Judging from numerous articles and statements over the last 48 hours, you can be forgiven if you believe that Dylann Roof was not responsible for the deaths of 9 black Americans attending Bible study at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
In fact, it’s been made very clear that many liberals believe that the Confederate battle flag was responsible for the murders…or something. It’s not exactly clear how they are connecting the flying of the battle flag with murder. But they are trying very hard.
Actually, this outpouring of battle flag bashing is an excellent way to accuse all white people of racism and by extension, make them accomplices to Roof’s dastardly act. And the focus appears to be on the flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse.
The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it. That the Confederate flag is the symbol of of white supremacists is evidenced by the very words of those who birthed it:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…
This moral truth—“that the negro is not equal to the white man”—is exactly what animated Dylann Roof. More than any individual actor, in recent history, Roof honored his flag in exactly the manner it always demanded—with human sacrifice.
Surely the flag’s defenders will proffer other, muddier, interpretations which allow them the luxury of looking away. In this way they honor their ancestors. Cowardice, too, is heritage. When white supremacist John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, Booth’s fellow travelers did all they could to disassociate themselves. “Our disgust for the dastardly wretch can scarcely be uttered,” fumed a former governor of South Carolina, the state where secession began. Robert E. Lee’s armies took special care to enslave free blacks during their Northern campaign. But Lee claimed the assassination of the Great Emancipator was “deplorable.” Jefferson Davis believed that “it could not be regarded otherwise than as a great misfortune to the South,” and angrily denied rumors that he had greeted the news with exultation.
I’m still waiting for an explanation for how Roof was influenced or inspired by the battle flag. This ignorant, half-literate, racist wretch knew nothing of history — and the idea he knew the founding principles of the confederacy is absurd. His hate was unsophisticated, simple, straightforward — fear of the “other,” which is the same fear that animates ignorant racist blacks as well. We just don’t talk about that in polite, politically correct company.
The idea that Roof was somehow put under some magic spell by the Confederate battle flag that subconsciously directed his actions is nonsense. But that seems to be the narrative emerging about the flag on the left.
The most recent poll on the Confederate battle flag show a plurality of people don’t give a damn one way or another about it. But once again, we are going to be made to care whether we like it or not. And blaming the battle flag for murder is a good place for liberals to start.