that, in the mean time, some tax or duty might be laid on”

    In other words, far from there being a consensus on the acceptance of slavery, sectional differences between the North and the South about the practice of it existed, and were subject of political contentions, from the beginning of the American nation !

    As for the accusation that: “The North built the slave ships and manned them.” Andy Hall from Dead Confederates Blog already answered such charge: “True Southrons™ often cite the heavy involvement of Northern shipping interests in the transatlantic slave trade, but that’s a selective and self-serving focus; that same region overwhelmingly dominated every other aspect of American maritime enterprise, from shipbuilding to whaling to the China trade to the nascent practice of marine engineering.”

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