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  • Posted by dwlievert 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    In a letter written by Robert E. Lee to then-President Franklin Pierce in 1856, he stated: “There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."

    Only a very small number of Americans - even among those that we rightly hail as heroes of the emancipation - including Lincoln himself, held opinions we now consider appropriate on the matter of slavery. As for why Lee chose to fight for the South, Lee simply believed the United States was an association of sovereign states that could, if they chose, leave it or dissolve it. After all, as the Declaration of Independence states: “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

    Lee believed his state - and the rest of the South, was simply following the tenets of one of our founding documents. A belief, I might add, that was shared by the signers of our Declaration of Independence, as well as by those who ratified the Constitution that followed. Had that not been the case, the "Union" that Lincoln so expensively preserved would not have existed! That is simply a fact because the Constitution that created the Union would never have been accepted and ratified in the first place, had the signers thought they could not return to their sovereignty should they so choose!

    However, it isn’t what Lee did before and during three Civil War that makes him such an important figure in American history, and one that should be honored. It is what he did after the Civil War that earned him the memorials erected to his memory and a place in history that should be honored by all.

    When Lee surrendered at Appomattox he also signed a parole document swearing upon his honor not to bear arms against the United States or to “tender aid to its enemies.” Lee’s surrender and his immediate parole were essential in preventing the Civil War from continuing as a destructive guerrilla war that would have continued to wrack the country indefinitely. Grant thought so highly of Lee’s influence, honor, and integrity, that he allowed Lee and all the soldiers that remained of the confederacy, to keep their arms, as they dispersed to return to whatever was left of their homes!

    Does this sound like the kind of man who would urge belligerent white nationalists to violence over a statue of him? Does this sound like the kind of man who would tolerate those who would give support to enemies of the ideals of the United States; or the reprehensible display of the few thugs among us who held aloft the flag of Nazi Germany in Charlottesville? Does this sound like a man who would support the violence of domestic “supremacist” terrorism?

    Lee was a real and recognized remnant of the giants of our founding. Like them, he was certainly not without his flaws (hell, from an Objectivist perspective, as a friend pointed out, he was a Kantian!) but in the context of his demonstrated virtues, deserves the honor(s) he has, for the past 150 years, been properly recognized as worthy.

    Keep such things in mind while watching the shadow of the lunacy, "blotting out" the sunlight of reason, now metastasizing across the face of our country. A disease representing our current eclipse of sanity. It is likely to continue into both the increasingly absurd and obscene, now made laughably (were it not so serious) conceivable by the dire condition of the curricula offered in the Humanities throughout much of America's "Educational Industrial Complex."
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    Great title! I suspect that as the retreat from reality continues in the culture and the media, the more disgusted most Americans are becoming.
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  • Posted by preimert1 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Many small towns in the South have a statue in their public squares of a Confederate soldier featuring a roster of men from their areas who fought and died fn the "War Between the States." (As an example the one in Covington, Georgia can be seen in episodes of "Heat of the Night" and "Dukes of Hazzard" both of which were filmed in and around that town.) Many decendants of those local heros still live there and would not take kindly to provocateurs seeking to remove them. There,s a story about a visitor asking a local. "Who's statue is that?" and receiving the reply, "Its are'n."
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  • Posted by  $  nickursis 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    It is a distinct characteristic of today's revolutionaries that they must invoke things that cannot defend themselves, and conduct their war on "the system" (as it may be) with half truths, rumors and internet facts. The media has engaged in this as allies because they created Trump, by thinking he was such a buffoon, and Hillary was such a shoe in candidate, the peasants would of course vote for her. After all, they all voted for Obama? We have seen this devolve into a war on the electoral system, the succession system, the legal system and now, on the education system (by denying any and all facts, and making inanimate objects their weapons). Look at the Russian Revolution, and you will see a mirror of the same mob rule, tactics and propaganda. These are the same illiterate louts who cannot name their senators, or 5 of the last 10 presidents, or even the 50 states. A lot of them have paper degrees, and profess to be "educated". I think that the lamestream media suits just think there are more of them than any other group, so that's where the money and the click bait goes. Bottom line should be, mess with an existing monument of any kind, and go to jail to contemplate it for a few years....they are not their property.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    A little clarification seems necessary. A careful reading of all of Lee's writings reveals that while he was sympathetic to the slaves' plight, he worried that a too hurried effort to emancipate them would find some lacking in the skills necessary to successfully assimilate into regular society. He recognized that slavery was a failing institution, both morally and economically, and felt it should be allowed to fade away.

