The Confederate Party has always been about ‘Honor’

August is the month when America celebrates stupidity and I have been avoiding the celebrations. Sure, the stupidity of Americans is on display almost any given day. After all, we live in a Nation where 25% of the folks do not believe in evolution and also, too think that President Obama was not born in the United States. Almost as many also think that he is a secret Moooslim. The stupidity of these Twenty-five percenters is astounding, but not as astounding as the stupidity that lets these dumbshits define the political issues of the day.

And yet, here we are.

Over in Washington a vanguard of fools came to town to hear the drivel of the latest iteration of the bastard union of Know-Nothing Nativism with Confederate piety, racism and morality–all wrapped up in a patina of Jesus to make the appeals to hate, ignorance and fear seem blessed by the Divine. The name of the rally was Key: “Restoration Of Honor”.

The Confederacy and the Confederate movement has always been very concerned with ‘Honor’ and its restoration and when seen as a neo-Confederate rally the gathering today make sense as a fitting endpoint to a month celebrating stupidity in America. It makes sense that these neo-Confederates would hold this rally on the Anniversary and at the site of MLK’s famous speech 47 years ago. And it is predictable that these shifty fuckers would claim ownership of King and his movement. After all, Confederates have been trying to reclaim their right to own people, their labor and their ideas for more than two hundred years.

“Honor” is a wingnut code word that defines the term in the same way that the old Confederacy defined the term. And when paired with the word “restoration” it is a call for a return to an American rooted in the White Supremacy of the Confederacy. This Neo-Confederate movement has–ironically–captured the political party that was formed over a 150 years ago to destroy Confederate thinking and slavery. History is filled with funny twists of fate.

ConfederateGOP Logo

Rather than spend my time following the rantings of these neo-Confederate wingnuts, I have been enjoying a 27-part online lecture series by Yale historian David Blight on “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877”. One thing that is amazing is how similar the arguments of the Confederates and the modern Conservative movement are. And certain words cut through the ages like a golden thread ever linking the generations of extremist wingnuts to certain ideas, myths and goals. “Honor” is one of those words.

In his second lecture of the series, Blight talks a bit about the Confederate sense of “Honor”. Now in these lectures he talks about the South and in the time he is talking about it was fair to use the terms ‘Confederate’ and “South’ interchangeably. That is no longer true. Today, the Confederate mindset is an infection that can be found in all fifty states. It is distinct and separate from “the South”. So, in this passage replace the word ‘southern’ with “wingnut” or “Confederate” of “Republican” or Teabagger. It still works as a apt description of both eras:

In one of the greatest books ever written on the South, by a Southerner, in particular Wilbur Cash’s great classic in 1940 called The Mind of the South, he did something similar to Jefferson, although he’s focusing only on Southerners here. Cash was a great journalist, intellectual historian in his own right, deeply critical of his beloved South. In fact it was Cash who wrote a book called The Mind of the South in which he argued, in part, that the South had no mind. He didn’t really mean it. He said Southerners are “proud, brave, honorable by its”–The South is “proud, brave, honorable by its lights, courteous, personally generous, loyal, swift to act, often too swift, but signally effective, sometimes terrible in its actions. Such was the South at its best,” said Cash, “and such at its best it remains today.” Then comes a “but.” But the South, he says, is also characterized by, quote, “violence, intolerance, aversion, suspicion toward new ideas, an incapability for analysis, an inclination to act from feeling rather than from thought, attachment to fictions and false values, above all too great attachment to racial values and a tendency to justify cruelty and injustice.” [snip]

As one of my favorite historians warned me once, “don’t leave out the politics.” Don’t leave out politics. Now, if I could hang your hat on one kind of Southern distinctiveness, perhaps above all–it’s fun to play with all these stereotypes and realize that if so many people were writing this way, from personal observation, yes, there must be something to all these differences. But what eventually evolved in the South–and we will return to this a good deal next Tuesday when I’ll devote an entire lecture to this kind of slaveholder worldview and the pro-slavery argument–the pro-slavery defense–and how that evolved into a political culture. But if there’s one thing–and this is a little risky because there are always holes in any claim like this–but if there’s one distinct feature of the Old South society and indeed its leadership and most of its people, it would be what we might label anti-modernism

It was a society that eventually developed a disdain for what they perceived as the corruptions of modern commercialism. Southern slaveholding leadership, in particular, were very suspicious of the spread of literacy. They were very suspicious of the democratic tendencies, or so it seemed, the democratic tendencies of that northern society which was spreading literacy more widely, and eventually the right to vote more widely, at least among white people. It is a society where the leadership for sure, and much of the non-leadership, were suspicious of reform, suspicious of change, suspicious of democracy itself. Democracy, the slaveholding class of the South came to see–small d–as a dangerous thing. It was a threat to hierarchy and the South became quite distinctively a very hierarchical society–more on that in just a second. It became a hierarchical society rooted very deeply in open conceptions of class and obviously open conceptions of race. Some were born to rule. In the overall attitude of the planter class and the leadership class of the American South by the 1840s and 1850s, some were born to rule and some born to be ruled. Deal with it, was their attitude.

They became deeply protective and insistent upon their own peculiar sense–and there’s a great scholarship on this–their own peculiar sense of honor. Honor. That old-fashioned concept–it’s an old-fashioned word. How many of you even use that word anymore? “Do the honorable thing.” Ah. “Oh, I didn’t act today with much honor did I?” We’re more likely to–we have other words for it now. What would the–? We might say class — “we did that with class.” Or being effective. I don’t know, what would a synonym today be for honor? Anyone? A good synonym for honor. “A person of character.” Oh, I don’t know. Work on that, will you? A synonym for honor.

Well, honor in the Old South. There’s a whole vast scholarship on this and two or three of the teaching assistants in this class are real experts on it. So check it out with Steve and Sam and others. But it was essentially a set of values, and it was a deeply rooted set of values in the planters’ worldview. It was a form of behavior, demeanor. Yes, it meant a certain kind of gentleman’s understanding of behavior. It was the idea that a gentleman must be honest. A gentleman must be trustworthy. A gentleman was a man of entitlement. A gentleman was a man of property. A gentleman had class, rank, and status, and you better recognize it. And the most important thing in the Southern code of honor, I think, safe to say, was reputation. A man of honor must be recognized, must be acknowledged. And indeed there must be virtually a ritual of that recognition. [snip]

James Henry Hammond of South Carolina once said, I quote, “Reputation is everything. Everything with me depends upon the estimation in which I am held.” That’s honor, personal honor. For many Southerners it was more important than law, more important than conscience. And when they started encountering these Northerners, whether they were from Massachusetts or Ohio, who started talking about a politics of conscience, or a politics of law, they’re not always talking on the same page. So anti-modernism and honor are two hooks you can hang your hats on.

And these are the hooks the Teabaggers hang their tri-corner hats on: anti-modernism and a Confederate sense of honor–a code word of respect for white rule as an entitlement and that an elite of those whites folks are blessed by God to rule us all.

IMHO there is nothing honorable about the fools who followed Beck to Washington to support a restoration of the Confederacy. Fuck them and the horse’s ass they rode in on.

Cheers

dengre

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140 replies
  1. 1
    Chad S says:

    As a southern, there is personal honor, and then there’s what these idiots are trying to define it as. Everyone should have personal honor, no one should follow what these want to define “honor” as because its shitting all over what real honor is.

  2. 2
    catclub says:

    Honor is right next to pride, in my view.

    Now going medieval on your asses, what is number one in the seven deadly sins? Pride.
    I think the old christians got this right.
    Note also that the First virtue is humility.

    Ignoramuses.

  3. 3

    There’s a reason it’s called Southern Gothic.

    A strange mindset, built on utter denial.

  4. 4
    Cat Lady says:

    White privilege is not going to be given up without a fight. I’m not sure what that means as a practical matter, but I think we’re going to see a lot worse behavior than the fat stupid teatardness we saw today. Ugh.

  5. 5
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I really like your point, dengre, that the idiocy is everywhere. Obviously, as arguably the most insane congress person comes from MN, and the Republican running for governor is just frightening. I wish we COULD put them in one concentrated area so they would just attack each other and not the rest of the world.

    Honor. Another word that is in tatters.

  6. 6
    Dennis G. says:

    @Chad S:
    Like so many words and things these fuckers take ‘ownership’ and create definitions that are often an opposite of the real meaning of a word or event or person or thing. This perversion of the concept of ‘honor’ is an example, as is their claim to ‘own’ Dr. King and the civil rights movement in the name of white victimhood.

    They are bold, but in the end they are shiftless ignorant fuckwads.

    Cheers

  7. 7
    Svensker says:

    I asked a wingnut cousin what he meant by “restoring honor” — he didn’t answer me, but his friend did:

    It’s about going back to what made this country great. Honor and respect which has been somewhat lost as a nation over all the years with the pro liberal left progressive anti God politically correct crap that has gotten as of the track. Many have forgotten that this is a republic founded on belifs that were about freedom, liberty and following the constitution as a guide and not creating rules and laws that ignore it.

    If you can make anything out of that, let me know. No wonder they don’t mind Sarah’s word salads.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    “Honor” is a wingnut code word that defines the term in the same way that the old Confederacy defined the term.

    Another popular wingnut code word is “elites”, which seems to apply to anybody with a GED or high school diploma. That fucking neocon Krauthammer used it in his weekly rant against the Obama administration, being that he’s such a gallant and humble southern gentleman himself (except born in Canada and an Israeli citizen), in the mold of faux Colonel Newt Gingrich.

  9. 9
    efgoldman says:

    TNC and his commenters persuaded me to get and read Battle Cry of Freedom.

    I’m well behind the group and not participating in the discussion. I just got to 1860.

    But as I read, in my conversations with myself (you may snark at will) I keep saying “but what’s changed?”

    Sure, the physical facts are different. But clearly, the attitudes aren’t.

    And I find that extremely disturbing and crazy.

  10. 10
    morzer says:

    @Svensker:

    I think it means that incoherence is a feature, not a bug.

  11. 11
    very reverend crimson fire of compassion says:

    Le plus ca change . . .

  12. 12
    stuckinred says:

    In Apalachicola, Florida they have a replica of “The Three Soldiers” from the Wall in DC. Nowhere on this website do you see it but when you go there it has a plaque that says it is a monument to “Southern Soldiers” killed in Vietnam. I emailed the people on the site and bitched about it but they never replied. Assholes.

  13. 13
    morzer says:

    @efgoldman:

    David Freehling has a two book series on the run up to the Civil War, and when you look at the rhetoric and rationales of the Southerners, not to mention their obstructionism and abuse of procedure, you really get the impression that Boehner and his ilk would fit very happily into the South circa 1850.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Svensker: Ahem. Let me try a translation:

    I, as a straight white male, am tired of sharing my privilege I have enjoyed in the first two hundred years of this country and still have even though others are starting to creep up on that. I therefore demand a restoration to a time that existed only in my fantasies, when no women worked, nigras knew where the back of the bus was, Mexicans stayed in Mexico, and Asians only gave me dinner. I demand that my special place be restored because things were just fine when I was in charge.

    I think that about sums it up.

  15. 15
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Svensker: OK. How much meth was this guy doing when he answered you? That’s some seriously messed-up shit right there.

    @efgoldman: I think the sentiment is still around, of course, but the people who actually believe that shit is shrinking. In fact, the batshitcrazy are so fearful because their kind are dying out, and they are very very afraid. It’s cold comfort right now because I think the shit is going to get much worse before it gets better, but it’s something.

    @Yutsano: Very good translation!

  16. 16
    efgoldman says:

    @morzer:

    ‘zackly!

  17. 17
    mike in dc says:

    I think there was one part of MLK’s speech which did inspire Glenn Beck:
    In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I like your optimism.
    (Also liked your following on the bitches vs meangirls comments in the teh-stoopid-it-burns-just-to-type-his-name Beck rally thread earlier.)

    I’m 65, with long-life genes. Hope I live to see it.
    Went to 538 today, and am not at all optimistic about the near term future.

  20. 20
    Delia says:

    This all fits perfectly. The teabagger movement is secretly run by billionaires like the Kochs and Dick Armey, who can spread around talking points about honor to fool the rubes into thinking they’re taking part in something fine and noble that will profit them, just like the wealthy planters always conned the poor whites in the honor scam with the belief that they were superior to the blacks, even though they too were getting robbed by the whole system.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    I want to know where they think honor went. They think it went somewhere since it needs to be “restored.” Exactly when did it go away and how?

    If you ask them directly they can’t answer. To them “honor” is just a code word for white privilege or something.

    I want my word back.

  22. 22
    Dennis G. says:

    @Svensker:
    It is a very Confederate frame. Things were good until those damn Northern agitators started reading ‘rights’ into the Constitution. One should ask these folks to read the Dred Scott decision. This was a case decided ‘following the constitution as a guide’. It was a case that decided the property rights trumped individual rights and that some folks had no rights at all.

    Current wingnut thinking on the rights of immigrants is firmly rooted in the Dred Scott decision. I think most of these folks would support the Dred Scott decision. I pretty certain that at least 25% of them would.

    Cheers

  23. 23
    bootsy says:

    All true, Dennis G. But I still think it’s most important to remember this warm ember of confederate bullshit underlying the Tea Party was blown up into flames again not by the election of a black president (that just gave the fire room to grow) but by the desires of wealthy corporations and people like the Koch bros, Rupert Murdoch and Health Insurance Company Executives.

    Hell, if you read the New Yorker profile of the Kochs, you find out that they are not even conservatives really, they are anarchists. They wouldn’t care if they had to start a new War of Confederate Treason in order to keep their tax dodges.

  24. 24
    Dennis G. says:

    @mike in dc:
    funny

  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @Violet:
    Exactly. Maybe if you ask: how about 1865? was it then?

    Was it giving women the right to vote?
    Was it enforcing civil rights for blacks withe Civil rights act?

    Was it ending child labor and the enforcing the 40 hour work week?

    Maybe it was the Pure food and drug act?
    We want our honor and rat feces back!

    Was it electing a black president?

  26. 26
    Dave says:

    Awesome, awesome post.

  27. 27
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @efgoldman: Yes. I am usually not that optimistic, and I really do think in the short term (say the next ten years), it’s going to be terrible. If we can survive that, then it will get better. That’s a big if, though. As for Mean Girls v. Bitches–yeah. I have an odd take on the word bitch, but I’m fine with that.

  28. 28
    Dennis G. says:

    @bootsy:
    There are several threads that run through American History. The Confederate mindset is one: the idea of white supremacy and the God given right to steal labor.

    Other is the effort of American oligarchs (North, South, East and West) to game the system for their profits and power. These threads often overlap and intertwine.

    Dick Armey, Grover Norquest and a host of other wankers and think tanks have never worker a day in their lives. They have always been thugs in the hire of oligarchs working overtime to bamboozle the gullible. Nice work if you can get it.

    Cheers

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    LOL, this one pretty much captures the stupid.

    Sarah Palin Thanks America’s ‘Giants,’ Large And Small, At Restoring Honor Rally

    “Small Giants” for small minds.

  30. 30
    jwb says:

    @bootsy: And Frank Rich spends his whole column tomorrow talking about the Kochs and the New Yorker profile. He ends his column by issuing a fair challenge, I think, to Obama.

  31. 31
    Svensker says:

    @General Stuck:

    General, Sir, do you have a link to that Sarah quote? I would thank you very much.

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Svensker: Most of the articles about the Tea Party in general and this rally in particular touch on the fact that the people are filled with incoherent anger. There are a few genuine (and, IMHO, clueless) libertarians, but at least they talk about specific things–abolishing Soc Sec. and the Dept of Education, etc; you can’t really argue with the people who want to get rid of all that waste fraud and abuse– now known as “earmarks”– and the government impinging on their (rarely specified) rights.

  33. 33

    @Dennis G.:

    Dick Armey, Grover Norquest and a host of other wankers and think tanks have never worker a day in their lives. They have always been thugs in the hire of oligarchs working overtime to bamboozle the gullible. Nice work if you can get it.

    Now a stimulus program that would put these shitheads to work doing actual *work* digging ditches, etc. I could get behind that.

  34. 34
    Cacti says:

    Not sure if anyone has posted this already, but, here’s some “honor” for you.

    Fire at Murfreesboro, Tennessee Mosque site ruled an Arson.

    Looks like old-school Klan tactics are becoming retro-chic for “real ‘Murrica”.

    But we should be sensitive to the feelings of the Arsonists. Murfreesboro is a mere 890 miles from Ground Zero.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: The sight of Dick Armey, college professor turned congressman turned lobbyist, in that cowboy hat (lots of sunshine in Gucci Gulch, I guess) is too pathetic to even be funny, it’s frightening to think he was once one of the most powerful people in the country.

  36. 36
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Cacti: This just makes me sick at heart. And it’s only going to get worse.

  37. 37
    Seebach says:

    I noticed in the previous thread, some people were asking about the “young people don’t give a shit” thing. I am young, and I give a shit, but truly, what is there to do?

    Any institutional safeguards that once existed are gone. The media is an active enemy. The judicial branch is filled with rightists. I donated money and time to Obama, and I will vote straight democratic in November.

    The only things I can imagine will stop this is “generational replacement” and/or mass riots.

    And even if there were mass riots, the media would condemn them, and the democrats would condemn them, and the right would fight back with violence.

    So I think the young aren’t apathetic out of lack of passion. They’re apathetic out of a lack of real options.

    Imagine during the civil rights movement if the media actively suppressed images of African Americans being hit with dogs and firehoses, and Martin Luther King was a communist agent 24/7 until proven innocent. Would there be any chance for hope, then?

  38. 38
    El Cid says:

    They should call themselves the Redeemers. They could promise to Ride all Night for lower taxes. Launch a Wilmington Tax Riot for the working man.

    Balanced budgets today, balanced budgets tomorrow, balanced budgets forever!

  39. 39
    Chad S says:

    @Dennis G.: I take some solace that whenever I go home below the manson-nixon line, people still understand that personal honor isn’t a political tool.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    With the recent cabbie stabbing, we’re at the door of someone getting killed.

  41. 41
    bootsy says:

    @jwb: @Dennis G.: @Delia:
    Sorry Delia, didn’t see your post before mine, addressing the same issues. And more succinctly :)

    Dennis, you’re certainly right about the threads of white supremacy and corporate oligarchy running together and intertwining throughout US history. You can probably still separate them into separate eras, though. The one we’re in was probably embryonic in Nixon’s Southern Strategy, and really began to bear fruit I would imagine with Reagan. I don’t know if such particular corporate interests, like having all of our media controlled by six corporations has been a factor before now.

    jwb: Great article by Rich. Re his challenge: Can we expect Obama or any Democrat to be against corporate interests in such a direct way any more? I hope so.

  42. 42
    El Cid says:

    Riding all Night to Redeem the Lost Cause of, erm, Balanced Budgets!

  43. 43
    morzer says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Digging ditches is honest work. Let the bastards lick out the sewers with their lying, flexible tongues.

  44. 44
    jwb says:

    @Dennis G.: Yet it seems like a concept such as “honor,” even in the Confederate sense of the term, has a content such that it could be turned against the pavlovian response its dog whistle effect depends on. That is, I don’t think “honor” as it is used today works the way it did in the past. Who today is really willing to die for it, would rather die than lose honor? That erosion is what its cynical use by the teabaggers and so forth today depends on. It remains a potent term to be sure, and for the very reasons you outline, but it can be more freely used as a dog whistle, I would argue, because no one believes such honor is possible in the modern world (at best they believe that such honor belongs to the past they wish to restore) and so no one need feel shame (the reverse side of honor) when they act in less than honorable ways. One thing that everyone seems to have noticed recently: shame seems to have left the country.

    I can’t quite have my thought coherent here, but it seems striking how far short of the honorable ideal modern day Confederates would have to judge themselves. (And not seeing that is where all that money bootsy and others brought up comes into play.)

  45. 45
    General Stuck says:

    @jwb: Have to disagree on Rich’s challenge to Obama. Being the first black president, he cannot be the one leading the ideological charge against this rising tide of white entitlement as rulers of this country, and cannot even point out the obvious that that is what this shit is all about.

    It would be just what the anglo nativists are hoping for. And would set his presidency as confirming most of what these dickwads are fearful of, and going through all this bullshit about spending and deficits and broken economy that have little or nothing to do with why the tea party was formed. It won’t matter that the wingnuts caused these things, because this is about one thing, what color rules this country. All the progress in race relations in the US is conditional with minorities of all color, though especially black, staying in their place. And that place is following white rule, not conducting it. Not yet anyways.

    Obama needs to be just what he is, an unflappable technocrat and politician first proving himself, and by extension, that of the minority class as being competent and non threatening to the mouthbreathing racists, and more importantly, to the majority of whites in this country who want to accept colorblindness, but are being assaulted by demons past of their forefathers. And that demon is fear of losing control of the status quo regarding who rules the American roost.

  46. 46
    hilzoy says:

    “It’s about going back to what made this country great. Honor and respect which has been somewhat lost as a nation over all the years (…) Many have forgotten that this is a republic founded on belifs that were about freedom, liberty and following the constitution as a guide and not creating rules and laws that ignore it.”

    See, I actually believe this, with the one little deletion. What made this country great: the founding fathers (who were human, thus flawed) were actually willing to stake everything on the idea that people — at least the people they thought of as people, which in some cases just meant white people and in all cases men, but which was a marvelously expandable concept — should be treated like grown-ups and allowed to govern themselves. They were immensely privileged, and no doubt imagined that people like them would govern in perpetuity, but they were still willing not to keep their heads down and play the game and let the British govern them. Instead, they risked their plantations and their successful law practices and their lives for the sake of a principle, and a very good principle at that.

    They were not playing games. They were not blindly following idiots. They were doing something unprecedented in history, and they did it remarkably well.

    And they were honorable (though human). I will always adore cantankerous old John Adams for being willing to defend the British soldiers in the Boston massacre. That makes up for any amount of fussing about exactly what title he should be known by later in life.

    Moreover, I too find liberty at the bottom of all my political beliefs. What matters to me is that people should, by and large, be as free as possible to live the kinds of lives they want, if they’re willing to work hard and do their bit. Unlike the tea party people, I don’t think this conflicts with government action per se. Private property is a legal institution that requires government support. Markets operate according to laws, and could not operate otherwise. Governments set and enforce the terms on which we live — the rules of the game — and different rules allow us different degrees and kinds of freedom.

    I do not think I would gain in liberty if the government stopped enforcing food safety laws, and I had to wander through the supermarket with my chemistry set, testing things. I do think I would gain in liberty if I knew that I would have health insurance even if I lost my job. Certainly I would be more likely to do all those entrepreneurial things that conservatives claim to like if I knew that while I was risking my money, I was not risking my life, or, worse, the lives of my children.

    (Honestly: if I had kids, I don’t think I would ever leave a job that had decent health insurance for one that did not, let alone to start my own business. The very idea that I might have to watch my child die for lack of health insurance, thinking: yep, it sure was a swell idea to start my own catering business… — it’s just too horrible to contemplate. To my mind, people gain a lot in liberty when that stops being among the foreseeable consequences of making the wrong economic choice.)

    So I’m fine with most of what that person wrote. It’s just the interpretation of words like liberty, honor, and so forth that completely baffles me.

  47. 47
    bootsy says:

    @Chad S: Heh, “Manson-Nixon”. Never heard that before. However, I’ve lived in Maryland all my life, and the only Southern Honor we have is contained in our fried chicken.

  48. 48
    jwb says:

    @bootsy: “Can we expect Obama or any Democrat to be against corporate interests in such a direct way any more? I hope so.”

    I don’t know if we can expect it, but we better hope so.

  49. 49
    TuiMel says:

    @Cacti:
    Perhaps the Murfreesboro bigots are feeling additional agitation due to the ass-kicking rendered them by Aasif Mandvi and The Daily Show.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....60-seconds

  50. 50
    mclaren says:

    The claim that 25% of Americans don’t believe in evolution is not supported by the facts.

    In reality, 61% of Americans don’t believe in evolution.

    The 25% figure is the number of Americans who think the sun rotates around the earth. Or nearly: 20% of Americans think the sun circles the earth.

    Heliocentrism is a lie told by those liberally biased media, apparently.

  51. 51
    TX Expat says:

    @bootsy:

    But, Bootsy, the Confederate movement itself was ginned up by wealthy, agriculture-based corporatists who couldn’t countenance losing (in today’s dollars) billions of dollars of property i.e. slaves.

    That’s a lot of scratch and that explains why they went to such great lengths to preserve the slave-holding society. It is also the reason that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the South. The 13th Amendment had to be passed in order to avoid the takings issue in the non-Confederate states.

    Preserving that amount of elite white privilege took a lot of brainwashing and 300+ years of pitting white against black. The code words are so deeply ingrained down here that it’s hard to even make inroads, but at its root it’s about what these things are always about – making sure that there is always a small economic elite that rules over the rest of us.

    Fuck them. That’s not honor, it’s naked self-interest.

  52. 52
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Cacti: I know. I am very afraid of that very…probability.

    @General Stuck: I agree with you, General. Obama cannot come out guns a’blazing on this. I really think this is where the DNC needs to step in and do the yeoman’s work of pushing back on the nonsense from the right. That’s their job. Do it.

  53. 53
    jwb says:

    @General Stuck: I’m not sure. I don’t disagree in principle. The problem is I don’t see anyone else who is in a position to do it—he’s the only one with the standing to force the issue—but I would agree that it’s no sure thing that his intervention would be an improvement. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t force the issue and soon, we’re totally fucked.

  54. 54
    El Cid says:

    Yet Glenn Beck says that Obama is ambitious.
    And Glenn Beck is an honorable man.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis G.:

    This Neo-Confederate movement has—ironically—captured the political party that was formed over a 150 years ago to destroy Confederate thinking and slavery. History is filled with funny twists of fate.

    Excellent point, well stated. What’s the old Soviet era term? The Confederacy has been rehabilitated and falsely refashioned into some bizarre repository for Real American(tm) values.

  56. 56
    jwb says:

    @asiangrrlMN: How does the DNC pushback when they have no reliable access to the media? This has been the problem from day 1 of Obama’s presidency—really it’s been a problem since the 90s. The DNC can (and has been) blathering on endlessly about these sorts of things, but they can’t get traction because, unlike the Goopers, they can’t get sustained media time. I would agree that it’s a problem the DNC has to figure out a way to solve, but right now the only way the Dems can drive the news cycle is when Obama takes the lead—and even that is no guarantee.

  57. 57
    morzer says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I don’t see why Obama has to kiss our national boo-boos every time some nut with an obese horde of deluded followers brings his dog and pony show to town. Let’s see the Democrats discover some character for a change.

  58. 58
    General Stuck says:

    @jwb: The first thing that needs to happen is for dems and liberals to quit fighting amongst themselves and realize there is an enemy far greater than this or that minutiae over how Obama does his presidentin”. And Obama has given mostly oblique types of speeches on what is happening, but he cannot make it overtly about race and white entitlement, and must keep it on liberal progressive ideals versus conservative ones. It is up to the rest of us to come together and take the fight to the wingnuts on the core of their grievances, and that is partly liberal philosophy, but is hyper energized by the morbid fear that non whites will take away their birth right for running this country.

  59. 59
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @jwb: How does the RNC do it? How do the Republican Congress people do it? Yes, I know it’s twice as hard to get attention as a Democratic person than a Republican, but damn it, there are a handful on our side that are quite adept at doing it. More need to take the tack. Seriously. If Tim Kaine put out a scathing, but fact-filled bulletin, the trad media would be all over that shit.

    @morzer: I am totally with you on this point, especially since he has so much other shit to do. That’s why I think it’s on other prominent Democrats to do the pushing back, not him.

    @General Stuck: Damn right. We need some coherency (not saying we have to be totally in-synch, because that will never happen).

    And with that, I must take a nap. Catch y’all on the late-night shift.

  60. 60
    jfxgillis says:

    Dennis:

    GREAT post.

    The example I always give in this discussion is Quentin Compson in “Sound and the Fury.”

    He was horrified that the guy who fucked his sister cheated at cards. Not such a big deal that some guy fucked his sister, but he can’t be trusted at cards?!? Intolerable!!!!

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Yutsano says:

    @Seebach: We the young are moving away from traditional media. We communicate more on Facebook and in texts than by phone calls and even in person. It’s very difficult to get us to focus on the future because it’s in our nature to focus on the now. The now is that we are in a fight for any soft of meaningful way of life and we’re accepting too much as truth and/or gospel. So how do we fight? On our terms. We keep moving away from the traditional media and communicating and coordinating with each other on our terms. We take control of what we can, forming new labor organizations (not necessarily “unions, but organizations that make sense in our century) to represent our interests against megacorporations. We get on Obama and the DoJ to break up the large monopolistic players like Wal-Mart and the oil oligarchies to diversify our economy. Most of all we buck up and get to work, no matter how difficult that can be. Call me idealistic but this is all doable.

  63. 63
    Quiddity says:

    Apparently, it’s not dishonorable to lie about WMD in order to justify the invasion of a country that poses no threat.

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    @Svensker: I linked to the LOL, all caps, so it doesn’t highlight blue.

  65. 65
    bootsy says:

    @TX Expat: I agree with everything you’re saying, I think. Maybe you’re bringing more emphasis to how white privilege was actually completely inseparable from economic oligarchy (at least at the beginning of the plantation system). I’m pretty sure that’s how Zinn in A People’s History put it.

    Also it was pretty fascinating and relevant how Zinn detailed the measures that Planters took to build up racially separate treatment between indentured servants (poor whites) and slaves, so that they wouldn’t seek common cause.

    {Sigh. So many run-on sentences. To think that I used to tutor people in writing.}

  66. 66
    jwb says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Donors to the RNC own and run the media outlets. The RNC therefore doesn’t have to work to get its material on.

    If Tim Kaine put out that newsletter, maybe the media would be all over it, and maybe they’d just ignore it as they do all the other scathing newsletters that are undoubtedly being produced. I agree, though, the DNC has got to do a lot better job of trying, because they have really been MIA since the election.

  67. 67

    @morzer:
    You insult good sewers there, sir! They do serve a purpose.

  68. 68
    PeakVT says:

    James Henry Hammond of South Carolina once said, I quote, “Reputation is everything. Everything with me depends upon the estimation in which I am held.” That’s honor, personal honor. For many Southerners it was more important than law, more important than conscience

    To me, Hammond’s statement is just bizarre. But I guess he had to externalize his source of self-worth since he was a slave-owning bigot.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    How does the RNC do it?

    Two words: Fox News. It’s much easier to get your ideas in front of the public when you have a whole propaganda machine news network that’s dedicated to doing just that. Until somebody on the Left replicates the Fox News machine, but with a different ideological slant, the DNC is going to be hopelessly outclassed.

  70. 70
    TX Expat says:

    @bootsy:

    I think that economic oligarchy is still intertwined with racial division. That’s why we’re seeing such overt race-baiting from the right in these hard economic times which, by the way, were caused by our economic elites.

    By ginning up fears of a “black menace,” the present day confederates are just using the same tools they always have to divide and conquer those that suffer the most from their actions.

  71. 71
    jwb says:

    @General Stuck: I guess one thing I should make clear is that I didn’t hear Rich saying Obama needs to be angry and going after white privilege per se. I heard him saying that Obama should push a class warfare angle.

  72. 72
    jwb says:

    @Roger Moore: And replicating Fox News would cost a huge boatload of money. You’re talking billions upon billions.

  73. 73
    Mark S. says:

    I was taken aback driving through Tennessee and seeing a sign for Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. I don’t really care if they want to name things after Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson, but can we draw the line at the fucking first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan?

  74. 74

    @Svensker:

    If you can make anything out of that, let me know.

    I am actually going to give it a try.

    “pro liberal left progressive anti God politically correct crap”
    Bear in mind that what you call God you serve and what you serve you tend to say is God-given. [divine right of kings, for instance]. If you serve authoritarianism, you also serve a caste system, and the ‘politically correct crap’ does fly in the face of that caste system. And if you serve authoritarianism, you might think that all authority is god-given and to suggest a change is a form of rebellion and a rebellion is ‘anti-god’.

    “this is a republic founded on beliefs”
    This is an important point. Beliefs rule. ‘I believe xxx’ is the last word in an argument. It trumps ‘I think’, ‘I read somewhere’, and ‘There are some studies that suggest’. Reality testing and changing the laws to reflect changes in the social or physical environment would be, of course, unpatriotic.

    “following the constitution as a guide and not creating rules and laws that ignore it”
    The constitution is written in simple language but the implications of those words can get complex. On this point, the input of constitutional lawyers is not welcome. What they mean is, ‘If you pass laws that go against what I think the constitution says, that law is in fact unconstitutional.’

    [Interpreting the constitution is sort of like interpreting Holy Writ. Although many of my ancestors suffered a lot in order to get access to the Bible, I can understand why the Church would want to keep common people from reading and interpreting it.]

    I think the fellow was really trying to answer your question. He just speaks a different language.

    Has this helped?

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jwb: I always think Chris Dodd is good on TV. He might be a good replacement for Kaine. In general Dems do need to step up their media game. Work those fucking refs.

  76. 76
    General Stuck says:

    @jwb: Rich compared what Obama should do to the Kennedy “conspiracies” speech in 1961, which to me broadly related to xenophobia of the right wing, and not necessarily to class warfare.

    Which in Obama’s has to do with race.

  77. 77
    Honus says:

    @bootsy: two words: William Zantzinger

  78. 78
    jwb says:

    @General Stuck: Fair enough. I’ll admit that I didn’t know the context of the Kennedy reference so I was going on the previous example: “squeeze the worker dry in his old age and cast him like an orange rind into the refuse pail.”

  79. 79
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Brachiator:

    This Neo-Confederate movement has—ironically—captured the political party that was formed over a 150 years ago to destroy Confederate thinking and slavery.

    When people used to ask Maverick McCain why he stayed in the GOP, we would piously mewl about being proud to be in the party of Lincoln and TR. That the Southern Strategy and the relentless friendliness to malefactors of great wealth make this claim historical blasphemy doesn’t ever seem to occur to the David Gregorys.

  80. 80
    Mary G says:

    @General Stuck: I keep thinking of Jackie Robinson and how Branch Rickey told him he had to keep his temper when all the assholes were throwing stuff and screaming epithets at him. Obama has to do much the same thing. And like Jackie, I think he’ll suffer from having to hold it all in.

  81. 81
    MikeJ says:

    @TX Expat:

    I think that economic oligarchy is still intertwined with racial division.

    The rich want the poor to fight each other instead of going after the people who will drop fat lootz when you take them out.

  82. 82
    Bill Murray says:

    @General Stuck: but since the audience for the President to take a stand on this isn’t the nativist, it’s the low information centrists and various democratic supporting groups, the technocratic take no stand until the issue is settled approach is, I would say, counter productive. But it’s good you have the President’s back against those scalawags that want him to lead the party

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    @jwb:

    I guess one thing I should make clear is that I didn’t hear Rich saying Obama needs to be angry and going after white privilege per se. I heard him saying that Obama should push a class warfare angle.

    Frank Rich may have a tin ear with respect to the class warfare angle. Beck and the tea party crowd are emphasizing a return to values and religion, and the Koch brothers have found a way to appeal to fear over economic interests. The mainstream GOP keeps pushing the Big Lie that benign oligarchs are going to trickle down prosperity on American workers if only the evil government is pushed aside.

    So even though it’s still about class warfare, Obama and the Democrats have to deal with the fact that the conservatives have hijacked some of the traditional ways that Democrats used to appeal to workers.

    And replicating Fox News would cost a huge boatload of money. You’re talking billions upon billions.

    The New Media is increasingly turning Fox News into an also-ran. Fox News won’t disappear, but more people watch an incredibly popular YouTube video than watch Fox News. The challenge is getting meaningful news and commentary into alternative channels and in forcing the traditional media, pundits and reporters in paying attention to good alternative news and commentary. As it is, there are many Beltway pundits and reporters who willingly serve as censors and gatekeepers, protecting the oligarchs who serve their own interests as they pretend to care about religion and so-called traditional values.

  84. 84
    Chad S says:

    @bootsy: I live in MD and there’s no fried chicken thats worth feeding to a dog here. Maryland and Kentucky were grandfathered into the north(despite being south of the line) because they held out against the North during the War of Northern Aggression for a combined 30 or 40 minutes.

  85. 85
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I don’t think FoxNews itself is the problem, the larger problem is that rightwing talking points drive the Establishment narrative, Russert and Broder were doing this when FoxNews was just taking shape. that filters down even to the local news, especially, I think radio. I suspect a lot of people get most of their news, the basic stuff, from five minute snippets at the top of the hour. How many years did Ron “the Lord’s work” Fournier run AP, which feeds so many local papers? FoxNews accelerates that trend, and people like Jake Tapper and others pride themselves on being fair to Fox (keeping a professional road open? wouldn’t surprise me a bit).

  86. 86
    fourmorewars says:

    With this talk about the myth of Southern honor, I was wondering, is Dennis G. aware of the Cavaliers v. Roundheads theme? I read it, I believe, in ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’ by James McPherson. The whole Southern Honor thing is wrapped up in a narrative of racial superiority that was heavily pushed in the South in the years leading up to the Civil War. No, not THAT racial superiority.

    Never mind white vs. black: the whites in the South, you see, were inherently superior to the whites up North, because they were descended from the Cavaliers, the Royalist side in the English Civil War, the naturally superior aristocracy and yeoman farmers, or whatever. The North was descended from the Puritan, Roundhead, Oliver Cromwell side. Basically inferior peasant trash, as the Southerners framed it.

  87. 87
    bootsy says:

    @Chad S: Forget whut I said about not having honor, suh! You insult our chicken, and I demand satisfaction!

    I don’t usually have fried chicken because it retreates out my Mason-Dixon line faster than Savannah sold out to Sherman. But if you insult crab cakes we will meet with oyster forks at dawn.

  88. 88
    dhd says:

    Honor ain’t nothin’ but a Polish neo-Nazi band who amusingly happen to share their name with a (black) gangsta rapper.

    Seriously, “honor” is basically a dirty word as far as I’m concerned. Things it brings to mind: the abovementioned Nazi band, “Blood and Honour” (another neo-Nazi organization), honor killings, and so on, and so on.

  89. 89
    jwb says:

    @Brachiator:

    The New Media is increasingly turning Fox News into an also-ran. Fox News won’t disappear, but more people watch an incredibly popular YouTube video than watch Fox News. The challenge is getting meaningful news and commentary into alternative channels and in forcing the traditional media, pundits and reporters in paying attention to good alternative news and commentary.

    I would agree with this, though I think New Media is still 5 years away from being able to upend the networks and big cable. Then, too, some of the problem is ad driven. That is, the rightwing wurlitzer runs on direct donation, but it also runs on companies making ad buys for websites and sponsored publications. Here’s another story someone should be looking at: how much of that ad money is being directed at right wing sites and does it make sense for the eyeballs they are getting? Then, too, those of us on the Left should probably get used to donating regularly to our favorite media and political sites, since the ad revenue for our side is unlikely to ever come close to matching that for the other side.

  90. 90
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator:

    As it is, there are many Beltway pundits and reporters who willingly serve as censors and gatekeepers, protecting the oligarchs who serve their own interests as they pretend to care about religion and so-called traditional values.

    And this relates directly to Seebach’s comment above. The twentysomethings know they’re getting fucked over and the major institutions aren’t looking out for their interests so they get stuck with Jon Stewart and YouTube. Those are all well and good, but it seems to have little influence on actual change because the scope is limited. The solution? Either pressure the media to change back to pure news or abandon them entirely.

  91. 91
    vhh says:

    A few years ago my daughter wrote a paper for her course in Asian history at a major Australian university about “colonial anxiety,” which is the term applied to the worries of Europeans, mostly English or French, who dominated countries like India and Vietnam until the 1950s.

    These ex-pats occupies privileged positions and had a standard of living in the colonies that was far better than their lot at home (they were mostly lower middle class in origin, with modest education and prospects—that is why they went abroad). They knew darn well that they were resented by the natives, and sat up late at night worrying about what would—and finally did—happen in various drives for self government or national liberation. People like Gandhi were seen as a threat to the nice little arrangements the colonial self styled gentry had going for them.

    It didn’t last. Colonialism collapsed. The Brits came home from Africa and India, the French from Indochina and Algeria. For the most part, they kept their heads, so it wasn’t as tough as the French Revolution was for the French aristocracy. But it was still a big adjustment, and there are echoes today in parts of England and Southern France.

    Although it really shouldn’t be the case, given the very different circumstances, there is more than a little similarity between this and what is clearly the status anxiety of the Teabagger crowd. And it’s only going to get worse as white people of European ancestry begin to become a minorty in the US.

    And so the political-emotional situation faced by Obama now is eerily parallel to that faced by Nelson Mandela in South Africa and dramatized eloquently in the recent film Invictus. Mandela understood that by supporting—brilliantly—the traditionally white (though by then they had one black player) South African national rugby team, he could give the minority white population and former masters of the country a stake in the new South Africa. In this he had to counter the understandably vengeful tendencies among the political supporters who got him elected.

    I once spent several hours sitting next to Mandela during a university degree granting ceremony at which he was a speaker. We did not talk much, but I observed him intently.

    What characterizes his every utterance and even body language is careful consderation, moderation, and self restraint. He speaks carefully and conveys strength raising his voice or emotional temperature. Intense but cool. He is very tall, and even at age 80 moves gracefully and economically, like the athlete he was in his youth. He looks like a man who never loses his temper.

    I think Obama has some similar qualities, and is following a similar script. And I don’t think it is an accident that the movie about Mandela and the rugby team was released this year—there are some smart, sensitive and very successful people in the movie industry.

    And so I agree with the earlier poster about Frank Rich’s poke at Obama’s lack of responsiveness in his column in today’s NYT. Obama and his team DO have to push back against the Neo-Confederate Party (which is truly what they are, believe me, I live in Tennessee, and I know in the same way that John Cole knows), but they have to do so with graceful jiu-jitsu, with drama but without visible anger.

    We supporters, however, can and should feel free to enthusiastically support Obama and the Dems. After the primaries, we can now see who the alternatives are, and for the most part they are frightening.

    So my election season check writing starts tomorrow. And so should yours. With the situation as clear as it is now, we have to do our bit now or lose the right to complain after November.

  92. 92
    Brachiator says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    When people used to ask Maverick McCain why he stayed in the GOP, we would piously mewl about being proud to be in the party of Lincoln and TR. That the Southern Strategy and the relentless friendliness to malefactors of great wealth make this claim historical blasphemy doesn’t ever seem to occur to the David Gregorys.

    John McCain sold his soul a long time ago when he decided to tie his presidential ambitions to a political party which went out of its way to slime him and his adopted daughter in the 2000 primary.

    The smears claimed that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock (the McCains’ dark-skinned daughter was adopted from Bangladesh), that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, and that he was a “Manchurian Candidate” who was either a traitor or mentally unstable from his North Vietnam POW days.

    The David Gregorys in the media quietly ignore this stuff out of deference to McCain’s War Hero status.

  93. 93
    General Stuck says:

    But it’s good you have the President’s back against those scalawags that want him to lead the party

    I would go with braindead in liew of “scalawags”, but whatever flips your switch.

  94. 94
    jwb says:

    @vhh: “Obama and his team DO have to push back against the Neo-Confederate Party (which is truly what they are, believe me, I live in Tennessee, and I know in the same way that John Cole knows), but they have to do so with graceful jiu-jitsu, with drama but without visible anger.” This is very well put, and I don’t think that Rich would disagree with you.

  95. 95
    Yutsano says:

    On a somewhat related note I know that this is the wrong way to handle these folks, but it still gave me a big grin.

  96. 96
    MikeJ says:

    I wonder if the new owners of the Burlington coat Factory building would be will to move their community center elsewhere and sell the building to Fred “thank God for 9/11” Phelps? Imagine a christian church that is glad for 9/11 going in the site.

  97. 97

    The mosque in Murphreesboro, TN just got restored to honor. The fire was ruled arson.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @jwb:

    I think New Media is still 5 years away from being able to upend the networks and big cable.

    Things may be moving too fast to make reliable predictions, and there are all kinds of wild cards. A recent New York Times story suggests that USA Today is moving away from being a traditional newspaper. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08.....technology

    But lately the paper has lost its grip on the national media market. Its advertising revenue has collapsed. Its circulation has plunged — last year it forfeited its title as the nation’s most widely circulated newspaper on weekdays to The Wall Street Journal.
    __
    Faced with this dour reality, USA Today announced on Friday the most extensive reorganization in its 28-year history. The paper will eliminate about 130 jobs, or 9 percent of its work force, and shift its business model away from the print edition that has become ubiquitous in airports, hotels and newsstands across the country.
    __
    The paper’s focus will now be on its digital operations. It will emphasize breaking news on its Web site, aiming to post articles within 30 minutes of a breaking news event. It will create a stand-alone sports edition called USA Today Sports. And it will shift more of its resources toward making content more available in digital form, an effort to win a larger share of the tablet and mobile phone news market.

    As the recession continues and housing sales continue to sag, will more people cancel their cable service? And new homes wired for cable become irrelevant if people can’t buy new homes and use those cable hookups.

    The Internet is changing as dedicated smart phone apps and news sites with pay walls nudge people away from more general Web surfing. And here, by the way, on the Web, Rupert Murdoch is stupidly decreasing the visibility of his media products.

    And Facebook, Twitter and YouTube continue to change the way that news information is circulated. Consider a recent Yahoo story about Kashmir (“Facebook, YouTube used as weapons in Kashmir fight”).

    With student discussion groups banned and thousands of security operatives believed to be snooping on protesters, the youth of Kashmir are using the Internet as a virtual meeting place.
    __
    Social networking sites, though presumably under Indian surveillance, have proven to be more effective than any previous form of political communication in Kashmir, said Shuddabrata Sengupta, a New Delhi-based writer who follows new media issues in India.
    __
    “The struggle on the streets and in the corners of cyberspace have a mutually complementary nature,” he said.
    __
    The stone pelters use Facebook to debate the weekly calendar of protests, discuss ways to hold Kashmiri leaders accountable and trade daily news updates, some of questionable reliability.

    A lot of this stuff is rudimentary and not always reliable. Still, the media is changing quickly and in unexpected ways.

    @Yutsano:

    Either pressure the media to change back to pure news or abandon them entirely.

    I am not sure how well the media has ever responded to pressure, and some media outlets may become even less innovative as they struggle to survive, since the worst tend to look for ways to keep doing the same thing that they did before. And even as some media companies shift to the Internet, they still look for ways to operate in their own comfort zones. Fortunately, they are being challenged by innovators not bound by the old rules.

  99. 99
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator:

    Fortunately, they are being challenged by innovators not bound by the old rules.

    I do not find this as a negative. In fact, even though their reporting is uneven, I’m hoping that USA TODAY does indeed make their changes stick. As far as I can tell it seems to be holding okay with the Post-Intelligencer in Seattle, but someone will feel free to correct me if I’m incorrect here.

  100. 100
    asdf says:

    http://gawker.com/5624501/im-a.....id-t+shirt

    I’m with Hermione.

    Someone dared to call her “mudblood” in the movies. I am angry about it to this day. Nobody messes with Hermione.

  101. 101
    MikeJ says:

    @Brachiator:

    The stone pelters use Facebook…

    Wasn’t that Linda Ronstadt’s first band?

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    @hilzoy:

    Well stated. This is how I was raised and so I also have a hard time understanding how the terms can be so misinterpreted.

    Honestly: if I had kids, I don’t think I would ever leave a job that had decent health insurance for one that did not, let alone to start my own business.
    I don’t have kids but I left a job with health insurance to start my own business without because I didn’t see any other choice. My job prospects seemed very slim at 55, retirement at that age was not possible and in fact I feel that I’ll have wait till I’m 70 to start collecting SS.

    And now racism seems to be back in vogue politically. I thought maybe as the older generations died off racism would if not die out at least take only a small spot in the cheap seats. But no, can’t have any of this humans moving forward crap.
    Is this a great country or what?

  103. 103
    Anne Laurie says:

    @stuckinred:

    In Apalachicola, Florida they have a replica of “The Three Soldiers” from the Wall in DC. Nowhere on this website do you see it but when you go there it has a plaque that says it is a monument to “Southern Soldiers” killed in Vietnam.

    To be fair, the common wisdom is that a disproportionate percentage of the grunts killed in Vietnam were Southerners, because it was the real-life Dukes of Hazzard who had the least chance to avoid military service and the greatest tribal history of “proud military service”. Sometimes this went to extremes that we’ve done our best to flush down the memory hole. Can’t find a link online, but Molly Ivins had a horrifying story in her Dubya bio about how the Vietnam-era Marine Corps in Texas lowered their IQ standards to where they were accepting kids the state considered unqualified to get a drivers license. Because bringing in infantrymen who were literally cannon fodder (rifle fodder) meant the state could meet its draft quotas without inconveniencing the “Right Young Men” at the top of the social pyramid, such as George W. Bush, FANGer…

    And of course this despicable history ties into Dennis G’s larger point. Quite a large minority of “us” here in America can be differentiated from those pesky tribalists in Afghanistan only by the relatively recent invention of our household commodities. The only difference between the piggy-eyed retired Walmart manager wearing a misspelled racist t-shirt at today’s Reclaiming Our Victimhood rally, and the stringy Taliban elder supervising the stoning of a young couple who didn’t meet his community’s purity standards, is that our bigot has been forced into a semblance of literacy in return for easy access to industrial food, garments and shelter. Wolverines!

