"Her Only Dance for Her Senior Prom Was On the Sidewalk"

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19-year-old Jacqueline Duty is suing her Kentucky school district for barring her—and her Confederate battle flag gown—from the senior prom last spring. Article (reg. req.) with picture of Duty in her dress, and another pic of the dress (four years in the making, and yet not very slimming).

"Her only dance for her senior prom was on the sidewalk to a song playing on the radio," says Duty's lawyer Earl-Ray Neal. Duty herself says she just wanted to show pride in her background. "I wanted to show part of my Southern heritage," she says, in the kind of comment that will sound familiar to readers of David Beito's article on Confederate multiculturalism, which appeared in Reason a while back.

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  1. Hammer and sickle dress – celebrating your Russian heritage

    Khmer Rouge flag dress – celebrating your Cambodian heritage

    It’s a really, really bad idea to conflate your cultural history with a political movement.

  2. Her lawyer’s name is Earl-Ray? As in James?

  3. A really bad idea, yes; one that should be forbidden, no. If she gets the shit kicked out of her by a bunch of girls in African National Congress flag dresses, that’s her problem.

  4. the culture wars have finally come home to the prom to roost.

  5. crimethink – word. I don’t have any love for the confederacy (even being from Kansas, originally, where there were plenty of sympathisers back in the day), but why is her dress banned? This is just more PC bullshit.

    You’re right, of course, joe, the chick probably isn’t the most open-mined gal in the whole world, but who cares? As crimethink said, let her get her ass kicked by a bunch of sisters for her “heritage”.

  6. probably Lynyrd Skynyrd (puke – fucking hate that group) was the theme this year.

    who cares? it’s a fucking prom. gotta be one of the dumbest events ever. because it gave rise to all of the john hughes 80s movies…

  7. Part of me says, who cares? It’s fabric and spangles, and far worst atrocities (fashion and otherwise) have been committed with those in the South.

    Another part of me wants to bend her over a chair, hike the Stars-n-Bars up over her grits and gravy widened hips, and shag her rotten in front of a movie screen, upon which Mandingo is being shown, but with “Slave to the Rhythm” blaring through the speakers, and all the while screaming “Give me my forty acres!” on each thrust. But I digress.

  8. I’m a bit sensitive to this issue, since my high school wouldn’t let me wear a Vatican City flag tuxedo to prom.

    j/k 😉

  9. Just in case my comment was misconstrued, I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting that I am fantasizing about nonconsensual acts. Like a true Southern gentleman, I’d get her drunk (with the finest moonshine money can buy, natch) first.

  10. why is her dress banned?

    she herself, mr lowdog, is probably too stupid to understand why the confederate flag should be reviled by decent men as a prominent symbol of not only man-as-property, but of the broader primitive eugenic mindset of the 18th-20th c south which runs contrary to the principles of western civilization.

    this is not to deny the history of those times; we should remember and study them.

    but celebrate them? only stupid people are able to separate the ghastly savagery of the south’s antebellum economics of genocide from ‘gone-with-the-wind’ primitivist revisionism.

    such a display is no different than her wearing a dress with a black swastika in a white cirle on a red field. the message is entirely antisocial — even if her limited understanding is not — and only anarchists can argue that society has no role in opposing antisocial displays.

  11. I thought the Supreme Court settled this in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969): unless it can show that the symbolic speech materially and substantially interferes with the educational process (causing a riot would fall into this category), the school has got to allow it.

    That said, it was a butt-ugly dress, and she should have known better than to try to wear it. Did she have a date to the prom, anyway, or was she just on her soapbox?

  12. such a display is no different than her wearing a dress with a black swastika in a white cirle on a red field. the message is entirely antisocial — even if her limited understanding is not — and only anarchists can argue that society has no role in opposing antisocial displays.

    I’m not saying society has no role, I’m saying government should have no role. If antisocial displays are indeed antisocial, they will bring about negative consequences such as ostracism, which do not require government intervention.

  13. Here’s a little bit of a tangent, but what else is new?
    The Civil War got started on the basis of states rights. It was kept going by the issue of slavery.
    The war on Iraq was started by WMD. It’s being kept going by… what is keeping it going?

  14. She had her pick of eligible bachelors: Cooter, Geech, Cousin Roy, Voss, Little Joe, Big Joe, the Rev. J. Bubb Tubbs, Hoss, Grampa, Spanky, Stumpy, Cletus, Bo, Bubba, the list goes on and on.

  15. It is kept going by American pride. Americans would rather suffer casualties than admit that the most expensive military in the world isn’t up to whipping the guerrillas in two countries simultaneously.

  16. gaius – ok, you’re very verbose with your answer, and I can’t say you’re wrong. I agree, the confederate flag is something to be reviled for a lot of reasons, but I just can’t get too worked up about this.

  17. Isn’t the idea to get someone to take off your prom dress?

  18. If this chubby Rebel is so concerned with her “Southern heritage”, then she should’ve never attended that Prom in the first place. After all, that parking lot had to be filled with pickup trucks sporting both confederate flags and bumper stickers that read “No Fat Chicks!”

  19. fair enough, mr lowdog.

    I’m saying government should have no role.

    *can* it have no role, mr crimethink?

    It is kept going by American pride.

    i have to agree on some level, mr sulla (gulp). most americans have become noxiously like mr bush — unable to admit a mistake they are fond of.

  20. “That said, it was a butt-ugly dress, and she should have known better than to try to wear it. Did she have a date to the prom, anyway, or was she just on her soapbox”

    actually, her pappy (slash brother slash uncle) owns a sequin mine…

  21. Here is my thought,
    If it is a private school they can forbid the dress. In a public school they can’t.

  22. of course. “private school”…
    imdb.com/title/tt0086143

    interesting…

  23. These days there are all kinds of permitted clothing for prom night that are anti-social, horrifying, ghastly, and stupid that never would have been permitted at my prom (way back in the Dark Ages it was chicks in formal gowns and guys in rented monkey suits).

    Personally I think the frikkin’ schools ought to take a more active role in enforcing dress codes for these kinds of formal events. It is, after all, a formal event. If you want to go casual, go the the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach and out to a movie. But if anything goes, as it seems to, than the battle dress should be okay as well.

    And Lynnard Skynard is a great band (absolutley the best version of Run Run Rudolph ever, bar none, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that). It’s worth buying an album just so you can hear them tell Neil Young to pound salt up his ass.

