|January 13th, 2009||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The wild frontier
The Anglosphere - Network civilization
The Anglosphere Institute
This site will tell you more about a new concept in geopolitics: the idea of the Anglosphere. Broadly, this is the emerging branch of civilization at the core of which are the nations of the English-speaking world. But it is about more than that.
The Anglosphere Institute exists
* to promote the concept of the Anglosphere;
* to promote the virtues, critical to the Anglosphere, of individual freedom, the rule of law and strong civil society;
* to conduct research toward the end of understanding the Anglosphere, its institutions, and characteristics;
* to work towards defining and creating institutions and arrangements of mutual benefit to Anglosphere nations; and
* to promote feelings of mutual respect, commonality and cooperation between the many peoples of the Anglosphere.
What is the Anglosphere?
The Anglosphere is the emerging branch of civilization at the core of which are the nations of the English-speaking world. But the Anglosphere is about more than language. Many non-English speakers in the Anglosphere benefit from its existence. Its characteristics include the justice of Common Law and the freedom guaranteed by traditions of individual liberty and representative constitutional government. It is an entity where wide mutual trust is vital and civil society prospers.
Anglosphere nations and organizations adhere to the fundamental customs and values that form the core of English-speaking cultures, such as individualism, rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants, and the elevation of freedom to the first rank of political and cultural values.
What the Anglosphere is not
The Anglosphere is not a racial, ethnic or religious concept. The Anglosphere has demonstrated repeatedly its ability to blend, accept and accommodate new peoples and their cultures. Immigrants have assimilated the political values of the Anglosphere quite readily, and do so today despite the attempts of politically correct elites and governments to promote multiculturalism.
Anglospherists see immigrants forming a new layer of intra-Anglosphere ties, as the East and South Asian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean origins of immigrants throughout the Anglosphere create new cross-relationships. Colin Powell, for instance, is the first American Secretary of State for generations to have relatives in London, owing to his Caribbean ancestry.
The Anglosphere Primer: part 1
24 July 2003
The first part of James C Bennett's essential introduction to the Anglosphere concept.
Over the past several years, a new term, Anglosphere, has emerged (1) into political and social discussion in the English-speaking world. This term, which can be defined briefly as the set of English-speaking, Common Law nations, implies far more than merely the sum of all persons who employ English as a first or second language. To be part of the Anglosphere is to adhere, by birth or choice, to the fundamental customs and values that form the core of English-speaking cultures. These include individualism, rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants beyond family and crony circles, and the maintenance of freedom in the first rank of political and cultural values.
Nations comprising the Anglosphere share a common historical narrative in which the Magna Carta, the values of the English and American Bills of Rights, and such Common Law principles as trial by jury, presumption of innocence, "a man's home is his castle", and "a man's word is his bond" are taken for granted. Thus persons or communities who happen to communicate or do business in English are not necessarily part of the Anglosphere, unless their cultural values have also come to share such values of the historical English-speaking civilization.
The Anglosphere, as a network civilization (2) without a corresponding political form, has necessarily imprecise boundaries. Geographically, the densest nodes of the Anglosphere are found in the United States and the United Kingdom, while Anglophone regions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa are powerful and populous outliers. The educated English-speaking populations of the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa and India pertain to the Anglosphere to various degrees.
What the Anglosphere Perspective Does and Does Not Hold
The Anglosphere perspective suggests that the English-speaking nations have not only formed a distinct branch of Western civilization for most of history, they are now becoming a distinct civilization in their own right. Western in origin but no longer entirely Western in composition and nature, this civilization is marked by a particularly strong civil society, which is the source of its long record of successful constitutional government and economic prosperity. The Anglosphere's continuous leadership of the Scientific-Technological Revolution from the seventeenth century through the twenty-first century stems from these characteristics and is thus likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Beginning in World War I and continuing into the post-Cold War world, Anglosphere nations have developed increasingly important mutual cooperative institutions. The Anglosphere's potential is to expand these close collaborations into deeper ties in trade, defense, free movement of peoples, and scientific cooperation, all bound together by our common language, culture, and values. Such institutions are not meant to replace other ties between English-speaking and non-English-speaking nations, but to expand the range of options for cooperation between nations. Network Commonwealth theory sees international collaboration as most effectively emerging through the construction of network commonwealth structures among groups of nations whose like characteristics permit close cooperation, and at the same time linking the various groups of nations together through inter-commonwealth ties.
