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In the UK and US and other nations around the world, public monuments dedicated to people who have profited from or perpetuated slavery and racism are being torn down by demonstrators and public authorities who sympathise with the justice of their cause. Work crews remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson on Wednesday in Richmond, Va. Our human experience can be complicated. According to this objection, the presence of the statues records the specifi c historical fact that these people were honoured. December 2019. What are we to make of these acts? David Greene talks to Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut, about the recent toppling of non-Confederate statues like those of George Washington. Israel Folau: appeals to conscience cut both ways, Stan Grant: racism and the Australian dream. Journal of Practical Ethics, Volume 7 number 3. Although the ballot measure to remove the Andrew Jackson statues from in front of the Jackson County courthouses wasn't approved Tuesday, activists don't plan to … While this would perhaps be an improvement, advocates for removal suggest that relocating them to museums is an even more effective solution. This was recently demonstrated by the Borough of Tower Hamlets that removed the statue of slave owner Robert Milligan from its plinth at West India Quay in London’s Docklands. Putting ethics at the centre of everyday life. On the ethics of removing controversial statues This is an unedited version of an article originally published by The Conversation . For example, one would not honour a genocidal mass murderer, even if the rest of their life was marked by the most profoundly positive achievements. UPDATE: The statue of slave trader Robert Milligan has now been removed from West India Quay. Or have others taken their ideas and work and used them for good or ill? Hence, a person’s being a serious rights violator is a sufficient condition for a state’s having a duty to remove a public statue of that person. The unexamined life is not worth living. Ethics can guide us through complex terrain. Even Mississippi law, which prohibits the removal of any war-related monument, statue or landmark on public property, has an exception for moving them to another approved location. It will be noted that five of the six criteria relate to the life of the individual who is commemorated. This is an unedited version of an article originally published by The Conversation. Us in the context of the world we all live in. But it matters that the duty to remove is outweighed, rather than negated, by these consequences. It is important that we neither praise nor blame people for outcomes that they would never have intended but were the inadvertent product of their work. Crowds gathered to defend the monuments, one of which was led by the infamous neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. 1 § 1001. It also argues that states have duties to repudiate their own historical wrongdoing, and to condemn other people’s serious wrongdoing. On the ethics of removing controversial statues. Notice that the conclusion only states that there’s strong moral reason to remove the monuments, stopping short of stating that there’s a moral obligation to remove the statues. The outstanding achievements of the marginalised and oppressed are, for the most part, barely noticed, let alone celebrated. Journal of Practical Ethics, 7(3). Only the sixth criterion looks beyond the person to the wider good of society. Did they significantly exceed the achievements of others in relevantly similar circumstances? Removing statues tears away our heritage, says Historic England boss Sir Laurie Magnus. (There is majority support for removing the statues in … If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. (3) Any person who willfully, or otherwise, obstructs any public canal, drain, ditch, or watercourse, impedes or obstructs the flow of water therein, or damages or destroys any public drainage works constructed in or maintained by any district commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Events, podcasts and interactive experiences exploring ethics of being human. An alternate solution to removing statues outright that is often proposed is to add inscriptions that outline the history of the figure being portrayed. For example, was the person driven by greed and a desire for personal enrichment – but just happened to increase the common good along the way? As America grapples with racism in its past, President Donald Trump lined up squarely with those who argue that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of removing statues and other symbols of that flawed history, saying mistakes will be repeated if not learned from and understood. The absence is eloquent. #BlackLivesMatterpic.twitter.com/ca98capgnQ. Toppled statuary, saints, and presidents 3 arguments defending statues Arguments for adding statues 3 arguments for removing statues A threefold approach to the monument debate 5 biblical principles on the statues controversy Frederick Douglass was one of America’s greatest orators, abolitionists, social reformers, and statesmen. Ten Confederate statues are still on display in the Capitol building after the removal of Virginia's Robert E. Lee sculpture. The point of removing Confederate monuments is not just to to get rid of the statues themselves, but to develop a strong social consensus that recognizes the wrongness of the Confederacy's cause. They elevate both the likeness and the reputation of their subject – conferring a kind of immortality denied to those of us who simply fade away in both form and memory. To what lengths can communities go in their quest to remove these statues? Join us! Ethics extends a great invitation. The arguments are long-standing, but were thrown onto the world’s front pages last month when protests against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, produced racially charged violence. Our work is only made possible because of you. Suggested Citation, Universitetsvägen 10Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91Sweden, Subscribe to this fee journal for more curated articles on this topic, Subscribe to this free journal for more curated articles on this topic, We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content.By continuing, you agree to the use of cookies. “We can make judgments about them, but it’s more important to make judgments about ourselves and our own time. Removing racist monuments is about making history, not erasing it. Would the creation of the monument be a positive contribution to the public commons, or is it likely to become a site of unproductive strife and dissension? As the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, noted: “it’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade – but this does not have to be celebrated in our public spaces”. 