Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s Long and Winding "Yawn"
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:32:41 PM EST
 photo thomaswoods_zps65b2661f.jpg "Apparently there's been a series against me over at the Daily Kos by a left-liberal lawyer," neo-Confederate author Thomas E. Woods Jr. recently wrote in a blog post titled, "Left-Wingers Attack; I Yawn."

Before launching into his response to my series he claimed, "I no longer pay attention to left-wing attacks"  (Except, apparently, when he does).

This post is the first of three brief replies to Mr. Woods. In this initial offering I will explain why the term neo-Confederate to which he objects, suits him so well.

"It's the same arguments every time," he fumes. "They pretend I haven't answered them. I have."

But has he really answered me, or anyone else? Or are his answers really more like deflections? There are good reasons why he is described as a neo-Confederate. Let's look at a few.

Woods knows that many of his clearly neo-Confederate ideas and purposeful involvements will make other of his allies uncomfortable at best, especially among the Catholic Right. So his ideas and involvements must be hidden or downplayed and when they cannot be, they are strenuously denied.

Woods claims that he is really just a libertarian. But that is a canard. Most of us know libertarians. And while we may disagree with them on many issues, especially economics, we know that they are not advocating the breakup of United States of America.

Woods insinuated in his response that I have equated his calls for secession and nullification with racism and a call to reestablish slavery, hence, why I call him a neo-Confederate. I did no such thing, of course, and all he has for an argument is to lump me in with other unnamed critics, complaining, "They idiotically call me a "neo-Confederate" (have they really not seen the zombie video, or are they trying to caricature themselves?)."

Woods would have us believe that this video answers all of his critics about everything. (It would be better titled "The Zombie Straw Man.")  Using the setting of a mock interview to discuss his book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, he starts out by saying that the federal government does whatever wants without constitutional restraint. Of course he does not specify exactly what the government is doing that requires restraining.  He goes on to claim that if anyone questions the constitutionality of a given issue, "they laugh you."  Paraphrasing Jerry Seinfeld, who are all these people who are laughing?  Of course, he does not say.  This is, after all, a straw man he is pummeling.

As the video churns on we see the zombie "host" throw accusations of "slavery" and "neo-Confederate" at Woods, as if those of us who use this moniker to define him do so baselessly.  But perhaps unsurprisingly, he engages in the very behavior of which he accuses his critics -- falsely (and absurdly) equating those who oppose nullification and secession with Hitler.

He never addresses the real reason why he's fairly described as a neo-Confederate: it is the content of his own works and his involvement in neo-Confederate organizations.  Let's look at a standard definition of the term:

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines it this way:  

The term neo-Confederacy is used to describe twentieth and twenty-first century revivals of pro-Confederate sentiment in the United States. Strongly nativist and advocating measures to end immigration, neo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned.

So even the SPLC does not say one has to advocate slavery or even be an overt racist to be a neo-Confederate. But one does not have to look very hard to see what the League is all about. A current visitor to the League's web site will find a close-out special on League of the South tee-shirt with a quote from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest (the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) on the back. And if you need a bumper sticker to express your feelings about secession, you might pick "Feds Out of Dixie!". And after making your purchases you can keep up with the cause on the League of the South blog, Rebellion.

In fairness, Woods once stated, "I have played no day-to-day role in the [League of the South] organization and I am responsible neither for the comments of any other member nor for the politically incorrect statements I am told can be found on the League's site."

But with that said, nowhere in that statement, or any other statement he has made to my knowledge, does he actually separate his views from those of the League. And although Woods acknowledges that he was present at the League's formative meetings, he also claims not to completely identify with the League's core beliefs. But he does not say which ones or why.

There is much more eye opening material in the League's core beliefs, which are laced with exclusionary statements, such as:

"The League of the South asserts that Southern society is radically different from the society impressed upon it by an alien occupier."
 

Woods is more than a contemporary fashionista of secession and nullification.  He is a leader who puts an Ivy League gloss on some crude and discredited ideas, and even cruder and more discredited proponents of these ideas. Indeed, for a man who says he is not a neo-Confederate because he is not a racist and does not believe in slavery, he is having a hard time explaining his relationship with the League of the South, a leading apologist for the Southern Cause.

But one does not have to rely entirely on Woods's involvement with the League as evidence of his neo-Confederate commitments. He is also involved with the Abbeville Institute (taking its name from the birthplace of secessionist John C. Calhoun). As my Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has already noted:

Woods is from Massachusetts with degrees from Harvard and Columbia, but he has described himself as one of "the founders of the League of the South." He is also affiliated with the Abbeville Institute, described by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a group of 64 scholars nostalgic for the Old South and Secession. Time Magazine described the institute, founded by Emory University professor Donald Livingston, as a group of "Lincoln loathers." The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the Abbeville Institute founder as one of the leaders in the modern neo-Confederate movement and, as described in a Chronicle of Higher Education article, pointed out the following quote in its mission statement.

"Rarely these days, even on Southern campuses, is it possible to acknowledge the achievements of white people in the South."

 photo thomaswoodshistory_zps7015e6a2.jpg There is also Woods's book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.  Woods uses Confederate revisionist rhetoric to describe the Civil War, as the "War of Northern Aggression" or the "War Between the States."

Union General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain once adroitly observed:

"There was no war between the States. It was a war in the name of certain States to destroy the political existence of the United States, in membership of which alone, on any just theory of the government, their own sovereignty as States inhered, and could make itself effectual. To this absurd pass did that false theory come -- a war of States against the people; and if successful, the suicide of States."

Indeed, this book cements his credentials as a neo-Confederate, starting with the cover art. There we see a smug looking Confederate officer standing with his arms almost folded with an "I-told-you-so" look on his face.

But finally there is Woods’s 1997 article in The Southern Partisan magazine entitled, “Christendom's Last Stand” where Woods, who described himself as “a founding member of the League of the South,” enthusiastically waved the flag of his neo-Confederatism:

So the War Between the States, far from a conflict over mere material interests, was for the South a struggle against an atheistic individualism and an unrelenting rationalism in politics and religion, in favor of a Christian understanding of authority, social order and theology itself. The intelligent Left knows this, and even the incurably stupid, like [former Democratic Senator from Illinois -- the first African-American woman to be elected as a U.S. Senator] Carol Moseley-Braun, must at least sense it. For all their ignorant blather about slavery and civil rights, what truly enrages most liberals about the Confederate Battle Flag is its message of defiance. They see in it the remnants of a traditional society determined to resist cultural and political homogenization, and refusing to be steamrolled by the forces of progress.

I have been a Northerner for my entire 24 years. But when we reflect on what was really at stake in the "late unpleasantness," we can join with [Confederate Vice-President] Alexander Stephens in observing that "the cause of the South is the cause of us all."

And that is why Thomas E. Woods, Jr. has earned the description of neo-Confederate.

This post was updated a few hours after it was first posted.




Display:
Woods evidently does not bother to engage the substance of what you say. His method of argument is to attack you ad hominem, just like wingnut talk show hosts.

by khughes1963 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:57:42 PM EST

that the League of the South tee shirt comes in White Only.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:01:58 PM EST

It's strange that Woods would consider Lyndon Johnson's stealing of the 1948 Senatorial election to be politically incorrect. Robert Caro details the entire affair in his Lyndon Johnson biography "The Years of Lyndon Johnson," Vol. 2, "The Means of Ascent."

by Harold F on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:27:55 AM EST
I messed up the first sentence of my comment. It should read: It's strange that Woods believes putting Lyndon Johnson's theft of the 1948 senatorial election in a history book to be politically incorrect.

by Harold F on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:04:14 AM EST
Parent
 I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I'm going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog.
Business VoIP Phone Systems


by willy20 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 01:41:42 AM EST
Parent



Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for.   gclub

by ahtisham on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:01:21 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Short Takes
Bilgrimage:  Bill Lindsey discusses "an outstanding series of articles" by Frank Cocozzelli here at Talk to Action, originally posted in 2007, about the close......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 1)
In light of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby -- which exempts, closely held corporations that invoke "sincerely held......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 2)
The following is the second installment of a three part sub-series regarding the influence of non-mainstream, ultra-traditional Catholics now sitting on the US Supreme......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 3)
"The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control
Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It's a......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
William Barber Takes Us to Church at Netroots Nation
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina gave a rousing, perhaps historic keynote speech at Netroots......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"
As I introduce my new Center Against Religious Extremism report Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"), In 2010......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Lessons in Taking the Long View in the Long Form
Historian Leo P. Ribuffo recently published a wise and erudite essay at History News Network. In it he discusses trends among historians regarding how......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Missing Pieces of the Story of Sun Myung Moon
The recent coverage of the life and death of Richard Mellon Scaife, a transformational figure in recent American history, was pretty underwhelming. (Fortunately, our......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
When I Won One Over My Old (Former) Friend Jerry Falwell
July 13th was the anniversary of our friend Jerry Sloan's confrontation on live television with Moral Majority founder, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. This......
By JerrySloan (1 comment)
Vatican Defrocks A Bishop Over Sexual Abuse - But Not Finn.
Pope Francis recently indicated he is serious about ending child sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic prelates by defrocking a former apostolic nuncio (a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Bob Jones University and the Real Roots of the Religious Right
Historian Randall Balmer notes writing in Christian Ethics Today, that the real beginnings of the Religious Right lies not in 1973 Roe v. Wade,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Becket Or Wreck It?: Little-Known Religious Right Group At Heart Of Hobby Lobby Case
The Supreme Court's recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers' access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Bishop DiMarzio's Stilted Hobby Lobby Analogy
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the overseer of the Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens New York, recently weighed in on the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Creeping Risk of Theocratic Violence
Imagine if you will, that some of those who once thought America could be restored to the bright, shining Christian Nation they believe had......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)

Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (1 comment)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else © 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.