A follow-up essay, envisioned to have focused upon journalism and journalists, has been supplanted so that an update on the “statue” issue can be provided; after perusing myriad photos, constantly keep in mind that the Confederate-Monument controversy is a Democrat-vs-Democrat question.
A critical comment on this first piece must be addressed, albeit tangentially; exhaustively documented has been the claim that “Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movements have trashed icons of American History—and that associated rioting has gone global.”
Actually, this comment ironically illustrates a larger point, to wit, that suggesting I be BANNED from this platform is precisely the target-issue of these “cancellation” essays, for this is the tool of leftist progressives who wish to silence dissent; after having tackled the media, still to be addressed are the impact of this cultural revolution upon the entertainment industry and the military (in particular).
Inasmuch as this commenter is obviously a never-Trumper, it should be added that—on his birthday—The Donald got an Israeli town and his campaign raised $14M; in contrast, to celebrate Obama Day, here are Barack’s greatest hits (wars, coups, slavery, sanctions, al-Qaeda, colonialism) although omitted from this patter are both the ongoing ObamaGate scandals (new revelations implicate Obama/Biden) and the vignette addressing how Russia saved Israel from a Palestinian state based on the ’48 borders that Obama had attempted to get the U.N. to declare.
Thematic in these essays is the claim that the ideal remedy for any distasteful speech/statue is MORE of the same, even if that might entail (for example) the placement of an educational plaque nearby a statue and/or the strategic placement of another statue alongside that might counterpoint concern with the original.
This concept was behaviorally endorsed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he advised “Gone With the Wind” should be accompanied by a “warning label” instead of being banned; “Hollywood” is to be addressed subsequently, but the impact of this suggestion may reverberate to alleviate over-the-top “cancellations” in the realm of the arts (although it has been neglected when befitting Chinese mandates).
Accompanying an editorial cartoon in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (hardly a conservative outlet, as will be explored) is the lamentation that “Statues were smashed again in the Protestant Reformation of the early 1500s when some followers of Martin Luther destroyed windows, statues, and even alters with carvings of people believing that they violated the Bible’s Second Commandment against graven images”; my hometown “rag” (well past its glory days) depicted the presence of slave-owner William Penn whose statue is atop City Hall, clearly suggesting that “pulling down bad statues” carries definable limits.
This was perhaps triggered by twin observations: Philly’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution was vandalized and the Mayor announced he will remove the Columbus Statue (as was presaged in the earlier column) if it continues to “threaten public safety” (noting that the Italian community has been protecting it against the Antifa/BLM-types).
The controversy has been framed precisely by two individuals whose last names are “Williams”: Michael Paul Williams (“You tear it down because it should not have been there in the first place”) vs. (Philadelphian and contemporary of Bill Cosby”) Walter E. Williams (“Removal of Confederate-era monuments constitutes an Orwellian disregard for U.S. history”).
Overnight, in America, statues were destroyed/removed/attacked in Frankfort, Kentucky (Jefferson Davis) New Orleans, Louisiana (John McDonogh); Eugene, Oregon (pioneers); Portland, Oregon (Thomas Jefferson); Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Christopher Columbus); Albuquerque, New Mexico (Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, with demonstration triggering shooting); and Boston, Massachusetts (Abraham Lincoln Emancipation Memorial).
An off-the-wall rationalization to pull down Winston Churchill’s statue (recalling reference in the prior article to an attack c/o leftie BBC) was that, “A truer history would remember how unimportant many of his constructive acts were and how awful his destructive ones [were]”; anyone who knows ANYTHING about WW-II knows that he both predicted Hitler’s hegemony and saved Britain from invasion, although it appears (again recalling an extraordinary confession of ignorance) that the leader of an “independent Police Advisory Group” was supportive of attacking Churchill because, “I haven’t personally met him.”
While noting what has occurred in Europe, note that —the U.K. Foreign Office suggested the Clive of India statue ”may have to go”; —trash bin art mocking the English working class had been placed beside a toppled statue; —Oxford protesters demanded removal of the statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes; and —in Belgium, a statue of Julius Caesar had been vandalized.
This final event recalls a piece (again from the prior essay) that perhaps was not quoted sufficiently, for it surveyed one segment of settled history thusly:
As long as we’re tearing down monuments and statues to alleged racists, why not trash the anti-Semites while we’re at it?
That’s the attitude of some Jews to the rerun of China’s Cultural Revolution currently playing on our televisions screens in which woke protesters are seeking to erase all evidence of alleged evil racists on display in the public squares of the world. The reaction to the callous murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman has provoked a necessary debate about police brutality and racism, even though many of those who are seeking to guide that discussion are operating under some misconceptions about the facts about police killings.
The problems with the protests go beyond such distortions, or even the fact that in some cases, rioting and looting followed. What we are now faced with is a surge of revisionism, moral preening and virtue signaling about racism that is seeking to retrospectively erase or “cancel”—to use the language of social media—much in our history, art and literature that is alleged to represent its racist past.
A fair-minded observer might respond to this spasm of iconoclasm by suggesting that we not stop with statues of those who owned or traded slaves, fought for the Confederacy, sought to have American slaves returned to Africa (Abraham Lincoln) or was a defender of British imperialism (Winston Churchill), despite their heroism and essential roles in defending the right. We could then go on to include prominent anti-Semites on the list of those to be toppled from their famous perches.
If we were to do that, rampaging Jews could join the anarchists in the streets and start by decapitating most busts or statues of leaders of the Roman empire for their atrocities against the Jewish people—a task that would include dynamiting the Arch of Titus, which depicts the enslavement of Jews and the looting of the Second Temple, and renaming Hadrian’s Wall in northern England (named for the emperor who built the amazing structure that stretches across the entire island of Britain, but who also laid waste to Judea murdering countless Jews during the Bar Kochba revolt).
We could go on to knock down statues of all medieval and early modern European monarchs who discriminated against or persecuted and murdered Jews (it would be easier to list the ones who didn’t attack the Jews than the ones who did), as well as some, but not all, of the popes. The list of anti-Semitic modern statesman, in addition to thinkers and writers is equally lengthy.
This article continued (somewhat facetiously) to lambaste initiatives to decolonize bookshelves, yielding this conclusion (that, not incidentally) is congruent with the gravamen of this series of anti-Antifa/BLM pieces:
[T]he only thing for principled persons to do now is stand up against this impulse. Though so much of contemporary culture is pushing us towards compliance with cancel culture, we must summon up the courage to resist all outrage mobs, and to refuse to virtue signal or denounce those who fall afoul of the self-appointed arbiters of wokeness. We should defend Western civilization—warts and all—against those who wish to consign it to the dustbin of history. The alternative is not only a catastrophe for the West, but also for the Jews.