Privatize The Public Monuments

Privatize The Public Monuments

As with the Trumbo fountain, the dorm’s name was changed in order to send subtle messages — messages about what is valued, what is good, and what is bad.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. The problem only arises when we begin to use taxpayer funded facilities and institutions to carry out these attempts at education.

Thus, in a sense, when approaching the problem of government monuments and memorials, we encounter the same problem we have with public schools. Whose values are going to be pushed, preserved, and exalted? And, who’s going to be forced to pay for it?

Ideology Changes Over Time
This problem is further complicated by the fact that these views change over time.

Over time, the «good guys» can change as majority views shift, as new groups take over the machinery of government institutions, and as ideologies change.

In 1961, when Nichols Hall was named, few people apparently cared much about the Sand Creek Massacre. 25 years later, however, views had changed considerably among both students and administrators.

For a very obvious illustration of how these changes takes place, we need look no further than the schools.

In the early days of public schooling — an institution founded by Christian nationalists to push their message — students were forced to read the King James Bible. Catholics were forced to pay taxes so schools could instruct students on how awful and dangerous Catholicism was. Immigrant families from Southern and Eastern Europe were forced to pay for schools that instructed their children on the inferiority of their non-Anglo ethnic groups.

A century later, things have changed considerably. Today, Anglo-Saxons are taught to hate themselves, and while Catholics are still despised (but for different reasons), they now are joined in their pariah status by most other Christian groups as well. Italians and Eastern Europeans who were once treated in public schools as subhuman are now reviled as members of the white oppressor class.

Similar changes have taken place in art and in public monuments and memorials.

Public Memorials Serve the Same Function as Public Schools
But the principle remains the same, whether we’re talking about public schools or public monuments: we’re using public funds and facilities to «educate» the public about what’s good and what’s not.

This has long been known by both the people who first erected today’s aging monuments, and by the people who now want to tear them down. The leftist who support scrapping certain monuments actively seek to change public monuments and memorials to back up their own worldview because they recognize that it can make a difference in the public imagination. They’re fine with forcing the taxpayers to support their own worldview, of course, and actively seek to use public lands, public spaces, public roads, and public buildings to subsidize their efforts. They already succeeded in doing this with public schools decades ago.

The Answer: Privatize the Monuments
In a way, the combined effect of public memorials, monuments, streets, and buildings function to turn public spaces into a type of large open-air social studies class, reinforcing some views, while ignoring others.

Libertarians have long noted the problem of public education: it’s impossible to teach history in a value-neutral way, and thus public schools are likely to teach values that support the state and its agendas. Even some conservatives have finally caught on.

To combat this problem, those who object to these elements within public schooling support homeschooling, private schooling, and private-sector alternatives that diminish the role of public institutions.

Governmental public spaces offer the same problem as public schools.

In both cases the answer is the same: minimize the role of government institutions in shaping public ideology, public attitudes, and the public’s view of history.

Rather than using publicly funded thoroughfares, parks, and buildings as a means of reinforcing public «education» and «shared history» as we do now, these government facilities should be stripped down to their most basic functions. Providing office space for administrative offices, providing streets for transport, and providing parks for recreation. (The last thing we need is a history lesson from the semi-illiterates on a typical city council.)

Some might argue that all these properties and facilities should be privatized themselves. That’s fair enough, but as long as we’re forced to live with these facilities, we need not also use them to «honor» politicians or whatever persons the current ruling class happens to find worthy of praise.

The nostalgia lobby will react with horror to this proposition. «Why, you can’t do that!» they’ll complain. «We’ll be robbed of our heritage and history.» Even assuming these people could precisely define exactly who «we» is they still need to explain why public property is necessary to preserve this alleged heritage.

After all, by this way of thinking, the preservation of one’s culture and heritage relies on a subsidy from the taxpayers, and a nod of assent from government agencies. Read more: Privatize The Public Monuments

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