Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is the use of the word "Neo-Confederate" a smear?

Over at on their blog Thomas DiLorenzo complains in a posting:
When I, along with Clyde Wilson, Don Livingston, Tom Woods, David Gordon, the folks at Second Vermont Republic, and others started writing about nullification and secession about 15 years ago the immediate reaction of establishment academics (court historians), talking heads, and political hacks was name calling. "Neo-Confederate" was (and is) their favorite smear.
This is the link to the blog posting:

Clyde Wilson was a frequent contributor to Southern Partisan and a founding board member for the League of the South. Don Livingston heads up the Abbeville Institute, named after the location where slave state secession started, and before headed the League of the South Institute. Tom Woods wrote for the Southern Partisan, and I have his neo-Confederate curriculum vitae online here . David Gordon is with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and his book "Secession, State, and Liberty" is a neo-Confederate book defending the secession of the slave states and the Confederacy. The Second Vermont Republic movement advisors included contributors to Chronicles Magazine and Southern Partisan.  It seems to me that neo-Confederate is fairly correct.

The problem for neo-Confederates is that before people knew what neo-Confederacy was, they could get a hearing posing as a person with a new idea without some agenda and not as a proponent of neo-Confederacy. They could pose as individual eccentrics or heterodox or new and novel.

Now people are aware of what neo-Confederacy is and recognize it and the agenda and dismiss it as such. In short, the sheep's clothing has been pulled off the wolves.

One of the things I had hoped to accomplish by getting coverage of the neo-Confederates in the news and getting the book "Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Analysis" published was to make people aware that such a thing exists and so they would recognize it when they saw it. They now know it exists and they now recognize it when they see it. For the neo-Confederates, using an expression, the jig is up. The body politic has developed anti-bodies to neo-Confederacy.

The other complaint about "neo-Confederate" is that the word itself is somehow inherently unfair and defamatory. The word itself was first used in the Southern Partisan. Consider other words that use "neo" like neo-classical. When you read something is neo-classical you know that it has the attributes of the classical period in ancient history. It is a new object with classical attributes. When you here of neo-Baroque it is something with the attributes of Baroque either in design or music. Both are pleasant words and I expect to refer to desirable things. Putting "neo" in front of  a word isn't a smear itself. It just means new.

Neo-Confederate is a negative word because it means new Confederate. People don't like the Confederacy and a new Confederacy they would like even less. Neo-Confederate sounds bad to people because Confederate is bad. If it reminds people of neo-Nazi it is because the Nazis were another bad historical movement which people don't like either and unfortunately has present day adherents. "Neo-Nazi" is bad because Nazi is bad, not because "neo" is bad.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts Last 30 days

Popular Posts All Time