The British Empire was a force for good, stop blaming the problems of today on it! Watch

StrawbAri
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(Original post by Josb)
Ireland was conquered and colonised between the 12th and the 17th century. I don't think it can be linked to the "Empire", which is a 19th century concept in the context of this thread.
They were still treated badly by colonialists in the 19th century during the empire (see Charles Trevelyan and the Irish famine)

The initial purpose of my quote anyway was to question your use of the word savage to describe the colonised but then I realised it's not a race thing because white Irish were though of as savages as well.
I'm not sure what it is really. A class thing?
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username2585877
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(Original post by MRNO)
Guess what. The British Empire didn't invent slavery, it has been going on since Egyptian times.

The British Empire never invented war either. People have made war since Homosapien wiped out the Neanderthals. Tribes have killed and took over other tribes for thousands of year, and countries took countries. The British Empire just happened to be better than everyone else. If the spear wielding primitives had invented guns and modern warfare who's to say the world would be any different?
does that make it any more moral? NO. considering we were in ownership of around 1/4 of the world at the empire’s peak, we ought to be a moral beacon for the globe
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GaelicBolshevik
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(Original post by MRNO)
Do you get off on saying that pathetic crap? That really is the most stupid and ridiculous statement! It actually offends me the level of intelligence you must have must be so low. Just how idiotic are you? That is biggest pile of ass gravy I have heard in a long time!
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MRNO
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(Original post by frankielogue)
does that make it any more moral? NO. considering we were in ownership of around 1/4 of the world at the empire’s peak, we ought to be a moral beacon for the globe
The British Empire never claimed to be moral, it was what is was. You don't get an Empire by being nice. But we played by the rules of the game at the time and come out on top. Also many good things happened for the countries under British control. Populations that never saw growth before, increased sometimes, tripled. This was due to advancements in technology, agriculture and sciences. To say it was all bad is just to simplistic and to say it saved more people than killed might be true.
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the bear
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(Original post by MRNO)
People still seem to blame the British Empire for everything that goes wrong in the badly run corrupt countries. This guy Awate says he doesn't feel British or English because he's a African Muslim. Because of what the British empire did 65 years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8SZpv3jROo

The left’s view of Empire is that it was just pure exploitation and suppression. This is a complete lie. The British Empire did more to advance civilisation than any other force in history. Let’s look at some of what was achieved.

Rule of Law. Most places we arrived had no rule of law. Might was right. We put in the British legal system which gave the vast majority of people far more human rights than they had ever had before

Trade. The left spout that Empire was exploitative and merely extracted the wealth of other nations. This is a lie. Empire was all about trade, creating markets for British goods around the world whilst creating markets for global goods in Britain. And huge trade between all the different parts of Empire. This massively advanced the economy of the whole world.

Infrastructure. We established and maintained the world’s shipping routes, road systems everywhere we went, and railways including the world’s biggest system, in India. Our plumbing was famous and on the Mediterranean islands we ran, Cyprus, Malta, Rhodes, Corfu, Menorca etc it is safe to drink the tap water!

Education. In many nations we brought literacy for the first time and created widespread educational reform. When we found intellectual superstars we often brought them back to Britain to receive the world’s best education. Look up Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Slavery. The British led the world in trying to get rid of this. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 made the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire, the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 made slavery totally illegal. Between 1808 and 1860, the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard.

When Empire ended it was often not replaced by liberal democracy, instead a venal, avaricious ruling class took over and treated whole countries as personal fiefdoms. Very many countries went backwards and lots of people in the world would have preferred to have the Empire back.

So far from something to be ashamed of, the British Empire was one of mankind’s greatest ever achievements. It created the modern world that we all live in and everyone owes it a huge debt for the huge advance in civilisation that it brought. The left are very wrong about this, just as they are wrong about most things.

Look at Hong Kong – since leaving Britain, they have suffered an oppressive regime – culminating in the population asking Britain to re-colonise them! If British colonial rule was so bad, why would they do that?

I think it’s easy to rubbish the achievements of Britain, nothing in life is perfect. The mere notion of perfection is idiosyncratic. The world is an imperfect place.
Our dear Empire represented the zenith of British culture and achievement. The ungrateful countries which rejected us are now feeble basket cases, while Britain is stumbling into a bleak future without even Scotland to call our own.
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MRNO
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(Original post by DMcGovern)
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LOL!
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scrotgrot
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Absolutely I agree that on the whole and in the long run the British empire was a good thing for the countries it colonised. However you can never, ever make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Another example of this with the "left" and "right" reversed is Stalin in Russia. The country industrialised rapidly and efficiently, overtaking many of the free market superpowers, but of course the deaths measured in the many millions, and that was not the only collateral damage.

