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8 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

OK, I'll play....

At this point you appear to be an argument in pursuit of a definition, so please provide one.  I've given you mine.

No, not really. To be honest, I just want to understand the concept of colonialism that you have in your mind for the duration of this thread. Because if we're talking about different things, then we need to sort that out first. I really don't want a definition as an end in itself, but to understand the concept in your mind. Usually dictionary definitions are too vague for that purpose: they serve someone who does not know what the word means, but do not delve into the concept.

My concept of colonialism is either a political or historical concept. As a political concept,  it describes the relationship between two countries where the colony is kept as a lesser country than the "mother country". Within that one can have many degrees of "how much lesser"? "how tyrannical?" As a historical concept it refers to the particular practices of European colonialism in the 100-200 years preceding WW-1.

So, by my political concept, early American settlers were not colonizers. They were settlers. They themselves were the colonies, with Britain as the colonizer. Settling and pushing existing native people out of their lands is a different thing and deserves a different concept. What the settlers did is different enough from what (say) the French did in Vietnam. It's not about not fitting a definition. It is about two very different set of facts, in reality, that need their own concept (the definition follows, but is less important than the actual differences on the ground). 

What Europeans did vis-a-vis natives is far more similar to what Europeans did in South Africa. It's a very different type of take-over. A lot of French people settled in Algeria, but if you take a magnifying glass to Algerian cities, countryside and political structures of the early 1900's it's different enough from what one would see in South Africa and even more different from what one sees in North America. 

So, coming back to colonialism... the political concept in my mind is the one realized in British India, French Vietnam, Italian Ethiopia, etc. It is a concept of an Empire of unequal countries: the concept of one country being the main country, and dictating things to other countries. So, it would include Britain lording it over white-skinned Americans, Turks lording it over so much of the middle-east, Romans lording it over Britain, Venetians lording it over Dalmatia, and so on. 

By this concept, the Mughals coming to India was not colonialism. They came, and conquered, and became Indian rulers, with no other mother country.

Does that make sense?

I believe my concept is pretty much the regular concept of "colony" used in History classes. "Colonialism" can be used to name two different concepts. One -- the most popular usage -- describes the modern era where Britain, France, Portugal, etc. had colonies, mostly in Asia. In this concept, the British controlling colonies of caucasian Americans is excluded... because the intent of the concept is to focus on a era. 

The second, lesser concept of "colonialism" is to describe the practice of having colonies, as such. This one is a concept of political structure that is timeless, and does not focus on an era. So, it would include the Turks, Venetians, Greeks, and lots of others throughout history.

 

Edited by softwareNerd

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3 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

So, by my political concept, early American settlers were not colonizers. They were settlers. They themselves were the colonies, with Britain as the colonizer.

That seems to thread a needle, but OK

3 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

So, coming back to colonialism... the political concept in my mind is the one realized in British India, French Vietnam, Italian Ethiopia, etc. It is a concept of an Empire of unequal countries: the concept of one country being the main country, and dictating things to other countries. So, it would include Britain lording it over white-skinned Americans, Turks lording it over so much of the middle-east, Romans lording it over Britain, Venetians lording it over Dalmatia, and so on.

OK

3 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

By this concept, the Mughals coming to India was not colonialism. They came, and conquered, and became Indian rulers, with no other mother country.

Does that make sense?

I will agree if by "mother country" you mean sponsorship.  I appreciate your clarifications and hope that my position regarding the morality of colonization, based on the historical practice of it, is sufficiently clear you.  I will be happy to fill in any gaps of clarity for the purpose of this discussion.  At this point at would only add that any particular definition that doesn't include the sponsorship by a stronger country over a weaker one, and that wasn't initiated for the purpose of exploiting the resources of that weaker one, would not sufficiently define colonialism.

Beyond that, HaPpY HoLiDaYs.  I'm preparing to visit family and friends so will continue to check in again from time to time but not as frequently until January.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
typo

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5 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

I typically skip many posts when I find a particular one of interest, and then ... if I'm in a "dialog" I will typically skip ones that are not from the other person in that dialog (except short ones).

All right.

Quote

Did someone in this thread claim that you can communicate the principles of capitalism (or reason more generally) by enslaving people or otherwise violating their rights?

But did you skip the post I was responding to, and that I'd quoted? Because DevilsAdvocate described "formidable interlopers whose actions demonstrated the practice of 'might makes right,' regardless of how they spoke about it," and my post was in response to this idea. Perhaps you disagree that colonizers/colonists (either generally, or specifically in some case) acted in a manner that demonstrated "might makes right," as DevilsAdvocate suggested, or that they enslaved people or violated their rights. If you do disagree, then we can discuss those historical details... or not, as we see fit (I'm still weighing the value in engaging EC on the historical details of the Native Americans).

Anyways, I won't judge your "skipping posts" in whatever manner you'd like, but I will insist that if you want to understand any individual post, it must be done in suitable context. My post must be understood as replying directly to DevilsAdvocate's post -- and I figure that was part of your "dialog," and was not skipped -- yet your response to me does not demonstrate that essential understanding.

To answer your question more directly, I don't know whether someone in this thread has claimed that you can communicate the principles of capitalism/reason through violating rights. I'm certain no one would claim such a thing explicitly, but I'm not nearly as certain that no one's claims could not amount to that position (whether the claimant is aware of it or not). But then, I wasn't responding to anyone other than DevilsAdvocate and I did not intend to show that anyone was specifically making that claim; I was, however, stating that you cannot communicate the principles of capitalism by enslaving people or otherwise violating their rights -- and I stand by it.

I think that matters with respect to discussions of historical colonization, etc., because I believe that often "colonizers" (however you choose to define the term) have violated the rights of their subject populations. In doing so, further, I am certain that there were lessons taught and learned, but I'm not certain that these lessons amounted to a respect for individual rights (and imo, this might help us to understand the proliferation of socialist governments in former colonial societies).

Quote

More generally, has someone in this thread actually said that colonialism is a good thing, in the sense of something we should maybe aspire toward, in order to come closer to capitalism?

I don't know -- have they? I don't plan on reviewing the entire thread to find out, but the OP begins by asking the question "is colonialism moral?", so it looks like the position that "colonialism is a good thing" is at least meant to be entertained, whether or not anyone has explicitly taken up for it. In my opinion, this is the other side of the "nationalism" argument Grames is making elsewhere (or communicating, at least, though I expect that it reflects his own views as well): I don't think either "colonialism" or "nationalism" is good or bad, as such (it shouldn't matter the ethnic background of a ruler, at least; though I'm yet uncertain as to whether this completely addresses either "nationalism" or "colonialism"), but what matters is whether a system of government recognizes and protects individual rights.

Maybe we don't find particular fault with historical colonizers on that score, despite having poor track records (if we agree they do), because we don't judge that their subject populations would have done any better. Yet I also don't find any particular virtue in colonizers, either, and I continue to evaluate them by the standard I hold for everyone else (broadly, with respect to politics): did they respect individual rights, or did they not?

And where the claim is sometimes made that colonizers were "better" in some respect vis-a-vis politics than their subject population, because they had a better understanding of "property" or what have you: 1) yes, I do hear in this argument echoes of the notion that "colonialism is a good thing, in the sense of something we should maybe aspire toward, in order to come closer to capitalism" -- or at least that it was a good thing, in a given context, and it might be again; 2) as I'd said (but was not quoted/addressed by you), "I never know how much that is supposed to matter to the person who is yet unfairly despoiled."

For instance -- though understand that I'm no expert in Indian history (and you probably know more than I) -- we might consider an event like this. Your first contribution to this thread -- your first sentence, in fact -- was to thank the British for colonizing India, because (among other things) the British "brought railways, industry, telegraph." But would you expect the loved one of someone massacred by the British to share your appreciation for their rule?

Edited by DonAthos

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7 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

That seems to thread a needle, but OK

OK

...  my position regarding the morality of colonization,

I don;t know what your position is.

Maybe I should state the context I was assuming to be obvious:

  • Capitalism is the right/moral system
  • Other system are inferior, and therefore wrong/immoral (monarchy, communism, socialism, fascism, colonialism, plutocracy, theocracy, Plato's rule of the Philosopher) 

Those two propositions really don't need to be stated in the context of this forum. I assume we all agree.
Anything I have posted should be read with that context in mind. 

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This is slightly off topic, but, not, at the same time: I think we should (and will, barring some disaster) colonize Mars (and other planets and moons), and that the main reason for doing so should be to exploit their resources to the maximum possible for maximum profit. So, I don't think it's necessarily (or at all) true that colonization is (always) immoral, it just got messy in the past because other humans often got in the way.

Edit:  And yes, there should also be scientific reasons for doing so, and also, in a much more minor way, creation of "outposts for humanity" in case of "disaster" here on earth. The reason for this addendum is I don't want others to believe that I haven't "thought through" it all like I think some do when I don't list every possible scenario, I just think these are more secondary concerns, even though colonization for scientific reasons will come first initially. I'll also state that *if* we find life there but it's only bacterial or virus (or something equivalent), and it is found to be a threat to humans as in a disease causing way, it will be perfectly moral for us to exterminate it to safely pursue human ends, *unless* we find sentient lifeforms.

Edited by EC

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48 minutes ago, EC said:

So, I don't think it's necessarily (or at all) true that colonization is (always) immoral, it just got messy in the past because other humans often got in the way.

That's a completely different concept though... unless we find Martians and decide they need to be ruled rather than be admitted to our capitalist system.

Edited by softwareNerd

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51 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

That's a completely different concept though... unless we find Martians and decide they need to be ruled rather than be admitted to our capitalist system.

.

1 hour ago, EC said:

 

Edit:   I'll also state that *if* we find life there but it's only bacterial or virus (or something equivalent), and it is found to be a threat to humans as in a disease causing way, it will be perfectly moral for us to exterminate it to safely pursue human ends, *unless* we find sentient lifeforms.

In that particular case they would have rights, that we couldn't violate.

Edited by EC

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2 minutes ago, EC said:

 

In that particular case they would have rights, that we couldn't violate.

To relate that back to the discussion, if sentient but primitive with a social structure equivalent to "tribes", they can't also claim the entire planet X as their own just because they are "there first" and violate *our* rights to land use, occupation, and exploitation either. 

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17 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

I don;t know what your position is.

Immoral by practice

17 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Those two propositions really don't need to be stated in the context of this forum. I assume we all agree.
Anything I have posted should be read with that context in mind

Yes, but it makes your expressions of gratitude and apparent approval of British Colonialism curious given:

17 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Other system are inferior, and therefore wrong/immoral (monarchy, communism, socialism, fascism, colonialism, plutocracy, theocracy, Plato's rule of the Philosopher)

These statements appear to be contradictory to me, but perhaps you believe that incidental acts that benefit those who are subjected to colonialism fundamentally alters the morality of the practice? 

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8 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

Colonialism is immoral vs Thank you for British Colonialism

Do you have a similar opinion on Americans who say "I thank the framers of my constitution", even though the constitution contained a glaring immorality in condoning and further institutionalizing slavery?

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1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

Do you have a similar opinion on Americans who say "I thank the framers of my constitution", even though the constitution contained a glaring immorality in condoning and further institutionalizing slavery?

Fair enough, but the Founders acknowledged the American form of self-governance was an experiment; a work in progress to form a "more perfect union".  Are you comfortable asserting British Colonialism has equivalent operational room to maneuver in the recognition of individual rights?

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2 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Do you have a similar opinion on Americans who say "I thank the framers of my constitution", even though the constitution contained a glaring immorality in condoning and further institutionalizing slavery?

Well, rather than using this as a rhetorical tool, isn't this also an interesting question to try to answer? There are people who are ambivalent about American history for that very reason (and also the treatment of Native Americans, and other things).

There is a curious line to Objectivist thought, sometimes (not saying that this is true of you, though it might be) that holds that great people cannot do bad things -- and bad people cannot do good. Or that it is somehow inappropriate to discuss such things. We sometimes eschew complication. Yet real life is often very complicated. But what do we make of a figure like Jefferson, who both wrote the Declaration of Independence and owned slaves?

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

Well, rather than using this as a rhetorical tool, ...

It was not meant as a rhetorical tool. It was to judge where DA was coming from. If he'd said he wouldn't thank the framers just as he would not thank colonists, that would help me understand where he's coming from.

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50 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

It was to judge where DA was coming from. If he'd said he wouldn't thank the framers just as he would not thank colonists, that would help me understand where he's coming from.

I wouldn't thank the Founders who didn't live up to the language they were embracing, and there were those who felt betrayed by the perpetuation of slavery but accepted the less than perfect administration of individual rights that was available at that time.  I can respect that they established a framework that allowed for the eventual acceptance of rights we enjoy today.  Of course the flip side is that today's (and their constituencies) can also work to erode what we have today.  The "experiment" isn't over.

But again, can you also endorse the flawed practice of colonialism for the potential improvement of rights that might have followed? Where is the British Declaration of stated intent to move in that direction??

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On 12/21/2018 at 7:07 AM, softwareNerd said:

Within that one can have many degrees of "how much lesser"? "how tyrannical?" As a historical concept it refers to the particular practices of European colonialism in the 100-200 years preceding WW-1.

As far as the gist I got, it sounds like you are trying to say that British colonialism was more good than bad, especially taken to the context that some Indian rulers were probably comparably as bad in terms of government and respecting rights.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I define colonialism in a similar way. The difference is that I go further to define it as a government-endorsed political policy of "satellite" territory far beyond the borders of a country. Further, the policy is one of resource acquisition first and foremost, or any barriers must be crossed at any cost, for the good of the State.

I consider any colonialist policy as overwhelmingly bad. Not just a mixed bag that leans good, but something that is almost all bad. Any good you find in and is just a matter of finding something good in a really bad situation. 

Consider the British first. I'm thinking of the North American colonies. At first, I wouldn't even say they had a colonialist policy. It was a mixed bag, in terms of government endorsed monopoly from much of the early colonial development. On the other hand, the British government was pretty hands-off. The people in North America got along with Native Americans okay. Some relationships were terrible, some were good, but it was pretty laissez-faire even economically. If this is all it was, I'd be okay with this. Or at least, as okay as I am with any mixed government.

But this really changed during the French and Indian war. The British government became more interested in taking an active role in colonial government. They wanted the resources the French had. They were probably jealous of the resources the Spanish had. So as you would expect, the British endorsed a very hard-line policy. As far as I remember, this is the time when things became more violent with Native Americans. They weren't savages, they were responding to the harsh and new realities of colonial policy. Not only was the tightened control over colonial practices bad for Native Americans, it was bad for colonists as well. In other words, the American Revolution was a revolt against colonialism. It includes ignoring the rights of citizens for colonists, and ignoring the rights of those who are not citizens. It includes a power-hungry grab for resources.

The Spanish are an even better example of colonialism. From the very start, there is a government policy of resource acquisition first and foremost. Rights were irrelevant. They just wanted more gold. There is nothing else to it. How they behave towards the Aztecs and the Inca was inexcusable. They were outright willing to lie and cheat to them, and murder them. Not because there was a threat, not because the native people turn violent to any prompting for trade. It was because murdering worked. It worked because the Spanish had guns and could economically dominate the natives. The native cultures were quite advanced, even technologically. They were in no sense primitive. They had many beautiful artifacts. The Spanish burned it down anyway. There were perfectly good buildings. The Spanish looted them anyway. If anyone were savages, they were the conquistadors.

Colonialism turns violent and evil as a matter of course. It turns evil towards all those involved. I would apply this to British rule in India for a large part, or at least the parts they did control. Nothing beats the evil of the Spanish, but I think the British were more bad than good. 


 

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

As far as the gist I got, it sounds like you are trying to say that British colonialism was more good than bad, especially taken to the context that some Indian rulers were probably comparably as bad in terms of government and respecting rights.

Yup, that's the gist of it. One might say, for example, that Elizabeth-I was a great queen. Unlike Bloody Mary who focused a lot on religion, Elizabeth pulled back the dogs and focused on business. Yet, Elizabeth wasn't all milk and honey. She had her spy masters and torturers. She continued some persecution of Catholics. And so on.

Historians can and should evaluate rulers of the past, and they should do so using a standard of rights, but this does not make every rights-violator equal. Many rights-violators were really excellent kings, within the context of their times. 

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25 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

Historians can and should evaluate rulers of the past, and they should do so using a standard of rights, but this does not make every rights-violator equal. Many rights-violators were really excellent kings, within the context of their times. 

No, not every rights-violator is equal. And I agree that we can talk about kings being "excellent," so long as we're keeping ourselves within that narrow context you mention (and has there been a government that hasn't violated rights? not yet). But there's a lot of important discussion to be had outside of that context, too, and understanding. Augustus or Aurelius may have been great emperors, but they were still tyrannical. It's important to retain both aspects in mind, if we're going to regard them fairly. The best slave owner may be much better than the worst, but he is still a slave owner.

For instance, I'd asked you whether we should expect someone who'd had their loved one massacred by the British colonial government would be so thankful as you are for things like the spread of the telegraph. You didn't respond, but I'm going to go ahead and suppose that it's unlikely. When we're discussing such wide abstractions as "British colonialism was more good than bad," we lose sight of the individual. Yet questions of "good" and "bad" ought spark us to ask "good/bad for whom"? Governments that violate rights are obviously not good for everyone. For some, they might be very, very bad indeed. And whatever good we suppose that they do does not justify those rights that they violate, lest we start to see some people as necessary (if unfortunate) sacrifices for the sake of societal progress.

So, you know, I can say on one hand that the United States represented (and continues to represent) a huge step forward -- progress towards liberty/capitalism -- which I think is true. But at the same time, the framers made many mistakes. IMO, those mistakes were weighty enough that we carry some of the scars of them to the present day. And for as many people who are "thankful" for European settlement of the Americas, I'm also understanding of those who are more sensitive to the misdeeds done along the way. I think it's a mistake to either pretend not to see those misdeeds, or to pretend they don't exist or matter, and also a mistake to only take them into account, or to refuse to acknowledge that the United States yet represents progress.

Yet because of its mixed nature, that progress has been uneven. And the people who have had their rights violated (meaning not only Native Americans, not only slaves, but also all those citizens who have had their rights violated) are not made whole by the notion that this represents "progress" in some abstract fashion, or that things might supposedly be worse elsewhere or elsewise. You and I have, for instance, discussed the drug war in this sort of context before, and I yet maintain that America, for all its supposed blessings, might not mean a great deal to the person who is stuck behind bars, for years, for doing things that ought not even be a crime at all. That person experiences the American justice system as unjust, as evil, and he is right.

We are ourselves unjust when we fail to take that sort of thing into account as we evaluate the current system. It's not wart-free, and it's not wart-only, but it must be warts and all.

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7 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Historians can and should evaluate rulers of the past, and they should do so using a standard of rights, but this does not make every rights-violator equal. Many rights-violators were really excellent kings, within the context of their times.  

The distinction I was pointing to (that I hope you'll respond to) is that flawed as they were, the Founders actually dared to place a limit on their own rule by expressly establishing a rights violation benchmark that is objectively true.  I believe this is unique in history, and makes "best in their time" argument irrelevant, because they fell short.  Far from excusing all prior leaders for not knowing better, the truth of this benchmark determines the immorality of all prior forms of social leadership (including their own) because the lesser of two evils remains fundamentally evil.

In addition, I will presume that even in the worst of historical times there were always those who not only met the rights benchmark individually but would have changed the history of social rights recognition had they not been prevented from doing so by the brutes who were in charge in their day (and ours).  So I will reserve my gratitude to those individuals throughout history who not only knew better, but practiced it (which included certain individuals who were also Founders).

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15 hours ago, Eiuol said:

As far as the gist I got, it sounds like you are trying to say that British colonialism was more good than bad, especially taken to the context that some Indian rulers were probably comparably as bad in terms of government and respecting rights.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I define colonialism in a similar way. The difference is that I go further to define it as a government-endorsed political policy of "satellite" territory far beyond the borders of a country. Further, the policy is one of resource acquisition first and foremost, or any barriers must be crossed at any cost, for the good of the State.

I consider any colonialist policy as overwhelmingly bad. Not just a mixed bag that leans good, but something that is almost all bad. Any good you find in and is just a matter of finding something good in a really bad situation. 

Consider the British first. I'm thinking of the North American colonies. At first, I wouldn't even say they had a colonialist policy. It was a mixed bag, in terms of government endorsed monopoly from much of the early colonial development. On the other hand, the British government was pretty hands-off. The people in North America got along with Native Americans okay. Some relationships were terrible, some were good, but it was pretty laissez-faire even economically. If this is all it was, I'd be okay with this. Or at least, as okay as I am with any mixed government.

But this really changed during the French and Indian war. The British government became more interested in taking an active role in colonial government. They wanted the resources the French had. They were probably jealous of the resources the Spanish had. So as you would expect, the British endorsed a very hard-line policy. As far as I remember, this is the time when things became more violent with Native Americans. They weren't savages, they were responding to the harsh and new realities of colonial policy. Not only was the tightened control over colonial practices bad for Native Americans, it was bad for colonists as well. In other words, the American Revolution was a revolt against colonialism. It includes ignoring the rights of citizens for colonists, and ignoring the rights of those who are not citizens. It includes a power-hungry grab for resources.

The Spanish are an even better example of colonialism. From the very start, there is a government policy of resource acquisition first and foremost. Rights were irrelevant. They just wanted more gold. There is nothing else to it. How they behave towards the Aztecs and the Inca was inexcusable. They were outright willing to lie and cheat to them, and murder them. Not because there was a threat, not because the native people turn violent to any prompting for trade. It was because murdering worked. It worked because the Spanish had guns and could economically dominate the natives. The native cultures were quite advanced, even technologically. They were in no sense primitive. They had many beautiful artifacts. The Spanish burned it down anyway. There were perfectly good buildings. The Spanish looted them anyway. If anyone were savages, they were the conquistadors.

Colonialism turns violent and evil as a matter of course. It turns evil towards all those involved. I would apply this to British rule in India for a large part, or at least the parts they did control. Nothing beats the evil of the Spanish, but I think the British were more bad than good. 


 

This sounds way too much like a re-imagined Lefist re-interpretation of history to accept non-critically. You make the ancient Spanish sound like Nazi's instead of heroic explorer's. And lol that the native cultures were somehow "advanced". They worshiped a flying serpent for fucks sake.

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3 hours ago, EC said:

You make the ancient Spanish sound like Nazi's instead of heroic explorer's.

They didn't explore for exploration's sake. They explored for the sake of gathering gold for the State. That isn't heroic. That isn't to say some European explorers were not, but the Spanish ones were. You seem to be ignorant of the deliberate attempt of the Spanish to destroy anything native simply because it wasn't Spanish. There were perfectly good buildings they could've used, and they still tried to destroy those.

The cultures in South America were not as advanced as Spain. But they were entirely comparable to Greek city states, the Persian Empire, or Hindu empires. If a flying serpent sounds ridiculous, so does a multiple armed elephant... The bizarreness of a religious belief is pretty irrelevant. Not to mention you're thinking of the Aztec specifically. I'm not trying to reinterpret anything, it's not like the Spanish were really good at making roads in the mountains, making earthquake resistant buildings, things like that. The Inca did that fine.

My point is that the cultures we're talking about aren't somehow primitive cavemen. They were as flawed as any other society. They weren't more savage than various European cultures not long before. We aren't talking about people who live in the jungle who only use spears to hunt fish. These were not people going around killing every single European that they saw. For the most part, natives didn't care. That went for North America as well. 

Keep in mind and I'm not saying European settlement of the Americas was immoral. I'm not calling that colonialism. I was specific to say that the British laissez-faire approach they had to their colonies wasn't that bad at all. This is perfectly fine. The type of colonialism I'm describing is a specific statist policy of resource acquisition above all other political principles. It's a big reason why the British colonies revolted, and were justified in doing so. If the British were immoral enough that revolution was justified, then it isn't a stretch to say that colonialism is evil. After all, the British government was trying to squeeze out as much money as possible from colonists themselves even. 


 

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4 hours ago, EC said:

This sounds way too much like a re-imagined Lefist re-interpretation of history to accept non-critically. You make the ancient Spanish sound like Nazi's instead of heroic explorer's.

This is something like what I was alluding to earlier, with the "curious line of thought" that "great people cannot do bad things -- and bad people cannot do good." But I don't think our only choices are to regard them as either heroes or Nazis.

Were there aspects of the conquistadors which were heroic (and maybe more pronounced in certain individuals)? Undoubtedly. Exploration required it. Did they commit moral atrocities? Yes.

Quote

And lol that the native cultures were somehow "advanced". They worshiped a flying serpent for fucks sake.

33 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

If a flying serpent sounds ridiculous, so does a multiple armed elephant...

Lol, you guys, are we just going to pass over the bizarreness of Roman Catholicism? As just one minor belief (among many many), they suppose that, during ritual, wine and wafer transform into blood and flesh... which they then consume, because of course. And we're talking about times around and during the Inquisition, I do believe (though you probably were not expecting it)... so that flying serpent sounds better to me by the minute.

(To clarify, I do not advocate the worship of flying serpents, human sacrifice, or whatever else the Mesoamericans might have been getting themselves up to; only I'm not going to ridicule religious belief if the standard of comparison is the goddamned Catholic Church.)

Edited by DonAthos

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I mean what I said was purposely over the top because I don't believe the Spanish were hero's qua hero (as an Objectivist would define it) but on a scale of Nazi-like behavior to genuine heroic behavior, I would lean towards the latter for the Spanish explorers of the time. I mean every nation/civilization of that time was immoral, but some less so than others. If someone put a gun to my head and said choose between living in Renaissance Europe under a despot king/Roman Catholic Church rule or in Mesoamerica under tyranical rulers who could sacrifice me at any moment to their serpent god I'd choose the former. I mean I'd hate both choices, but Europe was far more advanced than Mesoamerica at the time.

Edited by EC

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