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Thomas Woods and the Ron Paul Curriculum

Gary North is not the only controversial figure involved in the development of that new Ron Paul Curriculum. One of the other people involved in it is Thomas Woods, an Ivy League-educated historian and a leading figure in the neo-confederate movement. Rachel Tabachnik has more information about him.

Woods was one of the founders of the League of the South, though he seems to want to downplay that at this point. An article he wrote in 1997 in the Southern Partisan has been removed but is still available on the wayback machine. Like most neo-confederates, he claims that the South losing the Civil War was the beginning of the end of American civilization. And he claims, accurately and unfortunately, that there are still people who want to refight that war today, which he says is about the survival of Christendom itself:

“But the growth of the Southern League and the continuing popularity of Southern Partisan reminds us that many Southerners are prepared to defend their civilization, and a people that still possesses even a spark of resistance, a sense of history and tradition, an attachment to the locality, and a strong Christian faith — is a potential threat to the Left’s new order.

Indeed, Southerners have had too many strange philosophies shoved down their throats already to go quietly in the face of this one. As former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan explained, speaking not of Southerners in particular but of his supporters in general: “We love the old republic, and when we hear phrases like ‘New World Order,’ we release the safety catches on our revolvers.” Make no mistake: the persecutors of the South hate her today for the same masons [sic] they hated her in 1860. An 1868 article in the pro-South periodical The Land We Love summed them up quite well:

“Her conservatism, her love of the Constitution; her attachment to the old usages of society, her devotion to principles, her faith in Bible truth — all these involved her in a long and bloody war with that radicalism which seeks to overthrow all that is venerable, respectable and of good repute.”

So the War Between the States, far from a conflict over mere material interests, was for the South a struggle against an atheistic individualism and an unrelenting rationalism in politics and religion, in favor of a Christian understanding of authority, social order and theology itself. The intelligent Left knows this, and even the incurably stupid, like Carol Moseley-Braun, must at least sense it. For all their ignorant blather about slavery and civil rights, what truly enrages most liberals about the Confederate Battle Flag is its message of defiance. They see in it the remnants of a traditional society determined to resist cultural and political homogenization, and refusing to be steamrolled by the forces of progress.

I have been a Northerner for my entire 24 years. But when we reflect on what was really at stake in the “late unpleasantness,” we can join with Alexander Stephens in observing that “the cause of the South is the cause of us all.”

Amusing that Woods complains about always hearing that the war was fought over slavery, then makes a point of being a compatriot with Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate States of America. Stephens, the man who gave the famous Cornerstone Speech, where he makes clear that the very foundation of the CSA was slavery:

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Gosh, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever get the idea that the confederacy was “based upon” slavery. I mean, other than that the VP of the CSA says so in very blunt language.

Comments

  1. Ulysses says

    So the War Between the States, far from a conflict over mere material interests, was for the South a struggle against an atheistic individualism

    I doubt that the 1860s North was any more or less atheistic than the South.

  2. slc1 says

    Anyone remember the clown calling himself King of Ireland (nee Winpisinger) who continually argued in these comment sections that slavery was a minor cause of conflict between the Confederacy and the central government in Washington?

  3. rabbitscribe says

    “We love the old republic, and when we hear phrases like ‘New World Order,’ we release the safety catches on our revolvers.”

    Fun fact: revolvers don’t have safety catches. If you don’t want them to discharge accidentally, you don’t carry them around cocked.

  4. tuibguy says

    The flag doesn’t enrage me because of defiance. I can be a bit defiant myself, and I rather admire defiance for a good cause such as sending documents that expose governmental misdeeds to Wikileaks. No, I am more dismayed that people call themselves patriots while celebrating treason.

    Traitors willing to kill and die for the right to enslave people? Not patriots, not defiant, not my cause.

  5. garnetstar says

    I’m trying to imagine being 24, never having lived in the South, but being so enamored of its “culture” 150 years ago that you want to live in it for the rest of your life.

    But I am not succeeding.

  6. says

    garnetstar, have you tried picturing yourself as a mediocre Causasian with no exceptional characteristics whatsoever, nothing to offer, and no will to improve yourself, and a seething resentment at those you perceive to be getting a free ride or that don’t “know their place”?

  7. says

    garnetstar, have you tried picturing yourself as a mediocre Causasian with no exceptional characteristics whatsoever, nothing to offer, and no will to improve yourself, and a seething resentment at those you perceive to be getting a free ride or that don’t “know their place”?

    Certainly a leading hypothesis for a lot of the nasty characters I meet. Most racists I meet seem to lack basic mental skills and knowledge that they should have picked up in high school or even sooner.

    I also see a version of it in the jingoists who insist that America is perfect and that we don’t have to work to maintain and improve ourselves. When bad stuff happens due to homegrown problems, they pass the blame to foreign powers. When another country does something great or makes discoveries, they blame it on them “stealing” our technology, as if we held an eternal patent on the base technology and were entitled to residual kudos the foreign nation refused to pay us.

    Naturally, the two overlap quite often. See also, “white technology.”

  8. garnetstar says

    I guess I have to accept that my imagination is just too limited. Another fail.

