Owen Courreges: Andrew Jackson protesters march on Mayor Landrieu’s slippery slope

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Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Slippery slope arguments have a deservedly bad reputation. They’re generally too abstract to be useful, bypassing the merits of the actual policy being discussed in favor of perceived consequences if society happens to take a principle too far, thus presuming a progression that is not logically inevitable.

On the other hand, slippery slopes do happen. If a strong argument can be made that one action or policy is a catalyst for a parade of awfulness, it may well be prudent to refrain from lighting that particular match.

This has been the case with Mayor Landrieu’s push to remove four antique monuments, including three Victorian bronze statutes of Confederate leaders (i.e., Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, and President Jefferson Davis). There was never any logical reason to stop with these monuments; once you begin judging complex historical figures by modern standards, everything is up for grabs.

Hence, once the notion of removing historic monuments permeated the zeitgeist, it was virtually inevitable that some errant activist would target other monuments. Malcolm Suber and his “Take ‘Em Down NOLA” crew have certainly filled the role, culminating in a protest march this past Saturday to the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson at Jackson Square.

“We asked for all statues to white supremacy [be taken down] — not just four,” Suber said in advance of the march. “We think it would be appropriate for us to join the national sentiment that Jackson deserves no adoration. Jackson is the architect of the Trail of Tears, was a big slaveholder, and, we don’t think he deserves any public display.”

Suber further explained that he and his ilk intended to physically pull down the Jackson monument with ropes and hooks, at least if they had the numbers to do so. Adding even more fuel to the fire, notorious Klan crony David Duke announced his intention to ooze out from whatever rock he normally hides under and show up in support of the Jackson monument.

On the day of the protest, the NOPD responded predictably – by freaking out – and thus the square was covered with barricades, SWAT vehicles, and a phalanx of officers ready to hold back the horde of assorted leftists.

Thankfully, the protest was generally peaceful. Nevertheless, a small group of protesters were unruly, pushing at the barricades and throwing balloons filled with red paint. Several of those present were arrested.

What was most disturbing was the apparent level of ignorance on display. Local blogger Grey Perkins noted that “[s]everal people I overheard discussing the Jackson statue believed he was a confederate soldier and had no clue that he died in 1845, more than 15 years prior to the Civil War.”

Ouch. That’s even worse than former Mayor Marc Morial’s statement from last year that P.G.T. Beauregard had no ties to New Orleans. It’s not exactly surprising, though. As I pointed out in a previous column, ignorance of history seems to be a driving force behind the drive to purge historical monuments from the public sphere.

We are now seeing another aspect of that ignorance – it doesn’t stop. It’s the imposition of modern values on historical figures and events, performed without regard for the intricate fabric that forms the tapestry of our city’s past. Nothing intelligent can come of that.

There have been some efforts to draw a line in the sand, to distinguish statues of Confederate leaders from those of other figures. Over at the Times-Picayune, Jarvis DeBerry has tried vainly to argue that Jackson, though objectionable to him for the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears, was nevertheless of particular importance to New Orleans, unlike Confederate generals, because of his role in the Battle of New Orleans.

DeBerry’s argument ignores the fact that many of New Orleans’ native sons fought for the Confederacy, for better or worse, and thus memorials to Confederate leaders do have relevance to the city. Particularly, it all-too-quickly dismisses the significance of General Beauregard, who was born just outside the city and lived most of his life in New Orleans.

The bottom line is that Landrieu’s political scheme has opened the floodgates, and now all our monuments are potentially on the chopping block. The standard has been set – nothing is sacred, and every generation may raze as many historic monuments as it pleases.

That, dear readers, is a real slippery slope — and Landrieu put us on it.

Owen Courrèges, a New Orleans attorney and resident of the Garden District, offers his opinions for UptownMessenger.com on Mondays. He has previously written for the Reason Public Policy Foundation.

