by Ryan McMaken , lewrockwell.com:
When I was a student at the University of Colorado, I regularly walked by the Dalton Trumbo memorial fountain which was named after the communist Stalin-sympathizing novelist and screenwriter.
Once upon a time, the fountain had been simply known as “the fountain,” but around 25 years ago, it was unnecessarily renamed after a controversial person.
The reason for the renaming was the same as with any memorial or monument designed to honor a person or idea — to create an emotional connection and familiarity with the person or idea connected to the place; to communicate a certain view of history.
The renaming of the fountain followed an earlier renaming controversy. One of the University’s dorms, Nichols Hall, was named after a participant in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. Even in its own time, the massacre had been denounced, earning condemnation from Indian fighters like Kit Carson. Not surprisingly, the dorm that bore Nichols’s name was eventually renamed “Cheyenne Arapahoe” in honor of the Indian tribes whose members Nichols had helped attack.
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.
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