Ben Carson Clarifies … Kinda

Ben Carson took a lot of flak for a comment he made about slavery and immigration on Monday. In turn, when I highlighted his comment, some readers of this blog, reflecting their own assumptions, went off on what I conclude was a Rorschach test of reading and reacting to blog posts.

Even Ben Carson understood he had to clarify what he meant. On his Facebook page, he did so:

Carson FB slavery

If only he had stopped there … because, afterwards, in chatting with Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator, Carson observed: “Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants.” That drew renewed criticism in some corners.

I’m inclined to give Carson the benefit of the doubt here, because the modifier represents an important advance. The same could be said of the formulation Barack Obama used, because, contrary to some careless readers (I’m being kind here), he did not simply declare that slaves were immigrants.

In short, Dr. Carson now admits he could have spoken better, and he’s offered observations that ought to be heeded by his defenders here and elsewhere. Let’s see whether they are as big as he is, or whether they wish to go the way of, say, someone who resides in Virginia Whine Country, where heritage correctness and right-wing opinions always trump historical accuracy and objectivity in what amounts to a mindless clipping service of the blogger’s referred political reading pretending to be a blog about history.

Confederate Heritage Advocate Faces Serious Jail Time

On Thursday, March 9, a Stafford County jury recommended that Confederate heritage advocate Jason Sulser spend the next 127 years in jail for charges connected with the possession of child pornography.

Stafford County, just north of Fredericksburg, hosts one of the Virginia Flaggers’ prime achievements: a large Confederate flag flies along I-95 above land rented from just the sort of person who supports the Virginia Flaggers.

Confederate heritage supporters, especially the Virginia Flaggers and people who sometimes pretend to speak for them, have been very quiet about Mr. Sulser, in marked contrast to their outbursts in other matters. However, one can recall when Susan Hathaway welcomed Mr. Sulser’s support.

Let the usual distancing and obfuscation commence. It is interesting, however, to observe the types of people with whom Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers do business. Think Susan will visit Jason in his cell?

After all, he’s a sweet Southern boy.

Ben Carson, Dred Scott, and Historical Memory

Today is the 160th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision … you know, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney declared in his opinion that African Americans …

had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it.

Almost as if to commemorate this event, what did Ben Carson, the incoming Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, tell his new colleagues today?

That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.

Ah, yes. Enslaved people as immigrants looking to come to a land of opportunity for their descendants. They would work longer (and for a long time), to be sure, and harder, and for far less … as in no wages. In many cases, they would be torn away from husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children, so that they would never know what happened to sons and daughters, let alone other generations down the line. Black women would be raped by white men and offspring would come of such violence.

Yes, these people dreamed of freedom. Recall the folks who wanted to deny them that freedom in 1860 … and how they continued to do so after 1865.

Then again, as we’ve been told by one famous Confederate heritage apologist, slavery was, after all, a choice.

I can’t wait for those whiny blogs that bemoan “political correctness” and proclaim that they are committed to historical accuracy and truth to get on this one. What, you say … those principled folks won’t do that? I wonder why?

Heritage, not history … has gone mainstream.

As for Dred and Harriet Scott, here’s a statue of them outside the very courthouse in St. Louis where they gained their freedom:

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Let’s honor the cause for which they fought, and pray that it never becomes a lost cause.

On Civil War Monuments: The Controversy Continues

This weekend the American Civil War Center in Richmond, Virginia, held an all-day symposium entitled “Lightning Rods of Controversy: Civil War Monuments Past, Present, and Future.” Co-sponsored by the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia and The Library of Virginia, the symposium reviewed the issues associated with Civil War monuments in a city well known for them. Christy Coleman of the ACWC offered opening remarks in a presentation entitled “Monuments, Markers, Museums, and the Landscape of Civil War Memory.”

You can find the presentation here.

