Editor’s Note: This article by Jason Lee Steorts, the editor who lectured Mark Steyn on civility and published a 7,000 word article in support of same-sex marriage during NR’s spring fundraising campaign, first appeared in National Review. We reprint in part here.
Whether you think it’s all right for South Carolina to fly a Confederate battle flag over a Confederate memorial on its capitol grounds depends on whether you think that the Confederate war dead should be honored. If you do, then you can, as David French does, see the flag as a symbol of their valor and skill while decrying its use by white supremacists.
This strikes me as a whitewash of both the flag and the Confederacy. The Confederacy was a rebellion founded on the incoherent idea that the sovereign authority of the United States might be shucked off at the states’ pleasure, and the Confederacy’s primary reason for being was to preserve racial slavery — that is, to violate natural rights rather than to secure them. That is what Confederate soldiers fought for… It was a banner of white supremacy, and of lawlessness, from the beginning.
And that is more than enough to disqualify it from respectability. Valor and skill deployed in the service of evil do not deserve honor. If your ancestors fought for the Confederacy, I do not respect their “service” or their “sacrifice.”