Current Events: Iconoclasm

I am against tearing down statues, because I am against destroying history. I say this not as an abstract appeal to principles (though it should be that as well), but as someone who has personal experience with those who destroy history for their own purposes. Because to destroy history, to deny the truth of a person’s past, is the first step in destroying the person: body, mind, and soul.

I come from a family of iconoclasts. Not in the active, visible sense of tearing down statues. Theirs was a more subtle destruction, by acts of deliberate omission. What family history may have existed before my siblings’ generation has been obliterated, outside of a bare handful of facts, because our relatives Did Not Talk about our history.

Yes, I mean all our relatives. Down to our parents. I know one grandfather was a waist gunner in a bomber in WWII; and I can say I know this, because I verified it through historical records. The other one may have been a game warden who may have stopped a fox hunt on his property cold, given he didn’t like other people hunting on his land. I haven’t been able to verify that. And since the man’s relationship to the truth was rather iffy all the years I knew him, I can’t take his own story as fact.

And with those two bits, you have at least one-third of the family stories I know.

Yes, I’m serious. Yes, despite the fact that I spent weeks every summer pre-seventeen with the possible-game-warden set of grandparents. They didn’t talk about the past. Grand schemes for the future, always – schemes that never quite came off, ever – but not the past. I don’t know what schools they went to. What friends they had in the community. What their favorite foods were.

Try to picture spending a month with relatives every year for as long as you can remember, and knowing none of this.

It’s a horrible thing, to grow up without a past. You have no roots to draw on; no traditions of “this is what we do as a family” for work, or life, or faith. You have no foundation. No firm footing against the crashing waves of public opinion or vile slander. No one to look up to, to say, “He faced war and privation and indignity, and still never stooped to villainy.” Or, “She held her family together against the odds, bad crops, Indians, and who knows what else.” You have nothing, except whatever frail convictions you can win for yourself, out of books picked off library shelves when no one was watching.

And that frailty was exactly what my family intended to create.

You see, they never wanted to raise children to be rational, self-sufficient adults. They wanted followers, mindless workers to carry out their glorious plans for a perfect future. A future which demanded sacrifices – from us, not them – and was always… next month. Next year. Next decade. Never now, and whatever we gave up was never, ever enough.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Today, I see the statues dragged down. I see the empty pedestals, where History once stood. I see the silence.

That silence is meant to destroy. Not those of us old enough to remember those statues, and what they stood for – history good, bad, tragic and heroic as any human story. It’s meant to destroy our children.

I built my own foundation. It took a long time, and it’ll never be as firm as someone raised with a history of who we are. But I did it. That’s what happens, when you leave a desperate soul unsupervised in libraries.

…So of course, the statue-wreckers will be coming for those next.

Monuments. Manuscripts. Men. Thus ever runs the path of bloody destruction

I hope I’m wrong this time.

 

74 thoughts on “Current Events: Iconoclasm

  1. As you pointed out in some of your stories, one of the easiest tools in the process of breaking a person is to deny them the features of a person, such as clothes. This is just taking that a step further, dealing with the soul’s foundation, instead of the body’s foundation.

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    1. In the matter of souls, it probably will not surprise you to know on the one side was atheist, and the other “I joined the church with the richest and most socially influential person in town to manipulate them”.

      What’s going on with the rioters right now is terrifying because I know where it leads, and I wouldn’t wish that on any living soul.

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  2. A family mythology rich in actual mythology can work, too– “This is good. This is bad. We are hobbits. They are orcs.”

    My family has a high level of BS, including an uncle who has a habit of adopting any good story and re-telling it with him as the POV character. That would be the bard, for anybody who’s run into my endless stories about family. Which kind of re-enforces the kind of roots that are being discussed. My family does have stuff that we don’t talk about, and stuff we “don’t talk about” (which means some group talks about it but everybody pretends they don’t– stuff like miscarriages, and “not knowing” someone is pregnant until they’re in the second trimester; sometimes this bites younger folks who really never were talked to about it) and you can, with time and training, identify stuff by the shape of where folks don’t talk.

    Maybe that’s part of why folks latched on to Harry Potter so strongly– both that people you’re talking to can reasonably be expected to have read it, as opposed to if I alluded to the Bible or McCaffey’s Harper stories, and because it is a shared morality story.
    Might be kinda iffy morality, but it’s a story for our tribe.

    People want to belong.

    I guess the mob destroying whatever is available is a way to belong….

    I don’t know the context, since it was always only that clip, but the thing where James Dean’s character is asked what he’s rebelling against, and responds to the effect of “what’ve you got?”
    Even as a small child, I could identify that as stupid.

    ….
    Trying to find the quote, I found that it’s pretty much the same thing that idiots today are doing.
    But the movie recognized that it was a bad thing– or at least a costly thing.
    1955…..

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    1. But the movie recognized that it was a bad thing– or at least a costly thing.

      I wish more people would realize that. And, heck, that more people would remember those aren’t always the same thing….

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Harry Potter is also a series about being disconnected from the world that one’s parents and grandparents knew, to the point that one knows nothing about it, and cannot even identify what is important to know.

      And it’s kind of hilarious, because Rowling both complains about this through the story, and has Harry totally ignoring the history of the wizarding world… and meanwhile, Rowling ignores the entire history of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland in favor of a fictional history, while having literal medieval ghosts wandering the freaking castle! She ignores UK religions and religious conflicts in the exact same way… and then suddenly we get this huge dose of Scottish Calvinist fantasy, when we see Tom Riddle’s reprobate destiny.

      So yeah, it’s definitely a series for moderns. Hooboy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s interesting. I’d seen each of the individual components of that, but never put them together into this coherent whole. I’d always argued each piece separately, but this makes it so much easier to argue them.

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      2. I’m not disconnected from my family or local history, but I do have a big grudge about growing up somewhat disconnected from pre-Vatican II Catholic culture and thought (even though I was a churchgoing Catholic from a churchgoing family). I didn’t even realize how much I didn’t know, because I did know a fair amount of current stuff, and because I thought I was understanding historical books better than I actually was. I still keep running into “obvious” things that I never have heard about.

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  3. im reminded of nazi germany, and before burning people, they were burning books- anything and everything they disagreed with, or thought the creators of were inferior and undeserving

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      1. Are you volunteering to pick one yourself? Because if your vision of what America is and should be is valid, so is theirs.

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      2. Are you volunteering to pick one yourself? Because if your vision of what America is and should be is valid, so is theirs.

        On what do you base that assertion?
        Because it isn’t logic.
        If group A says 2+2=1, and group B says 2+2=4, and group C says 2+2=5, A and C are not as valid as group B, because their claim is false.

        Especially as they claim the way America is is invalid and must be changed– and then putting the burden of proof that those who disagree either claim.

        We have a route for this kind of disagreement. It’s slow. An often repeated aspect of the complaints is that it did not give them the result they wanted.

        That does not mean that thus the process is bad.

        They are not the majority, they cannot become the majority by honest persuasion, they’re just obnoxious and violent enough that, in some places, they can force the results they want.

        The screams that result when the standards they demand are applied to them is proof that the standards are not good. What good is a standard that is non-standard?

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      3. My vision of America is a nation “of laws and not of men”.

        Tearing down statues you don’t like is against the law.

        It is not a case of “both visions of America are equally valid”. My vision of America is a place where if you don’t like the law, you vote to change it. Theirs is, apparently, if you don’t like the law, you riot, loot, and murder. These two mindsets are incompatible.

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      4. America was designed to be a place where there are rules for how stuff is done, including the changing of the rules, and the position that the rules are separate from the people (as opposed to essentially all other nations, where even when there are rules, the rules are based on the people). Being a citizen is part of a contract to follow those rules, in exchange for the benefits provided by the nation. Technically, it is not a case of “some _person’s_ vision of what America is or should be”, but instead “the _rules’_ definition of what America is or should be”. It is also technically true that the citizens can change those rules, and thus what America is defined as, but the difference is significant even if it’s a technicality (and was one of the reasons why the Founding Fathers rejected the French Revolution’s claims to be following their example, something the modern too-cowardly-to-admit-it’s-a-revolution hasn’t learned from).

        And on that note, your argument is a strawman, since there’s a major difference in both theory and practice between arguing “I think this rule is wrong, but I will follow procedure to get it changed” and arguing “social contract? what social contract? what matters is my feelings”. America’s laws and constitution were designed both by RAW and by RAI _explicitly_ to be “rule of law” not “rule of court”, and the mob are rejecting law and trying to force the court of public opinion to uphold their position. The mob is declaring both itself Outlaw in one part of the old sense of the term (outside the _limitations_ of the law), and everyone/everything else Outlaw in the other part (outside the _protection_ of the law). By doing this, your argument cannot apply, since your argument is based on those _within_ the law.

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      5. Any calls for “persons professing belief/philosophy “x” should leave the US if they don’t like it” are fundamentally flawed.

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      6. Any calls for “persons professing belief/philosophy “x” should leave the US if they don’t like it” are fundamentally flawed.

        Based on what?

        What is fundamentally flawed about saying “so leave” to someone who seriously believes that the country they are in is inherently inferior to the point of needing to be destroyed?

        Why on earth should someone who thinks that their location is HORRIBLE stay there, and be able to force everyone else who is there and satisfied with how it is, not leave?

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      7. That is still a strawman, there’s a significant difference between saying “deport people who think X”, and saying “deport people who have declared themselves (even if only _a priori_) to not be citizens, by the act of rejecting the social contract and placing themselves Outlaw”. The first is trying to control what they think, the second is _accepting_ what they think, and then applying it equally to them. Just because they’re bad at recognizing unintended consequences doesn’t mean that their actions don’t have consequences, and if they reject the _limitations_ of the law, they also indirectly reject the _protections_ of the law (even if they think they don’t).

