Vandalism of Gandhi Statues

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

In Washington (The Hindu):

The statue, which is across the road from the Indian Embassy, was vandalised with graffiti and spray painting on Wednesday, prompting the mission to register a complaint with the local law enforcement agencies….

The incident is reported to have taken place on the intervening night of June 2 and 3, officials said.

In London (Times of India):

Several Indian diaspora members took to social media to express their hurt and anger at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square in London being targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters, with the word "racist" imprinted on the steps below the plinth.

Gandhi, as I understand it, indeed said quite a few racist things, and indeed his work on behalf of Indians in South Africa was apparently often supportive of repression of blacks (see this BBC story). But of course he was a man of his time, flawed and partly blinded the way all people are. Who in the past fully lives up to our moral norms of today? How many of us today will be seen a century hence as living up to the moral norms of the future?

That actually is good reason not to try to sanctify Gandhi, or any man (consider also the Churchill statue incident)—but not a good reason to vandalize statues of him, or reject his historical importance.

Great people are great not because they are perfect (and indeed many people who are closer to perfect aren't great). They are great because they have accomplished great things, usually things that have on balance helped humanity—often including ourselves—in important ways. We should pay respect to their greatness, and to what they've done for all of us, despite the errors that they had inevitably made.

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  1. On the one hand, I’ve never understood this passion for statuary, but maybe that’s because I’ve never understood the passion for being famous. Although I do understand celebrities, who are famous for being famous; what the heck, grab your money and 15 minutes while you can. But statues after death is a foreign feeling to me.

    On the other hand, sometimes all we know of 5000 year old countries is a few statues found in the desert. So maybe it did have some value. But I can’t see any value, and I’d think that should have been obvious once the printing press had been around for a while. Statues don’t burn, but they sure do break, and there are a lot more books than statues.

      1. No, but I think Gandhi may have.

  2. Seems right to me. On the other hand, what great things did the soldiers of the Confederacy accomplish that justify their glorification?

    1. You may not support the Confederacy, but Lee and Jackson were some of the best pure generals the US has ever seen.

      In many ways, comparisons can be drawn to Erwin Rommel

      1. “You may not support the Confederacy . . .”

        Or, this being a right-wing blog, he might support the Confederacy.

        1. A better thing to support is true and accurate history.

          1. Good. So you’ll stop with all this Lost Cause nonsense?

            1. I’m just a person who is genuinely curious, a little bit contrarian, and always open to learning.

              1. “Just asking questions”

                1. “Teach the controversy.”

      2. I’m not buying the statutes are there to honor their military brilliance.

      3. Lee was only great in the eyes of The Lost Cause. He screwed up too many times to be a great general.

        1. Clearly you don’t know military history.

          1. So you’re saying he didn’t screw up?

            1. See my analysis of Lee below.

        2. I am agnostic about Lee’s generalship skills. (He was obviously a horrible human being- let’s get that out of the way.)

          On the one hand, yeah, he lost. And Pickett’s Charge, which Lee ordered, was complete folly.

          He also completely screwed up the race issue even as a matter of pure military strategy. On the one hand, when it could have helped his army, he refused to return black Union soldiers and captured blacks, and as a result, plenty of Confederate soldiers ended up in prison camps instead of on the battlefields fighting. On the other hand, he waited until way too late to attempt to deputize black Southerners into the Confederate army.

          Compare that to the North, which got quite far ahead of its citizenry, first with Benjamin Butler refusing to return escaped slaves, and then with the Emancipation Proclamation.

          On the other hand, the Confederate cause was doomed from the start. Lee had a number of successes against long odds, and his tying up McClellan on the peninsula was brilliant, strategically. And most of his failures were reasonable gambles, including his incursions into the North.

          Overall, he was probably an OK general (and an awful person).

          1. Lee fought the Civil War against the Union with a force that was pretty consistently 50-70% of the size of the Union force. (The exception was the Pennisula campaign). And he won more often than he should have.

            1. In the Northern Virginia Campaign in 1862, his fighting strength was 48,500 to Pope’s 75,000. And the Confederates won.

            2. In the Maryland campaign in 1862 (ending in Antietam), Lee had just 55,000 to McClellan’s 102,000. And that ended in a tactical draw (While Lee inflicted nearly a 2:1 ratio of casualties).

            3. In the Chancellorsville campaign, Hooker had 133,000 to Lee’s 60,300. And Lee still won.

            Lee was consistently winning with an inferior force. He was consistently hitting his opposition with a far higher number of casualties that his army obtained. That’s the sign of a great general. This can be compared to the western theater of operations, where with their greater resources (and inferior generals) the North won victory after victory against the South. Lee eventually ran out of troops (and luck). But with an inferior general in place, the Civil war would’ve ended 2 years sooner.

            1. In the Maryland Campaign they both suffered casualties of about 26-27% of the fighting force. Hard to tell how many of Pope’s men just went “missing” but confirmed killed was 2.7% for the Army of the Potomac, and 3.8% for the Army of Northern Virginia.

              But the three things you mentioned were the entirety of Lee’s body of work, either. Did he win the Battle of Cheat Mountain? Had the King of Spades maintained his trenching efforts rather than succumbing to embarrassment, the Confederacy might have won. He convinced Davis to abandon the west and once more invade the north. That decision was the turning point of the war.

              1. “In the Maryland Campaign they both suffered casualties of about 26-27% of the fighting force..”

                But Lee had a far smaller force, thus suffered far fewer casualties in absolute numbers.

                This really can’t be understated. When you’re going into battle with an army that is just over 1/2 of the opponent’s army, you shouldn’t expect to win. But Lee did somehow. More than once, multiple times.

                Cheat Mountain had little effect on the war, with no real change, and no major casualties (~100 casualties)

                1. There are few things more annoying than civil war nerd debates. I’m voluntarily disengaging. If you are so inclined, go to your local library and look up books on Robert E. Lee. You’ll find plenty of hero worship. You’ll find plenty of people calling him wildly overrated. It’s a lively debate that interests me not one bit, anymore, having had enough of it 20 years ago.

                  1. Lee wins again!!!

                  2. “There are few things more annoying than civil war nerd debates”

                    He says as he busts out the Battle of Cheat Mountain. (Seriously, I had to look it up).

                    Yes, plenty of people say Lee was overrated. Typically because he fought for the Confederacy, so was a “bad man,” so his abilities and skills must be devalued. And yes, Lee, as all generals, made mistakes in hindsight (which is 20/20).

                    But his abilities and skills must be looked at impartially, with an eye on his contemporaries, and the relative resources he had. And if you do that, you realize Lee was a great general.

                    Grant is often considered a great general. But he had the virtue of having numerical superiority in almost every battle he fought, typically large numerical superiority. He was willing to use (and abuse) that manpower advantage, damning the casualties. The single battle he didn’t have numerical superiority, he lost.

                    Lee didn’t have that advantage, and still managed to win or draw much of that time. If Lee had ever had the numerical superiority Grant did…the war would have likely ended far differently.

            2. While Lee won battles, he lost the war, and predictably so. It’s the “predictably” that matters.

              Going toe-to-toe with an army that is much bigger, and backed by a much more industrialized economy, is a recipe for losing.

          2. The South was not “doomed from the start”. Democracies often quit wars, even when they could win them if they really wanted too, and an underdog wins. Much of the North was willing to let the South go. There was no “total war” at the start of the conflict.

            So no matter how much the North had more men and money, if Grant and a few other victories had not come the North’s way, Lincoln could have lost the election and McClellan let the South go their own way.

            1. My guess is that it wouldn’t have been that simple. The Democratic Party supported a peace agreement, but McClellan did not. McClellan gets a lot of crap from historians, much of it justified. But he never said, and by all accounts never believed, that the Union should be split. And he still had relationships with many of the senior brass in the Union Army, a number of whom had been his subordinates.

              Had McClellan been elected, there would have been an intense pressure from congressional Democrats for a peace agreement, but McClellan might have actually ended up doing something like what Lincoln did, handing the keys over to Grant for one more try to break the South’s back. The Confederacy had a better chance with McClellan, but not a significantly better chance.

      4. Yeah, but we don’t have statues of Rommel in cities throughout the South.

        1. He didn’t exactly fight for the South.

          On the other hand, the largest Army base in Germany is named after Rommel…

          Something to think about.

          1. Lee didn’t fight for the South either.

            That’s actually a kind of important point. We call it the “South” in shorthand, and that’s fine for purposes of the Civil War. But Lee fought for the WHITES in the South. There were 4 million people who were just as much a part of the South as Robert E. Lee was, and he didn’t fight for them, he fought to rape them and whip them and steal from them and buy them and sell them and murder them.

            One big reason we ended up with all these statues all over the South is we literally did not consider the viewpoint of the millions of slaves. We erased them and associated the causes of the South with these white people who were in control.

            1. And Rommel didn’t exactly fight for the Jews in Germany…

              As for Lee, and his personal views on Slavery, it’s worth looking up.

              1. 1. Rommel wasn’t involved in the Holocaust. (That’s not excusing him- he knew full well how bad Naziism was. But he wasn’t operating camps or in the decision tree on that.) Lee was directly involved in perpetuating slavery in numerous ways and himself was a slaveholder.

                2. I don’t think Lee was a very honest man. We have testimonies from slaves that he was enthusiastic at whipping his slaves. I’d say that any statements he made against slavery were merely an attempt to whiten his sepulcher.

                1. Lee was so evil, that he had made provisions to free his own slaves in his will.

                  1. That’s the bar for evil? Freeing people after he no longer has use for them?

                    1. You need to consider the times.

                      Judging people by modern standards is a mistake. Take Lincoln himself. Today, he’d be called a racist and run out of office for the views he made public in the 1850’s and 1860’s

                    2. Yeah. I’m going to judge Lee by the standards of his own time. Slavery being evil was not something that just happened to pop into people’s heads around the end of the Civil War. It wasn’t some fringe position.

                    3. Indeed. In fact, one reason so many Southerners, like Lee, emphasized in their rhetoric their personal opposition to slavery was because they knew exactly which side was going to be seen as the right side of history.

              2. As for Lee, and his personal views on Slavery, it’s worth looking up.

                OK.

                Lee was a slave owner—his own views on slavery were explicated in an 1856 letter that is often misquoted to give the impression that Lee was some kind of abolitionist. In the letter, he describes slavery as “a moral & political evil,” but goes on to explain that:

                “I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.”

                The argument here is that slavery is bad for white people, good for black people, and most important, better than abolitionism; emancipation must wait for divine intervention. That black people might not want to be slaves does not enter into the equation; their opinion on the subject of their own bondage is not even an afterthought to Lee.

          2. Erwin Rommel was German. He fought in the German army, for Germany. It’s not surprising that he would be remembered, in Germany. Especially since he tried to murder Hitler.

            But what’s that got to do with Lee and Jackson? They didn’t fight for the US. But their statues are in the US.

            1. Both Rommel and Lee both fought for “evil” governments, but fought brilliantly and honorably, and can be remembered by the people who fought.

              1. Rommel fought for his country, and he won, and his country is still around today. (He also tried to murder Hitler.) The comparison to Lee and Jackson is inapt.

                1. Obviously a misstatement. I meant only that the country (Germany) exists today in a way that the Confederacy does not.

              2. Hitler would have tortured Rommel to death if he wasn’t a war hero. Instead he offered to not murder Rommel’s family if Rommel would eat cyanide, which Rommel did. He had his flaws, but he took a good shot at Hitler and paid the ultimate price for it. That’s worth something. What did Lee do?

                1. What did Lee do?

                  He was a bigot.

                  Which is why some people continue to defend him.

                  Carry on, clingers . . . so far as your betters permit, that is.

                2. Hitler would have tortured Rommel to death if he wasn’t a war hero. Instead he offered to not murder Rommel’s family if Rommel would eat cyanide, which Rommel did. He had his flaws, but he took a good shot at Hitler and paid the ultimate price for it. That’s worth something.

                  Something. OK. But it doesn’t wipe away Rommel’s previous efforts on behalf of Hitler.

                  There are serious questions about the 1944 plotters. Remember that these were experienced military men. They knew, if Hitler did not, that the war was lost, and were hoping to get the best possible deal for Germany (and, no doubt, themselves) before things caved in completely.

                  The notion that Rommel, or most of the others, were motivated by revulsion at the Nazi regime is nonsense.

              3. Lee did not fight “honorably.”

                He captured and enslaved free blacks in territories he invaded, refused to include captured black union soldiers in prisoner exchanges, and permitted the massacre of black soldiers attempting to surrender.

                As far as judging him by the “standards of his time,” note that he treated his slaves worse than other Virginia slaveholders with respect to breaking up families and other matters, and refused to honor the will of his father-in-law and free the decedent’s slaves.

                1. On December 29, 1862, Lee officially freed the enslaved workers and their families on the estate….

                  You were saying?

                  1. Under a court order.

            2. Rommel fought for the German Reich. He did not fight for the Federal Republic of Germany.

          3. the largest Army base in Germany is named after Rommel…

            You consider this an argument for honoring Lee?

            It’s not.

            There is a mythology around German generals, especially Rommel, probably more American than German, that tries to absolve them of complicity in the regime’s crimes.

            It won’t work. They knew what was going on, and their efforts aided and abetted Hitler’s crimes. They were as guilty as anyone.

        2. I know a Filipino named Rommel.

      5. “You may not support the Confederacy, but Lee and Jackson were some of the best pure generals the US has ever seen.”

        This is of course debatable and earnestly debated by civil war nerds. The legend of Jackson benefited greatly from his untimely death. And Lee was the beneficiary of hero worship and revisionist history through the Lost Cause movement. Contemporaneous accounts are not nearly as flattering to either man.

        But it’s also beside the point. We shouldn’t have statues of Erwin Rommel in America, either.

        1. Jackson’s efforts in the Shenandoah campaign were brilliant. With a force of just 17,000, he repelled enemy forces more than three times his number. That’s a sign of an expert general.

          1. He did not repel forces 3 times his number. That’s an oversimplification, as the number of union troops in the area varied during the campaign. He was probably outnumbered only 2:1, and during engagements he had the numerical advantage, although that’s to his credit. And he lost the first battle of the campaign (Kernstown). And he fought against truly inferior union officers who were splintered during the entire campaign.

            Jubal Early’s unsuccessful Shenandoah campaign against a skilled union general (Sheridan) compares favorably to Jackson’s efforts, and nobody is hero worshipping Early.

            1. So, within the campaign theater, there were three times Jackson’s numbers. And probably only outnumbered “just” 2:1, while winning, is still pretty good, don’t you think?

              He had a tactical loss (but strategic victory) in Kernstown.

              Early’s efforts against Sheridan were miserable, and don’t compare favorably at all. Early took a superior force up against inferior forces in the first half of 1864, and with a little more gumption (and luck), could have taken DC. When faced with a superior force, unlike Jackson, Early got crushed.

      6. “In many ways, comparisons can be drawn to Erwin Rommel”

        Well, yes. How many statues of Rommel are there? A statue honors the person, and that includes the cause he fought for, not just his skill.

        In the case of Lee, he was a sworn officer of the United States Army, trained at West Point. Warring against the United States betrayed his oath. Not something worthy of honor, IMO. (Lee himself stated that he considered himself a citizen of Virginia, not the United States. Seems like a quaint POV to us.)

        1. Betrayal. Dishonor. Traitor.

          But he was a bigot, which is trump for some people.

        2. Lee was a traitor, but he resigned his commission, which also terminated his oath. He didn’t betray like Arnold.

      7. Hannibal is perhaps more apt. Romans considered him their nation’s greatest foe (and Livy and Cicero portray him as unduly cruel), yet built and maintained statues depicting him. It is one thing, I think, to erect a statue honoring the cause for which a group fought, and another to erect a statue honoring the way in which it fought (i.e. with mercy, courage, tenacity, or some other respected quality) or recognizing its impact upon a society. A corollary: monuments to the American soldiers killed or captured in Vietnam are not necessarily constructed to honor the political or ideological principles for which these soldiers’ leaders waged the war. Indeed, it is unlikely that this is how many people think about Vietnam War memorials—today the war is unpopular, but a call to remove the Vietnam memorial in DC would likely receive little support (even among critics of the war). I fail to see why a statue of a general—be it Hannibal or Lee—when understood as a symbol standing in the place of his entire army—should not be seen through the same light.

        1. There is a monument to Confederate Richard Kirkland nearby. He fought for the wrong side and some doubt the story, but the monument isn’t a tribute to the Confederacy. It is a monument to mercy in a time of violence.

    2. They defended their homeland.

      1. And their homeland (the Confederacy) stood for …?

        1. Their homeland stood for their homes, families, children, traditions, beliefs and so on. They were largely descended from the Scots-Irish, who of course rebelled against English tyranny for a long time, and operated under a clan system with high emphasis on honor.

          1. Traditions and beliefs = slavery.

            1. In part, yes, a wealthy few owned slaves. Overwhelmingly, the Confederate soldier didn’t fight for that, but fought in self-defense of their home lands and for independence from a Union they viewed as tyrannical and violating the Constitution many times over, similar to how Britain was viewed 80 years prior.

              1. As I recall, the images of the massive plantations with thousands of slaves was not the majority, and most slaves were owned by a master with only 2-10 total slaves.

                1. Either way, something like 95%-98.6% did not own slaves.

                  1. “The average holding varied between four and six slaves, and most slaveholders possessed no more than five.
                    http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3557

                    Most southerners aspired to own at least a few slaves.

                    1. “ Slave ownership was relatively widespread. In the first half of the 19th century, one-third of all southern white families owned slaves, and a majority of white southern families either owned slaves, had owned them, or expected to own them.”

              2. Let’s go to the source. Texas, why did you secede, in your own words?

                “She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time….

                In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color– a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States….

                We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

                That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”

          2. “and operated under a clan system”

            Yeah, pretty sure you meant to spell that with a K.

            1. Watching the Conspiracy and its fans attempt to dance through a thicket of bigotry and backwardness is always entertaining.

              The Trump experience ensures that conservatives will wear the mantle of bigotry for the rest of their lives.

              Enjoy the rest of the culture war, clingers.

          3. Lincoln was no threat to their “homeland”, and remember, the South started the war. They illegally seceded, and they fired on Fort Sumter.

            The “threat” to the South wasn’t to their homeland, but to slavery. If Lincoln had been allowed to implement “no slavery in the territories”, eventually there would be enough political power to put the slaveholders out of business.

            The South’s actions in the Civil War were in no sense defensive. They threw a temper tantrum over losing an election and got exactly what they deserved.

            1. They illegally seceded just like the American founders did and in large part for similar reasons. Lincoln purposefully started the war by sending ships to Ft Sumter, taking careful steps to ensure the “first shot” narrative could be pinned on the South for propaganda purposes. The only sense in which you might argue that Confederate soldiers were fighting for slavery is unwittingly, in the same sense some argue that our US military service members have been shedding blood for oil and heroin in the Middle East. In the South some 95-98% didn’t own slaves.

              1. They illegally seceded just like the American founders did

                True! I am mystified why people think this argument is a good point. Does anyone doubt that if the British put down the American revolution, a whole bunch of people were going to be tried and convicted of treason to the crown?

                The American revolution doesn’t establish that secession is legal. It establishes that if you win a war of secession, you will get to do it no matter what the law says. The Confederates forgot about the part where you have to win the war.

                in large part for similar reasons

                That is actually somewhat true, for the reasons stated by Nikole Hannah Jones in her excellent 1619 Project. But I doubt that is what you meant. 🙂

                Lincoln purposefully started the war by sending ships to Ft Sumter

                The last time I checked, military bases are US property and the US has the right to send ships to them.

                Again, passing a resolution in the South Carolina legislature did not change federal law. It just put South Carolina in violation of federal law.

                They wanted war.

                taking careful steps to ensure the “first shot” narrative could be pinned on the South for propaganda purposes

                Now that’s just idiotic. You know what the South could have done? Yep, that’s right. Don’t shoot! Nobody forced them to. They wanted war.

                The only sense in which you might argue that Confederate soldiers were fighting for slavery

                Who the hell cares what the Confederate soldiers thought they were fighting for? Their leaders, who actually set the war policy, were fighting for slavery. They said so. They called it the Cornerstone of the Confederacy. They put it in their Constitution.

                And, of course, the thing that the Union supposedly did that was so evil was electing a guy who might put slavery out of business 50 years down the line. Electing Lincoln was simply not an act of war. They made it one, because they couldn’t stand the thought that even their grandchildren might not get to rape black people.

