The Biden administration has backed off and decided not to demolish a statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.
In case you haven’t been following the latest in the war on history, the National Park Service announced over the weekend that it would be removing the famous Quaker’s statue from in front of his historic home in Philadelphia as part of a supposed “rehabilitation” of the site.
It was trying to pull this off even as Vice President Kamala Harris was posting on X, apparently with no sense of irony, about how “extremists” are trying to “erase” history.
Clearly, the only “history” this administration won’t erase is one warped by ideology to fit the narrative of how America has been such a bad, awful place.
After the move to topple Penn was announced, there was a firestorm of anger on X. The National Park Service account got blasted. After a few days of anger, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, announced that the Biden administration would halt the demolition project.
It’s good news, I guess, but I won’t exactly celebrate this decision. That’s like celebrating a thief who, when he discovers a homeowner is armed, decides not to burglarize the house.
It’s shameful that removing Penn’s statue was even considered. The National Park Service didn’t even really give a specific reason. The only justification was that it was done for the purpose of making a more “inclusive experience for visitors.”
The Park Service said, according to Fox News, that it would be working with representatives from “the Haudenosaunee, the Delaware Nation, the Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Shawnee Tribe and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma” to make changes.
This is a clear demonstration of how the ideology of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is often the opposite of the literal definition of those three words. “Inclusion,” according to DEI, actually means removing what Hillary Clinton would call “deplorables”—whether living or dead—from society, so that the “oppressed” no longer have to think of their existence.
It’s why Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, removed plaques for Robert E. Lee and George Washington in 2017 in the name of “inclusion.”
Inclusion means exclusion.
What’s interesting about Penn is that in addition to founding Pennsylvania as a colony, he was responsible for a treaty among Pennsylvania colonists and local tribes intended to establish just and amicable relations between the peoples.
That treaty created the so-called long peace in Pennsylvania that lasted for more than half a century. That’s a considerable accomplishment, given the complicated nature of relations between people of vastly different cultures and forms of government.
Don’t think this fact will prevent Penn from ultimately being erased, however. As we’ve seen with countless other figures, pretty much any historical figure alive more than two weeks ago can be canceled for not upholding the ever-changing standards of the modern Left.
They certainly didn’t seem to care about that fact when they first decided to tear Penn down. It didn’t matter. This was an exercise of raw power.
What really saved the statue from oblivion wasn’t the good sense of left-wing bureaucrats. It was the power of social media and politics.
If it weren’t for the story going viral and likely embarrassing Democrats in a swing state during an election year, the woke bureaucratic scrubbing of America’s past would have continued apace.
It certainly wouldn’t be surprising, if President Joe Biden were to win the 2024 election, for the statue to come down anyway. Or, alternatively, to have a plaque installed next to it shaming Penn for all his purported sins against modernity.
The war on history has moved on from the activist street phase of 2020. The Left no longer needs literal mobs to pull down statues. Instead, they can rely on the vast federal apparatus to erase and rewrite the past to conform to the ideology of DEI. Whether that’s done through the National Archives, the Smithsonian, the National Park Service, or any other agency, the game plan is the same.
And they won’t stop until they are met by the soft power of X (thanks to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter) and the hard power of electoral politics.
Arguments and reason don’t matter to these revolutionaries. They will take down every statue if they can—Confederate, Unionist, Founding Father, Quaker colonist, whatever. It’s all part of the same history of what they see as a shameful nation, built on nothing but oppression and systemic racism.
If you still think this is just about Confederates or if you are wasting your time arguing about the Civil War, then I’ve got a bridge being blockaded by pro-Palestinian activists to sell you in Brooklyn.
The Biden administration’s reversal is a good sign. It means that the Jacobins who have marched forth from our elite universities to transform every American institution are still in some way accountable to the American people.
But this victory is like Dunkirk. We’ve only managed to save one statue, one shred of our history. That doesn’t mean we are winning the war, nor does it mean the Biden administration will halt its efforts at cultural transformation.
Remember, just a few weeks ago they tore down a memorial to the Confederate dead in Arlington National Cemetery meant to recognize reconciliation between Americans. It’s emblematic of what they would like to do to anyone who questions “our democracy”—meaning the left-wing values they insist we all adopt, or else.
This war will be won when the iconoclasts won’t touch a single statue, and when every attempt to take one down is opposed, ridiculed, and rejected.
It will be won when, instead of even thinking about tearing down our history, we put up new statues to the Founding Fathers and the countless great Americans who, whatever their human faults, transformed a sparsely populated set of colonies at the edge of the world into the most powerful and prosperous country on the planet.
The only reasonable response to fanatics—and that’s really what they are—is to be unreasonable. Don’t give an inch. We still have the tools to fight back. All we need to do is to be willing to fight.
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