Uprooting and eliminating the past history puts me in mind of things that revolutionaries do: they eliminate any evidence of the past, so as to have a clear slate for building the grand new world they envision. This happened in the 18th Century in the U.S. and in France; in the 19th Century in Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba… And it’s happening again. Many of the people demanding the removal of anything Confederate from the U.S. hold the idea that American institutions are inherently and entirely racist and oppressive, and for many young radicals, the goal is to overthrow the existing American system. There’s no appreciation for historical context, no recognition of complexity, no place for any sense of the tragic. Saying this does not make me a supporter of racism or an apologist for slavery. I am a historian, and my concern is with truth. I see people today trying to utterly destroy reminders of history that they find abhorrent; these same SJWs loudly lament that Spanish conquistadors and friars destroyed Native American records and monuments so thoroughly 500 years ago.
I’m also recalling what I read in Jung Chang’s book “Wild Swans,” that as the Cultural Revolution progressed, ancient trees were demolished, flowers uprooted and flower boxes destroyed, movies destroyed, books burned, ancient monuments, antique furniture, gorgeous rooms and architecture — all destroyed, because their mere existence was bourgeois and counterrevolutionary.
p. 341 in the 2003 paperback: “ ‘Relaxation’ had become an obsolete concept: books, paintings, musical instruments, sports, cards, chess, teahouses, bars — all had disappeared. The parks were desolate, vandalized wastelands in which the flowers and the grass had been uprooted and the tame birds and goldfish killed. Films, plays, and concerts had been banned: Mme. Mao had cleared the stages and the screens for the eight ‘revolutionary operas’ which she had had a hand in producing, and which were all anyone was allowed to put on. In the provinces, people did not dare to perform even these… We hardly even thought of going out for a walk. The atmosphere outside was terrifying, with the violent street-corner denunciation meetings and all the sinister wall posters and slogans….”
Yet I suspect my Leftist peers might support such measures if they thought it would eliminate Trump and anybody who supported him or would even think of supporting someone like him in future. Perhaps they already do…. That short-sightedness worries me.