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  • July 4

    Posted by Helen on July 3rd, 2009 (All posts by )

    I am going to be early for once and wish a happy July 4 to all of you guys on that side of the Pond. I know things seem tough at the moment but I, for one, have great faith in America and in the Anglosphere in general. Even those unpleasant manipulations by the EU and President Sarkozy will not defeat the latter and, as for the former, you have had bad times before. So, have a good time and on with the motley.

     

    12 Responses to “July 4”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Excellent. Thanks, Helen. All the best to our Anglosphere friends.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Thanks. Your optimism is welcome – and I hope accurate. And thanks to a culture that prepared us for 1776 even as it pushed us to it.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      Thanks, Helen. Things looked worse from Valley Forge, from Lincoln’s desk the day after Bull Run, the when FDR came in in the depths of the Depression, the day after Pearl Harbor, when the last helicopter flew off the roof in Saigon.

      We will overcome the current problems.

      God bless America. Forward the Anglosphere.

    4. Mitch Says:

      As Adam Smith noted, there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. He actually made that observation to a friend lamenting the probable loss of the American colonies after Saratoga. The French and Germans have a mania for systematizing and theorizing, but the Anglosphere tradition is to figure something out and make it work. That’s what we’ll do in this case, too.

    5. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Happy Independence Day!

    6. Ralf Goergens Says:

      The French and Germans have a mania for systematizing and theorizing, but the Anglosphere tradition is to figure something out and make it work.

      We know how to figure out and make things work, too, but around here it usually seems to lead to war (usually with each other), so we’ll stick to Paint by Numbers, thank you very much, Mitch.

    7. Tatyana Says:

      Ralph, thanks for the laugh.

    8. Mitch Says:

      @Ralf: The classic case for just making things work is the British constitution, which they have never gotten around to writing down. They just do what seems to work until it stops working, then try something else. It’s a shame that Blair took advantage of this.

    9. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Ralph, thanks for the laugh.

      You are welcome, Tatyana. ;)

      Mitch:

      @Ralf: The classic case for just making things work is the British constitution, which they have never gotten around to writing down. They just do what seems to work until it stops working, then try something else. It’s a shame that Blair took advantage of this.

      I know the case of the unwritten British constitution (better called an collection of gentlemens’ agreements – there used to be things that the governments just didn’t do (at least until Blair).
      That kind of thing could also only work on an island.

      If you try to get along without a written and codified constitution on the continent, neighboring countries will try to lean on you or at least get wedges in: “Are you really sure that this piece of land belongs to you and not to us?” Or: “We think that your province there would be better off with a greater degree of autonomy. We’ll be happy to offer our protection”.

      Etc., etc., ad nauseam. You’ll have to fight wars just to preserve the status quo and eventually you’ll get fed up and have a constitution written and codified.

      I think that the Anglospheric model can really only work if you have lots of elbow room, i.e., on an island or being alone “from sea to shing sea”, with only two harmless neighbors like Canada and Mexico.

    10. Helen Says:

      As this is a special day I shall not get into a discussion about the British Constitution, which is lying in tatters. Once we are out of the euro-mess there will have to be a new Bill of Rights and, possibly, a written Constitution. That famous oh-so-wonderful unwritten one (not exactly true – there is no single written document but there are written aspects) has not worked.

      Ralf is right: geography matters. One example: we hear much of the Magna Carta and how it could not have happened anywhere else. Well, actually, seven years after it, in 1222 there was a Golden Bull in Hungary (Arany Bulla), whose terms were almost exactly the same. Sadly, in 1241 the Mongols invaded and devastated the country.

    11. Jim Bennett Says:

      Ralf, you’re quite right — there’s a large body of credible scholarship that agrees wth you on that point. I certainly find it convincing. Alan Macfarlane, who is The Man on English exceptionalism in academia, recetnly put it very straightforwardly, than England’s insularity was an indispensible piece of the puzzle. And it’s the elbow room that has made it work in America and elsewhere. The US and Canada had a unique solution — since we both had constitutional histories that didn’t like land borders and the taxes, conscription, and centralization that come with defending them, we just agreed quite early on to act as if it wasn’t a military border. And it worked.

    12. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Thanks, Jim, Of course, it is kind of hard to transfer the system to make it work elsewhere.