When those statues are erected with the specific intent of supporting white supremacy, then it is wrong to allow them to remain.
Look, I love history — I really do. And I understand your point — after all, Julius Caesar committed genocide against the Gauls, yet how many statues are there of him? I had my picture taken with one such statue in Rome back in 2016. It would be a great tragedy to have his statues torn down.
But when it comes to statues of Confederate leaders, I would submit that you’re working with the wrong paradigm. For instance, should Germany have allowed monuments to Hitler or Goebbels to remain? You see, the Confederacy’s raison d’etre was evil. They started the Civil War, and in the words of their own leaders, their reason for secession and for the war itself was to preserve slavery — and not just slavery, but slavery based solely upon the color of one’s skin.
That’s the difference. Rome’s reason for being wasn’t evil (though their methods often were) — they wanted to build and glorify Rome. The Confederacy’s reason for being, however, was most certainly evil from its very founding.
By allowing those Confederate statues to remain, the people of the South (me and my family included) looked upon those statues with pride, and we looked wistfully back upon our “glorious” Antebellum days. It perpetuates the cultural attitude…and it was that attitude that enabled the Jim Crow laws that lasted until 1964.
Even today, look at the right-wing nationalists in Italy. Do we want to see fascism arise again in Europe? Right now, there are statues to the facisti, and even to Mussolini himself. In Livorno, I asked about a monument I saw, and the hotel clerk — who was at least as old with me — said it was a monument of Mussolini. What got my attention was how ashamed he was to admit it.