Under the cover of both night and police guard, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu began taking down monuments commemorating what he calls a “Cult of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy.”
The monuments include statues of Confederate personalities Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard.
Landrieu said, “The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.”
Is this an elaborate (and pricey) attempt at virtue signaling by the mayor—or a ploy to redirect attention away from a failing city (one with the highest murder rate in the US and a dependence on unconstitutional red light traffic tickets)? Unfortunately, the truth may be more sinister than that.
Landrieu claims that he’s taking the statues down to show the world that, “We as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly– choose a better future.”
The ambiguity in his statement hints at a common modern complaint: racism is one of the worst evils of all time and we need to do everything we can to condemn it.
As an ardent anti-racist, I can certainly agree with the sentiment; but Landrieu’s crusade isn’t about fighting racism—even the racism at the heart of slavery.
If his monumental PR stunt was truly aimed at ridding the streets of icons of white supremacy, the mayor would need to take down the statue of President Andrew Jackson, infamous for his mistreatment of his slaves, as well as the statues of slaveowners Henry Clay and John McDonogh (both of which stand in Lafayette Park), add to that the statue of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, who brought slaves with him before founding the cities of Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans, I’m sure there are countless others out there.
Granted, the Liberty Monument obelisk had a clearly racist statement added to it, and Jefferson Davis had very few redeemable qualities and no real ties to New Orleans; but the other two statues slated for removal commemorate amazing people, who, if you know history, helped to promote the very cause Landrieu supposedly supports.
Robert E. Lee despised slavery, stating, “So, far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained.”
The only reason Lee rejected Lincoln’s position in the Union army was because he said he couldn’t, “raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.”
After the war, Lee worked tirelessly toward reconciliation stating, “All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace.” He urged that every man vote and “prepare his friends, white and colored, to vote and to vote rightly.”
P.G.T. Beauregard was not a supporter of slavery either; after the war, he often spoke for the civil and voting rights of freedmen.
In an 1873 address, he said, “I am persuaded that the natural relation between the white and colored people is that of friendship. I am persuaded that their interests are identical; that their destinies in this state, where the two races are equally divided, are linked together; and that there is no prosperity for Louisiana which must not be the result of their cooperation.”
Do these men sound like enemies of diversity, inclusion, or tolerance?
Lee and Beauregard are icons of unity, not racism. As the diverse crowds protesting the removal demonstrate, this whole thing isn’t about racism. And, as the mostly white college-aged kids bullying and macing the protestors demonstrate, it’s certainly not about diversity, inclusion, or tolerance either. So, what else is going on here?
Landrieu speaks of a cult of the “Lost Cause” which is a literary and philosophical interpretation of the Civil War.
It holds that the primary reason for the conflict wasn’t slavery but state’s rights and the defense of the South from northern aggression. In this interpretation, Lee and, to a lesser degree Beauregard were icons that stood for the Southern ideals of Christianity, tradition, and honor, and most importantly, freedom.
Many historians have rejected the “Lost Cause” as myth but the way it is attacked today by a more modern philosophy—a new cult—may actually be an indication of its veracity.
A New Cult
In the 1920’s and 30’s, German philosophers and academics, in what has become known as the Frankfurt School, mixed the psychological ideas of Sigmund Freud with their socialist political agenda. Their brainchild was Critical Theory, which aims at taking down the pillars of Western civilization (monotheism, reason, and liberty) and establish communism in the vacuum—not through the traditional violent means, but through cultural means.
Instead of pitchforks and torches, these revolutionaries used sociology and the written word. Their end goal was the oppressive uniformity of socialism, but they packaged it as diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.
The Frankfurt School flourished in American academia and, by the 1960’s, their ideas had infiltrated every major university in the country—growing more popular by the year.
The latest iteration of their agenda is political correctness, which aims to control the public narrative in order to discredit and destroy Western civilization from within. If you doubt this campaign exists, just have a look at the Black Lives Matter website, it professes their commitment to “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another.”
Their ostensible goal is diversity, inclusion, and tolerance, but upon closer inspection, they just want to destroy Western civilization.
Try to defend any aspect of Western civilization in this PC atmosphere and you’ll be illogically castigated as a bigot and ostracized from public discourse altogether.
That’s the case when you make an argument for life or for traditional marriage, and it’s certainly the case when you dare to challenge the politically correct notion of the Civil War.
Slavery was certainly a component of the Civil War, but the “Lost Cause” ideals of Christianity, tradition, and freedom were more important to many in the Confederacy.
I know this because of the way the PC police attack it, compared to other institutions of the slave age.
Why does Mitch Landrieu seek the removal of statues commemorating some slave owners and not others? Because they were dedicated to the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy,” which so neatly reflects the pillars of Western civilization.
The Mayor of New Orleans, as it turns out, is just the latest foot soldier in the cultural Marxist war on Western civilization. Using the typical excuses of the Frankfurt School, he is doing his part to wipe out the relics of the resistance to an over-intrusive federal government and to move the culture toward communism.
Like a Soviet-era apparatchik, busily scrubbing the history books, Landrieu is scrubbing the streets of enemies of the state. Ostensibly fighting the “Cult of the Lost Cause,” he is succumbing to the more terrifying cult of the growing leviathan.
I despise slavery and racism, but I don’t differentiate between slavery by a plantation owner and slavery by a government bureaucrat, and I don’t see classism as an improvement on racism.
We’re enduring a new civil war right now—albeit a cultural one. Cultural Marxists are on a rampage and won’t stop until all the vestiges of Western civilization are wiped off the face of the Earth.
For my part, I hope that the icons of that civilization have one more fight in them.
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