Any fast and/or radical change in the governance of a country, no matter the policies, ideologies or structures of the regimes involved, inevitably causes dislocation and suffering in a myriad of forms, whether that is the intention of the new regime or not. Usually as time passes the residues of anger and ambition wear off, the event is intellectualised and becomes part of "history", and most people investigating the event with any semblance of integrity and balance recognise the various upsides and downsides. It's generally a useless exercise - and more so the more complex and significant the event is - for anyone to decide if when weighed against each other the event was "bad" or "good" overall; that's only worth doing if one of the regimes involved is presently in power or has a chance of returning to power, since power is a win/lose event.
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Len Goodman
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Ahh... the good old British Empire. "The empire on which the sun never sets", oh yes! How I wish Britain could go back to its old ways and become a force to be reckoned with again. All this liberal malarkey is dragging us down into the doldrums, I tell you!
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Taran001
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(Original post by MRNO)
The British Empire never claimed to be moral, it was what is was. You don't get an Empire by being nice. But we played by the rules of the game at the time and come out on top. Also many good things happened for the countries under British control. Populations that never saw growth before, increased sometimes, tripled. This was due to advancements in technology, agriculture and sciences. To say it was all bad is just to simplistic and to say it saved more people than killed might be true.
By have a successful empire you don't befriend nations then stab them in the back you invade them one on one. Unless they're ***** like your beloved empire
Just admit it already, the ideology of that empire was pure evil!
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L i b
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My view is that we are still too close to the days of the British Empire to consider it objectively. I think my view is probably fairly typical though: by the time I was born, the days of Empire were - with a couple of tiny exceptions - long-gone. I don't see the modern United Kingdom as a post-colonial power, I see it as a modern sovereign-state.

Our parents' and grandparents' generations, however, are not in that position. I suspect they are the drivers of the post-imperial hangover that seems just alien and bizarre to me. That notion that if you say anything positive about the Empire, you are secretly yearning to recreate it seems as comical as suggesting that going on more than two city breaks to Rome means that you secretly hanker for the days of Hadrian.

The British Empire, as far as I'm concerned, is nothing more than a historical study. In the main, I suspect it probably did advance humanity (which is quite different from necessarily advancing the interests of individual human beings). It also, like every polity in history, did quite a bit of bad too.

To ask if the colonies were better off under the Empire is about as subjective a question as you can get. Do I think there's some sort of objective benefit to some 19th century Indian peasant to being ruled from 400 miles away rather than 4000 miles away? Not really. It's not like it was a choice between living in a liberal democratic state: in either case, they were not involved in their own governance, nor was it necessarily always conducted in their interests.

I think the Empire probably did bring concepts of democracy to countries that otherwise would have happily toddled along for centuries more as feudal relics - but there is no real counterfactual here: no country lives in some splendid isolation beyond foreign influences.
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L i b
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(Original post by Taran001)
How did India have famines if they were representative of a quarter of the world's economy, WHO CARES ABOUT POPULATION????
GDP per cap , Standards of Living, HDI is what matters
Well, hold on, even if we accept your premise that India had a quarter of the world's GDP in the 18th century - figures I'd find pretty suspect - that clearly doesn't mean anything in relation to famine. China has a significantly higher GDP than Luxembourg, yet it was suffering serious famine into the 1960s while Luxembourg thrived.

Population growth is, I suppose, a bit of a mixed-bag as a metric of economic performance. As we see in the West, when living standards have increased, population growth and birth-rates have fallen. However at an earlier stage of development, there is some credibility in arguing that even Europe's population growth can be attributed to a better performing economy.


(Original post by Josb)
Ireland was conquered and colonised between the 12th and the 17th century. I don't think it can be linked to the "Empire", which is a 19th century concept in the context of this thread.
Indeed, and Ireland was - to varying degrees - an independent country until the 19th century. Its aristocracy was domestic, although to some degrees "foreign": although, of course, you could say precisely the same about the Anglo-Norman aristocracy in England over the same period.

It's pretty bizarre to look at Ireland in the 18th century and say it was "conquered and colonised". By the same token, so was England. Modern Ireland just seems to have rather more nationalistic fervour about that.

(Original post by StrawbAri)
They were still treated badly by colonialists in the 19th century during the empire (see Charles Trevelyan and the Irish famine)
Charles Trevelyan wasn't a "colonialist" in relation to Ireland, he was a reasonably senior civil servant in the Treasury when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Still Trevelyan is part of Irish lore, but a lot of that - around his role and his importance - is rather mythologised.
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L i b
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(Original post by .paak)
Ultimately, the Empire did what they did for their own gain, stop talking as if they did what they did because they wanted to help out.
It's pretty clear that they had mixed intentions - again, a bit like all politicians. You can look to certain policies that were objectively benevolent and provided no gain beyond that.

(Original post by Taran001)
By have a successful empire you don't befriend nations then stab them in the back you invade them one on one. Unless they're ***** like your beloved empire
Just admit it already, the ideology of that empire was pure evil!
I'm not sure the British Empire over the centuries of existence had a consistent ideology. Expanding the Empire was largely seen as an economic and geopolitical imperative rather than some sort of ideological exercise.
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.paak
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(Original post by L i b)
It's pretty clear that they had mixed intentions - again, a bit like all politicians. You can look to certain policies that were objectively benevolent and provided no gain beyond that.
You may be right but you're going to have to provide some source or this is an empty statement. Besides I can hardly believe that they did anything to help out, there would undoubtedly be some sort of mutual benefit or a long or short term gain.

(Original post by L i b)
I'm not sure the British Empire over the centuries of existence had a consistent ideology. Expanding the Empire was largely seen as an economic and geopolitical imperative rather than some sort of ideological exercise.
The consistent idea was imperialism.
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lordtutton
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The British Empire is the very reason that Britain is the way it is today.

Unfortunately, society only now allows for one to view the British Empire in an entirely negative light. Mention how it had its benefits, and you're a racist, a murdering bigot.

Sure, we were part of the morally reprehensible slave trade. But once Britain woke up to its atrocities, we enforced an international ban on the slave trade. The Royal Navy saved countless lives from slavery.

We mapped Africa, and built roads and railways across the globe. We banned the process whereby a Hindu bride committed suicide shortly after her husbands death (it was a (pretty awful) cultural tradition).

While many can (rightly) be opposed to colonialism, in Africa, being colonised by the British was far better than being colonised by, say, the Belgians - managed to kill 10 million Congolese alone - or the French - overstayed their welcome by fighting wars when threatened. And if we didn't colonise, they would have.

Don't get me wrong, the empire had its fair share of wrongs, which should be acknowledged. But effectively 'outlawing' talk of the positives helps nobody.
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emobambam
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I'm sorry I didn't read your whole post. It was just too long for me. I'm not trying to start a fight on here but there's never been a more corrupt government in history. Only the privileged and nobility had a good life. Everyone else suffered. Look at how many people the British Empire enslaved over 1500 years. Look at the human rights violations. The British are the ones who went to Africa enslaved the local tribes brought them to America to plant crops to be taken back to the British Empire. The British Empire are the first ones who burned somebody at the stake for witchcraft back in the 1700s. Look what the British Empire did in Asia. The British Empire has a long long long history of human rights violations.
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L i b
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(Original post by .paak)
You may be right but you're going to have to provide some source or this is an empty statement. Besides I can hardly believe that they did anything to help out, there would undoubtedly be some sort of mutual benefit or a long or short term gain.
You can certainly see negatives in a great many things if you look hard enough. You could easily argue that educational provision essentially created economic gains as well as providing a governing class that could not be provided by White British people, even though the benefits were significant to the Indian population too.

You could, incidentally, make similar arguments about 19th century government policy in Great Britain. Was state-provided educational provision for economic growth, or was it a solely benevolent act to improve the population? Was the provision of welfare benevolent, or focused on reducing the burden of crime, begging and so on that indirectly affected the middle and upper classes?

I think in considering what the British state did in India we equally ignore looking at what the British state did in Britain. Let's not forget there were famines in the United Kingdom in the 18th and even 19th centuries - and the relief was barely much better than what was provided in overseas colonies. So too we had local populations driven from their land for economic reasons here, as well as cack-handed and essentially murderous suppression of political dissent as in the Peterloo Massacre. At least in the early history of the British involvement in India, both were pre-democratic societies where the state was essentially run for the interests of a ruling class, whose relationship with the peasant or proletarian class was essentially exploitative in a great many areas.

