Monday, July 24, 2017

In Contemplating the Civil War Today

Perhaps it is time to revisit the Civil War.

I studied history at Georgian Court College during my bachelor's years. It was a passion of mine. The field was a study of discipline, delayed judgment, analysis and there was strict methodology to it, as it was taught to me by my professors, Dr. Claribel Young (chair of the History Department during the early 1990s) most notable among them.

As I learned it, no judgment could reasonably be made about a war or some pivotal event without the distance of years and study. I had thought the history of the Civil War was a finished portrait, completed many years before I began my studies. The war was, to my understanding, an unfortunate collision of states' rights on one hand, on the other it was a redemptive moment of American history where -- finally -- slavery was abolished from our national conventions. The Civil War's soldiers of the North were not avenging angels of the ultimate justice, but they were ordinary men who erased the stain of slavery from the American future. The Confederate soldiers of the South were not monsters, but common men who fought to protect their "country," as they saw it, which were the states they were from, largely.

The bravery and skill of the Southern armies were commended, and monuments were constructed for them, they were buried with dignity and their devotion to their cause was celebrated in history books, on video and on film. Yet, I thought it was an apparent judgment of history that slavery was wrong and the fundamental flaw that up-ended any hope of righteousness on the part of the South. The Confederate States of America could not be just or right because it ultimately supported the enslavement of races, and advocated every form of violence against those races.

Well, in the days we live in now, the Confederate cause is being lionized by some reactionary elements of white society. To put it simply, there are voices that are calling for the destruction of peace between races, which advocate an America before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and even the sexual liberation of the Women's Movement of the 1970s. And, the vehicle that is being used to hide these arguments lay in the proponents of "American history," as defined by the ill-fated Confederate cause between 1861-1865. Perhaps it is white supremacy in its death throes amid an ever-changing, ever-more diverse America; maybe it is a racism inspired by an economy that lay in embers from its heyday 30 years ago. Whatever the cause, one thing is clear -- we are a nation unprepared for the 21st century and everything it will bring.

So now, I will give my estimation of the Civil War, being someone who is white, served in the Army and whose family arrived to the shores of New Jersey from Europe a half-century after the Civil War was settled. I see the Civil War as being a conflict where the purest face of evil was defended by a loose confederation of so-called Christians from the South, who had no idea what that word meant. In fact, the root cause of the Southern effort was profane, not just against man but God, in my estimation. If ever there was an army that represented God's adversary on earth, among those ranks was the German Army, under Hitler, and the Army of the Confederate States of America, under President Jefferson Davis.

There should never have been recognition of the Confederate States of America as a civilized army. They were, by definition, traitors to their own country, in the worst ways. The names of their officers should have, rightfully, been stricken from any place of honor in history and they should have been rewarded only by long imprisonment and personal ruin for their efforts. I have always believed, quietly, that the practice of naming United States installations and equipment after this group of profane men was a great mark of disrespect to the actual soldiers of the Union who donned their uniforms and served a legitimate nation -- the United States.

If history is to move over time, and give way to fashion, then I suppose that my take on it is as fair as the next person's. The rebellion by the Confederate States of America was the greatest act of depravity in American history. It is a time when an army, as ill-meaning as those under Hitler or Mussolini, Tojo or Stalin, rose up to defend what was wrong in the world -- with a terrible zeal. Far from heroes, perhaps it is the greatest mistake ever made by this republic to seek reconciliation with the South by not saying it like it was. Clearly, that reconciliation has led to later generations brandishing the Stars and Bars in a new war cry. Thus, it was a mistake.

I submit that no cause ever crafted, with its intention being the debasement and enslavement of another people or group, has ever deserved a place of honor in this republic's history. In the case of the American republic, the Confederate States of America was a time when the teachings of Christianity were proven to be unteachable to the vast majority of Southern States and, as a consequence, 620,000 people perished. No stirring song or parade of garish uniforms, no solemn moments fecklessly given treasonous Confederate icons, will abolish the fact that the only differences between the Army of Northern Virginia and the Nazi Third Reich were a few shades of gray and several thousand miles.

There should never have been monuments to these confederates, nor tolerance of their icons. Today, in placating the South in defeat so long ago, it has stirred bitter embers invoked by the hideous relics of their failed and ungodly cause. Far from being a voice to save such monuments and remembrances, I do say plainly that I cannot imagine what mad thought ever allowed the sanction of such reminders of terribly mutiny.

America has been a diverse nation since it began. So many of our Founders believed at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence that it was a mistake to omit the abolishment of slavery right then and there. Well, it was settled in due course. How could they have known that the retraction of slavery would bring so many alleged "godly" people to riot and murder for the sake of that institution?

It is time to fold the Stars and Bars and throw it in some back alley somewhere for cats to make a home from, not to continue as emblems within legitimate flags and symbols of office within the nation that these colors rebuked. Slavery was a horror, nothing else. It was not romantic and it was not some secondary issue. People are entitled to be treated equally, according to the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.

USS Constitution Hits The Water Again

Thursday, July 20, 2017


John Locke is such an important figure to the American governmental and political process. Though Mr. Locke's work is not well-known to most Americans, his writings heavily influenced the Founding Fathers of the American republic.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Politics Is Interfering With Our Nation's Progress



Politics has become such a flashpoint in the United States. I am not saying 'government,' but rather 'politics.'

Let me be very clear that politics is a necessary evil. In a democratic republic, there are parties and they vie for power during the election season. However, once elected, the ruling party must, by logical course of reason, become the party to rule over all of the people -- not some of the people. American citizenship is, after all, the gold standard of the American republic.

Well, we have a situation in this country where the new "Trump Conservatives" and, to a lesser extent, more traditional Conservatives, are actively demonizing not only the rival Democratic Party but also anyone who thinks liberally or progressively. This is a very dangerous trend.

People of science and technology are, by and large, liberal-minded thinkers. People who are educated are, mostly, liberal-minded thinkers, with some exception.

I think it is bad precedent for one half of the country to go around spewing extreme hate-speech against the other half of the country. This is a bad road and there is no good at the end of it.

Citizens possessing differing political ideologies is essential to the democratic process, and I do not believe anyone is saying otherwise. Yet Conservatives must realize that alienating the poorest, most vulnerable elements of our society, while embracing America's traditional enemies (Chine and Russia), while at the same time keeping our traditional Allies at arm's length (Great Britain, France and Germany) is a recipe for disaster.

Religious fundamentalism of any kind, be it Islamic fundamentalism overseas or Christian fundamentalism domestically, brings inherent dangers. 'Fundamentalism' is a term that amounts to radicalism. The vast majority of people on the earth are not radical about anything more than keeping their families together, making a living, having work and relative safety for themselves and those they love.

At no point in the history of the United States, beginning with the Revolutionary Period, has our nation ever been a fundamentalist Christian nation. Has God of the Christian Bible been our guiding light? Of course! Have we offered burnt offerings and adopted wool clothes and gone about scourging ourselves? No.

Conservatives are attempting to re-write American history in a ridiculous manner. The greatest achievements in our nation's history, ranging from the Revolution to the Civil War and both World Wars have come about as an extension of liberality and progress, not as some hallmark of repression and hard-line Christian angst.

In due course, modern liberality and its sensibility has led some traditional people to be terribly confused and angry about the way things are changing. Well, stopping change in society or the tides of an ocean cannot be done. Nevertheless, stopping change is tried.

Still, the rights of a peaceful, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen must out-weigh the collective self-righteousness of the minority of people. It is the way of things.

In America, most people do not vote. This is no great announcement. This is not 'secret knowledge.' Most people do not care about who sits in the White House or the Congress, so long as they can go about their daily lives uninterrupted. If there is anything traditional, the idea that people want to be left alone by their lawmakers is it.

I do not believe that Conservative hate-mongering or Liberal retaliation in-kind is going to amount to much except for a great deal of trouble for everyone. At this point in our nation's history, we should be aspiring to greater things than we have achieved. However, today we are at a virtual stand-still in many respects because of this political digression into the absurd.

When I was a child, I thought that by 2017 my nation would have been further along in many respects than we are right now.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dialing It Back for a Few Months

Dear Readers,

You guys are the straw that stirs the ice for me. But, I am going through a new phase and am retiring entirely from working at the end of this month, July, 2017. So, I will be putting up content but it will not be things written by me specifically until probably October or so. 

In the meantime, I will be posting what I believe are interesting pieces from YouTube. If anyone is interested in putting any of their original work on the site, please e-mail me at 


Jim Purcell