Month: February 2012

Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Racist still? In “To See Humans’ Progress, Zoom Out”  (The New York Times, 26 Feb­ru­ary 2012), Pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker asserts that for all their faults, edu­cat­ed peo­ple today are get­ting bet­ter:

Ideals that today’s edu­cat­ed peo­ple take for grant­ed — equal rights, free speech, and the pri­ma­cy of human life over tra­di­tion, trib­al loy­al­ty and intu­itions about puri­ty — are rad­i­cal breaks with the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the past. These too are gifts of a widen­ing appli­ca­tion of rea­son.

Fair enough, but to con­trast what edu­cat­ed peo­ple were like in the bad old days, Prof.…

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“An empty taxi arrived and Clement Attlee got out”

“An empty taxi arrived and Clement Attlee got out”

Clement Attlee 1883-1967

John Andrews in “Who needs a Gov­er­nor, any­way?”  (Den­ver Post, 26 Feb­ru­ary 2012) writes:

“An emp­ty taxi drove up to 10 Down­ing Street,” joked Win­ston Churchill about the man who defeat­ed him for prime min­is­ter in 1946, “and out of it stepped Clement Attlee.” Droll, but Attlee laughed last. Noth­ing suc­ceeds like suc­cess.

Andrews not only indulges in a Churchill red her­ring, but he gets the usu­al word­ing wrong—and the date wrong. Attlee’s Labour Par­ty defeat­ed Churchill’s Con­ser­v­a­tives in July 1945.

Though it’s all over the Web, Churchill nev­er said this about Attlee, and quot­ing Churchill to this effect con­sid­er­ably miss­es his atti­tude toward polit­i­cal oppo­nents.…

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