I recently talked about iconoclasm in Magic the Gathering, and while that is topical, it is just part of the greater iconoclasm of our day. Expect all images of white males, even Christ, to be under attack from now on:
Let me be clear that I am using this term broadly – statues and art are not necessarily “icons” that must be purged for religious reasons. The removal of images inherited from the past does represent a similar motive in that is, in a sense, religious, but it is done for different reasons.
Icons in the church have been removed or abandoned for theological reasons, depending on the period and surrounding events. This sort of iconoclasm is a symbolic destruction of history and cultural pride. Where the Byzantine iconoclasms occurred over images of the beloved and whether they should be made at all, the modern American iconoclasm occurs specifically because the people in question are now bad.
That includes saints as well as President Grant, who literally ended slavery as the head of the Union Army, and even Theodore Roosevelt, a champion of early progressivism.
It would not be too simple to proclaim that these icons are defaced or removed primarily because of the identity of the person depicted (European). At the same time, it has a great deal to do with mythology.
The American state, and indeed all states that persist, are built upon various levels of personal mythology. America was built by great men who tamed the wilderness, brought order to the chaos of the west, and who fought tyranny to establish a land of freedom of opportunity.
This mythology pervades American identity, even through the decades of total leftist control of education attempting to destroy this mythology. At a certain point, though, the theological destruction of the American Myth has allowed the physical destruction of the comparative iconography.
The point, of course, is to destroy the American state along with its people, so that something unfamiliar can replace it, just as Catholic icons were removed and destroyed by both protestants and the brutal blasphemers of the French revolution.
You see, if America was not built by Great Men doing great things, then what they have made is not great.
If we give up the belief that our forbears were right and correct, that they created something of value for us, then there is no reason to bother preserving or maintaining any part of our culture. In fact, our culture, which was made by bad men if you believe the left is also by extension bad, and therefore it should be destroyed and replaced by something else.
Underlying the narrative of every war is the belief that we (or by extension our forbears) were the “good guys.” We were right, our side was right, and what we did was to make things right.
But how could our side be right if it was evil all along? How could an evil, racist society that enslaved and segregated Africans be on the right side of history?
This, I think, is part of the explanation behind the constant and ever-increasing demonizing of the Nazi party and the German people in the first half of the 20th century – the idea that “we weren’t perfect but the Germans were truly evil,” as a sort of last gasp of the mythology asserting its message.
The United States was, in terms of public policy, not so different from the Germans. We even put people in concentration camps based on their race. We also allied with a state that killed many more people than the German state. We also dropped two atomic bombs. How could we say we were the “good guys”?
We’re dealing with mythology, not history. The historical events that lead to war are often complex and difficult to quickly define. Thus we make mythological shorthand – the Civil War was fought to free the slaves; the World Wars were fought to destroy the evil German empire.
The process of destroying that myth happens first by destroying the men who participated in the great events.
This is what happens when one culture takes over another and seeks to destroy it. They demoralize the opposition by destroying their myths. This process has been underway for a long, long time, and we are just now seeing the head of a very large pustule.
Expect more to come. During Obama’s tenure, they attempted to erase Jackson off the 20 dollar bill and replace him with Harriet Tubman. It was delayed only because it is much harder to erase coinage than tear down a single symbolic statue. The former you have to do through the political process, the latter can be done by a mob when the opportunity arises.
Do not, however, expect our money to stay an iconic part of the American Myth for much longer. Think about how quickly dead presidents were put on coinage in the past. Eisenhower was put on the dollar coin just two years after his death. Kenedy was put on the half dollar a few months after his death. This happened because our state mythology was intact.
We were lead by great men and everyone could agree on that, thus making an icon of them was easy. It’s not so easy now. Could you imagine trying to put Reagan on a bill in 2020? We’ve gone the other direction.
White males will slowly be pulled off of all coinage if we continue this way (and let us be honest – Republicans will be all too willing to capitulate as they are terrified of being called racist).
Not only that, but expect calls to replace all currency in circulation with the icon-free versions. Turn in your coins for the new currency, pleb. Owning gold was outlawed at one point, so it is absolutely not out of the question.
This one was a bit of a downer. How about a fantastical escape?