(See also: VDARE.COM's Abolishing America series. It's a pattern)
The New Year has kicked off with a Republican official in California being disciplined for pro-Confederate remarks he circulated four years ago, with official U.S. government re-writing of Civil War history at the nation's battlefields and with further demands by the politically ambitious for the total extirpation of symbols of the Confederacy.
The California installment of racial right-think emerged when Bill Back, current vice chairman of the state GOP and a leading candidate for its chairmanship, was forced to apologize for sending around as part of his e-mail newsletter an article suggesting that the South should have won the Civil War. Mr. Back sent the article out in 1999. But only now has his sin been discovered.
The article, written by military historian and cultural critic Bill Lind of Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, was a perfectly respectable and indeed ingenious analysis of the consequences of the Civil War as it actually happened.
"Given how bad things have gotten in the old USA," Lind wrote, "it's not hard to believe that history might have taken a better turn" if the South had won. "The real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."
But intellectually stimulating articles about the meaning of history are not on the Republican menu anymore, if they ever were. Today, Mr. Back whines, "I should have been more sensitive regarding issues raised in this piece and not included it in the e-mail." In an earlier period, Mr. Back might have had to sit in the pillory for several days with a scarlet letter branded on his forehead, but today the consequences for political deviation are more serious. "I would declare his candidacy [for state GOP chairman] to be officially dead," one state political observer told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service under the Bush administration has initiated a campaign to change the presentation of Civil War history at battlefield parks under its care to remove any vestiges of pro-Southern attitudes and ideas and push the idea that the war was in fact a revolution.
"For the past 100 years, we've been presenting this battlefield as the high water mark of the Confederacy and focusing on the personal valor of the soldiers who fought here," Gettysburg Park Superintendent John Latschar [send him mail] told the press recently. Now, "we want to change the perception so that Gettysburg becomes known internationally as the place of a 'new rebirth of freedom.'" ["U.S. Corrects 'Southern Bias' at Civil War Sites," Reuters, December 22, 2002]
What is being done is the ideological reconstruction of the battlefields and of the history they represent to fit the egalitarian orthodoxies of the New Order. The problem with the old battlefields is not so much that they suggest "racism" (eek!) but that they smack of any deviation from that orthodoxy at all—and indeed of armed resistance to the long march of egalitarianism through American history.
But not only Republicans are rewriting the history they don't like. In Missouri, two Confederate flags have been removed from public sites where they were displayed not because they supposedly tried to perpetuate the Confederate heritage but because they were historically appropriate—the Confederate Historic Site and the Fort Davidson Historic Site. The flags were ordered removed by an aide to the governor after she read Democratic Rep. Dick Gephardt's statement that "My own personal feeling is the Confederate flag no longer has a place flying any time, anywhere in our great nation."
Mr. Gephardt, a presidential candidate who must gain his party's black vote to win its nomination, has moved the debate on the Confederate flag, such as it is, up a notch or so. Black and anti-white groups have usually taken the position that flying the Confederate flag on private property is OK; it's just using it as a public symbol they find offensive. That, like most of what such groups say, is a lie, but now Mr. Gephardt has helped make the lie unnecessary.
The totalitarian crusade to rewrite American history and pretend the Confederacy never existed or that it was the equivalent of Nazi Germany is not simply a war over public or even private symbols.
It is a war for the mind itself - a war that seeks to erase entirely from the American mind even the memory that once upon a time there was an America not dedicated to the proposition of "universal equality" and that if that America had prevailed, "history," as Mr. Lind wrote, "might have taken a better turn."
Once the New Order can make certain that no American harbors such thoughts, resistance to what it demands will be impossible.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
January 20, 2003