The War against the Statues has crossed the Atlantic and has spread to great britain. Afua Hirsch, writing for the UK Guardian, has demanded that Nelson’s Column be removed from Trafalgar Square in London, citing as inspiration that campaign to eliminate Confederate monuments in the United States. The National Review counters that Lord Nelson should be left alone.

Why is Lord Horatio Nelson now a target?

Hirsch argues that Nelson should be removed from the public space he has occupied for about 200 years because he fought in favor of the slave trade.

He fought the great English parliamentarian William Wilberforce on behalf of British merchants whose bottom line would be harmed by the abolition of that practice. Hirsch offers the usual arguments about why Nelson’s singular flaw should define him and no other aspect of his record and his character. Since he favored the slave trade, heedless of the evil it caused, Nelson should be cast into the outer darkness.

The argument for leaving Nelson be

The National Review argues that Nelson, despite his views on the matter, created the instrument that led to the slave trade’s abolishment. Nelson is known as Great Britain’s greatest admiral, whose brilliant victories at the Nile and Trafalgar, among other places, established the Royal Navy’s supremacy for over a hundred years.

When Wilberforce succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in 1807, two years after Nelson’s death, the Royal Navy set about its suppression with a will in a decades’ long campaign that led to the cessation of the transatlantic slave trade that had lasted for the previous two or so centuries. Without Nelson’s victories, which by the way saved England from Napoleonic invasion, the suppression of the slave trade would have been problematic at best.

Trump’s point made again

President Trump opined that the same people who are going after Confederate monuments today would be going after other historical statues tomorrow. He mentioned Jefferson and Washington, founding fathers and slave owners who are even now under assault by the modern iconoclasts. Since then Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc and even Teddy Roosevelt have come under attack.

The argument can be legitimately made, where does it end? Should the rest of us give into hysteria or should a line be drawn?

Now that the War against Statues has started to spread, we can expect further demands. Should not the Tomb of Napoleon in Paris be destroyed, on the fact that the Emperor of the French slaughtered over a million people in pursuit of vainglory? The Roman Forum is nothing but a monument for an empire that was based on slavery. Soon, if the hysteria is allowed to continue, there will be nothing left of beauty in the world.