Offense Is Created In The Mind Of The Offended

This is a posting about “Freedom of Speech”. It will use some current events that are “offensive”. My position on them is NOT the subject of the posting. (In fact, I rarely care at all about emotionally overloaded issues. What usually interests me is the intellectual vacuousness of the arguments over what is, to me, mostly nothing. Welcome to the unemotive Aspe world…) So please don’t go trying to “project” some kind of “position” on me. I’m neither pro, nor anti, whatever it is folks will immagine.

The Point

Right there in the title. When people are “offended” by some symbol or other, that is an emotional state that they create inside their own head and for their own idiosyncratic reasons. It is neither rational, nor reasonable, to make any law, ruling, or policy based on “offense”.

The basic problem is that anyone can be offended by anything. The choice over which offense to elevate to a law, ruling, or policy then becomes a political football. It has no foundation in reason. No foundation in fact.

Yet we in the U.S.A. are busy getting all wrapped around the axle over various “offense” crimes. BTW, this is also why I find “Hate Speech” and “Hate Crimes” of all sorts absurd. How many crimes are committed from a pleasant warm and fuzzy point of view? Tacking “hate” on the front is only for the purpose of political elevation of some injured parties ahead of others. Does it really matter if a person was killed by a party that hated them, or just wanted them dispassionately dead? Does the emotion of someone change the degree of the crime? Frankly, I’d find the dispassionate sociopath killing a dozen folks more of a concern than one guy who hated another.

So with that said, some examples of, IMHO, the stupidity of making policy based on emotional state.

Two Minute Hate

In the news today is the flood of folks stumbling over each other to publicly hate the Confederate Battle Flag. It’s our Two Minute Hate of the day. Very Orwellian. A week ago it was not in the news. Now it’s four walled everywhere. Hillary is jumping up and down. The Republicans are largely rushing to see who can become a Democrat Lite on the topic first. Why?

Because some racist idiot killed some fine and peaceful black people in a church, and said idiot had a Confederate Battle Flag.

So a bunch of professionally offended folks took their offense to The Media (of all sorts) in an attempt to further the Race Baiting tactics of the Democrats (who adore the Two Minute Hate especially when racial offence can be drug out and flaunted).

Somehow lost in the noise is the fact that Southern Democrats were major supporters of slavery, while Lincoln was a Republican pushing a war to overturn it… at least in the last half. (The war started over other issues and it was only in the last half that Lincoln started pushing the race card and “freed the slaves” as a tactic.) So, over time, the “right and wrong” sides have gotten exactly reversed in the public propaganda. Sigh.

Sidebar on Democrat History:

For those thinking me off kilter on Democrats being pro-slavery, I’ll just quote the wiki on Dixiecrats. I’ve bolded a couple of bits:

The States’ Rights Democratic Party (usually called the Dixiecrats) was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948. It originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party in 1948, determined to protect what they portrayed as the southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government, and supporters assumed control of the state Democratic parties in part or in full in several Southern states. The States’ Rights Democratic Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention. Members were called Dixiecrats. (The term Dixiecrat is a portmanteau of Dixie, referring to the Southern United States, and Democrat.)
The party did not run local or state candidates, and after the 1948 election its leaders generally returned to the Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats had little short-run impact on politics. However, they did have a long-term impact. The Dixiecrats began the weakening of the “Solid South” (the Democratic Party’s total control of presidential elections in the South).
The term “Dixiecrat” is sometimes used by Northern Democrats to refer to conservative Southern Democrats from the 1940s to the 1990s, regardless of where they stood in 1948.

For a long time in parts of The South it was darned near impossible to get folks to vote for a Republican just due to them having won the war and applied the reconstruction horrors on the south. My Texas Uncle still can’t quite bring himself to not register as a Democrat, but did manage to vote for a Republican (Bush) once.

Back At The Flag

But even more stupid are all the folks calling it the “Confederate Flag” or “The Flag Of The Confederate States” or similar things. It isn’t. It is the Confederate Battle Flag. In wars, then, they didn’t have radios and telephones. You knew where your troops were by where there was a flag. It was used by soldiers, for soldiers, so you knew where your side was at. It was not a political symbol, but a battle field communications device. “Attack them near their flag, find support near your flag”.

