ISIS, we are told, just destroyed an ancient shrine in Palmyra. The Governor of South Carolina called for removal of historic Confederate flags from the states’s Capitol. Alabama’s Governor fell into line. Big Retailers blared that they would no longer sell Confederate stuff. But on the Internet, Confederate Flag Sales Rise.
Human political responses differ little from place to place and from time to time. Destroy what you oppose, or what opposes you; what is more human than that? Respecting Confederate flags today, The Politics are simple enough. Public education has declared that the Civil War was about slavery, an untruth but never mind, it’s convenient. And slaves were certainly involved.
Never mind either that the politicians who freed the slaves were Republicans and the postwar locals who imposed lynch law in the south via the Ku Klux Klan, were stanch Democrats. That is how it was then, not how it is now.
Post Civil War, southern states clung to symbols of state’s rights to limit the imposition of Federal power at their expense. The Founders’ distrust of central government was not yet forgotten and Federal troops still garrisoned their territory. Today, the relics of that remain in statehouse flags, on state license plates and in the rear windows of pickup trucks, often alongside rifles prominently visible through the glass. The Confederate flag in the South is a version of “Don’t Tread On Me,” the Gadsden Flag of the Amerian Revolution.
With both Republican and Democrat liberal politicians using the Confederate symbology to represent anti-black racism, the symbols will vanish from public spaces as religious symbols are doing. Government prefers that it is the only symbol that matters. With the symbols gone from sight and likely from “Common Core” public education, the hope is likely that they will be gone as well from the minds of the next generation and troublesome States’ Rights with them..
That may be or not. The coming financial decline and accompanying reduction of both living standards and international standing that awaits only the next stock market collapse will divorce government and people, igniting presently unpredictable events. Centralized power may well be reinforced to deal with unrest; it may instead be rejected as the prime cause of the problems. In Greece, we expect the Tsipras government to fall as reality sets in. For the U.S. we will have to see.
The American South has a history of local independence unique to that region. So does the American west. Inundations of migrants from other places and from other states has diluted that, we will have to awit how much.
The corruption of crony capitalism is visible in the big retailers whose knee-jerk abandonment of selling Confederate symbols when the politicians acted illustrates a greater interest in pleading governors than in satisfying economic needs of customers. The boom in Internet sales shows that the customers exist.
The Confederate flag will come down. Perhaps the citizens will force it back into view or the Gadsden in its place, one way or another. Or maybe few will care. It will be informative, whatever occurs.