Stipulated: The Emancipation Statue Represents White Supremacy. It Still Has To be Protected.

Facts don’t matter to a mob. This is why indulging mobs–ever and at all—is foolish and dangerous. It is also why the current push to remove the Emancipation Statue, also known as the Freedman’s Memorial, has to be resisted, and successfully.

I know a slippery slope when I see one; I think I’ve established that since I saw this particular slippery slope  being greased five years ago. I saw that it would slide right into the Founders and an attempt to separate the United States from its origins and the brave and brilliant patriots who risked everything to attempt this experiment in liberty.

If any statute of Lincoln is allowed to satisfy the mob’s lust for vengeance and power, any memorials and honors to Jefferson and Washington are doomed, including the Washington Monument. As with the less violent and more dignified—but no less dangerous— mobs that destroyed lives and reputations during the Red Scare and McCarthy  era, politically motivated mobs like the Black Lives Matter-catalyzed demonstrators will treat each victory as a green light for escalation. It is astounding that so many supposedly educated people in government, academia, business and the arts have somehow forgotten this fact in their rush to grovel and submit, hoping, as Winston Churchill observed of appeasers, that the crocodile would eat them last.

The attack on America escalated when NFL players began “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem, one of the main symbols of our nation and its values. The players and their spiritual leader, Colin Kaepernick, made incoherent efforts to explain why their disrespect during the Anthem wasn’t aimed at the melody, but at the nation it—well, the racism that—well, they never could manage to explain their logic. That’s because the protest was really aimed at the United States itself.

President Trump condemned the kneelers in his trademark ham-handed manner, and then the protest became about him, and thus the Presidency, another symbol of the nation.

For more than three years, the core symbols and institutions that make up the foundation of our culture have been under relentless attack, led by the “resistance” and its allied mainstream media. Cognitive dissonance has worked its cruel magic: anyone who evinced sufficient hate for the President was elevated to the positive end of the scale, raising the regard for their other anti-American attitudes and objectives as well.

Again like McCarthism, guilt by association is the weapon of choicand all of American history is interlocked. In San Francisco, the statue of Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” and is celebrated today for that alone, was torn  down by the same mob that took down a statue of General Grant. (No word of disapproval from Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden). Both Key and Grant (barely) were  slave owners, so to the mob, that’s all that mattered. Since Key owned slaves, his “Star-Spangled Banner, written after he saw an American flag flying at the Battle of Fort McHenry following a victory over the British in the War of 1812, no longer symbolizes the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” but racial injustice. An article on Yahoo! asked whether it was time to replace the National Anthem because of its connection to racism “for some.” One proposed replacement: “Imagine.”

In the assault on our history and culture that is underway, Lincoln is the firewall. The mob knows it. It knows that if Lincoln, the most revered, brilliant and eloquent of U.S. Presidents, is symbolically toppled and tarred with racism,  everything goes. Although the Freedman’s Memorialis getting most of the publicity, Lincoln is under attack elsewhere. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are demanding that the university remove and replace a statue of Abraham Lincoln on its campus, and they have a Change.org petition urging the action and stating that Lincoln had a “questionable” history when it came to race relations.Yes, our atrocious public school system bears great responsibility for this, but that is another issue.

All it will take is for one Lincoln statue to be junked along with honors to Christopher Columbus, Theodore Roosevelt, Grant, Key, Woodrow Wilson and Robert E. Lee, and every shred of our past  will become a target. The objective is to discredit the United States, its heroes, culture and history, in the course of turning our democracy into what Lincoln, Jefferson and Adams would not recognize, but George Orwell might.

That is one reason why the Freedman’s Memorial must stay. The other reason is what this mob will not accept or comprehend, that history and perspective is essential to any nation’s survival.

Of course the statue represents white supremacy. Whites were undeniably supreme when it was designed and erected. The fact that the statue was placed and paid for by  freed slaves is important to understanding its history and perspective, but doesn’t change the symbolism of the statue, and is a futile  defense, since the mob cares nothing about either. It is seeking power and cultural destruction.

I have always found the statue wince-producing, but that’s what is important about it. No such statue would ever have been designed in the last 80 years or more. It gives us a crucial snapshot of where we were, and how far we have come.

In the Washington Post, historian David Blight recounts the scene when the statue was unveiled:

A huge parade involving nearly every black organization in the city preceded the dedication of the monument on April 14, 1876. The procession included cornet bands, marching drum corps, youth clubs in colorful uniforms and fraternal orders. Horse-drawn carriages transported master of ceremonies and Howard University law school dean, John Mercer Langston, and the orator of the day, Frederick Douglass, a resident of that neighborhood. Representatives of the entire U.S. government sat in the front rows at the ceremony; the occasion had been declared a federal holiday. President Ulysses S. Grant, members of his Cabinet, members of the House and Senate and justices of the Supreme Court all attended….

