Civil War author, historian, and Antietam National Battlefield Park guide, John M. Priest, has finally voiced a rational opinion about the rush to eradicate Confederate symbols. While I do not agree with all his points, on the whole his analysis has compelling validity. John wrote his commentary three weeks ago, but I only discovered it today. Apparently, I am one of only a few who found it even at this later date.
While I have not read any of John’s books, they are highly rated at Amazon and elsewhere as best I can determine from a Google search. I urge other historians sharing John’s viewpoint to say so publicly.
Removing the swastika from German buildings and public display after World War II did not stop the rise of the neo-Nazis. The refusal of the Japanese to teach about World War II did not eradicate their war record from history. Crushing the German state and economy after World War I merely led to the rise of the Nazis. Removing all things Confederate from the U.S. culture will merely drive the studies and discussions of everything Confederate underground where it will fester and spawn more extremist Neo-Confederates, and more misguided hate.
The danger of suppressing symbols and memorials of the past, which offends us is a threat to the very freedoms we hold so dear – freedom of speech, freedom of discussion, freedom to express ideas both good and bad. Ideas and ideologies are like mercury – the more a person tries to destroy them, the further they disperse, only to coalesce again.