Col. Lang: Seems to me that a good novel opens the door to a psychological experience that, in turn, can change a person’s perceptions. I offer for consideration that in The Butcher’s Cleaver the key is to see the humanity that develops between the main character -- who wore grey -- and another not of his social class and race. To borrow from Martin Buber, it is “I” and “Thou”. From there, perceptions may change and certain historical assumptions open for re-examination, not for the purpose of pursuing some “Lost Cause” (ridiculous) but to help see the world in a better light today -- one that may, in fact, help the United States at this time. As for myself, I want to just mention one at this time. I am re-examining the idea that a very loosely defined idea of “blowback” may apply to the Southern response. My understanding is that Lincoln and his advisors did not believe the Civil War would be a long drawn out tragedy that, on many levels, was a clash of civilizations. “Mission Accomplish” would occur early on. But instead, you had a type of blowback. What was the blowback? It was General Robert Lee. General James Longstreet. General Stonewall Jackson. John Singleton Mosby. Collectively, the blowback could be called Killer Angels, to borrow the title from Shaarra’s book. And when you asked the Confederate soldier why he fought, his response was “Because you are here.” There appears to be a lesson there. Now I am not suggesting that Lincoln was on the level of George Bush. Far from it. Sandberg proves it. But I am suggesting a nation has to be extremely careful about invading another culture, especially when it is done with a total lack of respect and a haughty kind of condescension. Prof. Kiracofe in his comment above described with extraordinary precision how neoconservatives hide behind certain symbols of the West so as to promote a type of creative destruction that is animated by militant ethnic nationalism. They are hiding behind Lincoln as well as the classical tradition, including the beautiful symbols that spring out of Judaism. But by doing so, the neoconservatives are going to end up destroying all the symbols of the West (greatly harming Judaism). This is the great danger and explains in part the importance of the work of Moses Jacob Ezekiel at this time. Moses Jacob Ezekiel, in many ways, is the answer to the neoconservative school that has its roots in Chicago. MLK Jr. warned that there was a particular type of virulent racism that existed in Chicago. One would think he was warning us about Allen Bloom and the neoconservatives out of the University of Chicago. When Allen Bloom wrote The Closing of the American Mind, he was really talking about himself. And when Luti called General Zinni a traitor, he was pulling the same tactic that Allen Bloom used in the academic setting. Perhaps one reason Luti called General Zinni a traitor was because the USMC doesn’t promote militant ethnic nationalism within its ranks. When you see it that way, it becomes obvious that the capitol of racism is not in the Old South that flew under the Confederate Flag. It’s AEI which has it roots in Chicago. That said, I am a big fan of Chicago. It is a beautiful city. I have friends from Chicago and even follow the Bears. But anytime someone in Chicago talks about the race problem in the South, odds are great he or she hasn’t looked around closer to home. Check out the neoconservatives at the University of Chicago. Straussians are all about fascism and militant ethnic nationalism. It just they hide behind symbols and employ psychological sleight of hand. Jeff Rubinoff Thanks for the great comment. I am no anthropologist but I think I understand the gist of what you say. Yes, there is a problem with relativism, at least from what I can tell. I am only now finding a copy of Carelton Coon’s book, The Caravan. And I already can tell that I will have to read it more than one time before I can draw any conclusions. But my hope is that the book will reveal the magnitude that “honor” plays in Arab (and more widely Muslim) culture. After reading some of AEI’s works on “honor-shame“ societies, I immediately began to wonder about the relative importance that different cultures place on “honor.” So I became interested in the degree that “honor” played in the culture of King David. Consequently, I decided to read the Psalter, not with some religious purpose in mind but a type of poor man’s anthropological approach to draw some initial conclusions. I was amazed at how many times “honor” was mentioned in the Psalter, which I presume is representative of the culture of King David. Either rightly or wrongly, one of my initial conclusions was that the difference between King David and AEI may very well be summed up in the first Psalm. Call me old fashion, but I am taking my chances with King David and believe that the Psalter will be remembered and revered long after AEI’s theories are dead and gone.
Sidney O. Smith III
They had long been friends and, in fact, both wore grey. pl