Confederate Monuments Deserve to Go

Taking them down and putting up different statues is a reminder that in understanding the past, we shape the future.


Max Becherer/Polaris/Newscom

In 1871, the city of Richmond, Virginia, publicly celebrated the Fourth of July. It was an unfamiliar experience. There had been no general commemoration of Independence Day since 1860—before Virginia had seceded from the nation that was formed in 1776.

Other Southern cities were not ready to resume participation in our national ritual. Cheraw became the first place in post-Civil War South Carolina to do so, in 1891. Jackson, Mississippi, waited until 1901 to hold a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the occasion. Vicksburg, Mississippi, didn't join the party until 1945.

Staunch supporters of the Lost Cause had little fondness for the United States. The Stars and Stripes was the banner of their enemy. When Union troops occupied Richmond in April 1865, the first thing they did was hoist the American flag over the capitol.

The die-hards recognized what some Southerners miss: the deep contradiction between loving America and revering the Confederacy. The struggle over what to do with monuments to rebel leaders is a conflict between those who think what they did was admirable or heroic and those who think it was disgraceful.

My long-dead relatives include several men who fought for the South. One was Gen. Leonidas Polk, who commanded troops in several major battles before being killed in action. He was not the last person to illustrate that fallibility runs in the family.

In 1961, when I was a boy in the West Texas city of Midland, a new high school opened. It was named after Robert E. Lee, for reasons that are obvious: White resentment of the civil rights movement had produced widespread nostalgia for the Confederacy. San Antonio's Lee High School opened in 1958; Houston's in 1962.

Midland Lee called its sports teams the Rebels and used the Confederate battle flag as its symbol. Black students didn't mind, because there weren't any. They attended a segregated black school.

The general did have a connection to Texas. His last U.S. Army command before the Civil War was at a fort in the Hill Country town of Mason—which has no Lee monument. Gerald Gamel, editor of the Mason County News, ascribes the omission to strong anti-secession sentiment in Mason. That tells you something about why other places honor Confederate heroes.

The town had good company in its resistance. Gov. Sam Houston, who fiercely opposed secession, was removed from office because he refused to take an oath to the Confederacy.

His role comes to mind because of a recent rally in defense of a statue of him in Houston, which supposedly was under threat from leftists because he owned slaves. Armed counter-protesters, many expressing secessionist views, showed up on the appointed date. But the threat was a hoax, and Houston's self-styled defenders apparently didn't know that he saw disunion as treason.

It was. Yet grand memorials were erected across the South to celebrate what the traitors did. The monuments were built by whites at a time when blacks had no political power—a condition those whites were desperate to preserve.

They failed, and they deserved to fail. It's only fitting that Southerners who reject the legacies of slavery, secession, and Jim Crow would prefer to be rid of these tributes to them.

It's not a symptom of modern political correctness. Days after the Declaration of Independence was signed, a New York mob destroyed a statue of King George III.

If the men and women of the Revolution were eager to be rid of the images of those who had oppressed them and made war on America, why should African-Americans in the South feel differently about statues of leaders who fought to keep their race in chains?

For a long time, American history was owned by white men and minimized the treatment of blacks, women, Indians, and Latinos. Accommodating our public spaces to their full citizenship doesn't erase history. It fills in parts that had been shamefully omitted.

The Confederate monuments belong not in places of honor but in museums, as artifacts of past error. They were put up to enshrine an interpretation of the past that has been discredited. Taking them down and putting up different statues is a reminder that in understanding the past, we shape the future.

If there's a statue of my relative Leonidas Polk honoring his Confederate leadership, I'm willing to see it pulled down. In fact, I'd like to be there to help.


NEXT: Go Ahead, Put Salt on Your Food

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  1. I say take them all down, and if you want a ridiculous statue of some political/government asshole, then commission it yourself and have fun in your backyard.

    Let’s not pretend we all need to be reminded how awesome *insert asshat here* was.

    1. If that’s what you want.

      Let’s get rid of NPR and it’s rememberances of FDR, JFK and LBJ to change how bad they really were. FDR put Americans in concentration camps.

      See, government funded academia has its own statutes that it tries to keep while dismantling those historical figure it’s finds embarrassing. Robert E. Lee was a Democrat up to his dying breath.

      1. And rename the Woodrow Wilson bridge after someone other than that President that re-segregated the militsry and federal government.

      2. One of the less appealing aspects of America is how its public monuments revere politicians rather than people who really improved the lot of humanity.

        This really struck me when I went on a walk in Milan, Italy. In Milan, the streets and piazzas are named after artists, scientists, inventors, and saints: Dante, Verde, da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Newton, and a bunch of saints. Sure, they have streets and piazzas named after politicians, but not to the exclusion of people who actually benefited humanity.

        I live in Dallas, where we have an LBJ interstate loop, a Bush Tollway, and other roads named for politicians, but absolutely nothing to celebrate the hometown inventor of the integrated circuit and Nobel laureate Jack Kilby. Nothing. And, what fraction of people you know have ever heard of Norman Borlaug, a guy who was ten times the hero of every American president since 1900 combined?

        1. Couldn’t agree more. I would like to see statues, art and streets honoring Norman Borlag, Rosalind Franklin, peanut hero George Washington Carver and many more. People who left this world a better place then when they entered it.

        2. Career politicians build monuments to other career politicians, who else would consider them worthy of honor?

        3. I saw that as Jack Kirby at first.

          Still counts.

          1. So much this. Its why I could never fathom the pushback against putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty
            dollar bill. At least Tubman wasnt an asshat.

        4. Have you been to Florence? The statues of all great Florentines grace the path towards the Uffizi.


        5. Have you ever read the street names? Sure, they’ll slap a politician’s name on a hunk of interstate, or on a section of a major thoroughfare, but most of the street names are locals that you probably can’t identify.

          Every city in the US is going to have an MLK blvd. Usually in a bad neighborhood. And a Washington street.

          And a Church street.

          After that? Lots of locals. The guy who owned the big farm out that way. The family who owned the hotel.

          I’m in south Florida. Around here, there’s lots of things with the name Flagler on it. Moving here, I didn’t know what it meant, it was just a word. Turns out, he’s one of those guys you are talking about. In addition to being a founder of Standard Oil, he created the Florida East Coast Railway, which made south Florida a place people could live and work. He basically founded Miami and Palm Beach – at least as they exist today.

          We have roads and a county named Davie, after a big developer.

          Near me we have a McNabb road – named for a couple of pioneer farmers who settled the area. We’ve got Sample Road, named for another pioneer family. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

          All the new roads these days either seem to get numbers or they get named by developers, so they get names like “Cypress Lane” and “Wood Ridge Rd.”, just because it sounds good to prospective buyers.

          Politicians get more than their due, but mostly roads aren’t named after politicians. They just get a sign on an old hunk of road.

          1. Best one we got here is Ruthrauff. Named after some early founder or some shit. But what’s great, is hearing the spanish language news shows pronounce it.

            It is amazing sounding in Spanish.

      3. Living in the area, I can say Richmond will be a very different place without a street full of second place trophies.

      4. FDR put people in concentration camps and yet the good still outweighed the bad to the extent that he’s considered one of the top 5 presidents by everyone. Damn, progressives are good. What you got?

        1. In China they still like Mao, and in Russia many still like Stalin. So, stupid is as stupid does.

          1. There’s a statue of Lenin in Seattle. Tell ya anything?

            1. Initially installed in Czechoslovakia in 1988, the sculpture was removed after the Velvet Revolution and brought to the United States in the 1990s.

              Yes, I understand. Keep the revolution alive!

            2. Good point, if they remove Confederate statues, let’s remove the statue of Lenin. No double-standards.

            3. Privately owned, and displayed for artistic value, not as a monument.

            4. Is that the one in Ballard? I was really confused by that when I first saw it. Then I just accepted that it was Seattle.

          2. … and statues of Marx and Engels in eastern Berlin.

        2. Your comment is a new level of stupid even for you.

        3. You can’t even compare conditions (let alone outcomes) in the American internment camps compared to the Nazi work and death camps.

          Not defending the internment camp policy, but seriously, keep a sense of proportion.

        4. I take it that Tony is not of Japanese descent. FDR’s wonderful brilliance might seem slightly different if he were.

          On the other hand, they do say that Mussolini made the trains run on time.

          1. Except for the ones the Allies bombed into scrap metal.

        5. He put people in concentration camps – Japanese AND Italians – AND his policies prolonged the depression.

          What a guy!

          1. By “everyone” I mean every serious person, not pathetic historical revisionist rightwing assholes whose philosophical failures are so regular and total that they have to resort to pretending that history unfolded the opposite of how it did.

            How truly fucking sad.

            1. You can in fact find very serious people who both think the internment camps were bad, and also believe his economic policy was flawed. At the point that you basically qualify the term “Everyone” to be “Everyone who agrees with this point agrees with this point” you are not saying much.

            2. You’re special, Tony.

            3. You really are above and beyond the insufferable prick and intellectual midget that everyone here repeatedly calls you out correctly for being. My god you’re a fucking inane asshole.

        6. Every single one of your political heroes put people in concentration camps. It’s almost like they have something in common.

          1. And FDR made the private ownership of gold illegal. He should have been shot for that.

        7. With FDR, the good came nowhere near the bad. He took a serious shot at implementing many Soviet style socialist policies. Who the hell is “everyone”?

    2. And there it is, the typical noncommittal equivocating libertarian horseshit that keeps anyone from ever taking them seriously. Take an impossible position, then complain how everyone’s an idiot except you when it doesn’t happen. It’s basically the same thing communists do.

      “Hahaha look at how cool and above-it-all I am. You want me to actually take a side? Nice try, partisan. They’re ALL assholes, so there! Checkmate.”

      Everyone knows that we’re never going to ban all monuments. Everyone knows we’re never going to tear down all the monuments that have already been built. So the only thing that matters in THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is whether or not you think Confederate monuments should be singled out for removal, and why.

      1. That’s a good point. It’s like all the idiots I know that just reflexively refer to any and all politicians as equally corrupt. As if there is the slightest equivalency between the likes of Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton (As an example). It’s just another example of weak thinking by people who can’t be bothered to do any intellectual heavy lifting.

        1. I like to add a modifier to the word “politician” and that is “career”. Rand Paul is a politician but he is not a career politician. He had a job, he will stand on principle, he return to that job if he is not re-elected.

      2. “So the only thing that matters in THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is whether or not you think Confederate monuments should be singled out for removal, and why.”

        You’ll have a point, just as soon as you show me that any outcome will turn out differently based on what you think about this.

        Otherwise, what I think is just relevant as what you think.

        Believe it or not, it still doesn’t matter what you think when other people decide to do something that’s somewhat aligned with your stated preference.

  2. And the Civil War was not fought solely about slavery.

    So then you have to discuss why was it fought and some of the reasons were states rights and power from Washington DC pushing y for the Nanny-state. Anti-federalism, in fact.

