bookmark_borderA new low in the war on Columbus

The senseless, infuriating, and heartbreaking war against Christopher Columbus has hit a new low.

A replica of his flagship, called the Nao Santa Maria, has been sailing around to various locations, providing tours to the public and educating people about history and sailing. (I visited it in Boothbay Harbor, Maine and Provincetown, Mass, and it was awesome.) In a development that should not have been surprising but is somehow still shocking and appalling, allowing the existence of a ship that is related to Columbus proved to be too much to ask of the intolerant, bigoted bullies of political correctness. 

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A variety of ships, including the Nao Santa Maria, were scheduled to take part in a festival celebrating the bicentennial of the state of Maine. The vessels were planning to sail along the Penobscot River, stopping at various locations from Bucksport to Bangor, from July 9-18. But lumps of flesh and bone with no souls (using the word “people” is too kind) demanded that the Santa Maria be banned from taking part. And, as always, the lumps of flesh and bone got what they demanded.

State Sen. Bill Diamond asked event organizers to remove the Santa Maria from the event, saying, “We regret that this ship was chosen for an event that is associated with Maine’s bicentennial, as the mistreatment of Native Americans is a devastating part of Maine’s history.”

Dick Campbell, the organizer of the tall ship festival, complied. According to the Bangor Daily News, he said: “In our interest to celebrate Maine’s maritime heritage and bring masted ships to the Penobscot basin and upriver to Bangor, we failed to appreciate the symbolic significance of bringing the replica of the Santa Maria to port. We are now much more aware of the impact having that vessel here has on those whose histories pre-date Maine statehood. We apologize to those who have been offended by our error.”

The entire tall ship festival was essentially canceled, with the ships’ trip up the river to Bangor called off and the Santa Maria barred from giving tours at Bucksport, where it was already docked.

One lump of flesh and bone with no soul, Dawn Neptune Adams, called the inclusion of the Santa Maria in the event a “gut punch” and “ridiculous” because Columbus didn’t sail to Maine. She and others who share her intolerant ideology organized two protests on the waterfront, as well as a showing of an anti-Columbus propaganda film, in response to the ship’s existence. 

Another group of lumps of flesh and bone issued the following statement, according to the Bangor Daily News: “The Penobscot Nation is disappointed and disheartened that any group would use a replica of a ship used by Christopher Columbus to celebrate the heritage and statehood of Maine. While offensive in numerous ways, as well as historically inaccurate, it is also deeply harmful to the Wabanaki Nations as well as the descendants of all Indigenous Nations.”

All of these comments and statements demonstrate a complete lack of logic and a complete lack of empathy.

The existence of a replica of the Santa Maria is neither “ridiculous,” nor “offensive” (let alone in “numerous ways”), nor “harmful” (let alone “deeply” so), nor “historically inaccurate.” The statements by Adams and by the Penobscot Nation, however, are all of these things. First of all, the fact that the tall ship festival was being held in honor of Maine’s bicentennial does not create a requirement for every ship to have a connection to Maine. The Santa Maria is a ship; that alone makes it appropriate to include it. It is also cool, beautiful, unique, and different. As someone who loves Christopher Columbus and anything related to him, I appreciated the opportunity to visit the Santa Maria. If you don’t find the Santa Maria cool, then simply don’t visit it. It is wrong to deny others that opportunity.

It never ceases to astound and infuriate me that so many people think they have the right to obliterate from the earth everything that they dislike. Again and again, indigenous organizations have expressed anger and outrage that cultures other than their own are allowed to exist, that viewpoints other than their own are allowed to be expressed, and that historical figures that they personally dislike are allowed to be honored. And unfortunately, due to the cowardice and callousness of our society’s leaders, they get their way nearly 100% of the time. Columbus Day is abolished in city after city, statues of Columbus are brutally and cruelly town down, art depicting him is censored, things named after him are renamed, and now even a replica of his ship is banned from participating in a festival. These despicable bullies have nothing to be disappointed or disheartened about. They get their way on everything, while people such as myself who admire Columbus are allowed nothing. We are the ones who are truly disappointed and disheartened, for we are the ones being treated unjustly. It is us, not Dawn Neptune Adams, who have truly suffered a gut punch. After being psychologically beaten and battered again and again by one horrific anti-Columbus attack after another over the past 14 months, these protests and these comments are yet another thing that has shattered my heart into a million pieces. It is these mean-spirited, cruel, and intolerant views that are truly ridiculous, offensive in numerous ways, and deeply harmful.

