In years past, the Political Right in America has defended the Confederacy’s reputation and statues, arguing that if those statues were taken down, then others would follow. This year’s iconoclasm has proven these arguments accurate beyond any doubt. However, now that the statues are gone, it is time for the Political right to abandon its pro-Confederacy neutralism, and embrace the Radical Republicans instead. There is no benefit to clinging to the rotting corpse of the Confederacy, and it is the wrong solution to today’s problems. In this essay, we will describe why.
Part 1: The Civil War
The first problem in embracing the Confederacy is that the Confederacy was established as a rejection of America, while the Political Right is pro-America. Secessionists and rebels are by definition not patriots. We should instead be pointing to West Virginia as our model, as its inhabitants remained loyal to the Union, and were real-life mountain men who broke away from an anti-American coastal elite. Nor were they alone: many regions of the South (particularly in the mountains) opposed secession, and one-quarter of the Union Armies’ manpower were Southern-born. The Secessionist South was not the isolationist, libertarian/miniarchist society it is often imagined to be, but rather one that enforced conformity through lynchings, trampled on Northern states’ rights through the Fugitive Slave Law, imposed a universal draft that mobilized 75% of its white male population from day one, and had its own Manifest Destiny centered around the Caribbean. None of these correlate to modern-day Right-wing ideas.
The second, more central, issue is that the Civil War was a war to determine the fate of slavery. While other issues did contribute, the keystone that held the secessionist arch together was always slavery. Numerous declarations of secession mentioned slavery as the deciding issue, and the Vice President of the Confederacy (Alexander Stephens) declared in his 1861 Cornerstone Speech, to thunderous applause:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea [from the Constitution]; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
As mentioned previously, sizeable swaths of the South opposed secession and fought for the Union. They follow a distinct pattern: the regions where slavery was less prevalent tended to be more Unionist, while the Confederate Armies were populated by slaveowners and would-be slaveowners.
So why bring this up? Simple: Communism is a system built on slave labor, and differs only from the Confederacy’s model in that it is intimately wedded to the cult of the machine rather than outdated racial theories. So why should we glorify one slave society that waged war against our nation while attempting to save that same nation from another, alternative slave system? The American Maoists’ economic ideas are every bit as inefficient, stagnant, and unproductive as the Confederacy’s slave economy. As pointed out in Hinton Helper’s 1857 classic “The Impending Crisis of the South,” it was demonstrable before the war that the Southern slave states had, within a generation, fallen behind the North in every field (including agriculture), and were suffering a terrible brain drain as their best and brightest moved north or west. Southern slavery not only oppressed the blacks, but also depressed wages for white non-slaveowners, much like illegal immigration does today. The Midwest was a land of yeomanry, whereas the Old South was a land of sharecroppers; hardly the American ideal. If we on the right pride ourselves on hard work, efficiency, economic independence, and innovation then the Confederate economy is our polar opposite.
Lastly, the Confederacy was the primary aggressor of the Civil War, much like the Maoists will be after November 4th. It was only after the Confederacy lost that apologists began referring to it as the “War of Northern Aggression.” In reality, the South fought in a manner virtually identical to Japan in 1941: they began the war by attacking a US military installation, made some initial gains, utilized hyper-aggressive tactics until they suffered irrecoverable losses (the South lost 180,000 men in the first 27 months), then switched to stubbornly defending fortifications in a vain attempt to “morally outlast” the other side. Both the Confederates and Japanese believed that their racial purity gave them a moral advantage over their “mongrel” opponents, and both had ambitions for a tropical empire. Unlike the Japanese, however, the Confederacy lost because of a lack of strategy. Without any defined geopolitical end-goals, the Confederate commanders frittered away their strength in costly, uncoordinated campaigns while the Union executed the Anaconda Plan and beat the South with a mere 2-to-1 advantage in numbers. The Right would do well to avoid such recklessness.
Part 2: The True Legacy of the Confederacy
The Civil war was a traumatic affair for both North and South. Six hundred fifty-five thousand men had died, plus over ten thousand civilians, out of a total population of 31 million. Ten percent of the North’s fighting-age population had been killed, while the South lost 30%. It was, in many ways, comparable to Europe’s experience of the First and Second World Wars, to the North and South respectively. But the worst was still to come.
The legacy of the Confederacy first manifested itself in the South with the attitude of a bitter loser. The South, puffed up with pride and fed endless stories about victory after victory in a war of their choosing, was hit square in the face with reality. They had lost, and had sacrificed everything in the process. Their strength was broken, and any attempt to continue the fight would only lead to more of their sons needlessly dying. But this did not lead to any soul-searching or self-criticism. Instead, like the Arabs after losing every war with Israel, they blamed everybody except themselves. The losing side furthermore made demands on the victors, arrogantly demanding that nothing be changed or done about the slaves without the former’s permission. This tradition continues today whenever the Democratic Party loses an election and then demands that the Republicans give them everything, as if they had won anyway.
