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The death of historical truth The New Roundheads can't see beyond race

David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty

David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty


March 1, 2023   16 mins

A number of intolerant ideologies have swept through the worlds of learning, literature and the visual and performing arts over the past two decades. I am concerned with one of them. Its essential feature is the diversion of academic disciplines to a task for which they are usually ill-suited, namely the reform of modern society so as to redress perceived inequalities, notably of race. In the course of this exercise, some of these disciplines have been discredited and others distorted, generally with little or no factual basis. The study of history is particularly vulnerable. Most historical scholarship involves judicious selection from a vast and usually incomplete body of material. It is possible to create an entirely false narrative without actually lying, by exaggeration and tendentious selection. The major threat to historical integrity comes when the criteria of selection are derived from a modern ideological agenda. We have been witnessing the reshaping of the history of the past four centuries to serve as a weapon in current political disputes. Objectivity and truth have been the main casualties.

In November 2022, the Wellcome Collection, a museum dedicated to the history of medicine, announced the closure of Medicine Man, an exhibition of artefacts relating to the history of medicine collected by its founder Sir Henry Wellcome. The decision to close this exhibition was itself perfectly reasonable. As a collector, Sir Henry Wellcome was a bit of a magpie, and the exhibition, which was 15 years old, was rather fusty. However, what mainly attracted attention was the statement which the curators published on Twitter that they had closed it because it “perpetuates a version of medical history that is based on racist, sexist and ableist theories and language”. To understand this statement, it is necessary to go back two and a half years to an earlier announcement from the Wellcome Collection in June 2020 in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Under the heading “Anti-Blackness and Racism”, it declared that the Collection was built on “racist and patriarchal narratives” and that institutional racism was enmeshed within its fabric. It went on to suggest that not only the Wellcome Collection but museums generally were “built on a foundation of white supremacy” and had replicated “racist behaviours” for decades. The curators declared their intention of “continually ask[ing] questions about power, representation and the civic role of public museums” and focussing on the “lived experiences of those who have been silenced, erased and ignored”.

What does all that mean? It is palpably untrue that medical history, as presented in Medicine Man, was based on racist, sexist and ableist theories. Certainly, museums reflect the historical outlook of those who assembled their collections and their successors who curated them. In Britain, they were generally able-bodied white males. But museums do not, just by virtue of that fact, replicate racist behaviours. Nor does our culture silence or ignore non-European experience where it is relevant. I think that what the curators meant to say was that the exhibition treated medicine as a western science of which non-white groups were passive consumers with no worthwhile contribution of their own. This, they felt, implied a hierarchy of cultures in which the west was superior to the rest, a notion which was offensive to non-western racial groups.

The Wellcome Collection is not alone. The Museum Association, which represents museums generally, has called on them to “address colonial structures and approaches to all areas of museum work”. At about the same time as the curators of the Wellcome Collection published their June 2020 statement, the Director of the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew, probably the world’s leading institution dedicated to plant science, issued a similar statement on its behalf. He began with the usual cringing confession that its history “shamefully draws from a legacy that has deep roots in colonialism and racism”. The only fact cited to support this surprising assertion is that during the nineteenth century, the Royal Botanical Garden studied the movement of plants around the British Empire as part of its world-wide botanical mission. This is said to have made the Botanical Garden at Kew a “beacon of privilege and exploitation”. The director went on to declare that Kew would in future decolonise its collections and “tackle structural racism in plant and fungal science”, with a view to achieving “transformative and societal change” in modern Britain. The inference is that merely by having existed and collected information and specimens in the great age of imperialism Kew Gardens is in some way complicit in modern inequalities in Britain. Finally this. “There is no acceptable neutral position on this subject [racial injustice;]; to stay silent is to be complicit”. This is a particularly odd thing to say. It seems obvious that one can be an excellent plant scientist and an outstanding plant historian without taking any view at all on racial injustice.

These statements have certain points in common.

The first is that they are proposing a political program for the modern day, supported by a highly selective approach to the past which sees everything through the prism of race. Race becomes the supremely important phenomenon, masking every other aspect of a complex culture. Racial politics provide the framework of values by which every institution concerned with the past is to be judged. There are many important factors in the way that human societies develop. Race is only one of them and not necessarily the most important. Any serious commentator on the current state of historical studies ought to welcome attempts to present aspects of history which have previously been ignored or marginalised. That includes the story of ethnic minorities and non-European societies. But it does not mean that the whole of Britain’s modern history should be viewed through their eyes. It does not mean that the role of slavery or empire in Britain’s economic, cultural and social history should be exaggerated beyond recognition. And it does not mean that current political priorities should determine how we understand the past.

The second thing these statements have in common, is that they lose sight of the broader evolution of human history. Benjamin Disraeli once observed in response to an antisemitic taunt in the House of Commons, that “while the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon”. Victorian elites undoubtedly regarded their own civilisation as superior to others. This been a universal habit of humanity ever since the Greek city-states and the ancient dynasties of China dismissed the whole of the rest of the world as barbarians. If these prejudices are ever justified, it is only for short periods of time, two or three centuries at the most. Empires and cultures are transient. They have their periods of power and creativity, before fading away. Medicine is as good an example as any. White males have not always dominated medical science. There have been periods when major contributions came from non-European cultures: Chinese, Indian and Arab in particular. Historians have not ignored this. Great books have been written about it, almost all in European languages. The 26 volumes of the History of Science and Technology in China by the Cambridge scientist and historian Joseph Needham is one of the most remarkable works ever written on the multicultural origins of modern science. But this should not blind us to the fact that the three centuries before the Second World War were the European centuries, in medicine as in other sciences.

With very few exceptions, such as the use of some medicinal plants, indigenous non-Europeans contributed very little. If one looks across a broader chronological range, the picture is very different. But calls for the decolonisation of academic disciplines do not do that. They generally focus narrowly on the 18th and 19th century and seek to debunk one of the few indisputable facts about that period, namely that it was a period in which cultural and scientific developments fundamental to the modern world almost all emanated from Europe or from European settlements elsewhere.

Decolonisation has been demanded of many other disciplines which were never in any meaningful sense colonised: the visual arts, music, literature, philosophy and even the physical sciences and mathematics. The only connection between these fields of study and Europe’s imperial past is that the West achieved a dominant position in them during the imperial era. The decolonisation statement of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division at Oxford reveals the same obsession with race and the same tendentious attempt to portray racism as a perennial theme of western thinking. It begins by seeking to discredit its own subject by referring to the scientific racism of the 19th century, which posited a racial hierarchy identified by physiological characteristics, a view which no serious scientist has entertained for many decades and which has no current relevance to the subject.

It goes on to identify science with empire by pointing to the Victorians’ collection of material samples and botanical specimens across the globe. Moving to the present day, it calls for a study of deep-rooted racial biases in digital technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning. One would not have thought that the subject was capable of racial bias. But as the statement proceeds, it becomes clear that the object is to redefine knowledge itself, in a way which artificially devalues western science. “As we work towards greater inclusion”, it declares, “we need to have a broader understanding of what constitutes ‘scientific knowledge’. Among other things, this is said to involve “challenging western-centric ideas of ‘objectivity’, ‘expertise’ and ‘merit’”, and “removing structural hierarchies that privilege certain knowledge and certain peoples over others”. It is clear that the authors of this document believe that the empirical scientific method as conceived in the west since the 17th century is just one of a number of equally valid approaches to the subject, and that it is racially biased to prefer this to any other.

There are two basic ideas behind statements like these. One is about the nature of historical truth. The other is about inherited collective guilt.

The repeated emphasis on challenging the structures of power is an echo of the teaching of postmodernist philosophers such as Michel Foucault. Foucault was the leading exponent of the idea that objective truth is unattainable, because truth is by nature subjective. In The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), he taught that the structures of power within a society determine what is generally perceived to be true. Few people outside the discipline of philosophy have read Foucault’s opaque works. But many more have read Edward Said’s influential book Orientalism, published in 1978, which applied Foucault’s ideas to the legacy of the great European empires. Said argued that powerful groups control the intellectual framework within which ideas are discussed and determines what constitutes knowledge. Historical truth, he claimed, is not discovered. It is made by historians, in accordance with unconscious prejudices moulded by the power structures of society. The power structures which had enabled Europeans to dominate much of the world between the 18th and the 20th centuries had generated a view of the world based on a hierarchy of civilisations which patronised and marginalised non-European peoples. According to Said, this frame of mind persisted. It led modern scholars to construct a narrative of the past which treated non-western races as representing an earlier stage of human evolution, less valid than the more developed experience of the modern west. The task of the historian was therefore to deconstruct the hegemonist West and substitute a different power structure in which other people’s truth could be acknowledged.

These ideas have been extremely influential among many people who know nothing of their origin and have never heard of Foucault or Said. In 2015, the organisers of the campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from its niche outside Oriel College issued a pamphlet entitled Our Aims. Their purpose, it said, was to suppress the frame of mind which the statue symbolised. It was to “remedy the highly selective narrative of traditional academia—which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge—by integrating subjugated and local epistemologies…” When, three years ago, the Director of the Pitt-Rivers Museum decided to ask a Maasai shaman to divine which objects from the Maasai collections of the museum had been stolen from their original owners and to repatriate the items that he designated, she was giving practical effect to the idea that modern historical and archaeological methods are no more valid as a route to truth than mystical divination employed in other cultures. If truth is subjective, then every ethnic group may have its own truth, and the whole concept of objective knowledge disappears.

As for inherited collective guilt, the argument is that if people once suffered what we now regard as injustice at the hands of our forebears, we owe it to their descendants to make that good. One thing that the study of history teaches us is that injustice as we conceive it has been the lot of much of humanity at most times. Much of the history of the world is a history of the brutal exercise of force: tyrannies, wars, massacres, persecutions. Historically, most people at most times have abhorred democracy, rejected political and religious tolerance and regarded the very idea of gender or racial equality as ridiculous. What should we do about this now that we think differently?

Logically, perhaps, humanity at large ought to atone for its own past. But at that level of generality, the gesture would be largely meaningless. After all, injustice is indiscriminately distributed across the centuries and continents. It would deprive what is really a political program of its political force. So the call for atonement for heritable guilt is directed against some specific sector of humanity, say, white people, the British or Oxford University. This is not only irrational. It is also morally repellent. Historically, the idea that particular groups bear an inherited responsibility for some past iniquity has been the basis of ugly prejudices and vicious persecutions.

The desire to visit moral responsibility for the past on some identifiable sector of mankind has generally focused selectively on Britain’s involvement with empire and slavery. No one would today defend the worst moments of the British Empire: the rapacity of the East India Company before its political and military operations were brought under government control at the end of the 18th century; the Opium wars; the Amritsar massacre, and so on. But it is a gross offence against historical honesty to take all the worst features of some historical phenomenon and then serve them up as if they were the whole.

