Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party

Tea Partiers say you don’t understand them because you don’t understand American history. That’s probably true, but not in the way they want you to think.

Late in 2012, I came out of the Lincoln movie with two historical mysteries to solve:

  • How did the two parties switch places regarding the South, white supremacy, and civil rights? In Lincoln’s day, a radical Republican was an abolitionist, and when blacks did get the vote, they almost unanimously voted Republican. Today, the archetypal Republican is a Southern white, and blacks are almost all Democrats. How did American politics get from there to here?
  • One of the movie’s themes was how heavily the war’s continuing carnage weighed on Lincoln. (It particularly came through during Grant’s guided tour of the Richmond battlefield.) Could any cause, however lofty, justify this incredible slaughter? And yet, I realized, Lincoln was winning. What must the Confederate leaders have been thinking, as an even larger percentage of their citizens died, as their cities burned, and as the accumulated wealth of generations crumbled? Where was their urge to end this on any terms, rather than wait for complete destruction?

The first question took some work, but yielded readily to patient googling. I wrote up the answer in “A Short History of White Racism in the Two-Party System“. The second turned out to be much deeper than I expected, and set off a reading project that has eaten an enormous amount of my time over the last two years. (Chunks of that research have shown up in posts like “Slavery Lasted Until Pearl Harbor“, “Cliven Bundy and the Klan Komplex“, and my review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article on reparations.) Along the way, I came to see how I (along with just about everyone I know) have misunderstood large chunks of American history, and how that misunderstanding clouds our perception of what is happening today.

Who really won the Civil War? The first hint at how deep the second mystery ran came from the biography Jefferson Davis: American by William J. Cooper. In 1865, not only was Davis not agonizing over how to end the destruction, he wanted to keep it going longer. He disapproved of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and when U. S. troops finally captured him, he was on his way to Texas, where an intact army might continue the war.

That sounded crazy until I read about Reconstruction. In my high school history class, Reconstruction was a mysterious blank period between Lincoln’s assassination and Edison’s light bulb. Congress impeached Andrew Johnson for some reason, the transcontinental railroad got built, corruption scandals engulfed the Grant administration, and Custer lost at Little Big Horn. But none of it seemed to have much to do with present-day events.

And oh, those blacks Lincoln emancipated? Except for Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, they vanished like the Lost Tribes of Israel. They wouldn’t re-enter history until the 1950s, when for some reason they still weren’t free.

Here’s what my teachers’ should have told me: “Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It lasted until 1877, when the Confederates won.” I think that would have gotten my attention.

It wasn’t just that Confederates wanted to continue the war. They did continue it, and they ultimately prevailed. They weren’t crazy, they were just stubborn.

The Lost Cause. At about the same time my American history class was leaving a blank spot after 1865, I saw Gone With the Wind, which started filling it in like this: Sadly, the childlike blacks weren’t ready for freedom and full citizenship. Without the discipline of their white masters, many became drunks and criminals, and they raped a lot of white women. Northern carpetbaggers used them (and no-account white scalawags) as puppets to control the South, and to punish the planter aristocrats, who prior to the war had risen to the top of Southern society through their innate superiority and virtue.

But eventually the good men of the South could take it no longer, so they formed the Ku Klux Klan to protect themselves and their communities. They were never able to restore the genteel antebellum society — that Eden was gone with the wind, a noble but ultimately lost cause — but they were eventually able to regain the South’s honor and independence. Along the way, they relieved their beloved black servants of the onerous burden of political equality, until such time as they might become mature enough to bear it responsibly.

A still from The Birth of a Nation

That telling of history is now named for its primary proponent, William Dunning. It is false in almost every detail. If history is written by the winners, Dunning’s history is the clearest evidence that the Confederates won. [see endnote 1]

Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel had actually toned it down a little. To feel the full impact of Dunning-school history, you need to read Thomas Dixon’s 1905 best-seller, The Clansman: a historical romance of the Ku Klux Klan. Or watch the 1915 silent movie made from it, The Birth of a Nation, which was the most popular film of all time until Gone With the Wind broke its records.

The iconic hooded Klansman on his horse, the Knight of the Invisible Empire, was the Luke Skywalker of his day.

The first modern war. The Civil War was easy to misunderstand at the time, because there had never been anything like it. It was a total mobilization of society, the kind Europe wouldn’t see until World War I. The Civil War was fought not just with cannons and bayonets, but with railroads and factories and an income tax.

If the Napoleonic Wars were your model, then it was obvious that the Confederacy lost in 1865: Its capital fell, its commander surrendered, its president was jailed, and its territories were occupied by the opposing army. If that’s not defeat, what is?

But now we have a better model than Napoleon: Iraq.

After the U.S. forces won on the battlefield in 1865 and shattered the organized Confederate military, the veterans of that shattered army formed a terrorist insurgency that carried on a campaign of fire and assassination throughout the South until President Hayes agreed to withdraw the occupying U. S. troops in 1877. Before and after 1877, the insurgents used lynchings and occasional pitched battles to terrorize those portions of the electorate still loyal to the United States. In this way they took charge of the machinery of state government, and then rewrote the state constitutions to reverse the postwar changes and restore the supremacy of the class that led the Confederate states into war in the first place. [2]

By the time it was all over, the planter aristocrats were back in control, and the three constitutional amendments that supposedly had codified the U.S.A’s victory over the C.S.A.– the 13th, 14th, and 15th — had been effectively nullified in every Confederate state. The Civil Rights Acts had been gutted by the Supreme Court, and were all but forgotten by the time similar proposals resurfaced in the 1960s. Blacks were once again forced into hard labor for subsistence wages, denied the right to vote, and denied the equal protection of the laws. Tens of thousands of them were still physically shackled and subject to being whipped, a story historian Douglas Blackmon told in his Pulitzer-winning Slavery By Another Name.

So Lincoln and Grant may have had their mission-accomplished moment, but ultimately the Confederates won. The real Civil War — the one that stretched from 1861 to 1877 — was the first war the United States lost.

The missed opportunity. Today, historians like Eric Foner and Douglas Egerton portray Reconstruction as a missed opportunity to avoid Jim Crow and start trying to heal the wounds of slavery a century sooner. Following W.E.B. DuBois’ iconoclastic-for-1935 Black Reconstruction, they see the freedmen as actors in their own history, rather than mere pawns or victims of whites. As a majority in Mississippi and South Carolina, and a substantial voting bloc across the South, blacks briefly used the democratic system to try to better their lot. If the federal government had protected the political process from white terrorism, black (and American) history could have taken an entirely different path.

In particular, 1865 was a moment when reparations and land reform were actually feasible. Late in the war, some of Lincoln’s generals — notably Sherman — had mitigated their slave-refugee problem by letting emancipated slaves farm small plots on the plantations that had been abandoned by their Confederate owners. Sick or injured animals unable to advance with the Army were left behind for the slaves to nurse back to health and use. (Hence “forty acres and a mule”.) Sherman’s example might have become a land-reform model for the entire Confederacy, dispossessing the slave-owning aristocrats in favor of the people whose unpaid labor had created their wealth.

Instead, President Johnson (himself a former slave-owner from Tennessee) was quick to pardon the aristocrats and restore their lands. [3] That created a dynamic that has been with us ever since: Early in Reconstruction, white and black working people sometimes made common cause against their common enemies in the aristocracy. But once it became clear that the upper classes were going to keep their ill-gotten holdings, freedmen and working-class whites were left to wrestle over the remaining slivers of the pie. Before long, whites who owned little land and had never owned slaves had become the shock troops of the planters’ bid to restore white supremacy.

