Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When I was in college I took a year of (what was then called) Afro-American history. The teacher was a very good young black instructor by the name of Dr. Franklin.
The second semester of the course was nearly all devoted to the American Civil War. I recall one of the first things Dr. Franklin said was something like, “You white kids have been told that the Civil War was fought in order to end slavery. You black kids have been told that Lincoln started the Civil War to free the slaves. I’m going to show you that none of that is the truth.” That was my first clue that something was wrong with the way we understand our history.
Some time later a friend of mine who had attended Harvard was discussing Illinois politics with me. He said that underlying all the crookedness Illinois had a proud history; after all he said, “It is the land of Lincoln and Lincoln was the first liberal.” This was an epiphany for me some 30 years ago.
The fairy-tale we call the story of the Civil War is a pernicious falsehood on which political operatives have built a foundation of propaganda: one lie stacked upon another. The story that Lincoln and his henchman were concerned with the well being of black folks was for me totally exploded by Dr. Franklin many years ago. In fact subsequent studies have proven my history teacher correct. Yet there are those who will soon use tax money to undo this truth.
This tawdry little folk-tale about the Civil War or War Between the States (WBTS) that is repeated by the central government, leftists, and others is back in the news. When Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell had the audacity to eliminate the mention of slavery in his statement about Confederate Heritage Month the Left went ballistic and the Governor quickly retreated.
The fact that there is a hard-wired connection between today’s Left and the WBTS is the unwritten sub-text to the headlines. The statement that “Lincoln was the first liberal” is more than a cliché. Old Abe was the first big government centralist and that drew many admirers including Karl Marx who was writing columns for New York newspapers cheering the Union cause while the War was raging in the field.
In the last decade or so the leftist rewriting of the War has been challenged by numerous authors. Among them are Thomas Woods, Charles Adams, Thomas DiLorenzo, Edward Renehan, Donald Gilmore, and the Kennedy/Benson team that gave us Red Republicans and Lincoln’s Marxists. Unfortunately all their work to uncover the truth about the War is about to be washed away by the central government through the Department of Interior (DOI).
Under the guise of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Civil War we will soon be treated to the mother of all centralist propaganda efforts directed by the DOI and the National Parks Service which has concocted a massive re-writing of history using taxpayer money. The “Master Narrative” they have cooked up for us is supposed to once and for all establish the story that “slavery” was the only reason for the War.
Unknowingly Governor McDonnell had walked into the plot and was caught in a cross-fire of DOI hacks, Obama administration officials, DuBois activists, and other leftists who are the main impresarios in this Stalinist scheme. McDonnell and others have been muzzled for not showing adequate deference to the leftist line.
A little known book, Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965 (2007) by the left-wing British writer, Robert J. Cook, is a blueprint of sorts for this brave new world interpretation of our history. Working with the once venerable Southern History Association which is now in the orbit of the Marx-Leninist, Southern Labor Studies Association, Mr. Cook has written a book about the failures of the Civil War Centennial celebration; 50 years ago.
The book is a convoluted race-baiting screed that could have been written by Marxist authors Martin Duberman and Howard Zinn who Cook quotes and often mimics. Ultimately he will pin the blame on the failure of the Centennial celebration on anti-communist in the South and rise of the Civil Rights movement.
Regarding the latter we need to recall the deep roots that the Civil Rights movement had in Marxism (as in W. E. B. DuBois, Hughes, and others). Recently NAACP officials crowed that Dr. Martin King was a “revolutionary socialist”. Pitting blacks against whites is a reliable leftist scam to wedge into political power. Proponents of Mr. Cook’s work are doubtlessly aware of this tactic.
The book was written with the coming Sesquicentennial in mind. It is a convenient foil for promoters of the leftist cause to use in their zeal for turning the Civil War into the Great Civil Rights War.
Re-visiting the Civil War battlefield is futile. Too much ink has replaced the blood. It is controlling historical memory that is at issue. If the past can be rewritten to conform to the present then presuppositions can be synthesized out of thin air.
In other words by misrepresenting history a story can be created that explains the present in a predetermined manner. Absolutely false statements about the past will make the Marxist theory of history appear correct. One lie in turn justifies another and the Left is vindicated through the use of American blood shed in a battle over the Constitution not Das Kapital.
McDonnell is not the only one who has stepped into this dung heap unaware that his actions have caused an unseen but consequential mess. But the outcry about his actions by the Left is evidence of what they are thinking and planning.
Even today the WBTS exposes a terrible fissure in the American consciousness. The traditional conservative sees the War as a Tenth Amendment fight, while the liberal and leftist see it as an opportunity to promote and enforce central government power.
Governor McDonnell’s predicament is a prelude to the coming “festival of history rewriting” that is scheduled for next year. A celebration that will cast Union soldiers as Marxist shock troops fighting Southern slaver-traders while squandering billions in tax money. Many people will not see it coming, some will ignore it, others will not believe that there are those in our government who are that calculating and cunning, but if not for one brave black history teacher I would be one of them.