Monday, May 08, 2017

It isn’t only Trump who’s demeaning the Civil War

It's only because history is written by the victors that the civil war gets any respect.  600,000 young Americans died for what?  Lincoln could have BOUGHT out all the slaves for less than what the war cost. And in his letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln admits that slavery was not his real motivation.  Lincoln was an evil blowhard.  No other country needed a war to free their slaves

President Donald Trump is in hot water again, this time for comments he made about the American Civil War. In an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito, Trump suggested that nobody knows the real cause of the Civil War. ‘People don’t realise, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why. People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?’

As many have pointed out, the cause of the Civil War is the most contested question in American historiography. Historians have long battled over what caused America to be plunged into conflict. It’s also a contested topic outside of academia. In the South, public displays of Confederate symbols are a constant source of controversy. There has recently been tension over the flying of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the removal of Confederate-related statues in Louisiana. Underlying the arguments over these symbols is a contested memory of the Civil War, and disagreement over who was morally right in the conflict.

It should go without saying that the war was about slavery, and therefore that the anti-slavery Union was the good, right, moral force in the conflict. By questioning the cause of the war, Trump has, perhaps unintentionally, challenged this idea. If no one is really sure what caused the conflict, as Trump seems to think, then surely we can’t be sure that the Union was morally superior to the Confederacy?

Many media commentators and Twitter personalities have taken great pleasure in educating Trump on the cause of the war. Which is fine – most people, save a few neo-Confederate wingnuts, agree that it was a desire to end slavery that gave rise to war between the North and South. But it isn’t only Trump who is contesting history. There appears to be a revival of Civil War scepticism on the left, too, particularly around the question of whether the Union really was morally opposed to slavery.

For instance, many on the left praised the Oscar-nominated documentary The Thirteenth, which argues that the Civil War ended without the abolition of slavery. It claims the piece of legislation that officially ended slavery in America — the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution — actually allowed slavery to continue, through a clause permitting penal labour.

The amendment that ended slavery — which was made possible by the Civil War and the victory of the Union — is said to have sustained slavery through the backdoor. In the words of columnist Shaun King, a fan of the documentary, with ‘a wink and a nod’, it allowed slavery ‘to continue’. In short, the Civil War wasn’t really about ending slavery; the North was not ‘good’.

This interpretation implies that lawmakers in the North were indifferent to the abolition of slavery. In truth, the wording of the Thirteenth Amendment was plucked from the Northwest Ordinance, which, even before the Civil War, had successfully prevented slavery in the mid-Western states. That is, the amendment was unquestionably intended to end slavery and realise the ideals of those who fought for the Union.

The supposedly radical claim that slavery was fundamentally a non-issue for the Union — made by the kind of people who oppose Trump — mutes the deeply moral purpose behind the Civil War. It also demeans the historic role of Abraham Lincoln. According to Lincoln, the Union could only be saved and maintained by the removal of the deeply immoral institution of slavery.

Drawing on the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln argued that all men are created equal – this is what makes a republican government both possible and right, he said. Slavery, in Lincoln’s view, was an institution that violated this notion of human equality, and as such, it threatened the existence of republican government.

In a speech in 1854, Lincoln said: ‘Near 80 years ago, we began by declaring that all men are created equal.’ But the existence of slavery means ‘our republican robe is soiled, and trailed in the dust’. ‘Let us re-purify it’, he said. Ending slavery would ‘not only save the Union’ — it would ‘make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving’.

We can, and should, mock Trump for his ignorance of history. But he isn’t the only one weakening the moral force behind the cause of the Union. A declining faith in the founding principles of America, and in the ‘white men’ of American history, means too many now casually write off some of America’s great historical leaps forward.


CNN’s Islamist Offers Christophobia, Judeophobia and Hinduphobia

CNN is ready to offend every non-Muslim religion on earth

Reza Aslan has built a career complaining about Islamophobia. Throw a dart at a map of colleges and the odds were good that Aslan would be speaking at one of them about the rising threat of Islamophobia.

