January 13, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Fighting Back Against the Attempts to Extirpate Confederate Heritage: Memphis and the Assault on Our Western Christian Inheritance
You may have heard about the police state-totalitarian and patently illegal actions of the City of Memphis to take down the historic statues honoring General Nathan Bedford Forrest and President Jefferson Davis and the bust memorializing Captain Harvey Mathes of the 37th Regiment Tennessee troops. Despite the strictures of the Tennessee Heritage Law and the decision of the Tennessee Historical Commission contrary to such actions, the cultural Marxists who dominate the government of Memphis (and who have re-enslaved and placed the city's black citizens back on the—this time a Marxist—plantation), the city fathers of that city have outrageously ignored and violated the law.
While most (establishment) Republican leaders in Tennessee, just like their pusillanimous GOP co-cowards in most other states, have failed to take the legally dictated legal action (for fear of being called “racists”), the national Sons of Confederate Veterans has and is launching several major lawsuits to ensure that the laws of the State of Tennessee, not to mention the wishes of a majority of citizens of that state, are obeyed.
How, you may ask, is this legal action in Tennessee important in the overall context of what we should call “the battle for Western civilization?” Very simply the response is this: what is occurring in Memphis—and in other cities and states across not just the South, but the nation as a whole—represents in microcosm the multilevel and multifaceted assault on the entirety of our Western and Christian traditions, our inheritance and our legacy.
From the very initiation of the current attempt to “cleanse” our environment of symbols of our past—that is, those symbols that the culturally Marxist Left finds offensive or inconvenient to their Progressivist narrative, those symbols that illustrate another narrative, a broader vision of our historic Western Christian heritage—from the beginnings of this assault, the cultural Marxists have clearly selected those targets that they believed would be easier to destroy and demolish...as their first step.
If last year, or, if after the Dylan Roof attack in 2015, the fanatical Left had made a concerted and immediate effort to take down and remove all monuments and plaques honoring, say, President George Washington or President Thomas Jefferson—both of whom were slaveholders—their campaign would have failed, would have collapsed. Public opinion was not ready for such radicalism and, despite decades of Progressivist disinformation and ideological miseducation in our schools and media, would not have countenanced it.
But Confederate monuments and symbols: Ah, there was a target that could be tarred and feathered with more essential public support! Already there were dozens of establishment “historians” in major universities infected with the ideological virus of cultural Marxism, for whom “racism” was seen as the driving force, the central characteristic of American history. And the Confederacy? There was a ready-made target, a putative nation that was, so they wrote, “founded on racism.”
While a frontal attack on Washington and his historical and cultural symbolism at this time would have probably failed, an attack on the Confederacy, its heroes, its monuments and its memory, was seen as more productive and potentially successful.
But—and this is the essential point that absolutely must be understood—the attack on all things Confederate (and implicitly, Southern) was and is just a FIRST STEP, a first step in the complete “purification” of America, a complete and total purging of ALL of our historic symbols and of our historical memory. And eventually, the total transformation of the historic nation, itself.
What those who split hairs and endorse taking down Confederate monuments while at the same time defending the Washington symbols fail to understand is that the defense of the monuments honoring Generals Lee and Jackson is part of a seamless defense of the entirety of our Western and Christian heritage and traditions. Defending symbols of the Confederacy and its soldiers, and a defense of our other national symbols, cannot be separated.
This has been the fatal error of the “Neoconservatives,” those pundits and scribblers mostly in Washington or in New York who now dominate the so-called “conservative movement,” its think tanks and journals, Fox News, and who provide the meagre intellectual gruel for most establishment GOP thinking. Accepting implicitly the essential cultural Marxist narrative about race and racism, they are impelled by succeeding logic, to come to similar conclusions as their supposed enemies over on the “farther Left.” Accepting the egalitarian myth that “America was founded on the ideological principle—the unrealized idea—of equality” (a principle which is demonstrably and historically false), they remain prisoners of their circuitous logic.
So, they attempt to split hairs like all temporizers in history. They countenance a “little bit of revolution,” while attempting (always unsuccessfully) to resist the full effects and results of their initial if tepid agreement with the Revolution’s premises.
The late Senator Jesse Helms used to say that the only thing you find in the “middle of the road is a dead chicken.” In the end, whether it be the temporizing Kerensky in Russia in 1917 or the Girondistes during the French Revolution, our history is littered with the unlamented carcasses of dead chickens, of those who tried to have it both ways.
A defense of monuments to General Lee is, in fact, a defense of Western Christian tradition. Not to understand that is to seriously fail to comprehend what our Western Christian tradition is all about…and only enables our fierce and frenzied enemies who seek, in their darkest designs, to destroy it and us.
