India

Does Britain Owe India Reparations for Colonial Rule?

Only if India owes reparations to dalits for the caste system

|

Indian politician and celebrated novelist Shashi Tharoor caused a mini-sensation recently when he went before

Poor Indian Woman
rahuldlucca / Foter / CC BY

the Oxford Union, a debating society in England's prestigious eponymous university, and argued that Britain needed to give India reparations for "depredations" caused by two centuries of colonial rule. It was a virtuoso performance — almost pitch perfect in substance and delivery — that handily won him the debate in England and made him a national hero at home.

But the most eloquent point that emerged in the debate is one he didn't make, I note today in TIME:

While Brits are grappling with their sordid past by, say, holding such debates, Indians are busy burying theirs in a cheap feel-goodism…

Colonialism, without a doubt, is an awful chapter in human history. And Tharoor did a brilliant job of debunking the standard argument of Raj apologists that British occupation did more good than harm because it gave India democracy and the rule of law. This is akin to American whites who argued after the Civil War that blacks had nothing to complain about because — as the Chicago Tribune editorialized — in exchange for slavery, they were "taught Christian civilization and to speak the noble English language instead of some African gibberish."…

But an elementary rule of moral logic is that if India is going to demand reparations for sins done against it, it should also be willing to pay reparations for those it has done. And, if that's the case, then India might be handing out many more "one-pound" bills to many more groups for many more years than it receives.

Go here to find out why.

Advertisement

NEXT: Teen Locked Up for 40 Days Because He (Allegedly) Threw a Snowball Sues Cops, School

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Moral logic?

    1. Yeah, as opposed to logic-logic.

    2. I saw your comment before seeing who wrote it or reading the article and I knew it was Shikha

  2. Did the UK establish colonias in additional to colonies?

  3. Tharoor did a brilliant job of debunking the standard argument of Raj apologists that British occupation did more good than harm because it gave India democracy and the rule of law.

    Without reading his presentation, this strikes me as something that would take quite a bit of refutation.

    Seems to me that the Brits did exactly that, as well as a lot of other good things, in India. I don’t understand why these shouldn’t be netted out against whatever harm they also did.

    Really, the problem with reparations (aside from the generational problem of making people who weren’t born yet when the Bad Things happened foot the bill for them) is that they rely on an unverifiable hypothesis: that the country would be better off today if the Brits had never shown up.

    1. It also can be caste as the displaced rulers seeking compensation for having ‘their subjects’ exploited by someone else.

      1. I see what you did there…

    2. “All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the British ever done for us?

      Attendee: Brought peace?”

      1. Let’s be honest, they’re the only ones who could.

  4. No. The balance of payments will either be India needs to pay Britain for taking the subcontinent away, or zero. They put a puase to the crumbling internicine warfare that wracked the region, and held it in abeyance until after they’d been told to piss off. They also made substantial investments in the territory which handily improved the lives of at least a chunk of the populace.

    It’s the old question “What did the Romans do for us?” A lot, really. You may not like your colonial overlords, but the Brits were no King Leopold II.

  5. What’s so horrible about colonialism in general and the British colonial rule of India in particular?

    The British rule of India brought forth a greater respect for the rights of individuals and rule of law that had ever perviously existed in India or that was likely to arise without British colonialism.

    Which get us to the general critique of colonialism at all which is what exactly? That an exogenous group ruling over others is somehow inherently worse than a more similar group doing so? It seems to me that the degree of exploitation of the ruled is what matters, not the proximity of the rulers.

    1. Agreed. This:

      Colonialism, without a doubt, is an awful chapter in human history.

      is bullshit. Violence and exploitation? Sure, but that has been the norm for all of human history. So by that logic (is it moral logic?) all of human history is dark.

      1. Indians now have a common language throughout the country – English. And they have beer. Sounds like they owe the Brits a big thank you.

        1. And modern medicine, philosophy, science and technology. All those things may well have come to India without the Europeans, but they would have to arise to prominence in staunchly traditonalist societies dominated by governments that more closely resembled ancient despotism than anything resembling the rule of law or anything else that modern people would prefer to live under. Needless to say, the Europeans cleared the way for the colonized societies to escape the Malthusian trap that had plagued them for all of human history up to that point.

