I can definitely understand when people are unhappy about things in the US. I can understand when they are mad enough to raise real, serious hell. I’ve been that mad, myself. I’ve marched in the streets and spoken to crowds in the civic plaza and other places. Shoot, that St. Andrews cross flag of which I’m so proud is perhaps the definitive symbol of resistance and revolution in American history.
Athletes don’t give up their right to speak out about things that make them mad. I can even respect someone who has the courage to risk his career for his convictions – even when I think his convictions are unfounded and pig-turd stupid. In fact, I reserve the right to do the same, even when it turns out my convictions are pig-turd stupid.
“Pig-turd stupid” pretty well sums up my opinion of the position some people are taking about being disgracefully disrespectful to our nation, our flag, and our national anthem. Yeah, the anthem’s just a song, and the flag is just a rag, but there’s symbolism attached. A wedding band is just wire, and a diamond is just a rock, but there’s symbolism attached. The Cross is just a couple of timbers. The Tomb of the Unknown is just a few slabs of marble stacked up. It’s not that they are disrespecting a song or a rag. They are disrespecting what those things stand for, and they are doing it deliberately, willfully, pridefully, and militantly. I happen to think they are freaking idiots for doing so.
What is really, REALLY chapping my butt, though, is their conflating the Anthem and the flag with police “brutality.” Some cops misbehave. Some misbehave pretty badly. I’d have no problem with these jackleg crusaders focusing on police misbehavior, but they seem to be saying that when my old man was burrowing the black sand of Iwo Jima, fighting and sleeping in his own waste because to move was to die – FOR THIRTY BLOODY DAYS! – he was thinking, “I’ve got to do this so we can defeat Japan so American cops can kill Darkies.” (That’s what they were called in ’45. Get over it.)
I really, REALLY resent the implication that when my Brother Marines were losing fingers and toes to frostbite, while destroying three Chinese divisions at the Chosin Reservoir, they were thinking, “We’ve got to stop these Chinese communists from liberating America and preventing cops from killing Negroes.”
And it makes me madder than hell when these overpaid, bedwetting brats imply that Americans of all races – ALL RACES, YOU DIPSTICKS! – endured Con Thien, Khe Sanh, Hue City, Dak To, Lang Vei, and a jillion other little shit holes while thinking, “Oh, Man! We’ve got to prevent the merciful, benevolent Communists from doing something that might interfere with American cops killing Bloods.”
Anyone who thinks those actions were fought for the oppression of American Blacks is not just insane, not just stupid. They are intellectually and morally sub-human. At least cockroaches are honest about being cockroaches; they don’t claim to be bald eagles.
My Old Man – he of the black, bloody sand – he who risked everything he’d ever be or have under that flag – he who stood at attention with tears in his eyes 30 years later when the Anthem played – he taught me, “You can’t interfere with folks’ right to be stupid.”
All you sonsofbitches better fall down on your knees and thank him for that.
PS – I’m aware that I’ve failed to mention thousands of places where Americans have followed their flag, some of them active battle fields today. I couldn’t list them all, so I just used the first ones that popped into my head. If anyone reads this and would like to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment. [Rebsarge]
The City of Albuquerque has committed to spending $70 million on a project called, “Albuquerque Rapid Transit,” or “ART.” That $70 million is, in my opinion, a conservative figure; I’ll be amazed if it’s not twice that. The project consists of tearing up Central Avenue, the supposed business heart of the city, and running an automated bus line down the middle of the street. It will run from the east side of town, through the edge of the War Zone, past the above-ground cesspool that is UNM, through the velvet-lined rat’s nest of Downtown, and up into the haven of gangs and slave traders on the west side.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride that? I attend church at a site on the northwest side of the city, near Cottonwood Mall, for those who are familiar. We are diagonally across town from the War Zone, and about 15 miles away. There is a bus stop across the street from our building, and I noticed last summer, after I was assigned the task of security for the building and our members, that the arrival of vagrants, panhandlers, drunks, shakedown artists, and hookers coincided with the bus schedule. I discussed my observation with a handful of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County LEO’s, and they confirmed my suspicion: bus stops are known hot spots in the predator distribution network.
Crime and deviant behavior of every imaginable sort is an integral part of the everyday flavor of riding a bus in Albuquerque. Everybody knows it. The primary victims of all this bad behavior are those who can’t afford a car, or who are physically constrained from driving. That has not kept the mayor [I spit on the ground at his name] from bragging that he’s doing something to help those citizens who are least able to help themselves. (The fact that the city is short over 150 police officers, and that $70 million would help alleviate that shortage, is beside the point. Those cops probably wouldn’t vote for him, anyway.)
So the mayor and city council have spent a pretty penny creating a high-tech feed trough for the city’s predators, and stocked it with the poor and frail of our city. Now, they are bragging that they are installing wonderful, infallible security measures in the feed trough: 911 call buttons, a couple dozen cameras on the stops and cameras in each bus, and a few dozen security police who will randomly ride the busses around, supposedly shooing away the neer-do-wells. The net result is that, having blown 70 million bucks on this target-rich environment, they are now going to spend several million more on security measures, and, as we have seen today, a bunch more – probably in the millions – on an advertising campaign to convince the prey the security measures will keep them safe.
What a load of horse apples. A cruel, cynical, wasteful, self-serving bunch of horse apples.
I’d like to talk about the reality and tactics of the security measures, because encouraging my neighbors to think tactically will be of immeasurably greater value to them than my eloquent, sarcastic evisceration of a pack of idiots. First, I want to explain the many fallacies of the city’s dreamland security schemes.
- CAMERAS IN THE COACHES
Devices to record, in blurry, shaking, indecipherable images, the fact that something happened, and that apparently, someone did it to someone else. How many security camera videos have you seen in which it was possible to identify people or analyze their actions? How many of these thugs are smart enough to listen to the ad campaign about the cameras and either shield themselves from them or disable them? And most of all, even if those cameras produced crystal-clear images, the best they can accomplish is to help the police find the person responsible for destroying the life of another. Sorry, Mayor, but your cameras won’t bring back the dead or heal the violated. They are laughably worthless and ridiculously easy to defeat.
- CAMERAS AT THE STOPS
These suffer all the same shortcomings as the cameras on the coaches, with additional absurdity of not being at most likely scene of the crime.
- ROVING SECURITY GUARDS
Ah, now here we have a real solution! Because no one is smart enough to lay low until the “Random guard” gets off the bus, or turns his back, or is overwhelmed by a half-dozen Antifa freedom fighters. [Image of me, gagging on my own sarcasm] The claim is that these guards will shoo away the undesirables and evil doers before they can cause mischief. Holy side view, Batman! That sounds like profiling! How in the name of all that is municipal are these guards supposed to know who is going to misbehave until they misbehave, at which point, how are the guards going to be able to do anything other than mop up the blood and notify the next-of-kin? I’m not busting on the guards! I’m sure they’ll do their very best, and a few of them will probably pay for their integrity with their well-being or even their lives. It is the idea – the doctrine – the system – that is making me absolutely slobberingly nuts! How many college degrees does it take to come up with something so blindingly stupid?
- UNADVERTISED SPECIAL
You can bet your bippy the new busses, like all those before, will be “Gun Free Zones.” In other words, they will be carefully designed to put the weak, frail, elderly, and physically disadvantaged in immediate proximity with a concentrated population of predators, and deliberately – may I say criminally – deprive them of the one meaningful tool with which they might defend themselves. There is only one way to prevent crimes before they happen, and that’s with a population of armed victims. I would dearly love to see the city offer free passage on ART to those legally carrying concealed firearms. Concealed firearms make everyone in the population a wild card. CCW holders are the most well-behaved segment of the American population, with the possible exception of the Mennonites.
- DEFENSIVE TACTICS
I promised some of this.
- First, stay off the damned bus!
- If you have to ride, don’t ride alone.
- Pay attention to everyone and everything around you.
- Profile without mercy! In a potentially dangerous setting like a bus or on a street near a bus stop, you don’t have time to ask a person about his moral or religious convictions; you don’t have time to meet his parents or plumb the depths of his soul. If somebody gives you the creeps, get away from him or her!
- Don’t count on cameras or guards to keep you safe. Be alert!
- This one drives me nuts: keep your blasted phone in your pocket when you are out in public! Having your nose buried in your phone and earbuds blocking out the sounds of approaching danger is like chumming for charcaradon bipedalii (that’s two-legged sharks).
- KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF YOUR PHONE AND YOUR EARS FREE OF ENCUMBERANCES! This one is worth repeating.
- The danger is not just on the bus! Bus stops bring together people, both prey and predators. The predator knows where you will be and when you’ll be there. He probably even knows which way you’ll be facing. Break up your pattern and routine as much as you can. Do not for a second believe that you aren’t being watched and profiled, yourself.
- When you get off the bus, be extra vigilant, and watch for people at a distance. Just as a predator knows when you are getting on, he’ll watch you go home or to your work, make note of your route and habits, and set his trap.
- There is an upside for 8 and 9 above: Just as bus stops concentrate prey, they also concentrate predators. Especially if you are somewhere on the Central corridor, you can just about bet that in any group of a dozen or more people, there is at least one who would misbehave if given the chance. This is where alertness will pay a huge dividend; watch the crowd at the bus stops. The predators have to get on the bus at bus stops, right? Use that opportunity to notice people and profile hell out of them. Trust me: profiling someone in your own mind doesn’t hurt them one bit.
- Watch the guards. One of the most dangerous windows will be immediately after a guard disembarks, and before another one comes on. Of course, in order to notice such things, YOU’LL HAVE TO KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF YOUR PHONE!
This is not meant to turn anyone into a twitching paranoid. We have to live our lives. We have to go places by the best means possible. We can’t let the very real possibility of being attacked keep us from living our lives. But we don’t have to walk around blindly, either. The best way to avoid living in fear is to be aware of danger and take measures to avoid it. The great majority of people we meet on the streets are harmless, or even wonderful, but there are some who are not. Recognition of the existence of either type does not deny the existence of the other. Be alert and take common-sense precautions. Those who love you need you home safe.
When I was reenacting, people would scoff at us and say we couldn’t possibly know what the war was like because we weren’t really being slaughtered. They were correct in that we couldn’t fully comprehend the horror and terror of battle, and very few reenactors I have known ever suggested that we could.
Still, we could comprehend a great deal more than those who never made the attempt. I have seen a field so covered with prostrate forms that I could have walked 1/4 mile without touching the ground. Yes, they all got up and went home, but that’s something the scoffers will never even see, so I’m one up on them right there. I’ve heard furious fire. I’ve heard and felt the concussion of a battery of Napoleons shake my guts like jello and run bristly little fingers up my nose and into the corners of my eyes. I’ve carried the same heavy rifle up the same dusty roads in the same strangling heat and quenched my thirst with the same hot, brackish canteen water.
So we may not have done it all, but we’ve done what we’ve done,and that’s more than the scoffers will ever know.
In 2017, however, 15 years after I retired from The Wearing of the Gray, we are getting a taste – just a taste – of another aspect of the life of Johnny Reb. We find ourselves unwelcome and despised interlopers in what we’d always believed to be our own nation
Those old boys stacked their rifles and walked away with their paroles as prisoners – not even 2nd class citizens.- not even citizens until much later. It’s a bitter draught. More bitter than I’d ever imagined, even though I’m certain it falls far short of what they drank.
I thought, when I hung up my old coat of gray the last time, that I was through with tasting Johnny Reb’s life, but it seems my Father in Heaven had another lesson for me.
I hope I’m strong enough to put away the anger and learn it.
This was inspired by a video in which Dinesh D’Souza intellectually eviscerates some smarmy, over-educated college pri… punk.
Technology has never put anybody out of work. It has certainly put people out of particular jobs, but the solution for those people is to find a new job that the same technology invariably creates. The days of going to work in a factory when you’re 19 and working at the same bench for 46 years are gone, and they aren’t coming back. Consider the people who made 8-track tape players. When that technology died, all those jobs were dead, too. The philosophy of unemployment as a stipend to get a person through until the job comes back is just stupid. 8-tracks ain’t coming back! (I thought the same thing about vinyl, but now we’re seeing brand new vinyl in stores, so I may get this jammed down my throat, but I’m gonna stick with it. 8-tracks will stay dead.)
Another example is the automobile, or more precisely, the internal combustion engine. When people started driving horseless carriages, the buggy whip makers went nuts. Some cities (and don’t ask me which ones, because it’s been 30 years since I studied this) passed taxes on auto owners specifically for the relief of buggy whip makers. A lot of those makers sat on their stipends and did nothing, waiting for those jobs to come back. I would bet some of them died right there, waiting. However, how many jobs did the internal combustion engine and the automobile create? Wouldn’t those whip makers have been better off had the government said, “Go get a job in the oil fields, a refinery, an upholstery shop, a tire factory or tire store or an auto dealership?”
It’s not just a single layer, either! When somebody opens a factory making automobiles, he has to have a concentrated work force. That means someone has to build houses or apartments for them, someone has to lay the roads for them to travel on, someone has to sell groceries and shoes and all the other things people need to live in a city. Someone has to drive the trucks from the foundries and tire factories and sawmills (A lot of early autos were largely wood, did you know that?). Someone has to work in those other industries, and build houses for those workers and lay streets and…. Do you see where this is going?
So the whip makers lost their jobs making whips, but were they out of WORK? Only if they chose to sit on their butts and wait for the government to outlaw cars, which was seriously debated for a few years, specifically for the purpose of protecting those jobs! As you can see, stoopidity is nothing new!
Incidentally, Liberals shriek and soil themselves about all the things I’ve described in the last three paragraphs, and damn them under the slanderous terms, “Trickle down,” or “Reaganomics.” What a load of friggin’ road apples!
Do you know what the alternative is to “Trickle down?” The only flippin’ alternative? WELFARE! Either your wages come from some employer who – stay with me now – MUST HAVE THE MONEY BEFORE HE CAN GIVE IT TO YOU, or it must come from the government who – come on now, you can do it – stay with me – it must come from the government who has taken it from the employer, WHO MUST HAVE HAD IT BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT COULD TAKE IT!
Why in hell didn’t the government just let the employer hang onto it and give it to you, himself? Jeeze! Why is this impossible for some people to grasp?
To answer my own question, by the way, the government MUST take the employer’s money so they can skim some of it off for themselves. Otherwise, they’d have to go out and get one of those icky jobs just like the pedestrian masses. Bureaucracy is the only industry that does not benefit from trickle down. In fact, it is based on trickle up, which is precisely the same process, but without the sanctifying virtue of honest work and productivity. The only thing a government produces is force.
Well, force and bull pies.
Robert E. Lee did, indeed, own slaves – by inheritance, for 5 years, freeing them in 1862, long before the law would have forced him to do so. He neither purchased nor sold them. Two male slaves and one female, all named Norris, escaped and were captured just short of the Pennsylvania line. When they were returned to Arlington, Lee had them flogged, then sent them, probably on a lease, to another plantation. I would dearly love to hear Lee’s reasoning on this incident. I will not excuse it, but will point out that Lee, as are we, was a creature of his times, and that was the accepted norm of the times. The tales of exceptional cruelty ascribed to Lee by abolitionist papers is highly doubtful. The social codes and mores of the antebellum South would have forbade it, and any man of Lee’s station who committed such an act would have become a despised outcast.
I don’t see how this makes Lee the monstrous icon of slavery that he is being called today. He did speak against slavery and secession. He didn’t resign his commission in the US army until after Lincoln began raising an army to crush, by deadly force, the spirit of independence of the South.
Though Lincoln called Lee, Beauregard, Johnston, and a few others “traitors,” and implied in a letter that they were traitors before the war, too, I’m inclined to write that off as one of his propagandistic fabrications.
Lee did not attack the US government, and the Confederacy made no attempt to overthrow it. The definition of a civil war is a conflict in which two or more factions struggle for control of a nation’s government. The Confederacy didn’t want control of the US. They wanted no part of it, and were quite willing to forfeit any voice they may have had in its operation. It was NOT a civil war; it was a war for independence, every bit as much as the Revolution of 1775. Cynics will say that Washington is not called a traitor only because he won. I consider that shallow and… well, cynical. Yes, the victors write the books, but that doesn’t make them right. In fact, a number of wars have been fought as a result of the settlement of a previous one, and the treatment of the losers by the victors. (I don’t see anyone telling the American Indians to sit down and shut up, that the Whites get to write the history.)
At the bottom of it, the fact that Lee did own slaves for a short time, and through inheritance rather than purchase, does not mean he fought for slavery. In fact, he spoke in favor of rewarding military service with manumission. That policy was adopted by the Confederate congress, but too late to see the enlistment of Black volunteers. However, the fact that the South was willing to free the slaves to achieve independence goes a very long way, in my mind, to blow to hell the myth that the war was entirely about slavery. As it was, several thousand Blacks, both free and bond, enlisted and served honorably in the Confederate military, smashing another cherished Yankee myth.
Robert E. Lee was a man of unquestionable courage and integrity. He was extremely intelligent and well-educated, and a devoted Christian. He was supremely gracious in defeat; his example and counsel saved the nation years – perhaps generations – of warfare that would have eclipsed the carnage in Bleeding Kansas. These character traits are worthy of respect and emulation. May we not find valuable lessons from examining the process by which such a man could be moved to make the decision he made? May we not find valuable instruction in examining the internal conflicts Lee endured? May we not find equally valuable instruction in examining how he resolved his personal conflicts over slavery, itself?
Have we grown so narrow and mean that we can’t admit to a man’s virtue, and, after 150 years, let him have his place in our history for the sake of keeping that part of his example in our culture? Are we so awash in living examples of the virtues Lee displayed that we can wantonly throw our surplus into the sewer? Do we have such a wide selection of men and women who have exemplified those traits that we can wantonly browbeat, assault, and even kill otherwise intelligent people who have chosen Lee to be their guidepost? Are we in a position to demand absolute perfection in our heroes?
Are we, as a people, so adept at making such perfect decisions on the most momentous topics that 150 years from now, no one will blink in puzzlement and ask, “What in hell were they thinking?” The analogy of Christ telling whomever had no sin to cast the first stone is trenchant. If one holds Lee’s decision to fight for the Confederacy to be terrible and sinful, by what grace has any of us never made a similar mistake? How can any of us be certain we will never be faced with such a choice and come down on the right side – and not just the side that seems right to us, but the side that our great-great-great grandchildren will say was right?
I say there is more good to be had from studying Lee – his achievements and his shortcomings – than from tearing down statues of him and taking his name off schools.
And while I’m thinking of it,
Though he isn’t the topic here, Nathan Bedford Forest is damned high and low as the founder of the KKK. That is not true. Forest was asked to endorse the Klan, and was told it was to be a fraternal service organization, aimed at helping former Confederates find gainful work in the new economy. Forest very quickly saw what the Klan was – whether it started out that way or not – and wrote to President Johnson suggesting that it be outlawed. That’s another point left out of the books by the all-victorious Yankees.
Forest did own several slaves, and when he organized his regiment of cavalry for the CS Army, he promised them freedom if they would serve. Several did, and not one deserted during the war. Forest was as good as his word, and freed them all well before the 13th Amendment was ratified.
The Yankees love to damn Forrest for the “Fort Pillow Massacre,” in which a number of Black Federal soldiers were killed, supposedly after they had surrendered. Several of the Confederate soldiers at Ft. Pillow were Forrest’s former slaves. Survivors of the fight from both sides have said there was no “massacre”; It was just a hard and bloody fight. On the other hand, survivors from both sides have said there was a massacre. The fact is that the Yankees were given a chance to surrender, and refused, forcing a battle in which several of Forrest’s men were killed. It had been the custom for centuries that, if one side declined an offer to surrender, every death on the other side was deemed unnecessary – almost murder – and no quarter was expected or given. It is a tribute to the discipline of Forrest’s men that there were any Federal survivors, at all.
Ken Burns, the PBS propagandist, claimed that the Ft. Pillow Massacre convinced Grant to stop the exchange of prisoners in the summer of 1864. Grant never once mentioned Ft. Pillow, and and he was never a man to mince words on military subjects. Given that he stopped the exchange one week after the fight, I seriously doubt he’d ever heard of it.
I do most emphatically NOT defend or excuse slavery. It is an altogether hideous institution, and the world would be a better place if the abolitionist fervor that stirred our national pot in the 1850’s would be directed at the slave traders who run their sorry business on the streets of America today, almost totally unremarked by the Federal government. The question here is not the right or wrong of slavery, but whether the doctrine and actions of the US were more or less likely to affect manumission than those of the CS.
The revisionists, primarily on the left of American politics, are the primary, but not sole offenders in the obfuscation of history and perversion of the lessons it offers us. Note that history doesn’t teach us anything; it offers us evidence, and leaves it up to us to educate ourselves. The Left is absolutely consistent in equivocating on right and wrong when they are doing something most reasonable people would say is wrong. They talk about how complex the issue is, how there’s no black or white but only gray, how no one is all good or bad – which of course one could not claim without a black and white knowledge of good and bad – and how there are no absolutes in any moral issue. The exception to this pattern is their current (late summer of 2017) stance on the Confederate States of America and anything or anyone who finds the least bit of virtue in that long-dead nation, its cause, or its culture. Every person in their Confederacy was a slave-owning monster. Everything article of clothing or iconography symbolizes nothing but the very worst and lowest of human nature.
How odd that the Confederate States of America and the War Between the States is actually a veritable sea of gray, of contrasts and of contradictory beliefs, and yet is the one thing on which the Left does not equivocate in the least. The point of the essay which follows is to examine the behavior of the two parties in that war, rather than join in the endless, eternal wrangling over semantics and projected motives. There will be some conjecture on motives, which I hope will be obvious; it is not my intention to conflate motive with observable behavior.
Was the North fighting for abolition or dominion over the South? Was the South fighting for slavery or independence? In total, the two governments were comprised of thousands of individual human beings, while the populations and armies were comprised of millions of those ambiguous, inconsistent creatures. Any attempt to say that all of them were absolutely for or against dominion or slavery is dishonest and disingenuous. It is my opinion that, to the extent the government, people, and soldiers of the North were fighting for dominion, they abdicated any moral position to which they might have laid claim. At the same time, to the extent that the government, people, and soldiers of the South were fighting for slavery, they, too, abdicated any moral position to which they might have laid claim. Anti-slavery thought in the South and anti-dominion thought in the North were strong, but not omnipresent.
This essay is an attempt to examine the main, or predominant driving forces of both parties, as evidenced by what they actually said and did. It is correct to speculate on their motives and to applaud or condemn them, but the people, themselves, were creatures of their time, and informed by the conventions of their time, just as we are creatures of and informed by the conventions of our time. Let us show them the same generosity that we should pray will be shown us 150 years hence. [Rebsarge]
There was a lot more to the states’ rights doctrine than slavery. I will point to specific acts of both the United States and the Confederate States, and offer to you the opportunity to decide for yourselves if those acts are consistent with a war over the rights of the states and the people, or over the abolition of slavery.
In a letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln equivocated like a champ, but clearly did not come down four-square on abolition: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. “
In 1859, Virginia and North Carolina, by themselves, provided more than 90% of the tax and tariff revenues of the US. Is it surprising then, that they didn’t approve Lincoln’s use of their money to hire an army that had no purpose other than to invade the Southern states and subjugate them to the almighty Federal will?
Virginia didn’t secede until AFTER Lincoln called up an army of mercenaries to enforce his idea of the law at the points of bayonets. That’s right. Virginia didn’t secede over slavery; they seceded over Lincoln’s unconstitutional – and dare I say barbaric – act. Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina also seceded only after Lincoln called up an army of invasion.
Virginia’s ordnance of secession referred to “…the Southern slave-holding states,” but made no other reference to slavery. Most of the ordnances of secession didn’t mention slavery, at all. Alabama made reference to the Federal government’s hostility toward, “…domestic institutions.” Texas included the accusation that the, “Federal Government is sought to be made a weapon with which to strike down the interests and property of the people of Texas, and her sister slave-holding States.” Texas also said, “The Federal Government has failed to accomplish the purposes of the compact of union between these States, in giving protection either to the persons of our people upon an exposed frontier, or to the property of our citizens…”
Other than that, none of the ordnances of secession even mentioned slavery. Be it noted, too, that these ordnances were written and adopted by the elected representatives of the people of the several states, fewer than 10% of whom owned slaves. In other words, the South seceded on the strength of a non-slave owning population. I recommend to your attention those ordnances, some for their razor-like austerity, others for the eloquent and thorough denunciation of the ravages of the Federal government, in general, and Lincoln, in particular, upon the people of the Southern states. The texts of the ordnances are attached at the foot of this essay.
Here is a little taste, from Arkansas: “Abraham Lincoln…has… proclaimed to the world that war should be waged against such [seceding] States until they should be compelled to submit to their rule, and large forces to accomplish this have by this same power been called out, and are now being marshaled to carry out this inhuman design; and to longer submit to such rule, or remain in the old Union of the United States, would be disgraceful and ruinous to the State of Arkansas.”
I have no doubt that some will say, “Oh, those are just code words for slavery.” As my salty ol’ momma would say, “Horseshit.”
One might also wonder if asserting their rights as independent states was of secondary importance to the South, why would they secede and risk war, when they had the votes in the national legislature to have blocked any ordnance of abolition or manumission.
Federal tariffs were specifically intended to keep slave-grown cotton in the US, and Southern planters so in debt to Yankee factors there was no way they could save enough capital to invest in the sort of industrialization that would have hastened the demise of slavery. Those Yankee factors got awfully rich, too!
Virginia, at least, had seriously debated manumission for several years before the war. A number of Confederate legislators and governors pointed out that the practice of slavery would prevent the South from ever being accepted into the international community of enlightened nations, and advocated manumission. The Confederate congress authorized enlistment of slaves, and guaranteed freedom in exchange for service, which sort of indicates the South was more concerned about independence than about keeping their slaves.
THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION (We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.)
Almost no one knows there was a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued in September, 1862 that was substantially different from the final version. It contained wording that Southerners instantly, and with full justification, regarded as inciting a slave uprising. Lincoln knew Southerners feared such a thing, and would never accept any document that included a specific threat of one. Here’s the passage to which I refer:
“…the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
The South’s rejection of the preliminary proclamation justified, in Lincoln’s mind, the prosecution of a war that would kill over 700,000 Americans and devastate the one region of the nation that had the guts to stand up to him and his dream of an omnipotent Federal government. Lincoln did not want to free the slaves, necessarily; he wanted to wreck the South and crush the spirit of independence from the Southern soul, and by offering up what was literally a fraudulent proposal, he got his wish. [The link to the Preliminary Proclamation in the National Archives is included below.]
The final version of the Emancipation Proclamation actually GUARANTEED the continuation of slavery. It said that if the South would disband their armies and send representatives back to Washington, they could keep their slaves. Here are a few excerpts:
“Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, …as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion… designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people…are in rebellion…” [there follows a long list of regions of the Confederacy that are under US control]…”which excepted parts, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.”
After the Proclamation was issued, Vermont very nearly seceded from the Union over being forced, by the Conscription Act, to send their sons to die, “To free the Niggers.” That’s Vermont’s language. The entire 15th Corps of the Army of the Tennessee broke camp and headed back to Illinois because they hadn’t enlisted, “…to free the Niggers.” John Logan talked them out of it by assuring them the war was not over slavery, that the Proclamation was just a political ploy, and the war was still about saving the union.(Federal soldiers called the enlistment of Blacks, “Sambo’s right to get killed.”)
New York mobs murdered about 120 Blacks in the draft riots of 1863 because New Yorkers weren’t keen on being slaughtered (the riots were immediately after Gettysburg, which saw 52,000 casualties in about 24 hours of fighting) to end slavery.
Perhaps the most damning indication that the US was not fighting for abolition is that the 13th Amendment wasn’t passed by the Senate until April of ’64, and by the House in January of ’65. It wasn’t ratified by the states until December of ’65. One reason for the delay in ratification was that the seceding states were required to ratify it before they’d be allowed to seat representatives in the legislature.
The Confederate Constitution was almost a perfect copy of the US Constitution, with a few exceptions. The right of the states to secede was implicitly recognized in the preamble. The President was elected for a single, six-year term, and was given a line-item veto, an idea that is fairly popular today. The importation of slaves from any source other than the United States was forbidden. The bill of rights, tacked onto the US Constitution as an afterthought, was incorporated into the CS Constitution. Slavery in any territories of the Confederacy was guaranteed, interstate travel with slaves was guaranteed, and there was a fugitive slave law.
It is also trenchant that the mechanism for amendment, including a convention of states, was identical to the US Constitution, which was amended in 1865 to abolish slavery. Given the growing disapproval of slavery among Southerners, the certainty that no slave-holding nation would be recognized as an equal by European powers, and the declining number of slave owners in the South, it does not seem beyond reason that a free and independent Confederacy would have abolished slavery on its own within not too many years. We’ll never know. We’ll also never know what the human race lost in those furlong-long mass graves.
It was stated over and over during the war that the North wasn’t fighting to end slavery, but to preserve the Union. They surrendered any moral high ground they might have claimed, and sacrificed over 700,000 lives to keep about 1/3 of the US population under the heel of a government they despised. The Emancipation Proclamation was a cheap, cynical smokescreen Lincoln threw up to keep France and England from helping the South. The people of the North were flat not willing to wage war over slavery.
There can be no disputing the fact that slavery was a bone of serious contention, and a factor in the war. I believe it is more accurate to say it was a block to rational debate of other, more relevant matters. Northern radical abolitionists created the image of all Southerners as ignorant, inbred, slave-raping, Simon Legree-esque monsters. Similarly, Southern “Fire-breathers” convinced their readers that all Yankees were, in fact, radical abolitionists. By 1860, there was so much bad blood between the two sections anything like manners was out of the question. It was, in fact, much like the atmosphere in the US in 2017, which ought to, but probably will not, give us all pause.
Actual Proclamation: https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation/transcript.html
Confederate Constitution: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp
ORDNANCES OF SECESSION
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”
We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.
Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”
The people of the State of Mississippi, in convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to wit:
Section 1. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the same are hereby, repealed, and that all obligations on the part of the said State or the people thereof to observe the same be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws or ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Section 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, abrogated and annulled.
Section 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed, or treaty made, in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Section 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a federal union with such of the States as may have seceded or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions than such seceding States.
Thus ordained and declared in convention the 9th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1861.
Ordinance of Secession
We, the people of the State of Florida, in convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish, and declare, That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America and from the existing Government of the said States; and that all political connection between her and the Government of said States ought to be, and the same is hereby, totally annulled, and said Union of States dissolved; and the State of Florida is hereby declared a sovereign and independent nation; and that all ordinances heretofore adopted, in so far as they create or recognize said Union, are rescinded; and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union, be, and they are hereby, repealed.
Passed 10 Jan 1861
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Alabama and the other States united under the compact styled “The Constitution of the United States of America”
Whereas, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of president and vice-president of the United States of America, by a sectional party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama, preceded by many and dangerous infractions of the constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the Northern section, is a political wrong of so insulting and menacing a character as to justify the people of the State of Alabama in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for their future peace and security, therefore:
Be it declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, That the State of Alabama now withdraws, and is hereby withdrawn from the Union known as “the United States of America,” and henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought to be a Sovereign and Independent State.
Section 2. Be it further declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled, That all powers over the Territory of said State, and over the people thereof, heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America, be and they are hereby withdrawn from said Government, and are hereby resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama. And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States,
Be it resolved by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That the people of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, be and are hereby invited to meet the people of the State of Alabama, by their Delegates, in Convention, on the 4th day of February, A.D., 1861, at the city of Montgomery, in the State of Alabama, for the purpose of consulting with each other as to the most effectual mode of securing concerted and harmonious action in whatever measures may be deemed most desirable for our common peace and security.
And be it further resolved, That the President of this Convention, be and is hereby instructed to transmit forthwith a copy of the foregoing Preamble, Ordinance, and Resolutions to the Governors of the several States named in said resolutions.
Done by the people of the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, at Montgomery, on this, the eleventh day of January, A.D. 1861.
We the people of the State of Georgia in Convention assembled do declare and ordain and it is hereby declared and ordained that the ordinance adopted by the State of Georgia in convention on the 2nd day of Jany. in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the constitution of the United States of America was assented to, ratified and adopted, and also all acts and parts of acts of the general assembly of this State, ratifying and adopting amendments to said constitution, are hereby repealed, rescinded and abrogated.
We do further declare and ordain that the union now existing between the State of Georgia and other States under the name of the United States of America is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Georgia is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
Passed January 19, 1861
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Louisiana and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”
We, the people of the State of Louisiana, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance passed by us in convention on the 22d day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and eleven, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America and the amendments of the said Constitution were adopted, and all laws and ordinances by which the State of Louisiana became a member of the Federal Union, be, and the same are hereby, repealed and abrogated; and that the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States under the name of “The United States of America” is hereby dissolved.
