Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Nigel Biggar On Colonialism

Nigel Biggar is an Anglican priest, academic and writer. Formerly the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford, he now directs the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life and chairs the board of the UK’s Free Speech Union. The author of many books on ethics, his new controversial one is Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app — though Spotify sadly doesn’t accept the paid feed). For two clips of our convo — debating what makes an empire worse than others, and whether the British started or just exploited the wars in their colonies — pop over to our YouTube page.

Other topics: writing his book as a response to revisionism; the 1619 Project; the difficulty he had getting it published; the various motives of British colonialism and its slow development; how anti-slavery stemmed from the Enlightenment and Christianity; the colonists who fled poverty and religious persecution; the Irish Famine; the contempt and fear and racism toward native peoples; the natives who welcomed trade and protection; whether plagues were intentional or unavoidable; non-European empires and human sacrifice; the ubiquity of slavery throughout history; the unique evil of the transatlantic trade; maroons who kept slaves of their own; Zionism; the colonists who prized foreign cultures; the hypocrisy of British subjects in America exploiting natives; the Indian MP in the 1890s; Indians fighting alongside the British in WWII; the decolonized who embraced the liberal institutions of the Brits; the Chinese who fled communism for the colony of Hong Kong; the diversity of Boris’ cabinet; and the historic triumph of Rishi Sunak.

Browse the Dishcast archive for another discussion you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Tabia Lee on her firing as a DEI director, Chris Stirewalt on Fox and the MSM, Ben Smith on going viral, John Oberg on veganism, and Patrick Deneen on a post-liberal future. Send your guest recs and pod comments to

Here’s a listener on last week’s episode with Mark Lilla about unplugging from online politics:

Another delightful and enchanting conversation — thank you! I listened to it while walking near the lake and realized that by listening to podcasts, I am not fully immersed in the environment, not enjoying the silence. Your conversation was very engaging and it felt like I was part of it, but in reality I was just a remote listener of pre-recorded dialogue — a dialogue on living your own life, enjoying being somewhere, and not being distracted by noise and the urge to record what’s happening. How ironic. 🙂


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