Posts Tagged ‘Colonialism’

Quote note (#272)

Frederick Jackson Turner, from his essay The Significance of the Frontier in American History (1893):

From the conditions of frontier life came intellectual traits of profound importance. The works of travelers along each frontier from colonial days onward describe certain common traits, and these traits have, while softening down, still persisted as survivals in the place of their origin, even when a higher social organization succeeded. The result is that, to the frontier, the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness, that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients, that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends, that restless, nervous energy, that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom — these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier. […] Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased. Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise. But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. […] For a moment, at the frontier, the bonds of custom are broken and unrestraint is triumphant. There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier.

Recollected with reference to the prospects of seasteading and space colonization, and their continuity with a distinctive Anglophone cultural impetus to resolve political tension through dissociation in space (with Exit as its key).

August 14, 2016admin 52 Comments »
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Quote note (#174)

Razib Khan on the awesome power of the White Gaze:

The contemporary revisionism, which now is approaching mainstream orthodoxy, is that South Asian religious life before the arrival of the British, and the Western outlook more generally, was characterized by a quietist syncretism where communal boundaries were fluid to the point of identity being a flimsy veil which could be shed or shifted dependent upon context. An alternative history then might be proposed of a united subcontinent, where Hindus and Muslims were coexistent, or, perhaps where a Hindu and Muslim identity did not even exist. The cognitive psychologist Pascal Boyer likes to characterize a theory as “information for free.” You don’t really have to know anything, you can simply deduce from your axioms. Though this model obviously integrates ethnographic and historical realities, it constructs a post-colonial fantasy-land, where South Asian religiosity was without form or edge before the arrival of Europeans and their gaze collapsed the wave function. Before the arrival of Europeans people of color were tolerant of religious diversity, varied sexual orientations, and practiced gender egalitarianism. In other words, India was like the campus of Oberlin college, except without the microaggressions, and more authentic spirituality! [Emphasis in original]

July 24, 2015admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Quote note (#127)

No idea how I missed this extraordinary gem the first time around:

Last fall I met up with an old friend in the security consulting business. We met for breakfast at an upscale hotel in the DC area. As he was having a second cup of coffee he leaned forward and said, “I’m going to say something crazy, but I can be frank with you.” He paused and added, “what we need is a new East India company.”

“Go on,” I said, mildly surprised. And he continued in a lowered tone, but not without looking first to the left and right.

He went on to say that one of the problems in the US response to terror has been in the conduct of stabilization operations — the critical task of building up a country after the kinetic battles have been largely won. These operations have been costly, prolonged and have largely failed. Billions of dollars spent on traditional aid approaches in Iraq and Afghanistan; and in countries changed by the ‘Arab Spring’ have yielded but little result. Often they have ended in abject disaster.

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November 5, 2014admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Quote notes (#44)


Anti colonialism is imperialist, and imperialism was anti colonialist:

Consider the path that Alassane Ouattara took to power: Educated in the US, career in Washington, raised to high position in the IMF. In due course jointly holds high position in the IMF plus high position in the Ivory government, despite the fact that he seldom visits the Ivory coast, briefly flying in from Washington from time to time, Election rigged in his favor in the Ivory Coast by UN troops, large numbers of native thugs imported from neighboring country. Population replacement and ethnic cleansing of the native population. Alassane Quattara then flies in from Washington to take power, despite the fact that he had not bothered to show up to his high Ivorian government job for six years. Clearly, the power that installed him over the Ivory Coast was located in Washington, not the Ivory Coast. Imperialism is still going strong today, and it still spouts anti colonialist rhetoric. Similarly Aristide and Mugabe, installed from without against the wishes of the locals.

[… ]

The British empire was not conquered by imperialists, but by eighteenth century merchant adventurers, who mixed honest trade, piracy, conquest, and state formation. The nineteenth century imperialists took it over from the colonialists, and immediately the empire went into decline. In the nineteenth century, Colonialists right wing, Imperialists left wing and anti colonialist.

Today’s anti colonialism is still imperialist, as illustrated by population replacement in the Ivory Coast.

(Jim has worked on this crucial distinction before.)

November 22, 2013admin 9 Comments »