The American Mind: “The Monuments of Our Republic”
By Bernard J. Dobski
“Since May of this year, over 290 monuments have been destroyed, defaced, or removed from America’s increasingly vacant public spaces. Considerable ink has been “spilled” over the diseased political psychology behind these attacks on some of America’s most enduring “bodies.” Very little, however, has been written to remind us why public monuments matter to our republican liberty. What is the damage done to our civic lives when the public square gets denuded by force and fraud?
For the engaged citizen, America’s best public monuments do not promote cheap patriotism or portray simple-minded celebrations of America’s untainted history. On the contrary, they cultivate an aesthetic taste critical to our lives as citizens of a republic. They shape a political imagination that allows us to envision the public good, affirm belief in our deepest principles, confront the shortcomings of our past, and grapple with the limitations to our efforts to secure political justice. In short, America’s public monuments instill civic pride and courage, as well as prudence, humility, and self-limitation…”
Bernard J. Dobski is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Assumption University, where he teaches courses in political philosophy and foreign policy. He is the author of several articles on Shakespeare and ancient Greek political thought, among other topics.
Professor Dobski is a JMC fellow.
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