Along the way, the planters created rhetoric you still hear today: The blacks were lazy and would rather wait for gifts from the government than work (in conditions very similar to slavery). In this way, the idle planters were able to paint the freedmen as parasites who wanted to live off the hard work of others.

The larger pattern. But the enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries.

That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.”

The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.

When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder.

That was the victory plan of Reconstruction. Black equality under the law was guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. But in the Confederate mind, no democratic process could legitimate such a change in the social order. It simply could not be allowed to stand, and it did not stand.

In the 20th century, the Confederate pattern of resistance was repeated against the Civil Rights movement. And though we like to claim that Martin Luther King won, in many ways he did not. School desegregation, for example, was never viewed as legitimate, and was resisted at every level. And it has been overcome. By most measures, schools are as segregated as ever, and the opportunities in white schools still far exceed the opportunities in non-white schools.

Today, ObamaCare cannot be accepted. No matter that it was passed by Congress, signed by the President, found constitutional by the Supreme Court, and ratified by the people when they re-elected President Obama. It cannot be allowed to stand, and so the tactics for destroying it get ever more extreme. The point of violence has not yet been reached, but the resistance is still young.

Violence is a key component of the present-day strategy against abortion rights, as Judge Myron Thompson’s recent ruling makes clear. Legal, political, social, economic, and violent methods of resistance mesh seamlessly. The Alabama legislature cannot ban abortion clinics directly, so it creates reasonable-sounding regulations the clinics cannot satisfy, like the requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Why can’t they fulfill that requirement? Because hospitals impose the reasonable-sounding rule that their doctors live and practice nearby, while many Alabama abortionists live out of state. The clinics can’t replace them with local doctors, because protesters will harass the those doctors’ non-abortion patients and drive the doctors out of any business but abortion. A doctor who chooses that path will face threats to his/her home and family. And doctors who ignore such threats have been murdered.

Legislators, of course, express horror at the murder of doctors, just as the pillars of 1960s Mississippi society expressed horror at the Mississippi Burning murders, and the planter aristocrats shook their heads sadly at the brutality of the KKK and the White Leagues. But the strategy is all of a piece and always has been. Change cannot stand, no matter what documents it is based on or who votes for them. If violence is necessary, so be it.

Unbalanced. This is not a universal, both-sides-do-it phenomenon. Compare, for example, the responses to the elections of our last two presidents. Like many liberals, I will go to my grave believing that if every person who went to the polls in 2000 had succeeded in casting the vote s/he intended, George W. Bush would never have been president. I supported Gore in taking his case to the courts. And, like Gore, once the Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favor — incorrectly, in my opinion — I dropped the issue.

For liberals, the Supreme Court was the end of the line. Any further effort to replace Bush would have been even less legitimate than his victory. Subsequently, Democrats rallied around President Bush after 9/11, and I don’t recall anyone suggesting that military officers refuse his orders on the grounds that he was not a legitimate president.

Barack Obama, by contrast, won a huge landslide in 2008, getting more votes than any president in history. And yet, his legitimacy has been questioned ever since. The Birther movement was created out of whole cloth, there never having been any reason to doubt the circumstances of Obama’s birth. Outrageous conspiracy theories of voter fraud — millions and millions of votes worth — have been entertained on no basis whatsoever. Immediately after Obama took office, the Oath Keeper movement prepared itself to refuse his orders.

A black president calling for change, who owes most of his margin to black voters — he himself is a violation of the established order. His legitimacy cannot be conceded.

Confederates need guns. The South is a place, but the Confederacy is a worldview. To this day, that worldview is strongest in the South, but it can be found all over the country (as are other products of Southern culture, like NASCAR and country music). A state as far north as Maine has a Tea Party governor.

Gun ownership is sometimes viewed as a part of Southern culture, but more than that, it plays a irreplaceable role in the Confederate worldview. Tea Partiers will tell you that the Second Amendment is our protection against “tyranny”. But in practice tyranny simply means a change in the established social order, even if that change happens — maybe especially if it happens — through the democratic processes defined in the Constitution. If the established social order cannot be defended by votes and laws, then it will be defended by intimidation and violence. How are We the People going to shoot abortion doctors and civil rights activists if we don’t have guns?

Occasionally this point becomes explicit, as when Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle said this:

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

Angle wasn’t talking about anything more “tyrannical” than our elected representatives voting for things she didn’t like (like ObamaCare or stimulus spending). If her side can’t fix that through elections, well then, the people who do win those elections will just have to be intimidated or killed. Angle doesn’t want it to come to that, but if liberals won’t yield peacefully to the conservative minority, what other choice is there?

Gun-rights activist Larry Pratt doesn’t even seem regretful:

“The Second Amendment is not for hunting, it’s not even for self-defense,” Pratt explained in his Leadership Institute talk. Rather, it is “for restraining tyrannical tendencies in government. Especially those in the liberal, tyrannical end of the spectrum. There is some restraint, and even if the voters of Brooklyn don’t hold them back, it may be there are other ways that their impulses are somewhat restrained. That’s the whole idea of the Second Amendment.”

So the Second Amendment is there not to defend democracy, but to fix what the progressive “voters of Brooklyn” get wrong.

It’s not a Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party protest was aimed at a Parliament where the colonists had no representation, and at an appointed governor who did not have to answer to the people he ruled. Today’s Tea Party faces a completely different problem: how a shrinking conservative minority can keep change at bay in spite of the democratic processes defined in the Constitution. That’s why they need guns. That’s why they need to keep the wrong people from voting in their full numbers.

These right-wing extremists have misappropriated the Boston patriots and the Philadelphia founders because their true ancestors — Jefferson Davis and the Confederates — are in poor repute. [4]

But the veneer of Bostonian rebellion easily scrapes off; the tea bags and tricorn hats are just props. The symbol Tea Partiers actually revere is the Confederate battle flag. Let a group of right-wingers ramble for any length of time, and you will soon hear that slavery wasn’t really so bad, that Andrew Johnson was right, that Lincoln shouldn’t have fought the war, that states have the rights of nullification and secession, that the war wasn’t really about slavery anyway, and a lot of other Confederate mythology that (until recently) had left me asking, “Why are we talking about this?”

By contrast, the concerns of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its revolutionary Sons of Liberty are never so close to the surface. So no. It’s not a Tea Party. It’s a Confederate Party.

Our modern Confederates are quick to tell the rest of us that we don’t understand them because we don’t know our American history. And they’re right. If you knew more American history, you would realize just how dangerous these people are.


[1] The other clear evidence stands in front of nearly every courthouse in the South: statues of Confederate heroes. You have to be blind not to recognize them as victory monuments. In the Jim Crow era, these stone sentries guarded the centers of civic power against Negroes foolish enough to try to register to vote or claim their other constitutional rights.

Calhoun way up high

In Away Down South: a history of Southern identity, James C. Cobb elaborates:

African Americans understood full well what monuments to the antebellum white regime were all about. When Charleston officials erected a statue of proslavery champion John C. Calhoun, “blacks took that statue personally,” Mamie Garvin Fields recalled. After all, “here was Calhoun looking you in the face and telling you, ‘Nigger, you may not be a slave but I’m back to see you stay in your places.’ ” In response, Fields explained, “we used to carry something with us, if we knew we would be passing that way, in order to deface that statue — scratch up the coat, break up the watch chain, try to knock off the nose. … [C]hildren and adults beat up John C. Calhoun so badly that the whites had to come back and put him way up high, so we couldn’t get to him.”

[2] The vocabulary of this struggle is illuminating. A carpetbagger was a no-account Northerner who arrived in the South with nothing more than the contents of a carpetbag. A scalawag was a lower-class Southern white who tried to rise above his betters in the post-war chaos. The class-based nature of these insults demonstrates who was authorizing this history: the planter aristocrats.

For a defense of the claim that the aristocrats intentionally led the South into war, see Douglas Egerton’s Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War.

[3] Though Congress had to find other “high crimes and misdemeanors” for their bill of impeachment, Johnson’s betrayal of the United States’ battlefield victory was the real basis of the attempt to remove him.

[4] Jefferson Davis and the Confederates also misappropriated the Founders. It started with John Calhoun’s Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States, published posthumously in 1851, which completely misrepresented the Founders and their Constitution. Calhoun’s view (that the Union was a consortium of states with no direct relationship to the people) would have made perfect sense if the Constitution had begun “We the States” rather than “We the People”.

Calhoun disagreed with Jefferson on one key point: All men are not created equal.

Modern conservatives who attribute their views to the Founders are usually unknowingly relying on Calhoun’s false image of the Founders, which was passed down through Davis and from there spread widely in Confederate folklore.

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  • suzanne galloway  On August 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

    This should be required reading for all high school and college history classes. It is a readable and scholarly explanation of why the south continues to fight the civil war!

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Like Mein Kampf & Protocols of the elders of Zion. Yes we need our children reading more Anti-American lies & distortions of history.

      • jstrayer56  On August 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

        Hilly, thanks for the great example of Godwin’s law. It took you what, two hours to sink to the bottom?

      • Eileen Hall  On August 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

        Anti-confederacy is not Anti-American, Hilly. But you do demonstrate the author’s point for him nicely, conflating the two!

  • Philippe Saner  On August 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Wow, this is genuinely illuminating. Thanks for writing it.

    • C.W. Roden  On August 14, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Oh its “illuminating” alright…its a perfect example of complete and total Leftist Establishment BS.

  • Judi  On August 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    One of the most pivotal books I have read in my lifetime was “Lies my teacher told me” by James Loewen. I read it in my 20s and I was blown away at how much of the true history of this country is hidden from our people through our educational system. Your article is very interesting and I do agree that the tea party does share a lot of the same strategies and ideals of the confederacy.

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      & this article adds 100s more lies

      • skinnercitycyclist  On August 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

        You neglected to add a link to the article you claim adds lies; surely you did not mean THIS article…

  • Mark Norton  On August 11, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This explains a great deal about why we are having such problems in government today. We have a secret class of insurgents who are attempted to control our society by force of arms and intimidation, rather than the democratic process. The question the becomes, what do we do about this?

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      yes they are the demon-cratic party owned by george seros

      • skinnercitycyclist  On August 13, 2014 at 9:02 am

        WHAT??? I never heard THAT one before…

  • JonF311  On August 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

    The Confederacy did not win: it ceased to exist after all. There would be no tropical slave empire enthroned on cotton and the scarred backs of its slaves. And whatever ugliness followed the war slavery itself was dead.
    The peace that followed Reconstruction was like most peace arrangements: not total capitulation by one side, but a negotiated arrangement. The South would be free to conduct its post-slavery racial affairs as it pleased, but would also not be allowed to hinder the national interest or reforms at the national level. and indeed, the South uttered not a word of protest against the Progressive era reforms or the New Deal. In that respect the federal government really was the victor. We were not the nation we were before 1865; it really was a new nation, albeit with old bad habits left over.

    Re: Gone With The Wind. If you consider that Rhett Butler reflects Margaret Mitchell’s own opinions (I think that’s valid) then the book approves of neither secession nor the KKK. The movie is another matter: even Mitchell criticized it for going overboard on the Southern romance stuff.

    • weeklysift  On August 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      It depends on what you mean by “approve”. Rhett thinks secession and the KKK are unwise, not that they’re wrong in any moral sense. Ashley and Melanie are the moral axis of the book, and they don’t disapprove in any meaningful way.

      • JonF311  On August 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

        Scarlett sneakily reads a letter from Ashley to Melanie where he (in his own way) affirms Rhett’s thoughts on secession. And much later Rhett tells Scarlett that he and Ashley worked together to put an end to the Atlanta Klan.

        Disapproving of war because it is unwise, or because it kills your loved ones and destroys your home (Scarlett) is a morally valid sentiment. And it’s impossible to read the book and not conclude that Scarlett thinks her pro-CSA neighbors are a pack of fools.

        Melanie may be the book’s moral center in principle, but Rhett and Scarlett speak for the author, who was something of an unconventional flouter of social strictures in own day. Yes, the book is deeply racist, in a uniquely Southern way, but what it is not is pro-CSA propaganda.

      • weeklysift  On August 12, 2014 at 10:38 am

        I find myself agreeing with most of what you say. Probably that paragraph in the essay should have been written differently, though I’m reluctant to do much more than typo-fixes after I’ve posted something.

        What that paragraph summarizes is the Dunning School view, which is reflected full-force in “The Birth of a Nation”, and is much watered down in “Gone With the Wind”. What GWtW still has is sympathy with the goals of the KKK, and the view that it (like the Confederacy itself) is a noble effort foolishly carried out. Reading GWtW, you’d never suspect that Ashley and his friends were out there murdering Republicans and terrorizing blacks who try to vote.

    • scbilly  On August 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      New Deal legislation was carefully tailored to eliminate or at least minimize benefit to African American citizens in order to ensure the support of the Confederate part of FDR’s Democratic coalition. Without that tailoring, more than a word of protest would have been offered. Since the Progressive Era reforms were largely a project of a GOP that had not come to depend on Confederate support they were not as influential, but Woodrow Wilson’s neo-Confederate domestic policies were certainly reacting against something, weren’t they?

      • JonF311  On August 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        That’s true but also irrelevant. The antebellum South opposed any sort of federal reform or infrastructure legislation without exception; they wanted only the weakest federal government. The Civil War decisively determined the supremacy of the federal government and part of the unspoken deal was that the South would never again challenge that as long as it got to keep its racial caste system. That deal lasted a century, and it created a very different federal government than what the gentleman of 1860 would have tolerated. Basically the Union got 2/3 of what it fought for (federal supremacy plus the end of explicit slavery); the South got about 1/3, mainly the preservation of race as a social and economic boundary.

        I am also puzzled that you refer to Wilson’s program as “neo-Confederate”. Wilson was an obnoxious racist and furthered racism while in office– but his WWI program was about as Big Government as it gets. equaled only by WWII stuff. Jeff Davis would have been weighted with lead bricks and dumped in the James if he had attempted half that stuff.

  • 57andfemale  On August 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    One of the finest essays I have ever read. This blog is now on my radar, big time. Thank you so much for your hard work, your excellent research, and your ability to articulate so clearly.

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      don’t forget to laud her ability to distort & lie

      • Anonymous  On August 13, 2014 at 10:31 am

        Your embarrassing yourself and you don’t even know it. Go back to the Faux News site to be amongst your intellectual equals.

  • Matthew Carlin  On August 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    A tour de force, best Sift article since the Web of Privilege. I’m recommending this to everyone (even if it’s controversial, even if it loses me friends in the south) because it’s the truth.

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      It may be the truth in some alternate universe where lies are reservedly labeled

      • Anonymous  On August 13, 2014 at 10:34 am

        All you can do is say “it’s lies”. Are you not equipped with the sense or facts to provide a valid argument and provide any kind of case?