We do further declare and ordain, That the State of Louisiana hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America; that her citizens are absolved from all allegiance to said Government; and that she is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which appertain to a free and independent State.
We do further declare and ordain, That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or any act of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Adopted in convention at Baton Rouge this 26th day of January, 1861.
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the Union between the State of Texas and the other States united under the Compact styled “the Constitution of the United States of America.”
WHEREAS, The Federal Government has failed to accomplish the purposes of the compact of union between these States, in giving protection either to the persons of our people upon an exposed frontier, or to the property of our citizens, and
WHEREAS, the action of the Northern States of the Union is violative of the compact between the States and the guarantees of the Constitution; and,
WHEREAS, The recent developments in Federal affairs make it evident that the power of the Federal Government is sought to be made a weapon with which to strike down the interests and property of the people of Texas, and her sister slave-holding States, instead of permitting it to be, as was intended, our shield against outrage and aggression; THEREFORE,
SECTION 1. We, the people of the State of Texas, by delegates in convention assembled, do declare and ordain that the ordinance adopted by our convention of delegates on the 4th day of July, A.D. 1845, and afterwards ratified by us, under which the Republic of Texas was admitted into the Union with other States, and became a party to the compact styled “The Constitution of the United States of America,” be, and is hereby, repealed and annulled; that all the powers which, by the said compact, were delegated by Texas to the Federal Government are revoked and resumed; that Texas is of right absolved from all restraints and obligations incurred by said compact, and is a separate sovereign State, and that her citizens and people are absolved from all allegiance to the United States or the government thereof.
SECTION 2. This ordinance shall be submitted to the people of Texas for their ratification or rejection, by the qualified voters, on the 23rd day of February, 1861, and unless rejected by a majority of the votes cast, shall take effect and be in force on and after the 2d day of March, A.D. 1861.
PROVIDED, that in the Representative District of El Paso said election may be held on the 18th day of February, 1861.
Done by the people of the State of Texas, in convention assembled, at Austin, this 1st day of February, A.D. 1861.
Ratified 23 Feb 1861 by a vote of 46,153 for and 14,747 against.
AN ORDINANCE to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United State of America by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution
The people of Virginia in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slave-holding States:
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain, That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying and adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day, when ratified by a majority of the voter of the people of this State cast at a poll to be taken thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule hereafter to be enacted.
Adopted by the convention of Virginia April 17,1861
Ratified by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451 on 23 May 1861.
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union now existing between the State of Arkansas and the other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”
Whereas, in addition to the well-founded causes of complaint set forth by this convention, in resolutions adopted on the 11th of March, A.D. 1861, against the sectional party now in power in Washington City, headed by Abraham Lincoln, he has, in the face of resolutions passed by this convention pledging the State of Arkansas to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that had seceded from the old Union, proclaimed to the world that war should be waged against such States until they should be compelled to submit to their rule, and large forces to accomplish this have by this same power been called out, and are now being marshaled to carry out this inhuman design; and to longer submit to such rule, or remain in the old Union of the United States, would be disgraceful and ruinous to the State of Arkansas:
Therefore we, the people of the State of Arkansas, in convention assembled, do hereby declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the “ordinance and acceptance of compact” passed and approved by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas on the 18th day of October, A.D. 1836, whereby it was by said General Assembly ordained that by virtue of the authority vested in said General Assembly by the provisions of the ordinance adopted by the convention of delegates assembled at Little Rock for the purpose of forming a constitution and system of government for said State, the propositions set forth in “An act supplementary to an act entitled `An act for the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union, and to provide for the due execution of the laws of the United States within the same, and for other purposes,'” were freely accepted, ratified, and irrevocably confirmed, articles of compact and union between the State of Arkansas and the United States, and all other laws and every other law and ordinance, whereby the State of Arkansas became a member of the Federal Union, be, and the same are hereby, in all respects and for every purpose herewith consistent, repealed, abrogated, and fully set aside; and the union now subsisting between the State of Arkansas and the other States, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby forever dissolved.
And we do further hereby declare and ordain, That the State of Arkansas hereby resumes to herself all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America; that her citizens are absolved from all allegiance to said Government of the United States, and that she is in full possession and exercise of all the rights and sovereignty which appertain to a free and independent State.
We do further ordain and declare, That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States of America, or of any act or acts of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in full force and effect, in nowise altered or impaired, and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Adopted and passed in open convention on the 6th day of May, A.D. 1861.
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of North Carolina and the other States united with her, under the compact of government entitled “The Constitution of the United States.”
We, the people of the State of North Carolina in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by the State of North Carolina in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified and adopted, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly ratifying and adopting amendments to the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, rescinded, and abrogated.
We do further declare and ordain, That the union now subsisting between the State of North Carolina and the other States, under the title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
Done in convention at the city of Raleigh, this the 20th day of May, in the year of our Lord 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the independence of said State.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND ORDINANCE dissolving the federal relations between the State of Tennessee and the United States of America.
First. We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and to absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Second. We furthermore declare and ordain that article 10, sections 1 and 2, of the constitution of the State of Tennessee, which requires members of the General Assembly and all officers, civil and military, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same are hereby, abrogated and annulled, and all parts of the constitution of the State of Tennessee making citizenship of the United States a qualification for office and recognizing the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of this State are in like manner abrogated and annulled.
Third. We furthermore ordain and declare that all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, or under any laws of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Sent to referendum 6 May 1861 by the legislature, and approved by the voters by a vote of 104,471 to 47,183 on 8 June 1861.
An act declaring the political ties heretofore existing between the State of Missouri and the United States of America dissolved.
Whereas the Government of the United States, in the possession and under the control of a sectional party, has wantonly violated the compact originally made between said Government and the State of Missouri, by invading with hostile armies the soil of the State, attacking and making prisoners the militia while legally assembled under the State laws, forcibly occupying the State capitol, and attempting through the instrumentality of domestic traitors to usurp the State government, seizing and destroying private property, and murdering with fiendish malignity peaceable citizens, men, women, and children, together with other acts of atrocity, indicating a deep-settled hostility toward the people of Missouri and their institutions; and
Whereas the present Administration of the Government of the United States has utterly ignored the Constitution, subverted the Government as constructed and intended by its makers, and established a despotic and arbitrary power instead thereof: Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the general assembly of the State of Missouri, That all political ties of every character new existing between the Government of the United States of America and the people and government of the State of Missouri are hereby dissolved, and the State of Missouri, resuming the sovereignty granted by compact to the said United States upon admission of said State into the Federal Union, does again take its place as a free and independent republic amongst the nations of the earth.
his act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved by the Missouri Legislature on October 31, 1861.
Whereas, the Federal Constitution, which created the Government of the United States, was declared by the framers thereof to be the supreme law of the land, and was intended to limit and did expressly limit the powers of said Government to certain general specified purposes, and did expressly reserve to the States and people all other powers whatever, and the President and Congress have treated this supreme law of the Union with contempt and usurped to themselves the power to interfere with the rights and liberties of the States and the people against the expressed provisions of the Constitution, and have thus substituted for the highest forms of national liberty and constitutional government a central despotism founded upon the ignorant prejudices of the masses of Northern society, and instead of giving protection with the Constitution to the people of fifteen States of this Union have turned loose upon them the unrestrained and raging passions of mobs and fanatics, and because we now seek to hold our liberties, our property, our homes, and our families under the protection of the reserved powers of the States, have blockaded our ports, invaded our soil, and waged war upon our people for the purpose of subjugating us to their will; and
Whereas, our honor and our duty to posterity demand that we shall not relinquish our own liberty and shall not abandon the right of our descendants and the world to the inestimable blessings of constitutional government: Therefore,
Be it ordained, That we do hereby forever sever our connection with the Government of the United States, and in the name of the people we do hereby declare Kentucky to be a free and independent State, clothed with all power to fix her own destiny and to secure her own rights and liberties.
And whereas, the majority of the Legislature of Kentucky have violated their most solemn pledges made before the election, and deceived and betrayed the people; have abandoned the position of neutrality assumed by themselves and the people, and invited into the State the organized armies of Lincoln; have abdicated the Government in favor of a military despotism which they have placed around themselves, but cannot control, and have abandoned the duty of shielding the citizen with their protection; have thrown upon our people and the State the horrors and ravages of war, instead of attempting to preserve the peace, and have voted men and money for the war waged by the North for the destruction of our constitutional rights; have violated the expressed words of the constitution by borrowing five millions of money for the support of the war without a vote of the people; have permitted the arrest and imprisonment of our citizens, and transferred the constitutional prerogatives of the Executive to a military commission of partisans; have seen the writ of habeas corpus suspended without an effort for its preservation, and permitted our people to be driven in exile from their homes; have subjected our property to confiscation and our persons to confinement in the penitentiary as felons, because we may choose to take part in a cause for civil liberty and constitutional government against a sectional majority waging war against the people and institutions of fifteen independent States of the old Federal Union, and have done all these things deliberately against the warnings and vetoes of the Governor and the solemn remonstrance’s of the minority in the Senate and House of Representatives: Therefore,
Be it further ordained, That the unconstitutional edicts of a factious majority of a Legislature thus false to their pledges, their honor, and their interests are not law, and that such a government is unworthy of the support of a brave and free people, and that we do therefore declare that the people are thereby absolved from all allegiance to said government, and that they have a right to establish any government which to them may seem best adapted to the preservation of their rights and liberties.
Adopted 20 Nov 1861, by a Convention of the People of Kentucky.
(Posted 2 days after the riot in Charlottesville, VA)
Yesterday, 11 August, 2017, one of our local talk show hosts was ragging on people who insist that anyone they don’t like is Hitler reincarnated. Listening to some of the idiotic statements he was quoting, it occurred to me that the abysmal ignorance of that period is 100% the work of Progressive education. Allow me to ‘splain to you some tings.
When Hitler was elected Chancellor, Germany was operating under the Weimar Constitution, named for the state in which it was written. That document gave the national government authority:
- to censor all art and news reporting,
- to mandate the content of textbooks,
- to forcibly take children from their parents,
- to forcibly move citizens around to meet the labor needs of Germany,
- to seize – temporarily or permanently – any privately owned vehicles or real estate,
- to tell farmers what to grow and manufacturers what to make,
- to fix prices and wages,
- to declare martial law (pet peeve: that’s MARTIAL, as in MILITARY law, not MARSHALL, as in Matt Dillon law!) for any period of time without permission of the Reichstag – essentially, “Congress”,
- to order citizens into jobs or careers to meet the labor needs of Germany,
- to seize (nationalize) and business or industry,
- to sterilize citizens to control population growth,
- to limit, by force of law, the number of children families could have,
- and other powers too numerous to list here.
When the Constitution was read before the Assembly, several dozen representatives walked out in protest because it left too much choice and liberty in the hands of the people. The American Left, called “Progressives” at that time, absolutely soiled themselves over what they considered the greatest, noblest document ever created by Man. It was suggested that the US Constitution be replaced with a strengthened version of the Weimar Constitution. The only thing American Progressives loved more than the Weimar Constitution was the fascism of Benito Mussolini.
So it strikes me as obscenely ironic that the modern American Left, the direct, linear, ideological, intellectual, and moral descendants of those Progressives, are screeching that Trump is like Hitler, when the electoral mechanism that allowed the rest of us to elect Trump was the exact opposite of the one that allowed Hitler to become Chancellor, and actually authorized every bloody, damned thing the paper-hanging sonofabitch ever did!
Let me rephrase that in less obtuse terms: Hitler did what he did in accordance with a law that American Progressives [Democrats] had orgasms over. The further Trump gets from the Progressive/Democrat/Fascist dream, the less he is like Hitler. The American Left have always been advocates of tyranny and the subjugation of the American people.
De Becker, Gavin – “The Gift of Fear – Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence” –Delta/ Random House – NY, NY – 1997 – 359 pages
Gavin De Becker is a survivor of some pretty bad domestic violence, which he will tell you about in bits and pieces throughout the pages of this book. He owns a company that evaluates risks for celebrities, politicians, governments, corporations, and even individuals. This book – beautifully written and edited by people who know how to use the English language – based on the lessons of operating such a company successfully, is meant primarily for individuals, and specifically a female audience. Becker says, correctly, I believe, that men of every nation and race are more violent than women.
The theme he announces early on is that we have what amount to instinctual, or intuitive warnings about certain people and situations, but we have been conditioned by a variety of forces and mores to ignore those premonitions. The results are too often fatal.
He lists the results of our being so fearful of the mayhem bubbling near the surface – everything from guns to tamper-proof packaging – and points out that we are living like that because of the actions of fewer than a dozen men. “Since fear is so central to our experience, understanding when it is a gift – and when it is a curse – is well worth the effort.”
The first example he describes will stand well for many in the book. A young woman, Kelly, accepted help from a stranger who kindly offered to help her carry her packages into her apartment. She was uneasy, but ignored her intuition. At some point, he went into the kitchen, and as he walked out, she silently crept behind him. When he went one way into the kitchen, she went the other way, out the door. It turned out he had killed a couple of other women, and surely meant to kill her. De Becker interviewed her, and asked her some very significant questions, one of which was about what had finally pushed her to heed her intuition.
She first said she had no idea, then said, no, it was when he closed the window. She subconsciously realized there was only one reason he would have been concerned about noise escaping her apartment. She let her fear lead her out, and lived.
