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Jeremiah Cornelius's Journal: Liberalism is the Wellspring of Western Imperialist Ideology 30

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

I just lost a long post explaining why, suffice it say that two sources of modern liberalism, the creole revolutions in the US and Spanish colonies and JS Mill's philosophy, are central to imperialist ideology.

Liberalism appeared "progressive" among other reasons because it sought the transfer of power from European monarchs to colonists. Often, as in the US where the War of Independence was led by a land speculator who risked losing tens of thousands of acres of illegally "purchased" land, the basic issues had to do with the fate of aboriginals. The Royal Proclamation of 1763, banning the purchase of Indian land except by the Crown and preventing colonists from crossing the Alleghany mountains, was a major grievance. In Spanish colonies there were similar issues. Colonists wanted the liberty to plunder-and enslave- on their own account without restraint from Europe.

As to Mill, who was a key figure in the East Indian Company's rule of India, he was an ideologist of both imperialism and representative democracy. The Liberals shared a contempt for non-European cultures with a cynical and ruthless justification of the employment of military force in order to bring foreigners under imperial rule. Their attitude towards workers was equally contemptuous.

Then there was the great French liberal de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America and one of the leaders in colonising Algeria, a fervent defender of the theft of North African land and the enslavement of muslims.

Conservatives often opposed imperial adventures, Burke being a prime example, while liberals wrecked civilisations, and caused untold millions of deaths, by tearing down, for example, China's government in order to impose liberal trade policies. In China among the disasters was the imposition of opium on a government which rightly feared mass drug addiction. This was a policy carried out under the direction of one of Bentham's executors and disciples. In India the demolition of controls over grain storage and distribution, and a refusal to allow famine relief, born of market monomania, were policies imposed by liberals, often liberals of the highest distinction. Macaulay, for example, who held the view that a shelf of English literature was worth all the books ever written in Asia- a judgement of astonishing ignorance but the founding principle of an educational system which still exists.

  All those American college professors who joined the CIA in the late forties were real inheritors of the liberal tradition. Their ideology lives on in Samantha Power, Obama and those vast swathes of the Democratic party's leading cadres who cannot get their heads around the notion that imperial wars are never justifiable and that imperialism is, and always has been, a force for evil, dyed with the blood of those it has wiped out in serial genocides.

Of course there is much more to it, as their always is, but my assertion, far from being bullshit is hard to deny: Liberalism is the wellspring of western imperialist ideology.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 3, 2014 9:32:10 PM | 71

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Liberalism is the Wellspring of Western Imperialist Ideology

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  • For a well-written refutation of that whole line of reasoning, your attention is drawn to Daniel Hannan:
    Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World [amazon.com]
    • Sorry, you've been tagged. You are now a liberal, though more of a neo-liberal, like your favorite political idol.

      And do try to post something we can read without having to buy it from Amazon. All I have to go by are the reviews. The book is a sham, propaganda.

      • All I have to go by are the reviews. The book is a sham, propaganda.

        It's so good, if you put up a wish list, I'll spot you a copy.

    • Inventing the "freedom" of Jamaica and the Caribbean sugar-colonies, of India and Kenya. Hitler couldn't have done worse to people, over multiple generations.

      • Well, how's that for a non-falsifiable counter-factual?
        • In order to fight the Mau Mau insurgency during the conflict, British troops suspended civil liberties in Kenya. In response to the rebellion, many Kikuyu were relocated. Between 320,000-450,000 of them were moved into concentration camps. Most of the remainder - more than a million - were held in "enclosed villages". Although some were Mau Mau guerillas, many were victims of collective punishment that colonial authorities imposed on large areas of the country. Thousands suffered beatings and sexual assault

          • Yes, and you can find any number of historical atrocities committed by Americans.
            Then again, your purportedly noble savages may not have been so noble [archaeology.org].
            So can we move to a theory that deals honestly with the bloody record, but falls short of Newtons-third-law poo-flinging?
            Ultimately, all human beings are related. Thus, we are all guilty of everything, such that we have sort an "inverse square" guilt rolling off over space and time, and should really only review the historical record in dispassionate terms
            • It's not cheap propaganda. It's a horror.

