Dennis Prager’s Fake University Flunks Civil War History, Human Decency
Last week, Virginia removed its statue of ragamuffin racist and traitor Robert E. Lee from the US Capitol. Now, the not-so-good folks at Prager University believed it should've remain in a position of honor.
We normally don't waste time pointing out that Prager University isn't a real university with libraries, students, and a football team with multiple NCAA violations. However, conservatives are in such a tizzy over Dr. Jill Biden's doctorate, which is real, that it's worth a couple sentences explaining that Prager University is fake.
Dennis Prager, who was born in Brooklyn and is what real Southerners like myself would call a "Yankee," founded Prager University in 2009 with Allen Estrin, a screenwriter from Chicago so yet another Yankee. Prager University — or “PU" because they didn't think this through — is supposed to serve as a counterpoint against the “undermining" of college education by the icky left. PU achieves this with crappy YouTube videos.
This brings us to the fake university's latest video whitesplaining Robert E. Lee to everyone who rightly thinks he sucks. I am not linking to it because racking up views is how these organizations make money. It's enough that I suffered for you.
Robert E. Lee was related to George Washington's family. Great. Many of us can trace our ancestry to Genghis Khan.… https://t.co/h3h9ExRHMV— James Wigderson (@James Wigderson)1609003280.0
These are actual reasons that Prager University gives for keeping Lee's statue in the Capitol.
Lee was connected to George Washington through his father.
Who gives a fuck? Julie Andrews once waved at me and said hello when I worked front of house at the Broadway production of Victor/Victoria. She was rehearsing a number with the lovely Tara O'Brien, who willingly sat next to me on the subway and introduced me to people as her “friend, Steve." (I had no problem with her calling me “Steve.") I don't deserve a statue, although Julie Andrews does.
Lee's home is the site of Arlington National Cemetery.
Lee didn't exactly volunteer this land. The federal government seized the property during the Civil War. It was part of a "total war" strategy designed "to bring the rebellion to a speedy conclusion." As professional Atlanta burner General William T. Sherman wrote, "Make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it." So, invoking Arlington National Cemetery as an excuse to honor a traitor who waged war on the United States is the sort of dumbassery you'd expect from a fake college.
Lee crushed the attempted slave rebellion by “radical" abolitionist John Brown.
Yeah, that is supposedly a selling point. All it does is remind us that Brown, who was hanged for “treason," was a hero who sacrificed everything to fight injustice when, as a white man, he could've looked the other way. It also reinforces what a hypocritical piece of shit Lee was. He not only supported the Confederacy's violent insurrection but he literally led the Confederate army that killed thousands of Americans. The Prager video has the audacity to call Brown a “radical" because he supported violent measures to free Black people from bondage, which was inherently violent. If Brown was “radical," so was every American who fought to defend freedom at home or abroad.
John Brown deserves to have more statues in his honor. Robert E. Lee deserves none.
Lee considered slavery a "greater evil" for white people than for the Black race.
Get the fuck out of here.
This is like saying that while too much delicious dry-aged beef is bad for me, it's great for the slaughtered cows because I'm helping control their population. This is how sociopaths talk about other human beings, and it doesn't count if the law at the moment agrees with you that enslaved people aren't human.
The Prager video repeats the racist propaganda that Blacks were “immeasurably better off here than in Africa." That's not true, because people are objectively better off wherever they are free and don't die at 50 because of high blood pressure or the police.
White people left their native lands and immigrated to America voluntarily. During the Great Famine, the Irish weren't rounded up, stored in the bottom of slave ships, and shipped here where they could eat more than just potatoes.
Despite offers to command US forces, Lee opted to organize the defense of his native state.
Lee chose to treason all over the United States.
As president of Virginia's Washington and Lee College, Lee supported education for freed Black people but opposed their right to vote.
Yeah, that's also not noble. It's not even entirely true.
From the Nation:
In an interview with the New York Herald after the Civil War, Lee said he thought black people should be "disposed of." He told Congress the black man was inferior and could not be educated. "I do not think that he is as capable of acquiring knowledge as the white man is," Lee testified.
Writer Toni Locy argued that Lee is "undeserving of recognition in the university's name" because of all the racism and treason.
He broke up families of slaves, selling them off, in violation of the wishes of their original owners. And he is unworthy of respect as a college president because he looked the other way when his students were accused of harassing female teachers in a Freedmen's Bureau school and preying on young black women in town.
Robert E. Lee is a monster and it's monstrous to defend him.
Now, please enjoy my friend Tara O'Brien performing “Paris By Night" in Victor/Victoria. This is now your open thread.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."