Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Will America Follow England’s “Pride Decline?”

With the London Olympics and the Sixtieth Anniversary (Jubilee) of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II about to arrive, one would think that English pride would be at its height. But it’s not so. The concept of English pride has declined steeply in the era of political correctness. The flag portrayed in the accompanying illustration is the Cross of St. George, patron saint of England. It is incorporated into the more familiar UK Union flag.

A recent survey in England showed that slightly more than eighty percent of English subjects feel pride when in the presence of the Union Flag (often called the Union Jack, which is accurate only when displayed on naval vessels). But less than two-thirds of Englishmen feel the same sense of pride when in the presence of the Flag of St. George, which represents England alone (without Ireland, Scotland and Wales). The Union Flag was created upon union in 1801 and shows the red cross of St. George (England), the white cross (saltire) of St. Patrick (Ireland) and the red cross of St. Andrew (Scotland) superimposed on the St. Patrick cross. Wales got short-changed because at the time of union, Wales was an integral part of England.

Research and think tank British Future conducted the survey. Without much in-depth comment, nearly a quarter of Englishmen questioned said that the Cross of St. George represented institutionalized English racism. Fewer than ten percent of Northern Irishmen, Scots and Welsh subjects said the same thing about their own flags. Unsurprisingly, though eighty percent of Brits said they felt pride in the Union Flag, only fifty-six percent of Scots and sixty-eight percent of Welshmen said the same of the venerable Union Jack. Northern Ireland goes along with the Brits, while the Irish who now have their own nation weren’t questioned.

England’s declining belief in its patriotic symbols is an increasing problem. The Union is in question when the anchor of the Union itself has a declining belief in its own worth. The United Kingdom is more than the sum of its parts. No individual nation within the Union can exert the influence the Union can. And the combined influence of the four entities as individual states would not match the influence of the Union alone.

There has also been a movement to replace God Save the Queen/King as England’s national anthem (sound familiar?). Most of the tunes suggested would be totally unknown to Americans, and obscure to most Englishmen. But the most commonly-mentioned and totally mystifying suggestion for the new anthem is Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, a tune very familiar to Americans and completely unrelated to patriotism in either nation.

St. George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday both occurred this past week. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “England little noted nor long remembered” the two celebrations. “Free men never, never, never shall be slaves” no longer resonates in a nation which has adopted American-style self-loathing and political correctness about race. One Brit drunkenly tweeted racist remarks about England’s black population and a famous black soccer-player who had a heart attack on the field, and was rewarded for his speech with a six month jail sentence for committing a hate speech crime.

At almost the same time, a twenty-one year old white female medical worker sitting on a bus bench was set upon by four black Somali Muslim women in the city of Leicester who proceeded to beat her senseless and kick her to the ground, all the while shouting “kill the white slag,” and “white bitch.” Their reward was to be told by a judge that he was very disappointed in their behavior, but sort of forgave it since the four were intoxicated and, as Muslims, unused to the effects of alcohol. No jail time, just a suspended sentence. Words are dangerous, acts are not. One of the four later remarked to a reporter who asked if she wished to apologize for her actions: “What, to the public? I don’t care.” Apparently the English agree with American liberals that only white people can be racists.

“Red Ken” Livingstone, former and perhaps future Mayor of London declared as part of his campaign that he wants to make London “a beacon for the teachings of Mohammed.” It seems he wants to finish the work he had advanced so well in his previous capacity as mayor. London used to be to England as San Francisco is to America—an island of insanity in an otherwise sensible nation. The polls and surveys are now showing that the rest of England is following London’s lead.

London is planning to draw off law-enforcement resources from throughout England for the London Olympics. They will be used to protect the celebrities and the international governing class who will be whisked to the events in private limousines in specially-designated traffic lanes. Thousands of English police will be taken away from their normal home duties. Gangs of thugs are already planning a repeat of the “free shopping” riots they fomented last year during massive looting of luxury goods at a big sale on expensive sneakers and state-of-the-art cell phones. The British government looked into those riots in which an estimated 15,000 thugs participated and concluded that the rioters weren’t at fault, it was poverty and excessive advertising.

Given the fervor surrounding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman mess, the words of Daily Mail writer Peter Hitchens (brother of English-American writer Christopher Hitchens) sound eerily familiar: “The ‘criminals are victims’ mentality is now a defining feature of the ‘injustice’ system.” And then there are those demands to remove the Confederate Flag (the cross of St. Andrew, incidentally) from all state flags and to replace the warlike Star-Spangled Banner with a tune more appropriate. Maybe we could join England and institute Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as our national anthem.


