One of Margaret Thatcher’s many famous sayings was: “There is no such thing as society.” She believed that there were only individual men and women. But how do you keep these individuals together? How do you make them fight for a common cause?
Thatcher was a good politician; she had to be since she won several elections. But she had a poor grasp of the history of the country that had made her the prime minister. The British still see Thatcher as the “Iron Lady”—she did show a steely determination in dismantling British society. The Iron Lady was an ignorant lady, at least in the area of history. She presumed a lot of things about the history of Britain which are not true.
Britain became an empire on which the “sun did not set” because the British were an intensely collectivized society. In the sixteenth century, Queen Elizabeth I initiated the process of uniting the British under the banner of “one monarch (herself) and one God (the Protestant Christian God).” She turned the British into a warlike group of chauvinists and zealots who were convinced that theirs was the only culture blessed by God.
The kings and queens who followed Elizabeth I carried on with her policy of keeping the British united and motivated to fight the world. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the British empire saw its maximum expansion, the war cry of the British navy and army was: “Rule, Britannia!” (Inspired by James Thomson’s poem). There was hardly any political and cultural diversity in Britain during the heydays of Imperialism.
The British fought, massacred, plundered, enslaved, and colonized as one people. They built their empire not as individualists but under the collectivist banner of “one monarch and one God.”