Skip to comments.Was Colonialism a Positive Force?
Posted on 12/18/2013 7:30:18 AM PST by Paladins Prayer
Its hard to forget meeting a man who hated Mahatma Gandhi. I once did, though. No, he wasnt some erstwhile viceroy lamenting lost glory days, but an Indian born and raised in the land of sati and saris. The reason for his ire? He said that when Gandhi drove the British out, India lost everything: technicians, engineers, expertise, bureaucratic integrity, etc. In the same vein, I have a Zambian friend who has argued that colonialism had a positive impact, in that it brought civilization to the lands such as his it touched.
And, in fact, even that Kenyan Obama agrees. The presidents half-brother George Obama, that is. He once told social commentator Dinesh DSouza that it would have been better if the whites had stayed longer in Kenya, as their premature expulsion caused his nation to descend into poverty.
But what of the conventional narrative that colonialism is responsible for Third World poverty? Economist Dr. Walter Williams addressed this in 2011, writing:
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...
I once knew a highly educated Indian man who immigrated to the United States. He strongly maintained that the British Empire was the best thing to ever happen to India, and India’s independence marked the beginning of its decline. I’m certain this is neither an original nor unique perspective of many Indians.
and plumbing, did I say plumbing? It’s all the rage in the West....
Once England made something of India, the Indians wanted it all without repaying the investment
Same with South Africa, Rhodesia, what Saudi Arabia did to us and so on and so forth
Western civilization > other cultures.
If it had not been for bad colonial practices we would not be what we are.
You mean tribalism, ritual murder, cannibalism, disease, slavery and superstition weren’t good for the Third World? They were according to the enviro-idiots. Death is good for children. It keeps down “the surplus population” (Thank you, Mr. Dickens).
This spells it out pretty well.
Thanks for posting this article.
I think you forgot sanitation. Or maybe that is implicit in your fine list...
Were it not for colonialism, the Americas would be a land of people who are barely out of the stone age.
Was Colonialism a Positive Force?
I can cite one enormous evil of imperialism. If not for imperialism, there would have been no Barack Obama junior.
“What have the Romans ever done for us?”
Reminds me of the question in THE LIFE OF BRIAN.
“What have the Romans ever done for us!
Ever time they come up with something good from the Roman invasion the new question becomes ...
“Well, other than that, what have the Romans ever done for us!”
A classic example of the perils of anti-colonialism is the Congo. Once a relatively prosperous colony of Belgium (of all countries ...) due to its rubber and copper resources, in the 60s, it began to assert its independence. Inevitably, it descended into anarchy, the mines fell into disrepair as European maintenance technicians fled, and the once-thriving economy collapsed. It has survived despite numerous coups, rebellions, and ongoing disruptions only because lender nations continue to prop up its economy and send troops to defuse the internecine violence.
Savagery is so much preferable to colonialism.
But, before the EVIL WHITE MAN colonized America, it was a paradise of happy dancing people who loved nature and all was skittles and unicorns and peace and love, and their version of rock and roll.
I happened to be channel surfing a few years ago and came upon Al Gore’s cable channel. I was stopped and had to watch the program.
It was about a journey throughout India and SE Asia and the sanitary conditions on how the people had no toilets. They just went out and crapped in the fields, or river. The river looked like grey sewage and people drank from it.
They didn’t even have the sense to dig a simple hole or slit trench, do their job, and cover it up.
AND I WAS SUPPOSED TO FEEL SORRY FOR THEM!
DADburnit! Beat me to it!
"Other than that, what have the Imperialists ever done for us?"
I am reminded of a scene in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING who asks a tribal elder if they have enemies.
The man bursts out crying and tells how a tribe just up river goes out and pees in the river when his people are trying to bathe.
What a fascinating chart! Where did you get it? (My middle-aged eyes can’t make out the source in gray at the bottom.)
That’s funny raht dere, don’t care who ya are.
I think British colonialism was beneficent, and French colonialism somewhat less so, but you are choosing a poor example with the Congo and Belgian colonialism. Granted it is a cesspool today, but the record of King Leopold’s administration was murderous exploitation at its worst. It was basically a license to private companies to enslave Africans at the point of a gun for mining and rubber extraction. There was no effort to bring civilization except for fortress white enclaves.
CIA World Factbook
Admittedly, Leopold’s reign was a horrorshow example of colonial exploitation. But the independence movement didn’t start under Leopold. It began years later after European “colonizers” had brought schools, hospitals, roads, and electricity to the country. It was only then that the Congolese decided they needed to shake off the yoke of imperialism and take charge of their own destiny.
They did, and the result is the cesspool the Republic is today.
But I will not defend Leopold and his depravities.
If only the white man would colonize Detroit.
don’t forget pizza delivery!
What ever happened to the concept of “civilization?”
Yes, everybody needs:
Roads and Railroads
And the greatest of these is Literacy. Otherwise, how do you pass on civilization to the next generation?
1) To women: There are plenty of decent guys out there. Just go to any singles bar. 2) To blacks: There is no racism out there. Just ask any bigot.
To America: Are blacks better off being brought here as slaves? I think that they have too much control of their destiny just like the newly independent states. Now we can see the result.
Conclusion: there is no solution.
I’ve heard this a number of times, including Iraqi’s, Pakistani’s, Indian’s...
The British brought:
- Railway’s and organized transportation
- Built bridges, etc.
- Changed government system, influenced democratic process.
These things were absent until they came...at least that’s what I’ve been told.
Very interesting chart. Would be interesting to see the same information plotted out as actual GDP, versus percentage of total.
IOW, did India and China actually go backwards to the extent shown, or did they just stagnate while western powers surged ahead?
Have seen other evidence that for at least 2000 years China was consistently the most technologically innovative society in the world. Till middle Ming dynasty, somewhere around 1500, which was several centuries before the West had any real impact on China. Then innovation stopped, not just in relation to the surging West, but on an absolute basis.
Never have seen a logical reason why.
Being a Brit colony was good for the regular people, not good for the native ruling elites, which is why they wanted the Brits out.
Where online did you find the figure (not the data on which it was based) though? I am wondering if you got it from a website where there is some discussion of out. The source code only has an imgur address for the figure.
Oops, discussion of “it,” not “out.”
I once had a old woman in a Ugandan village ask me, “Please, when are the British coming back?”
A decade later an man in a village in Mali asked me, “Do you know what this country needs?”
No, I replied.
See post 10.
I have seen several studies showing British exploitation of India and its horrific affects on the economy. Problem is that the studies show all kinds of internal evidence of a predisposition to denounce imperialist exploitation. Would very much like to read a reasonably unbiased study of the pros and cons of imperialism for India.
Fairly obviously Brit colonization was disastrous for most of the rulers and nobility. But some groups surged ahead, and the peasantry benefited in many ways. So what was the net effect?
It should be remembered that colonization of India was an entirely different issue from that of Africa, Australia or (most of) the Americas. When Europeans first contacted India directly, it was enormously more wealthy, and was arguably considerably more civilized.
1) To women: the decent guys you rejected in your early 20's (because they weren't exciting enough) got married to women who appreciate them.
2) To blacks: white people don't hate you. You can be certain of that. If white people hated you as much as you claim, you would all be dead.
Technology can have a liberating influence on people, making it harder for kings and emperors to rule over them.
Keep in mind the technological innovations that changed Europe around 1500: gunpowder, steel-tipped arrows that could pierce armor, printing presses that could disseminate ideas among the common people, sailing ships that could travel over deep and stormy oceans more easily (and could allow people to trade with distant lands, outside the reach of the king's tax collectors).
I had a buddy who was flying out of Kinshasa once. He was sitting next to the entrance door. A black American Peace Corps volunteer boarded, leaving Zaire after his two year assignment.
As he boarded, he turned in the doorway, shook his fist at Zaire and said, “I am so glad that someone sold my great, great, great, grand-daddy into slavery!”, turned and took his seat and ride back to civilization.
All true. However, it is reasonable to point out that political centralization/absolutism increased in Europe from 1500 to at least 1800, with things (outside of UK and a few other countries) not loosening up till after 1850.
The upper classes as a whole had less clout in 1800 than 1500, but kings and emperors had a lot more.
Little known fact. In the English Civil War, younger aristos and intellectuals tended to support the King. It was just assumed that absolutism and autocracy were the “way of the future.” The Parliament was seen, incorrectly as it turned out, as fighting an inevitably doomed rearguard action.
Somehow I doubt Russia has contracted THAT much since 1990. Unless possibly they are comparing USSR to Russia.
Actually have read it. Will have to check it out again, I guess.
Or, to go back to the grandaddy of all empires, how badly did the Roman colonies fare after their annexation? Yes, they paid a tribute to Rome — sometimes a steep one. But in return they purchased protection from their enemies, Roman technology, and the stability of an encoded system of law. Far preferable in my book to subsisting on whatever you could steal before the warlord next door decided to hack you into chum.
The fall of Rome plunged the world into savagery for the next half a millennium.
Liberals and leftists caused the end of Empires—under the hope the peoples would rise to become ‘Newly Emerging States’ Cultural beacons of tolerence. The elected leaders were cast down—peti tyrants and idiots took over and wrecked what was left of once prosperious states. It was an ideal of Hope that never really came about. FACT: the life span of Black Afticans has dropped. Poverty has increased under the rule of black leaders. I predict a new imperialism will come into being—and Africa will be cut up once again—Maybe for the betterment of the African people. This time the rulers might be Chinese, or Indian or even Islamic people—or Europeans (Germans this time) What ever happens the Liberal expeiment failed.