Balkinization  

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Written in Stone 2020

Sandy Levinson

 I have been immensely interested in the many debates surrounding statues, flag designs, and the naming of buildings, universities, and even lakes in the past several months.  The Duke University Press published in September 2018 a second edition of my 1998 book Written in Stone:  Public Monuments in Changing Societies.  2018 seems like far more than two years ago, even if one takes into account the fact that I was adding to my 20,000 word "afterword" until literally the day the book went to print in June of that year.  What follows is a slightly edited version of comments I contributed to the Web site of the Duke University Press, where, incidentally, the Press is offering, through August 31,  a 40% discount on the book with coupon code STONE40.  
This fall, for the third time, I will be teaching a “reading course” at the Harvard Law School on “Monuments and Memorialization.” Needless to say, among the readings have been (and probably will continue to be) my Duke University Press book Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies.  Originally published in 1998, the Press published a second edition in 2018, with what turned out to be a new afterword of some 20,000 words, together with a new cover—a picture of Robert E. Lee’s statue being removed from Lee Circle in New Orleans—and a variety of other new photographs of controversial monuments. When the second edition was initially planned in 2016, the thought was that I would write a new afterword of about 5,000 words and that the new edition would be published in early 2018 (at the latest). As John Lennon famously sang, though, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  Among the things that happened between initial plan and publication in September 2018 was the August  2017 March on Charlottesville, Virginia, and the ensuing taking down of many monuments, particularly in the states of the Confederacy. That march was inspired, in many ways, by the reaction to the earlier massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, which led, for example, to the taking down of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol.  The Charlottesville City Council had voted to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, decisions that generated both applause and protest.
And, of course, at the present time the entire country is experiencing the aftermath of the murder by a Minneapolis police officer of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including the renewed attention on monuments (and building names) across the country. For example, Lake Calhoun, in Minneapolis, named after John C. Calhoun, the leading defender of the slavocracy in his long career in American politics, was renamed, though not without controversy, Bde Maka Ska, described by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as “its original Dakota name.
Written in StoneGiven recent events in Minneapolis; Richmond, Virginia; Bristol, England; and Brussels, Belgium, to name only a handful of recent locales where monuments have come down or places renamed, some friends have encouraged me to prepare a third edition of Written in Stone. Putting to one side whether the Press would be receptive, so soon after the second edition, there is a very good reason for not doing so at the present time: Such an edition, at least at this time, would have to be published in a loose-leaf version! As I prepare my syllabus for the course this fall, I find myself revising it almost literally every day, as new actions are undertaken and arguments presented. Just this past week, for example, the Mississippi legislature at long last agreed to remove the Confederate Stars and Bars from its state flag, even as now appears quite likely that Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, will drop Robert E. Lee’s name.  No doubt, though, some students, both African-American and white, might at least wonder why the slaveowning George Washington deserves continued honor.  Bret Stephens, in the New York Times, offers one thoughtful answer:  George Washington did attempt to make us, overall, a "more perfect Union," whatever his acknowledged faults, whereas no one could make that argument about Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis.  [UPDATE:  I have now read Charles Blow's truly mind-blowing piece in the Times, entitled "Yes, Even George Washington," that I believe that anyone wishing to comment on this posting has a duty to read.  Among other things, I regret to say, it exposes the absolute vacuity of Joe Biden's effort to provide a way of distinguishing between those whose monuments deserve to remain in place and those who don't.  We are rapidly moving beyond a "mere" focus on those who took up arms between 1861-65 to secede from the United States.  Biden would presumably preserve monuments, say, to John C. Calhoun and James Vardaman, for starters. And how does he explain to Native Americans why Andrew Jackson deserves his place of honor literally across the street from the White House?   He should have learned from his romantic evocation of the days he worked with the viciously segregationist James Eastland to think more deeply before committing yet one more gaffe.  This is one of the reasons that his supporters, of whom I am one, hope that he basically remains in the basement as much as possible.]
Most notably, perhaps, Princeton University, after deciding in 2018 to retain Woodrow Wilson’s name for its eminent School of Public Affairs, announced that it would drop it. Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining his own change of mind. Eisgruber took note of “Wilson’s genuine achievements,” not to mention his centrality to the development of Princeton because of his service as one of Eisgruber’s predecessors. Wilson, therefore, “is a far different figure than John C. Calhoun or Robert E. Lee, people whose pro-slavery commitments defined their careers and who were sometimes honored for the purpose of supporting segregation or racism. Princeton honored Wilson without regard to, and perhaps even in ignorance of, his racism.” Eisgruber now believes that “ignorance” was “precisely the problem. Princeton is part of an America that has too often disregarded, ignored and turned a blind eye to racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against black people….”  There is nothing innocent about naming programs or buildings. “When a university names its public policy school for a political leader, it inevitably offers the honoree as a role model for its students. However grand some of Wilson’s achievements may have been, his racism disqualifies him from that role.” It is no longer possible to “disregard or ignore racism when deciding whom we hold up to our students as heroes or role models…. Our commitment to eliminate racism must be unequivocal, and that is why we removed the name of Princeton’s modern-day founder from its School of Public and International Affairs.”
Fortunately, Written in Stone, especially in its expanded second edition, pays extended attention to a number of analyses of policies about monuments that were prepared at a variety of universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, and the University of Texas, as well as by a special committee appointed by the Mayor of New York. I also treat at length an absolutely remarkable speech by former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu explaining his decision to remove a number of Confederate statues from the city’s public space, including the aforementioned one of Robert E. Lee.  So, self-servingly, I think there is good reason to read the 2018 edition even if, to some extent, it has been overtaken by events.
At the present time, there are two central issues at the forefront of the controversy over monuments and memorialization. First, who exactly deserves the kind of public honor that is conveyed, say, by a statue in front of a major public building? In New York City, for example, a statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the New York Museum of Natural History that was explicitly considered by the Mayor’s Committee, which recommended against removing it, has now been slated for removal because it demeans African- and Native-Americans in placing them in a decidedly subordinate position to Roosevelt atop his horse. Many statues of Christopher Columbus are being removed, not to mention, of course, the myriad of statues honoring those who took up arms against the United States in 1861-65 and vigorously advocated the maintenance of white supremacy (including lynchings) thereafter. Oriel College at Oxford is now under renewed pressure, discussed in the 2018 Afterword, to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from its entrance, given the vital role he played in British imperialism in Africa.  (There are also pleas to rename Rhodes House at Oxford and, indeed, to remove Rhodes from the name of what are undoubtedly the most prestigious scholarships in the world today.)  Some of these examples seem quite easy to resolve.  Others, as with Roosevelt, Columbus, or Woodrow Wilson, appear considerably more difficult.
But, especially to a lawyer like myself, a second important issue involves the process by which decisions to remove (or maintain) statues or to rename buildings or, as in Minnesota, lakes, should be made. Even if one heartily approves, for example, of attempts to remove the slaveowning and anti-Native American Andrew Jackson’s statue from Lafayette Park, in Washington, one can, at the same time, be disturbed if that decision, in effect, is made by demonstrators (or, as some people might wish to describe them, a “mob”). It is not simply that a structured process would give people an opportunity to make a variety of conflicting arguments, with the final decision made by bodies ranging from a city council to the voters in a local referendum; rather, it is almost certainly also the case that the losers who might lament the demotion of their own “heroes” from the public square might at least feel somewhat mollified if they felt they had a fair opportunity to make their arguments and they lost “fair and square.”
In any event, it is clear that there will be ample opportunity in the future to continue to debate monuments and memorialization.  Once one becomes aware of the extent, as Eisgruber rightly notes, that these are not "natural" occurrences in the world, but, instead, deliberate attempts by various elites or social movements to mold public consciousness as to who should be admired or emulated, then the conversations--whether at a seminar table or in the streets--are never ending.  This is, of course, especially true in pluralistic--some would say "fragmented"--societies that have become more and more open to the articulation of often conflicting viewpoints about heroes and villains and, therefore, the allocation of public honor and respect.


Comments:

Good lack Sandy with that third edition, and don't wait forever, you will have finally to make your decision up.

By the way, speaking of all over the world unrest concerning the issue of symbols and statues and monuments and reconstructing history, the very recent one, is Belgium, titled:

" Belgian petition to remove statues of colonial king gathers pace amid George Floyd protests "

Here:

https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/05/belgian-petition-to-remove-statues-of-colonial-king-gathers-pace-amid-george-floyd-protest

But, in my view, you have ignored the real one, with that respectable President of Princeton ( in that op- ed in the WP). It seems, that only that event, with George Floyd, caused him finally or decisively to support the removal of Woodrow Wilson's name from the school. For, in 2015 he supported the recommendation of the committee to be " more inclusive and to recount its history, including Wilson's racism , more honestly", yet, not removing his name. Latter, or only recently it seems, the ring of the bells have reached him, and due to that event with George Floyd, he has become more determined.

Each one, and his own take on it.....In my view, this is the most essential part in that post.

