Lacking Grace: Flag mania trumps loss of Faith in a free market for symbols

By: Ann Summers

“They got a goddamn day for Confederate flags. This is some bullshit!” says the (presumably black) man filming this video

And just when you’re wondering how long this line of assholes in lifted trucks can possibly be, and wishing something would make them stop… well, something does.

By taking down that flag we express God’s grace. But I don’t think God wants us to stop there,” Obama said Friday.

Much like the artist/murderer who escapes from the prison honor block only to be gunned down by cops with as much outrage as an NRA member in hunting season, RW religion (yes, let’s go there with the American Taliban(sic)) is in a bit of a market conundrum: how to compete in the free market for ideological products/services with the apprarent legality of gay marriage.

But what about Christians and the businesses they own? “People are losing their jobs, companies are having to close down because of the aggressive bullying of homosexual and transgender activists, and it’s time that that tyranny and the symbols representing it cease in America,” Linda Harvey of Mission American… suggests that the public raise the question with government organizations flying the rainbow flag, and ask companies – such as Walmart – to stop selling LGBT items in light of the Confederate controversy.

Short of some massive but doomed future attempt at a constitutional amendment or an actual state secession, apparently there is a Scarcity of Grace, as well as bisexuals who are aggressive bullies.

As mopshell has pointed out, Grace is in short supply or in other words there is an absolute amount of Grace in the universe or at least in this nation. When He shed it, there was only just so much to go around if our country was to remain Beautiful.


This thing could all come crashing down, either economically or with a series of dirty bombs going off in our major cities, or one major nuclear bomb that could destroy half the country and contaminate the rest, and if that happens, God is perfectly just and vindicated because we have squandered our grace in this country.

As Grace seems to be a function of Faith or as in all Club Goods, membership or congregation size matters, so defection seems to be an important constraint. You can only have enough online bandwidth or megachurch acreage. So other than the Kochs, some supreme being being on one’s side seems less viable with those identifying with some melanin identity criterion for membership, while acknowledging that its greatest exemplar, Godwin himself, may have also been impure.

Congestion in the symbolic realm has occurred what with the invocation of some race, class, and regional meaning where burning the Confederate Battle Flag, repurposed as it has by segregationalists, should not be immolated as much as certain other examples of Faith and Grace. So you display the US flag rather than burn it at your meetings, an act which you reserve for the cross or at this point six Black churches so far. So if they burn a US Flag and/or a cross at their upcoming rally, what message does that send.

Defection from casual church membership and more importantly the surplus accumulated capital from “tithing” as well as retaining untaxed status of faith-based enterprises are the most pressing concern since “love gifts” have become the code for the price of grifted membership. Media competition will increase as media markets become more “non-linear” in transmission as well as consumption due to the content being programmed becoming more “personalized”. This is church attendance prior to the ascent of the fear of a Black President:

So the free market for Grace is now constrained by the specter of a nuclear bombed Armageddon and the ideology for fear-of-lacking-Grace is the new branding strategy for GOP-based excitement as its market fragments into casual church-goers not exercising their vote.

The audience for a Grace-based product market is now between sixteen 2016 products or else deciding to commit rather than defect, and turns into into an exercise in blind faith for those attempting to intimidate certain parts of the population with a 150 year old racist fantasy.

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Christianity, Civil War, Conservatives, Constitutional Law, Courts, Democracy. Bookmark the permalink.

136 Responses to Lacking Grace: Flag mania trumps loss of Faith in a free market for symbols

  1. Bob Stone says:

    So, are we to conclude that seeking to appease public discontent by scapegoating a flag as a means of addressing “a”need to do something/anything” after a tragedy is somehow not as primitive as offering up a virgin to a volcano god?

  2. “If Jesus returns, do you really think he wants to see a cross? Isn’t that like wearing a rifle pendant and walking up to Jackie O saying, ‘Just thinkin’ of John.'” – Bill Hicks

    Symbols are a powerful thing, Bob. Changing the perception of them can often be a first step toward changing the ideas behind them. The swastika had many benevolent meanings in various cultures before it was co-opted by the Nazi Party who turned the symbol into something else entirely. After the war exposed their atrocities, the meaning of the symbol changed yet again.

    Don’t underestimate the power of symbols.

  3. Anonymously Yours says:

    Wait… Wait…. Wait…. Something’s not quite right…. Wasn’t this issue addressed in Texas v Johnson?

    I have a problem with this whole concept that the flag represents repression….

    I think Morgan Freeman has an excellent take on the subject….

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/flashback-morgan-freeman-ending-racism-stop-talking-about-it

  4. Anonymously Yours says:

    Bob,

    I am with you….

  5. Anonymously Yours says:

    I agree with you too as well gene…. But look at what one of my favorite actors had to say about the whole thing…

  6. Anonymously Yours says:

    Follow…

  7. Anonymously Yours says:

    And because men, women and children are dying because of the Cheney Wars…. Shall we stop looking at it an item deserving respect?

    What about the native Americans?

  8. pete says:

    After Sandy Hook they came up with the idea of arming teachers. After Charleston I heard people were proposing arming preachers. That didn’t go over very well, the whole concept of church I guess. In the end I suppose the Sons of the Confederacy just doesn’t have the budget and political clout as the NRA. Plus there’s that “symbol of hate” thing.

    Not to mention the logistical problem of finding a virgin or a volcano in South Carolina.

  9. Perhaps, AY.

    Nationalism up to a point is a desirable thing at this point in history, but also getting to this point of history tells us that nationalism run amok can do horrific things. Vesting a sense of national pride in a flag should be an honest vesting if at all for without noting the good with the bad you end up with nationalism at its worst: jingoism.

  10. Anonymously Yours says:

    Gene,

    I guess I just don’t get the whole concept…. It’s a symbol…. Just as the crusades and various countries flag…. Should Texas take down the confederate flag…. It does fly at the Capitol…. Plus 5 others….

    I leave it with that….

    • AY,
      Think of it in terms of something more substantial than a flag. Think monuments. What are the Pyramids but a symbol of the Pharaoh’s power on Earth? What about “The Poem” and “The Bulletin” that Ramses II had carved all over the kingdom to celebrate his “victory” in the Battle of Kadesh? Were those monuments effective propaganda because of the words in a mostly illiterate society or because of the illustrations of Ramses power that were with the message proper? Symbols can hold complex and powerful ideas in one image compared to sometimes many words.

  11. blouise17 says:

    The decision I found most intriguing was NASCARS:

    “We will be as aggressive as possible to disassociate NASCAR events from an offensive and divisive symbol,” France said. “We are working with the industry right now to achieve that goal. …
    Obviously, we have our roots in the South, there are events in the South, it’s part of our history like it is for the country,” France told the AP. “But it needs to be just that, part of our history. It isn’t part of our future. … We want everybody in this country to be a NASCAR fan and you can’t do that by being insensitive in any one area.”

