W.T. Stead wrote, in the preface to his ‘Anglo-American Union’:
“The advent of the United States of America as the greatest of world-Powers is the greatest political, social, and commercial phenomenon of our times. For some years past we have all been more or less dimly conscious of its significance. It is only when we look at the manifold manifestations of the exuberant energy of the United States, and the world-wide influence which they are exerting upon the world in general and the British Empire in particular, that we realise how comparatively insignificant are all the other events of our time.
This survey is intensely interesting to all men, but it is of transcendant [sic] importance for my own countrymen. For we are confronted by the necessity of taking one of those momentous decisions which decide the destiny of our country. Unless I am altogether mistaken, we have an opportunity — probably the last which is to be offered us — of retaining our place as the first of world-Powers. If we neglect it, we shall descend slowly but irresistibly to the position of Holland and of Belgium. No one who contemplates with an impartial mind the array of facts now submitted to his attention, will deny that I have at least made out a very strong prima facie case in support of my contention that, unless we can succeed in merging the British Empire in the English-speaking United States of the World, the disintegration of our Empire, and our definite displacement from the position of commercial and financial primacy is only a matter of time, and probably a very short time. If, on the other hand, we substitute for the insular patriotism of our nation the broader patriotism of the race, and frankly throw in our lot with the Americans to realise the great ideal of Race Union, we shall enter upon a new era of power and prosperity the like of which the race has never realised since the world began. But ‘if before our duty we, with listless spirit, stand,’ the die will be cast, and we must reconcile ourselves as best we can to accept a secondary position in a world in which we have hitherto played a leading role.
If, on the contrary, we are resolute and courageous, we have it in our power to occupy a position of vantage, in which we need fear no foe and dread no rival. We shall continue on a wider scale to carry out the providential mission which has been entrusted to the English-speaking Race, whose United States will be able to secure the peace of the World.
It is, therefore, in no spirit of despair, but rather with joyful confidence and great hope that I commend this book to my fellow countrymen.
Obviously, Stead’s proposal of an Anglo-American Union was not to be, and Stead probably had little inkling of the coming two disastrous World Wars which would be so costly, in both lives and treasure, to England and the British Empire overall. He probably couldn’t have envisioned the loss of the Empire with the decolonialization following the wars, and the ill-considered move to open Britain to the multiracial, polyglot peoples of the ‘Commonwealth’. This got under way in earnest in 1948, with the arrival of the Windrush, with its human cargo presaging the ‘diversity imperative’ of the post-war years.
It wasn’t until years later that the Labour government had decided (according to the words of Jack Straw) to ‘rub the nose of the [British] Right in diversity’. As we can see, though, this push to ‘multiculturalize’ Britain was already well under way by the 1990s. Britain and the indigenous English had already been somewhat conditioned, gradually, to accept this change. Just as in the United States, we had long been conditioned to believe that our country was a ‘melting pot’ of first, Europe’s peoples, and then the peoples of the entire planet, as the decades went by.
Various justifications were, and have been, offered as to why we ‘have to’ open our countries up to an array of peoples from every corner of the globe, and why this must be accelerated, regardless of its effect on us and on our children’s future prospects. Most often we are told that the ‘world is growing smaller, and we have to function as a ”global community”; that we can’t be independent and self-sufficient any longer in a ‘global society’. We can no longer have the luxury of freedom of assocation as invididuals nor can we, as nations, associate only with those we choose; we must be utterly indiscriminate.
Yet if this world still made sense, it would be most sensible to have closest ties with those who are of common origin with us, who speak the same language and share, to some degree, a similar culture and customs. Why then did Britain and the United States, despite the long (but now weakened) ‘special relationship’ between our countries, choose to go in the opposite direction? Why did both our countries choose to welcome utter strangers, with whom we have little to nothing in common (except 46 chromosomes, it seems) rather than to have sought, long ago, to enter into some kind of reciprocal relationship? Why did both countries (as well as the other countries of the Anglosphere) coincidentally go for the ‘diversity, one-world’ option? Of course my question is mostly rhetorical.
W.T. Stead’s idea of an Anglo-American United States may have been a misguided notion; it might not have been workable. There are many reasons why; in part, it may be that because both our nations, being stiff-necked and proud, regarded one another as rivals or competitors, and each of our nations’ governments felt the need to ‘prove’ something to the other. Americans have long been taught, implicitly if not explicitly, that our ‘democratic republic’ was far superior to the outdated system of the mother country; we were more committed to ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ than our poor British cousins, who were mere ‘subjects’ , while we are ‘citizens of a free republic.’
Pride, and petty rivalry.
I am not sure that a “United States of the World’ will ever exist; if so, it will not be the nation most of us were born into. I am an ethnonationalist and not a pan-Europeanist. But it does seem baffling and counter-intuitive that we choose to join with strangers rather than kinsmen.