Today Rich Lowry argued that it’s time to mothball the Confederate monuments. His arguments are sound. I agree with him.
The monuments should go. Some of them simply should be trashed; others transmitted to museums, battlefields, and cemeteries. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention, with white nationalists often mustering in their defense.
Removing the Confederate monuments makes sense, like removing a bag of sugar from an ant-infested kitchen cabinet makes sense. No sugar, no ants; no monuments, no nexus for protest and counter-protest.
But there’s a big problem with this.
The Civil War has been over for 152 years, but it is not done being re-litigated. I found this out the hard way back in 2015. I wrote a piece titled “It’s time for the Georgia legislature to stop honoring slavery.” The pushback was immediate and furious.
I live in the South, but I’m a northerner. I have no ancestral or cultural connection to this place. The people who do still bristle at the idea that the South’s secession and subsequent economic destruction was the fault of slavers trying to preserve the benighted institution of slavery. They have stories of ancestors who fought in the war, who suffered the after-effects, and who believe that the continuing call of the left for some kind of reparations to African Americans is really an attack on them and their families.
They see the removal of monuments as an attempt to purge their families from history–what John Davidson called a damnatio memoriae. My piece on Georgia is cut-and-dried. Stone Mountain, by Georgia law , was created to “be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial.” Before the state took over Stone Mountain, it was used by the Venable family as a KKK meeting location.
Sam Venable owned Venable Brothers Contractors, the largest granite contractor in the south; as such he was the sole owner of Stone Mountain. On November 25, 1915, Venable was one of 40 men who participated in the “formal induction ceremony” of the revived Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, along with the speaker of the Georgia House, led by “Colonel” William J. Simmons.
Even knowing this terrible history, try bringing up the bas-relief carving on Stone Mountain’s face to most Georgians, or southerners in general.
The mountain was leased to the state by the Venable family, and finally sold in 1958. Sam Venable was a well known leader in the Ku Klux Klan, and it was his idea to have Gutzon Borglum—who famously sculpted the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore—carve the mountain to honor the Confederate leaders.
If even an obvious example like this causes massive, head-exploding pushback from many white southerners, then what would a national effort to remove many public battle monuments of Confederate leaders bring?
It would be like adding gasoline to a house fire.
In June 2016, I likened Donald Trump’s siren song to racists to Godzilla rising from the sea. The monster was always there, it was simply dormant until some radioactive event awakened it.
This is a man who casually throws around terms like “the blacks love me,” then accuses the only black GOP candidate of being “pathological.” He speaks casually of Mexican rapists and murderers, then has a taco bowl at his Manhattan tower to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. He accuses an Indiana-born federal judge who prosecuted Mexican drug cartels of bias because the man is of Mexican heritage. This is the casual racism I heard growing up. This is the monster we thought was dormant and simply waiting for a generation to die.
We thought the Dylann Roofs of the world were aberrations. But instead of pursuing healing (which Gov. Nikki Haley and Charleston residents divinely did; I wrote about it with tears streaming from my eyes), the race-baiters dug until they found the monster. They went after the symbols of the Confederacy, cultural icons which are tied to the casual racism that was waiting to die.
And they stirred it back up and gave it new life.
Erick Erickson shared a similar opinion. “The leaders of the party, confronted by Todd Akin, abandoned ship for his stupid statements on rape and abortion. But the Party of Lincoln intends to circle the wagons around a racist. Damn them for that.”
Racism is here in all its ugliness. The violent racist fringe of both the right and the left must be prevented from taking more lives. This will require a proper use of government force. That means we should indeed use overwhelming shows of force to keep those groups from having another go at it. We should deny them ground on which to fight, and the weapons with which to fight.
We should treat them as terrorists, because at heart, they are terrorists.
However, when government, no matter how well-intentioned, strikes at the cultural and familial bonds of a rather large chunk of America, a group that’s been fighting a racist past and latent feelings of inferiority (look how well Trump did in the south), that action will be perceived differently by southerners than the rest of America.
The surest way to explode the “alt-right” into a large movement is to remove Confederate monuments en masse. Deny the “alt-right” access to those places, by all means. Restrict their ability to assemble large numbers of people–force them to rent an arena or other place, that’s what colleges do with speakers they don’t like. I’d rather suffer the ignominy of having cuffed an evil group’s First Amendment rights in a small way than the sure result of inflaming millions of otherwise peaceful people into joining that group’s terrible ranks.
The Context of Life
Man #1 shoots Man #2. As a result, Man #2 dies. Is Man #1 a murderer?
