What We Leave Behind

“Protesters pulled down this 15-foot-tall statue of a Confederate soldier Monday afternoon, Aug. 14, 2017, on East Main Street in downtown Durham.” (Virginia Bridges, The Herald Sun)

Leftist protesters in North Carolina toppled a statue of an unnamed Confederate soldier on the grounds of the Durham County Courthouse. The organizers of the precipitating rally aim to remove all Confederate statues “so that no more innocent people have to be killed.”

While eliminating racism and hate are laudable goals, destroying a symbol does not eliminate that which the symbol represents or the attitudes, values, and beliefs conferred upon it. As the Polish philosopher Alfred Korzbyski once said, “The map is not the territory.

All that is achieved by the toppling of statues, the banning of flags, and erasing once-important names that have fallen out of vogue is the suppression of public opportunities for current and future generations to remember and learn from our collective history.

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