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The truth about the English-speaking world

There are historically worse shelters than the Pacific Palisades. We were stunned and even tickled by the fact that Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and other Weimar stars lived their lives among well-groomed pets and the intense chocolatiers of western Los Angeles. I have.

But look at it from their angle. On the one hand, the invincible sea. On the other hand: mountain screen. North and South: A much weaker country. European claustrophobia, its overlapping nationalism, was physically impossible here. So was the violence that accompanied it. The same shelter version can be found in Sydney, or London with a conservation channel.

Even after the Navy agreement Among the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom last month, the “English-speaking world” is still an idea to seek stuffing. Britain is far more European than the United States in terms of gun control, paid leave, racial makeup, religion, per capita income, and preferred sports. Neither country is very intimate with distant antipodes, beyond some pooled spies.

In fact, there is only one non-verbal thread that connects major English-speaking countries. Call it geographical luck. I have come to feel that it shapes their outlook more deeply than language.

Only one of the “Five Eyes” borders a larger country (it’s Canada’s benign United States). There are no landlocked countries. Unless we count the decolonization of Britain, we do not have much experience in territorial loss or occupation. Growing up in these countries can be dazzling by the rarity of such geographical providence. Water bodies and lovely neighbors give us the anxieties that history has caused in France, Nigeria and Mexico.

Or, if you think about it, China, India, Russia. Navigation in this century requires a variety of non-exercise muscles in the English-speaking world. One is the knowledge of civilization that preceded the West. The other is vim to compete with the recently poor economy without irony or fatigue about commerce.

However, of all future adjustments, the least controversial one is the most important. We need to understand the spiritual life of countries that are not so spoiled geographically. It is not only theory that external predation experiences have shaped them. There is what the citizen does, that is, the citizen’s choice or obedience, to ensure that there is no repetition.

The English-speaking conceit is that something deep within the culture explains why it never fell into tyranny. Except for the selective recall here (what did the Confederates speak? Tamil?), There is no tolerance for geographic accidents. Do Spinoza’s hometown of the Netherlands, merchant capitalism, and non-ecclesiological painting lack the instinct of freedom? If it surrenders to the Nazis, wouldn’t hundreds of miles of Germans border the more likely criminals? The joke about the surrender of France-the unmistakable trace of a buffalo-is as good as missing out on the obvious. And if you can’t see the power of geography in those familiar countries, what’s your chance to feel the sensibilities of Asia?

For three years in Washington, I knew a political class that was as diligent, citizen-oriented, and clever enough, if not very original, as London. If there was a blind spot, it was due to many deep-seated anxieties of the world: due to the role of humiliation in the history of so many nations. For example, China’s actions have absorbed everyone.what George Kennan You would have called it the “source”, but it wasn’t.

The problem is as much education as the shining sea. The humanities currency is an abstract idea: Enlightenment vs. Romance, Protestant Ethics vs. Catholicism. I feel almost Philistines to suggest that something as physical as the environment may shape the country.Jared Diamond Gun reproduction and steel It’s just a little better.

The right English-speaker for the wrong reason is the product of that idea culture. Yes, there is a mysterious pattern among the five countries. Yes, it must reflect their view of the world. But the language is not (is Singapore currently more populous in the English-speaking world than New Zealand?). Nor is it John Locke’s intellectual inheritance.

No, what sets them apart from much of the world is the coincidence of their geographical separation. Brentwood’s own Theodor Adorno felt bad, even if LA kept him safe. English-speaking countries face the same challenges. That is, what protects them leaves them incomprehensible.

Email Janan janan.ganesh@ft.com

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The truth about the English-speaking world

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