The Purge Revisited, History Revised
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was small-minded and self-absorbed. Everyone knows the infamous photo from which NKVD secret police official Nikolai Yezhov was erased: a smiling Stalin walking by the Moscow Canal flanked by the director of many of his vicious purges quickly became Stalin… just standing by the river, as though Yezhov had fallen into the canal. While this blatant revising of one’s own personal or political history seemed downright bone-chilling in high school social studies classes, Stalin’s proto-photoshopping pales in comparison to the magnitude of the American Left’s cultural gaslighting and historical revisionism.
The Biden regime’s National Parks Service (NPS) hurriedly withdrew plans Monday night to remove a statue of William Penn from the state which bears the man’s name. The NPS claimed the plans were “released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review,” after it was announced on Friday that the NPS would “rehabilitate” Philadelphia’s Welcome Park “to provide a more welcoming, accurate, and inclusive experience for visitors.”
The park is built where William Penn’s home was located and is named after the ship, the “Welcome,” which brought Penn to what is now Pennsylvania. The announced plans would see the Penn statue “removed and not reinstalled.” The plans would also “include … expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia…” The plans were scrapped in the face of widespread backlash. But too little too late, as the saying goes; the Biden regime had already tipped its hand.
Many will recall the statue-toppling-craze that swept the nation in 2020, closely linked to the Black Lives Matter riots. A number of monuments targeted for removal, vandalism, and desecration honored officers of the Confederate Army. These military commanders were decried as intolerant racists, though some put forth a case for their defense of the traditional Southern way of life. With cries of “systemic racism” echoing across the nation, Confederate heroes were an obvious target, but it quickly became clear that slavery had little, if anything, to do with the leftist urge to tear down statues and monuments.
In California, rioters toppled statues of Junipero Serra, a Catholic saint and Franciscan missionary. Serra had founded churches, schools, and hospitals across much of southern and central California in the latter half of the 18th century. Serra trekked from Mexico City into the then-Spanish-controlled territory of Los Californias repairing churches, learning the tongue of the natives, and teaching indigenous hunter-gatherers the art of agriculture and animal husbandry. When Spanish soldiers laid claim to mission lands Serra had given to Christian natives, the Saint and the Franciscans opposed them, noting that the 16th century Law of the Indies barred colonial establishments from mission lands. In fact, Serra wrote a document for the Viceroy of New Spain guaranteeing the legal rights of the natives under the protection of the King of Spain. When Serra set about to build churches, he hired Spanish architects from Mexico City but gave the local indigenous people jobs doing the actual building. He even worked alongside the natives, carrying wooden beams and laying stones, despite a foot injury that plagued him for almost his entire adult life. So why were statues honoring the legacy of this kindly and fatherly friar ripped down?
Political activists also tried to take down a statue of King St. Louis IX, located in the Missouri capital city named after the French king and Catholic saint. During his life, the pious king was known for his virtue. A devout Christian, he was said to be possessed of such humility, justice, and charity that the other kings of 13th century Europe declared him “primus inter pares,” first among equals, and turned to Louis to settle their disputes and disagreements, always accepting his decisions as both just and merciful. It was under the rule of Louis that the foundations were laid for the Sorbonne’s school of theology. He built the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle in Paris to house the crown of thorns worn by Christ and relics of the cross upon which Christ was crucified, and also built numerous hospitals. He led crusades in the Middle East, established a series of houses to help reform prostitutes, and told his son that the only way to be a moral leader was to strive to imitate Christ. Such a force for nobility and virtue was Louis that the French named one of their greatest cities in the New World after him. And yet agitators demanded that monuments to this pious monarch be destroyed.
Even in 2020, the Left did not confine itself to targeting statues of men who went to war for the Confederacy. Had they done so, their cries of “systemic racism” might have been seen as slightly more authentic (though misguided) expressions of outrage at perceived injustices, instead of the petulant tantrum throes of a narcissistic, volatile ideology predicated, at least in part, on hatred of the white Europeans who cultivated, furthered, tended, and preserved Western civilization. Because, of course, that’s what the whole anti-statue-revolution is really all about: those targeted for removal, desecration, and oblivion are those who pioneered the West, who brought order, virtue, and wisdom to an uncultured and uncivilized world.
In New York City, one of America’s largest and most historic metropolises, statues of Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration of Independence and much of the Constitution have already been removed from City Hall. The City Council is now plotting to “disappear” more statues of Jefferson, along with monuments to George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Essentially, the men who founded America have been deemed “problematic” and the honors long accorded them have been rescinded. Nor is this phenomenon relegated to New York City. A recent survey found that 40% of Democrats nationwide approve of taking down statues of George Washington, revered as the “Father of Our Country.”
And now William Penn. The famous Quaker was a devout Christian, was noted for his fair and equitable treatment of Native Americans, and his ideas and writing significantly influenced the authors of the U.S. Constitution. An ardent proponent of religious liberty, Penn was imprisoned in the Tower of London several times for his religious convictions, and when he was given the land we now call Pennsylvania (as repayment of a debt owed to his father), the Quaker envisioned a nation free of religious persecution, where every man could worship God according to his own creed, and men of those various creeds could strive together to build a country founded on virtue.
You see, the American Left is not attempting to pacify an implacable, racially-charged mob. The Left is not even attempting to assuage the guilt it feels for its own self-declared “original sin” of racism. No, the Left has made its goals clear: it is attempting to ban honoring the culture that America was born out of. Western civilization, Christian Europe, and the America of old are existential threats to the lawless, soulless world of degeneracy, decay, and moral relativism that the Left seeks to create.
And so it goes further than even Stalin did with his nifty photo-editing. The Left does not simply pretend that the men who made America great never lived, it derides them and any who dare to honor them. Satanic shrines in state capitol buildings are just fine, of course, but woe to the white man who seeks to honor the memory of his forebears.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.