Thanks





 

I have long thought there are some problems with the movement name 'Black Lives Matter.' But I think one of the strongest senses of the name appears as this debate over monuments and commemorative symbols plays out. If Black Lives Mattered in the same way that white lives did to people I don't think there would even be much debate about whether statues of men who strongly supported and strove for the total enslavement, rape, torture and murder of those lives should be venerated in our public squares.
 

I own one version of this book and it was interesting reading.
 

Good luck, over "good lack" of course in my comment above.....apologizing
 

"If Black Lives Mattered in the same way that white lives did to people I don't think there would even be much debate about whether statues of men who strongly supported and strove for the total enslavement, rape, torture and murder of those lives should be venerated in our public squares."

Personally, as a white, I've never felt that the lives of my whole race would cease to matter if a statute I found offensive wasn't torn down. And it's not like there aren't multiple statues of Lenin and similar monsters around standing intact. With the mob conspicuously leaving them unmolested.

The very idea should be regarded as insulting, it's a childish level of reasoning that supposes your life can't matter unless everything you find offensive is destroyed. How weak of a self image would you need to have for that to even start to seem reasonable?

I don't think BLM really cares about black lives. Enormously, absurdly more blacks are murdered by black criminals, than are shot by police, and of the police shootings, most are of violent criminals in the context of a crime. Each year the number of innocent blacks shot by police is countably small.

And yet, what is the apparent goal of BLM? To strip black communities of police protection!

So, give me a break. The idea that tearing down these statues has anything to do with black lives mattering is an insulting lie. They're even tearing down statues of abolitionists! Don't piss on me and tell me it's raining.
 

One of our resident racists thinks that there is no reason to remove monuments to traitors who fought to preserve slavery. Shocking.
 

In part since the mentality goes past our readers, I thus reply.

Personally, as a white, I've never felt that the lives of my whole race would cease to matter if a statute I found offensive wasn't torn down.

(Reading) He said "in the same way" ... not "cease to matter."

What is this business about Lenin? The pulling down of statues of tyrants in other countries was very well pulled down by people because of their victims. Some were left standing. And, every statue isn't pulled down here either. Plus, the people of Russia had some role in putting Lenin in and remaining in power. Unlike slaves here.

In this country, "as a white," though serving black people per public accommodations laws is deemed a form of troubling involuntary servitude by some, a white person isn't in the same position as a black person historically or today.

The very idea should be regarded as insulting, it's a childish level of reasoning that supposes your life can't matter unless everything you find offensive is destroyed. How weak of a self image would you need to have for that to even start to seem reasonable?

Again, he didn't actually say "can't matter" -- he said "in the same way." But, the very idea that pulling down statues, and not just by "mobs" (even pressure from protest, as is the actual way most statues come down), is so emotionally laden here seems a bit silly too. The idea that history is being erased. "As a white" etc.

I don't think BLM really cares about black lives.

The actual movement is made up of a range of people who in a range of ways -- in part because they or their loved ones are affected -- by any rational sense -- even "as a white" -- to me very well appear to care. But, maybe as Rene Descartes said about animals feeling pain, there is some machine like quality to them.

Enormously, absurdly more blacks are murdered by black criminals, than are shot by police, and of the police shootings, most are of violent criminals in the context of a crime. Each year the number of innocent blacks shot by police is countably small.

Conservative handwaves abuse or at least unfortunate results of government power. Maybe, a libertarian will stop by.

And yet, what is the apparent goal of BLM? To strip black communities of police protection!

It is amusing that the person writing this spoke of supporting an anarchist mentality to the sarcasm of Shag and others. The "protection" net is far from clear. Those who actually wish to seriously examine their position -- and not just BLM promotes this -- can research how in a range of ways they see public safety best obtained in other ways. See, e.g., here: https://www.thedigitalabolitionist.com/resources

(There is also a realization of many that police won't suddenly disappear. The aim is reduce their footprint in various ways including, e.g., not having multiple armed police go to deal with an apparently intoxicated person and end of shooting him dead.)

The idea that tearing down these statues has anything to do with black lives mattering is an insulting lie. They're even tearing down statues of abolitionists!

Yes, why would tearing down celebrations of a war fought to extend slavery have anything to do with black lives mattering? As to excesses, again, amused that someone who promotes a point of view with hyperbole will find some exaggerated and/or confused examples damns the whole cause. And, looking at what Mr. W. actually said, he very well (as a conservative sort really) is concerned such excesses. But, again, that does not damn the basic core issue.
 

While I agree that there should be an orderly, legitimate process to decide whether to remove a monument to a racist or similar monster, the idea of Jackson’s statue being felled by a “mob” does pack a certain delicious irony.
 

"Conservative handwaves abuse or at least unfortunate results of government power. Maybe, a libertarian will stop by."

You're the one handwaving away reality here. Every innocent life taken by police is at best a tragedy, often better described as an atrocity. But, at the same time, if you think lives matter, you don't focus like a laser on the rarest of rare causes of death, and blow off the much more frequent. Worse than blow the more frequent off, in fact!

Just as, if you think black lives matter in the same way as white lives, you don't turn, enraged, on anyone who says "All lives matter.". If you think black lives matter in the same way, anybody who says that is agreeing with you!

You're ignoring the "tells" that BLM isn't being honest about its goals.
 

"Personally, as a white, I've never felt that the lives of my whole race would cease to matter if a statute I found offensive wasn't torn down. And it's not like there aren't multiple statues of Lenin and similar monsters around standing intact. "

There's so much obtuseness in Bircher Brett's comment, but this part encapsulates it. 'As a white' who is not good at putting himself in other's shoes he doesn't get what it's like for black people in this situation. He has to imagine that a statue of Lenin in Seattle is equivalent in offensiveness to the hundreds of statues of Confederates that litter our nation. If Bircher Brett were Ukranian and had to pass the Lenin statue every day he might have a point. The majority of Confederate statues are in majority black cities, in the most prominent positions. They were adopted usually decades after the Civil War as part of movements to re-assert white supremacy over the very brief Reconstruction period, as a message to blacks of 'we are in charge here, not you.' They are celebrations of the white supremacist movement that ruled that area and involved the torture, murder, rape and enslavement of the great grandparents of the black persons today in the streets calling for them to finally come down. And Bircher Brett thinks a Lenin statue in Seattle is the equivalent....That really says it all, doesn't it?

Well, maybe something else should be said. Something about a person whose political ideology supposedly values 'liberty' so much it's built into their self-identification but who defends monuments to the single most violating of the principle movement in our nation, a person who identifies as a libertarian but defends monuments to the worst period re: liberty in our history, not just the period but the chief persons working to violate liberty at the time. That says it all, doesn't it?
 

" But, at the same time, if you think lives matter, you don't focus like a laser on the rarest of rare causes of death, and blow off the much more frequent."

This is an oft repeated sentiment. It's silly. Take this analogy: there are between 200,000-400,000 guns stolen each year, yet gun rights supporters are publicly animated by the rare instances whenever law enforcement take someone's gun in a way they think is contrary to the 2nd Amendment.
 

"Just as, if you think black lives matter in the same way as white lives, you don't turn, enraged, on anyone who says "All lives matter.". If you think black lives matter in the same way, anybody who says that is agreeing with you!"

The point of the slogan 'black lives matter' is 'we don't think you get that black lives are not being valued the same as other lives.' When you answer 'of course, all lives matter' you're saying 'I don't get it.'

But of course, we're referring to a person who thinks monuments to people whose chief fame in life lies in their work to maintain and expand the enslavement, murder, torture and rape of black lives are fine and dandy.
 

"'As a white' who is not good at putting himself in other's shoes he doesn't get what it's like for black people in this situation."

When somebody is talking about black lives mattering in the same way white lives matter, they're inherently asking for the perspective from MY shoes, not their own. They're saying they want status equivalent to whites.

Thus I pointed out that it is not seen by whites as necessary that statuary that offends them be destroyed for their lives to matter. We would not even regard the statuary as relevant to whether our lives matter!

You want reality? Reality is that deaths at the hands of cops are a larger percentage of white homicides than black homicides; While blacks are more likely to be shot by cops than whites, they are much, much more likely to be homicide victims than whites, so while the percentage of homicides the cops are responsible for is tiny for both groups, it's actually smaller for blacks.

So BLM is not just making a fuss about a tiny percentage of black homicides, while ignoring the bulk of them, they're pretending it's a racial thing, when the statistics show the racial disparity runs the other way!

You're blowing off a lot of details here which demonstrate that BLM is at best irrational, and more reasonably, just complaining about these rare shootings as a pretext to pursue other goals. (And not goals particularly helpful to the black community, either.)
 

"Thus I pointed out that it is not seen by whites as necessary that statuary that offends them be destroyed for their lives to matter. We would not even regard the statuary as relevant to whether our lives matter! "

Of course, because there are no hundreds of statues to black supremacy and the enslavement, torture, murder and rape of whites literally on pedestals in the public squares of our cities. The fact that there are the reverse and that white persons such as Bircher Brett cannot even conceive of that being problematic for black persons speaks volumes, doesn't it?
 

