The Confederate Damnatio Memoriae Continues

PICTURED: Actually, tell me in the comments what you see in this picture. It’s a Rorschach blot. (HINT: There’s more in the picture than the flag.)

I have long maintained that the Confederate flag should not fly over state capitols.  It is the symbol of an enemy power, opposed to the United States.  It has no business there.  It is starting to come down in the few states that still honor it in that way.  Good.

But it is wrong — simply, morally wrong — for the Democrats to try to strip the Confederate flag from the graves of Confederate soldiers. They are dead. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their cause, and their cause still failed.

They were wrong. They were rebels. They fought for an evil cause — indeed, for an evil empire, no less cruel at its heart than the Soviet Union or the Third Reich — whose destruction we rightly celebrate, and whose symbols we rightly abhor.

Yet they were also our brothers. They died in horrifying conditions by the hundreds of thousands, of bullets, untreated wounds, exposure, amputation, starvation, disease, moaning in wheat fields for their mamas as their lifeblood seeped out of them into the morning fog. To deny their very gravestones the right to say what they fought for is no less serious — in some ways, far more serious — than censoring a newspaper or banning a book. The living can still fight on against the censors to speak their piece; the dead are powerless. I don’t agree with what Confederate soldiers died for, but I’ll defend to the utmost their right to be remembered for it.

That Democrats are not only trying this, but actually trying to claim the moral high ground for it, tells you everything you need to know about the modern, national Democratic party.  They despise free expression, framing anything they disagree with as “hate,” and work to erode it by targeting the politically weak and unpopular.  You don’t get more “weak and unpopular” than a dead Confederate soldier.  One more reminder that the road from Romme to Robespierre is short, direct, and inevitable.

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  • http://jamesjheaney.com James J Heaney

    Comments are open.

  • Barb

    The flag shown and being discussed was NEVER the flag of the Confederate States. It was the battle flag of one regiment in Northern Virginia and another in Tenn. It became famous in the 20th century when it was adopted as the flag of the KKK. Maddeningly for anyone familiar with the civil war, the Press keeps calling it the Confederate Flag. It is not. It’s the KKK flag. If you want to put any of the three flags that were confederate flags on the graves of those soldiers, I doubt anyone will stop you. However, the flag being discussed, sometimes misnamed either the Confederate Flag or less wrong, but still wrong, the Confederate Battle Flag became popular as the flag of the KKK.

    • BCSWowbagger

      Well… there’s a little truth in that. But…

      (1) it was the battle flag of the entire Army of Northern Virginia, which was the bulk of Confederate forces during the war.

      (2) It became extremely popular within the Confederacy by 1863, and was closely associated with their cause at that time (that is, it wasn’t the KKK that popularized it, though they certainly made use of its popularity).

      (3) When the “Stars and Bars” were redesigned in 1863, this battle flag *was* incorporated directly into the CSA official national flag, where it remained until the end of the war.

      So I do think it’s fair to call it the Confederate flag… though it would be just as fair to call the Stars and Bars the Confederate flag.

      • Barb

        Ok, we’re into the area of ‘whoppers to defend ourselves.’

        The Army of Northern Virginia was the “bulk of the Confederate Forces during the war”? Source, please. Here’s a text written on the subject in 1912: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34334?msg=welcome_stranger which does say that Virgina was the single largest source of Confederate troops but hardly the ‘bulk.’ Some of the contributing states were:

        Virginia: 175,000
        Florida: 15,000
        Georgia: 120,000
        North Carolina: 129,000
        South Carolina: 75,000
        Mississippi: 70,000
        Alabama: 90,000
        Tennessee: 115,000
        175,000 of 789,000 (and there were two more states that were in the Confederacy and others that sent troops, so I’m being generous here).22 percent is not the ‘bulk’ of an army.

        • BCSWowbagger

          The Army of Northern Virginia was not an army composed of soldiers from Northern Virginia. It was an army composed of soldiers from all Confederate states whose *theatre of operations* was the Eastern Front — Northern Virginia. Their great rival was the Union Army of the Potomac (which recruited no soldiers from the Potomac River, but which made the Potomac central to its theatre of operations.)

