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Change is good
Originally posted by schreiber at 2007-9-6 14:52
The issue here is that, where I am pointing out that imperialism wasn't just some criminal enterprise with Victoria at the head of the world's most nefarious crime family, you are active ...
Personally, I try not to judge the past using present day values. So in regards to the opium wars, in those days, I think opium had the same kind of status as alcohol. In the future, alcohol and tobacco may be banned completely and future generations will be horrified that governments allowed them to be sold. Although that may be the case, I definitely enjoy my booze now and I am not bitter at the government.
The use of force is an interesting one, and again present day values shouldn’t be used on the past. In the past, one nation just invaded another. That was the way things were done. What I admire about England is that they had this idea to build something, which was quite different from the other colonisers. Likewise, they also allowed conquered citizens the right to be British.
Then I also question whether there were alternatives to war. Take America when this Perry fella sailed into Japan and said open your ports or we will invade. There was no other alternative to using the threat of force - definitely no public relations industry where you could influence a government and the samurai in a less disruptive way.
An alternative to colonialism would have been for countries to have just minded their own business and let other countries do their stuff as is now occurring to an extent in Africa. If the colonisers had done that, maybe Japan would still have the samurai, and China would still have the emperors.
Today, the same question still lingers. While countries are less likely to invade with guns, they still try to influence the internal affairs of other countries. Even expressing an opinion on Tibet and Taiwan is interference in some ways. Likewise, Chinese investment in Africa is being seen as a form of interference by some.
Overall, I’ve got an ideological bias in favour of change. So whether colonisation occurs with words or an actual invasion, if it brings change to a region of stagnation, then I’d say I support it.