The Reverend Robert Wright Lee Car On The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck

Fake Lee

I missed this, a case where refusing to subscribe to my local paper, The Washington Post, bit me. (I decided that if I have to get a flagrantly left-wing biased newspaper that has chosen to be a propaganda organ for the Democratic Party, I might as well get the best flagrantly left-wing biased newspaper that has chosen to be a propaganda organ for the Democratic Party and not #2.

Glenn Kessler, the Post’s “Factchecker” who tries to be objective but is so marinated in his organization’s biases that he fails as often as not, tried to save face for his employers by revealing that a man who has repeatedly represented himself as a descendant of General Robert E. Lee (On his website, Rob Lee describes himself as “a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.”) in order to justify toppling statues of the Confederate icon is, in fact, nothing of the kind. He is as much a relative of General Lee as Elizabeth Warren is a Cherokee. Nonetheless, the Post published an opinion piece on June 7, 2020, by Rev. Robert E. Lee VI titled, “Robert E. Lee is my ancestor. Take down his statue, and let his cause be lost.” The Post editor identified the author as the fourth great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The headline, the description, and the justification for publishing the op-ed were, in order, a lie, journalism negligence, and misinformation. That was a year ago. Now Kessler decides to check the facts? Nice job, Speedy.

It’s not like Lee briefly appeared and then vanished into obscurity. He not only exploited his phony branch of the Lee family tree, others used him to justify cancelling an important and influential historical figure. The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck was in large part a chapter in the “Get Trump” plot, since the Big Lie that the President supported white supremacy was a key ingredient in the resistance’s four-year false narrative This is why 2020 was a banner year for Rev. Lee, supercharged by the George Floyd Freakout and the exploitation of that incident. For example, Rev. Lee denounced General Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards, because, after all, music videos are all about Civil War history, saying,

“My name is Robert Lee the Fourth. I am a descendent of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on everyone with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on.”

Translation: “Defeat that racist President Trump!”

A few days before the Post published Lee’s attack on his forebear, white supremacy foe and blackface auteur Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia introduced Lee during a speech in Richmond, on June 4, 2020 saying, “We’ve been talking about his great-great-grandfather” as he pandered to the George Floyd protests by announcing that a long-standing statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond would be removed.

This month, Lee joined a a lawsuit seeking removal of a Confederate statue, filed in Iredell County, N.C. with filings stating that “Plaintiff Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV (“Lee”) is a white resident of Iredell County. Lee is the fourth great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.” It’s not nice to lie in court filings. In fact, it’s illegal, and grounds for discipline. After the Post’s revelations, late as they were, Lee’s name was removed from the suit. The lawyer representing the blamed the Post in part for Lee deceiving him. Wrong. He had an ethical obligation to confirm that Lee was who and what he said he was. “The Post says so” is no longer a plausible verification, if it ever was. For the Post’s part, Shani George, vice president for communications at The Washington Post, said in a statement: “We do our best to verify a contributor’s credentials. This was clearly a more complicated case, though at the time, our research gave us no reason to doubt his lineage claims.”

That’s a lie too. As Jonathan Turley wrote in his post essay about this fake news fiasco, Lee’s claimed lineage was a “fact too good to check.” especially since it could be weaponized against Trump. The Reverend, meanwhile, is self-exposes as a jerk, writing “Why the Post is so focused on my heritage and lineage while not focusing on the issues of the statue at hand is beyond me” and “My mission and ministry has been confronting white supremacy as a sin. Regardless of whether you believe me or the article, the fact remains that either lineage participated and profited from racism and slavery. That ends with me.”

Turley points out the flaw in that defense: “Rev. Lee used his claim to elevate his voice above others and add the support of a Lee family member to the cause of removing these statues. He then expressed surprise that anyone is interested in confirming if he misled millions on this claim.The appeal of using a descendent to make such demands is obvious… The suggestion is that, if the family does not even support these statues, only racists or reactionaries would fight to preserve them.  The effort is to cut short a needed debate over how to describe what statues should be removed and what should be retained.”

Of course.

Compounding his deception was the lack of interest by so many historical airbrushing activists and partisan organizations, like the Post, in doing their due diligence and making sure Lee was the real McCoy before using him to advance their own interests.

