Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. On Cultural Purging

 

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.

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  1. zandertunz Member

    Thanks for adding your voice and this particular perspective to this conversation, Dave. As someone who is struggling for the right and most healing reaction to this chaos of thought and action, I’m grateful for your perspective. I too admire Rich Lowry but disagree with his response. Not because I disagree with acquiescence, but because it is not sustainable – given both the fluid nature of popular opinion, and the relentlessly offended posture of some of our citizens.

    • #1
    • August 21, 2017, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. barbara lydick Inactive

    Once again, Dave, you have succinctly – and beautifully – summarized a contemporary situation, pointing out possible consequences not the least of which is continued conservative acquiescence. Given MLK’s admonition that “our colleges will produce a group of close-minded unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts” and that that already has occurred, it will be an uphill battle. Problem is, it’s already happening in grade schools.

    I’m going to see if our local paper will print your piece. Tho small in circulation, perhaps it could open a few eyes.

    • #2
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Dave Carter Podcaster
    Dave Carter

    barbara lydick (View Comment):
    Once again, Dave, you have succinctly – and beautifully – summarized a contemporary situation, pointing out possible consequences not the least of which is continued conservative acquiescence. Given MLK’s admonition that “our colleges will produce a group of close-minded unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts” and that that already has occurred, it will be an uphill battle. Problem is, it’s already happening in grade schools.

    I’m going to see if our local paper will print your piece. Tho small in circulation, perhaps it could open a few eyes.

    Thank you Barbara! I really appreciate it. Wouldn’t hold my breath on the local paper printing it, however. I know the paper in Memphis avoids my work like the plague.

    • #3
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. RightAngles Member

    Insatiable mobs will always demand more — more statues removed, more memorials erased. 

    This is one of the most important things to remember about these people. What we’re witnessing is not much different from Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Unless we stop them, they’ll erase our culture and start a new one from the rubble, and we aren’t going to like what they come up with. Shame on Rich Lowry and all the other capitulators and enablers in the Vichy France that certain members of the Right have become.

    This is the best piece I’ve seen on this terrible situation.

    • #4
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:26 AM PDT
    • 25 likes
  5. Doug Kimball Thatcher

    Thanks for this thoughtful perspective, Dave. I wish it were on every opinion page in every US newspaper this morning.

    • #5
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. John Park Member

    Great post, Dave!

    For those interested in the Cultural Revolution, Nien Cheng’s Life and Death in Shanghai is a great first-person account.

    • #6
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Martel Inactive

    We already see foreshadows of what will happen if we cave on this in the defacing of statues of Lincoln and Joan of Arc (yes, a Joan of Arc statue was defaced in New Orleans). There will always be another reminder of past sins to be purged that supposedly keeps people oppressed today. Compound that with profound historical ignorance and we’ve some very dark days ahead if we don’t take a stand now.

    In the meantime, corrupt city machines, endemic inner-city crime, and the hedonistic culture that fosters broken families are being safety ignored. If black live really mattered mattered to our betters either left or right, we’d at least mention that stuff, too.

    • #7
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  8. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rich Lowry wandered into shaky territory much earlier than several days ago. Other than that, great article.

    • #8
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:57 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dave Carter: Insatiable mobs will always demand more

    A meme was circulating after Bannon’s removal that listed his name with Flynn and others who have stepped down. The checklist included Paul Ryan and ended with Pence and Trump.

    • #9
    • August 21, 2017, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Concretevol Thatcher

    Dave Carter: 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.

    Seems insane to remove something based on whether interminably aggrieved people might be offended by it. That is the kind of logic is the reason universities have “safe places” with coloring books for adults.

    • #10
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:05 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  11. Manny Member

    I really like your piece here. I too was very disappointed in Lowry the other day. There is nothing inherently racism about honoring soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. If anything, these statues are symbolic for our nation’s reconciliation after such a brutal disunifying event. Why did the victors of the war allow them up? Let me quote Lincoln at his second inaugural address:

    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    The statues were an effort to bind up the nation’s wounds and put the war behind us. If it were a statement of race supremacy, then why didn’t the Southerners put up statues of the Grand Wizard of the KKK? The left are ripping open old wounds by tearing down these statues.

    • #11
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:15 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  12. Arthur Beare Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    This is the best piece I’ve seen on this terrible situation.

    Seconded.

    • #12
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Kay of MT Member

    Perhaps @moleeye would be interested in reading this excellent article Dave and reaching a different perspective.

    • #13
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The others may be taken in by your well-crafted prose and rhetorical gymnastics, but I see through your evil ploy. You are just denying responsibility for the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572. Well it won’t work! No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace! No justice …

    • #14
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  15. RightAngles Member

    I just found out they’re going to “update” the Jefferson Memorial to explain that he was a slaveowner.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jefferson-memorial-exhibit-update-will-acknowledge-slavery-record/article/2632084

    Unless they plan to update the Martin Luther King statue to include the facts that he plagiarized his thesis and cheated on his wife, then I say leave it alone, and I say we all write our senators and congressmen. The next step will be renaming Washington. DC. Think it can’t happen?

    • #15
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  16. Kay of MT Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    The others may be taken in by your well-crafted prose and rhetorical gymnastics, but I see through your evil ploy. You are just denying responsibility for the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572. Well it won’t work! No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace! No justice …

    Have you had a touch of sun stroke today?

    • #16
    • August 21, 2017, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    The Khmer Rouge has come to America.

    • #17
    • August 21, 2017, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Dave Carter: 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.

    An eloquent post, Dave. We have spent far too many years caving in, and we are now paying the price. And the other side will continue to demand it. And who should we be blaming?? Thanks.

