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Why Britain is No Longer Great

Apr 11, 2007

Once the greatest nation on earth, Great Britain today is – like much of Europe – heading downhill big time. Back in its heyday it was both feared and respected. Today it is much more an object of scorn and derision.

When it was a superpower, it of course made mistakes and did some objectionable things, as do all superpowers. But on balance, it was a force for good in the world. But things have changed. National self-loathing, a rejection of its Christian heritage, and a stifling political correctness, coupled with a growing Islamic presence, have all contributed to the demise of Britain.

Many authors have chronicled this decline, including Melanie Phillips in her important work, Londonistan. There she documents the collapse of British self-confidence, and the rise of militant Islam. Another author concerned about the British decline is Dennis Prager. Writing in the April 10, 2007 townhall.com, he also laments the downward spiral:

“It is painful to see the decline of Great Britain. Greatness in individuals is rare; in countries it is almost unique. And Great Britain was great. It used to be said that ‘The sun never sets on the British empire.’ That is how vast Britain’s influence was. And that influence, on balance, was far more positive than negative.”

He continues, “The British colonies learned about individual rights, parliamentary government, civil service and courts of justice, to name a few of the benefits that the British brought with them. Were it not for British involvement, India might still have sati (burning wives on the funeral pyre of their husband), would have no unifying language, and probably no parliamentary democracy or other institutions and values that have made that country a democratic giant, now on its way to becoming an economic one as well. But today, the sun not only literally sets on an extinct British empire; it is figuratively setting on Britain itself.”

He focuses on two examples of this decline. The first involves the recent episode concerning the capture of 15 naval personnel by Iran. While we are all grateful that they have been released, many are quite concerned about the way the British Government handled the whole affair. The “British government did not confront the Iranians in any way reminiscent of a great country, let alone of Britain’s great past. If we judge the British government’s reaction alone – without any reference to the behavior of the British sailors and marines – Iran was the feared power, not Great Britain, which acted like the supplicant.”

Worse still is the aftermath of the story: allowing the sailors to sell their stories to the media, something unique in military history. “Some of the captured sailors and marines have already earned large sums of money. The Guardian newspaper said the one woman who had been captured, Faye Turney, agreed to a deal with The Sun and ITV television for approximately $200,000. (American soldier Jessica Lynch, who was captured when her Army convoy was ambushed in 2003, received a $500,000 advance for her book, I Am a Soldier, Too. But that was a book published later and she had never charged the news media when interviewed by them.) And John Tindell, the father of another of the hostages, said the marines were planning to sell on eBay the vases given to them by the Iranians.”

“As The Australian reported, ‘Some of the sums being offered to the captives are higher than the money paid to service personnel maimed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The standard tariff for the loss of an arm is 57,500 pounds.’ The Labor government’s decision was described well by the mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq. As reported by Reuters: ‘The mother of a 19-year-old British soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq at the weekend said she would be “very shocked” if any of the detainees were paid for their stories. “If you are a member of the military, it is your duty to serve your country,” Sally Veck, mother of Eleanor Dlugosz, told the Times. “You should do your duty and not expect to make money by selling stories”.’”

The other example is even more reprehensible, and demonstrates just how far down the tubes British society has gone. It is the “decision of schools in various parts of that country to stop teaching about the Holocaust in history classes. The reason? As reported by the BBC, ‘Some schools avoid teaching the Holocaust and other controversial history subjects as they do not want to cause offence, research has claimed. Teachers fear meeting anti-Semitic sentiment, particularly from Muslim pupils, the government-funded study by the Historical Association said.’ No comment necessary.”

No, but I will make one. If militant Islam’s virulent anti-Semitism is allowed to coerce schools into banning teaching about the Holocaust then Islam has already won. Christian England might as well raise the white flag of surrender and call it quits. When other parts of the world are trying to remind us of the Holocaust and the lessons thereof, some British schools are opting for self-censorship and appeasement. This is mind-boggling and soul-numbing stuff.

Prager concludes: “But a word of caution: If Great Britain can cease to be great in so short a time span, any country can. All you need is an elite that no longer believes in their country, that manipulates history texts to make students feel good about themselves, that prefers multiculturalism to its own culture, and that has abandoned its religious underpinnings. Sound familiar, America?”

To which I would add: Sound familiar, Australia?

www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2007/04/10/britain_was_once_great_britain

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19 Responses to Why Britain is No Longer Great

  • Great article, Bill.

    It figures that the Muslims would take offense to children being taught that the slaughter of millions of Jews was a bad thing.

    James Swanson, Tennessee, USA

  • James Swanson, of course they would want to downplay the Holocaust. Otherwise there is a chance that kids could learn how Arafat’s mentor and “uncle”, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, spent WW2 with Hitler, helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for the SS Jew-killing regiments, and urged his mate Eichmann to hurry up with the Final Solution. See www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_grand_mufti.php
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill

    You have done well to report the Prager article. Is was a goody.

    Along with Jonathan’s suggestion I would also suggest an article by German scholar Matthias Kuntzel called “Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East” – www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/hitlers-legacy-islamic-antisemitism-in-the-middle-east – it details how Hitler and Nazi Germany inspired much of antisemiticism in the Middle East. Its a great read.

    Damien Spillane

  • There is a most informative book called The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana by Peter Hitchens.

    Hitchens says that at one time, kids were taught history that more-or-less fairly stated the good and bad things in British history, i.e. warts and all. But more modern courses just give the warts. Much the same apparently happens in American schools, where leftist teachers spout on about how GWB is the real terrorist, and in Australia where we are painted as a racist society — despite voting non-Caucasians as “Australian Idol” and cheering the Chinese mayor of Melbourne at the Commonwealth Games.

    How many British kids learn that the Westminster System of government has been successfully exported to many parts of the world that now enjoy the most freedom and prosperity? There is an apocryphal account of a refugee from an Eastern European state wanting to emigrate only to a Commonwealth country, because the cops obey the law. Maybe the American system is better, maybe not, but that seems unique to the USA, while Australia, New Zealand and Canada have the Westminster System.

    Also, how many are informed that while slavery was all around the world, Britain abolished it without a civil war, and also used the gunboats of its mighty navy to intercept slave ships? Nowadays this would be condemned as “British imperialism” and “imposing her morality on others”.

    The British William Sleeman also demolished the murderous Thugee cult in India, and Sir Charles Napier, the British Commander-in-chief in India from 1849 to 1851, replied to a devotee of Sati in a way that would slap around modern cultural and moral relativists:

    “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • From “On Not Apologising Too Slavishly” by Dennis O’Keeffe, Prof. of Social Science at the Uni. of Birmingham, Quadrant April 2007:

    “We have the injunction of Matthew’s Gospel quite the wrong way round, obsessively considering the mote in our own eye, to the exclusion of the beam in out neighbour’s. A good thing, self-criticism, becomes bad when it breaks the bounds of reason.

    “Jeremy Black [author of The Slave Trade] would prefer that we be far more cautious in our apologies. He says apology has become a cult, with the West as the principal repentant. There is actually a hidden element of racism in the cult. We are white so we should not do those terrible things; they are black so we should go easy on them. The Germans are Central Europeans, so Nazism is an unqualified horror. … We hold that the Russians are semi-Asiatic savages, se we have to pretend that communism was a good idea that went wrong, rather than an attempt to enslave the hole world, one which murdered more innocents than all the former ills of history put together.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill,
    If I didn’t know better, I would suggest that you were displaying anti-britishism here. Shame on you!
    Love foxy
    Foxy Mallone

  • Dear Bill, though these two examples might be given as evidence of a failure of moral fibre in Britain, surely it is the passing of the Sexual Orientation Regulations which really marks the turning off the lights, not only for Britain, but for the rest of the free world. Our sexuality touches us like nothing else – body,soul and spirit. Tamper or try to reorder this on a national scale and it will be like trying to change the angle of Earth’s axis in relation to the Sun. Everything will go. People talk of global warming but what about the melt down of society that was started, on the 21st March,2007, when the House of Lords, in Britain voted in favour of the SORs. It is coming your way Australia and you had better prepare yourselves whilst you may.
    David Skinner

  • Quite to the contrary Foxy. It is exactly because I do care about Britain and the West that I write these articles and have these concerns.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • You are right, David. The surrender of Britain to so called ‘progressive’ liberal ideologies is now complete.

    The SOR’s could mean that Christian schools might be prosecuted for teaching out the bible about homosexuality.

    I did not think I would soon see the possibility of a ‘western’ government censoring the bible or dictating what churches may teach, but now that is a distinct possibility in Britain. It may just take an interested party to make a complaint.

    And I worry for Australia with its “me too” government and “she’ll be right mate” populace.

    We must keep our eyes open for similar legislature to stand up and speak out when we see even a hint of it.

    Dale Flannery

  • Hi Bill,
    I’m sure you do care about Britain and the West, but so too do the lefties that critise the role of the West during certain instances such as the Hicks saga which you (et al) frequently label as anti-American/Western.
    Love Foxy Mallone

  • Thanks Foxy (real name?)