69 thoughts on “Owen Courreges: Andrew Jackson protesters march on Mayor Landrieu’s slippery slope

  1. So are you taking the position that once a statue goes up, it can never be taken down? That also seems to be a kind of slippery slope. The solution then is to erect counter monuments to each offensive monument. And over time, counter monuments to the counter monuments. What you’re advocating could become an “arms race” of monuments. The better, wiser solution is for the citizens to decide what they want to honor on public land. Yes, it will change over time. Nothing and no one is permanent.

    • Yep Tim, since you really don’t understand slippery slope logic, next on Suber’s and your agenda should be the Washington and Jefferson memorials in D.C.

      • reality,

        Or perhaps the original statue of Jackson in Washington DC. Ours is a copy, you know. Apparently everything is on the table now. No more monuments for the US!

        • I propose Gen Lee share his perch with a statue of a woman of color-Miss Shirley Goodman the better looking half of the duo of SHIRLEY and LEE. It makes perfect sense-diversity, honors NOLA Rnb, Teen singing and the jukebox industry (Italian roots”. What’s not to like?

    • Tim,

      The whole point of keeping old monuments is that they reflect a shared history and stand the test of time. They’re solid representations of history and a connection to the past. You don’t see the UK tearing down each and every statue of an old monarch, even though virtually all of them were tyrants who committed egregious atrocities. You don’t see France razing monuments to the Napoleonic Wars (which would doom the Arc de Triomphe).

      If we followed the lead you are suggesting, we’d have an extremely sanitized landscape, with no monuments save to non-controversial persons and events of the past 100 or so years. Anything else would almost certainly have become objectionable over time.

      As Deux Amors said above, that’s sheer madness.

  2. I find it interesting that Chief Justice White has escaped attack. He was part of the reason blacks had to sit in the back of the bus for half a century. Even more to the point, he stands on courthouse grounds in a more analogous situation to a confederate flag at a government office than antique statues sitting on parkways. Every litigant with an appeal to the Fourth Circuit or Louisiana Supreme Court must pass him.

    It is more than slippery slope, it is utter madness.

    • Deux,

      Agreed. There are very few monuments in the city that aren’t vulnerable to attack based on more modern mores. Assessing antique monuments with a presentist mindset practically guarantees that some people will insist that they all come down, because once you start down that road, there’s really no principled reason to stop.

      • Tim, maybe you have a good idea after all. Letting the citizens decide. Since the Lee monument is at the gateway of St. Charles, which is predominately white all its way to its end at Carrollton Ave., the citizens along St. Charles should have their say. This should include the 1973 “official” (New Orleans Planning Commission) neighborhoods of Lower Garden District, Garden District, Touro, Uptown, Audubon, and Black Pearl. Perhaps the Irish Channel and all the neighborhoods Westerly along the river should also be included in a vote of whether to keep the Lee monument since they are South of St. Charles. The neighborhoods surrounding the Beauregard monument are similarly predominantly white, and they should also have their vote. To leave the decision to a predominantly Black city council is as absurd as a predominantly White city council voting to erect a Jack Dempsey rather than an Ali monument in East New Orleans or any other predominately black community. By the way, Ali’s membership with the Nation of Islam’s Black supremacy philosophy would probably render an Ali monument “slippery slopewise” unacceptable under the ordinance.

    • He hasn’t. He was hooded, roped and painted months ago. Bienville was also vandalized during that same “event.” Dreux and Father Ryan have also been vandalized at other times. Photos in MSM, photos and videos on vandals social media pages. Bienville is their next target (again) – stated by Michael “Quess” Moore on video during their march to Jackson Square 9/24.

  3. “[O]nce the notion of removing historic monuments permeated the
    zeitgeist, it was virtually inevitable that some errant activist would
    target other monuments.”

    Hah! That’s revisionist history. It was the pro-monument crowd that raised the ante.