                In the South some 95-98% didn’t own slaves.

                So what? The leaders did. The fact that they crapped on their poor white people too doesn’t make them any better.

                1. “That is actually somewhat true, for the reasons stated by Nikole Hannah Jones in her excellent 1619 Project. But I doubt that is what you meant.”

                  Nice catch.

                2. They didn’t forget, but yeah. Legal and rightful are two different things. What Americans and Southerners viewed as rightful in this regard, you can read in the DIC. Perhaps it’s ludicrous in either case.

                  Whether Lincoln’s actions were legal or even rightful has nothing to do with the fact that they were intended to start a war and were effective at achieving this intent. Lincoln wanted war. The south sent delegates to avoid it and negotiate peace and Lincoln would not even receive them.

                  The reason one would care about what the war meant to the soldiers and the vast majority of people is, well, because we are talking about what the war meant.

                  1. Perhaps it’s ludicrous in either case.

                    I wouldn’t say it is “ludicrous” so much as I would say that it is important to understand the difference between a political tract and law.

                    Anyone leading a revolution will put out a bunch of stuff about how it is upholding people’s inalienable rights, etc. Because that message inspires people more than saying “what we’re doing is illegal and we could end up being hanged in the gallows at the Tower of London for it”.

                    But when the same framers sat down to write the Constitution, they prohibited levying war against the United States. and when the same framers met in Congress, they fixed the punishment for doing so at death.

                    And, by the way, when the Confederate leaders wrote their own Constitution, they did the same thing. Levying war against the Confederacy was a capital crime.

                    Whether Lincoln’s actions were legal or even rightful has nothing to do with the fact that they were intended to start a war and were effective at achieving this intent.

                    I think this is nuts. Lincoln won an election on a campaign where he specifically disclaimed wanting to ban slavery, instead saying he just wanted to prohibit it in the territories. That’s literally the only thing Lincoln had done at the time that South Carolina seceded. Lincoln was not the cause here. The secessionists are the cause here.

                    And then once the secessions happen, what you seem to be implying (but not saying) is that Lincoln had a responsibility to abandon all of the forts, which were US property staffed by US government employees, located in the South. On what basis? How is it an act of war not to? Are we committing an act of war against Cuba because we don’t evacuate Guantanamo?

                    The south sent delegates to avoid it and negotiate peace and Lincoln would not even receive them.

                    This isn’t fully true, but even if it were fully true, they were not received for the same reason Jimmy Carter wasn’t in a mood to receive the Ayatollah Khomeini’s emissaries while our hostages were being held.

                    If the South wanted peace, they could have:

                    1. Not seceded.
                    2. Seceded, but allowed the US to maintain and resupply its forts.
                    3. Not fired on Fort Sumter

                    Arguing about peace negotiations requires you to take all those options off the table.

                    The reason one would care about what the war meant to the soldiers and the vast majority of people is, well, because we are talking about what the war meant.

                    We aren’t talking about the war meant, but about what the war’s purpose was. And for a grunt, the purpose is very simple: “I will be shot for desertion if I don’t go into battle.”

                    So the purpose that matters is the purpose of the leaders who were sending them into war.

            2. One thing that always intrigues me about Lost Cause mythology, is that if the Civil War occurred for some other reasons than maintenance of the South’s economic and racial caste system, those reasons would have been incredibly stupid. Like so stupid there would be no reason for a person to ever admit they were the reason unless to deflect from the fact that the cause was evil. Hundreds of thousands dead for “tariffs”? Some vague but notion of “tradition” (that apparently has nothing to do with race)? Or for political control in a system they often dominated anyway? That is stupid. Incredibly stupid. The defense for the South is basically: they weren’t evil, they were stupid.

              1. LawTalkingGuy, Sure, but then the reasons for America’s founding were even more stupid. To be clear, slavery was a reason for secession. But once secession was out of the bag, even the promise of preserving slavery could not entice the South to rejoin the Union. Secession and the war are two very different things. The war was not about slavery.

              2. Of course, they were both. 🙂

                What happened is that the Constitution empowered an extremist faction in the South. (Where have we heard that before?) The Southern States were given so much power due to the composition of the Senate, the Electoral College, the Fugitive Slave and 3/5ths Clauses, etc., and all that power dovetailed with Southern political systems which were very undemocratic and gave disproportionate power to plantation owners. So a fairly small minority of Southerners had an effective veto power on national policy.

                And that bred a great deal of extremism. They didn’t just try to keep slavery legal, but sought to expand it. They wanted the US to expand into Latin America to create more slave states. They gagged debate in the House of Representatives on anything related to slavery. They turned the expansion of the Union into a state-by-state bloodbath.

                So by the time Lincoln gets elected, you’ve had 70 years where the governing rule ijn American politics has been “the slaveholders in the South always get their way”. And they were so pissed off, and so afraid, that Lincoln might change that equation by allowing additional free states that they made the decision to start the Civil War out of blind rage rather than tactical planning. They could have probably maintained their primacy in American politics for a long time, despite Lincoln’s election, had they stayed in. Instead, they suffered a bloodbath and, of course, suffered a permanent loss on the issue that was most important to them.

                1. This is all true of course. It just fascinates me how much the other proposed reasons were even dumber than the actual one.

          4. Their homeland stood for their homes, families, children, traditions, beliefs and so on.

            Bullshit.

            None of those things, except slavery, was remotely threatened by the north. There was no need to defend them. The threat was non-existent.

            Black families, on the other hand…

      2. No. They defended slavery.

        1. So, you support the vandalizing and removing statues of Gandhi as well, because Gandhi was a racist?

          1. It’s up to the property owners to do what they want with their statue. They can erect statues to Eva Braun for all I care.

            Confederate statues are public property. If the public no longer wants them, that is their business.

            1. And if the public does want them?

              1. Then I’m sure the public will rebuild the vandalized statues and bring those responsible to justice.

                Alternatively, none of that will happen because “the public” really just means a tiny subset of people pandering to another subset of people in this or that jurisdiction, barely holding on to a plurality in support by relying on useful idiots like you who think confederate traitor statues have anything to do with history, and not just lost cause era efforts by dickhead southerners to refuse to accept they lost the war so they could continue to bully the black people within their jurisdiction.

                The ruling south’s legacy is that it’s filled with filthy fucking liars. They lied to their own citizens about what the war was about. Then they lied about being able to win it. Then they lied about causes of peace. Then they lied to save themselves from the gallows for treason. Then they lied during reconstruction. Then they lied to secure political autonomy. Then they lied to the next generations of white people about what the war was really about, several times. It’s never going to end. White southerners will never stop fucking lying.

                1. One of the things that was really smart about the post-WW2 settlement was that, even if for different reasons, both the US and the Soviets made “denazification” a key goal in the adminstration of occupied territories. They weren’t going to let Hitler’s ideology survive Hitler in the way that the plantation owners’ ideology survived the Civil War. Obviously, there are small pockets of Naziism, but we can deal with small pockets of Naziism. At least there wasn’t a Dolchstoßlegende.

                  1. A pity we couldn’t manage to do decommunication too. Two competing totalitarianisms started WWII side by side and then fell into dispute, and while we allied with one against the other as a tactical matter, the one we allied with may have actually been the worse of the two; It certainly has proved to have more staying power.

          2. Did you read either Eugene’s post or my comment to it that started this sub-thread?

            1. I did and responded above.

              But given a simple answer like Bernard’s I gave the obvious counter.

              1. Simple and accurate.

          3. No.

            That’s a really stupid false equivalence.

            Whether Gandhi was a racist or not, he had other accomplishments, and his racism did not extend to enslaving those he disliked.

            Unlike the Confederates, who had no positive accomplishments, and were defending slavery, no matter how loudly you and ML scream otherwise.

            1. “Whether Gandhi was a racist or not, he had other accomplishments,”

              So, even if they’re racists, if they have “other accomplishments,” it’s OK for them to have statues?

              Is that your view now?

              1. Depends on what the other accomplishments were, as well as the consequences of their racism.

      3. So did Nazis. So do and did Communists.

        How far back are you willing to go for whatever definition of homeland suits your purpose? And who do you mean by “they” and “their”? It certainly wasn’t defending Africa, and it certainly wasn’t blacks.

        Confederate foot soldiers is one thing. Most foot soldiers have little choice. Confederate generals and politicians were defending slavery. There is and was nothing noble about that.

        1. You missed the Rommel reference I’m guessing.

          1. As you missed the slavery speeches by Confederates.

            As you missed the fact that pages don’t refresh instantly.

            1. Strangely enough, you responded to posts made after the Rommel reference.

              It’s OK to admit you missed it.

          2. WTF does Rommel have to do with anything?

            Your case gets weaker by the minute.

        2. A monument removed this month was apparently in honor of those “foot soldiers,” specifically the unknown ones who were buried in mass unmarked graves.

          https://www.al.com/news/2020/06/sons-of-confederate-veterans-condemn-attack-on-linn-park-monument.html

      4. So did Yamamoto! That doesn’t mean he gets a fucking statue.

          1. The link says the statue is in Japan.

    3. What Lee did was refuse to continue the war as a guerrilla war. Many wanted to essentially do what the Viet Cong did, and after another 10 years, they would have won.

  3. This is a good example why kids should learn about MLK’s affair and Hellen Keller’s support for eugenics at a young age. If they are important enough to be mentioned in history class, they are important enough to show kids that they are ultimately just another human.

    1. They should also learn that MLK wasn’t really a “doctor” because he plagiarized his dissertation, that he was a more than willing to sit idly by while watching a woman get raped right in front of him.

  4. Vandalism cannot be violence. It is being carried out by the tolerant and inclusive peoples, who are only against fascism, which is anything and anyone that they oppose.

  5. This is how it goes. History must be overthrown. Gandhi must be thrown down for his racist acts, with Jefferson and Washington close behind.

    1. History is a genre and a discipline….it’s going to be fine.

    2. “This is how it goes. History must be overthrown. Gandhi must be thrown down for his racist acts, with Jefferson and Washington close behind,” said the confederate apologist.

      1. Nothing like a little ad hominem. Better if you mix it with a strawman on their position as well.

  6. I very much look forward to the friend-of-the-court briefs from Scholars Defending Certain Mischaracterized Monuments And Flags in the next wave of litigation (Richmond, Jacksonville, etc.) involving efforts by liberals (and libertarians, and moderates, and RINOs) to dismantle more monuments to American racism.

    1. Oversized participation trophies. Replace the one of Lee in Richmond with one honoring GWAR.

      You’re still a totalitarian asshole, of course.

  7. It’s bad enough when people vilify the makers of history for failing to live up to the moral norms of today.

    It’s even worse when people vilify those in history by lying about them. For example, claiming that symbols of Confederate heritage stand for racism and slavery, such as the battle flag, or monuments that serve as the headstone of the many unknown dead soldiers that were pushed under the earth.

    “How many of us today will be seen a century hence as living up to the moral norms of the future?”

    In all likelihood, the slaughter of a million unborn babies per year in the US will be viewed like the holocaust.

    1. “It’s even worse when people vilify those in history by lying about them.”

      You mean when people (and I use that description lightly) like you lie about the Traitor’s Monuments and claim that they are about heritage, when really they were put up as part of a systemic effort to whitewash (ahem) the past and to reify the racist power structure in the South after reconstruction?

      Yeah, that. It would be the same as if someone was saying, “Hey this monument to Goebbels has very little to do with anti-Semitism, but it’s really just about how proud we are of a long history of beer and sausage.”

      1. Every single Confederate politician gave speeches and wrote about defending slavery. Every. Single. One. The foot soldiers had little choice, but all the officers, especially the generals, made the choice to defend slavery.

        The only practical difference between Nazi ideology and the slavocracy is that the slavers knew the value of their slaves and would have been horrified at the sheer waste of murdering so many.

        The Confederacy was shameful in every regard.

    2. symbols of Confederate heritage stand for racism and slavery,

      That’s pretty much what they stand for. Remember that a lot of Confederate nostalgia arose during the civil rights era. Why were opponents of civil rights waving Confederate flags? Surely not in praise of Lee’s tactical skills.

      1. Oh, c’mon Bernard.

        M L told you; those people weren’t against “the coloreds.” They were just angrily telling the Civil Rights marchers about the great heritage of the Scots-Irish in the South, through the use of Civil War emblems!

        In the immortal words of M L’s favorite heritage speaker, George Wallace, “Duke’s Mayonnaise Now, Duke’s Mayonnaise Tomorrow, Duke’s Mayonnaise Forever!”

        That’s what he said, right?

        1. Another few comments like this and it will be time for another use of the proprietor’s favorite racial slur.

          In the interest of academic integrity, of course.

    3. There’s a really good book by Fitzhugh Brundage called “The Southern Past” that explores the long effort to make public memory about the Civil War about anything other than the South trying to preserve and expand slavery.

      1. Three times Lincoln offered to preserve slavery in the South if only the South would remain in or rejoin the Union and submit to his rule.

        Slavery was certainly a big part of secession, particularly for the wealthy and powerful, e.g. the tiny percentage who owned plantations and the politicians who drafted some of the secession documents. The war is not the same thing as secession though, and slavery was not the reason for the war. There may be a long effort to minimize slavery’s role, but the effort to mischaracterize history in the other direction is just as long and much larger and more successful.

        1. Slavery was the sole reason for the Confederacy. Every single Confederate politician bragged about it being the sole reason. You have bought into the Lost Cause if you think otherwise.

          1. You are quite incorrect. A number of seceding states did not even make any mention of slavery. Four states only seceded specifically in response to Lincoln’s call for war, subsequent to Ft Sumter, against the states that had already seceded.

        2. “…but the effort to mischaracterize history in the other direction is just as long and much larger and more successful.”

          Who besides you is mischaracterizing history right now?

          1. Millions of school teachers around the country who propagate revisionist mythology, such as the idea that the North and Lincoln went to war to free the slaves.

            1. Do you have a basis for this assertion about school teachers? Like by the time that students study history more in depth and are developing critical thinking skills as opposed to in Kindergarten and they’re explaining why Lincoln is on the penny. I came out of AP US History with the Civil War was about “States Rights” awful take…which was luckily corrected as a history major in undergrad.

              Also “revisionist history” isn’t really the pejorative you think it is. All history is revisionist, as historians and writers try to revise our understandings and conceptions about the past. Indeed, your views on the Civil War are the result of a revisionist project among Southern historians. The only question is whether the history is any good.

  8. I don’t see a conflict in both honoring people for the good they do and criticizing them for the bad they do. Had Osama bin-Laden found a cure for cancer, I would have been just fine with both giving him the Nobel prize for medicine and then hanging him for 9/11.

    1. Sometimes I think it would be better if we could do more artistic abstractions memorializing and honoring the good things people have done instead of trying to valorize the people themselves who don’t always turn out to be good overall. But see: Fred Rogers

      1. Or we could also choose not to build statues on public land? Shocking concept but maybe the state shouldn’t be in the business of honoring anyone.

        1. The one in Charlottesville they wanted to tear down WASN’T built on public land. It was built on private land, then the government took it.

  9. What about when the people in the statue don’t conform to the moral sensibilities of their own time? Or the time of when they were erected?

    1. LTG…That is precisely the case here. I believe it is called presentism.

      I am not a fan of destroying statues. It is one of the worst manifestations of cancel culture. And quite honestly, I see it as an attempt to whitewash history when we should not. We should boldly confront our past, and learn from it; not attempt to destroy it.

      1. We do. In books and museums, and by treating plantations more like labor camps than wedding venues. But public statutes memorializing Confederates isn’t confronting, it’s whitewashing unless there is a big sign next to them explaining why no one should be praising them.

        1. LTG, I want that person looking at the statue to wonder, “Who the hell was this dude, and why does he have a statue?” And then find out for themselves, and make their own judgments. That is how it is supposed to work in a civil society, no?

          1. Do you think it’s OK to erect a statue of Goebbels in a place of honor, and let the people wonder why we have this statue so that they can make their own judgments?

            1. The statute is already there, we’re discussing removing it.

              We’re discussing whether it’s OK to erase history, there’s something eerily appropriate that you want to somehow roll back history to before the statues were erected in the course of the argument. You’re arguing for erasing history by… erasing history!

              1. We’re discussing whether it’s OK to erase history,

                Erase history! What a fucking joke.

                Brett, nobody, nobody, has done more to erase history than Lost Cause fanatics like ML.

                The have tried to erase the history of what the Confederacy was all about with some sort of heroic myth. They have tried to turn Lee, who was a fairly odious character into some champion of honor.

                And they’ve been pretty successful. But maybe it’s time to face the facts.

                And by the way, another myth is that statues are neutral objects intended merely to provide historical information. They are not. They are intended to honor their subjects, as everyone knows.

                Confederates do not deserve to be honored.

              2. Statues are not history, Brett.

                1. Then don’t honor them. The iconoclasts’ problem is that they think they can dictate who other people honor.

                  1. But the argument people use to keep them up is that taking them down erases history somehow. As though the Holocaust is being forgotten due to the lack of Hitler statues all over Germany.

                    I don’t get all fired up by the statues coming down. But the policy defenses of these statues get really thin really fast.

                    1. You think the Holocaust isn’t being forgotten in Germany? How amusing.

                      These are people who think everything that offends them must be destroyed, and EVERYTHING offends them. I don’t like starting things I know won’t end well.

                    2. It’s a regular part of their HS curriculum, including field trips…Do you think more Hitler statues would help them to remember?

                      Yes, there are silly people in this world. They are not in control of the left.

                      Neither you nor I know how this ends. All we can do is take our best guess. Yours is typically about a left-driven cultural apocalypse.

                    3. First they came for Lee… Then for Gandhi…then for Columbus….then for Buddha

                    4. Sarcastr0….I would feel very, very differently if a jurisdiction that had an ‘objectionable’ statue made a considered decision, after public comment and debate where all sides are heard in a structured and deliberative process, to remove and relocate a statue. That is the way it should be done. I am perfectly fine with that.

                      What we have now is frenzied mobocracy, and that simply cannot be supported in a civil society.

                      The other questions I have are what is the criteria? Using what standards, evaluated by whom?

                      If native americans want to remove statues of Andrew Jackson…should they? What about Washington? Jefferson? Or maybe John Tyler?

                      This is why I feel that mobs tearing down statues is completely wrong.

                    5. Turns out you and I agree again, Commenter – https://reason.com/2020/06/09/vandalism-of-gandhi-statues/#comment-8294883

                      Brett and AL are defending the substance of the statues, not just condemning the means by which they were taken down. I find that offensive.

      2. Anyway, it’s not going to stop with the Confederates, if it’s not stopped now. There’s always going to be a worst statue, so long as there are any statues at all, and the iconoclasts have a moving target for their destruction.

        After they’re done with the Confederate monuments, probably before they’re really finished, they’ll be going after those statues of dead Presidents in D.C.. And I’m betting there’s somebody out there right now trying to figure out how much explosives they need to erase Mt. Rushmore.

        1. Hypothetically, Brett, the local Bible college (private) is bequeathed a piece of land on which sits a masterfully rendered statue of Timothy McVeigh. You being the college’s principal benefactor, they solicit your advise. Keep the statue or get rid of it?

          1. I’d put a plaque on the base explaining who he was, and make encountering the statue an opportunity for learning. Or advise them that, if they can’t stand the statue, they should refuse the bequest. Accepting somebody’s gift in order to destroy it is a nasty thing to do.

            McVeigh was a terrorist, who committed an atrocity in response to an atrocity. Encountering a statue of him SHOULD, at a college, be a teachable moment. And is the truth so weak that it can’t survive encounters with reality? McVeigh really existed, so did Janet Reno. They were BOTH murderers.

            Can you teach “An eye for an eye makes the world blind” if you erase one of the eyes from history?

            Now, do you want to engage with my point, which is that iconoclasm has no obvious stopping point? The iconclasts are in a moral arms race with each other, Leo: They live in a twisted world where you prove you’re the “better” person by being more offended, and more extreme in what you do in response to that offense.

            Their actions aren’t measured, there is no, “Thus far, and no further” to them. They will just keep smashing icons until they are stopped. Like any fire, this one is best extinguished while small.

            1. And thus, in order to stay consistent, Brett is forced to embrace all statues as inviolate. Otherwise the slippery slope leads to no statues.

              Indeed, this seems a general philosophy of his – unthinking opposition is necessary because any concession leads to reducto ad absurdum by the crazy liberals in his head.

