William Wilberforce hardly a beacon of social conscience
To the writer who doesn’t like my use of sarcasm to mock, inform, and provoke discussion, I’d like to repeat what Oscar Wilde said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit but the highest form of intelligence. And that he was being sarcastic when he said it as he used his wit through sarcasm to be a brilliant social satirist.
I could only wish to become a poor man’s version of those great writers like Churchill, Mark Twain, and others who could deflate the most sacred beliefs and convictions of others by using a turn of phrase to show the absurdities which those ideas and beliefs are based on.
When I dealt with Ms. Diane Moen over her self-serving distortions about what socialism is I did so because I have a dislike for anyone trying to dumb down the readers. What she wrote could not be left without being challenged. I guess she must have thought she was successful as she has tried it again, this time with praise for William Wilberforce as being a shining example of someone with a social conscience.
As it happens, I have a five-volume set in my home library of his letters, which two of his sons published after his death. A set of books which they had to issue an apology for making it read like their father was the only one to push for the end of the slave trade in the British Empire. If someone could find a way to put those books into a pill form, they would make a fortune by creating a highly effective new sleep aid.
It is true that Wilberforce did help end the slave trade in the British Empire by helping to pass legislation which took the profit out of that trade. But Ms. Moen should tell the rest of the story about Wilberforce, which paints him as anything but someone with an innate social conscience as she would wish the readers to believe.
Where to start in correcting the sins of omission about who Wilberforce was? I could start by how he attacked the groups of female anti-abortionists who held meetings and knocked on doors to push for the end of slavery. How he rebuked them saying that they were against the divine laws of god and violated the role of women as laid out in scripture. No feminist was Mr. Wilberforce, as he was all about women know thy place according to the bible.
In parliament he fought against ending the corrupt practice of what were called the Rotten Boroughs, a blight on British democracy. In fact, he opposed all the attempts to reform parliament as he was all about the status quo. He even fought against the repeal of the anti-Catholic laws which denied Catholics full rights as citizens.
But, being a devout Christian, he pushed through parliament a law forcing the British East India Company to send missionaries to India to teach those “savages” God’s blessings and love. Such love they could have done better without as it was inherently racist. As one writer put it, Wilberforce was all about pushing Christianity onto “untutored savages” while tolerating its worst abuses in civilized states.
I should also point out that this evangelical preacher, Wilberforce, was so full of innate social consciousness that he supported the Combination Act which suppressed trade unions in Britain, referring to them as a disease in society. I have no reason to doubt that that alone would put Wilberforce on a pedestal for Ms. Moen to revere.
Hope this history lesson hasn’t bored everyone but it is important not to let anyone distort facts as Ms. Moen and others from the social conservative side of the spectrum have done for their own agenda without being challenged.
I have no desire to see us go down the toilet like the States has because of social conservatism.
Robert T. Rock