      • Eileen Hall  On August 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

        What universe do you live in, Hilly? — We do note, btw, that you are unable to refute a single fact in the article and so just say “lies!” over and over, instead.

      • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

        All of y’all are picking on Hilly, but haven’t answered a damn thing I’ve said with facts or even an insult. I mean admittedly Hilly is talking in generalities, but the rest of you aren’t even doing that, you’re just jerking off the writer with more liberal back patting and presenting no facts of your own. How do you justify government authority w regards to police brutality? There can only be two choices: government is purposed to protect people’s liberties in every case or it is purposed to serve one group over another. If the latter is true, then the only person with rights in this country is the group in power. If the former is true everyone must join together to protect the rights of everyone because they all have an equal stake in the outcome. That’s the Confederate worldview in as simple as terms as possible minus the issue of slavery. Now have fun with this and lay off Hilly.

      • ogrepat  On August 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Loathing writes “everyone must join together to protect the rights of everyone because they all have an equal stake in the outcome. That’s the Confederate worldview in as simple as terms as possible minus the issue of slavery.”

        Minus… the very thing that was central to the Confederacy, and at the heart of the Confederate worldview. (Read the CSA constitution and the acts of secession by the various states. It was *all* about slavery and protecting it forever.)

        You can’t have an “equal stake in the outcome” for everyone when a huge part of the society is enslaved. Your argument is like talking of perfectly smooth, hairless elephants whose weight is negligible.

        Further, the whole structure of the Confederate society was designed to secure and protect the power and wealth of the planter class. So much for “equal stake.”

        Utter revisionist nonsense.

      • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

        So there is a copy of the Confederate Constitution, and I see two mentions of slavery, and only one bullet point devoted specifically to slavery. The rest of the document clarifies the sovereignty of the States, which was the issue at hand.

        And I said minus slavery because obviously the South wasn’t trying to provide for equal rights for slaves, but what you fail to acknowledge is the cultural morality that comes into play. I mean in 1860 do you think Lincoln was this forward thinking man, so forward in fact, he was willing to fight a war to free men he didn’t consider his equal, and that the majority of America wanted him to go to war for the slaves or do you think it’s more likely that he was trying to centralize power because of his political agenda? (Two great books on this are “the real Lincoln” and “Lincoln unmasked” by Thomas di Lorenzo)
        Also, culturally in the South Slaves were considered personal property. I don’t think anyone here will agree with that or acknowledge it is right, but it can’t be ignored because if you are viewing men as property then you are fighting for what’s yours, and therefore it becomes about states rights vs the federal government. It is for this reason I probably hate slavery more than anyone as a libertarian because you can’t talk to anyone about the ideas of a decentralized government with out them automatically bringing up slavery n then accusing me of sympathizing with slavery. However, the bigger issue at hand was high protection tariffs and an ever encroaching federal government that was violating the states rights clause of the Constitution. The South viewed the states as sovereign entities united very loosely for the common defense, coining money, and the other powers expressed solely for the fed government. Everything else they believed was up to them as it was intended in the Constitution. So while yes they were fighting for their right to own slaves they were also fighting for their right to be autonomous and self-governed.

        The author mentions tea partiers wanting to use violence just because they didn’t get their way. Well what do you think Lincoln did when his war killed 600,000 people. (Their were many legal channels he could have proposed to end slavery instead of War? There is a Constitutional Amendment process for a reason. Also, a lot of other nations phased slavery out gradually or provided compensation for slaves. I know the South fired the first shot, but prior to this they had asked the Union to leave the South and instead of doing so Lincoln reinforced fort sumtner, which would have been considered an act of war.) He continued to violate the Constitution throughout the war by suspending Habeus Corpus for newspaper editors who opposed him. Lincoln basically started the mess we have today with big central government, paper money, an over reaching executive branch. I also believe if you consider the fact that England was considering helping the South until the Gettysburg Address that Lincoln only really cared about the slaves when it was to his political advantage. Meaning freeing them with the Gettysburg address framed the debate around slavery and in turn ensured England wouldn’t help as they had just outlawed it in their country. Honestly, do you really believe there was that big of a moral difference in the North and South in 1860 in regards to owning men? Or do you think most people who fought in the North were fighting to save the Union? And do you think the South would have sacrificed so many men for a group of people they considered property? Or do you think they were fighting for themselves? I realize none of this is going to be very popular, but the fact of the matter is you can’t view this through a 2014 perspective. You also have to take into consideration the influences of thought on the men involved.

        I’ll close with reiterating, “I don’t support slavery, and I never have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support the principles of limited, self-government. In fact, today is the best time for these principles because of the fact people have more opportunities now than before even inspite of the government constantly screwing it up.

        Something to think about is, while there are a lot of dumb bigoted people out there, do you really believe all the people who support this view of government are bigots? Even though, I disagree whole heartily with most liberal positions. I still believe they have those views because they have the best interest of the country involved.

  • szopeno  On August 12, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Interesting insight on liberal worldview. I thought democracy is not about majority imposing its will on unwilling minority, changing laws on will, including those which were thought to prevent majority to impose its will on minority. I guess in liberal worldview it’s different.

    • Anonymous  On August 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Nice word salad.

      • skinnercitycyclist  On August 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

        Yeah, but I bet you slathered it with Russian dressing, you commie!

    • weeklysift  On August 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Now, now, Anonymous. szopeno deserves a better answer. In general, if you criticize another poster, you really ought identify yourself in some way. Otherwise, people will think I’m doing it.

      In the liberal worldview, certain issues are about what kind of country we want to be. Do we want to have integrated public schools, or public schools at all? Do we want to take care of the sick and the old? Do we want to have public infrastructure and parks and libraries? Should women be able to compete with men on equal footing?

      We recognize and value individual rights, but don’t want to give a minority veto power over the kind of country we want to become.

    • Philippe Saner  On August 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Every time someone wins an election, that’s a majority (or at least a plurality) imposing its will on an unwilling minority.

      Obviously there are limits, but allowing the majority to impose their will is more or less the point of democracy.

      • R Hays  On August 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm

        Not exactly. The interests of the minority are protected by the courts interpreting the majority decisions in the light of the Constitution. That is the safeguard that protects us from total mob rule. Using recent rulings as an example, majorities in several states enacted gay marriage bans. Courts have overturned those laws. Don’t like the tyranny of the courts? That’s why we permit the people through their Congress to amend the Constitution. A higher bar that slows down the whims of the politics of the hour.

    • Greg Comlish  On August 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Exactly. In the confederate world view, civil rights and the abolition of slavery are the product of a majority “imposing its views”. When the South talks about the rights of the minority, they mean the right of one minority to enslave another minority. These assholes still don’t get it.

  • goplifer  On August 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

    A friend pointed out this article and I’m thrilled to see it. I’m a Republican from Texas living in Chicago and I’ve been horrified by the direction of the party over the past fifteen years.

    I’ve written about the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in a blog at the Houston Chronicle and on my own blog. You’ve written an excellent summary. I’d like to point out a few additional things:

    Take a look at the GOP’s remaining strongholds on a map, laid over a map of slavery in 1860:

    A breakdown of Tea Party “slavery” rhetoric in historical terms:

    Why aging Southern whites are so frightened by pluralism:

    Great job.

    • weeklysift  On August 12, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Those are great articles. People should definitely click the links. I was not always a partisan Democrat. When I started voting in the 70s, I usually split my ticket, and it did not seem at all unlikely to me that the Republicans might nominate a candidate I could support. But the Eisenhower/Rockefeller/Ford party is long gone now.

