Why this statue’s fall should concern us all

Following the bloody events in Charlottesville over the weekend, the Durham (North Carolina) branch of the Workers World Party (WWP) held a rally of solidarity in support of those “anti-fascist” protesters who clashed with Unite the Right marchers on that tragic day.

The WWP website reports that there were over 100 protesters present at this solidarity rally, during which a statue dedicated to the Confederate soldiers of the Civil War was pulled off its plinth and onto the ground. Video of the incident was uploaded to the internet and has since become worldwide news, clocking up well in excess of 100,000 views.

To the credit of local law enforcement, one of the main instigators of this illegal act has since been arrested and charged with various offences such as incitement to riot and damage to property.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the merits of Confederacy monuments, the County Sheriff’s office were absolutely right to take action against the main instigator of this event, WWP member Takiya Fatima Thompson. She remains predictably unrepentant, and she has amassed an army of online cheerleaders to help fight her cause. This glaring example of highly selective and conditional support for the rule of law is indicative of a growing and disturbing trend within Western civilisation generally and the US in particular.

I’m going to spell it out here, because it’s so fundamentally important. Simply not liking the guy who sits in the Oval Office is no justification for activists to thumb their noses at the law because they feel strongly about a particular issue; and it makes no difference even if they really, really can’t stand the current President. The strength of someone’s feelings is not magically connected to their obligation to behave legally.

Supporters of Takiya Thompson are predictably falling back on the argument that citizens have a moral duty to resist tyrannical and oppressive regimes, and they might have a point if we were discussing arbitrary arrests or the suspension of habeas corpus; but we’re not anywhere near that. We are in fact talking about a bronze statue that’s been standing quietly in North Carolina since the 1920s. Whatever its faults, that statue has never harmed anyone, abused their rights, selectively enforced the law or ended someone’s career for daring to express an opinion which does not conform to some inflexible and yet ever-changing criteria.

The Durham statue incident perfectly illustrates the rise of a new and pernicious tyranny which comes, as always, dressed in the disguise of justice and progress. Whether it’s hounding law abiding citizens out of their jobs, protesting the results of legitimate plebiscites or tearing down legally erected statues, the same hollow arguments ring out from megaphones across the civilised world as an increasingly self-righteous and self-regarding minority seek to impose their will through brute force and social intimidation.

If the North Carolina legislators have any regard for their own authority then the Boy in Gray must rise again. In time he may fall, but let him fall lawfully and with honour. Let him not be spirited away to some undisclosed warehouse, hidden from polite society as an inconvenience to be avoided rather than a sacred principle to be defended.

According to CNN, the assembled crowd chanted “we are the revolution” as the statue fell. If, as I suspect, that plinth remains empty, then a legitimately selected legislature will have allowed the Workers World Party to decide which images the good people of North Carolina may and may not look upon as they go about their lawful business.

With results like that, who needs elections?

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s