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28 Sep

In October, 2013, I sent a letter to the Civil War Times (see below) which itself produced a letter in response. Again I responded to the letter writer. Because the magzine was loathe to allow me to defend my position, I present these letters here, not only because the matter is important, but because of my critic’s use of “political correctness” in his letter. To my mind, the attempt to “de-legitimize” an individual and his viewpoint by equating both with a notorious criminal is the depth of hypocrisy and cowardice. If one cannot defend one’s point of view without name calling and finger pointing then there is obviously very little—if anything—to defend. But at least now I have a place to be heard (or read, actually).

Letter sent in October, 2013 to the Civil War Times:

The Northern sympathies of all things within the establishment is understood. However, that does not mean that inaccuracies and errors arising from that viewpoint are acceptable and should pass unnoticed or unchallenged.

On the cover of your latest issue, you speak of a “Rebel generals feud…” The fact, sir, is that the States of the South were not “in rebellion” against anyone—and especially a government that was supposed to be limited by the Constitution. Therefore, neither were the people nor the armed forces of the South “rebels” in any sense of that word. Rather they were legitimate combatants trying—as their Revolutionary ancestors had done before them—to throw off the yoke of a despotic government.

Tiresome as it is to continue to bring up the issue, secession was a recognized constitutional remedy at the time. Indeed, New England had considered it some three times before it was raised in the South, even during a war with Great Britain! At that time, the President was a Southerner but no armies were sent north to arrest the legitimate participants in convention nor were any threats made of fire and the sword against the states involved. But that is because the Southern President understood the limitations placed upon the federal government by the Constitution.

Of course, many point out that in Texas v. White the Supreme Court found secession to be illegal. But that was in 1867, two years after the war and ex post facto laws are also unconstitutional! As well, the idea put forth by Union adherents from Ulysses Grant to Antonin Scalia that the war settled the matter of the legitimacy of secession is equally invalid. If the Constitution can be overcome by force of arms, then it is not the law of the land but a fraud having no force other than what the government permits it to have. “Law” becomes the triumph of the stronger adherent in whatever matter is being contested and we therefore have a government of men, not of laws!

After the War, Jefferson Davis addressed the matter thusly:

Let us, the survivors, however, not fail to do credit to the generous credulity which could not understand how, in violation of the compact of union, a war could be waged against the States, or why they should be invaded because their people had deemed it necessary to withdraw from an association which had failed to fulfill the ends for which they had entered into it, and which, having been broken to their injury by the other parties, had ceased to be binding upon them.

It is a satisfaction to know that the calamities which have befallen the Southern States were the result of their credulous reliance on the power of the Constitution, that if it failed to protect their rights, it would at least suffice to prevent an attempt at coercion, if, in the last resort, they peacefully withdrew from the Union.

To continue to refer to those who merely exercised their rights under the Constitution as “rebels” is to codify a lie and to disseminate falsehood. I would think that the value of any publication lies in presenting the truth as far as that truth can be known in an imperfect world. If that is not the intention of your publication, I must reconsider spending my limited resources in obtaining it.

Letter in the June, 2014 Civil War Times in response to the above:

Valerie Protopapas’ defense of the Confederacy in the December 2013 issue is tiresomely weak. As noted in the same issue, Alabama—a state that had yet to secede from the Union—attacked a Federal garrison January 4, 1861, and captured Captain Jesse Reno and 18 U.S. soldiers (P.60). Today we would call a similar event treason; why not then?

At the same time, “throwing off the yoke of a despotic government” mirrors some of the same language that Timothy McVeigh used in what he viewed as a legitimate attack on the government when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Unless Protopapas sanctions the murder of 168 people, including those babies, and the wounding of nearly 700 others, she cannot condone one without condoning the other.

Brian Questel, Wooster, Ohio

My Response sent April 4th, 2014

Ordinarily, I would not bother to reply to Brian Questel’s letter (It Was Treason) as he is entitled to his own opinion. However, he is not entitled to his own facts. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution defines treason as “…only making war upon (the States)…and aiding and abetting in that war.” The federal government did “wage war upon” States that had constitutionally withdrawn from the Union. Indeed, Lincoln in his first inaugural address made clear his intention to do so. He then used the false flag action at Fort Sumter to draw the remaining States into his treason. Yes, there was treason in the so-called “civil war—but it was all on the side of the Union.

Mr. Questel then goes on to bolster his own “tiresomely weak” argument by making use of the hackneyed Marxist strategy called “political correctness.” Not content with declaring me “wrong,” he proposes that I must be in sympathy with the evil deeds of a convicted murderer for having the temerity to believe—and articulate—such a position. How feckless of him—and how wrong! Of course, political correctness is intended to silence undesirable opinions and those who voice them. Through its use, Mr. Questel wants people not only to reject my position on factual grounds, but to believe that my position is wicked! Political correctness, like the man and philosophy that created it, is essentially infantile. When someone does not believe his position sufficiently strong, he resorts to name calling. We used to do this as children! When we could no longer counter the other fellow’s argument, we would say things like, “Your mother wears army shoes!” Certainly, Mr. Questel’s version is just as ridiculous and just as infantile and frankly, I was astonished to see such nonsense affirmed by a publication of the quality of the Civil War Times.

There used to be a saying, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Apparently, it no longer obtains even in distinguished publications.

Now, this was back in 2013 and already if you did not agree with the “official version,” you were being considered a danger to society. Obviously, things have only gotten worse since then and, I would suggest, they will continue to do so.

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