Rename Austin Over Slavery? How About Washington?

Where do we stop?


I grew up in Austin, Texas. At least that's what we called it then. I've often said that after all the growth it has experienced, I barely recognize the city I once called home. If a new proposal goes anywhere, though, I won't be able to call it home or Austin.

The Austin Equity Office, you see, recently published a report on Confederate monuments. It compiled a list of parks, streets, and facilities named for slaveholders, Confederate veterans, and other symbols of the antebellum South, and it provided cost estimates for changing names and removing statues.

One of the people mentioned is Stephen F. Austin, who played a central part in the founding of Texas. Though he owned no slaves and died long before the Civil War, the report notes that he "fought to defend slavery in spite of Mexico's effort to ban it" and feared that freed slaves would be "a nuisance and a menace." Among the things named after him are a street, a high school, a recreation center and…a city of nearly a million people.

The unlikely idea of changing the city's name, which the report raised, has provoked outrage and incredulity. I am no fan of Confederate statues, flags, and nostalgia, but the critics have a point. Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.

Compared with the sins of the people who took part in secession and bore arms against the United States, Stephen F. Austin's were not major. In any case, the connection between him and the city has withered to irrelevance.

When you think of Monument Avenue in Richmond, you think of the Civil War. When you think of Austin, you think of Willie Nelson, the University of Texas, South by Southwest—almost anything but the person it was named for. In much of the Lone Star State, "Austin" is shorthand for "crazy liberals."

If re-christening is obligatory there, sign-makers are going to be working overtime across the country. The nation's capital and dozens of other Washingtons were named for a slaveholder. So were Madison, Wisconsin, and Jefferson City, Missouri. Anything named "Columbus" or "Columbia" would need a replacement, given the fate of Native Americans once the explorer arrived.

And let's not forget the big enchilada: America. Its name came from Amerigo Vespucci, who on one of his voyages to the New World captured a couple of hundred natives to sell as slaves.

This is not to say the campaign against Confederate symbols is mistaken. On the contrary, it's long overdue. The University of Texas has taken down statues of four Confederate leaders. The city of Austin has renamed Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue. Confederate Avenue and Dixie Drive could be next.
The reasoning behind such changes is unassailable. It's an abomination to honor the Confederacy, whose chief purpose was preserving white supremacy and African-American bondage. There is no way to think of Lee or Davis without recalling the vast monstrosity they upheld.

But Austin, like other cities, has an identity entirely separate from its namesake. As the report noted, "Where do we stop?" is a reasonable question. I don't know exactly the right place to stop, but the name of the city is way past it.

This addled suggestion, however, should not be used to discredit the reassessment of problematic tributes. The mostly white, mostly male people who ran cities and states decades ago had the right to decide who deserved a statue or a street name. The more diverse people in charge today have the right to make additions and deletions in accordance with their own values—racial equality being one.

Austin has a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and a Cesar Chavez Street because locals came to see the contributions of people of color. That's not political correctness. It's democracy. You know why they call the Confederacy the Lost Cause? Because it lost.

Changes like this don't "erase history" as some critics charge. On the contrary, they expand our appreciation of history to include oppressed groups that were once rendered invisible. Confederate statues can serve an educational purpose—in museums. A Jeff Davis Avenue, however, makes about as much sense as a Benedict Arnold Drive.

It's important that Americans have begun to rid ourselves of monuments to avoid glorifying evil and folly. It's equally useful to know where to stop.

NEXT: Ontario Ends UBI Experiment Two Years Early

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  1. I heard about this earlier today. As a native Texan my first thought is to the movie Red Dawn. When the downed fighter pilot is asked to prove he is American by naming the capital of Texas, he correctly answers Austin. To this the reply is, “Wrong commie! It’s Houston!”

    I think we should leave Austin to the weirdos, make Houston the capital, and ensure Austin stays weird and commie by themselves.

    1. Yeah, mostly this. The Houstorian sells t-shirts that say “Keep Austin.” Austin is the San Franciso of Texas.
      Anyway, the fever being discussed here should be specified as being about African American slavery in the US. All other slavery everywhere else? Fuck it. Roman Colosseum? Enh. Egyptian pyramids? Not my problem. The shitty point here is that slavery is an acceptable part of history, except when it isn’t.
      Change the name of the city? Sure. Change it back to Waterloo.

      1. Also, while we’re on the subject, the New York state coat of arms predates the state’s abolition of slavery, so, I vote (read: demand) new state flag for New York.

        1. New York has its name because the Duke of York was deemed the “founder” (by the English). The Duke was also England’s chief slaver.

        2. How many of these folks trying to alter Texas history are those invading our state from the coast states they already ruined, do you think? Our population certainly has its share of faults. The bible clutching is deeply ingrained. And there is a right lean to our flavor of authoritarianism. But dangit, we’re much more free than the coastal areas.

      2. “Egyptian pyramids? ”

        Scholars now realize that the Egyptian pyramids were not built by slaves but workers who were voluntary. You saw heavily armed guards whipping Charlton Heston as he moves rocks about, but it never happened. The numbers of workers and the inadequacy of weaponry makes voluntary workers the way to go.

        1. They weren’t voluntary they were corvee labor. They worked as a tax to the state.

          1. Those who built the pyramids were paid labourers. They were treated with respect and the idea that the workers were slaves is a myth. I don’t know why Libertarians cling to it so dearly.

            1. Jesus fuck, you know my point. I’m not clinging to anything. Get over yourself.

            2. Egyptians had slaves. The Jewish record chronicles slavery under the Egyptians.

              Its a theory that all the workers on the pyramids were paid workers. Just because they found workers quarters, does not make every labor slave-free.

              It is much more believable that there were skilled craftsmen, paid workers, and slaves doing various jobs.

              1. Neither Jews nor Jewish slaves built the pyramids, no matter what you saw at the movies.

                1. Neither Jews nor Jewish slaves built the pyramids

                  That’s not what he said–he said that Egypitan slavery was chronicled in their history. Didn’t say anything about the pyramids.

                  1. Didn’t say anything about the pyramids.”

                    I’m talking about the pyramids, and the Jews played no part in their construction.

                    1. the Jews played no part in their construction.

                      No one has claimed they did other than the voices in your head.

                2. Okay, mtrueman – back to my point: there is no widespread condemnation of the artifacts of slavery anywhere else in the world.

                  1. there is no widespread condemnation of the artifacts of slavery anywhere else in the world.”

                    Slaves being what they are, I’m sure they bitched about it constantly. Wouldn’t you?

              2. “It is much more believable that there were skilled craftsmen, paid workers, and slaves doing various jobs.”

                The pyramids were massive constructions requiring lots of manpower. Slavery means compulsion and the catch was that the pharoahs didn’t have the weaponry to quell a slave rebellion. The slaves could have simply overthrown their guards with pyramid making equipment.