The political flag of The Confederate States Of America was this, the “Stars And Bars”:

Confederate flag:  Stars and Bars

The Original Confederate Flag, the actual “Stars and Bars”

As this was easy to confuse with the Stars and Stripes in the confusion of battle, the need for a distinct battle flag came along. From the wiki:

At the First Battle of Manassas, near Manassas, Virginia, the similarity between the “Stars and Bars” and the “Stars and Stripes” caused confusion and military problems. Regiments carried flags to help commanders observe and assess battles in the warfare of the era. At a distance, the two national flags were hard to tell apart. In addition, Confederate regiments carried many other flags, which added to the possibility of confusion. After the battle, General P. G. T. Beauregard wrote that he was “resolved then to have [our flag] changed if possible, or to adopt for my command a ‘Battle flag’, which would be Entirely different from any State or Federal flag.”

So there is exactly zero racial overtone in the Battle Flag. All that Two Minute Hate ought to be directed at the “Stars and Bars” if anywhere. (This, too, gets more confusion as “Stars and Bars” is sometimes used as a name for the Confederate Battle Flag, even though it isn’t the real Stars and Bars…)

But, as usual, there’s complications. Eventually the Confederate States changed their political flag to incorporate the battle flag as an inset. Here’s the third national flag:

The Blood Stained Banner

The red bar at the far right for the blood of those lost in battle.

So it would be possible to contend that toward the end of the war the Battle Flag had gotten some kind of political reuse in The South on the third political flag. Yet is is not the Blood Stained Banner that is being held up as an issue. It is the Battle Flag.

Where To Stop?

Now the various folks who have ancestors who fought and often died in those battles have a legitimate right to remember the sacrifice and honor of their family. Those who suffered through the horrors of “reconstruction” and the carpet baggers have a right to their own sense of “offence” at the Damn Yankees who exploited them. So if one bases “take it down” on “someone is offended”, then the flag of the United States Of America needs to come down too. See, that’s the problem with “offended” as your rubber ruler…

Me? I find a lot in the Koran to be offensive. It frequently says that I’m to be enslaved, have body parts cut off, be punished with fines, have my liberty eliminated, and in the end, killed. See, I’m an “infidel” as I am not a follower… So how about we ban ALL Korans and ALL Mosques from America? What, don’t like that? In principle it is no different at all from banning the Confederate Battle Flag. I’m offended by someone who is perpetrating a Hate Crime with Hate Speech against me. Get cracking on those bans… And while you are at it, get that Crescent down off the domes. It is just a symbol of oppression of Christians by Muslims and was / is used in battle on their Battle Flags. I’m offended, so it has to go… (See the problem?)

And that’s the problem.

Jews hate the swastika as a Nazi symbol, even though it started life (and is still) as a good luck symbol in India and Japan. There was a bit of fuss a few years back about a game from Japan that had a swastika on the cover. Folks here didn’t understand that their offence that they generated inside themselves was not from the symbol itself. That symbol was just a peace and sun good luck symbol. The offence was brought by the offended to an innocent party (and an innocent symbol stolen by evil people for evil ends). So do we ban the swastika? If so, what about the offense to all those Indian and Japanese folks who have it as a peace and good luck symbol in their culture? (BTW, we have some swastikas built into government buildings here in the USA from prior to W.W.II when we, too, saw it as a ‘sun and good luck’ symbol.)

Back at me again: I find the raised black fist of the Black Panther party to be offensive. I find their speech to be racist, bigoted, and anti-white. Can we please start banning sales of any of their merchandise at Walmart, Ebay, Sears, K-Mart, Amazon, etc.? It is a racist, offensive symbol. So why NOT ban it? Hmmmm?

Muslims find the Christian Cross offensive (as, it would seem, do many atheists, given their tendency to sue anyone who has one on display and isn’t a church). It is a symbol of torture and a tool of “hate crimes” (after all, crucifixion was torture…) So how about we ban all crosses and crucifixes on shirts and walls, paintings and cars? Isn’t it “hateful” to be pushing that cross on folks who were historically damaged by it in the Crusades?

And that’s the fundamental problem with using either “hate” or “offense” as your rubber ruler.

Other Issues

That’s the big lump, but there are some other minor points. For one, reenactors. I know, not high on anybody’s list of concerns. But I was invited to a Civil War Reenactment once and loved it. Living history. Real people recreating as accurately as possible the reality of the event. Right down to having a mock battle with black powder cannon (blanks, but loud! ;-)

Now how do you have Reenacting if you can’t buy the flags to do it? Hmmm?

