Opinion: A word about the grown toddlers attacking inanimate statues

by Peter Heck · Jun 22nd, 2020 7:46 pm
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Twitter / @7im

Last Updated Jun 25th, 2020 at 7:27 am

As the woke jihad against inanimate stone monuments has now reached frenzied status, I suppose it's worth noting a few things.

First, the obvious. We are all witnessing a petulant exercise in intellectual futility, the fruit of feeble minds incapable of mature expression. It is no coincidence that this is the precise behavior that parents encounter with spiteful toddlers who lack both the ability to reason and the discipline of self-restraint. Mobs are known for their shallow emotionalism, not for mental acuity.

What I'm saying is, we shouldn't read too much into the supposed "thought" behind the acts. These are not shrewd and sensible minds wrapping ropes around the philosophical necks of Jeffersonian democracy or Washingtonian federalism. These are lawless children satisfying juvenile urges to destroy something simply because "it'll make mom and dad mad."

Pretending that this is some conscious, premeditated assault on the foundations of Western civilization is giving the troublemakers way too much credit. They don't know who Ulysses S. Grant even is, no less Miguel de Cervantes or St. Junipero Serra. And explaining that there would have been no Juneteenth without Grant or that Cervantes was himself a slave, or the honorable work of St. Serra wouldn't matter, because it's not about them or any cause. To the vast majority of these activists, this is all about breaking things, not about instigating some intellectual revolution.

That's why with as much as I've come to admire and appreciate the thoughts and work of American writer Chloé Valdary (whose piece in the New York Times entitled, "Why I Refuse to Avoid White People" turned a lot of heads including my own), I'm not persuaded by this conclusion:

Much like Twitter gives a completely unrealistic view of public opinion (roughly 22% of Americans utilize the platform), suggesting that the pockets of Don Quixotes running around feverishly attacking their own stone windmills represents any meaningful cross-section of America is a bit of a stretch.

But it does lead to the second observation worth noting, and that is the concerning apathy the country is expressing towards the vandalism and destruction. The lack of significant pushback not just from law enforcement, but from the general population is reason for alarm. I don't worry about my neighbors joining the rabble-rousing, gamer-inspired, wannabe anarchists in the streets. I do worry about them being indifferent towards the lawlessness.

At this point, I would agree that hoping to have a nuanced conversation about whether Confederate statues are "tributes to traitors" is a lost cause. But beyond the monuments to the Confederacy, here's what desperately needs to be agreed upon:

Every human is fallen and, to some degree, reflects the sinful spirit of their age. This leave us with two options when it comes to statue-building. First, we can see statues as idols and objects of reverence and worship. This will move us in the direction where we reject the idea of maintaining any monuments to honor any man, except the only One to ever live who is actually worthy of worship.

Or the other option, we could perhaps begin collectively teaching and understanding that statue building can be less about worshiping individuals who are every bit as flawed, abhorrent, and sinful as we are, and more about acknowledging and remembering the part key figures played in our country's epic struggle to create a "more perfect union."

If we desire the latter, the adults are going to have to show up and put an end to the current temper tantrum.

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