Rebuttal of McNaughton’s Nonsense

Commentary by Billy Bearden

Editor’s Note: The message below is in response to an AJC Editorial written for the AJC editorial board by David McNaughton. The text of that editorial is below.

Dear Mr. McNaughton,

I had to laugh when I examined the picture you enclosed to enhance your editorial piece.

1860 was before the Confederacy existed and, therefore, the whole enterprise was taking place under legal U.S. Constitutional protections. Georgia was then part of the United States. The ignorance you demonstrate here is as good as any reason to have a Confederate Heritage and History Month. You must have slept through that week of education in school, if they taught it at all…

First of all, the War was not (repeat NOT) about slavery and only slavery. That myth is ridiculous upon any reasonable examination of the historical record. Therefore, it follows that the basis for the sarcasm and ignorant hyperbole in your editorial lies in tatters at your feet. Let’s review a few pieces of the historical record.

President Lincoln, in his first inaugural address (March 4, 1861) said:

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
Lincoln went on to add that he supported the Corwin Amendment which was a proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit Congressional interference with slavery in the states where it already existed. You see, Lincoln made it clear that enforcing the tariff laws (gotta have that revenue!!) was his primary objective. At 1860, Southern states paid 75-90% of the total tariffs collected by the U.S. government. Slavery was not the issue….unless, you’re saying that Lincoln was a liar?

If so, he was an habitual one. Here he goes again. On August 22, 1862, after the Confederate States had declared their independence and after Lincoln declared his intention to invade and subjugate those states, and after the Yankee army moved into Virginia for the first major battle (July 21, 1861 — First Manassas aka Bull Run) and was repelled by the Confederate defenders, Abe Lincoln wrote a letter to Horace Greeley, a noted abolitionist, of the New York Tribune in which he said:

"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." –Abraham Lincoln, Aug. 22, 1862 letter
If you count Fort Sumter as the beginning of the war (April 12, 1861), then the war has been going on for one year and four months, and still Lincoln is writing his penpals emphatically that slavery is not the issue. Hmmm.

We know that Andersonville never would have happened had not Lincoln and Grant quit exchanging prisoners. They had settled on a strategy of victory by attrition. Your comments about Andersonville are the kind of disinformation the hatchet media loves to spew. It just makes those who learn the truth that much more surprised.

Of course, you didn’t mention places like Camp Douglas in Chicago, Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio or Elmira in New York. The Confederate POWs were intentionally starved and deprived of adequate clothing and medical attention even though supplies were plentiful in the North. Their intentional cruelty is inexcusable, yet the officers responsible were rewarded and promoted by Lincoln and his minions.

Confederates, on the other hand, were dealing with severe shortages of food and medicine. The guards at Andersonville ate the same pitiful rations as the prisoners and suffered from the same ravages of illness. Confederate officials pleaded with U.S. officials to send in their own doctors, food and medicines for the POWs at Andersonville. In desperation, the Confederates offered to deliver U.S. POWs to the port of Savannah—-with NO exchange required. At one point, an entire trainload of POWs were transported to Savannah for this purpose—to be transported back to U.S. soil by U.S. ships. The U.S. government refused to take them and the entire trainload had to be returned to Andersonville. Who is really the cruel and inhumane party in this tragedy? The government in Washington, D.C.

As you point out, Confederate Heritage Month would afford us many opportunities to address questions about why so many "educated" people in Georgia, the South and across the country know so little about the true history of the War Between the States, or the War for Southern Independence, or the War to Preserve Federal Revenues. Why are there people like Eric Foner writing commentaries putting forth Abraham Lincoln as anti-war constitutionalists? Author Thomas J. DiLorenzo, in his essay entitled "The Unknown Lincoln," explains the prevailing Lincoln Mythology this way:

"It is a testament to the effectiveness of 140 years of government propaganda that a 308 page book filled with true facts about Lincoln could be entitled "The Lincoln No One Knows." It is not a matter of a poorly-performing government education system but quite the opposite: The government schools have performed superbly in indoctrinating generations of American school children with a pack of lies, myths, omissions, and falsehoods about Lincoln and his war of conquest. As Richard Bensel wrote in Yankee Leviathan, any study of the American state should begin in 1865. The power of any state ultimately rests upon a series of government-sponsored myths, and there is none more prominent than the Lincoln Myth."
Certainly an educated person such as yourself should know that MLK day is to celebrate all his best qualities. Only a media racist would try to educate people only on his adultery, his plagiarism, his woman beating, and his communist ties— right? Why then can’t the media racists allow us to honor the positives about our Confederate ancestors? Especially since we are dedicated to teaching the truth without exaggeration and without omission—why not? Care to answer?

And the "funny" thing about all these sudden calls for slavery apologies — they are centered in the South.

Wonder why Hillary Clinton doesn’t demand one from New York, or Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts? Citizens of the New England states built enormous fortunes on the slave trade. Brown University (Rhode Island) issued a report about their founders’ involvement in the Atlantic Slave Trade. It was profitable, and that’s why it was the New England states that opposed any limitation on the Atlantic Slave Trade in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits any legislation on the subject before the year 1808. Note that none was ever enacted in the U.S. until 1865.

Syndicated columnist Joseph Sobran, in his essay entitled "Slavery in Perspective," writes:

All this puts something of a damper on the assumption that slavery was a sin specific or “peculiar” to the American South. The slaves had been Africans who were sold to European merchants by other Africans who had enslaved them in the first place. Several of Africa’s proudest empires were built on the sale of slaves. For centuries Africa’s chief export was human beings. When Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaks of “my African ancestors’ struggle for freedom,” she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Slavery was an African institution long before it spread to the South, and there was no abolition movement to trouble it. When Europe banned the slave trade, African economies reeled.

So it’s rather comical for American blacks to sentimentalize Africa and stress that they are “African Americans” while cursing the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery. Africa has a much better claim to be such a symbol. Slavery still exists there, in Sudan and Mauritania and probably elsewhere.
All the African slaves brought across the Atlantic to what would become the United States were brought on ships flying the British Union Jack or the U.S. stars and stripes (New England slave traders). It’s rather hypocritical that these flags get a free pass, while all the invective and venom and anger about slavery are heaped upon the flags and symbols of the Confederate soldiers. Why do you think there’s such widespread ignornance of American history and world history?

Yes, we really are in dire need of furthering the education of those who hold sway over us. Mullis is heading in the right direction. My vote is to get the Confederate History Month and ditch the apology.

Awaiting your reply
Thanks and God Bless
Billy Bearden

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