Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tragic Biography of Wade Hampton

Powerful biography by Rod Andrew of a paternalistic Southern plantation owner who actually opposed Secession, but when it came, even though not military-trained, fought as an officer for the Confederacy, winning many battles against the invading Northern armies of Lincoln.

And after the Civil War, Hampton sought to walk a paternalistic line between rabid racism and the new South of Republicanism. He eventually helped lead the racist Redeemer Movement, yet at the same time sometimes supported Negro involvement in government.

Strangely, while condemning violence, hatred, and racism, Hampton actually let (probably even supported) his followers and supporters--such as the Red Shirts--commit murder and mayhem in the name of white supremacy.

A complicated, contradictory man; more admirable than Abraham Lincoln, but seeming to aspire to a similar sort of pragmatic political cunning as the President.

The tragic biography of Wade Hampton is another example of the severe conundrum of how basically nice, generous, even kind, civilized humans when doing their duty end up aiding murderous thugs and causing countless slaughter of humans in the name of God, Country, and Civilization.

Another example of this horror is The English Civil War by Diane Purkiss

This is the unkind of history which is so necessary to know, but so despairing to read. And, despite, Purkiss’ ribald, almost at times flippant, style the tome is still a bit stodgy and confusing. But then the whole period of the 1600’s was extremely confusing and despairing with untold slaughter which made no sense, except in a senseless way.

Consider the political-infighting/war/rebellion/revolution as a carry-over, and somewhat less horrific version of the war on the Continent, the ruthless 30 Years War. At least the English one only lasted about 8 or 9 years.

But all claimed God on their side. And there were various sides--so many--all interacting, changing allegiances, politicking, doing what human leaders do worst. And the Cavaliers fought for the King and God, and the Roundheads—basically Calvinists--went about their slaughter singing Psalms and praising God. Another reason to reject the Christian religion.

It’s taken a long time, with many stops and avoidances for me to finally finish the depressing volume. It gives such glaring accounts of the insane slaughter, double-dealing, switching-sides, mutilations, persecution of suffering civilians to weird witch-burnings, and the bizarre actions of religious fanatics and visionaries.

What a brew of crazy despair.

But I did learn a lot.

But am so glad I am done.

Two powerful books every person needs to read, so as to oppose war and to seek a different future.

To allude to a famous poem by John Donne on wrong, when we think war is done, it's not done.

The current uncivil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the sporadic one in Palestine/Israel attest again to how, even now, so many dutiful well-meaning humans cause evil to flourish.

Looking for Hope,

Daniel Wilcox

No comments: