Abolishing America (contd.): Confederate = Nazi?

You don`t hear much these days about the war against

Confederate Flag
, especially since the flag`s
enemies got their
behinds kicked
when they tried to remove a
Confederate emblem from the

Mississippi state flag
through a state referendum
last year. Nevertheless, don`t imagine the enemies of
the flag and the heritage it represents are gone; like
termites, they do their work when you don`t see them.

One major termite is historian

David Brion Davis
, probably the world`s leading
authority on the

history of slavery
and no friend of the American
South. In recent years, Mr. Davis has been

that the South actually won the American
Civil War after all, since, within a few years of
Appomattox, both North and South were making up and the
great crusade for Emancipation and Reconstruction (not
to say Retribution) had been shelved. In the July 18
issue of the New York Review of Books, Mr. Davis,
a professor emeritus at

, [send him email]
returns to his theme. [“The Terrible Cost of
Reconciliation” New York Review of Books

July 18, 2002]

Reviewing historian David Blight`s recent (and


Race and Reunion,

Mr. Davis tells us that Blight tries to explain “one of
the most troubling questions for the understanding of
American history: why it became accepted wisdom … that

states` rights,
not slavery, was the cause of the
Civil War.”

Since conflict over states` rights was the
major cause of the war, you can see why Mr. Davis finds
the “question” “troubling.” Lincoln

explicitly denied
that he intended to free the
slaves, and the Upper South seceded and the

war began
only when he mobilized troops for

Mr. Blight`s answer to the troubling question seems
to be that both Northerners and Southerners had other
things to do and think about in the late 19th century
than pushing the federal government into social and
economic revolution along racial lines. One such better
thing was to restore “sectional harmony” and forge a
shared sense of national unity and identity that ignored
racial issues and allowed Americans of both sections to
live together.

Apparently, Mr. Davis and Mr. Blight regard this
achievement as an immense blot on the national honor.

By 1913, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of
Gettysburg, surviving

of both sides

met amicably
in their uniforms as “the ultimate
triumph of national reconciliation at the
African-Americans` expense.”

“Try to imagine German veterans, in full Nazi
uniform, shaking hands in 1994 with American veterans in
uniform at the beaches of Normandy,” urges Mr. Davis.

Actually, you don`t have to imagine it; such

occurred, and why shouldn`t they?

Mr. Davis apparently believes that wars should
continue forever, until the Good Guys wipe out the Bad
Guys to the last man, but aside from that, he also
assumes that the conflicts in the Civil War and those in
World War II were largely the same.

For most Americans, North and South, then and now,
they weren`t, but for some, like Mr. Davis and the other

professional foes
of the South, they were. The Civil
War to them was not simply a war between

sectional interests
or different views of the
Constitution or different economic and cultural systems;
it was a war to the death, the purpose of which was to
extirpate evil—not just slavery but

racial inequality
specifically and inequality in
general—from the face of the

, to

trample out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath
are stored.

For that kind of mind, war never ends, for the simple
reason that what they think is so irredeemably evil is
in fact part of human nature and the human condition.

The reaction against the war`s hidden agenda for
social and racial reconstruction, Mr. Davis writes, led
eventually to “a Southern ideological victory” that
lasted until the 1960s. Then the

“civil rights movement”
and the happy days of the

Great Society
descended upon us, and the crusade was
in business.

The result to date has been the wreckage of most

, the entrenchment of a

black underclass
, forced


affirmative action

mass immigration
from the Third World, and a
generation of racial hatred, vituperation and
resentment, as well as the eradication of most

of the Southern and Confederate heritage and
the beginnings of a war against American and white
culture generally.

Where the new crusade will end no one knows (least of
all Mr. Davis), but some are starting to guess, and the
future doesn`t look much brighter.

One reason these crusades keep coming back is that
the ideologues who incite them—like Mr. Davis—never have
to live with their consequences.

The Americans, Northern or Southern, who actually had
to fight the crusade and endure its aftermath did— which
is one reason, fifty years later, those who survived
were ready to

shake hands
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and get on with what was left of their lives.


August 08, 2002