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How do we think about taking down controversial statues in the UK? Show more Show less
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In June 2020 protestors circulated a hit list of controversial UK statues to be taken down. These included Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Robert Baden-Powell. Campaigners say these statues must be ripped down because they contribute to racialised systemic violence. In turn, this trickles down into every facet of public life and subordinates ethnic minorities. On the other side, groups made up of mostly far right activists say this is deeply offensive. They see this lobby as a violent mob that have been undeservedly handed a mandate to whitewash UK history. So, who are these groups, what do they think, and why?

We should approach the statues issue with caution Show more Show less

This group believes that there are other ways to look at this debate. They are neither in favour of tearing them all down, or defending them till the death. They see the issue as symptomatic of wider concerns the we should address. Proponents include free speech activists, left wing historians such as David Olusoga and the moderate press.
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The UK controversial statues debate is about the decline of the West

This battle over whether or not to take down controversial statues is really a proxy for a larger battle about the decline of Western authority in geopolitics.

The Argument

The Deline of the West is a 2 volume book and thesis on the cycle of civilizations throughout history, published in 1918 and 1922.[1] He argues that Western civilization has passed its Cultural stage and is now in a stage of decay. [2] This point is driven home by one of his beliefs that once a civilization has reached its stage of decay, it will embark on a crusade to put forth its moral code on the people of the world.[3] This would explain the tearing down of statues by not only protestors but the government alike. [4] We must focus on avoiding this period of decay, rather than perpetuating the cycle.

Counter arguments

Oswald Spengler’s thesis on current Western civilization can not be considered as a philosophical issue of today, because he was not only wrong about the “inevitable path” of 2 of the 8 cultures referenced in his books, he also argued that Western civilization is already in decline at the time of writing these books, which were published 100 years ago.[5]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3096566/west-decline
  2. https://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/personal/reading/spengler-decline.html
  3. https://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/personal/reading/spengler-decline.html
  4. https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/news/2020/jul/revealing-our-past-council-looks-to-reveal-district-s-hidden-history
  5. https://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/personal/reading/spengler-decline.html

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 6 Oct 2020 at 12:02 UTC

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