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Can we be proud of the British Empire?

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TCRS

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or is it too early?

Whenever someone expresses pride at the british empire they'll get loads of furious comments about how taking pride in an institution that subdued, surpressed and looted so many people is wrong. Yet how was any empire ever any different? We look at the Roman Empire with awe due to their sophistication and their impact on history and what not, yet the roman empire was also known for subduing and looting other people. Same with any other empire as far as I can think.

Is it simply too early to express any pride since most countries were still colonies in our parents/grandparents lifetime? Because if you look at it from a conquest or basic human need of securing resources point of view the british empire was an amazing achievement. Not to mention establishing the first world wide empire where the sun never sets, ruling the waves, pax britannica, etc.



Or more serious: leaving a legacy of democracies, rule of law, infrastructure etc.

Do you think it will become acceptable at some point? Discuss.
 

zeemumu

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Just because everyone did it and cool stuff came out of it doesn't mean it's something to be proud of.

Pyramids and the great Wall of China are cool too, and there are probably corpses wedged in those things.
 

Africanus

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People already respect the British Empire. I do in a certain sense. But to be proud of it? I don't take pride in the Romans despite finding them fascinating. It would be disgusting to do so.

Although perhaps I am biased given my being descended from a person from a colonized nation
 

TCRS

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People already respect the British Empire. I do in a certain sense. But to be proud of it? I don't take pride in the Romans despite finding them fascinating. It would be disgusting to do so.

Although perhaps I am biased given my being descended from a person from a colonized nation

Well I should have clarified: can british people be proud?
 

andthebeatgoeson

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Seems like you are arguing against criticism. If we can't talk about the faults, isn't that worse? Great, they came up with some good things. The bad things don't erase the good things. We just need to do a better job, as society, to stop whitewashing things. They had their day in the sun, now it's time for some rational truth.

You can be proud but don't get upset when people interpret your pride as an inability to self evaluate. You can have more than one thought in your brain, you know.
 
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Depends. Are people proud of the USA? They're basically a continuation of the Empire and people salute that shit all the time.
 

BertramCooper

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As an American, it would be like me being proud of Manifest Destiny.

I'm definitely not proud of it because it came at a colossal human cost, but I'll acknowledge that it has been beneficial for our country.

That doesn't make it right, or something we should take pride in, though. It is what it is.
 

lazygecko

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For all the success stories like Canada and Australia, there's also colossal fuckups that affects the world deeply to this day, like how the post-Ottoman middle east was handled. There's still even relatively recent stuff like orchestrating the coup in Iran in the 50's.
 

Dennis

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I ruled most of the world with my British Empire in Empire: Total War and that it something I am very proud of.
 

Skellig Gra

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You can be proud of the historical significance it had. Just like the Roman Empire, it was great but built on the corpses of countless men/women. That doesn't make it any less significant or important in the grand scheme of things.
 

Jackpot

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We look at the Roman Empire with awe due to their sophistication and their impact on history and what not, yet the roman empire was also known for subduing and looting other people. Same with any other empire as far as I can think.

Who looks at the Roman Empire without the same caveats when looking at the British Empire?

Orgies, lead piping, slavery, post-meal vomiting, mad emperors... very sophisticated.
 

jtb

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Jun 20, 2009
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I'd be more in awe of it than proud of it. Why would you ever be proud of the exploitation of other peoples? Particularly when you had nothing to do with it. Pride is a strange emotion to ascribe to fallen empires.
 

TheKaeptain

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It's the reason we have America so you Brits better be proud that you helped create the greatest country in the history of man.
 

Abounder

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We look at the Roman Empire with awe due to their sophistication and their impact on history and what not, yet the roman empire was also known for subduing and looting other people. Same with any other empire as far as I can think.

Is it simply too early to express any pride since most countries were still colonies in our parents/grandparents lifetime? Because if you look at it from a conquest or basic human need of securing resources point of view the british empire was an amazing achievement. Not to mention establishing the first world wide empire where the sun never sets, ruling the waves, pax britannica, etc.

Looking with awe is a better way to put it. There's only something like 22 nations that have not been invaded by the British. I will say the Union Jack is a properly good looking flag though
 

Sober

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Feb 8, 2008
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For all the success stories like Canada and Australia, there's also colossal fuckups that affects the world deeply to this day, like how the post-Ottoman middle east was handled. There's still even relatively recent stuff like orchestrating the coup in Iran in the 50's.
Yeah, the British Empire really fucked things up. We're still feeling the effects of post-Ottoman divvying up for the Middle East. Sykes-Picot Agreement still being felt to this day. And that's just the Middle East.
 
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I mean impressive, sure, but proud of? It was way too cruel for me to be 'proud' of it, plus what did I even contribute to it all? Jack shit.

I like being British, means I grew up with super interesting historical and cultural influences. But I can only be proud of something I've contributed to myself.
 

TCRS

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ok maybe pride is the wrong word. being in awe of it probabaly fits better.
 

Chichikov

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Pride in colonialism?
Oh hell no, fuck no, no way, no how.

But I guess you can't ignore the great innovations it brought to the world like concentration camps, letting for profit companies run countries or government sponsored drug trade.
 

massoluk

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Dec 19, 2011
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Grats on ruining China with Opium, and exploitation of Africa and India, I guess.
I guess you were also kinda of necessary evil to counter French colonialism in Southeast Asia.
 
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I'm proud of some of the accomplishments (industrialisation especially), but they could be said to have helped establish the Empire rather than the Empire birthing that era.

The scientific advances were also quite astonishing during that period for such a small country. I have no doubt the exploitation of other countries' riches helped that along too.
 

The_Hitcher89

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As a Brit, I'm awed rather than proud. There are side-issues which are reasons to be proud of your heritage (and I get that its illogical to be proud of something you weren't involved in) like naval advancements and logistical organisation, but I can't be proud of something that was built on the back of oppression and unwanted occupation.
 

akira28

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I'd be more in awe of it than proud of it. Why would you ever be proud of the exploitation of other peoples? Particularly when you had nothing to do with it. Pride is a strange emotion to ascribe to fallen empires.

it's the old way of looking at things. back when you know...conquest and empire were things to be proud of, even if you didn't do shit.
Also fuck everyone who isn't British. They're inferior to the superior British race.
 

whatsinaname

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Feb 13, 2009
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or is it too early?


Or more serious: leaving a legacy of democracies, rule of law, infrastructure etc.

Do you think it will become acceptable at some point? Discuss.

Of course, the savages couldn't have ever achieved all of that on their own. The White Saviour had to help them and continue helping them.

Had nothing to do with the extraction of resources and wealth, sometimes even directly causing millions to die of starvation and poverty.

Things to be proud of.
 

injurai

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I think you can be proud of many achievements and advances that individuals and portions of the population are responsible for whilst acknowledging that there was a great amount of wrongs committed out of both cultural ignorance or even intentional disparagement.. A lot of people were just kind of moving with the tides and trends of the nation, not really realizing how actions resounded and compounded across the trade networks and eventually colonial territories. But there were also those who so the exploits and capitalized on them.
 

Newline

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Jan 30, 2012
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As a british guy I find this completely absurd, I find it wrong on various levels. Why would I be proud of this at all?
I have many italian friends, many of them descendants from the roman area themselves and they don't posses any pride about the roman empire, it's so far removed from them anyway.
In the same way I am so far removed from from anything that occured during the british empire. Tt would take all my inner strength to muster up any kind of satisfaction from event's so disconnected from myself. Even if I could i'd be rolling in the persecution and exploitation of countless numbers of people. Perhaps this kind of centiment was easier before the globalised economy of western countries, nationalism is so very 20th century.
 

Chairman Yang

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I love Canada, for example, but I don't get the concept of being "proud" of it (or any country, or, for comparison, any sports team where I'm not personally involved somehow). I especially don't get the concept of being proud of an older, defunct nation.
 

