Category Archives: Culture wars

Propagandizing Doth Not A Happy Historian Make

by Jock Yellott

“Do you agree or disagree that college faculty are contaminating history with politics and producing closed minded, unscientific and illogical propaganda?”

Dr. Ed Ayers, former president of the University of Richmond, a former Dean of Arts and Sciences at U Va, and among Virginia’s most accomplished and respected living historians, was asked that question last week.

It came during the Q&A after the January 19, 2021 online membership meeting of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Dr. Ayers’s  breezy, good-humored remarks about what he does and why he does can be viewed in the video above. (Dr. Ayers begins speaking at about minute 14; the question and his answer at 45.55, through 49:01).

Dr. Ayer’s response, gently edited for clarity: Continue reading

Virginia’s Name Games

by Kerry Dougherty

The good people of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties will no longer have to suffer the indignity of being part of a health district named for a loathsome American who left no legacy worth honoring, established no university worth attending and contributed nothing to the cause of liberty in the United States.

I’m talking, of course, about that American scoundrel Thomas Jefferson. As of this month, the Thomas Jefferson Health District will be called the Blue Ridge Health District, sparing the population of the part of the commonwealth that Jefferson loved so well, the pain of hearing his name when they check COVID numbers or seek the vaccine.

I learned about the name change on the Virginia Department of Health website, which got me wondering, did folks in the TJ District complain about the moniker? Did anyone claim that TJ’s name was so offensive they could not bear to have any contact with the health department there?

Nope, came an emailed reply yesterday afternoon. No complaints that anyone there was aware of. Continue reading

There Is a God and He Has a Sense of Humor

President Biden. Credit:

by James C. Sherlock

The Left won control of government in the most recent elections nationally and in Virginia. Elections indeed have consequences.

The focus on race instead of class by the newly victorious left will have major consequences here.

A combination of (1) Biden policies requiring antiracism training for federal workers and contractors; and (2) state requirements for biannual antiracism training for teachers and rewriting of syllabi to achieve antiracism together will be felt more heavily in Virginia, especially dark blue Northern Virginia, than anywhere else in the nation.

Virginia, because of its massive concentration of federal workers and contractors in Northern Virginia and military and contractors in Hampton Roads, will be the state most heavily effected by the new Biden administration policies.

Virginia’s education system is already in the midst of an antiracism transformation at the hands of the Governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Education, left-leaning school boards in districts like Albemarle County and left-wing schools of education in Virginia such as those of UVa and VCU.

I am going to use this essay primarily to offer commentary from the Left on what this means and whether it will work. Continue reading

An Era of Kindness, Civility and Decency? Not in Virginia.

Sen. John Bell

by James A. Bacon

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring commented upon the inauguration of President Joe Biden today with the following remark: “Today, we move forward as one country into a new era where kindness, civility, and decency are once again represented at the highest levels of our government.”

That’s a lofty sentiment. I hope it proves true.

However, Herring’s colleagues in the General Assembly apparently failed to get the memo. A state Senate committee voted along party lines yesterday to censure Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, for “fomenting insurrection against the United States” in reference to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.

I am no fan of Chase, as my previous posts on this blog attest. She’s a loose cannon on the ship of state. But I don’t believe in canceling everyone with whom I have strong disagreements. What, precisely, did Chase do or say to warrant a censure for fomenting insurrection? Continue reading

Live by the Sword

Del. Jerrauld C. Jones. Credit: Washington Post

by James C. Sherlock.

This is a follow up to Jim Bacon’s story about Levar Stoney, his contributor and city statue removal contractor, credible accusations of corruption and Attorney General Herring.

From the Washington Washington Post:

“In what may become a heated Democratic primary contest for Virginia attorney general, state Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones Friday attacked Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) Friday for authorizing an investigation into allegations of impropriety surrounding Richmond’s mayor — a standard move in an ongoing court case that Jones called a Trump-like abuse of power. “Using the office of the Attorney General to investigate your political opponents is the same tactic employed by Donald Trump,” Jones (D-Norfolk) said in a statement, referring to the fact that Richmond Mayor Levar A. Stoney has endorsed him, and not Herring, for the Democratic nomination for attorney general this year.”

Welcome to the quicksand of the left, General Herring.

