Happy Atheist Forum

General => History => Topic started by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 12:36:05 AM

Title: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 12:36:05 AM
Since Charlotteville has brought it to the headlines, even if it was only an excuse for a racist rally there, the matter of the removal of statues and the changing if street names has risen to the notice of the media.

Talking about name changing in Florida one anti-change commentator said that you cannot erase or even change history. This is, of course, true, however should certain aspects of history be - in any way - celebrated? I still believe that the only value of history is to learn from it in order to improve the future.

Unfortunately humanity seems genetically programmed to make the same fundamental mistakes over and over. Though, just possibly, in slightly more enlightened countries and times, legal and educational nudges may (providing humanity does not kill itself first) change things over a few tens of generations.

"De-celebrating" the likes of Lee and using their pro-slavery thoughts and actions as negative examples could be part if this.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Tom62 on August 31, 2017, 03:47:57 AM
Since Chsrlotteville has brought it to the headlines, even if it was only an excuse for a racist rally there, the matter of the removal of statues and the changing if street names has risen to the notice of the media.

Talking about name changing in Florida one anti-change commentator said that you cannot erase or even change history. This is, of course, true, however should certain aspects of history be - in any way - celebrated? I still believe that the only value of history is to learn from it in order to improve the future.

Unfortunately humanity seems genetically programmed to make the same fundamental mistakes over and over. Though, just possibly, in slightly more enlightened countries and times, legal and educational nudges may (providing humanity does not kill itself first) change things over a few tens of generations.

"De-celebrating" the likes of Lee and using their pro-slavery thoughts and actions as negative examples could be part if this.

Question is what will be next. Will be ban every word, book, movie, statue, image or whatever that a small minority of people doesn't like? For example: I recently read in the news that "Gone with the Wind" wasn't shown somewhere in the USA, because it is now considered to be a racist movie. Is it the goal to edit or remove history, like Stalin did during his lifetime? Who is going to decide what is right or wrong? The government? SJWs? Liberals? Conservatives? This is a very slippery slope.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 04:13:21 AM
I fully agree that it is a slippery slope, and could well be the thin end of the wedge for some more radical factions to  acquire more influence. But should we then re-erect the statues of the Nazi and Soviet periods?

It is possible, I think, to make history real, but not valid to "celebrate" the less savoury characters. A true representation of slavery, even a fictional one, is valid, a "cleaned up" one is not. But how many films have been made where the slaves live in crude dwellings, are half starved, whipped, raped, buggered etc.? No doubt there were benevolent slave owners, but is slavery valid, in any way, in the 21st century? And if slavery itself is not valid then neither are any commemorations of those who actively promoted it.

I agree that going back far enough with this theme could mean that statues of Washington and his monument could be on the demolition list, which would probably not go well with even the most liberal of Americans! Though some SJWs might vote for it.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Davin on August 31, 2017, 07:40:38 AM
Since Chsrlotteville has brought it to the headlines, even if it was only an excuse for a racist rally there, the matter of the removal of statues and the changing if street names has risen to the notice of the media.

Talking about name changing in Florida one anti-change commentator said that you cannot erase or even change history. This is, of course, true, however should certain aspects of history be - in any way - celebrated? I still believe that the only value of history is to learn from it in order to improve the future.

Unfortunately humanity seems genetically programmed to make the same fundamental mistakes over and over. Though, just possibly, in slightly more enlightened countries and times, legal and educational nudges may (providing humanity does not kill itself first) change things over a few tens of generations.

"De-celebrating" the likes of Lee and using their pro-slavery thoughts and actions as negative examples could be part if this.

Question is what will be next. Will be ban every word, book, movie, statue, image or whatever that a small minority of people doesn't like?
That sounds like a pretty big leap. Slippery slopes  tend to more slope form than pretending like there is a cliff. Like with everything else, if there is a good reason to keep something, then keep, and if there is a good reason to remove it, then remove it and we can avoid the slippery slope. These monuments are on public property. On federal land. These are monuments of people willing to kill their fellow American brethren to maintain slavery, and they were erected (several of them around the 50's and 60's), in public places in a country that they sought to destroy.