BTW, the person who invited me was on the Confederate Navy. They had white uniforms and a different flag. The wiki link can show you the several flags of the Confederate Navy, but here’s one of them:

Confederate Navy Jack

So now you get to ask yourself if any blue field with a circle of 7 stars is also to be banned. It, too, is a battle flag of the Confederacy…

So when all those stores ban the selling of the Confederate Battle Flag, they are slapping the face of all the Reenactors. And, BTW, having a reenactment with only Union forces is not going to work out very well. (The one I attended was in California, BTW. California was not involved in the whole war to any noticeable extent and folks see it more as a fun picnic kind of thing. Substantially zero political / racial / whatever content on display. Just folks playing dressup and making noise with big toys. Folks were encouraged to take the Confederate side as they rarely had enough for a decent reenactment without some ‘converts’.)

The point here is just that the assumption of an attitude of racism by anyone wanting to buy a Confederate Battle Flag is flat out wrong. It is entirely projection on the part of those too easily offended. There are quite legitimate and benign non-political reasons many of them are purchased. And, while I don’t have one, I did briefly think it would be fun to sign up for the “Kitchen” detail. I did a fair amount of research on ‘period correct’ foods and how to make them. Had I signed up, it would likely have been on the Confederate side, but not for any political reason. Only because that was the side my friend was on and they needed more people. About as close to ‘random selection’ as you can get. I’d have been flying a Confederate Battle Flag then, too (though he was in the Confederate Navy so it would have been the blue field 7 stars one).


Then there is the problem of precedents set. There is another pet project of The Left. To erase any reference to Native Americans in sports. No, they don’t phrase it that way, it’s just the practical effect. And they use the “offended” weapon there, too.

A judge Tuesday heard arguments in U.S. District Court on a lawsuit filed by the team seeking to preserve its trademark registration for the Redskins name. Last year the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the team’s trademark registration should be canceled on the grounds that it may be offensive to Native Americans.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, who will decide the case, asked lawyers at the start of the hearing to focus on how that Supreme Court case affects the Redskins’ case.

Jeff Lopez, lawyer for the Native Americans, said their case has been boosted because the high court ruled that Texas was not infringing on the free speech rights of a Confederate heritage group by rejecting a special interest license plate design that shows the Confederate flag. Similarly, he argued, the federal government is not infringing on the Redskins’ free speech rights just by denying them the protection of a federal trademark.

So now ANY trademark can be shot down if you can dredge up someone to be offended at it.

I’m offended by “Coke”. It reminds me of illegal drugs.

Not rational? Excuse me, but we are talking emotions here, not reason. I choose to be offended, then I am, and that’s all that matters.

Heck, I’m not fond of “United” either. I want liberty and diversity. United offends me.

There’s a whole lot of ways that kind of “offense” can be used for effect, now.

How Is ISIS Different from Democrats and Republican Lites?

Both ISIS and those desiring to ban the flag have a lot in common. The news on CNN tonight was, with some glee, covering the pogrom to remove Confederate statues from places all over the south. Gone would be the Generals and Presidents of the past. History and statuary to be torn down, and flags burned and banned. How, exactly, is that any different from ISIS / ISIL blowing up statues from their past and burning / banning symbols of those they do not like?

I’m having a hard time seeing any real difference.

Oh, you have a sense of moral outrage about one, but not about the other? How you feel determines right and wrong?…

Really, both of them are doing a victory dance over the other. Both are banning and destroying things that remind them of a prior historical time when they were not filled with the Moral Outrage of the day. They don’t want to be reminded that this Two Minute Hate will be replace at some future time by a different Two Minute Hate, just as that old one was replaced. Better to erase their history than to come to grips with it.

In San Jose, the statue of the founder of the city was removed. Replaced by a statue of a native ‘god’. A coiled snake that on first look looks a lot more like a pile of dog poo. Why? The founder had kept native americans in bondage or some such. He was a “white guy plantation owner”. Not PC, so gotta go. A court challenge was brought that the replacement Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent god was a religious symbol, so not allowed under the separation of church and state. The court found that as nobody was currently worshiping Quetzalcoatl it was not religious. Really? A “god” of a religion is not religious?

