History and Leftist Inconoclasm

Monday, May 8, AD 2017

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.

Benjamin Hill on Robert E. Lee

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts notes that Mark Shea has embraced the leftist crusade of purging the nation of all things Confederate:

 

 

Why should we have a monument in our capital named for a hypocritical racist slave owner?  Or for that matter, why should our capital be named for one?  Mark Shea explains.  Mark isn’t advocating the eradication of Washington’s name from his home state, or the destruction of the Jefferson Memorial, or the closing down of Independence Hall, or moving the presidential residency from a building built on the backs of slaves.

Nothing in his post, however, could be used to condemn such actions.  In fact, the post could be used to defend such actions.   As a Believer, I’m a little bothered by the sudden emergence of the ‘erase the Confederacy and everyone in it’ movement that has gained steam since the Charleston Shooting.  Mark himself decried the sudden removal of Confederate symbols from museums and other historic locations.

Nonetheless, he seems fine with the removal of monuments for even such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, who often was compared to Erwin Rommel, a brave and noble man on the wrong side of the debate.   Sure, you could argue there is a dearth of high schools or statues celebrating Rommel, but that is because for the longest time, people actually believed that the American South, if not America, and Nazi Germany were different animals.  Now, of course, those differences are eroding.  Since there is typically good and bad in most people, places, and things, deciding to weigh all equally on the Nazi Comparison scale seems a dangerous trend.

In fact some could argue, as Mark appears to, that there was little moral difference between the North and South.  Perhaps the rest of the US was every bit as bad.  And if so, then why keep anything honoring it or those who fought for it?  No more God bless America?  Just God damn America?  Perhaps.  Given that in my lifetime I watched a concerted effort to stop seeing such historical luminaries as Attila the Hun, or such civilizations as the Vikings or the Mongols in purely negative ways, I have a hard time seeing the reverse trend when it comes to America.

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16 Responses to History and Leftist Inconoclasm

  • By erasing the memory of history we are condemned to repeat it. Paraphrase of George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • I think its time Mark should team up with Bill Nye as a new comedic duo. Kind of like Laurel and Hardy

  • This hysteria is a neo-Talibanic effort to enforce a vision of social purity on the part of zealots. There is no logical end to it that would exclude eradicating any street, town, city, or monument named after Washington.

  • Agreed. The Confederacy is merely a momentary stand in for the true leftist target: the United States of America.

  • I’m in favor of leaving most Confederate memorials intact for this simple reason: the men that Mark hates with an incandescent rage did something for which all Americans should be grateful: with almost no exceptions, they encouraged the South to accept the verdict of the battlefield and reconcile with the nation. If they had not–especially Robert E. Lee, who rejected guerilla warfare at the end–America would be a weakened garrison state. A few statues is a small price to pay for freedom.

  • Mark hates with an incandescent rage did something for which all Americans should be grateful: with almost no exceptions

    Good point.

    One problem is that some political figures have virtues expressed only in private life. That statue of Pitchfork Ben Tillman might properly be moved to a museum.

    Agreed. The Confederacy is merely a momentary stand in for the true leftist target: the United States of America.

    Half of it is black politicians (or passing-for-black politicians like Ben Jealous) who are bereft of ideas and have nothing better to do but mark territory. The other half is academic types like Wm. Chafe who wish to set themselves up as arbiters of value in American history and life. I’m inclined to tell both sorts to take a hike.

  • The only thing that really annoys me about The American Catholic, is the time it wastes complaining about nonentities like Mark Shea. Who cares?

  • Mark is not a non-entity. He is taken by many Catholics as a Catholic apologist and regularly appears before Church groups.

  • “One problem is that some political figures have virtues expressed only in private life. That statue of Pitchfork Ben Tillman might properly be moved to a museum.”

    That point is well-taken. I’m much more amenable to removing the statues of Confederate politicians as opposed to their soldiery and combat commanders.

  • The only thing that really annoys me about The American Catholic, is the time it wastes complaining about nonentities like Mark Shea. Who cares?

    About 15 years ago, he was one of the more widely circulated Catholic (non-fiction) writers in the country. By and large, magazine journalism has fallen on hard times in the intervening years and (I suspect if you examined the question carefully), the audience for that sort of thing is demoralized to a degree it was not at that time. Shea himself has been suffering from some sort of middle-age decay of occult origin, so has likely lost his audience (though gained an audience among a modest corps of cranky palaeos). I suspect he gets bookings from people who are familiar with some of the monographs he’s published in the past and just have not reviewed his online writings.

    One problem is (and you can see this looking at Ignatius Press catalogues) is that Catholic writers who are accessible to general audiences with work in print tend to be deceased (Regine Pernoud, John Senior, and, more recently, Ralph McInerney), very old (Peter Kreeft), retired and silent (Sandra Miesel), or on the cusp of retirement (Robert George). There does not seem to be anyone younger coming down the pipeline.

  • It galled me that students at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, where Lee presided after the war, campaigned and succeeded in removing Confederate symbols on campus. I never understand why, with all the colleges in the United States, why students attend a school and attempt to change their culture. Why not just attend another university?

  • I never understand why, with all the colleges in the United States, why students attend a school and attempt to change their culture. Why not just attend another university?

    You recall Sandra Fluke, against her economic interest, elected to attend Georgetown in order to pester the school administration.

    It’s doubtful the youths who engage in this sort of tripe (or the faculty and administration who are their collaborators) are the sort to attempt to appreciate the world around them as is.

    One thing I’ve noticed, now that Nat Hantoff has died, is that the progressive dispensation is occupied almost entirely by people who trade in sentiment (on the one hand) and people who are forever making accusations (on the other). Be nice if the vanguard of 50% of the population weren’t given to self-aggrandizement morning, noon, and night, but we do not live in that world.

  • Checking some data online, it would appear that about 50% of their matriculating freshman are not Southerners. The place is a swank and selective private college. They recruit from the professional-managerial bourgeoisie with a leavening of patrician types. To some extent, these are now status markers in that set.

  • I live3 and hour away from New Orleans. One of the most well-known landmarks is Lee Circle, with the statue of Gen. Robt. E. Lee atop a tall column, the column’s foundation an island that operates as a traffic circle for St. Charles Sreet and the iconic St. Charles streetcar line. It amazes me how the powers that be namely politically correct liberals have successfully garnered enough support for the dismantling of this and other monuments. In the case of Lee, who as the article correctly noted, was not a racist and along with his wife did what they could to help black Americans every way they could. It’s apparent those who advocate the removal of Lee’s statue are victims of their own ignorance and also the dishonesty of the mayor and others who are most certainly aware of the General and Mrs. Lee’s charitable work. This situation is also an indication of the failure of both our educational institutions for spending more time indoctrinating their student rather than teaching real history.

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Brits Forgetting Winston Churchill

Thursday, May 13, AD 2010

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  One in five British adults were unable to identify a picture of Winston Churchill in a recent survey.

As part of the survey, carried out to mark this week’s 70th anniversary of Churchill’s prime ministerial tenure, more than 1,136 people were asked to identify three prominent 20th century PMs including Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

One in five (19%) adults failed to name Churchill, with the figure rising to 32% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 44% of those aged 16 to 24.

Following the pattern, researchers projected the rough date when the leaders would no longer be recognised, with Churchill’s demise predicted in 80 years’ time…

The survey, which involved people naming black and white headshot photos of the prime ministers, saw Churchill mistaken for Stephen Fry, Robert Hardy, Michael Gambon, Charlie Chaplin, Oliver Hardy, John Betjeman and Roy Hattersley, the Royal Mint said…

Kevin Clancy, head of Historical Services at the Royal Mint, added: “It’s shocking that one of our greatest statesmen runs the risk of potentially being forgotten.

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12 Responses to Brits Forgetting Winston Churchill

  • Pathetic.

  • I should add don’t blame the schools, Don. They are busy with more important things like teaching the kids “how” to learn and ensuring high self-esteem. Who cares what happened 50 years ago?” The dude was probably just some old white guy.

  • True Mike. The schools obviously have to keep their priorities straight: politics and sensitivity first, knowledge if there is time.

    The truly dismal aspect of this is that more than a few of the teachers are probably not that clear on Churchill, probably dimly remembering him from a politicized survey course on British History they took in high school or college.

  • Perhaps I’ve found a way to make children reconnect with Churchill:

  • I bet more than 1 in 5 Americans won’t be able to identify FDR. School is where you’re locked up while your parents work. We learn from TV.

  • “We learn from TV.”

    God help us all.

  • Yet only in 2002 Winston Churchill was voted the greatest Briton by over 500,000 votes. A little more representative than 1000 in this survey. Besides which if the poll was taken in London then it is almost like the pool was undertaken in a foreign country, London is so cosmopolitan now.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2509465.stm

    Saying that, we live in a culture which recognises only youth and celeb gossip which is a fairly recent import from the USA, (thank you USA!!). If you’re not in the media ever other day then you aren’t anyone!!

  • Sorry for the typo, it should have been ‘poll’, not pool.

    I live about 15 miles from Sir Winston Churchill’s family home – Chartwell which is now part of the National Trust. Visting there is like stepping through history, letters from all the world leaders during World War II and post war. Gifts from all over the world in gratitude for his efforts and with a library full of books he’d written. I came out feeling very insignificant. I learnt more there than in all the lessons at school.

  • If we learn everything from TV, then I suspect that Britons would fare better in this poll if taken today. Mr. Churchill appeared in an episode of Dr. Who a few weeks ago, so he should by now be readily identifiable. 🙂

  • Bear in mind the article was in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail, I was once offered a
    copy free with a Latte and refused to accept it. My dad used to read
    it and it always wanted to make me slit my wrists.

    On the wider note about engaging the younger generation, I have twin
    boys of 14 and if anything as a result of the likes of the History
    channel etc they have a better appreciation of history and WW2 than I
    ever did at their age. They have recently come back from a WW1 tour of
    Belgium, we didn’t do that sort of thing when I was a lad.
    I wrote a book with my boys in mind called Churchill’s Secret Skills
    which takes Winston’s WW2 talents for running the war and applies them
    to modern business. I figured if I could keep them interested enough
    to read it through to the end then I had just about pitched it right.
    You have to keep it engaging and throw in as much humour as possible.
    Teenage kids are a tough crowd

  • I can sort of understand mistaking him for Oliver Hardy by a photograph.

  • I bet plenty of British school kids have heard of the Spitfire, though.