February 1, 2005

MY EARLIER POST on Confederate nostalgia and neo-secessionist movements generated a lot of email. Several emailers noted that secessionist sentiment isn’t limited to neo-Confederates, sending links to articles like this one from the L.A. Weekly:

Count me among those who woke up on November 3 and thought: secession!

My turn toward the idea that California should secede from the Union was based on some bedrock logic that my father used to admonish me with as he suspiciously eyed my derelict teenage friends: You can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps. That Wednesday morning, I looked at the sea of red in between the coasts and in the South, and I listened to the hypocritical crowing by misogynists and homophobes about values and strength and “the real America” and thought: If these were my friends, I’d try to get new ones. . . . When I was arguing the merits of seceding recently, a friend finally said, “But, but, we live in America.” I thought — we do? I live in California.

southernstyle.jpg

Sigh. Robert E. Lee couldn’t have said it better. Another vein was that things like the Confederate flag aren’t necessarily a sign of neo-secessionist sympathies: many people in the South see the flag as an emblem of regional pride, rather than as an endorsement of Confederate ideology. That’s certainly true, and after getting that email I noticed the bumpersticker pictured at right, which certainly doesn’t seem to embody much in the way of nostalgia for the Old South.

That said, I’m not a big fan — though no one who displays Communist paraphernalia, however allegedly ironic the display, has any room to criticize the badges of an obsolete and murderous regime — and it’s not the sort of thing I’d endorse. But the point of my post was the absurdity, and worse, of neo-secessionist thinking, and the oddity that some of the more lunatic fringes of allegedly libertarian thought are so enamored of the Confederacy. Whatever you say about the Confederate States of America, it was no libertarian paradise.

UPDATE: Another reader notes that it would be just part of California seceding . . . .

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