Confederate Heritage Under Fire in Ferguson, Missouri?

We hear a great deal about the proper use of Confederate symbols, including the Confederate flag, and passionate defenses of the proper display of the Confederate battle flag.

Now comes word of the Ku Klux Klan’s interest in injecting itself in the situation at Ferguson, Missouri. Yup, just when you thought things could not get uglier.

Are we going to see something like this in Ferguson, Missouri?
Even some Klansmen seem confused about this. Others are not so confused.

I await the passionate protests by Confederate heritage groups against a white supremacist group using what its defenders deem a scared banner for such a purpose. After all, they have no problem attacking other people who don’t like the display of the flag in certain contexts.

If the Confederate Battle Flag does not represent white supremacy, folks, then let’s hear you denounce the KKK for using it … and let’s hear it with the same intensity and frequency that you use when you assail other groups.

Restore the honor.

I’m waiting.


74 thoughts on “Confederate Heritage Under Fire in Ferguson, Missouri?

  1. Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 9:42 am

    Let me be the first to say I denounce this abhorrent use of Confederate heritage. The KKK needs to go away, way, way!

  2. Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 9:51 am

    Southern hertraige groups have always denounced the Klan for using CBF. I doubt these klansmen have much of an understanding of what the flag means or they would not be carring it. Also why don’t you show them carring a US flag? Where is your moral outage about them using the US flag, frankly I am very disgusted with them for using either flag. All they want is publicty which you are very willing to give them.
    I’m waiting

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 9:57 am

      In short, you prefer to attack me. That’s the way it always is with Confederate heritage groups … and your comment shows you haven’t clicked through the links.

      Yes, you’ve show us your “moral outage,” again. There’s always a “moral outage” from you folks when it comes to this sort of stuff. You claim to distance yourself from white supremacy and bigotry, when you do nothing of the kind.

      As for Jessie’s patriotism … like those “secede” billboards, Jessie? And please don’t disgrace the uniform of the United States Army by wearing a Confederate kepi.

      I’m waiting.

      • Jimmy Dick August 21, 2014 / 10:34 am

        That is pretty embarrassing for a First Sergeant in the US Military to mix and match uniforms like that. He should try to remember that the men in the US Army fought against the Confederacy to preserve the union and it is an insult to them to mix the uniform pieces of traitors with the uniform of the US Army of today.

        • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 12:48 pm

          Dick I guess you missed the part about retirement, and not that it matters to you but my Black Command Sargent Major was there and he had absolutely no problem with it as I only keep it on long enough for a picture. I honor the rank and file Union soldiers whom fought for their beliefs as I honor Confederate soldiers. I have put my life on the line for the United States, as a 1SG in combat ,and till you can tell me you did the same you might want to keep these kinds of comments to yourself.

          • Jimmy Dick August 21, 2014 / 8:30 pm

            I put 20 years of service in so I will make all the comments I want to make. Had I been there I would have been more than happy to explain and prove to everyone present that those who fought for the Confederacy were traitors to the United States of America. I will say that most fought for what they thought was right in their time, but was still an act of rebellion against the legal government of their country. You can honor the soldiers, but not their cause.

            I think that is what I have the most issue with in this entire conflict. Far too many today want to conflate an imaginary cause with their modern political ideology instead of acknowledging the actual cause of the Civil War. It then becomes a process of distinguishing those interested in actual history from those that want to create a fake history that actually discredits the men and women of that time period.

          • OhioGuy August 21, 2014 / 9:37 pm

            Old Fred said it best:

            “Fellow citizens: I am not indifferent to the claims of a generous forgetfulness, but whatever else I may forget, I shall never forget the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery; between those who fought to save the republic and those who fought to destroy it.”
            ‐‐‐Frederick Douglass, “Decoration Day,” Rochester, 1894

          • Jessie Alan Sanford August 22, 2014 / 8:50 am

            “Had I been there I would have been more than happy to explain and prove to everyone present that those who fought for the Confederacy were traitors to the United States of America”.
            I doubt you would have enjoyed the reception you would have received; most people do not like having their family spoken about as such. You are very passionate about what you believe in and I commend you for that. But your intolerance for the views of others astounds me. You are a historian are you not? If so then you would know matters of human history is not black and white, most of it is grey (no pun intended) so let’s just agree to disagree.

          • Jimmy Dick August 22, 2014 / 10:27 am

            Tact was never one of my strong points. They may have been upset but then the truth often does that. That is why there is history and heritage. History is based on facts and heritage is based on popular memory. Historical correctness is something we teach in college. It is too bad some in the public do not like it.

          • J. White August 23, 2014 / 7:17 pm

            And, Mr. Dick, how do you view “the cause of the war?”

            I’m certain that any close examination of what the tipping points of the war were will find that a crusade to free the black man from his bounds was, by far, far down the list>

            There were, for sure, abolitionists, and others–on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line who felt that slavery was not what the American dream was all about. But these folks were, by no means, the driving force that led to the outbreak of war.

            I fully suspect that if you do a diligent search into the matter, you’ll find that this war–just like almost all wars–was fought more on economic issues than anything else: who gets to rake in the most dollars; who gets to call the tune that all the rest of us will be required to dance to.

            Things like “morality,” and “ethics,” and “doing the right thing” got very little more than a kiss and a promise in this war (as is the case for almost all–if not, indeed, all–wars)..

            Mounting one side on a white horse, while demonizing the other, takes more than just a tad of that there “conflating” stuff!

            By the way, how come when the colonists rebelled against King George, they’re all looked upon (at least in our history books) as being heroes of the first order. But, how come when someone in antebellum South Carolina or Virginia looks at the Constitution of the United States, and then says to the Federal Government, “Hey! I don’t see where what you’re attempting to do is one of those specific powers that were granted to you!” you label that as being a traitorous act?

            Perhaps you’d like to comment further on this matter.

            For the record: other than for time spent on military bases in the south, I’ve lived my entire life in the northeast. I’m a Yankee through and through!,

          • Jimmy Dick August 23, 2014 / 9:38 pm

            Well, start by doing some research. The economic idea has been advanced and examined in depth. It is part of the Civil War’s historiography. However, historians have noted that economics could not have played the role some want to give it. For one thing, the tariff was definitely not the cause of the Civil War. We’ve explained that here in this blog multiple times. So that is one strike against the economic theory.

            You imply that I think the war was about freeing the slaves. It was not. That became a goal and effect of the war later. The cause of the war was the expansion of slavery into the territories. The political record shows this to be quite clear. All one has to do is examine the Congressional records to see slavery as the most talked about subject from 1848 until the war and its end in 1865.

            The demonizing is not over slavery. It is over the willingness of men to destroy this nation in favor of their own source of power. The slaveowners fully understand that is slavery could not expand it would eventually wither and die. Their political power and control of the southern states was entirely dependent on slavery both for their income and for maintaining the class and race based social system. They sought to secede in order to maintain that system.

            The actual war itself might not have been fought at all as saner heads were beginning to prevail, but lesser men such as Jefferson Davis could not allow their confederacy to fall apart which is what it was beginning to do as people began to ask questions. His order to attack Ft. Sumter was made to counter those questions.

            Secession was not constitutional then, nor is it constitutional today.

          • Lyle Smith August 24, 2014 / 8:35 am

            Slavery was economics actually.

          • John Foskett August 24, 2014 / 12:03 pm

            Yes, but not in the sense that the “tariff”, for example, was “economics”. Slavery was also very much about race. Otherwise, there would have been white slaves picking those bolls and seeing the kids get sold by Massah.

          • Lyle Smith August 24, 2014 / 6:02 pm

            Slavery in the United States was economics because people chose to use black Africans and their progeny as chattel property. Yep, it is obvious that it was race based.

          • Christopher Shelley August 26, 2014 / 9:57 am

            Only half about economics. The other half was maintaining white supremacy.

          • Lyle Smith August 24, 2014 / 8:55 am

            I also think the idea that if there were only better men is hogwash. Jefferson Davis was no fire eater and Lincoln didn’t even stop secession. Thomas Jefferson could even foresee what was coming in his dotage.

          • Jimmy Dick August 24, 2014 / 11:21 am

            All you have to do is look and see who ordered the attack on Ft. Sumter. It was given by a lesser man to other lesser men. In the end, those lesser men were defeated soundly.

          • Lyle Smith August 24, 2014 / 6:18 pm

            Some people, I think which includes Professor Simpson, think it was politically required of or even smart of (from the Confederate perspective) Davis to fire on Ft. Sumter when he did. Why? Because it led to a military response from Lincoln, which motivated four other states, most notably Virginia, to secede from the United States and join the Confederate States. This argument would also mean that by not firing on Ft. Sumter when he did he risked the four other states not seceding and joining the Confederacy. If those four states don’t secede the Confederacy arguably doesn’t last very long. Either the war is brief or the Deep South states just give up.

            So the irony is that by firing Ft. Sumter Davis give the Confederacy the hope of success, whereas if he doesn’t fire on Ft. Sumter the Confederacy probably falls apart much sooner than it did. Not really the decision of a so-called “lesser man” in my opinion.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 24, 2014 / 6:59 pm

            I think Davis made a logical decision. He intended to move against Fort Pickens as well.

            It’s an interesting thing that some folks do when they say, in effect, “the other fellow started it.” It sounds so much like the playground, but it’s a very American thing to do.

        • Fergus August 21, 2014 / 6:25 pm

          The confederate flag has been a staple among US southern military personnel for one hundred years, has showed up at almost every theater of war. The policy of the US Department of Defense position is that Confederate veterans were American Veterans, and their surrender and parole cleaned the slate.
          The US has named numerous military posts, and ships after Confederates. Fort Lee, Fort Bragg etc, The submarines USS Nathan Bedford Forrest,(commanded by and African American) USS Robert E Lee ,USS Stonewall Jackson, the M3 Gen Lee Tank and so on. Of course Soldiers are buried at Arlington as well.
          It appears the military while maybe in some cases not being too fond of the Old Confederacy still I suspect it wants Dixie’s great,great ,great, grand sons and grand daughters not to be too uncomfortable? It reminds me of racist ports fans that still tolerate people of color as long as they play on their team and win games.

          • Jimmy Dick August 21, 2014 / 8:47 pm

            That is where you look at the context of the time when those places and things were named. Actually, look into the records for deciding how they were named. That might be very interesting. I can also say that from experience most of the people in the service do not know who the bases were named for beyond a cursory concept.
            Not that they are building a lot of ships and bases these days, but I do believe the naming convention is a bit different these days. I seriously doubt you will ever see a ship named after NBF. In fact, there is not a US Naval vessel named after NBF that I know of in service today.

          • Fergus August 22, 2014 / 9:01 am

            your right they got me on that one. funny site too well done.

          • John Foskett August 22, 2014 / 7:36 am

            Next up: quotes from The Onion. The poster cannot have read the article he linked to. If he swallowed that “quote” from the end of the speech………..

          • Jimmy Dick August 22, 2014 / 7:08 am

            Look up a list of US Naval vessels. There is no submarine named for him. That’s a comedy piece you are referencing.

          • Bob Huddleston August 22, 2014 / 11:08 am

            I think you have been taken in by a military version of The Onion. Duffleblog is a military humor site. There is *no* USS Nathan Bedford Forrest, nor a James Madison class of SSBNs. Indeed, according to DAFS, there has *never* been a USS NBF.

          • OhioGuy August 22, 2014 / 1:25 pm

            I can see why he may have easily fallen for this. True Confession: A cousin of mine recently sent me a link to a web site with a story that a Viking vessel had been unearthed near Memphis. It quoted an academic historian as saying this was a very significant find and would require a rethinking of what is now known about Norse exploration of North America. Being of half Icelandic descent (as is the cousin who sent the link), I really wanted to believe it because it would be proof of what the Icelandic sagas say and what is commonly repeated in the folklore of Icelandic even today. We’ve been slighted by historians and we resent it. How crestfallen I was to have my son (a history major in his college days) tell me that it was a satire site: So, I feel your pain, Confederate Heritage folks! Only difference is that Icelandic folklore is right and Lost Cause mythology is bunch of self-serving crapola! 🙂

      • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 10:38 am

        I read the articles. How would you want me to attack the knuckleheads? I am replying on a public blog denouncing them. I have never heard of these thugs till your post. As for the billboard I do not agree with them nor would I support them but they do have a right to espouse their beliefs. If I didn’t believe that I would not have been much of a defender of the US Constitution now would I?
        How am I attacking you? I just asked the same questions you ask of Southern heritage groups. As for the kepi that was at my retirement after 37 years of service with a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 201-2012, The Officers that I served with bought it as a gift and to honor my love of my ancestors who fought in the war of Southern Independence. Glad you liked it.

