“This is not history; it is a remnant from a bygone era.”
—–San Francisco School Board Member Alison M. Collins, expounding to the New York Times and expressing her displeasure with the school board’s vote to nullified an earlier vote to spend over $600,000 to paint over Depression-era school murals depicting slavery and the deaths of Native Americans.
I love this unethical quote; it might be my favorite of all the unethical quotes Ethics Alarms has ever featured. It tells us so much in so few words.
Ethics Alarms wrote about the school board’s earlier vote that this one, for now, at least, undid, last June, noting,
The San Francisco school board unanimously voted this week to spend at least $600,000 of taxpayer money to eliminate the “Life of Washington,” a 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot mural that has been on view in the city’s George Washington High School since 1936. It was considered politically incorrect at the time, but in a way that explicated American history rather than whitewashing it. Among the mural’s many scenes is one depicting slaves picking cotton at Mount Vernon and Virginia colonists walking past a dead Native American. The Horror. Although these scenes are historically accurate as well as provocative, “The truth will make you free” has been substantially abandoned by the Left in the U.S. Taking their cues from the dead and rotten Soviet Union and “1984”, the new slogan is George Orwell’s “Who controls the past controls the future.”
Ms. Collins’ classic quote perfectly expresses how her city, her party and her ideological clones reached the state of delusion and the worship of manipulated reality (remember, the Democratic Party’s leading contender for the White House “gaffed” by admitting last week that “we choose about truth, not facts”) that have so many of our political leaders flirting openly with totalitarianism.
The idea is to prevent young citizens (and older ones too) from acquiring the kind of messy information that requires critical thought to sort out, the information known as “history”and “life.”Without forceful filtering, people of sound and open minds are liable to reach conclusions that don’t advance those of the ascendant (they think) re-engineers of American values and culture. Those poisoned by the past and traditional American values might be willing to treat with fairness and respect, rather than contempt and abuse, those who hold non-conforming, non-woke positions and policies. They might tolerate the rebels and iconoclasts who refuse to follow in lock-step their betters of superior virtue and wisdom .
On a more basic level, the quote exposes a woman responsible for the education of San Francisco’s children who doesn’t know what history is, can’t speak coherent English, and doesn’t have the grounding in basic logic to immediately react, having heard such gibberish exit her mouth, by immediately saying, “Wait! I’m sorry, that isn’t what I meant.”
Tragically, it is what she meant. And what she meant is echoed by doctrinaire progressives all over America, who are tearing down statues, destroying art work and censoring and editing our culture because they don’t understand it, and want to install something simpler that they can control.
Allison Collins isn’t unusual; I’m sure of it. School boards across the nation are teeming with people like her. She was badly educated, and now she is doing her best to make certain that the rising generations are just as intellectually handicapped as she is. Her attitude toward history represents an existential threat to the United States and its Constitution. History isn’t competently taught or objectively taught; students are not imbued with an interest and appreciation of history, in part because teachers do not possess either themselves, being supervised by the likes of Ms. Collins.
Her statement immediately reminded me of a funny line in the black comedy “In Bruges,” when one of the hit men hiding out in the ancient Belgian city says, “I used to hate history. It’s all a lot of stuff that’s already fuckin’ happened.”
He’s an idiot, but still has an edge on Allison: at least he knows that all that stuff that fuckin’ happened is history.
22 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: San Francisco School Board Member Alison M. Collins”
This may be true, but I wonder; whatever happened to the ideal of trying to make life better for the next generation? Did that die the Leftist death of insufficiently simple?
No, probably not. Just insufficiently “woke.”
She isn’t unusual. Notre Dame in Indiana will remove/cover a series of paintings depicting Christopher Columbus and his legacy of whacking people in the New World for much the same reasons.
“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”
Here is her bio:
On that site, she calls herself an “experienced educator”, but doesn’t mention any actual experience educating anyone. I’m starting to sense that maybe Ms. Collins uses words without a clear understanding of what they mean.
Yeah, I also noticed that there seemed to be no actual reference, among the gobbledygook mishmash of “qualifications”, to her ever having been employed as a teacher.
Not history; remnant; bygone.