There are a few policies pursued, however, that do fit with being - so far as I can see - unquestionably benevolent measures: legislation against child marriage, legalisation of remarriage for Hindu widows and perhaps most famously the abolition of Sati.

The consistent idea was imperialism.
I think this is really being attaching a greater profundity and intellectual foundation to imperialism than is probably merited. Often the pioneers of imperialism were commercial entities: the East India Company, the Hudson Bay Company and so on were simply interested in commerce. Actual government rule often followed somewhat reluctantly.

If you're a king and you see the land of some other king that you can take over and benefit from, and then keep doing it, is that really an ideology or even a consistent idea? I'd say it's really just a transaction.

If anything, not doing it for some moral or political reason would probably be the more ideological move in that situation. There were some ideological imperialists - I do not deny that - but they were relatively few and came relatively late to the game. Cecil Rhodes is the one that instantly springs to mind.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by L i b)
My view is that we are still too close to the days of the British Empire to consider it objectively. I think my view is probably fairly typical though: by the time I was born, the days of Empire were - with a couple of tiny exceptions - long-gone. I don't see the modern United Kingdom as a post-colonial power, I see it as a modern sovereign-state.
What about the tyrannical EU! :fuhrer:

" I suspect it probably did advance humanity (which is quite different from necessarily advancing the interests of individual human beings). It also, like every polity in history, did quite a bit of bad too. "

I agree but that "quite" difference is very big and important. Can say the same about Genghis Khan
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L i b
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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
What about the tyrannical EU! :fuhrer:

" I suspect it probably did advance humanity (which is quite different from necessarily advancing the interests of individual human beings). It also, like every polity in history, did quite a bit of bad too. "

I agree but that "quite" difference is very big and important. Can say the same about Genghis Khan
Big Genghis was a well known softie at heart.

That aside, I think my point can probably be boiled down to this: looking at pre-democratic societies, being an empire or not* is absolutely no guarantor how any governing force will act. In a pre-democratic society, I'd also argue, it hardly matters: when you don't have involvement in your own governance, does it really matter than you're being dictated to by someone with the same skin colour as you or a different one? Do you really have any control in that situation at all over whether they are benevolent or oppressive? Not really, I would answer.

* As a side point, it's very difficult to consistently define what an empire is in any sense. The British Empire was a naval power, which largely explains why its possessions were linked by the sea rather than the land. However, we often don't consider expansionist powers that conquest over land as empires quite so readily. In some cases, we look at cultural homogeneity, but forget that cultural and social commonality tends to follow political boundaries rather than dictate them. In many cases, those apparently non-imperialistic nation-states were themselves a product of expansionism in the past.
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L i b
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(Original post by emobambam)
I'm sorry I didn't read your whole post. It was just too long for me. I'm not trying to start a fight on here but there's never been a more corrupt government in history.
Balderdash.

Only the privileged and nobility had a good life.
I think that's pretty much the norm among historical polities rather than some uniquely British trait.

Look at how many people the British Empire enslaved over 1500 years.
I don't think the state ever enslaved anyone - indeed slavery was outlawed in England since time immemorial. The British Empire tolerated slavery, just like virtually every power before it, until it changed tack and outlawed it, enforcing a ban on the Atlantic slave trade.

At any rate, the British Empire did not exist for 1,500 years or anything close to it.

Look at the human rights violations.
Human rights didn't really exist as a legitimate legal concept at the time. If your point is straightforwardly "look at how unpleasant the state was to the average person", again I will point out that this was in no way exceptional.

The British are the ones who went to Africa enslaved the local tribes brought them to America to plant crops to be taken back to the British Empire
Again, far from unique. Nor was slavery unknown in Africa before European exploration: African native rulers held slaves too. Indeed, you might argue that the state that the majority people lived in during those times in sub-Saharan Africa was little more than slavery at any rate.

The British Empire are the first ones who burned somebody at the stake for witchcraft back in the 1700s.
Er, no it wasn't. Witchcraft has been punished by societies - often by death - since antiquity. I get the sense that when people say things like this, it's nothing more than ignorance of history and an unwillingness to do some basic research before making sweeping and ridiculous statements.
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FreedomTower
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I love how the British Empire has left a lasting positive legacy in subtle little ways such as in Canada for example them following the same format as we on some things.
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