Sunday 21 June 2020

Captain Cook, Lord Nelson and Clive of India were racists

An anti-colonialist 25 year old Australian historian disapproves of statues of Captain Cook, Lord Nelson and my great hero Clive of India.

What would the Whig Lord Macaulay say? His dazzling Essay on Clive was the best thing I'd ever read when I was twelve. Clive's greatness is beyond dispute. He was the conqueror of India, something no Greek or Roman ever was.

Countries live in the imagination. To renounce England's wonderful past is to renounce our country herself.

The wisest man I ever met was an illiterate Pole who came to England after the war and told me England was the best country in the world. 

Every man thinks his country the best country in the world, in one sense, in the sense that his wife and mother are the best wife or mother in the world, but in England's case it's objectively true.

What is the alternative? The only competitors are France, Ancient Athens and Ancient Rome and we are even better than them, even if being opposed to slavery is the only test. (Just think of the French revolution, if you would put France in first place.)

Oh and I suppose another alternative is China, where political prisoners today provide slave labour.

1 comment:

  1. "'Such a position never was occupied by any Greek or Roman and, if it only lasts two months, it is worthwhile to have been Prime Minister of England.' 'By God that's true,' Melbourne replied. 'I'll go."