Try this little experiment sometime. Walk up to a large person and say "Hey, you're FAT." When they get angry and when other people within earshot start calling you an asshole, state that the 1st Amendment protects your right to call people fat. It does, after all. And since you're able to call people fat, doesn't it follow logically that you should?

This is an example I've been using in class for a decade to introduce the section on freedom of speech / expression when we cover the Constitution and Bill of Rights. What the 1st Amendment protects our right to say is almost without limit. Seriously, take a look through Federal court cases involving free expression. Then look around the internet at the things people say without sanction. You can find examples of every conceivable objectionable expression of ideas: racism, blatantly incorrect facts and history, websites dedicated to ad hominem attacks on single individuals or groups of people, misogyny, anti-anything groups, and so on. Hell, the average news site comment section is guaranteed to contain at least a handful of exhortations to kill somebody. Put on a Klan outfit and march around your city. Scream "Fuck you, Kikes!" as loud as you can in public. Start a group advocating the extermination of Muslims. People will think you're an asshole, but the fact remains that you can do any of these things legally in the U.S.

Of course you don't do any of them, because the fact that you can does not mean that you should or that you will. As a human being with a basic awareness of the society in which you live, it doesn't take much thought to conclude that these are all terrible ideas even if they did enter your mind for some reason.

OK? Let's talk about the Confederate flag now.

Can you plaster Confederate flags on your car, home, and person? Yes. You can do the same with swastikas, Juggalo logos, or images of Cap'n Crunch if you feel like it. It's highly unlikely that the Courts ever will interpret the 1st Amendment otherwise. If you want people to think you are a jackwagon, go ahead and do any of those things. Otherwise, consider these good examples of how discretion moderates your enjoyment of the rights afforded to you.

The important thing to remember, in that light, is that displaying the Confederate flag is not illegal but it most emphatically is a dick thing to do. When Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry – Rick Perry! – and ultra right-wing Town Hall columnists say that it's time for the old Dukes of Hazzard flag to go, it's a pretty good sign that it is approaching swastika territory as the kind of symbol you're legally able to display but you might possibly probably be a major asshole if you do it.

As the aforementioned columnist states, "Like a lot of people below the Mason-Dixon Line – white people, anyway – I saw the emblem as a token of regional pride. I didn't revere slavery and Jim Crow. But I thought there was much about the South to love." You hear things like this a lot; it's a symbol of "southern pride", or honors the bravery of the Confederate soldier from 160 years ago, or heritage or tradition or blah blah blah. Try wearing a swastika t-shirt and telling curious onlookers that your purpose is to honor the memory of the Indus River Valley civilization of 3000 BC. They will look at you like you have brain damage or are in need of the padded van. So why should essentially the same argument hold any water with the flag?

It shouldn't. The Confederate States of America stood for "states' rights" alright – states' right to have slavery. If you want to honor your southern heritage, there are other symbols you could choose that don't stand for our racist past, the legacy of which fuels the racist present. You can choose symbols that aren't a giant, throbbing middle finger extended at about 30% of the population who are not white. Try your state flag. Try an image of your state or the whole south. Try literally anything that isn't a thinly veiled expression of semi-literate white underclass rage about the passing of the days in which they could stay off the bottom rung of the ladder simply by virtue of being white. Every time I see a Confederate flag I think of Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning: "If you ain't better than a nigger, son, who are you better than?"

That's what the flag represents. So shut up about how you have the right to display it; you do. Spend a little more time thinking about whether it's a good idea. Think about what it says to other people. Think about what it says about you. When you get over your own stubborn ignorance you'll realize that it's not complicated. It's a very basic Can vs. Should problem with an obvious correct answer.

102 thoughts on “CAN v. SHOULD”

  • A Different Nate says:

    And that answer is: double down in your insistence on displaying it, become progressively more crazy and vocal about why it's a good thing to display, and find billionaire backers who will make sure you can absolutely saturate every form of media with your lunatic ramblings. In short order this will become a part of that pantheon of culture war distractions like gun control or abortion that get people hurling extremely furious abuse at the other side and ignoring why the country is falling apart.

  • The Confederate flag isn't just racist (though it is.) It's openly treasonous. It is an emblem adopted by people who refused to acknowledge the authority of the federal government when popular sovereignty had ceased to break their way–who basically, collectively said "We are not Americans. We do not believe in the United States of America. We will no longer recognize the authority of the government of the United States, and we will engage in murder and theft of American citizens and American property because, frankly, we feel like it."

    Oh, sure, you can tart it up with faux-Jeffersonian bullshit about local governance, but that's horseshit–witness the fact that when things really got rough for the Confederacy, several of its loudest members began to lobby for their states to secede from its sinking ship. The Confederacy stood for one thing and one thing only: a stubborn refusal to concede that the rest of the civilized world had decided that a society founded upon slave labor was an abomination.

    Which is exactly what it was: an abomination. Southern manners? It's easy to have those when you don't have to fret over the shit work. Strong Christian values? Easy to have those when the worst life demands from people is suffered by someone else. Beautiful architecture? Easy to love if you didn't build them. A sweet, simple, rural existence? Easy to idealize if you ignore the fact that the reason why it was sweet, simple, and rural is because if industrialization had ever reached the South, it would have brought with it the labor movement that would have rendered the practice of slavery totally unfeasible.

    No, it was all about slavery. Slavery, and treason, and the fact that plenty of people in this country still very strongly believe that both of those things are just fine. (Do you REALLY think Clive Bundy is any kind of aberration? Seriously, did ANYTHING out of that lazy, freeloading bigot's mouth sound even SLIGHTLY incongruous with the Tea Party and its elected representatives?)

    The problem, Ed, is that there is no "getting over their stubborn ignorance." That's all there is–it's racist turtles all the way down. Shit, we can't even get rid of the flag of racist treason because people don't think there's any shame in being a racist traitor. How do you "get over" that? Even if we get rid of the flag, the people who carry it in their hearts aren't going anywhere.

  • Well, non American here, but besides the obvious traitorous and pro slavery points about that flag you can add that it is a losers flag as well.
    The Confederacy got its arse handed to it on a platter by the Union forces. The Confederacy was ultimately just too crap to win the war it started.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    The worst part is the utter refusal to abide by the basic rules of language: symbolic meaning is a community construction.

    'This flag isn't racist. Sure, it has been used by racists to promote a racist agenda, in the past and present, but when *I* use it, it ISN'T racist, BECAUSE I SAID SO.'

    Again, the swastika analogy is apt.

  • Andrew Farrell says:

    "You can choose symbols that aren't a giant, throbbing middle finger extended at about 30% of the population who are not white. Try your state flag."

    Warning: doesn't work so well in Mississippi.

  • Great stuff, Ed.

    Here's a good example of the "people will think you are an asshole" principle: A couple of years ago a man went into a supermarket in my home city of Cambridge, England dressed in an SS uniform, to hand out cards advertising his pro-Nazi website. He was not popular.

    A few minor quibbles:
    1) Advocating the "extermination of Muslims" might be covered by laws against incitement to violence.
    2) Likewise, Cap'n Crunch is (I assume) a trademark and copyright, so you are legally restricted in your ability to use his image.
    3) What does it mean for a middle finger to be "throbbing"? It sounds painful, like it has just been hit with a hammer.

  • I'm sure it's just a strange coincidence that the flag came back into vogue right around the time of Brown v Education, desegregation and the civil rights movement.

    Yep, pure coincidence there.

  • Moreover, the so-called "Stars and Bars" is not, technically, the flag of the Confederacy (which would be bad enough); in fact, it's the war flag of the Confederacy, which really should be enough to give the lie to the ridiculous, ahistorical "Hate not heritage" argument. I think our esteemed and humble narrator once mentioned that he isn't a big fan of Christopher Hitchens, but Hitch summed it up well seven and a half years ago, in excoriating p.o.s. politicians like Mike Huckabee who pander to Dixie swastika resentments:

    "The political flag of the Confederacy—the so-called 'Stars and Bars'—is one thing. The battle flag of the Confederate army, the most militant symbolic form that secession and slavery ever took, is quite another. Under this fiery cross of St. Andrew, the state of Pennsylvania was invaded and free Americans were rounded up and re-enslaved. Under this same cross, it was announced that any Union officer commanding freed-slave soldiers, or any of his men, would be executed if captured. (In other words, war crimes were boasted of in advance.) The 13 stars of the same flag include stars for two states—Kentucky and Missouri—that never did secede, and they thus express a clear ambition to conquer free and independent states."


  • I will start with the comment from jdawg first…the Confederate battle flag is not known as the "stars and Bars". That name refers to the First National, or the first flag approved to represent the Confederate States of America.

    As for those who believe that the battle flag is racist please do an internet search for "KKK Washington DC 1928. If you despise the battle flag now you must despise the US flag after viewing the pictures found in your search.

  • @JDryden; love everything you said except the "southern manners" part. As someone who lives in the south (and is Caucasian), I have numerous examples of "manners" being just hypocrisy; sweety-sweet to someone's face while stabbing them in the back the moment their head is turned. That's just cowardice, the same cowardice that led them to fire on Ft. Sumpter to start the Civil War, then whine and pout for 160 years that they got their tails kicked while simultaneously pretending that the war is still going on and this time the south is winning.

    P.S. Also, the name is "Cliven" Bundy, because the Mormons have some pretty stupid-ass naming habits.

  • Mark's first point is actually correct: I mis-typed; the Confederate battle flag is not the "Stars and Bars," but it is indeed what is flying by the SC Capitol and it is commonly referred to as the Confederate flag. My typo aside, Mark does not address the larger point: that flying the battle flag rather than the so-called national flag of the Confederacy effectively gives the lie to "heritage not hate."

    Interesting images of the KKK marching with US flags in 1928, but hardly shocking: other than its racism and hatred, the KKK was never exactly renowned for ideological consistency. Anyway, if you'd like to see even more images of the KKK with flags, not dating from 80-plus years ago, Google "KKK confederate flag."

  • Why do you say Steve Chapman is ultra right wing, just because he writes for Townhall? He's a libertarianish guy who's last four articles are about why they should take down the Confederate flag, how and why there's a national pattern of abusive policing, how San Francisco shouldn't regulate soft drinks, and how the chronic problems of poverty for black youth lead to poor black adults. Only one of those is clearly "right wing." He's really conservative in terms of economics and regulation, but not really in foreign policy or social issues.

    I only notice this fairly minor point because there's a bit of a blind spot on this blog of lumping pretty much everyone you disagree with as part of one big, homogenous right wing.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    The Civil War has been over for over 150 years now.

    The South lost!
    They got their asses handed to them – regardless of why most of the men fought!
    They were the same brand of dupes and stooges who watch FOX now. They died in the interest's of those who were far richer than were.

    That Confederate flag is the flag of state-sponsored slavery, tyranny, treason, and terrorism.

    You want to put that flag on government property?
    NO GO!!!

    You want to put it on our license plate, as a decal on your car, or fwapping in the breeze from the antenna on your car?
    Go ahead!

    That lets me know that the driver is a racist shit-head, who's probably armed, and who thinks he/she can drive like he/she's one of the "Dukes of Hazzard!"

    And this way, I know to stay far away from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you as a GOP Presidential candidate can't come out against the Confederate flag, they you're too much of a wussy for me.

    But feel free.
    When you lose the 2016 election for POTUS, you can look back on your total gutlessness on an issues which is simple for people who don't need to pander to "simple" people (MORANS!!!) to get elected.

  • Actually, under the new, vaguely-worded anti-terrorism laws, free speech could be outlawed as "material support for terrorism." Does waving a confederate flag constitute said material support?

