According to Congressman Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, the Obama administration committed a “despicable act” when it barricaded the National WWII Memorial in DC as a consequence of the partial shutdown. In knee-jerk fashion, his conservative base shouted, “Amen.”1
Despicable? Closing a monument?!? Let’s step back for a minute and take another look.
Some 20 years ago, officials of the federal government decided they could reach into my pocket to build another monument to the gods of war and the state; a monument the feds dedicated on the so-called hallowed ground that is DC.2
That is despicable.
You see, in the manner of the Roman Empire before it, the US Empire has its own version of Forum Romanum: a place where homage is paid to the specters of the state. A place that every citizen is expected to visit on pilgrimage, genuflecting and shedding tears for the supposed great men and women – fully agents of the state – who made the state stronger at the expense of the individual. So these are not monuments to the individuals, never have been. They are nothing other than monuments to the state itself.
The people have the means to remember their own, and they have done so through the ages. Yet, to many, the only meaningful remembrance is that bequeathed by the state. So these folks advocate and agitate for state to memorialize their lives and deeds, as well as the lives and deeds of their families and friends.
To them, the cemetery is for those whose lives had no meaning. Believing their lives and deeds worthy of the ultimate recognition, they conclude that while the town square is nice, it does not suffice. Instead, these folks require recognition from their supreme god: the federal state. For only that justifies a life in their eyes.
However, state monuments do not commemorate lives of individuals, they commemorate actions in service to the state. In this context, the individual is nothing but a rod in collective fasces. So if the state decides memorialize a life, it is only for the state that the life is memorialized. That folks want to be so recognized is beyond me. That they demand I pay for such recognition is the offence – a despicable offence at that.
Furthermore, that the so-called champions of less government chide the feds for not funding access to these ill-gotten monuments is even more despicable. The tears and anguish for closing monuments are simply cries for the hand of the state to reach once again into my wallet.
If you want to be remembered, or to remember others, commission and fund a monument on your own property, or the property of another. Do not thieve from me and claim it as a symbol of the eternal and vigilant fight for liberty. To do so is both hypocritical and despicable.
1. Of course, the liberals make claims to the produce of my sweat. They at least are open and overt about it. But the conservatives demand that same while asserting otherwise.
2. That the monument was funded largely by private donations does not obviate the truth that my money forcibly funded both the initial construction and its continual maintenance.