In 2001, the world was shocked as Taliban leaders in Afghanistan began destroying statues and monuments in the nation’s museums and historical sites. Some of the statues were more than a thousand years old and dated from Afghanistan’s pre-Muslim period Buddhist past. International condemnation was virtually universal as militants destroyed much of their own country’s history because they saw Buddhist and other non-Muslim artifacts as rubble to be cleared as they tried to build a new Islamic Afghanistan.
Today, US true believers are doing the same thing here. It began as protesters toppled statues of Confederate Civil War figures, but quickly morphed into a broader campaign against the history of a country they had come to despise. Statues of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and even pre-Civil War abolitionists were targeted and Black Lives Matter leaders demanded that they wouldn’t be satisfied until the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC were toppled as well.
The virus spread even to Britain where the government had to build walls around a statue of Winston Churchill to protect it and the former Prime Minister’s granddaughter suggested that perhaps it should be moved to a museum so as not to offend those who despised him and his championship of Western Civilization. In Toronto, Canada a Black Lives Matter crowd similarly demanded the destruction of a monument honoring Churchill as “vile.’ As the rage continued, Popular Mechanics, a US magazine that usually runs articles on how to mow one’s lawn or change the oil in one’s car, ran a “how to” article to instruct those wishing to topple a statue how to do it without being injured in the process.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the portraits of former Speakers who had served during slavery or hadn’t supported its abolition while they were alive taken down, city after city voted to change the names of streets and highways named for former slaveholders or supporters of the confederate side in the Civil War and some even demanded that statues erected to honor the memory of President Abraham Lincoln, the President who issued the “Emancipation Proclamation” freeing the nation’s slaves be removed from the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wisconsin.
Many of these demands seem to border on the insane, but they don’t… and they aren’t about Civil Rights per se or the treatment of minorities by today’s police. They are rational from the perspective of those who hate America and hold the West responsible for the world’s evil. They seek a new world, based not on individual rights and a Constitution they despise, that to work must be built on the rubble of the old. Like Stalin in the old Soviet Union, they would erase from our very history those with whom they disagree and rewrite that history to fit their ideological narrative and values.
Many assume that those demanding the destruction of our history don’t understand it, but that simply isn’t true. They understand our history and are out to destroy it. Those who stood by as the first Confederate monuments went down took comfort in the fact that maybe the protesters had a point, but the effort to obliterate the actual history of the American founding and subsequent history was never meant to be limited to distaste for the Confederacy; it was meant to obliterate or rewrite the history of this country from the day Christopher Columbus made landfall.
The New York Times series accusing the founders of being mainly motivated by racism is now taught in many schools as the intellectual mentors of those beheading Columbus, calling for the destruction of the Washington Monument and the removal of Lincoln’s statue in Wisconsin run amuck.