Britain’s Silver Age (RIP Queen Elizabeth II)

Queen Victoria presided over Britain’s Golden Age (1837-1901).

Many people view the post-WWII period as one of decline for Great Britain, with economic difficulties and a loss of colonies. I see Queen Elizabeth’s reign as a Silver Age. Not quite peak performance, but very good.

In 1952, Britain was still somewhat depressed from the war. Since then it’s done pretty well in absolute terms, even if it fell a bit in relative terms.

During Elizabeth’s reign, the UK’s economic performance has been mediocre by Western European standards. But Britain is now a world leader in popular culture, higher education, science, media, finance, and many other areas that will become increasingly important in the 21st century.

I don’t know a lot about her personal qualities, but she certainly handled the glare of modern media with grace and dignity. (British commentators are much more qualified to write on that topic.)

PS. Queen Elizabeth was born and got married at roughly the same time as my mom (who is 96), so I’ve always thought of her as one generation older.

PPS. The first famous person I ever met was Prince Charles, when he visited the University of Chicago around the late 1970s.



10 Responses to “Britain’s Silver Age (RIP Queen Elizabeth II)”

  1. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. September 2022 at 11:30

    I am saddened by her death. Not quite sure why, but I always knew I would be. It is easy to be critical of a monarch, but I have always believed she was a person who represented Britain in the best way. I also was saddened when Princess Diana died—-yet they could not be more different, at least superficially. And she was not a Monarch and never would be.

    I have to admit, I am quite negative on the next Monarch, Charles. And for that matter, also William —who at least still has time to mature. If Charles makes “bronze” or even copper I will be surprised. The monarchy is embedded in the lifeblood of Britain—-even when some (like H the 8th) were despicable. So I assume they will make it thru Charles.

    But Elizabeth was a great woman. And she will be missed.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. September 2022 at 11:39

    I like that Charles left a beautiful woman for a physically unattractive and older soulmate. Most rich and powerful men do the opposite.

    But that’s all I know about Charles.

  3. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. September 2022 at 12:10

    Wish I did not mention Charles, William or Diana in my comment. Should have saved it for another time. I will merely reiterate my belief that Elizabeth was a great woman who served her nation well.

  4. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    8. September 2022 at 12:50

    She was a class act, and she represented what England used to be. Tradition, culture, class, honor…

    Now it’s a dystopian hell-hole on the verge of bankruptcy, with a bunch of knive weilding gangs that rob people in broad daylight. Are these gangs whites? Nope. There mostly immigrants who cannot find jobs, and who live in the ghettos.

    You think England is wealthy. That is a joke. Nobody in that country can afford housing anymore, because the apparatchiks make it nearly impossible for developers to develop anything. The average salary is only increasing because of inflation. The real income hasn’t increased since the 80’s.

    The problem with Sumner is that his view is so incredibly narrow, because his life experiences are just as narrow. This is a guy who spent his whole life in Boston, the most white state — perhaps other than vermont and new hampshire — in the entire country. It’s one of the only states that doesn’t depend on any manufacturing. MA is a serviced based economy, with a bunch of woke apparatchiks walking through the halls of their now psuedoscientific, pre-enlightenment, religious universities filled with quack social scientists who couldn’t quite cut it in the hard sciences. And btw, I’m not saying that Sumner is a quack. I’m just saying that most social scientists are, and he probably is. I doubt his view will hold. The austrian view appears to be the most accurate, at least based on historical record to date.

    But Sumner, because of his narrow experiences, comes to view the world from a very narrow lens. This is a guy who thinks unlimited immigration is wonderful, despite the fact that we have lots of data showing otherwise. He believes this, because he doesn’t have 100 hispanics every day running through his farm, killing cattle, bringing drugs with them, etc. And BTW, I spent two years in Mexico. I speak spanish. I love mexicans. But there is only so much immigration that you can take at one time.

    He also clamors for a one world NATO, but he doesn’t grasp that centralization is a bad idea. He doesn’t have to deal with thugs in brussels who transfer power from local communities into their high offices of thuggery. How is the Euro doing? Not well. Seems like that experiment of centralization is failing, as everyone who understands history knew it would.

    This is also why he thinks free trade without any tariffs is wonderful. He’s never seen the family who lost their job, lost their health care, lost their house, because of the monopolies and oligopolies who left town for slave labor abroad.

    And free trade doesn’t reduce the price for the consumer, which is the only argument he clings too. It doesn’t, because competition no longer exists. for example, The entire fabric industry is controlled by a small group of thugs. Same for the beverage industry. Not everyone can pack their bags and setup business in Vietnam, especially when the monopoly has a significant tax advantage in the form of “economic zones” which of course only go to companies that bribe officials. That means not every company that wants to outsource can even outsource at cost that can compete with the centralized thugs like Coca Cola.

    You can sit behind the desk and pretend that you understand. But clearly you don’t. I suggest a vacation. I suggest living abroad. Learn a bit about how economics really works, in the real world, because it’s different than the textbooks.

  5. Gravatar of David R Henderson David R Henderson
    8. September 2022 at 14:11

    Actually, Scott, I find Charles’ current wife quite physically attractive.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. September 2022 at 14:19

    Sara, You said:

    “The problem with Sumner is that his view is so incredibly narrow, because his life experiences are just as narrow. This is a guy who spent his whole life in Boston, the most white state”

    LOL. I was born in Michigan, grew up in Wisconsin, went to grad school in Illinois, worked in upstate New York, lived in Massachusetts (not even close to the most white state, BTW), lived in the UK, lived in Australia, and have lived in California for more than 5 years.

    But yeah, I spent my whole life in all-white Boston and know nothing of the UK or anywhere else.

    David, Compared to Diana?

  7. Gravatar of Market Fiscalist Market Fiscalist
    8. September 2022 at 16:33

    I left the UK over 20 years ago and have always considered myself anti-Monarchist. But upon hearing the news this morning I felt so sad I couldn’t help but cry. I have only had one Queen and I can’t believe she’s gone. I will miss her quiet devotion to duty.

  8. Gravatar of TGGP TGGP
    8. September 2022 at 19:07

    Science is valuable, but taking a Caplanian view raises the question of just how socially valuable it is to be a leader in education. Similarly media once you take the Hansonian view that it’s not about providing accurate info.

  9. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    9. September 2022 at 11:17

    She will be greatly missed.

    I’ve met Charles a few times, both socially and at official events. He’s always struck me as a decent man, albeit never the sharpest one in the room. I hope he’ll be a decent King – we certainly need one.

  10. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    9. September 2022 at 23:41

    I think you can admire Queen Elizabeth even if you aren’t a fan of monarchy.

    (For comparison, I think American secession from the Rightful Authority of the crown was misguided at best, and probably a naked powergrab. But I can still admit that the rebels produced a few decent leaders here and there since they broke away.)

    Queen Victoria evoked similar sentiments on her passing. And republicanism was a much stronger force in Britain back then.

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