              "They might have been bad people, too".

              I believe that's what you'd call "moral relativism".

              • Where is the relativism in saying that we're all equally jacked up?
                My argument is that I'm not buying any of the guilt that the propaganda peddlers are pushing.
                • This aint bout "guilt" or "propaganda".

                  It's about the lie - English speaking peoples having a unique and privileged predisposition towards "freedom", and that the culture of modern descendants of the Anglo-Saxon world bears a hallmark of this freedom - that the greatest effect on the larger world has been to engender this "freedom" for others.

                  That is the Liberal lie.

                  • What seems to be happening is that the rest of the world, intolerant of the non-authoritarian bent of the Anglosphere, has decided to offer a broad spectrum assault of guilt and propaganda to destroy that which was liberty-centric.

                    That is the Commie lie. One cannot deny that it has traction.
                    • You doublethink.

                    • Focus on the principles. Differentiate between the ideas and the evil wretches that implement them.
                      Do maintain an honest, dispassionate view of the historical record.
                      Don't accept shred #1 of guilt over things you didn't do, couldn't control, or happened before your conception.
                      Emphasize improving individuals--the global situation will take care of itself.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by PopeRatzo (965947)

              your purportedly noble savages may not have been so noble

              You mean Incas sacrificing their children by cutting their jugulars and allowing them to bleed out as a sacrifice to a volcano is not noble?

              Yeah, now that I think about it, probably not. But white Europeans and their ancestors are the inventors of atrocity. Didn't you know that?

              And look at all the American colonies in Africa, Asia, South America. The don't exist, except for the ones made by corporations, which are now transnational, and anything b

              • Obama will be part of that ascending curve. Thing about culture and societies, even ideologies - they're trial and error. There's a reason the troglodytes screaming and trying to shame young women outside abortion clinics aren't gaining any traction: Because people mostly, and basically decent, and it's in part the residual of the European Enlightenment that has made them so and keeps them so and keeps them moving in the right direction. Guys like Smitty make the mistake of thinking it's been "Judeo Christian values" and "The Constitution" that have kept us together two and a half centuries, but it's neither. It's a basic desire among Americans to try to find some agreeable way to live together and to know when it's time to bend those hoary old chestnuts to make a decent life possible for more people.

                Barack Obama is the Twilight of the Progressive Gawdz.
                The warmed-over Marxism, the Policy of Failure, has failed.
                What remains to be seen is how close we veer to the French Revolution as the whole Progressive Project, with its used-car sales pitches about "mak[ing] a decent life possible for more people" by just mortgaging the future, simply crashes in its effort to over-rule the laws of Economics.

                • Obama is in no way "progressive" - good bad or indifferent. Obama is highly regressive and leads the most restrictive and vindictive pro-corporate agenda in the history of American political memory.

                  He was branded in such a way as to exploit the "progressive" tendency of American voters after Bush II and the recession. They were expertly manipulated into supporting the extermination of their interests.

              • Obama will be part of that ascending curve.

                Oh dear! I hope you don't really believe that...

                • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                  Not him, this era.

                  A year ago, I would have said different, but I'm starting to get optimistic. Even the strange anti-corporate anti-authoritarian turn the Tea Party individuals have taken makes me optimistic.

                  What doesn't make me optimistic is the counter-revolutionary scum that's growing on the Left. Fortunately, those people are getting found out pretty quickly and exposed. The Obama dead-enders, the neo-feminists theoriticians and people who will tell you that privacy is "so 20th century".

                  I've got prec

      • Given abortion, he didn't.

        • Well said.
        • Yes, it's far more humane to kill the fetus after it is born, all the name of justice, of course.

          • Nope, I'm as against the Death Penalty as I am against abortion- and war as well- for exactly the same reasoning.

            • Well, I wasn't so sure with all that talk about "just war" and stuff.

              • I still like the Augustinian Just War. If followed correctly by all sides, it leads to no war. Yet it still protects your people if an aggressor should violate a border.

                These days, we could do it with armies of random, but GPS limited, drones pre-programed for air, sea, and land self-healing minefields.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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