Tuesday, August 10, 2010

National Anthem Forbidden at the Lincoln Memorial?

Dan Riehl has posted about an incident in which high school kids spontaneously sang the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.  A park cop came along and told them to shut up, that singing wasn't allowed at the Lincoln Memorial because it is a "content-neutral" site.

I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't think the cop was totally out of line.  Some national monuments deserve a respectful silence.  I wouldn't want people singing songs, even patriotic ones, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers either, or anywhere at Arlington Cemetery.  The songs would disturb the feeling of reverence and meditation.

Now for Ted Kennedy's grave, songs should be allowed, but only those appropriate and representative of the life and values of the Senator.  Like "Chug-a-lug"or maybe "Dang Me" by Roger Miller.


Stogie said...

Lincoln was a warmongering tyrannical dictator who is primarily responsible for ushering in the era of the omnipotent federal government in Washington, D.C.  The monument to him deserves no respect whatsoever.

Stogie said...

While public and groups works my nerve I think the cop calling the song out for not being 'content appropriate' was just a lame way of saying 'Stop singing! You're annoying the rest of the folks who aren't looking for a national 'kumbaya moment'.

Stogie said...

Jared, I agree with you about Lincoln. I almost wrote "no singing except for rousing renditions of Dixie," but most would not agree and we should respect, not Lincoln, but the right of others to view the memorial in peace. We would expect the same courtesy at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington.

Stogie said...

I think you nailed it Red.

Stogie said...

Third Rate Romance by the Amazing Rythm Aces might be good at Ted's resting place.

Stogie said...

How about "99 Bottles of Beer on the wall"? :)

Stogie said...

Silence shows appropriate respect for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Civil War and the millions of victims of slavery.

There are few utterances of American public figures that are more deserving of being carved in stone than the Gettysburg and second inaugural addresses: war is terrible and God is not a partisan in it; the Civil War was the result of the south's desire to preserve slavery at any cost; slavery was a grievous sin for which the entire country was guilty; slavery made a mockery of the American ideal of government for, by, and of the people. Despite his short-comings, Lincoln got all those things right.

Slavery, the Confederacy, and the ruinous Civil War are among the worst fruits of the American experiment.

"Deo Vindice" was a blasphemy that was promptly disproven by events.

Stogie said...

Sven, you make a career out of being wrong.  The victims of the Civil War were the victims of Abraham Lincoln, who started the war by invading the South.  He did not invade the South to free the slaves, he did it to force his largest tax base back into a Union it no longer wanted -- by brute  force.  Slavery was never the issue with Lincoln, it was secession, and the right to rule and to tax.  Indeed, five of the Southern states only seceded when Lincoln ordered them to participate in an invasion of the first six states who did.  The great Northern myth is so transparently false that I am sick of having to refute it for every school boy who remembers his third grade (false) history lessons.  Yet you do not object to the fact that it was Northern slave ships who transported the slaves in ships from Africa to be sold in North America, Cuba and Brazil, or the fact that slavery was present in the US for 200 years before the Civil War (including the North), and well entrenched by the time the war started.  We don't hear a peep out of you about the fact that most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, including Washington and Jefferson.  All of the Northern posing and posturing over their bloody and unconstitutional war is as phony as Barnum and Bailey.

As for the Gettysburg address, it is and was a cruel lie, mere poetic propaganda.  Once again H.L. Mencken comes to the rescue.

Here is his quote:

Like William Jennings Bryan, he [Lincoln] was a dark horse made suddenly formidable by fortunate rhetoric.  The Douglas debate launched him, and the Cooper Union Speech got him the Presidency. His talent for emotional utterance was an accomplishment of late growth. His early speeches were mere empty fire-works—the hollow rhodomontades of the era. But in middle life he purged his style of ornament and it became almost baldly simple—and it is for that simplicity that he is remembered today. The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly.  It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.

But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it.  Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—"that government of the people, by the people, for the people," should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.
End quote

The Confederacy was honorable, legitimate and legal and based on the "consent of the governed," an all-American concept described in the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln himself, on the floor of Congress in the 1840's.  Being a huge hypocrite, he [...]

Stogie said...

Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were all racists, as were most of the great men of the early Republic. While all three of them decried slavery to varying public and private degrees, Lincoln far and away had the most integrity on the issue.  Washington never freed any of his slaves. Jefferson freed a tiny handful of his slaves. Lincoln never held any slaves, and he publicly denounced the institution. Lincoln freed a tiny initial fraction of the country's slaves with the largely toothless emancipation proclaimation; and then enforced it for the majority of slaves with the military conquest of the Confederacy. But even then, by his express design, slavery remained legal in the few slave states that hadn't rebelled.

Ironically, Robert E. Lee offered to free any slaves that the Confederacy would allow him to enlist. That seems to have been motivated by desperation more than anything else. Although Lee privately decried slavery, he lacked the courage of his convictions. Instead, he hunted down his slaves when they escaped and had them whipped long and hard. His motivation? Preservation of his human capital, i.e., racism and greed.