"So BLM is not just making a fuss about a tiny percentage of black homicides, while ignoring the bulk of them,"

The percentage of guns wrongly confiscated by the police is a tiny percentage of gun takings, yet I've not seen a single NRA protest about private gun thefts...
 

Let's be clear too. White conservatives totally understand how symbols can offend. When we have sporting events we ask everyone to focus on a piece of cloth and sing a song about it, and if someone has the temerity to *quietly kneel* during that song white conservatives get *very* outraged, calling for the person to be fired for one thing. They argue that the quiet kneeling has demeaned and disgraced, for example, our men and women in the fighting forces.

But when black people get outraged because there are hundreds of towering monuments to the effort to the white supremacist effort to enslave, murder, torture and rape black persons literally on pedestals in key places in public squares they call them childish.

It's almost as if black sensibilities, their freedom and lives, don't seem to figure or 'matter' as much in these white conservatives thinking.
 

I pointed out that it is not seen by whites as necessary that statuary that offends them be destroyed for their lives to matter. We would not even regard the statuary as relevant to whether our lives matter!

Is it possible that whites and blacks are differently situated wrt some statues? Besides, your use of the word "offends" minimizes the effect. These are not esthetic objections. "Insults," "demeans," perhaps other stronger words, are closer to accurate. The statues, to some extent, do exactly what their defenders claim their removal does. They erase history. They do that by ignoring black history, just as those who claim the Confederates were fighting for Southern rights ignore the rights of blacks.

As for Lenin, the only statue to Lenin I am aware of is the one in Seattle. I actually lived there when it arrived, having been, IIRC, purchased from a Russian town around 1993 by a local businessman, who erected it in a parking lot in a more or less iconoclastic section of town. It was regarded as a curiosity, given the recent fall of the USSR, not an attempt to honor Lenin.
 

"But when black people get outraged because there are hundreds of towering monuments to the effort to the white supremacist effort to enslave, murder, torture and rape black persons literally on pedestals in key places in public squares they call them childish.."

I'm not calling them childish, because they're being much worse than that. They're tearing down statues of abolitionists! The Lincoln monument got defaced, how many slaves did he own again? Union statutes are being attacked along with Confederate. Ghandi gets torn down. They're removing a statue of the only President Roosevelt who didn't put minorities in concentration camps.

You're trying to pretend that this is a reasonable movement, but it's not. It's an effort to recreate the Chinese Cultural Revolution here in America, by Marxists using racial tensions as the tinder for that fire.

BLM might have started out as a reasonable cause, but it got transformed into a front group for something much darker, and that explains a lot of what they're doing which is otherwise nonsensical.
 

Brett sees "Marxists" behind the statue-destruction frenzy?

True John Birch Society levels of paranoia there. What normal people see is a flailing, disorganized, group of young people who have been cooped up for a couple of months.

When the bathwater is thrown out by an excited enough group of people, it's inevitable that a few babies are going to go with it. But that doesn't indicate intent to anyone looking at the big picture.
 

Again, Bircher Brett can't even conceive why black persons don't want to have to pass by statues glorifying the movement to maintain and expand their enslavement, murder, rape and torture. It must be the working of Marxists.
 

The main feature of current attempts to erase history like tearing down monuments is hypocrisy.

The Democrats here can speak to the need to tear down monuments to racists when they agree to destroy every monument to Democrats imposing, protecting or participating in slavery, Jim Crow and any other form of government racial discrimination.

The Democrats here can speak to the need to tear down monuments to secessionists when they repudiate current secessionist movements in their party, some of which the folks here openly support.

The Democrats here can speak to the need to tear down monuments to extra-judicial government murder when they agree to destroy every monument to socialists, national socialists and communists.

The Democrats here can speak to the need to repudiate and "cancel" organizations which advanced racism and white supremacy when they agree to dissolve their own political party.
 

And Bircher Brett's handwave about the handful of more questionable attacks on statues (some of which have important context to them btw-e.g., the TR statue has him elevated above persons of color, ditto with the controversial Lincoln one) is exactly that, he opposed the removal of the primary concern of the protests, Confederate statues long before the more questionable ones.
 

"Again, Bircher Brett can't even conceive why black persons don't want to have to pass by statues glorifying the movement to maintain and expand their enslavement, murder, rape and torture. It must be the working of Marxists."

Yes, I'm just imagining there are Marxists involved.
 

"erase history"

There is no erasing of history in calling for taking down monuments that whitewash history.

"Democrats here can speak to the need to tear down monuments to racists when they agree to destroy every monument to Democrats imposing, protecting or participating in slavery, Jim Crow and any other form of government racial discrimination. "

They are working on that. It's only Republicans who currently support monuments glorifying those who worked to expand and maintain slavery and Jim Crow.
 

Of course among thousands of thousands of protesters you will find people of all kinds of motivation or ideology. So yes, 'Marxists' are probably involved. But they are hardly the mainstream of these protests. Black people, most of who are hardly Marxists, are tired of their governments glorifying the people who worked to maintain and expand their mass enslavement, murder, rape and torture. It's amazing Republicans can't understand that.
 

A funny story my family from Virginia told me. During a debate in the then GOP controlled legislature about removing Confederate monuments a GOP legislator tried to insert what he thought would be a 'poison pill' to torpedo the effort calling for taking down a commemoration of segregationist Democrat Harry Byrd. The Democrats unaimously supported it so the GOP legislator pulled it.

It's only Republicans who currently support the glorification of white supremacists. It's almost like the history and dignity of black persons doesn't, you know, matter to them.
 

Odd. It was only the other day that Bart was criticizing people for not pointing out how Woodrow Wilson, et al, should also not be celebrated. Yet today he's complaining about "erasing" history (apparently he thinks history only exists because of statues), and now wants to destroy all statues of people he doesn't approve of.

 

Btw-it's silly to argue for the continuing glorification of the Confederacy by making ad hominens about 'Black Lives Matter' leaders or targets for several reasons. First, Black Lives Matter is a movement, not an organization, similar to the Tea Party for example. There is no one leader, founder, organization, order-giver. It's lots of different groups of people, the mainstream of people participating in the movement is certainly not interested in taking down Lincoln or Grant statues. Secondly, it is not only BLM that wants to stop glorifying Confederate statues, it's a lot of people, most who have no affiliation with anything 'Black Lives Matter,' for a long time that have seen this as morally and intellectually indefensible.

It's only conservatives that are so ardently dedicated to the further glorification of a movement primarily concerned with the mass enslavement, murder, rape and torture of black people in the name of white supremacy. Only conservatives. Note our two here can't bring themselves to write: we should stop glorifying the Confederacy. They can't. Glorification of the Confederacy is just fine and dandy with them.
 

Bircher Bart doesn't want all statues to be taken down. What Bircher Bart wants is for statues of Confederate leaders to stay up. He thinks they are great men. Supporting the maintenance and expansion of the enslavement, murder, rape and torture of black persons is simply not a disqualifer for what he thinks of as a great man.
 

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"Only conservatives. Note our two here can't bring themselves to write: we should stop glorifying the Confederacy."

I don't equate failing to destroy monuments with glorifying the Confederacy. And let's not pretend they're only going after Confederate monuments. They've literally attacked the Emancipation Memorial, on the basis that they don't like the pose the slave is in, (Rising from his knees above broken shackles, not ON his knees!) and that monument was paid for by former slaves!

But I've said before I'm open to relocating them, (Even to a "park of shame" if it comes to it.) in a few years, after the riots have ended and the mobs have been dispersed, if that is the result of calm reflection and the democratic process.

Doing it right now is just appeasing a mob, something I'm not inclined to do even if I did agree with the mob.
 

Mr. W: There is no erasing of history in calling for taking down monuments that whitewash history.

What? How does a statue portraying the likeness of a historical figure "whitewash history."

BD: "Democrats here can speak to the need to tear down monuments to racists when they agree to destroy every monument to Democrats imposing, protecting or participating in slavery, Jim Crow and any other form of government racial discrimination. "

Mr. W: They are working on that.


:::chuckle::: And where are the Democrats removing monuments to their leaders imposing, protecting or participating in slavery, Jim Crow and any other form of government racial discrimination?

You are one of the hypocrites who have no standing to comment on this issue.
 

Statues glorifying Confederate leaders as wise statespersons and glorious soldiers elide what they were statespersons and soldiers for, which was the maintenance and expansion of the slavery, murder, rape and torture of black persons in the name of white supremacy.

"And where are the Democrats removing monuments to their leaders "

All of the Confederates were Democrats. In addition Andrew Jackson, Calhoun, Harry and Robert Byrd etc. have been targets as well as Woodrow Wilson. Democrats don't seem to care much for glorying white supremacists, whatever their party. It is only Republicans like Bircher Brett and Bart who ardently support the continued glorification of white supremacists. As you can see from this thread, they cannot write 'we should stop glorifying Confederate figures.' They can't.
 

Bart: "Forrest was elected a Memphis city alderman as a Democrat and served two consecutive terms."

Let's just start with the most egregious examples, OK? But I strongly suspect that all these statues were, in fact, of Democrats. So to take them down represents a long-overdue epiphany.
 

"I don't equate failing to destroy monuments with glorifying the Confederacy. "

That's correct, Bircher Brett wants monuments gloryfing the Confederacy to stay up.

As to Emancipation Memorial, Fredrick Douglass himself complained of the imagery. But imagery demeaning black people of course doesn't bother Bircher Brett. Their dignity doesn't really, well, matter.

"Doing it right now is just appeasing a mob"

People have been working for decades to remove these. Bircher Brett just wants these glorifications of Confederates to continue. It's important that black people continue to be demeaned by them daily in order to not appease 'the mob.'
 

Mr. W: All of the Confederates were Democrats. In addition Andrew Jackson, Calhoun, Harry and Robert Byrd etc. have been targets as well as Woodrow Wilson. Democrats don't seem to care much for glorying white supremacists, whatever their party. It is only Republicans like Bircher Brett and Bart who ardently support the continued glorification of white supremacists. As you can see from this thread, they cannot write 'we should stop glorifying Confederate figures.' They can't.

Confederates were Democrats who supported government racial discrimination and secession. See my comment above concerning hypocrisy on the latter subject.

Every single Democrat POTUS and nearly all of their elected representatives imposed, protected or participated in slavery, Jim Crow and any other form of government racial discrimination." Tear em all down, then you Democrats can talk.


 

Btw-in our archives we've had discussions of removing Confederate glorifications for years well before the mass protests we've seen recently. Bircher Brett opposed it then. This is just a rhetorical ploy, a looking for a current reason to base his support in.
 

Bircher Bart engages in a (historically false in many respects) tu quoque fallacy in order to try to hide his ardent desire for continued support for glorifying the Confederacy and other white supremacists. Remember, it is *only* Democrats who are calling and working to remove these glorifications of Confederates, and it is *only* Republicans who, like Bircher Bart who continue to support their glorification.
 

You're the one handwaving away reality here.

By providing an in depth reply including details on specifically what the rhetoric, actions and proposals means. Humpty Dumpty usage of language again.

Every innocent life taken by police is at best a tragedy, often better described as an atrocity. But, at the same time, if you think lives matter, you don't focus like a laser on the rarest of rare causes of death, and blow off the much more frequent. Worse than blow the more frequent off, in fact!

Strong responses to "atrocities" even by "mobs" would seem to be rather understandable but don't see much empathy or careful response here.

The "laser focus" is curious framing since the responses go much further than deaths. Thus, e.g., stop and frisk was a very controversial matter that had strong political implications in New York City and the Bloomberg presidential race.

The overall harm to communities are not "blown off" -- for decades, efforts were made to address the situation. Heavy-handed use of state power, which a conservative understandably is fine with as far as it seems [whatever their druthers in some ideal land is], including the police as currently used has been shown to be a dubious approach.

What about the "rarest of the rare"? A quick check: "In 2019, 1,004 people were shot and killed by police according to the Washington Post, whereas the "Mapping Police Violence" project counted 1,098 killed." Over a thousand. When it suits, conservatives and "libertarians" are concerned with a lot less than those numbers. Anyway, like with gun violence, death is but the most extreme. For every death, there are lots more non-lethal police/civilian happenings of special problem.

Just as, if you think black lives matter in the same way as white lives, you don't turn, enraged, on anyone who says "All lives matter.". If you think black lives matter in the same way, anybody who says that is agreeing with you!

No, they are continually phrasing it because ideologically they don't support the cause and/or miss what the slogan means. It is that black lives matter too & in practice they are not treated as equal. Instead of granting the reality, people get all cute about debating the slogan.

You're ignoring the "tells" that BLM isn't being honest about its goals.

Your subjective reading of "tells" counsels so much salt that it is bad for one's health.
 

C2H5OH said..."Forrest was elected a Memphis city alderman as a Democrat and served two consecutive terms." Let's just start with the most egregious examples, OK?

You mean the historical figures from states which have since turned Republican in an attempt to embarrass Republicans?

No, I will take you Democrats seriously when you start with destroying statues of Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, FDR and LBJ.
 

I don't equate failing to destroy monuments with glorifying the Confederacy.

Leaving in place monuments that glorify the Confederacy most certainly is "glorifying the Confederacy." It's unarguable. If you think Lee was a noble man you can't think he chose to fight for a loathesome cause. Yet of course that's precisely the message the statues send, rationalize how you will.


And let's not pretend they're only going after Confederate monuments.

OK, Brett. How do you feel about specifically Confederate monuments? Stay up, come down? No hiding behind "they want to tear down all the statues." Just tell us what you think about those, and why they should stay up, if you think they should.

Because what I see is a lot of crawfishing around to avoid admitting the obvious truth - that they are intended to honor men who in fact behaved disgracefully on any number of counts and should come down. That's what all that crap about Marxists and Forrest is, after all - a red herring intended to distract from the main question.
 

"In 2019, 1,004 people were shot and killed by police according to the Washington Post, whereas the "Mapping Police Violence" project counted 1,098 killed." Over a thousand."

Yes, over a thousand, the majority of them white, the majority of them criminals justifiably shot. I'd like it if it were lower, but evidence of a police war on blacks this is not.

The number of innocent blacks shot by police in any given year is barely in the double digits. A minute percentage of blacks murdered by their fellows. As I noted above, the percentage of white murder victims who were killed by police is actually higher!

If you thought black lives mattered, if you wanted to save black lives, police shootings is the last thing you'd get around to, not the first.
 

byomtov: Leaving in place monuments that glorify the Confederacy most certainly is "glorifying the Confederacy."

Nonsense.

(1) A statue portraying the person of a historical figure does not glorify anything. If you wish to provide historical context, put a plaque by the statue for the historically illiterate.

(2) Assuming your proposition that noting historical figures who sinned glorifies the sin, exactly what statues would you leave standing and why?
 

"OK, Brett. How do you feel about specifically Confederate monuments? Stay up, come down?"

I'm not big on tearing down monuments in general. Even if they're of bad people, they often have artistic merit. And they do represent history, even if unpleasant history.

Take Stone Mountain. You really want to dynamite it just because you don't like the subject of the carving? It's still a rather impressive bit of statuary.
 

(1) A statue portraying the person of a historical figure does not glorify anything. If you wish to provide historical context, put a plaque by the statue for the historically illiterate.

This is utter nonsense. Sure, somewhere there are statues not intended to honor their subjects. But the Confederate monuments were put in place specifically to glorify theirs, and the Confederacy as a whole. It's no accident that many appeared during the civil rights struggles of the mid-20th Century. Stop propagating idiocy.

2) Assuming your proposition that noting historical figures who sinned glorifies the sin, exactly what statues would you leave standing and why?

This is not my proposition. As usual you distort and misrepresent. My position is that we should not have statues that honor individuals who did absolutely nothing to deserve being so honored and whose best known and most significant activities were in fact extremely evil. Whatever their redeeming qualities - maybe they liked dogs - they are as nothing to what they did and fought for.
 

"statues of Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, FDR and LBJ."

I've seen Democrats call for stopping honoring Jefferson, Jackson and Wilson (it would be silly to target FDR and LBJ who left civil rights in better shape than when they found it). But of course Bircher Bart wants to change the subject to monuments who some Democrats don't want taken down to obfuscate the monuments he, and other conservatives, wants specifically to stay up: monuments to the cause of maintaining and expanding the mass slavery, murder, torture and rape of black people in the name of white supremacy.
 

Brett,

So you want the Confederate statues to stay up, in public? How about a museum instead?

Do you recognize that they are a deep insult - a big "f**k you, you don't matter" to African-Americans, much as statues of Nazis, however lovely as an esthetic matter, would be to Jews?

And don't start with plaques which no one is going to read.
 

"I'm not big on tearing down monuments in general. Even if they're of bad people, they often have artistic merit. And they do represent history, even if unpleasant history.

Take Stone Mountain. You really want to dynamite it just because you don't like the subject of the carving? It's still a rather impressive bit of statuary. "

See? The fact that they're monuments to the cause of maintaining and expanding the mass slavery, rape, murder and torture of black persons in the name of white supremacy just isn't a disqualifying thing for Birchers. Who cares if the glorify the most evil cause in our nations history and daily demean black people, some of them are pretty to look at.
 

Hundreds of people dead by the government is handwaved by the conservative who assumes most of them were "justified" deaths. The hole is just being dug deeper.

Deaths are far from the only thing protested against or subject to calls for serious reforms. As a human matter as as well as a matter of promotion of a cause, death does get special attention. Use of some emotional issue like this being somehow bad pool coming from certain people, given their record, is a tad amusing.

If people want to look past death to harm to person and property, the lack of dignity and equality of police as currently in place in certain communities, the perils of the criminal "justice" system etc., the activists have been on the case for years.
 

