Thoughts on Removing Statues of Historical Figures

While I’m against the kind of marxist-cultural revolution that tries to silence parts of history because it inevitably starts to silence people at the cost of life and liberty, I don’t think the monuments and statues issue can be reduced to mere historical markers like dates and figures in a history textbook either. Monuments and statues are meant to celebrate the actions and people whom they memorialize. Those people are celebrated in this way because it is believed they exemplify some value or virtue that is sacred to that community.

Of course, it shouldn’t need to be said that by honoring a person in this way you’re not affirming everything they did, good and bad. In such a case we would have to approve of MLK Jr’s serial adultery, which has been corroborated by multiple sources, most important of which is Ralph Abernathy, close companion of MLK and a civil rights leader. There has also been testimony of MLK protecting a rapist and hitting women. You can find some of that in this link:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-face-the-whole-truth-about-martin-luther-king-jr-20190612-u6hdhuga7zfefky3ll4twcdrty-story.html%3foutputType=amp

My point is not to attack MLK but to challenge the consistency of many people’s measure of judgement. Statues are more than information, they are celebration. And there may come a time when a nation decides that it no longer wishes to celebrate a certain part of its history because it no longer holds the same values. There’s nothing wrong with that in of itself. The question is whether the thing it’s moving on from is good or bad, right or wrong.

 

P.S. Of course, a sanctioned removal of statues is usually a better course of action and better represents agreement than angry mobs.

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