              3. Oh please. The word Hebrew is derived from the ancient Edyptian Heberu, which means mercenary. Likey they were hired by the Egyptians to manage/guard those “slaves”, got upitty and left when they couldn’t extort higher pay for their services. You think a ratty bunch of slaves could march from Egypt to the Levant and then proceed the kill every mother-fucker in the neighborhood? No, and after which they get to write their own version of history, for maximum sympathy.

          2. Covfefe labor?

            I knew that was Trump’s fault.

          3. They worked as a tax to the state.

            Sort of like us.

            1. Except we spend a much higher percentage of our working time paying for government than the Egyptian laborers did.

              1. That was pretty much inevitable: Productivity was so low back then that tax rates approaching modern levels wouldn’t have left people with enough to survive on. Long term, governments can only tax the production that’s in excess of bare survival. Except when they’re dealing with populations they mean to kill off, like the USSR with its gulags.

                Low tax levels in ancient times weren’t an expression of respect for property rights, they were a product of low productivity levels.

        2. Scholars now realize that the Egyptian pyramids were not built by slaves but workers who were voluntary.

          Did the “workers” have collective bargaining rights? Did they get time-and-a-half over eight hours? Did they get double-time over 48? Get at least two weeks notice of any shift change? Forced to take a 30 minute lunch break every day or get fired? I think not!

          These “workers” were slaves by any modern definition.

          1. “Did the “workers” have collective bargaining rights? ”

            They got to be buried in the vicinity of a sacred site when they died. That’s more than most of today’s wage slaves can claim.

    2. Unfortunately Houston, like Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, etc., are all Progressive Plantations. The good part is that all the areas surrounding these Democrat controlled Progressive Plantations are normal, freedom loving people.

      1. Unlike Austin, other Texas cities, especially Houston, exist to MAKE MONEY. Even the leftists, of all colors, only move to Houston to fill their pockets–and then move.

        1. I can’t read your tone, but, I’ll say this (as a native) – they don’t move far. Katy, Conroe, Sugar Land, The Woodlands… folks are getting a lot for their money there.

          1. Indeed, land values in the hill country around Austin (say, around Lake Austin) speak for themselves.

      2. It spreads though, much like a cancer. There are several Coloradans lamenting how much the state has changed in the last decade compared to the previous few generations. Gone are the rough and tumble eccentrics and contrarians that defined the best of the state. It has now become Eastern California. Same could be said of the philosopher shake rats of the Pacific Northwest. And now Texas is contending with its own locust problem.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for each generation defining the space that they live, and much of this comes across as old men telling youngsters to get the hell off of their lawn; but much of this gestalt seems the opposite side of the coin that seeked to preserve the memory of the confederacy and reeks of carpetbagging from the west.

        I could almost get behind the anti-immigration arguments if they would only include building a wall around California and have each state define its immigration policy.

        1. Yes, it starts as a Purple rash, and then spreads, killing all the healthy Red tissue, leaving only bloated Blue tumors behind.

      3. That’s too bad about Dallas. It used to be such a mecca for the KKK. Where would one stage a presidential assassination these days, if Dallas no longer welcomes normal freedom loving people.

        1. You mean the presidential assassination by a left wing communist sympathizer with a Russian wife who had defected to the USSR?

          1. Well, that’s the official story. Would Dallas today be an inappropriate setting for a presidential assassination is my question.

            1. Well, John Hinckley Jr. thought Washington D.C. would be a good place but he was a shitty shot so it didn’t work out for him. If that idiot could do it in the capitol, one might rightfully assume anywhere would work.

              1. Can Washington police be counted on to parade the suspect before mobster gun-men?

                1. Well, they can be counted on not to frisk actors like Booth that just want to tap on the Presidents shoulder real quick.

          2. No he means the one by the Democrat backstabber LBJ and his CIA buddies.

      4. The liberal areas comprise 80% of the state’s economy. Nobody here gives a fuck about what conservatives in Midland think.

        1. Another Lefty and their lies.

        2. The liberal areas comprise 80% of the state’s economy

          “We’ll just ignore the general dysfunction of the Rio Grande Valley.”

      5. Uh… Fort Worth a proggi plantation, WHAT?!?!?

      6. So every Seattle has its Tacoma?

    3. Um no, Houston is a shithole. I’ll stay and fight for this smaller, and slightly less shitty hole, thank you.

      BTW, can I interest you in one of our new “Keep Harriet Tubman Weird” t-shirts?

      1. I’m wearing my Keep Dallas Pretentious shirts. Does that help?

  2. This article sure treads a very thin line. It successfully manages to stake out a position so wimpy it is sure to offend anyone who likes the status quo or anyone seeking to change it.

    But what more could be expected from Chapman? The guy is a fucking joke.

    1. It’s not wimpy. It’s nuanced. Not even significantly nuanced. I would fail a high school student who did not have sufficient wisdom to understand a middle of the road decision like this.

      I do not wish to honor the traitors who murdered the founder of my state (Houston was kicked out of office when the civil war started, and he died in 1863). There is zero purpose to anything named after Jefferson Davis except to honor a traitor. We should remember our history, but we should not honor the people whose decisions sent the best part of a million men to their graves in order to support slavery.

      However, trying to eliminate every reference to anyone who was ever tangentially related to slavery gets you into ridiculous territory. Even suggesting it undermines the reasonable pursuit of improving things. After all, if we try and avoid honoring anyone who was not perfect, we would not honor ANYONE (see the protest about a Gandhi statue last year).

      1. we should not honor the people whose decisions sent the best part of a million men to their graves r

        That’s why John Wilkes Booth should replace Lincoln on the penny

        1. Ba dum tish!

        2. I know you are trolling and I really shouldn’t reply, but Lincoln hadn’t even been inaugurated when the secessions began. He hadn’t made any decisions yet. It was then the confederates who attacked Fort Sumpter, beginning the war.

          Don’t deny the self-evident truth.

          1. The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter because it is located in a state that seceded from the Union, therefore no longer belonged to the Union. But the Union would not relinquish it, so the Confederacy evicted them. And as for Jefferson Davis being a “traitor”, he is no more so than the Sons of Liberty. Traitor is in the eye beholder. All states in this Union voluntarily joined…why then are they not allowed to voluntarily leave?

            1. You presume that the south had the right to secede in the first place. The war essentially was fought over this topic, and it was decided that they did not.

              1. This is false. After the war, the states that had seceded were required to apply for readmission. This step would have been unnecessary if their secessions had been invalid.

          2. The “attack on Fort Sumter” was initiated by Lincoln when, in response to the Southern demand that the garrison surrender and return home, sent a ship to provision the garrison knowing full well that the South would have to respond militarily. He did that so he and the North could go to war claiming that the South had fired the first shot. Lincoln was nothing if not a superior manipulator.