She’s not stupid, just dumb and idiotic.
God forbid we should see our Founders as humans, warts and all. As observed about the Soviet Union, the normal world has a certain past and many possible futures; the totalitarian world has a malleable past and a certain future.
Their future is one I certainly do not want.
“The right side of history” is basically the modern secular version of “God is on our side.”* It’s just as pretentious, just as easy to claim and just as impossible to verify.
* Or if you prefer, “Gott Mit Uns”, inscribed on the belt buckles of the Wermacht during both World Wars.
Exactly. How many deaths have been justified by that sentiment?
Here’s a rundown on her education “resolution”. It would be easy enough to believe that this is just a parody of ideological leftist snowflakery gone off the deep end, but hey, San Francisco…
These totalitarians are no different than ISIS in destroying historical landmarks, they intentionally try to destroy anything that depicts a history they oppose rather than to use that same history to inspire critical thinking about who we are and were we came from. The political left is certainly trying to require complete subservience to their ideology and they’ll use any form of intimidation or outright destruction to achieve their goals. Every little piece we let them strip away is another successful building block put in place to remake the United States in their “image”.
Yup, that’s why they’re yanking down Confederate (and a few other) statues and attacking Columbus Day. It’s not saying much for the locals when the grave of Stonewall Jackson in Lexington, VA has to be guarded on the down-low (I saw this myself) and the eponymous statue in Columbus Circle has to be guarded openly by the NYPD as his day approaches.
This is the comparison I was going to make… In the areas ISIS took control over in Syria and Iraq, they would almost immediately set historic monuments on playdays with massive amounts of ordinance, citing a variety of excuses that basically boiled down to “because God willed it”. If history is inconvenient to your faith, erase it, and write your own, right?
There is, however, a utilitarian question: If every statue, plaque and mural erected placed or painted becomes a thing of historical significance, and must be maintained forever, then eventually you’re going to run out of space. Worse, current administrations, and this isn’t just an American problem, are absolutely awful at allocating resources to the upkeep of these sites. We seem addicted to slapping heritage designations on things and then watching them fall in on themselves.
There has to be some kind of effort to upkeep or replace these items, and if you’re going to choose upkeep, which I think the group here is in favor of, then part of that upkeep is going to be educating and explaining why these historical items are important. The gap between the people attempting to replace, in this case, a mural, and those who want it saved is ideological, and I think the preservers take for granted that people will understand why it’s important that school aged children walk past 100 year old murals depicting dead slaves.
This is a good point, a derivative of the question, “What if nobody cares anymore?”
The trouble is, people will let these monuments fall into ruin, then express outrage when someone wants to remove the eyesore. If it isn’t taken care of and actually revered by somebody, using monuments as a political football is just as unethical as a mass takedown.
Certainly, today, ideology is highly relevant. But my impression is that they want to cover over those images because the seeing of them will cause discomfort or distress in (I assume) POC. It is not that these progressives want to erase the history of Indigenous mistreatment (genocide could be used as a fair term) or that of African slavery, rather they seek to take hold of those narratives and present them in specific ways when, in fact, it is possible to present them in another light. One treatment leads to a kind of disempowerment which seems like empowerment; the other to empowerment that appears to be an acceptance of disempowerment.
For example one could tell the story of African enslavement and the oppression of the African in the Americas with a different spin on it that would encourage less a rebellious and resistance attitude, and one tending to undermining of institutions and rebellion/revolution, but one of acceptance or even ‘cooperation’ with the present.
You could believe and feel profoundly that to have been ‘robbed from the shores of Africa’ and forced to ‘labor in the empires of the white man’s will’ is an absolute tragedy and an absolutely defeating act of Providence . . . or you could see the tragedy as an unfortunate and painful historical opportunity for a whole new phase of ethnic and cultural life. The African Diaspora.
Why do they want to cover over the mural? Simply because it shows slaves laboring? Or a dead Indian? It does not make sense since those are points that they wish to highlight.
Your analogy has some problems. You might be able to say there is something ‘similar’ in what the SF Progressives are doing and what ISIS has done or does, and you might be able to incite your reader to feel anger or contempt for the SF Progressives — not hard to achieve that here — but ISIS is not trying to ‘destroy history’ nor more importantly to rewrite it or to bleach it.
This from Wiki (an easy, conventional source):
By creating a false-analogy, or a mis-leading one, there is the danger that you will fail to recognize and distinguish clearly what the ‘SF Progressives’ and a whole section of American citizens are attempting to do, which I would venture to say is far more complex than what ISIS has done or does. One thing is that the operatives of ISIS are peasants more or less with no connection to ‘the intellectual world’. But the ‘SF Progressives’ (which is to say an entire portion of the US population with specific economic and political backing by specific and massive interests) are by no means ignorant desert peasants.
My analogy is not false.
All analogies have holes or problems; give your arrogant intellectualism a break.
Progressives tactics are different than ISIS, I didn’t say they were the same. Progressives are destroying history a bit differently, they condemn history via demonization and then use that condemnation to then destroy the things that represent history. Progressives will not be able to convince the populace to accept to their ideology (whatever the hell that is) and shift the United States to another form of government unless they can destroy everything that’s made this country what it is. They’ve only just begun.
If you do not know what their ideology is — you said as much — you have no base upon which to assert what has ‘only just begun’. If something has only just begun you seem to have little understanding of what *it* is.
It is true that certain progressives attack certain monuments. It is also true that it is difficult to clarify their motives into precise terms. But what Progressives and others are doing (who and what this is and what they are needs to be carefully defined) is not very well enunciated by anyone on this blog. As you know I see that *surface* is described (you also described mere surface with your analogy) but do not seem to be able to see a larger picture.
You and some others focus on mis-leading analogies, surface-based, which seem to keep one from clearly seeing and being able to describe what *they* (these dread Progressives and their backers) are up to and thus what will result from their activities. Also, you offer very little counter-proposal except emotionalized complaint.
These totalitarians are no different than ISIS in destroying historical landmarks, they intentionally try to destroy anything that depicts a history they oppose rather than to use that same history to inspire critical thinking about who we are and were we came from.
That is not what ISIS does. And our own Progressive ‘totalitarians’ are doing something very distinct. They are only comparable at the most superficial point.
This is an interesting comment:
. . . to use that same history to inspire critical thinking about who we are and were we came from
You are genuinely confused! I do not blame you though. Your statement is not unintelligible to me but rather very odd and strangely complex. It has to be taken apart and examined closely. You are proposing some kind of ‘method’ through which history can be taught to the young that has a therapeutic ring to it. That we will sit down together — red brown black and white — and ‘reason things through’ to some agreed conclusion. Perhaps you even think that history itself offers such a conclusive message from Providence?
The Progressives are indeed involved in a radical revisionism project which is directly interwoven with Americanism and the American Civil Religion (that is my view). Yet everyone links to that view or that vision (the ACR) including all ‘Conservatives’. You most certainly are heavily involved in it. It is the very understructure of your assertions.
The Progressives use history to inspire specific forms of critical thinking and apperception about who we are and where we came from . . . to empower a sort of democratic movement in the present . . . which is an extension of Americanism and America’s core tenets.
A different critical approach to history — that is, a different interpretation through different ontological terms for example — will simply pose an alternative or a competing version of who we are, where we are going, and why.
Even if you-plural will do no intellectual work — the necessary work to understand and possibly (possibly!) to confront the tide that is swelling against *us* — even if you are thoroughly lazy and totally conventional in your ‘ideas’, I refuse to remain so. If that is ‘intellectual arrogance’ for you, so be it.
Progressives are destroying history a bit differently, they condemn history via demonization and then use that condemnation to then destroy the things that represent history. Progressives will not be able to convince the populace to accept to their ideology (whatever the hell that is) and shift the United States to another form of government unless they can destroy everything that’s made this country what it is. They’ve only just begun.
This is nearly entirely wrong. Not absolutely wrong but significantly wrong. In its wrongness you indicate that you do not or will not see and understand. I identify in this what I call ‘the will not to understand’. It is fatal and catastrophic in ramification. I focus on this as the point where consciousness needs to be cultivated. The ‘Red Pill’ is here.
