Termites within the nation’s foundations

Termites in the nation’s foundations

I first visited the National Museum of American History 25 years ago and was horrified. His portrayals were superficial and tendentious, displaying a clear, nagging anti-American bias.

Particularly memorable was an exhibit devoted to George Washington, which eschewed discussions of his essential Revolutionary War leadership and presidency, but went into detail about how many trees this environmentally unfriendly fellow had cut down on his Virginia farm.

A retired curator friend of mine told me that the Smithsonian Institution had been taken over by the left in the 1970s and that the tripe that was causing the horror to me was their doing.

To illuminate their reflections, he mentioned that they met shortly after President Richard Nixon’s re-election to discuss what they could do to counter this fateful political event, and they continued to add ideology to their day-to-day work.

From then on, artifacts of genuine beauty and workmanship, like fine American silver, were considered elite and removed from display, and knick-knacks like Dorothy’s red shoes from The Wizard of Oz took precedence.

That comes to mind as the public is finally realizing the destruction of American museums, galleries and other institutions established to preserve our cultural heritage. Awakened barbarians aren’t at the gate, they’re inside. They broke through and took over as surely as they overran colleges and universities. People who hate colonialism sure colonize a lot.

Eric Gibson, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s Arts in Review, recently wrote about the politicization of art galleries destroying something “precious and irreplaceable.” Its headline was “When connoisseurs give way to commissioners”.

Those in the know have capitulated to bullying by inspectors, including in Montpelier, the home of founding father James Madison. As Quin Hillyer writes in the Washington Examiner magazine cover story, “James Madison’s Foundation Destroyed from Within,” humane and culturally serious people who documented the lives of enslaved people, as well as the owners of Montpelier, were evicted by a gang of racers.

Descendants of Montpelier’s slaves are being ignored by militant new bosses who believe the estate should be “unpacking and questioning white privilege and supremacy and systemic racism.” Although they maintain an estate of interest to Americans because it was the home of the Father of the Constitution, these ideologues despise honoring a “dead white president and a dead white president’s constitution.”

The details of the coup are at once fascinating, as they reveal an isolated incident, and drearily familiar, as they involve maneuvers in which left-wing zealots cheat and then oust decent people who have done a good and effective job.

Dark stories like this are critical because the public needs to understand and care about the damage being done to their story. To resist destruction, it is important to recognize that professed “termites” are always at work. Their goal is neither fairness and justice nor the displacement of myth by burning truth. Rather, the goal of their undermining is to reduce this great and once-confident nation to a teetering ruin.