I am a child of the South. I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Catawba County, and have never lived outside the state as an adult. My sister and I joke that we never had a real vacation. Our parents were amateur historians and genealogists and were particularly interested in the Civil War and our family during it. While other kids were at Disney, we were traveling in the family station wagon to pretty much every Civil War battlefield from Pennsylvania to New Orleans, along with the accompanying historic sites, museums, court houses and cemeteries.
Let the community decide. If they decide to take them down, maybe some Confederate “patriot” will buy them and put them on their lawn.
Direct Grassroots Democracy
The MEANING that a statue has will vary from person to person. Were I to see a statue of Robert E. Lee, for example, it would remind ME of a period of our history that (a) we should be ashamed of and (b) should try to continue to rectify. If a majority of our citizens perceived a statue of Lee in that way, that would be a good reason for RETAINING the statue. BUT if even a substantial minority of blacks were reminded of the slavery of their ancestors by the statue, that would be a good reason to get rid of the statue. Thus, the reactions of different people should be weighed carefully before deciding to remove or retain a given statue.
This short piece is, by far, the best and most compelling response to Charlottesville and those who would rewrite history.
Agree. This was an article from which I learned a lot. Chilling indeed. The issue of monuments and history is pretty simple. Monuments are what we build to honor extraordinary people whose work and life contributed to the betterment of the society, history is what happens. They are not one and the same. That’s true in every country. You have a statute of Galileo because he made humanity better…but not statues of the Inquisition, albeit Inquisition is part of history. This reasoning about ‘denying history if you remove monuments’ is fundamentally flowed.
The vicious type of slavery exercised in the US was of such extraordinary savagery as a phenomenon in the western world (which had already abolished slavery for at least 1,000 years), that it deserves to be considered in a far more special way than any other historical events. The fact that these monuments have been around for so long, is telling.
As i mentioned in a previous response to one of your posts, I would think twice about this “Direct Democracy”. My favorite example is CA Prop 8. Everybody had to scramble and get a judge to revert that. Things sound a little different outside the echo chamber.
Excellent article. Very informative. To be sure, the details as to who and why some of these monuments were placed in public are seldom considered by following generations. The alarmists claiming that removal is rewriting history might not be so quick to object if the statues actually depicted a master beating a slave, but, apparently, that’s exactly what some of the states were dedicated to preserving when they were placed in public.
Mr. Huffman, thank you for your clarity.
Mr. Sub, yes, --it still happens. In wars abroad, yes.
But the evil deeds on our home turf are also not over. It still happens in mental institutions, in jails and prisons. It is a feature item in modern surveillance techniques. And the internet is spawning sensationalist and incredulous crime for wannabe fameseekers. Unlike the slavery period, many of these evils are yet to be acknowledged.
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to re-live it.” – or something to that effect. I’m not sure that’s an exact quote, and I don’t remember whom I’m trying to quote – but IMHO it strongly supports the idea that we should be more focused on preventing future crimes than wasting our energy arguing about past crimes that we cannot undo and yet must not forget.
One or two propositions don’t make direct democracy. It gives the oligarchy time to corrupt the process.
General Lee himself did not want any memorials to the Confederate cause, or any of the Civil War batlles. This is what he said after the war.
Maybe he was taking the lllooonnnggg view of the historic record. Those statues, and the inscriptions, the patriiotic testimonials, were in the public domain and he surely knew that. He was, afterall, the brilliant Rummel and potential Caesar of the The Confederate Army. The real soldiers gladly followed this clever, complex and disturbed traitor. Lee probably understood the Southern myths were better for him; than all the metal horses he was so elegantly placed upon. The weathering factors of rust and decline being what they are… And, the oncoming public neglect and nasty sullying over time being what they would surely be. Victors write the official history, for sure. Lee, in truly losing it all for his real country, the South, didn’t want any statues, etc. for good reason.
What I’m trying to say is, you want ‘Direct Democracy’, a lot of people do not share the progressive views advocated on this site. Except, of course, those that include free stuff like college, healthcare, etc
I’m not much into statues. I can pretty much take them or leave them. But if people want someone to honor with a statue, I nominate sub brigade deputy commander Vasili_Arkhipov. I think it would be so cool to have a statue of a Russian (our supposed enemy) in the middle of Washington D.C. This would be a statue of a military guy who instead of waging war, waged peace.
"neo-Confederate versions of the war where slavery was never a cause of the war "
Slavery was a primary reason for secession. The war was the result of the Republican Federal Administration deciding to preserve the Union by force of arms.
Democracy is majority rule. “Tyranny of the majority” people seem to prefer “tyranny of the minority”. Which one would we prefer, the one that benefits the most or the one that benefits the least?
In a direct democracy, if we don’t like a law we have the power to change it. In a plutocracy or hegemony, we’re stuck with it.
The Confederacy attacked first, by bombarding Fort Sumter.
Ah, why did you sign the documents joining the U.S. then? Did you expect the Northern States to just let some rich and elite Southern trash walk off with their paid for national investments? Sounds like you need to take a hard look at who pays the bills, even to this day, in The Old Confederate States. You can leave now but the U.S. taxpayer’s property stays behind. Except for those statues of KKK folks and the other traitor trash you venerate so much. By all means, grab those. Try Saudi Arabia, they’ll love your kind of ancient patriotism. And, that solves the reparations issue, as well. Just leave the keys, ok?
So. when are you out of here?
Those Who Cannot Remember the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It
“…from George Santayana’s The Life of Reason…”
I don’t really have problem with your direct democracy but remember what somebody said: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.”