The Anglosphere

2003-10-27

Thanks to Jay Manifold, I just found a fascinating essay by James Bennett on what he calls the Anglosphere: that offshoot of Western civilization which is deeply informed by the English tradition of freedom, individualism, common law, a market economy, industrialism, scientific inquiry, and a strong civil society. The core countries of the Anglosphere are England and the U.S.; less central countries are Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa; and the frontiers (verges?) of the Anglosphere lie in the Caribbean, India, Africa, etc. I'm not quite convinced yet that the Anglosphere is a distinct civilization (it strikes me as simply part, albeit the most dynamic and successful part, of Western civilization), but Bennett argues persuasively that there is something different about the Anglosphere in comparison to other areas of Western civilization. One difference that is bound to become more pronounced over time is that the population of the Anglosphere continues to grow, whereas countries like Italy and Germany are experiencing negative population growth. Since a growing population provides a spur to dynamism, the future does not look bright for much of continental Europe (nor for Russia or Japan). The books that Bennett cites at the end of his essay look like fodder for further thought on the subject, too (inter-library loan, here I come!).


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