by Michael Curtis

When next you float down the Yangtze River through Jingzhou City, likely you will notice Guan Yu, God of War, looking rather ambitious, rather restless; at 190 feet in height, a bit imposing, at 1,320 tons, quite a bit threatening, a person out-of-place at Upper-East-Side cocktail parties, National Public Radio studios, pink-spiked tackle-games and other effeminate events.

Beneath the God, Guan Yu, you will notice that you are small, that War is large, that China is aggressive, that America is progressively passive, that when push follows shove we cannot be certain if the Statue of Liberty will stand her ground or topple into a fantasy of melting icecaps, and this, of course, is the meaning, purpose, and the summoning intent of Guan Yu.
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What is the summoning intent of the Statue of Liberty?  If you are a good, honest, brave American, if you stand torch high with Liberty, cousin to the Roman Goddess, Libertas, you understand that we are not at the ending-of-history, but firmly in a Classive, Classical Renewal.  If you are good, honest and brave, likely you are summoned by enlightened faith, confident that these united states, by the magnanimous will of God, shall overcome the conceit of scientists, the theses of academics, the brain-jello of this Biden-Orwell Administration.

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834 – 1904); Statue of Liberty (detail); dedicated, 1886

We Americans, the Chinese, and the preening, Progressive Citizens of the World, understand Guan Yu’s challenge to our noble Statue of Liberty.  Be certain, Culture Warriors, your battle is not merely with the pimpled Progressive, your battle is with the Progressive ally, the hungry Chinese Communist, and other communists who, as Pres. Biden admits, “Will eat your lunch” … perhaps, after eating you.  Be certain, this is a battle of wills, a battle of ideas, a battle likely to be tested in blood.  Rather wish it would not be … even so, time to awake, Culture Warriors.

We patriotic Americans understand, as did George Washington, that “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”  The pacified scientific progressives … well, American Progressives haven’t a clue, and there is little for them to do but to circle-up and starry-eyed float peace balloons strung with pink, toy Subarus.  The rest of us are vigilant.

With the possible exception of Ali Khamenei, and every Korean, every Chinese general, few rattle sabers and nuclear submarines, few desire war.  For his part, General Washington was a reluctant warrior. For his, President Lincoln would appease rather than fight, yet the fight came to him. Franklin Roosevelt avoided war until the bombs dropped on ship-decks. We classive Sons and Daughters of Liberty wait and watch, reluctant, alone, while atop his rising pedestal, Guan Yu watches us.

We, the inheritors of Liberty, admit, with regret, that progressively declining Western Europe would soon retreat or dog-eared surrender to the God of War; that Eastern Europe, hardened in opposition to communism and Islam, would stand so long as there is blood, so long as there is breath. We admit that precious little moral fiber exists in the world’s other peoples; that we English speaking people, the intellectual inheritors of Classical Greece, Republican Rome, Christian Charity, Renaissance Humanism, and British Enlightenment, are the last hope for those who seek Liberty, beauty, goodness, truth, and peace.

Donald De Lue (1897 – 1988): George Washington Kneeling in Prayer, 1967; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

And yet, even we who faithfully recite the Pledge of Allegiance, who honor parents and traditions, who defeated the Nazi-Japanese Axis, who in victory spread Liberty’s promise to all the world, are with little infections weakened in progressivism, that creeping illness which chickenpoxes civic life, decency and customs, our observances, rituals and ceremonies.

*   *   *

You recognize in Progressivism the weakening of Liberty, and America’s intellectual decline.  I have no need of telling you, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, about loss to global progressivism, to the Democrat State’s tech monopoly. Yet, I have a particular knowledge, a unique experience that is worth sharing: Classive Civilization’s sustaining aesthetic, the healthy practice of civic art, the material culture which forms or malforms Liberty.  Here, two examples will suffice.

Moshe Safdie, designer (1938 – present); The Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C.

When next in leisure you sail the Potomac River through muggy Washington, DC (classive city of the Founders), likely you will notice a scrum of bland walls, of broken-bottle buildings, of barricaded museum forts, of looming government edifices that seem Jetson prisons or Mid-Century-Modern gun turrets, and when you notice you will quickly tack away, whispering a prayer for favorable wind. Safe away, over shoulder you might glance to notice grinning, monstrous buildings, teeth barred, mouth agape in pursuit of distressed citizens hurrying down Independence Avenue.

I notice brutal “architectures” (Progressive insist they make “architecture”; in truth, they merely design flat-computer screen-buildings) that have descended from sane antiquity to mad modernism, from mad modernism into the menacing institutions of Frankenstein facades, underpass monuments, and other malformed mistakes.  And then, above the majestic Lincoln Memorial, you will notice the spreading of progressive banality: a lean, hawk-like, “Institute of Peace”, metal beaked and concrete bellied whose sharp aluminum wings spread over an airy future, and over you.

Also, you will understand this institute to be incompatible with Lincoln’s republican memorial.  You will, I expect, recognize a progressive boondoggle, the absurdity of “Peace” created by Congressional mandate (at a cost to hapless taxpayers of some $40 million annually), an institute whose activities include foreign electoral intervention, trade embargoes, and other unsavory activities.

Henry Bacon (1866 – 1924); The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

In typically deceitful gobbledygook, the “peace institute” contorts and distorts the intention of President Washington’s, Sentiments on a Peace Establishment (1783), that reasonably classifies the martial departments under four heads:

1) Forts, for security and safety;
2) A militia, for maneuvers and the exercise of arms;
3) Arsenals, for military stores;
4) Academies, for the instruction of military arts.

Departments not inclusive of a meddling, officious, peace institute.
Yes, the taxpayer funded “Institute of Peace” is not a “peace establishment”.  If you would seek an institute of “peace”, look across the Potomac to the “Pentagon” … for militias, look to the Seals, the Rangers, the Berets, to your local patriot’s group … for academies, look to West Point, et albi … for forts, well, look to the foundations of the big, beautiful wall on the southern border.

A peace institute might be a vanity, might be a folly, might be an absurdity, I cannot with certainty say; yet, it seems to me that the Institute of Peace would by giant Guan Yu be smartly grasped by its pointy beak, mightily wing slung, belly and all, smack onto the pavement where by a colossal foot it would be decisively smushed … TIP’s screeching echo would dissolve into Anacostia’s boggy mog, never again to be heard.

*   *   *

Edward Moran (1829–1901); Statue of Liberty Unveiled, 1886

For now, it seems, these united states will answer each military threat and provocation.  In this we are pleased, somewhat assured.  Yet, who shall answer Guan Yu’s metaphorical challenges, the aesthetic threats, the totalitarian ideas that enslave imaginations and subdue nations? Not blank-faced Republicans.  Not gray-cloth-coated museum boards.  Not purple-haired arts-boosters.  No one dares answer the aesthetic threat, the metaphorical challenge to liberty and to peace.

Everywhere, by the progressive taxation of duped citizens, progressively curly, metal doodads spring onto the concrete pedestals of courthouses, parks, and traffic circles.  And there! See, one cute-colored-curly doodad leaping-up to pose upon the green checkerboard roof-deck of a children’s library.

Have you noticed that Progressive Art is just, well, deaf, dumb, and stupid.  Have you read the logic-challenged, “artist statements” that babel-on alike Karl Marx coloring-books.

*   *   *

Progressive totalitarianism, curling doodads, threatening demi-gods, must be answered in liberty with beauty, goodness, and truth; answered in that Classive aesthetic which has sustained these united states.  If we, if you do not answer the threat, progressive bureaucrats, academics, news-readers and preening celebrities will erase our Classive heritage, will spray-tag beauty, and rope-topple this nation’s noble history from its pedestal in the civic square.

Michael Curtis (1956 – present); Striding Liberty (working model, in progress)

To resist Guan Yu, to resist intolerant Progressivism, we must answer personal, political, and national threats with Liberty’s Classive aesthetic.  As for myself, I have composed a bold, monumental, “Striding Liberty” statue suitable to the summit of DC’s East Potomac Park, a statue which won the City of Sarasota’s “public-art competition”, but which was denied funding by Sarasota’s Progressive politicians.  And yet, in this consideration, we should dilate upon The National Liberty Memorial.

