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Forget About Decolonizing the Curriculum. We Need to Restore the West’s Telos Before it’s Too Late

The campaign by left-wing student protestors and some faculty to force Western universities to “decolonize the curriculum” has been surprisingly successful. A movement that started at the University of Cape Town in 2015, with the demand that the city’s university remove its statue of Cecil Rhodes—“Rhodes Must Fall”—quickly made its way to the U.K., with student activists calling for his statue at Oriel College, Oxford to be taken down. At its heart, the movement seeks to challenge what it characterizes as the dominance of the Western canon in the humanities and social sciences, as well as the under-representation of women and minorities in academia. It also, like many movements inspired by critical theory, maintains that a person’s beliefs and worldview are largely determined by their skin color, sexual orientation and gender.

In a society “still shaped by a long colonial history in which straight white upper-class men are at the top of the social order,” argues Priyamvada Gopal, a Cambridge University lecturer, “most disciplines give disproportionate prominence to the experiences, concerns and achievements of this one group.” In one of the keys texts of the movement, “students, activists and scholars” are warned about “the pitfalls of doing decolonial work in the home of the coloniser, in the heart of the establishment.” Rallying activists and academics, the movement seeks to subvert “curricula” and enforce “diversity” while “destroying old boundaries.” In short, it is a “radical call for a new era of education. Offering resources for students and academics to challenge and resist coloniality inside and outside the classroom.”

In a bizarre turn of events, this movement now enjoys the endorsement of the British Royal Family. In February 2019, on a visit to a London University, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, lent her weight to the movement, having had her eyes opened by a presentation about the relatively small number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff within the U.K. higher education sector. According to the Times, the Duchess visited City University in London in her capacity as the patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and responded to the presentation by announcing that Britain’s universities need to “open up that conversation so we are talking about it as opposed to continuing with that daily rote . . . sometimes that approach can be really antiquated and needs an update.” When presented with evidence about the lack of black and female professors in British universities she reportedly exclaimed, “Oh my God!” One of the organizers, Meera Sabaratnam, said it was “wonderful to see the Duchess standing up for female equality” as many “of the issues around racial equality are similar and it is great to see her embrace this. Change is long overdue.”

The Duchess’s call for British universities to “decolonize the curriculum” may well become the policy of the British Labour Party, and potentially the U.K.’s next government. Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, recently made a similar observation to the Duchess: “Like much of our establishment, our universities are too male, pale and stale and do not represent the communities that they serve or modern Britain,” she told the University and College Union conference earlier this month. If Labour comes to power, she said she would use the powers of the newly-established Office for Students to address this shortcoming. For Rayner, U.K. universities must “do much more, and under Labour they will be held to account.”

So, what to make of this movement and its seemingly unstoppable momentum? 

First, it is bizarre to claim that Britain’s universities are the last bastions of Empire. This conjures up images of dusty old white men (male, pale and stale) engaged in a conspiracy to ensure “non-Western” viewpoints are de-legitimized, with reading lists populated exclusively by straight white male authors, and people of color and women locked out of the academy. In fact, the humanities and social sciences departments across the Anglosphere are nearly all highly progressive and steeped in critical theory. From Edward Said’s post-colonial critique of Western Orientalism and Marxist critiques of capitalist imperialism, through to the postmodern deconstructions of “Western hegemony” by thinkers such as Gayatri Spivak, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, the humanities and social sciences are completely saturated with critical theories designed to decenter knowledge and deconstruct the Western canon.

If the movement is “doing decolonial work in the home of the colonizer, in the heart of the establishment” where are the courses that reproduce these iniquitous power relationships? A far bigger challenge would be to find a single British university offering any course, anywhere, that does not regurgitate the dominant narrative of Western malignancy and provide theoretical frameworks that are explicitly dedicated to critiquing the “othering” of non-Western cultures and societies. If, as Priyamvada Gopal asserts, most disciplines give disproportionate prominence to the experiences, concerns and achievements of upper-class white men, and reflect their “colonialist” viewpoint, how do we explain not only the overwhelming profusion of critical narratives on Western history and statecraft, but the flourishing of these courses in what is claimed to be a culture of deeply embedded racism? 

Second, the data used to underpin the claims presented to Meghan Markle, and those now informing the Labour Party’s higher education policy, are highly selective and do not support the assertions being made. The data presented to the Duchess were drawn from a report by Advance HE, a government-funded think tank. However, when we examine the data in the report, they show that:

between 2003/04 and 2016/17, the proportion of all [academic] staff who were U.K. white steadily decreased (from 83.1% to 73.0%), while all other groups increased… the proportion of all staff who were U.K. BME increased from 4.8% to 7.6%, and the proportion of non-U.K. BME staff from 3.8 to 5.5%.

If U.K. universities are bastions of white privilege, how can we explain this trend? At Professorial level (the data that shocked the Duchess the most), the report says that among “U.K. academics, the difference in proportions between white professors (11.2%) and BME professors (9.7 percent) was small at 1.5 percentage points.” What the data does show is, in fact, the incredible diversity and richness of faculty throughout U.K. academic institutions, one of the reasons they remain so attractive to some of the world’s best and brightest. This is something to be celebrated and is evidence of the meritocratic hiring practices of our higher education institutions, one of the reasons the U.K. boasts four of the world’s top 10 universities. (Britain’s colleges are also ranked number one in 13 out of 48 subjects in the global university rankings.) Given all this, how do we account for the popular misconception that sees racism and racial dominance by upper class white men as a core characteristic of British academia?

Historically, the decolonize movement is often highly selective in which facts it chooses to highlight. At its heart are the sins of Western imperialism and the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. It is right to explore these subjects. They form a key part of the development of the modern world. However, the protestors seek to stigmatize members of an entire racial group for the misdeeds of a tiny minority of British aristocrats from centuries ago who share their skin color. Isn’t that a form of racism?

On a deeper level, the decolonize narrative draws on a broader tradition in Western culture that enjoys wide purchase. Pascal Bruckner in The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (2006) identifies this as a deeply ingrained sense of guilt. This guilt feeds a paternalistic narcissism that is one of the defining characteristics of a certain breed of Western intellectual who are, in Bruckner’s words, “endlessly atoning for what we have inflicted on other parts of humanity.” He continues: how “can we fail to see that this leads us to live off self-denunciation while taking a strange pride in being the worst? Self-denigration is all too clearly a form of indirect self-glorification.” Like a modern-day secular religion, the decolonize movement emerges from a deeper strain within modern identity politics and Western culture: one of endless self-flagellation for sins that ultimately can never be atoned for and makes the West the font of all evil.

The real historical record is far more mixed. To understand the British Empire and the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, we must also acknowledge the role that the British state played in abolishing slavery. As Peter Grindal documents in Opposing the Slavers: The Royal Navy’s Campaign Against the Atlantic Slave Trade (2016), it took 60 years for the British government to finally suppress the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Brazilian slave trade. We must also recognize that in nearly all states and civilizations (whether the African kingdoms, the Islamic Barbary states, and so on) slavery and colonization have been the norm, not the exception.

Insofar as Britain and the United States are exceptional, it is because they gave birth to the movements to end slavery, often at great cost, with hundreds of thousands of young men—male and pale—sacrificing their lives to end slavery in the American Civil War. They’re exceptional, too, in wanting to atone for it—there’s no decolonize movement in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, the centers of the Barbary slave trade between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Post-colonial guilt is so deeply hardwired among the West’s progressive elite that if we ask “What is an Empire?” it will invariably conjure the image of Western empires, usually British but sometimes Greek or Roman. However, ask most academics what their opinion of Ottoman imperialism is, or the what they think about the effects of the Islamic conquest of huge swathes of Europe, or the impact of Barbary slavery on European civilization (at its height, millions of Europeans were under bondage), and you will almost certainly draw a blank! This knowledge has an even fainter footprint among the general population. In short, rather than U.K. universities acting as apologists for British and American colonialism, they stretch every sinew to persuade students that slavery is a uniquely Western sin.

Perhaps more telling when it comes to the one-sidedness of progressive narratives about slavery is the complete indifference of the decolonize movement to modern day slavery. The Global Slavery Index says that an “estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016. Of these, 24.9 million people were in forced labor and 15.4 million people were living in a forced marriage. Women and girls are vastly over-represented, making up 71 percent of victims. Modern slavery is most prevalent in Africa, followed by the Asia and the Pacific region.” If Western intellectuals really are determined to atone for the transatlantic slave trade, wouldn’t their efforts be better spent on campaigns to end this disgusting trade in human souls that disproportionately affects women and young girls of color in the here and now?

This leads to my final point. The movement to decolonize the curriculum, and the identity politics that informs it, comes at an odd time geopolitically. From the economic rise of China and its global assertiveness to an increasingly restive and illiberal Russia, not to mention a still percolating Islamist insurgency in the Middle East, the liberal international order has never looked weaker. Although Western-created, this order, knitted together by a range of global institutions, has provided the context for worldwide economic development and the stunning rise of a new global middle class, mainly located in the developing world. For instance, in Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality (2011), Branko Milanovic charts the astonishing rise of a new middle class in East Asia. Between 1988 and 2008 per capita income tripled in urban China and doubled in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, with rural incomes rising by 80 percent.

Alongside this economic power comes military power, with China now expanding globally, not least in Africa, while asserting its military dominance regionally. Much like the decolonize movement, these states and their leaders all share a deep sense of grievance against the West, based on their understanding of modern history. These grievances run from China’s desire to resume its natural place as a great power and correct the wrongs of British imperialism, Russia’s interest in reversing the humiliation of the post-Cold War settlement imposed on it by the West, and the Islamists wishing to strike back against the West and forge a new global caliphate.

If we accept that one of the prerequisites for the rise of these anti-Western states and movements is a degree of confidence and civilizational purpose, or what we might call a “telos,” what does the West now offer to counter these highly illiberal, often authoritarian and in some cases actively genocidal states and social forces? What is the social glue that holds us together with a common purpose to defend our shared institutional order, and upon which our rights and freedoms (all highly fragile and historically contingent) now rest?

I would suggest that the desire among the progressive professoriat to neuter the West, to reduce its power, to deconstruct its narratives, to challenge its philosophy and overthrow its institutional order, is an impulse rooted in an earlier and more geopolitically stable time when less was at stake. The West’s long post-war boom, which helped fund the welfare state and universities throughout Europe, provided the post-1968 generation of left-wing intellectuals (the architects of today’s Social Justice movements) with a false sense of security. They could call for revolution in the hope that if their dreams of social upheaval ever materialized, the West could then become a benign force of global change, helping the rest of the world become a kind of socialist Shangri-la. Now, if they succeed, the effect won’t be to transform other regional powers into Scandinavian-style social democracies, but for those regional powers to transform Britain and America—and most of Europe, too—into dysfunctional, authoritarian kleptocracies, punctuated by the occasional bout of ideological bloodletting.

Be careful what you wish for, Meghan Markle. If the statues begin to fall, they may well fall on you.


Doug Stokes is a professor in international security and strategy in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter.

Feature photo: New York, United States. 08th Oct, 2018. Activists from New York’s Indigenous and Black communities, along with decolonial advocates led the 3rd annual “Anti-Columbus Day Tour” at the American Museum of Natural History. Credit: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/Alamy Live News

206 Comments

  1. Mastiff says

    The (anti)-cultural left hates all truth, beauty, and freedom.

    • Doug Deeper says

      Mastiff, simply and succinctly stated, and they are acting on that hate in catastrophic ways. It strikes me that they already “own” the universities, and the Western culture as a whole. The most powerful corporations in the world are run by SFWs, albeit very rich ones. Had Hillary won, the GOP would have been destroyed and the left would have owned all the significant levers of power in America. So why do they carry on so, rather than enjoy the immense privileges they have gained at the expense of straight white males?

      Now, I will be called unhinged for having said that, but it is clear to me who has the cultural sledgehammer, and it certainly isn’t conservatives or straight white males or any other group except the left.

      Could it be that their hatred is from a sense of envy so powerful that they are willing to attack not only the bigots but those who built for them a freer world than any that has come before; and it overrides their sense of self preservation. For in destroying the West, those promoting its destruction will be left completely vulnerable from all the sources of real danger they now ignore: China, Russia, Iran, jihadists.

      If this is accurate and the modern, or should I say postmodern left is blinded by its envy and hatred, then one must ask why rational people do not walk out on them and their institutions. I sense that there is a powerful movement at least in America for homeschooling, and innovative schools that actually teach rather than indoctrinate. From such homes and schools will come strong young people who will have an appreciation for enlightenment values, human history and human nature. Such people will have the wherewithal to build a better world freer and more just than any before it, if only something is left to build upon.

      • Coffee Klatch says

        This is fucking hilarious. Nice satire.

        • Kencathedrus says

          Please explain. I’m genuinely interested. Whether correct or incorrect, someone took the time to write the article above. You’ve dismissed it with two sentences, but failed to explain your reasoning.

          • stevengregg says

            Because there is no reasoning behind it. That’s why. When the Left can’t defend it’s positions, it fires a parting shot and flees.

          • Craig WIllms says

            @Kencathedrus

            It’s Coffee Klatch… Don’t bother.

        • wirdway says

          I’ve worked in academic on 3 continents for thirty years and everything in this article rings true. And your response mr/mrs coffee marks you down as a ideologue

      • Tersitus says

        DD— while I very much share your and the author’s concerns, I remain skeptical of your conclusion. Home schooling— which, even as a public school educator, I encouraged and supported— will always be a limited response, however effective in producing strong and independent individuals. Of which, the more the better.

        The locusts have indeed hollowed out our institutions. We are, I’ve long believed and said repeatedly in conversations to all and sundry, a nation of failed and failing institutions— our deteriorating families, our failing schools and universities, our diminished churches and bloated charitable bureaucracies, our insidious news and social media, our invasive and unaccountable intelligence and security and justice agencies, our increasingly unaffordable and Byzantine health system, our inadequately skilled workforce, our elite-serving finance and market systems coupled with our growing indebtedness— well, I could go on and on … and on. Enough to say that money and power and petty political advantage and self-interested short-sightedness and sheer bureaucratic obesity and inertia have taken a deep toll. But is any of this really new under the sun. Every civilization has a shelf life.

        As for “self-government”—how many of us, given a pencil and paper and an hour to think for ourselves, could come up with a coherent summary of what the most basic of our founding and governing principles are? For the vast majority of us, you’d probably have to provide a helping list just to jumpstart a few brain cells— In a few words, explain each of the following: Citizenship? Nationhood? Sovereignty? Popular sovereignty? Limited government? Separation of powers? Checks and balances? Federalism? Judicial review? Liberty? Equal justice for all ? Inalienable rights? Due process? Presumption of innocence? Property? Pursuit of happiness? (Of the latter, I might as well have said pursuit of hallucinogens).

        To my mind, change will likely come much like it has through history— the law of unintended consequences will exert its growing gravitational pull. It will probably be catastrophe-driven— economic, geopolitical, internal terroristic, all seem possible flashpoints. Foolish hope and tragic arrogance will give way increasingly to fear and regret, and eventually some semblance of rationality will return. Right now we’re in the agitation washing machine, probably starting spin-cycle. Unfortunately, tragically, the blood cleansing of cathartic violence is a too frequent madness of the humanimal. A lot of lessons still to be learned from grade-school educated Elizabethan.

        • Polly Styrene says

          Well said. This civilization is in decline, being hollowed out by all the forces you mention. One can hope we have the coping skills to deal with the madness in the interim.

          I believe more authoritarian states are watching the insanity with glee, and planning their next moves. My suspicion is it will likely be in the form of a redemption call of all the debt China bought during QE1&2. And hard assets thereafter, when the debt can’t be kicked forward. Ask the tibetans how diversity works in China.

      • Much of what the left in America and Britain, as well as other states, believes is simply a desire for chaos. They do not know what they want. All they know is that whatever it is, it is not the world that exists today. Venezuela is an object lesson, or should be, but the fools on the left know no history.

    • Adjunct-Filth says

      “Modernism” was the bright burn-out

    • RegT says

      True story. The dumb bimbo Markle (was she really a soft-porn actress at one time?) not only swallows this tripe whole, I read that she also is anti-hunting (the Royal Family – especially Prince Philip – must love that), but she has talked her husband into raising their children to be “gender fluid”! How completely ignorant and asinine. If Queen Elizabeth thinks Markle’s notions are acceptable and realistic, she must have entered her dotage, mental as well as physical.

      • The Royal Family has not exactly set the standard for intellectual rigor.the past 100 years.

        • Polly Styrene says

          And Markle is an uninformed celebrity with a platform, unfortunately.

  2. The unmentionable truths are that

    1. If one culture conquered another, that means that there is something about that culture that is superior (note: something, not necessarily everything). Which means that is not at all a bad idea to study it in depth.

    2. There are as a rule no good guys in history. The conquered generally behave no better than the conquerors once the roles are reversed (and they have been reversed on numerous occasions).

    The whole “decolonization” movement can only rest on two factors: deep ignorance of history and of human behavioral biology plus childish naivety and stupidity on one hand, and a well organized behind-the-scenes project to enforce it on society. That the former is a strong factor is clear, the big question is how much of the latter is behind all this.

    • Reyn says

      1. Doesn’t make any sense, “culturally superior”? It would seem technology is the defining factor, and also sheer manpower, and political alliances, and you can’t rule out diseases that’s how the Aztecs got conquered.
      2. Yes.

        • ga gamba says

          Stating “false equilvalence” isn’t the slam dunk you think it is. More then merely assert, you need to substantiate.

          If you can’t do so, then you’re about as informed and useful as a bumper sticker.

          • Jorge says

            @Ga Gamba: I think you may have misunderstood my intent.

            “There are as a rule no good guys in history.”

            If there are no “good guys” in history, then there are no “good guys” in life. Imperfect empires that fight to eradicate slavery are no better than empires that spread it, for example. Imperfect countries that attempt to respect human rights are no better than those that violate those rights as a matter of routine.

            “The conquered generally behave no better than the conquerors once the roles are reversed.”

            And very often behave much worse, both before and after. It’s not a polite thing to say these days, but compared to what came before, European colonialism was in some cases comparatively mild.

          • ga gamba says

            Jorge,

            That’s a good explanation. Thanks.

            Barring the Belgian Congo and Norman British Isles, I don’t dispute your last paragraph. For example, the colonial Manchus were very brutal to the Han Chinese, and they conducted an exhaustive study of how to best manipulate the Han to rule over them more successfully than other foreign invaders had. Perhaps the Manchus many not be technically colonial because they moved their capital from Mukden to Beijing. (I wonder if the emphasis on colonialism is a way to avoid examining the troubling history of conquerors who didn’t rule from afar but moved right in and took over.) Further, whether you’re being oppressed by people who look like you and speak your language or being oppressed by people who are neither, you’re still being oppressed. Moreover, often because the outsiders aren’t savvy to the cultural intricacies, you may be able to get more over on them. That said, you may find yourself punished for things that your own wouldn’t punish you for.

            A counterpoint to there are no bad (or no good). Perhaps it’s rather nuanced. Now, I shall not simply declare “It’s naunced!” and walk way.

            During the Civil War there were several anti-draft riots in the North – the most famous in New York City. Many of the rioters were not in favour of slavery, but they weren’t so opposed to it that they felt their lives should be jeopardised. “The succession of the South doesn’t bother me. Good riddance.”

            In WWI pacifists such as the Amish refused to be inducted, so they were imprisoned. Since the prisoners’ garb had buttons, they refused to wear it. Some died due to exposure. They often refused to comply with their jailers demands and were frequently beaten. At the time the idea of conscientious objector hadn’t been embraced by law, so the Amish, other Anabaptists, Quakers, and other pacifists where SOL.

            The same thing happened during the Vietnam War with many refusing to be drafted. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Viet Cong ever called me nigger,” said Muhammed Ali in a one-two punch of defiance.

            In the defence of human rights for some group, others’ human rights were trampled.

      • @ Reyn

        It is true the Europeans introduced smallpox to South America, but in exchange, syphilis was introduced to Europe from South America. But these days people only want one side of history to be told.

        • Skallagrimsen says

          And smallpox would have wiped out approximately as many Native Americans if European explorers had come as peaceful as lambs. If Chinese or Persian or Turkish explorers had arrived in Mesoamerica instead, the result would have been approximately the same, regardless of their intentions.The epidemiological catastrophe wasn’t understood, let alone foreseen or planned, by any of the parties involved.

          • Exactly, skallagrimsen, but they also forget that in this period Europeans were also dying from smallpox, the belief that they had a magical cure/resistance, does not happen until much, much, later.

            And it totally disregards the devastation caused by syphilis upon Europeans, men, women and newborn babies?

            Today our indigenous have children infected with syphilis, even infants, huge problems of child rape and terrible family violence rates, child neglect and child suicide. But the left say they need to defecate Captain Cook statues and the indigenous will be fine.

          • the gardner says

            Gee, who discovered the cures for smallpox and syphilis? Old white European guys!

          • stevengregg says

            This also disregards the billion Europeans who died of smallpox before the minority of survivors developed immunity to it.

      • Lert345 says

        Reyn

        The Aztecs were conquered because a small group of Spaniards had the support of native tribes who were tired of seeing thousands of their members sacrificed on Aztec altars. WHile diseases played a role, it was more a case of befriending the enemy.

        • Both are true. Smallpox had declined in virulence in Europe but was reenergized in a population that was “naive,” having no prior exposure. Subsaharan Africa resisted white settlement until quite late because the indigenous diseases were even worse than smallpox. The Aztecs were terrible neighbors and the Spanish had a lot of help.

      • aldousk says

        Technology is a cultural artefact. It is a significant part of all cultures. Western culture was, for a time, better than most of that of other cultures.

      • The Aztecs got conquered because their neighbors hated them and preferred to ally themselves with the 400 Spanish

    • stevengregg says

      The allies were the good guys in WWII and defeated unmistakeably bad guys in Hirohito’s Japan, Hitler’s Germany, and Mussolini’s Italy.

      • The allies were the good guys in WWII and defeated unmistakeably bad guys in Hirohito’s Japan, Hitler’s Germany, and Mussolini’s Italy.

        Only someone utterly ignorant of history and why WWII was fought could say something so monumentally stupid.

        • peanut gallery says

          I can’t really blame him though. All media since I have been alive had presented WWII as a battle of Good vs Evil, but it’s more complicated than that. What Hitler was doing was evil, but the Allies weren’t in it because they were being heroic.

      • ga gamba says

        Is this correct? Should anyone call the USSR and Stalin “good guys”?

        Let’s see, in the 1920s and 30s they aided Germany’s secret and proscribed remilitarisation. Under a secret annex to the Rapallo Agreement, Germany built weapons factories in the USSR and conducted training inside the USSR (Kama tank school, Lipetsk fighter-pilot school, and gas warfare too) to evade detection by WWI’s victors who had placed over a thousand inspectors in Germany to monitor compliance of the Versailles Treaty. Germany gave Russia an evolutionary boost in technology and training, but Stalin squandered a lot of that by murdering many of these officers later. It was here during the thirteen-year cooperation that Germany developed the tactics of coordinating mechanised ground warfare and aerial assault that came to be known as blitzkrieg.

        Next Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler that included the secret protocols to divvy up Poland between the two powers. This green-lit Stalin to seize the Baltic states and invade Finland as well. Most importantly, Hitler approved Stalin’s seizing of two Romanian provinces – more on that in moment. Russia was also a supplier of petrol to Germany – Hitler’s lack of petroleum was his Achilles heel, but Germany also lacked other critical resources which the UUSR provided too. The 1939 German–Soviet Trade and Credit Agreement addressed many of these problems. This was followed by the German–Soviet Commercial Agreement in February 1940 and in January 1941 the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement.

        Remember, with war between Germany and UK/France starting in ’39, Hitler was cut off from most resources he’d need to sustain the fight. Yes, Germany had stockpiled many resources, but having the USSR become his new supplier, one willing to accept marks, meant that Hitler wouldn’t have to dip into his reserves until much later. With German victories in western and northern Europe in 1940, the responsibility for making sure these occupied territories had basic resources fell onto Hitler – the occupied states were now cut off from supplies by the British navy too. Unless Germany took action to guarantee its oil supply, the addition of the occupied territories plus operations in North Africa beginning in June 1940 would drain Germany’s meager supply in a year. And don’t forget, Italy needed oil too – its reserves were projected to run out in ’41.

        Germany declared complete disinterest of Romanian Bessarabia, which Stalin wanted to seize. In June 1940 he did so. This tossed Romania in the Axis camp in September, which is what Hitler expected and was why he declared non interest to Stalin – Romania has remained neutral for fear of provoking hostilities with Stalin. Now with Romanian oil, Hitler was less dependent on the USSR. This secured oil for his Operation Barbarossa, which originally focussed of taking Ukraine and Caucasus for the resources but then the Germans lost the plot and split their forces into three. In March of ’41 German generals such as Georg Thomas were saying that Germany needed to seize the Caucasus by the end of the second month of the invasion. If by 1 Sept ’41 Germany failed to have the Caucasus under its control there would be dire consequences for the Reich and the survival of the economy.

        The Germans missed that objective in ’41 but had enough juice to try in ’42 with Fall Blau. They got the Caucasus but couldn’t hold it.

        And the outcome of the war? Pretty much what Stalin wanted. Eastern Europe in his grasp, control of the islands north of Japan to protect Vladivostok, Mao soon to take control of China, Kim in control of North Korea and preparing to invade the South, and the European colonial powers UK, France, and the Netherlands faltering everywhere overseas. It just took tens and tens of millions of lives, most of them Soviet, to attain it.

        Stalin was as pathological and evil a person as Hitler.

        • Mark Derek says

          Your overview is reflected in the analyses of the likes of Viktor Suvorov in, ‘The Chief Culprit – Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II’. The figure of 100 million deaths at the feet of communist regimes is often quoted. Communism is trumped by Islam with a death toll of 270 million. Buried in this statistic are the wasting of empires and nations, genocide, barbarism, subjugation, slavery and indoctrination. Somewhere near you the game plan is being patiently and studiously implemented. Study the doctrine and wonder why this Grand Design is excluded from curricula and discourse.

    • david of Kirkland says

      No, they are just spoiled. They have never struggled, life has been overly good compared to the average human existence, they enjoy all the benefits and fruits of western civilization, while then pretending all that privilege was bad. They cannot point to other societies that have proven to be better than western ones.

    • William Conlon says

      I have an issue with #2 because that doesn’t explain how the US treated both Germany and Japan after WWII. After listening to Douglas MacArthur’s speech on board the Missouri. An aide to Mamoru Shigemitsu, a Japanese diplomat present at the surrender remarked that he could not imagine the Japanese being so magnanimous towards the US. Had the same speech been given by the victorious Japanese in Washington after defeating the US.
      Western Civilization has committed a lot of sins, not the least of which is the current war on “unwanted” babies. But the West is also responsible for a lot of what is good in the world. It is broken and sick but there is still a chance to fix it. The alternative is unaccepetable…….

  3. Farris says

    The author asks in essence don’t those wishing to decolonize curricula see the hypocrisy and racism within their own moment? This reminds of a conversation I often have with my wife. She frequently tries to rationalize and understand the irrational actor. “Because they are irrational”, I generally respond.

    I found this article well written and its points well made. SJWs remind me of the line from the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One”.

    “Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” Replies Brando with a world-weary sigh, “What’ve you got?”

    • @ Farris

      No. No they do not see.

      For they are far too virtuous to see, and far to beholden to their victimhood, too fragile to search. And truth is only a construct anyway.

    • codadmin says

      Exactly, these non-white ‘decolonisers’ are ‘colonisers’.

      It’s so blatant. The history of the world is the history of conquest. Conquer or be conquered is the lesson of history. The European colonial period was, in hindsight, a period of self-defence after centuries of oppression under the banner of Islam.

      • Amin says

        @ codadmin

        “Exactly, these non-white ‘decolonisers’ are ‘colonisers’. ”

        Utter rubbish. Just a lazy t-t-for-tat accusation that makes little sense.

        “The European colonial period was, in hindsight, a period of self-defence after centuries of oppression under the banner of Islam.”

        It wasn’t. It was Europe flexing its newfound superior technological and scientific muscles.

        • codadmin says

          @amin

          It makes perfect sense.

          I suspect you are annoyed Europeans didn’t just accept their ‘fate’ centuries ago.

  4. Thank you Doug Stokes, this is by far the best essay I’ve yet read on quillette. For anyone who is interested Douglas Murray’s book “The Strange Death of Europe, ” also explores in detail the geo/political crisis of Europe (and indeed the West), indulging in guilt and self flagulation. Whilst also facing mass immigration, including a portion that also despise the west.

    Meera Sabaratnam’s praise of the Duchess, and a thinly disguised promotion of equality of outcome, seems to have already successfully “dumbed down” academics. If Stokes is correct that (asked) “the impact of Barbary slavery on European civilization, and you will almost certainly draw a blank”, then the proffesors today know less than the primary school teacher who taught me about the dark ages in the 70s.

    As a digression, by the time my eldest was at school the Barbary pirates had been replaced by Vikings. By the time my youngest was at school, history had been banned from the curriculum and replaced by the study of indigenous culture. Today 20 somethings exchange historical facts as if they were banned books.

    You would think someone from the palace would warn Meghan Markle, that when they finish with the statues and the decolonization of the institutions, at some point they will come for the Royal Family.
    There is a precedent for beheading royalty. Or perhaps she’s hedging her bets.

  5. Peter from Oz says

    If it is wrong for white males to rule the world, then it is wrong for any other group to do so. All the identitarians are therefore just as evil as those whom they want to replace at the top. The problem is of course that none of those in the victim groups who are seeking power are worthy of it. They are only good at grievance politics. Thus, if they ever did get into power, they would continue to tell us how sexist all men are, even if all men were locked in gulags and women held all positions of power.

    • jakesbrain says

      Firstly, nobody who actively seeks power deserves to be trusted with it. Secondly, the Left has internalized (however unconsciously) Orwell’s line that the purpose of power is power, revolution be damned; their ultimate desire is to hunt down all who do not think like them — the ones who have kept their philosophy suppressed for so long — and make those people suffer.

      The ultimate goal, of course, is to kill you, but they will start in small ways, like making it impossible for you to financially support yourself. Good luck staying out of the gutter when no employer will hire you and no bank or store will touch your filthy conservative money.

      • “… Good luck staying out of the gutter when no employer will hire you and no bank or store will touch your filthy conservative money.”

        Now, now my good man. You’re sounding like a victim. Opportunity for wealth creation is still everywhere in the west. Politics be damned.

        • jakesbrain says

          Opportunity for wealth creation is still everywhere in the west. Politics be damned.

          Quite. That’s one of the things they intend to put an end to.

  6. Mark Domash says

    The central difference between American slavery and other types of slavery was that it was based on skin color whereas other regions slavery was more or less slavery without regard for skin color. Thus descendants of slaves in the Ottoman empire or Barbary states are not clearly delineated by recognizable characteristics (they may all very well still be poorer on average) as they are in the United States. This insidious innovation is primarily the cause of our current racial problems in the United States. Britain, obviously, did not have any appreciable number of African slaves on its home islands, but the class system in England (which is not mentioned by the author) is obviously a behind a great deal of the animosity to the Western “telos”. In the US, it is the continued lower status of descendants of slaves more than the class system, but there is still rebellion against the system as a whole because of the nature of the “peculiar institution.” Hopefully some of the more useful parts of the Western system will survive (various freedoms, including freedom of labor), though sometimes the baby does go out with the bathwater.

    • @ Mark Domash

      I was taught a different story. Originally American slaves were a mixture of British convicts, largely white indentured servants and African slaves, the third being in no way always preferred as they were a) more expensive, and b) had language difficulties.

      After the American War if Independence, America nolonger had access to British convicts etc. which increased their reliance on African slaves. For Britain the need for somewhere to send convicts, led to the colonisation of Australia.