But it was time for the Get Whitey “Two Minute Hate” so the snake god gets to stay and he got the heave ho. History lost, replaced with PC political sop to the new loudest “offended” party.

So is that the New USA? History to be constantly re-written by the most offended? Statues to be blown up in the cause of the “Victor Of Today”? How much history can you preserve if it is erased every generation? What moral compass are you using when you decide to blow up statues and ban flags? Democrats, meet your soul mate in ISIS. Republicans who endorse it, meet your soulmate in ISIL.

What? You think that harsh or stupid or that I’m an evil racist for not endorsing the Hate Fad of the day? Think about it some more… The only difference is who is the victor, who the minority, and just what moral justification is applied. ISIS / ISIL are absolutely certain they are doing the right and moral thing. They have authority and spiritual guidance telling them so. Just like those wanting to ban statues of Robert E. Lee and remove the Confederate Battle Flag. The only difference is which moral justification set is applied. Both are erasing history in the process and assuring only their approved symbols and history survive.


Unfortunately, most of the world is stuffed full of folks who love their Two Minute Hate. It is equally filled with folks who practice “you are with me or against me” and can not see an unbiased dispassionate observer as neutral.

Due to that, many folks will see this as support for racism or hate of the Democrats. It isn’t.

I have no dog in this fight, other than a bit of “offended by stupidity”. (Would that that was sufficient to ban it, too…)

My Mother is from England. Neither North nor South. My Dad was from Iowa, so “north”, but the family traces back to Virginia, so “south”, but the Amish line was neutral, and the Irish side came over in the Potato Famine so had only been here about 10 to 15 years and didn’t fight on any side. And I’m from California. Essentially, for me, The War Between The States is mostly a romantic thing in Gone With The Wind, or a bit of history that didn’t really involve most of my family. So “not my war”.

I have little interest in “race issues” either. It mostly just descends into squabbling about things long past, or squabbling about overactive imaginations in the present, or people taking as ‘racist’, being disliked for other reasons. I’ve been close friends with some blacks, and found others unpleasant. I’m sure some of the unpleasant ones thought me a “white honkey’ and racist. The reality was that I found them black racists and found reason to not hang around them. I’ve dated a black lady and one of my first ‘crushes’ was on a black girl (though I was about 5, so nothing came of it ;-) Oh, and I’ve both hired blacks and worked for a black superior. So those who think I have some kind of hidden issue are just wrong.

But it is the history of my country. I’d like to preserve it. (but not stew on it in a festering way).

Still, most folks seem to demand their right to Stew and Spew. And when a Two Minute Hate grabs the media and popular muse, going against it can be political suicide. So I understand the weak willed just going with the mass of rage. But perhaps could they try to do it in a non-damaging way?

The real risk, though, comes from the manipulators for effect.

You do not get this kind of mass protest, march in the street, politicians on camera with speeches; without coordination. “Flag” is not high on most folks list of “must protest” things. So behind this “popular movement” is a whole lot of political coordination. Similarly the “push” for more gun banning. (It isn’t “control”…) It’s an “on the shelf ready to go” response from the Democratic political machine. Every chance, the professional Two Minute Hate machine cranks up and sets about fanning flames. It is no accident that both the Race Baiting and the Gun Hating memes are favorites of the Democrats and at the same time pop on the scene with force at every opportunity.

They are practicing the equivalent of a Knight Fork in chess. Positioned where either side you take, they win. Defend the rights of folks to buy any damn flag they want? Or to practice free speech (that you may not like)? Then you are a racist. DON’T defend that right, you lose it. Defend gun rights? Then you are an evil hater and love baby killers. Don’t defend it, you lose that right. The only “win” strategy is to directly call it out for what it is. Faux concern over a chosen political ploy used to herd the “useful idiots” better and to remove individual liberty so that Central Authority can take more.

And that is my bias. My position in all this. I really don’t give a damn about the Confederate Battle Flag, or statues of Robert E. Lee. I don’t care at all about who hates whom from which races. None of it involves me. At all. But I do care about lies used to herd innocents. I do care about “fire for effect” on political machine tactics. And I really care a lot about loss of individual rights and self determination with the astounding growth of Central Authority and tyrants in training. So I find myself wanting to see a Confederate Battle Flag over some State capitol in The South as it shows that the Several States still have some self determination. That The Union has not completely destroyed States Rights and individual rights thereafter. That PC Mandates are not fully dominating and free speech is not dead. I want to hear speech that offends me, as that tells me free speech still lives.

