Brian Baker: Political ‘purity’ demand deserves ‘blue wall’

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Thursday, September 14th, 2017

In his Sept. 7 column “Heeding Robert E. Lee’s advice,” Jim de Bree told us of how, as a youth, he was “obsessed” – his word – with Civil War-era history, and how statuary and monuments to Confederate heroes helped him understand the context of that conflict.

He goes on to say that perhaps the time has come to reassess the propriety of the continued display of such monuments, particularly in light of the current political climate.

Though many of his points are well-taken, the “statue problem” of today doesn’t fall into the orderly historical model.

If municipalities (for example) want to erect public monuments, they usually go through a public democratic process to decide whether or not to do so. The ongoing process of installing a monument to our local war KIA in Veterans Plaza is an excellent example. It’s been going on for over a year, and now we’ve finally broken ground to actually install it.

The same process is available to determine whether or not to remove such monuments. And in my opinion every jurisdiction certainly has the right and power to determine for itself whether to erect or remove such monuments. It’s a deliberative mechanism.

Of course, it’s even simpler on private property. The property owner can erect, or remove, pretty much whatever he or she wants.

But what’s different now is that we don’t have an orderly process taking place. We have mobs, ginned up with sanctimonious outrage, running around creating riots, threatening and carrying out violent acts, and defacing statuary.

More than anything else, they remind me of the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan, then destroying thousand-year-old statuary because it didn’t conform to their religious fervor.

Further, the current “outrage” doesn’t confine itself just to Civil War Confederate figures. There have already been calls to shun, or even take down, the Jefferson Memorial because Jefferson owned slaves. The Lincoln Memorial has been defaced.

There’s no end in sight to the iconoclasm of the fanatics in their efforts to impose some undefined and amorphous requirement for political “purity” on historical figures.

The very first step toward putting an end to this nonsense is for the legitimate institutions of this country – the city councils, universities, media, state governments, everyone – to stop giving credence to these outlaws – which is exactly what they are – and meet their violence with a “blue wall” of cops, backed up with high-pressure fire hoses and tear gas, ready to deploy at the very first hint of violence, followed by the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of any and all offenders.

Then we have to stop treating the demand for purity with any legitimacy at all. It should be met with the scorn and mockery it so richly deserves.

Until those things happen, I think the lunacy will simply continue.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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Brian Baker: Political ‘purity’ demand deserves ‘blue wall’

In his Sept. 7 column “Heeding Robert E. Lee’s advice,” Jim de Bree told us of how, as a youth, he was “obsessed” – his word – with Civil War-era history, and how statuary and monuments to Confederate heroes helped him understand the context of that conflict.

He goes on to say that perhaps the time has come to reassess the propriety of the continued display of such monuments, particularly in light of the current political climate.

Though many of his points are well-taken, the “statue problem” of today doesn’t fall into the orderly historical model.

If municipalities (for example) want to erect public monuments, they usually go through a public democratic process to decide whether or not to do so. The ongoing process of installing a monument to our local war KIA in Veterans Plaza is an excellent example. It’s been going on for over a year, and now we’ve finally broken ground to actually install it.

The same process is available to determine whether or not to remove such monuments. And in my opinion every jurisdiction certainly has the right and power to determine for itself whether to erect or remove such monuments. It’s a deliberative mechanism.

Of course, it’s even simpler on private property. The property owner can erect, or remove, pretty much whatever he or she wants.

But what’s different now is that we don’t have an orderly process taking place. We have mobs, ginned up with sanctimonious outrage, running around creating riots, threatening and carrying out violent acts, and defacing statuary.

More than anything else, they remind me of the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan, then destroying thousand-year-old statuary because it didn’t conform to their religious fervor.

Further, the current “outrage” doesn’t confine itself just to Civil War Confederate figures. There have already been calls to shun, or even take down, the Jefferson Memorial because Jefferson owned slaves. The Lincoln Memorial has been defaced.

There’s no end in sight to the iconoclasm of the fanatics in their efforts to impose some undefined and amorphous requirement for political “purity” on historical figures.

The very first step toward putting an end to this nonsense is for the legitimate institutions of this country – the city councils, universities, media, state governments, everyone – to stop giving credence to these outlaws – which is exactly what they are – and meet their violence with a “blue wall” of cops, backed up with high-pressure fire hoses and tear gas, ready to deploy at the very first hint of violence, followed by the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of any and all offenders.

Then we have to stop treating the demand for purity with any legitimacy at all. It should be met with the scorn and mockery it so richly deserves.

Until those things happen, I think the lunacy will simply continue.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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  • Brian Richards

    Why weren’t the statues a problem 10 months ago? As Brian said, it’s a local issue. Take them down or don’t, but it’s not up to a mob to decide.

    • Gil Mertz

      I would agree Brian. After eight years of a black man in the White House, why are these statues suddenly so offensive?

  • Steve Lunetta

    French Revolution. Mob mentality (and those who manipulate it) is a dangerous force.
    Who will be the modern Robespierre?

    • Brian Baker

      Steve, I’m more in mind of something of which next month is the Centennial: the Bolshevik Revolution.

      • Ron Bischof

        If you peruse the political affiliations of the radicals that have been arrested, they’re Communists.

        • Brian Baker

          EX-actly, Ron. That goes directly to my point. History is repeating itself.

    • Ron Bischof

      I’m too reminded of that revolution with the neo-Jacobin radical zealotry of these mobs, Steve.

    • Anthony Breznican

      The modern Robespierre is already Trump. A man of eroding morals who rises to power on populism. (Only, arguably, Robespierre actually was a man of the people, a lawyer who advocated for the poor before the revolution.) As Robespierre became more extreme, his support fell away. He increasingly turned to tyranny and fascism as a means of survival, silencing his critics (usually by means of the guillotine.)

      The people loved it when he was beheading the aristocracy (draining the swamp, you might say.) But his base began to shrink when they saw just how ruthless and power-hungry he was. By then, he was rounding up and executing not only those who supported the aristocracy, but those he deemed merely insufficiently loyal to him. That was the Reign of Terror, of course. And it ended with Robespierre’s overthrow.

      His allies had become fearful that he would lash out at them, so before that could happen they turned on him first. Robespierre tried to pull a “You can’t fire me, I quit” and shot himself. But the bullet merely destroyed his jaw. He was captured and prepped for beheading.

      Robespierre’s many executions were well attended. (Crowd size was important to him.) But when Robespierre himself was marched to the guillotine, the man bleeding from his destroyed jaw looked out at a crowd that was the most gigantic yet. Yuuuge, you might say.

      As his severed head fell in the basket, it was clear to all: Robespierre had succeeded. Sort of.

      His reign of terror and tyranny had accomplished his goal: the various factions of France were indeed united in solidarity.

      But in hatred of him.

      Yeah. I’d say we have our Robespierre already.

      • Ron Bischof

        Along with your other writings, your history is revisionist. Robespierre’s ideology was Leftist and this “man of the people” participated in the Reign of Terror. Leftists like yourself project and ignore that it’s leftist ideology like Communism that’s responsible for the greatest mass murders/purges in history.

        Therefore, your pretzel logic in a Trump application is risible.

        “Robespierre’s reputation has gone through several cycles of re-appraisal. During the Soviet era, Robespierre was used as an example of a Revolutionary figure.[5] His reputation peaked in the 1920s with the influence of French historian Albert Mathiez.[6] In more recent times, his reputation has suffered as historians have associated him with an attempt at a radical purge of politics through the killing of enemies.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilien_Robespierre

        • Gil Mertz

          Anthony sounds like our old friend Indy, only more concise in his nonsense.

          • Ron Bischof

            Both are tribal Leftists and immune to facts and reason.

          • Gil Mertz

            Which is why I think Anthony has removed me from his comments. He got tired of my requests for facts to back up his wild assertions. For the liberal mind, something is true if you feel it is true.

          • Ron Bischof

            Censoring heterogeneous opinions outside of his safe space is what the fragile Mr. Breznican does, Gil.

            He pontificates about welcoming robust debate but the demonstrated reality is rather different.

          • Gary Bierend

            Like you, I have asked him to back up his claims … repeatedly… and like with you he has repeatedly failed to do so. To my knowledge he hasn’t blocked me though.

          • Ron Bischof

            To be fair, AB at least spells correctly and adds elements of fact while distorting them.

            Indy was laughably poor at both. Diagramming an Indy sentence was akin to a Norm Crosby standup routine.

          • Gary Bierend

            I often accused Indy of channeling Crosby, glad I’m not the only one that saw the similarity! AB is little more than Indy with spell check.

            My all time favorite Indyism: “for all intensive purposes”.

            Comedy Gold!®

      • Jim de Bree

        As much as I dislike Trump, I think the Robespierre metaphor is a bit over the top.

        • Anthony Breznican

          Well, he’s not literally decapitating people in a public square.

          But he has certainly fired (or tried to fire) everyone who represents a check on his power. And he has united (and energized) many disparate factions in opposition to him. The people of revolutionary France were never so united as they were when they finally turned out to see Robespierre’s end.

          • Ron Bischof

            “But he has certainly fired (or tried to fire) everyone who represents a check on his power.”

            Everyone? Congress and the judicial branch are checks on the executive. Are you asserting that Trump has “fired (or tried to fire)” them?

            It appears you’re doubling down on hyperbole, Mr. Breznican.

            To persuade reasonable people, shouldn’t you compose a cogent position rather than emoting?

          • Jim de Bree

            Mr. Trump likely suffers from Narcissistic Personality disorder and his primary motivator is self gratification. Ultimately, he will alienate virtually everyone around him. That is what people with NPD typically do. There is a big difference between having NPD and acting like Robespierre (although Robespierre may have had NPD as well). As I mentioned in another post, our system of checks and balances will rule the day and prevent Trump from becoming another Robespierre if he were so motivated. There are enough objective comments that can be made about Trump without resorting to comparing him to Robespierre.

            The original comment referred to the mentality of a mob, and someone who would control that mob. The mob about which the comment was directed certainly is not aligned with Trump.

