Bitter truths of the Confederacy

Sean CW Korsgaard
Contributing Columnist

The Civil War is over. The Confederacy lost and we’re better for it. I really shouldn’t have to say that in the year 2014, well over 150 years since the end of the Civil War. Though the guns may have fallen silent in the South, the arguments about the war and its legacy certainly have not.

A couple weeks ago, the CT ran an editorial on a particularly thorny topic, the perennial issue about displaying the Confederate flag. This bristled a particularly thorny bunch, the Virginia Flaggers, who left a number of nasty comments and vague threats on the website. While easy to laugh them off as misinformed misanthropes with too much time on their hands, the truth of the matter is actually quite troubling.

While the folks who refer to the American Civil War as ‘the War of Northern Aggression’ or look back at the Antebellum South with misty-eyed nostalgia are thankfully decreasing in number, for decades discussion about the Civil War has been clouded by a number of popular myths about the Confederacy or the war itself. Initially spread by groups such as the Lost Causers, and maintained by groups like the Virginia Flaggers today, the idea that the Confederacy was this country club of gentlemen fighting honorably for states’ rights against their misguided Northern brethren was a false fantasy flaunted as fact, and popularized by works like “Gone with the Wind.”

No longer. No more.

The war was over states’ rights, they claim, or tariffs, claim others — history, however, tells a different story. The war was fought over disgusting racism. But don’t take my word for it, take theirs:

“Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone 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,”  CSA vice president Alexander Stephens said.

He was hardly alone. In each of the eventual Confederate State’s declarations of secession, you will find multiple references to slavery as an “entrenched and treasured Southern institution,” which was done to preserve, in the words of Texas’ Ordinance of Secession, “the servitude of the African to the white race,” along with crimes committed by the North such as refusing to return fugitive slaves, admitting Kansas as a free state, and not allowing “the right of transit,” or allowing slave-owners to take slaves with them into free states.

In addition, slavery would be enshrined into the Confederate Constitution and their respective state constitutions. Among other things, these constitutions made slavery one of the requirements of statehood. The abolition of slavery quite literally was outlawed in the constitution, enshrining it even above the equivalent of our own first amendment. Slaves picking cotton were depicted on Confederate currency, and owning slaves was not only a voting requirement, but exempted you from military service.

The Confederacy also had price and wage controls, internal passports restricting internal travel, government nationalized salt and alcohol production, required railroads to operate at a loss and required shippers to transport government goods at no charge. They also outlined the Confederacy as a “permanent federal government,” and outlawed secession in the CSA Constitution. That is, the very institutions flaggers point to as causes of the war were in fact institutions of the Confederacy.

Not all Southerners were slave-owners, some may say, and this is true. Of course, the unspoken continuation of that is because many of those same southerners were violently opposed to either slavery or secession, to the point Confederate soldiers had to garrison regions from Eastern Tennessee to Central Texas to prevent them from siding with the Union, while others, such as West Virginia successfully seceded from the Confederacy. Hundreds of Southerners would be executed for remaining loyal to the United States, or even for voicing opposition to what many felt was “a plantation owner’s war.”

Despite this, one out of every four Southerners who fought in the Civil War did so in Union blue, with every Confederate state except for South Carolina managing to field at least a full battalion, with the total number reaching 100,000 men. That number only counts white southerners, not the scores of slaves who served.

Even the much-vaunted rebel flag isn’t actually the Confederate flag — the Stars and Bars was actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, while one of three varying flags were used by the Confederate Government. If anything, usage of the Stars and Bars is worse — troops under that flag not only took arms against the United States, but regularly kidnapped free black citizens and sold them as slaves, killed Union prisoners of war and committed many other acts against their countrymen that would see many of them put before a tribunal if committed today. It’s a banner not only of traitors and slave owners, but war criminals, so treating it as an icon to be lauded is especially detestable.

Some might ask what makes the Stars and Bars any worse than the Stars and Stripes. It’s a simple distinction. To use the words of Alexander Stephens against him, the two nations lie on opposite foundations. While the United States has committed its share of sins, we have far more virtues, not the least of which, we do our best to repent for those sins.

The Civil War itself could be seen as an example of such. We made a choice between a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and one where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness take a backseat to the peculiar institution. Nearly one million Americans died so we as a people could make the right choice, and make good on our founding promise, even as we still work toward that same goal today.

That is why Confederate nostalgia is such an aberration — its defeat and downfall should be celebrated, not mourned. And if you, like the Virginia Flaggers, feel otherwise, then you need a history lesson.


  1. "This bristled a particularly thorny bunch, the Virginia Flaggers, who left a number of nasty comments and vague threats on the website."

    I searched, found,read, but failed to see anything like what you describe here regarding the September 21st opinion/comments, but hey, this is your opinion, so you can write whatever floats your boat.

  2. Wow Sean, slow down before you have an aneurism!

    You are all over the place in your personal viewpoints here. Ya know, I am a bit of a rebel myself, so when I spell spud, I do so like this – "POTATO" instead of adding the 'E' at the end like Vice President Dan Quayle said I should do. I also do not believe in paying extra $$ to the IRS on April 15th, just to prove my patriotism, per the dictates of Vice President Joe Biden. Vice Presidents just don't hold any glamor for me like they do for you.

    Have you really no clue about the Virginia Flaggers? It is painfully obvious here you don't. Every single action they have ever taken, every single press release they have issued, every single Cemetery service they have attended, every single grave they have cleaned off – IS ALL ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIER.

    Amazing little FYI isn't it? the "Soldier" ! Nothing about a government policy, nothing about political agendas or legal briefs, nothing about politicians or the like. Just the "Soldier"

    Your going off the deep end trying to assign things to a group of which you don't understand, cannot comprehend, hate with your entire being, and slander with every keystroke is all an epic failure.

    You are wrong on the flags, and in varying degrees of fact, wrong on quite a lot of things here – but hey, this is your opinion, so you can write whatever you want.

    Even if it is lies based on hate

  3. I fail to see how paying or not paying your taxes, or how you spell potato has to do with the topic, but whatever.

    Dismissing Alexander Stevens because he was "only" Vice-President is folly – he was also an architect of the Confederate Constitution, a signer of that same document, and a member of the Confederate war cabinet. Just because a Vice President today is useless does not mean this particular one was – again, this is why one does research or studies history rather than merely making jokes about Joe Biden.

    As a US Army veteran, I sympathize if you want to show some respect for fallen soldiers or your ancestors, regardless of which side of the war they were on.

    Here's thing thing though – waving around old Stars and Bars doesn't honor them, it DISHONORS them. Go visit a war cemetery sometime – you ever notice how we have Union and Confederate soldiers alike buried side by side? That's because when the war ended, and the Confederacy surrendered and ceased to be, they became Americans once more.

    The Confederate flag may have been why they died, but its the American flag for which they did not die in vain. By waving around old Stars and Bars, you make the cheapen the memories of every soldier and citizen who died during the Civil War, who died in a conflict that saw the Union preserved and liberty finally given to all.

    As I said in the article, the Confederate flag, especially Stars and Bars, has rightfully become a symbol of slavery, hatred, treason, division and death. It's the banner which saw young Southern boys sent to die, many against their will, so some plantation owners could sip mint juleps while slaves labored in their fields. It's the banner that saw Northern boys have to take up arms against their countrymen for the arrogance of the Dixie aristocracy. It's the banner that has come to personify one of the most shameful parts of our history, that of slavery and discrimination, carried to war to preserve slavery, and carried in peace by Klansmen and lynchmobs.

    You want to mourn the Confederate soldier, the flag that honors them isn't the Confederate flag, its the American flag.

    Now, as for your claims that I don't know my facts, here's some reading for you to do:
    Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson
    Look Away!: A History of the Confederate States of America, by William C Davis
    The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, by William C Davis
    Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, by Charles Reagan Wilson
    The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History, by Gary Gallagher
    One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee, by Robert Tracey McKenzie
    Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy, by Richard Nelson Current
    Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, by Stephanie McCurry
    The Scalawags: Southern Dissenters in the Civil War and Reconstruction, by James Alex Baggett

  4. Lies and untruths eh? Looks like someone needs a history lesson – feel free to start with these:
    Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson
    Look Away!: A History of the Confederate States of America, by William C Davis
    The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, by William C Davis
    Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, by Charles Reagan Wilson
    The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History, by Gary Gallagher
    One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee, by Robert Tracey McKenzie
    Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy, by Richard Nelson Current
    Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, by Stephanie McCurry
    The Scalawags: Southern Dissenters in the Civil War and Reconstruction, by James Alex Baggett

  5. Damn Straight (spits). I am heartily glad that the montrosity that was the CSA is death, with a stake riven through its grave. May it never rise again, nor ever its likeness be revived.

  6. Sean CW Korsgaard , It is called Source Research, not PC opinions. A lie is still a lie even when it is dressed up with opinion history. And, young man, I have studied this period of American History for 50 yrs & I still am learning.

  7. Barry Isenhour what you call "PC opinion" or lies, most would call inarguable fact.

    Ignore the books on that list for a moment, and just take a look at the CSA founding documents Iinked to – you will find abundant mentions of slavery, the place of slavery in Southern society, protections extended to slavery, and greater guarantees to protect slavery.

