Coming Soon to Texas Classrooms?

by Dan Quinn

We continue to marvel at the nostalgia some — such as certain members of the Texas State Board of Education — seem to have for the Confederacy of the American Civil War. This is 2010, after all. Isn’t it about time to let go of the misguided notion of the  “Lost Cause”? This nostalgia, after all, is the product of a political perspective that sees southern history in some glorified way that grossly distorts reality.

For example, in new social studies curriculum standards adopted in May, the Texas state board deliberately downplayed the central role that slavery played in causing the Civil War. The new standards also require students to study the ideas in Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address. That address is full of excuses for southern secession but includes not one word about slavery despite the abundance of historical evidence showing that the bitter divide over slavery led to secession and war. State board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, even won approval for a standard requiring that Texas history students learn about the state’s Confederate war heroes and Civil War battles.

Now we see the conservative magazine Human Events is promoting what it bills as a “myth-busting” book — The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War. According to the magazine, the book offers “a rousing guide to the great war that shaped America — and to the spirit of the Old South that we need so much today.”

America needs “the spirit of the Old South”? Can they really be serious?

Do they mean the spirit of treason in defense of the indefensible? The insistence that black people weren’t fully human? The theories of racial supremacy that justified the building of a southern economy based on the brutal enslavement of millions of people?

There are many positive things about southern culture and heritage that can warrant feelings of pride among people of the South, but the Confederacy and the supremely evil cause for which it fought are not among them. And arguing that the Confederacy wasn’t about defending slavery is simply a lie.

From the Human Events pitch:

“This is the Politically Incorrect Guide that every Civil War buff and Southern partisan — and everyone who is tired of liberal self-hatred that vilifies America’s greatest heroes — will have to have on his bookshelf.”

“America’s greatest heroes”? Good grief. Have the folks at Human Events lost their minds?

Sadly, we suspect that the historical revisionists who sit on the Texas State Board of Education would love to see this text on their bookshelves — and in public school classrooms as well.