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Low Brainpower Cost Britain Its Colonies

Excerpt from How America Got It Right, by Bevin Alexander, pages 9-10

A nation that restricts its leadership to a narrow aristocracy deprives itself of most of its brainpower. Britain crippled itself in this fashion at the time of the American Revolution, with devastating consequences. Britain’s leadership, almost entirely drawn from the privileged classes, was so incompetent that it ignored every opportunity to deflect colonial discontent before revolt started, selected generals incapable of conducting effective military operations, and appointed politicians who wrecked every prospect for negotiated peace.

Adam Smith, the great Scottish philosopher who laid the foundations of classical free-market economic theory, understood the disastrous path Britain was following, and offered a solution in his monumental work The Wealth of Nations. He called for the consolidation of Britain and its American colonies into a single federated nation, with all its parts having equal representation in a unified parliament. But by the time Smith’s book came out in 1776, it was too late. The colonies declared their independence on July 4 that year, and Britain’s leaders were determined to bring the colonies back under their heel by military force, not compromise.

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