  104. 104
    Yutsano says:

    @Ruckus:

    I thought maybe as the older generations died off racism would if not die out at least take only a small spot in the cheap seats. But no, can’t have any of this humans moving forward crap.

    Racism IS dying off. What we are seeing now are the last gasps of a dying ideology not ready to give up the ghost just yet. But 18-35 year olds in the US including in the South show much lower racist attitudes than their older forebears. But the racists are getting more attention because they bring in more ratings, so we’re stuck with those images on the TV. Not all of the older generation is racist of course, many did stand shoulder to shoulder with MLK. It is getting better, we just have to look past the noise.

  105. 105
    Ecks says:

    Honor and respect which has been somewhat lost as a nation over all the years with the pro liberal left progressive anti God politically correct crap that has gotten as of the track.

    You realize that these days it’s hard to tell a nigger joke without people hassling you! It’s against the constitution! And when you get a hard time, just for being sexist… what HAS happened to our honor? Gahd bless murka.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jwb:

    I guess one thing I should make clear is that I didn’t hear Rich saying Obama needs to be angry and going after white privilege per se. I heard him saying that Obama should push a class warfare angle.

    Here’s the problem, though: since at least the Civil War, and probably even before then, class has been defined in the US along racial lines. Black people are lower class; white people are middle and upper class. That’s why, in the Jim Crow days, a black college graduate would have to step off the sidewalk for the poorest, most ignorant, most broken-down white man: that white man was automatically of a higher social class based solely on the color of his skin. And we still haven’t left those tropes behind.

    When you talk about class warfare in this country, you are talking about race, and that’s how every bigot in the country hears it. He doesn’t hear you telling him that he’s being exploited by the rich. He hears you telling him that he’s no better than a black man.

    Frank Rich is being incredibly naive if he thinks a black man can talk about “class warfare” and not have people hear it as “race war.”

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    @Yutsano:
    It is getting better, we just have to look past the noise.

    And hope it doesn’t blow up on us. That 27% that keeps coming around is still a pretty big number.

    For some strange reason the song title Money for Nothing sprang into my head just now, but I think it is appropriate as to where our country is right now. “Money for nothing, chicks for free”

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters around you have grown
    And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you is worth savin’
    Ahh you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
    Keep your eyes wide the chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin
    There’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
    The loser now will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
    Don’t criticize what you can’t understand
    Your sons and daughters are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    So get out of the new one it can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’

  109. 109
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    This is why I posted about racism being back in the forefront of our political bs. It isn’t over (and probably never will be completely) but the dying gasp of a morbid system can make quite a noise.

  110. 110
    E.D. Kain says:

    This is very good, Dennis. Thanks.

  111. 111
    Linkmeister says:

    @Anne Laurie: I find that plaque obnoxious as hell. I knew too many Northern guys who got drafted to Nam or served with me in Japan in ’72-’74 to see their service denigrated by a bunch of rednecks.

    I see that Apalachicola, Florida is up in the panhandle of the state. That figures.

  112. 112
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    I don’t disagree that the Confederates define “honor” in a fundamentally wrong and morally appalling way. That isn’t my biggest problem with this, though. That is related to the argument I often make that, in modern society, we badly misuse the term “cynical,” when what we should really say is that we are suspicious.

    If you go back and read the actual Cynics, they did, indeed, maintain that we should always be skeptical of people’s stated motives for doing anything. We need to ask whether or not self-interest is the real reason. All true.

    What has been forgotten is that they were also adamant that the person whose motives you need to be most skeptical of is yourself. You need to relentlessly make sure that you understand why you are taking some action, and whether or not your altruistic reasons are just a cover for you acting in your own self-interest.

    These days, everyone is a cynic, but very few of us stop and ask skeptical questions of ourselves. I really doubt that it was any different in ancient Greece. If we haven’t advanced all that much as a species, I doubt that we’ve really stepped back any, either.

    The Cynics went on and made a whole bunch of arguments that you should avoid acting in your own self-interest. It led them down a really loopy path to a belief that one should do without all material possessions in order to make sure that you aren’t influenced by them. I won’t go that far with them, and I don’t even think that the path they advocated would have led to where they wanted to go for most people. I’m with them on questioning yourself, though.

    Confederate misuse of “honor” is the same as everyone’s misuse of “cynicism.” It doesn’t seem to include any requirement, or even desire, to engage in self-examination in order to determine whether or not you are, in fact, honorable. One problem with this is that you end up with some really strange, immoral behavior regarded as honorable.

    More insidiously, the lack of skepticism about one’s own honor produces a lot of insecurity. The result is the hair trigger concern about one’s reputation, and the angry response when someone else is skeptical that you are honorable. That external response is way in which their honor is judged. Without self-criticism, there isn’t any internal way to restore your honor, and no chance of being satisfied with your own confidence in your honor, because you don’t have any. How could you?

  113. 113
    Andy K says:

    @fourmorewars:

    I don’t recall reading that in ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’, but it’s the main theme of Kevin Phillips’ ‘The Cousins Wars’, which traces the Roundhead-Royalist conflict from the English Civil War through the American Civil War.

  114. 114
    Lysana says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    today’s ReclaimingProclaiming Our Victimhood rally

    Fixed.

  115. 115
    Mr. Furious says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Frank Rich is being incredibly naive if he thinks a black man can talk about “class warfare” and not have people hear it as “race war.”

    Exactly.

    There are certainly ways that Obama can improve his messaging and fight back against the GOP and it’s broader goals/message, but he cannot come at any of this stuff head on and not have it blow up in his face.

    It doesn’t matter if only a quarter of the people hear it this way—it’s pretty clear that 25% are the loudest listeners and have the ability to drive the media.

    Hell, the fucking BBC’s overnight coverage on NPR was rotating Beck’s damn rally in its top stories. I don’t recall any of the rallys early in the Bush Administration getting a sniff from ANY of the media, but this carnival at the reflecting pool is world news.

  116. 116
    Kirk Spencer says:

    So in the south, honor and reputation are the same. Thus it matters not how honest and trustworthy you may be if others fail to acknowledge that honesty and trustworthiness.

    Further, wealth and property is also a matter of honor. Thus the poor cannot be honorable. Neither can those who rent instead of own.

    Add to this the most invidious of the elements, class. In many places, the south being one, class is a matter of lineage. It is possible for the descendants of the lower classes to become upper class, but it’s also possible the horse may learn to sing. The best way, of course, is for the parents to have become extremely wealthy, so much so that their presence was tolerated among the honorable and their offspring to become honorable by association — assuming they keep the wealth.

    In sum, it seems to be the external trappings that define honor for the southerner. Honor is only incidentally an internal value.

    This explains much.

  117. 117
    R.L. Harrington says:

    The fight is at the ballot box.

  118. 118
    Frank says:

    @Dave:

    Awesome, awesome post.

    I agree totally. The part with the 25% of our people that are idiots is so true. I wonder if every country has their own 25%. I doubt it. I think it is limited to our country since we have FoxNews. Their viewers seem to believe anything that is fed to them, whether it is “evolution is not true” or “Iraq was behind 911”. I guess the same 25% folks would have been perfectly happy living in the old Soviet Union. They could have watched Pravda and their government propaganda.

  119. 119
    Svensker says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I think the fellow was really trying to answer your question. He just speaks a different language.

    That’s finally what I told him after he gave me a long screed about how Iraq really was a threat, there really were WMD but the media lied about it, and it was not torture because putting panties on heads or simulating drowning is not torture because they cut peoples’ heads off.

  120. 120
    jwb says:

    @Yutsano: The question is whether the recent unpleasantness is affecting the racial attitudes of the young people. I haven’t seen any polling on this. Have you?

    (The only thing that has kept me from thinking we are headed toward fascism is that fascism needs foot soldiers and old, fat people make very poor foot soldiers.)

  121. 121
    Frank says:

    @Svensker:

    it was not torture because putting panties on heads or simulating drowning is not torture because they cut peoples’ heads off.

    But what if the people that cut the people’s heads off are not part of the same organization as the people that we simulated drowning to? Heck, according to our system, anybody is innocent until proven guilty. How does your friend know that the people we simulated drowning to are even guilty of anything? All we have is Bush’s word. Heck, we could have a President who could pick up your friend, claim he a is terrorist and do simulated drowning to him. And according to your friend, it would OK because somebody apparently cut some people’s heads off.

    These people love to say how we are the greatest country on earth. Well, doesn’t that mean we also have to act like it, ie not do simulating drowning just because they somebody else cut some peoples’ heads off.

  122. 122
    ploeg says:

    What, no mention of old Preston Brooks? That’s what honor means to these people.

  123. 123
    Svensker says:

    @Frank:

    These people love to say how we are the greatest country on earth. Well, doesn’t that mean we also have to act like it, ie not do simulating drowning just because they somebody else cut some peoples’ heads off.

    They don’t seem to be able to make that connection.

    Also, let me be clear that “simulated drowning” was his term. I call it waterboarding.

  124. 124
    Frank says:

    @Svensker:

    No need to explain :). I knew from your wording that it was your friend that had written it. Waterboarding, by the way, is something we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for in WWII.

  125. 125
    losingtheplot says:

    When I first heard that Becktard’s gathering was to be called ‘restoring honor’ I couldn’t figure out where ‘honor’ had gone in the first place. But once the Confederate connection was revealed, it all fell into place, as many commenters here have noted. It also reminded me of that great tome of the Confederate South in all her glory ‘Gone With the Wind’, and the scene where Scarlett drives her buggy past the freed slave squatters’ camp and is molested. The local KKK goes on a midnight rampage to ‘defend her honor’. All we need now is for it to be revealed that Obama’s having an affair with a white woman, and the teatards’ heads will explode.

  126. 126
    morzer says:

    “Honor” is the Confederate word for laxative. It enables a whole lot of heavily-compacted shit to be inflicted on the rest of the world.

  127. 127
    Alwhite says:

    @efgoldman:

    I found TNC via this blog – a huge thanks to John for that. I am rereading Battle cry, also behind & only contributing occasionally. But if you really want to get to the fever swamp follow some of the links provided by some of the commenters – particularly Andy from Texas. Andy is a great guy completely committed to detailing the war – but some of the sites he links to are visited by people who should be under observation as they are not quite right.

    Back in the early 90’s I was part of a list-serve group on these ACW and the ancestor sucking, anti-modern dickheads are emblematic of the current GOP. I could see it then before they took over the party.

  128. 128
    Dennis G. says:

    @fourmorewars:
    Yep, when these folks look to give their movement credibility they go way back.

    The crazy is deep and long with these folks. Of course the world revolves around an old Anglo-Saxon civil war.

    The truth is that these folks will claim anything to make their case. Yesterday they claimed ‘ownership’ of the Civil Rights movement to fuel their efforts to deny civil rights to millions. And of course, it was all ‘blessed’ by the Divine.

  129. 129
    Dennis G. says:

    @vhh:
    Good points. The idea of “confederate anxiety” explains a lot.

  130. 130
    BobS says:

    @Svensker: I engage with these idiots regularly on the comment thread of a small daily newspaper in northern Michigan. What you wrote is the extent of their knowledge of economics, history, science, etc.
    My latest exchange was with a guy whose initial comment was a somewhat heartrending description of being out of work for over two years (which would have been before January 2009 as I pointed out) and his exhausting his savings due to the end of his unemployment benefits.
    In his very next comment, he warned of how “the nanny state” signals the end of America as we know it.

  131. 131
    jake the snake says:

    @Delia:

    This all fits perfectly. The teabagger movement is secretly run by billionaires like the Kochs and Dick Armey, who can spread around talking points about honor to fool the rubes into thinking they’re taking part in something fine and noble that will profit them, just like the wealthy planters always conned the poor whites in the honor scam with the belief that they were superior to the blacks, even though they too were getting robbed by the whole system.

    This!

  132. 132
    ciotog says:

    There’s been some interesting research on this ‘honor’ biz. To wit, that the South has always been an “honor culture” and the North hasn’t. They did a study where the researchers deliberately knocked into high school students in the North and in the South, and the Northerners were largely unfazed, while the Southerners often took it as a personal affront. Honor cultures, it is fair to say, are always much more violent–contrary to conventional wisdom, the South, not the West, has always been the most violent part of the country.

    Another thing about honor cultures is that they are heavily invested in policing female sexuality, which is connected to male honor.

    And, honor cultures tend to be very hierarchical. Racial hierarchies suit honor cultures just fine, because how do you know what honor is, and how can you know you have it, unless some people can’t possess it? Hence, refusing to bestow honorifics like Mr. and Mrs. on black folks.

    Needless to say, militaries are also, by design and by default, honor cultures. It’s one reason so many Southerners have traditionally had an affinity for the military.

  133. 133
    Ruckus says:

    @ciotog:
    In the military they call it attitude, as in you have bad attitude and have to straighten up. You have to not only act subservient you have to feel it too. In real life it’s not enough to ride in the back of the bus, you have to know, that’s where you belong.

  134. 134
    300baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I also used to think that having a lefty equivalent of Fox News was what we needed to turn the tide. But I now think that any effort like that is not just unlikely, but abhorrent if it succeeds.

    Fox’s medium is base emotion. They aren’t a news network; they’re a feeling network. And really, most TV is like that; it’s just not well suited to fact. Indeed, information and reason work against unified feeling.

    One of the strengths of the modern American left is its fondness for thought. Not the kind of thought that leads each time to the same conclusion, but questioning, divergent thought. We like novelty, curiosity, diversity, complexity. But that’s not always comfortable, and the whole point is that people will end up feeling and thinking different things.

    Trying to get the lefty equivalent of Fox will either fail or inevitably destroy that love of thought.

  135. 135
    Nutella says:

    About the earlier point that Obama, as the first black president, can’t make a rhetorical charge against racism: I expect that’s right, if depressing to realize that’s where this country still is.

    I wonder if Bloomberg might take up the challenge. He made a good start with his public and principled support for Park51. He can’t (I hope) be mayor of New York forever. And he’s stinking rich and owns a media empire, too!

  136. 136
    Bernard says:

    being a Southerner always meant being pro war. Honor only exists if you win. So restoring “honor” is a way of “winning.
    after all these years of having Government tell Southerners how to live and where to live (selling to blacks, integration of schools, cities, neighborhoods). Integration proved Government interferes with American values.

    the same old lies told on and on and the Southern white people being used to screw themselves at the desires of the Elite. Ignorant white Southerners willingly used for the riches of the Elite, at that!

    and the White Southerners willingly help to screw the rest of America if the White Southerners can turn back Integration, Black and Minority Civil Rights.Women and Gays are not welcome in this version of “Honor.”

    and the White Southerners have “regained” their Honor with Leaders like Armey, Palin, Beck et al. the “honor” at being used to bankrupt the country and your self is quite an Honor i can do without.

    Boy, what wonders the “Willfully Ignorant” can achieve!!

  137. 137
    SciVo says:

    @Ruckus: When I went to college in Dallas, Texas, I was struck by the locals’ peculiar (to me) promotion of “knowing your place” as a social value. As an Oregonian, that conflicted with my cultural virtue of “making your way.” I never really fit in there.

    They have some superficially similar cultural myths with the lesson of “win big, lose big or stay home” that seem to be about making your way; but I think that they’re really just part of a culture of extravagance that only applies if it’s your place. Otherwise you should be a grunt on a ranch, oil field or military base, keep your head down, and act like you like it when they shit on you.

  138. 138
    MarkusB says:

    Thank you for posting this link to the lecture.

  139. 139
    Molly McRae says:

    It is a mistake to trash the concept of honor like this just to whine about its misuse by political opponents. How about holding people to it instead of reading in alternate meanings.

    Dennis G, you really need to let go of your fixation on a Confederacy that is gone with the wind. Expand your horizons to a wider swath of history. What you seem to think is unique to the Southern Confederacy has been fairly consistently sprinkled throughout in human history.

    Perhaps it would be better to rail against those aspects of humanity in general instead of scapegoating a particular culture. Otherwise the fighting just goes on and on.

  140. 140
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Hey, I have a good word for honor for you; how about honour? It is the way the rest of the English speaking world spells it, anyway.

    And besides, we’re not particularly enamoured of the idea that they’re allowed to have a perfectly good English word.

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