"But the Confederate monuments were put in place specifically to glorify theirs, and the Confederacy as a whole."

Exactly. The level of obtuseness in defending these things is amazing. These aren't neutral markers of history. That's why Atlanta doesn't have a statue of Sherman or Virginia one of George Thomas. These monuments are a big 'The Confederacy was AWESOME' message that Birchers think black people should have to pass every day because some of them are pretty to look at or something.
 

"So you want the Confederate statues to stay up, in public? How about a museum instead?"

Yeah, I'd be cool with a museum, or as I said, a "park of shame"; Plaques adding context would be fine, too. With the proviso that none of this should be done while the mobs are still in action.

"Who cares if the glorify the most evil cause in our nations history and daily demean black people, some of them are pretty to look at."

I suppose you'd burn many of the works of Goya, too? Or maybe torch this? It does "celebrate" a rather horrific incident, after all.

More and more I'm convinced leftists live in a demon haunted world, where inanimate objects are somehow imbued with evil or good, rather than just being hunks of dead matter.

 

There is also the conservative annoyance that apparently "the left" or whatever [let us call this the Justice Alito] are hypocritically crying foul. The conservative repeatedly cries foul of bias too in a variety of often confused ways too. We are not talking about an evenhanded cynicism about victimhood. As Mr. W. notes, there is a lot of conspiratorial hysteria mixed in here. So, glasshouses.

But, latching on to the alleged wrongs of the BLM to me is a counterproductive use of our time. It is noted, e.g., that more whites were dead by the hands of police. I don't know the exact breakdown here. In the past, I was upset that the data is not always clearly divided in coverage. But, to me the ultimate concern is also good policy.

On that front, I think serious changes regarding our use of the police and criminal justice reforms will benefit us all. Historically, such things are not equally applied. Things like race and poverty disproportionately burden certain people. But, reforms promoted by the "abolish police" or prison movements are intriguing as a whole. A conservative mentality would probably disagree, at least regarding the type of people supported at the polls and rhetoric except in maybe a "if I had my druthers" sort of way that is easily pushed aside to focus on so-called bad slogans.

All the same, it helps to accurately understand the BLM movement including its wide berth (including GLBT).
 

More and more I'm convinced leftists live in a demon haunted world, where inanimate objects are somehow imbued with evil or good, rather than just being hunks of dead matter.

Why are Trump supporters so concerned about retaining these things if they are just "dead matter"?

Symbols matter to humans. Clearly all sides here care. Likewise, a wedding ring is not just a bit of metal with a stone.
 

BD: (1) A statue portraying the person of a historical figure does not glorify anything. If you wish to provide historical context, put a plaque by the statue for the historically illiterate.

byomtov: This is utter nonsense. Sure, somewhere there are statues not intended to honor their subjects. But the Confederate monuments were put in place specifically to glorify theirs, and the Confederacy as a whole. It's no accident that many appeared during the civil rights struggles of the mid-20th Century. Stop propagating idiocy.


Under this reasoning, if a Nazi and a Holocaust survivor erected the identical statue of Adolf Hitler, the former statue should be removed for glorifying the historical figure, but the latter should not.

If the statute is a simple and accurate physical portrayal of the historical figure, it does not glorify anything.

BD: 2) Assuming your proposition that noting historical figures who sinned glorifies the sin, exactly what statues would you leave standing and why?

byomtov: This is not my proposition. As usual you distort and misrepresent. My position is that we should not have statues that honor individuals who did absolutely nothing to deserve being so honored and whose best known and most significant activities were in fact extremely evil. Whatever their redeeming qualities - maybe they liked dogs - they are as nothing to what they did and fought for.


This is a non-standard. Who gets to determine whether the historic figure is "extremely evil?" A Government? A mob? You?

For example, Colorado has a statue which portrays the historic figure Jeremiah Johnson and Robert Redford plays the man in a movie of the same name. The actual man was a cannibal more commonly known as "Liver Eating" Johnson because of his practice of eating the livers of Crow Indians he killed in a one man war with the tribe. The movie shows the killing, but not the cannibalism. The statue just shows the man, but a plaque describes the unvarnished history. Should we destroy the statue and/or the film? Why or why not?
 

"Why are Trump supporters so concerned about retaining these things if they are just "dead matter"?"

Because they're nice looking, and somebody put a lot of work into them, and I'm not down with assisting entropy? All the works of man will be dust soon enough, we don't have to help it along.

Yeah, why NOT burn Rubins' "The Rape of the Sabine Women"? What's the principled case for refraining, that doesn't protect Stone Mountain? Because you disapprove of the Confederacy, but are down with rape? Basically that's what you're accusing me of, after all: I'm not allowed to appreciate the artistic merits of works displaying something you disapprove of!


 

If Goya painted a celebration of the Confederacy I would oppose it being given a place of prominence in a public square.

"More and more I'm convinced leftists live in a demon haunted world, where inanimate objects are somehow imbued with evil or good, rather than just being hunks of dead matter."

Which side is obsessed with people showing the proper respect and deference to a piece of cloth again?
 

"If the statute is a simple and accurate physical portrayal of the historical figure, it does not glorify anything."

Again, this level of obtuseness is astounding. These monuments are literally on pedestals in prominent public squares. And, as noted, there are no similar ones of Union figures who were active and/or from the same era and area. These are commemorations of the Confederacy and its leaders, and our Birchers like that.

"Who gets to determine whether the historic figure is "extremely evil?" "

The statues are there because the people via their government determined they were figures worth honoring, it takes no more for the same people via their government to, with a fuller appreciation of history and the dignity of black persons, to make the decision to not honor them any longer.
 

And Bart? I'll take you seriously when it is not apparent that your problem with Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Jackson is that they were Democrats, not racists. I'm not going to hold my breath.
 

"I'm not down with assisting entropy?"

Good grief this is silly. I guess Bircher Brett weeps whenever there's a planned demolition of any structure.

"Yeah, why NOT burn Rubins' "The Rape of the Sabine Women"?"

Again, this obtuseness. Rubens picture is of a historical event not an endorsement of what's depicted. It also is not given a prominent place in a public square where Sabines have to pass by it regularly.

"I'm not allowed to appreciate the artistic merits of works displaying something you disapprove of!"

Bircher Brett doesn't get that its that his artistic appreciation outweighs the demeaning of black persons that disturbs us. Also, he doesn't get that no one is saying he can't look at artistic renditions of art all his live long day, but rather can these insulting monuments be forced on others by having the government display it in a prominent place in a public square.
 

Bircher Bart doesn't want any statue taken down, he's an ardent defender of monuments to white supremacy/slavery regardless of party.
 

"If Goya painted a celebration of the Confederacy I would oppose it being given a place of prominence in a public square."

But rape you're good with. This week. And you want me to believe it's some principled stance, and when some women's group goes after Rubens you'll stand at the walls in defense?
 

If I thought Rubens were glorifying the rape of Sabine women I would oppose putting the painting in a prominent position in a public square. This is easy. What should also be easy is that monuments to the awesomeness of a movement to maintain and expand mass slavery, torture murder and rape of black persons under white supremacy shouldn't be there either. Commemorations should be of things we think are worthy of commemoration, not for things we think are awful.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

One might notice that a large number of black persons in the United States are obviously some part white. A big chunk of that is literally due to their great-grandmothers being raped under the slavery the Confederacy was formed to maintain and expand. And Birchers Brett and Bart want their great-grandchildren to have to pass by monuments to the awesomeness of that movement and its leaders regularly. As I said initially, black dignity and lives just don't matter that much to them.
 

BD: "If the statute is a simple and accurate physical portrayal of the historical figure, it does not glorify anything."

Mr. W: Again, this level of obtuseness is astounding. These monuments are literally on pedestals in prominent public squares.


So, the measure of glorification is now location instead of the intent of the erectors.

OK, in your arbitrary opinion, what locations glorify a statue and which do not?
 

Bircher Bart pretends not to understand the concept of 'put on a pedestal' or 'place of prominence.'

Again, this is the kind of obtuseness one must engage in to defend these things. But Bircher Bart will stop at nothing in his ardent defense of the glorification of the mass slavery, murder, rape and torture of black persons.
 

C2H5OH said...And Bart? I'll take you seriously when it is not apparent that your problem with Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Jackson is that they were Democrats, not racists. I'm not going to hold my breath.

The terms are analogous. The Democratic Party was and remains the party of government racism.

If you were serious about eliminating celebrations of racism, you would not only destroy statues of this Democrat Hall of Fame, but also dissolve the party itself.


 

Mr. W: Bircher Bart pretends not to understand the concept of 'put on a pedestal' or 'place of prominence.'

Statues are generally placed on pedestals so they do not fall down.

I have no idea what you mean by a "place of prominence." Specifically, in your arbitrary opinion, what locations glorify a statue and which do not?
 

"If you were serious about eliminating celebrations of racism, you would not only destroy statues of this Democrat Hall of Fame, but also dissolve the party itself."

