Seth Gitell of the New York Sun has an interesting analysis of Jim Webb’s non-fiction work on the "Old South" and Confederacy. According to Gitell, while the Allen camp raised issues about Webb’s published work regarding women, they focused on the wrong issues. They should have attempted to balance criticism of Allen’s identification with the Confederate battleflag and the Confederacy with Webb’s 2004 book, Born Fighting: How the Scotch-Irish Shaped America. According to Gitell:
As a window on the mind of a rising politician in the Democratic Party, it is illuminating and perplexing. Mr. Webb refers to "bloodlines" and ethnic "DNA." Such talk is more in keeping with the Old World, where the character of an individual rested in the volkish notion of blood. He writes in broad ethnic stereotype, reminiscent of 19th-century readers that elucidated the nature of the Irish, the British, the French, and the Jew. He has words of praise for the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. He rationalizes the position of the Confederate soldier and places the history of the Confederate flag in a heroic context. There’s no ideological litmus test in the Senate, of course, and senatorial campaign contests should not be reduced to the politically correct absurdities of the American college campus. None of the excerpts demands an immediate call to the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Even so, they represent thinking most liberals would have already denounced if uttered by a supporter of the Iraq war. Having said all that, it is notable that the usual suspects — most of them within the Democratic Party — are all so silent…
Here are a few excerpts from Webb’s Born Fighting:
That warrior ethic, which would carry the outnumbered and outgunned Confederacy a very long way, came from the long traditions of service that had begun so many centuries before in Scotland and the north of Britain. The Confederate battle flag itself was drawn from the St. Andrew’s Cross of Scotland and the unbending spirit of the Southern soldier found its energies in the deeds of the past just as strongly as it looked up to the leaders of the present. These were the direct descendants of William Wallace’s loyal followers of five centuries before.
Scots-Irish "suffered 70 percent killed or wounded in the Civil War and were still standing proud in the ranks at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered — but in today’s politically correct environment this means that they were the ‘racist’ soldiers of the Nazi-like Confederacy.
Among others [Scots-Irish Confederate generals] included … the unparalleled Nathan Bedford Forrest, a semiliterate who proved to be a master of maneuver and improvisation, and who defeated every West Point general he faced."
Well, it looks like someone read their Grady McWhiney. I have no idea what Webb is getting at with his reference to a "Nazi-like Confederacy." Apart from a few people who exactly is comparing the Confederacy and the Nazis? As long as Webb is not placed on a committee that is responsible for writing history we should be o.k.