Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us…
All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times. There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them. But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten. With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant. Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes. Their seed shall remain forever, and their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth forevermore.

Ben Sira of Jerusalem

It is a vile lie that our monuments are ‘racist.’ After the War and Reconstruction, despite their severe impoverishment Southerners sacrificed financially in order to build monuments to Confederate veterans before that generation had completely passed (as well as to provide them with their own state pensions, in addition to having to pay for federal Union pensions). The Confederate monument which once stood where I live in Florida, for example, was the product of an eight-year fundraising campaign from 1903 to 1911, in which the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy held bake sales, sewed dolls for Christmas, sponsored spelling bees, and hosted lectures. ‘It is only once that a Confederate monument is erected in a community and this monument is not only for the memory of the men who fell fighting for the Lost Cause, but also for the further enhancing of an already beautiful city,’ editorialised the local newspaper, ‘and so all citizens are asked to join hands in this laudable endeavor and civic enterprise.’

Yet the Southern Poverty Law Center has propagated a conspiracy theory that Confederate monuments were built with the insidious ulterior motive of establishing ‘white supremacy,’ claiming that there is a correlation between the construction of monuments and racial conflict. Yet correlation does not equal causation: The SPLC does not consider the fact that the construction of both Confederate and Union monuments are also correlated with the semi-centennial (1911-1915) and centennial anniversaries of the War (1961-1965). The truth is far less cynical and far more commonsensical: Southern descendants of Confederate veterans built monuments in honour of their ancestors for the same reason that Northern descendants of Union veterans built monuments in honour of their ancestors during the same period. Although the public is still opposed to the removal of Confederate monuments (44% to 32% according to Morning Consult/Politico, which unfortunately is down from 52% and up from 26% three years ago), academia and the media classes have been steadily poisoning their memory and pressuring politicians.

The commemoration of the Confederate monument which once stood where I live in Florida exemplifies ‘the meaning of monuments’ and ‘what monuments stand for,’ as the local newspaper put it at the time. On 8 February 1911, the monument, named ‘Memoria en Aeterna’ (Latin for ‘In Eternal Memory’), was ceremoniously unveiled outside the county courthouse. 5,000 people (including children let out of school for the day) crowded the streets, windows, and balconies downtown. In addition to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy, actual living Confederate veterans from Florida attended the event. Between patriotic orations by local leaders, the crowd sang along with renditions of Southern folk songs such as ‘Dixie,’ ‘Way Down on the Sewanee River,’ and ‘Florida, My Florida,’ as well as the old Confederate anthem ‘The Bonnie Blue Flag.’

The mayor, D.B. McKay, congratulated the UDC for its contribution to the city. ‘It is a beautiful and appropriate tribute, and will stand forever as a testimonial of our undying love for the cause that we of the South believe was right, and of our pride in the splendid achievements of the hosts who through those terrible years made records on land and sea unparalleled in the history of the world,’ pronounced the mayor. ‘This monument, massive and imposing though it is, is insignificant by comparison with the love and reverence of our people for our cause and the men who espoused and defended it – and no less for the noble women who had such an important part in the great conflict.’ As the mayor put it, ‘It is a proud and priceless heritage left us – the history of the part played by the women and men of the South in the War Between the States – and every true daughter and son must be thrilled with emotions of the loftiest character as the mind dwells on those trying days and months and years.’

Mrs. Henry Brash (née Sarah Zelwicker), introduced the local chapter of the UDC. ‘It is indeed a joyous event, this being the first public monument ever erected in our city, and we should be doubly proud and honour the day as well as the deed that marks an epoch in the history of our city,’ she declared. ‘This shaft of marble though it be but cold, white stone – the sculptured work of chisel and hammer – yet it has a purpose to serve.’ Sarah hoped that building a Confederate monument would not only honour the last living members of that generation, but also keep their memory alive among future generations. ‘To the sons of veterans and daughters of the Confederacy, this monument recounts the deeds of fathers and mothers and though, we of this generation can never know their trials and hardships, yet we revere their memories for what they suffered,’ she explained. ‘To the children of the Confederacy it teaches that respect for the dead, which is ever to be praised, whether they fell victorious or conquered.’

‘And so I reiterate the statement, that monuments serve a purpose and this shaft pointing heavenward is no exception,’ concluded Sarah, who quoted from a poem:

In the statue that breathes,

The soul of the sculptor is hidden:

Crowning the glory that crowns the revealing;

Great are the symbols of being,

But that which is symbolled is greater.

W.G. Brorein, an industrialist from the North who had been invited to the event, gave an extemporaneous speech in which he argued that ‘the coming into this country of the Stars and Bars had made a greater Union of States’ as well as that ‘the figure of Gen. Robert E. Lee in the National Hall of Fame is a recognition of the South and its accomplishments since the figure of Lee represents the embodiment of all that the Confederacy stood for.’

H.S. Phillips, the state attorney for the circuit court and the keynote speaker, described why the Confederacy was still enshrined in Southerners’ memories and why those memories should now be enshrined in stone:

It is a good thing to honour the heroes of the Confederacy by erecting monuments to their memory. If it meant the revival of the passions of war, if it meant to foster and perpetuate a narrow sectionalism, it would be our duty to regard it as unwise and ill-time. But it means just the reverse. It means not only that the personal characters of the great leaders of the Confederacy and the heroism and courage of those who wore the gray, must be held up for the admiration of their countrymen, but that their fortitude under defeat, their manly acceptance of the result, their entire postbellum record as patriotic and upright citizens shall be set forth the inspiration and guidance of the youth of the South. No American boy can be harmed by studying the lives of the great leaders of the Confederacy and becoming familiar with the wonderful courage and fortitude of those who followed them. If a higher type of manhood and womanhood than that of the Old South can be found, let the world point it out to us and we will give it recognition.

While the majority of the men and women that composed the Confederacy have long since passed over the river, and while their survivors are one by one being mustered out by the Angel of Death, there were lofty principles which characterised their lives which I trust will never die. The superiority of the moral to the material, the lofty sense of honour, the chivalrous courage, the knightly bearing toward woman, the refinement of the ancestral Southern life, the abundant hospitality, the readiness to die for principle, and the splendid self-respect that upheld the Southern people during their terrible sufferings, will, let us hope, characterise our lives as long as the world shall last.

By publicly and permanently honouring Confederate soldiers with a monument, argued Phillips, posterity would be inspired to identify with and emulate them:

My countrymen, the Daughters of the Confederacy did much for the present and future generations of this city when they erected yonder monument in honour of the Southern soldiers. Let it forever stand, not as a record of civil strife, but as a perpetual protest against whatever is low and sordid in our private and public life. Let it stand as a memorial of personal honour that never brooked a stain, of knightly genius unsoiled by ambition, and of heroic constancy from which no cloud of misfortune could ever hide the path of duty. Let it stand as a reproof and censure if we shall ever sink below the standards of our fathers.

Let it stand to perpetuate the memory and extol the virtues of the resolute, clear-headed, broad-minded men of the South – the men whose genius made glorious every page of the first seventy years of American history, whose courage and fortitude the armies of the North tested in four years of the fiercest conflict that was ever waged, and whose energy made brick without straw and spread splendour amid the ashes of their war-wasted homes. Let it stand in honour of the men and women who gave us the Old South and out of the ashes of war have given us the New South, which is the best part of the Union, as the Union is the best part of the world.

Indeed, I can still remember when my grandfather (a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who taught ‘The History of the Military Art’ at West Point) and I (a teenager in my first year of high school) paid our respects to the Confederate monument in his rural Tennessee hometown. I have a picture of us there on my desk. It is a cherished memory and a constant source of inspiration.

The monument itself is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. According to the director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network at the University of West Florida, it is ‘one of the most striking Confederate monuments in Florida.’ It was sculpted in Italy out of marble from Georgia. Two soldiers stand back to back alongside an obelisk – one a determined figure going forth at the start of the war (‘united in the past, one in the future’ inscribed on his pedestal), the other a defeated figure at the end of the war (‘lest we forget’ inscribed on his pedestal). On the south side of the obelisk’s pedestal is inscribed an epitaph ‘to the honour and courage of the patriots of the Confederate States of America,’ and on the north side of the obelisk’s pedestal is inscribed a poem:

Not theirs the rush of maddened wrath

That reckless sundered ties of blood,

But honour’s beacon showed the path

Where dauntless duty stood.

