In case you haven’t heard, there is a new “conservative” film out; it is titled “Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?”
It’s director and screenwriter is Dinesh D’Souza, the somewhat pompous, word-measuring figure who occasionally shows up on Fox to talk in pious tones about “conservatism.” He is the movie producer who, by his own admission, has done as much as anyone to shape (in an almost ahistorical manner) perceptions about American history and the Founding Principles that have supposedly guided this country. And, in his latest cinematic adventure he stunningly compares the “triumph of America and its values” under that “great president and martyr” Abraham Lincoln to the crisis facing President Donald Trump. Like Lincoln, Trump is saving America “for a second time.”
Here is the film’s official blurb from D’Souza’s web site:
Thus, the president who refused all compromise (and torpedoed negotiations) with Southerners and Confederates (who were, as D-Souza assures us, no better than “racists” and “fascists”), the president responsible for the most egregious violations of habeas corpus and constitutional liberties in American history, the president who in effect unleashed a vicious conflict that took the lives of at least 620,000 Americans and maimed and handicapped for life hundreds of thousands more, the president who by military force radically altered the original American Constitution and set the stage for the growth of powerful and unchecked government, and the emergence of the managerial Deep State…that president is D’Souza’s model…and his analogy for Donald Trump.
And Lincoln, that noble opponent of “racism”? D’Souza omits Lincoln’s contradictory statements on American blacks and his repeated desire that blacks be sent back to Africa. And he conveniently fails to cite Lincoln’s declaration to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862, scarcely three months prior to the formal issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation:
The one very significant fact that becomes clear in his latest cinematic screed is that D’Souza is ignorant of American history, and that he is an ideological and historical fabricator who seeks, in the name of defending his adopted nation, to bend and mishandle its history to fit a preconceived narrative which satisfies his Neoconservative task masters. For him history becomes a cudgel, a weaponized arm to further the Neoconservative agenda of “equality” and “liberal democracy,” both against the “farther Left,” but also, very significantly, against the traditional Right and traditional conservatism…and, as well, against Southern conservatives who would dare defend their heritage and traditions.
His narrative is essentially a leftist one, and like other Neoconservatives, he partakes of the basic philosophical views of the post-Communist Left, emphasizing politicized constructs of race and gender, and equality and democracy, projecting them back to incorporate all of American history. Thus, so it goes, echoing Marxist historians like Eric Foner: “the South had slavery, therefore it was a racist society. Racism had to be opposed at all costs and by all means. And that is what Lincoln did.”
The equation says too much, and leaves out too much. Four slave states did not leave the union, and Lincoln’s reasons for attacking the Southern states were far more economic and power-driven than not, with his later appeals to abolitionism seen by most observers then, as well as by many historians since, as desperate propaganda appeals to war-weary Northerners, to gin up the sagging war effort.
As noted economist Frank Taussig has detailed in his classic study, Tariff History of the United States (1967 edition), tariffs were the chief revenue source for the Federal government. The Morrill Tariff more than doubled American tariffs and greatly expanded the list of taxable items. Abraham Lincoln had campaigned vigorously on a platform of strong support for the Morrill Tariff. While the South would be paying nearly 80 % of the tariff, most of the revenues would be spent in the North. With the Southern states seceding, such a loss of revenue would be devastating to the Federal treasury and could not be allowed to stand.
There is another major critique that must be made: despite D’Souza’s claims, it was the Republican Party in 1860 that was, by every measure, the radical party, the party intent on destroying the original Constitution and transforming the union, not the more conservative (at that time) Democrats. D’Souza projects a political genealogy that simply will not stand up to serious historical investigation. The outbreak of war in 1861 did not come about due to Democrats who “went to war to defeat [Lincoln].” As historian William Marvel, in his Mr. Lincoln Goes to War (2006), relates, the conflict must be laid squarely at the door of the Lincoln administration: “It was Lincoln, however, who finally eschewed diplomacy and sparked a confrontation. He backed himself into a corner from which he could escape only by mobilizing a national army, and thereby fanning the flames of Fort Sumter into full-scale conflagration.” (p. xvii) Thus, it was the intransigence of the Lincoln administration that literally provoked war.
Even D’Souza’s supposedly hated Marxists recognized that Lincoln and his actions furthered their program and ideals. In 1864 Karl Marx sent Lincoln a famous “Address” from his “workkingman’s group,” in which he declared that “victory for the North would be a turning point for nineteenth-century politics, an affirmation of free labor, and a defeat for the most reactionary capitalists who depended on slavery and racial oppression,” that is, one more critical step in the projected Marxist historical dialectic. The American ambassador in London, Charles Francis Adams, responded and “thanked them for their support and expressed his conviction that the defeat of the rebellion would indeed be a victory for the cause of humanity everywhere.”
Like his supposed enemies over on the farther Left, Dinesh D’Souza employs the same faulty historical template, and, even if his arguments appear, at times, attractive or useful to conservatives, the end result is certain: you do not triumph historically or argumentatively using the same essential propositions, albeit less outrageous, as your opponent. Once you accept his grounds for debate, the battle—the war—is over.
No: stay away from this cinematic fraud…like tasty ice cream infected with poisonous venom, it might taste good at first, but the poison is sure to work its effect.
Note: This piece was originally published at the Abbeville Institute Blog on August 6, 2018.
As we approach the one year anniversary of the events—the riot—that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, back on August 11-12, 2017, already government-funded PBS has weighed in with a special primetime edition of its television program “Frontline.” The feature, “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville,” is a blatantly tendentious cinematic attempt by the Leftist-funded, pro-Marxist group ProPublica which was broadcast nationally on August 6. It portrays what happened in Mr. Jefferson’s city as a “violent riot and massacre by Nazis and violent Alt-Right fascists.”
ProPublica, which pretends to be a center for “investigative journalism,” has in some ways taken over from the increasingly discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as a self-proclaimed vehicle for “shining the light of publicity” (and launching personal attacks) on what it terms nefarious “right wing extremists.” Of course, a closer look at this tax exempt, non-profit research organization reveals that it is funded by some of the biggest “hitters”—the most affluent billionaires—on the far Left of the Democratic Party.
Here is what the Wikipedia says about ProPublica:
Notice what this paragraph says: Major Leftist Democratic donors—Wall Street billionaires—create this new “anti-hate” group, and then, hire the former managing editor of the—yes! supposedly “right wing”—Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox).
Connect the dots—connect the dots between the globalist Leftwing capitalists on Wall Street, the globalist capitalist Wall Street Journal, and the Democratic Left.
ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” uses as background President Trump’s “moral failure” over Charlottesville: he refused to blame only the Right—those Nazis—for the violence...But stated that there was enough culpability to go round on both sides. (Remember it was such high-profile minions of the “conservative movement inc.” like Ben Shapiro, Glenn Back, and Jonah Goldberg, all of whom had been Never Trumpers, who joined the Left and led the charge to condemn the president and imply that he was a “racist” for his “failure.”)
Indeed, Black Lives Matter and Antifa—who did not have a march/rally permit, while the Unite the Right demonstrators did—gathered specifically to challenge and engage in combat with the Rightists and, in effect, caused the riot.
Never mind; ProPublica’s narrative said not one word about that Leftist violence. From viewing their “Frontline” exposition you would only think it was just that dangerous and armed group of Nazis, who, we are also told, have infiltrated all facets of American life (including the military) who initiated and committed mayhem. And, of course, behind it all stood and stands the political figure who has legitimated the “climate of hate”—Donald J. Trump.
A larger question remains, and not just about the fate of the monument to Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, but about all the symbols of our history all across the Southland. It is a question that all Southerners who value and treasure their rich patrimony and inheritance should ask themselves: as the radical cultural Marxists engage in a concerted campaign—with the connivance of the news media (including Fox) and much of what passes for the establishment “conservative movement”—to wipe the horizon clear of all monuments to our history, our heritage, and our heroes, where are the thousands of Southern-born folks who should be turning out and demanding that those extreme Leftists leave our monuments and symbols alone?
At home watching the latest episode of “America’s Got Talent” or Steve Harvey? Out mowing the grass and drinking a cool one?
In other words, arranging the deck chairs on the RMS Titanic while the cultural Marxist ice berg does its work?
In other words: where are our fellow citizens when the local gang of professional Marxists, Black Lives Matter militants, and Antifa hooligans—with tacit okays from the leaders of both political parties, and with the nodding approval of the press—organize a loud, semi-violent demonstration against those monuments which, they say, are “symbols of racism” and “white supremacy,” and threaten to destroy them (just like they did in Durham, NC)?
Where are our fellow citizens when the local liberal and spineless Republican office-holders, afraid of being labeled “racists,” hold quickly-planned “public input sessions” to decide the fate of those symbols?
Where are our fellow citizens when the few heritage defense organizations that do exist hold public events, such as Lee Day, Confederate Flag Day, or Confederate Memorial Day observances? Sitting on their duffs while those elements who wish to extinguish not just our heritage, but us as well, continue on their cancerous destructive course in transforming our institutions and culture?
