By on June 24, 2015

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Sometimes events in the real world overshadow our little automotive corner of the universe. If you look over some previous posts and comments, you’ll see that I’ve recently been writing about television cars and already planning to cover the “General Lee” 1969 Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, so please do not accuse us of trying to exploit a controversy in pursuit of clicks. As it happens, I interviewed the owner of the authentic General Lee illustrating this post just last week.

Due to the horrific church shooting in Charleston, though, the Confederate battle flag, which was painted on the roof of the Chargers used in that television show, has become a national controversy, in no small part because of its display on the ground of the state capital in South Carolina. Since it would be impossible for me to discuss the General Lee in the current atmosphere without addressing the flag issue, I’m going to depart from my usual history and provenance based approach.

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Normally I’d go into the history of the car, how the producers decided on that model, the number of vehicles that were used in filming, modifications made, how many survived, where they are, interesting stories about the specific car and its owner, etc. Indeed, the General Lee has an interesting story, what with the hundreds of Chargers consumed in the show’s production and the wild stunt drives that destroyed them. The owner of this particular car is a huge MOPAR fan and he also has some great stories. He’s a nice guy, a serious and knowledgeable car enthusiast, so he’d make a nice angle to a post on the General Lee.

Though over 300 different Chargers were used in shooting the show, less than two dozen survived the jumps and other stunts. This particular car had a slightly easier life in that it was the “hero car” used for scenes with the actors starring in the series.

However, I have absolutely no intention of putting the owner in the crosshairs of social justice warriors on Twitter, so that’s all we’re going to say about this particular General Lee. Instead we’re going to discuss the flag on the General Lee’s roof.

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Regarding the flag itself, I’m not particularly fond of displaying the flags of those who took up arms against the United States of America. I think public displays, in this country, of the rising sun of imperial Japan, or the swastika emblazoned banner of Germany’s National Socialists, are inappropriate, but then we’ve fought a couple of wars against Great Britain and nobody objects to the Union Jack. The history of the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is, as they say, complicated.

That was the flag that Robert E. Lee, an opponent of slavery and secession, and a reluctant commander, fought under. It has been argued that allowing the post Civil War South to embrace the battle flag as a symbol of honorable warriors serving their country was an important factor in the needed postwar reconciliation. It’s also been argued that it was not embraced as a symbol of racism until it was used as a banner of opposition to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. It was, however, used as a symbol of racial segregation.

It should be noted that the flag first flew over the South Carolina capitol only as late as 1961 (when Democrat Fritz Hollings, who later served in the U.S. Senate for four decades, was governor). Using my best Google-fu, while I’ve been able to find images of the Ku Klux Klan marching with the Confederate battle flag along with the Stars & Stripes in the 1960s and later, earlier photos only show the KKK wrapping themselves, figuratively, in the American flag. The meaning of the battle flag has changed over time.

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Coincidentally, I was in Charleston last year for a Toyota ride & drive event. It turns out that while checking out the new Highlander, I drove past the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where the killings took place. It’s on Calhoun Ave., on the block next to the green space where stands a statue to John Calhoun on a pedestal that’s at least 50 feet tall. Driving past that statue I thought that it must be weird for a black man or woman to walk or drive by it. I can respect Robert E. Lee, but John Calhoun held some very objectionable ideas his entire life.

When black Americans see the Confederate battle flag, it’s easy to understand how they can see it today as a symbol of racism, even if it didn’t necessarily mean that in the distant past. Even if it doesn’t mean that to many of those who continue to revere it today. It was, however, a part of history and while perhaps, to avoid causing pain, it should not be part of official state displays, one shouldn’t erase history. I know all about the positive use of the swastika in cultures around the world, but even when seen in those contexts, it can still provoke a visceral response because of what the Nazis did with it. I know it’s part of Native American and Asian Indian heritage, but don’t be naive when people cringe if you use it on a t-shirt.

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Walmart has announced they’ll be removing Confederate battle flag themed merchandise from their inventories. Apparently eBay has joined them. It will be interesting to see what happens to General Lee models and toys. At the time of this writing, there are hundreds of diecast and plastic General Lees for sale on eBay. In 2013, Warner Bros., the studio that produced Dukes of Hazzard, denied a report that they were going to make licensees remove the flag from General Lee replicas. Right now, at the Toys R Us, site you can still buy 1:25 and 1:16 plastic scale models of the General Lee and it appears that they both come complete with the “stars and bars” on the roof, though it looks like MPC (actually Round 2, which owns the ERTL, AMT and MPC brands) has sold both models in packaging that doesn’t show the flag on the front of the box.

Late on Tuesday, Vulture.com reported that the consumer licensing division of Warner Bros. decided to stop licensing any Dukes of Hazzard merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag. The company said in an email, “Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof — as it was seen in the TV series. We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories.” That one licensee is Round 2. Though Vulture did not publish the full text of the email, they believe that it means Warner will no longer license any toy cars or model kits of the General Lee, with or without the flag on the roof.

If you own a model of the General Lee, Warner Brothers effectively just made it more collectible. Well, that is, if you can find a place to sell it.

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How do you feel when you see the General Lee? Would you invite one to a car show you were organizing? Would you ban one from a car show your were organizing? Would you keep one in your collection of plastic and diecast model TV and movie cars?

Photos of the General Lee by the author. You can see the full gallery here.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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277 Comments on “How Do You Feel About The General Lee’s Confederate Flag?...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’m opposed to plastering any distracting graphics on a beautiful fuselage body Mopar. Even an orange one.

  • avatar

    As a black person, I can say that I will never cherish the Confederate battle flag, and I will never display it or voluntarily drive a car adorned with it, but I’m not immediately offended when someone else has one, either. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is expressing his southern origins. That said, it seems a bit churlish and immature to hang onto that particular design as a symbol of southern pride…almost as if its allure *is* in its offensiveness to a lot of people.

    The General Lee? A footnote in television history, as far as I’m concerned, and one that was completed several years before I was even born. I couldn’t care less, even if it is displayed at the capitol building. I never liked the damn thing, anyway…

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The flag doesn’t offend me. The way particular dickheads choose to use it might offend me.

      A symbol can be interpreted many ways. It becomes dangerous when someone goes out of their way to invoke specific feelings when others see that symbol.

      This is where those companies and governments are going wrong. By trying to erase the HISTORICAL symbolism of the flag they are in essence strengthening the ASSHOLES who purposely brandish it as a symbol of their own f-ed up ideals.

      • 0 avatar
        mr.cranky

        Actually, they’re helping to minimize the exposure of a wider audience to these assholes and their ideas. Sure, there will be a rush to buy up and sell anything with the flag on it. Then what?

        Personally, I didn’t understand the meaning of the Confederate flag when I was watch the Dukes of Hazzard growing up. Now that I know, it bothers me but wish I could return to that naivety and just enjoy the DOH without those thoughts.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          It still wouldn’t bother me to re-watch it today. The Duke boys weren’t racist, so the flag on the car wasn’t an affront to blacks. I don’t recall any public outrage over the car back when the show was airing weekly.

          Not all rednecks are racists and vice versa. I’ve known some pretty bad black racists, but their weapons are usually words and not violence.

    • 0 avatar
      Bunter1

      Hi Kyree,
      I really appreciate your thoughtful reply. We all need to realize that we can choose not to be offended by others behavior, whether merely thoughtless or intentionally offensive.

      Personally I would not display this flag. Too much baggage. But I remember an odd incident involving a General Lee replica about 15 years ago. I was driving in a suburb of Milwaukee when the orange Charger with battle flag cruised by-big double take-the driver was black!
      What message was he sending?

      Take care,

      Dennis

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “What message was he sending?”

        He has poor taste in TV shows.

        Along those lines, I’m going to buy an Aztek, or maybe a Tercel wagon.

        http://jalopnik.com/5980961/why-breaking-bad-has-the-best-cars-on-television-right-now

        (Yes, I know that the link is from Jalopnik. Forgive me.)

        • 0 avatar
          Bunter1

          PCH101

          ;^D

          Put a “Che” bumper sticker on the Aztek.

          Bunter

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            @pch101 Assuming you are thinking of a linkage between Che and Aztecs (and other indigenous people), your idea makes about as much sense as saying you should put a swastika on the Marine One helicopter.

            Che was virulently racist in his attitude towards indigenous South American people, as is very clear in the original Spanish version of “The Motorcycle Diaries”.

            I have not read it in the English, so I don’t know how much of it was excised there, but his attitude towards indigenous people was completely sanitized for the movie starring Bernál.

            Sounds more like “Punter” to me.

            Knowing his true feelings, as expressed in that work, it has always amazed me the widespread popularity he enjoys among the poor of Latin America. I can only assume it is because of his image more than because of his reality.

  • avatar
    redav

    My opinions on the confederate battle flag have evolved over time.

    I used to think like those who demand its removal because it obviously meant racism, etc., but I’ve mellowed since then. I still understand & appreciate why they feel the way they do, but now I also understand & appreciate why those who don’t see it as racist feel the way they do. That’s the problem with symbols, they mean whatever the viewer decides he/she want them to mean.

    In many ways, there is much truth in the statement “offense is taken, not given.” But that denies the fact that acts are often intended to cause offense. (Nevertheless, even in such instances, choosing to not take offense negates the original purpose.)

    Fort he General Lee, I see nothing wrong with its use. The show did not espouse racism as far as I remember. I greatly dislike the notion of erasing or revising history. I doubt anyone would put the flag on a TV show car today, but they did then, and forgetting that fact doesn’t make race relations any better then or now.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I agree that the rebel flag belongs in history books. The Army Of Northern Virginia prayed an important part it our history.

      But, given what it has come to symbolize in the modern era, taking it down is an important symbolic act.

      But, yes, we should study it in history class. You can’t understand The South or southern culture without understanding its history. The civil war and civil rights are a big part and closely related (even though there’s a lot more to it then that).

      So, I’m all for understanding southern heritage (including its symbols).

      But, putting it an a vehicle is just crass. At best, mould need an asterisk with the caption “it’s complicated”. At worst, it’s inviting conflict on the highway who have different ideas about the flag’s symbolism – and that benefits nobody.

      P.S. I’m white and, spent most of my teenaged years in the Shenandoah Valley. You can still see war damage there, if you know where to look.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Bo and Luke weren’t racist… but their stand-in cousins Coy and Vance were!

  • avatar
    shaker

    I believe that the “stars-and-bars” on the roof of said Charger were meant to symbolize the “rebellious” nature of the protagonists against law enforcement, and nothing more (can’t say I watched the show much).

    That said, one can only blame the racists that co-opted the confederate battle flag as a symbol of their hatred for its inevitable demise.

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      Yes, the rebellious associations was what I took from its usage on the General Lee as well.

      Remember that the swastika was and still is a sacred symbol in some Eastern religions, long before a famous group of evil people used it as their logo.

    • 0 avatar
      mr.cranky

      Actually, the Confederate flag on the roof of the General Lee is NOT the Stars and Bars. That refers to the original Confederate battle flag.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I grew up watching that show, and that’s the association I have with the flag. It was a sign of rebelliousness, and sticking it to “the man”. And not just the show, but if I saw someone wearing a rebel flag t-shirt, that’s the impression I got from them. Maybe I was just being naive, but there weren’t really any black people in my area to be racist against.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The debate about slavery makes it sound like America INVENTED it, but the reality is that far from creating it, we ended it.

    Slavery existed for thousands of years prior to America’s founding, and was an accepted part of life in nearly all societies. The economies of nations depended to various degrees on it, and it was seen as a necessary and irreplaceable part of society.

    Kind of how we regard another moral evil – the income tax – today.

    But eventually, it was America and the British Empire that decided it was a problem too great to be allowed to exist, so they rightly got rid of it.

    Again, we didn’t INVENT slavery, we ENDED it. The slavery issue is not our national Original Sin, but rather one of our national Moments of Glory.

    But if we’re specifically talking about purported symbols of racism, then I’ll tell you what. I’ll get upset about the Confederate flag when people start expressing disapproval of the Mexican flag and the Black Power Fist.

    • 0 avatar
      Steinweg

      America didn’t invent slavery, or racism. But the end of legalized slave ownership did not end institutionalized racism or redress the harms done. Slavery was the ultimate expression of racism: total subjugation of a race. But slavery was not the metaphorical “switch” on the metaphorical “light” of racism in America.

      In Canada, we no longer have Indian Residential Schools, but we do have institutionalized racism against Aboriginals; and the ill-effects of those institutions and policies hatched by Good Christian Men decades and centuries ago are with us still. We have not redressed those harms. You can bet that the average Canadian is prepared to say “let’s move on”, but it’s up to the victim, not the perpetrator, to say “I am healed; I forgive.”

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll make this as plain a point as I can make it and try to refrain from using my CAPS button:

      Black Americans are a “new species” because White American-run slavery cut them off from their roots and their culture – forcibly assimilating them. Blacks from other countries hail other flags: Jamaican, Haitian, Bermuda, etc…but I only have one – and that Flag has stood for racism as sure as the Confederate flag has.

      The problem I have as a Black American is that my entire existence is defined on my relationship to White people.

      My economic status is defined as “how many dollars do I make compared to a White person”.

      My social status is defined as “how mobile I am in society compared to a White person”.

      My education status is defined as “how educated- how many degrees do I have compared to a White person”.

      As Chris Rock points out, Black people never grew as big as I am: “6’6″ over 300 pounds” till my ancestors were bred to be slaves. Light-skinned Black women and men in this country are mostly a result of forced-intermarriage (not discounting voluntary intermarriage).

