Mainstream Republicans have not learned anything. They are incapable of change because so far their phony act has brought them power, perks, and pelf. They have posed as the conservative alternative while giving no thought to doing anything if they win.
They have not grasped why Donald Trump laid low a whole dozen of their groomed empty suit preferences. They are now presenting for President another dozen of the exact same type.
I am getting their slick propaganda regularly now. It has one theme---attacking Donald Trump. The message is Trump will lose the election to Biden. We cannot allow that to happen! There is not the least word about what program or policy is to be followed or what marvelous candidate is to replace him.
This has been the standard play of mainstream Republicans for several decades now. We must rally around and defeat the evil Democrats. What exactly they are to do when they win is never discussed.
This is not politics---it is advertising.
You have to give it to the leftists. Many of them actually believe what they say. This is never true of Republicans. They get talking points from the party headquarters for the campaigns advertising their candidacy. Then they pose and posture for the (hostile) press.
From its very inception almost two centuries ago, the Republican party has been the single greatest obstacle to genuine government of, by, and for the people.
At my age one begins to wonder about what you did well and where you went wrong in a long life.
I have never been to Atlantic City, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, or Las Vegas. I have had to endure Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle only once. On the downside, I have been to New York and Washington way too many times, though always at the call of duty.
And I have seen a good deal of England, Scotland, France, Spain, and Italy - the last in the company of the lovely and gifted webmistress of Reckonin.
I have never been to a “professional” (i.e., commercial) sporting event.
I have never been to a rock concert. However, I did get to see Brother Dave Gardner and Hank Williams Jr. live. On the latter occasion I was so naïve that somebody had to explain to me what that funny scent in the air was. And I’ll add Joan Baez, for whatever it’s worth.
I have been privileged to know some outstanding people who have enriched me immeasurably. I mention only those who are no longer with us: Mel Bradford, Tom Landess, Russell Kirk, Murray Rothbard, Joel Williamson, Eugene Genovese, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Matt Bruccolli, Jim Meriwether. I can’t claim any friendship, but at least I have had in-person conversation with George Garrett, Cleanth Brooks, and Pat Buchanan.
I have been very fortunate indeed. Let’s not discuss where I went wrong.
It was originally said that the state heritage preservation act did not
apply to the Calhoun monument because it was designed to protect only
soldiers' monuments. A new suit has been launched against the vandals of
the Columbia city government to include Calhoun in the protected persons.
Clyde Wilson, along with others submitted a sworn statement to support the
COMES NOW, Clyde Wilson, first duly sworn, who deposes and states as follows:
I was awarded the Ph.D by the University of North Carolina in 1971. I was a member of the faculty of the History Department of the University of South Carolina-Columba for 34 years, retiring as Distinguished Professor. Among other activities I was the primary editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun, a documentary editing and publication project which ran from the 1950s to 2005, when I published the 28th and final volume. These 28 volumes included the letters, speeches, and writings of Calhoun as completely as possible.
In the 1950s the National Historical Publications and Records Commission recommended documentary publication projects for select early American leaders---Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Clay, Webster, and John C. Calhoun. The University of South Carolina undertook the project for Calhoun and continued to support the project to its end, as did the NHPRC. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History also provided support. Scholarly reviewers wrote of the quality and importance of The Papers of John C. Calhoun.
In 1959 a U.S. Congressional committee chaired by future President John F. Kennedy named Calhoun as one of the 5 most important Senators in American history. Kennedy included a complimentary comment on Calhoun in his book, Profiles in Courage (1956). In 1951 the Pulitzer Prize for Biography was awarded to Margaret Coit’s sympathetic book, John C. Calhoun: American Portrait.
In a long-term and international perspective, Calhoun’s importance in history is great. He is the most important person ever produced by South Carolina. He held most of the high offices of the federal government, legislative and administrative, for 40 years, 1811—1850. Beyond this, Calhoun is one of the very few political leaders who has been recognized as one of the most important political philosophers in U.S. history. His “A Disquisition on Government” is still studied and praised worldwide today. British, Italian, and Japanese scholars have written about him, among others.
Even if we discount all else, Calhoun’s role in American military history justifies a memorial. In regard to both war and peacetime defense his role was very important and one must say almost heroic. He first came to public attention protesting against the U.S. government’s lack of response to highhanded British interference with American ships, stopping them on the high seas and seizing sailors into their own Navy. Response was necessary both for national honor and defense of our citizens. This stand caused his neighbors to send him to the U.S. House of Representatives in his twenties.
In his first speech in the House, against the opponents of action, he was called “one of those masters spirits who stamp their image on the age in which they live.” He drafted the declaration of war for the House. For Calhoun his responsibility was only beginning. In legislation and debate he played a foremost role during the war. He was called “the young Hercules who carried the war on his shoulders.”
The most important aspect of Calhoun’s role in the military is his eight year service as Secretary of War from age 35 to 42. The War Department was the largest and most far-flung part of the government. It ended the war in organizational and financial chaos, inefficiency, and the need to reduce it to peacetime size. President Monroe had offered the position to several prominent men who turned it down. It required a lot of hard work with little likelihood to enhance prestige. But Calhoun, feeling a responsibility for the effects of the war and for national defense, took on what was regarded as an impossible and thankless job.
His service as Secretary of War (covered in volumes 2—9 of The Papers of John C. Calhoun) is generally regarded as the most outstanding of any man in earlier American history. There is no question that he built a force that greatly aided the victories of the U.S. army in the Mexican War and the Civil War.
Calhoun reorganized Army administration into a system of bureaus---commissary, quartermaster, ordnance, engineers, medical, and others, placed the ablest officers in charge and required accountability from them. This system was copied in Europe.
He planned and saw built the system of Atlantic and Gulf coastal defenses that remained important up to at least World War I. The prestige and importance of West Point dates from this period. Calhoun raised entrance requirements and put the best officers in charge. The institution not only provided military skill and knowledge but was long the best college in the U.S. for engineering and administrative training.
Calhoun’s goal in these reforms was to provide a small peacetime army that was quickly expandable in case of need. Able officers and organization could mobilize the eager American volunteers who would appear to support a just cause. Most West Point men served a few years in the army and then went into private engineering and industry, a great help to building up the country.
His service of Secretary of War was so outstanding that both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, who agreed on nothing else, accepted Calhoun as Vice President in 1824.
In 1844 President Tyler appointed Calhoun Secretary of State. During one year he negotiated a peaceful settlement of the contentious Oregon Territory issues, establishing the U.S./Canadian boundary where it has remained. He also undertook negotiations that would guarantee that Texas would join the Union as a State.
On the Mexican War Calhoun’s mature statesmanship provides perhaps much wisdom for future generations. While supporting and praising the Army, he sat silent in the vote on a declaration of war. He believed that President Polk had brought on war by provoking an unnecessary border incident. This was a very bad precedent. A state of war came into existence without a Congressional declaration. He also warned against imperialism—taking over foreign peoples and governments.
This was bound to destroy republican freedom.
I am a year older than Mitch McConnell but am a lot smarter (as well as better-looking). Same goes for Joe Biden, now and always.
The U.S. now has two holidays for African Americans (one of them fraudulent) and only one for the founders of the country.
What I have noticed recently in streaming television shows (mostly intelligent European ones): ads for HIV drugs showing gloriously happy sodomites. I have also noticed that in every show, in the first 5-10 minutes, there will invariably appear an admirable black person, no matter how irrelevant to the country or the plot. This is nearly universal for recent shows in European countries. In one Iceland police series, white supremacists were being evil to an African immigrant. Happy sodomite couples also invariably appear in almost every series as an everyday matter. Is somebody trying to tell us something?
The great Wendell Berry teaches a lesson for us in these degraded and threatening times on the difference between optimism and hope. Optimism is merely a program, hope is a Christian duty.
Just before the War for Southern Independence, the great William Gilmore Simms wrote: “The virtues of a people depend very much on the incorruptible integrity of language.” In this light consider the current babblings of our politicians, advertisers, bureaucrats, college presidents, leading clergyman, “experts.” The old idea of integrity - that you should say what you mean and mean what you say - has disappeared from American discourse. It is worth reminding ourselves who is “the Father of Lies,” the first corruptor of language.