    At the very first mention of this issue, it was the put-upon, knee-jerk monument defenders – not “errant activists” – who immediately began listing all the other monuments that would “inevitably” come under scrutiny. At the time, I thought it was a strange argument to make and sure-enough, their prophecy has been (self-)fulfilled!

    For most of the “zeitgeist permeation” period (pretense much, Owen?), removing just the four monuments would have been fine, but now it’s been dragged-out for so long that other monuments have been drawn into the fray.

    Personally, I think Jackson has important ties to New Orleans which support keeping his statue, though perhaps with appropriate added context. But I have heard no compelling arguments for keeping the original four monuments.

    • Actually, early on, the TP/nola.com started a series on the countless places and things named for people the mayor wouldn’t like. The question was posed as to what to do with all of that unfortunate history

    • Cannibal,

      That’s not the case. Suber and his fellow travelers were the first ones out of the gate calling for expanded monument teardowns. And even if there were grumblings about “where does this end?” from the pro-monument crowd, they were downright prophetic.

      Furthermore, any notion that Suber is somehow carrying water for “Save Our Circle” is simply ridiculous.It takes a lot of chutzpah to blame those who disfavor razing historic monuments for the efforts of far-left activists who are just following Landrieu’s lead. One might even say it reeks of projection.

      Finally, if you have heard no compelling arguments for keeping antique monuments, I’d say you haven’t been listening.

    • That’s a rather silly argument. For the people who had prescience on how this process would spiral out of control to be a self-fulfilled prophecy it would of had to been they who had showed up to tear the statue of Jackson down.

  4. I think Tim’s suggestion is actually a pretty good one, to change out the statues periodically. Each era suffers or enjoys events that become sacred for just those people. Why not change out the statues as those events become relevant or cease to become relevant to current events? You aren’t ever going to please everyone 100% of the time, but if there is a statue dedicated to someone who isn’t beloved by all, at least it doesn’t have to last beyond, say 10 – 20 years? In addition, perhaps it would be prudent to be more expansive & inclusive of our nation’s history in education. I know, as an adult, I’ve discovered a whole world of information about our history (most of it abhorrent & horrific) that was sugar-coated or not even mentioned in our American History class in school. Maybe, if history was more accurately told to our children, we could break the cycle of hatred, misunderstanding & mistrust. Personally, seeing as New Orleans & our culture is so gloriously diverse, I’d like to see the statues commemorate our music & food! The only statue I really know anything about (or really care about) is Joan d’Arc.

    • BJ,

      Switching out statutes periodically is an awful idea for a wide variety of reasons. First of all, a major part of why we have monuments is so they can stand the test of time. They’ve always been regarded as at least semi-permanent installations. People care a great deal less about monuments of relatively recent vintage; older monuments create a link to the past. I think to say otherwise is ignorant.

      Secondly, these statues are expensive and nobody is leaping forward to pay the cost of “periodically” creating new ones and replacing them. The statue of Lee consists of 7 tons of bronze. Its head alone is 350 pounds. This is not the type of thing that can be replaced at anything resembling a reasonable cost once, to say nothing of over and over.

      In short, the idea is a non-starter. You’re proposing to diminish the status of monuments in the city and there’s no suggestion of how to pay for it.

  5. I find the Lee monument is worthy of removal without it becoming a slippery slope. The Lee monument was funded very shortly after the passage of the 15th ammendment, by a commission composed almost entirely of the leadership of the local White League. The tenets of their mission of suppressing black vote is well established. I don’t believe you will find a single other statue in this city that was placed by a group of hateful people for the specific intent of subjugating another people (or letting those “uppity” folks know where they stood). And for all those same reasons, I’ll be glad when the Lee Monument comes down.

    • boathead,

      That’s bad history. The Lee Monument Association was founded just after Lee’s death in 1870, and the planning and fundraising occurred continuously after that. The head of the association in 1876 was P.G.T. Beauregard, who was certainly no White Leaguer; in fact, he openly advocated for civil rights and attempted to form a political party with racial crossover appeal. There were many people who were part of the Lee Monument Association and donated their time and money who had nothing to truck with the White League.