          There were just two other principal Confederate armies during the War: the Army of the West (sometimes known as the Army of Mississippi, but this is confusing, since two other much less important CSA military units were called the Army of Mississippi), and the Army of Tennessee. (There were various spinoff armies — the Army of the Shenandoah, Magruder’s Army, the Army of New Mexico — but these were for the most part small and short-lived.) The Army of Northern Virginia drew the bulk of the Confederacy’s men and materiel, because the Eastern theater was thought to be the pivot on which the war hung, as it was the location of both national capitals — either the Army of the Potomac would take Richmond, crippling the CSA, or the Army of Northern Virginia would take Washington, forcing Lincoln to allow secession at gunpoint. Under Robert E. Lee, they came surprisingly close.

          Your own source (which is very good, by the way — nice find) shows that, in 1862 (with Confederate manpower near its peak), the CSA had around 350,000 men on the official muster rolls, and about 150,000 of them were assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia. This is not quite a majority, but it is certainly a substantial plurality.

          • Barb

            You’ve set yourself up well for the next election. The Republican can win the electoral college once several Republican-controlled purple states adopt the electoral college vote-by-district rule, effectively giving a large majority of their electoral college votes to their party’s candidate even if a majority of those in the state vote the other way. (Republicans would have won in both 2008 and 2012 by the rules that have been introduced). If any state or national vote gives the Republicans at least 42% of the vote, you’ll say, “Well, we got the BULK of the votes!” Since the electoral college is already weighted toward more rural states, you need not worry it might go the other way. So. President Walker got 42.5% of the popular vote, which was, by your use of the word, ‘the bulk’ of the vote. And you’ll be able to put the EU flag on the graves of American soldiers because after all, it’s PRACTICALLY the same as the flag they died under, right? And who cares that it was then adopted by another entity and it became knows as part of THAT group?

            These flags were not commonly used before WWI. There are lots of photographs from and after the Civil War. If the KKK flag was in popular use by Southerners between 1865 and 1914 there should be photos of it flying proudly at gatherings in the South. I’m sure you’ll find a few, but try to find more than a few.

            • BCSWowbagger

              If Walker wins a clear plurality, yes, I’ll happily call 40% the “bulk” of the vote. You realize, though, that that can only happen if there is a third-party candidate drawing something like 20% of the vote (and in concentrated areas, if he’s going to win any EV’s)? Hasn’t happened since 1860. (Sorry: 1912. Forgot the Bull Moose.)

              It’s absurd to suggest that the EU flag resembles the US flag in the way the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia resembles the CSA flag. The EU flag and the US flag have a coincidental feature that bears a passing resemblance. The CSA literally incorporated the battle flag into their flag, not as a matter of coincidence, but of intention, because the battle flag was a well-known, extremely popular symbol of the Confederacy. You are simply being silly when you say it was not commonly used before WWI.

              You tried to call me on an error in your OP, but were in error yourself. There’s no shame in that, but now you’ve strayed well into “defensive whoppers” yourself.

      • Barb

        I have to do a bit more checking on Nos. 2 and 3. Concerning No. 3, people objected to the first flag because the shield of blue with stars was too much like the stars and stripes, so yes, it was replaced. However, discussions of the next two flags generally focused on (for flag No. 1) the pure white banner, which represented the purity of the white race and 2) the red stripe which represented the blood of confederate soldiers. While the battle flag of Northern Virgina was part of it, saying that a that’s the same flag is the same as claiming that the EU flag, which is stars on a blue background, is identical to the US flag, which has stars on a blue background in the upper corner. If I have time, I’ll do more research.

  • Barb

    What do I see in the picture? A well-maintained graveyard. It’s somewhat overgrown, but the grass has been cut and no gravestones are down. The flags in the background are fuzzy. They could be EITHER the Stars and Stripes or the real flag of the confederacy, the Stars and Bars. In the foreground, next to one grave, is the flag of the KKK.

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