So, against Memphis the national SCV has filed legal actions, actions against enemies of our history and our inheritance. I pass on today [below] the official press release of Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain with complete details of actions being taken. And I also append after that a slightly revised My Corner that I wrote back on November 4, 2017, defending President Trump’s Chief of Staff General John Kelly [On November 15, The Abbeville Institute published a version of this at: https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/lee-kelly-and-the-marxists/ ]
SCV GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE IN MEMPHIS
Files TRO and Injunction
SCV National and the Forrest Camp 215 yesterday filed several court actions against the City of Memphis to combat and rectify the despicable crimes against and theft of Confederate statues on the night of December 20, 2017. On that night, the City ordered police and cranes into Forrest Park and Confederate Park and forcibly removed the Forrest Memorial Equestrian Statue, the Jefferson Davis Statue, and the bronze bust of Capt. Harvey Mathes, 37th Tenn. Infantry. The Forrest gravesite was also damaged. The statues were taken to an undisclosed location.
The SCV Court filings against the City and "any and all co-conspirators" include requests for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction. These actions, filed in (Nashville) Chancery Court, call for the defendants to exercise all duty and care for the 3 statues and prohibit the defendants from further damaging, moving, selling, or in any way harming or otherwise disturbing the statues and the Forrest gravesite pending further legal action. It is likely that additional lawsuits will be filed, to combat violations of the Tennessee Heritage Act and to pursue damages incurred under the laws.
Our legal team and the Forrest Camp members have been working tirelessly since the infamous theft to gather evidence, conduct interviews, and collect incriminating documents. Very simply, the filing of a TRO is not an easy matter; briefly, an 'injury' must be shown, court cases have to be cited, evidence submitted, and an indication of future court success must be shown in requesting a TRO. We have been extremely busy these past few weeks building our case and we continue to pursue legal action on multiple fronts.
It is our opinion that the City and its cohorts committed numerous violations of state law, civil law, cemetery law, and a host of other illegal acts in what appears to be a sham scheme to remove the Confederate monuments and to circumvent Tennessee law. Though the state attorney general has offered no help in prosecuting these crimes, the SCV has called on the Tennessee Legislature to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue charges against the Memphis mayor, city council, and all those involved in the thefts and/or damage to the Parks and monuments.
Special thanks go to our legal team headed by Mr. Doug Jones, and co-counsel David Livingston, and SCV JAG Scott Hall, and especially to the men on the front lines who have done yeoman's work to face the City in this fight: Lee Millar, Camp Commander Alan Doyle, and Tennessee Division Commander James Patterson and the Commander-in-Chief. Continuous consultation has been provided by the SCV GEC and the Division Officers. All of us have been involved, as have many of you.
But the fight has just begun. There is much more to do and more legal action to follow. We will not rest until our statues are returned to their rightful place and these scalawag or carpetbagger politicians in Memphis are punished. And we need you to help. Please donate to the Heritage Defense Fund to carry this fight to the enemy. Legal action results in legal bills. We need your donations to assist in the fight.
As famous author William Faulkner said on viewing the Statue of Forrest 75 years after the General's death: "Still powerful, still dangerous, still coming".
And so we likewise say to the City of Memphis: General Forrest and the SCV are still coming.
We will continue this journey, with your and God's help.
November 4, 2017
General John Kelly, Robert E. Lee, and the Marxist Ideological Prostitution of American History
You would think that David Duke had somehow been elected president. Or, maybe in this topsy-turvy, Alice-in-Wonderland period of history we are living through, that the reactionary Vladimir Putin had somehow actually taken over the White House. The editorial din, the screams of outrage seemed to drown out all other news. Surely, the very fate of the republic was at stake.
What had happened? The White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, had actually dared—and in public!—to defend the historical reputation and honor of Robert E. Lee. In our era of totalitarian political correctness, which parades in drag as an epoch of sublime “tolerance” and “free expression,” such views are the height of historical and cultural heresy—and not to mention what the Mainstream Media tells us—of political suicide. Such “heretical” views must not only be shouted down by what is termed “professional historians” (who act more like the Soviet politburo), but also banished from public discourse completely.
Kelly made his comments on the inaugural program of Laura Ingraham on Fox, “The Ingraham Angle,” Monday, October 30.
But what caught my attention was not some yahoo spouting bigoted screed. That is not what we saw, not what we heard. No; there before us was a lauded former Marine general, very calmly and reasonably making some points about our history and about Confederate commander Robert E. Lee who, until fairly recent years and the subversion and ideological transformation of American academia by outright cultural Marxists, was held in high regard by most Americans. His admirers have included such larger-than-life historical figures as Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Here is the critical paragraph that got General Kelly into so much trouble with the dominant, culturally Marxist historical profession (the entire interview is available as a video online):
“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
That sent the cultural Marxist editorial writers at The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post, and on major news networks, into a frantic tizzy, scurrying to find weighty “academic” opinion not so much to present serious arguments against Kelly, but, rather, to ridicule him and, as it goes in most politically-correct academic circles these days, to paint him as ignorant and obscurantist, someone who should be shunned—and scorned.