      Heck, a large contingent of the GAR — Union veterans — were even present for the monument’s dedication.

      In short, while there were certainly many White Leaguers involved with the Lee Monument Association (sadly, it was a major political movement at the time throughout Louisiana), the Lee monument itself was certainly not placed for the “specific intent of subjugating another people.” That’s flatly incorrect. Had the monument been viewed as a flashpoint for civil rights, its funding would have been compromised, Beauregard certainly wouldn’t have been involved, and the GAR would not have been present for the dedication.

    • The White League and city ward groups fought the carpetbaggers to put the winner of an election into the governor’s office. Grant had put the carpetbagger into office instead and the people just came from living under a corrupt government for a number of years.

    • boathead,

      As far as I’m concerned the Liberty Place Monument has already been effectively neutralized — moved to a nondescript location between a parking garage and railroad tracks with prominent signage honoring the Metropolitans who died fighting in the battle. Any other place you moved it to would probably be more prominent, not less.

      Also, the city is not maintaining the Liberty Place monument any longer. The Monumental Task Committee cleans graffiti off, and although the monument has been seriously damaged over the years, nobody has repaired it. The only thing the city does currently is mow the grass around it, which it would be doing anyway.

      • They should be maintaining it. Our forefathers fought for their place in this country and this monument is to those who died in trying to get it back.

  6. finally, PGT Bureauguard and Jefferson Davis clearly had deep New Orleans connections and were truly great men of their day. For the Mayor and Wynton and the City Council to call these out as nusiances and failing to differentiate these from the other two is myopic.

    • boathead,

      I don’t think you should leave out Lee (he was undoubtedly of importance to the many men from Louisiana who fought in his army) but this is exactly my point — Landrieu and the council underwent a simplistic evaluation of history. There’s been no thoughtfulness from the city.

  7. Now, regarding Jackson, there are those who claim that his legacy of the Trail of Tears should preclude him from any place of honor, which is madness. Should we disregard Louis Armstrong because of rumors of spousal abuse? Should we dishonor Ty Cobb’s baseball achievements because he was such a deplorable person? Should we not recognize the musical achievements of Billy Holiday, the Bird, Miles Davis and Booker because they were junkies? Of course not. These people are each heros of American culture, and deserve full recognition despite any other acts they may have committed.

  8. History cannot be re-written. We can only learn from it, move forward and make ourselves better as people and as a Nation. In today’s day and age… any monument or statue looking to get approved will be under different scrutiny. Let history stand where it may.. we cannot erase it.

  9. After the Monuments are removed then they will want Street Names and Buildings Names changed.
    What will happen to all of the residents living & business on these streets. The Mayor is also trying to get
    the Monuments that are dedicated Historical Landmarks reversed.

  10. “DeBerry’s argument ignores the fact that many of New Orleans’ native sons fought for the Confederacy, for better or worse, and thus memorials to Confederate leaders do have relevance to the city. Particularly, it all-too-quickly dismisses the significance of General Beauregard, who was born just outside the city and lived most of his life in New Orleans.”

    All of their arguments also ignore the fact that most, if not all, of the Confederacy’s officers served and fought in the US Army before the WBTS and were heroes of the Mexican-American War. Judging the past and its people by today’s standards (presentism) without considering the total sum of their lives is a skewed view of history. Cherry-picking one event and an economic system that was legal at the time worldwide and ignoring the rest is narrow-minded and bigoted.

    • So why are they memorialized in their Confederate uniforms? Put up statues of them in their U.S. Army uniforms as they were when they were upholding their oaths and serving the United States. To do otherwise is to glorify treason.

