So it was with some surprise when I watched Why The Industrial Revolution Happened Here on the iPlayer that it became apparent something very unusual was happening.
Professor Jeremy Black, of the University of Exeter, told the story of how in the 18th century a free exchange of ideas, and freedom from state interference enabled businesses to make radical improvements in industry.
More efficient mining meant more coal to power manufacturing, meaning more products being produced and sold. Britain traded with the world, began to produce high quality luxury goods, and the Exchequer just let businesses and merchants get on with it.
Meanwhile, in France, the state insisted on inspecting, approving and publishing all technological advancements before they could be put into mass practice, a process which could take years, holding up progress.
While Britain ruled the waves in order to do business around the globe, France’s approach to revenue generation was to invade somewhere, often at great expense, carry off all the plunder, and then look for somewhere else to do the same.
And, after having invented the Industrial Revolution and global trade, Britain was at the forefront of abolishing slavery, the abominable practice which had helped make it the wealthiest nation on earth.
This excellent documentary had everything conservative, albeit without ever saying so: freedom of thought and speech; less government interference; free trade; and, ultimately, freedom itself.
Now, how about a bit more such balance in the rest of the BBC’s programming?