by Al Benson Jr.
Way back in 1993 Ron and Donnie Kennedy came out with their best seller The South Was Right. Over the years it has sold well over 100,000 copies.
In the process of reading it many people came up with many questions about what the Kennedy Brothers wrote in that book. Many questions were sincerely asked, while others were asked only as rhetorical questions by people hoping to be able to poke holes in what the Kennedy Brothers wrote.
Earlier this year, Donnie Kennedy wrote the book that is the title for this article. It was published by Scuppernong Press in Wake Forest, North Carolina and in it Donnie deals with some of the questions they have been asked over the years pertaining to the various subjects they discussed in The South Was Right.
In order to give readers a feel for what Donnie deals with in The Confederate Myth-Buster I am going to note some of the topics the Kennedys have dealt with and some of the questions they have been asked about them. Obviously, I can only hit some of the high spots in a book review, but I hope I am able to hit enough that you will try to get a copy of the book and check out all the material I could not deal with here.
The subject of secession is one that has really engendered lots of questions–some good and some not to good. One question asked is “Where is it written in the US Constitution that a state has a right to secede?” The questioner may have thought he had the Kennedys over a barrel with this one. Not hardly! In fact, Donnie answers his question with an even better question. Donnie says “Since the Constitution does not provide a list of ‘rights’ your question cannot be answered. The correct question to be asked is, ‘Where in the US Constitution is the right of secession forbidden to the people of the states?’ In Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution we find those things which the states mutually agreed they would not perform as members of the new Union…But nowhere will you find the people of the states surrendering the right to judge for themselves how they should be governed…Such a people were loath to adopt a constitution that would limit their right to withdraw from a government that did not meet their needs.”
Another questioner stated: “Southern secession would have destroyed the United States. What kind of country would we have if the South had been allowed to go free?” To which Donnie answers “We would have a free country! What’s wrong with freedom? How would the secession of thirteen Southern states have destroyed the United States?” It’s a good question. It would not have, in any way, shape or form. And then Donnie continues: “Now think about it; the Southern states never desired to invade or conquer the United States. If the Federal government had chosen peace rather than war, US trade and commerce would have commenced and gone on with the South just as it had commenced and gone on with the nation to the north of the United States, Canada.” This is something people today never even consider. They need to reflect on it. The new Confederate government sent people to Washington to try to work out a peaceful solution to the problem but Lincoln wasn’t having any of that. It had to be his way or the highway, and as evidence has shown, Lincoln really wanted a war.
On the slavery question the Kennedy got lots of questions from those who thought they had them over a barrel with supposed questions that could not be answered. One they got was “How can you say the South was fighting for freedom and independence when all eleven Southern states had laws protecting slavery?” Again, Donnie answers a question with a better question. He observes: “How can you say that America was fighting for freedom and independence in 1776 when all thirteen states had laws protecting slavery and the slave trade? Only a hypocrite would condemn the South for slavery while praising the United States for doing the very same thing…The institution of slavery that includes the trans-Atlantic commerce in slaves, i.e., Yankee slave traders, has deep roots in American history, not just Southern history.” Another fact most anti-slavery folks conveniently ignore is that during the War of Northern Aggression, for one reason or another, four slave states remained in the Union. If Lincoln had really been all about freeing the slaves, then why didn’t he emancipate the slaves in those slave states that were still officially in the Union? His bogus “emancipation proclamation” didn’t bother doing that and those slaves remained in bondage until the (second) 13th Amendment was passed after Lincoln had passed on to his reward.
Then the inevitable question of racism emerges, and one questioner asks: “The Confederate flag is the flag of the Ku Klux Klan. Why should an emblem of a hate group be allowed public display?” Undoubtedly the questioner does not know his history, so Donnie sets him straight. He answers: “In the mid-1920s several very large Klan marches were held in Washington, DC. At that time thousands of Klansmen carrying hundreds of flags were seen marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. How many Confederate flags were displayed in these parades? There were no Confederate flags in the Klan parades, but there were hundreds of United States flags. The Klan has used many symbols during its history. The cross, the Bible, and the United States flag are just a few items used by the Klan. Shall we ban these items that are routinely used by the Klan? Where do we stop once we start banning items that have been misappropriated by hate groups? Neither the Confederate flag, nor the United States flag, nor the Bible should be banned because the Ku Klux Klan has used it. The Klan and not the items it has misused should be the object of your rage.”
Another ignorant questioner who obviously has never been taught much real history asks “With such a history of slavery and racism in the South, how can you defend Southern heritage?” By this time Donnie has to be getting tired of these airhead questions about Southern slavery and racism. He answers this question thusly: “It must be nice to live in Utopia as you do, but the rest of us don’t live there. As for your place of residence, Utopia is an air castle that does not exist. The North has its record of slavery, slave trading, and of course discrimination against people of color, yet no one is demanding that Northern heritage and/or history be eliminated. Southern heritage is more than just reliving the days of slavery. Although slavery is part of Southern history as well as American history, it is not the central theme for those who love the South…”
Donnie has also dealt with questions about Black Code laws in the South, a favorite topic of liberal leftists, and he has noted that “Black Code laws were born in the North. It was New England where schoolchildren were segregated by race before the war. One of the first acts against the freed slaves by Northern states was to pass laws to eliminate free black citizens from voting. New Jersey was one of the first Northern states to do so in 1807, Connecticut followed in 1814, and Pennsylvania’s free people of color lost the right to vote by a state court decision in 1837. Other Northern states followed suit not only by eliminating the ability of black citizens to vote, but also by excluding them from moving into their states.” Illinois, the “great emancipator’s” home state was one of these.
Some of those questions asked to the Kennedy’s reveal the abysmal lack of historical facts and understanding so prevalent in our society today. Another clueless questioner says: “Your reference to John Brown as a terrorist is somewhat off base. Wasn’t he a freedom fighter? Didn’t he make the ultimate sacrifice for human freedom?” Donnie replied: “Heroes are men who understand the ends do not justify the means. The barbaric notion of doing whatever is necessary to promote the ‘greater good’ is a tool used by most 20th century tyrants and 21st century jihadists…John Brown was a murderer who took pleasure in the slaughter of Southerners in Kansas. At Pottawatomie, Kansas, he and his sons hacked and shot to death five unarmed men within sight of their wives and children. This was done in the middle of the night, without warning–a cowardly act of murder–and this is the man you call an American hero?” Having been in Eastern Kansas on more than one occasion I can tell you, from personal experience, that there are people still there in our day that view John Brown in the same way Christians view our Savior, Jesus Christ. John Brown was a terrorist, pure and simple, but explaining that to some people confuses them with the truth, so they refuse to hear it!
Another ignorant questioner castigated Donnie for his “suggestion” that communists supported Lincoln during his War of Northern Aggression. He seeks to explain to Donnie that “Anyone with even the simplest understanding of history knows communism did not exist until after the 1917 communist revolution in Russia… How can you believe that these communists fought in the American Civil War?” Donnie goes to some length to explain to this sophomoric mentality about Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto, written in 1848, not 1948, and he gives him some of the history that he and I wrote about in our book Lincoln’s Marxists. Some of the questions asked of Donnie by these folks about Marx and Lincoln and their connections reveal an almost total lack of understanding on the part of the askers as to what that war was really all about as well as those connected with it.
It is a daunting task to attempt to educate the historically ignorant, many of whom continue to refuse the truth because it was not what they were taught in school. Did we not realize what public education in this country was really all about we might be tempted to wonder what the schools have been doing for the past 150 years. Sadly, many of us realize what they have been doing–and real education ain’t part of it!
Donnie has so much information in The Confederate Myth-Buster that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface. He covers topics and questions on those topics that I do not have room here to even get into, lest this review become so lengthy that few would read it.
As previously noted this book was published by Scuppernong Press, P O Box 1724, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588 http://www.scuppernongpress.com
The cost of the book in the US is $20 and it would make a great Christmas gift for those who have historically deficient friends and relatives.