The infamous "Dr" Niall Ferguson tells the story of the British Empire with to much rhetoric. He acts to much as an imperialistic apologist whilst glossing over some of the uncomfortable facts of the British Empire. He does quietly and shallowly admit that there were some atrocities but that there was also economic advantages and political moral behind it whilst in the same context he is quick to point the finger at other Imperial Empires. I am not anti-Western and Britain at the time was no different to any other European Imperial power and to be fair since the Sixties Britain is a great country. The documentary is full of facts but content is not logical with his defensive conclusions. Here are the examples why :-
He does not mention that colonial subjects were used as slave labour to gain the wealth of India and Africa even after the nominal abolition of slavery which is deliberate omission rather then naivety. He never mentions the millions of Indians who openly starved to death under British rule as a result deliberate malnutrition and yet he mentions Britain did a great job in India how comes the Indian people did not benefit and only the ruling elite did.
As with Political dominance he does not talk about the Opium wars and boasts that Britain brought civilisation because they were the "chosen one". Africans in reality were forcibly westernised as robots for exploitation rather then cultural enlightenment. The same policy was attempted in the great civilisation of India were it backfired and yet he points out some bad customs in India to suggest they needed "civilising" but never the social wrongs going on in Britain at the time that people wanted to change. In the political factor he talks about religion and its role a lot however a lot of this was what we would now label Religious fundamentalism the same way we criticise Iran or Saudi Arabia today. In short there was no tolerance in any European Empire and Britain was no exception. In one episode he rather hysterically talks about imperial might at the expense of other people's lives
He talks about the science of Eugenics as one of the other instruments of imperial rule and implies its usage with a sense of cultural superiority to rule and exploit other people but not the global influence this would have later and it's consequences and yet in his summaries he says Britain fought against the evil Japanese and Germans with great Jingoism. He summarises his series that former colonial areas needed imperial civilising and that the legacy has been a positive one and anyone who disagrees is backward or reactionary. This contradicts the findings he gives and to which he defends his apologist conclusions. He also puts this view in the present wars in the Middle East which in my view is pure arrogance rather then intellect an example being that democracy was introduced. I wonder how Arabs, Africans and Indians would feel by him saying about the aggressive capitalism and dictatorial ships Britain supported and economic slavery it imposed after all who benefits from capitalism the public I wonder why we have a term called the Third World if he can answer that and the crisis of Capitalism today as it is rather then just abstractions.
He must of bribed some Harvard Professor or got in via Political ties to get where is now. He is currently active in politics and must want another George Bush to groom. A historian should not form political views and have a wider context and responsible understanding of events and facts rather then an ideological outlook a rigid philosophy. In short Propaganda for education based on nuance and jingoism, probably based on wanting to revive nostalgia in a changing time. If you want a better understanding of empire I would recommend the intellect and open debate of Jeremy Paxman
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