In his nonfiction speeches and essays Faulkner made a similar point. What he was hearing in America was not words but rather “mouth sounds.”
Speaking of Faulkner, he said his favourite things were horses, trees, and silence. While I am not remotely on the same level and have never been fortunate enough to deal with horses, I got the other two right
Americans, I don’t know how many or what percentage, live in a media “news” world that is totally distorted as to facts and emphasis, suppresses important things, and often lies.
Our politics are not likely to change until a large audience gets some real information. What percentage of voters actually know about Biden’s criminal son? 10 per cent? About the corruption of the Ukranian regime we are supporting? About our falling behind China in technology and productivity; about the violent crimes of Antifa and BLM that judges and prosecutors have excused? About the power that the foreign dubious billionaire George Soros now exercises over our courts? About the shoddiness of the prosecutions against President Trump and the people who are pushing them?
Tucker Carlson’s success has indicated the existence of a great thirst for real news. There are opinion print and online journals that do great work in bringing out the truth, but at most they reach a few hundred thousand people. Many “conservatives” still subscribe to National Review that long ago betrayed our cause.
Let’s suppose we had a television/internet service that could do real reporting.
Such a service need only be on two hours in the evening news slot. This is doable. Probably Trump could fund this himself, or a few other well-heeled genuine Red Staters. It does not need advertising. Imagine what a one-hour factual documentary on Hunter Biden or Soros could do for public enlightenment. The news, of course, would have to be thorough and highly competent, but the main point would be to report on what the “mainstream media” distorts by emphasis and lies.
And here is the most important point. The managers and reporters have to be dedicated to the purpose of the channel, new people for the national scene. . The people with the knowledge and the energy are there but they will have to be found. It will be useless and self-defeating to take people who have already been acculturated in the regular media.
You have to have the right non-Establishment people. We know how that worked out with Reagan and Trump. Reagan was captured by the Republican establishment even before his first day in office. The result was that the government that he had promised to rein in became more bloated than ever and social policies more leftist. We perhaps need to be reminded that Trump entered office without knowing how to find the right people. His administration ended in a debacle brought on by his own party elite who wanted as badly as the Democrats.
My South Carolina Election Board recently queried me. They noticed that I had not voted in a while. Was I still alive and at the same address? I answered affirmatively. I was pleased to see that they were so much on the ball. And they were right---I had lost interest in voting some time back.
I was tired of being a loser, even when my candidate won. I voted for Goldwater in 1964 and Wallace in 1968. I never had any trust in Nixon, nor in any Bush, major or minors. I voted for a winner, Reagan (once) in 1980, although I already knew that with Bush on the ticket the Establishment had a rope around his neck and we would never see the promised reforms. The promised reduction of government was turned on its head.
I punched a hole for Buchanan in 2000. To tell the truth, I can’t remember whether I bothered to vote for Trump in 2016. I figured I had done my duty by writing good stuff about his candidacy. And I was happy that the Yankee dude had easily demolished a dozen empty-suit pygmies that were touted as the best and brightest of the Republican party. Another Bush would have meant certain death for the country. But as soon as I saw Pence on the ticket I knew that the Establishment had things under control and the grassroots rebellion had no chance. This conclusion was quickly confirmed by Trump’s top appointments.
So, as for voting, I was tired of the whole thing and sure that my little act was irrelevant. For added irritation, just on my way from the polling place not too long ago, a young policeman pulled me over. There was a very light rain and I was guilty of not having on my headlights. The home of the brave and the land of the free.
Politicians are astir about the importance of our “early” Republican primary in South Carolina. I am too bewildered to even know what to do. I would like Trump to win. I long ago lost any faith in him. I can’t see that he has learned anything that would make him a better Chief Executive. But he has all the right enemies, is the only contender with a real grassroots following, and we can entertain a desperate hope that he might actually do something. Anyway, I can’t see that the voting will make any difference at all. No matter the vote totals, Establishment Republicans and Democrat vote stealers will make sure that the candidate of the “deplorables” never gets in.
DeSantis started to look good for a while. He talked the talk and even walked the walk a little bit now and then. Now I am receiving every other day large, slick, coloured mailings on his behalf. These are exactly like the ones I get from Lispey Graham whenever he is up. They smack of money---Establishment? Adelson? DeSantis may be thinking he is helping himself but he is acting like a tool of the Republicans’ ruling politicians.
The message I am receiving is less pro-DeSantis than it is anti-Trump. We are warned that Trump will lose and carry the whole party down with him. Why should I care about saving the Republican party? I have been writing for 40 years that it is the biggest obstacle that exists to any conservative success. The best thing that Trump has done, as my friend Ilana Mercer has pointed out, is to shake up our smug rulers. The empty shell of the Republican party is breaking into fragments. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of frauds.
I am tempted to vote in the Democratic primary for RFK Jr. The poor guy has the same voice trouble I have, he tells the truth now and then, and it might damage Biden.
I hope our Reckonin readers are not like the naïve run of Americans who actually believe that elections are honest. There has never been a completely honest election. Why should politicians, psychopaths seeking power over others for whom they have contempt, behave honestly when they have so much at risk? (“I feel your pain.”)
Government of, by, and for the people? American are blissfully ignorant of how many time men have got into the White House with less than 50% of the popular vote. (I am not criticizing the Electoral College that the Founders designed as an exercise in high statesmanship. That was destroyed by the tricks of party operatives long ago.)
Facts: Presidents who were elected without a majority popular vote:
1824, J.Q. Adams 30.9%; 1844, Polk, 49.5%; 1848, Taylor, 47.3%; 1856, Buchanan, 45.3%, 1860, Lincoln, 39.9%; 1876,Hayes, 48%, (win stolen for him by Congressional Republicans against the winning candidate); 1880, Garfield, 48.3%, (with only a .01 count over his opponent); 1884, Cleveland, 48.5 %; 1888, Harrison, 47.8%; 1892, Cleveland, 46.1 %; 1912, Wilson, 41.8%; 1916, Wilson, 49.2%; 1948 Truman, 49.4%; 1960, Kennedy, 49.7 (stolen for him in Chicago); 1968, Nixon, 43.4%; 1992, Clinton, 43%; 1996, Clinton 49.2%; 2000, little Bush, 47.9%, (stolen for him in court); 2016, Trump, 46%; 2020, Biden, (stolen).
In some cases, these minority Presidents were catastrophes, especially Lincoln, Wilson, and little Bush. A good many other Presidents, some considered popular, never got beyond the 50-52% range.
College girls had to sign in and out of their women-only dormitories and had a curfew.
College students today have cars and apartments. Hardly seen in my day. Whether it is better or worse for education, I don’t know. They are not tied down to campus like they used to be. College is now a part-time thing for most students and classes and studying is a sideline from more important activities. Many have outside jobs.
The academic week lasted through midday Saturday, and both academic semesters were weeks longer than they are now. These days professors and students conspire together to do as little as possible.
Contact lenses were an entirely new thing.
The university cafeteria provided a solid meal for 35 cents.
There were still a lot of adult veterans who were students so the atmosphere was different than later. I imagine that was the reason that at Chapel Hill in 1959 I witnessed the last great “panty raid.”
Most of us really attended lectures and really studied although we had a lot of hangovers. Professors were conscientious and knew their subjects. Many were old fashioned Southern liberals but were more interested in learning than ideological conversion. The imported carpetbag Communists were a minority but a definitely growing one. Like William Buckley’s good friend Allard Lowenstein.
There is a lot of evidence these days that more intelligent students don’t believe their professors and just perform dreary regurgitation to get through with it.
Most students in my day were still in-state, from traditional North Carolina families. Most of the imports were affluent New Jerseyans and basketball players from the northeast.
Chapel Hill was reputed to be the most “liberal” university in the South. I remember distinctly in 1963 I was walking across a quad of dormitories with open widows. Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” was reporting on the radio that rightwing extremists had assassinated Kennedy in Dallas. The response of students to the news was hearty cheering out the windows! Everybody I knew enjoyed hearing Jesse Helms broadcast from Raleigh every evening.
In the late 60s rich Yankees began to arrive and stage “civil rights” demonstrations that mostly harassed hard working small business owners. The women also seduced black janitors, usually to their bewilderment. Carpetbag faculty and administrators multiplied rapidly from Great Society subsidies. They were mostly disdainful of the students and locals.
