Yes that George Washington. The man who lead the US to Independence from Britain in 1776, a founding father, a chap who most folks admire as doing more good than evil. Yet on his statue in Portland Oregon they inscribed the words genocide and fascist. The goons at ANTIFA need to spend a few days at Auschwitz to discover what a real fascist looks like.
Washington owned 124 slaves at his Mount Vernon estate on his death in 1799. He was a Virgina landowner. Such men all owned slaves. But very few expressed any dislike of the practice. Washington did so and ensured that after his death, by 1801, all were emancipated. He believed that slavery should be abolished gradually. By the standards of his time and place in history if not by today’s standards he was an ultra progessive.
Certainly ownership of 124 slaves does not make him responsible for genocide, unless you are talking about all the British soldiers who perished in the revolutionary wars. But few shed tears for those dead white men, the footsoldiers of Imperialism. Nor was Washington a fascist simply in owning slaves. There is no ev idence thatm by the standards of the day, he was a brutal owner.
And overall, his achievements in leading his countryment to throw off the Imperial yoke, to fight a tyrannical King and to achieve independence surely mark him out as, on balance, a hero,a chap who made America a b etter place.
The vast majority of Americans would take that view. Indeed, I suspect that even most liberals would take that view. Would they rather have stayed under the yoke of King George? Methinks not. But, make no mistake, Washington’s fall is the fault of the liberals.
Over the past weeks, in these dark times in which we live liberals, like my millionaire elitist friend Jonathan Price and his fellow plutocrats at the Guardian and the BBC have pushed the line that some statues somehow deserve to be pulled down, that some books removed from our shelves if not actually burned, that some folks denied a platform. The problem with that is that if you cave to the mob because Colston was a slave trader, as well as an incredible philanthropist, or because poor Peter Hitchens won’t take a knee, who decides where the line is drawn? And moreover the message to the intolerant mob, to ANTIFA or BLM, is that you destroy and the State will step aside and rule later if it was okay to vandalise, to shout down, to ruin a career, to silence.
Once you accept, as Jonathan and the Guardian have done, that it is okay for ignorant mobs to pull down some statues, the mob, the goons at ANTIFA, will not wait for a ruling from the liberal elites on whether the next statue is worth saving or not. For the mob, folks you don’t agree with on everything or whose actions do not pass a 2020 woke smell test, are automatically fascists, in this brave new world. Their rights to free speech or to a career or to be celebrated in a statue simply cease to exist. That has now become the default position.
The Washington episode was a crime by the black-shirted goons of ANTIFA. But the blame lies with a liberal elite who did not say, on day one, to the mob that if you do not like a statue do not destroy it but engage in the democratic process. That way the people, all the people, not just a violent monority, can decide its future. That should have been the default position but liberals ensured that it was not. And now, anything goes.