Wrongly Undoing Presidential Memorials

28 11 2015

Princeton University, where I got my Masters degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is considering some kind of name change or something less in view of Wilson’s segregationist policies.  In Washington there’s a movement to take down the Jefferson Memorial in view of his slavery and racist proclivities.

What’s next?   Taking down the Washington Monument and renaming the American capital city?   After all anyone who goes to Mt. Vernon, Washington’s home, visits the slave quarters.  After that what to do about the Capitol itself, built primarily with slave labor in the post-Washington himself era.

“Political correctness” has gone too far.  Free thought and free debate are at stake, in addition to free speech.    Allowing, even encouraging, the unpopular and unknown are at the very heart of what we use to call academic freedom.

Yes, we can and should draw critical attention anew to what former American President’s said and did in their lifetimes.  But that was their lifetimes not ours.   When we stifle, repress, and punish the very freedoms that are supposed to be at the heart of our country’s being — most especially when it comes to our universities and the press – we are succumbing to our enemies and debasing ourselves.