Including the Santa Maria in the festival was not an error, and the organizers should not have apologized. In reality, they should apologize for canceling the event. By doing this, they mindlessly submitted to the unreasonable demands of a group of bullies without regard to the rights or feelings of anyone else. The pervasive, systematic obliteration from the world of anything related to Columbus has caused, and continues to cause, immense pain to those who admire him, including myself. By making the decision that they did, the event organizers sided with the perpetrators of this obliteration campaign and added to the pain of those who have been victimized by it. The lack of empathy is appalling. Every trace of the man that I admire is being systematically obliterated from the earth, and no one has considered the impact that these decisions have on people like me, or taken our viewpoints into account in any way.

It is difficult to know who is more despicable: the bullies who viciously protest the existence of cultures other than their own, or the spineless cowards who have abdicated their responsibility to make thoughtful, fair decisions and instead chosen to act as mere rubber stamps to the demands made by the bullies. 

After the Santa Maria’s visit to Bangor was canceled, a citizen of Castine, Maine named Rob DeGennaro offered the ship a place to dock outside his restaurant. According to WABI Channel 5, he said: “We can’t look at it the way that the protestors did over in Bucksport. I understand where they’re coming from as well, and we feel for that, but there’s a lot more that goes into this. I want to just keep it as a positive situation, a positive learning environment is what we’re trying to do here.”

I appreciate that DeGennaro stepped up and came to the ship’s defense, but he has more empathy for the protesters than they deserve. I do not understand where they are coming from, and I don’t feel for them. They are deliberately destroying everything that makes my life worth living. They deserve no empathy and no understanding, because they have no empathy or understanding for anyone else. There is no reason why a ship replica should be anything other than a positive learning experience. But the politically correct bullies will not allow anything to be a positive situation. They will not allow anything to exist that is unique, different, cool, beautiful, interesting, or valuable in any way. They take everything good in the world and destroy it; they take everything positive and turn it negative, controversial, and dark. Bland, mindless conformity is all they will allow to exist. 

I condemn the decision to cancel the Santa Maria’s trip to Bangor, and all those who were involved in it, or advocated for it, in the harshest possible terms.

bookmark_border“Reckoning”

Reckoning. Again and again over the past year-plus, we’ve heard and seen this word: on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, online, and on social media. Everywhere we go, we are bludgeoned over the head with the idea that America is having a long-overdue “racial reckoning.” And now this concept has spread to Canada and Europe, with a plethora of articles alleging that other countries are in need of racial reckonings as well (such as this one, titled “UK faces reckoning after unmarked Indigenous graves discovered in Canada“).

According to Dictionary.com, the word “reckoning” has several meanings, including “the settlement of accounts,” “an accounting, as for things received or done,” and “an appraisal or judgment.” 

The aspect of the current “reckoning” that is most upsetting and objectionable to me is the destruction of statues and monuments. Likenesses of historical figures ranging from Queen Victoria to Robert E. Lee to Christopher Columbus have been beheaded, torn down, lynched, strangled, kicked, set on fire, and otherwise brutalized. The perpetrators of these actions argue that they are advocating for racial equality. But the incessant talk of a needed “reckoning” is based on a false presumption. To characterize the destruction of statues as a reckoning presumes that the existence of the statues is bad. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Having statues of a wide variety of historical figures is crucial for having a world that is worth living in.

Destroying statues inflicts horrible pain on the people who love and appreciate those statues. Given that the word “reckoning” means “the settlement of accounts” or “an accounting, as for things received or done,” using this word implies that people who love and appreciate statues have done something wrong and deserve to be punished. This is completely false. Statues are just as valid and legitimate an interest as movies, trains, dinosaurs, sports, or anything else, for that matter. No one deserves to have his or her object of love and admiration obliterated from the world. Far from being a reckoning, acts of brutality against statues are in reality acts of aggression against innocent people who have done nothing wrong. The participants in the anti-statue movement are not settling up accounts, getting revenge, or getting even with those who have harmed them. They are inflicting harm and pain on people who have done nothing wrong and harmed no one. In other words, this movement is not fighting for racial justice; it is actively inflicting injustice.

Similarly, using the word “reckoning” to mean “an appraisal or judgment” implies that there is something bad about statues and/or the people who love them, something making the statues and/or the people worthy of condemnation and criticism. But it is the people destroying and removing the statues who deserve condemnation and criticism, as they are the ones acting wrongly in this situation. The idea that what is happening is an appraisal or judgment also presumes that the currently prevailing views about race and statues are necessarily correct and that viewpoints from the past are necessarily wrong. According to this presumption, it is a desirable goal to evaluate historical figures using today’s values and to modify our communities’ statues and monuments accordingly. But this way of looking at things is completely false. Views popular today are no more likely to be correct than views unpopular today and/or popular in the past. In fact, the views about race and statues that are dominant in 2020-2021 have inflicted enormous amounts of harm and pain on innocent people and transformed the world from a place that was worth living in to one that is not. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the previously existing statues and monuments. Far from righting a wrong, the removal of statues takes something that was perfectly fine and ruins it.

In conclusion, to use the word “reckoning” to describe the recent trend of vicious attacks on statues is incorrect and unjust. It places blame on the victims of these hurtful actions and lets the perpetrators completely off the hook. The existence of statues of controversial historical figures such as Christopher Columbus and Confederate generals is a beautiful thing, not a problem that needs to be reckoned with. The eradication of these statues, whether via violent destruction or peaceful removal, is the real problem. And the perpetrators of these actions, whether protesters or government officials, are the ones who deserve punishment and condemnation. The endless onslaught of statue destruction, as well as the fact that our society has treated this as if it is not a serious problem, is what truly merits a reckoning.

bookmark_borderMorgan Freeman is a bully and a bigot

I recently stumbled across a disturbing tweet by Morgan Freeman, in which he demands that the hotel that hosted CPAC denounce the event because its stage was shaped like a rune. If that sounds absolutely ridiculous, that’s because it is. 

The one good thing about this situation is that the Morgan Freeman in question is not the famous actor, but just a despicable excuse for a human being who happens to share the actor’s name. 

Freeman’s tweet is below:

In case it is not immediately apparent how ridiculous this is, allow me to explain. First of all, there is no proof whatsoever that the stage was designed to look like the odal rune. The CPAC stage looks like a pretty typical stage shape to me, and it is entirely plausible that the resemblance to the rune was coincidental. Second, even if the stage was intended to look like the rune, why is that bad? Runes are Viking letters. The fact that the Nazis happened to use this rune does not make the rune a Nazi symbol; it is a Viking symbol that happened to be used by Nazis. There is no rule that if a symbol has ever been used by Nazis, then no one is allowed to use it ever again. 

Continue reading “Morgan Freeman is a bully and a bigot”

bookmark_borderMorgan Wallen and the cancel mob

Country star Morgan Wallen is one of the most recent victims of the politically correct, bullying mob. After his neighbor’s Ring camera captured a video of him using a racial slur outside his home and leaked it to TMZ, his career has essentially been completely destroyed. His record label and agent dropped him, all major radio stations stopped playing his music, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music removed his songs from their playlists, CMT and the County Music Association removed his appearances from their channels, and the Academy of Country Music disqualified him from eligibility for awards.

While using a racial slur isn’t the greatest thing to do, society’s punishment of Wallen is excessive and unjust, and yet another example of the warped priorities of cancel culture. The actions of Wallen’s neighbor, who violated his privacy by recording a video of him on his own property and leaking the video to TMZ, are more disturbing and worthy of punishment than Wallen’s actions, yet have gone completely unexamined, uncriticized, and unquestioned. More significantly, hundreds of people across the nation have destroyed irreplaceable works of art in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement – actions that are far more reprehensible than merely saying a word – yet have escaped punishment completely.

