Yes, this is the logic of the 1619 Project. Everything at some point interconnected with slavery and is thus evil and must be replaced with moral Marxism. Because Marxists have never been associated with anything bad.
This week’s descent into critical race theory hell actually comes to us from Merry Olde England, which is currently none of the above.
Ted Hughes’s biographer has hit out at British Library research that links the poet with a 17th-century colonialist who may have benefited from slavery.
There are good reasons to object to Ted Hughes. His possibly being related to a distant ancestor centuries back involved in the slave trade isn’t one of them.
It has compiled a dossier of more than 300 individuals and institutions that may have benefited from slavery or colonialism. Among them is Hughes, who was poet laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998, because of the acts of an ancestor more than 300 years before his birth.
The multi-generational North Korean version of McCarthyism in which you end up on a list because of your distant ancestor combines the best of the Spanish Inquisition with the worst of cancel culture.
The poet is now coming under scrutiny over an ancestor who was born in 1592. The controversial figure casting a shadow over Hughes’s reputation is Nicholas Ferrar, whose family was “deeply involved” with the London Virginia Company, set up to colonise North America, according to the library.
The suggestion of guilt by association going back centuries was criticised, including by Hughes’s biographer Sir Jonathan Bate, who tweeted: “Black Lives Matter, but this is going too far.” He added: “Also, Nicholas Ferrar had no children: are we sure that the connection wasn’t family myth-making? Has anyone actually done a family tree?”
Family trees, like due process, are the product of a eurocentric system based on evidence and logic. We just shout, “Burn the witch” and it’s okay because she’s white.
Also George Orwell is, appropriately enough, on the list.
Distant relations of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde and George Orwell are also being investigated under the initiative, set up in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Byron is listed because of his great-grandfather, a merchant who owned an estate in Grenada, and an uncle who owned a plantation.
If you’re going to object to Byron on moral grounds, there are much better reasons.
Orwell was included because his great-grandfather had been a slave owner in Jamaica.
Including Orwell almost seems to smack of a deliberate parody, but we’re dealing with latter day lefties who don’t have enough self-awareness to sneak in anything as subversive as that.
Making 1984 fiction again seems long overdue.