Yankees go crazy about every second and third generation. Their South-blaming hysteria of the 1850s resulted in John Brown and brought on the War Between the States.
In the earlier part of the 20th century there were incomprehensible fads about phone booths and swallowing live birds. I am old enough to remember the campus panty raids after World War II. That was boys, but these things tend to disproportionately affect the girls. There were the Sinatra and Elvis crazes, followed by the Beatles. Then there were hula hoops and campus streaking. Then Michael Jackson. Now it seems to be kneeling in obeisance to the most unworthy people who can be found. Also, tearing down any monuments in sight.
Will these fads fade away? Probably not since they have been politicised and ennobled by the media and encouraged by the authorities. Also, there is a serious difference now. Rather than enjoying the plain silliness of oneself the new crazes involve violence against other people.
John C. Calhoun’s statue in the heart of Charleston, which was built by pennies contributed by impoverished Southern widows, has come down. As usual, the well-off heirs of distinguished Southern families, who are thicker on the ground in Charleston than anywhere else, have failed to mount a serious opposition. They prefer to bow to the winds and keep their status and respectability.
The malicious ignorance that motivates these things reflects, among other things, the total failure of our billion-dollar educational system. John C. Calhoun must be removed because he was a white supremacist and defender of slavery. But for centuries everybody in Western civilisation was a white supremacist. It was a natural, every-day conclusion based on experience and observation. Why pick out just a few examples as though Calhoun’s position was some personal eccentricity?
We need to change the names of Charleston and Carolina. Both refer to the King Charles who sponsored African slave trading. Most of the counties of South Carolina and other States are named for slaveowners and white supremacists like all American Presidents before the mid-20th century.
In order to eradicate all traces of white supremacy we cannot be so selective. We must repudiate all Western civilisation. In fact, that is what is happening. And for the benefit of those who have never built or contributed to any civilization.
And what will we have left?
The present Jihad against former American leaders for their support of “slavery” reveals the ridiculous and willful historical ignorance of those people. Thomas Jefferson and John C. Calhoun were white supremacists, mildly so. But so was everybody else in America and Europe for centuries before and long after them.
It is quite odd to pick out a few figures for hatred on the grounds of racism. Western civilisation, despite its faults, which are common to all people, is so far the highest achievement of humanity. It was white and therefore naturally white supremacist. If there had ever been any black civilisation it would undoubtedly have been black supremacist. What we are seeing is the attempt to eliminate Western civilisation from history or pretend that its prime movers were contemporary American minorities. That is to eliminate nearly all the significant history of mankind. It is only in the freedom and security of Western civilisation that minorities can have their protests heard.
Eradicating places named for slave-holders? Carolina and Charleston are named for King Charles who chartered slave trading companies. Half or more of the counties and many of the cities of South Carolina and other Southern (and even Northern) States are named after slave-holders, as are most of the buildings at the University of South Carolina. A majority of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (and not just Southern ones) were slave-holders. Abraham Lincoln and his supporters may have been opposed to slavery but they were without any question white supremacists.
I am sure your mother taught you that if something was worth doing it was worth doing right. And your father taught that if you started a job you should finish it. So I am suggesting some more ways to eradicate an evil inheritance. A few suggestions for name changes for the new enlightened regime. Let’s get rolling!
South Carolina—New Africa
Greenville (named for the slaveholder Gen. Greene)--- Jackson for its native son Jesse Jackson.
New names for University of South Carolina buildings—Marx. Freud, Marcuse, Winfrey, Biden, Antifa, Soros, BLM, etc.
Washington D.C., - Tubman City
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Let’s get going. I am sure Lindsey Graham will be glad to lead.
P.S. I note Congress is busy removing all the Southerners from Statuary Hall. I thought those statues were supposed to be two from each State chosen by the State. The old Statuary Hall had some occupants of questionable greatness, especially from Northern States, but the new occupants definitely will not raise the tone of the thing.
The ex-general Petraeus has weighed in with his expert opinion on today’s hot issues. “Robert E. Lee was a traitor,” he declares. This managed to get him a little news attention for the first time in a long while. After all, this is the general who botched occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, is an adulterer, and violated military security.
Where did our General learn about Lee? I may be wrong, but I don’t think he learned this at West Point. We have here someone who has commanded American armies who is seriously ignorant of the complexities of history. That such a person has risen to the top of our military, I suggest, explains a lot about its performance in recent years.
Our top leaders, military and civilian, are prime examples of the “Kevins” I wrote about in another post. People without any genuine achievement but who nevertheless have slithered up the promotion rope by stepping on others, ass kissing, and back-stabbing. I repeat, someone so flippantly and self-promotingly ignorant of the complexities of great historical events has no business in high office, much less commanding an army.
Our Founding Fathers knew history well. If men like Churchill and DeGaulle had not been deeply versed in serious history they may not have done what they did and we might all be wearing swastikas. And lorded over by such opportunists as I have described, who flourish under any regime. Hitler failed in the long run because he viewed history in a distorted and rigid ideological lens.
If George Bush the Lesser had known any history, would he have allowed his handlers to launch a war to conquer and reform the Middle East and Afghanistan?
History seriously considered tells us usefully where we human beings have been over a long course and helps us to understand where we are and what to do. It does not provide perfect answers but it is helpful, a necessary form of wisdom for leaders when important things are at stake. The kinds of shallow views of the past held by the General and the mobs in the streets is one evidence of the sorry state the former democratic America manifests today.
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews