I append to this introduction a longish article by Professor Michel Chossudovsky, approximately 4,500 words in length. It is one of the most detailed "backstory" accounts of why and how the Ukraine conflict came about--detailing the nefarious actions and outrageous provocations of the Neoconservative-dominated US State Department, truly a "state-within-a-state," operating seemingly without any limits, constitutional or otherwise, with the object of imposing, either by force or by guile, American global hegemony on recalcitrant nations of the world.
Along with studies by Professor Richard Sakwa (Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, 2015), Ben Abelow (How the West Brought War to Ukraine, 2022), a recent full issue of Harper’s (“Why Are We in Ukraine?” by Benjamin Schwartz and Christopher Layne, June 2023), and other investigative works by Professor John Mearsheimer and Scott Ritter, Chossudovsky’s essay should be required reading for members of the US Congress and anyone seriously concerned about the increasingly perilous conflict in eastern Europe.
As with earlier situations, e.g., the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, etc., this history is one of continual (and largely disastrous) hegemonic efforts of the Neocon foreign policy elites who have guided our foreign policy for decades, to continue to advance their vision of a leftist democratic world, replete with every moral and political barbarism now afflicting the USA and much Western Europe. Thus, the US's intense pressure on the pliant Ukrainian regime to institute transgenderism and full "homosexual equity," both on and off the battlefield.
In all seriousness, we should ask: Is not such infectiously evil activity forced on countries around the world a kind outright subservience to a form of Satanism?
Of particular interest is a transcript of the full February 2014 conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. That supposedly secret conversation was picked up accidentally by Estonian sources and then made public. IT HAS NEVER BEEN DENIED or refuted in any way...and it is revelatory in illustrating the imperious globalist vision regnant along the Potomac and in Bruxelles.
The article was apparently translated, but I have made some discrete edits so to make it more readable and fluent for English-speaking audiences. But I urge you to read it...and to reflect and consider the consequences of what I call "unending war for unobtainable peace," and in the process the destruction of billions of dollars of infrastructure, the cultural obliteration of entire countries, and the deaths of many thousands of civilians...indirectly traceable to the demonic policies of our Neocon elites.
Bombshell: NATO Says “War Started in 2014”. “Fake Pretext” to Wage War against Russia? To Invoke Article 5 of Atlantic Treaty?
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 27, 2023
This article addresses the implications of a controversial statement by NATO to the effect that the Ukraine War “didn’t start in 2022”, “The war started in 2014.” It’s a Bombshell: NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed (speaking on behalf of NATO) that the “war didn’t start in 2022”.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jens Stoltenberg unequivocally confirmed that “the war started in 2014″. Jens Stoltenberg’s bold statement (which has barely been the object of media coverage) has opened up a Pandora’s Box, or best described “A Can of Worms” on behalf of the Atlantic Alliance. What he bears out is that the beginning of the Ukraine coincided with a U.S.-sponsored coup d’état, confirmed by Victoria’s Nuland‘s “F**k the EU” telephone conversation with U.S. Ambassador Pyatt in February 2014. (see below).
Part I of this article examines the legal implications of Stoltenberg’s statement on behalf of the Atlantic Alliance. Of crucial significance: Having stated that “the war started in 2014”, NATO can no longer claim that Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) of February 24, 2022 constitutes, from a legal standpoint, “an invasion”. Part I also addresses the issue of The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).
Parti II focuses on Stoltenberg’s twisted statement that Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty could be invoked as means to declare war against Russia. “Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty – its collective defence clause,” declares that an attack on one member state is “to be an attack against all NATO members.” Article 5 is NATO’s doctrine of Collective Self-Defense. “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all”.
In regard to the invocation of Article V in relation to Russia, a justification or fake “pretext” was mentioned by Stoltenberg in his interview with the Washington Post.
Were Article V to be invoked, this would inevitably precipitate the World into a WWIII scenario, consisting of a war whereby all 30 member states of the Atlantic Alliance, most of which are members of the European Union would be involved
Part One: Legal Implications
The legal implications of Stoltenberg’s statements are far-reaching. Speaking on behalf of NATO, he has acknowledged that Russia did not declare war on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. “The war started in 2014“, which intimates that the war was launched in 2014, with US-NATO directly involved from the very outset:
1. The Legality of Russia’s “Special Military Operation”
Inasmuch as the war had commenced and has been ongoing since 2014 as confirmed by Stoltenberg, Russia’s Special Military Operation cannot be categorized as an “illegal invasion” (under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter). The latter states that members of the UN shall refrain: “from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.…”
Inasmuch as the war started in 2014, Art 2(4) applies to both the Kiev regime and well as US-NATO which was behind the February 2014 illegal coup d’état.
What this implies is that from a legal standpoint, US-NATO on behalf and in coordination with the Kiev regime had initiated a de facto undeclared war against Luhansk and Donesk. From a legal standpoint, this was not “An Act of War against Russia”. Led by US-NATO, this was an “Act of War against Ukraine and the People of Ukraine”.
Putin’s February 24, 2022 Statement
As we recall President Putin had defined the Special Military Operation (SMO) in support of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The stated objective was to “demilitarise” and “denazify” Ukraine. Article 51 of the UN Charter which was referred to by President Putin in his February 24, 2022 speech confirms the following:
Russia’s SMO complies with the exercise of self-defense. Putin in his speech (February 24, 2022) referred to:
2. “NeoCons Endorse NeoNazis”: U.S. Sponsored 2014 EuroMaidan Coup d’état. An Illegal and Criminal Act Supported by US-NATO
What Stoltenberg intimated in his interview with the WP (no doubt unwittingly) is that the Ukraine War was a US-NATO initiative, carried out in the immediate wake of the illegal US supported February 2014 EuroMaidan coup d’etat which was then conducive to the instatement of the regime in Kiev.
The New York Times described the EuroMaidan as “a flowering of democracy, a blow to authoritarianism and kleptocracy in the former Soviet space.” (After Initial Triumph, Ukraine’s Leaders Face Battle for Credibility, NYTimes.com, March 1, 2014, emphasis added)
The grim realities were otherwise. The forbidden truth was that US-NATO had engineered –through a carefully staged covert operation– the formation of a US-NATO proxy regime, which was conducive to the removal and brutal demise of the elected president Viktor Yanukovych.
The staged EuroMaidan Protest Movement initiated in November 2013 was led by the two Ukrainian Nazi parties, with Dmytro Yarosh, of the Right Sector (Pravy Sector) playing a key role as leader of the Brown Shirt Neo-Nazi paramilitary. He had called for disbanding the Party of the Regions and the Communist Party. The shootings of protesters by snipers were coordinated by Yarosh’s Brown Shirts and Andriy Parubiy leader of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party.
Of significance there was a leaked telephone conversation (February 2014) between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union Commissioner Catherine Ashton, which confirmed that “the snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Ukrainian opposition leaders [NeoNazis]”.
Leaked Conversation: Urmas Paet and Catherine Ashton:
Estonia Foreign Minister Urmas Paet tells Catherine Ashton the following (excerpts):
The Central Role of the Svoboda Neo-Nazi Party
As outlined above, Andriy Parubiy played a key role in the EuroMaidan massacre. Andriy Parubiy is the co-founder together with Oleh Tyahnybok of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda). Parubiy was first appointed Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU) by the Kiev regime. (Рада національної безпеки і оборони України), a key position which overseas the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, National Security and Intelligence. He subsequently (2015-2019) became Vice-Chair and Chair of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) shifting into the realm of international diplomacy on behalf of the regime.
In the course of his career, Parubiy developed numerous contacts in North America and Europe, and with members of the European Parliament. He was invited to Washington on several occasions, meeting up (already in 2015) with Sen. John McCain (chair) of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was also invited to Ottawa, meeting up with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill in 2016.
The Role of Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland, acting on behalf of the US State Department was directly involved in “suggesting” key appointments. While the Neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok was not granted a cabinet position, members of the two neo-Nazi parties (namely Svoboda [Freedom Party] and The Right Sector [Pravy Sektor]) were granted key positions in the areas of Defense, National Security and Law Enforcement.
The Neo-Nazis also controlled the judicial process with the appointment of Oleh Makhnitsky of the Svoboda Party (on February 22, 2014) to the position of prosecutor-general. What kind of justice would prevail with a renowned Neo-Nazi in charge of the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine?
Nuland-Pyatt Leaked Phone Conversation
The controversial conversations between Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador Pyatt are recorded below. (See audio and transcript below, YouTube version (below). (Leaked Online on February 4, 2014, Exact Date of Conversation Unconfirmed, Three weeks prior to the demise of President Yanukovych on February 21-22, 2014)
Transcript of Conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on YouTube. Source of transcript: BBC.
**Warning: This transcript contains swearing**
3. U.S.-NATO Military Aid and Support (2014-2023) to a Full Fledged Neo-Nazi Proxy Regime is an Illegal and Criminal Act.
There is ample evidence of collaboration between the Kiev regime and NATO member states, specifically in relation to the continuous flow of military aid as well the training and support provided to the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.
NOTE: “In the aftermath of World War II, the National Socialist Party (the Nazi party) of Germany was considered a criminal organization and therefore banned. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946 likewise ruled that the Nazi Party was a criminal organization.”