      I hadn’t seen the slave-ship ad. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

      I’ll point out that the Confederate slavery rhetoric also goes way back, and it didn’t make much sense then either. Already in the first paragraph of Calhoun’s 1837 speech to the Senate “Slavery a Positive Good”, he says, “[My creed teaches] that encroachments must be met at the beginning, and that those who act on the opposite principle are prepared to become slaves.”

      So in a speech whose main point is that slavery is a benevolent institution, Calhoun begins by raising the specter of white Southerners becoming slaves of the North.

  • Steve Feite  On August 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Superb scholarship here. Please disseminate widely! This should be required reading for all school children and homeschooled kids.

  • Ken Knight  On August 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    This is a brilliant analysis of what the ultra conservatives are all about. Read “Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History'” by David Goldfield for further confirmation. The new thing that I found in this analysis is the idea that the Confederacy goes far beyond the defense of slavery.. Kudos for a good job..

  • ogrepat  On August 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Doug, this is superb. One small criticism about this point:
    “Early in Reconstruction, white and black working people sometimes made common cause against their common enemies in the aristocracy. But once it became clear that the upper classes were going to keep their ill-gotten holdings, freedmen and working-class whites were left to wrestle over the remaining slivers of the pie. Before long, whites who owned little land and had never owned slaves had become the shock troops of the planters’ bid to restore white supremacy.”

    That dynamic predates the failure of Reconstruction — more accurately, the intentional abandonment of Reconstruction, still in the cradle, to the Southern aristocrats. (It didn’t fail, it was murdered.)

    The pattern was set up in the early Colonial era, with the establishment of the slave laws. Indentured servants (Euro-origin slaves for a term of years) and Africans (sometimes treated as indentured, but mostly slaves for life) made common cause. Lived together, ate together, slept and had children together, made common cause, conspired, escaped, and rebelled together — until the aristocrats made the conditions of African slavery harsher and let up (some) on the Europeans.

    Divide and Rule, the old Roman imperial dictum.

    And the aristocracy has used that very same dynamic since that time — it’s been used to fracture Labor, etc., etc., etc. Until We The People are united and willing to not accept crappy but adequate deals for some at the price of abandoning allies, it’ll be played out again and again.

  • johnkutensky  On August 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Very interesting to read! Thank you!

  • Terry Welch  On August 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    One small error in an otherwise perfect essay: Gore did not take the recount to the Supreme Court, Bush took it to the court and asked for it to be stopped.

  • John Dumas  On August 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    This is a brilliant essay. I would note that the Birthers took no notice that John McCain was born outside of U.S. territory, one of the (false) claims they make about Barack Obama that somehow invalidates his election. Similarly, when Bobby Jindal expressed some thoughts of running, the Birthers concluded that although Jindal was born in the United States, as his parents were not born in the United States, he couldn’t possibly be eligible.

    Of course, Jindal is an American citizen and fully eligible to hold the Presidency. This goes to show that the Birthers only care to question the citizenship of non-whites.

    • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      re McLain, his parents were BOTH Americans, & the Demon-crats did make an issue of it. & the only comments I have seen on Jindal are again from BDELs (brain dead eastern liberals). a misnomer, as I have never found any liberal to actually have any liberal principles, they are all fascists.

      • skinnercitycyclist  On August 13, 2014 at 9:13 am

        I have never heard Jindal mentioned by Democrats in regard to “birtherism,” except to point out the hypocrisy of teabillies on the issue. And see Inigo Montoya for a comment on your use of the word “fascist.”

    • goplifer  On August 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      And of course, their hero Ted Cruz was born in Canada. The irony: Ted Cruz was actually born under the circumstances that they claim Obama was born under.

  • Dogbury  On August 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks for this article. As a British citizen I am constantly reminded of the disconnect between the national narrative and historical fact.

    Can anyone point me to any worthy rebuttals of the essay? I need a Devil’s Advocate of some kind at least.

    • goplifer  On August 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      You’ll have trouble finding a rebuttal of any real quality. Generally you’ll just get denial and insults (see comments below). There are a few exceptions.

      The folks at The American Conservative magazine are generally sympathetic to Southern political and economic values, though not necessarily the Neo-Confederate movement, They are old-world big-C “Conservatives” skeptical of capitalism, mass democracy, and empire, but in a very intelligent way. They stand in a long intellectual tradition with conservative Northern Catholics who were opposed to the Civil War.

      From another perspective, NY Times journalist Gail Collins wrote a book called ‘As Texas Goes…’ which amounts to a kind of apology for Southern economic and political ideas.

      The book is supposed to be an upbeat peon to Texas values, but it actually paints a pretty terrifying picture of a possible American future. That said, it is at least an opposing viewpoint.

  • Jimmy Rhodes  On August 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    This is the biggest load of shit I have ever read. You are equating resisting the authority of government to racism? How is this any better than Bush basically saying if you don’t support the war you are unpatriotic? If you read the Declaration of Independence, it clearly states :
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    How do you think the founders would alter or abolish it if not by war just as they did against England?

    You claim that this worldview is basically just a bunch of people upset because they aren’t getting their way, and they are willing to resort to violence to get it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The second amendment check against tyranny isn’t a free license to use violence just because you disagree. The south didn’t succeed over a disagreement. It’s a check against a government that violates the principles of liberty that are based off of the laws of nature. The revolution didn’t just happen because of taxation without representation. It was a fight for a way of life free from government control and intervention.

    You are correct in saying this is a confederate worldview, but it is also the founders worldview, and it was the reason the revolution was fought, the belief that the only purpose of government was to secure liberty. I think it is very irresponsible to suggest that anyone who supports the second amendment also wants to shoot abortion doctors, and everyone they don’t like. I don’t deny that exists, but it is hardly consistent with a libertarian/confederate/Jeffersonian view of government or the second Amendment. You are taking a fringe element you don’t like and painting them all as racists because you disagree. That sounds like using smear tactics instead of facts to me.

    Oh yeah, and suggesting Sherman just let slaves have farms after confederates abandoned them like they just say “hey we don’t want these farms anymore,” is shameful. Ever heard of Sherman’s march to the sea where he basically committed war crimes on every civilian in his path burning cities to the ground. Seems a little harsher than abandoned. More like chased into the street and gunned down.

    I do not affiliate with the tea party in anyway, but if anyone is accusing you of not understanding because you have an incorrect view of history, they are absolutely right.

    I’m sure you will screen this comment as all other comments look like sunshine up your bum, but someone should raise some opposition to this none sense.

    • Philippe Saner  On August 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Did you actually read the article?

      He’s not just saying anyone who opposes the government or support the second amendment of your constitution is evil.

      He’s presenting a case, with evidence, that one particular group of government-opposing second amendment supporters is at least partly evil.

      • Hilly Fairchild  On August 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm

        Rhodes’s point are valid, unlike the neo-socialist, anti-American author. Why don’t you people go back to Socialist Europe?

      • Matt Harris  On August 13, 2014 at 3:42 am

        Hush now the adults are speaking

      • theloathinglibertarian  On August 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        Yes, I read the article and was appalled. You are correct. The author isn’t just saying anyone. He’s specifically saying people who uphold the ideas our country was founded upon: states sovereignty, individual liberty, and a resistance to tyranny by means of force if it becomes necessary are racist, backwards, dangerous bigots.

