Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2013, 01:36:55 AM »
It can if done poorly, the way the US does it. Britain was much wiser, usually.

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Offline Rushy

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2013, 02:04:32 AM »
Uhh no. The British brought British civilization, not civilization in general. "Civilization" is not some objective entity that you can slap onto a location. The British damn sure made the world more British and while it could be worse, it could be a hell of a lot better.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2013, 02:28:51 AM »
Well, Irush, that depends how you look @ things. British civilisation, while not perfect, is certainly better than the ones it displaced (if most of those can be called civilisations; I would say most cannot, save the Indian, & their culture was improved upon). So there you are.

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Offline Rushy

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2013, 02:33:21 AM »
What are you defining as the qualities that make British civilization better than what was already there?

Offline spank86

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2013, 02:59:05 AM »

Offline spank86

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2013, 03:01:08 AM »
"Pacify the natives ". How nice. You seem to have forgotten the Crimean War in the 1800s as well.   S. Africa is hardly what one would call a peaceful nation under British rule. There are many who make arguments that Britains blind attempt at homogenizing its colonies local ethnicities greatly contributed to events like the Rwandan genocide.

I'd say that's more because we didn't get a chance to finish than anything else.

Funny how we get flack for both dividing India/Pakistan down religious lines and NOT dividing Africa among tribal ones.

Make your minds up people.




It's also worth noting that neither India nor Africa were peaceful tranquil places prior to our arrival. Nor were large swathes of them precisely independent.

Well you only get flack because colonization through empire has never been very good for those getting colonized is it?  I do not doubt that these places were violent before but claiming that Britain brought peace through superior firepower is not particularly accurate.

depends on your definition of peace.

I mean everywhere has crime and punishment and the world was a much more violent place in those days.

For a large number of Indians it was a pretty damn good thing.

Those that didn't die from cross border raids between principalities and the merchant middle classes that is.

I see nothing wrong w/ pacifying people that need it. Think how many could have been saved in Rwanda had the French been in charge in '94. Chances are, the mess would have never started. But if it had, it would have been stopped by means of the French Foreign Legion, I expect, which has only lost 1 engagement in its 180-odd year history (Dien van Phu [sp?] in 1954). Think how many countries the US pacifies (or tries to) in the 20th & 21st Centuries! We aren't very good @ it though. The British were.

I think you suffer from a major case of historical bias. Intervening can have very mixed effects.

I never claimed it wasn't mixed, merely that for a lot it was better and i believe it would have been better still had it not been ended abruptly.

If you look at ex imperial territories you can more or less rank them from most to least successful based on the length of time we were in charge (USA begin a slight anomaly)

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2013, 03:06:34 AM »
Well, a written language, for 1. Most cultures the British displaced didn't write. Government, for 2. Most cultures displaced were absolute monarchies functioning as dictatorships. Laws, for 3. If India had been ruled by Germany or Russia or China (or by many of her own native Princes!), Gandhi would have been done in w/i 5 minutes! He did what he did because he had inalienable rights under British law. Those are just a few examples. I could go on, but that should suffice.

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Offline Rushy

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2013, 03:16:39 AM »
Well, a written language, for 1. Most cultures the British displaced didn't write.

Give me one native civilization the British took over that didn't have a written language.

Government, for 2. Most cultures displaced were absolute monarchies functioning as dictatorships.

And the British weren't? What British are you referring to?

3. If India had been ruled by Germany or Russia or China (or by many of her own native Princes!), Gandhi would have been done in w/i 5 minutes! He did what he did because he had inalienable rights under British law. Those are just a few examples. I could go on, but that should suffice.

None of those places would have enslaved an entire country in the first place.

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Offline Rama Set

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2013, 03:18:02 AM »
Well, Irush, that depends how you look @ things. British civilisation, while not perfect, is certainly better than the ones it displaced (if most of those can be called civilisations; I would say most cannot, save the Indian, & their culture was improved upon). So there you are.

This is more racist than gentile is.
You don't get races of anything ... accept people.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2013, 03:35:30 AM »
Xhosa was not a written language. Nor were most sub-Saharan African languages before European contact. Britain had established parliamentary democracy early in the Imperial period. Victoria was hardly an absolute monarch.

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Offline Rushy

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2013, 03:50:33 AM »
Xhosa was not a written language. Nor were most sub-Saharan African languages before European contact. Britain had established parliamentary democracy early in the Imperial period. Victoria was hardly an absolute monarch.

Missionaries made Xhosa a written language, they were there before the British came along.

http://www.alsintl.com/resources/languages/Xhosa/

Britain had established parliamentary democracy early in the Imperial period. Victoria was hardly an absolute monarch.

The parliament during most of the British empire's years is not the sort of parliament you think of today. It existed as more or less advisors to the current monarch, the monarch could still do whatever s/he wished with tyrannical power.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2013, 04:11:27 AM »
It still took European missionaries to make it a written tongue. Parliament, by the time of Victoria, had become a fairly representative body w/ political power. Even as far back as Henry VIII, tyrant though he was, Parliament controlled money, & stopped Henry from @ least 1 war. By the time of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, when they 'invited' the Catholic King James II to abdicate, and kindly offered the throne to his Protestant daughter Mary II, & her husband William the Stadholder, they had proven themselves stronger than monarchs. It is true that the franchise was limited til the latter half of the 19th Century, but nobody's perfect. The fact that the franchise even existed was a step up from most countries.

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Offline Rushy

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2013, 04:13:55 AM »
It still took European missionaries to make it a written tongue.

In other words, the British didn't do anything. Thanks for pointing that out.

Parliament, by the time of Victoria, had become a fairly representative body w/ political power. Even as far back as Henry VIII, tyrant though he was, Parliament controlled money, & stopped Henry from @ least 1 war. By the time of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, when they 'invited' the Catholic King James II to abdicate, and kindly offered the throne to his Protestant daughter Mary II, & her husband William the Stadholder, they had proven themselves stronger than monarchs. It is true that the franchise was limited til the latter half of the 19th Century, but nobody's perfect. The fact that the franchise even existed was a step up from most countries.

The parliament had little power and was almost non-stop corrupted by tyrants. That hardly counts as very civilized, even by Britain's own standards.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2013, 04:22:38 AM »
British history begs to differ with you. Inviting a king to leave and appointing a new one is hardly powerless. And by the Victorian Age, the height of Britain's power and prestige, she held very little power. Have to smoke my cigar. Back in an hour or so.

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Offline Ghost Spaghetti

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2013, 08:57:53 AM »
My point? That someone who writes like a 3rd grader can't be taken seriously.

Then stop replying and taking him seriously.

Offline spank86

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2013, 11:29:59 AM »
None of those places would have enslaved an entire country in the first place.

Are you kidding?

Germany had African colonies too, Tanganyika springs to mind,

China is currently occupying Tibet against it's will,

and Russia was pretty much enslaving it's own country plus I take it you never heard of Russian America (how do you think they sold Alaska to the Americans)?

Face it, we weren't unique, we were just the best at it.


Missionaries made Xhosa a written language, they were there before the British came along.

British missionaries in large part.

Thats the form of the empire in general, spearheaded by traders and missionaries and the army rolled in when things got nasty. If the natives played nice and signed trade agreements the army didn't have to roll in at all.

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Offline Ghost Spaghetti

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2013, 11:43:10 AM »
The whole process of colonialism, from England, Spain, portugal, Germany, Russia, Scotland (Look up Panama's history and laugh) was a process of robbing blind the land and people whilst flooding it with 'civilisation' in the form of products and businesses still controlled by their colonial masters. For examples of British arsiness, you don't have to go any further than Ireland.

That isn't to say there weren't any benefits - there's a reason why India and co remain in the Commonwealth.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2013, 02:42:00 PM »
I do not deny that Britain had more than just altruistic reasons to go and create empire. But, while those reasons were many and varied, and not all admirable, overall, the British experience was a positive one, hence the existence of the Commonwealth, which includes one nation that was never a part of the Empire, namely Mozambique, which was controlled by the Portuguese. But recently they signed up for the Commonwealth. Why? To take advantage of the aspects of British civilisation that so many of Britain's former colonies have been able to benefit from.

Yaakov ben Avraham

Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2013, 05:28:09 PM »
Well, & as re: Germany, they created their first concentration camps in what is today Namibia. When the natives revolted due to the Germans' brutal treatment, the Germans proceeded to kill 50% of one tribe (the smaller of the 2 major ethnic groups in the area), & 80% of the larger. & the camps were every bit as bad as the ones during WWII. The Belgians in what is now the DR of Congo were as bad. The land (77 X larger than Belgium itself) was re: as the king's personal property, & every native in it as his slave. The Belgians' interesting ways of 'disciplining' (ie, torturing) recalcitrant natives included cutting Achilles tendons to prevent escape, smashing ankles for the same purpose, & other horrific acts that would never have been tolerated by British authorities. Not to say that abuse never happened under the British. It did, but it was never the norm, & was stopped when learned about. In the Congo, it was the natural state of things.

Offline spank86

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Re: The British Empire brought civilisation.
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2013, 05:33:51 PM »
I think one of the worst acts of the British empire (as distinguished from the east India company) was our construction of "concentration camps" during the boer war. Originally designed simply to cut off the flow of support to Boer guerrillas by concentrating their civilian base into a small guarded area, neglect and general lack of interest in their welfare resulted in massive deaths due to starvation/malnutrition and disease.

Oddly that's one we've never apologized for, however that's not to say the Boers were very nice people. they weren't. It's manly due to the need to placate them after the war that such virulent racism was allowed to continue and flourish in south Africa leading to most of it's problems since (not to say there wasn't a degree of racism inherent in the empire but there's racism, and then there's racism).

Unfortunately a short term easy solution created long term problems.