Thanks to the Lincoln movie and Ta-Nehisi Coates, I've been reading This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War by James M. MacPherson just as our current tax/spending battles reach their Little Round Top. One essay, "Long-Legged Yankee Lies: The Lost Cause Textbook Crusade" recounts how self-appointed guardians of historical truth in the postwar South inculcated the mythology of the Lost Cause -- a noble, benevolent, freedom-loving southern society crushed by the aggression and fanaticism of Lincoln's north. That news from 1919 gave a deja-vu quality to my absorption of statements by GOP leaders this week:
"Itís not a gun problem; itís a people problem."
We are reaching a fever pitch of reality-as-you-wish it. Federal taxes must never be raised, even when they're at their lowest levels in more than a half century and income inequality is at its highest level since the late 1920s. The solution to rampant gun violence -- unique in the developed world -- is more guns in the more hands. The greatest threats to our freedom are limits on high capacity magazines and top marginal tax rates scraping 40%.
This is southern-fried reality -- habits of mind and rhetoric brewed in the American South. Back to Macpherson: at the heart of his chronicle of book-burning, textbook censorship and communal brainwashing is an account of the deeds and principles of a certain Mildred Rutherford, historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.