The second manifestation was over the issue of the newly-freed slaves. The Southern population had feared slave revolts for many years, and was convinced that the newly-freed slaves would massacre their former masters as had happened in Haiti. This did not happen, but the South at the time had three viable choices to prevent such an uprising:
- Support sending the former slaves en masse to Liberia. This was highly popular among many abolitionists, including President Lincoln, and would have faced little opposition in the North.
- Encourage blacks to leave the south and migrate north. This would effectively tell the North: “You destroyed us on behalf of the slaves, now they’re your problem.” Such a move would be unpopular in the North, but they couldn’t do much about it and such a migration would ultimately occur from 1930-1950.
- Racial integration. This would be the least popular solution at the time, but it did have supporters.
Naturally, the South did none of these reasonable ideas. They instead insisted that the blacks couldn’t leave and had to stay working for their former masters, be treated the same way as during slavery, and now also serve as on-call punching bags. Pride and bitterness led the ex-Confederates to lash out against everybody, and they demanded the right to assault and murder whoever they liked, whenever they liked. In this regard, the slaves were worse off now than before the war: before the war, slaves had to deal primarily with verbal abuse and humiliation, but now their petulant former masters used castration and murder as a first resort.
Because the Confederacy had been established as a rejection of the Constitution’s declaration that all men are created equal, the ex-Confederates strongly desired a new system that would continue to favor them over the former slaves. They at first tried to reword the slave laws, but this façade didn’t last long. So they instead developed what would ultimately be known as Jim Crow laws. These laws bear a striking resemblance to Shariah Law, in that they divide society in two, rig the legal system in favor of one group, and are not designed for true justice, but to provide legal cover for the use of casual violence against the underclass. I am certain most of my readers appreciate the evils of Shariah Law, and would not desire such a system today.
Jim Crow was all about rigging the courts and legal system in favor of the ex-Confederates, not only against blacks and Indians, but also against Unionist southerners. Since the state governments couldn’t use state-sanctioned violence against their enemies, they instead relied on non-state proxies such as the Red Shirts and Ku Klux Klan. The proxies gave the ex-confederate judges and legislators plausible deniability, and if any of the proxies were actually brought to trial, he knew he could count on the state letting him go without even a wrist slap. In other instances, these laws and lawmakers allowed and encouraged Democrat ex-Confederates to vote multiple times in elections, unofficially of course. It was an early form of anarcho-tyranny, backed by lynchings and terror campaigns.
Segregation is another issue that is unfavorable to the ex-Confederates’ reputation. When segregation was first introduced, it was allowed by the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896), on one condition: Separate but Equal. The Supreme Court gave the Southern States a chance to prove that they were willing to honor the spirit of the 14th Amendment, and it ended about as well as one would expect the Democratic Party today to behave. The Southern states ruthlessly enforced separation, and then went out of their way to ensure the blacks were not equal. The North was equally racist as the South at that time, but whereas the North ignored and neglected the blacks, the South put the maximum amount of effort into being assholes. It is not dissimilar to how the Islamic population in Europe (and several European Governments) behaves today, and the South’s version of Taqiyya would make any Mohammedan proud. It was a lie from the beginning, and the liars waged a Maoist-style guerrilla campaign against those who committed the crime of noticing. Does the modern Right want to be a part of that, or have any doubt that the Maoists’ endless stream of blood libel is part of that tradition?
At this point, some on the Alt-Left like Identity Dixie will protest, “But that was a hundred years ago. The modern-day Maoists may use similar tactics, but their goals are utterly opposite to the Confederacy’s. Therefore, they are not part of the same continuum.” Two words will disprove this counterargument: Woodrow Wilson. President Wilson is the hinge linking the Confederacy to today’s Maoist faction. Wilson had grown up in the South and sympathized with the Confederacy, but he did more than anybody to convert an 1860s issue into a 20th-Century one. He had been president of Princeton University long enough to give his ideas and philosophy the appearance of being the product of a brilliant mind. In truth, his academic work was low-quality even by standards of the day, but that didn’t stop him from popularizing his ideas by virtue of his oratory skill. Wilson was a paradox: on the one hand, he was a promoter of the Lost Cause mythos, segregating the federal government, and the main reason why the Ku Klux Klan was reborn in the 1910s, marketing itself as the “true American” patriotic movement. Yet he was also a progressive, and advanced Liberalism from its Libertarian-esque origins into its modern socialist form. Both the Confederacy and Marxism share a philosophy of the “smartest” ruling over the “less intelligent,” with no other moral authority to act as a check or balance, and so the transition was surprisingly smooth. The “Solid South” would remain solidly Democratic until the 1980s, even as the Democratic Party lurched into interventionism, the managerial state, and open borders. These massive differences in opinion were trifles compared to maintaining Sharia Law Jim Crow, and the Southern Agrarian movement was never large or influential enough to counterbalance The Party. Many in the Old South would go on to accuse anybody before 1980 who challenged their ideas as being a “communist,” but fail to realize the irony.
