Wednesday, September 12, 2007

We told y'all so...

In the early nineties, I was an officer in the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).

The SCV was founded in 1896 by sons of men who fought honorably in the American military forces of the Confederate States of America in the War for Southern Independence (1861-1865). At its inception, the SCV's main purpose was the care of aging and dying veterans and their widows (who did not receive Federal pensions for their wartime service). There are still a few "real sons" left in the SCV - though their ranks are dwindling. Today, the SCV is a mainly a fraternal, patriotic, historical genealogical society dedicated to the honorable memory of the Confederate soldier, sailor, and marine - charged with maintaining cemeteries, historical artifacts, the care of the remaining "real sons," and the defense of the symbols of the Confederate States of America.

Defense of the latter in the current age of political correctness impressed the SCV into service as something it never really intended to be: a civil rights organization.

Beginning in the 1980s, the NAACP, facing a decline in membership and an increasing irrelevance, began a self-serving symbolic campaign against Confederate symbols - including flags, "civil war" re-enactments, and even historical markers and monuments. In one ghoulish example, NAACP leaders were calling for graves of a Confederate general and his wife to be exhumed.

As corporations, governments, and schools allowed themselves to be bullied into submission, adopting a position of hatred against those of us of Southern heritage - our symbols and flags were being forced down all over the country. Many of us warned that the politically-correct war against Confederate symbols would lead to symbols of the United States being likewise attacked. We were laughed at and pooh-poohed, and accused of making an extreme argument that "would never happen." "There is no slippery slope" was often the response.

Well, get your skis on, folks. This is not the first example of our prediction coming true, but it is a particularly egregious one. But get used to it. It will get worse. We told y'all so.

The bottom line is this: free speech is for everyone. It means just what it says. It means that we are free to express even unpopular opinions - especially political opinions - with which others disagree (which, of course, are the only opinions that need legal protection in the first place). We are free to show pride in our heritage - even if others disapprove - even if others may have valid objections.

There are some American Indians who (quite understandably) find the stars and stripes repugnant. There are some American blacks who find the Confederate flag (which, by the way, is included in the state flag of Mississippi, and implied in other state flags) offensive. There are some Irish folks who are offended at the Union Jack (which, by the way, is included in the state flag of Hawaii). There are some Jews who do not approve of German flags (and have even suggested that Oktoberfests should be banned out of "sensitivity"). Scottish highland games have been deemed "racist." There are some Americans who find the Japanese banner (not to mention automobiles) to be offensive - not an unreasonable position for some of our WW2 vets. Folks have been killed for wearing the "wrong" color bandanna or the "wrong" soccer jersey.

The list goes on and on.

Being offended is one thing, but when you allow one group to ban, bully, or control the symbols of another, you open a can of worms and repudiate the very notion of freedom. You create master-races and classes of inferior peoples, and do violence to the virtue of equal protection under the law.

You also do away with the idea of tolerance that is so often trumpeted by flag-grabbers and busy-bodies - who want to tell other people what they can and can't display as an ethnic or political symbol. This is especially an issue today with rampant legal and illegal immigration - which has turned the flag of the United States into a controversial and divisive political symbol (hence its banning in "public" schools).

Be offended, if you wish (you have the freedom to do so). But if you truly believe in tolerance and freedom, look the other way if your neighbor has a something (be it a U.S. flag on his belt buckle or a Confederate flag on his jacket) of which you disapprove. Sticks and stones and all that. And government-school administrators that think banning the U.S. flag on September 11 is a good idea, please resign from the "education" business. With educators endowed with IQs like this, is it any wonder why things are the way they are, why "U.S. Americans" have become the intellectual laughingstocks of the world - even in places like "The Iraq" and "such like"? Just a helpful suggestion: do something more commensurate with your talents, like starting a Stupidity Training Institute instead - preferably with private funding.

However, the most important lesson is this: tolerance is a two-way street.

5 comments:

Rosko said...

'If you must be tolerant, you must tolerate my INtolerance' is a mantra I use frequently, because people think of me as a cold and intolerant person, and can't stand it. I like your post (I like your sermons too) and think that you are spot on. I need to get an array of flags to fly, it just must be done. Also, when you're up here again, would you be willing to perform a House Blessing?

