Civil War

In Defense of Lenin Statues and Canyon of Heroes Plaques

|

Eric Boehm

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has called for the removal of the Vladimir Lenin statue in the neighborhood of Fremont. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a 90-day review of "all symbols of hate on city property"; his eyes seem to have settled on a plaque commemorating Philippe Pétain, the Nazi-aligned leader of Vichy France.

Both moves come in the wake of a national discussion on Confederate statues, and both moves miss the mark completely. Statues for Confederate generals frequently went up during periods of heightened racial tension. They were sometimes meant specifically to intimidate local black populations, and they often had that effect whether that was the intent or not. If a Lenin statue was put up in, say, a neighborhood where Eastern Europeans were starting to move, it could represent something else. But it wasn't.

The plaque mentioning Philippe Pétain is found at the Canyon of Heroes, a section of Lower Broadway ithat has been the site of more than 200 ticker-tape parades since the late 19th century. Pétain received a parade there in 1931 as a French military hero; he had been named a Marshall of France, a military distinction given to generals for exceptional achievements. This was about a decade before he collaborated with the Nazis. Removing it would represent precisely what the opponents of taking down Confederate monuments say they're afraid of: erasing history. The man really did receive that parade, and the plaque establishes that event.

Taking down Seattle's Lenin statue would make even less sense. It's a statue that had already been taken down—in 1989, in Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution. It was found in a scrap heap by an American English teacher living abroad, who convinced the authorities to sell it to him and who then spent tens of thousands of dollars to ship it to the U.S. He wanted to use it to promote a restaurant he planned to open.

The statue was placed in a retail area in Fremont in 1995, and it has officially been on sale ever since. (It can be yours for $250,000.) It is essentially a surreal joke. It has become a tourist attraction, not for communist sympathizers but for people who enjoy seeing weird things; it is now a symbol of the character of the neighborhood, whose motto is Latin for "the freedom to be peculiar."

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), whose family came from Poland in the 1920s, has defended the Lenin statue. "Unlike the Confederacy statues throughout our nation built to formally honor those in that battle of ideas, this statue is distinctly not showcased in Fremont to celebrate the murderous, painful regime," Carlyle wrote on his blog. "The statue was, simply, installed with artistic intent to show that our very ability to install political art is the triumph of democracy over tyranny."

He continued: "Art can be offensive and painful, but it can also bring us alive with curiosity, wonder, knowledge. Installing a political statue of a man and regime that would never allow installation of political statues of opponents is a symbolic representation of the victory of democracy and freedom over oppression. And of the role of art itself."

It is also private property standing on private land, so Seattle's mayor shouldn't have any say about whether it stays or goes. What is he, some kind of communist?

Correction: A previous version of this article implied the Pétain plaque went up before World War 2. Plaques noting the ticker-tape parades in the Canyon of Heroes were installed in 2003. Sorry for the error.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

140 responses to “In Defense of Lenin Statues and Canyon of Heroes Plaques

  1. a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate”

    Hey, weren’t the British hated by George Washing–oh. OHHH! Never mind!

    1. Then sell the confederate monuments to the highest bidder rather than let the mob leftist hordes destroy sh*t without application of law.

  2. It has become a tourist attraction, not for communist sympathizers but for people who enjoy seeing weird things…

    Sounds like you don’t read the Seattle newspapers very often.

  3. “Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has called for the removal of the Vladimir Lenin statue in the neighborhood of Fremont. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property”;

    “We don’t feel public property should contain any statues or political symbols. It is not government’s role to choose who or what symbols will be honored. Public buildings and property should only be as large as is necessary to perform the ideal minimum of activities. Government is a necessary evil, and thus should be as limited as possible”

    /Was never said by these two mayors to justify statue removal

  4. There’s a big chrome Lenin head in one of LA’s artsier neighborhoods.

    1. Dang that is awesome!

      I sometimes think the best revenge on Hitler and the Nazis is that they’ve been reduced to a generic term, like Kleenex — speed nazis in the fast lane, grammar nazis all over the internet. petty tyrants in every bureaucracy. Can’t get much more ignoble.

      1. I’m not so sure that’s good, actually. The term “Nazi” doesn’t really have content anymore, and people just hate on “Nazis” out of reflex without actually understanding what fascism is or why it’s bad.

        Partly this comes from decades of Hollywood lazily using Nazi to just be “bad guy it’s okay to kill without knowing anything at all about him.”

        This makes it so that gangs of armed thugs can put on masks and uniforms and crack the skulls of people whose opinions they disagree with and do it in the name of fighting Nazis.

        1. My point is that being such a petty joke is a worse punishment to Nazis than death and losing the war and their precious Third Reich.

          Imagine all those goose stepping big wig Nazis — Himmler, Goebbels, Hitler especially — looking into the future and discovering they are only remembered as a pejorative for people prone to typoes. Much more humiliating than dying for a failed regime and ideology, worse even than seeing Jews in power.

  5. How about if, instead of *removing* these awful statutes, we just attach these?

    1. Adding something like that mocking Lenin to the statue would make it better. Or something that signifies the triumph of capitalism.

      Kind of like the lady who placed Second Place and Participation ribbons on a Confederate monument in Arizona recently.

      1. Selling a statue of Lenin for $250,000 is the best mockery of Lenin I can conceive of offhand.

        1. They should include a plaque mentioning that.

          1. Nah, then the socialists will get pissed off that they’re being mocked. This way, it goes right over their heads.

      2. I would imagine that your garden-variety Leninist is sufficiently aggravated that it serves as a kitchy advertisement for what I imagine is a fairly upscale restaurant.

  6. “They were sometimes meant specifically to intimidate local black populations”

    As a Yankee, I have no love for Confederate memorabilia but I find that unlikely. On a sidenote I can’t wait for them to demolish the FDR memorial and library. Johnson’s as well.

    1. I don’t see why it’s hard to believe the people putting them up intended them to at least partially be a message to the black underclass suffering from Jim Crow laws and whose freedom (and/or their ancestors’) was at stake in the Civil War.

      1. I don’t see why it’s hard to believe

        It seems quite easy to believe, even downright fashionable among a certain class these days. That does not make it true. Ed and his ilk don’t seem to be offering this as a matter of opinion but as one of fact.

        1. Confederate monuments were put up not just to “remember the fallen” but to glorify the cause of the Confederacy. That is undeniable. A cause that was centered around preserving the institution of slavery. To think that there was no ill will intended towards black Americans as people instituting Jim Crow laws, promoting an environment where lynching black people was accepted, etc. put up monuments to the Confederacy is nonsense. Though not truly a “Confederate” monument, the monument recently brought down in New Orleans celebrated an insurrection by white supremacists against the New Orleans PD. It’s beyond to naive to think there’s zero connection between the white supremacist campaign to maintain dominance over black people and the desire by those same people to put up monuments glorifying the Confederacy and its cause.

          1. What about Northern Confederate statues? Must they come down too?

            1. On public property? Same thing, I think they should be moved to museums and designated Civil War sites. Supporters of the Confederacy weren’t just in the CSA states. Kentucky, for example, actually has way more monuments to Confederates than the Union even though they remained part of the Union and sent a lot more soldiers to the Union Army than the Confederate Army.

          2. So your only example is “not truly a Confederate monument”. OK, you failed.

            1. It was an obvious example that came to mind given it was one of the more high profile arguments about monument removal. And to be fair, most of the men in that militia group were Confederate veterans. It’s not as if the people who supported that weren’t supporters of the Confederate cause.

              But sure, go on thinking that all those sophisticated Southern ladies and gentlemen were just honoring the poor fallen soldiers and had no political agenda to push. I’m not sure why some Southerners insist on defending the worst aspects of Southern history and culture.

              1. So, you unequivocally attack them, then wonder why they unequivocally defend themselves.

                Come the fuck on man, you are smarter than this.

                1. I specifically questioned why “some Southerners” defend the worst aspects. How is that an unequivocal attack on the South? If I was unequivocally attacking the South, I would be one of those morons who thinks racism and the confederacy sums up Southern culture. It is isn’t an unequivocal attack on a group of people to ask why some of them hold to a certain position.

                  1. THAT wasn’t.

                    You already admitted your original post WAS.

                    And it was the royal “you” not just you specifically.

                  2. “If I was unequivocally attacking the South”

                    “I suppose I should have said many”

                    One wonders if your’re even aware of your own behavior, as you admit to it in one post, then deny ever doing it in a latwr post.