      Australia has no history of slavery. In the very short period that Australia was settled Before Britain outlawed slavery, convicts were used to provide slave labour.

      Despite this, many young Australians genuinely believe our Indigenous people were slaves, including many young teachers who perpetuate the myth.

      • @ Mark Domash

        The reason that you don’t “see” the results of Middle Eastern slavery through the lens of different skin colour or race is not as benign as you might suppose. Whilst they enslaved millions of Europeans, they also enslaved 100s of millions of Africans. It was their practice to castrate all male slaves and to kill the children of female slaves. This is why you can’t “see” them.

        The European slave trade also depended entirely on the Arab slave trade. Arab slave traders, gathered the slaves through trade, kidnapping and war, than transported them to the ports where they were sold to European captains.

        • Ned Flanders says

          “In the US, it is the continued lower status of descendants of slaves…”

          Who says this continues? You?

          • Mark Domash says

            This is in reply to Ned Flanders. As a brief example, one weekend last summer 100 people were shot in Chicago (pretty much all descendants of slaves I would guess, but heavily black). Is there any predominantly white area in the US where this would happen?

        • Mark Domash says

          Unfortunately the comment system doesn’t seem to follow directly after the post. My comment on Bacon’s Rebellion follows Anita’s first comment. Regarding Anita’s comment beginning “the reason that you don’t…”, I in no ways believe any slavery is “benign”. My point was that the consequences of slaves being branded by skin color ensures, more than just slavery, that it will be a current-day problem in a manner that would not be present should that not occur. Regarding European/Arab slave trade, the figure I remember from a NYRB article (and seems to be supported by the Wikipedia article on Arab Slave Trade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade) is that 7 million slaves were sent to the Americas and 11 million to Arab lands. Whether this is accurate, it is certainly much more plausible that Arabia would receive more slaves, given the closer geographic proximity and the fact that Arab civilization dates form the 7th century CE, whereas the Americas only imported slaves for a relatively brief historical period (a little more than two centuries).

          As far as the culling of all descendants of slaves in Arabia, this goes against economic sense. During WWII, Krupp industries used children as young as six in their munitions plants, so useful labor can be obtained even from very young children. Is five years or so of child-rearing to obtain 50 years of service such a cost? It would be interesting to see what the admixtures of genetic heritage exist in Arabia today. Incidentally, the Wikipedia article referenced above does not mention execution of children though it does mention that castration was sometimes used.

          • dirk says

            Castration makes more sense in harems, and related polygamous systems. The chief/sultan/boss wants to be sure that the children of his many wives (prestige) are his. Where you buy an expensive slave from another continent, every child you can have extra counts and extends the workforce.

        • Jay Salhi says

          @Anita

          “It was their practice to castrate all male slaves and to kill the children of female slaves.”

          A minor correction from someone who lived many years in the Middle East. The eunich system was abolished in 1924. Slavery in many Middle Eastern countries was not abolished until the 1960s. And not all female slaves were killed. There are many dark skinned Arabs who are in fact descendants of slaves.

          To use just one example, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005 was dark skinned. As a child, he was mocked by his siblings as being the “son of a slave” both because of his skin color and because his mother was, in fact, a slave.

        • Amin says

          “Whilst they enslaved millions of Europeans, they also enslaved 100s of millions of Africans.”

          Really? Where’d they all come and go?

          “It was their practice to castrate all male slaves and to kill the children of female slaves.”

          References?

          “The European slave trade also depended entirely on the Arab slave trade. ”

          No it didn’t.

          Your sole line is to minimize European slave trade by highlighing and exaggerating Arab slave trade. And in that line, you will make things up. I doubt you actually know anything at all.

          • Charlie says

            Muslims enslaved Europeans from conquest of Spain in about 711 AD.

            https://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Gold-Extraordinary-Africas-European/dp/0340794704

            https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5q9zcB3JS40C&redir_esc=y

            In this book, Davis uses many new historical sources to re-examine one of the least understood forms of human bondage in modern times – the systematic enslavement of white, Christian Europeans by the Muslims of North Africa’s Barbary Coast. Far from the minor phenomenon that many have assumed it to be, white slavery in the Maghreb turns out, in Davis’ account, to have had enormous consequences, ensnaring as many as a million victims from France and Italy to Spain, Holland, Great Britain, the Americas, and even Iceland in the centuries when it flourished between 1500 and 1800. Whether dealing with the methods used by slavers, the experience of slavery, or its destructive impact on the slaves themselves, Davis demonstrates the many often surprising similarities between this ‘other’ slavery and the much better known human-bondage suffered at the very same time by black Africans in the Americas

            The Ottoman Empire had slaves until the 1890s.

      • Mark Domash says

        Please read about Bacon’s Rebellion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon%27s_Rebellion) and incorporate it into your body of knowledge. The Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 were well before the American Revolution. In short, indentured servants were probably “preferred” as long as they behaved, but they couldn’t be controlled as well as African slaves.

      • Mark Domash says

        Further reply to Anita’s claim to preference for indentured servants and the American Revolution cutting off supplies to British convicts:

        Most historians have explained this shift by citing either social or economic shifts in Virginia beginning around the 1670s. Morgan and others, for instance, have argued that Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677) was, in part, the result of discontent among former servants. By harnessing that discontent and, in the name of racial solidarity, pointing it in the direction of enslaved Africans, white elites could create a more stable workforce and one that was less likely to threaten their own interests. Other historians have observed that the flow of English servants began to dry up beginning in the 1660s and fell off dramatically around 1680, forcing planters to rely more heavily on slaves. Slavery did not end indentured servitude, in other words; the end of servitude gave rise to slavery.

        https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Indentured_Servants_in_Colonial_Virginia#start_entry

        Convict labor was never widespread in the Americas (though Georgia was a penal colony), though of course indentured servants were treated similarly to slaves in many cases (this article has grim examples)

        • Coffee Klatch says

          I have to tell you, straight away, that your facts will be roundly ignored here, sir. Too many people who have done nothing with their lives have to busy themselves defending their rightful claim to civilizing the world to be bothered engaging with your facts or research.

        • @ Mark,

          I cannot profess any great knowledge of American history, but I can give the perspective from a different country on your perceived problem.
          It’s well past beer time here and the weather is hot .
          But I will attempt a rebuttal.

          For a start, unless you are in primary school, I do not accept Wikipedia, especially for a subject as complex as what you claim. I read primary documents,

          You are willing to document, through Wikipedia, a number of slaves, largely to the Carabean, during a couple of centuries, whilst disregarding the fact that the Arab slave trade has been happening for over 1400 years?

          You said, culling slaves does go against economic sense. This is why it didn’t happen in the US. But your view is culturally and entho – centric. Many cultures prefer cultural or religious practices over, economic sense.

          Look around it’s still happening today. But maybe you’re too blind to see it.

          As for your quote about Virginia, perhaps that might be the cultural practice, of a few at that time. I have never been to Virginia, but I have read “Gone with the Wind” which was fiction, but perhaps facts don’t matter? Have you ever been to Virginia, and whilst there did you perhaps record the actual attitudes whilst they were in living memory, or read them?

          The fiction and factual history of this aversion to indentured servants is not recorded in the literature I have read, that was written at the time. Perhaps a modern invention ?
          Daniel Defoe in the 1600s describes the birth of Moll Flanders and her mother’s life in Virginia, as do all historical novels through out the 20th C.

          Finally.

          How many African Americans are currently enslaved ?

          How many people in Africa and the Middle East are currently enslaved and what are you currently doing to help them?

          And all these African Americans being shot in Chicago, whose shooting them?

          The biggest genocide that is ignored is the white genocide in South Africa. What do you know about that?

          For that matter I currently live in a country whose culture has been destroyed and we have been ethnically replaced, does that matter?

          There are many white impoverished American people who have felt dis anfrancized, do you care?
          I am middle aged, I also have chronic illness, but our socialist medical programme which worked reasonably well before immigration became the best game in town. Now it’s defunct. I have a combined income of 30 000 US dollars. And we still have a mortgage, of course .Does that matter, more than 500 000 extra immigrants who Now use the health system our taxes supported for decades?

          And by the way I don’t even own a computer, so don’t please go so low as to correct trivial complaints. But I spend my as much as I can with my husband, my children and grandchildren, I also volunteer, as I always have done as a trained social worker, I have genuinely spent my adult life, which began young, I was married at 17, devoted to the the children, their mothers, and also to adolescents, you know the people most walk past, those who gather under bridges ect.

          How do you spend your time?

          • ga gamba says

            Anita,

            The offspring of a female slave and a male Muslim owner is a Muslim and thus may not be enslaved, if, and it’s an important if, one complies with Islam. That said, there are many believers of many faiths who take an ala carte approach to religion.

            To those wondering about male slaves in the Middle East. not all male slaves were castrated emasculated, but those who worked in or near owners’ homes and families likely were – the Ottoman sultans (or, more likely, their mothers) even went so far to forbid phallus shaped vegetables and gourds into their harems without first being cut, so I think we can conclude there was a no-nonsense approach taken by many. The death rate from emasculation was sky high; the most successful were Coptic monks in Egypt whose procedure only killed 75% of the slaves – if they couldn’t pass urine due to scarring of the urethra or their wounds became infected, they were doomed.

            The Arabs had plantations too, for example in southern Iraq, so procreation of slaves by slaves made sense. These slaves lived in the harsh environment of the southern marshes whilst their owners and their families remained in Basra. It is here where the 15-year Zanj Rebellion occurred. That said, the number of impoverished free people to do backbreaking work exceeded demand, so plantation slavery passed. In North America there was a deficit of labour and a lot of land to be developed. In the Middle East slaves were to be of service to their owners (or in service of their esteem held by others as being wealthy enough to afford a large number of slaves) whereas in North America most slaves were to be productive, generally.

            If anyone is looking for a book on the topic, Ronald Segal’s Islam’s Black Slaves is worth the read. He estimates that of every three black slaves in the Middle East two were female. If you’re wondering about numbers, this article cites figures from Duncan Clarke’s Slaves and Slavery.

          • Mark Domash says

            reply to Anita in comment ending in how I spend my time: Evidently wasting it posting responses to ill-informed arguments. I will point out a few things:

            First, Wikipedia articles have references to the secondary sources (the primary sources are writings by those who were alive at the time or near after, like Tacitus regarding the Julio-Claudians). The slave figures on Arabia cite three or four authors who can be consulted–it doesn’t appear you have even though you claim to read primary sources.

            Citing a romance novel for historicity is laughable on its face. I have been to Virginia, though presence in a geographical location hardly qualifies as expertise, otherwise hoards of American tourists would be experts on French culture.

            Finally, with regard to African-Americans shooting each other, so? Hundreds of years of slavery and a hundred years of Jim Crow and its like appears to have had a detrimental effect on blacks in this country, and that includes in interpersonal relations with other blacks. Does anyone not believe blacks in the US would be doing much better were it not for that? Incidentally, there is anecdotal evidence that much of the black achievement in this country comes not from descendants of slaves but rather immigrants or descendants of immigrants who are of African ancestry (Barack Obama or Kamela Harris anyone?). See also

            https://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/24/us/top-colleges-take-more-blacks-but-which-ones.html

            Salient quote:

            While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard’s undergraduates
            were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis
            Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard’s African and African-American
            studies department, pointed out that the majority of them —
            perhaps as many as two-thirds — were West Indian and African
            immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of
            biracial couples.

            Now, this was from a decade ago but this is one of those topics that can’t be discussed in the US (it would be nice to see a Quillette article on it). I take it as evidence that the end result of the above oppression described above has truly damaged African-American standing in US society. I’d love to hear suggestions for how to ameliorate this.

          • Doug Deeper says

            Thank you Anita, you sound like the kind of person who actually makes a difference in the world – a very positive one.

        • My uncle’s (aunt’s husband) father was indentured as many English immigrants were in the 19th century. It was to pay his fare to America. In England he was a skilled bricklayer (and was indentured there as an apprentice.) but the indenture for his transportation was to a farmer. The farmer quickly learned that he was a skilled bricklayer and rented him out to others for that purpose. When he had paid off his indenture, he worked for International Harvester as chief of the bricklayers in their steel plant in Chicago. One of his nieces had his indenture papers.

      • TJWhite says

        You need to re-educate yourself then. There were NO white ‘American slaves’ – indentured servants and the convict system were entirely different systems of bonded labour. Colonists began ‘importing’ enslaved Africans long before indentured servitude declined as a labour system, and the trade began to rise long before the American Revolution.

        • @ TJWhite,

          To give my personal opinion from a country which never legally engaged in slavery. As I previously said, I could cherry pick a quote if I was so emotionally attached to an ideology, as you seem to be. If you actually read what I wrote, I never denied that African Slaves were available in this period.

          However Virginia is an unusual case. And should not be held as an example to the norm. Neither should it be held in perpetual worship.

          Who cares at all about the white slaves? Yes those white men and women who don’t fit the communist narrative.

          If it’s not a rude question, just how white are you, TJWhite?
          Are you actually standing for “in cultural preference”.

          Are you seeking equality or power?

          • TJWhite says

            Anita,

            What ideology is it that you suggest I’m attached to? History?!

            You stated that American ‘slaves’ were a mixture of indentured servants, convict labourers, and Africans. You’re doing it again here. It’s just historically inaccurate. It’s not about Virginia specifically – it’s about all of the American colonies.

            When you’re crafting a historical narrative that seeks to make whites the victim of slavery, you just might want to try a little harder. This is a lame attempt.

          • Brent says

            What country are you in that never had slavery….I don’t think there is one in the world?

        • “There were NO white ‘American slaves’”

          Inaccurate.

          There were plenty quite early on. Irish people were especially vulnerable. Part of why Irish people for a long time (even beyond official US independence) were considered “now white.”

          Not to mention a large number of surviving court records where indentured servants in certain circumstances were ruled as permanent “property” of their masters.

        • ga gamba says

          @TJ,

          I think you may wrong, at least in part. That said, this is the definition of slave I’m working with: a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. As property, they may be sold or transferred, for example by inheritance, to others.

          OK, yes, indentured servitude met all the conditions of the definition. Further by law in pre Civil War America indentured servants were slaves because for many years the law didn’t distinguish one from the other – this would change. Furthermore, whilst indentured a person could not marry or have children. A master’s permission was needed to leave the premises, to perform work for anyone else, or to keep money for personal use. An unruly indentured servant was whipped or punished by other means for improper behavior. Those who absconded were pursued and returned to their owners. If they were white and an English speaker it was easier for them to disappear, but how far can a runaway get on foot in a day or two? If the runaway was fortunate there was a large city nearby.

          Transported convicts, both men and women, were sold by the Crown to new owners to perform labour. This satisfies the ownership of property condition. They too were compelled to obey their masters.

          Though unmentioned in your exchange with Anita there were other forms of servitude too. For example, peonage existed until outlawed in the US in 1867, but it still continued due to irregular enforcement. I’m more familiar with its application in Asia. Often the debtor would transfer his children or his spouse to the creditor for whom they would labour until the debt was repaid, which was often never or until the person’s usefulness was exhausted.

          To my understanding, villeinage never existed in the US, either pre or post colonial.

          The history of America is tricky because not only did British law apply (and in areas Dutch, Spanish, or French law as well) for a long while, each colony and later state had its own laws too. Over time many colonies (states) began to differentiate between indentured servants and slaves, often adding a racial aspect. But, at the start there was no difference between the groups.

          I certainly understand why some today want to claim these are different, but using the well known definition and examining the law and practices of each, they were for many years the same. I think Anita’s thought that there may be an ideological reason to refuse to acknowledge this may be substantiated, if she chooses to do so.

      • This is my narrative outline of slavery in England and it’s American colonies.

        The term slave describes an ancient civil status in the English common law. We know that slavery was common amongst the Anglo-Saxons at the time of the Conquest and that slavery was continued, unchanged, after 1066.

