guitfnky wrote: ↑
11 Jun 2020
you know the slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, right?
which brings us to the exact point. good and bad exist on a spectrum. we all have to draw lines somewhere. if the line is only “historical significance” then it’s a lot easier choice to make. but the point of a monument isn’t ONLY to capture historical significance. it’s also to hold up those historically significant figures. BOTH have to be considered in deciding whether a historical figure should be immortalized in stone. this is why I bring up clearly over-the-top examples like Ted Bundy and Hitler. we shouldn’t have monuments to them because they don’t represent anything we as a society should want to glorify, though they both have historical significance. we shouldn’t have monuments to my sister either, because despite being an incredibly caring, good person, she has little historical significance.
I suppose I’m just meandering now, but what I’m trying to convey is just that if there are valid reasons for keeping Christopher Columbus statues (and there may be; I just haven’t heard any yet), they don’t include only historical significance, and they don’t include slippery slope worries.
The way I see it, a slippery slope is simply an argument that an action will have dire and unintended consequences down the road. It can be a fallacy, like saying that buying one of Selig's RE's is certain to lead you down the road to bankruptcy, but it can also be true, like saying that if you carelessly accept this pamphlet that decries Jews as the source of your countries woes, it will lead to a genocide of 6 million people.
I do get your point about statues not only being historical markers but also vehicles for the lionization of historical people. I am absolutely willing to concede that this is a grey issue, where I certainly don't feel there is a right and wrong answer. I'm wondering whether you are willing to concede the same? In a sense I'm still waiting on an answer to the question why we should topple Columbus but keep Caesar or Alexander or Ghenghis Khan?
The problem I see is that if you judge all of these historical figures by today's standards, none of them come out smelling like roses and by that logic all should go. Columbus was a horrible racist from a time when just about everyone on the iberian peninsula had that attitude. Caesar was an emperor from a time when it was common to wage wars of extinction (e.g. slaughter every man, take no prisoners, keep women for mating if you feel like it) and by those standards he was actually sort of progressive since he let conquered people live under his rule. Even so, he still slaughtered thousands for the satisfaction of his own vain ambitions.
The question is still: how are we to judge these people? Do you think you would have fared better in their shoes, given wealth and power? Do you think yourself such a paragon of unassailable virtue? Anyone who answers 'yes' unequivocally to these last few questions scares me more than some old statue.