Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Case for Colonialism

     On my last visit to Singapore, our city guide explained that they are grateful for British rule, because it brought them the rule of law, democratic principles, and education, as well as laying the basis for its emergence as a modern twenty-first century state. One Singaporean historian has made the point that, because they were not conquered, and because most of them are the descendants of immigrants during the colonial period, they do not have a "victim mentality".
    Meanwhile, a poll of 1,008 Jamaicans in 2011 found that 60% of all age groups said they would have been better off under British rule, and only 17% disagreed. By any objective view, they were correct. The same thing must be said about the former Marxist rebels in the Yemen who, in 2010, declared that they regretted driving out the British. Just the same, Kartar Lalvani complained that, in 50 years of living in Britain, he could not find any Briton to say that India had benefited from British rule, so he wrote a book to prove it.
    That colonialism has been, on balance, a benefit to those it governed should be a no-brainer to any knowledgeable person. Therefore, when Prof. Bruce Gilley wrote an article entitled, "The Case for Colonialism", and submitted it to the Third World Quarterly, the editors, seeing that it was heavily referenced, logically argued, and peer reviewed, and in view of the fact that they were a forum for all sorts of opinion, decided to publish it, little realizing that they were committing a thought crime. The PC establishment had an allergic reaction. In academia not so long ago, if you read a paper you disagreed with, your response was to gather your data and write a rebuttal, but that is oh-so-passé in the age of Twitter storms, deplatforming, and the vicious, violent gangs calling themselves Antifas, whose aim is to close down discussion. Fifteen of the 34 members of the editorial board resigned, and two petitions, with a total of 17,577 signatures were mustered to demand the article be retracted and, if possible, the author's Ph.D. be rescinded. Probably only one percent had ever read the article. But when Indian nationalists made credible death threats against the editor, the article was taken down from the journal's website. I doubt if any serious police action has been taken in relation to the death threats.
    Fortunately, the article can be downloaded as a PDF from Prof Gilley's website. It has also been archived. So now I am republishing it, as my small part in support of historical truth and freedom of speech, but mostly to cock a snoot at the rampaging totalitarians who are now seeking to silence every opinion but their own.
    Note that, well researched as it might be, they are his words, not mine.