Friday, May 13, 2011

American History Wingnut Style

Well, I'm informed that this is Confederate Memorial Day in North and South Carolina (I'm sure you're soooo excited,) and for this august occasion, I'd like to bring you the following essay in honor of the occasion by someone eminently qualified to give us the wingnut position on the Civil War, Mr. J. D. Longstreet, author of such enlightening epistles as   Global Warming? I Don't THINK So!  and NULLIFICATION TODAY...SECESSION TOMORROW? THE SECOND U.S. CIVIL WAR BREWING?

And here he is, in case you wondered what terminal deceit overdose does to the visage.

Well hop on and enjoy the ride:

"Let’s understand at the outset -- the US Constitution of 1861 did not forbid Secession from the Union.  That is a fact.  What the Confederate men did was perfectly legal."

God, I have to break in already.  Do you think it might be okay if I present a different take on that subject?  Maybe you've heard it already:

"Article III Section 3
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

Well, I guess it's just a matter of opinion.  Let's just chalk it up to "he said, the constitution said" and move on; there's so much more.

"Nobody, north or south, thought Lincoln would sacrifice the lives of over 600,000 men in a war against his own countrymen....what made Lincoln willing to do such a thing?"

Think you can guess?  Go ahead, give it a try.

"They tell us today that the war was fought over one issue.  Slavery.  That is a bald faced lie.  It is the Great Lie of American history."

Whoops, we were both wrong! I guessed slavery too.  Well, if it makes you feel any better, here's someone else who was just as wrong as us.  It's a guy named Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, who had this to say in 1861:

"The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution...The prevailing ideas entertained by most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell."

    Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

Well, just a difference of opinion, I guess.  Now, back to J. D:  

"There were many reasons Lincoln felt he could not allow the Confederate states to leave the Union .  But there was one reason, which dominated them all.  Simply put:  Lincoln could not allow the Southern States to leave the Union because the Southern States paid the bills of the United States of America !...when the federal government needed money -- it simply raised taxes on the Southern states!  Not the northern states… just the Southern states!  There was a constant out-flow of Southern money going into the north from which the South received nothing.  The South warned the government that at some point we would have to secede just to save our economy!"

Well, of course this is a preposterous lie. Until the Civil War over 90% of all Federal revenue came from import tariffs, which were in no way applied differentially to the South.  Let's just turn to an authority on that one too:

Article I, Section 9
 "No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another."

Oh dear, this is getting boring.  I  have not been able to find a lot of data on pre-Civil War Federal revenue, but what I have found in no way supports this claim.  If you want to learn a little more, you might try looking here.

Of course what this claim does accomplish is to give a historical precedent (phony, of course,) to our current pack of greed maddened right wing tax haters.

"Why in the world would an army of less than a million men -- poorly fed, poorly equipped, and half naked -- have the temerity to even THINK they could successfully go to war against an army over three times their size  -- and WIN? It is the indomitable, unconquerable, fighting spirit of the Southern People!"

Or maybe it's a mixture of hatred and stupidity.  I vote for the latter.

"Some say the southern fighting spirit accounts for the fact that every war America has been involved in… Southerners were in the middle of the fight doing their part.

Did you know that nearly half the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today come from the 11 southern states of the Old Confederacy? It is that indomitable, unconquerable, fighting spirit of the Southern People!"

"Half the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan", huh?  And how many of them were black people, hoping to get away from jerks like you?

"When the Americans grew tied of the taxation of the British and the lack of representation in the British government for the colonists, it was the Southern American who led the charge for freedom from Great Britain ."
Really?  You mean like in Lexington and Concord?

"In the1860’s it was the grandsons of the Southern men who fought Great Britain who then stood ready to fight another brand new world superpower for THEIR freedom. Their motives were the same in 1861 as that of their grandfathers in 1776.  Southerners were not willing to live under a repressive government and pay more taxes than was their fair share."

Well, J. D, how do you feel about the fact that we Northerners and Westerners now pay hundreds of billions in tax revenue to support you idiots in the South?  That's okay, I guess, as long as it's you guys getting the free ride.

