Few activists have been as redeemed by history as quickly as those who attempted to defend the statue of General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia on that fateful day in 2017. Everyone, including President Donald Trump, knew that if General Lee was to be taken down, other American heroes would follow. As Sam Francis pointed out all the way back in 2003:
Some years ago, when the war against the Confederate flag and similar Southern symbols cranked up, a good many Americans thought it made sense to denounce them because of the blatant "racism" they represented.
What they didn't get was that they and their own local myths and symbols were next on the hit list.
Now what is happening ought to be obvious, even to them.
What is being fought in the jihad against the Confederate Flag, Thanksgiving, Columbus Day and Christmas is not the "sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry" and other pastimes of Western man but the West itself and its local manifestation in American civilization.
The attack on the Confederacy is simply a precursor to an attack on the United States. There is no argument against the Confederacy that you can't make against the United States. If your standard is egalitarianism, you have to get around the awkward fact that the Founding Fathers were, by modern standards, "white nationalists." Indeed, while VDARE.com is civic nationalist and works to try to save the American nation-state, the Founders took for granted that the United States was by and for whites [What the Founders Really Thought About Race, by Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, May 19, 2017].
The best you can do is make some vague argument that the creation of the United States led to anti-racism and non-discrimination. However, if that's the case, what reason is there to hold to the heroes and symbols of an outdated moral order? Why not skip to the new pride flag (complete with black and brown stripes and whatever new symbols are inserted) and dispense with the American past? [Endorsing a Call for the New American Flag, by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, June 22, 2021]. What is the argument for keeping traditional symbols except nostalgia?
I find it almost impossible to believe that any conservative truly doesn’t understand this at this point. It is not just Confederate statues that are being taken down. Columbus Day is going. Washington is going. Lincoln is going. Teddy Roosevelt is gone [Theodore Roosevelt Statue to Be Removed From American Museum of Natural History, by Charles Passy, The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2020]. The Fourth of July is being gradually replaced with the "real" independence day of Juneteenth.
Nonetheless, the Controlled Opposition at National Review is still at it, trying to create a phony divide between the "bad" Confederates and the "good" federal government. They are more uncharitable towards those who fought for Dixie than the Union soldiers who faced them in the field.
I side with those who think there is a clear and important distinction between the Founders and the defenders of the Union, on one hand, and the Confederates on the other: The Confederacy was philosophically devoted to racial slavery, while the United States was philosophically irreconcilable with it. Or to speak less abstractly, the founders of the Confederacy inherited an evil practice, wished to perpetuate it indefinitely, and rebelled against the United States to achieve that purpose; the founders of the United States (or those we typically honor) inherited an evil practice, looked forward to its end, and expressly committed the nation to principles (as in the Declaration of Independence) that brought its end about. Removal of monuments to Confederates should not be seen as an “indulgence” of “the BLM-Antifa statuary rampage,” since it was already right to remove them before the rampage started. I won’t belabor these points, which are by now familiar. I will instead recommend Philip Klein’s and Cameron Hilditch’s more extensive thoughts.
You might reply that the statue-vandalizers didn’t care about all that and were often just as inclined to damage statues of Washington or Jefferson, Lincoln or Grant: “Take your distinctions to the seminar room, Steorts, but here in the real world we have some statues to save.” I want to plot this attitude somewhere on a grid with axes labeled “cynicism” and “despair.” Not only is it dangerous (once you start compromising your principles in order to stop your opponent, there’s no telling where it will end) and enervating (involving as it does a certain faithlessness in your own cause). It’s also foolish. If you believe in historical truth and moral objectivity, and believe in our capacity (however imperfect) to grasp them, then you ought to have greater confidence that they will prevail than that errors will.
[Lost Cause Monuments as Public Miseducation: Why the Robert E. Lee Statue in Richmond Should Go, by Jason Lee Steorts, National Review, July 22, 2021]
Nonsense. Power, funding, and institutions determine what ideas and causes flourish and which die on the vine [Sam Francis on the Roots of Liberal Hegemony, by F. Roger Devlin, American Renaissance, August 3, 2016]. When resources are lacking, moral clarity, a fighting spirit, and zeal must overcome the money power.
