A Rebel, or Just a Seeker of Truth and a Humble and Honorable View of Life

Over half a century ago, as my parents purchased World Book Encyclopedia set that came with Childcraft books for kids, I started my own quest of what the Abbeville Institute calls, as its mission, to:

preserve and present what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition

I did not know this at the time. The only reason I chose researching the “Southern tradition” when I was a young child was the fact that I was born in Columbus, GA back when they still had white drinking fountains, and black drinking fountains. I know just being born on land that happens to be south of the Mason-Dixon line does not make one a “Southerner”, just the fact I was born in Muscogee County within a few miles of the Chattahoochee River made me want to learn all I could of that region, its people and their history..

So starting when I was 6 or 7 and continuing into high school when I could go to the library and read all about the South, its culture, its quest for independence in 1775 and again in 1860 and the predominant aspect that set it apart from the rest of the nation, its connection with the land, and with kin. As the Internet developed, Amazon Kindles were manufactured, I have continued this research in the last couple decades.

Today’s installment of the Abbeville Institute daily educational e-mail brought me to a new place in my research journey. You see, for all these years I thought it was just because I am a rebel at heart, or sometimes being able to see ahead with a prophetic eye (not foretelling, but forth-telling) or maybe the fact that I tend to align myself with the underdogs in life, that these were the reasons I stayed in touch with my “southern research” and seeing value in much of the Southern traditions. But today, I saw something that I don’t think I understood before, it was the agrarian view of life that attracted me at my core to stay attached to how the South responded to the world around them through the centuries since a ship first landed at Jamestown in 1608.

Here is the paragraph that made the light bulb turn on:

In 1787, Patrick Henry warned Virginia and the South about the danger of forming a union with the people of New England. Patrick Henry predicted that the North, being the numerical majority, would control the Federal Government and use the Federal Government to extract tribute (taxes in the form of tariffs) from the South. Patrick Henry was joined by other Southerners, such as George Mason and Rawlins Lowndes who warned of the danger of a union with the North.[2] From its very beginning, the United States has been a nation divided. The division was not one of slave states vs. non-slave states but a division between a commercial society vs. an agrarian society.

Agrarian societies, in my humble opinion, know intimately well the realities of nature in this world and how broken it really is. One could plant a crop one year with the timing perfect and yet see the crops be decimated before harvest time. Alternatively, one could sow a crop in all the wrong ways and reap a bountiful harvest. Being agrarian, in my own opinion, keeps one humble, and keeps one from thinking that one could improve on nature to the point of perfection.

I look around today at the progressives, left-collectivists (as well as those on the other side of the aisle, so-called conservatives, neo-cons, right-collectivists) and know that they probably have never farmed a day in their life. These people, born into an urban or suburban setting only know how to idealize how everything can be fixed, in their utopian view for “free” based on their own shallow notion of where security and wealth come from. Government tends to be their god.

Alternatively, those who can tell the difference between capitalism and crony capitalism, between creating value honorably verses buying a monopoly via lobbyist actions in DC, know that there is a difference between labor, fiat money and wealth, values and a generational legacy to hand down.

This article also points out the heartache all honest businessmen and entrepreneurs  have in the current climate, that was the case even back in the 1800s:

In 1828, Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton declared that the Federal Government’s tariff policy was forcing Southerners to pay 75% of the Federal revenue used to support the government. He lamented, “This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this.” [5]

In an 1828 letter to Daniel Webster, Abbott Lawrence of Massachusetts advocated a proposed tariff bill because “This bill if adopted as amended will keep the South and West in debt to New England the next hundred years.”[6] As Patrick Henry had warned and Senator Benton noted, the agrarian South was being exploited by the commercial North—a Northern commercial and financial crony capitalist society that could not exist without the steady inflow of revenue gained from protective tariffs.

Massachusetts historian Charles Bancroft admitted this harsh fact ten years after the North’s conquest of the South, “While so gigantic a war was an immense evil; to allow the right of peaceable secession would have been ruin to the enterprise and thrift of the industrious laborer, and keen-eyed businessman of the North. It would have been the greatest calamity of the age. War was less to be feared.”[7] Follow the money, and you will discover the real reason for war.

Being exploited for other’s gain is never a good feeling. The ability of parasites both in industry and in government to siphon off one’s wealth and makes it that much more difficult to put profits away for future capital expenditures means that everyone is working harder for less realized credit. It does seem at times that the deck is stacked against the entrepreneur, not just the broken world part, but a government entity and all their regulations (federal, state, local) that sucks life out of …. life.

Here is a final quote from this article, one that shows not unlike those in the South after their attempt for independence failed, we too are in fact these days subjects, not citizens. We are tax slaves on the government plantation:

Confederate President Jefferson Davis explained the motive for Northern invasion of the South, “The lust for empire impelled them [Northerners] to wage against their weaker neighbors [Southerners] a war of subjugation.”[11] Senator Joseph Lane of Oregon in 1861 warned Congress that the Federal Government was becoming an aggressive empire.[12] The London Telegraph in 1866 observed that while the United States “may remain a republic in name, but some eight million of the people [Southerners] are subjects not citizens.”

So yet again there are forces in this land that are ripping people apart. The majority think this is a right or left problem, and that if we get government right, and get the right people elected, all will be well. But at our core, those that are critical thinkers know this all sounds very hollow. We know that it is not the takers that find truth and honor in this broken world, but the givers, those who sacrifice for their kids, grand-kids, family and friends to make this journey a more pleasant one.

Again, the land has a lot to do with this process, and in these days when so many are generations away from the land we tend (myself included) to take nature and the Creator of that nature for granted.

I guess I am coming to the age where I see that more clearly every day, just to watch ducks and geese in a pond for 10, 20 or 30 minutes observing their journey as the weather changes. These days it seems that we have to intentionally carve out time to enjoy this earth, but in my own mind, there are rewards in that that far outweigh that time on social media or in front of a television.

Not sure what the path forward is, but getting back to nature and self-sufficiency seems to be part of the formula. No answers here today, just a lot of questions.

-SF1

Empire Tactics: 1780 Green Dragoons/Hessians to 2019 US Special Ops/Blackwater

The benefit of knowing history is knowing when you are about to be scammed. In the past week we have heard that President Trump suddenly, without the blessing of his neo-con staff personnel, decided to exit Syria in the near-term. What happened next was typical to this empire’s entertainment aspects, people that were against war at some point in their life all of a sudden WANT war in Syria. I mean it was normal to hear most of Congress (who have been lobbied by the Military Industrial Complex – $$$) get upset that we can’t keep our “covert” war there intact since we have invested 7 years there with various rebel groups including ISIS.

It is all indeed a show, and having watched Home Alone over the Christmas break seeing Donald Trump giving advice to Kevin, we can’t be surprised in 2019 to understand that Donald Trump is still acting. All empires need good actors when they approach end of life status, it keeps the masses entertained while what is happening behind the scenes gets more and more desperate.

During the Revolutionary War, the British Empire used 30,000 Hessian mercenaries (30% of the total British force in the American Colonies) towards their attempt to hang on to their empire. Also deployed was their Green Dragoon Legions and the tactics that had local innocent citizens and their property in the cross-hairs of these forces.

During the follow-up of the Iraq invasion in 2003, the US Empire also used mercenaries in their attempt to hang on to the territory in Iraq as part of the US Empire. By 2007 there had been a huge number of incidents where these mercenaries were guilt of massacres throughout Iraq. In fact, trials are still ongoing here in 2019!

A more in depth article is this one by Chuck Baldwin who has been following closely the Trump promises before his election compared to the Trump realities to date. One of the most startling statistics is in the quote that follows:

.. the first two years of Trump’s presidency was a flagrant disavowal of that campaign promise. Not only did Trump not disengage our forces from these illegal and immoral wars, but, as I have documented, he dramatically INCREASED America’s involvement in these wars. In fact, President Trump has dropped more bombs on more people in his first two years of office than President Obama did in his entire last term in office. Plus, he sent thousands of additional ground troops to Afghanistan and Syria and several other countries.

