Letter from Oxford

Letter from Oxford, by Paul Craig Roberts.

This is an interesting letter from 2016. It’s purportedly from the Head of an Oxford College, but it almost certainly isn’t. Even more interesting is the introduction by an Oxford graduate. It’s worth quoting at length, to see how far things are moving. It’s four years since 2016 — where are we now?

First, from the introduction by Paul Craig Roberts:

The future independence of universities is in doubt, especially those dependent on alumni support. Old grads are turned off by the erasure of what they remember….

The older generation of graduates, who made their money in the past, is constantly reminded by fund-raising materials that the college or university that they attended has been replaced by something else. What they experienced is gone. Oxford colleges were segregated by gender and attended mainly by British.

Today they are gender-integrated and multi-cultural. Judging from photos in fund-raising materials, at Oxford the British appear to be a minority. Instead of warm and fuzzy feelings, old grads feel dispossessed.

The psychological effect on those who experienced a different Oxford environment is similar to returning to the site of your grandparents farm and finding a subdivision, a bedroom community for a once distant city. The creek you explored is now inside a pipe buried under back yards, and the trees you climbed are cut down. You feel a loss. This is what many alumni feel when they experience the transformation of their educational institution. They experience a loss of association, which is not a racist or sexist response. …

The letter itself demonstrates a cultural confidence that was becoming rare in public life even in 2016, let alone in these days of mob-rule.

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, and 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.

You’ll probably say that’s ‘racist.’ But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call ‘true.’ …

Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. … 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 post grads 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 R.W. 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 said in 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. …

Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.

What an excellent, politically incorrect, rant. The ideas and truths  are obvious enough, but you are just “not allowed” to say them now. Says who?

hat-tip Stephen Harper