      2. Oh, Colonialism, as practiced by the British, was absolutely the WORST ?. except for what it replaced and, in most cases, what replaced it.

        After the British, the French, the Germans, and the Americans didn’t do too badly. Nearly everybody else was every bit as bad as local rule, with the exception of the Belgian-run Congolese Free State, which was everything the anti-colonials ever accused any colonial state of being.

        I note that the European Union is run out of Brussells.

        1. Fuck Belgium. What has it ever given the world, besides misery and waffles?

          1. I am not from Belgium and I resent the accusation.

          2. Flanders Red Ale?

            1. Ok, yes, i like their beers.

          3. Beer and french fries.

            I’m really quite fond of Belgium, but it is kind of a stupid country that probably shouldn’t exist in its present form.

            1. All Belgium territories should be ceded to Neutral Moresnet forthwith.

        2. The Spanish were pretty bad as far as colonizers go. They tended to favor the looting and pillaging method, they had a high time preference. Whereas the British and to a lesser extent the French, were investing in the capital stock of their colonies, they had a much lower time preference. It all came down to a difference in philosophy, the same difference that renders modern Spain and former Spanish colonies into what they are today as compared to former British colonies and the like.

        3. After the British, the French, the Germans, and the Americans didn’t do too badly.

          Oh hell no, Germans were horrible by colonizer standards.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herero_Wars

          French were pretty bad, too. As were Americans in Philippines. Not unusual when you give a class of people power and tell them the ones they have power over are their inferiors, but don’t oversell it.

          Congolese Free State was, to make matters worse, not even a Belgian operation. It was a private fiefdom of the King, and situation actually improved (because it would be difficult not to) once Belgium government had enough pressure and took over.

    2. Well, it could be both. There were episodes of British rule in India that were less than wonderful. Doesn’t mean you buy into the whole “it was as bad as slavery” meme, but there was some bad stuff.

      1. Which means – obviously – that the subject is complex, nuanced, and not amenable to some feel-good, knee jerk redistributionist analog of “40 acres and a donkey”.

        1. Agree.

      2. There were episodes of British rule in India that were less than wonderful.

        Worse than the indigenous status quo? Because I think that’s the right comparison.

        1. There were episodes of Mughal history that were considerably less than wonderful too.

        2. The indigenous status quo did not involve millions of people dying from famine on a recurrent basis. That’s the problem with rationalizing the rule of a foreign overlord – you have to look the other way when the inconvenient subject of millions starving to death due to forced appropriation of previously productive farm lands comes up.

    3. They also put a stop to the barbaric act of burning widows on their husband’s funeral pyre.

      Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

      -Charles James Napier

      1. I wonder what American feminists would think of someone saying the equivalent today.

  6. This would be a good idea for India. Just like American Indians, the British should set up a pervasive welfare program where all Indians get a check from the government. Just like in America, this would go a long way in improving Indian productivity and economic status.

    1. Great. You broke my sarcometer. Now I need a new one.

      1. I thought you were the founder of a cottage industry building and calibrating sarcometers. Or do I have you confused with Derpetologist?

        1. Just because I build and calibrate the things doesn’t mean someone can’t overload and break them.

        2. It’s like SETI. Every once in a while you get a wow signal on the sarcometer.

    2. See also, Australian aboriginals.

      1. I definitely consider myself an aboriginalist.

  7. “No” is more concise

  8. The demographic evidence is UNEQUIVOCAL:

    During the entire time frame that India was partly ruled by Indian local potentates and partly ruled by the British, the population migrated into the British zones – because the Indian-ruled zones were tyrannical shitholes.

    If Africans had spent the time frame from 1500 to 1865 frantically attempting to sail the Atlantic to volunteer to live under plantation slavery in the American South, THEN MAYBE Tharoor would have a point.

    1. The problem with your argument is that, though out the 1970’s and 1980’s, when International Liberalism was having an ostentatious cow about Apartheid, Black Africans in neighboring States were moving into South Africa in huge numbers.

      Since the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives simply deny this happened (although they cannot refute the facts) they will simply deny that the migration you describe happened.

      This is why LIRPs should not be entrusted with anything more important that the cultivation of organic tofu.

  9. Shikha cross-sells her own articles on Time.

    Bravo.

    I guess that gig at gawker ain’t gonna pan out now. I hope you get a percentage of the clickthru’ revenues.

  10. So has this broad EVER actually published an article with a libertarian point of view?

    1. What exactly was unlibertarian about this article?

      1. Her argument against reparations was that India was hypocritical if it wasn’t also willing to give out reparations. Nowhere did she argue against the notion of reparations, merely hypocrisy.

        1. So your takeaway from this article is that she would be okay with reparations, as long as they were applied equally, rather than this merely being an attempt to point out the absurdity of reparations in general. Yeah, okay.

          1. Where did she mention the absurdity of reparations? All she does is attack the Indian government, not really the notion of reparations in general.

    2. She knocked the Obamacare court decision. But everyone who had two brain cells to rub together (and some that didn’t) knocked that…

    3. It seems to me that thinking about the consequences rather than merely the intentions of a decision is a libertarian idea…

  11. What did Muhammed Ali say when he was asked what he thought of Africa after returning from his pilgrimage to Mecca? Anybody know? Anybody?

    “Thank God my great grandaddy was on that boat.”

    Seriously, fuck everybody who wants a handout because of some grievance they conjured up for the sole purpose of shaking someone else down. Fuck them.

    If it were not colonialism most of the world would still be running around in animal skins, if that, and hacking each other’s heads off then putting their neighbors on a spit.

    1. Bloody carnage in the name of tribalism is savagery. Bloody carnage in the name of progress is civilization.

      1. King Leopold brought ORDER.

        1. The Incan women wept with joy because their rape-children would speak Spanish and worship Jesus.

          1. Well, the 3 or 4 percent of them who didn’t die of smallpox first.

            1. They were the luckiest of all.

          2. I’d cut my own heart out if I could speak Spanish!

          3. Oh, yeah, because the neighboring tribes just pined for the good old days when the Aztecs ran the show. What’s a little human sacrifice, after all?

      2. I’m a huge fan of not bringing civilization to people killing each other. According to some, this makes me a heartless pig.

          1. Not without a background check.

      3. Well, there is a difference between bloody carnage that leads around in circles, and bloody carnage that moves matters forward and improves things. Which is why the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives are always ready to excuse the bloody carnage that Communism causes; it (supposedly) move things forward.

        The cold fact, however, is that it doesn’t appear to.

        OTOH, Western (mostly Christian) culture, while certainly bloody, has developed some degree of conscience. Some modicum of respect for the rights of the weak. Not perfect, but better.

        While it is important to condemn bloody carnage, it is also important to remember that any perfect system is a mirage; we need to compare cultures that exist or have existed. Everybody’s THEORETICAL culture is sweetness and light.

      4. Nothing justifies the horrible things people did in the past. The point is that the people alive today aren’t owed anything because of those things.

  12. *Nobody* who isn’t directly responsible for evil owes a goddamn dime. People who advocate this shit should take their collectivism and shove it up their ass. Pardon my French.

    1. Look, people who look like you are responsible for a lot of suffering in the world… step up!

    2. And, given the number of Indians who have migrated to Britain, good luck figuring out the logistics of reparations.

      1. Simple. Human lives have dollar values, so giving India all the expats should just about cover the bill.

        /end sarcasm.

    3. That is really the only argument against reparations you need. Everyone is where they are today because of things that happened in the past that they had nothing to do with. That’s just how it is and there is no conceivable way to fix it that doesn’t involve tons of violence and theft that would just make everything even worse.

      People spend way too much time worrying about whose ancestors fucked over whose.

      1. Can you picture what would actually happen if some government tried this? Wars break out over lesser shit.

  13. This is the central thesis??

    if India is going to demand reparations for sins done against it, it should also be willing to pay reparations for those it has done

    Yeah, maybe that’s hypocritical, but it doesn’t really get at the question of whether or not England owes India reparations. They’re separate subjects. It’s the same annoying crap the trolls on here pull all the time “Oh you think democrats are bad? Republicans do the same thing but WORSE!” It’s a distraction. The question of whether or not X owes Y reparations can be answered as follows:

    No. The reparations will be coming FROM people who had nothing to do with the injury TO some who were not impacted by it. That in itself would (via moral logic I think?) require reparations to immediately go back the other way for taking by force.

