Tuesday, June 20, 2017

No "Nazis" in the Confederacy

People apply the word "Nazi" to any group of people they judge as being racist, especially Southerners, although the North certainly had its share of racists. Unfortunately, it is a fact of history that even learned men like Lincoln had views which would now be considered hateful and totally unacceptable. Nevertheless, Professor Wilson explains why analogies between Nazis and Confederates are inaccurate. To quote:
Anyone who has been paying attention has heard many times the assertion that the flag of the Southern Confederacy is equivalent to the banner of the Nazi German Reich.  That this idea should gain any credit at all is a sign of how debased American public discourse has become by ignorance, deceit, and hatred.

To make an obvious point:  The Confederacy fought a defensive war against invasion.    It had no design to rule others or exploit their resources—only wished to be let alone.  Nazi Germany was a militarist state, dedicated to a boastful, bullying, brutal conquest of other peoples.  Rather like the U.S. Army in 1861—1865.

Another obvious point.  Nazi Germany was a regimented totalitarian state.   On the other hand, a number of observers have suggested that the Southern people were too loosely governed and individualistic to accept the strong central authority that was needed to win their war against a larger aggressive state organized for conquest.  In this respect the Confederacy was the last Jeffersonian regime in America.

The Nazi analogy rests on the idea that both the Confederacy and Germany were “racist” states.  The term “racist” has become so elastic and pejorative that it is no longer used by honest writers.  History and ordinary observation indicate a vast variety and gradation of the “racist” ideas that the various races of mankind have had about each other, many of them involving notions of significant differences and superiority/inferiority.

If  “racist” means in this  connection that the Confederacy  generally assumed an attitude of “white supremacy,” it is true.  This tells us very little.  In the sense intended the overwhelming majority of white Europeans and Americans were white supremacists from the first contacts with Africa in the 16th century until well into the 20th century.  Abraham Lincoln expressed this idea several times.  Many of his supporters did so frequently and firmly. (Read more.)

1 comment:

Just Helen said...

I don't approve of what the South fought for, but to label them Nazis is absurd.