Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Secular utilitarians ought, if consistent, to mourn the end of colonialism

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The national liberation movements that brought about the end of colonialism had at best dubious, and mostly clearly negative, consequences for the mass of people who they purported to help; while having very clear and definite benefits for the elites to whom power and wealth were transferred.

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In mainstream political discourse the bottom line is hedonic, utilitarian: policy purports to aim at the greatest happiness of the greatest number and at the minimization of suffering.

And it is pretty uncontroversial that endemic violence and permanent starvation cause suffering.

Therefore mainstream political discourse ought to mourn the end of colonialism, and set-out restoring it.

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The ending of colonialism in Africa is the clearest example of what I mean. In many places 'liberation' from colonialism had clear and immediate benefits for the local elites - who became top dogs instead of second fiddle to the colonial powers.

But the mass of the population suffered the most extreme starvation and violence yet seen on earth.

This outcome would generally considered to be the worst possible situation, yet of course the end of colonialism is seen by PC as a cause for celebration.

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Something similar happened in India - exacerbated by the partition into Pakinstan, then re-partitioning into Bangladesh - each 'liberation' caused immense disadvantage to everybody... except the new elites.

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But I do not advocate a return to colonialism, because clearly it leads to immense resistance from the colonized - proving that (in a this-worldly and hedonic sense) humans obviously do not know 'what is good for them'.

The repeated rebellion of colonials throughout history has demonstrated as a fact that people en masse act as if they have different and non-material goals from optimizing peace and prosperity (or else, more precisely, they can readily be manipulated to act in this way by local elites, which amounts to the same thing in practice).

The repeated successful pattern of 'liberation' from colonialism is therefore yet another proof of the poverty of secular materialism.

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Secular materialism - utilitarian policy aiming at comfort for all - is weak, weak, weak.

People like it when they have it, but don't want to keep it strongly enough to lift a finger to defend it.

Even nationalism - such a feeble and artificial emotion compared with religion - is easily strong enough to defeat secular materialism.

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[Note: The European Age of Nationalism was only possible due to the decline of religion - ethnic-Nationalism becoming (by default) the next-strongest force of social cohesion possible in that era.]

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