Too Good To Not Quote

Here’s a Letter to the Editor regarding some African students attending Oxford in England. They have been demanding that the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College be taken down on the grounds that Rhodes was a racist … which he was …

cecil rhodes statue


Dear Scrotty Students,

Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many of them, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.

This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime – but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago. Autres temps, autres moeurs*. If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we really think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.

You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.” Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. In fact, we know things are different at other universities. We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale: the “safe spaces”; the‪ #‎blacklivesmatter; the creeping cultural relativism; the stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”. At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.

Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships) We are well used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it. You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are colour blind. We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect.

That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa. What a clever chap you are!” No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate. That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise your idea is worthless.

This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College, because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”. Well even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed. The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution? Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?”

Actually, we’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artefacts in places like Mali and Syria. You are murdering history.

And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your ‪#‎rhodesmustfall campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”. One of you – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh – is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”; another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!

Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs. Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy. Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford.

And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoilt, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.

Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.

Yours,

Oriel College, Oxford

*Autres temps, autres moeurs – Other times, other customs: in other eras people behaved differently.

Dang. Just … dang. Good to know our British cousins can still command le mot juste and deliver a well-turned phrase.

A lovely warm night here, with the moon smiling down on all of us, saints, sinners, sages, sophists, stoics, soldiers, stooges, seers, and students alike … my best to all.

w.

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42 thoughts on “Too Good To Not Quote

    • “” no American intellectuals have the wisdom or courage to say similar things “”

      Oh, they do, its just that they are taken in front of Title IX star-chambers and stripped of their tenure and pilloried in the press as examples of systemic racism in American institutions.

      See: the divinity profs from Duke, Paul Griffiths + Thomas Pfau

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/duke-divinity-crisis-griffiths-documents/

      there are countless others. few make sweeping statements like the above, but most manage to get a few good lines in before they’re unpersoned by the media.

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  1. I unfortunately can’t really like or comment this, since I am being stalked by a blogger with a severe attitude problem and a psychopathic way of expressing himself,, but I would like to tell you I very much appreciate both your talent as a writer, and the content of your blog posts.

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  2. Wow, just wow!
    I didn’t think the Educational Establishment still had anyone left with the cojones to stop pandering to the students’ demands like that.

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  3. My memory of this imbroglio is that the authorities of Oriel college/Oxford were inclined to give this crazy idea some credence; that is until the alumni made it quite clear that the donations would stop if the statue was removed. The end result is what matters.

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  4. “Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation…”

    This is American English. I was born and raised in Oxford, don’t think this letter was. Still fun to read though.

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  5. Plenty of people have been thinking these things, it needs to be coming from those who run colleges and universities not just anonymous letters to editors from alumni. This racial division cancer is pretty far along in America and it is going to get real ugly before people throw it out of our educational system. A whole lot of “teachers” and “administrators” have to be removed from the system and replaced with people who have actual intelligence and the moral courage to tell these idiots to shut the fuck up and sit down.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, and this rousing letter aside, I believe that statue will be moved, white people in England have already been making noise about just that. To show the world how progressive and magnanimous they are, of course.

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  7. “Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond.”

    Yet another thing they are guilty of. Down with whitemanthought! /sarc

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: A message to some students of Oxford University | For God and Free Trade

  9. Dig hard enough and you will find some sin or weakness that you can lay on any historical figure. MLK? JFK? FDR? Womanizers all. Wilson? FDR? Racists.

    Of course the racists who decry European/whites past evils totally ignore other races and ethnicities atrocities. Consider La Raza who want the southwest to be returned to Mexico, ignoring the fact that they are descended in part from the Spanish who conquered and enslaved the natives. Of course they would claim they are partly native americans, but then their ancestors on that side, such as the Aztecs, took captives and slaughtered them in the thousands for religious purposes. Their ancestors had blood on their hands too. So what group is so pure that they should the southwest back?

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    • My mexican friends were very bias against the native indians of mexico. They were/are very proud of being Spanish mexicans. The disdain they exhibited was surprising to me.

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      • Pretty much true of minorities around the world: muslims in Burma; Ainu in Japan; Jews just about everywhere, etc. they’re either poor and looked down on or successful and hated.

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  10. Reading this reminded me of many years ago when visiting Sidney, Australia. One Saturday morning the manager of the TV station we were watching was reading the equivalent of our (US news papers’) ‘letters to the editor’. He read one from a lady complaining bitterly about a sexists advertisement the station ran. It was an Alka-Seltzer ad that centered on a workman operating a jack hammer while closely watching a young ladies rather nice derriere as she walked by.

    The manager looked up, faced the camera and replied (as close as I can remember): “Lady. There is a reason your Television set has a channel select button. If you don’t like to watch ours please feel free to change to another station.” Knowing the attitude of most media managers here in the U.S. I almost fell out of my chair from laughing so hard. I always thought it a shame that more people didn’t have the attitude/cahonies of that manager and who ever wrote the above letter.

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  11. So the actual author is James Delingpole. I knew right away that it was not by an Oxford official — university officials just don’t write that way, with insults, and if you look, you will see that English universities are just as micro-aggression crazy, racism-fearing as American universities..

    “We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect.” An Oxford official can say this with a straight face? Maybe he meant that they only discriminate on class.

    “Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?” His views on Muslims were very perceptive and the word unenlightened is too PC.

    I don’t know anything about Rhodes, but I do like Mark Twain:
    “I admire Cecil Rhodes. I confess it. And when his time comes I will buy a piece of the rope for a keepsake.”

    You could have imperial tours of sexist Oxford, sexy tours of homophobic Oxford and gay tours of misogynistic Oxford – it’s all about branding. The expression used to be “historic Oxford”, but anything from history is almost certainly also racist, sexist and homophobic. Most of us have had awkward moments when grandparents have strayed into dodgy conversational territory: well, the further back you go in history (with some noble exceptions, most of whom got killed), the dodgier people get.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/13/cecil-rhodes-campaign-oxford-david-mitchell

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    • Mud huts — This could be true, or not, I’m not up on my Zimbabwe architecture, but it’s neither here nor there what kind of houses or caves they lived in. The problem with Africa, then and now, is not that there is no Oxford there, but rather that there is tribalism. Real tribes, fighting each other, with war lords. This does not provide a good basis for a proper civilization. Europe of course has never had that (sarc).

      Churchill’s unenlightened views about India — I’m guessing that it involved the practice of Sati (Widow Burning), where the widow burns to death on her husbands funeral pyre. Definitely unenlightened.

      Churchill’s unenlightened views about Muslims — the most well known one is probably “Islam is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog.” The wording isn’t exactly right and the full context is interesting. See this article for much more of the quote and an attempt to portray it as racist. See a bit more of the quote below.
      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/bill-kristol-would-like-to-remind-you-of-winston-churchills-rabid-bigotry/262662/

      The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property — either as a child, a wife, or a concubine — must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proseltyzing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science — the science against which it had vainly struggled — the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

      So there, he is attacking the Islam “religion”, not individual Muslims. Therefore he is not racist (not withstanding that “Muslim” is not a race).

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  12. I was wandering between pubs in Oxford when an American pulled his car up next to me and we had a strange conversation…
    “Can you tell me the way to the university?”
    “You are in the middle of the university, it is all around you”.
    “Is any of it flood lit?”
    “No”.

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  13. Pingback: College Pupils and Administrators | A Plebe's Site

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