Earlier this year, Aslan, an Iranian Muslim, announced that he was going to change people’s minds about Islam and make them more tolerant, "through pop culture, through film and television."

"Stories have the power to break through the walls that separate us into different ethnicities," Aslan rhapsodized, "different cultures, different nationalities, different races, different religions."

CNN gave Aslan a forum. Nearly every episode of "The Believer" that aired has made some religion that isn’t Islam look freaky, unpleasant and threatening. Instead of breaking through the walls, it has surveyed different non-Islamic religions only to sneer at them as strange and weird.

Instead of Islamophobia, it offers Non-Islam-ophobia.

"The Believer" kicked off with an episode featuring a sect of cannibals whom the show associated with Hinduism. Its last episode spread fear over the threat posed by Orthodox Jews. CNN’s "Believer" clips offer Reza Aslan explaining why he’s a Muslim sandwiched between a doomsday cult leader who calls himself "Jezus", voodoo, scientology and a Mexican death cult.

Not even Al Jazeera would have been this blatant about its Islamic agenda.

Reza Aslan, CNN and "Believer" have already offended a whole range of religious groups. Hindus angrily denounced the misrepresentation of their religion.  But the left has much less interest in Hinduphobia than it does in Islamophobia. Hindu protests outside CNN offices in five cities garnered almost no coverage from the same media that covers every single Islamic protest against Islamophobia.

The media doesn’t believe that all forms of religious bigotry are created equal.

Orthodox Jews condemned Aslan for his fearmongering aimed at Judaism. But the left is uninterested in criticizing anti-Semitism from Islamists. Especially those on its payroll.

"The Believer" has tried to smear Christians, Hindus and Jews. It has yet to profile Muslims. Despite Aslan’s interest in teaching Americans not to be Islamophobes, he seems to prefer pushing Christophobia, Judeophobia and Hinduphobia. But bigots can’t be expected to fight bigotry.

"The Believer" treats non-Islamic religions as a freakshow. The gimmick attracts viewers. See Reza Aslan eat brains, talk to a doomsday cult leader or act afraid of Jews in fedoras. Look at all those freaks!

But don’t expect to see Shiite Muslims cutting their children in the street for Ashura on "The Believer".

Beneath the hipster approach to religion is malice. Hindus are associated with cannibalism. Orthodox Jews in Israel are swapped in for Islamists. Reza Aslan pretends that Israeli cities are no-go zones as he insists, "If we get out of the car in these neighborhoods, we will be immediately attacked."

Of course no one attacks him. But Reza Aslan gets to pretend to be afraid of the Jews.

In a CNN article, Aslan warned that Orthodox Jews are "taking on greater political power until, one day, you wake up and find this group has more or less taken over the state."

If someone were to say such a thing about Muslims, Aslan would be leading a lecture tour to denounce Islamophobia.  Last year, Aslan was peddling "Fear Inc.: The Industrializing of Islamophobia." Now Reza Aslan is, coincidentally, spreading fear of a religion that Muslims view as their leading enemy. 

And CNN is serving as Fear Inc. and industrializing Aslan’s Non-Islam-ophobia.

In his CNN hit piece, Reza Aslan cunningly transposes concerns about Islamic birth rates, theocracy, no-go zones and religious police to Jews. It’s inconceivable that CNN would run a documentary worrying about Islamic birth rates leading to theocracy in Europe or America. But all those worries about Islamophobia don’t apply to Islamists fearmongering about other religions.

Israel, Reza Aslan warns, is on the verge of turning into a "Jewish version of Iran".

That’s certainly a convenient message to peddle if you’re an Islamist opponent of Israel. In the past, Reza Aslan has been utterly unsubtle in his hatred of the Jewish State.  Highlights included comparing Israelis to Nazis and insisting that Iran wants nukes because it feels threatened by Israel.

