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The following is rather long (sorry, Kathryn) but it says very elegantly and

accurately what many of us ex-Brits feel:

“Hi John, I’m a Brit who has settled in the United States (Los Angeles no less!). I read your article “Afterthoughts” with great interest. I am a member of the Conservative Party in the UK and have been for 15 years… and your line: ‘I do fear that this country might be made unfit to live in, as

the country of my birth has been, by a misguided and corrupt

humanitarianism, sentimental wallowing in past wrongs both real and

imagined, and class and race resentment petted and nurtured by opportunistic

tax-eaters’ struck a chord. The ills in Britain are far deeper and more

profound than many people realize. Britain seems to have entered, some time

in the mid-1960s, a period of social and moral decline that has continued

unchecked by Thatcherism, New Labour, entry to the European Union and any

other political development. It really is a country unfit to live in or

raise children in, which is why the birthrate is so low, the population is

ageing so fast, and so many people feel that their generation should not

create the next one.

The contrast between America and Britain could be best illustrated in a

conversation I had with some Brit friends who I met up with recently. We

were discussing the upcoming presidential campaign and the political issues

of the day. They were mystified that abortion was in any way a political or

moral issue. hadn’t that argument been resolved long ago, and wasn’t

abortion OK? They were fatalistic as to the deeper meaning of a declining

and ageing population (“but what can be done about it?”) And they were

largely dismissive of the effect of Christianity on America, as if

Christianity were some kind of social mistake or aberration that Europe had

thrown off but America still laboured under.

Whom do I blame? Well I would start with the Anglican Church which has

since the mid-20th century shown nothing but cowardice in the face of shrill

atheism, feminism and liberalism. In trying to retain its membership, it

has compromised its principles and now it has lost both….

The Conservative Party also has to take a considerable blame. It has

abandoned most of its Judeo-Christian roots and is trying to build an

ideology anew based on… well its not quite sure, which is why its agenda

is a ragbag collection of populist policies and vague promises to cut taxes.

Compared to the Republican party, which bases its agenda in American

Judeo-Christian values and builds its policies up from that base, the

Conservatives have no foundation, no moral compass from which to operate.

The Labour party has a moral compass in its Socialist roots, and even though

this is a deeply flawed base, at least it has one which is recognizable to

the electorate.

Quite simply, America is a better country.

Amen to that. I know very well that I could not now live happily in

Britain, though I maintain a sentimental attachment to the Ould Sod.

As to the very interesting question of why similar social forces have had a

much less destructive effect in the US than in Britain, when after all the

two are “cousin” nations: I personally believe that it has been the

different attitudes to authority in the two places. The old class deference

was still strong in England when I was a lad, and the upper classes — and

to some extent the middle classes, too — were expected to set a good

example to their inferiors. The story’s more complicated than that — there

was for example much more cynicism than that tells — but deference to

authority was real and strong. Americans, by contrast, were always more

self-reliant & dismissive of social ranks & privileges. We take our cues

not from rank or “place,” but from inner resources, spiritual and otherwise.

Thus when, in the 1960s, the upper classes abandoned their claims to

authority both here and there — abdicated, in effect — the effect was more

devastating in Britain.


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