          3. True enough, but neither had there been any decision to initiate war. The South’s attitude could be summed up simply: “just leave us alone”. The North generally was divided between those who wanted war to keep the South in the union and those who wanted just to let the South go. It was Lincoln who spurred, organized and did his best to popularize the war, and who bears the responsibility for the deaths of the 1M men who died in that war.

      2. There is nothing nuanced about this.

        1. You’re right. It’s a “its good to not honor these people, but some proponents are taking it to the point of ridiculousness”. It’s hardly nuanced. In fact, it’s a rather self-obvious. However, it is in no way “wimpy”

          1. Self obvious has a habit of changing depending on who is looking at it. I predict Washington and Lincoln and Jefferson and nearly all other founders will be dragged through the mud too as what is obvious continues to change.

            Not nuanced, not written from a position of moral certainty. It is wimpy and apologetic.

    2. Reason staff is just trying to get web traffic at this point.

      They know election 2018 will be a bloodbath for their friends on the Left. No sense getting un-invited to those Cosmo parties for publishing Libertarian points of view and pushing Libertarianism over Socialism.

    3. I’m surprised Chapman showed some backbone, instead of joining the chorus to clear history of anything that offends the modern mind.

      1. Only, he doesn’t really show any backbone he’s showing that he lacks any sort of principles. He agrees with sanitizing history of Confederate monuments, but wants a particular city he’s fond of to keep it’s name even though the man it’s named after was, by todays leftist standards, a monster.

        If it wasn’t for double standards, it seems Chapman would have none.

      2. I like my anachronism frequent and irrational.

  3. Awful article.

    Actually some libs think 1776 was a mistake and wish Britain won ( we would then be like Canada the thinking goes). Wo why not a Benedict Arnold drive ?

    Let’s face it. This is just becoming part of the culture war. Has little to do with repudiating slavery and elevating contributions of Africa Americans, and more to do with showing who’s boss now.

    1. These Lefty SJWs hate America and what it stands for, with every ounce of their being. They have no power now that Hillary lost, so this is what they spend their time on.

      It’s sad, if it was not a clear and present danger to this Constitutional Democratic Republic.

    2. Historically, greater New York (New Amsterdam) leaned Tory since war might disrupt their commercial ventures, and the only thing more important than politics was money.

      But of course the Dutch cheated the Manhattan tribe, so we should remove all those buildings, give any surviving indians the restored island, and get our beads back.

    3. I was incredibly skeptical of the case that the America Revolution was a mistake, but after hearing it I think the case is fairly strong. Or, interesting at least. Slavery most likely would’ve ended sooner, and without a war. America most likely would’ve gained it’s freedom in the 1800’s like Canada did. Also, we’d probably have a more functional parliamentary government instead of….whatever it is we have now.

      1. Slavery only was ended in the English Mainland. In many of the colonies (including the Carriebean) where slavery had an economic benefit it was continued past when the US ended slavery. Additionally, even after slavery ended the way native populations were treated we hardly equal in British Colonies (akin to segregation in the US, possibly worse). There is little evidence that England would have tried to end slavery in the South any sooner then it was ended in the US. And why is a parliamentary system better then three co-equal branches of government?

        1. Next mrtrueman will tell us how WWII would’ve never happened had Wilson attained his perfected isolationism.

      2. While the I agree that idea was interesting, I have to say that the argument was fundamentally flawed. If anything, I can see a strong financial relationship with the American South would have delaying British abolition rather than the other way around. Slavery (or more accurately, what was effectively serfdom) extended into the 20th century in India.

        I find the argument for Parliamentary systems quite weak. If anything, they are more volatile than presidential systems. While you don’t have the constant fight like we have between the congress and president, the changeover between parties happens more often, and the system of being able to call elections early is just nonsensical.

        1. Britain abolished slavery in 1833 except in those colonies and territories governed by the East India Company. Queen Victoria despised slavery. The more likely outcome would have been the abolition of slavery in the South within a generation with Britain (and probably France) assisting the South in developing a more manufacture-based economy. Lincoln and Seward recognized that possibility and were terrified of it. Lincoln’s vision of a centralized, federal Northern government depended on the destruction of the South not on a balanced political and economic relationship with it. The willingness to destroy monuments, rename schools and streets, etc., is just the newest wave of surrender.

          1. I’m sorry, but Britain would have had a much stronger incentive to maintain slavery if they had held the South. Money talks, and they didn’t abolish slavery in the areas where slave-industries were financially strong. England didn’t want the South to develop manufacturing. That would have been directly contrary to their interests and their mercantilism policies. England wanted the raw materials from the Confederacy to feed their own factories.

            This is why there was strong support in England for the Confederacy despite the entire basis of the country being slave-holding. There were numerous discussion of England actually interceding and sending troops to help the South so they could keep their slaves and sell them cotton.

            Then, Lincoln supported a very lenient reconstruction that allowed most of the plantation economy to stay. It was only after his death that more radical measures were enacted.

            I’m sorry, but your post is almost completely counterfactual. A complete work of fiction to pretend that your ancestors didn’t fight a war for the right to keep people enslaved.

      3. Even better would have been to have won the Revolutionary War and after winning the Civil War deport all the Democrats.

        Hypotheticals are so much fun.

      4. Trump ate shit last year for suggesting there might have been a diplomatic alternative to the Civil War. That’s where we’re at as a nation. War is glory. War is just. War is RIGHT. Doesn’t matter how many people die. So you’re going to have a hell of a time convincing people that the Revolutionary War was a mistake. It’s one of those things we hold up on a pedestal.

        As for your second point, things could have been better — if there wasn’t a major big government movement to adopt the US Constitution and instead some federated agreement was made instead, there may have been more restrictions on the vast expansion of federal power we’ve seen the past century or so. On the other hand, some other form of reign could have been made possible as well… hard to guess about what would have happened.

    4. That, in fact, was the nature of the Civil War itself. Lincoln and his cronies (excuse me, cabinet) didn’t give a damn about slavery. They wanted a centralized federal government and were willing to kill (over 1M Americans died in that war) to get it. They showed the South who was boss and have never stopped.

      1. Don’t be ridiculous. Look at the confederate constitution. It was identical to the American one except for protecting slavery. If that was the case, then there would be more protections for the states.

    5. And somehow, “the boss” always turns out to be white.

  4. Obamagrad? How about 14RPU2090349062?

    1. Trumplingrad? Or did Trump speak too kindly about slavery at some time or another? Did he ever have some night-time, sleeping dreams in which slavery was portrayed too positively? Do the Dream Police have any records of such things?

      After a thorough vetting-scrubbing, I’d think Trumplingrad would be a shoe-in!!!!

      1. You do realize Austin is run by progressives, right?

        1. Yes, they do call it “The People’s Republic of Austin” for a reason!

          But they (as the State Capitol; State employees are driven towards bigger Government Almighty it seems) do live inside a deep-red state. Who does the re-naming, the city, or the State? Or the fed Government Almighty, or the U.N. Committee of Making Sure No One’s Baby Feelings Are Hurt?

          1. Apparently no one looked at how deep purple Texas was last Election.

  5. New York and New Jersey each have roads known as Kings Highway. New Jersey has municipalities named after the royal proprietor who owned the territory as a colony for the British crown. Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Charleston, Virginia, and Baltimore were all named after British kings or royalty. You may recall that we fought an eight-year-long war against British royalty to win our independence. Our democracy somehow survived these roads, states, and cities being named for the despots we had just defeated in war. The descendants of those who fought and died for America in that war for independence somehow survived the “pain” of seeing these names in continued use. Perhaps because they understood the notion of secondary meaning.

    1. Thanks for bringing up the pain of living in a state named for a British monarch, county named for a British colonial governor, city named for a British royal and community named for a Confederate general. At least I don’t know a reason to be traumatized by my street name.

      1. Damn, that’s a lot of oppression.
        How do you manage to even wake up every day?

    2. I forgot to mention that the current name of Maryland’s largest city causes pain for the descendants of John Coode and causes them to feel invalidated as human beings.

    3. And to this day we venerate the British Royals. Sometimes I’d swear the American Revolution never happened. Seems we are more inclined to forgive those who oppressed us than those who sought freedom from the oppression visited on them by our federal government.

  6. Remember when some staff at Reason said that SJWs had the good idea to remove statues and that would be it?

    These Lefties have no power so this is what they get worked up about in the Age of Trump. Changing history. Not learning from history, mind you. Trying to change it.

    These SJWs should be shut down at every bad idea that they have.

    If they want a statue of Louis Farrakan or whatever, then they need to pay for it and the land to put it on.

    1. They are so above the rest of us that there is no history that matters before they came along.

    2. The left has no concept of a good “stopping point”. Just review the history of the “gay liberation” movement over the last 10-15 years to get the idea.

  7. @iowahawkblog
    29 Jul
    I guess Austin could go back to its original name “Waterloo” but that opens another can of worms Euro-conquest-wise. To be safe I suggest “Year Zero”

    1. Nice try. You are bigoted against the number one?
      Even computers need both the one and the zero.

      1. I might just totally blow your mind with


    2. Iowahawk moved here and complains about how liberal it is. I want to ask him why he just didn’t stay in conservative Des Moines since it’s probably so much better.

      1. Iowahawk moved here and complains about how liberal it is.

        Not unlike proglydyte mouth-breathers who move to the countryside and complain about how conservative it is.

  8. Most of you are probably too young to remember before wikipedia and digital media, but back in the day libraries had books, and those books were filed using the dewey decimal system.

    The answer to all these problems is to rename everything using the dewey decimal system. The major classifications would be state, then county, city, etc… Minor classification would be by type – statue, human, cat, car, fire hydrant.

    All problems solved. Finally the dream of 1253.00.1122 of a noun blind society will be achieved!

    1. Nobody needs more than two digits.

      1. Ha! I have ten.

        1. 🙂

    2. Numbers are elitist and promote the meritocracy. Countless thousands will be offended and made to feel their sense of inadequacy.

  9. Why should we ever stop deciding who and what to honor? Given this our new age of enlightenment I think it’s entirely consistent with past practices to rename places to reflect our values. It’s actually the “conservative” position from a historical perspective.

    1. Because, for the vast majority of people, a name is just a friggin’ name. Those who drive on the Lee Highway no more believe that they are expressing support for a Confederate General, secession or involuntary servitude than those who live on Oak Street believe they are expressing support for a type of lumber, or those who drive on U.S. Route 1 believe that they are expressing support for single-digit numbers.

      Does anybody really want to see the names of their towns, states, roads, familiar landmarks, etc., changed every twenty years to “reflect our” changing values ? or, perhaps more accurately, the “values” of the 10% of people who vote in municipal and state elections, or the “values” of pressure groups who happen to have a political advantage or “in” at a given time? Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?

      1. Thank you for writing this. Do you mind if I steal it?

        1. Be my guest.

      2. You know, oak was a name for a tree before evil conquerors turned it into lumber. A little respect for the aboriginal arbors, please!

      3. “Does anybody really want to see the names of their towns, states, roads, familiar landmarks, etc., changed every twenty years to “reflect our” changing values”
        If that’s what the relevant people want, then sure, why should I care to stop them?

        It’s not like this would be some top-down imposed sort of thing. If Austin renamed itself, it’ll be because that’s what Austin wants to do. And frankly, if that’s what Austin wants to do, it shouldn’t matter if the rest of America complains. Self-governance, ya know?

        1. The same holds true, does it not, if Austin (or anywhere else) decides not to change its name? As long as we have an understanding on that point.

          1. Yep. Let Austin be Austin, or not-Austin, as it wishes.

      4. “Those who drive on the Lee Highway no more believe that they are expressing support for a Confederate General, secession or involuntary servitude than those who live on Oak Street believe they are expressing support for a type of lumber”
        Yep. Other options,
        Fitzhugh Lee, general, diplomat, and Governor of Virginia
        Francis Lightfoot Lee, delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia, Virginia senator
        Henry Lee III, also called “Light Horse Harry Lee”, cavalry officer in the Continental Army during the American
        Revolution, governor of Virginia
        Hubert L. Lee, American Medal of Honor recipient
        Peggy Lee, singer
        Pinky Lee, American comic and 1950s children’s TV host
        Robert E. Lee, American playwright (yes, the other one)
        Spike Lee, African-American movie director
        Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics
        Tommy Lee, American heavy metal musician
        William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Confederate cavalry general, planter, and member of the U.S. Congress
        William C. Lee, American U.S. Army soldier and general

        1. Tell that to King County, Washington, after they retconned their name in honor of MLK and splashed his image all over official webpages. They are livin’ the dream there and want everyone to know it.

  10. It’s ok to whitewash history except when it affects one of Chapman’s favorite places. Grow a set of balls, man!

    1. I was going to say exactly that. His entire argument boils down to “But I like Austin, so leave them alone”.

      His logic that Austin has its own vibe completely separate from its namesake is EASILY applied to every other place where confederate statues were being torn down. None of those places was currently in the midst of secession from the US. They all had their distinct culture, activities and nuance. The difference is that Austin has activities that Chapman really really likes, while Alabama or some University has people with values he could care less about.

      1. Except for the fact that they were CONFEDERATE STATUES. Sorry, but you are ignoring the salient point in your own argument.

        Austin had many achievements that had nothing to do with slavery (and essentially none to do with it), most notably, leading the first group of Americans to settle in what would become Texas with the approval of the Spanish government.

        Jefferson Davis’s accomplishments of note were entirely as a traitor. A statue to Davis is honoring his treason.

        To compare, we have a statue of Benedict Arnold’s Boot to celebrate his victory at Saratoga, but we do not honor his later betrayal. That’s how you honor a mixed background.

        1. Not true about Jefferson Davis. He was a graduate of West Point and an accomplished soldier, serving with distinction in the War with Mexico (all of which is more than Lincoln could say). And considering what Lincoln did to our Constitution and our population for those years one should be very careful about pointing the finger at Jefferson Davis as “traitor”.

          1. He was an overall unremarkable senator and soldier. His name would be entirely forgotten if not for the Confederacy.

            The president has a lot of emergency powers. That’s what they are for, emergencies.

            Grow up and stop idolizing the Confederacy.

          2. He was an overall unremarkable senator and soldier. His name would be entirely forgotten if not for the Confederacy.

            The president has a lot of emergency powers. That’s what they are for, emergencies.

            Grow up and stop idolizing the Confederacy.

            1. I don’t idolize the Confederacy. I just continually feel obliged to address the truth of the Confederacy against those — like you — who feel comfortably obliged to dump on the Confederacy and its leaders.

              And BTW, the President does not have “a lot of emergency powers” under Article 2. The President’s powers are narrowly circumscribed. This of course has not stopped the power-hungry from asserting those powers anyway, knowing that they are in any practical terms immune from prosecution since no plaintiff would have standing to seek relief in federal court.

  11. There are many Jews who commemorate the Holocaust rather than trying to banish it from historical memory under the notion that letting society forget it makes it easier for something like that to happen again. To me, that’s logical.

    So when these SJWs seek to erase history, they may be undermining their own stated goal. But that’s not all that surprising, I guess. As a group, SJWs are not known for being bright.

    1. I agree. I would support there being a national slavery museum, rather than an African American museum on the national mall. Slavery was a hugely significant part of the nation’s history. It should not be covered up and the reality of it should be acknowledged and remembered. It makes all of the sense in the world to have a museum of it on the mall that would serve as both a record of it and a memorial for the victims of it. It makes a ton more sense than having a Holocaust Memorial. The country had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

      And having an African American Museum, instead of having the collection be a part of the larger American History Museum is to imply that African Americans are somehow not really Americans or different from other Americans. I am okay with there being an American Indian Museum because that civilization was here before America. They really are different. But everyone else should be a part of the American History Museum.

      1. I’m sure this is evidence that you’re a racist, somehow.

        1. I am sure that Millennials have changed the definition of racism by now.

          All Libertarians are probably defined as racist because were not Lefties.

    2. The idea being that discussing how horrible things happened in the past, you can prevent them from happening again in the future.

      I saw this program on nuclear power and it was discussing Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island nuclear accidents. These two events pretty much caused the 40 year moratorium on new nuclear technology.

      So a new bread of Millennials are nuclear engineers now and they weren’t even born when these nuclear accidents happened. These millennials think they can out design the possibility of an accident. Because the accidents happened before they were born, its like they dont exist.

      These smart yet stupid kids engineer for every accident except an earthquake which has caused fail-safes to malfunction.

      1. No, it’s because we have much better designs that made what happened then impossible. Chernobyl simply couldn’t happen in the Three Mile Island reactor. Three Mile was bad financially, but it had a death toll of zero.

        To compare, it took an epic natural disaster to cause the destruction at Fukushima, and the nuclear meltdown also had a death toll of zero.

    3. Remembering history is one thing. However, if you suggested to put up statues of Nazis looking noble as they cart people off to the slaughter, people would quite reasonably object.

      No one is asking us to forget the civil war happened. However, we should not idolize the people who did this. If you look at those monuments, any small child can see that the sculptors and designers wanted you to think that the people being presented are the “good guys”. That’s clearly not the case.

  12. The best part of this is that the committee seems to have confused Stephen F. Austin with Sam Houston, and gotten Sam Houston wrong as well. They claim Austin supported “slavery and the Confederacy”. Stephen F. Austin died in 1836, 25 years before there was a Confederacy. Sam Houston was governor of Texas in 1860 and was removed from office because he wouldn’t support leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy.

    It remains safe to say that SJWs don’t know much about history.

    1. SJWs don’t know much about history
      Don’t know much about biology (GMOs, for instance)
      They don’t know much about a science book (unless it’s some Bill Nye crap)
      Don’t know much about the French they (never) took

      1. Sam Cooke would be proud.

      2. Way to update a classic for a new era, Inigo. Your father would be proud, or would be anyway if it wasn’t for that six fingered bastard.

    2. Why were the Texans such slack tits when it came to the civil war. No significant battles were fought there, leaving all the major fighting to Virginians whose contribution to the cause dwarfs that of Texas.

      1. Because Union generals were dumb, but not dumb enough to try to invade Texas?

      2. Texans were not really big secession fans. Texas was a supply state for the CSA. Texans did fight in ever major Civil war battle.

        1. Texans were not really big secession fans.

          And we really didn’t like the reconstruction…

      3. Geography, you troll.

        Also, there was never the backing that it had in the east. Houston resigned the governorship rather than swear allegiance to the confederacy, and he had a lot of pull with the people.

        However, Texas did send a large number of troops and supplies.

      4. You forgot General John Bell Hood:

        My feet are torn and bloody,
        My heart is full of woe,
        I’m going back to Georgia
        To find my uncle Joe [Johnston].
        You may talk about your Beauregard,
        You may sing of Bobby Lee,
        But the gallant Hood of Texas
        He played hell in Tennessee.

  13. NSFW

    Morning music.

  14. What do you mean “stop”?

  15. If they change the name from “Austin”, it should be to something both descriptive and catchy, like “Bumfuck” or “Fruit Loop, Tx”.

    P.S. Is Asheville, NC next?

    1. How ’bout “Boaty McBoatface, Texas”?

      1. I suggest “Barely More Topography than Houston So People Think Its Hilly”.

  16. “fought to defend slavery in spite of Mexico’s effort to ban it”

    LMAO!!! Guess you forgot your Texas history lessons especially the way that Mexico treated its “own” people or the fact that all across the southern border were Hispanics that preferred to stay in and fought for what became the USA than bow down to Mexico’s Spanish governors.

    1. The US got the entire Southwest after the Mexican American War. There was not a single instance of partisan warfare or rebellion among the local Hispanic population. No one was sad about no longer being part of Mexico.

      1. They were part of Mexico in name only. It was the Comanche who ruled the roost in those territories.

        1. Even in California? Dont think so.

          There were all sorts of tribes besides the Comanche.

