Articles

Monday, September 04, 2017

All The Statues Must Go

Back in May, a New Orleans statue of Joan of Arc was tagged with “Tear it Down” graffiti.

Why Joan of Arc? Any famous historical figure is by definition controversial. Joan is a French
national symbol, but Shakespeare depicted her as a malicious witch. The French Quarter where the statue stands is a mostly white neighborhood. France was dealing with a controversial election.

This is what happens when you open a can of historical, religious and nationalistic worms.

The war on Confederate memorials quickly escalated into attacks on Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized in Washington D.C. and in Chicago, a statue of Lincoln was burned. Abraham Lincoln fought the Confederacy. But from a black nationalist perspective, Lincoln and Lee were both racist white devils. And to the left, they both embody white supremacy.

What began with tearing down General Lee, escalated to vandalizing statues of Junipero Serra.

Serra was an 18th century Catholic priest who set up missions in what is now California. He’s hated by some American Indian activists who accuse him of racism and colonialism. There are statues of Serra all over California. And while most Americans have never heard of him, a pitched battle is underway between Catholics who venerate him as a saint and left-wing activists who call him a genocidal racist.

These leftist activists began by vandalizing Columbus statues and then Junipero Serra. But Serra was also America’s first Latino saint. To Latinos, Serra is a hero. To some American Indians, he’s a villain. And Christopher Columbus is in the same boat. The statues of Columbus spread across America were often put up by Italian-American associations. Italian-Americans marched in Columbus Day festivals. Serra pits Latinos against American Indians. Italian-Americans and American Indians face off over Columbus.

The battle over Junipero Serra is a microcosm of the gaping national and religious fault lines on which so many statues stand. Our towns and cities are full of statues celebrating some group’s version of history. The civil society we used to have allowed different groups to each celebrate the heroes of their history.

It’s not just Confederate memorials that are the controversial remnants of an old war. The Hundred Years War that Joan was part of had its own winners and losers. And if that seems like ancient history, our cities are full of memorials and statues featuring Irish, Italian and Latin American nationalist figures.

Springfield, Massachusetts has a garden dedicated to the 1916 Easter Rising. There's a statue of Irish nationalist Robert Emmet in Washington D.C.'s Triangle Park. Three miles away stands a statue of Winston Churchill near the British Embassy. There is a great deal of national history that separates both men, but they can coexist together in our civic spaces because of mutual historical tolerance.

There can be a statue of James Connolly in Chicago and of Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri.

If we have to start picking and choosing between Irish nationalists and British leaders, one set of statues would have to be torn down. And then eventually both sets. Every historical figure is controversial.

New York’s Central Park has equestrian statues of Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti and General Jose de San Martin. All the statues are controversial in their own way. It took years to get the Marti statue mounted. At one point anti-Castro Cuban exiles covertly put up a replica in its place in the middle of the night.

You don’t have to be a politician or soldier for your Central Park statue to be controversial. Dr. J Marion Sims, the father of modern gynecology, was targeted by black nationalist protesters for operating on slave women without anesthesia. Never mind that anesthesia wasn't widely used at the time. To the medical profession, Dr. Sims is a hero. To the black nationalist leftists, he’s a villain.

If the anti-statue protesters get their way, the only statue left in the park will be Alice in Wonderland.

Black nationalists in New York have been allowed to name streets and parks after racists and Nazi collaborators like W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. The other side of the bargain that allowed black nationalists to have their own heroes, no matter how racist and terrible they were, is tolerance for the other groups exercising that same privilege. The anti-statue campaign violates that bargain. And like breaking the other bargains that maintain a civil society, it begins a civil war.

It’s not just Charlottesville, Baltimore or New Orleans. It’s vandals running around California and vandalizing Columbus and Serra. It’s Lincoln being set on fire and Joan of Arc getting vandalized.

In Glendale, California, Korean and Japanese groups are battling over a memorial to the “Comfort women” who were raped by the Japanese military during WWII. It’s yet another example of how a multicultural society becomes filled with explosive battles over history that can only be resolved with mutual tolerance or centralized censorship. The left has opted for the latter. And that’s dangerous.

Trying to make things better instead often makes them worse.

After the left complained that there were too few statues of female historical figures in New York, Bryant Park got a hideous statue of a squatting Gertrude Stein. While Stein was gay, with points for the LGBT checkbox, she was also an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, double points withdrawn.

