The following article by Charles G. Mills appeared originally at the website of FGFBooks.com and is reprinted with permission.
Christian morality requires that the victors in war show mercy to the losers. Mercy is a form of charity, the greatest of the virtues. If we do not show mercy, we should not necessarily expect it when God finally judges us, as we are told in the parable of the good servant and the wicked servant.
At the end of World War II, Joseph Stalin and Franklin Delano Roosevelt planned to take revenge on Germany and Japan, including innocent deaths, mass starvation, and the destruction of the entire industrial infrastructure of Germany. The plans for Japan were less specific but quite vengeful. Fortunately, Roosevelt died before he could implement his plans, and we got the Marshall Plan and MacArthur’s careful guidance of Japan’s transition to a modern nation.
When the North won the war against the South, President Andrew Johnson was not completely free of a desire for vengeance, but he did plan a quick return to a normal relationship between the North and the South. Vengeful Northerners, led by people like Stanton, Seward, and Grant, won majorities in the 1866 elections and would have none of his approach.
First, they divided 10 Southern states into five districts under military rule by five satraps and dissolved the elected governments in those states.
They then set up governments, often with New England generals or colonels as governors, and controlled elections and legislative proceedings by military force. They established corrupt state governments in Louisiana and South Carolina that reduced these states to poverty and enriched Northerners with temporary residences in these states. The situation was only little better in Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia. They disbanded the Texas Rangers so they could conduct their stealing in Texas without interference from an incorruptible law enforcement agency.
Eventually, the wickedness of this “reconstruction” of the South became indisputable and was ended by the political compromise of the 1876 elections in the few states where it still lingered. Friendships between North and South began to be repaired, and the country began to recognize the war as a tragedy with valor on both sides.
The United Confederate Veterans and its Northern equivalent, the Grand Army of the Republic, began to camp together on a national basis. Democratic President Wilson showed the first of many films in the White House depicting Confederate heroism, and the Republican President Coolidge returned the conquered Confederate flags to the United Confederate Veterans.
There were widespread preparations for a friendly centennial of the War in 1961-62, but a new vindictive North emerged to prevent this. The Confederate Army is long dead, but the North is now determined to extinguish its proud memory.
This vengeance often involves the Confederate Army Battle Flag. Northerners claim that this flag is used by racists. A kindergarten student could explain the difference between an authentic battle flag and the approximation of it used by racists. The display of a battle flag on a Confederate war memorial is not racism but a means to honor good soldiers killed in battle.
The target of the new hatred is not the Confederate government but its war dead. Georgia used to have a Confederate Army Battle Flag on its state flag. The North bullied it until Georgia removed the symbol from the state flag. The new Georgia flag incorporates an official flag of the Confederate government—the Stars and Bars—and nobody objects.
Most members of the Confederate Army did not own slaves. Few of them knew much about the theory of states’ rights. They did not care about tariffs. They were simply fighting a defensive war in response to an invasion. They fought heroically, and hundreds of thousands of them died.
Now we lower the Battle Flag from the South Carolina Confederate Monument, but nobody cares about South Carolina. The North believes vengeance on the memory of the state’s war dead is required because these men lost a war 150 years ago, and a favorable memory of the South’s heroes is incompatible with hysterical hatred of the South.
The wicked servant was forgiven a debt of 100 talents and promptly had the good servant imprisoned for a debt of a handful of denarii. The North stole from the South from 1867 to 1877 and has never repaired this injustice. Instead, the North now seeks to steal the memory of heroic war dead. The wicked servant came to a bad end, and the North could profit from his example.