The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

It’s Only Confederate Flags, They Said

Posted on | December 2, 2022 | Comments Off on It’s Only Confederate Flags, They Said

Statue of John Witherspoon at Princeton University

The destructive mobs of organized ignorance (which is to say, the Left) began their crusade by playing upon the anti-Southern prejudices of Yankees. Nearly 30 years ago, one scholar who had followed this “controversy” from the outset explained its origin to me very simply: By the early 1990s, the NAACP was nearly bankrupt, not merely due to mismanagement, but because of the general public opinion that the organization had outlived its purpose. The money had ceased to roll in, and the NAACP was in need of something to help with its fundraising. The public display of the Confederate flag was seized upon as a focus because, the scholar explained, it had a magical effect upon rich Jewish women in certain posh neighborhoods of Manhattan. They wouldn’t lift a finger to help any local blacks — at the time, the Jew-hating clown Al Sharpton had made himself the primary public spokesman for New York’s black population — but the idea of black people being oppressed in the South, oh, they couldn’t write those donation checks fast enough!

Such is the true story of why the crusade to tear down Confederate symbols got started in the early 1990s, more than a quarter-century after the triumph of the civil rights movement, at a time when black people in the South were certainly less oppressed than they’d ever been before. All the allegedly well-meaning people who supported that crusade were fools at best, and perhaps not really as well-meaning as they claimed. But the argument that Southerners should accept this insulting revisionism without protest was always couched with assurances that the demand to take down the Confederate flag was the only concession required to placate the “activists.” In quite the same manner, Chamberlain argued it wouldn’t hurt to let Hitler have the Sudetenland: “Peace for our time!”

We have long since passed the point where any intelligent person expects this radical iconoclasm to end at some logical stopping point. The summer of “mostly peaceful” riots in 2020 saw assaults upon monuments to people who never had anything to do with the Confederacy, except perhaps to oppose it. The very fact that there was a public statue honoring a dead white man seemed to signify in the minds of the leftist mobs that the person so honored must be a RAAAAACIST and therefore the statue was vandalized. And now, in seeking targets for their outrage, the mob has come for an 18th-century Presbyterian:

A Princeton University committee is slated to consider the removal of a prominent statue of Founding Father John Witherspoon in the center of their campus as a result of a petition demanding its removal.
Witherspoon was a member of the second Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and was Princeton’s sixth president.
But he owned two slaves on his farm in New Jersey and voted against a plan for abolition in the state, according to historical records.
A petition, started by three graduate students in the Philosophy Department, states that the “prominent place on campus of the John Witherspoon statue is inappropriate” and calls on the university to “remove it from its pedestal in Firestone Plaza.”
The petition asks that officials replace the statue with an informational plaque that reflects both the “positive and negative aspects of Witherspoon’s legacy.”
The petition adds that the statue, as it stands, pays honor to Witherspoon in a way that ignores his participation in and support for American slavery.
“In such a hub of University life, where people eat, study, socialize, and commute on a daily basis, should students, staff, and faculty not be free from the elevated gaze of someone who held beliefs, and engaged in and defended practices, which we all find so repulsive,” the petition asked.
“Particularly for community members descended from enslaved peoples, the homage the statue does to Witherspoon can be a jarring experience.”

The puerile shallowness of this attack on Witherspoon’s reputation is breathtaking. Born in Scotland in 1723, Witherspoon received his master’s degree from University of Edinburgh at age 16. A staunch Protestant, he was briefly imprisoned during the Catholic-led Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Subsequently gaining prominence as a minister and theologian in Scotland’s Presbyterian church, in 1768 Witherspoon was recruited by American admirers to become president of a certain struggling Presbyterian college in New Jersey. His tenure at what would eventually become known as Princeton University was so successful that perhaps no major institution of learning in the world owes so much to the work of one man. If you’re going to dishonor Witherspoon, you might as well blow up Princeton while you’re at it. (And considering the wretched quality of the “argument” put forth in the student petition, blasting Princeton to smithereens probably wouldn’t be much of a loss.)

The enemies of Witherspoon are anti-American — opponents of our constitutional system of limited government, which directly reflects his influence. Among his students was a certain young Virginian who took away from Witherspoon’s lectures a strong impression of the need for checks and balances in government to restrain tyrannical ambition. But if James Madison was foremost among Witherspoon’s students, certainly he was not alone in achieving prominence:

From among his students came 37 judges (three of whom became justices of the U.S. Supreme Court); 10 Cabinet officers; 12 members of the Continental Congress, 28 U.S. Senators, and 49 U.S. Congressmen.

Did I mention that Witherspoon signed the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey? Kind of important, I think.

All of this is to be cast aside, of course, because Witherspoon is a dead white man, and all dead white men are RAAAAACISTS!

It’s almost as if all this is not really about anything else except hating white people. But you can’t point that out, because pointing it will be cited as proof that you are guilty of RAAAAACISM!

Nobody would listen to us Southerners when we tried to warn y’all where this trend was heading, way back in the 1990s. Being vindicated ought to feel good, but it’s a bitter sort of satisfaction, in such circumstances.



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