In a really interesting turn of events, Steven Littlefield, a descendant of Major George Littlefield (a prominent figure in southern history), is suing Greg Fenves, the president of the University of Texas at Austin for removing four statues from the campus. Steven’s case is that the statues removed, as well as a portion of land used by the university, were both donated by Major Littlefield years ago in order to promote unity between the South’s past and the future it hoped it could build. By removing the statues, Steven feels that the university is essentially breaking good faith and promises the administrations were supposed to keep in maintaining unity and history.
This isn’t the first time that Steven Littlefield has sued the university, as he did so recently when the statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson were also unfairly removed from the campus due to dubious reasoning. Of course, Steven failed in that last lawsuit, but I feel we are in a way more charged climate than ever before. I wrote a post that you can read here, where I explain why removing Confederate statues is a bad idea, and I wrote here criticizing Greg Fenves for removing the statues from his campus out of fear. As always, tearing down statues is a symptom of an ill society, one who has been brainwashed into finding outrage with both the present and the past. It’s hard to watch videos of ISIS blowing up and tearing down beautiful and historic monuments in the Middle East and Africa, and not see similarities between their actions, and the actions of extremist, black-clad, hate groups like Antifa in the U.S.
I think that Littlefield’s lawsuit raises a very important point that has long been ignored about Confederate statues, and even just other historical monuments. As always, the progressive left has managed to reduce political discussion into one of taglines and slogans, easy and pseudo-intelligent enough for all of their followers to post on social media and repeat in lines at food trucks when they venture into public. For this debate, the popular slogan coined has been, “Losers don’t deserve participation trophies”, incorrectly implying that Confederate statues and monuments somehow stand for Southern pride in the leaders of the Confederacy. Having spoken to several people who adamantly want statues torn down, I’ve noticed that all of them are in the mindset that all monuments are somehow honoring the people or ideas they represent. Conversely, people I know who are supportive of keeping statues up all think of statues and monuments as symbols of history and events that happened, acting in a variety of functions. Not all monuments have the same purpose, and a statue of an evil human being can be just as educational as it is artistically significant. Personally, I’ve always found Confederate monuments to be a great way to reflect on my nation’s past, as I consider how the same loyalty and libertarian streaks that gave us America in the first place also led to the Confederacy defending something as morally abhorrent as slavery, and picking up arms against their fellow brothers.
As a Jew with bi-racial heritage, I’ve never once been offended by seeing a statue, no matter its context or origin. At the end of the day, understanding history and where we came from rules supreme in my mind, and the fact that the American South has managed to recover from utter shambles and pump out some of the world’s best universities can only be appreciated if you know where the South came from. People joke that taking down statues suddenly erases Confederate history from the timeline, but look at Germany, who has totally wiped Nazi imagery and history from their nation and simultaneously has more Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists than America does, and you suddenly start to understand the importance of public representation of history no matter how ugly or vile. If universities and cities really wanted to push messages of unity and peace, then they should stop supporting the race baiting and violent mobs that have plagued the nation these past years, and to start trying to close the ever-growing divide between this nation. For all of you who get so offended by the actions committed by people before you, look at your own actions, and really consider if you’re any better. In no world does violence create peace, and never will the suppression of history and erasing of culture do anything but alienate and radicalize those who know the truth.