You are now officially accused of abuse of public office for “authorizing an investigation” into allegations of corruption on Stoney’s part. Not indicting, investigating. As is your job. Continue reading

Combating Past Racism with Reverse Racism

Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun

by James A. Bacon

Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun, has introduced HB 1980, a bill that would establish the Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship Program. Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, five public Virginia universities each would provide scholarships to at least one African-American Virginian student born in the Commonwealth sufficient to cover tuition, fees, room, board, books, other educational supplies, and even tutoring — a full ride.

To qualify, the student could come from a household earning up to four times the federal poverty guidelines (roughly $70,400 in 2020 for a family with a single parent and single child). The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) for Virginia would implement the program in collaboration with the institutions and report periodically to the General Assembly. Continue reading

Democrats Propose Expanded Virginia Government Personal Information Collection, Integration and Dissemination

George Orwell

by James C. Sherlock

There are few things the Left desires more than government access to personal data on every citizen and everything he or she does. Virginia continues down that path.

Government Data Collection & Dissemination Practices Act Chapter 38 of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia (§ 2.2-3800 et seq.) reads in part:

B. The General Assembly finds that:

1. An individual’s privacy is directly affected by the extensive collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personal information;

2. The increasing use of computers and sophisticated information technology has greatly magnified the harm that can occur from these practices;

3. An individual’s opportunities to secure employment, insurance, credit, and his right to due process, and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain of these personal information systems; and

4. In order to preserve the rights guaranteed a citizen in a free society, legislation is necessary to establish procedures to govern information systems containing records on individuals.

Democrats in the General Assembly consider those principles trumped by their desires for control of every aspect of citizens lives from birth until death. Thus they are leading an effort to expand government collection, dissemination and integration of citizens’ personal information.  Continue reading

Open Letter to the W&L Board and Community

The Generals Redoubt, a group of Washington and Lee University alumni, have published this open letter. The document explores major themes of interest to Bacon’s Rebellion readers, and we reproduce an abridged version here. — JAB


As the Washington and Lee Board of Trustees considers changing the name of the university, The Generals Redoubt (TGR) wishes to share statistical information and other research findings to aid them in their decision-making. …

Findings Supporting the Retention of the Name Washington and Lee University – It Conveys a High Quality Educational Experience

Washington and Lee consistently ranks in the top ten of liberal arts colleges and universities overall. U.S. News and World Report ranked W&L 9th among private colleges and universities in 2020. In that same year, College Factual ranked W&L as the #1 college or university in Virginia and #3 in the Southeast. Kiplinger notes that Washington and Lee is highly selective and accepted 21% of its applicants in 2019. In 2020, Niche listed W&L at 16th among national liberal arts college and universities for its low acceptance rate. …

Over the last several years, Washington and Lee has continued to attract an ever larger and diverse number of qualified applicants and enrollees. Applications to the undergraduate school have increased each of the last three years. And it has been reported that current applications to the law school are up about 40% over the same time last year. Continue reading

Northam’s Good Move: End Executions

The Martinsville Seven

By Peter Galuszka

Governor Ralph Northam will propose legislation to ban executions in the state. The move could end decades of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

“I’ve strongly about this for a long time,” he was quoted as saying. The bill will be taken up by the General Assembly, which met in its 2021 session today.

If the bill passes, it would make Virginia the only Southern state to ban executions.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, 113 executions have been conducted in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976. Virginia’s vigorous efforts to kill those convicted of capital crimes gave it the dishonorable distinction of being No. 2 in the country after Texas which had 570 executions in that time frame.

Historically, African Americans have been executed at rates that exceed their numbers in the general population. Continue reading

Welcome to the Foxhole

by James C. Sherlock

I just posted this response to a relative who asked me to read a post by a left wing professor blaming Q’Anon for the violence in the capitol.

I read the article. I haven’t read enough of (name of the author) to characterize him, so I won’t.

I will, however address the violent fringes of American politics.

When I look at the pasty, scruffy-looking college students and millennial anarchists from this summer’s violence, I see a threat but one easily contained by police if let to do their jobs. The issue is that the violent left had political cover.  The mayors of the left could not bring themselves to effectively deal with their violence because they agreed with their politics.  

It is those leftist extremists and apolitical looters against which the nation’s cities boarded up their stores and restaurants right before the election. Not in case Donald Trump lost, but in case he won. A threat, but with political permission manageable because they are not generally individually tough or skilled at violence. If blue collar unions had backed and participated in that violence, it would have been a different story, but they did not.

When I look at the violent right, that is a completely different matter. These men and women are rough street fighters, many with backgrounds that have taught them how to exert violence efficiently and effectively.  Continue reading

Mark Zuckerberg, Call Your Lawyer

by James C. Sherlock

“You don’t need a Weatherman To know which way the wind blows.” — Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues.

Consider this:

“Facebook was hit with twin lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from dozens of states on Wednesday, in one of the most serious challenges ever to the Silicon Valley giant. The cases could potentially result in Facebook being broken up.

Here’s what you need to know.

The FTC and the states accuse Facebook of abusing its dominance in the digital marketplace and engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

“Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition,” Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

And that story was dated Dec. 11, 2020. 

Maybe last week was not the best time for Facebook to kick that hornets’ nest with another potential antitrust violation. Continue reading

Dissecting Social Justice in Schools with Thomas Sowell

by James A. Bacon

A guiding premise of the Northam administration’s education policy is that Virginia’s system of public education is guilty of systemic racism. Informed by social-justice sensibilities, Northam hopes to close the achievement gap between racial/ethnic groups by making the school curriculum more “culturally relevant” for minority students, training teachers in culturally relevant instruction, recruiting more teachers of color, and presenting a more “inclusive” version of American history.

I have long argued that most of these supposed remedies will accomplish little to close the achievement gap, that, in fact, they might do actual harm. The ideas Northam is implementing have been incubating for years. Thomas Sowell was writing about them in his 2006 book, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals.” Sowell’s arguments are every bit as relevant today as they were 15 years ago, perhaps even more so.

Sowell’s book is so rich that it is impossible for me to do it justice in a brief column, but I will try to hit the highlights as they apply to the debate over K-12 education in Virginia today.

The foundational thesis of the book is encapsulated in the title phrase “black rednecks.” Sowell, who has written extensively about minorities around the world from Jews and overseas Chinese to Armenians and Volga Germans, believes that an ethnic groups’ cultures persist over long periods of time and cultural traits shape how the groups respond to the challenges confronting them. Continue reading

Violence and Tolerance

Leftists couldn’t raise a finger to object to political violence all summer, but feel they are in a moral position to do so now? Blame Herbert Marcuse…

by Shaun Kenney

Herbert Marcuse is a name you might vaguely know.

Marcuse was the darling of violent leftist radicals during the 1960s who found new currency and utility after the rise of postmodern politics on college campuses during the last decade.

In his essay Repressive Tolerance, Marcuse touches on the reasons why toleration is a vice, why it enshrines the status quo, and how it serves as the enemy of the left:

Tolerance is an end unto itself.

Short break in the introductory paragraph, because these two ideas need to be parsed out:

The elimination of violence, and the reduction of suppression to the extent required for protecting man and animals from cruelty and aggression are preconditions for the creation of a humane society.

If the society does not eliminate violence, cruelty and aggression as preconditions (not ends) of a humane society? Then the society is not humane… and ergo can and by rights ought to be destroyed.

Tolerance of a status quo merely enshrines the violence, cruelty and aggression in human society today, whether that is racism, bigotry, transphobia, intersectionality, homophobia, prejudice, bias or any other sort of -ism that needs to be driven out in order to achieve the humane society. Continue reading

Reimagining Monticello after Jefferson’s Fall

Monticello. Credit: NPR

by Kenneth W. Gatten III

Among the American founders, Thomas Jefferson is most enduring: as historian Jon Meacham writes, “With… his sense of taste and love of beautiful things – of silver and art and architecture and gardening and food and wine – Jefferson is more alive, convivial.” On display at his home and museum of Monticello, these qualities have also made the third president a uniquely controversial figure. Jefferson’s fame even seems approaching notoriety as thorny facts continue to emerge about his treatment of slaves and illicit liaison with a 15-year-old Sally Hemings.

During the summer of 2020, nationwide protests against racial injustice condemned Jefferson, whose statues were shrouded from public view after an outcry in Decatur, Georgia, and spray-painted with the word “Confederate” and toppled in Portland, Oregon. As a focal point of potentially the largest movement in U.S. history, the fate of historical figures including Jefferson is at the front of the collective public conscience. Should he be rebuked, forgotten?

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which operates the Monticello museum, claims to offer an experience for visitors to answer this question by “bring[ing] history forward into national and global dialogues.” But my recent visit proves otherwise. Continue reading

You Were Warned

By Peter Galuszka

Here are some posts over the past year warning of what happened Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.

One other note: One Trump rioter was photographed holding a bunch of white flex cuff handcuffs, presumably to restrain Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence and others. It reminded me of the 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev. Plotters ordered hundreds of thousands of handcuffs in advance.