This is a brilliant piece by James Panero of the Wall St. Journal.
He argues that the primary goal of the rioters is not social justice, nor ending police brutality, but the elimination of "the classical liberal order.
It matters less the subject of the statuary to be torn down because these cry-bullies tear down the statuary of even abolitionists.
It is, rather, Western culture that is the target. It is the "white" Political Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which gave us the Constitution of the United States, democracy, liberalism, and capitalism that is the enemy of the rioters in Portland and Oakland and Seattle and Minneapolis and New York.
They are trying to do nothing less than divide the Western world from its cultural roots grounded in the classical underpinnings of ancient Greek rationalism and the Jewish devotion to God and justice. Such values are -- among the woke-ones and the socialists and Antifa and Black Lives Matter -- the veritable font of "white privilege" and racist "white" epistemology, or "ways of thinking."
This is a fascinating read that cuts to the core.
Rioters Seek to Destroy Aesthetic Order, Too
Classicism is a language calling out for cancelation.
By James Panero
Wall St. Journal, Aug. 16, 2020 4:01 pm ET
It was never about Confederate monuments—that much is now clear. Statues of America’s Founding Fathers and presidents have been smashed and burned. Christian iconography has been desecrated. Monuments to Gandhi and Churchill are under threat. Even memorials of great emancipators and abolitionists—Lincoln, Grant, Frederick Douglass, Matthias Baldwin, Hans Christian Heg, John Greenleaf Whittier, the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment—have been defaced.
It might be a fool’s errand to look for the patterns of the mob. The targets are often arbitrary. But while the figures under assault have become more disparate, their solid forms have shown striking similarities. They are classical forms. Their desecration is an attack on the classical orders they represent, and in particular the classical liberal order.
This isn’t to suggest that today’s iconoclasts are dissident classicists. Nevertheless, the classical language of monuments and monumentality may remain more comprehensible to the attackers than the forgotten figures this language looks to honor. Classicism is simply a language calling out for cancellation.
Look at the many recent incidents of vandalism. Classical plinths and pedestals have been covered in spray-paint. Classical order is conflated with law and order as the classical language of art and architecture is drowned out by antipolice slogans, epithets and defilements.
In downtown Manhattan, vandals defaced the classical Municipal Building, Tweed Courthouse and Surrogate’s Court Building. New York’s radical mayor has cut the city’s antigraffiti budget as he paints his own slogans across the avenues and appoints his wife to head his task force on racial redress.
As civilization from the Renaissance forward has drawn on knowledge of the classical liberal world, the association of classical forms with an illegitimate order has long been a central tenet of antiliberal ideology. “Racism” and “whiteness” have now been added to these accusations in an attempt to undermine the country’s classical foundations. For example, “the primacy of Western (Greek, Roman) and Judeo-Christian tradition” is now considered one of the “aspects and assumptions of whiteness,” according to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Similarly, earlier this year, after the Trump administration proposed a classical mandate for the design of new Federal buildings in keeping with Washington’s classical vernacular, critics denounced the style as one that “dredges up images of antebellum America.”
Those at the top were once the standard-bearers of our classical inheritance. Now they are the first to sacrifice their cultural charge in order to protect their salaries and status. “Every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute.” So George Orwell wrote in “1984.” “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Mr. Panero is executive editor of the New Criterion, from whose September issue this article is adapted.