Twenty-one years ago, I was rich and used to live in London. I had a drinks party on 23rd October 1986 and the nicely printed invites said “(your writer)….at home….for the 44th Anniversary of Alamein.” Everyone who was anyone was a “Sloane” then. But more importantly, 90%++ of the attendees (it was packed) knew what the date meant. Even the girls with pearls; especially, since most of their fathers were or had been Officers.
My boy, yesterday, in the top history set of his year, didn’t know what the Battle of Waterloo was; he thought it was something in South London. (Look, I DO try! Hard.) I didn’t even try him with Alamein; history-teaching by helicoptering the children in to “topics”, “without trace” destroys any kind of continuum of historical knowledge, which is the objective of course.
This post is about the Empire, and how it un-knowingly gave rise to the society in which Libertarianism could be born. On Tuesday 23rd October, the 65th anniversary of Alamein, this blog will run a discussion-feature on whether the Anglosphere could have been the Only Cradle of Freedom or not. Comments from readers will be published as fast as they can be processed.
Now I know Libertarians will sneer, gasp and cough at the very thought of “empire”, recalling as it does to us the dark days of the USSR, the Third Reich, Saddam’s evil plans for the world, the pig whose name I won’t pronounce and who runs Venezuela and who brown-nozes Jim Livingstone who tyrannizes London, a certain religion which alleges a claim to a monopoly of truth, other generally irremediable statism, and the like. But the British Empire was nothing like that, having come into existence rather accidentally, almost as an afterthought to the actions of individuals who sort of did freedom-stuff around the world, for a little time.
To help my boy, and to correct the mis-representations of a number of history teachers here in the North, whose students ask me for help, I wonder if readers want to comment about this Empire that never really was, and what was good and bad about it? Specifically, whether and how libertarianism could have come into being as a position to take, in any other environment?
Alamein was the last great battle, and start of a campaign, fought by British Imperial soldiers on their own. British; Rhodesian; Australian; Indian; Canadian; Jamaican; Ghurkhas; Trinidadians. What must the Axis have made of that? How in all morality could they think they could have won? But that’s an historical detail, and for the history books – except they have been purged.