Western intellectuals are consumed by paroxysms of postcolonial repentance.
While that is ethically understandable, it is unclear why they’re preoccupied with European colonies 200 years ago while remaining curiously silent about the colonial empires that exist to this day. We are talking, of course, about the entirety of Asian Russia, and most of Chinese territory – especially Tibet and Inner Mongolia. In addition to these Asian holdings (where it behaves monstrously towards local cultures), China also shamelessly and with chauvinistic contempt continues to colonize Africa.
Why the double standard and conspiracy of silence?
Perhaps it is because these colonies are held by scary authoritarian regimes that repay subversive, secessionist activism not with PhDs, subsidies, scholarships, opinion columns and lives of parasitic leisure – essentially pay offs – but with prison and even murder.
Perhaps it is because Chinese and Russian colonies are territorially adjacent to their colonizers, so the true nature of their situation doesn’t register as easily as it does when someone sails to a different continent and subjugates the indigenous people.
Perhaps it is because these colonies are still held, which makes it feel normal. Status quo bias.
But what really is a Siberian Evenk, a Tibetan, or an Uyghur other than a subjugated, colonized minority, consumed by an empire?
By an objective appraisal, the maps of Eurasia really look like this:
The scariness of the regimes is, I suspect, one of the two main reasons self-righteous postcolonialist onanism prefer softer targets. Simply put, western activists are not really concerned with colonial issues. They’re concerned with moral posturing and extracting a living out of society by emotional blackmail. Going after repressive, violent authoritarian regimes has an unappealing risk-reward profile, unlike pretending that the most enlightened and open societies in the history of the planet are somehow repressive and violent instead.
In this regard, “anti-colonialists” and “anti-imperialists” are similar to anti-fur activists who throw ketchup on the coats of rich old ladies, but studiously avoid likewise confronting biker gangs clad in hectares of calf leather. It’s the same kind of cheap cowardactivism that avoids challenging Saudi Arabia on women’s rights, because wallowing in feminist conspiracy theories in structurally women-centric western countries is more profitable, gratifying to the ego, and safer. How many people who were incensed that a Christian bakery refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding spent a fraction of the energy challenging the clerical regimes of the Middle East about their enthusiasm for throwing gays off buildings?
They’re simply scared of the real baddies and prefer bullying people who are, comparatively, not that bad, or deeply repentant (as is the case with western countries and their colonial histories).
If you go after the real baddies, there’s usually no money in it, nobody will see you doing it, and there’s an unacceptably high risk of martyrdom.
The second main reason is who and why introduced anti-imperialist and anti-colonial memes into western societies. The depressingly probable immediate cause for the double standard is that the world’s remaining colonies belong to the powers that started, formented and for decades controlled the direction of anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist political movements and doctrines. Put bluntly, the “liberation” movements in Africa and Southeast Asia were at the very least assisted by the Soviets and China, and intellectual movements against colonialism in the west were carefully groomed and nudged to advance their geopolitical goals.
Their main targets were Africa, the Arab world, Asia, and Anglo-American university campuses. As a result, “postcolonial” types are steeped to the gills in reflexively anti-western ideologies that were literally created by Soviets as a political weapon in the struggle for the third world, which it sought to “liberate” into its own orbit, and are motivated more by a quasi-religious, self-flagellating burning hatred for the west than any genuine concern for oppressed people. If they were, their columns, essays and theses would be about Siberia and Tibet, Xinjiang and the Caucasus, not “cultural appropriation” and “calling America the land of opportunity is a racial microaggression”.
If the “postcolonial” neomarxist circus, which is a smouldering remnant of cold war KGB active measures, wants to have a defensible point in 2018, it needs to apply itself with full force to the liberation of the peoples who are still subjugated and colonized – not by abstract, hazy forces such as “global capitalism”, but in a concrete, immediate and direct sense by actual political domination. Which means that their main programme should be the dissolution of Russia and China into self-determined national units (which they somehow love in the third world, but hate in the first), not the tearing down of statues of people who paid for their scholarship on campuses and getting offended by halloween costumes.
Tall order. Those hippies aren’t interested in anything above sniping at their betters from behind MacBooks.
There are really only two consistent options:
- Shut up about western colonialism/imperialism.
- Go after China and Russia and make them relinguish everything except core territories. Their present policies are a more pressing problem than the merely historically interesting colonial policies of European powers, which stopped decades ago.
Any other option shows them to be useful idiots.
Thou shalt consider buying me covfefe.