Davidson has taken the occasion of HBO’s upcoming progressivist smear campaign against Southrons and Whites generally, to make matters worse by doing the same thing in the name of conservatism.
J.D. starts off by allaying the fears of progressives, assuring them that Benioff and Weiss are good menschen who will not deviate from the anti-White narrative. From which he launches into Harry Jaffa’s neocon revisionism, arguing that the old Confederacy and modern progressivism are essentially the same thing. An interpretation so utterly bassackward it can only be malicious.
He first cites Guelzo, who says that the antebellum South was not an agrarian society at all, but “an industrializing region” whose socio-civic structure was the same as “the modern-day administrative state.” Talk about hocking beachfront property in Arizona.
He even goes so far as to say, “The Confederate government centralized political authority in ways that made hash out of states’ rights” and that an accurate portrayal of a modern Confederacy “will shock us … not for how much of the Confederate future we avoided, but how little.”
C’mon, really, guys: the South’s ‘industry’ was cotton and tobacco. It was a distinctly and consciously ag-based society pursuant of that Jeffersonian ideal of the yeoman farmer as the backbone of a free society; and that over against Northern industrial powers in New York and Boston. To say otherwise is to contradict not just the whole historical record, but even the impetus to the plantation system which you all insist to be the casus belli! You can’t have it both ways — if you want us to believe the war was entirely about domestic ag slavery, you cannot turn around and say the South was a centralized cosmopolitan industrial state.
Davidson admits it sounds crazy, but he’s here to blow your mind, man! See, you’re just confused because the media portrays “Republican voters in the South as a bunch of Confederate flag-waving racists, while casting progressive Democrats as Defenders of equality and sincere advocates of social justice.”
Only one problem there, chief — Southern Republicans are, in the main, Confederate flag-waving ‘racists.’ And the Dems are equality-mongering SJWs.
Perhaps the funnies part is that as he tries to identify the Confederates with modern progressives, it is J.D. himself who actually holds to all the same cultural Marxist convictions as the progs he means to troll. Else, he wouldn’t be speaking their PC shibboleths like ‘racist’.
Earth to J.D.: you aren’t going to bolster conservatism by casting it as sharing all the core ideals of progressives. Nor will the qualification that conservatives are really just more sincere about those ideals help your case one iota. Conservatives do not reject progressivism because progs aren’t genuinely egalitarian or insufficiently concerned with social justice. Real conservatives reject those things utterly.
Following the cliched liberal argument, J.D. assures us that the war was all about slavery, not states’ rights. In fact, he says, the Southern states were, as the proto-progressives, the primary enemy and suppressors of states’ rights! As proof of which he says, “Decades before the war came, southern leaders were thinking about how best to preserve [slavery] in a country that was expanding westward.”
So the Southrons were ‘progressives’ against states’ rights because they endeavored to preserve a founding institution under the jurisdiction of the states against the revolutionary machinations of Northern change agents? Say what?
He then doubles down on the absurdity by — get this — claiming John Calhoun to have been a Marxist. Yeah. For standing on the principle, in Kirk’s words, of “Jefferson’s old Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions,”[1. Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, p. 171] contiguous with the Tenth Amendment, and that bedrock Christian concept of subsidiarity, and the Lesser Magistrate doctrine of the Reformation. The ‘minority interests’ that Calhoun touted was nothing more or less than representative government. All of which is, in truth, basic to republican federalism and native to the Calvinist thought in which the man was reared.
By contrast, Davidson announces himself a proponent of what Calhoun labelled ‘tyranny of the majority’ — direct national democracy under centralized government — the exact view which the American founders most directly and vehemently repudiated. And this ramshackle artifice he pawns off as ‘conservatism.’
But at length, the headwater of Davidson’s perspective comes into view as he invokes the ghost of neocon warlock Harry Jaffa. Jaffa is the bloke who reimagined the American identity in terms of a propositional trinity:
- The Declaration’s most misconstrued line, “all mean are created equal.”
- Lincoln’s revolutionary Gettysburg Address.
- MLK Jr.’s Marxist I Have a Dream speech.
If this blasphemous triad is the ideological grid through which you understand America, you have no conception of America. These post hoc iterations impose a retroactive interpretation of America, which is revisionism by definition. All the more so under the circumstance of a Trotskyite (Jaffa) having been the one to isolate and declare these revolutionary minority ideas the true American identity.
Alongside Marx, J.D. also accuses Calhoun of being driven by Darwinism. Never mind that Calhoun’s work was decades prior to the publication of either Das Kapital or Origin of Species. A hiccup in the theory which Jaffa accounts for by simply saying that Calhoun was ‘the forerunner’ of both Marxism and Darwinism. If your theory proves anachronistic, simply declare anachronism essential to your system, I guess.
