What Can the “Civil War” Teach America?

What can the “Civil War” teach America?

If you asked this question in 2011, at the 150th anniversary of the event, the modern historical establishment said something like, “The South went to war to defend white supremacy and slavery and we should put an end to the “Lost Cause” myth of the event.”


“Let’s understand that Southerners were un-American white supremacist traitors who waged war against the United States to keep people in chains.”

Either statement is stupid.

You know what Southern leftist Louis Rubin wrote in 1958, three years before the centennial of the event?

We can learn that we should avoid hotheads and that we should understand that the War unleashed a host of political and economic evils on the United States, not the least of which was the Hamiltonian vision of American political economy.

He got it. He also thought the South was technically right though suicidal for seceding. Could not slavery have ended some other way?

That is almost a forbidden question these days. No one of note asked it in 2011.

Remember when Donald Trump was castigated for saying Robert E. Lee was a great American and a great general?

That would have been a common statement in 1961. No so fifty years later.

What changed? Not the history, just Americans.

You see, the progressive left kept going back to their little holes in the academy and kept churning out students. These students were taught that America, but particularly the South, had no redeemable value, that the Southern tradition was the root of every political, social, and economic problem in America, and that if not for the South, the United States would have been a happy land of free non racist people.

Of course that last part was eventually changed to say that America has always been racist, but that is a more recent mainstream development.

I think Rubin’s essay in Modern Age is well worth our time to read and understand, which is why I discuss it in Episode 487 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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