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  • The Elizabethan Legacy

    The Elizabethan Legacy

    Hannes Wessels,

    Like most people I did not know the Queen, but I did know her husband inasmuch as I spent an afternoon with Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace almost forty years ago. Being involved in the World Wildlife Fund and related associations he wanted to know more about safari hunting and how it could be used as a conservation tool in Africa. Over several strong gins we talked at length, and I warmed to him immediately. During our time together I mentioned the fact that my boss was not in London because he was on a murder charge for shooting a poacher who was part of a marauding armed gang. This threw him a bit and he went into contemplative mode; following a silence he asked if it was not possible to use a dart-gun in these engagements and thereby avoid using lethal force. This suggestion threw me a bit and I explained as politely as possible, that taking a dart-gun to a gunfight where the ‘bad guys’ had heavy calibre rifles and automatic weapons was not a good idea if survival was a consideration. But I saw he had a super sense of humour, we found much to laugh about and I left the meeting believing the monarchy and the British people were fortunate to have him at the side of their Queen.

    Later, I was to be disappointed by events in which Her Majesty played a key role leading to the Lancaster House negotiations and the transfer of power to Robert Mugabe. It all unfolded at the Commonwealth Conference in Lusaka late 1979. At this point Mrs. Thatcher had promised to recognise the April election bringing the first black majority government to power, certified as free and fair by Lord Boyd. But this was not well received by the Foreign Office or Commonwealth heads of state. Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington was deeply contemptuous of white Rhodesians who he relegated to a lower class and loathed Ian Smith. His primary objective was not to find an equitable solution to the problem, but to mete out punishment for what he referred to as the ‘vainglorious’ behaviour of the Rhodesians. He and President Kaunda solicited the support of the Queen in pressuring Mrs. Thatcher to renege on her promise, which she did, and the rest is history.

    But that aside she must surely go down as the most loved public figure in British history. She radiated Christian kindness, compassion, and common decency, honoured her coronation commitment to serve her subjects selflessly, and she was a unifying figure throughout her reign. Most Britons are going to miss her, and she is impossible to replace.

    When she came to the throne in June 1953 much of the empire was intact, Winston Churchill was PM, and a British subject, Edmund Hilary planted the Union flag atop Everest becoming the first man to reach that point; the country appeared to be on top of the world metaphorically and physically. But it was not as it looked; the socialists under Clement Atlee had planted their insidious poison, the Americans did not approve of the colonies and being creditors, they had significant leverage. Most importantly, Britons started to lose confidence in themselves and their role in the world despite having so much to be proud of. The masters of good governance, they had brought a language, literacy, medicine, sophisticated administrative and legal systems, and highly competent administrators to previously primitive regions of the world, in the process of building the most benign imperial regime in history, but this was quickly lost on them and the world. A sense of guilt replaced a sense of pride.

    Soon the unravelling began; in 1957 Ghana became independent under Kwame Nkrumah; in 1960 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan addressed the South African parliament in Cape Town and explained the ‘wind of change’ that was gusting across Africa. In the same year, Nigeria and Somaliland attained independence. In 1961 Sierra Leone and Tanganyika (Tanzania) lowered the Union Jack, followed by Uganda in 1962, Kenya in December 1963, Malawi and Zambia in 1964.

    No sooner had the band stopped playing when Ghana’s economy quickly collapsed, rule by decree was introduced, violence followed, and Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup. Nigeria was soon plunged into civil war and the looting of one of Africa’s richest countries continues to this day. In Uganda Obote became increasingly despotic before being overthrown by Idi Amin who launched a genocide and expelled the Indians who powered the economy. In Tanzania, Nyerere dispensed with democracy and introduced ‘Ujaama,’ which was another name for Marxism and bankrupted the country. Today it is simply preposterous to suggest that Britain’s former colonies are better places for the majority of their citizens than they were under the Crown. The mass exodus of Africans heading for Europe is clear proof of this.

    For this disaster, the Queen cannot be blamed; successive governments under her followed the same guilt-driven policies of refusing to criticise malevolent regimes, preferring to provide boundless succour in financial aid that did little other than buttress the positions of the despots. This policy continues to this day and so it appears there is little hope for the people of Africa.

    While the British lost confidence in their ability to rule the world they also appear to have lost confidence in their ability to rule themselves. In local government, more and more of the major metropoles including the city of London are now being run by immigrants, Muslims of Pakistani descent. Whether or not these mayors and councillors may be competent and diligent, their primary loyalty is not to the Crown, the country, or their constituents, but to their Prophet. For them to believe otherwise constitutes apostasy and a possible death sentence. In what used to be a predominantly Christian country this should be a cause for concern but apparently not. At a higher-level people from immigrant backgrounds hold a disproportionate number of cabinet posts. The incumbent and last two Chancellors of the Exchequer have their roots in countries and cultures that are not known for producing politicians that are famous for prudence in managing the public purse.

