The Year Zero witch hunts continue, now sucking into their vortex of dangerous nonsense even the most celebrated abolitionists should they catch even the slightest taint of association with slavery, merely due to living their lives in the pre-abolition era. Doug Stokes in the Telegraph writes on the absurdity of the inclusion of abolitionist David Livingstone on Glasgow’s list of ‘problematic’ personages.
How did David Livingstone, arguably one of Scotland’s most famous abolitionists, end up on Glasgow’s iconoclast topple list?
Glasgow City’s newly released report, Slavery and Atlantic Commerce, seeks to focus “on individuals (almost exclusively men)… whom were residents of Glasgow and its associated towns and rural hinterlands, and… involved with Atlantic slavery between c.1603 and 1838”. Just released, but commissioned after the rise of the BLM movement, it identifies Scotland’s list of sinners “memorialised in civic space” and linked to slavery, no matter how tenuously.
Dr Livingstone, the ‘rag to riches’ hero, made it his life’s mission to help end the horror of chattel slavery. However, as a 10-year-old boy, he worked in a cotton mill owned by Henry Monteith, one of Glasgow’s most important cotton manufacturers. The report notes that Livingstone was insufficiently critical of his employers. The wages he toiled for were “provided by Scottish cotton manufacturing which was itself dependent upon Atlantic slavery economies”. Moreover, the mill where the hands of the boy Livingstone spun cotton “paid relatively high wages to its workforce”. At 19, he had the audacity to be “promoted to a cotton-spinner which funded his education”.
Much is made of the seeming endless virtue signalling of our cultural and political institutions. Still, the more profound question is what purpose these constant bouts of self-flagellation serve where they even suck in moral giants such as Livingstone?
The new politics of race, slavery and decolonisation is part of a more profound collapse in the moral confidence of Western civilisation. Its story of moral certainty, sin, guilt and deconstructive redemption casts anyone who challenges them as beyond the pale. The new politics of race and ‘decolonisation’ are not about delivering social justice but are part of a broader status-orientated class war.
Worth reading in full.