The following is my response to an article by Mr. Christopher Hedges on the New Secessionists, found at URL:
Mr. Hedges' article,The New Secessionists, contains many excellent things all Americans should thoughtfully consider. Unfortunately it also contains attacks upon and misrepresentations of some secessionist groups by others who also favor political independence from the American Empire. As often happens, these attacks and misrepresentations tell more about the biases of the attackers than those attacked.
These unfair and unwarranted attacks are especially unfortunate, because each group striving for independence should do its best to extend to the others the very thing they themselves hope to receive from others: a fair hearing.
It is sad that some are willing, even eager, to believe the worst about others, especially when there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. It is sadder still when some of the accusers and attackers know well and good what they are saying is patently untrue. Insult and injury are compounded when the accusers cite the lies of an avowed enemy of liberty like the Southern Poverty Law Center in support of their own false claims.
So much for generalizations. Let's get specific and name names.
The groups I am speaking of are the Vermont and Texas secessionist groups. According to Mr. Hedges they have accused the League of the South and the Southern National Congress of being groups characterized by racial hatred, white rule only and white supremacy. What is the truth?
Logic and a mere rudimentary understanding of the human condition tells us that every group contains those who are there for very different reasons. Groups commonly contain some driven by racial, cultural or regional bias, and the Texas Nationalists and Vermont Secessionists are no exceptions. If Mr. Hedges' reportage is accurate, I would say the actions of the leaders of these two groups indicate they are blind to their own biases. For instance, they fail to see that whenever they unfairly attack southerners as racists they are, de facto, engaging in their own unique little form of racism and "hate speech.” The point here, however, is that it is unfair to paint an entire organization with the brush used for a few members who are extreme in their views. I believe one's only honest recourse is to look at the official documents and teachings of an institution, and not at individual actions or personal beliefs of some of the membership.
Apparently our accusers are content with looking at neither behavior nor official statements, but prefer going straight to the good ol' ad hominem attack.
Before I go further, in all fairness, I must say I grew increasingly uneasy as I read Mr. Hedges' article because no where did I find he had made any attempt to contact the leaders of the League of the South or the Southern National Congress for a response to these slanders. Such an obvious and flagrant failure to practice basic journalistic ethics indicates to me that he himself has a strong bias and an ax to grind against the South. Otherwise, why would he be so content to let our accusers define the purpose, practice and goals of our institutions?
His summary remarks did little to calm my uneasiness—in fact, they increased it considerably. I quote them here because I want to put the shoe on the other foot, go on the offensive and address each of his claims point by point in some detail.
He concludes, "The most pressing problem is that the movement harbors within its ranks Southern secessionists who wrap themselves in the Confederate flag, begin their meetings singing Dixie and celebrate the slave culture of the antebellum South. Secessionist groups such as the Southern National Congress and the more radical League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a “racist hate group,” openly embrace a return to uncontested white, male power. And this aspect of the movement deeply disturbs leaders such as Naylor, Sale and Miller."
First, I say the reason we as Southerners honor the Confederate flag in our meetings and elsewhere is because our ancestors fought under it for the principle of self-rule against a tyrannical government; I say that the Confederate non-slave owner, Robert E. Lee, lead our army under it fighting for our liberty against the union slave owner, U.S. Grant and the black and Indian hating union generals W. T. Sherman and Phillip Sheridan; I say if Messrs. Hedges, Naylor, Sale and Miller had any sense of reality outside their own well-propagandized imaginations, they would know the rest of the world is not so willing to accept Federal propaganda as post Civil War Americans, and rightly see the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of resistance to tyrannical government. For this reason it was present among the east Germans at the fall of the Berlin Wall. I say that by attacking the south and our honored flag they have merely bought into the lies and propaganda of the institution which they distrust and from which they themselves seek independence. I ask, “What will they do when their cause is marginalized by propaganda and lies by the government's leftist useful media idiots, like Mr. Hedges?” I say why don't Mr. Naylor and Mr. Hedges and Cie. actually consult a southerner and ask him what the Confederate Battle Flag means to him instead of assuming its meaning and calling Southern Partisans racists; I say their obvious unfairness exposes their unquestioned, unselfconscious biases and prejudices––not those of Southerners; I say their willingness to turn a blind eye to the rampant racial bigotry throughout the north and large non-southern cities, including almost an all white Vermont (less the 01% blacks), is common to the self-assuming, Puritanical self-righteousness of the Godless left; I say to them in Our Lord's words, "Remove the log from your own eye and then you might see clearly to help your neighbor remove the splinter in his." I say, isn't it strange that so many blacks prefer living in the south among all us whites whom you accuse of racial bigotry instead of moving to Vermont with all those white people who are, according to you, completely free of any personal racial bias? I say go from my sight and deal with these and many other cognitive dissonances in your claims and once you've done that honestly then get back to me.
Second, what's wrong with a man loving his homeland? Are we in Dixie to have no rights of any kind? Are we more lowly and to be dispised that the captive Jews in Babylon who could at least sing of Zion without being condemned. We're from Dixie, not Tenafly, New Jersey–––thanks be to God! We sing Dixie, My Old Kentucky Home and Sweet Home Alabama because we love our land. I note no one has ever written Sweet Home New Jersey, of Sweet Home Sandusky or O Hepzibah don't you cry for me, for I came from old Montpelier with a banjo on my knee. I wonder why that is? We have a real culture in the south and northerners don't––all they have is materialism, machines, money and collectivist abstractions, many of which have helped ruin the Republic of our Founders. In the north culture is a spectator sport; in the south everyone participates. That is why we have great forms of folk music while northerners see John Phillip Sousa and the new Armenian conductor of the local symphony as high culture.
In regard to collectivist abstractions, I note, remembering Mr. Naylor's own love of collectivism, that it is the Federal Government's embrace of collectivist ideology that has brought the whole land to our present sorry impasse and endangered the lives, property and well being of us all. To go from Federal collectivism to Naylor's socialism may be like going from the frying pan into the fire; a secessionism based upon collectivist thought is not a move to liberty but a mere exchange of nationalized tyranny for a mere localized form of the same. I say: strive to secede, Vermont, but beware which secessionists you support. The devil you know may not be as bad as the one you don't.
Thirdly, in regard to Mr. Hedges' claim that we celebrate antebellum slavery, I have attended many League of the South conferences, read their web site frequently, and correspond with other members––I routinely read commentary from the Southern National Congress. I have never heard any one of them indicate in any way they long for a return of antebellum slavery or male white power rule or any thing of the like. To say so is absurd beyond belief––I might even say it is flagrantly and unabashedly bigoted.
Finally, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center as credible is laughable. The Southern Poverty Law Center has shown itself to be a radical leftist group that has no respect for private property, hates the south and routinely brands anyone to the right of Leon Trotsky as "racist." Name calling is their chief, I might even say, their singular means of "answering" the arguments of those with whom they disagree.
With all due respect, the SPLC can go to Hell. As I see it those who take their word without question have discredited themselves by so doing and, as a consequence, are not to be take seriously.
All that notwithstanding, there is much in Mr. Hedges' article to agree with, especially in regard to Mr. Naylor's quotes about the unfixable condition of the broken American Empire. We can all agree with that and I suggest we cease using the Empire's lies and propaganda to attack one another. In doing so we are playing into their hands. We should not make enemies of one another, and, by the way, southerners are NEVER going to be anything but rightly proud of their heritage, nor will we cease in our just labors for independence and liberty.
In regard to the one point we can all agree upon: A government institution is a kind of house. We all know from experience that some houses which fall into disrepair can be restored and made to be good homes once more. But some have grown unsound altogether. Such structures must be razed to the ground and rebuilt only after the Foundation has been thoroughly examined and re-fortified. I think all valid secessionist groups believe that is the condition of Washington, based upon a mountain of evidence. I suggest we concentrate upon that, rather than attacking each other or giving those in the media the means to attack and discredit us all and set us against each other.
Finally, as a personal observation, it saddens me that some who rightly see our national government as broken and unfixable feel yet the need to attack those of us in the South who share their point of view on this important issue. Their attacks are unfair and unjust, and their energies wasted and misdirected. The whole effort is counter productive to their own hopes and goals and they are foolish not to see it. Their attacks on the South will lose them much and gain them nothing. These unfair and unwarranted attacks are especially unfortunate, because each group striving for independence should do its best to extend to the others the very thing they themselves hope to receive from others: a fair hearing. How can they expect to receive justice if they don't practice it themselves?
In closing I turn to the author of this little screed posing as a piece of impartial journalism. Mr. Hedges' background causes me to think that he takes special delight in setting those who favor secession against one another. Like other leftists he apparently believes dishonesty is not only the best policy, it is the only policy.
My own bet is Mr. Hedges is no lover of either the south or secession and is doing what he can to weaken and discredit both by doing what he can to set us against one another. With that in mind I suggest the folowing: Mr. Hedges might consider changing the name of the blog page he writes on known as "TruthDig," to something more accurate like "Bigotry Blog" or "Biased Blather." Those have a special, aliterative ring, don't you think?