The Leni Riefenstahl of George Bush’s new imperial order

Old Blog Import

Niall Ferguson: This guy is all over the place — the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, etc. and now he has a new book, Empire, which seems to be an apology for British Colonialism. I had to spend about an hour on the internet before I could find even one critical review of him, but at last I succeeded:

Niall Ferguson is the Leni Riefenstahl of George Bush’s new imperial order. Just as Riefenstahl’s photography glorified the violence of fascism and sold it to the middle classes, Ferguson’s Channel 4 series and book on the British empire presents the acceptable face of imperial brutality.

A less critical review, but also worth reading, is this one in Salon:

So salutary was the British Empire’s effect on history that Ferguson suggests the world would do well to get itself another essentially good” empire to maintain order. The good empire he’s talking about is the United States.

But with the amount of press this guy is getting, we need more critical reviews out there, if only to combat this kind of offensive garbage:

And when that challenge came, its subject peoples rallied to the empire’s defense. Gandhi’s Quit India” campaign of 1942 collapsed after a few weeks, but more than two million Indians served in the British forces, 250,000 of them outside India. Their loyalty signified something important: Most subjects of the king had never been better governed than by the young men of the Indian Civil Service and the Colonial Office.