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Posted: 1/10/2003 11:25:20 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 11:53:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/10/2003 11:54:00 PM EST by raven]
I think it's kind of silly to try to rationalize the British Empire in terms of subjective opinions of whether it was "good" or "evil". It was certainly "good" for the British, and that's pretty much the only important thing. People who had a problem with the British Empire fought it (I thought the Opium Wars were particularly interesting. They were like the War on Drugs in reverse. "You jolly well WILL buy these drugs from us, whether you like it or not!) I figure the degree to which you were able to resist the B.E. justified your exploitation by it. I mean, if the people of a country like India vastly outnumbered the tiny number of Brits ruling them, but couldn't get their act together enough to throw them out, then obviously the Indians had a lot to learn from the British. Kind of useless to sit around and gripe about the past wrongs of colonialism these days. Especially if you've ever wanted to move from your craphole ex-colony in say Pakistan to the UK.
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 11:56:48 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 12:13:36 AM EST
Well, if they thought being economically exploited and the humiliation of being second class citizens in their homeland wasn't as odious as killing, then what's the problem? Everyone's happy. The British get rich and play Empire without having to deal with rebellion, the Indians dont kill anyone.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 5:02:18 AM EST
If you were British, I'd say it was pretty good. OTOH - If you were one of the subjugated...well, you get the idea. [;)]
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 5:18:44 AM EST
[b]Of course it was, whether the Indians and others would care to admit it![/b] Here's just a few reasons, off the top of my head: First, (IMHView), it brought Christianity to the heathen! Second, it introduced democracy to the Third World. I know that sounds strange since there was nothing 'democratic' about the manner in which Britain ran its empire, but it was the British way, and when they left, they left democracy behind! Whether the natives continued it, well.... Third, it ended the slave trade, pretty much without the assistance of any other nation. Fourth, it brought the Third World into modern times. Railroads, shipping, medicine and health care, better farming techniques, trade, education and literacy, women's rights, and, last but not least, peace! They don't call it the [i][b]Pax Brittanica[/b][/i] for nothing, you know! If anyone in the Third World now complains about their past treatment by Britain, they are probably using language skills, logic, and debating techniques they learned in a school founded by British colonialist administrators! [b]Chew on [u]that[/u], [i]Babu[/i]![/b] Eric The(VeddyBritish)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 6:11:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/11/2003 6:17:59 AM EST by ckapsl]
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: First, (IMHView), it brought Christianity to the heathen!
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That depends on your perspective, I suppose. India has had Christians (in SW India) since the time of Christ. The Portugese made more Christian converts than the British ever did. Of course, one has to ask about the desirability of a Christianity pushed by those Christians who label non-Christians as heathen. Something like Muslims calling non-Muslims the infidel.
Second, it introduced democracy to the Third World. I know that sounds strange since there was nothing 'democratic' about the manner in which Britain ran its empire, but it was the British way, and when they left, they left democracy behind! Whether the natives continued it, well....
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The British systematically stifled any attempts at democratic self-rule while they were in charge. In India, for example, the first nationally elected legislature was allowed to take office in 1935, a mere twelve years before the British finally left. Even that legislature had little real power, and was effectively under the control of the British Viceroy. With little tradition of democratic self-rule allowed or encouraged by the British while they were in charge, it is little wonder that many nations rapidly regressed to the rule of the strong man and dictator. India has managed to remain a democracy, but Pakistan has spent more years under a military dictatorship than not.
Third, it ended the slave trade, pretty much without the assistance of any other nation.
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True, in the countries that had the slave trade. Many parts of the world didn't have a tradition of slavery. (Britain did, until the early 1800s).
Fourth, it brought the Third World into modern times. Railroads, shipping, medicine and health care, better farming techniques, trade, education and literacy, women's rights, and, last but not least, peace!
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Maybe. There is little evidence that these regions would not have acquired these benefits on their own, by simple trade with the rest of the world. The British effectively took control of their Indian Empire in 1757, somewhat before the industrial revolution.
They don't call it the [i][b]Pax Brittanica[/b][/i] for nothing, you know!
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This reminds me of the "Islam means peace" business, where peace is peace through submission.
If anyone in the Third World now complains about their past treatment by Britain, they are probably using language skills, logic, and debating techniques they learned in a school founded by British colonialist administrators!
