We’ve had a large number of posts about all the confederate flag stuff going on around the country, and more specifically the move down in New Orleans to get rid of the historical monuments in that city. If this isn’t your issue, you might have gotten bored reading some of what’s been on offer here.
Based on the traffic numbers we’ve had this week, though, it doesn’t appear too many of you aren’t interested in the issue. Clearly, it’s hot – and that’s why we’re talking about it. What political blog wouldn’t be jumping on hot political subjects?
The thing is, the confederate memorial stuff is political really only because politicians are involved. There are no policies being debated in any of these fights – they’re talking about street names and statues and so forth.
What this is, really, is a cultural fight. And for conservatives, the culture is enemy territory. Has been for a long time – at least going back to the 1960’s or so.
The Left wins in the culture. They win big. But the current round of cultural fights, which frankly are better described as cultural aggressions by the Left, might well be the overreach that changes things.
I’ve said again and again that defending the confederate flag isn’t something I’m going to waste too much energy on. And I definitely am not going to waste much energy on keeping the stars and bars flying over statehouses. The Confederacy is gone, it was a mess when it existed and the Civil War was a terrible mistake. Because of that war New Orleans went from being perhaps the richest city in the country to a poor one, and New Orleans fared a lot better than Vicksburg, Atlanta, Chattanooga and a lot of other Southern cities. Holding on to the confederate flag as an official government symbol smacks of the bitter end to me. I recognize the stupidity of the Left going after the confederate flag because Dylann Roof was holding one in the idiotic pictures that went with his manifesto online; Roof didn’t kill anybody because of the confederate flag, he killed them because he’s defective and he needed somebody to blame for that and instead of postal workers or freemasons or Jews he settled on black churchgoers. Getting rid of the confederate flag won’t end the racism that fuels losers both black and white; all it does is make people feel better who have been sore about that flag for a long time. But those people are citizens too, and there is no reason to insist on having something flying in an official capacity that pisses them off.
That said, three points should be made. Because what started with the flag at the statehouse in South Carolina has turned into a cultural wildfire which threatens to immolate the South.
First, when you progress past the question whether Southern states ought to be celebrating the confederacy or even acknowledging it by flying it at statehouses or having it as part of the state flag and into whether private retailers can offer it in commerce, you’ve now progressed into something a bit darker. When Wal-Mart and e-Bay and Sears and Amazon and all the rest decide to pull that confederate flag stuff at the same time – and in Amazon’s case they did it in the midst of a spike in sales – it’s clear they’re either succumbing to pressure by the usual suspects or they’re anticipating that bad press and trying to head it off. And while that’s not an especially political issue, it’s significant nonetheless.
Because, and I wrote this in my American Spectator column that went up yesterday, the Left is running out of gas politically. The Obama presidency isn’t done inflicting damage, and in fact they’ve got a lot more decline in store for the country. But the Democrats have lost both the House and Senate during Obama’s time in office and it doesn’t much look like they’re getting either one back, and at the state level they’re flat on their backs – Republicans now control all but 18 governorships and the GOP has majorities in 68 of the 98 state legislative houses. While that doesn’t mean you get effective conservative political leadership across the board by any means what it does mean is that the past seven years have made the Democrats as a party largely unsellable to the American public. It’s possible they can find a way to hang on to the White House next year, though I doubt that.
But while politically they’re running on fumes the Left is running roughshod through the culture – and as Andrew Breitbart said, correctly, politics is downstream from culture, which makes it especially problematic to be getting routed in the culture wars by the Left. And this business of getting the retailers to yank the confederate flag when those Amazon sales show clearly there is a market for it right now is a clear signal of what’s coming down the stream. That intimidation is real – we saw it with what happened to Brendan Eich at Mozilla, we saw it with the Memories Pizza debacle and we’re seeing it now.
And second, which is something that has occupied the majority of our discussions on the Hayride this week, we’re no longer talking about the flag. Now it’s monuments to Civil War figures. Now it’s Lee Circle in New Orleans which has to be a casualty, and Democrat muckety-mucks like Mitch Landrieu are trying to run around like jubilant barbarians from ISIS taking sledgehammers to historical and cultural artifacts. As I wrote earlier in the week, Landrieu showed his cultural illiteracy by bleating that the Robert E. Lee statue was divisive and that it ought to be replaced by something more unifying. Well, Lee was perhaps the most unifying figure of the late 19th century, because he was probably the most outspoken of the Southern figures in pushing for reconciliation with the union.
And it doesn’t take a PhD in 19th-century American history to know that. In fact, as a New Orleanian you’d pretty much have to be a pig-ignorant jackass not to know that. Which of course does describe Landrieu, unless as I suspect he’s merely pandering to the unquestionably pig-ignorant people who make up his voting base.
These people are going to rob us of our history and culture if they’re not stopped. And I’m not saying that as one of these hillbilly “Heritage, Not Hate” types. I’m saying that you need to preserve your history in full, good parts and bad parts alike, if you expect to learn anything from it. For Mitch Landrieu and the idiots like him to play ISIS with Southern history is disturbing.
Third, and this is the most important piece – and it’s why this discussion ought to be had for larger reasons beyond the fact that you guys are giving us traffic for talking about it – none of this stops at the confederate flag. From the AmSpec column…
The preservation of Southern history, heritage, and culture might not seem like much of a cause to many of our readers, and that’s fine. But the same crowd howling about the racist rednecks in South Carolina and Mississippi is also demanding that students at UCLA not be taught that America is the land of opportunity, for that is also racist and thus offensive. At Cal-Berkeley, traditional American mantras about meritocracy or our country as a melting pot are now unacceptable. At Cal-Irvine the American flag itself is offensive. So are crosses on display in public places, or dogs or the smell of pork in Dearborn and Minneapolis. Or churches wishing to specialize in intersex weddings. Or “manspreading” males on New York subway trains.
This isn’t stopping at the Confederate flag. It accelerates with each victory the cultural Left achieves. And never, ever is there a price paid for its aggression.
At some point, the rest of us are going to have to exact that price. The stars and bars can go, and if Bedford Forrest, who may have been a singular cavalry officer but did, after all, serve as first Grand Wizard of the Democratic Party’s 19th-century terrorist arm, goes with it that’s not an unbearable loss to anyone’s heritage. But while we’re scrubbing the bad baggage from our culture, can we have a merciful end to the painfully stupid leftist obsession with cop-killing racists such as Mumia Abu Jamal, communist terrorists like Bill Ayers, and psychopathic Marxist white supremacists like Che Guevara? How about, as Victor Davis Hanson suggested, an end to racist Leftist institutions like the Congressional Black Caucus and La Raza? If we’re to crack down on the cultural cachet of the Old South, can we conduct a similar purge of the New Black Panthers?
Perhaps as a small token of exchange we could see a prosecution of Al Sharpton for his well-known tax evasion? Is that so awful a price?
A price must be exacted. The Left cannot be allowed its double standards and guilty pleasures on the way to unquestioned cultural dominance. If traditional America must perish under Alinsky’s Rule #4 (“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules”), then so must the Left.
It’s either that, or this cultural war will ultimately give way to something more unpleasant. There is a point, which is coming, at which the unity and fellowship seen in Charleston in the past week will no longer be possible.