    In a country that once boasted arguably the best police force in the world, English cities are reporting dramatic increases in the levels of crime, particularly violent crime and selective prosecution seems to have replaced equal protection by the forces of law and order. Many police officers are now tasked with monitoring the internet, paying particular attention to people who may refer to themselves as ‘patriots’ and offend so-called ‘minorities. White girls have discovered reporting sexual attacks to be pointless when the alleged perpetrators are of ‘minority’ descent.

    The National Health Service is acknowledged to be nearing collapse. The Home Office, recently run by Priti Patel, reports that undocumented immigrants continue to pour into the country placing additional burdens on the English taxpayer. One of the indicators of a country failing its people is access to travel documents; it is widely reported that there is a six-month backlog for passports in England. In the words of a former Home Secretary, the Home Office is no longer ‘fit for purpose.’

    The late monarch probably did her best, but the country and the Commonwealth she reigned over is a shambles at best, a catastrophe at worst. And there is almost certainly worse to come. King Charles III seems to share the view that his country has done little other than plunder and impoverish and that the British people are largely to blame for polluting the world. His message to his subjects seems certain to be one of atonement for crimes of the present and past.

    Sadly the people from my generation are being swept away by the great tide of history. We are in the transition between the old age of empire and the new world that has emerged from it. The outcome of benign colonialism was never going to be anything other than awful for humanity, not least the unsustainable Third World population explosion enabled by western medicine and aid.

    There are reasons why the British (and more generally Europeans) were successful in every dimension of their existence, and why they came to dominate; other peoples did not have the intellectual and organisational acumen, let alone technology, to offer anything of value other than their natural resources and their labour. And the liberal mindset of post WWII Europe has ensured that sameness, no matter how different we might clearly be, is cast in stone – and the consequences are rapidly becoming very apparent as western civilisation and democracy is dismantled by nihilists. I fear for my children.

    God bless Queen Elizabeth and may He have mercy on us all.


    If it pays, it stays

  • #2
    It's an interesting essay however this is abhorrent and completely false:

    There are reasons why the British (and more generally Europeans) were successful in every dimension of their existence, and why they came to dominate; other peoples did not have the intellectual and organisational acumen, let alone technology, to offer anything of value other than their natural resources and their labour.
    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

    -John Locke

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by scott View Post
      It's an interesting essay however this is abhorrent and completely false:
      Well then, spell it out.

      Mark
      Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

      "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

      Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

      Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 80zephyr View Post

        Well then, spell it out.

        Mark
        I agree with Scott, along the lines of Jared Diamond's book, Guns, Germs and Steel, but at some point self-confidence is self-fulfilling quality. ("Whether you think you can, or can't, you're right.") Results can be astonishing.

        I don't believe there are innate differences in peoples generally, however, and I wonder if self-confidence always devolves into arrogance and hubris as a result.
        • "We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those lying to our faces." — Brian Stelter, leading by example.
        • “I have absolutely no intention of the Democrats not winning the House in November." — Nancy Pelosi, explaining power.
        • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama's 1st Rule of Joe Biden.
        • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misquoting Pogo.
        • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
        • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
        • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Newman View Post

          I agree with Scott, along the lines of Jared Diamond's book, Guns, Germs and Steel, but at some point self-confidence is self-fulfilling quality. ("Whether you think you can, or can't, you're right.") Results can be astonishing.

          I don't believe there are innate differences in peoples generally, however, and I wonder if self-confidence always devolves into arrogance and hubris as a result.
          Does anyone here believe that the American indian would have progressed towards a modern society without European intervention? I don't.

          Mark
          Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

          "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

          Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

          Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

          Comment


          • #6
            ..other peoples did not have the intellectual and organisational acumen, let alone technology, to offer anything of value other than their natural resources and their labour.
            When you're speaking about "value", it's all relative. Is there nothing of value that we might learn from "other peoples"?
            May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
            Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
            And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
            may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michele View Post

              When you're speaking about "value", it's all relative. Is there nothing of value that we might learn from "other peoples"?
              Sure. There are things to learn from others. But I reject the idea that all cultures are equal but different.

              Mark
              Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

              "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

              Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

              Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

              Comment


              • #8
                To clarify, not all cultures are honorable, health or successful, much less equal.

                (Of course everybody agrees that native American cultures were perfect in every way. Well, everybody except wooly mammoths, maybe.)

                People are malleable. Austria in the 18th century was super-focused on music, and lo and behold many including me will argue that culture produced the pinnacle blend of Western art and popular music, with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and many others. Other cultures and subcultures have produced warriors, scientists or athletes.