Jayof9s

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Sep 14, 2009
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I don't take pride in the Romans despite finding them fascinating. It would be disgusting to do so.

I find this apparent change in opinion fascinating. I mean, I have the same view - the Roman Empire is interesting but not an ideal to look up to, however, even just a few decades ago, the Romans were viewed as the 'pinnacle of society' by much of the western world. (Or maybe I should say the Republic more-so but the Empire as well)

I cracked open The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire recently and was blown away by the amount of 'commentary' on the greatness of the the Empire. It felt like propaganda to me, more than a historical account.
 

Sober

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Feb 8, 2008
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Of course, the savages couldn't have ever achieved all of that on their own. The White Saviour had to help them and continue helping them.

Had nothing to do with the extraction of resources and wealth, sometimes even directly causing millions to die of starvation and poverty.

Things to be proud of.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man's_Burden

I find this apparent change in opinion fascinating. I mean, I have the same view - the Roman Empire is interesting but not an ideal to look up to, however, even just a few decades ago, the Romans were viewed as the 'pinnacle of society' by much of the western world. (Or maybe I should say the Republic more-so but the Empire as well)

I cracked open The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire recently and was blown away by the amount of 'commentary' on the greatness of the the Empire. It felt like propaganda to me, more than a historical account.
People these days still jerk off the Roman Empire/Republic as if it were some amazing ideal. It wasn't. But it was sure of a hell a lot better in some aspects, but it was just like any other empire at the end of the day.
 

Crimson_Fate

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Jun 6, 2013
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I'm american and I'm proud of it.

The conquering and claiming of land has always been the way the world worked, every empire did it but ultimately it spread language and culture so something to be proud of for sure.
 
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Proud of handpicked things you didn't accomplish.
I don't think you understand the impact of the industrialisation and the scientific advances that came out of Britain.

As a british guy I find this completely absurd, I find it wrong on various levels. Why would I be proud of this at all?
I have many italian friends, many of them descendants from the roman area themselves and they don't posses any pride about the roman empire, it's so far removed from them anyway.
In the same way I am so far removed from from anything that occured during the british empire that it would take all my inner strength to muster up any kind of satisfaction from those event's. Even if I could i'd be rolling in the persecution and exploitation of countless numbers of people. Perhaps this kind of centiment was easier before the globalised economy of western countries, nationalism is so very 20th century.
But we're not completely removed from it. A lot of what we have now (the commonwealth aside) could be said to be a descendent of that era, including the global economic trade systems and globalisation itself.
 

Wendel Clark

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No and it made me sick to see people say they were in older threads. The GAF diversity thread is probably relevant.
 

Mammoth Jones

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I think it's not wise as it's really casually glances over the huge amount of human death and suffering it perpetrated.

Saying "others did it too" and "that's the way it is" isn't a justification of celebrating it or pretending that suffering didn't exist.
 

akira28

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I'm american and I'm proud of it.

The conquering and claiming of land has always been the way the world worked, every empire did it but ultimately it spread language and culture so something to be proud of for sure.

language and culture spread fine without it. Conquest and war were not prerequisites for civilization, I don't care what any of your historians say.
 

Sober

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Feb 8, 2008
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language and culture spread fine without it. Conquest and war were not prerequisites for civilization, I don't care what any of your historians say.
War and conquest are more of an effect of civilization rather than a prerequisite.
 
D

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Not even top 3 on my fave empires list

1)
Ottoman Empire

2) The Great French Empire
3) Han Dynasty Empire
 

Chichikov

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I'm american and I'm proud of it.

The conquering and claiming of land has always been the way the world worked, every empire did it but ultimately it spread language and culture so something to be proud of for sure.
Not every empire went through a colonial period. It is mostly a European thing.
But more broadly, by that logic you can be proud of slavery, I mean that was much more a part of human society than colonialism.

p.s.
It's important to stress that British colonialism went deep into the 20th century, the Mau Mau rebellion was in the fucking 50s for fuck sake.
 
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