In a bid to court feminists, gay activists and the artsy crowd, a New York City park got a statue of the woman who suggested that Hitler should win the Nobel Peace Prize for driving the Jews out of Europe.

But that’s also how history works. Every major figure has their negative sides if you go looking for them.

Behind the self-righteousness with which the left vandalizes Confederate memorials is also a great deal of hypocrisy. The double standards immunize comrades on the left from accountability and judgment.

Without a certain degree of tolerance and historical distance, no statue can stand the test of time.

In Philadelphia, the shortage of General Lee statues instead made the statue of Frank Rizzo a target. The former mayor and top cop of Philly suffered a defaced mural and calls to take down his statue. Black nationalists hate Rizzo because of his determination to crack down on Black Panther violence and terror. But gay rights activists have also targeted the statue over accusations of “homophobia”.

But why stop with Frank?

There are thousands of statues of Martin Luther King Jr. across America. The civil rights legend was an ordained minister who believed that homosexuality was a psychological problem that needed to be addressed. People have lost their jobs for less than that.

No, there’s no help for it.

All the statues must come down. Including the huge memorial on the Mall. All the streets named after Martin Luther King Jr must be renamed. If we’re going to hold historical figures accountable for not holding the same civil rights positions that the left adopted 5 minutes ago, why not start with King?

Either that or we can once again learn tolerance by leaving each other alone.

The left’s version of tolerance is just an endless civil war that pits groups against each other. It stirs up division and hatred under the false façade of justice. Its only possible outcome is to force everyone to accept one version of history while prohibiting everyone from having their own versions of history.

That’s not America. That’s Communist China and the Soviet Union.

In America, Churchill can co-exist with Connolly. There’s room for Junipero Serra and Chief White Eagle in California. New York offers a place for a bust of Napoleon III and a statue of Garibaldi (both men had once lived in exile in the city). And there’s also room for General Grant and General Lee.

History is complicated. Tyranny is simple.

A free society isn’t maintained by the brute force of easy answers, but with difficult compromises.

Tyranny offers the easy answer of eliminating all the statues that displease us. History tells us that the statues should stay. If we embrace the easy answer, soon there won’t be any statues left.

Either all the statues must stay. Or all the statues must go.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forward this to CNN and next time they read Trump the riot act for his racist, sexist and homophobic comments point out to them their " heroes." That will shut me up for a second.

Stogie said...

Gary Waltrip
Excellent post I vote for leaving all the statues alone. As you point out, men and women of history must be judged in the context of their own times, and not the civil rights position adopted by the left five minutes ago!

D.D.Mao said...

Progressives are quick to seize, exploit, and legitimize political opportunities created by a changing culture or identity politics. They use emotions and non-ideological terms to advance their ideological causes. Therefore I don't believe it has as much to do with "tolerance" on the part of the left as it does with what we term seizing the "Moral Objectivity". As the left sees it, it's all in ones view point of a subject and what that subject represents or who it patronizes. We are living in a society where our youth are surrounded by a culture that is a product of arrested development and emotional manipulation. Commonly accepted opinion is a badge of membership in a tribe and those who want to be relevant will latch onto the current group think. Unfortunately today ideas and principles are frowned upon and we have slipped into the age of unenlightenment where you follow the group think or else.

I came across a clipping in my unorganized desk and unfortunately it doesn't say who wrote it for me to give proper credit to but here it is.

"Post modern intellectuals have pronounced their historical judgment on Americas past, finding it to be morally indefensible. Every great human achievement of the past whether in philosophy, religion, literature, or the humanities came to be understood as a kind of exploitation of the powerless. Rather than allowing the past to be viewed in terms of it's aspirations and accomplishments ,it has been judged by it's failures. The living part of the past is understood in terms of slavery, racism, and identity politics. Political correctness arose as the practical and necessary means of enforcing this historical judgment. No public defense of past greatness could be allowed to live in the present. Public morality and public policy would come to be understood in terms of the formerly oppressed.

The left has a highly tuned nose for injustice but no sense of guilt. They reduce all transactions to victim-oppressor equation and have lost sight of the moment when they have crossed the line from activist to tyrants. The Progressives don't have a plan to "Make America Great" they have a suicide note.

