“Forget the Alamo!”

It appears there are plans afoot to “reimagine the Alamo” as something other than an iconic reproach to Mexican ambition, cruelty and incompetence.  It is not clear, but this could involve reimagining Santa Anna, no longer as a sadistic and cowardly Napoleon without tactical genius, but as a sort of Abraham Lincoln who had come to free the slaves.

Imagine that!  It’s not hard.  Many Texans already do.

David Zincavage thinks that “people in Texas need to stop this,” but I think Zincavage (a good egg, so far as I can tell) needs to look a little closer at the congeries of discordant peoples who now constitute “people in Texas.”  Among these “people in Texas,” what we might call the people of Texas are a rapidly shrinking ethnicity.  It is true that, to the people of Texas, the Alamo is a national shrine, on the order of the Hill of Tepeyac in the valley of Mexico, but to most other people in Texas, it is either a rather dull sideshow to the San Antonio Riverwalk, or a hated symbol of White Supremacy.

“Remember the Alamo” was a battle cry that was first raised by Texan militiamen on the eve of the Battle of San Jacinto, after their General, Sam Houston, had reminded them of the Mexican massacres of their compatriots at San Antonio and Goliad.  “Remember the Alamo” has survived in our cultural memory (until now, at least), but it was originally paired with “Remember Goliad.”  Both were battle cries that served to bolster the courage of frightened men on the eve of a desperate battle, by making them mad as Hell at Mexican atrocities (and also scared as Hell of what the Mexicans would do to them if they surrendered).

When this battle occurred, Mexico was neither small nor poor.  It was, naturally, chaotic, but it had a population of around seven million (as opposed to twelve million in the U.S.) and its capital was called the “city of palaces.”  Mexico was, in fact, trying to maintain a highly-centralized empire, with provinces such as Texas very much under the thumb of Mexico City.  While it is true that the Texans were for the most part emigrants from the United States, and so remembered Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, and the national struggle against the British Empire, it was their struggle against the Mexican Empire that gave the people of Texas their national myths, their national monuments, and their national battle cry.

Nowadays, all of these are very hard to sustain as meaningful symbols because the people of Texas are but one of the peoples in Texas.  Actual descendants of the original Texans (some of whom were ethnic Mexicans) are, of course, a small minority.  The total population of Whites, from whom recruits to the Texan mythos might be most easily drawn, are rapidly approaching minority status; and among these Whites, a good many are indifferent, and not a are few are scornful, to the whole “Texas thing.”

The truth of the matter is that there are now a whole lot of people in Texas who have forgotten or would like to forget the Alamo.  And there are not a few who would be more than happy if we all would remember it in a very different way.

You see, for a great many of the people in Texas nowadays, the Alamo is what I recently called an alien myth.  It is a story that serves to bolster the morale of another people, about whom they do not really care, or for whom they may even feel a lively hatred.  In any case, as should not surprise us, these people came to Texas with their own national myths, because “what exile from himself can flee?

The Alamo is today being “reimagined” to take it out of the hands of the people of Texas, and place it in the hands of the people in Texas.  To do this, it must be changed from a national shrine into a historical monument.  The essential difference between a national shrine and a historical monument is that a shrine recognizes a single emotional response, whereas a monument invites ambivalence.  Emotional ambivalence is what those people who are now reimagining the Alamo are aiming to inspire by providing what they call “context.”

And yet “context” is precisely what those frightened Texan militiamen were driving out of their minds when they first shouted “Remember the Alamo.”  When Sam Houston rallied his men beside White Oak bayou in April, 1836, he did not ask them to consider the history of New Spain, or the just claims of Mexico, or the fact that, in Spanish, the word alamo means a “cottonwood tree.”  He asked them to remember the bloody bayonets of San Antonio, and the firing squads of Goliad, and from these narrow reflections to grow strong and single-minded in their courage and resolve.

As I explained some time back, in the early stages of the great erasure of Confederate monuments, modern iconoclasm works by converting shrines and relics into mere historical artifacts.   It neutralizes them with context. After describing some old-fashioned ax-wielding iconoclasm by sixteenth-century Dutch protestants, I wrote

“If the vandals of Antwerp had been modern iconoclasts, they would have expelled the numen of the crucifix by declaring the curious carving a “cultural artifact” or “work of art.”  The docents at the museum in which they would have carefully hung it would have told visitors who had carved it, and when, and out of what wood.  Then perhaps they might have mentioned, with a chuckle, a groan, or a sneer, “what people used to think it meant.”

This method of the modern iconoclast is derived from the modern attitude towards history.  Moderns think it surpassingly important to preserve the corpse of history: to collect and catalogue its artefacts, to protect its buildings, to arrange its facts in prodigious books.  But they are at the same time scared of the ghost of history—of the very idea that there might be traditions to which men owe a debt and feel a duty.”

They are not above inventing scary ghost stories to peddle as history, but they are deeply afraid of raising the real ghosts of history.  And this is why they are telling us to forget the Alamo.

28 thoughts on ““Forget the Alamo!”

  1. Pingback: “Forget the Alamo!” | @the_arv

  2. The Left has a more efficient program than “forget everything.” I refer to the “never teach them anything” program, which gets ahead of any need to foster forgetfulness.

