Sons of Confederate Veterans Forced to the Back of the Bus

Even in the “Heart of Dixie” the Sons of Confederate Veterans can muster little more than a few hundred people from its ranks to commemorate the inauguration of Jefferson Davis.  Based on the YouTube clip below yesterday’s event sounded more like a political rally than a reenactment.  The speaker’s comparison of the SCV’s challenges with Harry Potter and Rosa Parks reflects an intellectual bankruptcy that is bound to continue to marginalize the organization throughout the sesquicentennial.

The news coverage of the event thus far has been minimal and anything but flattering.  [Consider the Associated Press's coverage.]  Just about every article that I’ve read takes note of the Civil Rights history of Montgomery, the decision on the part of local and state officials not to participate, and the lack of interest among local business and civic leaders.  This stands in sharp contrast with the centennial commemoration of Davis’s inauguration.

There is something truly perverse about the SCV appropriating Rosa Parks and the memory of African Americans being forced to sit in the back of the bus.  African Americans were forced into the position of second class citizens by law and not of their own choosing.  At no time has the SCV operated under these conditions.  They have been free to make their case in the court of public opinion and in recent years they have failed miserably.  A partial list of recent SCV debacles include:

The most recent circus is centered on a proposal to offer a series of vanity license plates in Mississippi, one of which will feature Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Even the editorial board of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi thinks this is a bad idea.  “What is appropriate is a proposal in the Legislature to designate a Civil Rights Memorial Day as a counterbalance to the state’s Confederate Memorial Day. This would be in keeping with earlier legislation that combined observances of Robert E. Lee’s birthday with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s.”  Did they really have to propose Forrest?  Consider Robert Moore’s recent suggestion, which would have had my support and I suspect many others as well.

It goes without saying that bad history and a memory of the war that few people embrace is not a recipe for success.  Our next stop on the sesquicentennial tour will be Fort Sumter in April.  The SCV will be lucky if they arrive on the back of the bus.  At this point I am imagining something more along the lines of a Go-Kart.

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116 comments… add one

  • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

    Where to begin?

    It’s all that I expected it would be, and a bag of overcooked microwave popcorn smelling-up the room. The anachronistic gobbledigook is over the top… hodgepodge of uniforms from all four years of the war, flags present that wouldn’t have been there (to say nothing of the representative Tea Party flag)… and, I’d be willing to bet, people who are there in the memory of the very ancestors who may well have wanted nothing to do with the event or the Confederacy at that stage in the game.

    Then, of course, we have the symbolism, as you point out with the fountain, and the route of march, all smacking of blatant disrespect to the history of something that isn’t so far distant, and still lives in the minds of the living… realized memory vs. imagined memory.

    The speaker says something about “truth”, and yet, how can they be responsible for the truth when they can’t be honest with themselves? I’m not saying one has to be ashamed of his/her Confederate ancestor… not at all. There is a way to reflect with dignity and respect, but this certainly isn’t it. No doubt, they don’t see it this way, but this isn’t a celebration of heritage, nor is it thoughtful reflection of the story of ancestors… this is a mockery of heritage.

    • Billy Bearden Feb 20, 2011

      Yes, historically speaking only Georgia and Alabama flags were present in 1861.
      The double strandard of “Well there shouldn’t have been all of those flags due to history” conflicts with the ” I was offended cause they did it during black history month” and “They walked past Dexter Ave Church as an affront” style arguments.
      Dexter Avenue and the Capitol belong to all citizens of Montgomery and Alabama, not this group or that. While I know y’all would be just as pleased had it not happened or if the parade route slinked thru some back alley so as not to upset the keepers of the PC flames, it did happen, and try as hard as you want, it was not as you are making it sound.

      The gentleman who carried the Gadsden Battle Flag knows it is a southern flag. The Tea Party flag is a Betsy Ross flag with ” II ” inside the circle of stars, which was not present.

      It seems to be a full time job keeping y’all honest.
      Perhaps Mr Levin could donate some webdollars to fund my “CWMemory Police Force”?

      • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

        I don’t have any problem that the parade and ceremony took place. What I found striking is the small audience and the victimization that was expressed in Barrow’s speech. That made me laugh for the reasons I expressed in the post. The SCV has done a great job of marginalizing itself.

      • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

        Don’t begin to put words in my mouth, Mr. Bearden. Read my comment for what it is, and what it said, and reply accordingly. You failed to address many of the points made.

        The hodgepodge of flags and uniforms is the anachronistic failing of the event, screaming historical ignorance of the very thing supposedly being recognized by the so-called caretakers of Confederate history. If the real history can’t be recognized for what it was, the organization making the event possible doesn’t care for the real history in the first place, but rather a different message built on the modern day platform, made available by the 150th. Sad and pathetic… and at the expense of the real story of the ancestors.

        The marching route and beginning spot of the march shows disrespect for the “real memory” of people who went through the pain of segregation. Celebrate heritage, but be conscious of symbolism, and there was plenty of it in the line of march, and site where it began.

        Finally, keep yourself honest when telling the story, and not be so concerned about others. I say this because to be honest with self would mean to be able to see this event for what it was, a gross misrepresentation at the expense of others… ranging from those who endured the Civil Rights era to those who appreciate Confederate ancestry, but don’t need to justify it through mythology.

        • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

          I have an idea, Mr. Moore. Think of the event as “art.” As was discussed here recently, historical accuracy isn’t necessary in “art”.

          • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

            Why should we interpret it as anything other than what the organizers of the event intended it to be?

          • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

            As this event was supposed to be anchored in an actual historic event, and those who made the event possible want the truth to be known in history (we clearly hear this in the speech), there’s no room for artistic license… that is, unless those creating the “art” want to be perpetually known for fiction.

            • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

              Certainly there’s room for artistic license in the interpretion of history, since history cannot possibly be recreated in total accuracy. History books do it all the time.

              • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                Did the organizers of the event intend their ceremony to be interpreted along artistic lines? If not, why should we?

                • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

                  Do you really care what the organizers of the event intended? My impression is that you really don’t care — your concern is judging them, apparently.

                  • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                    Whatever makes you feel better, Connie. What is even more interesting is that you seem to be obsessed with what I think or else you wouldn’t spend so much time on this site.

                    • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

                      How do you define “so much time”? Portions of two, three days? LOL!

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                      You spend enough time to suggest to anyone observing that you care deeply about what I have to say. I thank you for that.

                    • James F. Epperson Feb 21, 2011

                      Gee, Kevin, 87 comments! Why am I not surprised? OK, I’ll throw a little gasoline on the fire: I have ancestors on both sides, and the Confederates were guilty of treason. Worse, they started the ruckus out of nothing more noble than greed—they feared for the stability of the system of slavery that was the underpinning of their wealth, so they started a war that destroyed their society. What does the Proverb say? “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” Or, in more prosaic terms, “You pay your money and take your chances!”