    But it is hard for some to believe that leftists really care about the West when they seem more intent on canonizing and extolling self-confessed terrorists, while pillorying and attacking those who seek to combat the scourge of global terrorism.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yes, sadly we are seeing the fall of a great civilization. I often think that most of the poms that have left England have done so for this reason. One prominent British MP has said that they have passed the point of no return.
    When should they officially announce their demise? When Charles takes over?
    Graham McLennan

  • Bill,

    Great article! I visited the UK over the 2006 Christmas break. It’s hard for me to not feel a sense of loss, having been born there. The British culture that I grew up in (in the sixties) has, in many quarters, been obliterated. The transformation is profound. The changes that have brought this about have very often been subtle (as they usally are!) but in the final analysis were the ‘thin edge of the wedge’. The ‘great’ part of Britian has largely been lost. Some things need to be protected and guarded, eg: values, heritage, cultural identity. The foundations that made this such a wonderful country have been completey eroded, and now what we see are ‘the ruins of the past’. Britain is now suffering from a sort of ‘schizophrenic’ identity crisis – who the hell are we!! And this has come about in some small ways, in it’s attempt to be all things to all cultures.

    Bob Garbett

  • I live in Britain and in a most beautiful part of it, Dorset. Living where I do seems far removed from what is going on in the rest of of country and yet only an hour’s drive takes me into a big seaside city, Bournemouth . Immediately one senses in the air, like black atomic dust , the consumerism and drivenism of this age. We are in an invisible war but the effects of which we see in the faces of the people all around us. Wecome to Vanity Fair. O god pray for our nation.
    David Skinner

  • In response to: “Were it not for British involvement, India might still have sati (burning wives on the funeral pyre of their husband), would have no unifying language, and probably no parliamentary democracy or other institutions and values that have made that country a democratic giant, now on its way to becoming an economic one as well.”

    i) A large body of evidence demonstrates that the British overexaggerated the presence of Sati in India to legitimize their colonization of the country. Various movements at the time of colonization actually championed the rights of widows, but their voices were drowned out.

    ii) English does not unify India. India has 23 official languages and English simply helps to put India on the Judeo-Christian map. The biggest problems with India’s judicial system today is that over half of the country cannot comprehend court rulings given that they personally and professional converse in a myriad of other tongues and dialects.

    iii) The British may have instituted a parliamentary demoncracy, but the immense power of India’s Supreme Court has made for Judicial Government in which speaking out against the country’s highest court will hold any citizen in contempt (and I refer to the case of Arundhati Roy, in this instance).

    Your blog articulates that you are critical. I beg of you to live up to your own standards.

    Rahul Mediratta

  • Thanks Rahul

    But neither Prager nor I said England was perfect, or that it ushered in paradise in India. But it did help bring substantial freedom and democracy to India – no small achievement.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I think we can attribute the decline of Great Britain to the declining influence of Christianity in the culture which in turn is a result of the liberalisation and compromise of the church. There are many reasons for this but the earliest and clearest one that stands out to me is the way the church, beginning in Britain, compromised with the theories of naturalistic science.

    The idea of a very old earth developed in the early 19th century through geology and it was opposed by a group of Christian scientists and non-scientists, primarily in Britain, who collectively became known as the ‘scriptural geologists.’ Several of the scriptural geologists expressed their concerns that if the early chapters of Genesis were rejected as literal accurate history it would only be a matter of time before other parts of the Bible would be rejected as well, leading inevitably to the spiritual decline of the church and the moral decay of society. One scriptural geologist put it this way in 1834:

    ‘Many reverend Geologists, however, would evince their reverence for the divine Revelation by making a distinction between its historical and its moral portions; and maintaining, that the latter only is inspired and absolute Truth; but that the former is not so; and therefore is open to any latitude of philosophic and scientific interpretation, modification or denial! … What the consequences of such things must be to a revelation-possessing land, time will rapidly and awfully unfold in its opening pages of national scepticism, infidelity, and apostasy, and of God’s righteous vengeance on the same!’

    The last 170 years in the Western world has confirmed the scriptural geologists’ worst fears. The West is in rapid moral and social decline. This seems particularly obvious in Britain, where Christianity has previously had such a great moral influence on culture. And the same negative effects are seen wherever the West’s influence is felt. The only hope for the halt and reversal of the increasing moral decadence and hopelessness in the West is the return of individuals to God and His Word.

    (I adapted much of the above from an article by Dr Terry Mortenson)

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Hey Bill,

    Thanks for the reply. I question the extent to which British colonizers ushered in ‘freedom’, per se.

    I have linked your blog to my own blogspot. I have read several of your postings and while I oppose most of the arguments and find a few to be egregious, I am still struck by your eloquence, thoroughness, and conviction.

    Keep it up…

    Rahul Mediratta

  • Thanks Rahul

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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