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Opposing "the politics of the pre-emptive cringe"

"Speaking at the dawn of the 20th century, Britain's Prime Minister remarks, "England is, I believe, the only country in which, during a great war, eminent men write and speak as if they belonged to the enemy."

The excerpt is from Andrew Roberts' History Of The English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 and Mark Steyn's review of his book. I mention the book again as the point about criticism is an interesting one, and Steyn, whom we quote below, is worth reading. Most people might reasonably feel that criticism is a problem and a strength. Whether it is one or the other or both would depend on the specific criticism.

Since Roberts has good things to say about the 20th century history of the Anglophone democracies, including their ability to absorb and respond to criticism, he is bound to excite "the politics of the pre-emptive cringe." Roberts handles the cringe quite well.

It's curious that societies that have made school policy the positive self-affirmation of every student have so much difficulty being positive about their own cultures.