In 2014, Hobby Lobby purchased a tablet containing an excerpt from the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest epic work of literature in Western Civilization. The tablet is 3500-years old, and Hobby Lobby won the tablet in a Christie’s auction, paying $1.6 million for it. Hobby Lobby displayed the tablet in its Museum of the Bible, which houses a number of rare and ancient artifacts.
Now, Hobby Lobby has forfeited the tablet to the US Department of Justice due to it shady provenance. It seems that the original seller falsified a letter of provenance to show that the tablet had entered the United States before laws against importing rare artifacts were enacted.
To make matters worse, Christie’s apparently knew that the letter was questionable, but withheld that information.
Unfortunately, that means Hobby Lobby took one on the chin financially. I’m not sure what the fate of the original smuggler is, but I imagine he’s long gone and living the sweet life.
The bigger question, though, is what should be done with such artifacts? Current US policy seems to be to return them to their country of origin. While that might seem to the be simplest policy, is it really best for the preservation of the artifacts—and our cultural heritage?
Yesterday, I wrote about the destruction of statues of American leaders—the destruction of American history. My position is that tearing down virtually any statue—Confederate, Union, Theodore Roosevelt, etc.—is the untenable erasure of our nation’s history. Further, the historic illiteracy of the woke SJWs has seen the defenestration of statues of abolitionists—an absurdity for groups that claim to be fighting against the legacy of slavery.
In that context, I made a big deal about the toppling of a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln has assumed something of a demigod status in American history, one that glosses over some of the thorny issues of how to respond to the secession of the Southern States (a real question at the time was, having opted into the Constitution, could States later opt out; for a good biographical read on that issue, check out “A Voice of Reason” by John Marquardt at the Abbeville Institute). Lincoln was certainly a man with many noble qualities, and a keen constitutional mind. The toppling of his statues is the height of insanity—or nearly so.
Statues are coming down all over the United States. A few years ago, during our nation’s last bout of racialist temper tantrums and looting, the calls were for Confederate monuments to come down, on the premise that our nation shouldn’t celebrate “losers” and “traitors.” For an historically illiterate population that just knows that “slavery was because of bad white Southerners,” it was a compelling, if ultra-simplistic and stupid, case.
At the time, many conservatives pointed out that, hey, if you start tearing down statues of former slave owners, you’re inevitably going to move onto George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Should we really judge great men of the past solely based on one practice, one that we now acknowledge as immoral, but that was widespread—and, let’s not forget, practiced globally, with particular zest and gusto among Muslims—during their lives? And let’s not forget that many slave owners wished to see the ultimate demise of the “peculiar institution.”
What we’re seeing now is an orgy of presentism, one that fits nicely with the orgy of animalistic rioting. These ignorant, borderline illiterate (they are, in fact, excessively educated in Grievance and Victim Studies, but uneducated in actual knowledge and Truth) progressives and their pawns live in a perpetual present, in which the only good is whatever the social justice commissars decided at the last struggle session. “We have always been at war with Eurasia.”
The rioting and looting in major American cities continues as mobs continue to demand—and get—the “defunding” (effectively, the abolition) of police departments and occupy city blocks as “autonomous zones.” It’s a dark time for the United States, but we’ve been through worse and have survived. I’ve been a bit blackpilled these past couple of weeks with everything going on, but it’s important to remember that God is in control.
It’s also important that we don’t forget about these violations when the Leftist mobs inevitably (one hopes) disintegrate in a couple of weeks or so. As such, this week’s Lazy Sunday looks back at some of my recent posts on the looters:
“Disorder” – Americans love to focus on our rights and our freedoms, but we often do so at the cost of understanding our obligations that flow from those rights. We also tend to neglect that Burkean wisdom that liberty, to be truly liberty, must be ordered. One of the most shocking elements of these riots is the continued violation of legitimate authority—of order. The disorder and chaos these looters have unleashed threatens not just real people and property, but the very foundations of a stable, free society.
“Lessons from the Riots” – In school, occasionally some student will have the perennial insight that “we can’t all get in trouble.” As usual, the Code of the School Yard has some kernel of Truth to it. The Leftists have demonstrated that their sheer numbers (as well as having all of officialdom on their side in some of these cities) have made them somewhat impervious to police action. But a determined show of resistance from conservatives can bolster the police and keep wild Lefties at bay.
“Dignity” – Never grovel to the Left. It does not work, and they will only demand more. Maintain your dignity. Apologizing to the Left is like being a medieval flagellant, constantly whipping yourself in a vain attempt at progressive salvation.
“SubscribeStar Saturday – Leftist Utopia” – The “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or “CHAZ,” is an example of Leftist mob foolishness that is so cartoonish, it’s as if a conservative created it as a rhetorical straw man in some collegiate debate. Unfortunately, this cartoonish nightmare is all too real—and the animation is coming our way if we don’t act now.
Well, that’s it for this Sunday. Hopefully it’s not too much of a downer. On the plus side, the horrid humidity here in South Carolina has broken, at least briefly, so it’s possible to go outside again without immediately gaining a dewy aura of salty sweat.
A bit H/T today to photog at Orion’s Cold Fire, whose blogging and re-reporting on the riots have helped me keep abreast of events amid my illness. I’ve linked to several of his posts throughout as reference.
One thing that’s struck me about the rioting is the utter lack of response from authorities in large cities. It seems that the prudent response should have been, from the moment the first brick flew through the window of a Wendy’s, an overwhelming yet restrained show of force. Make some arrests, crack some skulls judiciously when warranted, and send the clear signal that rioting is not allowed.