Montpelier, Vt. — “Nice flag!” the woman shouted sarcastically, adding: “F*** you!”
The woman was seated on the patio of a restaurant overlooking Main Street in this famously liberal capital of this famously liberal state when a truck sporting the Confederate emblem passed by.
I could understand the sentiment (particularly given the fact that her lunch partner was an African-American man). When the woman saw my daughter and her friend, she apologized for her profanity.
And while I could have done without the f-bomb around two twelve-year-old girls, my real objection was something different. The young woman’s outburst was exactly the reaction the buffoon in the truck was hoping for. After all, Vermont is the heart of union territory (and the first state to ban slavery in 1777). Even without the recent controversies, there’s no reason to fly a Confederate flag in downtown Montpelier except to offend.
But is that really the intent when the descendant of a Confederate soldier puts a flag on his ancestor’s tombstone once a year? According to many on the left, it is. “If we don’t eradicate the Confederate flag,” writes “social theorist” Frank Smecker, “we can only expect more of such racist, depraved acts (like Dylann Roof’s) in our future.”
I’m no big fan of the Confederate flag, but do serious people believe that if Roof didn’t have access to the banner, he would have pursued a life of peace?
It’s this lack of nuance and distinction I find so troubling — and hypocritical.
Claude Berube, director of the Naval Academy Museum, recently compared the rush to dig up Confederate graves and tear down statues in the U.S. to Islamic iconoclasm. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas on the grounds that they violate Islamic law. The terrorist group Islamic State is ransacking historic monuments for both God and mammon.
The comparison has its obvious limits, but it does highlight a remarkable double standard. Islamic terror has been on the rise for decades, yet over that time the Left’s calls for nuance, tolerance, and understanding have only grown louder. Virtually no one condones or makes apologies for the Islamic State’s barbarity (one can’t say the same about Hamas or Hezbollah), but there has been a Herculean effort to put Islamic extremism in “context.”
President Obama insists that the Islamic State isn’t even Islamic and that the West should not get on its “high horse” about today’s Muslim atrocities given that Christians committed atrocities eight centuries ago. When Islamist radicals were thwarted in their effort to behead Pamela Geller for organizing a “draw Mohammed” contest, many in the news media were quick to argue that she was asking for it. When an obscure pastor wanted to burn the Quran, the U.S. government went into a panicked tailspin, begging him not to offend or radicalize peaceful Muslims. When jihadists attacked a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s greatest rhetorical fury was aimed at an obscure filmmaker who made an offensive video about Islam.
Jonah makes a number of good points.
I’ll just add one more:
Too many non-historians perform the fallacy of anachronism.
They look at the past through today’s lenses and apply today’s standards to yesterday’s actions.
It is yet another way to try to win a debate without allowing the other side to have their say at all.
It is the latest in a line of this larger strategy……
Recall Cindy Sheehan?
There was a short time (BEFORE Cindy hit the political scene) when certain persons were considered immune from criticism, even proper criticism.
When these folks were rightly criticized they claimed immunity to avoid debate and simply win.
After Cindy that tactic was destroyed.
BUT that didn’t stop those who want to win debates without bothering to have debate points from trying.
Changing the meanings of terms used in the debate was another tactic.
But people are holding the Left’s feet to the fire that words simply must have meanings.
Feigning offence is the newest tactic.
This one was borrowed from Islam.
Anachronisms help in this tactic because it is hard to debate someone who smushes historical acts up with today’s newest versions of the language and add in a dollop of offense on top. You might as well try to reason with a child during his tantrum.
Why does the left create Occupy Wall Street? Why does the left instigate race riots? Why does the left encourage the murder of police officers? Why does the left support illegal immigration, even when it results in the deaths of innocent Americans? Why do they apologize for murdering Islamists but condemn EVERYONE that objects to making a flag a villain as a hateful racist?
Because that is the nature of the left… it’s what they do.