How messed up you ask? Put it this way: Let's pretend that, one day, a
group of aliens barge into your lunchroom cafeteria and confiscate all the
knives and forks. "Silly humans," they say, "you aren't supposed to eat
with such primitive tools. Here, use our alien mini-catapults instead—
much more efficient." The next day, you're sitting in church when the
door flies open. "What sort of god are you worshipping here?" ask the
aliens. "That's cute, but it's not the real god. Here, enjoy this statue of
Raxon the Galactic. Now pray to him as we do." And did we mention that
these aliens have laser guns to persuade you?
It may sound like something out of a science fiction flick (okay, a bad sci-fi
flick), but that's essentially the way that colonialism worked in the
nineteenth century. People were happily living their lives when—out of
nowhere—strange foreigners showed up and forced them to change,
overnight, at gunpoint. This is obviously not cool by today's standards.
But the legacy of these actions—as well as the philosophy that defended
colonialism as a moral duty—can still be felt today. After all, we're just
two or three generations removed from this line of thinking.
Reading Rudyard Kipling's "White Man's Burden," then, gives us an
inside look at what those aliens were thinking when they tried to take
over the world. And understanding the motivations for these horrible acts
—no matter how twisted and illogical they might be—is the first step in
making sure nothing like that ever happens again.
3. “Since even ignorant commoners are talking in this way, I fear that if
the bakufu does not decide to carry out expulsion, if its handling of the
matter shows nothing but excess of leniency and appeasement of the
foreigners, then the lower orders may fail to understand its ideas and
hence opposition might rise from evil men who have lost their respect
for bakufu authority.
It might even be that bakufu control of the great
lords would itself be endangered.
That is the ninth reason why we must
never choose the policy of peace.”
(Tokugawa Nariaki “Debates over
the Opening of Japan” 1853)
Author: Tokugawa Nariaki. He was a daimyo who was against giving in
to foreign demands.