          3. “Confederate monuments were put up”

            I’m about over people making these unequivocal declarations.

            1. I suppose I should have said “many.” I’m sure some were put up just to remember the dead. All I’m saying is that it’s incredibly naive to think there was never a political agenda behind the decision to put most of those statues and monuments up.

          4. I would sincerely be interested in an actual citation with actual proof-of-concept that indeed these statues were erected as a method of intimidating minorities. Seriously, that would be an interesting read.

            So far, it’s a lot of people citing each other without a shred of anything even remotely resembling proof.

            Sorry, but if your citation is just circular reasoning I’ll remain skeptical that they weren’t like most other statuary: meant as a physical representation of collective memory good and bad.

            Or in other words, art is in the eye of the beholder.

            1. What a bunch of willfully naive losers!

              Confederate losers put those damned statues up all over the country for the very specific purpose of glorifying the Confederacy, and that by their own words glorifies slavery and racism. It’s exactly the same as putting up statues of Lenin and Stalin all over East Europe — to remind the losers that they had been conquered, that they had lost, that their victors were rubbing their noses in it.

              And if you think the Lost Cause supports had not lost, Jim Crow gave them about 90% of what they had supposedly lost. If you think they were not pushing racism and submission and white triumph, you are one unimaginative soul.


              1. If you think they were not pushing racism and submission and white triumph, you are one unimaginative soul.

                So, no, you’re just making shit up as you go then. I thought as much.

                1. You are now self-declared as having no brain with which to imagine yourself in others’ shoes. COngrats!

            2. I think the presumption is made largely on the timing of the monuments’ construction – i.e. by-and-large they weren’t put up in the aftermath of the Civil War, they were put up in the Jim Crow era.

              It’s not hard to see a correlation where just as the black population is starting to rise up and agitate for its rights, Southern state governments start erecting monuments to Confederate heroes.

              But, in fairness, there is a temptation to ignore the fact that both the ability of the black population to rise and the ability of Southern state governments to put up monuments both arose out of the South’s slow economic recovery from the war’s devastations, which didn’t really start happening until about the 1920s.

              So there is probably some coincidence between black populations starting to get more wealthy and self-sufficient (and facing a violent counter-reaction to that), and state governments finally getting the funds to erect monuments in a way that doesn’t necessarily have any racial meaning.

              But I don’t think any Southern state government erected monuments to Frederick Douglas or Harriet Tubman, for example, and it’s not hard to see how the black populations of Southern states saw monuments to people like Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun, whatever the intent of them may have been.


              1. it’s not hard to see how the black populations of Southern states saw monuments to people like Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun, whatever the intent of them may have been.

                This right here I absolutely agree with and is absolutely in line with the fact that art is indeed something that is interpreted differently depending on the person.

                Yet people concentrate on some magical intent behind the art as if that matters. Context changes, so it isn’t unreasonable to think that a statue of Jefferson Davis today might have a different interpretation today than the one it might have had in 1920.

                Maybe people just aren’t saying what they mean or I’m being too particular; it’s been known to happen before.

                1. This is why ultimately I agree with Tom Bomabadil that you run into bad ground whenever the government is endorsing a piece of art.

                  Yes it’s unfair for the people who want the statues gone to just say “racist!” as if that totalizes whatever they are looking at, and I know that to a lot of Southerners (not just white Southerners), the Confederate flag, as an example, just represents rebellion and a refusal to bend the knee to the Federal government, and don’t see it as necessarily having a racist connotation.

                  But if a significant proportion of a given community sees a given monument as celebrating a government’s history of oppressing them, they are not being unreasonable by requesting that it be removed.


                  1. …to a lot of Southerners (not just white Southerners), the Confederate flag, as an example, just represents rebellion and a refusal to bend the knee to the Federal government, and don’t see it as necessarily having a racist connotation.

                    Indeed, and the history of my great state of Texas has been to rebel against every government we’ve been under, which somewhat ironically includes our own self-governance. Go figure.


                    …they are not being unreasonable by requesting that it be removed.

                    Absolutely agree. The people I personally have a problem with are the people who have decided to drag those monuments down outside the law and who, as far as I know so far, have not been arrested for that act.

                    As a man of Irish decent, I can honestly say I’m not upset or triggered by statues of Henry VIII but perhaps that’s just me. Not that I come across a lot of those in Texas, of course.

                    1. The people I personally have a problem with are the people who have decided to drag those monuments down outside the law

                      Seconded.

                      who, as far as I know so far, have not been arrested for that act.

                      Then you’ll be encouraged by this.

                    2. Nice, although damn your eyes for using Mother Jones! ^_-

                    3. Couldn’t resist.

                    4. I have a friend of Irish descent who has a deep and abiding hatred of Cromwell. I personally think it’s a bit silly to hold a grudge for 400 years, but whatever makes her happy.

                  2. But none of the articles I’ve read have anything to do with supporting the rights of a community. They are all about whether these statues should have a right to exist at all for this or that reason and how it is different from the statues they do want to exist.

                    Keep it simple – if a city/state/neighborhood/etc. is responsible for maintaining the statue then the community paying taxes for it gets to decide one way or the other. Local control not ideological mandate.

              2. Those commies in Durham didn’t pull down and destroy a statue of John C. Calhoun. They desecrated a memorial to the county’s war dead which featured a representative sculpture of an unnamed Confederate private. The sort of Southerner who never owned a slave and bore the greatest burden of the war.

      2. You fucking idiot. Jim Crow laws didn’t exist until after the Civil War ended.

        1. No, there were antebellum laws that segregated free blacks in Southern states. Couldn’t vote, couldn’t go to school, etc. These certainly looked like what later was passed as Jim Crow.

  7. This can’t be. Eric Boehm was just telling us two days ago that the slippery slope argument was stupid, and there was no way this was going to past confederate generals. Turns out the left doesn’t care about Eric Boehm’s lines.

    1. Don’t expect an article from the Reason writers who said they don’t believe confederate memorials dedicated to the dead should be taken down defending the ones that have already been taken down. Once you join in with iconoclasts, rather than identifying why the mob mentality is wrong, everything will come down. But, this was always the point to begin with.

      There is good reason to remove some civil war monuments, but it is disingenuous to honestly think it ends there.

      1. What are the ‘good reasons’, if they only apply to some?

        1. The land is needed for public use like a road, instead of a monument.

          That’s one off the top.

      2. “There is good reason to remove some civil war monuments, but it is disingenuous to honestly think it ends there.”

        The good reason is government shouldn’t be in the monument business period. Nor in the business of picking and choosing what is honored and what isn’t. Doing so is automatically favoritism for one interest, and biased against another.

        Not to mention, private is always better.

        Not to mention, what the fuck is the proper function of government, I ask you fellow libertarians?

        1. what the fuck is the proper function of government, I ask you fellow libertarians?

          Why, to construct a correct and stable view of the world and fill the world with representations of that view in order to aid the citizenry in its cooperative ventures.

          Right?

    2. I don’t think Boehm was saying no one would ever argue about anything besides Confederate generals, just that there are logical reasons why you can draw a line and it’s not all or nothing. And that there’s a lot less support from people for taking down most of the other examples cited.

      I really don’t understand why maintaining monuments honoring the Confederacy on public grounds like courthouses is such a vital thing to some libertarians. And I don’t think many of the people making that argument would object to Lenin and Stalin statues being brought down in the former USSR, and you can make the same arguments about a slippery slope.

      1. I don’t really care about the confederate monuments, but I know that there is zero chance this will stop at confederate monuments. Taking them down establishes the principle that any monument that offends a leftist should be taken down, and that argument will then be used to take down all kinds of monuments that I do care about.

      2. There is little support for taking down the confederate statues as it is (62% oppose according to Pew). I don’t mind if a community decides to take down its statues, but it is quite another thing to have it imposed (which I think is the only logical defense of these statues). And there are valid reasons for taking down some of these statues.

        But, if people support imposing that these statues be taken down, I think it’s fair to insist that they admit that they are willing to allow a lot of other statues to be taken down, including Jefferson, Roosevelt, etc. I just want people to be honest about what we are discussing here and not pretend as if some imaginary limits are actually going to be imposed.

        1. I’d be interested to see a poll where there wasn’t a binary response. If you presented 3 options of: 1) Destroy the monuments altogether 2) Keep as is or 3) Move them to designated Civil War memorial sites, museums, etc. rather than courthouses and public squares – I would not be surprised if you got a significantly different picture. I agree it’s not among the most pressing issues for most of the public.

          I don’t think the people supporting it are as monolithic as you’re making them out to be. Yeah, I’m sure some of them, particularly the more radical ones, want statues of Washington, Jefferson, etc. to be brought down. But I think there are plenty of people (and I’m speaking from personal experience of talking to people IRL) who want the Confederate monuments brought down but are fine with Washington, Jefferson, etc. A lot of people realize that monuments to the latter are for their contributions to the country in spite of their flaws, while the monuments to the Confederates are specifically about honoring their involvement in the Confederacy and in many causes glorifying the Confederate cause.

          1. That would be a more revealing poll. I hope you’re right about the diversity of opinion as far as this movement, but I’m not seeing a lot of nuisance from them. We’ll see, but the pessimist in me says that we are in the throes of the Cultural Revolution and that didn’t end so good.

          2. I’d be more interested if the poll question asked if long-standing memorials to deceased American soldiers and historical figures should remain, be removed from public view, or destroyed.

            I’d expect 90%+ would go with remain.

            1. Yeah, if you obfuscate the issue and toss in monuments to other causes supported by the vast majority of the country, then I’m sure you’ll get more support. I’m also sure Germans who supported removing Nazi monuments didn’t support removing every monument to German leaders and soldiers, and I’m sure the people in the former USSR who wanted to bring down the Lenin and Stalin monuments didn’t want to remove all the other historical ones. I’m sure Cubans who want to bring down the monuments to Castro and Che don’t want to bring down Jose Marti. What’s your point?

              1. That’s not obfuscation, it accurately describes every memorial under attack.

      3. I really don’t understand why maintaining removing monuments honoring the Confederacy on public grounds like courthouses is such a vital thing to some libertarians.

        1. Well I suppose we can go round and round here. It’s not a cause I feel strongly about that I’m going to protest or go out of my way to support, but I think there’s simply no need or reason to honor the Confederacy in that context. I don’t think the status quo is preferable just because it’s the status quo. All I’m saying is that the hysteria about how we’re literally living in 1984 if we don’t have statues honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest at the local courthouse is ridiculous. And to be fair, we aren’t literally Nazi Germany if it is there.

          1. “And to be fair, we aren’t literally Nazi Germany if it is there.”
            Please cite a source.

            On the side that were are literally there;
            Violent suppression of the right to assemble and the right to speak.
            Political use of police to benefit one political view.
            National government control of the economy.
            Unconstitutional suspension of the bill of rights.

          2. They’re destroying memorials to the dead. Most people, all decent people, object to this.

            I’m sure there are memorials to people killed in historic American labor violence who I believe to have been ideologically and perhaps morally in the wrong. I would object to removing those as well.

            1. No memorial to a dead person is ever fair game to remove from a place of public honor? I don’t agree with that. I’m not saying they should all be destroyed (and not by mobs certainly), but put in a more appropriate place. Simply put, I don’t think there’s an obligation for a community to perpetually honor people in the public square who previous generations thought were worthy of that honor.

              1. I agree completely. Sometimes the tearing down of a statue is an important cultural act all by itself.

        2. This is where these types of discussions go off the rails where each side decides that the other is trying to impose a universal mandate.

          The people who say “why shouldn’t a local community decide to remove Confederate statues from its parks” get heard as saying “all Confederate statues should be torn down by the Federal Government.”

          The people who say “a local community should be allowed to have Confederate statues if they want them” are heard as saying “the Confederacy was awesome and should be honored with mandatory Confederate statues everywhere!

          1. But one good thing that’s happening is people are debating the relative merits of public art and if a piece can actually have a concrete collective meaning in the first place.

            Example: Georgia O’Keefe painted vagina’s. Or were they flowers?

            Offensive, or pretty?

            It’s the same idea here. Is a statue of a confederate soldier endorsing racism or honoring the dead? Well, it depends on you; the viewer.

            1. I agree that that’s a good discussion to be having, and hopefully it will go the direction that Tom Bombadil is raising all over this page that the government probably just shouldn’t be in the art business at all.

              1. That might be the way the discussion here could go, but elsewhere it will be ‘art we don’t like should be banned, and if it isn’t banned we will destroy it. But the art we like can stay, and indeed your taxes should go towards building it comrade’.

                1. Indeed.

                  But as libertarians, all we can do is stand back and shake our damn heads as we watch.

              2. I’m going to take that “probably” and give you a good hiding, young man.

                1. Some of the greatest works of art of all time have been commissioned by governments, so I have mixed feelings, but in political-ideal world, yes – unequivocally government shouldn’t be in the art business.

                  1. Confederate monuments and memorials were created and paid for by private individuals. Most by the UDC.

          2. That’s true.

      4. MOSCOW ? While controversial statues of Confederate icons who fought for slavery come down in the United States, Russia is erecting new monuments to a once-disgraced Soviet Union dictator who killed millions: Josef Stalin.

        This summer marked the 80th anniversary of the “Great Terror,” a massive purge Stalin ordered against political opponents. Yet the milestone was barely noticed by Russians, who increasingly see Stalin as a national hero who defeated the Nazis in World War II as a valued U.S. ally rather than the brutal mass murderer reviled by historians.
        As Confederate statues fall in U.S., Russians are erecting statues for dictator Stalin

        1. There is a disgusting amount of support for Stalin in Russia, however, they did take down a lot of monuments to him in years past, and that’s something I’m 100% ok with. They should not be glorifying him.

  8. Statues for Confederate generals frequently went up during periods of heightened racial tension. They were sometimes meant specifically to intimidate local black population and they often had that effect whether that was the intent or not

    Could you please provide an example/citation-supporting of one or more of these times?

    1. Conveniently, all of the statues were put up by people who aren’t around any more to explain *why* they put them up.

      1. But there is record of WHEN they were put up.

      2. Often the reason a memorial was erected is chiseled or inscribed right into the monument.

        1. SIV wins the prize.

          Factually speaking art is interpreted by the viewer which is why this controversy is so hilarious. Never before have so many fucking retards been interested in destroying art that clearly and factually is still relevant to today.

          Next up: Burning books that offend.

        2. Yes, but we should pay no attention to the inscriptions, we should instead listen to the extrapolation and mind-reading through the mists of time abilities of guys like Calidissident and Nick Gillespie.

  9. Every statue of Mao should show him making an omelette.

    1. I would literally purchase a statue of that, but only if he’s winking.

    2. Mao say done.

  10. This is exactly why I’m against taking down anything. They all have a story.

  11. The plaque mentioning Philippe P?tain … was not taken down in the three-and-a-half-year period when U.S. soldiers were actually fighting Nazi Germany.

    Because it wasn’t there to begin with. The plaques listing people who had been given ticker-tape parades were installed in 2003.

    1. Thanks, but I was already assuming everything in this post is factually wrong and/or and outright lie

      1. That certainly saves time actually looking things up.

      2. Journalists tend to be painfully ignorant of the things they write about. The Reason stsff is no exception, ur woul appear.

        1. Yep. If only someone would invent some mechanism that allows easy access to all the information know to man at this point in time, and some device that would allow access to the mechanisim from most anywhere in the world – – – – – – – —

        2. These schmucks like Gillespie and Krayewski aren’t doing a whit of actual legitimate research of their own, they’re merely regurgitating and recycling the stories and narratives they’re receiving from their friends and ideological soul brothers at the New York Times, etc. through Twitter and such.

          1. It’s no coincidence this site went to hell as twitter gained prominence. All those bright boys and girls passing around an SPLC-created graph showing were were at our most racist in memorializing the dead at a 50 and 100 year interval.

  12. “Both moves come in the wake of a national discussion on Confederate statues, and both moves miss the mark completely. Statues for Confederate generals frequently went up during periods of heightened racial tension. They were sometimes meant specifically to intimidate local black populations”

    So, just so we’re all clear, we’re abandoning any hope of objectively assessing the statue. Instead, we are just judging them based on their intent. Of course, the determination of that intent is completely subject to the whims of today’s (or tomorrow’s) dominant narratives. A hundred years from now, that Lenin statue will undeniably be something that was installed in an effort to glorify totalitarianism. Similarly, all statues of George Washington will have to be torn down. Not because of some slavery connection, but because they are all symbols of hate that were created to intimidate British citizens and make them feel unwelcome.