    The culture isn’t changing … it’s changed.

  12. mespo727272 says:

    “We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges.”
    ― Gene Wolfe, Shadow & Claw

  13. Oh most excellent quote. Wolfe is one of my all time favorite authors.

  14. Mike Spindell says:

    “So the free market for Grace is now constrained by the specter of a nuclear bombed Armageddon and the ideology for fear-of-lacking-Grace is the new branding strategy for GOP-based excitement as its market fragments into casual church-goers not exercising their vote.”

    Ann,

    Merely a small example of an entire piece that was simply brilliant in content and execution.

  15. Mike Spindell says:

    “So, are we to conclude that seeking to appease public discontent by scapegoating a flag as a means of addressing “a”need to do something/anything” after a tragedy is somehow not as primitive as offering up a virgin to a volcano god?”

    Bob,

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag and to the republic for which it stands. Well the Virginia Battle Flag stand for a horribly genocidal Republic, the CSA. Those that pay obeisance to it are in effect pledging their allegiance to an act of treason towards this country, committed by an army of traitors, that frankly didn’t pay deeply enough for their treasonous crimes.

    Then again my equating it with the NAZI swastika is probably in your mind only the inflated mewling of a Jew, who can’t forget the past and understand that the Germans were only following orders. Rebel soldiers fighting to own Black people, or German troops killing Jews, Gipsy’s and homosexuals are only sides of the same coin. The romanticizing of the traitor’s cause via that battle flag flying above a State building, in the State where the first shot was fired, is destructive to society as a whole.

  16. mespo727272 says:

    Gene:

    The Book of the New Sun is the best work of its genre, IMHO.

    “A crowd is not the sum of the individuals who compose it. Rather it is a species of animal, without language or real consciousness, born when they gather, dying when they depart.”
    Severian, Chapter 31: The Shadow of the Torturer

  17. Mike Spindell says:

    A thought that occurred to me as I performed my evening ablutions.

    What is the difference between Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl and Robert E. Lee?

    The first two were executed for their war crimes, Robert E. Lee wasn’t and should have been.

  18. bettykath says:

    In thinking just a bit more about the flag I dislike, it isn’t just a flag of their history or their heritage, it’s the flag of white supremacy. That’s the part of their heritage that they want to symbolize and perpetuate.

  19. Anonymously Yours says:

    England better get rid of that ole Union Jack….

  20. Bob Stone says:

    “I know it’s irrational to allow talismans of evil to fill me with fantasies of time-traveling violence, but I’m a human being. I have no control over my feelings, or what triggers them. Fortunately though, I also have a brain. It’s a modest brain, but it functions in a way that allows me to acknowledge my feelings without being guided by them. Thanks to my brain, I came to realize that my feelings – while endlessly important to me – are surprisingly unpersuasive to everyone else. Consequently, while I’d love to tell you more about how I feel, I’m going to try instead to tell you what I think.

    I think we need to be very careful about congratulating ourselves too enthusiastically for removing a piece of cloth from the public square – even if it’s removal is long overdue. I also think we need to stop calling people racist, just because they see the flag as something other than a symbol of hate. This is what happens when we put a premium on our feelings. We assume everyone who disagrees with us is not merely wrong, but dangerous.

    I know many good Southerners who abhor racism, but view this flag as an important connection to their ancestors – the vast majority of whom never owned slaves. This doesn’t mean the flag should be allowed to fly on public property – not for a minute. But it’s a mistake in my view, to equate the removal of a symbol, with the removal of the evil it’s come to symbolize. And that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. We’re conflating cause and effect.”

    — Mike Rowe

  21. mespo727272 says:

    Being sanctimonious doesn’t look good on anyone. The flag is not the problem nor the solution.

    • Although neither cause nor effect proper, I stand by the proposition that symbols have power and that sometimes attacking a symbol can lead to confronting what it symbolizes. Whether or not that is how the instant case works out, only time will tell.

  22. Elaine M. says:

    “But it’s a mistake in my view, to equate the removal of a symbol, with the removal of the evil it’s come to symbolize. And that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. We’re conflating cause and effect.”

    *****

    Has anyone here equated the removal of the Confederate flag with the removal of evil? Many people wanted it removed because of what it symbolizes. It’s about admitting what it symbolizes…racism, slavery, the subjugation of another race, and a war of secession. That flag should not be flying on the grounds of state houses or government property. It’s not about feelings. It’s about a knowledge of history and what that flag stands for.

  23. mespo727272 says:

    Gene:
    Symbols are certainly important lest why would we have them, but I don’t think that, in a democracy, we have to accept any one group’s version of meaning for a symbol if it’s susceptible to two differing interpretations as the Confederate battle flag clearly is in most contexts. While the government is certainly free to adopt whichever version it chooses in its exercise of free speech, it shouldn’t be forced into any particular interpretation.

  24. I. Annie says:

    The flag is an an insult. I don’t think anyone ever thought the removal of the flag would change any racists’ minds about anything. Why should people be OK with being insulted daily by the in your face racism of the Confederate battle flag?

  25. “While the government is certainly free to adopt whichever version it chooses in its exercise of free speech, it shouldn’t be forced into any particular interpretation.”

    Agreed.

  26. Annie,

    I think it will play out as a matter of realpolitik. As demographics shift, removing the CSA battle flag (and possibly monuments) will become a matter of expedience in appealing to black voters no matter how just the motivation is/may seem. Do not underestimate pols as being anything other than pols. “Ask of each and every thing, what is its constitution,” cautions Marcus Aurelius. It was good advice then, it is good advice now. That being said, I perfectly well understand why people would find the flag objectionable but conversely I do appreciate the regional historical significance of it as well. Personally, I think removing it from public duty on government edifices is a good idea, but I think the reaction of some retailers in banning flag merchandise is probably sacrificing free speech (no matter how odious a person might find it) at the alter of pandering to the market.

    Monuments though I think should stay for a very simple reason. They are reminders of history. As a society we can view those reminders with a desire for a “return to the good old days” or we can view them as cautionary tales, but to remove them from public discourse altogether is probably a disservice to history itself. Lest we forget. As a species we are notoriously bad about learning the lessons of history. Reminders help. Or as John W. Campbell once said, “History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells, ‘Can’t you remember anything I told you?’ and lets fly with a club.” The lessons of slavery are ones that should not be forgotten even if the chance of modern repetition is low.

  27. Bob Stone says:

    Something bad happened. Therefore there has to be a problem and therefore we must do SOMETHING; even if that something is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT per the tragedy.

    Sheer idiocy.

