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Thursday, April 21. 2016
This letter was a hoax of sorts, posted somewhere on the internet as a response from Oxford to students attending as Rhodes Scholars to remove the statue of Oxford Benefactor Cecil Rhodes.
Not sure who wrote this. Best line to the students: "Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you."
American higher ed administrators might bear that in mind.
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, Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman. 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.
(The "letter" continues below the fold)
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.
Tracked: Apr 22, 12:13
Tracked: Apr 22, 22:00
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Rather than calling it a "hoax" or "fake" why not classify it as "unattributed opinion"?
I would agree with it in its entirety (except for the comment about Churchill and Muslims).
The author, whether from Oxford or not, seems to be taking a lot of credit for things accomplished by other white people long before he was born.
Even at that, if he pushes it back another 800 years his ancestors don't seem to have been pushing civilisation forward much either.
Congrats, you've been promoted and can now remove the adjectives "assistant" and "village" from you handle.
I don't know that the text implies the author taking personal credit for anything at all. Admittedly the text gets slightly undergraduate in tone, but s/he's allegedly speaking in the persona of Oxford or of a senior don thereof on its behalf.
If you go back 800 years before the founding of Oxford Britain was actually in the process of decivilizing, but it had been a reasonably advanced place as a province of Rome. And as England it started making contributions again within a few centuries. By the time of Oxford, already arguably better results than the Bantu peoples the author somewhat snidely focused on.
We'd all do better to remember that material achievement is not the whole measure of a people, but it has its uses. The Celts so maligned by the Romans and Greeks, and to some extent the Germans, may indeed have been well behind the Mediterranean world but they lived in villages and towns and practiced material culture of a high level, comparable or better than most places outside the heartlands of the various classical, Indian or Chinese civilizations. That might even include pre-Roman Britain. They lacked for philosophy and natural sciences, and apparently written literature, but were capable of poetry at any rate. I for one would be willing to grant the Bantu peoples the same credit even if I don't know what culture they were producing in those centuries.
Great Zimbabwe is a funny case. It's undeniably impressive, and apparently the Rhodesian authorities were sufficiently put out by it that they always officially denied it had been made by local black peoples. I see the logic from their particular point of view, but impressive as it is it isn't exactly the pyramids of Giza. I had a high-school geography teacher to whom Zimbabwe might as well have been Augustan Rome.
"Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution?"
They rather think it does, and have said so.
"Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims"
"Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you."
The inmates don't run the asylum. For good reason.
James Madison is generally credited as the father of the Constitution, it is more complicated that that. Jefferson didn't even sign the thing. While Madison did own slaves he felt strongly that slavery was wrong, as did Jefferson.
Both men felt that blacks were in general inferior but that was settled science at the time.
Jefferson had next to nothing to do with the Constitution other than he earlier work on the Virginia Constitution. He was in Europe during the Constitutional Convention.
Rather pithy, direct, and most nearly accurate, I'm with most commenters so far - Winston may not have been mistaken in his opinion of the Muslim.
Winston Churchill 1899: "Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world."
Not sure that's even remotely incorrect. Seems pretty dead on actually.
Then unlike the adressees, I have no real issue with opinion. I'm not to crazy about the adressees tendency to invent their own "facts" but differing opinons are fine.
Excellent!! This belongs in the category of "..if not true, it should be..".
A new religion had fanaticised whole nations. Men bred up in the habits of a wild and roaming freedom, had been brought together by its influence, and taught to unite the energies of a savage life with all the harmony and calculable coincidencies of a machine. But this religion was deadly to morals, to science, to civil freedom : no society could be progressive under its influence. It was favourable to superstition, cunning, and sensual indulgence; but it bore no fruit, it yielded no marriageable arms to the vine, it sheltered no healing plant. The soil was grassless where it grew ; the fox made its nest at the root, and the owl screamed in its branches - Such was the religion of Mahomet.
S.T.Coleridge ``The War Not a Crusade'' The Morning Post April 16, 1800.
Dear (pseudo) Oxonian,
Thomas Jefferson had almost nothing to do with the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, other than writing a few letters about it to Madison from Paris, where he was American Ambassador to France. Perhaps what you had in mind was the Declaration of Independence? Are they still teaching history at Oxford?
And do people at Oxford really still refer to the Atlantic Ocean as "the pond"? I thought that was about as current as "what what?" and "old chap." Autres temps, autres mots.
Let me help you all out.
The quoted passage is from James Dellingpole of Breitbart London. Here is the link:
Respond with something like "Marxists care about people like pedophiles care about children".
The proper attibution is probably James Delingpole, who published it at http://www.biznews.com/undictated/2015/12/29/james-delingpole-leave-oxford-alone-take-anti-rhodes-campaign-back-to-sa/
Not to burst any bubbles here but despite the bluster, the PC rabble will win this battle too and Cecil will be moved to a dusty storage room someplace. Believe me, I take no joy in this undoubtedly accurate prediction.
This being said, good piece and spot on.
I am American and lived in Britain for 30 years. All of the people who have been at Oxford think they are very clever. A few of them are.