stalin By Peter Galuszka

In 1993, I was stumbling along the rough concrete sidewalks of Alma Ata, then the  capital of the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. I was late for an interview with an official of what was now an independent nation rich in oil, natural gas and uranium.

The street map I had was old. I stopped a Kazakh woman in a kerchief and asked, “Is this Lenin Street?”

“Not anymore,” she replied. “It is Apple Street.”

Therein lies a small history lesson. Every human society, it doesn’t matter, where undergoes a major reassessment of how its humanity squares with its history.

The former Soviet Union is an excellent example. Its architect, V.I. Lenin, was a brilliant organizer but a killer. Josef Stalin murdered at least 20 million (who’s counting?) during the Great Purge and later in the war against Hitler.

Time and again, the old USSR and now the Russian Federation would undergo a change in leadership and the statutes would come down. They did when Stalin died in 1953 in Eastern Europe. Russians were shocked when new chieftain Nikita Khrushchev gave his liberal-minded “Secret Speech” in 1956 denounced Stalin. When another liberal, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, came to power in 1985, he pushed the national conversation even further.

By that time, I was reporting there for an international magazine. I visited a tractor factory in the town of Vladimir in 1987. Its very bright deputy director who would go on the Harvard Graduate School of Business, smirked uneasily when he said the factory was still named after Andrei Zhdanov.

He didn’t need to mention that Zhdanov was a Stalin thug who oppressed artists like Anna Akhmatova and Dmitri Shostakovich. He also was instrumental in starting the great purge of the 1930s during which 1.5 million people were imprisoned and more than 680,000 were shot.

The old statues really started to come down after the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. The Zhdanov plant got a new name (although the way things are going under Vladimir Putin, the statues are starting to go back up).

So, what’s may point? That all societies need to air their history and their myths – including the ones that white Southerners have clung to for yours. Are some so arrogant as to claim they are above what other nations undergo?

Mother Jones, one of my favorite magazines, has story listing just how many streets, schools and public buildings are named after dubious characters. In Jacksonville, Fla., they renamed a high school named after Nathan. Bedford Forrest, a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army and founder of the Ku Klux Klan. North Carolina has renamed school facilities named after former Gov. Charles Aycock, a white supremacist.

And for the truly strange, look no farther than Richmond. The Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School is on a street named after John Singleton Mosby, a famous Confederate cavalry raider.

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  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    See, I think it is wonderful that a school named for King is on a street named after Mosby and I wouldn’t change either one. I don’t know Mosby’s personal history with regard to slavery. Most southern soldiers owned no slaves. A school named for King on a street named for the deeply racist slave dealer N.B. Forrest would be irony indeed. (But damn, he had a gift for war.)

    Those who ignore history risk repeating it. Perhaps a few more statues of Stalin around the old Soviet Union would remind everybody of the parallel with their current dictator, who his busily trying to copy the old murderer.

    The schizophrenia over the Confederacy is something I’ve lived in my life, with one grandfather who was a Michigan Republican and another who was an open racist and a secret Klansman (we found the robes when we cleaned out the house in Bluefield). I know where my great great grandfather fought wearing grey, and I have set of letters from a Michigan soldier written to an ancestor from the outskirts of Atlanta. As a teenager who moved to VA at age 12 from California, I was stunned to learn I was supposed to stand in the football stadium when the band played Dixie. A few years later I joined the band and learned the tune.

    I look at those statues on Monument Avenue and I see a reminder of the greatest, most tragic folly in American history – and I’m reminded that even Jefferson recognized that slavery was a sin and the wages of sin would be death. We need those constant reminders, and when I see the pathetic die-hards parading with their flags, I just pity the fools. I pity my grandfather, who knew so much hate.

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Good points, Steve. Maybe the statues should stay up as reminders.

  3. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Actually, the attack on the Confederacy is one that brooks no response. Merely to defend its leaders, intentions, etc, is to be cast out of polite society. In short, the attack on the Confederacy and Confederates is a kind of Stalinist “purge” or “show trial.” In order for there to be a discussion, the defenders of the Confederacy must be heard and their testimony examined. Merely saying that because Russia has removed statues of Stalin and that Liberals are removing statues of Confederate leaders, therefore, the motives of the removers are the same, and the men whom the statues represent are comparable, is an unexamined assertion, and proves nothing. Until white Southerners are allowed to speak for themselves in defense of the Confederates, then we can safely say that Liberals are behaving the way Stalin and his supporters did against their perceived enemies, rather than today’s liberated Russians are toward the statues of Stalin and his gangster colleagues. Similarly, MLK is beyond all criticism. If you want to examine myths, there is a major one right there. Robert E. Lee was no “myth” but a great Virginian and American. Similarly, Wade Hampton was a great South Carolinian and American. Jack Hurst, in his biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest notes that General Forrest’s funeral was attended by hundreds of blacks. If you call something a myth, a lie, basically, then be prepared to back up your assertion. Liberals are in the position where they can make scurrilous allegations and not have to answer to anyone for them.

