THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 829, July 12, 2015
The ancient symbol of revolt against
oppressive authority, unconstitutional
usurpation, and punitive taxation
“Payback’s a Bitch”: Rural Wisdom and the Gathering Storm
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
The furor over the Confederate flag, think I, has little to do with the Confederate flag, which is a pretext, an uninvolved bystander. Rather it is about a seething anger in the United States that we must not mention. It is the anger of people who see everything they are and believe under attack by people they aren't and do not want to be—their heritage, their religion, their values and way of life all mocked and even made criminal.
The talking heads inside Washington's beltway, in editorial suites in New York, do not know of this anger. They do not talk to people in Joe's Bar in Chicago or in barbecue joints in Wheeling. They are cloistered, smug, sure of themselves. And they are asking for it.
We are dealing with things visceral, not rational. Confusing the two is dangerous. Hatreds can boil over as syllogisms cannot. The banning of the flag infuriates, for example, me. Why? Although a Southerner by raising, I would far prefer to live in New York City than in Memphis. Yet I value my boyhood in Virginia and Alabama. My ancestors go back to the house of Burgesses, and I remember long slow summer days on the Rappahannock and in the limestone of Athens, Alabama.
When the federal government and the talking heads want to ban my past—here, permit me to exit momentarily the fraudulent objectivity of literature—I hate the sonsofbitches.
A lot of people quietly hate the sonsofbitches.
To them, to us, the Confederate flag stands for resistance to control from afar, to meddling and instruction from people we detest. It is the flag of "Leave me the hell alone." And this Washington, Boston, and New York will... not... do.
A surprise may be coming.
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