From The “I Told You So Files”: First They Came For General Lee…[UPDATED]

UPDATE: Because the first two news sources I had were in error, I originally posted that the event described occurred this week. It did not: it occurred in October of last year.

Just a few hours ago, I was explaining to a usually wise and rational commenter why her willingness to allow periodic purges of statues and memorials honoring those individuals who past members of our society determined were worthy of continuing honor. The figure in question was Robert E. Lee, not one of my personal favorites, but a generally recognized military genius and easily a man whose life and accomplishments included several justifications for permanent memorials. My favorite: Lee personally vetoed the Confederacy’s fallback plan of taking the war to a guerilla stage, extending the conflict indefinitely. It might well have worked, but Lee refused. I’ll happily grant him some perpetual statuary for that. But the self-righteously intolerant practitioners of presentism want Lee cast as a an irredeemable villain, and his statues toppled.  There are many reasons why this kind of self-imposed cultural amnesia is offensive, harmful and stupid, but in my exchange with that usually wise and rational commenter, I focused on the slippery slope, writing,

You cannot articulate what the stop is on that slippery slope that doesn’t end with blowing up Mount Rushmore.

Imagine my surprise, not to be proven right, for that occurs often, but to be proven right so quickly by a news report I just read concerning a protest  by more than 200 political correctness  maniacs inside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Their goal: take down the statue of former of Theodore Roosevelt—historian, author, scholar, orator,  political philosopher, war hero, patriot, cowboy, explorer, public servant, the father of conservationism, the creator of the National Parks system, President and one of progressivism’s founding pioneers—and, of course, one of the Mount Rushmore Four. The protest’s organizers, NYC Stands with Standing Rock and Decolonize This Place, called the statue of the former New York City police commissioner and former New York governor  a “stark embodiment of the white supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted,” adding in a statement that “The statue is seen as an affront to all who pass it on entering the museum, but especially to African and Native Americans.” The protesters carried signs that read “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” “DECOLONIZE THIS MUSEUM,” and “ABOLISH WHITE SUPREMACY.”

Of course they did.

The news report I first read was wrong in one crucial respect: it told readers that the protest was this week, when in fact it was almost a year ago. It doesn’t matter. The point is that Teddy is on the hit list too. It isn’t just Confederates and slave-holders.

These history-vandals are not benign, sensitive souls seeking only to remove unpleasant memories for those too immature and easily-triggered to view a statue of a flawed and complex man without only being able to recognize his worst moments. They are anti-American descendants of the Jacobins and Western clones of Mao’s cultural revolutionaries, dedicated to remaking the past to compliment their intended future and the ideology, myths, biases and false narratives necessary to achieve it. What they want to do to the cultural history of the United States mirrors the destruction wreaked by ISIS on religious and historical structures. They are cultural cancer, and the rational members of the progressive movement who underestimate where this fervor leads are irresponsible and naive.

These are individuals taught to dislike American values and dishonor American history. They lack the knowledge, humility and respect to appreciate the brilliant, courageous and visionary people who sacrificed so much to make the United States possible, and who gave them the tools of liberty that the vandals abuse today. Are they worse than the white nationals they battled with in Charlottesville? Certainly not worse, probably not as bad, but this is just Rationalization #22 at work. No, they aren’t the worst thing, but they are bad enough. And like their neo-Nazi foes, they are motivated by hate. In their case, it is hatred of American values, history, and culture.

First they came for Jefferson Davis, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Southerner, and he was a fool…

Then they came for the General Lee, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an admirer, and disagreed with his iconic status

Then they came for Thomas Jefferson,  Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt…

I was at the impressive FDR memorial in Washington, D.C. recently. That Roosevelt was a misogynist, a sociopath, and a ruthless, ruthless leader..but he saved the nation, and probably the world. He also locked up Japanese-American citizens for the crime of being Japanese. I found myself wondering how long it would be before the statue-topplers come for him…and what kind of country this will be when our society refuses to honor Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

185 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, U.S. Society

185 responses to “From The “I Told You So Files”: First They Came For General Lee…[UPDATED]

  1. Are these social justice warriors going to remove all the monuments at Gettysburg that commemorate the Confederate units, etc?

    What about the monuments at Chickamauga Battlefield outside Chattanooga, TN?

    What about other Civil War battlefield monuments?

    I suppose it’s finally time to exhume the bodies of Confederate Soldiers from United States Military Cemeteries and destroy their headstones; there are more worthy humans to be interned in those hallowed grounds.

    • Pennagain

      WordPriss says Chickamauga and Chattanooga are both misspelled: the former is Cheektowaga (NY) and the latter is Chandannagar (W. Bengal). Please correct.

  2. The social justice warriors are basking in the light of their newly discovered societal control mechanism. If anyone here thinks for one second that this kind of newly found societal control mechanism is going to stop with Confederate Monuments, you are sorely mistaken.

  3. Al Veerhoff

    Perhaps some enterprising journalistic organization would take a census of statues of statesmen (statespersons) and military heroes across the United States and then evaluate which and where are the most popular. I suspect (but do not know) that statuary of the Founders and the Revolutionary War heroes are less popular in the South than leaders of the Confederacy.

  4. luckyesteeyoreman

    James Madison – now, there is a REAL troublemaker! Rallied slave folk to return to Africa and start their own country, Liberia. Those recruited defectors even named their capital Monrovia, after the guy – MONSTER! How DARE we have a monument to some traitor who incentivized an Uncle Tom exodus that exported that detestable (p-TOOEY!) white Yankee corruption and hypocrisy to the African continent?!

    Let us all fart in Madison’s general direction.

  5. “Let us all fart in Madison’s general direction.”

    hey, Hey, HEY!

    I, my lovely and long-suffering wife, many friends/relatives/acquaintances/neighbors/hangers on/ne’er-do-wells/also-rans/non-starters/scamps/scalawags/rogues/rascals/rapscallions, etc., and otherwise tangentially connected sorts, happen to reside in the “77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality,” AKA Madison, WI.

    I may (or may not) be speaking for the most of us: were you to be so kind as to direct your collective…um…off-gassing in another direction, (toward Sun Prairie, Waunakee, or Middleton?), we would be forever in your debt.

    • Not to worry; I think he meant James Monroe (though they do tend to occupy the same memory box due to their similarities, including the names). I think there’s a county somewhere that’s named after him. Also a doctrine.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        Most Esteemed Gentlemen, Paul and “XF:”
        I tried to post an apology, with an explanation, for my 9:20 pm comment and my mis-directed (unintentionally) exhortation to flatulence. XF, you are correct: I meant Monroe, and wrote “Madison.” That was one of the more hilarious goofs – no, probably THE most hilarious goof I have made that I am aware of, in any public comment, anywhere, anytime. I hope Jack can find that missing comment. I most humbly beg your joint and combined clemency. But in any case, that flub of mine has given me the best laugh at myself I have ever caused in my years commenting here.

        • “I meant Monroe, and wrote ‘Madison.’ ”

          Still not in the clear, we’re within 1.5 miles (2.414 km) due west of Monroe Street and ~ 46 miles (~ 74 km) north of Monroe, WI requiring we account for the direction of a different type of wind.

          “That was one of the more hilarious goofs”

          Per Herr S. Freud, there were no mistakes.

          And my Dear 92 year-old Father says: “Paulie, a good laugh is better’n a pill!”

  6. Do your patriotic duty to further the social justice warrior movement!

    Please boycott and do NOT use the $1.00, $20.00, $50.00, & $100.00 bills, as they depict slave owners on them. Please send them to me, and I will see to it that they are disposed of properly.

    Thank you very much!!

  7. Isaac

    I think we can all at least agree that Jebediah Springfield deserves to have his statue’s head cut off. I like to focus on what we have in common.

  8. Sue Dunim

    A contemporary social comment about the wave of confederate statue erections in the late 50s.

    We could do with such good humor on all sides today.

    But.. it’s a bit difficult.