    Those aren't my words, or the words of a historian, those are the words of the Confederacy itself. Again, this was a nation that put slaves on its currency, and made owning slaves a voting requirement.

  8. Sean CW Korsgaard , as I said, I do not take historical facts out of context to make an opinion. Nor do I ignore 99% of a source, and only focus on 1% to make my opinion seem correct. U pretend historians always miss truths for your PC agendas. If I thought you really were seeking the truth, I would be more than happy engaging with you. However, you only want to destroy real history for your Anti-American agenda.

    I will leave you with these thoughts: "If the South was all about protecting Slavery, then why did They leave the Union(Slavery Legal in 1860-66) to join a Nation that outlawed the African Slave Trade, and indeed gave more 'Rights' to existing Slaves?"

    Why did thousands of Blacks enlist & fight as Confederate Soldiers?

  9. Barry Isenhour I'm not taking anything out of context – even in the article, each quote I used is taken word for word from the documents of the Confederacy. I have no agenda here – merely reporting the facts and dispelling common misconceptions.

    Speaking of misconceptions, as to your questions:

    The Slave trade had been outlawed in the United States since 1808 – the Confederacy was hardly treading any new ground here. Especially when many of the restrictions placed on slavery within the CSA, such as prohibiting interstate sales of slaves, was done to preserve the high value of slaves, and prevent poor Southerners from being able to purchase them.

    As for the blacks who fought for the Confederacy, at most, there were less than two thousand soldiers over the course of the entire war – you had more volunteers from South Carolina fighting for the Union then you had blacks fighting for the Confederacy. What black participation there was, it was as cooks, servants, musicians or camp labor – in other words, as slaves. The Confederacy did not even allow slaves to serve as soldiers until March of 1865, as a last ditch effort to prevent a Union victory. It failed.

    A couple thousand blacks fighting for the CSA against over 180,000 fighting for the Union – the math speaks for itself, much less history.

  10. Sean CW Korsgaard Displaying the Confederate battle flag, in any of its many renditions, does not dishonor Confederate soldiers. They certainly didn't think so. Look at the photographs of Confederate veteran reunions, parades and funerals, and you will see that is the flag THEY chose to be remembered and honored with. It it was good enough for them, it's good enough for me. Btw, the battle flag is not the Stars and Bars. If you knew as much about all this as you want to project that you do, you'd know the difference between the Stars and Bars and the battle flags.

    Confederates didn't have to become Americans again. They never stopped being Americans. The Confederacy was an American nation, and Confederate flags are American flags. Here, I'll show you. Fill in the blank: The Confederate States of ______. I'll give you a hint. It starts with A and ends with a and it ain't Antarctica. The Confederate States were as American as the United States, and for the same reason.

    Sorry, you don't get to decree that "…the Confederate flag, especially Stars and Bars, has rightfully become a symbol of slavery, hatred, treason, division and death." Maybe to you, but you're just one person among millions. And for millions, the flag symbolizes something else altogether. To me, it symbolizes the soldiers' bravery, courage, tenacity, perseverence in the defense of hearth and home and the fight for independence.

    In the 20th Century, The flag also came to symbolize the South. It symbolized the South's distinctiveness from the rest of the country, a distinctiveness most Southerners were pleased with and proud of. Southern businessmen put it in their company logos, from gas stations to dry cleaners, and high school cheerleaders and majorettes incorporated it into their uniforms. I suppose people like you have no trouble convincing yourself that a high school majorette with the starry blue cross on the front of her red uniform wore it for the joy of oppressing helpless minorities, but you have to be deep into the joy of demonizing people in order to believe that.

    Since roughly the 1990s, there has been a concerted effort to dishonor the Confederate flag to justify its removal from public view. You can see the effects of this campaign in polls like this one:

    In 1992, 69% of the respondants said the Confederate flag symbolized Southern pride and only 22% said it symbolized racism. By 2000, 59% said the flag symbolized Southern pride and 28% said it symbolized racism. That year, you may remember, was the year the NAACP started its boycott of South Carolina over the Confederate flag. That initiated efforts against the flag from one end of Dixie to the other, so support for the flag has decreased due to that; but it wasn't always so, and the decreasing support for the flag is not spontaneous; it's the result of an artificial smear campaign continuing todan, and of which you aer a part.
    Almost any critical thing you say against the Confederates has its counterpart in the north. Young northern boys were sent to die, too — they were so much cannon fodder for Union generals — so rich yankees and war profiteers could sit in Fifth Avenue restaurans and light their cigars with fifty dollar bills…

    There were many, many other reasons why the union had no moral authority for invading the South, killing Southerners and laying the place waste so thoroughly it would take five generations to recover.

  11. Sean CW Korsgaard How do you know what "most" would call ANYthing? Are you omniscient? What is your point in carping on slavery, if not because you believe if you carp on it enough, everything else will disappear. Did you realize even Mississippi's secession document, in which they "thoroughly identified" with slavery, listed OTHER REASONS for secession? You do know the upper South states did not secede when the Deep South states did, but only after Lincoln tried to make them participate in a military invasion of the seceded states.

    Let me tell you why all your huffing and puffing about slavery in the South doesn't cut the mustard with me. So they abolished slavery — and sold rather than emancipating their slaves — why? To rid their states of their black populations as much as they could.

    The northern states, even after abolishing slavery, were still hip-deep in association with slavery and they wallowed arm-pit deep in the wealth derived from it. So they no longer had black folks living in their back yards, but New England's maritime interests grew fabulously wealthy shipping slave-grown cotton to Europe. Northern textile interests grew rich processing slave-grown cotton in their mills. Northern banks got rich off the interest of financing the purchase of plantations and slaves; and northern insurance companies got rich insuring slaves.

    if the north had really, really wanted to end slavery, all they had to do was to quit buying the cotton. But they didn't. They were too addicted to the wealth it gave them.

    Why do you think there's nary a syllable about freeing slaves in Lincoln's proclamation calling for volunteers to invade the South? Because nobody would have volunteered! He sold the war to the north on "preserving the union," which to northerners sounded like keeping the cotton flowing northward unimpeded.

  12. Substitute "blacks" for "slavery" and you'll see what the real fuss was about, especially re: the territories. Everyone, north and South, knew slavery would end eventually, some day. Thus, the point of "expanding" slavery into the territories, in part, was to "expand" the black population and more evenly spread it across the land.

    The north wanted to keep blacks bottled up in the South.They did not want blacks in large numbers living in close proximity to them. Read some of what they said about expansion. They did not want the Negro there. Period. They didn't want Negroes in appreciable numbers ANY where up north. That's why they sold their slaves rather than emancipate them when they abolished slavery up north.

    They were certainly successful. The distribution of the black population TO THIS DAY look very much like the slave population in 1860.

    Black Persons census map

    Slavery map

    So for Lincoln, slavery was just a tool to use against an opponent in war. If emancipation was such a blow to the South, why not do it at the beginning of the war? Why did he have to wait until he "had more support" for emancipation? Because few people up north cared whether slaves were freed are not, and they weren't willing to go South and fight and die for slaves. As I've noted in an earlier comment, Lincoln had to sell the war to the north on "preserving the union." Because, while they did not like slaves or blacks, they loved slave-grown cotton and the wealth it gave them, and "preserving the union" sounded to them like "keeping the cotton flowing northward unimpeded."

    The South looks pretty bad until you look at the north; until you look behind the false facade of "caring" about slaves and righteous armies marching South to "make men free." That is why the north's righteousness is taken as "given," just blindly accepted the way you accept it, and not looked at too closely.

  13. A common claim of those who hate the Confederacy goes something like this: the end of slavery meant (to secessionists) black equality, however gradual. And the vitriolic racism of the Deep South feared that as much as anything. The fear of abolition was part economic and part pure vitriolic racism–Southern plantation owners (and others) feared black equality as much as they feared the end of slave labor.

    Nary a word about how the north feared not just black equality, but blacks themselves, and that's why they had laws to keep blacks — not just slaves, but free blacks — out of the territories, and why in the north east, slaves were sold rather than freed when slavery was abolished. That is why, after the war, when blacks migrated to northern cities to find work, they were aparthied-ed, and why as recently as the mid-twentieth century, the government was building housing projects mostly in the north for low income people that became home almost exclusively to blacks, and also home to crime and tragedy.

    When you look at the black population maps today, and realize they aren't new, that the distribution of the black population in the north has always been scanty and concentrated in cities, and when you see that there were incidents of racial strife in those places, and when you realize that most of the urban race riots were in cities outside the South, and when you realize that the South wasn't the only place with sundown towns, they existed in place were there were hardly any black people at all… and you realize everyone ignores all that to concentrate on race problems in the South … well, you have to acknowledge that if the black population had been more evenly distributed across the country then incidents of racial strife would have been more evenly distributed, as well. Racial strife was more prevalent in the South because, basically, it was and remains the only black-white biracial region of the USA.

    The South is not perfect, but the north (which is, by now, the entire rest of the country) which palms itself off as so egalitarian and so concerned about minorities etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum, is no better than the South. It's just very talented at self-aggrandizing PR … AND … at demonizes the South so that the north will look better by comparison.

  14. Donald Taylor You know this … how? Have you taken a course in the Star Trek Alternate Universe theory of studies? You purport to know all about something that never happened? Amazing….

  15. Sean CW Korsgaard Speaking of monstrosities, I've seen the claim that the Civil War Sesquicentennial has a "reconciliationist" spirit. Not in a lot of the hooey published by the American Empire's mainstream publications, and certainly not in the comment threads, presumably written by "reconciled" Americans.

    Case in point, this comment, made following a story about the war: "I would have out-Shermaned Sherman in South Carolina. The Roman treatment of Carthage would have been my model – leave nothing standing, and salt the earth."

    Thus, the conduct of the Union Army and the comments of its defenders today (and this one is quite mild) are proof plenty of who exhibited (and still exhibits) hard-heartedness, mean-spiritedness, cruelty, hatred and immorality. Makes some slaveholders look plumb innocuous by comparison.

  16. Mr. Korsgaard, have you ever met any of the Virginia Flaggers? Talked to them personally? Given the anonymous nature of the Internet, if a commenter claims to be a Virginia Flagger, do you automatically believe them?

  17. Sean CW Korsgaard , once again your talking points are wrong. But why would I expect truth from a Hater of America. If the 1808 Laws were being enforced, then why was The Yankee Slave Trade still in full steam after that time? I used the words enlisted Black Confederate Soldiers for a reason. Because there were many thousands of Front-line Combat soldiers of Color as well many thousands of "Support Soldiers" of which NO ARMY in the World can lack.

    But as I've said, your mind is so penetrated with Hate, it blinds you to Historical Truths. The only thing I can do is – Pray for You to receive Christ as Your Personal Savior.

  18. Connie Chastain , I agree. The North is a "Melting Pot" of peoples making them just another piece of the machine of Yankee Greed.

    The South is and always has been a "Melding Pot" which combines the traditions of different Peoples and that makes our Society stronger.

  19. Connie Chastain The Conduct of the Union army was worse than the Slaveholders?!!! Silas Gordon, pro slavery guerilla operating in Missouri, at least 17 northern civilians killed in Bridge burning, the Shelton Laurel Massacre, confederate soldiers disobey order and execute 13 men for the crime of unionism. Small beer next to Fort Pillow and Camp Sumter, in essence a concentration camp on American Soil. It is telling of your cause that Henry Wirz is the only American to be charged with war crimes. True the Union misdeeds must be acknowledged and we are more than willing to do so, can the same be said of the CSA?

    As for the survival of the Confederacy, let me tell you, the only way the CSA could have 'lived' would be if a European rival to the USA, France or Britain, had come forth for it. An extremely unlikely event, given that the UK primary motivation was the threat of the Union army being turned North. Once it was clear that wasn't going to happen, the Brits, lost interest. France had substantially less motivation. Either way once Indian cotton was discovered the CSA was doomed. It would be an impoverished hellhole beset by a much larger enemy to the north and a rebellious populous within, the second the slaves lay hand to a vickers stability in the south would end.

    Good Riddance, and a pox it.

  20. I do wonder why these Haters only spew their lies behind Post/Articles, but one never sees them engaged with other people in the community? It's not hard to find a Virginia Flaggers on the street.

  21. Yes, Mr. Taylor, some of the conduct of the Union Army rivaled the cruelty exhibited by SOME (certainly not all) slaveholders.

    And union misdeeds are NOT acknowledged, not in any meaningful way. They are perfumed, glossed over, swept under the rug, ignored. One way the ignoring is accomplished is by tunnel-vision focusing on the South's "sins" that conveniently keeps northern sins beyond the edge of the view-frame.

    Camp Sumter's prisoners starved and died because there was no medicine and little food for them, thanks to the yankee blockade, the yankee burning of crops in the field, even farm implements, in the South (artfully called "foraging") and the refusal of the union to exchange prisoners. (The concentration camps on American soil, Mr. Taylor, were located in the western states and artfully called "reservations" that Indians were herded into and imprisoned in conditions far worse than plantation slavery.)

    In northern hellholes like Hellmira, Point Lookout, Camp Douglas (ever seen the documentary Eighty Acres of Hell?), there was plenty of food and medicine, but it was deliberately, on purpose, one might say cruelly, withheld from Confederate POWs out of sheer hatred and brutality on the part of the yankee administrators.

    In addition to deliberately creating starvation and disease, yankee prison officials had Confederate POWs tortured by sleep deprivation (firing guns into their tents and barracks at all hours of then night), making them sit astride a thin, elevated wood rail with weights attached to their ankles, a torture device that rendered them unable to walk, made prisoners sit bare-butted on blocks of ice…(Camp Douglas); hung by their thumbs in wind-blown areas (Point Lookout). Makes you proud to be an American, don't it?

    In Emira, NY, they built observation decks that looked down into the prison camp yard, and members of the community could pay a small fee to climb up for a front row seat and get their jollies watching the starvation, disease and suffering of Confederate POWs as it happened. Good ol' yankee ingenuity — exploiting cruelty and torture to make a buck…

    Why do you imagine Wirtz was tried for war crimes for circumstances beyond his control, but the sadistic bastards that ran Camp Douglas, Hellmira, Point Lookout, etc., who deliberately inflicted torture, starvation, disease and murder, got off scott free? Think about it; see if you can come up with a plausible reason.

    You can say this or that is the only way the Confederacy could have lived after war, but you're fantasizing about something that never happened, so you can claim anything, and there's no reality that will hold you accountable. Basically, you're just mouthing off opinion that appears to be born of your own hatred for Southerners. You have to wonder, though, if the South was so backward, inept and so, so eeeee-ville, why on earth didn't the union gleefully applaud it's departure? Why spend all the time, money and lives keeping a such a hated, backward portion of the country in the union? What? Did the north secretly suspect it didn't have what it took to make it as a nation on its own, without the South? You're the one enjoying speculating on something that didn't happen; how about speculating on why the north wasn't happy to let Dixie go?

    (P.S. re: lesson from Ft. Pillow… if you're gonna surrender, don't pick up a gun and start shooting again, be you black, white or purple. Forrest was exonerated of that "massacre" by a Congressional inquiry, btw.)

  22. Mr. Swanson, I suspect he's living in the world that hides proof that the north was wrong under the rug, glosses it over, perfumes it, disguises it, cleanses it, etc…..

  23. Sean CW Korsgaard , a lot of the history lessons you cited were written by court historians motivated not by objectively presenting history, but by making the north's case or by the desire to present the South in the most negative terms possible.

  24. It feels like you are all over the place with the points. This type of argument needs to be extended because while you cover bits and piece of each point, you fail to fully expand on every point.

  25. Barry Isenhour you are absolutely right. Very public critics of the Confederacy are frequently driven by leftist ideology to which they are excessively devoted….

  26. Connie Chastain, the Stars and Bars was the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, their chosen battle flag – the Confederate Flag was, as mentioned in the article, one of three varying flags, the chief one being what was known as "the Stainless banner" – favored largely for, in true Confederate tradition, its whiteness.

    You also had variations such as the "blood stained banner", the Bonnie Blue Flag, and the dozens of varying Battle flags used by the units and generals, among them, the saltire used by the Army of Northern Virginia known colloquially as the Stars and Bars.

    As to your other points – you seemingly contradict yourself. Are the Confederates seeking independence, or are they American?

    You yourself are so close to the truth – it took five generations for the South to rebuild because it took them five generations to move past that post-Civil War mindset. Hasn't it ever struck you that the rose of the "New South" only began after the Civil Rights movement, after they finally dumped the baggage forced onto our region by bitter Lost Causers?

    That is is why moving past this mythological vision of the Confederacy is so important – its absolutely toxic, and as those decreasing polls you mention show, dumping the baggage has been liberating and invigorating for the South. Why mope about the Confederacy being crushed – we're obviously better off for it.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud Richmonder, Virginian and Southerner – but I'm a prouder American, and realize that the South has plenty to be proud of for without resorting to acting like the Confederacy is anything to be proud of. It wasn't, it never has been.

  27. public or not I am not sure critics are driven by leftist ideology but rather driven by humanity and not wanting a symbol to represent a time where people or even better AMERICANS were treated so unfair. Rather sad in my opinion that people want to glorify such an inhumane period of time.

  28. I am indifferent to the VA Flaggers – my opinions are based only on historical fact. If I challenge or correct an opinion here, or anywhere else, it is because the narrative being sold by the Flaggers is against those same historical facts.

    You're fully within your rights as an American citizen to wave the rebel banner around under whatever pretense you see fit – just as I am free to point out your pretenses are false, your facts are faulty, and that the narrative your selling is more fairy tale then fact.

  29. Connie Chastain As far as I am concerned if a single man had held to his rifle at Pillow it would not exonerate the Confederates. The fact that the CS army resorted to foraging speaks to their unpreparedness to fight an industrial war, and indeed the Confederacy was doomed on all fronts, it had neither the resources, nor the funds, not the capacity for anything more than a 'short, victorious war'. That goes double for Sumter, if it could not have been sustained, it should not have existed, plus the death rate, diesel levels and sheer inhumanity far outstrip its contemporaries to the north.

    You are right, it shouldn't have been Witz on that dock, it should have been the southern lawmakers that started it, Oh yes! You will not remove that from your door!! Do you hear me? The south is to blame for the lose of 600'000 American lives, you will never be allowed to forget. You can't bear the thought of paying for your servants, and loath the North for having the audacity to elect progressives. Oh the marriage of '76 was made in democracy was it not? In keeping with this, if the people so choose to end an institution, then right or wrong we must obey. Or if a majority of people favour leaving, let them vote for it, do as we have done here in the British Isles and subject your Union to due process, what do you fear? Losing?

    Its is because of the referendum that my country now has a democratic mandate to exist, not even the USA say that, can the same be said of yours, no! No paper ever asked the question 'should the CSA be an independent nation?' Because why take the risk of 50% or more of you populous saying no? It is much more expedient to blow a hole in the wall and shoot your way out. That is what the southern cause is about, an ungrateful child walling at its parents knee, even in death the balm of forgiveness was offered unconditionally and lovingly, and still you cry 'unfair'. You started the war out of greed, you lost for that greed and now you project your own failing onto others, even whilst surrounded by opulence! You dare speak of yourselfs as victims, whilst over a half a million of your fellows lie dead as if you had felled them yourself.

  30. Sean CW Korsgaard That you said mean things about the VaFlaggers in your opinion piece contradicts your after-the-fact disclaimer of indifference.

    You're edumacated, aren't you, Mr. Korsgaard? You can do better back-peddling than that.

    What narrative do you imagine is being sold by the VaFlaggers? And where is it being sold, so it can be inspected without the filter of your criticism?

  31. Sean CW Korsgaard You can't point out that anyone's "pretenses" are false because you don't have access to their personal mind and motives. You can only interpret their words and actions based on your own personal and faulty filters.

  32. Sean CW Korsgaard You have it exactly backward and the pages you linked to refute your claim. The Stars and Bars was the first national flag of the Confederacy. A rectangle with three wide bars, two red, one white, blue saltire, white stars. The flag of the Army of Northern Virginia was a square flag, red field, blue diagonal cross with white border, white stars on the cross. The battleflag of the Army of Tennessee (and the navy jack) were rectangular versions of the ANV flag.

  33. John Swanson people have been treated unfairly for all kinds of reasons throughout the existence of USA. That "inhumane period of time" lasted 4 years in the Confederacy. It lasted 89 years under the auspices of the USA, the Constitution and the Stars and Stripes. See, it's the stench of hypocrisy in statements like yours that burn the figurative rhinal cavities raw….

  34. Donald Taylor My, my, such emotion, and more than a little hallucinating! Mr. Taylor, it was the damnyankee army that "foraged" the South, scoured it of food, shot pets for spite, shot livestock to starve civilians, and threw carcasses into wells and streams to contaminate the water and cause disease among civilians, in a region where the blockade kept out medicine.

    It should have been the union officials that refused prisoner exchanges, blockaded medicine to the South (my gosh, what kind of purportedly civilized people DO that?

    Secession was voted on by delegates elected to conventions, Mr. Taylor. Did you not know this?

    Ungrateful child? More like an abused wife finally escaping her abusive husband and being bloodily beaten back into his home, where she is locked in against her will forever and ever.

    Ever heard of the Roswell Mills women? They were not analogies. They were flesh and blood civilians. Google it to see what the compassionate yankee army did to them.

    Balm of forgiveness offered unconditionally and lovingly? What an extraordinary hallucination! Carpetbagger governments that stole whatever was left in state treasuries, ran debts up so high it took GEN-ER-A-TIONS to pay them off (well into the 20th century). Meanwhile, there was basically little to no money for schools, infrastructure, etc. Rich yankees came down here and bought MILES, not acres, but MILES of virgin timber, and paid Southerners, black and white, poverty wages to work their sawmills, and got even more fabulously wealthy they they already were.

    And then "Americans" ridiculed people in the South for being poor and uneducated. Sickening. That's like ridiculing a woman for bleeding after she's beaten to a bloody pulp by her husband.

    The Gilded Age, Mr. Taylor, was not a Southern thang. There is no plantation mansion south of the Mason Dixon line that even comes CLOSE to The Breakers for sheer ostentation. Meanwhile, poverty was the stark reality in the South where nutritional deficiency diseases that continued the north's work of killing Southerners. (Look up pellagra, hookworm, etc.)

    The feds and northern industry (railroads) kept policies in place until 1953 that kept industry from developing in the South. Read about it here:

    Your blind worship of your degenerate country, past and present, is extraordinary… Your willingness to see only what you consider "good" and ignore the evils… weill, I can only shake my head.

    And now, let me end with this.. A PARTIAL list of Southern towns burned (or otherwise destroyed, but mostly burned) by the damnyankee army, many of which had no military significance. Compiled from the OR:

    Osceola, Missouri, burned to the ground, September 24, 1861
    Dayton, Missouri, burned, January 1 to 3, 1862
    Columbus, Missouri, burned, reported on January 13, 1862
    Bentonville, Arkansas, partly burned, February 23, 1862
    Winton, North Carolina, burned, reported on February 21, 1862
    Bluffton, South Carolina, burned, reported June 6, 1863
    Bledsoe's Landing, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
    Hamblin's, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
    Donaldsonville, Louisiana, partly burned, August 10, 1862

    And then there was the sack and pillage of Athens, Alabama, on June 30, 1862, by Colonel Turchin's men, who committed rapes and other atrocities on the inhabitants. Turchin was subsequently court-martialed and put out of the military. What happened next? Turchin was rewarded by lincoln, was promoted to Brigadier General and put back in the military.

    Athens, Alabama, partly burned, August 30, 1862
    Randolph, Tennessee, burned, September 26, 1862
    Elm Grove and Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, October 18, 1862
    Napoleon, Arkansas, partly burned, January 17, 1863
    Mound City, Arkansas, partly burned, January 13, 1863
    Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, February 21, 1863
    Eunice, Arkansas, burned, June 14, 1863
    Gaines Landing, Arkansas, burned, June 15, 1863
    Sibley, Missouri, burned June 28, 1863
    Hernando, Mississippi, partly burned, April 21, 1863
    Austin, Mississippi, burned, May 23, 1863
    Columbus, Tennessee, burned, reported February 10, 1864
    Meridian, Mississippi, destroyed, February 3 to March 6, 1864

    "For 5 days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will…with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars, and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work as well done. Meridian, with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments no longer exists." — w.t.sherman

    Washington, North Carolina, sacked and burned, April 20, 1864
    Hallowell's Landing, Alabama, burned, reported May 14, 1864
    Newtown, Virginia, ordered to be burned, ordered May 30, 1864
    Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, burned, June 12, 1864
    Rome, Georgia, partly burned, November 11, 1864
    Atlanta, Georgia, burned, November 15, 1864
    Camden Point, Missouri, burned, July 14, 1864
    Kendal's Grist-Mill, Arkansas, burned, September 3, 1864
    Shenandoah Valley, devastated, reported October 1, 1864 by sheridan
    Griswoldville, Georgia, burned, November 21, 1864
    Somerville, Alabama, burned, January 17, 1865
    McPhersonville, South Carolina, burned, January 30, 1865
    Barnwell, South Carolina, burned, reported February 9, 1865
    Columbia, South Carolina, burned, reported February 17, 1865
    Winnsborough, South Carolina, pillaged and partly burned, February 21, 1865
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama, burned, April 4, 1865

    Again, it makes you proud to be an American, don't it?

  35. with all do respect miss Chastain we were speaking about a particular time in our past. Yes their have been plenty of times in our history where people have been treated inhumanly. the issue I have with this time period is people want to glorify a group who was just as concerned about personal greed, wealth, and quite frankly oppression as they were about state rights.

  36. Sean CW Korsgaard People concerned with personal greed and wealth… perfect description of the New England yankee of that time period.

    The north/union had no moral authority to invade the South, lay the place waste and keep the region in economic peonage for about five generations thereafter.

    Yes, northern states abolished slavery within their borders, so northerners didn't have slaves living in their back yards anymore, but that gave them no moral authority — they were still armpit deep in slavery. Northern textile interests got rich processing Southern, slave-grown cotton in their mills. New England maritime interests got rich shipping Southern, slave-grown cotton to Europe. Northern banks got rich financing the purchase of plantations and slaves, and northern insurance companies got rich insuring slaves. If the north had really wanted to end slavery, all they had to do was quit buying the cotton. But they didn't, and that is why they did not have the moral authority to send a brutal army south to kill Southerners. They profited from slavery as surely as any plantation owner, but without the expense.

  37. Sean CW Korsgaard I skimmed your "five misconceptions." Enjoy rehashing, do you? I believe I shall have to blog about your in-depth exploration….

  38. Connie Chastain Did you really expect him to re: ? That is why I didn't waste my time on him.. Doesn't change anything we will be around for a long time and many many many more flags are going to go up.. Nothing can be done about by them so just sit back enjoy their whine, and sip on their tears..

  39. They took up arms against the United States of America in an armed rebellion – that's textbook treason.

    Plus, a YouTube video you yourself produced isn't a valid source, though the disgusting comments certainly show the issue with treating the Confederacy with kid gloves.

