Author Gene Kizer, Jr. Defends the South to the Editor of a Charleston, SC Newspaper

GENE KIZER, Jr (2019)   (Photo: Gene Kizer, Jr)

by Gene Kizer Jr, July 12, 2019, with an Intro by Diane Rufino

This post is to give you some FOOD FOR THOUGHT…….

And perhaps even to inspire you to action, which I hope will be to defend our nation’s history and to assert our American First Amendment rights.

We live in trying times… maybe even reminiscent of the years when our country was involved in a quasi-war with France (during John Adams’ administration), when Abraham Lincoln was building his case for the invasion of the Confederate States and then pursing the Civil War, during the Cold War (the Red Scare and the McCarthy hearings), and during the Obama administration (government harassment of Tea Party and other conservative groups, control and politicization of the mainstream media, and illegal spying on the Trump campaign to effect the outcome of the 2016 election). In each of these examples, the American people had their rights to free speech and free press and their rights to conscience and political association violated by the government. These trying times are even reminiscent of the early years of Adolf Hitler, as he schemed to consolidate his power and his plans for a mighty Third Reich in Germany. Government control was all about controlling the message and about controlling how people thought and how they acted. It was mind-control (ie, indoctrination) and dissidents were punished. Germans were kept in line by the armed unit of the Nazi Party (the SS guards… not unlike our modern-day Antifa). Recognizing threats to our liberty and to the foundation of that liberty (ie, the conservative values and principles on which our country was founded, including the limited grants of authority to the federal government through the Constitution and the prohibitions outlined in the Bill of Rights) is the first step in assuming the role our Founders expected of us, which is one of resistance to such threats. Resisting the threats is the surest way to preserve our great country and to re-assert our alienable and other liberty rights.

We live in a dangerous era when progressives are trying to define what is acceptable speech and expression, what is acceptable conduct, and what history should be taught and even recognized in our country. We live in an era where the federal government had previously spent 8 years commandeering the full forces and instrumentalities of government to suppress political opposition, to exonerate political elites/favorites while punishing others, to illegally spy on a presidential campaign in order to find or manufacture ways to sink that campaign in favor of its preferred candidate, and to allow the Swamp to grow in DC to work insidiously day and night to undermine the will and wishes of the American people. We live in an era where political correctness is far more important than free speech, where the right to one’s conscience is non-existent, where those on the left think it’s proper to economically and reputationally destroy a person simply for holding a viewpoint that differs from theirs, where decent people are harassed, bullied, and beaten in public places by mental midgets and intolerants on the left, including Antifa simply for daring to be a conservative or for supporting our current president. We live in an era where history is actively being re-drafted and re-prioritized to align with the indoctrinational views of the progressive left. Confederate statues are being torn down or vandalized. The Confederate battle flag has been demonized and almost decreed a hate symbol. Names of historical figures (mostly Southern antebellum) are being scrubbed from public buildings, universities, and street signs. Even our great Southern Founding Fathers (such as Thomas Jefferson) are being vilified for living their lives in line with the custom of the time (ie, owning slaves – an institution recognized by the federal government and even protected by it). It is unconscionable that historians and professors teach students and our mushy-minded young adults that a man as revered and as important to our founding history as Thomas Jefferson is to be associated with slavery rather than with all the prolific contributions he made to our country and to the world – the Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man & of the Citizen (a civil rights document from the French Revolution written as a collaboration between he and the Marquis de Lafayette), the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (addressing both the natural right to one’s conscience and religious affiliation and exercise), the Northwest Ordinance, his influence on the state constitution of Virginia and its Declaration of Rights, his strong influence on James Madison to add a US Bill of Rights, his powerful defense of the “Necessary & Proper” Clause of the Constitution (to strictly confine what powers the government was delegated – going head-to-head with the nationalist/monarchist Alexander Hamilton), his defense of State’s Rights and his brilliant articulation of the doctrine of Nullification, the hundreds of letters he wrote explaining the meaning and intent of the Constitution and providing warnings and advice for future generations, and his creation of the US Library of Congress. While slavery was an (evil) institution practiced in our country, and in fact, was an institution that was firmly entrenched and embraced by almost all countries and colonies of the world at the time, it was NOT a contribution of Jefferson.

