Friday, May 31, 2013

Still fighting the Civil War

It turns out that one of my co-workers buys into the bullshit fantasy in which the Civil War was fought over "states rights" instead of slavery. And apparently he's not alone. According to a Pew Research Center study, 38% of Americans say the Civil War was fought over slavery, and 48% it was fought over "states rights."

Of course I've felt it my duty to throw facts at him. I pointed out to him the impact that southern states have had on textbooks, which is confirmed by this article in Salon:

As the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy) gained in political clout, its members lobbied legislatures in Texas, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Florida to ban the purchase of textbooks that portrayed the South in anything less than heroic terms, or that contradicted any of the lost cause’s basic assertions. Its reach extended not just to public schools but to tenured academia—a little-known chapter of its propaganda effort is detailed by James Cobb in his 2005 book “Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity.” Cobb recounts how in 1911, for instance, University of Florida history professor Enoch Banks wrote an essay for the New York Independent suggesting that slavery was the cause of secession; Banks was forced by the ensuing public outcry to resign. Perhaps Banks should have seen that coming: seven years earlier, William E. Dodd, a history professor at Virginia’s Randolph-Macon College, had complained that to merely suggest the confederacy might not have been a noble enterprise led by lofty-minded statesmen “is to invite not only criticism but enforced resignation.” Dodd himself would later migrate to the University of Chicago, where he established a Northern outpost for Southerners who were interested in a serious examination of Southern history. Such scholarship was not encouraged back home: the first postwar society of Southern historians was created in 1869 for the explicit purpose of vindicating the confederate cause. 
The fear of losing one’s job worked to keep most dissenters in line, but if that failed, self-appointed censors in the community were always on the lookout. In 1913, for instance, the sons of confederate Veterans succeeded in banning from the University of Texas history curriculum a book that they felt offered an excessively New England slant on recent history. The UDC industriously compiled lists of textbooks used in schools across the South, sorting them into one of three categories: texts written by Northerners and blatantly unfair to the South; texts that were “apparently fair” but were still suspect because they were written by Northerners; and works by Southern writers. Outside academia, the New South creed, popularized by Atlanta newspaper editor Henry Grady in an effort to spur economic development, also reinforced this new orthodoxy. A big part of Grady’s canny public relations was to pay extravagant homage to the imagined splendor of the antebellum South, and to portray the New South as a revival of that genius instead of what it really was: the rise of a whole new class of plutocrats.

The UDC did lots of damage although according to the Salon article it no longer has much clout - but it still has a web site. But if you want a more active group of racist traitors you can check out the Southern Nationalist Network. I found that web site thanks to the Dixie Cinema web site - although they had reviews of neither the recent Lincoln nor Birth of a Nation. Although you can pretty much guess what they'll say if they ever do.

To see Southern revisionist bullshit in action check out the Dixie Outfitters web site wherein they claim:
Since the Southerners had escaped the tax by withdrawing from the Union, the only way the North could collect this oppressive tax was to invade the Confederate States and force them at gunpoint back into the Union. 
It was to collect this import tax to satisfy his Northern industrialist supporters that Abraham Lincoln invaded our South. Slavery was not the issue. Lincoln's war cost the lives of 600,000 Americans. 
The truth about the Confederate Flag is that it has nothing to do with racism or hate. The Civil War was not fought over slavery or racism.
We at Dixie Outfitters are trying to tell the real truth via our art and products in regards to the Confederate Flag. We hope to educate people about the Confederate Flag and stop the divisiveness caused by ignorance and emotion.
They go one step further than most lying Southern Revisionists - they don't simply avoid mentioning slavery - they actively claim that the Civil War was not about slavery.

These lying scumbags also have a Facebook page.

And now for some fresh air - I bought this movie when it was first released, but you can watch the entire thing for free on Youtube - it's C.S.A. - which presents the horrible dystopia that might have resulted if the South had won the Civil War.