A warm welcome to readers from Instapundit and The Corner. (There’s nothing like an unexpected Instalanche for improving one’s meagre August web-stats)

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Mark Steyn has some savage things to say about contemporary British life.

No doubt he exaggerates. Or does he? How would we know?


The great-grandparents of these brutes stood alone against a Fascist Europe in that dark year after the fall of France in 1940. Their grandparents were raised in one of the most peaceful and crime-free nations on the planet.

Were those Englishmen of the mid-20th century to be magically transplanted to London today, they’d assume they were in some fantastical remote galaxy. If Charlton Heston was horrified to discover the Planet of the Apes was his own, Britons are beginning to realize that the remote desert island of "Lord Of The Flies" is, in fact, located just off the coast of Europe in the northeast Atlantic.

Within two generations of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, a significant proportion of the once-free British people entrusted themselves to social rewiring by liberal compassionate Big Government and thereby rendered themselves paralytic and unemployable save for nonspeaking parts in "Rise of The Planet Of The Apes." And even that would likely be too much like hard work…

This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the "abolition of want" to be accomplished by "co-operation between the State and the individual."

In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life’s vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: "Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity."

The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays and Muslims.

From page 204: "For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population…"

Mark ends with a line which sums the whole drama up in a devastating epigram: Big Government means small citizens.

"The evil of such a system is not the waste of money but the waste of people."

Big Government means small citizens: it corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically.

Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the Earth’s surface and a quarter of its population. When you’re imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own…

Blimey. Which bit of all that are we meant to find untrue or unreasonable?

The only thing worse than having a problem is not knowing you have a problem.

And even worse than not knowing you have a problem is knowing you have a problem, but being unwilling to accept responsibility for doing anything about it.

And that’s the problem of our political elites, from all parties.

They dimly sense that things have gone badly awry, with Sprawling State (UK and EU combined) no longer the answer. But they just don’t have the strength or insight or idealism to do anything meaningful about it.

And nor it must be said do we, the mass of enervated citizens.