Monday, May 19, 2008

A Footnote for the Historians

I am aware that a few historians from a couple universities and at least one seminary are reading this blog; I know this because they have contacted me off list with minor inputs, for which I am very thankful and extremely flattered. Obviously these scholars appreciate the value of primary documents combined with honest, objective, unbiased, and dispassionate analysis in the role of history, as well as a good sense of humor.

Gentlemen, this post’s for you. And when historians document the awful Southern Slavery scandal of 2003–2004, I hope that one of them is so kind as to footnote the exceptional research of that fully documented anonymous attack blogger — Mark T. — in their historic work.

Thank you.

INTRODUCTION
Very early during Douglas Wilson’s Southern Slavery scandal of 2003–2004, two historians from the University of Idaho — Drs. Sean M. Quinlan & William L. Ramsey — published a scathing rebuttal to Wilson’s and Wilkins’ fantastic revision of American history, which they titled Southern Slavery As It Wasn’t: Professional Historians Respond to Neo-Confederate Misinformation. I don’t know this, but I surmise that the Daily News’ front-page story on October 11, 2003, shocked and horrified Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey when they read it, just as the rest of the Palouse. And I don’t know this either, but I surmise that they instantly procured copies of Southern Slavery As It Was to confirm the accuracy of the Daily News’ story and once confirmed began corroborating on an informed review of the racist screed. They state the reason for their effort in their Introduction:

Why should two University of Idaho historians waste a moment thinking about this swill? It is not that Wilson and Wilkins are original or eloquent writers. At best, their work simply transcribes many of the racist arguments advanced by proslavery activists in the 1840s and 1850s. . . Even as amateur ideologues, their work is decidedly mediocre. Their thinking is confused and full of analytic and empirical errors. The booklet is replete with scholarly pretensions and cryptic references that ultimately lead nowhere. Their tone is self-consciously autodidactic, but like the Self-Taught Man in J.-P. Sartre’s Nausea they cannot understand what they have taught themselves. . . So, if their work is so hackneyed and flawed, why bother responding? If the authors of Southern Slavery, As It Was are not interested in responsible scholarship, why engage them on a scholarly level? First, they have attempted to cloak their agenda in the mantle of academic legitimacy, and, second, the booklet has circulated in that guise unopposed for seven years. It has clearly found an audience outside of academia that is unfamiliar with serious scholarship but still admires the scholarly mystique. As members of the community, we see its effects all around us. As teachers, we even see it in our classrooms, and we know too well that it will not serve the reputation of our state. It is imperative, therefore, that real historical scrutiny be focused on this unusual performance. (Southern Slavery As It Wasn’t: Professional Historians Respond to Neo-Confederate Misinformation)

Finally, I don’t know this but I surmise that they published their work one day too early without carefully proofreading it one last time, because the original version contained a total of three typos that gave the Fearless Leader all the handles he needed to thoroughly impeach their scholarship, at least in his mind. The typos involved the names of Francis Shaeffer, George Grant, and Peter Leithart, which they spelled Frances Shaeffer, Gary Grant, and Peter Leithard, and respectively.

THREE TYPOS
The Francis Schaeffer typo is just that — a typo — and for all I know “Frances” may be an alternative spelling in Europe. The George Grant mistake is easily understood when you notice that they placed his name immediately after Gary DeMar’s name on a list of authors that they compiled to note primary resources for theonomists: “Its followers draw their core beliefs from the writings of Frances Shaeffer, Gary DeMar, Gary Grant, David Chilton, and Rousas John Rushdoony, among others.” It’s an obvious mistake traceable to both names beginning with the letter G. We know this because footnote 32 cites Grant’s name correctly (at least in this web version). The misspelling of Leithart’s name took place in a footnote and it was an ordinary typo pure and simple. We live in a fallen world where people make mistakes, even scholars, but three typos are not the end of the world, neither do they discredit an academic work. As I said, the historians could have proofed their manuscript one more time.

In their defense, however, I note for future historians that the atmosphere in Moscow was absolute chaos at that time. The Daily News literally kept the story on its front page roughly three to five times per week for the first two months of the scandal, while the letters to the editor were daily. Normal human beings, which presumably includes Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey, were still genuinely stunned at the discovery of Wilson’s and Wilkins’ revision, and you can see this in their response. They were angry. Indeed, call it righteous indignation for a just cause. But anger can lead to haste, which can create any number of errors, such as typos, and the paper contained three typos and, as we shall see, the Fearless Leader mercilessly prosecuted these two historians to the fullest extent of the Spelling Bee law, which leads to my next point.