Since 2014, Ukraine’s regime has been generously funded by several NATO member states. The Nazi Azov Battalion was from the outset integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard which is under the jurisdiction of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Azov battalion has (2015) been trained by the U.S. Canada and the UK. “The US contingent of instructors includes 290 specialists.…” Britain has dispatched 75 military personnel responsible for training “in command procedures and tactical intelligence”. (Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2015). The training program was coupled with the influx of military equipment under a program of so-called “non-lethal” military aid. In turn, the Azov battalion –which is the object of military aid, has also been involved in the conduct of Summer Nazi training Camps for children and adolescents. [See: Ukraine’s “Neo-Nazi Summer Camp”. Military Training for Young Children, Para-military Recruits By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, July 08, 2023]
The Azov battalion’s Summer Camps are supported by US military aid channelled to the Ukraine National Guard via the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The MIA coordinates the “anti-terrorism operation” (ATO) in Donbass.
The Sunday Times confirms that the children and adolescents are eventually slated to be recruited in the National Guard, which was integrated into the Ukrainian Military in 2016. The Guardian casually dismisses the criminal nature of the Azov Battalion’s Summer Camp for children (which bears the Nazi WolfAngel SS insignia):
4. The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)
Inasmuch as “the war started in 2014”, Stoltenberg’s statements confirm that US-NATO were supportive of Ukraine’s artillery and missile bombardments of Donbass which resulted in more than 14,000 deaths of civilians, including children. Stoltenberg’s admission on behalf of NATO that “the war started in 2014” would have required that from the very outset in February 2014 the warring parties including their allies abide by the Four Basic Principles of The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) which consist in:
Civilian population (children) and civilian objects (schools, hospitals, residential areas) were the deliberate object of UAF and Azov Battalion attacks in blatant violation of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). In accordance with the LOAC, Moscow took the decision starting in February 2014 to come to the rescue of Donbass civilians including children. Visibly the president of the I.C.C. Piotr Hofmanski in accusing President Putin of “unlawful kidnapping of Ukrainian children” hasn’t the foggiest understanding of Article 48. of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). Is this an issue of incompetence? Or has Piotr Hofmanski been co-opted into endorsing crimes against humanity?
In derogation of The Law of Armed Conflict, US-NATO bears the responsibility for having endorsed the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion, which was involved in the conduct of atrocities against civilians.
Part Two: Is NATO Intent upon Invoking Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty as a Means to Declaring War on Russia?
There are ambiguous statements by Stoltenberg (in his interview with the Washington Post) which suggest that the invocation of Article 5 is on the US-NATO drawing board.
Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty constitutes NATO’s doctrine of Collective Self-Defense: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.…”
Article V was invoked in March 1999, based on a “fabricated pretext” to bomb and invade Yugoslavia. It was subsequently invoked on September 12, 2001 by the Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels as a justification to declare war on Afghanistan, on the grounds that an unnamed foreign power had attacked
America on September 11, 2001. In both cases (Yugoslavia and Afghanistan), “fabricated pretexts” were used to justify the invocation of Article V.
Fabricating A Pretext to Wage War on Russia?
While Stoltenberg firmly acknowledges that “Russia is not seeking a full-fledged confrontation with NATO triggering Article 5″, he nonetheless intimates that NATO is prepared to invoke Article 5 against Russia, based on a fabricated pretext (e.g attack on “undersea infrastructure”), thereby potentially leading to a World War III scenario.
Stoltenberg’s reference to “undersea infrastructure” intimates that Russia was behind the sabotage of Nord Stream in September 2022, which had been ordered by President Biden with the acceptance of Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
What the above statements suggest is that the invocation of Article 5 as well as the use of “a pretext” to wage war on Russia are being discussed behind closed doors.
Stoltenberg claims that NATO is committed to supporting Ukraine while “preventing escalation” through “increased military presence” as well as confirming that “we are not part of the conflict”:
Contradictory statement: Is “Preventing Escalation” contemplated by Invoking Article 5?
Among NATO Member States, there are both “Allies” and “Enemies”
It is worth noting that in the course of the last two years, several of America’s European “allies” (NATO member states) whose corrupt politicians are supportive of the Ukraine war, have been the victims of de facto U.S. sponsored acts of economic warfare including the sabotage of Nord Stream.
The EU economy which has relied on cheap energy from Russia is in a shambles, marked by disruptions in the entire fabric of industrial production (manufacturing), transportation and commodity trade. Specifically this applies to actions against Germany, Italy and France, which have resulted in the destabilization of their national economies and the impoverishment of their population. The sabotage of Nord Stream was an U.S. Act of War against both Germany and the European Union. And Germany’s chancellor was fully aware that an act of sabotage against Nord Stream had been envisaged by the US, to the detriment of more than 400 million Europeans.
A string of corporate bankruptcies resulting in lay-offs and unemployment is unfolding across the European Union. Small and medium sized enterprises are slated to be wiped off the map:
In a bitter irony, many of the NATO member states (who are categorized as “allies” under the Atlantic Alliance’s Collective Defense Clause) are the “de facto enemies” of America, victims of U.S. economic warfare. The practice of so-called Collective Defense under Article 5 constitutes a process of mass recruitment by the 30 NATO member states, largely on behalf of Washington’s hegemonic agenda. It was applied twice in NATO’s history: in March 1999 against Yugoslavia and in October 2001 against Afghanistan.
It constitutes on the part of Washington not only a means to recruit soldiers on a massive scale, but also to ensure that NATO member states contribute financially to America’s hegemonic wars: In other words: “to do the fighting for us on our behalf” or “They will do the dirty work for us” (Dick Cheney).
This article has addressed the Unspoken Truth, which we have known all along, from the very outset: “The War Started in 2014”. This statement –which is now acknowledged by NATO– was the basis of my detailed analysis.
My conclusions are as follows:
The Atlantic Alliance has no legitimacy. It is a criminal entity which must be repealed.
US-NATO is responsible for extensive crimes committed against the People of Ukraine. What is required is a Worldwide campaign at all levels of society, with a view to eventually dismantling the Atlantic Alliance, while promoting an immediate cease fire and meaningful peace negotiations in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
This piece was published on My Corner on Sept. 9, 2023.
In a column published at my blog site and elsewhere this past June 24, “The Return of the ‘Great Disruptor’ – Donald Trump,” I offered reasons why I believed Donald Trump would not only garner the Republican nomination for president in 2024, but why much of the criticism directed against him and his candidacy, mostly from other GOP candidates and various “NeverTrumpers,” was largely ill-founded. I urged support for him because I believe he would be the necessary radical tonic needed to dislodge the managerial and administrative elites who now largely control the American nation, and thus begin a painful, but required process—a veritable counter- revolution—to salvage what is left of this country and just perhaps recover some of the guiding principles and beliefs that once informed the republic.
Two of the major objections to my arguments—certainly the most frequently repeated—I addressed briefly in that earlier column: First, that Trump cannot win the 2024 presidential election, that is, he is unelectable.
The reasoning goes that he would lose college-educated voters and, particularly, upper-middle class females, as well as independents, put off by his personal hijinks and legal woes. And without them, in the general election, he would lose to Joe Biden, despite Biden’s apparent weaknesses and the electoral shenanigans of the Democratic Party. So, the argument goes, the GOP needs to select another candidate, either a DeSantis, or a Mike Pence, or a Tim Scott, someone who doesn’t bring that baggage to the table and could win in 2024.
Second, and perhaps a more substantial criticism is that Trump’s record of appointments during his first term left much to be desired. Indeed, that a number of crucial appointees named by him to positions within his administration, including some high level policy advisers, actually undercut and sabotaged his announced programs and initiatives. In some cases, not just privately, but publicly they opposed an America First agenda. Nearly all of them can be classified as “neoconservatives” and globalists. The list of those malefactors is unfortunately fairly long, including such individuals as John Bolton, “Mad Dog” Mattis, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo, Elliott Abrams, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley, to name only a few in the upper echelon who occupied positions of authority and direction (and not counting lower-level administrative personnel). Certainly, most of those appointments were recommended by members of the Republican DC establishment and found sinecures due to President Trump’s initial desire to work with the GOP establishment and cement his surprisingly successful candidacy with party regulars.
That strategy of inclusion and party “unity” was a disaster to the Make America Great Again agenda, but, rather, produced various roadblocks and the uncompletion of Trump’s promised agenda. The question, then, for many on the Right this time round is: would a second Trump term resemble the first one, with an ambitious agenda compromised by a dubiously loyal staff?
Just recently two reports have appeared that answer in large part questions suscitated by these objections.
First, new extensive polling demonstrates that Donald Trump enjoys increased support from college-educated and suburban voters, polling better with those groups than Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis’s key argument was that he was “Trump without the bravado,” a calmer and less controversial—and thus more electable—version of the Donald. He could bring over college-educated voters and independents, voters who Trump scared away.
But a report published by The Washington Examiner (July 27, 2023), using June data from Echelon Insights
The second report, first published by Bloomberg News (July 21) indicates that President Trump has taken significant steps to avoid the personnel issues and unfinished or undercut agenda items left incomplete from his first term. An analysis of his programmatic “Agenda47” plans reveal that he apparently has learned from the mistakes made during his first term, and he has now surrounded himself with solid, credentialed talent from the populist, MAGA Right.