    1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

      “Until white Southerners are allowed to speak for themselves in defense of the Confederates, then we can safely say that Liberals are behaving the way Stalin and his supporters did against their perceived enemies, rather than today’s liberated Russians are toward the statues of Stalin and his gangster colleagues.”

      I beg to differ: Our Stalinists (the white Southern Baptist/Evangelicals) have had a glorious time telling us that we must accept their ideas and respect their heritage and bigotry. I understand that they don’t like the change in the times, but that is only because their heritage is being paid the respect it actually deserves.

      In short, that act of treason must be called what it was, its symbols treated with the contempt they deserve, and the bigots who went after everyone not like them for the past 100+ years must be called for what they are. If any want to honor such things, they may do so in the privacy of their home, as long as noone else has to see or hear what they are doing. (Yes, that means that they do not fly a flag of treason in the open – even private land – where others can see it).

    2. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Any blacks present at Forrest’s funeral were just there to make sure that SOB was dead.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Liberals do not “behave” a certain way. Plenty of pro-Confedeates get to make all the arguments they want.

    I have such trouble understanding what points you are trying to make.

  5. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    You seem to make an argument of moral equivalence between Stalin and the Bolsheviks on the one hand and the Confederates on the other, because of the fact that in both cases their statues are being removed. While, logically, that can be true, it is not necessarily the case. I believe it is not the case. But by what moral assumptions can there be discussion? In terms of major media, there is no defense of the Confederacy permitted.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    without trying to expand this out too far… but keeping context –

    consider the Vietnam Memorial in DC.

    It’s a profoundly sobering place… that forever memorializes people who
    laid down their lives for their country. Millions visit every year.

    .. but what did they sacrifice for?

    and… would the good folks of Vietnam think kind thoughts about statues of courageous US Military in their city squares?

    so zoom back to the South – how would Southern White folks think about efforts to erect statues of Slaves and Northern Military heroes – in their city squares?

    and how many Federal and State Battlefield Parks have we created in the South to memorialize the war? And again – what did they die for? Are we going to remove them also?

  7. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Logically, LarrytheG, that is what would have to happen. We would live in a “tyrrany of the offended.” People need to re-learn tolerance, the old meaning: You put up with that with which you do not agree. That is the only way to maintain civil society. No one is asking that you honor people with whom you disagree or do not like, but do not force your dislike upon everyone else.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    ” No one is asking that you honor people with whom you disagree or do not like, but do not force your dislike upon everyone else.”

    and is Govt the proper institution to “honor” some that others disagree with?

    honest question. how do we resolve this – with government?

  9. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    There will be no 100% agreement on anything. The logical conclusion is the dissolution of public life and a retreat into mutually hostile private spheres. I do not admire MLK, but neither do I think his statue should be defaced or otherwise abused. Nor do I admire Lincoln, but neither will I go out of my way to disparage him or his memorial.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well no.. there ARE more than a few that a large number can agree on.

      I see no great division over George Washington… or Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin – Lewis & Clark, Mathew Fontaine, etc…

      this is sorta like the school prayer issue. Do you allow none or all or if – in between – what clear and transparent criteria ?

      I live 3 miles from Bloody Angle. It has a LOT of visitors but few blacks and most of them are there to walk/exercise – you will not see them studying the historic panels…and statues..and memorials to military units –

      2 miles away in the opposite direction is Robert E Lee Elementary School where kids of both/all races attend …


  10. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Actually, Jefferson and Washington both have been attacked for being slaveholders, and Jefferson’s stress on states’ rights and defense of Southern interests also have been attacked. So, yes, there are attacks even on these men. Schools have had their names changed over their having been slaveholders.

