First, I’d like to clear something. This flag, as pictured above from the South Carolina State Capital Building, is the Confederate Battle Flag. It is NOT the Confederate Flag. As this points out, what they’re flying most resembles the Confederate Battle Flag. Now, from what I’ve heard, this is placed at a Confederate Soldier Memorial, and if that is the case, then I guess that would make sense.
Now, let’s discuss why it was raised.
In 1962, the Governor of South Carolina, Ernest Hollings, who was a Democrat, along with a COMPLETELY-Democrat State House, and COMPLETELY-Democrat State Senate, raised the flag in protest of the Congress moving on growing support for a bill of civil rights. Originally, the flag was placed on the Capital, below the American and South Carolina flags, but was moved. So, before you go calling all the Republicans racists for displaying that flag, do a google search.
Now, my thoughts on this. Personally, I wasn’t born in the South. I was born in Michigan. I’ve only lived in the South for about 5 years. In my time, I’ve found a rich culture that is open to people of every race. Not everyone here is a racist, as many would like you to believe.
In the First Amendment, the right to free speech is protected from infringement from the Government. Meaning, that you are free to speak things that may not be well liked, which is what it was really intended for, and the Government was barred from infringing on your right to say those things. You have a right to display the American Flag. You have the right to display the Confederate Flag (the real one, for crying out loud). You have every right to do that. If it is on your property, then you have every right to do that, or whatever. It is your property, and thus, you hold property rights to do what you want and display what you want there.
With that out of the way, personal thoughts. I have bought the Battle Flag and Navy Jack before. I don’t fly them. They were birthday gifts for my little brother, who is a big civil war history fan. I’ve known many people who have flown the Battle Flag of Tennessee (the long version of the battle flag). I’ve been to festivals with booth’s from the Son’s of the Confederate Army before.
I’m a fan of secession. You want out? Great. Bye bye. Have fun. The Confederacy was no libertarian dream though. Josh Guckert, who writes over at The Libertarian Republic, wrote a good article explaining (in detail) how anti-liberty the Confederacy really was. He writes the following:
Perhaps because it is the cause of the Civil War which is predominantly taught in schools, some libertarians refuse to acknowledge that slavery was the main reason behind the South’s secession. If there were any doubt, as Cato Institute Fellow Jason Kuznicki points out, those Southern states who actually gave their reasons for secession (Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas) explicitly referenced the purpose of preserving slavery. Furthermore, any attempt to latch onto “states’ rights” fails in that the South had historically used federal power to preserve and expand the wicked institution of involuntary servitude.
Most interesting of all is that the Civil War seemed to be fought by the Confederacy in the same manner which many libertarians (appropriately) critique modern American foreign policy: the wealthy and well-connected chose to fight a war to preserve their economic interests, enlisting the poor and middle-class, all the while telling them that a false narrative of “patriotism” or “defense of freedom” was the reason for the war.
It is worth noting that the North was in fact guilty of anti-liberty transgressions before, during and after the war. However, this fact should not lead us to sympathize with the Southern cause. Simply because there are two sides in a conflict does not mean that we must choose to favor one; in fact, this choosing of the “lesser of two evils” is a narrative which many libertarians often warn against.
If you’d like to hear more on this, check out this podcast from Austin Peterson over at The Libertarian Republic on the subject of the Confederacy:
I think these are very good distinctions that really need to be pointed out. We can discuss why the Civil War started another time, as that would throw me completely off topic. Overall, the Confederacy is gone. You have a right to fly a flag if it’s on your property. You have every right under the First Amendment to be offensive with your speech. This is protected. What you do not have the right to do is ban a person from said speech. People view hate speech differently. Imagine them with the power to regulate it.
Overall, I think the South Carolina Legislature should take down the flag. A lot of people see it as a racist symbol, and quite frankly, it was raised under a racist premise. The Republicans should put an end to the error that the Democrats made many years ago.