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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – the death of history

Race becomes the supremely important phenomenon, masking every other aspect of a complex culture. Racial politics provide the framework of values by which every institution concerned with the past is to be judged. There are many important factors in the way that human societies develop. Race is only one of them and not necessarily the most important. Any serious commentator on the current state of historical studies ought to welcome attempts to present aspects of history which have previously been ignored or marginalised. That includes the story of ethnic minorities and non-European societies. But it does not mean that the whole of Britain’s modern history should be viewed through their eyes. It does not mean that the role of slavery or empire in Britain’s economic, cultural and social history should be exaggerated beyond recognition. And it does not mean that current political priorities should determine how we understand the past.

Jonathan Sumption

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – the death of history

  • Paul Marks

    The vital first step to opposing something is to have the courage to say what it is.

    What we face, in the attack on Western history and the rest of the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) agenda, is Frankfurt School Marxism.

    Unless we have the courage to say that, we have no hope of defeating it.

  • Paul Marks

    They do not really care about race, or sex, or sexuality (and-so-on) – they care only about using various groups as an excuse and a weapon, to destroy the West.

    The left have gained control of nearly all institutions, including the vast international corporations, and their control needs to be called out – and destroyed, otherwise they will destroy what is left of Western Civilisation.

  • KJP

    ‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’

    This quotation is attributed to George Orwell who almost certainly did not say it.

    As the Orwell Society points out Orwell would have written “a people” not “people” but I still like it.

  • Subotai Bahadur

    Race, ethnicity, and tribalism, and cultures are factors in human history. But such can be possibly considered the most malleable of factors. If nothing else, the innately human urge to screw anyone who holds still leads to a certain homogenization over time.

    If I may intrude to speak about myself and my family. My father came from south China to this country [US]. I am half-Chinese, and regarded as being just Chinese here, because I look Chinese.

    OK, except that in China the move of the frontier over history was from north to south, from the Yellow River drainage, to the Yangtze River Drainage, to the Pearl River drainage. In each new area they chopped down the jungle, chased out the tigers, and planted rice. Those from northern China have a different genetic mixture, heritage and appearance than those in south China. If you are around Chinese enough, you can detect the differences in the genetic mix, although the customs and culture are pretty much the same.

    Up until a few years ago, I believed that my birth mother’s family was basically Germans who came here as immigrants in the mid-1860’s. One of my daughters [who incidentally has a given name that has meaning in both Chinese and Scots Gaelic as well as makes sense in American English] went full bore on chasing down genealogy and records; and while there is German in my maternal family there is also most of Western Europe PLUS it turns out that one of my ancestors through my mother came over on the Mayflower. Confirmed by those elitists who track Mayflower descendants. Going back a little further, there is Welsh and Cornish. Quite a mix for the grandson of a Chinese peasant farmer.

    My wife is a mix of Western Europe and includes both Irish Gaelic and Highland Scots. Our kids are a combination of all of that. And our grandchildren range from blonde and blue-eyed to visibly part Hispanic.

    “Racial” mixtures change generationally, and in and of themselves do not have decisive influence on how people turn out. What counts is the nature of the culture and society that the kids are raised in, and if they are raised to succeed in that society and culture.

    Those who claim otherwise have less than benign motives.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • John

    It’s not just race. Too many university courses and professors have re-defined their subject matter in accordance with “queer studies” so that the unfortunate students are being taught queer mathematics, queer physics, queer economics etc etc.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Maybe those who are very quick to call others racist want to elevate themselves to some higher moral ground. They can then denounce anyone who wants to reduce immigration. These are the people who don’t want nation states to have borders or people to have any impediment to going where they like. They believe anyone who disagrees with their view to be riddled with prejudice. Yet in my view prejudice is common place. We mostly favour our families or friends. Isn’t that prejudice?

  • Paul Marks

    It is a great mistake to take leftists, including Corporate leftists, at face value.

    For example, to assume they really do care about black people – and to take their theories seriously and go try and find good things in the theories.

    They do not give a damn about black people, or any of the groups they pretend to care about – it is a pose (an act) and that is how it should be treated.

    And, again, it is not confined to race – for example demanding that the police be removed from areas where a lot of black people live, knowing (and yes they do know) that this will mean many more black people being murdered – so much for “caring about black people” and “Black Lives Matter”.

    It also covers women and every other group the left pretends to care about.

    For example, an academic at University College London who specialises in the study of the sexual victimisation and trafficking of women, has just launched an “Ofcom” complaint about a GB News Documentary about Child Rape Gangs.

    Was it a bad documentary? No it was a good documentary. But it is “Islamophobic” and “racist” against “Marginalised Communities” (hello Herbert Marcuse – Freedom of Speech to be exterminated as “repressive tolerance”) to complain about child rape gangs and the forced prostitution of very large numbers of underage girls – the “compassionate” University College London academic will not allow it, and will bring in the state violence of “Ofcom” to stop reporting of the matter.

    They do not care – they do not care about black people, they do not care about women, and (in case you do not know) they do not care about Muslims and “marginalised communities” either.

    It is about power and control – and that is all it is about.

    That is what the left are about – power and control, crushing Civil Society, a boot stamping down on a human face, for ever.

    Their rewriting of history, for example pretending that people like Lugard (the main British Imperialist in East and West Africa) did evil rather than good – is all part of this project of destroying what is left of a free society and replacing it with totalitarianism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What we face, in the attack on Western history and the rest of the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) agenda, is Frankfurt School Marxism.

    Unless we have the courage to say that, we have no hope of defeating it.

    I myself have said and repeated it, but only in circles where people understand what Frankfurt Marxism is. I don’t see much point in saying it to those who never heard of the Frankfurt School. Still, it doesn’t hurt saying it.

    What i think is more important, however, is to use Frankfurt/Gramscian concepts against Wokeness. (In the same way that Jan Machajski used Marxist concepts against the Marxists.) It is important to make people understand that Wokeness has become the dominant ideology: an instrument of oppression by the ruling class.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: A very important difference between the Frankfurt School and Wokeness, is that the Woke do not understand the concept of ‘ruling class’. Every time a Woke utters the words ‘patriarchy’ or ‘white privilege’, that shows that s/he does not understand the concept of ruling class.

  • Ben David

    Subotai: Americans and Jews are the only two peoples whose identities are based on ideas instead of tribal/ethnic affinity.

    I think that when people talk about Marxists denying people their heritage – they don’t mean only ethnic pride. They mainly mean exactly these ideas: the Judeo Christian moral/philosophical basis of the free West.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – if people do not know what it is, then we need to explain it to them.

    If people do not know what sort of danger they face, they will not be able to effectively defend themselves and their families.

    Yes that does NOT mean screaming in despair like the man at the end of the first “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” film (the creator of that film was an anti Marxist – he was putting his own despair into the lead character) – of course the motorists will think someone who is screaming “they are coming for you!” “they are coming for your families!” is a lunatic – and avoid him.

    But it must be calmly explained – because they are coming for people, and coming for their families. Indeed families have, to a great extent, already been destroyed – and quite deliberately.

    Western societies are not dying a natural death – the West is being murdered.

    Yes it must be explained in a calm tone of voice (no hysterical screaming) – but it must be explained to the people.

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