Bye, Bye, Byrdie

Harry F. Byrd. Bye, bye, time to go.

Harry F. Byrd. Bye, bye, time to go.

I normally don’t have much use for the politics of symbolism, but I will say this: It’s about time the Henrico County School Board got around to re-naming Harry F. Byrd Middle School. Naming the school after a champion of Virginia segregation is depressingly inappropriate for a school whose enrollment is 50 percent non-white and 20 percent black. A rough equivalent for white students might be attending “King George III Elementary School” or “Benedict Arnold Middle School” — but even those names wouldn’t carry the same emotional resonance.

Changing the school’s name would do nothing to address the lagging educational achievement of black students in Henrico County, which stem from deep-rooted historical, economic and cultural forces. Indeed, the controversy is a distraction from the important work that needs to be done. But renaming the school is plainly the right thing to do: The people we honor sends a message about who we are and what we value. The school board should just get on with it, take the issue off the table, and move on to matters of substance.

— JAB

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26 responses to “Bye, Bye, Byrdie

  1. Dear Jim,

    The “heartburn” of Blacks for things American and Southern is so far reaching, that the logical conclusion, for them, is a separate country or voluntary return to segregation. In fact, segregation of schools and churches after 1865 WAS voluntary. Blacks rightly objected to the cutting of funding to Black public schools beginning in the 1890s and early 1900s by White Supremacist politicians. Byrd can be rightly faulted for wanting to shutdown all public schools after the Brown decision, but legally, constitutionally, he was in the right to oppose the Federal Government’s forced desegregation. James J. Kilpatrick furnished the Congressional testimony in the 1860s about the ratification of the post-War Civil Rights bill and the 14th Amendment, and the NORTHERN Congressmen who were afraid it would effect their schools, denied that this would be the case. What changed in the meantime was the aspirations of DuBois’ “talented tenth.” They wanted in to the American system after their own institutions often proved to be, at best, mediocre. Appeasement of Blacks is an unending thing. Harry F. Byrd, Sr. had good points, including his promotion of anti-lynching laws in Virginia, and his making the Byrd organization a relatively progressive force that deemphasized race in Virginia elections, except during Massive Resistance. From “Bye-bye Byrdie” it goes quickly to “Bye-bye Georgie” (Washington) and “Bye-bye Tommy” (Jefferson), etc, etc. Experience is a hard teacher, but I expect we will all be pretty experienced with the unrelenting nature of Black demands, in the end, if not now. The only thing the Black power structure (aka “civil rights leaders”) understand is strength and determination. They are motivated primarily by envy at the failure of their own people, a great many of them, and rather than accept responsibility for their failures and try harder, they seek to transfer it to Whites. People will still be talking about these things decades from now, because the same patterns will hold, including the irresponsibility. I, for one, respect Harry F. Byrd, Sr. with reservations. Oh, and by the way, we DO have a King George County, etc, in the Old Dominion. I’m glad we do, too.

    Sincerely,
    Andrew

    • Andrew. I respect your comment. Here are some thoughts on it.

      I suspect that we all need to study up and take a far deeper and more independent look at Harry Byrd and his machine, what it delivered and what it did not deliver, and what went into its place in history, and what were its consequences and end results, including the alternatives it saved us from as well as the wrongs it perpetuated or delivered us into.

      For now in more distant hindsight, most likely we all can do better to try to pull Harry Byrd out from the passions and opinions of the times back then, since then, and now, so as to gain a clearer perspective of what really happened: what went wrong and why or what didn’t go wrong but went very well under the circumstances, indeed far better than what is happening today, before we make “feel good” decisions about erasing people and history, who or what ever they might be.

      Names revered and admired or feared and reviled now or at time honored, erasing those names and histories by the fiat of current popular opinion is most always a dangerous and counter productive exercise. One too easily done for no good end when in fact what we need to do is to try to erase the myth, disinformation, and simplistic popular opinions that are most always false or twisted out of shape as time passes. Better to deepen learning than hand out cheap victories that perpetuate ignorance or shallow emotions.

      Only respect for the past in all its ugliness, paradox, ambiguity, greatness and evil, and how it was overcome or came to rule, only this hard learning will truly heal us and give us the means to escape the prisons that our minds now otherwise will inhabit. For only then are we liberated to instead shape a better future fashioned form a clear understanding of our past, even when, indeed every time, we see the name Harry Byrd on a building or whatever.