Again, Bircher Bart wants to change the subject to what monuments C2H5OH wants to take down or leave up to obfuscate that he wants monuments to the maintenance and expansion of mass slavery, murder, torture and rape to stay up. He admires these Confederate men and doesn't give a fig that the great-grandchildren of those enslaved, raped, murdered and tortured under the system the Confederates fought for have to be regularly demeaned in passing by these commemorations to the Confederacy.
 

Mr. W: And Birchers Brett and Bart want their great-grandchildren to have to pass by monuments to the awesomeness of that movement and its leaders regularly. As I said initially, black dignity and lives just don't matter that much to them.

Those who erase history are doomed to repeat it.

Anyone whose dignity is offended by the statue of a hundreds year old historical figure needs to reexamine their self worth.
 

"And Birchers Brett and Bart want their great-grandchildren to have to pass by monuments to the awesomeness of that movement and its leaders regularly."

Last summer I took my family to Stone Mountain. As massive sculpture goes, it's fairly impressive, and the hike to the top is some pleasant exercise. I was surrounded by people of all colors and nationalities, having a good time. Nobody seemed particularly anguished by the sight of the carving, just impressed at the scale of the work.

The park below the carving does have a Confederate museum, even if it is a bit out of the way, and mostly has to do with the mechanics of the sculpting. Mostly the park celebrates over-priced corndogs and amusement park rides.

Yes, it is possible for people, with some effort, to work themselves into a fit of anguish over just about anything, even statues of long dead people. It's no way to go through life, but some people do it all the same. And then, bizarrely, demand that everybody else share in their mania.
 

In his ardent admiration of glorification of the Confederacy Bircher Bart eschews the basic English language.

mon·u·ment
/ˈmänyəmənt/
Learn to pronounce
noun
noun: monument; plural noun: monuments

a statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.

com·mem·o·rate
/kəˈmeməˌrāt/
Learn to pronounce
verb
celebrate (an event, a person, or a situation) by doing or building something.

What we are talking about here are Confederate monuments, by definition celebrations of the Confederacy and its leaders. No amount of his wiggling and dancing can obfuscate that this is what he supports. Celebrations and glorification of the leaders and cause of the Confederacy, which was established to maintain and expand mass slavery, torture, rape and murder of black persons. Bircher Bart thinks that's fine and dandy.
 

Again, Bircher Brett's just not that bothered by KKK artwork glorifying the leaders of a movement formed to maintain and expand the mass enslavement, murder, rape and torture of the great-grandparents of the black people in his society. That matters little to him, he thought it looked pretty.
 

Mr. W:

You can stick your totalitarian guilt by association games slanders the Sun don't shine, hypocrite.

You vote for the party of government racial discrimination and personally support such discrimination.

The Irish end of the family fought for the Union in the Civil War and I vote for the party who freed the slaves and opposes government racial discrimination.

Your Stalinist belief in erasing history for political gain does not absolve you of your sins.
 

"even statues of long dead people"

What Bircher Brett doesn't get is that *continuing to celebrate a movement formed to further white conspiracy* is a *continuing injury.* The *people* depicted may be dead, but the 'The Confederacy was AWESOME' message continues as long as the work is given the imprimatur of a place of prominence and celebration in the public square. It sends a continuing message about how black people's lives and well being didn't, and doesn't matter much.
 

Bircher Bart hates discrimination so much that he's an ardent defender of celebrations of a movement built on maintaining and expanding the worst form of discrimination our nation ever experienced. He loves him some Confederacy.
 

Mr W:

mon·u·ment
/ˈmänyəmənt/
Learn to pronounce
noun
noun: monument; plural noun: monuments

a statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.

com·mem·o·rate
/kəˈmeməˌrāt/
Learn to pronounce
verb
celebrate (an event, a person, or a situation) by doing or building something.


In short, you actually wish to destroy depictions of historical figures you oppose, no matter where they are found,

Do you prefer to be compared with Stalin or the Taliban?
 

"Stalinist belief in erasing history"

Stopping the celebration of an evil cause from history is not erasing history at all.

In fact, the closest thing to an erasure of any history was in the Lost Cause movement that was behind the adoption of these celebrations of Confederate history that Bircher Bart loves so much.
 

"you actually wish to destroy depictions of historical figures you oppose, no matter where they are found"

I wish to stop celebrating Confederate figures, it can't be put much plainer. But Bircher Bart has to wiggle and jig because it's of course uncomfortable to be the ardent defender of celebrations of the Confederacy and the evils for which is stood that he is.

"Do you prefer to be compared with Stalin or the Taliban?"

I prefer to be compared to the Ukrainians who took down celebrations of Stalin, or the Allies who took down Nazi monuments, or the Iraqis who attacked and the US Marines who later toppled the celebration of Saddam Hussein.
 

Again, no one is talking about some random, neutral 'depictions of historical figures.' We are talking about Confederate monuments, which are by definition celebrations of Confederates. It is celebrations of Confederates and the Confederacy which Bircher Bart, and other conservatives, support.
 

Anyone whose dignity is offended by the statue of a hundreds year old historical figure needs to reexamine their self worth.

Anyone who is not willing to listen to what others say, and persists in telling them that their reactions are wrong needs to reexamine their values.

Anyone who can't see the problem with Confederate symbols is willfully blind.
 

If Bircher Bart and other conservatives cared for historicity they would be pushing with as much effort for a Sherman statue in Atlanta, a George Thomas or Grant statue in Richmond, etc., as they push in support of continuing celebrations of Confederates.

But they don't. Because what they like is celebrations of the Confederacy.
 

BD: "Stalinist belief in erasing history"

Mr. W:Stopping the celebration of an evil cause from history is not erasing history at all.


Stalin could not have said it better.

In fact, the closest thing to an erasure of any history was in the Lost Cause movement that was behind the adoption of these celebrations of Confederate history that Bircher Bart loves so much.

At least get your pretexts straight. Whoever erected the statues that offend you were either celebrating history or erasing it. They could not do both.
 

"Again, Bircher Brett's just not that bothered by KKK artwork glorifying the leaders of a movement formed to maintain and expand the mass enslavement, murder, rape and torture of the great-grandparents of the black people in his society."

Yes, and in my experience, most of those black people, being sane, aren't particularly bothered by it, either. I'd like to introduce you to a concept known as, "It happened, get over it."

The past is the past, it happened whether or not there are statues lying around, the statues don't make it have happened any more, tearing them down doesn't make it have happened any less, and sane people don't obsess over it.
 

Yes, it is possible for people, with some effort, to work themselves into a fit of anguish over just about anything, even statues of long dead people.

Wow. Is this obtuse.

Like Bart, you are here to tell people that their feelings, reactions, etc. about the glorification of the defenders of slaveholding and the Confederacy are just wrong. I mean if Brett Bellmore doesn't think something is important how can anyone disagree.

I notice that you carefully steer away from value judgments here, making esthetic arguments instead. Very cautious. Don't want to say what you really think about it?
 

Note they are careful to say the figures depicted are hundreds hundreds years old. Because most of these commemorations came at a different date, as part of an obvious message that with the Union gone and black persons getting 'uppity,' there was a reassertion that the Confederacy was AWESOME and people who felt that way were in charge. It's this that Birchers defend.
 

Mr. W: I prefer to be compared to the Ukrainians who took down celebrations of Stalin, or the Allies who took down Nazi monuments, or the Iraqis who attacked and the US Marines who later toppled the celebration of Saddam Hussein.

Excellent examples of folks very affirmatively attempting to erase history, as Stalin was and you are. Good analogy.
 

"The past is the past"

"It happened, get over it."

What Bircher Brett doesn't get is that *continuing to celebrate a movement formed to further white conspiracy* is a *continuing injury.* The *people* depicted may be dead, but the 'The Confederacy was AWESOME' message continues as long as the work is given the imprimatur of a place of prominence and celebration in the public square. It sends a continuing message about how black people's lives and well being didn't, and doesn't matter much.

And sane, moral people wouldn't want that message to continue.
 

"Excellent examples of folks very affirmatively attempting to erase history"

Of course not. They are examples of people who stopped the glorification of evil. They did it *because* they would not have history erased, but understood the glorifications whitewashed the evil.
 

Now Bircher Bart is for Saddam Hussein, Nazi and Stalin celebrations. This is where something as morally and intellectually bankrupt as being for Confederate celebrations leads.
 

The Iraq civilians that attacked the statue of Saddam Hussein were not thinking 'I want to erase history!' They were thinking of the history of Hussein's awful rule, looking at that depiction of him as a noble, glorious ruler, and deciding they could no longer have such a false depiction and celebration of awfulness stand. Ditto for those attacking Confederate statues.
 

Bart, so you think denying the removal of a statue in Graham, N.C., of which the following snippet talks:

"Confederate veteran Jacob A. Long, who also founded the county’s Ku Klux Klan branch, told the audience that they “have a common interest: to recall the achievements of the great and good of our own race and blood.” The monument is also standing at the site of the KKK lynching of Wyatt Outlaw in 1870, Graham’s first Black town commissioner."

is about "history"? Sure.
 

"What Bircher Brett doesn't get is that *continuing to celebrate a movement formed to further white conspiracy* is a *continuing injury.*"

What you don't want to accept is that it's a self-induced injury, that you could walk past that statue every last day of your life, and it's not going to hop off it's platform and give you a nuggie. Any harm you take from it is harm you did yourself. It's just a hunk of rock or bronze, sitting there doing nothing.

And that's why it's a tiny, noisy minority who are obsessed iconclasts. Most people don't give this sort of stupidity the time of day.
 

Mr. W:

I have rarely corresponded with someone as utterly dishonest as you.

Yes, Virginia, the allies were very consciously working to erase Nazi history and to remake Germany in their respective ideologies.

We were very successful. Even today, Germans fear to even discuss this period of their history, even among themselves, lest others accuse them of being Nazis, the way you slander me.

I have good friends in Germany, with whom I spent time with in the 1990s when I was stationed there.

Their parents who were in WWII refused to discuss their experiences out of fear of being called a Nazi.

My friends were fascinated with American celebrations of nationalism at our bases like Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and military celebrations during sporting events. They assured me Germans would never do such a thing so they would not revert back to fascism.
 

C2H5OH:

FWIW, I would move these statues to parks and museums, which would provide the unvarnished history and the part each of these men and women played in that history. Furthermore, I would troop classes of students through these parks and museums to ensure they learn the history.

The reason why the Boomer kids are turning towards totalitarianism and the general barbarity you see on full display during the recent wave of riots is because their frigging parents intentionally or negligently did not teach them about bloody history of totalitarianism.
 

"I would move these statues to parks and museums, which would provide the unvarnished history and the part each of these men and women played in that history. Furthermore, I would troop classes of students through these parks and museums to ensure they learn the history."

Yeah, that's pretty much what I'd advocate. Don't erase history, teach it.

But it has to wait until the mobs are dispersed, you don't appease mobs unless you want more mobs.
 

"It's just a hunk of rock or bronze, sitting there doing nothing."

It's a symbol, a message. And symbols are central to the human condition. People fight and die over symbols and messages all the time. What Bircher Brett means to say is 'the message doesn't bother me.' He's fine with it.
 

I certainly am not shocked that Bircher Bart has friends in Germany that are worried about being thought of as Nazis. Heck, he probably has a lot of those here.

Of course, Bircher Bart endorses celebrations of the Nazis, so there's that.
 

"The reason why the Boomer kids are turning towards totalitarianism and the general barbarity you see on full display during the recent wave of riots is because their frigging parents intentionally or negligently did not teach them about bloody history of totalitarianism."

On the contrary, these kids have learned about the bloody history of things like the Confederacy and, unlike Bircher Bart, they don't want to continue celebrating it.
 

"But it has to wait until the mobs are dispersed, you don't appease mobs unless you want more mobs."

This is as noted a rhetorical ploy. We discussed monuments and other Confederate symbols back, to take one example, after the Dylan Root shootings and Bircher Brett defended the monuments and symbols back then. Bircher Brett just likes him some Confederate celebrations., their part of his 'white heritage' that he's scared the big bad Marxist hordes are going to make harder to be a fan of, or some such nonsense.

Here's the thing: if these Birchers would tell their Confederate loving kkkomrades to knock it off and take down these celebrations of the Confederacy and there were still kids acting wild in the streets *then* I'd be on their side. But they've given nothing over the years and don't want to give anything now. And it's largely because the lives and dignity of black persons (and probably most other people that aren't them or their loved ones) simply don't matter much to them.
 

People have continuously advocated (and Sandy Levinson does so to some degree in his book) moving things to museums. Museums are different than memorials put up to honor a fight to extend slavery, often as a response to the civil rights movement.

People are not supporting forgetting history. As has continuously been noted, if this was some neutral support of history, we would have Union and Confederate statues and monuments across the South, including since leading generals from both sides came from places like Virginia. The movement is not to forget Bull Run or Shiloh. To close down battlefields. To not study slave quarters or the like.

And, the so-called concern about 'mobs' is hard to take seriously. If a neutral concern was at issue here, we would hear a lot more about the unhinged concerns of people against removing so-called inanimate powerless hunks of metal. And, the opposition is not just from self-help. Governments across the nation have moved to in an organized way to act here. For years now.

Fine right? No mobs! Well, no. Apparently not.
 

As I've noted, conservatives actually get being outraged over symbols. Notice how Trump revs up his rallies about people kneeling regarding the flag or people saying 'Happy Holidays.' No, they understand full well the power of messages and symbols to homo sapiens. They just think people that are outraged by the message 'the Confederacy is awesome' are silly, because that particular comment doesn't outrage them.

I mean, notice how easily our Birchers slip into waxing nostalgic about times, such as the Founding or the Gilded Age, when black persons had it terrible. They just don't give much thought to how blacks had or have it. That doesn't matter much to them.
 

Mr. W: On the contrary, these kids have learned about the bloody history of things like the Confederacy

Hardly. These mobs of brown shirt / Red Guard wannabes you cheer on, share your same ignorance of history and mindlessly destroy both Union and Confederate statues.
 

"These mobs of brown shirt / Red Guard wannabes you cheer on, share your same ignorance of history and mindlessly destroy both Union and Confederate statues."

Black Lives Matter is a movement, not an organization, similar to the Tea Party for example. There is no one leader, founder, organization, order-giver. It's lots of different groups of people, the mainstream of people participating in the movement is certainly not interested in taking down Lincoln or Grant statues.
 

" Bircher Brett just likes him some Confederate celebrations., their part of his 'white heritage'"

Sheesh. I was born in Michigan, a free state and stage in the underground railroad, and all my ancestors moved here from Canada, Germany, and Ireland, after the Civil war. The Confederacy has nothing at all to do with my heritage. Obama literally has more of a Confederate heritage than me. Likely has slave owners on both sides of his family tree more recently than me.
 

Putting aside all Brett said in the past in support of the Confederacy, one need not to reside in South Carolina to honor the Confederacy and/or "white heritage."

It is supported in places outside of the original Confederacy, at times with monuments. This was true at the time too as seen in the movie Lincoln (a top historical character/opponent of the 13A is from NY), which matches history in general as seen by the 1863 draft riots against black neighborhoods and a move to make NYC a "free city" independent of both sides. And, like Brett, various supporters were Northern transplants to the South.

Just a bit of history that the side who wants to take down monuments (moving some to museums) are not trying to erase.
 

Just to supplement Joe's point a bit, "heritage" in this context is a cultural concept, not a genetic one: "valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations". Obama had zero "Confederate heritage". Brett doesn't need to have come from the South to have adopted pro-Confederate views or to consider them part of his "heritage".
 

Look, we all know why Brett is a Confederate cheerleader. He is racist AF. It’s not like this is a big mystery.
 

Mr. W:

BLM, Antifa and the Tea Party are all organizations - decentralized, but organizations nonetheless.
 

" Brett doesn't need to have come from the South to have adopted pro-Confederate views or to consider them part of his "heritage"."

Right, all I need is to be white, and not a Democrat.

You guys have gone literally insane.
 

Last summer I took my family to Stone Mountain. As massive sculpture goes, it's fairly impressive, and the hike to the top is some pleasant exercise. I was surrounded by people of all colors and nationalities, having a good time. Nobody seemed particularly anguished by the sight of the carving, just impressed at the scale of the work.

This illustrates the problem.

A bunch of people who chose to visit Stone Mountain were not "particularly anguished by the sight of the carving."

Brett, oblivious to selection bias, concludes that it is somehow wrong, a moral failing, to be bothered by Confederate statues, because this hardly random group isn't.

And note that he still hasn't told us what his views of the Confederacy are. Instead he dodges and feints and talks about being from Michigan, etc.
 

Brett:

We are about the only ones here who oppose both government racial discrimination and secession, yet we are the "confederates" for opposing rioting mobs erasing history.

1984 meets the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

And they wonder why Americans are buying out gun shops.
 

"A bunch of people who chose to visit Stone Mountain were not "particularly anguished by the sight of the carving."

My point here is that being horribly offended by the sight of the Stone Mountain carving isn't an automatic consequence of its history and the color of your skin, or even the situation of your ancestors prior and during the Civil war.

It's a choice. And it's a choice most people don't make.

A minority of a minority have chosen to be horribly offended at the sight of anything that reminds them of the Confederacy, (And many other things besides!) and think they are entitled, on the basis of that offense, to compel everybody else's choices. I say they are not.

"And note that he still hasn't told us what his views of the Confederacy are."

Not my fault you can't remember.

The Confederacy seceded over slavery, an evil practice, the evil of which was no secret. The Union then attacked them, not to end slavery, (Though that was ultimately a happy consequence.) but to establish that the US was a roach motel.

Once the US attacked the Confederacy, many people fought on the Confederate side, not for slavery, but for independence. Others fought because independence would preserve slavery. But remember that even in the Confederacy, most of the people didn't own slaves.

Had the remainder of the US declared, "Fine, you are now a foreign nation. An odious foreign nation, which we are going to war with." I'd have had little to say in opposition. I am not happy with the implications and judicial consequences of doing it the way they actually did it.

I am, however, happy that slavery was ended.
 

Right, all I need is to be white, and not a Democrat

"Right" is a flag that you need to be on guard that it's "wrong."

An allegation was made. The reply was based on a definitional refutation, citing the place of birth. This was followed by an argument that both by definition (Mark) and practice (myself) this is confused.

So, no. There are lots of whites who are not racists or supporters of Confederates or whatever. There are lots of non-Democrats. As with those who disagree or think Trump is particularly a problem, this is not just some sort of "the Left" campaign.

Again, this was ultimately particularly a matter of DEFINITION. It wasn't just some personal attack. It was trying to explain as a matter of definition and fact what is being put forth here. Since there is so much confusion.

This is another installment of "supporting education, not erasing history."
 

The Confederacy seceded over slavery

Confederate supporter in name only! Take his card away!

an evil practice, the evil of which was no secret

Many at the time didn't think slavery was evil. It was defended as a positive good. The leader of the non-secession wing of the Democratic Party (Douglas) in 1858 said he "did not care" if it was chosen locally. He argued that we had a white man's government and the Declaration of Independence was for white men. Others granted it was evil but thought it would be worse to do much to stop it really.

To blandly say it was "no secret" suggests more than that was there.

The Union then attacked them, not to end slavery, (Though that was ultimately a happy consequence.) but to establish that the US was a roach motel.

The South seized federal forts and the shooting war started when Confederate forces stopped plans to stock one with supplies. By shooting at the Union fort.

Congress did early on grant that the war wasn't over slavery. It was based on the understanding that "a more perfect union" was formed in the Constitution and a segment could not, without agreement of the whole, secede because they don't like who won an election.

Once the US attacked the Confederacy, many people fought on the Confederate side, not for slavery, but for independence. Others fought because independence would preserve slavery. But remember that even in the Confederacy, most of the people didn't own slaves.

Independence that was -- it's in the statements of purpose of multiple states who putatively became part of a new nation -- to defend slavery. One can also say that most Germans didn't directly kill Jews or something, but the whole system was based on aiding and abetting slavery. More than that -- even if one freed a slave, a common rule was that the person had to leave the state. The country as a whole was racist, but even beyond slavery, the South was particularly so.

Had the remainder of the US declared, "Fine, you are now a foreign nation. An odious foreign nation, which we are going to war with." I'd have had little to say in opposition. I am not happy with the implications and judicial consequences of doing it the way they actually did it.

The Constitution gives express power to respond to rebellion. The militia is specifically there in part to address that. In the 1790s, a law was in place where if a judicial finding was made normal process was not enough that the militia can be called up. There was no "foreign nation" in place -- it was not formed by basic rules of both domestic or international (England and France did not recognize them as a foreign nation) law. As in 1776, which today some rebel forces declared independence, a new nation would only come on the battlefield and a future negotiated settlement.

I am, however, happy that slavery was ended.

Slavery or at least involuntary servitude to him includes requiring people to serve blacks at public accommodations. He is not really happy about that as an across the board rule.

This entry suggests the value of teaching history. Which both sides here support. Well, sometimes. See, e.g., the textbook wars.
 

"Many at the time didn't think slavery was evil. It was defended as a positive good."

Many today don't think abortion is evil, they defend it as a positive good. This is a typical dynamic where people are doing evil, and are really determined not to admit it.

"The South seized federal forts and the shooting war started when Confederate forces stopped plans to stock one with supplies. By shooting at the Union fort."

No sovereign nation permits another, hostile, nation to have fortifications on its own territory in strategically important locations. Not permitting the Union to retain military assets in Confederate territory was kind of baked into seceding. Central government assets are the most fraught part of secession, no question about it.

"Slavery or at least involuntary servitude to him includes requiring people to serve blacks at public accommodations."

Slavery was ended, and only recently have we begun the effort to reinvent it.
 

"chosen to be horribly offended "

This is a silly, obtuse moral and intellectual deflection. If I pulled up in front of Bircher Brett's house every morning and yelled epithets at him, his wife and his son (for example, 'Go back to Manila!') one could say he could *choose* to not be offended and so it's all on him if he is. But that's absurd. Human beings are primarily symbolic people, and my comments would be inherently offensive. Likewise your polity having a big monument that says 'the movement to enslave, rape torture and murder your great-grandparents and anyone who looks like you is awesome!' is inherently offensive.

But you see, what happened to black persons then is just not that important to Bircher Brett. As he says, it's one thing in the moral ledger to him, balanced or even outweighed by the 'implications' of how the Union dealt with secession. Black lives and dignity just don't count for much with people like him.
 

Btw- the playbook of 'most our Negroes are fine with things, it's just a minority of oversensitive agitators who are upset about X so it's safe to ignore their calls for change' is a long running one. The South used it in the times of slavery and segregation. Often whites at the time were amazingly obtuse or willfully ingorant of what the blacks in their community might be upset about.

But this is just incredible obtuseness or willful ignorance. If Bircher Brett can't see why a non-overly sensitive black person might be upset about having to, say, drive by on the way to work daily a monument to the awesomeness of the Confederacy, or send their child to a school named in to reflect the awesomeness of the Confederacy, that just shows his usual lack of awareness of self and other people's normal feelings in different situations.

Majority black cities around the nation are and have been moving to get rid of the monuments to the awesomeness of the confederacy. It's Republicans standing in their way. They love the Confederacy and for which it stands so much that they won't let these people who have decided for themselves what they have to see honored in the very cities they live in and control. Why? Because their fee-fees for the Confederacy, at the very least a long dead thing that could be easily discarded by Bircher Brett's own logic, are stronger than their ability to appreciate how offensive these things are to our most long suffering group of fellow citizens.

Every accusation is a confession.
 

"even if one freed a slave, a common rule was that the person had to leave the state."

And many states had laws barring blacks from entering the state. That's some catch, that Catch-22.
 

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This is a typical dynamic where people are doing evil, and are really determined not to admit it.

To repeat myself, "the evil of which was no secret" as applied to slavery without more is misleading. People said it wasn't an evil. Others downplayed the evil. Many didn't want to do much to respond to the evil. At some point, how "evil" is it to such people? It comes off as something to sigh about while slaves serve you wine.

No sovereign nation permits another, hostile, nation to have fortifications on its own territory in strategically important locations.

Moving past begging the question, it was said "The Union then attacked them."

The Confederacy attacked first. Yes, when a sovereign nation has forts seized or attacked by a bunch of rebels, it is something that cannot be permitted. The Constitution and domestic law at the time specifically guarded against it.

Slavery was ended, and only recently have we begun the effort to reinvent it.

I specifically -- words for me have meanings -- added "at least involuntary servitude" when referencing rules -- that have medieval roots at least -- requiring service at public accommodations.

Use of "slavery" in a broad sense goes back to the Revolutionary War Era. Sandy Levinson co-wrote an article on this very topic: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2115222

The end of slavery in 1865 was seen by a large number of people at the time to be an open-ended matter of providing citizenship and rights. The 14A was ratified in part because there was a more conservative view.
 

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Being by education and sentiment in support of not erasing history on this topic, there is so much to say. But, I deleted a few comments to try not to overdo it.

One tries. One more thing. The Hill reports:

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Thursday he plans to introduce legislation withholding federal funding for states and cities that don't enforce laws protecting statues and monuments."

Happy independence day.
 

"People said it wasn't an evil."

They went further and said that it was a positive good.

"Yes, when a sovereign nation has forts seized or attacked by a bunch of rebels, it is something that cannot be permitted."

The claim that Fort Sumter somehow belonged to SC after "secession" is laughable. It was expressly ceded to the Union in, IIRC, 1833.
 

Looked it up: 1836.
 

"The claim that Fort Sumter somehow belonged to SC after "secession" is laughable."

Precisely as laughable as secession itself. It's a natural implication of secession, which I expect would cause some problems should California, say, attempt to secede.

As I said, disposition of stranded assets of the central government after a secession is one of the more difficult to resolve issues. But there was no way the Confederacy was going to secede and leave the Union in control of a strategic fort capable of denying use of a major port.
 

By the logic of secession, SC and the US were different nations in April 1861. That means that Fort Sumter was the equivalent of, say, Guantanamo or Hong Kong or Gibralter. SC had no ownership claim, so its choices were war or negotiation. It chose war.
 

Yes, per constitutional rule, they voluntarily gave it up and the feds had complete control over it.

We technically are subject to a lease at Guantanamo. South Carolina had even less control over Fort Sumter than Cuba has. I see reference to Castro's Cuba arguing the lease was not made voluntarily but that doesn't apply here.
 

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