  • An outrageous violation of our political free speech rights, in my opinion, takes place at the political conventions where free speech zones— caged areas, have been set up for political protests. If we don't have the right to protest at political conventions how real is "free speech" really? Wasn't it ironic that the Occupy movement had to exploit the special free speech rules of Zuccati park to conduct their protests? And the police such them down anyway.

  • Okay, let's do away with any and all symbols that may cause someone somewhere angst. What shall we blame racism on then?

    And jdawg, when do you come out and begin criticizing the American flag, as you have seen the pictures. If clan members marching with a Confederate flag disturbs you clan members marching with the US flag must also.

  • It is usually easier to get people to start doing something new as you try to get them to stop doing something old. (E.g take a walk every time you would have had a cig.). So I'm glad to see your suggestion of proposing an alternative symbol of the south. What specifically would people propose?

  • What Mo said.

    Mark seems to think he's made a logical slam-dunk with this KKK 1928 thing. He's pretty dumb, even as trolls go.

  • Emerson Dameron says:


    It'll be a brisk day in hell when anyone "[does] away with" your founder-given right to be an asshole. Please, go ahead. It makes things quite convenient.

    Pat Buchanan loves cats. So do I. I'm pretty sure I'm not an anti-Semite, though, so your logic is bad and you should feel bad.

  • It should also be noted that the Confederacy was not just founded on the protection of slavery within those states where it already existed, but to defend the right to aggressively expand slavery into the federal territories, expand through conquest or purchase the federal territories into which slavery could be expanded, and to expand slavery into those states where it had already been legislatively banned (See the Dred Scott decision which could be interpreted as overturned Northern abolition). Some slaveholders openly discussed the enslavement of poor whites, particularly the Irish and other immigrants.

  • anotherbozo says:

    Some wag suggested that Southerners should adopt as their identifying emblem the last flag they used, i.e., the white flag.

    Meanwhile, not just the Confederate flag but a certain statue near the N. C. statehouse needs discussion. White supremacist Ben "Pitchfork" Tillman, onetime governor and senator of the state, once presided over the murder of a black state senator. And was proud of it.

    The statue, by the way, is 8 feet tall. Perhaps a plaque would be less of an affront.

  • Tim Wise, a southerner with a long family history in the south, explains how the Confederacy was pure racsim, no matter how its apologists try to tart it up today.

    In his Facebook post the other day, he debunks the notion that the flag is about the culture and heritage of the south. The south has a 400-year history. The treasonous and racist Confederacy accounts for five of those 400 years. That is hardly "heritage."

  • I'm all for this column, but the Cap'n Crunch reference really grated. Corporate censorship via intellectual property law is really problematic for free speech- and the fact that shitty cereal has stronger protection against unauthorized use than free speech, because of money, pisses me off. Not that I have a great alternative. Still annoyed.

  • Pete Gaughan says:

    When you find yourself using the word "technically…" in a political argument, reconsider your argument. It may be accurate, but it's probably not as successful as you'd like.

  • As a "battle flag," the rag in question was also the ensign of an army that killed more American soldiers than the Nazis did.

    I'm sure there are many things to like about the South, but they're tainted by the continued veneration of a symbol that stands for slavery and treason.

    If people really feel they're upholding the best of Southern tradition, you'd think they'd want to get rid of the icon that, more than anything else, expresses the worst of it.

  • Skepticalist says:

    When I was still a kid about 55 years ago, just about all Civil War battlefield gift shops sold cheap blue or gray toy uniform caps to kids. I suppose they still do. It's a good source of revenue. As expected, most kids from either side of the line picked up the gray caps with added stars and bars. It was cool you know. Kids like to think of themselves as rebels. This New York State ten year old had one.

    The 21st century rebels are making it just as much fun. The recent appeal by civil rights workers to remove the flag of a long defunct system over state houses, has been sadly predictable. They aren't alone though:

    I was hoping that by now it was the NRA more than Confederate holdouts that could be expected to bring about the Eric Cartman respose. Wayne LaPierre stomps his feet, screams and sweats all over the podium in response to what he perceives as commie anti-gun pussies. Of course it's often tied in with the South.

    What a thing to emulate. It's unoriginal and looks pretty dumb

  • Mark –

    Why are you defending a symbol of treason?

    Let's not even go down the rabbithole with your KKK comparisons. The Confederate Flag is a symbol of treason against the United States of America. Why would you want to defend it? Or have it anywhere near your person?

    You might as well tattoo a picture of Benedict Arnold on your buttocks.

  • Isaac Says:
    Less than $5 each. Let's burn some of the fuckers."

    Polyester really doesn't burn, it more like melts. Even with an accelerant. I know this from watching a disgruntled waitress trying to burn her little black apron on the street on her last night. It should've been a great gesture. Instead it was a little black plastic puddle.

  • I was saying this exact same thing this morning.

    Nobody in the entire world who is not wrapped up in this strange southern cult sees the confederate flag as a symbol of "southern pride."


    I don't think that very many southerns of any background would want to be associated with the Swastika, so the question is: why do you continue to let yourself be symbolized by something that literally SCREAMS hatred to the rest of us.


  • NonyNony…the Confederate States of America did not commit treason anymore than the Founding Fathers did when they revolted against the British crown. The several southern states simply wanted to get away from an ever encroaching federal government.

    To any who think that I am defending slavery, I am not. It is a horrible institution and was and is a blight on earth. I am however defending the Confederacy because I know that the war was not fought over slavery. If you would like me to prove my point, simply ask.

  • Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, 1861:

    "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

    William T. Thompson, designer of the national flag of the Confederacy, 1863:

    "As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause."

    I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ. It won't be long before conservatives are flying the Nazi flag and sneering "if this flag offends you, you need a history lesson" and arguing that WWII wasn't fought over Nazism.

    "I don't wear a Nazi flag t-shirt because I support Nazism. I wear a Nazi flag t-shirt because I support the Third Reich! Checkmate, liberals morans! READ A FUCKING HISTORY BOOK HAR HAR HAR!!!!"

  • Mark, the war WAS fought over slavery. Pure and simple. No matter how much the apologists for racism say otherwise,

    From the vice president of the Confederacy.

    "African slavery as it exists amongst us is the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

    "As a race, the African is inferior to the white man. Subordination to the white man is his normal condition. He is not equal by nature, and cannot be made so by human laws or human institutions. Our system, therefore, so far as regards this inferior race, rests upon this great immutable law of nature. It is founded not upon wrong or injustice, but upon the eternal fitness of things. Hence, its harmonious working for the benefit and advantage of both…The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African."

    The argument that the secession movement was anything but racist is just revisionism at its worst.

  • Dave Bearse says:

    The Confederate battle flag was selected to symbolize Jim Crow, the KKK, racism and segregation. It would be a Civil War museum relic had it not been adopted by a resurgent KKK and used by Southern Dixiecrats during the 1948 presidential election. As far as honoring the South or its Civil War, the battle flag was never adopted by the Confederate Congress, never flew over any state capitols during the Confederacy, and was never officially used by Confederate veterans’ groups. (The Sons aren't a veterans group, they're descendants of veterans.)

    Its first widespread exposure coincided with the rise of Jim Crow when it was incorporated into the MS flag in 1894. It didn’t appear in the Georgia flag until 1956, shortly after Brown v. Board of Education. It’s current tenure at the SC capitol began in 1962, when blacks were seeking civil and voting rights.

  • Eric the infrequent says:

    No, Mark. No one wants you to prove your point. The reason no one is interested is because your point is bullshit. Fuck the Confederate flag (all of them) and every mewling apologist that whines about the tenth amendment.

  • @Mark

    I realize you're just trolling, but go read the Articles of Secession, especially South Carolina and Mississippi.

    THEN try to tell me that it wasn't about slavery.

  • Wendel Overmats says:

    Agreed its thoughtless and offensive to wave a flag that a third of the country finds deeply egregious.

    Now, substitute the confederate flag for a demeaning cartoon featuring the prophet Mohammad, and the world for the U.S. Does this analogy change the way you feel about Charlie Hebdoe at all?

  • 1) The founding fathers did so commit treason. They did it intentionally. There's a reason Ben Franklin was supposed to have quipped: "We all have to hang together, or we'll each hang separately." What always impressed me was that the two nations got along as well as they did after the successful rebellion. The Haitian rebels were international pariahs. The French revolutionaries didn't win a lot of love either, but that's probably because Napoleon invaded bales of Europe.

    2) I went to Amazon to look for an ISIS flag. After all, they sell almost everything else. The closest thing they sell is an Al Shabaab flag. That's just the thing to carry when buying a roast at the local Somalian halal butcher shop. My guess is that a meat cleaver trumps the First Amendment.

    3) The Captain Crunch character belongs to General Mills. They paid for him. They promoted him. I don't have a lot of sympathy for big corporations, but I know a number of people who make their livings based on their ownership of fictitious characters.

    General Mills already went through the Captain Crunch is the phone hacker's friend thing, but that was their fault because they put 2600Hz whistles in their boxes of cereal. If someone starts using the captain as part of some racist or other such offensive garbage, I'd expect them to raise a fuss. High fructose corn syrup is one thing, but they can't afford to offend too many people what with breakfast habits changing over the last few decades.

  • Wendel Overmats: Charlie Hebdo's whole marketing shtick is that they are assholes. They're like the old National Lampoon with its ethos of being written serious, professional jerks, though they could be funny now and then. Unfortunately, their speech is protected up to certain limits e.g. they couldn't offer a E1000 bounty for killing Muslims. Taking an example involving my own ethnic group, there's a big difference between drawing Abraham with a big nose while he's dining on roast Christian baby and trashing a Jewish cemetery.

  • what will racist Whites do now? taking down one piece of their carefully created world is a very dangerous thing to people who identify with symbols. The backlash will be interesting to see how it comes out. There still is no successful attack on the gun nuts, which allow loons like Dylan to practice the law of the Wild Wild West America has returned to. this is a scary development for all of us who live in the South. We were raised by the historic credo of "God, Guns and No Gays." this allowed White Southerners to kill blacks, gays, uppity women and others they "disliked" with impunity. The Credo of Southern "ways/manners" has been passed down since the "War of Northern Aggression." History books will have to write those "infamous" words of "heritage of Hate" eventually. Such a shock to the Southern System of Indoctrination/ aka, American History. See the Texas Textbook Selection Committee for proof of "the authorized version." lol

    somehow i don't think this acknowledgment that the Confederate Flag is nothing but a heritage of Hate will go down quietly, no matter what South Carolina or Mississippi do to their state Flags. Souther White People have been fighting the Federal Government since before the Civil War gave them an excuse/keeping Slavery. the inherent bias against "Government" is a Scots Irish tradition the South bred along side the concept of the Rugged Individual. Society, those ideas Thatcher and St. Reagan pushed are old Southern concepts. the ignorance and pride of place has been entrenched in Souther History years before the Civil War, and was strong enough to prevent any type of "education" or acceptance that life goes on. winners and losers, and the progression of bettering oneself that can occur by acceptance of facts. Then again, we have Faux Noise to keep the Propaganda going, that Society is evil, unfair and not a Free Market concept, re-enforcing the victimization Republicans have used so effectively to screw all White people, not just Southern Whites, since the Civil Rights Acts were passed.

    we have some real deep wounds and scars that our present "Corporate" America has no "Profit motive" to change. after all this time, the hatred of some Southern Whites to change seems least affected by this act of this one of many racist murders. See the Blue Code of Silence. more likely, some will double down, with Faux Noise leading the way. like i heard growing up in the South, "Forget Hell."!!????.

    now, if we just start on the nonsense that "guns" are there to "protect" us. lol. Goebbels and Beria were just born too early. America today in its' Weimar Period is such an opportunistic "event" few Nazis could have dreamed of. of course we have Faux Noise and the Corporate Propaganda to make the most out of every "opportunity." Faux Noise et al could have taught Goebbels a few million lessons about how to "sell."

    Frightening to see how the last 30 years have turned America into one seething mass of diverted Americans fighting each other while the rapacious strip-mining of Society has gone on unabated. with the trade deals, TPP and et al, ceding our sovereignty to our Corporate Overlords in ISDS tribunals where we will pay for our "corporately unjust laws. i sure the ride will be wilder and more dangerous than any German could have imagined what the Weimar Republic was about to lead to.

    the Germans at least got payback for their insanity. American only gets more of the same. day after day, since St. Reagan sold us out to the Corporate Paymasters, the slide into a "specific" American Hell has been weirder than any reading of World History so far. or as i've heard. the Past is just a prelude to our "Glorious Present".
    Faux Noise is in its' glory, at least until a lot of ignorant White folks die off.

    Danger, Will Robinson, Danger..

  • Skepticalist says:

    All day long it was "The flag must go." Okay if you're serious, go outside right now, tonight, and run down the flag. It's no doubt spotlighted. Even better. Act like adults. See who complains. There's nothing to debate even by a legislature such as exists in Columbia.

    My bet would be that the newspaper headlines would be very positive tomorrow. Take a shot.

  • Of course no one wants me to prove my point. That would not fit into the false narrative that those who feign disdain at the Battle Flag subscribe to. I can assure you that no one is truly offended by the Confederate battle flag. But ignorant people cannot think rational thoughts by themselves, and therefor must blindly repeat what some race-baiter tells them. And in order to appease these ignorant people politicians succumb to political correctness and decry a symbol of great historical content. Removing historical items from public view will not stop racists from being racist and bigots from bigotry. As I asked earlier, what will you blame when all so called offensive items are removed and racism still exists?

  • @Wendel Overmats:

    comparing the Confederate flag to Mohammed cartoons is a false equivalency. The Mohammed cartoons are inspired by the desire of some Muslims to control everyone else's behavior. For example, they say that Shiites can't have devotional images of Mohammed. They want to ban artworks like Nicholas Roerich's picture of Mohammed meeting Gabriel.

    Your comparison would only work if people were saying that it was offensive to fly any flag at all.

    A better comparison for Charlie Hebdo would be gay protesters dressed as drag-queen caricatures of nuns, as a protest against Christians who say that gays shouldn't hold hands in public.

    There is a big, BIG difference between screaming "fuck you" at people because they're Black, and screaming "fuck you" at people because they told you that they have a right to silence you.

  • Mark: Your question was already answered by Mo. We blame you, since you're the only asshole still denying the facts in front of you.

    Nice also that you ignored the quotes from Confederate leaders – as well as the citation to the Articles of Confederacy for MS and SC – both of which disprove your ignorant argument.

    But yes, by all means – keep ignoring those facts, and keep telling yourself that "no one is truly offended." (BTW, how nice of you to decide what offends other people!) These days so much racism is under the surface, it can sometimes be difficult to identify who the dumb racists are in the room. But you make it very easy.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @Mark –

    I don't really trust you to prove your point. Thusfar, the extend of your trolling has been regurgitated paleocon shouting points and the dumbest false equivalency I've ever seen. You haven't even risen to the level of "Robert Byrd was a Klansman; therefore libruls are the REAL racists!" and that shit was pretty stupid.

    But, hey, I'll bite! Prove your point. This should be good.

  • Seriously, Mark? People like me "feign disdain" and "no one is truly offended by the Confederate battle flag"?

    Wow. Just wow.

    So we have quotes showing that the entire point of the Confederacy was to be a white supremacist nation. But you're saying no one is really bothered by that- even Black people don't really care about that.

    Black people don't care about white supremacy- they're just using it as an excuse to "disdain" the poor, noble Southerners.

    If you want to know why people "disdain" the South, I'll tell you why, as an ex-Southerner.

    It's because we're sick of your non-stop, self-righteous bitch-and-moan about how the real victims are the White Southerners, and everybody has just mysteriously decided to pick on them for no reason at all.

    My Dean is like that. He was moaning about how one of his students made a "racist" comment. What race was the student criticising? Why, the noble Texan race, of course. The student said Texans are racist. How dare he!

    Meanwhile, the Dean never misses an opportunity to explain to his students that Chinese people are wicked and selfish. But that's not racist, because, er, I dunno- maybe it's not racist because a White Hetero Christian Southern Male said it, or something.

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    Does waving a confederate flag constitute said material support?

    At law 'material support' is a term of art, consisting of providing “training,” “expert advice or assistance,” “service,” and “personnel.”

  • In 1861, slavery, as horrific as it was, was the law of the land. It would have and did take a Constitutional amendment to end the practice. In 1861 thirty-four states made up the United States of America. Fifteen states, including two in the north were slave states. There is simply no way an amendment could get the three-fourths threshold required to pass such amendment. It should also be noted that in the years prior to 1861 no such legislation was proffered or proposed by any legislator regarding the subject.

    As slavery was legal Abraham Lincoln would not start a war to end it. I know, I know, we were all taught that the Confederacy started the war by firing the first shot. Research the entire context of the situation before making a decision on that.

    What is important is the legislation that was proposed, and supported by Abraham Lincoln. The Corwin amendment was proposed and passed both houses of Congress stated that….well look it up.

    So slavery was not the issue at hand. When the several Southern states voted in their respective chambers to secede from the Union, Abraham Lincoln called up the Army, requesting 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion and save the Union. I said all that to say this. Without secession there would have been no war. So secession, not slavery, was the main impetus for the wrongly but intentionally named American Civil War.

  • Professor fate says:

    Apropos of the parts of the South's pit bull like death grip on the memory of the civil war (to the exclusion of the rest of their history) and their seeming inability to simply get over it, is it possible that one of the things that is fueling this white butt-hurt was the relatively magnanimous treatment of the rebellion's leaders – Jefferson Davis for example was not hung, simply imprisoned then released, nothing was done to Robert E Lee or any of the other generals or members of the government. Is it possible this lack of Martyrs is what fuels this? It's an odd quirk of human nature that forgiving an enemy can make him hate you worse.
    this is idle speculation by the by.

  • Professor fate, thanks for adding some facts here. I had actually been thinking it was the opposite- that the South is trapped in a permanent, post-Kaiser Wilhelm, post-WWI defeat state, with no subsequent WWII rematch and Marshall plan to make the butt-hurt go away. Your comments re: Jefferson Davis have made me rethink that.

    Mark is, btw, entirely right that the so-called "American Civil War" was not a civil war at all, no matter what the lying Yankee historians might say. What happened was that a country was divided into two parts which engaged in military action against each other. Any legitimate historian will tell you that that is not a civil war, nor even a war at all. The proper term for such a situation is "diplodocus."

    It's shameful to see how willfully deceptive some people can be. Nobody really believes that the Diplodocus of Northern Aggression was a civil war, even though they insist otherwise.

  • "Of course no one wants me to prove my point. That would not fit into the false narrative that those who feign disdain at the Battle Flag subscribe to."

    Do you curl the ends of your Snidelypornstache when you say that?

    Sweet fucking JESUS, dood, get a hobby that doesn't involve getting smacked down by people who are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the fuck smarter than you even think you are.

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    OT, but I can't help it: I wish people would not approvingly quote "Mississippi Burning." I've always despised that movie. It portrays FBI agents as good guys in the Civil Rights struggle, when in reality all the FBI did was spy on and harass Martin Luther King Jr.

  • @ skepticalist…Have I said anything that is not factual? If so, show me and I will retract those statements.

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    Have I said anything that is not factual? If so, show me and I will retract those statements.

    Where to begin?

    "In 1861, slavery, as horrific as it was, was the law of the land. It would have and did take a Constitutional amendment to end the practice."

    Nope. State legislatures could and did end it by themselves. The loyal slave states all ended slavery by act of their legislatures during the war. The Thirteenth Amendment was passed to make sure that the rebel states, once they were admitted back into the Union, would not be able to allow slavery.

    "I know, I know, we were all taught that the Confederacy started the war by firing the first shot. Research the entire context of the situation before making a decision on that."

    What "context" could you possibly be talking about? The Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumner and started the war. That is something "we were all taught" because it happened. As an argument, "context" is on the level of "Were you there?"

    "So secession, not slavery, was the main impetus for the wrongly but intentionally named American Civil War."

    The secession occurred because of slavery. The Southern states seceded because they would not accept a President who didn't support slavery. Saying "secession, not slavery, was the main impetus" for the war is like saying that rain, not water, is the main impetus for flooding.

  • @Mark- "no one is truly offended by the Confederate Battle Flag"

    I bet you don't know very many black people, Mark.

    Also, I'm late to the party, but Mark, you are a tool and are ignorant of history. I've seen similar points to yours online from Southerners saying "Northerners don't understand" and "Liberals try to rewrite our history". Please enlighten this midwesterner about the "legacy" and "heritage" of slavery and Jim Crow that is so positive. As for "rewriting history", it is those that claim that slavery was not the driving force behind secession that are the ones that are re-writing history. And don't discredit the actual statements by the people who voted to secede, claiming instead the journals of the soldiers as "proof". The Red Army in WWII was not fighting for the Soviet Union, they were fighting for Mother Russia. But who was in charge of Russia? The Soviets. So in the end, it didn't really matter. You'll find that most soldiers fight for their fellow soldiers, and most just want the war to be over so they can go home. The officers may speak of grand themes, the generals may speak of "freeing the world from *insert bad thing here*", but to the average solider, they fight hard because they don't want to die and don't want their buddies to die, and want to go home alive. In the words of The West Wing, "All war is a crime".

    The Civil War was awful, and it is an absolute embarrassment that we have to put up with bullshit being repeated about it.

    Also, +1 to what J Dryden said. As usual.

  • ….The loyal slave states all ended slavery by act of their legislatures during the war.

    This is simply not true, Most northern states made slavery illegal in their respective states long before the war started. And this did not abolish slavery in the US.

    ….Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter and started the war.

    Again incorrect. Students of the Citadel fired on a ship attempting to re-supply Fort Sumter. US President Buchanan had been ordered by South Carolina to abandon the fort, but instead he tried to re-supply it so the supply ship was fired upon and it retreated. The bombardment on Fort Sumner came two months later.

    ….Secession occurred because of slavery.

    Why? The Federal government could not, by decree, forbid the institution of slavery. The Confederate states would have been better off remaining with the Union, in regards to maintaining slavery.

    And here's a clue….rain IS the main impetus of flooding. If it doesn't rain, it doesn't flood.

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    "This is simply not true, Most northern states made slavery illegal in their respective states long before the war started. And this did not abolish slavery in the US."

    A string of non-sequiturs. The loyal slave states did in fact end slavery during the war. I don't see why the fact that the north did the same thing before the war is supposed to disprove that.

    You stated that it would have taken a Constitutional amendment to end slavery. Nope. Slavery could have been ended by the individual states if they had wanted to do so, but not only did the Deep South not want to do so, they went to war to defend it.

    "The bombardment on Fort Sumner came two months later."

    Again, so what? The Confederates fired on Fort Sumner and started the war. I don't see what there is to quibble about.

    "The Confederate states would have been better off remaining with the Union, in regards to maintaining slavery."

    WTF??? I can't understand what this could possibly even mean. They EXPLICITLY STATED in their declarations of secession that they were seceding to defend slavery.

    "And here's a clue….rain IS the main impetus of flooding. If it doesn't rain, it doesn't flood."

    And here's a clue for you: Trying to maintain that secession had nothing to do with slavery is like trying to maintain that rain has nothing to do with water.

