When the 70th anniversary of the atom bomb falling on Hiroshima came around in 2015, I recall writing about the subject for my previous place of cyber employment, as seemed only right. However, I took a slightly different approach to what remains an emotive moment in history by highlighting my connection to the pilot of the Enola Gay, Col. Paul Tibbets. I’m related to him via the American branch of my mother’s family, though it would take a dedicated genealogist to establish the precise bloodline linking us, for all those who could have provided the details are dead and gone. Suffice to say, being a relative of the man who pressed the button that changed the world in the worst possible way is something I’m never quite sure if I should say out loud or not, particularly when the crimes of one’s ancestors now apparently have to be answered for by their living descendants. Where does Col. Tibbets rank on the Woke scale of irredeemably unspeakable skeletons in the family closet, I wonder? And what kind of penance must I pay when it comes to my trial for crimes against humanity, even if I didn’t personally commit any?
Yes, this North Korean-style retrospective punishment is all the rage now that the keys of the asylum have been placed in the hands of the lunatics. The British Library, repository of the nation’s greatest literary legacies, is just one more institution to have surrendered guardianship of the family silver to those who would just as happily toss it into a furnace as flog it. Even the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes has been added to the blacklist catalogue compiled in the wake of the Library’s self-flagellating surrender to the Church of BLM. Why? Well, as if enduring endless vitriolic assaults during his lifetime by unhinged radical feminists holding him responsible for the suicide of his first wife Sylvia Plath wasn’t bad enough, we now learn of another blot on the reputation of a man who died in 1998. Yes, Ted Hughes apparently had a distant ancestor who lived over 200 years before his own birth, one with some involvement in ‘colonialism’ back in the days of the British American colonies – and that is enough to condemn him. Funnily enough, Ted Hughes wasn’t born into wealth built on the profits of slavery and probably had no idea he was infected with the Original Sin of white supremacy, which we now thankfully know to be something all inherently evil non-BAME bastards carry. This is how insane it’s become.
The defacing of a Queen Victoria statue in Leeds at the height of the first wave of insanity back in the summer not only exposed the misogyny of the ‘artist’ but also highlighted his/her lack of education, linking Victoria to the slave trade when the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 – one that outlawed slavery throughout the British Empire bar a few outposts administered by the East India Company – was passed four years before Victoria came to the throne. But, hey, let’s not let any facts get in the way of the narrative, eh? And let’s not mention William Wilberforce or that this country led the way on abolitionism for the best part of half-a-century before finally achieving its aim. It’s probably worth mentioning that Britain didn’t invent slavery either and maybe make the point that it was still a highly profitable industry when Britain ended it. What always gets overlooked – one might almost say deliberately – is that before the advent of the more ruthless archetypal imperialists such as Cecil Rhodes, the British Empire was being shaped by the kind of middle-class, paternalistic do-gooders which the contemporary Woke crowd have more in common with than the British Library and its SJW affiliates would ever dare admit.
They would have regarded themselves as liberal, and they had a champion in the imposing figure of William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal with a capital L. The man who served four different terms as British Prime Minister was a passionate advocate of civilising savages with the Bible, a Victorian missionary in all-but name. He believed he was doing God’s work in converting heathen natives both home and abroad to a proper, Christian way of living, and his disciples set off for far-flung corners of the Empire to spread the Gospel. The colonies that had evolved from trading posts rather than claimed by invading armies were well-versed in the mantra of Free Trade, and those who governed the Empire during its middle period were fuelled by well-meaning, evangelical good intentions. As long as the natives were willing to be converted, they could be ruled by benign overlords with their best interests at heart. Secure in their righteous conviction that they were placed on earth to educate the less fortunate and that their selfless benevolence was sanctioned by the Almighty, they genuinely believed their way was the right way; and compared to, say, the Belgian approach to imperial governance, mid-Victorian imperialists were undoubtedly liberal.
Today’s equivalents have no Empire in terms of physical landmass; but they’ve conquered our public institutions and services – the schools, the universities, the medical profession, the police force, the Law – as well as tech companies, the corporate world, the arts, the mainstream media and politics; so, they basically control the majority of information reaching the masses as well as dictating social discourse and mores. I think that’s the nearest thing to an Empire this century can command without a shot being fired in anger. They’re as possessed by the same absolute, unshakable belief in their own moral righteousness as their Victorian forefathers and they also share their crusading mission to convert non-believers. They may have rejected God in Heaven, but they have their joint earthly religions of Identity Politics and Climate Change; they promote Globalisation with the same zealous fervour as the Imperial Victorians promoted Free Trade; and they place great emphasis on racial categorisation, believing one race is superior to the other; indeed, their belief in keeping the skin colours separate is as strong as that practiced and preached by the distant colonials they profess to detest. What a delicious irony.
The artist Grayson Perry once opined ordinary contemporary Brits bear more of a passing resemblance in spirit to the raucous Georgians than the virtuous Victorians; and the parallels between the way in which the Victorians were ashamed of their uncouth historical predecessors and the way in which the Woke cheerleaders look down on the ‘lower orders’ (i.e. Brexit bigots) are glaring. The Victorian lower orders were just as fun-loving and eager to have a good time as both their Georgian ancestors and their present day descendants, but the growing middle classes were controlling the narrative, just as they do today – as well as controlling the soul-destroying industries those beneath them toiled in, just as they do today. The pious propriety of this group and the pressures placed upon people to fall in line with their way of thinking are no different in 2020; and these Victorians had their own ‘cancel culture’ should one of their young women have a child out of wedlock or one of their young men be caught in the arms of another young man; their narrow moral code could destroy an individual with the same callous efficiency as any outraged Twitter troll today.
A key difference is that the Victorian liberals were at least able to channel their fanatical vigour for self-improvement into invention, innovation, and technological progress that did indeed improve millions of lives. The Woke crowd are more interested in destroying than creating; they have the same narcissistic nihilism as the extreme wings of the Reformation, their destructive actions echoing the whitewashing of Saints from church interiors and the tearing down of Catholic icons. They lack both the vision and the compassion of the Victorians at their best, and if that generation of Brits couldn’t keep their Empire together, there’s hope yet that the sun will set on this anti-cultural Woke Empire before long.
© The Editor