Friday, September 11, 2009

A Rebuttal to "Crooks and Liars" on the Sons of Confederate Veterans

The brazen liars at "Crooks and Liars" printed a ton of misinformation yesterday about the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).  Perhaps they should rename their blog as "Crooks, Liars and Cowards" since they delete all comments that refute their positions.  This post will rebut their scurrilous article on the SCV.

They printed the following:
Experts say the divisions within the Sons vary between two extremes. On one side are the traditionalists, members who focus on cleaning up Confederate grave sites and conducting Civil War re-enactments.
On the other side are the so-called Lunatics, up to 2,000 members who deride traditionalists as "grannies'' and belong to camps named after notorious Southern figures such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.
John Wilkes Booth members have been known to put pennies in urinals, making sure to leave the Lincoln side face-up. Other Lunatic groups have removed the U.S. flag from their halls and banned the Pledge of Allegiance, says Walter Hilderman, who several years ago created an anti-Lunatic group called Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"The problem is it's supposed to be a patriotic organization," says Hilderman, 59. "You are either that or you let guys in who want to secede."
What "experts" say these things?  None are identified.  There are no SCV Camps named after either John Wilkes Booth or Jesse James and there never has been.  You can verify this yourself by visiting the SCV website and browsing through the camps in each state and also the international camps.  I did so this morning and did not find any camp named "John Wilkes Booth" or "Jesse James."  Furthermore, I know the SCV is jealous of its reputation and would never allow such names.  However, suit yourself and browse the camps and see if I'm wrong.

The anecdotal story of non-existent "John Wilkes Booth" members putting pennies in urinals is another myth.  Note that no details have been provided for this camp (what's its Camp Number?  Where is it located?  Who is its Commander?).  The story is a lie.

I know of no SCV camps that have banned the American flag or the pledge of allegiance from their halls.  The story is just another lie -- note the complete lack of specifics or verifiable facts.

The so-called "Save the SCV" group was loyal to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and insisted that SCV members be kicked out based on their personal beliefs and memberships in other non-radical organizations (the Sons does kick out members of non-peaceful, radical groups like the Klan, Skinheads or Neo-Nazis).  The misnamed "Save the SCV" group insisted on forcing their personal political views on the entire membership and vetting members based on that criterion.  They were willing to damage the organization's reputation in support of their personal politics and most of us considered them despicable.  They had the attitude of rule or ruin and did their best to damage the Sons.

The "Save the SCV" group was overwhelmingly opposed by the majority of SCV members and was defeated.  The Sons does not screen members based on their peaceful, personal political beliefs.  It never has.  So the Sons has a few gay members because their sexual preference is not a criterion for membership.  My own SCV camp has a member who is a leftist peacenik from Berkeley who smokes "medical marijuana."  When he applied for membership he was not opposed, because his personal, peaceful political beliefs are not the business of the SCV.  (He volunteered this information, it was not requested of him.)

A couple of years ago the Sons reprinted in its magazine an article by Ann Coulter defending the Confederate South.  There were many letters to the editor by members, some praising Coulter and others denouncing her. It was obvious that the Sons has more than a few liberal members, although the majority are probably conservatives.  I don't know for sure because the Sons does not keep such statistics.

Another non-criterion for membership is whether the potential SCV member wants to secede or believes in the right of secession.  Those are political positions and the Sons' charter strictly forbids it to engage in politics.   I believe in the right of secession of any state; I do not have any great desire to secede at this time in history.  Before the Civil War, the right of secession was largely unquestioned.  It was even taught as a legal right at West Point.  Abraham Lincoln verbally supported the right of secession in a speech to Congress in 1848.  (When the South took him up on it in 1861, he suddenly changed his mind.)

Beliefs in secession are neither violent nor radical, and are none of the SCV's business, nor that of anyone else.  However, if the nation continues in its radical leftward direction, I would support secession of the Red States in order to preserve liberty and to reject Democrat/socialism.  Who agrees with me?  Walter Williams, a black libertarian university professor does.  The right of secession was not decided by Northern violence and is not a "lunatic" position.  "Crooks and Liars" has no valid argument and so is reduced to insulting pejoratives and ad-hominem attacks.  No fair-minded person will find their specious insults convincing.

The SPLC and "Crooks and Liars" rely on guilt-by-association in order to slime the SCV.  They mention Kirk D. Lyons, a North Carolina attorney who has defended members of radical groups charged with crimes.  So is this illegal or unethical?  No.  Every American citizen is entitled to legal representation and a defense.  It does not mean that the attorney agrees with their radical views.  If I'm wrong, then every attorney who ever defended a murderer must be in favor of murder.  Ridiculous.  Lyons is a member of the SCV and has done nothing to deserve being kicked out.  He has a close friend in a black man, H.K. Edgerton, who supports SCV causes and they have often appeared together in public forums.

The real reason why "Crooks and Liars" wants to slander the Sons of Confederate Veterans is so they can hang the albatross of "racism" around the neck of Rep. Joe Wilson, who offended them by accusing Barack Obama of lying (even though he apologized for it).

Liberals can't win any major political argument with rhetoric, logic or facts.  They must always resort to innuendo, guilt-by-association and slander of the opposition.  Their lack of argument is matched only by their lack of personal ethics.  Don't believe them.

Update:  I received official confirmation from the Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding some of the points I rebutted above:
There is at least one real camp named for Quantrill with whom James rode;
however, I know of no camp that has ever been named for either Jesse James
or John Wilkes Booth.  James and his brother were Confederate soldiers, both
well educated, and their parents taught at Georgetown College, a Baptist
School in Kentucky.  They turned to crime after the war.

At one time there was a social group who called themselves the John Wilkes
Booth camp, and at certain meeting locations individuals would get together,
have a drink and some would wear round disks around their necks that read
John Wilkes Booth camp.  I am not aware of any activity such as this since
2003 or so.  They had no traction and were not official in any way, shape or
form.

Ben Sewell, Executive Director, Sons of Confederate Veterans

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