Category Archives: Ancient History

Neoconservatives Demonize The South To Deify The Idea Of America

Ancient History, Conservatism, Democrats, Founding Fathers, History, Hollywood, Neoconservatism, States' Rights

BY Boyd D. Cathey

Victor Davis Hanson is one of the most lauded and applauded historians of the “conservative establishment.” Honored by President George W. Bush, a regular writer for National Review, spoken of in hushed and admiring tones by pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, Hanson is rightly regarded as a fine classicist and military historian, especially of ancient warfare. But like other authors who tend to cluster in the Neoconservative orbit, Hanson strays far afield into modern history, American studies, and into current politics—fields where his fealty to a neocon narrative overwhelms his historical expertise.

And like other well-regarded writers of the neocon persuasion—the far less scholarly Jonah Goldberg (in his superficial and terribly wrongheaded volume, Liberal Fascism:  The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning) and Dinesh D’Souza (in his historical mish-mash, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left)—Hanson, when he writes of contemporary politics or modern American history, writes with an agenda. Certainly, it is not as visible nor as blatantly ideological as that pushed by Goldberg or as filled with skewed historical legerdemain as that of D’Souza. Unlike them, his arguments are usually more firmly based and less fantastical.

Yet, like Goldberg and D’Souza and other putative neocon historians, Hanson is at pains to create a “usable past,” to construct a history and tradition that buttresses and supports current neocon ideology. Thus, he strains to defend the concept of an American nation conceived in and based on an idea, the idea of equality and “equal rights.” And because of that, like D’Souza and Goldberg, he must read back into American history an arbitrary template to demonstrate that premise.

It follows that, as for other neocons, the Declaration of Independence becomes a critical and underlying document for his historical approach. The words—“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”—become irreplaceably essential. Avoiding the contextual meaning of the phrase and the meaning clearly intended by the Founders, which was aimed specifically at the British parliament and the demand for an “equal”—just—consideration for the colonists from across the pond, the neocons turn a very practical bill of grievances into a call for 18th century Rationalist egalitarianism, which it was not. As the late Mel Bradford and more recently Barry Alan Shain have convincingly demonstrated, such attempts to read that current ideology back into the Founding, runs aground on factual analysis.

But facts have little to do with neocon ideology. What is demanded is a usable past to support present practice and to give legitimacy to the current narrative.  It follows: if the American nation was founded on the “idea” of equality, then any successive deviances and variations from that idea are wrong and immoral, and, therefore, in some way, “anti-American.”  Thus, those Southerners who “rebelled” against the legitimate—and righteous—government of the sainted President Lincoln become “traitors,” who not only engaged in “treason” against the legitimate government of the Union, but through their defense of slavery, were enemies of the very “idea” of America—equality.

How many times in recent days in the debates over Confederate monuments and symbols have we heard echoes of such a refrain from the pages of “conservative” publications like National Review of The Weekly Standard? Or, from certain pundits on Fox News?

And, more, those Southerners—more specifically, Southern Democrats—who opposed the “civil rights” legislation of the 1960s, who questioned various Supreme Court decisions on that topic (beginning with the atrociously-decided Brown decision), who enforced those evil “Jim Crow” laws, are not and never could have been real defenders of the “American [egalitarian] idea,” and therefore, never could be considered “conservatives.”

Confronted by unwashed, rednecky “Southern conservatives,” most neocons seek desperately to protect their left flank from criticism from those of the farther Left. They continually and in “alta voz” protest of their bona fides, of how strongly they supported Martin Luther King’s crusade for equality (King was actually a “conservative,” don’t you know?), of how they stood on that bridge in Selma with the noble demonstrators—well, at least in spirit!—against the “fascist” Billy club-armed police of “Bull Connor, and how they really do support “civil rights” for everyone, including “moderate” affirmative action, “moderate” feminism, yes to same sex marriage, and yes to transgenderism. Their fear of being called out and associated with anti-egalitarians far outweighs their fear of confirming the cultural Marxist template, which, in their own manner, they both sanctify and thus, assist to advance.

