Symbols of Western Europe’s irrevocable past as imperial powers are coming down as people take to the streets supposedly to protest racism and injustice. Historical symbols deemed “inappropriate” have become the targets of vandalism and removal petitions. In London, the statue of slave trader Robert Milligan has now been taken down from West India Quay. In Belgium, the statue of King Leopold II in Antwerp has also been removed.
What is next? Who is next?
George Orwell foretold all of what we are seeing today in 1949 in his prescient book 1984…
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…every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
Better get it done. Big Brother is watching.
Orwell’s story of a dystopian future where people are allowed to communicate only using a prescribed set of words and live under the watchful eye of “Big Brother” has come true. Big Brother today is the Political Correctness (PC) Police and their tool is social media. The “Party” consists of members of so-called Wokedom who enforce the use of their preferred correctspeak which assures society operates under a perpetual state of gender, ethnic, and historical confusion.
It’s an historical cleansing that aims to deny an entire generation the facts of their history and important features of their culture and society. And to think some of these very same members of the Party themselves get all crybaby over “historical revisionism”. The fact is, many Western European countries amassed their wealth and power on the back of brutal conquest and enslavement. Indeed, all of this is well-documented and this information examined by scholars in these societies’ academe and research organisations where free inquiry reigns supreme.
The culture of free inquiry that had transformed much of Western Europe from fearful superstitious societies into nations of exploration, conquest, and wealth creation is seemingly under threat now that the technology exists to implement a true Big Brother as Orwell envisioned it. The irony that escapes the Party is that much of the wealth and surplus time and headspace that enables liberalism — and its perverted offspring, woke culture — to flourish today was built on this very lust for conquest and exploration.
Perhaps, by focusing too much attention on what are really just quaint symbols, wokedom are highlighting more the reality that the winners (regardless of how right or wrong they happen to be) get to write history. Back in 2015, Warner Brothers, owners of the iconic Dukes of Hazzard franchise terminated the licensing of “General Lee” toys. This followed a shooting incident in the US state of South Carolina in which nine African Americans were gunned down in a church by white gunman Dylann Roof.
The Dukes of Hazzard was a popular series that aired on CBS from 1979 to 1985. The General Lee was the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger that was at the centre of the hit show. It sported an image of the Confederate flag on its roof. The Confederate flag, which was flown by a confederacy of secessionist slave states that fought Union troops in the US Civil War, has long been regarded as a symbol of American slavery and general redneckery. On the other hand, southern Americans also see it as a symbol of their culture and heritage.
Because of the shooting tragedy in South Carolina, calls to eradicate the flag from American culture and history grew and big retailers like Walmart started refusing to sell the flag. But is the Confederate flag or, for that matter, any icon or image really that important a symbol of racism or (again for that matter) any social movement, belief, or tradition?
Like those “offensive” statutes, the swastika and, the Confederate flag, the crucifix, for example, was also a potent symbol that rallied people to perpetrate hideous atrocities, perhaps at scales that likely dwarf the numbers of lives lost to Nazism and American and European slavery. But unlike the swastika and the Confederate flag (and perhaps other statues and symbols to be taken down in the future), the crucifix still hangs at the altars and facades of the Catholic Church’s towering edifices. And why not? The Roman Catholic Church is one of the winners of centuries of genocidal religious warfare and ethnic cleansing. Why, for example, are Native Americans not offended by the crucifix when this was a symbol hoisted on poles and displayed in fluttering flags when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro brought to bear the full force of the Inquisition upon the Inca people in the 16th Century in what is now modern-day Peru?
Maybe some people just have so much idle time on their hands that they are able to go about life being pissed off about a statue or symbol. Interestingly enough, it is the racist Danny Vinyard played by Edward Furlong in the 1998 film American History X who quipped, “Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.” Perhaps wokedom should take some lessons from the very characters they love to hate.
Where does it end? If humanity leaves wokedom to its extreme devices, it will end up in such an Orwellian future. In fact, we may already be in it. Big Brother is watching.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.