From: Iowan in MD/DC
ORIGINAL: Capt Hornblower
Count me as an Anglophile, cuz I agree with Warspite-- almost everywhere it touched, the British Empire (eventually) left the native peoples in better condition with regard to the rest of the world than they would have been in otherwise.
An observation to Bullwinkle58: My impression of your views from your posts in this thread is that you have well and truly absorbed the revisionist leftist history imparted to you by your college professors. The very mention of the role of the USSR in post-World-War-II politics in Indochina should be enough to gain insight into the reasons why the West thought it necessary to meddle.
And to all of you who seem to agree that the days when communism was a serious threat to freedom are over, I ask, "Are you quite sure?" The current holder of the office of President of the United States seems clearly to be a Marxist, at the very least, who is hell-bent on turning the US into the same kind of unproductive society as exists now in Spain, Italy, Greece, and France (and on the brink of which the UK seems to be teetering).
Another thought: The discussion here reinforces the notion that History is hindsight, and Hindsight is 20/20.
Without going into too much detail, please do some research first. Regardless of what you think of this guy's or that guy's politics, the numbers speak for themselves. Britain's government spending, which you say is teetering on the brink? It's been declining (the direct result of which has been increased suffering for the British people). US government spending? Also declining now that the Recovery Act is over. I'm sure you would say that China owns all the US public debt and will totally extort the US any day now, but the portion of debt owned by China is...declining. Given the predispositions you've revealed in your post, I don't expect that you'll react with anything except more of the same, but I feel it's my duty to point out what is factually accurate for the other people who will come along and read it.
And that's all to say nothing about the moral rights or wrongs you've alluded to in history. So for the record - when you say "left the native peoples in better condition with regard to the rest of the world than they would have been in otherwise", what are your outcome measures on this? And are you completely discounting all of what we would now call crimes against humanity?
And what about the haphazard, Euro-centric way in which Africa, India, and so on were divided into imperial territories, which has resulted in arbitrary "nations" being designated on top of existing societies? Which has in turn given us atrocities like occur in internecine conflicts once these "nations" were turned loose with their arbitrarily-set boundaries - Sudan, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and so forth?
I really don't think that lands the British Empire in the "we left absolutely everybody better off than how we found them" category, let alone the rest of imperial Europe.
Were absolute living standards higher than they were before industrial age imperialism? Absolutely (but not everywhere). Were they higher than they would have been? Nobody knows. But most importantly, does that justify what imperialism did to those billions of people? In my view, absolutely not.