Monuments Matter

The impending removal of Moses Ezekiel’s magnificent monument from Arlington National Cemetery follows well-laid out guidelines for obliterating the non-woke past everywhere in the culturally revolutionized West.

In the United States, we have seen the statues of once-honored historical figures repeatedly vandalized and torn down by social-justice goons, as police under orders from superiors are forced to turn a blind eye. Universities have not only allowed such criminality to go unchecked but have taken additional steps to justify these Taliban-like excesses by renaming university colleges and buildings to remove politically incorrect associations.

The great Southern senator John C. Calhoun has not only had his name removed from a college at Yale but has seen the same dishonor befall him posthumously at Clemson, in South Carolina. This university has now denied any official recognition to the political giant on whose estate, the Fort Hill Plantation, the school now stands. At Princeton, a similar fate has befallen another Southerner, Woodrow Wilson, who has been canceled by the university of which he was once president.

A renaming ritual even more bizarre has taken place at the University of Edinburgh, whose tallest building no longer bears the name of Great Britain’s most illustrious philosopher, David Hume. It seems that a very driven Committee for Equality and Diversity and its Race Equality and Antiracist Subcommittee prevailed on the school’s authorities to repudiate Hume, the quintessentially Scottish thinker. Back in the mid-18th century, Hume failed to condemn slavery—and probably was a sexist and homophobe to boot. No indulgence will be granted for those benighted denizens of less sensitive ages, who lived and died in the unwoke darkness.

Of course, no one can beat the Germans for being painfully thorough in disavowing their national past in its glorious as well as its less admirable aspects. Multitudinous names of streets and institutions in every major German city have been brought systematically into line with political correctness. Even the most honored name of the German Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, has been scrubbed for his daring to describe African tribal culture in less than glowing terms. You really have to hand it to the Germans. Whether they are Nazis or anti-Nazis, they consistently practice Gleichschaltung (“synchronization”), a term that refers to making every element of political and cultural life fit the same pattern of total control.

Still, there is something particularly distasteful about what is going to happen in the United States to Moses Ezekiel’s monument. It is an action that will be taken with the joint support of Congress and Biden’s military command. The removal of Ezekiel’s bronze memorial will not result from the decision of some gutless college administrator or from the latest whim of a German feminist minister. This reckless, malicious act directed against millions of descendants of Confederate veterans has gained considerable support from our military commanders and from both national parties. Finally, this iconoclastic orgy targets an entire era of national reconciliation following the bloodbath of the Civil War. The monument that Ezekiel bequeathed to us was crafted and erected to bring Americans together.

If one looks at this monument, one will also notice that it is intended to create racial harmony. The presentation of Southern blacks here is entirely positive; and Ezekiel went out of his way to treat both whites and blacks living in the South as Southern. As our feature article points out, there was little objection to the monument, even from the usual noisemakers, until only recently, when it dawned on them that this was too good an opportunity to let pass without humiliating those out of favor with our regime. Here also was a chance for the government to reward a favorite constituency, those who loathe white Southerners and who look for any occasion to strip them of their American identity.

It is finally disappointing, although not unexpected, to notice how Jewish civic groups have done so little in Ezekiel’s defense. He was, after all, a famous Jewish sculptor, and his artwork can be found in Jewish institutions and synagogues. The fact that he was a Sephardic Jew, whose family came to these shores long before later Jewish settlements arrived here, does not change his inherited Jewishness.

Ezekiel also produced artwork for a Jewish fraternal organization, B’nai B’rith, while this group was still in its 19th-century infancy. If the B’nai B’rith-founded Anti-Defamation League (ADL) devoted the same enthusiastic energy to defending Ezekiel and his monument as it does to catering to Black Lives Matter (BLM), this sculptor’s towering work in Arlington National Cemetery might, at least for the time being, remain safe. In the current national administration, needless to say, BLM and its explicit antiwhite racism receive far greater respect than do Ezekiel’s artistic efforts at promoting regional reconciliation. Perhaps the Naming Commission, headed by Brigadier General Ty Seidule, might, in consultation with the ADL, replace Ezekiel’s suddenly offensive monument with a massive statue of George Floyd. After all, that is the direction in which our government and its devotees are going.

—Paul Gottfried

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