UNCEASING WAVES

The Not So Curious Case for Colonialism

Posted in International by Karthick RM on November 23, 2017

A policeman who tells that “we only kill negros” is a racist; but the policeman who shoots dead “a black male suspect who is possibly armed and dangerous” is doing his duty. A CIA agent who uses torture is a bad guy; but the agent who uses “advanced interrogation techniques” is a good guy. Defending misogyny is bad; but you can defend the “subversive potential of rap” and other mass culture crap. Advocating the treatment of women as chattel-slaves is bad; Defending islamic sharia as a “minority right” is seen as a moral duty.

This is the context in which Bruce Gilley wrote his theoretically crappy article called “The case for colonialism” which is now the subject of much controversy. Gilley, despite being an American academic, is not familiar with the rules of the game. He could have written more or less the same thing and gotten away with it had he only titled it differently – some possible alternate titles below…

“The case for humanitarian intervention”, “The case for human rights”, “The case for free-trade agreements”, “The case for diversity in Walmart”, “The case for strategic co-operation in the Asia-Pacific” and so on. Not only would he have not been criticized, he could have also been felicitated at prestigious universities in the West.

Such is the world.

22554746_1335933249849486_8660643457187021818_nAnyway, this poorly written article defending colonialism in the journal Third World Quarterly led to mass resignation from the journal’s editorial board. There were quite some sober and strong theoretical criticisms of the article, but some allegations were the usual “I am offended, therefore this article is wrong, and therefore it should be removed.” It turns out that Taylor & Francis has taken down the article, but not because the article was substandard, but owing to the journal editor getting “credible threats of personal violence.” Great way to end this debate I say. But if this is the attitude the offended among the marginalized are going to adopt and if left-liberal intellectuals are going to remain silent about it, one should also not criticize the right-wing lumpens (Hindu, Islamic, White etc) shutting down what offends them. Besides, right-wingers are professionals at being offended and using that as an excuse to be on the offensive. They can play better at this game and beat you at it.

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