    (I also am extremely irritated by “American exceptionalism”, and can’t imaginatively enter that mental state either.)

  9. brucegee1962 says

    I agree that if you really want to understand the root of the political differences in this country, you should look at the Civil War. The English Civil War.

    The Parliamentarians in the 17th century tended to migrate to Massachusetts and New England. They brought with them their belief that the best way to make money was through commerce and hard work, that a person’s worth was determined by how hard he was willing to work, and that government should be representative of all people.

    The monarchists tended to migrate to the South, and brought with them their beliefs that the best way to make money was through owning property and getting other people to work on it, that a person’s worth was determined by his bloodline, and that government should be a tool allowing those with property to do whatever they liked.

    (Gendered pronouns used advisedly.)

    And we still have those values today.

  10. dingojack says

    garnetstar – I’m imagining that you are neither succeeding nor seceding.
    Dingo

  11. raven says

    (I also am extremely irritated by “American exceptionalism”, and can’t imaginatively enter that mental state either.)

    What!!!

    You don’t believe the USA is the New Israel and that Americans are the new Jews, i.e. god’s chosen people with the New Covenant. The Covenant no one can see because it is invisible, like the emperor’s new clothes.

    It’s easy. Just pretend it is 600 BCE. You are an ancient Pat Robertson equivalent. You need to make up a story about your glorious past to get people to forget that they were overrun and defeated by the Assyrians and Babylonians. You also hope that this story makes you a lot of money and gains you some power.

    And while you are back in the past, don’t forget to pick some out groups to hate on. The gays, Moabites, and Canaanites will work nicely.

  12. magistramarla says

    I am reminded of my husband’s hilarious response to being told “The South shall rise again!”.
    He told the person: “How can it rise again when it couldn’t get it up in the first place?”

  13. pacal says

    After the Civil War Stephens would write books and publish articles declaring that the war was not about slavery at all in any capacity but about fighting the tyranny of a centralizing government. Stephens would claim that his “cornerstone” speech had been miss-reported. Stephens would join Davis and all sorts of other former Confederates in denying that the war was about slavery in the slightest. One prominent characteristic of this literature was the deliberate ignoring of what they said at the time and the conscious creation of a lying justification of the war being about abstract concepts like “states rights” etc.

    Thus was born a lying literature that continues to this day. Like Stephen Neo-Confederates continue this proud tradition of lying to this day.

  14. Sastra says

    In The Better Angels of Our Nature Stephen Pinker argues that the southern states exemplified the older values of an Honor Culture, where central authority is rejected in favor of individuals meting out their own punishment to those who insult their “honor.” The northern states drew their citizens from societies and countries with more humanistic traditions. Thus, a root of conflict.

  15. meursalt says

    Rabbitscribe said:

    Fun fact: You’re full of shit and shouldn’t be giving tips on gun safety; you could get someone killed.

    Fun fact: You’re full of shit and shouldn’t be giving tips on gun safety; you could get someone killed. You’re probably thinking of a trigger safety; most revolvers don’t have these, but some modern revolvers do.

    A double-action revolver, which is the design most modern revolvers use, absolutely does not have to be cocked to be fired. Cocking only gives the advantage of a short, light trigger pull, improving accuracy. It is NOT safe even if it is not cocked.

    Even the older single-action revolvers are still not safe when NOT cocked. If the pistol is dropped or otherwise bumped on the hammer, enough kinetic energy can be generated to set off the primer. Think of those executive clacky-ball toys, only the last ball is a round.

    Some Colt double-action revolvers of the last century have an internal safety wherein the striking end of the hammer is blocked from reaching the percussion cap unless the trigger is pulled; this is one way of reducing the risk of drops.

    The right-winger in question may have been referring to cylinder safety notches. Modern revolvers often have notches in the cylinder between chambers, so that the hammer can rest against the cylinder, rather than in a place where it could impact a round if dropped or bumped.

    You really shouldn’t get your gun safety tips from Hollywood, and you really REALLY shouldn’t pass them on if you do. People could get hurt. Don’t take my word for it either, I’m no expert. Consult the manual of your firearm; there are always oddball designs with unusual risks; my old carbine, for instance, will hold two rounds in addition to the chambered round if it is manually unloaded.

    This kind of shit is why the right wingers don’t trust us liberals to come up with sensible firearms policy. Let’s hope nobody read your misinformation and decided to do something stupid.

    Love,
    -m

  16. says

    “This kind of shit is why the right wingers don’t trust us liberals to come up with sensible firearms policy.”

    I don’t disagree with some of your comments, but that last bit above is simply not true.

    The ReiKKKwing/gunzloonz don’t trust anyone to do anything to in any way limit their access to every fucking gun that they want ot buy, swap for or “liberate” if the opportunity prevents itself. They are not rational. And that’s the major problem with reaching consensus on gun control not any “liberal” lack of firearms knowledge.

    I have had hundreds of conversations with reasonable people who are gun owners and at least that many with people who are not reasonable. There is little similarity between those two populations, except that both own firearms.

  17. dingojack says

    Demo – “…. if the opportunity prevents itself….” [empasis mine]

    autocorrect failure?