A number of the cases De Becker sites are like this, but quite a number seem of questionable value to an individual. They involve agencies or companies ignoring or misinterpreting the signs given, sometimes for years, by predators, stalkers, serial killers, terrorists, and sundry lunatics, that they are capable of egregious misbehavior.
Where De Becker really shines is in describing the signs, or pre-incident indicators, that a person might watch for. There is far too much really superb insight and instruction in this book for me to give it even the briefest summation, but one series of points has hit me like a hammer. He devotes a great deal of the book to explaining the signals that criminals give before committing their crimes, but also explains seven things they do to mask those signals.
The first is forced teaming. The criminal will fabricate a reason to be near his victim, and will claim they have some common cause. In Kelly’s case, the killer had noticed she had some cat food in one of her bags, and to encourage her to hurry up the stairs with him, he said, “We’ve got a hungry cat up there.” A criminal will use phrases like, “We’re both in the same boat,” or, “We’re a great team,” to build a sense of comradeship – but a moment’s critical thought will show those statements to be grossly manipulative and false.
The second is charm and niceness. We all love nice manners, and it seems contradictory that a savage might demonstrate them to take us unawares, but it happens, and I’d bet many who read this are nodding and saying, “No lie.” This is especially important for women, because in many cultures, “A woman is expected, first and foremost, to respond to every communication from a man…. Women are expected to be warm and open…” De Becker encourages, “…women to explicitly rebuff unwanted approaches….” It is hard for many women, conditioned to “be nice and sweet,” to verbally punch someone in the nose. Do it, anyway.
The third masking technique is giving too many details. Kelly’s assailant told her a story about having left a friend’s cat unfed. Too many details. He suggested she leave the door open, “like ladies do in old movies.” Too many details. He told her he was always late because his watch was broken, but it wasn’t his fault. Too many details. Anyone who has studied creative writing knows that details can give a scene a texture or a flavor that makes it very real, and that is precisely why a criminal might flood his victim’s sensors with superfluous detail. However, the thing that makes his story believable ought to send up signal flares of warning.
The fourth mask is what De Becker called type casting. A man might say, “You’re probably not the sort of woman who would even speak to someone like me,” knowing that a woman conditioned to be “nice and sweet” [see admonition under, “charm and niceness, above] will invariably prove to him she is not a stuck up snob. When Kelly refused the killer’s assistance, he said, “There’s such a thing as being too proud.” He was subtly accusing her of being prideful – typecasting her again.
The fifth mask is loan sharking. The criminal needn’t actually loan his victim money in order to create debt. He will give the victim some gift or act of service, specifically one that isn’t asked for, and then hold it over the victim’s head in the form of guilt. It’s hard for a “nice and sweet” woman to deliver that cold poke in the nose to a man who has just done something for her without having been asked. Do it, anyway. I have personally fallen prey, not to a criminal, but to manipulators who abused my kindness by bringing me gifts, usually stupid things for which I had no use or desire, knowing it would then be much harder for me to turn them down when they asked for favors – sometimes expensive favors.
These five things are behaviors in which many people engage every day without any sinister intent. De Becker: “I don’t mean to cramp the style of some crude Casanova, but times have changed, and we men can surely develop some approaches that are not steeped in deceit and manipulation.”
There are two more indicators to beware of, and these should literally SCREAM warning! The first is the unsolicited promise. The man who stalked Kelly said repeatedly that he’d leave as soon has he got her stuff in the door, “…I promise.” “I won’t hurt you, I promise.” “Stay here while I go get something to drink, then I’ll leave, I promise.” Promises, says De Becker, “… are the very shallowest instruments of speech, showing nothing more than the speaker’s desire to convince you of something.” The criminal will use a promise to break down what he sees as your doubt or suspicion, both of which are “…messengers of intuition.” His promise gives you another chance to examine your own intuitive reservation, or fear, and act on it!
Finally, there is discounting the word “No.” What more can be said about this? If you tell someone, “No,” and they blow it off or go into type casting or an unsolicited promise, you should need no more warning. Slam the door, call a bystander for help, drag your pistol, but for Heaven’ sake do something! Get out of there!
Many of the cases De Becker includes as examples of “intuition” strike me more as shoddy detective work. They involve people with histories of violence or mental issues that are unnoticed and unremarked, in spite of them fitting the profile like a hand in a glove. Profiling has gotten a bad rap from people who live behind walls and armed protectors, but we all profile people every day. We don’t have time to get to know them when we pass them on the street or in an elevator. We don’t have time to give them an ink blot test, or do some word-association with them. We have to judge them now! Don’t let some politically correct, intellectual turnip convince you to give away one of your very best protections! You’d better believe criminals are profiling you every day. Criminals also often select their victims by a remarkably obvious method: an interview. De Becker admonishes us that seeing the interview, “…for what it is, while it is happening doesn’t mean that you view every unexpected encounter as if it is part of a crime, but it does mean that you react to the signals if and as they occur. Trust that which causes alarm probably should, because when it comes to danger, intuition is always right in at least two important ways:
- It is always in response to something.
- It always has your best interest at heart.” [emphasis added]
I especially recommend chapters 10 and 11 to the women, young and old, who may read this. They’ll make a lot more sense if you’ve read the first nine chapters, but these two are filled with sledgehammer blows to the dangerous, even suicidal, complacency and misperception that so many people have about violence against women. The decent, loving man who reads these chapters will be sickened, and moved to go hug his womenfolk to his breast.
“The Gift of Fear” is about 350 hard-hitting, beautifully-written pages, with true gems of wisdom and insight often buried under alluvial fans of distraction and marginally relevant detail. All I can say is that the gems are worth the digging.
I would caution you about something, though, because it almost caused me to throw the book through the window in the first 22 pages. He said his company, devoted to predicting threats, “…is an unusual firm, one that could only exist in America, and, in most regards, need only exist in America.”
I stoutly and loudly reject the notion that men prey on others only in America! In fact, the staggering absurdity of such a claim came very near making me give up on mining this remarkable book for the legitimate treasures it holds. De Becker is a liberal, and an anti-gunner. He never misses a chance to blame guns and gun owners for all violence. But he is also a very, very shrewd analyst of human nature and of many realities of the culture we live in.
Ignore this bilge and read on. I promise you, it will be worth it.
(Post script – At no point does De Becker refer in any fashion to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The models, admonitions, and counsel he offers are strictly secular and psychological. I, personally, found no contradiction to what I believe to be one of the blessings of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I know many who read this review will share that faith, and for them I offer this last statement. You know the standard by which to judge counsel, and you know that if it is good counsel, it will pass that test. Read the book, test the counsel, and stay safe. For those who do not share that faith, read the book, test the counsel by your own chosen standards, and stay safe.)