On Wednesday, embattled New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city "will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property."
The mayor made the announcement in light of the violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists promoting their racist views and protesting the removal of Confederate statues clashed with leftist "anti-fascist" group Antifa. The rally quickly spiraled into a riot, and 32-year-old Heather Heyer was murdered by a man with white supremacist ties who mowed his vehicle into a crowd of protesters; two officers working the event were also killed when their helicopter crashed.
While de Blasio has named the first "symbol of hate" the city will remove, a sidewalk marker in Manhattan of Henri Phillipe Petain, the mayor has not defined what exactly constitutes "hate."
"New York City officials said they’re putting together a panel of 'relevant experts and community leaders' who will define the criteria and make recommendations for which items to remove," reports the New York Post.
“It’s the beginning framework of what will ideally be a long-term approach to the evaluation of public structures and controversial pieces of public art," City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips told the Post.
Apparently two of the criteria for removal are associations with Nazis and "proponents of slavery," according to Democrat Brooklyn Assembly member Dov Hikind.
"This has nothing to do with freedom of speech," claimed Hikind. "Painful and obvious symbols of hate, such as statues and markers commemorating Nazi collaborators or proponents of slavery, are antithetical to everything our city stands for. Statues and plaques to villains have no place on New York City public property."
De Blasio frames the removal of so-called "hate" symbols as a moral good, an elixir for all racism. But what does such removal accomplish, what exactly falls under the definition of "hate," and where does the sanitation of our history end? Will vital leaders like Revolutionary War generals and first president George Washington be next to be cleansed from society because he was a slave-holder, as has been called for in the city of Chicago? After we're done removing all statues, monuments, and park names, will historical literature be next?
This sounds extreme, but the Left is extreme. For goodness sake, extremists in Tennessee have already dug up the corpse of Confederate leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.
As noted by Civil War expert and author Brad Schaeffer in The Daily Wire, "there is a serious slippery slope here."
"Serious thought, not just knee-jerk political correctness, should go into ripping out significant pages of our story just because some find the very image of the Southern soldier so offensive as to be intolerable in public," writes Schaeffer. "One can draw a direct line of reasoning that leads to the removal of any monument to those Americans whose stories are essential to the creation of this nation, but have practiced the wrong sins in the wrong time and thus must be banished to the badlands of our history. "
"You may find yourself more in a more Orwellian place than you ever imagined," warns Schaeffer. "Whoever controls the present controls the past."