Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blotting out the past

Confederate and progressive symbols are being whitewashed from the University of Texas main campus thanks to the bored totalitarians of the anti-Confederate movement:

The University of Texas at Austin said it would delay plans to relocate the statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson, after the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested a temporary restraining order in a state district court on Friday afternoon.

The decision came a day after university officials announced they would move the statue of Confederate President Davis from the center of its campus in Austin, but allow the statues of other Confederate figures, including one of Robert E. Lee, to remain.

The Davis statue is scheduled to be installed at the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History, where officials have said that it will become part of an educational exhibit.

A site for the Wilson statue, which will be relocated to maintain symmetry on the campus’ Main Mall, has not been determined.

On the face of it, Wilson was as big a racist as Davis, and definitely a bigger racist than Lee. Wilson believed in eugenics. He segregated the military. He screened Birth of a Nation in the White House. He was also a progressive, post-Constitutional technocrat, and war socialist. He was father of the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and the United Nations. He left a legacy of racist soft tyranny. I’ll gladly trade a Davis statue for a Wilson statue, even if it is just to maintain “symmetry.”

That’s all beside the point. Wilson was president of the United States. Davis was president of the Confederacy. For good or ill, they’re part of history. Everyone knows people as property is bad. It was as true in biblical times as it was true in 1860 (indentured servitude closely approximates the ancient Israelite institution). A Jefferson Davis statue doesn’t argue contrary to that moral truth, nor does it relitigate the Civil War. It pays homage to Davis’s civil authority and place in history, not to his views of slavery and the Bible that were fashionable among Southern gentlemen at a particular time.

That I wouldn’t build a Jefferson Davis statue today doesn’t give me the right to remove one put there yesterday. A good person can disagree with his predecessors without blotting out the past. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true we don’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been. That must be why Leftists have no idea where their ideas will lead the country next, so groundless in truth and our history is their ideology. Intentionally diminishing our cultural heritage shortens our sense of who we are a people. The past is the fulcrum on which the present pivots. The shorter the past, the further afield the present swings.

Related: “History robbers” and “Slippery slope.”

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