Mystery:Why is England More Liberal than the United States?

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Reasons for why England is substantially more liberal than the United States include:

  • England has fewer socially conservative thinkers and editors than the U.S., perhaps due to England's atheistic-controlled university system.
  • Gun control dominates England -- negating a healthy attitude of self-defense -- in contrast with the U.S.
  • Homeschooling is less common in England, in contrast with the U.S
  • Approximately 80% of people in the United Kingdom as a whole (of which England is the dominant part) believe in the theory of evolution, around twice the percentage in the United States.[1]
  • While there has been growth among evangelical churches, church attendance as a whole has been in sharp decline in England over the last fifty years and is much less than in the U.S. This increases secular influences and reduces Christian guidance.
  • The United States began as a rebellion against excessive government powers both when the colonies were settled and by the American Revolution. This makes Americans less likely to accept liberal leaning governments who seek to reduce the role of the individual and increase government control and tax.
  • The welfare state in England is so thoroughly entrenched and used by people dependent on the government that any attempt by a conservative to reform it is met with hostility.
  • In modern times England has never been as isolationist as the US and participates more in socialist-leaning groups like the European Union where it could be influenced. The US's characteristic way of being different allows for a more conservative view point.
  • Unlike the federalism and decentralized government in the United States, England has centralized government that enables a small number of liberals to exercise more influence.
  • Subsequent years after World War II, England rebuilt under the umbrella of the U.N. and American-led NATO. A "worry-free" atmosphere led to complacency, mediocracy and entitlements.
  • The United Kingdom lacks a formal written constitution, instead relying on inconsistent constitutional conventions.
  • A history of monarchism and feudalism has left a long-established tradition of believing that government should be all-powerful and capable of making decisions for its subjects.
  • Immigration to the U.S. by English families looking for more opportunity has resulted in more control of England by liberals entrenched in their entitlements or unproductive positions.

Dubious explanations

  • England has a population density that is nearly twelve times more dense than the United States. Voting patterns show that high population density areas tend to vote more on liberal lines while low population density ares tend to vote on conservative lines.
Difficulty with this explanation: many rural areas in Britain and the U.S. are very liberal, such as Vermont.
  • A state-run church that became a social bureaucracy over time
It seems likely that England would be even more liberal in the absence of the Church of England; see the talk page for a more detailed rebuttal.
Before recent legislation, the United Kingdom has always maintained the principle of freedom of press and speech (de facto and through judicial precedence if not in statute) and, in newspapers, the non-liberal press has remained dominant at all times. Exceptions have arisen such as: Enforcement of laws against blasphemy or obscenity, Gagging orders in criminal trial and censorship during war time; most of which have also been enforced in the United States. Irrespective of the extent of any restrictions, they have been, if anything, counter-liberal - making this a bad example to use.
  • Labor unions are far more powerful in England than in the U.S.
This issue looks more like an effect than a cause.


References

  1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060810-evolution.html
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/946400.stm#expression
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