Speaking of slippery slopes. If we keep those statues, do we we also put up statues of Hitler? Do we put up statues of Yamamoto Isoroku on Pearl Harbor? How about a statue of Timothy McVeigh? Or statues at the twin towers site of all the terrorists involved with that attack? Maybe slope is slipping a different way than you expect?

Quote from: Tom62
For example: I recently read in the news that "Gone with the Wind" wasn't shown somewhere in the USA, because it is now considered to be a racist movie.
Should people be forced to show movies that they don't like or that they disagree with?

Quote from: Tom62
Is it the goal to edit or remove history, like Stalin did during his lifetime? Who is going to decide what is right or wrong? The government? SJWs? Liberals? Conservatives? This is a very slippery slope.
So far, the history is still there. though for a long time history has been withheld in school even in history classes. But other than Conservatives trying to mislead children about the History of the US, Republican politicians lying about what happened, and everyone around the Orange 45, there hasn't been an attack on history.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: No one on August 31, 2017, 08:20:28 AM
But people love to surf that slippery slope, then sing the blues when they wipe out.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on August 31, 2017, 09:25:10 AM
I agree with Davin's take on it. It's okay to be open minded, but to cut shit out that's dumb. Like walking off a cliff, or drinking kool aide in a robe.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 09:31:48 AM
OFF TOPIC

Quote
. . . drinking kool aide in a robe.

This is the third time this month I have come across a reference to "kool aide". I get the idea it is a cold drink.

But why is it so notorious? Is it super fuzzy or something? Or like a "Slush Puppy"?
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: No one on August 31, 2017, 09:35:48 AM
Jim Jones, Gloucester.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 09:49:55 AM
Jim Jones, Gloucester.

The name rang a small bell but I had to look it up. So, euphemism for committing suicide?
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: No one on August 31, 2017, 10:14:59 AM
Or at least blindly following to whatever end.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on August 31, 2017, 10:19:36 AM
Or at least blindly following to whatever end.
Ah, yes! That puts one of the mentions into context now.

Thanks.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: xSilverPhinx on August 31, 2017, 05:49:32 PM
I don't think I agree with "removing" or silencing historical events because it offends some group of people. The whole point of history besides better understanding the present is it's somewhat like a sociological laboratory, social experiments unfolding with the passage of time.

Just as our pasts are full of things we regret or wish we could have done differently, they are part of who we are IMO. The same can be said for societies and even nations. It doesn't necessarily define an entity but ignoring certain aspects of the past can be dangerous because that way we don't learn from them.

If people are already predisposed to make the same mistakes over and over again, how much worse would that be without darker times in our memories?  ::) 
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on August 31, 2017, 06:15:00 PM
I don't think I agree with "removing" or silencing historical events because it offends some group of people. The whole point of history besides better understanding the present is it's somewhat like a sociological laboratory, social experiments unfolding with the passage of time.

Just as our pasts are full of things we regret or wish we could have done differently, they are part of who we are IMO. The same can be said for societies and even nations. It doesn't necessarily define an entity but ignoring certain aspects of the past can be dangerous because that way we don't learn from them.

If people are already predisposed to make the same mistakes over and over again, how much worse would that be without darker times in our memories?  ::)

That's fair, but usually statues are made of people to show how "great" they were. Lee was not a good guy according to history. He fought and killed to keep slavery legal. He's a piece of shit. Iraqis tore down statues of Saddam...
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 01, 2017, 12:29:29 AM
I don't think I agree with "removing" or silencing historical events because it offends some group of people. The whole point of history besides better understanding the present is it's somewhat like a sociological laboratory, social experiments unfolding with the passage of time.

Just as our pasts are full of things we regret or wish we could have done differently, they are part of who we are IMO. The same can be said for societies and even nations. It doesn't necessarily define an entity but ignoring certain aspects of the past can be dangerous because that way we don't learn from them.

If people are already predisposed to make the same mistakes over and over again, how much worse would that be without darker times in our memories?  ::)

Silver, this touches my idea that history is "sterile" as a study on its own, yes it may achieve understanding. But "understanding"s greatest asset is the ability to modify the future in a positive direction.

If a past event had a negative effect on humanity as a whole then it dies not deserve any kind of celebrstion, only to be used as an example of what not to repeat. Don't bury it, use it.

It is right to remember the "Holocaust" and respect those who lost their lives in it. But it's history has also been misused in some ways to excuse what could be described as criminal action on behalf of the victim peoples. And it did not stop the likes of the "Killing Fields" of Cambodia or the massacres in Rwanda.

"History repeats itself" is a clichè that has validity - except that it should read, "Human nature leads us to make the same mistakes over and again." Human nature, in terms of populations, can only really be modified by using truth, facts and example to educate. Oh, plus constancy and lots of time!
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dragonia on September 01, 2017, 04:37:22 AM
I feel like a good solution would be to leave the statues standing, and add a bronze marker plate with a couple, few paragraphs, giving a more balanced, accurate view of the man. The good and the bad. Not in a celebratory way, but a cautionary way. There are fantastic writers out there who could be sensitive about how they write it. I wonder if that would be satisfactory to people? It would still be a monument to our history, but make it more honest.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 01, 2017, 04:44:03 AM
I feel like a good solution would be to leave the statues standing, and add a bronze marker plate with a couple, few paragraphs, giving a more balanced, accurate view of the man. The good and the bad. Not in a celebratory way, but a cautionary way. There are fantastic writers out there who could be sensitive about how they write it. I wonder if that would be satisfactory to people? It would still be a monument to our history, but make it more honest.
That occurred to me as well, it would certainly bave to be sensitive, including that these were "men of their time" but the times they are a-changing and we need to change with them.

Also put up more monuments to the good people? Maybe even the man or womsn down the road that did a thousand tiny things that made the local community better. Support your local hero!
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Davin on September 01, 2017, 07:27:24 AM
I don't think that those statues belong on public land. They don't need to be destroyed, but they should be moved. Like with religious symbols, having those statues on public land at government buildings shows that the government implicitly supports them and what they stood for.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 01, 2017, 07:31:22 AM
I don't think that those statues belong on public land. They don't need to be destroyed, but they should be moved. Like with religious symbols, having those statues on public land at government buildings shows that the government implicitly supports them and what they stood for.

I think some of the former Soviet states put all their Lenins, Stalins and heroic workers in special parks. I actually liked the "power" in some of the Soviet era statuary, if not the politics behind them.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Tom62 on September 01, 2017, 12:43:32 PM
I gave it some more thought and agree with Davin that the statues should be moved. Lee was a great general, but he fought on the wrong side (a case similar like Erwin Rommel?).
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 01, 2017, 01:18:45 PM
I gave it some more thought and agree with Davin that the statues should be moved. Lee was a great general, but he fought on the wrong side (a case similar like Erwin Rommel?).

Both patriotic men of honour fighting for their homeland, deserving respect if not adulation.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: BooksCatsEtc on September 01, 2017, 02:41:41 PM
I don't think that those statues belong on public land. They don't need to be destroyed, but they should be moved. Like with religious symbols, having those statues on public land at government buildings shows that the government implicitly supports them and what they stood for.

I agree.  The place for them is in a museum.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dragonia on September 01, 2017, 03:10:21 PM
^^^ That's a great idea, to move them to museums. I'm sure there are many empty spots in Civil War Museums everywhere!
I just re the idea of destroying all of them, when they could have some educational or reminder value.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 01, 2017, 09:12:04 PM
^^^ That's a great idea, to move them to museums. I'm sure there are many empty spots in Civil War Museums everywhere!
I just re the idea of destroying all of them, when they could have some educational or reminder value.
Just so long as those museums do not become shrines to the thought patterns we should seek to eradicate.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Harmonie on September 06, 2017, 06:20:37 AM
It astounds me that the side that is all about whitewashing history to paint slavery as "nice", to erase a lot of the horrendous ways that the natives were treated, etc. is whining about "history erasure" from taking down statues celebrating those who fought to keep slavery.

Although, this kind of contradictory thinking is rife in the Far Right (Thinking that religious freedom = Christian beliefs in law, for one). It still never fails to get me that they actually get away with this twisted thinking and adding it to the table like it's an actual valid argument.

The monuments were not even put up to commemorate the military leaders... They were put up as propaganda during the Jim Crow law era. They are all about white supremacy. They should be taken down and put in museums along with information explaining when, why, and how they were added to begin with. If anyone seriously wants to argue that is "history erasure" they are full of it. This is *teaching* history.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on September 06, 2017, 06:12:56 PM
I don't think that those statues belong on public land. They don't need to be destroyed, but they should be moved. Like with religious symbols, having those statues on public land at government buildings shows that the government implicitly supports them and what they stood for.

I agree.  The place for them is in a museum.

Also agreed.  Living in Texas I see a few Confederate statues around, and they are slightly embarrassing.  I feel no affinity for that cause, even though I understand that my forefathers truly believed in it.  It was a bad idea, and it's over, forever, I hope.  Museums are appropriate.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dragonia on September 07, 2017, 04:58:56 AM
You know, putting these monuments in museums would have the added psychological benefit of relegating the slavery mindset to a bygone era, only to be remembered in books and museums. Once something goes into a museum, it feels more like we're looking at the past.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Davin on September 07, 2017, 07:17:03 AM
That would be great. This continuance of racism needs to be relegated to the past. I'd say it belongs with thinking the Earth is flat... but that's making a come back.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 07, 2017, 09:05:46 AM
I see even your national cathedral is removing the windows that feature Lee and Jackson.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/us/politics/washington-national-cathedral-stained-glass-confederate-lee.html
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Icarus on September 07, 2017, 09:20:35 PM
I respect that several of you have condemned the statues of confederate soldiers and officers.  I herewith argue that the removal of such artifices are counter productive.  We have statutes of an unknown confederate soldier in my towns public square.  My town, in the years of civil war had about 150 farmers, none of which had slaves. None! When the statue was installed in 1904 there were no particular objections. In fact it was a mater of civic pride for my forebears.

The federal government recognizes that war as between two countries, not as an act of treason by rebellious citizens.  Public laws 810 and 85-425 officially deemed American confederate soldiers with the same protections as Union soldiers.  Today the department of veterans affairs will furnish a free headstone to Confederate veterans.  The federal government has no intentions of re-naming any military base or streets because they might be named in honor of any Confederate individual.   Lincoln Himself stated; "Honor to the soldiers and sailors everywhere, who bravely bears this countries cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field that he serves, as best can, the same cause"

When asked about removing civil war monuments, Condoleeza Rice stated; When you start wiping out your history;sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it is a bad thing. I am a firm believer that keeping your history before you is useful'". I will add, how else would we presume to  learn?

I am personally sickened by the leaders of the silliness sweepstakes at colleges around our country. At the moment,Yale, the bastion of academic uppity excellence is the most egregious of offenders. Then there is Oberlin,  Berkley and a few others who have contracted a "Shit for brains" mentality.  Safe spaces, Trigger warnings, and other snowflake absurdities diminish us. Did we fight WW2 and win because we had a pussy mentality. Did we build this country with the primary aim of political correctness.  Bullshit.  The Pioneers who traveled by wagon train to Oregon were definitely not snowflakes. They had courage to take whatever fates befell them.  Did the West Virginia coal minors of old lie down and give up because their lot was almost hopeless? Hell no, we were collectively made of sterner stuff and we could handle diversity and hardships and derision from our "betters".  We may not have liked or accepted a lower degree of acceptance but we did persevere.

Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?

Rant partially completed.... I'll be back to appeal to your more mature and esoteric  judgements.



 

Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 07, 2017, 09:27:49 PM
Leaving those statues up is no different than creating a safe space for racists...
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Davin on September 08, 2017, 07:42:37 AM
Quote
Civil War: a war between citizens of the same country.
Quote
Treason: the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.

They committed treason. The textbook definition of treason. I will admit that before the civil war, they were trying to secede, but it was still a civil war because they did not succeed at seceding.

Removing statues is not erasing history. Those statues were not put up before the war. Many were put up during the Jim Crow era with the intentions to intimidate black people by showing them that the government, police, and courts are not for them, they are for white people. You want to remember history? Go to a museum, read a book... but don't keep up statues of treasonous, traitors on public grounds of government buildings. Fuck, if you want to remember the history of the American civil war, just go to the south and look at the absence of slaves.