PLAGIARISM
While the first published critique of SSAIW contained three regrettable typos, the booklet SSAIW was chock full of plagiarized text. To be sure, it was more than good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over — it was word for word, sentence for sentence, and paragraph for paragraph. Steven “Machen” Wilkins sure knows how to squeeze the most out of his electronic-transfer errors, which doesn’t matter because Douglas Wilson co-authored, edited, and published the book Southern Slavery As It Was. He was the principal figure responsible for the book’s contents pursuant to the terms of his Canon Press contract. And the historical fact of Wilson’s and Wilkins’ plagiarism is established, including the chronological timeline of events:
  1. University of Washington historian Dr. Tracy McKenzie, who specializes in nineteenth-century American history, notified Wilson of the plagiarism “some years ago,” which was not long after Wilson published the booklet in 1996 and well before the scandal of 2003–2004:

    When Dr. [McKenzie] mentioned this problem to me on the phone some years ago, he did not give me the detailed specifics and I assumed that it must have been some kind of typo problem — and I had no idea of the magnitude of it. In his most recent letter to me, Dr. [McKenzie] said that he did not mention the plagiarism problem to me in his first letter because he did not want to seem like he was “piling on.” But I really wish he had provided me with the specifics — this is not an area where we differ at all, and the booklet in its current form would have been pulled in 1996. (“For Reasonable People”; August 5, 2004, emphasis added)

    Reasonable people of any stripe should catch the red flags here. First, an expert authority on the subject slavery in America contacted Wilson to inform him of the plagiarism, as well as other errors, and Wilson blew the man off no differently than he dismisses everyone else who tries to correct him. Second, notice how Wilson categorized “typo problems”: “I assumed that it must have been some kind of typo problem.” “Typo problems” didn’t register as a significant problem with the Fearless Leader; they were merely “some kind of typo problem,” which is a real stretch any way you cut it. How many people assume “typo problem” when a professor of American history notifies them of plagiarism in their self-published work? Third, Wilson implicitly pinned the miscommunication on Dr. McKenzie for not providing him with the specifics: “I really wish he had provided me with the specifics.” Call it a hunch, but for some reason I suspect that had Dr. McKenzie reiterated his concern about the plagiarism, the Fearless Leader would have treated him no differently than the first time he raised his concern. But I could be mistaken.


  2. After denying the possibility that SSAIW contained plagiarized text, someone actually furnished the Fearless Leader with “the specifics,” i.e. they sent side-by-side hard-copy examples of the plagiarism to Wilson so that he could see with his own eyes what he had denied for years. This happened during the week of January 19, 2004 (we don’t have the exact date), which was pert near the zenith of the Southern Slavery scandal. And when Wilson saw that the book he co-authored and edited contained boatloads of plagiarized text, he immediately and secretly pulled the book from Canon Press’ inventory:

    As some may recall, a booklet that I cowrote with Steve Wilkins entitled Southern Slavery As It Was was at the center of quite a hubbub last February. What some may not realize is that Canon Press pulled the title from their inventory around the time of that controversy. This was not because we were at all embarrassed by the thesis of the booklet, but rather because someone had informed us that there were some real problems with the citations and footnotes. We pulled the booklet immediately, revised it, and it is now awaiting republication in its new and refurbished condition. I am posting this now because some of our local Banshees have got wind of all this and have raised the cry of Plagiarism (between intermittent sobs of outrage). (“Plagiarism, Aye”; August 4, 2004, emphasis added)

  3. Wilson intended to keep his little plagiarism problem a secret and he certainly had no intention to repent publicly for his sin, but Dr. Nick Gier discovered the plagiarism during summer 2004 and began a campaign called “It’s Not About Slavery; It’s About Plagiarism” (hilarious name), which was when he began gathering signatures from academics all over the Palouse to affirm they would flunk the student who wrote that obnoxious treatise.
These facts are true. Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey published a review of SSAIW that had three typos in it and less than three months later Douglas Wilson became the second eyewitness to the crime of plagiarism in the book that he edited.

THE SIN OF TYPOS
Now let’s return to those vexing typos so that you may see the Fearless Leader’s outrage at the two historians for committing the unpardonable sin in their critique of his book:

And then Rose trumpets the mojo of local professional, credentialed historians, men who do not know how to spell the names of those whom they oppose. Kind of like Churchill going after that “wicked man, Hilter, a man who must be stopped at all costs.” Footnote: see Adulf Hilter, Myne Kumpf. (Douglas Wilson, “The end of real slavery”; Vision 20/20, November 21, 2003)

This is vintage Wilson, distorting the facts in order to make handles (even his comparison of Leithart to Hitler is too much; Eichmann maybe, but not Hitler). Notice that instead of acknowledging the obvious typos as just that — typos — he made the wild claim that Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey didn’t know the names of George Grant and Peter Leithart. He continued:

Rose also points to “judicious and thoughtful” nature of their “academic review.” Her definition of judicious and thoughtful means that apparently her copy of the diatribe does not show the spittle-flecks. But why trust the professionalism of men at one hundred and fifty years when they don’t know what is going on in their own tiny, little town, just a couple blocks away? We are not talking about the points under dispute, we are talking about the fact that it is Peter Leithart, not Leithard, George Grant, not Gary Grant, etc. If you guys really intend to make these gentlemen your champions in the great contest of whose footnotes are the buffest, then may I politely suggest that some remedial work is necessary? You have a couple of Professional Historians who not ready for prime time yet. But it is not that I am demanding this — I like their work just the way it is. “Too long we have slumbered! We must do the hard, academic, Professional work that only we few Credentialed folk can do, so that we may finally stop that nefarious Wouglas Dilson as he attempts to set up a new Zion right here under our credentialed noses!” . . . . (Douglas Wilson, “The end of real slavery”; Vision 20/20, November 21, 2003)

The Fearless Leader makes a remarkable argument here: First, he argues that three ordinary typos constituted factual errors that completely discredited the work, which is an amazing claim if you remember that when an expert historian on nineteenth-century America personally informed him about his plagiarism in SSAIW, he dismissed it as “some kind of typo problem.” In other words, he held that typos didn’t affect the integrity of his historical research.

Second, he argues from the local present (Moscow, 2003) to the distant past (Deep South, antebellum era), claiming that if someone is wrong about the here and now, you cannot trust their knowledge of the there and then. But I wonder if this works backwards; for example, since Wilson is wrong about the there and then does this mean we cannot trust his perception of the here and now? Regardless, if we apply Wilson’s rule to his own work, then we must conclude him utterly incompetent in the matter of Southern history. I say this because he didn’t even get the name of his book correct on its copyright page. Notice that he referred to it as Slavery in the South, As It Was. Why trust the accuracy of a man at one hundred and fifty years when he doesn’t even know the title of his own tiny little book that he co-wrote and edited?

Third, he assumes that Vision 20/20 (or perhaps the whole community) adopted Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey as their official spokesmen and champions, and that their word was to the community what Wilson’s word was to the Kult — inerrant — which wasn’t the case at all because unlike Wilson who refused to heed any criticism of his dreadful book, Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey clearly acknowledged Wilson’s criticism of their book review and published a revised edition that contained no typos!

On the same day as his Vision 20/20 post, Wilson published an op-ed in the Moscow–Pullman Daily News, stating:

This aspect of the fracas is ironic because one of the attacks that has been leveled at me by certain local professional historians (Sean M. Quinlan and William L. Ramsey) is that our research in the slavery booklet was inadequate. But these are gentlemen who had trouble spelling the names of their adversaries. It’s George Grant, not Gary Grant, it’s Francis Schaeffer, not Frances, and Peter Leithart, not Peter Leihard.[1] People who cannot spell our names right should not be trusted with historical sources and refereed journals. . . . I think our operating assumption ought to be that we should not accept the historical credentials of anyone who cannot do enough research to find out that the history conference in February is not about slavery. . . . I am happy to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to a public discussion/debate on this issue with Quinlan and/or Ramsey. Let’s set a date at our earliest mutual convenience. (Douglas Wilson, “The conference was never about slavery”: op-ed, Moscow–Pullman Daily News, November, 21, 2003)

Obviously, this is a variation of his argument in the Vision 20/20 post, though he elevates hostilities by describing himself as an “adversary” of Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey. This is another example of the Fearless Leader’s inability to conduct normal community relations. As one man said, “For Douglas Wilson, there are only two types of people in the world — subjects and enemies.” The man has no moral ability to interact civilly with anyone who criticizes him. They become instant “enemies” — and the greater the criticism, the greater their status as “enemies.” Additionally, Wilson slipped a little lie into his op-ed when he wrote, “I think our operating assumption ought to be that we should not accept the historical credentials of anyone who cannot do enough research to find out that the history conference in February is not about slavery.” Of course, the two historians never made this representation.

Ten days later the Fearless Leader repeated his challenge for a debate:

In my newspaper column a week or so ago, I concluded by inviting Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey to debate. Not hearing anything back from them, I emailed them privately last week to reiterate the offer. After making that second offer I have not heard back either. . . . Here is the courageous step. I am now going to quote from their paper, and I did not get permission. On the second page, the writers say that it “is imperative, therefore, that real historical scrutiny be focused on this unusual performance.” I agree! Well, here is a golden opportunity for professional historians to focus some more real historical scrutiny on my little putt-putt scholarship. . . . (Douglas Wilson, “Proposed Debate”; Vision 20/20, December 1, 2003)

This is an example of the Fearless Leader’s dementia. Human beings of sound judgment do not want to argue that the slaves led happy lives on the plantation and that the Bible permits Christians to enslave fellow humans.

Ten days later Wilson continued his tirade, this time blaming UI administrator Raul Sanchez and Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey for creating the climate of hostility in Moscow:

When Raul [Sanchez] published the overheated rhetoric of Quinlan and Ramsey on his (university-owned) website (e.g. Grant is an “unabashed racist ideologue,”), the unstable on your side know how racist ideologues and their fellow travelers are to be treated. The problem is, the charge was false, all the way down to the ground. Someone needs to take responsibility for the climate. . . . (Douglas Wilson, “Climate”; Vision 20/20, December 10, 2003)

I am sure Wilson truly believed that when he stood firm for that vital Christian doctrine of slave holding, he bore no responsibility for polarizing the community, because in his mind it’s always everyone else’s fault — especially when it’s his fault. This may explain why nine days later the Fearless Leader sent this email to the president of the University of Idaho:

Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey make much of the fact that they are professional historians, but the demonstrable fact remains that they are extremely sloppy professional historians. I would rather have no adversaries at the University of Idaho at all, but if I must, I appreciate the fact that their scholarship is of this caliber. . . . The Quinlan/Ramsey essay is slanderous, defamatory, inaccurate, sloppy, and, to the point of your concern, unnecessary. I am therefore asking you to see to it the Quinlan/Ramsey piece is pulled from the diversity office web site, and an apology put in its place. (Douglas Wilson, private email to the president of the University of Idaho, December 19, 2003)

Please notice that Wilson makes no effort to demonstrate how “the Quinlan/Ramsey essay [was] slanderous, defamatory, inaccurate, sloppy, and, to the point of your concern, unnecessary.” He merely asserted it, ex cathedra, and expected the University of Idaho to bow before his judgment. He had lived in Doug’s Universe of Make Believe (DUMB) for so long that he really believed his demand for censorship carried weight.[2]

HATESPLOTCH
On January 22, 2003, Douglas Wilson’s son-in-law Ben Merkle, who was and still is a professor at New Saint Andrews College, announced the debut of a Kult website called hatesplotch.net, and according to this letter, it was the Kult’s official response to Drs. Quinlan’s and Ramsey’s book review of SSAIW. Here is one of the opening posts from that website (unfortunately, we do not have the whole site archived so we don’t know with certainty what the original first page said):

Wilkins and another character named George Grant. . . Wait just a second. This is worth noting. It’s pretty much obvious to us all now that George Grant took that name to throw us off, much like the way Canon Press published that book condemning racism to keep us from noticing their racism. After all, the name “Grant” makes us think of that peace loving, tolerant, lovable, huggable General Grant. Or maybe that handsome Cary Grant. Or maybe those benevolent Pell Grants. But no. Dr. Gier saw through the nominal camouflage and recognized him as none other than the neo-Confederate, white supremacist George Grant (although credit for the exposing of his twin and sidekick Gary Grant goes to Doctors Quinlan and Ramsey). Now Wilkins and Grant both have written positive things about the novel Heiland. This book appears to be about the revolutionary overthrow of a government, although none of us have read the book to preserve our own innocence. We are currently asking that anyone who has a copy of this book “volunteer” to hand it over for destruction. . . . (Ben Merkle (NSA professor and Wilson’s son-in-law), “A Favorable Review of Dr. Gier’s Upcoming Article,” www.hatesplotch.net, January 22, 2004)

Well, it’s not very clever but it’s clear that the Kult leadership went out of its way to manufacture another platform to get more mileage out of those three typos. Please notice again that the three errors were not merely “some kind of typo problem.” It was cause célèbre to thoroughly discredit the scholarship of Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey.

