The Flag

Last week, Christopher Hitchens had a great piece on the confederate flag controversy, pointing out that our lazy media hadn’t bothered to point out that (a) the confederate flag is not the official state flag of South Carolina; (b) it was flown purely as a defiant gesture against federally-ordered integration.

When I was younger, I defended the flying of the confederate flag, a position I look back on with embarrassment. I supported it for a variety of reasons, mainly the idea that the Civil War “wasn’t about slavery” so why should black people be offended?

What tipped me back was two realizations:

(1) Even if the Civil War wasn’t “about” slavery, the issue was so entrenched with the war, the distinction is academic. Without slavery, there would have been no war.

(2) It doesn’t matter if blacks’ offense at the Confederate flag is rational or not. The flag is supposed to represent all the people of the state. If some fraction finds the flag offensive — whether their offense is reasonable or not — it should be changed.

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