    1. We could take judgement and bias out of the process by recognizing that government is not supposed to be in the statue business. Sure simplifies things. Privatize. Sure simplifies things.

  13. This is why we need government: how else would we know what statues to put up or tear down?

    I for one, am glad to be reminded of Pierre… de la… Peppers…who’s it? Fuck, who cares? Statues are cool.

  14. People should just band together and buy the Lenin statue. 250,000 is nothing if people get together and pool resources.

    1. Well, they would if the capitalist wasn’t e plotting his labor and keeping him down.

  15. What is he, some kind of communist?

    Pretty sure that’s a job requirement for the mayor of Seattle.

  16. But you’re asking for nuance. There is no nuance allowed. Several Confederate Generals joined the US Military and fought valiantly for the United States after the war. The Civil War is not like WWII, and the Confederates are not like Nazis. I’m not talking about comparing the levels of evil, I’m just saying there are no direct comparisons between the two in motive, geography, cause, and political background.

    1. The two flags seems to wind up being flown by the same group of people somehow.

      1. So do communist and antifa flags. It’s irrelevant.

  17. They were sometimes meant specifically to intimidate local black populations, and they often had that effect whether that was the intent or not.

    I can’t remember if it is FOE or sarcasmic who posts about totems, but here you go!

  18. It has become a tourist attraction…

    I don’t see why this logic can’t apply to the confederate statues. Or do they need to be moved somewhere else and installed ironically first?

  19. Has anyone considered it might be a libertarian position to say that government/public property should not have any statues/symbols? That it is not government’s job to decide what will be honored? That statues and symbols should be privately funded and maintained on private property?

    It is not government’s job to spend money on items that are not needed to perform its basic functions. This reminds me a lot of the religion/government relationship, ie., there should be no relationship.

    1. Yes. There’s libertarianism, and there’s reality. Choose one.

      1. Shouldn’t libertarians make the libertarian argument, always? All statues/monuments/memorabilia should be privatized. The market will solve the problem. Why is anyone here arguing for keeping any of them?

        1. I know at least on my part I’m not so much arguing that they should keep them, but rather than if we’re going to have statues these should be allowed to stay or go depending on the local populace and the deciding factor shouldn’t be ‘will hooligans pull these statues down even if we want them’.

          The ideal libertarian solution is, as you note, the best route.

          1. if we’re going to have statues these should be allowed to stay or go depending on the local populace

            ^ This.

            1. Agreed within those parameters.

              I said this about 3 minutes after the shit hit the fan following Trump’s first utterance. I said it’s none of Trump’s business, or the national KKK, or any out of towner. It was entirely Charlottesville’s domain.

              When will they listen, Martha?

              1. The media loses it’s collective mind if Trump says something, but then they also lose their collective mind if he doesn’t say something.

                It’s lose/lose for Trump and win/win for the media.

                Different discussion, but I’d like a President who just once says ‘why do you care what I think? Ask the governor of the state who directly oversaw this fiasco. It’s a state issue.’

                I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Terry-Boy is a Democrat, and a former chair of the DNC though. Not that he’s getting off totally scott-free on the issue, but so far he’s lying his ass off and getting called on very, very little of it.

                1. When was the last time a protest turned violent where a democrat politician wasn’t somehow in charge of the fiasco?

    2. I’m waiting for someone to reply “But there would be no statues if the government didn’t fund them! Just like mah roadz!”

      1. It’s too obvious that lots of statues/monuments are privately funded, so don’t wait too long. But it is certainly the usual trope.

    3. Most civil war monuments and memorials were privately funded and willingly accepted by the government at the time.
      I believe the Lee statue and park in Charlottesville was a gift to the city and eagerly accpted, not just the statue but the land as well.

  20. Isn’t it a bit inconsistent to defend a statue of Lenin based on the intent of the people who put it up, but to stubbornly refuse to consider the intent of those who put up other statues? I am aware that some Confederate statues were erected by angry racists, but not all of them were…in that case it doesn’t seem to matter because it just won’t be taken into consideration.

  21. I am trying to wrsp my heaf around the train if t hought thst make one conclude a Lenin statue would make an excellent advertising icon for a restaurant.

