Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ties that bind

Stephen Bainbridge on the thesis of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts

Roberts' focus is the core Anglosphere; i.e., the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Roberts' History is no mere narrative of recent events. Instead, it is an apologia for the proposition that the English-speaking peoples are the last best hope of mankind.
I have bought this book, but have not yet read it. I confess a certain discomfort with that bald statement of its main theme: "the English-speaking peoples are the last best hope of mankind". Would any British newspaper have put it like that?

My discomfort derives from my education and my experience that the virtues are, if not evenly spread, then certainly widely dispersed. There's also good manners; put like that it sounds like the 'I'm better than you' of the school playground.

But perhaps it should not be read as a descriptive statement, but as an exhortation. History as source of strength rather than simple account of events. When a group feels threatened, it invigorates itself by remembering; it goes back to where it came from; it draws together like with like.

One of the greatest weaknesses of the European Union is that it was constructed as a bulwark against huge political failure. The UK will always be an outsider to this club because it did not share this failure. On the contrary, it is one of great political successes of history - just as its imperial children are. And the ties that bind best are those that have never really been broken, even if they have been severely strained.
Indeed, just as Churchill's History was intended to rally the Anglosphere in the early days of the struggle against Communism, Roberts' intent self-evidently is to rally the Anglosphere against Islamofascism.

Towards that end, Roberts emphasizes that the Anglosphere succeeds when it stands as one. In the two World Wars and the Cold War, the UK and USA fought side-by-side, with not inconsiderable help from the other Anglosphere nations. In contrast, on those occasions when the Anglosphere was divided against itself - such as Suez and Vietnam - defeat followed.

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