Anglospherists promote more and stronger cooperative institutions, not to build some English-speaking superstate on the model of the European Union, or to annex (3) Britain, Canada, or Australia to the United States, but rather to protect the English-speaking nations' common values from external threats and internal fantasies. Thus, Anglospherists call on all English-speaking nations to abandon Haushoferian fantasies of geographical blocs: on America to downgrade its hemispherist ambitions, on Britain to rethink its Europeanist illusions, and on Australia to reject its "Asian identity" fallacy.
Far from a centralizing federation, the best form of association is what I call a "network commonwealth": a linked series of cooperative institutions, evolved from existing structures like trade agreements, defense alliances, and cooperative programs. Rather than despising the variable geometry principle, it would embrace it, forming coalitions of the willing to respond to emerging situations. Anglosphere institutions would be open and nonexclusive; Britain, America, Canada, Australia, and others would be free to maintain other regional ties as they saw fit.
Anglospherism is assuredly not the racialist Anglo-Saxonism (4) dating from the era around 1900, nor the sentimental attachment of the Anglo-American Special Relationship of the decades before and after World War II. Any consideration of the Anglosphere concept should indeed include examination of previous attempts to create institutional frameworks for the English-speaking world. However, any comparison of the ideas and times of such Anglo-Saxonists as Sir Alfred Milner, George E.G. Catlin, Cecil Rhodes and Theodore Roosevelt to those of contemporary Anglospherists must also take into account the considerable increase in understanding of the world that has come to pass over those years. Contemporary Anglospherist thought bears roughly the same relation to past Anglo-Saxonism as current evolutionary thought bears to the simplistic Darwinism of Milner's contemporaries.
Anglo-Saxonism relied on underlying assumptions of an Anglo-Saxon race, and sought to unite racial "cousins." It saw the British Empire and the United States as the building blocks of the Anglo-Saxon club, which in most proposed versions was some species of framework for mediating conflicts of interest between the building blocks. In short, it was a formula by which London and New York might jointly manage their chunks of the world without conflict.
The movement was undermined by the First World War and the Great Depression, as well as the opposition to the formula that arose many of its would-be participants. Dublin, Ottawa, and Canberra saw less and less need to defer to London in matters of defense and foreign policy, much less to allow their relationship with Washington to be run through Whitehall. However, the Anglo-Saxonist sentiments and institutions (such as the Rhodes Scholarships and the English-Speaking Union) did prepare the way for the highly effective collaboration of U.S., British, and Commonwealth forces in the Second World War and the Cold War.
Anglospherism is based on the intellectual understanding of the roots of both successful market economies and constitutional democracies in strong civil society; in the understanding of the multigenerational persistence of cultural factors in the success of maintaining strong civil society; and in the awareness of the depth of cooperation possible among such societies to a degree not possible among weaker or nonexistent civil societies. Anglosphere theory examines the reality that on almost any ranking of the characteristics of successful civil societies -- prosperity, political freedom, social trust, new company formation and innovation -- the Anglosphere nations form a significant cluster at the top, accompanied only by the Scandinavian countries and a few outliers such as Switzerland. (5)
Anglo-Saxonists of the early twentieth century were concerned that mass immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe was diluting America's Anglo-Saxon stock with "unassimilable" newcomers, and that over time the population would have less and less in common with British and Commonwealth peoples. In fact, the immigrants assimilated the political values of the Anglosphere quite readily, and do so today despite the attempts of politically correct elites and governments to promote multiculturalism. Today's Anglospherists see immigrants forming a new layer of intra-Anglosphere ties, as the East and South Asian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean origins of immigrants throughout the Anglosphere create new cross-relationships.
(Continued in part two)
The Anglosphere Primer: part 2
24 July 2003
Civil Society, Democracy, Prosperity, and the Anglosphere
Civil Society, Democracy, Prosperity, and the Anglosphere.
Why do some nations do well, and not others? What does this say about the alignments and associations in international politics that English-speaking nations currently have?
