Where Will the Attacks End?

Confederate Flag Day Address
Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
March 4,2017

I had the honor of delivering the keynote address in 1994 at the Last Capitol of the Confederacy in Danville when we dedicated the monument to the Third National Flag. Much has changed since. Enemies of traditional culture have succeeded in removing that monument. The City Council of Charlottesville recently voted to remove the statue of General Robert E. Lee from its prominent place in that city. There are calls to remove the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue here in Richmond.

Some of the less radical enemies of traditional culture argue that these monuments and statues must be recast in a different historical context. My purpose today is to talk about a different context. The attacks on Confederate symbols, including the Battle Flag and the National Flags, the statues 1 just described, and the many monuments placed in courthouse squares, on streets and on battlefields throughout the states, must be seen in the context of a larger scheme to destroy traditional culture.

We are standing here today in this cemetery on another example of this cultural struggle. For decades, devoted Virginians who only desire to honor the lives and sacrifices of those combatants buried here in the Confederate Section of this cemetery have been opposed by those who intend to strike the valor of those buried here from our collective memory or to persuade this generation of Americans and all future generations that only the darkest evil motivated those combatants.

But the attack on Confederate symbols docs not stop with these examples. As some in Charlottesville have openly proclaimed, monuments to Thomas Jefferson are the next target. Where will these demands end? If Jefferson symbols must be removed, then those of James Madison, James Monroe, George Mason and Patrick Henry must go. Do we then leave untouched tributes and monuments to the Father of the Nation, George Washington? Must we rename the national capital?

The ultimate aim of the followers of Saul Alinsky and the allies of George Soros is to destroy the culture that produced the United States Constitution, which has survived for more than two and a quarter centuries. We would be willfully blind not to see that the attacks on our traditions are organized, focused and destructive.

The fight to preserve Confederate heritage is only a part of a much larger struggle. We should be working with other defenders of traditional culture to resist the assault of the Radical Left. Continuing the fight independent of, and separate from, our natural allies would be foolhardy. In George Orwell’s famous satire of the totalitarian Soviet Union — his novel Animal Farm — the character Snowball, a pig, exhorts the animals on Farmer Jones’ farm with the chant “Four legs good, two legs bad.” That chant would become the battle cry of the animals in their revolt against Farmer Jones and humans in general. Orwell was describing the Russian Revolution. He could just as well have been describing the French Revolution of 1789 with its slogan “liberty, equality, fraternity.”

Snowball’s chant was effective, but cynical. Orwell understood that the chant served several purposes: (1) It aroused the emotions of the animals. (2) It reduced everything to a simplistic formula – a thought-stopping slogan. (3) It drowned out dissenting voices. Snowball used that slogan to galvanize a mob to revolt.

That same tactic is at work today throughout the United States, funded largely by George Soros. It is an explicit element of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which is the playbook of the Radical Left. Confederate symbols are simply one of the targets, but a useful one for the Radical Left especially since the deranged Dylan Roof murdered nine innocent people in a Charleston, South Carolina church.

During the celebration of the bicentennial of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1978-79, the Radical Left launched opposition because the Constitution tolerated slavery. That opposition got nowhere then. But since then, the systematic undermining of champions of the Constitution, particularly those Virginians among the Founders who were slaveholders, has had its effect.

It is not a stretch, in my view, to liken the destruction of all symbols of religion following the Russian and French Revolutions to the destruction of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and the Roman structures in Palmyra, Syria by Radical Islamists to the assault on our monuments, statues and symbols here. It won’t stop with the Lee statue in Charlottesville or the Danville monument. It won’t stop with the renaming of Calhoun College at Yale University. The Radical Left isn’t interested in improving our culture. This radical movement wants to replace it by first destroying or making detestable every symbol of every tradition that produced the American Republic.

Unless we understand our proper role in this culture war, we cannot expect to continue celebrating Confederate Flag Day or our heritage. It’s time for us to organize with others who understand the broader cultural war, just as the Radical Left has organized its diverse groups. If we fail to do so, we will lose this culture war by default.

About Patrick McSweeney

Patrick McSweeney was Head of the Office of Legislative Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Nixon Administration, directed the reorganization of Virginia state government in the 1970s, and served as chairman of he Republican Party of Virginia. He has given many addresses on behalf of the Southern tradition, including the annual address at Arlington Cemetery, the Lee-Jackson ceremony at the Capitol of Virginia, and the address dedicating the monument to the last Capitol of the Confederacy at Danville, Virginia.  He and his wife live on a farm a couple of miles from Lee's last bivouac at his brother's farm in Powhatan, Virginia. More from Patrick McSweeney

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