How today’s Britain responds to theft of historic plaques

Philip M. writes from England:

When it comes to the theft of bronze plaques bearing the names of those who died in the world wars, the BBC is apparently incapable of looking beyond the fact that there are “soaring metal prices.”

Of course, it is not so much that the value of metal has increased, rather that the value we place on our own history and ancestors has fallen below the price of scrap metal. Seeing as the BBC has been an the forefront of this revolution in attitudes, it is unsurprising that they would not wish to examine the issue too closely.

Sadly, it’s not just the BBC that seem confused about this issue.

David Plattern, of the Royal British Legion’s local branch, said: “It’s disgusting. It’s just not right. The only reason they can come here at night is because the people on there gave their lives so we could have this open society we’ve got in this country.”

So, why should we expect the young to place value on war memorials? Because without the sacrifice they commemorate, we would not have the kind of society in which we would be free to steal them.

His attitude is typical of modern conservatives, who feel that the existence of something inherently conservative can only be made justified by an appeal to liberal attitudes, usually some ill-defined notion of freedom. But it is these liberal values that created the situation in the first place. [LA replies: “Open society” is a left-liberal term denoting openness to everything outside the society and openness to everything within it.]

This Daily Mail article is a lot more revealing about the thefts themselves, the BBC more revealing in other ways.

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James P. writes:

The theft of metal plaques is merely a random act. The thieves did not target any specific metal plaque for any premeditated reason. The metal plaques were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

James N. writes:

A long time ago, I was an English major. By special arrangement, I was allowed to take five of my eight major classes in Shakespeare.

I lived and worked in London in 1975-76. For a Shakespearean and Anglophile, it was a dream come true.

I was therefore shocked at the extent to which my peers (22-27 year old UK university graduates) HATED Britain. Not as much as they hated America, of course …

The current degeneration of Britain must be due, in part, to the rise of this generation, my generation, to positions of power in the UK.

Perhaps some of your correspondents could comment on how and why the generation born 1947-1955 hated their own country so much. It remains a puzzle to me, even after all these years.

LA replies:

In 2006 I said about the movie “The History Boys”:

The History Boys and Britain’s path to national suicide

If you don’t believe that the British elites despise their country, their culture, their history, and secretly or openly wish to have done with it all, see The History Boys….

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 01, 2011 02:17 PM | Send

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