  28. mespo727272 says:

    We re having a spirited debate here in Richmond (the capitol of the former Confederacy) about removing the famous confederate general/politician monuments on Monument Avenue which also serves as the place of residence of the Arthur Ashe monument. Here’s the article and comments from the Richmond Times Dispatch:

    http://www.richmond.com/news/local/michael-paul-williams/article_439f5d5f-4a25-5fcb-873a-183a6dcac0e3.html

  29. mespo727272 says:

    Annie:
    To some the flag is an insult; to others a source of pride; to still others a reminder of involuntary servitude. The question is: whose interpretation prevails and should the government pick it if that interpretation doesn’t agree with the government’s own view.

  30. Bob,

    That you find symbolism COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT is kinda interesting.
    Wrong.
    But interesting.

    Human psychology is not always rational. Just so, our reactions to symbolism are not always rational. That does not make them any less real. It also does not negate the power of symbolism on the whole because of singular applications of abstract logic no matter how formally correct. Do not forget that Descartes proposition was dialectic. Reason might prove existence, but he did not discount emotion either. Both were valid in his view, flip sides of the same coin but equally useful ways to approach existence.

  31. Elaine M. says:

    What did the flag symbolize during the Civil War?

    *****

    What This Cruel War Was Over
    The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

    Excerpt:
    This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

    Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

    This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

    “…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.’

    In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi:

    “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…”

  32. I. Annie says:

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/kkk-plans-south-carolina-state-house-rally/ar-AAciULu?ocid=fbmsn

    “COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally at the South Carolina State House next month to protest efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds.”

    Well, I don’t know of any noble ideals associated with this Confederate battle flag. Look who is associating themselves with it. Yikes.

  33. mespo727272 says:

    Elaine:

    “The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism.”

    *********************
    I’d ask the author of the piece:
    Cotton sales were “directly tied” to the Confederate cause and but for a bumper crop of it in 1862 in Egypt and India, the South might have won the war. Should we ban Fruit of the Loom? The truth is that the Confederate battle flag is just that — a war banner. It was never a symbol of the rebellion or the putative nation it spawned. It was a symbol of the military units of the Army of Northern Virginia. Certainly white supremacists have hijacked the symbol as the Klan has hijacked the American flag but do we ascribe the worst meaning possible to the symbol or the best? If we ascribe the worst, must we then ban the Stars & Stripes? Must we likewise assume national guard units in southern states who adopted the symbol as part of their unit insignia are racists? Are they white supremacists? The problem with symbols is that they have no inherent meaning and are reflections of us as the quote from Gene Wolfe I cited on the other thread makes clear. You can’t rewrite the past to change the present. Any grade-schooler can tell you that.

  34. Elaine M. says:

    Mark,

    You can ask him. Leave a comment at his article.

    “The truth is that the Confederate battle flag is just that — a war banner.”

    It was a war of secession banner. And what was the reason for the war?

  35. Bob Stone says:

    Mespo: “You can’t rewrite the past to change the present. Any grade-schooler can tell you that.”

    “Not only the portraits on the walls, but also the shelves in the library were thinned out. The disappearance of certain books and brochures happened discretely, usually the day after the arrival of a new message from above….

    New books arrived, too: the classics of social science appeared with new footnotes and commentaries, the old histories were replaced by new histories, the old memoirs of dead revolutionary leaders were replaced by new memoirs of the same defunct. Rubashov remarked jokingly to Arlova that the only thing left to be done was to publish a new and revised edition of the back numbers of all newspapers.”

    ― Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

  36. Elaine M. says:

    Mark,

    Was the Fruit of the Loom label a war banner for secessionist slave states?

  37. mespo727272 says:

    EM:

    “You can ask him. Leave a comment at his article.”

    ******************************
    I’d love to Elaine but Ta-Nehisi Coates is not interested in questions about his article having closed all comments after just one. Beware the man of one book or one idea.

  38. mespo727272 says:

    Bob:

    “Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?”
    ― Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine

    That’s why keeping the flag (and the monuments) around is important. It reminds us what lengths folks will go towards an unutterably futile goal. Pickett’s Charge anyone?

  39. Mike Spindell says:

    “Symbols are certainly important lest why would we have them, but I don’t think that, in a democracy, we have to accept any one group’s version of meaning for a symbol if it’s susceptible to two differing interpretations as the Confederate battle flag clearly is in most contexts.”

    Mark,

    The logical fallacy of false equivalence. The Civil War was treason and those who prosecuted it traitors. There is no other way to get around that except for the denial of facts.

    “I know many good Southerners who abhor racism, but view this flag as an important connection to their ancestors – the vast majority of whom never owned slaves.”

    Bob,

    Seriously? An equivalent statement:

    I know many good Germans who abhor anti-semitism, but view the Swastika as an important connection to their ancestors – the vast majority of whom never worked at Auschwitz.

    The Germans sent the Jews to “labor camps” that were also factories of death. Had they’d been smarter, they would have adopted the Souths same factory system and enslaved them, killing only those who objected, that way they could have maximized their profit. The pre-Bellum South was the equivalent of NAZI Germany and the ante-bellum South only marginally less so. Any other interpretation is sophistry.

  40. mespo727272 says:

    Mike S:

    “The logical fallacy of false equivalence. The Civil War was treason and those who prosecuted it traitors. There is no other way to get around that except for the denial of facts.”

    ***************************
    The “way to get around” it is, of course, the facts and the law. A general pardon and amnesty was issued by President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and the citizenship status of all combatants was restored as was their immunity from prosecution.

    “Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson President of the United States, by virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Constitution and in the name of the sovereign people of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare unconditionally and without reservation, to all and to every person who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late insurrection or rebellion a full pardon and amnesty for the offense of treason against the United States or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war, with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.”

    Since there were very few charges of treason made (with Jefferson Davis being a notable exception — he got amnesty too, btw) there very few convictions for treason and thus no legal findings of treason against most combatants.

    So while you might have a sort of colloquial point, the charges of treason which attach only to persons is a red herring legally speaking. Since we’re talking about law, the battle flag itself is a protected expression of free speech regardless of which interpretation you accept. And as we know, the government and its agents enjoy the right to free speech too.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      Mark,
      You very well know what game was played regarding Andrew Johnson. The South’s rebellion was an act of treason against the United States and the CSA was the equivalent of the NAZI’s. Then came the false “reconciliation” and things went back to almost the same status of slavery, however, under Jim Crow the “Massa” didn’t have to feed his slaves, known as tenant farmers.

      As far as the “legalities” go with Jim Crow, the 14th Amendment was never really implemented. Robert E. Lee and Benedict Arnold were cut from the same cloth. Arnold escaped to England, Bobby Lee should have been hung as a deserter and a traitor. Instead his name has been enshrined in Southern culture and “heritage”. These “nice” Southern people only want to remember their “heritage”. The heritage though was one of slavery, genocide and death.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “The battle flag itself is a protected expression of free speech regardless of which interpretation you accept.”

      Mark,

      Find in anything I’ve written on this odious flag where I’ve said it should be banned. Your phrase is a straw man regarding my position. What I am saying is that it should not be flown on any government buildings since it is a symbol of treason against the United States. Everyone can plaster themselves with confederate flags for all I care, just don’t have the audacity to proclaim your “heritage” of slavery and treason by flying it next to the American flags on government buildings. Banning it being flown in an official government capacity is not a violation of free speech, though Jon Turley might take the case.

  41. Bob Stone says:

    Scapegoating a flag to appease public discontent for a wholly unrelated tragedy is as primitive and moronic as the approving mindsets.

  42. mespo727272 says:

    Bob:

    Like invading Iraq to punish Saudi terrorists?

  43. Bob Stone says:

    “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.” — Frank Zappa

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.” — Frank Zappa

      Some people quote Frank Zappa understanding nothing about him.

  44. Bob Stone says:

    Mark,

    The Iraq war wasn’t the result of stupidity; it was the result of fraud.

  45. mespo727272 says:

    Bob:

    I think it was scapegoating fraud.

  46. Anonymously Yours says:

    As stated the flag itself is not the problem…. It’s the mindset that goes with the flag…. How can the flag in of itself represent evil? Has anyone ever studied English history, Spain, Portugal, the Dutch ….. Maybe we should figure out a way to have them stop flying their flags…. They really have a tainted history….

  47. Bob Kauten says:

    The battle flag of treason has been appropriated by racist thugs. They use it to maintain a terrorized state among african-americans, and anyone else that doesn’t agree with their racism. It’s not merely a symbol. It’s a threat, which is frequently enforced.
    How long should it take an adult to do the right thing in this situation? About the same duration it’d take to put restrictions on guns, which is what’s used for most of the intimidation. Which this flag waste-of-time is distracting us from. Funny, the NRA hasn’t offered free guns to the african-americans in Charleston, have they? Not funny, actually.
    How about discussing it for another 50 years?
    Will removing the flag end racism? Of course not. But it would be the tiniest first step to dragging the mule up the ladder, and bringing the south into the 20th century. Once we do that, perhaps we can try bringing the south into the 21st century, where the damn yankee liberals are.
    Jes’ sayin’

  48. AY,

    If you look at the recent history of Spain, their flag post-Franco was a real problem for their own people. It only started to lose the negative connotations of his Fascist regime after Spain won the World Cup. Flags in some ways are the most condensed symbol of nationalism that there is and therein lies the rub. Nationalism at this point in our species development has some small benefit and is probably unavoidable but I suspect if we were to ever meet an intelligent space-faring alien species that explaining that we still practice nationalism would be a lot like telling a new girlfriend you’ve got a venereal disease.

  49. Elaine M. says:

    Bob K.,

    That li’l ole flag is just a piece o’ cloth. It matters not that it was appropriated by racist thugs. It’s a part of Southern heritage–just like using the “n” word. Ask Paula Deen.

  50. Bob Kauten says:

    The take-it-to-extreme argument, “All flags have negative history. Should we ban the “American” (where is that again?) flag, too, for genocide or imperialism?” doesn’t work with me.
    Fine. Ban all of ’em.
    Politicians can wrap themselves in togas, instead.
    I already know what political entity I’m a citizen of.
    Take pride in your actual accomplishments, not in wherever you were accidentally born.
    Gene,
    Where did you find out about the venereal disease? Damned internet!

  51. Bob Kauten says:

    Elaine,
    Yep, racism, inbreeding, ignorance, treason, slavery. That’s a passel o’ heritage.
    I guess you gotta be proud of somethin’.

  52. Elaine M. says:

    Brawl Breaks Out Over Confederate Flag At South Carolina Statehouse
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/south-carolina-charleston-confederate-flag-statehouse-brawl

    Excerpt:
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — One man has been arrested after a fight over the Confederate flag in front of the South Carolina Statehouse.

    The fight started about 7:15 p.m. Monday when about a dozen vehicles with Confederate flag supporters pulled up in front of the Statehouse and stopped in the middle of the street, Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said in a statement.

    About 10 of the flag supporters clashed with about 30 people who were on the Statehouse grounds protesting the flag, the statement said.

    About 50 officers responded and contained the clash, including officers from the Bureau of Protective Services assigned to the Statehouse, as well as Columbia police, University of South Carolina officers and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

  53. Bob Kauten says:

    Elaine,
    Yah, I saw the photo of that flag-waver. I posted it on Facebook, “Bubba got hit.”

  54. blouise17 says:

    ” …about a dozen vehicles with Confederate flag supporters pulled up in front of the Statehouse and stopped in the middle of the street, …” link above

    We’re there any crashes amongst the confederate vehicles ’cause we all know “God don’t like ugly.”

  55. Elaine M. says:

    I am a recovering racist: I was somehow taught hate as a gift of love
    I grew up in the segregated South. It took a question from an 11-year-old to teach me how I really felt about it
    http://www.salon.com/2015/06/30/i_am_a_recovering_racist_i_was_somehow_taught_hate_as_a_gift_of_love/

    Excerpt:
    As a native Mississippian and recovering racist, I finally discovered why a seemingly innocuous thing like a state flag can bring out the absolute worst in us. It took a group of 11-year-old students to teach me that lesson.

    After reading about my most recent novel dealing with race in Jim Crow Mississippi, the principal of a private school in Minneapolis invited me to speak with his fifth-grade students. All the classes had been studying the civil rights movement. He said, “I read an interview with you in the newspaper and you said you were a recovering racist. Would you come talk to our kids about your experiences?”

    Got it, I thought. They need a token racist. I agreed, but I was anxious.

    The principal was honest. He explained that his kids were white, affluent Minnesotans. They assume they are not racist because they come from good families, but the only people of color they ever see are the ones who clean their houses, cook their food and tend their lawns.

    The kids were attentive, well-behaved and terrifyingly self-assured for 11-year-olds. I spent a good half–hour sharing my memories of growing up in the segregated town of Laurel, Mississippi, in the 1950s and ‘60’s, emphasizing the politically correct messages I was sure their teachers wanted the students to hear.

    Then, just when I figured I had drawn out all the moral lessons they were capable of grasping, one emboldened kid asked me something that, at least momentarily, left me speechless. It was the type of direct yet guileless question only folks who have not learned to be politically correct could ask.

    “Did you like having your own special place in the restaurant when you were growing up?” He was referring to the nicer, cleaner, air-conditioned “whites only” sections I sat in, while blacks had their food shoved at them through a window that opened into the alley.

    “Like it?” I responded. At first the question seemed irrelevant. What did it matter if I enjoyed it? The point is, it was wrong. But from the way all the kids’ eyes lit up, I could tell the class wanted me to address the boy’s question. He had drawn an adult off script and they couldn’t wait to see how I responded.

