The Corner


The Manufactured Outrage over Statues and Monuments

Progressives need a steady stream of excuses for their manufactured outrage. The latest is statues and monuments that are supposedly harmful to “marginalized” people because they depict men who fought for the Confederacy (or were imperfect in other ways). Mute bits of metal and stone don’t actually do anything, don’t oppress anyone, don’t send any message. They could merely be ignored in favor of doing something constructive for the poor and supposedly “marginalized,” such as pushing for school choice or getting rid of harmful licensing laws. But that’s the last thing the Left wants.

In a piece today at the Martin Center, Shannon Watkins looks at this issue as it has been playing out in North Carolina. The new president of Duke University, Vincent Price, has ordered that a statute of General Robert E. Lee be removed, and our Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, has bypassed the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to declare that officials at UNC may remove the statue of a rebel soldier (“Silent Sam”) immediately. If that happens, the progressive mob will surely find some new target for its destructive impulses.

Where will this furor end? Watkins writes, “Based on the fuzzy logic of protestors, it is unclear how removing statues of Robert E. Lee will not also lead to the removal of statues of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and others. After all, they have ties to slavery and are equally morally complex.”

They’ll be coming for Christopher Columbus soon. And why stop with statues? Shouldn’t we destroy books that have any writing that offends the “progressives”?

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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