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The New Criterion

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January 2011

Britain, benign & proud

by Anthony Daniels

On public virtue in the Victorian era.

A. J. P. Taylor’s famous book English History 1914–1945 begins:

Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. . . . He had no official number or identity card.

This was written in 1965. Exactly forty years later, another Oxford historian, Jose Harris, wrote in her Private Lives, Public Spirit: A Social History of Britain 1870–1914:

Nothing in the sociological theories of the period (or indeed of subsequent periods) quite prepares one for the extraordinary coexistence of extreme social inequality with respect for and observance of the law, of growing public order and defence of civil liberties.

I doubt that anyone will ...

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Anthony Daniels's most recent book is In Praise of Prejudice (Encounter Books).

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 January 2011, on page 85

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll,

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