The neocon narrative stands history on its head. Not only does it fail as competent history, it simply ignores inconvenient facts, historical context, and the careful investigations and massive documentation of more responsible chroniclers and historians of the American nation, if those facts and documentation do not fit a preconceived narrative. All must be written, all must be shaped, to demonstrate the near-mystical advance and progress of the Idea of Equality and Human Rights in the unfolding of American history. Thus, the incredibly powerful and detailed contributions of, say, a Eugene Genovese (for example, his The Mind of the Master Class:  History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview, and various other studies), go basically for naught.

Victor Davis Hanson, in a recent essay (September 26), adds his own contribution to this historical rewrite, examining what he calls Hollywood’s fascination with what he labels “Confederate Cool.” His argument goes, if I can summarize it, as follows:

–Throughout the 1920s until at least the 1960s (and even beyond), Hollywood and the entertainment industry were kind, even partial, to the South, and in particular, to the Confederacy;

–But Hollywood and the entertainment industry are on the Left;

–Therefore, there were obviously certain elements of the Confederacy and the Old South that were consistent with a Leftist worldview.

Here is the kernel of his argument (I quote):

Can Shane and Ethan Edwards [“The Searchers”] remain our heroes? How did the Carradines and the Keaches (who played Jesse and Frank James) survive in Hollywood after turning former Confederates into modern resisters of the Deep State?

The answer is a familiar with the Left: The sin is not the crime of romanticizing the Confederacy or turning a blind eye to slavery and secession per se. Instead what matters more is the ideology of the sinner who commits the thought crime. And how much will it cost the thought police to virtue-signal a remedy?

Folksy Confederates still have their charms for the Left. All was forgiven Senator Robert Byrd, a former Klansman. He transmogrified from a racist reprobate who uttered the N-word on national television into a down-home violinist and liberal icon. A smiling and avuncular Senator Sam Ervin, of Watergate fame, who quoted the Constitution with a syrupy drawl, helped bring down Nixon; that heroic service evidently washed away his earlier segregationist sin of helping to write the Southern Manifesto.

Progressives always have had a soft spot for drawling (former) racists whose charms in their twilight years were at last put to noble use to advance liberal causes — as if the powers of progressivism alone can use the kick-ass means of the Old Confederacy for exalted ends

Literally, it would take a fat book to unravel Hanson’s farrago of misplaced assertions.

First, in impressionistically reviewing American film history in the 1930s until the upheavals of the 1960s, he makes an assumption that Hollywood was dominated and controlled by the same ideologically cultural Marxism that owns it today. That assumption is not exact. Indeed, there were Communists and revolutionary Socialists working and prospering in the Hollywood Hills during that period—the “Hollywood Ten” and Communist writers and directors like Dalton Trumbo stand out as prime examples. And during World War II, such embarrassing and pro-Communist cinematic expressions as “Days of Glory” (1943) and “Mission to Moscow” (1944, and pushed hard by President Roosevelt), proliferated.

But the fiercely anti-Communist studio bosses, Jack Warner (of Warner Brothers Studio), Carl Laemmle (Universal Pictures), Howard Hughes (RKO), Herbert Yates (Republic Pictures) and Walt Disney were anything but sympathetic to the far Left. They were much more sympathetic to the power of the almighty box office dollar.

And the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild—especially under the leadership of Ronald Reagan—attempted to root out Communist influence. It was not uncommon to find dozens of prominent actors supporting conservative and Republican candidates for public office until the 1960s. For instance, during the 1944 election campaign between Roosevelt and Governor Tom Dewey of New York numerous celebrities attended a massive rally organized by prominent director/producer David O. Selznick in the Los Angeles Coliseum in support of the DeweyBricker ticket. The gathering drew 93,000 attendees, with Cecil B. DeMille as the master of ceremonies and short speeches by Hedda Hopper and Walt Disney. Among those in attendance were Ann SothernGinger RogersAdolphe Menjou, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, and Gary Cooper, plus many others.

A majority of entertainment personalities did support FDR, just as a majority of the American voting public, in those years. But, significantly, it was not considered a “social crime” or “cultural sin” for a famous actor back then to openly support a conservative or a Republican.

Hanson views an earlier sympathy of Hollywood for the South as the expression of some Leftist fascination—and a certain identification–with the South’s agrarian, anti-establishment, and populist traditions, and its opposition to an oppressive Federal government.  Thus, he asserts the songster Joan Baez could make popular “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and more recently, post-Vietnam, director Walter Hill could, in “The Long Riders” (1980), turn “the murderous Jesse James gang… into a sort of mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd with Bonnie and Clyde — noble outlaws fighting the grasping northern banks and the railroad companies.” And, torturously, he draws out a Leftist meaning.

But he misunderstands the history. Hollywood’s fascination with the Old South and its more or less successful effort sixty or seventy years ago to portray the Confederacy with some degree of sympathy reflected the general tenor of the times then, of the desire for a united nation, of binding up old wounds—and especially when the nation was apparently threatened by external forces: Nazism and Communism. [A sympathy for the underdog, always an abiding theme in film, could also have accounted for why Hollywood once smiled on the Old South.—ILANA.] But that desire for unity and that respect for the Confederacy and Confederate heroes would evaporate in the 1970s.

And the nature of the Hollywood Left would also significantly change. The cautious leftward movement of the 1950s—which mostly did not affect Hollywood Westerns (most studios had their own separate “ranches,” separate from any main studio “contagion”)—was transformed by a fierce and all-encompassing cultural Marxism in the ‘60s and ‘70s, just as academia and society as a whole were radically transformed. The modern anti-Southern, anti-Confederate bias and hatred emitted by Hollywood and by our entertainment industry today must be seen in that light, and not as simply the seamless continuation of an older ambiguous relationship with the South.

Constructing this narrative permits Hanson and other neocons to write off the older, traditional South and the Confederacy, while defending their precious narrative of the egalitarian idea of America: “See,” they tell us, “the far Left actually identified with that anti-democratic, anti-American Southern vision which undermined our progress towards greater unity and progress and”—of course—“equal rights.” The Neocon narrative and version of history is, thus, kept unsullied and ideologically pure, while the attempts by the farther Left to lump them in with associated “neo-Confederates, racists, and the extreme right” are repelled.

The problem is that their view actually undermines a clear understanding of our history and perverts the American Founding and the intentions of those who cobbled together this nation. It is a myth built on a poorly-constructed and poorly-interpreted bill of historical goods.

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

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~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.

Fake News Fallacies And The Las Vegas Massacre

Ancient History, Crime, Ethics, GUNS, Journalism, Left-Liberalism, Media, Propaganda, Terrorism

Days following the Oct 1 massacre of country music concertgoers in Las Vegas, a CNN ego in an anchor’s chair, her name is Brooke Baldwin, continued to push her guests to reconsider guns already regulated. Is this journalism or activism?

Ms. Baldwin had previously (and shamefully) tried to extract an anti-gun “change of heart” message from a female country music DJ she interviewed. The young woman reacted with class, refusing to wade into the mire with Ms. Baldwin. I suspect Baldwin will continue her asinine lack of discipline. Come to think of it, there are no disciples any longer, are there? Baldwin and her pals on the late-night shows are activists, not journalists. There was a reason the ancients created the disciplines.

Ms. Baldwin further shed credibility by asserting that the shooter used automatic rifles in the slaughter. Not that it makes the man less monstrous, but the shooter (whose name will live on in infamy) used semi-automatic rifles. The bump-fire modification used is a LEGAL modification. As a member of the GabFamily said, let media morons think the Vegas shooter used automatic rifles. Let the dumb Left re-ban automatic weapons.

Some credible individuals, such as U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, insisted the gunman deliberately targeted country music concertgoers so as to kill Trump Supporters. Was Stephen Paddock targeting Deplorables? As Jack Kerwick has argued, this is one perfectly plausible theory of the crime.

Another fallacy echoed by Fake News: Mass shootings are the purview of white males. Don’t listen. Look at this lineup of ghouls:

 

Faking History To Make The Black Kids Feel Good

Africa, Ancient History, Education, Pseudo-history, Race

“Faking History To Make The Black Kids Feel Good” is the current column, now on The Daily Caller. An excerpt:

A known quantity in the faking department is Rev. Al Sharpton. In a video that gets considerable play on TV, Sharpton informs a rapt audience that “white folks” were cave dwellers when blacks were building empires and pyramids; teaching philosophy, astrology and mathematics. “Socrates and them Greek homos” were mere copycats, aping black civilization.

