VodkaPundit Reviews Bennett’s “The Anglosphere Challenge”

Stephen “VodkaPundit” Green has a post with several short reviews, including this interesting take:

Jim Bennett’s The Anglosphere Challenge is the most thought-provoking book since The Sovereign Individual was published six years ago. In fact, the two books share a similar view of the future of the nation-state as we know it. Somewhere, Bennett, TSI authors James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, Ralph Peters, and Robert D Kaplan, all meet – and in that place lies a very dark future for some people, and an almost unimaginably bright one for others.

I’m not familiar with Davidson, and I only really know Rees-Mogg’s name, but I do know the work of Peters and Kaplan well. Green’s is an interesting juxtaposition. Bennett does not offer all that much speculation along the dystopian axis which is very pronounced in Kaplan and less so in Peters. I would like to see further thoughts from Mr. Green about the book, but I suppose this is all we are likely to see from him.

(Cross-posted on Albion’s Seedling.)

  1. I read “The Sovereign Individual” and “Blood in the Streets” (Davidson’s and Rees-Mogg’s previous collaboration) some years ago. I’ve also read Bennett and Kaplan but not Peters (probably should; he’s recommended by Arnold Kling, whose book recommendations are excellent and who introduced me to “The Anglosphere Challenge”).

    The common theme is decentralization of government power, i.e., “the center cannot hold.” But Bennett’s vision of a network commonwealth differs greatly from TSI’s emphasis on individual people liberated from allegiance to a single nation-state. As I recall, TSI recommends you either become a John Galt-like superman who shops in the global mall for services from competing governments – for example, signing a private tax treaty with your Swiss canton of residence, and outsourcing your retirement portfolio management to Singapore – or become indispensable to such a person. Things will fall apart, and your best bet is to ally yourself with the modern equivalent of a feudal warlord.

    Bennett’s view is less atomistic; it focuses on individual people who share a common culture and work together to achieve common ends. I find it more plausible and more compelling. Why shouldn’t the residents of Point Roberts, Washington arrange to share health care services with Tsawwassen, B.C., or send their kids across the border to play intramural cricket, or help create the vibrant Asian/North American hybrid culture developing in Vancouver and especially Richmond? (Kaplan, “An Empire Wilderness”, p. 318: “The Asian/British – that is to say, Asian/WASP – cultural mix is the most potent in the history of capitalism.”) I never used to think this way until I read Mr. Bennett’s wonderful book.

    Kaplan’s work is brilliant and hard to summarize, but one thing I notice is that he travels to distant, chaotic places, then discusses how matters might improve if the Anglosphere projects its power there – for example, by patrolling national borders or faciliating a nation’s entry into NATO.

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