So that leads us to Trump’s latest claim, that the US is “leaving” Syria and also drawing down troops in Afghanistan. Well, it all depends on who is doing the counting and what is being counted. Knowing full well that none of these numbers include deep state CIA operatives throughout the region, if we are talking “official military” personnel in Syria, the US claims that only 2000 are there currently. I highly doubt that. But what is really going on? Chuck says:

This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”

Is the war in Afghanistan — and possibly elsewhere ― about to be privatized?

If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away.

21st century Hessians! This Empire is outsourcing the dirty work left behind by the 17 year Afghanistan conflict and the 7 year illegal intrusion into the sovereign nation of Syria that Obama pulled the trigger on.

The legacy is trillions spent, that we have a debt for, just to _______? You fill in the blank, is this to keep military contractors employed? Is this to keep the petro-dollar in placed globally? Is this to help Israel out .. perpetually?

And what of the US Empire’s legacy?

Here’s the horrifying part: These “private contractors,” i.e., mercenaries, operate in a manner that is totally unaccountable to the rule of law. Totally! They operate outside the Constitution, outside the Rules of Engagement, outside the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), outside the Law of Nations, outside law period—and also outside public scrutiny. There is virtually no accountability for whatever murders, rapes, plunderings or criminalities of any sort that these mercenaries commit.

More terrorists are home-grown the more the empire’s atrocities are known. This is “job-security” as the US Empire’s last gasp around the globe. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In summary, Chuck Baldwin concludes:

Combining Special Forces units that are already plagued with rampant abuses of power with mercenaries who are virtually unaccountable to any human authority is a recipe for the worst kind of barbarity and atrocity. This is what the Roman Empire did during its last days of power and what Great Britain did in its failed war against the American colonies. And this is exactly what Donald Trump is preparing to do. In fact, Trump is already setting the table for an unaccountable military force by shutting down military watchdog groups, thus turning off the light of public knowledge and ensuring military unaccountability.

The “swamp” is still intact. The cynic in me points to the root of this nation’s poisonous government. Many, including Chuck claim that if we would just get back to the Constitution … yeah, it was never meant to be “got back to”. As Lysander Spooner said in the 19th century:

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

My thinking, thanks to Ben Stone’s efforts and his manual , has evolved to this:

When I first read this a year ago I just laughed. About six months ago I read this and still thought that maybe Thomas Jefferson was blindsided by this whole Constitution coup d’tat that happened while he was Ambassador to France. I understood that George Washington was a Federalist at heart and wanted a mini-British nation on this continent, and that Benjamin Franklin was getting old and nodded his consent. But the likes of George Mason and Patrick Henry saw through all this and rightfully noted the slippery slope that this document created a path for going forward.

I now think that Thomas Jefferson really thought that there would be another revolution inside a generation as what was created was just an “experiment”, a beta-test version 1.0 of a federated republic that would have checks and balances like nullification and secession options that could keep it grounded until another version could be tried.

I do think that the pioneer spirit of that founding generation did not even last a decade before this country fell back into its old ways. Before you know it you have George Washington taking thousands of troops into Pennsylvania to enforce a 25% Whiskey Tax to fund his government. You can not possibly make this stuff up!

Happy 2019 y’all .. I will try to stay more positive in my future posts this year, if the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.

-SF1

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun – Ecclesiastes 1:9

30DEC1780: Marion’s Home at Snows Island – Winter Quarters

As of November 1780, Francis Marion no longer had the use of his home at Pond’s Bluff on the Santee River. His home, along with the homes of William Moultrie, John Rutledge, Henry Laurens and several of his own brigade members had been seized by the British under authority of Cornwallis.

So after Christmas, Marion had an identical home to the rest of his men on Snows Island, simple lean-to huts that protected them from wind and rain. What Marion did understand, and has since been applied by other guerilla leaders and is also part of US Military Doctrine, is the importance of having the support of the local population. The Whig community in this part of South Carolina, in spite of having most of their men out fighting the British and Loyalists, was able to provide Marion and his men with not only food but Intel as well. Women and slaves kept the local farms going when the men were absent to allow this local support to happen just as harvest season had completed.

The reward for the locals was that Marion refused to plunder them, and also, for what items that were used by the militia, Marion would provide receipts so that these families would be reimbursed after the war. Marion and his men would then target Tory-Loyalist communities when there were resourcing needs such as when Continental officer Greene asked for slave labor to assist him with foraging and cooking needs for his force on the Pee Dee river just inside the South Carolina border. Raids north of Georgetown by Marion and his men also netted hundreds of pounds of precious salt needed to preserve meat, which was subsequently shared within the local Whig community as well.

By New Year’s Day, 1781, Marion found out he had a new title with the South Carolina militia, that of Brig. Gen. Gov. Rutledge also identified Marion’s core territory being that of east of Camden and above the Santee River. Reflecting on 1780, it is apparent that the majority of the conflict now was centered in South Carolina as over 60% of the deaths and 90% of the wounded happened in this state. The fact that South Carolina held on is in and of itself a miracle, it should be noted that 1781 would be bloodier still!

-SF1

American Revolutionary War: 3D Layers to Causes, Principles Used and Results

The advantage of taking on a portion of this ‘American Revolutionary War’ conflict, as I was able to do in reviewing John Oller’s book ‘Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Won the American Revolution‘, was that I could get my head around how South Carolina became ripe for revolution, how principled was the conflict and how South Carolina dealt with their freedom from empire.

The disadvantage is that nothing happens in a vacuum or in isolation, and so in reality one needs to back up to the macro (Thirteen Colony Federation view) and even to a global view to understand more holistically how all this came down. This last disadvantage I was able to partially overcome with the assistance of a book Captain1776, Malibu and myself first ran across at the Camden, SC RevWar historical site bookstore called ‘South Carolina and the American Revolution – A Battlefield History‘ by John W. Gordon.

This book helped me to understand the rather complex web of issues, real or imaginary, physical or psychological that helped evolve the love of family, love of community and even into a love of a colony/region towards violence-based actions that risked these very things (family, community and colony/region and even culture).

The writer is a former US Marine officer and professor at the Citadel in South Carolina who is now involved with national security affairs in Quantico, VA. What was refreshing in John W. Gordon’s approach was the eye towards tactics and strategies that either helped or detracted from the efforts of either the rebel-patriots-Whigs or the loyalists-Brit-Tories in the very real civil war that raged in South Carolina from approximately 1775 until 1783.

One aspect realized, was the early attempt on the part of the British to utilize the Cherokee and Creek to their advantage in the southern theater of this war the British brought to regain control of the colonies actually led to ‘blowback’, where unintended consequences would rule as a result of decisions made. This in conjunction with the assumption that Loyalists would rise to greatly assist the British efforts showed how much out of touch London, England was with the thoughts on the minds of those in the low country, midland and rolling hills leading up to the Blue Ridge felt in 1775, 1778 and 1780.

Another aspect that came to light when reading this book was the pivotal moment the French aligned with the colonies which caused this conflict to spread to English colonies around the globe as this became a very real world war that involved Spain and the Dutch as well as the French.

Primary to all of this was the effect this effort to extract the South Carolina people from British Empire control in how this region unified to a degree during the conflict, that pitted father against son and cousin against cousin. The effect was specifically where, during and and especially after the war, the upstate areas obtained more say in the government. The fact that civil government by the people themselves for three years in absence of the British royals, that was then forced into exile in North Carolina for a time after Cornwallis occupied Charlestown and much of the region and then back in late 1781 showed that South Carolinians could rule themselves!

