THERE is a lot to say about the perverse ruling recently out of Bristol. That the bourgeois berks Sage, Jake, Milo and Rhian got off scot free says much about the modern state of things, and none of it positive.
I will not touch on the patent ridiculousness that they were cleared of criminal damage after destroying a monument in public, other to say that that they were able to commit such an act in broad daylight as the police stood idly by is another sorry sign of our growing inequality before the law, and another milestone along the path of society’s collapse of faith in British policing.
Of interest is a statement made by one of the barristers in the case. He urged jurors to be ‘on the right side of history’ in their decision, in other words to ignore the matter at hand and to focus on a woke metanarrative instead.
It is oh so easy to claim you are on the right side of history. In effect it gives you carte blanche to do whatever you damn well please. Judging yourself to be morally virtuous, if not infallible, how can any act you commit be considered a crime?
There are a hundred problems with this childish notion. Key among these is simply the fact that as people generally know so little of history, it is impossible for them to know which side they are on or why they are on it. Naturally, they just conceive of themselves as the ‘goodies’.
This is a result of the modern teaching of history, which regards it as a tawdry Manichean tale of good versus evil. This is the Third Reichification of history, with the past reduced to identifying whichever party fits most lazily into the swastika-shaped placeholder.
Nuance, perspective and humility are rarely demanded. After all, what does it mean to be on the ‘right side of history’? This is not an immutable concept, but instead one that will evolve in accordance to the morals and mores of the day. Being on the ‘right side of history’ in the early days of the USSR meant ratting out your loved ones and watching the Black Maria whisk them away. The possibility that people do the wrong thing with what they conceive of as ‘good intentions’ scarcely crosses historically illiterate minds.
For when the likes of the barrister talk about the ‘right side of history’, they care not one jot for the past. They, instead, are emphasising only the present. It is merely a technique through which one can justify any of today’s actions by hazy reference to a child-like overarching narrative that, very conveniently, entirely conforms to their worldview.
After all, what is meant by the ‘right side of history’ in all of this? It is usually meant as a blind synonym for ‘progressive’. But what comes with this? The toleration of mob rule and mindless violence in public spaces? The ignoring of long-established legal principles for the benefit of passing contemporary passion?
I would argue the ‘right side of history’ is the one that sides with basic principles of law and order, where the fundamental aspects of our law are not ridden roughshod over by a bunch of historically illiterate middle-class clowns who have riled themselves into a state of ignorant fury. The ‘right side of history’ is the one that seeks to maintain equality before the law, not its partisan application.
There are few things more galling than the dishonest manipulation of the past to cynically advance your ideological programme. After all, let us not forget that some of the four accused admitted to knowing almost nothing about Edward Colston before they became part of this vile mob. How can they be on any side of history, let along the right one, when they are so thoroughly ignorant of it?