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19 August 2017


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Sampson with a P

There is a lecture given by Harvard professor Michael Puett on the Chinese philosopher Laozi and the power of morality and selflessness in society. As an example he uses Lincoln. I think that Lee can be another example.



He was endlessly, almost painfully courteous, so much so that his reticence in simply ordering people around who needed it was IMO a factor leading to failure in many places.

The soldier's history speaks to the soldier? Paraphrasing a writer who wrote the same about writers ultimately only addressing writers? Or the writer in all us humans?

Nevermind the fact that Charlotteville is a spot of blue in the red sea of Virginia. To the extend I followed the latest US outroar around here.

Personally I find Emancipation Park as name pretty ridiculous. Why not leave it alone plus the statue? I haven't looked into it seriously in its latest variation. But couldn't it satisfy the Bilderstürmer/iconoclasts/history erasers if there was a little information next to the statue giving a little context to the man and his life? No superman, but a man in his time. Fighting. Realizing matters within his own limited human capacity after?

Personally, maybe while getting older, I would (semi irony alert) appreciate the equivalent of a copyright law (protection of the dead) of a man's life in his time, or something protecting his life story against easy narrative misuse by the afterborn. But how would that ever work?



And what "context" would the left wing city government give him? That he was a racist criminal? pl


@2 "But couldn't it satisfy ...."

Ever try to compromise with a spoiled child?


Pat, the overwhelming image I get is how fond of him his troops were. Marse Robert. I felt that way about my first football coach at St. Ignatius, Emitt Pouliot. He was a deity and I have never had more respect for any man since.


"No less than Benedict Arnold, Robert E. Lee was a traitor. This became, and remains, my firm conviction."


Bacevich should stick to the Middle East where he knows something of which he speaks. pl



They did not call him that. Their feeling for him was familial. They fought on for him when all was lost. pl


Re: Bacevich

"He holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University, and taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at Boston University in 1998."

" He is a former director of Boston University's Center for International Relations (from 1998 to 2005), now part of the Pardee School of Global Studies."

"He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1969 and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, serving in Vietnam from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1971. Later he held posts in Germany, including the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; the United States; and the Persian Gulf up to his retirement from the service with the rank of Colonel in the early 1990s."




You think I don't know who he is? I was a professor at West Point. You want to be argumentative? bacevich has the cultural baggage of his regional origins. you are gone. pl



If you want to come here like luxetveritas to be argumetativefor its own sake and try to score points off me I will ban you as I have him. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Fredrick Douglass went to see Abraham Lincoln who then proceeded to tell Douglass that the interaction between European-Americans and African-Americans was mutually injurious and it was best for African-Ame Yvonnericans to go back to Africa.
Douglass took great umbrage against that. There was the white man telling the Black man - who had been brought against his will to America that he needs to go back where he came from while the White man - who had enslaved him - was to remain in the new continent.
Now, why wouldn't the White man go back to where he came from - as an act of penance, I wonder?



They've never been very good with foreign peoples, and we are a foreign people to them. They hate that we're different, that we don't value what they value, and they have always worked to reshape us in their image.

- Eliot

The Twisted Genius


I have always admired RE Lee as an honorable man and military officer. I also never found anything questionable about his decision to resign his commission in the US Army and remain loyal to Virginia. The concept of loyalty to one's state versus loyalty to the Federal government was far different at that time and heavily weighted towards loyalty to one's home state. It pains me to see his image and character being associated with the current crop of white supremacists. Those cretins are spitting on his memory.

Even more than Lee, I admire his fellow Virginian George Thomas. I imagine his experience with the Nat Turner Rebellion at the age of fifteen and his upstate New York wife weighed heavy on his decision to remain with the Union and the US Army. But I think he was an Army officer to the marrow of his bone and his loyalty and love for the Army was central to his decision to remain with the Union. Southerners loudly rail against Thomas for forsaking Virginia and remaining true to the Union although there were many Southerners fighting on the Union side. What sticks in the southern craw most is that Thomas was so damned good at what he did. I imagine that if Lee and Thomas were on the same side, either side, the course and perhaps the outcome of the late unpleasantness would be quite different.


Too bad about luxetveritas, every body needs an asshole. I think Lao Tzu said that. He's my favorite philosopher. Simple enough for me to understand.


We may all learn more about the historical Lee through these recent national events, but I don't think it matters much regarding the social & political atmosphere that wafts across our country. The statues, those figures, the truth underneath it all ... all overwhelmed by the force of belief, perception, ideology and myth. I think it's helps to decouple the actual history from the theater unfolding among our many stages, actors and audiences.


L, are you one more, all time, civilian, trying to wave a uniform, and indeed, an honorable, heroic, painful, legacy at me, to get me to conclude that that man is correct about what he says about the future? I served too long in the military--albeit a very short time--to be awed into thinking that a man's past service and rank means he is *automatically* right about the future. Especially regarding mostly 'civil' events and matters. His rank and record earn him a respectful listen to. And not anything more.

Bacevich wrote: "In this dispute, little space for compromise exists." Does he even have a clue about the implications of such a statement?


It was late at night. i will un-ban luxetveritas. You are right. Everyplace needs a few. He can be one of ours. he sprung the Bacevich thing on me in a troll attack ans I fell for it. My bad. pl



Yes. Grorge Thomas was a good man but he never was given a position commensurate with his abilities because the north didn't really trust him. He was Lee's subordinate in one of the US Cavalry regiments in Texas before the war. In the 1840s he tried to get out oof the Army and was short listed with Stonewall Jackson for the teaching job that Jackson finally got at VMI. If they had the money to hire both you would have seen the ultimate dream team. Lee/Jackson/Thomas. pl



"Make Colonization Great Again" may be a future post of mine.


I think the traitor epithet is an anachronism and unfair. But it is also a mistake because the accusation shifts the focus away from slavery and racism.. Lee was a man of his time and his society in particular and if he was a Christian gentleman to whites, he was nothing of the kind to blacks. I wouldn't demonize him, but he is remembered for ( paraphrasing Grant) fighting valiantly for one of the worst causes in history.

Here is a piece on the cruelty of Lee.


Quartered Safe Out Here

"He was endlessly, almost painfully courteous." Maybe so but there was a 19th century convention of issuing orders in that manner. E.g. "The Captain's complements and would Lieutenant Hornblower repair to the bridge at his convenience" And more recently, I'm pretty sure that most of us here have received tasks preceded by: If you get a chance, would you mind.....
Both clearly orders. Ignore them at your peril. Perhaps Lee could have used the flat of his sword but his nature and the conventions of his time, plus certain senior commanders, worked against him.



Your cited piece is palpably anti-Southern propaganda. Is that supposed to persuade or merely shame? pl



All that is true but IMO there is no doubt that he carried this diffidence to such an extreme that when he did not have subordinates like Jackson they often "interpreted" his orders to the detriment of the pursuit of victory. Stuart's famous "joy ride" in the Gettysburg Campaign is an example as is the way Longstreet neither asked to be relieved nor fully accepted his orders on the third day there. pl


I think you are being too harsh on Lee. He still won many victories against the odds, as well as when shorn of Jackson and against someone of Grant's stature. Whilst I do sympathise with the criticisms of his grand strategic vision (how much influence did he actually have?) as well the criticisms by Longstreet, that he was overly aggressive and failed to appreciate the value of the defensive, I don't think that should detract from his achievements. Paradoxically those achievements being to ultimately prolong the war longer than would have been the case otherwise.

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