But if we’re looking for convergences of worldview with the materialists, look no further than the Lincoln administration that was praised to the skies by none other than Karl Marx himself. It was not the Calhounian Confederate conception of America, but the Lincolnite worldview, with which Marx openly identified.
More than that, the penpal relationship between Marx and Lincoln lays bare the fact that they acknowledged each other as comrades in the same revolution, albeit on different fronts. Red Marxists in Europe and Red Republicans in America. Lincoln’s centralized Union would be emulated shortly thereafter in the Soviet Union. All of which explains why Lincoln’s regime purposely filled government and military ranks with Radical ’48ers fresh from the first Marxist revolution in Europe.
The attempt to paint the Gettysburg narrative as the Founders’ view is utterly absurd. Prior, throughout, and after the war the constitutional scholars maintained a rare unanimity in insisting the South was in the right according to the Constitution. A thing for which Lincoln had many locked up sans habeas corpus. Even so, the dearth of any court willing to hear charges against the Confederates was total. Far from any charge of treason, the legal community affirmed the Confederacy to be the constitutionalists, and by inverse corollary, if tacitly, condemned the Unionists as the traitors.
Lincoln . . . would cleanse the Constitution — not, as William Lloyd Garrison had, by burning an instrument that countenanced slavery. He altered the document from within, by appeal from its letter to the spirit, subtly changing the recalcitrant stuff of that legal compromise, bringing it to its own indictment. By implicitly doing this, he performed one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight-of-hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting. Everyone in that vast throng of thousands was having his or her intellectual pocket picked. The crowd departed with a new thing in its ideological luggage, that new constitution Lincoln had substituted for the one they had brought with them. They walked off, from those curving graves on the hillside, under a changed sky, into a different America. Lincoln had revolutionized the Revolution, giving people a new past to live with that would change their future indefinitely.
Some people … saw that a giant swindle had been performed. The Chicago Times quoted the letter of the Constitution to Lincoln — noting its lack of reference to equality, its tolerance of slavery — and said that Lincoln was betraying the instrument he was on oath to defend, traducing the men who died for the letter of that fundamental law. . . .
Heirs to this outrage still attack Lincoln for subverting the Constitution at Gettysburg — suicidally frank conservatives like M.E. Bradford or the late Willmoore Kendall. But most conservatives are understandably unwilling to challenge a statement now so hallowed, so literally sacrosanct, as Lincoln’s clever assault on the constitutional past.1
Condemning Calhoun for legal positivism while endorsing Lincolnism is like Miley Cyrus calling Michelle Duggar a strumpet for having so many children.
And blaming Calhoun for the creation of government-created rights? Please.
Prior to Lincoln, our government was understood to be beholden to our people’s God-given rights that included many subsidiary regional and class interests. By contrast to which the Lincolnite revolution invented “civil rights,” which is to say, government-created rights, for Africans. Abe’s Fourteenth Amendment was not only a direct repudiation of the Constitution arranged “for us and our Posterity.” the “free White Persons” of America, but a contravention of the biblical doctrine of nations. To alchemically declare Africans part of our European nation was contiguous with Marxian, Jacobin, and Babelite thought, but entirely contrary to the American Republic that Rushdoony called “the Protestant feudal restoration” of European civilization.2
And Davidson’s claim that the Constitution was predicated on “the consent of equal human beings” is just further confirmation that he’s been drinking Jaffa’s bathwater. J.D., there is literally nothing about that, nor even resembling those ideas, in the antebellum Constitution. As Willis elaborated above, Lincoln grafted those alien and inassimilable sentiments into American code post hoc, a conceptual inversion which required an entire redefinition of the American identity, transforming America from a traditional ethnic identity into a multicult abstraction; from nation to notion. But prior to Lincoln’s red revolution, the American Republic was a natural aristocracy established for the preservation of a White Christian nation, and none other.
No, the centralized federal overreach on behalf of alien breeds and creeds that defines the contemporary lib hellscape is not the legacy of the Southern resistance. It’s Abe’s illegitimate polymorph mulatto.
But prior to the matter of content, and in spite of the pretext of triggering progs, J.D.’s argument fatally undermines conservatism in the present. Because the sons and daughters of the Confederacy comprise the bulk of the conservative movement in America, and understand their identity as conservatives to be predicated on Confederate principle.
Which begs the question of whose interests J.D.’s red apologetic really serves. The answer is the very progressives whom he claims to oppose. Because in reality, he has far more in common with them than with the Founders, or with conservatism. All said and done, he’s just another equality-mongering SJW.