Obviously, it depends. Context matters. Did Man #1 fire in self-defense? Did he shoot Man #2 by accident? Was Man #1 part of a legally appointed firing squad or under a hypnotic trance? Was the weapon a prop gun that mistakenly contained live ammunition? There are many points to consider before we can definitively say that an instance of killing constitutes murder.
Let’s try another thought exercise: protesters are gunned down by a neighboring country’s military forces. Is this murder? Is it a breach of international law? Is it a gross violation of human rights?
Again, it depends. Context matters. Are these protesters peaceful, or are they, say, planting landmines, tossing grenades, hurling molotov cocktails, and threatening to invade the country that is firing back at them? Have these protesters sworn to murder and pillage their neighbors until they are eradicated from the earth, all in the name of radical religious zeal? Are upwards of 50 out of the 62 protesters killed members of a terrorist organization?
Here’s another one: are illegal immigrants animals?
That depends; are the immigrants in question members of a ruthless gang that rips the beating hearts out of its victims? Do these immigrants peddle drugs, commit brutal assaults, and routinely rape women? Given the context and Oxford’s alternative definition of “animal” — “a person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive. Synonyms: brute, beast, monster, devil, demon, fiend” — I think we can deem that perhaps too kind a descriptor.
Some people, however, seem to reject the value of context when it goes against their narrative. For instance, on the issue of calling MS-13 members “animals,” singer John Legend tweeted on Thursday, “Even human beings who commit heinous acts are the same species as us, not ‘animals’. I’m in the hospital with our new son. Any of these babies here could end up committing terrible crimes in the future. It’s easy, once they’ve done so, to distance ourselves from their humanity. … Dehumanizing large groups of people is the demagogue’s precursor to visiting violence and pain upon them.”
While MS-13 undoubtedly deserves any visitation of violence and pain upon them, the most glaring hole in Legend’s argument is that mere hours ago, he wouldn’t have considered “any of these babies” to be the same species as him (except when it’s his own baby). And as an outspoken donor and supporter of Planned Parenthood, he wouldn’t hesitate to defend the visitation of violence and pain upon them. But because of arbitrary abortion arguments, Legend and countless other Leftists ascribe more humanity to murderous villains than preborn babies.
Ironically, the one issue where Leftists insist on considering context is the one topic for which nuance is largely counterproductive — the sanctity of life.
As mentioned earlier, not all killing is murder, nor is it always unjustified. The right to life is unalienable, meaning it is intrinsic and therefore cannot be given nor taken away by man. It can, however, be surrendered through certain violations of another person’s unalienable rights. This is why many conservatives support capital punishment for perpetrators of homicide and rape. But it’s critical to recognize that this position is taken in order to emphasize the dignity of life and the severity of seriously harming and/or violating it. Similar reasoning is what justifies depriving someone of their unalienable right to liberty after they’ve committed a crime — they’ve automatically surrendered that right based on their actions.
That single caveat aside, any attempt to contextualize the debate for life pushes the dialogue further down a nonsensical rabbit hole designed to cheapen the worth of the weakest among us, or, to borrow Legend’s term, “dehumanize” them. At every turn, the argument gets slipperier and slipperier.
The Left will say that all human life is precious, even murderers, but they don’t extend this philosophy to unborn babies.
“Context!” they scream. “Fetuses aren’t fully human, and they aren’t really alive.”
Even if we gave the Left that argument, we have to ask whether fetal life, though not fully developed, is still worth protecting.
But the Left can’t give a straight answer here either, because while they celebrate a woman’s choice to terminate her unborn child, they cry for the conservation of fetuses that aren’t even human, proclaiming their inherent dignity well before birth. Eagle and sea turtle eggs come to mind, among other examples.
Next, the Left tries to establish what differentiates a human before birth and a human after birth, or rather what about birth makes someone human, but their attempts at context again fall short:
On one hand, they say it’s about viability outside of the womb, but standards of what constitutes viability are fully arbitrary. A baby born at 37 weeks is no more viable than one at 41 weeks that refuses to pop out — but because it’s still in the womb, it’s still not a living human, apparently. A baby born at 25 weeks in a big city is more viable than a baby born at 35 weeks in the boonies. My one-year-old daughter couldn’t survive without constant care from someone else, and neither could many elderly folks.
Other pro-aborts claim that if there’s no heartbeat, there’s no life, yet I don’t see many of them rushing to pull the plug on grandpa because he’s hooked up to a pacemaker.
I’ve heard some say that a baby’s first breath is what makes it human — so what about those who require artificial sources of oxygen? And if air confers humanity, then why aren’t all air-breathing animals human? If it determines life, then what happens when I hold my breath? I have the potential to breathe again, just as a fetus, left alone, has the potential to be born through natural processes.