      • Viktor, perhaps you need to sit through the PBS Ken Burns Civil War series to understand why confederate soldiers can be memorialized. The vast majority of the soldiers were not slave owners, but as soldiers they did their duty with honor. The Lee and Beauregard monuments appearing in their military uniforms are symbols of the sacrifices the soldiers made. To me these are symbols of military service. The monuments may be noxious symbols to you, but since you have no regard of their symbolism to me I have no regard of how you perceive them. So much for our Mayor’s espousal of diversity in our city.

        By the same token, the Union soldiers deserve their monuments too.

        • Not two miles from here, over the river in Gretna, they have a very tasteful memorial arch to all the dead from Gretna who fell in every war up to the time it was erected (sometime in the 1920’s, I believe). It is a touching reminder of all who died, yes, including those non-slaveholders who believed that they were taking up arms to defend their homes, their rights, and the other usual justifications that the rich use to persuade the poor to take up arms to defend the interests of the wealthy. Some might say that this does not diminish from the sacrifices of the dead, and that is their prerogative. The arch memorializes ALL the dead, so it is open to interpretation.

          I have no quarrel with erecting monuments to the dead or in remembrance of wars. I don’t take issue with people who want to erect statues of dead secessionists. What I have a problem with is putting dead secessionists on public ground and in places of honor – some of the nuance is undeniably lost when you elevate the wartime leaders of the Confederacy to positions of great prominence when, as you rightly point out, the Union soldiers don’t seem to get such tender treatment. In the historical context of the statues themselves, it is clear that the city fathers of that day and age were not thinking of Ken Burns’ documentary when they chose to erect the statues of leaders from only 1 side of a civil war.

          Why not replace them with a memorial to all of the wartime dead?

          • I doubt that you would find many supporters for homogenizing the Tuskegee Airmen monument in Walterboro, SC by censoring that they were black airmen in favor of an “All Wars” memorial; or Vietnam veterans giving up their beloved D.C. memorial for some nondescript generality; or Louis Armstrong park and airport being renamed “Musician’s Park or Musician’s International Airport”; or MLK and Mahatma Ghandi memorials being sanitized to only read, “In honor of passive resistance”; or the Crazy Horse memorial in South Dakota being redone as just a memorial to indigenous peoples…

            By the way, there were a number of National Park Service national cemeteries created in the South for Union war dead, not confederate military dead. Tender treatment and one sidedness?

      • Viktor,

        The relevance Confederate leaders have to New Orleans and Louisiana generally has everything to do with the fact that Louisiana was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. And to condemn all Confederates as traitors reflects historical ignorance, as I outline above.

        • I will ask you again, because you refuse to answer direct questions and choose instead to evade and obfuscate: How long was New Orleans in the Confederacy? Should New Orleans erect approximately 1 statue per general for every 2 months that we are in the same country such general serves? If that were the case, we would have a Napoleon on every corner, a few dozen El Cids, and more Grants, Shermans, and Eisehowers than you could shake a stick at. But we don’t. I wonder why.

          Every Confederate who took an oath to defend the United States Constitution was a traitor and deserved to be hanged. Don’t take my word for it, here is a much more eloquent justification than I could ever write from a U.S. Army Colonel who takes oaths more seriously than did Robert E. Lee or PGT Beauregard.

          http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a24208/what-an-oath-means/

          The fact remains that these statues were erected for overtly racist purposes and to maintain them in public places is an affront to the United States as well as the dignity of the millions of Americans who are rightly ashamed of the Confederacy and its evil legacy.

          • If we’re nominating candidates for hanging for treason against the Constitution, we’d have to start with Honest Abe. I do not think you can identify any counter-Constitutional act on the part of Beauregard or Lee. Their constitutional understanding of the Union as not something to be enforced by arms is entirely defensible.

          • Viktor,

            You’re being obtuse. New Orleans was a part of the Confederacy under federal occupation for the entire duration of the Civil War. It’s a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana, not a distinct entity. Likewise, the men who enlisted at the outset of the war from Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) generally served until the end.

            Reducing this to a matter of years or months is ridiculous. The Civil War was the most deadly conflict in American history, and Louisianans fought in that war on the side of the Confederacy. It is perfectly normal that there would be memorials to Confederate leaders in that war throughout the South.

            Suggesting that all Confederate leaders should have been “hanged” is an extreme view and certainly not the one adopted by the victorious Union army. Prior to his death, Lincoln spoke in terms of reconciliation, not of going on some foolhardy bloodbath that could only be endorsed by those lacking perspective and seeking vengeance. Later, after Lincoln’s death, Grant himself threatened to resign his commission if Confederate leaders were prosecuted for treason. But I suppose in your eyes, Lincoln and Grant are all wet.

            I certainly deny that all Confederate memorials were erected for “racist purposes.” They were supported by advocates for civil rights as well as those opposed to them, which is exactly what you would expect if they were generally viewed as war memorials, not as political flashpoints. In short, your jaundiced, simplistic view of history is clearly flawed.

          • I don’t think Lincoln and Grant were “all wet.” They were complicated and flawed individuals, just like everyone else. However, I think history has borne them out as being on the side of right and defending the great American experiment. I don’t think the same can be said of Lee and Davis, in particular. I know that mine is an extreme view, but I take a dim view to traitors and I see these men as traitors. I don’t feel the same way about the rank and file of each Confederate army, but you cannot deny that men like Lee, Davis, and Beauregard specifically broke oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States and were responsible for the deaths of their fellow Americans.

            It is impossible to ignore the contemporaneous political climate that existed in Louisiana at the time that the statues were raised. I put to you that it is myopic and jaundiced to ignore the lingering sentiments directed against Northerners, Reconstruction, and civil rights. I don’t need to remind you that the landmark Supreme Court case, “Plessy v. Ferguson,” came out of a Louisiana court. The very same states who attempted to secede from the Union were the states who enforced the most rigorous and brutal of anti-civil rights laws. To deny that there is not a clear line from the civil war to “Plessy” is absurd. That is the key to understanding why many view these monuments as paeans to the ringleaders of a bygone ideology that shouldn’t be glorified. Remembered, sure. But we have museums for that.

            I am very surprised that you don’t even condemn the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. I am willing to concede that there is at least some historical context to erecting a statue of PGT Beauregard, though I think it is in very poor taste to commemorate him in his Confederate uniform. I had hoped you were willing to be a little more nuanced in your views. I think in your defense of the Liberty Place monument you will find yourself very much in the minority – and I am comfortable to say, on the wrong side of history.

  11. What — you mean Andrew Jackson and Stonewall Jackson were not one and the same — I had no idea! BTW, David Duke lives in Mandeville, if you’re looking for a particular rock…

  12. Owen, you are mis-characterizing the debate to suit your agenda. Some might call that “hiding the ball.” You completely omit any reference to the monument for the “Battle of Liberty Place” at the foot of Canal – the only monument that I am aware of in the entire United States which commemorates the murder of uniformed police officers.

    Furthermore, you state that the police officers were present at the protest so that they could arrest “leftists.” I didn’t realize you had such a high opinion of David Duke and the ability of his friends in the KKK to behave themselves in public.

    It is fair to distinguish the statue of Jackson from the others. As distasteful as Jackson was by modern standards, he did not engage in overt treason and he at least has some connection to the city of New Orleans, unlike Lee. Saying that plenty of Louisiana men went and fought for the secessionists doesn’t cut it -how long was New Orleans even in the Confederacy before it was liberated by Admiral Farragut – a year, maybe? How many New Orleanians fought under the American flag in our 200+ years as a U.S. state? I don’t see any statues of President Grant or General Sherman anywhere.

    Can you distinguish between remembering historical figures in a context that lends itself to contemplation and thoughtfulness, such as a museum, and literally putting them on a pedestal in the middle of a traffic circle? Men like Lee, Davis, and Beauregard are most famous for one thing: breaking their respective oaths to the Constitution and choosing instead to murder more Americans in what is still today the bloodiest war that America has fought in, measured by U.S. casualties. If you want to put these statues up on private property, that’s your prerogative. Me, I would have trouble finding myself in the same camp as David Duke.

    • It wasn’t murder. It was a battle to seat the winner of the Governor’s election in his office. Grant put in a Republican carpetbagger over the votes of the citizens.

    • Viktor,

      I didn’t focus on the Liberty Place monument for two reasons: 1) it has been effectively neutralized by placing it in a nondescript location between a parking garage and the railroad tracks; and, 2) prominent signage has been placed on the monument memorializing the Metropolitans who died in the conflict, effectively re-branding it as a broader memorial.

      As for my reference to leftists, it was based on the simple fact that Suber’s crew arranged the protest and made up the vast majority of those present.

      With respect to your argument about Jackson being distinguishable, I think you’re reaching. The issue is modern reappraisals of historical figures. Tarring all members of the Confederacy as “traitors” completely ignores the fact that most people prior to the Civil War considered their state citizen to be primary and national loyalty secondary, such that *not* fighting for the Confederacy would have been considered more likely to be treasonous than the alternative. It also ignores the fact that the legality of succession had not yet been resolved by the Civil War itself. It’s historical presentism, and it reflects a highly simplistic mindset.

      Ultimately, you’re really just judging historical figures by modern standards in both cases, and once that starts, then everything is on the table. Your efforts to draw the line elsewhere are weak sauce.

      • Owen,

        Cool, let me know when you’re OK with your taxpayer dollars going toward the maintenance of a statue of Osama bin-Laden. After all, (1) he was an American ally in the 1980s, and it would be wrong to apply our modern-day morality to somebody who is already dead; and (2) we can erect the statue in a “nondescript location” with adequate signage memorializing the Americans he murdered and that’ll make everything just fine and dandy.

        The statues in question are not of “all members of the Confederacy,” they are of three graduates of the United States Military Academy – men who held officers’ commissions and who took oaths to protect the Union and to obey the orders of their Commander-in-Chief. Jefferson Davis was even a Cabinet member for President Franklin Pierce in the 1850’s. These men were not rank and file members of the enlisted class. They were ringleaders who were responsible for leading the Confederacy and prolonged the war much longer than it ought to have gone on, directly contributing to more American deaths.

        You can’t distinguish between an American President whose statue is inscribed with the saying “The Union Must and Shall be Preserved,” from the three rebels I just mentioned above? Really?

        Well that’s funny, because I can’t distinguish your position from David Duke’s. Or for that matter, from the nameless vagabonds who fire-bombed the car of the contractor who was tasked with removing the statues per the authorization of Mayor Landrieu and the New Orleans City Concil and then caused that contractor to resign from doing the job as a result of their making repeated death threats against his wife and children. To pretend that these actions are comparable to the “leftist” protesters is a false equivalency. Why don’t you also condemn the violent and illegal actions committed in the name of the statues? Surely you don’t think the end justifies the means. Even by the standards of the 19th century, that would be cruel.

        • Viktor,

          That analogy is inapt and inflammatory, and I’m pretty sure you’re aware of that. Osama Bin Laden was a contemporary figure who headed a foreign terrorist organization that wanted to destroy America. He is not like the Confederacy during the Civil War, which represented nearly half the country and whose intention was to secede in the context of an era when loyalties cleaved more closely to state governments and the primacy of the federal government and impermissibility of secession had not been established. It’s apples and oranges.

          I would also disagree with your characterization of Confederate leaders. Many of them didn’t even support secession or slavery, but fought based on state loyalty. They also didn’t fight the war unduly long — Lee surrendered at an appropriate time when the war was truly lost.

          Finally, your resort to guilt-by-association is fallacious. I don’t care what David Duke believes or anybody else. I’m not responsible for the beliefs and actions of others, and this column didn’t concern events that took place a year ago. You’re making bad arguments and then trying to change the subject.