    Then fast-forward to 2016 and you see that some of the reasons to fight for states rights and individual liberty were worth giving your life for. Freedom is not free.

    Trying to change history to lefty distorted views of what happened in the past will never work. Dismantle statutes of historical figures, it will only make subjugation to future statutes of lefty leaders less compelling.

    1. It makes sense that Chapman is related to Leonidas Polk-he was thoroughly incompetent as well.

      We have a Confederate monument here in my hometown in N.C., nobody pays it much attention. North Carolina and Tennessee were the last two Confederate states to secede-after Ft. Sumter (Virginia also did not secede until after Ft. Sumter). If you look at the election of 1860 you will see that John Bell from the Constitutional Union party won Tennessee and Virginia (and very nearly N.C.), opinion in the upper south was clearly split about secession and there was great reluctance to leave the Union. However, when events began to spiral out of control those young men dutifully marched off to, as they saw it, defend against invasion-hundreds of them from my county died. I know this requires an actual understanding of history, which is beyond Chapman, but I really have no problem with a monument in their honor.

      My own great-great grandfather ended the war in an Union regiment (the third North Carolina Mounted Infantry), but started out in a Confederate unit, I think I understand what motivated him in first joining up, and then changing sides. The vast complexity of historical reality can be difficult to accept and understand, so it is easier just to adopt fashionable outrage.

      1. “Fashionable outrage” should be the name of this magazine.

        1. “Fashionable outrage”
          Band name or nickname in college? I think it works either way.

    2. The Civil War was ALL about slavery, first, last, and everything in between. Look at the changes in the Confederate Constitution from the US. Look at every single speech by every single governor, senator, and politician.

      If there had been no slavery, no 3/5 clause, no slave power, there would have been no secession, no war.

      Tariffs? Bullshit. They were half the federal government’s income; no tariffs, no federal government.

      State rights? Bullshit. The slave states were all for federal power over states when it came to banning abolitionist mail or enforcing the fugitive slave law.

      Slavery, from beginning to end.

      1. No. It was about the nanny state. Of the 1850s. Read a book.

        1. A book by a neoconfederate revisionist, anyways.

        2. You should try reading statements by those politicians I mentioned, and try responding to THEM. You could also try explaining how states rights is compatible with the fugitive slave law and using the federal post office to ban abolitionist propaganda.

          But you won’t, because such contradictions must be kept hidden.

          1. Also, could he explain why pretty much the first act of the Confederacy was the nationalization of all industry in the South? So much for protecting private property rights.

        3. The Confederacy didn’t care about state’s rights. It tried to impose fugitive slave laws on free states. Its’ constitution ADDED restrictions on states. It also implemented tariffs and government ownership of industries. Sorry, but history doesn’t agree with you.


      2. The 3/5 clause was a Northern compromise. They didn’t want slaves to count at all towards representatives.

        1. The compromise was only necessary due to the South’s ridiculous demand that people who could not vote, and indeed were not even considered persons under Southern law, should count toward their population for Congressional representation.

          1. White women didn’t count towards representation?

            “At the time of its creation, the Constitution did not explicitly give citizens an inherent right to vote.[15] Rather, it provided that those qualified to vote in elections for the largest chamber of a state’s legislature may vote in Congressional (House of Representatives) elections.”

            1. Including women and children wouldn’t change the allocation compared to only including adult men.

              Though, I would be cool with changing the computation to be based on the number of people who are eligible to vote. So we don’t have census workers counting illegals as they are wont to do.

              1. 50% more people wouldn’t change the allocation?

                1. He is assuming that all states had roughly 50/50 male/female ratios.

                  I’d assume that on the frontier of civilization this was not true, but otherwise it is probably a safe assumption.

                  Alaska is currently renowned for its dearth of women. It has 107 men for every 100 women. The rest of the nation has more like 98 men for every 100 women. So not as big a swing as the reputation might lead you to believe.

          2. The compromise was only necessary due to the South’s ridiculous demand that people who could not vote, and indeed were not even considered persons under Southern law, should count toward their population for Congressional representation.

            California does the same thing with their illegal Mexican population that constitutes currently 10% of their population. Maybe you should go start a war and kill half a million people for it.

          3. 1. We still count people who can’t vote (e.g., minors, aliens, inmates of prisons and lunatic asylums) toward population for purposes of representation.

            2. If the Southerners who voted for the 3/5 Compromise didn’t recognize slaves as persons, then voting for the 3/5 Compromise, which literally refers to slaves as “all other persons” was a funny way of showing it.

          4. The Southern states position must have been correct considering that illegal aliens are now counted in determining the number of representatives a state has in congress.

      3. The Civil War was ALL about slavery,

        Lincoln denied this. Go read his first inaugural address.


        1. Or you could read the Confederate Vice President’s Cornerstone Speech:

          Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science.

          1. I don’t see anything in there about war.

        2. Lincoln was still trying to hold onto Virginia at that point.

          From the Northern POV it was (at first) mixed between preserving the union and abolishing slavery. From the Southern POV it was all about preserving and expanding slavery.

          1. So Lincoln was lying?

        3. Also see the emancipation proclamation, in which Lincoln (via executive order!) declared freedom for blacks who were in territories not controlled by the Union, and did *not* free blacks in territories that were in Union hands.

          1. That has nothing to do with his ultimate wishes about abolishing slavery. It was completely pragmatic to win the war. If the Union lost the war, abolishing slavery wouldn’t be in the cards regardless.

            He didn’t want to threaten the loyalty of the Union slave states, provoke further rebellion in Union-occupied areas of the Confederacy, and he hoped that some parts of the Confederacy might switch sides before the deadline to keep their slaves.

      4. The first proposed 13th Amendment or so-called Corwin Amendment could have perpetuated slavery. If that was the cause de jour of the South, they needed only repeal their ordinance of secession, rejoin the US, and take part in ratifying. This afore the Fort Sumter Incident.
        But that didn’t happen, did it.
        AND, in early Feb. 1865, at the Hampton Roads conference, according yo some accounts, lincoln offered the South could keep its slaves, but keeping free those already freed, if they’d just lay their arms down and submit to yankee authority.
        That didn’t happen either, did it.

        1. That’s hard to believe. The 13th amendment that we have today, the one banning slavery, had already been passed by Congress the time that conference took place.

          1. You are wrong. The 13th we have this day was declared ratified, by the required minimal 3/4ths States, on 6 December 1865.

            1. I didn’t say ratified, I said passed by Congress. Meaning it was up to the state govts whether it would be ratified.

              At the time of the Hampton Roads conference, the federal government could not have stopped slavery from being banned.

            2. And of course the president has no role whatsoever in the constitutional amendment process, so Lincoln could not possibly have made that promise.

          2. Slavery is not banned. It is still legal as a punishment for crimes.

            1. That’s not slavery.

              1. It is chosen by committing crimes.
              2. It is of a temporary and definite duration.
              3. It does not pass down to children.
              4. It does not remove all your human rights.

              1. It literally says slavery in the amendment.

      5. And Vietnam was about communism. And WWII was about Jews. Please regurgitate more shit you learned in 3rd grade in public school.

      6. SR&C-
        Close. Slavery was the reason for session. Invasion was the reason for the war.

    3. I have felt for some years that the States’ Rights argument is hollow. If States’ Rights mattered to the Planters, they would not have rubbed the Norths nose in the dung of slavery by taking slaves with them when they visited North and insisting that said slaves be kept in bondage. The Fugitive Slave Act, and the underlying legal issues it was based on, are blatant violations of the Northern States’ right to be free of Slavery.

      It seems to me that the issue of the Civil War was the desire of a social elite (the Planters) to be treated like Aristocracy (they are often referred to as the Southern Aristocracy). They bamboozled the poorer whites of the South into fighting and dying to defend their economic advantage and social privilege. They were scum. Men like Lee, who fell for the imposture and fought for ‘States’ Rights’ were not heroes. They were fools.

      1. First of all, it is not so much like you claim.
        Upon Statehood, All States are legally bound to uphold the Constitution. Article IV, Section 2, para 3 binds all States to return escaped fugitives, which includes slaves. It’s not supposed to matter if you agree with it or no. It’s the organic law, plus a Fugitive Slave law passed in the 1790s. Not appealing to federal authority, but reminding them they are breaking the compact/contract, AND the laws in not returning them.
        Thus breaking the compact/Constitution, then the agreement is broken. Thus permitting all States to follow their own ways.

        1. The fugitive slave clause (which doesn’t actually mention fugitives or slaves, but “person held to service or labour”) was arguably invalidated by the 5th Amendment’s prohibition on taking a person’s liberty without due process.

          The 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which purported to fine any official who did not assist in the process, was blatantly anti-federalism and unconstitutional.

          1. That is your opinion. The SCOTUS ruled it Constitutional in the Dred Scott case.

            1. The issue isn’t what had been written into the legal structure of the country; the Planters had one hell of a lot of clout, for various reasons. The issue is the principle of States Rights; did the Planter Aristocracy believe in them, or only when they went THEIR way? I think that the evidence supports the latter view.

              The Planters had had an outsized degree of control over the laws of the country, and had used that to protect their privilege. As the North gained in population, that degree of control began to slip, and the Planters threatened to take their ball and go home rather than play on a level field. And, in reaction, the North in effect said “You’ve been a snot-nosed bully from day one, and now you get the thrashing you richly deserve”.

              So, in a way, the people who say that the War wasn’t primarily about slavery are correct. The War was about Aristocratic Privilege, and were the unwashed common men going to put up with it.

              1. Northerners did recognize the disproportionate power of Southern aristocracy, but they did not refer to it as the Planter Power or the Aristocrat Power or even the Southern Power, they referred to the Slave Power.

              2. Aaannndd, we’re still dealing with that “aristocratic privilege.”

              3. Why would the North care about class as a reason to go to war? Interesting angle you present but to the point the North considered it a reason?

            2. LOL you’re citing Dred Scott as your case law?

      2. This!

    4. Just like a constitutionalist to drag the hate-speech of historical fact into a discussion of Chapman’s timid endorsement of “our” version of Econazi Germany’s new censorship laws.

    5. Rather than dismantle confederate statues, we should be dismantling the democrat party, and dealing with it’s corrupt and often treasonous marxist members. That is, if we want to have a country in the future.

      1. Yyyyup.

    6. Solely, no, but primarily yes. Every seceding state that issued articles of secession made it very explicit that slavery was the reason for the treason.

      1. You should examine the secession ordinances of North Carolina and Tennessee more closely: http://www.civil-war.net/pages…..ession.asp

    7. Yes the civil war was about more than slavery but without slavery there is no civil war.

      Slavery was both necessary and sufficient to trigger war.

    8. Here’s a history lesson. It’s from those “lefties” over at Prager U…oh wait those guys are conservative.


  3. George Washington owned hundreds of slaves.

    We named the fucking capitol after him.

