The Monumental Task of the Crusaders

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William F. Buckley once said: “History is the polemics of the victor.” Americans, however, do respect courage and determination. The Union won the Civil War, that we know. The generals of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and others have been memorialized in certain states. The strange thing is, they are not memorialized with slaves groveling at their feet. Brave men are not memorialized because of things that they did that are not politically correct in the present day, they are memorialized because they were brave and represented leadership. Leaders are often memorialized. History sometimes brings out the ugly truth about leaders, their flaws, as they are, after all, human.


In the case of the leader such as Robert E. Lee, he was an officer in the U.S. Army and the commandant of West Point. He led the Army of Northern Virginia as well, so when you take down his statue, you’re taking down a statue of a U.S. Army commander. Other Confederate generals were leaders in the U.S. Army before they joined the Confederacy, but people aren’t looking at those qualities, they’re just looking at something bad in their past. It is common knowledge that Martin Luther King plagiarized some of his dissertation.


From Wikipedia: “Regarding his PhD dissertation, an academic inquiry concluded in October 1991 that portions of his dissertation had been plagiarized and that he had acted improperly. However, "[d]espite its finding, the committee said that 'no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King's doctoral degree,' an action that the panel said would serve no purpose." Martin Luther King is memorialized for his leadership. Want more dirt on a leader? Try The Washington Post on King: “As he became more controversial, his popularity had sagged. Key allies in Washington had abandoned him. He’d gained weight, was sleeping poorly, and was drinking and smoking more. He received frequent death threats. His marriage was strained from his travels and dalliances. One of his mistresses, in fact, was staying at the Lorraine the night before he was killed.” A leader with flaws, still memorialized. Should we, now knowing of his flaws, remove him from public veneration? Make sure all the textbooks list his dalliances, his personal habits and his plagiarism? Or should we recognize his courage and leadership?


William Tecumseh Sherman was one of the most admired generals of the Civil War. Of course, he also led the U.S. Army from 1869 to 1883, and (from Wikipedia) “As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army's engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years. Sherman advocated total war against hostile Indians to force them back onto their reservations.” Not only the Indian wars, but Sherman led a terribly aggressive campaign against the Confederate states, burning down cities (not military installations, just cities) and destroyed huge swaths of private property owned by civilians (not military installations, civilian property) should we hold Sherman in lesser regard, knowing as we now know? In 1861, William Tecumseh Sherman, who had returned to his home in Ohio because of stress, was described by a newspaper, the Cincinnati Commercial, as “insane.” Lies lies lies, all lies, the press has always taken sides. In the case of Sherman, this supposedly insane person was considered to be presidential material, though Sherman rebuked every offer.


John Fitzgerald Kennedy had mistresses, an open secret. If we examine history, we will find flaws in almost everyone. Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian and staunchly anti-abortion, but we don’t see many rational people praising him. The Civil War was a war about a few things more than slavery, despite the politically correct explanation that it was all about slavery. The average soldier in the Confederate army didn’t own slaves, and if the Confederate gentlemen owned 20 slaves they didn’t have to serve in the military. Many important upper-class northerners paid $300 and escaped going to war, including Theodore Roosevelt’s father, and Teddy felt great guilt and remorse about it. We now have people five generations removed from 1865 (the end of the war) who can’t let it go. The Confederacy lost, but it had heroes and important people, icons of the southern lifestyle, with or without slavery.


The intention now is to rewrite history. First, we will destroy any images of leaders of the past with which we disagree. I seem to recall ISIS in the Middle East doing the same thing, rewriting history. Second, we will disallow free speech or expression to anyone who espouses any ideology other than those we approve, again, an ISIS policy and a violation of our constitution which guarantees free speech. But free speech that offends people is now, according to the politically correct, a violation of the law, which it is not. The politically correct are so enamored with their recognition and their unjustified validity that they are altering the very face of America; from now on, we will recognize only those permitted by the politically correct. It’s rather amazing that the crusaders have waited until now, with Donald Trump as president, to express their displeasure with memorials that have been on display for, in some cases, over one-hundred years. I guess it took the crusaders this long to realize their anger.


Like so many self-righteous crusaders, the memorial destroyers see no downside, no ill effects of this behavior. This belief of their infallibility is a characteristic of the self-righteous everywhere, be it the Middle East, Europe or America, and is the most frightening of all of their characteristics. When you believe that you can do no wrong, when you cannot see the viewpoint of anyone else, or believe that yours is the only valid, reasonable viewpoint, justification and rationalization of outrageous behavior follows. Those who once insisted on tolerance have become the intolerant.


