The American historian, Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) explained how England emerged as the World's greatest empire (1588 - 19??) by virtue of a geographical advantage: the security provided by the narrow waters of the English Channel, an advantage that ended with the creation of new weapons based on air power in the period after 1935. ...
Having security from the Continental powers gave Britain freedom of action. It could chose whether or not to intervene in Continental disputes and, if it did intervene, it could limit its commitment. If such a limited commitment were exhausted it could choose to break off or increase the commitment. Moreover, by supporting the second strongest Continental power against the strongest power, it could frustrate the ambition of the strongest power at rather small cost. By such balance-of-power tactics, Britain played a decisive role on the Continent, while retaining a surplus of resources for imperial ventures.
The Continental powers rarely had such freedom of action:
When the security of a continental Power was threatened by a neighbor, it had no freedom of action, but had to defend itself with all its resources. Clearly, it would be impossible for France to say to itself, "We shall oppose German hegemony on the Continent only to the extent of 50,000 men or of $10 million." Yet as late as 1939, Chamberlain informed France that England's commitment on the Continent for this purpose would be no more than two divisions.The triumph of the landed oligarchy over the monarchy created a social tradition quite distinct from that on the Continent. As a result:
Britain's position on the Atlantic, combined with her naval control of the sea, gave her a great advantage when the new lands to the west of that ocean became one of the chief sources of commercial and naval wealth in the period after 1588. ...
At the same time, Britain's insular position deprived her monarchy of any need for a large professional, mercenary army such as the kings on the Continent used as the chief bulwark of royal absolutism. As a result, the kings of England were unable to prevent the landed gentry from taking control of the government in the period 1642-1690.
England did not obtain a bureaucracy such as appeared on the Continent. This lack of a separate bureaucracy loyal to the monarch can be seen in the weakness of the professional army ... and also in the lack of a bureaucratic judicial system. In England, the gentry and the younger sons of the landed oligarchy studied law in the Inns of Court and obtained a feeling for tradition and the sanctity of due process of law while still remaining a part of the landed class. In fact this class became the landed class in England just because they obtained control of the bar and the bench and were, thus, in a position to judge all disputes about real property in their own favor. Control of the courts and of the Parliament made it possible for this ruling group in England to override the rights of the peasants in land, to eject them from the land, to enclose the open fields of the medieval system, to deprive the cultivators of their manorial rights and thus to reduce them to the condition of landless rural laborers or of tenants. This advance of the enclosure movement in England made possible the Agricultural Revolution, greatly depopulated the rural areas of England (as described in The Deserted Village of Oliver Goldsmith), and provided a surplus population for the cities, the mercantile and naval marine, and for overseas colonization.Naturally, during the heyday of Empire, no one in England had any idea that their imperial supremacy was the result of mere chance. Indeed, Britain's extraordinary intellectual and artistic efflorescence during the age of empire pointed entirely the other way. Shakespeare was the poet for all ages. Newton invented modern science. Adam Smith and David Ricardo invented economics. Locke, Berkeley and Hume established the only useful school of philosophy the World has ever known. Britain did not produce the greatest musical composer, but the greatest musical composer, Georg Friedrich Haendel, became a naturalized British citizen.
Thus, when Darwin convinced the world that competitive success was the ultimate measure of all things, how could it be doubted that Britain's extraordinary success was due to the genius of the British nation?
Unfortunately, this delusion drove the British to assume that their post WW2 difficulties would be solved by the more liberal application of British genius. Thus, for example, as Terence Keeley wrote (2)
There is a central myth about British science and economic growth, and it goes like this: science breeds wealth, Britain is in economic decline, therefore Britain has not done enough science. Actually, it is easy to show that a key cause of Britain's economic decline has been that the government has funded too much science...
