Judging the past by the standards of today

Imperial College London has been told to remove a bust of slavery abolitionist Thomas Henry Huxley because he “might now be called racist”, following a review into colonial links.

An independent history group for the Russell Group university has recommended that a bust of the renowned 19th century biologist, dubbed “Darwin’s bulldog”, be taken down and the Huxley Building on campus renamed.

All slightly weird. For the mantra of today is that there is no truth, everything is relative, a product of the surrounding society.

So the bloke’s a product of the society that surrounded him. How can he be held to some set of eternal verities if eternal verities don’t exist?

23 thoughts on “Judging the past by the standards of today”

  1. Cultural Ethnic cleansing of white people from English history, I would call it a war crime to take it down.

  2. How can he be held to some set of eternal verities if eternal verities don’t exist?

    Sounds like the sort of thing an agent of the white-capitalist-racist-imperialist-cisgender-patriarchal hegemony would say.

    Trans comrades of colour know that reason’s treason.

  3. If only you had given a trigger warning before printing “Imperial”. I had a momentary race memory of my slave trading ancestry

  4. And once you’ve dealt with the bulldog, that statue of Darwin in the Nat Hist will be that much easier.

  5. He once went to a Music Hall that had a Minstrel show.

    Hang him !

    I read a bit of Huxley as a student, alas senility means that I can’t remember any of it. He could be construed as laying the foundations for the Eugenicist movement and those who thought that thete was a racial hierarchy.

  6. Must admit to a degree of ironical amusement, not to mention schadenfreude, at the last episode of “Who Do You Think You Are”, where the somewhat “right-on” “lady of colour” was gobsmacked to discover that her (black) great-great-grandparents were slave owners.

  7. @Baron, yes that was brilliant. You could see it building up as she went back generation by generation and discovered that one of them was labelled “sambo” ie mixed race. Odds on from there that slave trading would enter the mix

  8. It was, indeed, racist to abolish slavery. A concept considered quite normal by sub-Saharan Africans (except the tiny minority of Christians) and Muslims of all races but denounced by white Christians.

  9. @Witchie – “most of us whiteys have absolutely no connection with slave-owners”

    On the contrary, every European today has almost certainly ancestors who were slave owners and others who were slaves. 2000 years ago slavery was routine in the Roman empire, and it’s virtually certain that for each person alive then, if they have any descendants at all alive today, then everyone is a descendant of them. To get a sense of why that is, take a generation as 30 years, 64 generations is 1920 years. You have two parents, four grandparents etc, so that far back you have 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 ancestors (obviously there’s huge overlap).

    And since slavery seems to have been practised in every part of the world, the same applies to everyone. The slaves taken to America afew hundred years ago would also have had ancestors who were slaves and slave owners – possibly many hundreds of years before.

  10. Charles:
    …take a generation as 30 years, 64 generations is 1920 years.
    Just curious, why stop at 1920 years, rather than 1980 – which would be the closest to an integer number of generations in the 2,000 years you mention, at 66 generations (and 4x as many ancestors)?

  11. In another 20 years, everyone who once owned a pair of Nikes will lose their jobs and accolades, because they were implicit in Uyghur slavery.

    Can’t wait!

  12. @Charles your generation time is too long. For human females it’s rougly 20 years, not 30.
    That gives ’em roughly 4 years to push out a sprog that survives long enough, life being a bit of a tombola way back when…

    So the actual number of people you’re “related” to is actually a lot bigger. Then again.. people being a lot less mobile back then… You can pretty much guarantee close-cousin pairings within ten gernerations, so the overlap is…. significant.

  13. Statue bashing morons are no real threat to British heritage–so 10 years from that woke twat Johnson.

    It is the rotten Marxist infiltrated UK institutions–councils/unis/ all manner of NGO group-scum linked to academia–who are the real threat to our statues and culture. About the real threat the fat fuckwitted FUB does absolutly nothing. He talks faux-patriotic hot air shite–but does nothing cos he is on board with all of it.

  14. @dcardno “Just curious, why stop at 1920 year…”

    64 is a nice round number in base 2. No other reason.

    @Grikath “your generation time is too long”

    It wasn’t meant to be very accurate – just to give a sense of the numbers. A shorter generation time, of course, makes the point stronger, but may be balanced by your point about mobility (but note that population mobility isn’t very important – it’s the mobility of the most mobile individuals).

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