Category Archives: The South

UPDATE II (8/1): Ben Shapiro Uses The Left’s Logic To ‘Cancel’ John C. Calhoun

Cultural Marxism, Left-Liberalism, Logic, Neoconservatism, Pseudo-history, Republicans, Secession, States' Rights, The South

The other day on “Life, Liberty & Levin,” Ben Shapiro trashed, but absolutely rubbished, John C. Calhoun, one of America’s greatest political theorists, in the estimation of historian Clyde Wilson, editor of the John C. Calhoun papers, and the foremost scholar of Calhoun in our time. From what I’ve read of Calhoun’s works, I concur.

Especially magnificent is “A Disquisition on Government,” published in 1851, wherein Calhoun developed the profound idea of ‘two different modes in which the sense of the community may be taken.’ The one ‘regards numbers only.’ The other invokes an entirely different quality or dimension, over and above the ‘numbers.’”

I was inspired to apply Calhoun’s idea in “Has Trump Awakened John C. Calhoun’s Concurrent Majority?” The column is from the book, The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016).

The more important point is logical. Ben Shapiro trashes Calhoun using the logic of the left—namely that a towering American intellectual and statesman held views considered improper to the American Idiocracy of the 21 Century.

As Professor Wilson has brilliantly written, “This is not historical debate. It is the propaganda trick of labeling something you do not like in order to control and suppress it. Such are those who want the war to be all about slavery—hateful, disdainful, ignorant, and unwilling to engage in honest discussion.”

Another fundamental flaw in Ben Shapiro’s decidedly Republican view of America, expressed on “Life Liberty & Levin,” is the idea that his party is the Good Party.

Libertarians (check) don’t have a bone in the bi-partisan fight, except to advocate for the truth. And the truth is that lot of pseudo-history rests on the deification of, say, the Radical Republicans.

Here is the truth with a caveat: “The Radical Republicans were far more vicious and barbaric than the Antifa. The Republicans supervised the genocide of some 60,000 Plains Indians from 1865 to 1890, led by General Sherman himself”:

MORE:  “The Radical Republicans: The Antifa Of 1865,” September 6, 2017

UPDATED (7/22):

Great comment, Daffy Duck, aka Dale @dalerooster
One more thing: As someone who reads biblical Hebrew and gets it, I am Daisy Duck if Ben Shapiro knows any serious Hebrew, as boasted. Maybe Pidgin Hebrew, i.e., the Americanized crap they speak in Israel, these days.

Revisiting Charlottesville: One Year Later

Conservatism, Constitution, Free Speech, History, Law, Left-Liberalism, Media, The South

“About Charlottesvillehe President did misspeak, but not in the ways in which his critics charge.”—BY JACK KERWICK

On its first anniversary, it is worth revisiting what we may now refer to simply as “Charlottesville.”

Thanks to the assistance of Republican politicians and their apologists in Big Conservative media, the left didn’t hesitate to transform this event into an ideologically and politically-useful weapon.

Of course, Charlottesville could serve the left’s agenda only if the official interpretation of circumstances defies reality—as it does.

On August 12, 2017, hundreds of people gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia for what they called a “Unite the Right” rally.

They would be met by an even greater number of leftists of various sorts, self-described “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists.”

Violence ensued.

Immediately, elites in Washington D.C. and their fellow travelers in Big Media (of both the “mainstream” and “conservative” varieties) laid the blame solely at the feet of “white supremacists.” Every politician, Democrat and Republican alike, and every commentator, Fox News contributors and talk radio hosts no less than their leftist counterparts on the other networks, spared no opportunity to show the world that they were even more repulsed by this exhibition of “white supremacy” than the next person.

Make no mistakes about it, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the fever-pitched waxing of indignation, was political theater at its absolute best—or worst. It is inexcusable that anyone who purports to be in the know, let alone those, like politicians and media figures, who are expected to be knowledgeable of current events, should not have been able to discern from the jump the gist of what occurred in Charlottesville on that fateful day.

President Trump elicited much criticism for claiming at the time that there were good people among both the demonstrators and the counter-demonstrators, and that both sides contributed to the violence. The President did misspeak, but not in the ways in which his critics charge:

First, it is manifestly absurd to characterize as “good” those—like the militant leftists who converged upon Charlottesville—who routinely violate the Constitutional rights to speech, assembly, property, and bodily integrity of, not only those of their fellow citizens with whom they disagree, but as well those of their fellow citizens who they deem insufficiently supportive of their “anti-fascist” agenda.

Second, not a single hair on the head of a single person would have been harmed, much less would anyone have been killed, had it not been for the “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists,” the “counter-demonstrators” who initiated the violence.

The facts:

(1) The organizers of the Unite the Right rally acted lawfully, availing themselves of their Constitutional right as Americans to peaceful assembly. The organizers applied for their permit months in advance of their demonstration. It was granted and then withdrawn. The organizers appealed and, thanks in no small part to the American Civil Liberties Union—hardly a right-wing operation—a judge determined that the city of Charlottesville had no legal grounds on which to deny them a permit.

In other words, the organizers of the Unite the Right rally acted in good faith, with fidelity to the law, every step of the way.

(2) The counter-demonstrators, in stark contrast, conducted themselves lawlessly: They had no permit and never even applied for one. Quite the contrary: The “anti-fascists” armed themselves with weaponry—clubs, bricks, bottles and balloons filled with cement, urine, and feces; bear mace; baseball bats; bows and arrows; and a makeshift flamethrower—and, quite literally, hit the streets. They formed mobs and took to intersections, blocking traffic and attacking motorists.

For this reason, because of their lawlessness, their flagrant criminality, it is a misnomer to describe the “anti-fascists” as counter-demonstrators. They composed a mob.

(3) It’s true that a few of the demonstrators were seen sporting KKK and neo-Nazi paraphernalia. It is equally true that the vast majority of the rally-goers who gathered in Charlottesville were doing no such thing, and that several of these endeavored to remove those showcasing KKK and Nazi symbols.

The lion’s share of rally attendees descended upon Charlottesville on that fateful day not to affirm “white supremacy,” “white nationalism,” or any racial fiction that the media would ascribe to them, but, rather, to demonstrate against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, an act that symbolizes to many patriotic Americans the radical left’s ongoing attempt to fundamentally transform Southern culture specifically and that of the United States of America generally into something in the image of their own ideology.

And, to repeat, there weren’t so much as dirty looks exchanged, to say nothing of overt violence, until lawless leftwing mobs, so-called “Antifa” and Black Lives Matter, in particular, arrived and instigated every bit of it.

(4) The foregoing facts were available at the time. Big Media—both the “mainstream” or “liberal” media as well as such “conservative” media as Fox News, talk radio, National Review, The New York Post, etc.—just weren’t interested.

Those who were interested had to go underground, to the internet, to Youtube, to gather eyewitness testimony from those who were actually in Charlottesville. The most reliable testimony comes from the members of several “Patriots’” organizations, self-described “civic nationalists” (as opposed to racial nationalists) who came to Virginia to keep peace and safeguard the Constitutional rights of their fellow American citizens. (See here and here.)

Most of these men (and some women) are military and police veterans who remain committed to upholding the oath to the American Constitution that they pledged upon embarking upon their careers in law enforcement. These are the same people who those in Big Conservatism (the Big Con) tirelessly “thank” for their service. Yet when these retired soldiers and officers of the law were physically besieged by leftist criminals and corrupt Charlottesville police alike, Big Conservatives were all too eager to side with militant and radical leftists and blame the protestors and these Constitutionalists for the unprovoked violence that they suffered.

(5) This brings us to the next point: As some of us knew then, and as the Heaphy Report has subsequently confirmed, violence would have been averted not only had leftist street thugs shown the same respect for the law as that shown by the Unite the Right demonstrators. It would have been averted had the governments of Virginia and Charlottesville—the governor and mayor, the state and local police—and the University of Virginia conducted themselves more responsibly.

The governor declared a state of emergency, in effect canceling the demonstrators’ permit at the last minute, while the Charlottesville mayor ordered the police commissioner to, in turn, order his officers to stand down.

But even this way of putting the matter is understatement. The police didn’t just do nothing as innocent citizens were assaulted. They encouraged the violence by forcing the Unite the Right rally attendees to vacate the premises by way of walking through the wall of volatile leftists that were waiting for them.

