I don’t read Doug Wilson’s blog much; I have better things to do with my time than subject myself to long-winded prose whose tagline should really be “theology that chews its own leg off.” Unsurprisingly, Wilson has spent a lot of energy recently not-exactly-explaining why the Confederate flag is fine-just-fine, the foremost reason of which is abortion. Wilson pulls out this argument quite frequently; it’s so obviously a logical fallacy (thing A isn’t bad, because thing B is also bad) that I’m going to call it distractio ad abortus: failing to address the actual issue and instead launching into a diatribe about the evils of something else, tied in tangentially with raw outrage and statements like “I think this is relevant, because it makes sense in my head, so I’m not actually changing the subject at all.” The American flag symbolizes abortion in Doug Wilson’s mind; therefore it’s Ok the have the Confederate flag flying high after the mass murder of blacks in the south. Makes perfect sense.
Another reason the flag is ok: drugs. Wilson says, “If you insist on having a national conversation about these iniquitous shootings, then why don’t we start by talking about psychotropic drugs? Take all the mass shootings perpetrated in the last twenty years by young males under the age of twenty five. What percentage of the shooters were on prescribed psychotropic drugs? What drugs? How long had they been on them? And, most importantly, why do you not have immediate access to the answers to these questions? I will tell you why — it is because the industry that promotes better living through chemistry is a politically protected class, in a way that gun manufacturers and Sons of Confederate Veterans are not.”
Actually, Wilson brings up a great question here. Why aren’t the medical records of individuals accessible with a few Google clicks? I’m personally wondering what prescribed drugs Wilson himself is taking: Viagra? Lipitor? Afrezza, or some other type of prescription insulin? Given his symptoms (advancing age, a large distribution of abdominal fat, perpetual crankiness, worsening logic, obsession with male prowess and “feasting,” the insistence that the American flag symbolizes something that has existed since there have been recorded pregnancies) there’s a good chance he’s on something — or should be. HIPAA be damned; we should all know exactly how sick the people who pretend to be medical experts are.
So, Wilson, what drugs are you on? How long have you been on them? And why haven’t we seen your medical records yet? By your own logic, you’re hiding behind the class protections of “better living through chemistry” by not publishing the last 20 years of your records for all your detractors to analyze. I mean, there’s no way we’ll know for sure that you’re on, say, Zoloft, unless you prove otherwise. And clearly, if you’re on Zoloft, you’re a danger to society.
Yet a third reason the Confederate flag is cool: Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kayne West. Again, Wilson actually is onto something. But why stop there? If we can find celebrity-based reasons to keep a symbol of an institution that was so convinced it had the right to own other human beings that it decided to secede from the Union and sacrifice the lives of its sons and daughters in the process (and please, don’t tell me that the Confederacy was about state’s rights — the only state’s right that was a die-hard issue to the Confederate states was slavery), then we can surely do the same with the swastika. The symbol has appeared throughout history, on Roman tunics, in Sanskrit manuscripts; Rudyard Kipling had it on the cover and first page of his early published works, a nod to the Hindu symbol of good luck.
Or maybe not. I was in Berlin earlier this month, and was struck, not for the first time, at how openly Germany acknowledges the atrocities committed under the Third Reich. Just within Berlin, you can go to any number of sites documenting how, when, why and who was killed under the Nazi regime. This openness is not shared by former slave plantation tours in the South; there is no museum in the US, that I know of, documenting the horrors of Native American genocide at the hands of European invaders and the US Army. There is no museum — again, that I know of, and I’ve traveled this country extensively — showcasing the death letters of young Native Americans or young slaves, showing photographs of families torn apart and killed, mapping the sites where killings took place. And maybe herein lies the difference between the swastika and the Confederate flag: the United States, unlike Germany, is unwilling to fully admit when it does anything wrong to people as a class.