The Bloomberg report, despite its hostile tone, deserves to be quoted at length:
Reading the Bloomberg report one can fully understand the abject terror, fear and horror of the Left and establishment Republican/conservative elites, as well as their determination to “get Trump” by any and all means—"lawfare,” election manipulation, use of the 14th Amendment to disqualify him as having engaged in sedition, rebellion, and treason…any method, any action, including very possibly outrageous imprisonment, and if President Trump should emerge as a real threat to Deep State dominance, could we see an attempted assassination?
It’s happened before.
After all the virulent, hysterical and unbridled hatred of the 45th president knows no bounds, and nothing is off the table. All the more reason to become informed and to be vitally involved in efforts to assure election integrity.
2024 may well be the year that determines if the American republic can survive, much less recover.
This post was published at MyCorner on July 31, 2023.
It is absolutely clear now to all but the most ideologically infected or close-minded automaton that the prosecution of President Donald Trump for various levels of malfeasance in regard to his handling of records seized by stormtrooper agents of Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice is just the latest, and most egregious attempt to “get Donald Trump.” It comes after the implosion of the failed “Russia Hoax,” two utterly obscene impeachment efforts, a series of January 6 “show hearings” (which would make the East German Stasi or KGB envious!), and various harassment trials over purported sexual miscues (like the accusations against Justice Kavanaugh, financed by big Democratic Party billionaire Reid Hoffman).
Since Trump’s shocking and unsuspected election to the American nation’s highest office, virtual panic has taken hold not just of the Left, but also conspicuously of the establishment Republican elites, supposedly on the Right. For decades these elites, both the managerial Left and the establishment conservatives, have considered their sinecures and positions of power over the rest of us to be untouchable, and their authority theirs by right. They have formed a kind of self-perpetuating oligarchy, an exclusive Uniparty, and simple citizens, no matter whom they may be, have no right to question its right to control our lives, not just politically, but increasingly via the incestuous partnership with national and international finance corporatism (including the electronic media giants).
One only gets access or elevation to this new elite by making the proper obeisance, mouthing the “correct” messages, appealing to the “correct” financiers and corporate managers, and effectively accepting a certain template and a resultant narrative. There are, of course, some variations which are permitted: one can be a Republican or claim to be a “conservative,” and utter from time-to-time the banal and increasingly stale talking points which are supposed to indicate that a candidate is a “conservative,” or a “constitutionalist,” or “favors lower taxes.” Such affirmations usually occur during fevered election campaigns and are meant to assure and soothe restive voters that candidate X really does represent constituent wishes and will fulfill campaign promises once in office.
Of course, after election, the charade is over for nearly all those candidates, as they slide seamlessly into the embrace of the DC Swamp and begin to “suckle at the teats” of the managerial state. Few there are who dare oppose this immense cabal, for it has the power not just to exile dissenters but effectively silence them. Thus, we have the current example of a Marjorie Taylor Greene who is treated as something of a “wingnut,” mostly shunned by Republican elites.
This brings us ineluctably to the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016, and the near-hysterical, laser-like, and abiding hatred of him. For it is understanding that hatred and those efforts to “get Trump” that in so many ways explain what is occurring in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election: the unceasing efforts using the courts, employing the media, using bare-knuckle politics, to discredit and defeat him, and possibly to imprison him, to stop him by any and all means….
And that is the major reason that Trump should be supported for 2024. Not because of his failings (about which more a little later), but because he represents existentially a real and present—identified—threat to the dominance of the managerial oligarchy which essentially controls our nation. And he does this almost uniquely, far more than any other candidate in the Republican stable (most of whom are considered “manageable” by the Establishment). The unhinged Left (i.e., almost the entirety of the Democratic Party) and Never Trump/Establishment elements of the GOP understand this threat more profoundly than even many of Donald Trump’s nominal supporters, and it literally scares the hell out of them.
I have argued before in several essays that I was not sure to what extent President Trump fully understood his role in what has become, in my view, an epochal and perhaps final battle for the future of the American nation. In 2016 I suggested that his positions came from his intuitions and his instincts, and weren’t really formed “political” or “ideological” perspectives. They just seemed logical to him as a businessman as he viewed the Swamp from the outside. And that also would in part explain reasons why, when he became the GOP candidate and then president, he listened to Republican apparatchiks and attempted in his own way to bring about unity of the party, something traditionally that party candidates did. That effort, as we can state, was probably the most unsuccessful and destructive aspect in his first term, for many of his counsellors and appointments (e.g., Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, “Mad Dog” Mattis, Nikki Haley, et al) did their damnedest to undercut and stifle his announced positions and programs. And perhaps his own initial political naivete’ compounded matters, as well.
Yet despite some frustrated initiatives, some uncompleted programs, and frequent internal administration sabotage, Trump achieved something that no president in a century had accomplished: he forced the fangs of the fearsome managerial state out into public view for the first time.
Back in 2016 I first argued that Donald Trump’s role was akin to a “bull-in-china-shop,” to break the taboos of the Left and the managerial elites, and, at best, to force the maniacal establishment to lower its mask which for decades had occulted its actual intentions and its progressive infection of our society’s historic institutions with a virulent and fatal venom. That infection had been percolating for years, it had near total control of our educational and academic institutions, it largely dominated our entertainment industry, it controlled most of our media, and it had forced an iron-clad template on our politics…that is, until Trump came upon the scene.
As he spoke mostly off-script during the 2016 campaign, he gave voice to the fundamental views of regular citizens, that broad swathe of folks which Hilary Clinton called “deplorable,” and who now are denominated “MAGA.” Those rumblings, those views, previously had been mostly unexpressed on a national level; most citizens lacked a real means to do so. The few earlier major figures challenging the status quo, the progressivist Leftist “long march” through our institutions, had been sidelined, silenced, or exiled from the public square.
But as Trump spoke, he rattled cages, challenged establishment bromides, and questioned the progressivist template, whether he fully understood that or not. No matter that some of his rhetoric never made it into real programs or was stymied from within. The really significant factor was that he said it fearlessly from a national bully pulpit, that he made it acceptable to be a real opponent of the ongoing progressivist Leftist transformation, and that his presence unleashed an actual counter-revolution of sorts which, despite heightened persecution and concerted “cancelling,” continues. In that sense, Trump opened a Pandora’s Box which, since his election, the DC Uniparty has been unable to close, despite its frantic and heavy-handed stepped-up efforts.
Thus we come to the lead-up to the election of 2024 and the continued frenetic and unleashed efforts to stop Trump, not just by the fanatical Left but also by the self-satisfied Republican establishment. But unlike in 2016 or even 2020, that reaction is far more poisonous, widespread, and ingrained in the institutions of our society. And it has marshalled legions of Never-Trumpers and those who have convinced themselves of oft-repeated refrains that: “Trump can’t win,” or “Trump will bring down other Republican candidates,” or “Trump is a moral reprobate and will lose the women’s vote.”
None of these accusations is actually true; nevertheless, they have taken hold even of some sincere persons on the Right. Any summary of polls over the past few months indicates that in addition to running away with the Republican nomination by huge margins, Trump can beat Biden in the general election. A RealClearPolitics average of all presidential polls (June 20, 2023) has Trump slightly ahead of Biden in an eventual face-off. He has a lead among independents (Economist/YouGov, June 9, 2023) and leads DeSantis among Republican women (Washington Examiner). More than that, an honest examination of the 2022 election reveals that Trump-supported candidates, contrary to the illusory claims bandied so widely about, were victorious in 236 contests out of 274 where he made endorsements, according to a Bloomberg News compilation (November 15, 2022)—more than a 6 to 1 margin of wins. He was not a drag on Republican candidates; rather, election mechanics and widespread rigging in key states played a far more significant role in a few high-profile GOP defeats. Those defeats cannot be laid at the feet of Donald Trump.
These arguments against Trump, then, collapse.
Other critics maintain that: “Trump has made promises he hasn’t kept,” or “Trump appointed and listened to bad advisors.” Even the staunchest Trump supporter can acknowledge that, even with the many positive things the Donald accomplished in his first term (e.g., especially three critical Supreme Court Justices), his selection of advisors and, at times, appointments, undercut much of his announced 2016 agenda. Yet, closely monitoring his campaign in 2023 and examining his Agenda47 items, he seems to have learned from mistakes made in 2017-2021.
The essential point is that Donald Trump is the one candidate the managerial Deep State really fears, and the reason for that is that he is the Great Disruptor, he endangers their hegemony and their seemingly unstoppable advance to globalist domination. In reality, his abiding support has little to do with whether he would advocate lowering taxes, or reducing foreign entanglements, or even completing a border wall—these are all very important, of course. But the often-unspoken reason that Trump supporters are so committed is that they know intuitively he is the wrecking-ball that is so sorely needed along the banks of the Potomac these days…as well as in Bruxelles and Davos. And with wrecking-balls, at times the process is messy and untidy.
No one else elicits more abject fear and loathing from our enemies than Donald Trump; no one else can bring on the necessary and probably final confrontation with the progressivist forces of the Leftist managerial state. The MAGA folks understand that the sooner this final confrontation occurs, the better are their chances of success. Other, more establishment-oriented candidates who propose a return to “normalcy,” only prolong our national agony while essentially allowing the rot to continue.