Making matters worse, the media, instead of so much as mentioning the possibility that Wallen’s punishment may have been too harsh, are almost exclusively focusing on the viewpoint that he is not being punished harshly enough and even that country music in its entirety is racist. For example, the LA Times published an article called, “Nashville has punished Morgan Wallen. But country music’s reckoning with racism awaits.

This article and others like it are problematic for several reasons. First of all, the article is racist, criticizing the “formula of white men in denim — Luke Bryan to Luke Combs to, now, Morgan Wallen — singing about small-town life, a formula that leaves out Black artists, women and even left of center musicians like Tyler Childers.” Although racial and gender diversity are always welcome, there is nothing inherently bad about white men in denim, and it is discriminatory to imply that people who fit this description are somehow worse than people of other genders, races, and clothing choices. This point also ignores the discrimination in favor of women, non-white people, and especially “left of center” people that exists in much of our society, and the fact that the country music industry is one of the few spaces in which conservative and non-political people have been allowed to exist and be themselves. The article also quotes singer Vanessa Carlton, who alleges that “the white men who have been in charge of these radio stations and labels for a long, long time… protect the cancer because they are the cancer.” It shouldn’t even need to be stated that to call a group of people “cancer” because of their race and gender is blatantly sexist and racist.

The article also makes the false contention that Wallen’s punishment has been lenient compared to those of other country artists for various missteps. “Non-male artists, and non-white ones, are rarely offered the grace Wallen has received in his short career,” the article says. Singer-songwriter Kalie Shorr alleges in the article that “careers have been lit on fire for much less.” In addition to the fact that being completely exiled from radio and TV and suspended by one’s record label and agent can hardly be characterized as “grace,” neither Shorr nor the author of the article provides any convincing examples to support their claims. The article mentions LeAnn Rimes, who was allegedly “pushed out of the genre” for cheating on her husband, the Dixie Chicks, who sparked controversy when they insulted President Bush, and Rissi Palmer, who “lost her label for failing to sell the same number of records as white artists who walk in with a massive advantage.” But none of these artists have been punished anywhere near as severely as Wallen has. The music of Rimes and the Dixie Chicks is still played on the radio all the time. As for Palmer, it seems that the article considers it a punishment that she was held to the same standards that a white artist would be. But isn’t this exactly the way things should work in a just and non-discriminatory society? For someone to be held to lower standards because they are black is just as racist as excluding someone because they are black.

Finally, the article makes the disturbing implication that it is somehow wrong for the country music industry and/or its members to be politically neutral. It quotes author Charles Hughes, who says, “The claim that we all just need to come together and get along, or that country artists shouldn’t be political, just isn’t good enough.” Unless my interpretation is completely wrong, Hughes is saying not only that it is bad for people to oppose the ideology of political correctness, but that it is also bad for people to be neutral on this matter; in other words that the only acceptable option is to actively support the ideology. There are numerous legitimate reasons to oppose the political correctness ideology, which I have explained many times in previous blog posts. Any person would be completely within his or her rights – and in my opinion would be acting courageously, correctly, and honorably – to speak out against this ideology, and it is intolerant and deeply wrong to suggest otherwise. But to suggest that people don’t even have a right to stay neutral is beyond intolerant and wrong. Even worse, the article quotes country program director Christal Blue, who claims that “if a programmer quietly pulls Morgan Wallen today but makes no public statement about their station not tolerating the behavior, they remain complicit.” In other words, not even exiling Wallen from the airwaves is sufficient for the politically correct bullies; he also must be verbally condemned at every opportunity.

Today I ordered Wallen’s latest album, as well as his earlier one (they are still available for sale, at least for now). Not only do I like a lot of his songs, but this is one small way of fighting back against the politically correct mob and their toxic ideology of intolerance in the name of tolerance and conformity in the name of diversity.

bookmark_borderChristmas ornaments are now racist, apparently

As the cult of political correctness reaches new levels of ridiculousness, Confederate-related Christmas ornaments are now a target. Yes, you read that right. Christmas ornaments.

According to a Yahoo News article by Nicole Maurantonio, a professor at the University of Richmond, “Confederate Christmas ornaments are smaller than statues – but they send the same racist message.”

Maurantonio criticizes Confederate-themed cookbooks, stuffed animals of Stonewall Jackson’s trusty steed, Little Sorrel, and ornaments depicting such sites as Stone Mountain and the Confederate White House. 

“While these keepsakes may seem apolitical, their very circulation enables Confederate myths and symbols to become ‘normal’ features of people’s daily lives,” she writes. “My research suggests they can thus desensitize Americans to the destructive nature of such stories and icons… In that way, seemingly apolitical objects like cookbooks, toys and Christmas ornaments commemorating Confederate history serve to normalize – rather than problematize – the objects, rituals and stories surrounding the Confederacy.”

Maurantonio also complains that “many unexamined Confederate symbols have made their way into people’s kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms” and that “like Confederate statues and flags, Confederate Christmas ornaments strengthen this myth that the Confederacy – an entity built on white supremacy – was about southern ‘heritage.'”

But the Confederacy was about southern heritage. This is not a myth; but the truth. If one truly stopped to examine Confederate symbols, one would realize that they stand for the values of liberty, freedom, individual rights, resistance to authority, and thinking for oneself as opposed to mindlessly conforming to social norms and complying with existing power structures. These things are, in my opinion, awesome, not destructive. Therefore, the Confederacy should be normalized, not problematized. America needs more, not fewer, Confederate symbols in people’s lives. It is the Black Lives Matter movement and the associated attitudes of political correctness that are truly intolerant, racist, and destructive. 

“Christmas ornaments communicate something about the person or family that displays them,” Maurantonio writes. “They reveal their history, passions and aesthetic taste. So pause to consider whether your Christmas tree represents your values. Does a keepsake from Stone Mountain really belong between an ornament crafted in a kindergarten classroom and a glass nutcracker gifted by your grandmother?”

Of course it does. The fact that ornaments communicate something about the person who displays them is exactly why Confederate images belong on Christmas trees everywhere. In addition to numerous Confederate toy soldiers, figures, and dolls in a variety of shapes and sizes, I am the proud owner of a Stone Mountain magnet and Breyer horses of both Little Sorrel and Robert E. Lee’s equine companion, Traveller. Additionally, there is a Confederate warrior of sorts on my Christmas tree among the Santas, bows, and bulbs. I wonder what the politically correct mob would say about this ornament…

bookmark_borderConfederate supporters are not white supremacists – rebutting a libelous blog post

This happened a while ago, but I just came across an extremely wrong and offensive blog post describing a protest at a Confederate monument in Gainesville, Texas.

The author, Michelle H. Davis at Living Blue in Texas, repeatedly uses the terms “white supremacists” and “racists” to describe people who demonstrated their support for the Confederate monument. She uses these terms as if they are simply non-controversial, factual terms for these demonstrators, but the use of these terms is completely false and therefore defamatory. There is nothing racist or white supremacist about supporting the Confederacy or defending its monuments. It is possible that someone could support the Confederacy for racist reasons, but it is just as possible (and actually more likely) that one would support the Confederacy because the Confederacy rebelled against the federal government. In other words, I (and many other people) support the Confederacy because it stands for the values of liberty, freedom, individual rights, resistance to authority, and thinking for oneself as opposed to mindlessly conforming to social norms and complying with existing power structures. That is what the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments mean to me, so it is completely unwarranted to assume that anyone who supports these things is racist. 

Davis also describes the pro-Confederate group as “counter-protesters” with derisive quotation marks as if to imply that they are not actually counter-protesters. Given that these individuals were demonstrating their opposition to a different group who were advocating for the removal of the monument, they actually were counter-protesters, and there is therefore no need to insultingly put this term in quotes. She also falsely calls the counter-protesters “domestic terrorists” and describes one of the leaders of the counter-protest as a “moron,” which is a completely classless way to describe one’s ideological opponents. Plus, she posts pictures of counter-protesters and asks readers to contact police if they recognize them, which is a form of harassment and bullying. 

Davis claims that the pro-Confederate group “were clearly the aggressor,” which is false because necessarily, the group that is advocating for the removal of a statue is always the aggressor in any conflict. She complains that police “picked a side, and it wasn’t the side of the people who were against racism, against slavery, and wanted a fair and equal society.” Davis seems to presume that the anti-monument protesters were the ones who fit this description and criticizes the police for siding with the pro-monument protesters. But this characterization is false. Both sides in this conflict were equally against slavery. Judging by the fact that in her blog post Davis makes racist statements such as “there is a lot of actual history that white people were never taught,” she and her side are actually more racist than the pro-Confederate demonstrators. And the anti-Confederate demonstrators were actually advocating for the exact opposite of a fair and equal society. Advocating that a powerless, unpopular minority group be further marginalized and their history obliterated is as far from fair and equal as you can get. 

Finally, Davis describes a “hilarious” instance during the protest in which an anti-Confederate demonstrator taunted those who were defending the monument:

“The most hilarious thing is when she’s [sic] yells at the racists, ‘Yay! America!,’ then all the ‘counter protesters’ cheer, then she says something about how America kicked the Confederate’s ass. All of the white supremacists stop cheering and with a solemn face, just stare at her in silence. Crickets. How telling is that?”

In addition to the fact that Davis incorrectly uses the words “racists” and “white supremacists” and inappropriately puts the words “counter protesters” in quotes, I’m not exactly sure what her point is. The counter-protesters reacted negatively when the anti-Confederate demonstrator mentioned that the United States defeated the Confederacy. This reaction was entirely appropriate. The Union’s victory over the Confederacy was an instance of a powerful government trampling on the underdog. It was an instance of a people being denied their right to form an independent country and being forced to remain part of another country against their will. Why would anyone brag about this? Anyone who considers it a good thing that a powerful, oppressive government defeated a justified, courageous rebellion is a bully and an authoritarian. So yes, this incident is telling. Just not in the way Davis thinks it is. 

bookmark_borderReal estate website calls Columbus “genocidal explorer” – really??

In a dismaying example of how thoroughly the political correctness movement has infiltrated our society, an article on the real estate and urban design website Curbed refers to Christopher Columbus as a “genocidal explorer.” The article by Brock Keeling, about San Francisco’s decision to remove its statue of Columbus, begins:

Christopher Columbus never stepped foot on what is today the United States. He never visited California or sailed the Pacific Ocean. And he didn’t discover America in 1492. But that hasn’t stopped American cities, including San Francisco, from erecting statues honoring the genocidal explorer. 

Seriously? Why is an article on a real estate website personally insulting a historical figure? The article mentions that Nancy Pelosi and Maya Angelou have been suggested as possible replacements for Columbus, both of which make me sick to my stomach. And it mentions matter-of-factly that vandals have attacked the Columbus statue repeatedly over the years, usually on Columbus Day. Does Keeling not realize that these despicable acts constitute hate crimes against the Italian-American community? It’s inappropriate to treat heinous acts of bigotry and destruction as perfectly normal events.

A spokeswoman for the city’s art commission, Rachelle Axel, said that the beautiful statue was removed “because it doesn’t align with San Francisco’s values or our commitment to racial justice… who and what we honor through our public art can and should reflect our values.”

The idea that a statue of Christopher Columbus does not align with San Francisco’s values reflects poorly on San Francisco. A world in which a statue of a brilliant, courageous explorer is considered contrary to the predominant values is a dismal place that I would not want to live in. 

bookmark_borderStatues and “intolerance for partial narratives”

An article in San Francisco Weekly claims that the despicable acts of destruction that have been perpetrated against beautiful statues and monuments are motivated by “growing intolerance for partial narratives.”

In June, mobs of intolerant bullies ruined statues of Father Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key, and Ulysses Grant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Mayor London Breed cravenly got rid of the city’s beautiful statue of Christopher Columbus because of the threat that it, too, would be violently destroyed. But if someone considered partial narratives to be a problem, then destroying all statues that represent viewpoints and cultures other than their own would be the exact opposite of what they would want to do. Presenting a full and complete version of history requires the inclusion of figures such as Serra, Key, Grant, and Columbus, because presenting a full and complete version of history requires the inclusion of all viewpoints and cultures. The actions of these vicious bullies have made the historical narrative partial and incomplete by dictating that only those viewpoints deemed to be compliant with political correctness be included. 

