Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Debating the Charleston "Confederate" Flag

By: Jonathan Harris

It's been five years since I've written anything on how to debate the "Civil War" from an anti-revisionistic perspective. But the battle, though we haven't asked for it, has come to us! Those who wish to honor their Confederate ancestors are finding themselves in the greatest cultural fight yet though, and I want to offer up some new pointers. Most SCV members that get on the media have a real problem because they assume a couple things.

1) That they're going to have enough time to explain complex political situations.
2) That the other side is interested in the truth.
3) That if they're nice enough, and not aggressive, the other side will be respectful.

I suggest dumping all those assumptions. It's a set up. You're the prop being used to blast the real target- your ancestors. The goal is to make you look as dumb as possible by surprising you, by talking over you, by asking you loaded questions, etc. Don't fall for it. Have your message already planned and take control of the conversation. Here's my recommendation. Choose something like this:

"The flag displayed on the SC statehouse grounds is strictly a battle flag meant to honor the noble men who defended SC against a ruthless invader."

No matter what the opposition says, make sure that's your purpose. Be clear. Be articulate. Make it about the noble actions of soldiers, because that is what it's about. Paint your opponent as being ungrateful or uncaring of those who paid the ultimate price. Do it. They will be offended, but if it's the truth it will only steer the discussion toward their actual anti-Southern bigotry, or ungratefulness, NOT your imagined "racism."

My second piece of advice is this. Your biggest offensive weapons ARE NOT the facts! They don't care about the facts, remember? Your biggest weapons are hard questions that expose the lack of understanding your opponent has. Have some questions ready. Here are my suggestions.

- Why did the CSA Constitution outlaw the slave trade?
- Why did free blacks fight for the Confederacy?
- Why did the vast majority of non-slaveholding Southerners fight?
- Why did the Slave Narratives recount relatively peaceful race relations in the South?
- Why did foreign observers and the US Census point to greater race-relations in the South than in the North?
- Why did Lincoln go to war if his intention according to the 1st Inaugural, was not to free slaves?
- Are you aware that the same arguments you're using against the "Confederate Flag" can just be easily used against the Stars and Stripes as well?
- Why shouldn't we ban the Stars and Stripes since it flew over slave ships?
- Do you know why the Southern Cross is the flag chosen at the SC statehouse grounds?
- Do you condone the atrocities waged by Sherman in SC? --- Atrocities the soldiers represented by the memorial were trying to prevent?
- Do black Confederate lives matter to you?
- Do you consider Dylann Roof to be an authority on the meaning behind the Southern Cross?

I could go on. . . but you get the point! Ask hard questions for the Leftists to answer. You can give them enough rope to hang themselves. Make sure you do it with a smile (not a smirk!) and a soft, but resolved countenance. These days emotions are way more important than facts. If your opponent is aggressive, let him know you deeply care for your ancestors and you take his or her offense personally but that you care for them too. These are my pointers.

I will say this- It may be that the flag is taken down from many many places in the South, but that is not because it's not worthy of us. It's because we're not worthy of the men who died defending it anymore. If that's the case we are under the judgement of God, and He will remember those who didn't cave to disrespect and dishonor. This all comes down to one thing. Are we grateful to our Creator for the men who so nobly displayed the definition of love on behalf of our people? Or do we say that we'd rather forget that such men ever lived and thus show our ingratitude. I pray there's still enough of us in the former category.


P.V.E. Wood said...

Your wonderful blog reminded me of my first term reading history at university and studying the American civil war. My don was surprised that I took the Southern side. You inspired this article which attracted 800 clicks so far. http://pvewood.blogspot.ro/2015/06/how-well-or-badly-were-slaves-treated.html

P.V.E. Wood said...

Please see this too. http://pvewood.blogspot.ro/2015/07/american-slaves-were-emancipated-in.html

P.V.E. Wood said...

I copied some of your questions onto my blog - seethe last few comments - and got interesting replies.


Jon said...

Very interesting Mr. Wood! Thank you for the encouragement!