        Furthermore, suggesting the taxation issue is what the whole revolutionary war was fought over is about as narrow sighted as I have seen. The men that founded this country did so because they believed in a specific set of principles that would ensure liberty for the greatest number of people. (Obviously, they had a huge flaw with slavery) taxation being one of the many issues of concern. Much like the civil war, in that slavey was an issue being fought over, but the bigger issue was the states wanted their sovereignty over the federal government, and up until Lincoln, had been pretty successful in ensuring it.
        However, the North at the time was leveying high protection tariffs on the South to help the Northern factories. The South was paying the tax but receiving none of the benefits. Additionally, the South voluntarily joined the union so they believed they voluntarily had the right to leave. The South’s loss changed the country forever in regards to big central government, fiat money, and the inability to resist the government or be punished by death.

        “Today, ObamaCare cannot be accepted. No matter that it was passed by Congress, signed by the President, found constitutional by the Supreme Court, and ratified by the people when they re-elected President Obama.”

        When does reelection ratify any law?

        “Angle wasn’t talking about anything more “tyrannical” than our elected representatives voting for things she didn’t like (like ObamaCare or stimulus spending).”

        Tyranny in the classical sense does not always mean a cruel and evil dictator. Many classical liberals believe once the government starts taking your personal property by force it is a form of tyranny or oppression. Below is an excerpt from the Law that explains the libertarian idea. (On a side note I’d think threatening to ignore congress, which was not mentioned here, would be a clear act of tyranny. I don’t believe violence is the first course of action in any of these situations. However, it’s in there as an oh shit handle should the need for revolution arise, but if people don’t view the amendment properly it’s as good as it not being there.)

        “The law sometimes takes its own part. Sometimes it accomplishes it with its own hands, in order to save the parties benefited the shame, the danger, and the scruple. Sometimes it places all this ceremony of magistracy, police, gendarmerie, and prisons, at the service of the plunderer, and treats the plundered party, when he defends himself, as the criminal. In a word, there is a legal plunder, and it is, no doubt, this that is meant by Mr. Montalembert.
        This plunder may be only an exceptional blemish in the legislation of a people, and in this case, the best thing that can be done is, without so many speeches and lamentations, to do away with it as soon as possible, notwithstanding the clamors of interested parties. But how is it to be distinguished? Very easily. See whether the law takes from some persons that which belongs to them, to give to others what does not belong to them. See whether the law performs, for the profit of one citizen, and, to the injury of others, an act that this citizen cannot perform without committing a crime. Abolish this law without delay; it is not merely an iniquity—it is a fertile source of iniquities for it invites reprisals; and if you do not take care, the exceptional case will extend, multiply, and become systematic. No doubt the party benefited will exclaim loudly; he will assert his acquired rights. He will say that the State is bound to protect and encourage his industry; he will plead that it is a good thing for the State to be enriched, that it may spend the more, and thus shower down salaries upon the poor workmen. Take care not to listen to this sophistry, for it is just by the systematizing of these arguments that legal plunder becomes systematized.
        And this is what has taken place. The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretense of organizing it. Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name of socialism. . .

        . . . and when once it has the law on its side, how will you be able to turn the law against it? How will you place it under the power of your tribunals, your gendarmes, and of your prisons? What will you do then? You wish to prevent it from taking any part in the making of laws. You would keep it outside the Legislative Palace. In this you will not succeed, I venture to prophesy, so long as legal plunder is the basis of the legislation within.
        It is absolutely necessary that this question of legal plunder should be determined, and there are only three solutions of it:
        1. When the few plunder the many.
        2. When everybody plunders everybody else.
        3. When nobody plunders anybody.”

        Excerpt From: Bastiat, Frederic. “The Law.” Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2011. iBooks.
        This material may be protected by copyright.

      • Bob Calder  On August 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        I lol’d
        Is it vulgar to use your name here?

  • Lance  On August 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Well, you got the haters out. Must be on the right track!

  • David Brin  On August 13, 2014 at 12:30 am

    The Civil War started in 1852, when waves of southern irregular cavalry began 8 years of violent raids into Northern states. See how…

    Oh and this article is right… the Civil War never ended. We are at least in phase five.

    • Matt Harris  On August 13, 2014 at 3:43 am

      This ^^^

  • Matt Osborne (@OsborneInk)  On August 13, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Culture warriors: we come for the party, but we stay for the jihad!

  • brian fuchs  On August 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article. I never ceases to amaze me how there can be people who view everything through a lens of hate. I had let my guard down and was shocked at the negative responses this beautifully written piece received and was even more surprised that those comments were laced with childishness. That was nearly as illuminating as the blog post itself.

  • Mary Popolizio  On August 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I agree with Hilly Fairchild. No other comment necessary.

  • Anonymous  On August 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

    To say the Civil war was not about slavery is just an attempt to forget history. Every state that succeded from the Union in the articles of succesion mentions slavery. The State rights issues was the right to hold slaves. For a great list of contemporary quotes see the link The south realized that without the ability to expand slavery into new areas/states that slavery would be doomed. Not all confederates owned or believed in slavery just the same as not all germans were Nazis. Not all Tea Party members are racists but way too many are. When a Tea party leader/County Republican officer places a gorilla with a picture of Obama on it and hangs it with a noose from a tree what else can you expect? Slavery was as much a ecomonic issue as a moral issue, a slave was worth a lot of money. But unless you could rationalize a person as less than human you can not justify holding someone as a slave.

  • Sean Kinney  On August 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Old Black Waters and commented:
    Food for thought.

    Fantastic article.

  • Brandi Tadlock  On August 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    This is an excellent article – thank you for writing it. From now on, I will be referring to anyone who identifies with the “Tea Party” as belonging to the “Confederate Party”, and I’ll cite this article when they ask why. I think they might be more willing to adopt the more accurate moniker than you might suspect – they spend a significant amount of time and effort trying to restore the Confederate flag insignia wherever they can – it’s romanticized to them. It’s about time that their true heritage is exposed for what it truly is.

  • bolshevikpunk  On August 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Have you read the Counter-Revolution of 1776 by Gerold Horne? (

  • Aaron Mansfield Durana  On August 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    The GOP is a neocon group in chronological context to the republican movement and now dominates to RP

  • Aaron Mansfield Durana  On August 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    2. the civil war was about the free world – slavery vs. freedom – the voted constitution of 1790 vs neo political radicalism where a human being could be property.- a lot of people thought it was important.

  • Not A Libertarian  On August 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Good old pseudo-intellectual, “I’m not a Republican, I just coincidentally sound like and vote for Republicans 99% of the time, I know more about everything than everyone else-especially the Constitution (even though I work as a landscaper) ” Libertarians.

    Of course the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. Sure, the South threatened to veto the Constitution if slavery was mentioned. And sure, the South fought tooth and nail to have every newly acquired territory made open to slavery. And sure, the entirety of the South’s economy was based on the perpetuation of slavery. And sure, the South began a cruel system of breeding slaves to not only save money, but to ensure its perpetuation. And sure, Southern slave owners relied on propaganda to manipulate the majority of white Southerners, especially the poor, to maintain their support even though they received no real tangible benefit from slavery (Propaganda that is coincidentally making a comeback among today’s Right). And sure, without the free labor slavery provided, the South’s economy (Almost exclusively agricultural) could no longer compete, and would’ve collapsed.

    But that’s not why the South seceded. No way. It was over principles, and other highfalutin stuff only sophisticated, GED holding Libertarian minds can comprehend.

    • Aaron Mansfield Durana  On August 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      all true, except that I have more than a GED – and I was spwaking about the war itself in regards to “bloodshed”. Thanks for Playing!