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      8. I don’t tell Trump supporters to leave the country by catapult… Even if I don’t agree with practically all their political POVs at all.

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      9. There is a massive difference between “I disagree with you, get out” and “your stated believes should result in you being gone– voluntarily or otherwise.”

        Notably, the “protests” have enforced “you do not agree with me loudly enough, I will beat you half to death,” with an additional racist angle where whites not actually in the protest are automatic targets.

        Liked by 2 people

      10. *Blinks*

        Let me see if I have this straight. BLM/Antifa/whoever declares their intent to tear down the Emancipation Memorial. Commissioned by freed slaves, paid for by freed slaves, dedicated by – among other people – Frederick Douglass, escaped former slave and statesman, and President Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union Army to end the Civil War.

        And you think the only people who would object to taking that monument down are Trump supporters.

        I have to admit, I’m aghast.

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      11. Commissioned by freed slaves, paid for by freed slaves, dedicated by – among other people – Frederick Douglass, escaped former slave and statesman, and President Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union Army to end the Civil War.

        And modified from the original to have the face and body of a freed slave, by the guy who lead the commission, with a focus on the slave being active in his being freed– this also also happened to be the guy who’d hired said freed slave when he escaped slavery, fought tooth and nail to keep him from being sent back into slavery, used the excuse of him being kidnapped by slave-catchers to kidnap him back and hide him until the Emancipation Proclamation, and hired him just like any other person the whole time.

        Who was chosen and trusted by those freed slaves, including the lady who sent basically her first month’s pay as a freed woman to buy this statue.

        And the dedication was celebrated by marches by MULTIPLE black organizations.

        ….

        Of course, one major failing a lot of these guys had, was that they were Republicans. It’s a very touchy subject, to the point that none of my history classes mentioned that Lincoln was a Republican, and that opposing slavery was one of two founding causes. This is probably being brought up in large part because of the desire to redefine marriage– the other thing they opposed was polygamy. Both are offenses to the inherent dignity of a person. A lot of the arguments are really, really hard to counter… thus, they must be silenced to be beaten.

        Liked by 2 people

      12. My comment was in regards to this:

        “In this case what they appear to think is inferior is America itself.

        To which my preferred answer would be, set up two catapults. One aimed over the border with Mexico, one with Canada. Pick one.”

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      13. Which you then characterized as:
        Any calls for “persons professing belief/philosophy “x” should leave the US if they don’t like it” are fundamentally flawed.

        Are you truly unable to identify the difference in kind between that ‘if you believe the country is inferior, leave‘?

        Additionally, you still have not supported your assertion that it is fatally flawed.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. The specific mode of egress suggested was, admittedly, leaning a bit strongly on sarcasm and I can understand objecting to that, but there is still a difference regarding those it is being directed towards and those in your example.

        I strongly disagreed with Obama supporters and Clinton supporters, but I didn’t argue that they should be deported, because they were at least (mostly) still giving lip service to the concept of Rule of Law (ignoring the details on how closely they followed it). With them, I argued the logic and factual status of their position, and the legality of their actions, because they claimed to still be within the law, and thus could be argued with from the position of the law. This would be a valid comparison to the example you gave, unlike the comparison you gave your example for.

        The current rioters masquerading as “protesters” have, for the most part, by their own admission, rejected both the Rule of Law and the social contract that is part of citizenship in the USA (apparently in the belief they can “flip the table” while still enjoying the benefits of citizenship). They seek to keep the protections of citizenship, while rejecting the responsibilities (the social contract of citizenship is “follow the law, and the law will protect you”, they want to _break_ the law and deny it has any hold on them, but still be protected).

        At least one of the problems with their position, that they haven’t seemed to realize yet, is that if they reject the Rule of Law, then there are no protections the Law can provide for them to enjoy, since the Law can only provide if the Law exists and has authority. They have of their own accord, placed themselves outside the USA by that rejection (even if physically present in the territory claimed by the USA), some of them going so far as to actually try to make that official as far as the territory as well (the “autonomous zones”). This isn’t just a case of “disagreeing with them”, this is the logic of what they have claimed and done actually means if actually applied. They have made themselves Outlaw, and arguably also Rebel and/or Bandit, and the government’s duty to those under the Law is to protect them from all three (with mere deportation being arguably “exactly what they asked for”, since they asked to be outside the USA).

        And as a side note, I’m not actually a Trump supporter either (tho I was pleasantly surprised by much of what he’s done), and had argued against him before he reached office (while he’s in office, just as with Obama before him, I think it wrong to go raising a hue and cry for similar reason to my complaint about breaking the social contract). I didn’t think we had any good options for president (tho some were way worse than others). It’s entirely possible to think _both_ sides are wrong, just for different reasons and in different areas. The fact you seem to think only Trump _supporters_ would be against the rioters is rather telling of your lack of understanding of why we are so upset.

