A Brave New World

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Friedich Nietzsche’s statement: “There are no facts, only interpretations” is essentially true about social sciences and social issues. But, although historians’ views of the past are interpretations, they are based on serious research into sources of evidence that are felt to be reliable. Similarly, in legal proceedings, the burden of proof is on the accuser, who must present a preponderance of evidence to win his case. Journalists are neither historians nor legal scholars; they interpret events in the way that best promotes fashionable socio/political agendas. Although news reporting has never been impartial, today’s journalists no longer even pretend to be fair and balanced. They have acquired such a sense of sanctimonious self-importance, that they have no qualms about abandoning journalistic integrity.

Before the 1950s ended, there was a tradition of favorable portrayals of the Old South in books, films, and music. But after the 1950s, it was forbidden to depict the South sympathetically, and the once celebrated books, films, and music were banned. The prohibition of sympathetic portrayals of the South was soon followed by demands that Southern memorials and monuments be demolished. But those who believe that they can simply raze relics of the past that displease them have a weak grasp of history. They don’t realize that irrational historical revisionism has not only been tried and failed, but it has also produced detrimental side-effects.

Those involved in the 16th century Protestant Reformation thought they could eliminate all vestiges of the despised Catholic Church. This mindset evolved into pillaging of churches, smashing stained glass windows; loping off heads of religious statuary, defacing holy religious paintings, and desecration of altars. Calmer heads finally realized that the mob destruction had gotten out of hand. The ravaging was curbed and efforts were made to repair some of the damaged religious relics and works of art.

In a later century, French Revolution zealots also tried to eradicate anything related to the deposed monarchy and the French aristocracy. Organized religion was again targeted and demolishing the Notre Dame Cathedral was even considered. During the Russian Revolution, the powers of the new Soviet Union attempted to destroy every trace of the centuries-old reign of the deposed Tsar’s family. Eventually the mass hysteria of the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution was brought under control and, once again, efforts were made to restore some of the damaged relics.

And so today, we have fanatics who think they can wipe out all remnants of the South’s past. The Leftist media supports the efforts of these fanatics, especially the top two Leftist news sites, the Washington Post and The New York Times. Disparaging columns about Southern heritage are frequent elements of Wapo and Grey Lady editorials. These news sites maintain that Southern symbols cannot be characterized as “pure” symbols because they conflict with the viewpoints of today’s ideologues.

Oddly enough, editorials critical of the South from the Washington Post and The New York Times are routinely featured in Southern newspapers , whereas articles offering laudatory views of the South are never printed. The following brief excerpts are examples from newspapers in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.

The Washington Post‘s Kathleen Parker is a regularly featured columnist in Georgia’s Brunswick News. Parker is a Leftist who frequently engages in Southern bashing. Ms. Parker feels the South itself has no value so the region should become a clone of the Northeast. One of her columns condemning the Confederate flag contains this comment: “…there’s no disputing its power as a symbol of racial hatred and the sickness of racism we all have a duty to fight with the same ferocity soldiers a century-and-a-half ago mustered to end slavery.”

Parker, like other Wapo and Grey Lady columnists, maintains that even with the racist views of Northerners in the 1800s, men from the North risked their lives on the battlefield, not to save the Union, but to end slavery in the South. Although historians offer in-depth interpretations concerning the Civil War, Ms. Parker prefers an uncomplicated explanation.

Eugene Robinson is regular columnist for South Carolina’s Aiken Standard . Robinson is also a Washington Post Leftist who despises the South. This angry diatribe is from one of Robinson’s smears of the Old South: “… the Confederacy is more than a flag, more than a region, more than Southern nostalgia based on the lie that the Civil War was about something other than slavery. The Confederacy that has endured for a century and a half after Appomattox is a state of mind that encompasses white supremacy, black subjugation, unrestricted gun rights and defiance of the legitimacy of the federal government. Banishing the flag is a beginning, but there is much more to be done.”

When Mr. Robinson states that “there is much more to be done” in order to eliminate Southern heritage, he reminds us of the threats and the ongoing demolition campaigns by ISIS in its destruction of ancient temples and other religious artifacts throughout the Middle East.

Recently, the Birmingham News carried an article by Morris Dees, who amassed a fortune from gullible contributors as a result of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hyperbolic “hate group” accusations. The SPLC has largely become a discredited organization because its imputations of racial hatred failed to hold up under scrutiny. Dees attacked the Alabama Heritage Preservation Act; a bill to prevent the removal of monuments or symbols relating to the Confederacy without formal approval by the Alabama Senate. Mr. Dees groused that the Act: “…would make it as difficult as possible for cities and towns to rename, remove or alter publicly sponsored symbols that glorify the Confederacy and the principles for which it stood: White supremacy and the institution of slavery.”

The nation no longer buys into the egregiously one-dimensional caricature of the antebellum South. Americans realize that the entire country was heavily involved in the institution of slavery and that there was much more to the Old South than the use of slave labor. And, with today’s ludicrous claims that just the fortuitous coincidence of being White creates a privilege that holds back non-Whites, the heinousness of the accusation of White supremacy in the antebellum South has lost its power to persuade.

The Alabama Heritage Preservation Act was created in response to the ongoing, widespread, and ill conceived destruction of Old South memorabilia, as is radically demonstrated by the example of New Orleans. The seven member City Council refused to allow the city to vote on the demolition of four century-old Confederate monuments, a prime example being the immense bronze statue of Robert E. Lee situated on an impressive column high above the city’s famous Lee Circle. Lee Circle with its monument has been a distinctive feature of the city for over 130 years. During the Mardi Gras season it is a prominent gathering place for locals and tourists and it will be sorely missed.

Significantly, the New Orleans City Council could not achieve unanimous approval of its own seven members, but a majority voted to take down the monuments. The State legislature proposed a bill to create a board to review requests to remove monuments over 30 years old. Although the House committee vote on the proposed bill resulted in a 7 -7 tie, that was sufficient to kill it.

New Orleans newspapers had no qualms about supporting the demolition of the city’s long-standing memorials. Sadly, today’s Southern newspapers are a far cry from Southern newspapers of the past. It is rare to find a Southern newspaper today that will say anything favorable about the South or its heritage. Also, these newspapers will not accept the fact that there is another side to the story being presented by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. There is a saving grace in the emergence of alternative news sites who do not cravenly kowtow to the anti-Southern cabal.

About Gail Jarvis

Gail Jarvis is a Georgia-based free-lance writer. He attended the University of Alabama and has a degree from Birmingham Southern College. As a CPA/financial consultant, he helped his clients cope with the detrimental effects of misguided governmental intrusiveness. This influenced his writing as did years of witnessing how versions of news and history were distorted for political reasons. Mr. Jarvis is a member of the Society of Independent Southern Historians and his articles have appeared on various websites, magazines, and publications for several organizations. He lives in Coastal Georgia with his wife. More from Gail Jarvis

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