Sierra Club Cancels Its Founder

Even though he rejected the racist views of his youth, he cannot be absolved.

Thomas Gallatin · Sep. 2, 2020

Every year millions of people the world over travel to some of America’s most iconic national parks. In many ways, the existence of America’s national parks have naturalist and conservationist John Muir to thank. Back in 1892, Muir, dubbed the “father of the national parks,” founded the Sierra Club, which quickly became the nation’s — if not the world’s — most prominent conservation organization. Through his environmental activism, Muir is credited with helping to save the natural wonders that became what are today Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park. He was clearly a visionary whose love of nature has inspired generations of Americans.

However, despite his advocacy for the preservation of nature, statements Muir made in his youth have caused the current Sierra Club leadership to cancel its most iconic member. As a young man, Muir, who immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland, evidently made disparaging comments about blacks and Native Americans. As Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune explained, Muir’s comments “drew on deeply harmful racist stereotypes, though his views evolved later in his life.”

So, even though Muir grew older and wiser and rejected his earlier racist stereotypes, he still can’t be absolved of his original sin and, thus, Brune argues the Sierra Club will expunge him: “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.”

The great irony is that Muir became one of the biggest advocates for the preservation of Native American culture and way of life. He regularly blasted the white settlers spreading into the American West as an invasion bringing little other than disease, drunkenness, and exploitation. Muir biographer Donald Worster pointedly observed, “It wasn’t just the Indians who got him saying unflattering things. The white population, the people who were invading — the frontier types, the miners — he thought they were uncouth, savage, brutal, dirty, given to alcohol. His writings are full of those descriptions. Nobody gets upset about that.”

The fact of the matter is that there is no growth, no development, and no redemption allowed by the woke crowd. These “anti-racist” puritans demand absolute perfection to their ever-evolving standards and now even old leftist heroes are to be canceled. Who’s next?

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