Preserve Or Destroy?

When the mobs have been tearing down sculptures, they haven’t only been ripping apart America’s complicated history. They’ve been ripping apart the artistic aspect too. The significance and interpretation of the statues grow more over time and the wrecking of this has been such a great shame. But the liberals won’t give you an art lesson, so I will.

The greatest “Confederate” monument, the Confederate Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, was sculpted by Moses Jacob Ezekiel, a Sephardic Jewish gay fellow. He had been a not-particularly-effective Confederate officer, who took Robert E. Lee’s advice to give art a try after the war. Ezekiel is the sculptor of many other monuments, such as the bronze statue of Anthony J. Drexel, the Columbus statue, Edgar Allen Poe statue, and the Jefferson monument. 

Ezekiel wanted full artistic license for the monument when approached for the Confederate Memorial by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument did exactly what it was meant to. It is beautiful, inspiring, and also just plain weird – which is just what Ezekiel was shooting for. He wanted to capture the emotional aspects of war and its aftermath.

The history of the memorial is also pretty complex. There was a perceived neglect of Confederate graves in Arlington and the capital area by newly ascendant Democrats. There were various Confederates buried there from the start, and the Confederate military graves in the area were consolidated to Arlington in 1901. The memorial was dedicated in 1914 by the late president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson. 

Now let me remind you of a few things. First, almost all of these Confederate statues went up after the Democrats returned to power in the late 19th and early 20th century. The memorials and gardens found frequently in Southern state capitals are their own indictment of the Jim Crow South. They represent a horrid political era that handicapped the entrepreneurial spirit and economic dynamism. They are a reminder of a time no one wants to return to.

The other thing the Dems have been doing is comparing the ripping down of Confederate Statues to Hitler statues. Would the Jews not be justified in tearing them down? This is a false comparison and facile nonsense. Comparing the Confederacy to Nazi Germany is just a digression into your own belief of the Civil War itself. 

Even if we don’t approve of the original use, tearing down art has no moral justification. That is exactly what art is there for. Interpretation. These statues aren’t here just to be looked at. They are here in relation to their background and hold the connection between that location and its piece. Time and change itself become a part of the piece. 

Destroying art that aligns with an ugly history is just another seemingly civilized faction, and well, just Marxist. The art has politics surrounding its moral worth no matter what the work itself is. It’s time to leave things as they are. There are the mortal days of man and protecting and defending art, even art we don’t like, is how we preserve our spirit and the race of mankind. 

How about surrounding the Jim Crow era statues with new and bigger creations to look up to? Isn’t that the true victory here? Whatever a “Confederate” statue may depict, the men and women who created those statues deserve to have their work respected. It reflects a bigger part of a whole in America’s history.