That is unacceptable and a recipe for the certain disappearance of the American nation as we have known it.
This piece was originally published on My Corner on June 24, 2023.
On Sunday, June 11, 2023, my dear friend and a man who is rightly called “the Dean of Southern Historians,” Dr. Clyde N. Wilson, will celebrate his 82nd birthday. For some fruitful fifty-five of those years he has been at the forefront of efforts to make the history of his native region better known, and, as events and severe challenges to that history have happened at a dizzying pace, he has stood, like one of his admired historical figures, General Thomas J. Jackson, “as a stonewall” resisting the increasing insanity and madness of our age.
His various books, including the published multi-volume complete works of Southern statesman John C. Calhoun (University of South Carolina), books of essays, edited volumes, annotated bibliographies, and hundreds of articles give testimony to a tireless, indefatigable champion, intent on both mining and revealing the richness of Southern history and also resolutely defending it against powerful and virulent enemies, both nationally and amongst us. Unlike far too many of his fellow Southerners, Dr. Wilson has understood that the geographical region we call “the South” has had an important role not just in the 350 year existence of the land we call “America,” but in a very real sense in maintaining that Western Christian heritage inherited from original settlers, to the point of going to war to defend that precious patrimony.
I think it was when I was in grad school at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s that I first came across articles and essays by Clyde Wilson. I was already reading National Review and the quarterly, Modern Age (long before they went over to Neoconservative/NeoReconstructionism). Wilson, along with writers like Mel Bradford and Russell Kirk, for whom I served as assistant the year after securing my MA in history, wrote fairly regularly for what was called “conservative media.” Southerners were welcomed by such publications back then. Indeed, Kirk dedicated an entire issue of Modern Age (which he founded) to Southern conservatism (Fall 1958). Older Southern writers, essayists, and poets associated with the Southern “Agrarians,” men of stature like Donald Davidson, Andrew Lytle, and Cleanth Brooks, continued their labors in their twilight years.
When I returned to the United States after earning a doctorate at the University of Navarra, in Spain, and teaching for a while in Argentina in 1981, I began to reacquaint myself with writers and the culture of my homeland. Soon I was contributing essays to the Southern Partisan magazine and renewing my friendships with Mel Bradford and Russell Kirk.
Then, in 1990 I came across a book which made a profound and lasting impression on me: Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew (University of Georgia, 1990), by Clyde N. Wilson. In fact, the volume was an edited version of his Ph.D. dissertation presented at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1971. At that time UNC was hospitable to more conservative and traditional scholarship; not only Professor Wilson, but also former Chronicles editor Thomas Fleming, and my former co-worker at the North Carolina State Archives, Wilson Angley, all finished their graduate degrees there.
Pettigrew, a noted Confederate general who fell at Falling Waters during the retreat from Gettysburg, like Wilson and myself was a North Carolinian. Like most Southern boys who came of age during the “Civil War Centennial” (1961-1965) and a Tar Heel born and bred, I had some idea of Pettigrew’s exploits during the War. But I was unprepared for the wealth of detail which Wilson revealed. For indeed James Johnston Pettigrew was a man larger than life who, if he had lived, might have become one of the nation’s finest essayists and writers. In Carolina Cavalier Wilson discusses at length Pettigrew’s “travel book,” Notes on Spain and the Spaniards (1861), which like English author Hilaire Belloc’s The Path to Rome, is far more than a simple travelogue. Like Belloc forty years later, Pettigrew possessed the ability to translate his observations into meaningful and eloquently descriptive paragraphs which in a profound sense soar above the printed page and in an impressionistic way speak of the continuity and grandeur of our Western culture. His understanding of Spanish traditions and religion have seldom, if ever, been matched by any American. And from a certain perspective, is there not in his exquisitely expressed, philosophical understanding and descriptions of Spanish society a veiled, analogous comparison to his own Southland?
A few years after acquiring a copy of Carolina Cavalier I was able to bring Clyde Wilson back to North Carolina. We had begun to correspond, and since I was chairman of North Carolina’s Annual Confederate Flag Day observances, I invited him to come to Raleigh and offer remarks in the old Senate chamber of the historic 1840 State Capitol. He was one of the distinguished guests of note we had over the years, including Don Livingston, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and North Carolina Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr. And shortly afterwards, Pettigrew’s volume which had been out-of-print for well over a century, was brought out in a facsimile edition by the University of South Carolina Press (2010), with a new introduction by Wilson.
Another significant work which Dr. Wilson produced was The Essential Calhoun: Selections from Writings, Speeches, and Letters (2017), with an introduction by Russell Kirk, a valuable primer for students of the great South Carolinian who have been perhaps deterred by the daunting task of searching through the edited twenty-eight volumes!
Additional works include his several polemical volumes in “The Wilson Files”; his four books in the “Southern Reader’s Guide” series; From Union to Empire: Essays in the Jeffersonian Tradition; Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture, and several significant published symposiums which he has edited. Dr. Wilson has also been the M. E. Bradford Distinguished Chair at the Abbeville Institute, which specializes in the online publication of Southern writers and holding seminars on Southern themes. And he is the guiding spirit behind Shotwell Publishing in Columbia, South Carolina, offering an outlet for Southern authors and their manuscripts.
During his thirty-two years as professor of history at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Wilson taught a wide variety of courses in history and directed sixteen doctoral dissertations. His legacy of scholarship and love for the history of his native region, thus, is carried on by those—and other—students who were privileged to study under him. And by many thousands more who have read his books or attended his conferences, or been so fortunate as to call him a friend.
Would that in the midst of today’s vicious offensive against everything traditionally Southern there were more teachers and giants like Clyde Wilson.
There is a memorable passage in Donald Davidson’s magnificent poem, “Lee in the Mountains,” which in a way sums up Clyde Wilson’s resilience and heroically staunch defense of his beloved Southland:
Then, let us wish Clyde Wilson a most happy and blessed 82nd birthday, and ad multos annos! May your critical labors go on and continue to inspire us!
This piece was published at My Corner on June 8, 2023.
Some years ago (summer 1974) when I was completing a doctorate in history and political science in Europe, I made a journey south from Rome to the Italian city of Naples. Earlier, before traveling to Europe on a Richard Weaver Fellowship, I had managed to read two engrossing volumes on the Bourbon monarchy of the Kingdom of Naples by Sir Harold Acton. The old Kingdom of Naples (or of “Two Sicilies,” as it was formally called) had been conquered by the freebooter Giuseppe Garibaldi and his “Red Shirts,” in cooperation with the northern, liberal Italian Kingdom of Piedmont Savoy, in the early months of 1861.
That resolutely traditionalist country, basically all of southern Italy and Sicily, fascinated me. The Neapolitan kingdom was perhaps the most anti-liberal, traditionalist nation in all of Europe prior to it disappearance by conquest into the new centralized Italian state. Its capital, Naples, was an international center of culture and brilliance; musicians, composers, writers, and artists from all round Europe congregated there. All of that would end after Italian occupation. And southern Italy, “Due Sicilia,” would descend into an extended era of poverty, subjugation, and eventual neglect, much like that inflicted on the states of the Confederacy after the War Between the States.
But what was more intriguing for me was to learn that after the surrender of King Francis II and his small Neapolitan army at the fortress of Gaeta in late February 1861 (after an heroic four month siege), several thousand army regulars of the Royal Neapolitan Army clandestinely boarded ships, evaded a British cordon, and managed to sail for New Orleans to volunteer for the newly-formed Confederate Army. The first ships arrived from Naples with 884 former members of the army of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies to take up arms for the Confederacy in early 1861. That number of Neapolitan volunteers soon rose to approximately 2000.
Initially, they were enlisted in several Louisiana Confederate units, including the 10th Louisiana Infantry and eventually other regiments, including a European Brigade which counted traditionalist Catholic volunteers from Spain (mostly royalist Carlists, who arrived by way of Mexico), France (French Legitimists, supporters of the old French Bourbon monarchy), Ireland, and a few from Austria. There were Protestant volunteers, as well, with soldiers coming from England and German lands.
The Neapolitan volunteers fought at most of the major actions in the Trans-Mississippi. When the war ended, some returned to Italy, but others remained in the Southland, where their descendants continue to reside.
From Harold Acton I knew that the small Italian walled commune of Civitella del Tronto, atop a mountain in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, had been the last bastion of resistance to the northern Italian liberals, yielding finally on March 20, 1861. There in that remote mountain town is a museum (Museo delle Armi e Mappe antiche) dedicated to the history of armaments and the military of old Italy. And among its exhibits is a memorable one dedicated to the veterans who fought both for the long-gone Kingdom of Naples and also for the Southern Confederacy. A large Battle Flag is displayed (I assume it is still there) honoring those men, along with other items and relics. Both the Royal Neapolitan standard and the Battle Flag are customarily flown outside on occasion.
It was indeed one location I had to visit.
And it raised a question—why did those conservative, mostly Catholic traditionalists leave their home countries and come to the newly-created Confederate States of America and offer their services? What did they see in our new nation that convinced them to make such a sacrifice on behalf of a country not their own?
In reading European contemporary newspapers, correspondence, and journals from the period it became apparent to me that those men, that “band of brothers,” understood instinctively that the Cause of the South was an international cause, one which stood forthrightly against a headlong plunge into modernism, opposed to the worldwide ravages of revolution, liberal democracy and the eventual destruction of age-old customs and beliefs. The South they saw as a hierarchical society based in the real and absolute inequalities of Nature. The South stood against the encroachments of unrestricted capitalism and the philosophical underpinnings that supported that reality. The leaders of the South, albeit mostly Protestant, were descendants of the Cavaliers, and thus represented the best and noblest Americans, to be emulated and admired, as opposed to the Yankee scions of the New England Puritans.
Many of the foreign volunteers had already fought in struggles against liberalism in their own countries, and, as in the cases of Naples and Spain, had been on the losing side. This was the case with my Spanish friend, the Baron de Montevilla, whose ancestor fought both in Spain in the Carlist Wars, and later for the Confederacy. When an acquaintance asked his ancestor, “How can you justify fighting for two lost causes?,” he replied: “A lost cause is never really lost if the fight is for what is true and what is right.” (see “Paladins of Christian Civilization: The Universality of the Confederate Cause,” Confederate Veteran, September/October 2017 )
That very favorable view of the Confederacy and its leaders, if certainly debatable, was exemplified in the foreign conservative press by its glowing portraits of men such as Robert E. Lee, Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard, Matthew Fontaine Maury, and Jeb Stuart, but also of such figures as the brilliant writer General James Johnston Pettigrew (whose volume Notes on Spain and the Spaniards is undoubtedly one of the finest and most philosophical “travel journals” that any American has written (and deserves to be more widely-known), “Stonewall” Jackson’s chaplain, Robert Lewis Dabney (whose writings are equally impressive), and various others.
The similarities between the defeated and prostrate South, and the defeated and downtrodden former Neapolitan kingdom are, in some ways, remarkable—not just in the losing wars forced upon them, but in the survival of memory and a continuing devotion to heritage.
Just as defenders of Confederate heritage, in organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Order of the Confederate Rose, are devoted to honoring their ancestors and defending the Cause for which they, in many cases, gave their lives, some southern Italians, descendants of those defenders at Gaeta and Civitella del Tronto, likewise seek to keep the memory and traditions of their forefathers alive. And in recent years, in active organizations such as the Associazione Culturale Neo-Borbonica (ACNB), they do exactly that all across the former territories of the ancient Kingdom of Naples.
Several years ago the ACNB issued a manifesto, a statement not only of principles but a summary of history. As you read the translation below (which I have tweaked just a bit), perhaps you will notice the dramatic analogies between the history of our Southland and of the Neapolitan lands, and why the cause of neither is yet extinguished.
Without King and Kirk, modern American Social Justice liberalism and modern American conservatism as we know them would not exist. And yet, for all of their differences, our modern politics suffer because contemporary liberalism and conservatism often lack the grounding in virtues, communitarian values and faith in an ordered universe to which both Kingian Nonviolence and Kirkian Conservatism held fast. Is it possible that by reacquainting ourselves with these lost traditions we could summon the better angels of left and right and restore a politics of virtue for the modern age?
Once individuals such as Kirk were thought too philosophically unwieldy to be incorporated into the budding pantheon of conservative political correctness. Although usual pro forma tributes regularly praised his earlier achievements, his unfavorable views of King, his opposition to civil rights legislation, his consistent arguments against egalitarianism, his opposition to the rabid anti-colonialism of the 1950s and 1960s, and his anger directed at George H. W. Bush (he was Pat Buchanan’s campaign chairman in Michigan in 1992 at the same time I headed the Buchanan effort in North Carolina) are significant markers which must be catalogued.
From fall 1967 for twenty-six years, I corresponded with Russell. As chairman of the Visiting Lecture Program at Pfeiffer University I managed to bring him down for a weekend. Then, after completing an MA in 1971 as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow at the University of Virginia, Kirk requested that I travel to Mecosta to serve as his assistant for 1971-1972. Editing Kirk’s little educational quarterly, The University Bookman, was one of my major responsibilities. In its pages he insisted on open debate on such topics as cognitive disparities between the races (he published a review of Dr. Audrey M. Shuey’s study, The Testing of Negro Intelligence, and other politically-incorrect volumes).
In the spring of 1972 one night we sat in his library as the results of the Michigan Democratic presidential primary came in. I had a radio, and at Russell’s urging I brought it down from my room on the second floor of the library building. Kirk applauded George Wallace’s upset victory, although I don’t think he desired that his wife find out!
While at the University of Virginia I completed a semester paper titled, “Robert Lewis Dabney and the New South Creed.” Russell knew little of Dabney, save for what he had read in Richard Weaver’s The Southern Tradition at Bay. But he read my essay, liked it very much, and suggested I send it to David Collier, then editor at Modern Age. I did just that, and Collier responded, tentatively accepting it for publication, but with a couple of minor editing suggestions.
Unfortunately, I never got around to those edits. Yet, since then I have gone back to work on the paper, and it has found outlets in several publications.
One particular passage that caught Kirk’s attention and interest was Dabney’s acute and prophetic description of American conservatism. Written as part of Dabney’s response against efforts to enact women’s suffrage, Kirk wrote to me in the early 1990s—the George Bush years—that he was especially delighted in this passage, marveling that Dabney could have been so prescient a full century earlier (1875):
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.
American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its ‘bark is worse than its bite,’ and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rôle of resistance.
The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it ‘in wind,’ and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women's suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position. [Dabney, “Women’s Rights Women,” The Southern Magazine, 1871.]
Since the Charleston church shooting in 2015, the hysterical—I would say diabolical—attack on everything Confederate and traditionally Southern has continued non-stop. Our monuments have been desecrated and removed from public spaces, relegated to obscure museums or storage barns, sometimes smashed to bits (the latest outrage is the uprooting of the monument to General A. P. Hill in Richmond which had crowned his very grave for decades—his remains moved to a private cemetery, but the statue to a Black History Museum for additional scorn and degradation).
Our flags have been banned and termed “symbols of hate.” Entire sections of public libraries have seen anything remotely favorable to Confederate history and heritage expunged. Our children and grandchildren, if they are taught anything substantial at all about the War for Southern Independence, are instructed that the conflict was one of evil white oppressors attempting to maintain (and spread) slavery and “white privilege.” So-called “conservative” authors and media personalities condemn Southern tradition as “racist” just as those on the frenzied Left, and seek to forever expel an entire and integral part of the history of the American nation from any reasonable and fair comprehension.
How many times must we watch and listen to obnoxious Fox personalities such as Karl Rove, Marc Thiessen, Bret Baier, and Brian Kilmeade (who praises the radical actions of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in a book, no doubt largely ghost written for him) or writers at the one-time “conservative” magazine, National Review, or self-appointed conservative-favored historians like Allen Guelzo, warmly praise the destruction of the Southland and the deification of “Father Abraham,” with the concomitant destruction of the old American constitutional system?
Our so-called “conservative” Republican defenders, political creatures without souls like Senators Thom Tillis, Tim Scott, and Lindsey Graham, and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, have not only gone along with this cultural genocide, but in many cases have led and championed it. How many “conservative” GOP Southern senators stood up to oppose the original proposal (2019) for a national Naming Commission to ruthlessly remove the names of our nation’s military posts (and any and all iconography associated with them) which in any way recalls the honor and careers of anyone related to the Confederacy? You can count them on just one hand.
The most recent example of action by the Naming Commission is its dedicated effort to uproot and remove the Arlington National Cemetery Monument to the Confederate veterans buried there. That supremely historical and artistically beautiful statue was created by famed sculptor Moses Ezekiel, a proud Jewish Confederate, whose work is known and respected internationally. But more than that, the monument’s erection was supported by four American presidents as a major gesture symbolizing the real re-union of North and South. Yet today’s “conservative” representatives in many ways are far worse than Joseph Stalin’s iconoclasts; they are evil cultural barbarians. Their actions are a direct and demonic attack not only on the very understanding of the Framers’ view of the American federation, but also on the collective weight of Christian tradition, itself.
Perhaps more disconcerting is the apparent apathy and lack of concern shown by so many of our fellow Southerners. Anesthetized by far too many of our elected representatives and their pseudo-defense of our traditions and heritage, mired in the neo-abolitionist “newspeak” of favored “conservative media outlets” like Fox News, their children infected by the schools, and brain-dead, thanks to jaundiced entertainment, is it any wonder our compatriots are poisoned by regional self-hatred and a resulting feeling that, as one friend recently told me, “nothing can be done—we just have to live with it.”
With this understanding and sobering observation in mind, I return to a Christmas message I authored several years ago. It is a message of Hope in the midst of Darkness. With a few changes, I think it may have even more resonance now for traditional Southerners in today’s world which is increasingly consumed by madness, apostasy, and outright rebellion against the laws of Nature and of God.
