I had in mind the deliberate destruction of religious icons, and a vague memory of it having happened at least once in the Russian or Eastern Orthodox church in the medieval period; such things being, in the judgment of the sternly orthodox, ungodly and unsuitable, and therefore to be expunged … but it seems that spasms of righteous destruction are almost a human constant, across culture and time. The current passion for defacing and destroying public monuments – and not just those memorializing Confederate heroes – turns out to be not all that new and revolutionary. (channeling Private Gomer Pyle: Surprise, surprise, surprise.)

It is a bit of a surprise to see that among the long list of vandalized and defaced civic monuments are a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, one of John Greenleaf Whittier (noted writer, poet and abolitionist) Matthias Baldwin (also an abolitionist) and the monumental St Gaudens memorial for Robert Gould Shaw and the all-black 54th Massachusetts volunteer infantry. Statues and monuments to honor abolitionists, or even people who had damn-all to do with the matter of slavery have been defaced in Britain and France as well, which indicates to me that their mobs and ours are alike with Nikole Hannah-Jones of the infamous 1619 Project in their abysmal ignorance of history in general and that of the abolition movement in particular. But ignorance is no particular crime in and of itself, although it must be nice to draw an editor-level paycheck from the New York Times-Stürmer in return for publicly demonstrating that particular shortcoming.

However, vandalism is, and attempting to erase history ought to be, and when it comes to defacing and destroying monuments and statues for which a substantial portion of the population feels affection, even reverence for, matters are guaranteed to become a titch … kinetic. There has already been gun violence in the fair city of Albuquerque, where protestors attempting to demolish the statue of Juan Onate, and a counter-protestor objecting to this program took ballistic exception to being attacked by a mob armed with knives and skateboards. (Apparently our fearless social justice warriors go to war with the weapons they have.) It’s my understanding that the matter of the first Spanish governor of what was originally an outlaying settlement of Old Mexico is a particularly touchy one, among the Hispanic population who see Juan Onate as a first-class hero, and those Native Americans who see him as a first-class oppressor and all around sh*t. (They once used to be called Indians, which is confusing because if you were born in these United States you are, according to the strict definition of the word, a native American. But that’s a sidebar discussion for another time. I would also venture a guess that Americans of Italian descent are not all that chuffed at having statues of Christopher Columbus defaced and destroyed.) A statue of George Washington has already been disgustingly defaced and toppled, which rather suggests that demolishing only those monuments of Confederate heroes was just the start. This kind of lively discussion over re-siting of ornamental statuary is better suited to any other venue than one where knives, guns, skateboards, baseball bats and bike locks are likely to be deployed, instead of calm civility and lucid, socially-responsible discussion. Alas, the latter qualities are not much in evidence.

I’m against destroying Confederate statues, by the way – in spite of being a die-hard Unionist and partisan of the abolitionists. First – because when those statues memorializing Confederate heroes and soldiers were first put into place, it symbolized a kind of closure and reconciliation to a war so bloody that it more than decimated whole communities. The miné balls and iron shot fell like a deadly kind of hail on battlefields between Richmond and Pea Ridge over five long bloody years as kin and countrymen slaughtered each other in job lots. Putting up monuments to the slain, the losers and the victorious alike was a kind of line drawn under the savagely wrenching experience. I would not expect the Zinnistas, Marxists, and black racist monument-destroyers of this age to appreciate that human subtlety, not the way that history has been taught in our schools and universities for decades. I can only assume that the new iconoclasts are hoping for another such war – the arrogant fools. Secondly, yielding to mob action sets a precedent – a precedent which allows the mob to run rough-shod and lock-wielding over the rest of us.

In the city where I live, there has been enough concern about the last little remains of the Alamo presidio that volunteers made a point of gathering, after threats against it, and defacing the cenotaph monument which stands in the square in front of the small stone chapel and a single range of what was once the mission convent. Once upon a time in history this place housed a Spanish and then a Mexican presidial garrison … until rebellious Texans and Tejanos took it over in late 1835. For Texans of all political inclinations save the most rabidly Zinnist, it’s a sacred spot, where that scratch garrison of Texan federalists and rebels made a last bloody stand against the centralist authoritarian, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna early in that following spring. (It’s also a top tourist draw to San Antonio, along with the Riverwalk, so civic consideration can assume to be paid, even in the summer of the Chinese Commie Crud.) Against threats – which might or might not be hollow ones, volunteers appeared. To the dismay of local pols and what small remains of the local newspaper still stand. They disapprove, most vehemently, but given the swath of destruction by Zinnista mobs against monuments in these times … better safe than sorry.