    I knew what I was supposed to say: “No. I did not enjoy it.” I was supposed to tell him that it was wrong, and that it’s a horrible thing to discriminate against people like that. “We’re all losers when that happens,” I was supposed to say.

    But the boy’s instincts were right. And fifth graders know when you are lying to them.

    “Yes,” I admitted. “It felt good. I felt like I was on the winning team or voted most popular. I never thought of it before, but yes, it made me feel special.”

    I glanced at the teachers in the room. They seemed concerned. This was not going the way they had anticipated.

    A girl raised her hand. “Did a black person ever have to give up her seat so you could sit down?”

    It was obvious they had been studying Rosa Parks.

    I was still off balance from the first question, editing my race history to include the fact that I liked segregation for the feelings of superiority it gave me. The thought was disorienting.

    “Yes!” I answered, and knowing where she was going with her question, I continued. “I liked that, too. To see a grown man offer me his seat because I was more important than he was a good feeling.”

    Before I entered the classroom that day, I felt it was enough to have condemned my past, along with those old white men who had created my racist world. After all, I was born into that society. I didn’t have a choice. I had to follow the rules. I’m certainly not to blame for it. I figured a little liberal guilt was enough to buy my redemption.

    But the kids’ questions presented me with a moral dilemma. I was not a neutral or innocent bystander after all, even as a child. My enjoyment of the privileges testifies to that. In addition, it became clear to me that I got my seat because someone was forced to give up his. For every meal I was served in the pristine restaurant, somebody had to eat hers in an alley. My college scholarship came at the expense of some field hand’s son who couldn’t afford to finish the eighth grade. Each time I benefited because of my whiteness, an African-American paid because of his blackness. Guilt or moral repugnance is not enough. There is a real debt to be paid.

    But the hardest thing to admit was that my racism and its inherent privileges were gifted to me by devoted parents, dedicated teachers, righteous preachers—an entire white community conspired to make me feel special. These were good people. How could I turn on them?

    What a conundrum! That would make racism a gift of love! As toxic as those gifts were, they were presented to me out of love, by someone I loved. What adult, much less child, doesn’t want to feel special? What child is going to say, “No, I don’t want your gift because it takes away from others!” We hunger for the experience of feeling special and are grateful to those who see that specialness within us.

    No wonder it’s so hard to uproot racism from our souls. If we had acquired our racism from folks we detested, the monsters of the world, the lynchers and the church-bombers, the murderous, tobacco-spitting sheriff or the buffoonish sheet-shrouded Klan member, or our race-baiting governor standing in the schoolhouse door, how easy it would be to denounce our racism and to leave that kind of destructive thinking behind.

  56. blouise says:

    Elaine,

    That was powerful. Thank you

  57. mespo727272 says:

    Bob said:
    “Elaine,
    Yep, racism, inbreeding, ignorance, treason, slavery. That’s a passel o’ heritage.
    I guess you gotta be proud of somethin’.

    Now this passage:

    “… blacks were “mentally inferior, physically and culturally unevolved, and apelike in appearance” (Plous & Williams, 1995, p. 795) were supported by prominent white figures like Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Thomas Jefferson. Theodore Roosevelt publicly stated that “As a race and in the mass [the Negroes] are altogether inferior to whites” (Plous & Williams, 1995, p. 796). ”

    Why is the latter statement any different than the former one?

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “… blacks were “mentally inferior, physically and culturally unevolved, and apelike in appearance” (Plous & Williams, 1995, p. 795) were supported by prominent white figures like Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Thomas Jefferson. Theodore Roosevelt publicly stated that “As a race and in the mass [the Negroes] are altogether inferior to whites” (Plous & Williams, 1995, p. 796). ”

      A blog I wrote last year that deals with what Mark is talking about. https://flowersforsocrates.com/2014/03/27/paul-ryan-teddy-roosevelt-adolph-hitler-and-eugenics/

  58. It’s a conundrum.
    Unless of course you abstract the objects and extrapolate the relationships.
    Then they are exactly the same.
    The error isn’t in the division.
    The error is the division.
    “What’ll you have on your hot dog,” the vendor asked the Buddhist.
    He replied, “I’ll have one with everything.”
    And the comedian gets to laugh.
    :mrgreen:

  59. Anonymously Yours says:

    The greatest slave trading nation is represented by this symbol.

  60. Anonymously Yours says:

    The greatest threat to many humans was also this country…. Should this flag be banned?

  61. Bob Kauten says:

    Difference?
    One’s true and the other isn’t?
    One’s a direct statement, the other attributes beliefs to others?
    I could go on, but I reached Q.E.D., already.

    Bristol Palin’s friend should have used a conundrum.

    The Buddhist handed the vendor a 20-dollar-bill.
    The vendor gave him his hot dog.
    “Where’s my change?” asked the Buddhist.
    “Change comes from within,” said the vendor.

  62. Bob Kauten says:

    Anonymously Yours,
    Yes, fine with me.

  63. The Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, SC has just burned to the ground. Fire started about two hours ago. Church is destroyed, according to witnesses. This same church has been burned before. That was about twenty years ago, during another KKK attempted resurgence. When the church was rebuilt about a year after the fire, then President Bill Clinton attended the dedication.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “The Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, SC has just burned to the ground. Fire started about two hours ago. Some say acts like that have nothing to do with “Southern Heritage.”

  64. Anonymously Yours says:

    Mike,

    A little more history…. During the course of the northern aggression or southern insurrection….. On almost an annual basis prisoners from each side were exchanged…. It was only when Grant and Lincoln realized that these former POWs joined rank and fought for the side the believed in…. Did they stop the prisoner exchange…

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “It was only when Grant and Lincoln realized that these former POWs joined rank and fought for the side the believed in…. Did they stop the prisoner exchange…”

      AY,
      Don’t confuse what I say with defending Lincoln, Grant or anybody in the bloody history of our country. However, the Rebel prisoners released were traitors and racists.

  65. Anonymously Yours says:

    Chuck,

    Just go to Walmart….. You just find stupid everywhere….. I can’t say I am surprised…. But I do respect Morgan Freeman’s position in racism…..

  66. Bob Kauten says:

    I also care not which country was the worst slave trader.
    I live in this one, and this country has done a lot of nasty shit.
    In the 80s, the corporate motto was “we’re no worse than anyone else.”
    That doesn’t fly.
    Clean up the country you’re in, rather than running all over the world, “cleansing” other countries.
    Take the damned flag down. It’s a disgrace, like the people who fly it.

  67. Anonymously Yours says:

    A whole country was taken over by the U.S. To transfer the former slaves Mike… If I recall correctly it’s new Iberia … And it Capitol is Monrovia …. Named after James Monore….. This was at Lincolns direction….

