Except when they aren't. I've sometimes had occasion to warn my fellow Southerners not to imagine they can defend the South halfway, or be a "moderate" defender of the South.
People who hate the South -- and I think Charles Johnson might fit that description -- will not permit you the leisure of merely saying, "Well, we're not all bad." They will insult you and goad you until you feel the temptation . . . well, remember when Zell Miller wished he could challenge Chris Matthews to a duel?
No Southerner should ever think he will be allowed to defend his homeland and her people without being insulted for it. If you're going to defend the South, you must be prepared to defend it down to the last boll weevil on the scraggliest cotton patch in front of the most decrepit tar-paper shack in Mississippi.
So widespread is anti-Southern prejudice, especially among the intellectual elite, that the man who presumes to defend the South might as well begin by foreswearing any further ambition in life. Assume at the outset that you will be denounced and castigated and exiled to outer darkness, and resolve that this daunting prospect will not deter you from your duty.
Ask yourself this, my Southern friend: Who are these people who insult you, your friends and your family? Why does it give them so much pleasure to insult you? And why do they imagine that you will let the insult pass by unnoticed?
Does Charles Johnson suppose that I am a coward? Or that I am too stupid to understand when I am being insulted? Does he believe himself so infinitely superior to me that I cannot hold my own in debate with him?
At one point in what he imagines to be an indefeasible attack on me, Johnson quotes one sentence from a speech I made to a Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in 2003. Permit me to quote a little more of that:
Some people desire to wish away the past, or to revise history to fit the passions and politics of the present. Forgetting seems to be the most popular course; surveys show that mere fractions of Americans today know even the most basic facts about the war, or about any history at all, for that matter. If Americans are intent upon a general amnesia, I suppose we must be regarded as spoilsports for insisting that they remember at least part of our past. An America that knows nothing of Saratoga or Brandywine or Yorktown will be annoyed that we scold them for forgetting Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville and Franklin.So I began, you see, by pointing out the widespread ignorance of history, a problem the SCV is pledged to fight against. Subsequently, I observed that this kind of ignorance is certainly not a new problem:
One of the more shocking claims of our radical adversaries is that, in commemorating our Confederate ancestors, we are somehow "un-American." But this is nothing new. The Union cause attracted to itself numerous German revolutionaries who had fled to America after collapse of the European uprisings of 1848. Though they had left the Fatherland behind, these Germans had not abandoned their radicalism, and so were among the most militant of Yankees. Professor Clyde Wilson reminds us of an encounter between one of these German radicals and Confederate General Richard Taylor. In his elegant memoir, "Destruction and Reconstruction," General Taylor recalled the occasion in 1865 when the duty fell to him to surrender the last Confederate army east of the Mississippi River. At Union headquarters, a German, wearing the uniform of a Yankee general and speaking in heavily accented English, lectured General Taylor that now that the war was over, Southerners would be taught "the true American principles." To which General Taylor -- the son of Zachary Taylor --- replied that he regretted that his grandfather, an officer in the Revolution, and his father, President of the United States, had not passed on to him these "true American principles."My father served honorably, as had his grandfather, Winston Wood Bolt, an illiterate farmboy who fought as a private in the 13th Alabama Regiment and was captured at Gettysburg.
Ironic, yes? Just as ironic that those of us who today remember General Taylor and his fellow Confederates are denounced as un-American by people whose ideas of "true American principles" are derived not from the Founders, but from radical intellectuals and foreign philosophers whose ideologies were unknown to Washington, Jefferson and Madison. They accuse us of "hate," when in fact we are motivated by love, love for our ancestors, and love for the America they created. Worse still, when provoked, these radicals will even compare our ancestors to Nazis. My father was wounded within an inch of his life while fighting the Nazis in France. Who are these people to tell such insulting lies about my ancestors?
Southerners aren't prone to back down from a fight -- Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) wrote an interesting book on this subject called Born Fighting -- and an admiration for stubborn tenacity in conflict explains one thing some people don't understand about me.
Why do I always stick up for people like Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Mark Steyn and Kathy Shaidle? Because they fight. And the harder they're attacked, the harder they fight. What's more, because they do not flinch under attack, they fight and win, and every victory makes them stronger.
The kind of fighters I admire are smart enough to distinguish friends from enemies. Malkin or Coulter might criticize a squishy member of the Republican "jellyfish caucus" from the right, but they spend most of their time attacking liberals. This habit makes them valuable conservative allies.
Charles Johnson . . . eh, not so much:
- Attacking Matt Kibbe as a "Naderite."
- Attacking Ron Paul supporters as a "cult."
- Attacking crowd estimates at "some right-wing blogs."
- Attacking pro-lifers and Second Amendment activists.
So never mind the people who attended from Ohio, New York, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Idaho -- you get the picture. Charles Johnson sits in front a computer whining because nobody's acknowleding his superiority, while I'm out busting my ass to report this story, and when VodkaPundit uses my reporting, this results in Charles accusing Vodka of being in league with the (Southern raaaaacist) Devil.
Except Charles Johnson doesn't believe in the Devil. He also doesn't believe in God, because the only deity Charles Johnson acknowledges is himself. He is omniscient and omnipotent, and your refusal to bow down to him is blasphemy.
Kind of like Obama, really.
Point One: Charles Johnson doesn't know me from Adam's housecat
Point Three: Charles Johnson will regret it but once, and that will be continuously