"Many of the slaves of the 1860’s felt the South was their homeland, too. They had been born in the south.  Not only that… but many of them felt a need to defend the South and DID take up arms and fight alongside their white masters in battle against the northern invaders.  Many black Southern slaves died in battle fighting the troops of the federal government of the United States .  But … only the South gives THOSE brave black men credit for their valiant action."

Bullshit, you disgusting racist.  That is one of the most malignant lies that I have ever heard- that black people would be stupid enough to fight a war to preserve their own brutalization.  And whether you know it or not, black people aren't as stupid as you are.

"The Confederate soldier never questioned the Southern conviction that the SOUTH WAS RIGHT, even after Appomattox."

Well there are obviously still people like you that don't question that the South was right.  I guess you think that's something to be proud of.  Of course, seeing as how you have to tell so many lies about it, maybe you aren't so proud of yourself.  That would be a nice thing.  Unfortunately, not very likely.

"At no place on earth have soldiers fought so bravely, and struggled more fiercely, to defend their homeland."

By fighting a war against it.

"The world has never known men who could, and would, fight as these men did.  Never before has there been an army, which could fight with the steel hardened determination of the Confederate soldier. Never! "

Oh yes there has been - the Waffen SS.

"The Confederate Soldiers forged a trail of heroic deeds amid selfless suffering no other fighting force has ever equaled on this continent -- or elsewhere."

Sure, sure. No one, ever!  Not the Spartans, not the 20 Million Soviets who died defeating Hitler, not the Japanese troops at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, who died almost to a man defending a lost cause, not the brave Mexicans who fought the vicious Spanish army over and over again to win their freedom.  No, you traitorous morons, fighting as you always do to preserve the privilege of the rich, are TEH GREATEST!

Grow up.

"When one seriously surveys the complete mess our beloved country is in today one has to ask … was the cause of the Confederate Soldier, indeed, lost, … or was it only delayed?"

No, it was lost.  That was 150 years ago, remember?   The only thing that's delayed is the day when people like you give up their hatred.

"I would expect the heavenly ramparts and the gates of pearl, are secured by Confederate troops under the eternal command of General Stonewall Jackson."

What, they have slavery up there too?

Well, there you go, history told through the wrong end of the telescope, by vicious haters and unapologetic liars; i.e. standard Republican ideology.  Now, go wash your brain out with some good strong soap.


magpie said...

“ Sniff... And them darn Yankees took away our system of ruthless dehumanization of other human beings ... How could they have been so heartless? “

Shaw Kenawe said...

What a disturbing look into a distorted mind.

JohninOregon said...

Mr. Longstreet is a piece of work, but when I saw his comment about blacks fighting for the Confederacy, it triggered a vague memory -- perhaps from the days when I worked with old military records at the National Archives. I haven't had time to investigate in depth, and I suspect that a Google search would pull up a fair amount of stuff from neo-Confederate apologists like Longstreet. But in a quick search at Amazon, I did find this:

Anonymous said...

Having lived for a few years in New Orleans I am here to tell you that the sentiment of what this creep is saying about race is still alive and well there...even among highly educated people. My take on it is this...that some of the White people that live there think that racism imparts aristocracy. I know this makes little sense, but these people are smugly satisfied with that position and it seems to bond them as a subculture. Sad as it is, New Orleans is probably less racist than other parts of the deep south. If you ever drive through rural southern Mississippi you'll see confederate flags flying.
Gigantic steps have been made certainly, but racism still exists in its own shameless form there. I knew one man living in New Orleans who has a Phd. from The University of Mississippi. On the day Obama took office that man hung a black wreath of mourning on his front door. He is probably bolder than most in having done this, but this little "fuck you" of his was probably seen by other white racists when they walked past his house and they probably knew what it meant and they probably felt all warm and fuzzy inside when they saw it.
Mississippi, incidentally, happens to have, overall, the most toxic soil of any state in the U.S.

Green Eagle said...


I haven't spent much time in Southern Mississippi, but I have been to Northern Mississippi (the delta.) Economically and culturally, it felt more like a third world country than Mexico or the West Bank, where I have also spent some time.

This is the reward for their evil: living in a degenerate, impoverished world far worse than a lot of the countries they laugh at.

That would be fine if it weren't for the point, which I mentioned in my post, that we are stuck picking up the tab so that they can wallow in their own hatred.

Green Eagle said...


I don't have time to dig the information out, but I can assure you that the "research" on which these claims are made was thoroughly discredited within days of its publication. There is no evidence that any significant numbers of black Americans were stupid enough to fight and die to maintain their slave status.

I just want you to look inside yourself and try to find why you would voluntarily believe such a ludicrous claim.

Dave Dubya said...

...And General Reagan defeated the Nazis at Bastogne with only a bayonet in his teeth and the pistol in his hand that was not waving the flag to rally the troops.

And where would our freedoms be had it not been for the heroic actions of George W. Bush, wiping out the North Vietnamese army from his jet fighter named "Barney"?

JohninOregon said...

"I just want you to look inside yourself and try to find why you would voluntarily believe such a ludicrous claim."

Okay, I looked inside myself. I discovered that I'm a retired archivist (National Archives and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) with a graduate degree in history who can distinguish between neo-Confederate nuts and qualified historians who critically assess original documentation. Whether you or I like it or not, there were some blacks who fought on the side of the South. No doubt promises of freedom played a role in some instances. Perhaps coercion in others.

Green Eagle said...

"who can distinguish between neo-Confederate nuts and qualified historians who critically assess original documentation."

I am not talking about "qualified historians;" I am talking about the legion of racist haters in this country who fabricate and spread this malignant garbage. Sad to say, they appear to outnumber qualified historians by about 10,000 to one; and unlike qualified historians, they are assiduously working to whip themselves up into a frenzy of violence.

The truth is that the number of black slaves who collaborated in the Civil War with their oppressors was minuscule. I never argued that there are none; just that the claim that this person makes, and which is repeated almost verbatim at numerous sites on the web, is a patent lie. I am not discussing historical fact here so much as I am dealing with a standard component of the hateful attempt by neo-Confederates to argue away the sins of their forefathers, and in the process license themselves to begin again the race hatred that permitted slavery to flourish.

Like many people, I have been appalled by the reemergence of open racism in this country occasioned by the election of a black president, and I am not content to let it flourish without calling it out for what it is.

I hope you understand that I am trying to respond in some depth to your comments because they are far above the sort of person who occasionally crops up to disagree with me. I know you are serious about what you believe; I hope you can see that the vast majority of people on the right are not. I know I tend to be rather abrasive, and I really do appreciate your sticking with conversations like this.

JohninOregon said...

Okay, I did a bit of further digging on this. Yes, in March 1865, at the very end of the war, a desperate Confederacy approved officially allowing blacks in the rebel army. The controversy is over the blacks who were attached to that army before then. Should some of them be considered real soldiers, or were all of them support personnel? Of course the neo-Confederate loons would have us believe the former was the case, and in large numbers. The more cautious analysts without a racist agenda tend toward the latter (at least in my limited perusal).

JohninOregon said...

"hope you understand that I am trying to respond in some depth to your comments because they are far above the sort of person who occasionally crops up to disagree with me."

I appreciate the compliment, and I certainly understand your desire to go after the racists for the malignant crap they put out. I was on the staff of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for eight years, immersed in that awful history, so needless to say, it's deja vu all over again. But I must apologize for violating my own standards and shooting off on this black Confederate topic without doing enough research to really know what I was talking about. And I'm still not satisfied I have a very good picture. In weak defense, let me note that we "adopted" a little dog this week, and in trying to keep up with her, I haven't been able to focus on much else!

Anonymous said...

I found this excellent article. It put to rest some of the questions I had about the roles of slaves in the confederate army.

St. Joan said...

@John...Oh! I hope it was a Corgi! They're so cute! (Comic relief...fabulous discussion...really high-level intelligent stuff. Cool.)

Green Eagle said...

Thanks so much for finding that article, Anonymous. As I have stated, I am more interested, at this point, in the fabricated history peddled by the right than I am in the real history, because these fabrications, about the Civil War, about Roosevelt and the Depression, about Reagan even about Jesus and what he said, have done far more damage to our country than almost anything else, and the people who create these lies are growing more indifferent to the truth every day.