The Anglospheric Meme

2004-12-07

Over the last two evenings I've devoured Jim Bennett's new book The Anglosphere Challenge. Ever since reading his original essay over a year ago, I've been working my way through the books he recommended there as background to the idea of the Anglosphere: that there is a common English tradition of freedom, individualism, common law, a market economy, industrialism, scientific inquiry, and a strong civil society, which manifests itself most strongly (despite local differences) in the United Kingdom, America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as to a progressively lesser extent in Ireland, South Africa, the English-speaking nations of the Carribean, India, and so on. There is a lot to chew on in Bennett's book and I cannot do it justice in one blog entry, especially since he connects the desirability of a networked commonwealth of English-speaking, common law, inherently flexible and resilient nations to the emerging Singularity Revolutions of much more advanced information technology (we ain't seen nothin' yet), space exploration and exploitation, life extension, and molecular nanotechnology. He seems to be a kind of realistic libertarian, since he thinks that even if anarcho-capitalism is possible (which he does not deny), it will not feasible until civil society becomes much stronger than it is today (so let's strengthen civil society, already!). However, he also notes that civil society is stronger in the nations of the Anglosphere than anywhere else on the planet, thanks in large measure to the common law (rather than Roman law, Napoleonic law, or no law at all), which is why free trade, military and political cooperation, scientific and technical exchange, and free movement of peoples throughout the Anglosphere make so much sense. Bennett is quick to emphasize that Anglospheric cooperation does not imply exclusion of those outside the Anglosphere; however, it does provide a basis (not racial, but cultural, legal, and economic) for greater coordination and openness among the nations of the Anglosphere than, say, between North America and Latin America, Britain and Continental Europe, or Australia and East Asia. Why not completely free trade among America, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK rather than just between America and Canada? Why not greater military coordination, development of a general common law, and the like? There is more at the Anglosphere Institute, but to really understand his nuanced arguments you need to read the book.


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