Altered stance on the Confederate flag


Dear Sir,

I was always told – rule #1 when one find’s oneself in a hole is to quit digging. You have ignored that advice. You were simply pandering and got caught. Apologize and move on.

I reach that conclusion (as if I needed something more to hold in suspicion your original comments), because your explanation of those original comments makes no sense. You claim that you just wanted to be sure the ceremony and the flags displayed were for the purpose of showing our unity and that we are one nation. Isn’t that the core of the issue? Just what would your response have been, if some group had approached you to present a commemoration designed to be honest about what happened in Franklin? The Confederate soldiers there that November day were not fighting so one day you could have a ceremony recasting their effort into some grand act of self-immolation on the alter of re-union. NO – they gave that last measure (if I may be allowed a Lincolnism) in a still awe inspiring effort to separate themselves from what they believed had become a lawless north.

You are either dishonest in your opinions or wholly ignorant of the history of the land in which you reside. I would expect more from the mayor of one of its most history (and blood soaked) locales. May I remind you that Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland all declined to secede until Lincoln undertook acts of war, quite contrary to the US Constitution to prevent the “Cotton” States secession. If you doubt that characterization, I suggest you research an Ohio US Congressman named Clement Vallandingham who spelled out to the US Congress in July of 1861 and during the course of the subsequent war, just how illegal Lincoln’s actions were. In fact, the reason the list of States above seceded, was precisely because, by so doing, Lincoln was standing in opposition to the principle established in the war against England, whereby we obtained our independence. To wit: paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, that a people have the right to choose how they will be governed. (And by the way, the heading of that document is The Unanimous Declaration of the united

[NOT United] States of America). From that point forward they were duty bound to stand with their fathers and grandfathers, who had suffered so much to gain that principle from the English Crown, against those who opposed it, even though those who opposed it then controlled the government established by its gaining.

Your desire to “have a show of unity” is precisely to avoid such honesty. Indeed, the fear of that honesty is precisely why Jefferson Davis was never tried for treason. The Attorney General of the United States advised President Andrew Johnson that trying him would afford him a forum in the US court system to establish that the north had acted unconstitutionally, so they let him go for “humanitarian” reasons. Instead, the alchemy became that the hundreds of thousands of dead had died (not for northern greed and power-lust or to oppose it) but so that the land might have a “new birth of freedom” and to free and make equal former slaves. That of course, was not true (but would require another email to demonstrate to you). What that has meant for Southern opinion and symbols is that they have been quite purposely cast, and dishonestly so, as symbols of slavery and racism. That result of course, requires an acceptance of the north’s explanation of its behavior (which seen in its true light is repugnant) and calls into question the very foundation of the “Lincolnian” version of the federal government. Unfortunately, it plays into the hands of those who as you complain, have aided that effort to recast the South’s symbols as racist. But you aid them as well by buying all this bunk and they as you, have chosen the northern view for the sake of putting humpty dumpty back together again, rather than stand for the truth. By so standing, we might have a means to fight that racism- but of course – “national unity” is your cry- not racial reconciliation.

And your fear that somehow folks would be turned away because folks see those symbols through that dishonest northern filter is also grossly disingenuous. I attended the funeral in Charleston, South Carolina back in 2004 for the crew of the Confederate States submarine CSS Hunley. There was no “unity program”. Just the simple honor paid to warriors fighting for their country. I marched in a funeral train of 10,000. The streets were lined for 6 miles with 10 times that number, waving Confederate flags of all sorts, but certainly the Battle Flag predominating. Many were weeping. The black folk waved to us and expressed their welcome. The young black boys saluted us as we passed on the way to the cemetery to lay those Confederate sailors to rest. Their salutes were returned, smartly. If you really want a crowd, in Franklin, I suggest a different program.

The problem of course, is that we Southerners did what our leaders told us. We laid down our arms and tried to become good (albeit re-defined) Americans. Indeed, Richard Weaver in is Southern Essays, complained that we did that all too well. He remarked, “Of all the lingering evils the South suffered as a result of military defeat, none was graver that the almost total extinction of initiative. Those who marvel that the section has lived so much in memory, ….should recall that for a long period it was denied the right of exercising leadership……” We have therefore, been largely powerless to prevent these lies from gaining credence – but today maintaining those lies is not all that is demanded. Today, the demand is to entirely expunge from memory the truth (by disallowing flag displays, tearing down monuments, etc etc) of that cause for which our ancestors fought. To better understand same, I cite a couple of questions I answered for my daughter in preparation for a paper she’s writing on Southern heritage for one of her classes at Belmont University in Nashville.

1. “…..Growing up with that sense of “otherness” and exile set up against the air of what historians call “American Triumphalism” so ubiquitous in the north and through them the whole country caused me to have to dig into finding out from whence such came. I’ll never forget the first time I read about The War my parents occasionally mentioned. Having been imbued with that sense of Triumphalism in the northern classroom (which had as its practical foundation that war, where America conquered those evil Southerners who couldn’t get with the program, freed the slaves, saved the Union etc), I couldn’t square that with what my cultural background taught me. As I read more and more during my childhood, it became clear to me at a young age that the north’s victory in the war had reversed what had been won in the war to secede from the British Empire (The Revolutionary War). It is impossible to put the South’s struggle for independence some 80 plus years later in context without understanding the issues of the war against England for our original independence and that other revolution (the French). There is not time or space to fully tell that tale, but one must remember that the Confederacy’s leaders were standing in the traditions of their fathers – for the principles of English Common Law that themselves owed to many centuries of development in what is now called The Western Tradition, constraining the arbitrary power of kings and concentrations of power (Scotland’s resistance to the English crown [think Braveheart] being very much a part of that constraining). The French Revolution had as its conceptual base the philosophy of Jean Jacque Rousseau – which in its political manifestation came to be called Jacobinism. (Indeed, all the “isms” of modernity are either its direct offspring or reactions to it). It’s tenets were that human societies up to that point had caged humanity through the cooperation of kings and priests and had to be overthrown- in other words the Western Tradition and any other religiously founded ones had to go. In their place a new type of society was to be created, at the point of the sword as necessary. To state it differently- Rousseau believed humans could be perfected through proper political arrangements not founded on religious superstitions but on what humans thought best for themselves. Any who oppose such are the enemies of human progress and must be eliminated. As such it was the enemy of religious traditions and all then existing traditional governments. Lincoln ignorantly brought the ideals of the French Revolution (read the Gettysburg Address which turned the American founding upside down) into the driver’s seat- Europe would finally wholly follow after WWI. That transition was aided when Karl Marx put a pseudo scientific veneer over Rousseau and when the peasants overthrew the Russian monarchy one of the more extreme versions resulted. New England’s own religious brand of this kind of spirit morphed into the Jacobin secular version (called American Progressivism, founded on that triumphalism as above and what Kentuckian Robert Penn Warren called ‘the treasury of virtue’ stored up by fighting one of those traditional governments, The Southern Confederacy)- Indeed, I would argue that the South’s defeat, opened the door to the entire world’s adopting or being forced to react to some version of a Jacobin inspired ism. After the northern victory in 1865 and the century between then and 1965, the world experienced the bloodiest 100 years known in all human history as all those isms began to fight one another. The world was fractured asunder between 1776 and 1918. Where we end up living among the fragments is still in process. Because modern political entities are founded on a revolutionary ethic-they themselves are subject to revolutionary re-arrangement. Many are familiar with Lord Acton’s quote, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Acton was Sir John Dahlberg, one of the nineteenth century’s pre-eminent political philosophers. What is almost wholly unknown about Acton is that he exchanged letters with Robert E. Lee after the northern victory. Excerpting: Robert E. Lee , "All that the South has ever desired was the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth." Acton,"…..The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. …Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo." Lee replied:"…. I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, … essential to …. safeguard ..the continuance of a free government…. whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it…….The South has contended only for the supremacy of the Constitution, and the just administration of the laws made in pursuance to it." Later Dahlberg wrote an analysis of the war in which he said: "The North has used the doctrines of Democracy to destroy self-government. The South applied the principle of conditional federation to cure the evils and to correct the errors of a false interpretation of Democracy…………….