Look, I'm not one to complain, as you know well, and also, when it comes to our American 'cousins' I am the first in line to express my admiration and liking for them but, to be honest, I could do with a bit of gratitude in return for all we have given them. I mean, they owe us - big time! And no less a personage than H. W. Crocker III says so. Who he? Well, I'm not too sure, there is no Wiki entry for him but I like the cut of his jib especially as the author of a book entitled The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War in which the first section is entitled 'Why the South Was Right'. I like his 'jib' (what the hell is a 'jib' anyway?) even better given his most recent book reviewed in The American Spectator by himself and entitled The Politically Incorrect History of the British Empire.
Written for Thanksgiving a few days ago he reminds his fellow Americans that the thanks they should be giving is to the British Empire:
As we Americans celebrate on this day of gluttony, football, and prayer (not necessarily in that order), we might offer up thanks for the institution that gave us our glorious traditions of liberty and prosperity. That institution would be the British Empire, which not only put us here, but gave us Christianity, limited government, and a system of rights founded in British common law. Somehow many of us tend to overlook that -- something to do with 1776, most likely, and the idea that we rebelled against the tyranny of effete, toffee-nosed British snobs.
He's quite right in suggesting that the myths of the American War of Independence are now deeply ingrained in the American psyche but, even so, efforts should be made to reveal some home truths to go along with the home cooking on Thanksgiving Day:
As every American schoolboy should know, but probably doesn't, the British colonies of North America were the lightest taxed, most liberally governed (in the classical small government sense), freest, most prosperous, and most equitable portions of the eighteenth century world. The very rights the colonists believed they were fighting to defend were the traditional rights of Englishmen.
Indeed, many of the British generals assigned to put down the rebels agreed with them, and only parted ways with the colonists, and then reluctantly, when rebellious Americans took up arms against representatives of British authority.
Of course, some Britons -- equally devoted to British ideals of freedom and limited government -- scoffed at talk of "oppression" and mocked colonial hypocrisy. Samuel Johnson famously quipped in his essay Taxation No Tyranny, "how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?" (My emphasis)
Rudyard Kipling had it about right, too, and even old King George III wasn't as mad as they made out:
"Our American colonies, having no French to fear any longer [after the French and Indian War], wanted to be free from our control altogether. They utterly refused to pay a penny of the two hundred million pounds the war had cost us; and they equally refused to maintain a garrison of British soldiers…. When our Parliament proposed in 1764 to make them pay a small fraction of the cost of the late war, they called it 'oppression,' and prepared to rebel."
In this view, the War of American Independence was actually the War of American Ingratitude. King George III saw things as they were: "The rebellious war now levied [in 1775]… is manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire."
With mischievous ease scholastic exactitude, Mr. Crocker III, reminds his American readers how tempting the notion of an American Empire was to the grandees of the, er, 'revolution':
George Washington referred to America as "our rising Empire." Thomas Jefferson wrote of America as an "empire of liberty." Alexander Hamilton in Federalist One called America "an empire, in many respects the most interesting in the world." And John Adams and Benjamin Franklin both envisaged that the United States -- because of its potential wealth, size, and resources -- would become the seat of a greater empire than the British. The Founders were not opposed to "empire." They merely wanted an empire of their own, and were in fact appalled at British attempts to limit the colonists' expansion west across the Appalachians, which the British had designated as Indian territory in the hope of avoiding costly Indian wars.
And they haven't stopped trying for an American Empire ever since, until now, that is, because suddenly they are realising, as we were beginning to learn in 1766, that Empire is awfully good for the ego, old boy, but disasterous for the purse! I should add, as yet another duplicitous Brit, that I am all in favour of an American Empire, the bigger the better, just so long as I don't have to pay for it. Cynical? - of course. French, even? - mais ouis! But that's the way of the world, as those miserly, tight-fisted settlers demonstrated back in 1766!
Anyway, as Mr. Crocker III, points out, the 'cousins' did very well out of us so if any of them see fit to send me the food parcel I never received during the war I'd be very grateful, no, honestly, I would!