Author Topic: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee  (Read 881 times)

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Offline velkyn

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myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« on: August 15, 2017, 02:26:32 PM »
a particularly good article on the myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee and the nonsense of the "lost cause" myth of the confederacy.


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Every state that seceded mentioned slavery as the cause in their declarations of secession. Lee’s beloved Virginia was no different, accusing the federal government of “perverting” its powers “not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.” Lee’s decision to fight for the South can only be described as a choice to fight for the continued existence of human bondage in America—even though for the Union, it was not at first a war for emancipation.

During his invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia enslaved free blacks and brought them back to the South as property. Pryor writes that “evidence links virtually every infantry and cavalry unit in Lee’s army” with the abduction of free black Americans, “with the activity under the supervision of senior officers.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

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Offline wright

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 08:42:56 PM »
Informative read; thanks, velkyn. A more complete picture of Lee than I've gotten before. For instance, making it clear that famous line about slavery being "... a moral & political evil in any Country." is a quote mine:
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In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.

From one of the linked articles:http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/08/arlington-bobby-lee-and-the-peculiar-institution/61428/
Quote
The entangled lives of the slaves and their masters, the emotional, historical, sexual, and communal connections, could mean only one thing: that these beings were equal as part of mankind; equal in their human instincts, passions, desires, and inclinations, including the desire for self-determination. Equal, as Lincoln said, in the "right to eat the bread without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns. . . ." Capable, as George Washington finally realized, "of a destiny different from that in  which they were born." Robert E. Lee would never cross this threshold. He could embrace the need for justice, but it was a justice defined by unjust principles. His racism and his limited imagination meant that he never admitted the humanity of the slaves with whom he lived. In avoiding that truth, he bound himself to slavery's inhumanity.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 10:19:24 PM »
Let's not forget that Lincoln himself was far from humane by modern standards.  It is true that he was opposed to slavery, but his ideal solution would have been shipping all the freed slaves off to Liberia, not allowing them to continue living in America.  In fact, he wrote this in 1854[1]:

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What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not.
In other words, Lincoln was not much better than Lee for his time.  It's easy to forget that the idea of giving black people full political and social equality was pretty much unacceptable during the time before the Civil War.  The ones who supported it were considered wild-eyed radicals like Frederick Douglass and John Brown.

Neither Lee nor Lincoln, nor most people of their time, can be held up as moral signposts for our time.
 1. https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/slavery.htm
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 10:31:19 PM by jaimehlers »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 11:11:51 PM »
So then, the solution is clear.

Remove all statues and memorials of all those who did not vociferously defend the inherent rights and equality of all people in action and in words.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:24:18 PM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 03:08:56 AM »
What is your genuine idea of a solution, Mr. B.?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 04:09:31 AM »
I doubt you'll find many statues (if any!) of people who shared the same socio-political attitudes that are approved of today.  Further back you go, the worse that will be.

So perhaps Mr.Blackwell is right - either we DO remove all statues.....or, we accept that while an individual may well have held views that are today considered wrong, the statue is celebrating their achievements - in Lee's case, of being generally a brilliant military commander.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 05:40:32 AM »
So then, the solution is clear.

Remove all statues and memorials of all those who did not vociferously defend the inherent rights and equality of all people in action and in words.
Disagree.  First off, that's not a clear solution at all, and second, the 'simplicity' of such a solution is patently absurd.

People can come up with rationalizations for why we should put up statues for someone every day of the week and twice on Sunday, you know, but the question we should be asking is why certain groups wanted those statues were put up in the first place, not the reason they publicly gave to sell it.

Even if Lee was a brilliant military general, why does that mean he should get a statue?  And at the end of the day, Lee lost.  Frankly, he was fighting subpar generals and even so, lost badly to a flagrantly subpar general (McClellan) and a so-so general (Meade) on the two occasions he invaded Northern states.  Yeah, he fought acceptably well on the defensive.  But it's relatively easy to fight on the defensive, especially with the advantages of the rifles at the time.  So why should he get a statue for being a "brilliant military general" when he wasn't all that brilliant?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 06:20:38 AM »
....the question we should be asking is why certain groups wanted those statues were put up in the first place, not the reason they publicly gave to sell it.....

Hmm.  I'd be very interested as to how you'd make that determination! 

We can indeed have our suspicions as to what the "real" meaning was, but I think its very shaky ground to start proclaiming "you said this, but I know you meant that - so that's what I will base my decisions on".