    I don’t understand your point about the Bloody Angle and why more blacks aren’t interested in visiting it. If they are not interested in visiting it, why is that a problem? People have freedom to go where they wish, or not wish to.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      my point? Blacks do not revere the Civil War like whites do.


      how many Federal and State parks are devoted to Black Heritage?

      would you think – from their point of view – that memorials to heritage are a bit lop-sided?

      in terms of Washington and Jefferson – no figure is without flaws but I’ll wager that a huge majority would support both memorials.

      now.. is “popularity” the right criteria?

  11. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    No, I do not agree that these are lop-sided. If black folks want to commemorate black Confederates or the 54th Massachusetts, that is fine with me. If they don’t care to, then so what.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      who put up the civil war memorials ? the people who claimed that heritage or the government?

      are people of other heritage to not have the same opportunity through govt to do the same?

      this – like other things – is about the govt role … not individual roles..

      what is the govt role in this?

  12. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Then we are right back to the removal of Christian crosses and Ten Commandments monuments. Liberals are creating a godless, identityless dystopia. They preach a dis-incarnate public square of total universality and non-particularity. Such a society is anti-human, no matter where it would be instituted because people partake of a common humanity AND a particular identity. Like Soviet Communism, it will be rejected, once people have ingested enough of it. It is the same motive force behind Modernist architechture, of sleek, sterile surfaces, and a homogenized suburban sprawl landscape, deadening in its uniformity, but perfectly stupendous to the initiates of its “holy logic.”

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      GOOD LORD – Andrew – all of those things are free speech allowed everywhere but on govt property – whose role is to be and remain neutral.

      It’s up to society to promote the culture and ideals they value but no one group should have the right to force it’s beliefs on others.

      this is the opposite of communism. THis is the freedom to practice and speak what you believe in .. not be forced by govt dictate to accept what you do not believe in as “govt endorsed”.

      I’m just agog – we went from 3 or 4 points in the dialogue to this.. all or nothing mindset.

      I do not want to limit what you believe in – not one iota – but I don’t also very much do not want what you believe promoted to me as the right and correct values -by govt.

      seems to me – the govt role is to be totally neutral OR they allow ALL views but we do not want govt deciding what the “correct” views are.

  13. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Your “neutrality,” in my opinion is the dystopic society I described. It is a vaccuum, a pretty terrible thing in that it is one of ultimate negation. Our only relation to one another in it is that of “consumers” and strangers seeking what Hobbes called, “Commodious Living,” as an end in itself. I would argue that the suburban landscape so disliked by Bacon’s Rebellion contributors and readers reflects this “privatization” of value, by making subdivision and the highest price the end all and be all of civil society, with faith, morality, aesthetics, history, and whatever else, counting for nothing in the eyes of the state, precisely because there is disagreement about it. But the Liberals, I am sure, will continue to idealize those “vibrant”, NON-Liberal societies, in a romantic kind of way, even while, trying to “convert” them to their gospel of spiritually dead “neutrality.”

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well, we sure made a big jump from tearing down statues… or did we?

      refreshing to disagree strongly without a hint of Ad Hominem.

      thank you.

  14. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    You’re welcome, Larry. The epitome of this kind of society is where I am from: Fairfax County. It is hated, for the most part, by “the Rest of Virginia,” not surprisingly. And I hate what has happened to the bulk of it, though a few nice places remain, mainly parks. It can be a very depressing, if prosperous, place, to live. I understand that our suicide rate is fairly high. Is it worth it?

  15. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I don’t think the rest of virginia hates fairfax. It is a small factor in our meager lives.

  16. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    But, Peter, I read this fact in the Washington Post and I believe everything it tells me. It is my oracle to the Rest of Virginia’s Mind.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      sounds like Andrew might be happier… maybe in an Amish Community in rural PA?

      😉 I’m kidding….

  17. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I like the sound of it, Larry. 😉 Parkland acquisition in these parts is a passion of mine.

  18. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Northern VA? Don’t you mean Occupied VA? Now that’s a bit of un-reconstructedness that I sometimes allow to slip out. 🙂

    Okay, let’s add two statues to Monument Avenue — Nat Turner and Doug Wilder. Let’s do it for Governor Wilder while he is still around because that is a speech I want to hear. A couple of interesting tableaux come to mind for a Wilder statue, but I will let that pass….

  19. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Nat Turner and Dylan Roof have much in common. Let us pray that neither man ever gets a statue erected in his “honor.” As far as Governor Wilder is concerned, I don’t favor it, though I voted for him, as a some-time “radical” at GMU, but do not consider him especially pernicious. Far worse men have been so honored.

