|Long have I pondered about how to deal with the problems of
slavery and race in any discussion or symposium on the War of
Secession. Should one include references to race and slavery
quite apart from anything directly involved with the issue being
discussed? I considered a treatise of mine on the Titanic as an
allegory which reveals that there was so much more about the
origins of the war than the question of slavery—just as there was
so much more about the Titanic than the story of a boat and a
berg. Then I pondered the “apologia” with which many begin any
presentation of the Southern side pointing out how the presenter
isn’t about criticizing blacks or excusing slavery etc., etc. etc.,
positions which seem to obtain in any attempt to bring up the
facts about the War of Secession that do not reflect the current
orthodoxy. It seemed to me that opening on such a note probably
influences the audience to think exactly the opposite of what the
presenter wants them to think and leads to the dismissal of entire
effort as the ranting of racists.
Then I remembered something in a presentation of my own and
that proverbial “light bulb” went off in my brain. Frankly, I believe
that for once in my life, I am being brilliant with regards to the
entire business of the whos, whats and whys of the war! Below is
Lincoln’s quote and my comment upon it:
“Can this government stand, if it indulges constitutional
constructions by which men in open rebellion against it, are to be
accounted, man for man, the equals of those who maintain their
loyalty to it?”
Here again, Lincoln excuses an openly unconstitutional act, the
creation of West Virginia and its admission into the Union.
Remember, that new state was removed unconstitutionally from
the State of Virginia. As do so many amoral people, he blames
Virginia, the State wronged by his actions, for pointing out the
unconstitutionality of the deed. Instead of doing what a true
representative of the law does—that is, follow the law—he points
out that those who agree with the admission are “loyal” to the
government while those who disagree are “rebels” and
“insurrectionists.” But no mention is made in the Constitution
about the patriotism or lack thereof of those committing an
unconstitutional act or those who reject it. The act is either
constitutional or it is unconstitutional; it does not stand or fall by
any other criteria.
For the first time I realized that there is no reason to defend or
reject the motives put forth surrounding the War! Was it about
slavery? I’m sure to many—both North and South—it was. Was it
about economics? Again, the same is true. Was it about religion?
Culture? Corruption? Yes, yes, and yes. But the point is, we don’t
have to—and shouldn’t—waste our time on any of this! There is
only one criteria here as I said at the end of my comment above:
“(t)he act is either constitutional or it is unconstitutional; it does
not stand or fall by any other criteria.”
Secession is either constitutional or unconstitutional; the war to
prevent or end secession was either constitutional or
unconstitutional. It matters not what the motives involved on
either side were, only the legality and constitutionality of their
actions. In the middle of the 19th Century, secession was
considered constitutional and therefore legal. Indeed, it took a
false decision by the Supreme Court four years after the War
(Texas v. White in 1869) to make secession a crime! Jefferson
Davis was not brought to trial as a traitor because several federal
attorneys including Richard Dana and Salmon Chase stated that
Davis had committed no crime as secession was legal! So despite
Lincoln’s (and the other radicals’) belief that the government
created the States(!), as that was not the acceptable
constitutional understanding of the matter at the time, nothing
that the Southern States did was illegal no matter what motivated
them to do so. On the other hand, an attack by the federal
government on the States was treason according to the
Constitution and no matter what motivated Lincoln and the
federals that fact does not change!
So the only argument we have to make is the constitutionality of
the actions of both parties. Their motives mean nothing. They
neither validate nor repudiate the actions taken. Motives in
these circumstances have no bearing on the legitimacy of the
acts and calling something “constitutional” or, in the alternative
“unconstitutional" on that basis has no meaning in law and thus,
no meaning in regard to a presentation of historical facts.
Concerns about the good or evil of the motives of those involved
in historical actions might make a wonderful book, but it cannot
be used to create a policy or an historical judgment of either side.
South Carolina Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans
|"It is our duty to keep the memory of our heroes green..." Jefferson Davis
|Colonel Olin M.
|Did You Know?
|Motives Don't Matter - see below
|Motives Don't Matter
|Commander Jerry Bodiford
17th Regiment Camp 2069
|Mr. Wade Hampton Dorsey
|Commander Milton Harden
Col. Wm. H. Duncan/Hagood's Bde
|Mrs. Betty Jane Miller
|Many thanks are due the folks
pictured in this section. They
made the 2015 Barnwell
Confederate Memorial Day
observance a reality. There
were many others of course but
I feel sure that the success of
the event was considered by
them to be their reward. It was
an effort by authentic
Southerners and it showed.
|Barnwell Confederate Memorial
Day Observance 2015
|Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Day 2015
|Barnwell Confederate Memorial Day 2015
|The Emerging American Theocracy.
|What Historically Ignorant Americans Don't Know About Blacks and the Confederacy - Below
Ben Jones has served as Chief of Heritage Operations for over a year. During his tenure,
he has taken this position to a new level. His professionalism and his ability to deal with
the media have broadened our reach as an organization. He has spent countless hours
writing press releases, conducting interviews, and being our face to world. While it is
disappointing to announce the resignation of Ben Jones as Chief of Heritage Operations
due to health reasons, I am encouraged to know that he will continue to serve the SCV as
our National Press Secretary. Mr. Jones said, "thank you for giving me the honor and the
opportunity to serve our great organization for the past year. It has been a time of great
challenges and wonderful fellowship and camaraderie."