The same goes for the sentience test. People in comas still enjoy an unalienable right to life.
Under the law, a woman can abort her baby, but if a pregnant woman is murdered, the assailant is charged with double homicide. No context can sensibly explain this double standard.
Some on the Right are guilty of it too. When asked whether abortion is murder, many engage in a similar exercise to the example I presented earlier about whether a shooting death necessarily constitutes murder: “it depends, what are the circumstances?”
There is no nuance to this question. Either the intentional taking of innocent life is murder or it is not. What difference does it make whether the baby was the result of rape or incest? I’ve stated in this very article that rape sometimes requires taking a life — but the baby is not the guilty party. Either life is sacred or it is not, regardless of how it got there.
Others cite the safety of the mother as context, but this argument is likewise flawed. Pursuing a vital cure for a woman’s ailment that indirectly harms the baby isn’t the intentional taking of innocent life but an unfortunate externality, so it’s not murder. And the case for actively terminating a pregnancy to save a mother is virtually identical to a self-defense argument, but again, there’s a problem: a baby is not an aggressor. It does not violate a woman’s rights, and a woman cannot violate the rights of her baby.
And a baby either has rights or it doesn’t. “Unalienable” means a baby doesn’t magically receive rights the moment it exits the birth canal, nor are a human’s rights any less inherent because he or she is dependent on someone or something else to sustain them. From the moment of existence, all human life has worth.
Life is the only consistent position, and it is so straightforward that it requires no nuance. Life either has intrinsic value or it does not. Context matters in almost every discussion of politics. But on the question of life, what people think is context is just an excuse to kill.
Let’s Just say it: The Left Hates the Culture of Liberty. Part I
While it hides behind the false label of Liberal, the nation’s Socialist Left continues to expand it’s assault on Liberty Culture.
Those of the Authoritarian Socialist Left seem to always have the same excuse when it comes to private entities denigrating freedom. These are private companies so they are unencumbered by the Constitutional restraints on the government. But this isn’t about those restraints, critically important as they may be. This is about the culture than undergirds those limitations of government and how the Left cannot abide by it, despite having labels that imply otherwise.
Freedom is based upon a culture of Liberty.
We are calling this Liberty Culture because for all intents and purposes, this is the foundational aspect that supports limitations on the government. Basic logic tells us that Liberty must contract as governmental power expands. One cannot have Liberty in the midst of an all-powerful government, history is replete with examples that show that these two concepts are entirely incompatible.
But the Authoritarian Socialist Left would rather that the people forget about this inconvenient truth. They would have everyone live under the delusion that a society can be safe and secure under total government control with full freedom for all. They would prefer that everyone forget that our Liberties are also Limitations on government power. That the removal of these Limitations signifies a dangerous expansion in this power, that proceeds horrific results.
The removal of the Liberty of free-speech means one cannot criticise the government. Denigration of freedom of the press negates the media acting as a watchdog over the government. Most importantly, making self-defense illegal changes the value of one’s life to that of usefulness to the government.
Definitionally speaking, for the nation’s Socialist Left there is nothing more important than governmental power. It gives them ever-expanding control over the people, whether it’s the words they use or if they are dependent on them for protection.
The Left’s creeping authoritarianism is becoming more and more obvious.
One only needs to take a short perusal of the news to come across stark examples of the Left’s creeping authoritarianism. In recent days they were in high dungeon over the style of a teenager’s prom dress, or that some have dared to openly display their assertion of the right of self-preservation.
These aren’t merely issues of the bill of rights, it goes far deeper than that. This goes to a collectivist mindset that one has the right to control what someone can say, do or defend themselves. This is while these people laughably think they are still Liberal.
The fact that people don’t roundly condemn these attempts at control by the Authoritarian Socialist Left should be a ‘Red Flag’ [To coin a term] to everyone that we as a society have let this continue for far too long. There was a time in the not too distant past when the phrase “None of your business” [expletive embellishment optional] was often used for far less intrusive situations. It should be readily apparent that this should be the response to many of these issues raised by the Left.
How the Parkland Kids became the ‘Me Too’ moment in the revelation of the Left’s assault on Liberty Culture.
In a circumstance similar to the #Metoo movement, for years it’s been an open secret that the nation’s Socialist-Left has been working against the cause of Liberty. In the case of the former, there have been several instances where prominent Leftists have been abusive towards women, but no one came forward to call them out until there came a breaking point. In a number of these cases, the deprivations of these supposed “Liberals” were known, but brushed aside for the greater good of Leftist “Progress”. In essence, the Leftists knew that there were those of their number who were reprobates, but kept this hidden because it’s purveyors were valuable to the Left’s collective cause.
