Britain’s great culture war continues to become simultaneously more totalitarian and more ridiculous.
A recent development is that the Plymouth Council for Racial Equality, funded by the Government’s Commission for Racial Equality, the main power-house of Britain’s Race Relations Industry (one of the country’s major growth industries at present), is attacking the fact that a nearby pub has been named after the Elizabethan sea dog Sir John Hawkins, a companion of Sir Francis Drake and one of the chief British Admirals who defended England against the Spanish Armada.
The pub is located close to Hawkins’s birth-place, commemorated by a plaque, and the town already has a Sir John Hawkins Square.
He was one of the great figures of one of the most daring and rambunctious phases of British history, credited not only with harassing Spain mightily, but also with introducing potatoes to England and making major improvements in ship-design. Hawkins played a major role in creating the more powerful and seaworthy English ships which beat the cumbersome Spanish galleons.
In 1590 Drake and Hawkins founded a charity for the relief of sick and elderly mariners. This was followed by a hospital in 1592 and another in 1594, the Sir John Hawkins’ Hospital. The charity continues today.
Hawkins’s name is synonymous with British sea-faring. When Robert Louis Stevenson named the cabin-boy in Treasure Island Jim Hawkins, everyone knew that he was going to be the hero. The name was carried proudly in World War II by a Royal Navy heavy cruiser.
THE CAUSE OF THE complaint is that Hawkins was also involved in slave-trading and wrote a book on the subject. He is often, though falsely, said to have begun the British slave-trade to America in 1562 (It actually began years earlier).
Opinions may differ about Hawkins. His defenders claim, on the slavery issue, that he was a creature of his times: even 89 years later, in 1631, the Irish village of Baltimore was sacked by Muslims from Algiers and almost the whole population carried away to slavery. Further, at least in other ways Hawkins did heroic things.
However, critics claim slavery was always an abomination and there was no excuse for Hawkins then or now, especially as he claimed to be a Christian. One of his descendents recently apologized on his behalf.p>Kipling must have had the likes of Hawkins in mind when he wrote, in “The Last Chantey” of sailormen on Judgment Day, which set daring and defiance against “red iniquity”: br> /p> blockquote> em>Then sang the souls of the gentlemen-adventurers — br> Fettered wrist to bar all for red iniquity;
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?