  20. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Comparing Nat Turner and Dylan Roof is really not that far off from comparing Stalin and Jeff Davis. How about we agree that neither comparison is fair. I disagree with Wilder on issues from time to time but my admiration for his service to this country, state and city is real.

  21. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I think that the comparison is quite fair. And Turner got his just desserts, and may Roof get a similar outcome. In terms of the numbers of the slaughtered, Turner, however, was even worse, with something like 60 people killed. Again, I hope Roof also gets the death penalty, he certainly deserves it.

  22. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner
    ANOTHER great Virginia Civil War general who I have always thought deserved to be on Monument Avenue…..

  23. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    I think that it is unfortunate that a blog which discusses pressing land-use and public administration questions so ably, combines it with a decidedly anti-Southern, anti-Virginian, and occasionally, anti-Christian line, and that this will deaden its appeal, perhaps, to many in “the Rest of Virginia,” where these things are mostly esteemed. It is unfortunate, but it is the choice of Mr Bacon and his contributors to do so, although I think it a pity that they do so. I shall offer a response when these are made, where it is appropriate, but I also will not be deterred by these indignities from learning from the good of what they have to say.

    1. On the mast head of this blog is the sub-title, “Reinventing Virginia for the 21st Century”. That reinvention cannot occur by ignoring the history of the Commonwealth. To you some sentiments seem anti-Virginian. As a lifelong Virginian I see much arrogance in the Commonwealth. From our corrupt politicians crowing about “The Virginia Way” to graduates of my alma mater displaying “The University” bumper stickers. However, nothing is more striking than the odd love of many white Virginians for the so-called “lost cause”. Putting aside the reasons why the war was fought there can be no debate about the ultimate outcome. The US Civil War was a complete and total catastrophe – especially for the South. The South started a war they had no chance whatsoever of winning. The high water mark of the Confederate effort was a small incursion into Northern territory where the vaunted Robert E Lee was soundly thrashed. Those who proudly wave the Confederate flag need to remember that it is the flag of losers. In fact, it is the banner of an army that surrendered unconditionally to the opposing force. Unfortunately, that surrender only occurred after the Confederacy was reduced to a smoking, smoldering ruin.

      Yes, let’s celebrate that.

      If you want to reinvent Virginia for the 21st century it seems fair to include an examination of the culture of “loser worship” prevalent in the minds of many Virginians.

    2. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

      “anti-Southern, anti-Virginian, and occasionally, anti-Christian line”!!!!

      Not at all! Recognize that for far too long the bigots and descendants of traitors have had the upper hand, and have consistently excluded and oppressed large sections of Virginia’s population. The times, as always, are changing!

  24. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    I believe that Governor McAuliffe made the correct decision in removing the Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate flag state auto plate. It gave the impression to a significant minority of the state’s population that the government of all somehow wished to honor those who fought for slavery-a moral wrong.
    Last week, the Queen of Englandmade a state visit to the site of a concentration camp in Germany.In doing so, she taught a history lesson to all on the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.
    The statues were put up many years ago to remember those who fought for a moral wrong,but to tear them down deprives us of a chance to have a serious discussion of Virginia history and how we should move away from the mentality that sanctioned slavery and those who came to to its defense not that many years ago.
    At Albert H. Hill Junior High School in the early 1960’s,my social studies teacher ,Julia C. Pollard,some thought she a distant relative of former Governor of the same last name,stood before an assembly and said “God made Red birds and he made Blue birds and if He wanted them to mix,He would have made them all one color”.
    Monument Avenue can be a great history teacher of the “War of Northern Aggression”,its causes and its lasting effects at different times in our history.

  25. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    The master-slave relation is upheld in the Scriptures but abortion, serial marriage, and homosexuality are condemned. So, which is the worse society? As a Christian, I do not disagree with Governor Hill’s claim. The root of the Liberal sin is pride, they will not obey anything beyond their own self will. Dr Samuel Johnson rightly said that the “devil was the first Whig.”

    1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

      “The master-slave relation is upheld in the Scriptures” … That is a misleading statement. It is accepted in the Old Testament, to be sure. But the Christ was a radical who associated with the oppressed and told the oppressors they were damned forever, unless they changed their ways.

      So, as a Christian, which do you follow?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        good stuff DOn.. I hope it’s consistent with Wiki! 😉

        back in those days – were Republicans Conservative or liberal?