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      15. At least one of the problems with their position, that they haven’t seemed to realize yet, is that if they reject the Rule of Law, then there are no protections the Law can provide for them to enjoy, since the Law can only provide if the Law exists and has authority.

        Some have recognized it– thus the double standards demanded where chosen minorities who are behaving badly are to not be held accountable, while mere accusation of the unchosen is enough for punishment without trial.

        The unchosen are frequently minorities themselves, a lot of the “unjustly executed” claims by the families of criminals skip the part where the guy their son/father/love was robbing with deadly force is a minority as well. This is helped by many areas not wanting to get the victim killed, so they don’t publish photographs of those forced to defend themselves.
        (which functions much like the creative cropping of that guy at the open carry protest they wanted to frame as a white supremist event. That he was darker than any of Obama or his selected officials was really inconvenient)

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      16. Yeah, the whole autonomous zone thing is somewhat similar to the declarations of succession.

        As long as the arsons are on private, non-federal, land, and as long as the killings are not of federal troops or officers, there is no exact parallel to Fort Sumter.

        If Lincoln’s decision to persecute the war was not legitimate, if his authorization of the assassination attempt on Davis is beyond the Executive Power, than the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are of dubious validity.

        If it qualifies as insurrection, outright killing them is a legitimate option. Given the stakes implied by the communist associations, the only sound reason not to be killing them is if they have no chance of winning by force and violence.

        This looks a lot like insurrection, even before the apparent foreign intervention is considered.

        There’s a fair amount of evidence for the foreign intervention model; among other things, with the level of management in the US riots, why are BLM riots occurring overseas?

        Then consider the scenario where COVID was a germ warfare attack by the PRC, and the riots are also coordinated and funded from the PRC. De facto state of war, combined with aid and comfort.

        If Trump had half the ambition and capability for tyranny he is credited with, he could have already started hanging Democratic officials. If anything, his actions support the critique that he is far too much of a liberal, and far too much of a Democrat. Of course, considering Romney, Fiorina, etc, the latter complaint is so threadbare that it is practically invisible.

        Better him making that decision than me.

        On a good day, my opinion on the correct way to handle substance abuse is well outside the bounds of what most Americans consider sane. A situation where impossible demands are being made of society with regard to the welfare of drug addicts, combined with threats of violence, is just about the ideal context for an attempt to persuade people that I had been right all along. Americans cannot provide an environment where the drug addicts never wind up dead. It is a suicidal habit. America shut down all the facilities for keeping them confined most of the time, where they could be manhandled gently. Warehousing them on the streets instead means they are manhandled more roughly, and sometimes shot. If you get rid of the professionals, who are paid to take the risks involved in manhandling them and in capturing them alive, you will be left with a demand for vigilante killings.

        These have not been good days for me.

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  4. There are two incompatible but strongly held beliefs at work in this revision. The first is a very selectively applied belief that experiences of one generation can ever be 100% as influential on subsequent generations. The second is a belief in the practical benefits of year zero historical revisionism.

    The influence of experiences grows weaker over generations, and supplemented by the influence of more recent experiences. Year zero revisionism is never perfect at controlling all the information, and even if it was, information control does not 100% control actions in any fully predictable way.

    I apply a lot of the same standards to evaluating the claims of the segregationists and confederate apologists that I do to the claims of critical race theory.

    Specifically a) no I do not buy the claim that Lincoln intentionally started the war, and that the decision makers in the South were purely motivated by states rights. I know what the decision makers in the South were saying in justification of their acts. I also know that Lincoln won with only 40% of the vote precisely because the opposition had screwed up their convention. b) No way Southern poverty during Segregation was solely caused by Reconstruction. Segregation was corrupt, its supporters tolerated corrupt behaviors, and the costs of corruption cause or increase poverty in the same way that regulatory costs, criminal costs, and taxes can. More recent events with the same intensity of experience are a stronger influence than events deeper in the past.

    I’ve been talking about Oklahoma’s political history a lot on another site, and information I have about events in Oklahoma from people who are now in their seventies, and grew up in Oklahoma when they were young. Also some people now deceased. (I try to stick to discussing information on the internet that is based on written records, or that I could not have only learned from a few specific people. The guy really pissed me off by telling me that I needed to do more research, because my conclusions were not a cookie cutter interpretation of the currently accepted official truth. The official truth was, for many decades in Oklahoma, that the Tulsa race riots never happened. The current official truth in Oklahoma makes a big deal about claiming to hear voices, and is making some degree of claim in labeling them the Tulsa race massacre.) This is relevant because Oklahoma is perhaps still a little poorer than other parts of the country, and perhaps a little more corrupt. Last I heard, a few years ago the federal limit for cost of gifts to government bureaucrats was 20$ or 50$, and the same limit in Oklahoma was $500. If you have even a little bit of exposure to the grapevine about stuff in Oklahoma government, you may be forgiven for thinking that the place is sketchy as hockeysticks. On the other hand, the situations in California, New York, and Chicago are a little bit more blatant when you look at what is relayed from those grapevines. Oklahoma’s causes are maybe not the causes that Oklahoma Democrats are embarrassed about when they make comparisons to other parts of the country.

    I would note that Reconstruction was never really a formal thing in Oklahoma, because it was not Oklahoma at the time. The closest was the court of Isaac Parker in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Parker’s court was supported by lawmen, who hunted bandits in Indian territory and surrounding areas, some of the bandits were Confederate veterans seeking to restart the war. Between Parker’s political affiliation, and Bass Reeves, local Southerners would have been inclined to understand that court as part of Reconstruction.

    A couple of my oral history sources, I rate as unreliable. One had a sense of humor, once joking that Cellos were Violins left out in the rain, and I’ve never been able to rate them as entirely reliable in everything they say. The things from their part of the oral history that matters to me, I’m pretty sure were stuff they told many people, so I at least think it was the truth as they saw it. Another had memory and attention issues. I was able to cross check a lot of the family lore with their most reliable sibling. That is how I know the middle name of one of my great grandfathers. (Some of my other great grandfathers, I only know by surname. Ancestral records aren’t my thing.)

    Anyway, from a historical perspective, I know that year zero revisionism never works out as well as people hope. I’m also deeply interested in looking at reciprocal applications of rules, and parallel arguments. The more visceral side, more recent events, I once had neighbors who were refugees from the communists. I heard a couple things.

    The revisionism offends me on an intellectual level, as a amateur historian. But it is the fact of that year zero revisionism, pursued by communists, that has me thinking about “how we burned in the camps”. I generally think of the Hagakure’s crazy-to-die as being a functional madness with a place in every American’s mental toolkit. I also firmly believe in Patton’s ‘make the other guy die for his’ beliefs or country. I take guidance from “the way of revenge is entering and being cut down”.

    Not a great mental place to be in. Took a lot of effort to get myself into a place of relative mental peace. Took a lot of effort to get myself from “hit the problem harder with a bigger hammer” to being willing to consider other alternatives, more compatible with continuing the relative domestic peace.

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  5. As a counterpoint, in my perspective removing statutes is not the same as burning books. There is limited public space for art, and how we choose to allocate that space does demonstrate our values as a culture. Just as which family stories are told or are not told demonstrates the values of the teller. In more local terms, I think it does send a message when my town has a large monument to the Confederate war dead in the public square in front of the entrance to the University, and the University has carefully built around and preserved the white portion of a historic cemetery, while they built right over the half of the cemetery allocated to blacks. And to this day University officials cringe away from any mention that a number of the individuals entombed under those university buildings were likely enslaved people, let alone the fact that some of them were probably enslaved by the University or people affiliated with the University. I do not approve of vandalism or destruction of public property. But I can sympathize with the anger of people who day after day after day must walk past giant monuments to people who enslaved or abused their ancestors, while their own stories are erased or hidden. And I do think that a position that says “all public art must be preserved forever” does not acknowledge the reality that any communication of history involves choices about which portions of and perspectives on history we choose to emphasize, and that leaving all existing monuments in place is not a neutral choice.

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    1. Problem being, that’s not the discussion that’s going on.

      What is actually happening is mobs are destroying statues built by freed slaves, which they freely sacrificed to get built and publicly celebrated when it was officially opened, in the name of those very freed slaves.

      Somebody having a negative emotional response is not sufficient reason to remove a thing.

      At a bare minimum, any complaints must be examined with an eye set to determine if the complainer can explain why a thing was put there at all.

      As to the question of ancestral wrongs and debts… we literally have a country built on requiring that neither corruption of blood nor a nobility. Creating a cut rate version is not who we are, even if it’s given the fig leaf of going off of appearance, rather than actual ancestry. Double-so when only very select groups’ grievances are allowed to be aired.

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      1. At the risk of sounding callous, someone having a negative emotional response is not sufficient reason to do anything. Because we’ve got an awful lot of people out there who glory in having power over others by saying they’re Offended, and they’ll proceed to make your life hell until you give them what they want. Or more often, you’re pressured into giving them what they want by everyone else who just wants the noise to stop, why are you being so stubborn, it’s not a big deal, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

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      2. Heckler’s Veto.

        It’s nasty stuff, and it’s designed to bypass actual reasonable discussion, in order to force the outcome desired by a group that knows they can’t get it playing by the rules.

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      3. Yep. I grew up with it, day in and day out. Rational discussion? That was for me to use and fail at. I see the “wokesters” use the same “your existence offends me!” tactics, only they aren’t nearly as smooth. I am Not Impressed.

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      4. That’s a straw man argument. I did not say that every statue that every idiot on the internet is offended by should be knocked down. I simply said that I disagreed with the argument that any removal of public statues is equivalent to erasing/rewriting history, and do think that we should be willing to discuss the relative value of different public art choices. And I would note that while vandalism has happened and continues to happen, the vast majority of the monuments being removed right now are not being toppled by mobs but are instead being removed by local governments https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monuments_and_memorials_removed_during_the_George_Floyd_protests.

        Regarding the digression about ancestral wrongs and debts – I did not, nor do I intend to, call for reparations. Given Vathara’s argument that removing statues erased critical historical ties, I simply pointed out that the overall effect of preserving the current status quo of public art also silences many important historical voices and stories, and does not do so in a neutral manner.

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      5. Except some of those local governments are acting against the expressed will of the majority of their voters, and in some cases against actual standing law. Mobile is in trouble for that right now – there’s a $25K fine for removing one particular statue without a vote by the voters, and the city government did not get it.

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      6. As it happens, the argument that you made is a strawman, when you sallied forth to battle against “all public art must be preserved forever”.

        I took your reasoning to the logical, unlimited conclusion.

        You said:
        But I can sympathize with the anger of people who day after day after day must walk past giant monuments to people who enslaved or abused their ancestors, while their own stories are erased or hidden.

        That is a purely emotional response.

        It is also an argument for reparations, though one based on emotional response to subcultural mythology wrongs rather than attempting to repair a wrong done.

        I simply pointed out that the overall effect of preserving the current status quo of public art also silences many important historical voices and stories, and does not do so in a neutral manner.

        You asserted it.
        You are wrong.
        A thing being said cannot silence those who disagree.
        Attempting to destroy the voices that are in disagreement?
        That is an attempt to silence.

        Attempting to silence those who disagree, to force others to behave as if they do agree.

        That is not the behavior of those who can win in a fair fight.

        That is not the behavior of those who think they can make a solid argument.

        This is the behavior of those who do not dare meet a challenge directly, because their claims cannot survive being tested.

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    2. Of course it’s not a neutral choice. It’s a choice to preserve what history we see, currently, from the unlawful mob. America is a nation of laws, not men; that was decided at the founding, and is the only reason we can take in new immigrants without tearing ourselves apart. Because it’s not blood that makes you American, it’s your determination to adhere to the laws and culture of the United States. Allow the mobs to rule, and the country is no more.

      As for choosing what history to portray – there are laws and regulations specifically in place to address what monuments go up or come down. You don’t get to ignore the law just because you’re angry about a monument any more than you get to ignore the law to kill someone just because you don’t like them.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. There’s limited office space at public universities.

      Does that mean you simply can torch the offices of an African-American studies prof, because CRT is scholastically bankrupt and hate filled?

      “waah, feelings, act with force now” is improper, and done in place of a more deliberate process that is available.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Having a statue doesn’t mean that people like you, or that you want them to like you.

        One of my not-too-distant relatives was buried in a swanky tomb on the highest ridge in the richest city cemetery, with a sorrowing angel over it. (Technically, the sorrowing angel was for her sister, who died young, and for her parents, as well as for a young professional colleague who had no kin. But she was buried there too.)

        Said relative ran a real estate empire founded on the oldest profession, in which both she and her sister participated as madams. (As well as the professional colleague, who was an employee.)

        The sorrowing angel apparently used to be a fairly bright pink, thanks to stone-tinting processes, but at some point it either wore off or was removed by cemetery maintenance.

        But they didn’t knock down the statue, or move the woman or her sister’s bones.

        People have the right to put up statues, and for them to be loved or hated. If you hate a statue, the traditional thing is to leave nasty paper notes at the statue’s feet. (Scurrilous poetry is a big favorite in Rome.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I should probably note that the obnoxious pink angel was highly visible, at the time it was erected, from the many nearby tombs of rich local families, war heroes, and inventors.

        I mean, if you ever go to pay your respects to the Wright Brothers, that angel is only about 200 yards away. Imagine that in pink. Tasteful carving, glaring pink. A planned and executed embarrassment.

        Ironically, now that it’s not pink anymore, the cemetery regards it as quaint and interesting, and my distant relative is on the same list of graves of interest as the good and the great.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m opposed to removing the statues for probably the exact opposite reason.
    I don’t think they matter at all.
    I’ve never had a statue influence my opinion on anything.
    While I like learning about history, statuary is not my preferred form of learning.

    The problem is that because I think it’s so completely superficial, I also think it’s pointless.
    People are riled up and want change… then they get diverted into some useless protests about fancy rocks.

    My worry is that they’ll exhaust themselves and in a few weeks they’ll look back and say
    “look how much we accomplished… why does it seem exactly the same?”
    “Wasn’t there a law to change the way the police operate?”
    “Yeah! Look at that… wait this law is completely useless!”
    “Well maybe you should’ve been paying attention to the statutes and not the statues, huh?”

    Honestly most PC crusades come across as lazy.
    “Hmm, I could spend a lot of time, effort and money to change people’s attitudes… or I could declare a word is bad so everyone knows I ‘care’ without actually taking any work!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s similar to the argument over whether the Sappir-Whorf hypothesis actually fits reality, with people jumping to the two extremes of strong vs weak versions. Most people don’t “pay attention” to a _lot_ of stuff, and yet if their beliefs and actions are examined in-detail, and correlated against the language (and specifically the variant definitions) they use, and the symbols/media/etc they experience as “background” it is clear that they do have some a significantly greater effect than most will admit, even if it’s not as unbendingly strong some assume. And yes, that includes statues that are regularly observed.

      In fact, on the language side, the arguments here have demonstrated repeatedly that definitions do affect how people think of things, _especially_ when they don’t recognize that the definitions they’re using are having an effect on their thoughts. And those definitions that are most commonly flawed tend to be the ones gained by exposure to culture that uses those flawed definitions. This includes indirect culture, through movies, books, etc, not just “the group you actually live with”, and yes, statues and other public decoration are part of that. It might not be “this specific statue has this specific effect”, but it _is_ a case of “all the statues, paintings, etc, that are just there in the background, have an overall effect”.

      And worse, active cultural factors have greater effect. A statue being in place may only be a minor part of the overall “background”, but the violent and sociopathic (used in the old sense of the term) destruction of that same statue has a very strong effect (and a very bad effect). I would view having a statue of something I find morally wrong to be _less_ damaging than having a mob tear it down and get away with it, because of the message it sends being a much stronger message, and a much more morally (and socially) dangerous one.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I would view having a statue of something I find morally wrong to be _less_ damaging than having a mob tear it down and get away with it, because of the message it sends being a much stronger message, and a much more morally (and socially) dangerous one.

        Roughly, “the effective response to speech you don’t agree with is to silence it” rather than “the effective response to speech you don’t agree with is more speech”?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “Doing something bad while within the limits of the law, is still bad, but only bad in its own right. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater by breaking the law to stop that bad thing by doing other bad things, and then getting away with it, is at least bad in four ways: it shows that doing bad things is acceptable, it shows that taking things into your own hands is acceptable, it shows that going against the law is acceptable, and it shows that the law still protects those who seek to destroy it.” Any one of those will damage the social contract, but the combination of them subverts and turns it against those it is supposed to protect, and destroys its very purpose for existence.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m sorry this happened to you. My parents, personally, are decent people who raised me as best they could, but my maternal grandmother was a real piece of work, as was her mother before her, and her mother before her. There was no grand plan, just possible Borderline Personality Disorder. My maternal grandmother never got a psych exam, though. I don’t remember any of them because they were dangerous pieces of work. One of them tried to take advantage of my attraction to fire to trick me into burning myself in the fireplace.

    That’s when my parents moved out of Texas and into Kansas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeeze! And I thought grandma’s aggressive black dog* was bad. At least ours make for funny stories, even if it’s pull your hair out at the time.

      Actual story, her favorite son got two shirts for Christmas. A red one, and a blue one. He comes down the next morning wearing the red one. She looks up, and first thing she says is:
      “You don’t like the blue one?”

      There were folks we didn’t visit because they were jerks, but that kind of stuff would’ve gotten someone smacked.

      * poetic description of a specific type of depression common in folks whose ancestors were in Ireland and the UK.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank goodness.

        It’s odd, how there are different varieties– and yes, they can definitely both show up in people! I’ve got a kind of fatalistic one that shows up when I’m low on iron, of all ludicrous triggers. (Sort of makes sense– tired = can’t muscle past it= it’s hopeless.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Citrus, oily fish, red meat, getting sunlight at least a half hour a day, plenty of Vit C and treat allergies to reduce inflammation… I use a lot of “treat mild depression” tricks.

        One of the best ones I’ve run across is the advice, “Whatever you’re good at, do more of it.” If there’s something you can do that gives you tangible, useful/emotionally uplifting results, do more of it!

        Hence one reason I keep beading. It’s pretty, it takes enough concentration to help beat down negative thoughts, there’s a set endpoint, you know when the project is finished. As opposed to writing where you’re often in the wilderness of blank pages with no map and maybe a compass.

        I love writing, but you need some emotional “done good!” hits on a shorter timeframe than it takes to write good fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. *Nod* That’s one of mine, too; apparently like a fair number of people I don’t make enough acid to get it out of food easily. Which puts an interesting spin on everyone else staring at me when I chugged orange juice along with spaghetti…. *G*

        Liked by 2 people

  8. My view is that these “people” are judging the past by current standards.LESSON ONE of my first history college class was”judge historical figures by the standard of the day”. I feel disgusted, angry and used for three reasons.First is that in these riots over ONE man’s death, however horrible, at least 20 million dollars worth of damage has been done in one city. The millitary sets the cost of one man’s death at 20-100 million depending. I am angry because they are tearing down statues of everyone they consider racist, including the founder of this country and the man who freed the slaves. They have demolished statues of Black soldiers who were honored as well. I am feeling used because apparently the coronavirus quarantine is less important than these rioters. I followed it 95%, and family saw people getting arested at a wedding with 10 participants! African-Americans riot, and worse than nothing, they are encouraged by inaction.So much for “working together”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish I thought most of them had enough capacity for logic and reason to judge history by any standards outside of “they weren’t Perfect, so begone with them!”

