Ashes of Our Fathers: Racist Monuments and the Tribal Right

In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. Oxford University Press (2020)
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[Updated 2/23/21: complete chapter scan] In this chapter I sketch a rightist approach to monumentary policy in a diverse polity beleaguered by old ethnic grievances. I begin by noting the importance of tribalism, memorialization, and social trust. I then suggest a policy which 1) gradually narrows the gap between peoples in the heritage landscape, 2) conserves all but the most offensive of the least beloved racist monuments, 3) avoids recrimination (i.e., “keeps it positive”) and eschews ideological commentary in new monuments or revisions to old ones, 4) as much as politically feasible, recognizes only the offense of willing tribemates, and 5) responds to aesthetic and other “irrational” offenses more than to “objective” historical or philosophical critiques.

Author's Profile

Dan Demetriou
University of Minnesota, Morris


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