              1. Yes, Sarcastro, that’s known as having principles. It does tend to lead to you defending things you don’t like occasionally, as opposed to lacking principles, where you get to do whatever you like at any given moment without worrying about being consistent.

                1. Consistency has lead you to an absurd result, though.

                  That’s the thing about idealism untempered by pragmatism – it gets silly.

                  I’m not dinging you for defending a statue of McVeigh – I do not for a moment think you endorse the guy. I’m noting that you now have to defend all statues. Which is an absurd result.

                  1. There’s nothing absurd about the result. You look at a statue of somebody you don’t like, and think, “People I don’t like shouldn’t be honored! Tear it down!”. I look at a statue of somebody I don’t like, and think, “This is a great excuse to discuss why I don’t like them.”

                    1. Brett, you’re arguing all statues must stay up forever.

                      That is absurd.

                    2. Entropy will prevail soon enough, we don’t need to help it along.

                2. You don’t have principles, Brett.

                  You have a fetish for some of the least attractive elements of the past.

                  You have a seething rage precipitated by progress.

                  You have disdain for modernity, credentials, education, expertise, and inclusiveness.

                  You have drawn the short straw in today’s America.

                  Your preferences will continue to be stomped into irrelevance by the American mainstream.

                  If clinging to statues of bigots eases this final stage of your deplorable life, cling away.

              2. Personally, I utterly despise McVeigh. Here we were in a position to make a principled case against the government’s excesses in pursuing gun control, and by his action he just shut that down, provided the government with a pretext to come down heavy on the militia movement, and made life hell for anybody who was trying to get some accountability for what had been done at Waco.

                But iconclasts don’t want to debate or reason, they think they’re entitled to destroy anything that offends them, and the dirty secret is, EVERYTHING offends them.

                1. Statues are not icons.

                  Statues are not history.

                  Those pulling down statues are not omni-offended. Some people are, to be sure. But you are assuming the worst about the left again. Right now it seems pretty focused.
                  If they start pulling down Woodrow Wilson statues…I still won’t cry. I just don’t much care about statues.

                  1. How do you feel about this Sarcarstro?

                    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31813681

                    I mean it’s not history. Right?

                    1. It’s an assault on a culture, not history.

                      I’m fine with assaulting the Confederacy’s culture, are you?

                2. Brett,

                  What your argument amounts to is that it is impossible to distinguish intelligently between those who should be honored and those who shouldn’t, that we can’t weigh someone’s flaws against their accomplishments and decide that X is worth honoring and Y isn’t.

                  I don’t agree.

                  I’ll add that in the case of the Confederate leaders it’s an easy call. I don’t see that they did anything worth admiring.

                  1. “What your argument amounts to is that it is impossible to distinguish intelligently between those who should be honored and those who shouldn’t,”

                    Feel free to not honor anybody you think shouldn’t be honored. I’m not arguing you need to like these statues, I’m arguing that mobs shouldn’t get to tear them down. Maybe the governments that maintain them should move them to museums, if THEY want. Set up a “Park of Shame” to put them in, even, if that’s what they want to do.

                    This is a species of censorship, and the argument against censorship isn’t that it’s impossible to distinguish good and bad speech, it’s that you can’t trust people empowered to enforce such distinctions.

                    I’d preserve everything. Destruction offends me.

                    1. Mobs mostly aren’t tearing them down. Local governments and the like are.

                      If the citizens of New Orleans don’t want a statue of Robert E. Lee then why is wrong for the mayor to have it removed?

                    2. As long as it isn’t destroyed in order to make the decision irreversible, and it was done by the authorities, not a mob, I guess I’ve got no objection. They’re probably safer in a museum under guard at this point, anyway.

                      This is the sort of thing I’m worried about.

                      The Boston Columbus statue beheaded, the Richmond one torn down and thrown in the lake, at about the same time last night.

                      The mob aren’t waiting on permission here, Bernard.

                    3. AL, it’s almost as though you think there is no difference between good things and bad things.

                      Or that you think the Confederacy is a good thing.

                    4. Or like I don’t trust would be censors to make that distinction.

                    5. As long as it isn’t destroyed in order to make the decision irreversible, and it was done by the authorities, not a mob, I guess I’ve got no objection.

                      Good. But lots of people do have objections, and make loud complaints like “erasing history.” That includes commenters here.

                      In fact, most of this controversy is about that kind of removal of statues. It’s almost as if there are those who think we should have statues of traitors all over the place. When does Benedict Arnold get his?

                3. Personally, I utterly despise McVeigh. Here we were in a position to make a principled case against the government’s excesses in pursuing gun control, and by his action he just shut that down, provided the government with a pretext to come down heavy on the militia movement, and made life hell for anybody who was trying to get some accountability for what had been done at Waco.

                  That’s why you despise him? Really?

                  1. Well, that and the killing, obviously. I’d have thought the killing went without saying.

        2. Brett, same answer for a statue of a masturbating George Washington? A mound of actual human excrement titled “Timothy McVeigh?” Is there really no limit to your “keep everything,” or are you objecting to people finding different things worth keeping than you do?

          BTW, I love the idea of a museum of shame, and I’d gladly include all the Confederate generals. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t alternatively valid to make a statement about shame by destroying some of the iconography of historically evil personages.

          Were you offended when the crowd in Baghdad toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein? When crowds in the former Soviet Union toppled statues of Lenin? Are you concerned that those crowds deprived future generations of any of the meaningful histories of Hussein and Lenin. I’m not. Neither will future generations be deprived of any of the meaningful histories of Lee and Jackson.

  10. “Sculpture in general comprises the miracle of spirit’s giving itself an image of itself in something purely material. Spirit so forms this external thing that it is present to itself in it and recognizes in it the appropriate shape of its own inner life.”

    (Hegel)

    Methinks this country has a few empty plinths in its near future.

    Mr. D.

  11. One doesn’t simply reason with the Inquisition.

  12. I see we have reached the iconoclast stage of empire.

    Took a thousand years for the Romans but Americans are always in a hurry.

  13. One wonders why there are not more calls for removing statutes and memorials celebrating Lincoln based on his clearly racist statements in the debate between Lincoln and Douglas on September 18, 1858:

    While I was at the hotel today, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position, the negro should be denied everything. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes…. But as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give the most solemn pledge that I will, to the very last, stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. I will add one further word, which is this: that I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made, except in the State Legislature, not in the Congress of the United States; and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent if, that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject.

    1. He might. Then again, maybe the tarnished part of Lincoln’s legacy will be forgiven because he did, in fact, end slavery. Maybe Jefferson Davis would get better treatment if he had ended the war and saved the south by jettisoning slavery, as he apparently wanted to do towards the end.

      Y’all act so concerned that historical figures are going to be judged by their entire body of work. Why is that a problem?

      1. Lincoln got a memorial in DC. All Davis got was a highway.

    2. “One wonders …”

      No, no one is wondering that. In fact, most observers fully expect that quote to be trotted out at the GOP Convention so that you can feel comfortable saying that you’re the party of Lincoln again.

      Duke’s Mayonnaise Now, Duke’s Mayonnaise Tomorrow, Duke’s Mayonnaise Forever!

      1. Well, Democrats seem determined to be the party of racial discrimination forever, why shouldn’t Republicans be the party of Lincoln forever?

    3. The Lincoln memorial was vandalized in recent weeks.

      1. No getting around the fact that he was white – – – – – – – –

      2. So was a monument to black Union soldiers.

        1. By who?

          A gang of 75-year-old antifa members?

          1. The usual rioters, who are idiot enough that they just saw a Civil war memorial, and didn’t bother inquiring further.

            Rioters deface monument honoring all-black regiment of Union Civil War soldiers

            1. The backside of the monument honoring Carney and the 270 men who lost their lives in the battle is now covered with profane graffiti reading “ACAB” (All Cops Are B*stards), “F*** 12” (police), “BLM,” “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Police are Pigs.”

              I…don’t think they were angry at the monument this time.

              1. They were still vandalizing a monument.

                1. Which means…these protesters are committing misdemeanors? How is that relevant to this comment thread?

                  1. It’s a comment thread on an OP about vandalizing monuments?

                    The point is, this isn’t a historical society or a bunch of art critics. It’s a mob. They’re not going to make reasoned distinctions, they’re just going to keep at it until they’re stopped.

                    1. Sure. I’m not going to argue that every statue is being taken down is somehow valid, nor that this is the best way to deal with such bad symbols.

                      There seems to be broad-based public support or at least apathy about taking down these confederate statues.

                      I don’t like the mob as a method of change in general. But for this I, and you, seem to be in the minority.
                      Battle’s over. You can carp about it, as you do about gay marriage and transgenderism. But it’s done.

                      And if it alienates Lost Cause idiots like ML and BadLib and Armchair Lawyer, so much the better.

                    2. Well, sure, I understand: If as few as 0.1% of the public are willing to resort to criminality to remove these monuments, they’re doomed, short of putting them under armed guard. Which won’t happen because too many people in power are sucking up to the mobs. It really is as you say: It only takes a small minority to win a fight like this, if the majority are apathetic, and/or those in power are in cahoots with the minority.

                      Which is why I’m glad my son got his school trip to Washington last year, got to see the monuments to the Presidents before they’re destroyed. I don’t see them lasting out the decade unless something really big happens.

                    3. I don’t believe you really think the Founders statues are under threat. Some may not like them, but not enough.
                      Reducto is a logical argument, it is not very operative in the real world. Except that your real world is full of absurdities you conjure.

                      The reason these actions are not receiving pushback is that the public agrees. It’s not just the 0.1%.
                      You go and try and pull down a statue of Lincoln and see how that flies.

                      But you’re mixing your theses. You aren’t arguing method, you’re arguing generally that statues are a point of view to be conserved like an endangered species.

                    4. The Lincoln memorial got defaced last week, did you not notice? Not the first time, either.

                      The thing is, unless they’re continually guarded, “enough” is just one guy with a bomb.

                      “You aren’t arguing method, you’re arguing generally that statues are a point of view to be conserved like an endangered species.”

                      Statues aren’t points of view. They’re statues.

                    5. Are you worried about destruction or graffiti? Your impact concerns are about destruction, but your examples are graffiti. Pick a thesis.

                      I also just noticed you initially argued that the memorial was being targeted. I see no evidence of that.

                      All edifices are vulnerable to a random bomber, nothing has changed about that threat.

                      You are the one arguing that statues are history and destroying them is censorship and erases history.
                      I think statues are just statues.

                    6. “All edifices are vulnerable to a random bomber, nothing has changed about that threat.”

                      Howling mobs are pulling down statues, and you’re going with that? Seriously?

                    7. Mobs are pulling down Confederate statues.

                      You are crying crisis that hypothetical individuals will now bomb non-Confederate statues.

                      None of the same elements.
                      Methinks you’re casting your net a bit wide on this one.

                    8. “None of the same elements.
                      Methinks you’re casting your net a bit wide on this one.”

                      Remember that you said that for a few years, OK?

  14. The statue reflects that even today Gandhi is holding true to his creed of non-violent resistance.

  15. So, one of the things to consider here, are these statues and monuments part of history (and something to be considered and kept as part of history), or should our present day views on people’s past actions be used as a justification to tear down these people and monuments.

    Whether it be Lee, or Gandhi, Columbus or Washington.

    One view is, even if these people have done actions that may be considered not correct according by present day morals, they are part of our history, and as such, the statues should stand. They were, in their time, great people, for whatever reason and part of history. And that statue or monument speaks to that. Columbus “discovered” America…but there were some negative consequences there. Still, as a historical figure, keeping a historical statue is appropriate.

    The alternate view, is that in the consideration of the morals of the current population, that past figure is “reprehensible” beyond redemption, no matter the history. And monuments and statues to such people should be torn down. The history should be removed, erased from the proverbial books, the statues eliminated. It is not a view I am in favor of, but it is one view. And it you take that view, that’s your right. But such views are the same ones that see 1700 year old Buddah statues destroyed. And you may say “well, I wouldn’t do that…” But it’s the same frame of mind that does. Statues and monuments that don’t agree with the current views must be destroyed.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1326063/After-1700-years-Buddhas-fall-to-Taliban-dynamite.html

    Something to think about.

    1. That’s not what statues are. You don’t put up statues to villains, AL.

    2. On the one hand you had American protesters demanding the removal of statues of confederate heroes, placed in most instances not to memorialize history but as a government-imposed mechanism of control over black citizens. And your counter-example is the Taliban’s decision 20 years ago to blow up idols on the basis that they violated the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law?

      Could you think of any more on point examples of statue removal? Why didn’t you use this one?

      Confederates should not have gotten monuments in the first place. They all should have been hanged as traitors. The fact that we’ve had to suffer them this long is embarrassing. They’re coming down. The stars and bars are next.

      1. I’ll respond to both you and Sarcastro here.

        The point being made is, what is “good” and what is “bad” changes according to the times and the viewpoint of the people involved.

        What to do about statues and other items where there are a variety of view points, especially viewpoints that have changed throughout time and shifting populations of people is an interesting question. One viewpoint is, even if we don’t necessarily agree with what they represented, the statues are part of history and a culture in the area, and should stand, even if we disagree with them. This is similar in many respects to our defenses of free speech, where even if we don’t agree with what someone says, we think they should have the right to say it. (This is different from putting up new statues, BTW). This is something I’m more in favor of.

        An alternate viewpoint is, if the statues represent something that is currently undesirable or “bad” they should be removed. You consider the Confederate Statues bad, so they should be removed. The Taliban considered the Buddah statues bad, so they were removed. That the history and culture they represent is not imporant, as they are currently bad according to the current population of the region, and they should be eliminated. This is something you appear to be more in favor of.

        See the argument? I seek to preserve history and culture, EVEN if it doesn’t fit with the morals of the current times and population. You seek to eliminate it.

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