Ideology Project: Colonialism

free essayThe previous parts of this project included a discussion of the ethical problem of enlightenment and its role in bringing about the problems related to freedom and, subsequently, colonialism. Enlightenment, which first came to attention in the 17th and 18th century, represents a form of movement that entailed the rise of promise and prospect in Europe. Further on, it brought about new thoughts that covered various areas of life such as science, philosophy, ethics, politics, literature, economics, and history. Freedom is one of the important thoughts that emerged from enlightenment. It was a concept that empowered people. However, this kind of power was to be enjoyed under some control, which could only be exerted by the law. Despite everyone being perceived to have been born free, this was not always the case as there are some circumstances that curtail people’s freedom. For instance, one loses freedom when it comes to the tax collector, officers, and pastor. It actually implies that one’s freedom is hindered by the government through adherence to tax payments, the law with the help of an officer, and religion through the pastor. Enlightenment turned out to be a significant ethical problem since its emergence centuries ago has also caused the issue of colonialism. It is also an ethical issue that can be traced back to a few centuries ago. It entailed taking away people’s freedom which saw many people in history live in anguish, live and die miserably, and be psychologically tortured.

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Loss of freedom and colonialism is today represented through more powerful nations enforcing their will into less powerful nations. This is done through the use of capitalism, globalization in business, and cultural imperialism. Capitalism has impacted negatively on freedom in a way that it has transformed nations to become selfish and, as a consequence, they have embarked on plans to do all they can to better themselves. Such plans have included stepping on the sovereignty of weaker nations in a bid to take what they can from them for their own benefits. For instance, the war in Iraq can be seen as the America’s way of enforcing its position to remain a world power (Roy 1). This is a common concept for African countries whose resources are depleted by the first world nations. Business globalization has also impacted negatively on the degree of freedom of people and thus colonized them in the sense of preventing them to develop economically on their own. Many argue that globalization promotes business activities. It cannot be denied just like it cannot be denied that it imprisons people into thinking that they cannot succeed on their own. Cultural imperialism restricts an individual’s freedom to experience his/her own culture. This happens when a dominant culture is enforced on people, which, in turn, forces them to conform to the standards of this culture. A good example of this is American cultural imperialism, which has spread around the globe, making people live their lives in accordance to it. The current manifestation of the loss of freedom and colonialism does not differ much with its earlier manifestations in the past centuries. This is because even in the 21st century, the manifestation of loss of freedom and thus colonialism still represents oppression, suffering, harm, and exploitation of the less able people (Fanon 122).

The major actors in these ethical issues are developed nations and individuals who are of a significant influence on the political and business world. Developed states, also commonly referred to as the Western world, have been known to exploit the developing nations. They do this not only to gain economic benefits, but also the political ones (Fanon 179). The economic mechanism with which these countries take away the freedom of the less developed ones is an acquisition of their resources for their own use, without giving back anything to these nations. Further, they also take away the freedom of these nations, economically speaking, by making these states to become economically dependable on them. It is achieved through donating large sums of money in form of foreign aid and grants making these nations refrain from liberating themselves from an economic exploitation that is conducted on them. Individuals with significant influence on business and politics are actors in the identified ethical issue, because they make use of their position to hinder the freedom of those they consider a threat to them. Such people include politicians who use their political power to make laws that are meant to impact negatively on the freedom of their rivals. Rich businessmen have been known to infringe on the freedom of the less fortunate in the community by means of taking away their right to own property and conducting simple business for survival.

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The main global contexts implicated in the present situation include business and politics. This is the main avenues through which the freedom of people is infringed on and thus a modern form of colonialism is brought about. For instance, the Western nations prevent many developing nations or other nations of interest from enjoying their freedom to sovereignty through application of sanctions. In this context, such nations become completely cut off from the world. For instance, the UN whose powerful members are from the west sanctioned South Sudan. This is both under political and business context. This is because South Sudan cannot freely conduct business with other nations of the world while the political aspect comes in as a result of the reasons for the sanction which is as a result of the President Omar El Bashir being wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The use of nuclear power is also another example where powerful countries force their will on others (Roy 2). One a nation is facing such a threat; they have no choice but to oblige.

These actors can be compared to their precursors and this comparison bears a number of similarities and differences. One similarity between them is they both bring about harm to the people whose freedom they curtail. This is through acts of exploitation and oppression which results in harm and extreme suffering for the affected people (Fanon 65). On the other hand, the difference comes in with the fact unlike their precursors these actors refrain from using force to accomplish their goals.

The ethical problem connected with enlightenment and its issues of freedom and colonialism have had violent effects on the African American Community. This is because despite the fact that this community was freed from slavery, the truth is, the African American Community is far from being completely free (Fanon 150). This has brought about significant impacts of violence on this community. The irony of it is the tendency of this community committing acts of violence against each other. Nonetheless, the crime committed from the outside cannot be disregarded. For instance, the notion of white supremacists has caused many African Americans to be exposed to harsh realities through violence. In addition, racism too has been a contributing factor. The violence inflicted on the African American Community has taken forms of hate crimes and police brutality. Despite having the nation’s first African American president nowadays, the acceptance of the African American people is still to be achieved. Police brutality has also been a common form of rampage subjected against the African American Community. This may be attributed to the notion that people from this social group are more prone to crime.


Fanon’s theory of violence can be used to understand its form in the case of the African American Community. Fanon, in his exploration of the situation that slaves passed through while being subjected to forced labor, outlines the violence that they were inflicted on. He describes it as being used not only to keep the enslaved men at arm’s length, but to dehumanize them (Fanon 15). For instance, a slave that was taken and flogged in order to force him/her to work for the master in case of refusal would be shot on the spot by soldiers. Other forms of brutality described by Fanon include cutting off of hands in Congo. Although the extremes of the violence described by Fanon may not be as that of the African America people, the fact remains that most of it results in death and/or degradation.

Sontag’s theory of violence can also be used to give an understanding of the form of violence the African American people pass through. Although she explains violence from the context of war, this can still be used be applied to the African-American context since the impact is the same. That is just as in war violence for the African-American people results in many of them ending up in the cemetery. Sontag affirms that violence is not always justifiable and use of force is always wrong (Sontag).

In conclusion, the ethical issue of enlightenment despite the positive impact it meant to have on the people by bringing about new ways of thinking has had nothing but negative effects. The issues of freedom and colonialism confirm this. It has led to people and nations being subjected to the will of others who desire to use them for their own selfish gain. It has also resulted in violence and wars, which, subsequently, have led to many suffering and dying.