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I think the concept of collusion is operative here, though not the sort of collusion we’ve been hearing about. No, to listen to the fanatical class, what we are witnessing is collusion by accident of birth.
As a Christian, for example, I accept my part in the metaphysical collusion of those whose sins made necessary Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And while I accept the transcendent sense in which mankind was indeed born into darkness, it will take a herculean philosophical effort (akin to proving that Nancy Pelosi is coherent or that Ted Kennedy was a para-rescue specialist) to convince me that Original Sin is a tribal condition applicable to civic life.
My partial French ancestry, for instance, does not render me responsible for the Jacobin excesses of the French Revolution in the months following June 1793, even though I do take pride in my heritage. Likewise, neither the few drops of Spanish blood meandering through my veins, nor my affiliation as a Roman Catholic can in any way implicate me in the Spanish Inquisition which began in 1478. And to suggest that I bear special responsibility to disavow centuries-old savagery by virtue of immutable factors over which I have no control strikes me as supernaturally stupid.
The challenge facing those whose integrity hasn’t been compromised by the toxic tribalism which currently infects our nation’s professional malcontents and daily threatens to engulf more of civil society, is to plainly answer as follows: We, the remnants of sanity, reject all racial supremacy, all bigotry, and all hate from whatever depraved corner it originates. Further, we completely disavow any doctrine which posits that the worth of a human life may be calculated according to race, sex, ethnicity, or class. After all, if God Himself didn’t award genetic bonus points to those made in His image, why should we?
Rather, lets leave it to professional scourges like Marx and Alinsky and their ideological offspring to take beautiful individuals in all their infinite variety and immeasurable gifts, and force them into artificial constructs, pitting them against each other in a misbegotten quest for utopia on earth. I much prefer Dr. King’s expectation that people, “…will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” though to be sure, today’s race mongers (both black and white) would chase Dr. King to the ends of the earth for speaking such a simple truth.
Which, come to think of it, brings to mind another admonishment from Dr. King: “If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, ‘brethren!’ Be careful, teachers!” Well, methinks we’re a bit late on that one, as evidenced by the evening news.
A short time after Charlottesville police allowed white supremacist and KKK thugs to mingle with Black Lives Matter and Antifa goons, a local television station in Memphis showed protestors raging at an inanimate object in a local park. The object, a statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, is also the site of Forrest’s grave. To my knowledge, Nathan Bedford Forrest’s body still resides in that grave and hasn’t bothered anyone since 1877. I don’t think he will be crawling out anytime soon either, though you wouldn’t know it given the attention his statue received from people apparently united in the belief that the principle threat to their wellbeing and happiness lies with that statue.
Then, without any sense of irony, the local news began the daily recitation of violence across the city. Robbery, assault and murder — the three square meals of any day in Memphis — emblazoned across the television screen along with security camera footage of the suspects. Oddly enough, not one of the perps, or their victims for that matter, resembled a statue. They did, however, resemble many of the people protesting the statue, prompting the following questions:
How many hungry children in Memphis will be better fed because a statue came down? Absent proof that statues are assaulting people at a record pace, how far will Memphis’ homicide rate (which exceeds that of Chicago, New York City, and Washington DC) decline when we rid the city of objectionable statues? How many currently unemployed people will find meaningful and rewarding work once the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his horse is removed?
While we’re working on the answers to those questions, let us ponder yet one more: What are the consequences of historical and cultural purging to the citizenry, a significant percentage of which resides in a sort of historical and political stupor, terminally incurious about any topic on which Simon Cowell doesn’t get to vote?
Rich Lowry, for whom I have a great deal of admiration, wandered into shaky territory several days ago when he wrote:
The monuments should go. Some of them simply should be trashed; others transmitted to museums, battlefields, and cemeteries. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention, with white nationalists often mustering in their defense.
Mr. Lowry’s prescription, judging from the last sentence, is that in those instances when displays become “flashpoints in poisonous racial contention,” and where the displays are defended by white nationalists, they should be removed from “public spaces.” This is a tragic recipe with far-reaching consequences, for it vests censorial power in angry mobs who would get to decide where to stage a “flashpoint” of “racial contention,” and thereby have whatever it is that triggered their sensibilities removed. Are we as a nation to look at the worst elements in our midst, say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” and place them in charge of our reflection?
Or conversely, an object’s removal might depend on who defends it. Heaven help us if some idiot Nazi defends the American Flag. Then again, given the fact that mass murderer Osama bin Laden all but defended John Kerry against George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, perhaps Mr. Lowry will arrange to have Kerry transferred to a museum, in which case I will withhold further criticism.
The historical reality is that when appeasement has been tried, it has failed. It wasn’t the offering of safe spaces to the Soviet Union that won the Cold War, but rather the resolution of a free people. The appeasement of North Korea by previous administrations, beginning with Bill Clinton’s, did not dissuade them from acquiring nuclear weapons, and it won’t work with Iran either. Likewise, offering prizes and solace to irrational mobs in their effort to erase history will satisfy neither the mob, nor the nation’s need to understand its own history.
Insatiable mobs will always demand more — more statues removed, more memorials erased. Having acquired a taste for acquiescence, they will move on to other fronts while ostensible conservatives, having acquired a taste for capitulation, will cede one argument after another so that truth itself will become such a precious commodity that, to use Mark Twain’s phraseology, we will have to economize it. Want to try me? Just try reading Dr. King’s admonition against judging people by the color of their skin at a Black Lives Matter rally.