        Under the common law, one could become a slave in one of two ways; either by selling one’s self into slavery or by becoming a prisoner of war. The surviving records from Anglo-Saxon times suggest that taking on slaves in times of famine or scarcity and freeing them after a term of years or in one’s will were considered acts of Christian charity. The Massachusetts Body of Liberties of 1641 provide a concise summary of the common law with respect to slavery at the time:

        ¶ 91. “There shall never be any bond slaverie, villinage or Captivitie [close confinement] amongst us unles it be lawfull Captives taken in just warres, and such strangers as willingly selle themselves or are sold to us. And these shall have all the liberties and Christian usages which the law of god established in Israell concerning such persons doeth morally require. This exempts none from servitude who shall be Judged thereto by Authoritie.” https://history.hanover.edu/texts/masslib.html#ms

        In 1646, a Dutch ship landed a few Africans in Boston and offered them for sale. The Africans were seized by the Magistrates and returned to Guinea with a note of apology assuring the reader that the Bay Colony would not tolerate “man stealing.”

        In the Anglosphere, no fine distinction seems to have made between indentured servants, slaves, pressed men and lawful prisoners. After Preston, and as late as 1653, Cromwell was selling captured Scots Engagers and Irish Confederates into slavery in the Caribbean sugar plantations. Perhaps that is how Alexander Hamilton’s ancestor arrived on St. Nevis.

        Under the English common law, one’s civil status was inherited from one’s father and if the father was unknown the child was usually presumed to have, or after trial found to have, the civil status of free man. At least one Black slave in Virginia argued this point and was judged to be free in the early 1660s. Common law slaves had access to the courts and could petition for redress of grievances. If a slave was subjected to cruel treatment or intentional injury or disfigurement by his master, the law directed that after trial on the facts, the slave should be freed and damages paid to him. One author, Allen D. Boyer, speculates that the popularity of apparently collusive actions to try title in the 16th C. was to extinguish any suggestion that the grantor or his ancestors might have been slaves. Boyer speculates that Sir Edward Coke’s grandfather might actually have had the civil status of slave.

        That sort of slavery was replaced in all of England’s American plantation colonies after 1662 when Charles II and the Board of Trade allowed those colonies to change the common law by denying slaves all civil liberties and by establishing that amongst slaves, the child inherited the mother’s civil status. That was the kind of slavery that was papered over in Art. IV, § 2 of the US Constitution by lumping bond slaves in along with voluntarily indentured servants and convicted prisoners and calling them all persons held to service or labor.

        Up to the 1850s, most Americans had no idea how awful slavery had become in the states that began as plantation colonies. When they became collectively aware of what Charles II and the Board of Trade had created during the Restoration, they ended it.

        • Charlie says

          Compared to other countries, slavery was minimal in Anglo Saxon times. Generally slavery was rare in Christian countries, though serfdom was common but this varied.St Wilfred preached against slavery in 1008AD in Bristol. William I banned the sale of people. Vikings captured people in order to sell them to the Arabs.

          • And slave raiders from North Africa were capturing slaves from Ireland, Wales and Cornwall through the 1630s. Captain William Rainborowe’s 1637 expedition against the Barbary pirates of the Salé in Morocco are almost forgotten.

    • david of Kirkland says

      They used skin color? What color were the Africans who sold their victims into slavery supposed to find in Africa?

      • Mark Domash says

        To david of Kirkland:

        No, Africans selling other Africans into slavery did not use skin color, which is why the consequences of slavery in Africa do not have the same consequences as in America (and I’m aware there is still slavery in Africa–in the US also–“human trafficking” is slavery by another name). It is in the US that slavery was based on skin color and so when the slaves were “freed” they didn’t get the same type of freedom other Americans enjoyed.

        • Not only in the US but in all the British American plantation colonies from Guiana to Virginia and from Bermuda and the Caribbean.

          The “human trafficking” bit is nonsense; human trafficking is now illegal and against public policy almost everywhere.

          • Marc Domash says

            Slavery is illegal in Africa–it is still widespread though not as common as, say, before the European colonization of that continent. So the “nonsense” claim is a non sequitur.

        • BrannigansLaw says

          @Mark Domash

          Thanks for your informative posts. I don’t necessarily agree with all that you have said but you’ve argued your points very well.

          Regarding Blacks in America today, I think that most of their problems today stem from terrible culture (which is one of the true legacies of slavery) and low average IQ.

          Rich Blacks are outperformed on their SAT’s by poor Whites and Asians. Roughly 50% of the Black White IQ gap is a result of genetic differences between Blacks and Whites. Rates of criminality among Blacks are ridiculously high even after controlling for poverty.

          Blacks were on the path to recovery in the early 20th century with increasing income, growing educational achievement and relatively low crime rates (in spite of strong discriminatory practices and attitudes).

          Then minimum wage laws put many Blacks out of work and the welfare state provided the wrong incentives that played a part in the explosion of single motherhood. This produced a generation of young fatherless men who ended up more prone to drop out of school, do drugs, commit crime and join gangs. Of course, discriminatory practices made all this worse.

          Trust between Blacks in these in neighborhoods and between Blacks and the police plummeted as crime rates skyrocketed along with the introduction of crack cocaine and the overzealous “War on Drugs”.

          As social problems in these neighborhoods exacerbated, moral standards and individual expectations dropped, lowering the bar for what was considered acceptable behavior in these neighborhoods. The fact that the police weren’t trusted meant that antisocial and criminal behavior became tolerated and rarely challenged.

          Today the biggest thing holding Blacks back are other Blacks. Whether it’s through peer pressure to “act Black” by forgoing educational achievement or the fact that most Blacks who suffer from the effects of crime are victims of other Blacks.

          Blacks have to take responsibility for their own actions though the government should find ways to help Blacks fix these issues in their communities. How should this be done? I don’t know but I do know that telling Blacks that Whites are responsible for all their problems and actively prevent them from being able to improve themselves is not the way to go (not that you’re claiming that but progressives seem to do).

          • Marc Domash says

            BrannigansLaw

            Thank you for your comments. While there is a good deal of truth in what you say, I will key on your last question “How should this be done?” I actually don’t know, though I certainly support most efforts to improve the situation. I agree that blaming others for your problems (though they may indeed be the ones to blame) in general does not produce the mindset necessary to overcome problems.

            I suppose my solution is to experiment. There are 50 states in the US and there is a great deal of latitude in how they can set policy. You could have in one state charter schools, in another reparations, in another “law and order”, in another buying up real estate in suburban ares for low-income African-Americans, etc.
            All of these cost money (law and order also, because prisons are expensive). But they can be tried.

            I will say the gist of my original comment has been lost–which is that colourism and its association with slavery created a much more intractable situation in the British domains (including America but most especially in America) than slavery usually does. It has created a semi-permanent sub-class for which everyone in the US is suffering. Whatever can be done to ameliorate this would be a plus.

          • Stephanie says

            Marc Domash,

            The problem with using states as testing grounds for solutions is that the source of black criminality (single motherhood) is subsidized at the federal level. The states have no ability to remove those incentives, only to add more of them.

            How does the government instill a sense of responsibility? That seems far outside its ability. What it can do is remove responsibility by treating people as children, providing them with unearned money and services. If such supports were removed, people would have to make smarter choices and rely on their families and communities in times of struggle. Only then can the black community build itself up. But any government who did that would face a serious loss in the following election. The (particularly black) electorate is accostomed to being bribed, they will not tolerate a rollback on unearned income.

            At this point, if the black community is to succeed, it will have to be despite the government.

        • @ Mark Domash

          There are hundreds of primary documents in English on the subject of slavery, including people who had been to Arabian slave markets.

          Seek out the diaries and accounts of sea captains from 1600-1750, many African explorers wrote on the subject, including but not limited to Livingston. Travel books from 1650-the early twentieth century give many first hand accounts of slave markets and practice towards slaves.

          Even Samuel Pepys wrote on the subject, a) as he travelled by sea on many occasions, and Charle11s
          Queen’s dowry was useless due to it being unable to be defended from Barbary pirates, this, and her childlessness were of general concern.

          • Marc Domash says

            The Wikipedia article on Arab Slave Trade gives many primary sources. Some of the counts given are as follows:

            Luiz Felipe de Alencastro states that there were 8 million slaves taken from Africa between the 8th and 19th centuries along the Oriental and the Trans-Saharan routes.[110]

            Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau has put forward a figure of 17 million African people enslaved (in the same period and from the same area) on the basis of Ralph Austen’s work.[111][page needed] Ronald Segal estimates between 11.5 and 14 million were enslaved by the Arab slave trade.[112][113][114][page needed] Other estimates place it around 11.2 million.[115]

            There has also been a considerable genetic impact on Arabs throughout the Arab world from pre-modern African and European slaves

            Those number in brackets are references–you’re free to consult them directly. Here are also the primary sources given in the article:

            b world from pre-modern African and European slaves.[116]

            Primary sources[edit]
            Medieval Arabic sources[edit]

            An 1816 illustration of Christian slaves in Algiers.
            These are given in chronological order. Scholars and geographers from the Arab world had been travelling to Africa since the time of Muhammad in the 7th century.

            Al-Masudi (died 957), Muruj adh-dhahab or The Meadows of Gold, the reference manual for geographers and historians of the Muslim world. The author had travelled widely across the Arab world as well as the Far East.
            Ya’qubi (9th century), Kitab al-Buldan or Book of Countries
            Abraham ben Jacob (Ibrahim ibn Jakub) (10th century), Jewish merchant from Córdoba[117]
            Al-Bakri, author of Kitāb al-Masālik wa’l-Mamālik or Book of Roads and Kingdoms, published in Córdoba around 1068, gives us information about the Berbers and their activities; he collected eyewitness accounts on Saharan caravan routes.
            Muhammad al-Idrisi (died circa 1165), Description of Africa and Spain
            Ibn Battuta (died circa 1377), Moroccan geographer who travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, to Gao and to Timbuktu. His principal work is called A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling.
            Ibn Khaldun (died in 1406), historian and philosopher from North Africa. Sometimes considered as the historian of Arab, Berber and Persian societies. He is the author of Muqaddimah orHistorical Prolegomena and History of the Berbers.
            Al-Maqrizi (died in 1442), Egyptian historian. His main contribution is his description of Cairo markets.
            Leo Africanus (died circa 1548), author of Descrittione dell’ Africa or Description of Africa, a rare description of Africa.
            Rifa’a al-Tahtawi (1801–1873), who translated medieval works on geography and history. His work is mostly about Muslim Egypt.
            Joseph Cuoq, Collection of Arabic sources concerning Western Africa between the 8th and 16th centuries (Paris 1975)
            European texts (16th–19th centuries)[edit]
            João de Castro, Roteiro de Lisboa a Goa (1538)
            James Bruce, (1730–1794), Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (1790)
            René Caillié, (1799–1838), Journal d’un voyage à Tombouctou
            Robert Adams, The Narrative of Robert Adams (1816)
            Mungo Park, (1771–1806), Travels in the Interior of Africa (1816)
            Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, (1784–1817), Travels in Nubia (1819)
            Heinrich Barth, (1821–1865), Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa (1857)
            Richard Francis Burton, (1821–1890), The Lake Regions of Central Africa (1860)
            David Livingstone, (1813–1873), Travel diaries (1866–1873)
            Henry Morton Stanley, (1841–1904), Through the Dark Continent (1878)
            Other sources[edit]
            Historical manuscripts such as the Tarikh al-Sudan, the Adalite Futuh al-Habash, the Abyssinian Kebra Nagast, and various Arabic and Ajam documents
            African oral tradition
            Kilwa Chronicle (16th century fragments)
            Numismatics: analysis of coins and of their diffusion
            Archaeology: architecture of trading posts and of towns associated with the slave trade
            Iconography: Arab and Persian miniatures in major libraries
            European engravings, contemporary with the slave trade, and some more modern
            Photographs from the 19th century onward

            This is given towards the end of the article. Studies have shown Wikipedia articles are typically as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica and such. The larger point is that unless one is a professional historian, or a dedicated amateur, one must rely on summaries. As a suggestion to you, don’t cite “facts” (such as heritage of slaves in pre-revolutionary Virginia) that are easily falsifiable. There are always many interpretations of even the most basic facts.

            Also, I see from your previous posts unrelated to this exchange that you are concerned about loss of culture in Western societies. While I can empathize to a certain extent, all cultures “appropriate” from other cultures and every society is influenced by others. There are many positive aspects to Western society (for one, it is the only culture that has voluntarily given up most of its colonies, and it has in general adopted a universal view of humans, even if it hasn’t lived up to that). But it will change. The obligation of those in the dominant culture is to try and make it change in a manner which is consistent with the positive aspects of that culture.

    • Charlie says

      The modern World is created by the Italian Renaissance, Dutch Commerce and the English Speaking World and people are envious of this success .

      The Renaissance and Enlightenment enabled those with talent and drive to flourish which benefitted them and everyone else.

      By comparison to other countries Britain was relatively upward mobile. Archers could earn 6 times a labourers wage. By 1380 men such as Sir John Knollys , Knight Banneret ( similar to a general ) had risen from yeoman stock.. 1295, The Model Parliament 294 members of the House of Commons represented 4 million people and influenced taxation. In the Tudor Period, Wolsey , Cromwell and Drake were sons of artisans.

      In Britain the younger sons of the aristocracy entered trade and the also married into trade. The Enlightenment starting with Francis Bacon, followed by Newton, Hooke, Locke and Industrial Revolution were created by middle class people, including craftsmen. If we look at those who created the Industrial revolution and became wealthy – Newcomen, Darby, Brindley, Smeaton, Rennie, Arkwright, Wilkinson, Watt, Boulton, Wedgewood, Telford, H Davy, Priestley , G and R Stephenson , etc, etc they are largely the sons of craftsmen . The Royal Navy provided a career for sons of the poorer members of the middle class- Nelson.

      The success of Britain was because there was sufficient freedom so that peoples talents comprising technical skills, drive and courage enabled them to flourish. People who complain about the class system are largely middle class types whose life has not measured up to their expectations and they need something to blame for their lack of success.

      • Marc Domash says

        Every other work of fiction from England from the 19th century to at least the mid-20th century is about the English class system (and they are not, in general, favorable). The obvious answer to the claims in this post is that the American colonies, which overthrew the English class system, has far outshone the mother country. I suppose the American founders were “middle class types whose life ha[d] not measured up to their expectations and they need something to blame for their lack of success.”

  7. augustine says

    Progressives tell us we must not harbor prejudice against the Other, and that at the same time we must regard our own kind (and kin) with extreme prejudice. They have been successful in propagating this theme to an attention-getting degree. Leftists seem to instinctively know, even as they refrain from appreciating or openly acknowledging the fact, that the greater share of bloodshed in human conflict has been between peoples who are phenotypically indistinguishable from one another. They posit that some immeasurable racism and bigotry are the Big Issue today and neatly avoid or deny the far greater perils of internecine, infra-racial hatreds. For a variety of reasons it is difficult to see such a movement succeeding (unless one regards intentional societal destruction as success) but we do indeed need a refurbished telos to stave off the worst of its ascendancy.

    Beautifully written article. Thank you.

    • @ augustine

      I enjoyed your comment, but would like to add.

      That if you are culturally or socially conservative, or even, dare I whisper the evil word, Christian, the progressives become very, very prejudiced. Indeed they bray for your blood, or at least your silence.

      Do not dismiss that the want the “intentional societal collapse, ” leaders of student groups often publicly discuss that this is indeed what they want.

      Of course the vast majority of western violence has been upon each other. Constant European war even into the twentieth century. Within countries, revolutions, reformations and counter-reformations, civil wars ect. The current situation has nothing to do with truth, only power.

      Which brings us back to the position of a Duchess, married to a Prince .Hmm

    • @ Mark

      I don’t have enough internet resources to check the references, the internet has been intermittent at best in my area, but I doubt you have read them either
      I maybe older than you perhaps, back before the internet we had books. I started reading about this period, basically 1400-1850, in about 1977, and my main research has been around the Tudor’s, and early modern period.

      I did not goggle or cherry pick, my sources above I just threw out from memory of stuff I had remembered reading.

