The great woke reckoning is well upon us as we sit here in 2020. Across the country statues are falling. Schools, roads, and clubs are changing their names so as not to celebrate the noxious evils of the past. Indeed, in a very real sense hindsight is 2020. But there is one region of our sinful nation that has mostly skirted the cancellations. The Northeast, forever the country’s seat of culture and education, has gone through all this more or less unscathed. That should really change, as there are plenty of evildoers being celebrated here even as I write this.
We all know by now that Elihu Yale, namesake of one of our fanciest colleges, had a hand in the human bondage of Africans. It seems odd his name should stay on the expensive degrees handed out there. Not too far away, Amherst College and the town itself are named after Sir Jeffrey Amherst who wrote positively about using smallpox infected blankets as a kind of germ warfare against American Indians.
Even abolitionists like Horace Greeley, who has a school named after him in Chappaqua, New York, the home of the Clintons, was an unabashed racist. He called black people an “easy, worthless race, taking no thought for the morrow.” That doesn’t make for a very nice school motto. How about Peter Stuyvesant whose name and visage bubble up all over Gotham? That guy hated Jews more than Bill de Blasio does. He didn’t even want to allow them in New York City.
Speaking of New York City, that very name is problematic. It is dubbed for the Duke of York, later James II of England and James VII of Scotland, who made giant bags of money selling human beings. And John Jay, who has a criminal justice college named after him, was a slaveholder. And we wonder why police are so terrible and racist.
The list goes on and on, and trust me I’m not trying to give anyone ideas, but it’s worth pointing out that in liberal Northeast enclaves people just kind of ignore all of this, after all its not like the confederacy was in the Northeast. This is a very old game in the United States, older than the United States itself, in fact. Even during the time of the revolution southern slave owners pointed out to self-righteous northerners shocked, shocked I tell you, by slavery that the triangle trade of molasses for rum for slaves was making them very wealthy people.
After the Civil War and well into the 20th century Northeasterners would point at the South and say, “look at those horrible racists!” while conditions for minorities, especially blacks were wholly unequal and blatantly discriminatory up north. Its like the old Jewish joke about a funeral where nobody would say anything about the despised deceased until one guy finally pipes up with “Well, he was better than his brother…”
There is a fair amount of projection going on here in the great progressive Northeast. Instead of tearing down our own history, like that listed above, which we demand from the South, we instead read bestsellers that make us feel bad about ourselves and tell our friends at brunch how bad we feel and how now we are “doing the work.” It is very clearly a cop out, but one that comes easily to us. After all, we control the media, we control the academy, we manufacture the outrage that consumes everyone but ourselves.
It’s time for this to stop, if we are to play this dangerous game of cancellation, which of course we should not, we should at least do it on equal terms. Every person I listed committed sins worthy of cancellation by progressive lights. It’s like the Northeast gets a free pass because we were the ones who came up with idea. That should stop. If the South must forfeit its history, then so should we.
But you see that isn’t going to happen. None of those people or institutions will be cancelled. For ours is the good and virtuous part of America, it’s the rest of the country full of racist louts and deplorables. We are aware of our sins and confess and thus may retain our history. There is a word for this and that word is hypocrisy. So the next time someone wants to topple some statue in Alabama the response should be “fine, we’ll get right on that. Just as soon as you change the name of New York City.” That would put an end to the madness quite quickly.