Liberals (i.e, leftists, progressives, etc.) went on the rampage against me yesterday on Twitter. The reason? I posted a photo I took while hiking at Manassas National Battlefield Park. The photo was of a plaque commemorating Stonewall Jackson’s stand at the Battle of First Manassas, where Confederate troops sent Northern forces and Washington, D.C., socialites scurrying back to Washington in fear and humiliation. Nearby the plaque is a huge statue of Stonewall Jackson.
Well, you would have thought that I had committed the biggest mortal sin ever, at least in the eyes of the left. Of course, I wasn’t too surprised. For some time now, the left has been absolutely obsessed with getting all Civil War statues of Confederate heroes removed and destroyed, including those in publicly owned Civil War battlefield parks where Confederate forces prevailed over Northern forces, such as at the Battle of First Manassas.
Let me make clear from the outset: I don’t think governments should be constructing and owning statues of anyone and, for that matter, owing and operating parks. By the same token, I favor private owners owning whatever statues and parks they wish.
But I think it’s also important to expose and analyze the left’s mindset when it comes to these statues because it helps us to understand a lot of what is going on in our country today.
As I pointed out in the Twitter dustup yesterday, President Lincoln initiated his war on the South not to free the slaves but rather to prevent the South from seceding. He made that clear from the outset.
Thus, as much as the left loves to wish that the war was waged to end slavery, which is obviously a much more noble and glorious goal than ending secession, the war was actually all about secession.
If one opposes the right of secession and supports the concept of forced association, then that’s the end of the story. It follows logically that Lincoln wielded the authority to invade the South and forcibly reincorporate it into the Union.
If one supports the right of secession and opposes the concept of forced association, then that too is the end of the story. It follows logically that Lincoln lacked the authority to invade the South and forcibly reincorporate it into the Union.
In the Twitter dustup yesterday, the leftists continually suggested that anyone who comes to the defense of the South’s right to secede automatically is defending slavery, given that the South had a slave system.
But that position is illogical and fallacious. Just because one defends the right of secession, that doesn’t mean that he defends the type of society or governmental system that the new nation is establishing. But no matter how much one explains this to leftists, they just can’t get it. Their mindset is a real testament to the success that public (i.e, government) schooling has in destroying the ability of people to engage in critical and analytical thinking.
The question naturally arises: Does the U.S. government possess the legal authority to invade a foreign nation to free its citizens from an oppressive regime? For example, most everyone (except some leftists) would agree that communism is an oppressive system. Does that mean that the U.S. government has the legal authority to invade Cuba and Vietnam to free their citizens from communist oppression?
Of course, interventionists, including many leftists, would say yes. They say that the U.S. government, as the world’s greatest imperial power, has the authority to invade Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia, or any other nation that is a rival, opponent, enemy, or competitor.
But the fact is that the U.S. government’s powers are limited to the powers enumerated in the Constitution. Most everyone would concede that the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government the power to invade foreign countries to free their citizens from oppressive regimes.
Of course, we witnessed the interventionist mindset in the run-up to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. When we libertarians opposed those two invasions, the interventionists responded with, “Oh, so you’re a supporter and defender of the terrorists?” No matter how many times we libertarians would carefully explain that opposing foreign interventionism and illegal wars of aggression does not constitute support or defense of terrorism, the interventionists simply could not get it. To their mindsets, opposing foreign interventionism and supporting terrorism were one and the same thing.
The principle is no different with respect to the Confederacy. At the moment that the South officially seceded and declared its independence, it became a separate and independent nation. That meant that the U.S. government had no authority to invade this new, independent, and sovereign nation, any more than it has the authority to invade Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, China, Russia, or any other nation that has an oppressive system.
Leftists exclaim, “But the South was fighting to maintain a slave system!” Agreed, but the question still remains: Does that mean that the U.S. government had the authority to invade this new, independent, and sovereign nation? Does it wield the authority to invade Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea today to free the citizenry from their oppressive socialist systems?
Leftists also exclaim, “Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee were fighting for slavery!” Really? If that’s the case, then perhaps leftists can explain why their beloved icon President Franklin Roosevelt said the following at an unveiling of a statue of Lee in Dallas in 1936:
All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
Perhaps leftists can also explain why their other icon, Lincoln, asked Lee to command Northern forces in his war on the South.
While it is difficult to assess the motives of each and every person who fought in the Civil War, the fact is that many Southerners were fighting because they were defending their country from what was an unlawful and illegitimate invasion of their new country. Lee was certainly one of those Southerners. He returned to Virginia because the state was his homeland, a homeland that was now part of another nation, one that was being aggressed against by what was now a foreign power. There is no evidence that Lee ever exclaimed, “I must return to Virginia to fight to maintain the slave system.”
And the same goes for Stonewall Jackson, who, as the plaque at Manassas National Battlefield Park points out, fought valiantly and patriotically — against a foreign power that had invaded what was now a sovereign and independent country, one that Jackson was a citizen of.
The South’s secession was not the first secession in U.S. history. The first secession took place on the Fourth of July, 1776. We call it a “revolution” but it wasn’t a revolution. The British subjects in America were not trying to take control over the British government. They were simply seceding from the British Empire.
Yet, I have never seen a leftist condemning that secession, even though the British colonists were clearly planning on continuing their slave system. In fact, as far as I know, every leftist in America celebrated the Fourth of July this past weekend. During their celebrations, I guarantee that not one of them exclaimed, “We need to condemn the American Revolution because the British colonists seceded from Great Britain to continue maintaining their slave system.”
I also never see leftists condemning Lincoln for his support of West Virginia’s secession from Virginia. I never see them advocating the forcible reunification of Virginia and West Virginia. What gives with that?
If British colonists and West Virginians had the right of secession, why didn’t the people of the South have the right of secession as well?
It’s not the only example of leftist hypocrisy, of course. Why aren’t leftists calling for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial, given that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner? How come there is no call to rename the Washington Monument or the nation’s capital, given that Washington was a slave owner? Why no support for the dismantling of statues of slave owners James Monroe and James Madison? Why only the Confederate statues?
Indeed, have you ever wondered by leftists never condemn their icon Abraham Lincoln for believing that blacks were inferior to whites and should be returned to Africa. It seems to me that that’s a mindset that is shared by many white supremacists today. Leftists condemn white supremacists for that mindset. Why not Lincoln too?
And why never any call for the removal from Washington, D.C., of the statue of acknowledged war criminal Gen. Philip Sheridan? Should war criminals be given a pass just because they fought for Lincoln?
Finally, it’s worth analyzing why leftists are so obsessed with Civil War statues. I think it’s safe to say that the obsession arises from a feeling of deeply seated guilt. They feel horribly guilty over what Americans who lived a long time ago did to black people who lived a long time ago.
But there is no rational reason for them to suffer that guilt, especially since they were granted amnesty and a pardon many years ago. See this “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent” that was issued many years ago by now-deceased black libertarian economist Walter E. Williams on behalf of all descendants of American slaves.
That proclamation obviously had no effect on expiating the guilt suffered by the left. What the left fails to realize is that even if they are successful in removing every single statue, plaque, and name of every Confederate soldier from parks, public-school textbooks, state houses, and the like, they will continue to suffer their irrational guilt.
That’s because deep down their guilt is not over the Civil War but rather what their beloved welfare-warfare state has done to blacks and most everyone else.
Just look at their beloved war on drugs, one of the most racist government programs in U.S. history.
And their beloved socialist program Social Security, which is a coercive transfer program from blacks to whites.
And their beloved “war on poverty,” which has left blacks and most everyone else worse off economically.
And their beloved Medicare and Medicaid, which succeeded in destroying the finest healthcare system in history and throwing healthcare into a permanent crisis.
And their beloved IRS and Federal Reserve, the two engines of economic impoverishment, especially for the middle class and poor.
And their beloved system of immigration controls that continues to inflict death and suffering on darker-skinned people.
And their beloved Pentagon, CIA, and NSA, along with their forever wars, assassinations, torture, drug experiments, secret surveillance, and support of foreign dictatorships.
That’s why liberals are so obsessed with Civil War statutes. It enables them to avoid confronting what they themselves have done to our country with the serfdom system that they and the Right have jointly foisted upon our land.