Thursday, October 1, 2020
Home Readers Comments Readers’ comments: This ghastly epidemic of guilt

Readers’ comments: This ghastly epidemic of guilt

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In response to Kathy Gyngell: Cambridge, slaves and the truth,

Fred Smith wrote:

If you make a human rights law scholar VC and pay him a huge salary, you reap what you sow, the harvest being one of expensive self-flagellatory nonsense.

Next time go for an engineer, mathematician, lawyer, astronomer, historian, that sort of thing.

Peter Evans wrote:

An excellent and much-needed article – perhaps it should be emailed to Professor Toope before he succeeds in bankrupting quite possibly the best university on the planet.

Unless white Europeans ditch this ghastly epidemic of pathological guilt, our entire civilisation is in peril. Paying reparations for historic events is an absurdity. Stuffing the coffers of people who were never slaves with money lifted from the pockets of people who never enslaved them isn’t only bonkers, it’s immoral.

The question isn’t the identitarian Leftist one of ‘Does it feel good to indulge in this perverse act of pseudo-virtue?’ It’s never especially virtuous to spend other people’s money on things they haven’t consented to. Virtue, Professor Toope, is its own reward, which is why it’s traditionally performed privately and without fanfare. Publicly declaring your virtuous intentions costs you nothing and serves only to flatter your ego.

The real question is ‘Will it do good?’ The people demanding reparations for a trade that ended in the West – that was abolished by the West – nearly two centuries ago can never be appeased or satisfied. This isn’t about righting past wrongs (no one can unmake a trade that is now, for us, lost in the mists of time and of historical interest only). It’s about feeding racialised resentment and fuelling racialised malice, tendencies that become more insatiable and ungracious with every concession.

And it’s easy to see where it’s coming from: the universities themselves, and multiple suspiciously well-funded organisations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Centre in the US and ostentatiously pious outfits like Hope Not Hate in the UK.

Students contaminated by the multiple Grievance Studies metastasising across universities are being taught that ‘whiteness’ is an unparalleled evil that leads directly to ‘white supremacy’ and must therefore be taken down and literally eradicated by means of ethnic replacement. I hear that Arizona State University has a new course entitled ‘The Problem with Whiteness’, while more than 30 US universities are offering their students the delights of ‘white studies’. https://www.mindingthecampu…

Yesterday I quoted the American conservative David Horowitz; I think his remarks (which he gave in an interview with the Washington Post in 2013) go straight to the heart of the matter and are worth repeating here:

‘Black studies celebrates blackness, Chicano studies celebrates Chicanos, women’s studies celebrates women and white studies attacks white people as evil.’

Pathological resentment can never be assuaged. It just burns more ferociously every time it’s fed with emoluments freighted with pathological guilt. And it’s the latter that strikes me as the most pressing problem: we may not be able to stop those inclined from wallowing in rage-filled malice, but we can stop wallowing in this sickness called ‘white guilt’. And the antidote to white guilt is gratitude – gratitude for all the unrivalled achievements white Europeans have bequeathed all of humanity over the centuries. Show me any human population that hasn’t engaged in barbarity and wickedness in distant centuries. Why are ‘white’ crimes singled out for such special vitriol, when white Europeans have done the most to reform themselves out of earlier inhumanities and to benefit the world with stupendous achievements in science, medicine, engineering and art?

Time for a little humble appreciation and recognition, Professor Toope, not the perverted and potentially ruinous virtue-signalling you’re engaging in.

John Fannon wrote:

According to a biography of Thomas Clarkson by Ellen Gibson Wilson published in 1990, Clarkson was virtually written out of the history of the abolition of slavery by Wilberforce’s sons, Robert and Samuel, who wrote the definitive biography of their father. Wilson writes that even 150 years later, the Wilberforce brothers’ ‘Life’ is treated as the authoritative source. She writes that their treatment of Clarkson, a towering figure in the abolition struggle, is invalidated by untruths, omissions and misrepresentations of his motives and achievements. This is not to disparage William Wilberforce himself, a kind and generous man who in spite of ill health devoted his Parliamentary life to the cause. Down here in the West Country, we have been working to reinstate the name of Thomas Fowell Buxton, MP for Weymouth 1818-37. In 1823 Buxton took up the torch from the ageing Wilberforce in the final struggle in Parliament for the abolition of slavery and achieved it in 1833. We formed the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society in 2010 and as a result of our efforts in 2017 a monument was erected to Buxton’s achievements on Bincleaves Green, Weymouth, Dorset.

Kojii Naz wrote:

For some reason, I don’t see an outcry for the North Africans (cf. Barbary pirates), Yoruba, Ashanti, Arabs or Ottomans to pay reparations, even though they were heavily involved in slavery. They’re too ‘Other’ to be guilty of anything.

Left/liberal neobigotry is very ‘igbogg’ (ingroup bad, outgroup good).

alw wrote:

What about the slavery that continues today in the West? Young people from Eastern Europe controlled by gangmasters . . . prostitutes, fruit and vegetable pickers and now beggars on our streets who are shifted around areas every 2-4 hours, to name a few. And then of course there is the Middle East . . .

Colkitto03 wrote:

As the members of staff at Cambridge can also be termed ultimate beneficiaries, I suggest they contribute. After all, the institution benefited and so their employment today has its roots in those historical decisions. I suggest 10 per cent of their own pay is deducted and handed over.

I can’t see Stephen Toope or his colleagues objecting to that.

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