A Note on Anti-Colonialism

This started as a reply to Austin Cline, who runs an Atheism blog for About.com. In it, Cline says:

Hinderaker doesn’t know any more about British colonialism (in India or elsewhere) than he does about evolution. It’s absolutely true that colonial powers added some value to their colonies — for example, in places like infrastructure. They failed in more significant areas, however — areas that would have allowed for post-colonial societies to succeed. These areas include education and local banking, for example.

I would suggest that Cline knows just as little about Colonialism, and since he is parroting the neoliberal/democrat line right here it evidences that he is basically economically ignorant.

First of all, why would it have been necessary for the colonial governments to ‘provide’ banking and ‘education’. It certainly hasn’t done a lot of good in the West when the government has ‘provided’ these ‘services’, and at the same time most countries in the West and the East provided these long before there was any kind of centralized government. Perhaps the failing is not with the colonial powers (who I am not defending, in particular, I think colonialism is a waste of money) but instead with the intellectual, cultural and social organization of the previously occupied cultures. Most of these countries basically fell apart when the white colonists left. Not because of some mysterious exegesis of ‘banking’ or ‘education’ which had never been present before the colonization anyway, rather it was because the local regimes and local populace were ignorant, criminal and infected with western ideas like welfarism, nationalism and socialism. It’s no wonder they turned into cesspools of civil war and slavery; and with the exception of China and a handful of other east-asian countries, they remain so to this day.

Those who blame the West for the failure of their former colonies are simply presenting the myth of the ‘white man’s burden’ all over again; the simple fact is that these countries suck for reasons largely their own fault.


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