A young black poet from D.C., Cordelia Ray, recited an original poem, Lincoln.” Grant, who did not speak, pulled the cords and unveiled the statue. Douglass then took the podium and delivered one of the greatest speeches of his life.

Blight adds,

Rather than take down this monument to Lincoln and emancipation, create a commission that will engage new artists to represent the story of black freedom from one generation to the next. Let today’s imaginations take flight. Perhaps commission a statue of Douglass himself delivering this magnificent speech. So much new learning can take place by the presence of both past and present. As a nation, let’s replace a landscape strewn with Confederate symbols with memorialization of emancipation. Tearing down the Freedmen’s Memorial would be a terrible start for that epic process.

A progressive like virtually all historians today, Blight doesn’t realize how his endorsement of Confederate statue toppling renders his argument for preserving the Emancipation Statue hypocritical and inconsistent, but at least he reaches the correct conclusion. Unfortunately, Blight is the Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and Yale is named after a slave trader. He’s complicit in white supremacy too: who cares what he says?

 

57 thoughts on “Stipulated: The Emancipation Statue Represents White Supremacy. It Still Has To be Protected.

  1. Jack, I eagerly look for columns of yours where I could say, “Perfect. I wouldn’t change a word.” This comes pretty close. I’m against all mob actions, in fact against all mobs, period. But two reservations about this column:

    1. I believe “Black lives matter” is a slogan,value, cause, movement. To me it’s a reminder that in our society black lives are sometimes, by some people, some government officials, treated as not mattering as much as white. So I’m happy to give people who write, talk, or march peaceably in protest, my ear. I believe, however, the movement is often invaded by criminals and anarchists, and the unorganized movement has no organized way to stop them. But this doesn’t invalidate the cause.

    2. I abhor all mobs, and to the point, all the tearing down of statues. I also agree about the historical value of many statues (Grant, Key, etc) I do know, however, that some statues are (small) humiliations to many people. Think about a Black in Nashville having to walk by a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest twice a day..

    What to do? It’s not up to any mob, not even to BLM believers. In our still-democratic system it’s up to the local authorities. I hope they follow the example set by the Memphis City council, who voted three years ago to remove their Bedford statue.

    • EB

      Apparantly, you have not researched the BLM founders, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza or Shaun King. The three are self proclaimed trained Marxists whose agenda is to defund police, empty the jails and prisons, destroy the concept of the nuclear family and eliminate religion. Cullors says she founded BLM after Trayvon Martins ” murder”. The organization is built on a falsehood and is being used to justify the destruction of economies and artifacts of those economies so they can inculcate their ideals into the ignorant, the naive, and the lazy.

      I would disagree that Black interests are often neglected by government. The mere fact that the concept of disproportionate impact exists tells me that is not so. Anything that might negatively affect the Black community gives rise to relative racial comparisons of disparity irrespective of whether or not the condition was created by the person’s behaviors and not some immutable characteristic. Further, disproportionate impact only applies when the condition adversely affects the Black community. We do not seek to proportionalize that which benefits the Black community.

      The fact is everyone, every group, every tribe, or any other combination of people think only if their interest irrespective of the costs to society as a whole. That is how market economies work relative to command economies.

      • Chris, the three Marxists have been vastly outnumbered by the millions who are marching. And I never said or believed that black interests were ignored, simply that their lives sometimes didn’t matter. As in Minneapolis.

        • The fact that most Americans found the officers knee on his neck abhorent invalidates the argument that his life did not matter. The officer involved shooting in Atlanta is quite different.

          It is those who voice the loudest cries against the relatively rare cruel acts of police are the ones who say nothing when so many Blacks are shot and killed by other members of their communities and complain so loudly that it is racist to point this out.

          From my perspective the majority of those being violent were white while the looters were black. Neither have any relevance in terms of affecting policing.

          These are well funded and organized groups . I agree there were some marchers who are good people that want to make a difference but most remain willfully blind to the exploitation of these horrendous events.

          • Floyd’s death definitely mattered. Problem is, it didn’t matter to the cop who killed him, or the three cops who watched, or to the PD person who filed the false report, or to the Medical Examiner who falsified the cause of death. And This goes on in many, if not most, of the law enforcement agencies in the country. The marchers, nearly all orderly people, want to change that. I daresay most African Americans do, too.
            If you think the myriad of separate marches were organized I think your standard of organization is more lenient than mine.

