Of all the empires of modernity, the British was the greatest – indeed, the greatest since Rome – encompassing a fourth of the Earth’s surface and people. Out of her womb came America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, five of the finest, freest lands on Earth. Out of her came Hong Kong and Singapore, where the Chinese first came to know freedom. Were it not for Britain, India would not be the world’s largest democracy, or South Africa that continent’s most advanced nation. When the British arrived in Africa they found primitive tribal societies. When they departed, they left behind roads, railways, telephone and telegraph systems, farms, factories, fisheries, mines, trained police, and a civil service.
No European people fondly remember the Soviet Empire. Few Asians recall the Empire of Japan except with hatred. But all over the world, as their traditions, customs, and uniforms testify, men manifest their pride that they once belonged to the empire upon whose flag the sun never set. America owes a special debt to Britain, for their laws, language and literature, and the idea of representative government. “The transplanted culture of Britain in America” wrote Dr Russell Kirk, “has been one of humankind’s more successful experiments”.
Excerpt from “Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World” – Patrick J Buchanan, Crown Publishers, 2008.