    “Calderón then asked the grand wizard how he planned to “burn out” 11 million immigrants, to which he responded, “We killed six million Jews the last time. Eleven million is nothing.”

    Despite his comments, Barker maintained that he isn’t a racist and that the KKK is a Christian organization.”

    I note that with all this talk about It Rushmore, nobody mentions the much larger monument to the Confederacy completed by the state of Georgia in the 50s and 6s, and dedicated in 1970.

    “The largest high relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving, depicts three Confederate figures of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The entire carved surface measures three-acres, larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore. The carving of the three men towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. The deepest point of the carving is at Lee’s elbow, which is 12 feet to the mountain’s surface.

    In 1912 the carving existed only in the imagination of Mrs. C. Helen Plane, charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The Venable family, owners of the mountain, deeded the north face of the mountain to the UDC in 1916. The UDC was given 12 years to complete a sizable Civil War monument.

    Three sculptors worked on the carving during its creation. Gutzon Borglum was hired in 1915 as the carving consultant, and in 1916 he was appointed carving sculptor by the Stone Mountain Monumental Association. Borglum envisioned a carving with seven central figures accompanied by “an army of thousands.” He was not able to begin work on the carving until 1923 due to funding problems and World War I.

    After blasting away large portions of the mountain with dynamite, Borglum was able to complete the head of Lee on January 19, 1924. In 1925 a dispute arose between Borglum and the managing association. As a result of the conflict, Borglum left, taking all of his sketches and models with him. Borglum went on to carve the famous Mount Rushmore sculpture in South Dakota.

    Augustus Lukeman, the second sculptor, resumed work on the project in 1925. Lukeman’s carving included the three central figures of the Confederacy on horseback. He removed Borglum’s work from the mountain and diligently worked with pneumatic drills, but by 1928 (the original deadline) only Lee’s head was complete and funds were depleted. The Venable family reclaimed their property, and the massive granite mountain remained untouched for 36 years.

    In 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain and the surrounding land. The Georgia General Assembly created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. In 1960 the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Advisory Committee was comprised of six internationally known figures in the world of art. A competition was held, and nine world-renowned sculptors submitted designs for a new sculpture.

    In 1963, based upon recommendations by the Advisory Committee, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association chose Walker Kirkland Hancock of Gloucester, Massachusetts to complete the carving. Work resumed in 1964, and a new technique utilizing thermo-jet torches was used to carve away the granite. Chief carver Roy Faulkner, a marine veteran with a talent for using the new thermo-jet torch, was able to remove tons of stone in one day. For over eight years Park guests could see and hear the workmen and their jet torches.

    The figures were completed with the detail of a fine painting. Eyebrows, fingers, buckles and even strands of hair were fine-carved with a small thermo-jet torch.

    The carving is actually much larger than it appears from Stone Mountain Park’s attractions. Workers could easily stand on a horse’s ear or inside a horse’s mouth to escape a sudden rain shower. A dedication ceremony for the Confederate Memorial Carving was held on May 9, 1970. Finishing touches to the masterpiece were completed in 1972.”

    Such an object has cultural and artistic significance. But I think that one memorial suffices, Perhaps another one, with Kaiser Wilhelm, Ludendorff and Hindenberg should be added. Hirohito, Tojo and Yamamoto on a third.

  9. Veddy interestink!

    “Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones call for destruction of Bill Clinton statue”

    http://www.theamericanmirror.com/broaddrick-personally-like-take-sledgehammer-bill-clinton-statue/

    • Absolutely no different at all.

      • Chris

        Of course there are differences.

        Bill Clinton was a president, not a traitor to the United States.

        The call to remove is based on alleged activity, not proven historical facts.

        • But, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but,but, but, Chris, didn’t HRC not only say: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

          But: “I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we’re with you.” (bolds mine)

          I don’t recall, actually how did she treat her Sistah survivors?

          “The call to remove is based on alleged activity, not proven historical facts.”

          The Clintonistas Paula Jones an $850 large settlement, pretty steep for mere allegations, am I right?

          Speaking of allegations, Paula Deen has some pretty keen insight on that subject.

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