[and the inevitable result of an unfettered federal government will be] the initiative in administration; the function of universal guardian and paymaster; the resources of coercion, intimidation, and corruption; the habit of preferring the public interest of the moment to the established law; ………….. a public creditor; a prodigious budget – these things will remain to the future government of the Federal Union, and will make it approximate more closely to the imperial than to the republican type of democracy…..By exhibiting the spectacle of a people claiming to be free, but whose love of freedom means hatreds of inequality, jealousy of limitations to power, and reliance on the States as an instrument to mould as well as to control society, it calls on its admirers to hate aristocracy and teaches its adversaries to fear the people." And just how many Peoples Republics of this and that exist today? And in the name of a given political entity’s power, consolidated in the claim to act in its peoples will and for their benefit, just how many slaughters have occurred? The US piece of this equation is daunting to see, because we’re blinded by New England’s explanation of the country’s founding and purpose in the world. We do not understand that our first experience with terrorism inspired by revolutionary fervor was John Brown’s raid into Virginia to effect the violent overthrow of Southern governments- funded and inspired by that cooperation between New England’s Puritans and Jacobins. It is significant that after many years of talking about separation, the South did so only after John Brown’s raid revealed the true nature of where matters were headed. Rather than Lincoln’s vision of national power consolidated to reflect the iron will of the northern majority, the South believed the only way to prevent the evils attended thereto was to maintain as a counter balance, state power. As the Virginian Robert L Dabney wrote, “The people of the South went to war, because they sincerely believed what their political fathers had taught them, with one voice, for two generations that the doctrine of State-sovereignty for which they fought, was absolutely essential as the bulwark of the liberties of the people." We know the end of that story- we’re living in it. And where have matters been brought? We have witnessed all over the globe as Lee put it governments “sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home” who claim to act in the name of their people to accomplish its particular vision of political perfection- the mantra goes something like “1) We (your moral and intellectual superiors) know how people should live 2) Your group is not living by that vision 3) It is imperative, for the sake of, peace, human rights and progress that humankind should be made to conform with that vision 3) Given that imperative, we have the right to force that result 4) Even if it means destroying the opponents of that vision. Europe having succeeded in cutting itself off from the Christian roots of its societies, leaving only the secularized, politically radical components of same after the bloodbath of WWI and WWII, no longer has a taste for such a fight. Such stands behind why it has allowed Islam (which understands the cultural assault it faces from the now Jacobin West) a toe hold inside Europe. The US has not yet lost its fervor – it freed the slaves, fights racism, sexism, homophobism, communism, radical Islamacism etc etc. But Islam has the same (religious not secular) thing to say in return- the world should be Muslim and we have the right to slaughter to accomplish that vision – that clash is about to bring the world to its next round of catastrophe. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought with every ounce of their being to prevent converting our founding from one where people worked out their future cooperatively and not at the barrel of a gun for the purpose of overthrowing all that had come before, at the hands of governments given radical power to effect that overthrowing. They owed it to their family (especially those long dead) to fight such a revolutionary and dangerous development.

2. When referring to people from the North what do you call them? Variously depending on the context. Not all folks from the north are “Yankees”. Especially with so many Southerners from the end of WWII and thereafter moving north. But even in the mid nineteenth century, most of the area in the north south of Columbus Ohio were settled by Virginians. Many of them were called “Copperheads” and supported the South. Lincoln and his New England backers ruthlessly suppressed any opposition to their war, being the Jacobins they were. Generally speaking I call anyone who believes that spreading their gospel, their way of life and view of the world at the point of the bayonet, Yankees.