Through famine years they followed far

Where her unswerving banners led –

Beyond her glory’s flame-tipped star –

Behind her – honour’s dead.

The years their slow progression keep,

The banner barred with red is furled –

But now its gray-clad soldiers sleep

The heroes of a world.

Every Confederate monument has a story just like this one. Yet a new book – Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil by Susan Neiman – compares monuments like this to the Nazis and calls for a Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung of American history. Actually, what is evil is teaching a people to hate themselves by lying to them that their ancestors were as evil as the Nazis. It evinces a hatred of a people that is seriously disturbing and if anything suggests that Dr. Neiman learned the wrong lesson from the Germans. Besides, as far as Nazi comparisons go, which side was it that centralised power in a revolutionary party, conquered in the name of reuniting a mythical nation, waged total warfare against enemies whom it deemed sub-human, established collaborationist governments in occupied territory, ordered the expulsion of ‘the Jews, as a class’ from war zones, and was staffed with German nationalists/socialists? There is a reason that Adolf Hitler praised Abraham Lincoln in Mein Kampf.

Given that any of our monuments can now be destroyed with impunity, the best that we can hope for at this point is that the SCV and the UDC save as many of them as possible to spare them from these horrifying sacrificial spectacles, like what befell Linn Park in Birmingham, Alabama. A statue of Charles Linn (a Finnish immigrant, citizen of Alabama, and Confederate naval captain who helped found the city of Birmingham) was spray-painted with ‘Black Lives Matter’ and torn down by a mob. The mayor had the 115 year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument removed (in violation of a state law and a court ruling) after it was severely damaged by a mob and defaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Antifa’ graffiti/propaganda like ‘Apartheid,’ ‘ACAB,’ ‘F—k 12,’ various anarchist signs, and even more that was illegible/illiterate. I was in Birmingham on business last summer and remember seeing these monuments covered in tarps that looked like oversized trash bags.

What befell the Albert Pike Memorial in Washington, D.C., was just as awful. Pike was a Massachusetts-born American who pioneered the Arkansan frontier. He was an autodidactic linguist, a captain in the Mexican War, a legal advocate for Indian claims against the U.S. government, a thirty-third degree Freemason, and a brigadier general in the Civil War who negotiated Confederate alliances with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. After his death, the Freemasons honoured him with a monument by Gaetano Trentanove (an Italian immigrant whose work Pike had admired) which was dedicated in 1901. A mob defaced this monument with ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Antifa’ graffiti/propaganda – ‘1312,’ ‘Abolish ICE,’ ‘ACAB,’ ‘End White Supremacy,’ ‘F—k Albert Pike,’ ‘F—k MPD’ (Metropolitan Police Department), ‘F—k The Pigs,’ ‘F—k White Supremacy,’ ‘George Floyd,’ ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ ‘Revolution,’ various anarchist signs, and even more that was illegible/illiterate. The words ‘author,’ ‘orator,’ ‘philanthropist,’ ‘philosopher,’ ‘scholar,’ and ‘soldier’ on each side of the monument were spray-painted over with words like ‘racist,’ ‘slaver,’ and ‘traitor’ (the last of which is particularly amusing from self-proclaimed revolutionary anarchists). Then, when the mob had spray-painted all it had to say on the statue, it tore it down and set it on fire.

Some are sure to disagree, but the UDC was wise to remove its 131 year-old monument in Alexandria, Virginia, and should continue to be proactive in taking back our monuments before it is too late. The alternative is the anarcho-tyranny described above.

Whenever I see photos and videos of these angry, ugly mobs massing around the monuments of our heroes, I feel like the Pevensie sisters in ‘Triumph of the Witch’:

A great crowd of people were standing all round the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants; and other creatures whom I won’t describe because if I did the grown-ups would probably not let you read this book – Cruels and Hags and Incubuses, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites, Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins. In fact here were all those who were on the Witch’s side and whom the Wolf had summoned at her command. And right in the middle, standing by the Table, was the Witch herself.

A howl and gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing towards them, and for a moment the Witch herself seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh.

‘The fool!’ she cried. ‘The fool has come. Bind him fast.’

Lucy and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan’s roar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came. Four hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at first) hanging back and half-afraid of what they had to do, had approached him. ‘Bind him, I say!’ repeated the Witch. The hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then others – evil dwarfs and apes – rushed in to help them and between them they rolled the huge Lion round on his back and tied all his four paws together, shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh. Then they began to drag him towards the Stone Table.

Just as the White Witch ritually degraded Aslan before sacrificing him, so these mobs (consumed with a maliciousness and spitefulness that can only be described as sadistic) degrade our heroes with all manner of obscene and profane graffiti/propaganda before destroying them:

‘Stop!’ said the Witch. ‘Let him first be shaved.’

Another roar of mean laughter went up from her followers as an ogre with a pair of shears came forward and squatted down by Aslan’s head. Snip-snip-snip went the shears and masses of curling gold began to fall to the ground. Then the ogre stood back and the children, watching from their hiding place, could see the face of Aslan looking all small and different without its mane. The enemies also saw the difference.

‘Oh how can they?’ said Lucy, tears streaming down her cheeks. ‘The brutes! The brutes!’ For now that the first shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.

‘Muzzle him!’ said the Witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him – so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.

At last the rabble had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him onto the surface of it. Then there was more tying and tightening of cords.

‘The cowards! The cowards!’ sobbed Susan. ‘Are they still afraid of him, even now?’

As horrifying as it is for us to witness, I must confess that, like Lucy, seeing our heroes standing alone above swarms of raving protesters and rioters actually makes them look more heroic than ever. Their enemies are hyenas and jackals; they are lions.

Just as the Witch taunted Aslan before killing him that his sacrifice meant nothing and would not stop her from killing the rest after he was dead, so appeasement only makes these mobs more aggressive:

When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four hags, holding four torches, stood at the corners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone not of steel and it was of a strange and evil shape.

At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan’s head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice, ‘And now, who was won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.’

The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn’t bear to look and had covered their eyes.

In the United Kingdom, of all places, mobs have begun vandalising historic monuments (including those to the dead of both World Wars) and self-proclaimed ‘anti-racist activists’ have published a ‘Topple the Racists’ hit list of monuments throughout the city. British colonialists who traded in and owned slaves? Any statues of them are ‘celebrating’ and ‘glorifying’ slavery, of course! Earl Grey, the prime minister who oversaw the abolition of slavery throughout the empire? Well, abolition only passed because the government paid reparations to slaveowners (but not slaves), so topple that racist, too! Winston Churchill, the prime minister who rallied the West to fight Nazism in World War II and Communism in the Cold War, widely hailed as one of the greatest men of the 20th century? A monument to him has been defaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Antifa’ graffiti/propaganda – ‘ACAB,’ ‘Education For The Masses,’ ‘F—k 12,’ ‘F—k Your Agenda,’ ‘F—k The Lot,’ ‘TIKB’ (Turkish for ‘Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey’), Tupac Shakur lyrics, the words ‘Was A Racist,’ anarchist and communist signs (such as the Soviet hammer and sickle), and even more that was illegible/illiterate. ‘Enoch Was Right.’

So-called ‘art conservationists’ disgraced themselves by joining in the iconoclasm, albeit from a safe distance on social media. When a mob began massing to tear down a monument of Christopher Columbus in St. Paul, Minnesota, someone named Erin L. Thompson tweeted, ‘I’m a professor who studies the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and I just have to say…use chain instead of rope and it’ll go faster.’ When a mob began vandalising a ‘racist monument’ in Birmingham, Alabama, someone named Sarah Parcak (an ‘Egyptologist’ at the University of Alabama) encouraged and instructed them to tear down an obelisk. ‘WATCH THAT SUMB—H TOPPLE GET THE —- OUT OF THE WAY IT WILL SMASH RUN AWAY FROM DIRECTION,’ she mashed into her keyboard. Someone named Madeline Odent (the wife of an American banker who is a curator in an English museum) tweeted out what household solvents vandals could use to do permanent damage to bronze statues of ‘genocidal racists’ like…Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher…‘The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it,’ Hannah Arendt (a Holocaust survivor) warned in The Origins of Totalitarianism. ‘The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rested largely on this genuine delight with which the former watched the latter destroy respectability.’