In recent years, it has become stunningly clear that those who claim the false moniker of Liberal are in fact working to the detriment of the true meaning of the word. The Left side of the political spectrum tends to normally operate with small, incremental steps in most of it’s endeavours. It is only through the lens of time that the overall picture of the direction being taken becomes clear.
Thus is the case of the Left’s assault on that which it supposedly champions has become manifest. Whether by design or happenstance, the result has been a slow but inexorable strangulation of freedom. The analogy has always been of the frog in a pot of water being slowly heated until it cannot get out.
Enter the Parkland Kids movement with a major sea change in how the nation’s Socialist-Left has gone after the basic human right of self-preservation. The tactics by which these children have approached the problem has really been to the detriment of the Left. They have, in essence, ‘turned up the heat’ on the issue of the Left’s assault on the culture of Liberty to the point where it’s Socialist national agenda has become obvious to anyone willing to take notice.
We should acknowledge that there was a time when the Left actually supported Liberty.
There was a time when the Democratic party actually supported Liberty, championing certain aspects such as the 2nd amendment’s restraints on government:
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used, and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey,
Comm.: Foreign Relations Minnesota
For reference, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey ‘was one of the nation’s most prominent liberal politicians in the mid-20th century’ and went on to become Vice President and run for the top spot 1968 as the Democratic presidential nominee.
By the same token, the Left used to support other Liberties exemplified by a the Free-speech movement at UC Berkeley. The nation’s Left used to champion the cause of Liberty, and perhaps they could rightfully assume the moniker of ‘Liberal’ since that is essentially the root idea of that word as well as many others that sound the same that convey the same concepts.
But something happened in the past few decades, to the chagrin of many who used to count themselves as part of that side of the political spectrum. Recent years have seen many ‘Leaving the Left’ these are what could truly be described as Liberal in the definitional meaning of the word.
The emergence of the Left’s authoritarian tendencies has been accelerated as of late with a new generation indoctrinated in the control of others gaining prominence after the Parkland mass murder. The nation’s Left has always been selective in who should be able to defend themselves: Gun Control’s Racist History but the last decade has seen a marked increase in their zeal to deprive the people of this basic human Liberty. They’ve also changed over from that of defending free-speech to wanting tighter controls over it.
The gradual transition from Liberal to Leftist.
This change from being ‘Liberal’, championing the culture of Liberty to one of being desirous of power over the people has been gradual. But it was accelerated by the Parkland Kinds movement. It’s axiomatic that one does not listen to children for advice simply because they lack any kind of life experience. This is not a slight to them, but merely a statement of fact. They are unaware of why things are a certain way or why things are done in a certain way.
Nevertheless, the opportunity presented by their emergence on the public scene was far too enticing for the Leftists to pass up. Here they had an unassailable group with supposed morally superiority because of their emotional victim status. The problem became one of out of sequence messaging. The marches they conducted were replete with signs calling for Gun Confiscation as well as attendees unaware of the correct talking points that avoid mentioning this subject. So while many still parroted the “We’re not talking about taking everyone’s’ guns” Lie, there were plenty who were actually honest about the Left’s final solution to the gun problem.
Still worse, this movement which was ostensibly of these children branched out to attack the culture of Liberty because it undergirds this fundamental human right. Unaware as they were that they are supposed to champion Liberty with the self-laudatory label of ‘Liberal’, they began going after free-speech as well as the free-market. These actions clearly outed the Left as being authoritarian. We on the Pro-Liberty, Conservatarian-Right had known this to be the case for years now. But with these moves others took notice of the change.
[Part II will address some of the major aspects of the Left’s assault on Liberty Culture]
Liberal Alan Dershowitz: The Hard Left is a Bigger Threat to America
It’s always amusing to see which traditional liberals have been pushed too far by leftists. Not that this is the first time Alan Dershowitz has strayed. It is, however, the most blunt he’s been about it.
Alan Dershowitz and Dennis Prager in No Safe Spaces:
I’m not worried about a few dozen people with swastikas who want to replace the Jews, because they’re our past. They have no resonance on university campuses today.
But the hard, hard left? Anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity, intolerance for speech. It’s the future. These are our leaders.
In 50 years of teaching at Harvard, Stanford, NYU, Hebrew University, you name it, I have never met a group of less courageous people in my whole life than tenured Harvard and tenured other professors. They are so terrified of their own shadow. They don’t want to do anything that upsets a student.
From Louder with Crowder
[Thursday February 15 2018]