MAKE ’em fly it

A lot of people are calling for South Carolina and other southern states to quit flying the Confederate flag outside of government buildings. I’m not. I say make ’em fly it.

Make ’em fly it until they redraw their voting districts so that black votes have as much weight as white votes.

Make ’em fly it until black applicants are as likely to be hired as white, for jobs that white applicants want.

Make ’em fly it until the police are no more likely to stop and frisk a person of color than to do the same to a white person.

Make ’em fly it until schools with mostly black students are as well-funded as schools with mostly white students.

Make ’em fly it until they end the practice of railroading young black men into prisons under the pretext of a so-called “war on drugs,” release everyone unjustly imprisoned by this sham, and expunge their records so they can vote and hold decent jobs and live normal lives.

Make ’em fly it until they quit pretending not to be racists, and actually produce substantial, substantive improvements in civil rights and racial equality.

It’s a shameful, ugly, disgusting symbol for a host of shameful, ugly injustices. Fix the injustices, and then we can talk about removing the shameful symbols.


  1. oldoligarch says

    When those who criticize the South and the Confederate flag call for granting the Lakota,Navajo,Iroquois etc. the same rights the ‘American people” claim for themselves in the final paragraph of the D.O.I. namely”… and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.” Then I might consider them to be more than hypocritical blowhards.
    However since this would require returning large amounts of U.S. territory to the Natives and a displacement of ‘Americans” of European,African,Hispanic and Asian descent,harm the U.S. economy and put U.S. national security at risk,it will never happen.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      You’ve got that exactly backwards, don’t you? The Native American nations were sovereign, independent regimes within the borders of the present-day USA, just as the Confederacy declared itself a sovereign, independent regime. If principled consistency required anybody to stand up for the sovereign statehood of the defeated Native American nations, it would be those who argue for the sovereign statehood of the Confederacy, not its critics.

      • oldoligarch says

        The Confederacy is accused by its critics of depriving blacks of their rights.
        However its American (Northerners and Westerners) critics are themselves guilty of denying the rights of American Indians to independence and self-government.The same rights they insist on for themselves.Is that consistent?

        They (Americans) deny these rights on the bases of what is in their interest and not on the bases of what is just.The implications American Indian sovereignty might have for the U.S. economy and security cause the Americans to balk at the line where justice meets self- interest,just as White Southerners did when considering the implications of abolition.

        D.D.” The Native American nations were sovereign, independent regimes within the borders of the present-day USA,…”
        Unless the American Indian nations can do all the”…Things which Independent States may of right do.” then they’re NOT sovereign,and it’s a mockery of them to insist that they are.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Hang on, you’re getting your apples mixed up with your oranges here. First of all, “are” and “were” are different things. I said the Native American nations were sovereign, independent regimes, not that they are. Secondly, nobody is calling for the southern states to set up black Southerners as independent sovereign states within the borders of the former Confederacy. Critics of the Confederate flag are denouncing racism and discrimination against blacks, just as many of them also denounce racism and discrimination against Native Americans, and that’s a consistent position to take. White Americans have committed injustices against both blacks and Native Americans, and as a result both groups continue to suffer significant disadvantages and discrimination to the present day. We can’t change the past, but we can take steps to eliminate the injustice that remains, and also to embrace the ethnic diversity that makes America strong. And if you’d like to say we’re not doing enough to advance that goal, I’ll gladly say “Amen.” But the position that’s both consistent and moral is to reject racism and discrimination against both groups.

  2. oldoligarch says

    You Said,”We can’t change the past, but we can take steps to eliminate the injustice that remains, …”
    I agree,but what exactly constitutes an injustice? Discrimination against individuals? What about discrimination against nations?

    It seems to me you’re willing to grant American Indians those rights your willing for them to have, those rights that require little in the way of sacrifice on your part or on the part of the”people” with whom you identify (Americans), that is you’re willing to grant them the same INDIVIDUAL rights as any citizen of the U.S..

    This of course ensures they remain safely under American control.

    However,what about their rights as Nations
    Remember they did not come to the United States; it came to them.They were/are conquered peoples subject to a gov’t. not of their choosing.Like the peoples under Russian rule in the Caucasus or Siberia.

    Shouldn’t we give them the rights they desire and deserve,assuming they want them?

    The rights the people of the United States insist on for themselves? The rights of independence and self-gov’t.?

    Shouldn’t we return large sections of land that were taken in VIOLATION of treaties?

    Shouldn’t we do this simply because it is the right thing to do?Without consideration of the personal financial consequences for a large portion of the U.S. population,or the effects on the U.S. economy?

    Shouldn’t we do this without concern for U.S. national security?After all they may seek alliances with powerful allies against further U.S. depredations.

    It seems to me it’s easy to be idealistic when idealism requires little sacrifice on the part of the idealist.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Still sounds like apples and oranges to me. Human rights belong to individuals. The dead nations of the past (including the Confederacy) are not people, and do not have human rights. We’re not discriminating against people by failing to “resurrect” the past. Nor can the past really ever be restored to what it was. But again, if you want to insist that the defeated nations of the past have rights and require restitution and restoration, then that sounds to me like a position that’s more consistent with supporting the Confederacy than with criticizing it. Except, of course, I can’t imagine a neo-Confederate supporting the establishment of non-Caucasian sovereign states within the boundaries of the present-day USA.

      Meanwhile, there’s nothing inconsistent about standing up for human rights and for the equality of non-white minorities, be their ancestors from America or Africa or Asia or wherever. I think you’re right that Native Americans continue to suffer injustice and discrimination and various forms of oppression, and I agree that some form of restitution and rehabilitation is appropriate and overdue. I think you’re proposing the most disruptive and ill-considered approaches you can think of as a way to try and discredit those who stand up for equal rights, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more reasonable, equitable, and progressive alternatives available. So by all means, keep on advocating for the rights of Native Americans whether you sincerely mean it or not. You may succeed, and might even find that you kind of like it. “Do unto others…”

  3. oldoligarch says

    The American Indian nations are not dead.As a visit to any “reservation” will show they are held hostage.Their national will subject to the will of another people.

    Ask yourself if some foreign power conquered the U.S.and while giving individual ‘Americans’ the same rights as their own citizens,insisted that the ‘Americans’ had no right to independent status,sovereignty,self-gov’t.or existence as a separate people,would you be okay with that?

    For then the ‘Americans’ would be having done to them what they do to others.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Ok, so you’re talking “nation” in the ethnological sense of a federation of tribes, rather than in the sense of who issues their passports when they want to travel overseas. Yes, nations in that sense do exist alongside other ethnic groupings within the United States, and you are quite right that Native Americans, as a group, are being treated shamefully and are entitled to equal treatment and equal opportunity under the law, including the right to preserve and practice their own set of cultural traditions, just like everyone else.

      You ask how I would feel if, as a citizen of one independent state, I found my country conquered and occupied by a foreign nation, but that’s not quite a parallel analogy is it. What you really mean is how would I feel if I were descended from ancestors who previously were part of an independent country and were conquered by some group of outsiders. But of course, I already am. Scotland and Ireland were previously conquered by England, which was previously conquered by France, which was previously conquered by the Roman Empire, and so on. Pretty much anywhere you go in Europe, you’ll find people who are descended from people who were conquered by other people. These people became strong and prosperous in large part because they were willing to set aside the grievances of ancient history and work together to create a better society for the common good. Dividing the nation across arbitrary boundaries of ancient ethnicity and tribalism only leads to division and turmoil and suffering.

      • oldoligarch says

        You said,”What you really mean is how would I feel if I were descended from ancestors who previously were part of an independent country and were conquered by some group of outsiders. But of course, I already am. Scotland and Ireland were previously conquered by England,…”

        “Previously” is the operative word here.The Scots,Irish and English are now independent Nations with their own States.
        If Scotland and Ireland were still ruled by England would you advise any Nationalist movement among them that there are”… more reasonable, equitable, and progressive alternatives available” and that they should “… embrace the ethnic diversity… ” or do you believe they have a right to be independent,and that there independence is a good thing?.

        What you seem to me to be saying is that though American Indians of today are descended from people who unjustly had their rights to independence and self-gov’t. taken from them, those alive today where never independent and self-governing so no injustice is being committed by withholding those rights from them today.

        You’re Good! There may be a future for you at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

        However this argument can’t be good for only one case ,that’s special pleading and it’s not allowed. So let’s try your argument in a different context.