I was struck by a social media comment quoted in the article, where the commenter said, “Monuments reflect our values. We need updated monuments for updated values.” But values are not something that should change over time. Moral right and wrong are absolute and eternal; there is no reason why the values commonly held in 2020 are any more likely to be correct than the values held in 1492 or 1861 or any other year. Additionally, people have different ideas about what constitutes moral right and wrong and therefore which historical figures are worthy of admiration. To change monuments based on the values that happen to be popular at the time is unfair to those who hold values that happen not to be popular. Why should some people get to see their values reflected in the monuments around them, while others are deprived of this? That’s why it’s so important to have monuments representing a wide range of ideologies and values, as opposed to only the ideologies and values popular at the moment.

“The people who are vehemently opposed to these narratives are saying [the statues] represent a forced celebration of oppression and public funding of a narrative of oppression,” Kim Morrison, a professor at San Francisco State University, said in the article. “The types of things we celebrate are war, colonialism, and the conquering of a land, and we don’t talk about the human loss that has gone along with that. It’s been the partial telling of a story and forcing large segments of communities that have been hurt by those particular monuments to believe that they should participate in celebrating things that have harmed their communities.” She also suggested that replacement artwork “celebrate diverse communities.” 

But this is only one viewpoint about what constitutes oppression. In my opinion, policies such as the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, the progressive income tax, gun restrictions, and stay-at-home orders are far more oppressive than anything Columbus or Serra did. Why does Morrison’s idea of what is oppressive matter, while mine does not? I am forced to celebrate and to contribute to the funding of my oppression every single day. War, colonialism, and the conquering of lands are not the only things that inflict human loss. The everyday injustices, violations of liberty, and restrictions that prevent people from living their lives in the ways that they choose, these are far more harmful to human beings than acts of conquest by long-ago explorers and generals. Did Morrison ever consider how people who believe in medical freedom might feel about statues of Hubert Humphrey, who introduced the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, and Harry Truman, who signed it? Did she think about the hurt inflicted on the Confederate community by the existence of statues of Abraham Lincoln, who violated the First and Fourth Amendments in order to force the South to remain part of the United States against its will, or of William Tecumseh Sherman, who barbarically burned and destroyed farms, cities, and train tracks across the South in service of this same goal? Clearly, to her, only some of the people who are hurt by monuments matter, while others do not. 

As for the suggestion that art celebrate diverse communities… that was what was already being done before the Black Lives Matter movement began destroying everything in the world that does not conform to their ideology. By including statues of Columbus and Serra alongside those celebrating black and indigenous people, the world had a full, complete, and diverse telling of history. Destroying these statues took that away. Now, black and indigenous people’s narratives are the only ones remaining, the only ones allowed to be celebrated. That is truly a partial narrative. 

As a side note, the article characterizes the brutal and sickening destruction of the statue of Father Serra as an “act of civil disobedience.” Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying an unjust law as a form of protest. But the existence of a Serra statue is not unjust. It is actually the act of tearing it down that is unjust. These acts of destruction are neither attempts to make historical narratives more complete nor acts of civil disobedience. They are acts of bullying and intolerance whose purpose is to enforce conformity and eliminate true diversity.

bookmark_borderSan Francisco to rename 44 schools… but at least they’re consistent

The government body in charge of the San Francisco public schools recently came up with a list of 44 schools that they have deemed to be in need of renaming. The offending namesakes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, Junipero Serra, and Dianne Feinstein.

“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties or wealth building,” said Jeremiah Jefferies, the chairman of the San Francisco Unified School District School Names Advisory Committee.

As for Feinstein, she was blacklisted for ordering a Confederate flag that had been vandalized to be replaced back in 1986 when she was mayor of San Francisco. According to Jefferies, she “chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice, and inhumanity towards black and indigenous people at the city hall. She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of black, First Nations, and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far, so her apology simply wasn’t convincing.” In addition to the fact that the Confederate flag is the iconography of none of these things, and the fact that the term “white avarice” is racist, this is a pretty ridiculous reason to condemn someone.

