Virtue of Filial Piety Lost When Statues Torn Down by Rob Koons

The South is an especially pious region, characterized by the old Roman virtue of pietas. Filial piety is the virtue of proper respect for one’s parents and, by extension, for one’s ancestors, one’s country, and (ultimately) one’s Creator. It is piety, and not racism, that motivates so many sons and daughters of the South to defend the monuments of Confederate generals and soldiers, despite a nearly universal acknowledgement that the slave system of the antebellum South was profoundly unjust. African Americans, especially those who live in the South, by and large understand this. It has been white progressives and not local black leaders who have led the attack on these monuments.