The occasion of my writing this is, that there is the threat that statues in my local area might be pulled down by Black Lives Matter people, or, by my local government, at the urging of Black Lives Matter people. Specifically, on a list composed by BLM, the statue of Elihu Yale in Wrexham, and the equestrian statue of Stapleton Cotton in Chester; there is also a statue in Hawarden of Victorian Prime Minister, William Gladstone, on their list. The author of the list is unknown, but these statues are on it. In my more reflective moments, the idea of this happening brings to me the urgent recurrent phrase which buzzes around my head, something like: ‘They can manhandle these statues once they have climbed over my dead body.’
The thing is, I have seen a lot of news and heard a lot of radio about the BLM protests, but no-one has made any kind of objection to the protesters' right to make these kinds of demands. Nobody has pointed out why they are illegitimate. I for one don’t think that the statues cause anyone any offence. I want to set out in writing the real reason for Black Lives Matter wanting them removed.
Basically, I'm speaking out because nobody else wants to, or that is how it seems to me.
There are two reasons why I don’t like Black Lives Matter as a movement. Firstly, it is nothing more than a rabble, or a mob. By this, I mean that it does not have any objectives which it sets out to achieve. An objective would be something over which we could negotiate. It would be something which can be tested, and we would know when it had been achieved, and when it had not.
For example, an objective would be: ‘We want it to be enacted into law that racism is not tolerated in the workplace, or in public spaces.’ We would be able to test whether the objective
has been reached. The protest group would be happy with the outcome, no doubt, and the protests could cease – on condition that the law was enacted. But BLM has no objective of this testable
kind. They cannot therefore have a negotiation or reasonable exchange with the rest of us. Therefore, they constitute a crowd of people, a threatening mob, a potential riot, a disorganised
rabble. And nothing more. That this is true can be seen in the fact that BLM got together in Bristol, and London, and, having nothing to ask for, and nothing to achieve, they simple began
vandalising objects which the rest of us venerate. A mob is bent on nothing more than destruction and violence.
The second reason for my not liking Black Lives Matter is that it’s very slogan and name is false. Black Lives don’t Matter. If you’re pink, green, blue, black, or whatever, your life does not matter. You came into the world crying, and you will exit the world in pain and broken. And, when you are gone, nothing significant will have either happened to you, or happened because of you. That is simply how it is, and White Lives don’t Matter just as little as Black Lives don’t Matter.
Everyone would find my statement that Black Lives don’t Matter strange and harmful. But it is experimentally true, as I can show. So I will be quick to point out that we arbitrarily
assign value to life, when we have achieved a sufficient level of civilisation. And when I say ‘we’, I mean those of us who are not part of some kind of disgusting, disorganised crowd,
whose only purpose for being together is to express nameless grievances and cause trouble for the rest of us. And so, we do ultimately find value in Lives.
Human life can matter, but only on the condition that we inherit a civilisation, and we humbly submit to inherit it. We have to work at giving ourselves value and accepting our inheritance, and at giving our life meaning. For instance, the statue of Elihu Yale in Wrexham means nothing much to me, or to anyone else. It is just stone – I don’t even know if it is stone or metal… But it represents ambition, strength, and work on behalf of Wrexham. The people of Wrexham, in gratitude, put up a statue. They turned the piece of marble into a statue, and they turned a pile of maggoty flesh into the memory of a great man.
And I, when I became a man, respected and held his ghost in my memory, too. And thus, part of my journey to become a member of civilisation and part of the rule of law, was fulfilled. I take my own place in the life of Wrexham as a consequence, and become part of an order. This is why my life has value. This is why my life matters. It matters to me, anyway.
Similarly, my family matters because I have learned to find my place amongst them. A worthless pile of crying flesh and bone as a baby, they invested care in me. They worked, built,
saved, got married in the Parish church, and so on. And they invested value in me.
In my turn, I learn to respect them, and love the town of Wrexham and its peaceful civilisation which made all of this possible. Yale, and the rest of them, were instrumental in making
my life; and the lives of my ancestors have some kind of meaning because I remember and venerate them. But in the end of it all, saving the influence of God on us, and that He once became
Man, as Christ: essentially, Black and White Lives don’t Matter.
Now we turn to the unhappiness of those who believe that it is a principle that ‘Black Lives Matter’. They don’t think that they need to offer respect to the past, or to find their place in Wrexham, or anywhere else. Why would they, when they only have to insist that They Matter, and it will be so! But it is not so, because Black Lives don’t Matter. This idleness and anger of the mob, and their right to protest, has made them think that they also have a right to Matter. But they don’t matter, in the least.
You can see that life has no value when you look at the soldier who, at the command of his officer, should die at the officer’s command. It has always been so, and it is only possible that he will submit to death because Lives don’t Matter. In addition, the officer himself, if he is heroic, will also be prepared to die to fulfil his instructions, because integrally, he doesn’t matter.
But everyone dies in the end, in proof that none of us matter. Slavery itself is based in this principle, and proves that I am right. Slavery was part of the society of Rome and Ancient Greece. Those people of Celtic or Germanic stock who were defeated by the Romans in battle, and who had surrendered, were taken to Rome as slaves, where they served in servile unpaid occupations. The Romans thought nothing of this, because although the people of Italy and Greece knew that my ancestral British kinsmen were human, they also knew that at bottom, neither the warrior who has surrendered, nor anyone else has any value in himself, and that he can become a worthless slave, because no Lives Matter.
The warlords of the continent of Africa, not to be outdone, also employed captured warriors as slaves. Slavery was, as everyone knows, deeply part of African culture: and it was right, as above. People have no intrinsic value.
