Ilana Mercer, contra “kerns and gallowglasses”
Steve Hilton is a Briton who anchors a current-affairs show on Fox News. Mr. Hilton made the following feeble, snowflake’s case for the removal of the nation’s historically offensive statues:
It’s offensive to our Africa-American neighbors to maintain statues in public places that cause not only offense, but real distress. And it is disrespectful to our native-American neighbors to glorify a man who they see as having committed genocide against their ancestors. None of this is to erase history. Put it all in a museum. Let’s remember it and learn from it.
“What’s wrong with Camp Ulysses Grant,” Hilton further intoned, sanctimoniously. He was, presumably, plumping for the renaming of army installations like Fort Bragg, called after a Confederate major general, Braxton Bragg.
Sons of the South—men and women, young and old—see their forebears as having died “in defense of the soil,” and not for slavery. Most Southerners were not slaveholders. All Southerners were sovereigntists, fighting a War for Southern Independence. Hilton, it goes without saying, is a follower of the State-run Church of Lincoln. To the average TV dingbat, this means that Southern history comes courtesy of the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Lincoln idolater and the consummate court historian. “Doris Kearns Goodwin,” explains Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo, the country’s chief Lincoln slayer, “is a museum quality specimen of a court historian, a pseudo-intellectual who is devoted to pulling the wool over the public’s eyes by portraying even the most immoral, corrupt and sleazy politicians as great, wise, and altruistic men.”
When Doris does the TV circuit, evangelizing for power, she never mentions, say, the close connection between her great Ulysses Grant and Hilton’s “native-American neighbors.” Yes, Doris, Steve: who exactly exterminated the Plains Indians? Indian-Americans will likely be hip to the fact that the Republicans, led by General Sherman himself, supervised the genocide of some 60,000 Plains Indians from 1865 to 1890. The Plains Indians endured land dispossession that culminated “in the late 1880s, with the surviving tribes of the West being herded onto reservations,” writes DiLorenzo, in “The Feds versus The Indians.” Primary sources notwithstanding, to make his case in this tract alone, DiLorenzo galvanizes sources such as L.A. Marshall’s Crimsoned Prairie: The Indian Wars (1972), John F. Marszalek’s Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (1993) and Sheridan: The Life and War of General Phil Sheridan (1992), by Roy Morris, Jr.
“We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux”, Sherman wrote to Ulysses S. Grant (commanding general of the federal army) in 1866, “even to their extermination, men, women and children.” The Sioux must “feel the superior power of the Government.” Sherman vowed to remain in the West “till the Indians are all killed or taken to a country where they can be watched.” “During an assault,” he instructed his troops, “the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age.” He chillingly referred to this policy in an 1867 letter to Grant as “the final solution to the Indian problem,” a phrase Hitler invoked some 70 years later.
Hilton, who believes in the Republican Party’s moral supremacy, can’t be expected to know that, in “eradicating the Indians of the West,” Sherman was delivering good old “veiled corporate welfare” to “a segment of the railroad industry, which heavily bankrolled the Republican party.” Certain things never change.
More so than The Other Worthies mentioned, “our native-American neighbors” have a tendency to harken back to a once-proud history. If they retain any historic memory, then, America’s First Nations should balk at serving on Camp Ulysses Grant, or at Fort William Tecumseh Sherman. The folks Hilton dubs “our Africa-American neighbors,” on the other hand, are more interested in breaking and burning stuff to get what they want, which, invariably, is other people’s stuff, sometimes called “reparations.”
It follows that Conservatism Inc. usually uses American Indians as its perennial piñata, while generally acceding to the aggressive demands of African-Americans for permanent victim status. It’s to Hilton’s credit that he even mentioned Native-Americans, who have little political clout and even less of an extractive approach to politics. Given the state of his knowledge, Steve Hilton can’t be expected to be familiar with Lord Acton’s nuanced thinking on the Confederacy. According to another good, English thing, Encyclopedia Britannica, Acton was “the first great modern philosopher of resistance to the state, whether its form be authoritarian, democratic, or socialist.” And this enlightened British thinker favored the Confederacy. Lord Acton certainly supported, even admired, Robert E. Lee, and saw secession and states’ rights as a check on the sovereign will. The general, surmised Lord Acton, was fighting to preserve “the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will”: states’ rights and secession.
Herewith, Lee’s inspired reply to Lord Acton:
… I believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people … are the safeguard to the continuance of a free government … whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.
“Lee,” argues Clyde Wilson, distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina, “was the product of a pre-ideological society, whereas the ‘treason’ shouters [Lincoln and his accomplices] were [modern statists] products of post-French Revolution nationalism. [To them], the Union meant the machinery of the federal government, under the control of their party, to be used for their agenda.” “But as the Southern poet Allen Tate put it, the original Union was a gentleman’s agreement, not a group of buildings in Washington from which sacred commandments were issued.”
The acolytes of the French Revolution, with their nihilistic Jacobinism, have carried the day. Still, America circa 2020 makes the philosophical descendants of the original Jacobins look positively clingy about their symbols and statues. President Emmanuel Macron evinced the resolve that the Anglo-American surrender monkeys are too feeble to feel, much less display: Said Macron, “The [French] republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history … it will not take down any statue.” Bravo, Monsieur Macron.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook& Gab. New on YouTube