I’m pleased to see Rich Lowry call for taking Confederate monuments down. But the throat-clearing is a particularly strange product of the Robert E. Lee Apologist Industrial Complex:
Robert E. Lee wasn’t a Nazi, and surely would have had no sympathy for the white-supremacist goons who made his statue a rallying point in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
Let’s review a few basic facts:
- Robert E. Lee was a white supremacist. As Adam Serwer puts it, [w]hite supremacy does not “violate” Lee’s “most fundamental convictions.” White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions.”
- Robert E. Lee was a cruel slaveowner who broke up the families of his slaves and brutally tortured escapees.
- Lee, who could have chosen to remain loyal to the United States, chose instead to be a prominent military leader of a treasonous movement dedicated to the preservation of chattel slavery.
Are you “sure” that Lee would have been appalled by white supremacist goons marching in Virginia? I am quite sure he would have celebrated them. I must concede, however, that Lee — while he willingly joined a cause with significant ideological overlap — was technically not Nazi. Or Maoist. Or a supporter of Francisco Franco. Or a member of Smashmouth.