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I was interviewed some time ago by the North Carolina Museum of History concerning the writing of this trilogy.
This podcast is highly recommended
"Science currently holds that time travel is an impossibility, but readers of Down the Sky, the final volume of Colonel Pat Lang’s Strike the Tent trilogy will question that assertion. Code-named “Hannibal,” Confederate penetration agent Claude Devereux is firmly lodged in the upper echelons of the Federal war machine. Now a Brigadier General of the Union forces with the new Congressional Medal of Honor on his chest, Major Devereux of the Confederate Secret Service knows time is running out. His minders in Richmond may no longer trust him, his personal life is a shambles, and Union spy-catcher Lafayette Baker is determined to bring him down. Only his peculiar, personal friendship with President Lincoln holds his enemies at bay.
They introduce themselves politely in restaurants or diners, in a movie lobby or at some civic event, even in front of the Little Rock gate in Atlanta, which has become a kind of Arkansas crossroads. ("You don't know me, but . . .") Then they thank me for remembering Robert E. Lee every January 19th with a column on his birthday. They don't tarry, and I may never see them again. Then they fade away, much like the Army of Northern Virginia (R.E. Lee, General). They have a look about them, or rather a manner. They come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have the same, diffident way about them -- as if they were used to dealing with people as persons, rather than en masse as customers or readers or voters or some other impersonal category. They know how to visit with others. It's a Southern thing, no matter where it happens. Let's just say they have a shared understanding. They may be older, genteel white ladies or young military cadets.
"When a truck crashed into the statue in the late 1980s, a Confederate time capsule was discovered. Although the artifacts inside did not withstand the test of time, what remained immovable was the location. When the statue was taken down for repairs, political groups sounded off against its return. Virginia state law, however, protects the location.
“The veterans were very sharp, they knew the political climate would change, and so they helped pass a state law where the statue would remain forever at that spot,” said Don Hakenson, a local Alexandria historian and author of “This Forgotten Land.” “It’s very important to realize during the Civil War Alexandria voted over 80 percent to leave the Union. One hundred Alexandrians lost their lives, and their comrades placed the statue there so they would be remembered.”
“Some people take offense, it’s a Confederate statue, but it’s historically important,” said Gary Eyler, owner of the Old Colony Shop. “It’s an unusual obstacle, but adds a charm to the city.”" Alexandria Gazette
The baggage delivery truck incident was amusing in retrospect. Jim Moran, now a congressman, was mayor. He immediately "jumped on" the event and rallied various groups of northern immigrants (not all by any means), the local NAACP stalwarts (not all the Blacks by any means) and various malcontents to demand that the statue never return to its prideful place.
This was resisted by other Blacks who said that people should not molest the ancestors of other folks, and a few uncomprehending relative newcomers who wrote letters to the editor. Mine was published in the Washington Post.
I wondered at the time why it was that the "old timey" establishment of Alexandria reacted so little to the brouhaha. Here we speak of the layer of unchanging society in the city whose ancestors founded the place and who still have great influence in a number of subtle ways. Then, on an appropriate day when the sun was shining and the sky was blue, a lawyer from one of the traditional law firms in town arrived at state court to file a request for a restraining order on the city government regarding the statue. It was then revealed that the city had no power whatever to move the statue, ever. The law specifies that no future government of Alexandria will ever have such power. I felt foolish. This state law could be repealed in Richmond but not by the city.
The charming story told by the lady from the UDC is not exactly correct. In 1861, the commonwealth government knew it had no chance at all of holding Alexandria against the federal government. Washington is six miles away across the Potomac River. State forces in the town consisted of the 6th Battalion of Virginia Militia. These men were the town militia. They were perhaps six hundred in number, variously and gorgeously uniformed and armed with smooth bore muskets. This was an assembly of ordinary citizens commanded by community leaders. Many of the senior officers were bankers. Bankers seem to have been different then. Alexandria was their collective home and they knew that if they tried to fight for the city it would be severely damaged and their families and friends in the population would be in great danger. They placed a spy in Washington to watch troop movements. The day that Alexandria voted overwhelmingly to support the ordinance of secession the spy reported that Union troops were embarking across the river. The objective seemed obvious. That night a passenger train was brought to the roundhouse and rail yard at Henry and Duke streets. This was the terminus of the Manassas Gap Railroad. The next morning the militia battalion mustered at the spot on which the statue stands and marched to the train. At the same time, Union forces were landing at the river port in the center of Alexandria. The train steamed away to Manassas Junction where the Confederate forces were training and assembling for the purpose of resisting what they believed to be an unconstitutional invasion by the Northern states. The six companies of the militia battalion became six of the nine companies of the 17th Virginia Volunteer Infantry. The regiment fought well throughout the war. People at home smuggled "care packages" to the men and a steady trickle of reinforcements found their way from Alexandria to the regiment. Four years later the survivors came home to resume their civilian lives. The policy of the federal government in seeking a healing of the country rather than vengeance made that possible.
When the statue was dedicated long after the war, many of these men stood around it, gathered by the wheelchair of their blind leader, Montgomery Corse. In my mind's eye I see them; Arthur Herbert, Isaac Smoot, Willian Fowle leaning on his cane, and of course, Bill White. I see them all.
The pediment of the statue is now only six feet in diameter. Long may "Appomattox' stand there gazing south. pl
If folks want it we can have a running discussion of the WBS/Civil War.
The picture above is of Jackson leading a meeting in prayer. He was a "pious blue eyed killer" in Ken Burns phrase. He would have accepted that with humility as a rebuke to his lack of humanity in combat. He always told his people that they should take care to shoot valorous Union Army leaders when they had the chance so that later the South could live in peace as "good neighbors" with the North. BTW, he was careful to ensure that POWs were treated well.
I do not think you can understand historical ground combat without seeing the ground in the company of a guide who understands the sources and ground warfare. Without those factors there are many things you will never know and sites you will never find. Examples would be the location of the hill at the center of the 1st Battle of Winchester. This is located behind and hidden behind Handley High School. I know where it is because Jay Luvaas the Yankee historian who was my faculty advisor at the War College showed it to me.. Another would be the field of the 3rd Battle of Winchester. This is now behind a strip mall just east of Winchester. My great grand-pa fought there in the 5th Wisconsin. He said that the Johnnies simply ignored most Union Army rifle fire because it was so poorly executed. Not his regiment of course, he was talking about the city wimps from the northeast.
If you want to read a lot about Old Jack, the best things are:
- My article.
- "Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War," Colonel GFR Henderson, British Army. This is the first serious book on the campaign. 19th Century. My 1911 edition was rebound in Calcutta in calf.
- "Stonewall in the Valley," by Tanner. This is the best campaign study.
- "Stonewall Jackson, etc." by James Robertson. This the definitive biography.
Here we have Jackson at Chancellorsville in my novel, "The Butcher;s Cleaver." This is the moment when he arrives on the scene to take charge in a deserate moment of troops not normally his own.
"By combing through newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000.
The new figure is already winning acceptance from scholars. Civil War History, the journal that published Dr. Hacker’s paper, called it “among the most consequential pieces ever to appear” in its pages. And a pre-eminent authority on the era, Eric Foner, a historian at Columbia University, said:
“It even further elevates the significance of the Civil War and makes a dramatic statement about how the war is a central moment in American history. It helps you understand, particularly in the South with a much smaller population, what a devastating experience this was.”" NY Times
I have always thought the old numbers were too low, particularly for the South. In looking at the aftermath of the war in demographic terms in rural areas I have found that whole communities were devastated to the extent that they were virtually re-settled by sometimes distant Northern male relatives who came south and claimed the widows and the young girls for whom there was no prospect of husbands. This was particularly true in rural Virginia where extended family often existed in places like Pennsylvania.
The observaion contained in the article that people from rural areas were actually more susceptible to camp disease rings true from personal experience. Villagers and tribesmen are often nothing like as hardy as others imagine. In fact their bodies are full of foreign organisms that are empowered by privation and exhaustion.
The North won because it could absorb the personnel losses that the much smaller Southern population could not. IMO the Northern victory was produced by this and not by a shortage of materiel. pl
"While Lincoln insisted that the Declaration of Independence applied to all, he also descended into bigotry, acknowledging the “physical difference” between whites and blacks. In the fourth debate, he went further.
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he declared in Charleston, Ill., to robust cheers, “nor ever have been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people.” It was not the future emancipator’s finest hour." Abraham Lincoln
Not his finest hour? It was not, but Romney supporters can take heart from these words that so many wish Lincon had not uttered. Campaign speeches are not to be believed. They are sculpted by the ambitious to appeal to the tastes of audiences. Those audiences were in Illinois where there were no slaves. BTW, these words are not "lost." They have been in plain view but ignored by those who wish to think "Mistuh Lincum" a secular saint. No, actually most of the people who want that have never thought about anything.
I think Lincoln was always against slavery, and especially against letting it expand into the federally held lands which the North owned jointly with the South. At the same time I don't think Lincoln as president would have done anything to abolish slavery in the states where it was allowed until South Carolina foolishly forced his hand. The holocaust of the war changed his willingness to act on slavery as the butcher's bill became so high that it had to be justified by something more elevated in tone than forced re-integration of the seceded states. Would you want to die or have your son die to force South Carilona back into a Union where 150 years later the "natives"could still act like the charming but incendiary rascals that they remain?
In the course of writing my novel (3 volumes) "Strike the Tent," I have come to like Father Abraham as a man. He tried to work out a negotiated peace until well into 1865. It is unfortunate that the people of his time seem to have had no more common sense than those of our own. pl
- 15 December -
(In Camp Near Orange, Virginia)
"It snowed hard the night of the fourteenth. Big, white flakes came floating down in the windless darkness. A new moon did not bestow enough light to see well, but if you left your hut to stand alone in the forest, you could feel the snow in your eyebrows and on your cheeks. You could smell the smoke from the chimneys, and hear the gentle sound of the flakes landing all around. You knew from the sound that it would snow all night, and that there would be deep, heavy, new snow in the morning.
Dawn brought with it the still, shimmering brightness that makes a winter's day seem full of new promise. It was the kind of day which gives men back their childhood for a time.
The snowball battle began about ten A.M. in a skirmish between some Alabama men and a wood cutting party from Coppens' Zouaves. The Louisianans had worked hard since breakfast with two man cross-cut saws, dropping trees for their division's saw-mill. The rasp of the saws and the ribald French songs of the detail could be heard across the surrounding fields. Men stood outside their huts to listen. They scratched and spat while making comments on the singing.
It was probably the obsessive nattiness of the Zouaves that set off the attack, the grey baggy pants and the embroidered red vests. Perhaps that was it, or perhaps it was nothing in particular. Maybe they just happened to be there, looking the other way while they worked, and not seeing the stealthy advance through the trees.
The seemingly endless time of cold darkness crept past in a succession of grey days and long nights.
In its camps, the Army of Northern Virginia once again experienced the religious fervor that came to them when they were not busy. At such times, men of all faiths sought solace in prayer and gathered in revival meetings where many found the inner peace that war denied them.
Families came to the winter camps to spend the season with their men. Most boarded with local families. Bearded warriors held in their arms for the first time tiny folk who had not yet been seen. The children brought joy to them all, but in the evenings the soldiers brooded over their families, their thoughts unreadable in the light of the fireplaces.
Amateur theatrical productions were a natural gift of this army, something so familiar from home that the men expected them. Wooden theaters sprang up in the snow and frost caked mud. These were crude structures of field sawn boards, each with its glowing pot bellied iron stove. The programs were filled with familiar plays, but some of them were only a year or so old in London or New York. One of these was entitled "Our American Cousin."
Balthazar was fond of the theater. At school in England he had been prominent in Christmas pantomime and Shakespeare alike. Now, he did all a commander properly could to interest his men in this activity, thinking it a healthy diversion from the boredom of the winter. The Stephen Foster songs he had heard in Richmond appeared on the boards as renditions by his battalion chorus. Soldiers' singing groups were a tradition in the French Army. He followed the custom in America. The foreigners in the battalion made up the backbone of the soloists and Joseph White played the piano to accompany. His skill was yet another of Clotilde Devereux's gifts to the Whites. Balthazar played the role of Falstaff in a Second Corps' officers’ production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor." His English accent and baritone were praised around sentry fires for weeks after the play's run.
There is a little restaurant on Duke Street near my home. It is about half a mile from the US Courthouse that you all have seen on television in connection with the Moussawi trial, etc. That is the modern new building with a magnificent statue of blind justice projecting from the gallery over the front door.
I sometimes have breakfast in the restaurant. Next to this little place is a modern office building and an 18th Century house which shows clearly in photographs of this area during the WBS. There was a Union Army garrison on Shuter's Hill a few hundred yards away and just near my house. There is a striking bronze statue of two women besde the restaurant. I went to look at this statue a few days ago. It is set back from the street.
All that is inscribed on the prediment is, "The Edmondson Sisters." I had never heard of them. Having read their story in this wiki, I am struck by the extent to which it is indicative of the complex status of people of color in the Upper South before the WBS.
Their father was a free man of color and a landowner in Maryland. Their mother was a slave who did not belong to her husband. According to Maryland law the children of a female slave were slaves. If their mother had been free, they would have been free people. Their owner hired them out to work as domestics in some elite house in Washington. This would have been the home of some business or government person. Hiring slaves out became a common practise in the 19th Century because there were quite a lot of people who were suitable to be house servants; maids, cooks, butlers, coachmen, etc., or were skilled craftsmen; carpernters, coopers, blacksmiths and the like. The slave and the owner usually shared the wages paid. Sometimes the slave's portion was used to buy freedom. The girls, having been raised in freedom in fact if not in law on their father's farm understandably did not like their status as domestic servants and slaves. They tried to escape, were captured and sold to a slave trading company based in Alexandria. After much travail their father and various Nrthern abolitionists raised enough money to buy them from the slave trading company. They became quite educated and led productive and hopefully happy lives.
If you wrote the kind of fiction that I write you would find this interesting. pl
This is the gravesite of General Henry Thomas. He lies but a stone's throw from several members of my wife's family. Thomas was a Virginian who chose to stay with the Union Army. He earned the nickname "The Rock Of Chickamauga" at the battle of Chickamauga Creek in 1863. When he died in 1870, he was buried in his wife's family plot in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York. I think the plaque erected by the Civil War Society of Berryville, Virginia in front of Thomas' grave captures the raw emotions that still billow from any discussion of the Civil War or The War Between the States... even among the learned and rational ladies and gentlemen of this esteemed forum.
A serious, conscious mind today resembles a person sitting under a waterfall, squatting compactly with drowned hair, eyes tightly shut, mouth gasping and spitting while all around the foul water furiously boils.
Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, et al., pose very real dangers to mental health, and with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, one fears that we are once again to be subjected to yet another deluge of toxic sludge.
Given our gracious host's literary endeavors, as well as the often expressed interests of many of the contributors and readers here at SST, I thought I'd mention a new three part documentary to air tomorrow night. Its on the National Geographic Channel and the link to the show's website is:
Full disclosure: I have nothing to do with National Geographic or their cable station and my last contribution to their fiduciary well being was purchasing their issue with Ankgor Wat on the cover while on TDY in JUL 2009.
*Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College, the US Army, and/or the US Government.
"The Tycooon" was a pet name that his staff had for him.
I watched the PBS program on Lee last night. On the whole I thought it remarkably fair. The zeitgeist does not permit a truly objective consideration of the man but it was an attempt to do so. There was a certain amount of talk about; his ambition, his defense of chattel slavery, his insistence that his wife's slaves actually work at Arlington, his bad temper at times.
The production acknowledged that he resigned from the US Army in 1861 and that his resignation was accepted. The production implied that but for the generosity of the victors he would have been hanged fror treason. Rubbish. None of the Confederate leaders were tried for treason because it was clear that their defense would be on the basis of the legitimacy of secession. The victors did not want that.
In regard to the slaves, his father in law, Washington's grandson by adoption, ruined the family agribusiness financially and then promised the slaves at Arlington emancipation in his will. Lee was called home from the Army to save his wife's family business. He could not do that if he let the slaves depart. Needless to say they were unhappy with that and there was conflict. This was a lot like Jefferson's predicament when faced with his father in law's debts. Jefferson insisted on paying these off although not legally obligated to do so. "Planting" was not always a profitable business.
Lee's ambition? Would he not have accepted Lincon's offer of command of the US Army if that had been his main impetus in life?
His bad temper? Surely that is a joke! The man lived with stress that killed him. His cold rages were feared. A rebuke from him had the power to kill the soul because he was so revered by "his people." "Come now, General Hill, bury these poor men and let us speak no more of this," he said to AP Hill after Hill tried to explain the debacle at Bristoe Station.