        A free person who is captured by slavers and sold into slavery has an injustice done to him.He has lost his freedom.
        However his descendants born into slavery have never been free so no injustice is being committed against them by denying them freedom.

        Would you accept this argument? I doubt it.

        You’ll probably fall back on the old “groups don’t have rights, only individual persons do” line.

        Well maybe,let’s see, can we find any evidence from a source you’d consider credible to the contrary:

        Here’s one, Abraham Lincoln said”Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world”

        Seems Abe believed such a right existed indeed he called it a “sacred right”,Of course Old Abe hedged his comments with the words “having the power”. Maybe he believed in MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.
        He would certainly argue today that none of the American Indians Nations have the (military) power to establish their right to “shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better”.

        However if a people have a natural right to independence and self government or a person a natural right to be free,then it’s difficult to see how anybody has a right to prevent them from exercising that right.After all can one by right deny another’s rights?

        So we need a source you’ll find credible that declares a peoples Natural right to independence.

        I’ve got it! Maybe these words will convince you!!

        “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

        This clearly is a declaration of a group right, after all it says,”…for one PEOPLE to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,…”

        But a right to do what?Well to”… assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station…”
        I take it you’ll agree that “separate” equals independent and “equal” equals sovereign in the above?

        But is this a natural right?Let’s see,
        “…which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”
        By Jove yes it is!! After all an entitlement is a right, and to be entitled by nature is a NATURAL RIGHT!!!!

        So American Indian Nations have natural rights to independence,sovereignty and self-gov’t.
        In continuing to deny them these rights, if they want them, then the people of the United States are committing an injustice against them and those who support this injustice have lost any moral legitimacy to criticize the Confederacy or anybody else.

        So Mr. Duncan, do you support the continuing of the injustices against American Indian Nations?

      • Deacon Duncan says

        I’m sure the citizens of Scotland will be quite amazed to discover that they are an independent country, having voted just last year to remain part of the United Kingdom and not become independent. But they are probably no less amazed than the Native Americans, who likewise are not seeking to become independent nations either. The only person I’m aware of who is demanding their independence is you, and you’ve admitted your only interest in the question is because you want a pretext for accusing people of hypocrisy when they criticize the continuing influence of a significant racist subculture.

        I think we’ve had enough concern trollery for one thread. If you genuinely want to see the Native American nations given their own territories and governments independent of the United States, then go ahead and advocate for it. But do it somewhere else. All you’re accomplishing here is to waste people’s time with unreasonable rationalizations and baseless insinuations, advocating actions you yourself do not want to see happen, so that you can accuse others of hypocrisy. If you don’t see why that’s a self-defeating strategem, you are not yet ready to continue this discussion, and I’m not going to waste any more space on your spleen.

  4. oldoligarch says

    Oh! One more thing.You said,” I think you’re proposing the most disruptive and ill-considered approaches you can think of as a way to try and discredit those who stand up for equal rights,…”

    I’m not trying to”discredit those who stand up for equal rights”.
    Rather I’m trying to show you the hypocrisy (often unconscious) of those who criticize White Southerners for balking at the prospect of abolition.

    You see the abolition of slavery would have had dire consequences for the personal financial fortunes of many in the South,just as returning large sections of land would have for many in the U.S..

    It would have harmed the economies of the Southern states,just as loss of territory and resources returned to American Indians would harm the U.S. economy.

    And finally the questions of security White Southerners would face,”What would blacks do with their freedom?Would they seek vengeance,or their own independence?”
    Is not unlike the questions the ‘Americans’ would face,”What will the American Indian nations do with their independence?Might Russian or Chinese troops be stationed in the heart of North America?

    Is it any surprise White Southerners would hesitate at abolition,just as you do at the prospect of independent and sovereign American Indian Nations carved out of the U.S.
    Don’t you think they may have considered abolition to be among “…the most disruptive and ill-considered approaches…” (to use your words) imaginable?
    Do you see now why they may have attempted to rationalize and justify continuing an injustice,just as you do?

    Don’t feel bad, humans all over the world do this.

    It’s just easy to ignore our own hypocrisy.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Apples and oranges again. People who stand up for equal rights are standing consistently for the equal rights of all ethnic groups, and are advocating the elimination of discriminatory and exploitative practices even when such practices are profitable to those who are doing the exploiting. Doesn’t matter what color skin the exploited people have. But the explicit goal of the Confederacy was to perpetuate the enslavement of black people as the “property” of white supremacists. Again, there are any number of more reasonable alternatives the South could have embraced in order to restore dignity, equality, and liberty to the enslaved blacks, but the South wouldn’t even consider any of those. Instead, they went straight to the extreme of taking up arms against their own countrymen, in a bid to create a nation where all men were not created equal, and where God could be invoked as having given some men a dark skin in order to set them apart as slaves and chattel. They lost a war that they themselves started for the purpose of denying liberty to others, and for that they have been rightfully criticized.

      Meanwhile, if you want to argue that Native Americans today are as enslaved as blacks were in the antebellum South, and if you can identify who the “slave owners” are who are exploiting them for personal gain, I say go for it. There’s a lot of injustice there that needs to be addressed, and if you’re willing to advocate reasonable measures, I think you’ll find a lot more support than you expect from the people you’re trying to accuse of hypocrisy.

      I would make one suggestion, however. If you’re going to cry “hypocrisy,” and say that critics of the Confederacy are not living up to sound moral principles, you should be prepared to explain what sound moral principle you think we should be following instead. And then you should apply it to neo-Confederates just as readily as you do to their critics. My own moral principle is that we should grant all people equal rights, equal respect, and equal dignity, and that the rights and dignity due to people takes precedence over the rights and dignity and respect due to opinions, including opinions about the value of people from other races and ethnicities.

      • oldoligarch says

        You’re always trying to divert this discussion to injustices in the past. Injustices for which you share no moral culpability.
        I’m talking about injustices which are continuing today,in your country and from which you benefit.
        No wonder you want to change the subject!

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Say what now? I’ve consistently pointed out the fact that there are continuing, significant injustices, and that we need to do much more to address them. And I’ve said so as a direct reply to points that you yourself have been raising, which hardly qualifies as “changing the subject.” I think at this point you are openly trolling, which is something I have very little space for, and your share of that space has been exhausted.

    • John Morales says

      … hypocrisy (often unconscious) …

      This is as much an oxymoron as ‘deliberate lie’ is a pleonasm.

      • oldoligarch says

        Okay Let’s say “Unconscious inconsistency” then, which, if one becomes conscious of and yet continues the same behavior, becomes hypocrisy.

  5. oldoligarch says

    Though I realize you probabl ywant post this,Scotland was an independent country when it originally came into the U.K. in 1706.
    It wasn’t conquered by England, its Parliament voted to join England forming the United Kingdom.
    Unlike American Indians Scots had/have a choice.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      All right then, let me put it back to you: what is the right thing to do in this case, and what are you yourself doing about it, more than the people you are accusing of hypocrisy?

      • oldoligarch says

        I don’t know,what the right thing to do is.It is you with a public forum that passes moral judgments,in this
        instance against White Southerners past and present.

        So I assume you’re a man of great moral acumen and a willingness to do the right thing regardless of the sacrifices you’re called on to make and the wisdom to know that when you’re one of the interested parties in a dispute it might be difficult to judge fairly.

        So would you be willing to accept the following?:

        Allowing a disinterested third party, maybe an international commission,to arbitrate this.

        After having determined which if any American Indian Nations desire independent statehood,
        they would consider original treaties between the United States and those American Indian Nations,to determine rightful jurisdiction over disputed territory.

        Once boundaries had been determined discussion of the status of non-natives families,townships,cities etc. would be negotiated.
        Resettlement of U.S. settlers must be accepted as a distinct possibility,by the people of the U.S.

        The possibility of these new countries forming alliances with potential enemies of the U.S.must also be accepted.

        MASSIVE foreign aid to these countries for the foreseeable future would be in order.
        Ending foreign aid to other countries Israel,etc. can help offset the cost.

        Would you accept that, it is only fair that outsiders with little personal stake in the effects of implementing these policies should determine them and that the people of the U.S. alone accept the full financial cost and security risk of these changes.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        I was not asking for a reiteration of the same extreme demands as you’ve already stated. You’ve made it quite clear that your goal is to set an unreasonably high standard so that you can accuse people of being hypocrites for failing to reach it. You do not need to reinforce that point.

        My question to you is to ask what you consider correct behavior in the cases where one group of people criticizes another for unfair treatment of some third party. You speak unfavorably of “a public forum” that “passes judgment… against white Southerners,” which you apparently regard as unfair treatment. How should you respond to a group that treats others unfairly? Should you criticize them and try to make them look like hypocrites? Or do you consider it wrong to pass moral judgments of any kind?

  6. oldoligarch says

    What constitutes ” an unreasonably high standard”?

    What you are I might consider “unreasonable” may be reasonable and just to a Lakota or Iroquois.

    You said,”My question to you is to ask what you consider correct behavior in the cases where one group of people criticizes another for unfair treatment of some third party… How should you respond to a group that treats others unfairly? Should you criticize them and try to make them look like hypocrites? ”

    I would say,”Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    For many in the 19th century North the Southern insistence that blacks be required to carry a pass from their master when off the plantation was “unreasonable” and unjust,as were the slave patrols that protected whites by controlling the movements of blacks.

    However these same people accepted as reasonable the pass system used by the U.S. army to keep American Indians on reservations,and U.S. military patrols to protect American settlers and control the movements of Indians.

    You said,” Or do you consider it wrong to pass moral judgments of any kind?
    We can hardly avoid passing moral judgments, but consider,”For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

    If we held the 19th century Northern and contemporary American critics of the South to the same standard as they did/do the South, how would we judge them?

    Did/Do they not all put their interest ahead of justice?

    I’m a realist, all people do this
    .Even those who were oppressed can become oppressors,consider the Buffalo Soldiers.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      So to summarize: black people are being murdered in their churches, are routinely harassed by the police (sometimes to the point of outright killing them), are frequently denied access to decent jobs and then accused of being too “lazy” to get one, and are otherwise oppressed and discriminated against. But if anyone dares to suggest that there’s anything wrong with this situation, you propose that Jesus himself would call them hypocrites unless they also support displacing and dispossessing millions of people born and raised here for generations, in order to create one or more segregated nations for certain minorities (nothing racist about that plan, nosiree bob), who would then need to be paid massive handouts (‘cuz minorities always need handouts, amirite?) at US taxpayer expense (cuz liberals are always trying to steal our money and give it to minorities, eh?). And that’s why the log is in someone else’s eye, and the racists are totally the real victims here.

      Well, good luck with that one. Fox News will probably buy it.

  7. oldoligarch says

    That discrimination exist against blacks I don’t deny.

    It’s the blindness, of the critics of this discrimination against blacks, to the even greater injustices against American Indians that I deplore.This has been typical throughout the history of the U.S.

    I believe it is because remedying injustices against blacks whether through abolition or affirmative action affects White Southerners to a far greater degree than it does their critics in the North and West.(after all blacks were and are still small minorities in practically ever northern and western state)

    Whereas remedying injustices for American Indians would affect all U.S. citizens equally,and.Northerners and Westerners don’t have the moral backbone to make the sacrifice of their interest a remedy might entail.
    So the injustices are ignored,or when brought to their( Northerners,Westerners) attention as I have brought them to yours ,denied,rationalized,justified.
    Just as you have done

    So the next time you start to criticize White Southerners or the Confederacy for their injustices,just remember the “High Moral Mountain” your standing on is an Indian burial mound!

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Oh absolutely. The society of today is standing on the injustices of the past, to our shame, no question about it. And the continuing discrimination against blacks and Native Americans is a continuing injustice that needs to be addressed and remedied. But segregationism isn’t the remedy. It’s not better to strip minorities of their American citizenship and exile them to some non-US jurisdiction. That’s just sweeping the problems under the rug. We need to embrace the diversity of all Americans, and the rich heritage of different ethnicities and ethnic cultures that give us our national strength. We need to eliminate barriers and see to it that no group has any less privilege than any other. That means, at a minimum, recognizing the fact that some groups do have more privilege. I have the privilege, for example, of knowing that when my son runs to the store for a bag of Skittles, he is very unlikely to be gunned down by an armed vigilante for being a “suspicious” color. Passing police cars are unlikely to target me for a stop-and-frisk, or to plant drugs on me so I can be railroaded off to a for-profit prison system. I can even apply for interesting, well-paid jobs and have a reasonable chance of being hired. That’s not a small privilege, considering the number of people who don’t have it. And I’m proud to be part of the effort to see that some day soon, they do.

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