Sunday, April 30, 2023

What's In a Name?

If you are a liberal, as I am, you decry the banning of books, the mandates to not teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) and what has become to be known as “don’t say gay” laws re: sexual orientation.

Liberals are very overbearing on this subject, saying these ideas are reprehensible because how can we learn without knowing our history. There is a much-quoted saying, in one form or another originated by philosopher George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

When you think about it there are those on the Left that are behaving in the exact same way, if not as broadly and as often. You probably have read how the Metropolitan Museum and other institutions have taken the name of any and all Sacklers off of their walls because their pharmaceutical company is held responsible for having contributed mightily to exacerbating the opioid crisis in this country. I was reminded of this when I noted a recent headline for an article in Hyperallergic by Hakim Bishara, “In Surprise ‘Die-In’” Protesters Demand Harvard Take Down the Sackler Name”.

If the Sackler name disappears there is just a void with no recognition that they were complicit in this social tragedy. Pursuing museums’ current penchant for politically correct labels, why not wall texts describing the Sackler family’s source of their wealth, owning the pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma, that produced Oxcontin. Wouldn’t that be a motive for their generosity? Soothing their consciences? Of course, that might extend to many other donors as well.

Robert E. Lee is a name I have brought up in the past. Why do the liberals wish to erase him from history and memory by taking down all monuments to him? How then can future generations learn or, more importantly, understand the Civil War and why it was worth the loss of over 600,000 lives. On the other side conservatives wish to eliminate Black history and CRT; Critical Race Theory from being taught in schools. No one quite knows what CRT is, but some fear it. If we eliminate the story of slavery, one of the reasons for the Civil War, will study of the War itself be banned from schools? If this is all taken to its logical conclusion future generations won’t know how or why this country struggled to get to where it is today.

The statue of President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) has been removed from the entrance to the Museum of Natural History in New York because it was objected to as racist. The statue was put there in the first place because the President’s father was a founder of the museum and his son, the President, was a pioneering conservationist. It is true that the Pesident believed the White race to be more advanced than others, but, if it is civil liberties we are concerned with, why not celebrate his achievements as President, including taking on the case for women’s suffrage. It is so much easier to be against than to be for something.

There are liberals “sanitizing” new editions of Dr. Seuss and and excising the “N” word from Huckelberry Finn. In fact the publishers of the Dr. Seuss books have decided to no longer publish 6 from the series, 4 of which are illustrated below. Times change and vocabulary changes and what is thought to be offensive today may not have been thought of in the same sense earlier. Those with dark skin were known, when I was growing up, as Negroes, literally translated as Black, the latter being considered a more polite designation than colored. In recent times we hear the term, African Americans. Needless to say, a color-blind society would be the ideal but we are not there yet.

The Bible appears on lists of books that have been banned over history. However, there is currently no such move on the Right even though the Bible contains plenty of sex, incest and polygamy.

Why do we wish to censor history?

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