As any serious intellectual will tell you, you can’t view our past through the lens of our 21st century standards. The social norms of today are as far away from the social norms of our founding era as possible. The social norms of today are even as far away as possible from the social norms of our country when the great war between the states was fought. As Gene Kizer Jr. makes clear, when you apply current norms or when you view the past through the lens of 21st century standards, you are being intellectually dishonest. You aren’t trying to understand or analyze the past at all. You are simply trying to advance a political or progressive agenda.

With this introduction, please read the article that Gene Kizer, Jr. wrote, which is copied and pasted below:

Defending the South to an editor of the Charleston, SC Post and Courier – by Gene Kizer, Jr., Charleston Athenaeum Press, July 12, 2019

I had some correspondence with an editor of the Post and Courier this week when I sent them a letter for publication in response to their July 6, 2019 editorial “Don’t Let Extremists Define our National Symbols.” As a result, I saw an opening to send some valuable Southern history to this newspaper and I jumped on it.

Their editorial is good in that they are alarmed at Nike removing the Betsy Ross flag, the Charlottesville city council ending a celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and the idiots on the San Francisco school board voting to paint over an 80-year-old work of art portraying the life of George Washington.

The Post and Courier does not want us to validate bad people who attempt to redefine patriotic symbols, but wait! THEY in the media have done exactly that for years ad nauseam! The media is the primary reason we have this politically correct hate and destruction of history in the body politic.

Here is the 250 word letter-to-the-editor that got this started:

START

Your editorial of July 6, “Don’t let extremists define our national symbols” shows that your heart is in the right place but, boy, you need to look in the mirror.

You let the KKK and Dylan Roof define the Confederate battle flag though neither of them has an iota of claim to it.

You put the Southern Poverty Law Center’s disgraceful campaign to remove Confederate monuments on your front page, and you agitate all the time against ancient monuments including the Calhoun monument on Marion Square, and even against the word “Dixie.”

And now you are surprised when Colin Kaepernick and others follow your lead and turn the Betsy Ross flag, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington into vile racists?

The foundation of our great nation was indeed set in 1776 as you write, but it was certainly not “reset in 1865.” It died a violent death in 1865.

In the republic of the Founding Fathers, states were supreme, but after 1865, the Federal Government and Northern majority were supreme, which was the North’s goal all along.

You quote the Gettysburg Address but here’s what the great H. L. Mencken wrote in May, 1920: “The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination – ‘that government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves….”.

END

The editor wrote back and asked who the “YOU” was and that gave me my opening:

Actually, the “you” is the Post and Courier, but also the news media in general because so much of the media is of the same political philosophy, which has utterly politicized history in recent decades.

As serious historians know, one can’t apply 21st century standards to the past. When you do that, you aren’t understanding the past at all. You are using it as a current-day political tool.

Your own writer, Robert Behre explained to us on the front page on May 16th why we should hate the word “Dixie” after the College of Charleston in a disgusting fit of political correctness changed the 175-year-old name of Dixie Plantation (“C of C Dumps ‘Dixie’ Name for Plantation”). Behre then implied why we should also hate the song “Dixie” and word “plantation.”

Do you not find it odd that four weeks later on June 15th, the Antifa vandalizers of the Defenders Monument at the Battery also had a large sign that said “DIXIE IS DEAD.”

Maybe they were inspired by Behre and maybe it was just a coincidence, but the Post and Courier is really not fair or accurate with Southern history at all.

You let the KKK and Dylan Roof define the Confederate battle flag though neither of them has an iota of claim to it. The battle flag is, arguably, the greatest symbol of pure American valor our nation has ever produced because it was a soldier’s flag, not a national flag. It flew over the bloodiest battlefields of a war in which 800,000 died and over a million were wounded. It never flew over a slave ship like the US and British flags did for over two centuries. The largest Klan groups of the early 20th century carried the American flag.

Your editorial had mentioned the Declaration of Independence so I wanted to tell you that when Southerners debated seceding in the months before they actually did, the most widely quoted phrase of the secession debate came from the Declaration of Independence:

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. . .

And please don’t quote that garbage about States’ Rights being the right to own another person. The Confederate Constitution allowed free or slave states to join.

