Cancel Culture Comes South

These violent times in which we live are in some ways unparalleled. For Southerners we have seen monuments memorializing and honoring our past heroes and history—monuments and symbols which have stood for a century—torn down and smashed by frenzied mobs, unrestrained in too many cases by a compliant or spineless government.

Various writers and commentators have attempted to describe the reasons and motivations behind this uprising in the streets and near madness in the media and among our political class. In many cases, these authors reach back into history for analogies or comparisons. But ongoing history never offers the same event repeated exactly.

Burnt by the Sun Best Price: $3.99 Buy New $11.99 (as of 03:48 EDT - Details) Of course, the riots of 1968, ostensibly over the Vietnam War, figure in these historical comparisons. On a literary level, we recall the works of George Orwell on the growth and results of totalitarian Communism and collectivism (Nineteen-Eighty-Four and Animal Farm) or the late Jean Raspail on the very real peril of mass immigration which would overwhelm our civilization (The Camp of the Saints, 1975 and 1995). And there are other examples which come to mind, especially on the infiltration and perversion of academia and of our entertainment industry.

But none of these literary classics or historical analogies can measure or describe fully what we are witnessing today. It is unique.

A film that I own came to mind recently, and in so many ways I think it encapsulates as no other artistic or literary work has the period we are passing through. No, I am not thinking of the destruction of monuments or the riots and the looting: they are, I would suggest, a derivative, a by-product of the mentality that reigns today nearly everywhere, in our politics, in our media, in entertainment, and most particularly in that most critical element of society (and its continuance), education. There are reasons behind those frenzied and unhinged “mostly peaceful” demonstrations, and those reasons are not just the financial largesse of a George Soros or of Hollywood and Silicon Valley mega-millionaire elites.

Mises on Money Gary North Best Price: $7.90 Buy New $9.00 (as of 05:45 EST - Details) That movie is a Russian opus, Burnt by the Sun (1994), directed by the Russian anti-Communist (and monarchist) Nikita Mikhalkov. It is set in 1936 more or less at the height of the Stalinist purges, and its main character is Comrade Sergei Kotov, a devout Communist, a hero of the Russian Civil War, an “Old Bolshevik.” But Kotov commits one small sin: as Soviet tanks on maneuver are about to trample the wheat fields that belong to the local village collective, with his senior status in the Party he orders them to halt. A family friend, Mitya, arrives; Mitya is working with the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, and because of Sergei’s action he denounces him based on a trumped up charge of treason. A black car with NKVD agents arrives and whisks him away. Sergei is forced—indeed, does so willingly in the name of the party and the ideals of Communism—to confess to his “crime” and is executed.

Comrade Kotov’s mental attitude is indeed very much like that of our modern-day revolutionaries. What the party, what the movement commands must be obeyed willingly, even joyfully, even if the target is some symbol previously praised by the party or…oneself.

If the monuments to Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson were originally the targets—the “low hanging fruit,” as it were—of the radicals, more easily attacked, they were only a first step in the revolutionary project. Now, ironically, if the movement defines monuments to Frederick Douglass and the Abolitionists as “racist,” then they must go also, they must be brought down. If a textbook says faintly favorable things about John C. Calhoun, then it must be purged or “corrected.” Then on to the next level, to Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, and to every facet of our culture. Thus, the film Gone with the Wind henceforth will be shown with disclaimers about slavery and racism (after being pulled temporarily by WarnerMedia), and perhaps any number of John Wayne movies need to be contextualized as well. Beyond Woke Michael Rectenwald Buy New $19.99 (as of 11:37 EDT - Details)

The sweep of this destructive vision is immense. It shapes and determines the mindset of millions, bending them to its will, even for those who are entrusted ostensibly with the very defense of our civilization. Those defenders cower in silence or fear, if not going along with the Revolution.

This vision, as Mikhalkov underlines in Burnt by the Sun, is motivated essentially by a type of religious fanaticism, a kind of Anti-Christianity, with its own emblematic symbols, sacred teachings, parables, saints (and sinners), a confessional (and repentance) system, and accompanying manufactured history.  In that sense, it mirrors in a very dark and evil way the traditional faith which for two millennia has informed and annealed our civilization. It is that civilization—Western and Christian—which is the target, and no manner of half-measures on the part of our supposed conservative opposition can stem or defeat it.

That civilization has had its most persistent defenders in the South.

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