AndrewPrice said...

England is a mess. I read the British papers on line and am shocked at how callous and murderous so many of their binge-drunk people have become, and how twisted their justice system has become.

What's interesting about this flag issue is that it reverses at trend of a decade ago when Britons saw the Union Jack as a symbol of racism and the English Flag as a good thing. Now that's turned itself around. I'm thinking this all has more to do with Scottish independence than anything, but ultimately they could just be fickle.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I read the Spectator and the Guardian. They're as different as the New York Times and the Washington Times. I do see a parallel between the acceptance of the hooligan soccer culture in England and the acceptance of the thug culture of gangsta rap and violence on and off the basketball courts in America. But it all gets wrapped up in "non-judgmentalism," multiculturalism, and political correctness. The independence movements in Scotland and Wales explain their respective national pride, but only a surrender of the soul can explain why Englishmen no longer feel the kind of patriotic pride that used to be typified by the stiff upper lip attitude of most Brits.

"There will always be an England" seems to have been replaced with "better to tolerate militant Islam than to risk being beheaded." What happened to the courage and patriotic pride of a small island that stood up, nearly alone, against Napoleon and Hitler?

Elizabeth I, Henry V, Shakespeare and Churchill must be rolling over in their graves. The sun has set on the British Empire and now seems to be low in the sky over England itself.

Let's hope it's a temporary aberration. After all, the brave Brits fought on against all the odds, led by Winston Chruchill, through the loss of Europe and the Blitz and the Battle of Britain. Then they kicked Churchill out right after their greatest victory. But he did come back (and there was also a Margaret Thatcher later).

Joel Farnham said...


It could happen here, except that people can arm themselves, and we will only take so much injustice.

By the way, the Trayvon Martin thing is losing steam. It seems those dastardly revelers in truth, justice and the American way are overcoming the "JUST-US" folks and Zimmerman's story is getting out.

Unknown said...

Joel: As we say, "without the Second Amendment, there would be no First Amendment."

I think it's a good sign for Zimmerman that many reputable and very liberal legal experts are using words like "overcharged" and "questionable motives behind the prosecution." I think Sharpton and his media thugs really overplayed their hands this time. How that will play out once a verdict is in remains to be seen.

Tennessee Jed said...

I am instantly reminded of two verses for, I suppose, obvious reasons:

1) When Lord Cornwallis' sword was surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, the band played "the world turned upside down."

2) "Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, this my own, my native land."

WTF is going on anymore?

T-Rav said...

Well, blimey.

rlaWTX said...

If GB is a harbinger of the future US, we are so screwed.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: And then there's the simple: "My country, right or wrong." Too many people have criticized that as "jingoism" because they don't know the full quote: "When right, to keep her right. When wrong, to put her right." That entire thought is what true patriotism is all about.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: A great Britishism. It originally was "blind me," or "God blind me," run together as "gorblimey." I'm afraid too many of today's Brits are becoming blind to their own deterioration.

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: I truly hope it isn't. America seems to go through its own convulsions, but eventually comes back to basics. I think a conservative win in November might indicate that the good old center-right nation is back and the liberals will have to work very hard to convince anybody of much of anything in the future. To his [dis]credit,

The expression "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" is not an indictment of patriotism, but of hypocrites who, when caught with their hands in the cookie jar, invoke their phony sense of patriotism." When a liberal says "are you questioning my patriotism?" my response is usually "you're damned right I am." Barack Hussein Obama doesn't even to pretend to feel any sense of American patriotism--thus, the apology tours.

K said...

Latest British immigration figures: Some 586,000 people arrived to live in Britain and 344,000 emigrated.

The people emigrating are, largely, the natives who have finally had enough of "Benefits Britain". The immigrants are largely 3rd world.

It was previously admitted that the British labor party had boosted immigration into the country for the purpose of driving the political center further left.

No, this would never happen in the US.

Unknown said...

Commentarama Film Fans: How much effect do you feel the film My Beautiful Laundrette had on current English attitudes toward their own country?

T-Rav said...

I know we got made fun of a lot on this side of the pond for making such a big deal about the royal marriage and all last year (and personally, I didn't care about it all that much, though they seem like nice people). But come on, Brits. It's pretty sad that we showed more enthusiasm over your own monarchy than you did. If you won't defend your traditions, who will?

