Google+
Close
The New Britannia
Big Government corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically.


Text  


Mark Steyn

Her Majesty’s cowed and craven politically correct constabulary stand around with their riot shields and Robocop gear as young rioters lob concrete through store windows to steal the electronic toys that provide their only non-narcotic or alcoholic amusement. I chanced to be in Piccadilly for the springtime riots when the police failed to stop the mob from smashing the windows of the Ritz and other upscale emporia, so it goes without saying that they wouldn’t lift a finger to protect less prestigious private property from thugs. Some of whom are as young as nine years old. And girls.

Advertisement
Yet a police force all but entirely useless when it comes to preventing crime or maintaining public order has time to police everything else. When Sam Brown observed en passant to a mounted policeman on Cornmarket Street in Oxford, “Do you know your horse is gay?”, he was surrounded within minutes by six officers and a fleet of patrol cars, handcuffed, tossed in the slammer overnight, and fined 80 pounds. Mr. Brown’s “homophobic comments,” explained a spokesmoron for Thames Valley Police, were “not only offensive to the policeman and his horse, but any members of the general public in the area.” The zealous crackdown on Sam Brown’s hippohomophobia has not been replicated in the present disturbances. Anyone who has so much as glanced at British policing policy over the last two decades would be hard pressed to argue which party on the streets of London, the thugs or the cops, is more irredeemably stupid.

This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want” to be accomplished by “co-operation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life’s vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: “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.” The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. From page 204:

“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”.  

I believe it is regarded as a sign of insanity to start quoting oneself, but at the risk of trying your patience I’ll try one more, because it’s the link between America’s downgraded debt and Britain’s downgraded citizenry:

“The evil of such a system is not the waste of money but the waste of people.”

Big Government means small citizens: It corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically. Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the earth’s surface and a quarter of its population. When you’re imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own.

There are lessons for all of us there.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2011 Mark Steyn



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review