  22. The statue of Democratic Senator Robert Byrd seems to have escaped the scrutiny of the perpetually offended.
    Why isn’t honoring an “Exalted Cyclops” of the KKK in the state capital, an “offensive symbol of hate” to the antifa/ sjw types?

    1. I would suspect that calling a former KKK member your mentor might make you racist and would be deserving of scrutiny. And if you are really anti-racist you wouldn’t vote for someone who said that.


  23. State Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), whose family came from Poland in the 1920s, has defended the Lenin statue. “Unlike the Confederacy statues throughout our nation built to formally honor those in that battle of ideas, this statue is distinctly not showcased in Fremont to celebrate the murderous, painful regime,” Carlyle wrote on his blog. “The statue was, simply, installed with artistic intent to show that our very ability to install political art is the triumph of democracy over tyranny.”

    What a fucking idiot.

    1. No kidding–talk about a textbook case of special pleading. I’m sure the governments of the South who erected the Confederate statues had the exact same argument.

      1. More or less. The assumption that only one statue is artistic is how you end up with book burnings.

  24. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property”;

    Cool!
    So the bull goes because people hate capitalism.
    The girl goes because she is not openly gay.
    Grant goes because he owned slaves. Same for Washington.
    Statue of Liberty goes because long flowing gowns are sexist, and open flame causes global warming.
    Bellerophon Taming Pegasus goes because of animal cruelty
    Atlas goes because he is a he holding up the world without help from a woman.
    Civic fame goes because she is holding a crown, symbol of monarchy and hereditary rule.

    Everything is hated by someone.

    1. Atlas goes because Ayn Rand.

    2. Blasio goes because many NYCers hate him.

    3. Apparently there is a monument to Sherman in NYC too-so he has to go because of what he did to the Native Americans after the Civil War.

      1. The Native Americans lost, so they don’t get a say. 😉

      2. Oh god, you just brought up the category of ‘guys who fucked over Native Americans’.

        There goes pretty much every statue or plaque up until…2017 and counting.

        1. Including lots of statues of Native Americans.

  25. As for the Lenin statue — sorry, I’m not feeling charitable with letting Lefties have their shits and giggles. Make them live by the rules they set.

    1. How dare you demand that they not be hypocrites.

  26. Public schools are a symbol of Protestant hatred of Cathollcs. Time to close the public schools for good.

  27. He wanted to use it to promote a restaurant


    V.I. Lenin’s Cheeseburger Shack:

    You will pay for everything, we will deliver nothing, and when you complain, we shoot you in the back of the head in our basement and send a bill for the bullet to your children

  28. Boot Monument in Saratoga National Park, New York State, the national monument to America’s most famous/infamous turncoat, Benedict Arnold. Granted, the monument doesn’t actually mention Arnold by name, but everyone who knows that it even exists knows that it’s a monument to Benedict Arnold in honor of his service in the Battle of Saratoga. Arnold was one of early America’s greatest military leaders before he switched sides in the war. I think there are a few smaller monuments to Arnold scattered throughout the northeast as well.

    And yet, for some odd reason, there isn’t a clamoring of people to destroy this monument. If we kept the monument to Lee in place but removed his name from it, do you think that would make all the cultural Marxist lefties (including the ones pretending to be libertarians here at Reason) happy? Probably not, but it’s an interesting thought exercise.

    1. They don’t really care about the whole “Traitor” thing. In one breath they’re wrapping themselves in the flag, in the next they’re burning it. “Dissent against tyranny is the highest form of Patriotism!”, except, you know, when ‘racist monsters‘ like Lee do it.

  29. Statues of General Lee was replaced in Baltimore was replaced by a pregnant black woman but the creator of that statue taken some low-quality drinks for this one. http://moonbattery.com/?p=87079

  30. If all statues of Confederate generals inside the United States are to be taken down what is to be done with those at Stone Mountain in Georgia which are carved into the side of a mountain? They are the size of the Mt Rushmore carvings and would probably need a jackhammer or dynamite to remove.

  31. nice article , thanks ..

  32. very nice post. I like it. Thanks for sharing this information.
    Tinder is the best online chatting application. Try it.
    http://www.tinder-pc-download.com/ tinder for pc
    http://www.tinder-pc-download.com/ tinder download

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.