Sometimes people do the wrong thing for the wrong reason, but they manage to convince themselves they are doing the right thing. Consider the options presented in the follow table.
THING REASON AN EXAMPLE WRONG WRONG Stealing from a neighbor. RIGHT WRONG Obeying the law because a of the fear of punishment WRONG RIGHT Stealing from the rich to give to the poor. RIGHT RIGHT Giving to those in need.
The table shows four options.
- If we do something wrong for the wrong reason, we have done something evil. When greed motivates us to steal from a neighbor, for example, that is a wholly evil act.
- If we do the right thing for the wrong reason, society notices no wrong, but God knows the nature of our intent. Unless we learn to love our neighbors as we love ourself, only the fear of punishment stops us from abusing each other.
- If we do the wrong thing for the right reason, we corrupt our good intentions. We act in the belief that the end justifies the means.
- If we do the right thing for the right reason, then we act in accordance with the Golden Rule.
When we are young, we are quite gullible. So we can be convinced we are doing the right thing for the right reason, but if it is against the law, we should know better. That is, after all, a pretty big clue. Unfortunately, that did not stop a large crowd of young vigilantes from rendering justice on a poor defenseless statue that had stood where it was since 1924. Hence we have these stories.
- Protesters topple Confederate soldier statue in downtown Durham (newsobserver.com)
- Confederate statue toppled in North Carolina during anti-racism rally (theguardian.com)
- Protesters topple Confederate statue during Durham rally (wral.com)
- Protesters Topple Century-old Confederate Statue in North Carolina (http://www.haaretz.com)
Overall, the execution of the statue seems to have been a very calm operation that met with the tacit approval of the local authorities. Durham, NC is, like Charlottesville, VA, a university town with a Democrat for a mayor, Bill Bell. Here is what Bell had to say.
It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, given the environment we’re in. Fortunately, something inanimate was damaged, rather than any person being hurt,” said Mayor Bill Bell in response to the incident. “County and city officials will work together to protect each other’s property. We all have to consider the environment in our area. I don’t believe any other property is endangered. I believe the protestors accomplished what they wished to accomplish. But, most importantly, I’m grateful no one was hurt. (from here)
The statue was fair game, but other property might not be. It seems these folks well understand the law exists only to confine the behavior the foolish, the crazy, and the dumb; that is, the people who disagree with them.
What exactly did the “courageous” statue vigilantes tear down? Here is a picture of the Confederate Soldiers Monument at Old Durham County Courthouse, 200 E. Main St., Durham NC. As this article, The Mayor of New Orleans Explains Why North Carolina’s Monuments to White Supremacy Need to Come Down, indicates, the statue was a memorial to the soldiers who wore gray. That includes the hundred of thousands who died, like that young man pictured above.
Unlike the “courageous” statue vigilantes, the soldiers who wore gray did the right thing, only for the wrong reason. The soldiers who wore gray fought to defend their families, friends, and neighbors from invaders, but there was a problem. Because the primary reason the South seceded from Union was over the issue of slavery, the South was in the wrong. Because the South attacked the Union army first (at Fort Sumter, SC), the South was in the wrong. Still, if we try, we can understand why men might fight valiantly to defend their homeland from other men they regarded as invaders. It is just that condemnation comes so easily.
Here we have a List of monuments and memorials of the Confederate States of America. Since the list has already been updated to reflect the destruction of the Confederate Soldiers Monument at Old Durham County Courthouse, I suppose the vigilantes destruction of the Confederate Soldiers Monument is only the start. If so, the “courageous” statue vigilantes may wish to consult ISIS. It seems they have lots of experience in this area.