But, as critics know, Reza Aslan has two faces. One is a ranting bigot. The other feigns spirituality. The real Aslan is a bigot. The fake Aslan mouths inanities about the universality of religion even as he attacks every religion that isn’t Islam. You can find the real Aslan on social media and the fake Aslan on CNN.

"The Believer" is the perfect platform for Reza Aslan. Its smirking subtitle "Spiritually curious" and Aslan’s inanities convey the image of a hipster looking for religious meaning everywhere. It’s no doubt how the show was sold to CNN. And CNN execs saw Aslan’s approach of showcasing religious freakiness while disguising it with nostrums about the universality of the search for meaning as a safe bet.

But Aslan isn’t spiritually curious. He’s spiritually hostile. He’s learned to disguise that hostility by sounding like a liberal. On CNN, his attacks on various religions are interspersed with disclaimers. But the disclaimers, like the inanities, are meant to get lost in the overall impression that Hindus eat brains and Jews are Islamic terrorists who want to take over everything. That is what viewers will remember.

Reza Aslan postures as a scholar, but he’s callously ignorant of other religions and he isn’t actually interested in learning about them except to undermine them. His curiosity is only a media pose.

"The Believer" continues the trend that defined Aslan’s career. He writes a book defending Islam and then another that attacks Christianity. Then he responds to the criticism by crying Islamophobia.

The only one who should be allowed to stir up fear and loathing of other religions is Reza Aslan.

Christians, Hindus and Jews have taken apart Reza Aslan’s claims about their religions. But despite Aslan’s posturing, he isn’t a scholar. A scholar wouldn’t be boasting about eating brains or pretending to be afraid of Jews in Israel. "The Believer" isn’t a scholar’s work. It’s a malignant attack on non-Islamic religions disguised in one part universalism and four parts sensationalism.

Reza Aslan’s openness is a sham. As is his enthusiasm. He isn’t a scholar of religion but a promoter of Islam. He appears to embrace other religions, boasting, "I feel Jewish" during one episode and writing a book about Jesus, only to undermine them. He thrives by pitting members of enemy religions against each other whether it’s liberal and conservative Christians or secular and religious Jews.

Nothing better could or should be expected from Reza Aslan. "The Believer" is xenophobia masquerading as tolerance and sectarianism dressed up as universalism. Aslan’s episode on Jews in Israel is exactly what you ought to expect from a slick Hamas apologist. Hindus are likewise in the way of Islamic expansionism. As are Christians. Depicting non-Muslims as bizarre normalizes Islamic violence.

Something more ought to be expected from CNN.

The media has long thrived on mocking conservative Christians. It’s fairly casual about taking swipes at Orthodox Jews. But "The Believer" expanded its hit list to Hindus. How many others will there be?

Islam is involved in conflicts with every major religion on earth. How many religions is CNN ready to allow Aslan to smear? How long before "The Believer" heads to Myanmar to settle scores with the Buddhist monks who are defending themselves against Muslim violence? Or to Sudan to go after the Animists facing Muslim persecution? Islamists have no shortage of enemies. Neither will CNN.

CNN won’t report the truth about Islamic terror. Yet it is ready to offend every other religion on earth


Judge Roy Moore on SPLC: 'They Hate God and They Hate Anything About God and Christianity'

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is now running for U.S. Senate, said the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which protrays itself as an educational and legal advocacy group that fights "hate and bigotry," is "probably the biggest hate group" in America and it particularly hates "God and Christianity."

Moore made his remarks during a May 1 interview on American Family Radio, hosted by Sandy Rios.

During the interview, Moore talked about how the SPLC had filed ethics complaints against him in 2003 because he had installed a monument of the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse, and in 2015 had complained about Moore's opposition to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage and ordering state officials to ignore the ruling.

