Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Island Adrift

Noted author and historian Andrew Roberts hangs his head in shame as he notes how the British reaction to the killing of Bin Laden is only the latest example of how a people once known for their courage and character have lost their will and their way. His piece in today’s WSJ is called Britain Goes Wobbly on Terror:

For the past five years, I've been writing a history of the Second World War, and if there is one central lesson I have taken from this study, it is that the intestinal fortitude of a people matters much more than weaponry, economics or even grand strategy. British fortitude was tested almost to breaking point in 1940 and 1941, and Russian fortitude in 1941-43, but they held, whereas Germany's and Japan's collapsed in 1945. Morale is almost impossible to quantify, whereas demoralization is all too evident.

From Britain's pathetic and ignoble reaction to the death of our greatest ally's No.1 foe, I fear for our fortitude in the continuing war against terror. The British government in London and the British Army in Afghanistan are magnificent, but if the people themselves are shot through with what Winston Churchill called "the long, drawling, dismal tides of drift and surrender," I wonder whether we can be counted upon for much longer.

As a commentator on the Royal Wedding for NBC, I was filled with pride in my country for the precision-timing and perfect step of the Household Division, the fine behavior of the crowds, and the charm and personability of the young couple. Today all I feel is shame at my country's pathetic reaction to your own great day of joy.

The moorings of national pride, Christianity, and tradition that once made Britain an island fortress have been slowly but surely cut loose over the years and the country is now drifting in the same seas of supranationalism, secularism, and relativism that other Western European countries slipped into after the Second World War. There may indeed always be an England, but won’t be the same England that has long been a bulwark of Western Civilization.