Finally, we are getting some of the credit we deserve.
MAGA has far more in common with Confederate ideology than with “fascism.”
“Last week, President Biden delivered a speech warning of the threat to democracy posed by right-wing extremism. For perspective on the challenges he laid out, consider those the country faced during the Civil War.
By sheer coincidence, I traveled to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to speak to students at Gettysburg College. It was impossible to ignore the parallel between the decisive battle that happened there and the conflict we face today.
It takes no imagination to draw the line between the South’s mythical Lost Cause and the chant to “Make America Great Again.” Indeed, the MAGA movement venerates the Confederacy and managed to accomplish what the South never did: stage an assault on the U.S. Capitol bearing the Confederate flag and organize an effort to stave off the peaceful transfer of power. Both the old Confederacy and the MAGA movement pine for a fraudulent past and dress up base racism in a gauzy wrapping of honor, masculinity and military virtue. And the paranoia about an existential crisis that so many MAGA followers share tracks with the Confederacy’s fear that their way of life (slavery) was endangered by Northern forces.
No, the MAGA movement isn’t advocating for slavery. But it does seek to rewrite the history of race through its fraudulent attack on “critical race theory,” just as Jim Crow defenders sought to refashion the Civil War by erecting monuments to traitorous secessionists. The aim is the same: to exonerate Whites and to recast them as noble victims. …
The unfortunate truth about America is that it has always harbored a segment of people who want to redefine the country by race or religion or lifestyle, whether it was the anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant Know Nothings, the Confederacy or its 20th- and 21st-century admirers. Today, this cohort seeks to appeal to “real America” by delegitimizing the voters of cosmopolitan, urban centers. …”
The “semi-fascism” meme is stupid.
Southern leaders always insisted that the war was never about slavery. Slavery was only the incident or the occasion of the war. It was simply the issue which had triggered the conflict which was really about cultural and ethnic differences that can be traced back to the settlement of the colonies. The myth that the war was caused by slavery has been peddled by generations of Northern historians who want to attribute sectional conflict to slavery rather than the obvious cultural divisions which still exist.
Gender, for example, was one of the contributing causes of the War Between the States.
The following excerpts are from Paul Quigley’s book Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-1865:
“As the war progressed, the Examiner continued to assert national difference. In April 1862, the paper approvingly excerpted a passage from the New Orleans Bee that detailed racial distinctions between Yankees and southerners. Whereas northerners were intolerant, abusive of power, and inclined toward fads and “isms,” southerners were more honest, moral people who distrusted “new-fangled theories.”To the Examiner, this confirmed that the war was not only about the protection of slavery against northern assaultsbut also about “certain radical and irreconcilable differences of nationable character” between North and South.”
The threat to traditional gender roles posed by Northern urban liberalism was one of the reasons the Southern states seceded from the Union:
“For a range of nonfictional southern spokesmen as well, civilization itself rested on appropriate gender roles and relations. While the slave South was maintaining the proper order of things, the North and sometimes the rest of the Western world, was not. In his 1856 graduation address to the Virginia Military Institute, George Rumbough explained that free society was foolish to question the natural, divinely ordained order of things. Listing the dangerous “isms” he saw to the north, Rumbough included women’s rights, Bloomerism, and Free-Loveism, along with socialism, atheism, and abolitionism. The North’s distorted ideas about slavery were not only tied up with its misguided ideas about religion, liberty, and government, but also with its foolish misconceptions of manhood and womanhood. Rumbough contrasted the South, “where woman, the most powerful, the purest, noblest element of society, is considered as an object of love,” with the North, “where woman “is viewed as an object of distrust, and far from beautifying, transcends the boundaries of modesty and decency, and sighs for an MD suffix or the transcendent reputation of a philanthropic lecturer.” One of many advantages of basing a society on slavery rather than free labor, according to Rumbough and others, was that the institution safeguarded hierarchies of gender as well as of race.
Southern fears about gender proprieties illustrate how urgent the sectional conflict could become when it appeared to enter the realm of the home and family. One Virginia farmer, writing to a local newspaper in 1854, expressed just such fears. Responding to rumors that a female preacher had been plying her trade in the area, the farmer expressed disbelief then sharp anxiety. “Some hundreds are right uneasy about their wives,” he wrote. “They are afraid that some of them women’s rights folks, from the N., are traveling among us, and that some wives are encouraging them.” Even an antislavery fanatic would be more acceptable than a feminist, though the letter-writer. “One would spoil our negroes, but the other would spoil our wives and sweethearts, and either, would be made a bad piece of property.”Perhaps intending that his readers should take the loaded word “insurrection” with a grain of salt (the word was strongly associated with slave revolts in the antebellum South) the farmer concluded: “It is feared that there will be an insurrection among the women, and that they will begin to chew tobacco and drink whiskey.” Likewise, the North Carolina congressman David Outlaw recoiled at the apparent immorality of the society he encountered in Washington, D.C. In Outlaw’s eyes, it was the behavior of northern women there that caused moral deterioration. “There is a boldness,” he wrote to his wife, “a brazenfacedness about Northern city women, as well as a looseness of morals which I hoped may never be introduced south.” In this way white southerners who worried about such matters sectionalized anxieties about moral decline, projecting those anxieties onto their image of the North.”
