This week, Alana Goodman, a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon, broke a story about Senator Rand Paul's 39-year-old social-media director, Jack Hunter, who "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist" under the name "Southern Avenger." "He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln," Goodman reported. "During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag."
In a follow-up article, Goodman reported that "controversial radio-pundit-turned-Senate-aide Jack Hunter's work caught the eye of the Paul family years before he was hired as Sen. Rand Paul's (R., Ky.) social media director," and that "it remains unclear whether Rand Paul was familiar with Hunter's inflammatory radio punditry when he hired him." Interviewed by the Free Beacon, "Hunter renounced most of his comments," and his article archive at The American Conservative, which dates back to July 2008, suggests that his thinking changed prior to this controversy. I wish every neo-Confederate would read these lines in his April 1, 2013 column:
The 20-something me would consider the 30-something me a bleeding-heart liberal. Though I still hate political correctness, I no longer find it valuable to attack PC by charging off in the opposite direction, making insensitive remarks that even if right in fact were so wrong in form. I'm not the first political pundit to use excessive hyperbole. I might be one of the few to admit being embarrassed about it. This embarrassment is particularly true concerning my own region, the South, where slavery, segregation, and institutional racism left a heavy mark.
I still detest those on the left and right who exploit racial tension for their own purposes. But I detest even more the inhumanity suffered by African-Americans in our early and later history. T.S. Eliot said, "humankind cannot bear too much reality," and it is impossible for those of us living in the new millennium to comprehend that absolute horror of being treated like chattel by your fellow man, or being terrorized by your neighbors, because of the color of your skin. Books, memorials, and museums will never be able to adequately convey such tragedy, at least not in any manner remotely comparable to the pain of those who lived it.
A bit farther back in his archive at The American Conservative, however, he displays all the cluelessness of nostalgists for the Confederacy, writing, "My entire adult life I have defended the Old South and the Southern cause in America's bloodiest war. Not because I support slavery or racism, but despite it. The positive parallels between what the Confederacy was fighting for in 1861 and what the American colonists fought for in 1776 are many and obvious -- republican democracy, political and economic freedom, national independence, defense of one's homeland."