by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Fund of National Review Online highlights one of the most recent targets of “cancel culture.”
The cancel culture has now reached into every nook and cranny of life. Eskimo Pie, the chocolate-covered ice-cream treat that has been around for a century, will be renamed after critics said the name was insensitive. What’s next?
We have a partial answer. Last week, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
The Sierra Club is “celebrating” the event in an unusual way. It is dumping any association with John Muir, the “father of the national parks” who founded the Sierra Club back in 1892.
Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director, tells members that “it’s time to take down some of our own monuments.” Brune says members must now “reexamine our past and our substantial role in perpetuating white supremacy.”
It turns out that, as a young immigrant from Scotland, John Muir made “derogatory comments about Black people and Indigenous peoples that drew on deeply harmful racist stereotypes, though his views evolved later in his life,” Brune wrote in a statement on the Sierra Club’s website. “As the most iconic figure in Sierra Club history, Muir’s words and actions carry an especially heavy weight. They continue to hurt and alienate Indigenous people and people of color who come into contact with the Sierra Club.”
But in a form of guilt by association that would make a McCarthyite blush, Brune goes on to rebuke Muir’s for his friendship in the early 1900s with zoologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, who, twelve years after Muir’s death in 1914, helped establish the American Eugenics Society, which labeled nonwhite people as inferior. Notice that the founding of the society followed Muir’s death, but he still must be held accountable for it.
Many Sierra Club members with whom I spoke are privately appalled at the group’s attempt to erase its history.