All across America a great iconoclasm is happening. What started with murmurs of disapproval and the banishing of suspect symbols has become an out and out torrent of inchoate rage against collective memory. In towns and cities across the South, Confederate monuments that have stood in their silent watch for a century or more are being dismantled and removed in the dead of night by cowardly municipal councils hoping to appease the howling mob. Frustrated with the slow pace of bureaucratic vandalism, the same mob has taken it on itself to engage in vigilante vandalism to destroy these icons in broad daylight instead – literally trampling and spitting on the past with self-congratulatory abandon. This attack on history is not new. It is simply the culmination of a process which has been on-going in Hollywood and in print for years; the psychological destruction of history has now manifested itself in the physical realm. Yet their actions which aim to show their strength, in reality show their weakness. Though they may be able to operate with seeming impunity, the factor which above all motivates them is fear. They are frightened of history itself, and its power to potentially awaken the spirit of resistance.
It is unsurprising they should accelerate their campaign to destroy history in the era of Brexit and Trump. These electoral earthquakes exposed the precariousness of their ideological hegemony and showed indisputably a hardening resistance to their agenda. But far from backing down in the face of the turning tide, they have sought to speed up their plans to sever nations from their roots by erasing the great continuous procession of the past. In their efforts to convert all to their nihilistic, relativistic and hedonistic ideology tearing down the heroes of history is essential, because the great heroes of the past through their actions prove there are objective standards to live up to. They prove that an individual can transcend circumstance, conquer adversity, and above all – resist the prevailing currents of thought. General Lee is an infuriating figure for the left, because although sullied by the supposed moral infirmity of his cause, The Marble Man who carried out his duty to the end with impeccable conduct in the face of overwhelming odds still captures the imagination of many.
They believe that by removing his likeness and attempting to erase him from history, they will extinguish his ability to awaken the will to resist in those who are seeking idols in an age of villains. It is important that they do this now, because more and more people are surveying the vulgar, vapid and morally sick nature of modernity and becoming restless and disillusioned. More and more people are realising we have chosen the wrong path, and to choose a different route we must return to where we came from – we must look back to our ancestors. In the minds of the fearful, they must stamp out the dim embers of a coherent collective mythology now, once and for all, to complete their plans for a rootless, international and meaningless world. A world in which they can guiltlessly aspire to nothing, because no man ever was better than another. A world in which no one is subjected to judgement, because they fear if they ever were, they would be found wanting.
For all their hollow espousal of tolerance, it is inconceivable to them to believe that the Confederate memorials represent in actuality the pinnacle of tolerance. They are the embodiment of a respectful reconciliation between old enemies, a graceful nod to the notion that people can fight and die on opposite sides, but in the end, come together as one to build a collective future. A nation that has the capacity to build memorials to those who disagreed violently with its fundamental ideals without rancour surely is a nation replete with tolerance. If they believe that by destroying these signifiers they can make the past simply go away, they are wrong. For every statue they topple, for every set of bones they disturb (literally in the case of Nathan Bedford Forrest), for every memorial that is melted down, they stoke the fires of resistance. By their conspicuous and reckless actions, they expose the true fundamental political and philosophical dichotomy of our time – it is not right or left, but builders and destroyers. Those who wish to preserve and grow, and those who wish to venerate random destruction and waste. They have made a catastrophic miscalculation – the history of the West is too bejewelled, too powerful, and too large to be swept away by a few fearful and jealous pygmies.
It is telling that the statue that was toppled in Durham North Carolina was not a memorial to a great general, but a humble tribute to commemorate all the nameless hundreds of thousands of Confederate soldiers who died, not for a belief in some odious economic system or grand ideology, but simply because they were inspired by a deep-seated desire to preserve their locality, their order, their way of life. In the moment that the monument simply known locally as ‘Old Joe’ was cast to the ground and set upon by a frothing mob, it was retroactively vindicated. The great mass of Confederate soldiers was roused to take up arms against their own nation exactly because they feared one day, this would happen; that the nation itself would fall into the hands of the ignorant, the fearful and foolish who sought to erase it. The vandals may have succeeded in destroying a statue, but in doing so they released the ghosts dormant within.
The boiling indignation of any true patriot at the lawless and reckless destruction of our heritage instantly created thousands more supporters of the cause of traditionalism. We may still be outnumbered, but we have something that our enemies will never have. While they live their lives wracked by self-doubt, fearful and riven by existential crisis in the meaningless world they have created, we march with thousands of years of glorious history on our side. Our path may be difficult, but every step we travel we are cheered on by the multitude of those who fought and died to make our world possible. While the destroyer can only feel strength in the mob, every one of our actions is guided by the wisdom and strength of those who came before us. When we march together, we march not only as friends and comrades standing against the tide of destruction and decay, but we march in lockstep with the tenacious columns of those Confederate soldiers who gave their lives in a heroic act of collective defiance. They may pull down Robert E. Lee, but they will not pull down Western civilization. His likeness may have vanished from many parks across the country, but that is only because – General Lee rides again!