    1. it doesn’t really get at the question

      ^THIS

      The article basically doesn’t say anything.

      1. That and the crappy lede told me who had written it before I got to the byline.

    2. “Oh you think democrats are bad? Republicans do the same thing but WORSE!”

      Oh, I see. You’re a TEAM RED troll. What’s amusing is that you used this same form of argument to defend colonialism upthread.

      1. Do you ever feel shame? Self-awareness?

      2. The ordering of the political parties in that sentence can easily be reversed. I just arbitrarily picked one, mainly with Bo in mind.

        I was arguing that human history is pretty much the same pattern; that nothing about colonialism is particularly striking as bad in light of everything else in human history. To make an argument about historical patterns is materially different than distracting from actual points by playing team games. I’m not TEAM COLONIALIST. Wasn’t even aware of its existence.

      3. I’m not seeing the Red.

  14. How about Mongolia?

    They must owe a shitload of countries a shitton of reparations.

    1. If someone could find Neanderthal genes in their body they could sue the entire human race.

      1. If someone could find Neanderthal genes in their body they could sue the entire human race.

        That won’t work, Europeans (whites) have the highest frequency of Neanderthal DNA of any modern population. If anything, finding Neanderthal DNA is going to make you owe money…

        1. Neanderthals were EXPLOITERS. You just don’t UNDERSTAND!

          1. I thought only parents just didn’t understand?

          2. Who do you think those lizard people inside the hollow moon… you know the ones who are controlling us with their lizard laser beams, who do you think they really are? Neanderthals didn’t really go extinct…

            Now, I have to go back to writing this book.

            1. I think they’re explained by this.

      2. All Europeans and Asians have Neanderthal genes, so it’s time for those imperialist homo sapiens who came up out of Africa to start paying us whiteys some fucking reparations.

      3. 23andMe told me I have Neanderthal DNA. Pay up bitches!!!

      4. If you’re primarily of European descent, you could have as much as 4% Neanderthal DNA. I’d say we Neanderthal have the greatest claim, as our entire sub-species has been eradicated.

        1. Here hear! Time to get the movement started!

          Neanderthals victims of imperialist homo sapiens. Reparations NOW!

          1. They took our land and our culture, then they took our genetic heritage!

          2. Quit othering the Denisovans, you racist!

        2. You “homos” will fuck anything!

        3. Yeah, that’s kind of my problem with the whole ‘reparations’ idiocy. You want to do reparations? Ok, how far are we going back here, and if we’re being actually consistent we’re going to need a metric fuckton of genetic tests.

          1. What about someone who is half Indian and half British? Can they just pay themselves reparations and call it even?

            1. I still don’t see why we’re not counting European conflicts either. When is my French side going to pay my Dutch side for my ancestors making my other ancestors suffer?

              1. I want my slice of Norman prosperity from 1066 when my people were driven from the south of England, but I guess I have to wait for the Normans to get *their* reparations from the Vikings.

                Which reminds me, the other side of my family is still chasing those bastard Danes and Friesans for reparations directly from all that raping and pillaging they also did.

                My gypsy genetics remain unsatisfied with any settlement offered.

    2. Well they’re not white people, so why would they owe anyone anything?

    3. How about the Incas and the Mexicans. Those fuckers really owe some reparations also. And what about the native Americans who were occupying the land in North America when the Europeans arrived? I think maybe they owe some reparations to the Clovis people. Or something like that. And the Clovis people owe some reparations to the wooly mammoths.

      Oh fuck it, everyone owes someone some reparations, why put a limit on this? Reparations for everyone and $500, 000 an hour for fast food workers. It’s time to stop playing around here and get some real social justice going.

      1. The asteroid and Kuiper belts owe the Earth reparations.

      2. One of the more amusing (in a depressing sense) tranmogrifications in history textbooks is how the vicious, brutal, genocidal Spanish invader-rapists of the 16th century have morphed into innocent, peaceful, property-rights respecting Hispanics by 1848.

