Something of Value

An excerpt from North Carolina author Robert Ruark’s best known novel reads: “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”

Ruark grew up in Wilmington where he learned to hunt and fish with his grandfathers in the 1920s. He entered the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC) in 1931 at age fifteen. Ancestors on both sides of his family were Confederate soldiers.  This week the university threw away a part of its tradition when it defied a 2015 state law and banished the Silent Sam Confederate statue from any of the fourteen North Carolina counties that have a UNC campus.

What is the “something of value” that UNC will offer to replace the Confederate soldier’s valor? Its faculty and administration ceaselessly attack a fantastical network of “intersectional oppression;” a made-up world in which American minorities and women are systematically persecuted by evil white males. Unfortunately, UNC is not alone. Outside the hard sciences, most American universities have transformed into Soviet style re-education camps.

Student protestors at the College of the Holy Cross, for example, recently blocked access to a speech by conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald. Video obtained by The College Fix shows the demonstrators chant for nearly ten minutes “My oppression is not a delusion!” in response to MacDonald’s signature opinion that “American college students are among the most privileged people in the World.” 

What can we look forward to when the wicked fantasy system imagined by such deluded whiners is overturned? Will they, with their entitlement mentality, ever announce themselves free from victimhood? Can anyone imagine social justice warriors ever declaring “the war is over?” Will UNC’s Chief Diversity Officer ever agree that her job is done?

It will never happen.

Leftists at UNC and elsewhere are offering to replace freedom of speech with censorship and an endless stream of false accusations fueled by rage, envy and revenge. How many statues of other American heroes must be torn down after all the Confederate ones are gone? How much money will convince those who were never slaves to forgive the rest of us for sins we never committed? Will they ever realize that those who imagine themselves to be a perpetual victim can never be happy?

Feminists at UNC and elsewhere are even trying to erase the imagined unfairness in gender; the Act of God that necessarily assigns some differences in the roles for men and women required to perpetuate any successful society. According to feminists, males must become perpetual self-flagellating eunuchs as punishment for the fantasy of “toxic masculinity.” But what utopian perfection will result when feminists have convinced men to no longer bear the responsibilities of men and women to abandon the functions of women? 

Since our traditions and customs have until recently yielded an America with unmatched freedom, wealth and power, we should never abandon them until they can be truly replaced with “something of value.” 

About Philip Leigh

Philip Leigh contributed twenty-four articles to The New York Times Disunion blog, which commemorated the Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is the author of U.S. Grant's Failed Presidency, Southern Reconstruction (2017), Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies (2015), and Trading With the Enemy (2014). Phil has lectured a various Civil War forums, including the 23rd Annual Sarasota Conference of the Civil War Education Association and various Civil War Roundtables. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from Northwestern University. More from Philip Leigh

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