The final issue with Jim Crow and the Confederacy was that it didn’t just screw non-Southerners, but also the South itself. By adopting an Islamic/Arabic legal code and highly-romanticized recollection of their history, the South became more Arab-like, enslaving itself mentally and morally to the past. They taught themselves for two generations that they were perfect by virtue of being born in a racially-pure Southern family, and that they came from a long line of perfect men. This may seem like normal national pride, but it was actually closer to a form of masturbation. By defining themselves solely by who their daddies were, they had to deify their ancestors and treat any suggestion that they were flawed human beings as a taint upon their “superiority.” Their obsession with their “perfect” ancestry also meant that they had little incentive to challenge or improve themselves, individually or collectively. This combined with the nature of Jim Crow Laws to produce a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle wherein the Old South became more and more slavishly dependent on sugar daddy state government to protect them from the consequences of their actions. Thus, when President Eisenhower presented them with a real challenge and took away their sugar daddy government protections, they were utterly unprepared mentally for it. During the entirety of the Eisenhower administration the Old South, which for years had told itself and anyone who’d listen how great and how tough they were, reacted to every challenge the same way: they ran away. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that they were somehow in the right, what sort of man spends his life telling everyone how great he is, yet runs away the moment anybody points a gun at him? The Right has no need of such unmanly men. When Richard Nixon came into office in 1968, he desegregated virtually the entire country with barely a whimper. Even with an 8-year break during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations (which were high on theatrics but low on substance), the Solid South was defeated with comical ease.
The final problem with clinging to the Confederacy’s corpse is that it affirms the Marxist lie that men are predetermined to be winners or losers by virtue of their parentage/existing. The theory, shared by racial theorists and Marxists alike, is that men have no free will, but are swallowed up by the sheer mass of their race, class, or “oppressed group.” For the Right, we represent the opposite: that individuals always have a choice, and are not predetermined by the hive. In today’s terms, this means that we should stop pretending the modern day South is the same as the Old South. The South, starting in the 1980s, underwent a massive transformation socially, economically, and culturally: Florida and Texas would not be the powerhouses they are today if the South had not changed. In one generation, the South went from being a stagnant backwater to becoming the powerhouse it could have been in 1857. The South has much to be proud of, and doesn’t need the Confederacy to feel pride in itself.
Part 3: The Radical Republicans
So if the Confederacy is more like today’s Maoists, but less effective and more pathetic, then who is their opposite? The Radical Republicans. This is a massive missing piece from our history textbooks, and once the Maoists are defeated, the Radical Republicans should be given their rightful prominent role in Reconstruction History. They, like Joseph McCarthy, Korean and Vietnam War Vets, and Richard Nixon, deserve to have their reputations restored.
The Radical Republicans emerged in 1854 as a faction within the newly-minted Republican Party. The Republican Party officially did not run on the promise of abolishing slavery, but rather preventing it from spreading to new territories. Due to the inherent flaws of slave labor, this containment would have effectively abolished slavery without firing a shot as the system strangled itself. The need to spread slavery was so dire, that Jefferson Davis offered Lincoln a compromise which would stand down the rebellion in exchange for conquering Cuba as a slave state. Lincoln and the Republicans refused this offer, and thus the Civil War began.
Since the Republican Party was founded as an anti-slavery party after the Whigs chose neutralism on the issue, it was only obvious that the most radical of abolitionists would form the core of the Radical Republicans. They themselves chose this name, as radical comes from the Latin word for “root.” Their goal was simple: to rip slavery out by the roots via complete and total abolition, without compromise. Lincoln was a moderate Republican who favored a more lenient policy, but successfully built a coalition that included Radical Republicans in his government. The movement did not truly come into power until 1866, after Lincoln had been assassinated and President Johnson’s leniency towards the Confederacy failed to stem the violence. They were in power for only 8 years, most of it during President Grant’s term, but successfully passed numerous Civil Rights bills, the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, and suppressed the Ku Klux Klan as long as they could.
