150 years ago today, June 23rd, 1865, the last Confederate general surrendered. Obviously, the last official surrender, and the conflict continues, and will no doubt persist for another thousands years.
I say this based upon the evidence, the universal fact, that every country and region contains some disgruntled group that nurses and nurtures the wounds and narratives of past conflicts.Why, there are people in the Middle East who are still bent out of shape about the Crusades.
Wars come in two flavors, conventional and unconventional. In conventional wars, you have set piece battles, supply lines, field of operations, orders of battle, all that crap. Conventional war seeks to control the apparatus of the state.
Unconventional warfare is guerrilla tactics, hit-and-run, sabotage, insurgency, terrorism. Unconventional war seeks to control the civil population. Without the civil population as logistic support, sustained combat is impossible.
Both forms are, of course, parasitism. Practicioners of warfare tend to think of themselves as superior, with noncombatants as subjects. They may seem to have the upper hand due to military might, but in reality, their existence, their sustenance and livelihood, is wholly dependent upon the civil populations as a host. They are fucking blood-sucking parasites whose existence no one would miss should they, tomorrow, vanish in a puff of smoke.
I think the one disservice Ken Burn's documentary, the Civil War, did, was to romanticize and ennoble the Southern cause. The idea that they were fighting a losing battle from the beginning, that they were underdogs, engenders a sympathy to their utterly vile cause - slavery - which is wrong. Just plain wrong.
Studies and statistics have shown that the institution of slavery has ennervated and enfeebled my fellow citizens below the Mason-Dixon line. Those of former Confederates states are, today not even remotely associated with all of the vile characteristics of this practice, are nevertheless malformed and retarded from this disgrace.
I wish that it were not so. Call me stupidly idealistic, but I would prefer that everyone live up to their full potential, and any obstacle to this ideal I have no choice but to view as evil.
So, do I think the Confederate battle flag is evil? It's a symbol, and the unfortunate tendency of we primitive superstitious Cargo Cult Americans is to think that by imbuing an object as a symbol, and ceremonially banishing it from our consciousness, that somehow the problem is fixed, everything is made right again. But it just ain't so.
Do I think that state endorsement of the flag should be ended? Hell, yes. But we've all of us got a long, long way to go to end the problems if ever.
Want to work against racism? Banishing a flag won't do it. Want to do something really constructive? Something that will be more than just symbolic, something that will have a real positive impact for everyone involved? Simple. End the War On Drugs. It's a hundred years old. It's time to stop it. It's a racist policy. It's an INCREDIBLY racist policy, and anyone who has examined it at length cannot come to any other conclusion.
If you can show me any more important current institution of racism than the War on Drugs, I'd be quite astonished. The fact of the matter is it is a racist policy of the state which we can actually end in a short amount of time, and with only a small amount of effort, but it requires a large amount of will.