International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 32, Issue 1, Spring 2018

James Stacey Taylor
Pages 19-32

The Case Against the Case for Colonialism

In a recent paper entitled “The Case for Colonialism” Bruce Gilley argued that Western colonialism was “as a general rule” both beneficial to those subject to it and considered by them to be legitimate. He then advocated for a return to the Western colonization of the Third World. Gilley’s article provoked a furious response, with calls for its retraction being followed by the resignation of much of the publishing journal’s editorial board. In this paper I note that Gilley’s article meets none of the criteria required to justify its retraction, and that instead of retracting it it should be rebutted. I then argue that his arguments against those who oppose colonialism are all fatally flawed, and that he has provided no justification for his claims that colonialism was either beneficial to those who lived under it, or considered by them to be legitimate.