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Imperialism - Essay Example

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It invokes imagery of superpower conquest of vulnerable, primitive people, and the exploitation of natural resources to feed…
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Download file to see previous pages... Like many other terms in the popular lexicon, imperialism is one that finds its use in bolstering the emotional appeals of populist arguments. Rarely are the words “imperial” or “imperialism” found in rational debate about political life and moral obligations; this is because these terms have grown to adopt connotations that hold purely emotional value for those who use them. That is, an accusation of imperialism is an accusation of civic viciousness: the will to destroy native cultures and to bind indigenous populations commercially to Western capitalism, itself an enslaving and demeaning force in the world, according to the worldviews of those of who use “imperialism” as an all-encompassing emotional plea. However, the meaning of the term is quite different from how it is used in public discourse, reflecting a changing philosophical attitude of the history from which the world has seemingly emerged and actually causing a fundamental misunderstanding of one’s own social history in which “imperialism” referred to something concrete and not just purely theoretical.
Regardless of what imperialism means to most people who use the word in common speak, its actual historical definition is quite clear: it is the belief in empire-building, the policy of extending the rule or influence of a country over other countries or colonies (Schurmann). As such, a belief is not a terrible thing in the world; it is only a mental idea, much like the idea of murdering someone ought not to be a crime. Of course, this belief in empire-building can, in some cases, be inspired by a best-intentions philosophy: that it is the moral duty of strong, capitalist nations to bring their way of life to primitive, warn-torn cultures in order to modernize these groups. This belief, known as the White Man’s Burden, has become associated with Eurocentric racism and the Eurocentric aspiration to dominate the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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