Mr. Trump is Right about Monuments

10 Comments

I watched Donald Trump’s news conference yesterday (August 15, 2017) and agree with most of what he said. The only disagreement I have is that I do not believe that economic growth in itself will improve race relations. However, he is correct that it is hypocritical to take Confederate monuments down and still support monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The Left, big business, and establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell are doing their best to turn people into rootless, homeless machines who work for the technocratic state. If history is erased except for a whitewashed history that supposedly is non-controversial, this helps produce the robot-like, echo-chamber world they desire. I have ancestors who fought on both sides in the War between the States. I am a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. I find the removal of monuments to Robert E. Lee and others who were involved with the Confederacy to be a travesty, an act of historical vandalism fueled by corrupt “history professors” and other members of the Academic Left, the radical Left in general, and the corporate Right to destroy the heritage of an entire group of people. The sheer hypocrisy of such people is astounding. They ignore the fact that most people in the North supported slavery because it kept blacks from moving into their states. They ignore the racism of Lincoln–even most of the Abolitionists were racists. They ignore the fact that one of their most hated figures, Nathan Bedford Forrest, supported full civil rights for blacks in his old age. They ignore the fact that many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, including those mentioned above, Washington and Jefferson. They ignore the fact that General Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves and refused to release them after the war until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed. Related to that, they ignore the fact that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the Confederate States, not to the other states that remained part of the United States. They pay attention to the Succession Documents of the deep South states, ignoring other motivations for war in the middle South in which states opposed Lincoln’s unjust and illegal invasion of the South. They ignore the brutal war crimes committed by the Union Army, especially but not exclusively under General Sherman. They bring up atrocities in Andersonville yet ignore greater atrocities and a higher death toll in Union POW camps. They ignore the fact that many blacks fought for the South as attested by newspapers covering the war. They ignore the stirring up of the former slaves by corrupt Northern agents during Reconstruction.

Their hypocrisy is bare for all to see, yet the elites–both Democrat and Republican–have power and use that power to suppress dissent and destroy monuments. Organizations such as the SCV and United Daughters of the Confederacy can work to buy up private land on which to put the monuments, but that will not help in places like Baltimore, where the mayor desires not only to remove the monuments in that city, but destroy them. In Durham, North Carolina, a mob destroyed a Confederate monument. These actions are fundamentally evil, and some of the people in Virginia were opposing the removal of the statues and were not part of any white supremacist group. But lumping legitimate groups together with racists such as Nazis is a favorite–if dishonest and unfair–tactic by the Left (and by Mitch McConnell).

Yesterday when I heard Mr. Trump, I felt proud to have him as President of the United States.

Advertisements

Patriotism vs. Nationalism

Leave a comment

Farmland. Farmland - looking NE into square

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not convinced that patriotism is the refuge of scoundrels, but I am convinced that nationalism is. Many people confuse the two terms; they are not synonymous. “Patriotism” refers to a love for one’s land; its focus is local, its concern the actual community of real persons who live and work in a particular space. True patriotism extends from the individual to his family first, then outward to friends, associates, and the wider community. Involvement in the wider community, in the civitas, involves being a good “citizen.” The old public square as a meeting place for members of the local community exemplifies true patriotism at its best; members of this community would fight to the death to defend their family and their land from enemies.

Nationalism, on the other hand, focuses on the nation-state as an abstract entity. The nation easily approaches being an object of worship, as it was in Nazi Germany, the old Soviet Union, and in Maoist China. Sometimes this worship was combined with traditional religions; witness the support of many German Christian Churches for Hitler (except the Confessing Church) or the close ties between the Shinto religion and Imperial Japan. A close connection to the military is assumed, and nationalists love military parades, pomp and circumstance. The philosopher Martin Heidegger was such a nationalist, and this led to his joining the Nazi party for a time. Nationalists love wars and empire, and spreading the “values of the nation-state” to other countries.

Americans are just as guilty of nationalism. Ironically, one of the most nationalistic parts of the United States is the American South. The South tried to rebel against a modern nation-state in the name of patriotism, to defend their land (yes, I realize there were other causes of the War Between the States, so no red herrings, please), especially after Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers. The nation-state subjugated the South and forced it to live under military government to reconstruct it in the image of the industrial North. The South should oppose nationalism and wars of conquest. Yet Southerners condemned Georgia Senator Sam Nunn for voting against the first Gulf War, and voters turned him out of office. Southerners were among the most supportive voices in favor of the unjust Iraq War. Southern churches are filled with American flags, as if a flag of any nation state belongs in a sanctuary devoted to God. The idea of patriotism as loving the land, as based in real communities, needs to be revived not just in the South, but in all the states. Let’s not confuse a Nazi or Soviet-like devotion to the nation-state with true patriotism.