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 21, 2011

                      Geez, thanks for that James. :)

                    • James F. Epperson Feb 21, 2011

                      Wanna see how quickly you can hit 100! ;-)

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 21, 2011

                      Been there, done that. :)

              • Corey Meyer Feb 20, 2011

                Connie,

                If you look at history with “artistic license” you get things like “Entangled in Freedom”!

                • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

                  Or “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” — the mockumentary?

          • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

            As an aside, I’m curious, Ms. Chastain, If there were an organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the memory of Southern Unionists, would you have a link to it under your “ProSouthern Links” section of your webpage? What about the simple “leave-aloners”… if there was an organization for them? What about Southerners who opted for the blue uniform?

            • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

              There probably wouldn’t be any links to Southern Unionists on my page, but it would depend on what their website said. My people are from the mountains of north Georgia, which is said to have given a lot of support to the Union.

              As for Southerners who opted for the blue uniform, you may include my GG-grandfather in that group. He was a Confederate soldier who was evidently captured, took the oath of allegiance to the Union and joined the Union Army. Family legend says he was sent “out west” to “fight Indians.” He is buried on a hillside in Gilmer County, Georgia; his headstone is carved with “A. J. Hensley, Lieutenent, 12 Tennessee Cavalry.” He was proud of his Union service and would wear his uniform to court day in Ellijay for years after the war. As a teenager, I joked about being more embarrassed by him than by the unwed mothers in my ancestry, but in fact, his descendants were proud of him.

              http://members.cox.net/connie_ward/genealogy.html

              Mr. Moore, I am proud of America’s men in uniform, even if I don’t agree with every imperial mission their government sends them on around the world. It is quite possible to honor soldiers without honoring every aspect of their mission.

              • ThERAven Feb 21, 2011

                There probably wouldn’t be any links to Southern Unionists on my page….

                And why is that? That’s right, Connie Chastain writes romance and “southern fiction”, such as “southern Man”, which “reveals the pernicious fallout of the sexual revolution, the dark underbelly of radical feminism”. An anti-feminist, middle-aged woman living in rural Alabama? I’m shocked.

                This is how you describe yourself: I’m a ninth-generation Southerner. Born in Georgia, I grew up a preacher’s kid in Alabama, attended Alabama Christian College (now Faulkner University) and married a Louisiana boy….I’m a culturally conservative Christian but I don’t write Christian romances, per se. I do write from a Christian worldview and with the motives of undergirding traditional morals and advancing noble and virtuous ideals…..the reason I write is to honor such men; in fact, to glorify them … particularly Southern men, who are so often unfairly maligned in popular culture.

                Looks like there’s generations of fundamentalist Christian denialism running through your family tree, and all over your website. Charitably, I’d call that “marketing”. You write pablum for nitwits. It ain’t illegal, but don’t confuse Levin’s blog, or Andy Hall’s or any other contentious provider of historical inquiry with “pop culture”.

                You want a real southern man? A man who exemplifies (your words) ….real men who struggle not with imaginary foes, but the real demons that plague the human family. Give me heroes who are the flesh and blood sons of Adam struggling to live up to the nobility of human nature and harness their less noble components. The best heroes are tough, sweet, loving men who take their responsibilities seriously — men of principle, men of courage…

                Real demons, you say? Look no farther than Robert Smalls, whose life is practically beyond imagination. Smalls is a real southern hero. Confederate traitors, starting with Lee, only deserved the end of a rope. Smalls fought hard, beat the odds, demonstrated courage under fire and went on to show great, almost saintly levels of compassion towards former oppressors. Smalls, like the 44th President of the United States, was a genuine Christian. Far more so than those who brandish the label.

                This is truth vs. lies. Robert Smalls ain’t exactly in the SVC honor roll. Your so-called “traditional morals” were used to sanction slavery and here you are, ten years into the 21st century, a volunteer SVC propagandist. You’ve got a vested interest in ignorance. I understand you’ve got to earn a living, so go write your pulp nonsense.

                Just don’t expect anyone who thinks for a living to take you seriously.

                • Christine M. Smith Feb 22, 2011

                  I’m sorry, but I can’t help but “throw my oar” in on this one. Let’s hear it for “the pernicious fallout of the sexual revolution” and “the dark underbelly of of radical feminism”. Look at all they have done for Connie. They have given her life meaning and purpose AND also, might I add, helped her to be able to do write what she writes. Sure we had women writers before the SR and RF, but we have many more now that we’ve had it and they are writing the gamut from “literary” fiction ( always hate to use that term because I’m never quite sure that all fiction isn’t literary in some way) to erotica! Somewhere in there Connie falls
                  and she has a right to write what she does. However, this quote from her web page from her book pretty much says it all:

                  Quotables from Southern Man
                  “I know it hurts you to think there are people who believe you did what you’re accused of. But they’re not our people. … They’re the people who hate you, anyway, because you’re a Christian man, and you have a family you love and take care of. They’re the people who want me to support myself, they want the government to raise the children, and they want you to disappear. Don’t give their opinions any weight, not any, for one second longer.”
                  Patty Stevenson to her husband, Troy

                  This quote, while taken out of context, perpetuates the ideas elsewhere on her page. She is always seeking to lay blame, couching it in the less than subtle terms as “the other”. And because this is still America, she has every right to do so. Others have the right to disagree. She makes it terribly hard for people who want to write substantive works of fiction about the south, to do so.

        • Billy Bearden Feb 20, 2011

          Mr Moore,

          You began with ‘the Tea Party flag” and went downhill from there. I offered a mild correction on the subjects I knew. OK then how far down the actual historical reenactment path do you wish to travel? Besides the actual 4 reenactors and the words spoken from that time – NOTHING else was historically accurate. From the public announcing system and modern technology to the artillery on the lawn, heck the SCV shouldn’t have attended because it didn’t exist in 1861 either.

          The carraige used was pulled by clydesdales. Reckon they got that wrong too…

          You disagree with what was present. My feelings are not hurt. You say some “blatant disrespect” to others was given by the participants. Your opinion. My heart and mind are clear. I did NOT plan, travel, participate, harbor any ill feelings nor desire any ‘blatant disrespect’ for anyone. Those whom I was in contact with were also of the same mindset.

          Lots of the flags were camp flags, and while they may appear as ‘just another flag’ to the uneducated, they do represent that camp and it’s membership.

          The gentleman who carried your infamous “Tea Party Flag” described an event where he was returning to his vehicle and was stopped by some blacks over by the church. They wanted to know what was happening and that they were impressed at the showing.

          No Mr Moore, the hate and disrespect you are attempting to apply to us is all in your mind. Such plays well in liberal media , but not for those who do not subscribe to such extreme ideals.

          • Kevin Levin Feb 21, 2011

            Mr. Bearden,

            Unfortunately, you completely ignore Robert’s main points. It can’t be easy coming to terms with the fact that some descendants of Confederate veterans believe the SCV is doing more harm than good.

    • Craig Feb 21, 2011

      Good points, Robert.
      What bugs me is the blatant disrespect for the American flag, right dead center. I’m sure everyone there is proud to be an American. Probably if asked, they’d fall all over themselves to prove their patriotism.

      Yet, nobody in the crowd seems to care that the Confederate flags are on taller, more significant staffs than the single US flag in view. Just seems to say “Remember the Confederacy! But, oh, by the way we are all Americans, if you read the fine print….” But you know darn well they’ll do everything short of (or maybe even to include) fisticuffs to defend those Confederate flags!

      Now I’ll readily admit there is plenty of room in the subject of American heritage to include the Confederate perspective. But someone really needs to explain why the disrespect shown in the video is not just as bad as those who burn the American flag for political protests. In my view, both are cases where disrespectful displays of our national flag is used for “cause.”

      Although I should be happy they at least put the US flag on the right side of the color guard. The color bearers are getting a little better.

      • Billy Bearden Feb 21, 2011

        The US Flag was courtesy of the Ga Div SCV Color Guard.

        • Craig Feb 21, 2011

          So please tell the Ga Div SCV they need to learn how to properly display the American flag.

  • Neil Hamilton Feb 20, 2011

    A simple demonstration of a group that is losing its impact.

    Smaller numbers and louder voices.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

      A measure of their impact can be seen in the fact that they no longer speak for their own constituency of Confederate descendants. Southern heritage is much richer than anything imaginable by the SCV. First things first: Just get the history right.

      • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

        I wouldn’t call all Confederate descendants the “constituency” of “those people”. If we are the constituency, it is only because “they” are the self-appointed “leaders”. Sounds not all that different than the way things were in the fire-eaters consumed the rest of the South in their rhetoric.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

          That’s sort of what I meant to say. Note to self: Don’t respond to comments on the way out the door for a morning run.

      • Jonathan Dresner Feb 20, 2011

        I’m sure you’re right about the limits of the SCV message, but I wonder if the scale of the event really tells us all that much. It will be interesting to see going forward what kind of crowds other sesquicentennial events (we really need an abbreviation for that!) draw, especially those that aren’t connected to other local events.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

          It will be interesting to see what happens at Fort Sumter in April, but I am basing this observation on the past few years.

      • Ken Noe Feb 20, 2011

        There might have been many more participants yesterday if the Lyons “radical” leadership hadn’t chased off so many “moderates,” or “grannies” as they loved to call them. With one exception, all the members I know personally no longer participate, and to a man they blame the current, politicized national leadership. I wonder if what we saw yesterday were the chickens finally coming home to roost.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

          I don’t know, Ken. As far as I can tell there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism within the organization that would allow them to receive such a message. The language of victimization that they employ functions to seal them off from any external critique.

        • Margaret D. Blough Feb 20, 2011

          You’re right on that, Kevin. Some of the most vehement resistence to Lyons & his kind came out of the North Carolina SCV, quite a few of whom I know through the Longstreet Memorial Fund. All of the then SCV members that I knew from that time either were purged (if they were in leadership positions) or left in disgust after Lyons’ ilk gained control of the national organization.

    • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

      A stark demonstration of the chilling effect of political correctness.

      • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

        Always a convenient response when nothing of substance is forthcoming.

        • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

          Always a fall back to call a comment you disagree with a “response of no substance.”

          • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

            It is of little substance for the reasons I make perfectly clear. Better yet, your argument is what we call a non-starter.

            • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

              You didn’t identify any reasons, let alone make them perfectly clear. You expressed an opinion. Fine. It’s your blog.

              • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                It is my blog and this is where I share what is on my mind. What else do you want from me.

  • Chrisitne Smith Feb 20, 2011

    How sad that it couldn’t have been more historical and less hysterical.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

      Sad, but not surprising.

    • Neil Hamilton Feb 20, 2011

      Christine,

      Agreed.

      The SCV continues to lose ground because of the very nature of the hysteria of the message they are trying so hard to project to anyone who will listen. The fact is that actual history must be twisted so far out of shape and recognition because of that very same hysteria.

  • Will Stoutamire Feb 20, 2011

    Yep, about what we’ve come to expect. “Historians are telling us that we should hate our ancestors, that they were traitors and terrorists.” Last I checked, that’s definitely not what most historians are trying to say, but, you know, sensationalism always wins out. Like Mr. Moore said so well in another post, it is quite possible to acknowledge the historical roots of the Confederacy and yet still feel unashamed when reflecting on one’s Confederate ancestors.

    I’m glad the speaker very clearly stopped himself when he started to go down a particularly dangerous path… After saying that historians want us to believe Confederates were terrorists, he said something along the lines of “I don’t know about you, but none of us look like Osama bin Laden” and appears to have caught himself and diverted subject. Had he continued much further with that train of thought, and not made the inappropriate back of the bus comment, that would’ve been what the news grabbed on to after the event.

    • Frank Feb 20, 2011

      ““Historians are telling us that we should hate our ancestors, that they were traitors and terrorists.” Last I checked, that’s definitely not what most historians are trying to say”

      Is it? Cause here’s one prominent historian who definitely says just that:

      “But as Krannawitter shows, it is just as much the accusation of conservative neo-Confederates who seem to hope that the guilt of the Confederacy in enslaving innocent fellow-countrymen—and in many cases, given widespread plantation miscegenation, their own flesh and blood—or in contemplating treason and war against their country can be overshadowed by fastening the yoke of hypocrisy around Lincoln.” – Allen C. Guelzo

      Source: http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1548/article_detail.asp

      • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

        That’s not what Guelzo is saying at all. Now that’s what I call an interpretive stretch.

        • Frank Feb 20, 2011

          Sorry Kevin, but I’m afraid that’s EXACTLY what Guelzo was saying. He actually makes that argument rather frequently. In this example he even goes so far as to claim that the confederacy’s “treason” is worse than its defense of slavery:

          “Defending the slave system is scarcely something Virginians can look back on with pride. But even less admirable was the willingness of Virginians to commit treason as part of that defense.

          Treason is not an easy word to use these days. In modern ears, it has the ring of jingoism and Joe McCarthy, and in our multicultural reverence for diversity, we find it’s become easier to label as “dissenters” people who ask God to damn America or who sell their country’s weapons blueprints to the highest bidder.

          But what other word are we to use for American soldiers (like Robert E. Lee) who repudiated the oath he had sworn to defend the Constitution? Or for US senators (like Jefferson Davis) who raised their hand against the flag they were born under and brought on the deaths of 620,000 Americans? ” – Allen C. Guelzo

          Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0409/McDonnell-Confederate-history-storm-slavery-treason-and-true-Southern-courage/%28page%29/2

          • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

            What does this having to do with your claim that Guelzo believes that certain people ought to “hate” their ancestors? How you identify with individual ancestors is a private process. I don’t see anything here that suggests that descendants of Confederate soldiers ought to be ashamed of their ancestors. I see an assessment of slavery, treason, and a reference to Lee and Davis and the oaths they swore to defend.

            • Frank Feb 20, 2011

              The original statement, made by another, contained two distinct claims: Historians (1) “are telling us that we should hate our ancestors” and (2) “that they were traitors and terrorists.”

              No matter how you read them, Guelzo’s many statements to that effect satisfy the second accusation, and do so in explicit if even hyperbolic ways. What that says about the first accusation is left to the reader’s interpretation, but I submit that Guelzo’s next paragraph addresses that as well, where he plainly identifies with the 300,000 unionist southerners on favorable terms vis-a-vis the rest, or those he considers guilty of treason:

              “If treason has become too embarrassing a word, then so has loyalty, and we may as well forget the courage of the west Virginians, as well as those 300,000 other Southerners from Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and (yes!) Virginia who stayed faithful to the Union and fought in its ranks during the Civil War.”

              • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                He is still not telling people how to identify with their own ancestors.

                • Frank Feb 20, 2011

                  There were two distinct claims being made:

                  (1) Historians are telling us “that we should hate our ancestors.”

                  (2) Historians are telling us “that they were traitors and terrorists.”

                  Do you at least acknowledge that Guelzo is guilty of the second claim? And if so, do you not see how that could be used to support a very strong insinuation towards the first claim as well?

                  • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                    No, I don’t acknowledge it. He is making a claim about much broader issues as well as two specific individuals who were mentioned by name.

                    • Frank Feb 20, 2011

                      “No, I don’t acknowledge it.”

                      Hence the problem.

                      This attests that you are intentionally playing word games, or reading comprehension is not your strong suit. Neither is a defensible position to be in.

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                      I see, you resort to insulting me because I don’t agree with your preferred interpretation. Now that is funny.

                    • Frank Feb 20, 2011

                      There’s a big difference between simple disagreement about a “preferred interpretation” and being intentionally obtuse, which you are at the moment. Guelzo’s words are clear, and they convey beyond any doubt that he considers the Confederates at large (and in this specific instance, all Virginians who supported the Confederacy – not just Lee) to be guilty of treason.

                      “Defending the slave system is scarcely something Virginians can look back on with pride. But even less admirable was the willingness of Virginians to commit treason as part of that defense.”

                      The only thing that could satisfy the original grievance against him more explicitly than that would be shouting “You’re a traitor!” at his interlocutor (which he also reportedly did a few months ago at a University of Virginia speech when a student in the audience asked him a pro-secession question).

                      Nor does a book he wrote ten years ago excuse such behavior. He uses the credibility of that book to project himself before the public as an “expert” on the Civil War, and that makes him accountable for his statements about it in other public media.

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                      Whatever makes you feel better, Frank. You really have it in for Guelzo. Best of luck with that.

                  • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

                    I’d also point out that your angle of approach is rather broad-brush… “Historians are telling”? No, be more specific. You are mentioning Guelzo here.

                    This sort of approach has only festered an overall animosity among Confederate celebrationists toward historians in general, who happen to say something contrary to the “directives” of the Lost Cause legacy. Everybody who says something to the contrary has been labeled revisionists… but, this gets way beyond the intent of Kevin’s post, here.

                    • Andy Hall Feb 20, 2011

                      This sort of approach has only festered an overall animosity among Confederate celebrationists toward historians in general, who happen to say something contrary to the “directives” of the Lost Cause legacy.

                      It’s part-and-parcel with the way True Southrons™ characterize “historians” generally, as perpetuating the most childlike, simplistic and highly-partisan interpretations of the conflict; one wonders whether they’ve ever read anything besides lewrockwell-dot-com, or (for that matter) are familiar with the concept of projection.

                    • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

                      Andy,

                      Seems the Rockwell thing is like comfort food for some of the hardcore celebrationists. Of course, just like ingesting too much mac-n-cheese, well, nothing goods going to come from it.

                  • Larry Cebula Feb 20, 2011

                    Frank, I cannot imagine why anyone would have a strong emotional investment towards one’s ancestors. My own family tree includes Rhode Islanders who benefited from the slave trade and others who were directly involved in forcefully taking land away from Indians. Also some folks who did some good things, and whole lot of folks who mostly went about their business with no particular impact on the grand course of events.

                    I am not “proud” of their noble accomplishments nor “ashamed” of their blackest deeds–their actions were theirs and not mine. But I am interested in accurately understanding what they, and other people, did in the past.

                    Was secession treason? Of course it was, under the Constitutional definition of “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Was the slave system build at least in part on terror? Of course it was. These hardly seem disputable. But you don’t have to hate or love or have any particular feelings about whatever ancestors of yours might have committed such acts. You aren’t them.

                    • Margaret D. Blough Feb 20, 2011

                      Also, I don’t know how one can characterize the Reconstruction era violence against former slaves, Unionists, and/or Republicans in order to deprive them of their civil right in the former rebel states other than as terrorism.

  • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

    Shame of ancestors based on an historian calling ancestors traitors? I guess I’m like Teflon because it doesn’t stick with me.

    Frankly, the label “traitor” is the result of a calculated risk. The man who engages in an enterprise in which he could win or lose, and loss might entail being labeled as a “traitor”, well that’s the chance he takes, because, he knows that if successful, he would be a patriot. Because they lost, the label sticks. Fortunately, those wanting more blood than reconciliation had the upper hand in US government in years after the war.

    Southerners knew and had to accept that possibility when they undertook this effort.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

      I agree with you, Robert, but I still don’t see anything cited that would suggest that Guelzo is suggesting that descendants of Confederate soldiers ought to be ashamed of their ancestors. Why would anyone care whether a historian believed such a thing?

      • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

        I agree. Guelzo is making an historical observation, not a sentence to be laid on descendants of Confederate soldiers.

        • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

          … and that’s the folly of those who see comments like this, by Guelzo, as a need to feel ashamed.

        • Frank Feb 20, 2011

          So basically you think Guelzo is saying that – yes – the confederates were all a bunch of horrible traitors who wages war and terror and a bunch of other horrible things, but their descendants *shouldn’t* hate them for that?

          And if I may, could I direct your attention to the context of Guelzo’s editorializing, which was NOT some distant act of historical observation but rather a newspaper column criticizing Bob McDonnell’s “Confederate History Month” proclamation in 2010?

          Look – I get it that the SCV has become petty and trivial. I agree that these hoop skirts and Harry Potter speeches and strange commemorative events attest directly to their silliness. But don’t pretend that historians like Guelzo are impartial and distant observers to things like this. Don’t tell me that they do not climb in the mud ring and engage in the exact same “heroes and villains” style of junk history as the SCV, except that they do it from the other side where Lincoln is the infallible polished marble “Great Emancipator” and the south is nothing but treason artists and Benedict Arnolds.

          • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

            I am not saying anything about Guelzo beyond the fact that he is not claiming what you suggest. Why are you so obsessed with Guelzo? Who said that historians are “impartial and distant observers”? I certainly did not. Have you read his study of the Emancipation Proclamation or anything else beyond his editorials? It doesn’t sound like you have. I assure you that his books are not reducible to “heroes and villains.”

          • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

            “So basically you think Guelzo is saying that – yes – the confederates were all a bunch of horrible traitors who wages war and terror and a bunch of other horrible things, but their descendants *shouldn’t* hate them for that?”

            Who said that?

            “But don’t pretend that historians like Guelzo are impartial and distant observers to things like this.”

            … and who suggested that?

            1) Confederates lost, and thereby, the label “traitor” isn’t going away.

            2) Some historians have a slant. Question is if that slant is obvious (if not blatant) or simply exists because the way they present history is contrary to the way that the reader accepts history. Guelzo exists here, in this discussion, only because you bring him up. Honestly, I haven’t read him, so I can’t judge beyond what I see you citing here. Kevin, apparently, has. Are you taking him out of context or only offering your interpretation of what he writes?

            • Frank Feb 20, 2011

              Is Guelzo not considered among the “top” historians in his field of Civil War history? Does he not hold a distinguished chair in that position? Is he not regularly called upon in the national media as an academic expert on the subject? Has he not won multiple awards and accolades from his academic peers to the same effect?

              I called out Guelzo because Guelzo *is* a strong representative example of the “historical mainstream” on the Civil War and therefore fits a discussion where others, yourself included, have made broad-based appeals to that generic cadre of Civil War historians to justify your position.

              If Guelzo’s not good enough for you though, by all means let’s talk McPherson. Or Foner. Or Wilentz. Because those “mainstream historians” do the exact same thing as Guelzo.

              • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                You called out Guelzo and were unable to support your preferred interpretation of something he recently wrote. I’ve given you enough of an opportunity to make your point, but I am growing weary of this little thread.

                That’s it. Thanks for stopping by.

                • Robert Moore Feb 20, 2011

                  I don’t know, Kevin. I just read the Guelzo statement regarding Confederate History Month in Virginia, and I do get the idea that he is saying what Frank suggests.

                  “Defending the slave system is scarcely something Virginians can look back on with pride. But even less admirable was the willingness of Virginians to commit treason as part of that defense.”

                  Of course, it boils down to Guelzo’s views (which, I think, may be more through a modern lens, and less the recommended objective lens of historians) that being one who served Virginia, in the ranks, entailed 1) fighting to defend slavery on the grounds of defending the right to hold slaves and/or the stability of white societal dominance and 2) even in the event of even fighting for hearth and home, it was treason.

                  So, really, I’d say he is putting on a slant, and saying that there is no reason to feel even slightly comfortable with having a Confederate ancestor.

                  But this is beyond the context of your post, and I’ll reserve further commentary till another time.

                  • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                    Good point, Robert. My problem with all of this is that one must draw a conclusion from what Guelzo states to his views about what is appropriate for individuals regarding their ancestors. I am simply not willing to make that leap. How might we apply what Guelzo is referenced to have said to the large number of Confederate soldiers who were drafted? Did they commit treason?

                    It seems to me that Guelzo is commenting on the scope of Confederate History Month as it was formulated by the governor and not on the question of how we should remember our individual ancestors. Of course, I could be wrong.

                    • Margaret D. Blough Feb 20, 2011

                      Also, it is not as if the rebels weren’t called traitors by many in the loyal states DURING the Civil War. This is not purely a retrospective characterization. The fact that the US Government chose a more moderate path post-war than most governments that have defeated a rebellion does not impact the nature of the rebellion.

          • Andy Hall Feb 20, 2011

            But don’t pretend that historians like Guelzo are impartial and distant observers to things like this.

            No one pretends they are. I’ve never met an historian who’d make such a claim. The late Barbara Tuchman — not an academic historian, but one who nevertheless wrote significant books that greatly broadened the public’s awareness of both recent and medieval history — explicitly rejected that notion in a great essay reproduced in her anthology, Practising History. The historian has an obligation to be fair but it’s just not possible for the historian not to have views or opinions abut historical subjects, any more that it is not to have views or opinions about current events. And as she put it, it’s far better to have the historians’ biases exposed for the reader to see and account for, that to have them hidden behind a phony veil of “impartiality.”

            Don’t tell me that they do not climb in the mud ring and engage in the exact same “heroes and villains” style of junk history as the SCV, except that they do it from the other side where Lincoln is the infallible polished marble “Great Emancipator” and the south is nothing but treason artists and Benedict Arnolds.

            There are all sorts of people who write all sorts of things. But you won’t generally find historians of the sort you describe here recognized much by the profession. I fear that your understanding of what major, high-profile “historians” write is based more on others’ assertions about them, than reading their actual works.

  • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

    Mr. Levin, what appears to be disinterest or distancing from events like this one, and from celebrations, commemorations and even positive or neutral acknowledgments of the Confederacy, are largely the result of an insidious encroachment on free thought and free expression in the United States that took hold in the latter decades of the previous century. It’s called political correctness. (Also note that the economy and the appalling unemployment rate are factors in keeping people from traveling to such events.)

    Political correctness can cost a person their job, their livelihood. It can cause high school students public humilation, even when they’ve done nothing wrong, and intended — and caused — no harm to anyone. But it is most at home on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities. I dunno, maybe there’s something about the academic mentality that cozies up to a mental/political/social/cultural Procrustean bed.

    It’s kinda McCarthyism in reverse — but it’s amazing that some of the same people who’d get pretzelized over those victimized by McCarthyism are blasé, or even approving, of those McCarthied by political correctness….

    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

      Connie,

      You apparently don’t know the first thing about the First Amendment. I fail to see what any of this has to do with this post. Either say something relevant or go somewhere to post this nonsense. I am getting tired of your little rants. All you seem to do is criticize, but not once have you added anything substantive to the discussion. This is your final warning.

      • Wm Sidney Feb 20, 2011

        Mr. Levin – I’m somewhat baffled by what passes for “substantive discussion” in your mind.

        Up above you basically chewed a guy out for posting a quote by Alan Guelzo that contradicted your synopsis of historical opinion. There wasn’t anything wrong with the way Guelzo’s quote was presented that I can tell, yet you dug in rather obstinately and denied what Guelzo plainly in the face of it before completely cutting off that discussion…and then, ironically, backtracking a tad when another of your regulars chided you.

        Here you have a lady offering what appears to be a perfectly reasonable and topic-relevant explanation of why the mayors, governors, and chamber of commerce types skipped out on the SCV event – fear of politically correct backlash to be associated with it, even if they wanted to. Granted, you may not personally agree with her position nor should you have to. But it is a salient argument to consider, and well within the bounds of what any reasonable person would consider the “topic” of this blog post. And for that you are threatening to cut her off too?

        I suppose it is your blog, and that makes it your right to turn it into the Kevin Levin Hour of uniform opinion, or to limit discussants to only those who generally support your own position save for an occasional dissent of no real consequence. But your behavior today is, to put it mildly, rather bullyish and doesn’t speak well to your ability to answer your critics on fair and open grounds. You speak often about what your kids “learn” in your classroom. If you conduct yourself there as you do here though I’m seriously left to wonder if the only thing they are really “learning” is how to navigate your rigidly opinionated conceptualization of historical events while steering clear of anything that might offend it and draw your ire, not in a block from a blog comments section but in the far more consequential form of a letter grade.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

          Thanks for taking the time to comment. I think if you take the time to peruse this blog you will find that I have no problem whatsoever with people who disagree with me. In fact, I welcome it.

          1. I stand by my position re: Frank’s interpretation of the Guelzo passages.
          2. My response to Connie is based on a number of interactions on this site. On a number of occasions I had to delete comments that were personally insulting.
          3. You are free to believe what you will re: my teaching.

          Thanks again for the comment.

          • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

            “My response to Connie is based on a number of interactions on this site. On a number of occasions I had to delete comments that were personally insulting.”

            Sez you. Since they’re gone, there’s no way to know now whether they were personally insulting or not. However, I contest the charge. I don’t deny they may have been insulting — I’d say justifiably so — but not personally insulting. You just don’t like being disagreed with.

            • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

              Say what you will, Connie. I don’t delete comments simply because they disagree with me. Your comments were deleted because they included some personal insults. This has gone on long enough.

      • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

        Yes, I know about the First Amendment and I know that your bringing it up here is what’s irrelevant.

        I’m amazed at your admissions of “failing to see” this or that. Does it really have to be spelled out for you? Very well. Read on.

        To summarize — you mentioned that there isn’t much participation in SCV events, they’re falling short in their efforts of Confederate commemoration, and failing to make their case in the court of public opinion. I simply explained a huge part of the reason for that — the stranglehold political correctness has taken on this country in the past several decades.

        Do you truly not see that I was offering an explanation for what you observed? How do you conclude that supplying an explanation for your observations is somehow irrelevant? You may not agree with the explanation, but that doesn’t make the explanation irrelevant.

        Yes, I am adding something substantive to the discussion. That you may not like it doesn’t mean it isn’t substantive. And, I note, criticism when deserved certainly is substantive.

        Now. Go ahead and wield that delete button.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

          So, what evidence do you have that some some vague notion of PC is responsible for their lack of involvement in yesterday’s commemoration? Keep in mind that even if their absence was due to their concerns about the political consequences that does not imply PC. Politicians are always concerned about public perception. We don’t need the SCV to remind us of this. It’s also possible that some public officials white/black disagreed with the scope of the event. By the same token we could also argue that the overwhelming support by public officials in 1961 was also POLITICALLY CORRECT since they understood that their attendance would likely translate into votes.

          Which means we are back to the starting point and that is why your argument lacks substance.

          • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

            So, what evidence do I have that some some vague notion of PC is responsible for their lack of involvement in yesterday’s commemoration? The same evidence that you have for the assertions you make in your original post here.

            “The speaker’s comparison of the SCV’s challenges with Harry Potter and Rosa Parks reflects an intellectual bankruptcy that is bound to continue to marginalize the organization throughout the sesquicentennial”? Reflects? Bound to? Translation: “This is what it sounds like to me.”

            You’d have to have lived on Mars the past half-century to not know about the influence of political correctness in the USA. This group exists solely to deal with the chilling effects of political correctness on free speech and free thought on college campuses: http://thefire.org/ But its not just in academia.

            • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

              So, you don’t know that the lack of participation was the result of a disagreement with the day’s proceedings. Do you believe that the decision of African American civic leaders can also be explained by political correctness. I guess based on this reasoning that everything can be explained this way. What a revelation.

              • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

                You really shouldn’t rest so securely on your assumptions. I wasn’t talking so much about civic leaders as ordinary Southerners who are proud of their history and heritage, but who are reluctant to take part in such events for fear of getting written up in, say, the SPLC Intelligence Report, and being smeared as dangerous, violent racists to law enforcement agencies (federal, state and local) from one end of the country to the other.

                The SPLC has been on a crusade to wipe out the SCV for years or, failing that, turn it into a small band of gravestone tenders, otherwise politically and culturally impotent. The are on the same kind of crusade against pro-family, Christian, conservative groups, too.

                • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                  Do you really believe that the average American has even heard of the SPLC? I think I’ve read that site no more than five times in the last five years. Your argument still suffers from the same flaw and that is you don’t provide any evidence for your claim as to why attendance was low. Perhaps most Southerners simply have better things to do than hang out in Montgomery, Alabama to commemorate the Civil War.

                  • Connie Chastain Feb 20, 2011

                    They may not know the SPLC by name, but anybody with a kid in school these days knows what political correctness is, and the power it wields. They know the power it has at their workplace, too.

                    You don’t have to go to the SPLC’s website to see their influence. They are the go-to group for media reporters and columnists from NYT, Huffpoo, MoveOn, etc., down to the local dead-tree weekly. They influence the media, academia, government and law enforcement, all of which in turn have a certain influence over the populace at large.

                    Lemme guess. You don’t believe this.

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

                      It’s not that I believe or don’t believe. The truth is that without a specific argument that includes something approaching evidence I don’t know what to make of it. Sorry, but that is not the world that I operate in. Perhaps you are used to making these kinds of sweeping generalizations on other websites and receiving positive reinforcement. If you are looking for that affirmation you are not going to get it from me.

                      I know, this means that I am in denial. So be it.

            • James F. Epperson Feb 21, 2011

              “Political correctness” is a rhetorical bogeyman which means, simply, that a point of view someone dislikes has gained traction.

              • Connie Chastain Feb 21, 2011

                It is official or societal or pop-cultural censorship — or the repression of speech or expression, or the deliberate reshaping of language — based most usually on the concept of addressing purported injustice to certain groups, or to avoid offending them. Whether it’s offensive or not depends on the group. For example, it is bad (un-PC) to offend African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, homosexuals, women (or, at least, feminist women) but it’s okay to insult and offend, say, Tea Partiers, Republicans, traditionalists, pro-lifers, pro-marriage folks and the more fundamentalist of the Christian groups, not to mention “neo-Confederates.”

                • James F. Epperson Feb 21, 2011

                  I think it is more correct to say it is an attempt to de-privilege an argument that cannot be met on its merits. You can’t argue the points others are making, so you scream “PC!” as though it is some kind of magic totem to ward off opposing views. It is not a rhetorical tactic I have much respect for, frankly—IMO, it is tantamount to an admission that you can’t win the battle of ideas.

                  • Connie Chastain Feb 22, 2011

                    Mr. Epperson, I admit your post mystifies me. I *have* argued the points other people have made. That’s what has Mr. Levin so PO’d. Among others, I’ve expressed the opinion that fewer people participate in proConfederacy events because in this, the PC era, there is the possibility of retaliation that runs the gamut of ridicule from self-righteous critics, such as you see on this blog, to expulsion from school or the loss of one’s job .

                    So if you have opposing views and voice them — for example, the view that political correctness has a chilling effect on certain speech and activity — somehow, that is an attempt to “ward off” opposing views? And is the reverse also true? Are those who would argue against the effects of political correctness *not* attempting to ward off opposing views?

                    Incidently, I didn’t “scream ‘PC!'” and your resorting to that kind of distortion says more about the substancelessness of your argument than mine. I gave a logical, reasonable overview of what I conceptualize PC to be, and I even gave a link showing why I think that. So far, you’ve given us your rather colorful opinion of what PC is (rhetorical bogeyman … magical totem) but I haven’t used it that way here, so I have to assume you’re attempting to avoid making comments of any substance on my views about political correctness.

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 22, 2011

                      If you want to be taken seriously, than offer a real argument as to why no political officials took part in the event. I could use the PC reference to make just about any claim. It’s a non-starter.

                    • James F. Epperson Feb 22, 2011

                      With all due respect, ma’am, you *have* used it just as I asserted, without offering any evidence or examples to support your claims—it is a species of “labelism,” argument by tossing labels around. I do understand what you think “political correctness” is, but you don’t understand how shallow an argument it is.

                    • Will Stoutamire Feb 22, 2011

                      Mrs. Chastain, one might point out that your second post on this particular article was a lengthy diatribe against being “PC” – or, as you called it, “kinda McCarthyism in reverse” (which is a gross misunderstanding of the difference between McCarthyism as a government-run crackdown and “PC”, even as you frame it, as a social pressure, but that’s beside the point). You raised the issue. At no point in that diatribe do you provide any *proof* that political officials or the general public refrained from attending the event because of “PC”, but rather your *opinion* about what happened. You have, as of yet, still provided no proof that “political correctness” had any impact on the attendance at this weekend’s ‘commemoration.’

                      Might it be possible that these politicians who supposedly were scared away by the PC boogeyman, actually chose not to attend the event because (a) they disagree with the perspective of the SCV on history/heritage or (b) they realize that the politically expedient thing to do (not “correct”, but expedient – as in, to get reelected) is not attend? Might it be possible that the political views of the SCV, as expressed during the event, do not align with their own? Might it be possible that the low public attendance reflects a significant change in the way most Alabamans embrace or do not embrace their Confederate history? With the standards of proof that you have so far employed (or, rather, not employed), I can provide a whole host of other equally unprovable hypotheses about the attendance.

                      So yes, your argument that attendance was effected by “political correctness” is a poor rhetorical tactic. It is an opinion that you have not proved, which does not fly for good analysis.

                    • Ken Noe Feb 23, 2011

                      Well now, I’m curious. How many people specifically have told you that they didn’t go to Montgomery because of “the possibility of retaliation that runs the gamut of ridicule from self-righteous critics, such as you see on this blog, to expulsion from school or the loss of one’s job.” I’ve seen people say that they didn’t go because they had to work, a legitimate excuse, but has anyone actually told you directly that they were afraid of being fired, or expelled, or of having Kevin Levin make fun of them?

                    • Connie Chastain/180 DTS Feb 23, 2011

                      Mr. Levin, in your original post, you said “Sons of Confederate Veterans can muster little more than a few hundred people from its ranks,” and THAT’S what I was talking about and who I was referring to — not “political officials” or “civic leaders” regardless of your efforts, and those of some of your satellites, to change horses in midstream. Let’s stay honest, here, shall we, gentlemen?

                      When you say , “If you want to be taken seriously,” do you mean — by you? LOL!

                      Mr. Epperson, I provided a link to TheFire.org, which stands up for the right to free expression on college campuses, where PC is especially bad. If you want evidence that PC exists, read their site.

                      Mr. Stoutamire, I wasn’t attempting to claim PC and McCarthyism were exactly the same. That’s why I used the word “kinda.” That’s slang for “kind of.” And yes, the pressure to be politically correct can come from government.

                      I’ve already addressed this change-horses-in-midstream effort to narrow the discussion to “political officials” rather than the folks in Mr. Levin’s original post, that is: people from the ranks of the SCV.

                      I haven’t claimed it was impossible for there to be other reasons why numbers are down for events like this one. That’s why I used the term “largely,” not “totally. ”

                      As far as politicians go, I guess nearly anything’s possible — but how about you and Mr. Levin and all the rest of you weighing in on this acknowledging that he wasn’t originally talking about politicians, he was talking about the “ranks of the SCV”?

                      Mr. Noe, I haven’t discussed this specific event with anyone, but the possibility of negative consequences for supporting Confederate heritage has been an oft-discussed topic on proSouthern forums, discussion groups and in chatrooms for as long as I’ve been accessing the Internet, which would be since 1999 when I used a Web TV.

                      Now, when you gentlemen can stick with the subject, not to mention start providing what you demand that I provide, maybe we can revisit this. Until then, consider your questions answered.

                    • Kevin Levin Feb 23, 2011

                      Connie,

                      You say on your blog: “Based solely on those few visits, I have made some observations and drawn some tentative conclusions, to wit, that Mr. Levin, the blogger, is extremely biased against the Confederacy — and against anyone today who does not hold views about the war and the Confederacy that he approves of.”

                      And yet you continue to stop by on a regular basis. Very strange, indeed. Thank you for your continued support of CWM.

            • JMRudy Feb 21, 2011

              Connie,

              Opinions change. It’s a sheer fact of life in a world which bases so much of our human interactions on intellectual endeavours. I personally think, from my observation, that much of what is seen as, “politically incorrect,” is just outmoded thought. Social mores of a culture shift and flex, and when they do certain traditions fall outside the new boundaries.

              People flex too. LBJ changed over the course of a decade from fighting against civil rights, to championing a bill through Congress to begin ensuring black voting rights. I don’t see that as flip-flopping or him cow-towing to the forces of political correctness. I see that as an earnest change in his heart.

              I think a culture, taken on the whole, can have an earnest change of heart. Those symbols which in the past were once acceptable are now deemed unacceptable because the intellectual landscape has changed. It is not censorship. Everyone has the right to spew whatever speech they want in this nation (save time, place, manner and hate speech restrictions). But likewise, everyone else has the right to respond with their opinions of that speech. The balance just shifts. Those speaking with the predominate voice yesterday are matched with parity today, and a new predominate emerges tomorrow.

              American culture is always in flux.

              • Connie Chastain Feb 21, 2011

                Certainly cultures evolve. But when you can lose your job for “offending” a protected group, that’s not cultural evolution; it is coercion. When college kids can be suspended or expelled for “violation” of ridiculous “speech codes” or when young men can be forced into “re-education” classes (to learn, for example, how to hate their masculinity and see themselves as threats to women), that is coercion. When these sorts of things force the changing of opinion, it’s not a “shifting balance.” It is coercion, it is not good for a free society. http://thefire.org/

                • Kevin Levin Feb 21, 2011

                  You still have provided no evidence that the lack of political participation in yesterday’s event has anything at all do with your vague notion of PC.

  • Christine M. Smith Feb 20, 2011

    Ah yes, when all else fails, blame it on the colleges and universities. As long as we have a scapegoat, we’re all right.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 20, 2011

      Hi Christine,

      Even worse is the fact that most, if not of all, of these people have not read anything coming out of the scholarly community. It’s part of a deeply embedded anti-intellectualism that cries out that they really have nothing of interest to say.

  • Chrisitne Smith Feb 20, 2011

    To get back to the main point: If it was supposed to be a commemoration of an historical event,
    and was turned in to something less than historical, it was wrong. If the SCV wanted to have rally somewhere else they should have done so. They appear to be hijacking history to suit their own present view of matters. It is totally inappropriate to allow late 20th-early 21st century ideas/values on events of the past. They were what they were and no one can change that. What we “the living” must do is see to it that it doesn’t happen again on our watch at least. I have ancestors who fought on both sides of the war and I honor all of them in my teaching of the Civil War and make sure that my students know that the war was complicated and can’t be put into “a box” and neither can peoples feelings. We study primary as well as secondary sources, watch film excerpts and I have a Union re-enactor come to visit my class yearly. He is excellent in his teaching about the life of the common soldier and my students are always impressed, even though they might not be so when I first announce he is coming.
    And I get a kick out of walking over to the Union to have lunch with him (while he’s still in uniform) just to see the stares he gets! His reenactment group, the 19th Indiana Inf. Regiment, (regular Army, not volunteer) has been invited to take part in the commemoration at Ft. Sumter as part of the Union garrison of the fort. I am looking forward to hearing his account and seeing pictures. And…oh, dear, in reading over this I think I just admitted to being part of that terrible group termed “academia”. “C’est la vie>

  • Dan Wright Feb 20, 2011

    Great post, Kevin.
    I think you got it right at the top – more political rally than reenactment.
    And I got a chuckle out of the AP story – that black leaders discussed staging a protest and decided against it. How do you spell marginalized?

  • Kevin Levin Feb 21, 2011

    Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist making it 100 comments.

  • Kathleen Wyer Feb 21, 2011

    Hi Kevin:

    When I read about the “party” for Davis, I reminded me of my hero, Union General, David Hunter.

    My favorite letter addressed to Jefferson Davis came from Major-General David Hunter. His letter written in April 25, 1863 was in response to Jefferson’s threat “all those engaged in arming the negroes to fight for their country to be felons, and directed the immediate execution of all such as should be captured.”

    Hunter gives his own interpretation of
    the Confederate “fight for liberty” and throws it back at Davis. Please read the full text of David Hunter’s letter at the link below.

    http://www.coax.net/people/lwf/LTR_DH1.HTM

    Too bad no one read this at the party for Davis.

    Kathleen

  • TheRaven Feb 21, 2011

    Kevin,

    I’ve think you’ve got these well-meaning SVC people all wrong. They weren’t complaining. It was more of a confessional. We’ve recognized the mentality needed for wholesale denialism and they’ve been shoved to the back of the short bus.

    Apologies to educators who might be offended, but Filter got there first.

    TR

  • Connie Chastain/180 DTS Feb 23, 2011

    No stranger, really, than your fascination with folks you’re biased against — a fascination so powerful it keeps your entries and comments on this blog flowing like a river. We all have our interests, I guess.

    And I don’t really stop by here on a regular basis. In fact, it’s highly irregular. Days and days and posts and post go by without a visit from me. Just compare how many threads I’ve posted on to how many I haven’t.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 23, 2011

      Connie,

      You don’t need to explain yourself. I understand. :) I do appreciate the attention on your own blog. It’s nice to know that you are not too obsessed with this site.

  • Rob in CT Feb 23, 2011

    Biased against the Confederacy! OH NOES! What a terrible crime.

    Pathetic.

  • Neil Hamilton Feb 23, 2011

    Kevin,

    It is very much apparent that there are those who need conflict in order to validate themselves as either important or to have a feel that they are in fact ‘engaged’ in a cause they have made important to themselves.

    But what is even more apparent in the emotional need to engage over something, anything, history seems to take a back seat. We see it in the speech given by the SCV at this event and we see it in some of the responses to your own blog. History is secondary, the engagement is primary, and historical fact need not apply as the joy of ‘in your face’ triumphs over any attempt to learn from history.

    Well, at least you provide a service by giving those who need such a place to come and do so. :)

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    • Kevin Levin Feb 23, 2011

      I think for a lot of these people there is no distinction between history and contemporary topics. However, in the case of CC, I don’t think she knows much of anything about Civil War history.

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