Re: Seceding from History
Your opinion piece, “Seceding from History,” finishes with a question by a professor asking how balanced Sesquicentennial workshops held by “the Order of the Southern Cross” will be. I submit that they will be more balanced than the views put forth by the assortment of know-it-alls that you quoted:
***Mark Potok – the unacknowledged expert on everything, the acknowledged expert on nothing, and the official monitor of those who “hate.” Neither Potok nor any of his fellow slugs in the SPLC have ever told us who it was that appointed them our guardians, or where their supposed expertise on “hate groups” comes from, and indeed, if one needs a license to engage in such activities. Last time I checked it was law enforcement that was entrusted with such tasks. It would also appear that few in the journalism world, (y’all are included) have the cojones to ask such questions of either Potok or his handlers. No matter – courage has never been much of a virtue, either in the world of the SPLC, or in the world of journalism.
***Professor Michael Phillips – who, in doing his best imitation of the “angry black man,” (even though he isn’t black) refers to our view of the war as “holocaust denial.” Reality newsflash – American slavery does not equal “Holocaust,” – not even close. In 1945 there were approximately 6 million fewer Jews in Europe than there had been in 1933. The reason for this reduction needs no explanation. By contrast, in 1800, there were nearly 1 million slaves and free blacks in America. By 1860 the number had grown to 4 million. By 1890 it was 8 million. Today, 40 million Americans lay claim to being “African American.” Pardon me, but from where I sit, these don’t look like “holocaust” numbers. In case you’re too dense to understand what I’m getting at, let me lay it out for you – when a “holocaust” is perpetrated, (there have been many throughout history), the numbers of the targeted population go DOWN, not UP! I would say that there is, therefore, nothing to “deny” on this score, except perhaps a denial of Professor Phillips’ reality testing.
***Randolph Campbell, William McWhorter, Jesus Frank De La Teja and others – who, along with you at “the Observer,” all seem to feel that our view of the war is “incorrect.” Well guys, that’s your opinion. Here’s the way history works. An event takes place. For some years afterward it falls within the realm of “current events.” At some point in time however, it passes into “history,” and people called “historians” then begin to evaluate and interpret its significance. Since history is not an exact science it should come as no surprise that interpretations will often differ. That said, I echo, in part, what Mr. Teja said, that no one is the “history police.” I take issue with his contention that my version is not “correct,” however. Who determines what is “correct” in this type of thing? Teja? Phillips? McWhorter? Potok? You? 
And as far as the cause of the war itself, it’s far simpler than most realize. Nearly 700,000 people perished in that war. One third of the country was destroyed and plunged into a level of poverty which lasted well into the next century. But it did not have to be like that. The South was not looking to conquer the north. It was simply looking to go its own way. Many Southerners, Jeff Davis, Alexander Stephens, Pat Cleburne, Mary Chestnut, Judah Benjamin, repeatedly said the same thing, “All we ask is to be left alone.” That’s what the South was fighting for, and it was what the North was fighting to prevent. You can verify it yourself. It’s in the history books. In that regard at least, slavery indeed had “nothing to do with it.”
Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Sons of Confederate Veterans (Associate Member) Camps 3000, 1506, 1961, 2086