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The Indians got rid of the British for the same reason that the Americans got rid of the British. They were tired of domination by a foreign overlord, who acted like one. The British, while remaining capitalist in their own country, systematically strangled industry in India through government regulation, thus ensuring that raw materials and natural resources could be shipped thousands of miles over the ocean to Britain, processed into manufactured products there, and then shipped back to India for consumption. When they left, they handed over power to people who shared their socialist inclinations, so to this day, the government in that country has systematically overregulated industry and commerce. When the British left, they callously settled the Hindu-Muslim question by dividing the country into a Hindu zone (India) and a Muslim zone (Pakistan), a division that resulted in millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands of deaths (while the British were still in charge). Pakistan has degenerated into a Islamic anarchy, producing and exporting tens of thousands of fanatics to Afghanistan and the rest of the world. Given the once-total British domination of the area, they bear some responsibility for the careless manner in which they left and allowed the whole region to collapse into near ruin. Forgive me if I don't share your enthusiasm and nostalgia for the good old days. If you were British (I thought you were a good old Texan), the old days were good indeed. I cannot understand how Americans, of all people, can support colonialism.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 6:15:55 AM EST
Gee, [b]ckapsl[/b] all that writing and yet you didn't correct me at all! You are slipping! Eric The(Heh-Heh-Heh)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 6:25:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: Gee, [b]ckapsl[/b] all that writing and yet you didn't correct me at all!
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I did, actually, if only to point out that the record is not quite as nice as the British claim, and that the purported benefits that they brought would have likely occurred anyway. (Japan was never colonized by anyone, and yet Japan managed to develop into an industrial power on its own). The British clearly established their empire for their own financial benefit, their claims of altruistic benefits notwithstanding. But even if they set out to civilize the world, that would not justify their domination of foreign peoples through conquest and conflict. We did not stand for it when the British treated us like a colony. The difference is that we had our act together and we won our war against them (there were times when they came close to defeating us). The Indians actually had a major rebellion in 1857, but the British were able to exploit internal divisions and defeat the rebellion.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 6:53:20 AM EST
Actually, the British were one of the great anti-slavery forces of the 19th century. The Royal Navy ran anti-slavery patrols off the west coast of Africa for years. In an odd way, the British created Indian nationalism. Before they were simply a bunch of squabbling kingdoms. The process of uniting them under one rule sowed the seeds of its own destruction.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 6:57:48 AM EST
I forget. Which country is it that is better off now that they have left?
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:07:34 AM EST
I think it was a good thing. Besides if the British hadn't done it, the Germans, French & Spanish would have. It brought in technology, a system of laws and capitalism. The downside was the loss of self determination, but many of the former colonies eventually got their freedom and still joined the Commonwealth Union. It sounds like they aren't that bitter.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:15:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/11/2003 7:21:17 AM EST by EricTheHun]
Post from ckapsl -
That depends on your perspective, I suppose.
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Yes, doesn't everything? [:D]
Of course, one has to ask about the desirability of a Christianity pushed by those Christians who label non-Christians as heathen.
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[b]Hmmm, folks should ask themselves what this country would be like if it had been founded by [u]Muslims[/u] in the Eighteenth Century?[/b] Mustn't they? [:D] Maybe a more heterogeneous version of today's Istanbul? Spare us, o' heathen! Thank God our founders were simply Christian!
Something like Muslims calling non-Muslims the infidel.
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Actually, [u]nothing[/u] like it at all! [b]We are the True Believers, they are the infidels![/b] Wait! That's right, there are those who do not believe that for a minute! Well, that's too damn bad, ain't it? Just another thing 'they' are wrong about, in case you are keeping score!
The British systematically stifled any attempts at democratic self-rule while they were in charge.
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Yes, that's what happens when you are a [b]colony[/b]! Think about it! You shouldn't let yourself get to be a colony, should you? And if your civilization and culture is strong enough, you won't get to be a colony. Ever. But since it's the survival of the fittest out there in heathendom, you really shouldn't complain that the British showed themselves to be superior to every culture and country they came across, in the only area that mattered. Force.
With little tradition of democratic self-rule allowed or encouraged by the British while they were in charge, it is little wonder that many nations rapidly regressed to the rule of the strong man and dictator.
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Which nations are you referring to? Australia? Canada? New Zealand? Hong Kong? India? Singapore? Even Egypt? What about South Africa? Seems to me that the British Empire had more hits than it did misses! Are you Irish or something? [:D]
True, in the countries that had the slave trade. Many parts of the world didn't have a tradition of slavery.
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Really? [b]Could you name for us the parts of the world that have had no tradition of slavery?[/b] I admit that I can't think of any!
There is little evidence that these regions would not have acquired these benefits on their own, by simple trade with the rest of the world.
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On the contrary, there is no evidence that these benefits would ever have come to the Third World [u]absent[/u] the trade that the British made a part of its foreign policy since at least the days of the Plantagenets! (Hell, there are parts of that Third World that have not been radically changed by the Industrial Revolution, yet!) If you are talking about trade in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries (basically, the 'modern era') then you are simply talking about Britain. The Dutch, Portuguese, and the Spanish were mere pikers compared to the British!
The British effectively took control of their Indian Empire in 1757, somewhat before the industrial revolution.
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And?? And what???
The Indians got rid of the British for the same reason that the Americans got rid of the British.
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The Indians did not get rid of the British, the British got rid of India! Not exactly the same thing as the American Revolution, eh?
This reminds me of the "Islam means peace" business, where peace is peace through submission.
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In their extremism, these people forget a few things - the Empire was not a force of evil for those it conquered, it was a force of good. The Pax Britannica made the 19th century comparatively peaceful and safe compared to the centuries that preceded it, and it became possible to travel the globe and visit all continents using just one currency, speaking one language and all without worry of molestation. Sort of like being an American [u]used[/u] to be!
When they left, they handed over power to people who shared their socialist inclinations, so to this day, the government in that country has systematically overregulated industry and commerce.
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When the British left, they handed over the government to the people who were duly elected to represent the Indian people, based upon democratic traditions given them by the British! So, what would you have had them do? Dictate that only ministers and politicians who were graduates of the Chicago School of Economics run the joint?
When the British left, they callously settled the Hindu-Muslim question by dividing the country into a Hindu zone and a Muslim zone, a division that resulted in millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands of deaths (while the British were still in charge).
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And if they had not, maybe the death count would have been in the millions rather then the hundreds of thousands, eh? Blaming internecine strife and religiously inspired murders on the British is not cricket! Native Indian politicians of all parties and political persuasions were unable to stop the murder and mayhem among their very own people. What were the British supposed to do? And isn't that a Third World problem, anyway? One that exists in the Third World irrespective of its contacts with the West?
Forgive me if I don't share your enthusiasm and nostalgia for the good old days.
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I simply love Western Civilization, that's all. It is a wonderful and divinely inspired thing, IMHO!
If you were British (I thought you were a good old Texan), the old days were good indeed.
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We are all British in this country whether we like it or not! Their language, their laws, their tastes, their politics, their religions, their names, their institutions, their culture, their social manners, their customs, their history!
I cannot understand how Americans, of all people, can support colonialism.
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Let's just call it 'Colonialism with a human face'! [:D] We are the very same way! At least if you listen to the Muslims in the Third World talk about us! Eric The(ButISeldomListenToThem!)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:15:38 AM EST
Rodesia vs Zimbabwe
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:33:16 AM EST
Britain needed the money and resources so they took them where they could find them. Plus they live on a island, they had to go somewhere. They did it because they could. As did all the other major world powers. IT WAS GOOD FOR THOSE THAT GOT THE BENEFIT!
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:47:48 AM EST
Having lived for some years in parts of the former British Empire in the Middle East, even though I'm of Irish descent, I'd have to admit that everywhere they established themselves you can still buy a good beer today. Pat
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 7:54:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/11/2003 7:56:32 AM EST by Cincinnatus]
Showing savages the omnipotent glory of Western Civilization is always a good thing. Something has to be done with these savages. So isn't it better to "civilize" them, rather than kill them? (of course one can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs) Someday, God willing, we'll once again be able to tour the ancient wonders of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, in the style and manner befitting Western Man.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 8:32:43 AM EST
The British weren't the only European country to establish colonies in the third world. There are some real horror stories about Belgian rule of the Congo basin in Africa from before WW1, to name just one other country. I also know a Colonel in the Thai army who has almost nothing kind to say about how the French behaved in South East Asia during their colonial presence there, but a lot of good things to say about the British colonial presence in the same region during the same time period. Perhaps if Britain had been the only European colonial power in the region my Colonel friend might have a different opinion, but as it stands, according to her (yes Thailand recruits women, and she's a decorated combat veteran against both the Vietnamese and Burmese as well as Golden Triangle drug armies) the British were saints in comparison with the French.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 8:37:54 AM EST
Made sense at the time to create a world wide network of compatible facilities. The opium trade was a rather dark spot in the whole affair, though.
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 9:00:42 AM EST
Post from Da_Bunny -
The opium trade was a rather dark spot in the whole affair, though.
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Yes, it was! It was just [u]too[/u] easy for the British to take advantage of that trade during their stay in China! They were mercantilists, or capitalists, were they not? It would take an iron will to pull the plug on that easy set-up! And none of them had the will, at least at the height of the Opium Wars. Later, they came to their senses! Eric The(HonestToGod)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 9:07:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/11/2003 9:10:49 AM EST by ckapsl]
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: [b]Could you name for us the parts of the world that have had no tradition of slavery?[/b] I admit that I can't think of any!
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India for one, has had little tradition of slavery.
The Indians did not get rid of the British, the British got rid of India!
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This is hilarious! Please go and do some reading. The Indians got rid of the British after struggling for about 40 years! Has the name Gandhi ever crossed your reading list? The British held on to India for dear life, and got out before they had to be forced out with violence.
Blaming internecine strife and religiously inspired murders on the British is not cricket! Native Indian politicians of all parties and political persuasions were unable to stop the murder and mayhem among their very own people. What were the British supposed to do?
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The British had a systematic policy of divide and conquer, the only way that they were able, despite their small numbers, to rule a country so much larger and so much more populous than them. It is well documented that [b]exploiting and fostering divisions between Hindus and Muslims were an established policy of the British state[/b]. It helped them delay the onset of independence for years. It also had the unintended consequence of poisoning relations to the point of violence.
We are all British in this country whether we like it or not! Their language, their laws, their tastes, their politics, their religions, their names, their institutions, their culture, their social manners, their customs, their history!
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The last I checked, we are [b]Americans[/b]. The British live in Britain. That's where they should remain. We got rid of them for a reason. If you are so fond of them...
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 9:14:35 AM EST
If you are interested in some serious reading on India and colonialism, I recommend [b]Freedom at Midnight[/b], by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It is a well written book, written by Westerners. It can help you understand who got rid of whom. The authors also wrote "O, Jerusalem" about the Israeli war of independence. For some reason, I am sure that you have read that book!
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 9:31:52 AM EST
Colonize Africa
Link Posted: 1/11/2003 9:40:32 AM EST
Post from ckapsl -
India for one, has had little tradition of slavery.
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Oh that is rich! That is also ludicrous! There were slaves from the very beginning of the Indian Civilization.... But let's not go THAT far back - how about [u]current[/u] conditions? [size=4]Pulling the Rug Out From Under Us[/size=4] [b]A Report on Debt Bondage, Carpet-Making, and Child Slavery in India[/b] By Swati Mehta, Tufts University [b]OVERVIEW[/b] "In [i][b]Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy[/i][/b], Dr. Kevin Bales estimates that there are at least 27 million slaves in the world today – more than at any other time in human history. Slavery is on the rise around the world for the simple reason that unpaid, forced labor constitutes an excellent (though brutal) means to economic profit. For callous businessmen, slaves are disposable people who toil to meet the global market’s demand for goods. The lower a good’s production costs, the more competitive it will be on the global market. [b]"Ironically, India, the world’s largest democracy, is also home to more slaves than all the other countries of the world combined.[/b]1 With roughly one billion inhabitants, India supports over 15% of the world’s population.2 And with more than half of India’s population living below the income poverty line,3 nearly 40% of the population cannot afford a sufficient diet.4 As inadequate government expenditure on education, health, and welfare increases the high vulnerability of much of India’s vast population, exploitation – even enslavement – are everyday realities for many Indians. "Due in part to tremendous pressure to participate in the global market, India’s industries readily make use of cheap, even forced, labor. Because a developing country like India lacks the resources to modernize yet enjoys a large potential workforce, slave labor often becomes the preferred method for keeping costs low and profits high. [b]And though India has many employment codes – outlawing child labor, exploitation of children, and bonded labor (a form of involuntary servitude) – slavery, especially that of children, persists unabated.[/b] "Offering one window into the massive problem of slavery in India, this report examines the most prevalent form of slavery in India – known as debt bondage – using the Indian carpet-making industry as a case study. Included are descriptions of the carpet-making industry, working conditions, and personal stories, with a focus on child slavery. And while the report’s first half discusses the dynamics of modern-day slavery, the second half necessarily focuses on modern-day abolitionist responses. An overview of anti-slavery campaigns by various international and Indian non-governmental organizations, then, leads into a discussion of what you can do in America to help end child slavery in India. "Indeed, if this report has a larger message, it is that globalization is a double-edged sword. While spawning new scenarios of exploitation, globalization also creates new avenues for American activists to fight slavery around the world right here at home." Do you want the site to this article? I have got to run to the Gun Show, I'll be back to clean up the rest of your post when I return! [b]Cherrio! Pip, pip, and all that rot![/b] Eric The(Sassier'nTheQueenHerself)Hun[>]:)]
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