Colonialism and Imperialism
Modern liberals speak of colonialism, empires, and imperialism with disdain as if colonies and empires were established for the sole purpose of control, destruction, and terror - and this is simply not true. As you may know, over a quarter of the population of the world and over a quarter of the world's land surface was ruled by the British Empire- more than any other empire in the history of the world. The world owes a debt to the British that will likely never be fully appreciated. Just a few of the accomplishments of the British Empire follow:
- Establishment of a uniform rule of law and contracts, which protected individual rights and property, allowing economic progress in areas of the world that had never known such stability.
- Many areas governed by the British were rife with infighting and tribalism, and never rose to the point where they could accomplish great things. The British changed this for many areas of the world today by providing order and stability.
- Military protection from foreign enemies and barbarians
- Establishment (and protection) of global trade routes thanks to the Royal Navy
- Putting an end to slavery. During the mid-nineteenth century, the British committed substantial naval and financial resources to patrolling the coasts of Africa and putting an end to the slave trade via the West Africa Squadron.
- Introduction of English as a common global language, uniting cultures. India is a great example of this- with hundreds of local languages, the British taught English and it persists to this day as the common language in India, allowing the country to unite and communicate.
- Construction of and maintenance of roads, cities, water and sewer systems, communication lines - all infrastructure necessary for a productive society to function
- Introduction of specialization to much of the world, allowing for substantial economic progress to occur
- As mercantilism went by the wayside, the British promoted and supported free trade and capitalism, especially from the mid-nineteenth century onward
- Humanitarianism and fair treatment of all peoples of the world, the British eliminated barbaric practices around the globe
- British missionaries spread Christianity to corners of the world hitherto untouched
- The nobility and benevolence of the British Monarchy during the reign of the British Empire provided a role model for the world which has undoubtedly led to a more stable and respectful world
- British schools educated millions of people around the world and helped to raise them out of poverty and become self-sufficient and productive
Are these the deeds of a controlling, domineering empire bent on destruction and terror? I think not. I find the accomplishments and progress made by the British Empire, in particular, to be one of the greatest forces of good in the history of the world. It's sad that Britain has become a bastion of socialism and liberalism where too many have forgotten Britain's noble imperialist past that gave the world so much and took so little in return.
America today has taken the torch as the dominant global superpower from the British, since the British people were no longer interested in the role. America has, during its reign, also provided great benefit to the world including military stability, technology such as computers, the Internet, and GPS technology, protection of the weak, massive foreign aid and development assistance, and much more. Unfortunately, America could be following the same anti-imperialist path as Britain. Barack Obama Senior and, by his admission, Barack Obama Junior, oppose colonialism. Obama has stated that he does not believe in American Exceptionalism- the notion that there is anything special about America or Americans, as opposed to the rest of the peoples of the world. The fall of the British Empire was heralded by just such opinions about Great Britain by its own people. 2016 the Movie discusses the direction that Obama would like to take America, and I for one hope we can continue to serve as a powerful force for good in the world, and don't succumb to the liberals who prefer self-defeatism which have unfortunately prevailed in Britain.
All peoples of the world owe so much to the 'west' - namely, Britain and America, that life today would be far more difficult for billions of people had Britain and America not acted as they had in their efforts of global benevolence. No country is perfect, and there are examples of shameful acts which are indicative of humanity, but I submit that far more good was ever done through the establishment of western colonial empires than bad, including British colonies in the Americas. While I believe that the American Revolution was a necessary line in the sand and a legitimate response to an overreaching monarch, it does not negate the centuries of development and civilization that the British established in America that became the United States, any more than it negates the huge accomplishments of the British Empire in India, South Africa or elsewhere across the globe.