If you asked the average American what he thinks when you say the word “empire,” he’d probably say something about exploitation, oppression and the heavy hand of intrusive government - a leviathan-like state we’re steering toward yet desperately need to avoid.
But in terms of the largest empire the world has ever seen - the British Empire, the empire that gave birth to the United States and gave America its ideas of liberty and limited government - he’d be dead wrong. Compared to today’s modern welfare state, the British-empire (that is, Britain and the quarter of the globe it governed in the 1920s) operated on a budget the size of the projected fiscal revenue for Best Buy stores in 2012 (in inflation-adjusted dollars). The British Sudanese civil service, which governed a country of 9 million people, was 140-men strong (smaller than the combined active rosters of the Rams, the Packers and the Cowboys of the NFL), and governed - perhaps needless to say - with a far lighter and fairer hand than the regime now in Khartoum. In India, 100,000 British soldiers and civil servants ruled more than 300 million people. To put that in perspective, in 2009 California, a state with a population of about 37 million, had 206,000 full-time state employees - that’s not even counting city, county or federal workers. Oh, and incidentally, it’s a little remarked fact that the British ended up taxing the Indians at a far lower rate than the Moghuls had taxed their subjects before the British arrived. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “I have more than once said that the government is best that governs least; and I have found that it is possible for me to be governed least by the British Empire.”
Read more by H. W. Crocker III at The Washington Times
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- British Soldiers told not to shoot Taliban bomb layers
- “The Bureau Of Money Materialization” And A Submerging America
- Only In Zero’s America
- “The battlefield is the United States of America”
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