ATTENTION HISTORIANS
We now come to the point in time when we know that the Fearless Leader knew that SSAIW was replete with plagiarized text. As noted, he became an eyewitness to this historic fact sometime during the week of January 19, 2004. Therefore, we know with certainty that when the Fearless Leader wrote the following post for hatesplotch, he knew firsthand that SSAIW contained editorial errors that were “egregious, atrocious, embarrassing, and egregious,” otherwise known as plagiarism:

A recent critique published of Southern Slavery As It Was was what other scholars call “way scholarly.” This can be seen at a glance by simply counting the footnotes in it — forty-one of them in a mere eleven pages! Our only problem with the piece is that when these distinguished authors spit on their hands, rolled up their sleeves, and really got into the juicy bits, they (when the fever of professional historical scholarship hit) forgot to footnote those really insightful parts. So in a random fit of public spirit, we did some checking and herewith append the following footnotes to the following section, a section desperately in need of a little more scholarly festooning.

“As we see it, Wilson and Wilkins hope to whitewash the legacy of Southern history.(1) They do this, it seems, because they fantasize about a new Southern cause — an evangelical redemption, the creation of a New Jerusalem (2). They believe that the South is historically the locus of Christian regeneration (3). The South is God’s promised land for the chosen white race (4), a race that will redeem all others through blood and fire (5).”

1. As noted by Sami Rami Dumbunni in his seminal article “Great Experiments in Telepathy,” Psychic Friends Network Peer Review (Calcutta, India: Astral Whoosh Press, 1994), pp. 201–254.
2. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great State of Illinois (Carbondale, IL: Chickaboom Press, 2002), p. 62. Lindsey argues for a New Jerusalem that descends from heaven down to the Midwest, as opposed to the South, but he nevertheless gives a fair review of all the positions.
3. Quinlan and Ramsey, writing in “What All Us Scholars Instinctively Know” in Brain Barf Journal (Wouk, IO: Cow Town University Press, 1999), p. 150.
4. Karl Barth addressed this question in excruciating detail in his monumental work. See Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (Riggins, ID: Huckleberry Press, 1988), pp. 201–222. Unfortunately, the great theologian did not come down definitively in favor of Tuscaloosa as the site of the rebuilt Temple, although this appears to be the consensus of most theologians today. See Most Theologians Review, Vol. 17, No. 3., 1998.
5. Johnny Walker Red Blood, Fire, Soil and Thunder (Toad Flats, Arkansas: Fever Pitch Publications, 1999), p. 28. The first chapter of this book is simply outstanding. Unfortunately, the quality declines shortly thereafter and Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey take no position on the alleged conspiracy between International Jewry and the alien microbes of Star System XL001. (Douglas Wilson, “Additional Footnotes for Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey,” www.hatesplotch.net, January 27, 2004)

Again, it’s not very clever but this acid attack makes one fact abundantly clear: The Fearless Leader positively resented Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey for challenging his scholarship. If you can’t see the bitterness dripping from Wilson’s fingertips, it’s probably because his gall has covered your screen. I’m sure that after he wrote this he had to call 911 so that paramedics could inject his spleen with more bile — and he wrote it knowing that another professional historian had just furnished him with undeniable proof that he committed plagiarism. I don’t know why Wilson made “footnotes” his point of ridicule here or in previous posts, because no one ever made footnotes an issue, except him. Of course, the irony is that he hung his hat on the phrase “real problems with the citations and footnotes” to describe his plagiarism. But the point you have to see is Wilson’s brazen hypocrisy. He thought that he could keep his dirty little secret to himself, which gave him that much more courage to lampoon Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey in public on a Kult-sponsored website. What a brave and honorable man.

Our next entry from hatesplotch is dated the week of the so-called “history” conference and by now it’s clear that he had his storyline in place — distort, misrepresent, and deride at all costs:

A public forum entitled “How Dare Christians Question Our Authority?” will be held Saturday, February 7, at 4pm at the University of Idaho Commons, Horizon/Aurora room.

The forum will discuss the ordination credentials needed before one should be allowed to open one’s lips concerning any secular/establishment orthodoxy. The forum is so concerned to uphold professional ordination standards that it has called upon Rev. Sean Quinlan and Rev. William Ramsey, experts in French medical history and the American Revolution respectively, to bring their expertise to bear on the Civil War.

