I’m very fond of the postbellum Confederate song ‘Good Ole’ Rebel’. Dating from the bitter days of Reconstruction, it offers a defiant rejection of the new order:
Oh, I’m a good ole’ rebel, now that’s just what I am
For this ‘fair land of freedom’ I do not care a damn
I’m glad I fought against it, I only wish we’d won
And I don’t want no pardon for anything I’ve done.
The song then goes on to express the singer’s hatred for the victorious Yankees and the various emblems of Americana, including the flag, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and wishing that the South had been able to kill ten times as many Yankees as they did. He then ends with a final expression of defiance:
I can’t take up my musket and fight ‘em now no more
But I ain’t a’gonna love ‘em, now that is certain sure
And I don’t want no pardon for what I was and am
I won’t be reconstructed and I don’t care a damn.
At about this point, you may be feeling some concern about my expressed admiration of this song, this paean of hatred. To clarify, it isn’t the least because I share the singer’s loathing of the United States and all its trappings. I certainly don’t, despite being a ‘good old Tory’.
What I like about the song is simply it’s unabashed, raw honesty. Here’s a man who, as he tells us, went to war for four years, was shot, frozen, and starved, all to see the nation he fought for finally conquered and destroyed…and now he’s being expected to show patriotic unity and brotherhood with the people who did all that to him.
I find it very refreshing to hear someone answer that with, essentially, “Stuff your self-righteous narratives; I am not playing along.”
Regardless, you may say, the song is still shocking. He gloats over how many Yankees were killed and wishes for more, he spews hatred of the core symbols of the nation, and he winds it all up by refusing any kind of reconciliation.
Yes he does. Because he wants to make it hurt. He wants to offend and shock. He wants to verbally slap his hearers across the face as hard as he can.
In other words, he wants to remind them that he is still there. They may have won the war, the may control all the levers of power, they may be shaping the culture so as to glorify and entrench their own values and idea of the world, but people like him still exist and still hate and reject what they are doing, and they had better remember it.
Now do you see why I bring it up?
Christians are often told that we need to ‘speak the truth in love’, and rightly so. But the trouble is, I think, that we sometimes get so hung up on the ‘with love’ part that we compromise or undercut the truth. We speak it in so loving a way, and with so much fear lest we should invite offense that, like an overly gentle parent, the other side can simply ignore it. So much so that most Christian and traditional ideas simply don’t exist politically anymore. Can you even imagine laws against no-fault divorce being enacted in this country? Or contraception? A few years back, half the nation lost its collective mind at the idea that some employers might not be obligated by law to pay for birth-control: that it should not be available at all doesn’t even enter the conversation.
The great danger for any idea or perspective is not that it will be associated with bad people. That’s inevitable, and the continued popularity of socialism shows how little it really matters. No, the great danger is that it should be ignored; that it should simply not be mentioned or acknowledged as part of the conversation.
When a national consensus forms around any issue, those whose views are outside that consensus, politically speaking, simply do not exist. They have no voice in public affairs because their views will never be heard or represented.
In short, at the end of the day it is more important that what you say should be heard than that anyone should like the way you say it. And sometimes that means making it as blunt, honest, and harsh as possible. People can ignore gentleness; it’s much harder to ignore a good hard slap.
Will it convince? Probably not. But it may do something just as important.
During the War Between the States, one of Lee’s strategies was to keep a small force within striking distance of Washington. There was really no hope that they could take the capital, but the perception of danger that it created required Lincoln to keep a large number of troops tied down around the city to ensure that they couldn’t. The threat alone, however unlikely, was enough to require the Union’s attention and resources.
When you unapologetically make your views known, the other side has to answer them. Which means they have to acknowledge that there are objections to their views. That is, if nothing else, it prevents them from completely controlling the narrative.
So I think it’s high time we imitated the good ole’ rebel and declared frankly that we hate what has been done to our country, and say just what we think of the people who have done it and their brain-dead ideas, without compromising and without apologizing. We should be willing to look back on the works of the 1960s and 70s and beyond, of the ‘liberation’ of mores, at feminism, the sexual revolution, and all the rest of it and say frankly that these were bad things that have crippled and nearly destroyed a great nation. We should be willing to look out at the madness around us, call it for what it is in the harshest terms we can think of (they will not be too severe), and state plainly that we are not going along with it.
Because in the final resort, the one thing we always can do, regardless of the state of the world around us, is to speak the truth and reject the lie. We may not be able to turn back the cultural tide – certainly not on our own – but we can at least say frankly and forcibly that we hate it. Remind them that we still exist.
Photo Credit- thebl. com