    :) Dingo

  18. bad Jim says

    Pat Buchanan was, of course, mis-paraphrasing the famous line, beloved of the Nazis, «Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning!» (when I hear Culture, I release the safety on my Browning) which explicitly references a semiautomatic.

    It’s usually rendered as “When I hear the word ‘Culture’ I reach for my gun.” Edward Abbey had some fun with this in The Monkey Wrench Gang, mangling it with different quip from Bernard Shaw. The hothead Hayduke proclaimed “When I see someone coming to do me good, I reach for my gun,” to which the doctor replied, “When I hear the word Culture I reach for my checkbook.”

    Buchanan may be a bit clueless about guns. I remember him telling an audience during one of his campaigns that the founders, faced with some modern controversy, would have responded “Lock and load!” One doubts that phrase was current in the age of muzzle-loaders.

  19. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I am more dismayed that people call themselves patriots while celebrating treason. – tubiguy

    I agree that the Confederate “cause” was slavery, but the Declaration of Independence was at least as clearly treasonous as the Confederate attempt at secession; most of the founding Fathers were slave-owners; and the first liberation of slaves on any scale in the Americas occurred during the War of Independence, as the British, from military rather than humanitarian motives, promised freedom to any slave who would desert a treasonous rebel owner and serve in some capacity in the army fighting them. This episode, along with the fate of those slaves (many ended up in Sierra Leone, where women (those who were heads of households) voted in elections – for the first time in history, AFAIK), is recounted in Simon Schama’s Rough Crossings.

  20. markholcombe says

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ron Paul Curriculum is funded by the Koch Brothers whose Koch Foundation donates thousands of dollars a year to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Programs at universities. The money comes with strings attached such as all students are required to read Atlas Shrugged.

  21. Michael Heath says

    markholcombe writes:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ron Paul Curriculum is funded by the Koch Brothers whose Koch Foundation donates thousands of dollars a year to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Programs at universities. The money comes with strings attached such as all students are required to read Atlas Shrugged.

    Cite requested on both assertions. I.e., which foundation are you referencing that both brothers fund and where do they mandate, all students are required to read Atlas Shrugged.

  22. meursalt says

    I realize the thread’s getting stale, but this is my first chance to respond to the responses to my earlier comment:

    @democommie, #18:

    That’s a fair criticism. I was annoyed and using strong language. I should have qualified that last sentence. You’re right, there are extremists that are unwilling to compromise in any way on these issues. I was referring to more moderate, slightly-right-leaning individuals. If you’ve spoken with plenty of reasonable gun owners, then you’ve probably heard reasonable criticisms of gun control measures and advocates. In particular, “assault weapon bans” often cover features that are largely cosmetic, or only marginally tactical, or serve some other useful purpose without significantly enhancing the lethality of a weapon. The legislators pushing such bans often cannot provide even definitions of the features they are voting to ban when put on the spot. The more reasonable gun rights advocates will criticise these as a form of tokenism: Ban scary-looking guns that the bad guys use in movies, and you’ll gain votes from gun control advocates, inconvenience law-abiding collectors, and do little in the end to stop violent crime. When someone on our side of the fence displays rank and potentially harmful ignorance, it only plays into the stereotype of the gun-fearing liberal, and makes it harder to build bridges with the more reasonable pro-second amendment contingent. That’s what I meant to say, and looking back, it wasn’t clear from the way I initially phrased it. So yeah, good point, my bad. I generally enjoy and agree with your comments when I’m in lurk mode, btw.

    As for jsw1 #21,

    Forgive me if I’ve totally misread the etiquette here. I realize this isn’t Pharyngula and Ed takes a slightly different approach to issues of free expression, compared to some of the other FTB’ers. But I was under the impression that the larger community on FTB generally approves of responding to harmful speech with derision and even condescension. If offering incorrect gun safety advice doesn’t meet the definition of “harmful speech,” then I don’t know what does. This sort of thing strikes a nerve with me when I see it in any form of media, and I sometimes feel compelled to respond strongly, in hopes of undoing whatever damage has been done. But yeah, nice tone trolling there, buddy ;).

  23. birgerjohansson says

    “Like most neo-confederates, he claims that the South losing the Civil War was the beginning of the end of American civilization”
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (rolls on floor laughing)

  24. says

    @ 2 6:

    Thanks for the clarification. I don’t think that assautl weapon bans are worth shit by the time they get passed into law, because the NRA’s toadies and lobbyists manage to muddle them for that very reason. Maybe Chris Rock has it right. Don’t ban any guns, just charge a fuckton for the ammunition–specifically 5.56 and 7.62. Nah, that wouldn’t work either. I think mandatory liability insurance to pay 100% of the damages in any criminal/accidental shooting so that we, the people who do the paying now, would not be doing so.

    I actually talk to a lot of people who own guns and far too many of them are reasonable until you mention registration, limits on quantity and types of firearms they might own and the insurance issue. They are also VERY opposed to changing current laws that treat non-intentional shootings as “horrible, unforeseen accidents” on a par with someone losing a foot to their lawnmower.

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