      • Fergus August 21, 2014 / 10:58 am

        There offical policy is as follows
        Friday, September 3, 2010
        Battleflag Resolution From Anderson Reunion
        Resolution adopted at the Anderson Convention offered by Charles Kelly Barrow,
        Cmdr, Army of Tennessee, SCV
        WHEREAS, the approach of the Sesquicentennial will be a time to educate not only
        the people of these United States but of the world; and
        WHEREAS, the most recognized symbol of the Confederate States is the Battle Flag, aflag each of us hold dear; and WHEREAS, the use of the Confederate Battle Flag by extremist political groups and individuals who seek to clothe themselves in respectability by misappropriating the
        banner under which our southern ancestors fought for a Just Cause which is as noble as much latter day is ignoble; and WHEREAS, the Sons of Confederate Veterans are the true inheritors of legacy and
        symbols for which the Confederate Veterans fought and died; and
        WHEREAS, the Sons of Confederate Veterans does denounce the use of the
        Confederate Battle Flag and any other Confederate symbol by any hate group and/or the Ku Klux Klan as the desecration of a symbol to which any hate group and/or the Ku Klux Klan has no claim; and
        WHEREAS, the misuse of the Confederate Battle Flag by any extremist group or individual espousing political extremism and/or racial superiority degrades the Confederate Battle Flag and maligns the noble purpose of our ancestors who fought against extreme odds for what they knew was just, right, and constitutional; and WHEREAS, the misuse of other flags and symbols of the Confederate States of America
        and the Confederate States Army, Navy, and Marines is similarly degrading,
        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Sons of Confederate Veterans in General Convention assembled in Anderson, South Carolina, does hereby condemn in the strongest terms possible the use of the Confederate Battle Flag or any other flag, symbol, seal, title or name bearing any relationship whatsoever to the Confederate States of America or the armed forces of that Government by any such extremist group or individual, of whatever name or designation by which know, and LET IT BE FUTHER RESOVLED, that the Sons of Confederate Veterans in General Convention assembled, does hereby condemn in the strongest terms possible the inappropriate use of the Confederate Battle Flag or any other flag, seal, title or name
        bearing any relationship whatsoever to the Confederate States of America or the armed forces of that Government of the Confederate States of America by individuals or groups of individuals, organized or unorganized, who espouse political extremism or racial superiority and that this resolution shall be made known to all media outlets now and throughout the years of the Sesquicentennial and it shall be made patent and entered into the permanent records and archives of the General Headquarters of the
        Sons of Confederate Veterans at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee.

        • Andrew Raker August 21, 2014 / 12:30 pm

          Based on that resolution, it sounds like the SCV wouldn’t like to have the League of the South around, flying the CBF.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 1:00 pm

            So we should hear from the SCV shortly on this, right?

        • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 12:35 pm

          Thanks for posting but Brooks alread knew this he just likes to stir s**t makes him feel imporantant.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 12:59 pm

            Sure. Jessie. Isn’t that why you post here?

            I understand you’re angry and embarrassed. Now go ahead and deny it. We understand.

          • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 1:20 pm

            Nope Brooks not angry or embarrassed at all, just was stating an observation. But you still did not answer my question, why give the Klan any publicity at all. Publicity is the only way they survive. Why would you want to be an enabler?

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 1:26 pm

            For the same reason I give you publicity. Aren’t you going to thank me for enabling your support of secession?

            Clearly you think silence is the best way to deal with people who disgrace Confederate heritage … but then you complain about how it’s treated here. I guess you’re skeered of standing up against the KKK but you have no problem complaining about other so-called slurs against Confederate heritage here.

            That’s what I’m “enabling” … your hypocrisy. Carry on.

          • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 1:39 pm

            Gather your folks up and I will meet you in Missouri to protest the Klan just let me know when and were. I for the life of me cannot fathom your hatred for Southern heritage groups. I do not support secession never have but I do support the right of people to freely express their dersire for secession as long as they do not take up arms against the US. Got it?

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 1:46 pm

            Got it. You actually hate the Confederacy. You don’t support its cause. The Confederates took up arms against the United States, even before Fort Sumter. Got it?