In America circa 2022 the Powers of Darkness have asserted their near-complete control over what is left of this decaying and decadent nation. Now perhaps more so than ever we behold the awful visage of sheer Evil—in the scowls of our leaders, in most of our institutions (the media, the church, education), and in the very faces of our fellow citizens. Truly, it is a kind of demonic possession, not so much in the traditional theological sense, but, yes, as a type of intellectual possession full-blown, which directs thoughts, actions, indeed, language itself. This rampant Evil refuses to accept dissent. Those of us who oppose it are labeled disdainfully “deplorables” or “irredeemables,” and worse: we are called racists, bigots, homophobes, white supremacists, misogynists, not worthy of any consideration except for our very extinction. We are “cancelled,” our monuments pulled down, our symbols forbidden, our voices banned, and thousands—perhaps millions—of our number placed on Joe Biden/Merrick Garland’s “domestic terror watch list,” to be punished for our views, perhaps even eventually imprisoned (as has happened to hundreds of simple bystanders who went to Washington, DC, in January 2021 to protest the great election rigging of 2020).
And if not cancelled or banned, perhaps it will be as a “woke” student son of some friends lectured me several years ago: “You older conservatives will die off in a few years, and with you, your bigoted views. Then we young Generation-Z people will take full control of this country!” Those words were burned into my thoughts and memory, because there is some truth in them—because with our schools and colleges now captured by the diabolical progressivists, the triumph of critical race theory and woke socialism, and dictatorial trans ideology dominant in our schools, each year thousands of newly-minted demonic automatons (i.e., formerly our children) are spewed out like zombies. With the subservience of both political parties to managerial Deep State globalism, the future looks bleak.
At times it seems that all hope is dimmed, that a new Dark Age descends irresistibly over us, that we are helpless before its ravages and destructive power. But in fact Hope has not been exiled from the World. In these darkest moments, in the apparent despair, it continues to light our way, if we would listen and take heart.
The Advent Season—and the coming celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord—fill us with anticipation and scarcely concealed joy as we await the memorialization and recreation of that ineffable Event—unimaginable in human terms—that forever changed human history.
The sin of Adam—Original Sin—affected all mankind and left descendants marked, indelibly stained by that original fault. Adam’s sin was a form of disobedience, but a disobedience so grave and monumental against God’s Creation, that only the Coming of the Messiah, the Second Person of the Trinity of the Godhead, could repair it. And the Son of God would be Incarnate in a woman who would be pure and herself Immaculate, untouched by the inheritance of sinfulness (by the merits of her Son). Only such a pure womb would be fitting for the Incarnate God. And only the Incarnation into one of His creatures would serve the purpose of demonstrating that Our Blessed Saviour would come to us, not only as God, but also in the form of Man—this was fitting because it was to Mankind that He was sent.
For hundreds of years the People of Israel had awaited the coming of a Messiah to lead them, to liberate them and, if you will, to repair Adam’s Fall. But this vision—whether expressed in the revolts of the Maccabees or in later violent episodes like the revolt of Simon bar Kokhba against the Romans (132 A.D.)—implied not just satisfaction for sinful ways, but increasingly the establishment of an earthly and insular kingdom for and of the Hebrews.
And although Our Lord and Saviour indeed came first to the Jews, and offered them His reparative Grace and Salvation, it was by no means to be limited to them. Indeed, His message was universal (as it had been to Abraham). And those Hebrews who accepted the Messiah—and those gentiles who also joined them—became the Church, the “New” Israel, receptor of God’s Grace and holder of His Promises and carrier of His Light unto all the world.
While a majority of old Israel rejected Our Lord, demanding His Crucifixion before Pilate, those who followed Him and believed in Him entered the New Covenant, a New Testament. It is in this sense that the Christian church inherited the promises of Israel and the Old Testament and fulfilled those prophesies. And that fulfillment continues.
St. Paul in his Epistle to Titus [2:11-15] summarizes both the dazzling and miraculous wonder of Our Saviour’s Grace amongst us and its inexhaustible power to transform us, as we await His final Coming in Glory: “The grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort: in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We—the Christian church, those chosen out of Grace who accept God’s gifts—are in a journey to that final day when Our Lord will return. We have been given for that journey the armament of Our Lord’s graces in the Sacraments and through His love, our Faith, and a Hope that whenever we are tempted to despair, pulls us back and redirects our vision.
Years ago (1970s) when I was doing my doctoral work in Pamplona, Spain, I had several dear friends. One of them, by name Teofilo Andueza, although he and his wife, Josefa, lived in the city, kept his family’s ancestral home and farm up in the Pyrenees Mountains. On numerous Sundays we would travel out there after (traditional) Mass; the women would busy themselves in the kitchen to prepare roasted lamb chops, pork shoulder, “patatas fritas,” various “ensaladas mixtas,” all sorts of desserts (flan and pastries), and, of course, there would be plenty of Rioja wine and cognac. After eating—which usually continued off and on for most of the day—we would sit and smoke some “puros” (Cuban cigars—well, I didn’t worry about THAT aspect of Cuban Communism back then!).
I remember on one occasion Teofilo took me up to the crest of a nearby mountain; below we could see miles away the city of Pamplona, as he related how in 1873 the city was occupied by “liberals” who supported the central and centralizing government in Madrid, but that elsewhere in all of Navarra, in every rural village and small hamlet, the people had risen up as one under the military banner of “God – Country – States’ Rights – and the Rightful King” (against the liberal king then installed in the Spain’s capital). In July 1936 Teofilo, his father, and his elderly grandfather (who as a teen had joined the 1873 Traditionalist rising) all volunteered to fight under that same banner, the standard of the Traditionalist Carlist Communion against the secularist and socialist Spanish Republic (which is so loved by the establishment Neoconservatives these days).
Like his grandfather in 1873, Teofilo was barely 16 when he enlisted in 1936. And while his grandfather was too old to see active, front-line combat in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 (serving in rear-guard duty), Teofilo saw combat in some of the fiercest battles against the Red Republic and marched in the Victory parade in Madrid in 1939.
But like my other Carlist Traditionalist friends—who were termed “Intransigentes” by more moderate (and compromising) partisans on the Right—Teofilo believed that Francisco Franco had not carried through with the actual re-establishment of a Christian kingdom as promised—too many foreign influences, too many compromises, and, lastly, opening the door in 1953 to all the worst aspects of American commercialism and cultural decay. The national reawakening promised in 1939 had not taken place, its fruits dispersed, and in exchange, Spanish society had increasingly accepted the worst features of American culture and secularist thinking.
At the top of that mountain crest, as we looked down at Pamplona, Teofilo became emotional. “My grandfather fought against that liberal contagion 100 years ago,” he exclaimed. “And in 1936 three generations of my family dropped everything and went to war against the communists and socialists, to a crusade for Christ the King—that He might reign in society.” And then, he turned to me, took me firmly by the shoulder, and said: “And now, if it were just you and me--and we were on God’s side—once again we would be victorious, for even if we are only two, nothing is impossible to men if they fight on God’s side!”
I have remembered that incident constantly over the years, especially when things appear dark or despairing. For not only did Grace and Salvation and the Healing for sin come into the world in a humble Cradle in Bethlehem a little over 2,000 years ago, but Hope came also. And it buoys us up, gives us balance and equilibrium, and acts as “Faith’s Sentry” to protect our Faith from harm and the threat of despair and apostasy.
In the year 312 A.D., facing an immense military challenge, the Emperor Constantine prayed to the Christian God, asking what he should do. As related in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, he had grave doubts about the traditional Roman gods. He prayed earnestly that the Christian God would “reveal to him who he is and stretch forth his right hand to help him.” His prayer changed the course of human history. The answer came in a vision of a cross emblazoned across the noonday sky, and upon it the inscription read: “In hoc signo vinces”--By this sign you shall be victorious. The emperor then ordered that his soldiers have the Christian cross inscribed on their shields.
Victorious at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine then issued orders that the Christian church was to be fully free in its mission and the exercise of its functions. Although he did not make Christianity the official religion of the empire, Constantine bestowed favors on it, built places of worship for Christians, and presided over the first general church council. He became the first emperor to embrace Christianity and was baptized on his death bed. In less than 300 years the faith of Christ born in humble surroundings in remote Judaea and persecuted mercilessly and ruthlessly, nourished by the blood of martyrs, now emerged from the catacombs, triumphant, a light unto the pagans, to continue its salvific mission.
Is this not the power of Faith supported by Hope? That even if we be in the catacombs, even if we see our civilization and culture coming apart at the seams, even if we see the Church subverted and false prophets in positions of immense authority preaching false doctrines—even in these circumstances, we hold “fortes in Fide,” firm in the faith, bolstered by Faith’s Sentry.
So, then, as we approach the Holy Day of indescribable joy, we know with assurance that the ineffable Gift from God of salvation and forgiveness is ours, and that no one can take our Faith from us, buoyed, as it is, by the unbreakable assurance of Hope—which came to us that Christmas so long ago.
“Even if it were just you and me--and we were on God’s side—once again we would be victorious, for even if we are only two, nothing is impossible to men if they fight on God’s side!”
Saving Grace entered the world two millennia ago, and with it the Hope we possess.
And there are broad smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.
Merry and Blessed Christmas!
Lest we forget, it has been nineteen years since the film “Gods and Generals” was released to screens across the United States—to be exact, on February 21, 2003—almost ten years after the release of the blockbuster film, “Gettysburg.”
“Gods and Generals” was based on the historical novel by Jeff Shaara, while “Gettysburg” was based on a work by his father, Michael Shaara. An intended third installment, “The Last Full Measure,” which would have carried events of the War Between the States to its conclusion, was shelved after critics savaged “Gods and Generals,” citing what Wikipedia termed its “length, pacing, screenplay, and endorsement of the controversial neo-Confederate ‘Lost Cause’ myth.”
Undoubtedly, “Gods and Generals” is more episodic than its prequel, which indeed centers its action around one pivotal event in the war, the epochal Battle of Gettysburg. And, yes, it is long—the director’s cut is four hours and forty minutes in duration. Yet, “Gettysburg” in its original version is only slightly shorter. But given its thematic unity it succeeds, perhaps, as more theatrical and digestible by a public attuned to simpler plots and more compact storylines. Whereas in “Gettysburg” the viewer watches as events unfold steadily toward an eventual climax that we all know is coming and at the same time manages to engage those who experience it as if—somehow—it is happening now for the first time, “Gods and Generals” is somewhat reminiscent of a mini-series with episodic segments attempting to offer viewers an impression of how the war actually began and how, in its first two years, it was fought.
In a certain sense, then, “Gods and Generals” is akin to a docudrama. I think here of such filmed efforts as “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) and the two-part drama “Hiroshima” from 1995 (which is over three hours long but in two parts). And I believe this is the best way to judge it and to see it. For throughout its episodic nature it does exactly what it sets out to do—give a broad and panoramic view of major events occurring (albeit mostly in Virginia) in 1861 and 1862 while attempting to infuse life and believability into the history it portrays.
Both films now are roundly condemned as defending “white supremacy” and engaging in “neo-Confederate ideology,” and the celebration of “the myths of the ‘Lost Cause’.” And “Gods and Generals” gets the worst of it. Yet, in many ways, given its unfolding denouement and diverse focus, it succeeds admirably in painting vivid pictures in intimate, and at times endearing, detail of major historical characters.
Some reviewers have written, and I think rightly so, that “Gods and Generals” is in large part a biographical look, a kind of portrayal of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Indeed, much of the film revolves around him, his beliefs, his code of ethics, his brilliant and unparalleled generalship, and his remarkable humanity. Indeed, Stephen Lang’s portrayal of Jackson has been lauded, if begrudgingly, by some reviewers even if they dislike the film.
Then, there is Robert Duvall’s incarnation of Robert E. Lee, and, for me, he simply is Marse Robert, and far more impressive and “real” than Martin Sheen’s assumption in “Gettysburg,” which I found unnatural and too stagey.
I recall viewing the film with friends from work when “Gods and Generals” first showed up in the theaters. Back then we were able to take time off from our jobs to go—but that was 2003, and with the passing of nineteen short years since then I doubt that we could get the same benevolent permission to leave work for such an activity today. And that says a lot—far too much—about how the times and the country have radically changed. From the rumbles of political correctness so visibly apparent, yet not completely dominant, of twenty years ago, to the insane and hysterical full assault on everything, and anything, in and of our Southern heritage, we have descended into a hellish cauldron in which our culture and our people face virtual extinction.
All the more reason to return to films—and they are rare—like “Gods and Generals,” which actually assist us to both see and hear history without the accumulated ideological and poisonous dross that infects almost everything coming out of Hollywood these days. Given the extent of advancing “cancel culture” in our day, we need to treasure films like “Gods and Generals” and “Gettysburg,” as well as others such as “The Conspirator” (2010) and dozens of movies made before this age of cinematic putrefaction.
What I’d like to do, then, following the accusation that “Gods and Generals” is overly long, episodic and perhaps too diffuse, without a certain thematic unity, is to take seven pivotal scenes from the film, each around two or three minutes in length, and offer them in succession (though not necessarily chronologically). Each scene and representation offers, I would suggest, a “key” to the underlying objectives of the movie; that is, what it is attempting to portray, both cinematically and historically. Certainly, there are other significant scenes and moments in a four and half hour film that can be highlighted; but those I have chosen, I believe, are essential in understanding the personalities and critical issues “Gods and Generals” hoped to examine when it appeared in 1993.
So, let’s take a look via YouTube at the scenes I have in mind. Although they take only a total of about 18 minutes, seen in succession they form a natural progression of themes in “Gods and Generals,” and an enticement to go back and spend the time to view the entire film, with perhaps a keener appreciation of its objectives and how they relate to the whole.
First, there is the magnificent scene with Robert E. Lee (played with absolute realism and believability by Robert Duvall), refusing command offered to him of the entire Federal army intended to suppress the “cotton states” and succinctly stating his reasons why (April 1861) (3:55):
Then, in logical order Lee’s acceptance (after he had resigned from the US Army and after Virginia had seceded—so there is absolutely NO question of treason at all) of command of the troops of the independent State of Virginia (2:51):
Both clips in a few well-chosen phrases give the viewer a basic refresher in constitutional theory as understood by the Framers of the Constitution—and enunciated by Lee and the Virginia assembly, essentially framing why there was a war and why Southerner were completely justified in resisting the usurpations of a reckless Federal government, intent on violent anti-constitutional subjugation.
The third clip shows General Jackson before the First Battle of Manassas, invoking the assistance of Almighty God, and connecting the Confederate cause with Godliness and the necessity to defend those God-given rights conferred on his fellow citizens. The YouTube excerpt captures Jackson’s fervent faith, a faith that was shared by his fellow Southerners (1:50):
Now, we see General Jackson’s depth of patriotism and devotion to the Cause, and his comprehension that what the new Confederacy was attempting was truly a “Second War for Independence.” One cannot help but be moved by Jackson’s address to the First Brigade. His words resonate today as they did back then (2:31):
Here we have what we may call the Confederate General Staff as assembled at Fredericksburg for Christmas, 1862. And once again Stonewall Jackson, interacting with a young girl, is moved to encapsulate many of the sincere wishes and longings of Confederates under arms in defense of their homeland and their families (3:29):
Next we have General Lee (Duvall), before the Battle of Fredericksburg, poetically recalling his history, his family, and fundamental beliefs that course in the veins of every thinking Southerner whose memory has not been destroyed or polluted by the dominant American culture (1:10):
As a final scene in my series, and a defiant reminder of the importance of our heritage and our present duty, I pass on perhaps the most inspiring moment in the film—“The Bonnie Blue Flag,” as sung by the assembled Confederates in winter quarters. Even as “Dixie” is, in a sense, “the national anthem of the South,” “The Bonnie Blue Flag” represents an exultant and militant Southland and its citizens, ready always to do their duty to family and country, under the guidance of and obedience to Almighty God (2:28).
Thus my vision of how we can see and comprehend some of major points in “Gods and Generals,” and relate to the film historically, by becoming part of it, seeing with the eyes of its characters and fathoming what they were able to recreate historically. Not just a “re-enactment,” but a window into the lives and minds of our ancestors, and a path to a greater understanding of what they did and why they did it.
Increasingly I despair of this country. The more I read and see, the more I am confirmed in my view that the "American Empire" is reaching a final phase and that our "shelf life" is expiring, just as all other great empires—Roman, Ottoman, British—have expired.
I keep coming back to William Butler Yeats' lines (written one-hundred and three years ago, after the cataclysm that was World War I), in his poem, "The Second Coming": "The best lack all conviction; while the worst are filled with passionate intensity." Yet, it is even more tragic, it is no longer a situation of "lacking conviction," but rather the "best" now mimicking the enemies of civilization, the "best" acting as if under hypnosis and acceding to rampant evil with enthusiasm...what a friend of mine calls the "zombiefication" of those who were once charged with defending our culture and civilizational heritage. Now they ape our enemies and fall into line like lemmings.
This has been the response I have gotten from some friends over this Ukraine conflict. Their passion is often clothed in an hysteria that characterizes and shrouds what is occurring. On a more global level, I can cite example after example, from banning "Russian" vodka and banning Russian cats (!), to firing dozens of world-famous Russian classical artists (e.g., Valery Gergiev, Anna Netrebko, etc.), to expunging famous Russian novelists from our university classrooms, to removing Russian-made caviar from U.S. sale, to banning Russian chess players from international competition, to (in Germany) banning the "Z" symbol because in Russia it is similar to "V for victory" (conviction in Deutschland will get you three years in the slammer!)... The list is inexhaustible.
One very ironic example: I listen while I work here on my Desk Top computer to a Sirius XM program, "Symphony Hall." The announcers, especially one Martin Goldsmith on the weekends, search strenuously to find Ukrainian music to program. And, voila! recently he came upon the composer Sergei Bortkiewicz, who happened to be born in Kharkov, then part of the Russian empire and a largely Russian-language city. Bortkiewicz was descended from Polish nobility and was an enthusiastic supporter of Imperial Russia, and he considered himself a true-blue Russian. When the Russian Revolution came, he fled to Western Europe.
Now, here is where it becomes ironic, if not a bit comical. Goldsmith and the other announcers--over the top with their unctuous praise of the "Ukrainian" Bortkiewicz--have been playing his first symphony (several years ago I purchased it, along with several other pieces he wrote--I also read up on his life and music. So, I know something about him and his history). However, much to their surprise at the end of his very listenable and old-fashioned opus Bortkiewicz inserts the clearly-audible strains of the old Tsarist Imperial hymn! It is an indication of Bortkiewicz's steadfast loyalty to old Russia and its imperial system.