Guess: how many “Pinocchios” did Kessler award Lee for his ongoing misrepresentation?

None! This, despite writing that “the pastor should not state he is related to Robert E. Lee, especially in legal filings — and news organizations should not echo this claim.”

13 thoughts on “The Reverend Robert Wright Lee Car On The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck

  1. Outrageous. If a reverend doesn’t understand why lying is wrong, nobody does. He should understand perfectly well why people are upset about this deliberate deception. The fact is that this shyster’s lies gave him a public platform to endorse the Left’s advocacy of statue toppling, a forum that the news media – which agrees with such advocacy – was happy to give him. “Verify? Why verify? This guy is the perfect weapon to use against the racists!” Ends justifies the means, after all.

  2. So I guess Joe Biden is the Democrat Party’s LAST white male to be a presidential candidate EVER. That’s nice to know. I guess I was ahead of my time in recognizing the racism that is rampant in that party. I’m going to pat myself on the back.

  3. I am interested in learning if anyone else see any parallels between the politics between 1820 to 1860 and 1960 to 2020 as it relates to Federal power versus state powers. We routinely speak of “Red states” and “Blue states” because each has a different assessment of the role of the Federal government. Red states prefer less government and especially at the federal level which often imposes unfunded mandates while Blue states prefer a larger role for government at all levels and especially at the federal level as it has the power to create money that can be doled out to states. I recognize that Red states don’t seem to mind getting a cut of federal largesse but that seems to come to an abrupt end when they feel their ox is being gored and Blue states like to argue that they pay more than some Red states.

    My point is that in the lead up to the bloody conflagration known by those in the north as the civil war and for those in the south, the war of northern aggression, we had a series of events and compromises designed to keep the fledgling country unified and others acts that precipitated the South’s decision to secede from the Union. I believe that these events are not too dissimilar from the events of the last 6 decades that have resulted in the most polarized populace since 1860. I know of no historian that believes that it was just geographical differences that caused people like Robert E Lee to choose to fight for his native Virginia. For Lee, it couldn’t be that he was fighting to protect the institution of slavery as he owned none; granted his relatives did so did Union General Grant. This means that both sides were fighting for something bigger than the issue of slavery.

    The issue of slavery then fomented anger between the north and south as well as pitting brother against brother and father against son. How is this any different than what is transpiring under the guise of Equity which is justified by claiming systemic racism and using Critical Race Theory, White privilege and fragility, or white supremacy to support such claims?

    Given that CRT and other anti-white programs are being instituted by the federal government what will happen if the Red states decide enough is enough and say no. The feds will sue and probably win in court under the supremacy clause but if the states still tell the Congress, the President and the SCOTUS to pound sand what can we expect to happen? Some things are just too important to acquiesce to such as bastardizing the Constitution to exact economic benefits at the expense of another race or ideology.

    If we cling to the belief that the civil war was entirely predicated on slavery you better start preparing for another one

    • Excellent points, Chris Marschner, the preservation of slavery was not the prime focus of the Southern soldier.

      “In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution is a moral & political evil in any country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.”- Robert E. Lee

      The onset of the Civil War brought about the mass exodus of much of the “cream” of the U.S. officer corps. (a West Point commandant, a former Vice President, etc., as well) Any military man would have recognized that the war would be fought IN THE SOUTH. The South seceded from the union, they had no interest in invading the North (or conquering it). The goal of the North, on the other hand, was to do exactly THAT to the South. And, a foraging army, cut off from re-supplies, would rob, steal, rape, and pillage their way through the South’s heartland. These soldiers chose to protect their homes, families, and way of life.

      “A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets has no charm for me. If the Union is dissolved and government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none.- Robert E. Lee

      The modern Right, like the South, is tolerant of Progressivism, but wants no part of it in their personal lives. Progressives, like the North, are intent on conquering, and enforcing compliance.

      • To be fair, that Lee quote is pretty infamous. Lee, like Jefferson,said one thing and did another regarding slavery, and there is no getting around the fact that he fought with and for his home state that regarded the continuation of slavery as its right.