                But I believe underlying all this are humans born with essentially the same potential and capacity.

                In ancient times there were mnemotists, memorizers, who could listen to hours-long speeches and recount them word for word for scribes. Same people who today can't remember yesterday's Wordle answer.

                Progress is an idea that doesn't engage all cultures. It's hard for us to understand the disinterest in improving daily life, but it's so.

                Diamond's thesis was that much of the rise and fall of peoples had to do with chance, with available resources, say, or immunities. As I dimly recall he opens (it may have even been the Introduction) comparing the fortunes of two societies that had split from a common group but settled in separate areas. After a while, a few hundred years, the advantageous resources of one place led those people to superior power over the other, and they proceeded to massacre them, to extinction I believe. I'm guessing but I bet the victors were completely certain they were inherently superior and ordained by their god to prevail.
                • "We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those lying to our faces." — Brian Stelter, leading by example.
                • “I have absolutely no intention of the Democrats not winning the House in November." — Nancy Pelosi, explaining power.
                • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama's 1st Rule of Joe Biden.
                • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misquoting Pogo.
                • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
                • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
                • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Newman View Post
                  To clarify, not all cultures are honorable, health or successful, much less equal.

                  (Of course everybody agrees that native American cultures were perfect in every way. Well, everybody except wooly mammoths, maybe.)

                  People are malleable. Austria in the 18th century was super-focused on music, and lo and behold many including me will argue that culture produced the pinnacle blend of Western art and popular music, with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and many others. Other cultures and subcultures have produced warriors, scientists or athletes.

                  But I believe underlying all this are humans born with essentially the same potential and capacity.

                  In ancient times there were mnemotists, memorizers, who could listen to hours-long speeches and recount them word for word for scribes. Same people who today can't remember yesterday's Wordle answer.

                  Progress is an idea that doesn't engage all cultures. It's hard for us to understand the disinterest in improving daily life, but it's so.

                  Diamond's thesis was that much of the rise and fall of peoples had to do with chance, with available resources, say, or immunities. As I dimly recall he opens (it may have even been the Introduction) comparing the fortunes of two societies that had split from a common group but settled in separate areas. After a while, a few hundred years, the advantageous resources of one place led those people to superior power over the other, and they proceeded to massacre them, to extinction I believe. I'm guessing but I bet the victors were completely certain they were inherently superior and ordained by their god to prevail.
                  True, and people are a product of their environment as well as their genes. People who live in the tundra are unlikely to become great architects, although igloos are pretty clever. They're also unlikely to develop advanced farming techniques. People who live in tropical climates may feel no compulsion to devise complex housing accommodations at all, but may excel in other skills.
                  "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The British sure as shit don’t dominate the dimension of dentistry….

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hondo View Post
                      The British sure as shit don’t dominate the dimension of dentistry….
                      Dental work has been covered by their "free" health care system (NHS) since the beginning, around 1948.

                      • "We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those lying to our faces." — Brian Stelter, leading by example.
                      • “I have absolutely no intention of the Democrats not winning the House in November." — Nancy Pelosi, explaining power.
                      • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama's 1st Rule of Joe Biden.
                      • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misquoting Pogo.
                      • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
                      • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
                      • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hondo View Post
                        The British sure as shit don’t dominate the dimension of dentistry….
                        Or culinary skills. Gin & Tonic they did perfect though.
                        If it pays, it stays

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scott View Post
                          It's an interesting essay however this is abhorrent and completely false:
                          I think that there's a kernel of truth to his statement, though he certainly says it in rather a ham-handed fashion.

                          Colonialism has almost never paid off in human history. You can track it right back to the Roman Empire or Genghis Kahn if you'd like: they were empires much more about stroking the ego of someone who wanted to "rule the world" than they were about trying to make economics work. The Romans were arguably better at it than most, probably because they decided to blend cultures rather than conquer them. And in a way, that's kind of how the British bombed it with colonialism. We were colonists for hundreds of years and all they ever really got out of it was some expensive cotton and then shot in the ass in Massachusetts.

                          But the Romans did something that the British didn't do, particularly in regards to African colonialism: the Romans provided an ROI for those who had become subjects of the emperor of that particular time: they got roads, they got standardized education, they got plumbing/sanitation (at least of a sort), reliable fresh water supplies,, etc., etc., etc.

                          I have, for a very long time, said that if you (the Royal You) want Africa and Africans to prosper, to thrive economically, then what they need is actually good transportation. The Brits screwed the pooch on this at the dawning of the railroad era, when they could have really made a difference there instead of just shooting Zulus with muskets.

