Justifying Using Others
When it was noble to colonize other nations
The kindergarten teacher looks into the eyes of five year olds and asked “is it fair to take from others what belongs to them?” A resounding “nooooooooo!” is heard. Lessons learned in kindergarten that evaporate in adulthood. We want what we want, when we want it even if it means taking from others.
Who among us has endured the learning experience of parental or social punishment for taking or stealing from somebody or an institution? The Bible and the Law dictate “Thou Shall Not Steal.” In some cultures, stealing warrants cutting off the thief’s hand. That’s severe, but the punishment emphasizes how important trust is to communal living, respecting the property of others for social stability.
So why and how did humankind justify plundering and pillaging the territory of others. They lifted theft to a value level that exceeded THOU SHALL NOT STEAL. Taking from others is necessary for our survival. Taking is the way of the strong to survive, respected warriors fighting for our people. Taking is human nature. Only the strong survive.
Charles Dickens wrote this about the 19th Century. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” He looked out at the social and political changes that both improved the lives of citizens and the colonializing of nations across the world by dominant powers. They justified taking for another reason. Their aim was imperialism to grow the homeland and for personal wealth.
Imperialism is taking not to feed the nomadic or pillaging homeland for food, but to rob others of their resources including human. The causes of imperialism are economic, political and cultural. However, economic is central because it is to build wealth through capitalism through investing abroad. African mines, Indian spices, American lands, Island paradises, slavery and servitude. The need to appropriate natural resources outside of Europe financed “exploring” expeditions that we read about in history books and name them heroes. Exploitation of human capital through slavery was also part of imperialism.
By establishing outposts around the word or colonies, this favored building global commercial exchanges for the homeland from occupied colonial territories. Subjects were forced to purchase the colonizers products at a time when protectionist markets dominated. Plantations built generation wealth for homeland families. Owners of Other country resources by wealthy family are still honored today.
During what was termed the Colonial Era, Western European countries were the focus, however the worldview for takeover was widespread, a sweeping practice. The main countries noted for colonizing were Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, Prussia and the United States.
An intriguing article about Leon Cooperman, a wealthy American, investigated the moral calculations of a billionaire. He never wavered from supporting the benefits of capitalism; to foster “incentivizing work and effort and ingenuity” toward reaching the American Dream. He was hungry for success and worked tirelessly to obtain it. While hate and criticism are laid at his feet today his wealth, Cooperman wonders why people are angry with him. He made is fortune in the stock market, not by beating down and oppressing others.
Understanding that capitalism is a system of profit making. Investing to earn by paying below workers’ value. Earn by any means when your investment yields gains. Profit is sometimes made through exploitation including slavery. Sometimes by any any means is justified for profit because greed demands more. You can rationalize the pain witnessed by using any means toward wealth.
Taking has been isolated for condemning the rich and powerful. Their offenses are glaring and they are easy targets for criticism. The poor receive our sympathy and support when they do the same thing. But the ruling principal is misplaced when comforting poor takers. Once we wrap our heads around principles, we should answer again the entry question? Is it okay to take from another when you know that it hurts them?
Depends on if it satisfies my wants and perceived needs. Depends on if society soothes my conscience about the benefits of taking. Depends on if it is an excepted way of life redeemed by a large body of voices. Depends on if the church pronounces it as being good.
Mr. Cooperman’s granddaughter wrote in middle school about the wealth gap in New Jersey. “At one end we have too much, at the other, they have nothing. Spread it all just seven miles.” A short distance in miles but massive width in lifestyles and life opportunities. Cooperman admits that it is harder to succeed today than in the 1960s, and that the odds of success are stacked by race, gender and increasingly by economic starting positions.
Every homeland must examine modern day imperialism principals called by any other name, like globalization or open borders or diversity by examination of impacts to justify taking from others.