Did you know? That, “Racism is the creation of white people”?
Of course you did, if you are young, woke, and poorly educated, like the white woman who is now the British Library’s Chief Librarian. (“Liz Jolly.”) Her statement, in a video to staff last summer, promoting her Decolonizing Working Group, though perfectly acceptable to Guardian subscribers, was mocked by several African and Asiatic scholars who have depended upon that library’s resources over the years. Noting that history is more complicated than Ms Jolly was ever told, they criticized her as “pig ignorant,” &c.
But her explicitly racist “anti-racist” programme proceeds, with aggressive “anti-racist” exhibitions, new “anti-racist” signage, and so forth. The demand to de-acquisition authors who do not reinforce the current ideological stereotypes has not yet gathered to full force, but has started.
The capture of essentially all major cultural institutions by unhinged political fanatics with daddy issues, is among the signs of our times. Those who resist are driven out of employment; those who accede have a lock on the splendidly-paid positions, for which beleaguered taxpayers are billed. The consequences to Western Civ are not trifling.
Perhaps I am unfair to single out just the one career arts bureaucrat, when there are thousands to choose from. I may even be prejudiced, not only against white people like Ms Jolly, but against those of the scheduled races who have cooperated in trashing the institutional heritage of the Big Wen.
For London was my Athens, back in the day, and I take these things personally. My British Museum Library ticket was among my most cherished possessions, and the old Reading Room among my favourite haunts. I am now so old that I can remember when such places were ruled, and staffed, by respectably boring establishment types with Oxbridge degrees.
Yet this is the very class that has suborned itself to the Revolution. It still works on old boy and girl networks, and has become dramatically more smug. But now it dismantles what its ancestors built. The fish-rot starts at the head of British society, as it has in Canada, and throughout America and Europe.
The odd thing, about this morning’s intemperate effusion, is that I meant to write an Idlepost defending printed books. It was only because I was looking something up on the Internet that I tripped into this recent egregious scandal, in what we might call the swamp life of the mind.
For a new generation of reactionaries, old printed books can provide a way to preserve the culture and knowledge now being systematically “re-curated” (i.e. censored and physically destroyed) everywhere I look.
But of course I meant small private libraries, that will have to be hidden from public view, and guarded against electronic penetration; not the extravagant starchitectural wonders that pass for “highbrow” among people who never formed the habit of reading.
Too, as in Aldous Huxley, and the age of Homer, we should be memorizing our most treasured works for the dark age to come. Intelligent schooling, even rote learning must, like the Catholic Church, survive underground. It is a task from which much good might emerge. Or at the least, it will give us something to do, while we await the Apocalypse.