the sun never sets on the British empire

March 30, 2009 — 1 Comment

some time ago i read an essay that purports multiculturalism has been the downfall of all empires and that is the fate that awaits the US.

it`s an interesting idea, but i think it`s completely off base. the fundamental flaw i believe that exists in this argument is the US is the only empire that`s been built on immigration. historically empires were built on colonisation and eventually collapsed under the weight of greed, bureaucracy and the hyper-extension of resources.

the last major empire was the British and for nearly 400 years they were masters of the planet and by the end of the second world war there was very little left, not because of multiculturalism, but because of imperialism and greed. the first to go nearly 230 years ago was the US, why, because of greed. you know, no taxation without representation, remember that? and then at the beginning of the last century things really started to sour for the British as various countries in Africa tired of the yoke colonial greed and mismanagement also rebelled and then India and by the end of the second world war, the British were hard pressed to take care of themselves much a bunch of countries that were out of sight and therefore out of mind so it became easier to just let these countries have self governance than continue to be responsible for them.

the US empire is built on a dream that wave after wave of immigrants have flocked here to fulfil. this is an empire of hope and promise and if you work hard enough you can have your own piece of the empire. you can co-exist with every religion, every nationality because at the end of the day, you’re all chasing the same dream. but that’s all it’s ever been, a dream as each generation’s success puts them a step higher on the ladder, then they look down with disdain at the next wave of immigrants forgetting that’s where they started.

the pilgrims arrived here first to escape religious persecution, the next wave were the indentured servants, who for the most part were either guilty of being poor or the effects of being poor, then they were replaced by the slaves and then another generation of European poor trying to escape famine along with Chinese immigrant labour, then the people trying to escape the People’s revolution in Russia, then the Jews and people whose lives were destroyed by WWII, then people from the Caribbean, then Koreans after the war, the Vietnamese after the war, the Africans, the Arabs and the people keep coming, wave after wave of them.

Driven out of their countries by war or famine or politics or the need to be able to provide for their families, all wind up here do whatever it takes to survive. multiculturalism isn’t going to destroy this empire, monoculturalism is. this isn’t an argument about cultural identity it’s a class argument, it’s not new. it’s been going on as each successive wave of immigrants arrived and and became the lowest group on the ladder. those high enough up to forget when they were at the bottom want to believe that they can exist without them and those close enough to the bottom are afraid that they’ll be leapfrogged by the new group.

this country, this empire would not be what it is without being built of the backs of multiple cultures that came here voluntarily or involuntarily in search of betterment.

One response to the sun never sets on the British empire

  1. Offbeat look at churches in America.
    Photo essay, “Churches ad hoc”

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