Nick Gier, one of our Intolerista honchos, had a letter in our local paper tonight. This is a letter which I would like to gloss for you as a public service. His letter is in bold, my comments are interspersed.
I was shocked to learn that the Daily News has given Ed Iverson, someone closely associated with Douglas Wilson, a biweekly column.
Ed Iverson is the librarian at New St. Andrews College. He used to write for his local paper in Nevada before he moved here, and is now writing for the Daily News. He is a great guy to be around, and looks like a cross between Santa Claus and Burl Ives. And yet, he has a unique gift — though he writes in a mild and commensensical conservative way, his special gift is that his musings have the ability to whip our local liberals into a froth. Of course, I don’t want to overstate this because in recent years, this result has not appeared to take much. Nevertheless, never has so sunny a personality caused so much cognitive distress to those who want to shut people up so they can get back to enjoying their freedoms.
And note the McCarthyism. People who are “closely associated” with other people (viz. me) ought not to be allowed to write for newspapers out in public and, when they are, Dr. Gier is “shocked.” Freedom of speech? For others?
I was hoping Iverson and I could have some personal exchanges about a number of issues, but he answered that this would not be possible because I’ve called his colleagues a very bad name. It is so bad that this paper’s editors will not allow it to be printed.
The name Gier is referring to is neo-Nazi, and it appears that the Daily News had the good sense to rein Gier in. But I am quite sure that the paper is willing to use that word when written or used by responsible people. But Gier would not be on that list.
Iverson is referring to a column of mine that appeared in the Idaho Statesman (Aug 12) in which the very bad name was used.
The legal name for “very bad name” is defamatory.
Most of this column was first posted on Moscow’s Vision 2020 (Jan. 13, 2004), and I’m really puzzled there were no objections to the word at that time. It must have been the misleading headline that the Statesman ran.
No, he is not really puzzled. First, Venom 2020 is an unmoderated listserve where Moscow residents have come to expect that kind of thing. It was not as big a deal as when the Statesman went with it. Second, it was corrected at the time. Third, when Gier has tried this argument out in recent weeks, it has been publicly pointed out that the column was answered at the time. The reply to this claim was answered by Ben Merkle on the Right Mind blog, which is linked off to the left.
And no, it was not the misleading headline alone. The headline writer for the Statesman had one thing to go on, and it was Nick Gier’s column.
In December 2003, when 1,200 Palousians signed a petition condemning Wilson’s views on slavery, homosexuality and women, I’m sure they were concerned that northern Idaho’s reputation would again be tarnished by extremist views. In my column I drew a parallel, not an identity, between neo-Confederates and those with this very bad name.
Rather, when 1,200 signed a petition against what was represented to them by liars as my views on slavery, homosexuality and women . . . But you can’t really guard your town against associations with extremist views by taking up extremist views. And trying to run somebody out of town for being a conservative Presbyterian hardly qualifies as the voice of moderation. “Not in Our Town,” eh? Our local liberals don’t like it because we make their intolerant hypocrises seem so . . . tawdry.
Since the beginning of the Wilson controversy, no one in Moscow has called Wilson this very bad name. I’ve also accepted Wilson’s own disavowal of racism, but he cannot say that he is not a ‘neo-Confederate’ for the following reasons:
That’s because they were very busy calling me every other bad name in the book, concerning which, incidentally, we have compiled a list. So if I were Nick at this point, I would be a little chary about saying what has and has not been done. For the last three years, I have been living in (as one Puritan described it) the high mountain air of public calumny.
Robert E. Lee’s portrait is proudly displayed in Wilson’s Logos School and the Confederate flag has been displayed at its social functions.
Nick Gier is a research professor so he should be able to footnote the very important claims here. Lee’s portrait displayed where? Proudly displayed where? What was the context? Did he want us to teach the American Civil War with certain key figures whited out? “And when umphy humphy made the fateful decision to move toward Gettysburg . . .” “Miss Schwartz? Could you speak up?” And on what basis does he say that Logos School is “Wilson’s”? What’s that about? And at which social functions of Logos School have we displayed the Confederate flag? When? Surely he should be able to tell us what he is talking about. Remember, he is trying to confirm his points here, so he should be able to list his sources. So how about it?
Wilson once wrote an editorial in his own journal supporting the right of states to leave the Union.
I don’t know what editorial he is referring to here, but this one is actually a real live possibility. This is because I am loathe for the Soviet republic of Georgia to have a right that the other Georgia doesn’t have. That, and quaint phrases like “when in the course of human events.” Some people have read enough of the surrounding context of phrases like that to discover what they mean. For just a little sample, let me quote from the Constitution of the State of Idaho, an entity for which Dr. Gier was a faithful employee for many years. This is a big deal. Dr. Gier worked for an institution that has the following inflammatory and extreme comments in its foundational documents.
“ARTICLE 1/SECTION 2. POLITICAL POWER INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary . . .”
The italics above are gleefully mine. This is the entity from which Dr. Gier received a steady flow of paychecks, and not once has he ever denounced this flagrant red statey extremism.
Wilson has spoken at neo-Confederate Southern Heritage conferences and has written four articles for the neo-confederate journal Chronicles. The last article appeared together with an ad announcing a conference in which Lincoln would be condemned and the right of secession would be defended.
How many conferences? When? Where? On what basis does he identify them as neo-Confederate conferences? And most importantly, what did I say at these conferences? Hint: it might be very similar to what I am saying here. Are the grounds for his identification as firm as his grounds for identifying other entities by this label? Speaking of which, let us move on to that “neo-confederate journal” Chronicles. That magazine is a paleo-conservative journal, and this involves a certain realism about the Civil War, to be distinguished from the prevailing hysteria. But I am beginning to think that Gier does not know what a neo-Confederate is. So look what he resorts to doing. He damns me on the basis of an ad that was placed next to my article, and says nothing about what my article argued. For those who are interested, that article concerned the need for Christians to equip themselves to stand against certain fundamental compromises that the emerging American empire is demanding of us.
Wilson is contributing editor for “The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War” (Bluebonnet Press, 2005). Historian Ed Sebesta claims that “this book seems to incorporate every ‘Lost Cause’ and modern Neo-Confederate idea.”
Actually, Nick got a second thing right here. I am a contributing editor to that book, and the publisher of the textbook will no doubt be delighted with the free publicity. But historian, Ed Sebesta? Not so sure here. How are we using historian these days, Nick? When we do our history conferences, it appears that we have to have all our papers in order lest we be despised by the trained historians around this place. Is Sebesta a trained historian? I honestly don’t know a whole lot about him, but Wikipedia says that he wants to boycott Tommy Hilfiger for incorporating confederate insignia into their clothing lines. And that would be bad, admittedly, were it actually being done. What I would give to have been at the TOMMY board meeting where that decision was made!