Nihilism In an Emblematic City

A friend who grew up in Boston writes about the significance of the recent attacks on statues and historic monuments there.

Boston, known as the “Athens of America” and the “Cradle of Liberty,” has, as was said of the Balkans, disparagingly, “produced more history than it can consume locally”. The City of Boston alone, compact and relatively small in the metropolitan area, has probably more historical monuments and statues than anyplace else in America except Washington, D.C.

During the recent Black Lives Matter riots, in addition to widespread looting and property damage, there was vandalism on a large scale all over the country. Confederate statues, of course; their day is done and I think, as Steve Hayward stated in PL, this is not the hill to die on for conservatives and Republicans. Columbus statues have long been on the left’s target list as well. The Columbus statue in Boston’s historic North End was, infamously, beheaded and the statue has been removed. Boston’s Public Garden holds the largest statuary monument in the city, of a magnificent George Washington astride a noble steed. It was not spared by the mob and its base was covered in graffiti.

No doubt this is to be expected as well. At least eight presidents were slave owners, including Washington, Jefferson an Madison, Founding Fathers all. The logic of the progressive narrative of irredeemably racist America must be the erasure and defaming of the Founders, a position that will be forthrightly and increasingly embraced by liberals and Democrat activists, as already in the “woke” MSM.

But for the sheer depth of perversity, it would be hard to beat the vandalism and iconoclasm that is gripping Boston now; 16 statues or monuments were defaced during the riots–including against a great monument glorifying the Civil War’s abolition of slavery!

The vandals went after the Robert Gould Shaw Monument on the edge of Boston Common and directly across the street from the Massachusetts State House. It is a magnificent Augustus Saint-Gaudens monument honoring the abolitionist organizer of the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, the first all African-American military unit made the subject of the 1989 film Glory, justly celebrating Shaw and the heroic exploits of the 54th in 1863.

Senator Tom Cotton’s powerful speech in the senate noted the insane destruction visited on this monument, as a local TV station reported:

“This monument is considered one of the nation’s greatest pieces of public art and the greatest piece to come out of the Civil War,” Friends of the Public Garden executive director Liz Vizza told the station. “It was, amazingly enough, dedicated 123 years ago on May 31st – the day it was defaced.”

On the rear are words by Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University at its dedication in 1897:

The White Officers taking life and honor in their hands cast in their lot with men of a despised race unproven in war and risked death as inciters of servile insurrection if taken prisoners besides encountering all the common perils of camp march and battle. The Black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union Cause. Served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white troops. Faced threatened enslavement if captured. Were brave in action. Patient under heavy and dangerous labors. And cheerful amid hardships and privations. Together they gave to the Nation and the World undying proof that Americans of African descent possess the pride, courage and devotion of the patriot soldier. One hundred and eighty thousand such Americans enlisted under the Union Flag in MDCCCLXIII–MDCCCLXV. [1863-1865]

This is what they did to it:

One might think that this disgrace, irrational on the “mostly peaceful” “protestors” own premises, could not be exceeded for sheer nihilism. Yet even Abraham Lincoln is now not safe from the vandals.

A more obscurely placed but still prominent statue of the Great Emancipator in Boston is now subject to being removed in the ongoing neo-Maoist Cultural Revolution. The statue is a replica of the original in Washington, D.C. a which was actually paid for in part by freed slaves in 1878! It is rich with symbols of freedom and presents Abraham Lincoln standing over a newly unshackled slave and apparently encouraging him to rise from the degraded state from which he has been released.

The inscription reads: “A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.”
The figure of the emancipated slave may even be grateful to Lincoln and the hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers who, in fact, freed him from bondage. But it doesn’t matter because, while just rising into freedom he is yet on his knee(s)! Now, of course, the expectation is that only white people kneel–to blacks, begging for redemption for the racist, genocidal nation that the left says is America, 1619 and all that. So even Lincoln must be erased from history.

No doubt his greatest speech will be rephrased in Newspeak for future generations by the Ministry of Truth:

Twelve-score and four years ago a small elite of white, male, hetero-normative, cis-gendered property owners among the 1% brought forth on this continent, stolen from the Indigenous Peoples who lived here for millennia, a new Nation, conceived in African slavery and dedicated to the proposition of white, male, hetero-normative, cisgender supremacy. We are now engaged in a great civil war struggle testing whether that Nation, or any Nation so conceived, should continue to endure.

These events may seem, individually, simply extreme manifestations of left-wing lunacy with no real or permanent significance. To believe that is a mistake. Because the objective, completely undisguised and forthrightly embraced, is the erasure of the United States into New Transformed America™ directed by the radicals in the MSM, the academic-industrial complex and activist Democrats–“whether you like it not.” “2, 4, 6, 8, America was never great,” they proclaim and Andrew Cuomo, among others has publicly stated his agreement.

The now thoroughly unreadable New York Times proclaims the New Transformed America™ ideology at every turn starting with the reprehensible 1619 Project soon to be mandatory everywhere. But the real goal, and the disgrace in Boston, is a harbinger of the Cultural Revolution to come: their strategic end state, is not just 1619. They’re really going after 1776.