So, The Post turned to two history professors at Columbia University, both of whom have written scholarly tomes that satisfy the requirements of the modern establishment, cultural Marxist approach to our nation’s history. Stephanie McCurry and David Blight eagerly weighed in [https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/10/31/historians-respond-to-john-kellys-civil-war-remarks-strange-sad-wrong/?utm_term=.43f698d42611]. But rather than present specific arguments against Kelly’s comments, they took refuge in the “argument from Authority,” that is, regurgitating the modern historical narrative that: (1) the War Between the States was only about slavery, (2) the Northern side was engaged in a semi-religious crusade to free the slaves, while the Southern side was dedicated entirely to defending the peculiar institution, and (3) any Southerner who fought for the Confederacy was a “traitor.”
Implicitly, this argument assumes that secession was an unconstitutional act of treason, and that for states to engage in it was an act of rebellion and, for individuals, a traitorous act. Yet, despite the condescending assurances of Professors McCurry and Blight that this is the correct view, the question was not only far from decided in 1861, historically the preponderance of evidence—actual factual evidence—indicates that most Americans, and most of their leaders, believed during the pre-war period that secession was an acceptable constitutional option in serious circumstances.
In particular, the two academics attack General Kelly's belief that the War was avoidable, if there had been more of a willingness to compromise, to reconcile differences. For that inability, they blame the South. Yet as recent historians like William Marvel and Thomas Fleming have chronicled, it was the Lincoln administration that torpedoed every effort at peace during the critical months of early 1861.
What is more disquieting about the position taken by McCurry and Blight is the underlying assumption that modern scholars have somehow come up with “new” facts that overwhelmingly support their views. To use Professor Blight’s expression, he and McCurry and other contemporary historians have “exploded” the pro-Southern reconciliationist narrative that earlier historians once held. Yet, the simple fact is that there is no boat load of new “facts” but only an ideological reinterpretation of the same old facts, and that re-interpretation is guided by previously announced and pre-set Marxist objectives. It is that ideological template that controls the contemporary historical narrative and dominates the historical profession.
Earlier historians like the brilliant William A. Dunning, Avery Craven (The Coming of the Civil War), Francis Butler Simkins (The South Old and New), and more recently Ludwell Johnson (North Against South: The American Iliad, 1848-1877), Thomas Fleming (A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We fought the Civil War), Thomas di Lorenzo (The Real Lincoln), and William Marvel (Mr. Lincoln Goes to War) are discounted, accused of pro-Southern bias, a failure to understand the underlying “racial” nature of American history, and an inability to comprehend the “real meaning” of the Constitution (a “meaning” that strangely remained mysteriously “hidden” to every president and every major American political leader beginning with George Washington through James Buchanan!).
To understand the attacks on Confederate monuments and on the reputations of men like Robert E. Lee, one must understand that those assaults are essentially ideological in nature, and that history is being used and manipulated to carry them out. This was first recognized by the late Eugene Genovese, perhaps the greatest of recent historians of the South, who noticed the obdurate unwillingness of fellow members of his profession to acknowledge the rich complexity of Southern history and their resistance to factual information that countered their tendentious views.
The multiple and feverish media attacks on General Kelly must be seen in this light. Columbia historians like McCurry and Blight, and their epigones in the Mainstream Media, zealously seek to further a cultural Marxist vision of America and, thus, to advance the ongoing transformation of our society. For such professors and their indoctrinated translators, history serves only to facilitate their ideological agenda.
Fifty-seven years ago (1960), President Dwight D. Eisenhower offered his view of General Lee, and it remains a marvelous personal statement on Marse Robert and his legacy. There is more historical wisdom and knowledge in Ike’s words than in all the collected scholarly tomes of McCurry, Blight, Eric Foner, piled higher and deeper.
The president wrote the following letter in response to one he had received, dated August 1, 1960, from a Mr. Leon W. Scott, a dentist in New Rochelle, New York.
Scott's letter [http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1721192/posts] reads:
“Dear Mr. President:
“At the Republican Convention I heard you mention that you have the pictures of four (4) great Americans in your office, and that included in these is a picture of Robert E. Lee.
“I do not understand how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of America should do so is certainly beyond me.
“The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did was to devote his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our Government is worthy of being hailed as one of our heroes.
“Will you please tell me just why you hold him in such high esteem?
Leon W. Scott”
Eisenhower's response, written on White House letterhead on August 9, 1960 reads as follows:
"August 9, 1960
Dear Dr. Scott:
Eisenhower's response, written on White House letterhead on August 9, 1960 reads as follows:
"August 9, 1960
Dear Dr. Scott:
Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War Between the States the issue of Secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.
General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.
From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.
Dwight D. Eisenhower"
Dwight D. Eisenhower"