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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54 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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    • “It’s embarrassing that no American intellectuals have the wisdom or courage to say similar things to movements like BLM and Antifa.”

      Well we have Christina Hoff Sommers, and Heather Mac Donald…

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    • How many black folk have been shot and kiilled in Oxford England by police? This is a LAME fucking reply. BLM is real, and Black Lives do Matter. Putting them down in Oxfordian English is no less racist.

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      • Robert, welcome to the blog. Black lives indeed do matter, very much so, although I fear that when some BLM members chant about “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” it doesn’t help anyone.

        Finally, the numbers on police shootings in the US are curious. See my post here and here for details.

        None of this means that racism is not a problem in the US. It absolutely is, and we all need to combat it … but we do not want to become lost in hatred of the “other” in the process. We need to fight racism by inclusion, not by further bitterness.

        All the best to you,

        w.

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      • Methinks a commenter did not read down far enough to see that what he was objecting to was fake. As in something that purports to be real but is in fact, fiction, a work of the imagination, perhaps based on real events, perhaps not.

        2hotel9: “If the color of your skin is the only thing that makes your life “matter” you are a racist.”

        Very perceptive. In this age of identity politics, it’s the trendy thing to pick one thing and make it your identity, the one most important thing in your life. Black, woman, gay, whatever, and hate everybody else because they oppress you because of this thing. Be the victim. Fighting racism with racism, yeah that’ll work. Tribalism.

        MLK said to love your enemies. I haven’t heard that one recently.

        Here is an amazing essay, an excerpt from a book, “Suicide of the West” by Jonah Goldberg, which touches on tribalism, human nature, and the progress of humanity and civilization. I can’t summarize it so I will just leave you a couple teasers and hope that you will read it.
        https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/04/30/jonah-goldberg-suicide-of-the-west-excerpt/

        Humans are animals. We evolved from other animals, who evolved from ever more embarrassing animals, and before that from a humiliating sea of primitive critters in the primordial stew. Almost everything we take for granted today — technology, prosperity, medicine, human rights, the rule of law — is a novel, unnatural environment for humans, created by humans.

        Nearly all of our laws and customs, from marriage and prohibition of murder to the concept of merit, restrain human nature. For instance, nepotism and favoritism are natural. People prefer family and friends in every society that has ever existed. Westerners often consider developing countries such as Afghanistan corrupt because their political systems proceed from tribal reciprocity. But Afghans and others argue that their ways are ancient and natural. And they’re right. Our system of merit, contracts, blind bidding, etc. is what’s unnatural.

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        • That sentiment came from my great grandfather, a man who stood against the KKK and the political establishment in Pearl River, Lamar, Stone and Forrest counties in Mississippi in the early 1900s. He did not particularly like colored people, did not hate them, he treated them exactly as he treated anyone, with an even hand in business and a good dose of standoffishness when it came to his family. His father was anti-slavery and fought on the side of the Confederacy, once blacks were freed he and his wife worked to educate them and sold them land to farm, at the same price they sold to whites, and even the Irish, a group of people they had little respect for even though they had Irish blood from the 1700s and again after the Famine. Complicated people with complicated views of the world they lived in. Seems a bit familiar, does it not?

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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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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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    • US universities tend to sequester themselves in distinct geographical precincts that are clearly bounded. “Schools” within tend to the notional rather than discrete physical entities with their own discrete grounds. There might well be an “Anthropology Building” on the campus, but odds are it is shared with a few journalism classes, a couple of mathematics classes and some odds and ends from engineering and fine arts. At the university I went to the Anthropology department had inherited an entire building from engineering – you could even tell this from the air, since the building was laid as a very large capital “E.”

      That aside, Oxford seems to have reasserted itself as an independent organization somewhat in that letter. In the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s at the least they were heavily weighted toward postmodernism in every subject. The point made is an important one though, regardless of whom the letter addressed. History is a vital body that we can either learn from, or suffer through ignoring.

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      • Sadly, Oxford along with most universities has become a hotbed of social justice warriors, unapololgetic socialists, free-speech opponents, left-wing professors, admirers of the mass murderer Che Guevara, and Antifa followers. The letter turns out to have been written by my friend James Delingpole as a satire … and it’s still too good to not quote.

        w.

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        • We are ill served by our universities today and the products ill prepared for life or productive employment. Muddled instruction combined with poor parenting have given us a listless and uninspired group of children without the passion required to make viable our common tomorrows.

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

    • Thanks, Kimbo. I’ve read elsewhere that the letter was written by my mad mate James Delingpole.
      Snopes describes the letter as “openly racist” … I’d be interested in why he thinks that. AFAIK, as with libel, the truth is a total defence against a charge of racism. If I say “People with different color skin often have different cultures and morals”, that is obviously true and thus not racist.

      Can I say how much I hate the politically correct idea that there is “hate speech” which is criminal in nature?

      w.

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  14. It surprised me too when this hype of “Beeldenstorm” started. Its just a reminder of history and worthwile to understand what happened at that time.
    Beeldenstorm (iconoclasm) 1566 The Nedetherlands

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