The new crusaders are here, and they are infallible, self-righteous, and determined. Anyone disagreeing with the crusaders comes under a description known as an epithet, as someone intolerant is labeled. To disagree means being identified as one of the intolerant. The crusades have begun, and all opposing the crusade are hate-mongering bigots, no matter how rationally they wish to approach the issue, or how much respect and appreciation they have for the past. You cannot tell where you are unless you understand where you’ve been, but the crusaders see the past only as scarred and intolerant, and now the scarred, intolerant crusaders are determined to obliterate any memorials of the past for which they disapprove, taking it upon themselves as the self-righteous judge, jury and executioner. The crusaders do not respect the past, they do not respect our constitution, they do not respect opposing opinions, and they expect everyone to admire them to the point of giving them carte blanche, hardly a unanimous ruling by the public. But opposition to the crusaders to any degree is hate speech, a characteristic the crusaders see in everyone except themselves.


Rusty Smith Added Aug 25, 2017 - 8:52pm
Its nice to hear from someone who puts things in perspective using real facts, not the imaginary PC garbage that most people spout without bothering to investigate the facts.
2% of the South owned slaves, and you're right many of them, the super rich, dodged the draft so the war was fought by their poorer neighbors who never owned a slave and probably resented the rich bastards who did.  Not many rational people realize that and conclude the poor people were fighting so that the rich could stay rich and keep their slaves so obviously they had to be fighting about SOMETHING ELSE like succession so they could govern themselves and spend their own tax money on themselves.
Our PC rush to erase history and color 25% of our countrymen as despicable racists for honoring their own military heroes disgusts me.
Instead of melting down these statues they should be looking deeper into the Civil War and learn a little about history.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 25, 2017 - 9:12pm
We're on the same page, Rusty. Thanks for your comments, and I'm with you.
Utpal Patel Added Aug 26, 2017 - 12:14am
I disagree with every article you’ve written but this one.  I especially like how you brought up the fact that these statues remained untouched during all of Obama’s years in the White House.  So let’s call a spade a spade, the statue brouhaha has nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with painting Trump as a racist. The more he defends the right for these statues to exist the easier it is to paint him a racist.  It shows that the left is using racism for political advantage and not because they care two shits about the plight of blacks in our society. 
Mircea Negres Added Aug 26, 2017 - 2:00am
"Daddy, who's that?" I asked my father about the statue in University Square, downtown Bucharest. "Michael the Brave", replied my father. "He was a king who managed to unite the Romanian people". "Why is his horse like that?", meaning why the horse looked like it was about to rear. "I don't know, that's how they made the statue, I guess", replied my father. It was one of the things which gave me a lifelong interest in history, and I would find out over the following decades not only who Michael the Brave was, but what he did, why he did it and how he died, as well as visit his two graves (body buried in one, head in another next to it) and eventually learn of the tradition according to which those who die in battle are depicted on rearing horses. He wasn't perfect and apparently weakened the freedoms of peasants to get support from the nobles.
Then there's the old oak tree under which Avram Iancu said "The emperor lied". The Romanian government fights with everything at its disposal to keep the tree alive and standing. Hell, they even poured concrete when it looked like it was about to keel over. Sarmizegetusa, the Dacian capital. The ruins of a Roman fort in Bucharest. The houses of nationally significant leaders, including that in which Nicolae Ceausescu lived until December 1989, are kept as monuments and tours are organized. The history is not often pleasant or heroic, but it is always history. To damage or remove its vestiges is nothing but stupid vandalism and cultural genocide. To do it just to get to one man (Trump) is even more stupid. Nice article, Jeff. Well done and thanks for the effort to inform. 
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 7:39am
Utpal, you're finally getting it. Now reread the articles you didn't get.
George N Romey Added Aug 26, 2017 - 7:49am
Our history books are full of villians and heroes but in reality there are rarely both. The pro business crowd should realize that it was Wall Street and American companies that really drove Hitler to power.
Bill Kamps Added Aug 26, 2017 - 7:53am
Jeff, even Andrew  Young said it isnt worth fighting over the statues.  He also said the  fight he participated in to remove the Stars and Bars from the Georgia state flag was a waste of time and money.  That fight seems more worthy to me, than the statues.
Until recently most of us couldnt have said if we had these statues in our city, or where they were.  They  stood in silence and we mostly ignored them, or saw them as part of the decor of some park, without really knowing who the statue memorialized. 
Yes some were put up during Jim Crow days as an insult to the blacks, but it is difficult to know the intent, for all these statues. 
It is just one more thing for the left and right to fight  about.  If all the statues were remove tomorrow in a snap of a finger, they would fight about something else.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 7:54am
Thanks for the positive response Mircea, always great to hear from you. Yes, the stance of the horse for the most part, but not 100% of the time reflects the end of the person's life, there are a few exceptions but that is the general rule, general being the pun in that one and the model of many statues. The Ceausescu's were not admirable people, and they were shot like rats at the town dump. Strangely enough, the heart reference, Chopin's heart is in Warsaw, but his body is buried in Paris.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 26, 2017 - 8:11am
History should be remembered and learned from, including statues, and strive to become better people!
Leroy Added Aug 26, 2017 - 8:13am
Right on, Jeff.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 9:16am
Yes, Bill, they'll always find things to change. I remember some little time ago, a "progressive" textbook had more pages devoted to the Beatles then it did to Richard Nixon. Talk about rewriting history!
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 9:17am
Thanks Leroy.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 9:24am
Yes, George, Hitler admired Henry Ford and even rewarded him with a medal. I guess that means any statue of Henry Ford (probably in Detroit) must come down immediately. The same goes for that now-shamed museum because Henry Ford was obviously influenced by the Nazis, so he's got to go.
Charles Lindbergh was an isolationist, although he changed his mind and was involved in some aircraft operations in the Pacific, found in a book probably not widely read. So admiration of Lindbergh, because of a stance he once took, must disappear as well. We'll clean  up the America sooner or later, and have a politically correct history with almost no one to read about.
Leroy Added Aug 26, 2017 - 10:11am
In our PC world, it is best not to name anything after anybody. 
Of course, teams named after Native Americans must go.  We need to erase the names completely from our memory.  We must no longer associate them with bravery and heroics.
Leroy Added Aug 26, 2017 - 10:13am
Taking the names without approval is the exploitation of animals.  It must stop.  We should just call them the Red team or Blue team or etc.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 12:03pm
Leroy, the ethnic slur names, such as "redskins" need to go as well. I'm quite surprised that the name "Celtics" is still around, being as the Irish probably find it insulting.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 26, 2017 - 12:13pm
Jeff Jackson: Wonderful article. Historically, "to the victor goes the spoils". The spoils include deciding what was important to pass on about the history of their win. It is later historians who are supposed to research what really happen and correct the historical accuracy. However, it is this group of PC historical revisionists who are rewriting history to their liking and NOT for the sake of accuracy.
Utpal Patel: You are only partially correct. The historical revisionists have been at this for 6 decades, long before Trump. It would take too much space that I have here to enumerate all the real history being left OUT of or changed in the teaching of our youth. One example is that God had nothing to do with the Pilgrims moving to North America.
One more quick example is the Civil War. The reason for the South seceding from the Union was about the right of the state to decide ownership of slaves or not. There were many slave owners in the North as well as the South, Maryland, to New York, all Northern States. Slavery was of blacks and whites, was specifically noted in the US Constitution with the fraction of a person for slaves to determine population representation in government. The truth was that Lincoln did not want to free the slaves, but signed the Emancipation Proclamation many years into the war to block France from coming into the war on the side of the South as they did in our Revolutionary War. When France became involved in the Revolutionary War, that was the turning point in our Revolutionary War. It was also recognized as being the turning point of the Civil War should they side with the South as they were leaning toward recognizing. So the PC textbook writers teach students the war was over slavery is totally false.
George Romey: Nailed it. But FDR was also a socialist who openly admired Hitler and wanted to emulate him. That is why so many of the laws he signed to centralize his power to the Federal government were overturned by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. His "Packing the Court" was the turning point in the fall of this nation (still falling, but not yet ending it. Obama turning over the Internet to the UN and the UN 2030 plan clearly states their goal). Conservatives wanting balance or even control of the Supreme Court is not or will not turn the nation around but may slow the decline. This point alone is a major issue to be discussed sometime.
To All about the statues: Statues are not alive. The purpose of animating the horse is to give a live appearance to the still statue. This is an artistic treat.
Expat: Not just force, but control of the thinking of the nation and the world. That is one reason analytical thinking and economics are NOT taught in schools anymore. The left does not want citizens to be able to think and reason or realize that every left desire CANNOT possibly work and must financially fail, note the fall of the USSR.
One last point: Are there still two parties in the USA? The blue Democratic Party, by themselves, passed ObamaCare. Far left government expansion and control over the life and death of citizens. If you can control if and how a citizen is medicated, you control their very existence. The red Republican Party could have defunded ObamaCare and effectively eliminated it, but instead funded every PC Left Obama agenda, just as if it were the blue party who would have done just that. Then once the red party has Trump in power, they refuse to eliminate ObamaCare. So what is the difference? I think we have ONE party, not two, a purple vulture with one blue wing and one red wing. The blue craps on the US Citizen and tells them they must like it, and the red makes sure the citizens have no say about liking it and funds the blue party's obscenities. Then with full power to eliminate ObamaCare, the red wing sits and refuses to eliminate the socialist power grab. The red party also want the power, but they want to be the ones to have the control. Making government smaller would mean less control for themselves and freedom for the citizen.  North Dakota Fighting Sioux was also eliminated.  But the what about the Florida Seminoles, just silence.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 12:27pm
Thank you Joe. One of the things that I point out to students about Lincoln is that he suspended the writ of habeas corpus and imprisoned about 1200 people who just wrote things that he didn't like. Under the constitution, powers of the president in times of war, Lincoln did a lot of things that he constitutionally couldn't have done without being in a war, and even then, probably not good for the country. The Lincoln had no right to free the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.  Slavery was in the original constitution until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed in 1864, and remember this well, in 1864 the Confederate states had succeeded from the Union, so those states never voted on it. Rather convenient passing amendments while eleven states are not voting. Not that it didn't need to be banned, it certainly was not good for the country, and needed to be ended.  Thanks again Joe for the info.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 26, 2017 - 1:00pm
One other side note on Lincoln.  He had so many Native Americans hung at one time it was and still is the largest mass execution in the history of the US.  That is taught as a part of North Dakota History.  Going off the top of my head, I believe it was 27 Native Americans were hung at the same time.
George N Romey Added Aug 26, 2017 - 2:25pm
Wall Street through foreign shell companies was bankrolling both the US and Germany up until 1944.  Playing both sides of the card, where have we seen that before with Wall Street?  When the inquiries started in 1946 into business collusion with Hitler suddenly the overpaid and overstuffed bankers did a Sergeant Schulz.  Where have we seen that before with Wall Street bankers?
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 26, 2017 - 3:43pm
They get away with it because of the influence they hold. Money before country, money before ethics, money before everything.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 26, 2017 - 5:08pm
Remember Trump donated to both sides so no matter who won, he could apply pressure.  The entire "buying of office" needs to be eliminated.  An election should NOT be determined by who has the most money to spend campaigning.  It should be fair revelation of each candidate's position on the issues.
Flying Junior Added Aug 27, 2017 - 2:13am
Stanchly?  Providing support like a stanchion?
Flying Junior Added Aug 27, 2017 - 2:16am
Correction, "It has been an issue..."
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 27, 2017 - 2:54am
Thank you for the typo Junior. The rest of your comments have been deleted, due to your insulting nature and your inability to pose any kind of challenge rather than some "go read a book" of which I have read many, thanks. When you learn how to present a valid challenge, I will be happy to list your thoughts, if you actually have any.
Ari Silverstein Added Aug 27, 2017 - 8:43pm
Assume some city decided to erect a statute of a Klansmen hanging a runaway slave, do think that statue should be removed.  Assuming yes, hopefully that explains why this is issue has no easy sides.  Both sides of the argument have legitimate cause to be upset and passionate they are right.  The thing that bothers me about this issue is the timing.  These statues have been around for hundreds of years, I believe it’s simply the left’s way of playing the race card from the bottom of the deck.  In other words, this is just Trump hatred and not really about racism. 
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 27, 2017 - 8:52pm
Very insightful and exactly correct Ari. This name-calling and insisting on taking down statues that have existed for decades or longer only prove how desperate the Democrats are at this point in time. They have nothing else to do, so they're pulling the race card from the bottom of the deck, or the bottom of the barrel. The more disturbing aspect is that when racism really happens, it will have lost its gravity because of the overuse in the present day.
Richard Plank Added Aug 28, 2017 - 10:01am