Throughout history, empire and armed migration have been part of the dynamic of human development. The values which we regard as characteristic of western civilisation were born in the societies of ancient Greece and Rome both of which were founded on slavery and imperial conquest. The bloody conquests of the Arabs in the seventh and eights centuries gave rise to a remarkable middle eastern civilisation, far more impressive than anything to be found in Europe in the same period. The rise of modern Japan as a technical and industrial giant had its origin in the forcible opening up of the “hermit isle” in the 1850s by the American navy. The European colonial empires between the 16th and the 20th centuries had the same catalytic effect on the world.

The British Empire was created and sustained by force or the threat of it, as all empires, indeed all governments, ultimately are. It denied self-determination to its indigenous populations until its final years. Yet it was also a remarkable administrative and cultural phenomenon. Those who governed it were guided by a variety of motives, patriotic, economic, military, geopolitical, evangelical. But at least in the last century and a half of the empire’s existence they were also infused with a strong streak of humanitarianism and idealism. The empire suppressed a variety of barbarous practices which it would have been convenient to tolerate, including cannibalism, suttee, human sacrifice and slavery. It brought spectacular economic development, creating global networks of shipping, railways and telegraph and injecting capital and enterprise into local economies. It brought relative peace, honest administration and the rule of law to much of the world. It built great world cities: Mumbai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney.

Our forebears believed that good government was better than self-government, and that trade and economic development were better than cultural autarky. These are unfashionable views now, but there is nothing inherently disreputable about them. Would sub-Saharan Africa be better off today if Europeans had left its peoples to their own devices? Would modern India be better off if it had not inherited its subcontinental identity and economic infrastructure from Britain? Would the world as a whole be a better place if Europeans had never settled in the Americas or Australia? I do not think so.

Slavery was once among the most ancient and persistent institutions of mankind. The Arabs and the indigenous rulers of precolonial Africa were probably the greatest slavers who ever existed. The involvement of the Atlantic nations is, by comparison, relatively recent. It began with the Portuguese in the 15th century and the Spanish in the 16th. Britain was the last country to take to slave trading and the first country to reject it. In societies imbued by Christian moral teaching, slavery was only defensible on the footing that black people were not really human. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the rise of evangelical Christianity in Britain led to a major movement of moral revulsion against that idea. In 1772, the Court of King’s Bench declared that the English common law did not recognise property in another human being. The slave trade was criminalised throughout the British Empire in 1807, earlier than any other country except Denmark. Slavery itself was abolished by statute throughout the empire in 1834.

For the remainder of the 19th century, Britain deployed its considerable diplomatic and naval power in suppressing the practice, initially on the Atlantic coasts of Africa, then in the African interior and the Indian ocean. The polemics surrounding Britain’s involvement in the slave trade concentrate on its participation in the 17th and 18th century slave trade while ignoring or belittling its involvement in the suppression of the trade. Yet historically the latter was very much more significant. The 17th and 18th century slave trade was in line with the conventional moral values of the age. But its suppression was revolutionary. It went against the tide of opinion elsewhere in Europe and against Britain’s economic interest. The global consequences were immense. The sheer size and global reach of Britain’s colonial empire was the biggest single factor in the suppression of a practice that had existed across the world from time immemorial.

To many people, all this is beside the point. Their real concern is with the present, and with those aspects of the past which serve their arguments about the present. Their anger against the past is provoked by a small number of totemic issues, of which race and empire are the most sensitive. These issues are totemic because the position which one takes on them is seen as a symbolic statement of which side one is on in the broader battle to shape the future. When an issue acquires totemic status, the actual facts disappear from view. The issue becomes a mere occasion for political self-expression. Hence the vandalism of statues and the campaigns to rename streets and buildings.

The statue of Edward Colston in Bristol was erected to honour his foundation of schools, hospitals and almshouses in Bristol. Tobias Rustat’s monument in Jesus College Cambridge was put there to mark his generous gifts to his college. All Souls College Library was once named after Christopher Codrington to mark his funding of one of Oxford’s great institutions of learning. All three individuals had some involvement in slavery, but none of these memorials and dedications commemorated that aspect of their lives. The objection to them suffers from the same partial vision of the past as the unbalanced historical accounts of Britain’s imperial record. Once a person or an institution is touched by slavery or empire, nothing else about them matters, however important or admirable. This marks the extreme point which tendentious selection can reach. David Hume is thought unworthy of commemoration by Edinburgh University because he shared the patronising indifference of his contemporaries to other races. Yet this is a fact about Hume which is of very little importance when measured against his stature as one of the intellectual giants of the 18th century Scottish enlightenment. In the eyes of a significant minority of the British population, mostly young, Winston Churchill has become a mere symbol of English imperialism and racism. Far more significant aspects of his life, such as his contribution to Britain’s survival in the Second World War and the destruction of Nazism, are swept aside.

Does this matter? I believe that it does.

The civilisation of mankind since the 17th century has been based on the notion that there is such a thing as objective truth. It may be more or less difficult to identify with confidence, but it exists. In history, the difficulty in discovering the truth is due to the uneven survival of sources and to the problems of interpreting those that we have, not to inherited prejudices or ideological mental blocks. We have traditionally built our intellectual world on the basis that we get closest to the truth by objective study of the available material, by abandoning immovable preconceptions, by logical reasoning and by willingness to engage with dissenting opinion. These are not just western constructs. They are universal principles, which are necessary if we are to discuss controversial issues in the same language. There is no alternative route to truth dependent on different racial identities or different hierarchies of power. Yet these basic principles of rational discourse are now under challenge.

The repudiation of Britain’s past in the name of a modern political agenda is currently a minority position. But there is a serious risk that it will become the orthodoxy of the next generation. It is strong in some important groups, notably the young and politically active, and a vocal contingent in the academic world. It may not be a passing phase. The habit of reinforcing one’s political instincts by adopting whatever facts suit them is too deeply ingrained in human nature. Today, it is intensified by the social media. They are a major source of information, especially for the young. But they are curated by algorithms which amplify views that already exist, suppressing nuance, balance or doubt and giving a misleading impression of a great tide of opinion when the material is often generated by a handful of fanatics.

Those who believe that knowledge and truth are mere social constructs are almost bound to end up by suppressing competing views. If what we think we know is actually no more than an artificial consensus created by power structures invisibly controlling our schools, universities, publishers and museums, then there is no point in debate. You have to change the power structures, take control of those institutions and create a new consensus. This is what is now happening. It is happening with the enthusiastic support of many of the institutions themselves. They lack the self-confidence to stand up for a rational approach to empirical research and knowledge which alone justifies their existence. I am not going to suggest that modern academic scholars on the British Empire and slavery are all determinists in the mould of Foucault and Edward Said. However, their treatment of the past often shares the three main vices of postmodernist history: tendentious selection, exaggeration and intolerance of dissent.

Oxford’s 2017 “Ethics and Empire Project” was set up to explore the moral and factual basis of the conventional hostility to empire. It provoked vocal opposition from many academics. One opponent of the project, a professor of history at King’s College London, was quoted in The Guardian as saying that “any attempt to create a balance sheet of the good and evil of empire can’t be based on rigorous scholarship”. It is rare to find a serious scholar overtly rejecting the very idea of balance in the assessment of controversial evidence. But it is not as rare as it should be. The fact that his protest was supported by 170 academics in various open letters sends a depressing message about the current state of scholarship on this issue. It also explains why scholars who dissent from the current orthodoxy find it wise to keep quiet about it if they value their careers.

Every human society depends for its cohesion on a sense of collective identity. The French historian Ernest Renan, in his Sorbonne lecture of 1882 “What is a Nation?”, argued that the solidarities which created a nation were primarily historical. Renan’s target was the ethnic nationalism and social theories preached by overt racists such as Johann Herder and Arthur Gobineau. National identity, Renan declared, did not depend on ethnic or linguistic solidarities, but on a history of collective effort, collective sacrifice and collective devotion. It depended on a consciousness of having done great things together in the past, and wanting to do more of them in future. His definition is pithier in French: “avoir fait de grandes choses ensemble, vouloir en faire encore”.

There is a great irony to modern debates about the past. Those who claim to be the champions of ethnic minorities are seeking to undermine Britain’s past as a source of collective solidarity. They are reverting to morally questionable notions of conflicting ethnic identities which can only fragment our society, obstruct the integration of minorities and undermine any sense of community. The problem is aggravated in the case of race by a notion of hereditary moral responsibility, which requires one to recognise an entirely artificial class of modern victims defined by race. The result is to perpetuate grievances on account of past events that have no practical relevance to modern lives.

Democratic institutions only work if people accept the legitimacy of their decisions even where they disagree with them. For that to happen, they have to identify themselves with the wider society to which they belong. The fragmentation of a society’s historic identity can only hinder that process. The problem is aggravated by the intolerant and polemical tone that characterises much of what is written and spoken about Britain’s past. The great apostle of Victorian liberalism John Stuart Mill foresaw that the main threat to its survival would come not from the authoritarian state but from the conformity imposed by public opinion. Current campaigns to vilify parts of our history are an attempt to create a new conformity, a situation in which people will not dare to express contrary opinions for fear of provoking outrage and abuse. These are symptoms of the narrowing of our intellectual world. Recently, publication of a book written by the director of the Oxford Ethics and Empire project was indefinitely “deferred” (in effect rejected) by Bloomsbury, the publisher which had commissioned it, on the ground that “public feeling” did not support its publication at the moment. This is the mentality which Mill and other apostles of liberal values dreaded.

We will never understand the past unless we recognise that human beings are light and shade and acknowledge both. Few individuals and no societies have ever been wholly good or wholly bad in any age. This mixture of darkness and light is a critical part of the process by which human societies develop. We can celebrate the achievements of our forebears as well as learning from their mistakes and iniquities. To reject what is wonderful and fascinating about humanity in favour of a monochrome view of the past, dictated by current priorities, is obsessive and fanatical. It is also very bad history

These New Roundheads,with their destructive campaigns against historical objectivity, share a deadly combination of dogmatic intolerance and sanctimonious philistinism with the original Roundheads. The earlier Roundheads ultimately failed in their attempt to produce a uniform culture in England according to their own narrow vision of virtue. A civilised society should wish the same fate upon their modern successors.

This is an edited version of the Pharos Lecture, which Jonathan Sumption delivered on February 27 in the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford


Jonathan Sumption is a former Justice of the Supreme Court, and a medieval historian.


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Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

I have things enough to be guilty about in my own life. But thankfully I have a long list of things I am not guilty of. They include the Spanish Inquisition, the Wounded Knee massacre and the sinking of the Lusitania. Not there, didn’t do it, nothing I could have done to stop it.
Admittedly, I did, aged 9, parade on Empire day carrying the flag of Canada. May the Lord forgive me.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Forgiven. Applauded, even.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

How do you know you were not responsible for the Spanish Inquisition, the Wounded Knee massacre and the sinking of the Lusitania.
Your very denial is evidence of your guilt. To this day you and those like you continue to benefit from these atrocities and your denial of involvement is a grievous insult those that suffered and to their descendants

Gilmour Campbell
Gilmour Campbell
1 year ago

I suppose this is sarasm???

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Of course. That’s how I took it.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

But you never can be too sure. maybe the number of likes on an Unheard platform are a give away.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

But you never can be too sure. maybe the number of likes on an Unheard platform are a give away.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Gilmore – that you even ask that shows you are totally irredeemable. The sooner the world rids its self of you Euro-Centrist thinkers –

and so can return to ignorance and barbarism, the better.

The good news is the Race, Gender, and Education industries have that well in hand. Civilization as it is should be finished; within out lifetime. Meanwhile topple a few more statues, let more criminals go, mutilate some more children sexually – and help speed it along its way…

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Statues are but a barbaric remnant of idol worship. No man, living or dead, deserves to be immortalized in bronze on a granite pedestal above the common run of humanity! Do away with all of them!

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Start with Marx then.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

What? Even the ‘Elgin Marbles’?

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

Yes, break them up, crush the bits and give Greece back the dust of civilisation.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

Yes, break them up, crush the bits and give Greece back the dust of civilisation.

William Loughran
William Loughran
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

I fully agree, if you include the flickering, phantom statues of our barbaric modern media. “Do away with all of them!” None deserve their 30 second immortalization.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

I suppose this too is sarcasm???

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Start with Marx then.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

What? Even the ‘Elgin Marbles’?

William Loughran
William Loughran
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

I fully agree, if you include the flickering, phantom statues of our barbaric modern media. “Do away with all of them!” None deserve their 30 second immortalization.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

I suppose this too is sarcasm???

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Well It was sarcasm coming from me but it would be a talking truth to white ignorance from a Guardian reader

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Statues are but a barbaric remnant of idol worship. No man, living or dead, deserves to be immortalized in bronze on a granite pedestal above the common run of humanity! Do away with all of them!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Well It was sarcasm coming from me but it would be a talking truth to white ignorance from a Guardian reader

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

I fervently hope so or things are even worse than we feared,

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago

Ya think??

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

It better be or its yet more of the same forced guilt trip.

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago

One would hope so.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

No, but it could be sarcasm.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Of course. That’s how I took it.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Gilmore – that you even ask that shows you are totally irredeemable. The sooner the world rids its self of you Euro-Centrist thinkers –

and so can return to ignorance and barbarism, the better.

The good news is the Race, Gender, and Education industries have that well in hand. Civilization as it is should be finished; within out lifetime. Meanwhile topple a few more statues, let more criminals go, mutilate some more children sexually – and help speed it along its way…

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

I fervently hope so or things are even worse than we feared,

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago

Ya think??

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

It better be or its yet more of the same forced guilt trip.

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago

One would hope so.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

No, but it could be sarcasm.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Don’t forget the Black Death–and the burning of Rome!

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
1 year ago

Excellent point. Guilt is attendant upon white existence.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago

Perhaps you need to re-read the article slowly.

Gilmour Campbell
Gilmour Campbell
1 year ago

I suppose this is sarasm???

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Don’t forget the Black Death–and the burning of Rome!

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
1 year ago

Excellent point. Guilt is attendant upon white existence.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago

Perhaps you need to re-read the article slowly.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

I actually did sink the Lusitania, had a great time torturing Spanish heretics and Custer was an awful person who deserved everything he got.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Forgiven. Applauded, even.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

How do you know you were not responsible for the Spanish Inquisition, the Wounded Knee massacre and the sinking of the Lusitania.
Your very denial is evidence of your guilt. To this day you and those like you continue to benefit from these atrocities and your denial of involvement is a grievous insult those that suffered and to their descendants

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

I actually did sink the Lusitania, had a great time torturing Spanish heretics and Custer was an awful person who deserved everything he got.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

I have things enough to be guilty about in my own life. But thankfully I have a long list of things I am not guilty of. They include the Spanish Inquisition, the Wounded Knee massacre and the sinking of the Lusitania. Not there, didn’t do it, nothing I could have done to stop it.
Admittedly, I did, aged 9, parade on Empire day carrying the flag of Canada. May the Lord forgive me.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

History has always been a battleground as modern ideas clash over how our past should be interpreted. Facts are secondary to narrative in today’s teaching of history – and our broader society and culture suffer as a result.
Those that have been profiting from a hopelessly skewed version of history wish to silence those that dare speak out against it and they have been gifted an important head-start. The identitarian left has already captured most of the teaching profession and most of the cultural institutions of this country – certainly the majority of our museums. Those who might otherwise push back against this pernicious and divisive agenda often choose to stay silent, mainly down to their fear of accusations of racism. The first, and to my mind, most important way to tackle these lies is through education.
Much of the current fashion of supposedly “decolonising the curriculum” has in fact narrowed rather than broadened what is taught. It’s decades since any children were told the British Empire was a force of unalloyed good for the world, but the pendulum has swung far too far the other way. The current fashion is to teach that it was simply a 300 year carnival of atrocities and depredation. What lessons can be learned from History if it is shorn of all context and nuance?
The past – as LP Hartley famously noted – is a foreign country, they do things differently there, and those who insist on judging the past by the acceptable norms of C21st activism, only make themselves look ignorant and foolish. But it plays well to those who wish (possibly ‘need’) to believe that the whole of history is rooted in racism.
Our cultural institutions, our universities, the BBC, indeed nearly all the Metropolitan Left, have associated endlessly negative baggage with British history and, indeed, ‘British-ness’. It has infected any debate involving pride in our history with a national self-loathing, the idea that patriotism is xenophobic at heart, the idea that British history is something only to apologise for.
I’m very proud to be British. As a student of history I am well aware of terrible things that happened (usually hundreds of years before I was born) but I am still unapologetically proud to be British. This country has had an enormous impact on the world – some of it very good, some very bad.
But it is our history. It for the most part happened in our ancestors’ day. Nothing I can do or say will change that history. My pride has no more bearing on it than my guilt would. Nor, for that matter, the Guardian’s disapprobation.
Look around us and we can see that the racial grievance industry is enjoying a boom time. There are careers to be had, books to be written and fortunes to be made. Who cares about speaking the truth if you can make a buck from spreading falsehoods? No sense in trying to bring communities together when your lucrative career depends on stoking resentment on one side of the racial divide and feeding a sense of guilt to the other. Activist academics like Kehinde Andrews, along with fellow race hucksters like Robin Di Angelo, Ibram X Kendi and the Guardian’s Afua Hirsch, are – as I see it – profiting as arms dealers in the culture war.
Slavery was an abomination. It is as close to a moral absolute as one can get that it is wrong for one human being to “own” another – but it is unjust, and arguably racist, to hold one race more accountable for that abomination than another. No one should ever try and excuse the slave trade, but they should, if they’re honest, set it in historical context and perspective. Why uniquely condemn the British and Americans when – as a simple matter of fact – they were involved in a hideous practice that had been going on in every part of the world for thousands of years?
The only unique position that Britain holds in the history of slavery is that in 1807, Britain was one of the first countries on earth to abolish the slave trade, not merely on her own shores, but across the Empire, and then expended treasure and blood to police the seas to end the trade worldwide.
Teach that and you might lessen the sense of grievance that has been inculcated by the partisan and partial teaching of history.
The Guardian line seems to be that anyone who has pride in being British has somehow admitted to something unhealthy and ‘problematic’. Why?
If a Frenchman is proud of being French, would they immediately mistrust his motives in the same way? I’m willing to bet they wouldn’t.
If a Tongan speaks of his homeland with tears in his eyes, (they are, on the whole, the most deeply patriotic people I’ve ever met) would they be suspected of xenophobia and a misplaced pride. Again – I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t.
So, what is so different about a British person expressing pride in their nationality, their national story, their history? Why does the Left automatically suspect a British patriot of some sinister subtext?
Maybe a patriot SHOULD recognise the faults in his own country, I wouldn’t disagree with that idea. Blind patriotism, alongside blind hatred (blind anything) is reflexive and unthinking.
In 2020, as the rest of the country celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Guardian went into overdrive, producing a whole slew of articles that seemed determined to undermine the occasion. Their attitude was that anyone who showed pride in Britain’s wartime past was jingoistic and somehow laying claim to glories that belonged to another generation, yet in the light of the BLM protests, the Guardian was happy to promote the idea that we should all shoulder the guilt for anything bad done by this country in its imperial history.
Admiration for heroes in the very recent past is backwards looking, yet we’re somehow on the hook for reparations to the colonised 200 years later? It doesn’t seem a consistent position. Why should the statute of limitations for guilt should run so much longer than that of glory?

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb.
I will, however, offer one ‘blind’ that is the opposite of reflexive and unthinking, and one of which i’m sure LJS would approve:
Blind Justice

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Impossible thanks to Saville, Hoffman* and others have shown.

(* The Pinochet case.)

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Impossible thanks to Saville, Hoffman* and others have shown.

(* The Pinochet case.)

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Orson Carte
Orson Carte
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Great comment. I’d take issue with one element though – the greatest objection seems to be regarding being English, with British coming second. There seems to be nowhere near the problem with the Welsh, Scots or Irish. One wonders why this is.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

Aye, it’s great to be scotch when working anywhere overseas: asserting so always makes the natives more friendly. The only downside is, if you are an Engineer as I am, then you are also assumed to be super-expert and that can be stressful.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Especially when you admit that, even though a fully qualified Engineer, it isn’t always the case that I can mend your old vacuum cleaner.

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Isn’t it “Scots” not “scotch”?

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  CLARE KNIGHT

Modern day v. Robert Burns.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  CLARE KNIGHT

Modern day v. Robert Burns.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Especially when you admit that, even though a fully qualified Engineer, it isn’t always the case that I can mend your old vacuum cleaner.

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Isn’t it “Scots” not “scotch”?

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

It is becoming deeply problematic indeed to show any kind of deep feeling of being Irish, of Irishness as anything more than wielding a passport. Such things can get you fired. Pretty soon the gardai will be able to arrest you and search your home for that sort of thing

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Really?! I’m surprised. I know it used to be problematic but it seems to me to be quite the opposite now.