It is not altogether true that the only controversies about Civil War monuments involve Confederate monuments. Some people were very unhappy with this monument, for example:

Others opposed placing a monument to Union soldiers who fought at Olustee, Florida, as you may recall (you may also recall that many of the US soldiers who fought there were African American). You can refresh your memory here, here, and here.

But you won’t find anything about that in various Confederate heritage apologist advocates’ blogs, especially the ones that rant about fake news and political correctness. What you will hear, however, is how a local community that erected these monuments can’t decide to remove them, lest they “erase history”–when the only history their removal might “erase” is why people chose to put up those monuments when and where they did.

That’s one reason why I think those monuments should stay up–to remind people of their past, sometimes in ways that might not make them comfortable. But I remain amused at people who think that the members of a community should make their own decisions, who protest against meddlesome outsiders and “moral reformers,” who nevertheless have no problem telling other people how to live and what to honor. Get over yourselves or embrace your hypocrisy.

The Butternut Buttercups Strike Again With Fake History

In a world where alternative facts and fake news rule the day, Confederate heritage apologists feel right at home, as the latest from Virginia Whine Country suggests:

It is stunning to observe the extent to which modern historians moral reformers will go to advance their political agenda under the guise of “historical analysis” these days. Their Gumby-like stretches and contortions are jaw-dropping – an intellectual version of being double-jointed. Prior to November 9th, 2016, they all marched in lockstep denouncing any state or local community that dared oppose federal intervention, meddling or what might be looked upon as “heavy-handed” regarding laws, regulations and executive orders.

So stunning, in fact, that I’d love to see some evidence to support this claim–from this blog, for example. Perhaps this butternut buttercup is unaware of the discussion surrounding federal fugitive slave legislation, personal liberty laws, resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Ableman v. Booth, and the like. Or maybe someone was too busy examining the Bowling Green Massacre to notice.

Constructing fantastic bogus strawmen in order to make sweeping ridiculous claims is characteristic of Virginia Whine Country. Doubtless his millions of readers–almost as many as attended Donald J. Trump’s inauguration–believe as much.

Wow, what a difference a day can make. Miraculously, the day after Donald J. Trump (who many are, ironically, comparing to Andrew Jackson) won the presidential election, they became staunch defenders of John Calhoun’s principles of nullification. Perhaps the faux historians have traded their copies of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for a copy of Thomas Woods’s Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.

Ah, no. One of the usual bogus claims (important for a blogger who traffics daily in stereotypes) is that academic historians worship Zinn … although you would think this butternut buttercup would embrace Thomas Woods’s work (because he has). Of course, this ranting and raving overlooks resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act, but then some of these folks are notorious for having a blind spot when it comes to slavery or African Americans. Then there are those who remind us that slavery was not all that bad … and that civilization’s achievements are due to white people.

Of course, the current brand of nullification is mostly local, i.e. cities and counties in lieu of states; as far as President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees goes. Whereas for the last eight years, the Tea Party, libertarians, conservative Republicans and anyone else opposing federal power was labeled “radical, extremist, neo-Confederate”, blah, blah, blah, we are now being told that any and all opposition to federal power is noble and courageous. And these folks are all in lockstep (including the violent protest participants on college campuses and the “mainstream” media). Just peruse the academic related history websites and blogs. No dissent, no difference of opinion, no nuances, no objectivity – pure partisanship. It’s laughable.

Peruse away, and show me where this blog has been part of that process. Because it’s incumbent upon someone who whines about “Fake Civil War Historians” to document that he’s telling the truth. Otherwise one might conclude that they sure lie a lot over at Virginia Whine Country, and that someone buries the truth so deep that it will take more than a metal detector to unearth it.

Who’s laughing now?

If the State of California follows through with it’s threat to institute sanctuary status state-wide, I wonder if these pretend historians will suddenly become converts to advocating for states’ rights?

First, critic of educational systems, it’s its. Try harder. Then wonder away as you wander away from reality once more. After all, you’ll pretend that the people you despise must believe what you insist they believe. Otherwise, your blog would shrink to nothingness.

