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Re^2: Consideration for obscenity

by Eliana (Scribe)
on Feb 05, 2007 at 21:04 UTC ( #598412=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Consideration for obscenity
in thread Consideration for obscenity

jonadab said: Of course they live in England. Scotland and Wales are provinces in England, and have been throughout all of modern history and for that matter a large part of the middle ages. Yes, when the English took control of Wales and Scottland and, later, other places, they invented new names for their nation so as to soothe the newly conquered provinces, but fundamentally, whatever it's called on paper, it's still the same country -- it's still England. Whatever semantic games were played, it still boiled down to the English being in charge and the Scots and Welsh being subject to them.

<end quote>

I really cannot let this pass; you're over simplifying things in one of my pet subjects! :)

1) There is a very significant difference between 'the English being in charge' and 'it's ... still the same country. For example, I think no one would argue that Iraq was part of the United States during the time that the US was directly in control of the country, right?

2) Wales is more complex, but Scotland was unequivocably not an English province. Scotland was a self-governing, independent country (if often coerced into yielding to England on many issues) with its own monarch until the Scottish King James VI inherited the English throne from Queen Elizabeth I. Even then England and Scotland mantained separate parliaments until the Acts of Union about 100 years later (the very early 1700s, I think). The Acts of Union was not an assimilation of Scotland into England, but the creation of a new entity "Great Britain".

3) Despite the power of the British Empire, it was a network of sovereign states, not of provinces - although, again, Britain had a great deal of power/influence in each country under its dominion... they were, however, still distinct countries. Consider, again, the power wielded by the United States, the influence it has over many other sovereign nations, but one cannot with truth say they are all part of the United States....

4) Wales, as I said, is more complex, and was certainly *treated* as a province after Edward I. Gwynedd (spelling?) was conquered in the late 13th century, but Wales was not officially annexed by England until Henry VII's reign. This annexation gave Welsh citizens (theoretical) equality under English law and (hurrah!) elminated the 'Marcher Lords' (the roles, not the individuals); it also, oddly enough, defined the borders of Wales...

I will try to clean up this post later today - we're taking our menagerie of little people to the zoo now!

Eliana


Comment on Re^2: Consideration for obscenity
Re: Consideration for obscenity
by jonadab (Parson) on Feb 06, 2007 at 14:34 UTC

    I am aware that I was simplifying, but not that it was one of your pet subjects. In light of that, I'm not prepared to argue it at any great length, although I do have a couple of minor points...

    There is a very significant difference between 'the English being in charge' and 'it's ... still the same country'. For example, I think no one would argue that Iraq was part of the United States during the time that the US was directly in control of the country, right?

    That's arguable, but the US was not, and did not ever intend to be, in direct control as such for any significant amount of time, but only to effect a change of government. Indeed, even the strongest proponents of what we're doing there look forward to completing the task so that we can leave the government of Iraq to the Iraqi people[1]. Compare to the situation in Panama in 1989. The question of who de facto runs the effective government of a nation is typically complicated like this in times of transition. Who was the government of China in 1947? Even in hindsight this is hard to answer simply. England is entirely a different case, with centuries of actual control, with open borders and free movement within, numerous wars being fought together, widespread intermarriage, and so on and so forth. Rather than Iraq and the US, it's more reasonable to compare to Manchuria and China.

    Wales is more complex

    Interesting. I would have said Scotland was more complex, what with having had its own royal line that intermingled with the English one at various times and actually ruled all England on a couple of occasions before finally merging altogether.

    Despite the power of the British Empire, it was a network of sovereign states, not of provinces - although, again, Britain had a great deal of power/influence in each country under its dominion...

    This is totally inconsistent with the way England consistently viewed the matter until at least the nineteenth century, after a number of successful revolutions had divested it of much of its former power. Previously, if any of the colonies asserted local sovereignty, the government of England considered it a civil rebellion to be quashed, and an internal matter, *not* a foreign relations issue. Furthermore, the colonies themselves viewed it as a revolution against the overseas government, *not* a foreign relations issue.

    Consider, again, the power wielded by the United States, the influence it has over many other sovereign nations, but one cannot with truth say they are all part of the United States...

    Both the US and the other nations involved consider this a matter of foreign relations. Unless you're talking about Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and so on, which are American territories with varying degrees of local autonomy, comparable to pre-2000 Hong Kong. And if Puerto Rico applied for statehood, I wouldn't forsee a problem; they certainly meet the population requirements. (They don't apply, because it wouldn't be to their advantage. They'd gain representation but lose several other advantages they currently enjoy. They're more likely to seek independence at some point, but that too would have disadvantages, not least a reduced ability to rely absolutely on American military protection.)

    Wales, as I said, is more complex

    I would have said Wales was the simpler case, more straightforwardly a province of England. If my use of the word "province" trips you up, substitute the word "state" or the phrase "political subdivision".

    More likely, it is my use of the word "England" that trips you up. When I say "England" I don't mean the province, but the country as a whole, which is officially called something along the lines of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", but that takes entirely too long to say so we just say "England". This is the primary meaning of the word "England" throughout pretty much the entire western hemisphere and much of the rest of the world. We also used the word "Russia" to refer to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics until it disolved, and the word "America"[2], means the United States of America. Sometimes we also use the abbreviations US and UK as synonyms, but those don't have good adjectival forms, so attributives and indications of national origin always come out along the lines of "English" or "American". Thus, Wales is an English province (or an English state, or whatever) in approximately the same way that Hawaii is an American state.


    1. We delay pulling out our support because we are not confident the new government can retain control on its own just yet[3], and we don't want Saddam to just be replaced by another tyrant. Opponents of our efforts there typically either believe that the new government *can* retain control without our help, or else they believe that we should allow Iraq to be governed by whatever tyrant obtains control in the absense of our intervention.
    2. If not qualified. Obviously such constructions as "North America", "South America", "Central America", "Latin America", and "the Americas" refer to the continents.
    3. The question of how long it will take before the new government can retain control on its own is a matter for debate. My own prediction is "long enough for an entire generation to grow up under the new government, approximately thirty years". I have doubts about whether it will be politically viable (domestically) for us to maintain a military presense there for that long, so my guess is that our effort will ultimately fail, because we will pull out prematurely and a local thug will take over, probably someone even worse than Saddam. But I'm a pessimist.
      More likely, it is my use of the word "England" that trips you up. When I say "England" I don't mean the province, but the country as a whole, which is officially called something along the lines of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", but that takes entirely too long to say so we just say "England". This is the primary meaning of the word "England" throughout pretty much the entire western hemisphere and much of the rest of the world.

      Nice use of the royal we there, but it's not correct. 'We' call the island "Great Britain", and the UK of GB & NI "Britain" if we want to shorten the name. Calling the whole show England is not only incorrect, it irritates people.

        Calling the whole show England is not only incorrect, it irritates people.

        I didn't make this usage up. Indeed, I have seen it labelled as England on maps (albeit, only on simple maps that label just the countries with little or no further detail), and in informal speech this usage is fairly universal here. Yes, sometimes it is also called 'Britain', which is just as technically incorrect. Technically, Britain is an island (or, arguably, an archipelago) and does not include Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, or cetera, nor probably the Isle of Mann, yet people happily refer to the entire nation as Britain, or as England. (In the US, "Britain" and "England" are synonyms. Of the two, "England" is the more common term. Both are *way* more common than saying "the UK" much less "the United Kingdom" or anything longer.)

        Calling the US "America" occasionally irritates people too (mostly Canadian pedants), but that doesn't really stop anyone from doing it.

        I have *occasionally* noticed people saying "England" or "English" when they mean the entire Commonwealth, but that is much less common. (One example I specifically recall is the time my sister told me "Color doesn't have a u in it. This isn't England." She knows perfectly well that they spell it the same way in Australia as in Scotland or Wales or England proper. As I said, however, this usage is not very common.)

      Eeek.. footnotes and everything! :)

      We're so hideously off-topic that I don't want to prolong this too much, but I guess the logical consequence of a sloppy post is the desire to clarify what one was saying...

      I don't want to dispute gradations of control, despite my inept analogies! I was asserting that there is a very significant distinction between one country having de facto control of another and the two countries being part of the same country. There is certainly plenty of room for debate about where the dividing line lies, but I wasn't trying to go there! A better example would have been: "England" and India were never 'the same country' despite the British control of India.

      Wales is more complex because it is very clear, imnsho, that Scotland was never made part of England, and the historical record documents that very clearly. Wales, on the other hand, very clearly was 'legally' annexed by England, but culturally maintains a very clear sense of itself as a separate people, some would even say a conquered nation.

      It is my understanding that "England" never considered its colonial holdings to be *part* of "England"; they were answerable to "England", influenced by her, etc... I have seen some fascinating comparisons of British and French views of their colonies... France had much more of the expanding the country sentiment than did Britain and tended, if I remember correctly, to rule more directly whereas Britain had far, far less assimilation and tended to rule through local leaders. (This is way outside anything approaching an area of expertise for me... corrections are welcome!)

      Had you merely used England as a shorthand, I would have grumbled quietly to myself and moved on.. it was the historical assertions which lured me out of lurking status and onto a soapbox. :)

      I too am pessimistic about the future of Iraq. :(

      ...although I suspect our viewpoints on the specifics are at least as conflicting as on the present subject...

      Eliana (who *someday* will have progressed enough to have something to contribute to a directly-Perl-related-topic!)

        A better example would have been: "England" and India were never 'the same country' despite the British control of India.

        I will concede that I tend to agree with you on that one.

        Wales, on the other hand, very clearly was 'legally' annexed by England, but culturally maintains a very clear sense of itself as a separate people, some would even say a conquered nation.

        Some would say that the American south was conquered by northern aggressors, and there are significant cultural differences between the north and the south. This is neither here nor there, the way I see things. We have one government, free movement, extensive intermarriage, ... we are functionally one country. The rest of the world certainly can't be expected to see these nuances; to them we're *all* Yanks, even those who are actually from Georgia.

        It was not my intention to offend the English. (Umm. Or the Welsh, or the Scotch or Irish.) But from the other side of the ocean you look very much like one country (excepting the Republic of Ireland, and I don't care to discuss the question of Sealand). And I'm not clear on exactly why that should be offensive.

        On the other hand, China and Taiwan look very much like two countries (albeit with some cultural things in common), and I'm still trying to figure out why that's offensive to them.

        It is my understanding that "England" never considered its colonial holdings to be *part* of "England"; they were answerable to "England", influenced by her, etc... I have seen some fascinating comparisons of British and French views of their colonies... France had much more of the expanding the country sentiment than did Britain and tended, if I remember correctly, to rule more directly whereas Britain had far, far less assimilation and tended to rule through local leaders. (This is way outside anything approaching an area of expertise for me... corrections are welcome!)

        The French view, and from what I know the general Non-British approach to colonization was that of a small settlement establishment and then resource extraction. While i dont know about the French specifically, and there is good examples to the contrary in Canada, this often involved usurping the local leadership and enslaving the local population to achieve these goals.

        The British on the other hand rarely ended up in control of places where resource extraction along these lines was financially feasable, and in the places where it was its arguable they resorted to similar tactics. However, as they didn't often end up in places where this could work they focused on three things, strategic aquistion, market expansion and migration, none of which are particularly facilitated by enslaving or usurping the local populace. Migration was important because the Great Britian was an island with an overpopulation problem. Market expansion was important because it was the only way to get a ROI on the money it took to secure these places. Strategic aquisition was important because of the trading nature of Britains Empire and their reliance on control of the sea for their power. Ships need somewhere to repair, to replenish their supplies, and somewhere to rest. Its no good having the locals of a strategic outpost want to kill you.

        Anyway, the standard practice of the British Empire was to impose their control over the existing leadership and then let them do more or less as they always had so long as they acknowledged their allegiance and friendship to the empire. Where they deviated from this approach they tended to end up in serious trouble.

        Market growth and migration were key aspects of the British Empire. I recall a textbook on the ecomonic history of the north american colonies, and iirc within 20 years of Britains defeat of the French in North America the British population was double that of the French, yet the French had a 150 year advantage. The (succesful) French colonies in North America were founded in 1603, and the french were defeated on the plains of Abraham in 1759. By 1779 the population of the formerly French areas had doubled, and this process just continued.

        You can see similar patterns in the Protuguese and Spanish colonies. The didnt tend to export much of their population, only that required to keep control. They didnt try to establish markets to sell to and buy from, instead the extracted all the resources they could find (in the process completely destroying and enslaving the previous occupants).

        Dont get me wrong, im not saying that Britain was morally better than the French, Spanish or Portuguese. The truth was that in some respects they were unlucky, such as colonizing places where resource extraction was a viable strategy, and in others they were lucky, such as by being latecomers to the seafaring and colonization business they were able to take advantage of existing technology, but at the same time by being late they lost the chance to gain the "easy wins" that arguably in the end caused the destruction of the kingdoms that came before them. (Easy money tends to get wasted, and on a national level just destablises the country who was obtained it.)

        I recommend Niall Ferguson's "Empire" for a good analysis of the British Empire. It seems a lot of people forget that England was a latecomer to the colony thing, starting out as essentially pirates who raided the Spanish and Portugese, only ending up the master of the seas after a long period of innovation and expansion.

        ---
        $world=~s/war/peace/g

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