As revealed in “Helping The Sharpton and Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black,’” this mythistory has a presence in America’s schools, tertiary and secondary.

By now we know that mass media and government under both national parties routinely generate fake news to achieve political ends. That our progressive pedagogues propagandize the youth: That’s well-known and passively accepted, too. Less known is the extent to which fabricated history has been incorporated into curricula.

In “Black Athena,” Martin Gardiner Bernal of Cambridge, England, suggested that “Ancient Greece” had been “fabricated,” and that chroniclers of “classical civilization” had concealed its “Afroasiatic roots.”

Ditto historian George G. M. James, whose “Stolen Legacy: The Egyptian Origins of Western Philosophy” claims that a rather large chunk of ancient civilization is fraudulent. The Greeks stole it from the Egyptians. The Egyptians were as black as Al Sharpton and Idi Amin.

The school tracts known as the “Portland African-American Baseline Essays” are another counterfactual abomination to have percolated into America’s anti-intellectual schooling system.

The Science Baseline Essay, in particular, claims that thousands of years ago, Egyptians-cum-blacks “flew in electroplated gold gliders, knew accurately the distance to the sun, and discovered the Theory of Evolution.” …

… READ THE REST. “Faking History To Make The Black Kids Feel Good” is now on The Daily Caller.

Helping The Sharpton And Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black’ (Part I)

Africa, Ancient History, Education, Propaganda, Pseudo-history, Race, Racism

“Helping The Sharpton And Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black’” (Part I) is the current column, now on Townhall.com, or The Daily Caller, if your browser gets spooked by Townhall.com (because of the Russians, of course). An excerpt:

TWO PIMPS IN A POD

Boy, have whites done hard time under Barack Hussein Obama! To deliver his inauguration benediction, eight accursed years back, Obama commissioned one Rev. Joseph Lowery.

Lowery is to poetry what Beyoncé is to music. Both were greatly elevated by the outgoing, déclassé first couple. Lowery’s anti-white inaugural jingle beseeched the Lord to finally make “white embrace what is right,” allow “brown to stick around,” “yellow to be mellow,” and “the red man to get ahead.”

High art.

Indeed, on day one, Obama and his bitter and twisted better half hammered home that to be white in their America was never to be right. To be black was to have an eternal claim against whites, for no other reason than that they’re white.

Although America is the land of quotas, set-asides and affirmative action—a country that privileges minorities—the majority is, nevertheless, subjected to non-stop, relentless propaganda. Enforced by the tyranny of political correctness, this agitprop has led white Americans, most of whom harbor no racial animus, to believe racism saturates their society. So, whites say nothing when they’re roped into a Sisyphean struggle to appease the unappeasable.

Unappeasable is the job description of Rev. Al Sharpton, with whom Obama had made common cause. (Later, Black Lives Matter stole Sharpton’s thunder.)

With the election of Donald Trump, white America has essentially told these race pimps to talk to the hand (‘cause the face ain’t listening). They’ve had enough of the pigment burden. Besides, as a pragmatist and a doer, Trump is constitutionally indifferent to the racial-grievance industry.

So march Sharpton must.

Ahead of President-elect Trump’s inauguration, Sharpton’s “We Shall Not be Moved March” will take place on January 14. The reverend and his foot soldiers at CNN will meander to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. There, they will say stuff as memorable and meaningful as the ectoplasm that tumbled from Obama’s mouth, during his farewell address.

Let us hope that President-elect Trump “shall not be moved,” and that Al’s presence in the People’s House will be greatly reduced under a Trump administration. For as of June 2016, the White House Visitor Records logged 57 Obama-Sharpton love-ins.

Before he fades to black, in the memorable words of a Metallica ballad, an aspect of Sharpton’s lying persona should be exposed. It has been omitted from the tit-for-tat that goes for debate between Republicans and Democrats. …

… The complete column is “Helping The Sharpton And Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black’” (Part I), now on Townhall.com, or The Daily Caller. Please Like, Share on social media, and comment at the respective sites. Watch out for the follow-up (part II), “Faking History To Make The Black Kids Feel Good.”