  24. My view is that she should be allowed to wear a Confederate dress or a Communist dress or a Nazi dress or whatever. But let’s not forget what the Confederacy was about. In the words of its own vice-president, Alexander Stephens:

    But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/corner.html

  25. Many comments seem to abuse the admirers of Star and Bars by applying a narrowly prejudiced view of hillbilly southerners. Isn’t your reaction to the flag just about the same as what you suppose the flag represents? There are educated reasonable people who admire the CSA without endorsing slavery and racial predjudice.

    With apologies to thoreau, an appropriately-sized version of the dress on Ann Coulter might have looked hot. At least to some.

  26. thoreau.
    would it have been worse under Kerry though?

  27. But if anything goes, as it seems to, than the battle dress should be okay as well.

    that’s fundamentally the problem, isn’t it, in an absurdly emanciapted society?

    we once created public schools to indoctrinate children, many of whom were immigrants, into what it is to be a civilized american. the point of a prom was once to teach you the acceptable means of courting.

    that notion has utterly deteriorated into a free-for-all mechanized daycare center which produces amoral illiterates who are less mature when they come out than when they went in.

    we’re so obsessed about trampling the rights of 15-year-olds (and, as importantly, the wildly inflated egos of their similarly out-of-control and uncompromising parents) that we refuse to teach them anything, for fear of ‘oppressing’ or ‘stifling’ them. how sad.

  28. Everyone looks bad in this situation. The girl might as well wear a big sign saying “white trash”. The school administrators are spineless. People who would find offense over some fat chick wearing an ugly dress are simply over-reacting in their culture of victimhood.

    It would be a great world where something like this wouldn’t make the news, and this girl, with whatever political statement she wishes to make, would simply be ignored.

  29. Consider a distinction between what the flag represented when drawn and what it might represent today. Like Che.

    What does it represent today?

  30. Its so strange. I am a Southerner and I don’t find anything associated with the Confederacy to be part of my “heritage.” Shit, a few years ago when I was running around Little Round Top, I wasn’t imagining myself to be part of the 15th Alabama (my home state), but the 20th Maine (commanded by the courageous Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain).

    Dynamist,

    There are educated reasonable people who admire the CSA without endorsing slavery and racial predjudice.

    Care to give me a reason (outside of bogus moonlight and magnolia fantasies) to become a neo-confederate?

  31. thoreau,

    Let’s be blunt about this; there is a bunch of romanticized crap behind the desire to display the “stars and bars.” Included in this are notions about how the North “spoiled” the South’s “happy niggers” and like non-sense. Having been to events where neo-confederates have spoken and I’m well aware of the sort of “genteel” and “panternalistic” society they’d like to “re-create.” If you are ever in Alabama or Mississippi you can go to just about any public library and pick up neo-confederate literature (check out the “Southern Patriot” – its the publication of the organization linked to below) – its generally filled with a bunch of ahistorical, hagiography about Confederate “heroes” and sneering articles about MLK, jr. day and the like.

    This is one of my favorite neo-confederate websites: http://www.dixienet.org/

  32. “and only anarchists can argue that society has no role in opposing antisocial displays.”

    Wouldn’t anarchists argue that society is the only one with a role opposing antisocial displays? Since anarchy has no government, isn’t “society” the only thing left to have a role in anything?

  33. gaius – isn’t the distinction you’re drawing, in part, is that the issue is the hows and whys of the indoctrination, and not the process itself?

    i’m more or less convinced that schools end up working to create people who are good at office and factory jobs, at sitting still for long hours, handling boredom and not picking too many fights with the people above you. somewhere along the line that collided with lawyers and the PTA for good and ill. so those teachers who refuse to be tyrants seem to get run over in the process.

    that process is good at sucking creativity out of the naturally creative, at the very least.

  34. My Minnesota-born uncle takes pride in his (and I guess, mine) ancestor’s fighting for the State of Virginia in the CSA. He could give better reasons.

    The idea of a confederation, with strong States, appeals to my desire to bring power closer to the individual in a society.

    In a modern reinterpretation, the CSA can represent the southern tradition of manners and respect. Or rugged self-reliance for the ill-mannered believers.

    A military historian will find a concentration of brilliance in Confederate leadership.

    There’s an appeal to standing for the honor of homeland and brothers over Lincoln’s desire to extend “northern” law.

    It both more individual and philosophical than, say, repeating that Mussolini kept the trains on schedule. I see a temptation to equate slavery with Hitler’s genocide. Both suck, but in terms of the day, slavery was not inherently cruel. The Stephens quote above doesn’t call for negro extermination.

    The moonlight and magnolia fantasies are more stereotypes, and perhaps to some, that is what the Stars and Bars symbolize. I hope they acknowledge the slavery part, but will allow them their happy interpretation as I accept people believe in a fat guy in a red suit while they disregard the suffering that went into his sack of toys.

  35. Both suck, but in terms of the day, slavery was not inherently cruel.

    Just so I know, how is treating people as property, as cattle, not inherently cruel?

  36. as I accept people believe in a fat guy in a red suit while they disregard the suffering that went into his sack of toys.

    Does anybody over the age of 8 or so believe in Santa? And what suffering is associated with Santa?

  37. Great, just what we need – another non-issue for all the idiot talk radio hosts and their mental-midget following…

  38. Junyo: Because the owner has an incentive to keep his people/cattle healthy and able to produce. Compare to the free souls starving to death in cities or on marginal cropland. Yes, I would rather starve free, but not every wise mind, nor every captive mind, in 1860 agreed with me.

  39. thoreau: Ask a lefty about wage slavery and environmental pollution at the toy factory. Or about scraping reindeer shit off the roof. Originally I wanted to use Christ as my example, but Santa was more “seasonal”. 🙂

  40. Dynamist,

    The idea of a confederation, with strong States, appeals to my desire to bring power closer to the individual in a society.

    Well, the national government of the Confederacy started a draft before the USA did. And the squabbling between the states was a definate achilles heel for the Confederacy and not a strength.

    In a modern reinterpretation, the CSA can represent the southern tradition of manners and respect.

    *chuckle* Yeah right. Sorry, that only applied to certain elements of society, and was in its own way so constraining and imprisoning that it stunted Southern society.

    Or rugged self-reliance for the ill-mannered believers.

    How can you have a “self-reliant” society when four out of every nine of its members is a slave?

    A military historian will find a concentration of brilliance in Confederate leadership.

    The brilliance of Southern commanders is somewhat overblown; Pickett’s Charge is proof enough of that.

    There’s an appeal to standing for the honor of homeland and brothers over Lincoln’s desire to extend “northern” law.