  • Bob Calder  On August 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Tea Party sympathizers seem to be literalists. The Confederacy = the power structure represented by the production of cotton to feed the newly mechanized power looms of the New England, England, and Scotland. As the number of power looms grew, so did the mechanization of associated sub-trades. Distribution using steamships sped the product away. At some point cotton had the same bottleneck problem we saw in the sugar cane industry until recently when a harvester was finally developed. There was a huge industry based on inhuman treatment of farm workers. Migrant workers anyone? How about a nice fat facepalm Hilly?

  • John Tighe  On August 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    A friend had a great comment:
    “The article is great, but it left out a big bonus handed to the White Supremicists: the 3/5th rule became the 5/5th rule. Blacks got full representation but were blocked from actual voting. This helped give southern whites voting power far beyond their actual numbers, an advantage they came to regard as an entitlement.”

  • brashley46  On August 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Reblogged this on brashley46 and commented:
    Great article.

  • William Harasym  On August 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Oxygen in Use! Smoking is OK!.

  • 8in8  On August 14, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Thank you
    Blog fantastic

  • DJ  On August 14, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I wish you had made the point more strongly that the second amendment is only for white people. This single observation lays bare in the starkest possible terms the true agenda of the Tea Party.

    Some quotes from and the accompanying comments:

    “There are reasons why white gun’s rights activists can walk into a Chipotle restaurant with assault rifles and be seen as gauche nuisances while unarmed black men are killed for reaching for their wallets or cell phones, or carrying children’s toys. Guns aren’t for black people, either.”

    “I can’t imagine a situation in which a group of machine-gun-toting black men walk down the street that doesn’t end with a massive tactical response, regardless of the particular geographic location’s concentration of gung ho second amendment advocates.”

    • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

      And this is a reason to be against the second amendment?
      The fact that a group of black men can’t do that without police response is a sign of oppressive government. It’s more of a reason to advocate for gun rights. I’d love to see a group of black men take a stand for gun rights in public.
      I mean based on your logic why even fight for civil rights? Because after all they weren’t meant for black men.

      I mean it’s this mentality that is the center of the problem, and the exact opposite of the libertarian mentality (one reason I don’t call myself a tea partier is because of all the stereotypes associated with them, and if I saw something libertarianism supported I disagreed with I wouldn’t be a libertarian anymore because my beliefs are based off of what I believe to be the laws of nature, which means no party can alter them).

      The men open carrying in public shouldn’t be seen as white men, black men, gay men, republicans, democrats, etc. they should just be seen as individuals regardless of their attributes. It’s is only once we see people as unique individuals that we can begin to judge people on their individual merit instead of based on stereotypes of the group they are associated with. This is the very core of classical liberal thought. Men shouldn’t prohibit other men from living their lives the way they please as long as it’s not effecting someone else to do the same.

      I will concede that a lot of people open carrying are probably just doing it to be defiant and don’t really understand the reasoning behind it. However, I don’t believe this is a reason to right off gun rights as something for nut jobs. I mean with all the police brutality that exists today wouldn’t you rather see black men armed to protect themselves against a police force that is in violation of their rights as human beings?

      I think we can both agree there are groups of white men and black men that if armed in public we both wouldn’t want to see. However, the reasoning for the second amendment needs to be examined along with the short comings of our society.

      The founders didn’t include a second amendment because of the just nature of men. They included it because they realized the nature of man towards power is usually corruption, and being that government power and authority is absolute force and often times violent force they realized, ” hey let’s hope we don’t have to do this revolution thing again but should the need arise we will be covered.”

      The next time you see anyone regardless of race being abused excessively by the police, ask yourself, “had that man been armed would he have been able to defend himself?” That is the core of the second.

      • DJ  On August 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

        Hell no, this is no reason to be against the second amendment. I’m pro-second-amendment. But how can you possibly even discuss the possibility of black men open carrying in public when even being unarmed and black is a fatal condition?

        Being armed would not have saved Michael Brown in Ferguson.

    • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

      For some reason, I couldn’t reply on your last comment. I can discuss it because while I agree that is the condition, I don’t believe it should be. I also believe villianizing guns compounds the problem. The reason black men cannot do that in my opinion is because of two things: we have lost sight of what the amendment’s about, and second, the way the media would portray the armed black men would be completely different then the way they would portray the good ole boys.

      But if you support the second amendment, it seems we are just talking about how to make it equal for all. The ideas of liberty are painted as bigoted ideas because people don’t understand the history.

      You won’t find me making apologies for slavery, as the author suggests, or trying to convince you everyone has an equal shot currently. What I am advocating though is to move back towards an idea of individualism and freedom as opposed to the government (police, military, congress, etc.) telling everyone what’s good for them.

      It seems to me the author has a very media view of the liberty movement. The fringe so to speak. But that’s what the media does.

      A gun may not have saved Michael Browns life, but I’m sure the protests will be more affective of they are armed. I mean imagine for a second there were no guns in the US except the police. How bad do you think it would get then?

    • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      This is why we have a second amendment case and point. If this makes me a bigoted confederate so be it, but how long will liberals sit there and say they care about minorities, but when something like this happens, they say guns are bad. I mean Jesus Christ how many people will the government kill before people realize it’s up to them to fight back. Again, I reiterate the Confederate idea was that if things like this ever started to happen you not only had a right to resist you had a duty to fight back. Yes, one of the big issues was slavery(just because one facet of the government was evil to the core doesn’t make the whole idea a fallacy.) but it runs deeper than that(and this isn’t to diminish how horrible slavery was) the point is when power is centralized and individuals arent seen as the highest ideal authority becomes oppressive like we see now.

      What do liberals propose we use, in the place of force, to fight government force? Especially, when the system isn’t working? How can you say in government we trust when the government is responsible for so much death and misery on the individual, whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Missouri? When will you wake up to the fact we live in a police state? So maybe you are right the confederate ideas are dangerous, but they are only dangerous to a government built on control and overreaching power not to citizens like ourselves. I mean honestly are you more afraid of a group of people who want people to be able to do as they please as long as they arent affecting other people or a group of armed thugs who have a license to do what they please in the name of safety?

      Btw this was posted as a response, but is really directed at everyone. I only posted it her because the Michael Brown case was mentioned before.

      • jstrayer56  On August 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        They shot an unarmed black man. What makes you think they wouldn’t shoot an armed one?

        And hell no, Ferguson is not why we have a second amendment. People shooting at the police would just make things worse.

      • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        I’m not advocating violence for the sake of violence, but I believe if the police come to anyone’s neighborhood and consistently are using unlawful force you have a right to protect yourself, especially when those police show up looking like a military unit prepared for war. You’re telling me if this happens in your neighborhood you’d just take it?

        I never said arming citizens would prevent them from being shot, but if they will kill one unarmed man what’s to stop them from killing all of them. At least if they are armed they can defend themselves.

        If the second amendment isn’t to check a tyrannical government then what do you believe it’s for? Don’t tell me to hunt with because in18th century America that would have been a given.

      • Philippe Saner  On August 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Confederate ideas are not only dangerous to the government. They’re dangerous to everyone, especially black people.

        After all, some of the confederates are in the government. There are plenty of confederate-sympathizer police officers who still haven’t given up the fight against desegregation. And like the article says, they’ll use everything available to them to fight against the ideas they hate. Including their guns and their legal authority.

        The Tea Party, sadly, isn’t here to protect people like the citizens of Ferguson from the police. A big chunk of it is more likely to side with the cops.

        The problem with the Tea Party is not that it’s willing to fight against a tyrannical government. It’s that its definition of a tyrannical government is deeply fucked up.

        The basic idea you’re espousing here, that armed resistance to the government is useful and necessary, isn’t just a right-wing thing. There are people on the left who’d agree with it too. Notably the Black Panther Party. Here, you might find this interesting:

        All that being said, I don’t think things in America are currently bad enough to require that sort of thing. I believe non-violent means are enough.

  • SamuraiArtGuy  On August 14, 2014 at 11:02 am

    What I find as fascinating as the article itself, is the polarization and vehemence of conviction of opposed opinion expressed in the comments, Ms Fairchild a particular standout. There are some sever divisions in this Nation, and what’s disquieting to see is the corporate and elite owners of our government happily (and quietly, with massive financial support ) encouraging the extreme views of the Tea Party to enable their own ends, which have little to to with Liberty other than their own, or decent Government for, by or of the People.

  • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm
  • theloathinglibertarian  On August 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Look at Ole General Lee here spewing his racist muck. Oh, wait… he’s saying the exact same thing I am that the government is responsible for the violence in Ferguson because of a militarized police force, but go ahead and worship your god government until they come to your door.

    • Philippe Saner  On August 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

      I don’t often agree with Rand Paul, but he has a point here. He’s identified the problem, at least.

      The problem with his response is that shrinking the government won’t stop white supremacists from killing black people. They don’t need a government to operate, and they can infiltrate the government much more effectively when it’s small and local.

      Bear in mind that the higher levels of government are currently intervening to stop the brutality of the local police in Ferguson.

      The government, ultimately, can be a force for good and for evil. And as far as I can tell, the only reliable way to stop KKK-esque groups in America is to use it as a force for good.

  • Carl Quella  On August 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Great article! It makes me want to revisit (after a separation of fifty years) C. Vann Woodward’s “The Burden of Southern History.

  • Fall Hammer  On August 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Wow great research, and you are correct about the black hole in education, regarding this period. I was born and grew up in the South during the 70’s and early 80’s, I left as soon I could due to the attitudes and racism. It was even worse in Southern public schools, I remember one of my home room teachers, removing my copy of A Raisin in The Sun, that I was supposed to read for my American Literature class, because he saw it as “Northern Propaganda” as he put it, and I should read about the “Real South” and how the North was jealous of their unique culture and that blacks were much better off in the “care” and “safety of the plantations” and that this was the real reason the North attacked them and their gentile ways. So I am not surprised by some of the comments here, in the minds of some White Southerners the War of Northern Aggression is still being fought today.

    (the AL teacher was an exception to the rule and I learned more about American history from her than all of my history courses combined)

  • DM  On August 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    You know, I shouldn’t comment on this, but this is probably one of the most offensive articles I’ve seen.

    Reading from top to bottom:

    First, President Johnson restored the lands of the former slaveholders, sure–because it was their land. The Supreme Court tacitly echoed this sentiment when it ruled that Arlington Cemetery (which had been Robert E. Lee’s plantation) had been illegally ceased by the Federal Government–and that his surviving son was owed the market value of the land. It required the 13th Amendment to “confiscate” slaves. It would’ve required a 16th Amendment to redistribute land–and that hits at the very heart of democracy, which is the protection of property. Southern slaveowners clearly were far from a great bunch, but it’d be hard to argue that most of them committed crimes. There was no legal basis for taking their land, especially considering the federal government’s stance (Lincoln’s stance) that the CSA was not a country but a region in rebellion, and that these people were always American citizens.

    From a strictly practical standpoint, so-called “land reforms” where land was forceably transferred from rich whites to poor blacks has wrecked economies throughout history–from Haiti in 1804 to Zimbabwe in the 1990s.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the whole “welfare queen” buzz word didn’t happen during Reconstruction.

    Moving along. Yes, Confederates were racist. School segregation is not race-based, but class-based.

    On to ObamaCare. I hate the argument that something “passed by Congress, signed by the President, and found constitutional” is used. We should always be fighting for justice. Laws change. Standards change.

    Do I agree that it’s a terrible law? Sure. Do I think it’s going to end our country? No.

    Otherwise you can tell Rosa Parks that segregation was passed by Congress, signed by the President, found constitutional, and ratified by the people. Or, to use a less incendiary example, tell Cindy Sheehan that Iraq was totally legitimate because Congress, Bush, the Constitution, and re-election were all satisfied.

    Abortion in Alabama is a silly issue to bring up and claim those tactics are one-sided. The exact same thing was done with guns in D.C.–a mess of regulations that, essentially, ban a right in the name of protecting so-called “innocent life” which is a claim used by both sides. D.C.’s handgun ban was thrown out by the SCOTUS–and a new one was put in place.

    “More votes than any president in history” is a baiting statement. The Birther movement has never been a mainstream belief, and critics of Bush v. Gore were silenced only by 9-11.

    Plus, when have liberals given up after a SCOTUS ruling? Citizens. United.

    But, he’s black, so clearly everyone’s a fucking racist.

    Okay, so guns! The Second Amendment (when it was written) was specifically written as a check on government. The “well-regulated militia” means Lexington and Concord–people running out to the common with muskets to fight an autocratic state. At its core, that right is about protecting democracy, no matter what a cherry-picked quote from some gun nut says, just like it was in 1775.

    That might sound archaic, but look at what’s going on in Ferguson. We have people who, if the federal government had their way, can’t have guns with more than 10 bullets. But police can have tanks, and can murder people in the streets–and only get negative press when there’s a riot. When the people take action.

    I should also note that I can’t name a single Tea Party event that comes close to a riot, despite the saucy language. Occupy Wall Street protests did turn violent rather frequently.

    Next: no one claimed the Tea Party was fighting for the exact same goals as the Boston Tea Party. But both are aimed at a government, in the name of economic freedom. As someone who formerly worked for a nationally-known Tea Party group (which I can’t specify; confidentiality clause) for four years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say “slavery wasn’t so bad” and “Lincoln shouldn’t have fought the war.” I do hear them talk about how their small business is suffering, or about how their healthcare premiums went up, or about how they got laid off.

    Because, at their core, people are not evil. They’re not motivated by grand ideas from history, or neo-Confederatism. They’re concerned that our rights are being eroded. They’re concerned that our government, even though it was elected by the people in 2008, was behaving illegitimately. And, considering how many Congressional seats changed hands in 2010, that was not a minority opinion. And, considering the GOP is heavily favored to gain seats and take the Senate, that’s still not a minority opinion.

    A government behaving illegitimately. Peaceful action to protest. That’s the link to the Tea Party in Boston. The idea that people need to stand up to government’s overreach. The context is different, but the sentiment is the same.

  • casa  On August 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I love how the author essentially says everyone who resists (and resents) having ever more money taken out of their pocket and redistributed to ‘society’ is a racist, and that we all need to be disarmed so we can be enslaved for the greater good without the chance of fighting back. Pretty much illustrating exactly why we were given the second amendment in the first place.

    If you want to be ‘progressive’ and liberal, go ahead. Do it with your own money and labor, not with mine.

  • HOTdab  On August 15, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Interesting, though I seriously doubt that the majority of Second Amendment supporters want to shoot “liberals” anymore than any other normal person wants to shoot anybody. I’m certainly not politically conservative, but I believe in the Second Amendment. I think also your article side-steps the very real problems of police violence and injustice against the populace (massive prison population, police brutality, War on Drugs, suspension of habeas corpus, using untested lethal injection mixtures, etc), the extent and secrecy of Homeland Security agencies, corporate influence in politics and our modern American plutocracy, etc, in assuming that the government of the United States actually works and reflects the will of the populace. The history part was interesting, though your other article about the history of racism in the two-party system is much better.


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