              • From the Science Times, May 30 “An ambulance arrived and brought Floyd to Hennepin County Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted the autopsy saying that asphyxia was not the cause of death. Floyd had underlying health issues including hypertensive heart disease and coronary artery disease.

                Both diseases combined with being restrained by the police, plus any potential intoxicants may have contributed to his death.The full ME’s report is still pending.

                From NPR, June 1: In charging documents released last week, prosecutors said that preliminary results from an autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

                Later the M.E. ruled it a homicide. I’m guessing he changed his story after the video became public.

                    • Ethics Bob wrote, “Later the M.E. ruled it a homicide. I’m guessing he changed his story after the video became public.”

                      If he did then he’s being unethical and should be removed from his position.

                      It’s unethical for the medical examiner to change the stated cause of death after the examination has been completed without reexamining the physical body, the video is irrelevant to the medical examiners medical purpose, the only facts that are relevant are the facts that the body itself produces.

                      Now let me be very clear; this in no way justifies the negligent actions of the officers, it’s also their duty to render medical aid to a suspect in custody when that suspect is showing signs of medical problems. They neglected this duty, therefore negligent homicide,etc is appropriate.

    • Ethics Bob, I offer a rebuttal to your and other’s support of the Blacks Lives Matter movement. I respect your right to your opinion and merely offer an alternate perspective for consideration. I first became suspicious of Black Lives Matter during the Ferguson protests. My suspicion began when various individuals who proclaimed All Lives Matter were denounced. This signaled to me there might be an agenda other than concern for black’s lives.

      Why come out against the statement “All Lives Matter”? A 2016 article in Vox offers 9 reasons. (https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter)
      I will offer another. All Lives Matter promotes universal equality, not special treatment for just a segment of society. All Lives Matter does not allow the demonization of one or more groups in society. All Lives Matter says black lives matter but also white lives matter. Police lives matter. Unborn lives matter. LBGT lives matter. Boomer’s lives matter. Jewish lives matter. Asian lives matter. Fill in the blank lives matter. Propaganda is most effective if it has a victim and a villain. The victims and villains in an All Lives Matter movement are unclear.

      When looking at the Black Lives Matter movement or any protest for that matter, I ask what does the movement hope to achieve? I then apply Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim “Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.” The only thing whining accomplishes is discontent. Whining does not facilitate corrective action because the remedy the whiner wishes is not stated or unclear. The nebulous slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ allows everyone to support the movement because it does not demand anything.

      So, what does the Black Lives Matter movement wish to accomplish? After viewing the Black Lives Matter website, (https://blacklivesmatter.com/) I find no list of actions any government can take to correct any injustice allegedly being perpetrated on the black community. If a group or individual chooses to not articulate how their grievances can be ameliorated, one should question why this is so. There are various reasons to not articulate remedies to a grievance. The remedies desired are impossible to be met. The protestations are a canard and if the group’s true objectives were made known, many supporters would abandon its cause. The purpose of the protest is to protest.

      You state, “the movement is often invaded by criminals and anarchists, and the unorganized movement has no organized way to stop them” The BLM website states that they have 13 US chapters and 3 Canadian chapters. Sounds like they might be a little organized. Regardless, how much organization is needed for the BLM movement leaders to denounce rioting, looting, and property destruction?

      I believe the current unrest sweeping the nation is being encouraged by the Black Lives Matter organization, Democrats, and most Media outlets to foment division, fear, anger, and hopelessness with the short-term goal being to prevent Trump’s reelection and reduce Republican’s influence in Congress. A longer-term goal might be to fulfill Obama’s vision of fundamentally changing America. To me, it is pretty pathetic that the future of the republic rests in the hands of a reality show television personality and some spineless republicans, but you play the cards you are dealt.

      • Tom P. wrote, “So, what does the Black Lives Matter movement wish to accomplish?”

        At the very core of Black Lives Matter is racism but it’s not the racism that you might initially think of. Here’s the core of BLM. To a racist, everything is about race. A purely racist movement must demonize everything that an opposing race does based on the color of their skin, does that sound familiar?

        “Black Lives Matter appears to be some kind of socially acceptable racist black supremacists organization that is demanding special treatment for blacks based solely on the color of their skin and not the content of their character.”

        “If You’re A Snowflake That Triggers Easily When Discussing Racism, Don’t Read This “White Lives Matter” Parody Blog Post.”

        A segment of our population has been enabled by an overwhelmingly apathetic society to fundamentally believe that their emotional accusations are actually equivalent to guilt regardless of verifiable logical evidence and that segment of society appears to justify any action to right the wrongs they perceive regardless of real truth or facts. This is a malignant cancer to today’s society!

