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RFK Jr. emotionally injured by removal of the statues of his Confederate heroes

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Which side are you on? In his colloquy with fascist beanie boy Tim Pool the Worst Kennedy leaves no room for doubt:

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he had a “visceral reaction against” the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville.

Speaking to podcast host Tim Pool in a “Timcast IRL” episode Friday, Kennedy — who is mounting a long-shot bid for the White House — said he doesn’t think “it’s a good, healthy thing for any culture to erase history,” when asked for his thoughts on the removal of Confederate monuments around the country.

“I have a visceral reaction against, against the attacks on those statues,” he said. “There were heroes in the Confederacy who didn’t have slaves and, you know, I just, I just have a visceral reaction against destroying history. I don’t like it. I think we should celebrate who we are.”

What do you mean “we,” white man?

On Sunday, I published an essay on the myth of Robert E. Lee. The fascinating thing about Dan McLaughlin’s response to that essay in National Review is how little it takes issue with.

McLaughlin does not dispute that Lee was a cruel slavemaster who engaged in dubious interpretation of his father-in-law’s will to maintain possession of his slaves until a court ruled against him; that Lee betrayed his country in defense of slavery; that Lee turned a blind eye to the massacres and humiliations of black soldiers by his subordinates; that Lee kidnapped free blacks and returned them to slavery during his invasion of the North; that Lee publicly opposed the rights of the freedmen after the war; or that Lee, as president of Washington College, turned a blind eye to his students engaging in racist terrorism while punishing them harshly for trying to take extra time off on Christmas. Indeed, McLaughlin concedes, “Lee was no hero; he fought for an unjust cause, and he lost.”

McLaughlin does not dispute that the myth of Lee’s grace is a central part of the Lost Cause ideology used to justify racial apartheid in the South after Reconstruction, or that monuments, including the recently removed statue of Lee in New Orleans, were erected as symbols of white supremacy.

One might that, believing all of this to be true, McLaughlin would agree with me that Lee is not worthy of a statue in a place of honor, and that removing such statues is no tragedy. Instead, McLaughlin defends Lee’s record as military strategist. Even if he were correct on every point, it would say nothing about whether Lee himself is worth honoring. Benedict Arnold was also a talented general; Americans do not erect memorials to him in their public squares.

McLaughlin insists that Lee wasn’t in charge of grand strategy, and that “it was Davis and his government, not Lee, who imposed the political imperatives that drove Confederate strategy.”

This is only half correct. Lee was not a passive recipient of Davis’s orders; as James McPherson writes in This Mighty Scourge, it was Lee who insisted on the invasion of Pennsylvania as necessary to break the will of the North, and it was Lee whose tactics there were employed in pursuit of that goal, leading to his decisive defeat at Gettysburg. That was a strategic decision that Lee pursued and lobbied for; he was the architect of his own greatest defeat.

But reasonable people can, and do, disagree about Lee’s merits as a military commander.  Stranger is McLaughlin’s crediting “Lee’s eminence and gentlemanly surrender for preventing a long-term insurgency, avoiding an aftermath like the French Revolution, and enabling the country to return to being a single, functional political whole in time enough to see the vast rise in American prosperity and power between 1870 and 1945.”

I don’t give Lee credit for this because it would be like giving the security at Ford’s Theater credit for preventing a presidential assassination. The country returned to a “single, functional political whole” in large part because white supremacist paramilitaries restored the dominance of the Democratic Party in the South by fire and the sword, before the eyes of a Republican Party that was unwilling go any further than it already had to protect the rights of black Americans.

Stay tuned next week for RFK Jr.’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, where he will discuss how Hitler loved dogs and therefore deserves to be honored with monuments throughout the country.

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