There is an evil, a pestilence, which is spreading across America which goes by the name of Political Correctness. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, political correctness is defined as: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. You can call it whatever you want, cloak it under whatever disguise you want, but when all is said and done, it is nothing other than censorship.
Who and what defines what is, and what isn’t politically correct? Is it politically incorrect to say something, or display an image, simply because someone or some group takes offense to it? If being offended is the only guideline that establishes what is politically incorrect then we may as well just pass a law forbidding speech, or the displaying of any images; as there will always be someone who takes offense to something.
The First Amendment to our Constitution protects our right to freedom of speech and expression. As the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, no law can be passed which restricts this right. As the Constitution applies not only to our federal government, but to the people of this country as well, public sentiment cannot justify any law, or sociological sentiments which cause the freedom of speech or expression to be limited. This principle was affirmed by the Supreme Court dating back to 1866 when they ruled, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” Therefore the right to speak freely, or express oneself freely cannot be restricted by government, or one segment of society that takes offense due to what is being said or displayed.
As I speak the city of New Orleans, Louisiana is in the process of removing 4 Civil War monuments from public view…simply because they offend others who are under the misguided belief that they represent racism and prejudice. Prior to this egregious eradication of Southern Pride and heritage the Confederate Battle Flag, and those who proudly display it, came under attack after Dylan Roof, (the shooter at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina) was seen displaying it on his car on his Facebook page.
Again, all this uproar came about because people have been led to believe that these images of Southern heritage represent racism. I have written time and time again that the Civil War was not fought over the South’s desire to maintain the institution of slavery. Why would the South risk war with the North to keep their slaves when, if that was why they went to war, all they would have to have done was ratify a proposed Constitutional amendment which would have made slavery a permanent institution in the United States?
The 36th Congress of the United States passed a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution which would have forever protected slavery from any law passed by Congress, and from any further amendments to the Constitution. The text of this Corwin Amendment reads as follows: “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
The Corwin Amendment passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 133 to 65, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 24 to 12. To protect slavery, all that needed to be done was for the States to ratify the amendment; thereby preventing war with the North…if that is what the Civil War was actually fought over as you have been taught.
Upon being sworn in as President, Abraham Lincoln himself said this about the Corwin Amendment, “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
To further explain his position on the institution of slavery, Lincoln also said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
As the instigator of the Civil War, (by his having called forth an army of 75,000 to prevent the South from seceding), how can anyone say with any validity that the Civil War was fought over slavery? If that is not enough, then there is this; a letter Lincoln wrote to his friend Horace Greeley, wherein Lincoln clearly states his purpose for his war against the South, “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”
While serving as president of Princeton University, soon to be President Woodrow Wilson wrote a 5 volume set on the history of America; entitled, A History of the American People. Found within that work is the following quote, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”
That is why not a single leader of the Confederacy, or any of the generals who led troops against the Union, was ever brought to trial for treason or rebellion; for to do so would have brought the issue of secession into full view, and it was commonly accepted in both the North and the South that secession was a State’s right. In fact, Salmon Chase, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is quoted as saying, “If you bring these [Confederate] leaders to trial it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution secession is not rebellion.”
Lincoln initiated his war, not to free the slaves, but to force the seceded Southern States into remaining in the Union. It was only when he did not achieve a swift victory that he began making slavery an issue; as in when he passed his famous Emancipation Proclamation; which in reality had no effect on slavery because it only freed the slaves in regions where the Union Army had no control, “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
This proclamation did nothing to free the slaves held in bondage in any State which was not, according to Lincoln, in rebellion against the Union. If his goal was to eradicate slavery, why not make the Emancipation Proclamation binding upon the entire Union?
Yet we are taught that Lincoln was the Great Emancipator, that he fought a war to end slavery. Slavery may have ended as a direct result of the loss of the South, and the abolitionist Republicans in the North forcing the 13th Amendment upon the defeated South, but it WAS NOT why the war was fought. The Civil War was fought because the South had exercised their right to leave a voluntary union of States, and Abraham Lincoln believed it was within his authority to use military force to prevent them from forming a nation of their own.