Just politics as usual; when the system encourages such sorts of behavior you get what you encourage.  The points about history are important, but as an academic discipline history is, like all other disciplines, subject to revision and is not quite as exact as some of  the physical sciences.  Interpretations vary and change with time as more information comes to light which may or may not be accurate.  It  is an highly interpretive discipline which means it is important to try and see multiple points of view when they exist.  So while I agree with Ari about timing, I do think within those crusaders there are multiple rationales at work, not one homogeneous set of crusaders. I am sure some are as he describes, but not all.   Joe is right on, the mess that is history in general for  the general public probably borders on criminal.  Much of what passes for wisdom is probably wrong or at least suspect.  Interesting thought providing article Jeff.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 28, 2017 - 12:00pm
This is a distraction to take attention away from the real issues.  The left has nothing of substance to offer on the real issues, like illegal immigration, IRS, NSA, Benghazi, etc.  So this is just a distraction.
The US government, through its ART grants funded such works as Christ crucified upside down in urine.  They said this was fine and artistic expression.  I am a whole lot easier with a major American leader being honored for fighting for their honest beliefs.  This is honoring art and accurate history.
Some cities in MI have become entirely Muslim.  What if they wanted to erect a statue to honor Mohammad?  He was a mass murderer on the scale of Hitler.  Is this okay?
The Pilgrims were traitors to their homeland (The Anglican Church was the OFFICIAL church.  Not being a member was considered treasonous, with the death penalty.)  Yet I am sure we have statues honoring them in New England.
My point is that there is always more than one side to any viewpoint.  Acknowledging any one side is a slight on the other(s).  Honoring MLK is objectionable to the KKK for sure.  Should his statues be removed?  In a voting plurality, if enough citizens, over half, want a statue to honor whatever, then that can and should be done.  That does not mean that the next regime totally changes what the prior one did and then the first government gets back into power and replaces what the second one did.  In the meantime we have a broken society and we spend time and resources on stupid irrelevant arguments.
I think we need to focus on the real problems and not trying to make everyone "feel good".  That is NOT the job of government.  Government needs to help all citizens act in a civilized manner.
John Minehan Added Aug 28, 2017 - 12:59pm
Lee was "Superintendent" at USMA, a position analogous to being President.  "Commandant" is analogous to being Dean of Students.
John Minehan Added Aug 28, 2017 - 1:02pm
The other thing about Lee and Jackson is that they had great influence on the Military Art practiced by later American Generals like Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton.
That was the primary reason the City of Baltimore erected statues to Lee and Jackson in 1948, when Speaker Pelosi's father was Mayor.
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 28, 2017 - 2:45pm
Precisely, John. Lee and Jackson were, and are, Americans. They chose a wrong side once (because of their heritage) and now they are racist villains? Lee and Jackson were respected by both Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as the military. The labeling them as racist is a disservice, as well as an unrealistic view of them. But I can safely say, the people insisting on taking down their statues are some of the most unrealistic of "activists" and that unrealistic view of the world will come to haunt them, maybe not now, but soon and for a long time.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 28, 2017 - 2:47pm
Nice tidbit of which I was not aware.  Thanks
Jeff Michka Added Aug 28, 2017 - 2:50pm
I take it that perhaps the US Navy should sink the C, Turner Joy, now on display as a museum in Bremerton, WA.  name for the admiral who was a delegate at the Korean War ceasefire, WHICH IS ABOUT TO END. and the vessel itself was part of "the Tonkin Gulf incident" "formalizing" US involvement in Vietnam, it must be PC tainted, right, rightists?
Shane Laing Added Aug 29, 2017 - 3:37am
From what I have studied of the American Civil War, it started a states rights issue. Lee and Jackson were defending their country (Virginia) from invaders. Of course we are aware that there were free blacks in Virginia who owned slaves as well.
We in the UK have many statues of the great and the good, not least Queen Victoria head of the British empire which butchered and pillaged with great abandon. No call for her statues to be removed. Douglas Haig famous for sending millions of troops to their deaths, the list goes on.
The only statue over here that's causing any controversy is the one of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford. Seen as a rampant racist by some who want his statue removed. I wonder if they want to get rid of the Rhodes Scholarship as well?
Perhaps President Clinton will come to its defence as he was a Rhodes Scholar. Wonder what his wife would say.
Joe Chiang Added Aug 29, 2017 - 10:03am
Clinton's wife would say get rid of the statue and the scholarship and turn the funds over to the Clinton Foundation.  LOL
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 30, 2017 - 8:14pm
LOL Joe, good one. Shane, we have a president that so many people resent that they are claiming all kinds of behavior that he didn't do, and that is the fake news that we are dealing with in this country. I heard that there is a fight going on about Rhodes. I also heard that one of the university presidents told a group of students who were protesting that they might want to "seek education elsewhere" a quite a brave thing to say. In America, the university presidents seek every way possible to coddle the students, up to banning the speech of people who might take a position contrary to the position of the students. Thanks for the comment Shane.