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"The White Man's Burden, R. Kipling"

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by billwald, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. billwald

    billwald New Member

    Jun 28, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I looked it up because it was mentioned in an Irish pub song against the British.


    “The White Man’s Burden” is a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling. It was originally published in the popular magazine McClure's in 1899, with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands.


    This famous poem, written by Britain's imperial poet, was a response to the American take over of the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War.
    Take up the White Man's burden--
    Send forth the best ye breed--
    Go bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives' need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild--
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    In patience to abide,
    To veil the threat of terror
    And check the show of pride;
    By open speech and simple,
    An hundred times made plain
    To seek another's profit,
    And work another's gain.

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    The savage wars of peace--
    Fill full the mouth of Famine
    And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly
    Bring all your hopes to nought.

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    No tawdry rule of kings,
    But toil of serf and sweeper--
    The tale of common things.
    The ports ye shall not enter,
    The roads ye shall not tread,
    Go mark them with your living,
    And mark them with your dead.

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    And reap his old reward:
    The blame of those ye better,
    The hate of those ye guard--
    The cry of hosts ye humour
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
    "Why brought he us from bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night?"

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    Ye dare not stoop to less--
    Nor call too loud on Freedom
    To cloke your weariness;
    By all ye cry or whisper,
    By all ye leave or do,
    The silent, sullen peoples
    Shall weigh your gods and you.

    Take up the White Man's burden--
    Have done with childish days--
    The lightly proferred laurel,
    The easy, ungrudged praise.
    Comes now, to search your manhood
    Through all the thankless years
    Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
    The judgment of your peers!

    From an essay by Robert D. Kaplin in Stratfor:

    The United States is an imperial power and has been for more than a century, ever since its invasion and occupation of the Philippines, which began in 1899. The Spanish-American War of 1898, which led to America's takeover of Spain's colony in the Philippines, culminated a process by which the United States came to dominate the Caribbean Basin. By dominating the Caribbean Basin, America came to dominate the Western Hemisphere. And as the hegemon of the Western Hemisphere, America found itself with power to spare in order to affect the balance-of-power in the Eastern Hemisphere. Thus did America go on to pivotally determine world politics in the 20th century.
    America's empire is without colonies, suitable for a post-modern information age in which capital is not necessarily tied up in permanent territorial holdings. But make no mistake, America's troops have been and still are in imperial-like situations the world over, from South Korea to Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific: grappling on the ground and on the blue waters with the need to maintain order over exotic swathes of the earth, like the Romans, Venetians, Portuguese, Dutch and British did before them. Furthermore, the very size and capability of America's military, from special operations forces to nuclear submarines, dwarfs those of most other major powers combined. To say that this isn't a military of imperial proportions is to deny reality.
    Like empires of yore, the United States periodically sends its forces into harm's way in imperial-like interventions, seeking to oust this foreign tyrant or that for supposedly threatening the empire's interests. Of course, American officials, of whatever administration, always claim that they are acting in such a fashion for the sake of human rights and humanity, but that is similar to what the officials of previous empires usually said. Many empires have had strong philosophical organizing principles, in which they label their own values as universal ones. And often they are right. Rome, Venice and Great Britain were not only militarily dominant but were also the most enlightened powers of their ages -- with Venice and Britain by the standards of their eras being truly liberal imperiums. And so, democracy at home and military imperialism abroad can go hand in hand.
    Now these imperial-like military interventions have often been ill advised, but they happen nevertheless. They happen partly because there is an imperial class in the imperial capital of Washington, D.C., that agitates for them.
    What is an imperial class, and what are its beliefs?
    An imperial class is a large group of people who have a deeply evolved sense of imperial mission, and whose professional interests are connected to that mission succeeding. They number journalists and policy experts at think tanks who collectively define the debate among elites throughout the Boston-to-Washington media corridor; and by defining that debate determine the opinions that bombard any administration on the foreign policy front. This class is financially well off and generally educated at the best schools. It is the product of decades of prosperity going back to the post-World War II era. Whereas Washington in the mid-20th century had barely a handful of think tanks, the city is now packed with them. As for the media, it now constitutes a power center all its own that includes both liberal internationalists and neoconservatives, both of whom have in the past supported using the American military to impose American values. . . .

    (long essay)