There is a whole big discussion on the Civil War going down in Vox Popoli. Why? Because I made an offhand comment where I complimented Lee by comparing him to Rommel, who was a good and honorable man on the wrong side of the coin.
Naturally the Southern defense brigade came out, which I figured would happen but was also not my intention. Still, I have only myself to blame, and I couldn’t help but get sucked in.
Now here’s the thing: I have no problem speaking with defenders of the South. There are arguments to be made there. And I’m not even close to saying the North is blameless – far from it. What struck me, though, was how nasty the defenders of the South were. Seriously, they insulted Northerners and had absolutely no respect for any of their arguments. They’re barely acknowledging that there’s an interesting discussion going on, because they think people who defend the North are idiots. Here’s an idea of what their motives are. Nate is a much-respected commenter at Vox Populi, and from what I remember from reading the threads he seems to be intelligent. But here are his thoughts on the Civil War (I feel justified writing about this because I responded to him directly, so I’m not going behind his back):
‘”Because we’re Special Snowflakes, and the slaves aren’t,” was the essence of the Confederate argument. And I don’t feel any more respect for this than I do for any other Special Snowflake argument.”
This is what’s so awesome about The Idiot Yankee View of History. They are completely oblivious.
Yeah, that adds a lot to the discussion. Northern arguments aren’t even remotely defensible! We’re all idiots! Good grief.
ajw308 said this about me:
He’s either really new here or a troll.
1) I’ve been hanging around Vox’s blog for maybe three or four months and have a good handle on the comments section. Not exactly new.
2) I made an offhand remark that sparked a fascinating discussion where several intelligent commenters agreed with me. This=troll. (And once again since I responded to him directly I consider this fair game).
No. Actually there was a switch [that turned the country from free to unfree]. It was the point were state law stopped superseding federal law.
That point… was 1866.
Now I know I know… you’re a yankee and therefore have no education at all… but see… before… if there was a federal law that was contradicted by a state law… the state law is the law that stood.
This little rant was inspired by this comment:
There is no “magical switch.” The evolution of political culture is a gradual thing. I would argue that some time in the mid-20th century, roughly a century after the American Civil War, the accretion of Federal Power grew to the point that its reversal back to a mid-19th century level of freedom has become highly-improbable, because many of the factors are “ratchet” effects (easier to go one way than the other).
If you want an arbitrary point, I’d pick the combined effects of LBJ’s Great Society and Richard Nixon’s creation of the EPA and Affirmative Action. But that’s really an arbitrary points — we are witnessing far worse losses of freedom now, with Obama’s utter unconcern for the US Constitution in his government by executive order.
Yes, Nate is the rational one here! Yankee=bad!
The fact is, I’m sympathetic to the South, though if I HAD to pick one side it would be the North. But the people on Vox’s blog who support this position are being called idiots, told they’re making no intelligent points, and being yelled at in general. Some of the Northern supporters are doing it too, but to a lesser degree. Seriously, I called Lincoln a “complex man” and was basically told I’m a moron for not thinking he was totally, like, evil.
The point here is that if Southern supporters want to make their points they need to do better than this. They don’t sound smart. They sound irrationally angry. For daring to suggest this was an intelligent discussion and not backing down on my views I was condescendingly called “cute”. If you can’t even admit that this is an interesting discussion where dissent is understandable, if misguided, then it’s hard for me to consider you reasonable.
But what do I know. Yankee=Bad!