Five slave states fought for the North throughout the entire war, and the Emancipation Proclamation deliberately exempted them all as well as slaves in most Confederate territory already captured by the Union army.

The one thing that can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt is that the North did not go to war to end slavery. They went to war to preserve the Union, as Lincoln said over and over, because all their wealth and power were tied to the Union. They manufactured for the South and shipped Southern cotton and they made obscene amounts of money with tariffs, bounties, subsidies, monopolies and such, which caused three-fourths of the treasury to flow continually into the North, though most of the money in the treasury came from the South.

When the Cotton States seceded, the Northern economy began a dramatic collapse and by war time, there were hundreds of thousands of people unemployed and a dire situation in the North.

Southerners seceded because they were fed up with Northern hate and support for terrorism such as John Brown and Hinton Helper that Republicans had used to rally their votes in the election of 1860 in which over 60% of voters nationwide voted against Abraham Lincoln.

The War Between the States was one of the most unnecessary wars in all of history but then, from Lincoln’s standpoint, it was necessary for him and his new political party to establish their control over the rest of the country, though 800,000 had to die and over a million be wounded for them to do it.

To Southerners, 1861 was 1776 all over, and we in Charleston can be especially proud because we were never beaten by the Union army or navy. Charleston was unconquered militarily and never surrendered in the War Between the States. It was the only place besieged that did not give way to the besieger. When Confederate troops were ordered to evacuate in February, 1865 to continue the war elsewhere, the city, which had endured one of the longest sieges in history, was turned over to the Union army by a city alderman.

Slavery was dying out and would not have lasted another generation.

It is unconscionable that you maintain this politically correct hatefulness toward Southern history. Maybe you should go back and read your own archives which tell a different story.

Good and decent people are SO fed up with idiotic political correctness. They are fed up with decisions by snowflakes and indoctrinated and otherwise ignorant progressives to, for example, remove the Kate Smith’s monument (she helped win WWII with God Bless America), to have Thomas Jefferson’s birthday cancelled as a paid holiday in his hometown of Charlottesville, to allow a beautiful 80-year-old mural of the life of George Washington to be painted over in San Francisco, and most recently, the Kaepernick/Nike thing over the Betsy Ross flag.

It is disgusting and alarming, as your editorial pointed out. It is like a cancer. It ain’t gonna stop. It needs to be opposed and defeated, which will be hard because one political party is heavily invested in it.

I wish the Post and Courier would give me a chance to write long articles on history as you do with others. Everything I write is solidly argued and documented. It would definitely add to the debate.

Regardless, thank you for letting me send this to you.

Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

***   Gene Kizer, Jr. is the author of the book “Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States.” It’s an excellent, excellent book and I recommend it most highly. I also recommend going to his website – https://www.charlestonathenaeumpress.com/ – and signing up to read his articles. His most recent articles include: “Why the Cotton States Seceded and Formed the Confederate States of America” (July 2, 2019), “Obliterate the Sophism that Confederates Were Traitors” (June 30, 2019), “We Are in a Political Fight and Not a History Debate”(June 29, 2019), “The Absurdity of Slavery as the Cause of the War Between the States” (June 25, 2019), and “Satirical Letter-to-Editor Defending Confederate Monuments” (June 22, 2019).

 

Reference: Gene Kizer, Jr, “Defending the South to an editor of the Charleston, SC, Post and Courier,” Charleston Athenaeum Press, July 12, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.charlestonathenaeumpress.com/defending-the-south-to-an-editor-of-the-charleston-sc-post-and-courier/

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Rethinking the Southern Secession Movement of 1861

SECESSION - Union is Dissolved

by Diane Rufino, July 23, 2017

The question is: Was the Civil War fought over the issue of Slavery?  I won’t deny that slavery was an issue that inflamed the passions of both sections of the country and put each at odds with one another, but it was NOT the cause of the conflict that I will refer to as the War of Northern Aggression, a war which claimed the lives of over 650,000 young Americans.

At the end of 1860, with the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, the Union was on the verge of dissolution. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated on April 4, seven states had already seceded and a new nation had been formed, the Confederate States of America (complete with a new constitution).  Following South Carolina’s lead (December 1860), Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and then Texas formally severed political ties with the Union. On April 4, Virginia held a state convention to consider secession but voted it down, 89-45. (North Carolina would do the same). Lincoln could not allow the Union to be split; he could not lose the tariff revenue supplied by the agrarian South which, in 1859, not only supplied approximately 80% of the federal revenue, but was used to enrich the industrialized North. And so, something had to be done to give Lincoln a “pretext” to restore the Southern states to the Union.

On April 12, 1861, Lincoln tricked South Carolina militia forces into firing on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter, even after South Carolina had demanded, and even tried negotiating for, the transfer of the fort to the Confederacy. The attack on Fort Sumter would provide the pretext he needed. He used the incident to characterize the southern states as being in a state of active rebellion and thus ordering troops to subdue them. On April 15, President Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion and to defend the capital.  With that proclamation, four more Southern states left the Union. The first was Virginia.

Virginia did not leave the Union because of slavery; same with North Carolina. We should take particular note of this piece of history.

Virginia looked at President’s Lincoln’s Proclamation and demand for troops, and just as her leaders did when President John Adams passed the Sedition Act, she saw serious constitutional violations and contemplated how she needed to respond.

In reading the responses by Virginia’s Governor John Letcher below, you will see that he exercised all the remedies implied in the concept of State Sovereignty, Tenth Amendment, and even the Declaration of Independence:  First, he refused to comply with Lincoln’s decree – Virginia would not supply troops. That is Nullification and Interposition. And then, because the proclamation evidenced the will of a maniac, a tyrant, and an enemy of the Constitution, and evidenced the transformation of the federal government into something Virginia could no longer trust her sovereignty with and no longer wanted to be associated with, her people decided to sever the bonds which held her in allegiance. Virginia seceded.

On April 16, Virginia’s Governor John Letcher made the following dispatch to Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Simon Cameron:

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.RICHMOND, Va., April 16, 1861.

HON. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I received your telegram of the 15th, the genuineness of which I doubted. Since that time (have received your communication, mailed the same day, in which I am requested to detach from the militia of the State of Virginia “the quota designated in a table,” which you append, “to serve as infantry or riflemen for the period of three months, unless sooner discharged.”

In reply to this communication, I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South. Respectfully,

JOHN LETCHER.

The following day, Governor Letcher issued the following proclamation, which was published for the people of Virginia to read:

Whereas, Seven of the States formerly composing a part of the United States have, by authority of their people, solemnly resumed the powers granted by them to the United States, and have framed a Constitution and organized a Government for themselves, to which the people of those States are yielding willing obedience, and have so notified the President of the United States by all the formalities incident to such action, and thereby become to the United States a separate, independent and foreign power; and whereas, the Constitution of the United States has invested Congress with the sole power “to declare war,” and until such declaration is made, the President has no authority to call for an extraordinary force to wage offensive war against any foreign Power: and whereas, on the 15th inst., the President of the United States, in plain violation of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the laws of the United states to be duly executed over a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual force to compel obedience to his mandates; and whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a majority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its last session that the State of Virginia would consider such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of war, to be resisted by all the power at the command of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in session, representing the sovereignty of this State, has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered, and in the position they have assumed; and having made earnest efforts peaceably to compose the differences which have severed the Union, and having failed in that attempt, through this unwarranted act on the part of the President; and it is believed that the influences which operate to produce this proclamation against the seceded States will be brought to bear upon this commonwealth, if she should exercise her undoubted right to resume the powers granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of Virginia that an improper exercise of force against her people should be repelled.

Therefore I, JOHN LETCHER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper to order all armed volunteer regiments or companies within this State forthwith to hold themselves in readiness for immediate orders, and upon the reception of this proclamation to report to the Adjutant-General of the State their organization and numbers, and prepare themselves for efficient service. Such companies as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, that they may be properly supplied.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

JOHN LETCHER.

On April 17, in a newly-called convention, Virginia, the traditional leader of the South, made the decision to secede – 88 to 55, on the condition of ratification by a statewide referendum. Neither Virginia nor any of the other later-seceding states understood the federal government to authorize violence against member states.

Virginia’s ordinance of secession was ratified in a referendum by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451 on May 23.

On April 4, Virginia decided to remain in the Union. How did that decision preserve or extend slavery?  Virginians had been willing to endure a crushing protective tariff under President Lincoln, the likes of the Tariff of Abominations (1828). And they understood that remaining in the Union would mean that slavery would continue to be under attack by his administration. Virginia was loyal to the Union even when the government was antagonistic to her.  No, slavery wasn’t the reason the Southern states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina (and probably others), left the Union. It would be Lincoln’s demand for troops that would change their minds. To these states, remaining in the Union was to abandon every principle of confederation that they valued. Continued loyalty to a Union that would attack member states and being forced to take up arms against her neighbors was inconceivable and intolerable.

Slavery was the issue that caused the North to become aggressively hostile to the states of the South and to cause the South to question whether the two regions could ever have enough of a common interest to remain joined together with a government that was to serve each equally and fairly. But the independent ambitions of the federal government and the schemes and twisted ideology of its president were the direct cause of its violent course the division would take.

 

Reference:

“Governor Letcher’s Proclamation: His Reply to Secretary Cameron – State of Affairs Norfolk,” New York Times, April 22, 1861.  Referenced at:  http://www.nytimes.com/1861/04/22/news/gov-letcher-s-proclamation-his-reply-secretary-cameron-state-affairs-norfolk.html

 

Those Who are Tearing Down Confederate Monuments are Forcing Selective Amnesia on Americans

Image

ROBERT E. LEE - in front of door

by Diane Rufino, July 27, 2017

In this era when Southern (Confederate) leaders, symbols, generals, buildings, etc are being erased from our memory and history, and vilified in our conversations because of their connection to slavery, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind folks that they should really do some homework before jumping on this politically-correct bandwagon.  A history lesson is an opportunity for speech, for dialogue, for debate, for learning.  Erase history and you erase much more than the mere reminder than an event happened. Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase a time when states had the backbone to stand up for the principles in the Declaration of Independence (“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..”). Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase a time when states were willing to exert their natural rights of self-determination (aka, secession) rather than allow the federal government to subjugated them completely to its ambitious designs. Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase the last time in our nation’s history when states actually believed themselves to be the powerful sovereigns that they thought they would be under the US Constitution.

Be careful how you treat history.

Now many, it seems, are calling for the destruction of the monuments erected to Confederate leaders and Confederate generals, such as the great General Robert E. Lee.  There is no finer gentleman, no finer American, no finer human being than General Lee.  When President Lincoln tricked the South Carolina militia to fire on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1860, therefore giving him the reason he needed to raise troops to invade the South and force it back into the Union, he had some soul-searching to do. He was summoned to serve Lincoln and command the Northern Army, but then he would have to take up arms against the state he loved so much. Back in the day, one’s citizenship and one’s loyalties were first and foremost with one’s state (except, of course if you were a member of Congress). It was Lincoln’s Proclamation of April 15 that made Lee’s decision to fight for Virginia an easy one. Lincoln sent a dispatch to states such as Virginia and North Carolina, demanding that they send 75,000 troops to the Northern Army in order to invade the “rebelling states.”  Taking up arms, killing fellow Southerners, and imposing government force on his neighbors were things his conscience would not allow.  And so, he resigned the standing position he had with the government and joined the Confederate cause (Virginia voted to secede on April 17).

Lincoln had a tortured understanding of the Constitution and the South was right to resist.  Robert E. Lee, like so many other Southerns, was not a supporter of slavery and was looking forward to the day when the institution would either die a natural death (which it was on its way to doing) or would be abolished. He thought it an evil institution.  But slavery was not the cause of the hostilities that brought the War. It was government ambition, the disregard for States’ Rights, and the use of government force against member states (the ones who created the government in the first place) that initiated the violence that would claim more than 650,000 young American lives.  General Lee made the right choice. It may not have been the choice that best served our collective conscience regarding the enslavement of an entire race, but that’s not what the war was about. He made the right choice because only when states have the power to make their rightful decisions, including the decision to separate from an abusive government, can they effectively carry out the essential role that they play in our government system – to check the federal government when it oversteps its constitutional authority.

So, those who clamor to take down the statues of men like General Lee, or to erase his name from buildings and streets, take a moment to read what he had to say about slavery when the war was over: “I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”