    General Lee also believed that war memorials were a bad idea, as they would keep the emotional wounds open, when the country should be making an effort to reunite. He did feel the Confederate dead should be treated with respect, interred in graveyards with identifying markers recognizing their service. That was as much memorializing as he wanted to see.

    The culture of the times was not North vs South, but pro slavery vs Abolitionist. There were Quakers and Huguenots in southern states who were very opposed to the institution of slavery, and northern Democrats who favored retaining the right to own slaves.

    To correct one myth, Grant did not let the surrendering Army of Northern Virginia keep all of their arms. Officers were allowed to retain their swords, and enlisted were allowed to keep one rifle, with the exception of the Whitworth, an English firearm of deadly long range accuracy, and a favorite of Confederate snipers. All other arms were stacked on grounds owned by my ancestors, called the "surrender triangle" at Appomattox.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    Re: “Lee was not a slave owner and hated the institution of slavery, but he was, first and foremost, a Virginian. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Lee, with the gravest misgivings, returned to his ‘nation’ to offer his services.” Let’s parse this a bit. Lee’s highest loyalty was not to his individual conscience, which opposed human slavery, but to a coercive government that rigidly enforced it. Moreover, he did not merely acquiesce to the Virginia government’s policy, he offered his services as a military leader of a confederation that was actively seeking to perpetuate slavery (and would have succeeded in doing so had he been victorious).

    By Objectivist standards, this makes Lee far less than a hero deserving of statues in his honor. I can understand the context of the times that led to the erection of such statues, but in today’s context it makes no sense to keep them in the public square. The best solution might be to auction them off to people or groups that are willing to maintain them privately.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      " Lee’s highest loyalty was not to his individual conscience, which opposed human slavery, but to a coercive government that rigidly enforced it." When Lee made his decision slavery was not the issue so whatever his conscience felt about the institution in 1861 was irrelevant. Recall the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't to be until 1863 and even then it did not free the slaves in Union territory, so in 1861 even the Union wasn't marching on Virginia to free any slaves. It was marching on Virginia to put down the rebellion of secession and force Virginia back into the Union. If the Union had issued an Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery within its borders and THEN invaded the Confederacy with idea of spreading that emancipation along with preserving the Union, then maybe Lee's decision would have the moral dilemma you propose. We can only wonder, today, how he would have chosen.
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      • Posted by  $  CBJ 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        The future of slavery was the big issue for several years before the war even started. There is no way Lee could have been unaware of this when he made his decision. See:
        "Virginia in the American Civil War"
        "Roots of Secession: Slavery and Politics in Antebellum Virginia" by William A. Link
        "Why Non-Slaveholding Southerners Fought"

        Also see Virginia's secession ordinance, paragraph 1:
        "The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States."
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        • Posted by mccannon01 9 months, 3 weeks ago
          Ok, CBJ, it took me a while to figure out what I wrote that elicited your response about the slavery issue, which you very well put, BTW (+1 for that). My words "When Lee made his decision slavery was not an issue..." was not meant to be taken on the broader political sense, but of the personal sense regarding Lee's decision. He had apparently already rejected the pro-slavery arguments and disagreed with the institution, but Lee also must have known slavery was not the issue for the Union to invade Virginia in 1861, secession was. Interestingly, Virginia initially voted not to secede and then changed position when hostilities broke out and it was discovered the Union was forming an army to march through Virginia.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Lee was a great man who made a bad decision.He ranked up there with the best of American heroes. The transition to peace after such a horrible war was not easy and he could have fomented much trouble.The fact that the war could have been stretched on for many more years is exemplified in Lincoln's assassination. The fighting could have diminished much slower if Lee and others kept stirring things up. Fortunately they didn't and the nation healed, but with many scars still visible today The indiscriminate destruction or removal of Civil War statues illustrates that some of those scars still hurt for some, and are an excuse for others to play politics with.
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