I hardly know where to begin today. Anyone watching the news knows that basically everything you say, everything you do, is now recorded somewhere. Anyone reading the news knows that if you’re in the crosshairs of the powers that be…everything you’ve said and done will be scoured (and possibly twisted) for something that is “wrong,” by today’s standards. A racist joke you told a few decades ago, or a picture your girlfriend sent you when she was under 18 and you were in high school, could easily be turned into “damning” evidence of your unworthiness, not just for public office, but for any job at all. One false step at any point in your life can cause you to be irrevocably un-personed.
Current “celebrities” aren’t the only targets, there’s a push to target people long dead for similar un-personing. While certainly someone who lived in the 19th century won’t have quite the “internet footprint” of anyone alive today, he’s also not around to defend himself from the charges. It’s really worth pointing out how vile this tactic is when trying to apply modern “sensibilities” to people from a very different era.
If someone from the 19th century stood up and started spouting some of the things taken as “normal” today…he would have been destroyed. For example, I cannot believe someone in 1850 who announced “There are 52 genders, and anyone who wants to change their sex should do so as a civil right!” would have much of a future beyond a trip to the nearest asylum…but pretty much all college administrators today must be able to shout such things at the top of their lungs, shamelessly and endlessly.
There’s long been a push to un-person many of our founding fathers, for owning slaves. So far, these efforts have been unsuccessful, mostly because slave-owning was perfectly legal and culturally acceptable at the time of those founding fathers…but recent events at a university warn me more is coming.
On university campuses, we often honored scholars by naming buildings after them, or erecting statues, after a lifetime of service. Ok, I’m talking about the past here; nowadays we mostly just honor administrators and coaches (Penn State can tell you how that works out). These honors, bestowed years ago, are now being removed based on modern thinking:
Ah, the cry of RACIST, yet again. Now, I’m in no way defending these honored people, and I certainly don’t agree with their ideas, but this is a sickening precedent.
Let’s take a look here:
Little was president from 1925 to 1929. He was also president of the American Eugenics Society and advocated policies that would deny civil rights to immigrants, many minority individuals and others.
Nope, not a fan of eugenics but…”deny civil rights to immigrants” is pretty loaded. In modern America, we need to distinguish between “legal” and “illegal” immigrants. A certain President is firmly of the belief that giving certain civil rights to illegal immigrants is a bad thing…if we un-person Little, could this not be used as a precedent?
In the 1950s, he served as a leading spokesman for the tobacco industry in contesting the idea that there was any relationship between smoking and cancer.
Now, serving as a leading spokesman for the tobacco industry, contesting the relationship between smoking and cancer is quite reprehensible but…this is a teaching moment. Instead of burying history here, why not put up a big plaque, detailing what this guy did?
It is very, very, important to smash into people’s heads as often as possible the following concept: big money can easily corrupt science. Very few people know just how long it took, how hard the fight was, to finally convince the American public/government that smoking was dangerous, despite the fact that doctors “strongly suspected” the relationship starting in the 19th century. Doctors who spoke out publicly were considered crackpots, because all the “scientific” studies said smoking was harmless.
Please keep this in mind when the mainstream media screams at you that “there’s no relationship between autism and vaccines.” Lots of people believe there’s no relationship because of this screaming but…educated people know it took decades before the completely obvious relationship between smoking and cancer could finally be acknowledged, because for decades the media kept telling the public, through figureheads like Little, that there was no relationship at all.
Similarly, there’s big money in the global warming “science”…but let’s get back on point for today’s topic.
So, absolutely he was a monster whose actions got many people killed. Let’s not bury that information, but instead help to inform people that, at one point in time, his actions were considered honorable.
Let’s look at the other racist building being attacked:
Alexander Winchell, who in the late 19th century was a professor of physics, civil engineering, geology and paleontology. His 1880 book, Preadamites, or a Demonstration of the Existence of Men Before Adam, is considered to be full of racist ideas and is typically cited these days only by those who advocate racism…
–note that not only the man, but anyone who ever cited the man, is being targeted here.
This action is even more reprehensible. Let’s take it as an axiom that this scholar wrote a book and that his beliefs were totally, fundamentally wrong…but he still got the building named after him for his scholarly work.
This one book wasn’t the only thing he did.
Plato is one of the humanity’s greatest minds. He believed that all matter was composed of four elements, and by “element” I mean in the ancient sense: air, earth, fire, and water.
Now, this is patently, obviously wrong. Colossally wrong, even. Should we now destroy every statue of Plato, and remove all of his books from human consideration for this grotesquely inaccurate version of reality? Of course not, and that’s the heart of the problem here.
So this guy wrote a terrible book, used by people other people don’t like. You don’t destroy a scholar for having one wrong belief, or for making one mistake (particularly when there’s no evidence it killed anyone). But, this guy was targeted, all his work in engineering and geology and other fields is now determined to be meaningless because of something else he said.
This is no false outrage on my part here. Communism was a huge crime against humanity, causing over a 100,000,000 deaths in the 20th century alone. I’m still not calling for statues of Marx to be taken down, or for his books to never be read again. He was a monster, and his monstrous ideas need to be preserved, so that we do not forget monsters exist.
In a similar vein, the above targets should not be punished for their mistakes, particularly when you put their “racist” views in context. We have Leftist racists running many of our campuses today, and I find it very likely that, at some point in the future, their incredible evil will be cast out…when this happens, if they have buildings and statues named after them, let those remain.
But put a plaque next to those honors, listing the evil of their Progressive beliefs in detail. The children of tomorrow have a right to know the monsters on our campuses today really existed.