A theory of statue building

Dear Hannah,

Someone threw buckets of red paint all over a statue of Columbus and made me question the value of great-great-great grandchildren.  The truth of the matter is that we love our children and their children; but when it comes to great-grandchildren we'll probably be too tired to fawn over them, and by the great-great we'll probably be dead.  If we're alive, at best they'll look at us as toothless, shaking horrors; and if we're dead, the likelihood of anyone talking about us is going to be small unless we've made the family rich or killed an army of the Hun single-handed.  To be a great great-great grandpa you have to be George Washington.  Anything less and you'll end up like his kids or his parents: sucked into the void of non-history and almost completely forgotten.

In fact, the value of statue-building is leaving a mark upon our great-grandchildren when we know we otherwise visibly won't.  We can't be their heroes so we make sure we leave them somebody to admire who was a hero to us.  We state a value and expect they'll still like it.  For anyone like Christopher Columbus to have made the list after several hundred years is a miracle, and proof that he deserves to stay.   A statue of Jimmy Carter is pushing things a bit.  A statue of Amy Winehouse in the park is telling your progeny you're an idiot.  A nation that doesn't know which statues to build or how to build them isn't going to last long.  But a nation which can't leave its oldest and most venerable statues up is getting replaced by another nation.

The madness of hope is what leads us to build statues.  The hope that the people we struggled for will appreciate us and the things we appreciate; and that our children will hold on to our land for us and take care of it long after we've ceased living for them.    Nobody could ever build one thinking otherwise, so this is what we think.  We don't often leave statues for other countries' children.  We never took Solomon seriously that our own kids could be idiots or criminals or layabouts, and that everything we lived for could be thrown down the drain by degenerates.  We simply can't believe that our national will to live could be lost and our grandchildren could value foreigners more than their families and their countrymen; that they could believe in evolution and survival of the fittest and that the whole point of life is just passing on your genes and then refuse to fight for their genes.

If we believe that almost everything is lost.  Our progeny become as foreign and as terrifying as an enemy nation.  So we build statues for them and we pretend that we'll have something in common with them and they'll love it; that they're worth the expenditure; that they're as close to us as anything that remote futurity can be and because of that we'll live long after we're dead.  A dream, really.  Pure hope.  For something we'll never even see, but everything to anyone with any kind of pride or purpose or meaning.

As such, once we realize what these statues mean we're left with a question.  We know what kind of great-great grandparents we had.  But what kind of great-great-grandchildren are we?  We ask these days whether our statues are worthy of us.  A more reasonable question is whether we're worthy of our statues.

Your father,

PS:  There is of course a counterpoint to all of this, and it's that if you go back far enough, your great-great-great-grandparents eventually built a statue to Molech.  In the case of Dr. J. Marion Sims's statue we have little better, and if he wasn't sacrificing live babies on a burning-red statue, he was buying slaves and operating on them without anesthetics "for science."

The fact that this man has a statue standing and few of us have heard of it or cared about it until now is proof that some of our ancestors were monsters, and this raises a very important question.  It's true that Thomas Jefferson didn't vivisect his living slaves.  But he did own them and he raped at least one; and even if he tried to free them with the Declaration of Independence and was only stopped because the founding fathers were afraid of Georgia and South Carolina not joining the rebellion, he was part of a system which allowed animals like J. Marion Sims to do what he did.  So what are we to do with Jefferson's statue?  I say keep it.

Slavery is the worst of all evils, and the only reason I don't respect black hatred against it is because most of them are willing to effectively drag us back into it.  They have little respect for property rights and freedom of speech and the right to bear arms and freedom of association, and they so closely associate these things with "discrimination" that it's nearly impossible for them to value them as liberty.  They want to erase all marks of past slavery while giving every indication of its future.  They hate the name.  They love the thing.  As far as statues are concerned I would rather have a flawed man with a great ideal than a "great" man with a bad one.  I don't care if Satan was sober and monogamous and never owned a slave.  Thomas Jefferson meant most of us could be free.  Black Lives Matter means none of us can be.

Despite owning slaves Thomas Jefferson is a better man than any of us today anyhow.  He may not have freed his slaves even after writing the Declaration.  He may have been a coward and a hypocrite.  But I ask you how Thomas Jefferson is any worse than any of us living today.  To get rid of his slaves Thomas Jefferson would have had to give up his lifestyle.  Yet no black person I have ever met in my life has ever been so conscientious as to research the companies that make his clothing.  Jefferson had slaves on his plantation.  The modern American has virtual slaves somewhere in South America or Asia or Africa.  To give up his slaves would have meant giving up his ease.  To give up our slaves would mean researching on the internet and paying more for our sneakers.  The modern man eats meat and can't stand the sight of butchery.  He says he's against slavery and then gives his money to companies like Apple, where conditions are so bad that their employees are known for committing suicide.

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