PC extremists police thought by rewriting the world’s history, by Brendan O’Neill.
A Year Zero mentality is on the march. People seem hellbent on wiping out history, making it invisible, and starting society all over again, cleansed of the likenesses of dead people of whom they disapprove.
This fury against monuments is presented as good and radical. The statue-smashers say they simply want to erase the faces and names of people who did bad things to show how far society has progressed and to make minority groups feel more comfortable when they’re out in public.
In truth, there’s nothing good in this mob-like erasure of history. It’s a reactionary, even Orwellian, movement. The urge to ethically cleanse public life of “bad history”, to shove down the memory hole any bust or tribute to past folk whose values make us bristle today, is intolerant, illiberal and profoundly paternalistic. …
This week Yarra council in Melbourne decreed that it would no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day, out of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. So a historic fact — the arrival of the First Fleet into New South Wales in 1788, the basis of Australia Day — is made unmentionable. It’s unremembered, erased, as surely as Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four must erase old newspaper reports about events that now embarrass the party. Today’s cleansing of images of history smacks of the dark antics of that fictional Ministry of Truth. …
The history erasers claim they only want to show how fair our societies now are. Rubbish. This isn’t about making the present better, it’s a projection of political correctness into the past. …
The logic of the Year Zero crew is that we should see only historical figures they approve of (if there are any). They police history with an eye for policing what we citizens can see and by extension think about the societies we live in.
It’s a low, brutal form of censorship, and we should have no truck with it.
He who controls the past controls the present. Erasing selected history is all about acquiring political power over us here and now.
hat-tip Stephen Neil