        “In the United States of America one of the core ethical beliefs that has helped the United States grow to a place of world prominence has been that when someone accuses someone of something it’s up to the accuser to support their accusation with evidence and facts, it’s not up to the accused to prove their innocence. Something terrible has happened to that ethical core belief over the last ten or twelve years. A huge cross section of our society has flushed that core belief down the toilet and what’s left floating in the bowl is the pungent stench of immoral vigilantism.”

        Ignorance or Societal Brainwashing?

        Back to what I wrote above; a purely racist movement must demonize everything that an opposing race does based on the color of their skin.

        Does the unproven demonizing accusations of systemic racism based on the vague claims of racist white privilege and their correlation equals causation arguments ring a bell?

        Does it ring true that the accusers seem to believe that accusations are proof enough?

        Is BLM trying to spread their idea of Marxism?

        Is all of this just correlation equals causation conspiracy theory arguments?

  2. Am l going crazy or is this a manufactured fire to increase black voter turnout? Somehow I feel that we will not see any more statue toppling in November after a Biden victory.

    • For the local democrats who are at best, allowing it to happen, it’s all about the election. Trump looks weak because he is not stopping it. If he responds with force, the press will cover it like it is Tiananmen Square. There is literally nothing he could do that won’t hurt him, which makes it a perfect campaign issue.

      • Nope, he’s right to let this play out, because history tells us that the public will eventually realize this isn’t about “racial justice” and is really about gaining oppressive power. Once that occurs, and it will, the playing field will be entirely different.

    • I am linking this to EC’s comment, which I think is important, but I am indirectly discussing points raised by other writers, including our intrepid Ethics Alarms protagonist, as well as Chris, Steve-O, E2, Alizia, Ethics Bob, and Steven, and others who contribute important dialog on this blog. No one is to be excluded because his/her name is not mentioned, as such exclusion is not intended.

      First, Jack, I reject the premise of your stipulation. The statue is not representative of white supremacy, not to me anyway. That is the beauty of art: What is art? Art is taking known media to make a statement, whether known or unknown. To me, it represents that freed slaves have a future and they own the inherent right of all persons to liberty, whether that is imbued by God or by natural law, but that future is not going to any easier than anyone else’s future. Lincoln is standing by showing that the freed slave will take his rightful place in the fabric of this country. The freed slave is not kneeling before a white man, but he is preparing to stand, on his own breaking the shackles of human bondage to pursue his own idea of happiness, one of the sacred rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. It is someone’s creation and has value, whether or not it was paid for and commissioned by freed blacks. The statue would have the same value with or without such commissioning; that is simply an appeal to authority. Those who say it represents white supremacy over blacks (especially those in 2020, to boot) can go to hell.

      Secondly, I am not sure (a) of a Biden victory or (b) assuming a Biden victory, that the mayhem will cease. According to that New York BLM representative speaking to Martha McCallum the other day, the movement isn’t about racial injustice and fixing the system. According to him, the founders of BLM and their advisors (anyone remember Bill Ayers? Does his name ring a bell? Obama’s sponsor and advisor when Obama first ran for Illinois senate? Bernadine Dorn? Nice weather we are having? No? Oh well . . .) the system is fundamentally flawed and inherently unjust. It can’t be fixed or repaired with any amount of duct tape or superglue. It must be burned to the ground and a new system installed in its place, one where BLM will wreak heavenly retribution on the new society.

      Make no mistake: this statue is irrelevant. Robert E. Lee statues are irrelevant. Wilson, Roosevelt(s), Truman, Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, and every other person in any position of authority over the last 400 years is/are irrelevant and must removed. If our nation’s history began in 1619* when the first slave ship arrived, then the foundation of the country is pure evil. There is no reconciliation with pure evil; it can only be exorcised. It must be uprooted. If you disagree and point out attempts over the centuries to correct injustices then you are an enemy and you must be destro . . . erm . . . educated and enlightened. Declaration of Independence? Gone. The Federalist Papers? Nice kindling. The Constitution? Evil and rotten to the core. Tear it up and burn it, using the stupid Federalist Papers to start the fires. “The Star Spangled Banner”? Deleted. The Emancipation Proclamation? A nice joke. Throw it away. 250 years of political experiments? Useless and pointless. Wipe them out. History books? Nice doorstops. Churches? Desecrate them forthwith – leave the mosques alone, though (I wonder why no mosques have been desecrated).