        1. Their evil bloodline was morphed into a peace loving bloodline by interbreeding with the super peaceful peoples who didn’t do anything worse than subjugate their neighbors and make them pay tribute or slaughter them all, or the occasional human sacrifice, but only when the maize wasn’t doing well, you understand, nothing really bad like those evil Europeans did.

        2. Well, most of the ones from the 16th century had died by 1848, so I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that history books should portray certain cultural groups as inherently evil?

          1. Are you saying that history books should portray certain cultural groups as inherently evil?

            No, he’s correctly pointing out that a lot of the history work surrounding Mexico paints them as inherently evil rapist conqueror monsters, until they proclaim themselves a ‘Republic of Indians’ and suddenly the narrative presents them in a much more positive light. A lot of ‘pop culture’ interpretations of Mexican history seem to specifically ignore how much other indigenous groups helped the Spanish in their conquests. For example, one of the reasons that the Aztecs got their asses handed to them was that the vassal states they got their sacrifices from, like the Tlaxcala, supported the Spanish. After the conquest the Tlaxcala were granted special autonomy in the Spanish colony for several hundred years until Mexico became more centralized.

            The problem with this is that it’s just showing a clear modern cultural historical bias. The things the Spanish did were monstrous, and far enough back that we can condemn it. But since we need to be very positive about racial diversity/multiculturalism the more modern Mexico’s atrocities are ignored.

      3. If you want something really funny/sad, in Canada the Iroquois nation has claims on certain land that was ‘traditionally theirs’. Said land was only theirs after they allied with the British and massacred the Wyandot peoples, their traditional rivals and France’s native allies. After conquering their land and wiping out most of the population that hadn’t been killed by smallpox, the Wyandot were absorbed into New France. The Wyandot themselves were never classified as ‘Indians/natives’ in Canada’s Indian Affairs system, as they were judged an ‘assimilated’ culture.

        That’s how arbitrary and historically inconsistent our native relations are.

  15. Colonialism, without a doubt, is an awful chapter in human history.

    Not so sure about that. There were certainly some dark aspects to colonialism, but it’s not substantially different from other periods of migrations and invasions other than the fact that no colonizers in human history operated on the same level moral integrity that colonial era Europeans did. For example, if you were an enslaved African (first enslaved by other Africans no doubt), and if you had the choice to either go west to work in the European colonies, or go East to be a slave in a Muslim country, you would try wholeheartedly to head west.

    There’s a reason that modern Muslim countries don’t have any visible descendants of their African slave population alive today. And it’s not because the Muslims decidedly to send all their slaves home when they were done with them…

  16. Is Shashi Tharoor speaking only for himself, or for a larger constituency? Seriously, is there actually a broad movement seeking reparations from the UK?

    If not, then by all means mock the reparationists, but at least acknowledge that not all Indians embrace their silliness.

  17. Racism is wrong, except of course when it can further your cause in getting some poor innocents to cough up some money for you.

  18. British Imperialism was one of the greatest forces for freedom and civilization there has ever been. Imperialism and colonialism get a bum rap for not much good reason. They can be good things.

    1. I would agree if British colonialism had not enabled Shikha to some here and write bad articles.

      1. This is true.

        By fixing things so that Shihka could write a language that I can read, the British have violated my eyes and my brain with her nonsense and they clearly owe ME reparations, big-time.

    2. One of the greatest things the Brits ever did was help to wipe the “Thugees” off the face of the earth.

    3. Millions of Bengali people would have disagreed with you in the 1940’s, if only they weren’t too dead to complain.

  19. If anything India owes Britain.

    1. Indians who come to Murika are too successful and hard working. They’re going to get themselves added to the list along with whitey and Asians if they aren’t careful. Hispanics could find themselves on the list also. We’ve already coined the phrase ‘white hispanic’. They should be careful or they’ll get kicked out of the victim class as well.

  20. Shikha is citing Coates now. Jeebus.

    General Charles Napier on Sati:

    “This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

  21. Is it too soon to write an article about how we owe Iraqis reparations?

    1. I’m as anti-Iraq war as it comes, but Iraq can suck it. We pumped a trillion dollars worth of civilization into that wasteland post invasion and took out a brutal dictator. They repaid the favor by dropping their weapons and running when ISIS showed up.

