Fr. James Schall is covering the confederate flag kerfuffle from what I see to be a unique, thoughtful and prophetic perspective:
What I see appears to be a vengeful elimination of any memory or dignity in the South, a dignity the peace after the Civil War thought it wise to allow. This same vengeful spirit imposes state law on a society. It was crucial to the peace after the Civil War to leave the South with a sense of dignity, with their lost cause. The South was not seen to be so totally vilified that only moral monsters could remain. Lee was not a moral monster. As his colleagues in the Northern forces recognized, he had his nobility. His example of retiring to private life, to Washington College, was one of the main reasons that the war ended in the honorable fashion it did. It ended in surrender and return to peaceful ways, not in extended backwoods fighting and harassment.
Removing any signs of the existence of a Southern Cause, seeing only its hated “peculiar institution” has its irony. It comes at a time when the other side of the Southern Cause, its concern about unlimited central power able and willing to impose its ideology on everyone, is, for many, at the center of our attention. Without secession and without army, many look for ways to withdraw from this state power; they want to practice what is held to be true. An unforgiving relentlessness appears in this imposition of power. It is mindful of the efforts to remove any sign of dignity in the Southern Cause to see only evil in it. The spirit of the day at Appomattox was dignified finality and forgiveness. This ending allowed hard fighting men to return to their homes if they could. They did not seek vengeance. Most people since the War’s end have seen the wisdom of this decision.
So, rightly or wrongly, I see in the events around the South Carolina Statehouse in a different way. It seems to be blind to any nobility that Lincoln wisely hoped to leave in the South in its defeat. We witness the arrival of that counter-spirit of absolute state power that a few saw rising in the North as its unfolding spirit.
As many of their most basic assumptions are now rejected at the most fundamental level, we see the shadows of what once concerned the Old South. The term “slavery” takes on a new image; the masters are civil officials. A more dangerous and demanding enemy shows itself. It does not just demand that we stay in the Union. We must also agree with its laws as “rights” that must be obeyed as the price of citizenship.
Read the whole thing.
Let there be little doubt. We are seeing an enslavement taking hold of the country once again and Father Schall is among those prophetically sounding the alarm.
Who hears the klaxon?
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.