Recently Michael Hill offered a rather straightforward statement of his understanding of the history of the Confederacy that pulled no punches.
Basically, Hill links the creation of the Confederacy with the defense of slavery and white supremacy. He does so in what has become a rather traditional attack on so-called “Rainbow Confederates,” who in his eyes are “politically correct.” However, Hill clearly disagrees with some of the historical interpretations offered here recently about the Confederacy by such people as the rainbow-sounding “Melissa Blue” and Ben Jones, chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
One must admit that the League of the South has been straightforward and candid about its understanding of history. I’d question whether some of the people Hill labels as “Rainbow Confederates” are in fact as tolerant as he may make them out to be. Indeed, I think the racial views of several so-called “Rainbow Confederates” are much more in line with the Southern Nationalist Network, Occidental Dissent, and the League of the South than certain folks would want to admit. Nevertheless, I think in other cases there is much distance indeed. When someone from the SCV tells me that a sign of his racial views is his membership in the NAACP, I’m tempted to remind him that many of the people he claims to represent characterize the NAACP as a “hate group.”
To me the issue is not what the League of the South believes. That message has been fairly consistent, and it has been made public a number of times. Indeed, there is a great deal of merit in their view of the Confederacy’s foundations, in large part because that interpretation is based on what secessionists and Confederates actually said. It’s not whether you have 1,200 books in your library: it’s which books you have, whether you’ve read them, and how your understanding of history is shaped by what you’ve read.
Simply put, one can reject their message to today’s America while accepting that their interpretation of the past has merit. Or one can pose in pictures with white supremacists and march with white supremacists and call them good guys and good friends, which renders whining about “guilt by association” ludicrous. Certain people simply don’t have the courage of their convictions.
As I’ve already said, the Mid-South Flaggers deserve a lot of credit for not ducking this issue. They understand what the League of the South is all about, and they have started to move to disassociate themselves from the group. Not so the Virginia Flaggers or the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Yet in such inaction is the suspicion that one does not denounce what one privately embraces, or that one accepts the support of groups one claims to oppose.
We know that the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Virginia Flaggers can be very vocal in their opposition to groups with whom they do not agree … so what are we to make of their silence in this instance?