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August 17, 2011

Blogging After America - Day Six
Chapter Five - The New Britannia - The Depraved City [ArthurK]

Welcome to the Sixth Day of Blogging After America. Here's a little ditty to get you in the mood - the mood of Doom!.

Chapter 5's theme - as Greece is an example of economic collapse so Britain is an example of cultural collapse.

Previously in the series - Day One, Two, Three, Four, Five.

Page 190 - Britain - "National decline is at least partly psychological - and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline."

P191 - There's "the english speaking peoples" and "the rest of the west". At hinge moments in human history that distinction has proved critical.

P192 - Romans* invented the concept of law, Greeks - one man, one vote democracy, Dutch - capitalism. "But it is the English world that has managed to make these blessings seemingly permanent parts of the landscape."

*no quibbling. I think Steyn is talking about Rule of Law, not just the codification of law.

P194 - "We might have been a free and great people together" - Jefferson. But, during crunch time, we were.

The transfer of power from Britain to America was smooth. Over the last 500 years it's been Italy, Dutch, Britain, America... China?! China doesn't even use the same alphabet! A transfer from America to China would be a jolting change.

P195 - Bond Power. In the Suez Crisis of 1956, the US forced Britain to back down by threatening to sell off British debt. Note that the US and Britain were friends and close allies when this happened. China holds around 10% of US debt...

P196 - The Empire Ball incident. A Cambridge university had to rename its annual Empire Ball - a celebration of the British Empire as of 1899 - because "anti-fascist" groups complained about Britain's association with slavery, repression and exploitation.

It’s interesting to learn that "anti-fascism" now means attacking the British Empire, which stood alone against fascism in that critical year between the fall of France and Germany’s invasion of Russia. And it’s even sadder to have to point out the most obvious fatuity in those "anti-fascist groups" litany of evil - "the British Empire’s association with slavery." The British Empire’s principal association with slavery is that it abolished it. Before William Wilberforce, the British Parliament, and the brave men of the Royal Navy took up the issue, slavery was an institution regarded by all cultures around the planet as permanent a feature of life as the earth and sky. Britain expunged it from most of the globe.

"When a society loses its memory, it descends inevitably into dementia."

Musings - poor education has consequences.

P200 - Pre-Thatcher, British elites had accepted British decline as a fact and planned to manage it, not solve it. Note P190 again. "National decline is at least partly psychological - and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline."

Musings - You can't fix a problem if you think the problem can't be fixed.

P202-203 - "In Britain, everything is policed except crime." A 96 year old is beaten up on a bus. That' not wrong because it's illegal - it's illegal because it's wrong. "Once it's no longer accepted that something is wrong, all the laws in the world will avail you naught."

P204-206 "For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population."

In 1942 the goal for the British welfare state was the "abolition of want". "... Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity."

P209 - Pre-WW1 Britain. "Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favor of England because you were born in it?" Now replace England with America in that quote.

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:49 PM

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