I was reading an excellent article (Rewriting American History) by Walter E. Williams (one of my favorites) who was expounding on how the left is attempting to modify our history by eliminating anything that they find distasteful. This applies to statues, icons, statements, etc. that reference anything to do with the slavery-era history of our country.
I found, as I often do, that I have definite opinions on many of the subjects that Dr. Williams touched on, so I’ve interspersed my comments at various points within his article. Dr. Williams’ article is presented in its entirety with no changes to his text. Note that my comments are my own and don’t necessarily reflect Dr. William’s opinions.
My comments are in blue and are italicized.
George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” In the former USSR, censorship, rewriting of history and eliminating undesirable people became part of Soviets’ effort to ensure that the correct ideological and political spin was put on their history. Deviation from official propaganda was punished by confinement in labor camps and execution.
We’re not there yet, but a similar mindset is being exposed in our colleges where if an individual doesn’t agree with current leftist orthodoxy regarding race and gender, they’re being required to take courses that are designed to “modify” their thinking to bring it into alignment with the activists. Doesn’t that sound like “re-education camps”?
Today there are efforts to rewrite history in the U.S., albeit the punishment is not so draconian as that in the Soviet Union.
Not yet, but if the revisionist left has their way, eventually there will be punishment for failure to comply.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee monument removed last month. Former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton wanted the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as the graves of Forrest and his wife, removed from the city park. In Richmond, Virginia, there have been calls for the removal of the Monument Avenue statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. It’s not only Confederate statues that have come under attack. Just by having the name of a Confederate, such as J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, brings up calls for a name change.
This is only the beginning. It’s obvious that the revisionist left wants to eventually remove all references to anyone who owned slaves – since they want them regarded as evil. The aspect that’s conveniently forgotten is that slavery was the law of the land back then and was part of commerce. And it wasn’t unique to the United States; it was part of almost every nation’s history going back to Greek and Roman civilizations.
No one is saying that it was right and proper, only that slavery happened and was part of ordinary, legal commerce of the day and wasn’t accepted as being an abomination and outlawed until later, specifically in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment.
These history rewriters have enjoyed nearly total success in getting the Confederate flag removed from state capitol grounds and other public places.
So true; such that any depiction of a Confederate flag automatically brands the unfortunate displayer as racist. No excuses or reasons are acceptable.
Slavery is an undeniable fact of our history. The costly war fought to end it is also a part of the nation’s history. Neither will go away through cultural cleansing. Removing statues of Confederates and renaming buildings are just a small part of the true agenda of America’s leftists. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and there’s a monument that bears his name — the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. George Washington also owned slaves, and there’s a monument to him, as well — the Washington Monument in Washington. Will the people who call for removal of statues in New Orleans and Richmond also call for the removal of the Washington, D.C., monuments honoring slaveholders Jefferson and Washington? Will the people demanding a change in the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School also demand that the name of the nation’s capital be changed?
Dr. Williams point is an excellent one – where does it end? Given their preferences, will the revisionist left eventually require that ALL references to anything that doesn’t fit their depiction of slavery be destroyed?
Their depiction of slavery is constructed and designed to confirm reparations as being the only way to cleanse our American soul of the evil of slavery.
These leftists might demand that the name of my place of work — George Mason University — be changed. Even though Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which became a part of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, he owned slaves. Not too far from my university is James Madison University. Will its name be changed? Even though Madison is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution,” he did own slaves.
As did thousands of other ordinary individuals. It’s likely that anyone who was wealthy enough to afford a slave had one (or more). I imagine that it wasn’t unlike owning a home theater media room today. If you can afford one, you probably have one, just like your neighbors.
Rewriting American history is going to be challenging. Just imagine the task of purifying the nation’s currency. Slave owner George Washington’s picture graces the $1 bill. Slave owner Thomas Jefferson’s picture is on the $2 bill. Slave-owning Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s picture is on our $50 bill. Benjamin Franklin’s picture is on the $100 bill.
The challenges of rewriting American history are endless, going beyond relatively trivial challenges such as finding new pictures for our currency. At least half of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners. Also consider that roughly half of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were slave owners. Do those facts invalidate the U.S. Constitution, and would the history rewriters want us to convene a new convention to purge and purify our Constitution?
If we were privy to the left’s playbook, we’d likely find a “purification” of our Constitution to be planned already; they just need time to prepare us for it.
The job of tyrants and busybodies is never done. When they accomplish one goal, they move their agenda to something else. If we Americans give them an inch, they’ll take a yard. So I say, don’t give them an inch in the first place. The hate-America types use every tool at their disposal to achieve their agenda of discrediting and demeaning our history. Our history of slavery is simply a convenient tool to further their cause.
Amen, Dr. Williams, amen.