      This is not a huge problem for me. I know my ancestors back to the Middle Ages, none of them owned slaves, or engaged in the slave trade. I have no dog in your fight.

      You seemed to feel compelled to feel guilt, over the fact that your ex-slaves have a different skin colour, and therefore ect, I merely tried to give you a a different perspective. Not all countries share your concern over skin colour.

      I live in a country where there are black people. I grew up with them, as did my parents and grandparents etc. Children are never racist, and nor were any adults I ever had contact with. Black and white, were equal before the law, and fully assimilated and excepted. Even in the private boarding School I atended we had black girls in our classrooms and dormitories , I was friends with many.

      Our Black people were never legally enslaved, there were a few attempts by unscrupulous people in outback areas, but according to the diaries, it was always unsuccessful. In outback areas Aboriginal people had no access to seafood,, and early studies would appear to support the IQ, difference between sea living humans and reptile eating people to be a definitive feature of IQ development amoung all races.

      Back to the expense of private boarding school education, that was because their fathers had well paying jobs, and valued a secondary education for their children and could pay for it.

      Today our indigenous people identify as “rappers” standing around in their pre-teens, with their underwear on show, when they should be at school.

      Really the American obsession over slavery is selfish. It is literally ruining young people’s lives in other countries. When I see a black boy under the age of 12, smoking crack, and I ask him why, he will say because his people were taken from Africa ect. And he will quote some rap music .For the first time in my life, I come across Adult indigenous mothers of little children, who does not know how to say “cat” in English. She did remember the word kitten, from when she was little.

      Please America keep your guilt over slavery to your self if you are incapable of getting over it yourself. I don’t swear but your leftist academic BS, is destroying people, whilst doing nothing for your own.

      • Marc Domash says

        Anita claims:

        You seemed to feel compelled to feel guilt, over the fact that your ex-slaves have a different skin colour, and therefore ect, I merely tried to give you a a different perspective. Not all countries share your concern over skin colour.

        I do not feel guilt. My original comment, which continues to be (seemingly willfully) misinterpreted, is that the key difference in American slavery and other types is that it was based on skin color. The “insidious innovation” had certain advantages for the slaveholders–it created a hereditary class of slaves who could be bred for profit. The disadvantages are also clear–it has created a permanent underclass. The English used to refer to their underclasses as “the dangerous classes”, but then they left for America or got shipped to Australia and they created modern Western societies that in many ways outshine the mother country. Is there an intervention that can do the same for American blacks?

        In any case, in America there is a problem. Can it be solved? If so, how? I think certain things can be done (food, shelter, clothing and medical care, to start–amazing how there are no articles in Quillette about hunger in America). Anyway, this is the debate I would like to be having, not endless recitation of statistics on _how_ African-Americans are deficient.

  8. Nice article. There’s nothing particular “white” about empire building, colonialism or slavery. You just need to look at the Japanese Empire from Commodore Perry to Pearl Harbor, the various Muslim Caliphates from the time of the Prophet to WW1, the Chinese empire, the Zulu Paramountcies, the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayans… There is not much “white privilege” in Moldova or Ukraine either. The word “slave” in English derives from Slav not Negro.

  9. @mark. Are you arguing that one type of slavery is worse than another and therefore justifies the continued resentment?

    “The continued lower status of the descendants of slaves…”. In what way are African Americans currently considered lower status in the US? Certainly not in any legally sanctioned fashion. That seems like a personal opinion and a racist one at that.

    • The African Americans consider themselves of lower status. We have had 50 years of attempts to assure them of equality, even to the policy of granting favors over whites. It has only convinced them that white liberals are their only hope. Those that stray from the plantation are punished by the political left. Clarence Thomas, for example, should be an inspirational study,

    • Marc Domash says

      One type of slavery (where emancipated slaves are freed and then join the dominant society as relative equals) is much different than the US style, where freed slaves continued to be oppressed and treated much as they were when they were slaves. This makes it a much more difficult problem to solve because it now spans many generations.

      Regarding lower status, if one considers income, health outcomes, positions in society, and so forth African-Americans are below average on all of these. It is no more racist to note that than to note that American Jews have higher incomes on average. These are facts and facts are not racist. It is when one says Jews are cabalistic money-mongers (or blacks are inferior) that one starts stating opinions that are racist.

      • Stephanie says

        Marc, the most comprehensive study done on black outcomes to date demonstrates black women slightly outearn white women when adjusted for childhood socioeconomic status. For men, the only black men who fare as well as white men are the ones in communities with a high proportion of fathers. Otherwise, criminality sabotages their chances at parity with white men.

        What is clear is that the lower socioeconomic outcomes of black people today is entirely their own doing (with some infantilization from the government). The black family survived slavery. It survived the worse of the discrimination. What is keeping them down now is that black men prefer to participate in thug life than to succeed like their sisters are. Of course this leads them to abandon their own children, who instead of blaming their deadbeat dad and rising above, choose to follow in his footsteps.

        American Jews have high incomes because they have a culture focused on education. They also have higher average IQs than white people, while black people have lower average IQs. Just facts.

        • Marc Domash says

          Once again, I don’t disagree with facts. I do disagree on the statement that where black are is “entirely their own doing.” I’ve pointed out the individuals who have African heritage but did not descend from slaves seem to be doing much better. To me, hundreds of years of slavery and a hundred years of legalized oppression just hammered this group of people. If one looks at the behavior/mannerisms of some African-Americans, of course, one can criticize. I just don’t think that is a very productive way to approach the situation. I want to find solutions. Classifying black men as desiring thug life doesn’t seem to be a likely source to a solution. That logic leads, in fact, to the US’s massive experiment in incarceration, which didn’t work.

  10. It is laughable that today’s rebellion is against Columbus, who journeyed some 600 years ago. It has been a long time since North America was colonized. And when was England colonized?

    This is rebellion just for the hell of it, a strong emotional need to find villainy somewhere, anywhere, and any cause will do.

    • @ AK
      Very well said.

      And so true.

      I’m yet to hear any sympathy for what those evil Norman’s did to my ancestors, oh and my Irish ancestors Might have suffered under Cromwell, but my hugonaut ancestors definitely suffered, but wait one of my ancestors was married to a Howard, and Henry chopped off their heads.

      The silence is deafening.

    • codadmin says

      @AK

      Also, these racist won’t be aware Columbus only discovered America because ‘people for colour’ ( under the banner of Islam ) had blockaded white Christians from trading with the East.

      The entire purpose of Columbus expedition was to find a way around the blockade.

  11. Nice article. It makes me wonder who in the UK actually controls the curricula (generally and more specifically). Assuming the answer will be the liberal SJW’s and other pc individuals within the academy and like thinking actors who control funding and policy from outside the academy, we should be asking ourselves, “why?” Clearly they are not more intelligent or better informed. How have they gained the “power” they have? Are they better organized? Resourced? Connected? More willing to sacrifice time and effort for their cause? Are we constrained by ethics and they are not?

    I sense resignation in this group. Pardon the observation, but that’s a bad dynamic. I see a great deal of research that defines/quantifies/analyzes the current situation but little that considers how the “opposition” has gained the upper hand and, more importantly, what to actually do about it. IMO it’s time to move beyond the theoretical physics approach toward the experimental.

    • @ ra

      In Australia the school curriculum, under a current conservative government is largely influenced by a Marxist Transgender organization, which is protected by the ABC. It’s only spoken of in small voices on any media but it is on public record.

      As for resistance, the British have a better chance than us. We do have pockets of resistance,continually growing, but the tyranny of distance is against us. It takes days and lots of money to go to a protest in another state, seriously, as a tourist we have driven from London to Edinburgh in less time than to drive from regional NSW, to Sydney.

      Plus we’ve already been replaced. Net overseas migration has been at about twenty percent of the population, in any given year, for over a decade. This is on top of a multi – cultural immigration policy since the 1970s.

      This is despite the constitution clearly stating that the government had a responsibility to protect Australians from non-European immigration. The change was never put to a plebiscite.

      The smoke and mirrors is our boarder control, other nations beware of this government ploy, voters sleep well, our boarders are tight, but wait a minute over 500 000 , came in by plane, but don’t worry they kept, 5000 out.

      • Thank you for your comment. I sympathize with you, especially as regards to the immigration issue, from which we all seem to suffer. In case you haven’t guessed, my expertise (if it truly exists) is in the hard sciences. For me, it’s largely about problem solving. As a result, it frustrates me to see stated problems without proposed solutions. A good example is the article discussing the APA guidelines and the letter from 12 prominent in the field. If one is willing to risk speaking out, why not develop alternate guidelines, e.g.? I guess what we need is as much focus on considering initiatives, to be tested, that will at least attempt to stem the tide. If all of this intellect was focused on discussing possible solutions, I believe we could make some progress.

        • @ ra
          Thank you for your condolences, it’s the grandchildren I can never outlive I cry about. I used to be a historian, and I have always volunteered in social work, which I studied as an undergrad.

          No work for history anymore unless you’re prepared to lie, and as for teaching? ?

          Never again alas.

          Now I can’t even afford a laptop. Be careful, you will also be replaced. And you won’t see it coming.

          I don’t understand much of your mathematics, I had maths shoved down my throat so hard as a girl in the 70’s, until I was thirteen, and then my rebellion against my mother was never to listen to maths again.

          But it was Not a patriarchy!

        • augustine says

          @ra

          Agreed there is a strong tendency on the right to cogitate on insights rather than developing applied strategies from them. The effective activism seems to be all on the Left. I would offer that yes, we need to do better and disrupt old habits, but there are reasons for this tendency. Liberalism is by nature rebellious and seeks to subvert and transform everything it encounters. So they are strong on “solutions” but weak on insight, especially looking back through history. Conservatives, by contrast, value what exists now. We value the social and material antecedents of our inheritance and seek change– gradually, thoughtfully and more naturally. Actions, from left or right, take time and timing is everything as they say. Neither “side” has the deciding advantages over time.

          In my experience very few people are naturally inclined to take action and most would prefer to stay either uninvolved or remain in the intellectual sphere. It takes something unusual to break this glaciation, something like a punctuation in the equilibrium.

          Hard science and reasoning are crucial but some measure of faith in the transcendent is also requisite I think for people to keep a useful perspective on matters beyond materialism. This is a fundamental feature of conservatism as I understand it.

  12. Fickle Pickle says

    What is the much fabled Western Telos, or more correctly collective psychosis, is at its inevitable dead-end!

    For a completely different truth-telling understanding of the hell-deep psychotic nature of the Wests’ Telos why not do a search on the topic The Wetiko Disease or psychosis derived from the book by Jack Forbes titled Columbus and Other Cannibals.

    A good place to start would be these references. None of the Wetiko Disease references could be called left-wing as defined by the usual right-wing culture war warriors

    http://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/tag/wetiko

    The book Columbus and Other Cannibals by Jack Forbes

    Seeing Wetiko On Capitalism & Mind Viruses on the Kosmos Journal website. The Kosmos Journal is an excellent site by the way

    Dispelling Wetiko by Paul Levy on a Theosophical website Paul is the author of the book Wetiko The Greatest Epidemic of Sickness Known To Humanity

    Also the 1992 book by David Stannard titled American Holocaust The Conquest of the “New” World – new meaning the last “virgin” frontier to be plundered

  13. Max says

    This nonsense is a direct result of those attending institutions of higher learning not actually learning. Institutions of higher learning are beginning to resemble news outlets or internet enclaves, echo chambers in which to have one’s present position reinforced.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      So you’re new to Quillette? You just described this place perfectly.

  14. Wonderfully articulated article. I have seen this decolonize push first hand over the last three years while earning my English degree. While there was one professor who still focused on the format and historical text of what she was teaching(now retired), The rest actively promote critical theory in everything they teach, including British Lit and American Lit, where they essentially de-legitimize themselves(self-flagellate) as a source of academic authority based on the color of their skin and gender. They readily admit that they teach against the previous method that focused on structure and narrative.

    I’ve been told that my language, the English language, is a language of genocide, along with the German language. The canon has continually been expanded so that professors can often skip teaching anything by a “pale and stale” person in place of a more favored identity. Example: I’ve been assigned Gloria Anzaldua in three separate English classes, yet I have only seen one piece of Shakespeare, a sonnet, which we spent about five minutes on. I will graduate this spring.

    Perhaps I’ll write and article for Quillette about my experience. Thank you to Professor Stokes for this insightful article.

    • Tersitus says

      Time to end government-guaranteed student loans— starve the beast.

  15. jakesbrain says

    However, the protestors seek to stigmatize members of an entire racial group for the misdeeds of a tiny minority of British aristocrats from centuries ago who share their skin color. Isn’t that a form of racism?

    I don’t know how many times people will have to have this explained to them, but here goes: The intersectional left has rigged the game so as to be able to argue that since prejudice against white people comes from a position of historical disadvantagedness, it is ipso facto NOT RACIST. Prejudice without power does not qualify as racism, and we’ll just handwave away the leaps and bounds by which minorities are beginning to achieve power in the West.

    I would suggest that the desire among the progressive professoriat to neuter the West, to reduce its power, to deconstruct its narratives, to challenge its philosophy and overthrow its institutional order, is an impulse rooted in an earlier and more geopolitically stable time when less was at stake. The West’s long post-war boom, which helped fund the welfare state and universities throughout Europe, provided the post-1968 generation of left-wing intellectuals (the architects of today’s Social Justice movements) with a false sense of security. They could call for revolution in the hope that if their dreams of social upheaval ever materialized, the West could then become a benign force of global change, helping the rest of the world become a kind of socialist Shangri-la. Now, if they succeed, the effect won’t be to transform other regional powers into Scandinavian-style social democracies, but for those regional powers to transform Britain and America—and most of Europe, too—into dysfunctional, authoritarian kleptocracies, punctuated by the occasional bout of ideological bloodletting.

    This is not a bug, but a feature. The professoriat’s lust for sabotage of the West does not derive from any outdated retrograde desire to make the West “a benign force of global change.” It derives from the self-loathing oikophobic desire to destroy the West, to replace the shining city on a hill with a vast dungheap like all the world’s other dungheaps. How dare we rise and walk like human beings while there are billions of people out there still scrabbling for their next meal with their faces in the shit of the world? No, the civilized world is a source of unending shame to less civilized regions — like the ones where they cut little girl’s clitorides off and fling homosexuals from rooftops to see if they can fly — and it must fall to make way for the brave new worlds of the intersectional left, where all are equal in their misery.

    • Peter from Oz says

      ”oikophobic”
      Good to see you are using a term I have been using on this site for a long time now. Roger Scruton, of course, is the one who developed it. A great man

  16. jakesbrain says

    However, the protestors seek to stigmatize members of an entire racial group for the misdeeds of a tiny minority of British aristocrats from centuries ago who share their skin color. Isn’t that a form of racism?

    I don’t know how many times people will have to have this explained to them, but here goes: The intersectional left has rigged the game so as to be able to argue that since prejudice against white people comes from a position of historical disadvantagedness, it is ipso facto NOT RACIST. Prejudice without power does not qualify as racism, and we’ll just handwave away the leaps and bounds by which minorities are beginning to achieve power in the West.

    I would suggest that the desire among the progressive professoriat to neuter the West, to reduce its power, to deconstruct its narratives, to challenge its philosophy and overthrow its institutional order, is an impulse rooted in an earlier and more geopolitically stable time when less was at stake. The West’s long post-war boom, which helped fund the welfare state and universities throughout Europe, provided the post-1968 generation of left-wing intellectuals (the architects of today’s Social Justice movements) with a false sense of security. They could call for revolution in the hope that if their dreams of social upheaval ever materialized, the West could then become a benign force of global change, helping the rest of the world become a kind of socialist Shangri-la. Now, if they succeed, the effect won’t be to transform other regional powers into Scandinavian-style social democracies, but for those regional powers to transform Britain and America—and most of Europe, too—into dysfunctional, authoritarian kleptocracies, punctuated by the occasional bout of ideological bloodletting.

    This is not a bug, but a feature. The professoriat’s anti-Western rhetoric does not derive from any outdated retrograde desire to mold the West into “a benign force of global change.” It derives from the self-loathing oikophobic desire to destroy the West, to replace the shining city on a hill with a vast dungheap like all the world’s other dungheaps. How dare we rise and walk like human beings while there are billions of people out there still scrabbling for their next meal with their faces in the shit of the world? No, the civilized world is a source of unending shame to less civilized regions — like the ones where they cut little girl’s clitorides off and fling homosexuals from rooftops to see if they can fly — and it must fall to make way for the brave new worlds of the intersectional left, where all are equal in their misery.

    • @ those above me?

      The truth is that the current culture is dreadful for the existence of western civilization. And any value worth protecting.

      How many people need to suffer or submit under the current regime?

      In the UK, thousands of little white girls were sacrificed to predominantly Muslim pimps, but it didn’t fit the narrative, so they remained silent?

      In Australia, little children, even infants get raped when in traditional cultures, they sometimes die, from their injuries or the diseases they contract from their rape. Many children die from neglect and domestic violence. Many indigenous children commit suicide.

      Their culture is never investigated, like the UK, the public servants were afraid to do the public service they were highly paid to do. They were afraid to save children, despite knowing they were in harm.

      Why is this cultural neglect of children becoming normal, and less important than the actual chasten?

      • jakesbrain says

        Because it is RACIST to condemn people of other cultures for barbaric practices.

  17. jakesbrain says

    “I would suggest that the desire among the progressive professoriat to neuter the West, to reduce its power, to deconstruct its narratives, to challenge its philosophy and overthrow its institutional order, is an impulse rooted in an earlier and more geopolitically stable time when less was at stake. The West’s long post-war boom, which helped fund the welfare state and universities throughout Europe, provided the post-1968 generation of left-wing intellectuals (the architects of today’s Social Justice movements) with a false sense of security. They could call for revolution in the hope that if their dreams of social upheaval ever materialized, the West could then become a benign force of global change, helping the rest of the world become a kind of socialist Shangri-la. Now, if they succeed, the effect won’t be to transform other regional powers into Scandinavian-style social democracies, but for those regional powers to transform Britain and America—and most of Europe, too—into dysfunctional, authoritarian kleptocracies, punctuated by the occasional bout of ideological bloodletting.”

    This is a feature, not a bug. It is not driven by some desire to mold the West into something more Utopian, for all their Utopian social-democracy gibberish — they want to _destroy_ the West, because civilization is apparently a zero-sum game and we’re hogging it all. It’s pure oikophobia, no more or less.

    • jakesbrain says

      Apologies for the multipost. Quillette’s comment system is still as screwed as ever.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Oikophobia and the zero sum fallacy so beloved by the left. You have nailed it. I would also add a disdain for comerce, a distorted version of noblesse oblige, a warped sense of chilvary and fundamentalist puritanism as drivers of the left wing mindset.

  18. Defenstrator says

    I think the key mistake the author makes is to assume the people he argues with are honest actors rather than religious zealots.

  19. Sinethemba says

    The article starts out as an interesting conteibcontr to the how decolonisation debate but I feel it not only veers off in properly challenging the major problems with decolonisation but commits the very vices that plague decolonialists. Here the vice is the author is defending his tribe, which he does see to view as superior, and naturally right and virtuous. And that is the thing that anti-colonialists have been fighting against for centuries.

    Decolonialists are very new in terms of world hisyory as well as their presence in academia, but Eurocentrism, which justified and rationalised colonialism, colonialism oppression, apartheid, and soavery have been the dominant udealoide for the past 500 years.

    Yes, finally the British and Americans turned around from slavery, but as you claim it was minorities implementing those horrendous acts, it also was a small group of minorities who mobilised against such, with little success at first but like many liberal movements their moral arguments finally won out.

    The issue about decolonialists targeting western institutions instead of Chinese or othwrs around the world should be obvious, people care about what is closest to them and effects them. People in Western academia are not effected by modern day slavery that much, but that does no mean things like equality, women’s rights eyc are not important in the West and may need to be expanded. Indeed challenge an tackle the flaws in the decolonialists mentality to think dead old white men have nothing valuable to teach us. But don’t raise a red herring of a point, about modern day slavery, as if people can’t walk and chew at the same time. It’s the same liberal leftists types that I see higblhigting modern day slavery, even on platforms like CNN.

    Decolonisation is a reaction to Western jingoism Eurocentrism. That’s what it really is, and you can’t counter it by continuing to be so ethnocentric about human civilization. We need to focus more on the shared nature of civilization how civilizations have taken from each other to build and push forward. Westerners need to stop acting as if the developed in a vacuum without outside influence and input. The west also needs to ackboacknow its own diversity, that it’s not a monolith. As you say it took Britain to stop the slave trade, why is the a European achievement than, and not just a British one, when clearly the rest of the west was all gung-ho about continuing the trade.

    Eurocentrists, Westerners inflate themselves in terms of their importance to human history, their central role and than get surprised that they become targets to counter aerators. You make yourself a target someone will come after you. Simple. The world is more complex than what the decolonialists think as well as the ethnocentric groups of the west who have been the dominant group until the late 20th century.

    This discussion is important to me as a black South African who strongly disagrees with the decolonialists. My major gripe with decolonisation, is that I don’t understand why it’s a thing when we have already decolonised, this is a process that has already happened, Africa is run by Africans. We won, yes we may still be recovering from some of the centuries of colonialism but for over half a century now many Africans countries have been free. We have the autonomy to build our own futures. This also does not mean total discarding of what came via colonialism. Colonialism changed us, we can’t go back to precolonial times. We speak English…but its not a burden, it’s a language that had no owners, it’s as much ours as it is the Brits. Science is as much ours as anyone else, no culture, country, society owns a patent to knowledge or language.

    There is no need for decolonisation in the 21st century because this was achieved in the 20th.

    • ga gamba says

      Interesting comment. I largely agree with your final few paragraphs, but still, it wouldn’t be much fun to leave some things unchallenged.

      Here the vice is the author is defending his tribe, which he does see to view as superior, and naturally right and virtuous. And that is the thing that anti-colonialists have been fighting against for centuries.

      Is he “defending his tribe” which he sees as “superior, and naturally right and virtuous” or this simply your perception? Couldn’t an argument be be made about misprioritisation of things? If I saw your house was aflame and you fretted about the dirty windows of your neighbour’s home, yes, we’re are doing two things concurrently, but still… I’d wonder what’s bouncing around in your noggin.

      Moving on, let’s discuss decolonialsation. Because words can mean whatever nowadays, I’ll use colony using the common used definition: a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country, typically a distant one, and occupied by settlers from that country. Thus, colonise is that process. What then is decolonisation? It seems to me it’s to undo or reverse the processes of colonisation in the country that was colonised.

      Of the decolonialisation process occurring in the UK, I’d expect it to be undoing what the Normans, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes had done. The Danes of Danelaw had long ago been booted, so we needn’t concern ourselves with de-Danification.

      Is this the decolonialisation that’s happening in the UK?

      Indeed not.

      Now, if South Africans want to remove the vestiges of British (and Dutch) colonialism in South Africa, that’s for them to choose. Scrub education, transform the systems of governance, etc. Let your imaginations and actions run wild. However, it appears this movement has been exported to the UK, carried by those who have received scholarships such as that offered by the Rhodes foundation and employment in the universities. Though not colonialism per se, they nonetheless are carriers of an ideology that seeks exert political and social control. The UK is importing subversion, and it ought to consider the implications of that.

      Decolonisation is a reaction to Western jingoism Eurocentrism. That’s what it really is, and you can’t counter it by continuing to be so ethnocentric about human civilization. . . . Westerners need to stop acting as if the developed in a vacuum without outside influence and input.

      It’s an interesting assertion in two ways. Firstly, as I already mentioned, South Africa may remove those aspects it considers Western jingoism Eurocentrism. Hell, it may even implement South Afrocentrism. I wouldn’t expect South Africans to be Sinocentric. However, is it wrong for the UK to be Anglocentric and France to be Francocentric? The Scottish National Party (SNP) looks quite fixated on Scotland as does the Junts per Catalunya coalition appear to be fixated on Catalonia. Just as things locally near and dear to South Africans are appropriate and more important than things far away, so to are things near and dear to the English, French, Spanish, Germans, etc. I think such centrism is natural.

      Now, is anyone I mentioned jingoistic? If we accept jingoism’s conventional definition of extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy, I don’t see a lot of evidence of that coming from much of Europe presently. Are we hearing calls for a new imperialism? If anything, there appears to me more calls for isolationism or reduced globalisation.

      Secondly, I find your assertion unsubstantiated. Are universities in the UK teaching that all things were developed in the UK? It’s been about two decades for me, but I’m quite certain I learnt much about Chinese technological contributions and their knock-on effects, but Confucianism had little if any direct affect of the development of the UK’s institutions. It could be argued that Sino isolationism of the Ming and Qing dynasties allowed the UK more room to roam, and imagining the what ifs is a fun though experiment, but I wouldn’t deem the failure of the UK to celebrate Confucianism as “Western jingoism Eurocentrism”. Numbers are called (erroneously) Arabic ones, so the Hindus are owed their recognition. No one to my knowledge has denied the contribution of Arab and Persian mathematicians. On the flipside, of my experience living in Middle East and Asia (most of my life and almost all my adult life) I’ve found many Muslims intent of destroying anything that predates Islam and Koreans who deny the many contributions that came from China and India as well as asserting modern industralisation was by Korean efforts solely.

      Now, if you can give me five contemporary examples of mainstream Western thought, such as that taught in universities, that has it the West developed in vacuum, I’d be interested to know about this. I don’t think five is a burdensome number if the West is rife with “Western jingoism Eurocentrism” that states it developed in a “vacuum without outside influence and input.”

      • Ga gamba, brilliantly done. I too was wondering what decolonialization in the U.S. would look like. No English, no permanent structures (unless you count long houses), certainly no universities at all. Only men would wield power and say goodbye to the horse. I also wonder if there is a similar movement in South/Central America to rid those places of all Spanish influence, but perhaps they’re too busy hating on Uncle Sam.

  20. Has anyone here noticed that most of the discussion, in the articles and the comments, complain about what the (fill in the blank) are doing, as opposed to what we should be doing?

    • What is to be done, eh?

      In the US, the Wobblies said it best: “Don’t mourn: Organize;” “What time is it? Time to organize.” What are the Quillette comments: The place where we look for the ideas we can organize around.

  21. Coffee Klatch says

    Horsepucky.

    This argument is continually reframed to suggest that those who don’t buy into the WASPathon, are somehow willing to overlook oppression and atrocity in other cultures. This is a gigantic strawman. In all societies, marginalized voices exist — whether here or somewhere else, and it’s bringing THOSE people’s voices, stories and art to the front that’s important.

    For instance, I was trying to find a YA book for my son – and I googled best books of 2018 for teens. Not a single one of them was written by a white man, about half of them were written by people whose names I cannot pronounce, and if any white male was a protagonist, he was gay. At first I was like, whoa — this diversity thing is a little much — and this isn’t going where you think it’s going, btw — I noticed that all the books were transformative narratives that brought people INTO liberal Western democracy — the triumph of virtue, egalitarianism, justice, equality, civil rights, etc. Nowhere in these narratives is:

    “The story of a young boy who is almost seduced into shopping at Uniqlo, until he meets two young renegades intent on building a caliphate. Rescued from a life of flat whites and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he sets about to build a meaningful life carving a wife-beating switch and using pictures of Neal Patrick Harris for AK target practice.”

    Did not see any witchcraft, animal sacrifice, Russians and Chinamen taking our cars out our garages, post-birth abortions (lol), defecating on a painting of George Washington — none of that stuff — just the message: virtue is good, freedom is an important responsibility, be proud of who you are, there are people who will love you, etc. It’s a god-dammed Western civilization circle jerk, but literally with more Jerk chicken and sunsets over Mount Kilamanjaro.

    The white man was the best at a lot — including ultraviolence, colonization and erasure. He made the world in his image, in the image of his imaginary God. I think of it like how when aliens come to Earth in movies — they’re very different, but we get them a little bit. They either have heads, or we can translate their ink blots or whatever — a world where the white man didn’t step on the necks of everyone would still resemble the world we have now — but it would probably be a lot richer and *gasp* maybe there are even some ideas the white man didn’t come up with.

    You guys are so ballhurt because we are trying to make room for everyone. We’ll still reject the sick shit — the clitordectomies, the Inquisitions, the Holocausts, the Crusades, the Jim Crows, the slavery, the genocides, the murderous governments, the eating disorders, the factory farms, the oppressive gods, those who threaten women, children and the weak. But we’ll also want to spread the money and the power and the resources. We won’t be in your story. We will help write it and make the world in ALL of our images.

    The sooner you start helping, the easier it will be for you, instead of digging in your heels and whining.

    • You're a moron and a crazy person says

      You’re a crazy person. I can distill your nonsense to white = uniquely bad and your’re either with us or against us.

    • codadmin says

      @CoffeeKlatch

      That entire block of emotive rhetoric is racist from start to finish.

      The Crusades, for example, were a reaction to 300 years of Islamic conquests in the Christian world, including Western Europe.

      Ask yourself why you was not aware of that, and who lied to you.

    • ga gamba says

      We’ll still reject the sick shit — the clitordectomies, the Inquisitions, the Holocausts, the Crusades, the Jim Crows, the slavery, the genocides, the murderous governments, the eating disorders, the factory farms, the oppressive gods, those who threaten women, children and the weak.

      Coffee Clatch has memorised the bumper stickers well.

    • John says

      Koffee Klatch, anymore, your ideological ilk sounds like a know-it-all. self-serious teenager trying to “explain” things to the grownups while asserting to them they just don’t understand. So eye-roll inducing. You just don’t know what you don’t know. Your premise is easy to understand and superficial by all of us who you think “just don’t get it”. Trust me, we get it. Sadly you, like many others in your frame of mind, cannot reciprocate.

      • Coffee Klatch says

        Why do you hate Western Civilization and what it stands for?

    • Max says

      The SJWs are not attempting to make room for everyone, they are fanatically attempting to ostracize particular demographics of society while elevating others, to the point of limiting public access to meritocratic analysis. The fanatics attempting to do so are not particularly bright either, as they are attempting to change society not by appealing to reason but by eliminating critical and/or opposing views, which is exactly the injustice they claim exists and claim to be opposing.

    • hail to none says

      @Coffee makes the good point of the far-reaching influence of Western democracies and its values on the global order, and that many on the left (especially moderates) are trying to be more inclusive. Nothing wrong with that.

      But how one does it matters. MLK tried to build bridges by emphasizing our common humanity. Individuals should be judged on the content of their character (classic liberalism). Today, we have many on the left (especially far left) explicitly rejecting this. This brand of identity politics is toxic– it is not just a celebration of one’s own heritage, it is the denigration of other people based on gender and skin color. This is not a recipe for building a strong, collegial (or stable), diverse society.

    • Matthew C. says

      I noticed that in your litany of oppressive structures you’ve never mentioned communism. Is this a coincidence? I think not.

      Does your utopia include people who desire free access to guns? Of course not.
      Does your utopia include people who prefer the company of their own kin? Of course not.
      Does your utopia include people who wish to keep the fruits of their own labor? Of course not.
      Does your utopia include people who’d rather see their traditional/religious mores included in the laws of their country?
      Does your utopia include people who desire authentic (and therefore exclusive) cultures and wish to shape their communities in this image? Of course not.

      Because these “reproduce discrimination/inequality” or make you go “eew” or simply threaten the Will of the Party, which at this point I assume, controls the world government.

      Your recipe for an ideal society is first, to destroy the old one, and replace it with an imaginary ideal that stands in fundamental opposition to human nature and complex human value systems, which is going to make it crumble under its own weight from internal contradictions in the blink of an eye. The only thing that will to be left standing are the ruins of the old, pragmatic society.

      You’re a communist, kid. Stop pretending that your nonexistent utopia is the pinnacle of Western Civilization, it leads to nothing better than 1984.