I also want to see statues of The Last Evil Bastard, as that reminds me of the past. And, in an odd way, causes me to wonder which person currently headed for a statue might just be The Next Evil Bastard… I’d rather remember the evil that men (and women) do, so as to avoid it again. So keep those Evil Bastard statues. Put up signs saying why everyone thought they were great then. Maybe someone will think about who they think is great now. And question why.

If that offends you, well, maybe you ought to be more introspective about “offense”. It comes from inside. If you let the outside bring you to emotional grief, then you give to others the power to make you miserable any time they want. Letting others ‘wind you up’, lets them make you a tool of their avarice. It hands control of you, over to those that set the stage around you.

IMHO, it is far far better to not take offense. To just observe and think. To look for the hidden motives of the race baiters and daily haters. To, in the Buddhist way, “be the empty vessel”… Only then are you truly in control of you, and those outside agitators lose power over you.

But do expect to need to duck rocks. There is no hatred quite as strong as that applied to the indifferent bystander at a hate rally… and in the daily Two Minute Hate rally, you are expected to show your allegiance to The Leader (Big Brother in the book). Those who do not support the Daily Hate are seen as subversive in some way; and I suppose I am. I find the whole manipulative process offensive… Hey, maybe we could ban it instead…

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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17 Responses to Offense Is Created In The Mind Of The Offended

  1. adrian vance says:

    Many words about something very simple: The Negroes are unhappy with a symbol representative of a time when they were slaves. This appears on its face to have some substance. Take it down, but then insist on rigor with respect to some of their other complaints.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for brevity.

  2. philjourdan says:

    This latest is another attempt by the idiots of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The flag had absolutely nothing to do with the massacre. But then logic is not a subject the idiots excel in, so they picked something they think they can do something about. Wrongly again.

    Personally, although I am a son of the south, I could not care less about what emblem someone wants to display (graphic pornography or mutilation excepted for other reasons). Nor is this going to stop a single person (demented as they are) from doing something like this again. But it will make the idiots think they have done something about something they have no comprehension of (intelligence is not their forte’).

    But as to the gist of your article, I agree. There is no right not to be offended. period. Like you, I find the whole “black panther” logos to be racist and offensive, and so I ignore them. If you (generic) want to display them, fine! Do not expect me to associate or acknowledge you in anyway. That is the consequence of your freedom to do what you want. Just as it is the freedom of anyone to do the same to anyone displaying a symbol from the 19th century.

  3. M Simon says:

    Machine Quilting Robots will make flags.

    Like any Black Market – prices will go up.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    It is fascinating how symbols meanings change over time in the public mind.

    In younger days I recall how the CBF was perceived at least by the people I knew, and it had no such association as a symbol of hate. It was at the time a symbol of regional affinity (not that much different than the “I heart NY” bumper stickers) It carried just a hint of a foxy country bumpkin association as you can see in the TV series of the time the “Dukes of Hazard” just good old boys trying to out smart the bumbling government types.
    I later began to see that to many in the south, it was also a revered symbol of the valor of the soldiers who fought for the Confederate cause regardless of what you think that cause was.

    You cannot stand at the L on the Gettysburg battle field looking south across the Emmitsburg road at the far tree line and not have great respect for the bravery of the men who marched across that ground under fire and briefly took control of the Union guns, or other heroic charges on that battle field by the Confederate forces and the equally brave defenses made by the Union forces at places like Little Round top and the Devils Den. It is too bad that that honor for that valor has been tainted of late by the historically very recent association of the CFB with racial hate groups, like the KKK and modern white supremacists even though both of them had their own very distinct symbols which were not in any way similar to the CFB. This is a recently manufactured association through propaganda, and not in keeping with the historical associations of that flag prior to the last decade or so. It is a change due to political spin, media management and a campaign of indoctrination for political advantage.

  5. Chris in Calgary says:

    Suppose I were to be offended by the Planet Earth. Would those in charge of the system ban that, too?

    We can’t build a society based on offence. For one, it’s too easy to game. For example, what happens if a hate group chooses the Stars and Stripes of the Star of David for their symbol? Or consider the Raelians (not a hate group AFAIK, but pretty wacky), whose symbol consists of a Star of David enmeshed with a Swastika?