Instead, National Review is playing games, making distinctions the Founders wouldn't have recognized. After all, it is simply a matter of historical fact that much of the Revolution was driven by the desire of the Founders to conquer the American West, a design the British Empire was trying to frustrate. I don't deny the following history. I just think it was good.
The men who every school child is taught to think of as “patriots” had two concerns which pushed them to declare independence. First, in 1763 the British emerged victorious after the end of a conflict against France. It was known in Europe as the Seven Years War and in America as the French and Indian War. The American moniker existed precisely because the French allied themselves with indigenous nations against the British. British victory brought them French held territory west of the Appalachians in the region now comprising midwestern states, but they knew they could not easily end indigenous wars if settlers along the eastern seaboard were allowed to go further west.
Because of continued resistance from leaders such as Pontiac of the Ottawa nation, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. One of the speculators poised to become a wealthier man if settlements were permitted to move westward was George Washington.
He was not alone in his wish to conquer the entire continent and to get rich doing it. Property claims had already been made in these regions, and neither he nor the rest of his cohort were going to let British treaties with indigenous people stand in their way. They largely ignored the edict and went wherever they wanted to go.
[The Terrible Origins of July 4th, by Margaret Kimberly, Eurasia Review, July 1, 2021]
Yes. And it was a good thing.
Already, the arguments are made that European presence on this continent is a tragedy. How can National Review respond to that? It's already crusading against China on the grounds that doing so would be a form of penance about what we did to "Native Americans" [National Review's War on Nationalism, by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, July 27, 2021]. Is the "true conservative" position now that America should never have existed, or that it must apologize for its existence by fighting anti-racist wars?
Furthermore, even if you think the Civil War was caused by slavery, what drove men to fight (and President Lincoln to crush the rebellion) was not slavery. Several slave states remained in the Union and without them, the Confederacy would have won. The Union had value in itself to many Northerners (and some in the South), a value that was more important than the moral question of slavery. The vision of a powerful American Union was compelling. After all, while leftists joyfully snicker about what General Sherman did to Georgia, they are silent about what he then unleashed on the American Indians a few years later. For those in Washington, it was all part of one war.
Slavery was obviously an important cause of the American Civil War, but it was not the most important cause. That was simply the question of power - who would control this landmass and its wealth. It was about whether the empire would be preserved and whose ends it would serve. Northern industrialists triumphed over Southern planters. The cause could be made that the North was the true ethnonationalist side in the war, because many in the North wanted a white America that could expand westward, with blacks sent to a colonization project in Africa. Indeed, many of the second generation of American statesmen were members of the American Colonization Society, dedicated to precisely this goal [A Land of Their Own, American Renaissance, April 1999]. Lincoln himself expressed support for the idea at times.
Where Steorts truly loses the plot is when he says: "Loyalty, courage, etc. have no value that is independent of the ends they serve. Their value is instrumental." This is absolutely wrong and frankly, disgusting. Warriors honor the courage of their enemies, even if they are willing to kill them over the most profund disagreements possible. You don't dishonor your enemies even if you think they are the servants of pure evil. That’s part of basic human decency. If it’s all dependent on the “cause,” few dead deserve honor. Indeed, in retrospect, the causes of most wars seem absurd or irrelevant from a modern perspective. I'd include even recent wars on this list, especially World War I.
Nonetheless, we honor those who did their duty because doing one's duty is honorable in itself. We honor those who reached for something beyond life through war. It transcends any cause. That is why Northern and Southern soldiers were able to celebrate the end of the war together in the years ahead, because even though they had tried to kill each other years ago, they recognized what was great in each other.
And yes, that includes honoring the courage of those whose causes I find utterly despicable. I can think of nothing more evil than the Red Army in World War II–but should their graves be dug up, their monuments destroyed, their sacrifices spat upon? Of course not. Russia’s celebration of its heroes from The Great Patriotic War is appropriate. I’m a conservative, but I’m not going to demand the hammer and sickle be ripped down from Russian graves.
