Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning

Jonathan Sumption at Literary Review:

Nigel Biggar retired a few months ago from the Regius Professorship of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford. He is a notable figure in the world of moral philosophy, not only because of his distinguished academic career as an ethicist but also because of his persistent refusal to observe the conventional pieties which characterise so much that is written in his field.

There are few notions more pious or conventional than that empires are wicked and that the British Empire was unutterably and irredeemably so. In 2017, Biggar initiated the ‘Ethics and Empire’ project at Oxford, which sought to explore the factual and moral basis for this hostility. The project, its author and the university were at once denounced by other scholars in the field on the grounds that the very idea of balance in this area is unacceptable. To quote one of the most vocal antagonists, ‘any attempt to create a balance sheet of the good and evil of empire can’t be based on rigorous scholarship.’

more here.