Via Spencer Ackerman is George Gilder’s pretty reprehensible argument in favor of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories:
[KATHRYN JEAN] LOPEZ: What do you mean these wretched refugees benefited from Israel?
GILDER: The key period was between 1967 and 1987 when the Israelis administered the territories after Arabs refused all negotiations with their famous three “nos.” The Arabs were adamant against trading “land for peace” following their defeat in the ’67 war, so Israel inherited the territories.
During this 20-year period under Israeli rule, some 250,000 Israelis settled in the Territories. These were the supposedly predatory settlers. They supplied the infrastructure of power, water, education, and medical care that attracted nearly ten Arab settlers for every one Israeli. During this period, the economy in the territories grew some 25 percent per year, nearly the fastest in the world, and far faster than that of Israel itself, which was still bogged down in socialism. Arab life expectancy rose from 40 to around 70. Their incomes tripled while their population soared. Seven universities and 2,500 factories were established. It was the golden age for Palestinian Arabs.
Ackerman is right to compare this to the contention – occasionally made by retrograde conservatives/modern-day confederate-sympathizers – that American slavery wasn’t so bad, as it brought Africans to America, which is so much more awesome than Africa, or something. In fact, you can extend this argument to almost any instance of oppression; British domination of India wasn’t a complete wash, after all, Indians benefited from British education, British industry and British culture. Yes, a few million Indians had to die for “civilization,” but really, higher prices have been paid for less.
That said, I wonder if George Gilder – or any other American neo-colonialist – would make the same argument in support of Britain’s control over the American colonies. Again, the United States owes much of its early prosperity to British industry and British markets. Indeed, it goes far deeper than that; the entire American tradition of self-governance grows out of British conceptions of representative government. It’s always worth remembering that before the American revolutionaries were revolutionaries, they were Englishmen qua Englishmen fighting for their God-given rights as British citizens. The logic that Gilder uses to justify Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories almost certainly applies to British occupation of the American territories, and I’m honestly curious as to whether he would have opposed revolutionary efforts to sever America from the crown (for what its worth, I probably would have, if I were a land-owning white dude).