Rev. Quinlan will give the lecture “French Nobility Knows Best,” and Rev. Ramsey will provide tips from the New York Times on how real historians can freely make-up words for any quotation. Stan Thomas, former director of the Campus Christian Center will give the talk, “Bring Your Scissors,” explaining how the Bible really is an Enlightenment document after all, with tips on how nice Christians can use incense to appease Enlightenment idols.

The forum was prompted by the imminent outbreak of slavery all over the Palouse. People will soon be hijacking other people on Main Street, and the state and federal governments have no means of quelling this threat. Only forums can help. Subsequent forums will discuss the forthcoming invasions of UFOs, Hobbits, and Canadians. (Simon, “hate splotch update #56: Forum on Silencing Christian Blasphemy Planned for UI,” www.hatesplotch.net, February 4, 2004)

Here we see “Simon,” which was a pseudonym for Wilson or one of his thugs, pound Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey. Notice the Wilsonnuendo: he implies that since they were not experts in Civil War history, they were not qualified to address SSAIW. But this is just deceit because when Dr. McKenzie tried correcting the Fearless Leader, Wilson didn’t recognize his credentials at all.

Finally, this is the last entry that we have archived from hatesplotch.net:

Mr. and Mrs. Backbone [award]
Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey

Let’s not talk about the footnotes. Let’s not talk about the quality of the scholarship. We can discuss those another time. Right now, let’s talk raw courage. The Doctors wrote an article attacking local pastor Douglas Wilson, making some fanciful speculations regarding his feelings towards minorities. But rather than actually meet with the man, call him or maybe email, they took the road of scholarly research and made stuff up. (Oops. Was that a comment on scholarship?) But on top of that, when challenged to debate their work, they remained silent as the tomb and ignored the challenge. When invited several times to speak at an NSA Disputatio, they had conflicts in their schedules, they had obligations, they were very sorry, but they couldn’t quite squeeze it in. Until they received a note from on high instructing UI characters to knock off the attacks on local Christians. This was then interpreted to mean that they were not to give a defense for their work and they gleefully reported this alibi to NSA. “I would love to, I really would, but mother made me promise.” Hats off to our men of courage. (Theodore, “ANNOUNCING Awards to Community Members,” www.hatesplotch.net, February 10, 2004; this same post awarded the “Robespierre and the Steam Donkey: Dark Secrets” award to “Dr. Quinlan BA MA PhD Super Scholarly Extra Devastating”)

Here we see Wilson or one of his goons (most likely Wilson) using the pseudonym “Theodore” to make a familiar accusation — Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey refused to meet with Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, to discuss their book review of SSAIW before they published it. Therefore, in the spirit of Christian kindness, this entry of hatesplotch.net awarded them the “Mr. and Mrs. Backbone” award. This entry is rife with falsehoods, such as accusing the historians of “making stuff up” and stating that they “received a note from on high instructing UI characters to knock off the attacks on local Christians.” These statements bear no relation to reality and in hindsight I suspect that these were the lies he fed to his loyalists to create an air of victory for the Kult over the UI.

CONCLUSION
In the end, Wilson has left us with a written record that paints the portrait of a petulant little man who has no capacity to tolerate public criticism of any note. More importantly, with this scandal (which ran for five uninterrupted months) Wilson established for us his pattern of dealing with others, regardless of their standing in or out of the Church — abuse them, demean them, pressure them, misrepresent them, lie about them, and then beat his chest — because he is a very brave man. In fact, he is the bravest hypocrite in all the world.



Thank you.


[1] At the risk of appearing pettier than the Fearless Leader, please notice his misspelling here: Drs. Quinlan & Ramsey misspelled Leithart with the word “Leithard”; whereas Wilson represented the typo as “Leihard.” If we apply Wilson’s argument to himself, then we cannot trust him.

[2] Interestingly, less than four years before Wilson sent this email, he managed to steal a letterhead from the UI vice-president’s office so that he could wage culture war against the community, and when the UI suggested possible legal action against the Kult, Doug Jones contended, “It makes them come off as very humorless.” I guess the Fearless Leader didn’t appreciate the humor of two historians describing his book as a “catalogue of incompetence.”

10 comments:

cib said...

"But rather than actually meet with the man, call him or maybe email, they took the road of scholarly research and made stuff up. (Oops. Was that a comment on scholarship?)"