If I hadn’t cancelled my subscription to the local rag pretending to be a newspaper about fifteen years ago, I would have done so upon reading the following.

This “defense” was not called for or welcomed, nor was it needed. It was dangerous, and these individuals are not deserving of praise; they are deserving of scorn. With their vitriol, inflammatory words and, most dangerously, their firearms, they risk not only their lives but the lives of others.

(Seriously, the Express News is a thin and pathetic thing, about the size of the Stars & Stripes when I last read an issue of that. My late business partner confessed to regarding it as a dead, pathetic thing, the shriveled remains of what had once been one of two vigorous competing dailies in my fair city.)
Interesting times, my friends. Interesting times. And I will not bow or kneel. How about yourselves?

27 thoughts on “Iconoclast”

  1. Should we remember Mao, Stalin, Hitler? Should we remember Genghis Khan, for that matter? Personal view is that we should. Remembering them is not the same as celebrating them, or stamping approval on their deeds. We need to remember what human beings are capable of — good & bad — so that we can try to do better in the future.

    What we are seeing now with the Antifa types is a logical outgrowth of the way the Usual Suspects have treated Muslim extremism. Photograph a crucifix in urine and you get celebrated; write the wrong words about Mohammed and you get your very own fatwa. Our leaders respect violence — which is a good way of ensuring that our societies will get more violence.

    Sad, but that is the way things are.

  2. The Confederates were fighting to preserve the African cultural institution of slavery. Lincoln and the abolitionists were waging cultural genocide against blacks. The Lincoln Memorial does not belong on federal property.

    In all seriousness, the above might be less intellectually bankrupt than the 1619 project. And it’d be grimly hilarious to see how many of the black rights activists would agree to the claim that during the civil war, Republicans were primarily waging cultural genocide against blacks.

    The universities have not been shuttered, the offices of the Zinnists torn down with them inside. The least the Zinnists could do is reciprocate by leaving the statues alone.

    Barack Obama is the most senior person responsible for and promoting Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter, which has burned down so many black neighborhoods. Should the Obama Presidential Library be burned down.

  3. Given my nom d’ blog, I gotta admit that remembering my old boss is not a bad thing ;-)

    As far as reconciliation between Yanks and Rebs; a reasonable distance from here [keeping in mind mountain roads] there is a cemetery that was founded in Territorial days. Within it is a section that is a Confederate military cemetery. It was created, and paid for, by the Grand Army of the Republic. For those who do not know, that was the Union Army’s veterans organization. While I am now too old for doing living history re-enacting, I have portrayed Dragoons, Union Infantry, Confederate Infantry, and Artillery for both sides to teach. I was taught Artillery by the technical advisor for Artillery for the movie Gettysburg.

    After the civil war, both sides had respect for those who had seen the same elephant and there was a bond between them. The war was over and they respected each other, which was reflected in the monuments.

    Our current human plague neither knows nor cares about the past, or honor, or valor. This is not going to end well or easily.

    Subotai Bahadur

  4. When enough illegals saunter across the border to turn Texas blue — which will be within the decade — you will either kneel or flee, Mom. The Alamo is going to be torn down while an all-Hispanic police force watches, grinning. You could save your home and your icons and your Republic if you’d live up to one tenth the mythology you’ve created for yourselves. But apparently that would be too much trouble. Whole families are simply walking across the border, through suburbs on the Texas side, and into the nearest large city. They come in an unending stream, and you people sit and watch and drawl oh no, they’re TEJANOS. No, no they’re not. You’re already outnumbered. You are California Mk. II.

    In other news, the graduating class for the LAPD is damn near 100% Mexican. Illegals in LA are craking out anchor babies faster than the lowest populated US states, with irreversible political result. This is your future, your near future. You will see it accelerate with horrifying speed once a Democrat gets back into the White House. You are already conquered, and will shortly be trodden underfoot.

    As for the statue topplers, they are simply Mao’s Red Guard, and are being deployed for the same reason and with the same likely result. But neither they nor a hunch of rioting lawless savages are an existential threat to the Republic, only their own neighborhoods. The illegals and continuing stream of rapefugees from Africa and the Middle East are. We might save our country if we nationalized the National Guard and sent them into every Hispanic hive from LA to San Antone to the all-Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago and New York, built the wall, and shut off all funding to the Lutheran and Catholic rapefugeee foundations. But no. That also would be too much trouble.