In the past two decades, we have observed such varied phenomena as the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the collapse of the East Asian economic bubble, and the revival of entrepreneurship in Britain in the wake of the Thatcher reforms. These experiences have created a better appreciation of the link between strong civil society and prosperity. In the emerging economy of this next phase of the Scientific-Technological Revolution, these strong civil society values will be even more central to success.
A civil society is one that is built of a vast network of networks. These networks start with the individual and the families, community organizations, religious congregations, social organizations, and businesses created by individuals coming together voluntarily. Continuing up through the local, regional, national, and international networks, the tying together of local organizations creates civil societies, which in turn beget civic states. Such states are based on the notion that authority begins at the local and community level and is gradually built upwards to deal with wider-scale issues.
Civic states rely on community assent and a feeling of participation in a local, regional, and national community. Law is generally accepted in civic states, as are the common rules of society. The authority of the state is upheld not by constant exercise of force, but by the willingness of citizens to comply. Civic states are thus opposed to "economic states" in which loyalty is primarily pragmatic and based on expectation of benefits through cross-subsidization.
It is important to make clear that at the root of civil society is the individual. People who define themselves primarily as members of collective entities, be they families, religions, racial or ethnic groups, political movements, or corporations, cannot form the basis of a civil society. In a true civil society, individuals must be free to dissociate themselves from such collectives without prejudice and reaffiliate with others. Societies that permanently bind individuals under the discipline of inherited or assigned collectives remain bogged down in ethnic, racial, or religious factionalism, nepotism, and economic systems such as the "crony capitalism" so prevalent in East Asia and Latin America.
It is likewise important to make clear that a family in a civil society is a voluntary association, even though it is built on inherited connections. It should not place loyalty to its members above moral obligations to the rest of society, such as fair dealing, and should have no power over its members other than the sanction of withdrawal of help or association. Similarly, its individuals may choose to join associations marked by inherited ties, such as ethnic or religious organizations, but are not penalized for declining to join.
The state deals with those individuals independently, rather than as members of that collective. Thus, would-be advocates of civil society are often fooled into seeing family-dominated societies as civil societies, when in fact they are the opposite. Other observers see societies in which the state deals with everyone as members of ethnic, racial, or religious communities (such as the vilayet system of the Ottoman Empire) as civil societies, whereas in fact they are authoritarian societies corrupted by the lack of choice.
The "family values" of a crony society are not the same as the family values of a civil society, nor are the ethnic- or religious-based voluntary associations of a civil society the same as the ethnic or religious compartments of an authoritarian society. One of the quiet success stories of strong civil societies, particularly the United States, has been the manner in which the compulsory family and religious affiliations of immigrants from the Old World were transformed in the New World into voluntary associations of civil society, and the immigrants themselves changed from members of traditional societies into self-actualized individuals. This took place within the same generation in some families and in no more than two or three generations in others.
Most societies have some elements of civil society, but their strength differs greatly from society to society. Some states, generally the most peaceful and prosperous ones, are civic states, or possess elements of the civic state, but others have little or no civic nature: totalitarian states, personal dictatorships, and kleptocracies. The latter exist primarily to permit the persons in control to steal from those subject to its power. Most of the poorer and strife-wracked states of the world are in the latter category. The relationship between civil society and prosperity, and civic statehood and domestic peace, is not coincidental. However, the causal link has often been misunderstood.
It is now quite clear that prosperous states are rich because of the strength of their civil society, and that peaceful states are peaceful because of the strength of their civic statehood, not the other way around. States that have inherited vast natural wealth relative to their populations have been able to spread wealth around, but this has not generally strengthened civil society or the coherence of the civic state.
Also misunderstood are the concepts of democracy and the market economy. Democracy and free markets are effects of a strong civil society and strong civic state, not causes. Over the past century, there has been a misdirection of attention to the surface mechanics of democracy, to nose-counting, rather than to the underlying roots of the phenomenon. We know that a society containing strong networks of voluntary association also develops means of expressing the interests of those networks to the state.
It is the need for effective means of expression that gave rise to the original mechanisms we now call democratic. Later, intellectuals in states that did not have a strong existing civil society, especially pre-revolutionary France, looked at states that did, especially England, and attempted to distill an abstract theoretical construct that captured the essence of that experience. These intellectuals called this thing democracy, but they subsequently focused attention on their model (and its misunderstandings) rather than the essence of the thing they actually admired.
England's strong civic state had its roots in the local expressions of civil society in the civic realm, a process that may or may not be traced back to the era before the Norman Conquest but was certainly well-rooted by the fourteenth century. These include the grand and petit jury systems, the election of various aldermen and other local officials, the quasi-official role of many civil institutions, and the heritage of common law administered by an independent judiciary. Selecting members of the House of Commons was one of many different mechanisms by which local communities gave or withheld their consent to the state.
Today we tend to focus on the many ways in which pre-modern England differed from contemporary norms. The restricted franchise, the "rotten boroughs" which elected members of Parliament with a handful of voters, the lack of a party system, and the open purchase of votes for money or favor all seem very undemocratic. But it is a mistake to ignore the many ways in which England's system created a far more effective means of assent and dissent compared to other state systems of the times. The lesson from English history is repeated many times over, up to and including contemporary events in Taiwan and South Korea. When civil society reaches a certain degree of complexity, democracy tends to emerge. Absent that civil society, the importation of mere mechanisms of democracy only creates one more set of spoils for families and groups to fight over at the expense of the rest of society.
Similarly, the market economy requires more than merely the absence of socialism or an overweaning government. It is the economic expression of a strong civil society, just as substantive (rather than formulaic) democracy is the political expression of a civil society and civic state. Democratic mechanisms no more create civil society than wet streets cause rain. There is theoretically no reason why democracy needs a market economy, or vice versa -- but in practice they are almost always found together.
Entrepreneurship in business uses and requires the same talents, and often the same motives, that go into starting a religious, nonprofit, or political organization. The society that can create entrepreneurial businesses tends to be the same society that creates the other forms of organizations as well -- often the same individuals start several of each form at different stages in their lives.
The market economy also requires a civil society with general acceptance of a common framework of laws, practices, and manners. Without a general acceptance of fair dealing, an agreement on what fair dealing means, and a system that can adjudicate disputes, a true market economy cannot exist. Just as post-Soviet Russia's politics demonstrated that the mechanics of democracy alone cannot create a civic state, its economy demonstrated that market formulas cannot by themselves, without such things as secure property title or impartial and predictable adjudication of disputes, create a market economy or a civil society. They are necessary but insufficient conditions in each case.
The Anglosphere Primer: part 3
24 July 2003
The Link to Science and Technology
The Link to Science and Technology
These realizations have immense implications for the next stages of the Scientific-Technological Revolution. It is highly likely that the current information revolution will continue to be a source of innovation for the next stages of growth. They will emerge in an entrepreneurial environment marked by the rapid creation of teams and capitalization through venture money and public markets possible only in a strong civil society. The crucial role of non-company organizations (such as professional and industry associations and informal networks of acquaintance) in creating the Silicon Valley phenomenon also indicates that this form of entrepreneurism is a strong civil-society phenomenon.
Looking at the geography of the next stages of this scientific-technological revolution, it is no accident that it is emerging first in the United States. Strong civil society has its roots in medieval Europe, as a result of its society being built of a mix of tribal, feudal, local, church, family, and state institutions, characterized by the lack of a single, overwhelming power that could impose its will. Gradually the different interests established negotiated relationships of power and influence, none of which involved full submission of one element to another. At first these institutions were for the most part neither free nor voluntary in nature. However, the multiplicity of institutions eventually permitted some liberty, and eventually many individuals to establish a substantial freedom and independence through astute negotiation.
England, by virtue of its being the strongest part of an island at the periphery of Europe, was insulated from many of the more centralizing influences that eventually eradicated the complexity of emerging medieval civil society. In particular, its security from invasion after 1066 and consequent lack of need to maintain a large land army shielded it from the royal absolutism that continental monarchies fashioned in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Thus, England was free to continue combining medieval institutions such as Parliament, juries, and corporations into effective forms of complex civil societies.
These forms were present throughout Western Europe, but faded or changed into instruments of state power over civil society in most nations on the continent, while still flourishing in England. It is also significant that the continental states most protected from the need for centralizing absolutist military bureaucracies, like Switzerland and the Netherlands, rate higher even today on most indices of strength of civil society than do those less favored.
The colonization of North America happened in such a way that the most useful characteristics of civil society were brought to its soil from England, while many of the less useful remnants of feudalism were left behind. In fact, Anglo-America was a particularly strong civil society from the start, especially in New England and Pennsylvania, where Puritans and Quakers, both of whom were strongly dedicated to the fundamentals of civil society, brought particularly robust institutions. Above all, they elevated the sanctity of contract and covenant to central places in their moral universe, an critical advantage in fostering civil society, and particularly, dynamic entrepreneurship.
The entrepreneurial cultures of the Quakers of Pennsylvania and northern England, the Methodists of northern and midland England and America, and the Calvinists of New England and Scotland seem to have fundamentally contributed to the emergence, development, and continuing dominance of the industrial and information revolutions.
It is important to reject a narrow, triumphalist view of the Anglo-American role in this matter and to stress again that it was the confluence of a number of social, geopolitical, and historical factors that created this link. Theories that seek a racial, ethnic, or religious virtue as an explanation of the Anglosphere's leadership of the Industrial and Democratic Revolutions are as ill-founded as the mirror-opposite theories that seek to assign some unique iniquity to England or America.
The characteristics that have given the Anglosphere its leadership to date, being acquired rather than innate can be lost as well as acquired. Similarly, other cultures can, and in some cases have acquired characteristics with similar effects. It also implies that these cultural and institutional characteristics are fairly deep-seated, and changes, negative and positive alike, usually require several generations to take full effect.
As the saying goes, "There is a lot of ruin in a nation." Thus England took more than a few generations to lose the characteristics that sparked entrepreneurial vigor, and when relatively shallow political and institutional changes reversed the climate of decline, entrepreneurial vigor quickly resurfaced there. Conversely, it will take more than "anti-corruption" campaigns in low-trust cultures in the former Soviet states, Latin America, or East Asia to change their deep-rooted cultural biases feeding nepotism in business and government -- it is likely to take several generations of persistent reform.
If the above historical observations are at all valid, the obvious conclusion is that the next phase of the Scientific-Technological Revolution is likely to emerge primarily in a high-trust culture -- most likely, the Anglosphere. Hence, the most important political challenge of the near future is to create close cooperative ties among groups of strong civic states, starting with the Anglosphere nations. These conclusions also suggest that one critical preparation for this process is for Anglosphere nations to gain an awareness of the distinctiveness of their own civilization, not in order to feel superior to others, but to create a realistic basis for addressing the serious problems arising within this civilization.
Finally, we must realize that every advance brought by the next stages of the Scientific-Technological Revolution will bring a serious potential for danger and disruption. The potential solutions to such dangers must come from the strengths of the civilization from which they emerged: the strengths of advanced civil societies.
Some visionaries advocate a world government in hopes that it would control such hazards. Such a government (unless it is a disguised empire of the major powers imposed on the rest) would have to be constructed on a lowest-common-denominator basis to include a substantial collection of hapless dictatorships, rotten oligarchies, and shabby kleptocracies. It may be more useful to construct a framework for cooperation starting with a small number of significant strong civil societies and to work on improving constitutional structures which can restrain harmful use of power, whether political or technological, while preserving safeguards against political abuse.
Any such institution would have to draw on the civil society's strengths of openness, voluntary consent and compliance, inclusion, constitutional restraint of authority, and flow of participation from the fundamental levels of society to the top. Any other approach to solution is unlikely to be effective in its goals or tolerable to its citizens.
An understanding of the success of market economies and democratic government will lead inevitably to skepticism about ambitious, broadly inclusive international or transnational institutions. International cooperation will be essential to meet the challenges of the next stages of the scientific-technological revolution. But the first challenge of organizations is to attempt to link those civic states that already have much in common. If we cannot make such forms work, there is no hope whatsoever for institutions hoping to link across radically different cultures, except in the most superficial ways.
Thus, the first challenge is creating the institutional ties to parallel the economic realities of the convergence within the English-speaking economies. Since the changes sparked by the Thatcher reforms, some signs of entrepreneurial takeoff can be discerned in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. But other areas of the world displaying creativity and entrepreneurship are, not surprisingly, strong and relatively open civil societies themselves, such as Scandinavia and the Netherlands. It is no accident that Linus Torvalds -- who created the phenomenally successful Linux computer operating system -- is a Finnish citizen. It is also noteworthy that he eventually moved to the English-speaking world -- in this case Palo Alto, California -- in order to further his dreams.
By contrast, such high-tech entrepreneurship as does emerge in the core European or Japanese economies tends to be content-related and based on local knowledge inherent in language or location. These are classic strategies of follower economies, and, although they are intelligent strategies, English-speaking countries do not adopt them. Rather, they tend to compete in the mainstream, taking advantage of regulatory arbitrage, such as Ireland's low taxation or Canada's more rational technology export laws, and pursuing global, not regional niches.
The problem is not any lack of creativity, energy, or entrepreneurial drive among non-English-speaking people. The problem is that when creativity does arise and ventures start, the prevailing set of social, economic and political institutions retards their growth. In corrupt and undemocratic countries with weak civil societies, family networks permit entrepreneurs to get around these obstacles, up to a point. But they cannot expand easily beyond that point.
In stronger civil societies such as Germany, which have high-trust characteristics but lack openness and flexibility in their political and social systems, ventures are frustrated by bureaucratic barriers. Thus, while in America computer industry start-ups draw heavily on South Asian programmers and entrepreneurs, a German proposal to give visas to Indian programmers prompted the slogan "Kinder statt Inder" -- "(our) Children, not Indians."
This resistance may change, but not overnight. The European Union will likely go through one or more rather severe crises before it broadens its purview, and the Japanese system is even more rigid. The decades it will require for these changes to take place will also be the critical decades of the next stages of the scientific-technological revolution. In the short term, therefore, it is likely that the Anglosphere nations will continue to pull away from Continental Europe and Japan.
Many young continental Europeans use their EU rights to relocate to Britain, whose entrepreneurial culture and freedom they seek. Free movement has been reported as a triumph of EU principles, but it is very much a one-way street. Young continentals move to Britain and Ireland, suggesting the continual attraction of the English-speaking world for the smart, talented, and ambitious. The real "French Silicon Valley" does not lie in any of the planned technology centers created by the French state, but stretches instead from Dover to London, where thousands of young French men and women have relocated to pursue their dreams without the high taxes and social burdens prevailing on the continent.
The Anglosphere Primer: part 4
24 July 2003
Becoming A Self-Aware Civilization: The Anglosphere Perspective
Becoming A Self-Aware Civilization: The Anglosphere Perspective
An Anglosphere perspective differs from any of the lenses through which our societies have been viewed in the past. It could not have arisen at an earlier point in time. Although aspects of the perspective may seem familiar, they are applied in new ways and combined into new synergies. The principal characteristics emphasized by the Anglosphere perspective include the following:
* Historical continuity. The Anglosphere is a relatively old social construct among human societies, with a tangible continuity reaching back at least twelve centuries. Although substantially transformed by each human wave added to the whole, and by each invasion of ideas which have affected development for good and for bad, the Anglosphere is recognizably evolved from Alfred's kingdom. Americans or Australians who long for depth of historical perspective ought properly to find it in the Anglosphere identity. The better we understand history, the more we understand that the voyage from the British Isles to those countries was more continuity and re-creation than new creation. This perspective has substantial consequences on our understanding of political, social, economic, military, and technological history.
* Memetic, rather than genetic, identity. Richard Dawkins popularized the concept of the meme, the equivalent of a gene in the process of evolution of information. This has proven to be a useful concept. Memes reproduce, spread, and evolve far faster than genes, and thus human societies are far more affected by memetic than by genetic evolution. (The classic example: it is far quicker to evolve the concept, or meme, of the corrective lens and spread the use of eyeglasses worldwide, than it is to wait for genetic evolution to weed out the near-sighted.) A century ago, proponents of English-speaking political unions had a primarily genetic view of the English-speaking world and sought to reunite the British with their cousins in America. This vision failed, partly because so many Americans were already of non-British descent by that time. In contrast, the Anglosphere is a memetic concept. Those who come to use the language and concepts of the Anglosphere (and further their evolution) are the memetic heirs of Magna Carta, the Bills of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, whatever their genetic heritage. "Innocent until proven guilty" now belongs to the Changs, Gonzaleses, and Singhs of the Anglosphere, as well as Smith and Jones.