Post-war British science policy illustrates the folly of wasting money on research. The government decided, as it surveyed the ruins of war-torn Europe in 1945, that the future lay in computers, nuclear power and jet aircraft, so successive administrations poured money into these projects--to vast technical success. The world's first commercial mainframe computer was British, sold by Ferrranti in 1951; the world's first commercial jet aircraft was British, the Comet, in service in 1952; the first nuclear power station was British, Calder Hall, commissioned in 1956; and the world's first and only supersonic commercial jet aircraft was Anglo-French, Concorde, in service in 1976.
Yet these technical advances crippled us economically, because they were so uncommercial. The nuclear generation of electricity, for example, had lost 2.1 billion pounds by 1975 (2.1 billion pounds was a lot then); Concord had lost us, alone, 2.3 billion pounds by 1976; the Comet crashed and America now dominates computers. Had these vast sums of money not been wasted on research, we would now be a significantly richer country.
And science was not the only field in which massive innovation was attempted. During the twentieth century Labour governments pursued a programme of democratic socialism that involved massive nationalization of industry: coal, steel, electricity, railways, gas, airlines, and much else, including partial nationalization of banks by the last Labour Government. The net result, inevitably, was massive overmanning, managerial incompetence and corruption throughout a large part of British industry.
Thus, as any sane person can see, application of British genius to social engineering has done more harm than good. But now Britain is almost entirely in the hands of statist innovators. The idea that Britain's past wealth and intellectual achievements were dependent on the exceptional individual freedom of the British people is rarely considered and never advocated by politicians whatever their political stripe. Thus virtually all wealth accumulates in the hands of either a massively bureaucratic government that now spends more than 50% of the nation's income, or the increasingly foreign business and financial elite that buys protection for its interests by funding elections and paying off politicians as they retire.
In the social, as in the economic sphere, freedom is continually diminished. Political correctness is rigidly enforced not only by government agencies, but increasingly, by individuals brainwashed by the state through the subjection of every citizen to between ten and twenty years of propaganda delivered in the guise of education.
But undoubtedly the most astounding consequence of Britain's psychotic response to the reality of her declining position in the world, is that it aims at the physical and cultural destruction of the British people as a genetic and cultural entity. Government sponsored hate speech is directed at anyone speaking for the preservation of the British race, the existence of which is blandly denied. We are all one happy, identical human race, so the elite inform working class Brits marginalized economically by an influx people from all over the World (3). Yet delusional as they are, the elite, while denying the existence of the British race, champion diversity, never explaining how creating a racially and culturally diverse community can result in anything but either a multicultural disaster or through the process of homogenization, the destruction of diversity.
And, if the images of the English riots provided by the media are at all representative, the process of national auto-genocide in Britain is now far advanced. The English, it would appear, are a minority in all of those urban centers subject to the recent breakdown in social order and decency.
Not only is Great Britain no longer great, it is, except in name, increasingly not even British.
Neither is it democratic, since most of the population are opposed to mass immigration, nor is it civilized. As recent Polish immigrant, Monika Konczyk, told reporters after she had been forced to leap from a second floor apartment set on fire by London rioters:
I came to England because I thought it was a great country full of kind and gentle people. I thought London was a civilised society full of gentlemen and ladies. But it is not like that. England has become a sick society.(1) Carroll Quigley, 1966. Tragedy and Hope.
I found myself jumping for my life after being attacked by thugs and thieves. They set fire to my building without any thought for anyone's safety.
They were happy for me to die. They were like animals, greedy selfish animals who thought only of themselves.
(2) Terence Kealey, October 13, 1996. Wasting Billions, the Scientific Way (The Sunday Times).
(3) Such reference to the negative impact of immigration on the local population is dismissed by the brainwashed and the propagandists as "racism," whereas it is merely an expression of the impact of immigration on the interests of the indigenous people of Britain. It in no way implies criticism of immigrants, no doubt fine people in most cases, who are doing what each of God's creatures must do, serving their own interest, as best they can. Provided they do so in accordance with law, they should not be condemned for being immigrants. Illegal immigrants, however, who are numerous in Britain, are another matter.