    Get over it.

    1. Washington DC and Washington State need to be re-named!!!

      DC should become (be renamed) Obamaville and the state should become known as Pelositon! (Or maybe Clintonton).

      1. Only if we slaughter the resident Progressive populations and salt the earth.

      2. I was thinking Vaginia.

        1. “Vaginia”, ha! Good one!

          It reminds me of a controversy from quite a few years ago. “Squaw Lake” “Politically Correct Lake” ? Use those two phrases (both in quotes) for a Google search, and find a bunch of “stuff”? 1995, Minnesota? The State of Minnesota requires (at the behest of Native Americans) that all place-names containing “squaw” be changed, because some people (apparently mistakenly) believe that this word is derived from a Native American tongue, meaning “vagina”, and we can’t have that! So some local officials proposed the re-named lake become known as “Politically Correct Lake”.

          No-go on “Politically Correct Lake”? Not allowed by our bettors! So I guess re-naming Washington State to be “Politically Correct State” is also not allowed either?

    2. The fake libertarian assholes like Chapman, Bailey, and most of the rest of the gang around here are most definitely going after Washington and Jefferson next after the Confederate generals are all gone.

      1. The fake libertarian assholes like Chapman, Bailey and most of the rest of the gang, keep me from subscribing and giving them any $$$.

    3. Washington was fighting for independence, and won his war. Lee/Davis/etc were fighting for slavery, and lost theirs.

      That’s an important distinction, and one that Mikey also doesn’t seem to comprehend (see below).

      You’re in bad company.

      1. Forgot about threaded comments: see Mikey’s 9:58am post

      2. In Lee’s case, if you are referring to Robert E., he was not fighting for slavery. He was fighting for Virginia. You do not have to guess at these events; it turns out that people then could both read and write. His wartime papers, which cover his conflict between duty to the nation, and duty to his home state, show his thought process. Just for the record, he freed all the slaves that came from his wife’s family.

        And just for the record, Lincoln did not free any slaves in the USA. Ever wonder why?

      3. So Washington wasn’t fighting for slavery? Hate to break this to you sparky, but slavery already existed in the US when god-king Washington freed us from those evil Brits. The only thing the confederates were doing was fighting to preserve an institution that Washington fought to establish.

        You’re in a good company with historical illiterates and mentally defective children.

        1. Slavery is not an American institution.

          Slavery existed in the Americas because it existed EVERYWHERE at the time of colonization.

          Spain, England, France, Portugal, Holland and several other brought the African slave trade to these shores, to complement the already extant slavery systems the indians used.

          Washington did not ‘fight to establish’ any kind of slavery and the term is absent from our founding documents.

          But thank you for playing,

      4. The distinction isn’t as sharp as you might think. Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, like Lincoln, issued an emancipation proclamation as a war measure. He even sent a ship up the Potomac River to Mount Vernon and liberated some of George Washington’s slaves. So Washington was literally fighting, among other things, to get his slaves back.


  4. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.

    hiding history promotes ignorance as a solution to potential offense. One need not actually support any “lost cause” to honor its dead and remember its costs.

    and where does this instinct to whitewash the world end? when you reward offense-taking, you will get more of it.

    once you’ve subverted reason to popular-feeling, you will find it far more difficult to demand it from people in the future.

    1. Let them keep their reminders that rebellions will be put down under the glory of our president? Do not make it illegal to piss on statues. Effigial micturition is speech.

      1. I don’t usually say this, but I’m going to need a dictionary.

      2. Let them keep their reminders that rebellions will be put down under the glory of our president?

        that’s certainly one reading of many.

        the idea that “history doesn’t have a single-reading” is really what i’m appealing to. and we can’t pretend to try and protect people by hiding evidence of it.

        re: Pissing on statues = I spent the first few years of my life living across the street from Grant’s Tomb. I can still remember how it smelled.

        I’m not making any appeal for people to feel any sense of reverence or honor for the past. I’m simply saying that whitewashing the past empowers stupidity.

        Purposely-forgetting is an embrace of ignorance. History isn’t complex anymore = its just approved and celebrated, or disapproved and buried.

        I don’t like the idea of history being edited by a mob of feels-mongers.

        1. “History isn’t complex anymore = its just approved and celebrated, or disapproved and buried.”

          Hear, hear!

        2. I’m from Pittsburgh, this same logic could be applied not just to confederates but any industrial tycoon who at some point (whether continuous or not) treated someone shitty..

          Things that would also need renamed in my town..

          Carnegie Mellon University
          Carnegie Library(s)
          Carnegie Science Center
          Carnegie (the city)
          Carnegie Street.
          Carnegie Museum
          Frick Park
          Frick Museum/building

          And since George Washington marched against us during the whiskey rebellion everything with his name should go to…

          Washington county
          Washington and Jefferson College
          Washington Pike
          Mt. Washington

          …Among others. Why are we stopping at confederates, let’s erase everyone who ever was a dick from history. God forbid we’re reminded we aren’t and werent perfect snowflakes.

          1. Carnegie was all right — donated boatloads of money to libraries and schools.

            Mellon on the other hand was an asshole.

            1. Carnegie, ford, Rockefeller, Edison, Vanderbilt, and even JP Morgan(a little), et al far improved the human condition. They should be revered above all politicians.
              At least Washington was a pioneer for liberty.

              If we are going to piss away public money in effigy, we should at least celebrate the entrepreneurial pioneers that made life better, cheaper, faster, brighter, and created a vibrant middle class.

            2. Mellon’s heirs were founding funders of the Reason Foundation.

    2. Exactly. Where does it end?

      And that girl was retarded. I bet the car stayed put? I hope anyway.

  5. If people have a problem with a white guy confederate statute, ok, let’s replace it with a black historical figure who fought for and established the bedrock principles of our country’s early history. Like, say, Anthony Johnson, who went to court and got the first ruling establishing a legal right to hold an indentured servant as a permanent slave in a civil case. We can even celebrate diversity with him too, since he held both white (4) and black (1) slaves. Would that be acceptable?

    1. “Would that be acceptable?”

      No, we prefer our heroes stale, male and pale.

    2. Either you are being intentionally obtuse or you are ignorant. Indentured servitude and chattel slavery are very different. I am assuming you know that and I perhaps am giving you to much credit.

      1. ” I am assuming you…”

        And I’m assuming he doesn’t know the difference between statue and statute.

      2. Tell that to the indentured servants.

      3. You accuse me of being obtuse and ignorant without knowing the details of the case I was referring to. The individual in question, John Casor, went from being an indentured servant, to a permanently owned slave, when he had committed no crime. As a slave. Not an indentured servant. As owned property, a case between two landowners (Johnson v. Parker). He did not have a lifetime indenture term he agreed to or was sentenced to, it was for a limited time, less than a decade.
        Anyway yes that comment was sarcastic.
        And to the poster below, when Reason adds an edit button, THEN you can criticize for typos. Although that one is particularly embarrassing as I’ve been known to make similar comments about the difference.

        1. “And to the poster below, when Reason adds an edit button, THEN you can criticize for typos. ”

          It wasn’t meant as a criticism. I’m not interested in your ability to spell or type. I was only trying to make a joke and intended no personal offense.

  6. Well, if you really want to do this, let’s do it right! No half measures, no excuses, no holds bar, right? I agree! Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

    Geo. Washington was a rich, white, elitist, slave and plantation owner. That won’t do! Alright, so let’s tear down the Washington Monument in DC!

    Jefferson was much the same, in fact, exactly the same. So, let’s get rif of that racist, abusive, cringe worthy Jefferson Monument as well.

    Lincoln? Well, can’t have his monument either. He was initially nonplussed about the entire slavery idea. In fact, he had a plan to ship slaves either back to Africa or to colonies after the war. Booth apparently didn’t like THAT idea, either. So, DOWN WITH THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL!!

    See how stupid all that sounds? Guess what, you sound pretty stupid as well to propose such nonsense.

    1. Washington and Jefferson did not take up arms and create a war against the USA.

      1. Right they just did against England who was their rightful ruler at the time.

        1. Going international,
          Haiti was founded in treason by traitors.
          So were ALL the Central and South American countries founded in treason against Spain and Portugal.

          So, y’all want to get stupid, we can get REAL stupid.

      2. Tell that to Pennsylvania whiskey farmers.

      3. Not even a nice try at deflection. Whether or not they took up arms against the U.S. has nothing to do with thefact they probably would have fought right alongside Lee.

      4. Actually Washington did, he commanded a militia of 13,000 men who rode on western PA to quash the whiskey rebellion. The rebels fled, being outnumbered, and there was no major battle. But Washington certainly has taken up arms against Americans.

  7. Chapman is such a damned moron.

    The reason for this has nothing to do with slavery or subjugation or any other excuse Chapman’s simple, ignorant mind is willing to gobble up from his betters in the Democratic Party.

    It is a version of book burning by the authoritarian left. Nothing more, nothing less.

    This is my first visit back to Reason in a long time, and I’m met with the same shallow arguments, weak minds, and false equivalencies.

    1. I’m sorry to have to tell you that not only have things not changed around here since you left, they’ve gotten far worse.

      1. Yes, you two need to go back to Stormfront or Bratfart.

        1. How is your piece of shit book doing, Weigs? Has that second printing started yet?

      2. Doesn’t getting worse imply change?

    2. So you intentionally decided, upon returning to Reason after a long hiatus, that you’d *start* with the guy you probably already knew was the worst writer on the site by far?

      1. Written for a different outlet, no less.

        1. Reason pays to license his content, yes?

          Doesn’t really matter if it’s from staff or bought off the shelf,
          the intent behind Reason continually featuring it, would be exactly the same.

  8. …why should African-Americans in the South feel differently about statues of leaders who fought to keep their race in chains?

    I care not for feelings. I care for facts. Which costs taxpayers more? Maintaining a statue or removing it?

    1. Probably easier just to keep the statues in place. Just add a plaque to the base saying:

      This person, despite his accomplishments, was in some ways a huge asshole.
      Just like every other human being on the planet.
      Including you.”

      1. We have a winner!

        That is pretty much my comment about Jefferson these days. Yes, he owned slaves. He also wrote lofty ideas about freedom. So, he’s the archetypical American, not some god, but a human, trying to do better, screwing up, but at least he was trying.

        1. THANK you. Common sense can be so refreshing…

  9. I don’t need a politician or you telling me which historical sculptures I am allowed to see.

    Kills me that someone would argue that we need to take down a historical sculptures to “understand the past” and “shape the future”. It is ignorant. Mark Twain said “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice”, and ultimately, you are simply arguing that we need to remove art because of your prejudices. Sounds like something that would happen in Communist Russia.

    “God cannot alter the past, though historians can.” – Samuel Butler

  10. So, we’re taking down the Pancho Villa and Zapata statues too, right?

  11. If I thought for one second there was a principle involved here – that public monies should not be spent on things some people find deeply offensive and objectionable – I’d support the cause. And immediately draw up a list of things public monies are spent on that I don’t find deeply offensive and objectionable, because God knows that’s a much shorter list than the list of things I do, and let’s just see where that leads. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the principle involved here, and I’d bet a fat dollar that the leaders of this sort of crap are as pasty white as my ass and probably have never been within 500 miles of any place that features a Confederate statue in the town square.

  12. This is a strange column for a libertarian website. I thought we were supposed to be in favor of the freedom to disassociate from groups, and devolve into smaller units of sovereignty.

  13. Chapman’s ramblings are just one more good reminder for me as to why I no longer subscribe to Reason Magazine. I once thought Reason was close to my own views. How immature of me. Now I follow no one, but choose my own path and thoughts.
    One would think someone as old as me would know better. Sigh.

    1. Now I follow no one, but choose my own path and thoughts.

      Welcome to libertarianism.

  14. OT: Cultural appropriation news: Busting The Frauds Who Are Stealing Native American CultureYeah, it’s cracked, but it’s funny how serious they think they are.
    I’ll worry about whites stealing Indian culture when Indians stop drinking booze, shooting guns, riding horses, speaking English and/or Spanish, wearing spun/woven clothes, etc etc etc.

    1. This is perfect, because they win either way: if their culture were shunned/segregated/ignored, they’d call it racism.

    2. Uh, it’s Cracked, dude. Kinda like Mad Magazine?

  15. By your article the people of this country should raze the 10sq miles we called Washington DC. By any standard of measure the grand experiment of the Founding fathers as been a dismal failure. And perhaps we should get rid of Democrat party. They are a symbol of the old South as much as the statues you want to get rid of. You history revisionists are as ignorant as you are disgusting. If the Civil War was about nothing but slaverly why didn’t Lincoln free the slaves in areas that remained loyal to the Union and why did parts of the South stay loyal to the Union. I get that history is written by the winners but that still doesn’t make it true. And finally why do the majority of blacks worship the Democratic Party when the party promoted Slaverly, Jim Crow laws, segregation and the murder of Civil Rights leaders. Are you saying all blacks are stupid or is it that they accept your revisionist history. You have some great people working at Reason and also a handful of idiots.

    1. It would take book after book to answer your questions.

      I’ve always used statues as a teachable moment when the kids asked “Who is that?” Even buildings – once my five year old son, when I pointed out an IRS office building, said, “Is that where they steal our money, Dad?”

      1. Someone is angling for Father of the Year.

      2. “It would take book after book to answer your questions.”

        Fortunately, they’ve already been written. Thomas DiLorenzo would be a good start.

        1. Dr. DiLorenzo strikes me as the kind of guy who would argue the Confederate soldiers were right for wanting to die because of a tariff that raised the price of granny’ skillet by $.10.

          1. Well, the reason the South seceded was because the slavery issue was the last straw in a country where the North was continually using its political power to take advantage of the South through taxation, tariffs, etc.

            So the North is continually leeching off the South for their own benefit, and then they come along and basically say, “now we’re really going to destroy you economically”.

            Of course, slavery is a better reason than most to go to war, but to submit that the war would have happened if it were the only issue is a bit far-fetched, though of course possible.

  16. Is this all we get for a Sunday? Chapman?

  17. Are we being punished? The only “treats” we get this weekend are a Linnekin on a food regul’n issue that isn’t even clear, & a Chapman (didn’t read) on a subject that wouldn’t be worth discussing even if it were by a more interesting blogger? Maybe July 4 is too close to this weekend.

  18. It’s hilarious that Trump is considered egotistical and self-centered, when we live in a culture that worships politicians with statues and buildings named after them.

    Yeah, Trump really is full of himself. How many buildings in West Virginia did Robert Byrd get named after himself? How many golden statues do we have scattered across the country? Yeah, lets get those monuments built, so we can worship anyone who mildly reminds us of FDR, Reagan, etc. Gee, get a load of that Trump guy.

    1. You misspelled “former klansman Robert Byrd.” 😛

      1. You misspelled ‘Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd, D, W.Va.’

        Why is it that we let Democrats ‘apologise’ and ‘move on’, but we extend that courtesy to no one else?

        Senator Byrd, “I’m real sorry I went after them niggers–but, heh, I was young–and they were only niggers.”

        “It’s okay, here–accept your NAACP Lifetime achievement Award.”

  19. I think this is one of the political issues of the day (there seem to be a lot of them) where both sides are full of dung. The Politically Black are wrong to destroy part of a cultures past…for one thing, such statues should serve as a reminder not to trust Democrats (which is probably why the Progressives want them down). The people trying to preserve the damn things apparently cannot see the parallels between keeping the damn Confederate statues are the Russians keeping statues of, say , Stalin, or the Iraqis keeping statues of Saddam Insane. Putting up the damn statues was wrong. Keeping them up is wrong. Tearing them down is wrong. I have no friggin’ idea what would be right.

    1. Democrats were the conservatives of their day.

      The real lesson is not to trust any conservative – IOW any Bible-beating freedom hating jackass like Jeff Sessions and his insolent master the Con Man.

      1. The real lesson is that a government that’s ostensibly governing in your favor, is still sticking the boot in someone’s face.

      2. You do know “The Big Switch” is a big lie, right?

        1. Seriously; the Democrat party has, if one goes by actions, been dedicated to oppressing blacks for more than a Century.

      3. Your daddy Obama certainly spent a lot of time with a bible beater who ranted and raved about politics. Oh right, that was okay, because he was a Democrat.

        Fuck yourself you piece of shit partisan shill.

      4. Democrats are the party of racism. Always have been, always will be.

      5. Democrats were the conservatives of their day.

        That takes some mental agility.

    2. You need to read Hayek’s “Why I Am Not A Conservative”

      ‘It is for this reason that to the liberal neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits. I sometimes feel that the most conspicuous attribute of liberalism that distinguishes it as much from conservatism as from socialism is the view that moral beliefs concerning matters of conduct which do not directly interfere with the protected sphere of other persons do not justify coercion.’

      Conservatives are just as bad as socialists when it comes to their hatred of freedom.

      1. Indeed: the most important thing we can get from this is a sense of false equivalency.

        1. Turning on Hayek now, are you?

          You’re not the first here to do that. Hayek is despised by many conservatives.

          1. If you want to prove your point, please explain the “hatred-of-freedom-o-meter” and how we know that conservatives are just as bad as socialists.

            And, Hayek’s quote doesn’t actually say that.

            1. Oh yes he does. He says:

              the most conspicuous attribute of liberalism that distinguishes it as much from conservatism as from socialism which do not interfere with the individual liberty (freedom) of others – are no business of the state.

              Hayek is saying Conservatives are just as bad as socialists.

              1. No, he’s saying that there’s an attribute that separates liberals from conservatives and socialists.

                He doesn’t say anything about judgements of value or magnitude.

                1. he’s saying that there’s an attribute that separates liberals from conservatives (as much as) socialists.

                  1. Which is not the same thing as saying that conservatives and socialists both hate freedom equally.

          2. Hayek only wrote that because he was widely seen as agreeing with conservatives. He never had to write an essay “Why I Am Not A Socialist” because it was obvious his positions were utterly incompatible with socialism.

            So yeah, false equivalence.

            1. But he didn’t agree with conservatives. That is just your imagination.

              And he wrote a book about the evils of socialism.

              Ayn Rand also hated conservatives. As do I.

              Why the fuck is conservatism defended on a libertarian board?

              1. On some issues he did agree with conservatives. A lot more than he did with socialists, obviously.

                Glad you could get your declaration of hate off your chest.

              2. Conservatism is defended insomuch as it tries to conserve the classical liberal principles of our founding.

                There are many principles in American Conservatism that should be defended by the libertarian. There are very, very few principles in American Progressivism that should be defended by the libertarian.

      2. Interesting, since liberalism these days can easily be compared to fascism.

        1. I think he means classical liberalism

      3. For ‘liberal’ read ‘classical liberal’ or ‘libertarian’

        For ‘conservative’ read ‘social conservative’

        1. Aye, one of the things that greatly bothers me about the left is that they change definitions of things constantly, then argue those same words in history as if they mean the same thing today.

          It is how they, despite slavery, eugenics, concentration camps, and Jim Crowe, claim that they’ve always been on the right side of history.

  20. Set aside the ‘race’ angle, wouldn’t the argument for removal of Confederate monuments from public and government lands have more standing on the basis that the Confederacy was a failed state and antithetical to our present constitutional government?

    We can’t bowdlerize history but it needs to be viewed in context. The Confederacy lost and is, rightly, a relic not a commendation.

  21. There is outrage when the Taliban, ISIS, or some other religious insurgent group destroys temples and statues in the Middle East. Oh, the loss of historical artifacts! Oh, the intolerance! But we seem to be doing the same thing here. Let’s erase all evidence that there was once a Confederacy, that our country almost became two separate countries, that our national treasure and millions of lives were spent on a war as pointless as WW I. The statues must continue to stand so that we are ever reminded of our folly.

    1. The statues should remain in my opinion. You make the proper argument for such.

    2. So you’re saying these statues are like temples? Or that something erected a hundred years ago counts as a “historical artifact”?

      No one (here) is saying to “erase all evidence.” We’ll always have the battlefields, guy. And the museums. And books. And movies. And songs. And folk tales.

      1. Schools and streets have been renamed, textbooks have been rewritten. Let’s not wait until only the folk tales remain.

        1. Considering how many people hear have swallowed the “The South only loved freedom!” line, it seems the folk tales are already all that remain in most of the pro-statue areas.


          Textbooks are routinely rewritten, as sometimes they should be. Do you have an example of some alarming revision that, I don’t know, censors historical figures’ names or something? I know there was that controversy over Texas’s standards downplaying the primacy of slavery.

    3. “The statues must continue to stand so that we are ever reminded of our folly.”

      Yes, in museums (mostly) but common sense can prevail. In 2017 a monument or memorial in, say, Richmond depicting Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant is historical and wholly appropriate. A statue in a Tennessee public park lionizing former Confederate soldier and Ku Klux Klan member Nathan Bedford Forrest, to pick a random example, is probably not. Context matters. The Confederate Army was defeated and its government dissolved.

      1. common sense

        something far from common, not particularly well demonstrated here.

        “”The Confederate Army was defeated and its government dissolved.””

        I’m not sure what this is supposed to be relevant to. Rome was over-run and replaced with a successive series of less-imperial states. Did they bulldoze the Colosseum?

        That sentence seems as much of an argument in favor of retaining monuments as obscuring/removing them, given that they are among the little evidence that remain.

        1. Terrible analogy. There’s a difference between a statue of a person and maintaining a historical site.

          The 9/11 memorials in Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and in that field in PA are justifiably preservable as historical sites. If the Saudis put up a statue of Bin Laden in a place of honor in Riyadh, however, that would be seen as an endorsement of what he did.