* Networked, rather than hierarchical, structure. The Anglosphere has at different times experienced different ideas of how, and whether, its parts should be linked. The first question was whether, and in what manner, the various English-speaking parts of the British Isles should be connected. The kings of England had long maintained a claim of medieval overlordship over the whole of Britain. The first practical vision of unitary statehood as a model was the use of the term "Great Britain" by James I, king of Scotland and England alike, who advocated but could not achieve full political union . The creation of the United Kingdom, achieved finally in 1707, was contested many times by Scots and Irish. The wider vision of a British Empire encompassing all English-speaking people was laid to rest by the Treaty of Paris recognizing American independence in 1793. Visionaries like Benjamin Franklin had tried to resolve the tensions between American needs and British Imperial interests through a vision of a looser union of self-governing dominions, not unlike the eventual late Second Empire. However, this vision, in many ways the first proto-Anglospherist vision, could not convince Lord North's ministry in London to make the needed concessions.
The second vision, that of the Anglo-Saxonists Rhodes and Milner, was of a co-dominion jointly run from London and Washington. The high-water mark of this vision was the Anglo-American high command of World War II, which merged the two militaries far more than a mere alliance would have. But this relationship was diluted into NATO and the United Nations, and as a vision, dissolved. It also suffered from the racialist and crude social-Darwinist ideas of that era, which precluded effective cooperation with the non-white communities of the Anglosphere.
The third vision, the late-1960s plan of Harold Wilson and Lyndon Johnson for a North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, was waylaid by the politics of the day and the suspicion that it would have ended in an American hegemony made obnoxious by the Vietnam War and the shadow of the Suez crisis. The network commonwealth vision is thus the fourth iteration of Anglosphere cohesion. It is polycentric and collaborative, befitting an era in which the network, not some plan, is the ruling paradigm. Coalitions of the willing, variable geometry, and multiple, overlapping political ties, rather than One Union, One Parliament, and One Capital, are the characteristics of the Network Commonwealth approach.
* Emphasis on similarities and recognition of differences. Narrow racial and nationalist narratives have emphasized the differences among Anglosphere nations and deemphasized similarities. At the same time, a superficial universalism has suppressed appreciation of genuine differences between the Anglosphere and other civilizations. This has led to the facile and futile attempt to impose the surface mechanisms of the Anglosphere on cultures with none of the background of slow evolution of strong civil society. Kosovo cannot be turned into Kansas or Kent in two years. An Anglospheric perspective concentrates on tending and perfecting our own garden first, on creating deep and strong ties between highly similar nations and cultures, and seeking to help other nations by serving as an example (and sometimes, as a caution). It does not impose from outside solutions on nations that cannot benefit thereby, although this does not mean that Anglosphere nations should never aid the struggle against tyranny outside of their own lands. Merely because a nation does not share the specific cultural characteristics of the Anglosphere does not mean that it cannot or should not find its own way to freedom, nor that Anglosphere nations should not aid it in doing so.
The English-speaking peoples are now at the threshold of the perception stage. To move forward, new mental categories must be given name and definition and brought to general attention. As noted above, there is no concise term for the category of "English-speaking nations." Even that clumsy phrase is imprecise, as it focuses excessively on the linguistic aspects and ignores the much wider set of shared legal, constitutional, and social values which these nations hold in common. Hence the term "Anglosphere," which is concise, goes beyond mere linguistic commonality, and has no racial overtones. However, if it is to become the term of the future it must overcome the overtones of "Anglophile," which is a value not universally considered positive in the Anglosphere, and the other potentially negative connotations some might find in it. In California, for example, "Anglo" is a term identified with "Non-Hispanic Whites"; in Canada "Anglophone" has come to mean "non-French whites." In Ireland, "Anglo-" carries overtones of ancient British oppression, rather than the English-speaking civilization as a whole through which the global Hibernosphere is principally articulated. An Anglospheric Perspective reclaims the term from narrow usage and connotation.
Time will tell whether this neologism will endure. Although "Anglosphere network commonwealth" is a convenient shorthand to discuss such things, the formal title of such an entity may be more prosaic -- a "Community of English-Speaking States," for example -- or it may reach for a more poetic form; a "League of the Common Law," perhaps. It will depend on the temper of the times that bring it forth.
More generally, what is needed is an explicit recognition of a status that is "not a countryman, yet not a foreigner," but rather a fellow member of a network civilization.
Secede. Control taxbases/municipalities. Use boycotts, divestment, sanctions, strikes.