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The truth about the Anglosphere


There is a worse refuge from history than the Pacific Palisade. We were shocked, even tickled, to understand that Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and other Weimar stars made their living among the Western LA’s sorted pets and extortionist chocolaters.

But look at it from their angle. On one side: an indomitable sea. On the other hand: the curtain of the mountains. North and South: Many weak countries. Europe’s claustrophobia, its overlapping nationalism was a physical impossibility here. So was the violence of the servants. Versions of the same shelter can be found in Sydney or on the Defensive Channel, London.

Even after the naval agreement between the United States, Australia and Britain last month, the “Anglosphere” is still an idea in search of stuffing. With its gun laws, paid leave, ethnic mix, religiosity, per capita income, and desirable sports, Britain is far more European than America. No country has too much intimacy with distant antipodes outside of a pool spy.

In fact, only one linguistic thread binds the major English-speaking countries together. Call it geographical destiny. I understand that it shapes their point of view more deeply than language.

Of the “five eyes”, only one has a border with a larger country (and it is with a majestic United States of Canada). None are landlocked. None, unless we calculate the declassification of Britain, has much experience of regional loss or occupation. One who grows up in these countries may be blinded by the rarity of such geographical providence. The concern that history has created in France or Nigeria or Mexico is that our reservoirs and excellent neighbors concern us.

Or, come to think of it, China or India or Russia. This century’s navigation is going to invoke the various untrained muscles of the Anglosphere. One is the knowledge of civilization that came to the West. Another is to compete with economies that have recently been poor enough and have no animosity or animosity about trade.

Of all the combinations up front, however, the less discussed is the most important. We need to understand the mental life of countries that have not been so ruined by geography. It is not just the theory that external hunting experience has edged them out. To ensure that what citizens do there – which citizens choose or follow – is not repeated.

The idea of ​​the Anglosphere is that something deep in its culture explains why it never fell victim to oppression. There is no allowance for geographical accidents, leaving aside the electoral memory (what did the Confederacy say? Tamil?). Does the Netherlands, Spinoza’s habitat, and merchant capitalism, and non-religious paintings lack the instinct for freedom? If it was recognized by the Nazis, wouldn’t hundreds of miles of German borders be equally criminal? The joke about French surrender – the inevitable sign of Bafunari – is clearly missing. And if we don’t see the power of geography in such familiar countries, what chance is there for sensitivity in Asia?

Three years in Washington introduced me to a political class, such as, like London, hardworking, civic minded and, if not impossible, smart enough. If there were any blind spots, it was because of the underlying insecurity in many parts of the world: for the role of humiliation in many national histories. For example, Chinese behavior exploits everyone. What George Canaan called its “source” did not happen.

The problem is education as bright as the sea. The currency of humanity is the abstract concept: Enlightenment vs. Romance, Protestant morality vs. Catholicism. Materials such as the environment can also shape some nations that feel almost Palestinian to propose. Jared Diamonds Gun germs and steel It just makes it vaguely more respectable.

Anglosphere-ice, those who are right for the wrong reasons, are the product of that idea culture. Yes, there is an unusual pattern between the five countries. Yes, it will definitely change their outlook on the world. But isn’t that the language (Singapore, now more populous than New Zealand, in the Anglosphere?). Nor is it John Locke’s intellectual legacy.

No, identifying them from many parts of the world is a coincidence of their geographical isolation. Brentwood’s own Theodore Adorno thought LA ​​was bad for his mind and even kept him safe. The countries of the Anglosphere face the same dilemma: they do not understand what protects them.

Email Janan janan.ganesh@ft.com

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