If you do not understand the ideology of these Progressives — their Weltanschauung — if you do not understand what ideas they are working with, and what cements them in their certainties, and if you do not understand their activism in the present and the solid fact that they represent the demographic numbers that is and will determine the fate of the US just around the corner, then you are just engaged in idle complaining banter. Your ideas are useless within the real context of the present.
In an opinion-article in today’s NYT which comes under a series I get by email called Race/Related Lauretta Charleton writes:
Slavery is called America’s original sin, but how many of us truly understand the myriad ways it has shaped our lives and our country today?
The New York Times Magazine this week released a special issue dedicated to the subject of slavery in America. The initiative, which was led by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer at the magazine, is expansive. It tries to show that, in America today, everything from the absence of universal health care to our dependence on sugar — even traffic — is in some way connected to slavery and its legacy.
She alerts readers to a critical essay by Matthew Desmond titled American Capitalism is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation. “In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.”
In this one example of virulent revisionism, this is not ‘destruction of history’ it is tendentious interpretation of history. A wielding of specific interpretations. It is a radical and virulent form of revisionism in which the terms of that revisionism is accepted by almost everyone. In this New American Ideology that becomes especially powerful after WW2 and which is used to define a New America within a structured and extremely powerful economic system, the New Ideology is established at a metaphysical level as ‘truth’. It undergirds basic perception and the understanding is expressed in all social arenas and categories. Politics, advertising, art, sports: everywhere.
It is so strongly related and intertwined with ‘the tenets of the American Civil Religion’ (that term has its own webpage!) that it became impossible to think outside of the parameters of that established category. To do so gets one into crimethink. You, Steve in NJ, Humble Talent, Chris Marchener and almost everyone who writes on this Blog — certainly Jack — have accepted this metaphysics and, this is important, you have nothing with which to confront it, question it, or to revise it. It is the current in which you float.
This is why I say that you share progressive ideology at a foundational level and it is just as much established in you as it is in the most virulent carriers of it. To understand this will require intellectual work and realization and you cannot rise to the occasion . . .
Progressives will not be able to convince the populace to accept to their ideology (whatever the hell that is) and shift the United States to another form of government unless they can destroy everything that’s made this country what it is.
But ‘their ideology’ is precisely a virulent form of the conventional ideology of Americanism as it pertains to social questions. See: The Letter from Birmingham Jail. They twist certain foundational statements regarding ‘all men being created equal’ to assert — this is revisionism of a primary order — that the New American Ideology is ‘metaphysical truth’, and no one has the intellectual power or the courage to take issue with it. Those who do are ‘cast out into the outer darkness’.
I think it is a false-perception that they are trying or will attempt to shift the country to ‘another form of government’. Nor are they destroying history or proposing that certain histories not be known or taught. Everything hinges on a specific revision of history and a specific historical emphasis: interpretation. This democracy is being directed to new actualizations of its primary assertions, it is not being replaced.
The question of ‘destroying everything that’s made this country what it is’ is an important one, but your own thinking on this question, were one to go into it, is likely so muddled and confused as to be useless. Why? Because you yourself have been entirely indoctrinated by Progressive American idealism and can’t think outside of those terms. It is quite simple to see: there are numerous essential things that have made America what it is, not the least being the assertion of the tenets of progressive American ideology. But if you mean to imply that their ‘destruction’ is directed to criticism of America’s ultra-capitalism, and the socialization of it, there is truth there.
But the one area that you simply cannot even touch — not even with a long pole — is the essential issue that is determining this radical social conflict: issues of race and ethnicity and the deliberate and planned dispossession of white people — white America — of its patrimony. The core of the present conflicts is to be found in no other area. So, it is more accurate to say that this progressive movement is geared to further weaken and eventually destroy the white demographic that made this country what it is. The other elements — revisionism, interpretation, socialism — are ancillary.
Funny about Bruges. I’ve been told many of the buildings are recreations of medieval buildings. Bruges looks down its nose at neighboring Ghent for being a moldering old place. Ghent considers Bruges a virtual Disneyland. History’s can be a funny things.