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Really?! I’m surprised. I know it used to be problematic but it seems to me to be quite the opposite now.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

Presumably because they are regarded as among the colonised and not the colonising. A remarkably misguided view since arguably the Empire could never have come about without the Scots.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

Aye, it’s great to be scotch when working anywhere overseas: asserting so always makes the natives more friendly. The only downside is, if you are an Engineer as I am, then you are also assumed to be super-expert and that can be stressful.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

It is becoming deeply problematic indeed to show any kind of deep feeling of being Irish, of Irishness as anything more than wielding a passport. Such things can get you fired. Pretty soon the gardai will be able to arrest you and search your home for that sort of thing

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Orson Carte

Presumably because they are regarded as among the colonised and not the colonising. A remarkably misguided view since arguably the Empire could never have come about without the Scots.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Truly excellent article. Have you also noticed that apart from the sinistre spectre at this left-wing feast, the main benificiaries of this are the very groups who are happy to continue their own participation in racism, slavery & supemacist behaviours.
BLM like it’s cousin, the Nation of Islam, are specifically anti white, anti-western groups who use violence to subjugate anyone weaker (for that read, more educated &/or civilised) under their thumb by any means necessary.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

They have learned the profound truth that if you can make anyone feel sufficiently guilty, they will set to work and oppress themselves.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

They have learned the profound truth that if you can make anyone feel sufficiently guilty, they will set to work and oppress themselves.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Re The Guradian (can’t be bothered to correct my spelling mistake), they tried to do the same a year earlier on the 75th anniversary of D Day. They published an utterly tendentious and unfunny cartoon by Bell, which, in effect, said that D Day succeeded because of the sacrifices of the Soviet Army.

It is certainly true that the Soviets tied-up large numbers of German soldiers but the Allies were also fighting in Italy, the Balkans, the Far East, and by sea and air also; the balance is nowhere near as distorted as is sometimes pictured. I would happily concede that we should commemorate more fully the Soviet contribution. I would, for example, like to see VE Day moved to May 9, which is when the Russians mark the occasion.

I think what particularly riled me was the insult to the very few remaining D Day veterans; how dare some snivelling metropolitan Ă©lite traduce the sacrifice of those men and women. And, if anyone wants a sense of hard the fighting was, the casualty rates for British and Canadian soldiers from D Day to Apr 45 were equivalent to the worst days of 1914-18; it was no ‘walk in the park’, as the Guradian suggested.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Diggins
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

I’ve often wondered whether the Guardian would be able to bring itself to support the country in a time of genuine national crisis.
Would they be able to lay aside the partisan politics or is the default position of reflexive criticism of anything touched by a Tory so ingrained that they’d still carry on with the diatribes, the sniping and the deeply unhelpful undermining of any Govt statement, policy or action, even in the face of a national emergency that called for a bit of patriotic solidarity?
I harboured a suspicion, were we to face, say, a repeat of the Blitz, that rather than rallying the nation, the editorial choice would be daily columns castigating the Govt for the state of our air-raid shelters, the paucity of our ack-ack guns, comparing the efficiency and might of our enemy with the unpreparedness and weakness of our own forces – and probably calling for our complete surrender in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.
Well, now, after the paper’s response to Covid, we know.
We faced a national emergency and what did the Guardian do? Continued to snipe, continued their relentless negativity, determined to cast anything the Govt did in the worst possible light, and undermine everything they tried do.
The nation doesn’t need mindless cheerleading, but equally we don’t need mindless criticism. Is it too much to ask for measured reportage and a sense of national solidarity?
Actually there was one Guardian article that managed to strike the right note in the early weeks of Lockdown – but it only served to underline their self-loathing miserablism. – It was headlined “Coronavirus has sent Europe into shock. But we have the tools to recover” by Natalie NougayrĂšde
Quelle bloody surprise.
The only way they’d allow a positive, optimistic story through was so they could trumpet the wonderful European response to the Virus, whilst undermining the UK by making unfavourable comparisons with the response on our side of the Channel.
Honest question to them – DO YOU THINK YOU’RE HELPING?

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Honest reply — THAT’S NOT WHAT WE DO.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Honest reply — THAT’S NOT WHAT WE DO.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

The contribution was about 50/50.
We blew up the factories that produced the weapons for the eastern front, while shipping half a million tanks, planes and trucks to Russia. The Russian counteroffensives would have been as anemic as Bakhmut without them.
One can both honour the fallen Russians and make an objective assessment of everyone’s contribution.
Again, it takes a superb historian like Sumption to do that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Soviets triumphed at Stalingrad well before any substantial “Lend-Lease” was available.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Soviets triumphed at Stalingrad well before any substantial “Lend-Lease” was available.

David Wade
David Wade
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Good comments here. The Soviets, of course, didn’t get involved with the war with the Nazis until June 1941 (almost two years after the war had started) as they had signed the ridiculous “non-aggression” pact with the Nazis in 1939. This didn’t stop the Soviets from invading Eastern Poland in September 1939.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

What about the “D Day Dodgers” in Italy?

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Well put. Orwell was magnificently excoriating of these clowns – in the second half of “The Road To Wigan Pier”, especially, but elsewhere too. Such behaviour is the genuine English disease, but practiced predominantly by Sainsbury’s socialists and Waitrose warriors. Fifth columnists all.
(And if we’re talking about spelling mistakes, the Grauniad still holds the record, I believe
)

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Parker
CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

If you can’t be bothered to correct spelling mistakes don’t expect to be taken seriously.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

I’ve often wondered whether the Guardian would be able to bring itself to support the country in a time of genuine national crisis.
Would they be able to lay aside the partisan politics or is the default position of reflexive criticism of anything touched by a Tory so ingrained that they’d still carry on with the diatribes, the sniping and the deeply unhelpful undermining of any Govt statement, policy or action, even in the face of a national emergency that called for a bit of patriotic solidarity?
I harboured a suspicion, were we to face, say, a repeat of the Blitz, that rather than rallying the nation, the editorial choice would be daily columns castigating the Govt for the state of our air-raid shelters, the paucity of our ack-ack guns, comparing the efficiency and might of our enemy with the unpreparedness and weakness of our own forces – and probably calling for our complete surrender in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.
Well, now, after the paper’s response to Covid, we know.
We faced a national emergency and what did the Guardian do? Continued to snipe, continued their relentless negativity, determined to cast anything the Govt did in the worst possible light, and undermine everything they tried do.
The nation doesn’t need mindless cheerleading, but equally we don’t need mindless criticism. Is it too much to ask for measured reportage and a sense of national solidarity?
Actually there was one Guardian article that managed to strike the right note in the early weeks of Lockdown – but it only served to underline their self-loathing miserablism. – It was headlined “Coronavirus has sent Europe into shock. But we have the tools to recover” by Natalie NougayrĂšde
Quelle bloody surprise.
The only way they’d allow a positive, optimistic story through was so they could trumpet the wonderful European response to the Virus, whilst undermining the UK by making unfavourable comparisons with the response on our side of the Channel.
Honest question to them – DO YOU THINK YOU’RE HELPING?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

The contribution was about 50/50.
We blew up the factories that produced the weapons for the eastern front, while shipping half a million tanks, planes and trucks to Russia. The Russian counteroffensives would have been as anemic as Bakhmut without them.
One can both honour the fallen Russians and make an objective assessment of everyone’s contribution.
Again, it takes a superb historian like Sumption to do that.

David Wade
David Wade
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Good comments here. The Soviets, of course, didn’t get involved with the war with the Nazis until June 1941 (almost two years after the war had started) as they had signed the ridiculous “non-aggression” pact with the Nazis in 1939. This didn’t stop the Soviets from invading Eastern Poland in September 1939.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

What about the “D Day Dodgers” in Italy?

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Well put. Orwell was magnificently excoriating of these clowns – in the second half of “The Road To Wigan Pier”, especially, but elsewhere too. Such behaviour is the genuine English disease, but practiced predominantly by Sainsbury’s socialists and Waitrose warriors. Fifth columnists all.
(And if we’re talking about spelling mistakes, the Grauniad still holds the record, I believe
)

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Parker
CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

If you can’t be bothered to correct spelling mistakes don’t expect to be taken seriously.

Chris Twine
Chris Twine
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

An excellent comment, thank you for articulating what others feel so strongly too. We are not uniquely angels nor devils, not should we try to divide world history up into heroes and villains.

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

When will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.
(sorry that this isn’t very related to your comment, I’m not a paid subscriber so I can’t make my own comment)

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“If a Tongan speaks of his homeland with tears in his eyes, (they are, on the whole, the most deeply patriotic people I’ve ever met) would they be suspected of xenophobia and a misplaced pride. Again – I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t.”
It is well known that Tongans once took part in the practice of cannibalism (perhaps even more reprehensible than slavery). Must Tongans forever be apologising for their cannibal forebears?

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

That’s awfully long.

Curts
Curts
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Excellent comment

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb.
I will, however, offer one ‘blind’ that is the opposite of reflexive and unthinking, and one of which i’m sure LJS would approve:
Blind Justice

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Orson Carte
Orson Carte
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Great comment. I’d take issue with one element though – the greatest objection seems to be regarding being English, with British coming second. There seems to be nowhere near the problem with the Welsh, Scots or Irish. One wonders why this is.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Truly excellent article. Have you also noticed that apart from the sinistre spectre at this left-wing feast, the main benificiaries of this are the very groups who are happy to continue their own participation in racism, slavery & supemacist behaviours.
BLM like it’s cousin, the Nation of Islam, are specifically anti white, anti-western groups who use violence to subjugate anyone weaker (for that read, more educated &/or civilised) under their thumb by any means necessary.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Re The Guradian (can’t be bothered to correct my spelling mistake), they tried to do the same a year earlier on the 75th anniversary of D Day. They published an utterly tendentious and unfunny cartoon by Bell, which, in effect, said that D Day succeeded because of the sacrifices of the Soviet Army.

It is certainly true that the Soviets tied-up large numbers of German soldiers but the Allies were also fighting in Italy, the Balkans, the Far East, and by sea and air also; the balance is nowhere near as distorted as is sometimes pictured. I would happily concede that we should commemorate more fully the Soviet contribution. I would, for example, like to see VE Day moved to May 9, which is when the Russians mark the occasion.

I think what particularly riled me was the insult to the very few remaining D Day veterans; how dare some snivelling metropolitan Ă©lite traduce the sacrifice of those men and women. And, if anyone wants a sense of hard the fighting was, the casualty rates for British and Canadian soldiers from D Day to Apr 45 were equivalent to the worst days of 1914-18; it was no ‘walk in the park’, as the Guradian suggested.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Diggins
Chris Twine
Chris Twine
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

An excellent comment, thank you for articulating what others feel so strongly too. We are not uniquely angels nor devils, not should we try to divide world history up into heroes and villains.

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

When will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.
(sorry that this isn’t very related to your comment, I’m not a paid subscriber so I can’t make my own comment)

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“If a Tongan speaks of his homeland with tears in his eyes, (they are, on the whole, the most deeply patriotic people I’ve ever met) would they be suspected of xenophobia and a misplaced pride. Again – I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t.”
It is well known that Tongans once took part in the practice of cannibalism (perhaps even more reprehensible than slavery). Must Tongans forever be apologising for their cannibal forebears?

CLARE KNIGHT
CLARE KNIGHT
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

That’s awfully long.

Curts
Curts
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Excellent comment

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

History has always been a battleground as modern ideas clash over how our past should be interpreted. Facts are secondary to narrative in today’s teaching of history – and our broader society and culture suffer as a result.
Those that have been profiting from a hopelessly skewed version of history wish to silence those that dare speak out against it and they have been gifted an important head-start. The identitarian left has already captured most of the teaching profession and most of the cultural institutions of this country – certainly the majority of our museums. Those who might otherwise push back against this pernicious and divisive agenda often choose to stay silent, mainly down to their fear of accusations of racism. The first, and to my mind, most important way to tackle these lies is through education.
Much of the current fashion of supposedly “decolonising the curriculum” has in fact narrowed rather than broadened what is taught. It’s decades since any children were told the British Empire was a force of unalloyed good for the world, but the pendulum has swung far too far the other way. The current fashion is to teach that it was simply a 300 year carnival of atrocities and depredation. What lessons can be learned from History if it is shorn of all context and nuance?
The past – as LP Hartley famously noted – is a foreign country, they do things differently there, and those who insist on judging the past by the acceptable norms of C21st activism, only make themselves look ignorant and foolish. But it plays well to those who wish (possibly ‘need’) to believe that the whole of history is rooted in racism.
Our cultural institutions, our universities, the BBC, indeed nearly all the Metropolitan Left, have associated endlessly negative baggage with British history and, indeed, ‘British-ness’. It has infected any debate involving pride in our history with a national self-loathing, the idea that patriotism is xenophobic at heart, the idea that British history is something only to apologise for.
I’m very proud to be British. As a student of history I am well aware of terrible things that happened (usually hundreds of years before I was born) but I am still unapologetically proud to be British. This country has had an enormous impact on the world – some of it very good, some very bad.
But it is our history. It for the most part happened in our ancestors’ day. Nothing I can do or say will change that history. My pride has no more bearing on it than my guilt would. Nor, for that matter, the Guardian’s disapprobation.
Look around us and we can see that the racial grievance industry is enjoying a boom time. There are careers to be had, books to be written and fortunes to be made. Who cares about speaking the truth if you can make a buck from spreading falsehoods? No sense in trying to bring communities together when your lucrative career depends on stoking resentment on one side of the racial divide and feeding a sense of guilt to the other. Activist academics like Kehinde Andrews, along with fellow race hucksters like Robin Di Angelo, Ibram X Kendi and the Guardian’s Afua Hirsch, are – as I see it – profiting as arms dealers in the culture war.
Slavery was an abomination. It is as close to a moral absolute as one can get that it is wrong for one human being to “own” another – but it is unjust, and arguably racist, to hold one race more accountable for that abomination than another. No one should ever try and excuse the slave trade, but they should, if they’re honest, set it in historical context and perspective. Why uniquely condemn the British and Americans when – as a simple matter of fact – they were involved in a hideous practice that had been going on in every part of the world for thousands of years?
The only unique position that Britain holds in the history of slavery is that in 1807, Britain was one of the first countries on earth to abolish the slave trade, not merely on her own shores, but across the Empire, and then expended treasure and blood to police the seas to end the trade worldwide.
Teach that and you might lessen the sense of grievance that has been inculcated by the partisan and partial teaching of history.
The Guardian line seems to be that anyone who has pride in being British has somehow admitted to something unhealthy and ‘problematic’. Why?
If a Frenchman is proud of being French, would they immediately mistrust his motives in the same way? I’m willing to bet they wouldn’t.
If a Tongan speaks of his homeland with tears in his eyes, (they are, on the whole, the most deeply patriotic people I’ve ever met) would they be suspected of xenophobia and a misplaced pride. Again – I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t.
So, what is so different about a British person expressing pride in their nationality, their national story, their history? Why does the Left automatically suspect a British patriot of some sinister subtext?
Maybe a patriot SHOULD recognise the faults in his own country, I wouldn’t disagree with that idea. Blind patriotism, alongside blind hatred (blind anything) is reflexive and unthinking.
In 2020, as the rest of the country celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Guardian went into overdrive, producing a whole slew of articles that seemed determined to undermine the occasion. Their attitude was that anyone who showed pride in Britain’s wartime past was jingoistic and somehow laying claim to glories that belonged to another generation, yet in the light of the BLM protests, the Guardian was happy to promote the idea that we should all shoulder the guilt for anything bad done by this country in its imperial history.
Admiration for heroes in the very recent past is backwards looking, yet we’re somehow on the hook for reparations to the colonised 200 years later? It doesn’t seem a consistent position. Why should the statute of limitations for guilt should run so much longer than that of glory?

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

If you look at the world through racist tinted glasses everything looks racist. And that might well be a conscious act to ‘simplify’ your thinking. An ideological vision.
But the world is a far more complex place.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It is nothing more than a power grab through historical revisionism.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Turning the Roundheads into a leftest ideology !o!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

The Roundheads WERE a leftist ideology.
The conservatives were the conservatives.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

That seems so self-evident, I’m amazed that there was any discussion at all on that.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

That seems so self-evident, I’m amazed that there was any discussion at all on that.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

The Roundheads WERE a leftist ideology.
The conservatives were the conservatives.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Turning the Roundheads into a leftest ideology !o!

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But when will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.

Bruce V
Bruce V
1 year ago
Reply to  Tanner E

Removing response. Didn’t realize at first that this had been multiply posted elsewhere.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce V
Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce V

What? I can’t make my own comment because I’m not a paid subscriber so I asked the same question to multiple people that I would like to see what they would have to say.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tanner E
Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce V

What? I can’t make my own comment because I’m not a paid subscriber so I asked the same question to multiple people that I would like to see what they would have to say.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tanner E
Bruce V
Bruce V
1 year ago
Reply to  Tanner E

Removing response. Didn’t realize at first that this had been multiply posted elsewhere.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce V
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It is nothing more than a power grab through historical revisionism.

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But when will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

If you look at the world through racist tinted glasses everything looks racist. And that might well be a conscious act to ‘simplify’ your thinking. An ideological vision.
But the world is a far more complex place.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

“There is no acceptable neutral position on this subject [racial injustice;]; to stay silent is to be complicit”.
This is one of those phrases which drives me absolutely mad. It is not offered as one opinion among many which we might discuss and adopt. The essence of it is authoritarian, even tyrannical: we are right, you must think what we think, and any deviance from this opinion will result in opprobrium being heaped upon you. It leaves no option for people to simply be quiet and/or apolitical. One is always allowed not to have an opinion.
That is has crept into somewhere like a botanical garden is simply absurd. I am very glad that I had my excellent British education before these kind of theories started seeping into every single discipline. We were allowed to think and discuss and very few constraints were placed upon us. It was hugely enriching and set me up for life.
A few weeks ago I visited an art exhibition and I read the introductory text at the start, as I always do – even though it always involves wading through the undergrowth of some quite abstract language. And there, wouldn’t you know it, was a bald statement of “this is a response to institutional racism”. No mention of where this institutional racism was supposed to exist (i.e. which country), or what it might consist of, or any explanation of the meaning of the term. It was just wanged on in there: a command to the reader to simply accept.
I didn’t. I will not be told what I have to think without at least being presented with explanations/arguments. I admired the pretty pictures but then left the gallery.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Even as your covid symptoms wane (hopefully), your forthrightness doesn’t!
The textual imposition upon an essentially visual medium (art) is another example of people being told what to think. As an artist, i deplore this, and really do try to avoid the accompanying blurb but, like yourself, find myself drawn to it. Unlike yourself, i wait till after i’ve appraised the artwork on show before doing so. I have to say, it almost invariably diminishes it (if the art was worth looking at in the first place).
Another example is the use of words or phrases in what is proffered as art. (Tracey Emin, look away now!) If the piece is meant to be serious, it’d be the equivalent of a novelist adding little doodles to a text examining our humanity, or even large colourful doodles as the novel itself.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thanks, Steve. I’ve tested negative now for covid. Just waiting for smell and taste to return. It’s certainly a funny thing. Have always been a very direct person and I think living in the German speaking area has made the tendency stronger, as it is more culturally acceptable here to “come right out” with things. I think getting older also makes you less willing to beat around the bush.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thanks, Steve. I’ve tested negative now for covid. Just waiting for smell and taste to return. It’s certainly a funny thing. Have always been a very direct person and I think living in the German speaking area has made the tendency stronger, as it is more culturally acceptable here to “come right out” with things. I think getting older also makes you less willing to beat around the bush.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You’ve put your finger on the most important point. When the writer suggests that “the pendulum has swung too far,” he treats issue as a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. This is, in my judgement anyway, a mistake. The modern world broke from the ancient world in the most radical of ways, by disputing the very existence of an extended physical world for us the sense or experience, and positing instead that only impressions, phantasmagoria, or reveries, exist, but no real “walls of the word.” There is no “common sense” because there is nothing to sense in common. It is this view, again in my judgment, with which the “common sense” wing does battle.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well said Katherine. I, too, enjoyed a grammar-school education in 1970s Britain and was taught how to debate robustly, including arguing for propositions that I myself did not share. Today’s activists cannot debate at all, which is why their first response to opposition is to pin labels.
Like you, I refuse to subscribe to this systemic racism myth. The term could legitimately be used to describe apartheid South Africa or pre-civil rights America, where racism really was baked into the system. But to use it for Western Europe and modern-day America – as if they were just more of the same – is patently absurd and an abuse of language. It’s like Trudeau boasting that Canada is genocidal. Really? So Canada is right up there alongside Nazi Germany and 1915 Turkey? Not only is this appallingly low-resolution thinking (to quote JP) but it is also a preposterous slander against the people of Canada. Preposterous is a word we should be using far more than we do.
As to the remedy: I’m coming round to the realisation that we must be more strident in our opposition to these totalitarians. That we must refute their asinine assertions wherever and whenever we can. That we mustn’t care or waver just because they brand us “right-wing”… Where I’m stuck is on the question of what form our resistance should take. That’s the hard one. Best wishes to Vienna from Switzerland.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

GrĂŒezi!
Preposterous is an amazing word! “Ridiculous” is my go-to, but I shall try and sneak a preposterous or two back into speech!
“Splendid” is another word which I feel is in almost criminally short supply these days.

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago

When will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

GrĂŒezi!
Preposterous is an amazing word! “Ridiculous” is my go-to, but I shall try and sneak a preposterous or two back into speech!
“Splendid” is another word which I feel is in almost criminally short supply these days.

Tanner E
Tanner E
1 year ago

When will we start discussing the ultimate goal of this ideology that seems to be trying to destroy the West from within? This piece does well in displaying the impacts that this ideology has had but I’ve hardly seen any discussion of what is driving it. I don’t buy that something this self-destructive just organically came to be. The only explanation I’ve seen is that it’s communists finally starting to have their way, and although this new race/oppression-obsessed ideology definitely shares some key tenets with communism, most of the largest private corporations in the world also openly embrace this ideology so I’m still left confused.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Even as your covid symptoms wane (hopefully), your forthrightness doesn’t!
The textual imposition upon an essentially visual medium (art) is another example of people being told what to think. As an artist, i deplore this, and really do try to avoid the accompanying blurb but, like yourself, find myself drawn to it. Unlike yourself, i wait till after i’ve appraised the artwork on show before doing so. I have to say, it almost invariably diminishes it (if the art was worth looking at in the first place).
Another example is the use of words or phrases in what is proffered as art. (Tracey Emin, look away now!) If the piece is meant to be serious, it’d be the equivalent of a novelist adding little doodles to a text examining our humanity, or even large colourful doodles as the novel itself.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You’ve put your finger on the most important point. When the writer suggests that “the pendulum has swung too far,” he treats issue as a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. This is, in my judgement anyway, a mistake. The modern world broke from the ancient world in the most radical of ways, by disputing the very existence of an extended physical world for us the sense or experience, and positing instead that only impressions, phantasmagoria, or reveries, exist, but no real “walls of the word.” There is no “common sense” because there is nothing to sense in common. It is this view, again in my judgment, with which the “common sense” wing does battle.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well said Katherine. I, too, enjoyed a grammar-school education in 1970s Britain and was taught how to debate robustly, including arguing for propositions that I myself did not share. Today’s activists cannot debate at all, which is why their first response to opposition is to pin labels.
Like you, I refuse to subscribe to this systemic racism myth. The term could legitimately be used to describe apartheid South Africa or pre-civil rights America, where racism really was baked into the system. But to use it for Western Europe and modern-day America – as if they were just more of the same – is patently absurd and an abuse of language. It’s like Trudeau boasting that Canada is genocidal. Really? So Canada is right up there alongside Nazi Germany and 1915 Turkey? Not only is this appallingly low-resolution thinking (to quote JP) but it is also a preposterous slander against the people of Canada. Preposterous is a word we should be using far more than we do.
As to the remedy: I’m coming round to the realisation that we must be more strident in our opposition to these totalitarians. That we must refute their asinine assertions wherever and whenever we can. That we mustn’t care or waver just because they brand us “right-wing”… Where I’m stuck is on the question of what form our resistance should take. That’s the hard one. Best wishes to Vienna from Switzerland.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

“There is no acceptable neutral position on this subject [racial injustice;]; to stay silent is to be complicit”.
This is one of those phrases which drives me absolutely mad. It is not offered as one opinion among many which we might discuss and adopt. The essence of it is authoritarian, even tyrannical: we are right, you must think what we think, and any deviance from this opinion will result in opprobrium being heaped upon you. It leaves no option for people to simply be quiet and/or apolitical. One is always allowed not to have an opinion.
That is has crept into somewhere like a botanical garden is simply absurd. I am very glad that I had my excellent British education before these kind of theories started seeping into every single discipline. We were allowed to think and discuss and very few constraints were placed upon us. It was hugely enriching and set me up for life.
A few weeks ago I visited an art exhibition and I read the introductory text at the start, as I always do – even though it always involves wading through the undergrowth of some quite abstract language. And there, wouldn’t you know it, was a bald statement of “this is a response to institutional racism”. No mention of where this institutional racism was supposed to exist (i.e. which country), or what it might consist of, or any explanation of the meaning of the term. It was just wanged on in there: a command to the reader to simply accept.
I didn’t. I will not be told what I have to think without at least being presented with explanations/arguments. I admired the pretty pictures but then left the gallery.

Peter Dennett
Peter Dennett
1 year ago

The history of the world is littered with examples of dominant cultures growing through conquest. Every part of the world has this. If it is for the rabid left only a bad thing when white people do this, then white people are being held to a higher standard. It seems to me that all of these people are the true white supremacists. They just feel so guilty that they need to tear it all down to assuage their guilt

Peter Dennett
Peter Dennett
1 year ago

The history of the world is littered with examples of dominant cultures growing through conquest. Every part of the world has this. If it is for the rabid left only a bad thing when white people do this, then white people are being held to a higher standard. It seems to me that all of these people are the true white supremacists. They just feel so guilty that they need to tear it all down to assuage their guilt

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

I grew up in a colony in Africa. Peace, no hunger, schools, hospitals , roads, Police that didnt need bribes, no colour bar in any places. The colonial officers were not disliked. And they did not dislike their peoples.
The world of the moral puritans- who were never there- and knew nothing of it – cannot grasp the reality.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

I grew up in a colony in Africa. Peace, no hunger, schools, hospitals , roads, Police that didnt need bribes, no colour bar in any places. The colonial officers were not disliked. And they did not dislike their peoples.
The world of the moral puritans- who were never there- and knew nothing of it – cannot grasp the reality.

Toby B
Toby B
1 year ago

“To many people, all this is beside the point. Their real concern is with the present, and with those aspects of the past which serve their arguments about the present. Their anger against the past is provoked by a small number of totemic issues, of which race and empire are the most sensitive.”
This is the key. These people have no interest in history or rational debate. They loathe and resent us, and they’re looking for retribution for the ills they fantasise that they’ve inherited (or, in the case of self-loathing Westerners, that they fantasise they’re guilty of).

Toby B
Toby B
1 year ago

“To many people, all this is beside the point. Their real concern is with the present, and with those aspects of the past which serve their arguments about the present. Their anger against the past is provoked by a small number of totemic issues, of which race and empire are the most sensitive.”
This is the key. These people have no interest in history or rational debate. They loathe and resent us, and they’re looking for retribution for the ills they fantasise that they’ve inherited (or, in the case of self-loathing Westerners, that they fantasise they’re guilty of).

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

When Lord Sumption writes, those with sense listen. I recall my own lecturer trying to indoctrinate me with the poisonous, pernicious nonsense of Said’s Orientalism. I think it marked a turning point for me as I knew instinctively what the man was claiming was not borne out by my own readings in history. Racial and other identity politics are a cancer on our society and hopefully this well-reasoned intervention goes some small way to ending its stranglehold on our U.S-dominated national conversation.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

When Lord Sumption writes, those with sense listen. I recall my own lecturer trying to indoctrinate me with the poisonous, pernicious nonsense of Said’s Orientalism. I think it marked a turning point for me as I knew instinctively what the man was claiming was not borne out by my own readings in history. Racial and other identity politics are a cancer on our society and hopefully this well-reasoned intervention goes some small way to ending its stranglehold on our U.S-dominated national conversation.

Friedrich Tellberg
Friedrich Tellberg
1 year ago

Thank you for this very interesting essay. It put words to some of my own intuitions and fears, which I never could have expressed as intelligently, precisely and courageously as the author. It will be of great help in many conversations on this subject.

Friedrich Tellberg
Friedrich Tellberg
1 year ago

Thank you for this very interesting essay. It put words to some of my own intuitions and fears, which I never could have expressed as intelligently, precisely and courageously as the author. It will be of great help in many conversations on this subject.

Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1 year ago

Nail this on the door of every so-called university.

Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1 year ago

Nail this on the door of every so-called university.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

The reason Africans don’t flood back to the land from where they were cruelly sold by their own race is simple. They’re not stupid and don’t want history to repeat itself.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

The reason Africans don’t flood back to the land from where they were cruelly sold by their own race is simple. They’re not stupid and don’t want history to repeat itself.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

In its relatively short life Unherd has published many excellent pieces but this essay I hold to be the very best so far. I know I will re read it many times – and be improved as a result of doing so. The messages and leaning contained in this work cannot be ignored but must be taken up and implemented. My sincere thanks to the author and to the publisher.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

In its relatively short life Unherd has published many excellent pieces but this essay I hold to be the very best so far. I know I will re read it many times – and be improved as a result of doing so. The messages and leaning contained in this work cannot be ignored but must be taken up and implemented. My sincere thanks to the author and to the publisher.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Gosh, almost no comment, as yet – why? I am no absolute fan of Sumption (I think, probably contrary to most commentators on this forum, that he was very wrong about lockdown, sitting nicely in his French castle) but he is an interesting, intelligent chap with a very wide knowledge who writes well. So to answer my own question I have almost no quibble with this excellent essay which I greatly enjoyed and gives a fine basis for much further investigation.
One small quibble might be that, having recently read around the subject, I would say that the original Roundheads were actually rather more liberal towards religion than is generally thought, Cromwell himself saying that as far as he was concerned a man’s religious conscience was his own concern, it was his expression of that in public worship that was the issue.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

That’s very much my opinion of Sumption too. He should not – and i’m sure he’d agree with this? – regard himself, and nor should others, as some kind of guru whose word is the final word on any subject.
He does think and write with astonishing clarity. I suspect the initial reluctance to comment may be due to first of all, readers taking time for the many strands of his essay (based on a lecture) to sink in; and secondly, for fear of seeming to think/write with less clarity.
The publishing of this by Unherd is hugely welcome. It sets out in serious fashion an intellectual baseline by which the appraisal of current cultural trends can be judged. I guess this is no coincidence, given his judicial reputation.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

He is a truly great historian! No better way to discover 100 Years War. Hence this erudite passionate appeal for good History and a vigorous fightback versus the New Roundheads! Look at the white washed walls in Church. Remember!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One day, one day, I will, honest, get around to reading his three-volume monumental history of the Hundred (and a few) Years’ War. If only he put out a c.300 page summary!
At least one can scrape off the whitewash – I can’t recall any instance of the Parliamentarians burning down any churches, and at least they put a stop to much bear-baiting and c**k-fighting, albeit not because of animal cruelty so much as people having fun.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One day, one day, I will, honest, get around to reading his three-volume monumental history of the Hundred (and a few) Years’ War. If only he put out a c.300 page summary!
At least one can scrape off the whitewash – I can’t recall any instance of the Parliamentarians burning down any churches, and at least they put a stop to much bear-baiting and c**k-fighting, albeit not because of animal cruelty so much as people having fun.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Sumption was one of the few voices of reason who dared to challenge the official narrative during the Covid hysteria. One by one, the positions he took are now being validated, as the truth come out about the unintended consequences of lockdowns, the care home scandal, the ineffectiveness of masks and the dangers of vaccines untested on humans and produced at ‘warp speed’.
This article is a long-overdue and welcome rebuttal of the worst excesses of wokery, with the analytical rigour of a former Supreme Court judge.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

That’s very much my opinion of Sumption too. He should not – and i’m sure he’d agree with this? – regard himself, and nor should others, as some kind of guru whose word is the final word on any subject.
He does think and write with astonishing clarity. I suspect the initial reluctance to comment may be due to first of all, readers taking time for the many strands of his essay (based on a lecture) to sink in; and secondly, for fear of seeming to think/write with less clarity.
The publishing of this by Unherd is hugely welcome. It sets out in serious fashion an intellectual baseline by which the appraisal of current cultural trends can be judged. I guess this is no coincidence, given his judicial reputation.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

He is a truly great historian! No better way to discover 100 Years War. Hence this erudite passionate appeal for good History and a vigorous fightback versus the New Roundheads! Look at the white washed walls in Church. Remember!

