President Trump was condemned by the national media and even by some Republicans for predicting the movement to take down statues of Confederate heroes would spread to the Founding Fathers.
But left-wing extremists on college campuses are proving him correct, as Thomas Jefferson is now under attack at the school he founded, the University of Virginia.
The Minority Rights Coalition at UVA has issued a 10-point list of demands after hosting a “March to Reclaim Our Grounds.”
The demands include:
The coalition, including more than a dozen multicultural groups such as the Black Student Alliance, the Muslim Students Association, the Latinx Student Association and the Memorial for Enslaved Laborers, also targeted Thomas Jefferson directly.
The statement called the statue of Jefferson an “emblem of white supremacy” and said it should be “re-contextualized with a plaque to include that history.”
Furthermore, “more buildings named after prominent white supremacists, eugenicists, or slaveholders should be renamed after people of marginalized groups.”
Historian David Barton, author of the controversial New York Times bestseller “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing The Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson,” argues students at the University of Virginia are misinterpreting Jefferson’s record.
“The root cause of the rage against Jefferson is very simple – a lack of knowledge about who Jefferson really is,’ Barton told WND. “Jefferson is an intriguing and multi-faceted individual, but many academics don’t like teaching about someone like that, preferring to use inaccurate stereotypes and seeming to enjoy tearing down traditional historical heroes like Jefferson.
“As a result, they usually know little more about him than soundbites and platitudes, most of which are not true. If citizens knew what he actually said and did on race and civil rights, he would still be a hero, even by today’s standards. He certainly was a hero to black civil rights leaders over the past two centuries, for they knew the real Jefferson.”Barton argues the movement to dishonor American heroes by destroying their monuments is long-standing,= and existed well before the recent violence in Charlottesville.
“I don’t know that the attacks on Confederate memorials prove President Trump right, for direct frontal attacks on the Founding Fathers by progressives in academia and the media have been underway for at least 15 years,” the historian observed. “Two decades ago there were calls to remove their faces from Mount Rushmore and to tear down the Jefferson Memorial and remove Jefferson’s face from the nickel.”
However, as Barton noted, the movement to rename memorials remains largely confined to a minority. A recent NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found a solid majority of Americans thought statues honoring heroes of the Confederacy should remain standing as a historical symbol. A plurality of African Americans also supported leaving the statues in place.
For that reason, Barton argues Jefferson’s statues at the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary will likely survive for now. However, the statues are only safe if free debate about Jefferson’s life and legacy are allowed, he contends.
“Jefferson will be removed from UVA and The College of William & Mary if the administration moves rapidly and secretly, doing it in the dead of night, as has recently happened with other statues,” said Barton. “But if there is time for debate, I doubt that the statues will be taken down, for donors and alumni would certainly oppose such a move. In fact, recent polling shows that the only demographic group that wants such statues taken down are strong progressives and liberals. Even mainstream Democrats oppose the removal of the statues. So the statues will probably survive if time for debate is allowed.”
Yet Jefferson is under attack at almost every institution associated with his life.
At Monticello, Jefferson’s iconic home, tours emphasize Jefferson’s alleged sexual relationship with the slave Sally Hemings, a relationship Barton maintains never happened.
Hundreds of students and faculty at the University of Virginia demanded school officials stop quoting Jefferson in 2016. And Jefferson’s statue at his alma mater, the College of William & Mary, was vandalized in February 2017 with red paint and the words “slave owner.”
Most recently, Jefferson’s statue at the University of Virginia was also vandalized with red paint last week. Though it was quickly cleaned, Barton saw the action as a sign of things to come.
“This vandalism reflects the rapid coarsening of the culture currently underway,” said Barton. “It shows a distinct lack of respect for private property, which is the bedrock of any free society. It displays the Machiavellian approach that the end justifies the means – that I will determine my own right and wrongs, and anything is right if it gets what I personally want. It also affirms that we no longer teach core values such as Jesus’ Golden Rule, ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you.’
“There’s no way that this vandal would accept someone vandalizing his private property – his apartment, car, or belongings – yet it is okay for them to do it to someone else. All three of these traditional American teachings have religious roots; and if the influence of secular relativism continues to grow, we soon will find ourselves ruled by what John Quincy Adams called ‘the law of the tiger and the shark’ – whoever is toughest, meanest, and strongest wins.”