    • #18
    • August 21, 2017, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Manny Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I just found out they’re going to “update” the Jefferson Memorial to explain that he was a slaveowner.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jefferson-memorial-exhibit-update-will-acknowledge-slavery-record/article/2632084

    Unless they plan to update the Martin Luther King statue to include the facts that he plagiarized his thesis and cheated on his wife, then I say leave it alone, and I say we all write our senators and congressmen. The next step will be renaming Washington. DC. Think it cant happen?

    Wasn’t MLK a communist also?

    • #19
    • August 21, 2017, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    The others may be taken in by your well-crafted prose and rhetorical gymnastics, but I see through your evil ploy. You are just denying responsibility for the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572. Well it won’t work! No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace! No justice …

    Have you had a touch of sun stroke today?

    Gawain is always telling me that I need more holes in the visor …

    • #20
    • August 21, 2017, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    Wasn’t MLK a communist also?

    No, not that I’m aware of.

    • #21
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Pugshot Member
    PugshotJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The current controversy is not about statues or slavery; it is about revolution and power. As in the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and, as @mikelaroche points out, the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia, one of the first orders of business in consolidating power is to re-write history. Even when the Iron Curtain fell in the ’90s, one of the things that happened in Russia was that statues of Lenin, Marx, Dzerzhinsky, etc. were pulled down. There was (and may still be) a park in central Moscow where the old statues were collected and displayed (along with other works of art unrelated to the Communist era). The point is to announce the new order by purging the old one – and thereby to assert one’s power to do so!

    • #22
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  23. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dave Carter: 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.

    Mobs should not be allowed to tear down statues, no argument there.

    However let’s not conflate that with the case in Charlottesville, where the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. You may disagree with that decision, and of course you have the right to peacefully protest against it, but surely a city government has the lawful authority to remove monuments and statues if the citizens they represent no longer wish to display them in their cities.

    • #23
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Full Size Tabby Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I just found out they’re going to “update” the Jefferson Memorial to explain that he was a slaveowner.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jefferson-memorial-exhibit-update-will-acknowledge-slavery-record/article/2632084

    Unless they plan to update the Martin Luther King statue to include the facts that he plagiarized his thesis and cheated on his wife, then I say leave it alone, and I say we all write our senators and congressmen. The next step will be renaming Washington. DC. Think it can’t happen?

    I’m waiting to see what they do with Susan B. Anthony in her hometown of Rochester, NY. She is revered as a leader of the women’s suffragette movement, has at least one statue in town and a major bridge named after her. A number of groups attach themselves to her legacy. She was active in the anti-slavery movement. BUT, she opposed ratification of the 15th Amendment to give black men the vote. There’s reasonable evidence that she was trying to leverage the desire to grant the vote to the black man to also get the vote for women. But, for the simplistic minds of the tear down the statues movement, she opposed granting the vote to the black man.

    • #24
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Pugshot (View Comment):
    Even when the Iron Curtain fell in the ’90s, one of the things that happened in Russia was that statues of Lenin, Marx, Dzerzhinsky, etc. were pulled down. There was (and may still be) a park in central Moscow where the old statues were collected and displayed (along with other works of art unrelated to the Communist era). The point is to announce the new order by purging the old one – and thereby to assert one’s power to do so!

    Is that always a bad thing? If you had lived in Eastern Europe during the 90’s, would you have organized protests against plans to remove statues of Marx & Lenin? Would you have marched alongside Communists carrying the old Soviet flag?

    • #25
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Nerina Bellinger Member

    Another exceptional piece of eloquent writing from Dave. Thanks for the effort, Dave.

    • #26
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Martel Inactive

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Pugshot (View Comment):
    Even when the Iron Curtain fell in the ’90s, one of the things that happened in Russia was that statues of Lenin, Marx, Dzerzhinsky, etc. were pulled down. There was (and may still be) a park in central Moscow where the old statues were collected and displayed (along with other works of art unrelated to the Communist era). The point is to announce the new order by purging the old one – and thereby to assert one’s power to do so!

    Is that always a bad thing? If you had lived in Eastern Europe during the 90’s, would you have organized protests against plans to remove statues of Marx & Lenin? Would you have marched alongside Communists carrying the old Soviet flag?

    Quite different situations. Marx and Lenin set the paradigm for Soviet Russia. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, not so much.

    The Russian statues standing we’re a reflection of the power that Marx and Lenin still had, the Confederate statues are merely a tribute to history.

    The Soviet regime was instituted by Lenin, and tearing down Lenin’s statue reflects that a new government was going to carry forward without him. The Confederates had power for only a short period of time, and the statues went up after they were overthrown.

    America has fought both world wars, the Cold War, done lots of stuff good and bad while the Confederate statues stood. However, not unlike those who toppled Lenin’s statues, those who want them toppled do want a new regime, one hardly like the America we know today.

    In both cases, observe those who want the statues toppled and why they see toppling them as important. I don’t trust the mobs trying to eradicate statues of Jackson and Lee, and neither should you.

    • #27
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  28. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Martel (View Comment):
    I don’t trust the mobs trying to eradicate statues of Jackson and Lee, and neither should you.

    As a rule I don’t trust mobs, ever, under any circumstances. Mobs who deface statues should be arrested and prosecuted.

    As I pointed out in #23 however, many statues and monuments are being removed by an orderly process under the authority of local governments. New Orleans for instance recently removed a statue of Jefferson Davis.

    • #28
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    The Press, “reporting” on the Charlottesville incident. The opposing sides were “White Supremacists”, and “Counter-protesters”. Which of those sounds the most dangerous? Which of those actually came masked and armed with truncheons?

    • #29
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  30. RightAngles Member

    But the reason these local governments are removing the statues is capitulation to groups with evil motives that have nothing to do with statues and flags.

    • #30
    • August 21, 2017, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 11 likes

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