Commentary: Unmasking Marble and Bronze

Protests and looting were supplanted last week by an orgy of more symbolic destruction. Statues of various figures from our civilization’s past—Christopher Columbus, a Texas Ranger, numerous confederate Civil War memorials, and even Philadelphia’s Frank Rizzo—have been toppled, defaced, or scheduled for removal by compliant officials.

In the same spirit, a Senate GOP committee recently voted to rename military bases named after confederate generals. Those names—Fort Bragg and Fort Hood, among them—have acquired their own connotations as centers of excellence, but must be renamed because their long-forgotten namesakes fought on the losing side of the Civil War.

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Commentary: Renaming Fort Bragg is a Ridiculous Idea that Deserves Ridicule

Alfred Lord Tennyson was right: We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven. Sadly, we do not have the consolation of being able to claim that we are “one equal temper of heroic hearts,” either.

The Marine Corps, long the most countercultural branch of the U.S. military, just banned even the informal use of the battle flag it used to wink at. Widespread emotional and sometimes felonious response to recent actions of a rogue police officer makes it perilous to tag preface that observation with an introductory clause like “For good or for ill,” so revisionist history proceeds not just unchecked, but actually endorsed (there’s no other way to explain awarding a Pulitzer Prize to the 1619 Project).

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