The tearing down of Confederate monuments was sure to be a divisive issue. Why raise it now, when the people of the United States are as divided as they have been at any time since—the Civil War? The question answers itself. It was raised now precisely because it would be divisive. But to say this is to call into question the motives of those who have raised the issue. Indeed.
Those who advocate tearing down the monuments accuse their opponents of racism. It’s an easy accusation to make, and not an easy one to refute. It places the moral onus on those who would defend the monuments to justify their actions, while deflecting moral scrutiny from their accusers.
Surely those who oppose the monuments do so because the Confederacy was an affront to the individual liberty of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It is one thing to oppose slavery and racism, but it makes all the difference what one advocates in their place. And there’s the rub.
Consider Black Lives Matter. They are not a radical fringe group. Barack Obama welcomed them into the White House, where he praised their success as community organizers. They have enjoyed sympathetic nationwide media coverage, thanks in no small part to Colin Kaepernick and the entire cast of announcers at ESPN. They even have their own exhibit at the Smithsonian Exhibition.
Black Lives Matter has been at the very center of leftwing agitation against white “oppression” for the last year and a half. It is largely because of the success of BLM and their allies that the Left now feel emboldened to go after the monuments.
What exactly do Black Lives Matter advocate? According to their website, they are “committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another….” If this sounds like a turning away from Western-style individualism toward African-style tribalism, that’s because it is.
Consider their view of capitalism, which is the economic system based on private property, the foundation of individual rights. On their website, BLM described capitalism as an economic system “which deforms the spirit and fuels interpersonal violence.”
In a 2016 interview for the website Essence.com, BLM co-founder Alicia Garza was asked if she thought “revolution is the answer”. “[W]e have to be clear a revolution is a process,” said Miss Garza. In other words, yes, the current system of government in the United States does need to be torn down and replaced.
If there is any doubt about Black Lives Matter’s revolutionary inclinations, consider these words from Miss Garza on the BLM website: “When I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work, I always begin by sharing where it comes from, sharing about Assata’s significance to the Black Liberation Movement, what its political purpose and message is, and why it’s important in our context.” “Assata” is JoAnne Chesimard, a former soldier in the Black Liberation Army convicted in the 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Mrs. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba.
To understand that the effort to remove the monuments grows out of the same soil that Black Lives Matter has been tilling for the last year and a half is to understand that if every single Confederate monument in the country were torn down tomorrow, it would settle nothing. It would simply be one more victory on the way to deconstructing the culture of individualism to which men like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington gave political form. The Confederate monuments are just low-hanging fruit for the deconstructionists; who but racists would dare defend them?
Many Americans will find it fantastical to think that the removing of the Confederate monuments could possibly be just a step on the way to razing the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument, much less to the extinguishing of our republican form of government. They should ponder this additional item from the Black Lives Matter website: “We are committed to … doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege ….” “Cis-gender” is newspeak for people whose “sexual identity” corresponds with their anatomy.
While preparing a piece on transgenderism recently, I considered arguing that, given the direction things were headed, it would not be long before parents would be prosecuted for child abuse for failing to allow their children to choose their own sexual identity. But I chose not to use this idea, because I feared that readers would find it too implausible to be persuasive.
Then the Minnesota Department of Education’s “Transgender Toolkit” hit the news. “Some transgender and gender nonconforming students are abused by family members at home,” says the toolkit. “If school staff determines the student is not safe [“safe” in the sense of being free to pursue his gender transition unimpeded at home], the student support team should follow their protocol for reporting child neglect or harm.”
The toolkit defines “gender identity” as “an individual’s innate sense of one’s own gender; a deeply held sense of psychological knowledge of one’s own gender, regardless of the gender assigned at birth.” The meaning of this concept is that a person who is physiologically male may validly consider himself to be female, and vice versa. This is the idea at the root of the transgender phenomenon. And it is the official policy of the Minnesota Department of Education to promulgate this idea and enforce its acceptance.
But the idea itself is pure irrationality. It assumes that whichever sex one thinks one is somehow takes precedence over which sex one actually is. It’s as though thinking the earth is flat could somehow nullify the hard, cold fact that it is round.
Political correctness compounds this madness by requiring the rest of us to participate in it. It is one thing for a man to decide that he is really a woman. It is something else entirely to force the rest of humanity to re-order their lives to accommodate his confusion.
A generation from now, America’s cultural—and political—landscape will be unrecognizable if we do not take a stand against political correctness. PC is a rigged game. It inoculates from criticism those who would deconstruct our culture, while morally paralyzing those who would defend it. It enables a group like Black Lives Matter, whose values are antithetical to everything America stands for, to pose as paragons of morality and justice as they wreak havoc on the culture. President Trump has been fighting a one-man war against political correctness. He could use some help. The Confederate monuments are as good a place as any to start.
Tom McCaffrey is the author of Radical by Nature: The Green Assault on Liberty, Property, and Prosperity.Commenting Policy
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