We are saddened by the sudden and often lawless assaults on monuments, and museums. These relics of history pale in comparison to the loss of life, health, property, and prosperity many have suffered in these troubles. However, culture consists of the sum and total of its experiences and its history. At The Calhoun Institute, we have never asserted that John C. Calhoun was a perfect man, there have been no perfect men to walk the Earth beyond Christ. Our efforts at highlighting his words derived from the fact that he thought like a statesman in a time of great struggle and strife. He was a man of his time, he held opinions that nearly nobody today holds related to race. He was complex in the dichotomy between a young Calhoun and an elder man in terms of his conception of Constitutional issues and solutions. He predicted much of what would become of America – he worked tirelessly to avoid bloodshed, debating in his last days from his deathbed.
We have always felt it important to discuss his work relative to contemporary problems, not to apply his solutions directly, but rather to apply the example of a statesman that was sometimes right and sometimes wrong but a man that for the bulk of his career acted upon principles rather than politics. If the trumpet has sounded and the will of the vocal few has enticed cities, colleges, and universities to submit to erasing Calhoun and others from the pages of history and our collective memory, we concede. Words, logic, reason, rational arguments, scathing and honest dissections of his words even by us, have, it seems, failed to serve their purpose. We shall say no more.
We leave you with but one warning. A people without a full and truthful understanding of their past, the good bad and ugly, cannot long remain a people that are free and prosperous. Historians in a long distant future will look back upon America in this time and age, so filled with rage and indignation, and express shock and sadness. Wipe all history that is repugnant by contemporary standards, remove all plaques, statues, buildings, and names from public and private institutions. We will become nothing more than a people with the latest version of an iPhone to connect us and histories that will now be rewritten every few years to appease new and unforeseen sensibilities.
Erase Calhoun if you wish, but his warnings of what is to come will remain, even if they are now unheard.