      This will not stop with the eradication of images from the past. The past is the problem Remember what Orwell said: If you control the past, you control the present. If you control the present, you control the future. Everything will be destroyed. I tell my son that if someone tells him what he/she is going to do, he should probably listen to them and believe they are going to do just that. The New York BLM guy said that if they don’t get what they want, they are going to burn it to the ground. I take him at his word. The last two months have proven that his statement is not just hyperbole or figurative. Cowards in local and state government have capitulated to these demands and what have been their rewards? Destruction and mayhem. Look at what happened in Minneapolis. The police and security forces simply withdrew from heated areas, under some bizarre belief that police presence would only inflame the situation even more. A police precinct was torched. Buildings and businesses were tagged, looted and set aflame. Now, there are people taking up residence in cities, declaring their zones to be autonomous. Incompetent and weak-willed leaders in those communities simply said, “well, they are only exercising their First Amendment rights” so we can’t remove them. Got it. The result? Violence, filth, and chaos. That bozo Di Blasio and his useless administration have approved a mural to be painted outside Trump Plaza with “Black Lives Matter”. Good for you, Bill. When Macy’s is looted, don’t be surprised. Wait . . . that already happened. Never mind.

      I do agree, though, that BLM is about November. Everything in an election year is about the election. COVID-19, countrywide shutdowns, wrecked economies, ruined businesses, fractured families, and social unrest are all about November. Black lives do matter; anyone who says they don’t is delusional. Black Votes Matter more, though. Ask Speaker Pelosi why she and her flock knelt in Congress. Ask why Google, Apple, Microsoft, and a host of other businesses have issued fatuous statements about their stupid commitments to diversity.

      jvb

      Ed. Note*: About that insufferable 1619 Project. Why does she get to decide that the land’s history began in 1619? Did she ask descendants of the indigenous tribes if their history began in the Year of Our Lord, 1619? I think not. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous and appropriational on her part? I think it is. in fact, I think she is arrogant and misinformed. Who does she think she is? If she gets to set the nation’s founding date, then maybe she should have asked the indigenous peoples if they agreed with that date. In fact, I think First Nations should run her out of town for ignoring their history and dismissing their subsequent plight. They would say that their forbears were here for about 10,000 years before 1619, living in peace and harmony (with the occasional tribal wars and running harmless buffalo off cliffs to their deaths) before that Italian guy stumbled on their land mass, and long before the first slave ships arrived. They would say they suffered the same, hell if not more, evil, right? Colonists came here, took their lands, built cabins and what did they have to show for it? The annualized stuffing of some stupid bird and cranberries?

    • It may have looked like that at the beginning.

      But if this were run by the DNC, the campaign would not have jumped one shark, let alone multiple shivers of sharks.

      Neither Michael Dukakis or Hillary Clionton would have let this campaign derail.

    • Bobby Hill wrote, “Am l going crazy or is this a manufactured fire to increase black voter turnout? Somehow I feel that we will not see any more statue toppling in November after a Biden victory.”

      I don;t think you’re paying enough attention to what’s going on.

      I don’t think the November election will change what these rioting mobs are doing in the streets, what’s happening has nothing to do with supporting or opposing Biden or Trump, Democrat or Republican. Generally speaking, what we’re seeing is a lot of people in the political left are enabling the rioting mobs and the a lot of people in the political right are opposing the rioting mobs, has that support or opposition really changed the underlying mentality of the rioting mobs; nope.

      Why do you think it will magically change if Biden is elected?

        • The idea was to use public attention towards systemic racism, police brutality, and police accountability as the fuel for a GOTV/voter registration drive. Because Democratic-leaning constituencies are more affected by these issues that Republican-leaning constituencies, this will result in a higher margin of additional votes for Democrats than Republicans, and thus a net gain in Democratic votes.

          But then the focus turned to statue-toppling, not just of Confederate veterans, but of U.S. presidents and slavery abolitionists. This became about images on cereal boxes. Already, material for a GOTV/voter registration drive targeted at Republican-leaning constituencies were being effectively manufactured.

          A selectman was banned from a restaurant in Massachussetts because he criticized Black lives Matter, like some of the regular commenters here. A man was fired for making the “OK” hand sign.

  3. Here’s the argument from leader of the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Black Student Union to tear down Lincoln’s statue on The UW Madison campus…

    “Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black.”

    No, really, that’s their rationale. I think the arguments from the irrational mob are morphing.

    I think I’ll go to downtown Madison, WI to the Capital Square grounds at the top of State Street tomorrow and personally tell them that they’re all imbeciles.

    • Many Northern abolitionists were not. Many opposed slavery for labor reasons(think illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans) and many opposed it because it meant there’d be Negroes around. The ‘all men are brothers’ crowd was a distinct minority.

        • Steve , my comment was a rhetorical question back to the student leader at the university of Wisconsin. No statue should be toppled. The argument that Lincoln should go because he was not pro black is an idiotic statement. MLK was not pro white so this student’s removal critereon was deeply flawed and demonstrates a lack of critical thinking skills or a willingness to engage in demagougery.

