On Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning: A Reply to Alan Lester

2 June 2023.

In the June 2023 issue of the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Alan Lester has published a relentlessly critical, fifteen-thousand-word-long ‘review’ of Nigel Biggar’s Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning

In his response, which appears in the same issue, Biggar reaches this conclusion: “there are only three minor points where [Lester’s] relentless barrage clearly hits its target, none of them vital to my overall argument: I should have made clear that Riel’s endorsement of Locke and Vattel’s logic was limited to the rationale for the voluntary cession of land by the Métis; I was mistaken to claim that the first part of Adekeye Adebajo’s composite quotation of Rhodes was fiction; and I accept that one of Brian Plomley’s two supposed cases of settlers being brought to court for injuring aboriginals was untrue. The rest of Professor Lester’s attack comprises … political bias, smearing by association, the erection of strawmen, careless reading, misrepresentation, misunderstanding, unsupported assertions, a disappointing absence of open thoughtfulness, and a striking lack of critical self-awareness”.

Click below to read the whole of Biggar’s response.

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