  • Mark, you are quite wrong about at least one thing. The Stars and Bars evokes in me the same visceral revulsion and hate as the swastika flag of Nazi Germany. It stands for a variety of things, but mostly horrible evil things. The CSA was founded on the principle that all men are NOT created equal, and that they are NOT endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. I would cheerfully grind every statue of Davis, Lee, Jackson and the rest of the traitors to powder and then scatter the powder to the four winds. Reconstruction should have lasted another two generations, and no Southron who took up arms against the USA should ever have had the right to vote again.

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  • Skepticalist says:

    I don't get why if South Carolina thought that ordering President Buchanan to lay off an American fort makes everything okay.

    Back in the real world:

    It would have been interesting if the Governor had removed the flag and after the ranting, let the legislature go ahead with its vote and tell us why it should be put up again. The speeches for would be worth the trip.

  • What would be monumentally funny if it weren't so true is that this:

    "buy any car, buy any cars This is extremely exciting, You are incredibly competent digg. We've became a member of ones give and check in front to be able to around journey of excess of the great write-up. In addition, We've shared your site inside my web sites"

    makes a fuckton more sense than anything that Mark the aholetroll wrote in any of his comments.

  • You know, what's really telling about this debate is just how much it reeks of White Man Syndrome: the need to define other people's reality by fiat.

    Mark has already made his official declaration that no one is offended by the Confederate flag.

    Over on Gawker some moron is trying to argue that the Confederate flag isn't about slavery. He writes that his dream is that someday everyone, white, black, gay, etc. can unite under the rebel flag for a final, glorious rebellion against the elites who are keeping the masses down. He is very frustrated that Black people and queers don't listen when he declares that henceforth they will use the banner he has chosen for them.

  • I've been using "The War of Southern Treason" ever since I read it here.
    Was it Sluggo or DeathPanelTruck who said it? Sorry, if I attributed that incorrectly.

    @Prof. Fate: seriously?? That's how it ended? Just a minor detail that was omitted from my history ed., but it does explain why things went the way they did. Sounds like the entire "landed gentry" were pretty much left intact to cause trouble. A radical house clean should have been the way to go. I'm guessing that would have caused too much disruption to the supply of cotton for Northern mills already impacted by war.

    OT: for my own curiosity, suggested reading on the economic impact of slavery on the ordinary Southern schmuck. I know the majority of Southerners weren't slave owners, but certainly it would've impacted on opportunities for non-slave owners. The large land holding plantations having the best land and access to water etc. thanks

  • @Anon:
    "…He writes that his dream is that someday everyone, white, black, gay, etc. can unite under the rebel flag for a final, glorious rebellion against the elites who are keeping the masses down…."

    The irony of that statement is that majority of the Southern whites were used to fight the fight for the interests of Plantation owning "elites". The sad thing is, they're still doing it.

  • Actually, Xynzee, that was kind of the point of his argument.

    Anyway, it's striking to me that Mark's statements here so closely parallel your own:

    "If (this flag/Leviticus) offends you, (Black/Gay) person, then you need a history lesson."

    And if anyone points out that the "history lesson" doesn't rebut the central point- the South was a white supremacist state, Leviticus orders the murder of queers- then they're told that the fact they are still offended means that they don't understand the "nuances" of the historical argument.

    How do Mark's comments differ from your own? Well, Mark hasn't actually tried to justify slavery, while you have said that Leviticus was justified as a way of demonstrating the strictness of God's law.

    Never mind that Black people get killed over that flag, and queers get killed over Leviticus, ALL THE TIME.

    Same day, same old bullshit: some white/Christian/whatever guy declaring what I may or may not be offended by. Somebody telling me that my refusal to let them shit down my throat means I'm ignorant.

    You people have no fucking idea. When I go to work, the student lounge is full of anti-gay hate literature, put there by the Dean. But hey, I guess you and Mark are the experts on what I'm allowed to feel.

    Excited about burning Confederate flags? Why not burn the Bible while you're at it? The Bible is as much a symbol of the South and its pathology as the flag is.

  • @Robert….let's dissect your comments

    ….The CSA was founded on the principle that all men are NOT created equal….

    Actually the Confederate States of America was founded on the same basic principles of the United States of America. Please don't forget that slavery was not limited to the south. It existed in the new world almost from the moment white men arrived. The US flag flew over the white house and every state capital for eighty years before the CSA was founded.

    ….Reconstruction should have lasted another two generations.

    In a sense the south is still under reconstruction as only southern states must comply with several laws that northern states do not.

    ….no Southron who took up arms against the USA should ever have had the right to vote again.

    No Southron "took up arms" against the USA. If you will remember the Union army invaded Manassas, Virginia. The CSA was defending their coountry.

  • Mark, you need to check your facts. First, the South seceded because of slavery. Specifically, Lincoln ran on a platform of preventing the expansion of slavery into the territories which would have had the effect of placing a noose around the slave system. Plantation agriculture used up the soil at a rapid clip in an era prior to mass use of fertilizer. Thus, slavery had to constantly advance west from Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia into new lands. Further, Lincoln's election in the face of unanimous Southern opposition showed that the country was no longer controlled by the Slave Power.

    Finally, there were 4 slave states that did not secede (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri); five if you count West Virginia. Hard to believe people won't credit your counterfactual arguments when you can't get the basic facts right.

  • O the Old South, universally despised
    By all but a few, who adamantly cry,
    "Where did She go", and "How does She fare?"
    But none of them know, and none of us care.

  • @Templar..I have never heard the argument that agriculture used up soil, but I cannot disprove it. But, would all of the Carolina's, Virginia, Georgia,
    etc. no longer grow cotton and tobacco at some point?

    You are correct that some slave states did not secede. Tell me why Maryland and Missouri did not.

