Why Lee? Why Acton?

A prevailing notion throughout the grand land of America is that the constant brouhaha down South among many of us regarding monuments and flags and statues is much ado. . .so forth and so on. . . and that neo confederates (so-called) are living in the past. While not calling myself a neo-confederate (paleo) I certainly live for the past.

Interestingly, most neoconservatives and liberals seem to live in the past, as well. But it is not a curse if they do it, only if Southerners do it.  After all, there is a monument to Lincoln and one to Jefferson both of which the Egyptians would be proud of in size and colossally ostentatious grandeur—for men who, by today’s judgment (strangely, it is actually prejudgment) didn’t seem to think black lives mattered; at least not in America. Lincoln belonged to the American Colonization Society along with other personages: the aforementioned Thomas Jefferson as well as James Madison, John Marshall and Francis Scott Key to name only a few additional notables.

The ACS of course (if you are readers George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee, Nicky Haly, et al) was the society that wanted to repatriate free Negroes to the continent of Africa. The reasons for this are easily researched but the bottom line is they generally were considered inferior and criminally dangerous. This was not a Southern issue nor a slave issue as approximately ten percent of blacks in the South prior to The War Between the States were free (some of whom owned slaves themselves) and though thought of as somewhat inferior, prior to the war neither apartheid laws nor civil laws against miscegenation were on the books in the South.

This in the light of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s thrill at being politically rewarded by the fifth circuit court’s ruling that the city of New Orleans (where a million people turned out for Jefferson Davis’ funeral in 1890) can remove Lee’s statue, P.G.T. Beauregard’s statue and Davis’ (adopter of a black orphan) as well. “There may have been a time when that monument reflected who we were as a city, but times change. And so do we,” Landrieu said. Now, I do not believe the Mayor and most of those I talk with do not believe him either; though, in fairness (perhaps, though, not in truth) there are many who believe him. I suspect that the only lives that matter to Landrieu are the voting lives, whether black or white.

Pitiful little men like Dick Cheney can figuratively spit on the grave of a supposed friend, Floyd Spence, and George W. Bush can have lackeys sneak around at night and steal property paid for by others and in so doing tell their political friends that conservatism means the Republican party, and Southerners are welcome only if they understand this. And Mike Huckabee and such ilk can promulgate scholarships for illegal immigrants as an atonement for slavery but disdain their Southern brethren as unrepentant non-scholar (this now seems to be the current Southern Baptist teaching in today’s stagecraft pulpits) racists and still deceive true conservatives into voting for the damnable Republican party.

A 19th century author, famous for his caring for political liberal manners and comportments would see through today’s neoconservative twaddle it would seem.

“The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states.”
Charles Dickens, 1862

And from the man Republicans and Democrats alike have come to defile:

“Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity. History is not the relation of campaigns and battles and generals or other individuals, but that which shows the principles for which the South contended and which justified her struggle for those principles. ”
Robert E. Lee

And, finally from a man who has been quoted as often as any and more than most in the political arena with his famous “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” dispatching in a lengthy correspondence with Lee after the war:

“I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic (sic) have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform (sic) would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics (sic). Therefore, I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.” Lord Acton

It is for these reasons that Southerners, honorable conservative minds and mindsets, honor men like Robert E. Lee and offer up Go Fund Me programs to fight for him and in some meager way to thank him.

About Paul H. Yarbrough

I was born and reared in Mississippi, lived in both Louisiana and Texas (past 40 years). My wonderful wife of 43 years who recently passed away was from Louisiana. I have spent most of my business career in the oil business. I took up writing as a hobby 7 or 8 years ago and love to write about the South. I have just finished a third novel.
I also believe in the South and its true beliefs.

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