          1. Comanche were centred in Texas. But there were also other tribes in Texas.

            1. Except the Comanches didn’t control the territories of California, Nevada, Arizona, western New Mexico, or western Colorado.

              1. True, but nobody controlled western New Mexico, or colorado the way the comache controlled Texas. They even have a name for the comanche empire.

                They are not hispanic but they were almost genocided out of existence in the aftermath of the mexican war.

  17. The Legislature should bring up a bill to rename it “Trump”. Then when the progs had a stroke over that, amend the bill to rename the city “Reagan”. Fuck them and all of their bullshit.

    1. Fuck them and the hybrid they rode in on.

  18. Rename Truth or Consequences, NM as just ‘Consequences.’

  19. Keep Austin contained. Or Stalingrad or whatever the hell progressive hero they want to name it after.

  20. Waterloo? I like it.

    I also wonder how many of these “Jeff Davis Avenues” and “Robert E. Lee Boulevards” sprouted up in the Jim Crow era and could probably revert to a former name without any controversy.

  21. No mention of July and August being named after prominent slaveholders?

      1. What about Wednesday and Thursday? You think Odin and Thor were politically correct?

  22. This is completely overdue. My road is named after some wealthy land owner from the late 19th century, who probably owned slaves, wouldn’t let his wife work, and made his kids go to private school.
    I want in named something that makes me happy and isn’t racist… like Handjob Ave or something of the like…

  23. re: “It’s equally useful to know where to stop.”

    True. And the answer is “Before you begin.”

    Do we all have racists, murderers, and evil people in our past? Of course we do. And some of them were nevertheless great people who did good things. And some weren’t so good but we should remember them anyway. This attempt to whitewash history is blatant revisionism that dooms us to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    1. Chapman cheered on the mob tearing down Confederate statues and destroying history. Now that the mob is attacking a place he likes he is saying “you have to know when to stop”. Sorry Chapman, it doesn’t work that way. What a dumb ass.

      1. Agree, The double standard is glaring

      2. “Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.”

        It’s just a matter or precedent and degree.

      3. Taking down the statues is destroying history? Were the history books all burned down at the same time?

        1. Yes it is. Those monuments were built so that history would not be forgotten. Tearing them down is an act of erasing the past.

          1. “Tearing them down is an act of erasing the past.”

            Actually it’s an act of erasing the present, given these monuments exist. Nothing wrong in changing things, only a conservative reflexively fears change.

            1. Conservatives are against minority views reaping rapid changes without popular support.

              In other words, conservatives dont fear change. They are against late night tearing down of war memorials because the supporters dont know how to read a history book.

              1. I look forward to your calls for increased funding of the humanities and other faggy subjects in our public schools.

            2. A conservative knows that you don’t change understandings and consciousness by destroying evidence of the past. You want to educate people about the past? Have the conversation with the monuments and place names in place. And also, talk about the entire context of the war and not just slavery which, as I said earlier, was no part of Lincoln’s motivation for starting the war.

        2. Taking down the statues is destroying history?

          Ask Akhenaten.

        3. History is the study of the written record. Destroying statues is iconoclasm. Like the bonfire of vanities in renaissance Florence, China during the cultural revolution, or life under Oliver Cromwell, England’s very own Mao prototype.

          1. Speaking so generally, you’re repeating a presumption that statues as a rule are meant to honor people, with the idea that by destroying a statue, you’re attacking a belief that a person should be honored.

            But often statues are put up as memorials, not specifically meant to honor anyone, but to give us a living memory and a connection to the history of the place we’re living in, and they fulfill a role of public education. The strongest example of this of course are war memorials. But even statutes of individuals perform the function of connecting us to a place’s history. If a public park has a statue of the person who funded and built the park, it might turn out he was a bad guy, but still going into the park you have a connection to the park’s history. This is a powerful and important purpose for public statuary and monuments. And basically why European countries aren’t taking down all the statues of kings and queens even though they reject monarchy today.

            At any rate, I don’t think taking down statues is never appropriate; obviously in many cases it is. In some of these cases, I’ve thought taking down a Confederate statue was more than appropriate. Generally though, I’m saddened by the lack of a nuanced understanding of history by the people who want to tear them all down, and group genuine villains with flawed but good men all the same. Their approach demands some resistance and broader public debates about history rather than just cowering in PC submission.

  24. “Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.”
    “Where do we stop?”

    Why did you start?
    Maybe you should have thought it through before you agreed with a purge of all things undesirable?

  25. Is Chapman just trolling us now? The argument can’t really be “it’s okay to remove some names and monuments but not others that have a lesser propensity to offend”, can it? Shit, even his synopsis counters his argument by asking “where do we stop?”, which to me implies you don’t ever start. Then he makes a convoluted argument for removing statues and changing names anyway.

    I don’t generally agree with the criticism that all Reason writers are unprincipled, but in Chapman’s case, it’s a deep-seated part of his identity. He honestly has no business representing libertarian ideas, which of course reflects on the leadership of Reason.

    There’s getting to be so few good articles any more that I only stop by for the comments. Even that is starting to lose its appeal.

    1. Chapman is probably the worst of all the reason writers. He has absolutely no principles. His writing consists entirely of him rationalizing whatever position he wants to hold. Chapman spent years defending every nasty regime on earth that came into conflict with the US only to turn on a dime this year and write about “Trump’s strange softness towards Russia.” It took a complete lack of shame and principles to write that article with a straight face. This is just another example.

  26. Everyone who died more than fifty years ago is “tainted” by modern progressive standards. This will continue to be the case as our values keep changing. This will stop when we can not longer celebrate our heroes at all.

    1. Lefties are believers so they need deities. If they cannot twist some deads persons persona into a tool to destroy American, then they need room to find a persona that can.

      Lefties love FDR until his internment of japanese americans become untenable, which will cause the Lefties to tear down everything FDR. No more Roosevelt High Schools.

  27. Ignore the white slaveholders for a second. Chief Seattle was a renowned slave trader and owned many at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, just like every other Native American chief in the Pacific Northwest for hundreds of years.

  28. This article is one of the worst I’ve ever read here.

  29. Wait, I am confused again. The legacy of the southern states has no validity because they lost, right? But the progressive ethic is to celebrate (and if possible remedy) the cause of losers, especially when beaten by the modern corporate state (e.g. the northern states).

    Or is it just that “coloreds good, whitey bad” thing?

    1. Yes. And the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the great-great-grandsons.

      1. Yes. And the skins of our fathers….

    2. Yes, the slave-holding CSA rebelled against the USA and lost, so they’re double bad.
      The slave-holding USA rebelled against England and won, so it’s complicated.

      1. And Columbus never set foot in the USA, so I don’t get the issue.

      2. Modern “Progressives” don’t celebrate the American Revolution, either. It was led by slaveowners, slavetraders, and smugglers. And someone reading the Declaration of Independence might notice that “Progressives” have recreated the evils Jefferson wrote about and more, and conclude that it’s once again time to shoot those that want to rule us.

  30. But Austin, like other cities, has an identity entirely separate from its namesake

    Yes. But the people who *don’t* want to take down monuments or change the name of Jeff Davis St would argue that those things have identities that are entirely separate from slavery for *them*.

    This is a local issue for me – if some community wants to take down monuments or change names, that’s their decision – that’s usually not my preferred course of action, but I can see reasonable arguments for it in some situations. If they want to keep them, that’s also their decision – I also see reasonable arguments for that in some situations. And local democratic politics is the right way to make those decisions when we are talking about government owned land.

    1. The SJWs whipping up support are not even from these areas.

      This is a national SJW effort to change history so they can rewrite it.

  31. The Austin Equity Office

    get rid of this office and your’ll save a lot of city money and headachs. the people calling for renaming of cities and other such nonsenses are littlerally using George Orwells 1984 as a guide to destroy the past to control the future and those who destroy the past you do not want in charge of your future

  32. We all said ‘slippery slope’–but you assholes went for like it was a slip and slide–and now you’re whining because you’ve hit the stretch covered in broken glass?

    And yes, the purpose Is erasing history.

    The left, the Democrats, and the progressives supported slavery, eugenics, Jim Crow, the KKK, the mountains of murders committed by the communists–basically, every horror of human history can be laid at their feet.( look it up–I thought it was stupid hyperbolic nonsense, too–it isn’t) They aren’t on the wrong side of history–they ARE the wrong side of history. Everything they want, everything they believe, everything they support results in human misery. Every. Single. Thing.

    So yeah–they want anything older than about two hours completely erased and discredited.

  33. Without getting into the details of Texan law, I’m pretty sure that Austin could only be renamed with the consent of Austin.

    So “where do we stop?”. When we want to. If the people of Austin decide to rename their city, whether because of racism or because a gameshow will pay then to do it, that’s their choice.

    And it’s not like cities haven’t been renamed before. How many people can even point to New Amsterdam on a map? Or Constantinople? Or Hot Springs, NM? Cities change their names sometimes for a wide variety of reasons. Road signs catch up eventually.

    And if that means that someday the American people want to change the name of the country? Well, countries have done that too.

    1. Yeah, this is probably nothing more than a silly thought-experiment. I bet the vast majority of residents are against this particular idea.

      1. I bet the vast majority of residents are against this particular idea.

        Yup. They’re hipsters, so they’ll take the same track as Chapman and they’ll say this is different somehow but be unable to adequately explain how.

    2. I’d bet that most of the people who couldn’t point to New Amsterdam and Constantinople on a map also could not find both New York City and Istanbul. I can easily find both of those on a map, but had to look up where Truth or Consequences is located in New Mexico – and I served for six years at Cannon AFB, NM, and must have zipped by ToC on I-25 at least twice.

  34. ‘There is no way to think of Lee or Davis without recalling the vast monstrosity they upheld.’

    I don’t think that’s the logical clincher the author thinks it is. It’s entirely possible to recall those names and persons for reasons beyond slavery. The author wants to have their cake and eat it, if you allow that some names brings up problems of the past and thus should be anathematized then you can’t easily say that another name just brings up a lesser problem of the past.

    I feel like most Reason writers are terrified that if they are consistent and rational then the progressive left will disapprove of them, but that’s hardly a reason to pretend you’re woke when you ought to know better.

  35. What a load of shit. This article belongs on Salon or the Huffington Post. An individual who adheres to the classical liberal or libertarian philosophy as Chapman purports himself to be, should readily recognize the dire consequences of rewriting history. One of the core and essential methods of Marxist leaderships when they achieve power is rewriting history. So Chapman is cool with tearing down important historical statues but wants to stop at name changing? What a blowhard feelgood lefty snowflake fluffpiece of an article.

  36. Stephen Austin – they’re going to rename the Bionic Man?

  37. Second thought after reading comments: I think it’s hilarious how people are arguing both that (A) renaming stuff is pointless because the names aren’t *really* tied to their original anymore, and that (B) changing the makes is erasing history.

    If renaming Austin is “erasing history”, then clearly the city names wasn’t as divorced from it’s origins as some folks are arguing.

    Regardless, I stand by my earlier statement: it’s a local politics issue.

    1. That would only be an interesting observation if the same people were arguing both points, and they aren’t.

      1. No one is. But don’t bother him with logic. It is just not something he is comfortable with.

      2. He has an agenda and its to muddy the waters.

      3. (A) I didn’t claim it was the same people
        (B) Internal divisions are almost always interesting.

    2. Not when the city is the state capital.

      1. Nope. The capitol may be in the city, but the city does not belong to the state and retains self governance. If the state wanted to be able to maintain that kind of control over the capitol city, they had the example of Washington D.C. for how to do it.

  38. Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.

    No, grasshopper, it is not.

  39. I find the old cynical, brooding Steve Chapman to be way less annoying than the new preachy, whiny, pissy Steve Chapman.

  40. Get it over with and rename it Pussyton.

  41. “Muh systemic oppression” – Steve Chapman, abbreviated

  42. I think many Texans are actually thinking remove Austin instead.

  43. Or we could let politicians rename cities and streets after their dads like good old cuomo here in New York renaming the tappan zee. Once the opposition is crushed they can rename it after themselves ala Stalingrad and Leningrad.
    I totally agree with the poster who wrote that this is about power and showing that ‘we’re in charge now’. It’s consistent with other power changes in the past.. back to new Amsterdam/ New York, and changing the Native American names for things.

  44. “Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.”

    Not really, my good man… not really.

  45. Austin is named after Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas”.

    Lefties are stupid.

  46. I grew up in Austin, Texas.

    With the first sentence of this article, suddenly everything Chapman has ever written makes sense. Context is king.

    1. I suspect Chapman is from the bottom half of the IQ distribution in Texas.

  47. Carting off a bronze sculpture of Stonewall Jackson is one thing. Renaming a city is another.

    Millions of Constantinopolitans agree!

  48. Relocating Confederate statues to museums and cemeteries isn’t really erasing history, it’s just demoting historical figures a bit to reflect that we’re not as hot about them as we used to be.

    Renaming cities and streets all the time might seem like the same principle, but the costs are higher because people are less able to figure out where stuff is.

    If you have a Lee Road, named after the general, just pass a resolution that it’s being renamed after Bruce Lee. So you don’t have to change any maps or signs or have people confused about your “new” address.

  49. How about FDR who sent all those Japanese-Americans to “internment camps”? Rename FDR Drive in NYC. I’m thinking Donald Trump Drive.

  50. I read about this a few days ago and was baffled how a city department could make such a moronic recommendation. Leftists always talk about the environment and fairness. Who do they think will pay the cost for all the vehicle titles, mortgages, drivers licenses, business documents and even business cards that would have to be changed? What about the thousands and thousands of reams of blank letterhead that would be worthless? The entire economy of Austin would be pure chaos. Then you have to address the largest university in the state, The University of Texas at Austin. Think about the amount of paper wasted in that one institution. Don’t forget the state government and all of it agencies and commissions are all based in Austin. I could go on and on. I lived in Austin in the late 1980s. My wife and I left when the economy collapsed and moved to DFW. Being a native Texan, I would never live anywhere but Texas but every day I thank God I was smart enough to leave the third coast before it reached the level of stupidity that dominates it today.

  51. The problem with this entire movement is it begins by judging 19th century thinking using 21st century attitudes. I have no doubt the people of the 19th century were just as shocked an appalled by events such as the Salem witch trials in the 17th century and were equally baffled trying to understand how rational, educated people could defend such barbaric and insane actions such as burning people alive as “witches”. As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

  52. RE: Rename Austin Over Slavery? How About Washington?

    Don’t give these progressive idiots any ideas.

  53. “Anything named “Columbus” or “Columbia” would need a replacement, given the fate of Native Americans once the explorer arrived.”

    Don’t forget that there are many U.S. place names named after native Americans or native American tribes that enslaved members of other tribes or enslaved black folk.

    To be fair, we must remember these names must be purged.

    1. To be fair, we must remember these names must be purged.

      We should also purge every politician who supported fascism, eugenics, racism, or slavery, or opposed any civil rights legislation… almost all of them Democrats and progressives, as it happens, and many of them leading figures at famous US universities.

  54. I think I liked it better when lefties didnt bother reading any history.

  55. “It’s important that Americans have begun to rid ourselves of monuments to avoid glorifying evil and folly.”

    So when do we start taking down memorials to Eisenhower, because after all he did foment war against those peaceful Japanese and Germans. . . They “didn do nuthin.”

    1. They “didn do nuthin.”

      That was the Italians – – – – – –

  56. Let’s rename the capital “Friedman”, after the great Texan Kinky Friedman.

  57. :_|


    I’m feeling that maybe all of the issues could maybe be sorted out a lot easier were we as a public willing to understand history in a more nuanced manner.

    “The reasoning behind such changes is unassailable. … There is no way to think of Lee or Davis without recalling the vast monstrosity they upheld.”

    No, its not unassailable; that’s based on the presumption that the difference between staying in the Union versus seceding was abolishing slavery versus preserving it. But Lincoln was prepared to amend the Constitution (the Corwin Amendment) to prohibit federal action on slavery if it would convince the South to stay in the Union, and Jefferson Davis tentatively agreed to the idea of giving freedom to black slaves who served in the Confederate Army if it was in exchange for British recognition of the Confederacy.

    I’m not saying we should “honor the Confederacy.” I just don’t necessarily think a statue of Lee (who opposed secession and thought of slavery as an evil) is either honoring the Confederacy, or honoring slavery. Because the real history of the Civil War isn’t a bumper-sticker slogan.

    “The nation’s capital and dozens of other Washingtons were named for a slaveholder. So were Madison, Wisconsin, and Jefferson City, Missouri.”

    I guess the fact that all three — Jefferson, Madison, and Washington — supported abolition and Washington freed his slaves doesn’t count for anything.

    1. It isn’t “we as a public” that’s the problem. It’s a small minority of activists, who think they’re entitled to make the decision for the rest of us, thanks to their moral superiority.

      I don’t think the monuments can survive too much longer, in fact I’m considering taking my son to D.C. to see the monuments there before they’re destroyed. It’s not that I expect a public wave of opinion in favor of taking them down, but that people are just going to keep showing up with pick axes in the middle of the night to attack them the way Trump’s star keeps getting smashed. They can’t be preserved indefinitely in the face of that sort of thing, without closing them off to public access.

      The iconoclasts, (Literally, “breakers of images”.) are going to win in the end, just because destroying is so much easier than creating.

  58. More empty, self-righteous, irrelevant drivel from Chapman.

  59. A few generations from now historians are going to puzzle about this break in history in the 21st century, where all traces of prior history were systematically erased. Perhaps we should do them a favor and bury time capsules full of history books now in out of the way places, so that the destruction won’t be total.

    1. I think future historians might believe that “1984” was a proposed model of government, but – being infeasible at the time- a hybrid adoption of “Brave New World” was what finally took hold just before President Camacho’s election. I mean, assuming the Firemen leave anything other than internet memes behind.

  60. Maybe I’m off base, but the differences between cities and statues are obvious. One is intended to celebrate an individual. The other is just a name used to describe something. If Gary owns a farm, and Gary’s a first class asshole, that doesn’t mean you should call the farm something else. It’s still reasonable to call it “Gary’s farm”. Even if Gary is dead and gone, the locals in the town may still find that “Gary’s farm” is descriptive enough to get the point across. Erecting a statue in Gary’s honor is a totally different animal.

  61. Where I live, some folks are upset about renaming Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway because Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy. Never mind that the city existed for at least 150 years before the Civil War…

    Personally, I think we should rename cities after porn stars, starting with renaming DC Ron Jeremy because the monument is a symbol to his shlong

  62. “The reasoning behind such changes is unassailable.”

    FYI, “Unassailable” doesn’t mean “Pendantic virtue signalling by people who don’t appreciate how much actual real violence goes on outside their little echo chambers “, like you are using it in this context.

  63. Are we seriously advocating giving public honors to a raging speciesist like Martin Luther King? The guy who said “What good does it do to be able to eat at a lunch counter if you can’t buy a hamburger?” Whatever he may have done for American blacks, his views on equality clearly didn’t extend beyond H. sapiens.

  64. Somewhere between fake news and the passing of time in a world where being politically correct trumps honesty is the place where we are slowly rewriting history. The article below contains a fascinating chart that shows how beliefs morph or can shift over time. It seems that when speaking of who defeated Hitler the answer depends not whom, but rather when you ask.

    This change of view reflects how over the years and decades a subtle campaign to convince people America was largely responsible for defeating Hitler in World War II has been effective in overshadowing the role Russia played. It also shows that when history is rewritten the truth is often lost.


  65. Why don’t we just rename the US “The United States of White Guilt, Self-Loathing, and Regret”?

  66. Heresy! Can you imagine Russia doing this? I mean, the idea of Russia renaming Stalingrad back to its original name is fantasy. What would you rename Austin? Maybe its original name of Waterloo.

  67. About Washington, here’s a better idea: Rename District of Columbia the District of Corruption.

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