Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Historic Struggle Has Moved

I am moving The Historic Struggle to a Wordpress account. All of the old posts will remain here but all future posts will show up at the new site. Check it out.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Connie Chastain's Useless Information

Update: Connie is blocking me from linking to her blog. Here's the link to "Useless Information." http://one80dts.blogspot.com/2012/06/useless-information.html

It appears the almighty advocate of "Southern Heritage," Connie Chastain, took it upon herself to right wrongs of modern history. She brings to light in her recent post ("Useless Information,")all of the wrongs of current blogger historians Kevin Levin, Andy Hall, and Dr. Brooks Simpson. For some time now Connie has accused Kevin, Andy, Brooks, and myself of demonizing the South. Her recent post is no different.
Brooks Simpson at Crossroads has brought up the subject of white Southerners (i.e., the KKK) killing and terrorizing ex-slaves after the war. Kevin Levin loves to lament the plight of slaves in the Confederacy (he doesn't appear to say much about the plight of these same slaves before the Confederacy) and Andy Hall loves to lament the plight, after the war, of ex-slaves who assisted their masters during the war and turned into pitiable buffoons at veteran gatherings afterward.
I must admit in the past I wrote about the different aspects of hatred and racism in connection with old Confederate symbols.  In reality, none of the posts written by Kevin, Andy, Brooks or myself have anything to do with an attempt to "evilize" the South. The posts are all observations geared towards learning and a better understanding of history and the memory of historical events. Connie disagrees. To simplify, if Connie disagrees with one's arguments, she automatically presumes one has a motive or agenda against her "heritage." Instead of facing the arguments in the posts head on, Connie instead engages in logical fallacies. Amongst the fallacies are answering criticism with criticism and the famous straw man argument. The former also known as 'tu quoque' can be seen perfectly in Connie's recent post.

After making the above statement, Connie then asserts this:

Wonder what they'd say about this...
"Sick from Freedom shows that as many as 1 million of the freed slaves died from cholera or smallpox while the federal government, controlled by The Party of Lincoln for half a century after the war, did essentially nothing at all about it. Thousands of ex-slaves returned to work on the plantations where they were previously enslaved because the alternative was starvation and death from disease.

The main priority of The Party of Lincoln at that time (from 1865–1890) was its war of genocide against another colored race, the Plains Indians, in order to "make way for the railroad," as General Sherman himself announced. The U.S. army, aided by ex slaves known as "Buffalo Soldiers," eventually murdered some 60,000 Plains Indians, including thousands of women and children, while putting the rest of them into concentration camps known as "reservations."
Unless they can find some way to evilize white Southerners with this information, it's useless to them, regardless of how truthful it is, so I suspect their response to be dead, ringing silence and emain [sic] so until hell freezes over...

And there are still folks who say the yankees "shed their sin" of slavery...
The above contains both Thomas DiLorenzo's review of Sick from Freedom  by Jim Downs with comments from Connie Chastain herself.  It appears that both DiLorenzo and Connie are advocating that as many as one million freed slaves died after the civil war from various diseases. All the while receiving little to no help from the Federal government or in this case, the party of Lincoln. This is an attempt at showing the faults of the United States government in order to ignore the atrocities committed by some Southerners (slaveholders). The truth however, is more complex.

Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory appreciates history books as well. He is currently reading Sick from Freedom. I'll leave Kevin's post to speak for itself but I also want to draw attention to the comments section of his post. Andy Hall demonstrates that DiLorenzo is misrepresenting the book's arguments and statistics. It appears this is all for the sake of meeting a pre-designated agenda. Given DiLorenzo's economics background, my guess is that he is attempting to demonstrate the failure of an overreaching federal government.  It seems Connie is jumping on the bandwagon of Jim Down's book, as Kevin rightly points out, without actually reading it. She even appears to side with DiLorenzo's assessment. All for the sake of being overly critical of the Northern United States.

I want to examine one more comment of Connie's. She states in the last paragraph:
Unless they can find some way to evilize white Southerners with this information, it's useless to them, regardless of how truthful it is, so I suspect their response to be dead, ringing silence and emain [sic] so until hell freezes over...
Notice Connie makes sure to mark differences of race. She has a history of citing numerous racial differences as well as the superiority of one race over another.  As far as a response of "dead, ringing silence," she could not be more wrong. The dialogue on Kevin's post provides ample noise to suggest hell has indeed froze over. To look more closely at Connie's accusation of evilizing the South, I want to draw attention to another one of Kevin Levin's posts entitled "Gettysburg Bound." In this Kevin tells readers that he will be giving lectures at the Civil War Institute's annual conference at Gettysburg College. At one of these lectures, Kevin will be speaking about "Northern racism on the eve of emancipation." Yes you read that correctly; the former sentence said "Northern." Kevin goes on to say this:
One of the difficulties that I’ve found while teaching the Civil War is getting students to appreciate the distinction between slavery and racism – that one could have firmly believed in the immorality of slavery while holding tight to a wide range of racist beliefs. Many of my students come to class with a naive view that pits evil southern slaveholders against a virtuous north.
Well that hardly seems like evilizing the South at all. Kevin does not have to evilize the South, some Southerners do that on their own. See below:

 This comes straight off of Connie Chastain's Facebook group "Backsass." It's amazing that I continue to be blocked from her blog and her Facebook group yet this mindset is perfectly acceptable. Pat Hine's antisemitism evilizes the South on its own. I do not know if Kevin is Jewish or not, but who cares? As a Southerner, this disgusts me. The South has a history of this sort of mindset; a history I thought most Southerners learned from.

Leo Frank (Jewish), murdered by the Knights of Mary Phagan

The above picture is that of Leo Frank and those that murdered him. The murderers are famously referred to as the Knights of Mary Phagan. They are named after the little girl that Frank supposedly killed. A reading of the evidence tells anyone that the trial and conviction was the product of antisemitism.  The Knights, carried out a sentence that the Georgia state government attempted to stall. Two months later, the Knights burned a giant cross on Stone Mountain just outside of Atlanta Georgia. This act is seen as the introduction of the Second Ku Klux Klan.

It is completely fair to say that if Connie wants to accuse others of evilizing the South, she needs look no further than her own sheep. As a born and bred Georgian, this type of attitude and comment disgusts me. I closed my U.S. History class with this statement Connie, maybe you should heed the words.

The history of America is interesting, diverse and complex. It is one of kindness, freedom, and social mobility. A history that shows that anyone can come and make something of themselves. A history that provides examples of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. But it is also a history of blemishes. Imperialism, racism, slavery, and xenophobia have plagues America's past and present. You are the future. What type of America do you want? Do you want the America that advocates liberty and progress? Or do you want the racist, bigoted America?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Federal Judge Upholds City of Lexington's Confederate Flag Ban

Note the title, as the below post elaborates on, is not entirely accurate. The title should say "Federal Judge Upholds City of Lexington's City Ordinance Banning Flags." Because the SCV is the main group taking the city to court and claiming free speech violations, the Confederate flag is thrust to the forefront.

Excerpt from the Roanoke Times:
A legal battle to fly the Confederate flag from the street light poles of Lexington died today at the hand of a federal judge.

In a written opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Wilson dismissed a lawsuit against the city filed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The lawsuit challenged an ordinance, passed last year amid public furor, that limited the types of flags that can be flown from city-owned light poles.

Lexington City Council's decision to fly only the city, state and national flags was "eminently reasonable," Wilson wrote in a 10-page opinion released late today.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans had claimed that the city abused their free speech rights — banning the battle flag because of its controversial nature.

But in granting the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Wilson wrote that the city’s alleged motivations do not override the fact that the ordinance is content-neutral on its face.

By allowing only flags that represent government to be displayed on its light poles, the city essentially banned all private displays, including not just the Sons of Confederate Veterans but also two universities and several fraternities that have previously been allowed access to the poles.

For that reason, the city argued, the ordinance did not shun a particular cause and thus was not subject to First Amendment attack.

Wilson agreed, writing that to allow "a city-owned flag pole to serve as a public forum could suggest that government has placed its imprimatur on private expression."
 Judge Samuel Wilson's entire opinion can be read here. In short, Judge Wilson acknowledges that the SCV is right that the city maintained an open public forum on the light poles, and that the city closed the public forum with city ordinance 420-205. The judge acknowledged that the new city ordinance is content neutral and does not target the SCV. Therefore, this is not a freedom of speech issue. The judge elaborates on the targeting issue in one of the footnotes:
The Rule 12(b)(6) standard, as interpreted by Twombly and Iqbal, require that the factual allegations in the complaint nudge the claims across the line from conceivable to plausible. The facts in SCV’s complaint show that the City has allowed several groups (including SCV) to fly private flags from city-owned flag poles. That SCV was the last group in a line of several to get the City’s permission to fly its flags, that a councilman who voted against SCV’s application moved City Council to establish a flag policy, or that private citizens spoke out against City approbation of the Confederate flag, does not render plausible the theory that the City sought to silence SCV’s message by enacting § 420-205.
  That last sentence is important because as Kevin Levin pointed out on his blog Civil War Memory, the SCV will still be able to fly the CBF and spread the "Southern Heritage" message. They just can't do it on city poles.

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