The ‘descendants’ speak

I see that Ann Coulter has written a piece about the Jefferson descendant who was quoted in the New York Times as saying his ancestor’s memorial should be removed.

Lest anybody think this is a ”me-too” article, written to compete with Ann Coulter’s piece, I had already planned to write this because I was so exasperated with the Times interview with Mr. Truscott. I remembered a previous such interview with some other self-identified descendant of a Southron hero; it may even have been a descendant of General Lee, who likewise spoke against his illustrious ancestor.

First, before that previous article attempting to tarnish the memory of a good (and great) man, I never considered the possibility of a reputable newspaper trolling for someone willing to condemn his ancestor’s character. In times past this would have been considered low and shameful.

Having ancestors who were people of character and accomplishment is in a way a great burden to carry; hoping to match their levels of success and renown can be daunting and discouraging. Do some people cope with that by disparaging their ancestors’ accomplishments as Truscott or the other ‘Founding Father’ descendants have done? If so it is a poor way to react.

How many descendants could Thomas Jefferson have today? Thousands? Potentially, he could, but he was left with only one child to carry on his line, so there many not be many. But I am a Jefferson descendant (my readers have no doubt heard it enough times) and I get incensed when anyone defames my progenitor. I think that’s the natural reaction.

But the Times think they scored some kind of victory by finding one man (out of potentially thousands) to help smear his ancestor’s character. One man’s opinion is hardly the definitive word on the life and accomplishments of Thomas Jefferson.

So suppose Truscott is an actual descendant; is he a direct, lineal descendant? On which side? As far as I know he is not kin to me, and if he were I would not be proud to claim that kinship, seeing that he seems to have decided to side with the slanderers of his own forefather.

I thank Ann Coulter (though she will not see this post on an obscure, low-traffic blog) for reiterating the evidence that gives to lie to the Hemings side’s allegations. All too often those slanders are given as gospel in the media (as the original CNN story about Truscott). All too often people repeat those unfounded lies. Thanks to Ann for her refutation of the lies.

Controversial quote?

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Quote via Wrath of Gnon.

I suppose that for many Americans and other Westerners, individual ‘autonomy’ or ‘freedom’ is paramount, and this, I’d say, is part of our predicament. Do we see ourselves as ‘rugged individuals’, or part of an unbroken chain, going back through the generations? Do we think of ourselves as self-created, self-determined individuals, beholden to no previous generations and no traditions?

Blogger Cambria Will Not Yield I think rightly emphasizes  pietas, and the importance of regaining that lost virtue.