By Rick Moran
There’s a massive amount of commentary today on the drive to remove monuments related to the Confederacy. Statues of generals, political leaders, and prominent citizens during that period in history are coming down all over the South following the violence in Charlottesville. Monuments that remind local citizens of their ancestors who died in the Civil War are also being removed.
In truth, Charlottesville is an excuse to do what activists have wanted to do for decades: remove every last reminder that there was, at one time, an independent nation on the American continent based on the idea that humans could be bought and sold like animals. President Trump said as much yesterday:
[W]ill you tear down George Washington’s statue next? Do you like Jefferson? He was a slave owner. Will you tear down his statue, too? You are changing the history and changing the culture.
We are not going to refight the Civil War. But perhaps the movement to take down these statues can’t envision the logical outcome of its proponents’ actions. Indeed, anyone who believes we will stop at taking down statues of Confederates or reminders of the Confederacy doesn’t understand the mindset of those behind this movement.
On Monday, more than 200 SJW zealots held a protest inside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to take down the supposedly “racist” statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt. The protest’s organizers, NYC Stands with Standing Rock and Decolonize This Place, also called for Columbus Day to be renamed Indigenous People’s Day.
“A stark embodiment of the white supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted,” pontificated the group of protesters in a statement. “The statue is seen as an affront to all who pass it on entering the museum, but especially to African and Native Americans.”
In fact, there is no ending to the campaign to rid America of “racist symbols.” And that, apparently, includes Abraham Lincoln:
National Park Police (NPS) said they are working to remove graffiti from the Lincoln Memorial that was discovered before dawn on Tuesday.
“[Expletive] law” was written in red spray-paint on one of the columns.
A monument preservation crew is using a mild, gel-type paint stripper that is safe for use on historic stone, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports. The crew will evaluate after each application, but treatments will be applied as necessary until all of the graffiti is gone.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is ordering the removal of all Confederate monuments on state property. But this will not satisfy those seeking to scrub American history of all references to the racist government of the Confederacy.
The next logical step is to put pressure on cemetery owners to remove the headstones of Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. The sentiments expressed on most of those headstones glorifies the South and honors the memory of someone who gave his life for the Confederacy. If they can go after T.R.’s statue, they can devastate families by screaming for the removal of 150-year-old headstones.
What about books that take a less than critical approach to the Confederacy? There are plenty of those. Expect a bonfire in front of your local library soon.
To those who belittle these predictions, I would say only that these people will not stop until there’s no history to tell.
The basic question of why these monuments and statues are important today has been lost in the hysteria to get rid of them. Do the statues and tombstones “glorify” the Confederacy? No doubt, those who created and erected the statues might have thought so. But what about today? Don’t modern interpretations of the Civil War matter?
Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and the dozens of other Confederate personalities whose statues adorn the parks, cemeteries, and green spaces of the small towns and hamlets in the South, where most Confederate soldiers came from, do not bring to mind “white supremacy” or slavery, or states’ rights, or any of the issues that tore the United States apart. You have to deliberately ascribe those feelings and emotions to ordinary Americans in order to justify taking them down.
That they fought for and served a government whose existence was based on chattel slavery should never be forgotten. But neither should they be dismissed as atypical of Americans at the time. The uncomfortable fact about America at that time is that millions of Northerners were in basic agreement with millions of Southerners – that black people were inferior and maybe slavery was wrong, but what else were you going to do with them? Set them free? Give them “rights”? Educate them? And, God forbid, allow them to vote?
The North may have been fighting to end slavery by the end of the war, but if you’re going to take down statues of Robert E. Lee, you might as well go whole hog and take down statues of Grant, Sheridan, Sherman, and almost every other dominant military personality of that war. You would have a difficult time explaining the differences in attitude toward blacks between Northern and Southern generals. Or Northern and Southern politicians. Or Northern and Southern citizens.
Abe Lincoln has a magnificent memorial in Washington, but he seriously proposed moving all freed blacks to what is now the country of Belize. He opined that maybe some blacks were smart enough that they could even vote. Is this someone worthy of such glorification?
If you’re going to take down statues of Confederates, you may as well destroy the Washington Monument, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and monuments to almost anyone else in American history. They all harbored racist attitudes toward blacks. Many of them – even Northerners – supported slavery in one way or another.
The problem with picking and choosing who you want the people to forget is that there is no consistency to your logic.
We can and should acknowledge our racist past. But how do we get beyond that past? Do we destroy reminders of it? Then we have no history worth studying. Perhaps that’s what the monument destroyers really want.
Thomas Lifson adds:
I agree with Tucker Carlson, that the Civil War-Slavery Memory Hole is merely a pretext for a much bigger and more sinister goal. The endgame is to delegitimize the Constitutional Republic. A majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. The Constitution was drafted by James Madison, a slave-owner. If these figures are now beyond the pale (or will be soon), then logically, there is no reason to cling to the Bill of Rights or the Electoral College or any of the other instruments of an illegitimate racist regime.
That’s the game, Rick. You are correct that this won’t stop, and that it is aimed at erasing history in the manner of many totalitarian regimes. The purpose is to be rid of the Constitution’s annoying constraints on government’s power to impose tyranny by delegitimizing its architects as slaveholders.
The goal is tyranny, not the “mere” erasure of history. Mao tried it in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and Pol Pot tried it in Cambodia, at a staggering cost in human lives and actual societal and intellectual regression. The goal was the power to reshape human nature and bring about paradise on Earth. What are a few lives worth compared to that transcendent goal?