Date: 15 July 16
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON Canada L78R 2B5 905 634 9538
For: Editor, The Spec, Hamilton
Re: Brexit: not just a story …. today’s Spec
Columnist Hunter identifies Britain’s deeply rooted island psche as being the source of her global reach and strength. Perhaps. But we might well consider an even more vital wellspring for these powers.
In a closed-door meeting of a certain think tank, we discussed the ground-breaking book by Hernando De Soto, Why capitalism succeeds in the West. I asked the speaker, a prominent and respected politician who is neither Jewish nor a professing Christian, to put his finger, if he could, on one single socio-economic factor without which that success would not have been possible. Without a moment’s hesitation he responded, “The Judaeo-Christian ethic.”
With due respect to other beliefs, we must think carefully about the politician’s instant and unqualified response.
The British globalized before globalization. From Hudson’s Bay to Tasmania, Britain established missions, hospitals, and schools that were needed for the spiritual and material good of far-flung people. Her traders established a network of land and sea routes that enabled free trade before there was free trade.
Britain covered the globe with English, a flexible, graceful, cultured language that welcomes contributions from other languages, Sanskrit to Swahili. It is linguistic free trade, in which is written the Magna Carta, one of the mightiest documents ever to issue from the minds of men.
Of course, as Ms. Hunter says, Britain at times also brought brutality, theft, exploitation and slavery. But in every society there are evil men in all professions from shoemaking to the priesthood; and when based on Judaeo-Christian ethics, that society can ultimately get rid of them as we did slavery (yes, Canada had slavery). Read the papers: you will find that societies not based on Judaeo-Christian ethics or its equal are drowning in – guess-what? – brutality, theft, exploitation and slavery.
As a child, attending a church school, I started my day with the principal leading us in ten minutes of Bible reading and prayer. He stood under a vast world map that stretched from corner to corner on the wall above his head: it was, of course, extravagantly pink everywhere, to illustrate the truth of its caption; “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” I can feel still today the security, warmth, and comfort that crept in as I understood that I and my country were parts of such an Empire. Help, Britain, help! Where are you when we need you?