  68. Anonymously Yours says:

    I won’t say this act wasn’t race based…. But if I recall a church that was getting prepared for its Christmas service was destroyed by a young girl that was Pentecostal….. Some people have a destructive side to them…. Regardless if upbringing….

  69. blouise17 says:

    Some are wondering if the latest fire started with a lightening strike. Fire investigators will figure that one out. This fire is the 7th black church to burn since Roof’s visit to the Bible study group.

  70. Zappa was paraphrasing Einstein who, oddly enough, also thought Pat Buchanan was an asshole.

    “One may recognize hatred no matter the source and still not participate in it.” – Change Found Written On A Pancreas

    See, Bob K., the relationships are at the base adverse regardless of any merit or factual basis assigned either side. In that regard, the comments are the same. There are plenty of people of white Southern heritage, for example, who aren’t racist, have two entirely different people for their mom and their sister, have an education, never rebelled against the U.S. and have never owned a slave, but the stereotype of a racist, inbred, ignorant, treasonous slaver is every bit the stereotype of “mentally inferior, physically and culturally unevolved, and apelike in appearance”. The adversity of both relationships is not only based in stereotype but makes the error of the fallacy of composition and the fallacy of sweeping generalizations. Racism is wrong no matter who it is directed at and if you operate under the misconception that blacks cannot be just as racist as whites (or Asians or what have you), then it is just that; a misconception. Racism isn’t a “white only” phenomena or a tangible, but rather a discrete relationship between objects (people) just as the mathematical terms “greater than” and “less than” are discrete relationships between numbers. That the relationship is based in delusion is another discussion entirely.

  71. Anonymously Yours says:

    And Mike the converse from the southern side is the Norths Aggression precipitated the southern rebellion…. Btw Lincoln marginally got in…. If I recall there were 5 major candidates vetting for office….. The northern and southern democrats…. The northern and southern republicans….. Plus a fire and brimstone movement to ban alcohol…..

  72. Bob Kauten says:

    Only seven churches burning since Roof’s visit must be coincidental.
    Burning african-american churches is certainly not part of the heritage represented by the battle flag. Everyone here understands that.

  73. “Only seven churches burning since Roof’s visit must be coincidental.”

    Straw man. No one is arguing coincidence despite correlation not always being causation. It seems manifest that virulent racist elements are indeed burning black churches although a thorough investigation is still merited and pending ergo what seems like manifest truth is actually reasonable supposition and little else at this point.

  74. blouise17 says:

    Bob K,

    I’ve argued this position with these gentlemen before only then the subject was Poor Paula. That was a couple years ago and there hasn’t been any real movement. I just sit back and read now.

    Go to Mike’s newest thread. I think you’ll like it

  75. Bob Kauten says:

    Gene,
    I am referring to those southerners who claim that the battle flag represents their “heritage.”
    That’s the “heritage” that it represents. As I said, racist thugs appropriated it. Before that, it wasn’t even displayed.
    Nope, my characterization is not of a race of people, just the heritage that the flag represents to its supporters. Because that’s what the issue is.
    Don’t assume that I’m thinking what I don’t say. Don’t tell me that I’m generalizing to all southerners.
    My characterization is of a group of racist thugs, not of a race. In reaction to the ridiculous excuse that the flag represents heritage. I don’t believe that. If that’s true, that’s the heritage it represents.
    And my point is that the flag should come down. Because its purpose is intimidation.
    Did I not get that across?
    Now, why is that flag still flying?

  76. Investigators are reasonably certain two of the fires are accidental. One due to electrical problems, and another a lighting strike. The Greeleyville fire cannot be investigated until the fire is completely extinguished. As noted above, there was a thunderstorm in the area, however, arson needs to be ruled out.

  77. Bob Kauten says:

    Gene,
    Straw Man.
    Wizard of Oz.
    Dorothy.
    Cowardly Lion.
    Sarcasm.
    Is the flag still up?

  78. I’d like to point out however socially inappropriate Deen’s words were, the legal issue was whether or not she created a hostile work environment based on race. That suit was dismissed for lack of standing, but no subsequent suits have been filed. There was a lot of presumption of guilt against Deen just because she acted like a casual racist (as many of her generation do) without any finding of discrimination in fact.

    The word “prejudice” means a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience or a dislike, hostility, or unjust behaviour deriving from preconceived and unfounded opinions. While there was the experience of Paula’s words, there is still no evidence of racist action on her part (although I’ll stipulate some could come to light).

    Poor Paula indeed. Judged in the media and not the courts.

    What is essentially being argued here is that a symbol with different meanings to different groups has only one valid definition and that? Is simply binary thinking. Given the negative history of the symbol though, I stand by the earlier statement that it should be banned from government grounds because the goal is a government by the people, for the people, all the people and symbols associated with exclusion and oppression are manifestly inappropriate to that end. The monuments question speaks to different issues though.

  79. Bob K.,

    We are arguing at cross purposes to the same end, but I’ve already stated the flag needs to go on state grounds and why. My reasons just recognize – and this is a fact whether you like it or not – that some Southerners do indeed see it as a representation of heritage that simply isn’t racist in their intent. Whether or not that is either a correct or socially acceptable belief does not change it is their free speech right to use that symbol in that way if that is their choice. Choices can have consequences, but people are still free to make them, good or ill. You won’t see a battle flag painted on the roof of my car anytime soon, but that is my choice. You don’t have to respect other people’s choices but you do have to respect their freedom to make them so long as no other crime is being committed. Being a callous nitwit isn’t a crime.

  80. blouise17 says:

    There was a lot of presumption of guilt against Deen just because she acted like a casual racist (as many of her generation do) without any finding of discrimination in fact. – Gene

    Which is why I call her Poor Paula, the casual racist.

  81. Elaine M. says:

    Blouise,

    I went to bed early last night…so I’m just getting back into this discussion now.

    *****

    blouise17 says:
    June 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm
    Bob K,

    I’ve argued this position with these gentlemen before only then the subject was Poor Paula. That was a couple years ago and there hasn’t been any real movement. I just sit back and read now.

    *****

    I read through that RIL Paula Deen thread yesterday. I agree that there has been no movement.

    Poor little Paula! Where is she these days?

  82. mespo727272 says:

    “Poor Paula” just listed her Savannah mansion for a cool 12.5 million and is moving to New York and renovating another home in Savannah. She is opening a chain of general stores, lost 35 pounds after her diabetes diagnosis, and is reputedly worth around 40 million despite the loss of endorsement deals. Her cookbooks remain on the best seller list. Her suit by former employee Lisa Jackson was settled. “Poor Paula” doesn’t seem an apt description.

  83. One can hope for others to be certain ways, but in the end people are what they are. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not, but you cannot change them for them. The best you can hope for is influence. True change comes from within.

    Is there an echo in here?

  84. Elaine M. says:

    Poor, poor Paula!