Infidel said...

Ironically, in California, there has long been a movement by the left, sugar-coated so the useful idiots don't realize what is going on, to glorify the Spaniards who were here before California became part of the USA.

PhilipR said...

Another homerun. Simple. Clear. Right. Reminds me of Ronald Reagan's simple answers to complex problems.
While I was okay with statues General Robert E. Lee, I wasn't that comfortable about statues of Guderian or Rommel dotting the German landscape.

Mr. Cohen said...

Thomas Jefferson is condemned for owning slaves by: Liberal, Leftists, Progressives, Communists and Socialists. But amazingly, Mohamed, the founder of Islam, is NEVER criticized for owning dozens of slaves!

QUOTE 1 OF 5:

“Although slavery had been outlawed in Britain and the importation of slaves was illegal in the United States, an active slave trade continued between Africa and the Arab nations.”

SOURCE: South Africa: 1880 to the Present (chapter 3, page 44) by Bruce and Becky Durost Fish, 2001 CE, Chelsea House Publishers, Philadelphia, ISBN 0-7910-5676-7.

QUOTE 2 OF 5:

“Although slavery had been outlawed in Britain and the importation of slaves was illegal in the United States, an active slave trade continued between Africa and the Arab nations.”

SOURCE: South Africa: 1880 to the Present (chapter 3, page 44) by Bruce and Becky Durost Fish, 2001 CE, Chelsea House Publishers, Philadelphia, ISBN 0-7910-5676-7.

QUOTE 3 OF 5:

“Moreover, the ability of the Arabs to pay depended on their success as slave hunters.”

SOURCE: The River War (chapter 1, page 7) by Winston Churchill, year 1899

QUOTE 4 OF 5:

“Foremost of the leaders of the revolt [in Sudan around year 1884] were the Arab slave dealers, furious at the attempted suppression of their trade.”

SOURCE: The River War (chapter 2, page 27) by Winston Churchill, year 1899 CE

QUOTE 5 OF 5:

“Slavery was a flourishing institution in Arabia in the 1920s, and for several decades thereafter. It was not formally abolished in the Kingdom until 1962. The pilgrimage was the main source. Nigerians and Sudanese would sell their children in Mecca to help pay for their journey home, and the slave trade was one traditional source of the shareefs’ wealth.”

“In Nejd every emir and sheikh had at least one black family living in his household, and their children were assigned as playmates to the children in the household of their age and sex, growing up with them and often becoming their close companions in adult life.”

“When Prince Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz visited New York [City] in [year] 1944 [CE], the management of the Waldorf Astoria [hotel] were shocked that he brought his slave Merzouk with him.”

SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa'ud (chapter 22, page 177) by Robert Lacey, published in year 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
___________________________________

Why Muslims Hate Jews:

https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/12/guest-post-why-muslims-hate-jews.html

http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/03/guest-post-famous-last-words.html

https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2017/01/guest-post-forgotten-oppression.html

careyrowland said...

I cannot think of any article I have read that was a better history lesson than this. It's excellent work, Daniel. Your most profound observation about what is happening now is this: "The civil society we used to have allowed different groups to each celebrate the heroes of their history."
Let us hope that by acknowledging our cultural compromises we can together recover the melting pot of opportunity within which our nationhood was established.

Dennis Latham said...

Vonnegut said it best. Welcome To The Monkey House. It's full of crazy people who jerk on their own genitals and throw their own crap. Each time I hear of some idiots attacking a statue that is what I think about. Allan Eckert wrote a book in the 70s called The Hab Theory, where the earth builds ice up on the poles every 7500 or so years, making the earth flip over and wiping out life on earth so that it has to start over. It's a plausible theory, and it's about time for that to happen.

DiploMad said...

I am announcing it here: in order to avoid grief to future generations, I will not approve any statue of the Diplomad being erected. You're welcome.

Clorinda said...

This is not just about statues. This is about the left's and racist non-whites' desperate attempt at erasing white western culture and the white race. You think I'm exaggerating? Please yourselves. But it won't stop it from being the truth.

The left has done a sterling job of brainwashing two or three (or four) generations into believing the white race is at the root of all evil. Our laughably-called Education System, like Orwell's Ministry of Truth, has taken to rewriting history completely to support their brainwashing program. The result is entire generations of Pavlovian dogs, that react obediently, and predictably, to the master's bell.

So if the left says that all whites are racist, the Pavlovian dogs bark "Racist!" on cue. If the left says America is greedy, unfair, imperialistic, (your insult of choice here), the Pavlovian dogs all bark in rage against America.

And now it's statues of white people. And again, the Pavlovian dogs all growl and bark at the statues.

What next, you wonder. Pick anything. As long as it involves tearing down symbols of white whatever, it will be accepted.

D.D.Mao said...

We can't be naïve enough to believe the Progressives would rename Malcolm X Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in the inner cities are we? First of all the major cities are run by the left and secondly it's a cheap way to patronize their support. Naturally these social icons moral faults won't be exposed as readily as the "oppressing" white mans. But then again with any indication of an intelligent discussion being nil and moral objectivity being the ruling principle in todays society any blemish would simply be shrugged off as justified and ignored. In 2017 America we can't even acknowledge "Altfa', the "KKK" or "Black Panthers" as extreme violent groups and friendships are being based on political affiliation.

JackIAm said...

Excellent, Daniel, as always. Only to be expected in a national “Animal Farm” of adult (by age) children, who neither learned nor were taught while they were supposed to be in defective union run schools, the design and content of which was closely made wholly revisionist dysfunctional by attentive criminal democrats, in the vast majority of instances. Especially the worst cases.

There will be no saving, until democrats are officially decertified, as a party. Nor too, until the Republicans become republicans of the actual Republic, again, true conservatives, under God, and learn why, again! Democrats have been embracing crime and criminality, since founding, they have had 190 odd years to show redemption, to renounce hatred, racism, gain intelligence, principles, Godliness, yet at their last national convention, recorded on many videos, the vote was over abundantly clear to throw out God, and embrace all that is retro.

If the statues disappear, (they will merely have removed the straw men of distraction from the rotten democrats), it will fundamentally be an endless Shakespearean drama played out again, wherein all bad, uneducated, dysfunctional people will play out “frets his hour upon the stage, ... full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”, and afterward, the same bad rot the Democrats have brought to America, with Cloward-Piven, the Frankfurt school, Alinsky, anti-Americanism, totally forsaking of such principles as ethics, integrity, virtues, and God, embracing instead, atheism, self-worship, racism, hatred, segregation, inequality-this equals democrats, completely! They will still have to their credits, many such criminal credits, Dread Scott, racism, segregation, KKK, thousands of Black and White murders, and whippings and worse, LBJ, Byrd, Fulbright, to high spot a tiny portion of their many more gross sins. Typified by fraud-socialist Sanders, crooked Hillary, criminal hussein, self-centered Bill, sneaky mass crime boss Podesta, and on down the line of assembled criminals elected and hired, along with a massive trail of bodies of suspicious nature, including the new male found in the Potomac a week or two ago, in the DNC security field involving HRC emails. Democrat Tim Kaine’s Son Is now a Terrorist Antifa Member. Like a bad neighbor that just won’t go away…..

I want to see a clean proud honest nation, again, our nation as our Founders envisioned, above all, an exceptional American nation, under God, with educated people, not people brainwashed to believe in sin, a truly educated nation, in Freedom and equality of opportunity for all, a compassionate one, under God.

Democrats for all the evil they do, must not be allowed off the hook of their continuous crooked, fraudulent, deceitful, and criminal evils, since founding. No straw men, no distractions, no trinkets, no more democrats.

Steve Lammert said...

Can Pittsburgh keep the Mr. Rogers and Clemente statues?

Stacey Gordon said...

Ahhh The Bronze Fonz. I'm sure someone could find him objectionable too. What I always thought was funny... Supposedly the show took place in Milwaukee, but everyone had NY accents. It's where the Marshall family that produced it was from and Penny Marshall brought that Bronx accent to Laverne and Shirley as well.

Infidel said...

Made me realize, statues are a good way of recording history for future generations to ponder, and the assault on statues is part of a more general assault on history, or the historical record.

Anonymous said...

So that statue was Henry Winkler, I had wondered about that.
I think Henry Winkler was a lot better actor than that role.

Brother John said...

This is as strong an argument against immigration -- to anywhere, from anywhere else -- as I've ever heard.

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