      Slavery didn’t officially end Dec. 6, 1865, the day the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It didn’t end on Jan. 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. Institutionalized racism continues to this day – as does institutionalized sexism.

      This country was founded by White, heterosexual, land-owning, gun-owning males and everyone else – including White women were second to that agenda. Blacks were 3/5th’s of a man.

      Now the pendulum is swinging the entirely other direction.

      Every single minority group is lining up to become the next “disenfranchised” group so they can chop away at the founding structure of the Constitution. Many don’t believe in it at all.

      If White America had simply desegregated this country earlier, and not put for institutionalized racism against Blacks, Jews, Italians, Irish, etc…we could have come together earlier and moved forward earlier. Now the vast majority of issues surrounding civil rights, gay marriage, illegal immigration, legal immigration, etc are based on the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments having to be written in the first place.

      As for Blacks in America: any symbol of “racism” is a target and must be taken down as sure as the Jewish Holocaust survivors attack the swastika.

      Here’s the problem though: White skin, for many is as much a symbol as a Nazi uniform.

      I don’t have time to worry about these things. I’m too busy living, traveling and driving ridiculously fast cars.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        BTSR, you had an interest and thought provoking post right up to this point:

        “Every single minority group is lining up to become the next “disenfranchised” group so they can chop away at the founding structure of the Constitution.”

        So…equal rights for YOU based on your race is OK, but it’s not OK for everyone else?

        Sorry, bigotry takes a lot of forms. It is no less real, for example, for a gay couple who pays taxes but doesn’t get to enjoy the same rights (call them societal priveleges if you prefer) as heterosexuals take for granted. Yes, the injustices served on black Americans were far worse, but that doesn’t make what’s happening in the other case any less wrong. And addressing that wrong doesn’t “chop away” at the Constitution at all – in fact, I’d say it nourishes it.

        All pretty astounding coming from a black man, I must say.

        • 0 avatar

          “””BTSR, you had an interest and thought provoking post right up to this point:

          “Every single minority group is lining up to become the next “disenfranchised” group so they can chop away at the founding structure of the Constitution.”

          So…equal rights for YOU based on your race is OK, but it’s not OK for everyone else?”””

          WOW- YOU SURE JUMPED TO CONCLUSIONS THERE.

          ALL I DID was point out a situation and you accuse me of being a bigot?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I didn’t accuse you of anything, BTSR. You said that “Every single minority group is lining up to become the next “disenfranchised” group so they can chop away at the founding structure of the Constitution.”

            I take that to mean that it was appropriate for black people to step up to the plate and demand rights, but when others do it, it’s “chipping away at the constitution.”

            The meaning seems pretty plain to me, but feel free to explain further.

        • 0 avatar
          malikknows

          I think your getting this one wrong, FreedMike. The trucker is right. The Democratic party is dedicated to dividing us up, making up divisions, just so they can pander to them for “equal rights” and handouts. Gay rights is textbook. Is there actually such a thing as a homosexual? People think there is, but biology says otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Wow,BTSR.

        I’m delighted to read an insightful post that did not have the Caps lock on. You should try it more often.

        I have secretly thought there was more to what you could post than a primal grunt followed by HEMI.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Well-said.

      • 0 avatar
        NN

        interesting and insightful commentary here. I agree with much of what is said here; the confederate flag today doesn’t mean what it meant in 1865, and it has been used by racists as a symbol of segregation for much of the past half century. Because of this it should be taken down from every single government sponsored institution, from the SC capital, to MS flag, to VA license plate. The great irony is that it took a terrible act of racism/terrorism to move the public’s opinion strongly in this direction…in other words, that bigot isn’t getting what he wanted, he’s getting the exact opposite, the removal of the symbol that he ties himself to. There is hope in our country, indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        mr.cranky

        You almost had me until you brought up the part about minority groups and disenfranchisement.

        Let me tell you something. When you talk like that, you sound a lot like the white conservatives that say that minority groups should be happy with what they have, etc. You are showing that you are a victim of this conditioning.

        Anyone that has been wronged by this government, has an inalienable right to air their grievances and to demand fair treatment. After all, it’s the institutionalized racism put forth by those white conservatives that led to this situation in the first place.

        Me? I just like freedom for everyone and not just white conservatives.

        • 0 avatar

          “Let me tell you something. When you talk like that, you sound a lot like the white conservatives that say that minority groups should be happy with what they have, etc. ”

          You do realize I’m a Black Republican who completely disagrees with a lot of what’s going on right now right?

        • 0 avatar
          50merc

          The great segregationist of the federal government was “progressive” Democrat Woodrow Wilson. The federal workforce was integrated following the War for Southern Independence, but Wilson instituted Jim Crow practices.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “I’ll get upset about the Confederate flag when people start expressing disapproval of the Mexican flag and the Black Power Fist.”

      And I’m sure that during Israeli independence day, St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, and Oktoberfest, you are dead set against flying Israeli, Irish, Italian and German flags? We’re a nation of immigrants. Many of them are from Mexico. They have as much right to be proud of where they come from as any other ethnic group, Deal with it.

      As far as the Black Panthers are concerned…yes, they’re wrong…all 121 of them nationwide. And when a state starts flying their flag in front of their capitol, then you have a point.

      • 0 avatar

        The comment about the Mexican flag? Yeah…I was a bit floored by that one too. You said it *so* much more politely than I was about to, FreedMike.

        • 0 avatar

          What’s wrong with the Mexican Flag?

          • 0 avatar

            Apparently, according to our original commenter, the Mexican flag is is in the same domain as the Confederate flag.

            As far as the Black Power movement goes, it wasn’t racist or even controversial. It was and is a way for the black community to stand tall in the face of oppression, discrimination, and abuse. Unlike White Power—which *was* racist—Black Power did not involve building one race up by tearing another down. However, the Black Power flag has no place on a state or government building, and due to sensitivities and taste, it might be considered just as tacky and uncouth as a Confederate flag in modern society.

        • 0 avatar

          While I absolutely don’t salute the Black Power flag, it strikes me as simply a reaction to White racism – the KKK was a terrorist organization.

          And that’s the reason why Black Panthers were never scrutinized as much as the KKK.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Yes, immigrants – who came here TO BE AMERICANS. I don’t get why people would want to celebrate countries and cultures their ancestors left – turned their backs on – for whatever reason.

        My mom has told me that when her grandfather brought his family to the United States, he forbade them from ever speaking German again, because they weren’t Germans anymore – they were Americans, and they should think and act like Americans.

        Ethnically, I’m mostly German and Irish – and those things mean nothing to me. They never have. In all the ways that matter, I’m an American. Always have been. That’s a pretty enlightened attitude, I think.

        The people I identify with aren’t white, black, brown, red or yellow – they’re red, white and blue.

        • 0 avatar
          NN

          There were plenty of places in the greater New York area for years where Italian was the predominant language, and you still see Italian flags still flying proudly. Is there something wrong with that? No, there isn’t. Likewise there is nothing wrong with a Mexican flag, or recent Mexican immigrants speaking Spanish…their children will speak English. Germany is different because of their history…Germans may have much to be proud of (i.e. technical brilliance), but also much to be ashamed of over the past century, which goes a long way in explaining their lack of overt national pride. Many Germans see nationalism as dangerous, and rightly so.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I’m guessing, in your reference to German history, that you’re referring to WWII. But Germans were turning their back on the home country long before that. Since the Revolutionary War, for those Hessian mercenaries who decided to stay here. Even my home town dropped “Berlin” from the name – when WWI started.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Here in LA, there are 3rd generation Mexican kids who struggle in school because their parents never learned English. I volunteered in a literacy program to help kids struggling with reading. After a few weeks, I pulled the teacher aside (4th grade class) and asked him why 10 year olds are struggling with reading. He shared they have no support at home and no one pushing them to learn English.

            The language issue, especially in more recent immigrants from Central American and Mexico, seems to be a bigger problem than in prior decades. ESL had good intentions, but there are unintended consequences.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            @TMA1, to pick a nit, the name change actually didn’t happen until halfway through WWI …

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “My mom has told me that when her grandfather brought his family to the United States, he forbade them from ever speaking German again, because they weren’t Germans anymore – they were Americans, and they should think and act like Americans.”

          And my grandfather conducted all his affairs in Yiddish…and fought in World War I. He’s buried with his medal. Explain to me why that makes him less American.

          And, frankly, you can still get newspapers in this country that are published in German, Italian and Polish. Here’s a Polish language newspaper aimed at Americans, complete with Polish-language advertisements for businesses in New York – go ahead and tell me Poles are less “American” as a result.

          http://www.dziennik.com/wiadomosci/kategoria/ameryka

          You’re using the same stupid arguments the know nothings used in the 1800s.

        • 0 avatar

          “My mom has told me that when her grandfather brought his family to the United States, he forbade them from ever speaking German again, because they weren’t Germans anymore – they were Americans, and they should think and act like Americans.”

          Right. That’s your ideology. It isn’t, however, everyone’s M.O., and I don’t think that it should be required to turn one’s back on one’s culture in order to be “American”.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          My great-grandfather immigrated to Canada (and later to the US) from Scotland to seek his fortune. His descendants are proud Americans. But he never lost sight of his Scottish heritage either, and he passed a lot of Scottishness down the line. I own a bunch of Scottish books and my father has several boxes of Scottish stuff. There is no reason you can’t have pride in more than one facet of your heritage.

          My ancestry is mostly Scottish on both sides, and when I went to Scotland I felt at home, even though no one would mistake me for anything but an American, and America is the only country I’d fight to defend.

        • 0 avatar
          dswilly

          Don’t discount that many immigrants dropped identifying with their heritage upon arriving in America not because of their past but fear of their future. Discrimination in this country goes back before we were a country. All stood the chance of being a target or exiled depending on when and where, obviously some much worse than others. The first settlers of this country were concerned about immigration and immigrants taking their jobs, land, etc almost immediately after stepping off the boat. This when the entire country probably had less than 1.5 million people in it. It’s a mentality and has nothing to do with reality.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          See, this is an issue for me. I am an American. But both of my parents came to this country. I speak both of their languages and consider that a point of pride. Why can’t both exist at the same time? When I was six, I was sitting in a barber’s chair in Stockholm and the barber ask me my nationality. I replied: “I’m 50% Swedish, 50% Danish and 100% American”. My parents never tired of retelling that story.

          What is it to be American? For me it’s simple: it’s an devotion to the Constitution and, more importantly, the principles it enshrines. Both my parents took an oath to abide by it. That made them Americans. That, for me, is love of country. It doesn’t preclude the cultural and historic ideas that I have inherited from all three cultures. They co-exist nicely.

          On the Fourth of July, I will toast the founding of our republic with Akvavit and a domestic craft beer. Skaal!

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          Not only did Germans give up their language – many often Anglicized their names as well. i.e. Braun -> Brown. The Japanese internment camps of WW2 are well-publicized, but there were also ones for Americans of German and Italian descent. Not speaking German was probably a smart move back in those days.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      This is the silliest post ever. Slavery is our Original Sin.

      In 1315, Louis X, king of France, published a decree proclaiming that any slave setting foot on the French ground should be freed. Charles V abolished slavery in 1542 in the Spanish empire. The Enlightenment is a century old when slavery gets abolished in the US. It was unmentionable to still have slavery in the US at such a late moment in history.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        Yes, but Britain didn’t abolish slavery until 1833. Considering that much of the legal system is based on British common law, its not surprising it took us a few years to end it after they did.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Alpha has presented a strong case for a lawsuit against his school teachers for malpractice.

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      Black Power Fist had nothing to do with racism. It is a symbol of black pride and taking care of yourself and your community. Regarding slavery in America, yes we did end it but look at the cost. Europe handled the slavery issue best and abolitionists tried to get the same outcome here but sadly failed. The confederate flag is the adopted flag of PWT who want to blame minorities for their failures in life.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
        -Orwell, Animal Farm.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Black Power fist actually had happen to it what a lot of the apologists would like us to believe happened to the Confederate flag. That is, it was co-opted by racists and turned into something it wasn’t. These days, it’s used at least as often by a tiny number of racist weirdos as it is by standard-issue black activists.

        All of the various Confederate flags, on the other hand, stood for slavery from the start. Without slavery, there would have been no drive for secession. Both South Carolina and Mississippi forthrightly named slavery as their reason for seceding. Apologists point to a litany of other grievances of the South, but in comparison to the slavery issue every last one of them was small beans.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Wow, what a fantastic bit of debate. As a white middle-aged middle-class male, I am privileged to a degree most people can only dream of, and to hear heartfelt posts from those on the other side of the fence is always incredibly moving and interesting.

      As a Canadian it’s hard for me to form an opinion about removing the Confederate flag from the public conciousness, but if it helps to reduce or eliminate the actions of bigots and racists such as the shooting in Charleston, I’m all for it.

      And BTSR and Kyree, thank you for the most thoughtful and even-handed posts, because I’m sure we could excuse some vitriol considering the subject, but you guys are gentlemen and I respect the both of you even more now.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “As a Canadian it’s hard for me to form an opinion about removing the Confederate flag from the public conciousness, but if it helps to reduce or eliminate the actions of bigots and racists such as the shooting in Charleston, I’m all for it.”

        Not to pick on you specifically, but your post did call out a point I think is worthy of discussion.

        We in the US have increasingly used tragedies as a way to capitalize on political issues and set off cause du jours, and it’s garbage.

