You will not have heard of Pankaj Mishra; he is a non-entity, without academic or serious literary credentials, undeserving of fame through his single claim to notoriety - having had an essay published in the Guardian. Niall Ferguson comments that 'it seems to be becoming de rigueur for mediocrities to build their fame on attacking those more successful than them', and this is the root of the matter. Ferguson, who holds a chair at the LSE and a professorship at Harvard, has suggested in his several books, lectures and TV programmes that colonialism was not an unalloyed disaster for the colonised nations. Mishra, unable to refute the point academically, and without the literary ability to do so otherwise in print, has resorted to the last refuge of talentless scoundrels and rogues by accusing Ferguson of racism.
By doing so, Mishra places himself intellectually firmly back in sixteenth century Europe amongst a people for whom neither the first or second enlightenments was even on the horizon, and where any departure from orthodoxy, every advance in science, cosmology, engineering or scholarship, could be denounced as 'heresy' and earn the heretic a place at the stake. Mishra is like a Dominican Inquisator, unable to refute or argue the passage of the Earth around the Sun or the impossibility of a literal Genesis, whose sole response is limited to an accusation that Ferguson refuses to accept the given word, that his arguments are unorthodox. But 'racist' is every bit as damning today as 'heretic' was in the sixteenth century, and Ferguson is absolutely correct in not allowing the matter to lie.
Mishra would drag us back to an intellectual dark age in which men of talent and vision would cower afraid of the Inquisitor's knock at the door, an age in which human advance in knowledge and scholarship is suffocated, writers afraid to write, historians fearful of drawing any conclusions contrary to Mishra's blinkered and bigoted orthodoxy. Just as the actions for 'heresy' are now rightly seen as sins against Man, and thus intrinsically evil, so must we now classify the denunciations by these new Inquisators of those they would label 'racist'.