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On Pax Americana And Pax Britannica

04 September 2019 @ 18:22

Over at The Russell Kirk Center, James Baresel reviews the new book by Jeremy Black entitled: Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World.

It is very fashionable these days to dismiss The Empire as nothing but an a horrible and racist oppressor of native peoples.  And, to be fair, other colonizing countries can be rightly accused of that, but not The British [however, they weren’t, of course, perfect].

Since especially Word War II, the Anti-Colonization Movement [it’s chief founder being FDR] has achieved great success in destroying Colonization by the nations of The West — pretty much just of The West — while allowing nations such as Red China, Soviet then Fascist Russia, and any number of Muslim Dictatorships to continue their Colonizations.  Red China, as is the habit of their race, is doing it very subtly.

Many conservatives [Mark Steyn is an exception] in fear of being Politically Incorrect refuse to defend The British Empire and the Pax Britannica it imposed on the world from the 18th to the mid-20th Centuries.  As Mr. Baresel remarks [emphasis mine]:

When a book is advertised as a “wide-ranging and vigorous assault on political correctness” one can usually expect that the reality will be a mere screed, one which (for the most part) targets real evils but (for the most part) does so on the basis of poor political philosophy, partial facts, and bombastic rhetoric. But when the volume so described has come from the pen of the distinguished historian Jeremy Black, one can be confident that it will be among the few to live up to its advertising. His recent Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World does not just fulfill such expectations, it does so while taking up a cause that even many of more-or-less conservative dispositions are either too timid endorse in public or too influenced by pervasive left-wing prejudice to sympathize with in private.

In his review, JB summarizes Mr. Black’s defense of TBE:

Black’s defense of the British Empire centers on three major themes: First, that imperial rule, at least of a de facto variety, has been the norm throughout history, and so there is no meaningful question as to whether or not empires will exist. The only questions that are meaningful at the practical level concern what countries will attain imperial power and how imperial power is used. Second, that Britain was among history’s most benign imperial powers. It generally acted with considerably more justice than injustice and (with some notable exceptions) usually governed at least as well as the regimes that preceded and replaced it. Third, that contemporary ideologies and political agendas, rather than any objective assessment of historical facts, are responsible for the way in which the British Empire is singled out for criticism in today’s Anglophone world.

The Empire was benign and, mostly quietly, spread the idea of what it means to be truly Civilized, including the idea of The Rule Of Law  As Mark Steyn has pointed out [and I paraphrase here]: those peoples who were once under British Colonial Rule have had a much less disruptive time of it since they were granted their own Sovereignty.  And notice also: how many peoples have decided to remain, with overwhelming Autonomy granted, part of The British Commonwealth.

As to the first theme:

The first of Black’s themes is little more than an application to international relations of the basic truth that hierarchy is natural and inevitable. Just as more talented and more determined individuals will rise to greater wealth, power, and prestige within a society, then seek to pass their status on to their descendants, so too will more accomplished and more determined societies rise to greater wealth, power, and prestige in the world as a whole. Imperial Legacies bluntly affirms that equality is “unusual for any government” and that the relationships between British imperialists and native populations was often one of cooperation between differing orders within a hierarchy rather than the class conflict seen as ubiquitous by those who interpret history through the dirt-colored lens of egalitarian ideology.

Very Realistic and not at all Utopian as the Misfit Ideologues are [remember this point].  As JB puts it:

…the extremes to which left-wing ideologues will go can amaze even those who suppose themselves hardened to absurdity. Some critics of the British Empire have lamented that the fall of Russian communism was a blow to the “anti-imperialist cause”—presumably on the grounds the Gulag existed to further the cause of egalitarian internationalism whereas the British Empire (however comparatively humane) was controlled by a class of gentlemen. Important elements within the Irish Republican Army sympathized with the Axis Powers, not just because they prioritized opposition to Britain but because they wished for an Ireland as “racially pure” as the Germany desired by the Nazis.

More from Mr. Baresel:

…“Subjugation” to Britain was in some cases the only way for a people to free themselves from oppression by a despotic regime or to re-establish order at a time of anarchy. Once imperial rule was established, the line separating “imperialists” and “natives” quickly became blurred. Intermarriage between elite British males and elite native females was not uncommon, and the children of such unions often became pillars of the empire. Numerous other common interests could tie members of a native population to the status quo. Did such factors result in widespread enthusiasm for British rule? No. Did they result in British rule often being considered tolerable enough? Yes. Was British rule often the best viable option, and could it be viewed as such by a native population? Again, yes.

The evidence, when not viewed through the fun-house mirror of Ideology, proves this.

More from JB:

The nature of opposition to British rule among colonial populations also must be noted. Prior to the spread of Western liberal doctrines throughout the empire, anti-imperial movements were not based in anything resembling commitment to egalitarianism or to “democratic self-determination of peoples.” The opponents of Britain were often native authoritarians hoping to reestablish their own power, or Pathan tribes wishing to continue their raids and their blood feuds unimpeded by any form of authority, or practitioners of suttee devoted to the immolation of living widows on their deceased husbands’ funeral pyres.

In other words: the British freed-up peoples oppressed by local Totalitarians.

The British Empire was a positive entity and it’s lessons should not be ignored or derided by any serious student of International Affairs.

We have an example of the results of the ignoring and deriding of it’s example in the overall failure of the Pax Americana.

We have seen Failure after Failure of it because we let Ideologues run it for the most part.

Since 2001, our government has promoted the Ideologically-Based Idea of ‘Nation Building’ and as the more Realistic of us have always understood: this pie-in-the-sky reasoning was doomed to fail.

As Mr. Baresel writes:

…American interventionists often act as though a desire for “democratic American values” is so innate in all people that overthrowing a non-democratic regime, drawing up a new constitution, and a few years of American oversight are sufficient to turn any country into a mini-me of the United States.

These Ideologues have been Fools — Deadly Fools.

You can’t impose our Western ideas on peoples who have no Tradition of Freedom and Ordered Liberty.

There must always be a Dominant Nation in the World.  Who do you want it to be: America?  or one of the failing Democratic governments of Europe?  or Fascist Russia?  or Communist China?

It is much more preferable that America be the Boss, but it must start acting like an effective Keeper Of The Peace.  America must learn to not Intervene in foreign cultures that are Alien to it.  If such nations challenge us, we must throw their challenge right back in their faces; if they attack us, we must respond with overwhelming force, defeat them, and leave with a warning that, if they act-up against us again, the consequences next time will be even worse.

And we must maintain overwhelming Military Superiority.

We must act like The British Empire did.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. guinspen permalink
    11 September 2019 @ 03:57 03:57

    Spot on, BB.

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