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Sumption was one of the few voices of reason who dared to challenge the official narrative during the Covid hysteria. One by one, the positions he took are now being validated, as the truth come out about the unintended consequences of lockdowns, the care home scandal, the ineffectiveness of masks and the dangers of vaccines untested on humans and produced at ‘warp speed’.
This article is a long-overdue and welcome rebuttal of the worst excesses of wokery, with the analytical rigour of a former Supreme Court judge.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Gosh, almost no comment, as yet – why? I am no absolute fan of Sumption (I think, probably contrary to most commentators on this forum, that he was very wrong about lockdown, sitting nicely in his French castle) but he is an interesting, intelligent chap with a very wide knowledge who writes well. So to answer my own question I have almost no quibble with this excellent essay which I greatly enjoyed and gives a fine basis for much further investigation.
One small quibble might be that, having recently read around the subject, I would say that the original Roundheads were actually rather more liberal towards religion than is generally thought, Cromwell himself saying that as far as he was concerned a man’s religious conscience was his own concern, it was his expression of that in public worship that was the issue.

Jacques Rossat
Jacques Rossat
1 year ago

Here in Switzerland, I confess I had never heard of Mr Sumption but I seldom read a more powerful essay against the intellectual regression prevailing in more and more academic circles. According to a poster below, the author is presently living in a French castle. This could help him survive the probable backlash and may be the physical harm this lecture might trigger.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacques Rossat

I gather that JS spent much of Lockdown in the UK where the ‘restrictions’ were far less draconian than in France.

Incidentally besides being a former UK Supreme Court Judge, he is a noted historian specialising in ‘The Hundred Years War’, and a former King’s Scholar at Eton.
Friends describe him as having a brain the size of a planet!

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I do think your observation about the nature of continental lockdowns should be made more often. I remain of the opinion that aside from the first lockdown, where very little information was available, all subsequent ones were unnecessary and have done unimaginable damage to our economy, children and the fabric of society.

This said, speaking to friends who live in Italy, they endured restrictions which were harsher, for longer and which were enforced by the Polizia and Carabinieri with great efficiency. Worse even than Scotland. Going to the shop to buy food often required you to present your papers to a goon in a silly hat and explain yourself.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I couldn’t agree more.
Sadly Europe was an absolute disgrace, latent fascist/ communist instincts were given full rein with simply awful results.

At least over here we had the ‘exemption rule’ for Mask wearing, which even my Swiss friends found completely incomprehensible ! “You don’t even need the authority of an expert?!!!” etc.

So perhaps Magna Carta, Simon de Montfort, the execution of Charles I, and the Glorious Revolution were NOT in vain, and we can thank Lord Jonathan Sumption and Peter Hitchings Esq for reminding us of this.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I couldn’t agree more.
Sadly Europe was an absolute disgrace, latent fascist/ communist instincts were given full rein with simply awful results.

At least over here we had the ‘exemption rule’ for Mask wearing, which even my Swiss friends found completely incomprehensible ! “You don’t even need the authority of an expert?!!!” etc.

So perhaps Magna Carta, Simon de Montfort, the execution of Charles I, and the Glorious Revolution were NOT in vain, and we can thank Lord Jonathan Sumption and Peter Hitchings Esq for reminding us of this.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I do think your observation about the nature of continental lockdowns should be made more often. I remain of the opinion that aside from the first lockdown, where very little information was available, all subsequent ones were unnecessary and have done unimaginable damage to our economy, children and the fabric of society.

This said, speaking to friends who live in Italy, they endured restrictions which were harsher, for longer and which were enforced by the Polizia and Carabinieri with great efficiency. Worse even than Scotland. Going to the shop to buy food often required you to present your papers to a goon in a silly hat and explain yourself.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacques Rossat

I gather that JS spent much of Lockdown in the UK where the ‘restrictions’ were far less draconian than in France.

Incidentally besides being a former UK Supreme Court Judge, he is a noted historian specialising in ‘The Hundred Years War’, and a former King’s Scholar at Eton.
Friends describe him as having a brain the size of a planet!

Jacques Rossat
Jacques Rossat
1 year ago

Here in Switzerland, I confess I had never heard of Mr Sumption but I seldom read a more powerful essay against the intellectual regression prevailing in more and more academic circles. According to a poster below, the author is presently living in a French castle. This could help him survive the probable backlash and may be the physical harm this lecture might trigger.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago

Brilliant,the best article I have ever read about anything serious

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago

Brilliant,the best article I have ever read about anything serious

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

To paraphrase Tom Stoppard in Night and Day, “On any other subject, they could talk like normal human beings. But when the subject of their strike came up, it was as if their brains had been removed and replaced by one of those little golf ball things found in typewriters which only had five words on it. You’d need a more flexible language to describe a dispute between two amoebas.”

Stoppard was talking about the union wreckers of the 70s, but his description is even more apt about the “woke” today. The statements these once respectable institutions make about their efforts to “decolonise” subjects that were never colonised in the first place sound not so much like hostage videos as the “confessions” of former thought criminals in Orwell’s 1984.

But… I would point out that McCarthyism lasted 10 years. China’s Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years. Even prohibition (founded in another strain of puritanism) lasted 10 years. And of course the militant Trots Stoppard was writing about seem rather quaint and ridiculous now. This too shall pass.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Mortimer

I suppose then that we have to ascertain when it began and hope for ten years since that time to come quickly.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Mortimer

I suppose then that we have to ascertain when it began and hope for ten years since that time to come quickly.

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

To paraphrase Tom Stoppard in Night and Day, “On any other subject, they could talk like normal human beings. But when the subject of their strike came up, it was as if their brains had been removed and replaced by one of those little golf ball things found in typewriters which only had five words on it. You’d need a more flexible language to describe a dispute between two amoebas.”

Stoppard was talking about the union wreckers of the 70s, but his description is even more apt about the “woke” today. The statements these once respectable institutions make about their efforts to “decolonise” subjects that were never colonised in the first place sound not so much like hostage videos as the “confessions” of former thought criminals in Orwell’s 1984.

But… I would point out that McCarthyism lasted 10 years. China’s Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years. Even prohibition (founded in another strain of puritanism) lasted 10 years. And of course the militant Trots Stoppard was writing about seem rather quaint and ridiculous now. This too shall pass.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

Great piece, thank you.
The one concept I would quibble with is in the final paras, about societies in the past having shown both light and shade. Those are value judgements based on a modern scale of values projected onto the past, onto a situation where that value scale was unknown. The past is a fact, and facts are not susceptible to value judgements.
Value judgements are only relevant to the here and now, to the choices we make in our private and in our political life (i.e. as voters). I get the feeling that the most fervent virtue signallers are engaging in the practice to compensate for their cowardice in moral action today.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

You make a very good point in your final paragraph..If one was overwhelmingly concerned by slavery and exploitation there are many opportunities to confront and seek to suppress such activities in the way that our Victorian forebears did. However, there is in fact little desire among those so concerned with the wrongs of the past to actually combat slavery in Africa or China or exploitation in Rotherham and elsewhere. Instead the Nelsonian blind eye is applied or the practices excused as authentic alternative cultural manifestations. It is safe to confront the sins of the past whose members can’t rise from their graves to fight their corner.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

I’m not sure that the past is a fact, in fact I would think that it ain’t! Lord S himself points out that sources are by their very nature incomplete, and we are given new insight into, and new ‘facts about, history all the time. Remember that history is written by the victors!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

You make a very good point in your final paragraph..If one was overwhelmingly concerned by slavery and exploitation there are many opportunities to confront and seek to suppress such activities in the way that our Victorian forebears did. However, there is in fact little desire among those so concerned with the wrongs of the past to actually combat slavery in Africa or China or exploitation in Rotherham and elsewhere. Instead the Nelsonian blind eye is applied or the practices excused as authentic alternative cultural manifestations. It is safe to confront the sins of the past whose members can’t rise from their graves to fight their corner.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

I’m not sure that the past is a fact, in fact I would think that it ain’t! Lord S himself points out that sources are by their very nature incomplete, and we are given new insight into, and new ‘facts about, history all the time. Remember that history is written by the victors!

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

Great piece, thank you.
The one concept I would quibble with is in the final paras, about societies in the past having shown both light and shade. Those are value judgements based on a modern scale of values projected onto the past, onto a situation where that value scale was unknown. The past is a fact, and facts are not susceptible to value judgements.
Value judgements are only relevant to the here and now, to the choices we make in our private and in our political life (i.e. as voters). I get the feeling that the most fervent virtue signallers are engaging in the practice to compensate for their cowardice in moral action today.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago

A fine dissection and disembowelling of the academic ‘rot’ that lies at the heart of the racial politics fanaticism that has captured our future ‘intellectual capital’. We know who the ‘stokers’ are and that ‘they know not what they do’ . This Essay should be in the briefcase of every university historian and on the curriculum of every one of those ‘businesses’ aka universities. Oh, and send copies to Grauniad and Aunty B. They are in need of a history lesson 
.

Last edited 1 year ago by Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago

A fine dissection and disembowelling of the academic ‘rot’ that lies at the heart of the racial politics fanaticism that has captured our future ‘intellectual capital’. We know who the ‘stokers’ are and that ‘they know not what they do’ . This Essay should be in the briefcase of every university historian and on the curriculum of every one of those ‘businesses’ aka universities. Oh, and send copies to Grauniad and Aunty B. They are in need of a history lesson 
.

Last edited 1 year ago by Diane Tasker
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“It seems obvious that one can be an excellent plant scientist and an outstanding plant historian without taking any view at all on racial injustice.”
Quite.
But I’d go further. It is also likely that one cannot be an excellent plant scientist if one takes an unscientific view in other domains (history) and has such muddled priorities !

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“It seems obvious that one can be an excellent plant scientist and an outstanding plant historian without taking any view at all on racial injustice.”
Quite.
But I’d go further. It is also likely that one cannot be an excellent plant scientist if one takes an unscientific view in other domains (history) and has such muddled priorities !