The committee used the below criteria for determining which historical figures are unworthy of having schools named after them:

  • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
  • Slave owners or participants in enslavement
  • Perpetuators of genocide or slavery
  • Those who exploit workers/people
  • Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people (apparently oppressing and abusing men is perfectly fine…)
  • Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses
  • Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs

In terms of eliminating wide swaths of historical figures, these ridiculously stringent criteria go further than perhaps anything I’ve seen yet. It’s difficult, in fact, to think of anyone who would meet them. But in a strange way, this is actually kind of a good thing. With historical figures who fought for the Confederacy having been brutally and relentlessly attacked, condemned, slandered, and smashed to pieces over the past months, it’s only fair that Lincoln be “canceled” as well. If you’re going to depose historical figures from their places of honor, you should at least be consistent about it.

As Jarrett Stepman of the Daily Signal wrote, “If the criteria were really taken to its logical conclusions, then it would lead to erasing pretty much every leader and people in all human history… It’s interesting that Jefferies says the agenda is about uplifting ‘black, First Nations, and people of color,’ but are not all these groups, through the lens of history, also guilty of virtually every transgression on the committee’s list of criteria?”

Stepman also pointed out the authoritarian nature of the political correctness movement. “Do what we say, or you will be smashed and erased,” he accurately characterizes this movement’s thought process. “Symbols of opposition will be torn down. You must accept our truth, or else… If anything, it teaches students to be ruthlessly intolerant, to be utterly incapable of understanding different perspectives and the limitations of human nature.”

bookmark_borderNortham to spend $11 million to ruin Richmond

After destroying everything that made Richmond, Virginia unique, beautiful, and good, Governor Ralph Northam is proposing to spend millions of dollars to create bland, homogeneous, meaningless new works of art. His proposed budget for 2021 includes $11 million to redesign Monument Avenue, which was until recently the location of five magnificent status of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Gen. Jeb Stuart, and Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury. (Lee is technically still standing but has been completely covered with graffiti and will be removed next year unless an appellate judge reverses the court decision allowing his removal.) Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement brutally vandalized the beautiful statues over the summer, and Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney took the side of the destructive mobs and ordered the statues removed. The budget also includes $9 million to develop a Slavery Heritage Site and $100,000 to build a Virginia Emancipation and Freedom Monument.

This article at Hyperallergic.com describes the plan as “funding public art that tells a more complete and inclusive story of American history.” National Geographic describes Northam’s vision as “inclusive art recognizing a diverse and challenging history… The long-term goal is to repurpose parts of Monument Avenue to better reflect Virginia’s and America’s diverse heritage… to elevate unheard voices and neglected histories.” In Northam’s words, “These investments will help Virginia tell the true story of our past and continue building an inclusive future. At a time when this Commonwealth and country are grappling with how to present a complete and more honest picture of our complex history, we must work to enhance public spaces that have long been neglected and shine light on previously untold stories.” And Alex Nyerges, director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, which is leading the effort to design new monuments, said, “It is about looking to the future, looking to a future that’s inclusive, that’s forward thinking, and there’s also an element of healing.”

Unfortunately, this plan is the exact opposite of how it is being described. A collection of public art that leaves out the Confederacy is by definition neither complete, nor inclusive, nor diverse. It is Confederate historical figures whose voices have traditionally been unheard and whose stories have been neglected. Removing their statues and replacing them with monuments to mainstream, moderate, non-controversial, bland, mundane people just makes their voices even more unheard and their stories even more neglected. Northam’s vision is to further marginalize those who are already marginalized and further elevate those who are already in the spotlight. Monument Avenue already did shine light on previously untold stories, and Northam and Stoney decided to wipe those stories out. Brutally inflicting further pain on those who are already hurting, in order to please those who already receive preferential treatment, is the exact opposite of healing. It is beyond sickening and beyond reprehensible that Northam, having destroyed Richmond’s diversity and beauty, is now spending $11 million of taxpayer money to replace these irreplaceable works of art with conformity and nothingness. If he truly cared about inclusion, diversity, healing, unheard voices, neglected histories, or untold stories, he would have ordered all of the beautiful Confederate monuments to be cleaned up, repaired, protected, and preserved for all time.