It’s not only the same language that separates Britain and America. I could name hundreds of differences, but the one currently relevant has to do with race relations.
In that febrile area Britain and the US are even further apart than in language, which obvious fact is wilfully ignored by the BLM mob and its ‘liberal’ ventriloquists.
For, though both countries can be retrospectively tarred with the slavery brush, the strokes are wider and more lurid in America.
Slavery was practically nonexistent in metropolitan England, though it was important to the economies of her colonies, including the American ones. Already in Elizabethan times slavery was seen as abhorrent.
A report of a case as far back as 1569 states that: “… it was resolved that England was too pure an air for a slave to breathe, and so everyone who breathes it becomes free. Everyone who comes to this island is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may have suffered and whatever may be the colour of his skin.”
And in 1772, ruling on the case of a slave suing for his freedom when brought to Britain, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield declared that “no court could compel a slave to obey an order depriving him of his liberty.”
Such statements weren’t heard in many other places at that time. And it wasn’t just words. Though Britain officially banned the slave trade only in 1807, unofficially the Royal Navy had been harassing slave traffic for decades.
Some historians believe that the American colonies rose in insurgence partly for fear that slavery, having been disavowed in the English Common law, would be abolished in America. And the colonists’ feelings about slavery were entirely different, to a point where blacks weren’t believed to be fully human.
Hence the signatories to the Declaration of Independence sensed no incongruity in proclaiming equality and liberty as inalienable rights, while at the same time owning (and in Jefferson’s case also multiplying) slaves. Dr Johnson, who abhorred slavery, was quick to spot the contradiction: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”
Had Lincoln not chosen abolition as the false flag for his attempt to enshrine the supremacy of the central state, God only knows how much longer slavery could have survived in America.
My guess is that this outdated institution would have died out fairly soon anyway. After all, even in Russia, a place not widely known for its commitment to liberty, the serfs were emancipated in 1861, two years before Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.
However, abolition of slavery where it’s economically significant raises many legal issues, specifically those involving property rights. These, according to the godfather of Enlightenment politics, John Locke, have to be an inviolable bedrock of just society.
Immoral as chattel slavery might have been believed to be, confiscation of legally acquired property went against the grain of the English Common Law, which applied in the colonies as much as in the metropolis.
The two sides handled this hot potato differently, which to this day affects the huge difference in racial relations between the two. In America the North smashed the South, dispossessed all plantations with no compensation, freed all the slaves and encouraged them to embark on an orgy of violence against white southerners.
That inflicted awful wounds on the American psyche, and they are still festering. This isn’t to say that most white Americans hate blacks, far from it. Universal racism, private or institutional, is a figment of ‘liberal’ imagination. Yet anyone who has ever lived in the South will testify that racist flames aren’t fanned by black activism exclusively.
In Britain the issue was solved in a civilised and amicable way, which left a legacy of more emollient racial interactions. When the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1833, the government borrowed £20 million to pay off the dispossessed slave owners.
To put that sum in perspective, it equalled 40 per cent of the country’s budget and five per cent of her GDP. Considering that last year’s GDP was £2.2 trillion, you can figure out the modern equivalent.
That loan was finally paid off only in 2015, meaning that I and other adult Britons had to service it through our taxes throughout most of our working lives. In addition to fostering much healthier race relations, this ought to remind us of the long-term burden imposed by runaway borrowing.
To paraphrase ever so slightly, amici nigri, sed magis amica veritas. And the truth of the matter is that equating the race situation in Britain and America is pernicious demagoguery at its most soaring. When ignorance meets ideology, only idiocy will result.
And ignorant, ideologised idiots are deaf to rational arguments and serious advice. Such as, chaps, let Americans sort out what goes on in America. It really has nothing to do with you.
P.S. One of the statues targeted by the BLM mob is that of Sir Thomas Guy, whose crime was to invest in the South Sea Company around 1720. By all means take the offensive statue down, but why stop there? Do proceed to razing the hospital Sir Thomas endowed, which still bears his name. Now is just the right time.