  85. It is interesting when “understanding” is mistaken for “sympathy”.

  86. Elaine M. says:

    The Confederate Flag Was Always Racist
    Modern-day racists who brandish Confederate symbols are not distorting their meaning.
    By BRUCE LEVINE
    [Bruce Levine is the J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Illinois. He has published four books on the era of the Civil War, most recently The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South (2013).]
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/confederate-flag-always-racist-119481.html#.VZPRdmCaC9Y

    Excerpt:
    This week the inherent racism of Confederate flags finally seemed too much for America to stomach. As flag-laden memorabilia disappears from store shelves and the flags themselves face removal from state capitals, it’s time for the truth about the Confederacy and its symbols to be confronted squarely.

    In the wake of the slaughter of nine black people in a Charleston, South Carolina church, photographs emerged of suspected killer Dylan Roof posing with a pistol in one hand and the Confederate battle flag in the other. Amid the ensuing pubic revulsion, southern white politicians at last began to bend to long-standing demands to remove Confederate flags from state capitals, government buildings and—in the case of Mississippi—from within the design of its own state flag.

    Unfortunately, quite a few of these office-holders are acting without coming to terms with just what those flags do in fact stand for. The result is a half-hearted, incomplete distancing from the racist Confederate tradition that these symbols represent.

    Many of these politicians have previously defended public veneration of Confederate flags. That is true, for example, of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. When she first ran for that office five years ago, Haley insisted that the Confederate battle flag was “not something that is racist” but was just part of “a tradition that people feel proud of.” As she now alters her stance about flying that flag, she continues to claim that “for many people in our state” it “stands for traditions that are noble… traditions of history, of heritage, and of ancestry.” It should be lowered, she now says, only because people like Roof have unfortunately misunderstood and misused it for racist purposes. This alleged murderer, she continues, “has a sick and twisted view of the flag.” Similar statements come from members of both major parties. Charleston’s Democratic mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr., grieves because those like Roof “have appropriated something and used it as a symbol of hatred.” “The Confederate Battle Flag,” regrets former U. S. senator Jim Webb, another Democrat, “has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades.”

    This implicit apology for the Confederacy and its symbols is not new. Until 1996, the Confederate battle flag flew atop South Carolina’s capitol building. When an NAACP boycott of that state finally forced the flag’s removal to another (nearby) location, then-governor David Beasley continued to deny that there was anything inherently racist about it. The problem was simply that “the Klan can misuse it as a racist tool, as it has, and others can misuse it solely as a symbol for racism, as they have.”

    In fact, claims like these have little to do with historical reality. The Confederate States of America firmly and emphatically stood for slavery and white supremacy from its birth. Modern-day racists like Roof who brandish Confederate symbols are not distorting their meaning. On the contrary: these racists stand squarely within the Confederate tradition. Pretending otherwise is an obstacle to coming to terms honestly with this country’s history and the enduring strength of the racist views that its symbols celebrate.

    Before the Civil War the enslavement of African Americans was central to southern prosperity. In 1860, nearly one in every three people who lived in the southern states was enslaved, was owned outright by others. On the markets of the day, those nearly four million human beings were worth something like $3 billion. That was a sum greater than the value of all the farmland in all the states of the South. It was a sum fully three times as great as the cost of constructing all the railroads that then ran throughout all the United States. And even more important to southern wealth than the sale price of these human bodies were the very profitable crops that the slaves produced for their masters, crops central to the southern economy. And only slave labor—only the labor of people owned outright by the landowners, people who had no right to object to their conditions much less refuse to do the work—would cultivate those crops intensively and cheaply enough to yield the immense profits that they did. Black slavery was justified on the grounds that African Americans were inferior to whites, fit only for ostracism, subordination and bound labor.

  87. Elaine M. says:

    The surprisingly uncomplicated racist history of the Confederate flag
    http://theweek.com/articles/562004/surprisingly-uncomplicated-racist-history-confederate-flag

    Excerpt:
    The flag has no meaning “regardless” of politics, or above politics; its heritage is not exempt from history. Anyone can interpret anything any way they want, but if they claim historical sanction for their interpretation, then they’d best be accurate. And in that sense, history is clear: There is no revolutionary cause associated with the flag, other than the right for Southern states to determine how best to subjugate black people and to perpetuate slavery.

    First sewn in 1861 — there were about 120 created for the war — the flag was flown by the cavalry of P.G.T. Beauregard, the Confederacy’s first duly appointed general, after he took Manassas, Virginia, in the first Battle of Bull Run.

    After the Civil War, the flag saw limited (and quite appropriate) use at first: It commemorated the sons of the South who died during the war. We can easily forgive the families of those who died for grieving. No account of the Civil War can be complete without noting how vicious the Union army could be, and how destructive its strategy toward the end of the war had become. That the cause of the war, once the damned Union army actually invaded the South and started destroying it, came to be associated with an actual, guns-out defense of real property and liberties — mainly, the liberty not to die during a war — is not controversial. That’s what happens during wars.

    But never did the flag represent some amorphous concept of Southern heritage, or Southern pride, or a legacy that somehow includes everything good anyone ever did south of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery excluded.

    Fast-forward about 100 years, past thousands of lynchings in the South, past Jim Crow and Plessy v. Ferguson, past the state-sanctioned economic and political subjugation of black people, and beyond the New Deal that all too often gave privileges to the white working class to the specific exclusion of black people.

    In 1948, Strom Thurmond’s States’ Rights Party adopted the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia as a symbol of defiance against the federal government. What precisely required such defiance? The president’s powers to enforce civil rights laws in the South, as represented by the Democratic Party’s somewhat progressive platform on civil rights.

    Georgia adopted its version of the flag design in 1956 to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling against segregated schools, in Brown v. Board of Education.

  88. One must acknowledge that in this country most people’s understanding of history comes closer to Grandpa Simpson’s than Shelby Foote’s.

  89. mespo727272 says:

    EN:
    Levine’s position is untenable because he contends that the South’s rebellion was all about slavery. While that was a precipitating cause, it was as much about maintaining a way of life as about maintaining one component. Most of the soldiers who fought for the Confederacy were not slave owners. Many genuinely felt is was about States’ Rights as personal journals of the day confirm. Levine adds nothing to the undeniable fact that to many the Stars and Bars was simply a battle flag embodying Southern heritage and resistance to perceived aggression. That it was hijacked by extremist groups adds nothing to the discussion much as highjacking the American flag by the KKK neither adds or detracts from that symbol’s legitimacy.

  90. Elaine M. says:

    “While that was a precipitating cause, it was as much about maintaining a way of life as about maintaining one component.”

    How did one maintain that way of life? Did one need to enslave black people in order to do so?