Back in 2007, as chairman of North Carolina’s annual Confederate Flag Day (sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans), I brought down nationally-known traditionalist conservative author, Dr. Paul Gottfried, to address our event. His speech was both a salute to Tar Heels who assembled to honor their heritage and a clarion call to Southerners to defend their heritage, and his presentation was reprinted later in the Confederate Veteran magazine.
In a more recent essay he asks the same question I ask of my fellow citizens now, and not only of my fellow Southerners: where are you? Here is part of what he writes (“Southern Cultural Cleansing: A Northern Perspective,” June 26, 2018):
As our vicious and unhinged enemies attempt to liquidate our past where are those thousands of sons and daughters of the South (and their allies from other parts of the nation) willing to stand up and say to the culture crazies: “Halt! No further: leave our symbols alone—go back to you filthy Leftist hovels—better yet, be true to your convictions and take the next boat to North Korea (about which your web sites wax admiringly). I’m sure the Fearless Leader Kim can find a use for your brains-dulled-by-drugs, unwashed selves!”
[NOTE: This article was originally published on August 15th, 2017.]
This past Saturday night, August 12, the media was filled to overflowing with nothing but lurid and hysterical accounts of the “violence” and the “massacre” by so-called “white nationalists” (alternately identified as “white supremacists” or “white racists”) inflicted on poor, innocent “counter demonstrators” in Charlottesville who were “protesting hate and bigotry.” That’s the narrative that showed up, including wall-to-wall coverage on Fox, overpowering everything else, and spewed forth as if handed down from Mount Olympus by assorted “wise” Republican senators, including most notably Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, and John McCain, whose biggest complaint was that Donald Trump somehow did not specify that the violence was exclusively caused by something that is termed the “Alt-right.”
Nary a word about the ultimate and real responsibility of the American Left for a continuing history of violence, nary a word about the responsibility of the so-called “resist Trump” organizations and their actions, nary a word about the uncontrolled rampaging of the Black Lives Matter movement (e.g., Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.), nary a word about the stepped up and planned confrontations by the “antifa” (self-titled “antifascists”) militants. That is, not one word about the history of virulent street action, fire bombing, trashing of private property, and, yes, attempts to kill anyone (e.g., Representative Steve Scalise) to the perceived right of, say, John McCain, anyone who might in any way say a good word about Donald Trump, or defend older American traditions and beliefs.
Continually, the networks portray what happened Saturday as simply the manifestation of extremism and bigotry from the Right. And practically the only voice that got even remotely close to a rational perspective came from, quite ironically, a black professor, Carol Swain at Vanderbilt University, who distinguished between the very legitimate desires, aspirations and fears of America’s under-attack white majority and the misapprehension that somehow those desires equal inevitably “white racism” or “white supremacy.” As Swain indicated, what has happened during the past few decades is a palpable marginalization of millions of hard working Americans, mostly white and mostly Christian, who have been sidelined and left behind by the advancing progressivist revolution (these last words are mine). They are not naturally “racists” or even “white supremacists,” but rather they seek to guarantee their own survival, and the survival of their families, their communities, and their culture. They have seen the standards, beliefs, traditions, morality and customs that they inherited and have cherished—they have seen them attacked, ridiculed, and, in many cases, banned, even criminalized.
The so-called “Alt-right” march and their demonstration in Charlottesville, then, must be seen as something of a predictable boiling over of that legitimate and simmering sentiment. Protesting the attempt to take down the historic Robert E. Lee statue was not, in this sense, the underlying reason for the Alt-right protest. Rather, it served as a much broader, if much angrier and extreme, reminder of what is and has been occurring in our society, a symbol of the continuing destruction of this nation and its history by those who zealously possess and attempt to impose a world view, a template, which is the antithesis of those beliefs and that faith that millions of us have inherited and which we hold dear and believe.
The attacks by nearly the entirety of the media—including notably Fox—on the “Alt-right” demonstrators as “white racists” and “white supremacists,” then, is not only misguided scattershot, but it partakes in the dominant and ideologically leftist Deep State establishment narrative which posits as absolute truth that “hate,” “bigotry,” “racism,” ad nauseum, only come from what they identity as the “far” or “extreme” right, or more recently, “Alt-right.” And those terms are all-inclusive for anyone who dissents even in the slightest from the ongoing progressivist Revolution.
