Defending John Calhoun: Comment Of The Day

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Is complaining about Calhoun's support for slavery just political correctness?
Two Athens State University, Ala., professors tell us the proposal to change Lake Calhoun's name -- so that it doesn't honor a man who called slavery "a positive good" -- is nothing but a bunch of politically correct hooey.

In their very long defense of John C. Calhoun, they say, "The Lake Calhoun critics want to misrepresent and vilify one of America's greatest statesmen."

The "moral statesman," like the rest of the Senate, voted in favor of the Fugitive Slave Act, they say, so leave the guy alone.

Be sure to read:
10 Lake Calhoun name changes that don't honor a pro-slavery racist

The recent and misguided effort to rename Lake Calhoun is a sign of how we as contemporary Americans have a tendency to forget who we are, and engage in acts of what has become known as political correctness. The advocates of political correctness want to corrupt history for temporary political gains more than they desire to keep or restore it, and their efforts are, sadly, a disease on the body politic.

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The operatives of political correctness have met with some success of late. With Orwellian irony, they succeeded in having a U.S Navy ship named for a person who hated the Navy (Cesar Chavez) and have imposed speech codes (with the actual purpose of restricting speech) on many college campuses--as well as more destructive examples of assaulting our First Amendment rights and redefining history. [Editor's note: Chavez actually volunteered for the Navy in 1946 and served for two years.]

The greatest threat to political correctness is an environment where free and uninhibited discussion and disagreement can take place. In fact, diversity of thought is the opposite of political correctness, and is at the heart of a free society. The proponents of political correctness -- and those who wish to rename Lake Calhoun -stand on the side of censorship against free and diverse discussion.

Equally misguided, the Lake Calhoun critics want to misrepresent and vilify one of America's greatest statesmen, John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850). Born in 1782 near Abbeville, South Carolina, Calhoun graduated from Yale College and Litchfield Law School. He served two terms in the South Carolina Legislature until elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1811. As a congressman, Calhoun's reputation was that of a moral statesman who regarded limited government and patriotism as synonymous. President Monroe asked Calhoun to assume the helm at the War Department (later given the more politically correct title of Department of Defense) in 1817, where he served until 1825, and he is described as the ablest war secretary the country had before the Civil War, while offering a fairer and more humane approach to Native American affairs than his predecessors.

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