        I am a gun owner and enthusiast, and those are the usual whiping boys, but there’s also violent movies, (rap and metal) music, and video games, and now a flag.

        Whatever happened to “he did this because he was a sick, twisted SOB and we need to catch out sick, twisted SOBs before they do it to” and what brought us to “yeah, that guy’s a bad dude and all, BUT I’ve never been comfortable with that flag flown by frat boys and rednecks, so we gotta make that go away!”?

        Maybe the flag does need to go away, but a flag didn’t kill anyone, a whackjob did. Why are we spending 90% of the time talking about the flag?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “As a white middle-aged middle-class male, I am privileged to a degree most people can only dream of”

        This privileged nonsense has got to stop. Tell all the white male latchkey kids that grew up with a single parent household that filed bk, that lived in a bad neighborhood and are living hand to mouth that they’re privileged.

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          “This privileged nonsense has got to stop.”

          Why is it nonsense? It’s been thoroughly documented in numerous studies. Given two job candidates with an identical resume, the candidate with the non-ethnic-sounding name predominantly gets chosen for a job both were qualified for.

          Privilege does not translate to automatic honey and beer – it just means that the probability of upward mobility is higher. Everyone can be equally hopeless living in a trailer park regardless of color, but it’s been scientifically proven that institutionalized racism will make it harder for the colored person to make it out of the trailer park on the basis of their skin color alone.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Let’s be clear. No one should be forced to give up the battle flag. We have allowed the debate to stray from the salient point which is that no public (government) institution should be endorsing it. Any American must be free to display any flag they like on their person or property. If I happen to think that doing so makes them a racist, well, it’s my right to feel that way.

        Me, I’m still pissed off at DOH for destroying so many ’69 Chargers, the most beautiful car that Dodge ever made.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      @OneAlpha: “The debate about slavery makes it sound like America INVENTED it, but the reality is that far from creating it, we ended it.”

      If you mean you were the last to stop doing it, then yes, you’re (almost, except for Brazil) right.

      That’s hardly the same as “we ended it”, though.

  • avatar

    #1 I think of RACISM as a “MINEFIELD”…
    Minefields have small flags with a skull and crossbones denoting the locations of mines. I’d rather KNOW where the mines are than for some idiot to remove the flags and now I not know where I can and can’t step.

    I’m not worried about “the flag”. I’m worried about the racist scumbag who might attack me and cause me to empty my Kimber .45 in them – which will have me in court for years.

    #2 I’m completely against plastering distracting graphics on Mopar vehicles – Ride Height.

    #3 Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    The Confederate Flag was a symbol of insurrection and secession from the US Union government. Blacks take it as a symbol of racism, White supremacy and slavery. The confederate flag will always exist in history books and is part of the definition of “The General Lee”. You can’t take it completely away because it is part of history.

    I heard someone say that The confederate flag means you’re a racist and a traitor (Huffington Post).

    Treason is a matter of dates. The founders of the USA would have been hanged by the Crown if they had lost the war.

  • avatar
    CX1

    Ronnie Schreiber, the Don Lemon of TTAC

  • avatar
    jmo

    ” it didn’t necessarily mean that in the distant past.”

    Really? Do tell.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      Yeah, I’m kind of curious how a flag created for an army whose nation’s constitution enshrined black slavery as a founding principle was ever “not racist”?

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    I’m conflicted here. The Dukes were a big part of my youth. Mom made me a Confederate Flag birthday cake for my Dukes-themed 3rd birthday party. My dog at the time was named Bo–it had a littermate next door named Luke. I was a white suburban kid in a white Northern suburb..so any other meaning of that flag was lost on young Chris. I just hated when they slid across the hood..the rivets on their jeans had to destroy the finish.

    Now, with two kids growing up in a multicultural area, I hesitate. The “sticks and stones” thing we try to teach our kids should extend to symbols, but we all know that words and images that evoke decades of repression still terrorize.

    Sadly, I’m now expecting a black market of unlicensed General Lee’s to appear on Craigslist and Backpage.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m with Obama on this: that flag rightly belongs in a museum, not flying over public property, and certainly not in front of a state capitol.

    Whether individual want to plaster that hateful thing on their personal property – including copies of the “Dukes of Hazzard” car – is their business, but they also shouldn’t be surprised when they get tagged as bigots. And I don’t buy the “I’m just flying this flag ’cause I’m a rebel” nonsense – after all, the swastika flew over one of the most fearsome armies in history, but no one flies THAT one to show that he’s a supporter of a strong military. I’m sure you can buy a bumper sticker that says “I’m a rebel” somewhere. Fly the symbol, take the criticism, y’know?

    • 0 avatar

      Well, now you’ve touched on an interesting topic: ethics versus social norms and taste. As I said earlier, I am not particularly offended by the presence of the Confederate battle flag on someone else’s property, but I will not embrace it, either. There is nothing ethically wrong about it; however, it is considered to be distasteful and tacky by most people—and this is not uncommon knowledge—so it’s a bit silly to bellyache about being looked down upon and scoffed at when you’ve got said flag proudly plastered across the back window of your 2001 F-250 that you use to roll coal into the windshields of innocent Priuses (Prii?). In fact, I’m of the opinion that most of the Confederate flag’s proponents are using it as a giant middle finger to political-correctness. I just don’t know why else you’d so stubbornly hold onto that relic. So yes, if you really want to go that route, you should take whatever criticism is aimed your way…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        That’s the thing, Kyree – if someone wants to express his anti-PC sentiments, then it’s a free country, and there are other ways to do that versus flying a racist symbol. If one crank does it, then that’s an example of an outlier, but lots of folks who feel beset by political correctness choose to tie their feelings in with a confederate flag, and all that does is link the idea of being anti-PC with bigotry. I’m sure some folks of this ilk are bigots, but not all of them are by any means. I don’t know if that’s their intent, but that’s the outcome.

        I think some people just like it when folks are mad at them. If I were Sigmund Freud, I’d have a handy explanation like “ze patient vas separated from ze mother’z breazt too often when he vas a baby.”

        • 0 avatar

          “ze patient vas separated from ze mother’z breazt too often when he vas a baby.”

          Ha. Mine is a lot meaner, and less Germanic. I just go with, “Did your mother drop you on your lopsided head one too many times when you were a baby?”

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Mine covers both:
            “Did your mother feed you with a slingshot after the doctor dropped you on your head?”

        • 0 avatar

          The 1st Amendment only protects people from CONGRESS legislating against them. It does not protect people from boycotts or protests of the public.

          Flying the confederate flag is a personal freedom of speech issue and it’s basically no different than flying the Nazi flag.

          If people want to brandish either, that’s their business and I’ll stay clear away from them and their ideology.

          But the moment they brandish those flags while creating violence the full weight of the Federal Government should be brought down upon their heads.

          Roof wore Apartheid and Confederate symbols and killed people. That’s all. He needs to be executed and would have been if Gun Control hadn’t taken the guns out of the hands of law-abiding Blacks.

          • 0 avatar
            mr.cranky

            @bigtrucksreview- What are you talking about? Are you saying that carrying guns in public is the ONLY way for people to protect themselves?

            I see how it is. Anyone that’s not big into guns or the second amendment, has to live in fear so that a sub-section of the U.S population can express their rights. How is that not wrong?

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            “…and would have been if Gun Control hadn’t taken the guns out of the hands of law-abiding Blacks.”

            What? There’s a huge difference between the right to bear arms and the silly notion that everyone should do so. *Especially* in church, a place where people usually go to experience fellowship.

            I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment. But no one should bear any blame whatsoever for violence committed upon them just because they chose not to bear arms. The radical gun rights crowd desperately needs to drop this argument as it will, ultimately, undermine their efforts to preserve the right to bear arms.

        • 0 avatar

          The problem with the confederate flag is its a symbol of slavery and oppression of blacks–both egregious. (Ronnie brings up the British flag, as a symbol of the country we fought against for our independence. Yeah, we fought against them, but it was more of an internecine war and we’ve been friends ever since. Not the same.)

          Having said that, I have nothing against thumbing one’s nose at PC, which I think has gone way too far in this country. I live very close to politically-very-correct Cambridge Mass, and I like to walk around that city wearing a Pride In Tobacco hat, which I got at the Duke Estate–birthplace of mass production of cigarettes, which of course financed the eponymous university in NC.

      • 0 avatar
        alexndr333

        Kyree, You have handled this in a very upright and gentlemanly way, which has kept you from mentioning an important part of the use of the Confederate flag today: That it is used as a covert symbol for white supremacy. There remain in this country full-on racists and the confederate flag is their public fig-leaf. The fact that some use the ‘heritage’ argument and thereby draw others in, is just a function of how multi-layered the issue remains. But, make no mistake, racism and the Confederate flag are inextricably linked in this country – even moreso since Dylan Roof massacred those Christian folks in Charleston. Talk all we want about nuanced reasons why the flag should or should not be flown, we will continue to miss the point if we do not own this association.

    • 0 avatar
      agent534

      Its a symbol, and only carries as much weight as people allow it to.
      Nazis appropriated the swastika, so in Western culture it represents one thing, but in many Asian cultures it still retains its original significance to them. I’ve seen it used (going in the other direction) to indicate good luck, and have had to explain it to people that only know the western association.

      Now it certainly is in-appropriate to fly the confederate flag on a state capital, but pulling from shelves and banning the sale of it (voluntarily of course as is their right to), is that too much? I don’t really have an issue with it as a decoration on a tv show car, as for me the car is a symbol of what the show was, overriding any other meanings in that instance.

      Intent and perspective is everything, and from my perspective there was no malicious intent with the flag on the General Lee, but experience varies, and this may not be true for everyone. growing up in the Northeast, perhaps I was shielded from the true meaning of the flag when it is flown.

      Are these people trying to remove the flag attempting to overwrite any non-consonant views? They are trying to change views for sure. Personally, they are not educating me enough on why the flag should be erased from the culture wholesale. This article was actually the first place I learned it only started flying over the state capitol in 1961 for example.

      My only question is where does it stop? Now what if a group appropriates the ’01’ for malicious intent, because of the association with the car and the flag on the car that they can’t use anymore? Do we proceed with a cultural ban on ’01’?

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        Where is the ambiguity in a flag that flew over an army whose stated purpose was to defend the right of whites to own black people?

        It was racist at its inception and its racist today.

        You wanna celebrate your southern heritage, wear an Allman Brothers t-shirt

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Bo and Luke weren’t government officials. On the stars-n-bars continuum, they were clearly much closer to the redneck end of the spectrum than the cross burning side. So for me, this is a whole different discussion than that of state governments with a sordid history of slavery, lynching and denial of basic civil rights embracing the very symbol of such a philosophy. In the public sphere, the flag has to go. In the private arena, it’s pretty hard to tell whether the flag bearer is a murderous racist or an aging southern rock fan.

    If ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ were to pilot today instead of the Carter years when the South was suddenly cool, there is no way the CSA emblem would be on the car. But at the time, it seemed to be a simple bit of geographical shorthand.

    tl; dr? Reluctantly in favor of retaining flag on car and replicas thereof.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Thing is, they’ve put out at least two DoH movies in the past 10 years. I don’t recall any controversy over them, except that they weren’t as family-friendly as the old TV show (or the TV movies starring the original cast).

      Look at how innocent intent just 10 years ago is now under cultural assault. Where will be in 10 more years? Like Agent534 said, is the “01” next to go?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    That GD flag.

    Should it be removed from the car, no. You can’t erase history.

    Should you be permitted to fly it in your yard, of course.

    Should a government institution that represents all citizens fly it? Absolutely not.

    Should another state fly the rainbow flag because they really support gay rights? How about a Gasden flag?

    You can argue heritage, rebellion whatever. For better than half the people in America (minority and non southern white people) the flag is a symbol of hate. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Gasden flag is an optional license plate in Virginia. But the Texas chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans can’t get their flag.

      Democratic city governments fly rainbow flags all over the place during Pride Week. Not sure if your questions are rhetorical or not.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        No really rhetorical.

        If the state of SC wants to fly the Stars and bars for confederacy week. Have at it. Then take it down.

        The analogy does not work, flying a rainbow flag for a week vs flying the rebel flag everyday for decades especially when to a large amount of society it represents hate.

        As for the sons of confederate whatever. IMHO, no we should not celebrate a group of people or states that made every attempt to secede from the union. Government should not condone or celebrate an activity that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, needlessly. Vietnam or any other war, absolutely, that falls into the category of some gave some, some gave all. I have no qualms with not celebrating anyone who wanted to leave this great nation to form a new one and took up arms against us to prove their point.

        As for the garden flag, have at it. No state flys it over their capital that I am aware of.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      You can’t possibly be equating support for gay rights with support for Jim Crow laws were still in effect?

      WTF, man!

      Those are completely opposite.

      I take this one a bit personally, since my sister is a homosexual. I’m in favor of everyone being equal under the law.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Whoa there fella.

        Perhaps I mistyped. I am 100% for equal rights for all human beings up to and including gay, straight, black white and or any combination you can think of in between. I hate the rebel flag. Period. No exceptions. And yup, that includes gay marriage, have at it. Just don’t birth about the cost of divorce…..(sarcasm)

        I have no issue with a state flying the rainbow flag for gay pride week. To me, it is a symbol of tolerance. I guess my thought was, if a state wanted to hold onto their ‘roots’ and fly that stupid rebel flag for the, what I am making up, southern pride week then fine. But, once we are done with the week of celebrating diversity, the diversityto allow people to celebrate bigotry, than take down the flag.

        You have the right to be a bigot, not impart that view on the citizens of your state who view your symbol as one of hate. My opinion, I live in a state with legal weed and what not so for the most part we are a fairly tolerant populace.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Never let a good crisis go to waste I suppose, media might as well get all the idiots that couldn’t pass high school history riled up, certainly can’t hurt their ratings.

    Question, if ISIS suddenly adopted the gay pride flag, would we deride it too?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The gay pride flag is not a symbol of a would-be nation founded for the express purpose of perpetuating slavery.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “if ISIS suddenly adopted the gay pride flag, would we deride it too?”

      No, we’d all laugh at ISIS and photoshops of ISIS in gay pride parades and Ibiza.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Question, if ISIS suddenly adopted the gay pride flag, would we deride it too?”

      While I’m sure you’re being facetious, that’s a false equivalency:

      * This is pretty much what happened to the Swastika: it has very deep and very different meanings for Hindus and branches thereof. That said, the cognitive dissonance is pretty easy to resolve: if you’re a Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian or such, then you can explain that it predates Nazi Germany, and has nothing to do with Nazism. QED.

      If ISIS adopted the rainbow flag, it doesn’t really diminish the flag’s original meaning. It would, mind you, sow confusion. Admittedly amusing confusion at that.

      * The Confederate flag doesn’t have such a history: it’s a flag of a failed state that existed, primarily, to legally enshrine slavery. There’s no millenias-old tradition to fall back on. At best you can claim ignorance because Dukes of Hazzard really was a cool show.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Two things immediately spring to mind:

    1) Isn’t the author the same person who dropped racial slurs in Bertel’s implosion thread, then deleted his own remarks?

    2) Seriously, learn how to photograph a car properly, especially if you’re running your own website devoted to them. There’s no reason why you should be cutting off a foot or more of length when taking a proper ¾ shot.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Ronnie has some of the most insightful and interesting articles on TTAC, particularly related to automotive history. His weekend articles are always a nice bonus and make for great back porch reading.

      If you are not happy with the quality of the free content you are reading there are plenty of other options.

    • 0 avatar

      Dissemble much?

      1. That’s a defamatory lie. I haven’t “dropped racial slurs” ever. I quoted the name of a famous Lenny Bruce routine and asked some hypocrites if they call out black people when they use the word you say is a slur. You do know what quotation marks mean, don’t you?

      2. I never claimed to be a professional photographer. I’m a point & shoot guy. When cars are parked tightly next to each other, getting a classic 3/4 beauty shot isn’t always possible. Sometimes I opt for images that show the front or back end as opposed to the car in toto.

      3. Please point us to pieces you’ve written, for pay, and photographs you’ve published so we can evaluate your own work.

      4. Were you part of the burn-the-witch Google bombing of my name or one of the smear campaigning emailers?

      • 0 avatar
        Tomifobia

        Dissembling? No. I say what I mean.

        1) Since your comments were deleted, I can’t go back to see whether or not you used quotation marks, but you did in fact drop “the n bomb” there. And no matter how it was used, it seemed gratuitous to have it pop up in a discussion about slurs against gays. And I’m far from the only one who says that word’s a slur.

        2) I’m a point & shoot guy, too, and take pics of cars that are parked close together all the time. Can’t get the ¾ shot you want? Step back a few paces. Want to highlight a specific section or detail? Get closer.

        3) I have never had any interest in writing or photographing professionally, so I’ve never submitted anything to be published anywhere. If I did have something available, I would gladly share it.

        4) No, I’ve never been fond of smear campaigns, thank you.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s gratuitous to discuss a slur in a discussion of slurs? Okee dokee.

          As someone who is allegedly not fond of smear campaigns, you’re doing a pretty realistic impression of smearing me with an imputation of racism.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    A flag on a car, from a old TV show is what it is. Memorabilia. Not really concerned over it.

    Do I like it? No. Would I ever display it for any reason? No. Does it need to come off State property? Absolutely. Surprisingly, I have spoken to a few people now that weren’t even fully aware that the confederate flag had such offensive components, which is perhaps telling on it’s own. I guess history is lost on most Americans.

    My fear now is that as this effort has before popular, the aura around the confederate flag will only gain momentum with those groups of people that are already full of hatred. And true rednecks of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The offensive components of the Confederate flag are manufactured in the same way we ignore the Norths involvement in slavery and ignore the root cause of the civil war.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “The offensive components of the Confederate flag are manufactured in the same way we ignore the Norths involvement in slavery and ignore the root cause of the civil war”

        Yes, they were “manufactured” by racist Southerners who resurrected the, ahem, proud history of the Confederacy in order to justify their support for segregation and opposition to civil rights.

        It doesn’t change that the “states’ rights” that the south went to war for had everything to do with the “right” to keep people as property, and the resurrection of the flag had to do with maintaining the status quo vis a vis segregation and the occasional lynching, cross-burning and suchlike.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Yes nothing to do with inappropriately unfair taxes and tariffs.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            A war with moral AND economic causes. Must be the only time THAT ever happened in all history. :P

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Yes nothing to do with inappropriately unfair taxes and tariffs.”

            Yes, nothing to do with taxes and tariffs. Everything to do with ensuring that the right to own people was enshrined in law so as to protect their failing, slave-based economy.

            They could have, you know, industrialized and tried to compete instead.

            I would also note that you didn’t address my point about the resurrection of the flag by racists in the 20th century as a reactionary statement against civil rights.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            You truly know not what you speak.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “You truly know not what you speak.”

            Then cite a reputable source and prove me wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Why were the taxes and tariffs unfair, Hummer?

            Assuming they were, the fact is that these were levied on exported raw materials…like cotton and tobacco. Where were those crops grown, and who grew them? Northern agriculture was focused on growing things to eat domestically, and farms were owned and run by families. Southern agriculture was focused on growing things to sell as materials, particularly overseas (and particularly to Great Britain). Their farms were owned by people who didn’t work the land themselves – they used slaves for that.

            No matter what “not slavery” cause you come up with, it always comes back to slavery, every time.

            Societal differences? Of course there were. The south was run by an aristocracy that owed its wealth to slavery and there was very little social mobility – poor folks were born poor and stayed poor. The north was becoming industrialized and was a place where you could rise in society.

            Economic differences? The south had an agricultural economy tha depended on slavery to run. The north was becoming industrialized.

            The taxes and tariffs were a not so subtle way of trying to get the south to move forward and away from a slave based economy…and maybe even to punish it for being that way. In any case, depending on slave based labor left the south vulnerable to that kind of “unfair” taxation .

            It always comes back to slavery…and I’m not sure what the point is to argue otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            The civil war was fought over slavery. Period. Attempts at revisionist history won’t change that.

            Living below the Mason Dixon line I learned a long time ago that the people who wrapped themselves in confederate heritage were generally only two beers away from telling you what they really thought about minorities. The good old days that they miss are Jim Crow, and the states rights that they miss allowed segregation, no voting rights, and worse.

            I have yet to meet one confederate flag waver who could explain, or had any interest in, pre civil war tax and trade policy disputes.

            Fortunately I see and hear very little overt racism any more; no more than I used to hear in Chicago. But today the Stars and Bars are an overt display of a brand of identity politics that everybody understands; some just pretend not to.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So you reference the issue of tax and trade disputes but then begin your post with something as ignorant as “The civil war was fought over slavery. Period.”

            “Top Five Causes of the Civil War
            Leading up to Secession and the Civil War

            1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South.
            2. States versus federal rights.
            3. The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State Proponents.
            4. Growth of the Abolition Movement.
            5. The election of Abraham Lincoln.”

            http://americanhistory.about.com/od/civilwarmenu/a/cause_civil_war.htm

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South.”

            Because the South depended on slave labour.

            “2. States versus federal rights.”

            The right to own slaves

            “3. The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State Proponents.”

            The South wanted to force slavery on potentially-free territories to legitimatize slavery

            “4. Growth of the Abolition Movement.”

            This one is obvious

            “5. The election of Abraham Lincoln.””

            Because he wasn’t going to legitimatize slavery going forward.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Why don’t you write for About.com since your commentary is much punchier than their analysis?

            “With Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, cotton became very profitable. This machine was able to reduce the time it took to separate seeds from the cotton. However, at the same time the increase in the number of plantations willing to move from other crops to cotton meant the greater need for a large amount of cheap labor, i.e. slaves. Thus, the southern economy became a one crop economy, depending on cotton and therefore on slavery.

            On the other hand, the northern economy was based more on industry than agriculture. In fact, the northern industries were purchasing the raw cotton and turning it into finished goods. This disparity between the two set up a major difference in economic attitudes. The South was based on the plantation system while the North was focused on city life. This change in the North meant that society evolved as people of different cultures and classes had to work together. On the other hand, the South continued to hold onto an antiquated social order.”

            “Since the time of the Revolution, two camps emerged: those arguing for greater states rights and those arguing that the federal government needed to have more control. The first organized government in the US after the American Revolution was under the Articles of Confederation. The thirteen states formed a loose confederation with a very weak federal government. However, when problems arose, the weaknesses of the Articles caused the leaders of the time to come together at the Constitutional Convention and create, in secret, the US Constitution.

            Strong proponents of states rights like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were not present at this meeting. Many felt that the new constitution ignored the rights of states to continue to act independently. They felt that the states should still have the right to decide if they were willing to accept certain federal acts. This resulted in the idea of nullification, whereby the states would have the right to rule federal acts unconstitutional. The federal government denied states this right. However, proponents such as John C. Calhoun fought vehemently for nullification. When nullification would not work and states felt that they were no longer respected, they moved towards secession.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28, all of that verbiage is there in order to dance around the fact that the “state’s right” in question was the right to legalize slavery. Yes, there were other issues. No, they were not nearly severe enough to result in the Union splitting in half. All the biggest fights in the 20 years leading up to the Civil War were about slavery, and the Civil War was about slavery.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            My apologies on the late reply, I had prior obligations.

            A simple Google search finds many answers, such as this-

            http://www.emarotta.com/protective-tariffs-the-primary-cause-of-the-civil-war/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So here is a detailed source to back up the first source I cited. The essay is on the economics of the Civil War, it outlines the economic impact of slavery and adds a few key facts such as tariffs and finance of the conflict. Revisionists can cry “slavery” all day but ultimately the primary cause of the war was an economic one which actually could have been avoided.

            “The Economics of the Civil War
            Roger L. Ransom, University of California, Riverside”

            “In 1805 there were just over one million slaves worth about $300 million; fifty-five years later there were four million slaves worth close to $3 billion. In the 11 states that eventually formed the Confederacy, four out of ten people were slaves in 1860, and these people accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states. In the cotton regions the importance of slave labor was even greater. The value of capital invested in slaves roughly equaled the total value of all farmland and farm buildings in the South.”

            $300 million to $3 billion in fifty five years.

            “In the seven states where most of the cotton was grown, almost one-half the population were slaves, and they accounted for 31 percent of white people’s income; for all 11 Confederate States, slaves represented 38 percent of the population and contributed 23 percent of whites’ income. Small wonder that Southerners — even those who did not own slaves — viewed any attempt by the federal government to limit the rights of slaveowners over their property as a potentially catastrophic threat to their entire economic system.”

            Sooooo 23% of all income? Significant. But wait there’s more:

            “The income generated by this “export sector” was a major impetus for growth not only in the South, but in the rest of the economy as well. Douglass North, in his pioneering study of the antebellum U.S. economy, examined the flows of trade within the United States to demonstrate how all regions benefited from the South’s concentration on cotton production (North 1961). *Northern merchants gained from Southern demands for shipping cotton to markets abroad, and from the demand by Southerners for Northern and imported consumption goods*. The low price of raw cotton produced by slave labor in the American South enabled textile manufacturers — both in the United States and in Britain — to expand production and provide benefits to consumers through a declining cost of textile products.”

            So the Northern interests did benefit from slave produced cotton? How convenient.

            “With so much to lose on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, economic logic suggests that a peaceful solution to the slave issue would have made far more sense than a bloody war. Yet no solution emerged. One “economic” solution to the slave problem would be for those who objected to slavery to “buy out” the economic interest of Southern slaveholders. *Under such a scheme, the federal government would purchase slaves*. A major problem here was that the costs of such a scheme would have been enormous. Claudia Goldin estimates that the cost of having the government buy all the slaves in the United States in 1860, would be about $2.7 billion (1973: 85, Table 1). Obviously, such a large sum could not be paid all at once. *Yet even if the payments were spread over 25 years, the annual costs of such a scheme would involve a tripling of federal government outlays* (Ransom and Sutch 1990: 39-42)!”

            Oh now there’s a factoid glossed over by the public fool and by most armchair revisionists. Federal gov’t buying out slave owners? Tripling federal outlays for 25 years? Yikes.

            Then there were tariffs the revisionists leave out:

            “Southerners, with their emphasis on staple agriculture and need to buy goods produced outside the South, strongly objected to the imposition of duties on imported goods. Manufacturers in the Northeast, on the other hand, supported a high tariff as protection against cheap British imports.”

            So for the North it was ok for Southern plantations to supply them with raw materials and export cotton to Europe, but gosh darn you wacky Southerners can’t buy cheaper consumer goods from Europe than we make them here. Can you imagine this logic today, i.e. tariffs on NAFTA goods or Asian goods?

            Then there were the banksters, yeah they were involved too!

            “In the Northeast, where over 60 percent of all banks were located, there was strong support by 1860 for the creation of a system of banks that would be chartered and regulated by the federal government. But in the South, which had little need for local banking services, there was little enthusiasm for such a proposal.”

            So the Southerners didn’t support the creation of what sounds like a central bank…

            “By 1860 many were inclined to support the Republican proposal for a National Banking System, however Southern opposition killed the National Bank Bill in 1860”

            Those darn Southerners never learn, interfering with “God’s work” of the banksters.

            “No war in American history strained the economic resources of the economy as the Civil War did. *Governments on both sides were forced to resort to borrowing on an unprecedented scale to meet the financial obligations for the war*. With more developed markets and an industrial base that could ultimately produce the goods needed for the war, the Union was clearly in a better position to meet this challenge. *The South, on the other hand, had always relied on either Northern or foreign capital markets for their financial needs*, and they had virtually no manufacturing establishments to produce military supplies. From the outset, *the Confederates relied heavily on funds borrowed outside the South* to purchase supplies abroad.”

            Ok…

            “In 1862 Congress authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue currency notes that were not backed by gold. By the end of the war, the treasury had printed more than $250 million worth of these “Greenbacks” and, together with the issue of gold-backed notes, the printing of money accounted for 18 percent of all government revenues.”

            So Congress authorized notes not backed by gold to finance the Northern side, and money printing was 18% of all revenues. Going to the printing press sound a little familiar?

            “In 1862 Congress finally passed legislation creating the National Banking System.”

            Wait didn’t this issue come up before the war?
            How interesting. Now that those darn Southerners are gone, let’s ram it through!

            “Several features of Confederate finance immediately stand out in comparison to the Union effort. First is the failure of the Richmond government to finance their war expenditures through taxation.”

            Because they couldn’t afford it so…

            “Over a third of the Confederate government’s revenue came from the printing press.”

            Yikes, so more printing but then…

            “The remainder came in the form of bonds, many of which were sold abroad in either London or Amsterdam.”

            Cui bono? European Banksters! Why of course!

            “The reliance on borrowed funds proved to be a growing problem for the Confederate treasury. By mid-1864 the costs of paying interest on outstanding government bonds absorbed more than half all government expenditures.”

            50% of all expenditures to European usury.

            “The difficulties of collecting taxes and floating new bond issues had become so severe that in the final year of the war the total revenues collected by the Confederate Government actually declined.”

            So the Confederates literally ran out of funding.

            “Inflation is a tax, and it tends to fall on those who are least able to afford it. One group that tends to be vulnerable to a sudden rise in prices is wage earners.”

            So, the proles. Ain’t that the truth.

            Check out the paper, its a long read but worth it.

            https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-economics-of-the-civil-war/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            So, 28, let’s summarize everything in that long reply into essential points.

            1) The Southern elite had embraced slavery wholeheartedly, to the point where they faced economic catastrophe if slaves were given basic human rights.

            2) The Northern economy was also boosted by slavery, but not nearly to the same extent. Slave labor could end and the industries in the North would have continued to operate, albeit with higher raw material costs.

            3) The Southern elite had never bothered to try to monetize the raw materials they produced, because the existing slave labor economy was more lucrative than industrialization.

            4) In a similar vein, the Southern elite had never bothered to develop their own finance or capital markets infrastructure.

            5) The Southerners were disadvantaged further by their obstinacy when the numerically superior North imposed tariffs, through the democratic process, that were detrimental to the slave labor economy and advantageous for the manufacturing and finance economy.

            6) Yet the Southern elite tried to separate themselves by military force from their only source of finance and the largest customer of their raw materials, because they saw their slave labor gravy train in danger.

            7) When war came, the North was able to rely on a better-developed financial infrastructure to outlast the South.

            Your source just reinforces that the war was entirely about slavery in the end. Not only that, it’s very unflattering about the business acumen of the Southern elite. Fortunately, in recent decades, the South has most assuredly found its business footing.

            *edit: switched the order of 5) and 6) to reflect reality

          • 0 avatar
            rocketrodeo

            “Yes nothing to do with inappropriately unfair taxes and tariffs.”

            What taxes? Which tariff? Please be specific so I can refute you more accurately.

            Lost Cause drivel. Southerners wrote the last two tariff bills before secession. Some of the lowest tariffs in American history.

        • 0 avatar
          alexndr333

          There’s a lot to the north-south divide that is part social, part economic, part political and part historical. It’s tough to summarize in these comments. However, by the 1860’s the north was beginning to industrialize from oil and steel and the south remained agricultural – only Virginia had any significant industrial capacity when the Confederacy declared secession. A huge economic and social rift opened.

          Also, Lincoln freed the slaves in part to deny the South the financial support of western European nations that had long abolished slavery / serfdom. Lincoln forced the issue into the open so that the Euros would not bring themselves to fund a slavery-based proto-nation. It was a brilliant political move by Lincoln as much as the fulfillment of his authentic moral beliefs.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “My fear now is that as this effort has before popular, the aura around the confederate flag will only gain momentum with those groups of people that are already full of hatred. And true rednecks of course.”

      Those people were always quite aware of it. Heck, they’ll even double-down. Frankly, they’re lost causes, as you said.

      What the current attention to the flag is supposed to do is exactly what you said: inform people who didn’t know it’s history and connotations that it, and what it represents, isn’t even remotely acceptable in civil society.

      What, eg, eBay and Walmart banning it means is that people will get the memo that the flag, and it’s racist history, are no longer tacitly approved of. Generally speaking, when polite society stops looking the other way when it comes to discrimination and the symbols thereof, that’s a good thing because _not_ doing so gives people who are ignorant, weak-minded or maladjusted the impression that it’s okay.

      Bad people flourish when good people do nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        There’s another term you fail to understand, redneck stands beside blue collar and white collar. How do you expect to make an argument on history you don’t understand?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Here’s an exercise for you: type terms such as “secession speech 1861” into your favorite search engine.

          The Civil War was a battle over slavery. One reason that we know this is because the guys who started the war said that it was. They were not shy or apologetic about it.

          If you can’t figure that out, then you’re lazy or something worse.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            That may have been how it was sold to rich slave-owning southerns who slavery was important to, but the economic issues were more important and largely the reasons the poor white southerns joined the battle. Very few that fought in the confederate army had anything to gain from slavery.

            You also ignore a very key part of this, major powers in Europe were lined up to come join the union in fighting the Confederates – had they taken Gettysburg(or any battle North of VA). Europeans would have lost greatly had the South won, their exports to the U.S. would have steeply dropped.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Your comment makes no sense. At all. If slavery was a selling point for the affluent, then it was a motivating factor for the affluent powers-that-be to support the war.

            You’re simply in denial.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            My comment makes perfect sense, there is no denial. The average Southerner had nothing to gain from continued slavery, selling it to the afluent wasn’t hard but it also wasn’t necessary. However it would have been impossible to build a war on the foundation of supporting a system that was in decline and a system that did very little to help the average man that fought in the war. Assuming the war was based solely on the foundation of saving slavery, which it wasn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      “Revisionists can cry “slavery” all day but ultimately the primary cause of the war was an economic one which actually could have been avoided.”

      Those darn revisionists that wrote the Confederate Constitution

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Did you bother reading the source at all or just feel like spouting off?

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          I have read every permutation of this strawman out there and it all comes down the same thing, Anything But Slavery (ABS).

          Slavery was an economic system, so yeah the causes are going to have an economic flavor to them.

          It still boils down to the Southern elites did not wish to be restricted where they took their slaves.

          You said yourself they’d blocked the creation of the National Bank before they seceded. Why leave after getting your way on one of the main issues that is causing you to leave?

          Tariffs affected the elites far more than the poor, who were pretty much subsistence level in much of the South at this point in time.

          It’s like you are coroner looking at a body with no head and you are certain he died of a heart attack.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It still boils down to the Southern elites did not wish to be restricted where they took their slaves.”

            They were also afraid that the emancipated slaves would seek their revenge.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I didn’t write the original essay you’re free to argue with the author. He explains the Southern economy was built on slavery, so much so a peaceful solution was too expensive and slave owners felt slavery was worth fighting a war over. Abolitionists and other moral arguments played a role in the decision, but the main cause of the conflict was the *economic impact* of slavery not simply the Southern institution of slavery. If somehow the Southern economy could have been transitioned or if there could have been a cheaper peaceful way to “buy out” the slaveowners the war may never have occurred in the first place. You act as if Fredrick Douglass took power in a coup, appointed Harriet Tubman Secretary of War, and went on a crusade. Follow the money, it’s always about the money.

            “You said yourself they’d blocked the creation of the National Bank before they seceded.”

            The Southerners did block this in 1860 per the source, however the source did not explicitly explain why other than to say: “But in the South, which had little need for local banking services, there was little enthusiasm for such a proposal”. My added comments are purely speculative conjecture, but what is fact is Northern interests were in favor of the proposal and it wasn’t passed until after secession in 1862.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is a lot of drama just to ignore the obvious.

            Go read their speeches. The secessionists were quite clear about their desire to preserve slavery.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          Further, why do I need to read an explanation for an act written a hundred years after the fact when I can read the diaries and private letters of the men that committed the act?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If you spend just 10 minutes reading some of the various secessionist speeches, pamphlets and ordinances/ declarations from the era, it is obvious that the whole thing revolved around slavery.

          Spend another hour or two reading them, and nothing changes. They could not have been more blunt and obvious about it.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            This, we have the actual words from the actual men that led the South out and they virtually all agree it was about slavery.

            Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            “but the main cause of the conflict was the *economic impact* of slavery not simply the Southern institution of slavery.”

            See it wasn’t about slavery, it was about what slavery could buy.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            On this we agree. Kinda like building an economy on oil and then willing to fight any war to control/acquire/protect it?

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            Basically, you can say the Civil War was about whatever you want and the internet will be happy to find ‘facts’ to back you up.

            But when the people doing the seceding tell you quite clearly in their private papers that it was about slavery, well I’ll just take them at their word.

            And yes, the parallels between one economy that stubbornly refused to innovate and other more recent examples are fascinating.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “However, I have absolutely no intention of putting the owner in the crosshairs of social justice warriors on Twitter”

    Oh, yes. Social-justice warriors. Because it’s really all about ethics in automotive journalism.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Let’s not lose sight of the prize; Daisy Mae Duke! 8-)

    Scott? Simpson? or Bach?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The very idea that the airhead Jessica Simpson could portray Daisy Duke is an offense against humanity. Not nearly as serious an offense as continued glorification of the Confederacy, but still an offense.

      Catherine Bach in her prime was one of the most beautiful women ever to grace a screen.

  • avatar
    dwford

    How long before reruns get a trigger warning at the start of the episode and the roof gets blurred out?

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Aha! You’ve identified the real crime against humanity the miserable act of blurring video. Is anything as transparently self-defeating as this stupid practice?

      [Credits]

      Video Blurring: Winston Smith

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The TV show was about caricatures and the flag on the car was part of that. No worries.

    Just to keep the discussion car-related, defending the flag by saying “states rights,” “freedom,” and “heritage” is like saying the California hot rod craze in the 1950s and 1960s was about fresh air.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Personally, I thought the show was a not-so-subtle slap at southern culture, a modern day Amos ‘n Andy, except the caricatures were poor white southerners, not black people. In that light, I’d say being pumped about the General Lee car as some kind of symbol of southern mojo is ironic, to say the least.

      I wonder how southerners felt about the show. If I were one, I wouldn’t be too pleased.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    If I were having a car show I would invite the General Lee as much as any other car star.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Once upon a time, Faygo was just a soft drink.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think the General Lee, especially one actually used in the original show, being displayed at car shows and car museums is “it belongs in a museum” being actually put onto action.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That’s a good point: this is exactly the right setting for the flag, just as a war museum is exactly the right setting for a Swastika or standard of Imperial Japan.

      Not, I might add, the flagpole out front of a government building.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …over the past three decades i’ve attended many shows featuring general lee tributes and they were never an issue, as racism had nothing to do with the cars…

    …symbols are complicated: for a fringe minority, sure, the confederate battle flag represented racist ideology, but for a lot of people it represented defiance, solidarity, or regional identity, without any racist baggage whatsoever…the problem is that the current zeitgeist backlash is MAKING a racist symbol out of it, and consequently it’s going to carry those ideological connotations by default for a long, long time…

    …personally, no, i don’t have a problem with the general lee, but i don’t give a damn about groupthink…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “but for a lot of people it represented defiance, solidarity, or regional identity, without any racist baggage whatsoever”

      It takes a very stubborn breed of ignorance to hold that view. The reason for the Confederacy’s existence was slavery. Without slavery, there would have been no secession. It’s impossible to separate the Confederacy from slavery. The people who founded the Confederacy were honest and forthright about that, and that honesty is exceedingly well documented.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …and that is precisely the mindset which is making the general lee a racist statement, where previously there was none…

        …symbols are complex statements, inherently personal interpretations laden with subtle articulation, and to ignore that reality in favor of reductionist baggage only gives the baggage more power…

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Poppycock. That flag always represented bigotry. The difference is that in the late 1970s, people could get away with planting that demented flag on a car and presenting it on network TV…as a comedy.

          People don’t put up with that today. Times have changed, thank God.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Once upon a time we talked about cars here and not flags or guns. It was a better time.

  • avatar

    There should be a law that imposes an instant Death Penalty on mass murderers. It would solve so many problems.

    I don’t buy that Mentally ill bullshirt.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If the possibility of the death penalty was any kind of deterrent, the United States would have the crime rates that Europe or Canada does.

      If you want to stop crime, deal with the cause. The cause is usually poverty and addiction. The US fails spectacularly at health care and social services versus the rest of the civilized world.

      Using punishment to stop crime is, to use an automotive metaphor, like trying to do quality assurance at the end of the assembly line instead of throughout the process.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        100% right and 0% wrong.

      • 0 avatar

        Mass murder is due to poverty and addiction?

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Mass murder is due to poverty and addiction?”

          In this case, the murderer was a mentally ill drug addict from a relatively poor family.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            -One minor possession charge does not an addict make.
            -It is not clear if his family was poor; the killer dropped out of school in 9th grade so his current poverty is somewhat self imposed.
            -There does not seem to be any record of mental illness.

            What if we agree that he is evil and stupid?

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          ..and artificial colors and flavors…

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        We do have the crime rates that Europe or Canada does.

        The difference between us and them is that much more of our crime involves gun violence.

        We have the freedom to carry and sell guns in essentially unregulated fashion (only regulated by local laws which are trivially easy to circumvent). Easier and cheaper availability of guns for criminals is an inherent consequence of that. So we get a lot more guns used in our crime.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “We do have the crime rates that Europe or Canada does”

          Not really, no. Compared to Canada there are roughly equivalent rates of petty theft, disorderly conduct. That’s really about it.

          Once you get to violent crime, though, the US goes through the roof. Petty crime outside the US doesn’t fill up percentage-space that violent crime does in the US.

          There is an odd quirk versus the UK (and possibly Europe; I need to check) where violent crime rates look comparable until you realize that the UK sets the “violence” bar much, much lower.

          The problem is that violent crime and gun use are made all that much worse by the US’s batshit-insane policy on drug-policy enforcement and it’s terrible social safety net. And I wouldn’t get so annoyed about it if the same people who want no restrictions on guns also want no universal healthcare, brutal drug laws and no living wage controls.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “If the possibility of the death penalty was any kind of deterrent, the United States would have the crime rates that Europe or Canada does.”

        Among Americans with cultural background in any way paralleling Europe and Canada, we already have the crime rates that Europe and Canada do.

        But we also have World Star Hip Hop. Pretending that the difference between Baltimore and Geneva (Reykjavík, Tokyo, etc.) is a matter of gun laws or single-payer hospitals is a real knee slapper.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      BTSR, you do realize that an instant death penalty would “chip away at the Constitution,” right?

      Like it or not, even these wackos get their day in court…and they they get another one, and another one, and another one, and a few more, until 15-20 years have passed. So, decades after the crime, they get executed. And they don’t always get executed – sometimes their sentences are commuted, and some even are exonerated by new evidence.

      It may be morally satisfying to call for the death penalty, but it’s lousy public policy. Toss ’em in jail and let ’em rot there. And given the fact that most mass shooters are wackos, I doubt they’d be deterred by a death penalty.

      I can tell you, though, what would have stopped James Holmes: if his shrink, who had heard him say numerous times that he was quite fond of the idea of killing people, had alerted the cops, and the cops had found his little arsenal in advance, then 12 more people would be alive today.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        A basic rule of the interwebs: Those who make the most references to the Constitution know the least about it.

      • 0 avatar

        If those church folk were armed, he might have received exactly that: INSTA-DEATH.

        I’ve basically come to terms with the decline of society. There are a lot of sick people out there – armed – and the only way to deal with them is well-armed citizens ready to shoot-to-kill in the event of an attempted mass-murder.

        Consider gun-ownership the “checks and balances” of the criminally insane.

        It’s Evolution really.

        Violent Crime decreases in areas with concealed carry simply because the criminals are either:

        a) killed

        b) afraid to try to rape and rob or

        c) forced to move into non-violent crime i.e. identity theft.

  • avatar
    mpfef

    In all that homework you did for this article – you didn’t read that the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern VA, and/or the Second Confederate Navy Jack are NOT the “Stars and Bars”?

    The “Stars and Bars” is the official flag of the CSA – and has 3 red and white stripes with a field of blue containing a ring of stars.

    It’s a common misconception.

  • avatar
    turf3

    So, I am a middle-aged white male Southerner.

    I revere the sense of rebelliousness that the South expressed through secession.

    I deplore the fact that, however they put it then or now, a considerable part of the motivation for secession (not the whole motivation) was to maintain an economic system that was based on slavery.

    But, I think about the people who are represented by those members of the church in S.C, who while mourning their friends and loved ones, still spoke for forgiveness.

    I do not want to personally display emblems that would make those fine people think that I denigrate them because of their race. I don’t want my state or national government to display them, either. If someone else wants to display those symbols, let them, but also let them deal with the interpretations others place on them. When you choose to publicly display the Confederate battle flag, a considerable number of people are going to believe you are a racist. It doesn’t matter how many times you say “heritage not hate”, they are still going to think it. You better decide whether that is the message you want to send, because that’s the message you will send.

    As far as the car, leave it as is.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    re: “The history of the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is, as they say, complicated.”

    seems to me that the only thing truly complicated about ‘it’ are the often-extreme political/social/moral gyrations those who choose to embrace it adopt, trying to somehow justify the unacceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It is complicated inasmuch as there are a number of Confederate standards and flags. If you’re a historian, it’s fascinating to research.

      It’s simple if you’re talking about the modern use of flag: that was resurrected in the 1960s as a reaction against the civil rights movement.

      In this case, “it’s complicated” means “I wouldn’t rather discuss it because it’s politically inconvenient for me”. It’s akin to how certain politicians punt questions with “I’m not a scientist, but…”

      It is possible to be ignorant of it. As someone from Canada and of the right age bracket, I used to think that the General Lee was a cool car. I had no clue about the flag’s symbolism, and I’m glad to see it being called out explicitly and discussed openly.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      “When black Americans see the Confederate battle flag, it’s easy to understand how they can see it today as a symbol of racism, even if it didn’t necessarily mean that in the distant past.”

      – Well, considering that in the “distant past” – the Confederate battle flag was used in war to not only keep the inhumane practice of slavery, but to expand it (the whole “states’ rights arguments that defenders like to trot out is bogus – as it was states’ rights over slavery), think that back then, it was a symbol of racism.

      Not to mention the KKK was formed during the Reconstruction by former Confederate officer to terrorize blacks and white Republicans (to keep the status quo as to social order/position and political power in the South) – with the white sheets/robes often propagandized as being the “ghosts” of dead Confederate soldiers in order to spread fear among the black populace.

      And the claim about the flag being about “heritage” is bunk.

      So out of the entire history of the American South – they pick a battle flag (traitorous) which was in use for not even a full 5 year period?

      And at that time (even today) – the culture of South Carolina is different from that of Florida which is different from that of Louisiana which is different from that of Texas, etc. – but they all hold what was essentially the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee and the Confederate Naval Jack – in esteem?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The Allman Brothers was (and still is) this quintessential Southern Rock band.
    There are some photos on which they prominently display their Southern roots.
    Don’t recall whether the flag was included or not.

    Yet, they were one of the very first mixed-race bands; their drummer was black.
    There was a Rolling Stone interview, where Duane Allman mentioned that this fact got them into trouble at some places, yet they steadfastly defended their drummer.

  • avatar
    John R

    I recently read an article about the psychology of the “Stars n’ Bars” as it stands today.

    The TL;DR of it says totems like this flag or anything else (the embelem of a sports team, like the Phillies…God helps us, for example) are glorified security blankets.

    In these totems we, as a species aware of our own mortality, see immortality in the values they represent. Or at least the values they represent NOW for those who are insufferably pedantic. It’s a way of saying, “These things I believe in will live forever even though I will not and my knowdelge of this grants me peace.”

    Unfortunately for fans of this flag it have been co-opted by elements of the more base and tactless of us, for decades, to represent bigoted values that DO NOT align with those of the state irrespective to the quality of esteem you yourself have for it.

    As such, South Carolina (ironically as they were the first state to secede) will be on the right side of history in banishing the confederate flag from all state paraphernalia.

    As for its use privately, that is the perogative of the person. The state cannot, and should not, prevent you from displaying it in whatever fashion (within reason) you choose.

    Just don’t complain when the court of public opinion goes against you.

  • avatar

    I think context matters. South Carolina didn’t start flying the Stars and Bars until 1961. It was obviously intended as a big FU to the civil rights movement, which makes a pretty compelling reason for taking it down.

    There doesn’t seem to be any such racism associated with the Duke boys. It was a symbol of rebellion and the South, not pro-racism. Heck, like many civil rights protesters, the Duke Boys enemy was a white Southern sheriff. To take it off the car seems to be ignoring history, reality, and context.

    It seems these days that symbolism matters more than reality. It seems like more people are enraged at the flag than the actual killing. It also seems like people are more interested in things that are symbolic, like taking the flag down, than things that might actually help poor African-Americans, like improving inner city schools or reducing gang violence. Probably because taking down flags is easy.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “It also seems like people are more interested in things that are symbolic, like taking the flag down, than things that might actually help poor African-Americans, like improving inner city schools or reducing gang violence. Probably because taking down flags is easy.”

      True, but a large part of the reason why those things aren’t being done is racial bigotry. Think about it. For example, if we really cared about bringing crime rates down in bad neighborhoods, there’s a simple solution: hire a lot more cops. But we whine that we can’t afford that…at the same time we blow trillions of dollars to invade and occupy Iraq.

      Why would we not spend the money on extra policing? There’s an answer to that question.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        We’ve reduced crime rates dramatically since the early 1990s through the institution of community policing practices in many cities. Poor, urban minority communities have been biggest beneficiaries of that effort.

        The big challenge to those efforts isn’t coming from stingy Republicans…money spent on Iraq has nothing to do with it.

        Reflexively saying, “We need more police to reduce crime,” is like reflexively saying, “We need more workers on the line to improve quality.”

        Never mind that Toyota has been proving the second one wrong for decades now.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Never mind that Toyota has been proving the second one wrong for decades now.”

          Interestingly, Toyota doesn’t really go all-in for automation and retrenched recently, using more people and fewer machines.

          GM, on the other hand, did go robot-crazy. I suppose you could draw a parallel with police militarization.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            GM went “robot-crazy” in the mid-1980s under the leadership of the infamous Roger Smith. That was 30 years ago.

            By 2000, Toyota could build the same number of vehicles as GM with much fewer workers. (I believe it was with 1/3 of the workers, according to Micheline Maynard in her 2004 book, The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market.)

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        We’re willing to hire more cops and put them in bad neighborhoods. But then they end up arresting the minorities that live in those neighborhoods, and people start complaining that the police are targeting said minorities. One of them dies during an arrest, and suddenly we have the Baltimore riots. Ironically, people in the bad neighborhoods begin complaining about the lack of police presence.

        Then the cycle repeats itself.

      • 0 avatar
        swilliams41

        Bring jobs back to America. Economic despair is a big driver of crime and cultural degradation, that is not dependent on race. The outcomes present differently because of historical factors etc. The popular narrative usually does address the difficult, complicated issues at play, not to any depth at least.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “if we really cared about bringing crime rates down in bad neighborhoods, there’s a simple solution: hire a lot more cops.”

        That’s an effect. A root cause of this is poor education (which really is child abuse) and as a result, few employment opportunities.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’m torn on the Confederate flag issue overall. I was born and raised in the north, and don’t necessarily feel it’s my place to say one way or another. My father is from the south (NOLA) and I have many friends from the south, some who own Confederate Flag memorabilia and some who do not. To a person, all of those I know who own memorabilia use it as a symbol of the south and their pride in it, and it has no racial connotations for them whatsoever. That said, there are many for whom there ARE racial connotations, and knowing that, I don’t know that I would want to paint that target on myself if I were of the south for that reason. Again, not being of that culture I don’t know it’s my place to say.

    All that aside, this argument over the General Lee (car) is absurd. It’s a fcking reproduction from a silly fcking TV show. If you get offended by it, that’s 100% on you. And if you’re a dumb*ss Social Justice Warrior who choses this issue (the car) on which to make a stand, it says you’re a simpleton with no understanding of context or history and just looking to make a fight out of something. If people want to drive around in a car from a 70s TV show, they should be welcome to do so until they prove themselves racists or otherwise have an ulterior motive, but until then, can we stop looking for the SJW bogeyman in every single nook and cranny?

  • avatar
    clivesl

    OK, so here is what I do not get about the flag.

    If you are flying a flag or wearing a shirt to show your Southern Pride, why are you picking out the one period in history that was your low point?

    I mean, the South got its a** handed to it in the Civil War, why would you want to play that up?

    Why not celebrate actual Southern heritage? The writers, artists and musicians that the South has produced is astounding. If you really want to show pride go get a William Faulkner tee shirt.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The South came perilously close to winning the war at key points, and was able to draw out the war for over four years, despite being outmatched in population, railroad mileage (a key factor at that time) and manufacturing capacity.

      The South almost broke through the Union lines at Gettysburg, which would have allowed it to march on Harrisburg (a very important transportation hub in those days) and Philadelphia (the second-largest city in the country at the time). If that had happened, the “peace” elements in the North would have been strengthened, and there likely would have been a negotiated settlement to the war.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I agree with your facts but not your interpretation. I think an assault on Philadelphia would have weakened those on the Union side arging for peace, and strengthened Union resolve. In the end, the Union’s numerical and logistical advantages were bound to prevail.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The South had a simple military goal – inflict enough pain on the North to make a majority of the population believe that prosecuting the war wasn’t worth it.

          The Southern army marching through Pennsylvania (and capturing a key transportation hub) after defeating the Union forces in a huge battle would have seriously weakened Northern morale, and strengthened the hand of the “peace” Democrats in the North.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The US suffered tremendous losses at the Bulge and Pearl Harbor, but doesn’t mean that the US didn’t win WWII.

        In any case, the point being raised is that those who are supposedly proud of the South invariably draw attention to the bad stuff (slavery, racism and the historical revisionism that accompany those) instead of the good (music, food, culture.) Not exactly wise of them — there is a lot to like about the south, but it often gets overshadowed by the racial animus that they need to leave behind.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “but it often gets overshadowed by the racial animus that they need to leave behind.”

          Last I checked most of the race riots in the last 20 years have happened everywhere but the south. And you certainly can’t say it’s due to a lack of diversity. If the American south suffered any real Racial issues the riots could easily outnumber anything in Philadelphia. The media does a damn good job of provoking/inciting riots, but they have yet to push the envelope in the south.

        • 0 avatar
          cornellier

          Pch101: “the US [won] WWII”

          No single nation can claim credit for winning WWII, victory belonged to all the Allied forces.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The US won WWII. That doesn’t mean that nobody else did.

            If I say, “I am eating a sandwich,” it would be silly to believe that I am implying that none of the other 6+ billion people on this planet aren’t eating sandwiches.

            In any case, the point of the post wasn’t about who won WWII, but that it is possible to lose a battle (as the US did at Pearl Harbor) or suffer severe losses (as the US did at Bastogne) yet still win the war.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “the South got its a** handed to it in the Civil War”

      Someone needs to read the Shelby Foote Volumes.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        Trust me when I tell you I have read Foote and Catton and all the rest.

        The south was fighting a 19th century war against a twentieth century opponent and they quite predictably got crushed.

        If the South breaks the Union line at Gettysburg Meade has reserves and his falling back on his supplies and his preferred defensive line.

        Lee has no reserves and will lose even more strength for foraging activities, so I’m not real worried about that.

        On the other hand, no matter what happens in Gettysburg, the south is still cut in two with the fall of Vicksburg, so what am I missing here?

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          That the same General Meade who dithered in pursuing the Confederates after a Union victory would somehow go after those same Confederates with great gusto after a defeat?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            General Meade (the Goggle-Eyed Old Snapping Turtle, as some of his men called him) was a career military man who performed admirably at Gettysburg. Lincoln may have believed that Meade woulda coulda shoulda but I would argue that Meade was far better than the vain preening McClellan. Grant was still the right man to end the war.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            One would assume that Grant would have been brought east after Gettysburg regardless.

            Grant would have proceeded to do what he did, use the North’s superior resources to grind Lee to dust.

            He also still would have turned Sherman loose, which is what really gutted the South.

            Recognition by Europe was gone thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation.

            So again, how does Gettysburg turn that around?

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If resources available to a nation were the chief factor in a war, then the British would have won the Revolutionary War and the United States would have won the Vietnam War.

            If the North’s residents had lost the will to prosecute the war, then its superior resources would not have been able to save it.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            Gettysburg was a raid. Lee invaded because he couldn’t feed his army and keep it concentrated in Virginia.

            If he breaks through at Gettysburg, Meade retreats to a prepared defensive line shielding Philadelphia and Washington (where he initially wanted to fight btw).

            At that point Lee can continue his raid, knowing that every Union Soldier within 500 miles is currently on their way to his location or he can grab what he can and scoot back to Virginia.

            In the end, the northern press plays up the fall of Vicksburg and lee’s “retreat” back to Virginia and nothing changes.

            And last I checked, there was no ocean separating the Confederacy from the nation that was attempting to destroy it. There was however a very large one separating the Confederacy from anyone that might have wanted to help it.

            Of course, by the time Gettysburg happened the South was down to maybe one functioning port (which was useless because of the blockade).

            So yeah, in this case my money’s on the big guy.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I don’t understand why you assume an army marching across Pennsylvania would have sapped the North’s will to fight.

            If an army which had previously been far away appeared in your neighborhood, would you roll over and die, or would your wish to fight them be redoubled?

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If the opposing Army that had been far away suddenly appears in my neighborhood, it’s a pretty good indication that the fight isn’t going too well for my side. It’s also a good indication that defeating it will require lots more blood (i.e., the blood of my sons and the blood of my relatives’ and neighbors’ sons) and money.

            Remember that Northern residents weren’t faced with having the South occupy the North and impose its rule on them if it won the war. If that had been the case, then, yes, the appearance of the Confederate Army at their doorstep would have strengthened the resolve of Northern residents.

            The South wanted to pack up and go home after the federal (Northern) government decided to end the war and recognize its independence.

            If the opposing army wants that outcome, and it appears on your doorstep (which suggests that it has the upper hand), and it looks as though lots more blood and money is going to be required for a victory, a negotiated settlement starts to look pretty good.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Or, General Lee can continue to Harrisburg, which was his original destination, to do more raiding and destroy a key transportation hub of the Northern states, thus severely weakening morale in what was probably the second-most important Union state (after New York).

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ll agree that once that the North got it’s $hit together that it was game over. It took the North, what, three years to do that?

          I guess it was all inevitable as US naval blockades choked off all of the South’s ports. Time was always on the Union’s side.

          Also, it may be time for me to pull the Foote volumes out of the basement. I still enjoy them.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            It wound being Hancock’s strategy after all. Shut them off from the rest of the world, and hollow them out from the south and west.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        The GDP of the south did not reach pre civil war levels until after World War I, and has been playing catch up ever since. Having an 1860 economy in 1925 counts as getting your a** handed to you.

        BTW, reading comments that almost yearn for a Confederate victory (and the feudalism and slavery that would have gone with it) are loathsome.

        Watch the movie 12 Years a Slave and explain to me how a “negotiated settlement to the war” would have been honorable or desirable. Disgusting.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          750,000 people dead is pretty disgusting.

          “Rounding to the nearest 50,000, he arrived at a probable range of 650,000 to 850,000 deaths, which averages out to 750,000. This number is 20 percent higher than the commonly cited count of 620,000. If Hacker is correct, one out of 10 white men who were of military age in 1860 died as a result of the Civil War—not one out of 13, as the traditional figure implies.”

          “consider that the American population in 1860 was about 31 million people, about one-tenth the size it is today. If the war were fought today, the number of deaths would total 6.2 million.”

          http://www.history.com/news/civil-war-deadlier-than-previously-thought

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Why not celebrate actual Southern heritage?”

      Some heritage:

      “In all, one-quarter of military age Southern manhood died in the field, by far the greatest sacrifice ever offered up by a modern nation in war. General W T Sherman, the scourge of the South, explained why this would occur in advance. There existed 300,000 fanatics in the South who knew nothing but hunting, drinking, gambling and dueling, a class who benefited from slavery and would rather die than work for a living.

      To end the war, Sherman stated on numerous occasions these 300,000 had to be killed. Evidently Sherman was right. For all the wasteful slaughter of the last 18 months of the war, Southern commander Lee barely could persuade his men to surrender in April 1865. The Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, called for guerilla war to continue, and Lee’s staff wanted to keep fighting. Lee barely avoided a drawn-out irregular war.”

      From:

      http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EF12Ak01.html

  • avatar
    arvy_p

    I saw a band once that would hang three of these flags behind themselves on stage (so it looked like XXX, which matched the personality of the band). At one point, somebody complained about the “racist flags”, and word of this was passed to the band on-stage, and the singer said something like, “hey, we’re sorry if you think these Rebel flags are racist, we had no idea…. we don’t mean it that way at all… to us, that’s just where we’re from”. And that made enough sense to everyone present. Much of the time, when that flag is used, it is in the “rebel” context, by people who wish to identify as “southern outlaws” and/or just generally wish to be outrageous or differentiate themselves from boring normal folk. I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. However, attaching it to racism and slavery isn’t exactly a huge jump of conjecture, when you consider how the civil war is generally framed. So, I don’t know. If something like this show were to happen today, maybe you wouldn’t include that flag or call the car the general lee…. but maybe you would…. they were basically “bad boys and proud of it, but essentially good ole boys”. It’s not something that’s “always a symbol of racism” like the nazi flag is. Maybe it ought to be “retired” and removed from Mississippi’s flag, but maybe people ought not freak out so badly when they see it unless it really does start to become strictly a “white power flag” and nothing else. There are plenty of racists who fly Old Glory too.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    We are not alone in wrestling with such symbolism.

    http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2015/06/23/armies-of-the-dead/#more-43810

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The domain name is a dead giveaway that it isn’t worth reading.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Your loss. Fernandez is quite thoughtful and writes on how the Japanese and Russians, among others, deal with their issues. Hint: not well.
        OT, you might also try The Three Conjectures and see how things unwind after the Iranians breakout of the Obamagreement on nukes and the Saudis buy a Pakistan bomb. I hope he’s wrong, but fear he’s right.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “To paraphrase HP Lovecraft, the past is like Cthulhu: ”dead but dreaming”. And occasionally it wakes up and walks around.”

          This notation enough at the end made it a decent click in my book:

          “The references to “Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur” spring from his appointment as head of the Philippine Army. “Quezon and MacArthur had been personal friends since the latter’s father had been Governor-General of the Philippines, 35 years earlier. With President Roosevelt’s approval, MacArthur accepted the assignment. It was agreed that MacArthur would receive the rank of field marshal, with its salary and allowances, in addition to his major general’s salary as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.” He’s the one and only man to ever hold that rank in the Armed Forces of the Philipines.”

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Robert E. Lee’s views on both slavery and secession were ambivalent. To call him “an opponent of slavery and secession” is wildly inaccurate.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The Confederate Flag is perhaps the most nebulous symbol in the US, and it means different things to different people.

    The stated premise of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery or the maintenance of slavery, depending upon which army you served. In the zeitgeist of our times, it sounds like an epic moral struggle, but we know that virtually nothing changed in the South after the war. It would be another 100 years before slavery was truly abolished and African Americans were actually allowed to vote and participate in the socioeconomic landscape of the US.

    Given the miserable state of human rights after the war, it’s relatively clear that slavery and oppression were not the motivating factors for the belligerents, particularly since so few Rebels actually owned slaves. The Civil War seems to have been caused by the fragile relationship between democratic majority and minority, the complicated struggle for power within democratic federalism (particularly during Western expansion), the cultural division between town/country and industry/agriculture (at that time), and by belligerent Southerners who couldn’t accept the decline in Democratic political power during Western Expansion.

    People make the flag mean what they want it to mean. Social liberals generally cite the articles of secession, and demand that everyone view the Stars and Bars and racist propaganda. Their argument is bolstered by the small minority of racists who use the flag as a rallying symbol. To many people in the South, the Confederate flag is a symbol of an underdog army of non-slave-owners (primarily), who opposed federal hegemony and supported states-rights. They fought for grits, fried chicken, rural farm culture, and country music.

    Both sides revise history, but I tend to side with Southerners. The North did virtually nothing to improve human rights in the South after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. I tend to think Rebels were just fighting for their kin, their government representation, and legitimacy for their misguided culture. To this day the South still latches on to political totem, like defense of marriage or marijuana prohibition. They didn’t care until an outside force tried to usurp sovereignty over their local community.

    The flag is a symbol of insular paranoia, if you’re not from the South, but it shouldn’t be confused with unbridled hatred.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Given the miserable state of human rights after the war, it’s relatively clear that slavery and oppression were not the motivating factors for the belligerents, particularly since so few Rebels actually owned slaves.”

      That’s rather disingenuous.

      The actual politicians who pushed for secession and war did so, at the core, because they wanted to legitimize slavery. Continuing that state of affairs—even if it was for economic reasons, or “states’ rights*”—was hugely important.

      This is like saying the Nazis weren’t bad, overall, because average Wehrmacht infantrymen didn’t operate the gas chambers, and really, no one in Europe was nice to the Jews. The front-liners might not be culpable, morally or legally, but that doesn’t take away from the moral bankruptcy of the movement and the problems with the movement’s iconography.

      * where the “right” in question was “the right to legalize slavery”

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        You misunderstand your own analogy. You imagine that if the Allies left the concentration camps largely in tact, the war could still be classified as a war of human rights. Vanity would be a euphemism for self-deception of that magnitude.

        One side said support. The other side said oppose. This was the convention used to justify the dissolution of the federal union and rationalize slaughter of other American citizens. They were fighting to see who would win, and whether the long-standing hegemony of the imperialistic Jacksonian Democrats would continue to shape Westward expansion, just as it had done prior to the ascendency of the Republican Party.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Slavery was already legal in Southern states, and had been legal for generations prior to 1860, so it had already been “legitimized” within those states. The right of a state to legalize slavery already existed in 1860, and, aside from those active in the abolitionist movement, few people questioned it.

        Even candidate Abraham Lincoln initially disavowed any attempt by the federal government to abolish slavery in those states where it existed.

        Southerners knew, however, that they would eventually be outnumbered in the Union by “free” states, given that slavery-based agriculture wasn’t entirely compatible in the territories that would inevitably organize as states. Even in the 1850s, the hand writing was on the wall in that regard. (The first really serious talk of Southern secession came about in 1850, and Henry Clay’s Compromise of 1850, which bought the country critical time, was a response to this talk.)