        • I don’t want anyone to misinterpret my commentary as some sort of defense of slavery. I would say that every sane American would say that such a practice is indefensible. What I was trying to do was to compare the cultural and political events that preceded the civil war to today’s culture shift and if there are lessons that should have been learned when the half the electorate believes that the economic system in place is fundamentally wrong and should be changed to one that they believe is “right”.

          I used the Fake Lee post as a jumping off point to explore difficult choices that are made when we evaluate acts. The John Stewart Mill post and concepts such as Cardinal and Ordinal utility as well as marginal utility and marginal costs helped my crystallize some thoughts on examining Lee’s choices and what, if any, implications do those concepts play in decisions going forward as the behavioral aspects of white guilt psychology have been transitioned into the weapon of systemic racism and privilege by those seeking power and wealth without creating any actual value other than easy excuses for lack of achievement. Another way to look at this is at what point do the tactics of BLM, Mayor Lightfoot, proponents of CRT and systemic racism create negative marginal utility for their constituents and serve only to benefit to power elite?

          My question is when, or even if, should people be willing to fight against a government that it sees as fundamentally violating the rights of those who disagree with the newly developed social compact that is predicated on demands for redress of past injustices by those who probably never experienced outright discrimination from those who played no role in the institution of slavery or Jim Crow laws but are perceived to be beneficiaries of those injustices by virtue of the color of their skin.

          What happens if we are forced by private institutions and government to confess to some social crime for which there can be no defense because it is race based? What happens when the progressives and the media convince enough people to undermine the Constitution under the Marxist banner of equity and the courts have been filled with activist judges who twist the law to achieve a philosophical ideal and a fair hearing simply means you can argue until you are blue in the face but don’t expect the law to be followed. Many today believe it is their right to silence you for wrong think, take away your right to self-defense, or even vote for confiscatory taxes that only affect others while demanding universal incomes, free college, and health care . Such ideas are as indefensible as the notion of slavery but they exist today. How much of these indefensible ideas are we required to accept for the sake of preserving the union?

          At what point does the marginal cost of preserving the union of states exceed the marginal utility of doing so? If we cannot answer this question except by saying “never” then it stands to reason that Lee’s choice to join the confederacy was based on more than simply the institution of slavery unless we have direct statements by him to that effect. It is unfair to simply brand him as a sympathetic supporter of slavery. The connection to the state in which early Americans built their lives and families, the land in which their parents, grandparents and children were buried, was substantially different to people then. There was no federal government involvement in their lives except perhaps for courts and the military. What was the benefit other than common defense and uniform rules for interstate business and trade did the Federal government offer to the guy who worked his 100 acre farmstead? Very little, so why should the average southern farmer give two hoots about preserving the union. Those limited benefits had value but the value was not infinite.

          When is seceding from the union to preserve the inalienable rights of man as understood in the existing social compact not an act of insurrection but one of patriotism? It depends on whether you win or lose the war which makes it neither right nor wrong or both right and wrong.

          • Worth Noting— Prior to the Civil War we were “the United STATES” (a confederacy, if you will), it was only after the war that we (slowly) became “the UNITED STATES (one indivisible nation). Now the Marxist assault on every facet of American life threatens to rip that country apart. The Progressive’s tendency to render their areas unlivable, then simply move to “Red State” areas and implement the same failed policies, ensures that, unlike the Civil War, there will be no defined borders. Every day, with the help of a complicit media, we are watching the “purple-ing” of America.

  4. I’m Robert E Lee the 4th –
    – Robert E Lee the 4th, the 4th

    I’m the great great great grandson of Lee
    – Y’all don’t believe me? Just ask the Post!

    And’ please take my great unc’s statue down (No wait!) –
    – I mean my great grandpapa’s down (Papa’s down)!

    I am his great grandson assuredly –
    – Robert E Lee the 4th!

  5. If this guy isn’t the poster boy for the notion that the left has replaced Christianity with secular humanism as the dominant faith in the U.S., I don’t know who or what would be. He says as much in his own words.

    • I feel the need to confess I’m not a lefty. I think it’s today’s mortal sin. Perhaps even the original sin.

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