By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I read Tim Imholt’s post a few days ago on this blog with great interest.  I’ve done more than my fair share of “monument blogging” to the point that I’m wary of ever writing about another monument in my life, but it is a cause I think is important.

Tim makes a great point and one I appreciate; the media wants us to be freaked out about this.  They want controversy, they want protests, they want huge crowds of protesters with signs and firearms.  Drama sells.

I watched the “protests” in Dallas, too.  It made me sad to see the statue removed. I didn’t know the Robert E. Lee replica house was back there and that makes me feel a little better.

In Shreveport, I have been a little anxious as we have a “rally” coming up in a week or so.  There’s been a “call out” on social media for attendance (on both sides) at a rally around our Confederate monument.

Our case is a little different that those we are seeing nationwide.  Shreveport’s monument is on private land that just so happens to be in front of the courthouse.  The land was given to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1903 along with a $1,000 donation for the monument, and all this is recorded in the minute books of the governing body at the time, the Police Jury.  Our monument was commissioned in 1905 and dedicated in 1906.

So removing it is a bit more of a problem for opponents than in other cities.   The issue is now in the courts.

As far as the protests though, everyone saw what happened in New Orleans.  The problem there is that many locals didn’t want the monuments there removed.  Poll after poll proved that; of course a few did, but most did not.  The protests we saw on television and social media were driven by outside agitators.   One lady came from Oklahoma, dressed in Confederate garb and carrying a battle flag; as much as I admire her dedication and spirit, she was not from NOLA.  Another woman was from Florida and a man from Oklahoma.  These people brought protesters out in force because of their high-profile social media status and then comes the media.

What happens then is that perception is distorted.  In truth, on a local level, these monuments have stood with dignity and peace for over a hundred years in many cases. This sudden outrage is questionable.  The local people, as we saw in Dallas, aren’t outraged.  These monuments are part of their landscape and most people don’t even know what they are or who they represent, it’s just “a guy on a horse.”

A while back, an attorney in Shreveport appealed his convicted client’s case because the attorney said the monument interfered with the man’s right to a fair trial.  (He lost the appeal).

Shame on the media for perpetuating this nonsense. Let the locals decide what they want to do with their monuments and stop encouraging the frenzy.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Ever since the nomination of President Trump the media began to recycle those tired old clichés.  I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about.  The most often recited claims are that all those on the political right are Fascists and those same people are all bigots.   Neither of those claims is remotely true but that does not stop the media from spreading them.

A thorough analysis of the first claim will prove it to be factually and historically flawed.  At the historical root of this claim is a tiny bit of truth.  Dating back to before the French Revolution, members of the Fascist party did sit on the right side of parliaments in Europe while the Socialists sat on the left side.  This artificial model, based on seating arrangements alone, is the historical basis for this claim. There is no commonality between the political philosophies of the European Fascists and the political philosophies of the right-wing political movements that exist in the United States.  The framers of the Constitution created their own model to describe the political spectrum, one that is based entirely on fundamental truths about the nature of government.  Using this model, which has been called the founders model, you can accurately place any form of government or political philosophy on the political spectrum based on its actual characteristics.  W. Cleon Skousen discussed the founders’ model in great detail in his masterpiece “The 5000 Year Leap.”

The founders’ model measures the size and scope of government for any given philosophy.  On the absolute right of this model is no government.  What results with no government is anarchy because people are not perfect; some injure others and interfere with the fights of others.  A certain level of government is needed to prevent this from happening.  On the left is an all powerful totalitarian government where no freedom exists.

The first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, created a government that was too far to the right.  This government was too limited and anarchy resulted.  The framers of the Constitution sought to correct this by creating a government a bit more to the left.  The government created by the US Constitution was powerful enough to prevent anarchy but limited enough to prevent it from interfering with the rights of individual citizens.  The fundamental characteristics of this government were: all government power rested with the people, a small and limited government of enumerated powers, a clearly spelled out written constitution, government power distributed between many levels, a free market economy, maximum freedom, and a focus placed entirely on individual rights.    The philosophy fully embraced by the framers of the Constitution when they wrote the Constitution is Classic Liberalism, which is the opposite of Modern Liberalism.  Classic Liberalism and the Constitution are to the right of center on the founders’ modem.

Right leaning Libertarians are the closest modern equivalent to classic liberals.  Conservativism is more to the left on the founders’ model because that philosophy wants the federal government to intrude more when it comes to social issues.  This move to the left results in a government large enough to move the needle just to the right of center.  Conservatives believe in individual rights, a constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  They however try to use the federal government to ban those practices that they find morally unacceptable.

Here is how Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines Fascism.  As you can see Fascism is primarily characterized by a strong totalitarian central government, collective rather than individual rights, and a market that is not free at all.  Fascism in near the absolute left of the founders’ model.  Unlike Fascists, Conservatives believe in free speech so they do not silence those they disagree with.  Also conservatives do not focus on race.  Conservative favorites include Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Allen West, and so many other African Americans,

Socialism and Communism are both farther towards the absolute left of the founders’ model.  They feature more totalitarian government, more collectivism, and less freedom.  Modern Liberalism and Progressivism have a lot in common with Fascism, Socialism, and Communism.  Liberalism and Progressivism both feature much larger and oppressive government, less freedom, collective rights rather than individual rights, and a much less free market economy.  Also these philosophies focus extensively on race with identity politics.

Intolerance and bigotry are not the exclusive domain of the political right unfortunately the media continuously makes that claim.  Intolerance and bigotry are tragic human failings that encompass the entire political spectrum.  Because the political left believes in much larger governments intolerant and bigoted people on left can do more harm.  Hitler was a fascist therefore he was a left winger.  The Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers Party, sounds very left wing to me.

All hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and neo Nazis are labeled right wing but are they?  Democrats formed the Klan during reconstruction.  Most Klan members are Democrats.  The Southern, slave holding States were controlled by Democrats along with the Southern states during Segregation.  As I stated earlier Nazis were on the political left.  The Neo-Nazis advocate for the same National Socialism therefore they are also on the left. This article shares my assessment.

The Tea Party, which is the most right wing of all political movements based on its political philosophy, was vilified right from the start as a mob of racists and bigots.  There was never any proof of these accusations.  There were racist signs seen at Tea Party rallies but these racist signs made up roughly 3 percent of all Tea party signs, that is according to the a New York Times survey.

We must correct these incorrect statements whenever possible.