Living Monuments

An earlier version of this essay was published at Counter-Currents Magazine on July 30, 2020. It was written during the worst days of iconoclastic fury precipitated by the George Floyd protests, and repeats verbatim various points made in earlier articles.

My ancestors arrived in the Tidewater region of this continent around 400 years ago, and lived and died almost entirely beneath the Mason-Dixon line. As a Catholic, a Southron, and an Anglo-American, I am filled with sorrow and impotent rage at the sight of my forebears being demonized by those who are so manifestly inferior to them. I can scarcely imagine a more contemptible rabble of untermenschen than the crazed anarchists, academic sophists, and resentmentfueled pawns that have overrun our cities and who presume to cast judgment upon their betters. While I have endeavored to ride the tiger through this dark age, to dispassionately observe our sick counterfeit of a civilization burn itself to the ground, it is admittedly difficult to maintain this equanimity as I see my heritage vilified and physically destroyed.

The removal and vandalism of countless monuments throughout the country, as well as the renaming of many buildings and institutions, is one of the most visible consequences of the late unrest. Of course, in terms of real-world effects, this is nothing more than a purely symbolic offering to the mob, a sideshow whose purpose is to keep the antagonists from discovering the real architects of our misery. However, in a cultural sense, the removal of these monuments represents yet another highly visible rejection of the historic American nation by the acolytes of the new order.

Targets of the recent moral panic include, of course, any public spaces, memorials, or entities memorializing the Confederate States of America (and Dixie in general); anything positively associated with the conquest of the Americas, including Columbus, the pioneers, American military figures in the Indian Wars, Theodore Roosevelt, the Catholic Church, its saints, and Jesus Christ himself; and anything that portrays law enforcement in a positive light. In their fury the protestors have also chosen some rather puzzling targets, betraying either their blind lust for destruction or complete historical ignorance. These include monuments to antislavery propagandist Frederick Douglass, “all men are created equal” Thomas Jefferson, the “Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant, as well as memorials to the very Yankee soldiers who – official history teaches us – fought selflessly to free the slaves from their evil masters. Perhaps most mystifying of all, Portland’s 120-year-old Elk Fountain was repeatedly set on fire by rioters, and has now been removed by the city.

It is natural for heritage Americans to be saddened and infuriated by the desecration of our public spaces and these monuments to our history. However, one does have to wonder what the individuals memorialized in these statues would think about the America of today. It seems to me that men like Jefferson, Washington, Lee, and even Lincoln would be horrified by the spectacle, and would very likely wish to be dissociated from it altogether. Even the damn Portland Elk, that proud symbol of natural strength and American wilderness, probably would rather not have his noble image associated with a city that has become a byword for hipster effeminacy and unnatural Leftist lifestyles.

Given my particular love of wilderness, this absurdity was really brought home to me by the Sierra Club’s brave decision to cancel its founder, John Muir, due to his political alliance with eugenicists and nativists. This is a man who, in terms of historical significance and character, is of infinitely greater worth than the entire rabble currently infesting the streets of our metropolitan centers. Yet his memory is being dishonored by a committee of cowards and liberal scolds, in the delusional belief that this concession will make minorities care about wilderness preservation. And donate money.

Of course, this should come as no surprise. The Sierra Club departed from its original nonpartisan goal of wilderness preservation decades ago. Since the 1990s its leaders have refused to discuss the relationship between immigration and environmental degradation, after receiving a $200 million grant from hedge fund billionaire David Gelbaum requiring them to abandon this area of activism. Its former president, Adam Werbach, stated in a 2004 speech that members needed to “cease being environmentalists and start becoming American progressives,” directing conservatives to “leave this movement… you are making us weak.” The Sierra Club website is replete with appeals to oust Trump. It is completely in keeping with this leftward drift that the Sierra Club’s leaders are denouncing their own founder and, riding the wave of the recent protests, have decided to allocate $5 million of their budget to “racial justice” programs. Whatever that means. It makes me wish I had a membership just so I could cancel it.

All if this is simply to say that we now live in a completely different country from the one these Americans founded and built. The world their statues symbolize is gone. Everybody knows it, and this is why the Leftist agitators celebrate the removal of the monuments. People who whine about “erasing history” apparently don’t understand that this is the point. The erasure of history and the utter demonization of historical opponents leaves people no alternative but to march forward into the Leftist’s utopia – or his gulag.

The Right also acknowledges the passing of the Old America, but regards this as a cause for mourning rather than celebration. Contemporary America is no longer worthy of these heroes or their monuments. Now this is not to say that we should not strive to protect these statues and defend the memory of the men they represent. A sense of honor does seem to demand it, if nothing else just to show the world not all heritage Americans will capitulate to the desecration of their heroes and founders. However, in terms of political expediency and prospects for success, I consider the defense of physical statues in public spaces to be a futile endeavor.

