February 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

For all the resemblances of British society in the eighteenth century in manners and morals to that of France, there was in the British system of society and government a greater unity and openness that was eventually to make possible reform instead of revolution. In England the army counted for less than it did in France, Spain, Prussia, Austria or Russia; and in England the soldier has less and the merchant more prestige than their counterparts in these countries. There was in eighteenth-century England an absence of legal privilege, a closer connection between the gentry and the businessmen, an equality before the law, a national unity, a freedom from irksome economic restrictions, a sensitivity of the government to commercial interests and business methods, which were making English society the most firmly grounded and most progressive in Europe. And for all the deference in England to nobility and rank, it was plain to everyone that the most decisive element in government was already the House of Commons, to which some at least of the members were actually elected by voters who included relatively humble folk. Though there was to be severe controversy in the process, it was possible for Britain to move without revolution into the world of nineteenth-century liberalism.

A.R. Myers, .

Posted by Lexington Green at February 25, 2006 03:40 PM

Of course, the question is, Is this same dynamic in operation now? Will we make the transition to 21st century liberalism (or whatever they end up calling it) in a similarly smooth fashion? There are times I despair ... except when I look at the rest of the world and see that, for the most part, they're lurching forward in an even more disorderly fashion than we are.

Posted by: Matt Shultz at February 26, 2006 09:46 AM
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