A Confederate Heritage Apologist Shares His Understanding of History: Phil Leigh

Phil Leigh is a very funny person posing as a student of the American Civil War. He’s duped other people and publishers into believing the same thing. Writing about history allows him to get something off his chest, and he can become very unhappy when someone reveals that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that what he says reveals that he holds some beliefs and prejudices that might not make him a very appealing person … unless, of course, you are a fellow Confederate heritage apologist in a state of constant denial (with a bitter edge) when it comes to African Americans.

Mr. Leigh (hereafter called “my critic”) was especially offended when one of my posts shredded his effort to blame anyone but white southerners for the Memphis riot of May 1866. Ironically, had I not called attention to his post, no one would have noticed it (point for you, Matt Gallman), for many of his readers and commenters seem to have found his post while “monitoring” this blog, as Connie Chastain puts it (especially people who deny reading this blog). Unable to deal with the information or interpretation offered in my post, the critic sets aside evidence of his own incompetence to offer his own description of the post:

He writes a total of eleven paragraphs, five of which play the race card, sometimes more than once. He apparently suffers from a private signature form of Tourette’s syndrome in which the term “racism” (or one of its code words) ejaculates uncontrollably from his mouth or keyboard….

Characteristically, you continue to shrink from a debate you know you can’t win, perhaps because the attempt aggravates your Tourette’s. 

My critic seems concerned about ejaculation. I wonder why. I note that he can’t restrain himself from whining about the “race card” in his comments, but I would not compare that to Tourette’s syndrome. I wonder whether mocking the handicapped or the disabled is par for my critic’s rhetoric. Someone must be taking lessons from Connie Chastain. I guess that’s the best a Confederate heritage apologist can do. Sad, isn’t it? Especially for someone who writes for the Abbeville Institute. I’m sure they’ll enjoy this.

I agree with you that he seems to hate the South, even though in the South blacks are mayors of more cities over 50,000 in population than any other part of the country. As I recall, about 45% of all black mayors of such cities are in the South.

Now who’s playing the race card … 🙂

We’ve talked before about how Confederate heritage apologists are convinced that people hate the South. Apparently this justifies their own expressions of hatred and intolerance.

But my favorite comment is where he speaks of “Simpson’s poisonous view of Reconstruction …”

That’s right … my poisonous view of Reconstruction.

I guess my notion that blacks were entitled to enjoy the fruits of emancipation defined as being treated as equal human beings before the law and being shielded from white terrorist violence is a “poisonous” view to someone who mocks emancipation and black rights and ignores white supremacist terrorism. You may speculate why he sees blacks and whites in that way. Seems to me we know who’s playing the race card.

Well, let’s look at one of those views held by my critic:

Freedmen were largely manipulated by white carpetbaggers and scalawags.

An oldie but goodie from a century ago … and an excellent example of playing the race card, Birth of a Nation style.

Look, if you want to agree with my critic’s view of Reconstruction, fine. But at least you might want to turn to a book that does it so much better and with so much more style than my critic. Claude Bowers’s The Tragic Era is a magnificently flawed book, but it’s a fun read for someone who isn’t interested in historical accuracy … and so we know the folks who should flock to it.

An examination of my critic’s blog demonstrates that his understanding of Reconstruction is little more than warmed-over summaries of the period offered by scholars during the first half of the twentieth century. Indeed, he is hard pressed to offer anything original beyond that which he has read. So we have evil Republicans looking to preserve political power who have no concern about black rights, and who are out to loot the South. In fact, my critic’s view reduces white southerners to passive bystanders who had nothing to do with Reconstruction. We have no idea how it came to an end. It just did.

Now let’s highlight what one of my critic’s appreciative readers had to say:

Mr. Leigh also did not mention the main purpose of empowering Blacks as voters and disabling whites: They looted the ex-Confederate states with gusto.

I’m always puzzled by this. If the war reduced the South to a state of devastation, what was left to loot? And, of course, if one views slavery as stealing the labor of another, who better than white southerners to recognize the process?

Choose your Lost Cause myths carefully.

And then there’s “the Simpson agenda”:

Simpson and all of those in his echo chamber he calls a blog have a very obvious agenda which is to denigrate Southern history at ever turn.

First, I’ll note that the person who made this comment used to comment here a lot. So I guess denigrating southern history “at ever turn,” whatever that means, was his preoccupation as well.

But how does one denigrate southern history? Is celebrating emancipation and looking at the accomplishments of white southern unionists an example of denigrating southern history? I guess so. I might (once more) point out that southern history is far more than Confederate history, and to define the South in terms of the Confederate experience is to denigrate southerners, white and black, but clearly it’s all about “the waoh” and the Reconstruction that followed to some folks.

But then you do expect losers to identify with defeat, now, don’t you?

If this is what passes for historical understanding in the Confederate heritage apologist community, well, no wonder Confederate heritage is in so much trouble.

13 thoughts on “A Confederate Heritage Apologist Shares His Understanding of History: Phil Leigh

  1. Jimmy Dick May 27, 2016 / 7:38 am

    The Confederate heritage nuts just keep repeating themselves over and over again. KKKonnie Chastain repeats herself daily over on Restoring the Honor. It’s getting pretty tedious and boring to read what she says. Facts have no value for the lost cause crowd because they get in the way of their fantasies.

    As for race, just look at the comments section when a confederate monument or flag comes down.

  2. OhioGuy May 27, 2016 / 10:13 am

    “Freedmen were largely manipulated by white carpetbaggers and scalawags.

    An oldie but goodie from a century ago … and an excellent example of playing the race card, Birth of a Nation style.”

    Nailed it! I challenge them to read Albion Tourgée’s A Fool’s Errand to get a little different perspective on them carpetbaggers. 😉

  3. Louis Drew May 27, 2016 / 11:00 am

    Right you are, Dr. Simpson…

  4. Al Mackey May 28, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    With Leigh it’s usually sharing a misunderstanding of history.

    • Brooks D. Simpson May 28, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Phil’s currently promoting a new book that he claims contains startling revelations that in fact have already been shared in standard works. Of course, we both recall someone else who claimed as his own creation what someone else had already written. So it will be interesting to see whether Leigh’s footnotes give due credit.

      • James F. Epperson May 29, 2016 / 6:42 am

        I saw a reasonably positive review of the book but wondered why it deserved one, since the basic thesis of the book appears to be standard fare.

        • Shoshana Bee May 29, 2016 / 1:40 pm

          I took a look at the first 5 star Amazon review and its by the same person who wrote this in another venue:

          “Mr. Leigh also did not mention the main purpose of empowering Blacks as voters and disabling whites: They looted the ex-Confederate states with gusto”

          Now there’s a reliable source…

          • Shoshana Bee May 29, 2016 / 1:55 pm

            Oh, this is fun: All roads lead back to Leigh. He has Amazon drones turning out pre-prepared book reviews….or so it appears.

          • Brooks D. Simpson May 29, 2016 / 5:23 pm

            Poor Mr. Leigh tried to link to an announcement about his new book by disguising it as a comment. In other words, he couldn’t contest what I said about him. That’s amusing.

          • Shoshana Bee May 29, 2016 / 5:32 pm

            *No, fellow coffee shop Tweeters and Bloggers: I am not a complete nut that laughs like a hyena for no cause*

            “…disguising it as a comment”

            I am laughing again. Must stop.

  5. Patrick Young May 29, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I had not really much of Phil Leigh before this series of blogs by Dr. Simpson and Mr. Leigh’s responses. But over the last week I have read what he posted about the Memphis Massacre and Race Riots. I have also read several of his posts on other topics as well to try to get a sense of the tenor of his writing.

    In doing so, I ran across an odd post by Mr. Leigh entitled; “South’s Reparations Already Paid.”

    I was not sure who was demanding that reparations be paid by the “South” nor did Mr. Leigh give any hints. But that aside, let’s look at what “reparations” the “South” has supposedly paid.

    The “reparations” that Leigh claims the “South” paid were, in fact, the pensions for veterans who had served in the United States Army. These constituted “reparations” because, writes Leigh, “Former Confederates derived no benefit from such items, yet they had to pay their share of federal taxes to fund them.” In other words, although former Confederates were only paying at the same rate as other taxpayers, these were “reparations” because the former Confederates “derived no benefit” from the pensions.

    By that logic, immigrants who came to the United States after 1865 were also paying reparations, since they too derived no benefit from the pensions.

    I suppose that I am paying reparations as well, since I never served in the military and yet I am taxed to support veteran’s benefits even if I did not favor the particular war they fought in.

    I won’t even try to get into the obvious fallacy of equating the “South” with “former Confederates.” Only one-in-nine people living in the states that formed the Confederacy actually participated in the armed struggle against the United States.

    I also won’t point out that tens of thousands of Southerners received military pensions from the United States.

    I will just say that Mr. Leigh has an odd notion of what a war reparation is and an odder view of our responsibility to our veterans.

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