Saturday, November 9, 2013

"The American Invaders": Fred MacKenzie's indictment of big government in Great Britain

Frederick Mackenzie's book is one that progressive historians love to flaunt amongst other progressive historians and among their students. But have you ever actually read the book? You should, because if you wish to challenge a progressive historian it will serve you well. I'll explain:

I chose Robert B. Reich's 2010 book "The Work of Nations" to serve as my example, because his is a high profile name that's easily recognizable. At the end, I will list some others. On page 29 of "The Work of Nations", the following is written in a footnote:

Beginning in the 1890's, the average British citizen was treated to a series of lurid exposes about the German and American economic onslaught and its baleful consequences for Britain.

This is certainly true, and MacKenzie's book has become a favorite because of this aspect. But it's what else that MacKenzie has to say in the book that's so outstanding. On page 222 you will see the final chapter, titled "The Secret of American Success". Here's what MacKenzie has to say:


Americans are succeeding to-day largely because of their climate, their superior education, their longer working hours, their willingness to receive new ideas, their better plant, and perhaps most of all, because of their freedom from hampering traditions.

It may be noticed that I do not say Americans are succeeding because of the great resources of their country. This I am aware is the common explanation. But although the natural resources of America are one of the great ultimate factors in the contest, it is yet possible to attribute too much importance to them at the present stage. England has magnificent resources, and is placed in a spot which naturally makes her a great centre of the world. Here we have iron, and coal, shipping facilities, and mineral wealth of every kind, and it is not for us to complain of the natural resources of our competitors.

What we must complain about is our bad legislation, our neglected education, our indifference, and excessive optimism. Through our bad legislation we have lost and are losing many trades. The tobacco, printing, and electric industries are instances of this. Once Ireland had flourishing tobacco plantations. These were purposely killed in order that the tobacco industry in our then American colonies might be fostered. Our erstwhile colonies are now a rival nation, but the revenue restrictions still make tobacco growing here practically impossible.

So he wipes the argument of "natural resources" off the table in the beginning of the chapter, while at the same time he lays the blame at the feet of government that is regulating everything out of existence. He continues:

There is no reason, climatic or other, why Ireland to-day should not produce great tobacco crops. A short Act of Parliament fostering the home growth of tobacco by a simplification of the collection of duty, and a rebate - or even temporary remission - of taxes on tobacco grown within the kingdom, would create a new industry in Ireland at a bound.

In other words "The Americans are killing us! We have big government, and they do not!" That's what MacKenzie is saying in this book. That's how he ends the book, that's the message he wants his readers to take home. You could even go so far as to say that MacKenzie is pointing to American Exceptionalism.

He does not just end his book with a message about excessive regulation. He also carries this message in other chapters of the book as well: (page 89)

Again I appeal to the statement of the Committee of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. They reported our backwardness to be largely due to the restrictive character of the legislation governing the initiation and development of electric power and traction enterprises. They recommended that the clauses in certain Acts which enable local authorities indefinitely to block local schemes should be repealed, that the Government departments which control the industry should be properly staffed, that the departmental regulations affecting engineering developments should be revised, and that the excessive time and expense needed to obtain permission to carry out electrical developments should be seen to.

Now, as to other progressive historians who have latched onto this book only for it's aspects of "Americanization", here are a few examples:

Consumer's Imperium, page xvi, the author.

Major Problems in American Popular Culture, page 92, Two authors one and two.

Giants of Enterprise, page 309, the author.

Spreading the American Dream, page 22, the author.

This last one is the best, because it leads to a footnote referencing a cluster of 7 other books which all reference MacKenzie.

A Destiny of Choice?: New Directions in American Consumer History, page 24, the author.

The other thing to note is how every author link I referenced goes to a university, mostly history professors. Now I do not know who any of these people are and contacting any of them would be a complete and utter waste of time, but here's the point.

Uniformity. Uniformity is what you have here. Read the books, and notice how all of them largely contain the same message worded slightly differently? This is the problem and, I think, danger that we face from the academic world of historians who currently are largely unchallenged. They engage in group think and many do not even realize it. They use a book that at it's closing undermines their very arguments, and nobody is even aware of it. Some progressive historian fed them a line of bull as they were in college, and they run with it. Some progressive historian up the chain fed their history professors with bull, and their professors did not question it either. You can follow this right back up the line. The history professor right now who is being indoctrinated into this line will not question it either. So the story continues right on down the road. And all you have to do is read the book.

History is anathema to the progressive crowd, which is why so many of them have engaged in revisionism over the years. But for most modern professors, I would imagine that plenty of them are completely in the dark.

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