I am personally sickened by the leaders of the silliness sweepstakes at colleges around our country. At the moment,Yale, the bastion of academic uppity excellence is the most egregious of offenders. Then there is Oberlin,  Berkley and a few others who have contracted a "Shit for brains" mentality.  Safe spaces, Trigger warnings, and other snowflake absurdities diminish us. Did we fight WW2 and win because we had a pussy mentality. Did we build this country with the primary aim of political correctness.  Bullshit.  The Pioneers who traveled by wagon train to Oregon were definitely not snowflakes. They had courage to take whatever fates befell them.  Did the West Virginia coal minors of old lie down and give up because their lot was almost hopeless? Hell no, we were collectively made of sterner stuff and we could handle diversity and hardships and derision from our "betters".  We may not have liked or accepted a lower degree of acceptance but we did persevere.
I'm sorry that you have problems with other people doing things that don't affect you, but maybe you should stop being so sensitive about it.

My grandfather while working at Yosemite National Park, on a few occasions, had to escort out racists treating black families like shit. I know it's politically correct to not go around calling black people the "n" word, so my grandfather must be some kind of "shit for brains" snowflake, right? He wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the park without harassment, but I guess he won the silliness sweepstakes by trying to create a place that was safe for everyone. I suppose he was a pussy for fighting against the racism at the time.

He also fought, killed, and captured many Germans during WWII. He single handedly captured about 40 German soldiers (drunk in a bar), and you're calling him a pussy? You're calling him a snowflake? You're saying he has "shit for brains?" Yes, all those things you listed are things my grandfather supported and he was also a bad ass in WWII.

I think what you said there is absurd.

Quote from: Icarus
Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?
I see that the Russian and Bannon trolls/bots have been effective in spreading their message. Jefferson and Washington did have slaves, but they didn't kill their American brethren to keep their slaves. It's not that difficult to see the difference.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 08, 2017, 08:24:46 AM
Leaving those statues up is no different than creating a safe space for racists...

And putting them anywhere in a public place, garden, museum etc, may possibly make that place a "shrine".  Yet they dtill need to be eithin oublic access somehow.

With regards war monuments, I have more sympathy towards those who died whilst in mandatory conscripted service, even if they fought for "the wrong side". I am less sympathetic towards those who made a personal statement by willingly volunteering to fight for an inhumane cause.

But I wonder if commemorating war in any way is not part of the perpetuation and repetition of that processs.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on September 08, 2017, 10:34:20 AM

Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?

This is an issue that should be addressed.  The difference, for me, is that Jefferson and Washington are not known and upheld for their positions on slavery, but for their statesmanship and service to the country.  Lee and Jackson and Davis, on the other hand, are known for their actions in the Confederacy.  Jefferson and Washington are in a different category.

Furthermore, while I'm in favor of removing the Confederate flag and the statues, and putting them in museums, I am not in favor of going back and having to rename every town, county or military installation that is named after a Confederate soldier/politician.  It would cause unnecessary confusion to have to rename all these places.  We have a Lee County and a Jeff Davis County in Texas, and a Fort Hood (named after Confederate general John B. Hood).  To rename these would cause legal, geographical and social confusion.  Just get rid of the monuments and move along.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 08, 2017, 11:33:26 AM
Leaving those statues up is no different than creating a safe space for racists...

And putting them anywhere in a public place, garden, museum etc, may possibly make that place a "shrine".  Yet they still need to be within public access somehow.

Why? The main thing I am seeing is that when people see history, specifically nazi ww2 and civil war kkk history is that these people who are outcasts resonate with those ideas and turn make those ideas their own. And especially with the internet where there are predators looking to recruit people to their pack. They form groups linked together by one thing, racism.

What's the big deal if statues are taken down? They aren't important. It's just a idolized version of a person who did terrible things. Trying to defend it just implies the message that you support those things. Do you think Germans kept up statues of Hitler?
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 08, 2017, 12:07:03 PM
Leaving those statues up is no different than creating a safe space for racists...

And putting them anywhere in a public place, garden, museum etc, may possibly make that place a "shrine".  Yet they still need to be within public access somehow.

Why? The main thing I am seeing is that when people see history, specifically nazi ww2 and civil war kkk history is that these people who are outcasts resonate with those ideas and turn make those ideas their own. And especially with the internet where there are predators looking to recruit people to their pack. They form groups linked together by one thing, racism.

What's the big deal if statues are taken down? They aren't important. It's just a idolized version of a person who did terrible things. Trying to defend it just implies the message that you support those things. Do you think Germans kept up statues of Hitler?

I think this article has some interesting points, even though, on first reading I some done bits a little confusing (probably reading it too fast.)

Quote
The German case is exemplary not because Germans attained closure, but because they came to recognize that closure was neither tenable nor desirable. Instead, the processing of history is like an open wound that slowly heals only with careful debate about the often-explosive issues at stake. The United States can avoid making irreparable mistakes by learning from Germany’s blunders and subsequent course corrections.

Over time, Germans have moved through three distinct phases to tackle the country’s fascist legacy: erasing it, ignoring it, and consigning it to the Vergangenheitsbewältigung — German for “the enduring confrontation with the past.” The experience offers seven lessons for the fight over America’s Confederate past.

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/charlottesville-nazis-germany-communists-monuments-trump-20170817.html?mobi=true
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Icarus on September 08, 2017, 05:04:41 PM
I see that I could get into a serious pissing contest here, especially with Davin who has apparently taken my remarks to be indicative of my membership in the KKK.

Right now I have more pressing matters to deal with: Irma.   She will hit my city dead center on Sunday, according to the latest spaghetti models.

I will be back (I  hope) to defend my position and to examine whether or not it has been interpreted as I had intended. 

Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: jumbojak on September 08, 2017, 06:48:33 PM

Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?

This is an issue that should be addressed.  The difference, for me, is that Jefferson and Washington are not known and upheld for their positions on slavery, but for their statesmanship and service to the country.  Lee and Jackson and Davis, on the other hand, are known for their actions in the Confederacy.  Jefferson and Washington are in a different category.

While their positions regarding slavery aren't the reason many hold them in high esteem I personally think that their status as slave owners and promoters of the institution should be more widely discussed, especially in Jefferson's case.

He is too often described as someone who owned slaves but was in principle opposed to the practice of slavery. This couldn't be further from the truth. He was a slave owner who used his office to expand slavery and even attempted to economically cripple the northern states.

The same sort of white washing happens with Lee, Jackson, and Davis. You could perhaps make any argument that Jackson was a traitor to the Union, but somewhat enlightened for a slave owning southerner. You cannot make the same argument for Lee and Davis though. They were morally repulsive individuals, even in their own era.

Regarding monuments, my view is that celebrains of the leadership is inappropriate. But, monuments to the common soldiers, the fellows who largely had no choice about whether they were going to fight and little in the way of vested interests shold be remembered, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.

It's like a memorial to Vietnam veterans. I would be strongly opposed to any commemoration of either the political or military leadership in that conflict, at least in regard to their role in the war. The enlisted men and officers who took part in the actual fighting though, I think we should be reminded of what they lost.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 08, 2017, 09:47:13 PM
I see that I could get into a serious pissing contest here, especially with Davin who has apparently taken my remarks to be indicative of my membership in the KKK.

Right now I have more pressing matters to deal with: Irma.   She will hit my city dead center on Sunday, according to the latest spaghetti models.

I will be back (I  hope) to defend my position and to examine whether or not it has been interpreted as I had intended.

Good luck, Icarus, with both Irma and Davin.

Keep safe.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 09, 2017, 02:46:39 AM

Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?

This is an issue that should be addressed.  The difference, for me, is that Jefferson and Washington are not known and upheld for their positions on slavery, but for their statesmanship and service to the country.  Lee and Jackson and Davis, on the other hand, are known for their actions in the Confederacy.  Jefferson and Washington are in a different category.

While their positions regarding slavery aren't the reason many hold them in high esteem I personally think that their status as slave owners and promoters of the institution should be more widely discussed, especially in Jefferson's case.

He is too often described as someone who owned slaves but was in principle opposed to the practice of slavery. This couldn't be further from the truth. He was a slave owner who used his office to expand slavery and even attempted to economically cripple the northern states.

The same sort of white washing happens with Lee, Jackson, and Davis. You could perhaps make any argument that Jackson was a traitor to the Union, but somewhat enlightened for a slave owning southerner. You cannot make the same argument for Lee and Davis though. They were morally repulsive individuals, even in their own era.

Regarding monuments, my view is that celebrains of the leadership is inappropriate. But, monuments to the common soldiers, the fellows who largely had no choice about whether they were going to fight and little in the way of vested interests shold be remembered, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.

It's like a memorial to Vietnam veterans. I would be strongly opposed to any commemoration of either the political or military leadership in that conflict, at least in regard to their role in the war. The enlisted men and officers who took part in the actual fighting though, I think we should be reminded of what they lost.

I agree with this.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: xSilverPhinx on September 09, 2017, 06:51:30 AM
Stay safe, Icarus!
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 09, 2017, 12:07:00 PM
Stay safe, Icarus!

I also agree with this.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Davin on September 11, 2017, 07:41:00 AM
I see that I could get into a serious pissing contest here, especially with Davin who has apparently taken my remarks to be indicative of my membership in the KKK.
Well, when you get back, be sure to actually read what I wrote without making these irrational injections.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on September 11, 2017, 09:09:07 AM

Jefferson and Washington were slave holders, Their faces are spectacularly displayed  on the side of Mount Rushmore. Must we do away with those monuments too?

This is an issue that should be addressed.  The difference, for me, is that Jefferson and Washington are not known and upheld for their positions on slavery, but for their statesmanship and service to the country.  Lee and Jackson and Davis, on the other hand, are known for their actions in the Confederacy.  Jefferson and Washington are in a different category.

While their positions regarding slavery aren't the reason many hold them in high esteem I personally think that their status as slave owners and promoters of the institution should be more widely discussed, especially in Jefferson's case.

Discuss, sure.  Always discuss and never white wash.  But do you think that Jefferson's face should be removed from Mt. Rushmore, or that his memorial in D.C. should be taken down?  I certainly don't.  I am positive that we could find some morally repugnant quality in any leader we focused on.  Jefferson's contributions to America outweigh his shortcomings, IMHO.   
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 11, 2017, 11:57:03 AM
If Jefferson were alive today, he would not own slaves.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 11, 2017, 12:47:26 PM
If Jefferson were alive today, he would not own slaves.
True, not if he lived in the States anyway, he would be a "man of this time" with the mores and values of his culture inculcated into him since birth.  And he was a "man of his time" back then with the mores and values of that period. In a time when almost all rich people had slaves the difference was how they treated them.

I feel that is difficult to judge our antecedents on a practice that was global and had probably existed since Ug's clan captured some useful manpower from his neighbour and maybe sold them on to Og for a few dozen arrow heads or a wooly mamoth carcass. They were obeying the secular laws of the time, we have to leave the observance of ethical, moral and other more personal laws to their personality. That still applies today.

So, do we know if Jefferson fed and clothed his slaves decently, protected them ftom abuse by others and did not overwork them? If he was a good guy in that respect I would say cut the man some slack. If he was a lousy owner who treated them like animals then write that on into his biography and on his epitath as well.

Later: seems he was in two minds: or maybe between a rock and a hard place. He inherited slaves from both his father and father-in-law, so they were now his responsibility. Yet he worked agsinst slavery and berated the British for their maintenance io it. He had a relationship with a half-sister of his late wife, half slave in her parentage. He worked for emancipation so one might think he was also caring, to some degree, with his own slaves. He acted in a responsible manner, hopefully, in a culture he could not instantly change.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_slavery
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: jumbojak on September 11, 2017, 01:41:05 PM
^ That's exactly the sort of myth making I'm talking about. Jefferson used his office to expand slavery into the Louisiana Territory, while banning the importation of slaves from outside the US to the new territory. It seems enlightened enough until you realize that there was a major glut of slaves in Virginia and elsewhere - only South Carolina allowed the importation of slaves at this time - and that he sold much of his excess labor to the newly developing cotton industry in the deep south. If you are genuinely concerned about someone's well-being you don't engineer an opportunity to make a quick buck off of their misery.

He even went as far as proposing that the northern parts of the Louisiana Territory be turned into a giant Indian Reservation. It was convenient that these territories were unsuitable for plantation agriculture, and that barring new settlers would have indefinitely maintainted the stranglehold on political power that the southern states enjoyed.

The deeper you dig into any politicians career, the more reprehensible they seem to become. In fact, to address Bruce's question about monuments, I wouldn't be opposed to making Mount Rushmore a plain mountain again. I'm not sure I would be in favor of doing so, but have to ask, what purpose does a monument to any individual man or woman serve?

You create a space for people to put that person on a pedestal and make up wild stories like Jefferson Davis being opposed to slavery. You wind up with politicians trying to make "disparaging" one of the founding fathers a crime. It's absolutely ridiculous. Even the suggestion of a plaque added to a monument to give a more balanced view gets some folk's  red up.

Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 11, 2017, 01:45:20 PM
^
Yeah, who writes the accurate history? Is there any such beast? Even documents can be interpreted with bias.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Dave on September 12, 2017, 12:31:57 AM
Not sure if it applies here but there is one aspect of politics that, in my mind, potentially makes all politicians two-faced, lying hypocrits.

This is the support of policies that they personally feel or know to be wrong but they speak or vote in favour of because it is party policy - and their party must remain in power. Rebelling against a party policy that is not declared a free choice is political suicide.

Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on September 12, 2017, 08:17:11 AM
A monument to a person is a symbol - it basically enshrines some idea or narrative about that person that promotes national identity or patriotism.  Jefferson, for all his faults on the issue of slavery, is a key person in defining what it is to be an American.  As the principle author of the Declaration, a Secretary of State, the 3rd President, and a prolific contributor to the political philosophy of the early Republic, he has a significant role in our existence and continuance as a nation.  His words were alluded to by Lincoln at Gettysburg.  Removing monuments to him chips away at the foundation of national identity.  You don't need to praise everything he did, but without a positive narrative about who we are as Americans the whole concept of nationhood becomes meaningless.  Jefferson helped define what we are - I'm focusing on the positive parts - and I would not be in favor of removing him from the public arena.  Lee and Davis are another matter - we are not the Confederacy and should not be celebrating that failed attempt at a nation.
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Arturo on September 12, 2017, 09:47:55 AM
A monument to a person is a symbol - it basically enshrines some idea or narrative about that person that promotes national identity or patriotism.  Jefferson, for all his faults on the issue of slavery, is a key person in defining what it is to be an American.  As the principle author of the Declaration, a Secretary of State, the 3rd President, and a prolific contributor to the political philosophy of the early Republic, he has a significant role in our existence and continuance as a nation.  His words were alluded to by Lincoln at Gettysburg.  Removing monuments to him chips away at the foundation of national identity.  You don't need to praise everything he did, but without a positive narrative about who we are as Americans the whole concept of nationhood becomes meaningless.  Jefferson helped define what we are - I'm focusing on the positive parts - and I would not be in favor of removing him from the public arena.  Lee and Davis are another matter - we are not the Confederacy and should not be celebrating that failed attempt at a nation.

 :this:
Title: Re: History, how to deal with it?
Post by: Recusant on September 12, 2017, 10:21:27 AM
[Jefferson] is too often described as someone who owned slaves but was in principle opposed to the practice of slavery. This couldn't be further from the truth. He was a slave owner who used his office to expand slavery and even attempted to economically cripple the northern states.

Whatever his personal failings and hypocrisy, Jefferson was indeed opposed to slavery in principle. His writings are peppered with comments that show this. While we can't ignore actions which served to further his own interests and those of the country as he saw them (which perpetuated slavery) neither can we ignore his often expressed position on the institution of slavery in the US. Nobody was forcing him to write these things and it's unreasonable to think that he didn't believe them. The US during that era was already divided regarding the issue, and though he didn't do as much as he could to end slavery, neither was he all talk. His draft for the constitution of Virginia (https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-06-02-0255-0004) prescribed the end of slavery in that state.

Quote
The General assembly shall not have power to . . . permit the introduction of any more slaves to reside in this state, or the continuance of slavery beyond the generation which shall be living on the 31st. day of December 1800; all persons born after that day being hereby declared free.

He proposed to ban slavery in the Northwest Territories (https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-06-02-0420-0004).

Quote
That after the year 1800 of the Christian æra, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said states, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally guilty.