John Oliver’s in-depth issue this week was the Confederacy on “Last Week Tonight.” Oliver condemned the Confederacy and everything connected to it because one of the things it fought for was the maintenance of slavery. According to him, this justified getting rid of all public monuments to, and statues of, anything or anybody connected to the Confederacy.
If slavery is what condemns a civilization, then clearly the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians must be condemned, and all artifacts, statues, buildings, and other monuments must be removed from public view. That would mean that the Roman forum, the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Egyptian pyramids would have to be destroyed, along with the many other Roman ruins spread across Europe and North Africa. By the same reasoning, Oliver, the Democratic Party and other anti-Confederate hate groups must applaud the destruction by ISIS of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and the destruction of the Bamiyan cliff buddhas by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Can you imagine the horror that would ensue if the mayor of Charlottesville were the mayor of Rome, destroying thousands of monuments?
Of course the Confederates got their moral guidance on slavery from the books of Moses in the Bible. Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon all had slaves and lived in a society where slavery was an ordinary fact of life. Abraham had a son, Ishmael, by his family’s female slave Hagar. Moses freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt, but he wrote the Jewish law authorizing slavery and describing how Jews should treat their own slaves, particularly in Leviticus. It describes different treatment for Jews enslaved to other Jews, and for non-Jewish slaves. It seems likely that Solomon’s temple was built with slave labor. If they were going to be consistent, Oliver and the Democrats should call for the destruction of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. And because Moses and King David had slaves, they should call for the destruction of Michelangelo’s statues of Moses and David.
Of course any statues or monuments to any famous people of these countries would have to be destroyed — statues of Plato, Aristotle, all Roman emperors, and statues of all Egyptian Pharaohs. History is unimportant. Only morality as defined by Oliver is important. People who lived in societies that condoned slavery were evil, and any image of them must be destroyed according to Oliver and the Democrats.
They really do have much in common with ISIS and the Taliban, believing that a tangible representation of anything they think is morally repugnant must be destroyed. They believe that their morals are supreme and unimpeachable and that no other ideas can be allowed to be expressed. They are not chopping off heads yet, but that may be coming. HBO is preaching the ideology of ISIS and the Taliban in the US while American troops are fighting against it in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is sad to see such fundamentalist religious intolerance being preached in the US.