My favourite evening place was a redneck bar where you could get a hotdog for a quarter and a draft Michelob for 35 cents.
There were really a lot of top-rate and controversial speakers and a lively intellectual atmosphere among students who cared about such things. I heard Buckley, Russell Kirk, Gerald Ford, Malcolm X, Billy Graham, and the leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. My attempt to start something at the university where I later taught was received with complete indifference by faculty. Unchallenged liberal mediocrity was the preferred atmosphere.
It was newsworthy a few years ago that the UNC monument to the students who were Confederate soldiers was defaced and torn down. There used to be a big portrait in the library of our distinguished alumni General James Johnston Pettigrew. CSA. In another building there was a beautiful mural of Tar Heels at Gettysburg, painted with real young North Carolina men as models. I don’t want to know what has happened to them.
Chapel Hill was still a pleasant village in those days. Now it is an overbuilt, expensive city, surrounded by gated communities for retired Yankees who wanted to settle in a place with “culture.”
Us old folks reminisce annoyingly about the old days. Forgive us, we can’t help it. Viewing my grandsons’ organised and electronic world, I can’t help but think about my Southern boyhood in the 1940s and early 1950s. I make no assertion about whether today is better or worse.
Amazing is the number of things that I remember that have now entirely disappeared:
Riding a wagon to town
Tobacco curing sheds
There were many brands of soft drinks, mostly gone now, but only a few types of beer. They came in bottles. Nobody imagined that either would be in cans.
The bottles could be redeemed for 2 cents each. And you got your bottle out of very cold water by hand after lifting the lid of a large drink box.
There was only one Catholic church in town.
There were probably an Episcopal Church and a synagogue but I never saw them. You were either, in descending social order, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Baptist.
I only knew one immigrant, a boy who had escaped Communism in Latvia.
The polio epidemic, was pervasive in everyone’s attention. You carried a swatter around to kill flies, who were thought to have something to do with causing polio.
We were all afraid of having to be put in ”the iron lung.”
Most streets outside the business area were unpaved, some were oiled in the summer.
We had newly invented strip malls but had not imagined a big self-contained shopping center with a parking garage.
A small black and white television with one station that broadcast only an hour or two in the evening.
Log houses and tin roofs that tinkled when it rained.
Tobacco chewing and snuff taking were commonplace and there was always a spittoon nearby.
Denim was working man’s wear. Nobody could have believed it would become a fashion statement. Farmers and workers often wore galluses.
Nobody I knew had ever heard of pizza.
Women wore skirts and dresses always when away from home. Girls would never show up at school in anything else.
Males wearing shorts or carrying an umbrella were marked as effeminate.
Our town had the tallest building in the state---17 stories.
Outside school and church boys’ lives were free and entirely unorganized. We pretty much went wherever we pleased. Nobody worried about child molesters---everyone kept an eye out for children.
We spent a lot of time in the woods with firearms. However, when we played war we only used BB guns. When we played War Between the States nobody wanted to be a Yankee and they had to be picked by lot.
Few high school boys had cars but those who did kept firearms in their vehicles and could smoke outside the school building. Much of today’s population would clutch their pearls and faint at what was normal then.
Policemen walked and knew and were known by everybody. They knew that the letter of the law should sometimes be subordinate to the spirit of the law. Most people regarded them as friends rather than adversaries.
It was the era of Jim Crow, which until 1954 we took for granted as a normal part of life. Schools were segregated and truthfully there were a lot of gratuitous incidents of cruelty by some elements. However, there was a good deal of courtesy and friendship across the colour line.
Perimeter and semi-rural neighbourhoods were not segregated, although carpetbaggers had made expensive white-only communities in town. My grandfather was on friendly terms with respectable black people in his area. I have seen him give away food to black women with children but no man out of the meager resources of his country store.
The black school children were well-behaved, studied, had dedicated teachers, and some of them went on to some success in education and business. I doubt if the education of African American children is as good now.
The South was poor, the conspicuously impoverished part of the U.S. Black people were at the bottom level in poverty, but there were so many poor white people that it did not seem a separate problem.
Southern fiction has a new hero—Tom Ironsides makes his appearance in book form in Perrin Lovett’s work The Substitute (Shotwell Publishing, 2023). Sequels and prequels are in the offing.
Ironsides is a sort of James Bond, but a much better man. He is a master of his former craft as a CIA operative, although he has progressively developed a realisation that he had not really been defending his country but rather the worst people in it. Lovett describes his paramilitary adventures vividly and more realistically than Bond fantasies.
Ironsides has seen much of the world and has lived a good deal abroad, including as a college professor in Slovakia. Like Bond, he drinks and likes women (and additionally is a cigar connoisseur ). He is also a Christian, a genuine classical scholar, and feels deeply a duty toward his declining country and people. Ironsides was born and bred in the snows of New Hampshire, but is a happily adopted South Carolinian.
In his first book appearance Ironsides’s social conscience leads him in retirement to sign up as a substitute teacher for South Carolina schools in the Augusta, Georgia metropolitan area. He wants to know what is happening in education.
From here The Substitute is based on the first-hand experiences, blow by blow, of the author as a Substitute. These experiences are a cold shower (or an alarm bell if you prefer) for anyone who really wants to know what goes on in the public schools. And we all should want to know.
Ironsides’s encounters in elementary, middle, and high schools with dozens of administrators, teachers, and students–good, bad, and indifferent–are authentic. There are a number of good books about the perilous state of American education, but Lovett provides us with a nuts and bolts, every day portrayal that really strikes home.
There are some good and dedicated teachers–almost all demoralised and wanting to get out even if it means working for Walmart. The students are mostly good (although there is a violent minority who are never appropriately handled). But the young people are, as they vaguely understand, the victims of fearful, faddish, over-controlling bureaucrats who have never had any idea about what education should be.
The schools barely teach reading, writing and ‘rithmetic to some of the students. As for passing on Western Civilisation, which has been the successful goal of education for centuries, the intellectual and moral mediocrities who are in charge do not even know what you are talking about.
Ironsides entered the schools in an open-minded investigative attitude and in hope of contributing some improvement. He ends his year with the certainty that there is no hope of reform in the vast decaying educational empire. The preservers of civilisation must leave behind the mass public “education” and begin innovative work elsewhere.
For some reason stranger women experiencing trouble find me an easy target for accosting in public. Maybe they think I am a harmless old man easy for a touch.
Here are some things that have happened to me in the last two years or so.
I was checking out of a family restaurant when a middle-aged woman, very well dressed and respectable looking, asked me if she could have some food like I had just had. I gave her a $20 bill.
At a gas station I was approached by a young woman who said she had had car trouble on her way back to Charleston and needed to get to a car shop on Two Notch Road. Her information was vague---there are two Two Notch Roads in the Columbia metro area, both rather far from where we were. I spent two hours driving her around without finding the shop. Inquiry suggested that she did not have a credit card to use for a place to stay. It appears she was a Walmart employee and I finally left her at a big Walmart store where she thought she could get people to look after her.
I was strolling the neighbourhood when an older lady asked me if I could help her get her car started. She wanted to pour a little gas into the carburetor, which I advised was not a very good idea. I helped with all my inferior technical ability would allow, but we never did get the car started. Meanwhile, her male next-door neighbour looked at both of us with contempt.
At the inevitable Walmart an African American lady, middle-aged, approached me. She said she was broke and did not have money to get her clothes washed at a laundromat. I gave her another $20 bill.
Just the other day at the gas station, another lady pulled up beside me. She said she was trying to get to Charlotte to see her mother who was sick or dying and she did not have any money. I gave her all I had in my wallet, about $32 or so, in hope that she could get some food and fuel.
My experiences as a compassion magnet have made me realise how many Americans there are today who are living on the margin. I can remember when it was said that America was a good country for common people to better themselves with hard work.
These days your government is bailing out billionaires and taking on trillions in debt for useless, immoral, failed wars that have nothing to do with defending our country. The economic status of the middle and working classes is declining. The tiny minority of super rich have more than all the rest of us “deplorables” put together. The foreigners and rich people who own the U.S. government debt have a risk-free investment and their interest profits are tax fee.
This ought to encourage us to think again about Lincoln’s famous lie that his war was to preserve government of, by, and for the people.
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews