My name is Wanjiru and I am proud to have been a Rhodes Scholar. Kenya and St Edmund's College Cambridge, 1998, since you ask.
If I had met Cecil Rhodes the first thing I would have said to him is 'thank you for funding my education'. I'm very polite that way. I was raised to have good manners, always to say please and thank you. So, thank you Mr Rhodes!
With the pleasantries out of the way, we could go on to compare our adventures. He could tell me how he appropriated a chunk of Africa and gave it his name, and I could recount how I appropriated a little corner of England where I love to sit in the garden among the late-blooming pink roses and read books. Seems fair to me, that if an African woman can make her home in England then an English man can make his home in Africa.
Next up would be the matter of his imperialism. It is fashionable nowadays to pretend to be very interested in the true historical facts about the misdeeds of imperialists. Like a Newsnight Inquisitor: "Tell me Mr Rhodes, just how evil a man would you say you were? How sorry and ashamed are you now for what you did?" We want to know the facts about how evil they were, all the rude things they said about other races, so we can shake down their heirs for some compensation, maybe a bit of power-sharing, maybe even some expropriation to equalise things and correct historical wrongs. But historical wrongs do not justify new wrongs.
This does not mean being so happy with the status quo that we consider imperialism to be 'worth it' for all the great legacies it yielded.
Nor, we might add, should we use the old wounds to justify new forms of evil, as pay-back for the old forms of evil.
The real aim of historical fact-finding and plaque-shaming imperialists is to gather ammunition with which now to take aim at the British in order to support the case for Socialism and Reparations and new forms of Equity that are nothing more than a mask for vengeance and retribution. The plaque-shaming 'retain and explain' missions are selective. They're digging for dirt to throw at historical monuments. They are not interested in highlighting all the relevant facts.
If you already know the truth about socialism (it doesn't work), and have formed your own view about those begging for their reparations (shameful), there is no need to feign an interest in this historical fact-checking charade. So we can skip pretending to debate whether Rhodes was a good man or a bad man, and instead reflect on other aspects of his legacy.
Many Rhodes Scholars went on to be Kings and Princes and Presidents of great countries. They are rich and famous and powerful. But I rather think that because he endowed education Rhodes would like to know that many more scholars went quietly into scholarship. There are many ways to be a leader, not all of which involve fame and fortune. It may even be that in the end the legacy of Empire which he wished to preserve will be defended not by the power-mongers who have all embraced the Woke and denounced him (while keeping his money, of course) but by those who came to believe in the ideals which underpin the scholarship and learning he funded: the ideals of reason, rationality, free speech and open debate.
Perhaps Rhodes would also be amused to hear how I ended up in Cambridge rather than Oxford. Being a man of his time, he laboured under the shocking historical delusion that the Oxford experience is unique. You can't blame him for that. Long ago they thought differently about such things. He probably thought of Cambridge as nothing more than a less illustrious little brother (it's an ancient feud). In these enlightened times nobody holds Oxford in that sort of uncritical regard. The Equality Act tells us that all universities are now to be regarded as equal. But Rhodes would, I'm sure, agree that it's just as well because Oxford is now ashamed to be associated with him. A plaque has been installed to give 'context' to his statue at Oriel College. The plaque declaims in the immortal words of frightened cowards everywhere: It wasn't us, we never!
Well, Mr Rhodes, your legacy has taken a very different path from that which you might have predicted. But then, being a great adventurer, you would be used to life's odd little twists and turns and I hope that the Wokie Tokies dancing around your statue will not trouble you unduly. I wonder if you knew that one day the vultures would come circling round the hilltop where you chose to lie buried. Rest easy, Son of Africa. In the end, the only place a legacy can truly endure is in the hearts of those who embrace it.
It has been announced that the good British people are the world's leading perpetrators of horrors and will need to start paying out their slavery reparations right away. This is good news for all those on the receiving end of the payouts. It's almost like winning the lottery. Everyone loves receiving free money from the government so it's good to see reparations being promised. This might seem a bit unfair to any British taxpayer who has never personally perpetrated any horrors, but that's too bad. They should have thought of that before choosing to be descended from horrid slavers and colonisers. Most people would agree that it's only fair and just to make recompense for doing something bad even if you didn't do it. The fact is that you live in a world where horrors occur, and that makes you a joint perpetrator of horrors. The balance of the world must now be restored. Time to pay up!
It was not very nice of Donald Trump to describe third world countries as ‘shithole countries’. This was rude and unacceptable language. Tut tut. Naughty Mr Trump. He needs to use more polite language in future. But even when people use rude words it is necessary to examine their argument carefully, and to consider whether there is any truth in it.
In his 1949 lectures titled Freedom under the Law Lord Denning describes ‘the heritage of freedom’ as ‘the greatest heritage of all.’ The lectures highlight the importance of law in safeguarding freedom, especially individual liberty or personal freedom. Lord Denning defines personal freedom as ‘the freedom of every law-abiding citizen to think what he will, to say what he will, and to go where he will on his lawful occasions without let or hindrance from any other persons.’ Personal freedom prevails over all other rights and interests.
All men are equal in virtue of their humanity. Black or white, rich or poor. We are all equally entitled to legal, political and civil rights. We are equally entitled to fundamental freedoms such as life and liberty. The challenge now is how to defend this ideal in a world of unequal life outcomes. In truth, we will never have equal wealth, beauty or esteem, and this leads socialists to believe that the ideal of equality should be abolished.
in which Lord Cornwallis enjoys colonising his private sphere
Long ago the world was divided into two spheres, public and private. There was a concept known as 'privacy' which sprung many offshoots such as a private life, private space, private correspondence, private shenanigans, and a place called 'home' where you could install a dinner table and say anything you wanted without running the risk of committing a public order offence.
An academic philosopher has been cancelled for stating that civilisation is for everyone. The idea of 'civilisation' has become very sensitive for those who fear that they are not regarded by others as sufficiently civilised. They suspect that others regard them as uncivilised. Oh dear. Soon 'civilisation' will join the list of banned words, along with 'nature', 'humanity', 'reason', 'rationality', 'logic' and 'debate'. All these banned ideas are linked. To be civilised is to participate in society based on reasonable interactions with others. If we denounce reason and rationality, and resort instead to mob rule, cancelling those with whom we disagree, trying to get them fired, then we denounce civilisation.
Why bother to work hard, devoting years to learning a skill or trade, when instead you could go on a riot for social justice and put pressure on the government to give you a bunch of free money? Sitting indoors engaging in productive activity seems dull and tedious compared to going out on the streets to do social justice - meeting other cool people, throwing a few missiles at the police, setting buildings on fire, looting and general rioting.
Rioting is very exciting, and as an extra bonus you get your 15 minutes of fame when they feature you on the evening news. There you are, running through the streets in your combat gear, fist in the air, weeping copious tears while demanding your justice and your reparations! Nice. Breaking windows and mounting barricades is also great for putting pressure on rich people to pay you protection-money hoping you'll go away and leave their stuff alone.
All pebbles are created equal, but some are more equal than others
A Critique of the Equality Act (EQA)
▪ The EQA is based on partisan ideology rooted in neo-Marxist ideas.
▪ The EQA is effectively a licence to discriminate. It creates rights for some but not for others.
▪ The EQA undermines individual liberty and erodes the public-private boundary.
in which our historical hero fails to apologise for blatant Empire Building
Bias may or may not be rational. It all depends on the issue that falls to be decided. It is of course rational to discriminate in making choices. Discrimination only becomes irrational if it takes irrelevant or erroneous factors into account. Only a fool would declare 'I never discriminate!' We should discriminate against the unwise, and discriminate in favour of the wise. Not all choices are equal. In our private lives we discriminate in favour of our personal preferences. We select more of the things we like, and reject those which we disdain.
Yet the pileup of laws forbidding 'discrimination' constructs a New Normal where an explanation or justification is required for making perfectly rational choices. So an airline (not United Airlines) might carefully explain 'we think it is reasonable to discriminate against this pilot because he doesn't know how to fly a plane. This discrimination is unfortunate and unfair, but it is justified at the utmost end of need, because sadly we do often prefer to hire pilots qualified to fly'.
Scholar, Writer, Friend