25: Governmental Ethics (06/2020) Page 1 . These can be applied at the time of commissioning a monument or retrospectively when determining if such a commemoration is justified. The trouble is that the popular response is often more visceral than considered – and this sparks deeper concerns amongst citizens who are ready to embrace change … but only if it is principled and orderly. Picture this: it’s 20 April 2021 and the charming Austrian village of Braunau am Inn – Hitler’s birth place – reveals a new statue of Adolf Hitler on the main square. But if they otherwise deserve to be honoured for their achievements, then these should not be deemed ‘tainted’ by the deeds of others. Bernstein compares memorialized Confederate figures, such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, to slave-owning presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as British colonialists Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill. 9 Death threats have been made against those the companies willing to physically remove these statues. To know our world, each other and ourselves. By their very nature, statues are intended to honour those they depict. Quoting Donald Trump, Bernstein asks: “Where does it stop?,” a question Hays echoes. In several cities, these tributes have been vandalized or torn down by protestors or removed by public officials. This would provide a lesser-evil justification for keeping the statue. Such a work is a public declaration that a particular person, through their character and deeds, is deserving of public commemoration. Why or why not? Andre Perry writes about why we need to memorialize more statues of trailblazers such as physician Vivian Pinn. And it especially matters that it is outweighed by the predicted consequences of wrongful behaviour by others. The retrospective application of this criteria is precisely what is happening ‘on the streets’ at the moment. KNOW YOUR WORLD. In those cases, we should not gloss over the truth of what happened. Is vandalism and destruction of these statues ethically problematic? But protests are continuing against Oriel’s decision – mixed in with calls to remove statues of other controversial imperialist figures. The U.S. House of Representatives voted in a bipartisan manner to remove statues honoring Confederate leaders from the Capitol. Keywords: Ethics, Morality, Historical Wrongdoing, Suggested Citation: Tuesday October 06 2020, 5.00pm, The Times. Some play a useful role if they prompt debate and even remorse. To learn more, visit our Cookies page. Picture this: it’s 20 April 2021 and the charming Austrian village of Braunau am Inn – Hitler’s birth place – reveals a new statue of … The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. There are six criteria that should be used to evaluate the public standing of a particular life. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. Settler rage and our inherited national guilt, Your kid’s favourite ethics podcast drops a new season to start 2021 right, No justice, no peace in healing Trump’s America, that removed the statue of slave owner Robert Milligan, professional fee-for-service consulting, leadership and development services. Published March 10, 2016 | By Katrien Devolder. By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chap. So, the decision to raise a statue in a public place is a serious matter. What are the unseen dangers of returning to business? Get the latest inspiration, intelligence, events & more. Less than half of white people (44%) and those living in the south (45%) back the statues' removal. (5)(a) Any political advertisement not paid for by a candidate, including those paid for by a political party or affiliated party committee, other than an independent expenditure, offered on behalf of a candidate must be approved in advance by the candidate. ETHICS IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS TITLE 1, CHAPTER 25: GOVERNMENTAL ETHICS . Who have we failed to honour? The need to remove statues is canvassed on the basis of what they convey today — i.e. The choice reveals much about the ethical sensibilities of those who commission the work. Councillors are supporting calls to remove statues that celebrate slave traders following widespread anger amid anti-racism demonstrations. Is the person responsible for the good and evil that flowed from their deeds? He argues that all have complicated histories, all did bad as well as good, and therefore there is no logical reason to remove statues of some but not others. Unique projects and campaigns to bring ethics to the centre. (3) Any person who willfully, or otherwise, obstructs any public canal, drain, ditch, or watercourse, impedes or obstructs the flow of water therein, or damages or destroys any public drainage works constructed in or maintained by any district commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Tooley, on the other hand, feels like removing statues is almost always the wrong thing to do. Us and the lives we choose to live. House Approves Bill That Removes Confederate Statues From Capitol Democrats say they want to remember history, but not honor Confederates. He wants the flaws of past leaders to inspire introspection, not construction projects. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. It’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade – but this does not have to be celebrated in our public spaces. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. For example, we should note that most statues recognise the achievements of people who were born into conditions of relative privilege. The police killing of George Floyd sparked widespread protests and reignited efforts across the U.S. to remove Confederate and other statues viewed as symbols of slavery and racism. It is essential under the American system of representative government that the people have the relevant government officials and members of the public who together can remove the Confederate monuments, are morally obligated to (of their own volition) remove them. How about with people who took up arm… This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page.This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission. For example, did the person benefit some by denying the intrinsic dignity of others (through enslavement, etc)? Will Humphries, Southwest Correspondent. “The Duty to Remove Statues of Wrongdoers“. I will leave it to others to apply the criteria outlined above. (2018). This paper argues that public statues of persons typically express a positive evaluative attitude towards the subject. The need to remove statues is canvassed on the basis of what they convey today — i.e. Ethics, morality, law – what’s the difference? In Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, edited by D. Boonin. KNOW YOUR SELF. In particular, who should decide the fate of such monuments – and according to what criteria? Frowe, Helen, The Duty to Remove Statues of Wrongdoers (December 6, 2019). Frowe, H. (2019). Not every public monument should be a source of joy and consensus. There will be considerable debate about what statues should be removed. What role do our contemporary reactions to the memorialized figures play these disputes? Of course, asking frustrated and angry people to be ‘principled and orderly’ in their response to oppression is unlikely to produce a positive response. This page was processed by aws-apollo4 in. For example, have we missed an opportunity to recognise people like Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy whose resistance to European occupation was every bit as heroic as that of the British Queen Boudica. ethics of removing or leaving in place such statues? But the Quinnipiac University survey … STATEMENT OF PURPOSE . Us in relationships with each other. 4. Were the means employed by the person ethically acceptable? One objection to removing statues combines the claim that statues honour with the claim that they are historical records. A majority of voters support removing Confederate statues from public spaces around the country, according to a new national poll. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to … (4) If there is moral reason to remove some monument(s), then people are morally obligated to remove the monument(s) unless there is equally strong or stronger reason to preserve them. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a … What does all of this mean for Australia? Unlike when a duty is negated, one still owes something in cases of outweighing. Both monuments have been dragged into a nationwide debate about memor­ials to historical … Statues of Christopher Columbus, Edward Colston, King Leopold II and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee are amongst those toppled in protest. MAINE REVISED STATUTES . Articles, videos, news, and research tackling the issues that matter. 10 But (5) There isn’t equally strong or stronger reason to preserve public Confederate monuments than to remove them. SUBCHAPTER I . The statues of explorer Christopher Columbus and gynaecologist J. Marion Sims stand at nearly opposite corners of New York City’s Central Park, but for how much longer? NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia, assistant professor of digital history at Texas State, about the Latino community's push to remove statues … A “statue of limitations”? I argue that this applies no less in the case of the ‘morally ambiguous’ wrongdoer, who both accomplishes significant goods and perpetrates serious rights violations. What of those we fail to erect? Statement of purpose . So, proponents of this view grant that statues honour, but think that it’s important If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a … 3. Bespoke consulting, leadership and counselling programs to help you navigate complexity. However, the issue is not just about the statues we take down. There are some deeds that are so wrong as to be beyond rectification. Ethics supports good and right choices. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to … Last week, the Central Park Sims statue — one of many that stand in numerous US cities — was vandalized. NAVIGATE COMPLEXITY Is it emblematic of some deeper truth in history that should be acknowledged and debated? Unfortunately, there are many who are far more outraged by the removal of these monuments than by the evil of slavery. This is because, theoretically, there could be countervailing moral reason to preserve the monuments that’s stronger than the moral reason to take them down. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. Both duties are incompatible with retaining public statues of people who perpetrated serious rights violations. However, this is an important consideration given that we are thinking, here, specifically about statues displayed in public places. Are there aspects of the person’s conduct that are so heinous as to rule them out, irrespective of any other achievement that might merit celebration? In considering this, does the statue perform a role beyond celebrating a particular person and their life? Picture this: it’s 20 April 2021 and the charming Austrian village of Braunau am Inn – Hitler’s birth place – reveals a new statue of … Demetriou, D., & Wingo, A. More precisely, one may wonder whether a certain group, viz. This page was processed by aws-apollo4 in 0.141 seconds, Using these links will ensure access to this page indefinitely. Two warrior-leaders – the latter celebrated; the other not. “The Ethics of Racist Monuments“. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. That’s why I think it important for civic authorities to take responsibility for addressing such questions, and to do so proactively. In Ethics Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us, edited by B. Fisher. Are they a principal driver of change? Journal of Practical Ethics, Volume 7 number 3. Did the person pursue ends that were noble and directed to the public good? The decision to remove statues of historic figures should not be based on how their words and deeds are judged by current liberal standards. On the ethics of removing controversial statues This is an unedited version of an article originally published by The Conversation . Toppled statuary, saints, and presidents 3 arguments defending statues Arguments for adding statues 3 arguments for removing statues A threefold approach to the monument debate 5 biblical principles on the statues controversy Frederick Douglass was one of America’s greatest orators, abolitionists, social reformers, and statesmen. December 2019, Available at SSRN: If you need immediate assistance, call 877-SSRNHelp (877 777 6435) in the United States, or +1 212 448 2500 outside of the United States, 8:30AM to 6:00PM U.S. Eastern, Monday - Friday. 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