The above is why Weaver continued by remarking, “……We can longer avoid seeing that this little upheaval is not a regional affair, or an American affair, but a particular instance of a movement which is taking place all over the world. It is, to repeat, a phase of the general retreat of humanism before universal materialism and technification…”

As Lee said, all the South has ever desired was “the supremacy of the Constitution, and the just administration of the laws made in pursuance to it." Or as Lincoln put it, the maintenance of a government of the people, for the people and by the people- although through his large talent for sophistry he managed to do the opposite.

We have for far too long been silent in the face of these lies, but when our history and our symbols are now characterized as “anathema” and slated for the memory hole, honor and duty demand action. You sir, are helping awake a sleeping giant. For that much I thank you.

But what of your claim that the war united us? Indeed, now that the South for the last few decades has recovered some political influence, what has been the northern response. I suggest you go to and search “blue state secession”. I quit counting at 100 links. The below is a sample of what you might find going back to the 2000 election. In case your unfamiliar with the author, Mr. Williams is an acclaimed black economist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Columnists
A Nation Polarized
Walter Williams
Dec. 6, 2000

We’ve had close presidential elections before, but this one is emblematic of dangerous, unbridgeable and growing gaps among the American people. Some of this can be seen by examining a map showing U.S. counties won by George Bush and those won by Al Gore. In general, the densely populated counties along the

East and West coasts, Midwestern counties mostly along the Mississippi River and a smattering of counties in the southwest were won by Gore. But if the election were to be decided by who won the greatest number of the nation’s 3,142 counties, Bush would have bested Gore by at least 2,500 counties. While who won how many counties is irrelevant to the presidential selection process, it says something about the degree of national polarization. What are the characteristics of counties won by Bush versus those won by Gore?

The values, politics and religion of the counties in the southern, western and rural sections of the country, won by Bush are not like those in the mostly coastal, highly populated counties won by Gore. The Bush counties are: more conservative and respectful of traditional values, pro-life, and more religious, and they have less social pathology such as high crime, illegitimacy and deviancy. Counties won by Gore tend to be just the opposite.

By no means do Americans who voted for Bush enthusiastically and unequivocally support the values expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, but they are not nearly as parasitic, interventionist and contemptuous of the principles of liberty as Gore supporters. The constitutional provisions created by the Framers to protect us against the interventionist and parasitic classes have long been under siege and are severely weakened. The Bill of Rights, election of senators by state legislators and other protections against mob rule have been weakened or eliminated. Limitations on the power of the central government, through the enumerated powers and separation of power doctrines, have also been severely compromised. Constitutional protections against parasitic plunder, through its prohibition against direct taxation (no income tax), have been abolished.

Thomas Jefferson gave voice to our most important protection in his First Inaugural Address in 1801, saying, "If there be any among us who wish to dissolve the Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed, as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." The right of secession was taken for granted in the founding of our country, and it wasn’t only a Southern idea. Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts was George Washington’s chief of staff, his secretary of war and secretary of state, and later a Massachusetts congressman and senator. In 1803, Pickering wrote, "The principles of our Revolution (of 1776) point to the remedy – a separation – for the people of he East cannot reconcile their habits, views and interests with those of the South and West."

Irreconcilability faces us today. There’s one group of Americans who does not wish to bother anyone but wishes to be left alone. Another group of Americans wants to plunder and control the lives of others. This latter group of Americans shows no sign of letting up, much less retreating. A return to rule of law and constitutional government or separation are the only peaceful solutions. Separation and independence don’t require that liberty-loving Americans overthrow the federal government any more than it required George Washington to overthrow England or his successor secessionist, Jefferson Davis, to overthrow Washington, D.C. So here’s my question: Should we Americans continue to forcibly impose our wills and values on one another, or should we part company and be friends?

I ask you sir, do you want to divide the country? By helping maintain these lies, to the aid of folks who do not practice American principles – that’s where you push the matter.

Bazz Childress
Lexington, Kentucky

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