Decades later, praise for this effort across micro-cultures inside this state would emerge from the pen of George Bancroft in 1857 in “History of the United States”:

Left mainly to her own resources, it was through the depths of wretchedness that her sons were to bring her back to her place in the republic ..  having suffered more, and dared more, and achieved more than the men of any other state.

This struggle matured a generation of men and women towards principles that will be again used eighty years later when another “empire” would be threatening South Carolina in coercive and violent ways once more.

Hats off to South Carolina’s Revolutionary War generation in their fight for their love of future generations and their way of life.

-SF1

NOTE: Future posts are forthcoming towards a more in-depth review of this new book, South Carolina and the American Revolution – A Battlefield History , in our library

1780: Week of Christmas – More British Pour into South Carolina, Marion Asks for Assistance

As I stated in my previous post that had Marion’s militia patrolling the Santee looking for British supply boats and troops heading inland to join Cornwallis in Winnsboro, SC past Camden:

… the British have a “Christmas present” for Marion, on 21DEC1780, Maj. Gen. Alexander Leslie arrives in Charlestown with 2000 British regulars. The gloves are coming off in South Carolina as the British desperately desire to move into North Carolina in early spring and take aim at Continental Gen. George Washington in the north.

Marion had since retreated to camp a safe distance away and there receives Intel about this threat (or opportunity, depending on how you look at this) as the British continue to prepare for a North Carolina effort in the spring. These troops no doubt will have the duty of ensuring that Marion and his militia remain neutralized as the British prayed he would be with this kind of news.

Marion and his men were camped north of the Santee up river from Kingstree at Benbow’s Ferry on the Black River. Marion’s Capt. John Milton arrives with a letter from Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene. In the past few months, Marion had written Gen. Gates (previous Continental Southern Command commander) ten times and had received only one letter back.

Marion now writes to Greene and informs him about Maj. Gen. Alexander Leslie arriving in Charlestown with a large number of British Regulars. Marion asks for 100 Continentals to come to the Santee and Pee Dee River basins and assist his growing Militia. Marion and his men then depart once again to patrol the “highway” the British use to transfer men and supplies inland, the Santee River and the roads along this river that lead toward Winnsboro. Christmas 1780 finds Marion’s militia on duty one more time.

Nathanael Green, a former Quaker, had formed his own militia in Rhode Island in 1774 and was the most brilliant military mind in the Continental Army, even more so than George Washington. He was a self taught man, with 250 books in his private library. He was promoted from private to major general in the Rhode Island State Army and then was made brigadier in the Continentals at the age of 32. When Gen. George Washington finally received permission from Congress to choose his own leadership, he chose Greene in October 1780 and he finally arrived in North Carolina in early December 1780.

When he arrived to see the condition of the men there in Charlotte, NC, there was a total of 2300, with only 1500 fit for fighting.  He commenced to write to Washington and Jefferson about the state of the army in the south. He also caught up on letters from Marion that Gates had failed to respond to.

Greene was not a fan of the militia and stated that it would take the Continental army to retake control of the states from the British forces. Greenes’ immediate request from Marion was to capture Intel about the British plans and movements and relay them to the Continental staff. By this time Marion knew all about the positives and negatives of militia and had made the effort to ensure that the tendency toward pillaging from whites and blacks on plantations under his command was not to be tolerated. Marion valued what both the Continentals and the militias brought to the patriot cause.

It was in this season of seeing the fifth Continental commander take charge in the south, when Marion and his men, after their Christmas Day patrols retreated to the Snow’s Island location on the Great Pee Dee river to settle in for time in their winter’s quarters. It turns out that they would not be able to stay there long as their services would once again be needed before the end of 1780.

Thinking back, it had been two years since Savannah, GA fell and over six months since Charlestown fell to the British. The fact that the British were still in upstate South Carolina was a testament to the passionate effort these volunteers in the militia expended to not allow the British Empire to regain control of the region or be able to reestablish the colonial legislatures in the south as they had expected. The militia kept the Loyalists from having any psychological edge in the very real civil war that South Carolina was facing.

Stay tuned for more on Marion and his adventures.

-SF1