          1. The Romans put up an arch to honor the emperor Titus and celebrate how he kicked the asses of the Jews who rebelled in 68-70. Shouldn’t we tear it down because it glorifies an obvious anti-Semite, or at least chisel out those panels with bas-reliefs gloating about how Titus’s soldiers carried off the treasures of the Second Temple?

        2. “”The Confederate Army was defeated and its government dissolved.””

          I’m not sure what this is supposed to be relevant to.

          The relevancy is what sitting democratic government keeps public monuments to honor a government, leaders and soldiers whose cause they militarily defeated? It would be like keeping a statue of Tojo in the mall across from the Staples Center.

          And I agree with Liberty’s comment, your Colosseum analogy is not apt. A closer one would be if the state of Virginia elected to go through the state and start razing public protected historical Confederate sites wholesale or bulldoze the Confederate White House.

          Preserving our country’s history is vital but we have the National Archives and national historic sites to provide context for a reason.

      2. Perhaps it is because we erect monuments to people for what they’ve done right, and not for how little they’ve done wrong.

    4. So the Estonians should have left the statues of Lenin?

  22. I declare open thread. No thanks necessary. No need to erect a statue of me.

    1. *whistles innocently while wheeling Robert statue away*

  23. I literally come to Chapman articles solely to watch him get utterly shut down by the commentariat.

    1. But that’s like going to see the Yankees play a Little League team.

  24. “Staunch supporters of the Lost Cause had little fondness for the United States. The Stars and Stripes was the banner of their enemy.”

    Yes, when Sheridan’s troops were raping and pillaging their way down the Shenandoah Valley, good, non-slaveholding farmers were delighted to have their farms burned to the ground, I’m sure–since they knew themselves to be enemies of the state?

    . . . this sounds like neocons telling us circa 2003 that the Iraqi people wanted to be bombed, invaded, and occupied. According to them, anybody who said otherwise was either a racist against Arabs or a bigot against Muslims. Maybe there were whole families of Germans in Hamburg, who hated the Nazis and, thus, were delighted to be firebombed to death, and if you can dig up one person who said something like that, then how can we question them speaking for everyone who died in the bombing?

    Each of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who fought in the Civil War did so for their own personal reasons. We know all about the folly of projecting our own interpretations on whole groups of people since, you know, we’re libertarians . . . right? Individuals using their own qualitative preferences to make choices is what libertarianism is all about. Beware anyone who claims to speak for hundreds of thousands of individuals–especially groups of people they hate.

    1. This is so true. My 3rd-great grandmother’s brothers and husband fought for the Confederacy and none of them owned slaves. 95% of southerners did not own slaves at the time of the Civil War. Think “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Yes, that was the story of the border of what is now Virginia/West Virginia. Pure and simple self-defense. The Union used to parade men out of their homes and hang them, hold their children and make them watch. Their only crime was farming south of the Mason-Dixon line. When classrooms tell that history, I’ll shut up.

      1. When Sheridan did it to farmers in the Shenandoah Valley, historians call it an unfortunate example of early modern warfare–if they acknowledge it at all.

        The Wiki on the Sheridan’s campaign in the Shenandoah refers to Sheridan “suppressing the Valley’s military-related economy”. It was a scorched earth policy!

        When Sheridan did the same thing to Native Americans in the West after the Civil War, historians call it a massacre.

        This tells us more about historians than it does about the South.

  25. Meanwhile, arguments against slavery are about as interesting from a libertarian perspective as arguments against infanticide or cannibalism. Never mind libertarians, who in our society supports these things?

    Meanwhile, entirely apart from the issue of slavery, is forced subjugation to a central government defensible from a libertarian perspective? What about a government monopoly on violence?

    I’ve already mentioned how ludicrous it is to project ourselves on the motives of hundreds of thousands of individuals who fought for the Confederacy–never mind the millions of Americans who support keeping these monuments today. This is all a disgraceful exercise in collectivist thinking.

    Between this article and the one last week defending Medicaid, if Chapman had set out to write two articles making a mockery of liberarianism, he could hardly have been any more successful. How will he top it all next week–write an article about how we’ve been unfairly savaging Lenin?

    1. Part of me thinks that Chapman is published here as an example of what it is to be a modern day progressive.

      The other part of me imagines (admittedly, I have an overactive imagination) Gillespie cackling evilly and rubbing his hands together every time one of these things gets published.

      1. Welch, Gillespie and the gang love and heartily approve of this message.

      2. They must really be laughing their asses off at their Alexas performance this year. I’ll bet their bosses are even laughing harder.

    2. Never mind libertarians, who in our society supports these things?

      The people whose statues we’re talking about?

      It’s pretty bizarre to say discussions about slavery are out of bounds when talking about the Confederacy.

      1. I didn’t say discussions about slavery were out of bounds when talking about the confederacy.

        I said it’s ridiculous to make generalizations both about the motivations of hundreds of thousands of individual soldiers in the 1860s and millions of modern Americans today, and it’s certainly ridiculous to think people support these symbols today because they support slavery.

        When’s the last time you heard someone make a pro-slavery argument?

        1. I don’t think that people today support slavery. This is more about conservatives reflexively opposing anything the left wants to do because KULTUR WAR. Chances are most of the people defending the statues or street names never even noticed them before.

          1. Actually, the Confederacy and its legacy is a huge part of our historical heritage as Americans, and people, all across the political spectrum, both conservative and otherwise, don’t want to see it swept under the rug because of some overly sensitive fad.

            Again, you’re projecting your own qualitative preferences on millions of people–but you can only speak for yourself. Why should anyone believe anything you say about the motivations of millions of Americans? . . . especially after you’ve dismissed and denigrated other people’s qualitative preferences.

            Do you imagine your qualitative preferences are somehow objectively superior to those of other people?

          2. Chances are most of the people defending the statues or street names never even noticed them before.

            So, exactly like the people living in Chicago who have literally never once in their entire lives seen these statues calling for them to be torn down? That about right you stupid shit eating vegetable?

          3. First they came for the statues and street names I never noticed before…

      2. I support statues of history, especially such complex history of that of the Civil War and it’s untold stories. One must first clear their mind of government propaganda that southerners were some evil slave mongers, remember that the second largest slave cemetery in the U.S. is in NEW YORK, the state that also had the largest number of slave murders/executions in one day in U.S. history, hanging approximately 60 of them.

        Slavery was a horrible thing, something that went on for thousands of years in many cultures. Yet we are the only country to kill approximately 670,00 people (yes, over a half million) to stop it. One must wonder why it could not have been resolved in other ways. One must wonder why, when 5% of the south continued that horrid tradition that the north had gradually stopped and started using children and women in the industrial revolution, that innocent people were killed and languished in places like Fort Delaware with vague charges.

        My ancestors (Celts) were enslaved, thrown in coliseums by the Romans to be eaten by tigers and lions for freakin’ ENTERTAINMENT. Yet, coliseums are tourist hotspots, and Roman artistry abounds. In the same vein, should it not be destroyed? It was the height of slavery for peoples of multiple countries, origins and color, but we call that “civilization.”

    3. Reason fully supports infanticide, arguing against the partial birth abortion ban and the born alive infant protection act, which their dear leader Obama voted against.

  26. We should do what some countries did with their communist statues: move them all to one spot so they can be presented in proper context:

    Memento Park

    Fallen Monument Park

    Gr?tas Park

    1. Or put them up in the middle of American cities so retards like you can go there to worship.

  27. Steve could study some history. A Brit invented emancipation to get slaves to take up arms against the tax-dodging American colonies long before the Carolina Ordinance of Nullification passed to again strike down mercantilist protectionism. After Red Republicans took over as the tax-and-spend party and elected Abe, Justin Smith Morrill pushed through another Tariff of Abominations AFTER Lincoln was elected in November but BEFORE the March swearing-in ceremony. When southerners discovered themselves curt off from European-manufactured plowshares, scythes and wagon wheels, Texans began seizing revenue cutters and federal armories. Customs-house seizures followed and northern bankers and manufacturers perceived a threat to their Customs Union just as such realization had dawned on the British Metropolis before it was replaced by New York et alii as the bastion of tariff-protected monopoly. Both Britannia and the Yanks sought to extort coin from the backward colonial states of the south, and the amount so derived was sufficient to justify a call to arms to crush yet another tax revolt. Next month Chapman will be writing about melting down the Liberty Bell out of love for a tax-fueled National Socialist Amerika, by God!

  28. I live in Atlanta, GA. Stone Mountain (Confederate) Memorial park has a HUGE carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on the face of the mountain. Serious question: How would you go about dealing with this specific memorial

    1. Spackle.

    2. Dynamite.

    3. The solution to bad speech is more speech.

      Carve big black cocks in their mouths.

    4. The Taliban had a solution.

    5. I believe the Taliban has some expertise on that subject. We should consult them.

  29. Tired of having to ask this this question over and over again, but why is a left wing social justice warrior like Chapman published in a “libertarian” magazine? He not the only leftist who Reason publishes of course, but at least the others make some effort to cloak their leftism by using libertarian terminology. Chapman doesn’t even bother to do that.

    1. If the Reason air hurts your delicate nose, then by all means go find a stuffiness more suitable to you. We won’t miss you.

      1. Muh blog, love it or leave it.

        Fuck yourself you stupid piece of shit. Anybody can comment here. That is until the libertarian staff decides to start banning anyone who isn’t a Democratic Party shill, like you.

    2. Interesting that some of the hit’n’runners are outraged that Reason prints articles by the “left wing social justice warrior like Chapman”, while letter writers at the mainstream papers where Chapman’s are syndicated complain about this terrible right winger.

    3. I think they put Chapman and Dahlia in here for balance. And clicks.

      There’s a local radio host who says: “I’ll get you aggravated!” and he does. And he has many listeners. Controversy sells.

    4. Because there is more to libertarianism than just Ron Paul’s version of it?

      1. True, there’s also the part of it where idiots who are savagely left wing government-loving morons call themselves something that they aren’t. Sort of like Caligula’s version of chastity.

  30. History is written by the winners. It appears to be taking a bit longer to erase the past in this case

  31. BTW, why have all the “Oh yeah, well I’m leaving reason forever!” people been showing up again lately? Things were so much nicer for a few months, and now you’re all back filling the comments sections with your crap again.

    1. I guess the phony libertarian exodus to paradise failed, when they discovered they hate hearing from each other as much as we hate hearing from them.

      1. I don’t remember too many people saying “I’m leaving for ever!”.
        Also, who cares what a pinhead like you think? Oh, and fuck off.

        1. Also, you know who else used the word “storm” when thinking up names?

    2. Not seeing ANY of the few who actually said that.

      Not really seeing a whole ton of people who post at the uninfected site.

      It’s not pleasant coming here–you feel like you need to scour yourself with steel wool afterwards.

