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?
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