Chicago’s Monumental Mistake

“the committee has declined to list statues of Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet in the era of the #MeToo movement, it has become clear that his treatment of women was far from exemplary. His comments on North Vietnamese Communists reveal a blind spot toward the totalitarianism that continues to affect many Vietnamese and billions of others. Of course, these defects, like those of Washington and Lincoln, are no reason not to celebrate King’s great contributions with monuments—as Chicago has rightly done.”

“Liberal societies allow people to pursue their own projects (and, increasingly, identities). And yet even a liberal society needs some shared ties of national memory to hold people together despite their differences. The Chicago committee suggests that monuments to such a memory should either be removed entirely or be transformed into screens on which we can project contemporary grievances. In attacking the best of our forebears, Lightfoot and her committee not only make our common past a casualty of our divided present. They also threaten the foundation on which our future would be built.”