A key component of the Radical Republicans’ agenda was to strip ex-Confederates of their rights to vote or hold office, as well as to use martial law to protect black voters. This was hardly an overreaction, as ex-Confederates were rampaging throughout the South, even in majority-Unionist southern states, murdering and intimidating political opponents while ex-Confederate judges and lawmakers refused to punish them. The recent riots in Portland are less destructive than what the Klan was doing, and the local authorities were even more in bed with the insurgents than ours today. The Radical Republicans successfully barred ex-Confederates from voting or holding office from 1867-1872, which was crucial for passing the 14th Amendment and giving blacks and Unionist Southerners power. When we defeat the Maoists, a similar policy of disenfranchising the defeated would be advisable.
On the topic of the Ku Klux Klan and other ex-Confederate insurgencies, the Radical Republicans had a mixed record of success. Most of their failures came from political compromises which fell apart when the moderates no longer feared another attempt at secession, or from not stationing enough troops to prevent riots and paramilitary activity. Their greatest triumphs came when they took the gloves off and ruthlessly hunted the Klan to destruction. Many ex-Confederate insurgents were wholly unrepentant for secession, as penned by Major Innes Randolph (a member of J.E.B. Stuart’s staff) in his song “Unreconstructed Rebel:”
“Oh, I’m a good old Rebel, now that’s just what I am;
For this “fair land of Freedom” I do not care a damn.
I’m glad I fit against it- I only wish we’d won.
And I don’t want no pardon for anything I’ve done.
I hates the Constitution, this great Republic too;
I hates the Freedmen’s Buro, in uniforms of blue.
I hates the nasty eagle, with all his brag and fuss;
But the lyin’, thievin’ Yankees I hates’ em wuss and wuss.”
The proportional response came from Daniel Phillips Upham, an ex-Union soldier from Massachusetts who faced one of the strongest Klan insurgencies in the South, and inflicted a string of humiliating defeats upon them:
“[W]e will whale hell out of the last one of them, and never allow one of them to return and live here. There is no other way … nothing but good, healthy, square, honest killing would ever do them any good.”
Does not this sentiment describe exactly how the perfidious Maoists ought to be treated? Should we, on the right, adopt anything less than a demand for a total, unconditional, and one-sided surrender from our foe? Or do anything except relentlessly kill them at every opportunity until they give up? Curtis Lemay’s words on deliberately using too much force apply in spades, and if they don’t surrender annihilating them will save us a lot of trouble. This is why the Radical Republicans are far superior to the Confederacy: they were patriotic, they recognized slavery as the root of the problems concerning the South, and when confronted with a stiff-necked adversary, they chose to break the neck. In our own time, we must also see that our deepest problems are not systemic, but moral, and unapologetically demand that they be ripped out by the roots, without compromise. Ultimately the Radical Republicans failed; but even in failure they gave us so much. How much more benefit will come when we win!
Once the Maoists are utterly defeated, and unable to resist any peace deal we demand, our peace treaty must be as follows:
- A total ban on Marxist theory in schools or government. Any government employee in violation of this law can only be executed if found guilty. All Marxists outside of government are barred from holding office and totally disenfranchised in perpetuity.
- Official Black Lives Matter and Antifa members to be expelled from the country for life.
- A ban on Islam, with repatriation of all who do not apostatize.
- A downsizing of the managerial state by no less than 40%, and the remainder to be passed directly to the state governments. All public-sector unions will be dissolved.
- Repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution- all taxation will be the responsibility of state governments, and the federal government will be funded entirely by state treasuries. The only tax the federal government can pass is a war tax.
- A total ban on abortion and divorce, and a reclassification of sodomy as a mental illness. Transgenderism will be classified as obscenity, and the pornography industry will be treated like human traffickers. Planned Parenthood will be shut down and its personnel charged.
- Drug pushers and manufacturers will be required to eat their entire stock of narcotics, to die of overdose.
- A ten-year moratorium on immigration, with the possibility of extension. Once it expires, immigration will be achieved solely through marriage of American citizens to foreigners.
- Public schools are to be placed directly under the control of their respective school boards, to guarantee that parents, not teachers’ unions, have the final say.
- Firearms Ed to be introduced in public schools like Driver’s Ed, taught by local sheriffs and supported by Project Appleseed volunteers.
- Vigorous application of antitrust laws against big businesses who supported the Maoist insurgency.
Michael Gladius is the pseudonym for a budding commentator in the fields of military history and theory. His goal is to blend the lessons of history, principles of human behavior, and practical wisdom in order to draw upon a wide array of factors for optimized solutions and problem-solving. He is currently studying in Europe. Some examples of his work include Small Wars Journal and RealClear Defense.