  • Mark, I'm not your personal Wikipedia concierge but here we go:
    1. "The majority of slave owners in Missouri came from the worn-out agricultural lands of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia."; available at:

    2. The firebrands of Maryland wanted to follow Virginia. While I have not read any particular discussions on that exact subject, the strong Federal response including movements of militia from other states including New York into Maryland to secure lines of communication into Washington were likely the deciding factor along with the suspension of habeas corpus and the arrests of the most likely traitors.

    3. Missouri actually voted against secession and Union forces prevented an attempted coup by the pro-Southern governor.

  • Also, regarding the effects of slave agriculture on the soil, see, The Emergence of the Cotton Kingdom in the Old Southwest: Mississippi, 1770-1860 by John Hebron Moore, p. 89-90; available at:

  • Regarding Lincoln's election: If slavery was banned in the new territories coming into the union, the slave power would lose its grip on the federal government and sooner or later slavery would be outlawed via Constitutional Amendment. The enslavers knew this, and Lincoln's election was the final straw that pushed them into treason.

  • "What is important is the legislation that was proposed, and supported by Abraham Lincoln. The Corwin amendment was proposed and passed…"

    It is important to note that none of the Confederate States ratified it.

  • ….It is important to note that none of the Confederate States ratified it.

    No state ratified it, because even after passing both houses of Congress it simply vanished. That it why it is referred to as "The Ghost Amendment".

  • "No state ratified it…"

    Not true. Three did (circumstances vary). Two of them later rescinded it. It's importance (your word) is thus questionable. Everybody knew it was an unworkable fig leaf. The slave power knew that if they could not expand slavery into the territories their "peculiar" institution was doomed politically.

    So they chose rebellion and war.

  • "We're not defending an indefensible system! We're defending our way of life, which coincidentally requires an indefensible system in order to function! COMPLETELY different."

    Also, the fort was Sumter, not Sumpter. Sumner was a radical Republican New England Senator who got beaten with a cane by some Southron on the floor of the Senate chamber.

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  • I call for some external consistency in Flag relations….

    The Union Jack still flies over GB as their National Flag (albeit with slight mods) It is the same flag under which the Oppressors from King George raped, pillaged , burned, and killed our citizens in the unpleasantness during the period 1776 thru 1783. I propose that said Flag be removed from all Government Buildings and not be displayed when the Reps from that Country visit.

    The Red Ball flag remains the National Flag of Japan as it was during WWII. Tens of thousands of our citizens fell under the brutality and evil of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Millions of others in Asia were tortured and died. This Flag deserves the same treatment as the Union Jack.

    And Germany…who gives a damn what color their Flag is…they caused the deaths of about 50 million people in Europe including hundreds of thousands of our citizens and 6 million Jewish people.


  • I shall settle this once and for all. Again, slavery is horrible, but it was legal. The Constitution said so. Every Union soldier took an oath to defend the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln took an oath to defend the Constitution. If soldier or president went to war for the sole purpose of stopping slavery they committed treason.

  • Mark, President Lincoln did not go to war against the traitor states. The Union Army did not invade the slave states in order to restore lawful government. The Confederacy, with great pomp and ceremony, fired the first shot of a war they had hoped to provoke but had been unable to achieve.
    Also, the Constitution was carefully silent on the subject of slavery, and the Supreme Court could easily have ruled to limit the infestation of new territories with slavery, or gone even further. If the Dred Scott decision had been rationally decided, perhaps the Treason in Defense of Slavery could have been averted, and thousands of lives saved.

  • Mr. Lincoln did provoke the Confederates into firing the first shot, no doubt. As far as the rest of your statement, the North did invade the South by virtue of crossing into Manassas, Virginia and the battle of Bull Run ensued. After the Union forces had been routed in the first battle of the war had Lee pursued the Union army in to Washington DC he could have conceivably occupied Washington DC.

    As far as treason none was committed. Secession was and is today legal. The Constitution mentions nothing of it, therefore the powers resided with the states. See the tenth amendment.

  • The traitors seized federal property before Lincoln was even sworn it, an act of war and/or rebellion.
    The legality of secession and/or rebellion was tried by arms, as it generally always has been. The south lost.
    Secession is currently illegal (Texas v. White)

    In terms of commonly accepted western "rights based" political theory, revolution is generally justified in terms of widespread or unacceptable oppression by the government. That is how the founders justified theirs. The south's justification is as laughable as it is tragic. They fought to sustain and expand human slavery.

    There is no "implied power" to secede. Therefore your rather ridiculous use of the 10th Amendment is incorrect.

  • Mark:

    It seems that you're too fucking stupid to know that you're stupid. Seems to be a pretty common trait amongst assholes who like to excuse racism and human bondage.

    Fuck you, you piece of shit.

    I hope that I have offended you, you officious scumbag.

  • Demo, not cool. That Mark is ignorant of the facts or actively trolling appears obvious. That's no excuse for talking to someone like this.

  • Democommie, I may be stupid, but I am not ignorant. We both know why the war was fought, even if liberals such as yourself and many others on this blog refuse to admit and accept it.

    But let not your heart be troubled, as I have had it with arguing with fools like you. While I enjoy sparring with the likes of you, I have had enough.

    Good day and God bless.

    PS. You must be a really sad person.

  • "Democommie, I may be stupid, but I am not ignorant. We both know why the war was fought, even if liberals such as yourself and many others on this blog refuse to admit and accept it."

    No "may be" about it, moron. Ignorance is not a sin or even an irremedial condition. Indignorance, which you appear to suffer from, is something entirely different. You are not only a fucking shithead, you RELISH your stupidity.

    It probably doesn't suck to BE you, but it certainly sucks to have to read, for the thousandth time, the idiocy that is vomited from the pieholes of racist assholes like you.


    We'll have to agree to disagree. Mark IS a fucking piece of shit and I tire of having people defend assholetrolls as if they were the same as people who are just ignorant.

    If Mark had something of substance to add to this conversation, I (and everyone else) must have missed it.

Comments are closed.