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The Sad Fate of Empires

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The deadline for Britain’s exit from the European Union, voted for by a solid majority in 2016, is about to pass. And yet, the status quo continues. You will remember that first in January and then again in February of this year, the parliament rejected the proposed deal set out by the Conservative government under Prime Minister Teresa May, a deal negotiated with the European Union which pleased neither side of the debate. Last week, the speaker of the House of Commons informed the government that the body would not debate what was, substantially, the same deal rerun a third time.  It’s not an unreasonable restraint to place upon proceedings.

While the date of the 29th of March is still officially on the books as the leaving date, virtually nobody believes this artificial deadline will see Brexit put into effect. None of the necessary preparations have been made as the duplicitous political elites have bickered and floundered while trying to appease their ruthlessly pro-EU donors. What might happen now is anyone’s guess.

The real problem is that on the 12th of April, the UK will have to participate in elections for the European parliament, which would prove something of a farce given the circumstances. It is unknown at present precisely which route will be taken by the government, but one can bet that it will be neither comfortable nor desirable for the people forced to endure it. In many ways however, this zenith of disaster-artistry is as informative for the American people as events closer to home.

It must be remembered that Britain holds a unique place in the history of the last four-hundred years. It was the great merchant empire, the great force of the seas whose ships accepted no barring of access. Britannia, though small in relative terms, subdued the gargantuan forces of the Indian tiger and the Chinese dragon, often through methods as destructive as they were strategically brilliant. She was of course cast off her plinth by the German eagle (not before bringing it down in its infancy as part of a fireball that hurtled to earth in WWI). Since that time, she has never recovered, her decay set in stone as a matter of historical fact. She consoles herself with myths about her role in defeating Nazi Germany, but in truth this is a palliative to distract from her people’s descent into nihilism and misery. Since the United States has inherited Britain’s status as the world sea power, with an implicit empire exceeding that which the UK once possessed, Americans can learn from the past and prepare for the future by examining the fate of the last empire in its own image.

How could Britain arrive at such a point where the will of its national zeitgeist was denied by a bought-and-paid-for political class so subservient to an ultimately toothless bureaucracy in Brussels that they scarcely try to hide their treasonous designs? When we look at the factors that have led to the present situation, we find their chilling echoes resounding today beneath the stars and stripes.

Britain’s former colonies; Pakistan, India, various African and Arab states, have returned to devour their keeper in the form of mass migration of economic rent-seekers dissatisfied with their own country’s inability to keep up with Hollywood’s version of ‘the good life’. This wave, beginning in the early 1970s has turned the country into a criminal wasteland where the elderly are treated terribly and violent crime has to be consistently re-categorised by police, where the ethnic ghetto marks a palatable no-go zone for former inhabitants of its sprawling industrial metropolises. Does not the US face a similar crisis from its former ‘colonies’ in the Latin American south, countries it meddled with for years only to find their populations at its gates? There seems little hope that any physical barriers will be erected to stem this tide. 

Secondly, Britain went through a rapid de-industrialisation under Margaret Thatcher’s hyper-capitalism of the 1980s which practically destroyed the country’s working class who had endeavoured to keep its left wing honest (current leader Jeremy Corbyn is a faded spectre from this era). The same has happened in the US where millions of voters have found that the Democratic Party has ‘left them’ as the industrial Midwest has fallen apart. In a landscape scarred by rusted railways and disused steel mills, the left only has time for its constituents in the ‘new Americans’ coalition of aggrieved minorities and a conga-line of freaks. This explains the shift of states like Pennsylvania and Michigan into the red column in 2016.

We can also point out the toxic blend of the media-driven news cycle with serious politicking, something that is much less pronounced in continental Europe. Only in the UK do ‘serious’ political television broadcasts such as ‘Question Time’ routinely invite stand-up comedians to take part in the rigged spectacle of making conservatives look foolish. And in America, there is the Daily Show and the witch’s coven meeting they call ‘The View’, and these perform a similar function of turning politics itself into a joke.

Americans cannot look at the British situation and feel the observer’s despair and empathy. No, they are in fact co-sufferers. They must see a mirror held up that shows their inevitable fate if the current trend continues. Britain is being stripped of any veneer of political and cultural continuity between its people and its leaders, and as such is in fact ceasing to be a country, which explains why it is having such trouble becoming truly independent. As sea empires were defined by Carl Schmitt, abhorring all holistic or spiritual conceptions, they are destined to wash ashore and rot after the champagne runs dry. It’s a sad fate, as it ultimately victimises innocent people who lose their homes and their unique history. In continuing to defy Brexit, the UK is becoming a more-or-less open oligarchy of transnational financial interests. It would be foolish not to expect the next American president to ensure that the same model becomes the new normal In the US.

Author: K. E. Benois