*   *   *

The National Liberty Memorial honors those Americans of West-African ascent who fought the British Empire for political and national liberty, who won for us freedom from monarchy, yet who did not themselves realize that personal liberty invented by Thomas Jefferson, a liberty first articulated in the Declaration’s summoning axiom, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” *

To realize the franchise of personal liberty, a long, bloody “War to End Slavery” [Civil War], a slow, ethical comprehension, and a decisive Constitutional amendment was necessary.

David Newton; Liberty Patriot (statue model)

You might be interested to learn, that annoyed bureaucrats in the bowels of progressive government have, for several years, stalled this “Liberty” memorial, this honor to enslaved and freed Americans who fought for Liberty.  By stalling, the progressive bureaucrats intended to dishearten the memorial’s supporters, to usurp the will of Congress, to replace a Classive, statuesque memorial with an “opportunity to stretch the envelope” ** by plopping a twisty doodad on a concrete pad.

To honor the many-thousand, brave American’s of West-African ascent who fought with Washington, Hamilton, Laurens, Kosciuszko, and others, it seems to me that a Classive, heroic spirited statue is most appropriate.  Really! Show these American soldiers and their families in their West African characteristics. These men and women were not colored doodads. Give them the respect they deserve. It seems most telling of American Liberty, that The National Liberty Memorial would feature a true and accurate portrait of American soldiers, West-African in ascent, to demonstrate that all Americans are united in classive Liberty.

Aesthetic threats from progressives and from Guan Yu, God of War, must be answered with bold statuary in beautiful, beckoning, strong Classive monuments.  A Christian, Greek, Roman, Freedom of Conscience, the American political, national, and personal Liberty, is the philosophical inheritance of all Americans.  Liberty and Constitutional conduct, not imposed diversity, is our unity, is our strength.

United in virtue, the Liberty Patriots, their ascendants, and all we men and women, we good, honest and brave Americans are the hard, bold fact that stands between the Statue of Liberty, the God of War, and the chaos of progressive destruction.

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Notes:

* When writing, the “pursuit of happiness”, Jefferson intended not indulgent, libertine excess; Jefferson intended “moral virtue”, that excellence of thought and action that fully realizes human life, a realization best described in our Greek word, arete.  Arete, is a word, a concept employed by Aristotle to describe excellence achieved in mind, body, soul, an achievement possible only in “liberty” of thought and action.  Libertine “freedom” often leads us to be slaves to vice, to politicians, to bureaucratic states, to Asian immensities, to an overpowering God of War.

** Not polite to tattle, even so: the frizzy-gray progressive functionary who spoke the absurdity, “opportunity to stretch the envelope”, moments later, through a fountain of spittle yelled, hollered, how best to say, “screeched” her animadversion to statues beautiful and abiding, to persons who would propose a new, Classive statue for “her” city … seems to me, she squawking delivered the line, “not of our time”, an ambitious, “over my dead body”, and spat the accusation, “counter-revolutionary”, yet, of this last detail, I cannot be certain … it was, well, you know, one of those slow-motion moments, alike watching the lioness bite-off the head of the trainer, knowing that all will be well because you are on the safe side of the glass.

* * *

Right. And this bit, below, just for fun.

The Institute of Peace

The Institute of Peace stares down on Lincoln
From high atop her perch on Constitution:
She has the hollow belly of a beast;
She yearns to eat the city piece by piece;
She spreads a sharp aluminum of wings
Over a city that should fear the thing.
The city lies in beauty and repose,
In quiet slumber, naked and exposed.
I spy the beast and boldly I approach,
The borders of her precinct I encroach,
Where from a hidden window of the stone
A heavy armored woman comes: Alone?
No, three more armored came with guns, police
Whose badges read, “The Institute of Peace.”

Truly, upon an innocent walk, crossing the Institute’s vacant precinct, I was confronted comically by four pistol packing, mace hung, radio eared guards (Sally, Sam, Sarah, and Latisha) who demanded my papers … not my papers, actually, my photo identification … who commanded that I admit the purpose of my invading the Institute’s precinct. I answered, “To study the building’s details.” The guards demanded I leave.  I did, leave. Nothing of value, nothing of interest to see.

* * *

May 1 (May Day), was the date chosen for “International Workers Day” by the American Federation of Labor (adopted by the Marxist International Socialist Congress, 1889). The holiday is remembered in these united states on the first Monday of September, and is known as “Labor Day”, the federal holiday before return to labor in the autumn. May’s Labor Day is among the most anticipated, the most celebrated holidays in China, North Korea, Cuba, and Russia … perhaps you remember the parade of tanks through Red Square each May 1.

I remember May Day for the May-pole, the bud, the blossom, the bloom, the eager, spinning dance, the love, the marriage and all the good that Spring promises. Just now, the Catholic Church dedicates this day, May 1, to Saint Joseph, patron saint of workers, craftsmen, et alia. Seems to me, the Church might rededicate the day, May 1, to Catholics and others martyred by strangulation, razors, acids, beheadings, bullets, et cetera by Chinese, Cuban, Russian, and Korean communists … the right message, a good work, and wise consul, it seems.

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Classical Architecture and Monuments of Washington, D.C.: A History & Guide

Classive design formed our nation’s capital. The soaring Washington Monument, the columns of the Lincoln Memorial and the spectacular dome of the Capitol Building speak to the founders’ comprehensive vision of our federal city. Learn about the L’Enfant and McMillan plans for Washington, D.C., and how those designs are reflected in two hundred years of monuments, museums and representative government. View the statues of our Founding Fathers with the eye of a sculptor and gain insight into the criticism and controversies of modern additions to Washington’s monumental structure. Author Michael Curtis guides this tour of the heart of the District of Columbia.

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8 Responses

    • Joe Tessitore

      Indeed, Sally!
      As Madame Pelosi recently declared as they were being torn down:
      “I don’t care about statues.”

      Reply
  1. Gail

    An entirely appropriate call to action that one little town in Oregon has answered preemptively.

    The revolution has started here:

    https://www.bakercity.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2581

    Start reading on p. 47 of the file.

    I’m interested in suggestions for a yard sign in support of my fellow Oregonians’ creation of a common sense sanctuary city. Thoughts?

    Reply
  2. Joe Tessitore

    Dear Michael,
    I’m not sure that “the magnanimous will of God” shall overcome anything on our behalf. That same will allowed the Israelites to be led into captivity and turned a blind eye to Classical Greece and Republican Rome, both of which have long since retired to history’s trash heap.
    We have gone from ankle to knee-deep in the blood of aborted children and Chairman Xio recently announced that he “respectfully disagrees” with his Catholic bishops about fetal stem cell research. Can lamp shades be far behind?
    Maybe God has had enough of us.

    Reply
    • Joe Tessitore

      P.S. Really interesting that the Queen of all Mafiosi doesn’t care about statues, while the Communist Chinese are busy building Gargantuan Guan.

      Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    Thank you for all of this. It was at once depressing and uplifting. Weird, huh? I take it that you are not a big fan of aluminum as a construction material or of doodads of any composition. I would tend to agree. People do not need to stand tall; they just need to stand up.

    Reply
  4. Margaret Coats

    Thanks, Michael, for this description of the aesthetic threat in statuary and architecture, and for outlining the necessary bold response. Missed this article the day it came out, as I was singing High Mass for Saint Joseph the Worker. Glad you recognized the day’s dedication. The Church does move rather slowly in examining causes of saints, even martyrs, and more especially groups of martyrs. However, Martyrs of Laos under the communist Pathet Lao from 1954 to 1970, have been beatified and have a feast day on December 16.
    As there are many other causes pending, I imagine we will eventually have many commemorative days for groups in different nations. Your proposal that May 1 should recall all those who have been killed in supposed “workers’ paradises” seems worth a thought, and we can begin with local events. May 1 will be Sunday next year, and I am thinking about what might accompany better-attended Masses for Saint Joseph the Worker.

    Reply

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