          • Chris Marschner wrote, “Steve , my comment was a rhetorical question back to the student leader at the university of Wisconsin.”

            Yup, I got that but rhetorical or not the question warranted the answer for all to see. 😉

  4. Here’s Althouse just now writing about a movement to take down a Lincoln statue in Madison:

    The Channel 3000 article quotes Nalah McWhorter, the president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union:

    “He was also very publicly anti-Black. Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black. He said a lot in his presidential campaigns. His fourth presidential campaign speech, he said that he believes there should be an inferior and superior, and he believes white people should be the superior race.”

    UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank responded, saying that “Lincoln’s legacy is complex and contains actions which, 150 years later, appear flawed,” but that “Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of our greatest presidents,” because he issued the “Emancipation Proclamation, persuaded Congress to adopt the 13th Amendment ending slavery and preserved the Union during the Civil War.”

    McWhorter rejects that response: “For them to want to protect a breathless, lifeless statue more than they care about the experiences of their black students that have been crying out for help for the past 50, 60 years, it’s just a horrible feeling as a student, as a black and brown student on campus.”

    Who can balance the caring for the statue against the caring for students? … But giving in to a demand like this will not help. It will only set the stage for the creation of another demand to do something that can be done right now….

  5. Ever notice that many of the people who said Trump would destroy America are out looting, burning, beating people and destroying America and the anti-Trumpers that aren’t physically looting, burning, beating people and destroying America are supporting the rioters with dollars, food, transportation, rationalizations justifying the destruction, calling off the police, and media coverage?

    Our society is done if rational people don’t get off their ass and do something about this shit.

  6. When I look at this statue, I think of the following story I’ve read in many books about Lincoln’s visit to Richmond:

    “Unannounced and unheralded by anything other than his stovepipe hat and gangling gait, Lincoln was quickly set upon by dozens of African-Americans, many of whom had been born into slavery and awakened that morning as free men and women for the first time in their lives.

    “Bless the Lord, there comes the Messiah,” exclaimed a black man who was repairing a footbridge over the nearby canal. “Thank you, Jesus,” one woman called out. “Glory Hallelujah!”

    When several admirers bowed down before Lincoln, the president quickly told them, “You must kneel to God only and thank Him for the liberty you will hereafter enjoy.”

    https://www.richmond.com/opinion/columnists/lincolns-march-through-richmond/article_6fd76e93-8576-5086-bc3e-59f936f6d659.html

    That story may or may not have inspired the statue, but isn’t art about interpretation? Where you may see a black slave kneeling before a white man in the ultimate display of white supremacy, I see a spontaneous moment of exhilaration displayed for a man who had been responsible for the slave’s freedom.

    I do agree wholeheartedly that this is not about racism anymore. It’s most definitely an attempt to undermine our Founding documents as flawed because of the flawed nature of our Founding Fathers and remake America into a Marxist-style regime.

  7. Pingback: Statues, Black lives matter, mobs, and patriotism | Ethics Bob

  8. I first saw an article about how the problem with the statue is that the black person in it is kneeling, but that seems wrong to me. Given that the statue was commissioned by freedmen and freedwomen, I figured the point was that up until that moment, the black person in the statue had been forced to kneel, but now he’s finally free to stand. He’s obviously not kneeling in deference to Lincoln; he’s not even paying attention to Lincoln. He’s looking up towards his own future.

    The positioning of Lincoln’s hand is a bit weird, though. I’m not sure what gesture a person is supposed to make when ordering the emancipation of a metaphorical person who represents all enslaved people. Maybe more of a “lifting up” one?

    Just now, though, I found a surprisingly nuanced article about the issue discussing the various values in play. Apparently people are concerned that the statue was designed with no input from the freedmen and freedwomen who commissioned it, and doesn’t show the proactive people who worked against their own enslavement and that of their fellows. That’s a fair point, but instead of removing the statue I suggest putting in some statues of people like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and calling it good. It’s better to have more history than less.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/protesters-denounce-abraham-lincoln-statue-in-dc-urge-removal-of-emancipation-memorial/2020/06/25/02646910-b704-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html

    I seriously doubt that removing the emancipation statue would do anything meaningful to help people’s situations or solve any underlying problems, but I don’t think enough people are aware of better ideas.