This reminds me quite a lot of the on-going Federal Vision flap and the vituperations against the wicked PCA study committee & SJC.

Mark T. said...

Thanks, for noticing, CIB: It’s the same MO, different scandal. In the slavery scandal, Wilson adopted a position that could not square with history and in the FV position he adopts a position that cannot square with the WCF (though he may say all the correct things to line up with Westminster, he aligns himself with men who don’t and nevertheless claims that they do, contrary to reality). It’s still the same MO.

Wesley Sims said...

One would think, from reading the documented history of the “Southern Slavery As It Was” scandal that historians do not exist in Monroe, Louisiana. Our own college professors at the local University of Louisiana at Monroe and nearby Louisiana Tech in Ruston are noticeable by their absence in this debate. They were silent throughout the controversy. I corresponded with college professors for several years before the scandal hit. They expressed concerns over the work, “Southern Slavery As It Was.” None expressed any statements publicly regarding the work. Why? They feared losing their jobs. They did not want be viewed as attacking the Southern demigods, Jackson and Lee, and all the attendant myths of the Lost Cause of the Old South. This history is intertwined with religion in this area to the point that the two are inseparable in the minds of many. Some will defend those myths with the same fervor and intensity that they defend Christianity; to them, they are one and the same. After the scandal hit up North, academics here fell even more silent. Emails detailing the unfolding scandal were ignored. Several asked me to quit sending them emails. One stated that it was not that he was not interested. He was just afraid that his university might conclude he was somehow involved if they, through their I.T. department, became aware of his correspondence. I suggested that he get an anonymous Gmail account and only communicate from his home computer. He told me that he did not want to jeopardize his position and asked me not to send any more information regarding the scandals. He said he had to “mend fences” if he was going to stay in the area. His colleagues had become aware of our correspondence, he said, through his interaction with them at work. They had been debating the issues surrounding the booklet. They came to believe that they had best keep quiet.

Our local Gannett-owned “Monroe News-Star” newspaper never printed a single word regarding any of the scandals surrounding Wilkins and his writings. Wilkins and one of his church members at the time, Dr. Michael Hill, premiered the “Grey Book,” which was touted as a blueprint for Southern independence, right here at the Atrium on Louisville Avenue in Monroe. Several of the Gannett-owned “Monroe News-Star” reporters were given access to tapes and copies of the book, “Southern Slavery As It Was.” They were given many supporting documents. They were “researching” this for a story, one reporter said. The “News-Star” never printed a single word. Instead, they ran front page puff pieces promoting Wilkins’ school and his conferences.

One of the areas’ largest employers, State Farm, made the decision in late 2003 and early 2004 to move their regional offices from Monroe, Louisiana. They had been in Monroe, Louisiana for decades. While in Shreveport on business in November 2005, I had an opportunity to meet a State Farm executive from Bloomington, Illinois. I asked the executive, who was a black female, about the company's decision to leave Monroe. She said their employees had complained for years whenever they were transferred to Monroe. Some of the employees that transferred here with the company were minorities. Some were “Yankees.” Both black and white transferred employees had stated for years that they felt threatened here in Monroe, the executive said. The company began listening to their employees more after negative articles regarding Monroe surfaced in several national publications. We discussed Wilkins' work and several of these articles. This area’s political and academic leaders’ long silence on these issues is interpreted as tacit approval of the status quo. The City of Monroe’s administration pressed State Farm to tell them the reason they were leaving. Knowing the cause, they said, would help them improve our city and attract more business in the future. State Farm told them the reason they were leaving, but Monroe has yet to replace the jobs lost due to the closure of the State Farm offices. In fact, General Motors Guide Division closed its doors here about a year ago. Their payroll affected the area about the same as State Farm’s. The official reason State Farm gave for leaving Monroe, Louisiana was the area’s “lack of intellectual capital.” They took their offices and $60 Million annual payroll to Joplin, Missouri. Apparently, they believe there is more intellectual capital there.

When I consider State Farm’s stated cause for leaving us, my correspondence with local college professors comes to mind. I often wonder how their fence mending is going. At least one has moved away. I wonder how the local “Monroe News-Star’s” bottom line has been affected by the area’s loss of two $60 million payrolls. But that doesn’t matter. We all know it has never been about making money the old fashioned way: “earning it.” It has always been about establishing and maintaining the “harmonious” hierarchies based on “God-given distinctions” among men. It has always been about creating an unearned surplus of wealth for the shade-dwelling intellectual capitalists of Old Dixie. They thrive here in Old Monroe: the engine they created has always been fueled by intellectual poverty and theological blight.

