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Liberalism is the Wellspring of Western Imperialist Ideology

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes | about 3 months ago

The Military 30

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.

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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For a well-written refutation (1, Troll)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47382083)

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]

Re:For a well-written refutation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47383227)

Is this the same line of thunking that caused China to ban literature featuring the pantless ducks of Imperialist Disney as western propaganda meant to brainwash their youth into not digging stools out of Mickey Mao's opium dried rectum?

For the answer to that and other questions that cause rashes, you could always dig into the vaults of purveyors of fine literature; http://www.amokbooks.com/books... [amokbooks.com]

Perhaps Jerry would mellow out a bit with a cruise through endless golden fields of western hostpitality and the dream of capitalist hope for the family; http://www.mcphee.com/shop/ [mcphee.com] and see that the Hencho en China label benefits us all.

We could all prosper a bit if we could all concentrate on a more profitable to humans line of thinking that precludes ALL nonsense, accentuates the positive, eliminates the negative and goes well with an Oatmeal Stout; http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/... [ancient-hebrew.org]
The appendix has a perspective on government in general that gives a more realistic perspective to the human predicament. However, the material previous to that shouldn't be overlooked and perhaps essential to the device of a solution based inquiry into survival on a worldwide basis. Maybe it was the chapter before the appendix, dunno , late nite.
          signing off, undercover in the intertube,
                            Anonymous Coward, PhD
              (this post will self absorb in the next 42 seconds)

Refutation, or confirmation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47383317)

Just from the back cover:

"The story of liberty is the story of how that model triumphed. How, repressed after the Norman Conquest, it reasserted itself; how it developed during the civil wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries into the modern liberal-democratic tradition; how it was enshrined in a series of landmark victoriesâ"the Magna Carta, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the U.S. Constitutionâ"and how it came to defeat every international rival."

The notable part being the wording: it defeated every rival.

Defeating rivals implies use of violence, and that's what all those listed examples involved. The revolutionaries had to use violence to coerce their rivals to submit. Of course the history books (written by the revolutionaries mind you) would tell you it was self defense and we "had" to use violence, but I have two words for that: Mahatma Gandhi

He is the counterexample that one does not need violence to fight for freedom, but alas the M.O. of how the supposed free world got its freedom and dominance is through violence. Wars of independence, civil wars, interventions to bring freedom and democracy to the region (yeah right), the whole Cold War...

The non-violent way to confront rivals like communism would be to offer an open hand of friendship and trade, to show them the advantages of our ways so they willingly abandon theirs (and if they reject our offer or don't change their ways, we live and let live, what a concept). While there were instances of such throughout history, the bulk of the western history is one of violence in the name of ending violence, which makes as much sense as saying the solution to regulatory capture is more regulation.

The difference between imperialism and liberalism boils down to who has authority to start the conquest. Under imperialism it's the minority ruling elites. Under liberalism it's the democratic mob. Liberals like to believe man is kindhearted in nature, and trust them to not start conquests on a whim. They're proven wrong time and again. All it takes is one charismatic man, maybe a rodeo clown who can read teleprompters well, to rile the mob into a frenzy.

Re:Refutation, or confirmation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47383971)

non-violent way to confront rivals like communism would be to offer an open hand of friendship and trade

Theoretical noodling aside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppression [wikipedia.org] . It's the political equivalent of lung cancer, against itself and any neighbor. Great job of trying to twist the pursuit of liberty into something evil, though.

Re:Refutation, or confirmation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47384261)

Communism is a vehicle for human oppression. It's the political equivalent of lung cancer, against itself and any neighbor.

All the more reason that there's no need to use violence against communism. Lung cancer will kill itself sooner or later. But liberalism can't stand waiting. They just have to go on crusades to rid the world of communism, and any other rivals in its way, and that's how imperialism is born.

Great job of trying to twist the pursuit of liberty into something evil, though.

Other way around. You're the one who is twisting using violence as something noble. Communists, like it or not, are still human beings too. But you characterize them as cancer cells, not fully living beings, dehumanizing them to make it easier to justify using violence against them. No, let's not reform them and uplift them using capitalism. Let's just beat them over the head with a stick, and starve them with economic sanctions. It's ok to it to communism, because communism isn't people, it's just an abstract concept like terror!

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47384681)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47384825)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 months ago | (#47385091)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47385419)

Well, how's that for a non-falsifiable counter-factual?