      2. Andrew Roesell Avatar
        Andrew Roesell

        NoVaShenandoah, have you read any of Saints Paul and Peter, perhaps? Servants are told to obey their masters as they would the Lord Jesus. Masters are enjoined not to threaten their slaves or be harsh to them. Volumes have been written on these things, to no avail apparently. We, Christians, are enjoined to judge no man, in terms of his eternal fate. That includes slaveholders.

        1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

          “Masters are enjoined not to threaten their slaves or be harsh to them”

          Interesting line that, isn’t it? Has certainly NOT been followed by the white Southerners I am supposed to be considerate of!

          BTW, that was Sts. Peter & Paul, who were addressing those who lived in a particular era. I however pointed out the position of the Christ himself.

  26. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Governor Pollard, rather.

  27. I happen to know quite a bit about John Singleton Mosby. He’s one of those people who remind us that the US Civil War was complex in all aspects.

    As a youth he was small of stature, frail of health and often bullied. He never backed down from a fight but admitted (later in life) that he never won any of the fights either. When a notorious bully charged Mosby trying to knock him down he drew a pistol and shot his attacker in the neck. He was sent to prison but was pardoned by the governor of Virginia. While in prison he taught himself the law and would become a lawyer after the Civil War.

    Mosby personally disapproved of slavery. However, he thought of Virginia as his country. He would explain his decision to fight for the Confederacy later in life – “I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery—a soldier fights for his country—right or wrong—he is not responsible for the political merits of the course he fights in”

    Mosby would form and command a group of commandos known as “Mosby’s Rangers”. They were technically a unit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia but, in reality, they were allowed wide operational discretion. In one famous raid on Fairfax Courthouse Mosby surprised the Union garrison, took the Union troops (including a general) prisoner and made off with the unit’s horses.

    Ulysses S Grant ordered that any of Mosby’s men who were captured should be hanged. The North captured a group of Mosby’s men and hanged them. Mosby went to a Confederate prisoner of war camp, chose a group of prisoners by lot and hanged them. He then wrote a letter to Philip Sheridan saying that both sides should top the atrocities and treat each other prisoners as prisoners of war. The Union agreed and the hangings stopped.

    After the war Mosby realized that the South would most benefit by supporting the North in general and the Republican Party in particular. He became a Republican and ran Ulysses S Grant’s presidential campaign in Virginia. In true Richmond-esque fashion he was abhorred by the dim witted Virginians for accepting the South’s loss (unconditional surrender actually). He received death threats, his boyhood home was burnt down and there was at least one assassination attempt against him. All for supporting US Grant. Mosby stated in a May 1907 letter that “There was more vindictiveness shown to me by the Virginia people for my voting for Grant than the North showed to me for fighting four years against him.”

    In the late 1800s Southerners had already begun to spin the fantasy that the US Civil was was about something other than slavery. Mosby would have none of it and publicly took on those people trying to excuse the South’s actions as being for “state’s rights”, etc. In 1894, Mosby wrote to a former comrade regarding the cause of the war, stating: “I’ve always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about. I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery.” In June 1907, Mosby wrote a letter to Samuel “Sam” Chapman, in which he expressed his displeasure over people, namely George Christian, erroneously downplaying and denying the importance of slavery in its causing the American Civil War.

    Mosby died on May 30, 1916 in Washington, DC at the ripe old age of 82. He had been shot three different times during the US Civil War. He is buried in Warrenton, VA and there is a Mosby Museum in that town.

    John S. Mosby advanced the tactics of American commando fighting. To this day the “US Special Forced Creed” references Mosby’s Rangers as one of six commando units in the lineage of US Special Forces.

    Putting aside his contributions to modern warfare I see Mosby as a slightly tragic character who over-emphasized allegiance to Virginia while under-emphasizing his own moral sense of right and wrong. However, once the was was lost I applaud Mosby for choosing the right course of action for the vanquished South despite the stupidity of his fellow Virginians. I also applaud his clear honesty in describing the proximate cause of the immoral, needless and catastrophic US Civil War.

    Do you really want to erase the record of his existence?

  28. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Excellent stuff, don

  29. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    I had a recollection that he went Republican, like Longstreet, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for filling me in.

  30. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    So slavery is ok? Damned Jesuits didn’t teach me that!

  31. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Slavery is not okay in terms of Liberal moral theory. Christianity and Liberalism do not agree on many points. Slavery is allowed under certain conditions in Christian teaching, yes. Abolitionism’s sweeping rejection of slavery contradicts this. Abolitionism is rooted in Liberal individualism.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Good Lord. Is Christianity the truth from on high and all other religions wrong?

      what is this?

      Sorry – this is loony. There are many different religions in this world – and they do not all agree on these issues.

      What are we supposed to believe – that only Christianity is the truth and all govt should enforce that belief for all citizens?

      This is EXACTLY why the founding fathers did not want religion in govt.

      You’ve got a civil war going on in the Middle east right now over religion – the Sunni Version versus the Shia version.

      We had a few years back – Bosnians killing each other over religion.

      a few years prior to that we had Irish killing each other over religion.

      sorry – this is wrong.. and this is exactly why we don’t want it in govt.

  32. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Who is talking about killing? Actually, that is what Abolitionists wanted to do, i.e. John Brown and his wealthy supporters, and their actions impelled many Southerners to take secession seriously.

  33. LarrytheG Avatar

    killing is the reality when people of different religious beliefs try to use govt to impose their beliefs on others.. why don’t you see that?

    this is like -you don’t really care about it.. that you’ve got your beliefs and you’re going to fight to have govt rule according to your beliefs..

    am I wrong?

  34. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Again, who is trying to impose their religious beliefs in this? We were discussing the Confederacy, its monuments, heroes, etc. Who is fighting? No one is fighting. It is a discussion, and you do not like what I am saying. That is all. If you will recall, I was the one that said that people, as a whole, need to re-learn the virtues of tolerance. Liberalism also is a religion. It is the religion of the goodness and freedom of man. Sometimes it comes dressed in “Christian” garb, and sometimes, usually now, not. The Abolitionists, the religious ones, tried to claim that their crusade was “the Lord’s work.” They imposed their religious beliefs with the sword. Southerners merely wanted to withdraw from them, but were not allowed to.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      ” Slavery is not okay in terms of Liberal moral theory. Christianity and Liberalism do not agree on many points. Slavery is allowed under certain conditions in Christian teaching, yes.”

      ” Then we are right back to the removal of Christian crosses and Ten Commandments monuments. Liberals are creating a godless, identityless dystopia. They preach a dis-incarnate public square of total universality and non-particularity. Such a society is anti-human, no matter where it would be instituted because people partake of a common humanity AND a particular identity. Like Soviet Communism, it will be rejected, once people have ingested enough of it. It is the same motive force behind Modernist architechture, of sleek, sterile surfaces, and a homogenized suburban sprawl landscape, deadening in its uniformity, but perfectly stupendous to the initiates of its “holy logic.””

      am I misunderstanding your intent – if you could be king?

  35. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Christianity is a voluntary faith. “God is a gentleman” as C.S. Lewis wrote, He does not force Himself on anyone. I do not favor a theocracy nor have any desire to impose a monarchy. I do favor constitutional rule, which seems out of vogue right now. I seek to impose no theory, but sought to defend the Confederates from a Christian point of view, a decidedly unpopular one, apparently among this set. My own preference is that this blog be one of public administration. Why is it being appropriated for ends that are anathema to non-Liberals? Let’s stick to pragmatics. That is my suggestion.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      if you were in charge – would you make Christianity part of government?

      come on Andrew – this is not a hard question.

      you know my view… share yours.

  36. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    If the American people want Christian morality in the laws, that would be a good thing, I think. One cannot force someone into being a Christian. What is happening is that Christian symbols and beliefs are under unremitting attack by corporate Liberal outlets. They are being very intolerant of us. But then we were told by Him that this would happen. Be a good neighbor is my suggestion to Liberals and stop “stirring the pot” on all these issues.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      no one is removing Christian symbols from individual people and their churches.

      why does it need to be in Govt?

      would you support shari law in towns and counties where a majority are Muslim or Mormon beliefs where they are the majority or Amish or Mennonite where they are the majority?

  37. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Liberals impose their atheistic beliefs on Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Yet, they are a minority. I do not favor immigration laws that would allow Muslims to become a substantial part of many communities. The Amish and Mennonites, to my knowledge, have very limited dealings with governments in general. Christians in America cannot impose beliefs outside of the normal channels of governance, i.e. the Constitution. Liberals, being more enlightened, feel less constrained, apparently. I hope everyone here has a happy 4th of July holiday.

  38. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’ll bid you adieu per your wishes for July 4th, .. but this is going to be a continuing conversation if you stick around. we need to find a place we both agree on.

  39. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Thanks, Don, for your fine piece of history on John Singleton Mosby. It puts much into perspective on this southern and American hero.

    The issues and motives that ignited peoples willingness to start the Civil War and fight it through to exhaustion and devastation were highly complex on many different fronts. And those motives and issues shifted greatly as the participants and their leaders battled their way through that long horrible struggle.

    The most enlightening books that I’ve read on this subject are two:

    The Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust, the current President of Harvard University, and,

    For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, by James M. McPherson, of Princeton University.

    The books are so successful in achieving their goals because they allow the reader to delve deeply into the minds and passions of those fighting the War by allowing the readers to read the letters written by those men.

    Here I surely will not do these two books justice. But I’ll try to give my own extremely brief view as to why those two books reached similar conclusions as the motives, emotions and causes for which most southerners fought so hard and so long and so disastrously for such an ill founded primary cause.

    And I use this word “primary” because surely the Civil War would likely not have happened but for the institution of slavery. Still, for the vast majority of leaders before the war, north and south, slavery in the Southern States was not the issue.

    The issue was whether and how slavery should be extended into the new American west, most particularly new states in those territories. Of course this issue had been “settled” by the 1820 Missouri Compromise, only to be repealed by the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act, giving rise to the Lincoln Douglas Debates. These debates between these two men swirled around Slavery’s expansion west, not its practice in the American South.

    Hot heads on both sides, however, inflamed the issue mercilessly.

    “Deep South rice and Cotton Planters ran the show on one side and strident abolitionist from the other, inciting violent clashes in emerging western states. The vast majority of everyone else, whether north or south, was either complicit in continuing slavery in the south, or agnostic on the subject of slavery there, although small farmers eager to claim the vast west surely were against the idea of competing with slave worked plantations out in the Western Territories, as opposed to the deep south.

    As emotions grew and reason waned, a relatively few rich South Carolina rice planters, most around Charleston, triggered South Carolina secession from the Union. This inflamed more wealthy rice and cotton plantation owners in the “Deep South” to secede and then later form the beginnings of the Deep South Confederacy.

    This put Lincoln between a rock and a hard place. He rightly feared an endless war between a confederacy of southern states and the rest of the Union over the American West should this Confederacy succeed. And while he hated slavery he promised its continuation in the South.

    And, although he tried mightily to argue that secession was illegal, he struggled to make that case as likely he knew that his legal case was weak. And it was. But he rightfully saw that he had to no choice, for he had the vision to see that independent southern states, whether in Confederacy on not, would wage total and endless war against each other and all former parts of the Union over who owned and controlled the Great American West.

    So, after much delay, he attacked Charlestons’ Fort Sumter. This triggered the Civil war. It brought in the last of the southern States (North Caroline, Virginia, and Tennessee) and now Southern Volunteers flocked in from everywhere to rally to the cause, not to defend Slavery, but to defend their homes and families and farms from invasion from the outside.

    This is how the vast majority of southerners saw it, including not only the average soldier, but also leaders like Lee and Jackson. They saw it their duty to confront an invasion from the north so as to preserve their Liberty, their states liberty, and their homes and families and culture.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      How the vast majority of southerners viewed the causes of the Civil War at its opening – a fight for their own liberty, a fierce defense of their kin, homes, farms from destruction by ruthless invaders bent on rape and pillage – the very normality of that perfectly understandable human reaction to the Northern Armies invasion into Virginia – all this does not alter the reality that the slavery on the plantations in the Deep South (South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama) was the root cause of the Civil War.

      These deep south societies were controlled politically by a very few people. 47% of the entire population were slaves. This very small social, financial and political elite who controlled these agrarian economies were the ones who enslaved the great majority of this 47% of the entire population.

      Once these tiny elites were inflamed by the violence in the West, and threats from the northern Radical abolitionists, their own radical elements within this Deep South pushed their region into secession. The Northern Invasion when it came did the rest, and do it under the banner of Southern Liberty, survival, and states rights.

      War passions then took over, inflaming the worse angels of human nature on both sides, that burned away myth, illusion, and southern will finally in a cauldron that left Slavery as the cause that the North fought for. This Lincoln accomplished in a brilliant series of political maneuvers that wisely and rightfully marshaled the North to keep fighting with supreme violence so as to achieve the only possibly right solution – unconditional victory that extinguished slavery throughout the Nation.

  40. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar


    The whole “We need these memorials so we don’t forget those mistakes!” is facile bullshit.

    If that were the case, we’d have a giant statue of a mushroom cloud on a pile of skulls right outside the Pentagon. Jamestown would include a wall with the names of massacred and enslaved Powhatan. The Wall would include the names of those VietNamese killed in the war as well as our own troops.

    These statues and monuments exist only to venerate these anti-American, pro-slavery traitors. Taking them down doesn’t exist them from the history books, which is where real conversations about these things are taking place. And it doesn’t remove the battle fields and historic locations like Appomattox where the history comes alive. Pulling down Robert E. Lee’s statue is just a statement that Robert E. Lee isn’t worthy of a giant statue.

    1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

      Second that! Especially “These statues and monuments exist only to venerate these anti-American, pro-slavery traitors”

      1. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

        Thank you. There are only two coherent arguments to support keeping these statues and memorials in place:

        – You agree with the veneration of the people the statues honor.
        – You don’t agree with that, but the aesthetic value they offer is more valuable to you than the experiences of people who would still be enslaved if the people on those statues got their way.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          There he goes again.

  41. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    What I find interesting in the comments on this and other posts delving into the Confederate issue, one reads a lot of stories of this Johnny Reb or that one.

    What one never reads is a story of an African American who survived those times. It is as if they were invisible or didn’t really matter all that much although the war was over slavery.

    Likewise, when one reads comments about July 4 and the revolution. It’s all about this Englishman or that person of English descent.

    Nowhere do you read that the French saved the patriots’ butts or that Poles or Germans or others actually fought with them.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Hari Jones, a former Marine, and now Curator of African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Museum in DC speaks powerfully and often and with great authority on this subject. He’s also coming out soon with his book For Light and Liberty, The Road to Emancipation.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I applaud the memorial to 158 people… and I’ll applaud even more when we do something similar for the 4 million who were slaves.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd


          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            that’s called speaking out on the issue and insuring in discussions that we remind that we’re not there yet even if we can point to progress.

            I guess it’s one of those half empty -half full perspectives, eh?

            how will we know when we’ve achieved better than half full?

            well. one metric might be when we have an equal number of memorials to slaves as we have to the Confederacy…

            a high bar for sure…

            the problem is that if we do that – people will say that we’re dredging up a best forgotten part of our history… while at the same time we say that the memorials to the Confederacy are legitimate “heritage” worthy of being remembered.

            Heckfire – we even want to memorialize the blacks who “supported” the Confederacy! OUCH!

            it’s sort of like …a separate but equal history…..

            look – I mean no anger or malevolence on this.

            I just think we not only were wrong back during slavery but we are wrong today in the way we essentially go about denying – and in no small way how blacks are still not getting enough education to be equal competitors for jobs.

            We have statues of whites who became leaders … and yet the black people were denied even the opportunity to become a leader…That’s one of the brutal realities of a entire race being enslaved for generations.

            The very few who did achieve a higher status like Frederick Douglas and John Brown were considered renegades and heretics by whites, – not leaders.

            Indeed if you asked 100 white folks who Maggie Walker or Booker T. Washington or Charles Drew were .. you’d probably not find many who knew and yet each of these who did manage to achieve some level of leadership – STILL could not even drink from the same water fountains or use the same bathrooms of whites.

            I’m also not advocating self-flagellation… what’s done is done but.. we still are not finished with the continuing impacts of it .. even as we discuss the concept of political correctness of recognizing black lives… as gone amok.. or the gene-blaming game of single parents with 3rd grade educations being responsible for the failure of their kids to get a good education.

            we change – when we speak out – when we don’t speak for what is right and essentially support the status quo with silence – we perpetuate the damage.

  42. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Actually, that is not true. You just have to look for those African American Stories. They are very powerful and telling.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Johnny Rebs story is told in 500 museums and battlefields … we’re still trying to do a Slave Museum and as far as I know – very few, if any National and State Parks are devoted to the Slave’s stories.

      It took a mini-series called ROOTS to essentially bring it to light. A couple more were “The Heat of the Night” and another called “Separate But Equal”

  43. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I will look for the Jones book.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      So am l looking forward to that book, Peter.

      Based on Hari Jone’s talk that I attended a few weeks back at St. Stephens AME. Church on Unionville Road in Unionville Md, neither you nor I will be disappointed in his forecoming Book.

      The man is obviously a fine historian who knows deeply and in great detail what he is talking about.

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