The New Iconoclasm

What the Smashing of our Statues Really Means

I have been dismayed about many things that are being allowed to happen in this country that are aimed at the destruction of our culture and our heritage. It is troubling to see the ones who have sworn to uphold the laws, preventing law enforcement officers from protecting the lives and property of others. This dereliction of duty is characteristic of the officials who belong to one of the two major political parties – the one under whose big tent can be found radical Marxists, socialists, progressives, and others of the far left. This leads me to suspect that – not only do they not see anything wrong with this kind of “free expression” as they call it – but that they want it to happen.

Among the illegal acts of the mobs that have taken over our streets is the destruction of statues. The most sympathetic view that I can take of their actions is that they are sincerely offended by the evil things that America has done in the past; and that their zeal for their ideals makes it seem to them a virtuous thing. Doubtless, some of them fit this pattern.

Others may be the kind of people who need to feel a part of a group; passive people, followers, who will do anything to gain the approval of others. When they realize that there are no consequences for their actions, they are encouraged to draw attention to themselves by trying to out-strip the others by doing even worse things.

Still others are evil people who simply love to destroy. They could never make anything of value or beauty; but they envy those who can, and despise their works for that reason alone. Under the cover of a cause, they hide their real motives.

And then there are those who do have a purpose in this wanton and indiscriminate destruction. These are the young Marxists who have been trained and brainwashed in our institutions of education (mind you, at taxpayer expense). They know that Communist revolutions are accomplished by the weakening of institutions, especially the church, the academy, the courts, and law enforcement; and the creation of chaos in the social order that they are attempting to take over. They, or at least those who direct them, aim at the eventual destruction of our culture and social order, and then finally, our system of government. This is not paranoia; but a matter of fact, as anyone who cares to research it will be able to verify for himself.

This is why the desecration of our public monuments is more important than it seems to some. This new iconoclasm aims at two things that are essential to the revolutionary program.

First, by removing the reminders of our history, they intend to cut us off from our roots and thus our identity as a people. Nothing is more fundamental to human beings than the need for a sense of identity. Where did I come from? What family and what country do I belong to? What are the moral and religious ideas that prevail in my family and nation; and to which I must always have respect? What are the laws that I have to obey? How am I to live – what are the mores or folkways and customs of my community? Such things define us. By them we know who we are, and to what people we belong.

America is in an identity crisis. For example; and perhaps most importantly of all, we have already begun to descend into the pit of sexual confusion. Men and women dress alike, walk alike, partake of the same vices, talk alike. Our young people are not even sure of their sexual identity: whether men are fundamentally different from women, whether traditional sex roles matter, whether homosexual and other hitherto taboo activities are natural or not. Males are not sure they are really males and females doubt their femaleness. Femininity and masculinity are forgotten concepts. It is doubtful that any such society can survive for long; or whether it deserves to survive.

While far less important, it is no small thing to destroy our geographical, cultural, or historical identity. To attack the symbols of our historical identity is an assault on every one of us; but especially our children, who will grow up without these valuable reminders of our national and historical identity.

But this is not the only goal that the new iconoclasts aim at. A second purpose is the creation of chaos. The deep divisions in our country are exacerbated when a controversial issue comes to the fore. Though there are many people (probably a majority) who deplore the new iconoclasm; there are many, and often vociferous people on the other side of the question. Acts like this do not bring us together to discuss and reach a compromise – they inspire resentment and antagonism on both sides. Constructive debate becomes impossible. What remains but to fight?

It does not help that the new iconoclasts are not accustomed to using reason or discussing their positions on the issues with an open mind. This is not an unfair characterization: it is a fact. For the most part, they have been taught to view anyone who disagrees with them as an enemy; and to regard any argument coming from them as an attempt to subvert their leftist faith. They are bound to resist; and as they have no reasonable defense, they must not commit the sin of listening to enemy propaganda.

Chaos is one thing that the ruling class cannot deal with. The only answer to it is the firm and proportional application of lawful force. This they are incapable of. Their one concern under normal conditions is to be re-elected. Thus the first rule of their lives is to talk much without saying anything unequivocal; and to do nothing. When a crisis occurs, a second rule applies: blame others and refer the matter to a committee.

Now, neither of these rules of action are going to be of much help when chaos has descended upon a city. So another rule comes into play: dither, and hope that the problem will go away of its own accord, or that someone else will solve it.

Knowing well the way of politicians, the left is confident that a confused state of things can be initiated and made to grow by a planned and coordinated effort beginning in the big cities – which are not very far from chaos already.

The fact is that most of the serious crimes are committed in the city; and most of them are either not reported, not solved or not punished. Police forces are often overburdened and under-supported. A power failure during the night hours will immediately bring out hosts of looters, robbers, murderers and rapists. They live for moments like this. That is how close the cities are to chaos. Light a match to it and the tinder will suddenly burst into flame.

The new iconoclasts care not that the property they are destroying does not belong to them; but to the people.

They do not seem to care whose statue they are throwing down, or what admirable qualities the man thus immortalized represents which inspires the best sentiments in the people. It is enough for them that the man had some moral blemish – real or imagined. It is enough for them that they are wiser in their own eyes than any generation that went before them; and so, fit to judge – to approve or disapprove, to save or to destroy – things which in truth, they cannot even understand.

They have no appreciation of the monuments’ value as works of art. They have never been taught to distinguish beauty from ugliness. They don’t have the patience to wait for the rightful lawmakers to remove them in an orderly fashion. The mob brings out the worst passions in the individuals who comprise it. And because no one resists them; they do not care that they are breaking the law. The mob is, after all, its own law, enforced by its own violence, subject to nothing but a superior force.

The new iconoclasts have so far been successful to an alarming degree (no small thanks to gutless or possibly sympathetic, but plainly derelict public officials); but they will never be satisfied until they have obliterated the last traces of a Christian nation. The real revolution has not yet begun. I pray that we will never see the indiscriminate shedding of blood and other enormous crimes that have marked the ascent of Marxism in every place where it has prevailed.

Howard Douglas King:  June 23rd, 2020