(August 21, 2018) Yesterday a mob of 250 students illegally toppled a statue of a Confederate infantryman known as “Silent Sam” that stood for 105 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The state’s governor and a university chancellor only mildly criticized the action, which they coupled with sympathy for the opinions of those who participated.
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Notwithstanding that government and educational leaders promote such cultural genocide by yielding to political correctness, most Americans want Confederate statues to remain. A year ago, for example, a survey commissioned by the Public Broadcasting System disclosed that 62% of the public wanted the statues to stay as historical symbols whereas only 27% wanted them removed. The remaining 11% were undecided.
Likewise, a survey released earlier this year among readers of The Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine showed a preference for keeping the statues. Only 17% of respondents wanted the monuments removed from public places “if that’s what the local community wants to do.” The other 83% felt that the statues should remain although 50% would support adding interpretive plaques “if needed,” while 33% felt the statues should stay without any changes. Only 22% of respondents were from former Confederate states whereas a combined 52% were evenly split between the Northeast and Midwest.
When I was reading Silent Sam’s story in the Washington Post before eight o’clock (EDT) this morning, about half the reader comments were opposed to the destruction and half favored it. After the slackers and trust babies had rolled out of bed around noon they dominated the comment’s section with remarks such as:
- Good Riddance!!!!
- What’s deplorable is that there are still people today who share the values of the men of these statues.
- The statues were erected . . . to intimidate black Americans as the racists established Jim Crow.
- Every single person who posts that this Statute should have remained . . . is nothing more than a bigot and racist!
- Racists used to hide behind “States Rights” now they are hiding behind “Remembering History.”
- Carolina—couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of a-holes.
- Someone explain to me the Right’s obsession with memorializing losers.
Although Confederate statue critics often label them hate symbols, the above comments reveal that the hateful remarks come from the critics, not the memorial defenders. Moreover, their remarks shout a subtext: “If you don’t join us in demanding an end to Confederate monuments, you are not merely wrong, you are evil.” Few of the statue critics commenting in the Post made any original points. They merely repeated what they learned from the Pious Cause Mythology of the Civil War taught by the American History departments of many of our colleges and universities during the past thirty years.