16
Jun
15

our british friends

I really didn’t expect anyone to tackle the three-hour movie featured in the post “The Usual Suspects,” yet a surprising number of people viewed it and some even commented. So here’s another; much shorter—yet just as provocative.

I don’t know what I think about this, but it does square with bits and pieces of history that have always left me with a sense of ambivalence regarding the British government and crown. It fits with my admiration for the aims of Lincoln and FDR, and my disdain of the idea and practices of empire.

I reject many of the views of Lyndon LaRouche, the man behind this film, but I believe his notion of historical British opposition to the “American System” should not be thrown out with the bathwater. It makes sense.

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I would like to know what you think.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Noel Coward, Ross Landon, Hugh French and Kenneth Carten performing “The Stately Homes of England”

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3 Responses to “our british friends”


  1. 1 Sam
    June 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I think that the American System and the British System work equally well in their own contexts. In America, a country founded by colonists relatively recently with no prior history, a presidential system works fine because the tradition of monarchical power simply does not exist there. In Britain we have a longer history and our crown is an essential part of that. Unlike most countries our system has evolved with very few revolutions, invasions, and has been refined and perfected over the years. Therefore we have no need for the things normally created in the birth of a new nation, such as America, such as a constitution or presidential system, whereas in America such a system was necessary in order to artificially create the framework for the new state.

    • June 16, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Sorry, Sam, but if you watch the film you will see that “The American System” refers to an economy which leverages the human element in the internal economic development of a country, rather than exploits colonies for their raw material and slave labor.

      • 3 Sam
        June 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

        So the film seems to suggest that the British Empire tried to dissolve the United States for reasons of ideology. I think that at the time most of the great powers were trying to get one up on each other and saw each other as threats, or as potential allies against each other. Undoubtedly some of the ideas on which America was based did not sit comfortably with Britain back then but I think the more fundamental basis for British aversion to America was simply that America was a major rival. There were other republics such as France “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” which shared many principles with America but with which Britain nonetheless had a good relationship after 1815. Conversely we went to war with one of the most similar countries to ourselves, Germany, in 1915. This suggests we did not merely try to stamp out an idea but instead allied with and fought with whichever powers suited our own strategic interests at the time.
        I also think that Britain did use its people to ensure internal economic development; remember we were the first country to industrialise, largely through our own human resources, and that was what allowed us to build an enormous empire. It’s also the reason why we remain one of the largest economies in the world today, when our Empire is only a few islands, a peninsula and a swathe of Antarctica. That said, the colonies undoubtedly made us richer still and they were used to produce the things we needed as a nation such as tea from India (as they still do today, it’s just that they are now sovereign nations). However that was because as a small Island we couldn’t produce everything a successful nation needed, unlike in America where there was an entire continent to exploit. There is no exact definition of a nation’s “system” (although in Britain “British System” often refers to a non-constitutional, democratic monarchy rather than the economic system hence my first comment which I made before watching the film) but I don’t think that as a country we were ever systematically based on colonial exploitation. Nor was/is America completely non-based on colonial exploitation, being happy to expand and push natives onto reservations, using slaves shipped over from Africa thirty years after we had outlawed it and being happy to encourage other states today to help it further its geostrategic goals. American expansion was quite similar in many ways to British colonialism; we both acquired new territories for economic and political gain. The differences were that America’s new territory was contiguous and could be incorporated whereas being in Europe we had to go far overseas to find colonies and that we mostly kept the natives in place whereas America used its huge numbers of immigrants to populate the new territory.
        Therefore I don’t really see that we can simply talk about either country as being based on one system or another as they both used their domestic labour to develop their internal economies, both used slave labour and tried to expand into new territory. Nor can we say that Britain opposed the United States merely on account of its principles when there were larger strategic goals in place that meant that countries were and still are allies or enemies regardless of their particular principles or “systems”.


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