      • Max says

        If you’re going to respond to fools the least you could do was not make yourself look like one by venting your political gripes by creating straw-men in which to burn.

        The idea that free access to firearms, and the negation of those who wish to live without them, is no more ideal.

        Your point about kin is a moot one. Not even Soviet totalitarianism denied people the right to cohabitate with family.

        Fruits of their labour. It always amuses me when people criticize other nations for tax policy and whatnot, as if the United States isn’t a nation of privatized profit and socialized debt. You can always instigate Americans into a tirade about the single mother receiving SNAP but they will defend corporate welfare until their blue in the face.

        Your point about religion is not advocating for freedom but suggesting a theocracy. You can practice whatever religion you like however you do not have the right to impose it upon others.

        “Authentic cultures”, whatever that means.

        While I may agree the imposition of this SJW culture requires the destruction of the existing one, the argument that it “stands in fundamental opposition to human nature and complex human value systems” is, weak. There are countless examples of ideals that were not opposed by the populations of whom it was presented. Ideals change, some are accepted and some are rejected.

        Refencing 1984, as if we are not living it now.

        • Matthew C. says

          “The idea that free access to firearms, and the negation of those who wish to live without them, is no more ideal.”

          Humans have a prima facie right to defend their lives and property. If the right to own firearms produces very negative externalities it can be negotiated; however, in a leftist utopia such right does not exist at all, all in the name of alleged “liberation” and “justice”.

          “Your point about kin is a moot one. Not even Soviet totalitarianism denied people the right to cohabitate with family.”

          I was talking about ethnic and racial groups. But you’re still wrong: from the Bolsheviks to Israeli kibbutzim, utopian leftists treated marriage and the family with either strong suspicion or outright contempt as a bourgeois/patriarchal/(insert favorite oppressive structure) relic.

          “Fruits of their labour. It always amuses me when people criticize other nations for tax policy and whatnot, as if the United States isn’t a nation of privatized profit and socialized debt. You can always instigate Americans into a tirade about the single mother receiving SNAP but they will defend corporate welfare until their blue in the face.”

          Irrelevant to the larger point of utopian leftists being inherently hostile to private profit, private property and capitalism.

          “Your point about religion is not advocating for freedom but suggesting a theocracy. You can practice whatever religion you like however you do not have the right to impose it upon others.”

          You can replace religious norms and traditions with cultural norms and traditions if it bothers you so much, the result will be largely the same: both reflect the values, beliefs and experiences of groups of people and are either de iure or de facto present in the public sphere.

          ““Authentic cultures”, whatever that means.”

          It means cultures which are not reduced to their caricatures in the form of folk dances and food, as a means of providing metropolitan liberals with a source of amusement.

          • Max says

            “Accepted as correct until otherwise” by whom? I wouldn’t argue that individuals do not have the right to defend themselves and what belongs to them however that can be done in a myriad of ways. Linking the firearms issue to protection of life and property is merely a convenient way to defend firearms because it’s something you, as and individual, cherish.

            Ok, ethnic and racial groups. I haven’t heard any leftist argue for forced integration, quite the contrary. I hear more millennial leftists argue, perhaps unconsciously, for segregation as solution to everything from dilution of safe spaces for the perceived marginalized to gentrification. It was something I made a habit of pointing out when I attended graduate school and found this “solution” to be popular.

            You confuse private and personal and seem to be drawing your idea of leftism solely from the examples of Soviet, centralized, state-capitalism and/or post-Bay of Pigs Cuba. Traditional leftist took no issue with an individual running a business, turning a profit, owning a home, etc. What traditional leftists do believe an individual shouldn’t own is resources that belong to all, e.g. oil, gas, lumber, etc. These resources belong to those who reside within the country and should not be sold to a private individual. I would also point out that even the biggest celebrators of capitalism did not endorse the lassie-faire style that has been pushed so adamantly by neo-liberals.

            If I am interpreting your statement correctly, you are suggesting that the “leftists” wish to establish one culture that will be imposed upon the populace. Again, that’s millennial leftism. I certainly do not support imposing one culture any more than I support imposing one religion.

            The question I would posit is where does the line between “authentic culture” and caricature exist? I have seen groups residing well outside the borders in which “metropolitan liberals” reside who have been completely ignorant of the fact that what they had adopted as their “authentic culture” was in fact a caricature history. The same can be said for the cultures of “metropolitan liberals”.

    • augustine says

      “spread the money”

      There is the prime motive, distilled. Has it occurred to you that “earn the money” might generate better results for all concerned, especially those in the lowest tiers?

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Yep, Coffee. Every sad comment here is confirmation of what you’re saying. These people just can’t bear not to be at the center of the universe, and anybody who attempts to deny their superiority is the enemy.

      Quillette readers are scared shitless by anything that challenges their perceived power.

  22. ga gamba says

    “open up that conversation so we are talking about it as opposed to continuing with that daily rote”

    I’m beginning to think it isn’t so much a “conversation” these people want. More like make demands, expect groveling agreement, and see actions to prove submission.

    • George G says

      @ga gamba

      Meera Sabaratnam, made a literal appeal to monarchy !

      I think that’s game, set and match for your theory that SJW / activist types are trying to install themselves as a new aristocracy. Maybe this madness just has to run its course until the next revolution ? I’ll do my part by learning Guillotine operation and maintenance.

      Vive la Revolution !

  23. @ga gamba

    And the way to counteract that is…..?

    • Peter Kriens says

      I agree that it would be nice to see more action and less complaining. (I am also technical so I also prefer working on solutions.) However, I think that what Quillette is doing is actually quite amazing. Seeing Coleman Hughes in the New York Times this weekend is a hell of a lot of progress. Taking action too soon is dangerous because extremes tend to be corrected without too much action, too much backpressure can backfire easily. Maybe it is me, but many progressive magazines are becoming more and more shrill, see Vox on the journalist that called Brett Stephens dumb. By removing the comment sections they’ve cut themselves off from their public and I see they are widening the gap. I think there is progress and in my work that is usually sufficient to get where you want to go to.

      • I agree with your comments. I see opportunities for positive movement but few takers. I believe that, after some period of time, this results in apathetic disaffection.

  24. dirk says

    I have one more suggestion for the decolonizing curriculum propaganda, a signboard ” FUCK LINNAEUS”. What happened down in that colonising period in NW Europe? Another black page! Linnaeus thought to unify and generalize taxonomy and systematisation by giving all the known plant species in the world one single latin name, thereby just abandoning all the already existing local names, given by the locals to the plants in their regions (not to all of course, but the locally most useful and relevant ones). His disciples, mostly Europeans and other Westerners, went on with this etnocentric process uptill this very moment. This must stop! Give the plants back to the peoples!

    • In English, as in German, the people (das Volk: in the sense of the “general public”) has no plural form.

      • dirk says

        Is that so, EK? What I meant , would be in German: Die Pflanzen zurueck zu die Voelker (zum Beispiel, Armenier, Azerbeidzjani, Tuerken, Bengali). But thanks for the attention. Was also hesitating about it.

    • augustine says

      dirk,

      Can I count on you to join me in a counter-demonstration if they should start burning Species Plantarum in the streets?

      Seriously, there are murmurings today about the alleged illegitimacy of names Europeans have devised for plants (and animals too I guess). I saw this on a blog post somewhere and was surprised. But these angry folks have even less understanding of the binomial system than the general public. I don’t suppose they will have any use for the type specimen concept or species descriptions.

      Consider this also: a prominent ethnobotanist performed a survey of plants used by a tribe in the Amazon (Mark Plotkin I think). He then collected all the plants in the area that were not indicated by the natives as being useful, some considerable number of the species there, maybe half. If people do not have use for a plant, or regard it as dangerous, etc., they will not give it a name! The idea of considering every kind of plant in the “abstract” is strictly a European development as far as I am aware. The Linnaean system has been of immeasurable utility for us all.

      • dirk says

        So, there we share a common concern. I am out of the plant business now, but during my work (partly collecting in the Amazon) and diving into reports of colleagues, I encountered already critical notes on the all too western taxonomy of Linneaus, and thought by myself, I hope this is going to be adequately countered by the real taxonomists. However, I’m no longer so sure about it. So, you can count on me, surely!

  25. codadmin says

    “doing decolonial work in the home of the colonizer, in the heart of the establishment”

    In other words, the ‘decolonises’ are…drum-roll…COLONISERS!!!

    There, its not hard to understand, is it?

    The vast majority of this ‘decolonizes’ are non-white racists. They want to replace white people with non-white people. They want to replace white culture, with non-white culture.

    The entire leftist project, including the concept of ‘multiculturalism’ itself, is a racist colonial project that seeks to replace the western world with the non-western world.

    if you zoom out, you see that the people of colour who raped, pillaged and enslaved their way around the known world for 800 years unchallenged, never actually went away.

    Priyamvada Gopal is a racist, and she should be hounded out of her job like the fascist she is. The only problem, is that non-leftists are decent people and so she get to spew her hate unchallenged.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      So anybody who opposes colonizing is a colonizer?

      That’s really, really fucking stupid. That probably made a lot more sense in your head.

  26. codadmin says

    Quillette, please fix your commenting system…it’s especially bad on iOS, almost impossible to type sometimes.

  27. the gardner says

    By all means let’s have these decolonizers learn about the greatest mass murderers of history—- the Mongolian Khans, Mao, and the Japanese of WW II. All non whites, all colonizers. Time they got a taste of what real monsters looked like.

  28. John says

    I actually don’t like the thesis of this paper. Well it says something about the lack of sadness to the anti-west argument, making the main argument that “there is a time and a place for this and it isn’t now” is weak. I think their argument is weak non-robust and full of holes. The problem is that the educational institution that incubates it is not rigorous or challenging to knock these narrow minded ideas down.

  29. dirk says

    Instead of providing counterarguments (Non-Whites were as bad or worse even), it is maybe more productive to ask where this cultivating of white guilt is coming from? Why so popular in broad circles, and even dominating educational systems?
    In another thread, still open for comments, attention is given to proto-totalitarians, and the first of them is Jean Jacques Rousseau (I don’t agree with the categorisation, but that’s a personal matter of course). I think, this philosopher belongs much more in this thread, than in that on totalitarians. Why? He was the one who started to question the virtues of science, tehnology and even the arts, all western, european endeavours, experienced by all strata of population at the time (in the west AND the non-west) as useful and desirable, as progressive and civilising and morally superior.

    But what did Rousseau say? Forget about this civilising, humanizing influence, they are negative forces only, dehumanizing and alienating men from their natural and noble human roots and potentials. Voltaire and other enlightenment heroes (and Steven Pinker) were/are perplexed, what now? the savages and primitive bushmen of backward, uncivilised regions our masters? How is this now?

    Of course, Rousseau’s truth was not the full social story, but there was a grain of truth in it after all, taken up by the humanities, the antropologists, pedagogists and an ever widening circle of progressives.

    Why not admit that it’s not just complete nonsense, but having grains of a special truth that needs proper attention and an adult putting it all into perspective and setting? Instead of bulshitting the adversaries?

    • Erica from the West Village says

      It has helped me to keep a copy of The Righteous Mind nearby for ongoing reference.

      When groups no longer feel a sense of community, they become part of the new community intent on tearing down any institutions that they don’t belong to..all under the guise of Ending Oppression or Fairness.

      Haidt labels these two tenets as the core moral framework for a Progressive’s thinking. Everything in their lives that matter revolve around Ending Oppression and Fairness. If they can be convinced that the only way to end oppression and create a ‘fair’ society is to destroy the long established Institutions of Authority that have allowed this nation to prosper over 200 years (in spite of her flaws), then this is how it manifests itself.

      They grab any old white males who’ve gained any privilege at all from the Institutions and they demand fealty to the “New Way..The New Enlightenment.”

      This is how Maduro sold himself to Venezuelans; how Stalin and Lenin sold themselves to Russia; and how Castro sold himself to Cubans. Funny how the oppressed (Yasser Arafat) end up becoming billionaires or (Ceausescu) export 90% of the physical commodities to get enough hard $ to build himself 20 castles. By the time the naive people who voted in these nincompoops, it’s too late.

      By the time they truly become ‘woke’ they are ‘broke’ and foraging for food scraps in the gutter along with everyone else why the ‘smart people’ centrally plan every aspect of your life including where you work, live, and even whether you’re allowed to have children (because that worked out so well for China and Romania).

  30. Honest question. Think it could have an answer. But not actually offered in article unless I missed it. What would folks propose as the telos of western society? Or, broader, plural teloi?

    • Kencathedrus says

      @locustsandwildhoneysite: I’m all for a new Techno-theocracy: a marriage between Christianity and technology. Christianity, particularly in the US, has become meek, reactive and dumbed-down. We need a society that venerates virtue and educates our young to be smart, happy and self-sufficient.

      We need to restore faith in ourselves and our way of life, be less involved in world affairs and stop importing those who would harm us.

  31. Small correction, but Union soldiers of any race were not by and large fighting to end slavery in the US Civil War. While preserving slavery was one of the 14 reasons Confederate states gave for secession, the North fought the war for nationalism only. Four slave states remained in the Union throughout the war. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to them. Lincoln explicitly stated that he would gladly win the war without freeing a single slave, and when the war ended, a slaveowner (General Ulysses S Grant) received the surrender of an adversary (Robert E Lee) who had freed all his family’s slaves.

  32. Erica from the West Village says

    First they come to destroy the Institution using racial and gender based methods to force dramatic change without acknowledging what they are really doing is replacing any free thinking independent or center left ideology with Leftist thinking.

    This is all about taking power using whatever means necessary.

    The sad part is that so many people with PhD”s are blind to what’s happening before their very eyes, or complicit in attempting to institute a Socialist Utopia.

    The answer to all of this of course is for everyone displaced to use the Courts to sue based on lack of diversity on these college campuses and in city/county governments and ‘boards’ intended to propose the hard work that politicians are unwilling and unable to do themselves.

    Sure..these groups have black, brown, yellow and red members and they have Trans, Gay and Lesbian members and they have Atheist and Agnostic and Pagan and Muslim members…but they don’t have as many conservatives as they do Progressives.

    By forcing the “Diversity” debate on things you can see instead of things you think….they are using a cudgel to knock the tar out of anyone who is white, male and conservative while keeping the while, male Progressives tucked neatly in the corner; compliant with their goals (aka Bernie Sanders, Bill DeBlasio, Andrew Cuomo, Adam Schiff, etc..).

    This is akin to the Jews who were chosen by their Nazi captors to ‘look after’ the other Jews…so they wouldn’t get too far out of line.

    It’s high time for university administrators to become ‘woke’ to what’s happening to their esteemed institutions before these institutions become ‘broke’ from normal alumni and donors refusing to finance such horse manure.

  33. the gardner says

    I wonder how these anti western civ kids rationalize the fact that freed blacks in America owned black slaves.

  34. Lightning Rose says

    Keep going and you “university people” are going to marginalize your institutions (and that’s a good name for them these days) right off a cliff. What parent in their right mind is going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have their son or daughter indoctrinated with this revisionist horseshit? Gee, maybe we can live without joining the useful-idiot upper middle class, eh?

    What company wants potential hires with heads full of “intersectional” grievance, based only on something that ~might~ have affected their distant ancestors generations ago? Your life is NOW, and your outcome is based on YOUR actions and choices, full stop. We cannot change the past.

    If I were hiring right now, I’d take the PLUMBER over the output of Harvard and Yale. At least I’d have a reasonable expection he would understand concrete operations and common sense. To avoid all this made-up trouble, I’d also make damn sure I hired a white, straight male whose head isn’t full of bullshit. Corporations are not social welfare agencies–they want people who’ll get the job done and no one has time for whining.

    Hope you have plans to financially support this unemployable victim class you’re creating. . .

    • jakesbrain says

      Hope you have plans to financially support this unemployable victim class you’re creating. . .

      They do. Hence that bullseye they painted on your back.

    • Tersitus says

      Cut the loan guarantees— starve the beast.

  35. @ra

    Are you starting to feel like a lonely voice in the wilderness?

    Well, I have a couple of ideas to offer you.

    First, straight white men and women can grow spines and learn to say “no” to people who are not straight white men and women.

    Secondly, the universities can be politically neutered. There are a couple of ways to do this. Donors to private universities (so often, straight white men and women) can stop giving money until those private universities are reorganized so that faculty and students are stripped of administrative power, and most of the administrators are thrown into the street.

    As for state universities, the state legislatures can pass laws and, if necessary, alter their state constitutions to do the same. For obvious reasons, we will not see this happening first in California or New York.

    I’m sure you can come up with some ideas as well.

  36. FavoriteHistoricalCharacter says

    Part of these knee jerk anti West reactions are due to a profound ignorance of world history, and how the West fits in.
    Western Europe was a backwater for most of history, and a source of slaves for other parts of the world. And yes, there has been colonization, but all people’s moved about and colonized and often moved other tribes out, this has been the norm throughout history, and incidentally the norm in most of the colonized lands.
    The Aztecs and Inca’s brutally subjected other tribes, and the mighty Inca empire, was only about 100 years old at the time of European contact.
    Slavery was the norm in Africa and Muslim lands until well into the 20th century. Saudi Arabia did not get rid of slavery until 1962.
    The reason the West has been on top for a few hundred years (a historically a short time ) now, is simply due to the fact the economic system provides great wealth and everyone wants to imitate that system. But like the spread of the Iron Age, that will eventually even out and the West will recede again naturally.
    There is no special evil there.

  37. Tersitus says

    When you go to tearing something down, it’s best to have something better to put in its place. Generations later, my generation still hasn’t figured that out. Neither have their epigones.

    • david of Kirkland says

      All this goodness leads to the most depressed and anxious of children who then, in the US at least, go around and kill their fellow students. Progress?

  38. TheSnark says

    To paraphrase Churchill, Western civilization (or culture, or thought) is the worst possible, except for all the others.

    The greatest irony is that the very complaints people have about the West are based on very Western concepts of justice, equality, and human rights. Those words might exist in other cultures, but the concepts we associate with them and the meaning we give them do not.

  39. The west will naturally fade in prominence but the idea that he west is uniquely evil in terms of colonisation, slavery and racism is total nonsense.

    Slavery has been endemic throughout history what is unique about the west is that it has to a large extent abolished it. Similarily colonization, conquest and subjugation have been constants throughout hostory what is unique is the modern western concept ideal of universal self determination and the decolonisation proces.

    The ideal of equality and absence of racism is also an almost uniquely post englightenment western invention. Yes you can find examples like alexander the great’s famous quote:

    “I do not distinguish among men, as the narrow-minded do, both among Greeks and Barbarians. I am not interested in the descendance of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue. For me every virtuous foreigner is a Greek and every evil Greek worse than a Barbarian.”

    However for this to be almost universely accepted is very much a modern western phenomenam.

    The crazy thing about the movement described in the article is that it actually is racist and exclusionary where what is being criticised in the main is not.

    • david of Kirkland says

      Racist, sexist and ageist. They use their liberty and equal protection to claim they have no liberty or equality. I say, try the same statements in Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria…you know, all those great cultures.

  40. jokerswild says

    Be of good cheer, you guys. The West is clearly the template on which a large part of the world is patterning itself. Respect for it is almost universal, the status differential is still keenly felt across the Earth (not saying its a good thing, but it is a thing), and respect for European peoples and civilizations rides high. Among the actual living masses of people, I mean.

    This is a counter-movement to all that. Its in the face of triumphing European and American societies which so many people want to emulate, move to, and consume the cultural output of. And even within the thin cliques of 20-somethings in these very controlled environments, people talking in the terms outlined here are the extremists even in that group. They are shoring up power using
    Ye Olde Boogeyman, aka the White 1950s conservative male and his ilk. They use this as a totem to play endless mind games
    with each other, because they feel the intense power of this culture’s residual status. It is a power far beyond what they feel themselves
    capable of producing and they are jockeying for status off these residues of the past. Its an inverted form of racial pride. Its the pendulum swinging away from Hitler to the opposite extreme.

    For every one of these Utopias that gets set up (in a Uni for example), 60 to 80% of people just go running for cover, and hold their breathe while these speeches are given. Ideologues of this sort are tolerated. I know because I also tolerate some of them. It is one of the last forms of unexamined bias (anti-white, anti-society) that remains unquestioned and uncriticized in our society, and even that is changing.

  41. Ray Andrews says

    Time to declare war and proceed with a battle plan. It seems to me the universities are lost to the enemy. When they are performatively deconstructing colonialism (civilization) when they have already destroyed it anyway, they are flogging a dead man. It seems to me that the right thing to do is to let the universities simply collapse. I understand that enrollment is down and that philanthropic giving is also plunging. Or perhaps a few institutions should be reconquered and the flag of western civilization flown very prominently from the battlements. This reconquered institution would be proudly:

    Eurocentric (We are defending western civilization after all).
    Patriarchal (We know what we mean by that, and so will the many sane women who want a real education).
    Cis-normal (Our culture will center on and ‘celebrate’ normal, healthy, men and women, not freaks and perverts and the mentally disturbed).
    Meritocratic (Zero affirmative actions for anyone. Any and all Victimhoods totally ignored.)
    Unsafe (Go somewhere else if you don’t want your ideas challenged.)
    Undead (That is, DIE will have no place in our agenda whatsoever.)

  42. “acknowledge the role that the British state played in abolishing slavery.”‘ the late, slow, fitful, and begrudging role, might be a little more accurate. and at the end it enriched those who ‘lost’ their slaves. don’t overstate your case as much as you accuse the de-colonizers of doing.

    • codadmin says

      ‘Late’ implies others were in front, when in fact Britain led the charge.

      After 10 thousands years of slavery, it’s impossible to overstate how monumental the British achievement of abolition actually was.

      Of course, that supposes slavery will be gone forever, which is not a given. Maybe this is a unique respite in the history of slavery. The decline of western power may lead to the legal reintroduction of slavery.

  43. Tersitus says

    As with the signers of the infamous Oxford Union Resolution, so with these chattering fools and tools— eventually they’ll be mugged by a reality they’ve had a fool’s part in making. They have not sense enough to grasp what it is they’re wishing for. But like Albany tells his clueless wife, “It will come.”

  44. Charlie says

    When it comes to Britain , the development of socialist inspired state education has damaged the chances of those attending comprehensives compared to public and grammar schools. The end of discipline, streaming according to ability and traditional teaching methods meant the decline in state schools. A tutor said those attending state primary schools are about two years behind those at prep ( private ) schools by the age of about 9- 10 years.

    Those comprehensives which have greatly improved in the last few years have dropped left wing trendy methods and adopted traditional methods used by grammar and public schools.

    Those academics from BME at universities often attended grammar and public schools. Nehru attended Harrow School and Trinity Cambridge. Children from Britain’s former Empire attended public schools from the mid 19th century and those with the ability entered universities.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranjitsinhji
    Until the mid 19th century classics was the main degree with history only arriving at the end if the century for those who could not cope with Greek. However, up to 1920 , undergrads had to pass papers in Greek to attend Oxford .

    The reality is that few humanities academics today have the scholarship of a mid 19th century don( degree in classics, probably maths and spoke 3-4 European languages ). It is much easier to criticise the West than have to spend time translating Greek and Latin into English.

    If people are to criticise the West , make them study Latin and Greek and force them to write their essays in these languages. it would be interesting to know whether any person in gender studies departments could write and defend their thesis in Greek.

    Let all those who wish to attend a humanities department have to pass papers in Greek and Latin of the same standard of Oxford University pre 1920.

  45. E. Olson says

    If you don’t like Western culture and the technical, cultural, scientific, political, and economic contributions of dead white males, I invite you to move to places where different races and religions dominate, and where women and homosexuals as they deserve. Go to their schools, universities, and places of worship, and learn all about the wonderful contributions of the Asian, Arab, African, or Indigenous to STEM, humanities and arts, business and politics. Find out about the accomplishments of their black, brown, red, yellow or female versions of dead white males such as Socrates, Homer, Mozart, Einstein, Newton, Washington, Jefferson, Ford, Wards, daVinci, Napoleon, Picasso, Grieg, Frost, Edison, A. Smith, Hayek, Berlin, Wells, Gershwin, Twain, etc. Please don’t waste another minute of your life trying to survive or change the corrupt, racist, sexist, patriarchal, environmentally unfriendly travesty that is Western culture. Just go – you have only one life to live – go end it somewhere else.

    • codadmin says

      Exactly, but racist colonisers like the ‘decolonials’ can’t be expected to go leave on their own accord. They have to be shown the door.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      No. The West is to be liberated. The disease of whiteness is to be cured, once and for all.

      • jolly swag, man says

        whitey says fuck you. if its me or you, its going to be you

  46. markbul says

    There was a war. One side lost. Tough tittie.

  47. David V says

    A commonly assumed belief among many on my own side (conservatives) is that the Left’s shift from class/economic “warfare” to race and gender identity politics occurred as a result of the end of the Cold War. In fact, this has long been part of the Communist agenda almost since the beginning of the movement, with a view to bring down Western power and hegemony from within.

    After World War II, 60s counterculture movement, the Civil Rights movement in the US, decolonisation in Africa and the anti-Apartheid struggle, and the Cuban and Iranian revolutions which empowered the West’s enemies globally, created the perfect storm. “White guilt” and the “Diversity” creed could not be challenged. Especially in “Anglo” nations such as the UK, USA and Australia, there developed a belief that the very existence of those countries constitute an original sin, and that there was nothing to be proud of about those countries.

    identity politics has marginalised moderates and empowered radicals in minority communities, especially black and Muslim communities. In all three countries there is a consistent pattern of Muslim activists chiming in on race issues with abusive rhetoric about the countries they live in and reap the benefits from (e.g. Linda Sarsour, Waleed Aly, Yassmin Abdel-Magied). The reason conservative leaders like Tony Abbott and Donald Trump are so vilified is because they are seen as representing the white males they despise, specifically white males who are seen as obstacles towards interest groups imposing their agenda on society.

    The anti-white ideology has gone global and has traveled far because a large number of “liberal” white people have endorsed it. It is a repackaging/repurposing virtually all the classic anti-Semitic tropes, including the myth of unearned and ill-gotten “privilege”. Its resemblance is not coincidental – the “new” anti-Semitism promoted by the Left and Islamists also has the endorsement of a non-negligible number of “progressive” secular Jews. In some cases, “progressive” white people are the leading ideologues of anti-whiteness, and “progressive” Jews have also been ideologues of the “new” anti-Semitism.

  48. Peter from Oz says

    Of course the irony is that in all the cultures that the left want to decolonise are far more racist, sexist, homophobic and generally bigotted than the West.

  49. Richard Di Lorenzo says

    Immature people as in teen agers young adults very often find their parents values unappealing at least for awhile. They rebel against them and refuse to see the good that was done for them. Feeding and clothing and educating them. This of course in the main stream of family life. In many if not most cases, over time they begin to see the good that was always there in there parents. They realize that although their parents were not perfect, that they had real value. They forgive them for their foibles and mistakes and imperfections. Take the American Civil War. Union casualties were from 620,000 to 700,000 DEAD. That does not include the maimed and otherwise deformed for life casualties. In most cases they were trying to save the Union and to abolish the slavery that was in the south. Nevertheless, we hear only of reparations. I have never heard much in the way of gratitude given to those dead soldiers. Lincoln? Yes he gets credit from the black population to this day, but the DEAD? No. 700,000 dead and more maimed. Almost 10% of the male population to end slavery. The point I am trying to make is that their is a powerful attempt to throw out the baby with the bath. I never hear any demand for reparations from the African tribes who rounded up all the slaves from the interior, brought them to the coast and sold them to the slave traders. The past is riddled with horror, but it is also filled with tremendous progress in learning, medicine, valuable techological advances so that our life spans are hugely extended. I would have to say that mostly these advances were made through the white race. Not exclusively of course but predominately. Are there reasons for complaint and change? Of course, but rising by trampling others down seems an immature method.

    • dirk says

      So, Richard, now it is just a matter of time before blacks also will be thankfull to us whites for all the medical, technical, agricultural and social welfare they live in and receive now, and forget those grievances of the slave time.

  50. martti_s says

    Why is it we have first world countries and ‘shithole countries’.
    Should we finally accept the fact that our evolving Western culture has something exceptional to it.
    Something that none of the shithole countries have not figured out.
    Why are they rushing to the West?
    Because our societies are successful. We can provide them with a quality of life they can never dream of back home.

    Why?
    Because we look at the results, not at the old scriptures.

  51. Chris_zzz says

    By all means, we should definitely replace Western Civ, the search for truth, and incremental progress with toxic deconstructionist BS and identity politics. What could go wrong, except everything?

  52. Tersitus says

    Who needs a revolution when we’ve already got public-funded re-education camps?

  53. Damian O'Connor says

    Check out ‘A Short Guide to the History of South Africa’ for an antidote to this garbage.

  54. Daniel says

    “Perhaps more telling when it comes to the one-sidedness of progressive narratives about slavery is the complete indifference of the decolonize movement to modern day slavery.”

    AMEN! Want to know a noun that will draw you blank stares when you mention it in front of progressives? “Present-day abolitionist.”

  55. David Morley says

    “Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, recently made a similar observation to the Duchess: “Like much of our establishment, our universities are too male, pale and stale and do not represent the communities that they serve or modern Britain,” she told the University and College Union conference earlier this month. If Labour comes to power, she said she would use the powers of the newly-established Office for Students to address this shortcoming. For Rayner, U.K. universities must “do much more, and under Labour they will be held to account.””

    I fear this means taking on those departments which have not yet been colonised by the decolonisers and driving out the dissident scholars who remain in other areas. Is it the sciences that are in their sights? After all for the more extreme (un) critical theorists science itself is imperialist (not to mention patriarchal etc) privileging as it does western ways of knowing.

    What on earth has become of the Labour Party?

  56. The problem with citing Thomas Sowell is that Thomas Sowell has a tawdry record. He is demonstrably a liar, for example when he claimed that as far as he knew, if top executives drew enormous salaries, it was because their efforts raised corporate profits proportionately. That claim has been repeatedly shown to be a shameless lie. It is a well know fact that top executives draw enormous salaries because they get to appoint the members of the Board of Directors, which is in charge of setting their salaries.
    Perhaps Sowells’ claims cited here are accurate, but we cannot rely on that assumption, because he is a proven liar. Moreover Sowell is himself a corporate zombie, since he belongs to to several boards of directors. Consequently there is an obvious conflict of interest.
    See “Kicking Thomas Sowell’s African-American Posterior”
    https://blueplanetnotes.blogspot.com/2018/08/kicking-thomas-sowells-african-american.html

  57. Hey Doug, you made some great points, but this one snagged me:

    If U.K. universities are bastions of white privilege, how can we explain this trend?

    Well, the trend shows that maybe white privilege is slowly being addressed, but a reduction of 7% to 73% white hardly shows that the wall protecting white privilege has fallen, let alone that the will to prop the wall up against demolition has disappeared.

    I call that ‘beaten less’ logic. The fact that dad beat us 8 times yesterday but only 7 times today does not show that we’re not being beaten, but rather demonstrates it. It’s a sorry excuse for ‘improvement’. Improvement would be better measured in dad doing more good things for us, not less bad ones.

    The tacit implication of that logic is that white privilege would be neutralized at around 50% white, or maybe even 40%. What about 30% or even 20%-25%?

    Where is the ‘fairness’ point?

    Notice the white privilege inherent of these assumptions:

    One, that whiteness is the standard of reference in the first place.

    Two, that whiteness or other-than-whiteness is anything but an incredibly crude and contrived lens lacking appreciable basis in biological fact.

    Three, that the fairness point in white minds isn’t far lower than 50% representation in a power structure.

    Over 80% of the world’s population is non-white. Do you think that whites in uni admin think would be happy if power distribution in academia were to mirror reality?

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