Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On the Danger of Removing or Destroying Historical Monuments

It began during the French Revolution, when they demolished the statues of the kings. The Communists perfected the trend of removing unpleasant reminders of Russia's imperial past, which spread from the taking down of statues to the erasure of politically incorrect persons from history books. By altering the historical record, Marxists and other revolutionaries have sought to control society. Erasing history transforms citizens into slaves, for their past has been stolen.

According to Matt Walsh:
The city of New Orleans completed its purge of its own history last week when a statue of Robert E. Lee was torn down. Throngs of historically illiterate people stood by and cheered as a monument to one of this country’s greatest generals was destroyed. On social media, many more applauded the move, demonstrating a level of disrespect and contempt for General Lee that his enemies on the battlefield did not even have. When General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, the victors treated Lee and his men with dignity and honor. It took 150 years for Lee to become nothing but a cowardly, racist traitor, as he’s been described by the noted historians on Twitter.

I have long been of the opinion that one must refrain from forming concrete opinions of historical events and historical figures if one has never read a history book. And if the pitchfork mob would stop for a moment to read a book about Robert E. Lee, they would learn that he was far from the slobbering, slave-owning, treasonous bigot they make him out to be. Indeed, Lee never purchased a single slave. The slaves he inherited from his wife’s family, he freed long before the end of the war. Lee considered slavery to be a “moral and political evil,” which means he condemned it in harsher terms than even many of his northern counterparts ever did.

No, he did not consider the black race to be completely equal to the white race, but — contrary to the cartoonish portrayal of the Northern warriors for racial equality that you get from public schools — hardly anybody on either side believed in true racial equality. Lincoln thought the black race to be in every way inferior (“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races”), but, rather than enslaving them, he preferred shipping them all back to Africa. Lincoln also did not favor fighting a war to end slavery (“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”), and in that way his opinion of the peculiar institution was practically identical to Robert E. Lee’s. (Read more.)

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