An Englishman’s home is his castle. Or so they say. Of the available definitions for castle (source: Dictionary.com) I am (personally) mostly taken by ‘A strongly fortified, permanently garrisoned stronghold’.
In this regard an Englishman’s home is not literally his castle. Mores the pity. Had the course of the British Empire run ever so slightly more successfully and the whole world was run by moustachioed buffoons with stiff upper lips and resplendent paunches, the above, however, could be a true statement.
Had the Brits maintained an economic stranglehold on all the lesser nations, if Victoria was still alive today, it could have happened.
The issues with modern life could be seen as one of expectations amongst the population. It’s not what we have or haven’t got, it’s what society tells us we do and do not want.
With this in mind, if my British ancestors had sufficient foresight and skill, successful and broad application of social engineering could have made us the rulers of the globe. Whoever taught the working class that a factory accident was a bad thing are the real enemies in all this. If we could have kept everyone else expectations low, we would have been fine.
I mean, of course we could start letting those from the Northern Towns and Scotland in on the joke – after they had built us a few ships, and enough yards of cotton for the sails – but once we can outsource this to some of our other lands, we would be sorted.
Imagine it, Yorkshireman sitting alongside a Lancastrian, being tended to by Indians and Africans – perhaps even the Dutch. If we had successfully convinced our subjects of the righteousness of the Empire and the perils of sitting alone, we could be the worshipped – a higher class. The glory-smattered subjects under a higher kind of human.
And united with our underlings, we would have swept all up amongst us.
You see it yet? My imagined modern life involves everyone but a Brit being subject to a lesser economic wellbeing. 5 billion people working to create goods and food and weapons for the 50 million or so Brits, who can subsequently afford to maintain private armies in heavily fortified living accommodation. Such a beautiful thought.
But if this hypothetical social engineering exercise was a success, why would we need private armies and huge steel walls and complicated digital access codes on all our gates?
Of course, most Western politicians and social engineers are actively trying to maintain this absurd imbalance. They keep the rich as wealthy as they need to be, and they keep the poor far richer than most of the world. And most of the rest of the world sit beneath us all, making shoes, growing coca plants and stitching footballs. And every person’s expectations more or less in line.
What’s the point in all this? Will China take us all over?
It’s not about sitting in our fortified homes pouring boiling pitch off our roofs – wouldn’t it be better if we took our castles apart, brick by brick, and built roads to all our neighbours? With a bit of luck they’ll meet us half way.