By Zak Mudie
Britain should be seen as America is on the world stage - bastions of liberty and individualism for all
When one mentions freedom, they do not usually associate it with Britain, often it’s associated with the United States. One nation under God set out with inalienable rights, a limited government and a single national identity that took it from a penal colony into the world superpower. The self-determination of that small nation which sought to implement democracy, unchallengeable rights and an undeterred free market-based system, is the central foundation for American success. In fact, inherent nationalism and patriotism within the 18th and 19th century led to the rise of empires around the globe.
Regardless of whether you support or oppose the actions of these empires, it is undeniable that the single patriotic drive of these nations is what drove them to innovate and fight on through economic hardship, disease and war. Regardless of nationalism and patriotism, one factor which brought the US to the forefront of the world economy, was an undying commitment to capitalism and a limited government. The Washington Consensus which helped established post-war international organisations such as The World Bank and more importantly the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was a system of American free market capitalism. Freedom is the lifeblood of the US, and its prevalence in US politics is the driving force behind American success – so why hasn’t this happened in Britain?
The history of Great Britain is rooted in tradition and established systems. Yet, freedom has been on the minds of some individuals since 1215. The Magna Carta, which some of its laws are still in place today, was signed in 1215 and started the process of human rights within the UK. While pieces of legislation are dotted throughout the UK’s uncodified constitution, which has developed since the Magna Carta was written; the prevalence of ‘freedom’ isn’t within the British psyche as it is within the American one. While we have many of the same freedoms the US had, just not necessarily at the same time, freedom and civil liberties never took hold as an ideal within Britain. Roaring speeches of freedom and self-determination don’t get crowds going, because it isn’t an inherent part of a national British identity.
A freedom-based culture is needed in the UK, our future as an individualist society depends on it. British history is clear, there have been no pivotal moments of constitutional crisis which have led to the forming of new government, unlike the US, which established a state out of an independence war, or France in various revolutions which saw constitutions passed around like newspapers. Britain has never had this.
As such our culture is a process of civil struggle and gradual reform, social conservatism is hindering progress, as well as classic British stubbornness. Now, we are different, we live in a society which is not free. The evident lack of constitutional protections against government infringement on civil liberties should be our defining moment. A freedom-based culture ensures this will never happen again. A freedom-based culture where children are taught from the beginning of their lives the importance of individualism, responsibility and that they are protected by inalienable rights, is a culture which breeds prosperity.
The British people have sacrificed a lot for freedom, and the importance of freedom shouldn’t be ignored. Now, more than ever, we need to start standing up for our liberty. We need to instill an inherent awareness of the government; we need to instill a caution for government action and most importantly we need to solidify and codify a people’s constitution. A constitution which reflects a freedom-based culture, one which reflects a moral right of the people to hold unchallengeable rights, regardless of government will. Establishing a freedom-based culture also means reaffirming held opinions on service. First and foremost government serves the people, not the other way around.
All aspects of a freedom-based culture will lead to peace, will lead to individual prosperity and will lead to a greater respect for the British people by our own government and governments around the world, as new beacons of individualism and freedom, which will rival that of the US. One day, I hope people will cheer for British freedom like they do in the US, I hope our nation will be synonymous with the concepts of liberty. That day is a day worth waiting for, and a day I will make sure to fight for, no matter the struggle against my and the British people’s autonomy.