He cared only for his own social class? If that is so, then the men who followed him to the bitter end were truly fools. Longstreet wrote in later life that early in 1863 he noticed that the men would fall silent, stand and remove their hats as Lee passed. Longstreet wrote that at that point he began to consider the Old Man to be a danger because these men would attempt anything for him. Anything.
Was he a Great Captain? That is debatable. He learned and improved steadily as the war progressed. Even near the end at the North Anna he was dangerous. If he had not gone down sick there, he and his scarecrows might have destroyed US 2nd Corps. pl
These photographs contain images of Black Confederate veterans. Most of these were made at UCV conventions. The man on the lower right Is Jeff Shields one of Stonewall Jackson's camp cooks.
There was a story in the Washington Post today raising hell over a school book in Virginia in which the author wrote a paragraph in which she had the temerity to say that quite a few Black Southerners sided with the South in the "great unpleasantness."
Oh, no! That can't be is the cry among "mainstream historians." That can't be!
Unfortunately for that point of view, there is now a developed literature on the subject. Try "Googling" my title in this post. There are a lot of records, newspaper stories, obituaries, photographs of Black Confederates at post war veterans meetings, etc.
The real situation seems to me to have been that there a few Blacks enlisted as soldiers by commanding officers who, like Bedford Forrest, just didn't give a damn about the law and who enlisted people from "home" in defiance of the law. How many of these were there? I don't know. Some serious scholarship on the subject would be merited.
Here, I am not discussing work gangs called out in emergencies to dig fortifications. Such people were normally levied on the Black population, were committed to this work involuntarily and were sent home when the crisis passed.
More significant, I think, were the several thousand Black contract employees of the Confederate Army who served with field armies. Some of these were slaves and some were free. They were more or less uniformed. They were armed and paid. Slaves with skills were often paid in the antebellum South. The records of the their employment exist in the US Archives as part of the Confederate records collection. Many of them were paid Confederate pensions by the several states as were white Confederate veterans. The whites were paid more.
They served as teamsters, cooks, labor troops in "pioneer" units, musicians in regimental bands, hospital orderlies and officers valets.
They were repeatedly described by captured federal officers, newspaper men, etc. They had plenty of opportunity to defect or desert if you prefer. That is in the nature of life in the field in an army in contact with its enemies. Strange things happened because of their presence. After Gettysburg Lee assembled several hundred of these men and had them march large numbers of Union prisoners back to Virginia.
Were they not soldiers in fact if not in law?
There is a great sensitivity about this subject. It is easy to see why that is so. pl
I went to the battlefield yesterday with a friend. I have been there many times. It is about two hours from my house. It was a beautiful, not too warm day. The national park was being heavily visited, a good thing. We went there to remember the ground, the topography itself. It is a remarkable piece of ground, chosen with a 19th Century Engineer's eye.
In the Autumn of 1862 Robert Edward Lee was seeking a decisive engagement with a big Union army. He wanted a victory somewhere in the North, a victory that would shake the capitals of Europe and perhaps bring on European mediation of the quarrel. The North had not yet abolished slavery as an institution and so the struggle could more easily be seen as a sectional struggle than would later be the case. Lee had wanted to fight his battle near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or perhaps near Baltimore, Maryland, but circumstances made that impossible and he decided to fight a defensive battle on the ground just north of the Potomac River and south of Antietam Creek. There, the ground rises from the creek in a series of small ridges that seem almost to be stairs, each twenty or thirty feet high. What needs to be known is that the advancing Union infantry could not see over each successive little ridge.
Our "president to be" quoted this speech the night he was elected. He mentioned the "sacred bonds of friendship" or some such thing. It seems appropriate for him to have done so since there is so little left of that spirit. He has quoted this speech before in the matter of the "better angels of our natures." That makes the old words interesting.
I have no interest in visits to the White House or the other trivialities of the day's news. The economy will rise or fall, depending on stimulus and the general level of fecklessness in bankers' hearts. We can talk about that later. The next big story will be the personalities with which President-elect Obama populates the Executive Branch of the federal government. The identities of the appointed inhabitants of the Beltway Enclave will tell us much with regard to what is owed and to whom. In the meantime, life goes on...
Ah, yes, Lincoln. I had never paid much attention to his first inaugural address. As I recall it is the second inaugural address that is carved into the wall of his memorial along with the lyricism of the Gettysburg Address.
It is a remarkable speech, especially remarkable in that it was spoken at a point in time at which seven states had already seceded.
It is a plea for them to return. This is from the Wiki.
Strongest possible federal support for the Fugitive Slave Law and the service/labour clause of Section Two of Article Four of the United States Constitution
By this time, the departed seven clearly wanted "out," but if these words were not disingenuous, then war was not inevitable, not at all.
A couple of things stand out in this composition:
- The 16th president does not seem to have been much attached to the cause of abolition. This was evident in some of his statements in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1856 and continues here. Lincoln's willingness to accept and even support a constitutional amendment specifically barring in perpetuity federal interference in the states' "domestic institutions" is striking.
- This is a lawyer's pleading. The argument is made that states can not secede unless they do so in a legal way and then he effectively argues that there really is no "legal way." Lincoln says here that because the present US Constitution succeeded the "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union," the resulting union of the states is also perpetual even though the constitution does not say that the union is perpetual. The fact that the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was called to amend the "Articles of Confederation" but did not do so is ignored. Lincoln also makes a case that a contract entered into by several parties can not be separately voided by some of them without the consent of the others. Hmmm. Business contracts always, in my experience, contain the terms of their dissolution. This one did not and so he argues that it is not legal for some of the states to dissolve that contract. It is evident that he was a business lawyer.
- He says that force will not be used against the seceded states unless the seceded states "interfere with" the property of the US Government. Presumably he means military and naval bases, post offices, customs offices, etc. He puts it that way because he evidently saw himself as the legal custodian of the goods of the federal government, the "chief magistrate" as he puts it.
- He also says that the Constitution contains no guidance as to the disposition of the jointly owned property possessed by the states as a whole. He means the results of the "Louisiana Purchase" and the War with Mexico. Once again, the lawyer in him is assigning ownership rights.
Taken as a whole it is a remarkably moderate document, much different in tone from his second inaugural, "yea verily the Lord is Just, etc." (paraphrase). I am not surprised that the builders of the memorial preferred the later speech. Lincoln is revealed in this speech as a practical politician, a man who abhorred the institution of slavery, but was not willing to fight over it or see the country torn apart over it.
I sense somehow that President-elect Obama is somewhat like Lincoln, a man of principle, but not foolishly so. That is a good thing. pl
In addition to Meade's private beliefs, the papers' authenticity is corroborated by statements from Bureau of Military Information officers John McEntee, who accompanied Dahlgren on the raid and thus saw the papers, and John Babcock..." Wiki
As many of you know, I am editing the second volume of my series of novels. They are set in the American Civil War.
In spite of the primitive techno0logy of that time, the politics of the war and the actions of the actors are easily recognisable today.
The "Dahlgren Affair" may well say something important to us avout the impossibility of ever really controlling the actions of something as large as a national government. pl
The picture is of Dahlgren Chapel in Turner's Gap. Admiral Dahlgren built it in memory of his son.
"Some at Sic Semper Tyrannis have asked about the successful rise of David Addington -- Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff and the leading apostle of the unitary executive theory. I’ll leave it to others to offer high octane legal insights, but Jane Mayer, in her excellent article “The Hidden Power”, goes into great detail when describing Addington’s approach. And, after reading her article, if someone asked me to choose one sentence to write on a chalkboard to sum up Addington and his weltanschauung, then I would offer the following: Addington doesn’t believe in the US Constitution.
What else does anyone really need to know? If you want an academic description, I suppose one could say that Addington’s intent to destroy the US Constitution is the source of his praxeology and thus drives all of his actions. One therefore can analyze his work based upon the assumption that he wants to decimate the US Constitution so as to create an imperial presidency. But, in simpler terms, this description of Addington simply sums up his "m.o.", or for those who believe he should face prosecution, his “mens rea”, that is, his “guilty state of mind”.
Of course, if you want to take it a step further and construct an argument against the views of Addington, then you must first decide the venue and audience. And because the tempo and motif of Sic Semper Tyrannis is one of The Butcher’s Cleaver and the Confederate Secret Services, I suggest tailoring such an argument with the specific intent of triggering a particular “collective memory” of anti-imperialism -- a collective memory long forgotten. By relying in part on the insight of Dr. Christine Helms that the "collective memory is a toolshed" that may lead to social change, the hope is that the revival of this specific collective memory will help end the days of Addington and Cheney as a political power. .."
Sidney O. Smith III
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