Nothing offends liberals more than colonialism. It is, in their eyes, racism, sexism, and chauvinism all in one; it is the forcible imposition of Christianity and capitalism; it is the epitome of Western triumphalism. It is everything that leftists profess to hate.
So, what better costumes to don for Halloween than those of great British imperialists throughout the centuries? After all, the Spanish considered Sir Francis Drake something of a monster (they called him “the Dragon”), Sir Richard Francis Burton “prided himself,” as the Earl of Dunraven noted, “on looking something like Satan — as indeed, he did,” and the British Empire actually got its start with piracy.
First off, what about dressing up as Sir Henry Morgan? Today better known as the “Captain Morgan” of the popular spiced rum, Morgan was a patriot pirate who was eventually knighted and made deputy governor of Jamaica. Pirates are always popular at Halloween, and Morgan would have been the terror of liberal health and safety bureaucrats today. He did not, as the saying goes, “drink responsibly.” He ate capaciously, without any regard to the recommendations of the surgeon general. And as for occupational safety, his men once accidentally blew up their own ship during New Year’s revels.
Sir Henry Morgan
Or why not try the satanic-looking Sir Richard Francis Burton? Liberals like to claim Burton as one of their own because Burton loved shocking Victorian sensibilities in matters venereal, and there is nothing that liberals like more than that. But if that be liberalism, Burton was in all other respects a hard-right Tory whose politically incorrect comments on every race, religion, and tribe would surely have driven the liberal thought police to order him imprisoned at Guantanamo.
Sir Richard Francis Burton
Burton was a soldier, secret agent, diplomat, linguist par excellence, prolific author, and explorer who searched for the source of the Nile and penetrated Mecca disguised as a Muslim (the penalty for that, if he was exposed, was death). He was also a thoroughgoing patriot. Of the Amazons of Dahomey, he wrote that they “were mostly elderly and all of them hideous. The officers were decidedly chosen for the size of their bottoms. . . . They maneuver with the precision of a flock of sheep. . . . An equal number of British charwomen, armed with the British broomstick would . . . clear them off in a very few hours.” For a Burton costume, one might want to replicate the look he sported on the coast of Somalia where he was attacked by Somali tribesmen. He drove them off but had a spear jammed through his cheek and into his jaw. It was still there when sailors found him on the beach the next morning.
One might also consider Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer. Class warriors would be affrighted by the aristocratic Templer, who was an Olympic athlete and who as an old man (in a dressing gown and waving a swordstick) chased down a burglar; he breathed his last while nursing a pink gin. Templer was the man who gave us the “hearts and minds” strategy for defeating Communist insurgents, which the British used successfully in Malaya. But it was not all a matter of public uplift and good works. Templer employed hard measures too. He found, for instance, that headhunters made excellent trackers of Communist guerrillas. Among Templer’s other stratagems was to have planes flying above the clouds over the jungle broadcasting, as if in the voice of God, the words “World Communism is doomed” over and over again — an egregious (in liberal eyes surely) state support of religion, and Western anti-Communist religion at that.
Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer
Or perhaps one might prefer to play General Sir Charles Napier. Napier looked as though he was always dressed for Halloween, with wire rimmed glasses, leonine long hair, flowing whiskers, a hooked nose, numerous scars, and a slight facial twitch that was a reminder of the musket ball that had smashed through his nasal passages. A self-styled political liberal — whose hero was the arch-Tory Duke of Wellington — General Napier’s real political creed was that everyone would be better off under Napier’s own benign autocracy.
Aside from his personal heroism — and that of his family, for they were a military lot — what most endears him to conservatives is his campaign to put down the Hindu tradition of widow-burning, immortalized in these famous lines: “This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation also has a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to our national customs.” That was “multiculturalism” Napier-style.
General Sir Charles Napier
There are plenty of others choose from, of course. Cecil Rhodes might suit some, Winston Churchill might suit others. But if you really want to shiver the timbers of your liberal neighbors, dress your kids as British imperial heroes convinced that the West — and most especially the Anglosphere — is best.
— H. W. Crocker III is a bestselling author whose most recent book is The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire.