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 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2012 01:38 pm
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Savez
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"The Treasury of Virtue, which is the psychological heritage left to the North by the Civil War, may not be as comic or vicious as the Great Alibi, but it is equally unlovely.  It may even be, in the end, equally corrosive of national, and personal, integrity.  If the Southerner, with his Great Alibi, feels trapped by history, the Northerner, with his Treasury of Virtue, feels redeemed by history, automatically redeemed.  He has in his pocket, not a Papal indulgence peddled by some wandering pardoner of the Middle Ages, but an indulgence, a plenary indulgence, for all sins past, present, and future, freely given by the hand of history." (59)

"By the Great Alibi the Southerner makes his Big Medicine. He turns defeat into victory, defects into virtues. Even more pathetically, he turns his great virtues into absurdities--sometimes vicious absurdities."

"The Great Alibi and the Treasury of Virtue both serve deep needs of poor human nature; and if, without historical realism and self-criticism, we look back on the War, we are merely compounding the old inherited delusions which our weakness craves.  We fear, in other words, to lose the comforting automotism of the Great Alibi or the Treasury of Virtue, for if we lost them we may, at last, find ourselves nakedly alone with the problem of our time and with ourselves.  Where would we find our next alibi and our next assurance of virtue?" (76)

Notice "historical realism" not "revisionism"


From Robert Penn Warren's book "The Legacy of the Civil War"

Last edited on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 01:55 pm by

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