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Power at any cost and by any means.

Modern terrorists are not motivated by power at all, let alone "power at any cost and by any means".

(I assume that by "power" you mean the ability to rule other people.)

Why do they commit suicide while bombing others? What power do they gain after having committed a suicide bombing?

To take the worst form of terrorism as an example, how much power has Bin Laden gained from his terrorist atrocities? Did he ever stand any chance of gaining any "power" by organizing the 9/11 atrocity?

Could his motivation have been "power" when the fact that there was a very serious likelihood of becoming the most hunted (and therefore the most powerless) man in the world (as is now the case) was so clearly predicable?

Modern day terrorists are primarily motivated through a desire for "deriving perverted satisfaction through destruction of the values and achievements of civilized people." rather than by "power at any cost and by all means."

Their level of mysticism is so deep, they actually believe that they'll go to heaven and get 72 virgins as a reward for loosing their life while destroying the lives of others. That's what makes it possible for them to conceal their motivation from themselves. They don't murder people for the sake of gaining something for themselves; they murder people just for kicks!

Somebody who strives for some positive goal (even a totally second hand goal such as "power") would never do the kind of totally senseless (and suicidal) things that modern terrorists do. Only those who are totally without any (this worldly) goals whatsoever can go that low.

Given this description of modern terrorists, there is no way to justify comparing them to British imperialists.

Nor were the British imperialists motivated by "power at any cost and by any means" though they certainly would have been motivated by "power".

For all their faults, they did dismantle the feudal order that existed prior to their rule, and established semi-capitalist political systems in most countries within their Empire. They also spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment. In most countries they ruled, they respected individual rights such as the freedom of speech and property rights far more than the monarchs who preceded them. They were instrumental in ending the international slave trade. (And if their motivation was "power at all costs and by all means" I wonder why they abolished slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833)

For accurate examples of systems based on "power at any cost and by any means", you should refer to countries such as Soviet Russia under communism and North Korea, Cuba etc.

Do be labelled 'good' one has to be good always consistently. But one act of evil is enough to label one evil. Remember?

To the argument that the British were instrumental in modernizing those part of the world that were within their empire, you respond that a single act of evil is enough to declare the British nation (at that time) to be evil!

That's applicable to individuals in the sense that a single act of murder would be enough to regard the perpetrator as evil no matter how exemplary his life had been prior to him committing that act of murder. But it's not applicable to political systems and nations.

Has there ever been a political system in this world that never had any evil elements whatsoever?

Edited by shakthig

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Modern terrorists are not motivated by power at all, let alone "power at any cost and by any means".

(I assume that by "power" you mean the ability to rule other people.)

(The assumption is correct.) But I disagree. It's plain old power and at any cost, by any means. It is not evil for evil sake as you suggest. Fear (and its last stage - terror) has been the age old weapon in the hands of all power-hungry people. And rule does not only mean physical power but includes mental power. And that is what modern terrorism is all about. Also just because they have not achieved power doesn't mean that is not their intention. The only difference between power-hungry socialists (and their ilk) and power-hungry terrorists is the means they use to gain power. Power is the common fundamental.

Nor were the British imperialists motivated by "power at any cost and by any means" though they certainly would have been motivated by "power".

For all their faults, they did dismantle the feudal order that existed prior to their rule, and established semi-capitalist political systems in most countries within their Empire. They also spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment. In most countries they ruled, they respected individual rights such as the freedom of speech and property rights far more than the monarchs who preceded them. They were instrumental in ending the international slave trade. (And if their motivation was "power at all costs and by all means" I wonder why they abolished slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833)

For accurate examples of systems based on "power at any cost and by any means", you should refer to countries such as Soviet Russia under communism and North Korea, Cuba etc.

Forget other countries in the British Empire. We are not concernced with those here. My context was only India. And I suggest you get your history lessons on India correct. Whatever you've said, go and tell it to the individuals who were jailed (for no reason) and brutally physically abused in all manners possible by the British. And what is this "spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment"? And as far as feudalism in India is concerned, the people were plain stupid to have tolerated it. But that does not mean the British had the right to rule India. They had come to trade initilally and that is what they should have stuck to (I think some of them did). Prevailing evils in a land do not give a right to an outsider to come and capture it unless the owners of the land consent to it - to this extent you could argue that many Indians did consent to the British and that's the reason they could rule so long - but not everybody did and they paid a heavy price for it.

To the argument that the British were instrumental in modernizing those part of the world that were within their empire, you respond that a single act of evil is enough to declare the British nation (at that time) to be evil! That's applicable to individuals in the sense that a single act of murder would be enough to regard the perpetrator as evil no matter how exemplary his life had been prior to him committing that act of murder. But it's not applicable to political systems and nations.

Has there ever been a political system in this world that never had any evil elements whatsoever?

Why is it not applicable to nations? Fundamental principles are applicable only to individuals and not to them as a group or a nation? The dichotomy between individual principles and group principles is a false dichotomy. Have you studied all the political systems of the world? And even if all had evil elements, one of them wouldn't be justified for being 'less evil than the rest' - there are no degrees to evil - evil is evil 100%.

As far as the British and India is concerned, just because some of them got certain modern inventions, the atrocities committed by the Raj cannot be wiped out or justified. What you and sNerd are saying in essence is because they ruled, the inventions got into the country otherwise these wouldn't and because the inventions got in, the rule is justified.Well, how about trade instead of force? The inventions would still have got here and I would still have learnt English - only we wouldn't be talking on such a topic. No, they had no business ruling India, their only business should have been, well, business.

BTW the Indian struggle for freedom didn't start with the British (it ended with them), it started with the Mughals. And there was a King Shivaji in the 17th century who was the only one in his time who was successful in defeating the Mughals and establishing freedom for his people (and yes they were happy with him). I would say that it was a mistake on his part to not have accepted ruling India despite having the power (acquired rightfully). If he had, well, history would have been different - maybe the British would not have been able to rule at all.

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"Spade",

There are two problems with the idea that "the British Raj was evil" as presented in your posts.

First is the idea that all evil is equivalent. By that standard, one could claim that every existing government is equivalent to the Islamic terrorists, as they all violate individual rights in some way, and they all imprison people for things that ought not to be crimes.

Secondly, one cannot look back in history and judge one side by one set of rules and another by a different set. Doing so, one might condemn early American settlers for violating the rights of the so-called "natives", even though the latter in no way lived in a rights-abiding society. We're speaking of times when kings and emperors ruled. It is quite legitimate to say that a certain king was better than another one. I would grant that Shivaji was probably far better than Aurangzeb, but would not be convinced that he was better than Akbar. The East India company, and later the British have to be judged by the standard of kings measured against other kings. By that standard, the British were outstanding.

All kings imprisoned those who rebelled against the crown. I doubt Shivaji would have tolerated much rebellion himself. I don't see how you can call Shivaji a freedom fighter, unless being free means being ruled by a king who is from the majority ethnic stock.

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And what is this "spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment"?

Here is a description of the "Age of Enlightenment". It's the foundation of modern civilization.

The Age of Enlightenment arose in the west and it has spread to other non western countries through a process which is usually referred to as "westernization".

In some countries westernization was facilitated through imperialism. (Though in many cases the explicit goal of the imperial powers were "power", "trade" and "spreading the gospel")

Forget other countries in the British Empire. We are not concernced with those here. My context was only India. And I suggest you get your history lessons on India correct. Whatever you've said, go and tell it to the individuals who were jailed (for no reason) and brutally physically abused in all manners possible by the British. And what is this "spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment"? And as far as feudalism in India is concerned, the people were plain stupid to have tolerated it.

My own post was a response to the comparison of the British to modern terrorists. That has to do with the general nature of the history of their nation. So I will continue to take into consideration all aspects of their history.

It wouldn't be fair to blame ancient peoples and call them stupid for "tolerating feudalism". Exactly how would they have gone about refusing to tolerate feudalism?

They would have had to demand their rights and fight for their rights and most of all; they would have had to know that they had rights! But the fact that Man has rights was discovered only during the Age of Enlightenment and was unknown prior to that. People didn't have the intellectual tools necessary to fight feudalism prior to the Age of Enlightenment.

Prevailing evils in a land do not give a right to an outsider to come and capture it unless the owners of the land consent to it - to this extent you could argue that many Indians did consent to the British and that's the reason they could rule so long - but not everybody did and they paid a heavy price for it.

When evaluating a political system, the most important consideration is the degree to which the rights of men are respected and the degree to which capitalism is a part of that system. Other considerations such as whether the rulers are "outsiders" are less important.

The kings who ruled various countries in ancient times imagined themselves to be the owners of their countries and didn't consider their subjects as being the owners of those countries.

You’re abandoning all contexts when evaluating history and focusing on the one and only issue of whether the rulers are natives or foreigners.

Why is it not applicable to nations? Fundamental principles are applicable only to individuals and not to them as a group or a nation? The dichotomy between individual principles and group principles is a false dichotomy. Have you studied all the political systems of the world? And even if all had evil elements, one of them wouldn't be justified for being 'less evil than the rest' - there are no degrees to evil - evil is evil 100%.

My assertion that a single evil element wouldn’t make a political system or a country evil wasn't based on any individual principles vs. group principles dichotomy. (Actually what precisely do you mean by "individual principles" and "group principles"?)

It was based on the fact that the nature of the life of a single individual man and the nature of a political system that governs millions of men for hundreds of year are vastly different. You can't use the same principles to judge entities whose nature is so radically different.

And in any case, if you insist on using principles that are applicable to individuals, you should confine your judgments only to those individuals who did evil things rather than comparing the whole of the British nation to modern terrorists.

I didn't study all political systems that ever existed, but I know enough to say that a purely capitalist system never existed anywhere at any time. The non capitalist elements of any political system are the "evil elements" that I had in mind.

With the kind of harsh standards you are applying when evaluating countries and political systems, we wouldn't even be able to admire the ancient Greeks because they had thousands of slaves! Ancient Athens would have to be regarded as "evil" because a single element of evil is enough to classify anything as being evil in its totality regardless of the context!

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Sorry for the delay. Was busy with something.

My dear Proud Father,

Judging somebody by comparing to someone else is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not the British Raj in India was evil. It was. As far as the modernization is concerned, you seem to suggest that it wouldn't have come to India at all but for the British. It would definitely still have come without the British colonising India - by means of trade instead of by means of force. Ends do not justify means - modernization is no justification for what the British did in India. And as far as being grateful is concerned, I am grateful to those who invented these modern things and made those available to all through trade.

You seem to be saying that as long as you got the modern comforts from the British you don't give a damn if you had to lick their boots(both literally and metaphorically) and be slaves to them. Sorry, I value my freedom much much more than any material comfort. Freedom is a price no rational person will pay for anything in this world.

Are you aware that the British cut the hands of silk weavers because the silk cloth they produced was much superior to the one the British brought which was woven on modern powerlooms? Do you know why? Because nobody would buy the powerloom cloth. Why? At that time, at least, the quality of handloom was better(even today some particular types of handloom cloth are superior in quality - and therefore costlier). Are you saying this is justified because powerloom is modern and its product was brought here?

The Indians had to humiliatingly travel in 3rd class compartments of the trains. Are you saying that just the chance of getting to travel in a train justifies the British treatment of Indians? No, it doesn't.

Also, remember the British had come to loot India which means India had something they desperately wanted or needed. India didn't find the need to go and invade others and colonise them. Have you forgotten that they 'looted' the resources available in India - they didn't trade (as they initially intended to or rather at least that was what they said they had come for).And whatever the problems inherent in India at those times, those don't justify the British invasion.

Nothing justifies the British Raj. Initiation of force can never be justified. And they were not at all outstanding. The only ones outstanding were the inventors and the traders who traded in these inventions for a price other than the buyers freedom. The British Raj had nothing to do with modernization of India. India would have been modernized anyway.

And as far as Shivaji is concerned, you surely remember that he had declined to be coronated as a King. It was on the insistence of everyone (incl the public) that he agreed. And the question of rebellion against the monarchy arises when it ceases to be monarchy and converts into tyranny. As long as its monarchy, there are no problems.

The bottomline is : colonisation is not justified. A tribal has a right to remain so if he chooses; you cannot force so called 'civilised' ways on him - you can convince him by rational means but no force. If you use force for 'civilising' a so called 'uncivilised' man you will be violating one of your cardinal principles - respect for individual rights (which BTW is your very defn of being 'civilised') - if you use it you are the one who will become 'uncivilised' because you would be violating the 'uncivilised' man's right to choose to remain so. It is better to be a free tribal than a civilised slave and if that's not possible, fight for freedom unto death.

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Historically, monarchies have had a fuedal structure, with people in some classes being lesser citizens (or slaves). My post was not meant to be a cheer for monarchy. However, historically, some monarchies have been better than others. Your claim amounts to: this king (Shivaji) was better than that one (Raj Bahadur, or Victoria).

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I seriously disagree with the argument that colonization is "evil." While I realize that taking over governments through force is generally not justified, we have to check our facts. The main candidate for colonization today, in my opinion, is Africa. Africa as a continent is facing a level of poverty that a U.S. citizen could never even imagine. There is a reason for this, and it is simple ... we are right.

Capitalism, and democracy (or better yet federalism) work. Historically, Africa was at its wealthiest era in the early 1960, just prior to "decolonization." Racism is wrong, slavery is wrong, and forced governments are wrong. However, the governments (for the most part) throughout the continent are forced dictatorships. These people, unlike our founding fathers do not have an ocean between their oppressors, or a country like France to back a fight. In Africa, where tribal warfare dominates the majority of the inland nations, and the population speaks over 2000, yes 2000, languages, economic colonization is the only hope. I would not suggest, or maybe I would, that we should go into Africa militarily and force our way of life, but I think because our way of life is right, it should at least be an option for the African people.

Unfortunately because Africa is so dangerous US and EU businesses are hard pressed to move in and try to generate wealth. Governments change hands daily through murder and corruption, and there is simply no way without force to ensure any investment in the area. The population of Africa, not its natural resources, are an untapped economic gold mine. With proper military, or private armed security, businesses would be able to use the labor force of Africa, finally giving these people a chance to live the life we take for granted.

I would also point out, in passing, that the ONLY economically viable country in Africa is South Africa. Not coincidentally, the only country that was not decolonized. While I abhor the racial bias, and corruption, I doubt this problem would occur with companies, who will pay the best person for the best job. It is not in a company's interest to evaluate or discriminate based on race. Those that do will eventually fall to companies who hire the best work force regardless of prejudice.

In short, I believe there is a right and a wrong way to live, propagating the right way cannot be evil. Multiculturalism is a joke, the “cultures” we have dominated are better off for it, living safer, healthier and more productive lives. We all benefit when capitalism prevails and people are allowed to trade freely.

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Historically, Africa was at its wealthiest era in the early 1960, just prior to "decolonization."
In terms of money, perhaps. But not in terms of rights or moral government. Most of the dictators and oppressive situations in Africa (as I understand things) were present during (and as a direct result of?) colonialism. In all the cases I can think of, colonialists cobbled together the minimal, most expedient government necessary to protect their industry - not to ensure the right of natives to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These present African totalitarians came about because a corrupt government restricted by colonial interests naturally degenerated even further when said colonialists no longer found it worthwhile (for whatever reason) to continue colonizing.

A few weeks ago I was reading about the former Zaire [now Democratic Republic (...) of the Congo], and it's something to see the result of Belgium idiocy, Soviet idiocy, UN idiocy, and American idiocy on a fledgling nation. I'm interested enough to now find some other examples, though.

*saunters off to Wikipedia*

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Most of the dictators and oppressive situations in Africa (as I understand things) were present during (and as a direct result of?) colonialism.
Implying that they had fairly decent rights-respecting governments in pre-colonial times?

These present African totalitarians came about because a corrupt government restricted by colonial interests naturally degenerated even further when said colonialists no longer found it worthwhile (for whatever reason) to continue colonizing.
To a large part, Europeans finally bought into the idea that colonization was immoral and that the colonies had a right to be independent. There was resistance from Europeans who had businesses to protect, but eventually it was the moral argument and local resistance, not the disappearance of trade and business interests, that ended colonization.

If the powers that left installed local tough-guys who would protect their interests, that begs the question: if the local population was so keen on throwing out the rights-disrespecting white-men, why didn't they also throw out the right-disrespecting black men and brown men? In many cases the colonial powers made a geniune attempt to leave behind a relatively good government. Indeed, it is not uncommon to look at post-colonial governments and find that each successive one was worse than the one before.

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Implying that they had fairly decent rights-respecting governments in pre-colonial times?
Well... I rather doubt pre-colonial times were any more rights-respecting, but (and this is only unverified suspicion at the moment) I doubt there were many unified large-scale governments in Africa pre-colonization. A totalitarian tribe might not be rights-respecting, but at least it only has a limited effective range of influence. I suppose what I'm implying is that if weak right-disrespecting groups are given the power to become strong right-disrespecting groups, then things get worse than they were before.

There was resistance from Europeans who had businesses to protect, but eventually it was the moral argument and local resistance, not the disappearance of trade and business interests, that ended colonization.
True. Thinking about it, I'd agree that colonizing didn't end because it was no longer profitable. I believe that perhaps local resistance acting as a moral argument swayed many nations, but I doubt many (if any) nations left because of a moral argument sans local resistance.

If the powers that left installed local tough-guys who would protect their interests, that begs the question: if the local population was so keen on throwing out the rights-disrespecting white-men, why didn't they also throw out the right-disrespecting black men and brown men?
Better the devil you know?

Plus, (I suspect) more often than not, it was (ironically) the installed tough-guys who were keen on effecting the throwing-outs.

You make some good points. Since a lot of what I'm saying is based on the sparse examples of colonialism that I'm familiar with, I'm going to bone up on some more information and hopefully, I'll be able to offer something more than suspicions and unsubstantiated beliefs :worry:

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Regarding the British rule in India, it was evil precisely because because socialism is evil. They too looted India much like the socialists are doing now for the past 60 years. On the question of whether all colonialism is bad, I wouldn't know the answer as I don't know how badly the Native Americans or the Australian aborigines or the South American natives were affected by the colonialists.

Moreover, objectivism requires that you have a pride of being and that pride can be sustained only if the natives have it inherently and not as a colonially induced pride (like saying "I am proud to be colonialised"). Moreover we cannot say a somewhat woolly word like "modern" is always good, as it is in the modern times that reason and freedom are threatened the most by some evil idealogies (I think this is mentioned in Atlas Shrugged). Therefore I am against accepting any thing blindly albeit it be allegedly "modern".

Edited by Whoisjohngalt

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Whoisjohngalt,

The question isn't whether British colonialism, with its socialist elements, was bad (compared to Capitalism, it was). It's a question of whether it was worse than the all-crushing caste-system which preceded it. Yes, it allowed for socialist elements to infiltrate the culture of India. But the culture of India was already collectivist/statist for thousands of years. But consider that it also allowed the ideas of Capitalism, reason, and rights to infiltrate the culture of India.

Isn't that much better? Isn't the India of today infinitely better and richer and safer and more rights-respecting than the pre-colonial dark ages?

The key here is that historical events must be judged only in the context in which they happened. You can't just rip them out of their contexts.

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Therefore I am against accepting any thing blindly albeit it be allegedly "modern".
Good. The correct reason to accept ideas is that they are right, not that they are modern. The modern virtues of individualism and capitalism are "modern" to India, but a bit dated for us in the West. Whether they be modern or old, they are right.

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Whoisjohngalt,

The question isn't whether British colonialism, with its socialist elements, was bad (compared to Capitalism, it was). It's a question of whether it was worse than the all-crushing caste-system which preceded it. Yes, it allowed for socialist elements to infiltrate the culture of India. But the culture of India was already collectivist/statist for thousands of years. But consider that it also allowed the ideas of Capitalism, reason, and rights to infiltrate the culture of India.

That is true. This is not a forum to debate history (not with my knowledge of it at least :lol: ). Ideologically I disagree with colonialism as I think its just a nihilistic incursion of some powerful people into another country. I am not a pacifist though.

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This is not a forum to debate history .
Not sure if you meant this particular "Political Philosophy" sub-forum, or OO.net as a whole; so, just to clarify, it is fine to discuss a wide variety of subjects as long as they're in the right sub-forum. As for Political Philosophy, History is the base from which it draws its referents. History is the source of examples that form the basis. With a topic like colonialism, it is impossible to discuss it at any length without discussing history.

Ideologically I disagree with colonialism...
None of the posters in this thread has said that colonialism is the ideal political system. In fact, colonialism is only one aspect of a political system, and often not the crucial fact. A colonial power may colonize another country in a variety of ways, with a variety of laws.

...colonialism ... just a nihilistic incursion of some powerful people into another country.
Why nihilistic? Do you think that destruction of the colony was the motive of colonial powers?

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Not sure if you meant this particular "Political Philosophy" sub-forum, or OO.net as a whole; so, just to clarify, it is fine to discuss a wide variety of subjects as long as they're in the right sub-forum. As for Political Philosophy, History is the base from which it draws its referents. History is the source of examples that form the basis. With a topic like colonialism, it is impossible to discuss it at any length without discussing history.
Thanks for the clarification.

Why nihilistic? Do you think that destruction of the colony was the motive of colonial powers?
Well, the result of the colonisation was destruction of human beings. I cannot comment on the motives of the colonialists as historians are varied in opinion regarding their motives which may range from religion (Islamic conquests), prosperity (Columbus's search for India), desire for physical domination (Nazi colonialisation). But I think all the colonialist motives could be reduced to the last one which is pretty much nihilism.

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Raiding armies that conquer and destroy are different from armies that seek to rob. A thief is not a nihilist; an arsonist might be, if his primary motivation is the act of arson itself. Colonialists mostly set up colonies. They sought to extract value, not to destroy for the sake of destruction.

I don't think thievery was the essence of British colonialism; but, I won't repeat stuff that is already in the thread. My point is that even if thievery was their primary motive, it isn't nihilism. So, call the British colonial destroyers and thieves, if you wish; but, not nihilists.

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Raiding armies that conquer and destroy are different from armies that seek to rob. A thief is not a nihilist; an arsonist might be, if his primary motivation is the act of arson itself. Colonialists mostly set up colonies. They sought to extract value, not to destroy for the sake of destruction.

I don't think thievery was the essence of British colonialism; but, I won't repeat stuff that is already in the thread. My point is that even if thievery was their primary motive, it isn't nihilism. So, call the British colonial destroyers and thieves, if you wish; but, not nihilists.

Well, I called those who seek physical dominance over other by destroying other people as nihilists. Again, I'm not sure about the exact motives of the British imperialists. When I thought about it, I figured it had to be trade. They did not do much physical damage, but the economic damage is quite evident.

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...British imperialists... ... They did not do much physical damage, but the economic damage is quite evident.
Let's see: they built India's railways, the telegraph, ports, and plantations. The two points one which the British are usually criticized are:
  • The fact that British rulers took gold and diamonds from Indian rulers. I know Indians who point to the Kohinoor diamond in the British crown as a symbol of their "evil".
  • The accusation that they did not let industry grow as it would have, because they wanted to keep India as a supplier of raw-material, while they would encourage their factories in the home country to make finished goods

Neither of these is points is valid. Are there others that you were thinking of?

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Let's see: they built India's railways, the telegraph, ports, and plantations. The two points one which the British are usually criticized are:
  • The fact that British rulers took gold and diamonds from Indian rulers. I know Indians who point to the Kohinoor diamond in the British crown as a symbol of their "evil".
  • The accusation that they did not let industry grow as it would have, because they wanted to keep India as a supplier of raw-material, while they would encourage their factories in the home country to make finished goods

Neither of these is points is valid. Are there others that you were thinking of?

You are listing the positive points of the Raj and I do not disagree with them. But, the fact that artificial poverty and starvation were imposed on Indians is a blot on that rule. I have not gone through any trustworthy data on 19th century economics in India, but I remember reading in one of Will Durant's books that the Vijayanagara Empire was the richest state in the medieval world. But are you saying India would anyway have been poor if the British had not come?

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But, the fact that artificial poverty and starvation were imposed on Indians is a blot on that rule.
I don't know what the difference is between artificial and natural poverty. The essential questions are what evidence there is that any poverty was imposed by the British, and who it is was imposed on. The Vijayanagara Empire may well have been wealthy, but its decline was not caused by the British. To blame the British, you have to show that the conditions in Idia were worse because of the actions of the British than they would have been had the British not been present.

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But are you saying India would anyway have been poor if the British had not come?
Wealth is a result of human productivity. So, this question can be re-stated thus: would India have industrialized and modernized more slowly if the British had not come?

My answer is: yes.

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I have a very difficult question which I have been unable to answer. Is Colonialism moral? I define colonialism as follows:

"Colonialism is the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory and people outside its own boundaries, often to facilitate economic domination over their resources, labor, and often markets. The term also refers to a set of beliefs used to legitimize or promote this system, especially the belief that the mores of the colonizer are superior to those of the colonized."

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonialism)

Imperialism? -

"Imperialism is a policy of extending the control or authority over foreign entities as a means of acquisition and/or maintenance of empires, either through direct territorial or through indirect methods of exerting control on the politics and/or economy of other countries. The term is used by some to describe the policy of a country in maintaining colonies and dominance over distant lands, regardless of whether the country calls itself an empire."

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperialism)

3 Questions:

1. AR has stated (and Thomas Bowden) that the removal of Native Americans was moral. Now, whether one considers this colonialism or not, was it moral?

2. British hegemony in India, "The Scramble for Africa", "The White Man's Burden" -> (Rudyard Kipling's invention); were these moral in general?

3. If/if not for the cases listed, when is it moral?

I have been reading this thread over and over again and just want to answer the three or so questioned posed.

"AR has stated (and Thomas Bowden) that the removal of Native Americans was moral. Now, whether one considers this colonialism or not, was it moral?"

My opinion with relation to the above question is that the way in which the Native Americans were removed was immoral. I say this because the majority of teh Natives were killed of and brutally crushed by the Europeans who stole their land from them. In saying this there were a few cases where legitimate deals concerning land where the Natives agreed to relocate, this happened in a minority of cases but was none the less legitimate and moral. Howere on the whole the removal of teh Native Americans was done savagely, brutally, slyly and coercively. I beleive that this constitutes as being immoral with reghards to the removal of the Native Americans.

With regards to question 3 "If/if not for the cases listed, when is it moral?" I believe that the removal or relocation of an indegineous group of people by a foreogn body is moral when the natives engage in a fair agreement to move off of their land instead of being forced off of it e.g. if the foreign body decides to trade the land/ buy the land off of the indigenous population and they both come to an agreement.

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Interesting thread.

What I have not seen discussed here is the following: How can an empire be kept without spending resources seized by overtaxation? A highly progressive tax system is necessary for the capital required to maintain a large empire. The British Empire did alright while its monetary system was stable and its people were overtaxed, but when it encountered major wartime financial problems in the late 30s (almost becoming insolvent), the whole system faltered and became more and more oppressive. Spain and Portugal attempted to maintain empires when they themselves were struggling nations.

Is it not conceivable that colonies are a source of weakness for the colonial power, paid for by diverting resources?

I am of the opinion that while Colonialism as an "idea" is moral, it is not advisable. Furthermore, seperating history from the "idea", there is no historical example of a colony which was morally established and/or kept.

Also, colonialism has historically always been accompanied by a wide range of injustices, including but not limited to forced labor, social and human engineering, and land apportionment on the basis of race.

So, on a historical basis, colonialism has always been immoral. But a conclusion cannot be drawn from this point to say that the idea of colonialism is immoral. I agree with the above post by James D. regarding when it could be moral.

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