Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Anglosphere

I've been reading some things in the past few days which have crystallized thoughts I've had for a long time. It started with a reference from Roger Simon to a blog by Dr. Sanity which attempts to explain how aspects of narcissism and the self can have economic and political implications. Then, I came across a link on Instapundit to a review of James Bennett's book, The Anglosphere Challenge by Keith Windschuttle at the NRO review of books.

This could get complicated, but the essence, at least to me, is that there is emerging a robust awareness that new cultural, economic, technological, and security arrangements are justified among the primarily English-speaking countries of the world. This "network commonwealth" would share the basic values, and traditions of our cultural roots. At a time when the world's primary international organization, the UN, is being battered by financial and moral challenges; when its Human Rights Commission includes such paragons of freedom as Cuba, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe; what is needed is a new structure built upon a broad foundation of beliefs which has produced the most good for the most people: Democratic Capitalism combined with Democracy and individual freedom.

In her three-part series on narcissism and society, Dr. Pat Santy describes how the fundamental and often contradictory parts of ourselves are best served by a system which:

"will provide the greatest measure of happiness and well-being (by encouraging a Cohesive Self) for the greatest number of people. It allows for optimal expression of the Grandiose Self and limits (but does not suppress) it by the Rule of Law. And Democracy limits the power of the state also by the Rule of Law and by specific protection of minorities from the majority. The optimum advancement of each individual person will occur by securing for the individual the greatest amount of mental and physical freedom compatible with the general welfare."

". . . Any political or economic system that expects to succeed in the real world will have to accommodate that tension, and find a way to optimally negotiate the needs of BOTH sides of the Self--that is, they will have to take into account human nature."

I tend to agree that the fundamental ideas of the Anglosphere provide the greatest security, prosperity, and individual freedom for the people of the world today. I agree with Bennett that this is not merely an attempt to resurrect imperialism. There are "nodes" of Anglospheric support in places as diverse as the English-speaking populations of India, South Africa, the Philippines and Singapore. This intellectual universe is wide enough and flexible enough to include virtually any national or ethnic group willing to subsribe to its basic tenants. Tolerance for, and protection of minority opinions is, after all, one of its most attractive features.

Ideas have never been able to travel faster, cheaper, and easier than today. This trend will only continue. As people begin to better understand themselves, the ideas of the Anglosphere grow in attractiveness. I think this "network commonwealth" is already taking shape in a spontaneous, swirling, global conversation. Look at the explosion of blogs, not just in America, but in every country with a degree of internet penetration. What will ultimately come of this conversation is certain to be influenced by many forces, but the ideas of individual freedom which form the very bedrock of our anglospheric selves will continue to be persuasive.