Saving General Lee

From the Imaginative Conservative, a defense of Robert E. Lee by Stephen M. Klugewicz:

“Despising revolutionary social change and the rhetoric of the abolitionists, he hoped for gradual emancipation and shared with Abraham Lincoln a sympathy for the idea of colonizing freed African Americans in Central America or Africa.

Lee never purchased a slave in his life. The slaves over whom he had control, some 200, came to him through his marriage to Mary Custis, a descendant of George Washington. Lee became the executor of his father-in-law’s will. Though permitted by the will to free the slaves upon the elder Custis’ death in 1857, Lee deemed the slaves necessary to the financial recovery of the Arlington estate. He thus kept them enslaved as long as he could—the will stipulated a maximum of five years—freeing them in December 1862 on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation’s going into effect. Again, Lee believed that his highest duty was to his family, in this case to their economic well-being, and this trumped his concern for the freedom of the particular slaves under his control.

In this, as in his paternalistic attitude toward blacks, Lee fell short of heroism. Of the bondsmen Lee once opined that “the painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race,” and he told a congressional committee after the war that it was his view blacks “at this time, cannot vote intelligently,” though he added, “what the future may prove, how intelligent they may become…I cannot say more than you can.” As Lee’s great biographer Douglas Southall Freeman writes, his “was the prevailing view among most religious people of Lee’s class in the border states. Lee shared these convictions of his neighbors without ever having come in contact with the worst evils of African bondage.”

is conservative views precluded him from, say, taking the extreme step taken by his relation, Robert Carter III, who because of his radical religious convictions freed all 500 of his slaves in 1800. It should be recalled that George Washington only provided for his slaves’ freedom in his will, and only after his wife Martha’s death (though she freed her slaves during her lifetime, as she feared they might kill her.) Lee thought enough of the prowess of African Americans that he was a proponent of enlisting slaves to fight for the Confederacy and thereby earn their freedom. This is also additional evidence that Lee did not consider the war a crusade to preserve slavery, as he was willing to give up the institution in order to secure the greater goal of Southern independence. In the post-war years, numerous incidents were reported in which Lee flouted the conventions of his class and daringly treated a black man as his equal in social situations.

Despite his flaws when it came to his views on race, Lee should be honored as a hero by all Americans and especially by conservatives. His classical devotion to the idea of duty has been mentioned. His resistance to the temptations of power also demands our acclaim. Much is rightly made of George Washington’s laying down of his sword at the end of the American Revolution to resume his status as a private citizen. Lee similarly passed this Tolkienian test when Abraham Lincoln, on the advice of General Winfield Scott, offered him command of all United States forces in April 1861 after South Carolina forces fired on Fort Sumter. Lee declined the offer, which would have gained for him the ultimate career goal sought by every West Point-trained military man.

We must remember that the alternative for Lee was NOT the command of the Confederate armies. He was not foregoing one offer of power in order to pursue another. Indeed, his home state of Virginia had not yet seceded, and at the moment he rejected Lincoln’s offer the most he could have reasonably hoped for was command of Virginia’s troops (an honor that he did eventually receive.) It ought to be kept in mind also that Lee was aware of the superior manpower number of the North and the superior resources of Northern industrialism; the prospects of Southern independence were far from certain. As with the American Revolutionaries, the noose seemed the most likely end for the leaders of Southern independence.

Even when Virginia seceded and war began, Lee did not immediately receive a high command within Confederate ranks. He was relegated to a desk job, serving as an advisor to President Jefferson Davis. He did not receive a field command until May of 1862, when General Joseph E. Johnston was severely wounded during the Seven Days’ Battles on the Virginia Peninsula. Lee then took command of the Army of Northern Virginia, but he would not be appointed commander of all Confederate forces until January 1865. This was a series of events that he could hardly have expected when he refused Lincoln’s immediate offer of power in 1861.

In addition to duty, Lee valued humility. He did not angle for promotion as he chafed at his desk job in Richmond. Rather, he humbly served President Davis, and even after being assigned command of the Army of Northern Virginia, his letters reveal that he always deferred to the prickly Davis. Just as Lee eschewed ambition, so he avoided avarice, turning down several offers in the post-war years to lend his name to companies in return for lucrative compensation. The idea of profiting from the selling of his name was anathema to Lee.

Lee embodied the Aristotelian ideal of moderation. As the deep South seceded in the winter of 1860-1861, Lee, stationed in Texas, was shocked when Texas voted for secession in February 1861; one witness recalled that Lee’s “lips trembled and his eyes [became] full of tears” when he heard the news. Lee voiced his resolve not to take up arms against the Union, “but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in defense of my native state.” When Virginia reversed its initial vote against secession in May 1861—in the light of Lincoln’s decision to make war upon the South—Lee made the anguished decision to resign his commission in the United States Army, concluding that despite his love for the Union, he “could not take part in an invasion of the southern states.”

Lee indeed despised war. Surveying the slaughter of Union troops charging his lines at Fredericksburg in December 1862, Lee commented to an aide: “It is good that war is so terrible. Otherwise, we would enjoy it too much.” As Richard Weaver has argued, this profound statement, “richer than a Delphic saying,” shows Lee to be a true philosopher. In the days after the smashing Confederate victory, Lee wrote to his wife: “What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!” This is far from the tone of a bloodthirsty martinet drunk on the intoxication of his repeated victories.

Twenty-eight months later, as mentioned above, at Appomattox Lee turned aside the suggestions of aides to continue the fight as a guerilla war. The social anarchy and protracted bloodshed that would result were anathema to the conservative Lee, and he prudently judged that Southern independence was not worth the price. Guerilla war horrified Lee because it would bring down the wrath of Mars more harshly on civilians. Indeed, Lee rejected the idea of total war that was developed by Union Generals Grant, William T. Sherman, and Phillip Sheridan, and embraced by President Lincoln. Lee was always careful to avoid civilian casualties. On the first campaign into Maryland in 1862, Lee issued General Order No. 72, which prohibited the plundering of civilian property and reminded his soldiers “that we make war only upon armed men.”

Robert E. LeeLee’s action in issuing this order can be contrasted with that of Union General John Pope, whom Lee had just soundly defeated prior to his foray into Maryland. Only weeks prior to Lee’s Order No. 72, Pope had issued his own order authorizing in Virginia the burning of private homes and the levying of fines upon civilians as retribution for guerilla actions taken against Union troops. More egregiously, in May of 1862, Union General Benjamin Butler, presiding over conquered New Orleans, had issued his infamous General Order No. 28, stipulating that “when any female shall by word, gesture, or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.” In practice, this meant that a female civilian who dared merely to display a Confederate symbol on her dress was liable to be raped by Union troops. Such atrocities did occur.

Lee’s dogged adherence to the traditional, Christian principles of limited war is even more impressive in light of the many atrocities that were authorized and indeed perpetrated against his own people by his enemy. Lee considered the protection of civilian life so important that, as the head of the detachment sent to capture abolitionist John Brown on the eve of the Civil War, Lee ordered his Marines to unload their rifles during their assault on the building where Brown had holed up, lest the hostages that Brown held be injured or killed.

Lee’s amazing self-restraint reflected the advice he had given to a young mother about raising her infant son: “Teach him he must deny himself.” The Christian Lee valued self-control as essential to proper behavior and indeed to personal and public liberty. “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself,” he said in evaluating his military subordinates. Lee practiced what he preached. He had the rare distinction of being a cadet who did not earn a single demerit at West Point. He expected the same gentlemanly behavior from the young men in his care at Lexington, Virginia’s Washington College, of which he became president after Appomattox. There he reduced the college’s many rules to one simple rule: “Every student must be a gentleman.”

As his name and image, and those of his fellow Confederate officers, are removed from shops, schools, and museums across the country, it is ever more important, especially for conservatives, to speak up for Robert E. Lee. A man of military genius and personal honor, a defender of civilians and civilization, a champion of duty and truth, a model of humility and prudence, Lee was perhaps the last defender of the ideals of the Old Republic, whose greying glory was ground under the wheels of the New Order of the centralized, industrialized state that triumphed in 1865. Though he wore the racial blinders of his class and time, Robert E. Lee was a man of exemplary character and remains an excellent role model for all Americans and is indeed a worthy contender for the title of “Greatest American.”’

Tear Down The Lincoln Monuments Too

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.” —

Abraham Lincoln.

So, tell me, when are the monuments to the sainted Abe coming down?

The Migrant Invasion of Asia: Pedo Rapist Huckle

A headline you will never see at any alt-right blog:

UK’s worst paedo faces 22 life sentences after raping 200 kids including baby in nappy.”

From age 19- 29, Richard Huckle, the grammar school-educated, church -going son of a British actress, posed as a volunteer at Christian orphanages all across Asia, while secretly molesting and raping some 200 or more children, ranging from babies to pre-teens. Huckle crowd-funded his crimes by selling a how-to manual on the dark web, where he bragged about his rapes on notorious paedo site, The Love Zone.

Huckle’s crimes are part of a tidal wave of  tourist/expat sex-crimes, perpetrated largely by males from Australia, the UK, Canada, the US and Europe.

This is the demographic that forms the growing market for the livestreaming of child-rape and abuse committed mostly against poor Asian children, many orphaned.

Now that’s a migrant crime wave you won’t hear about on Breitbart or FrontPageMagazine.

Obviously, I am not suggesting that white males are uniquely child molesters.

Anymore than any rational person would suggest that all inner-city blacks are violent or all Mexican or Muslim immigrants are rapists and jihadists.

But that is precisely what nativist sites on the right and sometimes the left consistently do.

If a pattern shows up, we are correct to point it out, regardless of ethnic sensibilities.

We are not correct to misinterpret the data to ascribe or insinuate unique biological propensities for crime to the perpetrators.

Keeping the big picture of elite manipulation in mind, we see a pattern of breakdown in all groups that follows the fault lines peculiar to their ethnic and socio-political history.

Western males have greater access to technology and more freedom to travel. They are also the product of  a culture that glorifies pornography and denigrates religious or social strictures against unlicensed sexual expression. They are the targets of aggressive feminism.

The combination might make the sexual exploitation of the weakest members of society more attractive to the worst instincts of some men.

The same holds true for the so-called migrant crime wave in the US and Europe.  Incentivize immigration with welfare; make it hard for legal, highly-skilled workers to immigrate and easy for illegal, low-skilled ones to; promote a culture of drugs, violence, and misogyny in popular culture; then throw in opportunistic interactions between criminal gangs and governments and you have a recipe for migrant crime- waves.

Race is not the cause, it should be obvious. It is culture, orchestrated from above.

If only white nationalists and black nationalists would see that.

 

Burqa Bans and Muslim Identification

Lew Rockwell makes a most peculiar comment:

Thousands of Muslims Protest Burqa Ban in Austria

I agree. Not only is it an offense against self-ownership, it’s a leftist attempt to hide the deliberate de-Austrianization of Austria. “

What? A leading libertarian activist claims that once the burqa is banned, you won’t be able to tell an Austrian….from a Muslim.

But here’s what.

Austrian is a type of nationality. Muslim refers to religious belief. The two are apples and oranges…or, more accurately, apples and cut flowers.

Two. Can anyone really tell nationality from an item of clothing?

Are there no French citizens in burkas?

Three. If, by Austrian, Rockwell meant “white” Austrian, well, a lot of Muslims from the Middle East are whiter than Europeans and a lot of native-born Austrians are dark-skinned, since they are second or third-generation immigrants.

Four. Even native-born non-immigrant Caucasian Austrians can be Muslims.

Five. Do all Muslims wear burqas? If the burqa were banned, Muslims who would have worn them, would still probably be identifiable as Muslims, from head-scarves, for instance.

Unless Rockwell really thinks that a ban on burqas means conservative Muslim women in Austria  will now be running around in shorts and tank-tops.

Does he really think that?

Rockwell is a smart guy.

So when I read such loopy arguments, I have to suspect some deeper agenda.

Banning the burka is a bad idea because it is a radical intrusion of the state into the realm of personal choice in an area where there is no valid community interest at stake that might conceivable justify some  voluntary compromise between individual choice and community interest.
A burqa could be a security threat, for example. In that case, the ban should be not on the burqa but more generally on any item of clothing that covers the face and body in such a way to make an interlocuter clearly vulnerable to assault in a limited number of  clearly defined public spaces.
But, in general, I think a ban on something that doesn’t obviously pose a threat to anyone else’s freedom or life is a bad way to go.