*Update: Someone just informed me that Kevin Levin posted a whiny complaint on his Facebook page because he believes that this post was solely about him and I didn't link back to his post. He then included the comment "so much for Southern honor." What? For heaven's sakes. Grow up.
First of all, Levin has no comprehension of "Southern honor." Secondly, I was just following Kevin's practices in recent months where he would mention me or a post here and not link back to it. (If I recall correctly, he was told to ignore me.) And, thirdly, while I realize he may believe he's the center of the Civil War universe, there are others doing the same thing he's doing. It's a big world out there Kevin.
End of update.
A recent post at a Civil War blog had some rather troubling comments in regards to vandalism of a Confederate monument. The post suggested that the vandalism was justified and had some value for educational purposes. The comments were quite disturbing.
But I'm actually not surprised. This is the natural, predictable progression of the activist historian mindset. At first, just about all of the activist historian crowd strongly decried vandalism against these monuments. The initial goal was simply to remove the Confederate battle flag from government buildings. That, for the most part, has been done throughout the South. Originally, these demands from activist historians came with the caveat that the flag was "ok" to be displayed on private property, on the graves of Confederate soldiers and in the "proper historical context." But as we have seen lately, all of these displays are now under attack as well - even in "historical context" as was the case at Lee Chapel.
We are now beginning to see the next step in the progression against these Southern icons and images, regardless of the "context." The first acts of vandalism on these historical monuments were, for the most part, roundly condemned. There were suggestions that, perhaps, interpretive plaques should be included explaining the context of their placement. (As if most of the the general public doesn't already understand that anyway.) Nonetheless, I might be ok with that as long as these interpretative plaques are included on ALL historical monuments and statues, including modern ones - not just Confederate ones.
But now we're seeing what appears to me to be a move towards outright justification for criminal vandalism. The justification seems to be that those committing the vandalism are doing so as an act of "civil disobedience" due to the "moral arguments" against the monuments and, thus, the law protecting these monuments is unjust and should be ignored.
That is a dangerous position to advocate. I also believe it to be irresponsible.
Where does such an argument stop? Logic, honesty and consistency would dictate these folks support, in the same way, vandalism on abortion clinic buildings, vandalism on liquor stores, vandalism on stores peddling pornography - right? Since there are many Americans who believe these structures also represent immorality, then would they be justifified in similar acts?
No, of course they would not. Vandalism is not "civil disobedience", it's a crime. And yes, there is a stark difference. The monuments are legal, the establishments used as examples are legal and, thus, any attempt to deface or damage the monuments or the buildings is a crime and should be punished accordingly.
The only "educational value" presented by vandalizing historical monuments is that it reveals to us that this isn't about history. It's about activism and an agenda.