From these facts, we can deduce another: Contrary to the conventional (Politically Correct) wisdom, far from being aggressors, the only party in this story that is innocent of provoking violence is that of the rally demonstrators.

Fairness, however, forces us to go one step further: It is the rally attendees, and them alone, who showed respect for America, for its traditions, laws, and the Constitution, for preserving the history of their country, civility, free speech, and peaceful assembly. No other actor in this melodrama can claim credit for doing the same. Every other actor, in fact, revealed themselves as decidedly anti-American.

A final point: While the overt left has long ago put us on notice as to its desire to destroy (“fundamentally transform”) America as it has existed, the response of Big Conservatism to Charlottesville proved, if proof was still needed, that Big Cons are but an alt-left. Big Cons incessantly whine over the left’s suppression of free speech whenever it is one of their own—like, say, Ben Shapiro—who is prevented from speaking at a college campus. Yet their eagerness to buy, hook, line and sinker, the interpretation of Charlottesville favored by Antifa and Black Lives Matter confirms that they care as much about protecting the free speech rights of those to their right as they care about “supporting the troops” and “blue lives” when law enforcement veterans are lumped in by the left with “racists,” “fascists,” “white supremacists,” and, simply, “the alt-right.”

Never again can anyone within the Big Con be regarded with seriousness when they espouse platitudes concerning the Constitution, free speech, tolerance, civility, or, for that matter, respect for veterans and law enforcement. Though few people have yet to grasp this, the truth is that Charlottesville comes as close as anything to serving as the criterion, the test, for determining one’s commitment to the Constitution, law and order, free speech, civility, tolerance, and all of the rest.

The Big Con failed this test miserably.

 

Beliefnet columnist Jack Kerwick has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University, a master’s degree in philosophy from Baylor University, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies from Wingate University. He teaches philosophy at several colleges in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas.

 

Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset

America, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Fascism, History, Left-Liberalism, Pop-Culture, Pseudo-history, States' Rights, The South

NEW COLUMN IS “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset.”
A slightly abridged version is now on Townhall.com.

Unabridged, “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast” appears on Unz Review, WND.com, Constitution.com, and other discerning outlets.

Excerpt:

I recently traveled to Texas to speak about South Africa, at the Free Speech Forum of  the Texas A & M University.

To travel from the Pacific Northwest all the way to College Station, Texas, without experiencing more of the “Lone Star State” was not an option.

So, after driving from Austin eastward to College Station (where I was hosted by two exceptional young, Southern gentlemen), I headed south-west to San Antonio. There I lingered long enough to conclude:

The Republic of Texas is a civilization apart.

Ordinary Texans—from my brief travels—tend to be sunny, kind and warmhearted. Not once did I encounter rude on my Texas junket.

On the Pacific Coast, however, kindness and congeniality don’t come naturally. State-of-Washington-statists are generally aloof, opprobrious, insular. And, frankly, dour.

Southern historian Dr. Clyde N. Wilson tells of receiving “a package containing a chamber pot labeled ‘Robert E. Lee’s Soup Tureen.'”

It came from … Portland, Maine.

Unkind cuts are an everyday occurrence around here, where the busybody mentality prevails.

Stand still long enough, and they’ll tell you how to live. They’ll even give chase to deliver that “corrective” sermon. A helmeted cyclist once chased me down along a suburban running trail.

My sin? I had fed the poor juncos in the dead of winter. (Still do. Bite me, you bully.)

Having caught up with me, SS Cyclist got on his soap box and in my face about my unforgivable, rule-bending. Wasn’t I familiar with the laws governing his pristine environmental utopia?

Didn’t I know that only the fittest deserved to survive? That’s the natural world, according to these ruthless, radical progressive puritans.

Yes, mea culpa for having an exceedingly soft spot for God’s plucky little creatures.

When a Washington statist gets wind of your core beliefs—why, even if your use of the English language irks His Highness—he will take it upon himself to fix your “flaws,” try to make you over in his sorry image.

For the distinct cluster of characteristics just described, Dr.  Wilson aforementioned uses the term Yankee. …

… READ THE REST. The column is  “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset”.

Or, unabridged. 

Oh, Clyde Wilson adds this: “Telling other people not to feed God’s creatures according to some supposed scientific official plan is simply fascism.”

Neoconservatives Demonize The South To Deify The Idea Of America

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

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.