I can only say that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it. –Robert E. Lee to Lord Acton 1866
Recently, the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, order the dismantling of several monuments that commemorated men who fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. In his remarks on May 18th 2017, Mayor Landrieu stated that “It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.”
Nothing could be more untrue. Lee and his men were fighting to preserve self-government and had fought to stop an invasion by Northern forces that wanted to remake the country in an image that would have been totally alien to the Founding Fathers. Elsewhere in Lee’s letter to Lord Acton, he clearly saw the dangers of a centralized government and that he stated that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saw that the centralization and consolidation of power would result in the subversion of state governments and despotism. Dwight Eisenhower commended Lee by stating the following:
General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America…
When one sees how the history of our nation has transpired, we see that Robert E. Lee foresaw with great clarity the decline of this nation. Our government in Washington has created vast bureaucracies which harass the common man frequently. As for our conduct aboard, Lee’s words could have been taken from yesterday’s headlines. We have made a wreck of many nations around the world and ship arms to despotisms like Saudi Arabia. We have been at war in Iraq for over a quarter century and the result has been a country in rubble and a Christian church that has been gravely damaged by ISIS forces which have been supplied with arms by these same Saudis.
With this, we must ask where are we as a country in the course of history. We have seen the economic prosperity of this nation rise to heights never before seen in history, yet in the end we are starving spiritually. Broken homes have become a frequent occurrence, our debt rises to a height where it can never be paid off and instead of visiting houses of worship, we visit other temples…sports stadiums. In his speech, Mayor Landrieu made no mention of deity except in taking the Lord’s name in vain when he said “Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think. All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity.
So everything we hold dear is created by throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot? Does culture consist of a mess of pottage? We have truly forgotten about the permanent things, about being humble and forming organic communities, about confessing our sins to God. Mayor Landrieu is a proud man who only reflects the current culture. Nothing matters except food and entertainment. We are truly a nation dying of cultural cancer.