      It is a sad thing to watch reason’s slow morph into Salon or Slate

  32. All of the Founding Fathers were traitors. Our country was founded on treason.

    1. Haha. As Littlefinger said, it’s only treason if you lose.

      1. The same goes for war crimes.

        1. Hi, Antifa!

      2. Or as John Harington said, “Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.”

  33. I watched that lecture/campaign ad of Illinois Comptroller Susan Mendoza talking tough about Illinois’ financial state going from grim to suicide watch and noticed how many times she talked about not even having enough money for “core functions” of government. What the hell right does the government have to do anything besides core functions? Look, if Walmart wants to build fancy marble facades on their stores that’s their business but government’s got no right spending a nickel more than they have to on anything that’s not strictly necessary. Because it’s not their goddamn money. Every nickel they take is a slice of bread out of a hungry child’s mouth and they damn well better have a good argument that they need that nickel more than that hungry child needs that slice of bread. Sure, there’s stuff that would be nice to have – like decorative statuary – but if enough people think it nice enough let them put their money where their mouth is and quit picking my pocket to pay for your stupid shit.

    1. good luck with that.

    2. With the obesity problems maybe taking slices of bread out of children’s mouth is a good thing? I’m not fan of big gov, but my eyes glaze over every time I hear the “what about the starving children” demagoguery.

  34. The old adage “if we forget and don’t learn from our history we’ll be doomed to repeat it” trumps this entire article. Just because you don’t like what these old monuments stand for doesn’t mean they should be torn down. They are part of US history and in that role they are not celebratory they are merely a reminder. The arguments here all reek of political correctness.

  35. It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of a son of a bitch or another. Ain’t about you Jayne. It’s about what they need.

  36. Slavery was just the flash point at the start of the Civil War, it started 50 years earlier with an Import Tariff in an effort to make an agricultural South buy the tools from an industrial North. In 1832, when it was increased to almost 100%, South Carolina was ready to secede at that time, and probably would have if Andrew Jackson didn’t back down. Skipping to 1857 when there was a recession being that the Government’s only income was tariffs and selling land (and the land bubble busted) Lincoln’s campaign was built on raising tariffs and making us isolationists. South Carolina swore that they would secede from the union and when he got elected, they did. Lincoln had the legislator and the Governor of Maryland put in prison so that they could not vote to secede. He also locked up 1,300 reporters who spoke out against him, one being the grandson of Francis Scott Key. Talk about biased media. Slaves came first as indentured servants, but later a court case involving a man named Anthony Johnson made slavery legal in the 13 colonies. He was a black man. The statues and monuments of the Civil War should not be taken down because they are not “symbols of racism”. For all those who call confederate supporters Bigots: “Bigot, a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.” You hate as much as you claim we do.

  37. Those of us who are Deplorables have the answer to this question.

    The more you object concerning a symbol, the more you deny it, the more you hide it, the stronger you ban it; the more potent that symbol becomes.

    But when folks embraced “deplorable” it lost whatever power it had to begin with.

    So, the standard libertarian answer to removing the Confederate statues, denying the Confederate history, and banning the Confederate flags and songs should be, “Prohibition doesn’t make things go away, it creates a black market in them.”

    See: “swastika.”

    1. “The more you object concerning a symbol, the more you deny it, the more you hide it, the stronger you ban it; the more potent that symbol becomes.”

      Also, the stronger the penalties for breaking the taboo. Don’t come crying to us when you get fired over your precious confederate flag bumper sticker.

      1. sane person a = “The more you object concerning a symbol, the more you deny it, the more you hide it, the stronger you ban it; the more potent that symbol becomes.”

        retarded person b = “Don’t come crying to us when you get fired over your precious confederate flag”

        This routine conflation of “calls for tolerance” with “active endorsement” is exactly the sort of dangerous stupidity i referenced above.

        He also validates the first person’s point.

        1. A statue in the public square is active endorsement, not mere tolerance.

          1. nonsense. that sort of thinking is what ends up banning speech from public squares entirely, because “anything tolerated” suggests govt endorsement. Its the same illogic used to bar nativity scenes by those who want to circumscribe religious speech.

            And as i said above = a monument, be it a person or an event, isn’t representative of any one single version of history. Just because some popular understanding of history changes, doesn’t make objects memorializing that history beholden to those temporal popular-delusions.


            Just because the current popular-feeling is that every single byproduct of the civil war – be it a flag or a person – is evocative of “Support for slavery”… does not mean that the continued existence of those monuments/symbols means that anyone passively tolerating them “supports slavery”

            This notion that merely allowing things to continue to exist turns people around them into “endorsees” is utter gibberish.

            All this aside =

            You’re changing the subject from the specific examples given above, which weren’t to do with any specific question of ‘state endorsement’, and were more to do with the irony that “those who want to repress a thing simply make it more powerful”.

            e.g. for many decades the confederate flag meant nothing to most. “lynrd skynrd fan” at best. Now people pretend there is no possible display of the flag – including in Dukes of Hazzard – that isn’t “racist”. It literally creates racism out of thin air.

            1. This isn’t banning private speech from the public square, etc. If a church wants to put up a nativity scene in city park, let them.
              But, these statues were put up and are maintained by local governments, so yeah, I’d say that qualifies as government endorsement.

              1. these statues were put up and are maintained by local governments,

                in many cases I’ve looked at they were built by private orgs, and deeded to the local city which agreed to maintain them.

                even in cases where they were not = you’re getting into the weeds of some legalistic argument about “state endorsement” which echoes the principle of “endorsement of religion…”…. in a situation where the is no principle *barring* any endorsement in the first place.

                meaning, you’re suggesting there’s something inherently wrong with say, “Richmond” having a statue which reflects something to do with Richmond’s OWN ACTUAL FUCKING HISTORY. God forbid places actually choose to erect displays reflecting their own background.

                Its not “endorsement” in the church/state sense because the idea that history contains some one-dimensional ‘meaning’ to be ‘endorsed’ in the first place is ludicrous. its just history.

                let me add that if people in a given locale want to unilaterally change what monuments they keep around in their own public square, my comments have nothing at all with their doing so. By all means, knock down the old.

                What i’m talking about (as per the very first comment in this thread) are the people who suggest that these “symbols” and artifacts of history have some magical power to offend, and SHOULD offend people, and therefore idiots like Chapman in Chicago can demand statues be removed everywhere else they might exist.

                1. What if someone wants to put a statue of Osama Bin Laden up in Richmond next to General Lee’s statue? OBL is certainly part of Virginia’s history.

                  If the city/state refuse to allow this, then they are tacitly endorsing Lee’s activities.

            2. This isn’t banning private speech from the public square, etc. If a church wants to put up a nativity scene in city park, let them.
              But, these statues were put up and are maintained by local governments, so yeah, I’d say that qualifies as government endorsement.

            3. I’d be perfectly cool with them continuing to exist. Hell, put the statues up for auction. If a museum wants to buy them, or a private citizen, for display in their own property, fine. Helps reduce the deficit.

              But to claim that placing them in the public square is NOT an endorsement is ridiculous. As DenverJ said, these were erected by the govt and there is the maintenance cost.

              Additionally, as in the case of the nativity scenes, even if the govt allows a private party to put the statue on display, but then refuses to allow others to place their own statues in the same space, it is clearly a tacit endorsement.

              1. You don’t seem to have understood a single word that i’ve said about how “Endorsing” history is a misconception to begin with.

                1. Because you’re wrong. There is a difference between talking about someone’s actions and approving of them. Placing a statue in the public square is a sign of approval. If you don’t understand that or are willfully pretending not to, there’s no point talking to you.

                  1. An awful lot of people admire Robert E. Lee, who was Martin Sheen in the movie Gettysburg. I thought the movie was a pretty good depiction of the battle, better than most famous battle movies manage to achieve. The dialogue, a good deal of it lifted verbatim from letters and speeches, was a little stilted.

                    1. On the way to Gettysburg, he captured free blacks in Pennsylvania and sent them south under guard to be sold into slavery. Fuck Robert E Lee with a sandpaper condom.

                2. It’s not “endorsing history” or some version of it, or anything like that. Statues of people are not put up for history lessons. Statues of people are meant to honor them. This is why we don’t have statues of Hitler, why the statues of Lenin were removed after the fall of the Soviet Union, and why the Jefferson memorial was built.

                  1. Jefferson raped his slaves though, so the clock may be ticking on that one.

                  2. why the statues of Lenin were removed after the fall of the Soviet Union

                    Except the one right in the fucking middle of Seattle. I’m sure you ignorant fuckwits will be along any time to demand that one gets torn down. It’s not like soviet communism killed 50 times more people than the entire fucking American civil war or anything.

              2. and for the 3rd time… this isn’t what the OP was about, and is a silly tangent…. BUT =

                if the govt allows a private party to put the statue on display, but then refuses to allow others to place their own statues in the same space, it is clearly a tacit endorsement.


                firstly, you’re trying to draw a parallel between “state endorsement of religion” – specifically barred by the 1st amendment….

                and “state endorsement of…. history?” = something that has no comparable constitutional bar (although you insinuate it does), nor any legal or even philosophical framework that even clarifies what said ‘state endorsement’ would mean in any tangible sense.

                The concept might make sense if the displays in question were depicting some very-controversial *version* of history which has since been debunked; e.g. depictions of slavemasters being super-kind to slaves, or something like that. e.g. Where the history itself was at odds with facts.

                Mere representations of people or memorials of events don’t necessarily have any such disputable content.

                And, re: “refuse to allow others” – nothing bars people from putting up “more monuments”.

                You seem to think that there needs to be some plurality of “ideas” being expressed in the public sphere, but as i’ve said repeatedly, historical monuments aren’t representative of any single ‘idea’ in the first place. what’s the ‘opposite’ of Robert E Lee? MLK? or Mickey Mouse?

                1. “depictions of slavemasters being super-kind to slaves”

                  -1 Sally Hemmings

                2. firstly, you’re trying to draw a parallel between “state endorsement of religion” – specifically barred by the 1st amendment….

                  WTF? No, I am not. It is not unconstitutional for Richmond to have a statue of Lee in the public square. I never argued it was. However, it does constitute an endorsement of what he did and what he is known for (defending slavery).

                  And, re: “refuse to allow others” – nothing bars people from putting up “more monuments”.

                  Go try that — try putting up a statue of OBL next to the statue of Lee and see how quickly the cops come down on you (or allow people to vandalize it while not allowing them to vandalize the Lee statue).

                  1. i honestly forgot how stupid this place has gotten.

                    1. Then maybe you should stop contributing to the stupidity.

                  2. You can’t go build whatever you want in public you stupid fucking moron. If I went and pitched a tent next to the Robert E Lee statue the cops would come down on me just the same as if I put up a shrine to Mohammed or Sammy Davis Jr.

