Who’s the greatest hero in popular English literature? I’d say it’s James Bond. And who’s the greatest anti-hero? I’d say it’s Flashman, the protagonist of a hugely entertaining mock-historical series written by George MacDonald Fraser (1925–2008).
Slave-trading, slave-stealing and murder
The character Flashman originally appeared as a coward, cad and bully in the Victorian novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857). George MacDonald Fraser (GMF) decided to give him an after-life and treat him as a real historical figure, a Victorian war-hero whose secret and self-exposing memoirs had lain hidden until they were unearthed in the 1960s. And so GMF claimed to be merely the editor of “The Flashman Papers,” in which Flashman described how his illustrious military career had been built on deceit, cunning and the Devil’s own luck. Among many other adventures, he charged with the Light Brigade, was the sole survivor of Custer’s Last Stand, and won the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Indian Mutiny.
Front cover of Flash for Freedom! (1971)
But while the world thought he had reveled in all that danger and violence, the truth was very different. As Flashman himself says: “I’m lucky, because while I don’t have [courage], I look as though I do, and worthy souls … never suspect that I’m running around with my bowels squirting, ready to decamp, squeal, or betray as occasion demands.” That’s from Flashman and the Redskins (1982), in which GMF’s anti-hero, with “charges of slave-trading, slave-stealing … and even murder hanging over his head,” escapes American justice by adopting a false identity and setting off for the California gold rush with a re-locating brothel from New Orleans. “Millions came after,” Flashman says, “but we were the Forty-Niners.”
“To the moon in chains”
As you can see, GMF was good at putting his anti-hero into farcical and entertaining predicaments at key moments in nineteenth-century history. But why does Flashman have “charges” of “slave-trading” and “slave-stealing” hanging over his head in 1849? That’s explained in a previous novel in the series, Flash for Freedom! (1971), which may be one of the most politically incorrect books ever written. It describes how Flashman is tricked into joining the trans-Atlantic slave trade by his Machiavellian Scottish father-in-law John Morrison. When Flashman discovers the truth aboard a ship en route to Africa, he is furious and frightened. Slaving has become a serious crime by then and he fears a long jail-sentence or even execution.
Of course, his concerns are entirely for himself, as he makes clear to his readers: “Not that I’d any qualms about slaving, mark you, from the holy-holy point of view; they could have transported every nigger in Africa to the moon in chains for all I cared.” That’s Flashman’s attitude, of course, not GMF’s, but you can see why Flash for Freedom! is politically incorrect. GMF wrote a comic novel about one of the greatest horrors in history: the enslavement of millions of Black Africans by cruel and hypocritical White Europeans.
Driven into hiding
But the comedy is in Flashman’s attitudes and behaviour, not in the history that he is reporting. It is precisely because slavery and the slave-trade were so horrible that Flashman’s callousness is so funny. After shipping a cargo of “black ivory” across the Atlantic, he finds himself hiding from American justice on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. Being Flashman, he hides in style, working as a slave-driver and venting his frustrations on his helpless charges:
Although I had a couple of black drivers to help me, I became quite expert with my hide — you could make a sleepy nigger jump his own height with a well-placed welt across his backside, squealing his head off, and if any of them were short-weighted at the end of the day, you gave them half a dozen cuts for luck. Mandeville [the plantation-owner] was delighted with the tally of cotton picked, and told me I was the best overseer he’d ever had, which didn’t surprise me. It was work I could take a hearty interest in. (Flash for Freedom!, chapter 10)
Flashman is, in fact, the White heterosexual male as leftist ideology falsely portrays him to be: cruel, bigoted and exploitative, caring nothing for anyone but himself. But because Flashman isn’t moralistic, GMF can use him to describe the slave-trade objectively. On the one hand, yes, it was a horror: even Flashman says that “when you’ve looked into the hold of a new-laden slaver for the first time, you know what hell is like.” On the other hand, it wasn’t a simple tale of White evil and Black victimhood. Flashman explodes the false history like this:
It’s always amused me to listen to the psalm-smiting hypocrisy of nigger-lovers at home and in the States who talk about white savages raping the Coast and carrying poor black innocents into bondage — why, without the help of the blacks themselves we’d not have been able to lift a single slave out of Africa. But I saw the Coast with my own eyes, you see, which the Holy Henriettas didn’t, and I know that this old wives’ tale of a handful of white pirates mastering the country and kidnapping as they chose, is all my eye. We couldn’t have stayed there five minutes if the nigger kings and warrior tribes hadn’t been all for it, and traded their captured enemies — aye, and their own folk, too — for guns and booze and Brummagem rubbish. (Flash for Freedom!, chapter 3 — “Brummagem rubbish” refers to cheap goods manufactured in the English city of Birmingham)
Slavery existed in Africa long before Whites arrived and exists there now in independent Black and Arab states. Because of slavery, there are roughly 45 million well-fed but economically unproductive Blacks in the United States, who consume billions of dollars from White tax-payers and respond by murdering, raping, beating and robbing Whites in large numbers, year in, year out. But Arab-Muslim nations that also had large numbers of Black slaves don’t have large numbers of Black citizens today, because Muslims castrated Black males and treated their slaves far more harshly than Whites did.
