Why I like the Brits

The brave reaction of the people of London and the UK reminded me of why I like the Brits. Much of what is good in our own country has its root there. And they still do some things better. Debates in Commons are often more edifying than those in our own legislatures. We still rely on our British cousins for much of our classier literature and more sophisticated entertainment. A posh British accent still impresses most Americans.

Unlike most of their cross channel buddies, the British enjoy unemployment and growth rates similar to ours. In fact both the UK and Ireland rate a higher place on the Index of Economic Freedom than we do. Maybe we still could learn a few things.

The British still maintain one of the few military establishments that can actually project power more than a couple of miles offshore and they are still willing to stand up to despots and troublemakers, as a surprised Argentine military junta found out when they grabbed a couple of British islands a very long way from the UK. Winston Churchill's Britain stood alone against the totalitarians until our belated entry into the fight. Margaret Thatcher famously stiffened George Bush 41's spine after the invasion of Kuwait (although I like to think that he would not have gone wobbly in any case) and Tony Blair has been a good friend to both Presidents Clinton and Bush 43.

Britain is a success of synergy of diverse peoples (English, Irish, Scots, Welsh) who usually didn't like each other and were often actively fighting. Scots made up a disproportionate share of successful Brits. Were they successful in spite of their uneasy relationship with the English or because of it? The question doesn't apply only in Britain. Brits who came to America were usually not the most content. Content people rarely accomplish great things. Many of our famous frontiersmen (and several of our presidents) were Scot-Irish. Take a look at your $20 bill and consider the picture carefully.

We like to talk about diversity, but we also need to recognize that in any system the initial condition is determining. Our initial condition was British. That means that even those of us with no recent UK ancestry have British traits. A good book to read is Albion's Seed. You will find where a lot of things we think of as quintessentially American originated.

The British people stood with us and we stand with them now, as before.

Posted by Jack at July 9, 2005 9:17 PM