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

The reason people keep making these ridiculous, ‘anti-racist’ statements is because being ‘woker-than-thou’ is something of a one-way bet.
If they stay silent, in academia or museum curating, then they risk the disapprobration of their peers. Funding dries up. Careers stagnate. Publishers turn down their book proposals.
But if they speak out, what happens? Their peers cheer, because they are toeing the party line. A Guardian editorial might give them a little pat on the head, if they’re lucky. They might get some polite criticism, vide Jonathan Sumption, above. But nothing bad happens to them.
So, if were in their shoes, what would you do?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

Honestly, I cannot bring myself to utter this nonsense, despite it now permeating my profession. I’m generally keeping my head down and making measured criticisms when I can. Many colleagues think the same, but also keep schtum for obvious reasons.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

Honestly, I cannot bring myself to utter this nonsense, despite it now permeating my profession. I’m generally keeping my head down and making measured criticisms when I can. Many colleagues think the same, but also keep schtum for obvious reasons.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

The reason people keep making these ridiculous, ‘anti-racist’ statements is because being ‘woker-than-thou’ is something of a one-way bet.
If they stay silent, in academia or museum curating, then they risk the disapprobration of their peers. Funding dries up. Careers stagnate. Publishers turn down their book proposals.
But if they speak out, what happens? Their peers cheer, because they are toeing the party line. A Guardian editorial might give them a little pat on the head, if they’re lucky. They might get some polite criticism, vide Jonathan Sumption, above. But nothing bad happens to them.
So, if were in their shoes, what would you do?

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

Universities are the petrie dish for these mono cultural permitted views.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

Universities are the petrie dish for these mono cultural permitted views.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
1 year ago

Being a gringo, it’s been easier to frame things in terms of “Neo-Puritans,” but, obviously, “New Roundheads” does the trick. They were set on their own Great Resets, on building a new City on the Hill.
Meanwhile, I sometimes find myself thinking about such ambitious efforts to reset society as the Khmer Rouge initiative after the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975. Those guys were very serious and effective in implementing their own Great Reset… to “Year Zero,” no less, in their parlance. Everyone would be forced to live in a purely agrarian society.
There were some complications to deal with. For example, collectivizing all agricultural production did shatter agricultural productivity. A large share of the population would either starve to death, or, the local authorities could select inconvenient people for execution and thus spare the more compliant among them from the prospect of starvation.
Population reduction; agriculture liberated from the use of fertilizers; equality imposed on the survivors. The Green Nirvana.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
1 year ago

Being a gringo, it’s been easier to frame things in terms of “Neo-Puritans,” but, obviously, “New Roundheads” does the trick. They were set on their own Great Resets, on building a new City on the Hill.
Meanwhile, I sometimes find myself thinking about such ambitious efforts to reset society as the Khmer Rouge initiative after the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975. Those guys were very serious and effective in implementing their own Great Reset… to “Year Zero,” no less, in their parlance. Everyone would be forced to live in a purely agrarian society.
There were some complications to deal with. For example, collectivizing all agricultural production did shatter agricultural productivity. A large share of the population would either starve to death, or, the local authorities could select inconvenient people for execution and thus spare the more compliant among them from the prospect of starvation.
Population reduction; agriculture liberated from the use of fertilizers; equality imposed on the survivors. The Green Nirvana.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago

In all discussions about the evils of racism, I am continually surprised to see little or no reference to the fact that there can be very few people living in the UK (or Europe, for that matter) who are not living today within (say) 20 miles of a slave. Few seem interested.
It would also be nice to see more reference to the recent attacks on Scott Adams, creator of the excellent Dilbert comic strip, for pointing out that data from a Rasmussen Reports poll found 47% of black Americans disagreed with the statement “It’s okay to be white.” 
But perhaps the oddest fact, that I think only Douglas Murray has had the cojones to discuss, is the extraordinary racism and anti-semitism of comments to Engels and others written by none other than Karl Marx. If someone dug up similar comments from Beethoven, or Leonardo, perhaps, all their collected works would have gone through the shredder in a week. Most curious.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago

In all discussions about the evils of racism, I am continually surprised to see little or no reference to the fact that there can be very few people living in the UK (or Europe, for that matter) who are not living today within (say) 20 miles of a slave. Few seem interested.
It would also be nice to see more reference to the recent attacks on Scott Adams, creator of the excellent Dilbert comic strip, for pointing out that data from a Rasmussen Reports poll found 47% of black Americans disagreed with the statement “It’s okay to be white.” 
But perhaps the oddest fact, that I think only Douglas Murray has had the cojones to discuss, is the extraordinary racism and anti-semitism of comments to Engels and others written by none other than Karl Marx. If someone dug up similar comments from Beethoven, or Leonardo, perhaps, all their collected works would have gone through the shredder in a week. Most curious.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

“it was a period in which cultural and scientific developments fundamental to the modern world almost all emanated from Europe or from European settlements elsewhere.”
Perhaps it’s time to notice the elephant in the room? Whitey gave the modern world virtually everything that it values. And if not whitey himself, then most of the remainder was produced within the framework of Whiteness. That is to say, even if some POC is honored as the inventor/discoverer of something or other, he probably did it after receiving a White education and while working at a White institution. In short, to cancel Whiteness is to cancel civilization.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

There have been civilizations that have been non-white, so your point is overegged. It is true however, as Lord Sumption asserts, that for the past four centuries (until the Second World War) the west, Europe, ‘whites’ whatever you want to call it, has pushed its conception of civilization across the world, for good or ill. Given the willingness of so many postcolonial societies to engage in ‘white’ civilization we clearly did something right.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

There have been civilizations that have been non-white, so your point is overegged. It is true however, as Lord Sumption asserts, that for the past four centuries (until the Second World War) the west, Europe, ‘whites’ whatever you want to call it, has pushed its conception of civilization across the world, for good or ill. Given the willingness of so many postcolonial societies to engage in ‘white’ civilization we clearly did something right.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

“it was a period in which cultural and scientific developments fundamental to the modern world almost all emanated from Europe or from European settlements elsewhere.”
Perhaps it’s time to notice the elephant in the room? Whitey gave the modern world virtually everything that it values. And if not whitey himself, then most of the remainder was produced within the framework of Whiteness. That is to say, even if some POC is honored as the inventor/discoverer of something or other, he probably did it after receiving a White education and while working at a White institution. In short, to cancel Whiteness is to cancel civilization.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Best thing I’ve read on Unherd in weeks. Just brilliant. Articles like this that criticize the whole idea of injecting political ideology into every single facet of life are the reason I pay my subscription fee. The notion that one should at least make an attempt at intellectual objectivity is all but dead on this side of the Atlantic. We’re past that point here. In the USA, your choices are pick a side or drop out of the fight entirely.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Praise indeed from ‘Soldier Blue’!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Oh is that what we’re calling me now? How did you come up with that name?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Oh is that what we’re calling me now? How did you come up with that name?

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I dont know whtch side of the Atlantic is ”this side”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Praise indeed from ‘Soldier Blue’!

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I dont know whtch side of the Atlantic is ”this side”.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Best thing I’ve read on Unherd in weeks. Just brilliant. Articles like this that criticize the whole idea of injecting political ideology into every single facet of life are the reason I pay my subscription fee. The notion that one should at least make an attempt at intellectual objectivity is all but dead on this side of the Atlantic. We’re past that point here. In the USA, your choices are pick a side or drop out of the fight entirely.

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
1 year ago

“Once a person or an institution is touched by slavery or empire, nothing else about them matters, however important or admirable…” The Guardian has thus far dodged that one.

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
1 year ago

“Once a person or an institution is touched by slavery or empire, nothing else about them matters, however important or admirable…” The Guardian has thus far dodged that one.

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago

 to “remedy the highly selective narrative of traditional academia—which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge—by integrating subjugated and local epistemologies
 And yet these same narrow-minded academics refuse to even discuss objectively what they term ‘pseudo science’ like alternative histories etc…let alone real debate over the highly selective issues they preach about – double standards much?

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago

 to “remedy the highly selective narrative of traditional academia—which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge—by integrating subjugated and local epistemologies
 And yet these same narrow-minded academics refuse to even discuss objectively what they term ‘pseudo science’ like alternative histories etc…let alone real debate over the highly selective issues they preach about – double standards much?

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

Pedant alert and point of fact: here are states that abolished slavery before England did —
Rhode Island 1652
Vermont 1777
Pennsylvania 1780
Massachusetts 1783
Michigan 1787
Ohio 1802
Indiana 1816
New York 1827

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

And the ones that didn’t to give a balanced picture?

William Loughran
William Loughran
1 year ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

Very interesting. What are your sources; and most importantly what official documentation do we have? It would be great to be able to clearly demonstrate this.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

And the ones that didn’t to give a balanced picture?

William Loughran
William Loughran
1 year ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

Very interesting. What are your sources; and most importantly what official documentation do we have? It would be great to be able to clearly demonstrate this.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

Pedant alert and point of fact: here are states that abolished slavery before England did —
Rhode Island 1652
Vermont 1777
Pennsylvania 1780
Massachusetts 1783
Michigan 1787
Ohio 1802
Indiana 1816
New York 1827

eca rola
eca rola
1 year ago

Paul Cudenec’s article at Winter Oak on covert Impact Investor funding of ‘radical’ and supposed anti-racism groups provides good insight into the systematic nature of destruction of both historicity and objectivity. He notes ‘When an arm of the capitalist system surreptitiously pours money into avowedly anti-capitalist networks, there is obviously a question of control at stake….More than taking control of radical groups and networks to ensure they present no real threat to the system…. By diverting radicals’ attention and energy into the dead-end narcissism of identity politics, the 0.01% ensure that their own domination is not challenged.’ https://winteroak.org.uk/2021/02/10/controlling-the-left-the-impact-edgenda/

eca rola
eca rola
1 year ago

Paul Cudenec’s article at Winter Oak on covert Impact Investor funding of ‘radical’ and supposed anti-racism groups provides good insight into the systematic nature of destruction of both historicity and objectivity. He notes ‘When an arm of the capitalist system surreptitiously pours money into avowedly anti-capitalist networks, there is obviously a question of control at stake….More than taking control of radical groups and networks to ensure they present no real threat to the system…. By diverting radicals’ attention and energy into the dead-end narcissism of identity politics, the 0.01% ensure that their own domination is not challenged.’ https://winteroak.org.uk/2021/02/10/controlling-the-left-the-impact-edgenda/

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

I read an awful lot of articles by people claiming ideas are being suppressed by writers who don’t seem to realize that if I am reading their article their ideas aren’t being suppressed. If the Left is attempting to suppress ideas, it should be acknowledged that they are failing miserably.
Using the past to influence policy in the present is also as old as Slavery and Empire. There is a constant churn of ideas in a democracy, they rise and fall over time. Black people and their liberal allies have been using the con of race baiting since the 70’s when the civil rights movement in America stalled and with it economic progress for black Americans. It has now morphed into Wokism a con within a con, the con of race baiting used by whites to seem progressive while maintaining their political and economic status.
Wokism will collapse because it is idiotic and will become more untenable as economic inequality widens. The people it purports to help will realize that it actually has nothing to do with them. Western civilization needs a revolution to tear down corporate tyranny and ironically Wokism is an attempt to keep that from happening.