I can’t think of a war America has fought in my entire lifetime that was in our national interests. Nonetheless, there is value in what American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines did and it transcends the cause itself. They fought for the country and for each other and that is superior to the ultimately pointless outcome of these conflicts. That’s why we honor service members without endorsing every foreign policy decision. “You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I tell you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.”
Finally, there's the tactical argument advanced.
Now would be an especially good time for the Right to see it, given present arguments over critical race theory or the popular bastardizations of it. How can one coherently say, in effect, “We believe so strongly in color blindness and racial equality that we wish to prevent public-school instruction that departs from those ideals or might lead to such departures; but by all means, let’s go on lauding these honorable, courageous, self-sacrificing soldiers for white supremacy and race slavery”? The tension is unbearable.‡ Why wouldn’t a black American looking at Lee in Richmond think that certain default settings of our culture and politics are subtly tolerant of racism?
Of course, almost no one believes in color blindness and racial equality (at least in law) except white conservatives. There are a few non-white conservatives and American nationalists who do, but they are vanishingly rare and suffer a terrible price for their courage. Mainstream "civil rights leaders" like Martin Luther King certainly didn't believe in it and would be on board with every step of the BLM agenda today.
Racial groups have not and will never perform equally. If we can't discuss this honestly than we have to deconstruct every aspect of American life in order to achieve equality. We’ve been doing this for fifty years and now we’re doubling down on this impossible and immoral goal. Dismantling society in order to achieve equality is about as precise a definition of pure leftism as can be conceived, but it is the logical conclusion of what National Review is arguing for here.
One could respond that all conservatives really want is legal equality and a common American civil identity. However, what prospect is there of legal, "colorblind" equality? Opposing Critical Race Theory is something, but it's weak because the fact is that almost all American leaders up to the present did think of this country as a white country. Retreating into fantasy and willful ignorance doesn't change that.
Besides, if blacks are offended at the sight of General Lee, why shouldn't they be offended at the sight of the American flag? Given our history, it's logical they want their own flag, their own national anthem, and their own institutions. They seem to be getting them. Even though it's the flag of the government that gives them massive benefits in jobs and education, many blacks don't identify with the federal banner and joyfully disrespect it. It seems to increase the more concessions they are given. Who will change their mind? National Review?
When conservatives scrap affirmative action, something even Donald Trump wouldn’t speak about, then Conservative Inc.'s arguments might deserve some consideration. Until then, this is just an intentional demoralization campaign.
You can't simply oppose Cultural Marxism because it is "radical." You can't compromise with it, concede its essential premises, and then wonder why you are still losing. You can't invent a colorblind, ahistorical, and utterly artificial "American" identity based on nothing and then act indignant that non-whites won't defend it. You can't watch the practical consequences of your failure play out for years and still be taken seriously as a real opposition. You have to be willing to defend the historic American nation as it was, is, and could be. That is a majority white nation, the expression of Western Civilization on the North American continent, a nation of pioneers, conquerors, and settlers that created a mighty empire. It was destroyed within two generations because of egalitarian poison. That poison must be expelled entirely.
Not only should General Lee stay up, we should start examining the Confederate arguments for secession and self-government and what they were really fighting for. It wasn't just "slavery" given that slaveowning states fought for the Union. Confederates were willing to arm slaves by the end of the war if it meant they could keep independence. There was a deeper principle of self-government, ordered liberty, and traditional society developed by great American political theorists like John Calhoun and modern conservative thinkers like M.E. Bradford. These are arguments traditional conservatives used to be familiar with and openly defend. Today, Conservatism Inc. is just fulfilling what Robert Lewis Dabney said about Northern Conservatism:
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition.
[Robert Lewis Dabney on Conservatism, Counter Currents, November 22, 2012]
With not just America, but Western Civilization itself on the line, we don't have time for these collaborators and their mendacity any longer. Defend the South, America, and the West as it was, is, and could be. Resist our occupation like our Founders did. Otherwise, you have no right to complain about anything that's coming, and your cowardice or stupidity won't save you.
Join the cause, build the fortress, and accept the destiny that history has thrust upon us.