    • Frankly, I don’t know why Black Lives Matter is in a huff over this statue. I thought kneeling was required and a sign of emancipation from a racist system. As EC points out, art and its appreciation are purely subjective and open to each person’s interpretation, except modern art – all of it is universally regarded as crap. But kneeling? They did it in Congress when they paid homage to George Floyd. Police chiefs did it before riote . . . . uh . . . protestors in some weird sign of solidarity with the movement. They did it on the grid iron in obedience to Kaepernick. They did it all over the nation in supplication to Black Lives Matter. So, what gives?

      jvc

      • My understanding was the the kneeling originally started with the national anthem, when people are expected to stand. Defying custom was what made it a protest, and then it continued on as a general symbol. Kneeling when ordered to kneel is submission rather than defiance, so that’s what makes the difference. Does that clear things up?

        • Nah, kneeling started because Kaepernic thought he could force the 49ers into renewing his contract. The political angle started when he realized that the 40ers were not going to budge so he figured they would not dare fire him, a Black man, for exercising his First Amendment right to a huge sports contract. He is a fraud. Always has been a fraud, and always will be a fraud. Sorry. He is is an opportunist and the riots just dovetail nicely with his vacuous pronouncements.

          jvb

    • I seriously doubt that removing the emancipation statue would do anything meaningful to help people’s situations or solve any underlying problems, but I don’t think enough people are aware of better ideas.

      That is an interesting comment. Thinking it over there is a good deal of complexity that would need to be exposed, talked about.

      1) The notion that *people* (those who are carrying out these ‘protests’ and those who have instigated this phase of American civil conflict) actually have a plan, or have meaningful intentions, or even seek to help or to be helped or to ‘solve problems’ is not at all clear. One might try to show *sympathy* for the confused or aggressive people who are taking their anger or frustrations ‘out to the street’. One might try to understand their ‘frustration’ or their anger, or perhaps even their projection of their own shortcomings.

      For example the figure of *Michael Brown* is a young African American who does not have a place and cannot find his place and so he (and millions like him) become hoodlums of sorts. He and they are not *situated* within the culture in a way that allows for *peaceful expression of self*.

      Do they even know what could ‘help’ them? Do they conceive of thems self as having a problem? Or ‘being a problem’? Is their problem external or internal? The entire issue hinges on this. Those that oppose BLM have an insight into the issue but they definitely take a stand against BLM and this riotous activism. (Carol M. Swain and Glenn Loury for example. And see Glenn Loury’s interview/conversation with Reason on YouTube called: ‘We’re Being Swept Along by Hysteria’ About Racism in America).

      What then is the function of this craze to remove statues? We know what the ‘stated function’ is, but we also know that what people *say* they are doing is often not what they *really* are doing. One function is to assert control over ‘cultural space’. Another related function is to send specific messages to those who formerly controlled this ‘space’. Another is to threaten. To appear potent and dangerous. To send warnings.

      But then behind all of it — and this is one of the only sources I refer to frequently and regularly — the NYTs fills out the rest of the story with its radical Maoist articles. These accelerate in outrageousness as the weeks go by. They get more and more unreally radical with each day. Just yesterday in a series where women of note who were neglected by culture are ‘recognized’ the famous lunatic Valerie Solanas — who shot Warhol — is given a special platform for her radical feminism, absurd as it is.

      Better ideas? If you asked a person in the middle of a psychotic episode to think about *better ideas* what would that person say? And why would you ask the question? Is it genuinely fair and not merely rhetorically fair to say that many people in the nation today are ‘going crazy’? That their basic structures of thought and ideation are so far away from what is reasonable and sane that they require whatever for a psychotic person corresponds to ‘meds’ but cannot be relied on for ‘self-diagnosis’?

      But if this is true (it feels true) what is the root cause of this social psychosis? And what is the root cause of madness in the individual that leads them to actions that have no relationship to well-being? This is a complex question. If the society is ‘going nuts’ there has to be someone who like a psychological doctor can diagnose the problem. We all try but all that we seem to do is to apply our specific, and often tendentious, interpretive opinion.

      1a) And to the issue of those who have instigated these conflicts: take for example it is said that George Soros contributed a great deal of money to BLM and the implication on the part of those who mention this is that he is acting to create disturbances, unsettle things: a common Internet narrative (and one that dove-tails with anti-Jewish narratives).

      I theorize that there are definitely ‘larger interests’ that stand behind these instigations but I suppose too that it is in their interest to remain unseen and invisible (to the degree that is possible) and I have no idea who they are. Is Donald Trump doing something that so upsets the plans of powerful ‘elites’ and those who have designed a certain world economic system that they will do everything they can to get him out? What are those interests? None of this is clear to me. George Friedman points out that we are entering a phase of world war of-a-sort but this touches on global issues of which I know little.

      Culture in the United States is rather mercurial and quixotic. It moves according to its own rhythms and *internal logic*. But there are always forces (powers, capital concentrations, governmental interests and also intelligence interests) that mold culture: who make efforts to direct social manifestations into channels that they control and benefit from.

