By Mencken's Ghost
As seen in the news, there is a movement to tear down monuments to the
Confederacy and to change the names of university buildings that were
named after slave owners. The proponents of this movement argue that it
is inappropriate for a society to honor those who brutalized, enslaved,
or killed innocent men, women, and children.
They have a point.
But why do they restrict their principled argument to the Confederacy
and Southern slave owners? Why don't they extend it to others who
brutalized, enslaved, or killed innocent men, women, and children?
For example, for intellectual consistency, they should demand the
removal of the monuments to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the renaming
of the cities of Cheyenne and Sioux City, and the jackhammering of
Let me explain by starting with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
These two chieftains were leaders of Native American (nee, Indian)
tribes that brutalized, enslaved, and killed innocent men, women, and
children from other tribes—tribes that had done so long before the white
man came on the scene. Many other Indian tribes did the same, but the
Plains Indians were particularly vicious, especially the Sioux and Cheyenne.
This viciousness is described in the outstanding book, /The Heart of
Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend./
/A defeated Crow, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Shoshone, or Sioux not immediately
killed in battle would be subjected to unimaginable torments for as long
as he could stand the pain. Women of all ages were tortured to death,
but not before being raped—unless they were young enough to be raped and
then taken as captive slaves or hostages to be traded for trinkets,
whiskey, or guns. Crying babies were a burden on the trail, so there
were summarily killed, by spear, by war club, or by banging their soft
skulls against rocks or trees so as not to waste arrows./
The book also describes what the Indians did to whites:
/Captured whites were scalped, skinned, and roasted alive over their own
campfires, shrieking in agony as Indians yelped and danced about them
like the bloody-eyed Achilles celebrating over the fallen Hector. Men's
penises were hacked off and shoved down their throats and women were
flogged with deer-hide quirts while being gang-raped. Afterward their
breasts, vaginas, and even pregnant wombs were sliced away and laid out
on the buffalo grass./
This makes the Confederacy look humanistic by comparison.
Of course, as the book details, whites also inflicted atrocities and
barbarism on Indians, with U.S. Army forts being the bases of such
actions, such as Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, Fort Kearney, and Fort
In keeping with the thinking behind the changing of names associated
with the Confederacy, cities and towns named after these forts should
change their names, because of the evils that had emanated from them.
Which brings us to Plymouth Rock and also Plymouth Mass.
Because both of these are associated with the Pilgrims and Puritans, who
engaged in brutal warfare with the Indians, contrary to American
mythology about Thanksgiving being spent in peace with the native
population. Historians disagree about whether the colonists or Indians
started the conflict, but, as detailed in the great work of history,
/Mayflower/, the trouble began when the starving Puritans stole corn
that Indians had stored for the winter months.
Employing a tactic that would be used centuries later by ISIS, the
god-fearing Puritans cut off the heads of Indian leaders and put them on
stockade posts to rot.
Because of this sordid history, and in the interest of intellectual
consistency, Plymouth Rock should be jackhammered into gravel and the
city of Plymouth should be renamed.
My comments are not entirely tongue in cheek.
On the one hand, it is indeed unseemly for Americans (and humans in
general) to honor killers, enslavers, and tyrants, by naming towns after
them, or keeping the names that they gave to towns, or erecting statues
of them in the public square and Capitol Mall. But to be intellectually
consistent, statues, monuments and the contents of museums going back to
antiquity would have to be obliterated, given the universality of evils
inflicted by humans of all races, tribes, and nationalities on other
On the other hand, it would be better to leave the historical record
alone so that future generations can learn about the universality of the
human condition. But this presupposes that political correctness won't
continue with its hijacking of American institutes of learning,
particularly in the portrayal of whites as victimizers and everyone else
as victims, a portrayal that is at odds with the fact that such revered
non-whites as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse cut off the private parts of
their enemies, bashed the heads of babies, and raped, disemboweled, and
roasted Indian women.
History is an equal opportunity destroyer of myths. That's why so many
people hate history and why ideologues like to revise it.