By Mike Scruggs- On Thursday, February 14, in Dunn, North Carolina, vandals poured a flammable liquid on the marble statue of Major General William C. Lee, which was badly scorched by the heat and flames. The statue was near the entrance to the William C. Lee Airborne Museum in Dunn.
William C. Lee was a World War II general and a founder of U.S. Army Airborne units. This vandalism follows two recent incidents of organized desecration and major damage to the statues of Confederate soldiers in North Carolina.
These took place in Durham and on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Perhaps the vandals confused the World War II Airborne leader with Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
It doesn’t really make a difference.
All three instances are serious crimes that should be punished by more than a slap on the wrist. The leniency of Durham and UNC officials regarding the orchestrated destruction of the statues of Confederate soldiers under their jurisdiction is political and reprehensible and encourages more lawbreaking and disrespect for the heritage of millions of North Carolina families.
I am not surprised by any ignorance of history related to the defacing of Major General William C. Lee’s statue. My late brother was a regular supply teacher to Wake County schools for awhile. His students varied in age from about 13 to 17. Like me, he was a Vietnam veteran. He always introduced himself to his classes as a Vietnam veteran and then asked his students, if they knew anything about the Vietnam War or when it took place. Few of them knew much about Vietnam, and most had no idea of when it was or could place it within a historical time frame.
Some guessed that it was after the Revolutionary War; many believed it was between World War I and World War II. So I am not surprised that the vandals probably knew next to nothing about history. But I will venture to say that all these events and more are ideologically related. Blind and ignorant hatred is being drummed up throughout our culture by those who either have a political agenda or are themselves victims of ignorance and malicious manipulation.
However, it is not mere ignorance that is a danger to our culture and country. It is also deliberate misinformation, which finds a fertile field in ignorance and a political culture that seeks power by divisive emphasis of identity politics and by fueling real or imagined grievances and spreading outrageous character assassination and lies.
This vast stream of weaponized misinformation comes largely from the Left in the form of Cultural Marxism, which most frequently surfaces from its ocean of malignant cultural infection as political correctness.
The Left’s attack on Southern symbols and culture was only the beginning of their broader attack on American culture, Western culture, and Judeo-Christian doctrines and values. It is actually Judeo-Christian teachings that the Left hates and fears the most. Southern symbols and culture had already been made vulnerable by years of partisan propaganda about the causes, nature, and conduct of the “Civil War.”
This false narrative was that the Civil War was only about slavery and thus race. This false narrative is now widely taught and believed, but it would come as a surprise to Abraham Lincoln and a majority of the U.S. Congress at that time. It would certainly be a surprise to British authors and media at that time. It would come as a surprise to the vast majority of Confederate soldiers at that time. For more on this false Civil War narrative, please read my online Tribune article for January 5, entitled True Causes of the Un-Civil War: Understanding the Morrill Tariff, and my June 15, 2018 article: False Narratives of American History. Better yet, purchase my 2011 book, The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths.
The first concentrated attack by the Left was on the Confederate Battle Flag, which quickly spread as a cause celeb for misinformed people who wanted to feel good about their own moral standing and perhaps do some social and political virtue-signaling. But the underlying Leftist motivation was not to help blacks but to serve their own divisive agenda to stir up racial tension as a means of political gain. Their ultimate goal was pushing American culture and politics to the left, at which they have been highly successful.
There are those who say that the display of the Confederate Battle Flag is insensitive. They say it is a symbol of slavery and offends many people. But their offense is based on ignorance of its true origin and history.
The Confederate Battle Flag, sometimes called the Southern Cross, is held in disfavor by many who are unfamiliar with its origin and true symbolism. Many have been taught to treat it as an object of moral horror and political infamy. A deadly combination of ignorance and arrogant self-righteousness is constantly engaged in shouting down its true history and meaning.
Demagogues freely defame it, while moral cowardice acquiesces to their outrageous distortions of the truth. The apathetic allow its true history to be buried under decades of slanderous propaganda.
It is incumbent upon those who value truth, fairness, good will, reasonable tolerance, and charity in society to educate themselves on the true history and meaning of this famed banner.
As celebrated Southern historian, Shelby Foote, once wrote, the Battle Flag also came to stand for Law, in the sense of a government of Law rather than a government subject to the whim of tyrants or majorities. In that regard it stood for a strict rather than opportunistic interpretation of Law and Constitutions. It also came to be a symbol of defiance against tyranny and the right of a free people to determine their own destiny. This may be one of its most enduring meanings. The Confederate Battle Flag has been seen all over the world in this regard, on the Berlin Wall, and in the capitals of the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe, wherever free people must resist tyranny and the modern scourge of political correctness.
It stood for limited government and States Rights against the dangers of concentrated and centralized power. It stood for the principles of the constitutional federal republic of 1787 that the South felt were threatened by Northern political philosophies and economic ambitions. It stood for the Rights gained and blood-sacrifices their forefathers had made in the Revolutionary War. If there was one word used more often than any other in the secession conventions, it was “Honor.” The Confederate Battle Flag came to signify the honor of the Confederate soldier and the Southern people. It has come to symbolize the South itself with all its culture.
These are not dead issues. More than anything it must forever symbolize the sacrifice of fallen Confederate soldiers on the battlefields of their War for Southern Independence and also the valor of the veterans of those fields of honor.
The right to define the meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag or any flag belongs to those who by their history and shed blood own its heritage. Radical and lawless groups often display the United States flag, but this does not change its true meaning to fair-minded people. Nor should fair-minded people rightly associate the Confederate Battle Flag with evil because the very same groups expropriate and display it.
Groups such as the NAACP and SPLC have no right to define the meaning of Confederate flags any more than the French have the right to define the meaning of the Italian flag or any flag but their own. Redefining and slandering someone else’s heritage and symbols is incredibly arrogant and stirs up needless strife. Honorable people pursuing a just and civil society do not seek to dishonor and marginalize the heritage and symbols of others.
How long will a peace based on suppression of a people’s cherished heritage last? How long will a peace built upon suppressing the memory, valor, and virtue of the revered forebears of a great number of the Southern people last? What could possibly be a surer cause of immense strife, bitterness, and economic and political turmoil?
Can anyone believe that peace and prosperity can be achieved by discarding the cherished heritage of a numerous people to gain the political favor of others? It is more likely to shatter all hope of peace. Can a society set itself against tolerance and mutual respect and have peace? No fair-minded person can accept such corrupt reasoning.
Beware for the Left is on a rampage of social destruction and dominates most of our media and educational and cultural institutions. They are mad-dogs without moral compass.