That’s what happens when you live rent-free in someone’s head. There’s a lot of open space there, after all. I hear it’s a wonderful echo chamber due to its emptiness.

These historians are, obviously, absolute frauds and little more than mouth organs for the left. There is no consistency in their writing or analysis – other than to be consistent leftists. Laugh at them. They are not historians in the true sense. They are unprincipled political hacks and adherents to Groupthink; unable or afraid to think, say or write anything outside of current academic high church orthodoxy.

Sigh. In a world where alternative facts reign supreme in the minds of some people, only someone who knows all about being a mouth organ would make such a claim to satisfy his rich fantasy life. But methinks this fellow projects a little too much, given that the majority of his blog entries are little more than thin commentaries on right of center links–basically a virtual bulletin board. It would be interesting to see whether he actually reads the scholarship that he thus characterizes. Maybe alternative facts free him of that obligation.

I appreciate the desperation masquerading as smugness. I also appreciate the degree to which Virginia Whine Country uses what passes for Confederate heritage nowadays to promote his own political agenda. I await the next rant about political correctness from the safe space of this butternut buttercup.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bring the thunder.

Frederick Douglass Is Making a Comeback

One way to make America great again is by recognizing the greatness in America’s past. Of course, some people continue to do a great job, according to President Donald J. Trump:

Press secretary Sean Spicer elaborated as only he can:

I await the usual protests of political correctness from Virginia Whine Country. Fake history? Yup. Not that it bothers him (perhaps because it’s about a black person? Perhaps because he doesn’t know it’s fake?). His concerns are different. As he has admitted: “I’ve been ranting and raving about rampant leftist indoctrination and political correctness in American colleges and universities for over 10 years now.” Ranting and raving … someone’s applying to be a spokesperson for the new administration, although that would force him to emerge from his safe space (note the silence about Trump’s prattling about the theater as a safe space).

Toughen up, butternut buttercup. You can dish it out, but boy, you can’t take it.

Another Oops by the Virginia Flaggers

You’ll notice that I haven’t had much to say about the Virginia Flaggers lately. That’s because they’ve become boring, and that means they have lost their entertainment value, at least for me. That doesn’t mean they don’t continue to deny that they associate with certain people that their own social media demonstrates are their close friends, etc.

I suggest that if you want to follow such stories, you start visiting Restoring the Honor, which keeps track of various stories that don’t reflect well on the Flaggers, especially it comes to the people with whom they associate (even as they vigorously deny as much).

Otherwise, things haven’t changed much. Connie Chastain continues to cackle away, and the Flaggers continue on their merry way, even getting a mention in a New York Times article about recent events in Lexington, Virginia, where the Flaggers journeyed to feed their hot dog habit in honor of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I especially liked the composition of the following photograph:

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Courtesy New York Times

Nice juxtaposition, don’t you think?

I’m waiting for the usual suspects to Photoshop that out, too. Maybe they’ll replace it with an image of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. That’s the only way Hathaway can appear there, flag pole in hand.

Hathaway sounded a sour note when she reflected on the dour prospects that faced her cause:

“We are losing this war on a lot of fronts,” she said. “And folks, if we don’t learn to come alongside of people who might look a little different than us, who might have a different way of doing things, and find ways that we can work together like we did today, we’re not going to get very far.”

Maybe she was pretending to be a member of the Confederate Congress in early 1865 when it debated whether to allow slaves to become Confederate soldiers.

Now, as we all know, one of the ways in which the Virginia Flaggers declare success is by raising a new Confederate battle flag, take pictures of it, and say it’s a sign of progress. They did exactly that this past weekend.

Except, it seems, that this time they violated several local ordinances. If they don’t remedy the situation in 45 days, “there will be penalties.”

Oops.

Maybe Tripp Lewis can hand over some of the proceeds from his legendary legal defense fund to help out, now that his drone business is up and running.