    2. NOW..oh, wait, I thought you said Iraq pay us reparations…I thought I was in for a year’s worth!

  22. Humans have moved to greener pastures since the beginning of time. They have also stomped all over anyone or anything that was already there. It sucks being on the losing side.

    1. History is for winners.

      1. And prom queens

      2. And prom queens

        1. What, prom kings are politically incorrect now? Or did he re-identify?

          1. Winners don’t fuck the prom king…

        2. I initially read that as porn queens.

    2. It just so happens that Europeans had tapped into their human potential farther and deeper than any other societies had ever done. They’d developed their social institutions so well so fast that it put them in a position to basically dominate the world, just as any other society/culture would have done were they in the same position.

      1. Why you white men have so much cargo?

      2. They’d developed their social institutions so well so fast that it put them in a position to basically dominate the world

        Guns, steel, and smallpox didn’t hurt the effort either.

        1. The Mongols did pretty will with horses and bows as well.

          1. And the mohammedians with their zealous faith.

          2. Well, that’s one of the big things that firearms helped to destroy, the constant historical threat of the horse archer nomad. They’re common throughout history, Scythians, Huns, Uzbeks, Mongols, Timurids and Mughals, etc. Firearms made it possible for less trained soldiers to stand against nomads who had rode and shot their entire life, and the later development of standing, professional armies utterly neutralized the threat. With the technological means to defend themselves agricultural and urban societies were able to develop without the threat of having everything wiped out or raided.

            1. Well, that’s one of the big things that firearms helped to destroy, the constant historical threat of the horse archer nomad. They’re common throughout history, Scythians, Huns, Uzbeks, Mongols, Timurids and Mughals, etc.

              I think it’s no coincidence that the earth’s largest steppe region happens to be mostly unified/affiliated politically at any given time in the last couple thousand years. Horse archers empire real good.

        2. The guns and steel were a product of those social institutions, namely world-class education and markets. As for the small pox, that was more of a detriment to Native Americans than anyone else. Most of the Old World colonial populations, had encountered those diseases at some point in history. The New World populations lack of such a history, due to their isolation, proved to be their primary undoing. The spread of European disease was moving westward on the North American much faster than the spread of European settlements. So much so that by the time they arrived in the west of the continent, it was grossly underpopulated and disease had killed far more natives than the Europeans would ever do.

          1. It’s also important to note that disease exchange wasn’t exactly a one-way street. Syphilis is likely a New World plague that came over to Europe following early modern contact, as it’s archaeologically proven to have been in North America for thousands of years but the only confirmed cases in Europe started in the 1490s. Yellow fever, one of the main reasons why the Caribbean and American South was flooded with black slave populations, was brought from Africa by European contact.

  23. I hope no one said anything mean or hurtful to poor Shikha. It really hurts her little feelings when we criticize her guys, be nice.

    1. If you want nice, reason is not the place for you.

      I’m going to be honest, and truth hurts.

      1. I hope you know sarcasm when you see it.

        1. Nope. Blind to it 90% of the time.

          1. I even called her feelings “little”, demonstrating my secret loyalty to the patriarchy.

  24. All this whining about reparations is based upon the assumption that conquest is bad.

    1. “Conan! What is best in life?” “To crush your enemies — See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!”

    2. British common law is such a huge gift to a society it probably outweighs many but not all of the evils of colonialism.

      1. Even Spanish law was an improvement as compared to Aztec law.

    3. Well conquest is generally bad. This whining about reparations is based upon the idea that conquest by whites is sooper dooper bad, and that we can be forced into paying reparations because of the way western philosophy, in one of it’s failings, has taught us to hate ourselves and think of our own history as exceptionally evil.

      1. My great grand parents came here in the coffin ships, so I don’t feel much need to pay reparations to anyone.

        1. Did they come here from Europe, maybe Ireland, and could they be identified by the term ‘caucasion’? If so, then sorry, bro, you owe reparations to everyone.

      2. Is conquest ever good? It seems that the idea that it could be was the seed that lead to American involvement in Vietnam, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. Are those sterling examples of foreign meddling in your eyes?

    4. Conquest is generally bad except from a purely utilitarian (and retrospective) perspective. It invariably involves aggression against innocent people.

