By Uday Singh Mehta
We take liberalism to be a collection of rules dedicated to political rights and self-determination, but it additionally served to justify an empire equipped on political domination. Uday Mehta argues that imperialism, faraway from contradicting liberal tenets, in truth stemmed from liberal assumptions approximately cause and historic development. faced with unexpected cultures comparable to India, British liberals may possibly in basic terms see them as backward or childish. during this, liberals manifested a slender perception of human adventure and methods of being within the world.Ironically, it truly is within the conservative Edmund Burke—a serious critic of Britain's smug, paternalistic colonial expansion—that Mehta reveals another and extra capacious liberal imaginative and prescient. laying off gentle on a basic stress in liberal conception, Liberalism and Empire reaches past post-colonial experiences to revise our notion of the grand liberal culture and the belief of expertise with which it really is linked.
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Additional info for Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought
E Hegel, Philosophy of Right, trans. Press, 1952), sec. 149, p. 107. T M. Knox (Oxford: Clarendon 28 CHAPTER ONE while at the same time being an appeal to conscience. 48 What holds the system of reference togetherwhat makes it an experience---is a passionate commitment that cannot be gleaned from the reason or the truth of the beliefs that are a part of it; still less can that commitment be derived from the reason and truth claims that are not part it but are decided in advance of it. If this is the case, and notwithstanding all the ambivalence that it carries for "us"since now it is passion that becomes a central feature of experiencenevertheless, it may Constitute a form of life; in Wittgenstein's sense, it may constitute a different language game.
From the perspective of the former, which is what concerns me, India is an abstraction, variously represented through social structure, religion, mythology, and the pervasive influence of unreason, all embodied and represented in its history. What allows these abstractions to serve as meeting points is something that characterizes the encounter with strangeness more generally. We relate to the strange through the qualities that are most general and are therefore deemed to be common to both sides of the encounter.
The project of the empire is inscribed in the judgments of that way of "doing" history; which relentlessly attempts to align or educate the regnant forms of the unfamiliar with its own expectations. Liberal imperialism is impossible without this epistemological commitmentwhich by the nineteenth century supports both the paternalism and progressivismthat is, the main theoretical justificationsof the empire. As I argue in the second chapter, when the strategy of education or realigninent through political change is unserviceable, Mill's History and numerous others that share its convictions impute to the unfamiliar an impenetrable inscrutability that eviscerates their potential as forms of life and terminates the quest for understanding them.
Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought by Uday Singh Mehta