      Otherwise falsehoods mandated as certainties will always shape our histories and our futures. The good and the great, the bad and ugly – it all shape shifts, changing places again and again constantly in society, to poison our chances for a better future, unless we do this hard work of learning for ourselves and impose it on those we pay to teach and educate instead of leaving those critical tasks to those with axes to grind or special interests to promote, or to the blind passions of others that need feeding.

      When one digs back into history, searching for ones best sense of the original, of what really went on, instead of what other people tell us, one is most always greatly surprised at what one finds and how it changes not only them but the world they inhabit.

  2. We can also repave Monument Avenue, rename W & L, remove Portsmouth’s statue, rename Lee’s mansion, drop the text “Washington” from D. C., etc. ad nauseum … but to what purpose.

  3. It is interesting, too, to recall Martin Luther King’s piece, “The Power of Non-Violence” from 1957: “Another thing that we had to get over was the fact that the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. This was always a cry that we had to set before people that our aim is not to defeat the white community, not to humiliate the white community, but to win the friendship of all of the persons who had perpetrated this system in the past. The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.” (http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-power-of-non-violence/) When I listen to most Black leaders today, the un-ending humiliation of Whites seems upper-most in their minds.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  4. there IS a link between genes and IQ and it is unquestionable in the basics but scientists – will also tell you that with humans environment also plays a huge role in one’s ability to use what innate intelligence they have – such that some of the worlds most extraordinary and successful people are not only not geniuses but quite modest in basic intelligence while at the same time some of the brightest people on the planet are extremely limited in what they can do at skills beyond thinking.

    For ANYONE to “think” that genes alone determine one’s ability to grow up and be a success and a significant contributor to others – is a reflection of them and that’s the God’s honest truth – backed up by a LOT of “settled” science.

    what’s on display in some comments here is ignorance, racism and really, hate. Abject ignorance.. a failure to be educated themselves.

    of all the problems we have as a society these days – some ,perhaps more than less of it is driven by ignorance, hate and our own unforced errors associated with such …. and really – those folks inability to deal with our own flaws – to recognize them and to work to overcome them.

    I trend back and forth in how I feel about those folks between pity and anger… and I admit – sometimes it bigger than I am and I have to reset to get back to a realization that this is sadly who we are and a disability just as real as a physical or mental defect many have to struggle with.

  5. Dear Larry,

    I said nothing about IQ, though I do not dismiss that there is some difference. For me, and many other Whites, our biggest problem with the “Black political culture” nowadays is one of ATTITUDE, especially envy, which seeks to pull down because it cannot or will not raise itself up. I, myself, am torn between anger and pity for such people. This envy is rooted in another sinful disposition, of which we are all afflicted as human beings: Pride. We can achieve far more working together in the moral (marrying, staying married, not fornicating or committing adultery, getting drunk or high, etc.) and economic spheres (i.e. rejecting Globalism in favor of an “America First” trade policy) than by baiting and seeking to denigrate and humiliate. Instead, Whites and Blacks are treated to endless propaganda about how “Bill” and “Jim” and “Sally” and “Caitlyn” are trying to keep down “Jamal” and “Lorenzo” and “Laticia” and “Nichole.” We need policies that unite our interests rather than seek to divide us. The Cultural Marxist Left and the Global Capitalists seek the latter, not the former. I think Trump will get many Black and Hispanic votes and win the election, barring assassination, and the Establishment will be shellshocked. It literally “will not compute” for them. They will be walking and talking in a daze until it sinks in. And we will see it all on teevee. Robert Reich has an excellent article on the Death of the Establishemnet

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  6. The Philistines are at the gates! Why not just go back to the old PS-1, PS-2, PS-3………PS(n+1) numbering system and be done with it. But even then I could see a rouge band of etymologists in febrile hysteria running for their Safe Zone.

  7. Dear DLundsford,

    Your suggestion, while “doable” in a pragmatic sense, only addresses the symptom of a larger problem: The alienation of Black leaders and their followers from the broader American culture to which they demanded full entry back in the 1950’s and ’60’s. You COULD do what you suggest with the schools, but you will find that the same hostility reappearing in other places. This is typical radical strategy: Find a point or issue where Liberals can be made uncomfortable, and then press it as part of a broader campaign of pushing these more moderate allies toward ever more radical objectives. Ultimately this all leads to either the toppling of American culture by unceasing “deconstruction” or the wholesale rejection of the Blacks by Whites who are fed up with their hostility. Neither of these outcomes is desirable. As the bumper sticker says about religious diversity, “Coexist.” But radicalism is leading us away from that toward simmering hostilities, and from there? Weakness before these threats will embolden radicals while demoralizing everyone else. Each victory infuses them with more power with which to wage the next aggression.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  8. Andrew says:

    “This is typical radical strategy: Find a point or issue where Liberals can be made uncomfortable, and then press it as part of a broader campaign of pushing these more moderate allies toward ever more radical objectives. Ultimately this all leads to either the toppling of American culture by unceasing “deconstruction” or the wholesale rejection of the Blacks by Whites who are fed up with their hostility. Neither of these outcomes is desirable. As the bumper sticker says about religious diversity, “Coexist.” But radicalism is leading us away from that toward simmering hostilities, and from there? Weakness before these threats will embolden radicals while demoralizing everyone else. Each victory infuses them with more power with which to wage the next aggression.”

    This is a profound observation, an immutable truth of political warfare.

    It includes, without limitation, the warfare of the corrupt community builder. The words “without limitation” are required. The tactics you describe apply to all extremes of political, social, and educational movements. For here is where the ideologues must work. That milieu gives the demagogue the best chance to manipulate and direct the emotions of other people for his own personal advantage.

    The corrupt political, social, and educational, operative desperately seeks to find and/or build a constituency of followers who will, either rightly or wrongly, feel within themselves a strong need to gain advantage over other people or groups (whether it be by reason of a real or imagined wrong they have suffered), and/or to satisfy a rising sense of a chronic need on their part to fix a perceived hole, or sense of meaninglessness, or lack of direction, or intimacy or caring, in their lives.

    Such emptiness in peoples lives, especially the young often rise a chronic sense resentment and/or of personal inadequacy, inferiority, or powerlessness, driven by a lack of achievement or any means to find meaning and worth in their lives, and finally of envy and hate.

    All of these pathologies are breeding grounds of powerful negative emotions that are easily manipulated by the demagogue who is driven to conjure up and whip into a blind fury such emotions so that he can marshal that force and direct it with power to manipulate events for his own personal gain, or simply to relieve his own sense of inadequacy or banality.

    Here we speak of the corrupt political actor or professor, among others. Those who, unlike Martin Luther King as I you earlier pointed out, will never seek for example equality of opportunity. Why? Because as a true solution, equality of opportunity would destroy the problem, or so dilute it, that its removal would end the power of corrupt leaders over their followers, drying up the source of his own power, income and advantage.

    Thus power obsessed people never compromise issues or admit to progress in solving those issues that keep them in power, or will always avoid their meaningful solution while always claiming to work for the reverse. This applies to many controversies at play within our sick political culture.

    Once of the most destructive examples has been going on out in the open, and in the most rampant way, in our colleges and universities since the 1960s. We have failed to protect our own culture as it destroys our young.

    For example the liberal cabal the dominates today so much of the academy within higher educations. Their obsession to deconstruct American culture, it is driven by the nihilism of professors who never grew up into mature responsible adults, leaving them as little more than children acting out in a world of their own fantasies, or as deeply disturbed adults driven as teachers of our young to spread their imagined or highly inflated grievances to their students who are urged to project imagined grivances on other people or groups, typically their parents and ancestors, their own exceptional cultural and national heritage, that their professors insist must be taken apart and held up to ridicule and humiliation, and then hated forever and destroyed.

    Why?

    It is likely because only then can the academy that teaches at our colleges and universities, and each of its individual professors, can only then avoid taking personal responsibility for what they do every day in the classroom. Namely go about each and every day destroying our culture and heritage and, in so doing, despoiling the lives and educations and characters of their own students, the ones they are tasked to educate. And as academia does all this it also destroy its profession whose sacred trust is to preserve and enhance the civilization and its progeny that every day our professors work to defile instead.

    Obviously there are many exceptions to these horrible trends, and many heroes have been at work since the 1960s who have refused to join in these Bonfires of the Vanities, and have work to stop them instead. But now we have reached a tipping point. So we need a huge wake up call that jolts us to our senses and we reverses these activities before it is too late.

  9. Dear Reed,

    And this nihilism, by the radical professors, too, is a sign of impotence, and artistic and other sterility and bankruptcy. There is no “magic bullet” to an instant healing, that I am aware of, only a slow convalescence, rediscovery, and repentance. Likely, there will be a prolonged period of stalemate, with some areas recovering, while others remaining moribund, a “wheat and tares” scenario.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  10. For those who doubt the problem and its dangers, consider that an avowed socialist just won 83% of the Millennial Votes in a primary for a nominee for US President in New Hampshire.

    Consider that the vast majority of these “highly educated” young voters had no idea how to define socialism or any variant thereof.

    Surely this is ample proof that our colleges and universities are selling ignorance to our students while at the same time they are selling those students loans that mortgages their future to pay for this ignorance.

    Yet we remain clueless as to why the American Dream is dying. And seemingly are unwilling to act to fix it even if we had a clue.

    • Yet we descend into periodic outrage over an ever expanding array of alleged “micro-aggressions” that now are claimed to hurt students and our failure to provide safe spaces at colleges to protect them, while we still force segregation of our boys from our girls when they use the public bathrooms of our schools.

      Even Franz Kafka would be amazed at our sick society, and the speed and scope of its descent into nonsense and abject failure.

  11. Today’s Wall Street Journal “Notable & Quotable” taken from Evelyn Waugh’s “Robbery Under Law: the Mexican Object Lesson (1939) as earlier quoted in the American Conservative Sept. 26, 2005 has pertinence to these comments.

    “A conservative is not merely an obstructionist who wishes to resist the introduction of novelties; nor is he, as was assumed by most 19th-century parliamentarians, a brake to frivolous experiment. He has positive work to do …Civilization has no force of its own beyond what is given from within. It is under constant assault and it takes most of the energies of civilized man to keep going at all … if (it) falls we shall see not merely the dissolution of a few joint stock corporations, but the spiritual and material achievements of our history.”

    Note Waugh’s assertion that “Civilization has no force of its own … It is under constant attack” … and it takes most of the energies of civilized man to keep going at all …”

    Nihilists professors of our colleges and universities understand this so are on an obsessive quest to extinguish these energies that are essential fuel and protection for the survival of our culture.

    They go about their quest by undermining the foundations and creditably of our culture in the minds of our youth. In so doing they undermine the beliefs and faith of the only people who can keep our culture alive and thriving, our nation’s youth.

    So today, and for decades past, we as parents entrust our children, their future and our legacy to assassins within an academy that we pay outrageous sums from our treasure to destroy us, our children, and all our ancestors left to us to protect and enhance and pass on to our children.

    Now its becoming ever more apparent that we too are as so uneducated that we fail to appreciate what we are doing, much less put a stop to it.

  12. While I marvel at and am overwhelmed at the eloquence of the contributors above me, to those who see the need to change the name of Byrd Middle School, here are some significant questions that should be answered: 1) Is the change being done simply to assuage some historical deficiency in our cultural and national history? 2) Is anyone promoting the change appreciative of the progress that has been made in American society since 1954 and the Massive Resistance Movement? 3) Should we rewrite the history that we don’t like to make us feel better in the present day (politicians in Byrd’s time found it politically necessary to support Massive Resistance)? 4) If Byrd’s name is removed, should D.S. Freeman and Mills E. Godwin be removed from Henrico County School buildings to further assuage he feelings of the offended? 5) Is the cost of name change incurred by the County of Henrico really the best use of the educational funds? For those who support the removal of Byrd’s name based on his support of Massive Resistance, “You cannot separate the good that a man does from the bad that he does, for then you only have half a man (Alexander the Great).”

  13. “You cannot separate the good that a man does from the bad that he does, for then you only have half a man (Alexander the Great).”

    Great quote.

    But today we have outlawed sin. This self proclaimed deliverance from sin renders each of us and our little tribe omnipotent in our own head. So armed, each of us and our little tribe now can do whatever we want so long as it feels good to us at the moment and at the same time we can hate, blame and resent Others endlessly, and thus feel even better about ourselves by reason of it.

  14. Just another attempt to rewrite history, as is being attempted at Princeton by radical leftists to want to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson, a past president of Princeton, from Princeton’s memory banks.

    Reed, Re: micro aggressions. I can’t remember where I heard or read what I thought was a cogent non-ideological explanation for the “micro aggression” campaign on campuses. So many of today’s youth enter college never having had to face any real adversity. They are protected by helicopter parents who hover over them at the school bus stop, at the mall, and in just about every aspect of their lives. Their parents intervene at school when there is the slightest threat of any kind. There are play dates that are entirely controlled by the parents. There is no free time ‘on the street.” Kids are “not allowed to get in over their heads and then figure out how to extract themselves” They have little experience with the real world.

    • Crazy, Re: microaggressions — don’t forget that 18% of Americans are estimated to suffer from “anxiety” disorders. All it takes is exposure to a “microaggression” and a lot of people collapse in a heap. How are these people going to deal with the real world? Are their neuroses going to define culture in the country at large?

  15. “Reed, Re: micro aggressions. I can’t remember where I heard or read what I thought was a cogent non-ideological explanation for the “micro aggression” campaign on campuses.”

    Perhaps this micro-aggression culture rises from the clash and combination of three precursor cultures creating the perfect storm. We’ll first describe each precursor in separate sequential comments.

    The first has historically been called the culture of elite but unearned privilege. Imelda Marcos with her thousand red shoes used to be a poster child for this class of people, those who marry or are born into or otherwise inherent or finagle their way into unearned privilege – typically their unlearned goodies include free wealth and leisure, unfettered choice and freedom, unearned advantage and power over others, including servants, all without earning such privileges through ones own labor or merit.

    This unearned entitlement has been around since organized society. But its beneficiaries were extremely few until the 1950s. Then an event singular and unique in human history occurred, namely:

    American wealth and advantage exploded. Suddenly there arose after WW II the wealthiest, most egalitarian and advantaged society of people in the history of the Planet, people who by and large had suffered and earned their place in the world by any standards then applied to legitimate labor, giving that the efforts of this remarkable generation saved world democracy.

    Then came the big surprise. The Greatest Generation soon produced the largest generation of people born into the world of unearned privilege and advantage, a generation unlike any the world had ever seen, the American children of the 1960s.

    • History abhors a vacuum. Universal Peace and Prosperity, especially one driven by innovative change on a grand scale, creates a vacuum that history cannot abide. To fill history’s voids, men and women conflate events and grievance.

      Hence the Gilded Age of the late 19th to early 20th century – one of the most creative and peaceful times of beneficial change in world history – was ended by an assassin’s murder of an archduke and his wife in a Balkan backwater, setting in train events that triggered two World Wars that:

      1. within a few years destroyed dozens of rich cultures and civilizations built over centuries in Eastern Eastern Europe, only to enslave their remnants until the 1990s.

      2. bled the vitality and spirit out of generations within Western Europe and its most successful civilization in history, a loss from which its successor generations have yet to fully recover,

      3/ transformed Russia into the worlds first modern Totalitarian State, one whose efficiency and evil hobbles the last hundred years of its history and people up to and including today and likely for untold more generations into its future.

      America’s children of the 1960s, the flower children, those who had been spared all of this pain, grief, and suffering, and who were handed peace and prosperity and advantage and power on a silver platter, became one of the angriest, and most disillusioned, alienated, and self destructive generations in American History.

      Why? History abhors a vacuum.

      So what happened in the 1960s? How did America’s children, the most blessed and privileged generation in human history fill their vacuum in the 1960s?

      How does its legacy haunt us still, to this very day more than 50 years later?

      Why does it work so hard to keep its myths alive, feeding on its desperate and emotionally charged need for self denial?

  16. Dear Reed,

    Your discussion of the change from The Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers reminds me of Plato’s discussion of the changes from oligarchy to democracy in Book VIII of _The Republic_ http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.9.viii.html

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  17. Reed,

    I’ve not heard the phrase “History abhors a vacuum” and do not understand from your examples how you think it operates. Normally, you hear “Markets abhor a vacuum of information”.

    • Some famous ancient whose name escapes me said:

      “The Romans give us desolation and call it peace.”

      Translated: Roman Peace came at the cost of total submission. In the known world people’s freedom brought down on them only war.

      And great historian not so long ago declared that the “Fall of the Berlin Wall would end history.”

      We learning now how that is turning out. Along with the tired claim that God is Dead.

      History hates peace and prosperity. It demands war, if only insure it.

      • The Russians have a word for it: Mir. One of their satellites was named Mir. The word is commonly translated, “Peace”. A sovietologist friend of mine used to say, “It actually means, ‘Peace, our way'”

        • Yes, for example, would a square inch of Europe be free and independent today but for the incredible power and resolve of America over past 70 years? I suspect not. And that western Europe along with Eastern Europe would still be enslaved but for America.

          And that the way the US has been acting recently, its quiet possible that Europe’s time of independence is running shorter by the day.

          A peaceful and prosperous and free land that cannot defeat its neighbors in war will soon find itself on its knees, absent America or its ilk. America’s post WW11 strength and policy has made people forget that simple truth, including not least our current Secretary of State.

          The other issue, which is more subtle, that have been raised is how seemingly effortless peace and prosperity within a nation causes that nation to rot from within. In which case its citizens lose their freedom to demagogues within or by others “to save the nation from outside threat”, or combination of both. So this need for history to stimulate itself constantly works in many ways and combinations.

  18. Dear Reed,

    A friend quoted me a neighbor’s wise words: “Mankind is ever yearning, and never learning.”

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

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