(Regarding Lee's military career, his armies were outnumbered for the vast majority of the Civil War engagements (in some cases knocking on for being outnumbered 2:1) and had a pretty good record against Grant, for example, nor did he do too badly in the Mexican-American war.  I don't think it would be a stretch to say that without Lee, the Union would have won the war earlier.  So I think there's at least a reasonable case for him to be "statued" for his military career - but that's probably not really the point!)

Always a tricky one with Civil Wars, as opposed to where "our brave lads" marched off to fight "those evil swines" from other countries!  In the UK, we've got statues dotted about to both Cromwell and to Charles 1, both of whom can have good and bad things said about them.  My main point though was that if we delve into the background or personal opinions of everyone we have even built a statue to, we would be hard-pressed to find any that - in all or even most respects - share our modern sensibilities.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jetson

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 08:02:02 AM »
Albert Einstein was partly responsible for some of the worst massacres of human life by advocating the use of atomic weapons. Some say the atomic bomb prevented more deaths than it created. But Einstein is celebrated for other accomplishments that seemingly outweigh his involvement in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

What is missing in what we learn about history and its most popular actors is balance. What is so wrong with pointing out everything we know and allowing people to decide on their own how they feel about certain historic actors? Do we all have to celebrate Einstein's accomplishments and ignore his role in the deaths of so many civilians? Do we just continue to brush that off as though it is a better truth?

One of the biggest problems with the United States is that it consistently fails to admit to its own mistakes and decisions that caused real harm. As far as I'm concerned, it makes us better and helps the healing to admit when we're wrong. Hiding those truths is probably harmful in the long run (as in our history of racism and NAtive American genocide).

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2017, 08:29:57 AM »
Actually, most of the Southern generals were better, by comparison, than the Northern ones.  The two best Northern generals, Grant and Sherman, had far less military experience than virtually all of the Southerners.  Most of the other Northern generals weren't all that good.  Meade was one of the better ones but he was still fairly average.

In addition, rifles give a substantial advantage to the defender.  So do fortifications (even battlefield fortifications).  There's a reason that the North won both Antietam and Gettysburg, both of which were defensive battles, and it certainly wasn't the caliber of the commanding Northern generals.  Especially McClellan, who was next to incompetent when it came to tactics and strategy.  I'll grant that he got lucky by finding a copy of Lee's battle plans, but when you get right down to it, he still won.

And don't make too much of how long the war took either.  The Anaconda Plan, proposed by Winfield Scott, which ended up being pretty much the way the North ultimately won, was in no way intended to be fast.  I couldn't find anything on how long it was expected to take, but given the state of the Northern army and navy, I would be really surprised to find that it would have been less than three years under the best possible circumstances.  Attacking across Virginia, by comparison, was just plain stupid, due to the rivers and the topography.  It would not have taken a military genius to hold against incompetently-led Union forces, as most of them were until Grant.

And even though Grant wasn't all that good, he still beat Lee into the ground in less than a year, through little but numbers and refusing to quit.  It certainly wasn't through military strategy or acumen.  So let's not spend too much time complimenting Lee in winning against incompetent or marginally competent Northern generals.  Was he good at his trade?  Yes.  Does he deserve to be remembered for it?  Yes.  But it's very debatable whether he kept the South alive much longer than it would have survived anyway.  I doubt any of the Northern generals before Grant could have successfully prosecuted a campaign in Virginia even against a Southern general not of Lee's caliber, unless they were down near McClellan's level, and without the defeats in Antietam and Gettysburg (because Lee took chances to try to win the war (, the South might have lasted longer against Grant.



How would I make that determination?  First off, I'd look at when the statue was put in place.  Second, I'd look at who put it in place and who paid for it.  Third, I'd look at the dedication for the statue and any inscriptions on it.  And fourth, I'd consider who is using it as a rallying point today, and why.

Dollars get you doughnuts those could give you a good idea what the original intention of putting the statue up was.  Maybe not so much the last one but it should still be considered.



jetson also makes a good point here.  Hitler was a monster in many ways, but he still pulled Germany out of the Great Depression.  If he had died of a heart attack in, say, 1936 or 1937, he would be remembered very differently today.
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Offline stuffin

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 08:51:10 AM »
So then, the solution is clear.

Remove all statues and memorials of all those who did not vociferously defend the inherent rights and equality of all people in action and in words.

That is the problem with putting up statues and monuments to people; We all know no matter how good people are there is always a dark side to a person.

Another issue is the time these people (Lee/Lincoln ) lived in, it was normal for white (wealthier) people to see slaves (black people) as inferior, we all would have thought along these lines if we lived back then. I think we need to proceed with caution when we judge them using the morals of today. I'm not saying their views were right but we must understand the perspective of the time. That fact that we still have people who maintain that perspective is what I find troubling.

Also, my HS history teacher taught his class that Lee was a remarkable General. He would never fight on Sundays, always took his troops out of harms way and would bring them back to fight come Monday. Not sure how true that was. Also, he claimed Lee was a great strategist and won many battles he shouldn't have. But, reading about him recently, because of the recent events in C-ville, I kind of doubt he was a as Great General as my HS history claimed.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2017, 09:59:50 AM »
the SPLC has this report:  https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/whoseheritage_splc.pdf

and it indicates that the statues were by and large not put up by southerners to honor their heroes, but by people decades latter who were doing their best to remove the rights from African Americans.

Quote
Two distinct periods saw a significant rise in the dedication of monuments and other symbols. The first began around 1900, amid the period in which states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise the newly freed African Americans and re-segregate society. This spike lasted well into the 1920s, a period that saw a dramatic resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been born in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. The second spike began in the early 1950s and lasted through the 1960s, as the civil rights movement led to a backlash among segregationists.


addendum: apparently Lee did fight on Sundays: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_Battles 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 10:05:29 AM by velkyn »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2017, 11:38:40 AM »
Here is Robert E Lee's opinion on Confederate (and Civil War) monuments, written in 1869.

http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/saxon/servlet/SaxonServlet?source=/xml_docs/valley_news/newspaper_catalog.xml&style=/xml_docs/valley_news/news_cat.xsl&level=edition&paper=rv&year=1869&month=09&day=03&edition=rv1869/va.au.rv.1869.09.03.xml

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Gen. Lee was invited and forwarded the following reply:

Lexington, VA., August 5, 1869.

Dear Sir--Absence from Lexington has prevented my receiving until to-day your letter of the 26th ult., inclosing an invitation from the Gettysburg Battle-field Memorial Association, to attend a meeting of the officers engaged in that battle at Gettysburg, for the purpose of marking upon the ground by enduring memorials of granite the positions and movements of the armies on the field. My engagements will not permit me to be present. I believe if there, I could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject. I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered. Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 11:40:23 AM by jaimehlers »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 05:57:17 PM »
Here's an addendum to my earlier post about Lee's ability on the battlefield.  Most of the legend of his prowess comes from the fact that he kept beating back larger Union armies in defending Virginia.  And that's fair, except that you have to consider that the generals in charge of those offensives were a sorry pack of semi-competents.  McClellan was one of the worst generals on the Union side, for example.

This was proved be the battle of Antietam.  McClellan had advance knowledge of Lee's tactics, and still moved like an arthritic snail.  He still won.  Antietam almost destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia; it suffered over 10,000 losses, more than a quarter of it's total effective force.  The Union army suffered sightly higher losses, but it was a far smaller proportion of it's total numbers.  The Union army already outnumbered Lee's by more than double; after the battle, it was closer to 2.5 times.

Only McClellan's sluggardness allowed Lee and his army to escape, letting the best chance for an early victory slip away.  Now imagine Grant being in charge of that battle.  He would have broken Lee's army like a rotten twig.  It might have ended the war right then and there; it certainly would have shortened it drastically.

Just some food for thought.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 07:10:55 PM »
What is your genuine idea of a solution, Mr. B.?

Either leave them all up but put another statue or plaque beside them that expose the truth of the matter or take them all down and put them in a national museum.

I'm not buying the slippery slope argument of Donald Trump or his ilk but he did make a valid point no matter how retarded the messenger is. How far back do we want to scrub our racist, misogynistic slave holding past? I understand many people want to get rid of the statues that glorify the confederates. Hell, Baltimore just removed a statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney. He had nothing to do with the confederacy but he wrote the majority opinion for the Dred Scott case. By this logic, all the other Justices who voted in the majority of that case should have their statues removed...if there are any.

Look at William T. Sherman, one of the great Heroes of the Civil War. After the war he was put in charge of the interior to deal with the Indian problem. He and Gen. Sheridan were largely responsible for breaking the will of the plains Indians to get them to resign themselves to their designated reservations. His idea was to destroy all the buffalo so that the Indians would have no choice but to submit.

So, yeah...he fought on the side that freed the slaves then went on to enslave the Indians.

He's got a few statues sitting around.

So. Are we just going to focus on the southern confederates who fought the Union?

What exactly are we trying to accomplish by destroying statues?

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Offline velkyn

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2017, 07:22:16 PM »
Mr. B, I'm not sure where you get the idea that if statues are removed, we are somehow ignoring the past.  Those statues in question were an attempt to revise history and make the confederates seem like heroes when they were anything but.  They were traitors, and they were killing others because they felt that they had to own other human beings. 

I think that statues of Sheridan, etc should also be torn down if they make a hero out of a villain.  Sherman, Sheridan, etc have to be judged on what the statue is showing, why it was put up and consideration of what was done in their lives.  It is no simple answer in many cases, but in the case of the Confederates, most, if not all of them, were famous *only* for what they did in the USCW and they were put up to make a false claim in support of Jim Crow laws and resistance to civil rights. 
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Offline One Above All

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2017, 07:39:23 PM »
Removing statues is not at attempt at rewriting history.
Teaching children that slavery played no role in the USA's civil war is an attempt to rewrite history.
Teaching children that the south didn't lose the civil war is an attempt to rewrite history.
Teaching children that secession and sparking a civil war is not treason is an attempt to rewrite history (as well as the constitution of the USA; IIRC that's where the tidbit about secession being a treasonous offense is).

People want to remove a statue. This does not change what happened, and it certainly doesn't keep people from learning what happened. People don't go to statues to learn history. If they want to learn history, they read books or talk to old people.
Other people want to teach their children lies because it suits their agenda. This is an actual attempt at changing the facts.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2017, 07:57:44 PM »
I think that statues of Sheridan, etc should also be torn down if they make a hero out of a villain.  Sherman, Sheridan, etc have to be judged on what the statue is showing, why it was put up and consideration of what was done in their lives.

I think it's worse to glorify someone for their good deeds if they are not also recognized for their evil deeds. It's like hiding skeletons in the closet. The Catholic church does that sort of thing in order to protect their image.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2017, 08:57:23 PM »
Grant refused to have a mural of Lee's surrender painted on the Capitol Rotunda.  Lee refused to go to Gettysburg to help memorialize that battle.  Both of them knew what many fail to ever grasp - that war is not something to be memorialized, but to be regretted and put behind us as fast as possible.

I learned all about the Civil War without ever once seeing any of the statues or memorials.  I did get to visit both Antietam and Gettysburg once.  But I didn't do it to see statues.  I saw it because I wanted to learn more about America's most brutal war, which still has the most deaths of any war America has ever fought in.  Well over 600,000 battlefield deaths.  Like having 9/11 happen, over and over again, more than 200 times in total.

And now, we stand on the brink of another civil war because of people who never learned that lesson of history and never learned the one taught in WWII.  Who seek to use statues put in place to glorify a failed cause well after it was lost to justify their own vile desire to kill anyone who doesn't happen to fit their belief of what an American should be.  Who are apparently intent on dragging America through another hellish civil war, one which will be far deadlier than the last simply because of how much more deadly the weapons are, for their putrid ideology.

I would give almost anything if it stopped this war I can see coming as plain as day.  If it could stop all the future Charlottesvilles where the ideologues responsible plan to do even worse to terrify and kill whoever they need to in order to bring everyone else to heel.  But until the rest of America decides stands up for the future and stand against our hateful past, against the kind of people who think the people that murderous racist hurt and killed with his car are nothing more than dangerous animals who can be killed at will.  That's from an interview with one of the other racists who brought no less than four guns plus a knife to this 'peaceful' rally and who gloated about how they'd attempt to do better than Charlottesville next time.  It's at the tail end of the video clip I'm about to post, an embedded reporter who caught what these people were really saying, what they were really trying to do, what they really believe.

https://youtu.be/P54sP0Nlngg

It's over 20 minutes long, but I recommend watching the whole thing, as sickening as it is.
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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2017, 09:06:55 PM »
When Donald Trump was talking over the weekend, a reporter asked whether Donald thinks statues of Robert E. Lee should stay up.  Donald said "I would say that's up to a local town, community, or the federal government depending on where it is located."

So today local governments started removing statues, including the Robert E. Lee statue, where currently tonight a few thousand young folks have come together singing.

Someone said, a majority of German families wouldn't like having an Adolf Hitler elementary school. 

If these statues upset African Americans and enough people agree, they should be taken down. To continue Trump's point, if we get to the point where enough Americans are angry at what George Washington or Thomas Jefferson represent- which obviously is in no way the current situation - then those symbols should and will be removed also.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2017, 09:42:34 PM »
Exodus 20:4King James Version (KJV)
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

If we are going to be iconoclasts, lets do it for everything.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 09:44:17 PM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2017, 05:42:09 AM »
If we are going to be iconoclasts, lets do it for everything.
How about you come up with a better justification for "let's not make any statues at all" than a verse from an ancient religious book forbidding graven images to worship.

You seem to not be getting the relatively straightforward fact that these statues were made by the losing side in a civil war, the bloodiest war in terms of American lives lost, in order to renormalize the war into a beautiful fantasy cause that deserved to win.  This isn't simply a mistake, or honest admiration of the losing side for putting up a good fight; it was something practically out of 1984 in terms of twisting things around.  It disguised something as awful as the chattel slavery that existed in America before the Civil War, and the modified form known as Jim Crow segregation which lasted almost a hundred years afterward, packaging it neatly into "states' rights".

Before you start lecturing people on statues, how about you spend some time envisioning a world where your ancestors were enslaved, tortured, killed, and otherwise treated like particularly smart animals for generations, and then subjugated, terrified, and murdered out of hand for daring to go beyond that subjugated animal-like status for generations afterwards.  It's only reasonable if you're going to sit here and try to propose wise-sounding 'solutions' like Solomon, that you make sure to spend time making sure you understand both sides.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2017, 07:08:46 AM »
I think that statues of Sheridan, etc should also be torn down if they make a hero out of a villain.  Sherman, Sheridan, etc have to be judged on what the statue is showing, why it was put up and consideration of what was done in their lives.

I think it's worse to glorify someone for their good deeds if they are not also recognized for their evil deeds. It's like hiding skeletons in the closet. The Catholic church does that sort of thing in order to protect their image.

that's why education is a important thing.  I'm curious why you made the claim that taking down statues was essentially rewriting history but didn't address my point on how I didn't understand why you think that. 
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2017, 03:22:28 AM »
I'm having a gut feeling that its wrong to remove statues, but having trouble articulating why.  I don't know if my gut is right or not.

One thing I think is that removing the statues will not help the situation - it will make it worse.  Okay - so statues now are a place for racists to gather, for redneck dads to point out to their boys and talk about how the South shall rise agin.  Will removing the statues stop racists gathering?  Nope.  Will it stop them telling their kids how great the South is/was?  Nope.

Will it give the racists another perceived cause for grievance?  I think so.  It will give them more cause for outrage.  I can see it being spun as "they are afraid of the South, so they have to pull down our statues".  I can see it being the tipping point for some, see it pushing those with some feelings that way further along that path.

In short, while I can rationally accept the arguments about the when and why these statues were erected and the logical reasons why they should be removed, to do so has required me to look at it carefully and rationally and read and think.....and heck, I'm a Brit.  My interest in the Civil War comes from playing wargames (and hence, jaime, I'll not argue your views on Lee et al!).  My brain supports the idea, my gut does not....and I have only a tiny emotional connection to the statues.  I can imagine how those who DO revere the statues will react.

Like.....we know that it is better for children not to suck dummies.  But oh my, the fuss caused when you take his dummy away!

I don't see statue removal as being of any immediate help, but just pouring petrol on the flames.  I also see it as an easy way for administrations to look like they are doing something positive, while having zero effect on the underlying issues - a good way to seem pro-active while doing exactly nothing. 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2017, 03:41:14 AM »
Anfauglir, what you describe is their reaction to being marginalized. Should their views be marginalized or no?
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Offline jetson

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2017, 06:24:48 AM »
The history of the statues is what convinces me they should never have been allowed in the first place. But specifically not in public spaces. This is the critical element - the location of these statues. Just like the religious symbols that Christians believe represent all Americans - on public property - these monuments do not reflect all Americans, not even close.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2017, 09:05:57 AM »
Anfauglir, what you describe is their reaction to being marginalized. Should their views be marginalized or no?

Yes (see caveat below). 

But doing it this way seems tailor-made to push buttons and provoke more extreme reactions, with (so far as I can see) little or no positive effect. 

As has been said, education is a better route. 

What would be better, Azdgari?  That the statues are removed while some people want them to stay?  Or that the statues are removed because nobody wants them to stay?
--------------

Caveat is that I don't like their views.  I think their view should be marginalised.
Doubtless they do not like my views.  I'm sure they think my view should be marginalised.

Distasteful as opposing views may be, I am always uncomfortable to see them forcibly marginalised. 
Even when I am strongly opposed.
Because I don't like to be in the position of saying "I don't care what you want, I am going to tear down what you hold dear because I believe your views are wrong".
Because it makes me start to wonder whether my side is any different.

I don't have all the answers.  I just don't think this is it.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2017, 09:14:34 AM »
Because I don't like to be in the position of saying "I don't care what you want, I am going to tear down what you hold dear because I believe your views are wrong".
Because it makes me start to wonder whether my side is any different.

I don't have all the answers.  I just don't think this is it.

Anfauglir,  that sounds like a lot of false equivalency to me.  You really think that there is no difference between Nazis and what you believe are good and humane things?

There are some beliefs that have no purpose in the world but to cause harm and hate.  I have no problem in standing up to them and saying "no more" and knocking down every damn statue to people who advocate this and going to war to stop its spread a la WWII.  Completely free speech is a good idea in theory but it is abused by those very people who would deny it to others.   
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: myth of a humane General Robert E. Lee
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2017, 12:12:00 PM »
But doing it this way seems tailor-made to push buttons and provoke more extreme reactions, with (so far as I can see) little or no positive effect. 

As has been said, education is a better route.
I'd agree that education is a better route, ideally.  But this isn't a merely academic issue here in America, where we can safely wait for a few decades to educate a new generation or two.  We're dealing with people who are bound and determined to "take their country back" (meaning, ensure that white supremacy continues) by any means necessary.  We saw some of that last weekend in Charlottesville when a murderous racist drove his car at high speed into a crowd who were counter-protesting them.  Another racist was caught on video threatening to send hundreds of men with guns if the person he was talking to on the phone didn't rescind the decision to allow vehicles into the park so they could pick up some of their equipment.  A third one - the same one who put out that video of him sniveling about having a warrant out for his arrest, and who simultaneously offered to cooperate with the authorities while warning them he was armed - brought several guns to this supposedly "non-violent" protest, and was caught on tape trying to draw a fake distinction between being non-violent and being non-aggressive - in fact, threatening that they would become violent and would kill the people protesting against them.  He also said that the murder of that woman was justified because the person in the car was scared of how the animals - that is, the people counter-protesting them - were acting and couldn't think of anything to do to but to step on the gas pedal.

Quote from: Anfauglir
What would be better, Azdgari?  That the statues are removed while some people want them to stay?  Or that the statues are removed because nobody wants them to stay?
It's been almost 50 years since MLK Jr. was murdered for standing up for the rights that had been guaranteed to black people in the Constitution a hundred years previous.  It's only been recently that public opinion has shifted enough to even address it.  And as we saw last weekend, the result was people with guns and body armor using it as an excuse to attempt to terrorize a community.

The question you should be asking is whether the cost of removing them when some people want them to say is worth the cost of leaving them up[1], not about whether it's better to wait until nobody wants them to remain.

These murderous white supremacists showed last weekend that they are perfectly willing to kill people who came to peaceably protest against them.  A viewpoint that crosses that line, whether it's with a gun or by trying to barrel through a crowd in a car, is a cancer on a society.  We saw the result of allowing a similarly cancerous ideology to take over a democratic society in Germany, 60-70 years ago.  I don't think that's a lesson we need to risk repeating out of concern for marginalizing their viewpoint.  Especially since they clearly intend to marginalize every viewpoint that isn't theirs, by force if necessary.

EDIT:  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-rights-group-rethinks-defending-hate-groups-protesting-guns-article-1.3421773

Quote
The American Civil Liberties Union will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, a policy change that comes on the heels of protests by white nationalists and counter-protesters at the weekend in Virginia.
Do you think the ACLU is marginalizing these groups, Anfauglir?
 1. which includes that the people who came to protest it will be emboldened into even more vicious behavior by their victory, and will seek to capitalize on it
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 12:15:41 PM by jaimehlers »
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