The Confederacy, Statues, and the Charlottesville Incident

I really don’t want to make this post. I haven’t logged on Facebook for a week because I’m sick of seeing what everybody has to say about the recent debacle in Virginia; and I’m a millennial, so you know that refraining from social media took a tremendous amount of willpower on my part. So this is going to be another list of random points that I think are relevant and/or pertinent, to be lost in the fray of other useless social commentary flooding the internet. In no particular order . . .

1.) White supremacy is bad. What a shock. White separatism is a slightly nicer idea but would pretty much entail the same tactics of white supremacy if the white separatists ever got their way and started segregating things. There’s no functional difference between the two even if the ideologies deviate ever so slightly.

2.) Tiki torches are not intimidating.

3.) If you’re going to judge the Unite the Right march for some of its participants carrying confederate and Nazi flags, I’d like to see some consistency here. Stalinist Russia was just as murderously awful as both of the aforementioned political regimes, so perhaps the hammer-and-sickle flag I’ve seen at many left leaning gatherings (both in person and in pictures) should be judged as a negative statement as well.

4.) Tearing down statues of people you don’t like is a stupid tactic. It just makes it seem like you’re in favor of revisionist history and, coming from someone who is actually interested in history, smacks of the genre-blind virtue signaling of people who have no idea what they’re talking about but are really sure that they’re angry about it.

A statue of Robert E. Lee being the focal point of the contention is a perfect example of this. Robert E. Lee didn’t want the South to secede, thought the war was a stupid idea, and saw slavery as a moral evil he’d rather see the end of. That’s not to say he was some forward thinking progressive, but he wasn’t the personification of Evil White Racism that people are making him out to be. Lincoln actually approached Lee to lead the Northern army first, but Lee took a good long time to get back to him before ultimately refusing the offer because, even though he correctly thought the North would win, he couldn’t bring himself to lead a war against his own home state of Virginia. He wasn’t just some evil racist who wanted to keep the institution of slavery going at all costs. All this does is encourage the typical American lack of interest in history.

5.) Where does this “get rid of the monuments of people who fail by our current moral judgement” notion end, exactly? The first president of our country, the dude who wrote the Constitution, and the dude who started the American financial system, all had a hand in slavery. Are we going to boycott the Hamilton play, tear down the Washington monument, and take Jefferson’s name off of courthouses because of that? This is easy to do for literally anyone. To all the feminists who want to take down statues of those evil men and replace them with female icons from history: Good luck finding a first-wave or second-wave feminist who wasn’t racist as hell. Gandhi was also really racist. Unrelated, but true. The founder’s of modern medicine were sexists and homophobes.  The first people to walk on the moon were also sexist. All those founding gay rights activists? Racist too. Where does your ideological purity test for who “deserves” to have a monument begin and end? You’re going to have one difficult fucking time finding someone who fits all your current year standards for moral conduct, is all I’m saying.

6.) The left has learned nothing and is doing nothing to help the situation. The rising tide of white nationalism in America is dangerous. You know what’s feeding into it, though? You know what’s making these white collectivism sentiments mainstream and popular? The rising tide of rhetoric about how white people are a collective that comes from liberal camps: When you have politicians building their entire platform on telling the whites the STFU, and you have controversy after controversy on college campuses where racism against white people is deemed acceptable, when you have multiple examples of left-wing crowds cheering when they hear that white people may one day be a minority in America, this is what you fucking get. You get white collectivists who are tired of being shit on and who act just as insane and idiotic and violent as the other racial collectivists we already have (unless you forgot the last race riot).

7.) Responding to the Unite the Right march by going on to do more of the thing that they were protesting (in this case, officially removing more statues) doesn’t seem like that great of an idea. Go do a social experiment: Walk around the streets of Charlottesville and ask people what statues are there. And if they don’t know, tell them, and then ask them what those people being enshrined in brass actually did. I would be shocked if people actually knew. This isn’t me calling anyone dumb: This is me pointing out the very real fact that these monuments are very much in the background. They are part of the backdrop. Charlottesville is not some white supremacist haven because it has statues of people who fought on the losing side of the Civil War.

For example, the elementary school I went to was named after Robert E. Lee. The elementary school on the other side of town was named after Abraham Lincoln. I did not know either of those things as a child. I legit thought my school was called Roberty Lee Elementary. I thought Lincoln Elementary was just named after the street it was on. The average person is not taking the names of things to heart. The average person isn’t looking at vague statues of military guys they don’t know the name of because they’ve never looked at the plaque underneath, feeling the warm glow of racial supremacy in their bosom. The average person doesn’t give two fucks about this either way, and it’s yet another fucking sign of how cut off from average society these people are that they think everyone is going around naval gazing about these things. They’re aren’t.

The end.



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