Thus, when the president condemned violence from “both sides,” it was as if Mount Vesuvius had erupted and had poured down its ash and lava all over Pompei! The Mainstream Media went literally berserk in outrage and demanded that he specify by name the “right” and “rightist violence.” And in jumped with both feet the obsequiously sickening Marco Rubio and Karl Rove, obedient to the standard Deep State mindset, urging the president to condemn “white nationalism” and “white supremacy.”
And so it went throughout that afternoon and evening…until I finally couldn’t take it any longer, and switched over to watch John Wayne in John Ford’s 1950 film masterpiece, “Rio Grande.” (It is always a gracious reward at the end to hear the Yankee band strike up “Dixie” as the Union troops pass in review!)
Certainly, the Alt-right demonstrators in Charlottesville included some extreme elements. Certainly, some would advocate a form of “supremacy,” or rather a return to a time when white people had more authority in this nation. And, yes, they were very angry—angry after watching the dozens of violent manifestations by those revolutionaries of the Left, those “resisters” and “antifa” Marxists and Anarchists, those rampaging Black Lives Matter zealots for whom any law enforcement action against any black person is, ipso facto, “racist” and “police brutality,” legitimizing their burning out of whole neighborhoods in Baltimore and Ferguson. And, yes, driving a car murderously into the assembled counter-demonstrators, however much provocation there may have been, was unjustified and counter-productive and very probably criminal.
All of this was predictable and even perhaps inevitable, given what has happened in the country. Indeed, is it not a product of the over-the-top rhetoric, the apocalyptic imagery and the violent reaction from the forces and minions of the Deep State managerial establishment to last year’s election and any attempt to reverse their jealously-guarded domination over us all?
Recently, Peter Brimelow, editor of VDare.com wrote a piece on his web site, entitled “there will be blood.” And the implication was and is this: for far too long, we middle Americans, we “deplorables,” oppressed and suppressed by an increasingly revolutionary, radically multiculturalist, culturally Marxist, suffocating overlay that drains out our historic being and essence as a people, have more or less obediently acceded to the Revolution and its infectious cancer. Beginning last November, but actually before that, that passivity was interrupted, and millions of citizens, understanding, if intuitively, that their lives and their country were slipping away from their control, stood up and cried: “No further!”
And the dominant forces in our culture have responded furiously. At first those of us who wished to defend our traditions and our historic Western Christian culture sought to meet their assault traditionally, within the accustomed methods and pathways of our republic. But it was they—the forces of the increasingly hysterical Deep State and their stormtrooper antifa street fighters, Black Lives Matter and its fatuous race hustlers like William Barber, the radicalized and demented university students, and not just them, but the near totality of the Democrat Party and most establishment Republicans, all fatally infected by a Revolutionary progressivist venom—they who first unleashed the violence in words AND in deeds.
Ironically, it is Robert E. Lee who defiantly stands for what was and is admirable and right about America. And his lesson is being lost through all that is currently occurring. A man who despised slavery and freed his slaves (in 1862), a man descended from the Founders of our old Republic and who fully understood what the Founders intended, a man who loved the Union but loved liberty more, a man of a truly Christian and gentle disposition—Lee stands out in our history as one of our greatest figures, respected and deeply admired by such diverse leaders as Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Yet, he also comprehended what the tyranny of an overreaching Federal government might mean. And he made a momentous decision to stand with his state AND for the American Constitution. In a real sense, he stood 155 years ago against the incipient progressivist Revolution, and despite overwhelming odds, he almost succeeded in leading the Confederate nation to victory against that revolution.
Rather than recur then to some grab-bag terminology the media calls the “Alt-right”—which has yet to be accurately defined and described, other than becoming a “devil” term for the minions of the Deep State—those of us, those deplorables, those who awakened from a silent slumber last November, those of us who wish only to reclaim the right of our people, our culture, our civilization to survive and continue unmolested—we should look to the model of that “chevalier sans peur,” that noble Virginian, Robert E. Lee, who tried to preserve the American confederation, but also understood that there are times when one must, regretfully and painfully, take bolder steps to save that which is admirable and laudable in our history and our culture.
This, then, should be the watchword of our faith. We have been aggrieved and assaulted; we must respond according to the appropriate levels, not more, not less. We must be wiser and more intelligent than our enemies in the Deep State, for they possess most of the major weapons. Yet, with determination and the necessary prudence, and the wisdom and lessons of our ancestors, and above all, with Faith, we can succeed.
We defend our historic culture and our faith; we do so morally and ethically; but we do not stand down, nor do we shy away from the conflict.
What is Cultural Marxism?
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.