Airbrushing History, Again: If Woodrow Wilson Is At Risk, Can George Washington Be Far behind?

woodrow-wilson

While Paris was bleeding, the predicted anti-white black student power play spread from its origins at Yale and the University of Missouri to 23 other campuses (so far). None of the new outbreaks of victim-mongering, black-dictated apartheid  and outrageous demands had any more justification than the Mizzou Meltdown, but they all entered the competition. Some highlights:

  • Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
  • Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
  • Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. There’s one more school that doesn’t teach basic American rights and values….
  • Occidental College is in the middle of a me-too imitation of the Mizzou stunt, with students occupying a three-story administration building all this week, demanding that a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive, in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. They are also insisting that President Jonathan Veitch resign. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way are fully supportive. Read the demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors (a racist demand: there is no mention of ability; color is enough); funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”

Freedom of speech is so passe.

  • The crazy is getting stronger: The University of Vermont-–from the lands where Bernie Sanders roams— hosted a three-day retreat for students who “self-identify as white,” called  “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.”  The goal was to give students “the opportunity” to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systemic lens”  and “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience.” This, I submit, has absolutely nothing to do with education, and everything to do with self-obsession and narcissism.

Ah, but my favorite is Princeton, which finding itself third among its fellow Ivies (as usual), this time in concocting an embarrassing and offensive student protest, decided to go for broke.This week, members of the Black Justice League walked out of class and occupied the building that houses the Princeton administration’s offices. They demanded that the school reject “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson,” formerly president of Princeton before becoming a President of the United States and Democratic Party icon, by removing his name from anything bearing it. They also demanded “cultural competency training” for Princeton professors and assistants (that is, forced re-education and ideological brainwashing, academia style) teaching at Princeton, courses on the “history of marginalized people,” that is, approved leftist narratives, and  the setting aside of public spaceto be  restricted to the use and enjoyment of black students only, which is properly called self-segregation and racist exclusion.

After initial resistance, University President Christopher Eisgruber, a weenie, agreed to somewhat modified versions of the demands, thus surrendering any integrity or legitimacy Princeton might have as an objectively and responsibly run institution. Once that standard is set, there is no going back.  Eisgruber is a disgrace and a failure as a leader and an educator. His capitulation betrays his duty to students, alumni, and even the demonstrators, who are receiving a warped lesson full of false assumptions that are likely to cripple their prospects of success after graduating into a world that is less “safe” than Princeton.

Most disturbing to me, however, is for an educator to endorse Stalin-style historical airbrushing and cultural bulldozing, which pose a clear danger to our culture and values. The mob-mentality advocating erasing the legacies of important historical and cultural figures who no longer measure up to current tastes in political correctness and ideological certitudes became a raging fever after the South Carolina church shooting this year by a Confederate Flag-waving racist. Like Rhett Butler shooting the pony his young daughter was riding before her fatal accident, everyone went on an anti-Confederate symbols vendetta that soon spread from flags to generals to statesmen. I covered the progression here, here, here, and here. 

I also saw Woodrow’s peril, way back in June:

“South Carolina’s Senator John C. Calhoun was one of the three legislative giants, along with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, who dominated the nation’s policy debates in the pre-war period. In Minnesota, activists are demanding that a lake named after him be renamed.  If Calhoun is to be dishonored, why wouldn’t the same logic sweep out Clay, who crafted the compromises that allowed slavery to creep into the territories, or even slave-holding Presidents like Polk, Jackson, Monroe, Jefferson and George Washington?

Working forward, surely Woodrow Wilson can’t escape historical airbrushing off the scene. There is a prestigious Woodrow Wilson Policy Center, and his home is a public attraction, like Washington’s, Jackson’s and Jefferson’s—shutter them: “Black Lives Matter.” The Rockefeller family-restored  Colonial Williamsburg is a monument to slavery as much as anything else: turn it into a non-racist shopping center.  While we’re at it, let’s change the name of the racist Rockefeller Center, too.

Oh, come on, Jack: it’s not that bad!

Oh yeah? A CNN anchor  asked whether or not the Jefferson Memorial should come down, because, I gather “Black Lives Matter” more than the Declaration of Independence.”

I have a friend, a scholar, a lawyer, and a Democrat, who chided me on Facebook over the summer for suggesting that this could reach as far as Jefferson, and accused me of engaging in wild hyperbole. Since then, the Connecticut Democratic Party has purged the names and images of President Andrew Jackson and Jefferson from its annual dinner. Now Wilson is being expunged from the college he led, and that once honored him as its most distinguished alumnus, because a group of students, who I doubt know much more about Wilson than the undeniable fact that he was an unapologetic racist, decided to inject a different brand of racism into campus life.

For educators to allow historical and cultural censorship of this sort warrants the sounding of the loudest cultural ethics alarms. What I wrote in June is still true:

You have to honor what deserved and deserves to be honored, or history becomes merely political propaganda, useful only to support current political agendas. A nation that doesn’t honor and respect its history has no history.

And, I would add, a nation that has no history is lost.

The students are arrogant and wrong. Woodrow Wilson was a racist, and those of us who are historically literate knew it long before the Democratic spin-machine stopped its partisan historians from promoting the lie that he was among our greatest Presidents. Nonetheless, he served the nation faithfully as a President of the United States, did what he believed was in the best interests of the nation, led it through a wold war and destroyed his health and mind in the quest for a U.S. led prescription for world peace.

We cannot fail to honor our past Presidents because the passage of time proves them wrong, and because their particular wrong especially offends a group with the momentary power and opportunity to strike back at a dead leader who didn’t have the benefit of their hindsight. Every single President of the United States deserves to be honored for taking on the job—the often killing, thankless, impossible job—of leading this ambitious, cantankerous, contentious and sprawling land. Every one of them, even in failure, contributed something positive and lasting to our history and strength. Choosing one negative, even unforgivable aspect of their terms in office to justify dishonoring and forgetting them is dangerous and foolish.

Not one President lacks serious blemishes on his record; which are more serious and disqualifying for honor and respect depends only on an individual’s priorities, or an individual’s ignorance. These leaders signify the progress and the struggle, so far a victorious struggle, of a great nation.

If Princeton won’t stand firm for the memory of Woodrow Wilson, the legacy of George Washington is no longer secure.  That is not merely troubling. It is frightening.

___________________________

Sources: LA Daily News, Daily Princetonian, National Review, Legal Insurrection

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Airbrushing History, Again: If Woodrow Wilson Is At Risk, Can George Washington Be Far behind?

  1. I have no sympathy for ‘progressives’ and the weenie university president who want to erase all vestiges of Wilson on campus because he was a “racist”. It’s true that he got rid of most of the blacks working for the Federal government while he was in office and in my opinion, he was a lousy president. Still, he was President of Princeton University and this Stalinist tactic of making him a non-person is totally unacceptable.

    • I am far from Wilson’s biggest fan. Not only was the man a bigger racist than was normal for his day, not only did he set back progress toward equality decades, but he was an early proponent of soft tyranny, where the White House worked with the other branches of government when they agreed, and around them when they didn’t.

      That said, scrubbing a whole school’s name because he wasn’t perfect sets a dangerous precedent for setting impossible standards to be honored. Is Harvard’s Kennedy school next, or is that family exempt? What about the early Founding Fathers? A nation taught to hate its history will end up hating itself, and we have seen what that has given us.

      • In my opinion, Wilson was the first major propagator of the progressive movement in this country and, thus, holds much responsibility for the slow creep of statism/socialism/secularism that has now reached its high water mark with Obama. Ironically, it’s the same movement that made this moronic student groups possible. Wilson would have been surprised and the black radicals wouldn’t dare admit it.

  2. It’s interesting that black activists are beginning to force progressives to choose between what they say and what their predecessors have done. In the end we’ll see which parts of the progressive socialist movement will choose.
    I’m guessing the white useful idiots will lose and the reliable black Democrat voters/rabble who have been purchased with welfare dollars will also lose. If there is no longer a need for voters there will be no reason for socialists to cultivate them.

    • “If there is no longer a need for voters there will be no reason for socialists to cultivate them.”
      Bingo. Aside from being soldiers, the socialist countries typically got rid of any people who differed from the main party goal first – the vanguard and leaders were usually purged first to maintain power for the rulers and the armed forces.

      The more productive elements of society, while certainly punished, tended to be kept around. The “useful idiots” tended to be too undpredictable and power hungry themselves.

      Then again, as Alizia often commented on these boards, this isn’t a question of equity – it’s a struggle for power. These students don’t demand better mental counseling or lower tuition, they argue that they should be in control of universities. Part of me thinks this is a power play by some disgruntled admins and faculty wanting to stage a coup.

    • Marat, Danton, and ultimately Robespierre all outlived their usefulness to the cause. If Stalin hadn’t died (some say he was deliberately allowed to get just beyond recovery) his next purge was going to target his senior subordinates. Revolutionary movements can quickly chew up and spit out their own.

  3. This is an appealingly bad version of groupthink that I believe leaders 30+ years ago would be appalled. Didn’t these college staff and presidents experience them too? The mob hysteria has scented the administrators’ fear and are circling in the water. This is NOT teaching them physics, business admin, or organic chemistry and very much devaluing the sheepskin they don’t value now that they owe the tuition but aren’t taking the classes.

    Wasn’t Wilson elected as part of a progressive platform? They would not be where they are without policies and actions started in his watch. Come to think of it, much of the President’s playbook comes from Mr. Wilson, not Mr. Kennedy. (who was a bit better at inspiring and playing well with others than Mr. Wilson)

    • I read a comment (perhaps on Ethics Alarms) that a lot of these students probably don’t want to do the work to get A’s so have to manufacture programs and classes for easy degrees.

      The revolution of the C and D students!

      And yeah, the airbrushing of Wilson – likely intentional. He was very much a Progressive of the time (soft socialism, rule by elite, planned parenthood, etc.). Racism was part of that belief system. I still think it is (Progressives are racist, I believe), they’re just more euphemistic about it now.

  4. “This week, members of the Black Justice League walked out of class and banded together to FIGHT CRIME.”

    Sorry. I loved that name.

    But you know. The more I think on it, the more this is SO appropriate. I’m wrestling equal parts horror and schadenfreude. The history of the Democratic Party has always been racist. It was the primary party of slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, the 3/5ths compromise and everything else that historically disenfranchised.

    And then came LBJ who is attributed with saying “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.

    And boy was he right… At more than 95% party loyalty, an African American who left the Democratic vote plantation is ever more scarce, and ever more reviled.

    But after a while, giving them those crumbs was apparently too much, because the Democrats exchanged the crumbs with victimhood, fear, and hate. No longer did their safe votes have to be bribed, they could simply be reminded that under the Republicans, things would be worse, that they were victims. Victims of the old white party of Republicans, never once thinking to look in the mirror, Victims of history, never thinking to who it was that made that history, and Victims of systems of oppression, never thinking to their places in both past and current systems.

    Well, now those same black people, described as “Uppity” before are back at it again, they’re tearing down those systems, that history, those old white people, and is it really a surprise to anyone which party is taking the brunt of their ire? Which institutions are being disrupted?

    • http://www.black-and-right.com/the-democrat-race-lie/

      -1865: 13th amendment banning slavery passed by Republican president Abraham Lincoln with unanimous Republican support and most Democrats opposed.
      -1866: 14th amendment giving due process and equal protection to all races passes with 100% of Democrats voting no in House and Senate.
      -1870: 15th amendment giving all the right to vote regardless of race passes house with 98% Republican support and 97% Democrat opposition.
      -1875: Civil Rights Act of 1875 passed by Republican president U.S. Grant with 92% Republican support and 100% Democrat opposition.
      -1919: Republican House passes amendment giving women the right to vote, 85% of Republicans vote yes to 54% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans in Senate vote yes but nearly half of Democrats vote no.
      -1924: Republican president Calvin Coolidge signs law passed by Republican Congress giving Native Americans the right to vote.
      -1957: Republican president Dwight Eisenhower signs the Republican Party’s 1957 civil rights act.
      -1964: Civil Rights Act ending segregation and voter restrictions is passed with 80% of Republicans in the House and 82% in the Senate voting yes, but only 63% of Democrats voting yes in the House and 69% in the Senate. After passing the Civil Rights Act, Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson brags “I’ll have those n****** voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
      -1965: Voting Rights Act passed to remove racial voter discriminations against blacks and hispanics with 82% of Republicans voting yes to 78% of Democrats in the House, and 94% of Republicans in the Senate to 73% of Democrats in the Senate.
      -1973: Only 2 of the 112 racist Democrats who opposed the civil rights act of 1964 actually switched to the Republican Party, John Jarman and Strom Thurmond. All the racist Democrats who’d opposed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s were the same ones who in the 1970s supported Roe v. Wade. They went straight from supporting lynching to supporting abortion.

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