The Double Standard in the Progressive War against the Dead
Will Progressives erase the history of their racist heroes, or only their racist enemies?
Much of the country has demanded the elimination of references to, and images of, people of the past — from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee — who do not meet our evolving standards of probity.
In some cases, such damnation may be understandable if done calmly and peacefully — and democratically, by a majority vote of elected representatives.
Few probably wish to see a statue in a public park honoring Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan, or Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in the racist Dred Scott decision that set the stage for the Civil War four years later.
But cleansing the past is a dangerous business. The wide liberal search for more enemies of the past may soon take progressives down hypocritical pathways they would prefer not to walk.
In the present climate of auditing the past, it is inevitable that Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood will have to be disassociated from its founder. Sanger was an unapologetic racist and eugenicist who pushed abortion to reduce the nonwhite population.
Should we ask that Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign from the Supreme Court? Even with the benefit of 21st-century moral sensitivity, Ginsburg still managed to echo Sanger in a racist reference to abortion (“growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of”).
Why did we ever mint a Susan B. Anthony dollar? The progressive suffragist once said, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.”
Liberal icon and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren pushed for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II while he was California’s attorney general.
President Woodrow Wilson ensured that the Armed Forces were not integrated. He also segregated civil-service agencies. Why, then, does Princeton University still cling to its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs? To honor a progressive who did a great deal of harm to African-American causes?
Wilson’s progressive racism, dressed up in pseudoscientific theories, was perhaps more pernicious than that of the old tribal racists of the South, given that it was not regionally centered and was professed to be fact-based and ecumenical, with the power of the presidency behind it.
In the current logic, Klan membership certainly should be a disqualifier of public commemoration. Why are there public buildings and roads still dedicated to the late Democratic senator Robert Byrd, former “exalted cyclops” of his local Klan affiliate, who reportedly never shook his disgusting lifelong habit of using the N-word? Continue…
as much as you might not like it, or as disgusting you might find it… for me it all falls under the umbrella of “free speech”, and is right inline with the murky road of censorship… also, i find it a little disturbing to see a bunch of raving liberals defacing and tearing down statues (and property in general)… our history, as much as you might not like it, is important and should be preserved for us and future generations — how will we progress if we don’t know and learn from our past? what’s the difference between seeing ISIS tearing down ancient statues and symbols, and a group here in the States tearing down an old statue of some confederate general?
i dunno, man… i tend to be pro freedom of speech, and anti-censorship… and think you really need to tread carefully and think long and hard about it — but that’s just me.