Without Colonialism We Would Be Without a Nation!

2017-03-17 12:04

It is fashionable these days to trash colonialism and discredit its notable achievements and impact on a world in evolution. That is a bad thing because denialism cultivates lies, subterfuge and delusion. And despite its faults and many blemishes, colonialism has over the long haul been an overwhelming force for good. It has – notwithstanding the nonsense articulated by a full public spectrum from jumped up talk show hosts to opposition politicians trying to be “PC” and ANC hoi polloi – served an important purpose in globalization and the integration of our sub continent into the world at large.

The notion of South Africa’s very existence without the inconvenient truth of colonialism is unthinkable and the belief that colonialism has been only evil and bad is a puerile African Nationalist precept rich in delusion and profound in its stupidity.

The intention of those colonizing others less advanced was of course always mercantilist in nature and self seeking rather than altruistic - but that is history, immutable and should be irrelevant to the present day. It is this denialistic response to colonialism after the event that is divisive and toxic to our future prospects.

Would it not be logical and beneficial for all to focus on the present and future and capitalise on the ongoing benefits from our (colonial) history? Sadly that is not an African Nationalist dictum – no doubt because it offers little in the way of opportunities to confiscate from agents of value creation: it is always easier to be a victim and claim injustice.

The first step in any intelligent debate on colonialism is to understand it as a socio economic force in a world that was back then culturally, developmentally and intellectually far more unequal than it is now. It has taken the planet forward in a big way.

But then – even when southern Africa was being colonized - the very notion of colonialism was old hat. The Romans had long since invaded Gaul and taught them how to build bridges, aqueducts and more – as they also did in the British Isles. Before that Alexander the Great had spread his brand of civilization into the east and subsequently Attila the Hun laid much of it to waste and laid foundations for the rebuilding of civilization as it had become known up until then - for although noted as a destroyer and barbarian, his empire dominated the ancient world for some time.

The notion of colonialism is dynamic and driven, as with most forms of coercive occupation, by cultural asymmetries. For example, the Viking colonization of much of Europe and the Russian interior was driven by domestic dynamics within the Scandinavian peninsula and the vulnerability of less advanced peoples in the lands of conquest. Colonialism is thus at the same time a law of societal survival and driver of human advancement - ultimately bringing nations together.

Without nations advancing their interests at the expense of others, it is unlikely that mankind would have established the shared values and norms that characterise global coexistence and the shared norms of modern life. Colonialism has yielded fruits after the event.

Furthermore, without it the notions of human rights; personal freedom, and democracy would probably never have been disseminated throughout much of the world. For notwithstanding the oppression associated with colonialism, it bred and proselytized new values as it evolved – including Christianity, human equality and the rejection of racism itself – all testifying to its dynamic nature.

Thus discrediting colonialism in this day and age is exclusively for impoverished politicians devoid of ideas and insight and subscribing to entitlement values for political acceptance.

In South Africa we have plenty of them.

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