Politically correct plaque attack

The Loose Cannon Libertarian

As one might expect in today’s virulently aggressive politically correct culture, a movement is afoot to rewrite history, which includes “amending the plaques, statues, and memorials of historical figures to reflect their racist sentiments.” (Christian Science Monitor)

photo / babasteve Creative Commons licensed: Attribution 

One movement afoot is to footnote a bust of Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney as a racist because he wrote the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case which, to simplify for today’s Attention Deficit devotees, was a ruling that a slave entering a non-slave state could not become a non-slave since that would deprive his master of his property.

For another example, some South Carolinians want to tack a plaque on the base of the big bronze likeness of Reconstruction-era Governor and US Senator Ben Tillman who, according to the Charleston City Paper, had a hand in rewriting the state constitution that “disenfranchised blacks and established the segregation laws which stood for 70 years” and, incidentally, advocated lynching Negroes.

And folks in Lee County, Florida, want to rename their county because its namesake is General Robert E. Lee, even though Lee himself once penned, “…slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.”

On its surface, historical revisionism isn’t a bad idea. What passes for “history” in government propaganda mills (typically called “public schools”) is a whitewashed sanitized politically dogmatic spin of what the ruling classes want their peons to believe.

What today’s politically correct plaque-rewriters propose to do, of course, is to foist their own whitewashed sanitized politically dogmatic spin of history on the rest of us.

Unfortunately, as some sane observers warn, rewriting bronze statuary markers “threatens to turn historical interpretation into a politically driven free-for-all.”

So, to prevent a lefty-righty rewriting culture war, the anti-South history-twisters should consider putting on a show of “diversity” by whacking a plaque on a Northern racist.

That, according to many, would be our nation’s sixteenth president.

In spite of his copyrighted catchphrase “The Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln’s famous wartime Emancipation Proclamation failed to free a single slave and didn’t even apply to the slaves held by Yankees in Yankee-held holdings.

Then there was that business of Lincoln voting to keep all Negroes out of Illinois because, well, they were Negroes.

And of course he was greatly in favor of “colonization,” that being the act of forcibly removing people from the United States who had previously been forcibly removed from Africa and forcibly removing them back to Africa, or to Central America, or to anywhere else that wasn’t the United States.

Lincoln not only supported the Fugitive Slave Act (a law that required escaped slaves to be forcibly repatriated to their masters) but even took the case of one Robert Matson, whose slaves had run away. Fighting for their forcible return in court was Matson’s mouthpiece, Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

photo / rjv541 Creative Commons licensed: Attribution 

Or one could selectively lift a quote from the Honest Emancipator’s epistle to Horace Greeley (a mainstream media mogul back in the day) and chisel it into the base of the Lincoln Memorial: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.”

In short, it illustrates the idiocy of making pin-ups of politicians.

None of this Lincoln lore is generally known to the general public, yet it’s all easily uncovered with a few minutes of Googling or Yahooing or DogPiling.

Note too that Lincoln revisionism is less a sectarian North/South battle than an intellectual authoritarian/libertarian tussle.

Honest historians know full well that the Northern states were loaded with racist sentiment. Numerous Northerners wanted to secede. They may have been anti-slavery but they still didn’t want bands of Black folks frolicking in their own backyards.

The whole point being that history-rewriters eager to excoriate Southerners like Taney and Tillman and Lee as racists need to look northward as well if they wish to avoid this plaque flack of their own: “Hypocrite”.

About the author Garry Reed is a longtime advocate of the libertarian philosophy of non-coercion that espouses personal autonomy and individual responsibility, civil rights and economic liberty, maximum freedom and minimum government. His website is freecannon.com.


Anonymous's picture

“historical revisionism”

Actually, this doesn’t sound much like historical revisionism (attempts to rewrite our history).

Instead of trying to change the history, these seem only to be attempts to point out overlooked parts of our history.

No one appears to be arguing the underlying facts, only whether they should be pointed out.

Anonymous's picture

made me think of the statues at UT. really never been cool with those being there, but what are ya gonna do? you can argue both ways i guess. just glad the jordan and king statues are there to keep the assholes in check.

Anonymous's picture

Well, the right-wingers want to put the Ten Commandments on government buildings. It’s only fair that the left-wingers should have their fun too,