Welcome to Wilkins’ World, the Intellectual Capital of the Old South.


“Millworker houses lined up in a row
Another southern sunday's morning glow
Beneath the steeple all the people had begun
Shaking hands with the man who grips the gospel gun

While the quiet prayer, the smell of dinner on the ground
Fills up the morning air, ain't nothing sweeter around

I can almost hear my mama pray
Oh Lord forgive us when we doubt
Another sacred sunday in the south, alright

A ragged rebel flag flies high above it all
Popping the wind like an angry cannon ball
Now the coals of history are cold and still
But they still smell the powder burning, and they probaly always will”

“Sunday in the South”

Marty Rabon

Mark T. said...

I’m reading your comment and just came across the name Dr. Michael Hill. His name rings a bell. Is he the same racist who served as president of the League of the South?

Mark T. said...

As I read your comment, the first thing that popped into my mind was that you could blame the backwards culture in Monroe on the depletion of the gene pool depletion that took place during the Civil War. The Lost Cause lost more than they know or could understand. “Lack of intellectual capital” is a little more eloquent though I don’t believe it’s any more politically correct. The funny thing is that the Wilkins of this world don’t have the wherewithal to understand exactly what it means. And if the Civil War teaches us anything, it teaches us that many of those deep-fried Southerners didn’t learn what they were taught.

Wesley Sims said...

The person referred to in this comment is the same Dr. Michael Hill who serves as President of the League of the South. He was a member of Auburn and lived in Monroe for a while.

You're absolutely correct. The Civil War's cost is being felt to this day. Many of the best and brightest were lost on both sides. Except for the war, their descendants might be with us now. We’ll never know how much we have lost. No one should want to look back and consider rehashing that conflict. We’ve tried that. We don’t need to go back. At first, I thought people really didn't understand what they were saying. They couldn't truly mean that they wanted to "secede." They talked of "Peaceful Secession" but I noticed that they rarely talked about it without mentioning the ensuing "defensive" battle that would inevitably result, "The Second War of Northern Aggression." I came to realize that they knew exactly what they were proposing. They had no misconceptions about what was involved.

Mark T. said...

Hill’s membership in AAPC explains the book’s thesis. Wilson opened SSAIW by arguing that churches had to receive slaveholders into membership because of the Scriptures. They were vindicating that racist Hill.

Anonymous said...

The comments here regarding the "foedero schism" story in Monroe, LA ought to be pulled out and made their own post. Not everyone keeps up with the comment boxes of older posts.

Mark T. said...

Anon,

I agree with you in principle but I am concerned for the lack of witnesses. Personally, I believe every word that Wesley writes and I actually put one of his comments on the front page a few months ago because it bore witness with testimony I’ve received from independent sources living in Monroe. But since I can’t vouch for such stories as the State Farm narrative, I don’t want to over-commit. To be fair, however, he has offered to send me tapes of Wilkins jokingly using the word “nigger,” as well as other kinds of documentation, though I have not followed through.

I think Wesley is a skillful writer and a thoughtful witness, and I’ve thought of encouraging him to start his own blog, but I don’t know how it would play because so many of his stories are eyewitness accounts that he may not be able to verify with other witnesses, which would make his blog tantamount to suicide. They would crucify him. So I’m kind of torn.

One last thing: I generally do not read comments on blogs unless I’m really committed to the blog (such as GB). But I have received tremendous feedback from a myriad of different people who tell me that they read diligently every comment, which really surprised me. Two attorneys contacted me offlist to say a number of things, including how they follow the comments; several former members of the Kult have contacted me to encourage me and all of them follow the comments; I have had several pastors contact me offlist and they follow the comments; and many high-profile leaders (at least in my estimation) in the Church have contacted me and they have indicated that they follow the comments. So I have concluded, right or wrong, that the comments on this blog receive good attention.

One more last thing to illustrate a point above: A former member of the Kult contacted me to say that they read one of Wesley’s comments and heard from another source a completely different version of events. I point this out to show that if he cannot establish each point (and I don’t know that this is the case), they would cream him.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point. I am very glad you are standing by that principle of full documentation, requiring it even of those you personally trust before you pass on their accounts of things. That is definitely a better route than the route I had suggested. And it is very good to hear that even the comments are closely read by many.