Sunday, December 22, 2013

The 6th World

The 6th World Screen grab
Recently over at Ian's Place there's been quite a little hoo-hah over Ian's rather dire warnings about the Our Fate if We don't colonize Space. His presentation is couched in the familiar formulae of Western -- I would say "Anglo" -- colonialism and imperialism, and as is my wont, I take exception to it.

I realize Ian grew up in a colonialist/imperialist household, as he says his father was a minor functionary in the British Raj as India threw off its colonial shackles at the end of the 1940's, when with considerable bloodshed and dislocation, Pakistan divorced from India.

Yes, well. From what I've read Ian say about it, I get the impression he -- or his father -- believe India and Pakistan would have been better off under continued British rule and it was a mistake for them to insist on complete independence from the Raj.

I've read many British colonialists and imperialists who claim essentially the same thing. To me, it's an utterly bizarre position, but to many of those most directly involved -- especially in the context of Pakistan's separation from India -- it makes perfect sense to assert that a better world was possible under a benign British rule than the jibbering natives could ever hope to have on their own.

We sometimes hear the same claim made about how the United States might be better off -- certainly more civilized! -- if it had not become independent of Britain, and we see the same premise expressed in Africa (with the singular exception of the Union of South Africa -- which serves as the counter-example) when the former colonial powers send their troops to "restore order" among the always restive Natives.

Colonialism and imperialism are the problem, and more of it is not the solution.

We attended a Navajo film festival in 2012 as part of the activities during Indian Market Week in Santa Fe, and one of the films we saw was called "The 6th World." I really liked it because it showed such a different approach to the question of establishing a human presence Out There, in this case on Mars. The pioneers may have used the terminology of colonial expansion and empire, but they were doing something else entirely. Something most Anglos can't even imagine.

Compare and contrast with the Zubrinite vision of Mars colonization...

No comments:

Post a Comment