                          Take a look at any map. You'll see that virtually every city on earth that is remotely prosperous is located immediately upon a navigable waterway: New York, Tokyo, Sydney, London, Rio, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Frankfurt, Berlin, Budapest, Moscow, you name it. There's a damned good reason for that: moving stuff (and, to some degree, people) by water is far and away the least expensive way to do that. With very little exception, Africa as a continent does not have reliable navigable waterways. So, the next cheapest way to move stuff (and people) is on rails. It's how the Midwest was born here in the U.S. Now, because of a whole whirlwind of factors these days, it's damn near impossible to build a railroad in most places in the world, but back in the "golden age" of railroading, when the UK was quite a bit of a pioneer in that area, they could have and should have built all sorts of railroads across Africa to move goods and people between cities and ports. Africa as a continent would be a vastly more prosperous (and likely far less violent) place than it is today if they had been given the benefit of mutually-beneficial trade in something other than human beings conquered in war to ship around the world. But in very large part, the Brits, the French, the Portuguese, the Dutch, etc. completely fell down on that task, and now, +/- 175 years later, the entire continent is a complete shithole, largely backward, often at war with one another, and the only way to get anywhere is either to take your life in your hands trying to drive on what can only laughably be called "roads" or fly in and out, and the plane only goes on Tuesday.

                          Now, all of this was long-since over and done by the time Elizabeth took the throne, so I don't think that it's reasonable to try to fault her for her predecessors' failures of vision. But if you're going to look at colonialism and try to either praise it or excoriate it, I think that there's a bigger picture involved here than just one monarch who largely served in a symbolic role for her entire life.
                          It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                          In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                          Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                          Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Adam View Post
                            I think that there's a kernel of truth to his statement, though he certainly says it in rather a ham-handed fashion.

                            Colonialism has almost never paid off in human history. You can track it right back to the Roman Empire or Genghis Kahn if you'd like: they were empires much more about stroking the ego of someone who wanted to "rule the world" than they were about trying to make economics work. The Romans were arguably better at it than most, probably because they decided to blend cultures rather than conquer them. And in a way, that's kind of how the British bombed it with colonialism. We were colonists for hundreds of years and all they ever really got out of it was some expensive cotton and then shot in the ass in Massachusetts.

                            But the Romans did something that the British didn't do, particularly in regards to African colonialism: the Romans provided an ROI for those who had become subjects of the emperor of that particular time: they got roads, they got standardized education, they got plumbing/sanitation (at least of a sort), reliable fresh water supplies,, etc., etc., etc.

                            I have, for a very long time, said that if you (the Royal You) want Africa and Africans to prosper, to thrive economically, then what they need is actually good transportation. The Brits screwed the pooch on this at the dawning of the railroad era, when they could have really made a difference there instead of just shooting Zulus with muskets.

                            Take a look at any map. You'll see that virtually every city on earth that is remotely prosperous is located immediately upon a navigable waterway: New York, Tokyo, Sydney, London, Rio, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Frankfurt, Berlin, Budapest, Moscow, you name it. There's a damned good reason for that: moving stuff (and, to some degree, people) by water is far and away the least expensive way to do that. With very little exception, Africa as a continent does not have reliable navigable waterways. So, the next cheapest way to move stuff (and people) is on rails. It's how the Midwest was born here in the U.S. Now, because of a whole whirlwind of factors these days, it's damn near impossible to build a railroad in most places in the world, but back in the "golden age" of railroading, when the UK was quite a bit of a pioneer in that area, they could have and should have built all sorts of railroads across Africa to move goods and people between cities and ports. Africa as a continent would be a vastly more prosperous (and likely far less violent) place than it is today if they had been given the benefit of mutually-beneficial trade in something other than human beings conquered in war to ship around the world. But in very large part, the Brits, the French, the Portuguese, the Dutch, etc. completely fell down on that task, and now, +/- 175 years later, the entire continent is a complete shithole, largely backward, often at war with one another, and the only way to get anywhere is either to take your life in your hands trying to drive on what can only laughably be called "roads" or fly in and out, and the plane only goes on Tuesday.

                            Now, all of this was long-since over and done by the time Elizabeth took the throne, so I don't think that it's reasonable to try to fault her for her predecessors' failures of vision. But if you're going to look at colonialism and try to either praise it or excoriate it, I think that there's a bigger picture involved here than just one monarch who largely served in a symbolic role for her entire life.
                            If it pays, it stays

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post

                              True, and people are a product of their environment as well as their genes. People who live in the tundra are unlikely to become great architects, although igloos are pretty clever. They're also unlikely to develop advanced farming techniques. People who live in tropical climates may feel no compulsion to devise complex housing accommodations at all, but may excel in other skills.
                              What about north America? This environment is perfectly suited to move forward. I don't believe the indians even developed a wheel.

                              Mark
                              Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

                              "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

                              Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

                              Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

                              Comment

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