But they do have value when they belong to a town, or a city, or an institution, as we do. We are not slaves, and so we have value, and rights. And this is because of the centuries over
which we have built our civilisation, and because we respect the dead and their sacrifices. They turned a worthless race of mere humans into civilised men and women.
By contrast, the mob under the name of Black Lives Matter simply insist that they matter, and angrily try to destroy the relics and memories of the past on which freedom and true value are built.
Essentially, then, Black Lives simply don’t Matter, anymore than any other type of human life matters. Until, that is, we become civilised enough to value love, loyalty, and ligatures of gratitude and duty, to both the living and the dead; these values become universal in the highest forms of human beings. Even if, as was the case with some of our ancestors, they made the mistake of seeing their African slaves as intrinsically worthless cargo, only fit for labour, still we give them remembrance and take what is good into our present day. They did things which we wouldn’t do, but only because no Lives Matter, and this was natural. Today we extend our civilised values to anyone of human form, because our civilisation is universal in a way that it was not back then; but the way we think today relies on the law and order, to which we belong, and which those ancestors built for us; and which the mob of Black Lives Matter wants to erase and burn or whatever else they want to do to the past.
They will say that they feel angry and aggrieved about their treatment in modern society. They don’t feel as if they are at home here. They find it hard to get by in this day and age. That they feel slighted at the merest mark of disinterest in them if it is shown by others. But this is just our human condition. Nobody matters. Whether you’re a BLM member or not, you will always feel inadequate, anxious, and as if nobody loves you. The truth is, you are not lovable; no one ever is. That person who feels that the people of Britain owe them kindness and respect, simply because they exist and because they are human, is deluded. Nobody deserves this; in a civilised society it is possible to earn such things, but generally the underlying sense of worthlessness and being out of place in the world will never go away, not for anyone. After all, No Lives Matter.
I am sure that they will also say that they want to feel that the world is completely free of anti-Blackness (that is what the BLM website banner states as their objective). But this isn’t possible, since it is impossible to know how any other person is feeling. Most of the time, the average person struggles to know what he himself is feeling. To rid him of anti-Blackness of feeling is not something we can achieve. Besides which, if everyone got their desert, nobody would escape a good beating; the human heart is full of all kinds of lurking secrets. It is enough that we each show one another a civilised decency and politeness, and for the rest of the time be glad that even this is possible.
In summary, it is up to us to defend our towns and our relics of the past against the threat of this lawless disorganised rabble. We belong to the party of order and law, and so we let politicians
speak on our behalf, and the police protect our relics and property. But note that a politician cannot be trusted; a politician is also the mouthpiece of the crowd. He or she is notoriously
dishonest, opportunistic, and when voicing an opinion, a politician gives the opinion which he thinks will win the most favour or votes. Politicians are duplicitous to the finger-tips. So it is
necessary to speak out on behalf of ourselves, rationally, as an individual, taking on responsibility for our place, and with thought and determination, so that we don’t simply become an angry rout, as they do.
On BBC Radio a couple of days ago, an official from the West Indies, Jamaica, I think, said that towns in Jamaica were erasing the name of Admiral Lord Nelson from their street signs. Prompted to do so by the BBC interviewer, the man went on to suggest that London’s Nelson’s column be removed and the Square renamed. He asked British people to consider: after their glorious effort to rid Europe of Nazism, how would they feel about Nazi German politicians having their names on London’s street signs (Hitler Street, Gobbels Square, etc.). He said that this is how a Jamaican feels when going about his business in Jamaica, where there is a Nelson Street, and a Wellington Place, and the like. That is, he means that the British were once the enemy, and that now they are gone, but their politicians’ names are still in Jamaica and England.
However, as a civilised people, we British do see the signs of German, and Japanese culture all around us, here in Britain; and yet, we accept it. Many of our ancestors or relatives died in that war, in Japanese concentration camps, drowned at sea after U-Boat attacks, or dying later with lifelong injuries sustained during combat. But as soon as the war was over, a civilised society such as ours put aside those enmities, almost immediately, and began to trade and travel to those formerly enemy lands. Japanese and German workplaces about in North Wales and Chester. This is how it has been done in Britain, and also, until now, in Jamaica. One of our civilised values is tolerance. It is the uncivilised rabble which can’t find friendship and tolerance for former enemies. Additionally, I don’t think that Jamaican people feel offence at the names of their streets, and certainly don’t think that the rabble do, so long as they are alone and thinking about this matter with honesty.
And so, even in Jamaica, let them not think about taking down their old street names, but rather practice the compromise and true forgiveness which a civilised world practices. I could go on, about the racism of Black Lives Matters supporters, who see George Floyd, half way around the world, as their brother, meanwhile rejecting their closer brethren near at hand, with whom they share the same streets, fields, enjoyments, society and civilisation. Why exactly does George Floyd command so much affection and loyalty for members of Black Lives Matter? I think we know why: it is because the unintelligent mob sees everything in black and white, and has very blunt abilities in discrimination. Enoch Powell warned that those who now feel alienated will always feel alienated: because they are alien. But since his time, we have hoped that the power of civilisation would prove stronger than a riot of aggrieved people who can’t find their place in it. It would help if they recall that, ultimately, No Lives Matter, and that a mob does not make a political argument.
So, it remains to think things through, along these lines, and meanwhile leave our statues alone, which are being put in question simply because, as a movement, to my mind,
Black Lives Matter has no other means of expressing its endless or pointless disorientation.
Jason Powell, June 12th, 2020