Secession was driven by money: the money southern planters had invested in slaves and the slave-based economy. The south seceded because slavery within the Union was inexorably moving towards extinction. As Confeder Rat Vice President Alexander Stevens confirmed in his infamous "Cornerstone Speech," slavery was "the immediate cause" of the rebellion and the preservation of slavery was the foundation on which the Confederacy was built. And you claim the Confederacy was based on "the consent of the governed." When did the Confederacy show any concern for the consent of the slaves?

The evil that animated the Confederacy was not at all purely southern in origin. Northern merchants were an integral part of the early slave trade. The members of the Continental Congress who made a deal with the devil and compromised on slavery have all answered to God for their sin. Under the flawed leadership of people who put legal precedent over moral principle -- like Daniel Webster -- Congress cow-towed continually to the slavery lobby in the antebellum years. The seven scoundrels on the Taney court who issued the Dred Scott decision were complicit with the Slave Power. The cowardice, racism, and greed of generations of northerners and southerners is what allowed slavery to be established and to flourish. Slave owners had the Constitution and federal law on their side with respect to the legality of slavery, but it was the side of Lucifer nonetheless.

Secession failed to pass legal muster when the Supreme Court reviewed Texas' secession in 1869.  The Chase court found that the Constitution "in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union.... Considered, therefore, as transactions under the Constitution, the Ordinance of Secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the Acts of her Legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law."

In that light, the south's illegal attempt to dissolve the Union did threaten the unique American experiment, as Lincoln posited. Freedom and democracy would have survived in the north, however, and yes, the fundamental aim of the Civil War was to deny the south self-determination with regard to secession -- so the Gettysburg address is disingenuous on that point. But there's no debating that, compared side by side, more men were governed with their consent in the north than in the Confederacy, with its millions of [...]

Stogie said...

Sven, this is too complex a topic to discuss in a comments section.  Nevertheless, Lincoln's war on the South was all about money, not equal rights or slave emancipation.  With the South gone, his tariffs would not be paid and the ports of the South would be free ports, undermining shipments into Northern ports where the tariff was still in effect.  

Finally, you're wrong that the US was moving towards the extinction of slavery.  The issue was whether slaves should be allowed into new territories.  The North wanted to exclude them, to weaken the South's representation in Congress (and less able to resist Northern tariffs), and the South wanted them to increase their political clout.  The South argued that it should be up to the states to decide for themselves, and not the prerogative of the federal government to impose their will on such states.  

I knew you would ask, if they believed in the consent of the governed, why not for the slaves?  Why didn't the Founding Fathers?  Why not Lincoln, who openly declared that he was against the right of blacks to vote, intermarry with whites, hold public office or serve on juries?  Your faux moral outrage is entirely selective.  Why did Lincoln advocate forcing all blacks to leave the United States?

Lincoln once wrote to Horace Greeley, in 1862:
<span>“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that”.  </span>

On the question of slavery, Lincoln was entirely flexible.  His emancipation proclamation was to accomplish two things:  to dissuade England and France from recognizing the Confederacy, and to encourage slave rebellions throughout the South.  Finally, the proclamation clearly stated that it would not apply to any states rejoining the Union after a certain date; it was an attempt to pressure the South to rejoin the Union.

It freed no slaves ANYWHERE.  It also failed miserably to cause any slave rebellions.  The slaves were by and large, loyal to the South.  Now there's an inconvenient truth for you.

The Supreme Court decision in 1869 was not based on the Constitution, or on any state's understanding of it prior to the Civil War; it was a political decision, not one of law; it was legislation by judicial fiat and a usurpation of law.  I utterly reject it.

The right of secession was clearly understood, and both Virginia and New York made that a stipulation of their joining the newly formed union.  The right of secession was also taught at West Point prior to the war.  The right still exists today.

Your moralizing shows ignorance, not enlightenment, and are your personal opinions, not historical fact.  The South was right and the North was wrong, and the immorality of Lincoln's illegal war (he started it without the consent of Congress) is the only real blot on American history.

As for the "cornerstone speech," much abused by Northern historians, is that Alexander Stephens spoke for the Confederacy.  He was speaking only for himself and was not authorized to make policy by fiat.  Continues at next post.

Stogie said...


<p>It is useless and ridiculous to assume that "the evils of slavery" should have been apparent to men of history, of other time periods far removed from our own.  It was unquestioned for 3,000 years, and even Plato and Aristotle thought it to be the natural order of things. The ancient Israelites practices slavery and even Jesus did not object to it or condemn it.  Indeed, slaves that were transported to America were first slaves in Africa, where they were killed in great numbers or eaten.  Early Americans believed that settling them in this country was a great improvement for them, and that is undoubtedly true.  Studies show that they were better fed, housed and clothed than the toiling masses of Europe.  Try reading "Time on the Cross" by two noted historians, who studied the economics of slavery and how it impacted the slaves themselves.
</p><p>As a modern man, I agree that slavery is evil but I refuse to condemn those of prior centuries who operated under a different paradigm.  To do so is simplistic and shallow.
</p><p>You must have a lot of time on your hands.  Now go away and leave me alone.

Stogie said...


Then there's the sin of "Presentism," which claims modern-day values and standards should apply to evaluating all people of the past.  That's a supremacism of the here and now, which I believe attempts to self-aggrandize but actually only self-deceives.

You condemn the Founders as "racist," for example.  I submit that what you dismiss as "racist" is what people before the Wondrous Age of Equality would call "normal."  It is not a spirit of hatred, but of pride in and preference for one's own society and people.  It's an extension of preference for one's own family over others.  That's not hate -- it's love.

As for the origin of the word "racism" and the evil ideology behind it, I refer you to this:


Stogie is right -- Lincoln was an empire-builder and aggressor, not a saint. 

Stogie said...

See, it's so easy to debunk the Yankee legend.  We can all do it in our sleep.  Unfrotunately, there are far too few Americans- even in the South - who give a it a second thought  and accept it as the holy gospel without question.  It is somewhat entertaining to watch their philosophy get utterly dismantled by people who took it upon themselves to learn the truth. 

Back to the original topic, I see where you're coming from, Stogie.  However, as it has been so expertly pointed out in these comments, there is no comparison between the Confederate memorial and the Lincoln memorial.  They are polar opposites.  To claim one of them is worthy of honor is to claim the other is worthy of shame.  While I may agree that it wouldn't necessarily be polite to make a bunch of racket and a scene at the Lincoln memorial, I certainly wouldn't condemn anyone who did that because I personally think the monument is a disgrace and could care less if it was destroyed.

But like I said, I definitely see where you're coming from and I'm quite relieved your reasons for supporting the policeman's actions weren't what I thought they originally were.

Stogie said...

Jared, compatriot, fellow Southern patriot, whether or not a monument is worthy of honor or shame is in the eye of the beholder.  Yankees don't like our monuments and we don't like theirs.  So the best way for both of us to behave is to cut the other some slack.  We won't interrupt or deface their monuments if they will afford us the same courtesy.  It's only fair.

Stogie said...

Sven, thanks for the cash contribution.  I see you know who I am and that you live in Massachusetts.  You must be someone I know.

In any case, in spite of our heated debates, I want you to know I do appreciate your generosity and I am forced to acknowledge that you may be a pretty good guy after all.

Stogie said...

You're arguing that the vice president of the Confederacy cannot be cited as an authority on the Confederacy. You've created your own alternate story for the Confederacy, one in which slavery is pushed into the background and whitewashed. You're denying history. 

The Confederates didn't want new states and territories to be free to choose whether slavery was allowed. When they re-wrote the U.S. Constitution to suit their purposes, they added Art. IV, Section 3.3, which explicitly denied new states and territories that right. The most significant changes the CSA made in their new constitution all had to do with protecting slavery. The founding document of the Confederacy guaranteed to white people the right to enslave black people. When you argue that the Confederacy was not about preserving slavery, you are arguing with the Confederates themselves.

The Confederates were not ancient Greeks or Israelites. They were not merely men of their time in a time when slavery was generally accepted. They were modern, post-Englightenment men who tried to swim against the active tide of human progress -- and praise the Lord, they failed. England abolished slavery throughout its empire decades before the Confederates circled their wagons around their remnant aberration. In 1860, the only countries in the Western hemisphere that still allowed slavery were the United States and Brazil; roughly half the U.S. states had outlawed slavery; and slavery was so hotly disputed in the United States that Americans were already killing each other in Missouri and Kansas over it. 

The Confederacy was a retrograde movement, and the world is better off today for its failure.

As strongly as we disagree on this, stogie, I wish you well. You don't know me, but I've seen stuff you've put your name on that demonstrates that on matters of race, you're a fundamentally decent guy. 

Stogie said...

Sven, if Stephens spoke for the Confederacy, Lincoln spoke for the Union, and Lincoln clearly was a white supremacist by today's standards.  He, like Stephens, believed that whites were superior to blacks.  Instead of making them slaves, however, Lincoln  hoped to resettle them elsewhere.

The major issue in the Civil War was about secession.  It was not slavery.  The fear of Lincoln ending slavery led the first six gulf states to secede, which led Lincoln to start the war.  However, Lincoln didn't invade to free the slaves, he invaded to force the South back into the Union.  The Northern army was called "the Union army," not "the abolitionist army."

It's easy to criticize the South, but read Lincoln's Peoria speech of 1854, where he admitted that, if slavery did not now exist in the South, they would not establish it.  He admitted that slavery existed and there was no easy way to get rid of it, and that he did not know himself how to do it.  Further, he stated that if slavery then existed in the North, they would not immediately give it up.  The choice for the South was not an easy one by any means.  

I am not denying history, I am denying biased history.  There's a difference.  The fight over history and its meaning is important.  As 1984 says, "He who controls the present, controls the past.  He who controls the past, controls the future."