Host Sandy Rios cited other examples of the SPLC attacking conservatives, usually over Christian opposition to homosexual behavior, and said to Moore, "They are all about destroying you and they’ve made that clear in their remarks."

Judge Moore said, "If you speak about hate groups, they’re [SPLC] probably the biggest hate group in our country because they hate God and they hate anything about God and Christianity, and they’re going to continue their deception by hiding behind that word ‘hate.’"

"Christians don’t hate people," said Moore. "They hate sin. And if you don’t hate sin, then, you know, you must participate in it. Christians shouldn’t do that."

On its website, the SPLC posts a "hate map" of organizations in the United States that it describes as "hate groups." 

Although some of the groups listed seem appropriate, such as the Ku Klux Klan, there are other groups listed apparently solely because they oppose the gay agenda based upon their Christian religious beliefs. The SPLC describes them as "ANTI-LGBT."


More snobbery from a Leftist

By CAROLINE OVERINGTON, writing from Australia

Senator Sam Dastyari has put a little video up on Facebook, and it’s a little bit offensive.

The topic is everyone’s favourite — housing affordability — and Sam starts reasonably enough by saying Sydney house prices are expensive.

But does he have to mock people’s homes to make his point?

In the first scene, Sam is shown standing in front of a house he clearly regards as a bit of a dump. "This is what a million dollars in Sydney will buy you," he says, with scorn.

"This is what’s called a classic house … (It’s) on one of the busiest roads, and you know if it’s got security shutters, you’re onto a good thing."

Call me old-fashioned, but I think it’s rude to mock other people’s houses. That house was somebody’s home. A place where a family may well have raised their kids, and very proudly, too.

The house had those roll-down shutters that are commonplace on busy roads. I know heaps of Mums who have asked their hubbies to put them in, to help keep the noise and the dust down. I don’t think those people are losers.

Sam soon moves on to a different house that isn’t up to his standards, saying: "This is what a million dollars will buy you in Northmead, but’s it okay, because it’s described as having a functional kitchen!"

But again, that was somebody’s home. Maybe their first home, that they slaved to buy, where they raised their kids. It looked like plenty of the homes in Melton, where I grew up. Not a palace, sure, but one man’s dump is somebody else’s proud castle.

It’s okay for Sam. He’s on a big income.

He is also shown mocking a vacant block of land because it was on a train line. So what if you live on a main road or God forbid a train line?

I grew up on a train line. In an old house. Maybe Sam would think it was a dump but that’s his business. It was our home.

In the next scene, Sam reminds young people they’ll need to be frugal if they ever want to own a house, and he starts salvaging furniture off the street like that’s something only a loser would do.

Most people start with a bit of old furniture pinched off the street or rescued from grandma’s garage.

There’s no shame in that. Not everybody has everything brand new.

Finally, there’s a scene where he mocks the fridge that’s been dumped with no door.

Any truly working class person could tell Senator Sam why the thoughtful owners removed the door before placing the fridge on the kerb.

Anyway, I said on Twitter: "This is offensive. Running around disrespecting people’s homes. And who hasn’t salvaged furniture from the street? @samdastyari is a snob.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re. The American Civil War.

It is not what we do that matters but the why of which we did it, for the why of which we do something is what we really did.

Slavery kept production costs low and enabled the South to advance economically. The South became far wealthier per-capita than the North. The volume/size/amount of money in an economy is one thing, the economy's height / average income / standard of living is another. And in many ways the height is more significant than the volume. The South was trading freely with Europe, while the industrial and protectionist North was not. Due to low production costs and increasing trade with Europe, the South's economy was continuing to increase in both height and volume, and would soon dominate American trade with Europe. America was dividing economically. And many in the North feared the wealthy South might separate further, the North might get left behind and the South might become the dominant American country. The North did not want that, so the war happened.

Lefties are always looking for moral excuses for their actions, so they like to claim the war was a moral one about the North liberating slaves in the South, but really it was an economic war.