    You mean “end slavery” here of course. I knew that would eventually rear its ugly head. What’s particularly hilarious is that if the South had not seceded Lincoln posed little threat to the slavocracy; how could he, give the “slave power” in the Congress and on the SCOTUS. Let’s be blunt, Southern paranoia led to a war which destroyed the very system which Southerners hoped to preserve by war, but which wasn’t realistically threatened in the peace.

    Both suck, but in terms of the day, slavery was not inherently cruel.

    Sorry, slavery DENIES personhood to an individual, places one under the absolute command of another, allows the owner to interfere even into the most intimate details of the life of the individual (such as issues like reproduction), and the only means to escape the situation (since self-manumission was largely outlawed in the South between 1800-1820) was to run away from the system. Here’s a clue for you nitwit – between 3,000-4,000 slaves escaped slavery for freedom every year between 1820 and 1860. Over a million slaves escaped to the Union lines during the war (there would have been more of course, but the bulk of the population remained well behind the lines), and some 200,000 of them volunteered to fight against the Confederacy. THEY VOTED WITH THEIR FEET AND THEY ROSE UP IN REBELLION AGAINST THIS EVIL REGIME. Indeed, the Civil War was as much a slave rebellion by the time it ended as a civil war.

  41. Because the owner has an incentive to keep his people/cattle healthy and able to produce. Compare to the free souls starving to death in cities or on marginal cropland. Yes, I would rather starve free, but not every wise mind, nor every captive mind, in 1860 agreed with me.

    Wow. It’s surreal that the argument that as long as the niggers were feed and fucking it was all good even makes sense in an adult human brain. That’s truly stunning. I think I’m gonna go drink heavily now.

  42. Slavery isn’t inherently cruel?

    And this is a libertarian forum?

    Man, I used to think that maybe I was going a little over the top when I quoted Orwell to mock certain positions (“Freedom is slavery! We have always been at war with Eastasia! Four legs good, two legs better!”).

    Now I see that truth is always stranger than satire.

  43. Dynamist,

    Because the owner has an incentive to keep his people/cattle healthy and able to produce.

    Myth. Sorry, but there is no meta-narrative about the nature of slave treatment; owners broke down into a bunch of categories; and of course many owners had very little to do with the day to day operation of their plantations (they had overseers do that work – and overseers were often notoriously cruel). And of course a certain percentage of owners were beyond cruel; some were sadistic, physically assaulting their slaves in ways that are gruesome to comprehend. Other slave owners sold or rented their slaves for the purpose of medical experiments (several doctors in New Orleans and Charleston were particularly notorious for these practices).

    Furthermore, the evidence we have of the life of slaves demonstrates that slaves struggled their treatment either by escape (permemanent and temporary), by the sort of labor actions we might expect from unions, etc. Yours is the now discredited “moonlight and magnolia” notion of southern social relations.

  44. And some of these medical experiments rivalled shit performed by the Nazi doctors.

    Slaves as a rule were fairly aware that they were in a shitty situation and as a rule they longed for freedom (why do you think the flight from Egypt was so popular in slave sermons?). The notion of the docile, mute slave was thoroughly discredited by heaps and heaps of evidence between the 1960s-1980s.

  45. Gary-

    I’m actually somewhat familiar with “moonlight and magnolias” nostalgia, sadly. When I lived in Charleston, SC (1991-1992) the local papers frequently featured letters to the editor about how “you know, in many cases slavery really wasn’t all that bad.”

    And this was the mainstream daily paper, the dreaded MSM, not some neoconfederate newsletter.

  46. thoreau, Junyo, etc.,

    It just sickens me when I run into idiots like this.

  47. I have no problem with letting her wear the dress. But what baffles me is why anyone would be proud of the Confederacy.

    It was a nation dedicated to keeping slavery that was around for less than a decade before those wimpy Northern elitists kicked its ass. I mean, when you lose a war to us body-piercing latte-drinkers, you should be reeeeeeal goddamn ashamed.

    Also- Does she realize thast her home state, Kentucky, wasn’t even in the Confederacy? That it was, in fact, a wimpy flip-flopping NEUTRAL state?

    The stupidity of it all astounds me…

  48. Brad Reed,

    I’m a Southerner, but the great bulk of my relatives fought for in the Grand Army of the Republic. The same is true of my wife. Not that they were anti-slavery; they were anti-slave owners and anti “slave power” – the sort of hyper political power that slave owners had in the Southern states before the Civil War.

  49. I mean, when you lose a war to us body-piercing latte-drinkers, you should be reeeeeeal goddamn ashamed.

    Totally! I mean, we spend most of the day having gay sex, so that only leaves us with a couple hours to actually fight wars.

    And we still kicked their asses! ;->

  50. Gary and Junyo: Good people can interpret the info differently. Before you rage or drink yourselves silly, spend a little time looking for whatever merit there might be in an alternate view.

    For all your snarking and gratuitous uppercase, my explanation in support of slavery comes from Henry George, a true champion of the destitute, writing in 1879. To consider his description as justification for slavery is to miss his entire point.

    If y’all already have all the answers, please point me to your book. I’m tired of being ignorant. Damned public schools…

  51. Since anarchy has no government, isn’t “society” the only thing left to have a role in anything?

    yes, mr jeff — i should say that an anarchist argues against society on those grounds. poor wording on my part.

    gaius – isn’t the distinction you’re drawing, in part, is that the issue is the hows and whys of the indoctrination, and not the process itself?

    i think i see what you mean, mr dhex — in truth, i think teaching people about how to be civilized necessarily has some of these things as a component. for what ‘creativity’ it may sap, order and being orderly are part of being civilized social beings. i wish schools did a far better job of it.

  52. there is no meta-narrative about the nature of slave treatment; owners broke down into a bunch of categories

    Yet you argue as if there was but one category: Sadist.

    Please go back to being Jean Bart. I enjoyed his tirades so much more.

  53. Gary-
    I have no problem with being proud of Southern heritage. But the Confederacy isn’t what I’d call a proud moment for the South.

    It’s just like it’s cool to be a patriotic American, but that doesn’t mean should go all Malkin and glorify internment.

    Also, I find it ironic that people who brandish the flag of a secessionist foreign government have the gall to call us Northeasterners “traitors…”

  54. Slavery isn’t inherently cruel?

    you’ll hear it all, eventually.

    Yet you argue as if there was but one category

    there was but one: slaveholder.

    how you can view the south without that being the dominant feature — especially one who claims to consider power in the hands of people a good thing — is as shocking as it is appalling.

    does *any* amount of antebellum apologism make up for that? christ, man, if you pine for olden days of gentlemen and ladies, idealize lockean england! it’s where 95% of the images of southern gentility are drawn from anyway. forget the primitive genocidal backwater that was the old south.

  55. Dynamist,

    Good people can interpret the info differently.

    Neo-confederates are of the same ilk as holocaust deniers and apologists for Stalinism; same mythologized past – same unwillingness to deal with the reality of the situation. At best they are fools; at worst they are flatout evil; but no one could honestly intepret the South’s slavocracy or the Confederate regime created to protectect as something worthy of merit.

    Before you rage or drink yourselves silly, spend a little time looking for whatever merit there might be in an alternate view.

    There is none. I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life studying American slavery (and slavery generally) and the governments which supported it; there is absolutely nothing redeeming about the Confederacy and the social institutions it tried to preserve. Good riddance to it; I am glad and overjoyed that it is upon the ash heap of history.

    Yet you argue as if there was but one category: Sadist.

    Liar. I was fairly clear about the categories. And let’s note that you were the one moronic enough to suggest that all slaves were treated in some uniform manner, and treated “well” to boot, not I.

    Here, let me repeat myself for the slow-witted like yourself:

    Myth. Sorry, but there is no meta-narrative about the nature of slave treatment; owners broke down into a bunch of categories [clearly implicating that some were indeed better than others]; and of course many owners had very little to do with the day to day operation of their plantations [clearly undermining the notion that ownership automatically equalled good treatement – which was your thesis] (they had overseers do that work – and overseers were often notoriously cruel). And of course a certain percentage of owners were beyond cruel [clearly indicating that others were simply cruel or not cruel]; some were sadistic, physically assaulting their slaves in ways that are gruesome to comprehend. Other slave owners sold or rented their slaves for the purpose of medical experiments (several doctors in New Orleans and Charleston were particularly notorious for these practices).

    Furthermore, the evidence we have of the life of slaves demonstrates that slaves struggled their treatment either by escape (permemanent and temporary), by the sort of labor actions we might expect from unions, etc. Yours is the now discredited “moonlight and magnolia” notion of southern social relations. [This of course undermines your claim more than anything else I wrote about their masters/overseers; one wonders, if life was as good as you claim that it was, why so many slaves escaped permanently and why they slowed down work when pissed, stopped work on occassion, etc.]

    I expect more than pathetic and disingenuos responses this time.

  56. sorry — “post-lockean england”…

  57. Dynamist-

    No doubt some slaves were less miserable than other slaves. I wouldn’t even be surprised if a few slaves (those lucky enough to have comparatively “enlightened” owners, if that isn’t an oxymoron) had satisfying lives.

    That doesn’t change the fact that the system of slavery created tremendous human misery. And the system itself was directly responsible for that tremendous human misery.

    I can’t believe I’m even arguing this. Back to baking Christmas cookies!

  58. So Dynamist, would a German wearing a Nzai armband be celebrating the superior tank and jet engineering of Germans? The creation of the first modern highway system? Wagner operas? Taking back Alsace and Lorraine from those wimpy French?

    No, you’re celebrating the murder of millions of Jews.

  59. A physicist baking cookies… now that’s an interesting mental picture!

  60. Hold on, Gary. Where did I say that I think slaves had a [uniformly] great life? Some slaves had a better life than many freemen. Nobody here has offered anything counter to a history that shows that philosophical opinon about slavery was divided in 1860. To argue that slavery is wrong on its face is to presume a modern conclusion.

    You’re quick with the insults, yet I hunger for a tasty counterpoint. You’ve responded to my reasons why a person might want to admire the CSA. It’s all opinon, and argument from authority will not persuade my uncle to remove his Stars & Bars license plate.

    gaius: You invite me back to my Christ comparison. How do the multitudes still embrace Christianity in the face of all the pain created in JC’s name? People attach their own meanings to symbols, not yours or mine. It would be nice if they understood our attachments and possible negative reactions. My uncle doesn’t care much that a black man might be violently upset about the S&B license plate. He understands that man’s view, but prefers to display a CSA symbol for his own reasons, and accepts the consequences. That’s all I ask of the girl with the dress. O.K., that and some time in the gym…

  61. Dynamist-

    I’m familiar with most of the libertarian defenses of the CSA. Most of them begin with “Obviously slavery was wrong, nevertheless…” and then discuss tariffs, federalism, the right of secession, the sins of Lincoln and other northern officials, etc. I always or almost always disagree with their basic point, but at least they try to couch their arguments in terms of issues that libertarians might sympathize with. That doesn’t redeem their arguments, but at least they try to pretend that they aren’t defending slavery.

    You’re a type that I didn’t expect to encounter on this forum: Somebody who’s actually willing to defend slavery.

    Just out of curiosity, how would you characterize your political philosophy: conservative? libertarian? federalist? What?

  62. BTW, I’m willing to believe that some of the CSA apologists (not all, just some) are libertarian-leaning people who have gone WAY overboard in their desire to buck “conventional wisdom.” They’re in so deep, and so fanatical about taxes and federalism, and so suspicious of any President whom the textbooks glorify, that they are willing to fall for a line of BS.

    So I can believe that there are (a few) CSA apologists who genuinely loathe slavery. I still think they’re crazy, but at least I see where they’re coming from.

    Sadly, Dynamist is not one of them.

  63. David T,
    Thanks for trying to educate a redneck here, but continue, if you will.

    “But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least.”

    These were the words of VP Stevens of the Confederacy.

    If slavery was his last item, was it the true, main reason for the Civil War?

  64. thoreau: Simple restatement: Slavery is wrong. We agree. Enjoy the cookies.

    Mo: Such examples could be, to the wearer. He would have to brace for an ever greater barrage than I’ve met here today. Fortunately there are other symbols available to pay respect to Germanic accomplishments.

    Part of my idea that put us on this bizarre sidetrack was, that as horrible as slavery is was and ever shall be, it is less horrible and less recent than Hitler’s atrocities. There are no American slaves alive to offend, while there are still holocaust survivors. I can’t come up with one at the moment, but there must be some ancient symbol of a horrible practice that has today taken on new and favorable association. (I could cite Che again, but I wanted something more universally abhorred.)

    How about “nigger”? It’s now a sign of respect in some circles.

  65. Now that Ruthless has arrived, I feel we can carry the day! Hail the Stonewall of anarchists!

    🙂

  66. Dynamist-

    Glad we agree that slavery is wrong. Then why the hell did you go around making statements like “slavery isn’t inherently cruel”? What is your point? You say something about American slavery not being as evil or as fresh as what Hitler did, but even if that’s true, so what?