Nevertheless, since Bortkiewicz was born in what is now Ukraine his music gets extensive playing time as Goldsmith (and others), who seem ready to weep, hold him up as a noble defender of Ukrainian liberal democracy.
There is even a Youtube video of his Symphony No. 1 being performed by a Ukrainian orchestra, but with the Tsarist anthem at the end excised - censored, if you will! To what lengths blind zealotry and jingoistic nationalism will go.
And these announcers are--at least as far as I can tell--highly educated. But what they are doing is to perpetrate a fraud, with a frenzy and brainless zeal that makes one think, indeed, that my friend's comment about "zombiefication" is right on the mark.
I think it possible to believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ill-advised or wrong, that Putin should not have ordered his troops in. Fine. But this over-the-top, frenzied Russophobia bespeaks something more ominous, about those who engage in it and those who are possessed by it. Could this excess, this mania, be used—just like the COVID epidemic—for ulterior purposes, somehow to advance the objectives of the global Deep State? After all, George Soros from the get go has been an intense cheer-leader and an active player with his various NGOs in what is going on.
And the poor, devastated Ukrainian people? They become the cannon-fodder in this--the Nancy Pelosis and Lindsey Grahams do not, when it comes down to it, really care about them. Like Soros, they have ulterior goals, including regime change in Russia---teaching the Russkies their "place" in the global scheme of things. Using the Ukrainian people as a means to achieve that objective is, for them, a never mind.
That many on "our side" do not see that, do not understand that, saddens me. By all means, criticize Putin for invading, if you wish; but please understand what is actually going on.
Yes, "zombiefication" is a good word here.
My prayer is that soon sane negotiators in Ukraine and Russia will find a solution. Yet, it is evident that our state department neoconservative war hawks do not want peace, but rather to bleed Russia dry and hopefully effect regime change, another "color revolution"--even if it means the death of every Ukrainian citizen to do it!
We live in perilous times when Yeats' words take on a renewed and terrifying meaning.
Back in early 1981 the brilliant Southern scholar and traditionalist, Professor Mel Bradford, was the leading contender to receive President Ronald Reagan’s nomination as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bradford was the epitome of the accomplished and erudite academician, yet his deep-rooted Southern and pro-Confederate beliefs disqualified him in the eyes of many national “conservatives” such as George Will and Bill Kristol. Bradford’s worst sin, they asserted, had been that he had harshly (if with laser-like precision and accuracy) criticized the modern icon within the “conservative movement”—Abraham Lincoln.
Bradford’s major accusations were that Lincoln essentially “remade” the American constitutional system, asserting “equality” as the country’s foundational value and enlarging the ultimate power of the federal government at the expense of the states, and, thus, beginning a process of governmental expansion and control that continues largely unabated in our time.
It was largely criticism of Lincoln that became the new bar, the “red line” which one could not violate that doomed Bradford (and ushered in William Bennett at the NEH instead). Since then criticism of Lincoln is not acceptable, not tolerated by mainstream conservatives. Instead, the conservative establishment now heralds such neo- Reconstructionist historians as Allen Guelzo or even Marxist Eric Foner (a favorite of Karl Rove). Any dissent from the virtual canonization of Lincoln in contemporary American society usually comes mostly from Southern traditionalists and their allies, Paleo- (or Old Right) conservatives, who are usually then dismissed or derided by the establishment Republican Party, various pundits on Fox News and the present-day “conservative movement” as reactionary know-nothings, unable to understand the natural evolution of the American republic.
Yet, beyond Lincoln’s role in unleashing the power of an omnipotent federal government, there is another aspect of Lincoln’s background that should worry
Americans—not only Southerners—just as much. It is perhaps the best guarded
confidence in American history. It certainly isn’t something that the dominant “conservative movement” wishes to acknowledge, much less see debated publicly. Yet, the factual record is there for anyone with initiative and curiosity to see for himself: Abraham Lincoln not only had a favorable opinion of Karl Marx and his writings, but was at times sympathetic to socialist policies and ideas.
A few years back (July 27, 2019) a short article by Gillian Brockell appeared in the The Washington Post. Titled, “You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln,” the author catalogues the connections between Lincoln and Marx, and the list is—or at least should be—alarming for conservative Americans. (I acknowledge my debt to Brockell’s investigative reporting for this article.)
In his first annual message—his first State of the Union address—in December 1861 he ends the address with a peroration on what the Chicago Tribune at the time called a meditation on “capital versus labor.” “Capital is only the fruit of labor,” Lincoln elaborated, “and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
Those words could have come almost directly from Karl Marx, but they were spoken by Lincoln. Fascinating, since the sixteenth president was an avid reader of the father of Marxism and corresponded with him during the War Between the States. Abraham Lincoln was not a declared socialist, certainly not in the modern sense. But Lincoln and Marx — born only nine years apart — were contemporaries. They had many mutual friends, read each other’s work, and, in 1865, exchanged letters.
During his only term in Congress during the late 1840s, Lincoln became a close
associate of New York Daily Tribune editor, Horace Greeley. It was through Greeley’s paper that the ideas and program of the nascent Republican Party were spread. And these were not just the usual anti-slavery slogans we so often hear today when we read of the formation of the party. Often those positions sounded a great deal like socialism, including proposals for the redistribution of land in the American West by the federal government to the poor and emancipated slaves.
At approximately the same moment in time, across the Atlantic Karl Marx was penning his famous text, “The Communist Manifesto” (1848). The failed revolutionary uprising in Germany had compelled Marx to take refuge in England. Hundreds of thousands of other German radicals immigrated to and took refuge in the United States, settling in places like St. Louis, Missouri, where they would play a critical role in later securing that essentially Southern state for the Union in 1861-1862. According to historian Robin Blackburn, in his volume, An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln, Marx even considered immigrating and going west to Texas.
According to Blackburn Marx believed that the two most significant things happening in the world in 1860 were “the movement of the slaves in America started by the death of John Brown, and … the movement of the serfs in Russia.”
In 1852 Charles A. Dana, an avowed socialist and managing editor of the Daily Tribune, hired Marx to be the paper’s English correspondent. Dana had been active previously in the utopian socialist experiment Brook Farm, and he carried his vision of a workingman’s utopia with him. Marx, in exile, was a natural fit as a correspondent, and for the next decade the founder of modern communism authored 500 articles for the New York flagship paper of the Republican Party, many of them front-page editorials formally expressing the journal’s position. And like other contemporary Republicans, Lincoln constantly read the Tribune, and certainly, then, he read and digested the writings of Karl Marx. Indeed, it was the support of the German radical immigrants recently come to American shores and the Tribune that propelled Lincoln to the Republican presidential nomination in 1860.
In 1862 Dana left the Tribune, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton making him Special Commissioner for the operation of the War Department. Essentially, he became “the eyes of the Administration,” as Lincoln called him, with an inordinate influence over the conduct of the War…and over Abraham Lincoln. His opinions were received by the president as gospel, and frequently they mirrored the editorials of Tribune journalist Karl Marx.
After Lincoln’s re-election in November 1864, Marx wrote to him (January 1865) as representative of the International Workingmen’s Association, a group bringing together socialists, communists, anarchists and trade unions, to “congratulate the American people upon your reelection.” Marx continues in his communication: “…the workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working class.”
The president’s response to Marx came by way of his ambassador in London, Charles Francis Adams. Adams declared that Lincoln considered the founder of Marxism to be a “friend” and that he possessed the “sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him by his fellow citizens and by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.” The Union, Lincoln added, derived “new encouragement to persevere from the testimony of the workingmen of Europe.”
But this was not Lincoln’s only tip of the hat to revolutionary social radicalism. In 1864 he met with the New York Workingmen’s Association where he insisted that “the strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.”
Of course, Abraham Lincoln never declared himself to be a socialist, and many of his utterances were likely politically-motivated. Yet, he certainly viewed socialists—the workingmen’s unions—as staunch allies in his war against the South. As author John Nichols in his study, The “S” Word: A Short history of American Tradition…Socialism (2015), comments about “the left leanings of founders of the Republican Party”: “…it is indisputable that the Republican Party had at its founding a red streak.”
In spite of the current historical legerdemain and outright falsification of history, Lincoln continued to be an icon of the Left after his death. In the early twentieth century Socialist Party USA leader, Eugene V. Debs, saluted Lincoln as a fellow “revolutionary.” And in the later 1930s American communists flocked to volunteer for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight, they claimed, “against fascism and Francisco Franco” in Spain’s bloody civil war.
One hundred years after Lincoln’s death, in February 1968, in an address praising communist W. E. B. Du Bois, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (reputedly a Republican, like his father) spoke in praise of Lincoln’s Marxist connection: “Abraham Lincoln warmly welcomed the support of Karl Marx during the Civil War and corresponded with him freely. … Our irrational obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires….”
Every time, then, that a Dinesh D’Souza, Brian Kilmeade or Victor Davis Hanson on Fox News, or a representative of the Claremont Institute praises America’s sixteenth president and claims him for the conservative movement, while condemning those old “racist” Southerners, alarms should sound for genuine believers in the Framers’ Constitution.
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.
Read more by Boyd Cathey at his blog My Corner.