A proud father oversees his handiwork. Englishman Samuel Galton (inset) was a leading firearms manufacturer during the expansion of the British Empire in the early 19th century. Galton was the Birmingham-born son of a gun maker, who took over the family firearms business and built it into a juggernaut in England’s military industrial system. Samuel Galton also happened be a faithful Quaker, a pacifist Christian sect, whose members ultimately questioned his combining arms making with a pacifist commitment, not to mention his family’s slave trading interests in light of a growing Quaker commitment to abolition. Galton saw himself as a man of conscience who was simply in the vanguard of Britain’s historic imperial expansion, which itself he considered to be a blessing of history’s Providence. “And so the centuries of civil war, imperial conquest, brutal exploitation, and genocide were suppressed in accounts that showed how westerners made the modern world,” writes Pankaj Mishra, “and became with their liberal democracies the superior people everyone else ought to catch up with.”
Join us as we celebrate HAG’s pearl milestone: Episode 30, with a chorus of global voices. We are a podcast born of pandemic, now eight months into the deep, fired by an ongoing interrogation of the history outside our windows. True to our promise, HAG has jettisoned the borders, and explored the wider world, both the roads less traveled and with the main thoroughfares revisited. With Episode 30 we find ourselves arrived at a great public crossroads plaza where all those journeys converge, where all of us now stand, knowing that “something is profoundly wrong.” Not to worry friends, we haven’t lost our grip on reality, it’s just that we need a very different reality, one framed by greater humility and humanity. And we have the history to prove it.
This episode is dedicated to the late Tony Judt.
To hear Episode 30 Something Profoundly Wrong, click on the link below:
Sources Referenced and Items of Interest
Fresh Air Remembers Historian Tony Judt (August 11, 2010 NPR)
Pankaj Mishra, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia (2012)
Daniel Immerwahr, “You Can Only See Liberalism from the Bottom: Why Pankaj Mishra sees the ideology’s limits more clearly than its most powerful fans” (September 21, 2020 Foreign Policy)
Priya Satia, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History (2020)
Kenan Malik, “Time’s Monster by Priya Satia review – living in the past” (October 26, 2020 The Guardian)
Ralph Russell and Khurshidul Islam, “The Satirical Verse of Akbar Ilāhābādī (1846-1921)”
“As citizens of a free society, we have a duty to look critically at our world. But if we think we know what is wrong, we must act upon that knowledge. Philosophers, it was famously observed, have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”Tony Judt