      1. Empire, in the long haul, is a net loss in the production of wealth. The ghost of the Spanish Empire still haunts the economy and politics of modern Spain. Italy only regained it’s relevance after it entered a period of high decentralization, a departure from it’s long past as province of expansive empires and kingdoms.

  25. It’s funny how a country who threw off British rule has so many who find British Colonialism so wholesome and palatable.

    Reparations are a non-starter, to reiterate – the generational schism is so hard to justify.

    In the end, if the Brits profited on the balance of trade and skewed the playing field to their favor, then there’s a historical issue to note. How that amount can be calculated is amorphous, and finding the descended benefactors and exploited all but impossible.

    1. It was wholesome for America too. Kind of like how I find my Catholic upbringing wholesome but I no longer practice the faith.

    2. The US threw off British rule. But they were also British colonialists or recently descended from such. And without colonialism there is no USA.

      It’s not impossible to oppose colonialism on principle but acknowledge that some good can come of it.

    3. It’s funny how a country who threw off British rule has so many who find British Colonialism so wholesome and palatable.

      Some of it is because historical British conflict with America was always with ‘kid gloves’ specifically because the British recognized that Americans shared their race, religion, and culture. Compared to say, Britain’s response to India and Ceylon’s numerous revolts and rebellions, British atrocities to America are fairly minor. Yeah, they burned down the first White House, but historically speaking that was a pretty controlled plunder. Hell, they took a Washington newspaper’s keys because they were saying mean things about the commanding British officer. If that was an Indian they would have just stormed the place and destroyed everything.

      1. The revolutionary generation thouht zhey wete asserting their rights as Englishmen, They were mostly upset with the petception tje home govrnment was treating zhem as 2nd class citizens until.they concluded that independence made more sense.

  26. Most of history is full of people conquering and killing and colonizing.

    Trying to sort all of that out will only lead to more violence and hate. The best you can do is say “OK no more stealing from now on”.

    That was something I struggled with for some time in the context of libertarianism. How does it work in places where massive theft and corruption have made very unequal societies? Could some sort of redistrubution be justified? But I concluded years ago that what I say above is true. You can’t fix the past (or return to the past).

  27. How does it work in places where massive theft and corruption have made very unequal societies? Could some sort of redistrubution be justified?

    This is where the Proudhonistic fallacy comes into play.

    If you argue that current people don’t have a right to their property (including property earned through direct labor) because of past injustice, then that has always been true, for as long as there has been injustice.

    And since the first act of injustice is lost to the fog of history, that’s the same as saying that no one has ever had a right to their property, including property earned through direct labor.

    But if no one has ever had a right to their property, including property earned through direct labor, then seizing other people’s property and/or enslaving them and stealing the proceeds of their labor…was never morally wrong.

    And at that point the argument swallows itself.

  28. Colonialism, without a doubt, is an awful chapter in human history.

    No shit. Governments with grandiose ambitions sucked their local populations dry to try to civilize backward cesspools that really could never support their cost in the name of “the white man’s burden”.

    Or did you have something different in mind?

  29. I don’t know about India, but I believe the US ought to have a national holiday about gratitude for the way the British ruled us during colonial times. Without them and “colonialist oppression,” we would never have developed either capitalism or the institutions that make freedom possible.

  30. Right now, as we sit here staring at our screens, roughly six hundred and twenty million Indians shit in public. Six hundred and twenty million. That’s more than twice the population of the US, dropping their drawers and shitting all over the ground. Every day.

    They’ve started programs to discourage this–and to encouirage such wonders as ‘hand washing’.

    I think, instead of reparations, Indians should be begging the British to come back, so that maybe they can get to 19th century levels of hygiene.

    1. Funny how this never makes it into a Bollywood dance routine.

    2. One wonders why the ever-so-benign British didn’t accomplish public sanitation in India during their 200 years there. I’m confused – you are trying to rationalize their occupation, aren’t you?

  31. Before giving Independence to India in 1947, British regime gave Independence to Dalit in 2nd Round Table Conference;
    We appeal Cameron to direct Narendra Modi regime in India to create an Independent Nation for 300 million Untouchable Dalits;

  32. Indian regime owes reparations to 300 million Untouchable Dalits in India;
    goo.gl/NFK0A

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.