National Review and the Confederacy

I was pleased to see this piece in National Review Online yesterday. The sooner we quite romancing the Confederacy, as the author calls it, the better. Still, there is a line in the piece that is, quite simply, inaccurate, if not a bit romantic in and of itself. To wit: “I understand the inclination of Confederate soldiers’ great-great-grandchildren to glorify their great-great-grandfathers. I’m not ashamed of the Confederate side of my Civil War ancestry — after 150 years, you can’t possibly know why a man did what he did. Many Confederate soldiers abhorred slavery; many found rebelling against the United States acutely painful. God knows they weren’t Nazis, though they certainly picked the wrong side.” Actually, as these pieces and this book show, we can know why soldiers fought: to preserve slavery (thanks to Phil Klinkner for alerting me to the articles/statistics). I noted in my book that because many conservatives have critiqued Lincoln since 1858, there has been, at least from Harry Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided (1959) onward, a vigorous defense of the sixteenth president coming from conservatives. So, whatever your political persuasion, as Lincoln once put it: “Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.”




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