This belief inspires some interesting (sets of) questions:
1) If the Confederate Flag honors "States' Rights", over which The Civil War was [allegedly] fought:
- Why did South Carolina specifically cite opposition to Northern states' rights to not enslave as their reason to secede (and why did other Southern states echo this sentiment)?
- Why did Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the Confederacy, specifically state that the Confederacy was based on the "great truth" that black people's subordination to and enslavement by white people is their "natural and normal condition"?
- Why did the state of South Carolina fly the Confederate Flag over its Capital Dome in support of its (asserted) right to not recognize the Civil Rights act? Why wouldn't flying the Confederate flag in support of racist segregation be dishonoring the Confederate Flag?
2) If the Confederate Flag honors Confederate soldiers' memories:
- Why did the Confederacy use pipe dreams (of adventure and upward mobility) to cajole men into fighting for them? Why does flying the battle flag of an organization that duped people into fighting for it really honor those people's memory?
- Why did the Confederacy (and its propagandists) use fear mongering tactics (such as warning that Yankees would impose a tyranny on the south, reduce their Mothers, Daughters, and Wives to household serfdom, and forcibly marry their sweethearts to black men) to frighten Confederate men into fighting for them? Why does flying the battle flag of an organization that scared people into fighting for it really honor those people's memory?
- Why is Civil-War-Era abolitionist Frances Harper, author of the critically-acclaimed novel Iola Leroy wrong in stating the below? (She, of course, may be biased, but is she wrong?)
“These ignorant white men have been awfully deceived. They have had presented to their imaginations utterly false ideas of the results of Secession and have been taught that success would bring them advantages which they never enjoyed in the Union.…I believe the rank and file of their army are largely composed of a mass or ignorance, led, manipulated, and moulded (sic) by educated and ambitious wickedness.” (107-108)
- Why has it mainly been used by the The Ku Klux Klan (the most prominent domestic terrorist organization in American History) and other, like-minded, similarly-oppressive civil rights opponents and cult-like hate groups?
- Why, as aforementioned, were Southern states' concept of freedom evidently dependent on the "freedom" to maintain the fascist social order of slavery, which dehumanizingly kidnapping, imprisoning, breeding, selling, neglecting, brainwashing, abusing, raping, torturing, and murdering millions of people over a period of more than 200 years (and all for the purposes of economic self-interest)?
- Why should we believe the argument that the Confederacy was about Southern states' freedom from tariffs when tariffs were not an issue at the time the Southern states seceded?
- Why have strong supporters of the Confederate Flag like Ted Nugent have become embarrassments because of their racism?
- Why should we believe the narrative (promoted by Southern states like Georgia and works of fiction like Gone With the Wind) that the Civil War was fought to preserve a peaceful, pastoral, Christian, and not-evil way of living in the south, given that the antebellum South was a hotbed of racist dehumanization and tyranny?
- Why should we believe assertions that Confederate Generals like Robert E. Lee opposed slavery when he actively resisted legal requirements to emancipate slaves whom he and his wife inherited from his father-in-law (even going to far as to futilely petition the court to extend their enslavement)? Why should we believe Confederate flag supporters' assertions that significant elements of the Confederacy didn't have a vested interest in fighting to preserve slavery when historical evidence contradicts them?
- Why should we have confidence that those who promote this freedom-loving, confederate-honoring, "states' rights" narrative of the Confederate flag are right when evidence suggests that they are disproportionately likely to have comparatively limited levels of education?
- Why should we believe Confederate Flag supporters when they are a fringe (and increasingly-fringe) segment of the population?
Yes, the idea that the Confederate Flag symbolizes good-natured, rural non-racists' fight for freedom in the face of government corruption and tyranny works well as a plot device for a kids' television show like The Dukes of Hazzard, but why should adults take this narrative seriously?