  40. Connie Chastain so i got mixed up – mea culpa, mea culpa.

    The fact remains though, the ANV Battle Flag is whats most often touted as the Confederate flag, or used memorializing the Confederacy – which again, considering its the banner of an Army that took arms against the United States, much less its incredibly tarnished post-war legacy, bears the question why use it at all?

  41. Sean CW Korsgaard It's not s source. It is my position.

    Textbook treason? I don't get my definition and understanding of treason from a text book. I get it from the U.S.Code and the Constitution.

    There was no rebellion. Secession (withdrawal) is not rebellion. You have to be a citizen and/or owe allegiance to the USA in order to commit treason. Southerners no longer owed allegiance to the USA after their states seceded. Confederates were ENEMIES of the USA, not traitors.

  42. Connie Chastain, to be an enemy of the USA, it is implied that you yourself are not American.

    The Confederacy, for all its pretenses, was not an independent country recognized by even a single country on this Earth, but merely the chosen label of an armed rebellion of Americans taking up arms against their countrymen. Thus, why we call it a Civil War, as in a war between two distinct sides within the same nation.

    Thus, what the Confederacy did does indeed qualify as treason, in the literal definition of the word, the act of betraying one's country. Which in case you're curious, is indeed covered by US law.

  43. Sean CW Korsgaard You asking me? Or are you trying to make a case for erasing it from public view and from the American memory?

    If you're asking me, it's not the banner of an Army that took arms against the United States. It is the flag of an army that defended home, family and community from a brutal army of invasion. Moreover, the US flag was tarnished by the same use — which is even worse, since it is the national flag, the flag of sovereignty — but that just proves that neither flag has to be defined by how it is misused.

    I honor the battle flag because that is the one Confederate veterans chose to use in their commemorations of their service and sacrifice.

  44. Sean CW Korsgaard , you seem to solely define an independent country as one some other country recognizes. The Confederacy had everything else necessary to make it an independent country — territory, a population, an economy, a national governing document, a government, a military…

    Pennsylvania journalist Douglas Harper says it much better than I do:

    The CSA was a bid to form an independent nation out of a region that had a common enemy and some collective regional identity. But the CSA comprised many sub-cultures (a few of them didn't want to be there), and it had a leadership that sometimes confused self-interest with public policy. It had its fair share of charlatans and profiteers and criminal opportunists. It had some brilliant generals and a great many men in uniform who would be the pride of any army in human history. It was committed to 18th century republican values that were incompatible with fighting a modern war, and it had internal social conflicts that the war aggravated.

    In nearly all of this it was entirely like the American Revolutionaries. The colonists in 1776: one-third for independence, one-third against, one-third uncommitted. That must be the standard for legitimacy, or else our United States lacks it. The CSA fought a much larger enemy than George III, mostly on its own soil, without a Dutch loan or a French fleet to aid it, and the majority, in spite of internal divisions, put up a herculean effort, won spectacular victories, made shift with what little it had, and held out till the place was literally gutted and blood-drained by its foe.

    The four-year history of the CSA is not necessarily the place to seek an example of the values Southerners sought to uphold. Any nation fighting for survival from the cradle, invaded and blockaded all its life, doesn't get a chance to express the finer points of democracy and civil culture.

  45. Connie Chastain, again, statement of fact. There were some crude comments left by select members of the VA Flaggers on the past op-ed, and we're now close to 50 comments deep on this one, so I think the 'thorny' adjective applies.

    As for being unable to disprove pretenses, we're not arguing about opinions, we're arguing about historical fact and record – not once did I make reference to or quote anything in the article but existing documents from the Confederate Government and its supporters themselves.

    Whatever the VA Flaggers believe the Confederacy stood for, the historical record is quite clear that it stands for something else – slavery, and the preservation of slavery. Those aren't the words of some, as you've called them, "liberal" or "revisionist" – those are the words of the Confederate Government and its leaders:

    "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."
    –Mississippi Declaration of Secession

    "It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
    It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact, which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
    It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst."
    –Mississippi Declaration of Secession

    "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed."
    –Confederate Constitution, Article 1,Section 9.

    "We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."
    –South Carolina Declaration of Secession

    "The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slaveholding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."
    –Georgia Declaration of Secession

    "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."
    –Texas Declaration of Secession

    I can keep going if you like – or you can dismiss it as per usual.

  46. Sean CW Korsgaard Select members of the VaFlaggers? Selected by whom?

    What crude comments? I didn't see any as of yesterday. But if they got a bit hot under the collar because they disagreed with the op-ed, so what?

    As for this op-ed and comment thread, what were you expecting? Gushing approval? If you're gonna put your words online for the public to read and comment on, perhaps you need to get a thicker skin, or choose a safer subject.

    Mississippi's secession declaration is 709 words long; you posed 137 of them. That's called CHERRY PICKING. That happens a lot to the secession declarations. People extract a few sentences about …. >gasp< slavery! And then quit reading.

    I've read all the causes of secession documents, all the secession ordinances, the Confederate Constitution, and numerous other writings on this subject.

    You are outraged about slavery (or maybe you're "outraged" about it) because that's the "in" position in our increasingly left-leaning culture, and you're cheerleading to make everyone else as outraged as you are. You focus so tightly on slavery, you zoom in and magnify it so huge, nothing else will fit in your frame of view. You are using slavery to totally define the Confederacy, indeed, the entire white South, past and present, and you're attempting to force others share your hatred of the Confederacy.

    Not going to happen with me, because I not only can but do zoom out to see the whole picture — entire South, not just slavery, and the north, too. I deeply love my region and my people, so I'm not going to wear blinders or filters that gratuitously evilize them.

    I don't deny slavery's place in secession and secession's place in the war. I'm not one of those who say, "The war had nothing to do with slavery!" (or, alternately, "Slavery had nothing to do with the war!"). However, I thoroughly reject the grade-school, binary view that the South was fighting to keep slavery and the north was fighing to end it.

    Put it another way. I don't believe for a New York minute that the righteous armies of the north marched South to "make men free" and those bad old Confederates were fighting to "keep and EN-TIRE RACE in chains and bondage." The Deep South states seceded primarily, but not solely, to protect slavery. The states of the upper South seceded later, when Lincoln attempted to force them to send troops to invade the seceded states. And that's a very simplistic view, as well. It's was a much more complex situation.

    But my main objection to that grade-school interpretation of the war is my conviction that the north had no moral authority to militarily invade the South and kill Southerners — for any reason — because of its own track moral track record regarding slavery, and other things.

    Go find somebody ignorant to convince; it won't be hard; Americans have been so dumb-down they increasingly can't name the state capitals, think Lincoln was a Founding Father. They're largely statists who believe (and approve of) the feds having extreme authority over the people — people who would be frightened to death of political and personal liberty, if they had any concept of what it means.

    But don't try it with me. I know better.

  47. John Swanson , if you understood that the South was fighting to preserve our Constitution from Northern abuse, that the World I am living in is directly due to the corruption the North has brought to our current day. If you do not see this, then you Sir are the one living in a different World.

  48. Sean CW Korsgaard the YouTube is a series of facts. But you still stick to your "Talking Points". As I have said, you are not serious about learning the historical truths. That is why I can not take you seriously. I will continue to pray for your return to sanity.

  49. Barry Isenhour Your historical truth is the denial that a farce of a country tried to wrestle independence because their political party had lost the election and wanted to preserve the institution of slavery. They took up arms and attacked for that perverse cause and the Southrons were justly put down like the petulant bigoted children that they were.

    Also don't bring God to your attempts at an argument. No merciful God would ever stand by those would enslave others.

  50. Connie Chastain I'm not an American, I am Scots-British, a nation that has much more in the way of democratic tradition than the USA and certainly far more than CSA could even jokingly claim to. Of course the delegates voted, note that out of all the people in the south only the ones who stood to gain the most from successionism were deemed worthy of a vote. I ponder why I'm doing this, there is no statistic, no piece of historical writing, no quote or phrase that will ever convince you of the Truth; The Confederacy was a lie, even at its heart. What those delegates wanted was not a new nation, but their prefered version of the old. They want the USA as they saw fit, and damn what the rest of you see

    'Abused wife'? Spoilt Harlot, who having finally made unacceptable demands of her long suffering but devoted husband, responded to his firm but fair dismissal, by smashing his Windows. Even when you were destroyed on the field, you were welcomed back with love, even today. Seven of the thirteen confederate states refuse to pay their taxes! And yet, and yet. You scream bloody murder at even the remotest inch towards progressivism, 'HOW DARE YOU ASK US TO PAY FOR OUR OPULENCE?!', no free healthcare for the working man, no safety net for employees, no aid for the poor. But oh please, please! our pensions.

    You should be kicked out, I am quite sure that by mid afternoon you would come begging for relief, or perhaps you would cross the ocean and ask your old masters to save you. No. Since the slaveholders seem to crap gold to your mind, they can, to quote Tyrion Lannister 'Grab a Privy and get busy'.

    As for that Galish Gallop, you are right, and only on this, that the Union and the Confederate, burned. As did most nations of this time. Similar activities were undertaken by the French and Prussian armies in 1870 and later in 1914-18. Yet I seem to find that the Union was far more giving to mercy than there counterparts, a group of smartly dressed armed thugs.

  51. Mr. Taylor, your ESP is broken, and you seem a little schizoid about what's historical, from the mid-19th century, and leftist claptrap from today. Progressivism is the latest in a series of names for a failed, but still dangerous, ideology that, for some inexplicable reason, you embrace. (Progressivism < leftism < liberalism.)

    Opulence? I don't got no opulence, and never have had any. I come from a long line of Southern Appalachian hillbilles — lumberjacks, sawmillers, railroaders, miners, sharecroppers, moonshiners, bootleggers… You don't reach "opulence" with those professions.

    Scots-British? Isn't that like saying Confederate-Yankee? Aren't the Scots considered (as are Southerners here) the armpit of the UK? But you love those who ridicule you, huh. I don't.

    The delegates to secession conventions in most states were elected by a flippin' referendum of the people of the state.

    You know what your problem is, Taylor? You think the 15% or so of the Southern people who owned slaves were ALL of it. Your leftist-socialist hatred of "the rich" (except, perhaps, rich of the Gilded Age/Robber Barrons of the north) tells on you. That's who you zoom in on, to blot out everyone else. But don't attribute YOUR tunnel vision, to ME. I zoom out to see them all, all the ones you ignore in order to focus your hatred on "slave owners."

    Have you noticed what our brand-spankin' new "free Obama health care" in this country is costing people? Quadrupled premiums, loss of any health insurance at all, reduced access to doctors… The safety net for employees worked reasonably well until Obama got hold of it (though it was scammed by way to many of "the people.") This country spends billions on aid to the poor…. On poor people who come here illegally to take advantage of our social service programs — and it is destroying the country. Do you REALLY think any country can survive a SEVENTEEN TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT?

    Socialism does. not. work. Europe is on its last legs because it so embraced socialism after WWII.

    If the South were "kicked out" today it would have the 4th largest economy in the world — and without having to pay taxes for Washington's bullying military exploits around the world (US has troops in 150 flippin' countries), the South could levy much smaller taxes on its people and take in plenty of revenue for LEGITIMATE government expenses AND take care of the poor who really need it (but not those on "entitlements" for a free ride — including corporations).

    United States, 12.36 trillion
    China, $8.86 trillion
    Japan, $4.02 trillion
    The South, $3.73 trillion

    No, it is YOUR mind that slaveholders crapped gold. I have made absolutely no statements worshipful of slaveholders — none, zero, zip, nada — so this is just another extraordinary halucination of yours. You confuse plantation owners for "the South".

    Union mercy? Union schizophrenia. They claimed the Southern states had never left the union, but then made them jump through hoops to get back in. You consider setting up a MILITARY DICTATORSHIP over the Southern states to be "welcomed back with love"? You consider carpetbagger legislators robbing state treasuries and putting a crushing burden of debt onto the taxpayers to be a "loving welcome" back into the union?

    Your last paragraph makes no sense. You're so frothing-at-the-mouth angry, I guess your ability to formulate coherent sentences finally played out on you.

  52. Sean CW Korsgaard You said, "Whatever the VA Flaggers believe the Confederacy stood for, the historical record is quite clear that it stands for something else…"

    Since you apparently don't know what the VA Flaggers believe (the "Whatever " gives you away) then how do you know they don't believe the historical record? Perhaps they just have a different understanding of it, and don't approach it with the "spin" you use on it.

    What you're giving us in these comments, and your op-ed, is your spin. You are not serving as a mere mouthpiece for the accurate transmission of historical records. You have injected your position into it, bigtime.

    You are writing not to inform, but to sway. You're a propagandist. Fine, nothing wrong with that. So am I. It just enables me to better evaluate your propagandist voice — your reliance on pejorative terms, your appeal to fiction, your drawing conclusions not logically connected to information that precedes them.

  53. Luis Salcedo You speak for God? You tell us what God would and would not do?

    Did God stand by the USA? Is that why it won? But-but-but it was a slaveholding nation — had it enshrined in its constitution — when it went to war with the Confederacy, and it did not abolish slavery until AFTER the Confederacy ceased to exist.

  54. Connie Chastain Beyond the idle banter of few drunks, most Scots are aware that there is a deep love and profound respect for the Scottish people from the English, a feeling that is sadly not entirely mutual north of the Border, we have prospered in the Union, we built the finest railways, the best navy, the grandest hotels, we contribute to the Arts, Sciences and political discourse more than any other nation, including yours. Which is why when the future of our nation was put to the vote, and no delegates voting by themselves do not count, we wisely chose to remain within the most successful political, economic and military Union in history. Because leaving would mean far more than a blow against Westminster. It would loudly broadcast the most detestable of message, that the Scots saw themselves as 'Better' than the 'Southern Tories', for this our fellows in England, Wales and Ireland would have had no choice but to wash their hands of us and drive the best bargain for them. So we remain and are better, both economically and morally as well. Better a Scottish armpit than a Confederates Arsehole.

    Obamacare is a tiny improvement on the poor joke that is American Health Care, I do remember the appalling behavior of the GOP over the notion of a public option, which was eventually dropped. And I don't care for the argument, a public option is not the equivalent of the NHS, not even close. The Confederacy was all about slavery, yes, yes it was. The constitution of the CSA and its states prove that. The problem with YOU is that you're looking for a southern national conscious that doesn't, and never has existed, try this, Subtract every mention of slavery from the CS constitution and see if you can find anything that sets it out remotely from the US one. It was the landed southerners preferred USA, and nothing more.

    I don't know where you're getting that 4th largest economy garbage from, but I imagine its the same school as the one Alex Salmond hails from. You do realize that you'll take a share of that debt, don't you? Good luck paying it off, given that you lot don't believe in Taxes. 'Illegal Poor', would these be the same people who escape war zones to end up with Red-necked bible thumpers chasing them down the streets, or is it just all of the Poor? After all, the 'deserving' poor need help now, how willing have the southern states been to provide them? And why would that magically change if the South left? I don't think the south will do anything for the poor, except find ways to make them even poorer, don't worry though, we in the north and across the sea are human individuals will happily help them.

    Speaking of people though, I wonder how long Southern Soldiers in the US army, if you think they're leaving for whatever you're setting up, yeah right. It would be wonderful to live in world where the Army of Virginia CONQUERS the south. But anyway, observing your Facebook feed, you're clearly far, far, far too gone to ever be reached by reason from either me, or my good friend Mr Korsgaard. I am bored with debating such delusionals, So simply Miss Connie it has been my very deep displeasure to talk with you and I do hope never to repeat it.


  55. Donald Taylor Your hallucinations get more and more bizarre.

    Obamacare is depriving people of health care. The reason the CSA Constitution so closely resembles the US Constitution is because they were both written by SOUTHERNERS. The Southern CULTURAL consciousness is as real as it gets — the South's distinctiveness has been acknowledged, in and out of the South, for generations.

    The 4th largest economy is based on the South's portion of the GDP — specifically, the purchasing power parity method of determining the GDP (developed in 1998).

    Where do you get the notion that I don't believe in taxes? The voices in your head? Because i sure haven't stated anything even close to "not believing in taxes."

    Yes, if the South were to leave the union, it would take it's portion of the debt, it would take the responsibility for paying Social Security and Medicare for the folks in the South receiving them. It would have to pay for all the federal property in its territory, including military bases and equipment, national parks, the whole bit.

    When have redneck bible thumpers chased poor people down the street anywhere in the South? How many times has it happened? I want dates, times, participants, I want links to reputable news stories. I don't want some South-bashing Hollywood hallucination movie — which is where i suspect you got your view of this scenario — if you didn't make it up out of your very fertile and very indoctrinated imagination.

    You're quitting the discussion because I've held your feet to the reality fire. I've told you things you didn't know, said things you can't refute, so you're leaving. Whatever.

    My Facebook feed is just fine. And I will leave you with a thought from your own timeline: Don't believe everything you think.

  56. Connie Chastain "you seem to solely define an independent country as one some other country recognizes"

    In international law, that generally is the definition of an independent country. Now outside of international law things get a little more tricky…

    "territory, a population, an economy, a national governing document, a government, a military… "

    Do you consider ISIS a independent country then?

    "Confederates were Americans, Mr. Korsgaard."

    Depends on what we define as American. If you mean "people living on the American continent" then, well, duh. But so are the Mexicans and Brazilians and so-on. If we define it as "citizens of the United States" (which is generally what the word "American" is taken to mean) then according to the members of the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865 they were not, in fact, Americans.

    "had it enshrined in its constitution"

    Actually, the word "slavery" never appeared in the US constitution until the adoption of the 13th Amendment in 1865, which is the amendment that bans slavery. And it only appears once in section 1:
    'Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.'

    Now the wording of this certainly does not count as enshrining given that the relevant definition of the word is 'preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected.' In that light, we can clearly see that the 13th Amendment is kind of the opposite of enshrining.

  57. Gregory McKenna, no, I don't mean "people living on the American continent". Confederates were Americans because, as their name says, their states were OF America — just like the states of the United States are OF America.

    The term slavery doesn't have to be in the Constitution for everyone to understand that it was recognized by that document. And I wasn't talking about the 13th Amendment, which did not exist when the Constitution was written and slavery was accepted by the states and their agent, the feds.

  58. Connie Chastain "no, I don't mean "people living on the American continent". Confederates were Americans because, as their name says, their states were OF America — just like the states of the United States are OF America. "

    Then to prevent confusion you should probably use the term 'confederates' like everyone else.

    "The term slavery doesn't have to be in the Constitution for everyone to understand that it was recognized by that document."

    Except my reply is not about whether the United States Constitution ever recognized the institution of slavery (indeed, for something to be banned it has to first be recognized) but whether it was enshrined in the US constitution Once again, the definition of the word:
    ''preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected.'

    Now even the passages that indirectly refer to slaves in the US constitution never treated those bits as something to be respected or protected. For slavery to be enshrined in the US constitution it would have to be something that sounds more essential and critical. Something that reads like this:
    'No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.'
    -Confederate States Constitution, Section 9.

  59. Gregory McKenna says, "Then to prevent confusion you should probably use the term 'confederates' like everyone else."

    I do use that term virtually all the time. However, when I explained that Confederates were enemies of the US, not traitors, he said, "Connie Chastain, to be an enemy of the USA, it is implied that you yourself are not American." And that's when I reminded him that Confederates WERE Americans.

    The rest — semantics.

  60. Perhaps, it would be prudent to be a bit more conserved in your word choice, especially considering the differences between 'enshrined' and 'contained'.

    Explain to me what your definition of 'American' is because it is confusing and contradictory.

  61. William Knisely-Durham Thank you for your lesson in semantics.

    To me, an American is a citizen of a country that is "of America." Of is a preposition that indicates for belonging to, relating to, or connected with. The USA is, and the CSA was, of America. Therefore, their citizens are/were Americans.

  62. Connie Chastain , if the Confederates were Americans – which we agree on – then they were in fact, traitors. They took up arms against both their fellow Americans and the lawfully elected government of the United States – yet again, this is treason, as defined by the dictionary, US Law, International Law, and pretty much any definition one can muster.

  63. Sean CW Korsgaard No, they weren't traitors. Only those who owe allegiance to the USA and war against it, or give aid and comfort to its enemies, are traitors. Once the Southern states seceded — once they were no longer a voluntary party to the Constitutional compact — their citizens did not owe allegiance to the US government. But they were still Americans because they were citizens of a country that was "of America." Your problem is that you're thinking that only the USA is "of America." Nope, the Confederacy was "of America' too. Said so right in its name.

  64. Connie Chastain… where do I even begin?

    Your continued nitpicking over semantics and utter ignorance of rhetoric continues to amaze. I shall try to use small words so that you might understand, short of you deciding to argue what the definition of "is" is.

    'Select', as in that given I do not know all VA Flaggers, thus cannot refer to ALL VA Flaggers, only the ones making idle threats towards my colleagues. Thus, I refer only to those select few. Grab a dictionary along with those history books I recommended.

    Those select members comments I was referring to are still there if you'd like to look – even if they weren't, we keep records of screencaps.

    I quoted 1/7th of the Mississippi Declaration of Secession – that's hardly cherry picking. I did so for brevity's sake, but anyone with a grade school reading level can tell that the 600 words I DIDN'T select also, nearly in its entirety, refer to slavery or are related to slavery. Since you need someone to hold your hand and guide you through it, here we go:

    "In the momentous step, which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course."

    Introductory section.

    "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."

    Previously quoted, and it should speak for itself. Slavery and racism, what a shocker.

    "That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove."

    By institution, they mean slavery.

    "The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory."

    Gripping about how slaves weren't allowed in the Northwest Territory.

  65. "The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
    The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico."

    Whining about how slavery has been banned in certain regions and territories.

    "It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction."

    The US Government considers slaves people? And refuses to treat them like property? How controversial.

    "It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion."

    Slavery won't be expanded? How tragic.

    "It tramples the original equality of the South under foot."

    This original equality – was this before or after you spent the last 2/3s of this whining about how the mean old Yankees think you're disgusting for wanting to own human beings?

    "It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact, which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain."

    They're not returning runaway slaves. Good for the Yankees.

    "It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst."

    Wait, the nation that was founded upon all men being equal wants all men to be equal? What a concept!

    "It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
    It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
    It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better."

    Complaining about the North allowing abolitionism to grow and flourish. Who but a slaver would complain about American citizens practicing their first amendment rights?

    "It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives."

    Referring to John Brown I presume? Whom, if I recall, was not supported by the US, but in fact, executed by the US Army. If only we'd given Jeff Davis the same treatment.

    "It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security."

    Only the ones that protect slavery.

    "It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
    It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause."

    Oh no, your social system built upon slavery and outdated feudalistic agriculture might be replaced by proper liberty, democracy and industry.

    "It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood."

    It obtained control of the government BY MEANS OF A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTION. You don't get to whine just because Abe Lincoln won – whomever gets the most votes wins, that's how democracy works, though I imagine someone who thinks another human being is only 3/5ths of a person might get fuzzy in the math.

    "Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England."

    You know what he's talking about when he says property, right? Slaves.

    "Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it."

    Good luck with that Mississippi.

    709 words, and damned near every last one refers to slavery. Huh. Imagine that. It's almost like that was the driving motivator of the Confederacy or something.

    Oh wait. It was. Again, don't take my word for it, take theirs. The fact you deny that the very document above is about anything other than slavery is an act of doublethink I've rarely seen outside of Orwell novels.

    By all means, the North was not perfect, nor a perfectly equal society – I've got some Irish ancestors who met the wrong end of a paddywacker who can testify to that – but it's a hell of a lot better than the depraved society the Confederacy wanted to see hoisted upon the South.

    Slavery defines the Civil War and the Confederacy, and you can no more discuss one without the other than you could discuss World War II without talking about the Nazis.

    You're right that there's a lot things to be proud of being Southern, from Elvis to Fried Chicken – so why is it you insist on not only dragging out the darkest chapter of our regions past and our nations past, but glorifying it? The Confederacy is a stain and a shame upon Southern culture and Southern honor, and anyone who knows history, not whatever drivel they picked up from a Margaret Mitchel novel, knows that.

    The Confederacy wasn't some grand Southern pride – it was a bunch of plantation owners sending poor Southerners to kill poor Northerners so they could own black people. Or did you forget that one in five Southerners who fought in the war fought for the Union? Or how entire regions of the South refused to fight for the Confederacy?

    The best thing that ever happened to the South was the dose of reality the Civil War shoved down our throats.

    I've said it before, I'm a proud Virginian and Southerner, but above all else, I am a proud American. It's it's as a Virginian and a Southerner that I say this – you do not speak for the South or its people. Not anymore. Not even then. And our region and our country will be better off when you stupid prats finally get a clue.

  66. Connie Chastain, judging by the utter denial of indisputable fact I've seen from the VA Flaggers on here, I'd say its safe to say the VA Flaggers have no idea what reality is, much less historical record.

    Information tends to sway if your opinions do not coincide with the facts. Thus, why the Flaggers are so quick to write off any of such information as "propaganda" or "liberal fantasies" or whatever term you want to call it next time.

    Think what you want – at the end of the day, the data, the records and history is on my side. Can you claim the same?

  67. Sean CW Korsgaard , you said, "'Select', as in that given I do not know all VA Flaggers, thus cannot refer to ALL VA Flaggers, only the ones making idle threats towards my colleagues. Thus, I refer only to those select few. Grab a dictionary along with those history books I recommended."



    –verb (used with object)

    1. to choose in preference to another or others; pick out.

    –verb (used without object)

    2. to make a choice; pick.


    3. chosen in preference to another or others; selected. Synonyms: preferred.
    4. choice; of special value or excellence.
    5. careful or fastidious in selecting; discriminating.
    6. carefully or fastidiously chosen; exclusive

    Since, as you said, you weren't talking about ALL Virginia Flaggers, you are talking about SOME of them. "Select" implies CHOSEN. Select is not a snynonym for some.

    I saw no threats to your colleague in the other comment thread.

    Did you read my essay about Mississippi's secession declarations? I covered the things you mentioned here

    I speak for the South and its people AT LEAST as much as YOU do.

    The data, records and history that are on your side are the ones you SELECT. Moreover, you are evaluating your picked and chosen history with a 21st century mindset.

    My position is that the truths of the north/union are just as bitter as those of the Confederacy — perhaps moreso because they are compounded by hypocrisy and lies that started before the war and continue to this day.

  68. So, the war was all about slavery and racism and YET (1) Abraham Lincoln only freed the slaves in slave states that seceded, and (2) slaves in slaves states such as Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island that fought for the Union remained enslaved for YEARS after the surrender at Appamatix Courhouse.

    The war was much more complex than just one cause. Most wars are. Sure some people fought over slavery. Some fought over the Union. Some fought over States' Rights. And some fought just because they were conscripted. The causes were many and complex, and one therefore can find whatever it is for which they are looking.

    We know for what Korsgaard is looking. It is Korsgaard who needs a history lesson.

  69. I never once said the North was fighting to free the slaves, certainly not initially. For the North, it was initially a fight to preserve the Union – to quote Lincoln himself: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.”

    The North gradually transitioned towards total abolition over the course of the war however, if only for pragmatism and morale – turns out "Battle Hymn of the Republic" makes a better rallying cry than "Dixie". Regardless, whatever the North's motives, it's an improvement over the Confederacies goal of preserving plantation slavery even if it meant the deaths of a million Americans.

    Just for the record though, the last slaves in the Unites States were freed with the passage of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865 – just under eight months after Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Hardly what I'd call "years".

    It's also worth noting that, Appomattox aside, the Civil War actually did not formally end until August 20, 1866. Prior to that, several Confederate units or generals either refused to surrender or took far longer than General Lee. Even if you want to use the date of the last significant surrender, Stand Watie's on June 23, that's a six month gap.

    Also, there had not been slaves in Rhode Island by this point since 1840.

    Among the fighting men, there was variety in motive – like I pointed out in this very article, 1 out of 4 Southerners who fought in the war fought for the Union. Several portions of the Confederacy saw active resistance against the CSA government – West Virginia being the most successful. As you mentioned conscription was another bane – do remember though, slave-owners were exempt from conscription though. There was a reason why desertion rates among Confederate units were so high – very few of them wanted to fight for, as I mentioned in the article, "a plantation owners war."

    That's why this hero worship of the Confederacy is so damned foolish – we aren't talking about some grand Southern government, we're talking about a cabal of slave-owning landed gentry who didn't even control the whole South, much less all Southerners.

  70. Isn't it funny? These days those who are criticized are so likely to play the victim and call their critics, "haters, hateful, or..full of hatred". It's an easy way out when there is no evidence worth putting forward or…no evidence at all in their own favor. Waving the Confederate flag around is just as stupid as waving the Union Jack around. We live in the United States, if you don't like it and respect what that means for all of us, get the heck out. That said, you can walk around with your dumb Confederate flag all you want, but don't be oblivious or even willfully ignorant of what it stood for.

  71. Sean CW Korsgaard If your aim is to find something simplistic to make Confederates look bad, and then quit looking, you can certainly find it. Reality is a bit more complex.

    For example, there was desertion in the northern armies, too:

    Desertion was a problem for both the Confederate and the Union armies, even though it was a serious offense punishable by death. Politicians and generals complained that soldiers were being granted leave on the eve of major battles in which their presence was necessary to the cause. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, when morale was low, the Union had to deal with 100 or more deserters daily. Some believe as many as one in five Union soldiers and one in three Confederate soldiers deserted their post during the war. It is difficult to determine the exact figures, in part because of the number of casualties that were unidentifiable.

    You said, "There was a reason why desertion rates among Confederate units were so high – very few of them wanted to fight for, as I mentioned in the article, "a plantation owners war."

    In reality, there was more than one reason, and this was HUGE one, don't think it wasn't. From Reid Mitchell: "Confederate soldiers left their wives — and their mothers, sweethearts, daughters, fathers, sons, family, and friends — at higher risk than most Union soldiers left theirs. And as the war went on, the dangers that the people back home faced grew more widespread. Confederate soldiers found themselves torn between two duties, one to the Confederacy, one to their families. After 1864, some Confederates saw the war as likely to end in defeat, others saw it as unlikely to end at all. Not surprisingly, more of them chose their duty to their families over their duty to the Confederacy, even over their duty to their fellow soldiers."

    There was active resistance against the US government, too — some of whom ended up imprisoned by Lincoln without due process. Anti-war northerner were known as copperheads.

    Whatever crap you want to throw at Confederates, the same can be thrown at the union, which is why the north had no moral authority for marching South to kill Southerners with a brutal war.

  72. Zach Snider, there is certainly hatred expressed for Confederates and for those who honor them today. It has grown worse with the Sesquicentennial.

    I have put forth more evidence than anyone in this thread, and I have made few, if any, accusations of hate; although I could certainly point them out if I chose.

    I am not oblivious to, or willingly ignorant of what the Confederate flag stood for. I know what it stood for; that's how I know that people opposed to it focus on a tiny, often bogus, slice of its meaning, and try to say that's the whole thing. Some critics are more ignorant than stupid.. Others are knowingly and purposefully deceptive.

    You don't get to say for me what's stupid. If you think flying a flag is stupid, don't fly it. You also don't get to tell me to to get the heck out of the USA. My defense and honor of Confederate heritage doesn't mean I hate the USA. There are lots of people who DO hate it, though, and want to change it into something it wasn't intended to be. Some of them are big-time Confederacy-bashers, too. Imagine that.

    "I'm not leaving the USA because that's where the South is located. I would have to be dynamited loose from the South. It is my home and I love it profoundly. My roots run very, very deep here, and they are unseverable." –Connie Chastain

  73. Connie Chastain I think arguments over whether someone hates the Confederacy or hate the USA are bland and fatuous. Who cares? I only care what is true and what that means to the reasonable person. If you support slavery, fly the Confederate flag. Tell me it didn't stand for slavery as the 'cornerstone' of its culture. Or if you don't believe me, just read the words above said by the CSA's VP. One cannot argue from emotion or in doing so, you justify idiocy. Flying the Confederate flag should be looked down upon just as someone flying the Union Jack should be looked down upon. To be proud of a force which sought to rip apart what we hold dear, our freedoms, is to commit cultural suicide. Furthermore, just to emphasize this even more, to support a political flag and political group such as the Confederacy is no more than to support the enslavement and torture of our black brothers and sisters. The Confederacy and the Confederate flag is an absolute stain upon America's history and you should be ashamed to support it knowing full well what it stood for. That said, to merely fight for one's homeland is a different fight entirely. In which case, it is more apt to say, 'I fight for Virginia' than to say, 'I fight for the Confederacy' as these are two concepts entirely different. So do fight for Virginia, for Virginia is a land, a home and a community to many good people, but the Confederacy is no better than a Ba'athist party in the Middle East, or a Fascist one anywhere else. Thank your ancestors and be proud that they stood their ground, but please, don't be so silly as to support the Confederacy; a stain upon freedom's cloth.

  74. Zach Snider , you're certainly entitled to think whatever you wish. And so am I. For me, supporting the Confederate flag doesn't mean supporting slavery. You may think it does, but I'm not bound by what you think. I don't know anyone who supports slavery. I do know a lot of people who fly the flag to honor men who defended hearth and home from a brutal military invader (an invader whose reasons for marching South had nothing to do with freeing slaves).

    What you are not seeing is that the USA has plenty of "stain" of its own. Slavery was legal — constitutional — in the USA for 89 years as opposed to the four years that the Confederacy existed. Yes, slavery was abolished at the state level in some states up north, but that was as much to be rid of their black populations as to free slaves — that's why so many northern slaves were not emancipated when slavery was abolished in their states — they were sold.

    A stain on freedom's cloth, huh? How about the stain deliberate starvation, torture and murder of Confederate POWs in yankee prison camps? How about the stain of genocide on the starzinstripes? Official federal policy during the Grant administration was to kill off the buffalo in order to genocide (by starvation) the Plains Indians (the buffalo was their primary food source) and take their lands for white settlers. How about the stain of imprisoning Indians in concentration camps artfully called "reservations" in conditions worse than plantation slavery? It continued during the 20th Century. Read up on Operation Paperclip sometime, or Operation MK-ULTRA… How about the CIA's participation in torture in Centeral America and other places during the Cold War, and its participation, or at least its supervision, of horrendous torture in Argentina's Dirty War? How about the commission of atrocities in Vietnam? How about Abu Abu Ghraib?

    To see the forces that sought (and still seek) to rip apart what we hold dear, you need look no further than the United States government and its military. To ignore all that and to look back 150 years for something to feel self-righteous about — well, that seems to require extraordinary cognitive dissonance….

  75. You are cherry picking facts to support your pet theory. It's OK, people who fancy themselves historically literate have done this for ages. And we still have arguments over historical events much more ancient that this war. As I said, the war and its causes were complex and one may choose to find what they wish.

  76. Connie Chastain, did you not read the article at all? I even I admit, the USA has not always done right, at home or abroad. But we've also done far more good than evil – we've liberated hundreds of millions of people from tyranny, pushed the boundaries of science and society to unprecedented limits, and our Declaration of Independence and Constitution have been the backbone of western democracy for the past two centuries.

    When we've done wrong, we either make it right, or pay the price. The American Civil War is proof of this – since our nation's founding, we've known slavery to be a gross injustice, and a violation of our founding principles. Yet we kicked the can down the curb out of fear of upsetting the South, made compromises and limitations, tried to see it naturally die out… it became a cancer that nearly killed this country. Too many men, Northern and Southern, White and Black, DIED to see us make good on our founding promises.

    That's why the Confederacy is such a national shame – it personified many parts of our darker nature, without even the trappings of enlightenment or liberty, and the fight between the United States and the Confederates was a battle for the very soul and future of this country. Our better nature won.

    The USA may not have always done right, but even in the initial promise of our founding, we did more good for humanity than the Confederacy did during its entire blissfully brief existence.

    The American flag has been flown over Iwo Jima and the Moon, the words of our great leaders and thinkers inspired or spoken by extraordinary men from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, our wealth and capital have fueled the most prosperous time in human civilization.

    The Confederate flag has been flown by Klan members and skinheads, the words of its founders and thinking inspired the likes of Mussolini or George Lincoln Rockwell, and its very existence was founded upon human misery.

    For me at least, its an easy choice.

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