    • I overheard heard a student yesterday talking about how the Texans “just wanted to own slaves” in a tone that showed just how bravely she was repeating what her sophomoric teacher had told her.

  3. Pingback: “Forget the Alamo!” | Reaction Times

  4. Pingback: Remember The Alamo? No – Forget It | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  5. In all fairness, we the People of Texas remember that, except for Sam Houston’s small host, the response of the People of Texas to news of the Alamo was the Runaway Scrape. Even in Texas there were always traitorous yellow slugs who had to dragged to victory.

    Don’t rely on the feckless masses. Rely on God’s remnant.

  6. Lawrence Auster was very vocal on the inability of Christianity to invoke national loyalty for America. But Christians are also, by definition, loyal to Natural Law. Yet, the reality of MRKA is the triumph of Corporate Law. So the dissolution of the American Nation has multiple sources. A changing of the people… A blanket deracination that covers mainstream Christianity as well as all of secular America… And a “default elite” interpretation of the governing laws of mankind that ultimately protects the “opt-out” option with unprecedentedly prophetable precision.

  7. My great(x4) grandfather, Samuel Cloud, traveled with Davy Crockett to help defend the Alamo. My blood rests there. God bless their souls.

    • Yet… Yours is a RACIST interpretation of history.

      Ergo, you are “seeing” history through your father(s).

      Will you own “it” though when push comes to shove?

  8. To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, without the ability to control reproduction woman loses the ability to make and control immigration policy and thereby destroy the society she loathes so much.:


    Credit where credit is due, Steinem is at least honest about what she and the feminists are up to at bottom.

    Remember several years back when Rod Dreher and The Dallas Morning News declared illegal Mexican immigrants “Texans of the Year”?

  9. Dreher was actually surprised that some people didn’t think he should have written that–“I was just doing my job, people.”

    • Yeah, I remember. Some of us on the traditionalist right were surprised Dreher was surprised we thought he was wrong to write it. Well, “surprised” probably isn’t correct in our case; more like amused – amused that he didn’t seem to understand the broader implications of what he’d written, and therefore why he was wrong.

      Most of us weren’t surprised that he wrote it, though.

  10. Pingback: “Forget the Alamo!” « Los Diablos Tejano

  11. There is, with closer inspection, a vast array of “remember the Alamos” all modernly encapsulated by “white privilege.”

    White racism = forget all those Alamos.

    Anti-racism is to forget about your father’s fight BECAUSE he’s white.

    • “White privelege” means (or =), in modern(ist) America “I hate what you stand for, and therefore intend to do all in my power to eliminate it” (no matter that – err, *especially since* I happen to be white).

      Hatred [of this kind] is not evil, right? It is useful. Yes, right.

      • Well, Mr. Morris… They really hate you when you stand for your (F)ather. And the minions mainly hate you when you stand for your (f)ather.

        “White privilege” just is a racial heirloom given due the dutiful cooperation our white father(s) and ultimately tied to their collective faith in the (F)ather.

        They hate this ^^^ too.

  12. It is an important and indispensible point that to put the artifacts of a culture in a museum just is to kill that culture.

  13. It appears there are plans afoot to “reimagine the Alamo” as something other than an iconic reproach to Mexican ambition, cruelty and incompetence.

    Maybe those plans have been around much longer. From my 1970s middle school Texas history class, I do not recall much reproach to the ambition or incompetence of Mexico from the Alamo per se. It was essentially presented as the Texas version of the American Revolution, Texans wanted out of the Mexican empire for reasons I no longer recall, and Mexico wanted to retain its territorial integrity. IIRC, Mexico did allow the Alamo volunteers to surrender (to what fate was not readily explained) and non-combatants to leave (which is better than what the current US gov’t does to those obstructing its path of global hegemony). The Alamo was portrayed as a sort of “Thermopylae”, allowing Houston’s forces to regroup, and rout the Mexicans at San Jacinto (note to self: Do not take a siesta during military conflict).

    • Although I live in Texas, I am not myself one of the people of Texas, so I’m not ferociously partisan in this quarrel. Still, I’ve come to think the dominant American account of Mexican actions and territorial claims is remarkably generous. I have also come to think Americans will one day regret this generosity, and the assistance they have given to the myth of stolen territory.

      • I doubt there is much dispute about the territorial claims in that Texas was actually part of Mexico. It wasn’t “stolen” in the sense that an invading army came and conquered it; it was the result of invited/allowed immigrants who later decided parting from Mexico was in their best interests (hmm…. reminds me of something more contemporary). Whether Texas had the “right” to secede is determined solely by whether it can. Hence, secession from Mexico being successful = fight for “right” to independence (none dare call it treason); secession from the US being unsuccessful = traitorous rebellion.

      • I agree. What I was trying to get at was this. Today we are told that today’s northern border of Mexico is “just a line on the map,” but at the same time that the northern border of New Spain/Mexico c. 1800, which really and truly was “just a line on the map,” was somehow real and important and inviolable.

      • Well then, the dispute doesn’t revolve around a “right to conquer” the Other’s land, but the right to put up fences and dig motes and install locks and load guns and hang barbed-wire and station man-power to repel a conquering?

  14. Pingback: The Rogue’s March – A Book Recommendation | Carlos Carrasco

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