A drop of water compared to an ocean
However, while the European slave-trade is endlessly condemned and publicized by Western journalists, politicians, academics, film-makers and authors, the Muslim slave-trade, which was bigger and longer-lasting, is almost ignored. Even the liberal author Jeremy Black, in his book Slavery: A New Global History (2011), is struck by this contrast in attitudes: “[The] period of Mamluk rule [in Muslim Egypt] was roughly equivalent in length to that of slavery in the USA, and it is an interesting sign of relative concerns that the attention devoted to slavery in the Mamluk empire and the USA is as a drop of water compared to an ocean.” (ch. 1, p. 33)
But one reason that the Muslim slave-trade is almost ignored is that it reveals uncomfortable facts about the way Muslims behave towards all kaffirs, or non-Muslims, and not simply Blacks. The leftist elite do not want ordinary Whites to consider that some of their own ancestors and relatives might well, in centuries past, have been seized as slaves by Muslims:
The effect on the European coastal populations [of Muslim slave-raids] was dramatic. Entire areas were depopulated. The author even sketches out an argument that the culture of baroque Italy was determined in part by a turning inward from the terrors of coastal life — from the “fear of the horizon” that afflicted all the regions subject to slave raiding. [Robert C. Davis] tells us (he is Professor of Italian Social History at Ohio State University, by the way) that to this day there is an idiom in Sicilian dialect to express the general idea of being caught by surprise: pigliato dai turchi — “taken by the Turks.” The distress of those left behind, deprived of a husband or father, is painful to read about. (Review of Robert C. Davis’s Christian Slaves, 2006, by John Derbyshire)
And Flash for Freedom! describes how some Blacks willingly and even eagerly profited from the slave-trade. With the fearsome John Charity Spring, classics-quoting captain of a slave-ship called Balliol College, Flashman visits the even more fearsome tyrant of a Black slave-trading kingdom: “King Gezo of Dahomey was bitter ugly, even by nigger standards. He must have weighed twenty stone, with a massive belly hanging over his kilt of animal tails, and huge shoulders inside his scarlet cape. He had a kind of wicker hat on his head, and under it was a face that would have shamed a gorilla — huge flat nose, pocked cheeks, little yellow eyes and big yellow teeth.”
Mass killing of slaves by Black rulers
Flashman then sees Gezo order a horrific arbitrary execution in front of a reeking house built of human skulls. The Black king of Dahomey owned slaves, traded in slaves and casually murdered slaves. Elsewhere in Africa, “the [Black] Asante kingdom was … a slave-raiding, slave-owning and slave-trading regime, [where] mass killing of slaves was regularly practised both in funeral rituals — generally by burial alive — and to inspire terror.” Black rulers in Flashman’s day were not enlightened liberals terrorized into slave-trading by cruel and wicked Whites. They were quite capable of cruelty and wickedness on their own account, as were many others in pre-literate societies without the rule of law as Europeans had come to understand it. Even today witchcraft and human sacrifice are practised in Black Africa, as I described in “Whites As Witches.” For example, the leftist Independent newspaper reports that “People with albinism are often subjected to violent attacks in [Tanzania], where they are known as the ‘zeru zeru’ or ghosts [and are] a target for traditional healers, who harvest body parts to make potions for wealth, success and even election victories.”
Slavery is another ancient Black-African tradition that still flourishes in twenty-first-century Africa and the Black-African Diaspora, as this report from Britain reveals:
A respected gynaecologist and his wife enslaved a “houseboy” at their home for 24 years, forcing him to carry out menial tasks for 17 hours a day and monitoring his movements using a security camera. Dr Emmanuel Edet, 61, and his wife, Antan, 58, a senior NHS nurse at Ealing hospital, were convicted by a jury of bringing the teenage boy illegally into Britain at the age of 14 and putting him to work as an unpaid cleaner, cook, odd-job-man and carer for their two children. … Detectives investigating the case found 20 albums filled with 800 photographs of the family, but Ofonime featured in only four. One of them showed him pedalling a boat at Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire for other members of the family in his only known outing with them. … Dr Edet — who has written works on child welfare and has worked for Surrey County Council — and his wife were convicted of slavery, child cruelty and immigration offences. (Gynaecologist and nurse guilty of enslaving houseboy for 24 years, The Independent, 17th November 2015)
This “respected gynaecologist” and his wife were Nigerian and back home would never have got into trouble for practising authentic Nigerian culture. Nor would the Nigerian couple Chudy and Sandra Nsobundu, who were jailed in 2018 for enslaving a woman in Houston, Texas. And what about Eudocia Pulido, the slave kept for many years in America by the parents of the Filipino-American writer Alex Tizon? Tizon’s parents were practising authentic Filipino culture and never got in trouble for it. Indeed, the wider world would never have known about their crimes if their son hadn’t written a long essay about “My Family’s Slave” for The Atlantic in 2017, after the deaths of his parents and their slave.
Condemning Whites, excusing non-Whites
But were his parents truly committing a crime? Are they fully or even partly worthy of blame and condemnation? Those are two of the implicit questions raised by Alex Tizon’s fascinating and disturbing essay. They’re also two of the questions raised by Flash for Freedom!. When slavery is a long-established part of a culture, how much can one blame those who practise it and benefit from it? Many or even most leftists would excuse the Filipino Tizons because they were non-White, while maintaining the utmost horror and disgust for all Whites who enslaved Blacks. But some Blacks enslaved by Whites lived better and were less ill-treated than the Tizons’ female slave did and was in the twentieth century. Indeed, some Black slaves lived better lives than some so-called free Whites, then and now. Slavery and its supposed “legacy” are a much more complicated and morally ambiguous topic than leftists want to pretend.
Moreover, by leftist ideology, no special blame could attach to Whites even if Whites had been the only group on Earth ever to practise slavery and had never been the driving force behind its abolition. Leftists proclaim that “There is Only One Race — the Human Race.” According to leftists, we are all the same under the skin, therefore Whites cannot be innately evil and non-Whites cannot be innately virtuous. By fundamental leftist principles, it is merely an accident of history that Whites enslaved Blacks and not the reverse, as I pointed out in “Black Brains Shatter.”
BLM have caused thousands of extra murders
But leftism is not a consistent or rational ideology. Instead, it serves two main purposes: to win power for leftists and to meet their psychological needs. One of their needs is to feel the thrill of self-righteousness and moral superiority. As Fred Reed points out, the leftist elite in America explained the election of Donald Trump by seeing Trump-voters as subhuman: “They’re stupid. They’re ignorant. They’re racist. They’re sexist. They’re fascist. They’re… evil.” This Manichean thinking can have very bad consequences for groups whom leftists claim to be deeply concerned about. Steve Sailer has long chronicled the harm wrought by Black Lives Matter (BLM), whose self-righteous and statistically illiterate campaign against the police has caused thousands of unnecessary deaths among precisely the young Black men whom BLM are supposedly trying to protect.
Self-righteousness and anger are not good ways to understand the world or to correct its faults. And if human beings are all the same under the skin, as leftists insist, Blacks are getting angry about an accident of history. As victims of slavery, they were never morally better than Whites: they were simply less fortunate and less able to express their own capacity for exploitation and cruelty. The appropriate response to slavery is not self-righteous anger and vengefulness, but sorrow at the human condition.
Reason and logic are late arrivals
That’s what one must logically argue from the fundamental leftist principles of absolute human equality and the contingency of history. But reason and logic aren’t part of leftism. They would work against the ideology and drain it of its emotional energy. Human beings developed reason and logic late in their evolutionary history, but anger and indignation are pre-human and far more deeply rooted in the brain. We can see other mammals like apes and horses react angrily to what they see as unfair treatment or the thwarting of their will. Indeed, all animals above a certain level of intelligence, from crows to octopuses, may have analogues of these human emotions. After all, such emotions supply the impulse and energy to fight for one’s own interests — in Nietzschean terms, they are part of the will to power.
And the will to power is plainly at the heart of leftism. That is why leftists are so dedicated to cultivating anger, indignation and self-righteousness, both among themselves and among the groups they are exploiting. Leftists respond to their opponents’ ideas with “outrage” and censorship, not with reasoned argument and evidence. They don’t want debate: they want obedience. And you could say that they have two sets of principles, an explicit set and an implicit set that contradict each other. Leftism loudly proclaims the doctrine of absolute human equality, but implicitly acts on the assumption that Whites are innately evil and non-Whites innately virtuous.
Leftist arrogance will provoke White resistance
When the Jewish-controlled Biden presidency begins, that lie of innate White evil and innate non-White virtue will become less and less implicit. It will cease to be assumed and start to be insisted upon. But I see hope in that. In the past, leftists have hidden their hatred of Whites and Western civilization behind a pretended belief in equality and racial harmony.
Today, they’ve become arrogant enough to drop the pretence long before their victory is assured. Far from thinking that slavery is unacceptable and must never return, leftists want to impose slavery on ordinary Whites and oppress them in perpetuity. As that becomes more and more obvious, more and more Whites will begin to resist the premature imposition of leftist tyranny.