    Could we end up with a denial of service attack on all our own symbols?

    However, we also need to realize that it’s part of the human condition to be offended. In response to this weakness, I do see room for excluding symbols from public institutions, that were explicitly created to promote hatred, slavery, and inhumanity. The Nazi flag is one of those. The Confederate flag, created in order to promote an independent nation based on a slavery economy, is another. Let individuals use it if they wish — but don’t put it on a state or national flag.

  6. LB says:

    Adopt it as a gay flag.

  7. Steve C says:

    Meanwhile, in the UK, a “hate crime” is defined by the Criminal Justice Act as:
    Any incident … which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.

    Pause ‘n’ ponder that one. Any “incident”. Just some unnoticed gesture, or bad choice of word, that neither you nor the person you’re talking to had even noticed. Perceived. Doesn’t matter what you thought you meant. It’s what this any other person who might happen to hear (or overhear, or mishear you) thinks (or chooses to think) they heard. So if there’s someone with an agenda and a copper anywhere within range of your uncensored life then, without warning, you are a hate criminal.

    I’m probably a thought criminal for having noticed.

  8. Gary says:

    Symbols are a means to exercise power, as is the demand to expunge them. Get rid of one and another will take its place. It isn’t about symbols, it’s about power. Too bad the grownups (judges) decided it was more fun to side with the children and keep this game going.

  9. sabretoothed says:

    I think seriously that we should ban the word Democrat.

    The Democrat name and party was the one who flew these flags, fought with these flags, voted against the ending of slavery.

    This is clearly a DEMOCRAT flag

    The Dixiecrats also were a DEMOCRAT party.

    History is history time for the Democrats to ban their name!

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    That wonderful “light” of the Democratic party, Woodrow Wilson, segregated the US military during WW1. Small wonder, because southern blacks helped drive out Republican carpetbaggers after Reconstruction. As soon as Democrats reestablished their control in southern states they bushed blacks away from the ballot box.
    De-Sensitivity is what is needed. NOT More sensitivity! Community Organizers creating greater numbers of small special interest groups is very bad for the community as a whole. Even American Blacks are beginning to see that they are being had! More and more are beginning to speak out over this divide and conquer tactic of the Democratic party. pg

  11. John Robertson says:

    The 5 basic laws of human stupidity by Carlo Cipolla says it all.
    As with E.M’s quadrants of malice, the fools and bandits all fear and loathe free informed citizens.
    Hence history must be erased, for the follies of the progressive do-gooder are legion in history. Embedded in our folk tales and inherent in every “Old Wives Tale”.
    For the evils these hysterias cause to be unleashed, the citizens must be lulled into a fat and lazy state, ignorant of what has gone before.
    The offence agitators are same parasite, new song.
    But every piece of evidence they can remove allows them a longer period at the teat.
    Sure beats working.
    The song is as old as language, ever since the first conman convinced the gullible that he/she could divert the storm/ appease the wrath of Gods.
    What is staggeringly ironic is the Democrats attempting to project their past sins unto their political enemies, the party of the Klan is here to “help” the American Negro?
    I would think the evidence of the malice of their help should be obvious in every precinct in which they have held sustained power.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting on a couple of fronts. First off, the Klan carrying the USA flag… yet not a peep. For many people in the world, the USA flag is more heinous than the Confederate Battle Flag. Then there is the ubiquitous cross on their robes, yet the cross prevails as OK sort of; yet for some folks ‘offensive’ and with attacks to remove it from the public square… that leads to the final one.

    The burning cross.

    Historically this had nothing to do with Christianity. It was the Celtic call to battle invaders. So folks in the highlands and mountains could see a call of distress at a distance (so a runner through a valley could alert ALL without a lot of slowing down and wandering); but it needed a wide flame to be distinguished from someone just carrying a regular torch; thus the cross beam. So The Klan stole this honored symbol and turned it into a quasi-perverted form. (call to ‘distress of the nation’ with them defining the distress) and now the “Klan Symbolism” of the burning cross replaces the actual meaning / use. Sigh.

    @John Robertson:

    Didn’t know about him… Thanks!

    These are Cipolla’s five fundamental laws of stupidity:

    1) Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

    2) The probability that a certain person (will) be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

    3) A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

    4) Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

    5) A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

    Corollary: a stupid person is more dangerous than a pillager.

    What a wonderful addition to understanding….

    Though I do have to assert that there’s some value in education, though it inevitably involves heavy association with The Stupid… I’d also assert that #2 needs special emphasis that intelligence is orthogonal to stupid… a person can be highly intelligent, yet horrifically stupid, and in fact to higher the intelligence (from my observation) the more likely they are to accept incredibly stupid things as true. Thus my emphasis on ‘keeping a tidy mind’ and the aphorism that “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything”.

    But yes, I’ve often mentioned “The Incredible Power Of Stupid”, and that maps nicely to #1, #5, and the corollary…

    Interesting that further down, it shows Cipolla also did a 4 quadrants, similar to mine about malice:

    Intelligent people (top right), who contribute to society and who leverage their contributions into reciprocal benefits
    Naive people (top left), who contribute to society but are taken advantage of by it (and especially by the “bandit” [q.v.] sector of it); note, however, that extreme altruists and pacifists may willingly and consciously (rather than “naive[ly]”) accept a place in this category for moral or ethical reasons
    Bandits (bottom right), who pursue their own self-interest even when doing so poses a net detriment to societal welfare
    Stupid people (bottom left), whose efforts are counterproductive to both their and others’ interests
    Helpless/ineffectual people (center)

    Interesting point of having the “helpless” (hapless?) as a dot in the middle… So he has intelligent, naive, bandits, and stupid. Hmmm…. I’ll have to reflect on that in the context of my prior sorting….


    Even a cursory examination of the history of the Democratic Party in The South ought to cause any black or hispanic person to question the sanity of any of their ethnicity joining the Democratic Party… yet they do, in droves. (OTOH, the Reconstruction Era and just post that had the Republicans trying to backpedal on their full endorsement of equality… so they are not 100% pristine, but far far far less racist than the historical Democrats.).

    Oh Well. Folks have forgotten their history, so we are doomed to a ‘do over’…

  13. Gail Combs says:

    E.M. When I first moved south, I was schooled on the KKK by a black. (He was with his redneck buddy.) Seems the history revisionist have had a field day with that group too if what he told me was true.


    Lincoln was dead and the North was determined to make the South pay.

    “40 acres and a mule”
    The federal government confiscated — some 400,000 acres — formerly owned by Confederate land owners, to be redistribution to former black slaves. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865 link

    One commenter’s “mother found a copy of a Deed that was given to Mr. James Bartley and passed on to us that shows ownership of 40 acres of land and one mule.” so some of the land was indeed given to the blacks. My land was also sections of 40 acres after the Civil War.
    This is the order by Sherman

    At that point things get murky. Saxton was originally in charge of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Johnson fired him in January 1866 and instructed Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, the head of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to return the confiscated land – ideally, the president added, in a way that was mutually agreeable to the original owners and the freed people who had claimed it. The 400,000 acres of land shrank to 223,600 acres and then to just 75,329 acres. (New York Times)

    I call this murky because of the fatalities from the war. Based on 1860 census figures, 18% of the white males aged 13 to 43 in the south died in the war. Recruitment was highly localized. It is estimated that one in three Southern households lost at least one family member. One in thirteen surviving Civil War soldiers returned home missing one or more limbs. This led to increased responsibility for women and tens of thousands of families slipped into destitution.

    That is just the soldiers. There is also Sherman’s March to the Sea and civilian casualties not to mention famine.

    Union soldier on his release from Andersonville, 1865 (WIKI)

    So exactly how much of that land was really reclaimed by White southerners?

    At this point you have freed slaves, promised that 40 ac and a mule that never materialized and you have the vultures from the north. You have women with either no adult males or injured males and that is both black and white females left with no protection. There was between 50,000 to 100,000 blacks that served in the Confederate Army as cooks, blacksmiths, and soldiers.

    According to my black southern source the KKK was formed as a vigilante group and it protected both the white AND THE BLACK women from rape, theft…. He made sure I realized that blacks were protected by the KKK. Of course the vultures from the north were not going to be happy about that and thus the KKK myths were born.

    How true that story is I do not know but painting the KKK as straight evil certainly is useful politically.

    This gives a bit of insight that makes me think the information I was given was closer to the truth. The Role of Black Soldiers in the Confederate Army

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