For one, regardless of actual popular opinion, Leftists control the media, politics, and academia as well as the very language itself. This renders most decent people of average intelligence completely incapable of defending objectionable public monuments to their ancestors, at least in any way that is coherent or not immediately dismissed by the enemy. The shock of having such reputedly evil traits as racism, bigotry, or any of the myriad phobias attached to us, the degree of conditioning and indoctrination we have sustained, has a Pavlovian effect on most: the immediate instinct is to deny, deflect, and project. We can say “heritage, not hate,” but of course every schoolchild knows that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves (and WWII to save the Jews) – to them, our heritage is hate. We can accuse Leftists of “erasing history,” but of course this is the point, and the charge does not faze them. The arbiters of respectable opinion believe that some history deserves to be erased. They will reply that Germany doesn’t have monuments to Nazis, and no nation honors traitors, so why should we? And while this is obviously a mendacious and historically ignorant view of the matter, can we compress that into a sound bite as potent to the unthinking as #BLM or #MeToo?

If we speak their language, if we attempt to deflect and project (“Democrats are the real racists”) this ultimately just exposes our weakness and undermines our argument in the face of an unscrupulous, deceptive, and utterly doctrinaire foe.

But really, why do we want to preserve these statues? It’s not because they are simply a “part of our history” – in this the Leftists are correct, not all history is worthy of veneration. There are quite a few statues I’d remove if I had the power to do so. This argument is disingenuous. These statues and the memory of these men should be preserved because 1) they are ours, and 2) this country was a better place when they were in charge. But I don’t expect these ideas will get any traction in the popular sphere, so I am skeptical that many of these monuments will remain in public after a few more years. Let them be replaced by statues of George Floyd, transgender drag queens, and the other misbegotten martyrs and saints of the contemporary Left. They more truly represent the complete joke this country has become, not the noble men whose statues are being desecrated. This visible rejection of their founding stock will hopefully disabuse heritage Americans of any lingering belief that the ruling coalition gives a damn about them or their history.

With the erasure of our monuments, heroes, and holidays from the public sphere, what can those of us on the Right do to defend our history from oblivion?

For my part, I believe writing to be by far the best means of preserving and spreading the light of truth in these dark times. More so than any protests or verbal debate. Arguing in real time with true-believing Leftists is generally pointless; even in the face of defeat, they remain undeterred and will typically respond with some form of sophistry or ad hominem attack. You will never convince them of anything, as you share no common ground. As for protests, everybody knows that the most innocuous right-wing protesters will be demonized as white supremacists (remember Charlottesville?), while a heavily-armed black militia in the streets of Louisville hardly gets mentioned by the mainstream media.

The ability to reflect and craft your sentences gives the written word a persuasive power that is often lacking in more extemporaneous speech, and written statements can reach a larger audience (and will, perhaps, survive as a testimony to our posterity for those of us who resisted the decline). One has the luxury of being able to formulate thoughts independently of the hearer’s emotional response, allowing a writer to present his case and anticipate objections. The shock and disorientation of being demonized by a commenter is somewhat diminished. Additionally, unpopular views are often so out of most people’s intellectual orbit that it takes more time to accurately convey them, while the reigning party can merely unite people behind slogans and hashtags.

So I would recommend writing, if you have the interest and the skill, in order to memorialize our ancestors and promote a future that will preserve and develop our inheritance. Write historical studies and political analyses that oppose the official narrative; memories of your childhood and the way the world was then; narratives of your ancestors and their achievements; encomiums of now-disreputable historical figures; poetry and prose that celebrate beauty and the spirit of tradition; and visions and blueprints for a better future. Also donate to sites that promote such efforts in the face of contemporary opprobrium, such as Counter-Currents.

In terms of the physical monuments themselves, many of those that have not been totally destroyed have been moved to government warehouses. It would be ideal for sympathizers to purchase these monuments and place them where they can be honored and respected, such as privately-run museums or homes. Indeed, the cities that have removed these monuments – strapped for cash due to the pandemic lockdowns, the destructive wake of #BLM riots, and the exodus of their tax base – may ultimately put them up for auction. However, it is also possible that ideology will triumph over economic sense, and these monuments will either be ritually destroyed or placed into a “Museum of Hate” with appropriate Leftist commentary. Or that our corporate overlords will seek to cement their woke status by purchasing the statues at auction and sinking them into the sea, shooting them into the sun, melting them in a volcano, or some other public display of disapproval.

Other than the costly and perhaps unrealistic prospect of buying these statues, there are other more practical means of preserving our historic identity. The purchase and preservation of historic homes and buildings is one option, as these are vestiges of a time that, however imperfect, nevertheless represents an America that believed in itself and was still governed by the historic WASP ethos (for bonus points, fly a Betsy Ross flag in the yard). Purchasing wilderness areas auctioned off by the Forest Service and putting them in a trust is another possibility. Wilderness is an important part of the American heritage and will be under assault by the need to build more accommodations for our expanding immigrant population; the Left is already abandoning its ostensible environmental commitments in favor of technocratic xenophilia.

On a smaller scale, purchasing books that will likely go out of print or no longer be carried by major retailers is an important way to preserve the ideas of our culture from destruction. Even the purchase of historical oddities from antique stores, the kind that will probably be considered on par with Nazi paraphernalia in a few years (Confederate flags and uniforms, vestiges of the pre-1965 South, anything promoting a positive view of American expansion, politically incorrect advertisements, historic weaponry, law enforcement or military paraphernalia, etc.) is a small step towards preserving the old world from obliteration.

Moreover, on a less tangible level, we need to preserve the traditional practices of our culture. These include those of our European ancestors as well as those native to the American continent. Honor your ancestors and heroes of your people – preserve their relics, place their images around your home, raise your children on their stories. Learn the languages of your people, French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek; and learn to speak and write English well, better than the typical college graduate, journalist, or politician. Observe the traditional holidays of our civilization. (In the last year, in addition to the standard Christian /American holidays celebrated by everyone, in honor of my predominantly English and Irish heritage I’ve added Twelfth Night, Imbolc, St. George’s Day, May Day/Beltane, Oak Apple Day, Midsummer, Lammas, and Michaelmas It gives the children something to look forward to and provides connection to the changing seasons).

We are the sons of European settlers in the New World: conquerors, Cavaliers, pioneers, and frontiersmen. We must embody what is best in that heritage.  We must embrace our history, as well as the faith that has animated our people. This may be Christianity, it may be folk religion or ancestor worship, or even some kind of scientific pantheism – but we must believe in our higher purpose. In addition to a knowledge of the European cultures from whence we came, we should know the history and folk tales and literature of the American nation. Learn the regional folklore, read Hawthorne and London, Melville and Lovecraft, Poe and Jeffers, Emerson and Thoreau, Faulkner and the Southern Agrarians. Know the political thinkers of the old America: Calhoun, Fitzhugh, John Taylor of Caroline, John Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, the anti-Federalists, Madison Grant, Lothrop Stoddard. We must reject the global consumerist culture of the cities, which is the same everywhere, in favor of our folk culture. Abjure mass media, Hollywood, television, pop music, materialism, fashion, throwaway consumerism. Learn to love the indigenous music of the North American continent and its European antecedents. Make your own, if you have the gift. We should love the wilds, spend time in nature as much as possible, and retain a connection to our native land. Work to preserve the wilderness and support local agriculture. Additionally, we must acquire the skills necessary for independence and self-reliance. Remain physically fit, in fighting shape. We are the descendants of conquerors and frontiersmen, and should strive to live up to their example. Most importantly, we should inculcate these values into our children.

In the end, of course, everything is in flux. Material objects fall into disrepair, customs change, ideas evolve. The one thing that is essential is to preserve a people, its blood and its spirit. The purpose of a statue is to honor a culture and inspire greatness in the living. With all of our monuments coming down, we have to fulfill that role ourselves. We must be living monuments.

While our words are important, the best way to convert people and signal our spirit of opposition to the Enemy is through our bearing and our lifestyle. If you truly count yourself as an heir and a monument to your noblest ancestors, you cannot behave as the man of today does. You must strive to be lean, lithe, incorrupt, and beautiful. You must abjure the addictions and weaknesses encouraged by our society, and present a powerful and unconquerable face to the world. Your mind must be sharp, your senses and emotions under control. You must be godlike in this world of ants. You must not accept their terms. Their values are those of broken, miserable, and nihilistic vandals, and will lead only to destruction. Fight them dispassionately, without hatred or anger; they are performing their role in this dark age, just as you perform yours, and to hate them gives them power. Don’t waste any more time thinking about them than you must.

The most important thing to realize is that the essence of America is not its governing ideology, nor its economic system. It is the land and the people who settled that land. It is this folk and the soil from which it emerged, not some damn piece of paper in a museum, not some trite phrases scribbled by an Enlightenment era politician, that form the core of the historic American nation. It is these that are worth preserving, and it is this spirit that is embodied by our greatest monuments. And when this empire passes away, as all have before it, those who honored their ancestors are the ones who will carry the flame of their spirit into the next age.

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