These are all facts that, had you taken the time to study the true history of the Civil War, you would have known. What you have been taught in school, and heard from the mouths of politicians, pundits, and news commentators, is all revisionist garbage designed to, as Wilson said, “…put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery.”
It is because people have not been taught the truth that these monuments are being torn down, and there is such outrage whenever someone displays the Confederate Battle Flag. Yet, as John Adams said in his closing arguments defending the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” You can choose to believe whatever you want about the causes of the Civil War, but your beliefs will not alter the state of the facts.
But unfortunately, for those of you who applaud the tearing down of Civil War monuments and the banning of the Confederate Battle Flag, it gets worse. You claim that these monuments to those who led the Confederacy and fought in the war against the North represent slavery. Well, what about Mr. Lincoln himself? Our nation’s capital contains a monument with a 30 foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln seated in a chair, memorializing him as a ‘great’ American President. Great you say; well, let’s see about that.
Not only did Lincoln’s war lead to the deaths of over half a million Americans; more than were killed in all the other wars the U.S. has fought combined, but Lincoln himself was racist. Yes, Lincoln was just as racist as you folks declare the South to have been; and I can prove it.
In 1862 Lincoln invited free Black ministers to the White House for a conversation. During this conversation Lincoln told them, “You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence.”
But that is not all that proves Lincoln was a racist. On September 18, 1858, while debating Stephen Douglas for the presidency, Lincoln made the following statement, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way 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 every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men.” Let me make it perfectly clear, I do not share those views; I only provide them as proof that Lincoln was not the great lover of the black man that he has been made out to be.
Again, these are facts that anyone with any amount of initiative could find on their own, yet they are not taught openly because they would paint both Lincoln, and the North in a bad light and justify the Confederate cause. That is, not only not politically correct, but it would disprove the government’s claim that no State has the right to leave the Union; and they simply could not allow that to be a commonly accepted belief.
I think I have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that these monuments are being taken down because of a misguided understanding of what the Civil War was fought over, and what the South fought to preserve; their independence and right to establish a system of government which would “…seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)
But the politically correct crowd does not want you to hear these truths, and they will fight to prevent you from both hearing them, and accepting them as the truths they are. They will call me racist for presenting them to you for your consideration and they will insult you as well if you begin to show doubts as to their version of this period of American History.
Which brings me right back to a question I asked at the very beginning of this article; who decides what is and what isn’t politically correct? British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” That is the nature of the First Amendment; one should protect the right of those you disagree with if you value your right to say whatever you want. Who knows when the tides of political correctness may shift and you find that your beliefs are no longer considered politically correct; and that society attempts to stifle your freedom of speech and expression.
Although I am not a huge fan of Winston Churchill, he once said something I fully agree with that defines political correctness to a T, “Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”
I’m all for showing some restraint, and some respect for others feelings; but not if it means sacrificing the truth. The truth is that during the years 1861-1865 these Southern States were part of the Confederacy. Now whether they believe that to be a point which they take pride in, or something they are ashamed of, it is part of their past, and no matter how hard they try, how many monuments they tear down, they can’t erase or rewrite that history.
These monuments show that history, and to tear them down simply because some people find them offensive is, to me, well offensive. But I guess my feelings don’t count, nor do the feelings of those who still retain pride in their Southern heritage. Just know this; you can tear down all the statues you want, you can ban the display of as many flags as you want, and you can even try to restrict what people say; but you’ll never remove what is in their hearts. Pride in, and respect for the Confederacy is something you’ll never take away from these people, and myself as far as that is concerned. So essentially all you are doing is appeasing your own misguided consciences and acting like a bunch of spoiled little children throwing a temper tantrum.
In closing, in a nation whose people say they value free speech, who say they honor and cherish the truth, you politically correct folks certainly aren’t living up to those claims. You seek to rewrite, or erase history that is not to your liking, hide facts that do not fit your agendas, and punish those who speak the truth. In some ways, you are almost like Orwell’s Thought Police in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. You do know that book was meant to be a warning don’t you; not an instruction manual.
Now let the fun begin and see how many people this has offended…