And Then They Came for Thomas Jefferson ...
Print Friendly and PDF

Thomas Jefferson Day has been canceled for Toxic Male Whiteness in Charlottesville, where Jefferson invented the American college campus with his landscape design for the University of Virginia.

From Associated Press:

Charlottesville scraps Jefferson’s birthday as holiday

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Charlottesville, Virginia, will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday and instead will observe a day recognizing the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

The city council voted Monday night to scrap the decades-old April 13 holiday honoring the slave-holding president and Founding Father. Charlottesville will now mark Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, the day U.S. Army forces arrived in the city in 1865.

… The legacy of Jefferson, the nation’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, has been a component of that ongoing debate.

As I wrote in “Carved Upon the Landscape” in 2017:

Why the ever-increasing hatred for America’s past?

You might think that, on the whole, American history is, relative to world history, fairly impressive and heartening.

But it’s precisely American history’s virtues, more than anything else, that enrage so many people these days against the great men of the American past. While the Founding Fathers might be nominally condemned for their misdeeds, they are largely resented for their accomplishments.

Human history suggests that people are naturally prejudiced in favor of their own ancestors, because the accomplishments of their forefathers reflect well upon them.

America is increasingly dominated by people with shallow roots in this country. So it’s hardly surprising that they find it insulting to reflect upon what Americans not related to them once accomplished. Instead, it’s heartening to denounce the Founding Fathers as bad men whose descendants deserve their displacement.

Punching down is safer and more fun than punching up. Hence the less dominant become the founding stock, the more their lineage is abused. …

With Charlottesville much in the news, I’m reminded of one of Jefferson’s many accomplishments: He invented the modern American college campus.

Two centuries ago in Charlottesville, Jefferson more or less invented one of the most profitable landscapes of the 21st century. When ambitious Tiger Mothers in Seoul and Bangalore pore over college catalogs looking for the ideal campus for their scions, they demand what Jefferson provided Virginia two centuries ago. …

On the other hand, it drives many current America elites to angst that their ancestors didn’t beat Jefferson to the punch. In her much-acclaimed (at the time) Rolling Stone article “A Rape on Campus,” Sabrina Rubin Erdely recounted how Charlottesville’s Jeffersonian tradition made her feel unsafe:

“After one alumna was abducted from a dark, wooded section of campus and raped in 1993, she says she asked a UVA administrator for better lighting. “They told me it would ruin Jefferson’s vision of what the university was supposed to look like,” the alum says. “As if Thomas Jefferson even knew about electric lights!””

After all, we all know that Jefferson was a rapist of a black body, so what’s a night of broken glass if it takes Jefferson’s heirs down a notch or two? Erdely exclaimed:

“Wahoos are enthralled to be at UVA and can’t wait to tell you the reasons why, beginning, surprisingly, with Thomas Jefferson, whose lore is so powerfully woven into everyday UVA life that you practically expect to glimpse the man still walking the grounds in his waistcoat and pantaloons. Nearly every student I interviewed found a way to mention “TJ,” speaking with zeal about their founding father’s vision for an “academical village” in the idyllic setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They burble about UVA’s honor code, a solemn pledge not to lie, cheat or steal…”

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF