The Instigator
vivalayeo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
feverish
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Britain should not be apologetic about it's history.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,101 times Debate No: 12673
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

vivalayeo

Pro

Format:

1st Round: Challenge and Introduction
2nd Round: Argument
3rd Round: Argument and rebuttal.

I will bear the burden of evidense in this debate.

I believe that what once was a proud, civilized nation, has become a servile, sycophantic minority pleaser. Our politician's are spineless, our current political system is a farce, and we are brought up to believe that we should not be proud of our history.

My challenge today is that I believe that Britain should not be apologetic to minorities, the United state's and former colonies due to our history. We should not feel shame for the African slave trade, or the conquest of India, because the good deffinitely out-weigh's the negative. We should be proud of our history, our politician's should be honored that they have a chance to lead our country, not to be humble to other power's. What ever happened to the British bulldog? I can't see one politican in Westminster that would stand up for Britain like Churchill did.
feverish

Con

Thanks to vivalayeo for the opportunity to debate this topic. I think it's perhaps appropriate for a fellow Brit to accept such a challenge.

I'm glad that my opponent has expanded somewhat on the resolution and clarified the intended subject for debate. At face value, the resolution itself is somewhat nonsensical, as landmasses can't express emotions. It would also be quite hard to argue in such purely emotional terms as to whether "being apologetic" was the appropriate response to a specific stimulus.

As well as in his first round, Pro has clarified further in the comments section. It seems that the actual resolution he intends is something along the lines of: "That the British Empire has no reason to be apologetic to former colonies because they brought more good than bad during their time.", specifically the issue that "the pro's[sic] outweigh the con's[sic]"

Pro has indicated that specific cases to consider would be "the African slave trade [and] the conquest of India" as well as North America. I'd like to also consider the case of Ireland, if possible.

_____________

Pro: "I will bear the burden of evidense in this debate."

I'm glad to see Pro accept his responsibility as instigator and Pro, for bearing the burden of proof. I shall also, of course, attempt to back up my points with clear evidence.

Pro: "I believe that what once was a proud, civilized nation, has become a servile, sycophantic minority pleaser."

Pride is not always positive, it is one of the seven deadly sins after all. As far as civility goes I don't see how rampaging across the globe murdering and looting is particularly civil. Minorities are a part of the British nation, not external to it and I'll have to ask for something specific to rebut in terms of servility and sycophantic behaviour.

Pro: "Our politician's are spineless"

Pretty sure that most have fully intact vertebrae but couldn't give account of the average MP's level of physical courage. I think it takes a modicum of gumption to put yourself forward as such a prime target for abuse and ridicule, but if my opponent is implying that politicians don't have the balls to stand firm to their mandate to the public, in the face of partisan and corporate lobbying, then I couldn't agree more.

Pro: "our current political system is a farce"

Yeah, I know. I don't really see what this has to do with the pros and cons of our previous empire building activities though.

Pro: "we are brought up to believe that we should not be proud of our history."

Don't know if my opponent means in terms of parental influence or state education here, but I'd have to see examples to know what he is referring to.

Pro: "We should not feel shame for the African slave trade, or the conquest of India, because the good deffinitely out-weigh's the negative."

I disagree with the measures on Pro's scales. I'll need to see how he clarifies what is good and bad here. I think that arguing for technological innovation at the expense of innocent lives would be a tricky one in terms of utilitarian philosophy, assuming that's what he intends.

Pro: "What ever happened to the British bulldog? I can't see one politican in Westminster that would stand up for Britain like Churchill did."

I think our leaders now are ready to go to war with much less evidence of any impending threat than in Churchill's time, and if the British people wanted a belligerent bulldog as PM, we would have stuck with Gordon Brown.

___________

Let me say before we get going that I'm white, English and a British citizen and I'm no way ashamed of who I am.

I'm proud of Britain's history in terms of literature, art, science and invention. I'm proud of football (soccer to most readers of this debate), the NHS, jungle/drum and bass, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and many other British institutions, inventions and innovations.

I'm not proud of a lot of the things Pro wants me to be proud of though.

I look forward to an engaging and stimulating debate.

Thanks.

Con.
Debate Round No. 1
vivalayeo

Pro

I wish to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. Hopefully this will turn out to be a close, and interesting debate between to British citizen's. The opponent has stated in his opening argument that he would ike to consider Ireland aswel in this debate. If the opponent wishes, I will leave the burden of evidense for 'Ireland' up to him, providing he is happy about it. It would also be suitable since I am from Northern Ireland.

______________________________

"Pride is not always positive, it is one of the seven deadly sins after all. As far as civility goes I don't see how rampaging across the globe murdering and looting is particularly civil. Minorities are a part of the British nation, not external to it and I'll have to ask for something specific to rebut in terms of servility and sycophantic behaviour." - Con

Correct me if I am wrong, but the Con is implying that I do not believe minorities are part of the British nation. I would like to rebute this. I believe minorities are a large part of the British nation, which is obvious, since I am a Northern Irish citizen that belong's to the UK. I believe that everyone should be welcome into Britain, as long as they go through the proper channel's and have something that we can benefit from.

With that out of the way I would like to address the Con's opening statement. I concede that pride is not alway's positive, but that is only the case in large dose's. Having pride in yourself, help's you to respect yourself, and in turn have other's respect you. It is the same with a nation. A nation that does not respect itself cannot expect expect it from other countries. I will also concede that the British did their fair share of conquest, and pillaging. However I would like the Con to give more specific example', so we know exactly what we are addressing.

The Con also asked for an example of 'servility and sycophantic behaviour' on behalf of the UK. I would like to point to a more contemporary event that happened in Inda last week. David Cameron, Prime minister of Britain and head of the conservative party travelled to India, upon where he said he was expressing utmost 'humlity' to India. Instead of addressing the Indian government as an equal, he adopted the stance of a child pretending to feel shame for what it had done. In the eye's of international diplomacy this was a farce, and it was also a major let down to those who still have a healthy pride in their country.
__________________________________________

"Pretty sure that most have fully intact vertebrae but couldn't give account of the average MP's level of physical courage. I think it takes a modicum of gumption to put yourself forward as such a prime target for abuse and ridicule, but if my opponent is implying that politicians don't have the balls to stand firm to their mandate to the public, in the face of partisan and corporate lobbying, then I couldn't agree more" -Con

Although Con and I agree on this point, I would like to point out that not one politican in any governing body within the UK, whether it be Westminster or Stormont has even a shred of the backbone that Winston Churchill had.

___________________________________________

"Don't know if my opponent means in terms of parental influence or state education here, but I'd have to see examples to know what he is referring to." -Con

I was referring more to the state than to parental influence, it's up to parent's what they want their child to know I guess, so I won't touch that area. As for state influence,if you look at the sylabus for a child in Junior high, you will cover event's like the Battle of Hasting's and local history. I was under the impression that what is important, is teaching children about more contemptorary history such as the World War's, Napoleon and British empire in India. All which have a strong relation to our current situation, and show Britain at it's best. I guess I feel strongly about this subject because I am training to become a history teacher.
___________________________________________________

"
I disagree with the measures on Pro's scales. I'll need to see how he clarifies what is good and bad here. I think that arguing for technological innovation at the expense of innocent lives would be a tricky one in terms of utilitarian philosophy, assuming that's what he intends." - Con

Modern-day India, after all, is a success story built on sturdy Anglo-Saxon foundations. Now the world's secondfastestgrowing economy, it would probably not even exist as a unified state were it not for the legacy of British rule. It was the British, let us not forget, who outlawed Indian slavery, infanticide and the horrendous practice of suttee, whereby widows were burned to death on their husband's funeral pyre.

It was the British, too, who introduced to India the rule of the common law, parliamentary democracy and, perhaps above all, the English language — the greatest asset for any country in today's globalised marketplace. Of course, British rule had blunders, cruelties and prejudices. And yet, by comparison with the other great empires, from the Romans and the Persians to the French, the Dutch and the Spanish, Britain's empire stands out as a beacon of tolerance, decency and the rule of law.

The Raj survived not at the point of a bayonet, but thanks to the enthusiastic co-operation of thousands of ordinary Indians, who relished the order that their colonial partners had brought to a subcontinent torn apart by religious and ethnic conflict. And it is no accident, either, that uniquely among the great world empires, British rule carried within it the seeds of its own dissolution. For quite apart from the roads and railways, the bridges and ports and institutions of law and order, Britain bequeathed a much more precious legacy to its colonies: the idea of liberty.