            Ah, my “hatred for Southern heritage groups.” You folks sure get into hate a lot, don’t you? A reminder: southern heritage isn’t Confederate heritage. I have a problem with people like you who don’t understand that. Southern heritage is so much more than Confederate heritage to reasonable people. I think commemorating southern heritage is just fine. I find some celebrations of Confederate heritage problematic. Got it?

            If the KKK displays the Confederate Battle Flag and the very people who flag other places for their misuse of the CBF fail to show the same anger toward the KKK’s use of that flag (where’s the flagging in such cases?) … then I guess it really doesn’t bother them so much. You and they can explain why.

            Go ahead. Got it?

        • OhioGuy August 22, 2014 / 3:51 pm

          While I believe the sentiment expressed here is a true reflection of the SCV’s revulsion at the KKK and white supremacy, I see one major problem with the resolution. It doesn’t acknowledge and seek repentance for the fact that the first members of the KKK were Confederate veterans. In fact, as Albion Tourgée pointed out in numerous contemporary writings the original KKK was organized along military lines and used Confederate Army organizational methodology and Confederate Army communication methods. The SCV would be the perfect group to seek forgiveness from the nation for this travesty. They should, in the process, point out that the majority of Confederate veterans were not part of the early KKK, but that they are apologizing for the actions of those who were. And, again, the vast majority of early KKK members were Confederate veterans, so the SCV, as the descendant organization, should own up to this part of their history. Not all Germans were Nazis, but the Germany government has done many things to show their repentance for atrocities committed by Nazis. As a result most folks today do not regard modern German as a racist nation. It is the unwillingness of many of those in the Confederate Heritage movement to acknowledge all the facts surrounding the late Rebellion and its aftermath that keeps them from having the respect that they deserve. Admitting a “warts and all” history would restore credibility and allow these groups to proclaim the praiseworthy parts of their heritage in a climate that others would not challenge but would, indeed, embrace. A thorough reading of Tourgée would reveal the many, many good things he saw in Southern Culture even in the midst of the horrors of the immediate postbellum period. Tourgée is not the only writer to contemporaneously chronicle the KKK in this period, but he is perhaps the only one who evaluated Southern Culture in a favorable light in spite of these flaws.

          • OhioGuy August 22, 2014 / 3:54 pm

            that should be ” . . .modern Germany as a racist nation.”

      • Hunter Wallace August 21, 2014 / 11:56 am

        Most people don’t feel the need to denounce someone every day. Who cares what the Klan is doing?

        The image above isn’t even from Ferguson. Even if it was, blacks are doing all the rioting and looting there, not the Klan.

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 12:07 pm

          Would you please cite for me an instance where one of the flagging heritage groups staged a rally against the KKK? Thanks.

          • Hunter Wallace August 21, 2014 / 3:39 pm

            Didn’t the SCV protest the Klan with the NAACP in Memphis? I thought it was pretty lame at the time.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 5:28 pm

            Yes, they did, concerning the dispute over naming/renaming parks.

            The event stands out because it’s not done very often.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 5:28 pm

            Very good. We’ll see what unfolds in Missouri. Given this example, should the Sons of Confederate Veterans disavow any other white supremacist/white nationalist groups, or should it limit itself to the KKK?

          • Fergus August 21, 2014 / 5:55 pm

            They say they do and some chapters have come out against the league of the south
            “General Convention assembled, does hereby condemn in the strongest terms possible the inappropriate use of the Confederate Battle Flag or any other flag, seal, title or name bearing any relationship whatsoever to the Confederate States of America or by individuals or groups of individuals, organized or unorganized, who espouse political extremism or racial superiority “

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 5:59 pm

            This is why Ben Jones’s reluctance to speak out when shown evidence of the presence of such groups at the SCV’s Lexington rally puzzled me. Unlike some other heritage groups that deny evident associations with such groups, the SCV has to distance itself from such groups if it is to remain credible, especially given the perception of significant overlap that was revealed in my poll question.

          • Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 8:01 pm

            Puzzling is a great word for it. I just knew Ben was going to rush to chime in… and then… crickets…

    • C. Meyer August 21, 2014 / 10:16 am

      The Klan used the US flag all the time because they are American…sadly. It is the same reason that the American flag was carried by 40,000 kluckers in 1928 marched down Pennsylvania Ave. in DC…but with all this American flag waving by the Klan we tend to forget that the Klan can trace its roots back to 6 ex-confederate soldiers…those same soldiers that the flaggers love to honor.

      • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 10:48 am

        Nope you are wrong not the same klan as the 1860’s. The klans of today are Red White and Blue American terrorist.

        • C. Meyer August 21, 2014 / 1:26 pm

          Oh the methods and such may be different, but the concept originated with those Confederate soldiers. They are the “ancestors” of the modern Klan.

        • Al Mackey August 21, 2014 / 2:19 pm

          The Reconstruction KKK were white supremacist terrorists.

      • Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 10:58 am

        Does anyone know of a reputable source on the formation of the Klan? Any re commendations?

        • Al Mackey August 21, 2014 / 2:18 pm

          An excellent book is Allen W. Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction.

          • Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 8:01 pm

            Thanks, I will check that out.

        • Charles Lovejoy August 21, 2014 / 7:41 pm

          Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy of 1871 ,Congressional Testimony Documents, problem is , it has over 7000 pages. Probably want to skip around and read select parts. o

          • Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 8:02 pm

            Thanks as well.

    • Spelunker August 21, 2014 / 11:00 am

      That may be true but I think that strays from the greater point.

      • Andrew Raker August 21, 2014 / 12:32 pm

        If one says that the modern KKK is not the same as the one from the 1860s, then one also has to admit that it is not the same as the one in the 1920s that is best known for using the US flag.

        • Jessie Alan Sanford August 21, 2014 / 12:53 pm

          The modern Klan got it’s start in 1920’s so yes they are the same US flag waving nuts as the one’s in the 1920’s.

          • Andrew Raker August 21, 2014 / 1:05 pm

            The second Klan (that in the 1920s) fell apart, mostly due to the misadventures of D.C. Stephenson here in Indiana. We’re on the third now.

          • John Foskett August 22, 2014 / 7:28 am

            I’d amend as follow: The second iteration (1920’s) was largely anti-Catholic/anti-Jewish/anti-immigrant. The third iteration (1950’s – 1970’s) got back to the race-based origins. Today’s version really isn’t even a full version. It’s a highly-\divided bunch of splinter groups with a “national” facade. As you note, the decision of Mr. Stephenson to indulge in a rape/murder and the resulting exposure of corrupt Indiana politicians started that version of the Klan on its way into the crater.

          • Andrew Raker August 22, 2014 / 11:08 am

            Thanks for the addition, John. It seems that some, if not all, of the historigraphy today is making a distinction between today’s Klan and that of the 50s/60s as well, which I missed.

            My denomination, which was strong in Indiana (as is still headquartered in Indianapolis) had also moved strongly in favor of prohibition, so when that was combined with the anti-Catholicism, well, that led to a lot of shared membership with the KKK. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond that.

          • Lyle Smith August 24, 2014 / 12:23 pm

            In some cases today it is literally a couple of people living in a trailer park telling people that they are the Klan.

  3. Stefan Jovanovich August 21, 2014 / 11:53 am

    I can’t and won’t denounce anyone for displaying any flag in a public space. The First Amendment guarantees all of us the right to do so, and it is a right that is absolute so far as the Federal government is concerned. Justice Black had it right: “Congress shall make no law” means NO law. That same provision also guarantees Professor Simpson the right to be as vocal as he is about his pain and suffering at seeing the flag waved; but his right to express his upset is entirely a private one that is subject to the limits of copyright, libel and slander. What he cannot do is enlist Congress as an ally in his verbal battles. But, of course, making something a Federal case is precisely what “hate speech” laws have always been about, whether they are those of the present era or those that gagged the abolitionists. The First Amendment is the particular genius of this country; it should not be surprising that the first thing every faction seeks is its repeal in the name of some greater public good.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      The First Amendment does not prevent you from protesting.

      I haven’t said anything about the federal government or legislation.

  4. Fergus August 21, 2014 / 6:44 pm

    In Canada you can be arrested for denying the Holocaust, and their are other hates speech laws. The first amendment is a very, very key issue to maintain liberties American genius. The other, the writ of habeas corpus you have already lost.

  5. Charles Lovejoy August 21, 2014 / 7:54 pm

    Bring some TV cameras around, many show up wanting their moment on TV.

  6. OhioGuy August 21, 2014 / 9:10 pm

    The Invisible Empire by Albion Tourgée is another good book on the KKK, by a man who was nearly killed by them on more than one occasion.

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