I fought my husband for years about taking the kids on vacation to England. Despite growing up as a complete Anglophile (I can talk for hours, unaided, about British history) and despite having spent one of the happiest years of my life there, I have a lot of issues with modern day England.
My primary problem with England is the institutional antisemitism that permeates its political and educational class. A poisonous combination of virtually unlimited immigration from the Muslim world and Leftist education has turn England into one of the most antisemitic countries in the Western world.
It’s a little unfair to point the finger of blame solely at the recent past, though. The slow drip-drip of Muslim antisemitism goes back to the 1930s and before, when England made an unholy alliance with the Muslim world over oil. That emotional alliance was temporarily severed during World War II, when the Arabs made common cause with the Nazis (“antisemites unite”), but it came back in full flower when the British behaved disgracefully towards the nascent state of Israel. (Briefly, as they withdrew, the British, in violation of international agreement, handed key forts over to the Arabs.) What this means is that modern Muslim and Leftist antisemitism in England grows out of fertile soil.
I’m also unhappy about England because of the cultural rot that’s set in. A few months ago or more, I would have illustrated that rot with links to reports about its rampant alcoholism, single parenthood, drug abuse, teen mothers, etc. Now, I’ll just say: riots. Those riots — which weren’t about anything at all, but sprang from a nihilism brought about by decades of the type of government dependency that saps all meaning from life — perfectly illustrate England’s decay.
Going to England as a tourist means giving my money to that system. By paying for food, lodging, transportation and entertainment, I feel as if I’m putting my imprimatur on something quite awful.
And yet there’s still something for me about England. My husband and are watching with the children “World War II in Colour,” one of the endless World War II offerings on the Military channel. The show takes old footage, colorizes it, adds sound, and pieces it together with maps and very British narrative to put together a fairly comprehensive (albeit facile) picture about World War II. Watching it, one cannot forget that it was the Brits who held off the Nazis for two years entirely on their own, and who ending up fighting the fight for six solid years. From the end of 1941 onwards, the British also found themselves facing off against the Japanese in the Pacific. It takes one hell of a nation to do what the English did. There was a moral courage there (in America, too) at the time that simply earns my respect.
Generally speaking, British history has my respect as well. Yes, the British were pirates (16th to 17th centuries), they were religious killers (name a century before the 18th), they were slave traders (16th through early 19th centuries) and everything else awful that makes up the history of the Western world. But they abandoned those sins before other nations did. And unlike other nations, they advanced a notion of individual freedom that (I believe) reached full flower in America. Without British law and customs as the foundation, there would be no United States of America. That too is worthy of respect.
From the travel point of view, Britain also still ranks high. For the kids and me, it was the best part of the trip. It worked at every level, whether we’re talking about a temperate climate, ease of transportation, beauty, interesting history, or quality museums and other historic sites. You name it, we liked it (especially the Churchill War Rooms and Imperial War Museum). As a tourist, England felt right. If you stay in the heart of London, the rot that led to the riots is hidden. All you see is glory.
That’s why we’re probably going back to England next year. My husband wants to travel and I want to travel to a place that’s comfortable and endlessly interesting. I’m not sure there’ll always be an England. This will probably be my last chance to see it and, if current political and demographic trends continue onward, it might be the children’s last chance too. So, while we can, we’ll go to the greatness: Hatfield, Blenheim, Chatsworth, Castle Howard, Bath, York, Oxford, Cambridge, Stratford, Edinburgh, etc. — all the places that still feel redolent of the past, and haven’t yet been destroyed by the present.