God Bless Michael Gove. Writing in the Daily Mail, he made the point I’ve been hoping someone would make for a long time. Finally someone is standing up to left-wing revisionist historians. As a history major, we always had to read left-wing historians and how so many of them, as Gove said, tried to put down Britain or America or make us look bad. Yes, we have done some bad things, a lot to be ashamed of no doubt. Jim Crow laws or the treatment of Ireland during the years between the Cromwell and Catholic emancipation are a particularly black mark as are other events.
But it is Anglo-American (British & American & English speaking civilisation) civilisation that brought the world it’s greatest institutions. Among other things we can be proud of: 1. The defeating of authoritarian crazed ideologies and regimes bent on world domination. (See a.) Philip II and oppressive religious zealotry based regimes (ask the natives of the Americas how they were treated by the Spanish or Muslims and Jews in Spain or Protestants in the Netherlands) b.) Absolute authoritarian monarchy from the likes of the “Sun” king of Louis XIV c.) Big ego dictators with aims of ruling the European continent-see Napoleon and Kaiser Wilhelm d.) Nationalist Socialism of the Nazism of Hitler or the Fascism of Mussolini and e.) Communism, specifically of the Soviet Union.) 2. Individual rights engrained in law, (See Magna Charta, Bill of Rights, (UK 1689, US 1789) which brought about free speech, free press, due process & in America freedom of religion) 3. The abolition of slavery and the slave trade by the British empire which effectively destroyed the (legal) slave trade forever 4. Global capitalism and world property owning and patent law rights, along with the industrial and agricultural revolutions and the innovation of technology and decrease in world poverty. 5. English as a global language. & 6. Modern democratic representative government.
We have a lot to be proud of. World War I was one of our civilisation’s saddest moments because of the carnage and the effects it had on the world. But Gove is right that we had to fight it: “The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war. Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford, laid out the ethical case for our involvement in a superb essay in September’s Standpoint magazine.
The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.
And the war was also seen by participants as a noble cause. Historians have skilfully demonstrated how those who fought were not dupes but conscious believers in king and country, committed to defending the western liberal order.”