This flag ended slavery

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In reflecting on events in America over the last few weeks, it is worth examining some history, and the way we remember that history.

This year marks 150 years since the end of the American Civil War. Although, as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon points out, it had numerous causes, “economic factors, both domestic and international,” it was ultimately fought over the issue of slavery. The northern Union, led by the Republicans, the political party specifically established to defeat slavery, defeated the southern, Democrat, slave-holding Confederacy.  Slavery remains a stain on American history and its conscience, as it does for nearly every country, every civilisation, in the history of humanity.

But America remains the only country, the only civilisation in the history of humanity, to go to war, with itself, at the cost of 620 000 lives, to destroy slavery.

The issue of slavery is used today by the anti-American left to challenge the principles and philosophy on which America was founded, its founders, and its constitution. The argument is made: if, as the Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal,” why did this not apply to African slaves? Fair call. But (without dwelling on the practical considerations of the time,) no other political foundation, no other political philosophy, could have led, or has led, to the decision to go to war with oneself to end slavery.

A myth which needs countering is that America’s prosperity, white prosperity, was founded on the back of slavery. This is complete nonsense. Slavery existed in the South, and what economic benefit could have been derived from it was completely wiped out by Union armies, which devastated the South in the last months of the Civil War. America’s biggest economic boom occurred in the decades after the Civil War, when the Industrial Revolution turned the North East into an industrial powerhouse, and the free market allowed the best of the best to thrive.

imageThis becomes important when considering the battle of ideas in two areas. Firstly, the Confederate Flag is under attack as a symbol of slavery in the wake of the Charlestown massacre, and the debate surrounding this will continue to be complex. But what is very important, and very simple, is that the American flag, the Stars and Stripes, under which the armies of The Union fought, is the flag that defeated slavery. It is also the flag that defeated Nazism and Communism. The American flag is the symbol of freedom, and those who attack it as something else are dead wrong.

Secondly, the concepts of “white privilege” and “white guilt,” once the domain of effete of progressive academics, has entered the mainstream. But if we consider that practically every civilisation on earth holds guilt for slavery, for war, for expropriation; when we understand that the principles of Classical Liberalism, the principles on which America, (and Australia,) were founded, are the principles which led to the end of slavery in America; this means that The United States of America is the first country, and white people are the first people, in the history of humanity to make the decision, of their own volition and at tremendous cost, to end slavery; we therefore understand that the concepts of “white privilege” and “white guilt” are both fabricated, and a complete inversion of reality.

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David Hiscox
David has studied history and political science at Melbourne University. His thesis was written on how the utilisation of Missile Defence can help to achieve nuclear disarmament. His interest in history was piqued by playing a flight simulator computer game about the Battle of Britain, and he hopes to one day siphon the earnings from his political writings into funding the greatest prog-rock concept album the world has ever seen.