Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Confederate Battle Flag

For almost two generations, since the Federal government's second reconstruction in the 1960s, Southerners have sat silently, or rather, been muzzled, while the Empire has re-defined the meaning of southern symbols, especially our beloved Confederate battle flag. It's common today to have people assume that those who love or display Confederate symbols and take pride in our southern history are just driven by racial hatred. But what do these symbols mean to a Southerner, especially one who has taken the time to educate himself about our nation's founding and has studied the events between 1789 and 1861 carefully?

As a Catholic I'm very used to Protestants presuming to tell me what I believe. I'm continually surprised by the things they say. I'm even more surprised that they feel themselves competent to reveal to me my own most intimate thoughts and motives. How is it they know what I believe and why I believe it and I don't?

Should I accept their misinformed (often humorous) ideas, sometimes fed to them by professional Catholic haters, or should I consult the Popes, the counsels, the Catechism of the Counsel of Trent and the New Catechism? And what of the witness of the great saints? Perhaps Catholic haters should check those sources out to understand Catholic belief rather than accepting the ideas of badly informed Catholic haters or misinformed, lapsed and apostate Catholics.

If we presume to know better than another what their reasons for advocating a certain position are, does that not say more about us than it does about them? In such cases exactly who is the one driven by prejudice?

In every movement there are those who can be found who are there for less than noble reasons. For instance, almost everyone will agree that slavery was a serious flaw in the Confederacy. But it was a flaw in the Federal Union long before it was in the Confederacy and Constitutional as well. And being Constitutional it could be changed by lawful and peaceful means. What was absolutely unconstitutional was the invasion and subjugation of sovereign states by other sovereign states under the orders of a Centralize Power that as eventually to morph from the Federal government the Founders established into a National Government that would crush all other sovereignties and rights. Alexander Stephens is often noted for his Cornerstone speech. But his critics are conspicuously silent on the following passage from the Confederate Vice-President:

"If centralism is ultimately to prevail; if our entire system of free Institutions as established by our common ancestors is to be subverted, and an Empire is to be established in their stead; if that is to be the last scene of the great tragic drama now being enacted: then, be assured, that we of the South will be acquitted, not only in our own consciences, but in the judgment of mankind, of all responsibility for so terrible a catastrophe, and from all guilt of so great a crime against humanity. "

Not every Confederate fought for slavery––most, in fact, did not; not every Northerner fought to end slavery. Many northerners, in fact, albeit unwittingly, fought for the end of self-rule and even greater enslavement by the most brutal of means. We can now see in hindsight that they fought to turn what had been a free compact of states into a Centralized Empire. The Empire has subjugated and pillaged all the states, beginning with those which made up the Confederacy.

This so-called "Civil War" marks the beginning of the Imperial slavery of which the antifederalist Patrick Henry warned in his speeches to the Virginia ratification committee in 1788. His prescient and prophetic insight was fully vindicated when the Lincoln appointee and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Salmon P. Chase said, "State's rights died at Appomattox."

And with the death of state's rights the last hedge of protection for our individual liberty and self-rule also died.

Such an understanding of history, in fact, lies at the heart of those who yet love the Southern cause. There are those who say we of the South should forget. But to a Southerner who knows true American history, instead of the cartoonish version the Empire propagates in government funded schools, to forget is to accept imperial slavery and lose even the memory American Liberty.

That enslavement and subjugation was in the minds of the leaders of the Federal Government in Washington (and liberty in the minds of Southerners) is clearly seen in Union president Andrew Johnson's speech of 1868 protesting the abusive and unconstitutional acts of the Radical Republicans. He wrote and publicly opined:

"Those who advocated the right of secession alleged to their own justification that we had no regard for law, and that the rights of property life and liberty would not be safe under the constitution as administered by us. [Such is Johnson's understanding of the Southern motive for secession: liberty, not slavery]. If we now verify their assertion we prove that they were in truth fighting for their liberty and instead of branding their leaders as traitors against a righteous and legal government we elevate them in history to the rank of self-sacrificing patriots, consecrate them to the admiration of the world and place them by the side of Washington, Hampton and Sidney."

"Candor compels me to declare that at this time there is no union as our father's understood the term and as they meant it to be understood by us. The union which they established can exist only where all the states are represented in both houses of Congress, where one state is a free as another to regulate its internal concerns according to its own will, and where the laws of the central government are strictly confined to matters of national jurisdiction, apply with equal force to people of every section."

(Is in not clear from this speech that Johnson, who fought against his own homeland of Tennessee, now sees the true motives of the leaders of the northern invasion and is having buyer's remorse?)

Johnson's understanding and exposure of Federal oppression and slavery is echoed by one of the north's preeminent abolitionists and activists, Lysander Spooner. He wrote around the same time:

"The principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this: That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want; and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals. No principle, that is possible to be named, can be more self-evidently false than this; or more self-evidently fatal to all political freedom. Yet it triumphed in the field, and is now assumed to be established. If it really be established, the number of slaves, instead of having been diminished by the war, has been greatly increased; for a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave. And there is no difference, in principle --- but only in degree --- between political and chattel slavery. The former, no less than the latter, denies a man's ownership of himself and the products of his labor; and asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure."

I submit these are some of the ideas at the heart of those of us who love the South, are proud of her symbols and history---and who seek to re-assert them now, at the time when it has become increasingly clear that the Central Government is seeking to usurp more and more of our liberties and increasingly consolidate power into the hands of the few.

It is liberty, not slavery that drives us in this critical time––but who among our enemies cares to take the time to inquire? After all, they're too busy imposing the Imperial Will upon us poor subject/victims of their Empire.

Too late, it seems, they will remember the eternal truth: Sic sempre tyrannis!
We are Americans; we must be free! We are Americans; we will be free! Sic sempre tyranis!

No comments:

Post a Comment