Ideology and Intolerance: The Case of Colonialism

Document Type


Publication Date



Ideology has a stranglehold on academia as much as anywhere else. Numerous authors have noted that liberal/progressives dominate the discourse in our universities and are loathe to tolerate any position that does not toe the ideological line. We are fortunate to have a journal that is explicitly devoted to positions that run counter to conventional wisdom. I look at Bruce Gilley’s work on colonialism as exemplifying something that both runs against the usual narrative and typifies academia’s lack of tolerance for such works. Gilley sees much to commend in colonialism, particularly British colonialism, although he examined the colonialism of other European countries. Because of this, both he and the editor of the journal that published his article received threats of violence and were attacked personally and professionally, and the article was retracted (but republished in another journal). This article examines the academic response to Gilley, the literature on colonialism other than Gilley’s. I find that most of it supports Gilley’s viewpoint in terms of the objective benefits received by nations colonized by the British in terms of economic, health, civil rights, and democratic advances. Space constraints make it necessary to limit the analysis to British colonies.

This document is currently not available here.