    You have, in all likelihood, four more years and change to prepare for what awaits every ethnic, religious, and political minority in the human record. Keep buying ammo and eye property in the countryside. But please spare us all this wringing of hands over trifles.

    Nothing follows.

  5. “The Confederates were fighting to preserve the African cultural institution of slavery. Lincoln and the abolitionists were waging cultural genocide against blacks.”


    Did you know that an important source of Muslim rage against the West was the West’s efforts to end slavery?

  6. I wonder if the mob will progress to the point reached by the Red Guards and the Jacobins of digging up the dead and scattering their bones ?

    My son and his family just got back from a trip looking at colleges and places to move when he retires in 2 years. They liked northeast Arkansas a lot. They were not that impressed with Texas, though Austin was a dump. Lots of CA exiles in Austin but they were not impressed with UT, either.

    The LAPD had an interesting experience with Mexican officers called “the Rampart Scandal.”

    I don’t think we will have a civil but we will have a population shift out of cities and a lot of colleges will not survive. As for corporations, lots of big ticket bankruptcies coming. Hertz and J Crew are only a hint of what’s coming.

  7. There seem to be a lot of people who believe that changing *symbols*…statues, building names, product names, etc…is the most important thing. For example, I know someone who’s been involved in a project to change the name of a middle school (which is named after a Confederate general)..but I haven’t seen him say anything about ways to actually improve the education in that school.

    This is partly related, I think, to the rise in the % of the population that spends their work time dealing with words and images. If you’re a farmer or a machinist or a civil engineer, then the distinction between *speech* and *action* is pretty clear; if you’re a journalist or a (non-STEM) academic or a consultant or a marketing person, not so much.

  8. Yeah, change in occupation may be part of it. Some of it is definitely change in religious practice.

    I’d say here and ATH are at least 40% of my blog comments on religious qualities of leftism, and of how socialisms and communisms should be understood as religions.

    The symbol manipulation is a magical spell or religious ritual to alter reality.

    Anyone who has experience being competent at something like farming, machining, or engineering, gets how difficult it is to actually make changes in reality. Those are the kinds of experiences which ingrain an awareness that all the nice words in the world can amount to nothing in the end. Those are the kind of experiences which make it difficult to truly believe that reality is consensus, and that bad things happen (as opposed to the good intentions of sincere leftists), because bad people express the idea that they might happen.

    I’ve only recently realized something from some of Foxfier’s discussion of the bagged human remains being left as a display in Washington. Not only can this fail to break the way the Democrats are gambling, there is more than one demographic policy cluster that could backfire. The cartels are racist, and may have the poor judgement to conclude that this is an opportunity to start liquidating blacks. If American blacks not only conclude that the current rioting is a bit intolerable, but that toleration of illegal immigration is harmful to their interests, we would definitely see a lasting Trump realignment.

    Right now is too soon for people to have even discovered the cartel information that might lead them to change their minds. Minds might or might not have changed by voting this cycle, but 2022 would be a possible early confirmation.

  9. I think, to the rise in the % of the population that spends their work time dealing with words and images.

    Oh, I agree completely. The people who run and work in these “virtual” corporations are manipulating pixels. They touch nothing real.

    I just was paying bills and discovered someone hacked my eBay account and bought a $900 iPhone. This is the second fraud buying an iPhone I’ve encountered. The last one took months to unravel and I finally cancelled my cellphone account and changed the provider. The first one, I’m sure, was an inside job. This one was eBay. iPhones seem to be popular with criminals.

  10. Anyone who has experience being competent at something like farming, machining, or engineering, gets how difficult it is to actually make changes in reality.

    Add to the list: experience in managing people. The clever, educated people behind dirigiste schemes seem always to assume that if you pass a law or enact a regulation, people will do or not do exactly as they are told.

  11. Somebody, maybe Eisenhower although I think it is older, said, “The enemy gets a vote.” That is sure true of Surgery, which is what I know best. A friend of mine years ago was a veterinarian. He would say, “Now it is up to the old dog.”

    I do know Eisenhower said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

  12. And now it appears that the marching morons of San Francisco have toppled statues of Fr. Serra, General Grant and Miguel Cervantes … one of whom won the war to free slaves, and one of whom was a slave himself. In a Moorish galley.
    A triumph of the American mis-educational system and the politics of focused resentment. Take a bow, BLM and AntiFa – you are too malevolently stupid to be treated as responsible adults.

  13. There are ways to eventually figure out that you are an incompetent engineer if you have at first fooled yourself.

    Management and leadership are definitely areas where even being halfway competent shows you how difficult the problems really are.

    But it is also possible to achieve levels of incompetence where someone might flat out fail to realize that they do not actually get anything done. To mistake shuffling paperwork for real action.

    So my instinct is that however true it is that competent leaders are also aware, where conversation is concerned, that field is too difficult to discuss to be worth counting. On the other hand, I have pretty much zero competence at leadership. I may also have difficulty sorting good from bad leadership examples.

    Of course, I can’t call myself an engineer, have no interest in farming, have tried enough machining to know I’m bad at it, and probably cannot get good at it. I might be up to running a CNC machine, but I don’t have the dexterity or focus for manual work. So maybe I shouldn’t talk about those either?

  14. Also, a Twitterer originally from India pointed out that it was hypocritical of folks to celebrate the statue cancellations here, and at the same time condemn Modi for wanting to tear down a Mosque and replace it with a Hindu temple. Muslims have a history of conquest and oppression in India after all.

  15. Jonathan…”Add to the list: experience in managing people. The clever, educated people behind dirigiste schemes seem always to assume that if you pass a law or enact a regulation, people will do or not do exactly as they are told.

    Here’s George Eliot, circa 1866:

    “Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary’s men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden. You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with the game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for his instruments.”

  16. In other news, the graduating class for the LAPD is damn near 100% Mexican

    Should make for an interesting future for black LA residents. Perhaps we’ll see another ‘great migration’ of blacks from area of oppression (Minneapolis, Chicago, LA) to Montreal and Toronto.

  17. I do know Eisenhower said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

    He learned his lesson at West Point, apparently.

  18. It’s been a mystery to me how those denouncing American slavery can ignore socialist slavery, but this bewilderment way be too close to lexicographer Johnson’s “ How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Any opposition he had to America was completely ineffective, too.

    One death in Minneapolis is a cause for rioting, looting, burning, murdering, but a million deaths under socialism is a statistic.

  19. A triumph of the American mis-educational system and the politics of focused resentment. Take a bow, BLM and AntiFa – you are too malevolently stupid to be treated as responsible adults.

    I’m not sure that this is the result of stupidity. Oh, I agree many of the rioters have no idea who the statues represent but there is a plan behind this. This is not random violence Fortunately, the Trump people are aware of much of this. They are watching from drones and recording faces as well as possible. There are many arrests being made of mostly white young people who have been the local leaders and instigators. We are seeing more masks and starting to hear complaints from Democrats about the drones and the use of facial recognition methods. Antifa is made up of professional rioters and agitators. We saw one of them in Minneapolis who was carrying an umbrella, probably a signal like tour group leaders do in Europe, dressed all in black with a complete face mask. He walked along smashing store windows with a club or metal rod. Looting followed. He was followed by a drone leaving the area once his work was done.

    Somebody is paying for this. Soros funded a bunch of local officials like the DA in San Francisco and St Louis but there is more organization.

  20. Correct, the icon destruction is not much about Floyd, racism or police misconduct. It is mostly symbolic violence against our society as a whole. It is intended to be a throwing down of the challenge to stop the marxist revolution. Lot’s of useful idiots are in play and our progressive leaders in these areas fall in that category, even if just by their ignorance and weakness. A new bar of acceptable protest is established.

    Poor Olympia mayor, et al.


  21. what was once the mission convent.

    Times change, don’t they? And what was once a building purposed to the saving of souls and conversion of the heathen is re-purposed, never to return to its original purpose. It’s almost as if it were transformed by a rebellion; a social, political, or intellectual rebellion, which re-valued the past, thereby transforming, destroying, or preserving by the rebellion’s own standards.

    I wonder—did any Catholics come forth, armed or not, to prevent the mission from falling away from its original purpose? Or did Catholics accept the mission, its vital religious life, were gone forever, washed away by anti-clericalism and secularism.


  22. Bow? To whom, or to what? My knee belongs to GOD, not to any human being or agency. And I have yet to see Jesus with a bull horn or a brick or a Molotov cocktail in my city’s streets.

  23. We cancelled that rag 12 years ago after they axed a pro-military writer on the op/ed page. Then tangled with an editor who argued they did have some conservative contributors to which I responded that their front page was pure NYT and that was as far as most people read for information and we were fed up with it.

  24. it more than decimated whole communities
    Thank you for knowing what “decimated” means.

    And I will not bow or kneel. How about yourselves?
    I have no king but Jesus. And I bow to no mere man.

  25. Mike K Says:
    June 21st, 2020 at 7:57 am
    Soros funded a bunch of local officials

    Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest billionaire?

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