(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Monday, December 30, 2002

Kos has got a hornets' nest stirred up in the comments over at Daily Kos here about the Confederate Flag. (Thanks to Ed Still for telling me to be sure to check it out).

It is a fitting occasion for me to begin to explain one of the things I realized about the Deep South, on my drive back yesterday and this morning (12 hours in the car with just me, my doggie Dot, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Howlin Wolf, and Fugazi -- plenty of time to think). That is this:

There are many people down there -- a huge number, I would say, based on my experience -- who don't know when they're saying something that constitutes a position on a disputed issue of politics or morality. And when it is pointed out to them that they are in fact doing so, they get very uncomfortable and often get defensive. I think that it is attributable to the fact that they so rarely hear dissenting opinions. At otherwise perfectly lovely parties, even when everyone is on his or her best behavior, you will hear off-hand comments (for instance) about how the trial lawyers are ruining this or that aspect of society; and when I or someone like me will disagree, as affably as I know how, the response is as though I had (as the old saying goes) farted in church -- the dissenter has done the wholly inappropriate thing of bringing up politics in such a nice gathering, when those who merely voice the majority political view didn't even realize that they were bringing up politics at all. You see this sort of thing at Instapundit sometimes -- he acts shocked, from time to time, when people accuse him of making a political statement, when from his point of view he was just having a pleasant conversation about obvious truths. This is not a universal trait among Southerners, of course. Some people know full well that, by being in favor of the honoring of the Confederate cause, they are working to further an extreme political position. But others are simply unaware that, by joining in the "honoring", they are taking a position with which a reasonable person could disagree.

When I figure out what to do about this, I'll tell you in a further post.

posted by sam 6:05 PM 0 comments


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