          • I am not implying that you are somehow guilty of somebody else’s actions. I don’t think that you are a racist or that you advocate breaking the law. I am implying that your views are echoed by some unsavory people who are willing to take the law into their own hands.

            I pointed out that your position on this particular issue is shared by a klansman and at least one arsonist. I am consciously aware that my position is supported by the Mayor, the New Orleans City Council, and ostensibly the Eastern District of Louisiana and the U.S. Fifth Circuit. You were keen to point out that the police attended the protest last week in anticipation of arresting assorted leftists but you made no mention of the fact that David Duke and his associates aren’t exactly renowned for their respect for the law, yet they were also in attendance, too. I wanted to see if you would take the opportunity to condemn illegal activity whenever it rears its head, or only when it suits your political ends.

            I see your distinction about the political differences between al-Qaeda and the Confederacy. From my perspective, killing Americans for political purposes is anathema and I cannot glorify or pay homage to a man who took an oath to defend the Constitution and then chose to violate his oath out of loyalty to his state. To be clear: half of my family has lived in the United States since the 1650’s and took up arms with the Confederacy. I understand what they think they were fighting for, but I cannot agree with their principles. From a logistical perspective, I think the record makes it clear that the south had no real chance of winning the war after Vicksburg fell and Lee lost at Gettysburg (an invasion of U.S. soil, I might add). I have already posted a magazine article written by a U.S. Army Lt Col which is part of a series on Civil War history. It is must more eloquent and better researched than what I could hope to replicate in a comments thread, but I encourage you to read it. If you think I am wrong I will gladly read with an open mind any link you choose to post.

            Public monuments to wartime dead are generally a necessary and good thing for a society that values past sacrifices, but like I pointed out on another comment thread, there is a perfectly good example of a non-inflammatory monument to those who fell on both sides of the war in Gretna. They have, as I am sure you are aware, a monument arch in front of their city hall which commemorates the dead in all wars that Gretna residents fought in.

            In summary, it is impossible to divorce the Confederacy from the defense of slavery and if we are going to commemorate the dead of New Orleans, I suggest we take a leaf out of Gretna’s book and memorialize all of our dead instead of glorifying the perpetrators of the greatest loss of American life ever sustained in wartime.

  13. “…history helps us recognize the mistakes that we’ve made, and the dark corners of the human spirit that we need to guard against. And yes, a clear-eyed view of history can make us uncomfortable. It will shake us out of familiar narratives.
    But it is precisely because of that discomfort that we learn, and grow, and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect. ”

    -President Barack Obama

  14. Democrats will continue their voyage towards communism and extremism. We need a state law to protect monuments. Since hate crime laws exist, we also need a Bronze Lives Matter bill to severely punish those who commit crimes against monuments. The attackers are clearly motivated by anti-white racism and seek to erase white history.

  15. Unfortunately, we live in times wherein if we do not like our history, we simply re-write it to suit our current thinking.

    “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.” Winston Smith, Ministry of Truth Editor in George Orwell’s “1984.”

    Think about this quote when you vote in November.

  16. It is ironic that a city that basks in its historical past would now try to commit a slippery slope censorship of its past by getting rid of a few historical monuments. That basking involves a history of French and Spanish slave owners and a French Quarter, Garden District, Lower Garden district, Marigny, Bywater… and nearby restored plantations that draw thousands of tourists each year wanting to bask in that past.

    Are these historical monuments? The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, in its letter to the City Council before its vote seemed to think so. Its letter stated, “After thoughtful dialogue among our board, staff and various community stakeholders, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans (PRC) holds the position that our city’s monuments should be preserved and maintained in their current positions.” The letter went on to state, “Indeed, we believe preservation is not to endorse our history, but rather to let history educate and inform our future.”

    The Preservation Resource Center has been instrumental in preserving many of the city’s historical homes and buildings. They conduct classes on the purchase of historical homes and buildings and their restoration.

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