        A federal government dominated by free states would then use its influence to abolish slavery throughout the land, either through legislation or a Constitutional amendment. The manifestos issued by various state governments as a rationale for secession, referenced higher up in this thread, were a definite reaction to that possible scenario.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “To many people in the South, the Confederate flag is a symbol of an underdog army of non-slave-owners (primarily), who opposed federal hegemony and supported states-rights. They fought for grits, fried chicken, rural farm culture, and country music.”

    I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. There was no danger of the Union outlawing grits, fried chicken, rural farm culture, or Southern art and music. Such things may have helped the upper class in the South — virtually all of whom were slave owners — to get the rest of the population to support secession, but they were sideshows, and everyone in a position of power knew it. The reason there was a war rather than occasional complaint in letters to the editor was slavery, pure and simple.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      It’s a common strawman.

      “The majority didn’t own slaves.”

      The majority did not secede, that was orchestrated by the elites who stood to lose everything not because Lincoln was going to free their slaves, but because he wasn’t going to let them bring their slaves to more fertile climes.

      Slavery was dying in the South, Lincoln knew it and had no interest in touching it where it existed. He wanted to make sure it didn’t spread to the rest of the continent.

      The leaders of the South also knew it and they knew that Lincoln’s election was the tipping point in relative power between the slave and free factions.

      That was your ultimate cause.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The bottom line, though, is that even a large portion of the majority who didn’t own slaves still supported secession.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          Ehh, depends on the state, in the deep south where slavery was far more important to everyone’s livelihood the numbers were solid, but the upper south?

          I’d have to check, but I’m fairly certain Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia may not have had majorities for secession.

          I’m almost sure at least half of the states never held direct votes on the question, so it’s hard to say clearly.

          In the end, just like every war ever, it really didn’t matter what the cannon fodder thought they were fighting for.

      • 0 avatar
        cornellier

        Arguably the conflict was more about whether new states could be slave states than it was about slavery itself. But the ultimate cause was the “breakdown of reasoned discourse”. War as the last resort when the disunity became stronger than the union itself and the negotiators had left the table.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      So you’d be happier if Southerners interpreted the flag to be a racist rally-cry? That’s a bit macabre. Highlights the lack of any coherent motive, other than controlling cultural symbolism.

      There is only one version of history that passes intellectual scrutiny. The South and North were locked in a battle for control over the cultural development of the US, and decades of tit-for-tat brinksmanship over the symbol of slavery eventually led to bloodshed. The same thing goes on today. People war over gender rights and marriage equality. None of them really understand what they are doing, but they know it’s really important.

      Plantation owners didn’t throw their fortunes away to stop Yankees from replacing slavery with feudalism. Rebels didn’t die in Pennsylvania to keep the slaves they didn’t own. Southerners did risk blood and fortune for an opportunity to humiliate the newly minted political hegemon and disgrace the democratic establishment in Washington DC. They also wanted to prove that democracy is malleable, and if you don’t like the results, you can change the electorate.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        It is a flag whose sole purpose was to fly over the military of an avowedly racist state.

        Where is the interpretation?

        The flag didn’t exist before, it was created for a racist state, so how can it be anything other than a racist symbol?

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          If you’ve seceded from the US, you need a flag. You don’t need a flag to be racist. After the war, the flag was used for all manner of racial horrors, but not before.

          Furthermore, we all know that flying the flag over a government building does not mean support for segregation and slavery. Clearly, it means state sovereignty and low-grade, somewhat-disingenuous federal trolling.

          What’s the end-game? Civilize the savages?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “If you’ve seceded from the US, you need a flag. You don’t need a flag to be racist.”

            If you’ve seceded from the US for the purpose of preserving a system of race-based slavery, you are racist, and your flag is a symbol of racism.

            “Furthermore, we all know that flying the flag over a government building does not mean support for segregation and slavery.”

            How do we know that? It’s false. The flag started flying over the South Carolina state house in 1961 as an express protest against integration and civil rights. The “support for segregation” could not have been more explicit.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            Given that owning negroes was written into the Confederate Constitution I’m pretty comfortable saying that the battle flag was never anything but a symbol of a racist state.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            Don’t play dumb. You know as well as everyone else that slavery and segregation are not on the comeback, and South Carolinians are not using the flag in that capacity. South Carolina was the first state to secede. The symbolism is clear.

            What do you have against letting people in South Carolina decide? You’re not involved? I suspect that is the complaint of most people.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m not 100% convinced that Joe Biden was playing dumb.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “You know as well as anyone else that slavery and segregation are not on the comeback.”

            That’s not the point. The point is whether the flag was hoisted in support of segregation. It was.

            “What’s the endgame?”

            To try to keep racist symbols out of government buildings, except as historical exhibits in museums. I don’t give a rip what someone displays on their own property, although I’m equally free to criticize or mock them.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “The South and North were locked in a battle for control over the cultural development of the US, and decades of tit-for-tat brinksmanship over the symbol of slavery eventually led to bloodshed.”

        Slavery was not the symbol of the conflict, it was the driver. The South’s elite had backed itself into a corner where it relied on slavery for economic survival.

        “People war over gender rights and marriage equality.”

        They yell at each other a lot. They don’t form armies and kill each other.

        “Rebels didn’t die in Pennsylvania to keep the slaves they didn’t own. Southerners did risk blood and fortune for an opportunity to humiliate the newly minted political hegemon and disgrace the democratic establishment in Washington DC.”

        This is backwards. You’re arguing that they fought and died over a fuzzy concept of humiliation rather than the very real economic threat to the people who were giving them orders.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          “What do you have against letting people in South Carolina decide? You’re not involved? I suspect that is the complaint of most people.”

          If the state of South Carolina wishes to celebrate its racist past good for them.

          Just stop trying to claim that flag was ever about anything other than racism.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            People seem to mistake abolition with civil rights, which is somewhat amusing when you consider the treatment of white Eastern European and Irish immigrants during the Civil War and into the 20th century. Women couldn’t vote. Racism and discrimination were rampant everywhere. As a result, slavery basically continued for another half-century in the guise of onerous tenant farmer arrangements.

            The Stars and Bars was just a big middle-finger to the federal government. What it became after the war is something different. You’re trapped in the zeitgeist of our times.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            No. I’m trapped in reality.

            Reality where people want to celebrate one of the ugliest chapters in our history by celebrating the ones that were on the wrong side.

            This isn’t flip a coin folks.

            One side was for owning other humans, the other side was (eventually) against it.

            How is this so hard?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “The Stars and Bars was just a big middle-finger to the federal government.”

            Why did Southern landowners want to give the federal government the middle finger? Because it appeared very likely that, in the near future, that federal government would end up banning slavery.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    I am black and from Texas, I watched the DOH growing up and loved the show. I never saw the DOH promoting a racist message and I took that at face value. The flag on the General Lee’s roof was thematically appropriate and did not automatically mean racist to me.

    Since that time and particularly during the last 6 years the ugly stain of racism seems to have made somewhat of a resurgence, helped no doubt by the always on, always connected media sphere.

    That aside, just enjoy the cars, talk to and get to know folks of different backgrounds. Usually at car shows and meet-ups I have a great time talking to owners and sharing stories, regardless of race.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    Next week on TTAC…”CRUISE-INS AT HOOTERS; INNOCENT FUN OR RAPE BY CAR?”

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Once again the political left is using the grief of a shocking and terrible incident to advance their agenda. They know no bounds of decency, willing to use any event to make themselves more powerful (at least in their own small minds). They should be ashamed, but of course, they are not. I watched one of these small minded people making statements about the horror of the flag while wearing a squash blossom necklace, a symbol of the poor treatment native Americans received early in the settlement of the North American lands.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Once again the political left is using the grief of a shocking and terrible incident to advance their agenda.”

      Because the political right never does anything like this (**cough**Iraq in 2001**cough**). Oh no. Never.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Right – b/c it hasn’t been some of the more fort-right Southern Republicans who were the ones who were pushing for doing away with this symbol of hatred (not to mention treason).

      And not surprisingly, you seem to be the ilk who watches the talking idiots on Faux News and is oblivious to the hypocrisy.

      Aside from 9/11 (used a justification to invade Iraq), the right-wing has done this kind of thing many a times.

      Most recently, over the shootings of NYPD officers where the talking heads on Faux News basically called the Mayor of NYC a “murderer”

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I hate the South. The weather is straight from Satan’s crotch and they make you eat mudbugs. Never liked DOH, neither.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Correct about the weather, but mudbugs are delicious.

      I’ve got nothing against the South whatsoever. Well, maybe a habit of poor roadway design and city planning, but that’s small potatoes. My objection is just to people who try to pretend that Confederate flags are not symbols of slavery or that the Civil War was not fought over the future of slavery.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        The most interesting thing to me now about The Recent Unpleasantness is how the real corsairs of the South, like Forrest, had every intention of annexing land in Mexico and Central/South America to essentially join/overtake the Spanish and Portuguese slave empires in the Americas.

        What really kept Southerners in the field to the bitter end was the prospect of simple plunder in the form of a planter’s lifestyle in that area no matter how humble their original lot in the CSA. Lincoln in his genius forestalled a future of the United Sates having to face a de facto hacienda empire, as wealthy as it was and with a porous and contiguous 3000 mile border he knew would be impossible to defend.

        Hey, that sounds kind of familiar! Oh, well, no solution lasts forever.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I have lived in the north and in the south. The weather in the north is colder than a welldigger’s *sshole several months of the year.

      And mudbugs are called crawdads, and taste great with melted butter.

      The fact that they run along the bottom of a bayou seems to offend your sensibilities, but I am willing to bet that there is a good chance you eat flounder or some other bottomfeeder fish without thinking twice.

      Most televisiong is stupid, and DOH is stupid television. Its symbolism is irrelevant.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    As someone who grew up in what could have been the Free State of Nickajack, I detest the Confederate flag.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    As a white guy from Alabama, I KNOW what the confederate battle flag means I have seen it flying over KKK rallies and used in white power parades. To most Alabamaians, it signifies the supremacy of the white man over the black man. Today, Wednesday June 24, 2015, the Alabama governor ordered the confederate flags removed from the Alabama statehouse grounds. The governor says that this is permanent. I certainly hope so. Removing the flag will not end racism in Alabama, or anywhere else. It will remove one of the rallying points that the racists used. I have seen many changes in my nearly seventy years. White and black people are friends and date across racial lines in Alabama. Interracial marriage is no longer rare in Alabama. Mixed race family groups were a fairly common sight a few years back when I lived there. Mixed race children are a common sight as well. One of the talking points of the KKK was the need to protect white women from the black men. They were trying to prevent the “mongrelization of the races”. They failed utterly. The number of interracial couples and children are proof of their failure. This is a great sign for our future. It is hard to hate someone for their race if you have dated someone of their race. Who knows, in another generation or two, maybe this will all be behind us.

    A comment was made about the Mexican flag. Mexico outlawed slavery in 1810. One of the reasons that Americans who moved to Texas revolted against Mexico, was because when they came into the Mexican area of Texas, their slaves were freed. The Americans were outraged at their property being taken with no payment for their loss.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    My fear is that the systematic removal and banning of the flag will provoke even more backlash by the loosely wrapped, and more suffering by those who are victimized by such people.

    It should be a matter of free speech, and as a part of state flags, etc, it is a symbol of the state’s heritage as much as it is a symbol of slavery and racism.

    If it was only the South that was guilty of racism, and hence its flag should be banned, how do you justify that Lincoln only emancipated the slaves in the states that fought with the South, and not all slaves? And given that, why is the confederate flag any more offensive than the US flag.

    But personally, I prefer the old “Don’t Tread on Me” snake flag as a political statement.

    There is a prominent citizen of a capital city of a border state who prominently displays it in his front yard.

    Interesting statement about big government, methinks.

  • avatar
    hifi

    It doesn’t bother me. It’s a statement of southern redneck pride, which is fine I suppose if you are from the south and need that to make you feel good. To a southerner it has little to do with race. But then again, I’m a white northerner that doesn’t take southern redneck pride too seriously. Groups desperate to maintain unity always need these types of symbols to latch onto. Most of us have one or two of them.

  • avatar
    threeer

    What I really want to know is…do them Duke boys get away from Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane next week again, or not?? (with respect to the late James Best!).

    FWIW, I call the Charleston area my home, though I currently reside in Huntsville, AL. Regardless, I’m glad the flag is being removed from government grounds. Folks can fly it personally if they so chose. The mad rush to remove it from every corner of the country borders on comical (want to by a commemorative Civil War chess set?? It may just come without the rebel flag now. How silly).

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    A culture is made up of so much more than just a flag – it’s made up of a collection of language, food, history, customs, literature, etc.

    Too many people needlessly claim that Southern culture would up and poof like smoke if this flag was suppressed. If your culture is predicated solely on the existence of a graphic design on a piece of cloth, it’s probably not much of a culture to begin with.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    It’s a historical anachronism (the car with flag) and therefore not really subject to today’s interpretation.

    That said, a round-headed derp from the deep south doesn’t get a free pass when he drives his lifted pickup truck around with a Confederate flag in some misplaced show of allegiance to a faction who believed that it was ok to to buy and sell other human beings like livestock.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    @Hummer, @TW5, @28-Cars-Later, here’s one for you guys: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/ .

    Go read, and let’s never hear that “It wasn’t about slavery!” drivel again.

    Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      As I pointed out above, the secessionists were not shy about their devotion to the preservation of slavery.

      There are only two reasons for someone to not figure this out: Either your Google is broken, or else you can’t handle the truth.

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