      So whatever is happening today is really an entire group of different (independent) things or perhaps ‘strains’ is the word. And each sector has an *interest*. And some sectors have much more power than the others. Just as an example if ‘government and capital’ are recognized as one sector it has to be understood that they have specific interests. And they also have a very different, but very extensive and persevering, sort of power: they can devise a long-term plan and stick to it and they have tremendous resources at hand.

      Is this a spontaneous uprising? That assertion is contradicted by the fact that this ‘street revolution’ essentially was presented on TeeVee. In a way it is TeeVee Program! Were the riots on the Sixties presented by government and Media to the populace as a recommended activism? I do not think it was instigated or encouraged at all. But this time around? It is the System itself that is presenting it. And yet there is — there must be, right? — a spontaneous element that is built on.

  9. The attack on America escalated when NFL players began “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem, one of the main symbols of our nation and its values. The players and their spiritual leader, Colin Kaepernick, made incoherent efforts to explain why their disrespect during the Anthem wasn’t aimed at the melody, but at the nation it—well, the racism that—well, they never could manage to explain their logic. That’s because the protest was really aimed at the United States itself.

    He was even more incoherent than the Westboro Baptist Church.

    I would not be surprised if he joined that church.

    President Trump condemned the kneelers in his trademark ham-handed manner, and then the protest became about him, and thus the Presidency, another symbol of the nation.

    He was not president yet when he condemned the kneelers.

    For more than three years, the core symbols and institutions that make up the foundation of our culture have been under relentless attack, led by the “resistance” and its allied mainstream media.

    It seems that they are resisting America itself.

    Who really is behind this? Attacking America itself, defacing or topplying statues of Presidents and abolitionists can only discredit the campaign against racism and for equal protection.

  10. Jack wrote: “As with the less violent and more dignified—but no less dangerous— mobs that destroyed lives and reputations during the Red Scare and McCarthy Era.

    From Wiki:

    A “Red Scare” is the promotion of a widespread fear of a potential rise of communism or anarchism by a society or state. The name refers to the red flags that the communists use. The term is most often used to refer to two periods in the history of the United States which are referred to by this name. The First Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War I, revolved around a perceived threat from the American labor movement, anarchist revolution and political radicalism. The Second Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War II, was preoccupied with the perception that national or foreign communists were infiltrating or subverting U.S. society and the federal government.

    This is where your interpretation of American history genuinely confuses me. There are some who now say that there really was a genuine threat and that it had to be opposed. I suggest that this definitely seems to be true when one considers what Marxist activism has done, over time, in America. That is to say the Soft Marxism of the Herbert Marcuse’s … the one separated from Stalinist terror.

    Do you have a conception of Marxist infiltration of American society? Do you have thoughts on how communist-like ideas began to seep into the American system? Do you have a critical position based on a specific conception?

    Do you oppose or support the State war by the US government (and its political police and intelligence apparatus) against the Black Liberation Army? Against those groups that became guerrilla cells? Do you see the will to overthrow in any other context? What about those who like operatives work within a communist-like or socialist-like praxis?

    Was there, or was there not, solid reasons to think and perceive in terms of a substantial and genuine Communist threat? Was there, or was there not, a genuine threat of Communist take-over in Europe at the start of the 20th Century? Was there, or was there not, good reasons for the State to resist it? Was there, or was there not, good reasons for sectors of the populace to oppose it and to counter-act against it? At what point in struggle against such an enemy become ‘politics by other means’ (i.e. war according to von Clausewitz).

    You are drawing a parallel between the intellectuals aligned with the State and state power who opposed ‘communist infiltration’ and the BLM Movement — but what an odd parallel. I do not understand how you can see this as working. The one contradicts the other.

    There are people today, people who search, in some desperation I must say for an interpretive and explanatory narrative, who propose that BLM and this radical Democratic activism, along with the interests that operate through the NYTs, are working literally to undermine the structures of the USA. They seem to be interested in installing a socialistic state of some sort or another.

    And what is your view of this? That they should simply be able to carry on with no opposition? The ramifications of this are extreme.

    Your implication is that the Red Scare(s) had no basis in real concerns? But if one cannot have a real concern about Communism, how could one then propose to have one about Nazism? Yet you do have an extremely adamant one about Nazism. Indeed you justify, with no reservations, the way to destroy Nazism and fascism.

    Is what is going on today — a social system on the verge of a social revolution conducted by interests within the State, that have penetrated deeply into the State — an outcome of the Communist infiltration?

    As I say your views are confusing and I do not understand them.

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