    You remind me of D’Angelhone, who in the threads about the Japanese internment/relocation/whatever-other-term-he-insists-on kept making points that seemed to be sympathetic to rounding up US citizens and removing them from their homes. When pressed he finally admitted that it was wrong, but he kept making unclear points and weaving and obfuscating. I was left wondering just what the hell he was trying to argue.

    I never thought that somebody would try to adopt a “nuanced” position on slavery on a libertarian forum. I guess that for some libertarians, being contrarian is so firmly ingrained that they miss the forest for the trees.

  67. I’m posing this as a question, so don’t all you go ripping me at once:

    “Whoever, when the United States is at war … shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy … shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.” (The U.S. Sedition Act, 16 May, 1918.)

    The Confederacy was a foreign enemy, yes? So is willfully displaying the Confederate flag during wartime not already a federal offense?

    (I’m stretching, I know.)

  68. It’s both more individual and philosophical than, say, repeating that Mussolini kept the trains on schedule. I see a temptation to equate slavery with Hitler’s genocide. Both suck, but in terms of the day, slavery was not inherently cruel. The Stephens quote above doesn’t call for negro extermination.

    I can understand how a person might want to wear a confederate symbol, after being super-well-versed in history and philosophy (I’m related to one). If one can permit a ranking of supreme evils, Hilterism must be in many ways worse than slavery. Thus the stain of slavery on the S&B is less than the stain upon the Swastika.

    There seemed a pile of knee-jerk “must argue against slavery” reactions here. To see the CSA as all about slavery is to see your cookies as only flour. No flour, no cookie, to be sure, but some people are happier to lick off the icing and toss the rest. The evil flour doesn’t ruin the sweet tasty icing, necessarily for all.

    I’m not familiar with D’Angelhone’s internment posts, so I don’t know if he’s a truth-seeker or a troll.

  69. GH said:
    “The Confederacy was a foreign enemy, yes? So is willfully displaying the Confederate flag during wartime not already a federal offense?”

    No, the CSA was not a foreign enemy, in the eyes of the USA. The USA never recognized the CSA as a legitimate foreign power. If it had, there would have never been a war.

    Are we currently at war? I must have missed that moment when Congress declared war. I’m pretty sure we haven’t been at war since the 1940s.

    And the “enemy flag” law is bullshit in the first place. Anyone fool enough to openly display the flag of an enemy is going to encounter more “societal disaproval” (read: lynching) than the girl with the dress is finding.

  70. That’s a great analogy — cookies and whatnot.

    Except slavery isn’t flour. It’s rabbit shit.

    The CSA is a big batch of rabbit shit cookies passing itself off as chocolate chip. But the reason it tastes and smells like shit is because that’s the main ingredient.

  71. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier–

    One might wear the Stars and Bars because they admired the fictional world of Hazzard County. It’s not aligned with any kind of CSA apologism, but the Duke family values are something many of the haters on this thread might aspire toward.

    “Bo and Luke weren’t sure what the General Lee meant to those high-talking Yankees, but they knew if their kin stuck together and lived by the Good Book, everything would be O.K.”

  72. How do the multitudes still embrace Christianity in the face of all the pain created in JC’s name?

    mr dynamist, are we really comparing christianity to confederate slavery?

    Thus the stain of slavery on the S&B is less than the stain upon the Swastika.

    are we really relativizing our evils?

    i think you’ve lost your compass, mr dynamist.

    i would never argue that christian practice has been uniformly good. but i could argue that christian philosophy derived of the new testament is a beautiful metaphysical system that hangs on loving god and your fellow man.

    i cannot say the same of a group of states bent on preserving economic hegemony over their fellow man based on race at all costs.

    To argue that slavery is wrong on its face is to presume a modern conclusion.

    wadr, mr dynamist, you don’t live in 1860. (as i sometimes have to be reminded i don’t live in the heady days of the 2cBC.) you are defending slavery today. it isn’t jeff davis i’m aghast of and concerned for; it’s you.

    when one studies historical figures for abhorrent acts, one is wise in examining their motivations, causes and consequences to contextualize them within their times.

    but, when one loses the abhorrence that should come with studying abhorrent things — when one starts dismissing the evils as not-so-evil, starts comparing favorably the comfortable lives of property with the harder lives of free men — one has lost one’s way.

    sulla and the optimates attempted to save the republic from marian populism — a position i might sympathize with. but sulla and the optimates were horrifying men who gave rome its (prior to the the gracchi, undeserved) reputation for blood-drenched politics.

    relativism is nihilism, mr dynamist. know that the principles of the confederacy were abhorrent even in its day, much less by any ethics we could profess now. if you want to be ethical, don’t defend it.

  73. As an anarchist-libertarian I believe the proper stance of a libertarian (or anarchist) in regards to the civil war is found here:

    http://www.strike-the-root.com/columns/Kennedy/kennedy3.html

    The reason I, personally, mourn the Southern defeat is not because it coincidentally ended slavery, but because it ended the threat of secession as a viable political goal in response to tyranny.

  74. Matt-

    Instead of mourning the defeat of the south, maybe you should mourn the way that the south defiled the notion of secession by associating it with slavery.

    On a tangentially related note, my thesis advisor said that Bush’s re-election was the worst event in US politics since the south lost the Civil War. His rationale was that we’d have a more liberal government in the north if we didn’t have the south. I think he’s being a tad too optimistic. If the south had been able to remain separate, the 2004 election for president of the USA might have been a contest between John Kerry and some other scion of New England blue-bloods. Somebody like, oh, let’s say George W. Bush 😉

  75. On the subject of secession, I think it would be interesting if CA, OR, and NV decided to secede. CA and OR both went for Kerry, and NV was close. CA and NV are (and have been for the past 10 years) net contributors to the federal budget, and OR basically breaks even (plus or minus a little bit). OR and CA have quarreled with the feds over social policies that are too liberal for Asscroft’s taste, and the feds are trying to dump nuclear waste in NV.

    The 3 could secede and form a loose federation bound by treaties concerning mutual defense, free trade, and extradition.

    The GOP leadership would love it because the net effect in both houses of Congress (as well as the electoral college) would favor the GOP. Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii would all become much more important (especially Washington) as the only Pacific Rim states remaining in the US. So there would be at least 6 states that stand to benefit (and hence there would be at least 12 Senators ardently pushing it).

  76. “To argue that slavery is wrong on its face is to presume a modern conclusion.”

    It is most certainly not a “modern conclusion”. One could easily come up with a long list of notables writing in the 18th & 19th centuries (Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Rousseau, any number of american abolitionists) who denounced slavery in explicit terms. In fact, “The Social Contract” devotes a whole chapter to demolishing the notion that “slavery is not wrong on its face”.

  77. Dynamist,
    Sorry to leave you out to dry.
    I happened to stick that post in just before “quittin’ time.” The blizzard had me leavin’ a little early.
    Recall the “quittin’ time” scene from Gone with the Wind?
    Speakin’ of which, reminds me of an old buddy of mine I happened to reconnect with on the streets of Sinincincinnati recently. She was the understudy of the little girl in Song of the South. (Recall I spent a night in the home of Georgia’s “official” Uncle Remus. You do recall that from an earlier post? He was–surprise!–a cracker.)
    Unfortunately nobody ever saw her which is why she acknowledges the likes of me on the streets. Actually, I taught her everything she knows about stockbrokering.

    Where were we?
    Oh yes, was slavery truly the cause of the Civil War? I still have doubts.
    Where did David T go?

  78. I agree with Brad Reed. How exactly can someone call themself a “Patriotic American” while displaying the symbol of a movement that cost half a million American lives?

  79. Dyanimist,

    Hold on, Gary. Where did I say that I think slaves had a [uniformly] great life?

    Junyo: Just so I know, how is treating people as property, as cattle, not inherently cruel?

    Dynamist: Because the owner has an incentive to keep his people/cattle healthy and able to produce.

    Some slaves had a better life than many freemen.

    And even if this were true, its not a valid reason to support or otherwise apologize for slavery. But let’s put this in perspective. Remember the number of slaves escaping yearly from your beloved regime? A disproportionate number of them were the “best kept” slaves in the slavocracy; namely household servants, city slaves (who were often let loose to be traders in their own right), etc. If the system can’t keep these people under its thumb – those with often the greatest access to material wealth, freedom, etc., what does that say about the condition of those who worked the cotton, rice, sugar, etc. fields?

    I have a suggestion for you: read the work of Frederick Douglass and Solomon Northrup; you’ll more fully understand how evil the slave regime was once you do.

    Nobody here has offered anything counter to a history that shows that philosophical opinon about slavery was divided in 1860.

    And why would that matter at all? Again, the historical evidence (see above) bespeaks something which clashes with your “moonlight and magnolia” romanticism about the CSA and the slavocracy generally.

    To argue that slavery is wrong on its face is to presume a modern conclusion.

    No it isn’t. The notion that slavery is wrong on its face is a conclusion made by men and women starting in the 17th century; indeed, the debates at the constitutional convention were enfused with debates about the morality of slavery, and the significant abolition movement in Britain from the 1770s onwards till the institutions death in the Empire in the 1830s undermines your notion. You are so fucking out of you league.

    You’ve responded to my reasons why a person might want to admire the CSA.

    Only a scumbag nitwit would defend the CSA. There is nothing admirable or defendable about that nation-state and its demise was rejoiced by the men and women it kept in thralldom. Indeed, that mere fact is all really you need to know about the system it perpetuated to realize how foolish (and down right evil) it is to defend it. But hey, I can’t help it if you have foolish or stupid relatives.

    And let’s be blunt, despite your claims that those knowledgeable of the historical record could think otherwise, you’ve not actually demonstrated any such knowledge yourself, thus your claim falls far short of the mark even from an anecdotal viewpoint.

  80. matt,

    What “tyranny?” You mean the tyranny of the slavocracy? The tyranny of slave power? Slave states held half the Senate, most of the SCOTUS was full of slaveholders (indeed, the supporters of slavery had just scored a major court victory), and Lincoln had none of the powers in his hands that he had after seccession. If any portion of the U.S. were exercising tyranny at the time (1860-61) it wasn’t Lincoln or the northern states, it was the South. The South stupidly shot itself in the foot and brought about that which supporters of the slavocracy most feared: the loss of their beloved social, economic, etc. institution – slavery. For their error I am glad. I glory in the burning of Atlanta, the “howling” of Georgia and South Carolina, the downfall of Vicksburg, the massacre of Pickett’s charge, the 20th Maine’s glorious efforts on Little Round Top and the Lee’s embarressing and haggard retreat to Appomatox. It was their karmic comeuppance.

  81. I need to find some GAR bumper stickers to show some pride in something actually worthy of merit.

  82. If your only prom dance was on the sidewalk to a radio, you might be a redneck.

  83. Gary Gunnels,
    You are sounding like John Brown. Good for you!
    I think what Southerners keep trying to point out is that the John Brown’s were few and far between.
    If there had been a poll among Union soldiers asking if they thought it was worth risking their lives to free slaves, what would the results have been?
    By the way, I have close relatives by the name of John Brown.

  84. Ruthless-

    I have no doubt that many of the northerners, indeed, perhaps even many of the northern foot soldiers, were driven by less-than-noble motives.

    And unlike Gary, I don’t glory in the destruction that was visited upon the south, for the simple reason that I don’t glory in destruction being visited on anybody.

    However, let’s remember that the south wasn’t exactly pure at heart. The system being defended was horrid and corrupt. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that, however much one might dislike Lincoln, the Confederacy was even worse. (Just like John Kerry! 😉

    Moreover, while individual foot soldiers in the Confederate army may have had motivations more noble than those of their leaders, I suspect that many individuals in the northern army also had noble motives.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, results matter more than motives. We can find good and bad motives by various people on both sides, and we can all (or almost all) agree that the carnage was horrific and inexcusable. The question is, after all of that carnage, which would be a worse outcome: The victory of a system built on a slavery, or the victory of a system that (despite its many flaws) wasn’t nearly as bad?

    To put it another way, Ruthless, I think we could agree that many of the American soldiers fighting in Iraq right now ahve noble motives, and many of the people fighting against them have wicked motives. Do you think the US should remain in Iraq?

    See, motives aren’t all that matter.

  85. If your only prom dance was on the sidewalk to a radio, you might be a redneck.

    If your prom dress took 4 years to sew and it still makes you look fat, you might be a redneck.

    If your prom dress was made out of leftovers from a KKK rally, you might be a redneck.

  86. The Sons of Confederate Veterans website has made Ms. Duty its martyr-of-the-month, and they published a letter she wrote describing her pitiful plight. They really, really, should have had somebody proofread it, to take out the more rednecky mistakes. Here it is, by the way:

    “The school spoke to my mother and I as if we were stupid and with no respect. You wouldn’t believe how they acted. When the principle told my boyfriend and I to leave he, I’m guessing, wanted to show his anger and smacked the hood of my boyfriend’s mom’s car. They acted out in the wrong way trying to use force when we weren’t even putting up a fight. I wasn’t there to cause problems I was going to do as I was told so that way what they did was all on them and none of this could come back on me. I was so embarrassed by all of this because they wouldn’t even let us out of our automobile and yelled and screamed all of these things at my date and myself in front of a large crowd who were mostly there to see me and support what I was standing up for. So after all this I ended up spending my senior prom on the sidewalk in front of my school and danced my first and last dance of my senior year there.”

    http://www.scvcamp2041.org/duty.html

  87. thoreau,

    And unlike Gary, I don’t glory in the destruction that was visited upon the south…

    It got what was coming to it. The destruction of the slavocracy ranks up there with the destruction of Hitler’s Germany, the downfall of the USSR, etc.

  88. thoreau,

    If you are ever in the mood to read a comprehensive history of slavery, check out Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death. It is by far one of my favorite written in any academic field. The theoretical vision, the clarity of prose, the breadth and depth, etc. of the work is well worth its cost.

  89. Gary, I see your point, but I can’t glory in violence and destruction, especially if that violence also hurts people who didn’t own slaves.

    Still, I do agree that the defeat of the slavocracy was a positive thing.

    Jennifer-

    That was hilarious!

  90. Jennifer,
    Thanks for that. I shows rednecky begets rednecky and violence begets violence.

    thoreau,
    I’m not talking motives. I’m just bemoaning the fact that because slavery got conflated with states rights, we may never know for sure why the Civil War was fought. Now, to conflate the first two issues with war itself, it sure doesn’t take much–in the way of motives or principles–to keep a war going once it gets going does it? (Iraq)
    And, in the case of the Civil War, there was a hell of a lot of bloodshed considering slavery would likely have collapsed of its own accord, eh? Probably within the length of time “Reconstruction” took.

  91. And this woman is going to Law School? I thought you had to be at least competent in Standard English before starting a legal profession. I hope she was simply writing in a colloquial voice.

    thoreau,

    About CA, OR, and NV seceeding, I think the GOP would just as soon have only Clark County (the one with Las Vegas) leave. After all, most of it wasn’t even constitutionally part of Nevada until the state’s constitution was changed in 1984, and it’s where the majority of the state’s Democrats live.

  92. Defending the collective murder of civilians who owned no slaves strikes me as just plain savage, and something that I feel no decent human being could justly defend. It’s basically the same way I feel about Dresden, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki.

    Ruthless brought up John Brown. I am no expert (so please correct me if I’m wrong), but as far as I know he never advocated killing innocents, just slaveowners (and I agree with him there).

    Southern motives for the war(including the preservation of slavery) aside, I’m more concerned with the north’s and, in particular, Lincoln’s motivations for war. Why not let the south go in peace and welcome escaped slaves into freedom? Why pass an amendment that would preserve slavery (the corwin amendment)? These are the questions that seem to get brushed aside in the rush to condemn the south.

    the corwin amendment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_amendment

  93. I bet she wasn’t banned for displaying the Stars & Bars on a dress, schools just don’t like FAT people.

    HAMPTON – A parent of a Hampton Academy Junior High School student said the principal of the school told his son to leave the school’s holiday dance on Friday night because the boy was dressed in a Santa Claus costume, which was politically incorrect.

    “It was a holiday party”, Principal Fred Muscara said. “It was not a Christmas party.”

    http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/12242004/news/55648.htm

  94. But then Ms. Duty might say it’s just the principal of the thing.

  95. matt has made me even more of a peacenik.
    He’s expanded dramatically the definition of collateral damage, and, therefore dramatized the horrors of war.
    How many soldiers in the Union Army could have given a shit about either states rights or slavery? Same for the Rebels.
    Look at this war in Iraq. My tax dollars support it even though I don’t.
    Looking at it from the Iraqi side, how happy would I–an Iraqi peacenik–be about the continued American presence even if I’m grateful for the toppling of Saddam?
    The solution for allowing the sorting of people by the principles they feel strongly about is to abolish borders so they can seek refuge in places friendly to their principles.
    This isn’t a perfect solution because home and family are not easily transplanted (xmurs time is a good time to witness that.) but the one thing that has long fascinated me about the UN is that it has a “High Commissioner for Refugees.”
    Peaceniks need to support the concept, at least.
    The US is already the Type O of places of refuge, but it could be so much more refugee-friendly, couldn’t it?

  96. matt,

    Defending the collective murder of civilians who owned no slaves…

    Its something of a myth that only a small minority of Southerners owned slaves; slave ownership was ubiquitous (how could it not be given that the typical holding was twenty slaves). Indeed, while it was true that only 10% of the population at any time owned slaves, generationally speaking, that is, as slaves shift from father to son, etc., it is more like 30%. Furthermore, the figure also does not take into account all the women who were married to slaveholders, their daughters, etc.

    …in particular, Lincoln’s motivations for war.

    He had none; he would have perferred not to fight the damn thing.

    Why not let the south go in peace and welcome escaped slaves into freedom?

    You are out of your mind if you don’t think that accepting escaped slaves wouldn’t have led to war evetually; shit, Southern scumbag slave-owing politicians and their northern allies were willing to use the federal government to enforce their “property rights,” what makes you think that they wouldn’t have attacked U.S. government which was friendly to escaping slaves? No, humbling and reducing the slavocracy to dust was the best damn thing that could happen (even for whites in the long-run).

    Why pass an amendment that would preserve slavery (the corwin amendment)?

    Because Lincoln’s sentiments were hardly abolitionist in nature; this only proves my earlier point that Southern paranoia doomed the South to the fate that it feared (the end of the slavocracy). Of course their critical blunder and absolute clusterfuck was to the benefit of four million people (four out of every nine Southerner being a slave). How anyone can defend a society which holds almost half its population in abject thralldom I cannot say.

    Ruthless,

    Union soldiers were often pretty obsessed with putting to the sword the “slave power” (remember that northern fears of a slavocracy trying to create a permanent, hereditary aristocracy were pretty common from the 1830s onward); killing Johnny Reb was just a way to get at that object. I’ve read (when I was an archivist) dozens and dozens of letters from Union soldiers to this affect, BTW.

  97. The Battle Cry of Freedom

    by George F. Root

    Yes, we’ll rally round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
    We will rally from the hillside, we’ll gather from the plain,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
    Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
    While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
    And we’ll fill our vacant ranks with a million free men more,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
    Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
    While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
    And although they may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
    Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
    While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    So we’re springing to the call from the East and from the West,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
    And we’ll hurl the rebel crew from the land we love best,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

    The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
    Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
    While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

  98. John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
    John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
    But his soul goes marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    His soul goes marching on.

    He’s gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord,
    He’s gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord,
    His soul goes marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    His soul goes marching on.

    John Brown’s knapsack is strapped upon his back,
    John Brown’s knapsack is strapped upon his back,
    His soul goes marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    His soul goes marching on.

    John Brown died that the slaves might be free,
    John Brown died that the slaves might be free,
    His soul goes marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    His soul goes marching on.

    The stars above in Heaven now are looking kindly down, The stars above in Heaven now are looking kindly down, His soul goes marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    His soul goes marching on.

  99. GG,
    After having recently returned from “Grandma’s House,” down the Ohio River toward Louisville, I’m more of a peacenik than ever.
    Resolved: In the new year, let’s resume this in a new thread about why so many had to die in the US Civil War. It was a terrible waste.
    Also resolved: how we can end slavery wherever it is in the world and to whatever degree.
    We Confederate sympathizers would be proud to lead the charge.

  100. As usual, I get testier as the evening progresses. Look at this from one of Gary’s Civil War songs above:

    “And we’ll fill our vacant ranks with a million free men more,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!”

    How come it took until the Truman adminstration for that bullshit to come close to reality?

  101. thoreau-
    I usually respect you more than any poster on this forum, but in this thread all your crap about ‘I can’t believe you would even say that’ is somewhat embarrassing. Stop being shocked when people say something and just argue against it. I thought you were above all that petty crap.

    Overall, I don’t see why we have to pick sides between the Union and the CSA. As far as I’m concerned they were both assholes. I don’t like either of them really.

  102. slubgob-

    OK, point taken.

  103. slubgob,

    Its pretty easy to see why one must pick sides; one side – whatever its flaws – freed four million people, and the other side, whatever its positive traits, wanted to keep them in thralldom. The Union was on the right side of history, morality, etc. and the Confederacy simply was not. Anyone who doesn’t see this is morally obtuse.

    I celebrate the Union victory, Appomatox and the crushing of the CSA just like I celebrate Germany’s capitulation in May of 1945 or the collapse of Communism in Europe from 1989-1991.

    Ruthless,

    If Southerners didn’t want to die in war they shouldn’t have fucking started it. Neo-Confederates complaining about the horrors of war as it was visited upon the CSA are simply ignoring the South’s primary role in the genesis of the war. Indeed, its a bit like Austrians and Germans I have known who complained about allied bombing raids in WWII and their destruction of Austria’s cultural heritage. To which my response was: don’t pony up with dictators and invade other countries and that won’t happen. No, the South got exactly what it deserved.

    They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind., Hosea, ch. VIII, v. 7

  104. Some of y’all threw out some anti-slavery arguments to counter my wear-any-dress-you-want-because-nobody-owns-meaning-of-a-symbol argument. I respond to the anti-slavery stuff, an lo, I’m the next Thomas Jefferson (or pick your favourite reviled slaveholder). Funny how blind the wise can be.

    Since slavery is so obviously wrong, why not forgive the past?

    Further research has shown that the dress, and the General Lee, are patterned after the Confederate Naval Jack, never an official symbol of those microcephalic slave-lovin’ blowhards in Dixie. Similar in appearance, the battle flag was not the symbol of slavery, but the symbol of soldiers.

    We don’t even seem to know which symbol to misinterpret.

  105. matt: Nice link. Thank you.

    gaius: My moral compass is fine. I wonder about others’ ability to follow a thread.

    Particularly, the idea that if I say that freemen often had a harsher life than slaves (inserting whatever conditionals), I’m seen as a slave apologist. In fact, I would rather call your attention to the shitty conditions that freemen lived under then, and still do today, even after slavery has been defeated.

  106. Gary Gunnels-
    “Its pretty easy to see why one must pick sides; one side – whatever its flaws – freed four million people, and the other side, whatever its positive traits, wanted to keep them in thralldom.”

    No, I don’t have to pick sides. That’s one of the advantages of living in the present: the Civil War is in the past and I don’t have to deal with it as a current problem. If the Civil War was only about slavery I would of course support the Union. But it wasn’t so I don’t. I support the freeing of slaves, not the Union. Last time I checked, they weren’t one in the same. It’s easy to mistake the group for the cause.

  107. I respond to the anti-slavery stuff

    You didn’t just say that the anti-slavery stuff was irrelevant to the issue of what a symbol means. You countered the anti-slavery stuff by arguing that slavery isn’t always inherently cruel, etc. If you thought that the anti-slavery statements were irrelevant to the issue at hand, why did you dignify them with a response?

    Also, regardless of how the flag in question was used in the 1860’s, regardless of what was the battle flag and what was the official flag and whatnot, a better question to ask is “How has that symbol been used in the 20th and 21st centuries?” That would give us a better notion of what message the girl might be trying to send.

    So, how has the Confederate battle flag been used in the 20th and 21st centuries? No doubt its uses have been restricted to statements of pride in ancestors who didn’t own slaves, right?

    Oh, wait…

    Oh, and for the record, I think she should be allowed to wear the dress, and the rest of us should be allowed to criticize her. That way everybody gets what he or she wants.

  108. Okay – I won’t try to defend a mis-guided show of support of the Confederacy. That would be considered a lack of social grace even here in SC. But lets not re-write history over it.

    The north had more than just a big hand in slavery. They commissioned the ships that actually brought slaves here to be sold. Lincoln used slavery AFTER the war started in an attepmt to, uhmm for a lack of a better term, white-wash himself.

    You should try and understand that most southeners who fought didn’t own slaves. They were farmers who resented the tariffs placed on forgien farming equipment and being forced to buy goods only from the north. The goods made in the north were cheaply manufactured and malfunctioned. To most southerners slavery wasn’t an issue, and it wasn’t how the Civil war started.

    Regardless of what you think, the Civil war was not fought over slavery, and so in reality, the Confederate flag does not stand for slavery. To southerners it stands for resisting the greed of the Northeastern US. If that is the case the flag is something to be proud of. Southerners just want the north to admit that the Civil war wasn’t fought over slavery anymore than the war in Iraq is being fought over democracy.

    Should also remember that southern people were the victims of war crimes. Crimes that if comitted today would land Lincoln and his generals in the Haugue for trial.

    Today, southerners hate notherners because of their greedy, cheap, and arrogant behavior, and their incredable need to keep rewriting history as they see fit. That is what really keeps the flag waving. The fact is that southerners prefer a decent black person over notherner, and that has always been the case.

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