            4. Thats not the current popular feeling. 60% of Americans view the flying of a confederate battle flag as Southern pride. It’s the snowflakes that have their panties in a wad over this shit.

          2. to further clarify a point =

            This notion that merely allowing things to continue to exist turns people around them into “endorsees” is utter gibberish.

            people routinely pretend there are only 2 possible views = “Support my (hysterical) view, or you support its antithesis”

            – person A demands person B sign petition for redskins football team change their name
            – person B says they don’t care what the team is called, does not sign
            – person A accuses person B of hating indians.

            Simply ‘not agreeing’ is not the same as ‘disagreeing’. And tolerating what offends others is not endorsement.

            For example, i don’t necessarily think Civil War monuments have to be ‘good’ in order to justify their continued existence. They CAN in many cases represent the perpetuation of slavery. So what??

            It is basically meaningless. Historical artifacts carry myriad associated “potential meanings”.

            Does Auschwitz represent an “Endorsement” of the holocaust? Does a statue of Pope Urban II constitute official French endorsement of the First Crusade? Do images of Nero suggest that the people who allow them to be displayed support the burning of Rome?

            History is history. It need not be ‘good history’ that offends no one in order to justify monuments memorializing that history. And even in cases where those monuments have intents which today we reject, they simply serve to teach us about the period in which they were created.

            1. Does Auschwitz represent an “Endorsement” of the holocaust?

              You mean the actual place in Poland? Bad analogy. If someone made statues of the SS guards and put them up in places of public honor, that would be an endorsement of the holocaust, yes.

              Does a statue of Pope Urban II constitute official French endorsement of the First Crusade?

              If that is the primary thing the person is known for, and the statue is placed in a position of honor (I don’t know the statue you’re talking about) then yes, it tacitly endorses it. Though in this case Urban II may not have intended or foreseen the crusades to turn into the moral disaster they did. You can’t argue that Robert E Lee didn’t intend to defend slavery.

              Do images of Nero suggest that the people who allow them to be displayed support the burning of Rome?

              Are there even images of Nero in public places other than museums?

              1. The point

                your head

        2. “calls for tolerance”

          Since when are we required to tolerate statues? If the public wants to replace these statues with something a little more in line with the spirit of the times, a little watermelon patch, for example, then I don’t see why any righteous Libertarian should object.

      2. Same goes for getting fired for p*ssing hot on a urinalysis, even though your state legalized the ganja.

    2. Then there’s this issue:
      Lawrence Sullivan Ross was a Texas Ranger, and led the troops who recaptured Cynthia Ann Parker.
      During the Civil War he participated in 135 battles and became one of the youngest Confederate generals.
      After the war he served briefly as the sheriff of McLennan County, resigning to participate in the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1876 which wrote the Constitution Texas still uses.
      He served one two-year term as State Senator.
      As the 19th Texas Governor he oversaw dedication of the new state capitol, resolved the Jaybird-Woodpecker War, and was the only Texas governor to call a special session dealing with a treasury surplus.
      As president of what is now Texas A&M University he saved the school from closing and guided it through a large expansion in facilities.

      So how much of his statue should be removed?

      1. Same thing here: Zeb Vance rose to prominence due to hard work and initiative and was elected as a member of Congress in 1858. He was a strident Unionist right up until Ft. Sumter, but afterwards resigned his House seat and served as the Colonel in command of an N.C. regiment in 1861, fighting at New Bern. He then was elected as Governor in 1862 largely because of his known Unionist sympathies and defied the Confederate government on a number of issues, including conscription, and maintained habeas corpus in the state when not even the Federal government would do so. Even so he was easily the most effective of the Confederate Governors, keeping N.C. troops in Virginia adequately supplied when other states were failing to maintain their regiments. After the war he went on to serve another term as Governor and two terms in the Senate.

    3. Prohibition doesn’t make things go away, it creates a black market in them.

      1. Nobody is arguing for a prohibition on statues of Confederates, just removing them from positions of honor and prominence on public property.

      2. Prohibition fails to make things go away only if there is demand for those things. Almost nobody supports the Confederacy, at least not in public, and I can’t believe many do in private. This is just culture war on both sides.

      1. You’ve obviously never been south of Cincinnati.

        1. Actually I lived in the South for several years starting in the 1990s. Everybody flying/displaying the Confederate Battle Flag and the like swore up and down that they didn’t support the politics of the CSA, but identified the flag with Southern culture and heritage.

          During the height of the flag controversy, I went to a gun show in TN where there was a black family with a table selling Confederate flags. Obviously there is a disconnect between the symbols and what they represent.

          1. No, there isn’t. A symbol means exactly what the person using it says it does. Or do you think monks in Tibet are neo- Nazis?

  38. Yet grand memorials were erected across the South to celebrate what the traitors did.

    They weren’t traitors. Who joins a club you would later shoot their way out of? The states didn’t join The Mafia for crying out loud. Whether you agree with the South’s politics or not, the principle of secession is not and should not be judged by those politics. You have to remember that Hungary’s revolution in 1956 was against a UNION they didn’t agree with, so should the Hungarians remove any monuments of their heroes because they wanted to secede?

    1. “Who joins a club one wouod have to shoot his way out of?”

    2. There’s no record of the constitutional convention ever considering a process for exiting the union. Who signs a contract without specifying how they can get out of it, unless they consider it to be a permanent arrangement?

      The Hungary analogy is invalid on multiple levels.

      1. Who signs a contract without specifying how they can get out of it, unless they consider it to be a permanent arrangement?

        Oh, I don’t now, maybe a whole fuck load of colonialists who swore allegiance to the king of England, you historically illiterate fuck stain.

  39. Here’s the operative principle:historical figures who fought for an endlessly expanded federal government (fdr,lbj,tr,wilson, Lincoln ) can be honored in public spaces. Those who were skeptical of the feds (lee e.g.) must be banned. Even if, like lee, they were anti slavery. Just thought I’d clarify where “Reason ” stands.

    1. The only reason Lee had an army to command is because of the onerous demands the confederacy placed on its civilian populace. Impressing manpower and goods was the least of it. (The power to make you work and steal your stuff.) I prescribe a dose of history book for this doctor.

  40. I’m sure glad the Italians tore down Hadrian’s Column or else we’d have depictions of atrocities right in the middle of Rome. And bulldozing the Colosseum was superplusgood.

    Oh, wait…

    1. In Florence on the other hand, we had the bonfire of vanities. For America’s future, all roads lead to Florence, not Rome for once.

    2. Historical sites vs. statues of people. Big difference.

    3. Making Auschwitz a public memorial, and preserving the Wolf’s Den as historical site, are not endorsements of Naziism. Erecting statues to Goehring and Hitler, on the other hand, would be.

      1. No one is proposing ERECTING statues to any Confederates, to my knowledge.

        1. Splitting hairs. But I’m sure there were statues of Hitler in public squares in Nazi Germany; preserving those would have been an endorsement.

          1. The Statue in my hometown isn’t Lee or Jackson or Forrest, just some random rebel rifleman. I really don’t think the outrage einzatsgruppen will care one way or the other when it comes time to demand his removal.

          2. Um, no Hitler statues.

            “A2A. The answer might be surprising but it is no, no huge public statues of him ever existed.
            During the nazi rule there were a lot of “Adolf-Hitler-Stra?e” streets and “Adolf-Hitler-Platz” squares / piazzas, but no statues of him. Hitler actually didn’t want his likeness to stand around like Josef Stalin did. However, there were several smaller statues, mainly of his head apparently.”

          3. Statue of Hitler installed in Warsaw ghetto in 2012!


            1. LOL. How can anybody even tell it’s Hitler?

      2. I’m pretty sure there are statues of Romans though, and they practiced slavery.

        One of the weird things about modern history is that even though basically every country in the world practiced it, some into modern times (basically the Arab and Muslim world), slavery was only bad when the US did it

  41. This title would be better if it began with “Hey Hey, Ho Ho”

  42. In the civil war there was not a “good side” and a “bad side”, there were two bad sides.

    Let’s take down the statues and monuments of everyone who had anything to do with it.

  43. It’s not really as if the removed statues are being put in landfills or melted down to make statues of Obama, they’re simply being relocated to less prominent locations.

    For example, Orlando’s Confederate statue, was removed from Lake Eola Park (downtown Orlando) and moved to the Confederate veterans section of a local cemetery.

  44. Weren’t nearly all of the confederate statues privately funded? And in some (many?) cases on private land that was deeded over to the local municipality as a park?

    1. Yes, by the UDC and the SCV.

    2. In that case, it’s a lesson in “if you want to control your land, don’t give it to the govt.”

    3. If some loony lefty built a statue of Che Guevara in a garden and then deeded it to you with no strings, would you feel compelled to leave the statue up?

      1. If the terms of me taking it were to maintain it as a perpetual memorial to Latin American communist revolution?


      2. People who aren’t degenerate pieces of lowlife shit generally tend to honor the agreements they’ve made even if they decide they don’t like the terms later on.

  45. If you like to sit and angrily think about someone in the South being on the wrong side of history, you might be a progressive.

    1. You wouldn’t be pissed if Berkely put up statues of Mao, Stalin, and Fidel Castro?

      1. Like this? You spend a lot of time protesting about that statute, right?

  46. There some memes who appeared about Confederates statues and slavery.
    statues meme
    slavery meme

  47. Time for Lynyrd Skynyrd – what’s left of them anyway – to write a song to Steve Chapman.

    Chapman’s take is basically erase history because bad.

    68W58 up thread offered a much more interesting, refreshing and nuanced take that makes me more sympathetic to his view.

  48. I think there are two issues.

    The Confederacy were assholes for practicing slavery (never mind the Union actually still practiced slavery during the war)
    The Confederacy had every right to secede from the Union.

    1. The Union enslaved people to fight the south in the civil war, though history’s winners prefer to refer to their form of slavery as “conscription”.

  49. I would like to see an independent knowledgeable scholarly review of DiLorenzo’s book on Lincoln. If it does indeed hold water, slavery was the last issue of interest to the North.

    1. In response to myself, see http://www.independent.org/pub……asp?a=79, which argues that the content of DiLorenzo’s book is essentially correct, but that the book is so sloppy that it undermines itself as a serious contribution to the topic. That seems right to me: as with DiLorenzo’s Hamilton book, this seems like a polemic directed to the choir than the serious scholarship it pretends to be. Sad, but it suggests an opportunity to be exploited by a real scholar.

  50. I’m ok with monuments to certain confederate generals (Robert E. Lee, maybe Stonewall Jackson). I don’t see the point of memorializing the likes of Jefferson Davis.

    It’s not… that unusual for for people (outside of America) to have fond feelings for insurrectionists who were technically “traitors” to the nation in some sense. It more common than you think.

  51. I do declare this room puts me in the mood for a mint julep.

    1. And some southern redneck cock up your ass while you squeal like a little pig.

  52. No problem with having a statue venerating Vladimir Lenin though.

    Or a colossal monument venerating a homophobic plagiarist spousal abuser.

