The idea of colonialism
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Recently, the idea of colonialism has been highly contentious news, oft-criticized as ethnocentric, consumed by the idea that global colonization remains limitless and full of the plunder of small nations and their people, even in the modern world. So, of course, recently, as I was choosing a color to paint my office, colonialism possessed my thoughts and I was drawn to Colonial Red, perhaps a subliminal message from corporate America, even in this age of deep and overwrought criticism. Karl Marx, who argued colonialism was a requirement of capitalism to offset its own stagnation, would have been horrified, but it reeked of the richness of early America and its motherland, things that I hold dear, and I felt sure, as our society progresses into the great abyss of history, that both Lord Dunmore, the colonial governor of Virginia, and George Washington, its favorite son, would both have approved.
Modernly, we have a tendency to forget our greatness and its origins and reject ties to our past. My office will stand a testament against it. We live, after all, in a global world that sees patriotism and the belief in Western values as largely foreign and xenophobic. Many great things, though – if we’re honest – including America itself, were born of colonialism. It’s from the system of colonization that America gets its roots, once falling, for whatever your beliefs of it, under the British crown at a time of great growth, verging on the era when the sun never sat on the British Empire, a phenomenon that controlled 25% of the world’s surface.
From that concept, America received many of its most endearing traits, including Judeo-Christian values, which has included much of what America is and was, a system of parliamentary government, a desire for advancement, developed infrastructure, policies on education, and improvements to healthcare.
As we look around us, we sometimes forget in our modern, fast paced world that we are amalgamations of our past. That you’re reading this in English is a testament to our longstanding – and, dare I admit, auspicious – relationship with our British forefathers, despite our once being a colony. Several years ago, as my family and I stood, awestruck and eerily alone, on the sight of the Virginia Company’s first landing, north of Virginia Beach, it was easy to feel the gravitas of history; the invigorating comforts born of a common bond and the more than fortuitous hope of what would be built of that moment. Standing there, as the waters chopped and rain began to drizzle, the happenings on those waters at Cape Henry – named after Frederick Henry, The Prince of Wales – forever altered not only America, but the world.
Though, much like the disappearing Boston Brahmins, modernity sees great cultures slowly decay, as global policies, for better or worse, open borders to the world. During the heyday of British America, leading figures built blueprints of growth, a belief that, with any luck, continues to thrive within much of America’s culture, an element that pushed her to be the world’s greatest beacon of liberty.