Hannan on why the Anglosphere matters

by Institute of Public Affairs on February 29, 2012

Welcome to the third digital issue of Horizons – a monthly digest from the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program. To see previous issues, visit the website here.

In his Institute of Public Affairs tour of Australia last week the UK MEP Dan Hannan made a bold claim – the Anglosphere matters. He’s back in the UK now, but you can read his latest blog post on the shared values of the Anglosphere here, and another on his favourite Anglosphere politician.

The Anglosphere is the idea of a community of nations united by a common language and political institutions. The name was coined by the great historian of the Soviet Union, Robert Conquest. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand may be spread across the globe but they share a close political and cultural bond.

James Bennett – author of The Anglosphere Challenge – visited the IPA in 2010. We interviewed him on video here.

Here’s Roger Kimball’s review of the idea of the Anglosphere in the New Criterion,  and here’s the late Christopher Hitchens’ more sceptical take in City Journal.

The basic truth of the Anglosphere is that institutions are important. The English-speaking countries are all descendants of the English common law and the principle that government is subordinate to the citizen. And they all harbour a deep appreciation for individual liberty and limited government, an appreciation drawn from that heritage.

Yet as Hannan pointed out to IPA audiences, in recent decades Britain has downgraded its relationship with Australia to integrate with Europe.

By doing so, not only did the Britain tie its fate to a continent in decline, but it neglected its closer relations across the Anglosphere.

Reading, listening, watching

Video of Dan Hannan’s speeches will be available on the IPA website shortly. Want some Hannan now? This radio interview with ABC Melbourne’s Jon Faine and Amanda Vanstone is very good – skip forward past the leadership speculation to 12 minutes and 30 seconds. This one with ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin is also very good.

Who are the best historians of the last sixty years? History Today asked a panel of historians – here is how they responded.  Michael Burleigh – one of our favourite historians – expanded on his response in this recent Standpoint essay.

Here is a video lecture by the economist Russ Roberts on “the deepest thing we know” – how spontaneous order creates civilisation.

Something out of left-field – we enjoyed this short history of Madame Tussaud’s waxworks museum in Prospect Magazine. Her first figure? The proto-totalitarian Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

And here is an interesting review of Tim Blanning’s new book The Romantic Revolution in the Washington Times.  I reviewed his excellent book The Pursuit of Glory in the IPA Review in 2008.

Previous post:

Next post: