Friday, October 13, 2017

Badmouthing colonialism

I posted arguments for colonialism, and here is a rebuttal:
Gilley says he is simply asking for an unbiased assessment of the facts, that he just wants us to take off our ideological blinders and examine colonialism from an empirical perspective. But this is not what he has done. Instead, in his presentation of colonialism’s record, Gilley has deliberately excluded mention of every single atrocity committed by a colonial power. Instead of evaluating the colonial record empirically, he has distorted that record, concealing evidence of gross crimes against humanity. The result is not only unscholarly, but is morally tantamount to Holocaust denial.

First, Gilley says he is making a “case for colonialism,” to rescue Western colonial history’s “bad name.” But he restricts his examination to “the early nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.” He does so because if he were to include the first 300 years of Western colonialism (i.e. the majority), it would be almost impossible to mount any kind of case that the endeavor benefited indigenous populations. ...

Next, Gilley’s method of defending colonialism is through “cost-benefit analysis,” in which the harms of colonialism are weighed against the “improvements in living conditions” and better governance. ... We should observe here that this is a terrible way of evaluating colonialism. It is favored by colonialism’s apologists because it means that truly unspeakable harms can simply be “outweighed” and thereby trivialized.
It seems completely reasonable to me that arguments for present-day colonialism would be based on an examination of more recent colonialism, and to look at the costs and benefits.

Saying "morally tantamount to Holocaust denial" is especially strange. Obviously the author has some sort of emotional or religious hatred of white ppl, and badmouthing colonialism is sacred to him.

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