Why Racism Can’t Explain Europe’s Drive for Conquest and Colonial Power
There has been a resurgence in investigating the imperial past of Europe. By consuming blistering critiques of European imperialism, one is likely to surmise that conquests are solely driven by hatred and racism. Some commentators imply that the purpose of territorial expansions was to satiate the racist desires of Europeans. Although racism became a justification for Western supremacy, it was rarely the motivation for conquests. Historically, states have embarked on conquests to project political power. Conquering other states resulted in immense reputational gains for the victors. Because we live in a knowledge-based society in which states compete to demonstrate technological and scientific superiority, many cannot fathom the brutality of past conquests. Furthermore, since Europe in recent history rose to become the dominant world power, more people are inclined to discuss the colonization of Asia and Africa by Europe.
Asians and Africans are of a different race, so it is easy to misinterpret racism as a rationale instead of the defense of conquests. Europeans are frequently reminded that their ancestors committed atrocities against nonwhite individuals. Several writers opine that nonwhites are still victims of European imperialism. In denouncing Portugal’s colonial past, Rui Braga writes that “repairing the historical legacy of White Supremacy and colonialism involves moving from denial to recognition in order to collectively transform the systemic forms in which it still lingers on – ideologically, institutionally and psychosocially.” Studying the implications of colonialism on development is a sensible pursuit. It would be improvident to form opinions without conducting thorough research to guide our thinking. Yet the moral indignation of left-leaning intellectuals is unwarranted. Unfortunately, rehashing the imperial legacies of Europe to indicate that former colonies are still unable to recover from the trauma of European rule is in vogue. Also, we must find it strange that intellectuals seem to forget that intra-European conquests were once prevalent. Despite the rise of historical emotionalism, the truth is that the colonization of nonwhite peoples by Europeans is a part of the wider history of European conquests.
Counter to the current narrative, Europeans did not colonize Asian and African territories due to any innate hatred of nonwhites. They aimed to acquire hegemonic status relative to rivals in Europ
Article from Mises Wire