          • Anthony Breznican

            He seems to have his own torch-bearing mob, no?

            Charlottesville? Heil Trump?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic1yRK5Ld0s

          • Gil Mertz

            Good grief Anthony. What rock were you under during eight years of one of the most corrupt administrations in American history? Interesting how your kind surfaces only when a Republican is in the White House. Such selective outrage.

          • Ron Bischof

            Tribalism is the answer.

          • Gil Mertz

            Anthony, when General Flynn lied to the Vice-President, Trump fired him.

            When Susan Rice repeatedly lied to the American people about dead Americans in a terrorist attack, Obama PROMOTED her.

            And you say……????

          • Ron Bischof

            Rice’s dissembling was the approved Obama narrative to protect his reelection.

        • Gil Mertz

          To the truly dedicated Trump haters, even Hitler is not over the top. It’s fascinating to watch such lunacy.

        • Steve Lunetta

          Actually, I heard something chilling the other day. During the French Revolution, Robespierre and Barere (I think) passed legislation in the Committee of Public Safety that no one else had seen. In essence, saying “you need to pass it to know what is in it.” Modern-day parallel anyone? Which makes my candidate for a modern-day Robespierre: Nancy Pelosi. It would take just a nudge to make her an uncontrolled despot.

          • Ron Bischof

            Pelosi represents a district that’s suing oil companies for the rise in sea levels.

            You can’t make this stuff up. These fanatical ideologues need a reality TV show.

          • Jim de Bree

            While I agree with your assessment of Pelosi’s handling of the ACA, I fear that the situation is not much different than the current version of the healthcare bill. I have spent several hours reading through it and I find it very confusing. The language is imprecise in many places creating huge opportunities for insurance companies and problems for consumers. The bill has not been vetted.

    • Jim de Bree

      We have a series of checks and balances in our government, so hopefully an American Robespierre could not do what the French Robespierre did.

  • buzzdixon

    You mean like those mobs that tore down King George’s statues and threw tea into Boston harbor?

    In almost all communities the statues are being removed by will of the people through open debate and following a democratic political procedure under rule of law.

    • Ron Bischof
    • Ron Bischof

      The ones that petitioned their government for years and were denied votes as English citizens?

      Have you ever read the entire Declaration of Independence? If you had, you wouldn’t make this attempt at equivalency.

      https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

    • Brian Baker

      As I CLEARLY explained in my column, there are mechanisms in place that permit the ACTUAL “will of the people” to be expressed, and by that, I mean the actual people who have a legitimate standing to have that will expressed through the legitimate political process: the local people. Not a bunch of hysterical fanatics bussed in from who knows where to act like lunatics. THAT, bub, is the group to which I’m referring… obviously. Or at least, “obviously” to anyone who actually read and understood simple English.

      You don’t seem to fall into that category.

    • Gil Mertz

      You’re kidding right?

      Next you’ll be telling us that these same people have fully accepted Donald Trump as President after “open debate and following democratic political procedure under rule of law”

    • Denny

      Wow, what a hideous old poofter.

      Are you in a nursing home or a hospice?

  • Brian Baker

    While my main response is “awaiting moderation”, tell me how the jihad against Jefferson and other Founders fits into your rationalization here.

    • Jim de Bree

      I am not sure I understand your question about my so called rationalization. As I stated in my previous post, “Statues to Jefferson, Washington et al, were not erected to preserve or commemorate a deplorable part of our nation’s history.”

      My point is that the erection of the confederate statues was done as part of the promotion of the lost cause ideology which ignited Jim Crow laws, resurgence of the Klan, etc.

      My wife’s grandfather moved to a small town in rural South Carolina in 1922, just after the statues were erected. He was involved in the community and saw the situation first hand. The area was hot bed of Klan activity, the treatment of black people grew worse, people were lynched. He was so appalled by what he saw, he moved his family to Nebraska. According to his memoirs written in 1963, the statues were part of the lost cause commemoration.

      Our founders, principally those from Virginia, embraced slavery but set forth a new government that ultimately allowed for slavery to be vanquished. The statues commemorating them have nothing to do with the lost cause and those who state that ,because Washington, Jefferson et al owned slaves, their statues should be removed are wrong.

      No rationalization–merely rational thought.

      • Brian Baker

        Well, I’m still waiting for my main response to come out of “moderation”, and it’s 401 words, according to Word, so I won’t go into detail here. But you seem to be missing the point that these yahoos aren’t restricting their lunacy to Confederate generals. As I stated in my column, they’re also going after Jefferson, Lincoln, and everyone else who doesn’t fit their model of “purity”. Just like the Taliban did when they took power in Afghanistan.

        So, are you saying it’s okay for them to do that for Confederate generals? Where do you draw the line? It’s okay to deface and destroy Stonewall Jackson’s statue, since he was on the wrong side of the war? Is it also okay, then, to tear down Jefferson’s because he owned slaves? If it’s NOT okay to tear down Jefferson’s, why not?

        See the problem here?

  • Brian Baker

    Well, it FINALLY showed up, two days later.