  91. swarthmoremom says:

    http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience/ “I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic. I did it in solidarity with the South African students who toppled a statue of the white supremacist, colonialist Cecil Rhodes. I did it for all the fierce black women on the front lines of the movement and for all the little black girls who are watching us. I did it because I am free.”

  92. blouise says:

    The way of life was the Slave Economy into which many Southerners were tied. Alfred Conrad and John Meyer in their study of the South’s slave economy calculated the rate of return on investing in slaves or “slave capital” was at least equal to those from other forms of capital investment—such as railroad bonds. The rate of return on slaves could be as high as 13%—compared to a yield of 6-8% on the railroads.

    The slave industry required all sorts of support from other entities especially finance. Thus the Southerner who did not own slaves himself was still very much a part of the Slave economy and thus had a stake in maintaining it or fighting for “States Rights”.

  93. blouise17 says:

    Poor little Paula! Where is she these days? – Elaine

    Off making money, poor dear.

  94. mespo727272 says:

    blouise:

    The typical southerner in the antebellum South was neither a slaveholder, financier or enabler of slavery. Usually they were subsistence farmers or shopkeepers who competed, directly or indirectly, with the plantation society that was largely isolated and self-sufficient. Sales of plantation products like tobacco and cotton were sold generally here and abroad. That would mean, according to the logic employed, that purchasers of these products (including northern states citizens) were supporters of slavery. Blaming all for the actions of a few adds nothing to the debate.

  95. Elaine M. says:

    Saying that the Confederate flag should be taken down from the statehouse grounds is in no way “blaming all for the actions of a few.” I’d add that it was the actions of more than “a few” racist folks who used that flag as a symbol of their hatred and desire to subjugate black people.

  96. blouise17 says:

    mespo,

    Ok, if you don’t agree with Conrad and Meyer then give Time on the Cross by Vogel and Engerman a read. There are a plethora of books and studies on the Southern economy at the time of the Civil War and the threat the loss of slavery was to that overall economy … even to the shop keeper and farmer.

  97. mespo727272 says:

    blouise:

    You can extrapolate moral blame from the act involved to the actor; to all folks who let it happen; to all folks who knew it happened and did nothing; and to all folks who knowingly indirectly or directly benefited from it. But legally you can’t do that. The truth is that not one person today who wants to see that flag flying solely as a symbol of their heritage ever owned slaves or benefited from slavery except in the most remote way. To paint those sentiments as illegitimate or blameworthy is plain silly no matter what Vogel or Engerman have to say.

  98. Bob Kauten says:

    The community is responsible for the behavior of its members.
    If there’s long-term violence, racism, and intimidation going on in a community, it’s being sanctioned by that community.
    The community is judged by the actions of a few, yes. In this case, “the few” is many.

    De Nile is also a river in Africa.
    The South is part of our extended community. I’m partially responsible for the shit that goes down there.
    Take down the flag of treason. We all know what it’s being used for.
    Ban its official display. As a matter of decency, don’t use your freedom of speech to promote racism.

  99. blouise says:

    mespo,

    You zigged but I zagged.

    The beauty of this conversation taking place at this time in our nation is that no one flying that flag can ever again claim ignorance of its impact.

  100. blouise17 says:

    Bob K

    Is that a hatchet or an ax?

  101. Bob Kauten says:

    blouise,
    I’m holding a broadaxe, or a very short-handled, heavy ‘skeggox’ (beard axe), in old Norse teminology. Too heavy for easy one-handed use, about twice as heavy as a camp hatchet.
    The implement stuck in the cat scratching post, to your left, is either a D-handled bowie knife, or a very short cutlass. I change terminology frequently, to keep people confused.
    I made ’em.
    Advantage of a broadaxe over a gun is that, if I miss, I don’t kill a kid sleeping two blocks away.

  102. blouise17 says:

    Bob K

    I am relieved to find that you are adequately prepared to defend your castle. I applaud your good sense in choosing a broadaxe over a gun and only caution you that although you can not shoot yourself in the foot, you can chop yourself of foot.

    I have a Highland Dirk in the attic. You may use that name to help in confusing the enemy

  103. Bob Kauten says:

    Blouise,
    If one plays left-hand-right-hand catch with the broadaxe, it’s possible for it to fall and land squarely between one’s bare feet.
    Do not ask me how I know this.
    Your Highland Dirk won’t be very handy, in the attic.
    Jes’ sayin.’

  104. I. Annie says:

    Uh oh.

  105. blouise17 says:

    Bob K

    I don’t need the Dirk, I have a moat!

  106. Elaine M. says:

    blouise,

    Maybe that is why you have been so emoational when discussing the subject of the Confederate flag.
    😉

  107. blouise17 says:

    Elaine,

    Probably why people think I’m all wet

  108. Bob Kauten says:

    Elaine,
    Cruel and unusual pun-ishment.

  109. Bob Kauten says:

    Why beholdest thou the moat that is in thy sister’s eye, but considerest not the broadaxe that is in thine own eye?

    • How do you get a stoat in your eye? You lie down with weasels. How do you get a moat in your eye? I’m sure the answer involves either engineers or possibly siege engines.

  110. Elaine M. says:

    Bob,

    I always enjoy a good pun.

    🙂

  111. blouise17 says:

    Bob K

    Good one

  112. blouise17 says:

    mespo,

    I’m glad you came out to play. Often Gene is left handling the Steel Magnolias all on his own. I do have an appreciation for southern heritage which is so graciously embodied in hospitality. I just wanted you to know that.

  113. blouise17 says:

    Gene,

    Yeah, but a broadaxe in thine own eye is just plain kinky

  114. Bob Kauten says:

    blouise said it was a good one.
    Now, I have a gloat in my eye.

  115. Anonymously Yours says:

    As Scalia would say…. This is nothing more than jiggery pokery…..

  116. blouise17 says:

    Damn fine thread, Ann Summers

  117. mespo727272 says:

    Thanks, blouse. There are many wonderful things about the South including the graciousness, generosity of spirit, fierce pride, respect for tradition, the culture of helping your neighbor, mannered discourse, and disdain for the hecticness of modern life. I think this country band captures some of that in their song Sunday in the South:

  118. Mark says:

    It’s amazing how stupid the libtards are. When they compare the Nazi flag to the confederate. The Nazi flag started out with hate, but the Confederate flag was sometimes used by the KKK, for you ignorant ones out there…the KKK used the American flag more. You liberal crybabies want to be offended so bad that you jump at the chance with no facts and no understanding.

  119. Whenever I see a vehicle decked out with the flag of northern Virginia, I just have to scratch my head and wonder if that person realizes what country they are in.

    Interesting how a flag can become such a clear embodiment of passive-aggressive racism. Not only that, but we see it supported by folks with such limited and unimaginative vocabularies.

  120. bron98 says:

    “Interesting how a flag can become such a clear embodiment of passive-aggressive racism.”

    Yep

  121. Russell says:

    Yep.

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