The great Southern fire-eater William Lowndes Yancey once put it this way:
“That same spirit which would turn everything into gold … has invaded the sphere of woman. Yancey contended that northern men had desexed women, had “brushed the down from her cheek, and raised the stiff beard in lieu. Materialism in the north condemned women as worthless in their vocation as mothers and thrust them into the workplace. Horribly, northern society had led women to believe “that the rights of man are also woman’s rights, and that the editorial chair – the medical – the legal and clerical professions should be filled by her, as well as by men.” Northern women had mounted the speaker’s platform and joined in “public harangues,” and some wore “Bloomers,” ready “for bestriding a fence or a saddle as utility shall demand.”
Here is George Fitzhugh who was the antebellum South’s most radical anti-liberal reactionary political theorist in Sociology for the South, or, The Failure of Free Society :
“Nothing in the signs of the times exhibits in stronger relief the fact, that free society is in a state “of dissolution and thaw, “of demoralization and transition, than the stir about woman’s rights. And yet it is time to work …
The people of our Northern States, who hold that domestic slavery is unjust and iniquitous, are consistent in their attempts to modify or abolish the marriage relation. Marriages, in many places there, are contracted with as little formality as jumping over a broom, and are dissolved with equal facility by courts and legislatures. It is proposed by many to grant divorces at all times, when the parties mutually consent. The Socialists suggest that the relation should be abolished, private family establishments broken up, and women and children converted into joint stock. The ladies are promoting these movements by womens right’s conventions. The prospects of these agitators are quite hopeful, because they have no conservative South to oppose them. It is their own affair, and we will not interfere with its regulation.
We shall deplore the day when marriage and Christianity are abolished anywhere, but will not interfere in the social and domestic matters of other people. …”
Here is George Fitzhugh again in Cannibals All!, or Slaves Without Masters who could easily be commenting on our present culture war:
“Why have you Bloomer’s and Women’s Right’s men, and strong-minded women, and Mormons, and anti-renters, and “vote myself a farm” men, Millerites, and Spiritual Rappers, and Shakers, and Widow Wakemanites, and Agrarians, and Grahamites, and a thousand other superstitious and infidel isms at the North ? Why is there faith in nothing, speculation about everything? Why is this unsettled, half demented state of the human man mind co-extensive in time and space, with free society? …
All modern philosophy converges to a single point – the overthrow of all government, the substitution of the untrammelled “Sovereignty of the Individual,” for the Sovereignty of Society, and the inauguration of anarchy. First domestic slavery, next religious institutions, then separate property, then political government, and, finally, family government and family relations, are to be swept away. This is the distinctly avowed programme of all able abolitionists and socialists; and towards this end the doctrines and the practices of the weakest and most timid among them tend. Proudhon, and the French socialists generally, avow this purpose in France, and Stephen Pearl Andrews re-echoes it from America. The more numerous and timid class are represented by Mr. Greeley and the Tribune, who would not “at once rush,” like French revolutionists, “with the explosive force of escapement, point blank to the bull’s eye of its final destiny,” but would inaugurate social conditions, that would gradually bring about that result. Mr. Greeley does not propose to do away at once with marriage, religion, private property, political government and parental authority, but adopts the philosophy and the practices of Fourier, which promise gradually to purify human nature, and fit it, in a few generations, for that social millennium, into which the bolder and more consistent Andrews urges society at once to plunge.
… The other and bolder party, feel themselves “called” as special instruments, to give at once the coup de grace to the old world, and to usher in the new golden age, of free love and free lands, of free women and free negroes, of free children and free men. …
The Socialists promise that when society is wholly disintegrated and dissolved, by inculcating good principles and “singing fraternity over it,” all men will co-operate, love, and help one another.
They place men in positions of equality, rivalry, and antagonism, which must result in extreme selfishness of conduct, and yet propose this system as a cure for selfishness. To us their reasonings seem absurd. Yet the doctrines so prevalent with Abolitionists and Socialists, of Free Love and Free Lands, Free Churches, Free Women and Free Negroes – of No-Marriage, No-Religion, No-Private Property, No-Law and No-Government, are legitimate deductions, if not obvious corollaries from the leading and distinctive axiom of political economy – Laissez Faire, or let alone. …
They hold that all men, women, and negroes, and smart children, are equals, and entitled to equal rights. The widows and free negroes begin to vote in some of those States, and they will have to let all colors and sexes and ages vote soon, or give up the glorious principles of human equality and universal emancipation.
The experiment which they will make, we fear, is absurd in theory, and the symptoms of approaching anarchy and agrarianism among them, leave no doubt that its practical operation will be no better than its theory. Anti-rentism, “vote-myself-a-farm” ism, and all the other isms, are but the spattering drops that precede a social deluge.”
The conflict has always been there and existed long before “fascism.”
Fitzhugh called abolitionism just one of the “splattering drops that precede a social deluge” and predicted that liberals would not stop there but that the logic of their philosophy would eventually end up destroying religion, marriage, the family and eventually dissolve the entire social fabric. He would not be shocked by “trans” and would recognize the delusional belief that a person can change their sex on a whim like trying on a new pair of pants as nothing more than the latest extreme corollary of the same underlying worldview.