Opinion: Daily Journal

Monument protests marred by illegality

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Wiki Commons image

If critics of Confederate monuments truly want to accomplish their goal of removing such objects from the public square, I’m a good example of the kind of person they ought to be trying to persuade.

I’m a native North Carolinian. While I have relatives who fought and died on both sides of the War, most wore gray, not blue. Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood was a cousin of my great-great grandfather and has always been a subject of great personal interest to me.

On the other hand, I’m no devotee of the Lost Cause. Although my love of state history is broad and deep, it does not extend to the Confederacy itself, the founding principles of which I view with contempt. Not only do I celebrate the abolition of slavery, the destruction of Jim Crow, and the expansion of freedom, but I also believe these events deserve far more official commemoration than North Carolina has yet erected.

I admire the planned North Carolina Freedom Park, for example. To be constructed in Raleigh on land between the General Assembly complex and the Executive Mansion, the park would “celebrate the enduring contributions of African Americans in North Carolina who struggled to gain freedom and enjoy full citizenship.”

Similarly, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has just announced its Inclusive Public Arts Initiative, which will fund up to 10 new projects across the state with grants of up to $50,000 each. The intent is to “share stories of diversity, equality, inclusion and equity as they relate to the people and places of North Carolina, especially those whose stories have not been or are often untold,” the Foundation stated.

Why not erect more monuments and public art to commemorate a broader range of individuals, movements, and events? That’s a noble enterprise that could unify North Carolinians across the political spectrum. Indeed, the grantmaker for which I serve as president, the John William Pope Foundation, helped pay for a mural painted several years ago at North Carolina Central University’s law school. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post-Civil War amendments that abolished slavery, expanded the franchise, and promised due process and equal protection of the laws.

So, given these views, why am I dismayed by the attacks on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s memorial to Confederate soldiers (“Silent Sam”), the Civil War monuments on the State Capitol grounds, and other statutes and memorials across the state? Why do most North Carolinians — by a two-to-one margin, according to an Elon University poll last year — oppose the removal of the monuments in question?

Some defend the historicity of the objects themselves. Others would prefer to add context to the monuments rather than tear them down or move them to remote locations, which feels like flushing them down a memory hole. Still others make a distinction between memorializing those who fought or died and celebrating the politicians who provoked or carried out secession.

For me, however — and I know I’m not alone — the most compelling reason for objection is that the monuments aren’t just being attacked rhetorically. They’re being attacked physically. Silent Sam has been defaced and is now under constant and costly surveillance. In Durham, activists tore down a Confederate monument on camera, then got away with it, and are now threatening to tear down any replacement that may be erected.

Mob rule is inconsistent with the principles of a free society. We simply can’t have people defacing or destroying public property because legal attempts to redress their grievances haven’t yet succeeded, or attempting to coerce government agencies to comply by threatening criminal action and running up the security tab.

To yield to such extortion would set a horrible precedent and outrage most North Carolinians. Every time someone cracks open a can of spray paint or threatens to pull down a statue, the movement to remove Confederate monuments loses public support instead of gaining it.

There has to be a better way.

John Hood (@JohnHoodNC) is chairman of the John Locke Foundation and appears on “NC SPIN,” broadcast statewide Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on UNC-TV.



  • John Staddon

    Amen, John. The fact that the Durham destroyers remain unpunished is disgraceful. It seems as if the tendency to achieve unpopular political aims through mob action has increased in recent years…

    • Junius Daniel

      It is disgraceful, Mr. Staddon, but, sadly, completely in line with the highly couth and effeminate leadership to which this state has been subjected, for decades.

      If our Great-Granddaddies came back, en masse, tomorrow, there would be a few painful weeks, after which much would get right, nearly overnight.

      Our greatest Modern Tarheel virtues are regular bathing, dialing up for cheap take-out Chinese, and proudly displaying our made-in- Malaysia sweat-shoppe Izod wear, all the while proclaiming ourselves happily liberated from our evil slaving Southern White Supremacist Jim Crow past, exactly as our Northern Masters would have us do.

      As such, it may come as no surprise that those well-coifft luminaries of ours, who metriculate from our alien-usurpt academick institutions, cannot even bring themselves to enforce the law.

  • ProudlyUnaffiliated

    This lawless mob has no desire to convince anyone of anything. They intend to seize what they want. Their ideology (if we can call it that) dovetails perfectly with their latest slogan: “No Borders, No Wall, No USA at All!” In essence, they are nihilists who want to tear it all down– confederate statues and then the rest of it. Do we need to talk to these people or even about them? No. We need action. They need to be arrested/prosecuted when they break the law and their political wing, the Democratic Party, must be politically trounced. Period.

  • Junius Daniel

    Yes, Mr. Hood – there are certainly many like you in our state, and many like me – those who do not hold the founding of North Carolina in contempt, and who realize that what this is (the issue of the monuments) is just another step in a cultural genocide that, even more sadly, includes the wholesale replacement of Native White Tarheels – a diabolical system erected and fostered by the New England Yankee United States’ Government, which is given little or no resistance by Modern Good Tarheels.

    Lamentably, they, The Judeo-Bolshevik Left, may well achieve their goals, precisely because Good Tarheels, such as you, continue to hold our great state in varying shades of contempt, as seen by your advice to the alien usurpers on how more effectively to undo us, and with greater dispatch.

    Lastly, I am deeply thankful to The Left, for they are The Good Lord’s greatest gift to this state, and to Dixie, as a whole – if only because they will rouse many of you conditioned-to- be-repentant Modern Good Tarheels to become something more in line with the survival of our kind.

    God bless The Modern Nihilist Left – The Tarheel Confederate’s very best friend!

    • William James

      Uuuuuh . . . I was more or less with you until you wrote, “The JUDEO-Bolshevik Left . . . ” At that point you ventured into Third Reich territory.

      • Junius Daniel

        I’m sorry, Mr. James, but, everyone in the West called Marxists ‘Judeo-Bolsheviks, until the post WWII Era, when political correctness began to creep in.

        And, yes, Sir – that included Winston Churchill, who wrote about that term and why it was appropriate.

      • Junius Daniel

        One more thing of which you may be unaware, Mr. James, and that is this : when the World Jewish Congress sued Russian schools, about a decade back, to stop using the term ‘Judeo-Bolshevik’, on grounds it was unfairly prejudicial, the process of appeals went on until it reacht the Russian Supreme Court. There it was upheld that the use of the term, ‘Judeo-Bolshevik’ was appropriate abd accurate, the reason being because the overwhelming majority of The Soviet Leadership, in the first two decades was Jewish, and was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Russians, not to mention how many were gulagged or who lived in fear of such.

        If we say that The Japanese attackt Pearl Harbour, when we know most were not there, or the Germans made the Holocaust, then we must be even-handed and called Bolshevism what it is – a Jewish phenomenon.

        Moreover, as a Traditional Tarheel, I will not have my language policet by the left, and for that reason, in recent years I have droppt all politically correct niceties.

        When we exit the Era of Cultural Marxism, I will go back to tea and crumpits.

        At any rate, all the best to you and yours!

  • SavageGulf

    Our country is raising a generation of sociopaths.