    What parts of history we don’t scrub we’ll just whitewash. Reason indeed.

  53. I see a lot of disagreement on this thread, and I suppose rightfully so as we are taught a tortured, whitewashed history of the US in grade-school. That said, there is something on which we should all be able to agree: There is nothing in the Constitution that created the federal government of the united States that grants it the authority to prevent any state from leaving the union for any reason. The end.

    1. Game set and match! Thank you for an unassailable argument!.

  54. Brave Chapman and virtuous Reason deal with the important things.

  55. Brave Chapman and virtuous Reason deal with the important things.

  56. Revisionist history is so much fun to beat up. Sam Houston was ousted yes because he refused, three times to swear allegiance to the CSA. After Texas declared it’s Independence from the US, as all the other states did, he wanted Texas to remain an independent country.

  57. Southerners were not traitors. Unlike the colonists, they were not out to overthrow a government. These states declared their Independence as the colonists did with one major exception, the people of those states actually voted for Independence. The colonists has no such choice. Southerners defended their states and homes from an invading army from a foreign country. Virginia declared her Independence after Congress approved Lincoln’s War, sheet a vote by the people. Three days later Lincoln invaded Virginia and occupied Alexandria. Virginia had made no overt action towards the US. The die was then cast for war.

  58. Chapman, you and I are very distant cousins. Leonidas Polk was James K. Polk’s second cousin, and I’m a descendant of one of their cousins.

  59. Not to worry Mr. Chapman, there is no statue of Leonidas Polk; he may be been and adequate bishop but he completely sucked as a general.

    1. may have been an adequate…What is about the site that slaughters syntax?

      1. Proximity to the retard fumes emanating from Chapmsn’s speak-hole?

  60. The entire idea smacks of censorship. Let’s take down the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial as both were slave owners. Even better let’s end the Federal Reserve and Income Tax because Woodrow Wilson was a racist.

    Where does it all end? It ends in ignorance. Learn from history, human nature is a constant in a world of change.

    1. I can get behind the Wilson stuff if it gets the progs on the right side.

  61. Didn’t this guy Chapman write the same column a few months ago?

  62. The ranting about “traitors” and “treason” is laughable coming from a “libertarian” publication. Are the pussy-hat Resistance people and California secessionists also traitors?

    Jeff Davis and other politicians and generals were never prosecuted for “treason” — there was no case for it. Secession was a founding principle and there was nothing in the Constitution seeking to bar it.

  63. I would like to know who Mr Chapman thinks these new monuments he wants should be dedicated to. Does he judst want to bitch, and not issue a constructive suggestion?

    How much of his own money will Chapman pledge for these new monuments? Or does he envision raping the taxpayers to fund his personal preferences?

  64. Orwell would be proud.

    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
    George Orwell, 1984

  65. The South seceding was not totally about slavery but was really more about the abuse of the FED BEAST Govt. towards the South & many good historians agree!….I say leave the statues in place!!!

    1. Confirmed. In a confederacy, the states could rule on unjust federal laws via nullification powers. Nullification equals confederate. The confederacy lost. If they won, we’d refer to the federal goverment as the confederate government. Sure, some of the states would have ruled against slavery bans and that was a major reason, but ultimately, they wanted to retain nullification powers over ANY stupid rule from the feds.

  66. This reminds me of the dimwitted cluelessness they tried in Liverpool (England). back in 2006 they were on a binge of renaming all the streets & locations named after slave traders. There were politicians actually suggesting a street named after slave trader James Penny should be renamed. You’ve probably heard of the street; it’s called “Penny Lane”.

  67. Nice plan. Use the same tactics as Islamic extremists. When ISIS rolls into a town, they immediately start destroying the Mosques, statues and all other historic relics from sects and religions that they consider their enemies.
    So after you’re done with statues and named locations, when will the book burnings for Confederate authors start?

    1. Good call, I thought Reason hired people that had free minds. This is some antiquated nonsense. I couldn’t believe was I was reading.

  68. Burn the history books next! Reshape history so it is like what you want people to think, not like it was. Use 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 as instruction manuals for your work, comrade.

    1. You get your history lessons from slabs of concrete and statues?

  69. I think the confederate monuments should be removed, as it would be best to celebrate freedom instead of slavery. But I also think the statues, or at least a good sample of them should be preserved in an archive that scholars can access, and perhaps the public, as long as the atrocities they represent are explained. Perhaps the new slavery museum would be a good place for some.

    Here in my Seattle neighborhood of Fremont, we have a large statue of Vladimir Lenin, taken from the former Soviet Union when the wall fell. It is quite controversial. People decorate it for holidays and paint the hands red. Both my wife and I have lost relatives to communist regimes. But we are OK with the statue in our midst because people have no illusions about it and it provides a teachable moment regarding well intentioned social experiments gone terribly awry.

    1. We don’t care how y’all do it out West.

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  70. Hear, hear, Steve Chapman. The Confederacy is nothing to be proud of and its flag is a symbol of treason and chattel slavery.

    And don’t let anyone get away with the phony argument that it wasn’t really about slavery. All you have to do is read the declarations several states proclaimed of their reasons for secession and other contemporary writings. There was no doubt in their minds that it was all about slavery.

    1. The American flag is a symbold treason. It’s all a matter of perspective.

      From the South’s view, secession was motivated by slavery, and an effort to preserve nullification rights over unjust federal laws. From the North’s view, Abe thought, “preserve the union.” I’d say you’re half right.

      But, what do any of us know. We weren’t there and we get all of our anecdotes from books and professors who weren’t there either. : )

  71. I have no desire to defend the Confederate support of slavery, but I have an even bigger problem with the hyprocrisy and pretentiousness surrounding this issue. The irrationalism of the left is demonstrated by their desire to desecrate Confederate graves and urinate on them, with most of them being ignorant of the fact that American slave owners were Confederate Democrats and the abolitionists were exclusively Republicans. Meanwhile, they use a broad brush to paint all whites as racist, and want even the Republican abolitionists to feel guilty for the existence of slavery.

    I don’t think Robert E. Lee and other confederate leaders were engaged in more immorality than Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Yasser Arafat or Mohammed; and yet political correctness demands that these latter men are beyond reproach. The left doesn’t understand how difficult it is to reject the culture of one’s forefathers; in fact, the left doesn’t reject all the errors committed by their own culture. They repeat all the crazy ideas of the left like a parrot, with most of them lacking real understanding of intellectual history. Their pretentiousness is clearly shown in how cocksure they are about objective right and wrong, while lacking any real understanding of how difficult it is to know objective moral values, and how difficult it is to provide an intellectual basis for them.

    1. I don’t see any monuments to Castro or Ho Chi Minh in the US, do you? Kind of a flimsy argument that Confederate monuments, to those that supported slavery, are ok just because you believe they weren’t as bad as Castro.

  72. This has got to be the whiniest, SJW ass kissing bullshit I have ever read. Your ancestor the General demands seppuku.

  73. ISIS likes to eliminate history too, so only their current way of thinking is allowed. Fortunately, our Constitution doesn’t rip out bad ideas. We leave old mistakes on permanent display. Recognize that slavery was a global error, and only in certain areas, like the US, was it racial slavery. That created problems for us, but I choose education over desecration as a promoter of freedom. Europe would have 0 monuments. Judging 150+ year old history through today’s lense is wrong-headed.
    The first Confederate battle flag looked like the Union’s, so it had to be changed to eliminate confusion. The “stars and bars” were born. The Confederacy, born of a desire for state supremacy over unjust laws (nullification) did center around slavery. There’s no escaping it, but the monuments and flag today also represent bad things. Should we wait for the next social justice warriors to strip away more American identity?
    Emancipation didn’t apply to all the states, and President Lincoln even privately wrote that he didn’t care one way or the other about slavery. His goal was to preserve the union. It was the 13th and 14th amendments that truly guaranteed freedom and equality for the freedmen.
    The idea that we are willing to suppress what is considered upsetting, even hateful (Confederate displays), neglects to consider the same attempts at suppression against abolitionists. It is vile and dispicable speech which must be protected, for it is the true test of freedom.

    1. The Confederate Battle Flag is not the Stars and Bars. The flag of which you spoke first, the first flag of the Confederacy, is the Stars and Bars. If it’s square, it is the battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia. If it is rectangular, it is the 2nd Confederate Navy jack.

  74. I used to have at least a modicum of respect for Steve Chapman and his slightly libertarian (in some cases) viewpoints. Then I read this piece. Calling people traitors for making the decision to follow the prescription from the Declaration of Independence “…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ? That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…” – that was the last straw.

    Well, given the fact that Chapman works for state-owned Chicago Tribune, of course he’ll push the official line.

    But I’m surprised that Reason would give an added voice to this garbage. Very sad.

  75. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
    ? George Orwell

    Those who would destroy the past are either ignorant or malevolent.

  76. Just remember the Alamo!

  77. What wasn’t taught in schools is the fact that, per capita according to the 1860 Census most slave owners were Black. Of course, it is also heresy to teach that the War Between the North and the South was fought for much the same reason as the Revolutionary War was fought; taxation without representation. Yes, Lincoln did free the slaves, but only those who lived in Confederate States. All other States were allowed to keep their slaves; northern and mid-western States. After all, the northern business men had a thriving business selling slaves in America. The “hated “Jim Crow” laws were made and enforced by Northern democrats, aka “carpet baggers.” What’s the saying about those who ignore History………….?

  78. Confederate statues are basically participation trophies. Time to throw them away.

  79. “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell

    Is Chapman a stealth Big Brother?

  80. To the author:

    You lost me in your first paragraph when you assert that our nation was formed in 1776. You should know that 1776 is when the Declaration of Independence was signed, but the Constitution that actually formed our nation was not presented to Congress until 1787, after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.

    If you are going to pose as high and mighty on issues of the Civil War and Confederacy it would be well if you did not announce to all and sundry that you don’t have any idea what you are talking about

  81. Unfortunately, many libertarians seem to get it wrong on the Civil War. They seem to think state’s rights somehow trump individual rights. The Confederacy stood for oppressing one segment of the population based on their race. The Confederate states had laws that limited the rights of slaves and freed black people. These laws gave them almost not rights really. Not exactly a form of libertarian limited government. People need to realize that a government doesn’t need to be a federal government in order to be a big and intrusive government, the states can do that as well. Also, the Confederate constitution had ADDED laws in them that it imposed upon states. It was meant to be a much stronger central government that the government of the United States. The Confederate government nationalized several industries and imposed tariffs on imports. Southern states also cared little for state’s rights, as they wanted to impose fugitive slave laws on free states. Reason has an article on the big government of the Confederacy entitled The Confederate Leviathan and the Federalist has an article on Southern states wanting to impose laws on Northern states. I recommend that people read them.

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