From the late 18th down to the late 20th century Great Britain and the United States were the best governed, most stable, most sane, and most commonsensible countries in the world, owing to the British-American genius for self-government that has never been equaled by any other country in the history of the world. Today the U.S. is no longer a serious country and the United Kingdom is rapidly ceasing to be one, as the practice of substantive politics on both sides of the Atlantic descends into left-wing political theater.
In America, political life has been almost entirely submerged in the identity politics of race and sexuality, matters that lie at the bottom of nearly every issue of national prominence including immigration, economic policy, taxation, state and federal elections, education, medical care, environmental conservation and the development and transmission of the various sources of energy, publishing and electronic communications, national defense and local policing, and almost everything else. The new administration in Washington has outdone itself in just 47 days in the political theatrics of wokery and virtue signaling, notably in canceling the XL Pipeline and the wall on the Southwest border, and most spectacularly in its fantastical and wholly irresponsible relief act costing $1.9 trillion and its effective declaration in a time of international pandemic of an open border stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. It is impossible to believe that even the most rabid and demented Democratic politician, typified by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—who says that ICE and the DHS “should not exist”–really believes that America, or any other country, “exceptional” or nor not, can survive without border guards and an interior police system. No matter. Her resentment of the United States—or rather its white majority —and her disconnection from political and human reality overrides every sane consideration that might possibly exist in her mind. In the 1980s and early 90s the neoconservatives’ mantra, shamelessly stolen from a book by Richard Weaver, was “Ideas have consequences.” Indeed they do, and so do actions—and the refusal to take action. American liberals and leftists have been inspired over the past six decades or so by one version or another of a sentiment, variously expressed, of “Believe the Dream!” or “Dare to dream!” and concisely expressed by the title of Yoko Ono’s “Imagine”—a poem whose childishness is well beyond even the childishness of children. Never mind. The intent behind anything, thought or deed, is what counts for leftists; good intentions have miraculous powers of virtue capable of abrogating reality itself. Street theater, they imagine, can assume the actuality of real life and displace it, as in a Hollywood movie. After all: Anything is possible, isn’t it? It could happen!– if only you believe in it hard enough and long enough, and affirm often enough that it will happen! And if it doesn’t, virtue signaling—like virtue itself—is its own reward, politically as well as morally.
The United Kingdom is not as far gone–at least proportionately it isn’t—in the insane and evil obsession with racial and social identity and the social and political grievances arising from it as the United States is; but it is getting there, and so is its addiction to the overwhelmingly distractive trivia of the modern world, as the UK’s all-absorbing fascination by the obscene saga of Harry & Meghan shows. The Prince is a weakling and a blockhead, ranking sixth in succession to the throne, and his consort a distinctively Californian type of Becky Sharpe, a cheap aggressive adventuress from TVLand with even less sympathy for, and interest in, her husband’s native country than she has a knowledge of, or acquaintance with, it. That the British Isles have paid rapt attention to this sorry couple for the past three years suggests how far their people have declined from the Britons of Kipling’s days, whose imaginations were fired by people and events endowed with real, and actually splendid, qualities. Publicity, as it is for all celebrities, is the lifeblood of this coppia iniqua. Deny them that, and they are done forever. Where is the cancel culture when it is most needed?