In this moment of neoliberalism when the doctors of economics pre-
scribe ever more and ever freer markets as a kind of lithium for business
cycles, it is important to recall that the harm that empires caused at
home did not stem from their costs or their practice of protectionism.∞
Today’s pervasive economism takes the focus away from the real dam-
age that colonialism caused to democratic forces within a parliamen-
tary framework. And that harm has not been, cannot be, repaired by
more neoliberalism. John Locke first prescribed empire to immunize
an immature and threatened liberal society from the longings of new
have-nots. Since his provision of this pill with poisonous side-e√ects,
overseas expansion to avoid internal problems has always tempted lead-
ers of parliamentary states with insurgent democracies.
Etienne Balibar has proposed that ‘‘rather than always harking back
to the French Revolution and to the real or imagined consequences of
‘Jacobinism,’ ’’ we should look to more modern times for the origins of
contemporary top-down public policy.≤ Since at least the time of
Charles Baudelaire—or if one prefers political benchmarks—since
Napoleon III’s plebescitarian rule, a regime of power was crafted to
contain unruly provincials. Fine-tuned in the Third Republic, it was
sent to the colonies for testing and improvement. And then as needed,
the lessons learned came back to inform the metropolitan order. Since
the nineteenth century overseas expansion and the consequent dialecti-
cal movement of knowledge-power between France and the colonies
has increasingly institutionalized the colonial regime inside the nation,
to the point that, today, Balibar speaks of the ‘‘introjection of colonial-
ization.≥ Since new cultural forms, new philosophy, new social sciences,
new history writing, new francophone literature, and of course, new
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