Unknown said...

K: In microcosm, the same thing is happening in California.

England's additional problem is that they colonized the world, and entry requirements are much more relaxed for citizens of those former colonies than for non-former colonials. The Labour Party did with legal immigration what the Democrats are trying to do with illegal immigration here. Legitimize the illegal immigrants, and you have a similar problem to that of England, though most of the illegal immigrants are not openly hostile to Western civilization as are the Muslims in England.

Much of the Muslim population in England comes from Pakistan (and other parts of India which separated from India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire). The closest we have come is the influx of population from Puerto Rico and to a lesser extent, the Philippines. Our experience has been far more favorable than England's, but political correctness here has caused problems that might not otherwise exist.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: The mawkish displays of emotion which followed the death of Princess Diana were the first indication to me that something was rotten in the State of England. It was not only a huge and unseemly bit of bad theater, but in many ways was an indication of just how little respect the English have for their own monarchy. I may have little respect for our head of state, but as long as we have our current form of government, I will show the office respect. If the Brits want to get rid of the monarchy, so be it, but while Elizabeth is the head of state, she deserves their respect as do so many other ancient English traditions which helped civilize a large part of the world--including us.

K said...

Hawk: No kidding. On the flip side the restaurant and gardening service here is excellent.

Unknown said...

K: Good to hear. Something good can come out of almost anything.

T-Rav said...

It would help if young Britons got a proper sense of who they are and their country's importance. There was an article in the Daily Mail last week about a proposed revision to the history curriculum, because the current one sucks so much. LINK In a given semester, I can count on one hand the items in this list that we cover.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: That curriculum looks a lot like what we began in high school and continued through our Western Civ courses at Cal. It's pathetic that in the Anglosphere, that knowledge is no longer being imparted on either side of the Atlantic in any meaningful way. Like Britain's, our history prior to the Civil War is badly neglected which partially explains why there is so little basic understanding of the purpose of the Constitution today. Far too many of our young people today think the shot heard 'round the world was the atomic bomb.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, I think you really hit on something when you bring up the abysmal state of the history curriculum in both countries. The article mentions that some students in Briton learn about Hitler three times over. I liken that to my own experience where the history curriculum got "reset" every year. Year in and year out I was taught about Columbus and the Pilgrims in the fall and, with some luck, I might have been told a thing or two about the Civil War by Memorial Day. Enjoy the summer. Return in the fall. Repeat.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk and tryanmax, I think our entire method of teaching history is in need of an overhaul. Forget the fact that too much of it is about racism or class conflict or women's role or whatever; that's bad enough. But we also don't do a good job of explaining why the facts we throw at the students are important.

I think part of the problem is that teachers approach the subject as a checklist to run through. Columbus landing? Check. Declaration of Independence? Check. Civil War? Check. History is one of those things that, for a lot of people, can only be interesting if you present it as a story, and that requires something of a storytelling ability. That's why I don't read a lot of monograms or journal articles (unless I have to), I read the popular historians whose stuff you can find at B & N or somewhere. They get ridiculed by the "professionals," but they obviously know how to make the stuff interesting. And we academics don't.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, it is truly a great irony, seeing as there is no coincidence that the word "story" appears within "history." In fact, it is the shorter word which derives from the longer, not the other way around.

(So no, contrary to feminist folk-etymology, "history" is not "his story." Rather, the word derives from Greek and is related to the words idein "to see," and to eidenai "to know." In English, words that start with a vowel sometimes acquire an "H" over time.)

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, I had a teacher when I was in high school (it was a summer course) who introduced me to "history" as "his story," which I had never heard of before. Of course, he also told us that the New York Times was really a conservative paper, and even though I was a hair shy of fifteen and not very politically aware, my response was something like, "Are you on crack?"

Unknown said...

T-Rav: Back when teachers majored in the subjects they ended up teaching and before eddykashun became the sole criterion for teaching, the best history teachers were true story-tellers.

Yes, dates and chronology were important, but the life and breath of history were also taught, usually with enthusiasm. College prep started in ninth grade, and in California there was a clear progression that simply continued in more depth when you went off to college.

The curriculum changed little over the years, so a student who moved from one school to another took up right where he or she had left off at the previous school. Then, when arriving at college, it was two years of Western Civilization.

We were taught what, when, where, who, and most important, why. That's largely gone now. History is being taught incoherently and largely from the Marxist perspective. First they teach a date, then explain why it is significant in relation to white, male, European oppression. No wonder kids today hate history and learn only what is necessary to please their "teachers."

"College prep" is a meaningless phrase today, since everyone, no matter how stupid or unwilling, is expected to go to college and get a degree he or she can't read.

Unknown said...

T-Rav and tryanmax: That "his-story" crap is more proof of the ignorance of today's political animals. Half of them can't speak decent English, and they certainly have zero idea of the elements that went into forming the language literate people speak today.

My favorite variant of that was when black radical feminist socialists started talking about their significant icons as "he-roes and she-roes." Oh, puke.

Anonymous said...

Limey Libertarian here:
We have 2 main types of immigration here in to the UK. European and Indian sub-continent (India, Bangladesh & Pakistan). European immigration tends to be short term, purely economically based and is spread geographically across the UK. (We have freedom of employment across Europe thanks to the EUSSR. Although I shouldn’t complain too much as I met my Spanish wife this way)

Indian sub-continent immigration can be broken down in to 2 main sub-sets, Indian (Mostly Hindu) and Pakistani/Bangladeshi (Overwhelmingly Muslim). Although Indians do tend to group together in some cities, the more affluent middle class Indians have spread out to suburbia, and although they are still proud of their culture and traditions, they have at least partially assimilated into mainstream British culture. They also tend to be well educated.

The Muslim immigrants are an entirely different matter. Most have self-segregated into enclaves (Some Northern English cities like Bradford are now majority Muslim). They do not tend to accept Western culture or values, if possible attempting to impose their own medieval attitudes on us the indigenous population. They are poorly educated, except in the Koran, and have no toleration of cultures or religions other than their own. Large number do not even speak English. The more extreme of them turn to terrorism and Jihad. In my opinion this is the main threat to our way of life.

Regards flags. The English cross of St. George was for a number of years associated with football (soccer) hooliganism. Although that National disease has now been largely stamped out thanks to better policing, all seater stadia and the re-branding of the sport as more family friendly. The unpleasant associations with the flag unfortunately still linger. As a patriotic Englishman I find that a real shame.

StanH said...

This makes me think of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden,” in reverse. Western civilization has allowed it’s borders, it’s culture, it’s laws, to be breeched by societal acquiescence, we wont invade them, they can invade us, and by extension we’ll make civilized, at least based on western morays, little Jeffersonian constitutionalist, or Subjects to the Crown, whatever the case may be.. We are having a little better luck than the British and the rest of Europe, at least our invaders for the most part are Christian, we have a starting point. This is also an extension of the “moral equivalence,” arguments, we’re all the same, if everyone is given an equal chance, horse petunias. All that we’ve accomplished with this open border crap, is the Balkanization of our own societies, and the break down of pride of country. If this is not reversed, and soon, with Western economies on the brink, we are risking WWIII, and the fissure once again will be Europe.

Unknown said...

Limey Libertarian: Great to hear from you. Thanks for the input from an insider. The material I had seen did mention the soccer hooligan connection to the cross of St. George.

We've had a dual experience here in America with Muslim immigrants. For many years, we had immigration from the Middle East which was a lot like immigration from pretty much everywhere else. Assimilation was routine, and radical fundamentalism was rare. That all changed a few decades back. More and more of the newer immigrants did what you're describing in England--building enclaves and remaining aloof from the general society. It may seem counterintuitive, but our recent immigrants most likely to continue the old pattern of assimilation have been those coming from Iran. That can probably be attributed to the fact that the vast majority of Iranian immigrants have been escapees from the rule of the ayatollahs.

Sadly, a third trend is emerging that was not foreseen. Second and third-generation children of assimilated Muslim families have begun to turn to the radical mosques and are heeding the message of jihad. Much of that can be attributed to the big money influence of the Saudi wahhabists who fund so many of the mosques and Muslim educational institutions. Once tolerant live-and-let-live families are finding that younger family members are abandoning their Americanized families and adopting Islamist ways.

Unknown said...

Stan: Our situation is indeed different. Our problem with illegal (open borders) immigration is the influx of crime, high unemployment, and the overwhelming of social services. But at least our largest immigrant group isn't out to destroy Western civilization and replace the Judeo-Christian majority with harsh Muslim fundamentalism. The one thing we share with England is that our largest immigrant group has no common experience with democratic/republican government, nor do they feel they should share in exclusive loyalty to their new country. Bilingualism and multiculturalism intentionally derail the concept of American exceptionalism.

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