      It’s politics. Everything I can track down says it’s politics. When BLM and Antifa are out on the streets and the Democrats state how “brave” they are, but people who want to go to a Trump rally are accused of being “super-spreaders”… it’s not race, it’s politics. And that’s very sad.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel disgusted, angry and used for three reasons.First is that in these riots over ONE man’s death, however horrible, at least 20 million dollars worth of damage has been done in one city.

      And several people have been murdered— not “died in the conflict,” or the guys who were killed doing stuff like trying to hijack trucks. I don’t think David Dorn’s family is going to be persuaded of the righteousness of the rioters that have his cold-blooded murderer opportunity and cover, especially when there was video by those on site– but the evidence to catch the “protester” involved came from security footage.

      Mr. Dorn was a retired police officer who, as a favor, would run down to reset the alarm at the local pawn shop. (An issue with store alarms is that they frequently get tripped for no good reason, which lowers the priority on that class of alarm; having someone to go check yanks it back up.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Here is an internet hug. You sound like you need one.

    Growing up without that kind of foundation sounds horrible. Good on you for going out and deciding to make your own foundation based on what you have seen (and researched) actually working. I can’t imagine how hard that would be, but I am glad that you saw a problem that need to be fixed and went and learned how to really fix it the best way you could. May your foundation stand strong and last long against those that want to tear it down.

    Thank you for the reminder not to take the family history people do have for granted. It’s… surprisingly easy to do when you have grown up your entire life hearing all your relatives tell stories about what the world was like when they were growing up and what they were doing and how they felt and reacted to it. It’s interesting seeing the perspective that those stories are teaching everyone else in the family more than just family history but are also teaching the morals and ethics and attitudes that go with those stories.

    One of the things I have always appreciated about your stories (both the fan-fics and the original fics) is that they have a genuine respect for healthy family dynamics and people who intelligently hold onto their traditions. Oftentimes because they know why those traditions where come up with in the first place. They are a breath of fresh air in a sea of stories that don’t know what genuinely good family dynamics look like and don’t get why traditions could ever be a good thing to hold on to.

    Thank you for putting your work and thoughts out here!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t say much about what is happening to you in the US. It sounds terrible though, mobs are not known for researching their subject before tearing down statues and it’s probably very unsettling as a citizen to see the symbols you believe in tore down.
    On your personal level though, I hope your family comes clean with its history at some point. Sometimes they don’t because they have been hurt by it, you never know (and yes, that’s the problem isn’t it?). My father is nearing sixty and he recently learned something about his own father, all because my grandpa was dealing with survivor’s guilt that made him Not Talk about it. A grenade was thrown into the bus my grandfather was in, he wasn’t a soldier so he panicked, he tried throwing it out the window and he missed and it bounced back, some people were killed and he survived it relatively unscathed. After that he never talked about the war to his children.
    And I know sometimes these stories come a little too late for the children and grandchildren, but they may still come. At least I really hope they do for you.
    And on the matter of not raising self sufficient children, it sounds from your writings and the character behind them that they failed at it completely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the thought, but it’s not going to happen. All the people involved are either dead now or of dubious sanity and best avoided. Very. Dubious. Sanity.

      Cracked as I am, I’m apparently one of the sanest in the past 2 generations. Oi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose someone of dubious sanity will probably find you cracked. From what I’ve read of you it feels more like you suffer from intense sanity and clear vision though. Which yes, can be taxing for you, but good sense is always a quality anyway! We always need more people like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Anyway, I’ve seen the thing where Barr is claiming that he has directed that charges be filed for destruction of federal property. When I wrote the Sumter comment, I was under the impression that private, state or local statues had been torn down.

    If federal also, things are bit more in favor of the insurrection scenario than I had assumed.

    I think I can see why I made that oversight, even knowing about declared targets that I could have worked out were federal.

    That said, with the lies and disinformation floating around, I do not see why I must trust Barr. I can wait, and see the filings for myself.

    Of course, I’m not competent to judge filing quality, and recently there’s been a bunch of apparent incompetence by federal LEOs.

    Gripping hand, if none of the LEOs are competent to address the actual crimes, bottom up vigilante action and top down counter insurrection civil war start to seem like reasonable decisions. I’m angry and insane, and even I see the practical downsides of vigilantism and civil war.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And when you know that there are several cities in which rioters who’ve been caught on camera destroying things and injuring people are being released because DAs (some of whom have reelection campaigns funded by Soros, among others) are refusing to prosecute….

      You can see why even the calmest and most law-abiding are starting to lose their tempers.

      Liked by 1 person

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