The ‘American Girondins,’ as Brion McClanahan and John Devanny have dubbed them, still do not understand the radical nature of the ‘American Jacobins’ who will be the death of them.[1] In just a few years, the Jacobins’ demands have shifted from removing Confederate flags from Confederate monuments – to removing Confederate monuments and placing them in museums – to mobbing Confederate monuments before they can be removed and placed in museums – to removing American monuments and placing them in museums – to mobbing American monuments before they can be removed and placed in museums – to destroying the museums themselves! Yet the latest issue of National Review (one of the premier publications of ‘Conservatism, Inc.’ or ‘Big Con’) is a massive retreat by the Right in the face of the Left, conceding on practically every issue but clinging to Social Studies and Sunday School lessons about ‘The Gettysburg Address.’ Just as these cowardly conservatives – ‘a party which never conserves anything,’ according to the great Southern theologian Robert Lewis Dabney, and ‘is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves toward perdition’ – have literally written the South out of American history in an attempt to make a separate peace for themselves, so should Southerners write them out and let them see what happens to their ‘GOP’ without us. ‘Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation,’ Dabney continued against conservatism. ‘What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in turn.’

The ignorance, indifference, and intolerance of these people are simply insufferable. They are barbarians and fanatics who will not stop until they are out of symbols to destroy – and what comes after that? What has, historically speaking, always come after that? We have been warning for years that this is a revolution which wants for us to be exterminated and for all evidence of our existence to be erased – and events are accelerating at an alarming rate without any apparent restraint. ‘Haiti Did It In 1804,’ read one sign from a ‘Black Lives Matter’ mob on the Boston Common. ‘This Is Just Round 2.’ What did Haiti do in 1804? 23 years after the slave insurrection in the colony in which most of the French (white) and Creole (mixed-race) population was massacred, the remaining white and mixed-race population was systematically exterminated.[2] To the protesters and rioters, our monuments are voodoo dolls of us.


[1] Even Tucker Carlson (who is usually the only person worth watching on the otherwise Boomer- and Republican-geared FOX News) lamely slurred/smeared Confederate history on his show. ‘To be clear: This isn’t a matter of defending the Southern Confederacy,’ he commented. ‘Few Americans would do that. We certainly wouldn’t.’ Mr. Carlson (who is as critical of Republicans for their stupidity as he is of Democrats for their evil) should know better. Appeasement only cedes higher ground to your enemy. It is a shame that he was this petty, because right now Mr. Carlson is one of the only American journalists defying the mob and ‘Don’t Destroy America’s History And Shared Heritage’ is an otherwise excellent show (as are ‘The Real Reason Mobs Across The Country Are Tearing Down American Monuments’ and ‘The Angry Children Toppling Statues Nationwide Are Not Protestors – And Are Utterly Stupid’

[2] ‘Historians have been debating for decades about the character of American slavery,’ the historian Thaddeus Russell commented after watching the ‘Roots’ remake in 2016. ‘Please do me a favor and read them.’ Indeed, the popular assumption (as exemplified by both versions of the melodramatic and sentimentalist ‘Roots’) is that American slavery was defined solely by physical and psychological terror against blacks by whites. This anachronistic moralism, or ‘presentism,’ is a projection of black self-pity and white-self-hatred onto their past. As Mr. Russell put it, ‘Remarkable how many people, with scant historical knowledge, think the more brutal the depiction of slavery the more accurate it is.’ The truth is that while there was surely physical and psychological terror against blacks by whites (motivated by fear of a Haitian-esque racial insurrection, not racial hatred), economic incentives and ethical imperatives made slavery a far more humane system than anyone who gets his/her history from ‘Roots’ would ever believe. (Mr. Russell’s book, A Renegade History of the United States, has an informative chapter on slavery which is rooted in evidence instead of ideology.) So while the macabre fetishes of Kara Walker are promoted to the public and pronounced ‘genius,’ the ‘Uncle Remus’ folklore collected by Joel Chandler Harris has been purged from the public and pronounced ‘racist’ (e.g. the literal memory-holing of Disney’s ‘Song of the South’ movie and now ride). The end result is that authentic African-American experiences have been replaced with an inauthentic dialectic which may correspond to ‘politically correct’ opinions but which is nevertheless historically inaccurate. ‘The 1619 Project’ by The New York Times is an attempt to make this presentist moment permanent.

James Rutledge Roesch

James Rutledge Roesch is a businessman and an amateur writer. He lives in Florida with his wife, daughter, and dog.

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