Since I am running out of character's, I will address the African slave trade in the next round.
feverish

Con

Pro: "the Con is implying that I do not believe minorities are part of the British nation."

My apologies for misinterpreting. I inferred this from Pro's claim that Britain as a nation "has become a servile, sycophantic minority pleaser." Since minorities comprise a large part of the British populace, I don't really understand how the nation as a whole can be described in this way.

Pro concedes that pride is not always positive and equates positive aspects of pride with self-respect. I think there is a clear distinction here. As an individual I can evaluate mistakes I have made and still respect myself. This doesn't mean I am proud of my mistakes and I think apologising when one is in the wrong is likely to enhance one's respect for oneself, as well as the respect one receives from others. I will be giving ample evidence of the British Empire's less positive acts towards the end of the round.

In response to my request for an example of the British nation being "servile and sycophantic" towards minorities, Pro instead offers an example of our Prime Minster supposedly demonstrating such behaviour towards another nation (India is clearly not a minority, there are a lot more Indians in the world than Brits). Pro provides no source for his quote of Cameron's "humility" or of his claims about the response of other international diplomats.

I believe that any deference towards the Indian government and people on the part of Cameron has nothing to do with past British injustices and everything to do with current geo-politics. Pakistan was also part of the British Indian Empire but Cameron paid little deference to Pakistan during his recent visit. http://www.thehindu.com... In trying to buddy up with India and it's booming economy, Cameron was happy to sl@g off their enemy Pakistan to the extent that his effigy was burnt on the streets of Islamabad and important Intelligence meetings have been cancelled. Sound like servility to you?

____

Pro: "I would like to point out that not one politican in any governing body within the UK ... has even a shred of the backbone that Winston Churchill had."

Pro provides no basis for this claim which, in any case, seems irrelevant to his argument.

___

Pro: "if you look at the sylabus for a child in Junior high, you will cover event's like the Battle of Hasting's and local history. I was under the impression that what is important, is teaching children about more contemptorary history such as the World War's, Napoleon and British empire in India. All which have a strong relation to our current situation, and show Britain at it's best."

We don't have Junior high in England and it would be great to see some evidence that the syllabus is the way my opponent claims it is. When I work in secondary schools I see literature on the walls concerning World War II. My daughter is in Infant school and has learnt about recent history such as the American Civil Rights movement as well as older stuff like Guy Fawkes. I don't see what is "contemporary" about the Napoleonic wars and its clear that my opponent and I disagree on whether the Raj shows "Britain at it's best".

Pro: "I am training to become a history teacher."

I hope you teach your students a balanced view of history, as well as appropriate use of apostrophes.

____

Despite declaring that he "will bear the burden of evidense in this debate", my opponent provides no corroborating evidence for any of his claims about the positive impacts of British colonialism. Although Pro claimed he would prove that "the pro's outweigh the con's", he has merely listed pros without weighing them against cons at all.

I'll provide some cons of British rule in India and my opponent can do some weighing up of his pros against these next round.

In the uprising of 1857, there were atrocities on both sides but while the massacres of British forces at Cawnpore and of 120 women and children at Bibighar was widely reported, http://en.wikipedia.org... the extent of the brutal suppression of the Indian populace over the decade that followed was not so well publicised.

http://www.guardian.co.uk... Randeep Ramesh is one historian arguing that almost 10 million Indians were exterminated in the following years in a genocide far surpassing the Nazi holocaust.

"During the British Raj, India experienced some of the worst famines ever recorded, including the Great Famine of 1876�€"78, in which 6.1 million to 10.3 million people died and the Indian famine of 1899�€"1900, in which 1.25 to 10 million people died. Recent research, including work by Mike Davis and Amartya Sen, attribute most of the effects of these famines to British policy in India." http://en.wikipedia.org...

I eagerly await my opponent's assessment of the positive impacts of the African slave trade. With the limited characters available, I'll try to briefly address Ireland.

John Mitchel's The Last Conquest of Ireland offers perhaps the clearest description of the Irish Potato famine "the English created the famine... a million and half men, women and children were carefully, prudently and peacefully slain by the English government. They died of hunger in the midst of abundance which their own hands created"
http://www.independent.co.uk... http://en.wikipedia.org...

British division of Ireland (like India and Pakistan) intensified religious conflict to an incendiary level. Different groups who had previously lived alongside each other in peace engaged in bitter decade long feuds. I'm sure my opponent needs no source to clarify the extent of problems caused by religious and political separatism in his native Northern Ireland.

Out of characters. Over to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
vivalayeo

Pro

vivalayeo forfeited this round.
feverish

Con

A forfeit is always disappointing, especially from the instigator of a debate, but I understand that things come up sometimes. It's a shame my opponent didn't make his apologies in the debate itself, rather than the comments section, as this would have meant the debate would still show up on the front page.

I think Pro is very misguided to think that the slaughter of innocent people is a fair price to pay for industrial and diplomatic achievements, as his claim that British people should overall be proud of the British Empire suggests. I think it is appropriate and admirable to apologise and take responsibility for past errors. If the government murdered or enslaved my family, I would certainly appreciate a humble apology more than arrogant boasting about the good things achieved in the process of the atrocity.

Thanks to my opponent and anyone reading.

Con.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
I had a few hour's left yes, but I thought it would be polite to state that I didn't have time to write up my response in that time. Thanks for the debate.
Posted by innomen 7 years ago
innomen
Started out great, but what happened? I enjoyed reading it and could have gone either way in voting, but viv just petered out, and was all claim but no substantive back up.
Posted by feverish 7 years ago
feverish
Hey viva, thanks again for the debate. It's unfortunate if you think you were made to look like an @rse, this certainly wasn't my intention and I'm genuinely sorry if I said anything to offend you.

I do find forfeits annoying and rude, I don't think I've ever forfeited a round in over 50 debates here but as I said, I can understand that sometimes things come up. However I couldn't help noticing that you posted in the comments about your forfeiture while you still had several hours left to post an argument.

I'm sorry that you think I took "cheap shots". I agree that nobody is perfect, certainly not myself, but I think that apostrophe usage is pretty basic and if you plan to be a teacher, you really should get your head around it.

"As I stated in the in the challenge, the good outweighs the negative." You stated this but never explained how the positives you sited outweighed the negatives you seem to acknowledge.

See you around the site. Peace.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
On the last note, I never advocated that slaughter of innocent people justifies economic and diplomatic success. With everything good, there is always a negative. I do not deny that the British empire had its fair share of slaughter, but so has every empire and country to date. It is hypocritical to propose that Britian itself should feel ashamed, for something everyone else has done. As I stated in the in the challenge, the good outweighs the negative.

The british empire has been the most successful and beneficial empire that the world has ever seen. But yes, you are right, there have been dark spot's.

I would like to thank my opponent for the debate. I just got back today, and it's regrettable I was unable to continue the last round. I would like to also note, that I am not impressed with my opponent, who use's cheap shot's at small grammatical error's in order to diminish his opponent. No-one is perfect. Sorry I just had to have my final say, since the opponent tried to make me look like an arse in the last round.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
I am going to have to forfeit the 3rd round. I am going away for the weekend and I need to get stuff sorted and help my mate fix his car. I apologise to my opponent, thanks for the interesting debate.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
I would have to disagree with Bloody Sunday, whatever the Saville report say's. They set out to prove their premise, it was not a fair judgement, more of a political concession to those involved. As for Dresden, I think it was over-the-top but considering it was seen as revenge for the Blitz, and the emotion's at the time were high, it's not as bad as it is made out to be.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Hmm interesting. Well, I do agree Britain generally brought "civilisation" in the form of railways and that, but they did do some bad stuff. The terrible partitioning of India, the Boston Massacre, Bloody Sunday and the Dresden bombings come to mind, but it's a hard one.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
That the British Empire has no reason to be apologetic to former colonies because they brought more good than bad during their time. If you want to narrow this down further we can look at:

-India
-North America
-Europe

My argument is, that although Britain did some horrible thing's, the pro's outweigh the con's and Britain should not be ashamed of her history, especially in comparison to other empires.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
So, are you defending that, on average, durign that time period, the British empire did not do anything worth apologising for? Or that they should apologise for nothing.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
Well how about we confine it to the span of the British Empire until present time?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by innomen 7 years ago
innomen
vivalayeofeverishTied
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Total points awarded:06