PS- I commented on your Dixie post, did you ever find it?

Peter said...

I basically agree. This is political correctness (and a little anti-Americanism) gone mad. (Probably, a Canadian or Swiss Flag would have been ok) Still, there is some healthy discrimination, no? I mean, would it be ok for a kid to wear a Nazi flag? Not in school, I'd think.

The other thing to note is that this is a school, where "freedom" is necessarily curtailed by those people who are supposed stand in the place of parents. So, for instance, in many public schools, the colors of certain gangs are prohibited. From my point of view, given that our society has little consensus on so many core values, it may be best to have a dress code, and call it a day.

Father Hollywood said...

Peter:

You get the "Godwin Award" for being the first to invoke the Nazis. ;-)

The problem with "healthy discrimination" boils down to whose health and whose discrimination (as you point out, we lack a cultural consensus on such matters). The school administrators who ban the U.S. flag on Sept 11 are making the same argument that you are - just drawing the line in a different place. And, from the article, I think they would have banned Swiss and Canadian flags (the point was made in the article that they decided to ban *all* flags so there could be no charge of favoritism).

I believe the solution is to separate school and state. If the Nazis want to run their own school (Godwin Aryan Prep?), fine (stupid, but certainly ought to be legal). But of course, no such school would be allowed to function because we really don't value freedom and tolerance like we say we do.

At my school, the children must go to Lutheran church services, wear uniforms, and at least be present for the pledge of the Federal flag. We can do that because we aren't a government school. Should the culture continue the trajectory of equating Christianity with Nazism, we may one day find ourselves being hindered.

Of course, the problem is that our school parents are still charged thousands of dollars to pay for the failed "public" schools in addition to the tuition they pay to exercise parental prerogative you refer to in sending their kids to us.

But compulsory "public" education is a mess. It creates insanity like banning Yankee or Confederate flags, turning Christmas into "Winter Solstice" or some such, and hassling kids who want to cross themselves at lunchtime - all paid for by confiscatory taxation.

But if we are going to have "public" schools, then political freedom ought to be equal for all: the pro-Americans, the anti-Americans, and yes, even the white- and black-supremacists.

Culturally speaking, we have completely lost touch with the fact that we have no constitutional or human right not to be offended, and that words or flags on a t-shirt (especially when used as political speech), though they may hurt your feelings, ultimately cannot hurt you. If people learned to shrug instead of filing suit, we would be a far freer and more healthy society. Children ought to learn tolerance instead of learning how to play politics to silence those who disagree with you.

We have become a culture that condemns thought-crimes while telling ourselves how free we are. Liberty comes at the price of having to tolerate other people using their liberty in disagreeable ways.

But just the same, flag-banning is the inevitable result of the "sensitive fascism" from the Left.

But instead of moving in a libertarian direction, I look for "conservatives" to push for a constitutional amendment (*more* government regulation and force, that is) to turn the U.S. flag into a "sacred" symbol (idol?) that will enjoy protection not even afforded to religious symbols. Then we'll be debating whether or not a person should be prosecuted for burning a flag with only twelve stripes, or what to do with people who will not say the Pledge.

Seldom does more government regulation ever do anything but create more problems, more lawsuits, more "criminals" and more fear.

Father Hollywood said...

Rosko:

I sure did. I'm not so good at responding to every post. Blogs move along like a certain river three blocks from my house. If I don't reply right away, the flow just goes on.

Tolerance and intolerance are words that have strange definitions these days.

Do be careful about your flags, though. People have been brainwashed, and any and every flag can become a target for violence somewhere on the planet. Hoisting Old Glory in Tehran might not be such a hot idea, and flying a Third (or as some of us like to say with tongue in cheek, the Current) National Flag of the CSA in Fort Wayne may not be wise either - patriotism notwithstanding.

You could probably get away with a First National Flag (which actually flew in New Orleans before occupation) - since the "public" schools have done such a lousy job, most Yankees and Southerners alike are clueless as to what it is.

Like a good Confederate general, you need to pick your battles and use strategies that favor the underdog. Be as wise as General Forrest and as innocent as General Lee. ;-)

Fr Watson SSP said...

If only Longstreet would of.....


Deo Vindice
Copperhead Watson
Mordor on the Kaw