It is my pleasure to announce that Dean Stevens of South Carolina has graciously
accepted the position of Chief of Heritage Operations. While I am sure that Mr. Stevens
has enormous shoes to fill, I feel he is sufficiently prepared for the job.
Even though we are in turbulent times, this transition will proceed effortlessly.
Please pray for Ben's health and speedy recovery and pray for wisdom for Dean
Charles Kelly Barrow
Sons of Confederate Veterans
|The Emerging American Theocracy
Over most of my lifetime grave concern has been muttered by the
chattering classes about the need for separation of church and state.
But we have in America a new theocracy emerging: the civic religion of
antiracism. The media is ablaze with rhetorical auto-de-fes calling for
the excision of any symbol of the Old South and the Confederacy
following the tragic murders by a drug-addled lunatic in Charleston.
Grave dangers are lurking to the Republic. Children might actually see
the Confederate Battle flag atop the “General Lee” on the Dukes of
Hazzard. Unless people are stopped from placing Confederate Battle
flags on the graves of deceased Confederate soldiers in national
cemeteries the nation will be in danger of collapse. Incalculable
psychic harm is done if any symbol of the Confederacy is glimpsed,
however fleetingly, at any point, at anytime, anywhere.
As the great leader and legal savant, Governor Nikki Haley of South
Carolina has pointed out Confederate symbols may be permitted on
private property – still. Maybe one day we can progress beyond this
What we are seeing is one of the most irrational and hysterical
reactions to tragedy in American history. Yes, we know that Ted
Kaczynski, the Unabomber, does not represent all environmentalists.
And we are constantly reminded that even if tens of thousands of ISIS
members are doing their best to sever heads from bodies that Islam is a
religion of peace. No, no group or thought is to be condemned by the
actions of one person or even tens of thousands. The chorus of
correction is already rising after the crimes of Chattanooga.
But if that person is Dylann Roof or some other person who poses with
a Confederate Battle flag, the public must draw conclusions about
The truth be told, the polls are telling us that the great mass of people
remain blissfully ignorant of the perils presented by Confederate
symbols. But the managerial elites who operate the levers of power
have seen that the time has come to use Charleston as a cudgel to
exterminate symbols which they find repellent. No Voltaires are found in
their number eager to defend the right of multiple civic expressions in
a “diverse” society. Every knee must bow to their gods.
The emerging civic theology of antiracism and equality is a jealous god.
It will accept no dissent.
And we are told that the managerial elites are showing great “courage”
to act against the symbols of the Confederacy. The support groups of
the system hold regular courage conferences in which they bestow
upon each other awards for standing up against the St. Andrew’s cross
flag with only the media, the Chamber of Commerce, the banks, big
business, organized minority pressure groups, university professors,
and other minor players to support them.
Of course, once we can eliminate any Confederate symbology from the
public and private marketplaces, we will enter into the long-promised
paradise. It’s a promise made as far back as the French Revolution as
mobs shouted for “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” lubricated by the
blood of aristocrats, priests and other enemies of the people.
Antiracism and equality were the watchword of such gentle souls as
John Brown, a great hero in his day and, carefully explained nowadays
by the New York Times, not a terrorist but a real humanitarian – a
mensch, so to speak. Chopping up children with swords was merely a
means to ensure a glorious future.
Equality was once again the watchword as the Bolsheviks in Russia,
Eastern and Central Europe exterminated tens of millions and
incarcerated other millions. Communism in China was even more
vigorous in its determination to bring about equality. But, as a fine
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist pointed out concerning the emerging
Brave New World, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few
Fortunately, we are all brilliant and progressive enough not to hold the
antiracists and equalitarians of today responsible for the roughly 100
million omelets broken in pursuit of these noble goals. We will keep
our eyes on the prize.
Permit me to shyly shuffle forward to ask a question: what if this Taliban-
like purge of the Confederacy from the public and private markets fails
to end the problems for which it is charged?
Racism is certainly more deeply entrenched and other purges will be
required. After all, when the Declaration of Independence was adopted
in 1776 every single one of the colonies had legalized human chattel
slavery. Despite the soaring language of “all men are created equal”
there was no equality in a single colony at the time of the adoption of
the Declaration. There has never been any since. Even today, the
progressive elements explain that we are not equal; they insist that in
some distant time we can be made equal.
Wise civic fathers (and mothers) are now engaged in expunging any
slaveholder from public commemoration. Of course, this includes the
author of the phrase “all men are created equal” Thomas Jefferson. I’ve
heard, as an established fact, that he has been purged from honor at
several public schools around the nation for his unpardonable, mortal
sin of being a slaveholder.
Washington D.C. is said to require a new moniker because the father of
the country is unfit for commemoration.
In order to cure the problems of poverty, pellagra, ignorance, racism,
drug abuse, murder, illegitimacy, and the other social problems that
bedevil us today we need to dig deeper.
Our managerial elites, being positioned to know what is best and
instruct the ignorant democracy, must tell us the new, revised list of
heroes and heroines, acceptable symbols and proper forms of civic
It is only then that we can move forward into the radiant light first
promised in such clarity in the shadow of the guillotine.
Martin K. O'Toole
Lt. General Leonidas Polk Camp #1446