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 months ago | (#47385771)

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 months ago | (#47385791)

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 assaults during "screenings" intended to extract information about the Mau Mau threat. Later, prisoners suffered even worse mistreatment in an attempt to force them to renounce their allegiance to the insurgency and to obey commands. Significant numbers were murdered; official accounts describe some prisoners being roasted alive.[195] Prisoners were questioned with the help of "slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes". Castration by British troops and denying access to medical aid to the detainees were also widespread and common. [196][197][198] Among the detainees who suffered severe mistreatment was Hussein Onyango Obama, the grandfather of U.S. President Barack Obama. According to his widow, British soldiers forced pins into his fingernails and buttocks and squeezed his testicles between metal rods and two others were castrated.[199]

In June 1957, Eric Griffith-Jones, the attorney general of the British administration in Kenya, wrote to the governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, detailing the way the regime of abuse at the colony's detention camps was being subtly altered. He said that the mistreatment of the detainees is "distressingly reminiscent of conditions in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia". Despite this, he said that in order for abuse to remain legal, Mau Mau suspects must be beaten mainly on their upper body, "vulnerable parts of the body should not be struck, particularly the spleen, liver or kidneys", and it was important that "those who administer violence ... should remain collected, balanced and dispassionate". He also reminded the governor that "If we are going to sin," he wrote, "we must sin quietly."[199][201]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Mau_Uprising [wikipedia.org]

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47385857)

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. I neither, for example, butchered Native Americans, nor built their casinos. I deserve as much guilt as lucre from them.
Turning guilt into political power has been a nearly magical, totemistic move for the Left. Credit where due: fantastic diabolical job.
OTOH, the basic ideas of individual liberty, private property, and limited government that dwindle off into the Anglo-Saxon mists are well worth considering, past all of the cheap propaganda.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 months ago | (#47386189)

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".

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47386335)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 months ago | (#47390227)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47390821)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 months ago | (#47391079)

You doublethink.

This is not hard (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47391145)

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:For a well-written refutation (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47390487)

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 but liberal.

Say what you will about America and the Enlightenment. At least there is a learning curve. At least there isn't wholesale regression into stonings and female circumcision (Family Research Council not withstanding). Mistakes throughout, but more people have clean water and flush toilet. Women don't need to have 10 babies because 7 of them will die by age 4. We screw up other countries, sure, but even there you see something that represents a learning curve. And despite my misgivings about him (and Smitty's and JC's) 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. It's why most Americans are now willing to overlook Leviticus and support gay marriage. Legal and safe abortion. Birth control. And why despite the loud and well-funded protestations of the dead-enders, the hold outs, they're becoming extinct and we'll mainly be better off for it. It was never about "The Bible" or "The Constitution". It was about our willingness to adhere to some set of guidelines in order to live together and have as many people better off as possible. Until it's time to make a change, which in most cases, we make. In all of US history, there's only one group of people who have lost rights instead of gained them, and that's slave owners. Of course, now we're facing another threat in the form of the corporate fascists (and the police state they have given birth to), but I'm pretty optimistic that it will be dealt with (hopefully before too much more damage is done).

Considering the history of what humans have done to each other in the name of superstition, greed, envy, nationalism, racism, sexism and other sins, I'm not sure you can single out "Liberalism" as some special culprit. It might make you feel clever to do so, but it's basically grad-school drama. JC, you're too good for that. Like Smitty, the one you think is your enemy...is not.

Apologizing for history is a sucker's game. It's how the hustlers dine out. The magnificent Te-Nehisi Coates not withstanding. And while it's not usually my style to agree with Smitty One Each, it kind of is cheap propaganda. To what end? That's the question, yes?

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47390849)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 months ago | (#47391087)

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.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47391137)

This is the fruit of Progress: the regression into aristocracy.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47391733)

Obama will be part of that ascending curve.

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

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47393039)

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 precious little energy left for those who would rather sit and point at "them" whether they be far-Left adbuster types or tea partiers. I had a bit of a revelation this weekend, hanging around a small Western Wisconsin town with a bunch of people who would consider themselves "tea party". They're figuring out that the Kochs and the mainstream AFP folks who've been funding the tea party don't really have their best interests at heart. They sounded a lot like the adbusters I know back home. Very strange times, when they figure out they've got converging interests, as they already have in Moral Monday parts of the South and anti-Keystone XL groups in Nebraska.

Or maybe it was just a nice quiet weekend in the country and I'm in a charitable mood. But you're right, fuck Obama. He's got nothing for me.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 3 months ago | (#47386047)

Given abortion, he didn't.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47390861)

Well said.

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47393693)

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

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 months ago | (#47396911)

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

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47399503)

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

Re:For a well-written refutation (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 months ago | (#47403057)

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.

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